On Wednesday, March 24, I helped to coordinate an event sponsored by the Women and Gender Studies Committee, the Francophone Film Series, and the College of Arts and Sciences. We showed “Moolaadé,” a film by Sembene Ousmane (Senegal, 2004), and we followed the film with a panel discussion consisting of three faculty members from CSU and one faculty member from Kennedy-King College. About 30 people showed up to watch the film and discuss it – faculty, students, and staff from CSU, as well as others.
This film is about the difficult subject of excision, also known as female genital mutilation or female genital cutting. As the discussion showed, however, the film is about much more than this subject. It’s about gender relations and power, the female body as a discursive site, the question of how practices are maintained and how they are changed, tradition versus modernity, globalization, the question of “African-ness” in post-colonial Africa, the roles of the individual and the community, and many other things. As the discussion showed, the film is particularly rich because it raises questions about these issues in complex ways, encouraging viewers to think and rethink their ideas.
I mention this activity not to pat myself on the back for the small part I played in this event, but to point out that many other events like this are going on all of the time on our campus. These are the sorts of events that should be widely advertised to counter the negative assumptions about CSU raised in much of the mass media. These events show the leadership and scholarly engagement of our own faculty and students. And, I would suggest that these events increase student retention not just for the students who attend them but also for those who hear about the exciting and provocative discussions generated at these events, and probably even for those students who simply see a flyer and know these events are happening.
This is CSU. An engaged community of scholars, faculty, and students committed to learning beyond the boundaries of the classroom.
This is CSU. An engaged community of scholars, faculty, and students thinking critically about the world around us, its history, and the means for creating change.
This is CSU. An engaged community of scholars, faculty, and students realizing the mission of the university to “produce graduates who are responsible, discerning, and informed global citizens with a commitment to lifelong-learning and service.”