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  “A Bit of Woman in Every Man”: Creating Queer Community in Female Impersonation


In the decades immediately following World War II, female impersonation thrived as an art form in America. Springing from a beloved vaudeville tradition, female impersonation had a significant claim to the realm of heteronormative, mainstream entertainment, which was invoked frequently by performers and producers. While maintaining this rhetoric, however, revues used hints of queerness to attract both substantial heterosexual crowds and large pockets of gay, lesbian, and transgender performers and regulars. This paper reveals how these burgeoning female impersonation revues served to foster queer community and queer niches of urban landscape in post-war America, even while relying on rejections of queer identity in order to stay afloat. More….

David Benatar, Death and the Harm in Existence


In his 2006 book, Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence, philosopher David Benatar argues that existence is an inherent harm. Since existence necessarily imposes harm on those who experience it, and non-existence cannot deprive a non-entity of a good it is incapable of experiencing, existence is always a harm. This has several implications for applied ethics, including the adoption of anti-natalism, the ethical position holding that having children is wrong.  This paper uses concessions from Benatar’s own account of existence and its related harms to show that existence is not necessarily a harm. Once birth can be justified, Benatar’s distinction between lives worth living and lives worth continuing allows for continued existence, delaying the extinction Benatar’s anti-existence would imply. More….

Domestic Composition: A Reconstructive Pictorial Project


Natasha Trethewey’s Domestic Work is a pivotal piece in post-southern literature which aims to give faces to the legions of nameless domestic workers and, thus, to bear witness. Trethewey faces the task of weaving together events and emotions to create a holistic picture that is cultural, historical and personal. Her project is to capture unique moments in an aesthetic stillness to accomplish a sense of sublation. This paper argues that Trethewey’s project is successful due to her use of the Polaroid instant. Because she invokes the concept of photography, she is able to capture the emotions that occupy the most private of thoughts. More….

Reflections in Contemporary Feminist Literature


While mirrors in literature and culture have long been associated with female vanity, self-consciousness, and other restrictive conceptions of female identity, a "gaze" into the mirrors of contemporary feminist literature reveals that the mirror has adopted a markedly different role. Through a close examination of Margaret Atwood'sThe Handmaid's Tale and Toni Morrison's Sula,this paper suggests that contemporary feminist literature revises the conventional meaning of the mirror motif while simultaneously positing a less restrictive notion of female selfhood.More….

Second Language Acquisition Through the Eyes of Teenagers


The study of second language acquisition has been a field of active debate for nearly five decades. While linguists continually debate the processes by which humans learn new languages, people around the world are doing just that – learning new languages. They are leaving their homes and moving to completely new places, trading familiar languages for new ones which they must learn from scratch. This paper shows how this process of migration and language acquisition occurs each and every day, and its course of progression and ultimate effects can be best observed in the world’s next generation of leaders, thinkers, and innovators – today’s teenagers. More….

Simply Not There: Externality Versus Internal Identity in American Psycho


In her 2000 film American Psycho, Mary Harron crafts a sleek and provocative view of 1980s executive New York.  While the film is a testament to the period’s overblown consumerist splendor, it equally reveals the consequences of such unfettered tendencies.  Through their overt and uninhibited materialism, the characters maintain their popularity while compromising themselves.  This paper explores the culture’s emphasis on externality and its hindering effects on individuality and emotional connection. More….

The Albanian Kanun in Ismail Kadare’s Broken April


This paper offers a sampling of Albanian literature by introducing Ismail Kardare’s dark novel Broken April (Prilli i thyer, 1978) and the way in which the novel utilizes the code of Albanian traditional law, the Kanun. It shows how Kardare, a self-exiled Albanian, calls into question the relevance of tradition in the face of modernity, a theme which may be interpreted as broadly as a comment on Westernization and globalization, or as narrowly as a comment on the contemporary Albanian communist regime of Enver Hoxha (d.1985). Kardare’s use of the Kanun in Broken April, though a piece of obscure Albanian folk law to the outside world, evokes an interpretation pregnant with universality while providing a unique teaching experience for the reader uninitiated into the world of Albanology.  More….

You Can’t Hurry Soul: Redefining the Integration Politics of Martin, Malcolm, and the Supremes

The Civil Rights Movement was complex; from protests and marches, legislative and judicial victories, to assassinations and riots, the Freedom Struggle was by no means easy. Current understandings of the movement are often centered on watered down ideological interpretations of Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. However, popular culture can also shed light on the political atmosphere of the turbulent Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s-1960s.  If Dr. King and Malcolm X’s respective ideologies are the source for an incalculable number of books and articles, there should be some expectation that their views would play out in popular music of the time—and it does, notably in soul music. Soul’s founding is rooted in the ideologies of Dr. King and Malcolm X, though contemporary scholars have dismissed certain black artists, particularly the Supremes, as un-soulful, too “white,” and too eager to cross over. This paper argues that this criticism is unfounded and lacks a historical analysis of soul’s varied definition in the 1960s.  Moreover, the very discussion of soul’s definition is a clear example of the King-Malcolm ideological divide and the political importance of popular culture in historical narrative. More….








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