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Students Compete in Teaching South Asia Contest

10/29/2007 —

During the Fall 2007 semester, one of the common readings chosen for Teaching South Asia was "Good Girls Are Bad News," by Subhadra Sen Gupta. A student contest was designed around the interpretation of this story.

As Dr. MaryEllen Higgins, associate professor of English and one of the Teaching South Asia leaders, described the event, "student competitors give a 5-10 minute interpretation of the story....This interpretation can be a painting, a poster presentation, a reading of a short paper, a theatrical performance, etc. The presentations are judged based on the sophistication of the analysis, creativity, clarity, research, preparedness,  and attention to the details of the story."

For example, Dr. Mildred Mickle had the students in her ENGL 003S, Traditions in American Literature, discuss the gender relations, the meaning of the Hindu goddess Durga, and the idea of rebellion against societal conventions that hinder individuality and that are inherently illogical, among other things. Students compared the protagonist's rebellion with situations they encountered in their own lives. We then went on to compare and contrast "Good Girls Are Bad News" with Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, a satire on the American Revolution and the events that followed in the first 100 years of America's nationhood as well as a critique of societal conventions that hinder individuality and critical thinking.

On October 11, three student teams participated (view competition slide show). The judges were Sara Ahrens, campus civic engagement coordinator, and Dr. Richard Frushell, professor emeritus of English and comparative literature.

The winning team was Alyssa Fine and Shaina Ott.

Also winning a prize was Dr. Doretta Whalen, adjunct music instructor, for having the most students attend the competition.

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