July 2009: I’m about to embark upon what I hope will be a great adventure.  In six months, I’ll visit three continents (and speak three languages), take five classes, write thirty pages of Resesarch Paper, and meet untold numbers of people.

In the 2009-2010 academic year, I will be resesarching The Effects of Colonialism on Deforestation in Madagascar, A Social and Environmental History.  Part 1 (Fall 2009) takes place in Madagascar (and briefly, in France).  Part 2 (Spring 2010) is firmly located back at Oberlin College within the confines of Mudd Library.

I leave in two weeks to spend some time in Paris and Aix-en-Provence, buried mostly in Aix’s Archives nationale d’outre-mer.  Thanks to the generosity of Oberlin’s History and Sociology departments, I’ll be scouring old documents for information about how the French colonial government managed Madagascar’s forests.

THEN, I fly to Madagascar for a semester studying Ecology and Conservation with SIT.  Based in Fort Dauphin (on the south-eastern coast of Madagascar), the program promises a mixture of classes and field-trips, homestays, language instruction in French and Malagasy, and the opportunity to visit rural areas and talk to people and forests.  Thanks to the Environmental Studies department at Oberlin, I’ll be staying in Madagascar for two weeks after the SIT program ends to travel and do more independent research for my History thesis for Oberlin.

After roaming around France and Scandinavia for some weeks, I’ll come back State-side, unpack and repack, and head to Oberlin where I have three months to craft my honors thesis, using all I’ve learned in Madagascar and France plus some.  With that done, I’ve nothing left to do but graduate.


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