Alex Moses ’18

English major and Renn Fayre czar wrote about female authors in the Harlem Renaissance.

September 1, 2018

Hometown: Grass Valley, California

Thesis adviser: Prof. Gail Sherman [English 1981–]

Thesis: My House Is Constructed of Dream-Fabric: Desire in Selected Short Fiction of Zora Neale Hurston, Jessie Fauset, and Dorothy West

What it’s about: I look at the short stories of three Harlem Renaissance women authors, to see how they engage with the politics of the Harlem Renaissance and in particular the ways that they employ class and gender to write political fiction differently than many predominant Harlem Renaissance figures.

What it’s really about: If we include women writers in our definition of the Harlem Renaissance, it is a politically diverse and feminist literary movement.

My first day of class: I felt so out of place. Intro Biology lab was immediately overwhelming, and then I had second-year Spanish, which I had placed into, but I was incredibly nervous to be in a classroom where we would only be speaking in Spanish. It was a good wake-up call, though—I came here to challenge myself. I studied hard, and eagerly prepared for the second day of class and beyond.

Cool stuff: I taught a Paideia class on Peanuts (the comics), directed a Hum play, gave countless campus tours, planned some big parties (orientation and Renn Fayre) with some of my best friends, and presented a paper at the Northwest Undergraduate Conference on Literature.

Influential book: I’m incredibly grateful to have been taught Jane Eyre in not one but two classes by Prof. Jay Dickson [English 1996–­].

Concept that blew my mind: We are all inundated in ideology, no matter how subversive we think we’re being.

Favorite professor: Prof. Radhika Natarajan [history 2014–] made Hum 110 so much fun.

How Reed changed me: If you had told me in high school that I’d be speaking in front of an entire faculty and freshman class, giving advice on how to navigate Reed, or that I would plan some weird festival, book artists, and manage upwards of $80,000, I would not have believed you. Reed made me grow so much, giving me the confidence to speak out, get involved, and actively participate in my community.

Financial aid: Thanks to the wonderful, hardworking staff of the financial aid office for the financial support. The staff at Reed are some of the most competent and dedicated people I’ve ever met and make this place so special.

Desired superpower: Hold breath underwater forever. I love fish.

Actual superpower: Lining up dozens of people’s Google Calendars to find a meeting time that works for everyone.

Pet peeve: People are never on time at Reed! And we’re a leashed campus!

What’s next: I’ll be moving to Southern California to be an admission counselor for another institution.