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College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral and Social Sciences (CHABSS)

Featured Faculty

September 2021

Dr. Susie Cassel

Dr. Susie Cassel

  • What's your favorite book to read for fun?

    I'm a single mom, so I haven't found any time for fun reading since my boys were born, but if/when that time comes, I'd begin with Toni Morrison's Love and then savor the novels of her last decade and a half at a quiet window with deep, dark coffee. 

  • What's your favorite book to teach?

    Faulkner's As I Lay Dying or Morrison's Beloved or Song of Soloman. The structure of these works is brilliant and their psychological insight is penetrating; they teach me something new about the human experience every time I read them!

  • Do you have a favorite film?

    Though not necessarily my "favorite" film/book, watching The Joy Luck Club with my mother and a box of tissues woke me to the genre of Asian American literature and the bicultural and generational and gender struggles that had defined my life. It was transformative. 

  • How do you spend your free time?

    I love outdoor endurance adventures. I've run a marathon, gotten within 1,000 feet of the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, scuba dived in Key West, and white water rafted down the Grand Canyon. Last summer I took my boys glacier climbing and glacier kayaking in Alaska. So gorgeous! During this pandemic we've been "peak bagging"--climbing San Diego's mountains as part of the Six Peak Challenge. Let's go!

  • What is your biggest literary inspiration?

    Toni Morrison--she had me with the first line of Beloved: "124 was spiteful. Full of a baby's venom. The women in the house knew it and so did the children." Wow! Speaks for itself, don't you think?

  • What's your cure for writer's block?

    I either go for a run, play the piano, or sleep on it. All three help my brain to process the ideas in the background, so I can come to the page renewed. 

  • What are you working on outside of class?

    "Seeing America through Chinese Eyes" is the working title of my monograph about the life of San Diego's first Chinese family during the Chinese Exclusion Era.