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Cyborg Feminism: Ambiguity and Hybridity of the Female Cyborg

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A posthuman figure like the female cyborg challenges traditional humanist feminism in ways that make room for theorizing new subjectivities and feminist epistemologies. Rather than support a traditional feminism that assumes common experiences within patriarchal society and erases differences among

A posthuman figure like the female cyborg challenges traditional humanist feminism in ways that make room for theorizing new subjectivities and feminist epistemologies. Rather than support a traditional feminism that assumes common experiences within patriarchal society and erases differences among women, cyborg feminism moves beyond naturalism and essentialism to acknowledge complex, individual, and ever-changing identity. Three films, Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927), Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982), and Alex Garland’s Ex Machina (2015), all offer such a vision of the female cyborg. In these films, the cyborg subject is a composite of machine and human—sometimes physical, dependent on the corporal mixing of flesh and machine, but just as often mental. Human sentiment, human memories, and human emotion merge with mechanical frames and electronic codes/coding to produce cyborgs. Importantly, every main cyborg in these films is coded as female. For each cyborg, a female body hosts preprogrammed sexuality and the emotions each creator thinks a woman should have, whether those are empathy, compassion, or submissiveness.

The cyborgs in these films, however, refuse to let categorizations like female, or even their status as human, alive, or real, restrict them so easily. As human-robot hybrids, cyborgs bridge identities that are assumed to be separate and often oppositional or mutually exclusive. Cyborgs reveal the structures and expectations reified in gender to suggest that something constructed can as easily be deconstructed. In doing so, they create loose ends that leave space for new understandings of both gender and technology. By viewing these films alongside critical theory, we can understand their cyborgs as subversive, hybrid characters. Accordingly, the cyborg as a figure subverts and fragments the coherency of narratives that present gender, technology, and identity in monolithic terms, not only helping us envision new possibilities but giving us the faculties to imagine them at all.

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2019-05

This Isn’t Funny: An Exploration of the Value of the Workshop for the Development of a Comedic Autoethnographic Performance

Description

For my honors thesis, I decided to do a creative project in the form of an extended comedy act. With this performance, I wanted to make jokes about my identity and experiences in my life while synthesizing the skills I

For my honors thesis, I decided to do a creative project in the form of an extended comedy act. With this performance, I wanted to make jokes about my identity and experiences in my life while synthesizing the skills I had acquired over my college career. I decided I wanted to do this project because it felt like the best way to combine my passion (comedy) with my major (communication) in the form of a comedic performance study. And while I thought the performance would be the most informative aspect of my project, the workshop process ended up being far more enlightening. Through the workshop process, I was able to better understand the challenges that come with developing a comedic autoethnographic performance, and to discover the true purpose behind the art I was creating.

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2020-05

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Cinderella and Her ""Faux Feminist"" Contemporary Retellings

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Fairy tale retellings have permeated literature, film, and media ever since the original stories emerged. New adaptations are constantly being released, and therefore new research must constantly be published. In this study, I analyze "Aschenputtel" by the Brothers Grimm, as

Fairy tale retellings have permeated literature, film, and media ever since the original stories emerged. New adaptations are constantly being released, and therefore new research must constantly be published. In this study, I analyze "Aschenputtel" by the Brothers Grimm, as well as various retellings of "Cinderella," including Andy Tennant's Ever After (1998), Mark Rosman's A Cinderella Story (2004), and Marissa Meyer's Cinder (2012). This selection includes a live-action historical film, a live-action contemporary film, and a science fiction novel, all with an intended audience of young adults. While the Brothers Grimm story and Ever After have already been analyzed in the context of gender representation (Zipes, Bottigheimer, Williams), prior academic research fails to adequately address the gender issues in A Cinderella Story and Cinder. Because Ever After, A Cinderella Story, and Cinder are more contemporary than the Grimms' "Aschenputtel," they are often thought to be more progressive (Gruner, Vera, Travers). However, I propose that they still have problematic implications, despite their publication in contemporary society. Jack Zipes, an acclaimed fairy tale scholar, argues that, "For the most part, the transformations [of contemporary Cinderella retellings] tend to be modern remakes with a faux feminist touch" ("The Triumph" 361). Similar to Zipes, I argue that, although the texts initially appear progressive and "feminist," they ultimately support problematic ideals related to gender. All three contemporary texts seem to ally themselves with an ethos of female empowerment through their protagonists' rejection of traditional femininity, but the inclusion of gender policing and the characters' eventual acceptance of hyperfemininity undermine this characterization, as does the ultimate heteronormative "happily ever after." Additionally, the use of competition (between Cinderella and her stepfamily, as well as new female characters) pits women against each other, often because of a man, which generally prevents the development of female camaraderie, other than with the fairy godmother. Further, rather than allying herself with female power (i.e. the mother), the protagonists in both Ever After and A Cinderella Story are defined by their relationship with the father, which minimizes their agency as it suggests a transfer of ownership from the father to the husband/prince. This framing of the protagonist by the father and prince (specifically as she works to "perfect" the prince) seems to relegate the female characters to a supplementary role, simply acting as a tool for the male characters' development.

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2018-05

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The Gender Quota of Costa Rica: An impactful method to address women’s issues through representation

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The implementation of gender quotas in the Costa Rican legislature presents an interesting case study that with the use of national legislative gender quotas, women’s issues are more positively addressed within the country. This analysis argues that with the higher

The implementation of gender quotas in the Costa Rican legislature presents an interesting case study that with the use of national legislative gender quotas, women’s issues are more positively addressed within the country. This analysis argues that with the higher presence of women legislators in the Legislative Assembly made possible by the quota these women. in turn, have created more gender-focused policies. Thusly, higher amounts of female-focused policy will positively impact women’s issue areas within Costa Rican society. This argument will be supported by other scholar’s research on the subject of the gender quota and female equality in Costa Rica. I will also be presenting my own research that will investigate the data taken from the Costa Rican health ministry, UNICEF, and other organizations to comparatively evaluate the improvement of problems that women face coinciding with the higher female presence in the legislature.

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2019-05

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Genetic diversity across the pseudoautosomal boundary varies across human populations

Description

Unlike the autosomes, recombination on the sex chromosomes is limited to the pseudoautosomal regions (PARs) at each end of the chromosome. PAR1 spans approximately 2.7 Mb from the tip of the proximal arm of each sex chromosome, and a pseudoautosomal

Unlike the autosomes, recombination on the sex chromosomes is limited to the pseudoautosomal regions (PARs) at each end of the chromosome. PAR1 spans approximately 2.7 Mb from the tip of the proximal arm of each sex chromosome, and a pseudoautosomal boundary between the PAR1 and non-PAR region is thought to have evolved from a Y-specific inversion that suppressed recombination across the boundary. In addition to the two PARs, there is also a human-specific X-transposed region (XTR) that was duplicated from the X to the Y chromosome. Genetic diversity is expected to be higher in recombining than nonrecombining regions, particularly because recombination reduces the effects of linked selection, allowing neutral variation to accumulate. We previously showed that diversity decreases linearly across the previously defined pseudoautosomal boundary (rather than drop suddenly at the boundary), suggesting that the pseudoautosomal boundary may not be as strict as previously thought. In this study, we analyzed data from 1271 genetic females to explore the extent to which the pseudoautosomal boundary varies among human populations (broadly, African, European, South Asian, East Asian, and the Americas). We found that, in all populations, genetic diversity was significantly higher in the PAR1 and XTR than in the non-PAR regions, and that diversity decreased linearly from the PAR1 to finally reach a non-PAR value well past the pseudoautosomal boundary in all populations. However, we also found that the location at which diversity changes from reflecting the higher PAR1 diversity to the lower nonPAR diversity varied by as much as 500 kb among populations. The lack of genetic evidence for a strict pseudoautosomal boundary and the variability in patterns of diversity across the pseudoautosomal boundary are consistent with two potential explanations: (1) the boundary itself may vary across populations, or (2) that population-specific demographic histories have shaped diversity across the pseudoautosomal boundary.

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2016-12

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Hashtag Feminism: An Analysis of Social Media as a Feminist Platform

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This paper examines the relationship between feminism and social media and evaluates the ability of social media to function as an effective platform for the advancement of feminism's objectives. In the decades before social media became an integral part of

This paper examines the relationship between feminism and social media and evaluates the ability of social media to function as an effective platform for the advancement of feminism's objectives. In the decades before social media became an integral part of culture, the popularity of feminism deteriorated and feminist voices were unsure that it could be revived or popularized again. However, in recent years, women have used social media as a mechanism to communicate and disseminate feminist ideas. The birth of what is called "hashtag feminism" has been a fundamental shift in the way feminism is done and advocated for in modern culture. In light of this dramatic shift in venue for feminist conversations, academic feminists are asking a series of pertinent questions: Is social media good for feminism and the achievement of feminist objectives? What, if anything, has feminism compromised in order to fit into 140 characters or fewer? This paper argues that social media has provided a platform for feminists to share their stories, which has aided in the building of feminist constituencies. This is the most important work of feminism, because it is making society more receptive to feminist principles and ideas, transforming our culture into one that can accept and fight for feminism's objectives. This paper will examine a series of case studies in which social media has hosted feminist conversations. It will analyze the impact of this social media as a venue for feminist narratives and evaluate the use of social media as a feminist platform in the movement to achieve feminism's objectives.

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2015-12

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Working Towards Gender Equity in International Development Projects

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This thesis explores the framing of gender equity within International Development organizations and the design of projects to promote it. Using case studies of projects financed by United States Agency for International Development (a major donor agency), and Inter Pares

This thesis explores the framing of gender equity within International Development organizations and the design of projects to promote it. Using case studies of projects financed by United States Agency for International Development (a major donor agency), and Inter Pares (a Canadian NGO) as evidence, the thesis identifies what works and what does not work in different contexts within these projects.

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2018-05

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Gender Differences in Perceptions of Water in Arizona: Insights from the Science of Water Art Project

Description

The Science of Water Art project is a collaborative work that brings together professionals, community members, college students and children to think about the role that water plays in each of our lives. Using a sample of 4th grade classrooms

The Science of Water Art project is a collaborative work that brings together professionals, community members, college students and children to think about the role that water plays in each of our lives. Using a sample of 4th grade classrooms in Maricopa County, over 3000 drawings of children's perception of water today and in the future were collected. The 9-11 year olds were asked to draw pictures of 1) how they saw water being used in their neighborhood today (T1), and 2) how they imagined water would be used in their neighborhood 100 years from now (T2). The artwork was collected and coded for nine different themes, including: vegetation, scarcity, pollution, commercial sources of water, existing technology, technology innovation, recreational use, domestic use, and natural sources of water. Statistically significant differences were found between boys and girls for vegetation, technology and domestic use themes. This project allows for a look into how climate change and water insecurity is viewed by younger generations and gives a voice to children so that they may share their outlooks on this vital resource.

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2013-05

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Indigenous Advocacy and Gender Mainstreaming: Challenges and Recommendations for Women, Peace, and Security Practitioners

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Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) practitioners (including policymakers, scholars, and nonprofit leaders) in the U.S. and Canada have often focused their attention on the United Nations’ WPS initiative as a strategy for responding to conflicts abroad, particularly in the Global

Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) practitioners (including policymakers, scholars, and nonprofit leaders) in the U.S. and Canada have often focused their attention on the United Nations’ WPS initiative as a strategy for responding to conflicts abroad, particularly in the Global South. As a result of these limitations, black, Latino, and Indigenous advocates and peacebuilders in the U.S. and Canada remain largely unable to take advantage of WPS frameworks and resources. The subjectivity of the term “conflict” and the range of circumstances where it is used inspire this research. The selective application of the word “conflict” is itself a challenge to security, for conflicts can only be addressed once they are acknowledged and so named. Where does WPS intersect with contemporary Indigenous advocacy? A case study of the #noDAPL movement and the ways that nonviolence and women’s leadership emerged at Standing Rock, ND in 2016 provide a partial answer. Four challenges and recommendations are offered to WPS practitioners who seek to expand the availability of WPS resources to Indigenous peoples in the U.S. and Canada. These challenges and recommendations draw upon existing National Action Plans, legal and policy documents, and data from four interviews conducted with Indigenous women advocates in the U.S. and Canada in 2019. Above all, this paper seeks to encourage WPS practitioners to move beyond “gender mainstreaming” to consider not only how policies and practices impact women and men differently, but also how they may impact Indigenous people and settlers differently.

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2019-05

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The Influence of Feminism on the Development of Toxic Masculinity

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The popularity of feminism is growing. Every day more people claim to be feminist and work is done to end the control of patriarchy. Feminism though, because of its different waves and isolated recognition in the media, the actual

The popularity of feminism is growing. Every day more people claim to be feminist and work is done to end the control of patriarchy. Feminism though, because of its different waves and isolated recognition in the media, the actual goals seem unclear to males in particular; it is predicted that this increase in popularity in conjunction with the lack of clarity contributes to the development of toxic masculinity. “Feminism” is defined by bell hooks as a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression and “toxic masculinity” is a specific model of manhood, geared toward dominance and control and fear of the opposite. To understand the relationship between the two, the documentaries The Mask You Live In and Miss Representation were reviewed as well as books by bell hooks and C.J. Pascoe. Popular culture articles contributed to contemporary views at the public level. Using the knowledge gained from the literature, further research was done through one-on-one interviews with males age 18 to 32. Much of the literature does support toxic masculinity being encouraged and reinforced in varying ways including through the lack of acceptance of femininity and society’s strict gender roles. The interviews were inconclusive in defining a direct relationship between feminism promoting the development of toxic masculinity.

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2021-05