CSUN College of Humanities Newsletter
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Diverse by Design -
Continued from page 4

accessible general education courses, Myers says, Jewish issues and history are given greater voice throughout the university.

Among a diverse student body, Myers notes, personal assumptions are challenged and individuals are encouraged to think outside their own experience. That idea is central to Myers'recently developed History and Peoples of Israel, an innovative course in which students forge a multicultural understanding of the complexities of the contemporary Jewish state and its place in the Middle East through studied interaction with online newspapers and YouTube videos originating in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. Throughout the course, which premiered in Spring 2010 and is being offered again this fall, students keep blogs in which they write analyses of current events and cultural articles found on reputable online news sites, with classmates continually reading each other’s work and discussing their reactions in class. The objective, Myers says, is to promote a healthy skepticism of news sources—and our own potentially filtered reception of them—by scrutinizing as a group the "evidence, reliability, and perspective" of "parallel and competing narratives."

Drawing from such voices of contemporary Jewish life—in Israel as well as Europe, Asia, and the Americas—and 4,000 years of historical record, the Jewish Studies Interdisciplinary Program, according to its home page, examines literature, art, religious thought, history, social attitudes, and behavior as "expressions of a distinctive perspective that draws from the surrounding cultures." It’s an expansive mission that Dr. Myers and her colleagues ably realize through innovative programming, effective outreach, and academic imagination.

— Submitted by Teresa K. Morrison

Newly Awarded Fulbright Scholar Travels to India

Diana S. Contreras
Pictured from left to right: Prof. Contreras with her son and daughter and two cousins.

The core Fulbright Scholar Program sends 800 U.S. faculty and professionals abroad each year. Grantees lecture and conduct research in a wide variety of academic and professional fields.

The College of Humanities is pleased to announce that one of our instructors, Diana S. Contreras, has been chosen as a Fulbright- Nehru scholar for fall 2010. For four months she will act as an official "cultural ambassador." She will conduct a series of lectures on the Contemporary Issues of Indian Women at St. Teresa's College (which is part of the Mahatma Gandhi University) in Ernakulam, Kerala. While there she will also host a Warrior Goddess Diva Women’s symposium, which she has offered at CSUN annually in conjunction with her course of the same name.

Diana was fortunate to be able to bring her husband (whose family lives near where she will be teaching) and her two young children, Krishna and Maya, along with her to India.

Please join us in congratulating Diana on this wonderful professional accomplishment which brings prestige to the whole campus community.

—Submitted by Joshua Einhorn

Shemmassian Puts CSUN’s Armenian Studies Program on World Map

The Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia has awarded Dr. Vahram Shemmassian the William Saroyan Medal in recognition of his contribution to the promotion and preservation of Armenian culture and identity in the Diaspora. Shemmassian, the Director of CSUN’s Armenian Studies Program in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures, received the award in Lebanon during jubilee events in August recognizing the Musa Dagh resistance to the Armenian Genocide during World War I and the establishment of Anjar, whose residents are descendents of the Armenians of Musa Dagh.

As the world’s leading authority on Musa Dagh, his ancestral hometown, Shemmassian had been invited by the jubilee committee to deliver a lecture on the preservation of Musa Dagh culture— presented along with vintage photos from his extensive personal collection—and receive a gold medal for his lifelong contribution to the study of Musa Dagh and its people. When Shemmassian attended the culminating banquet to receive this previously announced honor, the Minister of Diaspora also surprised him with the prestigious William Saroyan Medal. continued on page 6


"International education exchange is the most significant current project designed to continue the process of humanizing mankind to the point, we would hope, that nations can learn to live in peace. "—Senator J. William Fulbright