Oral Presentations - Session 1D: UC 331
|Friday, April 11th|
Environmental Justice & HidroAysén: Pristine Waters to Power Santiago, Multinational Mining Interests in Chile
David Schaad, University of Montana - Missoula
9:00 AM - 9:20 AM
On May 9, 2011, the Chilean national government under President Sebastián Piñera approved HidroAysén, a controversial hydroelectric megaproject to be constructed in the Aysén region of southern Chile. With HidroAysén expected to flood 5,900 hectares (15,000 acres) of ecologically unique natural reserves and displace local indigenous and working class people, its development raises major environmental justice concerns among Chileans and the international community. The project stalled in 2012 and was placed on long-term hold due to widespread public protests in which tens of thousands of Chileans took to the streets unified by the motto “Patagonia Sin Represas” (Patagonia Without Dams). I was studying abroad in Chile in the spring of 2012 at the height of these demonstrations and was deeply impressed by the aggressive approach and vibrant history of public protest in Chilean society and youth culture.
My research conducted in Spanish and English investigates the environmental justice issues surrounding the HidroAysén project, the various arguments for and against HidroAysén by the major parties bearing a stake in this issue, and the important role and power of mass protest by ordinary citizens who refused to be displaced from their lands and livelihoods for economic development. I highlight the testimonies and perspectives of local people, whose words and voices have been ignored and overridden by national policy. I also draw parallels between HidroAysén and contemporary North American resource development challenges as it is my hope that insights from Chile´s battle for Aysén can inform our own approaches to effective environmental activism.
Straightening out Queer Stereotypes through Literature
Paige M. Ferro, The University Of Montana
9:20 AM - 9:40 AM
Countless stigmas and prejudices abound regarding gender and sexuality issues and the dichotomy between heterosexuality and homosexuality. Even as it has existed as an accepted part of various cultures across time and continents, it continues to go undiscussed and overlooked in many communities due to the fallacies and preconceptions surrounding it. Literature, however, provides an outlet through which one may explore same-sex relationships beyond the common stereotypes and misconceptions. Literature and fiction not only give the writer an opportunity to relate his or her personal or intimate experiences to the world, but also allow the reader a socially-accepted means to approach this difficult issue. Fiction can help reveal the realities behind same-sex love and relations and may put some of the stereotypes to rest.
Through an examination of some of the foundational works in the canon of Queer Studies and Queer Theory, such as Donald E. Hall's Queer Theories and novels such as Emily M. Danforth's The Miseducation of Cameron Post, I will be looking at the ways these works reveal the realities behind same-sex relationships and help dissolve preconceptions and issues surrounding the understanding of homosexuality and what it means to be "queer".
Creating a New Literature: Shimazaki Tōson's Poetry and the Japanese Literary Reform Movement
Grace E. Yon
9:40 AM - 10:00 AM
This research project shows how the poetry of writer Shimazaki Tōson (1872-1943) influenced Japanese literary and language reform movements during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Although Tōson's fiction has often been the focus of critical studies and research, the impact his poetry had on these reform movements and on the shape of modern Japanese literature tends to be overlooked. In this paper, I show the importance of these overlooked works by examining a wide range of Tōson's poems and focusing on the way that they blend classical Japanese natural themes and rhythm, most commonly a 5-7-5 or related syllable pattern, with contemporary Western Romanticism. Upon examination of Tōson's poetry, it becomes clear that these works acted as a bridge between classical literature and contemporary colloquial speech patterns, as well as a bridge between classical Japanese literature and modern, more Western-influenced styles. This bridging process was key to the redefinition of Japanese literature in the modern period. In turn, these changes brought written styles closer to the Japanese actually spoken by most citizens and helped to expand the readership of Japanese literature while showing that this new style could still ring with the rhythm and beauty of traditional Japanese literary forms. Demonstrating the influential nature of Tōson's poetry for Japanese language and literary reform movements, this thesis highlights the importance of often overlooked writing during a transitional period in the history of Japanese literature.
Lauren E. Robinson, University of Montana - Missoula
10:00 AM - 10:20 AM
Today’s drivers are bombarded with distractions, and distracted drivers impact hundreds of lives across the state each year. Whether it’s answering a cell phone, adjusting the radio, controlling screaming children or eating some food, doing multiple tasks while driving has become normal. As part of a documentary project with Montana PBS, this presentation will focus on the emerging quantitative data of accidents caused by distracted drivers. This is a relatively new phenomenon, and researchers are just now noticing and publishing statistics and trends.
It’s unknown how many people are affected by accidents caused by distracted driving, but law enforcement officials say the numbers are higher than traditionally reported, partially because it’s difficult to determine distraction as the main cause of an accident, especially a fatal one. Law enforcement officials and medical examiners have told me that distracted driving causes a high percentage of accidents. I’ve spoken with admittedly distracted drivers; victims of accidents and their families, law enforcement and drivers’ education program coordinators, and all agree that distracted drivers cause a problem on Montana’s roads.
The American cultural need to always be connected and productive fuels the problem, encouraging people to work, text, and network while driving. Numbers from sociological experts continue to emerge, as this phenomenon took off within the last ten years.
The documentary portion will focus on individual, character-driven stories. For my presentation, I explored the statistics and numbers created by taking these, among other stories, as part of a collective whole.
Women’s Sphere to Women’s Strength: Changing Strategies of Dress Reformers from 1850-1900
Eliza M. Visscher, University of Montana - Missoula
10:20 AM - 10:40 AM
In the latter half of the nineteenth century, women’s clothing in the United States embodied the societal restrictions imposed on women. Clothing reform represented a critical cog in the holistic wheel of expanding women’s rights in all fields. Through research of contemporary newspapers, meeting minutes, and secondary scholarship I analyzed the language used by these dress reformers to initiate change. The historic and societal aspects have been extensively researched, but I closely examined the specific way dress reformers persuaded men and women. Dress reformers adapted their strategy as social construction evolved over the century. Meeting little success in their initial targeting of men in popular culture, advocates of clothing reform shifted toward reaching other women, demanding that they find their own voice. My research demonstrates how woman changed their perception of themselves and discovered their ability to alter society in the late nineteenth century.
Ocean Around, Ocean Above: Intersections of Archaeoastronomy and Wayfinding in Oceanian Folklore and the Evolution of Environmental Knowledge Across Polynesian History and Place
Michael P. Capozzoli, University of Montana - Missoula
11:00 AM - 11:20 AM
The purpose of this presentation is to examine a specific case study in place identity, environmental knowledge systems, and cultural modification amongst humans to illustrate how oral folklore can encode the practical knowledge of environmental adaptation. Specifically, we will examine how traditional Polynesian myth-motifs and astronomical observation cumulatively predicted seasonal change, allowing for successul long-distance navigation and the manipulation of marine ecosystems for harvest of foodstuffs.
Reflecting the growing prominence of interdisciplinary approaches to human ecology, my wholly qualitative research was conducted as a survey of diverse literature; thus, the project was largely confined to the library. My methodological approach involved a survey of three realms: (1) historic botanical cultivation and details of food harvest were cited to establish trends in subsistence and environmental change; (2) ethnographic publications were utilized to establish key attributes of regional mythology; and (3) archaeogical reports of excavation at ancient observatories and contemporary firsthand accounts of navigation were used to explore resiliency of environmental adaptation.
The professional work of Dr. Jeffrey A. Gritzner, which articulates aspects of human ecology from a multidisciplinary perspective, has influenced both my approach to research and its written presentation. The extensive expertise of Patrick V. Kirch invaluably contributes to our discussion; additionally, regional expert Dr. David Lewis has regularly drawn correlations between oral folklore and environmental competency. I submit that my work is original because I propose that Polynesian mythology reflects an awareness of Earth as an interconnected system in the “modern sense,” a consideration that suggests Polynesian astronomers were relatively more “correct” about the functioning of ecosystems than previously assumed. Thus, the second half of this presentation situates environmental knowledge in a contemporary setting and addresses the perseverance of Polynesian navigation skills into modern times, reflecting the value and reliability of folkloric tradition as a means of environmental adaptation.