Since 2006, the Newcomb College Institute has held Fridays@Newcomb, a presentation series featuring guest speakers and complimentary food from local restaurants. Students attending the events this year will not only find the same diversity in menus from week to week, but also a broader variety of subject matter.
At a recent Fridays@Newcomb session, students listen to Judith Schafer, visiting faculty member in the history department, discuss her book about prostitution in antebellum New Orleans. (Photo by Brandon Meginley)
"From 2006 until spring 2009 our presentations only included women's perspective and gender-related topics," says Rachel Spencer, assistant director of Newcomb Student Programs.
Tomorrow (Sept. 18), Marilyn Miller, associate professor of Caribbean Studies, will lecture on the Cuban slave poet, Juan Francisco Manzano. In October, Elio Brancaforte, associate professor of German and Slavic languages, will share the accounts of 16th- and 17th-century Europeans who traveled to Iran. View the full calendar here for Fridays@Newcomb, held at 1 p.m. each Friday at the Newcomb College Institute.
"Presenters are members of the faculty who have received Newcomb grants to partially fund their research," says Spencer.
While no longer solely focused on women's issues, Fridays@Newcomb is one of a number of student programs facilitated by the Newcomb College Institute that preserves a tradition of enhancing the educational experience of women.
A cornerstone of that tradition is Newcomb Pottery, which provided the topic for what Spencer says was among the more memorable Friday presentations. Last spring, Jessie Poesch, professor emeritus of art history, talked about the legendary pottery produced in the Newcomb art program of the early 20th century.
Though the Newcomb College Institute's mission is to support undergraduate women at Tulane, men are welcome to join in on student programs and attend events.
"Now that we've changed the way we select our topics, it will be interesting to see if even more men start to come," Spencer says. "It makes for a much better Q & A and a much better student discussion after the talk if there are both genders and varying student body represented."
Brandon Meginley is a senior majoring in journalism at Tulane University.