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University Writing and Research Symposium
The George Washington University
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Spring 2009

Thursday, April 23 through Friday, April 24

The George Washington University
Foggy Bottom and Mount Vernon Campuses

KEYNOTE SESSION: 7:00 PM, Thursday, April 23rd
Post Hall, The Mount Vernon Campus

“Answering the Climate Challenge:Reflections on the Journey” - Hon. Eileen Claussen, President of thePew Center on Global Climate Change and Strategies for the Global Environment

An opening reception will be held both Thursday and Friday morning at 10:00 in Post Hall and Gelman Library.  An awards ceremony honoring the winner of the Spring 2009 Symposium poster design contest, Mi Sun Kwon and the first runner-up Cynthia Figueroa will be held in Post Hall on Thursday evening before the Keynote Session.

Thursday Gelman Sessions Friday Gelman Sessions Thursday Mount Vernon Sessions Friday Mount Vernon Sessions
10:00 10:00 10:00 10:00
11:30 11:30 11:30 11:30
1:00 1:00 1:00 1:00
2:30 2:30 2:30 2:30
4:00 4:00 4:00 4:00


Eckles Library

Friday,April 24 2:30-5:15

MODERATOR: Rachelle S. Heller, Assoc. Dean for Academic Affairs, Mount Vernon Campus; Prof of Engineering and Applied Science

Presentation 01, The Story Behind the Dark Continent" What do we Really Know About It? - Akunna Ibe
Presentation 02, Denmark's Rescue of the Jewish People - Brittany Garnick
Presentation 03, Plight of the Children - Diandra Cardenas
Presentation 04, The Gambling Debate - Alan Glick
Presentation 05, The Role of the Railroad: Deceptive Efficiency - Jessica Sokol
Presentation 06, Liberation: An Ongoing Process - Jessica Spitkovsky
Presentation 07, Determining the Role of the Family Farm in a Globalized World: The Economic and Social Viability of Mexican Campesinos Today - Katie Whitnah
Presentation 08, Buy/Sell: Bank of America's Image During Its Acquisition of Merrill Lynch - Marcella May
Presentation 09, Culture as a Commodity:An Analysis of Tourism in Developing Countries - Molly Dunton
Presentation 10, The Sonderkommando: The Holocaust Revealed - Niki Rothman
Presentation 11, Homosexual Persecution During the Holocaust - the Homocaust - Rashima Kwatra
Presentation 12, Enabling Women to Succeed: Breaking the Barriers to Women's Economic Development in Thailand - Sarah Thompson
Presentation 13, Technology's Influence on Childrens's Toys: a shift from "social IQ" to "IQ" - Solange Bayard
Presentation 14, The Politics of Sport: Then and Now - Steven Miller
Presentation 15, Iconography in Political Campaigns - Victoria Wright

Presentation 01, The Story Behind the Dark Continent" What do we Really Know About It? - Akunna Ibe

Presentation 02, Denmark's Rescue of the Jewish People - Brittany Garnick

Presentation 03, Plight of the Children - Diandra Cardenas

Presentation 04, The Gambling Debate - Alan Glick

Presentation 05, The Role of the Railroad: Deceptive Efficiency - Jessica Sokol

Presentation 06, Liberation: An Ongoing Process - Jessica Spitkovsky

Presentation 07,Determining the Role of the Family Farm in a Globalized World: The Economic and Social Viability of Mexican Campesinos Today
Katie Whitnah

To the developed world, farming has become a large-scale operation geared towards maximizing profits through economies of scale. In contrast, many less developed countries continue to have small family farms as the backbone of their economies. When low market prices and free trade agreements make it difficult for these farms to compete, we are faced with the question of whether there is still a place for the family farm in today’s globalized world.

Using the example of Mexico, this project will explore not only the current economic and social viability of these small farms, but also competing discourses surrounding why they are unable to compete in the global market and how world perceptions affect their status. I will then consider the future of these farms and whether there are any practical alternatives to family farming, with the goal of deciding whether the Mexican government should intervene to preserve them.

Presentation 08, Buy/Sell: Bank of America's Image During Its Acquisition of Merrill Lynch
Marcella May

In focusing on Bank of America’s use of spin in its advertising and public statements regarding its recent acquisition of Merrill Lynch, I have utilized primarily graphic and psychological lenses.  An analysis of their respective logos follows a brief discussion of the economic crisis, and seeks to give an accurate view of what both companies are attempting to portray.  Post-acquisition, Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s retention of its separate emblems, and the bailout it has found necessary are considered. It becomes clear that the image of the corporation, one that it has continued to portray through 2009 and the merger, serve to distract attention from both the crisis and the bailout package.

Presentation 09, Culture as a Commodity:An Analysis of Tourism in Developing Countries
Molly Dunton

Tourism is having a major impact on the development of third world countries and their economies are becoming increasingly dependent on the industry. The third world is becoming a more and more popular tourist destination as it is commonly seen as "exotic" but the societies of these countries are not equipped to handle or withstand the negative effects of tourism. Although tourism can bring in unprecedented amounts of capital and jobs into these regions, problems such as unequal wealth distribution frequently arise and thus not everyone is benefiting from the gross influx of tourism. Additionally, the social and cultural impacts of tourism have been far from beneficial in many countries; locals and natives of these developing societies are experiencing social marginalization and a gradual disappearance of cultural traditions and identities. This paper will focus on the Caribbean Island region as these developing small island states are the best microcosms and thus examples of the effects of tourism in the developing world.

Presentation 10, The Sonderkommando: The Holocaust Revealed - Niki Rothman

My project displays the Sonderkommando Unit of the Holocaust who were primarily young, healthy Jewish men chosen by the SS, from the Nazi transports, to do the dirty work of the “Final Solution”, Hitler’s plan to obliterate all evidence of the Holocaust. The dirty work included transporting dead bodies, cleaning gas chambers, taking gold pieces out of dead bodies’ teeth, and physically taking clothes off dead bodies. It is important to note that the Sonderkommando Unit, also called Geheiminstrager, German for “bearer of secrets,” were not the SS and thus were not classified as the murderers of the Holocaust. Every 3-6 months the members of the Sonderkommando were killed because the SS wanted to prevent any acts of resistance within the unit.  In particular, the SS needed to ensure that the Sonderkommando did not live to testify how the genocide was conducted. Despite the strength of the SS, the Sonderkommando units still made it their prerogative to stay strong and fight back, which is seen through evidence such as physically revolting, secretly taking photographs, and hiding personally written journals.

Presentation 11, Homosexual Persecution During the Holocaust - the Homocaust - Rashima Kwatra

Presentation 12, Enabling Women to Succeed: Breaking the Barriers To Women's Economic Development in Thailand
Sarah Thompson

This research seeks to advance the discussion of women’s
opportunities and obstacles in the labor market.  In doing so, it
examines the factors of productivity needed to be successfully
competitive in an economic marketplace and the disparities that exist
between men and women when trying to attain them. Using Thailand as a basis for research, I address the social norms that are affecting women’s economic development and what Thai women are doing to overcome them.  Starting with legal and moving to socially perceived differences, I suggest ways for Thai women to move beyond the barriers and increase their economic participation.  I will also explore why Thai women have the desire to become more competitive and why it is important to the economy that they are able to do so.

Presentation 13, Technology's Influence on Childrens's Toys: a shift from "social IQ" to "IQ" - Solange Bayard

Presentation 14, The Politics of Sport: Then and Now - Steven Miller

Presentation 15, Iconography in Political Campaigns - Victoria Wright



Thursday, April 23, 10:00-11:15

Session G1, Opening Activities - Gelman Library, 3rd Floor

Thursday, April 23, 11:30-12:45

Session G2, Alien-nations & Suburban Anxieties
Session G3, Native American Issues

Thursday, April 23, 1:00-2:15

Session G4, Multi-Cultural Struggles with Multiculturalism
Session G5, Lessons in Gender, from the Breakfast Table to the Page
Session G6, Faiths, Doubts, and Suspicions

Thursday, April 23, 2:30-3:45

Session G7, Enforcing Moralities: Unintended Consequences
Session G8, Criminal Injustices & Federal Investigations

Thursday, April 23, 4:00-5:15

Session G09, Children and (Cultural) ConflictóReal and Imagined
Session G10, Diets and Disciplines

Thursday, April 23, 11:30-12:45

Location: Gelman Library 301

Panel: Alien-nations & Suburban Anxieties

PRESENTERS: Amanda Lamb, Joseph F. Raser, Ashley Gabriele

MODERATOR: Niles Tomlinson, English Department

Conspiring Against the Disney Threat: An Activist Cause
Amanda Lamb 

Contemporary scholars utilize conspiratorial theory rhetoric in order to promote their activist causes. Some target Disney movies as corrupt and immoral influences on children. They claim these films contain hidden images or story-lines which subliminally influence children through racist, male chauvinistic or blatantly sexual content. Disney conspiracy theories react against an entertainment institution contributing to a society that reflects changing social and moral values, an idea that "sex sells," and that the developing culture may be unfit or unsafe for children. Ultimately, conspiracy theories of this type are fundamentally beneficial to society by promoting accountability of wrongdoing and contributing to a discussion of morality and democracy in our changing society. 

The Roswell Myth: A Cultural Analysis of the Crash at Roswell
Joseph F. Raser

On July, 7 1947 the US Air Force was called in to investigate and recover unknown materials that crashed near a ranch in Roswell, New Mexico.  Although today Roswell is synonymous with UFO’s, that was not always the case.  This paper examines how a localized legend, largely ignored for 30 years, suddenly developed into a national phenomenon during the 1980’s, and quickly became deeply ingrained in American popular culture.  Furthermore, my research will ultimately show that through the study of conspiracy theories and myths, like that of the Roswell incident, and the groups of people who surround them, we are better able to understand the underlying American identity and culture of a specific period of time.    

Disturbia: Shattering the Façade of Suburbia through Genre in Edward Scissorhands
Ashley Gabriele

Although comical and whimsical on the surface, Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands represents a critical parody to the conventional American value system.  This essay examines the juxtaposition of fairytale and gothic genres in the film, through which Burton intimates the apathetic and malicious undertones in an outwardly perfect suburbia.  He thus transforms the cheery American town into “disturbia”—the suburb harbors twisted tendencies under its mask.  The many methods of contrasting light and dark in a peachy-keen suburb brought into chaos by an innocent monster reveal Burton’s social message and question the hypocrisy of society’s traditional values.

Thursday, April 23, 11:30-12:45

Location: Gelman Library 302

Panel: Native American Issues

PRESENTERS: Daniella Bienstock, Lindsay Gordon, Alison Tager

MODERATOR: Trish Arnold, Development Specialist, CITL

A Return to Common Ground: A Study of Discourse on the Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act
Daniella Bienstock

In 1990, after decades of struggle by Native American tribal leadership for protection against the desecration of graves and for the return of human remains and sacred tribal property to Native owners, the Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) became law. Surrounding the discourse on NAGPRA are several controversial opinions on the ethics, validity, and effectiveness of repatriation. This paper explores the history and implications of the placement of Native American human remains and sacred items under the control of non-Native collectors and museums. It argues that, while NAGPRA does mandate the removal of tangible, archaeological artifacts from the public eye, it ultimately reflects the growing success of Native American civil rights efforts and a fundamental change in the public’s perception of the past, present, and future of Native American life in the United States.

Rhetoric in a Post-Colonial World: The Discourse Surrounding the Columbian Nukak Tribe’s Appearance
Lindsay Gordon

This project analyzes the discourse surrounding an indigenous tribe’s emergence out of seclusion and into a nearby town. Well-known news organizations and NGOs from around the world account for this event very differently, which leads us to examine how discourse of the same event exposes differing perceptions among societies. What accounts for this inconsistency of rhetoric? The nature of the discussion surrounding the Nukak tribe by Western media outlets sheds light on a specific discourse which has existed since Colonialist times. This discourse reveals Western notions of established structures of power which are deeply ingrained in the minds of our society. This project forces us to contemplate the commanding role our discourse plays as a window into how we perceive ourselves and the world around us. Through examining its origins, perhaps we can uncover ways to reverse this ethnocentric rhetoric.

Salvaging the Land
Alison Tager


Thursday, April 23, 1:00-2:15

Location: Gelman Library 300

Panel: Multi-Cultural Struggles with Multiculturalism

PRESENTERS:Ashley Selmon, Arum Oh, Carla Isley, Daniel Hennessey

MODERATOR: Chris Sten, Director, Writing in the Disciplines Program

After the Myth of the Return: Failed Dutch Multiculturalism, the Current Crisis, and New Approaches to Assimilation
Ashley Selmon

The purpose of this paper is to understand the extreme transition that Dutch society has undergone in relation to its history of religious and cultural tolerance. The paper investigates the Dutch wave of migration from Islamic nations in Africa following World War II, the cultural transition from migrant to immigrant populations, and finally the cultural crisis that resulted from the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh.  The paper then discusses the current situation in the Netherlands, as Dutch society attempts to resolve its cultural divide and determine the failures of multiculturalism, as well as discuss a new form of assimilation.  The paper also delves into the discussion of assimilation as a way to prevent human rights abuses, as opposed to an expression of ethnic or national superiority.  The paper will discuss and examine many of the ideas of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-Dutch immigrant and former member of Dutch Parliament.

Korean Celebrities: The Conflict Between Culture and Westernization on the Job
Arum Oh 

Success in Bilingual Education: A Human Rights Perspective
Carla Isley

Gambling with the Future of Children:Chinese Immersion in a DC Charter School
Daniel Hennessey

Thursday, April 23, 1:00-2:15

Location: Gelman Library 301

Panel: Lessons in Gender, from the Breakfast Table to the Page

PRESENTERS:Hannah Traverse, Gretchen Gasteier, Nicole Longo, Stephanie Bailye

MODERATOR: Heather Schell, Director, University Writing Program

They’re Great! Societal Implications of Trends in Food Advertisements for Children
Hannah Traverse

Real Women Have Curves: The War on Weight in Hollywood
Stephanie Bailye

This paper looks at the depiction of body image in tabloids and advertisments, and the effects that these depictions have on young women. I would like to look at the psychological aspect and examine whether or not these articles and commercials contribute to young women and eating disorders and whether or not they are constantly feeling the need to look like those celebrities that they see  in magazines. What those magazines fail to mention is that the average size woman is a size 10 to 14 and magazines criticize women for being a size 6. In my paper I seek to examine the contradictory messages being sent by these tabloids.

Women Talk Too Much. Or Do They?
Gretchen Gasteier

Looking in the Mirror: A Dancer's Struggle to Balance Between Her Inner and Outer Selves
Nicole Longo

Many studies have been conducted with a focus on the problems associated with body image amongst women.  Studies have even been conducted that focus on the abundance of eating disorders, drug use and other body image related issues amongst dancers.  However, few have looked at the mirror as a major source of these issues, nor have many looked at the destruction of the dancer's self as a result.  This project looks at the dance world’s obsession with perfecting the outer body and the unintentional disconnection that forms between the outer and inner self of a dancer.  Through a discussion of the origination and the consequences of this disconnection using Gelsey Kirkland's Dancing on My Grave, this project suggests that a dancer may be able to refocus her thoughts on her inner self rather than her outer self through the use of autobiography.

Thursday, April 23, 1:00-2:15

Location: Gelman Library 302

Panel: Faiths, Doubts, and Suspicions

PRESENTERS:Neil Deshpande, Maxwell Anthony, Juhee Jain

MODERATOR: Mehan Dossani, Intern, Gelman Library

Branching Off the Religious Family Tree: The Difference Between Islam and Nation of Islam
Neil Deshpande

In July 1930 in Detroit, Michigan, a man named Wallace Fard Muhammad founded a religious group that declared the intention of vitalizing and maintaining the societal and psychological ascension of African Americans. The group grew hugely within the African American community, boasting at its peak upwards of 100,000 members. Extremism, internal conflicts and violent tendencies would later plague the religion and lead to its eventual dissolution, but its principal glaring problem was its name: the Nation of Islam. Superficially, the Nation included references and interpretations of traditional Islam, but it was no way affiliated with Islam, and most crucially it held a series of central beliefs that directly clashed with the central beliefs of Islam. Although spawned from some similar concepts and beliefs as Islam, the Nation of Islam was not a form of that religion but was in fact pseudo-Islam

Remnant of Radicals: Conspiracy Theories, Religious Imperatives, and the Sedevacantist Community
Maxwell Anthony

Atheism as a Counterculture: The Perception that Makes a Difference
Juhee Jain

The topic of atheism and it's place in society as a counterculture is something that raises man intellectual, moral, and political questions. With regard to freshman - many of us are struggling to find an identity, something that we believe in, and even something that defines us. We examine the world around us making judgments and create our own perceptions of things through what we see, sometimes even unconsciously. America as a whole is deeply Chrisitianized, and we see some overlap in state and religion in some cases too. For example, at the end of big speeches to the country, the speaker will usually say, “May god bless America,” or other religiously affiliated phrases. There is implied religious affiliation which many of us don’t notice. Morally, many people see atheists as immoral, and “outsider,” when they are not immoral at all. As I examine atheism as a counterculture, I really crack down on the basics. What makes something a counterculture? Is what people perceive it to be, and the factors that contribute to certain notions on a subject, or what it actually is?

Thursday, April 23, 2:30-3:45

Location: Gelman Library 301

Panel: Enforcing Moralities: Unintended Consequences

PRESENTERS:Katy Markland, Kyla Sommers

MODERATOR: Eric Drown, University Writing Program

Got Sex?: Moralizing Sex Education Through Abstinence in America's Schools
Katy Markland

Combating AIDS in Africa: The Prostitution Loyalty Oath
Kyla Sommers

Thursday, April 23, 2:30-3:45

Location: Gelman Library 302

Panel: Criminal Injustices & Federal Investigations

PRESENTERS:Victoria Hartman, Connor Currier, Victor Williams

MODERATOR: Robin Marcus, University Writing Program

Criminal Injustice: The Prison Industrial Complex and What We Can Do to Help
Victoria Hartman

Why does the United States imprison more people than any other country in the world? Is it really because we house the most criminals or are there latent forces at work? My presentation explores the Prison Industrial Complex, an injustice by which a set of bureaucratic, political, and economic interests encourage increased spending on imprisonment, regardless of the actual need. Creating issues of discrimination and decreasing the quality of our prisons, the Prison Industrial Complex directly challenges our nation's ideal of justice. What can we do about it? My presentation also explores some of the alternative movements against the injustice, including the prison abolition movement. Raising moral, economic, and political questions, I will investigate how private interests can get in the way of the public good of justice.

Homegrown Terrorism: The Growth of Religious Extremism in American Prisons
Connor Currier

Since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on our country, there has been an ever-increasing amount of time and money spent on counterterrorism.  Like Malcolm X during his quest for religious salvation in prison, many inmates are discovering the religion of Islam.  While Islam is the most popular religion in prison, it is also the most precarious one, for it can be perverted to extremism.  This paper will discuss the ways in which our prison systems have been infiltrated by terrorist organizations and how these organizations are motivating inmates to hate America and embrace a form of Islam that is not true to its actual creed.  Through research in Congressional hearings and interviews with experts, this paper will make more people aware of the terrorist factions forming in American prisons under the guise of religion.

J. Edgar Hoover: The Real Public Enemy
Victor Williams

Thursday, April 23, 4:00-5:15

Location: Gelman Library 301

Panel: Children and (Cultural) Conflict—Real and Imagined

PRESENTERS:Alexandra Fisher, Jiahe “Jamie” Lu, Amanda Zakeri

MODERATOR: Janet Olsen, Reference Librarian, Gelman Library

Caught in the Crossfire: The Effects of War on Children, as Depicted in Film
Alexandra Fisher

To Be Chinese, Or Not to Be?
Jiahe “Jamie” Lu

China and Taiwan have been struggling about the cross strait relation and this issue has been heating up in both societies. This project presents five significant factors that strongly influence Chinese and Taiwanese teenagers’ opinions toward this issue, and will continuously demonstrate their effects on more generations. Those factors are: separated living spaces; societal influences; education about nationalism perceived from schools; social identity formation and Political influences. Essentially, it is interesting and critical to discover the distinct thoughts maintained by both teenagers and the significance of this differentiation.

Misunderstanding a Complex Generation: Video Games and Escapism in Adolescence
Amanda Zakeri

In my project, I discuss how children from Generation Y are rapidly maturing due to the effects that new developments in technology have on American culture and the demand for immediacy. I argue that it is now necessary for parents and society to recognize that it is time for a progressive approach to be taken with new media forms and video games. Throughout history different forms of media and expression were put into question and deemed immoral or frivolous when they first arose. Whether it was movies, music, painting, or photography, the instant that government officials and conservatives sensed any threat to the status quo they began to cry out for censorship and withdrawal from participation in the medium that was put into question. However, I maintain that video games are not something to be feared due to their immersive qualities and content. Rather, they should be recognized as one of many forms of media currently shaping youth's minds, a form which adolescents are currently using to escape from the restrictive bonds placed on them in society and at home. 

Thursday, April 23, 4:00-5:15

Location: Gelman Library 302

Panel: Diets and Disciplines

PRESENTERS:Laura Bonnema, Kati Pajak, Morgan Clark-Youngblood, Timothy Savoy, Mikel Pena, Melissa Delgado

MODERATOR: Kip Lornell, Music Department

The Transition: Adjusting to College While Suffering from Food Allergies
A group presentation by Laura Bonnema, Kati Pajak, and Morgan Clark-Youngblood

A person’s freshmen year in college (or away from their familiar home)
can be life changing for many people, filled by a difficult period of
adjustment and added worries and stresses. This period is even more
challenging and taxing for those students with any sort of disability
or illness. A most common medical affliction that ails over 4 million
American children is food sensitivities. Food allergies can make
eating (whether that is out or inside a person’s home) very difficult
for those people diagnosed with these sensitivities.  Our paper
focuses on the transitions of three high school students with food
allergies to college life and their necessary adjustments and added
stresses associated with independent living.  We examine each of the
students’ university dining facilities, evaluating how appropriately
and adequately each school  provides safe eating options for their
students with food allergies.

¿Que Vino Primero: La Tortilla o La Cultura?
An Ethnographic Study by Timothy Savoy , Mikel Pena, and Melissa Delgado

In this research paper, we seek to find the importance of the tortilla to the Mexican culture. Our interviews with three, Mexican-American women of different ages who have unique relationships with the tortilla have us come to the conclusion that the tortilla is more than just food to the Mexican people. It is actually a force that molds and holds the Mexican people together in the way that it is made and the way that it is consumed. We want audiences to understand that this staples food serves for more than just sustenance; it serves as a representation of the Mexican culture itself. They are so intertwined that without the tortilla, Mexican culture would probably be substantially different. The use of ethnographic interviews gives this paper a unique viewpoint as these conclusions are drawn completely from the interviewees themselves. They are all women, and women are typically responsible for the making of tortillas. They are all of Mexican heritage, and have grown up with the tortilla in their lives. They each tell us stories revolving not only around the tortillas they make, but around the family bonds the tortillas create. They may not realize it but the tortilla has influenced them more than they know.  



Friday, APRIL 24

Friday, April 24, 10:00-11:15

Session G11, Holocaust Studies #1
Session G12, Food Cultures & Conflicts

Friday, April 24, 11:30-12:45

Session G13, Art for the Struggle
Session G14, Traumatic Events. Post-T Syndromes?
Session G15, Holocaust Studies #2

Friday, April 24, 1:00-2:15

Session G16, Extreme Celebrities
Session G17, A Cell of Conspiracy Theories
Session G18, Holocaust Studies #3

Friday, April 24, 2:30-3:45

Session G19, Drugs, Genes, and Compulsions
Session G20,Cold War Comics: Exploring Thematic Changes in American Ideologies
Session G21,The Packaging and Promotion of (Post) Modern Identities

Friday, April 24, 4:00-5:15

Session G22, Finding Selves in Foreign Places
Session G23, Promoting Civil Rights (and Wrongs)

Friday, April 24, 10:00-11:15

Location: Gelman Library 302

Panel: Holocaust Studies #1

PRESENTERS: Daniel Wolman, Paige Auerbach, Brianna Williams, Bailey Cook, and Alexis Isenberg, Timur Altman, Jake T. Miner

MODERATOR: Ann Brown, Reference and Instruction Librarian, Gelman Library

Importing the Holocaust: A Review of the United States Holocaust Museum
Daniel Wolman, Paige Auerbach, Brianna Williams, Bailey Cook, and Alexis Isenberg

For many Americans, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum will frame their understanding of the Holocaust and elements of the Permanent Exhibit may come to represent the tragedy as a whole.  But has the museum Americanized the Holocaust?  Sixteen years after its opening, many decisions made regarding the design of USHMM remain controversial and this panel seeks to explore and question these decisions.  Was it proper to import real artifacts like the boxcar?  Is it appropriate to have the museum located on the National Mall, a place of patriotic celebration and commemoration? Does the scale model of the gas chambers violate what should be seen by visitors and is it right to miniaturize the Holocaust? Should the designers have incorporated victims’ hair into the exhibit or is it even too personal to see victims’ shoes?  

Resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto
Timur Altman

In the first decade of Israel’s existence, when the state and its society were still in the process of taking shape, the Zionist movement used the Holocaust as the ultimate proof to Zionist idea. However, the Israeli society could not cope with the terrible and still fresh event, such as the Holocaust. Therefore, an emphasize was put on the heroism of the armed resistance such in Warsaw Ghetto, while most Holocaust survivors and victims were stained with shame, for cooperating with the Nazis, and being Marched as lambs to slaughter. By providing different examples of resistance inside the Warsaw Ghetto walls, such as the clandestine schooling and the Oneg Shabbat archives, I wish to argue that the armed resistance was not the only type of resistance that took place during the Holocaust, and that all survivors and victims of the Holocaust are heroes that showed resistance.

A Waltz With the Truth: Isreal's Projection of the Jewish Holocaust in Sabra and Shatila
Jake T. Miner

Friday, April 24, 10:00-11:15

Location: Gelman Library 300

Panel: Food Cultures & Conflicts

PRESENTERS:Behnam Ben Talebu, Bilal Ahmad

MODERATOR: Tina Plottel, Reference and Instruction Librarian, Gelman Library

Iranian Influence: It’s Not Only Something Political
Behnam Ben Talebu

Zambia Trapped in a GM Maize
Bilal Ahmad

Friday, April 24, 11:30-12:45

Location: Gelman Library 300

Panel: Art for the Struggle

PRESENTERS: Samantha Slick Luker, Brendan McKay, Isabella Bulkeley

MODERATOR: Gia Harewood, University Writing Program

Photos Worth a Thousand Words: The Influence of Photography Surrounding Malcolm X
Samantha Slick Luker

Malcolm X was a high-profile figure in America in the 1950s and 1960s. He worked for the blacks in America to help them realize their potential and release themselves from the strong hold of whites. Malcolm was a nonviolent and intelligent black leader, yet he was feared and disliked by many throughout the nation. My research shows that the portrayal of Malcolm X photography in the media is responsible for these negative opinions. I accomplish this by conducting photo analyses of multiple photos of Malcolm X, comparing them with photos from different perspectives and that create different opinions.

            Malcolm X lived before any GW student, but the media still exists. GW students and faculty alike will be able to connect to my research because photography is still a large factor in the media. This visually engaging presentation will capture peoples’ interest and raise their awareness of the effects of photography in the media.

The Murals of Northern Ireland: Protest in Paint
Brendan McKay

Strokes of War: The Significance of the Contemporary Art Movement in
Occupied Iraq
Isabella Bulkeley

 In my project I will use the contemporary art movement in Iraq as an
example through which to explore the role of art in a country of
conflict. By examining the art of both pioneering and emerging Iraqi
artists whose work is virtually unknown outside of their native
country, I will examine how art is valued in a time of conflict as a
medium to communicate the beliefs and experiences of citizens.
Furthermore, I want to discuss in a broader sense how art is valued in
culture. While there have been extensive efforts made to protect the
antiquities of Iraq, there have been few efforts made to encourage the
arts during the occupation of Iraq after 2003. Although it is
essential to place the art in the broader context of the contemporary
arts movement, I will focus more on cultural and aesthetic theory
regarding the value of art and beauty to the development of culture
and identity.

Friday, April 24, 11:30-12:45

Location: Gelman Library 301

Panel: Traumatic Events. Post-T Syndromes?

PRESENTERS: Marco Crocetti, Lisha Yuan, Kathleen Hilton

MODERATOR: Christy Zink, University Writing Program

Genocide: Does the World Care?
Marco Crocetti

My paper analyzes what is going wrong in Darfur, what failed attempts have been taken to resolve the conflict, and what can be done better. Throughout this argument the main point is that more needs to be done, more aid, more coordination, and more effort to use Darfur as a final example to the world that this must never happen again. I want the audience to understand the pain these people go through, to understand not just that this is wrong but that something needs to be done and doing so will not be a huge inconvenience to them. I don’t want people to leave that day feeling that they should do something and they next day not care. I want the audience to never again tolerate the idea that a world with genocide is a world they can live in, and to evolve past the idea that violence solves problems.

9/11: The Latent Trauma and the Manifest Conspiracy
Lisha Yuan

September 11, 2001 have been called the first traumatic event experienced instantaneously across the globe. But why have so many come to doubt the official account of an event captured by the media through cameras and videos? More specifically, what are the grounds for disbelief of official explanations of large traumatic events? And why do they arise? Drawing on the work done by E. Ann Kaplan on the effects of trauma on society and on the individual and of philosopher Richard Kearney regarding the importance of narrative imagination in retelling historical accounts, I propose that the growing number of people that believe in a 9/11 conspiracy underscores a latent response, not to the epic event of 9/11 itself, but to how society choose to represent it and inevitably, remember it.

From Double Jeopardy to Revenge: A Discussion of The Two Trials of The Beltway Sniper John Allen Muhammad
Kathleen Hilton

John Allen Muhammad, responsible for the Beltway Sniper attacks that occurred in Washington D.C., was placed on trial in both Virginia and Maryland, for the same crime.  The people of D.C., Maryland and Virginia cheered when Muhammad was found guilty in both Virginia and Maryland.  In From Double Jeopardy to Revenge: A Discussion of The Two Trials of The Beltway Sniper John Allen Muhammad in Washington D.C., Double Jeopardy, or being tried for the same crime twice, will be discussed and whether or not this was a violation of this right.  Also it will be discussed how those effected by the sniper attacks wanted revenge and how the state of Virginia wanted to set a precedence with John Allen Muhammad’s case.

Friday, April 24, 11:30-12:45

Location: Gelman Library 302

Panel: Holocaust Studies #2

PRESENTERS: Jacqueline Slatky, Joel Davis, Ari Heffez, Robert Abramo

MODERATOR: Sandie Friedman, University Writing Program

Then and Now: Auschwitz-Birkenau
A group presentation by Jacqueline Slatky, Joel Davis, and Ari Heffez

Resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto
Robert Abramo

Friday, April 24, 1:00-2:15

Location: Gelman Library 300

Panel: Extreme Celebrities

PRESENTERS: Eric Anderson, Kathryn M. Suarez-Quijano, Lauren Hoenemeyer, Nicole Geotes,

MODERATOR: Todd Ramlow, Women’s Studies

Assaulting the line; Celebrities Abuse of what is Culturally Accepted
Eric Anderson

I examine the double standard that exists between celebrities and the regular social class. Often times celebrities have more leniency for their actions simply because of their power both in wealth and reputation. Thus their power allows them to act without limitations, but a point exists where fans will no longer budge. I address the point at which fans hold their ground and are no longer able to support the celebrity. In most cases this leniency point is never pushed over since I assert that fans seem to support their favorite celebrities unconditionally in most cases. I argue that a rare breaking point does exists to which fans hold their ground and celebrities can no longer exercise their reckless abandon. I conclude by suggesting that this double standard will always exist and that celebrities will always exert their massive amount of power as part of the higher rungs in the social hierarchy. 

Hemingway: Ultimate Celebrity
Kathryn M. Suarez-Quijano

In my research paper, I examine the intersection of Ernest Hemingway and celebrity culture, specifically the literature potentially affected by "fame". By observing the biographical information of writer Ernest Hemingway and progression through his life, I argue that he represents the epitome of today's celebrity, rising then falling as fueled by fame. I assert Hemingway's lifestyle and demeanor as one of a celebrity's, though a celebrity of a different genre than the norm. I also examine the effects of the celebrity culture upon his writing style and writing content. I conclude by affirming Hemingway's role as a celebrity, ultimately displaying the possibility that fame has inadvertent effects on even the not-so-typically-"famous" celebrity.

The Profitable “Circus” of Britney Spears
Lauren Hoenemeyer

Glamorous/Notorious: Celebrity, Narcissism and Addiction
Nicole Geotes

Friday, April 24, 1:00-2:15

Location: Gelman Library 301

Panel: A Cell of Conspiracy Theories

PRESENTERS: Stefanie Fischer, Christopher Robb, Alexandria Flatter

MODERATOR: Elizabeth Edwards, Reference and Technology Librarian, Gelman Library

Alternative Religion and Conspiracy Theory: A Result of Modern Medical Failure
Stefanie Fischer

New Age Religious movements have often focused on the ability of members to heal or be healed by unconventional means.  The descendants of Christ conspiracy theories believe in the connection between the heralded healing miracles of Christ and the ability of his descendants to heal modern epidemics including AIDS and cancer.  This not only serves for interesting discussion on the issues of doctrine in New Age religious conspiracy theories, but for the discussion of why cancer and AIDS have become symbolic for the current fears of at least some mainstream conspiracy theories.  Millions of people are visiting these organizations’ websites, ordering their pamphlets and signing on for their seminars.  Is it a symptom of increased departure from Christian institutions in favor of a more appealing community, a long history of oppression of the Church and the apparent increase of incurable diseases, the failure of modern medicine, the need to feel closer to god? Or is it due to the need to feel able to do for yourself what science cannot?

Conspiracy Theories in the Islamic World
Christopher Robb

I am studying conspiracy theories about the United States and Israel plotting together to undermine and divide the Middle East in order to reap economic benefits. The people who largely subscribe to this theory live in the Middle East or live elsewhere and identify with their Muslim heritage greatly. I am studying this in order to learn about how conspiracy theories function in the Muslim world and identify any possible similar trends that point to a more universal, commonly human understanding of why and how conspiracy theory occurs. This contributes to conspiracy theory by taking a closer look at conspiracy theories that tens of millions of people subscribe to that have been paid little attention by the community of conspiracy scholarship in America. This is an especially relevant because the examination of a conspiracy community that is larger, more advanced and more systemic in its nature than its American counterparts can help to understand conspiracy theory better as a human phenomenon outside the context of its American manifestations. I will try to identify the unique aspects of Islamic society and institutions which may contribute to the widespread acceptance by Muslims of these theories.

Threats Against Conspiracy Theory
Alexandria Flatter

Conspiracy theory belief is often looked upon as amateurs seeking reason in what they cannot describe. The Moon Landing Hoax that circulated post the Apollo 11 mission that in 1969 and beyond is one extreme example of what occurs when conspiracy circulates, beliefs are created and up help, and ultimately a community emerges. An even greater community that is often unnoticed, however, is that of the conspiracy theory debunkers. These “skeptics” have been known to question all conspiracy theory beliefs and rebut them with facts and circumstance. In order to explain why people believe so doggedly that the Moon landing never occurred and why they would believe that the government would go through such an ordeal to promote nationalism or gain approval, one must look at the significance of conspiracy belief in the breadth of why they believe in “weird things.” This is significant because it opens the door to conspiracy culture in the sense that it shows their motives and leads to more than just a dismissal of them as socially marginal paranoids. Using the Moon landing as a reference, one can view the many motives or misleading that draw people to conspiracy belief.

Friday, April 24, 1:00-2:15

Location: Gelman Library 302

Panel: Holocaust Studies #3

PRESENTERS: Jose Pulido, Stacey Minton, Rachel Schoenbrun,

MODERATOR: Debbie Gaspar, Reference and Instruction Librarian, Gelman Library

How Rescuers Are Victims
Jose Pulido

Efficient Mechanized Death
Stacey Minton

The Horrors of Nazi Medicine in the Holocaust
Rachel Schoenbrun

My paper is about the roles that the Nazi physicians played before and during the Holocaust. My paper begins with what was going on in the world beore the Holocaust began. I discuss how many countries, including Germany, became obsessed with the idea of the "natural selection" of humans and the survival of the fittest. Then my paper talks about the first step taken towards this idea, which entials sterilization of people considered "undesirable" of reproduction (i.e. the mentally and physically challenged). I then discuss how the Jewish people became the target of forced sterilization, which then escalated to a secretive Euthanasia Program headed by Hitler and the Nazis that targeted the Jews and other minorities. In the end, I demonstrate why the study of this topic is important because this history cautions us to be vigilant about the ways in which medical practitioners define the worthiness of human life. I argue how it is vital that the medical community work to be saviors of life rather than destroyers of life.

Friday, April 24, 2:30-3:45

Location: Gelman Library 300

Panel: Drugs, Genes, and Compulsions

PRESENTERS: Jane Ellen Henderson, Willard Applefeld, Shamaya Fenwick-Chisholm

MODERATOR: Catherine Woytowicz, Chemistry Department

Drugs, God, and Math: Aronofsky’s Dark Lens Into the World of Obsession
Jane Ellen Henderson

The paper presents the idea that obsession in American society, more specifically the ability for Americans to become so consumed with their vices, leads to self-destruction. This paper explores the way that filmmaker Darren Aronofsky has portrayed this idea in two of his films, Pi and Requiem for a Dream.  The paper focuses on the cinematic techniques that Aronofsky uses in both films, including the use of “splicing” and music.  Furthermore the research examines the underlying moral of both of his movies, which has great significance within our society as a whole.  Through scholarly articles that give careful attention to Aronofsky’s filming and specific scenes from both films, the paper presents the idea that the reckless desperation of obsession always leads to ruin.

This Mortal Engine: Genes, Mutilation, and the Creation of Will*
Willard Applefeld

Running with Scissors: The Role of Self-Mutilation in the Homosexual Community
Shamaya Fenwick-Chisholm

In 2005, approximately 6,137 suicides were committed by teens in the U.S.: 33% of those teens were of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community. One of the most common signs of suicide is self-mutilation: it signifies that an individual wants to evade emotional pain. Although self-mutilation is an issue of both sexual preferences, it is bound to increase in the homogenous culture. Since it has become common to associate fashion with homosexuality, this disallows them to be individualistic and forces them to constantly contemplate their body image.
    In saying this, I pose two questions: does living in a hetero-normative culture provide LGBT teens with more incentive to self-mutilate, and can cutting classify as a definite warning sign of potential suicidal behavior? Through my fieldwork in interviewing LGBT teens in Washington DC who participate in this act, I hope to uncover information about its prevalence in the homosexual culture.

Friday, April 24, 2:30-3:45

Location: Gelman Library 301

Panel: Cold War Comics: Exploring Thematic Changes in American Ideologies

PRESENTERS: Brad Canales, Medha Gupta, Travis Reynolds, Graham Robinson, Christina Williams

MODERATOR: Alexander Carusillo, Undergraduate, Journalism major

A roundtable discussion with Brad Canales, Medha Gupta, Travis Reynolds, Graham Robinson, and Christina Williams

Friday, April 24, 2:30-3:45

Location: Gelman Library 302

Panel:The Packaging and Promotion of (Post) Modern Identities

PRESENTERS: Lisa Carson, Cecilia Matrone, Gina Bochis

MODERATOR: Phyllis Palmer, American Studies and Women’s Studies

Beauty and the Beast: Child Beauty Pageants
Lisa Carson

This paper aims to take a look at the world of child beauty pageants 
and the devastating effects they have on the children who compete in 
them, and the parents that push their children to partake in these 
competitions. If childhood is the definition of innocence, then the 
beauty pageants young children compete in are the source of their 
"adultification". The intense scrutiny, the pressure to be both sexual 
and innocence, and the judgment made on superficial categories drive 
children to either inflamed egos or low self esteem. The parents 
behind these children are often part of the problem as well, seen as 
they are usually over bearing and project their fantasies on the young 
children. Children as seen by society as inherently innocent. Their 
participation in these adult competitions causes them to loose their 
innocence and become grown ups too soon, even if they don't understand  it.

Inclusive Exclusivity: Cultural Influences on Today’s Celebrity Life
Cecilia Matrone

Globalization has been said to have changed the world in allowing the spread of technology, economic techniques and even cultural beliefs, values and characteristics. While this is true in some ways, I concede that despite this transfer, there is still a preservation of the values and beliefs of cultures that can be seen in the actions and behavior of their people. In comparing Japan and America, two superpowers, my paper explores the preservation of these values by looking at the fame of popular celebrities including Britney Spears and Kimura Takuya, as well as at popular culture in general through the venues of written text and media coverage. My paper looks to determine whether or not one can say that this preservation of values is significant enough to infer that not all cultures do share similar outlooks on fame and popular culture, or life in general for that matter. In determining this, one can come to a conclusion as to how exclusive or inclusive our world really is and how inclusive it needs to be in order to maintain world peace.

Finding the Missed Connnection: How Craigslist Constructs Competition and Trust through Virtual Self-Representation
Gina Bochis

Friday, April 24, 4:00-5:15

Location: Gelman Library 301

Panel: Finding Selves in Foreign Places

PRESENTERS: Tracey Shipman, Mitchell Morrison

MODERATOR: Lauren Sallinger, University Writing Program

Finding Oneself in Foreign Places: Spiritual Healing in The Darjeeling Limited
Tracey Shipman

The inner struggle challenging vast amounts of people universally, the search for spiritual healing and growth may be resolved in the most unconventional of ways.  In Wes Anderson’s film The Darjeeling Limited, three brothers undergo a journey toward self-understanding and personal reconciliation on a train trip through India’s rural countryside.   As my presentation will address, it is only through the brothers’ willingness to immerse themselves in the foreign cultural practices of India that they are able to gain the growth they seek.  On a universal level, I suggest that one can only truly find self-understanding by subjecting oneself to the complexity and uncertainty of a foreign environment.

Drifting Aimlessly: Interpersonal Relationships in Bright Future
Mitchell Morrison

Friday, April 24, 4:00-5:15

Location: Gelman Library 302

Panel:Promoting Civil Rights (and Wrongs)

PRESENTERS: Henry C. Pelgrift, Rohan Batra, Jared Brenner

MODERATOR: Laura Daughtery, National Catholic School of Social Service, Catholic University

Protest Through Sacrifice
Henry C. Pelgrift

This paper focuses on the role of sacrifice in the lives and work of three great leaders in the struggle for human rights – Mohandas K. Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela. I will first present the three leaders ideas about he importance of sacrifice, as expressed in their speeches, writings and actions. Then I will discuss their own personal sacrifices – Gandhi's assassination shortly after Indian independence, King’s assassination during the civil rights struggle and Mandela’s long imprisonment during the battle for civil rights and against apartheid in South Africa. These leaders forced their countries to confront the most critical moral and political issues of their times, and sacrifice was the means they used

Civil Rights and the Media: An Analysis of the Role of Television
Rohan Batra

Dividing a Nation, Polluting a Faith:
How the Nation of Islam Has Promulgated Intolerance in America
Jared Brenner




On behalf of the
Women’s Leadership Program
& University Writing Program,
Dr. Rachelle Heller,
Dean of Academic Affairs for Mount Vernon Campus,
Invites you
to a special presentation by the
Hon. Eileen Claussen
President of thePew Center on Global Climate Change and Strategies for the Global Environment

“Answering the Climate Challenge:
Reflections on the Journey”
7:00 PM, Thursday, April 23rd
Post Hall
The Mount Vernon Campus of

Ms. Claussen’s lecture, which will cap a semester-long series of seminars for the Women’s Leadership Program and the first day of the 2009 University Writing and Research Symposium, will be followed by a brief reception.

The Hon. Eileen Claussen is the President of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change and Strategies for the Global Environment. Ms. Claussen is the former Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.

Prior to joining the Department of State, Ms. Claussen served for three years as a Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Global Environmental Affairs at the National Security Council. She has also served as Chairman of the United Nations Multilateral Montreal Protocol Fund.

Ms. Claussen was Director of Atmospheric Programs at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where she was responsible for activities related to the depletion of the ozone layer; Title IV of the Clean Air Act; and the EPA’s energy efficiency programs, including the Green Lights program and the Energy Star program.

Ms. Claussen is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Singapore Energy Advisory Committee, and the Ecomagination Advisory Board. She is the recipient of the Department of State’s Career Achievement Award and the Distinguished Executive Award for Sustained Extraordinary Accomplishment. She also served as the Timothy Atkeson Scholar in Residence at Yale University.




Thursday, April 23, 10:00-11:15

Session MV01, Opening Activities

Thursday, April 23, 11:30-12:45

Session MV02, Celebrity Energies
Session MV03, Written and Unwritten Rules of Street, Stadium, and Web

Thursday, April 23, 1:00-2:15

Session MV04, Personal Transgressions
Session MV05, Horse Tech, High Tech, Mind Tech
Session MV06, Reining Errant Sexualities

Thursday, April 23, 2:30-3:45

Session MV07, Labor Issues
Session MV08, Mortal Questions of Trust
Session MV09, Wonder Women

Thursday, April 23, 4:00-5:15

Session MV10, The Culture of Expedience
Session MV11, Rethinking Constitutional Democracy
Session MV12, Political Pop

Thursday, April 23, 11:30-12:45

Location: Post Hall

PANEL: Celebrity Energies

PRESENTERS: Eric Jurmo, Eric Rodrigues, Harleen Kaur Sohi

MODERATOR: Steve Salchak, University Writing Program, Women’s Leadership Program

Obama's "Apollo Program": A Rhetorical Analysis of the Space Race of the 1960s and the Climate Crisis Today
Eric Jurmo

Reacting to the energy and environmental crisis that climate change poses, President Barack Obama has called for a large-scale government initiative to switch to a “green economy,” an effort he has compared to past federal programs like the Apollo Program of the 1960s. I will determine the adequacy and advisability of such a comparison by examining the current political rhetoric regarding climate change and the Cold War rhetoric following the Soviet launching of Sputnik I in 1957. Evaluating the breadth of both the Apollo Program and Obama’s energy proposal, I will investigate whether the nature of the two programs are comparable.  I will then look at how the relationship between the citizen and the government changed during the Space Race and reflected itself in political oratory, and consider how the current climate change crisis will redefine how the government works and what it works for and how language is used.

The Hidden Agenda: Misinformation & Motivation in the Pickens Plan*
Eric Rodrigues

Barack Obama: Celebrity in Chief
Harleen Kaur Sohi

I examine the interaction of the presidency and media over the past century, and the dramatic change it has made on the public’s perception of the White House. By looking at this relationship’s transformation, I argue that the media has changed from a neutral spectator of the political sphere to a critical analyst. Meanwhile, as technology advances, the president finds more outlets to bypass the media’s selectively-perceptive scope and get straight to the people. Today, the president can create his own Facebook page, appear on late-night comedy talk-shows, and give casual interviews for everyday magazines. I approach my topic in a historical and sociological way to define and analyze the presidency over time. My approach allows us to see evidence that today’s president is treated like a celebrity, justifying his new title – Barack Obama: Celebrity-in-Chief. Although some people believe he gains notoriety due to his age, ethnicity, and other unique characteristics, I prove otherwise. To conclude, I suggest that we take a closer look into the life of President Barack Obama and see how his role as president of the United States takes a similar identity to that of a Hollywood pop star.

Thursday, April 23, 11:30-12:45

Location: Eckles Auditorium

PANEL: Written and Unwritten Rules of Street, Stadium, and Web

PRESENTERS: Chi Ewusi, Elizabeth Waltz

MODERATOR: Sharon Hamilton, University Writing Program

Street Papers: Salvation for the Forgotten People of America
Chi Ewusi

Looking through a Stained Glass Window:
One Perspective on the Unwritten Rules of Fan Communities
Elizabeth Waltz

I examine the various relationships of patrons in different venues, and how their behavior may change based on the location in which they are placed. i also argue that there is an undefined set of rules for each separate community that can only be learned through direct interaction with its members. I conclude in part that because of thee rules, an insider-outsider dichotomy is formed. In turn, these communities become a safe-haven for their members where their actions cannot be judged by an ignorant passer-by, and justification for their behavior is unnecessary.

Thursday, April 23, 1:00-2:15

Location: Post Hall

PANEL: Personal Transgressions

PRESENTERS: Shaan Bhagat, Akhil Kalepu, Caroline Freitag

MODERATOR: Robin Delaloye, Outreach Coordinator, Eckles Library

Embracing Rather Than Fighting Piracy
Shaan Bhagat

Can I Buy a G? Analysis of the Economics and Media Portrayal of the College Drug Trade
Akhil Kalepu

The Real World? Understanding Voyeurism and the Public Exposure of Private Acts in Reality TV
Caroline Freitag

Thursday, April 23, 1:00-2:15

Location: Academic 122

PANEL: Horse Tech, High Tech, Mind Tech 

PRESENTERS: Holly Manners, Elizabeth Cookson, Catherine Munro

MODERATOR: Dolsy Smith, Research and Instruction Librarian, Gelman Library

Horses: A Mere Recreation—or More?
Holly Manners

Usually, when one thinks about horseback riding, one thinks of the recreational side of it. However, horses used to be a large part of culture and humans used to depend on them for survival. Humans naturally formed strong relationships with the horses, as they benefitted from one another. However, as cars and machines replaced the jobs that horses used to do, humans shifted their focus and their ability to truly bond with horses and reach an understanding diminished.  Furthermore, because technological devices are safe, easy, and ubiquitous, humans can now achieve an end result without knowing how they arrived at that point. Through the use of philosopher Albert Borgmann's Device Paradigm, I will explain how technology has created a means-ends separation, how this impacts us, and how we will benefit if we study our origins with horses, broaden our focus on technology and incorporate non-technological activities as well.

What Happened to Learning from Our Mistakes?
Technology’s Paradigm of Perfection and the Necessity of Error
Elizabeth Cookson

The Sociology of Eco-Economics
Catherine Munro

The current economic outlook leads to daily news flashes of capitol gain and dissatisfaction with respect to monetary measurements of society.  At the same time, the following headline reads how are formerly sustainable home has developed an imbalance or hole.  Our economy and our ecosystem are both in trouble.  Studies by Economists and Ecologists alike have developed a link between disasters that we have developed.  The link of these two studies can be found in study of Eco-Economics.  This particular study also sources a philosophy of Buddhist out look on replenishment and happiness.  This out look or paradigm shift however has yet to occur in the United States of America.  The current paridigm leads to over consumption and increasing consumption patterns that result in ecological debts.

Thursday, April 23, 1:00-2:15

Location: Eckles Auditorium

PANEL: Reining Errant Sexualities

PRESENTERS: Lauren E. Zoltick, Kirsten Ortega, Cameron M. Dux

MODERATOR: Amber Cobb Vazquez, Graduate Student, English Department

Sexuality & Spirituality: Coping with the Holocaust
Lauren E. Zoltick

Framing Homosexuality: The Media's Role in Reconciling the Film Brokeback Mountain in the Limits of a Heteronormative Society
Kirsten Ortega

Although queer characters today are generally more visible in mainstream media and entertainment, the “framework” in which these characters are portrayed nonetheless places queer sexuality into a heteronormative discourse that strives to placate the heterosexual majority of mainstream popular culture. By closely examining the film Brokeback Mountain and its subsequent reviews by movie critics, we can discover how and why these reviews reinforce stereotypes regarding homosexuality, consequently marginalizing the gay community in spite of possible efforts to enfranchise it, and dilute the message of the destructiveness of homophobia. Using a study of 113 movie reviews, Robert Entman’s methodology of framework analysis, and the concept of a “paradox of visibility,” we will expose the potentially detrimental effects such “framing” by media professionals, and their consequential contribution to the propagation of heteroideogical thinking in American society.

Addiction to Anonymity: The Internet “Frontier” and Sex Addiction
Cameron M. Dux

When the Internet was first created, it was seen as a way to quickly spread information to a large network of people all at once. But this same immense power of communication also has become a forum for anti-social behavior. Posts on the Internet lack social accountability and go unchecked. As a result, sex addition, which feeds on addiction to anonymity, has created a “frontier” free of social constraints, giving power to those who would not otherwise have it. The Internet is a 24-hour fantasy that fosters “flexible identities” that allow peoples dark sides to flourish. Ultimately, the Internet ends up promoting unhealthy habits–breakdowns in marriages, crimes against children, and adultery. While critics have argued that the Internet is an engine for sex addition, what has gone unnoticed is that the addiction to sex cannot be separated from the addiction to anonymity.

Thursday, April 23, 2:30-3:45

Location: Post Hall

PANEL: Labor Issues

PRESENTERS: Khrystle Barbieri, Allie Huyghe, Tabitha Minke  

MODERATOR: Dean Frederic Siegel, Associate Vice President

Bartending: It’s More Than a Job, It’s a Responsibility
Khrystle Barbieri

Two young male bartenders were interviewed earlier this semester to discuss their experiences bartending in a restaurant with a bar. One participant worked at Bobby Van’s, an upscale steakhouse, in New York City, while the second participant worked at Agave Anejo in the suburbs of Chicago. The ethnographic paper was written to express the responsibilities that each individual encounters while bartending in a restaurant. Due to the responses of the gentlemen interviewed, it was obvious to see that there was more to the job than people saw on the surface. For example, as a bartender both individuals were responsible for money as well as the well being of customers. Both participants had to keep an eye on customers and make sure that no one acted in a bad manner. Most people view bartenders as just a person there to create an engaging social environment and serve drinks. Restaurants that serve alcohol encounter more legal issues than restaurants that do not serve alcohol. A bartender is essential to maintaining control over certain aspects of a restaurant. This piece digs deeper into the ups and downs of working as a bartender in a restaurant and shows that being a bartender is not the perfect job for everyone.

Slugs in the District: A Mutually Beneficial Carpooling System for Commuters in the Washington Metropolitan Area
Allie Huyghe

"Slugging" is an increasingly popular concept in Washington DC in which commuters have created a casual carpooling system that saves both drivers and riders--the slugs--time and money. This non-governmental, non-profit system is unique to the district. How “slugging” began, how commuters came to be known as “slugs,” how the system benefits both the sluggers and the drivers, as well as the etiquette expected and the stories revealed are truly intriguing. Many people, including most students at GW living at the heart of the business district, are ignorant of its existence. Slugging shows that even in a large city known for business professionals, it is possible for individuals to display acts of kindness, create a sense of community, work as a team, and demonstrate how just a small group of people can have a significant impact on different functions in our society.

Whistle While We Work: The Discourse Surrounding Prostitution in America
Tabitha Minke

How do we, as Americans, view those around us? Do we ever question what we believe to be morally right? This paper concerns the rhetoric surrounding prostitution in the United States and the impact such discourse has on society.  It focuses on the way in which ides about prostitution are shaped and produced via narratives, stories, images, and government statements, and ideologies, stereotypes, and assumptions which are unexamined in this discourse.

Thursday, April 23, 2:30-3:45

Location: Eckles Auditorium

PANEL: Mortal Questions of Trust

PRESENTERS: Sarah Palsen, Kennan Masters, Allison Hogarth

MODERATOR: Derek Malone-France, Deputy Director, University Writing Program

The False Savior: W.D. Fard and His Nation of Islam
Sarah Palsen

Naturalistic as Hell: Postmodernism and Storytelling in Reservoir Dogs
Kennan Masters

This paper explores postmodernism and storytelling by looking at ‘The Commode Story’ told within Quentin Tarantino’s film Reservoir Dogs. This is a fabricated story told by undercover cop, Freddy, to convince a group of criminals that he is trustworthy enough to join their team to rob a jewelry store. By telling this story Freddy gives himself a fake history that is made real by the filming techniques used by Tarantino. This segment of the film embodies postmodern ideas and uses them to recreate a traditional gangster persona and reminds us of the importance of stories in culture.

Gobbling Up Property and Disrupting Neighborhoods
Allison Hogarth

Thursday, April 23, 2:30-3:45

Location:Academic 122

PANEL: Wonder Women        

PRESENTERS: Saloni Jaiswal, Deborah Kye, Chelsea Souza

MODERATOR: G. Amaris Keith, Graduate Student, Women’s Studies

Ancient Goddesses: Empowering Modern Hindu Women for a More Democratic India
Saloni Jaiswal

Wonder Woman and Popular Culture
Deborah Kye

A Love for Europe:  One Special Summer and American Travel Writing
Chelsea Souza

“A Love for Europe":  One Special Summer and American Travel Writing seeks to explore how One Special Summer, a scrapbook written and illustrated by the Bouvier sisters about their trip to Europ in 1951, fits into the genre of American travel writing.  The work exemplifies parts of the typical American experience abroad and uses a variety of mediums, including art and prose, to convey the girls’ experiences.  At the same time, many of the experiences Jackie and Lee shared were set apart by their high status in society, which is an aspect I seek to highlight.  I will be contributing to the area of American travel writing, but my research on One Special Summer is extending the existing knowledge on travel writing as there has yet to be any scholarly work published on it.

Thursday, April 23, 4:00-5:15

Location: Post Hall

PANEL: The Culture of Expedience

PRESENTERS: Danielle Collier, Rachel Chase Forst, Joshua Maslin

MODERATOR: Bill Gillis, Research and Instruction Librarian, Eckles Library

The Fastest Loser: Gastric Bypass and the Quick Fix Society
Danielle Collier

More people than ever are categorized as obese in America, but rather than become more acceptable, obesity still carries social stigmas. As a result, gastric bypass surgery is being performed more than ever to help people achieve their weight loss goals. American culture is preoccupied with thinness, and the easy way out; the surgery provides a solution to both of these desires. While other possibilities for weight loss come from old-fashioned diet and exercise, pills, and support groups, one common thread runs through all of these methods. Obesity is not an issue of how much one weighs but how fast he can weigh less. However, extreme weight loss does not always rectify a person’s mental issues with food.  I will analyze cultural influences, like “The Biggest Loser”  and advertisements that encourage people to slim down fast and challenge the solution of gastric bypass to obtain this goal.

'The World Forgetting, by the World Forgot:" Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and America's Obsession with the Quick Fix  
Rachel Chase Forst

Is it better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?  Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind raises this question as it deals with the erasure of memory and experience, standing out as one of 2004’s most thoughtful social commentaries on American obsession with “quick-fix” solutions. Audiences share in the struggles of the two main character’s as they have their memory of each other erased, and we subsequently realize that memory is so deeply engrained in the human experience that to remove certain pieces would have the same grave effects as if one were to erase certain sequences of his genetic code: it would destroy his identity.  Parallel to this fictional erasure of memory as a superficial means to eliminate pain is American society’s addiction to the suppression of emotional pain through physical, often cursory, methods such as cosmetic surgery and behavior-altering drugs.  Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind addresses the pressing need for Americans to re-examine their approach to coping with emotional suffering.  Accordingly, my essay considers the film’s depiction of this “quick-fix” epidemic, analyzes the influence of pain on shaping identity, and calls for society to refocus attention on introspection as a way of resolving emotional distress.

Social Contract, a Changing Government, and the Lure of Expediency
Joshua Maslin

The three branches of US government have been perniciously degrading the integrity of their contractual foundation by undermining the intent of the Constitution in improper ways. The intent (Madison’s attempt to counteract expediency in government) is neither normatively preferred nor objectionable. Rather, the manner in which expediency is now being pursued – out of public sight, or out of public mind – is regarded as highly contradictory to Constitutional fundamentals and the nature of social contract. Attempts to facilitate expediency rarely appear unquestionably constitutional, most possessing certain covert or dubious traits. After providing sufficient evidence of these governmental shifts in the Legislative and Executive branches, I attempt to answer the following questions: Does improperly undermining the intent of a social contract ultimately violate the contract, even if changes are desired and not necessarily illegal? If such subversion is actually violation, what sorts of remedial options are available? Finally, what are the consequences of sustaining a government with no respected foundation?

Thursday, April 23, 4:00-5:15

Location: Academic 122

PANEL: Rethinking Constitutional Democracy

PRESENTERS: Vincent Barbieri, Justin Schoville, Andrew Pazdon

MODERATOR: Laura Eisen, Chemistry Department, Women’s Leadership Program

The Transformative Nature of Technology on the Constitution
Vincent Barbieri

False Assumptions of the Democratic State: Suffrage, Representation, and the Media
Justin Schoville

In the United States, democracy is frequently credited with protecting the majority at the expense of the powerful minority.  Yet the Constitution at its drafting protected elite interests, and elections were only for the few.  Now it is claimed that a principle such as universal suffrage gives power to the people over the status and wealth of the few.  Yet reality demonstrates that this conclusion does not follow; that “universal suffrage” is a false concept and the few still hold power.  Reality is further masked with the media using their role as link between citizen and government by creating and perpetuating these false ideals.  Only by analyzing the reality of the present political system can we truly see to what extent voting is universal, to what extent the elected government represents the interests of the many, and to what extent the media distorts this democratic illusion.   

In Defense of the Sovereignty of the States
Andrew Pazdon

The states that make up the United States of America are an integral part of the nation’s political system. However, the individual states are often thought to be mere administrative districts of and subservient to the will of the national government. They may be in some respect, but they are also sovereign states that have willingly entered into a mutual agreement among the several states. By tracing the origins of individual state sovereignty and ratification of the Constitution, applying both de jure and de facto justification for sovereignty, and attempting to draw evidence of sovereignty from the Constitution itself, a defense for the intrinsic and immortal sovereignty for the individual state, within the Constitutional system, comes to light.

Thursday, April 22, 4:00-5:15

Location: Eckles Auditorium

PANEL: Political Pop

PRESENTERS: Alec Jacobs, Lindsay Life, Jessica M. Kowalik

MODERATOR: Phillip Troutman, University Writing Program

Brr, It’s Cold (War) in Here: Communism and Politics in John Carpenter’s The Thing.
Alec Jacobs

Watchmen’s Utopia: Utopias and Dystopias in Comic Books as Compared to SF
Lindsay Life

In his article, "The World Ozymandias Made: Utopias in the Superhero Comic, Subculture and the Conservation of Difference," Matthew Wolf-Meyer claims that comic book fans would reject a utopia if it were implemented in a series because comic fans make up a unique, proud subculture that strongly resists change.  More importantly, not only would a utopia be a major change, but it would effectively end any series.  Wolf-Meyer uses Watchmen as his primary piece of evidence, which essentially contradicts his whole argument.  Watchmen is a graphic novel, not a series, so a utopia would not bring on an unexpected end.  Wolf-Meyer also claims that utopias are treated much differently in science fiction than comic books, but in reality, authors usually display utopias with fascist elements in both science fiction and comics.  Additionally, the comic book fanbase is not as unique as Wolf-Meyer argues and is comparable to the sci-fi fanbase.  There is not much research on utopias in comic books and Wolf-Meyer makes a strong attempt to cover the subject, but through a careful examination of Watchmen and other utopic/dystopic societies in comics and science fiction and fans' influence in both realms, it is evident that his discussion is flawed and incomplete.

Miller Misunderstood: Rethinking the Politics of the Dark Knight
Jessica M. Kowalik



Friday, April 24, 10:00-11:15

Session MV13, Gentrification & Community Identity
Session MV14, Spin at George Washington University

Friday, April 24, 11:30-12:45

Session MV15, Conflicting Futures
Session MV16, Covert Operations and Controlled Substances
Session MV17, Talking Up and Talking Down: Vocabularies of Adversity and Success

Friday, April 24, 1:00-2:15

Session MV18, Race, Gender, and Ideology in American Healthcare
Session MV19, Choices and Problems in Media Production
Session MV20, Living with/under the Law: Rights and Representations

Friday, April 24, 2:30-3:45

Session MV21, Technology for Fun and Non-Profits
Session MV22, Political Language

Session MV23, Climate Change and International Relations

Friday, April 24, 4:00-5:15

Session MV24, The Cultural Technologies of Success
Session MV25, Dictators and Their Rhetoric
Session MV26, The Social Psychology of Sustainability

Friday, April 24, 10:00-11:15

Location: Post Hall

PANEL:Gentrification & Community Identity

PRESENTERS: Stephon Woods, Emily Primack, Daniel Fallon

MODERATOR: Rosemary Tonoff, Graduate Student, English Department

Chinatown: The Effects of Gentrification on DC’s Chinese Culture
Stephon Woods

Columbia Heights: The Effects of Gentrification
Emily Primack

This presentation analyzes the different effects gentrification has on a community as well as the effects on education. The specific community analyzed is Columbia Heights, an area right outside the heart of the District of Columbia. I conducted my research by including community members (interviews and hearing personal anecdotes) as well as discussing gentrification from a more business side with past researchers and developers. I compared community members from earlier times to those living in the area now. After this research, I came to the conclusion that not only is gentrification necessary, but in order for it to be a smooth process, participation of ALL community members must be a top priority. Times are constantly changing, and therefore so are the effects of gentrification. This presentation analyzes these.

Phantom Time: The Use of History in Creating Community Identity
Daniel Fallon

Common history contends we are in the year 2009.  To a select community it is the year 1712.  A conspiracy between the Holy Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, and the Papacy fabricated nearly 300 years of Dark Age history at the turn of the last millennium. This conspiracy is decidedly grounded in the past.  Yet it is a rather a complex reflection of the conspiracists own modern imperatives, and not merely manufactured to meet these goals. History plays the central role in this conspiracy theory.  Yet many conspiracy theories are based, to some degree, directly on current events and are shaped by those events.  Despite the difference in the format of phantom time and many other theories and thus the communities, there is a need to create, or generate a history.  This need for history drives conspiracy and non-conspiracy communities alike, as it forms their identity.


Friday, April 24, 10:00-11:15

Location:Eckles Auditorium

PANEL:Spin at George Washington University

PRESENTERS: Cody Hume, Heaton Kath, Frankie Rand, Michael Sweigart, Joshua Altman

MODERATOR: Michael Tapscott, Director, Multicultural Student Services Center

University Leadership: How GW Compares to Other Universities
Cody Hume

Propagating an Inaccurate Reality: How GW Spins Its Students
Heaton Kath

Spin in a Trust Economy: Marketing a University
Frankie Rand

GW Prospective Students and Spin
Michael Sweigart

University Spin: An Economic Imperative
Joshua Altman

Institutions of higher education have become increasingly focused on committing resources to extensive and strategically designed marketing techniques. Although some view this as “spin” intruding upon and sullying the higher purposes of our universities and colleges, there is evidence that these marketing strategies are driven by the demands of a competitive marketplace: the market of higher education. Viewing academia as an industry in which universities assume the role of producer/suppliers, and important constituencies (i.e. prospective students and their parents) that of consumer/demanders, exposes the important role economic principles play in the marketing decisions of universities. This paper explores this market-based view, examines the economic principles underlying it, and examines the culture and specific techniques that have arisen out of it. Additionally, a number of the George Washington University’s marketing strategies are examined in order to provide concrete examples of the application of these techniques, and of the economic forces which drive them.

Friday, April 24, 11:30-12:45

Location: Post Hall

PANEL: Conflicting Futures

PRESENTERS: Adam Humayun, Ridzki Syahputera

MODERATOR: Matt Riley, University Writing Program

Climate of Conflict: Climate Change and Armed Conflict in a Globalized World
Adam Humayun

This research is an attempt to synthesize research from multiple
disciplines in order to clarify the causative links between climate
change and armed conflict. In doing so, it constitutes an attempt to
indicate the significance of climate change for U.S. national security
scholarship and policymaking.  Both quantitative statistical and
qualitative theoretical evidence support the existence of such causal
links, as distinguished from simplistic catalytic ones.  The focus of
the research is on direct causal links between armed conflict and
climate change, though more indirect links and interactions between
the two phenomena are investigated and considered. The goal of this
project is to contribute to enhancing the ability of scholars and
policymakers to forecast the security and defense consequences of
climate change in an increasingly interconnected global system.

3D Weapons: A Move for Peace
Ridzki Syahputera

Basic logic will lead us to believe that making weapons more efficient and harmful is obviously a bad thing if we want to achieve peace.  Peace however, is subject to politics, and if politicians cannot risk a credible threat, they will not act or react; this deactivation of warfare inherently causes peace.  The inventions of 3D weapons in particular have enhanced the brinksmanship, coercive power, and credibility of modern day warfare and have inherently made peace more ubiquitous.  I will use Albert Borgmann's Device Paradigm to initially refute my argument, elaborating on the erosion of restraint, the cloaking of the background of weaponry, and the emersion of non-state threats (terrorism).  I will follow by supporting my argument with real historical examples such as the Korean DMZ, Hiroshima/Nagasaki, and the Cold War which depict the enhancements of brinksmanship, coercive power, and credibility of warfare which have promoted peace instead of impeded it.

Friday, April 24, 11:30-12:45

Location: Eckles Auditorium

PANEL:Covert Operations and Controlled Substances

PRESENTERS: Lauren Jencik, Jeanette Kincaid, Brittney Wozniak

MODERATOR: Erich Heckel, Executive Assistant, Mount Vernon Campus Life

From Leading Tobaccanist to Altruistic Conglomerate: Phillip Morris' Corporate Identity
Lauren Jencik

This paper looks at the tobacco company formerly known as Philip Morris (now Philip Morris USA under the Altria Group). With a brief overview of the company’s critical moments in history, its rise in the 1930s and fight against health reports from the 1980s onward, the reader is exposed to the company’s communication strategies. To better understand these communications, the paper then examines the theories of corporate identity.  Re-examining Philip Morris’ pivotal points in history, through a communications lens, reveals that the company has bolstered its corporate identity to hide its tobacco ties and ultimately survive as a business. These strategies include maintaining the quality tobacco image through economic hard times, expanding into new industries to diversify the company beyond tobacco, embarking on a campaign to promote the company’s corporate responsibility, and changing the company name. While these strategies were clearly intended to manipulate public perception of a tobacco company, the extent to which they achieved that affect is debatable, and is further examined at the end.

Mr. Hyde Alone: Harry J. Anslinger and the Campaign to Demonize Marijuana
Jeanette Kincaid

In the 1930’s Harry J. Anslinger, the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, successfully demonized marijuana in the eyes of the American people. His skill at rhetoric, his knowledge of how to incite the public and his ability to appeal to the right audience worked in his favor, giving marijuana the image of the “killer weed” that lingers today. This is a look from the viewpoint of the American people to see how Anslinger’s emotional appeals and sensationalist journalism affected the nation even though the commissioner never presented any overwhelming scientific evidence to support his claims that marijuana was strongly linked to mental deterioration, violence, crime, and the corruption of America’s youth.

Medical Marijuana and Political Persuasion
Brittney Wozniak

Propaganda and the Partnership for a Drug Free America
Leandra Karikari

Boundless Power
Anton Altman


Friday, April 24, 11:30-12:45

Location: Academic 100

PANEL: Talking Up and Talking Down: Vocabularies of Adversity and Success

PRESENTERS: Lisa Mangiarelli, Andrew LeFrancois

MODERATOR: Leigha McReynolds, Graduate Student, English Department

Breaking the Cycle: Childhood Adversity and the Dynamic of Communal Power in Confronting Social Injustice
Lisa Mangiarelli

Through analysis of psychological case studies and sociological theories, including downward causation, holism, and reductionism, I investigate the implications of childhood adversity on development and the correlations between developmental disorders and social injustices. “Social injustice” implies any societal practices, such as the creation of social hierarchies or maldistribution of resources, and individual actions that divide societal cohesion. Injustice fragments societal functionality by damaging the community and its constituents. Sociological injustices, including homelessness and poverty, are concretizations of rifts engendered by societal disjuncture. Analysis objectives include exploring the degeneration initiated by childhood adversity, examining resultant physical and psychosocial implications, and correlating those implications to sociological issues. The analysis delineates how social functioning is impaired by developmental disorders and the effects on self-sufficiency. Solutions proposed for reversing the degeneration acknowledge individual and communal capacity throughout the process of recovering autonomy. Remedies include aesthetic approaches conducive to communal healing or individual case management.

Capacity, Success, and Motivation: Analyzing Terms in Education
Andrew LeFrancois

During my freshman year in college I have worked as a tutor with Heads Up, a non-profit after school program which works with several District of Columbia public schools. Each afternoon that I work with the third graders at LaSalle-Backus Educational Campus in Northeast DC I focus on three concepts. (1) My students have boundless capacity to learn, which I must work hard to inspire. (2) This inspiration requires creative motivation, so that the kids enjoy learning - even when the work is hard. (3) Every day each child must realize some form of success, including anything from learning a new game on the playground to gaining a little ground on difficult multiplication tables. These concepts grew and developed from my own public school experience, and as I conducted research examining how scholars define capacity, motivation, and success. The works of Melvin Tumin, Paolo Freire, and Jon Erwin help me define these terms in a positive light. Tumin and Freire also explore negative definitions for these terms, explaining the concept of limited capacity or “learning ceilings.” I conclude that all those involved in education must define capacity, motivation, and success in a positive way, embracing possibility and dismissing limits.

Friday, April 24, 1:00-2:15

Location: Post Hall

PANEL: Race, Gender, and Ideology in American Healthcare

PRESENTERS: Tom Ryan, Shannon Doyle, Sarah Weinger

MODERATOR: Kelly Carder, Community Director, GW Housing Program

The Sick State of Healthcare: A critique on the current healthcare system in America, and why a rights-based approach may be just what the doctor ordered
Tom Ryan

With upwards of 46 million Americans living without medical insurance, the healthcare system in America is broken and in drastic need of repair. Policy advocates from all sides of the spectrum have proposed solutions, but rarely have they focused on the principles. In "The Sick State of Healthcare," I argue that a rights based analysis of the healthcare crisis in America may just be the remedy. By looking at healthcare as a fundamental right, specifically the right to life, a new avenue for argumentation is opened. First, this presentation will address the principles of rights, and whether healthcare fits the bill. Second, I will address the idea that the free-market approach to healthcare, if it is viewed as a right, is flawed. This will include a discussion of the impact healthcare has on small-business. Ultimately, this presentation will challenge the audience’s view of healthcare, and attempt to find viable solutions.

The Gardasil Vaccine: An Example of Gender Bias in Healthcare Delivery
Shannon Doyle

Making Proud Choices! HIV/AIDS Education in DC Public Schools
Sarah Weinger

The Power of Pins and Needles: Solving Geriatric Depression Through Acupuncture
Kris Hong

Friday, April 24, 1:00-2:15

Location: Eckles Auditorium

PANEL: Choices and Problems in Media Production

PRESENTERS: James Neal, John Bramley, David Roman Marchevsky

MODERATOR: Nick Deifel, Graduate Student, Chemistry Department

Die Hard and Stay Dead: Reasons and Effects for Casting an Action Hero in The Sixth Sense
James Neal

Moving Pictures: The Technique of Adapting Comics to Film
John Bramley

Stagnation in Creative Video Game Development
David Roman Marchevsky

Friday, April 24, 1:00-2:15

Location: Academic 100

PANEL:Living with/under the Law: Rights and Representations

PRESENTERS: Rebecca Naeder, Anthony Sampson, Alexander Polsky

MODERATOR: Neil Irvin, VP of Programs, Men Can Stop Rape Inc.

Standards of Protection of Symbolic Speech Under the First Amendment
Rebecca Naeder

The Constitutional Importance of the Search and Seizure Exclusionary Rule
Anthony Sampson

Representation and the Influence of the People
Alexander Polsky

The debate over descriptive versus agency representation begun during the ratification of the Constitution and developed during the debates between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists continues to this day in the guise of debates over minority-majority districting and minority representation. Data suggests that descriptive representation as applied in the present day increases voter participation and enhances minority representation in government. In addition, data shows that incumbent advantages may diminish the power of the people to remove ineffective officeholders, thus rendering agency representation much less effective.

Friday, April 24, 2:30-3:45

Location: Academic 100

PANEL:Technology for Fun and Non-Profits

PRESENTERS:Samantha Villella, Charlotte Purcell, Rory Silver

MODERATOR: Christine French, Undergraduate, Human Services Major

Non-Profit Organizations in the 21st Century: How the Internet Can Help Encourage Participation and Facilitate Constructive Dialogue
Samantha Villella

Shop Online, Protest Online: How the Internet is Changing the Face of Activism
Charlotte Purcell

A Voice for the Unheard: The Use of Technology by Non-Profits in Advocacy
Rory Silver

Friday, April 24, 2:30-3:45

Location: Eckles Auditorium

Panel: Political Language

PRESENTERS:Michael Curreri, Morgen Ellis, Jittapat Sirison, Katarzyna Stempniak, Shaun Vaid

MODERATOR: Patrick McGann, VP of Communications, Men Can Stop Rape Inc.

Spaghetti Western: The Story of Italy’s Cowboy and His Stay at the Top
Michael Curreri

Bernard Goldberg and the Liberal(?) Media Bias
Morgen Ellis

This research paper is about the media, its possible biases, and what affects media bias could have on the consumer.  Bernard Goldberg is a conservative author who, while working at CBS News, wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times declaring televised media to be blatantly liberal in its content and analysis.  The research question behind my paper is, why does Goldberg believe there is media bias, and if the media is biased, how does this affect the everyday consumer of news.  This is an intriguing academic question because in Goldberg’s latest book he makes the claim that the media is unobjective and is attempting to further its own agenda.  Discerning the difference in fact, fiction, and spin is the main attempt in this paper and I hope that I can convince readers and listeners to pay closer attention to the news media in the days to come.

The Use of Spin in Political Commentary
Jittapat Sirison

From Machiavelli to Putin: Analysis of Spin in Diplomacy
Katarzyna Stempniak

During the 2007 NATO Security Conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered one of his most important speeches which presented Russia’s stance on a host of international issues and also criticized the foreign policy of Western countries, namely the United States. To help disentangle the spin from the truth in Putin’s speech, I used a classic diplomatic work that describes the basic tenets of diplomacy. The work I used was Italian statesman Niccolo Machiavelli’s letter entitled “Advice to Raffaello Girolami When He Went as Ambassador To The Emperor.” In this letter, Machiavelli constructs diplomatic standards for foreign officials which I used to analyze Putin’s speech. My analysis has shown that Putin’s speech violated certain aspects of Machiavelli’s rules by using specifically tailored rhetoric throughout the speech that would appeal to his international audience and thus misrepresent his own interests and beliefs. 

Zinn and Spin: The Happy Marriage Molding American History
Shaun Vaid

Friday, April 24, 2:30-3:45

Location: Post Hall

Panel:Climate Change and International Relations

PRESENTERS:Caitlin Daw, Anh Nguyen, Marybeth Benton

MODERATOR: Frank Stearns, Biology Department, University of Maryland

Weather, Policy, and Publications: Meteorological Events, International Affairs, and Foreign Policy Articles
Caitlin Daw

Redefining China's Role in a Warming World
Anh Nguyen

The involvement of China in the group of developing countries, which permits China to increase its emissions, has been a contentious issue since the Kyoto Protocol was negotiated in 1997. Through an analysis of China’s environmental policy and the definition of a developing country, this paper argues that China is less vulnerable to global warming than most developing countries and that China only exploits its attachment to the group of developing countries to achieve its national interests. In addition, the paper indicates the negative impacts of China on other nations, which diminish the efficiency of the Kyoto Protocol and lower the benefits of other developing countries. This work concludes that the segregation of China from the developing country group is a necessary step to combat climate change. The paper also suggests a new method of determining each country’s responsibility in the post-Kyoto world, with specific details on China.

The Unlikely Threat: State Perceptions of INGOs
Marybeth Benton

The relationships between states and international non-governmental
organizations (INGOs) can range from both parties working amicably, to
INGOs actions within states resulting in governments restricting or
removing them. In cases where states limit or prohibit the work of
INGOs within their borders, it raises the question, “do states every
feel threatened by INGOs?” By examining Russia, Egypt, and Sudan’s
actions toward INGOs within the last two decades, this paper will
analyze whether it is more likely that states view INGOs as threats to
state-sponsored ideology or that states act with other motives. This
paper tests the idea that states do not feel threatened by non-state
actors, and does so by looking at states’ feelings as an independent
variable and states’ actions as a dependent variable. I argue that
while states are not actually threatened by INGOs, states can view the
ideologies these groups bring as a threat to national security and
state-promoted ideology.

Friday, April 24, 4:00-5:15

Location: Post Hall

Panel:The Cultural Technologies of Success

PRESENTERS:David Sumney II, Scott Adam Schlager, Leah Baum

MODERATOR: Jennifer Solt, Associate Director, Mount Vernon Campus Life

Credit Default Swaps and the Current Financial Crisis
David Sumney II

Corruption, Capitalism, and the Opportunity Costs of Ethics: Preventing the Next Uncle Bernie
Scott Adam Schlager

The American Dream: Fame, Power, Wealth, and Being John Malkovich
Leah Baum

This essay uses the film Being John Malkovich in order to examine America’s definition of success and happiness as having fame, power, and wealth; it argues that these values leave people feeling inadequate and wanting to be someone else.  By taking a look at Charlie Kaufman’s film, Being John Malkovich, the essay will argue that all of the characters use the portal into the mind of the Hollywood actor John Malkovich to achieve their own ideas of happiness, but they end up feeling unhappy despite having the fame and the power that many Americans dream of having.  My paper will show how Kaufman is questioning some of America’s ideals and whether or not they really do lead to happiness.  It will also explore what in fact does lead to happiness by using examples in the film.  The paper uses sources from magazines such as Life magazine that discuss the definition of success in America, and I also use some reviews of the film.  The goal of the paper is to persuade readers that just being a rich powerful actor such as Malkovich on its own does not lead to happiness, and we see this when the main character Craig ends up lonely and unhappy; it is the characters who have loving relationship that achieve happiness.

Friday, April 24, 4:00-5:15

Location: Eckles Auditorium

Panel:Dictators and Their Rhetoric

PRESENTERS:Clifford S. Hwang, Chris Knoell, Michael Lam, Shravalya Tirumala

MODERATOR: Matt Kohlstedt, Graduate Student, American Studies

The North Korean Dictator and Government Against the World
Clifford S. Hwang

Kim Jong-Il announced that he would be launching a satellite into space between the dates April 2-4, 2009.  His neighbors China, Japan, and South Korea are worried that this satellite launch may in reality be a cover for a missile test. Along with this current crisis North Korea has consistently brought instability and terror to numerous nations throughout the world.  Most people believe Kim Jong-Il is a crazy-communist psychopath; however, it is most certain that he is not.  This paper will focus on how and why Dictator Kim Jong-Il and his government provides the world with his stunts and threats.  Kim Jong-Il’s North Korean regime uses threats and forms of diplomacy in order to maintain stability in his nation and also gain what he desires for his regime.

Why Is Joe On His Way Back? Recent Support for the Late Dictator Joseph Stalin
Chris Knoell

Saddam Hussein’s Psychological Impact on the Persuasion of Iraq
Michael Lam

Hitler and Goebbels’ Methods of Advertisement and their Parallels Today
Shravalya Tirumala

This paper will bring attention to the methods of advertisement by Adolf Hitler and his regime. This presentation will also discuss the specific effects and psychology behind these methods of advertisement. It is known that the marketing approaches Hitler took were successful during the 1930s and on. This study argues the persistence of his ideologies and how his marketing of the Nazi “brand” continues to create an impact today and attributes to the rise of groups such as the Neo-Nazis or “skin-heads.” In today’s society, Hitler’s actions are condoned. So, why and, more importantly, how are there groups that support Hitler and his ideologies still existent? This paper addresses the effectiveness of his methods that led to millions of followers in the 20th century and continues to give rise to new followers today. This is accomplished in this paper by pointing out successful approaches of advertising and marketing made by Hitler that made him popular then and now.

Friday, April 24, 4:00-5:15

Location: Academic 100

Panel:The Social Psychology of Sustainability

PRESENTERS:Anna Frechette, Sally McGregor, Isra Elmahdi, Garrison Spencer

MODERATOR: Catherine Chandler, Honors and Art History

The Garden of Eatin’ – Gardening and Local Production as an Alternative Lifestyle
Anna Frechette and Sally McGregor

In an effort to further understand a growing group in the realm of food culture, we interviewed two very different types of women, for whom growing and producing their own food was an important part of their lifestyle.  Anna Frechette’s research looks into the life of a young woman who is part of an egalitarian intentional community that shares resources, produces soy products, and lives primarily off the land.  Sally McGregor interviewed a backyard gardener who nourished herself and her family with the fruits of her labor in her private garden.  Both women displayed how they are creating an alternative to consumerist grocery store culture.  These interviews displayed the variety of factors leading this gardening trend. Each woman had her individual motivations.  However, in both interviews, there was a sense of hope, both in passing on the tradition of gardening, and in finding an alternative lifestyle of self-sufficiency. 

The Guilt Factor
Isra Elmahdi

Deepening a Shallow Movement: Making Environmentalism Synonymous with Sustainable Living in Materialistic America
Garrison Spencer