3690: A Journal of First-Year Student Research Writing

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Overview: Historically, the caste system in India has created the means and opportunity for the exploitation of Dalit communities. Caste itself is a form of social stratification that assigns individuals specific permanent identities in scheduled groups at birth. Dalits are members of the outcaste community and are considered ""untouchables"" or ""impure."" According to a recent census in India, there are roughly two hundred and sixty million Dalits living in India (Mandal 149). Due to the cultural belief of being polluted, millions of Dalits continuously face human rights violations that shape every aspect of their lives from birth to death. In this essay, I argue caste based discrimination continues to create and sustain social conditions that deprive the Dalit community of basic human rights. Furthermore, these forms of discrimination ultimately shape the actions, behaviors and relationships that influence the way of life for all members of India’s society.

Author's Reflection: I am currently a sophomore and intend on beginning the nursing program the fall semester of 2020. I choose to write on the topic of caste based discrimination after learning about it in my freshman learning community. The most challenging aspect of writing the paper for me personally is forming a thesis for which the essay is based on. Another challenge I often face is how to incorporate differing perspectives to argue for or against the thesis of an essay. The most rewarding aspect of the writing process is seeing how I’m able to grow as a student over time. Looking back at my work form previous semesters, it’s clear that my writing ability has improved significantly from one-on-one instruction with professors.

Having the experience of taking a 199 course has taught and sharped skills required to clearly express and frame ideas in formal writing. For instance, the course has instructed me to not only identify sources but to also thoroughly examine the contexts to ensure it is suitable to include in a paper. The ability to analyze sources is what provides you adequate evidence in support of the thesis or prompt. Regardless of the context you are writing about, having the ability to express your opinions with supporting evidence is crucial.

Professor Singh's Reflection: Alex Voglewede is an extraordinary student who is sincere in his efforts in learning and very meticulous in his work ethic. A very kind, courteous and respectful person as well - a professor’s dream student! This paper is a result of all these wholesome aspects of Alex. In addition, he is very sympathetic towards those affected by injustice and is critical of oppressive structures - a rare gem as a young man at Fisher! Alex was in my LC class and did extremely well and I was happy to see him in my 199 class. As a studious student, Alex followed the scaffolding steps very carefully and methodically. He chose to work on the novel and film combinations of Slum Dog Millionaire. Students could choose to write about any aspect of their choice of novel and film transformative processes. Alex chose to address the issue of caste system in India, which is not explicit in the story. He carefully follows the protagonist’s suffering despite his efforts to tackle oppressive cultural forces. He beautifully and powerfully captures the struggle of the protagonist in a caste context. He provides a clear social and cultural analysis. Alex and I had long conversations on the issue of caste-based oppression in India. Alex really wanted to gain a thorough understanding of the problem before placing his protagonist and his cultural context in his analytical lens and pages. Alex is a curious learner and that quality has led to a great paper. I am proud of his work, and his personhood.

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