Asian American Literature and Culture
Fall 2019 - Your grade consists of: -Three 2-3 paged reflection papers on assigned reading (each 15pts) -Group presentation in discussion (10pts) -Attendance/participation in discussion (I don't think my TA or the students took the participation part too seriously tho) (5pts) -4 pop quizzes on reading (each worth 5pts) -Extra credit paper Pros: -She originally wanted us to do a midterm, but people were stressing about their first paper scores so she dropped the midterm. So the only in-class exam we had was the final. Instead, she increased two of our paper scores from 10 to 15 points -We had one day with a guest speaker, and 2-3 in-class movie days so lecture was breezy -Material is okay. Many of the readings/novels were readable, and I definitely enjoyed the 2 novels. A couple of the readings by Lisa Lowe and Williams are absolutely....horrendous, and tripped people up. I didn't understand anything at all reading those two texts, but I just focused on her slides and how she summarized them in lecture. There's certain key points she wants you to know from each text, so for your papers, just add those key concepts into your writing and see how it relates or shows up in your text, and that's pretty much it. -Extra credit helped make up for my poor quiz scores Cons: -No bruin cast and she doesn't post slides online -The amount of assigned reading is a lot. For example, on her syllabus, in just one week it would say "have chp 1-6 + preface of this novel read by Oct 22" then "have chp 7-11 read by Oct 24" so basically you have to be reading the novel like a couple weeks in advance. but there's other weekly reading assigned that you have to do. I ended up skimming like 25% of each novel, and I skipped two short stories, and also didn't come to lecture to watch one of the movies, which didn't hurt me at all. But definitely don't skip the 'theoretical' texts b/c those will show up in the final and will be required to use for your papers -The quizzes were tricky and for a couple of the questions, even if you did the reading it wouldn't really help you No one really knew what they learned in the course. It was more of a nice intro to different historical events of Asian Americans, and reading different accounts of the Asian American experience. It's supposedly an interdisciplinary course so it's a mix of learning history, as well as defining culture and how the definition differs according to different writers/thinkers.
What a sorry excuse for a professor. She has an English degree but doesn't even speak and write proper English. She is very disorganized, and her lectures consisted mainly of her trying to get around technical difficulties to play some slideshows that looked like they were put together by a 4th grader. There is quite a bit of assigned reading, and the readings aren't even interesting like the readings in AA20. It's mostly pretentious, overly wordy, ramblings of people who get off on denouncing the U.S. as a White capitalist regime hell-bent on enslaving Asian Americans. One of these readings was written by the professor herself. That being said, if you manage to slog through the readings, some of them do have substance underneath all the pretentious crap cluttering every sentence. There was even one short story that was actually entertaining. If possible, take Professor Bascara. He is well spoken, well organized, and intelligent, and can make a bs class like this somewhat bearable. Professor Burns, on the other hand, does not speak proper English, is disorganized, and is, well.. you know. I guess that's the difference between an education from Columbia and one from UMass. Overall, the class is pretty easy as long as you do the readings because there are pop quizzes. There are two papers and one big project which are all just bs-fests. 2/10 would not take again.
Spring 2023 - this is my first bruinwalk review and i just have to say that i really enjoyed this class & can't recommend it enough as a GE :) i was kind of skeptical of the class first and even considered dropping it because of the reading load, but i ended up loving it!! it made me reflect a lot on my chinese american identity and i felt like the readings resonated a lot with my parents' immigrant experiences & my own experiences! there are weekly readings (3-4 short stories OR a novel), but you honestly don't have to do all of them if you don't have time (e.g. novels like America Is in the Heart or No-No Boy)! professor ling was kind enough to drop the midterm and final exam, which took away SO much stress because we were going to be assessed on the readings. the only time you *actually* to take the readings seriously is the group project, which consists of an in-person presentation + a discussion guide. it isn't too much work after you split it up with group members! my TA (shoutout gabby lupola! <3) took attendance for discussion sections every week by posting a discussion board post on bruinlearn where you would write a short paragraph responding to a question. so basically, you just needed to read or know enough about the readings to be able to respond with some relevant thoughts, which was pretty easy! i would recommend going to discussion since they were so engaging + informative (and honestly fun for me), but it's no big deal if you have to miss one. my grade mostly depended on 3 main things: the 2 short papers, the group project, & the final paper (which are all things i did on my own time), so you could honestly get by without going to class. but that being said, i would highly recommend going to lecture & discussion since the content is genuinely interesting & thought provoking! my TA was super nice with grading for all my papers, which is why i had such a good grade in the class! the 2 short papers were kind of a struggle for me to write at first since the prompts were so broad, but they weren't bad at all and i was able to get more insight + advice from my TA :) for my final paper, i chose to wrote about my relationship with my native language (cantonese) & my cultural identity. i am someone who always worries about not being able to write enough, but once i chose a topic that i was interested in/passionate about, i reached 6 pages in no time :') grading breakdown: - attendance in discussion sections (15%) - two 3-page double-spaced essays (40%; 20% for each) - group project (15%) - final paper of 6 double-spaced pages (30%) feel free to email me at cjleung[at]g.ucla.edu if you have any questions about the class or would be interested in accessing my notion page (that has all my notes!) :D