Commuters Versus Residents: A Comparative Historical Analysis of America's Urban Freeways

In the mid-twentieth century, American cities constructed urban freeways in order to bring people from growing suburbs into the center of town. Urban freeways were a harbinger of municipalities giving priority to the needs of commuters versus city center residents. Today, one may ask: were urban freeways essential to the development of cities in a post-industrial era? What was the decision-making process for the location of freeways? Were quality of life implications part of the public dialogue? Chad plans to answer these questions by conducting a comparative historical analysis of American cities before, during, and after the era of urban freeway construction. He will also visit a handful of cities to chronicle first-hand the cultural, social, and economic impacts of urban freeways. Chad’s research will shed light on the ways in which urban freeways have changed the cultural landscape of American cities.

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Emerging Discourses in California's Solitary Confinement Debate

How does California continue to find public support for the practice of permanent solitary confinement, particularly when confronted by sustained hunger strike activity against them? Steven will examine all sides of the relevant discourses in response to the hunger strikes, paying special attention to the written statements of strikers in letters to advocates and the media, as well as the state response. In order to disrupt the dominant hyperbolic claims by the state that support solitary confinement practices, the strikers formed a multi-racial/ethnic group coalition that called out the public, inviting us to reconsider the prisoner held in solitary confinement beyond the normalized worst of the worst narrative. Steven’s project analyzes the conditions of thinking that create and support the practice of long-term solitary confinement in our state. The discourses surrounding the California prisoner hunger strike offers a critical, yet missing element of that discussion.

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"The Name of a Commonwealth", Theories of Statehood and 18th-Century Accounts of Piracy

Samuel will investigate ways in which English writers of the 18th century, particularly Daniel Defoe, used accounts of piracy to question standard presuppositions about the emerging nation-state and promote Enlightenment ideas about government. As stateless individuals who lived and worked together, pirates were forced to create their own independent societies aboard ship and on land. Defoe used these pirate communities to experiment with ideas of statehood, freedom, property rights, and criminal acts, and to provide a comparison with the European nation-states which questioned the legitimacy of the colonial enterprise. In the hands of writers like Defoe, fiction provided a valuable forum for these ideas that enabled them to enter the popular consciousness, helping establish the emerging novel as a literary genre that can interrogate political and social concerns.

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Acre/Akka/Akko: A Chronicle of Israel's External and Internal Occupation

The establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 enforced dislocation and fragmentation upon the Palestinian people. Nevertheless, while the old may have died, dense history and culture has been passed on to the youth by way of oral history. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict has dramatically transformed in the past 60 years, leaving the physically divided Palestinians today with an indefinable identity: do you consider yourself Arab, Arab-Israeli, Palestinian-Arab, or just Palestinian? Reem will create an artistically compiled short film that will capture a collection of voices and stories unique to the spatially divided city of Akka. She plans to investigate how living in a city shared by Arabs and Israelis influences the open question of identity. Reems primary goal is to experiment with the oral accounts and transform the words into aesthetic narratives that will offer the viewer an intimate and unique insight of the role of identity in Akka.

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Prurient Pleasures and the Pornographic Effect of H.I.V.

Some are daily watchers, some click on a faulty URL, some start browsing during their pre-teens: most adults have seen pornography, and it is here to stay. After Porno Chic during the 1970s-1980s in which pornography was viewed in theaters, VHS pushed porn into the bedroom in the 1990s, provoking gay men to find private sexual outlets. Internet access has exacerbated this tendency, and at present, gay men in the United States encounter discourses of sexuality and H.I.V. through stigmatization and repression. For them, pornography is a social institution through which one discovers sexuality and health. How does the history of pornography present cultural anxieties surrounding H.I.V.? Given that pornography did not employ condoms until the 1980s, how does modern pornography affect viewers by means of a relationship between eroticism and health? By developing a historical eye for gay male pornography and condom usage, Matthew will examine pornographys effects on […]

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Strategies of Literary Defiance in Tobias Smollett's "The Expedition of Humphry Clinker", William Apess' "A Son of the Forest and Other Writings, and Jos Antonio Villarreals Pocho

Dennis research seeks to expand the exploration of transculturation through an in-depth analysis of three vastly unrelated literary works that nonetheless contend with English Linguistic Imperialism, and reveal strikingly comparable strategies that defy it. Focusing on canonical texts by eighteenth century Scottish, nineteenth century Pequot Native American, and twentieth century Chicano authors, he will conduct a comparative study of strategies of literary subversion of English Linguistic Imperialism across disparate time periods, ethnicities, and geographic locations. He plans to investigate the distinct internal discourses of The Expedition of Humphry Clinker, A Son of the Forest and Other Writings, and Pocho in relation to each other, with the aim of revealing the surprising convergences that exist despite their divergent cultural contexts.

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