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First Year Experience classes offer Transformational Opportunities

Posted by: Erin Blevins | November 14, 2021 | No Comment |

William Ganas draws a deep breath as he gets ready to address the students sitting in front of him. “The author of this chapter,” he says, “asks us to consider the significance of Black actors playing the part of white founding fathers in Lin Manuel Miranda’s musical Hamilton. She writes about the concept of a Model Minority and suggests that there’s racism in Miranda’s work that isn’t really explored.”

As one of 20 first-year students enrolled in College of Charleston theatre Professor Susan Kattwinkel’s seminar Reading Hamilton: Hip Hop and History in the American Musical, Ganas is learning a lot. Specifically, he’s learning to use the tools of scholarship to critique popular culture. Part of that process involves preparing and making this presentation to the class, along with his study partner Jennifer Monrroy-Resendiz.

“I’m a big fan of musicals, and I’ve seen Hamilton before,” Ganas says, “but I’d only considered it from an entertainment point of view. For our presentation, we read a chapter written by a historian who discusses how the musical is unintentionally racist. Making that presentation helped me understand the ways in which the musical glosses over the racism of that era.”

Kattwinkel’s course is one of more than 70 first-year seminars offered at the College this semester. Like all the others, it’s been purposely designed to help first-year students acclimate to college life – something that nearly every university in the country does to ensure students have a successful transition from high school to college.

Read the full article at The College Today

under: Program Spotlight

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