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Who Gets to Be a Jazz Musician?

Photo courtesy of Google Images.

Katie Van Note, Staff Writer

March 5th, 2017

What does a stereotypical American jazz musician look like? This is the question Naomi Moon Siegel asked that prompted conversation in Jeffrey Chapell’s jazz ensemble class last Tuesday, February 21st. Siegel is a composer, trombonist, and educator who visited Goucher College to present a workshop titled “Gender Equality and The Feminine Principle in Jazz.”

Siegel received her bachelors degree in jazz trombone from the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music. It was through her training that she realized conversations about patriarchy, sexuality, race, and gender – very much present among students in the liberal arts college – were not present in the conservatory. The majority of her teachers and fellow students were white males. In her music history classes, she learned about men. All of the books she read were written by men. If there was ever a section in a textbook on female musicians, it was given a special label, “Women in Jazz.” Yet, as Naomi stated last Tuesday, “women have always played jazz as instrumentalists.”

So, who is a typical jazz musician in America? Who is given space to sing, play the piano, guitar, drums, flute, clarinet, trumpet, or saxophone? This is where the conversation started at Goucher.

Eight of the attending jazz student musicians were given the task to identify stereotypes of various races and genders in jazz. Siegel asked, “What images and messages does the society receive at large about these groups of people in jazz?” Students identified these stereotypes about men: “they are white, instrumentalists, intelligent, they have an expected level of know-how, they are cool cats, aloof, elitist, middle-class, most able, and most visible.” One Goucher musician added, “they can afford gigging around,” as yet another symptom of privilege and class.

Stereotypes of women in jazz included “non-instrumentalists, sometimes pianists, sex objects, vocalists, wives, and non-composers.” It is important to note that female instrumentalists, such as Lil Hardin Armstrong and Alice Coltrane, both jazz pianists in their own right, were known for their marriages to their jazz musician husbands. Within the first two sentences of their descriptions on Wikipedia, they are mentioned as wives to John Coltrane and Louis Armstrong, whereas both men are described on Wikipedia by musical style and accomplishments with no mention of marital details. This begs the question – would these female musicians have been documented and remembered in jazz history if they hadn’t married male musicians?

Students also offered stereotypes of African Americans in jazz as “natural, the best jazz musicians, best sense of rhythm, and the originators.” Furthermore, stereotypes were discussed of Asian Americans as “classically trained piano players, can’t swing, and non-existent in jazz,” while Native Americans, Arab-Americans, Latino-Americans, were all labeled as “non-existent in jazz” as well. Siegel noted that greater intersectionality between sexuality, gender identity, and cultural backgrounds were not mentioned either, as they further separated a person from the “norm” in jazz.

Yet, how have these stereotypes developed over the hundred or so years of American jazz history? Siegel identified the creation and distribution of magazines in the 1920s as a major cause – propaganda that sexualized women vocalists and prioritized white bands.

In her lecture, Siegel explained her own internalized stereotype as “socialized to believe that females are inferior jazz instrumentalists.” She gave examples by quoting her fellow female jazz musicians, Esperanza Spalding and Kate Olsen: “I’m just a jazz musician,” and “I’m just one of the guys.” In reflection, Siegel pointed to the implicit meaning behind their quotes: denial of the patriarchy “as if somehow it doesn’t exist.”

One female vocalist in the audience told an account of her own experience: “My mom has always said she sees me lying on a piano in a slinky red dress singing jazz.”

As individuals in the jazz arena, Siegel noted the importance of “telling counter-narratives.” These counter-narratives serve as challenges to the perpetual stereotypes marginalized groups face in jazz. She emphasized the development of an individual voice and sound. “My goal is for us to be fully expressive.Only in defining and challenging these stereotypes can we begin to discover our potential as musicians.”

In creating a space for dialogue of this kind, Siegel left some students with another perspective, some with a validation of experience as female and black musicians, and some with inspiration to challenge the concept of a stereotypical jazz musician.

Goucher EATS: An Ode to My “Vegan Soul”

Photo courtesy of Google Images.

Jessica Gude, Features Editor

March 5th, 2017

“Wait, I thought you were a vegan.” This is a statement that usually comes as I’m reaching for a piece of chicken or halfway through a forkful of something with bacon. And despite the number of times I’ve heard it, my eyes will widen in disbelief and I’ll exclaim, “Why does everyone think that?” And while “everyone” may be a bit hyperbolic, it is a comment I’ve gotten from many different people in my life: professors, coworkers, friends, and even some extended family members. One particular friend describes it as “my vegan soul”, and while I’ve spent the last four years fighting her on it, I’ll admit she has a point. While I do eat (and massively enjoy) plenty of animal products, fruits, veggies, and other 100% vegan friendly foods will always hold a special place in my heart. So here it is, an ode to my vegan soul.

“Orange vegetables are my favorite” I’ll say, and I’m not missing the noun “vegetable” or even “food” because I’m using “favorite” as the noun, again hyperbolic, I know. This is something I’ll say as I fill up a plate with sweet potatoes, pour myself a bowl of pumpkin bisque, dig a spoon into carrot puree, or describe Stimson dinner as being “on point” on a particular day purely because they had roasted acorn squash. I’m not sure what it is, maybe it’s something about the subtle sweetness, the color contrast, or how well most of them pair with cinnamon, but I’ll eat any orange veggies any time of year.

Anyone who knows how much salad I consume may find it surprising that I refused to eat lettuce until high school, but before then I would have described its taste as either “like grass” or “like water.” I’ve gotten over my aversion since then, and while I’ll probably always take spring mix when give the choice, I’ve also learned to appreciate the peppery taste of arugula and even bitter mustard greens and kale.

While it’s nearly impossible to pick a favorite carb and I’m incredibly tempted to claim bread as my number one, there is just something about potatoes, just roasted potatoes. And while I love the visually appealing blue or purple varieties, I am just as happy with any russet or red-skinned variety. With crispy skin and soft interiors, potatoes are a warm and perfectly carby masterpiece.

I feel that as kids we’re taught that while good for you, vegetables are supposed to be something you dislike, probably because they’re properly cooked only rarely. As I’ve grown up and realized that most vegetables are actually delicious, I’m always surprised when I realize I like something I thought I didn’t. Brussel sprouts are amazing if you don’t steam the bejeezus out of them. Spinach can be wonderful if you don’t serve it as a slimy blob. Beets should be treated and eaten like candy, because they’re that good. As I’ve gotten older and become more responsible for feeding myself, I’ve realized just how many veggies I enjoy and how much I like them.

So I suppose if I can use this much space talking about how much I love vegetables (don’t even get me started on fruits), it’s not wrong to think that I have a vegan soul. I guess if I can eat an entire Cioppino (i.e. ridiculously huge) bowl of sautéed veggies at the end of a shift, it’s fair to assume I may be a vegetarian. But what I’m leaving out of this narrative is how well veggies pair with some non-vegan substances. Because as much as I love kale by itself, it tastes better with bacon. As great as broccoli is, it’s even better in an omelet. And as much as I love butternut squash with nothing but salt and cinnamon, I will not pass up the opportunity to add chicken. So sure, maybe I look like I could be a vegetarian, maybe my soul is in fact vegan, but my diet will always be omnivorous.

Post-Study Abroad Poster Session

Photo courtesy of Google Images.

Erika DiPasquale, Associate Editor

February 25th, 2017

During the common hour on Wednesday, February 15th, the 45+ students who studied abroad during the Fall 2016 semester took over the Hyman Forum for a poster session. The poster session is a brand new addition to the mandatory study abroad curriculum. OIS asked students to choose topics from a list that they were most interested in presenting—such as arts, transportation, sports, education, food, etc.—and assigned them into groups based on those preferences.

The poster session is the brain-child of Jennifer White, the Associate Director of OIS. According to White, “The Office of International Studies, along with many on campus, has long recognized the need for creating opportunities for students to share reflections on their study abroad experiences.” The poster session is the most recent attempt to fill this void. Each group had about three students and “in most cases, the groups [were] comprised of students from different countries, to allow for a comparative framework,” said White. The groups informally presented their spiel to those who approached their table, some groups using posters while others showcased Power Points from their laptops.

The presenters had mixed reviews about the experience. Ryan Salamony ‘17 “thought that being able to connect with others concerning our chosen topics and to discuss how such topics impacted our interactions with the local culture…was fascinating and a good way of showcasing different perspectives…It was a good way of letting us step back from the situation, back with our Goucher goggles on, to look at our time abroad in a different way.” Brandon Creed ‘18, who studied abroad in Scotland, liked the poster session because it gave an overview of what everyone experienced. Rachel Grosso ‘18, Meg John ‘18, and Grace Flannery ‘18, the members of the transportation group, all expressed how much they learned from the conversations they had with one another when developing their presentation. Anna Young ’18, who studied in Greece, said, “The centralized space to tell stories about our experiences is beneficial. It validates that the Goucher community does care about our study abroad experiences. There’s room for improvement, but it’s a good step to integrate the abroad experience into the Goucher community in a meaningful way.”

Many of the presenters also agreed that there was room for improvement.  Although Meg John ’18 appreciated the space to speak about her experiences in Uganda, she said “the assignment felt forced.” Transportation, the topic she was assigned, wasn’t all she experienced abroad. “The presentation speaks to the project, not to my experiences…Goucher can do wonders [with the post-study abroad program] so that it’s not a chore,” said Meg John ’18.

Grace Flannery ‘18, held similar sentiments. She “didn’t go abroad [to South Korea] to compare and contrast, but to experience Asian culture.” Love-Moore, who studied abroad in Argentina, said, “I don’t know if [the poster session] is helpful. It was annoying to be arbitrarily put into groups with a more or less random topic.” Anne Werkheiser ‘18 agreed that it wasn’t as effective as it could’ve been, stating, “it feels like something I did in middle school” and “no one is here.” Attendance was extremely low, with as few as three people visiting one of the Education tables throughout the hour-long session, according to Lea Love-More ‘18.

Along with such criticism, the presenters have ideas for how to revise the program. Many suggested small group conversations in place of the poster session. Grosso noted that her group discussed so much beyond their assigned topic, and their fruitful conversation was the beneficial aspect of the assignment rather than the presentation or assigned topic. Desirae Moten ’17 said, “Let’s just have a dinner and chat.” Flannery also thinks that conversations would’ve been “more meaningful.”

A couple of students would’ve preferred formal presentations. Doing so would’ve allowed the presenters to hear other students’ presentations, which was not an option with the poster session format, according to Werkheiser. Salamony also wanted the opportunity to hear the other presentations, but he wouldn’t have liked to present to the entire community. Jennifer White assured that “as with any new venture, we’ll evaluate [Wednesday’s] events to see how it can be enhanced in Fall 2017 for the 95+ students currently studying abroad this spring semester.”

The poster session was just the first step in revising the post-study abroad experience. More changes are to come, with each rendition improving upon the last, in an effort to provide students with the best framework to process, reflect upon, and share their study abroad experiences.

“Picturing Frederick Douglass”: A lecture

Photo credit: Erika DiPasquale

Madeline St. John, News Editor

February 15th, 2017

At a recent Black History Month event, Donald Trump stated, amidst other comments, “Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is getting recognized more and more, I notice.” Trump’s use of present tense suggests a possible ignorance of who Douglass was, and of the fact that he has been deceased for many years. A presenter at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore pointed this out in her introduction to the lecture Picturing Frederick Douglass. The lecture, on Saturday February 4th, was attended by about a classroom-full of Goucher students, and focused on the intertwining histories of Frederick Douglass and photography.  The presenter, John Stauffer, Ph.D., Harvard University used a powerpoint of photos of Douglass to punctuate his points.

“Douglass was in love with photography,” said Stauffer. “There were more photos of him than any other American of the 19th century. He was the public face of America.”

Stauffer began his lecture with a bit of historical background on photography in the 19th century, describing the different types of prints and how they were taken. He passed around examples. During that time period, Stauffer explained, it was believed that photo portraits were a “likeness” of someone and contained a part of their “body and soul.”

Douglass was a strong believer in the power of photography. He saw it as crucial in the fight against slavery and for civil rights. Anyone could be photographed and anyone could be a photographer–all it required was “a manual, some chemicals, and about 3-6 months of experimentation,” said Stauffer. Photography was incredibly democratizing and equalizing, and there were hundreds of female and African-American photographers. The photo gallery, where folks came to have their photo taken or look at others, was, in Stauffer’s words, a “model interracial space.”

For Douglass, photography was also a way of showing the humanity of African Americans. “’We cannot trust white artists,’” he said, because he believed that somewhere between reality and the strokes on the canvas, their work became a lie. Photography, on the other hand, held the truth. As well as truth, photography also captured its subjects’ “fundamental humanity,” and their human desire to create liknesses of themselves in their world.

In his own portraits, several patterns emerge. Douglass used a “signature pose,” in which he stared at the viewer with a “defiant” gaze. He was always “immaculately dressed” and, although they were common at the time, he used few props, wishing to keep the emphasis on himself, the subject. In a number of portraits, he clenches his hands, like a boxer, and Stauffer described his appearance as “majestic in his wrath.”

Stauffer highlighted Douglass’ relationship with Abraham Lincoln, pointing out his presence in a photograph of Lincoln’s second inauguration.

At the end of his presentation, Stauffer showed photographs of modern representations of Douglass, highlighting how influential he continues to be today. Perhaps President Trump was not so far from the truth, he suggested, in using the present tense to describe Douglass’ influence in the present day.

After the presentation, an audience member stood up, as if to ask a question. “I just want to make a comment,” he said, “that the next time you show that picture of [Lincoln’s] inauguration, you should point out that there was a much bigger crowd then, than there was a week ago [at Trump’s inauguration].” The audience responded positively to this comment, as they had to comments made by Stauffer throughout the lecture that connected Douglass’ fight for rights with the current political situation and modern struggles, like the Black Lives Matter movement.

This event was promoted by History Professor Matthew Hale, and a bus transported students between Goucher and the event.

Future Black History Month events at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore include a Black Memorobelia and Fine Arts and Craft Show, on Sat., Feb. 11th, and an open house on Sat., Feb. 25th. For more information about upcoming events, visit

Other participating Baltimore Black History Month museums and organizations include the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum, the Enoch Pratt Free Library, the Baltimore Museum of Art, and the Baltimore Visitor’s Center. For more details on Black History Month events in the Baltimore area, check out or

S.E.T.: Winter Carnival and G.I.G Planning


Katie Van Note, Staff Writer

February 15th, 2017

The Student Engagement Team set the bar high for events on campus this past weekend, with their Winter Carnival. Formerly know as Programming Board, S.E.T. is a group of Goucher students and professional staff members that meet once a week in the Office of Student Engagement (O.S.E). Their purpose is to create fun, entertaining, and enticing events on campus that the majority of the student body will enjoy.

In the past few years, S.E.T. has experienced a lack of participation at their events. They have held pop up events such as spin art, dance parties, and palm readings that haven’t always generated the participation they desired. In order to combat this, their new goal is to hold fewer, but higher quality events. Now, with more money going towards these events, they can generate more interest and student engagement!

The Winter Carnival on February 4th, 2017 is exactly the kind of event Goucher students have been waiting for. The Carnival was held in the the Hyman Forum of Goucher’s Atheneum and included a variety of activities, musical performances, and free food that attracted over two hundred Goucher students. S.E.T. gave priority to student bands, bringing to the stage two Goucher favorites: Mustang Riddle and Sharnell Huff (a recent Goucher graduate). Activities included bamboo planting, spray on tattoos, a photo booth, giant jenga and connect four, and inflatable twister. The favorite of the night, however, was the free food. Outside of the bottom doors of the Atheneum, students stood in the cold to receive their free Korean barbecue, crab tacos, gyro sandwiches, pulled pork, and cookies. Students sat on the steps of the Forum eating food and listening to music while others broke it down on the dance floor. There were activities on each floor of the Forum which kept students engaged after they finished their dinner. Ultimately, the program was well executed by S.E.T. and generated a large student attendance despite the lack of advertising.

S.E.T. will set their sights next on the highly anticipated Get Into Goucher day, (G.I.G), on April 7th. G.I.G. is Goucher’s annual outdoor festival where students get the day off (after 12:30pm) to enjoy festivities. The team is currently in the brainstorming stage for G.I.G. with potential ideas including free food (a crowd favorite), a beer garden, performances from local bands, and inflatable bounce houses. In the past, Goucher has hired outside performers such as Bosley and Khleo Thomas (the actor, Zero, from the 2003 movie, Holes). Currently S.E.T. is pushing for more student bands at events like G.I.G.

S.E.T. has meetings once a week that are open to Goucher students. If you’d like to see an event on campus or have additional ideas for an upcoming event like G.I.G., stop by the O.S.E. outside of Alice’s Cafe. Professional staff members include Aisha Rivers, Christine Krieger, Amber Barnett, and Kimberly Spicker.

Faculty Insider: Eric Singer, International Relations Department


Olivia Baud, Staff Writer

February 15th, 2017

In the course of gossip and discussion on the Goucher campus, one question in particular is sure to surface: Who is Eric Singer? Professor Singer is a familiar figure of authority to most political and international relations (IR) scholars at Goucher. Yet he remains a figure shrouded in mystery even to his most admiring pupils.

Last semester, students enrolled in his International Scholars Program (ISP) took it upon themselves to learn more about him and delve into the internet treasure-trove; what they discovered only spurred more curiosity: “he was involved in the ownership group of Lear’s Princess [a racehorse] sold as a broodmare prospect for $2.7 million,” according to the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association. Students knew him for his original sense of humor, his love for complex vocabulary, and his brutally honest grading, but horses? Famous racehorses? 2.7 million dollars? Imaginations ran wild.

Prof. Singer has a simple explanation for these seemingly incredible circumstances. “A friend from Jersey took me to a racetrack near Ohio State and introduced me to the world of handicapping.” Singer was studying for his Ph.D. at Ohio State University at the time. “I was really drawn to the density of data that existed to determine who was going to win.” Horse-racing became his hobby. “Later in life, I figured maybe I would try owning a horse.” It was in this way that Prof. Singer became involved in a horse racing partnership and an ownership group of Lear’s Princess, a Grade 1 winner that they eventually sold at auction. He emphasizes that as a joint-owner he was only privy to a small share, and he does not own stables as students have so joyously imagined.

While Prof. Singer’s equestrian ties may have been over-embellished, his Goucher history is far from dull. He first entered into the Goucher community in 1986, when he followed up on an ad for an IR teaching position. “It was a replacement position, but the person I was replacing, unbeknownst to me, was a very popular professor,” he recalls amusingly. “So when I walked in, everyone who had signed up for the course was expecting her, not me.” Prof. Singer’s entry also happened to coincide with Goucher’s transition to co-education. “Everyone was disappointed that the first male students would soon be arriving.”

What had originally been a two-year contract turned into 30 years. During the Cold War, IR and Russian studies had been some of the most popular programs at Goucher as students hoped to obtain jobs in the NSA, DIA, and CIA as translators, researchers, etc.. However, following the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991, a self-study of the Area Studies program revealed that it was losing luster as it suffered reduced enrollments. As a result, a new major, International and Intercultural Studies (IIS), was formed with the intention of supplementing Area Studies. Rivalries between IIS and IR soon took root as each competed over similar subject matter and student interest.

Prof. Singer came up with a solution for these tensions. “When Sandy Ungar became president, I suggested to him to eliminate the IIS major and to introduce a program that all students interested in globalization could participate in.” In 2005, as the college introduced its study abroad requirement and entered “full internalization mode”, ISP was born. To this day, all incoming students are invited to apply. When asked about what aspects of the program he is most proud of, Prof. Singer is quick to mention the “students who put themselves out their way in an effort to develop a perspective on globalization. They ultimately define the path that they want to take”.

In addition to founding ISP, Prof. Singer has taught for the Goucher Prison Education Program. “What I appreciated most about [it] was that it was a reminder of why I went into teaching in the first place. These were people that may not have been given the best background to succeed. Working with them to help them succeed re-energized my commitment to teaching”

While Prof. Singer taught courses in politics in a men’s prison, the experience wasn’t just about the teaching for him. “It’s easy-particularly in a private, liberal arts college- not to think about what kind of students are walking into your classroom, what their experiences with different facets of society is. The Jessup Students come from different backgrounds than your typical liberal arts undergraduate. They had a perspective on politics that was much more nuanced and mature-in some ways- than students from Goucher’s campus. And in some ways they’ve lived a life that’s more political than the average student I’ve had on campus.”

Since teaching at the men’s prison, Prof. Singer continues to figure prominently in the Goucher community. He is currently the Associate Provost for External and Experiential Programs. And no, he is not responsible for the Maryland Horse Breeders Association’s move to the Goucher campus.

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