Linking language, culture, and society
All too often, we hear that the liberal arts are tangential to “real” studies that have an impact on today’s pressing issues. As this month’s newsletter demonstrates, for our faculty, staff, and students, such an assessment is far from the truth. In a globalized economy, the knowledge gained through the study of language and society is invaluable; the link between cultural questioning and understanding is profound.
Not surprisingly, then, as recent alumni spotlights, our students’ education at Tulane prepared them to understand and influence the world they encountered. Bria Trosclair, an anthropology major, has made her mark in Bulgaria; Jennie Barker, an international relations major, applied the lessons learned to her work in German; Samuel Fishman, a political economy major with a Spanish minor, found his global education central to his role in a national political campaign.
And certainly, our new staff members are shaped by their commitment to the study of language, culture, and society. Ryan Judd, who graduated from Tulane in 2012 as a Tulane 34 and became a Fulbright scholar, returns to instill his passion for language and culture through his new role as manager of the Language Learning Lab. Denise Frazier, who received a PhD in Latin American Studies at Tulane, brings her education and insights to the role of assistant director at the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South. There, she will work with the Music Rising website, as well as introduce students to the importance of language, culture and society in this region through a new residential community.
Our faculty, of course, are central to this mission. As assistant professor of French Toby Wikström explains, as a “detective” his work ties culture to language in an exploration of the past.
Whether it is through the new grants we have received, the classes we run, the students who set out to change the world, or the faculty who inspire them, there is little doubt that SLA is providing a vital understanding of the world in which we live.