Tina Reardon Inspires Macie Pellegren’s Independent Study Project

Asian and Asian American Studies Institute Affiliate Faculty Christine (Tina) Reardon has been (senior HDFS major) Macie Pellegren’s instructor through several courses: HIST 1805 (East Asian History Through Hanzi Characters); AASI 3201 (Introduction to Asian American Studies); and AASI/HIST 3531 (Japanese Americans and World War II). Noting her student’s increasing interest in Asian and Asian American Studies, Tina worked closely and collaboratively with Macie to develop her Independent Study project focused on the lives of Japanese American women in the first half of the 20th century.

“After lots of discussion and trying to pinpoint areas of real interest for her, we developed the concept of ‘Voices of Japanese American Women.’ I gave Macie a long potential reading list (primarily short stories but also Otsuka’s Buddha in the Attic) and she was to read broadly and then focus on the pieces that “spoke to her” most powerfully… I gave her the freedom to respond to the writings she felt were most compelling in a creative way. We discussed a journal format, diary entries (in the voice of the various authors), among others. Over the semester we had many informal conversations about her progress and the ideal final product.”

Macie Pellegren Independent Study
“Culpable by skin / Pearl Harbor echoes at home / Spirited away” by Macie Pellegren, HDFS 2016 (all rights reserved)

Macie Pellegren will graduate in May 2016 with a concentration in Creative Writing. She recently handed in her Independent Study (1 credit) entitled “Voices of Japanese American Women,” based almost exclusively on Hisaye Yamamoto’s Seventeen Syllables, Wakako Yamauchi’s Songs My Mother Taught Me, and Monica Sone’s “Pearl Harbor Echoes in Seattle.” Macie responded to these works by writing haiku and presenting them with visuals in the form of photographic images into which her poems were inserted.

“This kind of experience is the kind that makes

teaching worthwhile.”

“I am so impressed and I know that she was excited and inspired by the work,” wrote Reardon to AAASI director Cathy Schlund-Vials, Associate Professor in English and Asian American Studies, who likewise congratulated both for the impressive outcome and the collaborative effort.

“Both Macie and I feel the independent study was a success. She believes the process was a rich one that enabled her to pursue an interest and bring herself to the work in a special way. The fact that Macie is a disciplined and responsible student, with whom I had a pretty long history (in academic terms), meant I could give her a lot of freedom and know that neither of us would be disappointed in the final result. This kind of experience is the kind that makes teaching worthwhile.”

Christine “Tina” Reardon is Lecturer in History at UConn – Torrington. She is also director of Litchfield College Counseling, LLC, a private college search and application process counseling company. Trained in East Asian Studies with a concentration in China and Japan, her courses include Introduction to Asian American Studies, Japanese Americans during WWII, History through Fiction – Asia, East Asia since Mid-19th century, Roots of Traditional Asia, and Views of China through Film.