Academic Orientation for New Students

Are you starting at Brock this fall? Don’t forget to register for Academic Orientation on September 4th! You’ll find out all you need to know to get your semester off to a great start.

Register online at ExperienceBU with your BrockID:

If you have been accepted to general Humanities or to a specific Humanities program, please come to our Faculty orientation session on Tuesday, September 4 at 10:00 in the Sean O’Sullivan Theatre.

The Faculty of Humanities includes the following undergraduate programs and departments:

  • Centre for Canadian Studies
  • Department of Classics
  • Centre for Digital Humanities (IASC and GAME programs)
  • Department of English(includes Writing and Rhetoric and Creative Writing programs)
  • Department of History
  • Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (MARS)
  • Department of Modern Languages, Literatures & Cultures (includes French, Italian, Spanish, German)
  • Department of Philosophy
  • Department of Dramatic Arts
  • Department of Music
  • Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture
  • Department of Visual Arts

You can find other O-Week events at

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Studying James Joyce in Italy

English MA students Jerika Sanderson (left) and Monica Sousa (right) spent a week studying James Joyce with scholars from around the world. A highlight of their experience was meeting the director of the Zurich James Joyce Foundation, Fritz Senn.

Brock MA students Monica Sousa and Jerika Sanderson have returned from a week of summer school— in Italy.

The two students were among this year’s participants in the annual Trieste Joyce School, held in the university town of Trieste in northeastern Italy.

The school brings together poets, authors and Joyce scholars from around the world each summer to participate in a week of seminars, lectures and cultural events.

Sousa and Sanderson attended daily lectures and seminars specific to Joyce texts each day of the week-long school.

The two learned about the opportunity while taking a fourth year English course on James Joyce’s Ulysses with Professor Tim Conley and were inspired to apply after hearing more about it from students who had attended in previous years.

“Other participants were all different ages, had different educational backgrounds, and were from different countries, so there was a huge range of perspectives on the topics we discussed,” says Sanderson, who, along with Sousa, participated in afternoon seminars on Ulysses at the school.

“I enjoyed hearing the perspectives of other students in the seminars I attended, but also the thoughts of Fritz Senn, a big name in Joyce studies and Director of the Zurich James Joyce Foundation,” says Sousa.

In addition to their academic activities, the students also participated in a variety of cultural activities, including poetry readings, walking tours of Trieste, attending an Italian opera, and a dinner at the Slovenian border.

Joyce spent nearly 11 years between 1904 and 1920 in self-imposed exile in Trieste, where he immersed himself in the daily social, cultural, and political life of the city and forged important literary friendships.

While there, Joyce finished Dubliners and wrote A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Exiles. He also began Ulysses. The city was also a source of inspiration for Finnegans Wake.

“It’s a fantastic experience, and I’ve sent a few other Brock students to the school in the past,” says English Professor Tim Conley, who has taught at the school twice. “Students always come back very pleased and enriched.”

Although Sousa won’t be working on Joyce when she starts her PhD at York University in September, she values the experience of learning how to apply different theories to literature.

“The school offered me an opportunity to learn about new works and approaches that suit my interests and will come in handy to me as a graduate student,” says Sousa.

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Student Spotlight: Victoria Reid explores the human form in her award-winning art

Victoria Reid was recently honoured for her artwork, which was on display at Rodman Hall Art Centre as part of the Turnin’ this Car Around exhibition in April.

The eye-catching pieces were hard to miss.

Made from everyday materials, the headless human forms could be seen cascaded down a wall within Rodman Hall Art Centre, drawing attention and sparking conversations among visitors.

Created by Victoria Reid, the pieces were featured during the VISA 4F06 Honours exhibition, Turnin’ this Car Around, in April, but continue to earn the young artist praise.

Visual arts graduate Victoria Reid has been awarded the inaugural Marilyn I. Walker Textile Art Award.

The June graduate was chosen to receive the inaugural Marilyn I. Walker Textile Art Award for her work. The honour is given to a graduating student for a piece of textile art and is intended to support the student’s continued artistic development.

Reid’s figures, made from yarn, fabric scraps, plaster and packing tape, challenge the viewer to see bodies as objects taking up space.

“The bodies are not human without their contents,” says Reid. “These sculptures embrace the oddity and the awkwardness of the human body, focusing on the fact that we are weird masses of matter and, together with soul, we become beings.”

Reid says for as long as she can remember, she has been intrigued by textiles.

“They have so much personality and can be handled with a variety of different methods to morph them into something new,” she says.

It was her grandmother who taught her how to weave, stitch, sew, knit and crochet at an early age.

Reid applied these more traditional ways of working with textiles to new ideas to create her award-winning work and cites Walker’s own work as inspiration.

“Marilyn I. Walker’s piece in the first floor hall inspired me greatly this year with the variety in colour and texture, and the stitching together of different fabric patterns and materials,” she says.

Reid’s pieces are cast from her own body and lend drama to the philosophical question of the mind-body dichotomy, writes Associate Professor Derek Knight in the exhibition catalogue.

“References to the human body are rarely benign and Reid is no different when she describes her plaster figures as symbolizing the existential dilemma between spiritual life and physical existence,” he writes.

Reid will be continuing her arts education this fall at the University of Western Ontario, where she is enrolled in a Master of Library and Information Science program to study Collections and Archive Management.

“I want my future career to work with, influence and inform my art practice,” says Reid, who continues to create, show and sell her art. She is also working with Brock Visual Resources Librarian Lesley Bell for the summer.

“Being awarded the Marilyn I Walker Textile art award means so much to me,” Reid says. “Working with textiles in my art is what I do and being awarded for something that I have worked hard on and put so much energy into is a great feeling. It makes me feel not only proud of myself, but thankful for all of the friends, family, peers and instructors who have helped and supported me along the way.”

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Visual arts professor among those honored for contributions to the arts

Visual Arts Associate Professor Derek Knight.

Visual Arts Associate Professor Derek Knight.

A Brock professor known for his contributions to arts education was honoured for his longstanding efforts at last week’s 2018 St. Catharines Arts Awards.

Visual Arts Associate Professor Derek Knight was presented the Arts in Education Award at the June 4 celebration.

“I am thrilled and humbled by this recognition, and thankful to those dear colleagues who took the initiative to nominate me,” says Knight.

“My various roles at Brock over my 30-year tenure as a teacher, art historian, curator and administrator have provided me with many opportunities to interact with the community in both profound and lasting ways.”

Knight served on the Rodman Hall Art Centre Advisory Board from 2003 to 2015, and on the User Committee in support of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.

He currently teaches courses in 20th century European and North American art history and contemporary art and theory, and works with MA students in the Studies in Comparative Literatures and Arts program.

Knight is also a past director of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

“When I assumed the directorship, our objective then was to plan and build a state of the art facility in support of innovative studio or performance degree programs and history or cultural theory degrees,” says Knight.

“The impact of this transformative project on the University and community at large has been profound. It remains a testament to our collective efforts and to the legacy of Mrs. Walker, our remarkable benefactor.”

Knight nurtured a legacy of productive relationships among the departments making up the arts school, says current MIWSFPA Director David Vivian.

“Through all aspects of the development and building of our school and leading to the opening of the facility in 2015, Derek has been a generous, indefatigable mentor to us.”

Also presented during last week’s celebration was the Emerging Artist Award, sponsored by Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

The honour’s two recipients included Markino Jareb, a multidisciplinary visual artist and DJ whose work has been described as an “intersection of street culture, the dance floor and the gallery walls,” and Jessica Wilson, a multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter who has performed in theatre, as a soloist with various Canadian symphony orchestras and at various acoustic shows across Niagara.

Also recognized during the event was Shauna MacLeod, founder and director of the Willow Community, who received the Jury’s Pick Award for her exceptional commitment to the arts in St. Catharines. The non-profit arts organization, based at Rodman Hall, provides free artistic training and exhibition opportunities to community members with lived experience of mental health and addiction.

The Arts Awards have promoted St. Catharines artists and cultural industries and honoured cultural leader since 2005. Recipients receive $500 to support their work and a certificate or a hand-crafted award.

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English prof appointed new Associate Dean in the Faculty of Humanities

Professor Neta Gordon will begin her term as the Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Curriculum in the Faculty of Humanities on July 1.

In her new role as Associate Dean, Undergraduate Student Affairs and Curriculum in the Faculty of Humanities, Professor Neta Gordon looks forward to supporting students and programs.

“The first-year space is often a difficult one to negotiate, especially for students who are new to the ever-changing university,” says Gordon, who starts the new role on Sunday, July 1. “A lot of my interest in the undergraduate experience emerges from thinking about how to make that space lively and productive.”

A Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature, Gordon has taught first-year students almost every year since arriving at Brock in 2002. Her teaching has been recognized with the Brock University Faculty of Humanities Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2011.

Gordon’s experience as a Chair of the Department of English Language and Literature taught her the importance of setting up conditions so that faculty can do their best, she says, and she looks forward to encouraging connections between disciplines.

“I think students gain so much from serendipitous interdisciplinarity,” she says. “I’d also like to encourage more knowledge sharing among my colleagues about our teaching experiences and our pedagogy.”

In addition to serving two terms as department chair, Gordon has served on the Academic Review Committee, the BUFA Negotiating Committee and Grievance Panel, and the Undergraduate Student Affairs Committee of Senate.

“Dr. Gordon has extensive administration experience at Brock which will stand her in good stead as Associate Dean,” says Dean Carol Merriam. “I am very pleased that Dr. Gordon will now turn her impressive talents to the work of the Faculty of Humanities in this new role.”

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English student Rebecca Alcock becomes Brock’s 100,000th grad

Rebecca Alcock

Rebecca Alcock celebrates becoming Brock's 100,000th graduate.

English Language and Literature student Rebecca Alcock became Brock’s 100,000th graduate at Spring Convocation on Friday, June 8. Read all about it in the Brock News and see our photos on Facebook!

Kicking off the next 100,000 graduates with the Faculty of Humanities!

Kicking off the next 100,000 graduates with the Faculty of Humanities!

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Award-winning prof not shy to tackle difficult topics

Department of Classics Professor Allison Glazebrook was honoured with the Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching at Friday's Spring Convocation ceremony.

Department of Classics Professor Allison Glazebrook was honoured with the Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching at Friday's Spring Convocation ceremony.

For Professor Allison Glazebrook, teaching is about creating a dialogue with students.

The recipient of this year’s Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Faculty of Humanities believes teaching is about fostering a community of learners who support each other while learning how to disagree respectfully.

“I value an inclusive classroom that engages and empowers students,” says Glazebrook, a professor in the Department of Classics. “I am always game to try new teaching methods and embrace the challenges teaching offers. It is as much about my own growth as the growth of my students.”

Glazebrook, who was honoured with the teaching award at Friday’s Spring Convocation ceremony, encourages regular discussion in her classes and offers students options in how they demonstrate research literacy and competency in their final assignments.

Carol Merriam, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, awards Professor Allison Glazebrook with the Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching at the Friday, June 8 Spring Convocation ceremony.

Carol Merriam, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, awards Professor Allison Glazebrook with the Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching at the Friday, June 8 Spring Convocation ceremony.

“As a professor of Humanities,” she says, “my goal is for students to come out of my classes with greater confidence in their abilities as thinkers, public speakers and writers, as well as enthusiasm for learning in general.”

Glazebrook takes teaching beyond the classroom, supporting students in their yearly scholarly symposium, mentoring students and twice leading summer study tours of Greece.

“She has a reputation for excellent mentorship both in and outside of the classroom,” says Department Chair and Associate Professor Angus Smith. “Her teaching brings her influential research into the classroom.”

Glazebrook’s research focuses on women, gender, sexuality and slavery in the Ancient Greek world, and particularly on how prostitution affected women’s lives across ancient Athenian society. She doesn’t shy away from teaching these difficult topics in her courses.

“Such material provides an opportunity for thinking critically about topics that remain controversial or socially problematic today,” she says.

Incorporating her research into her teaching and involving students in her research by examining texts and images in class with students has also led her to many new projects.

“Letters and evaluations from her students and colleagues demonstrate how well respected she is as an educator,” says Associate Dean Brian Power.

“It is clear to the Office of the Dean that Professor Glazebrook embodies all the qualities we value as educators in the Humanities.”

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History prof appointed Interim Director of MIWSFPA

Associate Professor of History Elizabeth Vlossak will take on the role of Interim Director of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts on July 1.

Associate Professor of History Elizabeth Vlossak will take on the role of Interim Director of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts on July 1.

Associate Professor of History Elizabeth Vlossak will be become Interim Director of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts on July 1 when current Director David Vivian begins a year-long sabbatical.

“I’m really looking forward to continuing to strengthen our community partnerships and perhaps develop new ones,” says Vlossak. “I’m thinking of ways to bridge the Humanities so that there is more interaction and collaboration between the MIWSFPA and other departments on the main campus.”

Being a historian, Vlossak says she loves how “the city’s past has been preserved in a way that is relevant to the present, while also looking to the future,” in terms of the MIWSFPA building. But the school isn’t just the building. “It’s the people — students, faculty and staff — doing incredible work that enriches Brock as well as St. Catharines and the Niagara region.”

Vlossak’s research area is 20th century European history, with particular interest in cultural history during the two world wars, women’s history, gender and nationalism, and memory and the politics of commemoration.

She is a founding member and Associate Fellow of The History Lab, a collaboration with the Niagara Falls Military Museum, Seedling for Change in History, and Associate Professor Maria del Carmen Suescun Pozas.

Vlossak has also consulted with the Department of Dramatic Arts on two Mainstage productions, Ring Around the Moon (2006) and The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (2016), sharing her research specialization with students and contributing to their successful performances.

“The executive of the school is particularly excited by Associate Professor Vlossak’s record of community engagement through undertakings such as The History Lab,” says Vivian. “We look forward to her contribution to existing programming and relationship building with our community partners, as well as her unique new initiatives.”

“I’m very pleased that Professor Vlossak is willing to take on the role of Interim Director of the MIWSFPA,” says Faculty of Humanities Dean Carol Merriam. “Professor Vlossak is an active, energetic, and imaginative teacher and scholar, and will bring those same qualities to the work of the School.”

Vivian, Associate Professor with the Department of Dramatic Arts, has been Director of the MIWSFPA since 2016. He teaches theatrical design, production and stagecraft in addition to designing sets and costumes for Mainstage productions.

“The directorship is an unusual job involving work with faculty, staff, students and external partners, and Professor Vivian has balanced all of these demands very effectively,” says Merriam. “I wish him well of his rightly-deserved sabbatical.”

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Student athlete and historian Matt Jagas shows persistence pays off

Matt Jagas, pictured here receiving an Academic All-Canadian Award from presenter Brian Roy, will graduate with a degree in history on Friday, June 8.

Matt Jagas, pictured here receiving an Academic All-Canadian Award from presenter Brian Roy, will graduate with a degree in history on Friday, June 8.

If Matt Jagas had a motto, it might be “Surgite!”

Despite a bumpy start to his university career, the student-athlete persisted and found his niche at Brock University.

On Friday morning, the multi-time Ontario and national university wrestling champion will graduate with a degree in History during the Spring Convocation ceremony for both the Faculties of Humanities and Math and Science. He is one of 110 Brock Badgers student-athletes in nearly 40 programs who are graduating this week

Jagas started his university career studying kinesiology while wrestling at Western University, but he struggled in the program and decided to head elsewhere after one of his primary coaches left the school during his second year.

Jagas’ brother Sam was already on a wrestling scholarship at Brock, and after talking to Badgers head coach Marty Calder, Jagas decided to apply.

“I always enjoyed writing and was relatively good at it, so I decided to pursue History at Brock,” he said. “Looking back, it was one of the best decisions I’ve made.”

Studying both History and Classics, including Latin, has allowed Jagas to explore many ideas through writing.

He became involved with The General, Brock’s open access undergraduate history journal and, after publishing a paper for the 2017 volume, he went on to co-edit the 2018 volume with fellow history student Grace Viana.

“I thought it would be a great opportunity in my final year to do something new and get to understand the world of publishing a little better, as publishing had never really crossed my mind before as a career option for a History student,” said Jagas.

“Matt tackled the work with professionalism and skill,” said Assistant Professor Jessica Clark, who worked with Jagas and Viana on The General. “He approached the task of selecting papers with care and respect, acknowledging all of the hard work that went into each and every paper.”

Jagas has also received national recognition for his academic work, taking third place in the 2016 Classics Association of Canada Undergraduate Essay Contest.

His successes on the wrestling mat have been no less significant, winning medals provincially, nationally and internationally.

In 2014, Jagas won bronze at the Junior Pan American championships in Santiago, Chile. He went on to win gold at the Ontario University Athletics championships in 2016, and has medaled twice at the U SPORTS National Championships, winning gold in 2017 and silver in 2018.

Jagas’ success in both academics and athletics was recognized this spring when he was one of nearly 70 Brock students to be named to the 2016-2017 Academic All-Canadians list for finishing with an average of 80 per cent or higher.

“It has been an absolute pleasure for our coaching staff to have had the opportunity to coach Matt,” said wrestling coach Marty Calder. “He’s a hard-working, skillful, disciplined young man who contributed greatly to our program.”

Balancing wrestling and academics required time management and goal-setting skills, Jagas said.

“Since the wrestling team at Brock is the best in the country, practices can be very hard and sometimes seem very unrewarding,” he said. “It forced me to really think about my goals and what I wanted to actually accomplish there. In the same way I did that for wrestling, I set academic goals and just worked hard to achieve them.”

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Intersectionality in Classics: A Conversation with Professor Allison Glazebrook

Have you ever wondered how professors come to study the topics they do?

Keegan Bruce, a fourth year Classics major and a volunteer Social Media Ambassador for the Faculty of Humanities, interviewed Professor Allison Glazebrook to find out how she came to research gender and sexuality in the ancient world, and to get some advice on her own career path.

Dr. Glazebrook has been a professor at Brock since 2003. Her lengthy list of publications include Houses of Ill Repute: The Archaeology of Brothels, Houses, and Taverns in the Greek World (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016) and, most recently, she has co-edited Themes in Greek Society and Culture.

You can read more about Dr. Glazebrook and her work on her department profile.

Dr. Allison Glazebrook of the Department of Classics with two of her edited volumes, "Greek Prostitutes in the Ancient Mediterranean" (2011) and "Houses of Ill Repute: The Archaeology of Brothels, Houses, and Taverns in the Greek World" (2016).

If you had asked me at the end of last year what I wanted to spend my life doing, I’d have had no idea what to tell you. If you were to ask me now, I’d laugh that terrified laugh all master’s applicants have and say, “I want to make Classics more intersectional.” Do I know exactly what that means yet? No, absolutely not, but I know that I want to do it and I have the beginnings of an idea.

Generally, intersectional approaches to research consider the sub-groups within groups and the differing experiences of different groups of people. I want to actively challenge the white male western-centric thinking so prevalent in the past and today’s scholarship. I believe that it is the responsibility of the scholar to challenge biased interpretations. Our own assumptions and biases must be examined so that the message put forth is not one of continued harm to underrepresented groups, but of genuine analysis. Which, wow, that’s a big thing to fit into the narrow pocket of the ancient world.

For guidance, I turned to Dr. Allison Glazebrook, who was kind enough to sit down and talk with me over a coffee. Dr. Glazebrook has been looking at Classics from an intersectional perspective since her Master’s degree in the 90s which, as she will tell you, was not exactly a mainstream approach. She researches gender, sexuality, and slavery within the ancient world, specifically sexual labour (in which all three converge).

She didn’t start out that way. As an undergraduate student, she was mostly exposed to military and political history and it was not until she read Ovid’s Heroides that something sparked: “he was writing from a female perspective, giving a voice to what was lost. I was drawn to that.”

From there, the spark grew. When in her Master’s she gave a presentation on Roman education, something far outside her field at the time, she discovered an interest in the education of women. “I went to my supervisor and told her what I wanted to do and she was very excited; she’d been waiting for someone to research women.” When she learned that, generally, the only women educated in the Greek world were high ranking sex slaves, she grew more interested.

It was in her PhD candidacy that the spark became a flame.

“We were looking at sex slaves from the wrong perspective,” she says, “women were static, they were in categories. It was about male access to those categories rather than the female experience. I wanted to start reading texts from the other side and I found that the experience for women was varied and so much more than porne (common sex worker) vs hetaera (upper class sex worker).”

Since then, she’s been interested in “flipping the perspective”.

“Greeks love binaries,” she says, “us and them. But the reality wasn’t binary, it was a spectrum. Scholars, myself included, had been thinking in these binaries too, porne vs hetaira, but the reality was so much more complex. Hetairai were fetishized in the research, there was a fascination with them that really didn’t reflect the diversity of sex workers in ancient Greece.”

When she started this research, she was met with confusion.

“People questioned my sexuality, my past,” she says. “like, ‘you must be different for looking at this’”.

She tells me about a job interview: “They said to me, “okay, that’s fine as a side-interest, but what’s the real history that you do?’” She laughs. “People were so offended at the concept of brothels in Athens! Like they couldn’t exist! It didn’t fit with their ideas. But Greece and Rome are just cultures, like ours is a culture, just like other cultures from all over the world throughout time. It’s no better or worse, it’s just different.”

Dr. Glazebrook tells me how people were uncomfortable and defensive about her area of study. “It was very marginal at the time. It affected how I did my scholarship. I’ve done some edited volumes that focus on the brothel instead of the hetaira. It helps to make the topic mainstream, the more people you get working on it. I had to build a community because there was resistance to the topic. You need to build a community. I organized conference panels, attended conferences, included senior and junior scholars in edited volumes to make it more mainstream. And now it is.”

Dr. Glazebrook looks at other areas of study in her research. She took a class on feminist theory as a PhD student and her focus shifted from a historical perspective to a socio-cultural one: “I started thinking about constructed categories, which was very helpful.”

Due to little published research on sexual labour in ancient Greece when she started, she read texts from Rome to the Early Modern period to the modern day. She read the work of Margo St. James, Maggie O’Neill, and about prostitute discourse theory, getting the perspective of sex workers on sex work. There was a divide between feminism and sex workers at that time so what she needed wasn’t in her classes. She read Denise Riley’s Am I That Name, “a critique on feminism and the idea of ‘women’ as a single historical category, as opposed to the true complexities of the term in relation to other categories. Woman is not a static category.”

To Dr. Glazebrook, looking beyond your experience is crucial to research and it’s something she tries to teach her students.

“We all have perspectives,” she says and her voice shifts to the ‘professor’ tone I’ve heard many times, “No one is objective, there’s always an element of subjectivity. We are enclosed in our own time period. The job of the historian is to be aware of that and try to break out of that.”

She tells me of the time she read a book written by a man on ancient women in 1956: “It was horrifying! He couldn’t see that he wasn’t making a helpful analysis—he was just objectifying the figures presented. It didn’t make sense.”

She hopes to prevent her students from being close-minded to alternative ideas and becoming stuck in their own perspective. “They need to challenge their perspectives. It’s a lifelong journey; we have to keep reexamining and understanding how our background affects how we think about things and interact with things. We have to try to break out of that.”

I asked her for advice. How can I be intersectional? How can I respect the voices I’m looking for? Her reply:

“Read widely. Be open to different types of evidence. Be aware of the aspects of culture. Read from other time periods and fields, even in the modern day. How are other areas approaching your topic? Not that the modern day is equal to the past, but it can help you formulate questions.”

And above all, shift the perspective.

Dr. Glazebrook encourages her students to view history from different perspectives.

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