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Shir Alon poses for a portrait outdoors.

A Common Thread: Using Literature to Connect Larger Ideas

Oil, feminism, minorities, and genies. All of these are the focus of classes taught by new Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Professor Shir Alon. Her classes are rooted in her comparative literature background. “I feel that literature provides us with tools and metaphors to think about our social and political life in ways that are more powerful than anything else that I’ve encountered,” she says.
Photo of student Ray Barney

An Activist in the Making

Ray Barney is a senior at the University of Minnesota double-majoring in gender, women & sexuality studies (GWSS) and Asian languages and literatures (ALL) with a minor in art. They are already doing work informed by feminist, Black, trans, and queer praxis. With the tools and opportunities they’ve gained during their time at the University of Minnesota, Barney hopes to be a part of the shared fight for shared liberation.
Christine Marran

Looking Within to See Beyond

“Humans have long viewed themselves as more special than anything else, and that impedes our ability to think critically about the environment,” says Christine Marran. Marran is the chair of the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies and a professor of Japanese literature and cultural studies.

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