english honors graduates

Students who complete the English Honors Program graduate "With Honors in English." The program admits up to 40 students per year.

2013-14 Honors Cohort

Jordan Taylor Augustine
faculty adviser: Professor Gillian Harkins
thesis:

Ariel Basom
faculty adviser: Professor Gillian Harkins
thesis: "Queer Manhattan: Truman Capote's Strange New York."

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"This thesis is an urban exploration of queerness and difference through the writings and life of Truman Capote. It explores what it means to be normal and what it means to be queer. By close reading Breakfast at Tiffany's and comparing it to Capote's biography and letters as well as others of his stories set in Manhattan, the thesis sets out to prove that normalcy is an illness and queerness is at the heart of human identity. "

Nicole Megan Beckwith
faculty adviser: Professor Gillian Harkins
thesis:

Heather Dawn Bervid
faculty adviser: Professor Alys Weinbaum
thesis: "Personal Identity: The Effects of Globalization and Commodification on Nationality, Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Lawrence Chua’s Gold by the Inch."

Hilary Roseann Bowen
faculty adviser: Professor Gillian Harkins
thesis: "Crossing the Frame Between Art and Audience through Movement: Themes of Representation in The Cost of Living."

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"My thesis deals with the tropes of representation and identity in a performance art piece created by DV8 Physical Theatre called The Cost of Living. This piece challenges conventional frames of representation through movement. Each vignette highlights the structure of the framework used, reminding the viewer that the chasm between audience and performer is neither permanent nor insurmountable. What if being part of an audience meant instead of sitting on the opposite side of the chasm from the performers, it were an invitation, a potential connection point for entering into someone else’s frame. What if representation of others or ourselves were not limited to words? Alito Alessi, founder of DanceAbility International says, “language developed out of the body and every body speaks.” (Blum 7:54). The self-performance of the cast in The Cost of Living creates a commentary on the framing of identity, questioning how we look and how we choose to be looked at. Each vignette shows the characters interacting and framing each other through movement and dance. This self-performance is true of every person, not just the characters in The Cost of Living. Every person interacts with others through movement, whether that is body language, performing dance on stage, or dancing in a social setting. Dance is not a metaphor for how humans interact with each other. We do dance. This physical communication draws attention to the border that separates self-representation and social identity teaching us to navigate the choreography of everyday life."

Nicholas Gideon Carr
faculty adviser: Professor Alys Weinbaum
thesis:

Max Stuart Carsen
faculty adviser: Professor Gillian Harkins
thesis: "V-Processes in Gravity’s Rainbow."

Eric Ga-Ming Cheuk
faculty adviser: Professor Gillian Harkins
thesis: "What has cast such a shadow on you?": Monstrosity, Interpretive Excess, and the Politics of Representation in Poe's "The Man of the Crowd" and Melville's "Benito Cereno.""

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"My thesis examines figurations of monstrosity in Edgar Allan Poe’s "The Man of the Crowd" and Herman Melville’s "Benito Cereno," focusing on how these figurations complicate representational logics which demand forms of bodily legibility that sustain and reproduce capitalist hierarchies of race and class difference. In doing so I take up J. Jack Halberstam’s contention in Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters that the monster—itself an embodiment of improperly legible deviance—is constituted through a vertiginous overproduction of meaning, extending his identification of monstrosity with particular bodies to physical space itself, and applying the conceptual framework he develops to the broader textual archive of 19th century American literature. Specifically, I argue that “The Man of the Crowd” and “Benito Cereno” leverage varying forms of monstrosity to not only dramatize the breakdown in physical space of representational logics that naturalize hierarchical arrangements of raced and classed bodies, but also to hint at—and in the case of Melville’s text, explicate outright—the possibilities for political collectivity that these logics obscure. In other words, monstrosity does not simply inaugurate the potentially subversive dissolution of a spatial hermeneutics undergirding 19th century capitalism; it more importantly ushers in and subtends emergent forms of political collectivity that shape space to their own unruly ends. By exploring how resistance is figured through the proliferation of meaning beyond its “proper” bounds, my thesis locates as a productive site of inquiry the richly complex intersection of representation, space, and the production and management of identitarian difference in mid-19th century American fiction."

Heekwon Choi
faculty adviser: Professor Gillian Harkins
thesis: "Formations of Resistance in Korean American Fiction."

Ian Russell Cunningham
faculty adviser: Professor Gillian Harkins
thesis: "The War Will Be Televised: Racial Profiling and the War on Drugs in Breaking Bad.”

Alexandra Elizabeth Deem
faculty adviser: Professor Alys Weinbaum
thesis: "Envisioning Intent: Models of Biopolitical Carnival in Benito Cereno and Heart of Darkness."

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"My project extends Mikhail Bakhtin's concept of the literary carnival, which destabilizes life's hierarchies, to become the biopolitical carnival, which disrupts life's regularization under biopolitics. Taking what I term to be inverse models of biopolitical carnival in Benito Cereno (the intentional carnival) and Heart of Darkness (the carnival of intent), my analysis is concerned with both text's use of illumination as constitutive narrative strategy and with linking institutions of colonialism and slavery to theories of biopolitics. "

Enrico Jarod Doan
faculty adviser: Professor Gillian Harkins
thesis: "From Americana to the Borderlands Consciousness: The Evolution of Violence from the Frontier to the Geo-Political Border between the United States and Mexico."

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"This project examines the tumultuous space of the U.S.-Mexico border as a highly contested space, from which an innumerable amount of discourses spring. More specifically, in this paper, I am interested in the mechanisms and effects of violence along the border, and track two major forms in my attempt to establish a kind of genealogy of the border. To do this, however, I look to the past, and argue that the space of the frontier is a residual element of the border; despite this, the frontier maintains a very powerful presence in the current moment. To this end, I read Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian as a text on the violence of the frontier, and attempt to work out the relationship between the two major forms of violence manifestly present. The first of these two major kinds of violence is what I term "racial violence," and I mobilize the Foucauldian formulation of biopower in conjunction with this argument. The second of these is termed "representational violence," or rather, the Benjaminian notion of violence which is done in the act of selective history making. Finally, I argue that both of these kinds of violences are intensified and perpetuated along the current space of the border. The end goal of this simultaneously textual and theoretical endeavor is to ask how we, as literary critics, can more effectively read and challenge violence in our current moment. My hope is to, through this inquiry, raise the question of how we can express our resistance in answer to the need for "perpetual revolution" in the midst of the madness of the U.S.-Mexico border."

Rebecca Lynne Eskildsen
faculty adviser: Professor Alys Weinbaum
thesis: "Flipped: the gender of book covers."

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"My thesis examines the online conversation surrounding gendered book covers, particularly in the past few years, including Maureen Johnson's "coverflip" experiment from last year. I focus on how dominant culture influences book covers with regard to the gender of the author, and also examine the impact of the conversation about gendered book covers. I primarily use the frameworks of Raymond Williams and Helen Pleasance to discuss the failures of the conversation that dislikes gendered cover art to actually enact any change in the dominant culture that creates and accepts these covers. I argue that participants in that conversation continually use the language of the current dominant culture when discussing aspects of existing book covers, such as the color pink, which frustrates the efforts to move away from gendering book covers from becoming truly emergent because their language feeds back into dominant culture."

Tanya Joy Friedland
faculty adviser: Professor Gillian Harkins
thesis: "Harry Potter and the Violence of Censorship."

Salwa Tabassum Hoque
faculty adviser: Professor Gillian Harkins
thesis: "Bodies Stripped."

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"My paper explores Lawrence Chua's novel Gold by the Inch and discusses how the text aids in understanding the neocolonial relationship of developed countries, especially the West, with Southeast Asian countries i.e. the subjugation and suppression which operates in a veiled and masked mechanism that is present in the region through certain schemes and systems. The novel reveals the subjugation by unmasking the implicit mechanism through a counter narrative. It exposes an opening to understanding inequality and a hierarchy of power in postcolonial Southeast Asian countries with specific attention to Thailand and Malaysia. The paper explores how the novel can be read as a theory of biopower in enforcing indirect domination in Southeast Asian countries, and reveals the system that allows a form of neocolonial subjugation through the creation of disposable lives in neoliberal practice."

Matthew Michael Jackson
faculty adviser: Professor Gillian Harkins
thesis: "The Traumatic Utopia."

Ian Nathaniel James
faculty advisers: Professors Míċeál Vaughan and Beatrice Arduini
thesis: "De historiis sensis: Perceiving Alternative Histories through Medieval Historiography."

Vedran Jankovic
faculty adviser: Professor Gillian Harkins
thesis: "Bow Down: The Evil of Banality and the Phantasmal Subject of Nightwood."

Hyungbin Lae Kang
faculty adviser: Professor Gillian Harkins
thesis: "The Image and Motif Across Conversation in Nightwood."

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"My thesis paper is on Djuna Barne’s modernist novel Nightwood. My paper concerns itself with the form of the novel, and analyzes it according to Peter Brooks’ psychoanalytic literary theory. In this project, the assumption is that images are understood to be the favored means of cultural and political communication. My methodology involves looking at book reviews of Nightwood published soon after the novel was, and applying Brooks’ theory of narrative to the motif of wood. The motif of wood occurs before and throughout the pronounced spaces of conversation in the novel, and in a few chapter titles, and warrants a closer investigation as a new “plot” device."

Stephanie Valentine Kastner
faculty adviser: Professor Alys Weinbaum
thesis: "How Easy it was to Fast:' Anorexia and the Self-Starving Body in the Biopolitical Era."

Cali Rose Kopczick
faculty adviser: Professor Alys Weinbaum
thesis: “Translation as History-Writing: Disrupting Linearity Come Hell and High Water.”

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"In my thesis, I combine Walter Benjamin’s theories on translation and history-writing to see how shifting language across time, cultures, and genres can disrupt singular national narratives. I discuss Mary Jo Bang’s 2011 translation of Dante’s Inferno, which incorporates anachronism after anachronism , jolting us out of our naturalized expectations about what belongs when and what translation should do. I examine Herman Melville’s 1855 novella Benito Cereno as a cross-genre translation from American captain Amasa Delano’s first-person historical account, and the way in which Melville’s literary interventions call “history” into question. I synthesize the two texts through Achille Mbembe’s concept of necropolitics to implicate the U.S. in affinity with systems of death."

Dandi Meng
faculty adviser: Professor Alys Weinbaum
thesis: "Alimentary School: Roald Dahl and the Biopolitics of Consumption."

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"My aim with this thesis is to make sense of a literary phenomenon that I’ve often noticed but could never quite explain, namely, the frequency with which food and scenes of consumption appear in children’s literature. In particular, I wish to give an account of these motifs as they appear in Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Matilda, an account that differs from the two dominant explanations that have been given by critics of children’s literature thus far—that scenes of consumption are either “teachable moments” that aid in children’s acculturation or else stand-ins for matters of sex and sexuality. Neither of these accounts treats food motifs or children’s literature as being worthy of serious study in their own right, since they both rely on linking these moments of consumption to more established areas of scholarship. I argue that we must instead examine how these scenes are implicated in biopower in terms of how consumption in Dahl’s texts 1) is revealed to be productive and not only self-reproductive, 2) is managed through norms rather than through “laws,” and 3) can appear to resist dominant biopolitical structures while actually reinforcing them."

Dominique E. Naylor
faculty adviser: Professor Gillian Harkins
thesis: "Uncovering Adventure: Disguise and the Masking of Power in the Sherlock Holmes Stories."

Emelia Hope Nitz-Ritter
faculty adviser: Professor Gillian Harkins
thesis: "Common Core, Common Tongue? An analysis of the treatment of language in the Common Core State Standards."

Brandon Lee Oppenheim
faculty adviser: Professor Gillian Harkins
thesis: "World Building and Foundation Shifting: Queer World Creation through the Transgressive and Obscene Literatures of Story of the Eye and Nightwood."

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"I'm working with two literary texts, Georges Bataille's Story of the Eye and Djuna Barnes's Nightwood, that explore sexuality in very different ways. My paper explores the differing modes in which these two novels explore what can be considered deviant sexualities, what can be defined as obscene, and how these ideas fit into the mode of a potential queer futurity, a vision that necessarily breaks down the inherent binaries of a heterocentric world. The paper also wrestles with the definition of transgressive literature, and what role this particular kind of genre can have on the queer world building project that I argue these two novels attempt. "

Sara Senia Patton
faculty adviser: Professor Alys Weinbaum
thesis: "GPS to Herland: Mapping the Universal and Particular in Charlotte Gilman's Utopian Novel."

Emily Brinham Pierce
faculty adviser: Professor Alys Weinbaum
thesis: "Latent Love or Lust? Liberating Female Sexuality in Joe Wright's 2012 filmic adaptation of Anna Karenina."

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"I'm looking at the Joe Wright film, Anna Karenina, and I’d like to center around the female protagonists: Anna, Dolly and Kitty. The film does a unique thing with mis-en-scene where the staging and the theatrical all create this sort of spectacle of the story, placing three women alternating between center and behind stage. The costuming, makeup and stage design (mis-en-scene) as well as the score elevate and highlight the treatment, transformation and focus on women. As I examine this film as a literary adaptation visually, verbally and musically, I will also be addressing aspects of the novel that the film captures, and that it does not, in regards to treatment of women. As I analyze both these texts, I will be asking, how are women represented in the novel? How is this representation of women transformed when the novel is adapated to film by Joe Wright? How do changes in the treatment of women across these two texts tell us about changing ideas about and attitudes towards women’s sexuality and “freedom”? Finally, how does mis-en-scene contribute to the changes in representation of women and their sexuality that the adaptation enables? How does the score contribute as well? My paper will be examining these aspects, answering these questions, and both the film and the novel will constantly be in conversation. I will also be bringing in feminist film criticism, and Tolstoy criticism as frameworks behind my argument, as well as featurettes, interviews, and film reviews of Anna Karenina, to keep the conversation contemporary."

Whitney Paige Schmidt
faculty adviser: Professor Alys Weinbaum
thesis: "Hyperbolic Interpellation: Subjectivity in Bioshock."

William Connor Smith
faculty adviser: Professor Alys Weinbaum
thesis: "Encountering Violence in the Spectacle of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games."

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"Since of the release of Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games novels--and their subsequent film adaptations--the series has become a popular literary and cinematic phenomenon to young adult as well as adult audiences. This diverse spectatorship speaks to the way in which the story of The Hunger Games resonates profoundly with our contemporary moment, begging the question: what are we to make of popular fascination with this specific representation of violence? Though this question has drawn much attention from literary and film scholars attempting to understand The Hunger Games as the violent object of its own critique, I argue that previous scholarship on Collins' work has largely presumed a definition of violence that frames itself as distinct from the political continuity of which it is a part. In contrast, the intent of this paper is to read The Hunger Games toward a critique of violence itself as a contested site of cultural meaning—the conflict of which is played out on the aesthetic topology of popular spectacle. In this reading, The Hunger Games presents a unique opportunity to examine the nature of violent spectacle not simply as another violent work of fiction, but as the very medium through which violence is defined and propagated. Specifically, I intend to inductively work toward the claim that the aesthetic, spectacular form of The Hunger Games reproduces a necropolitical logic of death and survival not only in its manifest content, but also in our temporal and affective experience of that content as embodied subjects of its logic."

Danielle Marie VonLehe
faculty adviser: Professor Alys Weinbaum
thesis: "The Dialectical Photograph: Redefining the Historical Process Using the Photography of Eugène Atget."

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"My thesis applies characteristics of Walter Benjamin's theory of the dialectical image to selected photographs by the late 19th-early 20th century photographer Eugène Atget. I place Benjamin's theory and Atget's photographs in communication with one another to activate the historically specific work of each in the present moment. I question both how interpretation of selected Atget photographs as dialectical images reacts against the misconception of the historical process as progressive and, further, how the photographic medium on a broader level is able to represent history and the present moment as actuality. "

Nicholas Alexander Weber
faculty adviser: Professor Alys Weinbaum
thesis: "Victorian Normalization and Willful Exile: Biopower and the bildungsroman in the works of Charles Dickens."

Natalie Ann White
faculty adviser: Professor Alys Weinbaum
thesis: "How attached are we to technology? : An examination of the technological culture in Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake and its subversion of the nature-culture paradox."

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"My thesis examines the technological obsession in Margaret Atwood's 2003 novel Oryx and Crake and the ways in which this apocalyptic narrative comments on our perception of nature and that which constitutes it. I predominantly focus on the discipline of ecocriticism and pay particular attention to the concept of the nature-culture paradox, which attributes our distance and incompatibility with nature to the divide between it and human culture. Most ecocritics, however, hold that this paradox is capable of resolution by way of a merge between the two seemingly irreconcilable realms. Through the work of ecocritics that include Lawrence Buell, Dana Phillips, Michael Bennett, and Terry Gifford, I analyze what I describe as the "technological culture" within the novel and how that culture builds on and intensifies this disassociation with the physical environment and natural processes. By way of applying several ecocritical concepts — which include place-attachment, the post-pastoral, and sustainability — to the character's treatment of nature while absorbed in the all-consuming reach of this technological culture, I argue that Atwood's novel challenges ecocriticism's proposed resolution to the nature-culture paradox. The suggested merge between the natural and cultural realms is complicated by the characters' participation in a culture that is incapable of merging with nature. I therefore examine the novel's commentary on the aptitude for technological innovation resonant within society and the resultant connotations for the natural world."

Bryan Matthew Wilson
faculty adviser: Professor Alys Weinbaum
thesis: "Framing the Slum: On NoViolet Bulawayo's We Need New Names."


2012-13 Honors Cohort

Lucas McKinley Barash-David
faculty adviser: Kate Cummings
thesis: "House of Leaves as Emergent Literature in the Digital Age."

Kelcie Anne Borton
faculty adviser: Kate Cummings
thesis: "Varied Views on Victorian Vices: Effects of Literary Idealism in Charles Dickens's Hard Times Versus Realism in William Thackeray's Vanity Fair."

Christopher Chance Campbell
faculty adviser: Kate Cummings
thesis: "Truth, Deception: History and Narrative in Borges' 'Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius.'"

Jon William Collier
faculty adviser: Juliet Shields
thesis: "Optimism - Analyzing literature through a rose colored lens."

Cassandra Louise Croft
faculty adviser: Kate Cummings
thesis: "The Metaphysics of Humanism in Invitation to a Beheading."

Olivia Maria de Recat
faculty adviser: Juliet Shields
thesis: "A Brief Fly-Through: Transcendence in Prose Poetry."

Julie Feng
faculty adviser: Juliet Shields
thesis: "The Art of Ars Poetica: Exploring the Movement of Metalanguage in Poetry about Poetry."

Jeremy Cameron Goheen
faculty adviser: Juliet Shields
thesis: "The Low and Godful Man: Masculinity in Charles Kingsley and Elizabeth Barrett Browning."

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I explore moments in history and in literature where masculine spaces or identities are inhabited by a kind of Christian spiritualism. Limiting my discussion to primarily Charles Kingsley’s 1850 novel Alton Locke: Tailor and Poet and Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s 1844 poem, “Lady Geraldine’s Courtship,” I argue that these two literary works offer ways of imagining how a kind of masculinity marked by a poetic and spiritual language concerned with social justice emerges in opposition to a chivalrous and more dominant model of manliness sustained through the preservation of a hierarchical class system. Both Kingsley and Barrett Browning imagine worlds in which lowly born poets emerge as masculine heroes; and that in this imaginary world the terms of this masculinity are very much controlled by women in positions of social power. In their works, class barriers begin collapsing when masculinity reconfigured and redistributed in lowly born males. But where Kingsley is reluctant to sexualize the ideal Christian man (at least in Alton Locke) Barrett Browning affirms this man as an ideal mate. In her writing, we see how the performance of Christian, spiritualized language becomes an acceptable (perhaps preferable) mode of seduction. Ultimately, by locating points in history and literature where masculinity is altered and reconfigured, and by offering possible reasons for why these changes occur, I hope to contribute to a fuller, more complex portrait of masculinity.

Alejandro Les Guardado
faculty adviser: Juliet Shields
thesis: "The Drama of Reproduction: The Family Unit as a Site for Gender Performance in Jeffrey Eugenides' Middlesex."

Thomas Teancum Gunn
faculty adviser: Juliet Shields
thesis: "Amazing Stories: Wonder as a Reader Response in the Contemporary Novel."

Shelby Morgan Handler
faculty adviser: Caroline Simpson
thesis: "[Un]covering Mirrors and Healing Backwards: Reclaiming Histories and Reframing Queer Jewish Anti-Zionist Resistance."

Matthew Charles Hinnea
faculty adviser: Juliet Shields
thesis: ""i poured my smoothie on your mother’s face / as a rhetorical tactic in support of veganism": Tao Lin, Consumerism, and New Trends in Literature and Social Media Use."

Joanne Huo Yuan Ho
faculty adviser: Kate Cummings
thesis: "The Commodity of Memory: Gift Giving and Cultural Memory in Jamaica Kincaid’s Lucy."

Nicholas Benjamin Katleman
faculty adviser: Juliet Shields
thesis: "The Spondee: A Solemn Toast to the Manic."

Samuel Kolodezh
faculty adviser: Juliet Shields
thesis: "Spectral Laughter: Constructing a Modern Subjectivity through Humor in The Castle Spectre."

Noah Jacob Lee-Engel
faculty adviser: Kate Cummings
thesis: "Decolonial Declensions."

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I am interested in examining the ways in which authors who self-identify with colonized sites position themselves - and the communities in which they are members and for whom they might be said to speak as proxies - as agents whose decisions and actions express subjectivity and ethical force. I will begin with Lisa Lowe's analysis of narrative as “an apparatus of European colonial rule," Audre Lorde's prescriptive assertion that “the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house," and Frantz Fanon's claim that “decolonization is always a violent event." A productive analogy may be drawn, I think, between the material violence that, in Fanon's estimation, the colonized must perpetrate upon the bodies of their oppressors in order to achieve liberation, and the figurative violence wreaked upon the corpus of the realistic aesthetic by decolonial authorship. This latter type of violence is most easily apprehended – in literary works, at least - in the various instantiations of that phenomena I will term “narrative transgressions” - e.g. the metaleptic intrusion of the until-then hypo-diegetic character Pucha at the end of Jessica Hagedorn's Dogeaters, or the similarly abrupt and equally enigmatic narrative interventions of Half-a-Crown in Sol T. Plaatje's Mhudi. If, as Lowe argues, modes of representation can be deployed as instruments of imperial initiative as effectively as military force, then the kind of narratological 'violence' just indicated might function tenably as an effective response to the oppression of an imposed or colonizing aesthetic. If, as Fanon claims, “Decolonization is truly the creation of new men...The 'thing' colonized becomes a man through the very process of liberation," then it is through such a praxis of violence that the colonized write themselves into the world, and incarnate a self capable of destabilizing that rupture or absence Homi Bhabha calls “the 'partial' presence” of the “colonial subject."

Tiffany Loh
faculty adviser: Juliet Shields
thesis: "Marxist Objects in Mrs. Dalloway."

Barbara Marie Marshall
faculty adviser: Kate Cummings
thesis:"Remediation Techniques: House of Leaves a Critique of Trauma."

Nicole Grace Mendoza Masangkay
faculty adviser: Kate Cummings
thesis:

Chris Brent Mulder
faculty adviser: Kate Cummings
thesis: "Dorian, Delano, and Deity: Worship in The Portrait of Dorian Gray and Benito Cereno."

Catherine Cooke Opie
faculty adviser: Kate Cummings
thesis: "Resisting Pedagogical Oppression:The Cultivation of Identity Through Memory and Experience in Jamaica Kincaid’s Lucy."

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The language and labels of the oppressor to represent the oppressed is insufficient to accurately portray historically marginalized groups. Lucy chooses to utilize her memories and dreams, as well as an attempt at photography to create her own historical narrative as a form of resistance against imperialist pedagogies that her childhood education, mother, and Mariah- a well meaning mother figure- attempt to instill upon her. Although at times painful, her memories represent her individual past and experiences, allowing her to create a space for her own voice and experiences. Lucy’s refusal to succumb to these external forces is her attempt to de-subjectify herself from dominating powers in order to reclaim her own identity.

Geoffrey Aaron Paul
faculty adviser: Kate Cummings
thesis:

Reed James Perkins
faculty adviser: Juliet Shields
thesis: "Comics to Memes: The Transition into 'Post-postmodernism'."

Vincent Quang Pham
faculty adviser: Kate Cummings
thesis: "Revisiting Linsanity: Understanding the Continued Cultural Significance of Jeremy Lin."

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What makes the case of Jeremy Lin so significant is that in the age of social media, he has become one of the most famous Asian Americans in a society devoid of such individuals through the Linsanity experience. As a consequence of the ideological media narratives that focus on race, when we see Jeremy Lin, we do not see the third year basketball player, but instead the embodiment of a socially constructed cultural phenomenon, the son of hard working Taiwanese immigrants who overcame racial prejudices and being underestimated in high school and college. To emphasize the importance of Lin and how the media attention towards him reveals the U.S culture’s understanding of Asian Americans, I will draw upon Lisa Lowe’s statement that "the Asian is always seen as an immigrant, as the "foreigner-within," even when born in the United States and the descendent of generations born here before". While such a claim can be supported by the explicitly racial responses to Lin’s successes and struggles, Lowe’s relevance is strongest in the subtle ways in which we interject race when discussing Lin’s basketball play. Thus, my close analysis of how media coverage responded to Linsanity reveals how even though the role of Jeremy Lin has introduced a new model of pride for the Asian American community, we must not forget that Lin’s rise informs and challenges Asian Americans to rethink their uneasy relationship to mass culture, assimilation and acceptance- traditional tenants of the Asian American experience. In keeping with my thesis, the investigation of Jeremy Lin’s public image reveals not whether Asian Americans have been assimilated or not, but to what they, and to the lesser extent African Americans, have become assimilated to in accordance to the white American imagination.

Anthea Piong
faculty adviser: Juliet Shields
thesis:

Samuel Philip Pizelo
faculty adviser: Juliet Shields
thesis: "The Science of the Soul: Spectrality and Modernity in Nineteenth Century America."

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My research focuses on the antebellum period of the American Republic, and the transition of American knowledge into a modern episteme (invoking Michel Foucault). I encounter this broader goal through a focus on the modern observer, and the social networks within which it is situated. More specifically, I examine the organization of empirical knowledge around the observer in what I term “spectrality” (with a nod to Marc Guillame and Jean Baudrillard)—the phenomena that occur on the topography of the eyes, from the diffusion of the spectrum of light to the appearance of specters in hauntings. I do this through the readings of a number of cultural objects; a painting by American artist John Quidor, the gothic-romantic texts of Charles Brockden Brown and Nathaniel Hawthorne, the spiritualist writing of Robert Dale Owen, the technology of the combination daguerreotype/stereoscope, and a daguerreotype taken of a dead child (a common practice at the time). To collide these disparate cultural objects, I use Bruno Latour’s Actor Network Theory (ANT), an action-focused bottom up approach of social analysis. By taking this more holistic approach, I noticed that the antebellum Republic exhibited a preoccupation with representations of spectrality in Art, scientifico-cultural disciplines (such as Mesmerism and Spiritualism), and technology. It is my contention that this Actor Network of spectrality emerged to enclose the anxieties of subjective vision within language, natural science, and the mind, and sought to regain fixity of truth for the modern subject.

McKenna Jean Princing
faculty adviser: Juliet Shields
thesis: “Reclaiming the Fairy Tale: The Power of Fairy Tales to Advance Women’s Rights and Act as Agents of Social Change in Popular Culture and the Academic Community.”

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Fairy tales have their origins in folklore, usually the kinds of “old wives’ tales” that were primarily told and circulated by women. In the Victorian era, retellings of those tales became popularized by the likes of the Grimm brothers and Andrew Lang, and for decades Disney princess movies have been embedded in popular U.S. culture. Fairy tales, then, are historically associated with ideals of femininity, yet they usually do women a disservice by portraying them in stereotypical ways that conform to female gender norms.

Because of their being naturalized in U.S. culture, however, fairy tales can be reclaimed to challenge the female gender norms they traditionally espouse. My thesis examines this dynamic between pop culture, women, and fairy tales, looks at some recent examples of feminist female characters in fairy tale retellings — from Gail Carson Levine’s award-winning novel Ella Enchanted, to the currently popular ABC television show Once Upon A Time — and argues that reclaiming fairy tales is essential to the ongoing women’s rights movement, and that fairy tales therefore ought to be taken more seriously within the academic community as powerful agents of social change.

Leah Kathryn Rau
faculty adviser: Juliet Shields
thesis: "Our Darling Lizzie: Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Adaptations, and the Appeal of Miss Elizabeth Bennet."

Sophia Alandra Siao
faculty adviser: Juliet Shields
thesis: "Walter Benjamin and Translation: Immigration and Afterlife of Identity."

Chelsey L. Slattum
faculty advisers: Kate Cummings and Davinder Bhowmik
thesis: "Unimagined Identity: The Many Implications of Namelessness in The Cocktail Party ."

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A literary criticism of Oshiro Tatsuhiro's novella that explores the link between the textual expression of unnamed ambivalent identities in literature and national belonging.

Emilie Virginia Smith
faculty adviser: Juliet Shields
thesis: "What’s in a name? George Washington Gómez and the civil war of (linguistic) identity."

Andrea M. Squires
faculty adviser: Kate Cummings
thesis: ""You are welcome to it if you like:" Seeing and Being Seen, While Reading History from Within the Margins: A Look at Jamaica Kincaid's Lucy."

Sarah Lucinda St Albin
faculty adviser: Juliet Shields
thesis: "The Mechanics of Desire in Thomas Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles."

Trevor Neil White
faculty adviser: Kate Cummings
thesis: "The Digital Campfire: Interactive Horror Storytelling and Web 2.0."

Jordan Douglas Whitlock
faculty adviser: Kate Cummings
thesis: "I Wanna Be Sedated: Complicity and Relativism in Coetzee’s Progressive Male Subject."

Annie Yamashita
faculty adviser: Juliet Shields
thesis: "Press Start: the Rise of the Video Game Art Form."

LingLing Zhang
faculty adviser: Kate Cummings
thesis: "Diva In the Dark."

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In my paper, I examine the charismatic writer Margurite Duras’s enigmatic world and the way it blurs with her writing. Writing through a female body, she both embraces her individualism and challenges social oppression. Therefore, my argument is that her individualism is expressed through two modes, the aesthetic and the historical, both working against a world in which she has been repressed for so long. These dual modes often converge, realizing their expression in the author’s experimental blending of life and writing. In the development of the paper, I first argue that Duras disrupts the language’s masculinity by employing such techniques as nonlinearity, fragmentation, ambiguity and shifts in narrative voice. Her style is terse, descriptive with minimal words in which language has become a vehicle to convey her passion, to catch up with her desire. As for the historical mode, it manifests mainly through the narrator’s transgression towards norms. Constructed through her sentences and her silences, driven by her passion and trauma, and paradoxically revealed as much through what is missing as what is shown, Duras emerges. A portrait of a flawed soul; her uncertain love, her brief meetings and lingering partings, her wish to be remembered as she wanted to be not as she was, and her desire to be loved completely, even if only in hindsight- it is in these things that we get a taste of the woman hidden behind the words she writes. She has turned her life into a legend in the book where the artistic and historical modes have finally come to blend seamlessly. A diva in the dark.

Milo Umberto Zorzino
faculty adviser: Kate Cummings
thesis: "Howards End, Thornfield Hall, and the Creation of Alternative British Modernities."

2011-12 Honors Cohort

David Christian Bahr
2012 English Department Best Honors Thesis Prize in Literature
faculty adviser: Monika Kaup
thesis: "The Transnational Bildungsroman: A Historical Summary and Application to Mexicotexan Borderland and Migrant Literature of the 20th Century."

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This paper investigates the transnational Bildungsroman, a new genre that fully emerged in the 20th century (although there may have been earlier antecedents). It can be described as a hybrid of two different genres: the Bildungsroman, a German coming-of-age tale that dates back to Morgenstern and Goethe, and the transnational novel that, by its depiction of borderlands, migration, or diaspora extends across (in)formal boundaries of land and time. My first goal is to investigate the historical foundations and definition of the bildungsroman novel and the concept of Bildung. I then test the usage of the transnational Bildungsroman genre as a heuristic tool for understanding the transnational experience by performing close readings of two transnational Mexicano novels, George Washington Gómez and The Circuit by Américo Paredes and Francisco Jiménez, respectively. Based on my close readings, I hope to convincingly demonstrate the value of applying the Bildungsroman to transnational literature by showing how, despite having unique experiences, transnational Bildungsroman characters share several qualities as coming-of-age youth. I also explore how a Bildungsroman reading of each of these novels reveals critical differences in the characters’ maturation processes. Overall, it is my hope that the reader of this essay will more thoroughly understand the current discourses of Bildung, the Bildungsroman, and transnational literature, and how together they can be used to (1) debunk hegemonic notions of borderland identity, and (2) call attention to the effects of transnational displacement.

Tyler Leigh Britton
faculty adviser: Sydney Kaplan
thesis: "Woolf’s The Waves: On Words."

Merzamie Sison Cagaitan
faculty adviser: Sydney Kaplan
thesis:
"Transcending Fractured Geopolitical and Metaphoric Borders: The Mobile Trajectory of the Grotesque Female Body’s Transformation from Object to Subject."

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My research conceptualizes the female body as a borderland that is grotesque after being wounded and divided. I synthesize works by Anzaldua and Bakhtin to project an image of a female body that bleeds when grated against transnational forces and subjected to processes of dynamic change. This representation allows the grotesque female body to be in continual engagement with “acts of becoming”, and places it in a profoundly ambivalent position between the processes of renewal and decay. I invoke Hall’s diasporic identities to further argue that the never completed quality of the female body points to a profound discontinuity stemming from trauma induced by slavery, transportation, colonization, and migration. I critically analyze the experiences of fictional female characters in order to trace a mobile trajectory that begins with the female body’s forced transportation; continues with its wounding from displacements; and ends with its transformation. I want to uncover how the constant movements of the female body come to mold not only a body that is grotesque but also a mind characterized by a diasporic identity. I hypothesize that the female body’s porous quality and ability to overcome boundaries is what allows it to “live sin fronteras” and “be a crossroads.”

Leah Audrey Roz Caglio
faculty adviser: Monika Kaup

Hannah Grace Campbell
faculty adviser: Sydney Kaplan
thesis:
"Emily Dickinson: Religious Skepticism during the Second Great Awakening."

Alexander Catchings
faculty adviser: Monika Kaup
thesis: "Look Who's Laughing: Self-Making, Humor, and Subjectivity in the Neo-Slave Narrative."

Sarah J. Cole
faculty adviser: Sydney Kaplan

Casey Shea Dickson
faculty adviser: Sydney Kaplan
thesis: "Experience Structured by the Act of Looking: the Faulknerian Novel and Photographic Theory."

Caitlin Elizabeth Donnelly
faculty adviser: Sydney Kaplan
thesis:
"Metafictional Dynamics of Grief and Coping in Turn-of-the-21st-Century Literature."

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Examines grief and coping mechanisms of author-characters in three metafictional 21st century novels (Nicole Krauss's The History of Love, Ian McEwan's Atonement, and Graham Swift's Waterland) and suggests that metafictional depictions of grief can be considered microcosms of fundamental postmodern queries.

Michael Charles Fulwiler
faculty adviser: Sydney Kaplan
thesis: "Baseball and Black Identity: Imagined Community, Baseball Literature, and the Integration of Major League Baseball."

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Over the past century, sport has occupied a dominant position within American culture in producing ideas of racial difference while providing a powerful and public modality for forms of black cultural resistance. Ben Carrington, an American cultural theorist and leader in the growing field of sports sociology, argues that “sport reproduces race.” According to Carrington, in the past century, “sport has become an important if somewhat overlooked arena for the making of race beyond its own boundaries” (3). With baseball at the forefront, at least since the beginning of the 20th century, sports have provided “an opportunity for blacks throughout the African diaspora to gain recognition through physical struggle…for their humanity in a context where the structures of the colonial state continue to shape the ‘post/colonial’ present.” In this essay, I use Benedict Anderson’s theoretical model of “Imagined Communities,” reinforced by Stuart Hall’s model of cultural identity and diaspora, to argue for the way in which narratives of black baseball display and explain the shared sense of African American community and identity that was created and strengthened by baseball in the early 20th century.

Nicole Perrine Guenther
faculty adviser: Monika Kaup
thesis: "Reading George Washington Gomez as a White Reader: Whiteness and Identification."

Dustin Cody Hansen
faculty adviser: Sydney Kaplan
thesis: "Imagination and the Role of Literature in Moral Progress During the Victorian Era."

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My thesis was an application of John Dewey's final chapter in his book Art as Experience titled "Art and Civilization" to Dickens' Hard Times, Hardy's Jude the Obscure, and Lawrence's The Rainbow.

Stephanie Yi-Farng Hsieh
faculty adviser: Sydney Kaplan
thesis: "Perception, Creation, and the Space Between: A Consideration of Reality-Generating Devices in Science Fiction."

Elizabeth Caryn Hsu
faculty adviser: Sydney Kaplan
thesis: "Virginia Woolf's Metaphors for Thought, the Mind, and Consciousness."

Noelle Mina Jung
faculty adviser: Sydney Kaplan
thesis: "Asian American Youth Identity and Culture: Balancing Two Worlds and Creating a New World."

Katie Alexandra Kowalski
faculty adviser: Sydney Kaplan
thesis: "A Double Consciousness: Fabricating Narrative Worlds in Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Alastor; or, the Spirit of Solitude and George MacDonald’s Phantastes: A Fairie Romance for Men and Women."

Cherry Cui Hua Liu
faculty adviser: Monika Kaup
thesis: "The Internalization of Social Values in the Modern World: Tess of the D'Urbervilles and George Washington Gómez."

Melanya Sophia Materne
faculty adviser: Candice Rai
thesis: "Teaching Literature for College and Career Readiness: A Response to the Common Core State Standards."

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My research as an undergraduate centered on the intersections between high school English language arts and English as a post-secondary field of study, between literature and rhetoric, composition, and critical thinking. During Winter 2012, in Frances McCue’s Honors course on teaching, I researched the new and widely adopted Common Core State Standards and the influence they will have on the arts in education. I conducted interviews with English Language Arts teachers in the Shoreline district in order to get a sense of how the Common Core was functioning “on the ground” in its first year of implementation, and if the standards changed the ratio of literary and informational (non-fiction) texts they assigned and taught. From this research, I learned how teachers negotiate between their personal philosophies of teaching and the expectations of administration and government, and concluded that although the Common Core would not likely change the amount of literature taught in the English Language Arts classroom, it might very well change the way educators framed literature’s relevance, usefulness, and relationship to skills such as composition, argumentation, and critical thinking.

During spring quarter 2012, I investigated this possibility as part of the research for my 32-page honors thesis and Undergraduate Research Symposium presentation. After performing a close analysis of the Common Core State Standards, I discovered that the Standards made the following assumptions about literary texts: they are not argumentative texts, they therefore cannot be used to teach students how to analyze and produce effective arguments, and they are therefore largely irrelevant to the Standards’ central goal of promoting College- and Career-Readiness. As a scholar of the humanities and an interdisciplinary writing tutor, I suspected that these assumptions were problematic and extended my research to investigate 1) the way postsecondary institutions framed literature’s relevance, usefulness, and relationship to skills such as composition, argument, and critical thinking, and 2) how a high school English Language Arts teacher could productively incorporate literature into the teaching of composition, argumentation, and critical thinking. After analyzing relevant academic literature from scholars of postsecondary education, composition, and literature, I concluded that the context of knowledge-production in postsecondary institutions demands not only the ability to write arguments, but also the habit of thinking argumentatively about everything, including literature. As a response to the discrepancy between how the Common Core and postsecondary institutions frame literature’s relevance and usefulness, I concluded my thesis by sketching out a theory for using a rhetorical framework to bridge the apparent gap between literature and argumentation.

On the whole, my undergraduate research allowed me to explore the issues I care about most as an aspiring high school English Language Arts teacher and enriched my understanding of why the study of literature matters.

Alaska Lea McGann
faculty adviser: Monika Kaup
thesis: "Gaps in Transnational Translation: (Mis)Understanding Relationships in Martinez’s Mother Tongue."

Jessie Weiling McMillan
faculty adviser: Joseph Butwin
thesis: "'The Woman Problem': Female Internalization of Societal Pressures and the Rise of the New Woman in 19th Century England."

Sarah Carroll Neumann
creative writing faculty adviser: Shawn Wong
creative thesis: “Francis and the Perfect Candy.”

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My creative thesis was a story called “Francis and the Perfect Candy.” It was a children's story. About death and sugar.

Shelby Ann Parkin
faculty adviser: Monika Kaup

Greta Christine Pittenger
faculty adviser: Monika Kaup

Bailey Elyse Rahn
faculty advisers: Sydney Kaplan and Jan Sjåvik
thesis: "Trolls, Transition and Tradition: Rewriting Norwegian Identity in Immigrant and Homesteading Literature."

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This thesis analyzes Norwegian identity and cultural preservation by studying important pieces of national literature. By looking as far back as medieval Norse documents and continuing through 19th century emigration novels, this thesis tracks the development of the Norwegian “sense of place,” a dual identity rooted in both history and homeland.

Prompted by the July 22, 2011 terrorism in Oslo that sought to reinstate a traditional, homogenous Norwegian nation, I hoped to lay the groundwork for future investigations of cultural preservation. I hope to resume this research in my Norwegian thesis this spring by analyzing contemporary attitudes of immigration in Norway.

Shane Christopher Sherod-Clyburn
creative writing faculty adviser: Pimone Triplett
creative thesis: "Exploration: The Poetic Legacy of Gerard Manley Hopkins."

Danielle Erin Skredsvig
faculty adviser: Monika Kaup

Samara Lynn Surface
faculty adviser: Sydney Kaplan

Katherine Sarah Tacke
creative writing faculty adviser: Pimone Triplett

Ajjana Thairungroj
faculty adviser: Monika Kaup
thesis: "An Exploration of Metaphysical Loneliness and Relationships in Sputnik Sweetheart and Kitchen."

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This paper explores the notion of existential alienation and metaphysical isolation of the individual, a core sentiment in Japanese post-modern literature, and how it operates in Haruki Murakami’s Sputnik Sweetheart and Banana Yoshimoto’s Kitchen. I propose to argue that, though the sentiments of loneliness and alienation permeate the novels, the individual can still seek conciliation and ease the burden of existence through 1) achieving Moustakas’ concept of authentic communication and establishing connections with others, and 2) taking pleasure in small, seemingly insignificant matters in life, rather than attempting to futilely seek for a deeper essence in existence itself, an idea derived from a close reading of Camus’ “The Myth of Sisyphus.” This paper also addresses the paradox that, though forming relationships with others can ease metaphysical isolation, a large portion of the primary text’s sense of loneliness itself derives from the character’s realization that they cannot completely rely solely on those bonds as solutions to an existence without alienation.

Esther-Maria Tkacz
faculty adviser: Monika Kaup
thesis: "Under a Spell: The fantastic tale of Orlando, its chronotope and its relation to A Room of One’s Own. "

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The novel, Orlando: a biography by Virginia Woolf is a modernist tale of fantasy that works to establish a utopian view for female writers. My explication of Orlando utilizes the concepts of fairytale structure, the marvelous and Luis Brandao's explanation of Michael Bakhtin's chronotope. The novel was written around the same time-frame as Woolf's extended essay, A Room of One's Own, which discusses how women should develop a new writing style and invokes the use of imagination to support her thesis. My essay discusses the intertextuality between Orlando and Room but primarily uses Orlando as the framework to explain and justify Woolf's argument expressed in both works.

Amanda Rose Whitbeck
faculty adviser: Monika Kaup
thesis: "Identity and Agency in The Fourth Century."

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I looked at Édouard Glissant's novel, which follows six generations of two rival families from Africa living in Martinique. One family is enslaved in the first few generations, whereas the other family lives freely away from the European colonists. I discussed the concepts of "root identity" and "relation identity" (as theorized by Glissant) within these families, and how each correlates with agency and perceptions of power.

Stephanie Rose Whitney
faculty adviser: Monika Kaup

Sher-Min Faith Yang
faculty adviser: Sydney Kaplan
thesis: “'This Inner Time is Our Wife': Time, Separation and Love in Three Contemporary Novels."

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