Sylvie Thode

English, Class of 2020

I’m an English major with certificates in Roman Languages and Culture; Gender and Sexuality Studies; and European Cultural Studies.

Role(s) held in the Humanistic Studies Program:

Certificate Student, Student Mentor, Symposiarch, Behrman Society

Activities on campus:

On campus I act as the Head Symposiarch of the Humanities Council’s Mentorship Program, serve as a Project Leader and volunteer at Community House, and write for the Nassau Literary Review. I also hold a campus job at the Women*s Center, advise first-years and sophomores as a PAA in Mathey College, and work as a researcher for a digital humanities project on interwar Paris. When I’m not in Chancellor Green or Joseph Henry House, you can usually find me on the Towpath or trail-running in Community Park.

Why I decided to study the humanities:

For as long as I can remember I have loved storytelling. Being the child of two artists, it’s been ingrained in me from the beginning that there are so many different ways to tell a story, be they visual, literary, auditory, or more. The humanities, for me, are a way to analyze the stories humanity has told and continues to tell across time, while I set out on the journey of crafting my own story.

What I have gained from the humanities:

For me, studying the humanities has meant expanding my community. That community has taken three forms: there’s the intellectual community I’ve found with other scholars and writers across the years who’ve read the same texts as I’m reading, and asked the same questions I’m asking. There’s my own Princeton community of fellow students and incredible professors who go out of their way to support me. And finally, there’s the international community to which Princeton has given me access by means of four separate study abroad experiences. Knowing I have a home in so many places and times is a constant source of joy and comfort.

Independent work:

Though my independent work is still taking shape, I have recurring interests in surrealism both poetic and visual, classical reception (especially from voices not represented in the classical canon), and poetry written from exile.

HUM Sequence fall break trip:

In the fall of 2017 I went on the Rome trip led by Professors Baraz and Schor. It was such an incredible experience — as someone interested in classical reception, I loved seeing how Rome has interpreted and reimagined its past across the years. For my research project, I examined how the visual culture of papal vestments communicated changes in Catholic church doctrine during the Counter-Reformation and after the Second Vatican Council of the early 1960s. My research took me everywhere from a 5th century basilica to Gammarelli’s, tailor shop of the current Pope!

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