Saturday, November 24, 2012

Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie is a writer of Indian descent, primarily famous for his controversial book, The Satanic Verses, for which he was sentenced to death by the Iranian Court.
According to its critics, the book depicts Mohammed, the Muslim prophet, in a blasphemous way. For example, Salman Rushdie included in the book an episode in which Mohammed allegedly proclaims polytheism, by accepting the existence of three ancient goddesses in a few pagan verses (“satanic verses”) of the Quran (which have supposedly been eliminated).

Such depictions were considered highly offensive by the mufti of Iran (the country's spiritual leader) and prompted him to issue a fatwa against Salman Rushdie, placing a bounty on his death in 1989, less than a year after the publication of the book.
Twenty three years later, the author writes another book, Joseph Anton, retelling the experiences he has had while in hiding, and highlighting the need for cultural and religious discourse, and the importance of free speech.
Come listen to his stories this Thursday, November the 29th, in the Chapel, at 4.30!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Friday, November 16, 2012

Want to start your Friday early?


For more info email aisler!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Crooked Arrows: Next Wednesday!

Come see Crooked Arrows FREE at the Hamilton Movie Theater on November 14th at 7pm.

The plotline focuses on Native American lacrosse players, including players who live nearby in Oneida. Check out the movie's website, here.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Diwali, popularly known as the festival of lights, is one of the most important Hindu festivals of the year, and is celebrated in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad& Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore and Fiji.

The name “Diwali” is a contraction of the Sanskrit word “Deepavali”, which translates into “row of lamps”. In fact, for Diwali people place small clay lamps filled with oil, and light them, which symbolizes the triumph of good over evil. At night, there are also fireworks, which are meant to drive away the evil spirits. During the five-day celebration, people wear new clothes and share sweets with friends and family.

Diwali commemorates the return of Lord Rama from his 14-year-long exile after defeating the demon-king Ravana. The people of the Lord Rama celebrated by illuminating the kingdom with lamps and by bursting firecrackers.

Colgate’s Hindu Student Association will celebrate Diwali this Saturday, November 10th, at 6pm, with Indian food in the Hall of Presidents, and then fireworks in the Whitnall Field.

Native American Awareness Week is Coming!

Check out some of the upcoming Native American Awareness events next week! 

Wednesday Nov. 14th 6-8pm: Free Holy Smokes BBQ in the COOP TV Room
Come learn about the Pine Ridge Reservation and the COVE Alternative Spring Break trip to the Pine Ridge Reservation while enjoying free food, hosted by Project Peace.

Friday Nov.16th : Brown Bag 12:15 in ALANA
What is the true story of Thanksgiving?

2013 Spring Break Program in Martinique


 Monday, Nov 12 
Lawrence 203

• Immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of the French Caribbean island
of Martinique
• Attend lectures at the University of Antilles and Guyane in Fort de France,
• Learn to speak some Creole and French
• Go on fi eld trips to interact with Martinicans and discover this unique
multiethnic society.
• Hike through the Tropical Rain Forests and kayak in the Mangroves.
• Volunteer a few hours to help Martinican University students improve their
spoken English.
• Build a minor or major in Caribbean Studies

Monday, November 5, 2012

Día de Los Muertos

First of all, I have realized how to bring people to events--free Mexican food. But, let us pretend that people did not just come for the food, that they came for the actual meaning and purpose of Día de Los Muertos--to honor and celebrate the deaths of loved ones. What is this obsession we have with death? Why did so many people come?

The reason I chose and was so excited for this particular event is the Hispanic perception of death. Octavio Paz said, “The Mexican, in contrast, is familiar with death. (He) jokes about it, caresses it, sleeps with it, celebrates it. It is one of his favorite toys and his most steadfast love.” Death is usually a solemn time and one can't help but feel the melancholy, but being from a Mexican background I have learned to rejoice in it, to not fear it, but accept and in some sense have learned to love it. 

For me, the most moving part of the event was reading the letters students wrote to their loved ones who passed. I read every single one, and each letter perpetuated a warm and blissful feeling, not one was mournful or gloomy. The best part was the different cultures and languages: English, Vietnamese, Chinese, Spanish, all represented on the table. For me, it meant that the celebration of a loved one is not distinctly a Mexican or Hispanic phenomenon, that it is worldwide. People turned out, not to feel sad about a passed one, but because they wanted to celebrate that special person's life and to show their appreciation to that person.

I could not have been happier with the turnout and hope to continue and maybe expand this event for my remaining time at Colgate.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Don't Forget! Eid Banquet!

Tonight is the Eid Banquet from 6-8pm, with free delicious Meditteranean food, and a performance from the Nour Ensemble! Join us in the HOP!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Why I don't like the terms "West" and "East"

I'll never forget my first CORE Culture class, where my Professor stood and wrote the words WEST and EAST on the blackboard in big chalk letters. She then asked our class, entirely made up of freshmen, to shout out words we associated with the words "West" and "East." Slowly, but surely, each of my peers raised their hands and gave some synonyms for these terms.

I know its knit-picky to worry about words, but I think words have the power to either inform or confuse. Words have linguistic meanings, and in the most basic of ways "East" and "West" are just directions. But, words also have cultural meanings. Ever since my first CORE Class I've thought better of using these words because they have so many connotations attached to them. As a South Asian Studies major I've been working to understand what people commonly refer to as the "Eastern World" for years now. "Eastern" according to?

Geographically, "East" and "West" become muddied when you are standing in a different place. To many people the Middle East is actually considered West Asia, and if I'm standing in California, Asia is actually more to the West than the rest of America. But, the connotations of "East" and "West" often make "East" the pejorative, despite the vast amount of contributions that countries typically labeled as "Eastern" have made to philosophy, science, technology, world religion, etc. "West" by contrast, is too often made into the more progressive set of countries.

"East" and "West" are blanket terms. Is it really possible to make statements about the "Eastern" world that apply to countries as vastly different as China and India, or the "Western" world that apply to countries with different cultural norms like Germany and the United States?

I think that the words "East" and "West" go back to the points that Said lays out in his book Orientalism- they are subtle ways of generalizing about an "other," which are built into the fibres of common speech.
But the well informed individual will be more clear in juxtaposing different cultures, because the constructs of the "Eastern" and "Western" worlds don't allow us to see the commonalities between separate cultures.

What do you think of the words "East" and "West?"

Happy American Indian Heritage Month!

 November is American Indian Heritage Month!

Check out Colgate's Native American Studies Department, Native American Student Association, and Project Peace for more information on how people are celebrating November on campus!

Also, take a look at the Smithsonian's site dedicated to American Indian Heritage Month. Also make sure to check out the government's coverage of Native American Heritage Month!

Most recently, Joanne Shenandoah joined ALANA for a performance.Ms. Shenandoah is a Grammy Award Winner, Ph.D., and board member for the Hiawatha Institute. She is a member of the Oneida Nation. Stay tuned for more events celebrating on-campus and off-campus Native American communities.

All Saints' and All Souls'!

Today is All Saints' Day! All Saints' Day is a Christian holiday commemorating the departed faithful. While All Saints' Day is religious, its also cultural, and worldwide there are many different ways in which people celebrate the festival!

One tradition, which ALANA will be hosting tomorrow, is Dia De Los Muertos. Day of the Dead, originally a two-day tradition, honors friends and family members who have died. The Day of the Dead event will be tomorrow in La Casa hosted by our own ALANA Ambassador, Kat Kollitides!

Tonight, you can also attend Burritos con los Santitos, hosted by the Newman Community at 6:30pm in the COOP TV Room. It's a cool way to learn more about the Saints, but also about the traditions surrounding All Saints' days across cultures.

To learn more about the stories behind these holidays, click here!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Shaping Your Vision

Check out some of the photos from our recent Shaping Your Vision panel below! The Panel featured alumni who spoke about networking and work experience in today's economy. Thanks to BSU and AOC in collaborating on this wonderful event! 

Hey Guys. So last Friday was Eid-al-Adha, the Muslim commemoration of the Abrahamic sacrifice and in view of this auspicious festival, the Muslim Student Association (MSA) at Colgate is organizing a banquet at the Hall of Presidents. The event is held every year and the members of MSA always put in a lot of effort to make it a fun and informational exchange of culture. This year it features Arab Food as well as a musical performance by The Nour Ensemble which specializes in Ancient European, Kurdish and Persian music. Professors and students are all welcome so don't be afraid to drop by and have a great time.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Colgate study-abroad destinations

I knew that one of the ‘to-do’s on campus is to go to President Herbst’s office hours, which is why I chose to check that off the Colgate bucket list last Wednesday.  When answering my question regarding his goals for Colgate right now, President Herbst said that one of his main priorities is diversifying the destinations that people have for study-abroad groups. 

In fact, the destination of study-abroad semesters has often been a topic of conversation lately. The language professors to whom I have spoken commented on the fact that few students choose to step out of their comfort zone, and go to North-Africa or Latin-America to study French or Spanish, and instead go to France or Spain. Older students were also complaining about how much more difficult it is to get a non-Colgate program to a developing country, approved.

Going on a study-abroad should mean, in my opinion, having access to a culture which would otherwise be hidden. What is the purpose of leaving your country and going to a place where people enjoy the same type of entertainment, have a similar social etiquette and behavior, and ascribe to the same mentality? Of course, what you see is different, the history and literature of the place are different, but you are a lot more likely to experience a cultural shock in Morocco, for example, than you are in Paris. French people attempting to kiss you on the cheek for three times might slightly throw you off, but that’s about it. 

We leave in an era of globalization, in which cultures mingle and mix. This is why I believe that we should reach out for the cultures which are left as intact as possible, because the purpose of a study-abroad should be being educated in a way you couldn’t at your own institution: going well beyond the academics, into cultural, behavioral and anthropological areas. 
Stepping out of our comfort zones should be able to make us more culturally-aware people, more understanding and welcoming of other people’s differences. It is the experiences we will have in completely different countries that will blow our minds and open our horizons, which is why we should not choose the easy way out by going to a Western destination.

I believe President Herbst’s initative is amazing, and I hope the study-group destinations diversify during my time at Colgate. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

ALANA Family Weekend events today!

Today come introduce your parents to ALANA! Join us at the following events: 

The Tailgate Kickoff beginning at 11am at Tyler's Field, where ALANA faculty and professors will be participating in a BBQ throw down! 

Shape Your Vision at 5pm at the Edge Cafe! At this panel/dinner alumni of color will speak about their work experience and networking advice. Families are welcome! 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Happy Dussehra!

Today is one of my favorite Hindu holidays - Dussehra. I spent a semester abroad in India last year, and one of my favorite moments was the burning of a giant paper Ravana statue near our neighborhood temple. The story of Dussehra references Lord Ram's vanquishing the demon Ravana in the epic Ramayana. There are many different versions of the Ramayana across India, all reflecting unique local traditions and culture. It's a good example of the way in which culture might alter the ways in which religion is practised. The Ramayana is taught in some Legacies of the Ancient World courses at Colgate, as well as in Religion and Asian Studies courses.

The Ramayana is interesting not only because there are so many Indian interpretations, but also because there are interpretations of it from around the world. Nina Paley, an American, made a feminist version called Sita Sings the Blues. A group of web designers in Indonesia made an online web comic reinterpreting Ram's story in the context of Google Plus which can be found at It's always interesting to say the way narratives might be interpreted across cultural boundaries, with profound differences in their meaning.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Wear Blue on Monday!

"Everyone is encouraged to wear blue on Monday in solidarity to demonstrate that this community is stronger than the vile acts that have been committed against us." 

After the recent bias incident, and bias incidents that continue to happen on college campuses, it's important to work to improve our campus and to remind the Colgate community of how many allies it has. That being said, I encourage everyone to wear blue on Monday in support of the COVE, Center for Women's Studies, Advocates, Lamba, and concerned members of our community. This month is National Coming Out Month, which serves as a reminder to us that we should always be working to by allies to one another on our campus.

Recently the ALANA Ambassadors attended a SafeZone training with some of the members of the LGBTQ Office to learn about making our community better for everyone. One thing I took away from the experience was how much more discussion there needs to be both in our classrooms and around campus. If we all take some time once in a while to consider together how to make our community more comfortable for people of all backgrounds, the campus will feel better overall. 

I recommend going to the LGBTQ Life page on Colgate's website for some great contacts and resources you can use either to feel support or just to learn more about what the University is doing to support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and ally students! See you sporting blue! 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Does Music Have A Color?

When it comes to stereotypes, we are expected to do certain things based off of who society thinks we are whether it is due to our race, gender, religion, socio-economic class, the list can go on and on. As we meet people who are different from us and take the time to get to know them, we realize that they break the stereotypes in all different forms. Associated with many stereotypes are the kinds of music that people listen to. Everyone listens to music for various reasons; some songs you just love the beat, in others, the words give it more meaning. Our society tends to make things binary; something is either this or that allowing nothing in the middle. Sometimes music is seen as either Black or White, but what makes us think this way and why? Watch this video to hear all different perspectives:
So, what do you think? How do you feel about these titles? Is music and its targeted audience dependent on race or is music something that can intertwine all races and cultures? Leave your thoughts in the comment section! 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

It's National Ally Week!

Recipe For Sweet Curry Chicken

Hey guys, so today I decided to share a recipe with you. This is a traditional Bengali dish that is made on a lot of special events. Its called "Korma" but for some reason it also goes by the name "roast" back home (yes, I am from Bangladesh), however, it is not like anything like what you'd normally associate with roast. Anyway, here it goes:


Chicken: preferably boneless, cut into small chunks (about 3-4 pounds)
Yogurt/Sour Cream (1/2 tablespoon)
Diced Tomatoes (1/3 - 1/2 cup)
Garlic: diced or powdered (1 teaspoon, a little more if powdered)
Onion Powder (2 tablespoons)
Diced Onions (1/2 cup)
Crushed Cashew Nuts: walnuts work just as well really (1 tablespoon)
Butter (~1/2 cup)
Cumin (1/4 teaspoon)
Garam Masala (1/4 teaspoon)
Red Chili: powdered (1/4 teaspoon)
Cinnamon Powder (a pinch)
Salt (to taste)
Sugar (~1 teaspoon for step 1 and to taste for step 5)
Lemon Juice (~1 tablespoon)
Parsley (for dressing)


  1. Marinade the chicken with everything other than the onions, the tomatoes, the lemon juice and the butter. Allow the marinated chicken to sit for half an hour or overnight in the fridge.
  2. Fry the onions in the butter at medium heat until golden.
  3. Add the marinated chicken, the tomatoes and any remaining marinade. Stir constantly for about 7-10 minutes (till chicken is mostly cooked).
  4. Add enough water to cover the chicken, reduce heat to low/medium low and then cover.
  5. Wait for curry sauce to come to a boil. Remove the cover and stir.
  6. Taste and adjust salt and sugar (and anything else you think it needs - I'm giving you free reign)
  7. Add the lemon juice.
  8. Stir and reduce until the consistency is similar to what's shown in the picture above.
  9. Remove from stove. Dress with parsley. Serve with naan, white or cinnamon rice.

One in Three Violence Training Today!

It's always good to feel prepared, just in case you find yourself in a bad situation. Today at 4:30 go to WMST and learn about sexual assault and relationship violence at Colgate. Kimmie Garner and Colleen Nassimos will teach you how to be an ally to those who have experienced sexual violence. It's good to have the knowledge needed to help out a friend. And, as the CDC points out quite rightly on their webpage, "The ultimate goal is to stop sexual violence before it begins." 

Email Kimmie at kgarner if you're planning on attending. Light refreshments will be served, and campus-wide facilitators from Admissions, Campus Safety, OUS, and The Network for a 1.5 hour training on violence prevention and ally support. This is a wonderful oppurtunity to be a more active participant on Colgate's campus. 

Interested in learning a bit more about sexual assault and safety at Colgate? WMST employs interns that would be more than happy to help you! You could also attend a Network meeting, or read this Maroon News article written by Rebecca Raudabaugh '13. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Tomorrow: Kevin Morrison '92

Kevin Morrison is a Managing Partner of Next Gen LLC, where he manages new international operations, strategic planning, and business development. Furthermore he advises businesses on the benefits of aquaponics and he works to create food security for clients by creating sustainable aquaculture and aquaponic farms. Tomorrow, Mr. Morrison will be part of the Doing Well By Doing Good series, in which he'll explain why entrepreneurs should look to Africa to help save the global economy.

Not sure what the deal is with hydroponics? Neither was I. But after some quick research I found that hydroponics is an agricultural process that uses minerals and water, but no soil. Many experts promote the idea of hydroponics as a cheap solution to farming in areas with poor soil quality.

Check out Next Gen LLC's site. But, more importantly, go to Mr. Morrison's talk at 12:15 in the COVE!

Tomorrow, head over to WMST!

Tomorrow students will discuss Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the recent Clothesline Project, which is a visual display dedicated to survivors of domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, and harassment that goes up at Colgate every October. What's really cool is that towns and campuses across the country take part in the Clothesline project, and each tee has personal meaning. This is a really great opportunity for activism on campus. The discussion will take place at 4:15 PM!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

First International Day of the Girl

Supporters have been tweeting tributes to
Malala Yousufzai on the Day of the Girl.
(Image via
 The UN has declared today the first International Day of the GIRL! This year the United Nations has asked us to think about women's culture in the contexts of education and child marriages. It's impossible not to think of today in the context of Malala Yousufzai, a 14 year old advocate for women's equality in Pakistan whose currently fighting for her life after being shot by the Taliban. Malala's story should remind all us Colgate ladies how lucky we are, especially today. Here's what the UN has to say about their new day:

"The Day of the Girl is about highlighting, celebrating, discussing, and advancing girls lives and opportunities across the globe. When girls come together to talk about what really matters to us, we can teach other people–grownups, boys, girls all across the world–a new way of thinking about issues like gender stereotypes, discrimination, and opportunity. October 11 is not just a day but a movement. 10.11.12 is bigger than one issue, one organization, or even one country." ( 

In the spirit of the day, I know I'll be talking about women's culture on campus and in our community with my friends and teachers. I encourage any readers to do the same! Interested in learning a little bit more about the day of the girl? Visit! You can even watch the first ever DAY OF THE GIRL Summit at 7pm tonight at!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


         This Friday, we here at ALANA, are hoping to kick off the homecoming weekend with our classic Fresh Friday featuring some soul, r&b and 90's music courtesy Affinity, the cover band from NY. The event is to be held at Donovan's Pub between the hours of 6 and 8 and will have free food, singing, dancing and KARAOKE!! The Fresh Friday has always been one of ALANA's flagship events and we feel pretty confident that the AWESOME populace at 'Gate will pounce on this opportunity to kick back and enjoy the cozy setting of the Pub.
         Aside from the obvious attractions of good food and great music we wanted to spice things up a bit this year and so are also giving away a hundred dollars to the student/cultural group that brings the largest number students to the event. We are hoping that this will bring in students from all corners of campus and give them an opportunity to meet and hang out with new people and all in all enjoy a great evening.

Welcome to the ALANA Blog!

Welcome to the ALANA Cultural Center blog, where you can hear about new and upcoming events at the center and on campus, and listen to insights from student ambassadors and members of the Colgate community! Stay tuned for exciting news!

Interested in writing something for the blog? Email with your own thoughts,stories, or ideas!

The ALANA Cultural Center is all about expanding cultural knowledge on campus, and developing relationships between diverse groups of students. Please come by or continue reading to learn about all the different cultures represented on Colgate University's campus!