Oral Presentations - Session 2C: UC 331


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Friday, April 17th
1:40 PM

Reading, Walking, and Writing the Camino de Santiago

Rebecca Collins, University of Montana - Missoula

UC 331

1:40 PM - 2:00 PM

Santiago de Compostela, a city in Galicia, Spain, has been said since the 8th century to hold the remains of St. James, an apostle and the patron saint of Spain. Old walking routes, still in use, fork all throughout the European continent toward this singular destination, with the collective label of the “Way of St. James,” (the Camino de Santiago in Spanish, Le Chemin du St. Jacques in French). For nine months of this past year, the Camino de Santiago and the study of pilgrimage was my singular destination as well. I studied the history of pilgrimage, European pilgrimage literature, and travel- and spirituality-based nature writing. I then left my books and completed the pilgrimage myself, starting about a thousand miles away in the town of Le Puy outside of Lyon, France. The nature writing I will present is my attempt to synthesize my research and experience into an account of my pilgrimage. I have reworked my notes from journals on the pilgrimage, pieces of the studies I completed in the summer, and tales and histories that I learned on the Camino route into my essays, works of creative scholarship, which use my personal experience as a medium to speak of essential themes in pilgrimage—rites of passage, burdens, creating new temporary communities, walking through a blend of myth and history, and searching for a great mystery.

2:00 PM

“Have You Got Good Religion?”: The SNCC Freedom Singers and American Civil Rights

Reagan Colyer, University of Montana - Missoula

UC 331

2:00 PM - 2:20 PM

In the turbulent environment of the American civil rights movement, music served a multitude of purposes: it provided unity, emotional release, social commentary, and simply an occupation for participants in sit ins, marches, and rallies. The Freedom Singers were a group of college-age musicians brought together through the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. While they were active, they performed for hundreds of thousands of people on college campuses, at marches and even in prisons. Their main goal was to further SNCC’s mission of registering black voters, but they accomplished much more: they played an integral role in incorporating northern white college students into the movement, and without them the activist community with its many social classes, faith backgrounds, and political slants would have been even more difficult to unite. Writing this paper, I conducted extensive primary and secondary research. I was lucky enough to interview Rutha Mae Harris, one of the original members of the Freedom Singers, and learn about her experience and memories. Recordings and videos also added to the context of the paper. The argument presented here is unique for several reasons. It places the Freedom Singers in their own time and place with other actors in the movement rather than applying their methods to today’s society. I applied Ninian Smart’s tiered analysis of religion in a unique exploration of sacred music by focusing on music as a complex social force rather than simply entertainment or art. While some scholars have examined music’s role in the civil rights movement, very few have focused specifically on the Freedom Singers, who were unique because of both their age and their integration of political, religious and social commentary in song. Without them, the upheaval that was the civil rights movement would likely have lasted much longer, and could have ended quite differently.

2:20 PM

Tell It On the Mountain: Fannie Lou Hamer’s Pastoral and Prophetic Styles of Leadership as Acts of Public Prayer

Breanna Barber, University of Montana - Missoula

UC 331

2:20 PM - 2:40 PM

Fannie Lou Hamer grew up in an impoverished sharecropping family in Ruleville, Mississippi. In 1962, she became active in the Civil Rights Movement and her dual leadership style would prove central to the African-American struggle for civil rights. The duality of Hamer’s model of leadership centered on acts of public prayer in a prophetic style, through public speaking and discourse, and a pastoral style, through the use of sung prayer. This research examines why Hamer used this model of leadership, how this leadership style was constructed, and relays why this leadership style proved to be so influential to the grassroots organization of the Civil Rights Movement. This research also analyzes the ways Hamer’s acts of public prayer culminated in a prophetic style and pastoral style during her time as a civil rights leader. It explores the results of this combined leadership style and how this inspired strength, solidarity, and a sense of safety with her community in Ruleville and the Civil Rights Movement at large. This research draws from a rich primary source base, gathered largely from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History in Jackson, Mississippi. Unlike past biographical accounts of Hamer's life, this work examines her dual leadership style which provides a deeper understanding of the role of religion in the Civil Rights Movement. Importantly, this scholarship demonstrates the importance of African-American women’s leadership during the Civil Rights Movement. Women’s participation historically has been understood in terms of supporting roles instead of leadership positions. Rarely explored, Hamer's foundational activism embodies both religious heritage and African-American women's traditions.

2:40 PM

Global Solutions to Local Problems: How the Global Community Responded to the Ebola Outbreak of 2014

Nicole Thelen, University of Montana - Missoula

UC 331

2:40 PM - 3:00 PM

Health crises are often met with much support from the global health aid communities, who strive to contain the current health crisis and improve the conditions of the affected society. The recent Ebola outbreak of 2014 is no exception. Driven by public panic and media coverage, the global health community responded in force, dispatching aid organizations, monetary help, and military assistance to both assist those affected with the disease and prevent it from spreading. The World Health Organization, along with Doctors without Borders and many other global organizations, swept in to provide aid to the affected areas. This project examines how these organizations responded to this particular outbreak as well as examining how the global health community responds to health crises in general. It will look at the possible negative impacts of unhindered foreign aid, specifically how the presence of so many possibly conflicting aid organizations in one area attempting to solve a health problem can inhibit local aid work, damage local infrastructure, and insult local culture and practices. The project will examine the importance of empowering and retaining the autonomy of local communities and working with them to create a framework that will sustain itself, address future potential problems, and rely on local organizations and resources. Using a combination of news articles, books, social studies of the area and of providing health aid in general, and interviews with Michele Sare (a nurse, author, and advocate for local autonomy in developing countries) and George Risi (a doctor who responded to the Ebola epidemic), this project will use the crisis of Ebola in Africa as a study in how the global health community should aim to respond to health crises.

3:00 PM

From Odysseus to Odyssia: Exploring a Gender-Bent Adaptation of The Odyssey

Cris Jardon, University of Montana - Missoula

UC 331

3:00 PM - 3:20 PM

This interdisciplinary research project combines the disciplines of literature and women’s and gender studies by examining a gender-bent graphic novel adaptation of a literary classic where the gender roles have been switched. The Greek classic The Odyssey follows the journey of the warrior Odysseus and his men as they return home from the Trojan War. The graphic novel adaptation ODY-C by Matt Fraction and Christian Ward creates a gender-bent version of the primarily masculine realm of Odysseus’ world. This adaptation explores the implications of gender by transferring the tale into the feminine realm of the female warrior Odyssia and the women who follow her. Switching the gender of the characters prompts the readers to more directly view our assumptions about the gender roles in the original text. My analysis of The Odyssey through its adaptation ODY-C illuminates these gendered aspects of the plot and characters that may often be overlooked. ODY-C incorporates feminine elements such as maternity while also maintaining the elements of warrior culture that are traditionally coded as masculine. This analytical comparison of the original text and its adaptation is informed by existing scholarly contributions about The Odyssey and allows us to reexamine culturally constructed roles of masculinity and femininity.

3:20 PM

Fatal Woman, Revisited: Understanding Female Stereotypes In Film Noir

Danielle Smith, University of Montana - Missoula

UC 331

3:20 PM - 3:40 PM

Film noir stereotypes female characters through the femme fatale: fatal woman or wife. However, critics are currently re-examining the femme fatale. For example, in Film Noir’s Progressive Portrayal of Women, Blaser and Blaser write “even when [film noir] depicts women as dangerous and worthy of destruction, [it] also shows that women are confined by the roles traditionally open to them.” With that sentiment in mind, can one say that the femme fatale generates fear of feminism? Can one read her as a martyr and a heroine? I will examine facets of the femme fatale in modern and classic iterations, while contextualizing women’s historical roles in society.

3:40 PM

Inviting the Divine: The Role of Clerical Clothing during the Civil Rights Movement

Charley Bromley, University of Montana - Missoula

UC 331

3:40 PM - 4:00 PM

During the Civil Rights Movement, the Catholic Church underwent many internal changes as a result of the Second Vatican Council. The church’s new views toward human rights often conflicted with the actions and policies of southern segregationist Dioceses. But when clergyfolk who supported integration made a stand and protested in favor of equality, they were met with special obstacles. This paper examines the role clerical clothing played in the Civil Rights Movement. When priests wore their clerical collars, and nuns wore their habits in political action, it was not only a form of protest; it was prayer. Drawing on the private papers and correspondence of the men and women who marched and fought for change as well the accounts of those who threatened, attacked, and in some cases murdered them, this paper shows that the members of the clergy who wore their religious garb during political protest faced increased hardships and violence. The actions of the clergy during this time are well documented, but this paper, by focusing on clerical garb, represents a new understanding of its role in the movement.

4:00 PM

Crop Swap Missoula: Food Waste and the Sharing Solution

Cathryn Raan, University of Montana - Missoula

UC 331

4:00 PM - 4:20 PM

Collaborative consumption is defined by the expression's founder, Rachel Botsman, as an economic model based on sharing, swapping, trading, or renting products and services, enabling access over ownership. Whereas peer-to-peer exchanges were only practical within small networks of friends, family, and neighbors before, the internet and mobile technology has allowed us to share almost anything, anytime. The movement began slowly in the mid-nineties with websites such as Craigslist and eBay allowing for the exchange of goods between users, but with the 2008 recession putting a financial strain on millions, along with the awareness that we must conserve the planet's diminishing resources, the “sharing economy” began to grow at record pace, and is showing no signs of slowing down. Yet while there are countless examples of community exchange platforms, and more springing up everyday, there is not an efficient widespread platform for the sharing of food. It is estimated that nearly one half of all food produced is discarded, wasting valuable natural resources and costing billions. Using existing models of peer-to-peer exchange, this report will guide the creation of Crop Swap Missoula, a small-scale online food exchange in Missoula, Montana. The exchange will allow for the sale, donation, or trade of surplus food items among users, reducing food waste within the community. The potential financial, environmental and social benefits of the project will be considered, and problems that may occur in the process anticipated. Similar platforms often fail due to insufficient supply and demand, a lack of product focus, an unclear value scheme, not enough funding, or regulatory issues. Each of these concerns will be discussed as they apply to Crop Swap, and potential solutions explored.