13th Annual Harrison Symposium Abstracts (2010)

Lindsey Ahlen: The Impact of Local Media on West African Political Systems and Figures

My research focuses on the issue of the impact of the media on democratization in West Africa. This is a most similar systems comparative case study between four West African countries; Senegal, Ghana, Benin, and Sierra Leone. I chose these countries based on my past experience and research of the media in Senegal, and interest in Sierra Leone as a Muslim and English speaking country. Ghana and Benin, however, provide a similar West African connection to the two focus countries of my research, but also differ in religion, language and freedom status. The differences help explain why freedom of the press in each country has a certain status of its own. The focus of my research will be directed towards media and democracy in Senegal and Sierra Leone. Ghana and Benin are contrasting states that support the evidence found on the media in Senegal and Sierra Leone. Questions that will lead to important conclusions are; what is the relation between political freedom and press freedom? what makes a West African government free? Is the freedom of a West African country dependent upon the West African journalists in the media? These questions will direct my research towards influencing education of the journalists in the media and community responsibility for a civil and effective media in West Africa.

 

Harjinder Bedi: Social Poetry of Adzogbo: Context and Meaning of a West African War Dance

Though significant attention has been paid by scholars of many disciplines to the rich musical and socio-political heritage of the Ewe people of West-Africa, most of this research has been devoted to either the theoretical analysis of styles of music, or the histories and social circumstances to which they belong. I believe an ethnomusicological approach integrating these two foci is necessary to better understand how Ewe social actors express a multifaceted Ewe identity through the performance of the war dance Adzogbo.

Adzogbo is a vibrant and spiritual combination of dance, drumming, and song. This style has been maintained through the changing context of geographical migration as the Ewe moved from the ancient kingdom of Dahomey westward, ethnic identity as conception of “Ewe” as a people emerged, and political redefinition as the colonial powers created the bound countries of Benin, Togo, and Ghana. Adzogbo continues to be performed throughout the multiplicity of identities and ethnicities of the Ewe, and the themes delivered in performance reflect elements of these changes through multiple languages, prayers of differing religions, and stories of Ewe life and history.

Based on two summers of field work in Ghana and excursions to Togo and Benin, my research is exploratory in nature, and focuses on the personal experiences of the individuals with whom I work. My work addresses the shifting meaning of Adzogbo as it has traveled from Benin to Togo to Ghana, and has developed as a form of cultural expression in each place. Performance footage, personal interview, and participant observation data from groups in Ghana, Togo, and Benin are support in illustrating the difference in style across the Ewe region, and the themes of Language, Spirituality and Cultural Knowledge as aspects of Ewe identity presented in Adzogbo.

Following the suggestion of Martin Stokes and others, I believe we need to explore Ewe music in conjunction with the boundaries of social identity and ethnicity. My studies have been concerned with the questions- What has been the relationship of cultural identity and expression of that identity for the social actors that are creating both? If the conception of an Ewe identity has only been created recently, what has been the relationship of the development and expression of it?

Adzogbo is a vibrant example of “social poetry”, it is a cultural expression that has traveled through the changing context of Ewe identity, and spans the multiplicity in value and meaning of Ewe identity as it has spread to separate locations and developed through changing Geographic, Ethnic, and Political circumstances. My research argues Adzogbo as an invaluable asset and framework for exploring themes of unity and multiplicity of the Ewe, and places Adzogbo in the broader discourse regarding the social poetics of music and dance.

 

John Bettridge: Tabari, Ghazali and Qutb: The Development of Modern Qur’anic Exegesis

Tafsir refers to a tradition of commentary or exegesis on the Qur’an, which is meant to clarify and articulate the meaning of particularly difficult or ambiguous terms or sections of the Qur’an. This tradition is traced back to the prophet and the first order of Caliph’s, who transmitted the first Tafsir. Modern scholars divide Tafsir into two general categories; those Tafsir based on historical Islamic tradition, and those based on Ta’wil, or an individual practitioner’s inner and personal understanding of the Qur’an.

Traditional Tafsir, like Hadith, is routed in a historically established isnad, which traces the expository work back to the prophet or his disciples, as a way of legitimizing the claims made within the Tafsir. However, as Islam expanded, commentaries and expositions on the Qur’an arose all over the world, drawing from nearly every branch of Islam and encompassing a wide number of subjects. As a result, Islamic scholars have difficulty in establishing the validity of, and accuracy of a particular Tafsir and its associated isnad. Further, the term Tafsir has become an ambiguous term itself; many modern commentators have abandoned the traditional method for writing Tafsir, and have taken to utilizing more modern methods in analyzing the Qur’an, and focus on the Ta’wil of the Qur’an, instead of utilizing the historical method used by traditional expositors. By tracing the evolution of expositions on the Qur’an in Islam, the gradual rejection of classical exegesis and the influence of Ta’wil on modern Qur’anic commentators can be understood. In effect, modern Tafsir cannot be categorized as Tafsir, as the modern expositions violate the basic tenets as set forth in classical Tasfir such as that of al-Tabari which define Tafsir as a definite science mediated by specific rules. It proposed that modern commentaries on the Qur’an, as represented by the commentary Sayiid Qutb, characterize a break in tradition which is so essentially different from original expositions that they represent the development of an entirely new tradition separate from classical tradition of Tafsir.

 

Alicia Bones: Aunt Jemima and Aunt Chloe: Moving Within and Outside of the Mammy Myth

My paper explores the creation of the mammy, a stock character in 19th and 20th century popular culture, who was a fat and jolly woman who loved all things domestic and was content in her confinement to slavery. Specifically, the paper examines the role of Aunt Chloe in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin in creating the mammy myth, and Aunt Jemima, a character used in pancake mix advertisements beginning in the late 19th century, in sustaining it. My thesis is that Aunt Chloe and Aunt Jemima perpetuate the black mammy myth and contribute to the white female fantasy, while simultaneously illustrating how subversions of domesticity allow for movement outside of the home. Both Aunt Chloe and Aunt Jemima are fat and jolly, happy in slavery, and figures onto which white people could place their nostalgia for slavery. Both characters appealed to a white domestic fantasy of idyllic race relations and happy slaves both pre-and-post emancipation, most notably in the late 19th-century south where post-emancipation roles for white women and black cooks were in flux. However, these two characters are subtly subversive, as well. Aunt Chloe and Aunt Jemima, and her real-life incarnation, Nancy Green, use the mammy myth to move outside of traditional spheres for black women, in particular, by participating in capitalism through domestic tasks like baking cakes and preparing pancakes. Nancy Green, in particular, who travelled to regional fairs making pancakes and telling stories, transgressed the space allowed to her as a black woman by exploiting the mammy myth’s inauthenticities, while simultaneously reclaiming her femininity and blackness which had previously been piloted by black men in blackface and white people who controlled the mammy myth.

 

Jen Gabriele: Federico García Lorca: La obra escrita y plástica de Poeta en Nueva York y la autorrepresentación polifacética

This paper analyzes Federico García Lorca’s Poeta en Nueva York as well as his drawings from the same time period. I look specifically at the use of self-portraiture as well as the human and inhuman elements in the poems which exemplify the use of Spanish Surrealism in literature while still maintaining Lorca’s central themes seen in previous works. In addition to the analysis of the poems I study Lorca’s New York drawings, specifically his “Autorretratos” from 1929 to 1931, and I show the interdisciplinary nature of his work. The chapter on the drawings offers new insight into who might have influenced Lorca artistically and gives an analysis of Surrealism in Spain as an art movement. Each chapter contains a thesis statement, but both theses revolve around the central theme of self-representation and the Surrealist aspects that appear within the works and how they relate to one another. The thesis of the first chapter is as follows: Aunque hay elementos surrealistas que son extraños y algunas veces impenetrables, los elementos humanos ilustran el aspecto personal y emocional del poeta, así como la autorrepresentación que aparece dentro del poemario. The thesis of the second chapter is: Al igual que la poesía de Poeta en Nueva York, aunque los dibujos contengan elementos surrealistas, invitan una interpretación enfocada en la autorreflexión del autor, sobre todo los autorretratos. This study of both his literary and plastic art demonstrates the many talents of Lorca and how the theme of self-representation is prevalent in all of his works. Due to the length of the project I will only discuss a few poems from the first chapter and show how they relate to the drawings in the second chapter so as not to exceed the allotted time for the presentation.

 

Gustavo Guimaraes: Latin American Ethnicity; Not So “Black and White”

Social conceptions of race in Latin America differ, due to the long history of mixing. This does not mean that Latin American society is uniformly equal or oblivious to color. Rather than a simple color line, there was a ‘color continuum, with discrimination carefully labeled and institutionalized in each level of mixture. In practice, however, race in Latin America became something of a social identity. This social component to race, in the absence of monitoring, became a relatively fluid and contestable category, with the full-blooded European at the top of the scale. Those with enough European blood were able to conceal their origins and call themselves pure Spanish, but the majority aspired to rise a little higher in the system, usually at the expense of native or African ancestry.

 

Rebecca Hayes: Misconstruing Misogyny: Reworking the Witchcraft Trials of Early Modern Europe Beyond the Limits of Second Wave Feminism

This paper is a study of the witchcraft trials of early modern Europe, with an emphasis on the period from 1550-1650. In this paper, I addressed the issues of feminist interpretations of the witchcraft trials. Because of the fact that, overall, these trials victimized a larger number of women than men, they have been adopted by the feminist movement in the 1970’s as a part of their political platform—namely that women have long been victimized and/or ignored both by men and by historians. As a result of this political agenda, the historical analysis of the witchcraft trials that has emerged since the rise of the second wave feminist movement in the 1970’s has often had a highly politicized, feminist bent that sometimes seems to skew the historical reality. My paper attempted to rectify this by addressing the causes behind the witchcraft trials other than misogyny, while still acknowledging the role played by the misogynistic sentiments that were an integral part of early modern European culture. To this end, I examined the role that the political and religious culture played in the formation of the witchcraft trials, as well as the role played by the differing judicial systems employed by various countries in early modern Europe. The conclusions that I drew were that while misogyny was an important factor in the formation of the early modern European witchcraft trials, to overstate its importance would be a mistake because it excludes other, more vital factors like the politico-religious culture and the judicial systems. I proved this by demonstrating how trials in England differed greatly from those on Continental Europe, even though the misogynistic sentiments in both areas were similarly strong. I explained that this discrepancy was due to the fact that the other factors I have listed differed widely from region to region, and that it was those factors much more than misogynistic sentiments that shaped the witchcraft trials. In short, this paper is about fusing the older witchcraft scholarship that focuses solely on the gendered aspect of witchcraft trials with some new ideas of my own.

 

Madeline Herdeman: Cognitive Models and the Partisan Divide: A Study of the Debate over Health Care Reform

Drawing on conceptual metaphor theory (Lakoff 1993), cognitive scientist George Lakoff has argued that the partisan divide between Liberals and Conservatives in America stems from underlying differences in the cognitive models liberals and conservatives use to conceptualize the government (Lakoff 2002, 2008). Lakoff claims that both liberals and conservatives operate with the Nation as Family conceptual metaphor, but they have different idealized models of the family. Conservatives use a Strict Father model, in which the father is viewed as a moral authority whose job is to promote self-discipline, self-sufficiency, and adherence to a moral code. Liberals, by contrast, use a Nurturant Parent model, in which the parent is viewed as responsible for the well-being of family members and for nurturing their development. When extended metaphorically to the nation, these cognitive models have different entailments, so that arguments about policy are fundamentally disagreements over moral worldviews.

The present study tests these claims by investigating the cognitive models used by liberals and conservatives in the recent contentious debate over health care reform. I collected 30 op-ed articles on health care reform published in major national newspapers, 15 from liberal columnists and 15 from conservative columnists. Within this corpus, I searched for all occurrences of the word “government” and examined the context and how the word was used in each instance. I also conducted similar searches for related words (“nation,” “congress,” “Washington,” “American,” “president,” and “Obama”). I found that the word “government” was used more than twice as often by conservative columnists and that it appeared in similar contexts with repeated word co-occurrences, in marked contrast to its use by liberal columnists. Conservatives employed the word “government” to characterize it as an oppressive entity or force that “controls,” “mandates,” and “rations.” Liberal columnists were much less consistent in their use of the word “government,” using fewer discernible patterns or common word co-occurrences in their rhetoric surrounding the various search terms. They mostly discussed the complexities of the bill and its potential outcomes, and also what conservatives were saying about it, thereby repeating and inadvertently reinforcing the conservative framing. Overall, my findings are consistent with the claim by Lakoff (2008) that liberals have failed to offer a consistent alternative framing to counter the conservative view.

 

Kaye Herranen: Artists’ Responses to the Firebombing of Dresden

February 13th and 14th, 1945, the beautiful city of Dresden was burned to the ground by over 650,000 Allied incendiary bombs. While the air raid itself is controversial, it has become a cultural symbol for several anti-war movements. Because of the post-war Soviet occupation of Dresden, the city was denied the opportunity to openly mourn the destruction. This led many artists to focus on the destruction in their artwork. Modern artists with connections to Dresden struggled to comprehend and cope with the destruction. They turned to their respective art forms as a means to rationalize and cope with their feelings. Each individual’s response was unique, although several common themes emerged in the post-firebombing artwork. Many of the artists came to the same frustrating conclusion that “there is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre.” Kurt Vonnegut wrote, “Everything is supposed to be very quiet after a massacre, and it always is, except for the birds.” In the end, many artists felt that their work could not do justice to the abject horror of the 1945 firebombing of Dresden.

At first, the only way to even attempt to respond to the destruction was with horrified, mindless, list making. After the reality of the destruction sank in, analysis of the destruction and verbal responses were possible. Several authors eulogized Dresden within their writing. With the passage of more time, the self portrait within the ruins was a common response post-firebombing. This trend shows that the firebombing changed the way artists viewed themselves. They internalized the destruction, and identified it as a part of themselves. Other artists struggled within their form—often drastically reshaping it—to capture the intensity and enormity of the firebombing.

The artwork created in response to the firebombing has impacted many people’s view of war. During the Vietnam War, the symbol of Dresden was invoked by many anti-war activists. The artists who lived through and were affected by the bombing of Dresden have helped to preserve their own history. Their artwork stands as a testament to the endurance of a people. It also serves as a warning for future generations. The artists who responded in any form to the destruction of Dresden have created concrete evidence of the horrors of war.

Both quotations come from Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five (New York: Dell, 1969), 24)

 

Elizabeth Hoffman: La maternidad, el espacio público y feminismo: Las Madres de Plaza de Mayo (Motherhood, Public Space and Feminism: Las Madres de Plaza de Mayo)

My paper addresses the ability of Las Madres of Plaza de Mayo [Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo] to respond to the dictatorship in Argentina between 1976 and 1983. The government came to power through a military coup that overthrew La Presidente, Isabel Perón, and remained in power by arresting and detaining any potential civilian opposition. The men and women who were detained came to be known as the ‘disappeared;’ many of them were never found. The disappearances served to silence groups who tried to speak out against the military, and to prevent other groups who would have opposed them by inciting fear in civilians. Las Madres, however, were able to use their status as mothers to stand up to the government without fear of persecution. They had opportunities that men did not have, first because the government did not see the women as a threat, and second because they would not treat the mothers violently as they did men who opposed them simply because they were women and the culture forbade it. Finally, Las Madres were empowered and encouraged by the recent feminist movement in North America and Latin America. In other words, Las Madres were able to employ the traditional machista society that the government embodied as protection, and the rights they had recently gained because of the world-wide women’s movement as an attack against that very government.

 

Matthew Ingram: La Construcción del Género: La Lucha Lingüística entre la Biología y la Identidad Social

Gender, like language, is a form of communication we use to interpret and express ourselves socially in everyday life; however, the usage of the term gender is often problematic. Although queer theory has had an influence in redefining our conception of gender to signify social construction rather than two categories based on sex, binary categories such as female-male, and man-woman have been and are still used in research aimed at finding how gender identities are constructed. Though the female-male categories are accurate in portraying the fact that humans are socialized as either female or male, these categories are still used to represent biological rather than social differences. Conflating the two terms sex and gender become increasingly problematic in that they allow for gender variation in speech to be oversimplified by creating static categories. Examining gender from a narrow perspective of a binary, not only limits research on gender but leads to the oversimplification of gender variance in speech by furthering the idea of female and male as naturally complimentary yet oppositional pairs. This paper examines current research that has focused on how men and women speak to explore the how binary models of gender, models that focus on gender differences between female and male, are claimed to be to be used as cultural definitions rather than based biological. Unfortunately, the two constructs (female and male) tend to be used interchangeably with labels that indicate sex, instead of cultural constructions. Thus using gender in a binary fashion that is interchangeable with sex defeats the purpose of having the category of gender itself, and ignores individuals whose “sex”, “gender”, and “sexuality” do not align as those who do fit into the gender binary.

 

Mike Korcek: Drag Kinging in Amsterdam: Queer identity politics, subcultural spaces, and transformative potentials

In this ethnography of the drag king subculture in Amsterdam I locate the transformative and subversive potential of drag king performances on the larger queer community. Based upon four months of fieldwork spent interviewing drag king performers and queer community members while also attending queer parties, I will show how the burgeoning community of drag kings in Amsterdam work to reconfigure structures of domination within and outside of the LGBTQ community. Despite the history of Dutch tolerance and the sexually liberal atmosphere of Amsterdam, many members of the queer community, including but not limited to lesbian, bisexual, trans, and queer identified people, still do not have a space to network, gather, make visible their identities, and voice their political beliefs. The sudden resurgence of interest in drag kinging as both a subjective exploration of gender and sexuality as well as a political act has the potential to establish specifically queer venues and spaces. Through as synthesis of ethnographic methods, queer theory, performance theory, and poststructuralism, the study draws some conclusions about the queer potentiality of drag kinging in Amsterdam through the voices of the performers themselves. By placing these practices within the context of Dutch culture and society the ethnography attempts to situate these practices within the historical context of queer life and politics in Amsterdam.

 

Alex Macartney: A Democratic Purge?: The United States and the Denazification of Austria, 1945 – 1950

In the aftermath of the Second World War, the Allies were faced with a number of daunting tasks, including the issue of what to do with the remnants of the virulently racist and violent National Socialist ideology. In both Austria and Germany all four Allies took part in an effort to purge the influence of Nazism from political, civil and private life in a process called “denazification.” Currently, there is no narrative of Austrian denazification in English, as many historians have interpreted the process as a small piece of the overarching Cold War paradigm.

This project analyzes the American effort to denazify Austrian society after the Second World War using occupation records from the National Archives II in College Park, Maryland. It focuses on the impact of the American discourse as a driving force in denazification, instead of simply attributing the process to Soviet – American relations. Instead, it argues that the definition of Nazism used by American intelligence agencies responsible for denazification promoted an increasingly lenient system of classifications for former Nazis in Austria and helped to stall the process entirely by 1950.

American denazification discourse was focused on the pan-German, militaristic and fascistic character of National Socialism while also deemphasizing the role of biological anti-Semitism in Nazi ideology. Even as the Cold War intensified, the parameters of this discourse remained largely unchanged. Ultimately, General Amnesty in 1948 was facilitated by pressure from the Austrian government, increasing American fear of Soviet communism and the American paradigm for Nazism. Amnesty terminated legal penalties for most former Nazis and was largely credited with ending denazification in Austria.

 

Christopher McGeorge (2009 Harrison Award Winner): Subverting Morality: Idealization in Victorian Art and Literature

Scholars often discuss the Victorians in terms of their morals and values. In defining these morals and values, Jose Harris summarizes Correlli Barnett: “Barnett identified the essence of Victorian values as being, not rugged competitive individualism, but sentimental chivalry, disdain for economic materialism, and paternalist concern for the outcast and the poor and the weak” (Harris, 166). This idea of chivalry suggests that when confronted with social problems, the Victorian dictum of morality and their set of values should have elicited a moral or ethical response. While in some instances this was true, in the art and literature of the time social problems were often presented in ways that allowed them to be easily dismissed and forgotten. Examining instances where social problems were presented in idealized ways allows us to look at Victorian morality in a different light and to see their morality as a rather empty construction. It suggests that the Victorians often were able to find ways to sweep away the thoughts and images of the problems around them, undermining what we think of as a strict, austere moral code.

 

Nicholas Carson Miller: Building a Better Oarsman: Conceptual Integration and Motor Learning in Rowing Instruction

This study investigates the use of conceptual blending in the teaching of novel physical skills. Coaches, when instructing new athletes and correcting technique, often suggest visualizations that blend the present activity with other ideas. For example, a skier may be asked to imagine himself skiing while carrying a tray of champagne glasses, or rowers may be told to imagine balancing a teacup on each of their shoulders. What do these suggestions contribute to the activity, and how?

This study treats these visualizations as a form of conceptual blending, a cognitive phenomenon described by Fauconnier and Turner (1998), and explores their relationship with motor control systems, presenting an analysis of a variety of examples collected from observation of rowing coaches.

 

Melody Moberg: Radically Subversive Domesticity: The True Implications of Rachel Halliday’s Kitchen

My paper explores the implications of the character Rachel Halliday in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Halliday is a Quaker, whose home – and, specifically, kitchen – is presented as an ideal, utopian space, where characters live together in balance, harmony, happiness, and godliness. It is also an ideal where women are central - domestic and maternal perfection do not mean subservience to patriarchy, but a matriarchal alternative, actively aligned with the powers of good, while masculinity is painted by Stowe as a force of evil. My thesis is that “Halliday’s domestic perfection constitutes Stowe’s ideal social model, suggesting the spiritual foundations and subsequent physical and social action necessary for the salvation of individuals and America as a whole – changes necessitating a radical shift from patriarchy to matriarchy.”

I explore this first by outlining a quick history of Quakerism and Quaker theology, the role of Quakers in 19th century America’s abolitionist movement and the women’s rights movement, and examine how and why Quaker theology lends itself to social activism. Secondly, I explore Stowe’s description of Halliday’s social utopia and how it functions in the novel. Thirdly, I juxtapose Halliday’s home against several other domestic spaces in the novel: the kitchens of Miss Ophelia, Dinah, and the harsh slave master Legree respectively represent in their specific states of imperfection Northern orderliness devoid of Christian love, Southern disorderliness when the masculine marketplace of slavery is let into the feminine home and the chaotic hell of unmediated masculinity and monetary greed. Finally, I look at a real-life Quaker matriarch – Lucretia Mott – reading her life and 1849 sermon “To Improve the Condition of our Fellow Beings,” seeing how she compares to the character of Halliday, how Quaker theology functions within her sermon, and teasing out how much truth Stowe’s vision has as a reflection of the activities and lifestyles of real Quakers in pre-Civil war era America.

 

Elizabeth Nerland: No Middle Ground: The Rise and Fall of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

The primary theme of this paper is the evolution of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), a student-led organization during the 1960s Civil Rights movement. Because of the organization’s emphasis on decentralized, student-led organization, it encountered many problems, but in my opinion, its evolution from an integrationist, nonviolent, religious organization to a separatist organization which had declining ideas of religiousness and nonviolence is most interesting. My primary thesis point for the paper contains my ideas about SNCC’s demise; I believe that the changing leadership and the ideologies that accompanied them were the primary factors in the organization’s decline. Not only were these important factors; however, the involvement of whites in the organization was very important in SNCC’s decline as well. When 700 white volunteers came to help with the Mississippi Freedom Summer in 1964, the organizational structure had to change in order to accommodate all the new (and largely inexperienced) white, northern volunteers. These white volunteers were largely disliked by other SNCC members, and the division that their involvement caused also led to tensions within SNCC and other factors which contributed to SNCC’s eventual fall in the late 1960s. A very important aspect of my paper relating to white involvement was an interview I completed with Dr. Robert Zellner, the last white SNCC member expelled from the organization. By analyzing the factors I already mentioned in detail, I came to the ultimate conclusion that these all had an important role in the fall of SNCC. While each factor played an important role, I believe that the changing leadership, working in tandem with the influx of white volunteers, were the most influential factors, and led to the organization’s final break with religion and nonviolence, especially because of the pressure that the whites’ arrival placed on SNCC.

 

Kelsey Elyse Platt: Space for the Individual

During the Civil War, hundreds of thousands of men were killed. This fact might suggest that individuals were disregarded when the fate of the nation was at stake. But there were many poems, letters, songs, and stories that accounted for the experiences of individuals. Often, different works would speak about a similar experience, but with every new work came a new perspective. By looking at works together, we can begin to see how there was space for a multitude of different perspectives on the same topic. People published and read different works that dealt with the same issue, death and the competition between family and military, because they all had a unique perspective and left room for the audiences’ feelings as well. There seems to be a need to recognize the individual and the collective whole, suggesting that the Civil War continued America’s tradition of being a “Melting Pot.” A close examination of a poem and two popular songs will shed light on these larger issues of individuality and nationality. Ethelinda Beers’ poem, “The Picket-Guard” condemned pro-war sentiments by highlighting the internal struggle one soldier experienced between family responsibilities and military responsibilities. The lack of meaning in his death exposed the possibility that war does not make all deaths glorious. David A. Warden’s popular song “The Two Pickets” made the conflict between family and military a physical confrontation between brothers. There are two possible ways to interpret the death in this song: as a release, which leads to an anti-war message, or as an obstacle that brotherhood is above, that leads to a pro-family and somewhat pro-war message. R.M. Caldwell’s popular song, “Lilly and her Soldier,” shows the dependence of the family on the military. The interpretations of death here could be supporting the war or providing comfort for loved ones at home mourning the death of their soldier. Both “The Two Pickets” and “Lilly and her Soldier” offer two possible ways to interpret the ending and the ultimate message of the song. They leave room for the audience to find their own meaning of death as it relates to war and how the conflict between family and military influences that meaning. Similarly, the three works left room for one another. Making room for everyone to write about the war shows that people were invested in sharing their individual experiences and feelings about the war, but that they recognized this same need in others. People maintained their individuality while allowing a national response to the war to emerge. The Civil War seems to have continued the “Melting Pot” tradition of America, where each individual’s experience is a valued part of the whole national experience. The value of the individual seems suspect in a war that took the lives of hundreds of thousands of individuals, but it becomes a possibility in light of the literature of that era. The literature seems to mirror the role of the individual during the Civil War: each piece of literature produced is unique and valued by itself, but collectively they can also account for the nation’s experience of the war.

 

Jennifer Roesch: The Hindenburg: A Disaster Waiting to Happen

My research paper focuses on the explosion of the German airship LZ 129, the Hindenburg and the role that politics played in the actual destruction of the airship. After analyzing sources in English and German, my paper argues that the crash of the Hindenburg could have been prevented had the airship not been built during the rise of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. The Zeppelin Company, maker of the Hindenburg, greatly contributed toward the German advancements in technology, science, and aircraft modernization during the early twentieth century. Dr. Hugo Eckener, the figurehead of the company, developed strong international relationships through his airships. His airships traveled worldwide, including stops in the United States, Spain, South America, and the United Kingdom. Through transatlantic flights, Dr. Eckener became an international celebrity. Unfortunately, the rising Nazi party took control of the Hindenburg and used the airship as Nazi propaganda to endorse the power of the party. This paper analyses how the tension between Dr. Eckener and the Nazi party played a leading role in the fate of the airship; the Nazi party promoted the Hindenburg as a tool for propaganda, much to the dismay of Dr. Eckener. Another theme of the paper deals with the common belief that the explosion involved the use of highly flammable hydrogen in the airship. This paper argues that the use of hydrogen instead of the safer helium even traces back to the Nazi government. Thanks to politics, the Hindenburg, Dr. Hugo Eckener, and the Zeppelin Company remain only in history books.

 

Carolyn Schultz: Managing Crises: The Arab-Israeli Conflict from the Perspectives of the Johnson and Nixon Administrations

The United States has a rich history of involvement in the Middle East, particularly in the 20th century, spanning the time from the independence of Israel to present day. Since Israel’s battle for independence beginning with the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the conflict between the new nation and its Arab neighbors escalated to the point of armed clashes in the 1960s and 1970s. These clashes became more than a regional conflict, as both the United States and the Soviet Union had interests in the region, both in the Middle East oil reserves and the influence they could exert in the global Cold War battle for power. The United States had supported the independence of Israel as a democratic stronghold in the Middle East from its birth, through the Suez Canal Crisis of 1956, and into the 1960s. In June 1967, war broke out for six days between Israel and its surrounding Middle Eastern countries over disputed territory following the Suez Canal Crisis. In cooperation with the Johnson Administration and the Soviet Union, Israel reached an unstable peace with its neighbors and the conflict again subsided into occasional border clashes and uneasy tension. Five years later in October of 1973, war broke out again over the land Israel had gained during the Six Day War. The Yom Kippur War was the climax of the Arab-Israeli conflict in the 1970s and heightened the Cold War tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union to levels unseen since the early 1960s. This paper explores U.S. involvement in the Arab-Israeli conflict during the Johnson and Nixon administrations focusing in particular on the two distinct crisis points in each decade—the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War. While both Johnson and Nixon shared similar motivations for supporting Israel -- Cold War containment, the policies of the previous Presidents since Truman, and pressures from the American Jewish community -- they ultimately differed in their approach to the conflicts and to U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Johnson consistently placed his focus on foreign policy in a subordinate role to his focus on domestic politics and his commitment to a consensus, whereas Nixon focused more on foreign policy from the beginning of his presidency with the adoption of the Nixon Doctrine and region specific foreign policy plans for the 1970s. At the escalation of the Arab-Israeli crisis into war in 1967 and 1973, both Johnson and Nixon were facing crises within their presidencies -- Johnson in facing criticism and dissent over the failing Vietnam War and Nixon facing the beginnings of the Watergate scandal. For each president, these unique factors combined in the way they responded to and managed the conflict -- Johnson responded with no real plan, reacting to the events as they came, while Nixon took a more proactive and focused approach to work towards a more stable and lasting peace in the Middle East.

 

Jihyun Shin: Capitalism in Contemporary China

There is no doubt that China has moved away from its old stereotype of being a Communist country. Contemporary China is interacting with the rest of the world and becoming the world’s most capitalistic country, with a fast growing economy. It is almost as if Mao Zedong’s planned economy had never existed. State-owned enterprises (SOEs) that were predominant a few decades ago seem to have disappeared and have been replaced by a considerable number of private enterprises. So can we say that the Chinese government has now lost its power over the country’s economy? The Chinese economy has changed from the past and it shows more capitalistic aspects, yet the Chinese government still exerts strong influence on Chinese economy. Although China has made drastic changes toward a more capitalistic attitude in the past few years, the Communist government and the Communist ideology still have influence on the economy.

I approach this subject by looking at the history of the Chinese economy. Before the 1980s, the Chinese economy was mainly run by SOEs, and there was harsh discrimination against private enterprises. Even after the government started to take a more capitalistic approach toward the economy, this prejudice did not go away, resulting in private enterprises disguising their identities and unavoidably making connections with the government.

My research shows that almost every private enterprise in China is in the form of SOEs, even those in Special Economic Zones (SEZs). Entrepreneurs developed their enterprises in the form of SOEs from the beginning in the 1980s. Most of the time major shareholders are government officials and the Board of Directors, mainly composed of Communist party members, exerts strong influence on overall management of enterprises. This is why we cannot say private enterprises are actually “private” in China.

I also look into the vestiges of Communist history to answer the question of why it is so difficult for China to accept its capitalism in the economy. Because the Chinese Communist Party established its ideology so firmly in the past, it took a long time for the government to accept new ideology in the economy, and it will take even more time to move forward to a more capitalistic economy.

Therefore, it is understandable why China shows fear or hesitancy in accepting capitalism or denies the existence of capitalism in the present Chinese economy. The Chinese government firmly asserts its Communist ideology, when faced with western criticism, which questions its stance on capitalism. This is how the government keeps the society in order and assures the public that China still preserves its founding ideology.

 

Danielle Simandl: Girls Gone Wild, String Instrument-Style: Performing Instrumental Music for a Popular Culture

My paper is about gender performance in the space of the live music performance stage. My experience as a classically-trained musician who happens to also be a Gender Studies major has forced me to take pause and reflect on the peculiar space of the live performance stage. During my time at Lawrence, I’ve spent incalculable time thinking about how to deconstruct societal ideas about gender while simultaneously (and rather maniacally) trying to learn all the formalities and rules of the classical music space and what I need to change about myself to succeed in that space. I came to the realization that music creates a very electric space to question a lot of really important things about the value of music itself and how much our identities are blanketed in our enjoyment of music.

Essentially the life performance stage presents a conundrum: we are going to ‘listen’ to music, and yet we are watching the performers the entire performance. A mind/body continuum is created, and with that comes a lot of problematic assumptions about what makes a good performer, a good musician, and good music. Because gender implications are rife within the notion of display, and thus performance, I will explore the gender implications within the performance expectations of both the popular and classical music cultures. I expose my main questions by focusing especially on female instrumentalists who play crossover music (a mix of pop music played on classical instruments).

Ultimately my paper asks the following questions: Is the stage a safe space to let go of expectations? Is the performance space a liminal space where the performer and the audience is neither male, female, heterosexual, homosexual, etc? Is it possible that the performance space turns all of us into everything and thereby nothing at once? Can we really separate performance on a stage from reality? Is music really a universal language, and does that universality allow classical music to transcend everything—especially gender? What can music performance teach us about what gendered reality there ought to be?

 

Marie Straquadine: Objects of Desire: Women with Red Hair in Rossetti’s Paintings

This paper addresses the frequent depictions of women with red hair in the paintings of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, an artist who worked in Victorian London. It introduces Rossetti and his involvement in the Pre-Raphaelite and Aesthetic artistic movements and goes on to point out that although art historians acknowledge that red-haired women became a popular subject for Pre-Raphaelite and Aesthetic artists, they rarely examine the reasons behind this popularity. The thesis of this paper is that there are several specific reasons Rossetti depicted women with red hair.

The reasons discussed include: the fact that Pre-Raphaelite artists referenced the work of Renaissance artists, many of whom depicted red hair; the Aesthetic artists’ interest in the decorative qualities of painting and how red hair itself became a decorative quality; how Rossetti contrasted red hair against green and blue, and how this connects to the goals of Aestheticism; the increasing popularity of red hair and how henna was used to dye hair red in Victorian England; the influence of color theory on nineteenth century painters; the natural hair colors of the women who modeled most often for Rossetti’s paintings; the historical associations between red hair, Mary Magdalene, and sin; the significance of the historical stereotype of overly sexual red-haired women; the sexual meaning attributed to women’s long, loose hair during the Victorian period; the connection between an interest in exoticism and red hair; and how Rossetti sexualized the women in his paintings.

The paper references specific paintings by Rossetti in order to support these claims. Paintings of red-haired women by other Pre-Raphaelite and Aesthetic artists are also included in order to illustrate the cultural interest in red hair. The paper concludes that Rossetti’s many depictions of women with red hair were the result of several art historical, historical, and cultural factors. Finally, it argues that art historians need to further examine why red-haired women became such a popular subject in Pre-Raphaelite and Aesthetic art.

 

Katie Van Marter-Sanders: The various Reinterpretations of the Sultana Tragedy

At the end of the Civil War the steamship Sultana exploded. No one really knows why or how. Over a thousand malnourished soldiers survived battles and prison camps only to loose their lives aboard the Sultana. In the 50 years following the Sultana’s misfortune, the story began as a briefly mentioned tragedy became an interesting mystery, one that gradually diminished only to eventually return, in a supporting role, as propaganda to rally the heart of an America at war.

We can chart that change with a series of newspaper articles from the 1860’s to the 1900’s. When the ship exploded in April of 1865n it was largely over shadowed by the death of President Lincoln and the other terrors of the Civil War. A few decades latter interest in the event resurfaced when there appeared to be evidence of sabotage. Finally, the Sultana resurfaced in the newspapers for the last time after the sinking of the battleship Maine. The Sultana served as a point of reference for those dealing with the Maine disaster, a symbol that America had been through worse and survived. Although often over looked, the Sultana’s explosion deserves a spot in our nation’s historical consciousness because of the scale of the disaster as well as the effect it had on future generations.

 

Nicholas Watt: Ethics in Dostoevsky: A Narrative Analysis of The Idiot

Dostoevsky wrote one of his most famous novels, The Idiot, between 1868 and 1869. The novel was published serially and was written quickly in order to pay outstanding gambling debts. The book is set in 19th century St. Petersburg and the hero of the story, Prince Myshkin, arrives there and is welcomed by a distant relative. Dostoevsky created his character, Myshkin to be a “positively good” human - a Christ-like figure. Immediately after setting foot in the Russian city, Myshkin becomes entangled in a dramatic and ultimately deadly love triangle. The story unfolds as the morally perfect hero tries to navigate the corrupt world of 19th century St. Petersburg.

After the novel’s publication, many critics called it an artistic failure. One of the “flaws” to which some critics point, is the inconsistent narration style of the novel. It is true that the narrator is inconsistent; his storytelling style switches spastically from objective observer to judgmental passerby, and from sympathetic to cynical. Even the narrator’s knowledge of the plot is occasionally called into question. At one point, he begins narrating his own narration. Clearly the narration is untidy and thus does not fit into a neat poetic aesthetic. Critics claim that the haste in which this book was written explains the untidiness of its form. I, however, do not see this as a flaw. Even though the book was written very quickly, I intend to show that the form of the narration in The Idiot is part of a deliberate strategy to force the reader to make his or her own personal judgment of the main character – the Christ-like Myshkin. Dostoevsky constructs the narration in such a way that reading the book elicits an ethical response from the reader. Does the reader stick with Myshkin to the very end or does the reader abandon him once his idealism fails?

My paper explores the relationship between the reader and the book through the narration. Clearly the narrator does the narration, but there is also a more subtle aspect of the narration – inserted texts. In The Idiot there are numerous literary references that affect the readers’ conception of the characters, the plot, but more importantly the novel itself. These inserted texts constitute another layer of narration. We know from Dostoevsky’s diaries that he believed a well-constructed narrative is the most effective way to convey a message to his readers. Dostoevsky considered The Idiot to be one of his most precious works and it remains one of the most disputed and infamous novels in the canon of Russia literature - it is worthwhile to analysis how the narration is so effective.

 

Caitlin Williamson: Ojibwe and Canis lupus: cultural, historical, and political influences on contemporary wolf management in the Great Lakes region

My paper examines the relationship between the Ojibwe and the gray wolf (Canis lupus) in terms of treaty rights and tribal sovereignty, by examining the historical, cultural, and political contexts that have shaped how Ojibwe currently view the wolf. I compare this relationship with the contemporary management of the wolf by the United States federal and local governments. My thesis asserts that the reaffirmation of treaty rights allows the Ojibwe to not only hunt and fish in ceded territory, but also to use these rights for conservation and protection of wildlife and crucial habitat. Treaty rights act as a powerful tool for Ojibwe to use their sovereignty to protect ceded territory separately from the United States governments, especially since the two often have differing management agendas. I conclude that the relationship between the Ojibwe and the wolf is complex, and draws on many historical and legal factors, especially treaty rights legal cases, and the formation of the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC), which assists tribes with management of natural resources. The Ojibwe’s management of the wolf contrasts with the United States management plans, as a result of different priorities founded from separate cultural views. Additionally, integral political and historical events have shaped how the Ojibwe use their treaty rights today, especially regarding wildlife management, and have large implications on how gray wolves will continue to recover throughout the state of Wisconsin, and the rest of the western Great Lakes states.

 

Sarah Young: Shamanism or “Stubborn Rationality”: Joseph Beuys and the Dilemma of Post-War German Masculinity

The German artist Joseph Beuys is often considered one of the most important European artists after World War II. He is infamous for his creation of a personal myth of origins, which detailed how he was saved by nomadic Tartars after crashing on the Crimean Front while serving as a Luftwaffe pilot during WWII. From this origin myth, he could position himself as a modern shaman who used unconventional materials such as fat, felt, and honey and communicated with animals in his performances and sculptures as a way to heal the wounds of modernity. This performance of a shamanistic identity is especially apparent in his actions How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare (Wie man dem toten Hasen die Bilder erklärt, 1965) and I like America and America likes me (1974).

While the current body of scholarship often focuses on shamanism and esoteric traditions within his work, I take a unique approach to the actions of Joseph Beuys by examining the role of gender. Beuys was not a myth, but a man positioned within real historical circumstances. The postwar period involved a renegotiation of many aspects of West German society and culture including a recuperation of masculinity from the degradation of war without reinstating the overly aggressive masculinity of the Nazi era. As part of the generation that participated in WWII, Beuys was also a participant in this renegotiation of West German masculinity. Through his use of shamanistic signifiers in his actions How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare and I like America and America likes me, Beuys constructs an active, yet restrained masculinity remarkably similar to the ideal of the post-WWII male West German citizen. However, these shamanistic performances also function as a critique of the Americanization of this masculinity and posit a distinctly German alternative focused on spirituality by reviving “völkish” esoteric traditions.

 

 

Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube