INTL 2060 — International Literature and Culture
The assignment that I’m including in my ePortfolio to represent this course is a paper that I wrote for the class. To write the paper, I had to imagine a person with different attributes on their “diversity wheel” than mine (for example, the person I wrote about had a different race, sex, religion, and age than myself). I had to image what life would be like for that person, then write from their perspective. After having written from their perspective about their life, I then had to write a response to this person, which had to include references to the literature we read in class.
The single biggest “Aha!” moment I had in this class was towards the end, when during the discussion I realized how my views towards diversity issues had changed, rather drastically even. My views at the beginning of the class were that diversity issues were being overblown, and that they really were non-issues. I saw the diversity leaders of today (not including the big ones, like Martin Luther King, Jr.) as only people who were wanting to be heroes for their races and make a name for themselves, not really having legitimate concerns. I felt that everyone was equal and diversity issues were a thing of the past. But after having been through this class, my views have changed. I see how privilege is more than legal privilege. The privilege that is being fought is very large and very difficult to weed out. Its roots are grounded in the very minds of people in society. It was a very big “Aha!” moment to see how my views have changed.
I still struggle understanding how privilege can be removed from society, though. I understand that psychological factors are no excuse for what we allow to happen. But nonetheless, they’re still there. It’s difficult to change the way that people think. I know that I will always be struggling to remove the privileged mode of thinking in my own mind, especially the effects of privilege are largely unconscious.
Ten years from now, I will remember how American society is not perfect, and is still in need of serious change. It’s not difficult from taking this class to see the United States of America as an evil empire. I will not say that the United States and the West are inherently evil. However, there are serious issues that America needs to face, and its history is hardly as glorious or as rosy as it’s portrayed as.
This class relates to other General Education classes by how it forces me to use a different mode of thought than the one I’m used to. In drawing, I was taught to use a different mode of the brain, to see a subject as lines, shapes, and values. I was taught to not think of things conventionally, but to think of them as their parts. In astronomy, I was taught to see natural phenomena as an interconnected system. Nothing happens in isolation. I also learned to explain phenomena from the bottom up, from the simple processes that cause it to the important impacts of those simple processes. In international literature, I was taught to think from someone else’s perspective, and to understand that there are things that I cannot understand from my perspective. I have to get into someone else’s mind in order to understand. So these general education courses, including international literature, all taught me that the conventional way to think should not be the only way to think. Use different methods to reach the proper conclusion.
As a bonus, I am posting my final project for the class. For the final project, we were to create some sort of presentation, based on one of the selections we were supposed to read. The project was supposed to convey the message we felt from the literature. We could use just about any media we wanted, so long as it had a visual aspect. I made a poster based on a poem called “Answer”, by Bei Dao.