Glasscock Graduate Research Fellowship Archives

2016-2017 | 2015-2016| 2014-2015 | 2013-2014

The Glasscock Center for Humanities Research annually funds up to ten Graduate Research Fellowships at $2,000 each. The outcome should be a dissertation or a thesis, or a significant portion thereof. These students make up the community of graduate scholars who populate the Graduate Colloquium Series and use it as a tool to improve their own writing and projects and help each other to improve the quality of the work being produced as a group.

Academic Year 2016-2017

Yoandy Cabrera Ortega, PhD student in the Department of Hispanic Studies, will work on a project titled, “Rhetoric and Power: Myths and Politics in the Hispanic World.” In this project, Yoandy argues that the use of myth is not only a way of cultural legitimation, but is a tool to debate, question and/or overcome politics and morality. Her research aims to fill the gap in the existing research on the differences and connections between the Early Modern Hispanic World and contemporary time. This is done by prioritizing the relationship between classical myths and politics in the Hispanic world. The focus on the Early Modern Hispanic World and the Technological revolution allows for better understanding of the effects myths, and the reinterpretation of myths, have on politics and rhetoric, at points of irreversible societal change.

Brittany Leckey, PhD student in the Department of Philosophy, will work on a project titled, “…and Sometimes a Monolith is Just a Monolith: A Benjaminian Reading of Kubrick’s 2001: Space Odyssey.” Brittany’s project seeks to discuss how film epitomizes a potential for interpretive free play by providing viewers an opportunity to engage with it existentially, ethically, and pedagogically as much as—if not more than—other forms of art. Her research focuses on films that are pedagogical in that they offer the viewer these opportunities to engage in critical thought but then refuse to offer them clear or conclusive answers in the end. Entering into this ongoing debate in philosophical aesthetics and claiming that we can consider film as artistically valuable despite its presence as a mass-produced cultural artifact challenges the current claims that popular forms of film could never be considered art.

Dadao Hou, PhD student in the Department of Sociology, will work on a project titled, “An Organizational Political Economy Analysis of Bank and Securitization.” This project investigates securitization as a corporate behavior in the U.S. banking industry. Taking up the organizational political economy perspective; Dadao’s research investigates the dynamics between the state and the banking section in the spread of special purpose vehicle (SPV) use. The main questions this project seeks to answer are how did banks gain the property right to use SPVs? And how did capital requirements change in such a way that encourages securitization via SPVs? This project is situated so that it fills the gap in research on the dynamics between the banking sector and the government agencies that impacted the capital requirement deregulation that stimulate SPV use and securitization.

Grace E. Tsai, PhD student in the Department of Anthropology, will work on a project titled, “Sea Biscuit and Salted Beef: An Experimental Archaeological Study on Shipboard Food.” This project will explore and attempt to gage the nutritional value of shipboard diets of seamen on seventeenth century English ships. The food and storing methods will be based on the provisions found on the Warwick—an English galleon that sank in 1619. Additionally, Grace aims at creating a standardized research manual on experimental archeology methodology seeing that no standardized guide currently exists. By replicating the types of foods eaten by sailors and their food storage methods, Grace hopes to determine the effects of the shipboard diet on the sailors’ health. Historically, there are two views; one which holds that shipboard food was appalling or that they ate well and the typical representation of shipboard food is an exaggeration. Conducting this research will allow Grace to refute or support historical accounts related to shipboard food and sailors’ experiences on ships due to the two opposing views on the subject.

Youmi Jung, PhD student in the Department of English, will work on a project titled, “Lady Libertines and Female Freethinkers in Early Modern English Drama and Society.” The project examines the role women played in libertinism. Recent scholarship on libertinism focuses on the men in Charles II’s court and depicts women as passive and interchangeable objects. Youmi’s project focuses on the role women play in both Charles II’s court and in the theatre as well as their effects on libertinism thereby revising their role of mistresses to active agents. The revision of women’s role leads to two fundamental questions this projects hopes to answer: why are male libertine acts considered to convey political, social, and cultural agendas whereas female libertine acts can be dismissed as promiscuity of “loose women,” and  can women’s libertine acts be considered a type of social commentary (possibly on their social status).

Shuru Zhong, PhD student in the Department of Anthropology, will work on a project titled, “Retail Revolution in Question: Competitions between Traditional Traders and Modern Retailers in China’s Food Market.” This project examines the rise of “traditional” food retailers—open-air markets, mom-and-pop stores, and itinerant street vendors—in China over the past three decades despite the country’s rapid urbanization and the government’s support of “modern” food retailers. The project intends to identify what factors contribute the relative success of the traditional food sector in China by focusing on the interactions between the government, marketers, and consumers. In this region, global food retailers are quickly expanding yet the traditional food retailers continue to dominate the market. This may suggest that globalization, at least in the case of the food retail sector, is not a simple linear path where the emergence of the “modern” marks the demise of the “traditional.”

Hwayoung Yi, PhD student in the Department of English, will work on a project titled, “Travelling Women: Mobility, Region, and Women in Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century American Literature.” This project focuses on the role of gender within American Regionalism. This literary movement began after the Civil War and is often considered a female genre. It offers readers nostalgic consolation for anxieties caused by unprecedented social and political changes. This genre operates on the opposition between man’s mobility and woman’s stasis. Hwayoung’s project challenges these roles by examining how traveling women tropes operate within the genre. By doing this, gender acquires major significance in regionalism not because it is a female genre, but because of the major significance of women in the literature moving between places, leaving their traces, and changing themselves and their worlds. Viewing the traveling woman as representative of ideas and issues relevant to the geographical spaces and cultural backgrounds of the literature allows for a more nuanced understanding of gender within the genre.

Kelsey Harper, PhD student in the Department of Hispanic Studies, will work on a project titled, “Peruvian Spanish in the United States.” This project will describe linguistic features of one of the lesser-represented Hispanic minority groups, Peruvians.  It will focus on their linguistic characteristics and gauge whether this minority maintains its own national identity or assimilates to the larger groups. As well as, which linguistic mechanisms a subset of the minority population employs to maintain their national identity. This project hopes to reveal how linguistic minorities in general and Peruvians in particular feel about their own linguistic changes and what they believe is gained and lost in the migratory process. The U.S. Peruvian population is rapidly growing and this research will answer questions on how this minority population adapts to the new cultural and linguistic setting.

Guillame Boiaris Thibault, PhD student in the Department of Political Science, will work on a project titled, “Machiavelli and Florentine NeoPlatonism.” Using Machiavelli’s insights regarding political education and virtue, this project seeks to discuss how contemporary democracies can recognize the best opinions when confronted with conflicting political views. Guillame’s reading of Machiavelli challenges most scholarship in that he argues that Machiavelli can be understood through his relationship with Platonic philosophy.  Themes such as education, knowledge of the good, virtue, judgement, and good laws are central to the philosophy of Machiavelli and Plato. Furthermore, most scholars’ claims of Machiavelli’s rejection of Plato seem unlikely due to the inescapable influence Plato had on Machiavelli’s intellectual world. Understanding Machiavelli’s relationship to Plato allows for a better understanding of his view on human nature, education and virtue then impacts contemporary political decision making.

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Academic Year 2015-2016

Katherine Ann Calle Willyard, PhD student in the Department of Sociology, will work on a project titled, “Corporate-State Relations and State Environmental Policy: Texas Flaring Regulations, 1930-2014.” In this project, Katherine argues that the flaring of natural gas (i.e. burning off natural gas that is not captured in the production process) is a significant and understudied contributor to the greenhouse gas emissions associated with global temperature increase. Her research aims to fill the gap in the existing research on the politics behind state flaring regulations in three ways:  examining historical shifts in Texas flaring regulations, describing how corporations and other social actors attempt to influence Texas flaring regulations, and identifying the historical conditions under which corporations mobilize to influence state flaring policies. Katherine’s central focus is on how previous events impact future events and policy incomes.

Michela Russo, PhD student in the Department of Hispanic Studies, will work on a project titled, “Visual Arts and the ‘Pink Tide’: Thinking the Image as Dialogue, Contestation or Adaptation to State Discourse.” This project aims to discuss those aspects of contemporary Latin American visual arts, particularly cinema, that have emerged as dialogue, adaptation, or contestation to state discourse during the so-called “Socialism of the 21stcentury,” or “pink tide.” These expressions refer to a number of leftist shifts in many Latin American countries, such as Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay, and Venezuela during the past two decades, which were characterized by the election of new governments with a popular majority mandate and often accompanied by constitutional changes (and, consequently, newly emergent forms of democracy).

Jennifer Gaffney, PhD student in the Department of Philosophy, will work on a project titled, “From Citizenship to the Space of Appearance: Arendt, Haiti, and the Problem of Political Exclusion.” Taking up the philosophical problem of political exclusion and citizen’s rights, Jennifer’s project challenges the idea that rights of citizenship ought to be expanded to those who have yet to be integrated within the structure of liberal democracy by critically examining current notions of citizenship for coming to terms with the global impact of the European legacy of slavery and colonization on political practice today.  Drawing upon the works of political philosopher Hannah Arendt, Jennifer shows that overcoming exclusion today involves not only citizenship but also the unending political task of coming to terms with the history of exclusion that is entailed by the very implementation of citizenship.

Soyeun Nam, PhD student in the Department of Geography, will work on a project titled, “’Rediscovering’ Natures: Neoliberal Territorialization on Jeju Island, South Korea.” This research examines how struggles between states and NGOs over controlling ‘nature’ deepen the marginalization of those who derive their livelihoods and identity from the land. This project investigates the process of neoliberal entrepreneurship supported by the local government as it strives for regional development.   Local residents find themselves entangled in both state and NGO power struggles, while simultaneously attempting to maintain agricultural livelihoods and close kinship relations disrupted by recent attempts at ecological conservation and economic development. These changes have generated growing concerns about soaring property values and threats to local identities among Jeju Island’s local residents.  Soyeun’s research will contribute to emerging land grab literature by expanding its scope to the capital of Chinese nationality, literature on the simultaneous production of nature and scale, and debates on the false dichotomy of “developed” and “developing” world political ecologies.

Ian Abbey, PhD student in the Department of History, will work on a project titled, “Raiding and Trading on the Spanish Lake: The Woodes Rogers Privateering Expedition 1708-1711.” This project will explore several facets of the expedition of Woodes Rogers, a Britsol shipowner, privateer, and Royal Governor of the Bahamas, who was best known as the rescuer of Alexander Selkirk, the marooned sailor whose experiences formed the genesis for Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. Notably, it will seek to understand how a single expedition, initially compromising two ships and three hundreds officers and crew, illustrates important facets of the contemporary world, particularly in the mercantile, legal, and social fields. It will gauge the importance of Rogers, a skilled mariner but an inexperienced privateer and fighter, compared to that of more famous, specialized explorers and privateers. Ian will also consider the important of the expedition in the context of the War of Spanish Succession, which engulfed Europe at this time.

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Academic Year 2014-2015

Soyoun Kim, PhD student in the Department of English, worked on a project titled, “Playing at Board Games: A Working-Class Orphan’s Endless Quest for Respectability in Ragged Dick.” This project examines how the sense of homelessness and displacement in nineteenth-century British and American literature is related to both the formation of domestic ideology and nation building. In particular, it focuses on the orphan characters who strive to establish their “true home” either inside or outside their own country. The direct relationship between the orphan figures and the problem of nation-building has not yet been thoroughly examined through the lens of cultural geography. By combining these approaches, Soyoun’s research seeks to better understand the ways in which nienteenth0century ideologies regarding home and nation are represented through the orphans’ quest for a home.

Anne Arundel Locker-Thaddeus, PhD student in the Department of Anthropology, worked on a project titled, “Changing Individuals, Changing Folklore: Mexican-American Women, the “First-Year Experience,“ at a Borderlands University, and the narrative ‘La Llorona’.” This project systematically scrutinizes the long-recognized but seldom closely examined dynamic between an individual’s cultural experience and the ubiquitous individual variations in folklore rendition. Anne’s project posits that individual cultural changes will affect how stories are told by the individual, which can in turn affect a group’s negotiated culture. This study uses a longitudinal design to compare one ubiquitous Mexican-American legend—La Llorona—as told before and after the widely recognized cultural expansion experienced by the majority of college students over their first year enrolled at a four-year, state-funded university.

Jared Miracle, PhD student in the Department of Anthropology, worked on a project titled, “Western Bushido: The American Invention of Asian Martial Arts.” This project is an investigation into the process of a rapid social shift that took place during the 1960s and 1970s, the effects of which are still being experienced, as members of an American subculture adopted a practice-based group identity, weaved narratives around that identity, and repurposed a militaristic, pre-war Japanese activity to suit the needs of young American men undergoing an identity crisis due to the social unrest of the period. This project follows two lines of inquiry: archival research and personal interviews with key figures in the martial arts community.

Bridget Liddell, MA Student in the Department of Performance Studies, worked on her thesis titled, “The Public Body: Embodied Tactics and Activist Interventions on the Street in Delhi, India.” This project focuses on women’s negotiations of public spaces in Delhi, India. It explores how women in general—and activists in particular—shift Delhi’s public culture in order to intervene in dominant discourses on women’s agency in India’s capital, as well as the dismissive, alienating narratives of the city as hopelessly violent. This project brings a performance studies perspective to the work of the Delhi-based feminist organization Jagori, which addresses the constraints on women’s street experience in the city. Bridget’s research practice incorporates the body as a source of information, negotiation, and intervention; visual and aural observation enrich the project’s understand of the physical and social spaces in which the women of Delhi engage.

Jeffrey Crean, PhD student in History, worked on a project titled, “Bamboo Curtains and Ivory Towers: The Influence of Academics on Changing U.S. China Policy in the 1960s.”

Bradley Cesario, PhD student in The Department of History, worked on a project titled, “Naval Extremism, the British Navy League, and the Imperial Maritime League, 1895-1910.” This project explores the relationship between journalism and the professional navy in Britain during the period in question, and it demonstrates that the relationship between officials within the British Admiralty and pro-naval journalists and the resultant “navalist” journals, newspapers, and books disseminated throughout Britain by these journalists and their supporters encourage increasingly radical war goals throughout the Edwardian period and beyond. This project brings histories of the Admiralty, the British press, and British literature during the period in question into communication with each other to fill a gap between military and cultural histories of the First World War period. This focus on the relationship both official and unofficial between the Admiralty and the press provides a new perspective on the navalist era and suggests a much higher level of involvement between the two groups than has been previously surmised.

Thomas Loder, PhD student in the Department of Geography, will work on a project titled, “Post-Disaster Environmental Subjectivities: Producing Fracking Subjects in North Dakota.” This project considers two hydraulic fracturing (fracking) disasters that occurred in North Dakota. It studies the Casselton and Tiogra disasters as culturally produced traumas that influenced the formation of subjecitivities beyond the disaster sites. This research will examine direct trauma among residents in Casselton and Tioga, while using media discourses to understand broader trauma. Collected data will help to support the thesis that trauma narratives affect how one becomes a “fracking subject.” Thomas’s research contributes to human geography by advancing fossil fuel subjectivities within the environment subjectivities framework, while exploring the influence cultural trauma has on subjectivities.

Maki Iisaka, PhD student in the Department of Architecture, workS on a project titled, “Modernism and the Question of Tradition in Postwar Japanese Architecture.” This study focuses on the architecture of Togo Murano, Kenso Tange, and Seichii Shirai. These major postwar figures represent three different spheres that may be described as the commercial, the public, and the philosophical. Maki aims to disentangle the complex relations between form, identity, and modernity in their work from the period of the post-war economic miracle, when a rapidly commercializing society was transforming the meaning and representation of tradition in design. This is accomplished by counter-posing various readings of the buildings, ranging from written historical accounts on the perception of Japanese tradition and implicit messages conveyed through photography in journals and magazines to a formal and experiential analysis of buildings in the context of present-day views on cultural identity.

Karen Davis, PhD student in Philosophy and Master’s student in English, worked on a project titled, “Performing Community: Prison Shakespeare and the Role of the Arts in Ethical Life.” This project argues that education in the arts suggests a path toward restoring ethical communities that have been violated, disbanded, or corrupted. The profound effect of the arts on community formation can be seen at the very limits and margins of community, namely, in prisons. The practice of what have come to be called “prison arts” exemplifies aesthetics’ central place in rescuing modern life from its fractured character and reconstitution community from among the excommunicated. This project is distinctive in its philosophical appropriation of the practice of prison arts, which is largely informed by Karen’s Master’s work in English, which focuses on the Shakespeare Behind Bars program at Luther Luckett Correctional Complex in Kentucky. Insofar as theater constitutes a serious kind of play that fosters social change and even models a utopian conception of community, this project argues that it shows itself to be an ideal vehicle for cultivating ethical intersubjectivity and community.

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Academic Year 2013-2014

Harris B. Bechtol, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Philosophy, will be working on a project titled, “The Eventfullness of Being in the Work of Martin Heidegger.” This project will focus on Heidegger’s conceptions ofEreignis (the Event) and Gelassenheit (letting-be) and the ways in which this is taken up by later continental philosophers, particularly through the notion of the gift in Jacques Derrida and Jean-Luc Marion. Harris will expand on this these considerations to examine the phenomenon of death as a figure of event, and he will argue that death discloses the self to the vigilant one who engages in phenomenological examination of death.

Tyler (T.J.) Kasperbauer, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Philosophy, will be working on a project titled, “Perceiving Nonhumans: Human Moral Psychology and Animal Ethics.” This project will consider the psychological obstacles to convincing others that animals are deserving of moral concern. It questions what ordinary people would have to be convinced of for them to decide that animals deserve moral consideration. T.J. will interpret recent evidence coming from the social sciences, primarily psychology, in order to help animal ethicists evaluate how others ought to treat animals.

Dhananjaya Katju, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences, will be working on a project titled, “The Political Ecology of Noncompliance: Encroachment, Governance, and Avian Conservation in the Manas Tiger and Biosphere Reserve (India).” This project will identify and interpret the socio-environmental factors that enable and constrain rural producers illegally occupying PA land, government authorities, and researchers in the ever-important struggle to maintain rural livelihoods and biodiversity value on fertile, productive agro-forest landscapes. By detailing understanding of linkages between immigration, local economies, government policies and agendas, and the environment, Dhananjaya’s research takes a critical step towards informing forms of governance that will move closer to developing more progressive policy outcomes with relevance to tropical forest agroecoystems and the livelihoods they sustain.

Nicholas Mizer, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology, will be working on a project titled, “Trajectories of Narrative, Space, and Play in Dungeons & Dragons.” This project aims to understand the processes by which players of Dungeons & Dragons develop shared narratives about their play practices in the context of space. Through participant observation, interviews, and recording game sessions this study will develop a robust body of data regarding the evolution of relationships between plays, narrative, and space. The synthesis of these data will produce more than simply a description of a specific play subculture; it will draw needed attention to an under-studied strategy for living in the contemporary globalized world.

Hulya Dogan, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology, will be working on a project titled, “Ethnic Identity (Re)formation Process of Meskhetian Turks in the US.” In considering Meskhetian Turks, a group who have experienced multiple displacements for more than seventy years, this project contributes to the theoretical understanding of ethnic identity formation processes and the interdependencies of gender and generation with ethnic identity construction. The data for this study will be collected utilizing qualitative methods, including unstructured, open-ended interviews, in-depth life history and family interviews, and participant observations.

Caroline Manrique, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Architecture, will be working on a project titled, “Dark Tourism Issues in the Preservation of Alcatraz Island.” This project will apply an interpretative-historical approach to multiple case studies in order to understand how the presentation of Alcatraz Island’s past has changed over time and how interpretation of this site has been “shaped and reshaped” by the conflicting intervention of internal and external stakeholders under the dark tourism umbrella. This research includes the identification, organization, and analysis of evidence from archival sources and bibliographical references along with physical and experiential empirical information gathered from direct observation at the site. The analysis of evidence, from both dark tourism and historic preservation perspective, will contribute to understanding the interactions between human values and material decisions in the creation of specific place identities in Alcatraz Island.

Michael Bunch, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Architecture, will be working on a project titled, “How Do We Develop A Systematic Set of Legacy Values Guidelines to Assist in the Preservation of WWII Army Air Base Facilities in Southeast Texas?” This project explores issues related to the preservation of cultural heritage and the on-going efforts to sustain the legacy and memory of seminal WWII events in southeast Texas. This work will contribute to an overall understanding of what is truly significant about the built environment and what criteria can be used to preserve the cultural and historical legacy of WWII Army Air Base construction.

Heather Lee, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Geography, will be working on a project titled, “Governing Water Scarcity in the Twenty-First Century.” This project uses a case study of water governance in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato where farmers are particularly reliant on overexploited groundwater resources for agricultural production. This research using multi-method qualitative inquiry, and its overall coding objective is to identify how water manager, market actors, and scientists describe and represent information about the sources of and responses to water scarcity.

Swetha Peteru, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Geography, will be working on a project titled, “Shifting Meanings of Nature and Labor Through Biodiversity Conservation in Peru.” This study proposes to examine agricultural and environmental knowledge systems of communities living in targeted agro-forestry conservation sites and how the conservation projects have shaped perceptions and understandings of nature and labor. Based on results from preliminary fieldwork, Swetha argues that these environmental educational programs of “best practice” and work requirements for conservation are reconfiguring both the meaning of nature and social relations in communities.

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