The past quarter in Humanities Core has gone by in the blink of an eye. I feel like I’ve been so caught up in all of the lectures, readings, and assignments that I didn’t realize it was coming to an end. I am thankful to Dr. Connell, first and foremost, for bringing life to the ideas we discuss in class and for making school engaging. I have broadened my horizons through Hum Core and learned some pretty interesting concepts and skills that I think may one day help me in my future endeavors. As a recap of the quarter, I will discuss what I have found most impactful.
Professor Vo’s unit on American imperialism in Asia was my favorite unit from Spring Quarter. I am extremely interested in American history, and Professor Vo’s lectures were very heavy on historical facts, dates, and people. From my background taking AP US History in high school, I felt I was prepared for some of the content, but what we discussed surprised me. I did not expect the atrociousness of the war in the Philippines and the Cambodian genocide; I had learned that the US “intervened” in the Philippines and that the Khmer Rouge was the dictatorial communist regime in Cambodia, but I did not know how animal-like the Filipino people were treated or just how murderous and oppressive the Khmer Rouge was. In addition, I think Professor Vo’s lecture about memorialization proved how difficult it is for communities to move on from tragedies, such as wars and genocides, and it actually helped me draft my research paper.
This political cartoon portrays Uncle Sam (America) “civilizing” the babies that represent nations the US invaded, such as the Philippines, in hopes of gaining resources and “uplifting” native people.
In addition, the last unit about Persia has been particularly interesting to me. I have had friends of Persian descent, so I knew a little bit about their culture, which has obviously been Westernized by living in America, but I was fascinated by some of Professor Rahimieh’s lectures. She embraces her Persian heritage, and I think the reading “How Can One Be Persian?” by Marjane Satrapi embodies how a lot of modern Persians feel about how their nation is viewed. Satrapi argues that the West sees Persians, or Iranians, as people who “take American hostages, … detonate bombs, and [are] pissed at the West” (1). By exploring the topic of Iran, the Iranian people, and the history of Persia and Iran, Humanities Core students are exposed to the cultural realities of a society far away from ours and vastly different. Maybe we will all be able to see how humans are strikingly similar despite their perceived differences. The Persia unit was an eye-opener that ended up being very exciting.
Iranian architecture is an expression of Persian culture that proves how Iranians have value and should not be viewed from a Western perspective as “America-haters” because Iranians have a lot to offer the world.
Ultimately, I have enjoyed my time in Dr. Connell’s Spring Quarter Hum Core class. I feel that I have grown as a writer, and I am able to employ a multitude of techniques and approaches that greatly improve my writing. Also, I have met some pretty cool people that have made for some interesting and fun conversations. I would definitely recommend Humanities Core to incoming freshmen because it is a thought-provoking way to knock out some GEs and have a good time doing it!
“How Can One Be Persian?” by Marjane Satrapi