Undergraduate Research Symposium


Posted by on Nov 1, 2019 in ORCA Symposium | 0 comments

The Humanities Center held its 7th annual Undergraduate Research Symposium (formerly called ORCA Symposium) on Friday, November 1st at 3:00 PM in 4010 JFSB. This year’s event featured undergraduate student research from around the college.

Megan Orr — A Room of Their Own: The Paradoxical Role of the Gynaikonitis in Women’s Oppression and Independence in Antiquity

This research challenges the traditional narrative of women in antiquity as paralyzed under societal, economic, and political oppression. I explored this question via study of the gynaikonitis, or women’s quarters, of antiquity. The walls of the gynaikonitis are paradigmatic of women’s oppression, yet its unique properties of isolation and exclusive access provided women the unique luxury of a space all their own. The role of the gynaikonitis is paradoxical, and stands as the proving ground for my research. Both in spite of and due to the gynaikonitis, women in antiquity found economic independence, exploratory emotional expression, and in some cases, impressive political power that forever altered the course of history.

I conducted studies on-site at the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum in southern Italy to assess the physical attributes of the women’s quarters. This information illustrated the confines of the gynaikonitis, a framework from which one can assess the environmental psychology of the women within, as well as which independent and liberating activities were possible. I additionally surveyed artifacts from five of the greatest collections of antiquity in four European countries to formulate a comprehensive view of the world these women created. The endurance of the human spirit illustrated by these women under stringent oppression are historical proof of the following statement from Virginia Woolf:

“Women have sat indoors all these millions of years, so that by this time the very walls are permeated by their creative force, which has, indeed, so overcharged the capacity of bricks and mortar that it must needs harness itself to pens and brushes and business and politics.” ― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own (1929)

Seth McCombie —  “Discovering the de-facto in Colloquial Egyptian Orthography”

This research examines how the orthography of written Egyptian Colloquial Arabic (ECA) varies between different registers of formality. Since the inception of printing presses in the Middle East, nearly all Arabic printed material has been published in a formal register known as Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), which is rarely spoken by Egyptians. Meanwhile, the dialect of Arabic actually spoken in Egypt, (ECA), has enjoyed little attention in printed media and has traditionally been considered a debased form of the language. More recently, however, works written in ECA have appeared, including Bible translations produced by people who, like William Tyndale, hope to bring the Bible to Christians’ in their native tongue. Even so, there is little consistency in the orthography of these emerging works and no formal set of conventions exists. Thus, there is a need to identify what de-facto conventions may exist in the written language to inform publishing conventions and potentially lend legitimacy to the written form Arabic that is actually spoken in Egyptlan.

To discover any conventions and trends that may exist informally, I first identified 25 high-frequency morphemes and words which are most subject to change in ECA, as well as their variants. I then gathered three corpora totaling about four million words of ECA text from three different sources; Twitter, Blogs, and Wikipedia, representing three different levels of formality. After calculating the frequency of these 25 items and their variants in each corpus, obvious preferences towards certain spellings in certain registers became clear. The results of this research have valuable implications for Arabic publishing houses and those who translate works from MSA to ECA. Beyond the publishing field, however, this research also has the possibility to inform educational practices in the Middle East and underscore the value of instructing students in writing both MSA and its growing counterpart, ECA.

Abby Clayton — “The Greatest Showmen: P.T. Barnum, Charles Dickens, and the Fight for Shakespeare’s Legacy”

Prior to its public auction in 1847, Shakespeare’s Birthplace—the home where he was born on Henley Street in Stratford-upon-Avon—was passed down through various private owners and their tenants who turned the property into an inn and a butcher shop. A mere sign indicated that “Shakespeare was born here.” By this point in time, Shakespeare’s literary influence permeated both Europe and America, but his status as a cultural icon was not strongly associated with the physical space of his home. However, this was about to change. In 1842, P.T. Barnum, the American showman of circus fame, was touring England with “The Greatest Show on Earth” when he went to visit Shakespeare’s home. Five years later, as he was always on the lookout for more “oddities” to add to his menagerie, the public auction of the Birthplace caught his interest, and he could not resist making an offer. This attempt by a foreign invader to “steal Shakespeare” inflamed the British public and sparked debates regarding the cultural ownership of the great playwright. Leading these debates was Charles Dickens, who initiated a series of events across England in an attempt to raise enough money to reclaim Shakespeare for the British people. This cultural interchange between Barnum and Dickens—the focus of my archival research completed during my internship in Stratford this past summer—reveals the way in which transatlantic celebrity was crucial to the formation of Shakespeare as a British heritage icon. Nearly 200 years later, as an American living in Stratford-upon-Avon, writing and conducting user-research to help the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust better appeal to a mass audience in England and beyond its borders, I could not help but realize I was reliving this same cultural phenomenon.

Sam Jacob — “Intertextuality, Aesthetics, and the Digital: Rediscovering Chekhov in Early British Modernism”

Intertextuality between Anton Chekhov and early modernist writers such as Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield, James Joyce, and DH Lawrence is a recurrent topic in comparativist scholarship. However, due to a breadth of methodological and critical approaches, conclusions regarding Chekhov’s literary influence continues to puzzle and elude critics. This presentation shifts the exploration of Chekhovian intertextuality in the early modernist period (circa 1900-1925) away from the rigid concept of influence alone by introducing new intertextual links between Chekhov and British modernists through primary archival research, translation analysis, and a theoretical reconceptualization of intertextuality.

By applying current theory regarding literary aesthetics, postcritical hermeneutics, and digital textual analysis, I redefine intertextuality as multidirectional, showing that productive scholarly conversation and extra-textual creation can occur between texts that may not perfectly align along historical, contextual, or chronological lines. This theoretical methodology provides the foundation for interpreting the primary research of my presentation, wherein I have transcribed and digitized facsimiles of modernist short stories from their original periodicals. I then conduct comparative analyses of three of these stories alongside a Chekhov short story. These pairings bring both hallmark writers of the British modernist period and unstudied British authors into conversation with Chekhov’s texts, both in translation and in the original Russian. Some pairs challenge former claims of intertextual links between Chekhov and well-known British authors, such as Katherine Mansfield, and other pairs will identify newfound links between little-studied British writers and Chekhov himself. The readings blend traditional close reading, translation, and digital textual analysis, providing a more nuanced, multifaceted, and kaleidoscopic view of Chekhov’s influence on non-Russian authors. This examination of the unique and complex relationship between Chekhov and other modernist writers ultimately opens the door for more fruitful comparative study between texts of differing literary, national, and linguistic backgrounds.

Calla Chamberlain —  “The Ross “Rusty” Butler Collection on Brazilian Protest Theater”

For over 40 years, deep in the garage of former professor Ross E. Butler, Jr., a large box was nearly untouched by academic analysis. Performing research for his doctorate in the 1970s, Professor “Rusty” Butler traveled to Brazil and developed friendships with a number of leading writers and actors involved in the theater in Rio de Janeiro, many of whom he interviewed during the course of his research. Furthermore, when he was preparing to leave Brazil to return to the United States, several pleaded with him to take their works—including some that were unpublished and in manuscript form—out of the country in order to avoid government censors. While Professor Butler did publish one article based on his doctoral research, most of his original research materials remained untouched after he left academia to pursue other professions, thus leaving the voices of his old friends once again stifled and unheard. It was not until I began the process of organizing a special collection of those items that they finally came to light. I familiarized myself with the items in the collection and poured over them, searching for similarities across the materials so I could divide the collection into specific groupings. After meeting with a number of library specialists who taught me about finding aids and how to compile one, I logged all of the materials and their details and compiled the materials into files, leaving a finished, polished finding aid entitled The Ross “Rusty” Butler Collection on Brazilian Protest Theater. As far as the HumGrant is concerned, this project is complete. However, I hope to continue researching on my own. In fact, next week Dr. Nielson and I will interview Rusty, something I hope will yield a valuable addition to the collection.

Kacey Sorenson — “Re-colonizing the Caribbean: Climate Change, Derek Walcott’s ‘Omeros’ and Niche Modeling”

Colonization imprinted the Caribbean environment with naturalized and invasive plant species from around the world. Now, climate change is causing a second reshuffling of plants in the Caribbean, creating new tensions and competition between native, naturalized, and invasive species. This tension is well established in the poetry of Derek Walcott, a native Saint Lucian and a Nobel Laureate considered one of the greatest poets of the Caribbean and the twentieth century. His work focuses on the interaction between environmental and human history, and is one of the first to cite the impending impact of climate change on the postcolonial environment of the Caribbean (Handley). My central question was whether climate change, with its shadow of a second colonial invasion, will favor invasive species over Caribbean natives. To decipher an answer, I worked the Biology department to record species mentioned in Walcott’s epic poem, Omeros, categorize them as invasive or native, predict, using a well-developed niche-modeling program, the long-term effects of climate change on these Caribbean species (Higgins et. al). After, I worked with Dr. Handley to carefully analyze themes in the poem itself, focusing specifically on species’ symbolic significance in the text. This interdisciplinary approach is significant for the ways it bridges the humanities and empirical data by predicting long-term environmental effects of colonization. By collecting data relevant to Caribbean plant species through the niche modeling program and then by confirming it through analysis of the text itself, we expanded through empirical evidence the current literary dialogue surrounding colonization’s long-term effects on more than just the people and cultures that were colonized. By using physiological niche modeling coupled with ensemble climate change forecasts, we have ultimately made strides in predicting the effects of slow violence on the environment of this colonized area of the world (Higgins et al).

Read a write-up of the symposium.


Posted by on Oct 20, 2018 in ORCA Symposium | 0 comments

The Humanities Center in coordination with BYU’s Office of Research and Creative Activities (ORCA) will hold its annual ORCA Symposium on Friday, October 26th at 3:00 PM in 4010 JFSB.

Blake Perry Smith – Open Source Consistency Evaluation for Chinese Word Segmentation

Chinese in its written form does not separate its characters by spaces. Imagine if this were the case with English and a sign at a job fair displayed “opportunityisnowhere.” Regardless of the intent being to announce that “opportunity is now here,” that can easily be read pessimistically without proper spacing.

Computers must first be able to accurately and consistently identify word boundaries before any other language processing takes place. Tools called ‘segmenters’ do this essential work of parsing Chinese. State-of-the-art systems ‘learn’ how to accomplish this task from training data composed of human-segmented text. These sets of training data, or corpora, are widely distributed for use by researchers and practitioners in the development of segmenters. Importantly, these manual segmentations serve as a basis for computing probabilities for whether to segment a given sequence. However, the involvement of human judgement in developing these corpora results in inconsistencies that have proven to be detrimental to segmenter performance (Sun et al. 2003).
Surprisingly, researchers have found that increased accuracy in segmentation does not lead to increased quality of machine translation output for Chinese (Chang et al. 2008). Rather, parser consistency was shown to produce better results in downstream machine translation. We believe that because of how segmenters learn to parse, consistent parses within training data strongly correlate to consistent parses by the segmenters themselves. Thus, ensuring consistency within corpora is a viable way to improve the quality of subsequent translations.

We present a tool that detects and reports inconsistent segmentations either within a single corpus or between two corpora. By releasing our software under an open-source license, our work can have real implications for advancing computer effectiveness in Chinese word segmentation and consequently in advancing the state-of-the-art for machine translation.

Kate Menlove – Das jüdische Weib: The Impact of Nahida Ruth Lazarus

There is little material that is written by women about the lives and work of women in the early nineteenth century. There are almost no works focusing on the Jewish concept of women and family. One book, written in 1896 by a German convert to Judaism Nahida Ruth Lazarus, combines both women’s social experiences and the Jewish attitude towards women in a book titled, “The Jewish Woman”. While Lazarus’ book is unique in content, there are also very few copies in circulation, making it very rare. For my ORCA project with Dr. Michelle James, I am reading this document and creating annotations, as well as preparing an introduction. I have used library and internet resources, as well as speaking with a library director in Leipzig, Germany and interviewing a Lazarus scholar, Dr. Katharina Gerstenberger, about Lazarus and the time period. This project is to be posted on BYU’s Sophie Digital Library.

The impact of this project will not affect the entire world, or even an entire University. However, it will be an invaluable resource to those interested in German History, Women’s Studies, or Jewish Studies. Lazarus doesn’t just write a historical account of women in Judaism; she celebrates the strength of women from several different generations. She highlights their sacrifices and how they have fought against societal norms on occasion. I truly believe that this book can empower women. Lazarus encourages us all to become who we want to be and not only settle for what life has allotted us.

Isaac Robertson – The White Girl’s Burden: Feminized Colonial Ecology as Access to Post-Colonial Natural History

In its first volume, L. T. Meade’s 1887 periodical for girls, Atalanta, published a variety of colonial fiction and boys’ adventure fiction written by the likes of H. Rider Haggard, Grant Allen, and John Strange Winter. Throughout the magazine, these authors explore life and travel in disparate exotic environments, from India’s military compounds to Hawaii’s volcanoes. Even Atalanta’s fairytale literature seems imbued with colonial elements. However, while much of the current scholarship devoted to Atalanta focuses on its position within education and the New Woman movement, much less has been said concerning its obsession with colonial environments. What purpose would colonial adventure fiction hold within a fin-de-siècle girl’s magazine like Atalanta?

Drawing upon recent theory in post-colonial ecocriticism, Victorian natural history, and nineteenth-century temporality, I argue that Atalanta’s girls advocate for a new imperial approach founded in ecological relationality. I trace how the changing concerns of the Empire in fin-de-siècle Britain, coinciding with the shifting role of boys’ colonial fiction, necessitated an adjustment to the imperial structure and its literature—including a better negotiation of cultural difference and a balance between domestic morality and the difficult realities of colonization. I then examine how Atalanta responds to these changes by presenting a liminal girl who interacts with the empire ecologically. The negotiating capabilities of this girl within a colonial environment, along with an imbrication of Darwinian and Rousseauian construct of nature, allow her to collapse hierarchies and characterize herself as a specimen of postcolonial natural history—capable of speaking on behalf of colonized nature. Her subsequent proposal for the empire to follow suit ultimately signifies a renewable moral resource for England’s imperial future. My presentation develops this argument through an analysis of how Paul Hamilton Hayne’s American poem, “The Story of an Ambuscade,” shifts in meaning when published within Atalanta’s context.

Maika Bahr – Japanese Exotica in Dutch Still Life Paintings: A Post Colonial Study of Harmen Steenwyck’s Vanitas Works

In 1635, Japan enacted a policy of seclusion and successfully shut themselves off from the world. The only country that Japan was willing to keep ties with was the Dutch Republic. For over two hundred years, Japan’s only contact with Europe was with the Dutch traders who would land on the island of Dejima to conduct business. The Dutch Republic, which was very wealthy at the time, began to paint still-life paintings that showcased their riches that they had obtained while abroad, including objects from Japan.

Harmen Steenwyck’s painting titled Still Life: An Allegory of the Vanitas of Human Life from 1640 is a humble piece that showcases an impressive example of a Japanese sword that was brought back to Europe. I propose that with this painting, the Dutch artist exhibited Orientalist feelings and meant to convey a sense of superiority in military prowess and commercial success over the Japanese. After looking through the archival images at the Netherlands Institute for Art History I was able to find two more paintings by Steenwyck where the same Japanese sword is depicted. After researching the symbolic meaning of other objects surrounding the sword in all three paintings and the symbolic meaning that the Dutch attached to weapons, I was able to solidify this thesis. Still Life: An Allegory of the Vanitas of Human Life clearly depicts the pride of the Dutch Republic and their condescending attitude towards their Japanese allies.

Corey Ketring – How to Improve Chinese L2 Learners’ Performance in Oral Presentations Formulaic Language Instruction and the CAPF List

This study examines disfluent phenomenon in thirty-nine L2 Chinese academic oral presentations. Eight types of disfluencies are found in the data. The most prominent types of disfluencies are silent pauses and filled pauses. Several features of disfluency were observed in learners’ speech in our data that are not commonly seen in native speakers’ speech; these differences significantly distinguish second language speech from normal native speech (1. silent pauses, filled pauses and hesitation with sound extension within a word; 2. repeating the first character of a word with/without sound extension; 3. silent pauses, filled pauses and hesitation with sound extension at an incorrect prosodic location; 4. content reduction).

In order to improve L2 learners’ speaking fluency and accuracy in their presentations, it is suggested that a list of academic formulaic sequences for oral presentations should be created, accompanied by systematic training on the sequences. A Chinese Academic Formulas for Presentation (CAFP) list of four sub-categories of formulaic sequences was therefore created in order to offer useful language tools for L2 learners to improve fluency in their academic oral presentations. Sequences are presented according to their pragmatic functions in discourse (e.g. introducing the main topic, introducing the background, describing methods, introducing the outline of the presentation, signaling transitions, referring to literature and citation, defining terms, describing quantities and trend, giving examples, explaining causality, expressing opinions and attitude, listing and classifying, comparing and contrasting, referring to visuals, referring to discussion objects, explaining, emphasizing important information, reporting findings, summarizing, expressing the contribution of the research, ending the presentation). It provides learners useful polywords, institutionalized expressions, and phrasal and sentence builders throughout the presentation. These tools can help students conserve mental effort in areas such as transitions and sentence building, thus allowing them to focus their attention on the content and accurate navigating specialized lexicon. Activities used to develop learners’ knowledge of formulaic language in presentations are also proposed to enhance formulaic language instruction in classroom settings.

Sophie Determan – The Pygmalion Project

The goal of my project is to assist Dr. Roger Macfarlane in developing the online index of the Oxford Guide to Classical Mythology in the Arts which will be centered at BYU. The OGCMA is an important and widely-used index that identifies 30,000+ artworks spanning from the 300-1900s. But despite the breadth of the index, there is not a single example of a film mentioned in any entry. This is a serious gap in classical scholarship because no other guide contains significant film references. The scope of my project is to evaluate and contribute scholarly metadata for over forty films that will comprise the “Pygmalion” article in the OGCMA-online index.

Scrutinizing various Pygmalion films and films proposed by others as Pygmalion films, I have established criteria to judge whether a film is a deliberate adaptation of the myth or merely shares archetypal similarities. The most fundamental points of consideration are three: 1) the act of creation, 2) the erotic potential of the artist, and 3) acknowledgement of the Pygmalion myth. I began with a simple grid system of these relevant characteristics, which soon developed into a dynamic three-axis graph. This graph not only charts each film’s adaptive treatment of the myth, but also its relationship to fellow cinematic adaptations and the original foundation text.

This presentation will explain how this analytical tool helps to clarify new ways of understanding the scope of Pygmalion reception, using the following six titles as examples: Mad Love (1935), One Touch of Venus (1948), My Fair Lady (1964), Miss Congeniality (2000), Lars and the Real Girl (2007), Ruby Sparks (2012). This presentation will contain benefit not only for classics students, but for adaptation studies and film departments since the three-axis graph can be modified to fit other foundation texts like Frankenstein or Cinderella.


Posted by on Aug 5, 2017 in ORCA Symposium | 0 comments



Posted by on Oct 14, 2016 in ORCA Symposium | 0 comments


Friday, October 14th from 3:00 – 4:30 PM in room 4010 JFSB.

Tamara Thomson — “The Intersection of Truth, Memory, and Fiction in State Mental Hospital Patient Experience”

RelyiTamara Thomsonng upon my research for context and as a foundation, I have composed six short stories dealing with the experiences of the youth patients and staff at the State Hospital which are based on the actual relationships and events that I experienced while working there in the early 1990’s. I believe that a fictive narrative can go beyond the mere facts of my experience, and the experience of those I have interviewed, to portray an authentic emotional truth about mentally and emotionally ill people who are often marginalized or completely disenfranchised from society.This presentation will give a brief description of my project and then I will read one of the stories I wrote.

Michelle Turner — “Interpreting Art History by Brazilian Modernist Anita Malfatti”PaulaMichelleTurner

This presentation will focus on the study of artist Anita Malfatti´s lectures as she taught Art History in early and mid-20th century in Brazil. By transcribing and studying her notes, I am trying to understand what her interpretation, and focuses were as she taught in São Paulo. Ms. Malfatti was the first artist to exhibit modern art in Brazil and one of the first to teach a history of modern art as well. I have transcribed her lectures on the subject and am analyzing their contents. This research also includes a critical comparison of her lessons from the early 1930s and the late 1940s including any changes regarding her stance and opinion on Ancient and Western Art.

Joshua Matthias — “Topic Adaptation for Machine Translation”

Joshua MathiasAdapting machine translation to specific domains or subject matter is essential to improve translation quality, and this is still a new field of research. Professional translators need to translate documents with the subject matter and domain in mind, in order to create a translation that uses the correct type of language and terminology for the domain, whether it be legal, political, technological, religious, or other types of documents. A machine translation system can be adapted to a specific domain by using training data from the same domain. My goal is to demonstrate improvements in statistical machine translation for specific domains using different methods for evaluating training data to be used for the machine translation system.


Catie Nuckols — “From Imposition to Integration: Teotihuacan Influence on Maya as Evidenced by Stela 7 at Piedras Negras”

The Trapeze and Ray motif found in Mayan art aCatie-Nuckolsnd the possible implications that it holds for understanding Mesoamerican culture and even politics will be the focus of this presentation. In analyzing the appearances of this motif in Late Classic Maya imagery, I have found that it commonly forms part of a “triple alliance” of iconographic elements: the Trapeze and Ray motif, the ochk’in kalomte’ title, and the War Serpent headdress. These elements all became integrated parts of Mayan art culture, despite having origins in and/or ties to the Central Mexican city of Teotihuacan. My research has revolved around analyzing the meaning of these elements and the consequent implications for our understanding of how Teotihuacan influenced the Mayan, even years after the city ceased to exist.

Katie Bowman — “Annotated Edition of the Reminiscences of Nate Salsbury”

Katie-bowmanThe purpose of this project was to prepare the unpublished manuscriptReminiscences of Nate Salsbury, written in the 1890s, for publication and to enter the critical conversation on the development of the frontier myth in American history. Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Exhibition, an elaborate production demonstrating the key components of the American West, toured Europe in 1887-1888 where it sparked an international obsession with Western frontier culture that shaped the identity of the US in the eyes of Europe. Significantly absent from all published accounts of this transatlantic event is the perspective of Nate Salsbury, business partner to William F. Cody and creator of the show. The absence of Salsbury’s viewpoint leaves a gap in the biography of William F. Cody, the narrative of the Wild West Exhibition and the history of the American frontier. Beyond helping fill the historical gap, I looked at how Salsbury’s writing changes our understanding of that history. Through biographical research, editorial work, annotation, appendices and critical analysis I explore how Salsbury throws practical light on the creation of the mythic figure of Buffalo Bill and consequently the nationalizing myth of the American Frontier.


Posted by on Oct 26, 2015 in ORCA Symposium | 0 comments


Friday, October 16 from 3:00 – 5:00 PM in 4010 JFSB.

Cai Elisabeth Olsen —” Mergulhando nos Bastidores: The Translation Errors Surrounding Grande Sertão Veredas”

Ash McMurray — “Korean Drama and Philosophy”

Ash’s research focused on how South Korean historical dramas advance the arguments of classical Chinese philosophy. He examined three dramas as argumentative analogies representing three key periods tracing China’s philosophical influence from Korea’s nascent years until its Golden Age under King Sejong (세종; 世宗): Jumong (삼한지-주몽 편; 2006), Queen Seondeok (선덕여왕; 2009), and Tree with Deep Roots (뿌리 깊은 나무; 2011). He found that each drama presents a uniquely Korean critique of the major philosophical traditions of China, namely Confucianism, Daoism, and Legalism. Despite incisive criticisms against Confucianism’s political idealism, misogyny, and class distinctions, the dramas ultimately promote Confucian over Daoism and Legalism because only Confucianism provides the moral wherewithal to cultivate and evaluate virtuous leaders and citizens.

Emily Furner — “Defining the Obvious, Or Not”

Victoria Fox — “Barbara d’Austria: Women and Religious Upheaval in 16th Century Europe”

Her research centered around the life of an Austrian princess, Barbara D’Austria, who married into the powerful Este family in Italy. Because there was so little information on Barbara herself,  Victoria had to come at her life from many different angles and build her biography from the outside-in. Her presentation, however, focused on just one aspect of the historical context. She spoke about the role of women in religious upheaval in the 16th century, including female mysticism and the ways in which women used religious upheaval to increase their power to an extent that would have been impossible in a more stable political and cultural environment.

Stephanie Hedges — “Accenting the job: How Speech Affects the Hiring Process”

Diana Sun Shelton — “A Quichua Video Dictionary: The Sight and Sound of Ideophones


Posted by on Oct 26, 2014 in ORCA Symposium | 0 comments

2014-10-10 17.03.07

Megan Armknecht
Megan presented on how Louisa May Alcott was influenced by German Romanticism–specifically the German thinker and writer, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. She had noticed resonances between Goethe’s thinking and personality in the character of Dr. Bhaer in Alcott’s classic, Little Women, and wanted to find out if these connections meant anything and if Dr. Bhaer could have been based–at least in part–on Goethe. Her ORCA project allowed her to travel to Boston and Concord, Massachusetts to read Alcott’s correspondence, diary entries, and manuscripts, where she found out that Alcott was strongly influenced by Goethe’s writings. Although it wouldn’t be wise to say that Goethe was the only model for Dr. Bhaer, it is safe to say that Alcott was influenced by Goethe and that influence can be seen in the character of Dr. Bhaer, not only providing an interesting transatlantic connection, but also giving more depth to Alcott’s works.

Caroline Howard
Caroline presented on her project “The College Writing Experience for At-Risk High School Students.” She talked about the experience she had bringing high school students to campus four times over the course of the semester and the differences she observed in their attitudes toward writing, college, and their own abilities. Her research backed up theories that say mentored writing experiences can help improve the self-efficacy of struggling students. It also posed questions for further research about student identity.

Lauren Fine
Lauren’s paper covered how the transmission of affect (when physiological signals from one person trigger similar emotions in another person) can cause large groups to become unified and form cohesive group identities in a short amount of time. However, as the case study of the Occupy Dayton movement reveals, transmission only leads to unity when group members interpret their emotions the same way, which means effective rhetoric is still sometimes necessary to keep the group together.
Taylor Madsen
Can right make might? This translation of two years of gender studies quantifies variables such as educational deficiencies and social paradigms that nullify the empowerment intended in women’s property rights in Senegal.
Sara Guggisberg
By researching Mark Twain’s little-known 1907 novel “A Horse’s Tale,” Sara had the opportunity to be one of the first to engage in critical conversation about the novel and position it as a significant piece of Twain’s many works. She has drawn connections between this novel, William F. (Buffalo Bill) Cody, and the seminal work of animal activist literature, “Black Beauty,” to validate her claim that Twain’s writing of “A Horse’s Tale” was his truest moment of animal activism.
Ashley Brocious
Oral histories of LDS men offer important insight into how LDS men’s Mormon identity intersects with their masculine identity.  Ashley’s project offers a set of oral histories of LDS males in hopes that their experiences will illuminate the need to include and articulate LDS male experiences in future gender discussions.


Posted by on Nov 8, 2013 in ORCA Symposium | 0 comments

November 8, 2:30-5:00, JFSB 4186/88

Speakers: Daniel Cardoza (Russian), Romy Franks (German), Adam Lloyd (Humanities, Classics, and Comparative Literature), and Kylan Rice (English)

Keynote speaker: Bryce Christensen, Dept. of English, Southern Utah University: “Of Sonnets and Subphylums: How Poetry Lives (or Dies) in a Scientific World.”