|Friday, April 15th|
4:00 PM - 4:20 PM
Since making history in 2008 as the first woman listed on a Republican presidential ticket, Sarah Palin has become one of the most watched, analyzed, and controversial women in politics in recent times. Palin’s political prominence enables her to potentially have a major impact on national understanding and acceptance of women in politics. Already, the implications of Palin’s celebrity on the meaning and popularity of modern feminism is a topic debated among scholars and non-scholars alike. Using the definition of feminine rhetorical style advanced by Campbell (1989), this essay reveals how Palin negotiates both feminine and masculine traits and speaking styles to connect with her specific audience and be recognized as powerful without blatantly violating gender norms typically embraced by conservatives. An analysis of Palin’s address at the 2010 National Tea Party Convention exemplifies Palin’s negotiation of gender expectations and supports the ultimate argument that, while blending feminine and masculine speech, Palin routinely devalues the feminine in favor of hegemonic masculinity. This essay cautions that Palin’s construction of “real Americans” as those who, like her and her Tea Party supporters, endorse masculine ideals as essential to good politics may hinder the recognition of women and other marginalized groups as valuable actors on the national stage.
4:20 PM - 4:40 PM
The institution of slavery in the southern United States attempted to fully control the lives of slaves, but many slaves actively defied this feigned standard, seeking management of their own lives. Many African Americans gained such agency through the use of conjure, also referred to as Hoodoo or “Root-Doctoring.” Practitioners of conjure used charms, words, and actions to ensure their own and others’ fortune or misfortune. Using conjure, both as practitioners and clients, African Americans attempted to take control of and to improve the oppressive socio-political conditions of slavery. Utilizing a number of primary sources, including interviews with practitioners and believers of conjure conducted and recorded by Harry Middleton Hyatt, this project attempts to further academic discussions of conjure led by scholars like Yvonne Chireau and Jeffrey E. Anderson. The project will relate the overarching structural continuities and specific spiritual and material contextual changes between African and African-American conjure practices to show how African Americans gained socio-political and cultural control. To do so, this project explores the belief system in which conjure functioned and compares conjure in the American context to the West and Central African context, particularly in regards to the interplay between conjure and African-American Christian experiences. Analyzing these relationships, this project further demonstrates how African Americans deliberately changed some spiritual and material aspects of conjure even while maintaining others. Both strategies resulted in greater personal agency for slaves despite oppressive realities in the 18th and 19th century American South.
4:40 PM - 5:00 PM
The basic assumption of the American judicial system is that justice is blind to the physical qualities of individuals who are prosecuted and defended. However, recent research suggests that extralegal factors (i.e. gender, race, age, etc…) account for more decisions in jury cases than previously anticipated (Wayne, Riordon, & Thomas, 2001). In this proposed study, investigators seek to further examine the role that gender may play in the sentencing of defendants in cases of child abuse. Using Burgoon & Hale’s (1988) Expectancy Violation Theory (EVT) as a medium for explanation, this study seeks to experimentally examine the application of socially accepted norms (i.e. women as caretakers) to the outcome of jury-trial sentencing. A scenario containing argument summaries for the prosecution and defense will be assigned a male or female perpetrator. The participant will then be asked to recommend a verdict and punishment for this act. It is hypothesized because women are socially expected to be caregivers that they will be awarded sentences more severe than men, who do not traditionally occupy the role of caregiver. The implications of this potential discovery are discussed.
5:00 PM - 5:20 PM
Estimates show that over 600,000 migrants, legal and otherwise, enter into the U.S. from Mexico each year (Gathmann 2008). To understand what implications this large-scale migration has on both countries, it is important to understand the characteristics of the typical immigrant. Using data from the National Statistical Institute in Mexico, I examine gender, age, location, education and income levels of Mexican immigrants and non-immigrants between 2007 and 2010. I directly compare the characteristics of the two groups by creating distributions from kernel density estimates. The distributions illustrate the differences between the Mexican immigrant who chooses or “self-selects” to enter the U.S. and those who choose to remain in their native country.