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Isabella Alexander BA '07

Alexander

Gallatin is synonymous with . . .
Creativity! There is a rare combination of individual creativity, collaborative learning, and community building that is the magic of Gallatin.

What was your favorite course at Gallatin?
There are so many courses that still stand out in my memory and, as is always the case, it was the professors who made the exceptional ones exceptional. “Art Now: Tradition and Change,” taught by Laurin Raiken and Barnaby Ruhe, was one of my most memorable classroom experiences. They drew on literature from such a broad range of disciplines and encouraged us all to push the boundaries of traditional scholarship in our writing and thinking, creating a truly interdisciplinary environment.

If you were to design your own Gallatin course, what would it be?
Another one of my favorite courses was a community engagement course led by Saru Jayaraman. In fact, my experience in this particular course–working with migrant laborers in New York’s service industry–lit the fire for some of my later research. I would love to design a class in a similar format, teaching students about migration from an anthropological perspective, while also engaging them with local migrant populations.

What do you miss about Gallatin?
As I moved on to other institutions in my academic career, I began to appreciate more and more what a uniquely supportive, challenging, and inspiring place Gallatin is. Like many of us who called 1 Washington Place home for four years, I miss the community that Gallatin fosters among its students and faculty.

Isabella Alexander is a writer, filmmaker, teacher, and anthropologist who divides her time between Atlanta, Georgia and Rabat, Morocco. After graduating from Gallatin in 2007, she studied Film at the Speos Institute, earned an MA in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago, and completed her PhD in Anthropology at Emory University, where she was recently appointed as Visiting Assistant Professor. She has spent over three years in Morocco, where her work centers on the other side of the migrant and refugee crisis unfolding in Europe. Her doctoral dissertation, Burning at the EU Borders: Liminality, Belonging and Morocco’s New Migrant Class, earned her the Emerging Leader in Anthropology Award from the National Association of Student Anthropologists and was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, Fulbright, Fulbright-Hays, American Institute for Maghrib Studies, West African Research Association, and Emory University’s Visual Scholarship Initiative. She was recently contracted by the European Commission on Migration & Asylum to produce policy recommendations and continues to work in partnership with several international NGOs to improve the treatment of youth born into a rapidly expanding “invisible” population in Morocco. Her passion to engage with broader audiences through visual scholarship has driven her to write, direct, and produce a feature-length documentary film based on her dissertation research, The Burning: An Untold Story from the Other Side of the Migrant Crisis. Learn more or show your support at www.theburning.org.