Moravian’s “First FIRE Day” is set for Monday, October 29th
The initial phase of FIRE–Moravian’s new Freshman Interdisciplinary Research Experience–will culminate in the “First FIRE Day” on Monday, October 29. Students will present collaborative research projects centering around their close reading of Edwidge Danticat’s novel Claire of the Sea Light, which is set in early 21st-century Haiti.
Overall, the freshmen have been provided with multiple perspectives on life in Haiti as reflected not only in the novel, but also in the larger culture and ecology. In their History classes, freshmen have been exposed to Haitian religious practices–including Vodou–and have related what they’ve learned to evidence from the novel. Meanwhile, in Biology, students have been prompted to imagine visiting Haiti and to answer questions relating to the environmental conditions they may encounter there.
The novel’s complex representations of life in modern Haiti have elicited genuine empathy in many readers, and students have performed original research incorporating both historical and scientific perspectives. Led by their English teachers, students have worked hard not only to read the novel closely, but also to push beyond its story in order to better understand its challenging context. Some groups have chosen to look more deeply into the root causes of poverty, disease and political oppression in Haiti, while other less weighty topics, such as Haitian cuisine and popular music, have also emerged. Especially impressive have been the creative components of the project! There’s even a FIRE storyboard website under development, so stay tuned …
We all look forward to the results of our students’ original research and genuine creativity as this initial phase of FIRE culminates on the 29th, and we can’t wait to see what they’ll do next!