Students in Moore International, a new living-learning program for first-year women starting in fall 2011, will explore the roles and perceptions of women around the globe both inside and outside of the classroom. They will explore questions like “Why are women in historical literature around the world so insistently portrayed in terms of the extremes of virtue and vice?”

Dr. Lidia Radi, assistant professor of French and Italian, created Moore International to combine the University of Richmond’s strengths in international studies and living-learning programs.

Participants in Moore International will explore the depictions and representations of women in historical texts in order to better understand the challenges modern women face. “We need to understand the past to understand the present,” says Radi. “Only then can we can shape the future consciously and respond to the challenges of being members of the international community.”

In Radi’s class, Women, Virtue and Temptation in Literature, students will examine texts from around the world, including Greek mythology, Genesis, Chinese literature, German literature, the Koran and much more, to deeply explore the roles and perceptions of women in a global context.

“But the learning won’t end there,” says Radi. “This is the beauty of a living-learning community — the learning goes beyond the walls of the classroom.” Participants in Moore International will attend ballets, shows and operas; visit museums in Richmond and Washington, D.C.; and have internationally themed dinners and gatherings to delve more deeply into their studies.

The program participants will also be immersed in an international setting by living in Moore Hall with other first-year students of diverse backgrounds. “We will try to build a very diverse community with students that are interested in all the different languages and cultures that we represent in the Department of Modern Literatures and Cultures,” says Radi.

For Radi, this program is a way to support women on campus by giving them both a theoretical understanding of the past as well as the practical skills to be leaders here on campus. “I want to nurture their intellectual curiosity and help them grow into leaders on campus,” she says. “In the second semester, it will be the students’ responsibility to figure out what they want to do — bringing speakers to campus, learning how to organize programs and becoming student leaders.”

She sees Moore International as a way to tie together the various disciplines in the Department of Modern Literatures and Cultures, and the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, and expose first-year women to the vast array of resources and opportunities for involvement on campus.

Recent graduate Elizabeth Hailand, '11, a former student of Radi’s, encourages incoming students to join the community. “If I were a rising first-year student, I would absolutely apply to this program,” she says. “It integrates all of the components central to a true learning and growing experience.”

“Regardless of the context, Dr. Radi is always mentoring,” she says. “She places the highest priority on really getting to know her students as individuals and understanding the student experience on campus. One of the most incredible skills she possesses is her ability to relate each lesson plan to larger life lessons and to stimulate self-reflection in the analysis of class readings and discussions.”