Make The Connection

Studying 'Racism and Sectarianism'

June 25, 2018 – by Cole Hatcher

Anna Davies ’19 (from left), Eli Reed ’19, Adedayo Akinmadeyemi ’19, and Daniel Delatte ’19 visit Carrick-a-Reed Rope Bridge on the coast of Northern Ireland. The students studied racism and sectarianism during their OWU Connection experience. (Photo courtesy of Anna Davies)

Ohio Wesleyan Group Travels to Northern Ireland to Compare Social Climate in U.S.

Name: Anna L. Davies ’19

Hometown: Saint Clairsville, Ohio

Major: English

Minor: History

Experience: Theory-to-Practice Grant, “Racism and Sectarianism: A Comparison Between America and Northern Ireland”

Davies and students Adedayo Akinmadeyemi ’19, Daniel Delatte ’19, HannahJo Grimes ’20, Cara Harris ’18, and Eli Reed ’19 traveled to Northern Ireland for 12 days in May to explore how issues of Catholic-Protestant sectarianism in Ireland compares to issues of racism in the United States. Their OWU Connection experience is overseen by OWU Assistant Chaplain Lisa Ho and Director of Career Services Leslie Melton.

Lessons learned

“I’ve been to Belfast before and the amount of research my previous group did about narrative creation and storytelling in the wake of The Troubles was just too fascinating to not continue.

“Lately I’ve been very interested in the creation of narratives by the former Confederate States of America after the Civil War, and the chance to apply the skills I’ve developed from that research into what I’d started two years ago in Northern Ireland sounded perfect.

“It was also a great chance to blend my disciplines – historical facts so often are transformed into personal narratives. Going back a second time also really helped me see how far I’ve come as both a student and an individual. I’m quite proud of the maturity and academic knowledge I’ve acquired since my first trip in 2016, and inspired by how much left there is to learn. …

Anna Davies and classmates visit the Titanic Museum – the ship was built in Belfast – during her OWU Connection trip to Northern Ireland. (Photo courtesy of Lisa Ho)

“[During this trip], I learned to trust myself and my travel abilities. I learned it’s OK to just be yourself and be excited to love learning and being a student.

“I learned to pay close attention to the world and people around me, as you never know what piece of history you can uncover by taking a closer look or engaging in a conversation. I’ve also learned that all things in life are so much more complex than we usually think – people are multifaceted and complicated, and events so often can be interpreted and utilized to tell completely different stories.

“This experience strengthened my desire to study English and History; I loved gathering historical facts and data and contextualizing them within the stories we heard or the narratives society teaches. This trip definitely fueled my desire to pursue postgraduate studies in history, while my first trip in 2016 really confirmed my desire to be a writer.”

Trip highlights

“Getting to know the people on my grant was one of the greatest pleasures of the experience, though I assure you, the entire trip was such a blessing. Being with people who were so genuinely and authentically themselves, and so equally eager to partake in a hands-on learning experience, was a privilege.

“I think my favorite part was just walking around Belfast and realizing that every building and person had a much deeper significance than I realized. Being constantly surrounded by and immersed in history was beyond eye-opening. The trip really helped me value my abilities as a historian.”

Why I chose Ohio Wesleyan

“I chose OWU because of the abundant travel opportunities and the stellar English program. I really wanted a small department to help me hone my writing talents and thought the professors were brilliant.”

My plans after graduation

“I’m currently exploring M.F.A. programs in Nonfiction Writing and M.A. programs in History and Literature. I’ll most likely take a gap year to work in the fields of editing, communications, social media, or public history.”