Ryan Tarr

Student Info

Graduation Year:
Spring 2015
Royal Oak, Michigan

How did you decide on the RCAH?
I didn't actually start RCAH until Spring semester of my freshman year, but that is almost entirely due to the fact that I didn't know it existed until I was already attending MSU. My decision to come to State was a pretty last minute decision, and I started as a history major living in transitional housing in Hubbard. I found an open room in Phillips and switched there, met some cool RCAH kids, and started learning about the college. The small classes with an emphasis on discussion, not memorization and recitation, is what drew me in most. Hearing about some of the classes that my friends were taking just intensified my interests, like David Sheridan's class on Detroit and transculturation in Michigan and Candace Keller's course on art in Africa.

What are your academic interests?
I'm double majoring with Women and Gender Studies, and I am also getting a specialization in LGBTQ and Sexuality Studies. I'm very interested in the politics of queering (a la Judith Butler) and how subversive actions can disrupt oppressive systems. 

What are your favorite aspects of the RCAH experience?
The close relationship with my professors and my peers. It's great seeing some of the same kids from class to class, and knowing kids outside of the classes that I'm taking. It allows me to learn about a lot of the topics covered in other RCAH courses, despite not being enrolled in them. The closeness with professors makes it a lot easier to hear about opportunities around campus and getting useful feedback on papers and projects. 

What are your future plans?
I am not completely positive yet, but I've been thinking a lot about gender and sexuality education. I can't decide if I want to work with youth, or if I would be rather have a more academic focus.

What are your hobbies and interests within and outside of the RCAH?
I'm a big consumer of art, especially music and film. I'm pretty interested in the way those media can be used to challenge systems of oppression, so I spend a lot of time thinking about that. I also am a part of a group called Compass, which critically examines the way masculinity is constructed. We meet weekly and hold conversations about gender and sexuality, and also have a workshop on masculinity and how, by challenging violent norms, we can create a safer, more tolerant world. I am also a mentor with My Brother's Keeper, which is a program where we engage with youth from Detroit, and that is a lot of fun. 

Have you ever taken part in a Study Abroad/Study Away at MSU?
Not yet, but this upcoming summer (2014) I'm taking part in a program with Women and Gender Studies and James Madison that goes to Amsterdam! It's focus is on sexual orientation, gender identity, and sexual politics in Amsterdam.