Do you know that part in Skyfall where James Bond is chasing the evil mercenary Patrice on motorcycle, implausibly over the tile rooftops of Istanbul’s Kapalı Çarşı, or Grand Bazaar? Well, you would hopefully not see Marlboro students behaving so culturally insensitive-like, but you just might find them squeezing lemons and apricots at that very same Grand Bazaar this week. That’s because a group of students is in Turkey over spring break, part of their class with ceramics professor Martina Lantin and art history professor Felicity Ratté called, verbosely, “Art on the Walls: Ceramic Tiles in Seljuk and Ottoman Architecture, Meaning and Design.”
I know, I know, you’re thinking spring break is when college students typically to go to Fort Lauderdale and get savage tans and dance to pulsating music with total strangers and think about anything but Seljuk and Ottoman architecture. Well, Turkey is just one of several decidedly un-Florida destinations where Marlboro students are spending this spring break. Another trip, for the class called “Cuba: 1898 to the Present” with anthropology professor Carol Hendrickson and American studies professor Kate Ratcliff, went to Cuba (duh) to explore everyday Cuban life, politics and national identity, and also to research why their national dish, called ropa vieja, translates as “old clothes.”
Another group of students and alumni went out to Yellowstone National Park to track bison and elk and wolves and grizzlies and cook their dinners on geothermal geysers. Yet another band of students drove a van as far south as they needed to in order to find snow-free and dry rocks to climb on, which, given the way this spring has gone, was probably nearly as far south as Fort Lauderdale. I mean, you can’t keep these Marlboro students still for a minute if there is a Seljuk palace to explore or some basalt slabs to clamber up. We look forward to seeing them all again next week, with or without savage tans.