|Friday, April 15th|
Emily Cross, University of Montana - Missoula
9:00 AM - 9:20 AM
India is among the world’s most rapidly developing countries, yet it persists in holding one-third of the world’s poor. Furthermore, the greatest victims of poverty in India are the children who face malnutrition and illegal labor. My project takes an empirical approach to this issue as well as a philosophical one. It first examines how rapid economic development has impacted the poor and children. The philosophical aspect of my project utilizes this empirical information to address the following question: Does a wealthy nation, namely America, have a moral obligation to help the poor in developing nations? This leads to a more puzzling question: What marks the difference between individual decency and civic responsibility, and why do Americans generally display the former but not the latter? To provide satisfactory discourse on these issues, I explore the works of Indian philosopher and economist Amartya Sen as well as Thomas Pogge, John Rawls, and the United Nations Millennium Project. In short, my research aims to create more awareness of child welfare in rapidly developing nations such as India; to determine the moral duties of wealthier countries and individuals with regard to this problem; and to illuminate a gap between decency and responsibility.
9:20 AM - 9:40 AM
A presentation on the natural symbols commonly used in the poetry of Jalal al-din Rumi. Discussion of how the natural world reflects the relationship between humanity and divinity as understood by Sufi mystics.
9:40 AM - 10:00 AM
George Orwell, whose political writings emphasized the pervasiveness of injustice, claimed in 1984 “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” This research project is an analysis of the authoritarian regime governing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and its policies. Orwellian political philosophy has often been equated with dystopian political theory. One can use his critique of ambiguity in language, the relationship between power and enforcement mechanism, and his view of human relationships to analyze the policies of Authoritarian states. Using Orwell’s critical approach to politics as evaluation criteria, I analyzed the use of technology, gender relations, law enforcement mechanisms and the use of language within the Kingdom. Ultimately this research sought to address the question of what the international and domestic implications are for a regime exercising policies that Orwell sought to warn mankind against.
This project focused on how elements of the Orwellian dystopian vision have seemingly reappeared in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s strict interpretation of Islamic law, and its government’s pursuit of an ideal Islamic society through regulation, as well as the use of technology were used to evaluate elements of the regime. Using personal accounts of citizens from Saudi Arabia, current news articles, and primary documents provided by the Royal family, I was able to evaluate the regime and address some of the implications for its long term stability. An exploration of authoritarian ethics and dystopia has led to a better understanding of the causes for a potential revolution in the Kingdom.
10:00 AM - 10:20 AM
Friedrich Nietzsche notably referred to the Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky as, “the only psychologist from whom I have anything to learn.” Dostoevsky’s ability to encapsulate the darkest and most twisted depths of the human psyche within his characters has had a profound impact on those writers operating on the periphery of society. Through research on his writing style, biography, and a close reading of his novel Notes from the Underground I am exploring the impact of his most famous outcast, the Underground Man, on the life and writing of counterculture poet, Allen Ginsberg. Specifically, I explore how his reading of Dostoevsky’s work, as well as the parallels apparent in the lives of the two writers, impacts the poem “Howl”. The Underground Man is present in us all, but in an exploration of both content and writing style, we can make claims as to why his appeal is so strong within the counterculture. Features including a polyphonic voice, multipartite structure, and autobiographical nature provide these two works a link to the disgusted and disenfranchised that is not present in many traditional novels. The paper affirms that Dostoevsky has had a profound influence on the geography of the Underground and that this has had an impact on the writers that continue to inhabit that space.
10:20 AM - 10:40 AM
Traditional news media must innovate to maintain their ability to inform contemporary audiences. This research project analyzes innovative news outlets that have the potential to draw young audiences to follow global current events. On February 8, 2011, a Pew Research Center Poll found that 52 percent of Americans reported having heard little or nothing about the anti-government protests in Egypt. Egyptians had been protesting for nearly two weeks when this poll was conducted. The lack of knowledge about the protests was not a result of scarce media attention. In the United States, most mainstream TV news sources (CNN, FOX, MSNBC, ABC) ran headline stories on the protests by January 26, one day after the protests began. Sparked by an assignment in International Reporting J450 class, we selected 20 innovative news outlets to investigate whether they are likely to overcome the apparent disinterest of Americans, particularly the youth, in foreign news. Besides testing those news outlets for one week, we explored the coverage origins and financing of these outlets, and we are communicating with their editors and writers to best understand how and why they publish as they do. We will evaluate them, following a rubric, and categorize them based on their usefulness.
10:40 AM - 11:00 AM
The Native American Women’s Health Education Resource Center, a nonprofit organization on the Yankton Sioux Reservation in South Dakota led by Charon Asetoyer, orchestrates a summer program for the Dakota youth to learn traditional Dakota culture and language. I spent two summers assisting the teachers of the Dakota Language Immersion Program (DLIP) and learning the language along with the students. While introducing Dakota vocabularies and encouraging cultural exploration, this program sparks enthusiasm among the students for their heritage. The students spend six weeks each summer practicing Dakota, engaging in traditional crafts and rituals, and cultivating gardens and Native identities. Also, the students travel on weekly fieldtrips to culturally relevant locations in the area. Under the direction of Charon Asetoyer, I produced two films that show highlights of the DLIP lessons, activities, and fieldtrips. At this conference, I will present the DLIP videos and discuss how various aspects of the program influence the students and community.