To Pass Through History and Enter Sanctity: the Last Judgment mosaic of Prague Cathedral

The “Last Judgment” (“Golden Gate”) mosaic is located on the southern exterior of Saint Vitus’ Cathedral at Prague, a fourteenth century Gothic monument. The mosaic was a framing device for activity which occurred before and behind it: it functioned to separate and relate sacred and secular pasts and presents as a permeable barrier, one which separated and joined secular and ecclesiastical realms of functionality. This project is an investigation of the high degree to which this mosaic promoted powerful localized and international messages of imperial, dynastic, and religious power in conjunction with the ceremony and activity it silhouetted. The project at hand will explore the function of one piece of art within the multi-functional cathedral environment of Prague but also illustrate how a moment of time–historically, religiously, and stylistically–was translated into a charged representation through visual culture.

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Diamonds, Swords and Video Cameras

Jacob will write, as an independent study project in the English department, a full-length play with a double narrative. This duality of structure will allow Jacob to experiment with various forms of multi-media and digital technology available in a modern theatrical production in an effort to explore questions of human subjectivity raised by media theory. To accomplish this, Jacob will develop the script in dialogue with an actress over the summer in New York City, while observing the techniques and technology of several avant-garde theatre companies in NYC already doing this type of work. In the fall Jacob will return to Berkeley to revise and expand the draft, working with a support network of theatre professionals in the Bay Area and beyond. He will produce a semi-staged reading of the play for the spring 2005 conference.

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Angels, Vixens, and Supermamas: American Television Action Heroines, 1965-1979

Between 1965 and 1979, action heroines appeared in over twelve different programs — five of these with both black and white heroines — a period of popularity not seen since. I am interested in the evolution of these early heroines, and their similarities and differences in character, story, and physical display of womens bodies. I suggest that these programs include complex and flawed but still important examples of female characters with strength, independence and agency. What does it mean that Batgirl and Wonder Woman pretend to be bookish women during the day? Or that Christie Love or Charlies Angels disguise themselves as prostitutes when on a case? I hypothesize that there is a female action archetype which emerged in the 60s and was expanded upon in the 70s which includes plot devices that require disguise or secret identities, being kidnapped or helpless, and the physical display of womens bodies.

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Nietzche on Our Passions

Why do we live? What is so profound about life that drives us to live? Western philosophy overwhelmingly suggests the answer to be reason. Like Nietzsche, I rather believe the answer has to do with our passions (i.e. emotions). I wish to substantiate this intuition by critically assessing Nietzsche’s main texts, as well as pertinent secondary texts. Based on these investigations, I propose to write an expanded honors thesis in Philosophy that will examine Nietzsche’s insights on the passions, the role the passions have in his overall philosophy, and the relationship between the passions and other important notions (e.g. will to power). The second phase of my project is geared toward moving beyond Nietzsche to examine other thinkers (e.g., Aristotle, Descartes, Spinoza, Hume, Wollheim, etc.) who have made significant contributions in this subject matter, and juxtaposing their thoughts to Nietzsche’s.

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Reward Motivation and Working Memory

Current Bio: Rahul is a private practice anesthesiologist. Haas Scholars Project: For his senior honors thesis in Psychology, Rahul will use functional MRI to study how the human frontal lobes integrate information in order to guide motivated behavior. It is well established that the frontal lobes play a critical role in short term (working) memory, a function that enables the online maintenance and mental manipulation of information. This study will build on current knowledge about the human frontal lobes to determine how rewards affect the interaction of the frontal lobes with supporting brain regions, and to draw clear conclusions about the regional specificity of reward processing in the frontal lobes. The results of this study will further our understanding of how rewards influence brain function and the neurological basis of motivation in human memory tasks.

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Media Coverage of Media Concentration

Chau’s research seeks an answer to this question: Do the business interests of an increasingly corporate media undermine the reporting of news on which the public depends? Media scholars have debated this key question for years (mostly answering affirmatively), but Chau hopes to introduce a novel approach to the analysis: using news coverage of media concentration as a case study. Her project will involve a qualitative and quantitative analysis of broadcast coverage by the major networks — specifically of media concentration — before and after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rulemaking in June 2003, a decisive period in which the financial interests of media corporations were and still are at stake. After completing the content analysis, Chau will travel to Washington, DC and New York to conduct interviews with practicing journalists, media theorists and public officials at the FCC to shed light on the reasons underlying the nature of media […]

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Orientalist Exposures: Image, Authority, and Empire in Gertrude Bells Photographic Archive

Jessica will examine the travel writings and photographic works of Gertrude Bell, an Orientalist scholar who served British intelligence in the Middle East before and after World War I. Bells extensive imperialist project resulted in volumes of writings and photographs that document these archeological and diplomatic expeditions. Addressing how Bell used such representations to validate her scholarly authority, Jessica will study the problems of authorship peculiar to the photographic medium. Taking into account post-structural and post-colonial theories, Jessica will be asking how Bell utilized the mechanistic gaze of the camera to naturalize her own aesthetic judgments, and how her vision was informed by conventions of depicting empire. This project seeks to understand how Bells objective photographic images were used to substantiate her written rhetorical claims, and perhaps how in documenting the people and places of the Orient, Bell may have inadvertently left a trace of herself in these images.

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