16th Annual Harrison Symposium Abstracts (2013)

Kevin Aslett: Public Support: Necessity For Successful Transitional Economic Reform from State Socialism to Market Economy

The research question that is answered is why some countries that transition from state socialism to market reform are successful and others are not. The focus is on Eastern European countries between 1980 and 2000. Eastern Europe holds similar countries that all transitioned from state socialism to market economy and had varying levels of success. Analyzing these countries, it is determined that the type of economic transition is not what determines success. In these economies transitioning from a state socialist system to a market economy whether or not there is public support for the economic reform system determines the amount of success. Large public support for a reform process is necessary for success when transitioning from state socialism to a market economy. This paper uses arguably the most successful reform processes from Eastern Europe between the years of 1980 and 2000 as examples (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Bulgaria). Each country transitioned from state socialism to market economy using their own process but public support for their particular type of reform was present in each successful case. Each countries reform process and public support for the process is proven to be diverse and strong respectively. Public support fuels the transition, because the population grows into a market economy at their own pace and allows them to take on the role of market forces from the government. The population’s acquisition of the role of these market forces within a transition from state socialism to a market economy is the most important switching of roles of economic actors. The correct kind of reform allows people’s behaviors to change and fit into the new economic system. Public support allows for this drastic change of economic systems to go smoothly and economic reform of this magnitude to be successful.

This study will analyse the most successful countries coming out of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Bulgaria were the countries that were most successful following the collapse of the Soviet Union. All had different economic reform processes, Poland and Czech Republic enforcing a shock therapy system and the other two countries using a gradualist reform process. All had success, while most of the other countries struggled. Type of economic reform was not what caused the success in these rare successful countries in Post-Communist Eastern Europe, because they all had different economic reform systems. The current debate over Eastern European reform systems are centred on the pace of the economic transition, but the characteristic of public support (which is present in all successful cases) has been overlooked. These four countries share the same geographical region, but they are all very different and the analysis of these countries fits into a Most Different System. This model of analysis is used to find the cause for success in these particular countries (Public Support). There will also be a focus on two of the most unsuccessful countries (Ukraine and Moldova) and how they lacked the necessary public support.

 

Addie Atkins (2012 Co-winner of the Harrison Award): Speech and Heroic Identity in the Iliad

The primary purpose of this project is to explain why the Iliad, which is ostensibly the story of Achilles, includes nine books of combat in which Achilles never appears. I argue that the Iliad is not truly about Achilles, as scholars tend to read it, but rather the problems of heroic identity in general (of which Achilles is simply a part). The Homeric hero possesses complex relationships with the divine, death, and his community; these issues become especially complicated on the battlefield, and speech is the medium through which they manifest themselves. Thus, I examine speech as an identity index in the Iliad’s combat scenes and chart the character development of three Greek heroes in particular (Diomedes, Patroklos, and Agamemnon) through their speech. My final chapter discusses the identity issues of Achilles that scholars have long recognized and draws parallels between his speech and that of the other heroes, demonstrating that heroic identity conflict transcends Achilles alone. In the combat scenes of the Iliad, the minor heroes do not act as filler, nor do they simply serve to set up Achilles’ return to battle; they work with Achilles to elucidate the meaning of the Homeric hero. Essentially, this study challenges the Achilles-centric reading of the Iliad that permeates Homeric scholarship, reading the work instead as a study of Greek heroic identity.

 

Abigail Beneke: Why do you think there is only one God?’: A study of traditional Maasai believers and Christian Maasai living near Tarangire National Park

One can find both Christian Maasai and traditional Maasai believers living in the area surrounding Tarangire National Park. Most community members agree that Christianity has been on the rise in this area since sometime in the late 1900’s. The goal of this paper is to study the impact of this trend on community members through critical analysis of excerpts taken from interviews and focus groups. In total, I conducted data from 15 semi-structured interviews and four focus groups with a sample of convenience. I found several factors that affect community members’ decision to convert to Christianity, including: gender and health, fortunetellers and laibons, and famine and disaster. Many community members, both Christian and traditional Maasai, do not believe Christianity has created a conflict in the area. Some informants even believe that there is only one god that both religions worship; therefore, they only see a difference in perspective between religions. However, other community members do perceive a conflict in the community, describing friction between Christian Maasai and traditional Maasai believers. Several Maasai Christians explained that they are able to maintain both Maasai and Christian identities.

 

Kelsi Bruun-Bryant: Martín Rivas y la desigualdad de la sociedad chilena: ¿Cuál es el rol de Martín en la sociedad chilena del siglo XIX y cómo sería en el XXI? (Martín Rivas and inequality in Chilean society: What role does Martín play in the Chilean society of the 19th century and what would his role be in the 21st century?)

Martín Rivas y la desigualdad de la sociedad chilena: ¿Cuál es el rol de Martín en la sociedad chilena del siglo XIX y cómo sería en el XXI?” explores inequality among social classes and political disparity in 19th century and 21st century Chile through critical literary analysis and research-based interpretation of Alberto Blest Gana’s Martín Rivas, as well as personal interviews with Chilean citizens. Blest Gana’s work primarily represents two distinct social classes: la clase alta (the upper class) and la clase de medio pelo (the lower class) through the intricate portrayal of two upper class families and one lower class family. The novel’s protagonist, Martín Rivas serves to represent la clase obrera (the working class). Both depictions of the lower and upper class serve to convey the inequality of social classes in Chile, while Martín Rivas demonstrates the trials that come with climbing the corrupt social hierarchy.

Prior to his death, Martín’s father has a connection with the upper class through his work in the silver mines. Upon his father’s death, this connection equips Martín with the opportunity to move from a small Chilean province to the rapidly developing city of Santiago where he will study at a prestigious school. Ultimately, Martín’s education coupled with his connection to the prominent, wealthy Encina family provides him, unlike the vast majority of working class and lower class citizens, with mobility within the classes.

Given the grand disparity of the classes in Chile in the 19th century, Martín Rivas’ ability to navigate his way through the social hierarchy is, in itself, atypical. In this way, Martín serves as an exception to the norms of Chilean society during the century. Through analysis and research of the Chilean society of the 21st century and a comparison to that of the 19th century, the paper serves to answer the grand question of whether a person like Martín Rivas would be able to rise to a higher social status in today’s Chile. It becomes clear, through interviews with current Chilean citizens and investigation of scholarly work on Chilean politics and class structure, that despite the growth and progress of the Chilean nation, the society remains gravely divided in terms of socioeconomic class and politics. For this reason, a person like Martín, in 21st century Chile, would ultimately face similar challenges and struggles in attempting to achieve a higher socioeconomic status.

 

Madeline Bunke: Los maestros del disfraz: la cultura visual en Facundo y Martín Rivas (Masters of Disguise: Visual Culture in Facundo and Martín Rivas.)

This paper examines, in Spanish, the manipulation of the visual in two highly important works of literature written in the 19th century, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento’s Facundo and Alberto Blest-Gana’s Martin Rivas. Though the former is a biographical work that centers on Argentina and the latter is a Chilean novel, the two works both demonstrate the desire of a newly-emerged country to define itself, and the manner in which the citizens of that country attempt to do that. In particular, these books feature characters (historical or otherwise) that are “masters of disguise” – characters that are aware of how their visual presentation affects others, and use that to their advantage. In analyzing these characters, this paper also addresses how these cultures define visual pleasure vs. visual disgust, and how a successful interchange of the two is a means to power.

In Facundo, there are three main masters: Sarmiento himself, Juan Facundo Quiroga, and Juan Manuel de Rosas. The first uses his literary powers as an author to first describe Argentinian gauchos in relationship to their environment, and then derogatively transform them into sub-humans. Quiroga, aware of this stereotype, uses it to his advantage to intimidate his enemies. He also makes us of “el espectáculo de la muerte,” the spectacle of death, a trait he shares with Rosas. These two caudillos know first-hand how powerful the sight of blood can be, and use it to strike fear into the hearts of those under their control. Rosas also integrates the color red, lo colorado, into his scheme of visual control. The visual manipulation in Martin Rivas is a bit less violently intended, but no less important. The main characters in this novel come from a variety of social backgrounds, and use their appearance to fight against or support the public’s opinion of their class. Many of the characters, like those in Facundo, believe their visual obsession is a show of strength; however, Blest Gana’s astute criticism of the Chilean class system demonstrates how visual culture, particularly in characters like Agustín and Amador, can also be a weakness.

 

Andrew Calderon: Operationalizing and Reconceptualizing Susceptibility: A Philosophical Approach to a Psychological Problem

I am investigating the motivations behind assessment, reassessment and behavioral changes—changes in both self-reflexivity and social interaction. The theoretical framework is a medley of Hegelian dialectic, the Attitudinal-Behavior model of cognition, and various other concepts from studies in peer influence and adolescent identity formation. The goal is to explain the motivations behind cognitive assessment, reassessments, and behavioral changes by linking emotion and reason to explain such behavior as a product of antithesis, cognitive dissonance, or discomfort. Each of the foregoing terms describes a similar phenomenon present in the aforementioned theoretical perspectives, respectively.

The contention is that changes, be they premeditated or unexpected, in either the personal or the social domain, are sparked by oppositional dynamism, i.e., the clash between two opposing ideas. The study attempts to probe this phenomenon to understand the underlying impetuses of change in thought and change in behavior, while including the full scope of the human intellect: reason, emotion, and drives.

 

Rachel Felicia Calvert: “It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen”: El género en El Topo y Acción mutante

Este papel es una respuesta a El Topo de Alexandro Jodrowsky El Topo y Acción Mutante de Álex de la Iglesia. Trato de contestar la pregunta questions ¿Cómo socavan El Topo y Acción Mutante sus géneros propios? ¿Y cómo son limitados en sus subversiones en cuanto a la presentación de la discapacidad y el otro tipo de género? El acid western mezcla un narrativo del pistolero con imágenes psicodélicos y referencas a los espiritualidades del oeste. Jodorowsky explica juguetonamente que no quiso hacer un western sino un eastern. Usa los tropos familares del western – los pistoleres de negro, las vistas del desierto, los tiroteos, y un enfasís en el masculinidad – mientras incorpora la música de Asia Central, los gurús, y un búsqueda para la iluminación. Jodorwosky también referencia al género del cine de explotación. La presentación de la sexualidad, la violencia, y los cuerpos de “frikis” mezcla los géneros del western y el cine explotación.

Acción mutante por Álex de la Iglesia mezcla los géneros también; en este caso, es una película de la ciencia ficción que incluye muchas características del terror, la comedia, y el western. Sabemos que la película es principalmente una obra de la ciencia ficción porque utiliza efectos especiales para representar la tecnología y los eventos de la trama ocurren en un futuro distópico. El uso de la cámara, la violencia explícita, y los gritos de los invitados a la fiesta refiere fuertemente al género de terror. A la vez, la película mantiene un compromiso con el género de la comedia. El desierto del planeta “Axturias” y especialmente el tiroteo en su bar nos recuerdan los western. Aun cuando los elementos en Acción mutante son puramente de la ciencia ficción, de la Iglesia subvierte el género. Por ejemplo, de la Iglesia utiliza los efectos espaciales, pero usualmente es para representar la tecnología más o menos torpe.

El Topo, un western, y Acción mutante, una película de la ciencia ficción, mezclan elementos de otros géneros y juegan sus propios géneros para subvertirlos. Sin embargo, las subversiones de El Topo y Acción mutante no son sin sus límites. Hay problemas significas con el tratamiento de la comunidad de discapacitados y con respeto a otro tipo de “género.” Los cuerpos, dificultades, y realidades de la comunidad de discapacitados son explotados por estos intrusos-cineastas para mantener sus visiones estéticas. Los dos películas representar violencia intensiva hacia las mujeres. Cuando los motivos de los directores fueron desafiar y entretener sus audiencias, estas declaraciones provocan las preguntas: ¿Es el sufrimiento del subalterno del valor del placer du una audiencia? ¿Qué es el punto de la subversión si no hay interés en el desmantelamiento de los sistemas del poder y la opresión? ¿Si queremos cambiar a un audiencia, que tipo de cambio debemos hacer?

 

Jack Dempsey: Pragmatism and Ideology: Press Coverage of the Filipino-American War and the Two Strands of Anti-Imperialist Rhetoric

As America wrestled with the question of empire at the turn-of-the-century, the struggle between imperialists and their opponents spilled over onto newspages across the country. This becomes particularly evident when examining the coverage of the war in the Philippines, as it unfolded from the initial battle at Manila in February 1899 through the American campaigns of that summer. The competition over how the narrative of the Filipino-American War was to be cast in the American press mirrored larger fights over party and expansionary policy. In particular, as setbacks began to mount for U.S. troops on the ground in the hot months of June and July and reports from the front warned of an increasingly dire situation, anti-imperialist papers became bolder in their representations of the war as a costly and unsupportable enterprise.

During the first six months of the war, this debate over whether the progress of the war overlapped that over prominent figures in the anti-imperialist movement. For example, papers that cast the war in a negative, losing light almost uniformly accorded acclaim to the Democratic populist hero William Jennings Bryan, while the more hawkish outlets tended to portray him as a combination of bumbling, inept, and misguided. To a lesser extent, this can also be seen in the view of President McKinley, who was generally drawn as either an able and patriotic statesman or an empire-minded, tyrannical monster.

A diverse range of groups composed the anti-imperialist movements at the time, and this is reflected in the reporting of the war by anti-expansionary papers. Critics of the war can generally be broken down into two camps, the idealists and the pragmatists, though of course this was not a fixed or formal boundary. Most commentary on the war by anti-expansionary papers fell into the former camp, offering practical reasons for the United States to disengage itself from the Philippines, including the perceived setbacks suffered at the Battle of Zapote River and reported in a particularly damning telegram by a number of Manila-based correspondents. Even pieces that offered completely ethical or ideological arguments and painted the American subjugation of the Filipinos as wrong or evil carefully protected themselves against charges of treason or of being un-American by emphasizing their love of country and their support for the common soldier.

However, the fieriest idealist of them all, Bryan himself, eschwed such precautions, and indeed seems to have tarred the whole country and its entire military with the same brush in his condemnation of what he saw as an unjust war of conquest. This could account in part for his electoral beating in 1900; ultimately, it would be the pragmatists who would prove triumphant in engineering the independence of the Philippines, and on terms no true Bryanite or idealist could have accepted when one considers the continued American economic and political domination of the islands for decades after their nominal emancipation.

 

Drew Donica: Evocación: La música y la memoria colectiva en Soldados de Salamina de David Trueba (Evocation: Music and Collective Memory in David Trueba's Soldiers of Salamis)

My paper analyzes the music in the film Soldados de Salamina, directed by David Trueba. I argue that the music becomes the vehicle that mediates collective memory and connects the audience with the personal story of Lola, who tries to uncover information about the Spanish Civil War. Through the artistic placement of the music, Trueba accesses the audience’s collective memory and demonstrates how a personal story can become universal.

Maurice Halbwachs’ writing on collective memory serves as a theoretical marker for my argument. Additionally, I contextualize the film as part of a dialogue between the book it was based off of by Javier Cercas, other Spainsh writers (Carmen Martín Gaite and Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio), historical figures (Rafael Sánchez Mazas), and a composer (Benjamin Britten). All of these artists are connected to this film, some more distantly than others, and reveal how a single thread can tie together many different personal memories and experiences and convert them into a universal message. It is the film that enables this message to be communicated, and the film’s music uses its manipulative power to engage a universal audience by transmitting personal emotions and feelings. My analysis delves into the techniques used to communicate to the audience, such as the style and genre of the music selected, instrumentation, what effect the harmony has, how the lyrics add to the narrative, at what strategic moments music is placed and what that means. My aim is to draw attention to the important element of music in film, which is too often unconsciously experienced while watching a movie, yet has the ability to not only change how we feel but also communicate meaning.

 

Dylan Evans: Longing for the End: Phantasmagoria and the Disruption of Linear Temporality in Melancholia

This paper discusses the use of the Prelude from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde in the recent Lars von Trier film Melancholia. I begin with a sequence analysis of the film’s “Overture” accompanied by the prelude. This overture serves to dissolve Linear Temporality with intricate pairing/editing of sound and image. The music creates what Theodor Adorno calls Phantasmagoria. It is both invasive and engulfing, and doesn’t necessarily make time stand still, but makes us think about time in a different way. I discuss the theoretical aspects of the prelude music itself, specifically the unresolvedness of the “Tristan Chord” and it’s connections, at several levels, to desire. Finally, I discuss the use of the prelude in depicting the end of the world, the moment when Earth and Melancholia collide. The musical moment at the point of impact is the “Tristan Chord” (reorchestrated), and while one could argue that the Tristan Prelude has no climax, this pairing of sound and image suggests a climax or at very least point of arrival. However, the unresolvedness of the Tristan Chord at this point of climax creates a new space, a space for which the audience is primed by the dissolution of Linear Temporality via Phantasmagoria. The level at which we engage viscerally with the music, thanks to Phantasmagoria, and the use of the Tristan Chord, could suggest a new way of thinking about the “Tristan Chord” as not unresolved, but as something else, something that might be pleasurable, thus subverting and undermining the concept of Western Music Tonality. The music could even suggest a desire for the end of the world, leaving us to think about our own possible desire for the end of our world. The music goes beyond creating a space between binarisms; it dissolves the very binarisms themselves.

At the end of the film we are not made to mourn the end of existence. Like space and time, in the realm of destruction and half-diminished seventh chords, even existence itself no longer matters. This may seem like the ultimate betrayal of the “happy ending,” except that in this space, happiness no longer matters either. The film invites us to an imaginative space where anything and everything is possible and binarisms, dualities and even suffering dissolve. And yet, the Tristan Chord at the end is almost like a little hint that there will always be something more, something even more unimaginable and amazing and wonderful, a magical little kernel waiting for us in the infinitely vast metaphysical realm.

 

Sarah Fandel: La relación entre el patriarcado, la violencia y el lenguaje en La muerte y la doncella (The Relationship between Patriarchy, Violence, and Language in La muerte y la doncella)

This paper examines how Ariel Dorfman’s play “La muerte y la doncella,” illustrates how the linguistic codification of violence, especially the linguistic codification of male violence, by male authorities can lead to the widespread belief that violence and torture committed by men in certain contexts is normal. The play deals with three characters, Paulina, who was raped and tortured by a doctor under the previous dictatorship, her husband Gerardo, a lawyer who is in charge of a commission established by the new democratic government to seek justice for victims of the dictatorial regime, and Dr. Roberto Miranda, the apparent good Samaritan who rescues Gerardo from a flat tire and whom Paulina accuses of being the doctor who tortured and raped her years earlier.

I specifically analyze how Paulina’s decision to kidnap and torture Dr. Miranda similarly to how he allegedly kidnapped and tortured her - only in the context of the feminized home rather than the masculinized context of war – reflects how violence by men in official contexts is often perceived as normal and may even go unnoticed. Furthermore, it’s significant that Roberto and Gerardo are both traditional male authority figures in the legal and medical fields and that neither sees anything about what Roberto supposedly did to Paulina as shocking. On the other hand, they’re both astonished by Paulina’s treatment of Roberto. It appears that in the non-official domestic sphere in which Paulina tortures Roberto, there is no linguistic codification available to describe her behavior other than concluding that she must be mentally ill.

Unlike Roberto’s eventual confession in which he attributes his alleged treatment of Paulina to the hyper-masculinized context of war and to being a man, there is assumed to be something inherently wrong with Paulina to explain her actions. Essentially, it becomes obvious that the pervasive use of neutralizing, technical, and official-sounding language by authorities who are often charged with the responsibility of maintaining or restoring a sense of order within society, can lead to conditions in which violence and abuse in certain contexts is perceived as normal by society as large. In this case, it only becomes apparent just how inexcusable torture is when someone without “official” permission to do so commits it. The paper also discusses the connection between the fragmented and elliptical dialogue between the characters and their inability to communicate with each other effectively. Additionally, the broken dialogue is reflective of how the damage done to Paulina can’t be repaired officially (i.e. through the Commission’s efforts), because “official” efforts aim to restore a sense of order and bring together a divided nation rather than to acknowledge and truly seek justice for the actual atrocities that were committed.

 

Jillian Fischer: The Sister Was Not a Mister: Gender and Sexuality in the Writings of Gertrude Stein and Virginia Woolf

My project explores questions of gender and sexuality within Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons and Virginia Woolf’s Orlando. Using early twentieth century sexology texts and later twentieth century gender theory to read these texts, I analyze both authors’ critiques of common beliefs about gender and sexuality as well as the alternatives they propose. The first section of my project asks how each author critiques heteronormativity and how they exemplify the problematic aspects. Close readings of both texts reveal their commentary on heteronormativity and gender roles. Stein’s critique centers on her portrayals of heterosexual relationships. Throughout her poetry, she portrays male sexuality as highly aggressive and alien, while emphasizing feminine sexual desire. She also argues that heterosexuality creates gendered power imbalances and extends her critique to include Freudian theory. Mocking Freud’s concepts of scopophilia and fetishization, Stein’s poetry fetishizes multiple objects and expands the definition of desire to include not explicitly heterosexual subjects. Woolf similarly notes the gendered imbalance in heteronormative expectations in the first half of the novel with Orlando as a man. Using role reversal, Woolf portrays Orlando as the fetishized object and the Queen, a woman, as the desiring subject. By subverting the reader’s expectations, Woolf draws attention to the created power imbalance through the assigned role of fetishist and fetishized. Further, Woolf portrays how this type of relationship also leads to the commodification and literal objectification of the body. As in Stein’s work, Woolf’s critique of heteronormativity also critiques Freud’s portrayal of gendered relationships.

The second part of my project analyzes the alternatives each author proposes. Stein’s response to heteronormativity is to explore and celebrate non-heterosexual forms of desire. She begins by exploring consumerism, appropriating advertising language to invoke consumerist desire. This alternative creates a more feminized space, as consumerism was considered feminine. Stein eventually uses consumerist desire to segue into her proposal of a lesbian utopia. Using metaphorical references to lesbian pleasure and her own partner, Alice Toklas, Stein’s text portrays unbridled joy through sex with other women. Woolf’s transition into her alternative world begins as Orlando awakens to find that she has become a woman while working in Constantinople. As Orlando transitions into becoming a woman, Woolf exposes gender as a socially constructed concept. Orlando noticeably remains the same and must learn to become a socially defined woman. Upon Orlando’s return to England, Woolf de-emphasizes Orlando’s physicality to the point of near erasure. While this alternative eliminates the problematic aspects of power dynamics based on socially constructed understandings of the body, it also erases Orlando’s ability to express sexual desire or pleasure. Using this complete reversal from the treatment of Orlando’s male body, Woolf’s alternative ultimately reveals that gender is the underlying problem of heteronormativity.

 

Laurel Foshag: Walking the Plank: A Power Analysis of Somali Piracy in the Modern World

The paper, Walking the Plank: A Power Analysis of Somali Piracy in the Modern World, attempts to understand the broad question of how non-state actors wield power in global politics by conducting a case-study of modern day Somali piracy. More specifically, this paper aims to answer how and in what ways the Somali pirates are able to exert power despite seriously lacking formal state and military institutions. Utilizing the perspective of the liberal-interdependence theory of international politics, the paper concludes that Somali pirates use a blend of economic, hard and soft power strategies to exert power in the global sphere. To support this thesis, the paper begins by explaining the rise of Somali piracy as well as the threat this group poses to international security. Secondly, the paper outlines various theories of international political thought while articulating why the liberal-interdependence theory is best suited for analyzing the Somali pirate case-study. The heart of the work examines in detail the hard, soft, and economic powers available to the Somali pirates and explains how they cleverly utilize these powers in their particular context to accomplish desired goals. The case-study of modern day Somali piracy as international actor provides a great starting point for further research on non-state actors. This work proves extremely relevant to current debates on the role non-state actors play in international relations as their ability to wield power reaches new heights in an increasingly globalized world.

 

Laura Geszvain: Defining Small Town Politics and the Ethnic Complex in Outagamie County, Wisconsin: 1850-1865

Wisconsin was not a unified state in the 1850’s and 1860’s, in contrast to what many history books might say. It was not a stronghold of Republicanism, steeped in anti-slavery sentiments or even an avid supporter of the North. And only a micro approach to history could reveal that. Yes, there certainly were moderate Republicans and abolitionists but it seems that history has actually overlooked a vital part of Wisconsin’s history, a part which contradicts the stereotype that because Wisconsin was in the North, it must have been anti-slavery, pro-Lincoln, pro-Union and so on. Outagamie County in the 1850’s and 1860’s, not dissimilar from other counties, like Brown, proves that stereotype, or preconceived notion, wrong. Outagamie County reveals that politics, ideologies and lifestyle were determined more by loyalty to one’s ethnicity than by national events. This paper goes in depth about a small minority of Republicans with loud voices in the First Ward of Appleton. They were vastly outnumbered by Democrats or, in other words, immigrants. We see how and why the Democrats stayed united and, likewise, how and why the Republicans fell apart even when they were nationally successful. Ethnicity, not money or “class”, shaped society and its politics.

 

Jana Greenslit: Language Ideologies in Dakar, Senegal

This paper focuses on linguistic anthropology research I conducted in Dakar, Senegal in the spring of 2012. The thesis is based in language ideology theory, which examines the beliefs people have about the correct usage of language, as well as how these beliefs are related to overarching social and political structure. Within the context of Dakar, the research focuses on the interchangeable use of French, the colonial language, and Wolof, an ethnic language that serves as the lingua franca among different ethnic groups. In this capital city, the combination of these two language within the same discourse is referred to as Wolof de la Ville, or Urban Wolof. The thesis of my paper discusses the shift between French as the ideal language among Dakar citizens to Wolof as the ideal language. Based upon interviews that I conducted, in addition to copious participant observation, I found that the introduction of private radio station broadcasts in local languages (for example, Wolof, and other ethnic languages as well) influenced this shift in ideology in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. Whereas proficiency in French used to be considered vital for social navigation in Dakar, now fluency in Wolof holds greater priority (although most people living in the city are not as fluent in Wolof as speakers from rural areas, as the prevalence of French in schools, politics, and the media still requires proficiency in both languages). I draw the conclusion that this shift is directly related to the simultaneous emergence of Urban Wolof in public forums it had not yet breached, including billboard advertisements and television commercials. Furthermore, I attempt to analyze the underlying motivations for this shift, as well as to what extent this phenomena can be considered a cultural revival in Dakar.

 

Huma Hakimzada: Women’s Access to Justice in Sierra Leone

Gender-based violence continues to be one of the most pervasive human rights abuses in the world. It is an issue that cuts across all cultures, races, religions, and socio-economic levels. Forms of gender-based violence include rape, domestic violence, trafficking of women and girls, harassment, and forced marriage. Gender-based violence (GBV) results in devastating consequences for the victims including physical, sexual, and mental harm. Gender-based violence against women and girls is present during times of peace but is most common during armed conflict. Rape is used to torment communities, forcing women and their families to flee their homes. This campaign was used in Sierra Leone during their 10 years long brutal civil war. The presence of international actors and human rights advocates has helped the government of Sierra Leone achieve much success in passing laws that protect women’s rights. However, these policies lack effective implementation at the local level.

The focus of my research in Sierra Leone is the effect of post-civil war political culture and policies as they relate to women's access to justice. While women's rights are traditionally placed at the top of every to-do list of a reforming country, in practice the policies of post-conflict countries do not reflect much improvement on behalf of women. The aim of my research is to understand the social elements preventing women from seeking justice for gender-based violence in urban and rural areas of Sierra Leone and to identify factors that enable effective diffusion. In order to do so, I will be examining at the role of NGOs and IGOs in helping women gain access to justice. The main question my research poses is “what impact do NGOs and IGOs have on women’s status in Sierra Leone, specifically with their access to justice?”

Although the civil war in Sierra Leone has ended, women in the country are still facing another deadly front—sexual and gender-based violence. During the war, rape and sexual violence were considered a form of war crime, but now it has carved its way into the norms and culture of the society as something that is understood and even accepted. The UNDP Deputy Country Director, Samuel Harbor, provided disturbing statistic that, “By the end of her life span, nearly all Sierra Leonean women will suffer from some form of sexual or gender-based violence” (Harbor 2012). According to International Rescue Committee (IRC) official interviewed for this project, many of the cases of sexual and gender-based violence happen at a young age, and about sixty-five percent of cases seen by various IRC clinics were under 15 years old. Due to lack of proper law enforcement mechanism, many of the rape and sexual assault cases go unpunished. However, the stigma of rape is by far the greatest obstacle to the punishment of rapists. After the traumatic experiences, many young victims fear of stigmatization. Young victims refuse to go back to school and refuse to engage with others because they think children and community members will judge them for being raped.

 

Regina Naa Dedei Hammond: Microinsurance and the Millennium Development Goal of Achieving Universal Primary Education

Microinsurance, the provision of standard insurance products to the poor, has expanded its reach and scope dramatically over the last decade. Some development economists hope that microinsurance can become one of the levers for breaking the poverty trap by being a safety net for low-income individuals. However, the literature on the impact of microinsurance on clients in developing countries is limited and focuses predominantly on its microeconomic impact either using anecdotal evidence or qualitative analysis. This paper empirically explores the purpose microinsurance serves in development by examining the impact of microinsurance on the Millennium Development Goal of achieving universal primary education. Using a rich dataset on the provision of microinsurance products in Africa, I find that life microinsurance products have a measurable effect on educational attainment.

 

Kaye Herranen: Erasure Literature: A History of Partial and Fragmented Texts

The main goal of this research project is to track the form of erasure poetry from its beginnings (Tom Phillips’s A Humument) to where the form is currently. Along the way I focus specifically on the creation of this form, and how the first published work of erasure came out of a very specific academic and cultural climate during the late 1960’s. For historical context I explain and reference several postmodern intellectuals, including Derrida and Sassure. I also explain how these postmodern attitudes about language and literature have become embedded within the contemporary university setting, and how this contributes to the history of erasure poetry.

I focus on the academic background and climate that each poet worked from and within, especially that of Tom Phillips. Since Phillips works primarily as a visual artist, I also contextualize him within art history. Phillips’s work is clearly influenced by several artist movements from the 1950’s and early 1960’s (Fluxus, the Situationists) as well as Dada and Surrealism. Most of the poets I will be studying have at least two academic degrees, if not more. I lay out their academic backgrounds and histories, as they are extremely relevant to the type of work they produce.

As I move chronologically through each work of erasure I compare how each author responds to those before them, as well as the stylistic traits and/or themes displayed in their work. Since each erasure poet creates their own rules/limitations for their erasure and holds varying motives for working within the erasure form, I compare and contrast these as well.

I also analyze the role certain publishing companies and authors have had in making the form of erasure more mainstream. In particular, there’s been a very recent upswing of interest in erasure poetry (since about 2009), partially because of Jonathan Safran Foer’s and McSweeney’s engagement with the form. I will give a brief history of McSweeney’s, which started out as a fairly unknown experimental quarterly in San Francisco, and has since grown into a fully fledged publishing house and center of a specific style/type of author. McSweeney’s often publishes young, unknown authors with works that require special attention or technique during the printing process. They are much more concerned with aesthetics and theory than turning a profit (which they do).

In the concluding paragraphs of my research paper I comment on the overall arc of erasure poetry. I believe there has been a significant change in how erasure poetry has been viewed since the release of Phillips’ work in 1970. I will also document the themes, styles, and influences that the works seem to share.

I close with an account of why I believe erasure poetry could only arise during the late 1960’s, and why it is only now just beginning to gain popularity. I believe that an understanding of certain academic and literary climates explains both the origins of erasure poetry as well as the increasing contemporary interest in it.

 

Thomas Matusiak: No futuro: Juventud y desencanto en la urbe colombiana (No Future: Youth and Disenchantment in Colombian Cinema)

This project studies representations of youth and urban space in a series of Colombian films from the 1990’s and early 2000’s. I choose to group these films under the proposed label of cine del desencanto (cinema of disenchantment), as I argue that they express a profound disillusionment felt by the marginalized classes of Latin America’s mega-cities, particularly youth, caused by the false promises of neoliberal policies propagated by the government on one hand, and the enchantment of social mobility allegedly offered by the boom in narco-trafficking on the other. The focus, thus, is on constructions of urban youth and their ability to navigate the city amid a (bio)politics of urban space that critics have attributed to the neoliberal turn at the end of the 20th century.

 

Kathryn Melchior: Suffering, Strong, and Free: The Romantic Ballerina and Female Empowerment

The shadowy world of romantic French ballet was harsh, physically demanding, and misogynistic. Parisian society viewed the romantic ballerina as no better than a prostitute: starving, sexualized, and weak. Feminist dance theorists contest that this era was horribly limiting for women, and argue that it only allowed for men to subjugate ballerinas through to the modern period. Yet, it produced three of the greatest ballets of the modern repertory: La Sylphide, Giselle, and Coppélia, all of which feature women and groups of women on stage, alone, outside of the realm of male domination. Whether they play fairies, ghosts, or dolls, their sheer presence on stage, in combination with the ballet’s plots, backstage power dynamics, and the artistic choices they were allowed to make, were undeniably important steps toward women’s liberation. In this paper, I join the feminist/anti-feminist analysis of romantic French ballet. I particularly analyze how the plots of three ballets display the female characters as intelligent, independent, and powerful, in spite of the other elements that could underestimate their power. What’s more, my study examines how the social and working conditions come together to establish the dancer’s voice of agency, even if she suffered to win it. It is also possible to see a clear evolution of women’s liberation as a character on stage between 1832 (the debut of La Sylphide) and 1871 (the debut of Coppélia): from a gutter sylph to a venerated heroine. I affirm that, even if romantic ballet was not a panacea of complete liberation for women, it gave female dancers a unique kind of empowerment that was previously inconceivable.

 

Stephen Nordin: Atomic Logic: US Non-Proliferation Initiatives and Presidential Decision-Making, 1961-1974

This project examines how successive American administrations confronted the international spread of nuclear weapons. Its emphasis is the decision-making processes of presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon when confronting atomic weapons development in Israel and India. It seeks to identify influences on presidential perceptions of the phenomenon of nuclear proliferation. These include initiatives at the United Nations, reportage from the intelligence community, the advice of administration officials, and the positioning of foreign governments.

The American response to the Israeli and Indian cases prior to 1974 played a formative role in the development of non-proliferation policy in subsequent decades. The decisions made by presidents primarily sought to address challenges raised by the non-proliferation initiatives of their predecessors. Through historical analysis of these cases, seemingly disjointed reactions can provide insight into presidential decision-making and the "second wave" of nuclear weapons development—that of non-Security Council nations.

 

Helen Rowe: A New Home: Classical Music in Video Games

Despite a growing knowledge of the important role of music in video games, little research has been done on the reception of classical music performance within video games. Examining classical music in a successful in-game role could shed light on what factors make classical performance successful in the eyes of young potential audience members--the generational group which is both the most affiliated with video games and the most absent in classical performance venues today. To examine what makes classical music successful in gaming, I focus on the ending opera scene in Portal 2--a sequence which, despite its ties to a genre unpopular with gamers, is universally adored within the gaming community. Mary Ann Doane’s “fantasmatic body” concept is a window through which to analyze both the events of the game scene and the Turret Opera’s widespread success. Both the Turret Opera and traditional opera scenes utilize the fantasmatic body as a way to create a connection between the performer and the audience member, but in radically different ways. While traditional opera performance subsumes the audience member’s sense of agency and spatial orientation in search of a greater musical connection, the Turret opera’s placement within game space means that the same factors constitute an important part of the gamer’s connection to the performance. Ultimately, Portal fans’ positive reactions to the Turret Opera suggests that a simple generational change in musical taste cannot fully explain why opera is unpopular with younger audiences. What has changed between generations is the manner in which music is best assimilated into the listener’s consciousness. Considering how to incorporate some of the Turret Opera’s successful traits into live performances could help attract younger audiences to classical venues.

 

Atrius Rude: The Co-evolution of Friendship Assessment Software and the God Memeplex: Combining Evolutionary Psychology and Memetics

The correlation between the defining features of what our ancestors considered an evolutionarily fit friend and the basal qualities of simplest God memeplex is remarkably compelling. The God memeplex is composed of several meme units, five of which will be reflected on, that appear to be conserved across a wide spectrum of deities and conceptualizations of God. Incidentally, these ideas may have served a dual purpose for early humans in verifying which members of the social group were authentic friends worthy of social investment. The driving thesis is that the universality and preservation of these meme units in the archetypical God memeplex is an indication of an evolutionary process through which increasing complexity of human social structure selected for a type of friend assessment software, FAS, which in turn selected for this specific set of criteria constituting the God memeplex. This paper set out to (I) propose an evolutionary model of the friend assessment software, (II) explain its impact on the selection of the five essential meme units of the God memeplex and (III) provide a context for the conclusion.

It was concluded that the meme units the meme units of the God memeplex may be found so widely in part because they were selected for by evolutionary programming that enabled our ancestors to detect the individuals most worthy of their social credit investments. FAS coevolved with the Special Knowledge meme, the Self-Sacrificing Commitment meme, the Sensitive Communication meme, Equivalent Desires meme, and the Special Love meme. In healthy individuals, the parents are the first true friends to occupy the top rung position, but are then replaced by one’s own image of self, which satisfies the FAS software and produces the independence necessary to that individual’s well being. However, some individuals do not undergo this process and as a result of the close association of FAS and the God memeplex, at this stage the FAS software demotes the parents from the top rung friend position and inserts an imaginary figure that meets the five criteria. The God memeplex pathway may have evolved as a way to prevent the FAS software from triggering destructive anxiety that once served as an important survival indicator but is now no longer necessary to our survival.

 

Tonya St. Julien: Globalizing the Skin Whitening Industry: The United States Edition

The desire for light or white skin attained through skin whitening has burgeoned into a multi-billion-dollar global industry (Glen 2008; Lewis et. al 2011). The practice of skin whitening is a form of body modification. Although skin whitening products are labeled as beautification products, the motivations for lightening the skin through the application of harmful chemical agents such as hydroquinone on the epidermis transcend beauty (Hunter 2007, Karan 2008, Shevde 2008). People, more often women, whiten their skin to maximize chances of social benefits, opportunities, and economic success in societies where light skin is a form of symbolic capital that fosters light skin privilege (Glenn 2008; Hunter 2007). Skin whitening is a widespread phenomenon in Africa, Latin America, and Asia (Hunter 2011). Over 50% of women from Dakar, Senegal, Lagos, Nigeria, and Lusaka, Zambia use skin whiteners (Glenn 2008; Lewis et. al 2011). The market for skin whiteners in China was worth one billion dollars in 2002 and five billion dollars in Japan in 1999 (Glenn 2008). Skin whitening is connected to the legacy of colorism, where people with light skin receive social and economic benefits and privileges over people with dark skin (Glenn 2008; Hunter 2011; Lewis et. al 2011).

Using the conceptual framework of Glenn (2008), this research will explore social meanings attached to skin color, specifically light skin privilege and colorism, and the role of media in promoting the practice of skin whitening through the marketing and the production of skin whitening products via transnational and multinational cosmetic corporations. Skin whitening and its industry should be examined from several angles to illustrate the motivations for skin whitening among African American women living in the United States. The body altering practice of skin whitening among women of color globally reveals the effects of the Western-dominated global system that engenders a “white is right” ideology through the global circulation of skin whitening products (Glenn 2008).

 

Megan Stark: The Contribution of Non-Governmental Organizations to Primate Conservation and Urban Development in Post-Conflict States. A case study of the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary (Freetown, Sierra Leone)

In terms of the debate between conservation and development, Sierra Leone is an interesting case: during the civil war (1991-2002), many residents of rural areas fled to the capital, Freetown, to escape the conflict. Freetown, a port city on the coast of the Atlantic, relies solely on the Western Area Peninsula Forrest Reserve (WAPFOR) for fresh water. The mass exodus to the city increased pressure on the forest for resources: water, food and most importantly timber for the city’s infrastructural development. Even after the conflict subsided, many who had sought refuge in the capital ended up staying and consequently Freetown currently has very high expansion rates in terms of population, economy and geography. This has resulted in massive and uncontrolled deforestation and consequently the endangerment of many species of flora and fauna. In many ways Sierra Leone is still very much a predatory state with little provision of government services, comparatively low developmental statistics (infant mortality, adult literacy, HDI, etc) despite the fact that they have huge amounts of valuable natural resources under the ground. Consequently, the number of NGOs (both foreign and domestic) in Sierra Leone is very high and there is great dependence to these institutions to contribute to development in ways that the government will not.

This project assesses the impact of the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary on the development of community based natural resource management in Freetown, Sierra Leone and looks specifically at how Tacugama has been able to meld its own chimpanzee conservation goals with rural economic development and environmental education.

Over spring break of 2013, thanks to the Mellon Grant for Senior Experience, I was able to visit Freetown and was given the opportunity to spend a week with the education team at Tacugama and help formulate a series of projects with 16 different rural schools and communities in addition to attending a parliamentary session and interviewing officials from other NGOs. These specific projects ranged from the building of garbage pits in each village to the organization of a soccer league and each fits into a long-term plan, all of which hope to boost the importance of environmentally sustainable practices within WAPFOR.

Ultimately this project focuses on how Tacugama has created relationships with rural communities, Freetown, government ministries and other NGOs to overcome this avalanche of environmental, developmental and economic problems. As of yet my analyses have taken into account a variety of themes such as: deforestation, long term versus short term economic benefits, environmentally sustainable practices, post-conflict effects, environmental education, the role of the state versus that of NGOs and primate conservation. However, because this project is still in progress I have yet to find any specific overarching conclusions except that in order to overcome these problems, there must be multilateral long and short-term efforts. In any case, this project has highlighted that primate conservation is often highly political in nature and the effects of saving chimpanzees are not only felt by our closest genetic cousins but by humans as well.

 

Marika Straw: Youth Community Drumming Ensembles and the Modernity/Tradition Debate in Pune, India

Pune, Maharashtra, India marks the world's largest celebration of Ganapati, a Hindu festival celebrating the Elephant God, Ganesha. In recent years, a conflict has arisen between the music played by traditional youth community drumming ensembles called pathake (pl.) and contemporary popular music. In embracing pathake, the youth of Pune are actively embracing tradition. However, in their re-creations of pathake, Pune's youth are not simply reenacting traditions, but rather selectively appropriating the parts of tradition they are proud of while simultaneously adopting some more “modern” ideals. Through playing dhol (an Indian drum) in pathak rehearsals and performances and interviewing pathak members, I examined the ways in which pathake reflect and influence changes in Pune society through processes of selection and rejection of cultural practices and values from both the Indian past and the global present. To view this process, I looked at three major areas of change. In the case of pathake arising as a reaction to the culture of contemporary popular music, Pune's youth seemed to value tradition over modernity. Yet in the area of gender, I found a debate between women dressing conservatively and being separated from men versus women interacting freely with men. Simultaneously, I found that most members supported the idea that pathake, with their heterogeneous composition, help to loosen traditional societal barriers such as caste. My fieldwork complicates the modernity/tradition dichotomy, suggesting that musical ensembles have the agency to choose which parts of tradition and modernity to acquire and discard based on what they feel is most beneficial for their ensemble and society at that particular point in time.

 

Alexis VanZalen: The Self-Fashioning of a Consummate Musical Orator

In 1697 the organist and composer Dieterich Buxtehude (1637-1707) was deemed “world famous” by a guidebook to the German city in which he lived, Lübeck. Such public acclaim for a musician was unusual in this society where musicians were generally looked down upon and stereotyped as dishonorable and picaresque outsiders. In this context, Buxtehude’s situation begs the question, how did he come to have such an esteemed reputation?

As I will argue, Buxtehude actively fashioned his reputation as an adept member of his capitalistic society, a useful civil servant, and an accomplished and complete musician, throughout his life. In large part he established this reputation through the yearly production of a public concert series he organized, gathered monetary support, and composed the music for each Advent called the Abendmusik. These events showcased not only his musicianship, but his entrepreneurial skill and his dedication to raising the status of Lübeck as well. Buxtehude’s organ praeludia were no small part of his self-fashioning project because through them, unrestricted and unguided by text, he was allowed total freedom in presenting a musical affection or emotion, and thus was able to demonstrate the pinnacle of his musicianship, both his craftsmanship and his creativity. He did this through a “fantastic style,” called the stylus phantasticus, which the Hamburg school of north German baroque organists uniquely cultivated for the purpose of displaying their musicianship, elevating their social standing, and fashioning their reputations. Within the rhetorical conception of music during the baroque period, this musical self-fashioning can be considered an appeal to ethos because it promotes the audience’s confidence in Buxtehude as a musical orator.

Integrating musical analysis and interpretation within a larger discussion of his self-fashioning both brings a new social perspective to understanding his organ music, as well as allows his identity as a musician infuse the history of his reputation. Moreover, Buxtehude’s combination of musical and non-musical means of fashioning his reputation demonstrates how baroque musicians were able to navigate the transition between an era where they were through of merely as civil servants and one in which artistic genius became celebrated in its own right.

 

Yang Hua (Co-winner of the 2012 Harrison Award): Revisiting a Chinese intellectual through the Russian lens: Lu Xun during 1925-1927

Lu Xun (1881-1936) was one of the most influential modern Chinese writers of the twentieth century. Born in Shaoxing, Zhejiang and well educated in Chinese classics since early age, he constantly extended his intellectual horizon, as did most Chinese intellectuals during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, to “Western learning” – the study of European cultures and thoughts – in order to salvage a “backward China.” After returning from Japan in 1909 where he studies and sojourned for seven years, he was soon invited to teach at Peking University for several years. In 1918 he published Diary of a Madman, the first short story written in vernacular Chinese in a modern style which became the cornerstone of China’s May Fourth New Cultural Movement (1917-1921). For the next eight years he continued to write fictions and was also devoted to social critics and translations. Most of his creative writings during this period have since become canon in the literary history of Modern China.

However, Lu Xun left off creative writings and was seen by both his contemporaries and historians as becoming radicalized since 1926. In September 1927 he moved to Shanghai and stayed there until his death in 1936. This period of his life is often considered by both literary scholars and historians as his “leftist years”: he began to study and also introduce the literary works, theories, and critics of Soviet Marxists, helped to found in 1930 the League of Chinese Left-Wing Writers, and befriended with several members from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). At the same time he started to write, extensively, zawen (miscellaneous essays) and was gradually regarded as a leftist writer promoting Marxist-Leninist and Communist values.

Within this context, my research topic started by addressing a commonly consented transitional stage of Lu Xun, after which he is identified as “leftist.” I found that this stage has been overused by historians to explain the motives behind his seemingly switching to the left but is hardly studied on its own terms. In this paper, I argue that his transitional years - which I define as from 1925 to 1927 – is an independent and significant intellectual stage in that while Lu Xun stopped writing fictional works, he started, during this period, to think theoretically and formulated a new ideological framework. He attempted to, in terms of this framework, cope with his concerns of China’s Revolutionary reality as well as his own position as an intellectual within the revolution. This new perspective is best understood by paying attention to his understanding of the Russian Revolution and his intellectual connections with Soviet literary scene he began to touch upon since 1925. By means of this framework, Lu Xun’s seemingly paroxysm of a “fear” in late 1927, a mental crisis, can be understood as exposing a fundamental predicament he confronted during this transitional stage: he was entangled in a profound conflict between his intellectual pursuits and moral sensibility, a tragic dilemma from which he extracted himself only by becoming “numb” and “oblivious” and which might help illuminate the problems confronting the generation of Chinese intellectuals during the 1920s.

 

 

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