Lauren Bush, Class of 2022
Major(s): Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology & Germanic Languages and Literature
Mentor(s): Nic Koziolek
Project Title: An Apophatic Hermeneutic Analysis of the Philosophy of Mind
Project Description: I plan to conduct an apophatic hermeneutical analysis of rhetorical trends in philosophical inquiries of the mind. In doing so, I hope to illustrate how the accumulative significations of ambiguous terms carry unfounded assumptions into philosophical dialogues. I will look at how these assumptions hinder further insights in philosophy as well by seeing how ambiguity creates linguistic ontologies, or a philosophy of reality based on the syntax of the language of discourse.
Malcolm Douglass, Class of 2022
Minor(s): Religion and Politics
Mentor(s): Elizabeth Borgwardt, Lerone Martin
Project Title: The Kennedy Moment and the Rise of Lyndon Johnson
Project Description: My project will focus on the time period spanning from President Kennedy's assassination to President Johnson’s win in the 1964 presidential election. My goal is to chronicle the experiences of Americans who lived through this moment, focusing on the trauma of JFK’s death and the establishment of Johnson as Kennedy’s heir. I hope to explore the experiences of ordinary citizens as well as administration officials and civil rights leaders.
Kiara Mallory, Class of 2022
Major(s): English Literature
Minor(s): African and African-American Studies
Mentor(s): Sowande' Mustakeem
Project Title: The "Depoliticization" of Black Hair
Project Description: I plan to research how Black hair has been used as an identifying factor for certain individuals, and how preconceptions and value judgments pose threats to Black identifying individuals in the world place. She will explore Black hair’s historical and cultural significance, and how its character as a polarizing force in the political economy deems it a prominent factor in the reconstruction of perceptions of Black people as marginalized beings equally capable of success. Understanding Black hair is crucial to the process of examining the forces that shape Black people’s lives; and knowledge on the discourse of Black hair is an initial step on the course of dismantling racial stereotypes.
Christian Monzon, Class of 2022
Major(s): Political Science and Latin American Studies
Mentor(s): Bret Gustafson
Project Title: Success, Failure, and Reflection in the EZLN
Project Description: I seek to understand how Latin American Indigenous movements change how Indigenous people view themselves in the context of Latin American politics and global neoliberalism. By specifically examining the case of Mexico’s EZLN — the Zapatista Army for National Liberation — my project will explore what it means for an Indigenous movement to “succeed” and how Indigenous movements change Indigenous people’s perceptions of themselves and the world.
Nicci Mowszowski, Class of 2021
Major(s): IAS: International Affairs, Germanic Languages & Literatures
Mentor(s): Erin McGlothlin
Project Title: Uniting the Broken Nation: National Discourse in German and Ukrainian Holocaust Memorials
Project Description: National discourse in a local Holocaust monument is often difficult to decipher and obfuscated from monument viewers. This project aims to understand how, during periods of national reconfiguration in Germany and Ukraine, local monuments became inscribed with nationally inflected discourses on the Nazi genocide, which served similar functions of “uniting the broken nation.” By translating and comparing Holocaust monuments to each other as well as to respective national discourses communicated in speeches and documents, this project examines both how the nation speaks through such monuments, as well as who the monument positions in the national audience. Such objectives will provide a window not only into how Holocaust memorials have been used as tools to construct and refine a national identity, but also how, despite drastically different memorial cultures, Germany and Ukraine similarly distance the reconfiguring nation from an incriminating and uncomfortable past.
Grace Myers, Class of 2022
Major(s): Anthropology, Dance
Mentor(s): Joanna Dee Das
Project Title: Dance and Competition as Ancestral Behaviors
Project Description: My project posits an evolutionary lens on dance: approaching dance theoretically as an ancestral practice that uses universalizable instruments (body, rhythm, sound, movement), and informs us about human sociality and intersubjectivities. My research will focus specifically on competition and engage ethnographic case-studies of dance education communities. I will explore the competitive nature of specific dance spaces within the competitive (and oppressive) structures of the U.S., in order to interrogate the impacts of competition on the ecological relationality of participants to each other and their world, focusing mainly on the felt agency, mutuality, and/or altruism of the participants.
Efua Osei, Class of 2021
Major(s): African and American American Studies
Minor(s): Political Science, Design
Mentor(s): Lerone Martin
Project Title: 'Cause I'm Da Baddest B—: Gender and Performativity of Black Femmeness in the 1990's Hip Hop
Project Description: My research seeks to highlight the means by which Black womxn understood and internalized their intersecting racial and gender identities, and how this manifested in their performances as MCs in American Hip Hop’s Golden Era (late 1980s through the 1990s). In exploring the sonic and visual culture these “fem-cees” contributed to, I question how they sought to create and legitimize their space in the heavily male-centered and misogynistic world of rap music and hip hop culture. I question how their sexual, gendered, and racial performance(s) inform their success as MCs. This research will also name various contemporary Black femme MCs as sites of reference to foreground the lineages created since hip hop’s foundation.
Josie Robinson, Class of 2022
Major(s): East Asian Studies
Minor(s): Film and Media Studies, Psychology and Brain Sciences
Mentor(s): Ji-Eun Lee and Nathan Vedal
Project Title: Neo-Confucianism and the Biopolitics of Motherhood in Contemporary South Korea
Project Description: My project will explore the influence of neo-Confucian ideology on the biopolitics of motherhood in contemporary South Korea. Korean culture reveres maternity, but this has traditionally applied only to married mothers, who fit into a traditional Confucian household structure. I plan to explore this dynamic within the context of Korean American adoption and recent efforts by Korean "unwed mothers" to form new communities.
Elizabeth Schwartz, Class of 2021
Major(s): English Literature
Mentor(s): Melanie Micir
Project Title: “I am a writer of fiction”: Reading Race as a Literary and Social Form in Contemporary U.S. Metafiction
Project Description: My project uses ideological and formalist methods to analyze U.S. post-9/11 metafictional novels — Percival Everett’s Erasure, Salvador Plascencia’s The People of Paper, and Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao — that treat race as a social and literary form. I use the publishing industry as a case study to ask how the novels interact, dialogically, with the contemporary racial project in the U.S., which denies of the relationship between race and economic success, while simultaneously racializing those who are systemically barred from accruing capital. I suggest metafictional narratives casting race as a form enable literary critics to trace the rhizomic nature of power in the racial capitalist publishing industry.
Kaysie Wachs, Class of 2021
Major(s): Religious Studies and Classics
Mentor(s): Lance Jenott
Project Title: Power Struggles in Pachomian Women’s Monasteries
Project Description: My research investigates the complex system of authority in Pachomian women’s monasteries in fourth century Egypt and asks who really had authority over these women. They had their own abbess, but how did her authority compare to that of their appointed male supervisor? How much control did Pachomius exercise over them in practice? And, to what extent did they govern themselves? Answering these questions will allow me to catch a glimpse of how ancient Christian women responded to the male-dominated hierarchies within which they lived, how much they subjected to it, and the ways they may have found to counter it.
Hannah Ward, Class of 2021
Major(s): Art History and Archaeology, History
Mentor(s): Anika Walke
Project Title: Art in War: A Study of Matisse’s Bathers with a Turtle During World War II
Project Description: The Saint Louis Art Museum is well-known for their colossal Matisse painting titled Bathers with a Turtle. This painting was bought by Joseph Pulitzer Jr. in 1939 at a Nazi-held art auction in Lucerne, Switzerland. This auction consisted of pieces considered by the National Socialist government to be “degenerate” and were sold in an effort to raise revenue for the Nazi War Machine. Matisse’s Bathers with a Turtle was previously owned by the Folkwang Museum in Essen, Germany, which was well-known for their display of modern art. After the Nazi rise to power many of the paintings from this museum were purged and taken into Reich property. The Matisse painting was stored by the Nazis until the 1939 auction in Lucerne when Pulitzer and his new wife bought the piece. Pulitzer stated that he “faced a terrible conflict — a moral dilemma. If the work was bought, we knew the money was going to a regime we loathed. To safeguard the art for posterity, I bought — defiantly!... But the real motive in buying was to preserve the art.” But his purchase, along with the other buyers at the auction, poses an ethical dilemma: though he saved a magnificent piece of art from destruction, he also funded the Nazi government through his purchase. My Kling project will focus on the justifications that American museums and collectors made when purchasing works of art from this auction with a focused case study on Joseph Pulitzer’s purchase of Bathers with a Turtle. I will also study how the National Socialist government used art as a mode of creating revenue to fund the Nazi war machine by hosting this auction.