American Studies, according to the description for AM 221, Methods and Approaches, is about "making connections."
On Friday, November 2, 2007, members of Professor Daniel A. Nathan's Global Perspectives of U.S. (AM 332) made connections in a very dramatic way. At 9:20 a.m. class members Margaret Farrell '08, Andrew Dash '09, Juliet Kaye '10, Jake Freedman '08, and Katherine Morton '09, joined Prof. Nathan in Skidmore's computer center to participate in a three-way video conference class session with members of Sam McHale (Skidmore Alum, Class of 2007) and Professor Jaroslav Marcin's "Intro to American Studies" class at Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Košice, Slovakia and with Susan Ball, Political Section Chief, at the US Embassy in Bratislava.
The idea came together because of Sam McHale's desire to find a way to open communications between students on an international level about the role and image of the U.S. in the post-9/11 world. Sam says he hopes it will "set some sort of precedent whereby students throughout the world will be able to talk to, and learn from, each other with greater ease than before. A few years ago this would have been impossible without purchasing plane tickets, but with new technology, it was quite easy to set up."
Professor Nathan said that the teleconference was "an interesting, unique experience" and was grateful that Sam initiated the conversation and that IT was able to facilitate it. "It's not everyday one can have a conversation in real time with students, faculty, and foreign service officers half way around the world. Hopefully we'll be able to do this kind of thing again sometime soon. It certainly enriched those of us who were able to participate."
Margaret Farrell, Class of 2008, said of the experience, "It was a wonderful way to connect with another part of the world without leaving our campus. We were reminded that our world is becoming increasingly small, which, of course, makes the question of our international reputation all the more critical."