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On Being: Multidimensional Experiences of the Self in Landscapes and Dreamscapes

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This thesis is an experiment in confessional academic writing, an attempt to read two surrealist texts closely and critically while simultaneously employing creative, lyrical prose and narration. The thesis, in both style and content, has bridged the realms of academic

This thesis is an experiment in confessional academic writing, an attempt to read two surrealist texts closely and critically while simultaneously employing creative, lyrical prose and narration. The thesis, in both style and content, has bridged the realms of academic and creative writing in order to fully embody the concepts explored within: abstractions of the self, how abstracted selves interact with space, and how such abstractions lead to an ever-evolving and contactable conceptualization of personhood. Further, the thesis explores and reaches for a submergence of selves into space and other abstracted selves while grappling with and resisting against the occasional failure of language and spatial experience, which leads to a detrimental distance between the self and its experience in the world. Surrealism's advocacy for blind submission, for indulging the dream and embracing dream-like modes of appearance, and for locating an unconscious and automatic medium for expression (as seen in André Breton's first Surrealist Manifesto in 1924 and his 1928 novel Nadja) licenses an understanding of being that allows for multidimensional embodiment through one's presence and absence and through indistinctions between the self and space. The thesis recognizes and works through potentially problematic power dynamics within such notions of possession and dispossession while articulating a full faithfulness in the imagination's ability to uncover expansive personhood and the ways this kind of personhood is more wholly enabled to authentically and productively connect the disparity between persons, space, language, and reality. While analytical and textually supported, and accompanied by a photo essay that explores the aforementioned concepts visually, this thesis indulges in poetic impulses and offers a critical and personal investigation on being which allows us to consider ourselves as things that are endlessly becoming.

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2018-05

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A Song of Richard III and Feudalist Values

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This paper focuses on feudalist structure and values within this system in George R. R. Martin's fantasy novel series A Song of Ice and Fire and Shakespeare's play King Richard the Third. The paper is structured into three arguments that

This paper focuses on feudalist structure and values within this system in George R. R. Martin's fantasy novel series A Song of Ice and Fire and Shakespeare's play King Richard the Third. The paper is structured into three arguments that focus on different characters from each work. The first argument is focused on Tyrion Lannister and Richard III's deformity, and how they violate feudalist values. This argument ultimately comes to the discussion of whether or not these characters are monstrous and by what values. The second argument is focused on Daenerys Targaryen and Margaret, discussing why both authors give these women a supernatural power. The authors give women these powers because they believe that women should have power. Martin argues that women need to remake the structure, while Shakespeare believes women can change their place in the structure through collective action. The last argument focuses on Petyr Baelish and Richard III, and how they both represent a chaos attacking feudalism. Petyr is a chaos that comes outside the system, exploiting the values of the system, while Richard is a chaos within the system because he violates feudal values, while trying to hold positions where he needs to embody feudalist value. The authors come to different conclusions of what is trying to take down feudalist structure and how this could be fixed. Martin finds feudalism cannot be fixed and that other systems are not much better because they still create violence. Shakespeare comes to the conclusion that feudalism cannot be fixed because people continue to violate its values, so a new system must be put in place.

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2015-05

Digital Representation: Race and Gender in Contemporary Video Games

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Video games are packed full of endless potential. They are the telling of impossible narratives with something for every type of person. So then why has the industry historically been one of the worst for representations of race and gender?

Video games are packed full of endless potential. They are the telling of impossible narratives with something for every type of person. So then why has the industry historically been one of the worst for representations of race and gender? In this thesis, I define "good" media representation and engage in the analysis of both Overwatch (2016) and Detroit Become Human (2018) to observe the ways these two video games, which so outwardly market their diversity, have failed marginalized groups. Accompanying the research paper is a video game poster representing a woman of color designed by the author which is meant to learn from the mistakes of its predecessors.

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2021-05

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William Blake and systems theory: the attempted unification of history and psychology

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William Blake created a large body of artistic work over his lifetime, all of which is a testament to a unique man, a man who would not live by standards that he felt were binding and inadequate. Blake stated that

William Blake created a large body of artistic work over his lifetime, all of which is a testament to a unique man, a man who would not live by standards that he felt were binding and inadequate. Blake stated that he needed to create his own system so as not to be enslaved by a paradigm not of his own making. The result of this drive can be seen in his mythology and the meaning that he attempts to inscribe upon his own world. Throughout the corpus of his writings, Blake was working with complex systems. Beginning with contraries in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell and The Songs of Innocence & Experience, he then took his work in the contraries and applied it to history and psychology in Europe a Prophecy and The First Book of Urizen. In Blake's use of history and psychology, he was actually broaching the idea of social systems and how they interact with and effect psychic systems. This paper looks at the genesis of Blake's systems through the contraries, up to the point where he attempts to bring social and psychological systems together into a universal system. He uses projection and introjection to try to close the gap in double contingency. However, grappling with this problem (as well as the issue of a universal system) proves to be too much when he reaches The Four Zoas. In his later works, some of these issues are resolved, but ultimately Blake is not able create a universal system.

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2012

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Madness and Immorality in the Works of William Shakespeare and Edgar A. Poe

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This thesis analyzes the relationship between the themes of madness and immorality in two plays from William Shakespeare (Hamlet and Othello) and three stories from Edgar Allan Poe (“The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” and “The Black Cat”). In

This thesis analyzes the relationship between the themes of madness and immorality in two plays from William Shakespeare (Hamlet and Othello) and three stories from Edgar Allan Poe (“The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” and “The Black Cat”). In the beginning, this thesis provides a brief overview of the history of madness, focusing on humanity’s longstanding association of mental illnesses with immorality. Afterward, an analysis of the aforementioned works reveals connections and differences in how the works portray the relationship between the two themes. Throughout the analysis, the thesis includes information regarding each author’s historical context (specifically in regard to social, cultural, and historical associations between madness and immorality) to explore the authors’ depictions of their mad characters. The plays Hamlet and Othello indicate that madness, on one hand, results from God’s bestowment of rightful punishment on those that pursue revenge against His prohibition of seeking revenge. The plays, although primarily Othello on this second point, also suggest that madness originates from the influence of diabolical sources that gain control over those that pursue immoral actions. On the other hand, Poe depicts the relationship between madness and immorality slightly differently. In the works of Poe, immorality and madness connect in that madness triggers immorality. In the end, this analysis reveals how these works, differing slightly in the details, nevertheless show humanity’s old, prevailing association between madness and immorality.

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Date Created
2020-05

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Looking for the Female Gaze: The Search for a Feminine Practice of Looking

Description

In today’s economy, advertisers understand that sex sells. The foundations of this concept, however, are influenced by patriarchal expectations that women are first and foremost sexual objects for men. Women are sold beauty and demeanor expectations for them to utilize

In today’s economy, advertisers understand that sex sells. The foundations of this concept, however, are influenced by patriarchal expectations that women are first and foremost sexual objects for men. Women are sold beauty and demeanor expectations for them to utilize when making themselves attractive for men and men are sold the idea of beautiful, docile women. This dynamic perpetuates strict definitions of acceptable gender displays and reinforces socially permitted gendered behavior. As a society in the 21st century, we understand the damage of sexist ideals, but where we fall short is in the monitoring of channels that perpetuate and maintain those stereotypes and how affected the public really is by the male gaze, and lack of a female gaze, in media. In this paper, I search for a female gaze, but in doing so recognize the inequalities inherent in yet another gendered practice of looking and instead steer the conversation towards personalized perspectives informed by an understanding of the dominant practice of looking and its inverse.

The primary perspective from which people are depicted in media today is shaped by the male gaze. The male gaze is comprised of patriarchal ideals and relies on the understanding that the spectator or viewer is a standard human being, which heteronormativity tells us is a man. From this perspective, the scope of visual representations of men and women in media has been molded after the hierarchized gender displays within which masculinity has primacy over femininity. By presenting a limited spectrum of behavior acceptable for men and women, the media hegemonically manipulates the social constructs of gender and gendered behavior across all levels of society.

This honors thesis applies semiotic and feminist methodologies to engage visual forms of media through art, film, and social media to challenge the social constructs of gender perpetuated and reinforced by dated stereotypes of gender and gendered behavior. First, the theoretical foundation will provide a framework for semiotic and feminist analysis of visual representations of gender in media. Then, I will present data representing the real-world impact that this social construction of gender has on adolescents in America using The State of Gender Equality for U.S. Adolescents, published by Plan International Inc. I will then bring together the explicated methodologies and evidential data alongside my own experiences as a female consumer of visual media to reveal alternative practices of looking that do not revolve around patriarchal norms, looking for a female gaze. In doing so, I hope to present recourse in the face of persistent use of sexist imagery across all levels of our culture and every medium of visual self-expression by providing tools that can be used to interrogate gendered perceptions and inform self-examination in pursuit of a feminist practice of looking.

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2020-05

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Does Anger Expression Help Attorneys in Court? Perceptions of Angry Male and Female Attorneys

Description

The objective of this study is to determine if female attorneys are penalized for expressing anger, while male attorneys gain influence when they express anger. I hypothesized that angry male attorneys would be perceived as having more positive traits and

The objective of this study is to determine if female attorneys are penalized for expressing anger, while male attorneys gain influence when they express anger. I hypothesized that angry male attorneys would be perceived as having more positive traits and less negative traits than calm male attorney. In contrast, I hypothesized that angry female attorneys would be perceived as having more negative traits and less positive traits than calm female attorneys. I hypothesized that, as a result, participants would be more likely to hire the angry male attorney than the calm male attorney, while they would be less likely to hire the angry female attorney than the calm female attorney. After having participants view a video of attorneys giving closing arguments, whether it be angry or calm, male or female and having them answer questions, I found that both attorneys were characterized as having both more positive and negative traits than calm attorneys—regardless of their gender. In regards to the likelihood of being hired, I found that angry male attorneys were more likely to be hired than calm male attorneys. In contrast, angry female attorneys were less likely to be hired than calm female attorneys. Thus, although participants found both male and female angry (versus calm) attorneys high on negative and positive characteristics, they were more likely to hire the angry (versus calm) male attorney, which is consistent with previous research showing men are seen as more competent when expressing anger. These data suggest that there might be a systematic bias against women who try to exert influence in the courtroom by expressing anger.

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2016-12

The Significance of Literary Outliers in Nineteenth-Century British Fiction: A Stylometric Analysis

Description

This dissertation looks at two works of nineteenth-century British fiction that are considered outliers: Sir Walter Scott's Saint Ronan's Well (1824) and George Eliot's "The Lifted Veil" (1859). Saint Ronan's Well, a work of domestic fiction, has long been described

This dissertation looks at two works of nineteenth-century British fiction that are considered outliers: Sir Walter Scott's Saint Ronan's Well (1824) and George Eliot's "The Lifted Veil" (1859). Saint Ronan's Well, a work of domestic fiction, has long been described as unusual for Scott because it is unlike his signature historical novels. "The Lifted Veil,” a Gothic novella, is generally understood as different in kind from Eliot’s realist and social problem fiction. I describe both texts as outliers because they have been described as atypical (in the case of Eliot) or less worthy of study (in the case of Scott) by scholars, for myriad reasons. My work uses both computational methods and tools and traditional literary close readings to test and assess these outlier works. I use stylometry, a computational tool that reads and compares texts to determine authorship attribution, to determine if both texts are indeed outliers for these authors. In addition, I use stylometric methods to analyze claims made by initial reviewers and contemporary critics about comparative authors and genres for Saint Ronan's Well and "The Lifted Veil." I examine statistical or stylistic evidence to test whether those long-standing claims of literary difference are supported with computational evidence. Each chapter consists of a series of stylometric tests that are analyzed in conjunction with close readings of text. The dissertation reaches three conclusions, based on the results of stylometric tests described across its four chapters. First, I find that, although Saint Ronan's Well is written in a unique subgenre for Scott, it is statistically and stylistically similar to his other novels. Second, I argue that "The Lifted Veil" is both an outlier for Eliot and an outlier among canonical work of the period in general, as indicated by the results of several stylometric tests. Finally, I argue that focusing on literary outliers is a necessary and productive step forward for traditional and computational literary studies. Focusing on texts that are literary and statistical outliers shows how computational and traditional literary methods can blend together to test the extent of generalizable knowledge in literary studies, especially with nineteenth-century British fiction.

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2021

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Individual Sex Worker Perspectives on the Influence of Gender, Wealth, and Power in Their Work

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This paper addresses the subjective experiences and personal stories of sex workers in the United States. To address this topic, I first discuss the organization and structure of this type of work and then discuss how it is related to

This paper addresses the subjective experiences and personal stories of sex workers in the United States. To address this topic, I first discuss the organization and structure of this type of work and then discuss how it is related to gender norms, a culture of moral panic, and institutionalized sexism. All of this discussion is framed using feminist debates about the possible exploitative/liberatory aspects of sex work. After establishing the broader arguments, I transition into an analysis of qualitative studies that include sex workers’ own narratives about how they experience power, consent, and exploitation in the context of their work and their lives.

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2022-05