About | Agenda | Poster
Bios and Abstracts
Chris Anderson has lived in Reno since the Pleistocene Era and in 2006 decided to return to UNR to finish up my undergrad degree which I had abandoned in 1993 in order to explore the world (I visited Sparks numerous times in this grand adventure, and got as far as Carson City). I graduated in Fall 2010 with a BA in English Lit and a Minor in Philosophy. I’m currently a graduate student pursuing an MA degree in Philosophy. My area of interest is Aesthetics and I hope to find a Doctoral program that will accommodate my analytical interests in narrative and other art forms. I love great literature, beautiful women, art, and philosophy. If you catch me staring off into space it’s probably because I’m thinking about one of those things.
The question about what story is has been vigorously pursued in recent decades as one fruitful to many human interests, and opened up to a divergent cast of thinkers over an array of disciplines, including the cognitive sciences. In philosophy, a special area of interest has emerged with the narrative question in mind, namely about whether human lives might non-trivially be stories. Galen Strawson’s much-cited paper Against Narrativity (2004) argues that a fundamental personality type resists the purportedly universal urge to interpret its personal identity this way. I assert that this finding is irrelevant, since Strawson’s account is mired in a “common sense” construal of narrative, whose paradigm he declares is “a conventional story told in words.” This rudimentary notion is ill-fitted to express the human being, and takes its cue from a cognitivist turn in the humanities, which casts homo sapiens as an information processor. The common sense and scientific prejudices are often mixed together, and the best they can do, narrative life-wise, is retrofit or slingshot the life of a human being into a formalist script sympathetic to Aristotelian-style closure. Drawing from literary theorist Meir Sternberg’s expositions on narrative temporal dynamics, I will show how the notion of narrative as “form-finding over bare sequences of perception” is closure-driven, and in turn recast those dynamics as reflective of a species lust to experience virtual movement, and thus contest closure. Lastly I will show how this urge can be used to express personal identity powerfully in terms of narrative.
Eliot Assoudeh - Department of political science, 3rd Year PhD student, Research Interest: Political Violence and Social Movements
“A Coalitional Change towards Democratization Process”
The advocacy coalition framework (ACF) has grabbed lots of attention among policy scholars. One of the promises of this framework is to produce a model for policy implementation that combines characteristics from both, ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’ approaches. The advocacy coalition framework is assessed by applying it to the Iranian women’s movement and its struggle for democratic process between 1997 and 2010. The presidential election of 1997 when Mohammad Khatami ran for president on a reformist platform provided a great opportunity for the reform movement in Iran. The women’s movement has gradually changed its coalitional approach from reformist elites in 1997, to grassroots, since the failure of the reform movement in 2003. The paper uses a theoretical ground derived from research on advocacy coalition framework and the repertoire of tactics to study the coalitional change in the women’s movement.
John Baldari recently graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a Master's degree in Philosophy with specialization in ethics, identity, and military philosophy. John is a career military officer with twenty years of service. He is currently assigned as a liaison with the Nevada Military Department. His current academic work involves bracketing philosophical concepts within common understanding outside of academia. John has been accepted to the University of Auckland doctoral program in Philosophy. "Reconciliation of the Divine Command Theory with Natural Law, A Defense of Sir William Blackstone"
Sir William Blackstone, in his Commentaries on the Laws of England, famously believed that human law derives its validity from conformity to natural and divine laws [Blackstone, p168]. Blackstone is making the claim that natural law is supervened by divine law and temporally equivalent to human law, but seems to come short of the Divine Command Theory. In this paper, I will provide a defense for Blackstone as a divine command theorist and assist his argument in reconciling DCT with natural law.
For the purpose of this discussion, we will use the following form of the Divine Command Theory. Roughly, Divine Command Theory is the view that morality is somehow dependent upon God, and that moral obligation consists in obedience to God’s commands. Divine Command Theory includes the claim that morality is ultimately based on the commands or character of God, and that the morally right action is the one that God commands or requires. For Blackstone’s works, we can interchange morality with legality fairly easily, as he saw law to be morally obligatory. The problem is quite obvious, God’s natural law is still arbitrary, and we are under no obligation to follow it. I think that if one were to read Blackstone in this way, we might incite this great author to roll over in his grave. It is my opinion that Blackstone was on to something much more profound with his theories and that his theories could quite easily be called “Divine Command Theories.”
Benjamin Barna is a Ph. D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology. His current research investigates the processes of ethnic and cultural hybridity through the historical archaeology of the lives of cowboys and ranchworkers on Hawai`i’s livestock ranches in 19th and early 20th centuries. His interests include cultural hybridity, immigrant-host relations, the construction of social identities, material culture studies, cultural heritage, heritage management, and archaeological semeiotics. He expects to graduate in May 2013.
“He Pili `Ana No Na Paniolo o Hawai?i: Connection beyond Race and Ethnicity among Hawaiian Ranch Workers in the 19th and early 20th Centuries”
Hawai?i has had reputation among scholars and the public as an ethnically diverse and culturally tolerant place, but current scholarship challenges this notion. The original researchers behind the idea of a “Hawaiian ethnic rainbow” and its current detractors based their work on sociological studies of Hawaiian residents descended from Asian immigrant sugar plantation workers. The Hawaiian ranching community, however, complicates this picture of ethnic relations in the Islands. Many paniolo (Hawaiian cowboys) are genealogically Hawaiian but also descended from a variety of immigrant groups. Historical and archaeological research at several ranching stations on Hawai?i Island illustrate the role that ranch work played during the 19th and early 20th centuries to create a new social identity that transcended race, ethnicity, and nationality at a time when these concepts were used to “divide and conquer” the plantation workforce. This paper focuses on architecture and trash deposits created as a succession of ranching companies modernized the ranching landscape and its workforce in a way that perpetuated Hawaiian cultural values.
Paul Boone is a 3rd year PhD in US History. His fields are Cultural Studies, US Cultural/Intellectual History, and US 20th Century History. His interests are US History of Education K-12, Beat Culture, and Punk Rock. His dissertation topic is Post-World War II Popular Representations of Teachers.
“Cold War Role Models: The Representations of Teachers in Movies, 1945-1964”
After World War II, education and movies played a significant role in the development of United States culture. In Education, a major demographic shift occurred in the K-12 teaching profession as single teachers were replaced by married teachers. While a myriad of factors helped to propel this shift, the common rationale was students needed teachers who could serve as heteronormative role models. Teachers and administrators were also expected to police students’ behaviors and attitudes regarding acceptable gender and sexuality. Single teachers who dominated the teaching ranks needed to prove their heterosexuality by marrying or refraining from administrative work. Fears of same-sex desire particularly between students and teachers profoundly affected policies, practice, and curriculum. The process of education takes place beyond the walls of the classroom. Education is the transmission of culture from one generation to the next, thus a multitude of institutions outside the schoolhouse became important sites of learning. The representation of teachers in movies played significant role in the development of education in the Cold War United States.
Angela Chase is working towards her M.A. in Latin American History. Her fields of interest include Colonial and Cultural Mexican History, Inquisition Studies, and Ethnohistory. She recieved her Bachelor's Degree from the University of Oregon where she studied Spanish in Mexico and majored in History and minored in Latin American Studies. She plans on graduating in May, 2013.
“‘The Mestiza Cured the Child with Blessings from her Hands, Words and Breath’: Popular Conceptualizations of Healing in Seventeenth-Century Mexico”
On June 4, 1644 the mestiza or mulata Isabel de la Cruz Mejia was denounced to the Inquisition of New Spain by Doña Balthasara de Salcazar for being a charlatan healer and for presuming to have a pact with the devil that aided her in performing malevolent activities in distant places. Isabel’s case officially began on September 1, 1651, thirteen years after Isabel was first summoned to the house of Doña Balthasara, the wife of the licensed Don Rodrigo de Salcazar, a retired alcalde for the city of Mexico to help heal the doña’s ailing grandson. It ended with Isabel being banished from New Spain for no less than five years after receiving two hundred lashes at a public auto de fe on November 6, 1652. What should have been a routine medical call to a curandera would turn into a decade long drama over whether or not Isabel possessed true clairvoyant and healing abilities or if she was only a poor, lying casta pretending to have such capabilities for monetary gain. Isabel’s case raises questions about how healing functioned in the colony of New Spain during the seventeenth century. What education was needed to be a healer? What were the racial and gendered aspects to healing as a profession? How did popular conceptualizations of healing come into play when a casta woman such as Isabel becomes a healer? By partaking in an occupation that was traditionally the domain of the indigenous peoples of colonial Mexico, Isabel’s case indicates that popular ideas about health superseded ethnic, racial, gendered and even religious boundaries. It also asks how the Inquisition as an institution was utilized during the colonial era and which segments of society sought its authoritarian aid and why. Her case is demonstrative of how, during the seventeenth century, the inhabitants of New Spain had certain expectations of what constituted a healer that included localized religious elements and medical knowledge, and as such Isabel was merely a product of her society’s view of healing.
Jonathon Cummins is a 3rd year PhD student in History. His Interests include urban studies, housing, and regionalism.
“The Biggest Little Trailer Park in the World: Sun Valley, Nevada, 1950-1970”
This paper explores the birth and early formative decades of the Reno "suburb" famously known as one of the biggest trailer parks in the world. By uncovering the process of building this new town, my paper argues that Reno conveniently relocated its inner city problems to a suburban area in order to protect its tourist industries by creating the facade of a clean and safe downtown. Also, Sun Valley has made repeated efforts to revitalize its image as a cozy, functioning town in its own right. This discussion inherently ties class consciousness to the built environment, to a material culture, ultimately arguing that the houses people inhabit have a great deal of impact on the formation of their social and cultural identity.
Genevieve M. DeBernardis is a doctoral student in the Behavior Analysis Program of the Psychology Department at UNR, working under the supervision of Dr. Linda J. Hayes. Genevieve also serves as the Academic Advisor for the Psychology Department. Her current line of research stems from her master’s thesis which focused on examining the capacity of persons to predict novel behavior of other persons. The results of this study showed that the degree of relational intimacy (i.e., the type of shared history) was an especially important factor in the development of this capacity. The duration of the relationship (i.e., length of shared history) was also important, though to a lesser extent. She has continued to explore her interests in these factors by examining the acquisition of perspective taking in normally developed, preschool-aged children. She believes that if the role of these factors could be verified, procedures could be developed to establish this repertoire in very young children, enhancing their social development with life-long benefits. Further, a better understanding of this phenomenon could lead to training techniques suited to persons showing perspective-taking deficits or who had previously been unable to learn this skill.
“The Role of Self in Perspective-Taking”
The ability to take the perspective of another is not only an important skill to learn, but to also maintain. Moreover, perspective-taking is not simply present or absent, but instead lies along a continuum of increasing degrees of complexity. Of particular importance within the perspective-taking continuum is the relationship history between self (i.e., perceiver) and another (i.e., target), which is made particularly evident through an interbehavioral approach. It is through a shared history of varied degrees of duration and quality with the target that the perceiver can engage in the most complex type of perspective-taking. However, there are situations in which the perceiver can predict behavior of the target, but fails to do so. Additionally, inaccurate predictions of one’s own behavior, in which self is both perceiver and target, will be explored. Implications of this conceptualization for basic and applied research, and practice will be discussed.
Erin Frias is a first year master’s student researching the different uses of a natural medicine found in the Amazon regions of South America. The presentation she delivers here today, examines the discourse of an online forum community centered on an entheogenic medicine called ayahuasca. She explored how globalization and the World Wide Web have contributed to the spread of ayahuasca to mainstream society where spiritual discourse and alternative medicinal practices are re-contextualized to fit within the domain of contemporary ayahuasca use.
“Sending Out Your Soul: An Entheogenic Forum Community Explored through Language”
The purpose of this thesis is to examine the language of an online forum community centered on a spiritual medicine called ayahuasca. Ayahuasca is a brew made out of two hallucinogenic plants used by shaman of the upper Amazon regions of South America to send their soul to the supernatural world. The shaman’s soul receives guidance from nature and ancestral spirits in order to heal mental and physical illnesses. Globalization and the World Wide Web have contributed to the spread of ayahuasca to mainstream society where it is re-contextualized to fit within the domain of alternative medicinal practices. My research methods included online group discussions, a voluntary questionnaire and personal communications between the researcher and selected members of the community. In my analysis I discovered that the language of the ayahuasca.com forum community serves three purposes: (1) it presents ayahuasca to mainstream society as an acceptable medicinal treatment for ailments like depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, drug addiction, and attention deficit disorder, (2) their spiritual discourse is designed to separate the community from recreational drug users who also communicate via online forums and, (3) the use of spiritual discourse is also interpreted as building a foundation that justifies the use of an illegal substance under the auspices of freedom of religion in the United States. My research addresses motivations for alternative medicine use, globalization, primitivism, and cultural interpretations of spirituality as it is combined or separated from Western medicinal practices, demonstrated through language used by forum members.
Benjamin Poynter’s mother played Super Mario Bros. while he was months waiting in the womb and today he is a independent game maker and digital artist. He hails from one of the arteries of America that is Oklahoma City receiving his BFA in the media arts studying at the University of Oklahoma. Just like the feeling he felt growing up in a world of nothing around him, Ben considers work that deals with augmented existence and experimental narrative as a means of escaping that path. He currently and strenuously applies himself towards a Masters of Fine Arts degree at the University of Nevada Reno where he once again deals in the enigma of a fine arts department and discovered penchant for crafting video games. Currently, he is at the halfway mark of this degree. The most notable thing about Ben is how concealed he is in intimate settings and unchained with one of his eccentric personas if a crowd is there for the taking. Being submersed in digital entertainment since he began reading the films of Pay-Per-View screens at age two, new media and fine art dictate his existence.
More information at www.benjaminpoynter.com. This includes more peripheral information, a downloadable form of the artwork itself, and vignettes of news media surrounding the piece.
“A Serious Game: New Media, Censorship, and the Spectacle”
An austere reality of the 21st century human identity is denial towards the self-myth. Forces further than perception bestow surveillance upon Western and Eastern civilization to the effect of weaving simulacrum from the most tangible of artifacts we interact with. Narrative, dreams, and romanticism projected from new media often comes at an unseen labor. This taboo is due to dialogue between virtual realities and who is employing its mirage to shield a massacre in action.
A complete work I propose for demonstration is a mobile game application that assaulted this reality from a political vernacular. For its efforts and a timeline of 900 work hours to this date, it received removal and censorship from the Apple iTunes merchandise store. Since the exodus of entitled In a Permanent Save State from distribution, it has received international tech and political media coverage throughout the viral blogosphere. It is an artwork heavily critical of the human rights violations surrounding electronic media devices produced by Apple itself, gaming outlets, and the Chinese labor campus Foxconn.
In a Permanent Save State is a cerebral, fantasy driven application about these happenings. It serves as a game that falls into the evolving category of 'serious games' or if you will 'games for change'. The interconnected narrative it tells sheds nameless perspective upon the Western spectacle vs. the Eastern dream. It chronicles the afterlives of seven migrant workers who died in the Foxconn factories. There is an effort to deconstruct the idea of where the games we cherish come from and an effort to deconstruct the video game form itself. Those who assemble the dreams of this world now have their own at a fatal cost.
David Harrell is a student in the History Department of the University of Nevada Reno, in his second semester of graduate studies after having graduated from the same University. His fields of interest are European History, Cultural Studies, and cultural anthropology.
“An Analysis of the Historiographic Treatment of Visigothic Catholicism in Spain”
Conflicts about identity are not limited to the past, but extend to how we perceive that past. This paper focuses on specific examples of how certain historians have used generalized perceptions of the Visigoths to construct their identity, focusing specifically to a large extent on the turbulent period during which the Visigoths converted from Arianism to Catholicism. Recent research has rehabilitated that identity while retaining some of those conceptions. An underlying theme to this paper is how historical narratives are used to draw conclusions or connections to the present. Questions of the comparative importance and malleability of ethnicity, race, and nationality arise from the discussion regarding Catholicism amongst the Visigoths. Part of this paper expounds on the viability of categorization in general when the existence of concepts such as ethnicity at this time is arguable. The juxtaposition of the respective persecutions of Catholicism, Judaism, and Arianism points towards the shifting reactions regarding identity which stemmed from an apparent connection between religious and ethnic identity. The respective uses of the Isidorean Renaissance and Visigothic 'barbarity' in order to form a nationalistic or racial narrative are deconstructed as they relate to the construction of the mainstream narrative about the Visigothic culture. In conclusion, the paucity of diverse source material is presented as the main factor in the ambiguity of Visigothic historiography.
Jason King is a full time single parent in the Master's program in sociology at the University of Nevada, Reno, and he is projected to graduate in the fall of 2014. Jason’s area of interest include political economy, political sociology, sociology of labor, social movements and collective behavior with an emphasis on social revolutions.
“U.S. Labor and Prospects for Future Social Change”
The Great Recession of 2007, resulting from, but not limited to the processes of deindustrialization, internationalization of capital, recurring economic recessions, and the gradual weakening of U.S. labor climaxed into the collapse of banks and millions of home foreclosures. Of course, June 2009 marked the official “ending” of the Great Recession, yet working Americans continue to face staggering unemployment levels and the greatest increase of wealth and income inequality that the country has seen to date. A class analysis will be employed to assess how the current economic conditions of the United States have radicalized U.S. labor and their prospects for future social change. Current data from government sources such the Economic Report of the President will illustrate the extent of class polarization between capital and labor. In addition, a rough estimate of the surplus value will be provided to exemplify the ever-widening wealth gap. A class analysis will explore labor’s response and radicalization to the capitalist economic crisis. Thus, I seek to explain labor’s options for social change as well. Ultimately, this radicalization has revived older working class struggles for the necessary and sufficient creation of stronger democratic workers’ organizations. The path of social change shall emerge from the working class base.
Rafael Lopez de San Roman: As I left everything behind for the third time in my life, I crossed the Sierra Nevada in order to enter into a long desired MFA program. As a third year graduate I explore through mostly oil paintings, the vague notion of identity. In my last project called Living in El Norte, UNR MFA Advancement to Candidacy I investigated the personal lifetime stories of two undocumented immigrants in order to recompense viewers with a closer personal human encounter. As a consequence, in my thesis work, I’m currently examining the American identity that I have experienced for the nine years that I have spent living and being part of the United States. I believe since the time that I left home, Spain, I have been struggling to know who I am. Since I left the patterns that framed my identity through the years of my childhood, I constantly feel the challenge and the discomfort of being different. I believe this is the reason that I have been continually painting the universality of human expression, and it wasn’t until too long ago, that realized I have been trying to unconsciously paint during many years and through many other faces, what it happens to be my own reflection, my own identity, my own voice.
There is something out of the ordinary when an image, a two-dimensional representation, is able to represent many different emotions and sensations that unconsciously captivate the viewer. As an artist, I know how difficult this is to achieve because there is not a single formula for it. But after the years of experiencing all types of Art, I have come to understand at least one of the essentials that attain the viewer’s fascination by a single image. This element is the achievement of experiencing something that has no end, that it is able to attain simply the notion of being timeless.
Our “human progression” towards the development of technology has enclosed all of us in societies that are totally framed by time. Isn’t it hard to remember, except for our childhood years, a day that wasn’t controlled by the clock? I believe this is the reason that as one stands in front of the Girl with a Pearl Earring from Vermeer, The incredulity of Saint Thomas from Caravaggio, or even Lesende from the contemporary Richter, among many others works, one gets transported into another dimension far from our economic crisis, flat screen TVs and black Fridays fever, into a new world without measurements.
The eternality of face expressions lies on the non-verbal communication language used, seen and understood by everyone no matter the original culture. I thrive a lifetime endeavor of painting a universal language where I wish viewers to be rewarded with an eternal moment enclosed by the incessant notion of timelessness.
Lisa Madura is a first semester Master's student in the Philosophy department with an interest in phenomenology and value theory.
“Authenticating the Ironist: Defining Selfhood in the Age of Irony”
I will be responding to charges levied against the current generation by Christy Wampole, Assistant Professor of French and Italian at Princeton University, who claims in her article, How to Live Without Irony, that irony is a way of evading commitment to any specific identity, rendering the current generation an inauthentic anti-culture. I will argue that ironic posturing is not the self-defeating attitude of an irresponsible generation, but is symptomatic of recognizing our own contingency. The ironist doesn’t avoid reality but acknowledges that nothing is fixed, that reality is subject to change and re-description. We are not afraid to commit, but we see the futility of commitment and so redefine what it means to lead a meaningful life. Wampole wants this generation to take a personal inventory and eliminate the parts of our lives constructed ironically, assuming that to be ironic is to be in some way disingenuous. Incorporating the ideas of Richard Rorty from his book, Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity, I will argue that irony is not something we can do-away with, nor is it necessarily insincere. In her conflation of irony and insincerity, Wampole assumes that the present generation’s tendencies need to be corrected in order for us to be worthy of an identity. She believes frankness to be the mark of authenticity, without which cultural progress will be stifled. It is my contention that the era of irony is not about evading the responsibility of creating an identity, but figuring out how to have an identity in a world seemingly devoid of absolutes – where what is good or bad, and what is right or wrong are no less historically contingent than what is cool or lame.
Francine Melia is a fifth-year PhD student in cultural anthropology and an Instructor in Anthropology 101: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology. Her research focuses on understanding both the identities and cycles of participation at Burning Man. She has presented parts of her work at the Southwestern Anthropological Association as well as here at UNR. Francine has co-authored an article in the Berkeley Planning Journal with Kerry Rohrmeier, and they have more presentations, both public and academic, in the works for this year. They will be presenting a later-stage version of this paper at the Performance Studies International conference this summer.
Kerry Rohrmeier, doctoral candidate at the University of Nevada, Reno Department of Geography, wants passionately to introduce more cities to successful city planning ideas and lessons from the Burning Man festival. As a former professional land use planner, Kerry now actively conducts ethnographic fieldwork and participatory observation out at Black Rock City to support ongoing cultural geography graduate research.
“Grieving in the Dust:The Burning Man Temple as a Physical and Communal Touchstone”
This paper represents a work-in-progress examining the physical and communal space designed in part for grieving as well as a touchstone for religious, spiritual, and secular performative rituals. The temple is spatio-temporally significant, ever-changing, and always inspirational. Internationally-acclaimed and ephemeral in nature, it leaves a lasting impression on community members who experience its beauty, scale, serenity, and of course, solemn surreal burn. In addition to providing its history since inception in 2000, this paper discusses the creation of interactive places for self-examination, reverence, and celebration for those who identify as Burning Man participants.
Jacob Neely is currently a first year graduate student in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature with an emphasis in Spanish. I graduated in May of 2012 from the University of Nevada with a dual-major in Spanish and Political Science. During my undergraduate career I lived and studied in Spain and Costa Rica with USAC. I currently serve as a TA for Core Humanities 203 and next Fall I will begin instructing beginning Spanish. I am also pursuing a graduate certificate in gender, race and identity to supplement my academic goals. I find myself in the Spanish department for two reasons. The first reason is the fact that I seek to deepen my understanding of the language and its nuances, and the second being my passion for gaining higher-level understanding of other cultures. In the long run, I plan on applying to serve as a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. Department of State and promoting peaceful diplomatic relations over the course of my career. One part of my diverse interests in promoting peace and understanding is the breaking-down of stereotypes. In the attached abstract, I highlight a current personal project in which I try to explain that popular literature within the Chicano literary canon often can be a bit narrow and fail to address the cause of negative behavior on behalf of Chicano men. Rather, it chooses to focus on the consequences and can come across as demonizing to many readers. Failing to portray both sides adequately without pardoning them at the same time proves to be a serious challenge in modern cross-cultural relations and I hope my work serves to resolve one of these cultural misconceptions.
“An Uneven Representation of Men in the Chicano Literary Canon: The Propagation of a Stereotype in So Far from God, Pocho and “Woman Hollering Creek.”
Throughout the Chicano literary canon there exists the paradigm of the masculine head-of-household that has fallen out of touch or struggles to adapt to changing conditions with negative consequences for those close to him. In Ana Castillo’s Tan Lejos de Dios (So Far from God), Jose Antonio Villareal’s Pocho and Sandra Cisneros’ short story “El Arroyo de la Llorona” (“Woman Hollering Creek”) there are specific examples of men portrayed as being abusive, argumentative, domineering and out of touch with American society. However, these works maintain a focus on the consequences of the behavior rather than explicitly searching for a cause. This work serves to address this lack of effective literary communication by presenting a comparison of modern sociological studies of the Chicano family and modern masculinities with the portrayal of male characters in the works of Castillo, Villareal and Cisneros. I argue that their literature does not portray the cause of this sociological issue but rather maintains a narrow focus on the negative consequences. In conclusion, by navigating the academic works of Alfredo Mirandé, Paul Kivel and many others, I will attempt to provide a context with which a reader can better interpret and understand the portrayal of these characters in these texts and, in turn, understand the societal pressures of being a Chicano man.
Greg Nielsen is a doctorate student at the University of Nevada - Reno College of Education. He investigates and researches the use of film as a teaching tool in the classroom. He is the author of several books, articles, and screenplays. His Master’s Degree project, the historical film Hiroshima, was a quarterfinalist, 2008 - Francis Ford Coppola screenwriting contest, Zoetrope.
“Hollywood Hiroshima Films: Cultural Contexts Before, During, and After the Cold War”
Remarkably, Hollywood has produced only three Hiroshima films – The Beginning or the End (1947), Above and Beyond (1952), and Fat Man & Little Boy(1989). Considering the number of Hollywood films about World War II, it is clearly significant that so few have been produced about an historical event that significantly changed history. Surprisingly, television has outdone Hollywood producing four Hiroshima films and numerous documentaries. This paper explores the multiple cultural/societal pressures, perspectives, interests, and concerns that influenced the production of Hiroshima films. What emerges is a highly charged atmosphere of thoughts, emotions and reactions that reveals a subject fraught with perplexing moral ambiguities. A spectrum of cultural forces pushes and pulls against each other ranging from ethical concerns, political/military justifications, communism fears, and anti-war, anti-nuclear stances. Several primary sources are referenced in order to highlight the historical distortions and/or accuracies. To date, American cinema pays lips service to the moral questions surrounding the decision to drop the bomb but is not the core concern as it is in many foreign films. American Hiroshima films emphasize military organization, technological superiority, and scientific ingenuity deemphasizing the impact of the bomb on human relationships, families, and communities.
Brian Pringle is in his second year in the Master of Arts program in History at the University of Nevada, Reno. His primary research interests are in 20th century American and European working-class history, particularly in relation to identity and economic organization, cultures of citizenship and the rise of the consumer society, and the labor movement.
“Finnish-American Leftism, the Cooperative Movement, and the Politics of Citizenship, 1890-1930”
As was the case with most European ethnic groups, with the exception of English-speakers, a majority of Finnish-Americans were unskilled industrial or agricultural laborers. In the first decade of the 20th century, only 6 percent were in skilled occupations, and less than 1 percent were in professional occupations. Geographical and occupational differences significantly affected radical organization and discourse. In the North Central and Western states, as historian Peter Kivisto writes, “[w]here Finns were generally engaged in primary extractive industries located in geographically isolated communities…socialists were inclined to be more militant, if not always in action, at least in terms of rhetoric.” The experience of miners and lumberjacks is particularly important in understanding the development of socialist and industrial union organizations among Finnish-Americans. More than 87 percent of Finns emigrating from Finland between 1896 and 1910 were from rural areas. Work in the lumber industry brought its own share of misery, with crowded, unsanitary living quarters, long hours, and low pay. In the Lake Superior region, the Oliver Iron Mining Company, a subsidiary of U.S. Steel, not only maintained a strict open-shop policy, but also went to extremes to minimize costs and maximize productivity. “[T]he iron mining industry’s labor policy,” historian Donald G. Sofchalk comments, “could hardly have been more conducive to Socialist ferment.” In Minnesota in 1906, these clubs and societies founded the Finnish Socialist Federation, which would become affiliated with the Socialist Party of America the following year. The U.S. Communist Party, formed in 1919, became a strong force in the consumers’ cooperative movement, especially in the North Central and Eastern states. By the end of the decade, the leadership of the Cooperative League and the Cooperative Central Exchange became increasingly divided over the use of cooperatives to buttress the financially flailing Party. The far left-wing of the cooperative movement viewed cooperatives as but a supplement to the socialist movement, while more moderate leftist cooperators viewed cooperation as the primary basis for the solution to “the labor problem.” By the late 1920s, cooperative organizations became increasingly concerned with renouncing the more radical segments of the cooperative movement. Thus while much of the discourse on consumer activism and self-management in the labor movement was about self-preservation and purchasing-power, it was also a debate on the working-class itself, “Americanism,” and the political culture of the labor movement.
Iker Saitua is a Ph.D. student in the Center for Basque Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno. His current thesis focuses on the sheep industry during the New Deal and the early Cold War. More specifically, he is exploring the Western Range Association (WRA) and the Basque labor in sheep grazing in the state of Nevada, in conjunction with the Patrick McCarran era. Iker was born and raised in Algorta, the Basque Country (1987). In 2010, he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in History from the University of the Basque Country, UPV-EHU. One year later, he received a Master’s in Contemporary History with a concentration in American history. In spring 2012, he arrived in Reno to pursue the Tutorial Ph.D. program in the Center for Basque Studies.
Grasping At a Straw: The Basque Labor Shortage in the Nevada and Western Sheep Industry during World War II
It is a truism to consider the Basque community as a consolidated American ethnic group in the American West. Their impact began during the California Gold Rush in 1849, but nowhere was their presence as relevant as in sheep grazing. The Basques’ good reputation in sheep grazing has been fundamental in making the Basque American identity. Throughout the twentieth century, the sheep industry was an essential sector for the development of the state of Nevada. Over this period of time, it can be argued that the Basques were a keystone in the industry’s labor force. Although all Basque immigrants in the United States were not employed in the livestock industry, from the 1880s to the 1920s, a significant number of Basque immigrants arrived in the US, being the sheep industry of the Far West their primarily destination. The Immigration Act of 1924 marked the decisive turning point in the history of Basque America. From the mid-1920s until the 1970s, even if Basque immigration continued, the movement of people was less free flowing from the Basque Country to the United States. However, Second World War’s necessities evolved in favor of Basque immigration, yielding to some specific provisions that permitted the importation of the Basque manpower required by western ranchers. This proposal tries to understand how Patrick McCarran and his staff operated in favor of livestock businessmen and, in particular, sponsored Basque manpower in sheep grazing during WWII.
Jessica Sambrano teaches British Literature and American Literature at The Davidson Academy of Nevada, a public school for profoundly gifted students located on the UNR campus. Jessica earned her BA in Secondary Education/English at UNR. She taught English at Reno High School from 2004-2006 before returning to UNR to teach Composition and complete an MA in English Literature. Jessica is currently working on a PhD in Secondary Education, with a focus on teacher mentoring and gifted education. When she is not grading student papers, Jessica enjoys practicing yoga, training for triathlons, and reading bad historical fiction.
“Revising the Literary Canon for Relevancy, Indeterminacy, and Student Choice”
As they currently exist, secondary English literature classes suffer from the problem of relevance. English teachers are charged with both presenting and justifying their subject to their students, which can be a difficult task if fickle adolescents cannot see literature’s relevance to their daily lives or future careers. Despite students’ arguments to the contrary, the purposes of studying literature go beyond academic endeavor. Reading literature is a “liberal, ‘humanizing’ pursuit” that could provide “a potent antidote to political bigotry and ideological extremism” (Eagleton, 1983, p. 51). Literature provides a mixture of intellectual immersion and an expression of human experience that students would have to struggle to find in other subjects. Regardless of the subject’s merits, English teachers must constantly defend its existence. Literary studies are at a crossroad where teachers are “struggling to explain to ourselves and to the public at large why literary works are worth reading at all” (Felski, 2008, p. 1). If literature is a mostly abstract pursuit, how can it be justified in a world of materialism and efficiency? Unfortunately, the value of studying literature is not apparent to students, who deem “boring” canonical works irrelevant to modern life. Yet these texts dominate the school canon, a body of literature deemed essential to secondary education. If, in the middle of a “legitimation crisis,” literature teachers are struggling to make the canon relevant, why do we unquestioningly return to it year after year? This paper will not only explore the purpose and history of the literary canon, but will also suggest methods for expanding and revolutionizing it, and for making canonical works more accessible to the pickiest of adolescent readers.
Geoff Scott is a 23 year old Master’s student in the department of history at the University of Nevada. My areas of focus are Modern Chinese history, Chinese American history, and musicology. My committee consists of Dr. Hugh Shapiro, Dr. Meredith Oda and Dr. Louis Niebur. I am in my 4th semester and will be taking my comp exams this spring, ideally completing my degree within the next academic year. I became particularly interested in Chinese history when living abroad in Taipei, Taiwan, where I studied Mandarin for three months during the summer of 2011. Upon completion of my degree, I will be headed to either Taiwan or mainland China to continue my language studies.
“The World's First Drug War: How Nations become Criminalized”
The world runs on drugs. Whether it is a legally sanctioned substance such as caffeine, alcohol or tobacco, or an illicit one like marijuana, heroin or amphetamines, there is no doubt that humans are constantly altering their psychological and physiological state. Many factors play a role in determining legality of a drug in society, yet these views fluctuate over time. Such decisions often hold great consequences, and jumping quickly to action often further problematizes the actual situation. Opium in China, marijuana in the United States—the scapegoating of drugs for national problems has led to many issues worthy of exploration.
There are multiple instances throughout history where the criminalization of a substance exacerbated state problems, and mid-19th century China is a prime example. Opium’s prevalence during the late Qing was a physical manifestation of imperialism’s negative influence on the Chinese, and thus became the target of national scorn. What was born out of turning opium into an illicit drug was an increase in opium potency, the condensation of size thus making it harder to detect, and the flourishing of gangs, who were used to control and distribute this substance. In my research I will explore the consequences of China’s handling of opium during the 1800’s up until the mid-20th century, as well as draw historical parallels to similar cases of drug criminalization.
Nagore Sedano is a graduate student of Foreign Languages and literatures at the University of Nevada Reno. She was born in Bilbao (Spain), where she lived until her early 20s. Her first taught Spanish at Royal Grammar School in England, while she studied a year abroad at the University of Worcester. In 2008, she graduated from the University of the Basque Country with a bachelor’s degree in Communications. Upon graduation, she received a fellowship from USAC to conduct a research program in California State University, where she also worked as a Spanish teaching assistant. In 2009, she taught various Spanish courses as a visitor scholar at the University of Idaho, Moscow. After working in Geneva (Switzerland), she arrived at the University of Nevada, in August 2011.
“Basque American Third Generation: Rethinking Monique Urza’s The Deep Blue Memory”
The last quarter of the past century celebrated the advancement of the so-called “multiculturalism” that reached out to the field of literary works. As Western US literature left behind its ethnocentric binary opposition formula, so did the Basque American Diaspora. Second generation writers spoke of the struggle to create a Basque American hybrid that would blend and partially resist within the U.S. melting pot policy of the 50s. Despite dealing with the issues of nostalgia, identity two-ness and discrimination, second generation texts tend to cherish the price of an adaptation that often derives from a process of acculturation. In opposition to this idealistic cultural and identity conflict resolution, newer generations of Basque American authors benefit from a more ethnically diverse environment to incorporate more complex interactions into their dialectic. As a third generation writer, Monique Urza’s The Deep Blue Memory (1993) adds to this genre by approaching the topic from a female perspective. In addition, Urza accounts for the issue of rescuing some traits of her ancestral Basque identity and perpetuating them in the contemporary US. In sum, this paper aims to highlight the transcendence of newer contributions to the Basque Diaspora genre and contribute to future research in this changing field.
Holly Smith is an MA in History. Her Fields are Nineteenth Century Europe and Irish Nationalism Her Areas of Research Interest are Celtic identity in Irish history, Cultural revivals in Nationalism, and Historical archaeology. Holly Smith obtained my B.A. in history from San Diego State University. I returned to obtain my Masters in anticipation of going on to get my PhD. I was immediately captivated at the changing and evolving Irish identity that was being formed in the nineteenth century. I enjoy skiing (bunny hill only ;-) scrap-booking and going to concerts. My deep and abiding love is to travel. I have been to Prague, London, Edinburgh, Dublin, driven all over Ireland, and plan another trip next year possibly to Italy.
“Archaeology and Irish Nationalism”
Irish nationalism was multi-faceted and far more complex than most outside observers would think at first glance. One aspect most obvious and well-know is that if the cultural revival of the nineteenth and twentieth century. The so-called Celtic Revival covers a variety of movements and trends that drew on the traditions of “Celtic” literature and “Celtic” art, and in fact originated the identity myth that the Irish were descendant of the ancient Celtic peoples, who may not have existed. Although the revival was complex and multifaceted, occurring across many fields, the most controversial in recent years has been that of archaeology and geography. In many facets the revival came to represent a reaction to modernization and its close association with the British rule in Ireland. During this period in Ireland, where the relationship between the archaic and the modern was antagonistic, where history was fractured, and where the establishment and renovation of ancient “Celtic” identity began and continued into the twentieth century. The megalithic tombs at Newgrange and the Hill of Tara in the West of Ireland and the Cliff fort of Dun Aengus in the East are part of the cultural history and identity of the Republic of Ireland that was begun as early as the 3200 BCE and continues into modern times. The initial discovery and preservation of these sites was begun during this age of nationalism and reflects the intentions and ideologies of the Irish cultural nationalists. The early descriptions and interpretations of the site are now being re-evaluated through less biased lenses and a new identity emerges.
Tim Smith: Ph.D. Student, Department of History. Fields: 20th Century U.S. History, U.S. Intellectual History, and Cultural Studies. Research Area: Representations of college life in popular culture and they lived experience of college students.
“Ambivalent Womanhood: The Debate Over Coeducation at American Colleges and Universities, 1875-1930”
Women in the late nineteenth century were pursuing higher education in record numbers. At both single sex and coeducational colleges and universities in the United States, women began to pursue aspirations beyond the rigid realm of domesticity. The opening of seminaries and women’s colleges created educational opportunities never before available. Transforming social conditions and the expansion of primary education created a large need for educated teachers, a role that many women began to fill. Women’s colleges, such as Vassar and Wellesley, helped train this new army of teachers all the while maintaining strict Victorian ideals of femininity and womanhood. Indeed, by 1880 30% of all female college students attended women’s colleges, nearly 12,000 total. Yet, by the 1890s, women’s college attendance was in decline as coeducational institutions began to dominate the marketplace of higher education. Of the nearly 1,100 colleges in existence in 1890, 43% were coeducational. Beginning with Oberlin College in 1833, coeducational colleges and universities steadily increased in number over the latter part of the nineteenth century, due in large part to the Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862. However, coeducation with its rising popularity was not without protest and debate. The controversy over coeducation reveals vying economic, social and political and gender debates advocating for and against coeducation in American colleges and universities. More fundamentally, these debates highlight ambivalent cultural attitudes toward the changing role of women in during the Progressive Era. University presidents, college students, intellectuals and common everyday people expressed different opinions over the emergence of the “New Woman” in public life. From the period roughly beginning in the late 1870s through the 1920s, the debate over coeducation was carried out in academic circles, literature, political discourse, periodical journals and newsprint. Through the analysis of relevant sources the ambivalent cultural attitudes can be articulated and tied to broader social and cultural notions of woman’s proper place in society.
Levin Welch is a Master's student in sociology at the University of Nevada, Reno, and is projected to graduate in Spring, 2013. General areas of interest include social stratification, rural and environmental sociology, political economy, social movements, and globalization.
“Same Problems, Different Answers: Occupy Wall Street, the Tea Party, Social Media, and Ideological Translations”
In order to make sense of social change we must consider how various collective groups of people involved understand their social reality, as conceptualization largely dictates action. Examining how two distinct social movements interpret social problems, and the solutions they propose for them, could provide a great insight of various American political ideologies and their role in discourse, organization, and action in the wake of sudden and unexpected change. In this study, I seek to examine how two social movements that came out of the 2008 Economic Crisis—the Tea Party Movement and the Occupy Movement—interpret and address social problems. Additionally, I seek to explain group action by exploring how each movement utilized “social media” to spread information and organize people into action. In short, the goal is to observe how ideology is translated in these two social movements through social media.
Laura M. Wilhelm is a second year PhD student in the department of Anthropology with a focus in Cultural Anthropology. Her areas of interest include social networks, identity, Transnationalism, and ritual. Her current research involves the formation of loyalty and membership within fraternal orders existing in the Republic of Panama and Colombia.
“Subjective Identities: Case Study of The Sacred and The Profane”
Those who ‘stand outside the temple’ are referred to as the ‘profane’ by Freemasons, and the ‘sacred’ are those whom are free and accepted Masons. Although not intended as depreciatory, this separation gives precedence to the works produced from within the lodge. Freemason membership does not command subjectivity within scholarly work. In fact, Freemasons value objectivity in research and the continuing quest for accuracy. However, work produced by Brother scholars speaks to the identities constructed by members of this fraternal order and has a tendency to reinforce loyalty to those theoretical frames and methodologies offered by Brothers, or which generally adhere to Masonic values.
The tendency of ‘academia’ has often been to promote an ‘objective’ portrayal of the human experience. Granted, after the ‘reflexive turn’ anthropologists began to incorporate candid remarks on the effect their own experiences had on their interpretations of social phenomena. While the notions of the Sacred and the Profane might seem to indicate a nearly unavoidable preference on the part of Freemason scholars researching topics relevant to the Lodge, nonaffiliated scholars are not always better situated outside of subjectivity. The aims and interpretations of social analysis vary appreciably within contemporary non-Mason scholarship. It is this variation that helps shape our understandings.
The work of both Masons and non-affiliated scholars should be considered when discussing the contemporary literature relevant to Freemasonry. This grants myriad perspectives; native, non-native, and the varied theoretical orientations found within the academy.
C. Stuart Ungar is a first year Masters Student in History at San Francisco State University concentrating in Jewish History in the Classical Age of Islam. In addition to serving as an associate editor of Ex Post Facto, the SFSU History Journal, Stu has been involved with the History Students Association, Classics Students Association, and is a Student Librarian in the Jewish Studies Department. Stu has also given guest lectures on the field of Jewish History to community organizations and lower-division History courses. Outside of the academy, Stu plays Jazz Trombone--having appeared at the Monterey Jazz Festival with the Pacific Jazz Ensemble in 2010--dabbles in Accordion and enjoys cooking French cuisine.
“Maimonides, Political Power, Cultural Exchange and the Jews of Yemen”
In my presentation, I will reassess Moses Maimonides' “Epistle to the Jews of Yemen” as profoundly affected by his close contact with Islamicate society, culture and politics throughout his life. This will be accomplished through a close reading of the “Epistle” as well as an examination of the discursive elements throughout Maimonides life that would have influenced his reactions to topics explored in the “Epistle” such as Messanism, Forced Conversion and Astrology, demonstrating that Maimonides' work was contingent upon his hybrid identity as a Jew and an Arab. Through these factors, I will demonstrate that the Jewish identity Maimonides projects in this letter was largely reactive to structures of power as they existed between Jews and Muslims, defined by Maimonides' trans-Mediterranean experience as a scholar, and predicated upon experiences of both integration and exclusion from Islamicate society.