Date of Award

6-20-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

David I. Hanauer, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Lingyan Yang, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Gloria Park, Ph.D.

Abstract

This study examines what characterizes the experiences of being an Asian graduate student mother in the United States pertaining to their race, gender, class, and culture, in particular, (a) the common identities and experiences of the women; (b) the way they juggle different roles and identities in everyday life; and (c) the marginalization and privilege associated with the women's experiences. The researcher collected data from a range of postmodern methodologies including postmodern interview, personal journal writing, and researcher's notes over a two-year period and chose eight women to participate in the study. Findings indicate that numerically there is a wide range of similar identities underlying the women's experiences pertaining to their race, gender, class, and culture, which are socially, culturally, economically, politically, and linguistically constructed. Some external factors which differentiate the women's experiences include the degrees they sought, research fields, and the phase of their graduate life experience. Based on different contexts some identities appear more plural, some are played more frequently than the others. The most frequently played identities across the study participants are professional identities, professional and mother identities, reversed gender role identities, and good mother identities. Qualitatively, each woman has a unique personal history about their past, present, and future as an Asian, an ESL graduate student, a mother, a wife, and many other hidden and overt roles they play in their everyday lives.

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