When I first joined this class, I must admit, I was intimidated by the course syllabus and by Priya herself (lol) . I had no prior knowledge of themes in Asian American Literatures. All I could do was try to relate personally to the handouts and novels. My analysis of what we first read at the beginning was very obvious and superficial, and I thought to myself that I might not be at the level I need to be at in order to be successful in this class. But, after a couple of weeks I finally felt like I found my niche in the class. Meeting with Priya also helped. Priya encouraged me to participate more in class and valued my ideas and interpretations.
Dogeaters was the most challenging book to understand and analyze for me. But, it ended up being the novel I did my first paper on and that I enjoyed the most (I even included it in my final research paper). At first I didn't understand that Dogeaters was about globalization, postcolonialism, etc. But doing my paper on it forced me to understand the novel on a more profound level. I began to see how Dogeaters was relevant to the class and even to me. The class discussions became more and more interesting to me as I began to understand the themes of the class and search for common themes in the rest of the novels we read.
The most important aspect of this class to me is what I learned about feminism. Priya chose essays, such as Mohanty's Defining Genealogies, that triggered my interests in the class further. I had no idea there was such as thing as Third World feminism or any other kind of feminism relevant to Asian-American Literature (or even relevant to me!). The novels we read, such as The Interpreter, and the film we saw, Mississippi Masala, reinforced how stereotypes, feminism, globalization, etc. are all interconnected in some way.
Learning about these themes in Asian-American Literature has helped me to become a less ignorant person. Like my peer before me pointed out, this class is beneficial on a real world personal level. Now I can make informed decisions since I understand what these things are. Also, this class made me aware and understanding of terms I never had heard or understood before such as: hybridity, diasporas, postcolonialism, neocolonialism, and globalization.
Priya warned at the beginning that she was a tough grader, but she also guaranteed that we would come out of her class better writers, and she is right. Priya pointed out mistakes in my writing that two WA professors did not call me on, or any of my other professors for that matter. I'm sure I'm not the only one who appreciates her thorough feedback on our essays.
The novels Priya chose were fun, informative, and even emotional at times for me. I'm pregnant and Shukumar and Shoba's story struck an emotional chord for me. The feelings I had about this class at the beginning are exactly opposite for me now. The other students were friendly and that also definitely helped me to make the most of this class. As for Priya, she's not intimidating to me anymore. Priya cares about her students and the work they turn in and that's the way it should be. She is a wonderful professor for the English department and the University of Redlands. Just want to say thanks to Priya for helping me get the most of my college experience through this class.