The Oberlin Review

Introductory Arabic Courses Offered On Campus in Fall, Spring

Introductory Arabic Courses Offered On Campus in Fall, Spring

September 6, 2019

Following significant controversy last spring, Oberlin will once again offer introductory Arabic courses on campus this academic year. In April, a group of faculty petitioned the College Faculty Council with a proposal to offer a section each of Arabic 101 and 102. Visiting Assistant Professor of Arabic Mahmoud Meslat was hired over the summer to teach the introductory courses. “As is our process, a group of faculty submitted a request for a temporary line in Arabic to the [Educational Plans and P...

Faculty Letter to Save Arabic Language Program at Oberlin College

March 15, 2019

Arabic Studies Committee, the Middle East and North Africa Studies Program, and other language programs have read the statements of Acting Dean David Kamitsuka published in the Review last week (“Arabic Courses to Be Offered Digitally,” March 8, 2019). This letter responds to those statements. Additionally, it responds to other written correspondence between the Dean’s Office and faculty and students that occurred outside the above-mentioned article. 1. The acting dean stated that Arabic “enrollment levels have not been sustainable … in the last eight semesters of intermediate Arabic, course enrollment averaged four students per class.” As a matter of fact, between 2009 and 2019, Arabic language courses...

Arabic Courses to Be Offered Digitally

Nathan Carpenter, Editor-in-Chief

March 8, 2019

Oberlin will change the way students take Arabic language classes starting next academic year. Moving forward, students will take intermediate- and upper-level Arabic courses through the Shared Languages Program, an initiative of the Great Lakes College Association. The courses will be taught in a “digital classroom” with live group video sessions led by Hanada Al-Masri, associate professor of Arabic at Denison University. The Shared Languages Program is available to all 13 colleges and universities in the GLCA, including Oberlin. Gabriele Dillmann, GLCA Consortial Languages director and associate professor of German at Denison University, founded the program to increase access to language education for GLCA sch...

French and Arabic Teaching Assistant Programs Reduced

French and Arabic Teaching Assistant Programs Reduced

February 22, 2019

Oberlin foreign language departments are preparing to undergo changes to the Teaching Assistant Program starting next year. The Arabic and French departments will each be losing one TA, and all TAs are expected to see their salaries standardized. This reduction would leave the French Department with one TA and the Arabic program with none. Elizabeth Hamilton, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, assures students that there is no cause for concern about the coming changes. “Some...

MENA Students Seek Space, Recognition on Campus Dual-degree

Roman Broszkowski, Senior Staff Writer

September 14, 2018

Amid potential budget cutbacks, students are joining together to create a union that both supports students of Middle Eastern and North African descent and advocates for the expansion of MENA studies at Oberlin. Two groups of students, one geared toward creating a space for people of MENA descent and another aimed at developing the MENA Studies department, are taking action to make the region more visible on campus. College senior Aatifah George is the co-chair of the new Middle Eastern and North African Students Association. “It’s needed for a lot of reasons,” she said. “We are a community of color, but we’re not treated that way; we’re basically invisible.” In the United States, the government’s classification ...

Oberlin Must Improve Arabic Program

Sophie Drukman-Feldstein

May 4, 2018

I have wanted to study Arabic since middle school. When I came to Oberlin, I was thrilled to finally get the opportunity. Two years in, it feels like the work my classmates and I put in is finally paying off. In this past semester, we have expanded our vocabularies to move beyond our initial discussions of menus, taxicabs, and passports and are finally making our first, clumsy steps into meaningful conversation. I was therefore deeply disappointed when I found out that no Arabic classes would be offered beyond the 200-level. Oberlin only employs one Arabic instructor — Basem Al-Raba’a, a visiting assistant professor — and a 300-level class would exceed his course load. Last semester, he suggested that we might cont...

Safia Elhillo Delivers Sharp, Candid Poetry Performance

Ananya Gupta, Arts and Culture Editor

September 15, 2017

“As usual, I was thinking about race; I wrote a poem.” said Sudanese-American performance poet Safia Elhillo as she delivered her sassy wit in a soothing voice last Friday at the Cat in the Cream. Author of the full-length poetry collection The January Children, Elhillo is an acclaimed slam poet who has performed at the South African State Theatre, the New Amsterdam Theater on Broadway, and at TEDxNewYork, and has competed nationally with the New York University collegiate championship slam poetry team and the DC Youth Slam Poetry Team. Having earned accolades including the 2015 Brunel University African Poetry Prize (co-winner) and the 2016 Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets, Elhillo, though young, is truly...

Established 1874.