April 22, 2013

Okihiro, Gary Silver_nugget
Intro to Comparative Ethnic Studies and Introduction to Comparative Ethnic Studies

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

This class is a joke. I am sorry, but it is complete crap. While I do understand and agree with some of the viewpoints of Okihiro, it ends up being essentially a class on bitching about white people and how they suck. Okihiro is a hypocrite (says he hates capitalism and is a socialist, yet comes into classes with very nice dress clothes) and a bitter old man, and while he is an eloquent lecturer, his lectures do reflect his attitude. I can understand where he is coming from, but at the same time, he should conduct himself to a higher standard. One class period was "Oppression Olympics" where there was a debate on which ethnic group suffered the greatest oppression. If someone expresses any sort of disagreement with Okihiro, he essentially dismisses his/her argument (without necessarily being nasty) but with either obvious sarcasm or just a bewildered look on his face. I had a great TA (Brian) but I had to hold my tongue at times, and when I did speak out (usually in disagreement with some of the authors) I ended up becoming the target from my peers. Again, if you express any sort of disagreement with the authors, you will not get a full check plus on your weekly responses (under the guise of not thinking critically enough) and those will end up hurting your grade if you are on the border between grades. I ended up with a B (80% on the midterm/B+ on the final but no exact % was given) and even though I had excellent participation and my responses were half checks and check+'s, I just couldn't get the that extra boost to get the B+. Overall, the class was interesting and had a ton of potential, yet in the end, it just reinforces a victims mentality and keeps on perpetuating ignorance.

Workload:

Lots of reading. Usually around 60-100 pages a week. First half of the semester is history and broad subjects (Capitalism, Imperialism, etc.) while the second half consists of different "studies" (Af. Am, Asian, Hispanic, Critical White). 1 page weekly response for the readings (usually online but in the case of Brian, we turned in a physical copy at class on discussion days) midterm and a final. Midterm consists of 2 parts: I.Ds and an essay. He gave us a list of around 7 ids and he picked 5 and we had to write on 3 of them, while the essay was a general question. As far as the final, Okihiro asked us for either in class or take home, which we ended up with a take home. It was a no more than 10 page take home essay, which we had a week to complete. Overall the workload was not bad, but I ended up skimming most of my readings and picked the most important one to really read so I had something to contribute during discussion.