Oral Presentations - Session 1E: UC 332
|Friday, April 13th|
A Campaign to End Female Genital Mutilation: An Argument Based on Common Grounds
9:00 AM - 9:20 AM
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a significant and longstanding tradition practiced by select cultures. It is also a serious human rights violation that has caused damaging psychological and physical pain to an estimated 100-140 million women throughout the world. FGM involves the surgical removal of all or part of female external genitalia and is thought by its practitioners to curb women’s sexual desire. Despite its widespread legal prohibition, FGM is still widely practiced in 28 African countries, parts of the Middle East and India, the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and Europe.
In the summer of 2011, I had the opportunity to work with a non-governmental organization, the Foundation for Women’s Health Research and Development (FORWARD), on their campaign to end FGM. Through my work at FORWARD, I became committed to ending the practice of FGM by addressing the social constructs that perpetuate it. This paper describes and defends a certain method of advocacy, which I call the ‘grassroots approach,’ as the best way to abolish this practice. The grassroots approach works to create a shared awareness and understanding of FGM’s damaging effects, ultimately allowing women to make informed decisions on behalf of themselves and their families. By presenting this paper I hope to demonstrate that it is both possible and necessary to advocate for the abolition of harmful traditions in a way that is sensitive to cultural differences.
Anonymity Unmasked: Rethinking Biography in Literary Criticism
9:20 AM - 9:40 AM
In the wide world of literary criticism, scholars frequently disagree on what aspects of a text are important and what aspects are not. When analyzing a piece of art, the critic must decide on one important question in particular: how much of the author’s biography should I take into consideration? While some schools of criticism aim to make blanket statements about analyzing all forms of art, I want to emphasize the importance of this question in one genre specifically, English language Gothic Literature. There are few American Gothic authors who could claim a more colorful background than Mr. Edgar Allan Poe. Also, Mr. Poe’s work has been widely accepted as archetypal examples for psychological criticism, making his work ideal for analyzing the value of author biography based criticism in Gothic Literature, given Gothic literature’s deeply psychological attributes. Using a dual reading technique, I have done a comparison reading of the short story "The Fall of the House of Usher." The dual reading includes a first reading of the story void of author information in the analysis. The second reading is a deeply biographic reading with the author’s history, personal life, and possible influence of other works from the period taken into consideration. In comparing and contrasting the two readings, as well as assessing the current scholarly dialogue on what New Critics call the “intentional fallacy,” my work aims to find a balance between debating schools of thought on the value of biography in critiquing Gothic literature.
The Pervasion of Hopelessness in a Modernist World
9:40 AM - 10:00 AM
Through my research and close analysis of both T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, I have found that, though the two works appear very different at the surface, both share a pervading sense of hopelessness, and use similar techniques to convey this dissolution. Eliot’s The Waste Land epitomizes the hopelessness felt by many modernist writers in the years following WWI, after the near-complete devastation of Europe. Eliot’s wasteland is a vortex of hopelessness, where no possibility for regeneration exists. It is as thought the world had ended but people went on living as Eliot suggests through his image of an “Unreal City” and his assertion that he “had not thought death had undone so many.” Europe has become a vast continent of the living dead. In contrast, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, another modernist work, appears, on the surface, lighthearted and all-American, a tale about love, the American Dream, and prosperity in 1920’s New York. In my paper, I show that, upon deeper examination, Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby shares Eliot’s pervasive sense of hopelessness, and that he demonstrates this concept just as well as Eliot does, through the use of similar thematics – namely, the idea that humanity’s needs and desires will eventually bring about destruction in a hopeless world, and through the inclusion of hope so as to intensify this hopelessness.
Remembering Beneath the Big Sky
10:20 AM - 10:40 AM
The Gathering: Collected Oral Histories of the Irish in Montana is a long term oral history research project, conducting interviews of volunteer subjects. These interviews provided the basis for Remembering Beneath The Big Sky or Ag Cuimhneamh Siar Faoin Spéir Mhór, a catalog of brief overviews, which was composed by Project Director Dr. Bernadette Sweeney, Sandra Williamson, and myself during fall semester of 2011. The overviews were pulled directly from the interviews, allowing quick reference to each interview's themes. The catalog provides a creatively written narrative, to exemplify the contents of the individual interviews, and the information collected from the project as a whole. Contained in these interviews are stories of love, homesteads, ranching, mining, farming, immigration, emigration, legends, myths, politics, society, and personal history. Sandra Williamson's goal is to use the project as a model to develop an educational curriculum for young people to record the histories of their community members by interviewing their elders while attending high school, allowing the project to have a deeper impact both in their individual lives, and in the community at large. I find the most interesting revelation to be the connectivity of our world, as Montanans discuss events in Ireland, and subjects in Ireland speak of events in Montana, which was made readily apparent as I read through indexes and transcripts, as well as listened to interviews to compose the overviews of the catalog. In both instances, the project allows for the preservation of our history, which would otherwise be lost.
Ornamentation in the Baroque and Classical Eras of Music
10:40 AM - 11:00 AM
Many students who study a classical instrument will someday be asked to perform a piece from the Baroque or Classical eras of music. These pieces are standards of the repertoire for almost every instrument and can be very challenging, but many are also simple in nature and are appropriate for younger students. For every level of expertise, one of the most challenging and confusing aspects of these styles of music is ornamentation. In the Baroque and Classical eras, improvisation and ornamentation were expected and if done well, gave the performer a stellar reputation. Improvisation is no longer expected of our current classical performers, but the ornamentation remains. This aspect is made even more difficult by the ever-changing nature of musical tastes. The result is that basic musical ideas, such as trills and grace notes, mean very different things musically, when presented in a Classical piece vs. a Baroque piece. My goal in this project is to use primary sources from the eras and expertise of modern musicians to clarify the stylistically appropriate approaches to ornamentation in the Classical and Baroque eras, and create a resource for other performers to use when approaching their own performance. In my presentation I will explain and demonstrate examples of Classical and Baroque ornamentation through Mozart’s Oboe Concerto in C Major and Telemann’s Oboe Sonata in G minor. I will also briefly explore the important events of the eras that shaped music and performance practice.