University Writing & Research Conference Program Spring 2015
Session F2: New Narratives and Meanings in Jane Eyre
10 a.m. (Ames B109) Moderator: Wade Fletcher
Chelsea Karen – “Rewriting Divergent: Examining Jane's Transformation”
Professor Katherine Howell
Fanfiction is not simply rewriting a story or novel, but represents an act of participation that is present between fans and the text itself. Henry Jenkins explains through participation in the act of fanfiction people can develop a deeper understanding of the world they inhabit, their culture, and their own identity. As a result fanfiction becomes a tool, a way to educate and encourage the growth of readers and writers. This essay seeks to prove that the rewrite “Becoming Divergent” is an ethical piece of literature based on the genre it is set in and the hybrid characterization of Tris from Veronica Roth’s novel Divergent and Jane from Charlotte Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre. In this way the rewrite exemplifies how fans can use fanfiction to stimulate their own personal growth and is in fact an ethical piece of writing. The essay though is limited to the dystopian genre and ethics in regards to participation.
Emma Sarfity – “The Strange Case of Mr. Rochester: Facilitating Relationships Through Character Substitution”
Professor Katherine Howell
This essay aims to examine the implications of replacing Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre with Dr. Jekyll from The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It will show how adapting Mr. Rochester’s duality of personalities to Dr. Jekyll’s reality of having two distinct and opposing identities allows for the reader to gain a deeper understanding of the meanings behind Mr. Rochester’s actions and behavior. It will first show how Mr. Rochester exhibits dual behaviors, and then go on to argue that the substitution of Dr. Jekyll for Mr. Rochester allows for a clearer parasocial relationship to be drawn between the reader of “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Eyre” and the characters of Jekyll and Hyde. This is implemented with an understanding of ethical fanfiction practices, including the necessity of the writer to satisfy gaps in comprehension, and changing the original canon in order to provide depth to a cold-seeming character, as set forward by Jennifer McGee and Sarah Lantagne. This essay will discuss the justification and reasoning for the substitution of characters, and will also discuss the implications of doing so. While this essay will address the mental state of Mr. Rochester that allows Dr. Jekyll to be introduced, it will not provide a formal psychological diagnosis. Additionally, this paper focuses solely on Mr. Rochester’s behaviors and actions, and will therefore not analyze Jane’s character at all.
Session F3: Returning to Earth, Then and Now
10 a.m. (Ames B112) Moderator: Erin Speck
Timothy Traversy – “Interstellar Plant Love: Pervasive Biophilia in WALL-E”
Professor Heather Schell
My project focuses on WALL-E, a Pixar movie directed by Andrew Stanton. The film's confusingly optimistic portrayal of returning to a battered and deadly Earth did not keep it from being a critical success. My research looks into possible reasons for this phenomenon, including the environmentalist idea of "biophilia." I also discuss how WALL-E's biophilic influences reflect the conflict between humanity’s attraction to Earth and our species’ feelings of elitism.
Claire Gumbrecht – “The Power of the Rite of Spring”
Professor Matthew Riley
May 29, 1913, marks the Paris premiere date of one of the most significant ballets that was ever performed. Le Sacre du Printemps, translated as the Rite of Spring, has become increasingly historically famous and powerful, as it encompassed not only incredible dancers but also a courageously innovative soundtrack. The event of its exposure to the people of Paris holds tremendous gravity in the art, dance, and music worlds. I wrote my research paper on the Rite of Spring's significance, and how while its introduction to the public was rocky at first, as it incited an outrageous riot from viewers who were expecting a traditional performance, it now has been redone by hundreds of choreographers and is viewed as revolutionary. I plan to discuss how my passion for this topic made the process of writing the paper much more enjoyable, and also why I thought the Rite of Spring was worth telling an audience (including those who have an interest in the performing arts, and those who don't!) about.
F4: Finding Your Voice, Getting Intimate With Source Selection, and Making Your Research Mean More Than a Grade
10 a.m. (Ames B207) Moderator: Robin Marcus
Justin Xie – “Interpreting the Impact of White Supremacy on Blacks”
Professor Robin Marcus
White supremacy over the course of history has compelled blacks to fight for what originally belonged to them: their rights, their bodies, and even their lives. Since Harriet Tubman led slaves to freedom through the Underground Railroad to Rosa Parks refusing to leave the bus to reinforce her rights as an equal citizen, black resistance was quite often the response against the racist culture and the laws imposed by whites. Despite how blacks had no linear progression towards equal treatment from times of slavery to post-slavery times of the nadir and the Jim Crow era, blacks still unrelentingly fought their way up the equality food chain, one level at a time. Nonetheless, why blacks resisted and had no other choice but to fight to literally earn their living requires a deep analysis of the structure of society and its encompassing laws implemented by a white supremacist society that was mainly concentrated in the South, where a constant “war” raged on between the two sides. By analyzing as well as comprehending these discriminating laws and the societal culture that upheld these lawful values, we are led to a more sympathizing understanding of the indelible history of black struggles and how blacks ultimately operated in the public sphere.
Marvin Bell – “Colored Faces in White Spaces”
Professor Robin Marcus
While it is true that colleges have become increasingly diverse over the past few decades, it is also true that there has also been an increased amount of subtle and contemporary forms of racism such as microaggression. These racially charged microaggressions refer to brief, everyday exchanges that send denigrating messages to people of color because they belong to a racial minority group. Because of the subtlety of microaggressions, victims are often unsure of how to respond because they find if difficult to determine the nature (whether intentional or unintentional) of the microaggressor. Microaggressions are overwhelmingly experienced by members of minority groups, particularly Black, Hispanic, and Asian students. These students of color report feeling unwelcomed, unsupported, and uncomfortable at their universities.
F5: Artistic Portrayals of Science and Medicine
10 a.m. (Ames B201) Moderator: Lowell Abrams
Zoe Dorau – “AIDS On History, History on Film”
Professor Gordon Mantler
The AIDS epidemic raged through the United States in the 1980s, but society is still trying to come to terms with the disease and the era. As the 21st century begins, many filmmakers have attempted to cope with the decade in a respectful way, one admirable film being Dallas Buyers Club (2013). This film is commendable for the way it portrays the AIDS crisis in the 1980s because it is not only factual but also incorporates many perspectives and emotions of different people affected by AIDS. The film also deviates from factual events, specifically in the portrayal of the life of Ron Woodroof, but by doing so illuminates the societal effects, the bureaucracy of the pharmaceutical sector and the general discrimination that AIDS victims face day to day. In this way, the film encapsulates the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s properly, accurately and with respect and is also a reflection on the current day struggle for LGBT equal rights.
Jackie Dyer – “The Birth of Modern Chemistry and Medicine in the Dutch Golden Age”
Professor Rachel Pollack
This essay examines the development of contemporary practices in the fields of chemistry and medicine through an analysis of pre-Enlightenment Dutch art. The transition from occultism to a burgeoning acceptance of the scientific approach and the genesis of axioms in both chemistry and medicine are examined through three seventeenth century Dutch works. Through a detailed analysis of Jan Steen’s (1626-1679) The Lovesick Maiden we discover the developing nature of modern-day diagnostic tools, while simultaneously considering the mystic notion of lovesickness. Similarly, in examining Rembrandt van Rijn’s (1606-1669) The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, we reach a greater understanding of the medical profession, the profession’s evolution throughout the centuries, and the antiquated practice of public anatomies. Finally, in studying Cornelis Bega’s (1631-1664) The Alchemist, we garner a greater appreciation for true empirical science, and for the Scientific Revolution, which allowed modern chemistry to overpower archaic alchemical sciences. An analysis of these specific works of the Dutch Golden Age establishes a comprehensive understanding of the pre-Enlightenment birth of the contemporary fields of chemistry and medicine.
F6: The Dark Side of Color and Consumption
11:30 a.m. (Ames B109) Moderator: Lowell Abrams
Alison Oksner – “Conflict Minerals and Consumer Perspective: Why You Should Be Crying With the Congolese”
Professor Phyllis Ryder
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has a complex history of conflict since its establishment as an independent state in 1960. The severity of violence, disease, and starvation cripple the well-being of the Congolese people, numbing to the rest of the world. Recent engagement by the United States of America in the Democratic Republic of Congo is directly linked to our economic and social reliance on “conflict minerals,” a slew of rare elements necessary for the production of our sophisticated technology and mined only in specific parts of the planet, including the DRC. American action toward resolving conflict in the DRC, through pushing for conflict-free technology, has been flimsy, prescriptive, and ultimately harmful to the Congolese people. Through an analysis of American philosophy in the DRC, this paper challenges readers to question our current role in this global crisis and proposes a non-consumer based approach to foreign aid, informed by a more humanistic and less sterile understanding of such atrocities.
Priyanka Walimbe – “Reaction against South Asian Colorism: Dark and Lovely”
Professor Jee Yoon Lee
In this paper, I will question and analyze the standards of South Asian female beauty and its direct correlation to skin tone. In order to define beauty, I will use Jhumpa Lahiri’s short story “Sexy” to explain how being “sexy” means looking “foreign”. Lahiri’s definition of being sexy correlates to the rise of many Bollywood stars who have more European features, such as lighter skin and colored eyes. These Bollywood stars are in stark contrast with the 2013 Miss America pageant winner Nina Davaluri, who has darker skin. This schism between darker and lighter skin tones is what complicates South Asian female notions of beauty, both in the United States and in India. I argue that with the rise of Davaluri, the definitions of beauty for all South Asian females will be diversified and darker skin will be more readily accepted as beautiful.
F7: ‘The Hood Disease’
11:30 a.m. (Ames B101) Moderator: Phyllis Ryder
Najya Williams – Analyzing the Rhetoric of Inner City Communities and Their Members
Professor Phyllis Ryder
In my analysis, I offer new techniques that enable service organizations to describe inner city communities and their members realistically, but not tragically. Residents of the inner city are often portrayed as poor, unskilled, and ignorant through the media, literature, and the rhetoric of organizations that aim for the enhancement of that community. Using the rhetoric of tragedy, “the hood disease”, and conservative behaviorists, I analyze how STRIVE NextStep DC describes their youth mentees, who live with sickle cell disease, and their background within impoverished and minority based neighborhoods within the District’s inner city. In order to effectively explore the rhetoric of this organization, I take a closer look at their website, flyer, and program overview document. Even though STRIVE NextStep DC strides toward empowering their mentees to debunk many of these stereotypes, my investigation demonstrates how their rhetoric sometimes contradicts this goal.
F8: Collecting, and Sampling, Cultures: The Global Taste for the Local
1 p.m. (Ames B101) Moderator: Christy Zink
Cathaleen Grimann – “The Great Political Melting Pot: Food’s Roles in Developing and Maintaining Social Networks as Observed in Baek and Grimann’s Ethnography”
Professor Abby Wilkerson
It is important to note that since the author of this paper also co-authored “The Great Melting Pot: how international living impacts the food practices of American families,” the exhibit source for this essay. She interviewed Tess Frazier and therefore has access to the full interview narrative, which includes quotations that were not able to be included in the final essay and are included in the second section of this essay. The essay that was released is also cited as “Baek et al” where appropriate. Baek and Grimann’s paper proposed: "A strong sense of cultural identity in international living while simultaneously remaining open to other cultures provide a means for children to learn about the cultures that they are being exposed to while simultaneously allowing them to perpetuate family traditions" (Baek et al 1). Their finding that “parental acceptance of foreign cultural cuisine was vital in the development of the child’s food attitudes and food practices later in life” is explored further in this paper through an analysis of Tess Frazier’s experiences. Tess Frazier, the subject of Grimann’s interview in “The Great Melting Pot: how international living impacts the food practices of American families,” is an Italian-American single mother living and working in the DC metropolitan area. As the daughter of a Foreign Service officer, her experiences growing up can shed light on one family’s experience living abroad. Her experience is particularly valuable for those hoping to further explore the social meaning of food exchange. Openness to other cultures and international living provide a means to further analyze the significance of food sharing both within and outside the family. Tess’ story shows particularly well the influence parents have on the development of a child’s food attitude when living in an international and in this case, diplomatic setting. Her early exposure to culinary diplomacy in the foreign service compounded with her Italian-American food attitude would lead to her using food as not only an expression of compassion and friendliness, but also as a domestic political tool geared towards community building.
Thomas Dupaquier – “Impact of Film-Induced Tourism on a Region, Case Study for Northern Ireland”
Professor Katherine Larsen
I explore the concept of film-induced tourism and the impact of a TV show on the region it was filmed in. This paper considers the impact of such an exposure for the TV show “Game of Thrones” on Northern Ireland. I argue that a show can shape our perception of the region it was filmed in by providing exposure of its identity, developing an image for viewers. I’ll look into the field of fan pilgrimages, where fans travel to see the shooting location of their favorite television program. and then at the economic impact a show can have on a local community. Ultimately, I’ll have identified how TV show can contribute to flows of tourism by exposing a region to the world, occasionally having more impact than traditional advertising in tourism journals.
F9: Accessorizing Feminism: The Challenge of Challenging Gender Roles and Stereotypes
1 p.m. (Ames B109) Moderator: Joe Fisher
Emily Hein – “Mad Men's Joan Holloway and the Failure of Lipstick Feminism”
Professor Caroline Smith
The television series Mad Men presents the concept of “lipstick feminism,” popularized in the 1960s, through the character Joan Holloway. Throughout the series, Joan adheres to the tenets of lipstick feminism, attempting to become an active sexual object in order to manipulate the male gaze and gain social and professional empowerment. Although Joan initially preaches the benefits of lipstick feminism to Peggy Olson in the pilot episode, Joan is ultimately unhappy with its results. From her rape to the Jaguar deal, Joan is continually demeaned by her status as a sexual object, rather than empowered. Using Joan’s narrative as a lens to view lipstick feminism as a whole, this paper questions the premise of empowerment through sexual objectification.
Kimberly Shirrell – “Shitting in a Wedding Dress: Femininity and Vulgarity in Bridesmaids”
Professor Niles Tomlinson
People have never questioned whether women are capable of singing, acting or dancing; however, performing comedy has been treated as a different subject entirely. In order to fully establish their position as a performer, many female comedians are forced to look like attractive women and act like vulgar men. The idea of modern comedy includes verbal vulgarity, like cursing, and body vulgarity, like bodily functions. Often times this juxtaposition of things considered “exclusively feminine” with body comedy acts creates a modern role for women in performance. This is seen in performances like the movie Bridesmaids, directed by Paul Feig. Performers who break free of this traditional role through vulgar language or actions are more likely to find themselves in the light of mainstream comedy than those who do not; however, vulgar female comedy presents a flaw in the way it presents women. Rather than arguing equality through demonstrations of economic or political power, films like Bridesmaids demonstrate the abilities of women through displays of food poisoning. Where these vulgar films should break down social constructs, they instead reinforce the vulnerable feminine figure already overused in society. This leaves one major question: What can feminists and filmmakers alike to do actually create a better societal place for women?
F10: Painted Women: The Confused Connections of Artists, Models, and Patrons
1 p.m. (Ames B112) Moderator: Rachel Pollack
Sydney Merritt – “Worthy of Vermeer's Name?”
Professor Rachel Pollack
Girl with the Red Hat, Girl with a Flute, and A Young Woman Seated at the Virginals are surrounded by controversy as none of them match Vermeer’s typical style or mastery of paint. This paper discusses these three paintings, all of which are attributed to Vermeer, and questions the motivations behind the scholars labeling them. It achieves this by comparing papers and catalogue entries written by recent Vermeer scholars including Arthur Wheelock and Benjamin Binstock, as well as many older scholars, such as John Montias.
Olivia Rhodes – “A Reexamination of Prostitution in the Dutch Golden Age”
Professor Rachel Pollack
This project takes a closer look at the appearance and portrayal of prostitution in the art of the Dutch Golden Age. In particular, the research examines Dirck van Baburen's "The Procuress" and its current status as the face of Netherlandish brothel scenes. Starting with the first appearances of prostitution in art and working forwards, this essay maps out the influences of historical context on the growth of the genre, as well as answering the question of why the lewd images became so popular in a pious Dutch society. In addition, the research compares "The Procuress" and other masterpieces of the genre to the facts of a prostitute's life in the seventeenth century, and comes to a conclusion about the accuracy of such portrayals.
F11: Jarheads, Dreamgirls, and Filming the American Past
1 p.m. (Ames B207) Moderator: Gordon Mantler
Tyler Malcolm – “Shifting Sands of Time: The Value of Jarhead in Telling the History of the Gulf War”
Professor Gordon Mantler
For the majority of Americans not taking a history class, world events are conveyed not through lectures, but through news media and popular culture like film. Many times, actual footage isn't available, and directors must make important artistic choices. Through this process, characters, locations, and events may be embellished or flat-out invented. With these failings in mind, what value can film bring to the telling of history? By examining the 2005 film Jarhead, about one Marine's experience in the Gulf War of 1990, we can evaluate the historical value of the film and its implications for the U.S. military and the continuing conflict in the Middle East.
Michelle Cohn – “Dreamgirls: The African American Evolution of Representation in Mainstream Media”
Professor Gordon Mantler
Produced in 2006 but taking place in the 1960s, the film Dreamgirls follows an African American female singing group through their rise to stardom. The stereotypes that many of the characters embody, as well as the under-emphasis of the more controversial events of the Civil Rights Movement, lead this film to be a much better representation of early 2000s culture than a representation of mid20th century beliefs. The similarities between the scenes from the movie and contemporary events, as well as the critical reception, prove that while we have made a lot of progress from primitive minstrel shows and homogenous one-sided characters (in terms of minority representation in media) we still have a long way to go before we achieve equality in character depth and plot lines.
F12: Spin Doctors: New Media and Its Effects on Politics
1 p.m. (Ames B204) Moderator: Michael Svoboda
Mike Falco – “Manipulating the Public: Television Advertisement in the 2014 Midterm Election”
Professor Michael Svoboda
In this project I will analyze 16 campaign ads from this year's midterm elections. The advertisements were chosen from the 3 most competitive states this election year (Louisiana, Colorado, and Alaska) and Kansas, a state that is leaning independent. Using Social Semiotic Theory, Richardson's Genre Method, Ted Brader's Study of Emotional Appeals, and Benoit's Functional Theory of Political Discourse, I will analyze each advertisement. Then based on the analyses of each advertisement and election outcomes, I will compare and contrast the Democratic and Republican approach to campaign ads and their effectiveness. Based on research done by David Airne and William Benoit analyzing the campaign of 2000, I expect to find variances in the amount of negative ads used by each party. I also expect to find differences in the genres each party uses and the emotions to which they appeal. Overall, this project will contribute to the field of political communication. It is relevant and important for campaigns to understand what does and does not affect voters, and what methods the opponent is using to manipulate the public.
Harrison Potter – “Raising The Bar: Chris Christie's Social Media Potential”
Professor Jessica McCaughey
Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey is one of the most unique politicians in America today. His refreshingly blunt style and down-to-business attitude have helped Christie capture the Garden State’s governorship twice, in addition to bringing him national media attention and the post as Chairman of the Republican Governors Association. Christie makes myriad public appearances, all of which contribute to shaping his brand, but his social media presence provides the most constant representation of the Governor and everything he stands for. Social media platforms may even be the first places many people, especially younger voters, are introduced to him, making it crucial that he showcase his best self on those platforms. Christie has a fantastic start – with thousands of Facebook and Twitter followers, he has already taken many steps to positively define himself online. There is room for improvement, though, and Social Media Rockstars proposes several simple ways in which his presence can be immediately improved. By assessing industry and scholarly research as well as his competitors’ social media campaigns, the firm has learned what Christie needs most and tailored a plan to what will best help the Governor. Social Media Rockstars is on the forefront of the industry, and will take Christie’s brand to the next level, tremendously increasing his influence and leveraging online tools to shape a national dialogue in his favor.
F13: Rhetorics of Racism
2:30 p.m. (Ames B101) Moderator: Zach Elder
Jillian Miles – “Race, Riots, and the Protest Paradigm: An Analysis of Photo Essays from Ferguson”
Professor Michael Svoboda
This study analyzed two photo essays on the riots in Ferguson, from sources on differing sides of the political spectrum, Rolling Stone and National Review, in their fitness to the protest paradigm, a set of patterns the media uses to trivialize protestors and uphold the status quo. It used a content analysis, social semiotics, and visual suasions to evaluate the images. The study found that neither photo essay completely used all elements of the protest paradigm, but that the National Review used them more. These findings support the literature surrounding liberal and conservative media bias, and the literature surrounding racial stereotyping in visual media coverage.
Kendrick Baker – “From Levittown to Ferguson: The Challenge of Suburban Minority Representation in America”
Professor Edward Helfers
Although the dangers of gentrification in America's greatest cities have been discussed in depth in our national media, the reality for those forced out of the city center is something rarely talked about. This paper investigates the migration of the poor and minority populations out of the city and into the suburb, and uncovers the structural racism and dichotomic reality of "white suburbia" in the 21st century.
F14: Labeling Queers and Queering Labels: (Re)Writing Sexual Community
2:30 p.m. (Ames B109) Moderator: Bill Gillis
Acacia Ackles – “Certifiably Lesbian: The Influence of Labels on Community Acceptance and Exclusion in The Well of Loneliness”
Professor Shonda Goward
My paper examines the positive and negative effects of labels adopted by marginalized groups as shown through Radclyffe Hall's novel The Well of Loneliness. It specifically focuses on the intersection between mental illness and homosexuality, and how the historical categorization of the latter as the former helped some members of the community and isolated others. By examining historical responses to the classification of lesbianism as a medical disorder and comparing them to the responses of the characters in the novel, the paper aims to show the helpful yet restrictive nature of such classifications. Ultimately, I conclude that forging hard labels out of such broad-spectrum identities harms members of the community more than it helps.
Jack Youngblut – “Sexual Fluidity 101: An Analysis Of The Responses To Community’s Queer Characters”
Professor Katherine Larsen
Portrayals of sexuality in television have long been the subject of scrutiny. Often times, especially in the American sitcom genre, the trope of the ambiguously queer character is used as a crutch for writing and many in the queer community have seen the trope as a form of discrimination. However, this homage has been embraced by many fans in one particular sector of the queer community—fans of Jim Rash’s Dean Craig Pelton on the NBC sitcom “Community.” The character of Pelton has been used as an example of positive gender queer characters through the show’s ability to highlight the humor in his behavior but not ridicule his sexuality. In order to fully explore why this phenomenon exists, I will begin by first analyzing the character itself. I will then show how the queer fan community
has reacted to the character. Finally I will attempt to answer the question of why Community and Pelton are so successful in courting this support and what it means for the fandom as a whole.
F15: Making the Connection: Social Media, Audience and Organizational Success
2:30 p.m. (Ames B117) Moderator: Lauren Kaczmar
Maddie Shaw – “Dialogic Connections: An Analysis of Groundwork Anacostia River, DC’s Use of Facebook and Twitter”
Professor Phyllis Ryder
The recent development of social media websites makes it much easier for organizations to interact with the community they are trying to reach. Research has been done regarding the most effective types of social media for this task, as well as how those websites can be used best to benefit the organization. This essay analyzes the Facebook posts and tweets of Groundwork Anacostia River, DC (GWARDC) and uses frameworks laid out by Lovejoy and Saxton to determine whether or not GWARDC is creating dialogic connections with their audience. To do this, the Lovejoy and Saxton framework, originally designed to analyze tweets made by organizations, is also applied to Facebook posts. I analyze Groundwork’s use of Facebook and Twitter and determine that they are on the right track to forming dialogic connections with their audience, however their practices still need to be refined for dialogic connections to occur.
Lauren Shaoul – “A Proposal for Estee Lauder's Social Media Success”
Professor Jessica McCaughey
This project analyzes Estee Lauder’s social media selling initiatives and proposes a plan for Estee Lauder’s continued social media success. The proposal applies the research found by closely examining Estee Lauder’s social media pages and reviewing the insights of industry experts. Upon this analysis, it becomes clear that Estee Lauder must be more informative, consistent, and engaging on social media to compete with rival cosmetic brands and attract its target audience. This proposal lays out a new strategy that focuses on optimizing Estee Lauder’s current campaign and overcoming its shortcomings in order to achieve unparalleled social media success.
F16: Challenging Our Senses: Rethinking Sight and Sound
2:30 p.m. (Ames B205) Moderator: Dolsy Smith
Edna Aguilar – “Play It Again: Repetition’s Role in Liking for Music”
Professor Matthew Riley
Repetition dominates musical experience. How many times do we listen to our favorite song throughout the day? How many times do we listen to those same songs throughout our lives? This habit of listening to songs over and over again reveals a startlingly clear relationship between repetition and musical pleasure. Although mere repetition does not account for the only reason why we like music, it does play an important role in affecting our liking for music. The relationship between repetition and musical enjoyment is described by an inverted-U curve that establishes that the more times we listen to a song the more we will like it; however, too many listenings will eventually decrease our liking for the song.
Logan Kolas – “Visually Impaired: A Crutch or An Advantage”
Professor Jonathan Dueck
This ethnography shows the journey of a young man who lost his sight at a young age through Stargardt's Disease. He fought his way into sports and began playing football as a center. Then he made his way to wrestling. It is discussed how Jonathan Thomas was able to embody athleticism through his four senses. Sight became a double-edged sword and there would no longer be competition. He wasn't alone. He had amazing coaches and partners that formed JT's new eyes along with inherited and mastered stimulus reactions. He knew you would grab his leg by a quick, strong jab of the opponent's arm. Interviews from JT will be on display along with anecdotes from the outside view. His breed of success would go on to influence the community along with his best friends. JT is the poetry, but the coaches are the pen. It can only be described as a beautiful sight.
F17: Plant Seeds, Cultivate Justice: The First Chapter Essay Contest
4:10 p.m. (Ames B101)
Ashley Alessandra – “Methods For Farming Sustainably”
The local, small farm is an important aspect of American society, emphasizing the access to healthy food and a sense of community. But the common rhetoric about small farms suggests that they are not sustainable: they can use methods that don’t harm the environment, or they can choose to make a profit, but they can’t do both. In The Good Food Revolution, Will Allen defies that common position as he details the urban farming techniques he has created. Allen develops both a business and a rhetoric that preserve profits and land. His book, then, serves as a model of how to counter the prevailing myths about food, farming, and how to do business in the era of globalization.
Faculty Respondent: Ivy Ken, Associate Professor of Sociology
Dr. Ken researches and teaches about food studies, with a focus on school lunches and DC's progressive Healthy Foods Act. She teaches courses on food policy and the sociology of food. Her book, Digesting Race, Class and Gender uses sugar as a metaphor to examine how these organizing mechanisms work together in our lives.
Award Presentation: Diane Robinson Knapp, GW First Lady and Urban Food Task Force Chair
F18: Facebook Frontier: Researching with New Media
4:10 p.m. (Ames B109) Moderator: Caroline Smith
Amanda Menas – “The Fifth Estate and the Bunker: Fan Tendencies in a Time of Terror”
Professor Katherine Larsen
The food movement advocates to transform food practices in order to encourage healthier lives, and foster support for social and environmental change. In doing this, the food movement also offers an opportunity to recognize and address the social, economical, and political disparities within the American food system. This essay focuses on the Latino immigrant food experience, and the complexity of attempting to retain a sense of identity and heritage through food practices. Using the experiences of Olivia--an immigrant mother in the United States-- this essay seeks to understand the importance of finding a balance between eating healthy, and maintaining traditions. Additionally, it looks at Olivia’s role as the “gatekeeper” of her children’s dietary needs (Gerner, Romero de Slowing, and Doudna, 156) and a contributor of the food movement.
Sahiti Enjeti – “The Sensation that is Peggy Olson”
Professor Caroline Smith
In the AMC series Mad Men, Peggy Olson begins her journey as the innocent secretary and transforms into a confident woman throughout the series. Long time watchers (or binge watchers) of the show are able to see the complete transition Peggy makes in seven seasons. They become frustrated, yet happy for the character and share those feelings on various social media sites. For my research project, I decided to analyze the fan reaction of Peggy Olson and her effect on liberal feminism and modern women empowerment. I explored what about Peggy resonated with her fans and how her defining moments in the series affected her fans. My project consists of various forms of research from academic articles to reddit discussion boards.
Priyanka Toddywala – “@ The Brink of a New Age: Twitter Activism in Today’s Era”
Professor Michael Svoboda
In this paper, I analyze tweets with the context “YesAllWomen” and the activism it brought about during the time period of May 25, 2014 to May 30, 2014 in regard to feminism and anti-misogyny. I take a categorical approach to analyze my findings. Using this, I compare and contrast different types of tweets and show the rising role of social media, in particular Twitter, and its impact in today’s society in regards to activism. I find that social issues are brought to light because of the widespread effect of Twitter activism. This analysis proves to have made an issue once ignored in society popular because of the use of Twitter. Those involved in researching how movements begin should be interested in this study, as well as those involved in the seeing the collective function social media has on society.
F19: Imbalance: Gender in Music and Dance
4:10 p.m. (Ames B117) Moderator: Jon Dueck
Celia Islam – “The Gender Imbalance: Women in Hip-Hop”
Professor Matthew Riley
The music industry puts an enormous amount of pressure on the disproportionately low amount of female rappers that exist to look and act a certain way. Most popular female rappers who have enjoyed mainstream success must wear provocative clothing and dance in a sexual manner in each music video and performance. Furthermore, female rappers are often forced to hide or diminish their African-American features and characteristics in a way that male rappers are not. Nicki Minaj and Lil’ Kim are examples of the pressure the industry puts on female rappers to deny their racial and ethnic backgrounds while asserting their sexuality and femininity. This essay will aim to examine the different expectations the music industry places on female rappers that do not exist for male rappers. After examining this double standard, this essay will attempt to determine why there are so few women in hip-hop than men. The double standard that exists and persists for female rappers has been influenced in part by the degradation of women in both hip-hop music and culture. From its earliest roots, hip-hop has been a means for men to release their anger and frustration. Often times, this rage is expressed directly towards women. One of the main purposes of hip-hop is for men to demonstrate that other people don’t have power and control over them. The best way to show this is by proving that attractive women are inferior to them and that the sexual power of women doesn’t have control over them. In an effort to prove the superiority of men over women (and thus masculinity over femininity), hip-hop music is often degrading and even violent towards women. Furthermore, because hip-hop culture has from the start been a brotherhood of primarily black men, women often find it difficult to break through into the hip-hop world. On the rare occasion that a woman is able to enter the realm of hip-hop, she is expected to conform to what men want to see from her, due in large part to the fact that men control the music industry and want to make more sales. As a result, she must dress provocatively and act seductively in order to please the chauvinistic males who rule the music and hiphop industries. These factors combined have contributed to the lack of female rappers in hip-hop music.
Rahul Kumar – “Embodying Religion: Traditional Indian Dance”
Professor Jonathan Dueck
In many traditional Indian dances, there is a separation of movements into masculine and feminine. This separation is ancient, going back to Hindu beliefs about creation, including the ideas, Laws, which state that men and women have different roles in the household and in society. In modern Indian society, many things have changed, including gender roles; but where Hinduism is practiced, there are still traditional Indian dances with traditional gender roles. This paper explores how modern Indians use traditional Indian dance to articulate religiosity. Through videos, pictures, and my personal memories of performing traditional Indian dance, I explore the relationship between Hinduism and dance, as an Indian boy living in the United States. From my interview with Niyati Dhokai, an experienced Indian dancer and ethnomusicologist, I explore briefly how changes in the Diaspora impact Hinduism and traditional Indian dance.
F20: Strange Bedfellows: How Pussy Riot and Harry Potter Frame Identity Formation Methodologies
4:10 p.m. (Ames B205) Moderator: Tolonda Henderson
Mackenzie Eisen – “Harry Potter and the Final Solution”
Professor Heather Schell
An exploration into the socializing properties of Harry Potter and in particular how social and political structures in the novels relate to issues of British classism. Also explores how the ideology of the fictional Death Eaters can be attributed to Nazi eugenics.
Cosima Schelfhout – “Vladimir Putin and the Strategy of Human Rights”
Professor Randi Kristenson
The controversial prosecution of feminist punk rock group, Pussy Riot, after their June 2012 performance in Moscow, sparked an international debate about human rights compliance in Russia. Since Vladimir Putin was elected in 2000, Russia has openly defied numerous international human rights standards. These violations include censorship of media, anti-gay legislation, and acts of terror against Ukraine, and more recently, Chechnya. Despite international backlash, Putin has held fast in his controversial political moves, and in doing so, led Russia to a period of relative stability and economic success. By first examining the nature of international human rights and the relationship between international bodies and the countries subject to their reforms, I uncovered the inner workings of international human rights. Upon applying the findings of my research to Russia I came to my general conclusion. Russia’s tendency to disregard international human rights pressure is not the result of cultural cleavages, or lack of enforcement by international bodies, but rather a strategic decision made by Putin to strengthen Russia’s unity, and enhance its power globally. This is not to say the decision to defy the norms of the international community is without ethical and practical costs, but rather that Putin understands these costs, and is willing to accept them for the advancement of the Russian state. Understanding the nature of international human rights reform, and its lack of success in Russia is vital to understanding why any human rights movement is successful or unsuccessful. Understanding what makes such a movement successful is not only important to understanding history, but also important to initiating change in the future.
F21: Assertions of Power in the Domestic Sphere – Oppression and Liberation in Film Noire and Immigrant Food Practices
4:10 p.m. (Ames B204) Moderator: Niles Tomlinson
Sarah Boyer – “The Hays Code and Normalized Violence Against Women”
Professor Joshua Buursma
The Hays Production Code dramatically altered the history of film in the United States, by censoring any themes or subject matter that the heavily religious and conservative board found to be inappropriate for general audiences, or simply personally offensive. While certain historians and directors have argued that these restrictions forced directors to become creative, the Hays Code, overall, negatively changed the way that film depicted women and the violence against them: as, within the Hays Code, sex and women’s sexuality were deemed to be inappropriate and were censored, but violent or abusive acts committed against them became plot points, or were just generally accepted. In film noir, a very common element and theme is the femme fatale— a woman whom controls or otherwise manipulates men to get what she desires, often with the use of sex appeal. However, in film noir works, there is also an interesting and disturbing response to this theme: the need of men to control these femme fatales, and to bend them to their will, often with the use of physical force. To display with phenomena, two examples are the treatment of the characters Gilda in the movie of the same name, and the treatment of sex and violence in the neo-noir film Taxi Driver. In the film Gilda, the central character, Gilda, performs a sexually charged song and dance number and, afterwards, she begins to strip, much to the joy of the jeering, predominately male crowd of patrons at the casino. She and her love interest, Johnny, then fight, and she goes to dramatically call herself a “whore”. But, instead of her saying the word, Johnny slaps her across the face, thus displaying that her sexuality is not hers to control or define. Another example of this disturbing trend comes from the neo-noir film Taxi Driver: within the film, sex is used as a shock factor and to cause distress to the characters, as well as to the viewers. Travis, the main character, frequents many pornographic theaters, but only the moans and brief close-ups of skin can be show- never the pornography itself. However, the violent rant detailing the brutal ways that a passenger wants to murder his cheating wife to Travis stretch across an uncomfortable span of time in gory detail. Further, the only scene in the film in which the sexually explicate films can be seen fully is when Travis brings a date to one of these productions, which causes her to feel that he has violated her. With this, the film demonstrates that while violence against women was acceptable, but consensual sex and sexual situations, were not. Taking into account the historical context in which these films were created— a high population of retiring emotionally disturbed veterans and the overall repressive nature of the late 1940s and 1950s in America— to what extent did the Hays Code present domestic violence and other violent acts against women as normal and acceptable behavior? To answer this, the two above films will be analyzed in terms of historical data pertaining to violence against women in post-World War II and Vietnam America, as well as pre- and post- Hays Code portrayals of women, and through feminist film theory.
Jacqueline Lopez – “Comida de Cambio: Food of Change, Immigrant Women and their Impact in the Food Movement”
Professor Abby Wilkerson
The food movement advocates to transform food practices in order to encourage healthier lives, and foster support for social and environmental change. In doing this, the food movement also offers an opportunity to recognize and address the social, economical, and political disparities within the American food system. This essay focuses on the Latino immigrant food experience, and the complexity of attempting to retain a sense of identity and heritage through food practices. Using the experiences of Olivia – an immigrant mother in the United States-- this essay seeks to understand the importance of finding a balance between eating healthy, and maintaining traditions. Additionally, it looks at Olivia’s role as the “gatekeeper” of her children’s dietary needs (Gerner, Romero de Slowing, and Doudna, 156) and a contributor of the food movement.