A Senior Thesis in Retrospect

By Alle Hsu '11Guest Writer

I wouldn’t recommend that any future Scrippsie try what I did this year. But, in retrospect, it was challenging, inspiring and a very rewarding experience for me. I might not recommend the experience, but I also wouldn’t do anything differently.

I double majored in Asian Studies and Media Studies. My Asian Studies thesis was over one hundred pages, a comparative study about women in China in the 1920s and today. For my Media Studies project I produced a film entitled “Women: Cultural Revolution to Capitalist Revolution.” I love all my advisors and readers. They were wonderful and made the experience rich and enlightening.

There were a few interesting elements with both my written thesis and film. My written thesis included a primary research source: my great grandfather’s master’s degree thesis from Columbia University. Written in 1921, his thesis was about women in China in the 1920s. The thesis was fascinating because it was from and about the 1920s: a pivotal period in women’s emancipation in China. My thesis research gave me an opportunity to learn about my great grandfather, one of the most famous poets from China.

My film about women from urban China involved interviewing over 20 women and men in Shanghai about the status and role of women. It was an extraordinary experience to be able to conduct these interviews. They covered a wide range of topics, including family, marriage, relationships, careers, job opportunities and discrimination. Women spoke openly about what issues they face in China today. My film only featured about eight women, but after graduation I hope to produce a film that also includes the other women. I would like to be able to go deeper into the issues women face in China. The women included with my interviews lived through significant periods of China’s history, from pre-Cultural Revolution to the current Capitalist Revolution.

What made my research such an enriching experience was that it covered many different disciplines: Asian history, women rights, Chinese culture and practices, Chinese and English literary history and sociology were all involved. And then there were the aspects of media studies, such as filmmaking and editing.

As if this wasn’t enough, I was also co-captain of the Athenas tennis team. I loved being part of the team and will cherish my friendships with teammates, but CMS sports are demanding. Especially on top of thesis. (On a side note: come out this Friday to watch the seniors play our final home match against Chapman! And root for the Athenas at the NCAA Championships later this month.)