12th Annual Harrison Symposium Abstracts (2009)
My project is a bilingual paper in the form of a project developed during an Independent Study on Al-Andalus (Islamic Spain from 711-1492) that is available on the internet through Google maps. During the class, I developed a presentation along with the paper that would take the audience on a virtual tour through the Moorish Palace, highlighting the progression of la Alhambra from a fortress, to a palace, to a trophy of war, and finally as a nationally recognized monument. Using my own photographs as well as images approved for academic use, I will guide the viewers through the various parts of the palace. Themes include the clash between Islam and Christianity and how the conflict is visible in the palace today, Islamic themes in the architecture such as water, Arabic script, and the desert, legends associated with la Alhambra, and its relevance today in Spanish society. Since this is a project more so than a paper, the thesis is still evolving and will continue to do so as I prepare it for a grant proposal. However, I would talk about how the project began, how it progressed, and where it is taking me in the future. Currently, the thesis is that la Alhambra serves as the last landmark of a period in which Spain was ruled by Muslims and much like the use of the palace has changed since its acquisition in 1492, so have the attitudes associated with la Alhambra.
I would be presenting my project in Spanish.
Past studies examining personality and academic performance have focused on studying the five personality traits included in Costa and McCrae’s (2003) five-factor model of personality: extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience. After reviewing decades of studies examining personality and academic achievement, Furnham, Christopher, Garwood, and Martin (2008) argue that a student’s personality is a better predictor of his or her academic performance (as measured by exam grades, essay grades, and GPAs) than his or her intelligence or cognitive abilities.
However, past researchers have rarely examined class participation as a dependent measure of academic achievement. For students in college discussion-based classes, their participation grade may account for 15-25% of their final course grade. Therefore, research about how a student’s personality may affect his or her class participation is necessary and important. Unfortunately, the great effort, time, and resources required to record and transcribe class discussions may have discouraged past researchers from studying participation. However, the current study argues that the benefits of recording classes and acquiring discussion transcriptions far outweigh the challenges because of the precise measures of participation we can extract from the transcriptions (i.e., each student’s total word count in a discussion, the exact number of times each student speaks, the content of each contribution, etc.).
Methods. Therefore, the current study analyzed 16 recorded discussions of four Fall 2008 sections of Freshman Studies (discussion topics: Messiaen, Einstein, Plato, and Bishop). The study also administered Oliver John’s (1991) Big Five Inventory, a questionnaire that assesses the five traits in Costa and McCrae’s personality model, to the students in the four sections. 89% of the students in the desired sample filled out the inventory. They also filled out four questionnaires asking them about their discussion experiences, including how they prepared for class, their attitudes towards class participation, their enjoyment of the class, etc.
Results. For the current study, a student’s total word count in the transcribed discussion was treated as a measure of his or her total speaking time during the discussion. A regression analysis showed that together extraversion, openness to experience, and agreeableness account for approximately one-third of the variance in student word count (R2= .304), which is highly significant F(3, 45) = 8.1, p<.001. Extraversion (ß=.303, p=.03), openness to experience (ß=.439, p=.001), and agreeableness (ß=-.431, p=.002) are significant predictors of students’ word counts. Neuroticism and conscientiousness are not predictors of word count.
The study also analyzed non-personality independent variables (gender, diversity, FRST exam grades, FRST course grades, major/minor, hobbies, enjoyment of the class, preparation for class, lecture attendance, etc.), but found that only extraversion, openness to experience, and agreeableness are significant predictors of students’ word counts. For example, we might expect that a student’s degree of preparation predicts how frequently he or she participates in class, but the current study found that preparation is not a significant predictor. The current study’s results suggest that the factors that predict a student’s class participation deserve further study.
The complex relationship between women and power is examined within the context of Western classical music. Gender roles are typically taken for granted as concrete and pre-determined entities. According to Judith Butler, however, gender is actually a social construct based upon sex, which is established through the “stylized repetition of acts.” She asserts that, in response to societal expectations, people learn to employ behaviors that are acceptable within their given societies. Gender identities are constantly being renegotiated through a kind of performance. The performance presented is a mask that both reflects and becomes a part of our core identities.
Awareness of the performative nature of identity can be empowering. However, due to the element of display involved, the act of performing makes people vulnerable to objectification by their audience. Seventeenth-century Venetian composer Barbara Strozzi’s success was allowable within the male-dominated intellectual circles of her time due the ambiguity of her role. It has been hypothesized that she was a courtesan, which may have provided her with a socially acceptable means of receiving the education and support necessary for success within the male-dominated profession of composition. Strozzi frequently composed and performed music with text which demeaned and objectified women. Continuing to fulfill this traditional female role ensured the continued patronage of her male audience, while her role as both a composer and performer allowed her to subtly mock them.
Within the context of the sexually-repressed society of 1890’s Paris, Claude Debussy composed exceptionally erotic music. His “Trois Chansons de Bilitis,&rdqup; a set of songs based on poetry about the sexual awakening of an ancient Greek girl named Bilitis, is extremely erotic. Ironically, Debussy specifically requested that the young woman who portrayed Bilitis be naïve and incapable of comprehending the blatant sensuality of both his music and the poetry. The sensuality of his music contradicts his documented request for a naïve portrayal of Bilitis, creating a double standard. Manipulation of this double standard provides a means of empowerment for the performer by giving her control over both her sensuality and her male audience.
During the Enlightenment era of late 18th-century Vienna, W.A. Mozart composed the opera Così fan tutte. Its title, “all women are like that,” appears to characterize this opera as a misogynistic diatribe against women. However, the subversive manner in which Mozart composed this opera instead demonstrates his intention to negate these claims. By juxtaposing serious and comic operatic conventions within this work he destabilizes them. Mozarts character Despina, like Mozart himself, manipulates social conventions in order to survive in an oppressive society.
Like gender roles, musical meaning is fluid and dynamic rather than static and concrete. Awareness of this fluidity empowers individuals to shape their own identities by renegotiating social boundaries and hierarchies which are in constant flux. It is possible to contribute to social progress by actively performing one’s gender identity, both on and off stage. It is, however, important to recognize the responsibility that inherently accompanies the use of such power.
Insurrection 1956 takes a detailed look at the ethnic socio-political leadership of two important counties in southern Kham. The project began during the summer of 2008 when I embarked on the grand adventure of translating a selection from the 1957 Chinese Government document A Report on the Societal Situation of Southern Kang for Professor Tsomu and the History Department. This government report, translated from the original mixture of simplified and traditional Chinese, details the lives and the then current status of key leaders in Litang and Chatreng . Written near the close of a major revolt sparked by agriculture land policy in Kham, the piece became a valuable tool for the PRC in their relationship with localities post-revolt. Each section gives a brief biography, describing a local leader’s physical appearance, lineage, family, local support, and accounts in which that person aided or resisted the PRC.
By examining this piece, we come closer to understanding the political and social maneuvering and pressures Tibetan leaders faced at the time as well as the attitude of the PRC writers of the piece towards those leaders. The language used by the PRC writers harkens back to more traditional Han Chinese ethnographers as they described ethnic groups on the fringes of Chinese territories. Yet, the piece also has a strong flare of communist rhetoric.
Overall, this work helps in its small way to fill in the large dearth of information on modern Tibetan history. With the help of Professor Tsomu, I conducted background research to place the translated piece into a larger context. As the subject of modern Tibet has become extremely controversial, I have taken extra care to be as objective as possible, making it very clear when and where Chinese sources where used as well as Tibetan. With my extended background in Chinese language study as well as my recent acquisition of a rudimentary understanding of Tibetan language, under the tutelage of Professor Tsomu, I feel that I have a unique perspective on the piece and am able to pull from both sides of the conflict, hoping to forge a well constructed history of those leaders in Litang and Chatreng during the 1950s.
Domesticity and the hearth are often turned to as a solution to problems that arise in Dickensian narratives. The home can be a refuge from the industrial, capitalist city, can serve as a restorative place and, as some scholars have suggested, even represent life itself. However, the way the hearth and domesticity are portrayed and function differs throughout Dickens’s novels. This has made the hearth and domesticity a difficult topic because, with changing representations, definitive statements about Dickens’s treatment of it seem complicated to support.
In Oliver Twist, Bleak House and Our Mutual Friend Dickens’s portrayal of the hearth and the system of domesticity that manage it certainly changes. This change in portrayal, however, does not have to constitute a change in the way Dickens views it. What we seem to find is that, rather than critiquing domestic ideology, Dickens supports it. Failed homes and unsatisfying endings are the result not of domestic ideology failing, but of it never being fully instituted or followed. It is for this reason that the Jellyby household is so miserable, why many find the ending to Our Mutual Friend unsatisfying and problematic and why the conclusion of Oliver Twist becomes so idyllic.
Many scholars interpret Dickens’s view of the hearth and domesticity as unstable. However, by examining three novels from different stages in Dickens’s career, Oliver Twist, Bleak House and Our Mutual Friend, we gain a better understanding of how Dickens’s portrayal of the hearth and domesticity changes while his view of it remains static. Determining whether Dickens views the solution of the hearth and domesticity statically or amorphously is important in that it creates the possibility of more concrete scholarly investigations.
It is no secret that Americans have a complicated relationship with their bodies and the nourishment that is used to keep them functioning. A decade into the 21st century, approximately 127 million adults in the U.S. are overweight, 60 million obese, and 9 million severely obese. At the same time, a nationwide concern with external appearance has rendered our bodies a widespread, normative source of discontent for individuals of diverse shapes, sizes, and identities. Though this generation is privileged to have grown up in an era of feminist consciousness and eating disorder awareness, Western culture remains saturated with photoshopped images of extremely thin bodies, advertisements for unrealistic crash diets, and the transformations of modern cosmetic surgery. Whether the ultimate goal is to lose weight, gain muscle, or to “fix” an imperfectly-shaped nose, we no longer view physical appearance as our inalterable, biological destiny; instead, our bodies have become products - the responsibility of the individual to sculpt and maintain through various practices such as diet and exercise.
Historically, we have understood eating disorders and body image largely as women’s issues. Though the growing body of research on men and body image illuminates an increasing pressure to adhere to masculine ideals of appearance, it has been well documented that Western women’s bodies are looked at, evaluated, and sexualized to a greater degree than are men. This treatment is defined as objectification: the assessment of one’s self-worth by evaluating and comparing physical appearance to sexually objectifying and unrealistic standards of beauty. This paper will review existing literature on sexual objectification of the female body in Western society, and how this treatment may negatively affect women’s mental health.
I will first explore feminist sociocultural theories of the body and how this relates to the predominantly feminine experience of body image and eating issues. These ideas are formalized in objectification theory, developed as a framework for understanding how women’s objectifying experiences are related to negative effects on mental health and life experience . A central tenet of the theory is that objectification influences women and girls to internalize the observer’s perspective of their physical selves, treating themselves as objects to be looked at or evaluated on the basis of appearance. This form of self-objectification often leads to a constant monitoring of physical appearance from the perspective of others, which can serve as a source of shame, anxiety, and negative rumination when one, unsurprisingly, is unable to meet these unrealistic standards. Sexual objectification occurs in a variety of contexts and forms, often contributing to women’s experience of mental health problems – specifically depression, sexual dysfunction, and eating disorders.
It is clear that our modern conceptions of the relationships between women, eating habits and body image deserve a closer examination. Although the media has been long identified as a source of unrealistic standards of physical appearance, the negative emotions stemming from body image issues must be identified individually and examined holistically, acknowledging different sources of objectification and their specific effects on the well-being of women and girls.
In my paper, I attempt to answer two primary questions. The first question revolves around the issue of genre. Shostakovich’s Thirteenth Symphony, a choral symphony in 5 movements for Bass soloist, male chorus, and orchestra, represents an anomaly in Soviet symphonic practice and in Shostakovich’s own symphonic practice. I attempt to answer the question of how Shostakovich justified a choral symphony in a time when such works were well outside the realm of the acceptable in Soviet music, and when Shostakovich had publically repudiated the choral symphonic genre. I attempt to demonstrate how the genre of the symphony, as opposed to the song cycle or opera, best suited the poems Shostakovich had selected through an in-depth analysis of what connotations the genre carries.
Secondly, I try to illustrate how Shostakovich’s symphony, and the poems that are set in it, functions as a recovery of two pasts—that of anti-semitism in Russia, and subtextually, the terrible years of the Stalinist purges in the1930s. Taken together, the poems and Shostakovich’s symphony form a monument—the absence of which is remarked upon in the first line of the first poem of the cycle: “Above Babi Yar there are no monuments.” I attempt to illustrate how the music, text, and the genre of the symphony work together to monumentalize and memorialize these two pasts, which had been in many ways deemed irrecoverable by Soviet cultural politics, and what the consequences of such a work are in the Soviet artistic climate of the day.
The Australian neo colonial era dawned in 1901 after the establishment of the Commonwealth in Australia and was a time of racial turbulence. The constitution drawn up reflected the ideology and mindset of the time: white supremacy over Australia’s indigenous populace, the Aborigines. The elements of the constitution pertaining to indigenous Australians remained mostly unchanged until the National Referendum of 1967, more than sixty years after it was originally adopted. This paper analyzes the cultural implications of reforming the constitution; a simple political façade with no significant consequences in terms of securing Aboriginal voting rights, citizenship and inclusion in the population census- which it is often mistakenly credited for, but which was immensely symbolic for the indigenous population of Australia.
This paper, while focusing on the Aborigines, is a comparative investigation of the plights of all indigenous peoples. The relevance of the central theme of this paper – discrimination on the basis of race, religion, language, and culture by colonizers – is not restricted to the Aborigines alone. Although it is widely accepted that ethnic discrimination is a fact of our collective history, this is not a justification for colonial offences against indigenous peoples. It is important to scrutinize past mistakes and offences, in order to learn from them, and ensure that such atrocities never repeat themselves.
This paper is unique in that it explores the two possible motivators behind the National Referendum: either Australia genuinely cared about the rights, equality and treatment of their indigenous population, or, Australia voted ‘yes’ in order to salvage their reputation in the eyes of the world. Regardless of their motives, the ends do justify the means. The passing of the referendum unified the population of Australia in its goal to amend its constitution and restore pride to its indigenous population. The combination of these two motivating factors, (caring about their population and fear of having their reputation tarnished) stand as testament that the Aborigines will not be mistreated in the future.
While recognizing that the National Referendum is an important part of Aborigine history, I examine it through a very critical lens. The story of the Australian National Referendum of 1967 is analogous to a children’s fairy tale; a sad story with a happy ending that is not completely accurate, but is nevertheless retold to inspire listeners. This particular story examines how the Aborigines ‘got their rights’, but in reality, the 1967 National Referendum was not that occasion. The National Referendum illustrates struggles faced by indigenous peoples, and helps us better understand the relationship between colonization and racism. Ethnic discrimination is not just an element of our past, but a contemporary global issue, and it is important to bear this in mind, and be sensitive to the issues faced by indigenous peoples today.
This paper is about a set of eighteenth century feminists, and their opinions of marriage as expressed through conduct literature. It includes Mary Astell, Mary Lee Chudleigh, Hannah More, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Priscilla Wakefield. There are also two tracts written anonymously, one of whom has been since shown to be Sarah Chapone. Marriage in eighteenth century England was a necessary gamble for women. It was an economic necessity for almost everyone, male and female, but oncence they were in one, women had almost no rights, and legally lost their identity as a person separate from their husband. Until 1830, divorce was very difficult.
With the rise of print culture, educated women began to publish more and more, and occasionally they would voice their opinions about marriage through novels, plays, and what were called “conduct books.” Conduct literature was a relatively popular genre of writing in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries consisting mainly of moral, social, and religious advice aimed primarily at younger, unmarried women. The content was didactic, and heavily reflective of each writer’s own personal beliefs. The authors would typically lay out a plan for how they thought women should live their lives, occasionally writing in response to other similar, though misogynist tracts by male authors.
In the end, the advice these women authors prescribed dealt with the institution of marriage as it stood, not venturing outside the then current realm of possibility to approach the ultimate inequality. As for their place in history - meaning the eventual causal effect attributed to their works - that is much harder to say. Relying on the scholarship of others, it seems that they were relatively ineffective at shaping society. This little-heard story is an important part of the larger story of women’s liberation. These women, although not social innovators, nonetheless were already beginning to act as reformers digging around the roots of patriarchy in search for their solution.
It would take another generation of feminists, and arguably the French revolution, to effect a change in social, and political consciousness so great as to allow for a complete re-examination of the institution of marriage.
In the 1960s, cinema was undergoing an international revolution. Counter Cinema techniques used by Godard and other directors in France in the New Wave movement spread across the globe to Hollywood cinema. These techniques included a new complex morality, complicated, ambiguous characters, and sophisticated relationships between characters. The directors also shared the convention of ‘commenting’ on social and political issues in current affairs both in the culture and in government. These films were statements against the current social problems.
While Godard was innovating French cinema, Hollywood directors were staging a revolution. This “New Hollywood” cinema started with one film: Bonnie and Clyde. Released in 1967, directed by Arthur Penn, written by David Newman and Robert Benton, and produced by Warren Beatty, Bonnie and Clyde initiated a broad change in the American cinematic system. It represented the influences of the French New Wave cinema combined with American themes.
Because this film is so important in the 1960s American cinematic revolution, I wanted to analyze Bonnie and Clyde’s application of New Wave techniques in comparison to a Godard film with similar thematic elements: Pierrot le fou. Both films are treatments of the same theme and story: a genre-bending gangster film featuring a man and a woman caught up in a life of crime while enduring complex personal struggles internally and in their relationships. Each is also a representation of New Wave and New Hollywood cinema’s critique of the problems in government and society in France and America. In this paper, I analyze their respective French and American influences on technique, characters, and themes in their (1) representations of violence and its corresponding significance, (2) representations of the feminine and each couple’s complex relationship, and (3) the theme of escapism and its reference to the social culture of each film’s country.
Humans have used the many resources of the lakes, rivers, and forests of the Quetico-Superior region of northeastern Minnesota for many centuries. Today, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) is a federal wilderness area that occupies approximately one million square acres, 20% of which is lakes and rivers and almost completely surrounds the small town of Ely. During the middle to late twentieth century, however, conflicting viewpoints on the best use of this sparsely populated region climaxed. Several laws that were passed in the mid-twentieth century by the federal government limited resource use and regulated the forms of outdoor recreation that people could practice in the federally run wilderness area. Two main views of the area’s purpose had emerged by the late 1970s. Local residents and resort owners believed that multiple uses (allowing motorboats and some logging and mining) in the BWCA were good for the local economy and would not detract from the region’s environmental health. Conversely, many conservation advocates, tourists, and politicians who did not live in or around Ely but did spend leisure time there believed the area should be kept as close to its natural state as possible, citing aesthetic and ecological reasons for their goal of preservation.
The heated debates that arose between locals and “outsiders” culminated in 1978 with the congressional subcommittee hearings leading up to and the locally visible aftermath of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Act’s passage, which allowed motorboats to remain on a few lakes and further limited logging and mining in the area. However, some locals did not agree with the multiple use perspective, just as some “outsiders” did not entirely agree with the purely preservationist perspective. Individuals’ opinions of how the BWCA should be used and managed were largely shaped by individuals’ socioeconomic backgrounds and personal experiences with the area, as well as by their perception of the economic value of the area’s resources and offerings. The history of conflicts over the BWCA’s best use illustrates a larger question: should large areas of ecological and recreational value be preserved for all of America to enjoy, or should the people live closest to and whose livelihoods are derived from the area’s offerings be the ones to determine its best uses?
The music of the 1960s is said to have defined a generation, an era. Most people tend to think of the folk revival scene or the protest music made popular by artists such as Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Phil Ochs, and Pete Seeger. While this music and these artists were certainly influential in the U.S. during this time, and throughout the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, it only represents the music that was popular with one group of people.
A different group that is rarely considered when analyzing the impact of music during this time is made up of the soldiers that were fighting the war overseas. These men and women had a very different musical experience than those back in the states, especially during the beginning years of U.S. involvement. The point of this paper is to find out why it was so different. In my research, I found a number of reasons that help to explain this disconnect. First, the soldiers simply did not have the same music available to them as was available in the states. This, coupled with many soldiers’ inclination to make their own music, necessitated preferential differences.
The larger, more complicated, facet of this question is how personal experiences shaped the minds of the soldiers and the civilians at home, which led to very different interpretations of the music of the time. These filters allowed the music to invoke very different feelings from the different groups, which would have impacted their respective preferences. In an effort to illustrate this more clearly, I have included lyric analysis of songs that were popular among the soldiers but saw only marginal chart success in the U.S., as well as analysis of a song that was tremendously popular in the states that was not received well among the soldiers.