File spoon-archives/seminar-13.archive/south-asian-women_1995-1996/seminar-13.nov95-mar96, message 78

Date: Thu, 1 Feb 1996 19:37:23 -0500 (EST)
Subject:  ingredients to change
To: seminar-13-AT-jefferson.village.Virginia.EDU


I am a graduate student studying at Trent University.  My work primarily 
looks at Canadian Writing in Canada written by South Asian women.  Though 
it is more of a literary analysis, the work/research is also informed by 
social sciences.  I am exploring this issues of acculturation as 
described by different narratives.  
I would like to consider a few ways in which acculturation has been 
discussed/defined by theorists who may provide an appropriate/valuable 
model by which literature can be understood - in particular South Asian 
women's writing.
This is a brief synopsis of what I am engage with, structurally:
 1.  Intro: 
- discussion of the many ways "South Asian" has been defined and how this 
definition seems to have changed; how is the social science definition 
different from the literary?
- race, class, ethnicity and gender:  how do they intersect in the lives 
of SOuth Asian women?  Social science research informs of this, as does 
-Model of Acculturaion and Ethnic Minority Writing by Enoch Padolsky (can 
be found in Canadian Review of Comparative Lit. Sept-Dec. 1989. p.600.
- introduction of the texts to be used, specific and general.  Reasons why?
Chapter outline-
- Methodology (not sure how to frame this?)
- Choice of texts (varied genres)

2.  Chapter 1:  Uma Parameswaran's _Rootless But Green are the Boulevard 
Trees_ - how has this family's experience identified with the model 
reviewed by Enoch Padolsky.  A good framework to work within.

3.  Chapter 2:  Himani Bannerji's _doing time_ - how is experience 
different?  What does this tell us about acculturation and the usage 
(limitation?) of models?  What doe the model leave out?  Can the model be 
modified or applied?  Questioning whther models can actually inform our 
understanding of such a delicate process of change?

4.  Chapter 3:  Anthologies of South Asian women's writing
Focusing mainly on the differences between the generations
How do these preoccupations inform the model?

Conclusion:  what becomes clear about the understanding of acculturtion for 
South Asian women; the discrepancy between social sciences and 
literature; our understanding of the racial minority experience in Canada? 

These are important writings if Canadian society is ever going to begin 
to understand a sample of our population.  We need to explore these 
writings so that we can correct the distortions of the past (claim by 
rewriting history), give perspective to this kind of lived experience, 
realize that the experience of acculturation is different and can't be 
thoroughly understood through any one discipline or Western 
deconstruction/application.  Writings by Canadian women of South Asian 
origin set an excellent example of the necessary learning that is 
possible through literature, about communities, experience, and as aspect 
of Canadian culture.

Sorry about the run-on.  I am trying to do this quickly.  I hope that you 
will find this work of some interest and may have suggestions for making 
it more defined and informative. 

If anyone is familiar with these works or have any ideas regarding 
"acculturation and 'ethnic minority' writing," (how the two inform one 
another and what needs to be constantly interrogated), I am quite 
anxiously awaiting your correspondence.  You may email me direct: or offer thoughts in the seminar.

Many thanks for this time. Sincerely, Bina Mittal
p.s.  I have actually done some work on the intro and chapt.1.
So, if you have any thoughts on Bannerji's _doing time_, I would really 
like to hear them.  Feel free to write specifically or conceptually.


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