Division II students in their own words, from Non Satis Scire magazine
Shaking My Fist at Racist TV
AREA OF FOCUS
Creative writing, critical race studies
Uzma Aslam Khan, assistant professor of fiction writing
Kimberly Chang, associate professor of cultural psychology
Absolutely. I thought I wanted to write a fantasy novel. Then I thought I wanted to write “literary” short stories. Then I thought I wanted to write fantasy novels again, but for young adults this time. Now, I want to write for television. I’m still interested in sci-fi and fantasy, though. And horror. Certain concerns emerge in my writing. I want my stories to address the institutions of oppression, to encourage the questioning of authority, and to tackle the worship of capital. I’m fascinated by the merging of fantasy tropes with urban settings. I want my stories to be realistic, yet optimistic — gritty, yet positive. My committee has been so supportive and reaffirming of my constantly shifting interests. Well, they wouldn’t qualify them as shifting. As Uzma and Kim have rightly pointed out, I’m still interested in interrogating the same themes and topics and characters — it’s simply the form that’s changed. I’m still invested in telling stories that challenge the status quo, that offer fresh and urgent takes on race relations, and that subvert and deconstruct harmful tropes instead of reconsolidating them. Questions like these were benchmarks for my Div II: What are the messages I care about enough to write? How can I sensitively and honestly portray the struggles of people with marginalized identities different from my own? How can I disrupt, upend, or subvert genre? When I’m able to answer them in some capacity, I’ll consider my journey successful.
With a Smirnoff Ice! (Yeah, I know.)