Tinder Hearts: Navigating the Youth Dating Scene in Precarious Times


By Taylor Casteen


“So what do you think about Tinder? I’m interested, why are you doing this?” This is a question one of my respondents asked me at the end of our interview, and it’s a question I’ve had to ask myself several times over the course of my research. Why am I so interested in Tinder, a dating platform that, from most of my respondents’ standpoint and from my own, is only used for fun and as a cure for the tediousness of everyday life? But the real question in the end was not why I cared about Tinder, but why I cared about our generation’s relationship with dating as a whole. Continue reading


Accidential Utopia: The Cultural Freehaven of Ruigoord vs. the 1960s Hippies of Haight Ashbury


By Anikka van Eyl

Nobody likes a hippie, right? Hippies are lazy, dirty drug addicts that live off the system and contribute nothing to society. This is the common perception that mainstream society holds of hippies; they are a nuisance, promoting radical thinking and won’t conform to that of the traditional life. But is this what truly defines the core of a “hippie”? When understanding the concept of hippie, we often think of these definitions due to moral panic, negative media coverage and the fall of the hippie subculture in the Haight Ashbury district of San Francisco during the Summer of Love in 1967. Haight Ashbury, the center of the 1960s hippie movement in the United States, quickly became overpopulated with an influx of young radicals, bringing disease, drugs, and violence to the forefront of the originally peaceful movement. But the traditional values that defined a hippie before 1967 were overrun in the process: the values of community, love, peace, and nonconformity. Hippies were anti-capitalists, looking to replace the traditional American lifestyle with a radical, free spirited community of acceptance and freedom. Although we still think of these values, they are often the afterthought, negligible when we think of the chaos unleashed by the hippies. Is it possible to maintain these values over a longer period of time, to truly create a Utopian society that nourishes creativity, acceptance and autonomy? In the outskirts of Amsterdam, I believe I have found an artistic haven that encapsulates these traditional hippie values throughout daily life: Ruigoord. Continue reading

Erecting a Safe Space: “Queer A‘POC’alypse”


By Gregory Stewart

One day I received a Facebook message inviting me to perform at a spoken word show for queer people of color. A friend of mine who attends Brown University with me and was also studying in Amsterdam had asked me if I’d be interested in performing and then gave my name to one of the event organizers.  I identified with the term and write spoken word poetry, so I was intrigued to say the least in terms of who exactly fit into the social category of queer people of color in Amsterdam as well as what assumptions and meanings the term had. Coming from a liberal arts university back in the United States, I was used to the term but I recognized that the meanings wouldn’t necessarily transfer over. Continue reading

Looking to the future: Dutch and American students’ views of Islamic migration and immigration policies


By Maddie Dimarco

As a university student in Southern California, I am a daily witness to the effects of racist immigration policies against Mexican and South American immigrants. Many Americans fear that their “American culture” will be lost amidst an influx of foreigners, and this fear is used as a reason for implementing harsh border control and deportation of undocumented immigrants. Immigration as a political topic is highly controversial because it engenders strong feelings of patriotism and national identity.  I have participated in rallies and large events both at my school and in my Los Angeles community, showing support and solidarity with immigrants and hearing personal stories. Continue reading

Body Love and Social Media: A Story of Feeling the Sunlight


By Taina Quiñones

“Here,” Rose says, tossing her royal blue bikini in my direction, “Try it on.” I hesitate before picking it up from where it lands on her bed and holding it up to my body. It will definitely fit. Due to our larger body sizes, Rose is one of the few friends I can clothes-swap with – something we both relish in whenever we are lucky enough to be in the same place.

This is my third summer visiting Rose in her hometown of Glencoe, Illinois. We are both sophomores in college at this point, and with permission from her parents, Rose and I will be roadtripping up to Wisconsin to spend a week in her family’s lake house.  She tells me we have to go swimming, and for the first time since I was a small child, I am genuinely excited to. Continue reading

Growing up White? Identity Formation among Mixed Race Youth within Predominantly “White” Environments


Mika Perron

Preface – Minor identity crisis

Growing up, I’ve always identified as mixed race. If someone inquires further, as they almost always do, I clarify that I’m half-Japanese and half-French Canadian. I usually laugh a little after saying “French Canadian,” because I think that saying this always sounds a bit pretentious. It feels as though I’m implying that I have some sort of deeply rooted connection to my French Canadian heritage, when in reality I’ve never really been sure of what it means to be a “French Canadian,” or where that region even exists geographically. When I ask my dad, who grew up in Boston and whose entire family has lived in New England for generations, he seems to be about as lost for answers as I have been. Continue reading

Heartbeats from the Streets: Exploring the Relationship between Youth and Rap Music in Chicago


By Maureen van de Water

“In reality a black man dies everyday//in Chitown you can times that by trey” – Johnny B, rapper killed January 2013 due to gun violence in Chicago


I moved to Chicago the summer of 2012 after I graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelors degree in Psychology. I knew little about the extreme violence there but had heard that some neighborhoods were dangerous and no-go zones. Sleeping on a blow up mattress at a friend’s apartment I searched for my next step in life. I knew I wanted to work with teenagers but wasn’t sure if I wanted to jump right into the field after college. An opportunity arose through AmeriCorps, a yearlong volunteer based program designed to help young people enter the work force. The position I took was the Academic Success Coordinator at an organization called Boys Hope Girls Hope.

The BHGH mission statement is “to help academically capable and motivated children-in-need to meet their full potential and become men and women for others by providing value-centered, family-like homes, opportunities and education through college.” To put it simply, I lived in a house in a nice suburb north of Chicago with three other staff members and eight teenage boys, a majority African American. They received scholarships to go to Loyola Academy, a prestigious private catholic school, where tuition is about $15,000 a year. Many of these youth came from these no-go neighborhoods in Chicago that I had heard about. Some experienced gang violence and drug dealings and many came from single-parent homes, low-income families, and/or multiple generations living in one home. They often called it Chiraq because it’s been said that more people are killed in Chicago than at war in Iraq. Continue reading