|Wednesday, April 17th|
Dusty S. Keim, University of Montana, Missoula
9:00 AM - 9:20 AM
When the world is in chaos, where do we go to rediscover ourselves and make sense of it all? In this paper, I posit that the locales of the desert and the ocean are conceptualized as “blank” or “empty” in the Western imagination, and serve as sites to stage and asses the existential angst caused by sociocultural upheaval. Both The Tempest (1610) by William Shakespeare and The Sheltering Sky (1949) by Paul Bowles use the ocean and the desert, respectively, as spaces in which to stage and asses the angst borne of the massive sociocultural and national upheavals the authors experienced in their respective time periods. Both pieces also place Western material culture, specifically clothing, at the center of these explorations, imposing Western material goods on these otherwise consumer-less spaces. A pivotal scene in The Sheltering Sky comes when American “travelers” Port and Kit Moresby, are on the very edge of “Western” civilization in a hotel in Bou Narou, and Port is “amused to watch [Kit] building her pathetic little fortress of Western culture in the middle of the wilderness" (156). The Tempest’s subtle obsession with clothing is also indicative of the desire to cling to Western material culture while attempting to remake one’s self in a space that is perceived in the Western imagination as having no history or culture of its own. I will consider specifically postmodern and Marxist critiques of these texts to explore the meaning of Western material culture. In addition, I will consider the Romantic conception of the sublime to understand why the desert and the ocean are sites of self-actualization, and thus draw parallels between the disillusionment and anxieties facing both Shakespeare and Bowles.
9:20 AM - 9:40 AM
Power is often understood in terms of "having the power to do something" ('power-to') and "having power over someone" ('power-over'), and these two conceptual understandings of power are reflected in feminist political theory. 'Power-to' is a positive expression of power, and reclaiming or extending this form of power is often the goal of feminist movements. Historical examples of women reclaiming positive power include women's suffrage, or the Equal Pay Act. 'Power-over' represents negative expression of power, and is often the type of power attributed to oppressors and the dominant narrative. Due to the characterization and uses of these two types of power, 'power-to' can be viewed as normatively good, while 'power-over' can be viewed as normatively bad. To understand how feminist theorists define power, my research will review theorists from Liberal, Radical, Marxist, and Post Structural schools of feminist thought. I will compare their analyses with the dichotomy of power described above, and then provide contemporary examples of withholding or sharing a privileged knowledge or experience to generate power and sociopolitical changes. My research will analyze the concepts of power and knowledge; I will explore power as women's knowledge of their unique experiences, which can be weaponized to further empower feminist movements Specifically, I aim to address the following questions: In instances where society values the unique experiences of women, can their knowledge of this experience be an instrument of power? And once this value has been assigned, can the freedom to share or withhold their knowledge of a unique experience be employed to create sociopolitical changes for women? If women were to employ this type of power, would it manifest as positive expression of power or negative expression of power? This paper will also provide a normative framework within which to understand power through knowledge and move forward.
9:40 AM - 10:00 AM
The story of American Suffragists is often condensed to a short list of notable figures, glazing over the tireless efforts of women advocating for voting rights in their communities. Within Montana, there is a rich history of women's activism beyond our beloved Jeanette Rankin. My research project is designed to contribute to an online suffrage database overseen by The Center for the Historical Study of Women and Gender. I have conducted research on Mrs. Clara Sherley Tower, president of The Montana Woman's Suffrage Association from 1903 to 1909. I conducted my research through combing online genealogy databases, census records, and consulting historical written records such as local newspapers. I have compiled a comprehensive narrative of the life of Mrs. Tower, and her significant contributions to the plight ofboth Montanan and national women's suffrage. Her activism showcases the significance oflocal organizers, as well as the close ties between suffrage and twentieth century progressivism.
10:00 AM - 10:20 AM
In the three decades following Augusto Pinochet's 1973 coup of Chilean president Salvador Allende, a politically informed artistic response began to emerge from Chile's novelists, poets, and playwrights. Due, in part, to the diasporic nature ofthe Chilean literary communitypost-Pinochet, this response was certainly not uniform. The literature that this paper will examine has been selected based not only on its categorization as work that was informed by and reflective of the political crisis in Chile, but also its interest in the degree to which literature produced under authoritarian regimes can become complicit in those regimes' functioning. Short stories, novellas, and speeches by novelist and poet Roberto Bolaiio will be used to consider the artist's understanding of the role ofthe writer within a repressive, authoritarian state. What was the relationship between Bolafi.o and the literary community at large under Pinochet? For whom, and to whom, was he speaking? What is the relationship between romantic literary notions of exile and the reality of both exile and complicity as experienced by artists during Pinochet's regime? This paper explores the politics ofliterary resistance and complicity, literary exile and literal exile, and ultimately uses an analysis of the function of literature under Pinochet to draw broader conclusions about the role of artists during times of political crisis and repression.
10:20 AM - 10:40 AM
Psychonaut neurodiversity is the idea that there are people who live their best life through the use of psychedelic substances. This project explores this idea by drawing on my personal experience with western medicine and psychedelics, as well as interviews with drug policy and education reform advocates in Australia. The absurdity of current drug policy and education with respect to LSD is brought into the light. In doing so, it brings into question the rationale behind all drug policy and education.
10:40 AM - 11:00 AM
In the United States the Constitution protects controversial speech such as libel toward public figures, flag burning, and hate speech. A common argument for protecting such speech is that it is political and contributes to the greater public debate. Restricting such speech would be restricting political dissent which could have dangerous effects for our democracy. However, hate speech, I argue, does not always constitute political dissent when it is directed towards private individuals and could thus warrant restriction. For this project I have entered a debate between several notable philosophers to include Ronald Dworkin, James Weinstein, Frederick Schauer, Thomas Scanlon, and Jeremey Waldron who disagree about whether there should be hate speech bans and to what affect they would have on society. Their argument relies on a distinction which I want to call into question: 'downstream' laws are antidiscrimination and violence laws that protect people from ideologies like sexism and racism; 'upstream' laws that the ones that target hate speech and dissent against downstream laws. Opponents of hate speech bans, like Dworkin, are worried that these bans will restrict a person's ability to politically dissent. I argue that this distinction is incorrect and that hate speech bans should also be considered downstream laws that protect people in a similar manner that antidiscrimination laws do. Further, I argue that there is no concern that a person's political speech would be restricted if this distinction can be proven incorrect. Along the way I have examined the various articles and books by the interlocutors, Supreme Court cases, and recent developments in free speech cases. After reading a more recent debate between several philosophers, political scientists, and legal theorist, I feel that I could contribute significantly to what has been said because it would undermine a keep assumption made by all.
Hamilton Q. Platt, University of Montana, Missoula
1:40 PM - 2:00 PM
Cities and towns are expanding across the western United States into historic areas of wildlife habitat. Many species such as white-tailed deer, mule deer, and even elk are adapting to effectively live alongside humans in urban areas. However, animals and humans living in close proximity often creates problems with public safety as animals can become aggressive to people or damage property. Our study looks at how the City of Helena, Montana is managing a population of overabundant urban mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) using culling in order to reduce population density. We used distance sampling data to determine that the population density of mule deer in Helena has fallen significantly since the culling program was implemented. We also found that the amount of deer-human conflict that was reported to the Helena Police Department was directly correlated with mule deer population density. This supports the conclusion that culling is an effective tool for reducing population density of, and therefore conflict associated with, overabundant urban ungulates. However, we also found that the effort and cost required to remove each deer was quite variable year-to-year, but tended to increase slightly over time as the deer became trap-wise. This suggests that while culling may be an effective tool to reduce these populations initially, cities may want to look into a combination of immunocontraceptives and targeted culling for long-term population management.
2:00 PM - 2:20 PM
Grizzly bears have been a major topic in the U.S. this year with the overruling of their delisting from the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Public concern and imminent management decisions require a clear understanding of human-bear conflicts. It is important to understand the factors of grizzly-caused human injuries and fatalities so that wildlife managers can mitigate public risk and better determine appropriate population sizes. This information will also be valuable in educating the public on situations that might increase the likelihood of grizzly bear conflict. At this time reports about grizzly attacks on humans in the lower 48 states are not compiled and there has been no recent analysis of the characteristics of these conflicts. I will review newspaper reports for information on grizzly bear attacks on humans in the lower 48 states, specifically Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and Washington. I will use a combination of online newspaper databases and indexed periodicals to collect data back to 1975. I will also contact government agencies in the study area to gather further information. Each humanbear conflict will be categorized as having one of four encounter outcomes; attack (injury), attack (mortality), bear deterred or bear mortality. I will also gather information on variables surrounding the attack, like habitat type, time of day and human group size. To analyze these data, I will first summarize data with simple frequencies and proportions. I will use linear regression analysis to investigate change in number of attacks overtime compared to change in human and grizzly populations. Then I will complete a logistic regression analysis to assess the importance of covariates in explaining the difference in attack outcomes.
2:20 PM - 2:40 PM
The paradigm of population regulation is one of ecology's more controversial foundations, with arguments about the role of density dependence versus independence persisting throughout much of the 20th century. With time, the intensity of opposition has diminished, and ecologists acknowledge that both lend a hand in driving populations. There is less consensus about how to properly incorporate these ideas into population models. In practice, they are routinely included in models with an additive relationship. This means that density dependence and independence are both happening, but with no interaction. Although common, this method ignores the existence of a carrying capacity (K), which is a concept at the forefront of ecological theory. K determines the number of individuals able to persist in a given area and is driven by density-independent variables. Survival is then driven by the current density in relation to K, implying a sometimes complicated interaction between density and density-independent covariates. The purpose of this project is to quantify the importance of including this interaction (as in ecological theory) in estimates of survival in a wildlife population. I simulated data under a scenario with a time-varying carrying capacity and then used three models to estimate survival. Model one assumes survival was directly affected by an environmental covariate. Model two assumes an additive relationship between density and an environmental covariate. Model three matches ecological theory and assumes that survival is determined by an interaction between density and K driven by an environmental covariate. By comparing the survival estimates of each model, I can assess how far off the predictions are when the proper model is not used. The results of this study could have important implications for wildlife management by telling us how inaccurate current survival estimates could be. Utilizing this new method of survival estimation could help improve management of wildlife populations.
Lindsey Barnard, University of Montana, Missoula
2:40 PM - 3:00 PM
Snowshoe hares seasonally molt from a brown pelage in the summer to a white pelage in the winter. This coat color change allows them to maintain camouflage needed for survival. Climate change threatens snowshoe hares by increasing the number of days individuals are white on a brown background, thereby decreasing defense effectiveness and increasing the likelihood of predation. It is unknown whether or not snowshoe hares will genetically adapt as quickly as climate change is occurring. Behavioral plasticity, however, is a mechanism that may allow this species to quickly adapt to fewer days of snowpack. To investigate the tendency for behavioral plasticity in snowshoe hares, I used captive snowshoe hares to test whether or not they can recognize their own camouflage mismatch and select ground cover that matches their coat color in both the presence and absence of a simulated predator. From both predator absent and predator present surveillance data, I was able to determine that snowshoe hares may have a tendency to select backgrounds that aid in camouflage but do not behave in ways that would increase their likelihood of avoiding predation.
Kelcie J. Murphy, University of Montana, Missoula
4:00 PM - 4:20 PM
I hesitantly begin writing this, a research paper and memoir on one of the most notable controversies in contemporary historical debate: the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. I really don’t know if that’s even a subject, a concoction of both historical research and memoir, written in undergraduate, graduate, or even postgraduate theses. I want to be as honest to myself as I can in this documentation. What if I get it wrong? What if I miss something? As a Jew, an American, and a peace activist, I have examined what I could, I have lived where I could, and I have thought what I could. As William Cronon presents in The Goals of a Liberal Education, the ideal student learns to articulate the difficulties and nuances of life, practice humility, ask questions, be compassionate, and connect with others. From the nightlife of Tel Aviv and gated community of Bat-Hefer to the hellish occupation and settlements of Hebron and inconceivable life in multitudes of UNRWA refugee camps, I know that I have done the best that I could. I don’t know to what extent this fits in with professional academia, but I hope it does. It’s to my belief that history is made of memoirs. History is made of the everyday interactions with one another, from purchasing pickled beets in the souk with the sympathetic Hamas or Fatah supporting Palestinians to war-talk with Israeli soldiers over fine wine. Maybe this conclusion will change, maybe it won’t, but I want the broadest readership to know that I believe I truly took into consideration what is at stake for every community in whatever this land extending from the eastern Mediterranean to the Jordan River is called. This paper details the settler expansion of Area C and closed military zones in the Occupied West Bank and provides an assessment on the reality of a two-state solution.
4:20 PM - 4:40 PM
My topic of choice concerns the evolution of public space in American cities and towns as occasioned by the rise of the automobile and suburbanization in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It is an examination of the street's shift from public space to transportation corridor, and of the battle and discourse over this shift. Combined with increasing suburbanization, this shift led to a profound realignment of governmental policy regarding streets. My project deals with the impact of the growing presence of cars on the structure of early 20th century cities in the US, primarily focusing on Missoula, MT.
The American street's transition from public space to single-purpose transportation conduit is deeply reflective of broader currents in Gilded Age American society. As a result of suburbanization and the rise of the automobile, the streets' role in the eyes of the influential and powerful thus dramatically shifted from a common ground to a conduit of transportation. This evolution in the nature of the street had broad impacts on the structure and culture of cities and towns.
This shift was deeply impactful on American society. By examining Missoula, a far smaller city in a region previously largely unexplored by urban transportation history, much can be gained--what little study of this transition that exists has focused overwhelmingly on larger, primarily Eastern cities. Thus, I will contribute to the study of urbanization and transportation in twentieth century America.
I plan to complete this project by conducting original primary research, primarily in Missoula, on this topic. My sources span from governmental safety and transportation reports and municipal ordinances to discourse on the topic in local press. I am working with local and state archives, and am also incorporating prior research on the nationwide evolution into my work.
4:40 PM - 5:00 PM
The purpose of this study is to examine the experience of social isolation and loneliness among older adults living in Missoula, Montana, and the possibility that affection and gratitude may help ameliorate these negative states. The research questions for this study are: How do older adults perceive social isolation and loneliness? What experiences do elderly people associate with affection and gratitude? Do elderly individuals who are socially isolated see themselves as such? What experiences of affection and/or gratitude do elderly individuals typically remember receiving? Which persons do elderly individuals associate most strongly with feelings of affection and/or gratitude? How do elderly individuals typically handle situations where they feel socially isolated and/or lonely? To answer these questions, the researchers created interview questions that answered these queries. The researchers recruited approximately 13 older adults through Missoula Aging Services, and have so far conducted over 10 interviews for the study. The researchers expect to find that older adults do struggle with social and isolation, and that experiences of gratitude and affection are positive and uplifting for older adults, no matter the individual differences in perceiving them. Expressing gratitude and affection is a low-cost and high benefit health practice, and both have been shown to help increase feelings of well-being and the potential to decrease the negative effects that accompany social isolation and loneliness. The researchers hope to contribute to the growing body of research about the positive effects of gratitude and affection with their findings. They also want to contribute to the field of studying older adults, since they are an under studied population.