Dr. Monica Cure este Assistant professor la Torrey Honors Institute de la Biola University, in Los Angeles, California.
Iata o scurta prezentare a ei asa cum o gasim pe situl universitatii.
Monica Cure was born in Romania and grew up bicultural in Detroit, learning Spanish along the way. She studied Comparative Literature and from the Torrey great books curriculum, she loves both Fyodor Dostoyevsky and T.S. Eliot. Her specialty is late 19th/early 20th British and American literature. She received her doctorate from the University of Southern California and wrote her dissertation on the invention of the postcard as a new form of communication technology and its representation in the turn-of-the-century novel. Her dissertation allowed her to explore her interests in popular culture and media, travel, art history, visual and material culture, and postcolonial studies. It also legitimized her antiquing habit and ever-growing old postcard collection. On her days off campus, you will likely find her in a cafe in LA with a good friend or a good book.
Am intrat in contact cu ea la indemnul prietenului meu virtual Doru Radu. Fiind nepoata unuia dintre mentorii mei din tinerete, pastorul Simion Cure, am fost foarte interesat s-o cunosc si am decis impreuna sa fac un interviu cu ea. In urma cu aproape jumatate de an am pus pe acest blog (vezi AICI) o prelegere a Monicai pe teme de poezie.
Ea cunoaste bine limba romana, desi a plecat din Romania pe cind era foarte mica, dar pentruca limba pe care o foloseste curent este engleza, eu voi pune intrenarile in romaneste, iar ea va raspunde in limba engleza.
Monica este unul dintre cei citiva straluciti academici cu care se pot mindri evanghelicii romani din Statele Unite. Sper ca dupa acest interviu cu ea, voi reusi sa fac asemenea interviuri si cu alti intelectuali academici din diaspora.
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Născută: 2/11/1980, Arad, Romania
Studii universitare şi postuniversitare:
Kenyon College, English (concentration in creative writing) and Spanish Literature, 2002
University of Southern California, PhD in Comparative Literature 2012
Familia: Mircea and Daniela Cure
Biserica: Mosaic, Baptist
Instituţia: Biola University
Poziţia academică: Assistant Professor in the Torrey Honors Institute
Hobby-uri: Traveling, playing accordion, learning Korean, hiking
DM – Dragă Monica, te-ai născut într-o familie al cărui nume are o rezonanță specială în spațiul evanghelic românesc. Cum a fost pentru tine să creşti în umbra acestui gigant al credinței care a fost „taica Cure”, cum îi spuneam noi pe vremuri bunicului tău?
MC – I feel very blessed to have had him as a grandfather even though he died when I was young, right after I got baptized. My best personal memory of him was when he visited Detroit (he and my grandmother lived in Los Angeles where I now live) and built us kids a playhouse out of plywood that he and my dad found. But I always loved hearing stories about him. Whenever I visited Romanian communities in other cities, invariably someone would come up to me and share an experience that they had with him. In this way, he gave me the gift of a way of instantly connecting with others. When I was older and I understood more about what he suffered for his faith, he made me feel brave. Though it doesn’t necessarily happen that way, I liked to think that somehow the ability to live according to your beliefs might get transmitted via blood.
DM – Copilăria reprezintă pentru fiecare dintre noi un timp al formării. Te rog să ne povesteşti câteva lucruri din acea perioadă care ţi-au marcat caracterul şi destinul.
MC – One of the most important influences in my childhood was my family coming to America when I was two years old. It was formative not just for all the material changes and opportunities that it brought, but because it gave me a double consciousness. I was always aware that I was part of two cultures and that it made me see things that others didn’t. It might seem strange that a kindergartener is capable of cultural critique, but it’s true! I also had very severe asthma as a child which inclined me towards reading and contemplative activities. It’s hard to tell if that would have happened regardless. I think that being sick as a child also made me more empathetic towards others later. Another big influence was that my family was always involved in a Bible study through a close circle of Romanian friends. I think watching adults study the Bible and studying it myself at a young age helped me believe in the power of the written word and stories, which later led me to study literature.
DM – Desi te-ai nascut in Romania, erai probabil destul de mică atunci când ai plecat din tara, ca sa ai amintiri de aici. Care sunt cele mai vechi amintiri ale tale din America si cum te-au format ele pentru a deveni ceea ce ești acum?
MC – One of my very first memories is my first day of preschool when I was three years old. It was actually a part of a special government program called Head Start for low income families (and we definitely qualified, having come from Romania with almost nothing). I remember my mother and me waiting by the window to watch for the school bus coming to pick me up. I was very nervous and crying that I didn’t want to go because I didn’t know how to speak English. I could sense my mom’s empathy and feeling of helplessness and she prayed with me. While I don’t think I stopped crying immediately (that only happened later when the teacher put a fascinating strawberry-scented stamp on my hand), I remember feeling more at peace and somewhat awed. When you’re that little, you think of your parents as being all-powerful and this is what my mom did in a moment when she felt helpless. My mom tells stories of how I would later remind her to pray when we were in difficult situations. I definitely think that was a huge influence in my relationship with God and my belief that no situation is too difficult when he is present.
DM – Când eram copil și apoi adolescent, visam să devin ofițer de marină comercială. Din pricina unor probleme de sănătate acest vis nu s-a împlinit niciodată, deși am ramas de pe urma lui cu nostalgia mării și a corăbiilor, mai ales al celor cu pânze. Care erau visurile tale în copilarie și cum te-au influențat ele, dacă este cazul?
MC – Since the first grade, I wanted to be a writer, and went I got to third grade, I specifically wanted to be a poet. I guess my childhood dream came true in some sense! After finishing undergrad where I got a concentration in poetry writing, I had to decide between getting an MFA and a PhD. Though I ultimately chose to get a PhD, I can see how my poetic sensibility often shows up even in my academic writing. A „side job” that I considered as a child was a postman. My sister and I would race to get the mail first everyday and thought it would be fun to be the cause of such excitement. Maybe that’s at play somewhere in my decision to write my dissertation about postcards…
DM – Monica, părinții tăi sunt oameni cu sensibilități artistice serioase? Cum este să crești într-o familie de artiști? Ne poți povesti câte ceva despre felul în care te-a influențat în viață relația cu părinții si cu familia lărgită?
MC – It’s strange that I don’t often think of myself as having come from an „artistic” family, but it’s true. My father is a musician and my mother has a keen sense of visual aesthetics, but our family life was very regular and normal. What I learned from both of them is that beauty is not optional. Art is meant to be a part of life, and you are meant to share it with others. My dad playing his viola for guests and the gifts that my mom gave were proof of this. Art never seemed something elitist or selfish to me.
DM – Pentru a încheia această secțiune despre familie și copilărie, și înainte de a discuta despre formarea ta academică, aș vrea să te rog să ne spui cum ai trăit, ca fată, plecarea de acasă? Crezi că fetele pleacă altfel decât băieții, sau nu există nici o deosebire?
MC – I think that’s a great question but it’s difficult to answer. It depends on the culture. From the American standpoint, it was perfectly natural that I would go away to college if I could and all my teachers encouraged me. From the viewpoint of the Romanian-American Baptist community, it was not at all usual even for young men but especially for young women. So I was torn. I think I needed to be twice as driven and I was fortunate to have the support of my parents in my decision (who were even criticized by some). It was difficult to go into a completely different world but once I got there, it quickly began to feel like a second home. There were parts of me that would have been much harder (or even impossible) to develop had I never left.