The Feb. 23 edition of the Jinx Tale announced that course selection for the Fall 2011 semester beings March 4. Students were encouraged to meet with their advisors to discuss academic plans.
General education requirements at Southwestern College include completing a class studying another culture. Some of the possibilities are French, Spanish, Italian, South Asian, and Chinese language and culture classes. One of the newest options is Belarusian History and Culture.
The class meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays this semester and is taught by Aliaksandr Paharely, a visiting scholar from Belarus. Taggart Wall, philosophy & religious studies and history senior, said his favorite part about the class is listening to Paharely. “It’s nice to learn from a primary source, from someone who’s right there in the middle of it. It’s one thing to learn from a book and another to have it right there in front of you.”
The class covers Belarus’s history and culture. Reasons for the civil unrest in the country can be traced back to the World War II era and make the country a interesting study. Jamiee Grinstaff, athletic training freshman, said understanding the Belarusian government is the most important thing she has learned so far.
Wall said the most important thing he’s learned is how the Belarusian identity has survived the turmoil of a shifting government. “It’s pretty amazing that anybody can hold onto an identity after all the upheaval those people have gone through.”
In addition to history and politics, the class teaches students the cultural traditions of the country and its people. Grinstaff said that her favorite part about the class is “playing games and eating their kind of food.”
These ‘other culture’ classes are meant to broaden horizons and increase students’ understanding of the world around them. Students seem to understand that.
“You should have a little knowledge about every culture, not just your own,” said Grinstaff.
Wall said understanding other cultures is increasingly important, “Especially now, more than ever, because of what the world’s becoming. Everything’s global.”
Grinstaff would recommend this course to students who are interested in history.
Wall, on the other hand, gives the course a general recommendation. “It gives people a different perspective on a lot of things. Even basic fundamental things like World War II history. We learn everything from an American perspective, but when you learn from another perspective, like the Belarusian perspective, it makes you well rounded.”
Erin Morris is a freshman majoring in communication. You may e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Edited by Samantha Gillis.