Asri Saraswati is a PhD candidate in American Studies at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. She specializes in Cold War studies, race and migration in the postwar U.S., and Asian American literature. She is from Indonesia and is currently writing a dissertation on the cultural politics of Indonesian sojourn writers who traveled the U.S. in the 60s to 80s. Asri has done research on Indonesian migrant workers and has also been involved in a number of art projects advocating for this issue.
I chose the Transnational Studies at UB because it houses one of the best American Studies Programs in the country. The department is also deeply grounded in social activism in Buffalo and its surrounding areas. The professors are engaged public scholars, holding symposiums on black American art, disability studies, and hold rallies against the North Dakota pipeline.
Throughout coursework, I have learned tremendously from the courses in the department. The courses that have opened my horizons tremendously were Culture History I and II taught by Professor Carl Nightingale and Professor Camillo Trumper. Their classes provided a great foundation to my early years studying in the program and allowed me to imagine what my doctoral research might look like. Professor Cynthia Wu's class on Disability Studies did not only provide me with a better understanding of the latest scholarship in disability studies but also reminded me about the importance of self-care that is crucial to any graduate student. I also had the honor to help organize the Storytellers Conference, an annual graduate students conference on Native American Studies, where I met and was inspired by professors, artists, fellow graduate students, and activists who advocate for the Native community.
I am continuously inspired by the wide variety of scholarships done by fellow graduate students and the professors. The great staffs also go above and beyond in guiding and supporting students every step of the way, always providing encouragement in much needed times. The department has also provided graduate students with financial support to attend conferences, and this has helped me tremendously. - Asri Saraswati