Raina DeFonza presents “Kitchens and Domesticity”

Raina DeFonza just presented on her project “Kitchens and Domesticity” at the Conference on Undergraduate Research at the College of William and Mary.

Raina spoke about her research process, which she described as “organic,” and of her the value of her research experience.

In Raina’s words: “After setting down the path of focusing on domesticity, I conducted research on the connections between postcolonial women and the kitchenspace, exploring how the space has served traditionally as a space of oppression and isolation for these women, but has also become a place of social, familial and financial empowerment. As I delved deeper into my research, I found compelling connections between postcolonial kitchens and American kitchens. So I followed this path. I began to research/write about the deep connections I found between the two kitchenspaces/models of feminism.

At this point in time, I am now working through the content and information I have accrued through my research to thoroughly develop this digital resource.

As I stated before, I have always been interested in research. I enjoy finding the interesting and complex connections between sometimes equally complex ideas. However, the research I conducted for this project was different from any research I had previously done in my undergrad career. The material was not only more difficult but the research itself developed into something much more intensive.

Sometimes I felt lost wading through the gibberish that is scholarly research and I would become frustrated. However, Professor Koh was there to provide guidance and support, and to remind me that I will not always understand everything the first time through. I have come to determine that the motto of my research project is: breathe. reread the material. rework the ideas.

Besides having learned a tremendous amount about postcolonial feminist theory, I believe that my technical skills have developed as well. Having encountered a breadth of information, my critical analysis and organizational skills have improved tremendously. I learned how to conduct scholarly research in the humanities, as well as how to sift through the myriad of data that is available.

This project has been the most valuable part of my undergraduate studies. I believe the skills and knowledge I have acquired through our research will carry on into any field I wish to pursue in my graduate or professional career.

To teachers and professors, I cannot stress enough the importance of allowing and encouraging undergraduate students to conduct their OWN research. And for students, the experience of a research project has been immensely important to my intellectual development. It is not an experience that anyone should miss out on, so I urge you explore the prospect of conducting research of your own.”

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