Smith credits her advisors, Professor Gregory J. Nagy from the Classics Department and Richard A. Beaudoin, a preceptor in the Music Department, with supporting her and enabling her to complete such an unconventional thesis.
Smith said her experience during the thesis confirmed her love of music directing. “After I graduate, I’m going to go to New York City to be a music director, and this thesis was really pivotal in me figuring that out because it affirmed how much I love the creative process and how much theater can do,” she says.
Beaudoin, for his part, said he thoroughly enjoyed the process of advising a joint creative thesis. “It’s really a joy because you get to learn a lot about a subject that isn’t your specialty and you get to watch the student struggle with and make something of that discipline, [which] isn’t your discipline,” Beaudoin says. “To see Madi choose a text, to see her translate a text and in the meantime realize how strange and interesting the text was…and then when it translates itself into a libretto and that libretto translates itself into a piece of music, then it gets really quite exciting because I’ve been part of the pre-thinking. Here, you’re there for the takeoff.”
A joint concentrator in sociology and visual and environmental studies, Sheema Golbaba ’14 decided to display both the critical and creative sides of her studies in two theses: a critical paper in sociology and a film for VES. As an Iranian-American, she focused on the identities and assimilation of Iranians in the United States for both theses.
Golbaba stayed with families in Southern California, where a dense concentration of Iranian-Americans exists. “I looked for parallels and discrepancies between and across generations, from the grandparents, who sometimes can barely speak English, to the parents who probably came here either right before, during, or immediately after the revolution, and how their culture is essentially communicated to their kids and how their kids actually respond to it,” she explained.
Golbaba looked specifically at college-age Iranian-Americans. “At the time of 9/11, they were at a very critical juncture in terms of their development.” She stayed with each family for a few days and interviewed them in formal settings as well as observing their everyday life and constructed a cinematic narrative through it.
While Golbaba submitted her film this past week, she will continue to work on the piece until its screening in early May.
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