Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Day 2 in Class, Already?

It's summer and rainy. Ithaca has weird weather.
And yes! You've guessed it correctly! Today was another fantastic day in class. After eating breakfast for the first time at Cornell, (I generally have been skipping breakfast ever since I got here) we got seats towards the front of the lecture hall again, yet we were more spread out this time. Today's topics in class were the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. What made these two "cannonical" texts -- as my professor would call them -- so interesting was that they were so contradictory. The tones of both of these texts are so different yet similar. For instance, the Old Testament establishes command and law as the major premise, while the New Testaments sets communal love as the basis for its arguments. Yet both of these establish God as the supreme authority. I probably don't sound as interesting as Professor Kramnick or TA Vijay, but I'm trying. You get the idea, right?
Lunch at the Trillium
As much as I thought it would be nice to get away from the traditional Indian food I eat everyday at home, I found myself consuming it yet again at the Trillium for lunch as the International Station had the shortest line. However, it was nice because it gave me the flavors of home and made me feel all the more special. Once we completed our lunch, we went back to our lecture room to hear a guest speaker, Richard Stumbar, a lawyer located in downtown Ithaca.  He shared some great insight about various cases he was involved in regarding feminism and same-sex marriages. As per the feminism case that he had described, Stumbar explained how the female coaches weren't given the same opportunities, salaries, or working conditions as men at Cornell University. With the help of Stumbar and other activists, Cornell has grown from having only 3 female sports teams to 19 sports teams. Today, the number of female teams on campus is in fact larger than the number of male teams, according to lawyer Stumbar.
In front of our lecture hall.
Though he had lost the case in which Stumbar favored same sex marriages, his case was one of the initial ones regarding this issue. And today, New York is a state that has allowed same-sex marriages. But this issue brought up an important discussion in our class. As a student asked, "Why is the government even involved in marriage?" Well, since there are two viewpoints to marriage, (one through religion and another through the state) states justify their interference by claiming marriage is a civil act and therefore should be decided upon by the state or federal government. This topic had me connecting this to the church vs. state dilemma as we had seen in the Old and New Testaments. During times of the Roman Empire, the church and the state were synonymous. The church obviously had control over the state and this had people obeying the laws of God rather than some other political authority. This connection that I was able to make not only helped me understand the lesson, but also how this concept relates to today's issue of same-sex marriage.

After some dense reading and pondering upon the issues presented in class today, I headed off to dinner where our cohort would celebrate our fellow Cornellian Carla's birthday. We had got a card for her in advance and Mr. Chan-Law walked in with an ice cream cake surprising her. Because we tried not to garner any further attention from the students eating around us, we all agreed not to sing "Happy Birthday" as it might attract more people and since we only had a few pieces of cake remaining. Because I wasn't able to tell Carla this in person, here I go now: Hope you enjoyed your informal birthday celebration. We tried and hope you were satisfied. :) Happy Birthday to Carla once again.
Birthday celebrations. :)

1 comment:

  1. This is good and we could able to visualize as you explain. Good luck and we hope you have fun in Cornell.