20 December 2021
If a student at Brooklyn College asked my opinion on whether they should take the course, ‘Intro to Women, Studies: Gender, Sex, and Power,’ whether it is to fulfill a pathway or out of general interest, I would highly recommend, especially with Professor Ashton. I have been trying to take this course since my freshmen year of college, as I am now a junior. My interest in the course grew after I had also taken a few anthropology courses as well. I would’ve never thought that when I would get a seat in the course that it would be completely remote. However, although continuing my education in these unprecedented times has transitioned my college experience to mainly virtual, it has taken over three semesters that I felt like I was in an actual class rather than a zoom screen with many tiny boxes representing my fellow peers. Professor Ashton is one of the most engaging, attentive, and genuine professors I have had so far in my college career. Her teaching style was even more imperative to aiding what I learned throughout the course, especially as it was an online course. Her structure of the course was organized and easily accessible through our syllabus, detailed class schedule and course website all which made the group project extremely pleasurable. Her teaching style and passion to share her knowledge, while also making it a point to connect it to modern times has contributed to what I gained and experienced in the course. Thus, shows why my experiences with the group project and public writing were ones I enjoyed and made me feel like I was taking an in-person course, even while in the comfort of my own home.
When I think about what I learned throughout the course I realized it is so much more than just a general understanding of an introduction to women studies within the U.S. I can confidently say that I have a profound understanding in intersectionality, double standards and analyzing the effects of having prenotions on gender. Although not a new term to my knowledge, I have learned the deep effects of intersectionality on women of color. My interest in intersectionality sparked throughout the semester especially as I was able to connect my knowledge of the concept to our course readings. Although, I enjoyed all the course material, the ones that struck the most interest were “Excerpt from Feminine Mystique,” “Black Feminist Thought in the Matrix of Domination,” and the video “Frameline Voices- Pay it No Mind: The Life and Times of Marsha Johnson.” My strong interest in these topics led me to incorporate them in my public writing post while also connecting them to the course materials.
The experience of writing in this course is one that has shaped the way I look at public writing. I dedicated a lot of time to working on my blog post, however, it was not a single act as I would not have gotten a high grade like I did if it wasn’t for Professor Ashton spending almost 45 minutes with me after class on two occasions to discuss the material. I learned the importance of focusing on the nontraditional way of writing and incorporating the concepts within one’s analysis. I was able to have the opportunity to expand on my knowledge and incorporate my own way of writing with the use of metaphors, repetition and tone while also utilizing a very nontraditional format. I have done public writing before, however in the typical structure and I feel this course’s use of public writing has broadened my horizon on how I go about it the next time it is introduced to me.
Although not based on the specific material I also learned through each class the importance of engagement with your peers and professor. Each class I looked forward to the five – minutes that were spent discussing important things going on in our lives, the rest of our courses, while always making sure that she asked how each of us were doing. For me, this has been extremely lacking within my college experience as I transitioned too online. I feel like this is extremely imperative and one of the great teaching/engagement methods of Professor Ashton, which made me want to actively participate in each class.
Furthermore, I also feel that this casual engagement method with one another helped with the final research group project, which is another party of the course that I enjoyed greatly. I have had other courses where group projects have been nothing but hardship, where you have no idea who the person is and are expected to do a semester worth of work in a project. However, this was not the case, I was in the group with the topic of Women’s Suffrage, which was nothing short of a pleasant time working with the other members. We all equally collaborated, shared the research and each were excited to add some creativity to the PowerPoint as well. Again, all of this can be attributed to Ms. Ashton and the way she formatted the class, as we also had designated research days in the course. As someone who has an interest in doing research papers, this project was one I enjoyed, as I learned more information about women’s suffrage that we soon found out was blocked out by media outlets and can be seen as the hidden story. I have not had one group project besides this one that has gone as smoothly, which I believe I also contributed to the Professor.
I can confidently say that within my last three virtual semesters at Brooklyn College, I have learned the most in ‘Introduction to Women Studies: Gender, Sex, and Power,’ with Professor Ashton. I find myself talking about the things I learned in the course and sharing my knowledge with others, especially pointing out when what they are saying is not sensible in relation to gender. This course for me personally has been more than just a pathway needing to be fulfilled, it was a three-hour engagement.
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