We’re thrilled to share with you this interview with Dean’s Distinguished Graduate Honorable Mention and American Studies senior Julie Reitzi. Here, she shares her experiences in American Studies over the past four years. Congratulations, Julie!
What was, or is, your favorite class in American Studies?
It’s so hard for me to pick. I found something great, useful, and perspective changing about every course that I took. This department has really great professors and lecturers.
I think one of the classes that impacted me the most personally, though, was Professor Cordova’s Mexican American Cultural Studies. I came out of the class with a new way of thinking about myself. Both this class and Christina Garcia’s Ethnicity and Gender: La Chicana gave me an identity term that worked for me – Chicana. It embraces the complexity that can exist for people of Mexican descent living in the United States, and also has a political edge. I also came away with a deep sense of the importance of keeping ethnic studies programs alive. I was amazed at how much history I had never even heard about. Some of us were even angry that we had been denied that kind of education.
As far as other influential classes, both Professor Lieu’s Asian Americans in Popular Culture and John Cline’s Global Power of the Funk really helped me grasp cultural studies theory and the importance of deconstructing popular culture. Professor Engelhardt’s Masculinity and Femininity intro course gave me a new way of thinking about gender roles – how they really are something we all participate in shaping. I never imagined a room full of sinister, robed men deciding how gender would operate in the United States, but it was good for me to complicate my understanding of patriarchy, to see it as something less top-down than my earlier conception was.