My students were asked to conduct a survey with one another. At a school of 2,000, a 20 person class is already 1% of the student body. But a sample pool with confidence level of 95% + or - 5% needs to be 300 so obviously this is not a robust sample size, and it is selective given my students are ethnic and sexual minorities who chose to take a class in immigration issues. Students learned the complications of using the right language, and avoiding sampling bias and leading questions. A sample of results of the polls below:
Identity orgs as whole reflect the diversity on this campus?
Agree 5% Neutral 35% Disagree 60%
Are Vassar students aware about the issues of the Poughkeepsie community?
No 90% A little 10%
How segregated or integrated do you feel academic disciplines and programs are?
Segregated 40% Somewhat 55%
Somewhat integrated 5% Very integrated 0%
Do you feel that your identities are represented in class curriculum?
Yes 10% No 45% Somewhat 45%
Do you feel Vassar adequately provides resources for its marginalized students?
Yes 0% Kinda: 40% No: 60%
This past spring 2017, I invited famed choreographer Darrell Jones to come to my pop culture class. We did two sessions where students had to find connections between marginalized communities. We discussed did movements that suggested links between the social lives of Asian Americans and queer African Americans, and how identity, oppression, and liberation is embodied and expressed. Students loved it and recognized how popular culture is not just the mass media, but the ways popular ideas get disseminated in everyday life.
At Wesleyan University, I worked with students able to produce and organize materials about Asian and Latin American immigrants for the local Middlesex Historical Society (which prior to that only had materials on Whites, African Americans, and Native Americans). We not only generated and gathered original materials for the archive, but were able to create a digital repository for the society, something which had not been done before. The repository includes student-conducted oral histories with local people who had lived in the area for decades, collated ephemera like religious pamphlets, and newspaper articles etc. This project shows the importance of student projects in contributing to historical digital preservation and why we need more collaborative forms of knowledge-production.
Prof. Wayne Soon (History) and I are co-organizing a workshop at Vassar, funded by a generous grant won from the Alliance for Advancing Liberal Arts Colleges: We are bringing close to a dozen scholars to think and collaborate on the theme: “Research and Teaching on Science, Medicine, And Technology in China and the Sinophone.” We are interested in the age of China to think about what STS means as it reflects the shifting conditions of modernity, diaspora, and transnationalism.
We are truly excited about this opportunity, and look forward to very much to seeing everyone on March 30, 2018!
Participants (school affiliation) include: Angelina Chin (Pomona); Suzanne Gottschang (Smith), Nick Bartlett (Barnard), Brigid Vance (Lawrence); Hong-hong Tinn (Earlham), David Luesink (Sacred Heart), Ying Jia TAn (Wesleyan); Mingwei Song (Wellesley); Seung-Young Oh (Bryn Mawr); Kerry Ratigan (Amherst), James Lin (Berkeley).