Class With Visiting Professor Finkelman

ameka menes
On Thursday, January 10, our registrar office sent out a notice that there was one more class being offered this semester. It was Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS) and worth .25 of a credit (essentially an easy class). There was just one iffy thing about it: it was packed into one week, with two and half hours of class time every day!

Time for another call to my parents.

It looked very interesting, the subject matter concerning the constitution and how it was supposedly pro-slavery. I thought huh, well, how could that be? I was curious, and that curiosity won in the end. I signed up for the class. My parents supported me and then there I was, walking across the soggy lawn to Cowgill on the Monday before spring break for yet another class I’d signed up for. It would either be awesome or boring. (This tends to be how I perceive a great deal of my classes. I either like them and look forward to them, or you know, not so much.)

Lucky me, it was the former and not the latter.

“Is the making of cigarettes part of national commerce or local labor? This could be argued both ways…”

It was snippets of conversation like that that caught my attention if I started to drift off. Call me a nerd, but Professor Finkelman was really quite interesting. Not only he himself, but he made anything law-related sound like it was important and he knew how to keep students present and in the room with him. The sky would darken outside but none of us noticed. Despite that I have no interest in studying law, this class was engaging and left me waiting for the next lesson every evening.

Additionally, Prof. Finkelman left the door open to talk about other subjects we may have questions about and not able to ask professors from our other classes. We discussed sinkholes, marijuana, speed limits, immigrants, and many other things we do (or don’t) encounter every day.

I suppose it may be a good idea to address the title of the class at this point. The constitution supporting slavery? Prof. Finkelman made a strong case and convinced me fairly early on.

It would be great if he visited again next year because I told several people about his class and then they were sad they hadn’t bothered signing up. Guess they should’ve paid closer attention to that email!

You really never know what surprises may land in your inbox.