Tufts University: Christina Sharpe - English - Professor ratings, reviews and much more | JumboAccess
Prof. Sharpe is an incredibly intelligent and enthusiastic professor who is very concerned with engaging her students and is always readily available outside of class. Her syllabus, as someone else mentioned, does indeed change. But I see this as a very positive quality, because the reason that it changes is that she takes into account how much the class is learning the material, what they are interested in, and how best to teach it. While the syllabus does change, she does this to CUSTOMIZE her style to best fit her class. To me, that is more effective than simply having a pre-set syllabus that is inflexible to student needs and understanding of the material. Also, in my experience, the changes are not difficult to follow provided that a student comes to class on a fairly regular basis.
Since the class is named "American Women Writers" she centers it around the idea of: What is American? The course is based around the idea of race and gender simply because "American" and "Women" in the title structure it to be so. Prof. Sharpe questions us: Who gets to be called "American"? We read texts by Filipina-American authors, Latina-American authors, African-American authors and White American authors. It's a broad range of texts where all voices - minority and majority - are represented. The course, to reflect America itself, is necessarily multicultural.
This won't be a passive, sit there and take notes class. She likes to engage her students and get everyone talking. For this reason, she often offers counterpoints to our own views - playing devil's advocate so to speak - regardless of what side we take. I don't feel that she thrusts her views on us, but rather, she forces us to re-examine our own views and come to our own conclusions. In one particular class I can think of, very few people were talking, so she stopped class, and we had a round table discussion where we discussed and dissected our opinions of the book: What do we think of it? Why do we feel this way?
Most importantly for me, this class mixes analysis with real life. We don't just look at the literary aesthetics of the book and what this mean (i.e. what this metaphor tells us). Rather, we go closely to the text, examine its message, dissect it, and then ask: but why is this important? What does this mean now in 2004 in society as we know it today.
As a person with a very sparse background in race and gender studies, I have found that I learned so much more in this class than I have in other classes comparatively at Tufts. I came into this class expecting the typical women are oppressed, they can't vote, lets look at The Awakening attitude (Don't get me wrong, I liked the Awakening). But I came out of it with so much more. If I weren't a second semester senior, I would without a doubt take another class with Prof. Sharpe.
Everything was straightforward and typical. One book per week with a 1 page response paper for each book. Two papers.
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