Undergraduate Humanities Forum 2007-2008: Origins

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Now showing 1 - 9 of 9
  • Publication
    Forgetting the Violence, Remembering a Report: The Paradox of the 1931 Kanpur Riots
    (2008-04-01) Agarwal, Priya
    This project is the culmination of my efforts to understand Hindu-Muslim relations in the twentieth century. My thesis revolves around a paradox surrounding the Kanpur Riots, the major finding of my research last year. After reading about the "carnage at Kanpur" in The Construction of Communalism in North India in the February of last year, I was inspired to learn more about the 1931 Kanpur riots. My efforts to find a secondary source recounting the riots, however, were fruitless. While surveys of modern India mentioned the violence at Kanpur, no single monograph detailing the riots existed. Instead, scholars wrote about the Kanpur Riot Commission Report, a Congress Party authored Report that recounted the riots and included a 293-page history describing Hindu-Muslim relations. My research at the National Archives of India (NAI) and the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML) in New Delhi from August 3-September 3, 2007 fine-tuned this paradox. The newspapers I consulted at NMML, The Leader and The Statesman, focused on the atrocities committed and the ineffectiveness of police forces to quell the riots. Similarly, the testimonies of British officials involved in the riots that I examined in the National Archives evidenced how official (British) inaction was the notable feature of the Kanpur Riots. Yet, secondary sources that included brief references to the Kanpur Riots attributed its significance not to official inaction or the brutality of the violence but the literary consequences of the riots, the Kanpur Riot Commission Report. This thesis will explore the Report and the context in which it was written.
  • Publication
    The Gay Man's Burden: Wilde, Dandyism, and the Labors of Gay Selfhood
    (2008-04-01) Greenwald, Jordan L.
    Recently, much attention has been devoted to the subject of lesbian and gay 'visibility' in the contemporary media and marketplace. Journalists, activists, and scholars alike have either bemoaned or celebrated the increasing appearance of gay and lesbian people in TV shows, films, and advertisements. For some, the visible presence of lesbians and gays in the media is a key factor in social awareness and gay rights advancement, while for others this 'visibility' reifies stereotypes of gay and lesbian identity and limits the public image of LGBT people to a resoundingly white, urban, upper-middle class (and typically male) segment of its population. Likewise, some have praised the development of gay and lesbian marketing niches, attributing the power of the purse to the solidification of social agency outside the market, while others have critiqued such developments as the potential downfall of subversive 'queer' identities. Naturally, I simplify this dialogue, reducing arguments and their proponents to two extremes. It would be more accurate to state that the gay and lesbian community finds itself at odds in a debate centered on the question of how gay and lesbian identity and rights discourses should situate themselves in relation to 'mainstream' culture and its modus operandi, consumer capitalism. For many, if not most, gay visibility is a double-edged sword: the 'consciousness raising' that such visibility affords us is accompanied by the marginalization of those who do not fit into the 'charmed circle' of marketability, along with the loss of a discrete subcultural identity.
  • Publication
    When I count to four…: James Brown, Kraftwerk, and the practice of musical time-keeping before Techno
    (2008-04-01) Reinecke, David
    "Of all creative artists," wrote Hector Berlioz in his famous orchestration treatise, "the composer is almost the only one to depend on a host of intermediaries between him and his audience" (Berlioz, 2002 [1856]: 336). These intermediaries – the orchestra and its leader and time keeper, the conductor – "may be intelligent or stupid, devoted or hostile, energetic or lazy; from first to last they can contribute to the glory of [the] work, or they can spoil it, insult it, or even wreck it completely" (Ibid.). From written score to performance, realizing a composer's work of music becomes an acute problem of both collective action and aesthetic interpretation. The chief mediator between the composer's artistic intention and its social realization is the conductor, who through his or her authority not only asserts and determines the tempo of a performance, but also establishes its nuance, feeling, and overall interpretation.
  • Publication
    The Rise of Early Modern Japanese Nationalism and its Correlation with the Japanese Perspective of Ming-Qing Transition in China
    (2008-04-01) Chen, Li
    Many historians consider Japanese civilization developing along a distinct track against that of the Asian mainland and in particular, China, since the Heian period (794 – 1185). They believe the Japanese then began to shift their attitude toward Chinese civilization from assimilating at full scale to selectively adopting, and to gradually nurture and accumulate their native cultural tradition (a.k.a. kokuhubunka in Japanese). Selectively adopting implies that the Japanese central authority mainly focused on domestic affairs, while still kept an eye on the development of China and imported any of her achievements which might benefit the Japanese state. According to that theory, many argue that the subsequent Chinese dynasties and her tributary states then made much less external impact on Japan, both her society and people, in the recent millennium; Japan would often tend to stay indifferently away from the movement and conflict in mainland Asia. Particularly during the Tokugawa period, a period considered by historians as the most isolated time in Japanese history, even though some dramatic changes took place in China and East Asia, many believe the Japanese still lived in their own world pacifically.
  • Publication
    The Need for War Letters?
    (2008-04-01) Hickey, Alice
    We are all fascinated by our own family's story - our origins. What trouble our parents were in when they were little. What our grandparents did during the war. Where our ancestors came from. These types of stories are personal and inconsequential, but at the same time, they are informative and entertaining. While we must not confuse family lore with academic history, the two can be intertwined. All history is someone's family story because history revolves around people and their actions. I have spent the last fifteen months examining my grandfather's service during World War Two. Stories like his are the basis of microcosm history, but they are not all encompassing explanations. The job of historians is to take stories and shape them into meaningful scholarship through research and analysis. Within the historiography of the 20th Century, war letters are some of the more remarkable documents available. In the study of World War Two, they are especially valuable because the sheer number that have survived give historians a vast range of experiences from which to draw conclusions. Written in the face of uncertain and daunting odds, they illuminate human voices in a war that could be easily reduced to a series of campaigns and grim statistics. The letters give a tiny glimpse into the experience that defined a generation around the world. Over sixteen million American men were drafted during World War Two and, for the most part, handwritten letters were their only form of communication with loved ones on the homefront. For some families, they were all that was left of their sons, brothers, fathers and uncles in September 1945 when the war ended. In many families, war letters were carefully preserved; my family is no exception.
  • Publication
    Body mass index, socio-economic status, and behavioral practices in Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala
    (2008-04-01) Nagata, Jason
    This study illuminates the associations of body mass index (BMI), socio-economic status (SES), and related behavioral practices including marriage, market visits, and meal consumption among the Tz'utujil Maya of Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala. Semi-structured interviews of 54 adults in Santiago Atitlán were conducted in 2007. The stratified sample was designed to be representative of the seven regional cantones of Santiago Atitlán. BMI was positively associated with years of schooling, income, and literacy, all measures of SES. In addition, BMI was found to be significantly positively correlated with the behavioral practices of marriage, market visits per week, and drinking bottled water. A multiple linear regression model with BMI as the dependent and income, schooling, married, market visits, and bottled water consumption as independent variables is presented and found to be significant. The important behavioral practices highlighted here help to explain how BMI and SES are positively associated, and can inform future public health interventions regarding obesity and malnutrition.
  • Publication
    Suggestions for Shakespeare: Playing Out the Alterations in Nineteenth-Century Promptbooks of Hamlet
    (2008-04-01) Feuerstein, Sheira
    The original versions of Shakespeare's Hamlet did not portray Francisco as one of the key players in the protagonist's downfall. Nor did the play end with Hamlet's dying words. The first quartos and Folio of Hamlet introduced a flourish of Fortinbras's army coming to take over Denmark at the end of a play in which Hamlet, in his dying breath, votes for the Norwegian interloper as the next monarch instead of revealing his own selfconsciousness. Yet the nineteenth-century collaborators on various productions of Hamlet had more exciting ideas for the ending of the play. Adding new stage directions and completely removing Fortinbras's entrance, nineteenth-century promptbooks emphasize a celebrity actor and put Hamlet in the limelight at the end of the play. Though promptbooks contain changes throughout the text, I will focus here upon changes in the last scene in Edwin Forrest's and Edwin Booth's promptbooks. The playbills of nineteenth-century productions of Hamlet also tell a fascinating story of the play's transformation through performance. In particular, they show that Hamlet was most often performed together with a pantomime, farce, or another play such as the very popular Octoroon, whose action-packed ending has a surprisingly similar structure to that of Edwin Forrest's version of Hamlet. When advertising the play, playbills often focus on the star actor playing Hamlet or the circumstances surrounding the specific performance rather than on Shakespeare. Yet despite this focus, Forrest and his contemporaries were surprisingly attentive to the textual tradition of the play, comparing Quarto 2 with the First Folio, for instance, even as they resituated Hamlet within an evening of miscellaneous performances.
  • Publication
    Origins of Unity and Communalism in Gujarat, India
    (2008-04-01) Bhagat, Rajiv
    "Before I tell you what happened to in 2002…Do you know the history behind this? Do you understand the origins, how all this started?" To the majority of residents living in the city of Rajkot in the state of Gujarat, India the 2002 riots are comprehensible only as addendums to a kind of perennial Hindu-Muslim communal conflict that they describe as having waged for "many years" in the region. But, the central ambiguity to decipher is this term "many years." While it might seem as if residents are referring to a historically significant time period beginning in the medieval ages and concluding now, within minutes of interviewing them, regardless of their gender, class, age or religion, it becomes clear that even ancient history to them is in fact the history of India's independence. The term "many years" is specifically referring to a fairly recent 1990's decade of violent Hindu-Muslim relations, sparked by destruction of the Ayodhya mosque in 2002. This raises the logical question: so why is no one talking about preindependence Hindu-Muslim relations? The answer to this question becomes fairly evident from interviews. If a Rajkot resident is asked specifically about the earliest pre-independence history of Hindu and Muslims relations in Gujarat, the response if given, usually by an older male Hindu resident2, focuses on tale of the Mahmud of Ghazni and his destruction of the Hindu temple at Somanatha. A very general discussion of undefined or dateless instances of "Muslim" capture and torture of Hindu kings and residents follows. Rarely is the distinction of Mahmad of Gazni as a Turkish versus Arabian ruler mentioned. Rarely is the distinction between oppressive Muslim political ruler and oppressive Muslim general citizen made.
  • Publication
    The Invocation of Clouds in Plato's Apology
    (2008-04-01) Roche, Curtis
    When reading the enormous collection of writings on Socrates, one is apt to respond as Strepsiades did to his son's defense of mother-beating. Every point seems to follow logically from the last, and the finished argument apparently stands firmly upon the given evidence - yet, like Strepsiades, we have the visceral feeling that something is seriously amiss. In the same way, modern readers meet with vastly conflicting appraisals of Socrates and his philosophy, all of which claim to approach the historical truth most closely. Any treatment of Socrates must address, at least in passing, the hurtles which a lacunose historical record sets before potential commentators. Socrates has never been easy to understand. To non-specialists, he is a stereotypical Greek philosopher, immortalized for his eponymous teaching method. One of the few certainties about his career was his fixation upon questioning anyone and everyone. What is known today as the Socratic method, however, bears little resemblance to Socrates' style of debating. Socrates did not trade in questions and answers, as the modern practitioner of the Socratic method does. He asked questions which he could not answer, he would respond to his interlocutors with puzzling irony, and most vexing of all, he frequently denied possession of any knowledge at all. In a way, Socrates should be the last person associated with the now traditional question-answer script.