The Secret Masters: Conspiracy Fiction in Modern Culture

The global and national turbulence of recent years has resulted in the increased popularity of conspiracy theory as an interpretive lens for world events – prompting both the shift of conspiracy theory from the fringe to the political mainstream and an explosion in conspiracy theory studies. Kevin is researching the connection between conspiracy theory as a social phenomenon and its analogue in literature and pop culture. He seeks to link conspiracy as a political practice with its cultural representation, to better understand the collective myth-making of paranoia. Kevin plans to explore how the treatment of conspiracy in fiction reflects or influences conspiracy theory’s social and political development. His project will analyze the feedback loop of popular culture and popular thought – from Pynchon to Pizzagate, from Mulder and Scully to Infowars.

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Humanities

The Language of Trinidad and Tobago: Understanding Music and Dance as Archive

With her project, Anaya aims to create an animated archive of dance moves and cultural nuances of Trinidadian experiences. This region has not been explored through creative means, and Anaya wants to accurately portray a slice of a lived experience that has not yet been grappled with within mainstream media. The project will draw on the theoretical works of Professor Kenyatta Hinkle, Sreyashi Jhumki Basu, and Greg Niemeyer. While using her animations in order to partake in this research, she will travel to Trinidad and Tobago to humbly observe, participate in, and gather information based on the lived experiences of her grandparents, cousins and family members, as well as old friends in order to affirm the interpersonal connections she has with the land, the people, and the culture.

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Humanities

Connection Through Circumvention: How Truman Capote’s Other Voices, Other Rooms Defied the McCarthy Era Through the Use of Allegory

Joshua’s research aims to explore how an author can communicate authentically about the experiences of their culture in order to accurately represent it when said culture has been deemed unworthy of representation by the governing powers of their society. His avenue of exploration will be through Truman Capote’s use of allegory in his debut novel Other Voices, Other Rooms. This research will explore how Capote circumvented the stringent censorship of Queer narratives during the Joseph McCarthy-led “Lavender Scare” era of the Cold War. Joshua’s research will be aided by visiting the vast Capote archive collection at the NYC Public Library. He hopes to add to the conversation of how marginalized communities can gain invaluable representation through literature despite the presence of oppressive, institutionally led censorship.

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Humanities

Rewriting a Ghostly Feminist History: Complicating National Memory, Identity, and Education in Post/colonial South Korea

From 1932-1945, during the Pacific War, Japan mobilized an imperial agenda in many Asian countries. To prevent Japanese soldiers from sexually exploiting Japanese women, the government created stations in colonized countries to provide sexual “comfort.” This became a formalized system of sexual slavery composed mostly of young, impoverished Korean women; following the war, as South Korea modernized, ‘comfort women’ were largely omitted from national remembrances, rendered invisible in the linear narrative of post/colonial development. Jenny will be traveling to Korea to research at national archives and interview ‘comfort women’ survivors and scholarly experts to examine the enduring, gendered impacts of the Pacific War. Ultimately, her research aims to reimagine the linear, masculine temporality of contemporary Korean history and challenge binary, rigid ways of contemplating national memory, identity, and boundaries.

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Humanities

Cult Indictment and Apology: Mystery Religion in Pagan and Christian Polemic

Religious conflict in Late Antiquity has been passed down through surviving Christian and pagan polemic and apology: Letters, diatribes, and speeches attacking or defending either religious viewpoint. Henry will examine these essential texts in Greek and Latin with an eye to something specific: The literary treatment of pagan mystery religions, faiths supplementary to mainstream belief where adherents were initiated into exclusive cults to particular deities. Through analysis of these texts and travel to essential sites in Greece and Italy, Henry will investigate what these cults can say about Christian-pagan relations and shed light on popular feelings around these secretive faiths. Henry’s research will build on and challenge modern scholarship’s view of the rise of Christianity and the decline of pagan religions through analysis of this period’s most divisive and tantalizing religious phenomena.

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Humanities