Paper to Focus on Cultural Struggles In Djebar’s “Fantasia”
By Joseph Palumbo
In April, CSI English major Yara Edrees will travel to New Orleans, Louisiana to present her research on the novel “Fantasia” at the Popular Culture Association/America Culture Association (PCA/ACA) National Conference.
Edrees chose to focus on the novel after reading it in an English class, discovering that she was able to identify and connect with the novel’s Algerian characters as they struggled with French colonization and the ensuing clash of cultures.
Every year, academics from across the nation have gathered at the PCA/ACA conference to present their research. Over 5,000 presentations are given.
Edrees’ essay “The Struggle to Maintain Culture in Fantasia: An Algerian Cavalcade,” which discusses how the women in the novel were affected by cultural struggle, will be one of the essays read in this year’s wide array of presenters.
“I’m so nervous,” said Edrees.“There’s going to be so many people there, but it’s such a great chance to show off my work.”
Edrees, born in Saudi Arabia, experienced a shift in her family’s culture when they arrived to the United States.
“I remember it was hard to adjust to American living after coming here. My parents especially had a tough time with the change in culture,” she expressed.
She recalled a time when she was younger and her parents wouldn’t let her watch certain American television shows because it went against her family’s Arabic values, explaining that assimilating into the U.S. took time.
When Edrees read “Fantasia,” she connected with the novel’s theme of cultural struggles, and was motivated to write the paper.
She praised her advisor for the motivation, Professor Michael Schuyler. It was in his class that she read the novel and his words that pointed her to the focus of the paper.
He also suggested she submit the paper to the conference.
“Yara is one of those rare students who has extraordinary talent,” said Schuyler.
“She has worked incredibly hard to prepare for this conference and I hope that everyone is as proud of her as I am.”
Edrees and Schuyler have met every two weeks to edit the paper. They have focused on what sounds good when read aloud, so that it’s clear when Edrees presents it.
In spite of this preparation, Edrees is still nervous, knowing that presenting may result in the essay being published.
She hopes to continue her education after graduation and believes showcasing her research at such a large conference will help her stand out on graduate school applications.
If she attends graduate school, she wishesto focus on Literature and Women’s Studies.
Right now, she’s just concentrated on the conference.
“I just signed up for the CSI Undergraduate Research Conference. I think it’ll be good practice for the bigger one.”