11th Annual Harrison Symposium Abstracts (2008)

Caitlin Andrew: "Sometimes You’re Custer, Sometimes You’re Oneida: Teacher Student Relationships in Native American Classrooms"

During Winter Term 2008, I undertook research at the Oneida Nation High School (ONHS) hoping to learn about their programs of cultural education and preservation as they are integrated into the academic curriculum. As my experiences progressed, I found myself increasingly drawn to my informants’ personal experiences as teachers at ONHS.

As a primary methodology, I conducted semi-formal interviews with seven main informants. In learning about each person’s personal experiences, I began to perceive several thematic concepts such as student racism, respect or trust and the importance of close relationships with students. Additionally, my informants all expressed the importance of integrating native culture into the lives and emerging identities of Native American high school students. With this as a commonality, I focus my paper on the form and function of teacher-student relationships with regard to the cultural definition of trust and respect as honors to be earned rather than blindly bestowed upon certain people. I look at how my informants, both native and non-native, use their knowledge of, or desire to know more about, Oneida culture to convey genuine interest in and appreciation for the lives of their students. And finally, I discuss how teachers use native culture as a foundation from which to gain a sense of mutual respect and trust with their students and that, for many, these teacher-student relationships help render them more effective educators.

Alison Bey: "Political Theology and Sandinismo in Revolutionary Nicaragua"

My paper is about the Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua in 1979. The Sandinistas were members of the Marxist party called the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN). The interesting thing about the revolution, which my paper addresses, is that Christian Nicaraguans were an integral part of the revolution. In fact, the bishops of Nicaragua issued a statement of support for the revolution in the final days before its victory.

The revolution occurred in the context of a general liberalization of the Catholic Church, and the development of "liberation theology," which was a theology based on social action on behalf of the poor. However, even most liberation theologians supported reform, not revolution, and the Catholic Church’s stance on Marxism never wavered.

So what was it that actually caused Nicaraguans, including Christian Nicaraguans, to revolt against their own government to form a socialist government? Was it a result of the liberalization of the Church, or the recruitment tactics of the FSLN, or something completely different? The 1979 revolution was a unique blend of Soviet-based socialism, and Nicaraguan values, which included Christianity. Many refer to this blend as Sandinismo, or the ideology of the revolution. In 1970s Nicaragua, Christianity and Marxism had a rare opportunity to collaborate and in doing so, created a truly Nicaraguan revolution.

Mollie Bodin: "Maatey vs. Sir: A Comparison of Pirates and Privateers In Emerging European Statehood"

Acts of piracy pervade European naval history throughout the centuries. Piracy rose as the European maritime expansion westward brought more opportunities for trade between countries like Portugal and Spain in the late sixteenth century and early seventeenth century. When Queen Elizabeth (1558-1603) took over, she decided that privateering, a method of hiring merchants and explorers to commit crimes against a hostile power was one way to dramatically increase the economy while also creating a feeling of nationalism. The Queen made vague distinctions between acts of piracy, which she did not condone, and acts of privateering, which she did not classify or speak about. When Elizabeth began her reign, a majority of the New World had already been discovered and trade had been established. The growth of world trade led to a new constancy in piracy because of the increased transportation of supplies and wealth across the oceans. While Spain and Portugal placed themselves in situations to be robbed at sea with the constant transportation of goods, their economies increased dramatically. Elizabeth had few options when it came to establishing British colonies in the New World and increasing the British economy to the levels that Spain and Portugal had attained. While she was not the first monarch to condone privateering and use the actions to benefit national economy, Elizabeth was the first to use privateering to such an extent. Because her proclamations failed to establish a clear boundary between privateering and piracy, Elizabeth created a legal conundrum during the sixteenth century that would influence the law of the sea for centuries to come. Engaging in the behavior that her proclamations encouraged led to Sir Francis Drake being hailed as a national hero; some years later, it led to Captain George Cusack being hanged for piracy.

The paper analyzes Elizabeth’s proclamations in relation to two case studies, one of Francis Drake (a privateer) and the other of George Cusack (a pirate). The paper also addresses documents from Spanish sources about English privateering. The paper concludes with historiography about the topic and a discussion of how pirates and privateers differ, along with a discussion about how the whole situation of privateers and pirates fits into the geopolitical atmosphere during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Paris Brown: "Opera and Human Identity: A new critique of aesthetics and an analyses of opera in relation to identity"

In almost every culture and society in the world, music plays a significant role in the creation of a community. At the same time, through readings of diverse and varied French literature, I have discovered that the creation of identity and belonging also seems to be culturally universal. Thus in my paper I wanted to see if there were any parallels between the interpretation of music and formation of identity and belonging in an individual. The first part of my paper addresses the historical ways in which music has been interpreted and placed into society. Using Philosophical works by Plato, Lacan and Kristiva, I discovered that the significance of music (Instrumental) cannot be absolute and varies based upon culture and environment. On the other hand, vocal music (or Opera) is unique in the fact that it not only allows personal reflection and interpretation of music, but words and text can allow for a more objective, universal understanding of what music means. The second part of my paper analyzes that ways in which themes of identity and belonging are portrayed and interpreted in Opera. Using the French opera "L’enfant et les Sortileges" by Maurice Ravel, I discovered that it is not only the textual theme of lost identity in the opera that is effective in interpretation but it is mostly the ways that Ravel separates characters musically, by melody and key and this allows for both auditory and visual comprehension of identity and belonging. In conclusion there are many different ways in which one can interpret music but it is the uniqueness of opera, which combines music and text that allows for a more efficient understanding of what is to be human.

Erin Dix: ""Sympathy between Masks’: Emotional Restraint and the Victorian American Countenance"

The word "Victorian" for most people today prompts an immediate mental picture characterized by primness, uptightness, and perhaps snobbery. An atmosphere of emotional restraint tends to be woven into this picture; we think of ladies and gentlemen sitting down to tea and engaging in pleasantly trivial conversation, not of men throwing punches and women angrily shouting at one another. This is our stereotype of the Victorian era, but in what ways and to what extent was emotional restraint really a part of middle-class Victorian culture, for men and for women? Historians such as John Kasson and Karen Halttunen have done fascinating analyses of the importance of emotional restraint in nineteenth-century American public life, but an examination of the differences between prescriptions for men and for women shows that similar ideals of restricted emotional behavior also held sway in the home. In other words, ideals of emotional restraint in Victorian society breached the public/private divide. At the same time, a historically particular notion of "countenance" that placed importance on the outward appearance of emotion confused the internal (emotions) with the external (facial expressions). My paper explores the Victorian emphasis on restraining emotions and emotional display through this notion of "countenance." Authors of conduct literature offered extensive and often contradictory advice regarding the countenance; both men and women who sought to follow this advice would have had to walk a virtual tight-rope of appropriate emotional conduct, in public and at home.

Works of conduct literature published and circulated in Victorian America served the important function of providing middle-class men and women with detailed instructions on how to prove their gentility through appearance and behavior. An examination of these works shows that women faced greater restrictions regarding emotional display than did their husbands. Conduct advisors strongly advised men of business to keep a close watch on their external manifestations of emotion while in the public sphere. A business man’s countenance, if he was un-practiced in the art of concealment, could reveal his thoughts and motives and thereby betray him to the men with whom he was dealing. Conduct advisors seemed to generally acknowledge, however, that men could enjoy greater freedom of emotional expression in the home. Here in the private sphere, women played the crucial role of mediating their family members’ tempers and cultivating an atmosphere of perpetual cheerfulness and peace. A husband’s display of anger was disagreeable, but excusable; an angry outburst by his wife, however, could jeopardize the proper functioning of the entire family.

These were the ideals laid out by conduct advisors, but in practice, they were fraught with complications. Tensions arose in trying to reconcile the need for displaying feelings of love and affection with restriction of the countenance, suggesting that no matter how elaborately etiquette advisors painted their pictures of ideal conduct, the restrictions on the Victorian countenance were problematic for men and women in this society.

Sarah Dunbar-Hester: "Gee’s Bend: More than What Meets the Eye"

Quilts from four generations from rural Alabama are not being shown around the nation at large museums known for displaying fine art. The fame of the Quilts of Gee’s Bend took the collaborative effort of many people, as well as institutions. The small town would have remained unknown to those outside of Wilcox county if it had not been for the "outsiders" who shined the limelight on quilts made by illiterate, poor, African American women. These outsiders, art collectors, curators, and critics, interested in the quilts are generally educated, white, of a higher socioeconomic class, and usually male. This paper will examine the intersection of these two social dichotomies.

Art reception and the timing of the "discovery" of Gee’s Bend is significant because of the nuances within the art world. Factors such as feminism, blurred distinction between fine art and craft, and a heightened interest in art from other cultures all allowed for a greater acceptance of the quilts within the art world and the general public

Caitlin Gallogly: "Crafting The Defeat: A Critical Study of Mercy Otis Warren and Her Propaganda Plays of the American Revolution"

My paper is essentially a case study of Mercy Otis Warren and her contributions to the American Revolution. Though Warren has been the subject of study in the past, never before has she been viewed as a Revolutionary figure on her own merit, and similarly both the impact and content of her Revolutionary-era plays and poems have been largely dismissed by the scholarly community. This project attempts to remedy this oversight.

My study of Mercy Otis Warren centers around her important contribution to the Patriot cause, and is primarily concerned with her three popular propaganda plays, The Adulateur (1772), The Group (1773), and The Defeat (1775). These plays, written and published before both the outbreak of the War and the decision to declare independence from Britain had been made, advocate loyalty to an American nation which had not yet been created, and achieved immense popularity.

I ask three main questions which this paper attempts to answer. The first: What did it mean for Warren, a woman, to participate in the public sphere of politics as she did by writing these plays? Second, why did she choose the genre of drama to express her views, given its controversial status in pre-Republican America? And finally, what evidence is there in the plays themselves that they are in fact radical texts which advocate, if not outright Revolution, then at least separation from English control—a question which I answer through a in-depth critical analysis of the three texts.

Though the answers to all of these questions are somewhat complicated, I argue that Warren’s participation in the public sphere was, at the time, highly improper, and that she thus published anonymously. More, she chose the genre of plays for several reasons, including her desire to avoid publishing in genres strictly confined to males—i.e. pamphlets, and thus to make her participation in the public sphere less unsavory. I argue further that this genre allowed her to both literally and metaphorically "perform" her own identity as a patriot.

My paper has three primary sections in which my arguments unfold. In the first, introductory section, I discuss Mercy Otis Warren’s life and pertinent intellectual influences. In the second section, I provide an overview of the world of eighteenth century New England, explaining the structure of colonial and pre-Revolutionary society and family life, and detailing briefly the purpose and role of the printed press and entertainment in this period. The final section of the paper is the longest, and the most crucial. Here, I engage in a critical study of the three propaganda plays, viewing them through the lens of Mercy Otis Warren’s political agenda, and interrogating how and where they fit in the study of both printed propaganda of the American Revolution, and as texts of female patriotism in eighteenth century America.

Maria Giere: "A Thousand Faces: Multiple Identity Construction and Maintenance in Actors for Theatre"

The paper is a proposed research design that I developed during my Anthropology senior seminar. The paper covers my research question, a review of the literature, and the details of the projects design including: sampling, data collection strategies, analysis, and the ethics of the situation.

The major theme of the paper is the study of the actor's perspective on creating art. I am particularly interested in the creation and maintenance of character identities that the actors create for each role they perform. How does this process of artistic creation feel? What happens when people create a new identity while keeping their own? How is that type of role construction different from how people act in their everyday lives? My research goal comes out of these questions.

The paper describes my proposed research that attempts to establish a clearer understanding of how actors for theatre conceptualize and negotiate the creation and maintenance of the roles they portray on stage. The study will address this process in American actors; the anthropological community has largely ignored the Western actor in both performance anthropology and performance studies in general, focusing mainly on more "exotic" performance events, audiences, and roles in everyday life. This proposed research will build upon those theories of performance in everyday life by examining how roles are consciously created and then bringing those insights to subconscious and automatic role construction. The project is also aimed at understanding more clearly the role of and variety within the process of role creation in order to create more effective and enjoyable theatre, while at the same time contributing to the body of research within Performance Anthropology as a whole.

The project takes an ethnographic focus in addressing these issues. The structure of the research takes a three-fold, deductive approach, becoming more and more detailed as it progresses. It begins with a period of observation of rehearsal periods, and is followed by two increasingly in-depth interview portions with actors; utilizing both semi-structured and person-centered interviews. The project is also multi-site in its design, occurring at three theatre venues of increasing size in order to understand whether or not the type of venue is a variable in the process that an actor undergoes during role construction. The basic structure of the research project is centered around three different venues in the San Francisco Bay Area Participants will be interviewed about their personal processes of art creation, later a smaller group of those participants will be asked to share the history of their careers as actors. Participants will also be observed during reshearsals. During the research, particular attention will be paid to the language used by actors and (less so) directors when discussing characters and character development. This information will form the basis of the analysis, which will be conducted within the framework of cognitive anthropology; looking for how the brain conceptualizes the act of role development and how the actors make sense of their roles within the context of their lives.

Theodore Greeley: "Threatening the 4th Amendment: Cybercrime Searches and Seizures"

The paper is an examination of cybercrime. The paper looks at the historical development of cybercrime, from its earliest prosecution, prior to the development of the internet, to today. The paper considers state and federals laws dealing with cybercrime. The impact of the 4th Amendment on the prosecution of cybercrimes. The paper will focus on legislation passed in response to the 9/11 attacks to combat cyberterrorism. The paper concludes with proposals that would attempt to balance the protection of the public from infringement of their civil liberties, while still allowing the government to protect the public from possible threats.

Sara Novak: "Un país en cambio: Chile debajo del gobierno de Bachelet"

This paper discusses the current government of Chilean president Michelle Bachelet. I focus on how her past has helped prepare her to lead the country. I emphasize her socialist background and policies and how that is what Chile needs at this period in history to develop as a country. There is a discussion of Bachelet’s past and its effects on her private and political lives. It touches on her struggle to become Chile’s first woman president and the promises she made early in her victory. It ends with a look at some of her most effective policies and what they have done for Chile and their promises for the future.

Emily Passey: "Unlearning and Rewriting: What a Prairie Poet tells us about History in the Present"

The paper that I would like to present is a brief version of the second chapter of a three chapter honors project that focuses on the work of two marginalized poets, Robert Kroetsch and Lorine Niedecker. My paper begins from a place that is largely misunderstood: the margins. I was driven to study the literature of my marginalized home, using my unique position to argue for a necessary rethinking of the meaning of marginalization. I turn to a Canadian poet, Robert Kroetsch, hailing from the Western prairie, to help me understand the importance of the marginal position.

Robert Kroetsch writes poetry and criticism from his place on the margins, the meaning of which place he takes up as his central concern in all of his writing. His position is, in fact, doubly marginalized. He hails both from Canada, a relatively new and relatively de-centered Western country, and from the Canadian prairies, a large, sparsely populated stretch of the country. Canadian literature, too, is a marginalized literature for it does not adhere to any sort of nationalistic canon. High modernism, the movement of art and culture into which Kroetsch was born in the late 1920s, represents a longing for a center, a unity, and a narrative that made Canada, because it is de-centered and disunited, irrelevant to history. In his work, Kroetsch strives to undo this gesture, making Canada and, by extension, the prairies, relevant exactly because both are de-centered, disunited, and unable to be encapsulated in the strictly cohesive narrative of modernism. Kroetsch takes up a problem at the heart of the post-colonial, marginalized situation: the history that is supposed to be universal, the Euro-centric master narrative, does not speak for the unique and individual situation of the modern-day prairie dweller. Against this problem, Kroetsch posits a solution, his poetic methodology of archaeology. By this methodology, Kroetsch undoes the master narrative, offering a new way to view history that honors its necessarily fragmented and constructed nature. His poetry, then, is a new way to narrate history, using irony, humor, subversion, creation and re-creation.

In my paper, then, I first describe the "problem" with which Kroetsch is confronted; I trace the central elements of the post-colonial situation, incorporating postmodern theory as a way to explain or contextualize Kroetsch’s own theories and poetry. I then go on to examine his "solution," the process of archaeological poetics. I will also turn to Kroetsch’s poetry that exemplifies and better illuminates the ways in which Kroetsch seeks to reassert a fragmented, de-centered history.

Natasha Quesnell-Theno (2007 Harrison Award Winner): "Temptresses and Fallen Angels: Benevolent Sexism, Emotional Instability, and Perceptions of Statutory Rape Offenders"

The current research examines the effects of both gender and mental illness on perceptions of statutory rape offenders. Specifically, I question how paternalistic attitudes towards women can produce lenience in court cases, and how mental illness moderates this phenomenon. Surprisingly, sexism often takes the guise of subjectively positive attitudes that reinforce gender roles, rewarding individuals who exhibit gender-consistent behavior and punishing those who do not (benevolent sexism; Glick & Fiske, 1997). However, while stereotypes restrict women’s behavior, they also protect women who embody these stereotypes; thus, women may experience leniency when they justify illicit behavior through gender stereotypes. For example, women are stereotyped as more emotional than men; therefore, women justifying criminal behavior through emotional instability (e.g., bipolar disorder) may be excused more readily than male counterparts. Interestingly, because some mental illnesses (e.g., bipolar disorder) are linked closely with emotionality, gender stereotypes can influence perceptions of mentally ill men and women.

In our first study, participants read about a male or female teacher accused of sexual relations with a 14-year-old student, and completed a questionnaire assessing blame attributed to the perpetrator, sympathy for the perpetrator, perceived sincerity of the perpetrator in his or her account of the situation, and perception of the perpetrator’s future threat. Perpetrator emotional instability was manipulated by including bipolar and non-bipolar versions of the stimulus materials. Participants also completed the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory (ASI; Glick & Fiske, 1997) to measure their level of benevolent sexism. Following statistical analysis, several significant trends emerged (we are likely to pursue publishing later this year). First, sexist individuals excused emotionally unstable female, but not male perpetrators, evidenced by the fact that participants in the condition including a bipolar female perpetrator rated the sex act as highly consensual and rated the perpetrator as low in dangerousness. In contrast, sexist individuals viewed bipolar male perpetrators as predatory and dangerous, evidenced by low ratings regarding how consensual the sex act was, and high ratings of dangerousness. Although, participants generally exhibited more sympathy towards bipolar perpetrators, highly sexist participants consistently provided negative evaluations of bipolar male perpetrators. Our results suggest that, in some cases, bipolar men elicit hostility and distrust, whereas bipolar women elicit sympathy and leniency. Thus, the stigma of mental illness can be a gendered phenomenon. By identifying factors which moderate prejudice, one can pinpoint particular beliefs and behavioral patterns that maintain inequality, and hopefully create social changes.

Bryan Rosen: "A Comparison of Ergative and Middle Transitive Verbs in Spanish and English"

In Spanish, the pronoun se is always phonetically the same even though se serves a very distinct purpose depending on the structure of the sentence. Two example uses of se are mismatched when comparing English to Spanish constructions: ergative usage (‘The boat sank’) and middle construction (‘This kind of boat sinks easily’). The predominant theory among Spanish syntacticians/linguists on rendering ergative usage of transitive verbs is to insert a se before a verb in the past tense. However, certain adjuncts including agent oriented adverbs and rationale clauses can attach with complete grammaticality. This is unexpected because English grammar does not allow either agent oriented adverbs or rationale clauses to attach to an ergativized verb.

In this paper, I discuss this peculiarity between Spanish and English ergative usages by making the simple proposal that ergative usage of English transitive verbs is not available in Spanish. Along with this proposal I claim that Spanish employs a clitic se to render the semantics of ergative usage and is indistinguishable from passive construction. I continue my argument by addressing the Spanish middle construction, and how it functions similarly to English.

Through my research, I can conclude that Spanish inserts a clitic se to create a semantic equivalency between ergative usage and passive construction, and I discover syntactic similarities between English and Spanish middle construction.

Marte Schaffmeyer: "Literary and Legal Reactions to the Ulysses Obscenity Trial"

My paper (which was developed for my Honors Project) explores the reactions of legal and literary critics to the 1932 case The United States v. One Book Called Ulysses and the questions these reactions inspire.

The ruling, delivered by Judge John Woolsey, exonerated Ulysses from federal charges of obscenity and marked the beginning of a legal acceptance of the American public’s demand for honest depictions of sex. It is not surprising, therefore, that many legal critics praise Woolsey for his thoughtful ruling that exonerated the especially controversial and oftentimes sexually graphic Ulysses. Legal critics also praise Woolsey’s temperance of the Hicklin Test (the precedent that stated that only controversial passages’ effects on impressionable, young readers could be used to determine a book’s obscene status, an impossibly rigid standard). Woolsey’s decision assured that the effect of an entire book should be judged on adults which made it easier for more sexual books to enter America. Legal critics praise both Woolsey’s bold departure from precedent and his careful crafting so that his ruling still adheres to the principle of stare decisis.

Since Woolsey’s ruling helped liberate many authors from rigid standards, it is surprising that literary critics generally loathe the ruling. These critics (led by Paul Vanderham, who recently published an exhaustive study of Ulysses’ publication woes and of Woolsey’s ruling) state that Woolsey makes "well-intentioned lies" when he rules that Ulysses is never pornographic. By denying the fact that Ulysses has any pornographic content, Woolsey both misrepresents Joyce as an author and advocates an aesthetic theory of literature, which states that readers only appreciate a book for its artistic merit and that books do not have the power to change anyone’s minds. In the minds of some literary critics, this is not an acceptable opinion of literature because it is a lie about the literature’s kinetic powers, and thus endangers free speech.

Although initially surprising, the literary critics’ objections are nonetheless reasonable when one realizes that Woolsey’s ruling of Ulysses gives a legal definition of acceptable types of literature. In my conclusion, I posit that the literary and legal critic’s of Woolsey’s ruling illustrate interesting questions that can and should be applied to legal cases involving works of literature generally: can a book be both pornographic and a work of art? can judges avoid these ‘lies’ about a book’s pornographic content and simultaneously free the book from obscenity charges? While this is a large philosophical question that cannot be quickly answered, my paper reminds readers that these are still questions that need to be frequently asked. Many readers, assuming that the federal government is no longer in the business of censoring novels, decline to debate them in current literary and political spheres. Books, however, are still frequently banned from schools and public libraries, and the Tariff Act under which the federal government attempted to prosecute Ulysses is currently in effect. The legal status of literature, therefore, is an issue that needs further consideration.

Justin Severson: "Read Between The Gay Lines: A Gricean analysis of the lavender language in the French magazine Têtu"

Currently in the subfield of sociolinguistics, linguists are pushing to recognize the queer communication among the LGBTQIA community as separate languages (referred to as "lavender languages"), instead of simply argots or dialects, due to the presence of multiple specialized communicative properties and not just original lexical entries. In the area of pragmatics, linguists cite the presence of uniqueness in cooperative discourse among members of the LGBTQIA community, specifically in co-construction strategies. By connecting the recent work of Provencher, Leap, Wicklund, Moonwomon, and Liang, I establish the validity of using Grice’s Cooperative Principle and Conversational Maxims to show proof of this uniqueness in cooperative discourse. I then demonstrate this process by analyzing data collected from features in the French gay magazine Têtu.

Sveinn Sigurdsson and Ashlan Falletta-Cowden: "From Sustenance to Symbol: A Multi-generational Study of Traditionality and Modernization in the Icelandic Diet"

Throughout Icelandic history, the weather and harsh environment have limited Icelander’s ability to grow and produce certain food items. As a result, Icelanders have adopted a subsistence strategy based on fishing and maintaining pastoral livestock. Iceland has also been importing and exporting resources for hundreds of years. Furthermore, Icelandic diet has changed considerably in the last two decades, with traditional foods such as fish and lamb declining in popularity and modern products such as soda, hamburgers, and processed foods being consumed in increasing amounts, particularly by younger generations.

This paper explores an Icelandic sample population’s perceptions and feelings toward Icelandic dietary modernization. We investigate how people of different ages perceive the modern Icelandic diet and how they feel the modernization of diet will impact their culture and tradition. Our 31 participants were chosen through snowball sampling, and data collection included pile sorts, participant observation and semi-structured interviews. We found that Icelandic dietary modernization has varied effects on different generations, and that Icelanders perceive these changes in different ways. In addition, some old Icelandic food is gaining the label "traditional." A variety of factors contribute to a food’s perceived traditionality. Furthermore, traditional foods are gaining significant cultural meaning among contemporary Icelanders, especially in light of the fact that many feel they are being lost with the onset of modernization.

Jessica Swanson: "La voz feminista en Cuestión de amor propio"

Taking a feminist theoretical approach to my analysis, I examine the ways in which Carmen Riera’s short novel comments on the power of literature, the confines of the symbolic order, the search for a feminine voice, and the art of narrative seduction. Riera’s protagonist, Angela, reflects on the power dynamic between author and reader as she experiences both roles over the course of the novel. As a reader, she struggles to find herself in a male author’s representation of her. As a writer, she struggles to represent her own experience using the limiting masculine language of literature. She writes in the form of a letter and emphasizes the importance of memory in her search for her own feminine voice. Riera presents narrative seduction in Angela’s literary and sexual relationship with the singularly-focused male author, Miguel. Angela’s own narrative seduction of her interlocutor is ultimately unresolved and provides a contrast to Miguel’s phallogocentric writing. Riera’s novel illustrates the process of a woman’s literary creation within a patriarchal system.

Ben Welden: "Remedios Varo y Leonora Carrington. ¿Artistas latinoamericanas?"

This paper deals with two Latin American artists who may not even be considered to be truly Latin American by some. In the essay, I seek to answer the question of whether or not we can truly place them in the realm of Latin American visual art by first examining their histories and then closely analyzing a couple of their paintings.

Leonora Carrington and Remedios Varo lived in and did most of their work in Mexico during the 1940s and 50s (Varo has since passed away, but Carrington is still alive and working). Though both participated in the Mexican surrealist scene, their paintings are quite different from most other Latin American surrealists as they include often mystical scenes depicting very little imagery that can be directly traced back to the country they called home. Even more problematic is the fact that neither are Mexican by birth. Carrington emigrated from England to France, and then fled to Mexico to escape violence during the outbreak of World War II. Varo was born in Spain but fled to France during the 30s to escape the Spanish Civil War. She later fled to Mexico for the same reason as Carrington.

In order to place both artists within the Latin American sphere of art, I focus on their development of ideas as inspired by indigenous mysticism, the freedom of life in Mexico, and their friendship fostered by the Mexican surrealist scene of the time. Additionally, I closely analyze one painting by each artist in order to pick out the Latin American elements that do appear in their art even though they’re not immediately recognizable. I conclude by suggesting that they must be considered Latin American artists because their work would never have become what it did without the atmosphere in which they lived, although it may still be a stretch to link them specifically to Mexican art.

 

Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube