Alice Maiden

Philosophy, Class of 2019

I’m a Philosophy major with a certificate in Journalism.

Role(s) held in the Humanistic Studies Program:

Certificate Student

Activities on campus:

News & Culture at WPRB, The Nassau Weekly, Student Design Agency (SDA), 1080princeton visual journalism, Art Museum student tour guide

Why I decided to study the humanities:

I signed up for the HUM Sequence freshman year mostly because I had no idea what I wanted to major in, and thought getting exposed to so many books and fields of study would help me figure it out. Instead of narrowing my plans down, though, the HUM Sequence opened everything up for me. It was such a privilege to spend my freshman year just reading, not worrying about what box I’d fit into or what internship each class would lead to, and for the point to just be to enjoy the process of learning and to expand my thinking. Even after picking a major sophomore year—and I was still deciding among three until the last minute—I haven’t felt confined by categories of study at Princeton. In taking humanities and interdisciplinary classes, my world has continued to widen, even as I approach graduation.

What I have gained from the humanities:

Studying the humanities has created so many opportunities to see the world, which have in turn shaped my academic and personal interests. From the first trip to Rome with the HUM Sequence, I fell in love with the way travel and the humanities both create a space to ask questions that span multiple disciplines and do work that can’t be done from the classroom alone. I got involved with the Journalism Program within the Humanities Council soon after, traveling to Paris for spring break of my sophomore year and to Greece and Spain that summer to report. Reporting about a place became another way of studying the humanities; it’s another attempt to foster cultural understanding and bridge gaps between others by writing stories and asking questions. All of this led me to have the educational experience of a lifetime this past summer, traveling independently to New Zealand, Australia, and Kiribati as part of my journalism-philosophy thesis. I don’t think I could have dreamed this is where my education would take me back in the summer before freshman year when I was stressing about what major to choose.

Independent work:

For my senior thesis, I’m writing about migration driven by environmental change. Along with examining the political questions about “climate refugees,” I’m working on a long-form journalistic piece about how climate change is impacting peoples’ lives in the South Pacific based on my travel there this past summer, and about the ways in which these stories are reported on in media sources.

HUM Sequence fall break trip:

I was so fortunate to be part of the Rome trip, led by the wonderful Denis Feeney and Alberto Rigolio; Rome was packed with the places and stories that we had learned about in HUM, and the trip brought those books to life. Our days were long, and our feet were tired, but we learned so much from our professors and our group shared so many laughs and long, lovely dinners. For my independent work, I took an artistic approach to researching the Baths of Caracalla, a now-defunct ruins of an enormous bathing complex from about 200 A.D., by making a short film that aimed to reconstruct the visual and sonic elements of the baths.

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