The independent student newspaper of Goucher College


Katie Monthie

Katie Monthie has 8 articles published.

Katie Monthie ’19 is a sophomore from Columbia, MD majoring in Psychology and English. In the future, Katie would like to pursue a career in psychology, ideally becoming teaching and researching how people connect to narratives. In her spare time, she enjoys listening to the same three podcasts, obsessing over Shakespeare, and writing until her hand aches.

Reading Across the Disciplines: An Ode to ISP


The International Scholars Program (ISP) encouraged students involved to expand their perspectives globally through various classes and seminars. Now, the ISP program is nearing it’s end. In honor of this course, I sat down with two former ISP students, Liv Siegal and Terrin Rosen who gave recommendations of four books they read throughout the course. While there are specific explanations on why for each of the books below, Liv felt that all of these books were important for her because “[Reading these books] helps us understand why the world is the way it is today. It helps us understand global capitalism. It helps us understand white supremacy, war, national boundaries— pretty much anything related to international relations.”

Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

Summary: “It’s basically a theory on how the west was able to rise to global supremacy. The whole idea is that it’s based on the way the genocide of the Native Americans happened through the spread of infection, guns because they were able to access gun-powder, so their weapons were more advanced than the indigenous people living here, and steel is industrialization.”

On why it matters: “There’s some truth to it, and it’s an unorthodox interpretation of history, and it also helps us understand the way the systems of oppression work today.” (Liv)

Black Skin, White Masks. By Frank Fanon. Photo Credit: Amazon

Black Skin, White Mask by Frantz Fanon

“It’s about the systems of racism that were being exercised when the world was being colonized and how the colonized experience a lot of internalized racism… the colonized experiences because of the colonizer.” (Liv)

Orientalism by Edward Said

“It’s, again, postcolonial theory, and it’s basically about how Western culture looks at ‘the east’ and ‘the orient’ and how we take that and co-modify that.” (Terrin) “[This] was another one that I’ve recommended.” (Liv)

Orientalism by Edward Said. Photo Credit: Google Images

Discourse on Colonialism by Aimé Césaire

“It is probably a pillar of postcolonial theory, so basically looking at the way colonization worked, and it’s a critique of colonialism and a critique of the motivations behind colonization… and the systems of power it creates— particularly racism and capitalism and exploitation.” (Liv) “It looks at different ways of exploitation in ways that we don’t necessarily think of them.” (Terrin)

Resistance and Decolonization by Amilcar Cabral

“It’s very similar to Césaire’s critique of colonization.” (Liv)

I hope through this section you’ve piled up some books to read (or listen to) over Winter Break! If you have any suggestions of books, essays, collections, etc. from your majors, minors, or favorite courses, feel free to email me directly ( or fill out a survey titled “RAtD Submissions” (distributed through the Goucher app and class pages). Just input the title of the work, the course/professor who introduced you to it, and why you think others should read the book. Happy reading!

Reading Across The Disciplines: Part 2


This issue, I’m sharing three books from Economics and one from Creative Writing (focusing mainly on poetry). The following are books from the Econ department, shared with me by Fiona Rutgers, a current Econ major. If you’re interested in economics but don’t have time for the classes, check out the books below! All the following descriptions were given by Fiona Rutgers.

Photo Credit: Google images.

Naked Economics by Charles Wheelan; Class: Equivalent is Essentials of Economics
“Gina [Shamshak] recommended this book as a fantastic sampler of the kinds of topics we cover in Econ 111. The author wrote this book with the specific purpose of demystifying econ, so it’s a great place to start if you want to learn more about the subject.”

Photo Credit: Google images.

The Worldly Philosophers by Robert Heilbroner; Class: History of Economic Thought, Steve Furnagiev
“[This book] is a historical examination of some of the biggest economic thinkers in history, and [provides] the background for the ideas and theories they created. I’ve heard that the course is really handy for poly-sci majors, since it gives context for a lot of the economic policies implemented in the US today.”





Photo Credit: Google images.

Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson; Class: Intermediate Macroeconomics, Steve Furnagiev
“The book is all about the power of institutions—political and economic, and how they shape the ways societies develop. The book specifically argues that institutions, things like corruption, education, and innovation, influence the wealth a country develops. It touches on a lot of the big picture ideas of macroeconomics.”

If you’re not interested in Economics, or want a quicker read over Thanksgiving or Winter Break, poetry may be what you’re looking for! You can look into poets like Rupi Kaur, Billy Collins, or the infamous Shel Silverstein.

Photo Credit: Google images.

The Collected Works of Lucille Clifton; Class: Introduction to Poetry, Katherine Cottle
While I don’t believe you need to read her entire life’s work (about 600 pages if you get the hardcover edition), Lucille Clifton’s poetry is stylistically unique, far from the stereotypical rhyme schemes and odes that many people know poetry to be. Lucille Clifton, the Poet Laureate of Maryland from ‘79-’85, writes with blunt, brutal honesty, expertly using punctuation and formatting to emphasize the strong imagery in her poems. Most of them are relatively short, so if you’re looking for a quick read that still packs a wallop, read a collection by Lucille Clifton.
That’s all for this week. If you have any suggestions of books, essays, collections, etc. from your majors, minors, or favorite courses, feel free to email me directly ( or fill out a survey titled “RAtD Submissions” (distributed through the Goucher app and class pages). Just input the title of the work, the course/professor who introduced you to it, and why you think others should read the book. Happy reading!

Reading Across the Disciplines


I have a horrible habit of buying textbook rentals at the end of the semester. Every semester, I try to figure out which books I’ll want in the future, then inevitably miss three or four that I decide I need after reading them. These are books that I found have made my college experience all the more valuable and engaged me at my core. Because each discipline has books that change perspectives, I’ll also be featuring other books (and some articles) from other disciplines and professors that matter to students at Goucher. Below, I’ve named my top three books from courses in Psychology and English. I hope to add books from others in the future. In the meantime, feel free to add these three to your to-read list!

Source: Google Images

Stand Your Ground by Kelly Brown Douglas
Genre: Non-Fiction
Read for: Rick Pringle, Relational Psychology, Spring 2017
Summary: Kelly Brown Douglas examines the history of Stand Your Ground laws in the wake of the shooting of Trayvon Martin and considers the contradiction that exists within Black Faith.
Why: This summary is far too simple to address the whole of Douglas’ discussion, but that’s mainly because the issues Douglas confronts are far too complex for a one sentence summary. While Stand Your Ground is certainly a dense read, it provides incredible and important insight into how systemic racism came to be a part of our judicial systems and our media. It certainly covers a dark history, but the book is overall hopeful that these issues within our society can be fixed, if only enough people acknowledge the horrors in our past that have lead to our horrors in the present.

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
Genre: Fiction
Read for: Antje Rauwerda, Contemporary World Literature, Fall 2016
Summary: The White Tiger follows Balram Halwai as he plays by, as well as breaks, the rules to rise up within India’s caste system through becoming a driver for one of the wealthiest families from his village.
Why: As a whole, I’d highly suggest all of the books on Professor Rauwerda’s syllabus, primarily because all of the books give context to cultures and countries that are often ignored within our society. The main reason I suggest The White Tiger out of all of the books on this list, however, is because it requires the least background research out of the 5 novels we read. The White Tiger is also a really interesting read, with the crude and honest first person narration of an unreliable narrator. I found Balram engaging, not entirely likable, but a character that continuously shocked without appearing inconsistent or unrealistic. Additionally, if you’re a fan of animal symbolism, this book is right up your alley.

In the Lake of the Woods by Tim O’Brien
Genre: Fiction
Read for: Rick Pringle, Relational Psychology, Spring 2017
Summary: Told in three main formats— an evidence section of quotes, a proposed narration, and footnotes— the narrator attempts to discover the truth of what happened to John Wade, Vietnam Veteran and former US politician, and his wife when they attempted to slip away from the public eye in a tiny cabin in Lake of the Woods.
Why: This book beautifully demonstrates the view of the truth as nebulous and subjective. Throughout it, many people are quoted as supposedly knowing exactly what happened the night John’s wife, Kathy, disappeared. In the end, however, true evidence is scarce, and it is up for the reader to determine what qualifies as being true. For those who love slow build mystery, unique book formats, and footnotes, In the Lake of the Woods is an absolute must.

Building Options: A Construction Update

Goucher College Construction Timeline Credit: Goucher College

It’s not only buildings that have been affected by construction plans; campus construction has physically divided the campus and impacted everything, from club and event spaces, to the general appearance of the campus itself. According to the discussion in the October Town Hall Meeting that took place on the 10th in the Hyman Forum, we will be getting more functional and useful spaces as Mary Fischer and the Freshman Village take shape. Organized by the Office of Student Engagement (OSE), the Town Hall meeting focused on providing updates and answering student questions relating to the construction of new campus spaces. Associate Director of FMS for Planning, Linda Barone, Senior Associate Director for Events and Conference Schedules, Angela McDonald, and Associate Dean of Students for Community Life, Stacy Cooper Patterson, were all present at the meeting.

To start, Linda Barone explained the current timeline for construction. While construction on campus will not be entirely complete until after 2021, all construction on Mary Fischer and the Freshman Village is expected to be completed by next Fall. Additionally, construction on the Interfaith Center will be beginning at some point within this semester and is also expected to be completed by next fall. Next fall, construction will begin on Stimson and continue until the fall of 2020. While there are no official plans drawn up yet for Stimson, it is possible that it will become upperclassman housing, offering more options for suites and on-campus apartments. There may still be housing in Stimson next year, but again, details regarding Stimson’s future are tentative. Lastly, there will be intermittent construction of various athletics spaces, such as the new tennis courts, and construction on the Science Research Center will begin in Fall of 2019, likely to not be finished until January 2021.

Each new building on campus will have air-conditioning and administration is trying to keep accessibility for  all Goucher students in mind. Barone, Cooper Patterson, and McDonald all stressed that the new buildings were planned with student community in mind. The new dining halls in Mary Fischer, for example, were set in the center of campus so that students can more easily access all-you-care-to-eat and grab-and-go options. Additionally, there will be more reservable and free spaces for students to use for club meetings, group projects, events, etc. Sit-down dining rooms on the bottom floor of Mary Fischer will turn into public space during its closed hours, but will also be reservable. Buildings 1B and 1C of the Freshman Village will have plenty of study spaces available. They will also offer reservable kitchens, and building 1C will have a dance studio. When the Passport Cafe at Heubeck is replaced by Mary Fischer dining, the space will become a multi-purpose room again, and also be available to reserve for meetings, events, rehearsals, etc.

At the Town Hall, students asked about the buildings and their accessibility or uses and raised concerns about dividing the campus the way construction has done in the past. Some students expressed how they felt their freshman year was improved by living on multi-class floors and worry that by creating the Freshman Village, freshmen will be disconnected from the rest of the campus. This is a phenomenon that many other upperclassmen have noted. The concern was noted, and Stacy Cooper Patterson mentioned that administration is currently housing some first year mentors on freshman floors to see if having upperclassmen besides RA’s on first year floors is potentially beneficial.

While studying and/or living on a campus with construction is not ideal, it appears that Goucher College will come out the other side a better campus. The worst of Mary Fischer and the Freshman Village’s construction is happening now, as foundations and overall structures of the buildings are being put in place. The worst of the construction should be done by next semester, leaving students to wait for new dining facilities, as well as a more accessible and functional campus.

Book Review: We Are Okay

“The truth was unconfined, unadorned. There was no poetic language to it, no yellow butterflies, no epic floods… The truth was vast enough to drown in.” ~ We Are Okay, Nina LaCour; Photo Credit: Katie Monthie

One of the biggest struggles of looking for a book with LGBTQ+ representation is finding books that place outside of the romance genre, the topic of coming out, or the subject of transitioning. There are very few books out in the world that showcase the LGBTQ+ community simply existing and dealing with everyday struggles. However, We Are Okay by Nina LaCour, does just that as she tells the story of Marin, a grieving freshman college student, who happens to be a lesbian.

After the death of her grandfather, the only remaining member of her family, Marin slips away from the life she knows and into her new life at college, determined to forget her old life and create a new home in her dorm. Until now, she’s kept her distance from her old friends from San Francisco. While she hunkers down in her dorm room for winter break, Marin is visited by her old friend Mabel, which forces both of them to face the mess Marin ran away from.

This novel beautifully explores how grief impacts people and their relationships with one another through two main plot lines: the story of Marin and Mabel, mostly told through the present, stream of consciousness narrative, and the story of Marin and her Grandfather, told through vignettes. All of this is done in a first person perspective, using gorgeous imagery that does not sacrifice clarity of the narrative, save for the details that are hidden through Marin’s own denial.

While there isn’t a lot that actively happens in the novel, the heart of the story lives in the tension between the characters. Marin and Mabel may spend most of the novel eating and sleeping and avoiding real conversation, but Marin’s narration and the anxieties she has as the two of them cook spaghetti or got lost in a snow storm distract from the lack of action. This allows for the themes of the novel (death, grief, and trust) to be fully explored. We Are Okay is a character study, a fictional narrative meant to explore Marin and her grandfather’s traumatic experiences with death in depth.

Despite the fact that We Are Okay strongly focuses on the grieving process, it is not a hopeless or altogether depressing read. This isn’t to say I didn’t cry— I definitely cried at least twice. The hopefulness in We Are Okay comes from Mabel’s presence, calling back to Marin’s recovery. Mabel again and again presses Marin to confront the death and lies of her grandfather with the underlying idea that talking about these issues will allow Marin to move on into another stage of life and cope with a support system. The novel does not push Marin to a place where she is unsafe, but allows her to grow to a place where she finally believes she will be okay some day. We Are Okay does not offer quick fixes, but it does give hope of recovery within a topic that is so often used for simple drama and tragedy.

Part of the reason LaCour succeeds in her discussion of grief is the simple narrative she places it in and the casual nature with which she approaches the subject. She also addresses the characters sexualities in the same way; she never directly labels Marin as gay or Mabel as bisexual, but she makes it clear through their dialogue and the memory their past romantic relationship.

There is a minor conflict that comes with the level of casualness that LaCour uses, particularly in Mabel’s case. Within the bisexual community, many people take issue with the lack of naming bisexual characters as bisexual because in some ways, it’s a form of bi-erasure. On the other hand, LaCour never disqualifies that Mabel has feelings for both gender. Additionally, LaCour is known within the YA community for writing about sapphic women in her works, writing to give the representation that she didn’t see for herself. The casual nature of the representation in both Mabel and Marin’s case at the very least allows for the focus of the narrative to be about grief, allowing We Are Okay to be a story about two sad girls who happen to be gay and bisexual, as opposed to a narrative focused on two girls being sad, gay and bisexual.

We Are Okay graced “top YA releases” lists for 2017 across the internet, praised by those who’ve never read YA and those who only read YA. There are many reasons for this, including the absolutely beautiful prose, the slowburn storytelling that contrasts the surprisingly fast pace, and the subtle representation of sapphic women. However, the main reason is the representation of grief in all of its different forms, even those that are complex and far from cut and dry. If you’re looking for a good representation of sapphic characters, an emotionally engaging story, or an excuse to cry, look no further than We Are Okay.


Finding Kesha’s Rainbow


Most of us are familiar with Ke$ha, the pop star whose voice was drowned in auto-tuned songs like “Tik Tok”, “Your Love Is My Drug”, and “Die Young”. In more recent years, Kesha has had very public legal battles with her producer, Dr. Luke, beginning in October 2014 when she filed a civil suit against Dr. Luke for infliction of emotional distress and gender-based hate crimes. The dispute ended in August 2016 when Kesha dropped her case after a judge in April dismissed all of her abuse claims. Kesha is now back to making music, fulfilling her contract under Dr. Luke, but it is unlike anything she has done before.

In Rainbow, each song “has a new, distinct Kesha style.” Credit: Amazon

Rainbow was released this past August, following its singles: “Praying”, “Woman, Learn to Let Go”, and “Hymn”. Each song holds its own form of power, and actually showcases Kesha’s voice instead of hiding it. “Praying”, the first single to be released, was the perfect introduction to this album for a number of reasons, primarily because it introduces the listener to Kesha’s new and individual style. The song starts out with simple piano chords, and Kesha’s natural voice carries narrative lyrics over them. The acoustic sound is a stark contrast to the techno beats and autotune that categorized a Ke$ha song. More instruments and harmonies are added throughout the chorus and the second verse, allowing for this organic slow build that pays off in the bridge, which she ends with a killer high note. Ignoring the lyrics, it’s in and of itself a beautiful song with an intense amount of passion. The lyrics are, however, what makes this song the perfect premier single for this album, as opposed to simply being a good song.

There are plenty of articles that address the hidden meanings throughout Kesha’s whole album, and “Praying” in particular, but it’s hard to say that the meanings are hidden in any sense. All throughout “Praying”, Kesha appears to make repeated references to her struggles against Dr. Luke throughout the past 2-3 years, singing “you brought the flames, and you put me through hell. I had to learn how to fight for myself, and we both know all the truth I could tell.” While it’d be very easy and more than justifiable for Kesha to use this song to curse out Dr. Luke, she doesn’t. Instead, she uses this song to explore redemption. Throughout the chorus she repeatedly sings “I hope you’re somewhere praying… I hope your soul is changing,” and she ends the chilling bridge with the line “some say, ‘in life you’re gonna get what you give,’ but some things only God can forgive.” These lines don’t support a song of forgiveness, but a song about moving on, gaining strength in your own redemption and asking others to do the same while not depending on that action.

This theme of redemption and rebirth is recurrent throughout the album. A good chunk of the songs do not directly address this theme; however, every few songs bring the listener back to the call for self-love. “Learn to Let Go” goes through the process of deciding to “choose redemption” and be “done reliving bad decisions.” “Bastards” and “Let ‘Em Talk”, the first two songs on the album, all encourage ignoring others hurtful, unimportant opinions. Finally, “Rainbow”, the title song and my personal favorite on the album, takes all of these overlapping themes— redemption, letting go, acceptance, and self-love— and addresses them using beautiful piano and string instruments. The song asks the listener to temporarily cast off the hurt of the past, to “put those [rainbow] colors on, girl; come and paint the world with me tonight.” It’s soft and simple in message, but I tear up every time I listen to it.

Rainbow as a full album may not be for everyone. Each song has a new, distinct Kesha style, experimenting with genre, ranging from pop ballads to more hardcore country. Overall, Rainbow has a beautiful commentary on the nature of redemption and rebirth while also bringing forth the incredible and renewed voice of Kesha Sebert.

Step into S-Town

Mental illness, suicide, sexuality, and clock making all feature frequently in the Podcast S-Town. Photo Credit: This American Life

I started listening to podcasts my senior year of high school, partially because I started driving to school, but also because an English teacher insisted I listen to Serial. Immediately, I was hooked. When I heard that This American Life (another great podcast) and Serial were bringing S-Town to the public, I knew it was going to be my next favorite podcast.
Narrated by Brian Reed, S-Town follows the story of an antique clockmaker named John B. McLemore who lives in Woodstock, Alabama (which McLemore dubs Shittown, Alabama). When McLemore emailed This American Life about a potential murder cover up he believed existed in Shittown, Reed took on the case, only to find that the dead body he was looking for was not the one he anticipated. The show explores what it means to be an outsider in the already isolated small towns of the South, both due to external and internal factors. Mental illness, suicide, sexuality, and clock making have the largest presence on the podcast. Oh, and one chapter solely focuses on a treasure hunt.
Although the podcast is certainly non-fiction, it feels like a well-crafted story. Certain aspects of the story that resurface throughout the podcast— like mental illness, time, and Shittown itself— help to form the feel of a real narrative as opposed to an objective report. These themes also work together to paint a vivid picture of John B. McLemore and wrap the reader up in what it means to have known him. Occasionally, Reed will go into explanations about the various ways one can fix a clock, similar to author describing a setting or bringing attention to a symbol that will reappear in the future. These asides, though initially a bit jarring, work to show the beauty of clock-making in the way that John B. McLemore might have seen it and connects the listener to him by sharing one of his few key passions.
Although the narrative was incredibly engaging and well-crafted, there were many times during S-Town where I had to stop the podcast. It wasn’t the fault of the podcast; it dealt very well with the sensitive material they had. S-Town hit remarkably close to home for me, as I saw a friend of mine in John’s story. While I cannot speak directly about the representation throughout the narrative, I recognized so many aspects of Reed’s story, and the stories of John’s friends, to be one that I have seen myself.
The reason S-Town succeeds as a show is not the same reason that Serial succeeded. Serial’s previous success was due to the meticulous analyzing of each piece of evidence and the lack of acceptance for one specific answer as the truth. S-Town certainly builds off of a similar model, but it explores the bonds that we create with one another and how suicide in particular affects those bonds. S-Town has the emotion, the humanity, and the evasiveness of a narrative that Serial can’t capture in quite the same way. That doesn’t necessarily make S-Town the better podcast; the narrative quality instead increases the emotional impact that it has on a listener because it allows for a stronger focus on emotion as a whole.
If you’re looking for a new podcast, something to listen to on the go, or just a good excuse to cry, look no further than S-Town. I just listened to it through a podcast app, but they have an absolutely beautiful website where you can listen to all of the episodes (

In a Heartbeat: An Animated Heartwarmer

In a Heartbeat, an animated short about a crush between two middle school boys, will make your heart flutter. Photo Credit: Cultura Inquieta

In a Heartbeat, a short animated film about a crush between two middle school boys, is four minutes and five seconds of audio-visual delight, complete with adorable animation and relatable representation. The film was created for a senior thesis by Beth David and Esteban Bravo, who recently graduated from Ringling College.
In a Heartbeat tells the story of a closeted boy, Sherman, who tries to keep his heart from outing him at school as it chases after his crush, Jonathon. A greater appreciation for all of the thought put into the film can be found by looking at the details, such as the contrast between light and dark in the animation or Jonathon reading The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. The music complements the tone of the animation style remarkably well, as the high melody that continues throughout the piece matches the beat of Sherman’s heart. The film is made stronger from its lack of dialogue, as the emotions and relationship of these two characters are highlighted simply through the sharp animated movements and accompanying music.
The film gained a following about seven months before its release when David and Bravo started a Kickstarter campaign asking for $3,000 to hire a composer and sound designer for the film. Within one month (from November 15, 2016-December 15, 2016), they raised $14,191. On July 31st, they posted their end product to YouTube, complete with adorable animation and a gorgeous score, composed by Arturo Cardelús, to go with it. When The New York Times reported on the short film four days later, it had already surpassed 14 million views.
Part of the reason this film gained so much attention, especially from the LGBTQ+ community, is because it gives quality representation for young people within the community. It’s not that there isn’t any media targeted at young adults, middle schoolers, or children that also has LGBTQ+ representation. Some animated shows, like Steven Universe, and books, like much of Rick Riordan’s recent work, have wonderful representation. However, it’s certainly not the norm, and it can be difficult to find media with any LGBTQ+ representation, let alone quality representation. In a Heartbeat provides that representation and adds to it the universal feeling of having a first crush.
Additionally, the short film normalizes the idea of kids being gay. Straight tendencies are often seen as cute and adorable in kids— think about the idea of kindergarten boyfriends and girlfriends or parents joking about how their two month old boy is going to be a womanizer. While the general attitude towards homosexuality has progressed in the past few years, there are plenty of people who still believe gay relationships are an unacceptable conversation topic for children, as well as refusing to allow them to question their own sexual orientations. This story is not revolutionary in and of itself, but it allows for young gay kids to see themselves in a form of media when the majority of the media made for them focuses on straight relationships.
In a Heartbeat, whether or not you care about the representation aspect, is a cute short film with a good score to match, and it is sure to make your own heart flutter. It’s just a sweet film about two boys with crushes. What could be more adorable than that?

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