Sneak Peek Look at the Class of 2019

On May 1, millions of high school students across the United States made their final choices about where they would be attending college for the next four years. For a couple of hundred students, Sarah Lawrence College was that choice.

Over the past few years, SLC has gained a lot of momentum.  Applications are increasing every year and, for the first time in several years, the college received a ranking in U.S. News and World Report after an admissions policy change several years ago left them in the unranked section. 

Although deposits were still being counted at the time this article was written, all numbers are relative to what has been reported thus far and will be more accurately reflected in the summer.

The number of applications increased this year to 2,808 from 2,392 last year - a 17 percent jump, not only increasing the number of applications received but it is the largest amount of applications in the college’s history. The acceptance rate from last year remained stagnant this year, keeping it between 52 and 53 percent.*

The two states most represented are, once again, California and New York, respectively first and second. “What we’ve been seeing is there are handfuls of students coming in from many places all around the country,and the world,” Dean McKenna, Dean of Enrollment said. “And the thing about Sarah Lawrence is that you’re not going to get 20 students from one school, but rather one or two from a lot of different schools.” 

“[When we were interviewing], we interviewed students from all over the country and all over the world, as far as India for me” said Zachary Martin ‘15, a senior interviewer.  “It was really great speaking to students who came from all these different backgrounds and being a small part of the admission process.”

There were some added approaches to outreach for the incoming class. For the first time, over 1,000 high schools where visited by traveling staff members. Additionally, the school started hosting virtual panels. The panels lasted for one hour, moderated by an admissions counselor while tour guides and other student admissions workers spoke to prospective and accepted students, who were not able to visit the college, in real time .  Dean McKenna said that they were a great success and that they will continue to be used in the future and in other ways.

“We hope to do this to meet high school students such as getting them ready for college interviews, getting them ready for college essays,” he said. “We think this will be great outreach.”

With so many to speak to, it is always important that students are being selected a right fit for the school. While there is no formula when selecting candidates for admission, there are certain qualities that make a potential SLC student.

“We’re looking for students that are actively engaged in their passions,” said Dean McKenna. “They’re going to be students who are not content with setting and meeting a list of required classes but who are creative, free thinkers and write what they’re working towards.”

Dean McKenna also spoke of the impact of rankings such as that of Princeton Review, the 2013 #1 Best Faculty in the country for example, have had on the college. “[The ranking] didn’t catapult us onto a larger stage, but it put out there for the world the kind of faculty we have. We already had a presence but it foregrounded what makes us so special.”

Another important aspect this year was diversity. President Karen Lawrence had emphasized that there would be more of an effort to increase socio-economic diversity among future incoming classes and Dean McKenna concurred that this held true for the incoming classes.

“We have students that need very little financial aid, then students who need some financial aid and so on and so forth,” he explained. “The awards levels seem to be more evenly distributed.”

Even with all the work to do as the college prepares for the incoming class, Dean McKenna underscored how pleased he has been with the students he has met thus far.

“If there is anything I can say, it’s that every single one I met are all really excited to come. They’re all really talented, all bringing great things to campus and, from what I’ve seen, are no different on paper than they are in real life.”

We congratulate the incoming class of 2019 and wish them the best of luck as they embark on this new chapter of their lives.

*Dean McKenna noted that U.S. News and World Report’s acceptance rate for Sarah Lawrence College for the academic year of 2014-2015 at 77.1 percent is 18 months behind.

By Mary Kekatos ‘15

SLC Phoenix

The Phoenix is a non-profit, student-run publication representing the voices and opinions of Sarah Lawrence College community members. Our print edition publishes bi-weekly on Tuesdays, and our online edition is updated multiple times per week. Anyone may attend our open meetings at 9:00 PM on Wednesday nights in the North Room of the Pub.

SLC Model U.N. Gains Recognition at Harvard Conference

Jericho Apollo ‘17 caught mid-thought at the Model UN conference photo Courtesy Harvard National Model United Nations 

Jericho Apollo ‘17 caught mid-thought at the Model UN conference
photo Courtesy Harvard National Model United Nations 

It is known that the United Nations seeks to promote peace, but it can, at times, feel rather exclusive to the outside world. How can students gain debate experience and argue for peace and solutions to international issues?

So exists Model United Nations (MUN). Across high schools and universities throughout the world, Model United Nations clubs have been set up for students to understand how the UN functions. Participants, known as delegate, try their hand at tackling global issues while developing public speaking and debating skills. Misha Sumar (‘16), co-chair of the SLC Model UN,  believes confidence is one of the biggest things gained from participating in Model UN. "Regardless of your profession, it’s so important to be able to stand in front of a crowd and articulate yourself," she explained.

Sumar said she has truly seen her fellow delegates gain these skills and grow from the beginning of the year, when many were afraid to speak, to fearlessly raising placards at the attended conventions.

Fellow co-chair Harsha Raghunandhan (‘17) thinks that gaining a global perspective also comes with participation. "Since students are made to represent countries they may not be from, or countries whose policies they may not agree with, they develop unique insights into a country’s point of view," he said. "An American student, for example, may not have anything in common with the stated ideology of the Islamic Republic of Iran, but having to represent that country means a fundamental understanding of why the country behaves the way it does, and so on. There’s no better way to understand international diplomacy."

Founded in 2008 by Zeynep Goksel and Serena Wuennenberg, SLC's MUN chapter has represented a multitude of countries from Pakistan to Thailand at a number of regional conferences.

Most recently, from Feb. 12-15, the delegates traveled to Cambridge, Mass. to take on the Harvard National Model United Nations, one of the largest conferences in the Northeast, hosting over 5,000 delegates from over 70 countries.  At their first and only conference of the year, the majority of the team represented Lithuania, while the co-chairs opted for specialized agencies, debating as people or institutions. Raghunandhan represented the Education Minister in the Iranian Cabinet while Sumar represented an NGO, Freedom House, in her committee.

The team faced many challenges.The club was rather dormant last year until being resurrected this year, meaning the team was building their strategy from the ground up. For many of the delegates, this was their first times participating in a MUN conference.

Sumar, however, said that any nerves held by first timers were short-lived. “Once we got there everyone jumped right into it and adapted really quickly, and we all supported each other, which helped a lot,” she said.

For the first time in SLC's history, the MUN team came back with awards. Raghunandhan received a verbal commendation for speaking skills and Sumar received the Outstanding Delegate award in each of their respective committees. However, the co-chairs are not excited for the wins just for the prestige.

"This win is so exciting, because it’s brought Sarah Lawrence into the international Model UN circuit," said Sumar.

So what does the future hold for the club? The club is looking forward to not just attending more conferences (such hopes include NMUN DC and Philadelphia MUN) but to also recruiting and expanding. Sumar and Raghunandhan are hoping their most recent win will give the club some validity.

"Now that we have a proven track record, we want to bring in serious debaters into the fold...with a conference and awards under our belt, we have a lot going for us," said Raghunandhan. "We also plan to work harder to get Senate funding for our proposed trips in the fall. We’re in a much better position now than we were in a year ago, when we barely had a club. Things look bright.”

by Mary Kekatos ‘15

SLC Phoenix

The Phoenix is a non-profit, student-run publication representing the voices and opinions of Sarah Lawrence College community members. Our print edition publishes bi-weekly on Tuesdays, and our online edition is updated multiple times per week. Anyone may attend our open meetings at 9:00 PM on Wednesday nights in the North Room of the Pub.

SLCeeds Creates Entrepreneurship Program to Foster Creative Innovation

SLCeeds kick-off event “Dream Big. Make It Happen.” on Oct. 22 with guest speaker Charlie O’Donnell from Brooklyn Bridge Ventures. Photo by h. Thornhill.

SLCeeds kick-off event “Dream Big. Make It Happen.” on Oct. 22 with guest speaker Charlie O’Donnell from Brooklyn Bridge Ventures. Photo by h. Thornhill.

 "Liberal arts" and "business" are two terms that are not generally associated with one another. However, liberal arts students are known for their creative, inventive ways of thinking and Sarah Lawrence's relatively new program has found a way to foster this creative path for students looking to step outside the traditional work model and shape their own future.

Thus was born the SLCeeds Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program, geared towards students looking to learn how to start ideas from scratch, navigating a start-up economy and networking within the world of entrepreneurs. Officially launched in 2012 as a pilot program by the Office of Career Services, SLCeeds initially attracted 135 students and has since become one of the most popular programs at SLC.

There are three parts to the year-long program. The first part is the Innovator Series. SLCeeds hosts guest lectures and site visits throughout the year with people who have begun their own start-ups in hopes of encouraging students to be fearless in developing their entrepreneurial idea. The second part is the Skills Workshops. Holding three sessions for 90 minutes each, these workshops focus on how to develop skills such as how to build a website or a design an app. The third part is the Spring Break Intensive. Open to 25 students via an application process, and lasting 5 days, this series is meant to get students from an idea to a plan of action. 

The participants also present at the Annual SLCeeds PitchFest. Advertised as SLC's version of the popular ABC show "Shark Tank," a panel of guest judges listen to each student present a 4-minute pitch and, based on a set of criteria, select the winning teams. The teams then get to refine their ideas for FinalPitch! in the spring. This year's prize is an all expenses-paid trip to Kauffman Foundation Startup Weekend, where one can learn how to launch a startup in 54 hours.

At the conclusion of the program, each student receives a certificate of participation. Miriam Bekkouche, SLCeeds's Program Manager, explained, "The goal of following the program is for students to become comfortable participating in public pitch presentations." The events have proven to attract a wide variety of students, from those interesting in pursuing an entrepreneurial career to those just interested in expanding their skill set.

Adam Treitler ('15), who attended the "How to Launch a Kickstarter" event, was impressed by the set-up of the event. “It was…helpful and seemed like a neat series for potential self-starters and aspiring philanthropists," Treitler said. Fellow student Zack Martin ('15), who has attended several of the events SLCeeds has hosted over the past two years, is interested in expanding into the field of business as part of his future career. "I am happy that SLC hosts these events," he said. "[It] allows for the expansion of our Career Services department and the activities surrounding it, whilst boosting morale for future employment fields and opportunities," said Martin.

For more information on dates of events or how to sign up for the Spring Break Intensive, visit my.slc.edu/slceeds

by Mary Kekatos '15
Copy Editor

mkekatos@gm.slc.edu

SLC Phoenix

The Phoenix is a non-profit, student-run publication representing the voices and opinions of Sarah Lawrence College community members. Our print edition publishes bi-weekly on Tuesdays, and our online edition is updated multiple times per week. Anyone may attend our open meetings at 9:00 PM on Wednesday nights in the North Room of the Pub.

Dean Jerrilynn Dodds reflects on career thus far at SLC

Dean of the College Jerrilynn Dodds is stepping down after six years in her position. Photo by Janaki Chadha '17.

Dean of the College Jerrilynn Dodds is stepping down after six years in her position. Photo by Janaki Chadha '17.

Earlier this year, Sarah Lawrence announced that Dean of the College, Jerrilynn Dodds, would be stepping down from her position after the 2014-15 academic year. In a recent interview, Dodds reflected on the past six years, and what the future holds. Dean Dodds arrived at Sarah Lawrence in 2009 to take her current position. Interestingly enough, she had history with the college long before joining the administration.

“I actually applied to Sarah Lawrence when I was applying to college,” she explained, “I ended up choosing Barnard instead, but I always loved Sarah Lawrence. It’s a truly unique place and I was very thrilled to come to a place where the intellectual discourse is very high and the vocation of teaching is taken so very seriously. It’s a great combination.”

Upon arriving at SLC, Dean Dodds admits that the interworking of Sarah Lawrence is so unique that it took her about a year to understand all the different concerns and to learn how to be a member of the community.

“Sarah Lawrence is a very particular, very democratic place; it’s not a top-down institution and, to accomplish things, I had to understand the community’s goals,” she said. “I had a dual role as dean – to represent and advocate for faculty and to mediate the needs of the institutions as a whole and goals of senior staff and the president.”

Of all the things that have changed since becoming Dean of the College, Dean Dodds is most amazed about the educational changes.

“We now hold major international conferences such as the “Re-envisioning Pakistan” conference. Film has grown; the sciences have grown exponentially. Our students are participating in the kinds of studies generally only available to grad students at other schools. We’ve acquired new properties such as The Center for the Urban River where student can participate in water and air monitoring and environmental advocating – all wonderful and exciting changes.”

Dodds has also seen an incredible amount of growth in her field of art history, citing integration of visual arts with computer science and a recent explosive interest in curating.

“What I love about Sarah Lawrence is it’s not a place where the administration says, ‘We’re going to do this and this and that’s final’,” she continued. “Rather it is the students who express what their desires in terms of studying are and it is the job of the administration to nurture the needs of the students.”

As for why she is leaving now, Dean Dodds explained that this was part of the original plan. She would take on the role as Dean of the College for five years and then she would step down and another person would fill her shoes. She has only remained Dean for an extra year to help out Sarah Lawrence as they search for a replacement.

“They’re currently doing an internal search, as it has to be a member of the faculty, and it looks to be exciting,” Dean Dodds said. “This person will have to know the ways of the schools and understand how things work and they will find different faculty interests to explore.”

Her plans after leaving will not take her very far from campus. For the next academic year, Dean Dodds will be joining the art history faculty at Sarah Lawrence, which is something she says she has always wanted to do and is very excited about. Dean Dodds’ art history work has specifically focused on relations between Jews, Christians and Muslims through literary and visual arts.

Dean Dodds currently holds lecture series at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Fifth Avenue, something she loves doing, and, if she could change one thing at Sarah Lawrence, it would be the ability for Sarah Lawrence student to be in NYC and take advantage of the many opportunities the city presents.

“I would want a building in New York City,” she said, “where we could expand our offerings and students and faculty could spend a little more time working in an urban center.”

However, out of all the things that Dean Dodds will remember, perhaps her first year is the most memorable. When she first arrived, Dean Dodds was diagnosed with cancer, making learning about the interworking of the college even more difficult.

“I was walking around bald from the chemotherapy and I will never forget what a caring community this was, and how accepted I was into their midst,” she said. “The staff of the Dean of Office in College is incredible and I think that speaks to the unique, tight community we have here at Sarah Lawrence.”

by Mary Kekatos '15
Copy Editor
mkekatos@gm.slc.edu

SLC Phoenix

The Phoenix is a non-profit, student-run publication representing the voices and opinions of Sarah Lawrence College community members. Our print edition publishes bi-weekly on Tuesdays, and our online edition is updated multiple times per week. Anyone may attend our open meetings at 9:00 PM on Wednesday nights in the North Room of the Pub.

SLC at a glance: this week on campus

October is in full swing and Sarah Lawrence has another week of events for the community. Take time off that work, leave that dorm room and check out a list of happenings below:

Monday, October 6 begins with Campus Conversations on Race: Racial Microagressions held from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. in Heimbold Visual Arts Center 208. Diversity & Campus Engagement invites students, faculty and staff to share their personal experiences regarding race at Sarah Lawrence and learn by creating a dialogue to become a more inclusive, understanding community.

SLC’s Christian Union will hold their biweekly meeting on Monday from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. in Slonim’s Stone Room. All are invited for an open dialogue on God, faith and prayer.

The Ninth Annual SLC Health Fair will be held on Tuesday, October 7 from 12:00 – 2:00 p.m. on the South Lawn.  Booths and information tables will offer a wide variety of health related topics including healthy eating, flu shots for students, faculty and staff, beer goggles obstacle course and many other activities to promote health and wellness.

Need help developing a resume? Do you have one that needs polishing? From 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Career Services will be holding a Resume Workshop in Bates Meeting room. Resume and cover letter guides, samples and templates will be provided. RSVP is preferred; so email careerservices@sarahlawrence.edu to save your spot!

Later on Tuesday, from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m., poet Dennis Nurske will be hosting a Poetry Craft Talk in Slonim Living Room. The Brooklyn native will be reading from some of his most well known works as well as answering questions from the audience.

On Wednesday, October 8, from 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Sarah Lawrence’s women's volleyball team is running a Bake Sale to raise money for breast cancer research as well as highlight their Dig Pink home game on October 13. Come support them on the South Lawn!

Whether you've never seen it before or you already saw it in theaters and want to watch it again, on Wednesday and Saturday, October 11, SLAC Film Series will be screening What If in Miller Lecture Hall at 9 p.m. What If tells the story of Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe), bummed from a string of rotten relationship, who forms a bond with a Chantry (Zoe Kazan) who lives with her longtime boyfriend. The two must figure out what it means if your best friend is also the love of your life. Free popcorn will be provided!

On Thursday, October 9, the American Sign Language Club is holding their weekly meeting from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. in Andrews House 103. Students, faculty and staff of all levels are welcome to attend at the instruction of Gwen Rocque.

Also holding their weekly meeting on Thursday is Scandal Revue, SLC’s burlesque troop. Come learn some fun moves from 7:00 – 10:00 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center Small Dance Studio.

Ready to let our some energy at the end of a long week? Come dance the night away to live music at another SLAC Dance Party from 10:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m. in the Bates Blue Room!

To conclude the week on Saturday is The Phoenix First Issue Launch Party from 11:00 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. in Bates Blue Room. Student DJs will provide music as students party to celebrate the first print issue of the Fall 2014 semester!

So concludes another week of events, Sarah Lawrence! For a complete list of campus events, be sure to check the Master Calendar at calendar.slc.edu

by Mary Kekatos ’15
mkekatos@gm.slc.edu

 

SLC Phoenix

The Phoenix is a non-profit, student-run publication representing the voices and opinions of Sarah Lawrence College community members. Our print edition publishes bi-weekly on Tuesdays, and our online edition is updated multiple times per week. Anyone may attend our open meetings at 9:00 PM on Wednesday nights in the North Room of the Pub.

Get out of your room for this week's activities

AT A GLANCE: This Week's Events at SLC.

AT A GLANCE: This Week's Events at SLC.

Homework driving you crazy? Need to get out of your room? Check out some SLC happenings going on this week!

Tonight, from 7 – 9 p.m. in Slonim Living Room is SLC”s Christian Union meeting. Christian Union is one of three religious organizations on campus whose mission to create a community where all are invited to attend and explore or ask questions about God and faith.

Also tonight is the first session of Model U.N. which “seeks to raise awareness to the important role the United Nations play in our global community”. Through simulation, the team will tackle and develop public speaking and debate skills.

Bates Spiritual Space is a place where people of all religious and spiritual beliefs are welcome to visit and pray or discuss questions they have concerning divinity and spirit. This Wednesday, September 24, a Divination Workshop will be held from 8 – 9:30 p.m. for just this purpose.

Whether you missed it in the theaters or just want to see it again, SLAC Film Series will be screening “The Fault in Our Stars” at 9 p.m. on Wednesday and on Saturday September 27 in Miller Lecture Hall.

Thursday is going to be a busy day on campus with several different events to choose from.

Rosh Hashanah begins on Wednesday evening and SLC’s Jewish organization, Hillel at SLC will be hosting  Rosh Hashanah Services at 10 a.m. in Bates Meeting Room followed by a brief service and dinner at 6 p.m. in Bates Faculty Dining Room.

Ever wanted to learn American Sign Language? Well, Sarah Lawrence’s ASL Club is holding their weekly meeting in Andrews 103 at 5:30 p.m. Members learn and practice ASL while exploring deaf culture.

What better way to wind up towards the end of the week then a good old friend friendly Scrabble tournament? SLACetc. will be hosting this event in the Hill House TV Lounge starting at 6 p.m.

From 8 -9 p.m., Scandal Revue will be holding their weekly meeting at Titsworth Dance Studio. For those who are unfamiliar, Scandal Revue is a workshop and performance troupe focused on the art of burlesques. Members start with learning basic burlesque techniques and go on to create their own burlesque characters and even perform in a number of shows held by the troupe. It’s great exercise and great fun so check it out!

Ready to let out all the energy you’ve been storing up all week? Visit the Blue Room from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Friday, September 26 for one of SLAC’s famous dance parties with a performance by Princesses of Pop!

Need a break this weekend? This Saturday, SLC’s RPG (Role-Playing Game) Collective will be hosting an event to teach people new to Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition, a fantasy tabletop RPG, the basics to the game. The event will be held from 4 – 10 p.m. in Bates Meeting Room.

There you have it, Sarah Lawrence. From movie screenings to dance parties, campus this week is just buzzing with action, so check some events out! For a complete list of campus events, be sure to check the Master Calendar at calendar.slc.edu.

by Mary Kekatos '15
mkekatos@gm.slc.edu

SLC Phoenix

The Phoenix is a non-profit, student-run publication representing the voices and opinions of Sarah Lawrence College community members. Our print edition publishes bi-weekly on Tuesdays, and our online edition is updated multiple times per week. Anyone may attend our open meetings at 9:00 PM on Wednesday nights in the North Room of the Pub.

SLC talks back: 12 Years a Slave

Chiwetel Ejiofor and other actors from Fox Searchlight Picture's  12 Years A Slave  in a still from the film.

Chiwetel Ejiofor and other actors from Fox Searchlight Picture's 12 Years A Slave in a still from the film.

Adapted from Solomon Northrup’s memoir, 12 Years a Slave chronicles the life of Northrup, a New York free-born black man who was kidnapped in 1841, in Washington D.C., and sold into slavery.  For twelve years, he would work on plantations in Louisiana before he was eventually freed.  The film was released to universal acclaim from critics and audiences alike.  In addition to several awards garnered including the Academy Award for Best Picture, various movie critics named it as one of the best films of 2013.

The film most certainly gathered a great deal of support from the Sarah Lawrence community. Matthew Picus ’16, film critic for the Phoenix, deems the film to be quite an important one, although much of his praise is for the actors’ performance.

“It is difficult if not impossible for the average American to imagine or even understand what slaves went through,” Picus says, “but [Chiwetel] Ejiofor delivers a performance that gives us a pretty good idea of what it must have been like to be a slave.”

Much of this support prompted Sarah Lawrence professor Alwin Jones to host a “12 Years a Slave – Talkback” regarding the film on Thursday, April 3 at Common Ground.  With approximately 10 students in attendance, all were seated around Professor Jones as he encouraged them to speak on issues that they deemed important,

One major talking point of the evening was about criticism that the film had received about its portrayal of violence.  Specifically, New York film critic, Armond White, had labeled 12 Years a Slave as “torture porn.”  In fact, the film does contain quite a few violent scenes including Solomon being beaten with a paddle when he is first taken, Patsey being beaten and then subsequently raped, and of course, the infamous noose scene.

An illustration from the 1853 edition of  Twelve Years A Slave,  by Solomon Northrup via Wikimedia Commons

An illustration from the 1853 edition of Twelve Years A Slave, by Solomon Northrup via Wikimedia Commons

Students seemed quite alarmed to learn of the criticism.

One girl brought up Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino’s 2012 western about an African-American man who agrees to help a German bounty hunter capture three outlaws in exchange for his wife’s rescue from her plantation owner.

“That’s surprising because, to me, Django had much more violence than this movie,” she said.

“That is Quentin Tarantino’s style – violence,” concurred another female student. “But, yeah, I agree.”

The professor returned students to the idea of the noose. The shot of the noose is held for a long time – 3 minutes.  There is no soundtrack music, just background noise such as the echo of children playing, insects, and a gurgling sound coming from the man hanging in the noose.  Professor Jones then asked students about how they felt watching the scene. The replies:

“Disgusted.”

“Discomfort.”

“Helplessness.”

“That is the idea,” Professor Jones said. 

He went on to explain that the violence has become naturalized.  The slave is hanging in the noose and the other slaves have to walk by and see the slave in the noose.  Hanging onto this shot creates the feeling for the audience that there is nothing the viewer can do but watch, just like it was for the other slaves.

Professor Jones also touched on another point – the portrayal of black women in the film.  One talking point was the possibility of black women being used to make the white men appear nobler.  He referred to a scene on a ship where a white man is stabbed trying to rescue a black female slave.  In Northrup’s original memoir, that man did not die trying to rescue the woman, but rather from tuberculosis – so why were the scene changed?  Professor Jones also said that the discussion can turn into a discussion about the women’s right movement as black men got the vote before black women.

Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong'o, and Chiwetel Ejiofor in a still from Fox Searchlight Pictures'  12 Years a Slave.

Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong'o, and Chiwetel Ejiofor in a still from Fox Searchlight Pictures' 12 Years a Slave.

The talkback did not just focus on themes and characterization but also cinematography.  Professor Jones discussed how the film was shot with a single and camera and with wide angles to give the viewer a panoramic view – both because the film is a period piece and, according to the film’s primary camera operator, Sean Bobbit, “Widescreen means a big film, an epic tale – in this case an epic tale of human endurance.”

One of the last things discussed was a shot of the Capitol Building.  Professor Jones elaborated the importance of this shot.

“In heart of the ‘land of the free,’ there is all this terror and corruption,” he said. 

In addition, Professor Jones gave some historical backstory that if a black person was caught without their papers in Washington D.C., they would be held in a ‘Negro pen’ until they had papers that could prove they were free. If papers could not be provided, they would be sent to Louisiana – which is pretty much what Solomon’s story is.

Many topics were touched upon that would unfortunately make this article much too long, but Professor Jones’ talkback revealed something very important about 12 Years a Slave.  It is more than just a period piece to bridge the gap between American slavery and the modern viewer, but it revealed to the audience a man many had never heard of – Solomon Northrup – and it is unflinching and honest portrayal of racism, sexism, violence, and corruption does what many films cannot do.  It leaves an impact with the viewer that provides the setting for talkbacks such as Sarah Lawrence College’s very own

by Mary Kekatos '15
mkekatos@gm.slc.edu

Stills from the film are property of Fox Searchlight Pictures and appear via http://www.darkhorizons.com/news/27505/first-photos-twelve-years-a-slave.

SLC Phoenix

The Phoenix is a non-profit, student-run publication representing the voices and opinions of Sarah Lawrence College community members. Our print edition publishes bi-weekly on Tuesdays, and our online edition is updated multiple times per week. Anyone may attend our open meetings at 9:00 PM on Wednesday nights in the North Room of the Pub.