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Colophon Ad Astra Issue 4, June 2010 Editorial Board Joost Guijt Lara Week Laura de Landgraaf Annieke Logtenberg Lieke van der Meer Dr. Willem van den Broeke Dr. Michael Burke Prof. Dr. Henk Meijer Dr. Rolando Vázquez Copy Editing Joost Guijt , Annieke Logtenberg Typesetting and Design de Drvkkery | Podium, Karelien van IJsseldijk Photography and Illustrations Jelte Mense (Pages 27 and 51) ‘After the Olympic Games, the fight for human rights must go on.’ – Amnesty International, 2008, Advertising Agency: TBWA\Paris, France, Art Director: Philippe Taroux, Photographer: Marc Gouby (Page 8) Printed by Drukkerij Zoeteweij, Yerseke Ad Astra is published once a year by Roosevelt Academy. For submission procedures, please consult our webpage: Postal Address Roosevelt Academy Ad Astra P.O. Box 94 NL-4330 AB Middelburg The Netherlands

Ad Astra Roosevelt Academy Undergraduate Journal • June 2010/2011

Ad Astra • June 2011

Foreword The fourth edition of Ad Astra is here! In it, we hope you will find what we like to show to our readers: a reflection of what Roosevelt Academy students are capable of. Regrettably, this edition met with some delays before its publication. Perhaps it was especially when Ad Astra’s future was at stake, that its value came to light. Like any other journal, we aim to benefit the student community with samples of good work. Yet, more than other student initiatives, our journal also provides an insight into the university for a broader public. The papers we have selected for publication in this edition come from diverse backgrounds: topics range from psychobiology to stylistics. Some of them are collaborative project, others are original research. All selected pieces show that our students are committed to high academic standards. We would sincerely like to thank the faculty members of the board. Their help and expertise has greatly benefited us during the editing process. Our deepest gratitude goes to Gonny Pasaribu, who has been an integral part of Ad Astra right from the start. Thank you very much!

Finally, we would like to add that we greatly appreciate all students’ input, which has made this edition possible. All their efforts show that our belief in this journal’s importance is shared. On that note, we would like to take this opportunity to encourage future generations of RA students to take Ad Astra to new heights. By having been part of the editorial board for one or two years, we have come to realize that there is still much to be improved. Whether you are part of the RA community or not, we hope you will enjoy reading these papers. We believe it will give an insight into undergraduate research, and inspire our fellow students in their future endeavors.

The Editorial Board, Joost Guijt, Chair Lara Week, Vice-Chair Laura de Landgraaf, Secretary Annieke Logtenberg Lieke van der Meer Dr Willem van den Broeke Dr Michael Burke Prof. Dr Henk Meijer Dr Rolando Vázquez

Contents 9 Criminalising an Ethnic Minority: The Case of the Uyghurs in China Cris Boonen Since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, tensions have increased between the government and the Uyghurs that demands observance of the right to self-determination. This paper analyzes the methods used by the Chinese government to exclude the Uyghur minority.

27 Effect of Accents in Orally Administered Instructions on Stress Response to a Speech Task in Dutch Male Undergraduate Students: An Experimental Exploration A. Ayukonchong, P. Feyen, J. Gutzmer, Y. Mabuto, A. Stuewer This study explores the role that accented speech has in causing tensions between immigrants and native populations, by analyzing the effects on stress response systems.

39 “A Planet in Peril”: Contrasting Bush and Obama Domestic and International Environmental Policies Djeyhoun Ostowar In this paper the environmental policies of the Bush and the Obama administration are analyzed and compared in the light of the growing attention to the problem of greenhouse gases and the role of the US as one of the prime polluters

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51 Automated Form Processing using Template Matching Gerhard Burger & Dr. Ir. Richard van den Doel This paper presents a method to process the course evaluation forms used at the Roosevelt Academy in order to monitor and asses the internal quality automatically, by using a printer and the image processing package in Wolfram Mathematica 7.

67 Discovering Kate Chopin’s Views on Southern Slaveholding Society: an Analysis of Speech and Thought Presentation in ‘Desiree’s Baby’ Mirjam Holleman Readers and critics have often labeled Kate Chopin as a racist. This paper tries to uncover the author’s views on slavery and race by analyzing speech and thought representation in her novel ‘Desiree’s Baby’

79 De-colonial Epistemic Shift: The Act of Knowing in Practice and Theory Anne Hordijk This paper is centered around the idea of an ‘ecology of knowledge’ as an epistemic alternative to the totalitarian discourse of modernity. The author demonstrates how social justice is attainable only through a diversity of social experience that is reflected in knowledge engaging with one another.

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Criminalising an Ethnic Minority: The Case of the Uyghurs in China Cris Boonen | Roosevelt Academy In partial fulfillment of the requirements for SSC 371 International Human Rights taught by Prof. Dr. Fried van Hoof

Abstract This article analyzes the methods used by the Chinese Government to exclude the Uyghur minority, which is the fifth-largest minority of the country. Since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, tensions have increased between the government and this minority that demands observance of the right to selfdetermination. The leading question is: By what means does the Chinese Government attempt to criminalize the Muslim minority in East Turkestan? Scrutiny of the national implementation of anti-terrorism law by means of the “Strike Hard” campaign leads to the conclusion that amendments made to the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China have affected the Uyghurs disproportionally and that they in fact form a means to criminalize the minority.


Chinese security forces arrested at least 1434 people for compliance in the unrest and removed several thousands of Uyghur men from their homes.1 Much information on actual numbers remains inaccessible due to the information blackout and Chinese control of the media, but the UNHCR confirms that the world witnessed grave human rights violations that day.2 This violence was not incidental. The conflict goes back decades and has developed into the criminalisation of an ethnic minority. East Turkestan is home

The case of East Turkestan stands out as one of the most persistent and difficult human rights problems in the world today. Since the occupation of the land in 1949, the Uyghurs (pronounce: Wee-gers) have labored over this problem with the Chinese Government. The results have, however, not yet been satisfactory. The violence escalated recently when in one day several hundreds of people died in the streets of the capital of East Turkestan. The Urumqi Communist Party Secretary Li Zhi reported that the

1 Police arrests 1,434 suspects in connection with Xinjiang riot. (2009). China View, 7 July 2009. Retrieved 2

November 2009 from 2 Radio Free Asia. (2009). China: Clampdown on Uyghur cities. Reprinted by the UNHCR on 9 July 2009. Retrieved 20 September 2009 from,RFA,,,4a5afa711b,0.html


Cris Boonen • Criminalising an Ethnic Minority: The Case of the Uyghurs in China

how this idea has been created and used by the Chinese Government will be provided in this paper. In the following section, the ways in which the Chinese Government used the law and the international War on Terror to repress the Uyghurs will be highlighted. Further scrutiny of the national implementation of anti-terrorism law by means of the “Strike Hard” campaign will lead to the conclusion that amendments made to the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China have affected the Uyghurs disproportionally and that they in fact form a means to criminalize the minority.

to 19.25 million people, of which 10.9 million are of Han Chinese ethnicity and 8.3 million are of Uyghur descent. Considerable political, social and economic differences exist between these two groups that share a territory that once was an independent state.3 The spatial segregation and the minimum interaction between the Uyghurs and the Han Chinese4, and the Government policies of population transfer and discriminatory participation that aim at unifying East Turkestan and China have led to increasing ethnic barriers5 and has fuelled ethnic violence since the 1990s. The increasing tension will be the focus of this paper, in which I will discuss the methods used by the Chinese Government to exclude the Uyghur minority, which is the fifth-largest minority of the country. The question is: By what means does the Chinese Government attempt to criminalize the Muslim minority in East Turkestan? In 2007, Kaltman concluded based on a set of interviews that many Han Chinese are convinced that Uyghurs are fierce, primitive and criminal-minded.6 An explanation of

Antiterrorism Legislation and the Uyghur Minority In the wake of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 in the United States, China has started its own War on Terror. This War on Terror is directed at China’s own Islamic community. Using to an increasing extent anti-terrorism jargon with regard to the Muslim Uyghurs, “China’s leadership manoeuvred to position itself side by side with the United States in the War

3 In the political sphere, the Uyghurs are denied self-determination. The regional government is under stringent

control of the central Government, which has to approve draft proposals – while ordinary provinces only need to report to the NPC – before entry into force. On the social level, the Uyghurs face repression of religious and political freedom and population transfer policies. The number of Han Chinese in the region has increased from only 300,000 in 1949 to more than 10 million sixty years later. In addition, many Uyghurs are not made aware of their rights and political and economic participation are extremely low. Prominent jobs and high government positions in East Turkestan are all filled by Han Chinese citizens of the region and no Uyghur has ever been employed in the highest levels of authority in the national Government. 4 Kaltman, B. (2007). Under the Heel of the Dragon: Islam, Racism, Crime, and the Uighur in China. Ohio University Press. p. 4 5 Smith, J. (2002). Making Culture Matter: Symbolic, Spatial, and Social Boundaries between Uyghurs and Han Chinese. Asian Ethnicity, September 2002. 6 Kaltman, B. (2007). Under the Heel of the Dragon: Islam, Racism, Crime, and the Uighur in China. Ohio University Press. p. 2


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against Terror.”7 The Chinese Government has used the changing world perspective on terrorist organisations to intensify its crackdown on Uyghurs. In Gluckman’s (2001) words: “As the U.S. wages an antiterrorist war in Afghanistan, China has been seeking international support for its own campaign against Uyghur separatists”.8 Even though the Chinese authorities’ initial response on the War on Terror had a rather anti-American tone, Beijing quickly transformed its position and sided with President Bush. It censored all demonstrations of anti-American feelings.9 After years of denying any tension in the region, the Chinese Government openly spoke out about the unrest in East Turkestan and initiated an active campaign to combat it. In order to gain international and national support, Uyghur forces were labelled as terrorists and separatists with overseas ties. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhu Bangzhao even claimed to have proof linking Uyghur organisations to the “Bin Laden clique”10 and asserted that the Uyghurs were aided by the Taliban in carrying out assassinations and bomb attacks. In its efforts to win support, the Chinese Government has released several documents that describe the violence used by Uyghurs. Most significant is East Turkistan Terrorist 7


Forces Cannot Get Away with Impunity, which was issued by the Information Office of China’s State Council on 21 January 2002. This document provides information on the violent acts that the Uyghurs have allegedly been engaged in. The State Council rejects the separatist and sabotage activities of the Uyghurs, which are said to have taken place under the lead of the East Turkestan Islamic Party and of the East Turkestan Opposition Party. “Over a long period of time-especially since the 1990s-the “East Turkestan” forces inside and outside Chinese territory have planned and organized a series of violent incidents in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China and some other countries, including explosions, assassinations, arsons, poisonings, and assaults, with the objective of founding a so-called state of “East Turkestan”. These terrorist incidents have seriously jeopardized the lives and property of people of all ethnic groups as well as social stability in China, and even threatened the security and stability of related countries and regions.”11 This threat to the security is further clarified by specifying the violent acts of which the Chinese Government accuses the Uyghurs. Between 1990 and 2001, the terrorist forces are alleged to have been involved in over 200

Millward, J. (2004). Violent Separatism in Xinjiang: A Critical Assessment. Washington: Policy Studies. p. 11 Gluckman, R. (2001). Strangers in their own Land. Retrieved 28 September 2009 from 9

Kellner, T. (2002). China: The Uighur Situation from Independence for the Central Asian Republics to the

Post 11 September Era. UNHCR, Emergency & Security Service. Retrieved 14 October 2009 from 10 Gluckman, R. (2001). Strangers in their own Land. Retrieved 28 September 2009 from 11 Information Office of State Council. (2002). “East Turkistan” Terrorist Forces Cannot Get Away With Impunity.

Retrieved 27 September 2009 from


Cris Boonen • Criminalising an Ethnic Minority: The Case of the Uyghurs in China

terrorist incidents in the region. This has resulted in the deaths of 162 people of all ethnic groups, including grass-roots officials and religious personnel, and injuries to more than 440 people.12 The Uyghurs are accused of creating an atmosphere of terror in the north-western part of China, created with the aid of organisations beyond the territory of China. The Chinese Government asserts that there Uyghurs cross the border and that there are forces in Afghanistan and other countries that empower the “handful of people within the borders”13 by organising special training programmes and by producing guns and explosives. Concluding the report, the Chinese Government states to oppose any form of terrorism, since it forms a serious threat to the internal stability of the region and the national unity. This document is one of the most significant public accountings of the resistance and violence taking place in East Turkestan. Critical examination of the content, though, leads to caution. With regard to the violence in the 1990s, for example, the document claims in the preamble that 162 people were killed in Uyghur-initiated terrorist attacks. In listing the incidents, however, the report enumerates only 57 deaths. Whereas some more incidents are listed that did not result in deaths, over 100 deaths remain unexplained. Assuming that the Chinese Government has aimed to specify all significant incidents of violence, this leads to

the conclusion that the other people died in small-scale or even individual attacks. Even though there is not one definition of “terrorism”, the question can be raised whether these attacks were not simply criminal. In fact, the Chinese Government appears to manoeuvre itself alongside the United States by officially stressing the threat of terrorism coming from the Uyghurs in East Turkestan. And it has been successful. The U.S. has officially announced that they designate the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) as a terrorist organisation that is associated with Al Qaeda. The U.S. have even cosponsored the inclusion of this Uyghur organisation on the United Nations list of terrorist organizations.14 This support of the U.S. Government has subsequently been used in almost all speeches and reports issued by China, strengthening their plea and increasing the international support for their cause. Having established the connection between Uyghurs and terrorism, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress adopted on 29 December 2001 several amendments to the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China. This was done to “crack down terrorist crimes, guarantee the security of the State and the people’s lives and properties, as well as maintain the public order”.15 In general, these amendments increase the Chinese

12 Id.. 13 Id.. 14 Millward, J. (2004). Violent Separatism in Xinjiang: A Critical Assessment. Washington: Policy Studies. p. 13 15 The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. (2001). Amendment of the Criminal Law of

the People’s Republic of China (III). Retrieved 8 October 2009 from aotclotproc514/


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authorities’ discretion to determine what is a criminal act and what constitutes ‘terrorism’ and raise sentences for certain crimes, often to undetermined levels. The first amendment is to Article 120 of the Criminal Law and increases the punishments for people who organize, lead or actively participate in a terrorist organisation. Prior to the amendments, this incurred sentences of between three and ten years of imprisonment. The amendment increased this to between ten years and life imprisonment. A second amendment was made to punish those who fund terrorist organisations or individuals engaging in terrorist activities.16 These amendments make it a criminal offence to be a member, leader or organiser of a “terrorist organisation”, even if one does not engage in illegal acts. Further amendments were made to Articles 114, 115, 125 and 127 of the Criminal Law to punish the “dissemination”, or “illegal manufacturing, trading, transporting or storing”, or “the stealing or seizing or plundering” of “poisonous or radioactive substances or contagious-disease pathogens”.17 The punishments provided in these articles remain unchanged, which means that punishments ranging from varying terms of imprisonment to the

death penalty are allowed for the amended provisions. Similarly, amendments made to Article 191 allow between five and ten years of imprisonment for “terrorist crimes”.18 Amnesty International voiced its concern in 2002 that the amendments to these articles enlarge the scope of the death penalty in China.19 Last, Article 291 was amended on 29 December 2001 with the following clause: “Whoever spreads mendacious pathogens of infectious diseases, explosives, poisonous or radioactive substances or other substances, or fabricates terrorist information on threats of explosion, biochemical threats or radioactive threats, or, while clearly knowing that the terrorist information is fabricated, intentionally disseminates such information, thus seriously disrupting public order, shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of no more than five years, criminal detention or public surveillance; if he causes serious consequences, he shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of no less than five years.”20 This clause contains vague language and does not specify a maximum sentence. This opens the possibility to use this clause to punish people who peacefully exercise their right to freedom of expression. Indeed, Amnesty International has frequently

16 Id.. 17 Id.. 18 Id.. 19 Amnesty International. (2002). People’s Republic of China: China’s Anti-terrorism Legislation and Repression in

the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. Retrieved 8 October 2009 from ASA17/010/2002/en/f8e02362-d873-11dd-9df8-936c90684588/asa170102002en.pdf 20 The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. (2001). Amendment of the Criminal Law of

the People’s Republic of China (III). Retrieved 8 October 2009 from aotclotproc514/


Cris Boonen • Criminalising an Ethnic Minority: The Case of the Uyghurs in China

The national “Strike Hard” campaign

reported about the use of the clause to “imprison people criticising the government or expressing their views through peaceful gatherings or demonstrations”.21 In conclusion, the Chinese authorities have amended the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China to allow severe punishment of terrorist crimes. Significant is that there is no universally accepted definition of the word “terrorism” in general use or in treaties and laws that aim to combat it. In 2001, the UN Special Rapporteur on terrorism noted that “the term terrorism is emotive and highly loaded politically. It is habitually accompanied by an implicit negative judgement and is used selectively.”22 In the case of China, the term seems to be used mainly to repress ethnic activity in East Turkestan. Amnesty International reports that “there has been an overall intensification of human-rights violations [in East Turkestan] and a crackdown on separatists”.23 In the following sections this will be further clarified by explaining how the amendments and the War on Terror are used to arrest and detain Uyghurs.

The international War on Terror has led the Chinese Government to change the tide and scope of the “Strike Hard” campaign launched in March 2001. This campaign entails that the legal authorities in China are given more discretion to arrest and punish individuals. Significantly, the Government severely influences the outcome of the applied discretion. The Chinese Government urges the authorities to apply ‘swiftness and severity’ within the limitations set out in the law when implementing the amendments to the Criminal Law. This means that trials must take place soon after arrest and that judges on the local as well as on the national level must give relatively harsh punishments for a range of ‘mafia-style crimes’.24 The rationale behind it is that harsh punishments have “an extreme form of the educative and deterrence function” and that they are useful “as a method of crime prevention and social control”.25 In reality, however, this “Strike Hard” campaign is used as a means to crackdown on “ethnic separatist and terrorist forces”26 in East Turkestan. The Uyghurs

21 Amnesty International. (2002). People’s Republic of China: China’s Anti-terrorism Legislation and Repression

in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. Retrieved 8 October 2009 from asset/ASA17/010/2002/en/f8e02362-d873-11dd-9df8-936c90684588/asa170102002en.pdf 22 Id.. 23 Szonyi, M. (2002). Commentary No. 81: The Effects of September 11 and Its Aftermath on China, and The

Chinese Response. Canadian Security Intelligence Service. Retrieved 8 October 2009 from http://www.csis-scrs. 24 Trevaskes, S. (2007). Severe and Swift Justice in China. The British Journal of Criminology, 47(1). p. 25 Id.. p. 24 26 Amnesty International. (2002). People’s Republic of China: China’s Anti-terrorism Legislation and Repression in

the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. Retrieved 8 October 2009 from ASA17/010/2002/en/f8e02362-d873-11dd-9df8-936c90684588/asa170102002en.pdf


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are the main targets of the “Strike Hard” campaign.27

to provide accurate information, Amnesty International states in the 2009 Report that in East Turkestan alone “according to official media, almost 1,300 people were arrested during the year on terrorism, religious extremism or other state security charges, and 1,154 were formally charged and faced trials or administrative punishments.”30 Taking into account that this report was published before the outbreaks of violence in July 2009, the actual number of detainees can be assumed to be much higher. Many of these arrests are not accepted as legitimate by scholars. Enforced to apply ‘severity’ and to interpret what constitutes prohibited behavior under the antiterrorism legislation, thousands of Uyghurs have been arrested and detained for involvement in “illegal religious activities”, “confiscating illegal religious propaganda” and “separatism”. Often, this comes down to practising their religion or for writing in the Uyghur language.31 The Criminal Code is then used to criminalize peaceful activities and to infringe upon rights such as freedom of expression and association. It is difficult to clear the picture on what happens to these Uyghurs after their arrests. There is strict control by authorities

Severity under the “Strike Hard” campaign In the name of the advocated ‘severity’ in the intensified “Strike Hard” campaign, the militarisation in East Turkestan has increased. Minority Rights Group International and Human Rights in China found in 2007 that most of the capital and infrastructure that had been invested in East Turkestan was channelled towards the development of the state’s administrative and military apparatus.28 Indeed, the Financial Times reported in 2006 that China spent 70 per cent more on the military than its official budget suggested. And even the official defence budget has grown with almost 10 per cent per year in the last 15 years.29 This budget has partly been spent on an increasing number of police officers and resources for People’s Armed Police in East Turkestan, which combats demonstrations and uprisings and maintains stability in the region. The militarisation has led to massive arbitrary arrests and executions targeting both crime and “separatism” that took place in the region. Even though it is difficult

27 Kellner, T. (2002). China: The Uighur Situation from Independence for the Central Asian Republics to the

Post 11 September Era. UNHCR, Emergency & Security Service. Retrieved 14 October 2009 from 28 Human Rights in China. (2007). China: Minority Exclusion, Marginalisation, and Rising Tensions. Retrieved 6 October from 29 Fidler, S. (2006). Beijing ‘spends more on defence than it claims’. Financial Times, 25 May 2006. Retrieved 6 October 2009 from 30 Amnesty International Report 2009: China. (2009). Retrieved 6 October 2009 from 31 Islam, S.S. (n.d.). State Terrorism in the Name of Communism. Retrieved 7 October 2009 from


Cris Boonen • Criminalising an Ethnic Minority: The Case of the Uyghurs in China

of all politically sensitive information and independent human rights monitors are often denied access to East Turkestan. However, it is noted that Uyghurs are victimized in multiple ways by the ‘severity’ advocated in the “Strike Hard” campaign. For one, many Uyghurs are held under inhumane conditions. Evidence points in the direction that Uyghurs face severe torture and ill-treatment during their pretrial detention32 despite the fact that both Chinese law and international human rights standards forbid China to use force against its detainees. This has led many, amongst which the Committee Against Torture33, Amnesty International34,35, Human Rights Watch36 and several states under the UPR procedure37, to express concerns over the well-being of the detainees and the conditions under which they are held.

In addition to maltreatment, many detained Uyghurs face severe punishment. Especially people who are accused of involvement in a “terrorist organisation” or of committing “terrorist crimes” face higher sentences under the “Strike Hard” campaign, with a possibility of life imprisonment or death penalty. As is concluded by several studies, the undefined nature of “terrorism” has led judges in local courts to routinely convict defendants to the harshest available punishment for all crimes that go through the system instead of a selected few38 and the boundary between serious offences and common offences has blurred.39 The Chinese authorities frequently hand down death sentences for crimes related to vaguely defined concepts such as “state secrets”, “state security” or “civil unrest”.40 As a result, Amnesty International estimated

32 Feinerman, F.V. (1992). China: Punishment without Crime: Administrative Detention. China Quarterly,

0(130). p. 437 33 Committee Against Torture. (2008). Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article

19 of the Convention. Geneva, 3-21 November 2008. Retrieved 12 October 2009 from 34 Amnesty International Report 2009: China. (2009). Retrieved 6 October 2009 from 35 Amnesty International. (2003). Fear of forcible return / Fear of torture / Fear of execution. Retrieved 14 October

2009 from 36 Human Rights Watch. (2003). U.S.: Don’t Send Detainees Back to China. Retrieved 14 October 2009

from 37 Human Rights Council. (2009). Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review China.

Retrieved 3 November 2009 from HRC_11_25_CHN_E.pdf 38 Sun, G. (2004). A Rational Reflection on Implementing an Integrated Vision of Criminal Justice Work into

the Yanda Campaign. Journal of Jiangsu Police Academy, 4. p. 99 39 Trevaskes, S. (2007). Severe and Swift Justice in China. The British Journal of Criminology, 47(1). p. 27 40 Amnesty International Report 2009: China. (2009). Retrieved 6 October 2009 from 16

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in it’s China Report, a minimum of 7,000 death sentences were handed down and over 1,700 executions took place in 2009 alone. Severe citicism has come both from civil society and from the international community on this increase in punishment and the executions. For example Australia and Canada submitted in China’s UPR procedure that it was concerned about the high number of executions and lack of transparency in such cases.41 The imposed death sentences furthermore show a lack of obedience with the United Nations Global Moratorium on the Death Penalty of 2007. This UN Resolution calls upon states that maintain the death penalty to abolish it, stating “that there is no conclusive evidence of the death penalty’s deterrent value and that any miscarriage or failure of justice in the death penalty’s implementation is irreversible and irreparable.”42 Significantly, China voted against a UN General Assembly resolution calling for a worldwide moratorium on executions in December 2008, showing unwillingness to abolish the death penalty completely. Thus, the increased discretion given to local authorities and the required application of severity have led to an increase in both arrests and detention. There is a growing control on the population in East Turkestan by the enlarged military power in the region. This has led to an increase in arbitrary arrests

of Uyghurs in the region. Furthermore, the amendments to the Criminal Law and their use in the “Strike Hard’campaign have resulted in deteriorating circumstances under which Uyghurs are detained. Several civil society organisations and the international community have expressed concern with regard to torture and ill-treatment of detained Uyghurs and the growing number of death sentences. Significantly, these circumstances are often faced by Uyghurs who are held for vaguely formulated reasons, which opens the door to criminalising peaceful activities. Swiftness under the “Strike Hard” campaign In addition to the ‘severity’-aspect of the campaign forming a problem for international and human rights situation of many Uyghurs, the ‘swiftness’ also has grave consequences for the detained Uyghurs. ‘Swiftness’ implies the speeding up of the criminal procedure to deal with targeted criminals in a timely manner, often within two weeks of their arrest.43 The rationale for swiftness is its perceived deterrence value. It is believed that the shorter the time that expires between the committing of a crime and the inflicted punishment, the greater the social benefits of the punishment are in terms of its deterrence value. It thus leads to a stronger link between crime and punishment in the minds of the public.44 In

41 Human Rights Council. (2009). Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review China.

Retrieved 3 November 2009 from HRC_11_25_CHN_E.pdf 42 UN General Assembly A/C.3/62/L.29. (2007). Moratorium on the use of the death penalty, 1 November 2007.

Retrieved 8 October 2009 from pdf?OpenElement 43 Trevaskes, S. (2007). Severe and Swift Justice in China. The British Journal of Criminology, 47(1). p. 24 17

Cris Boonen • Criminalising an Ethnic Minority: The Case of the Uyghurs in China

reality, however, this has led many arrested Uyghurs to face either unfair trials or no trial at all under the so-called “administrative detention”. These two practices are both rejected by the international community and human rights law. Since the intensification of the “Strike Hard” campaign, many Uyghurs that were detained for involvement in terrorist crimes have not had access to a fair trial, which is a human right laid down in Article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They are frequently not given the protections needed regarding access to legal counsel and family, and open trials and decisions are sometimes believed to be predetermined. In 2008, the Committee Against Torture expressed concern over the continued problems in the criminal justice system of China: a) Failure to bring detainees promptly before a judge, thus keeping them in prolonged police detention without charge for up to 37 days or in some cases for longer periods; b) Absence of systematic registration of all detainees and failure to keep records of all periods of pre-trial detention; c) Restricted access to lawyers and independent doctors and failure to notify detainees of their rights at the time of detention, including their rights to contact family members; d) Continued reliance on confessions as a


common form of evidence for prosecution, thus creating conditions that may facilitate the use of torture and ill-treatment of suspects […]. Furthermore, while the Committee appreciates that the Supreme Court has issued several decisions to prevent the use of confessions obtained under torture as evidence before the courts, Chinese Criminal procedure law still does not contain an explicit prohibition of such practice, as required by article 15 of the Convention. The lack of an effective independent monitoring mechanism on the situation of detainees.45

Under the “Strike Hard” campaign, the speed at which cases are processed through the criminal justice system leaves not muc h room for unfolding effective criminal defence. Significantly, the Max Planck Institute concluded in 2006 that the assignment of defence council often takes place after the defendant has already confessed and after investigation has been finalized.46 This problem with the defence is aggravated by the fact that lawyers that defend the rights of Uyghur individuals or that express a critical view on the human rights situation in East Turkestan are frequently harassed. In 2008 the Committee Against Torture expressed its concern about information received according to which

45 Committee Against Torture. (2008). Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 19

of the Convention. Geneva, 3-21 November 2008. Retrieved 12 October 2009 from 46 Albrecht, H.J. (2006). Strengthening the Defence in Death Penalty Cases in the People’s Republic of China.

Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law. Retrieved 14 October 2009 from 18

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Article 306 of the Penal Code and Article 39 of the Criminal Procedure Law, which allow prosecutors to arrest lawyers on grounds of “perjury” or “false testimony”, have been used to intimidate defence lawyers.47 For example, Teng Biao and Gao Zhisheng, who have both offered their services to petitioners and human rights defenders, have been arrested and harassed by unaccountable personnel that was alleged to be hired by State authorities.48 This undermines the independence of the lawyers and makes it increasingly difficult for Uyghurs to find proper legal defence. Also, it severely hampers the capacity of civil society monitoring groups to function and investigators to have access to information and to bring cases to the authorities. Under the same amendments of the Criminal Law and the advocated ‘swiftness’ of the criminal proceedings, the use of “administrative detention” has increased significantly.49 China incarcerates hundreds of Chinese citizens every year on the basis of administrative detention, which affords wide discretion to the police and other local authorities and in that way often leads to

incarceration of individuals without formal charges or access to the judicial process.50 Even though formal processes to review these police actions have been legally established, they are not frequently used in practice.51 Amnesty International concluded already in 1991 that by these means, China holds many prisoners arbitrarily and illegally. Now, almost 20 years later, hundreds of thousands of individuals are still held up to four years without a trial under re-education programs in the so-called Labor Camps. Therefore, the CAT reiterated in November 2008 its recommendation to “the State party [China] to consider abolishing all forms of administration detention”52, expressing concern over the extended use of the method of detention. So, many arrested and detained Uyghurs face severe human rights violations under the application of ‘swiftness’ by the local authorities and courts under the national “Strike Hard’-campaign. These violations take place under detention by not allowing Uyghurs a fair trial or even no trial at all. Having limited access to proper legal aid and restricted time to prepare the case, many

47 Committee Against Torture. (2008). Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article

19 of the Convention. Geneva, 3-21 November 2008. Retrieved 12 October 2009 from 48 Id.. 49 Id.. 50 Feinerman, F.V. (1992). China: Punishment without Crime: Administrative Detention. China Quarterly,

0(130). p. 436 51 Biddulph, S. (1993). Review of Police Powers of Administrative Detention in the People’s Republic of China.

Crime & Delinquency, 39(3). 52 Committee Against Torture. (2008). Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 19 of

the Convention. Geneva, 3-21 November 2008. Retrieved 12 October 2009 from bodies/cat/docs/CAT.C.CHN.CO.4.pdf 19

Cris Boonen • Criminalising an Ethnic Minority: The Case of the Uyghurs in China

detainees face violations of Article 10 of the UDHR. Similarly, many detainees that are held under administrative detention do not face any official charges, disallowing them an official court hearing. On these issues, several civil society organisations and the international community have expressed concerns. The lack of transparency and the absence of public trials provide the Chinese authorities with a chance to criminalize peaceful Uyghur activities.

in the implementation of the antiterrorism legislation. This is highly influenced by the national “Strike Hard” campaign, which is initiated by political leaders. As a deputy to the Ninth National People’s Congress said in March 2002, “to safeguard China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, we have to fight separatists, international terrorists and religious extremists.”55 “We need to take the initiative and go on the offensive, crack down on gangs as soon as they surface and strike the first blow. We must absolutely not permit the three vicious forces to build organizations, have ringleaders, control weapons and develop an atmosphere. We need to destroy them one by one as we discover them and absolutely not allow them to build up momentum”.56 (Zhang Xiuming, deputy secretary of the XUAR Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), 17 January 2004.)

Judicial neutrality under the “Strike Hard” campaign The concerns about the human rights violations under the antiterrorism legislation are amplified by the fact that there are reasons to criticize the neutrality of the judicial system. The Chinese criminal justice procedure is inquisitorial in nature. Courts at the county or district level only have jurisdiction to try minor crimes and crimes that receive a possible sentence of up to 15 years. Courts at the municipal level try all serious crimes, which can be appealed in the provincial higher people’s courts.53 This criminal justice system is highly vulnerable to political interference. Indeed, Amnesty International concluded in a report on China in 2009 that the courts, the prosecuting organ (procuratorate) and the police are under the strict supervision of the Chinese Communist Party.54 The vulnerability is clearly noticeable

The political campaign has severely influenced the judicial system. This is exemplified in the recent trial that seven Uyghur men faced after their arrest during the riots on July 5 in East Turkestan. The Chinese state released information on October 12, 2009 stating that six men were sentenced to death and another man was jailed for life. They were convicted for murder and other crimes ranging

53 Trevaskes, S. (2007). Severe and Swift Justice in China. The British Journal of Criminology, 47(1). p. 26 54 Amnesty International Report 2009: China. (2009). Retrieved 6 October 2009 from 55 China Needs Anti-Terrorism Law: Lawmaker. (2002). People’s Daily Online, 5 March 2002. Retrieved 8

October 2009 from 56 Davis, E.V.W. (2008). Uyghur Muslim Ethnic Separatism in Xinjiang, China. Asia-Pacific Center for Security

Studies, January 2008. 20

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Conclusion and Discussion

from arson, leading mobs and causing economic loss.57 Chinese state media report on the trial stating that “the trial and sentence came in line with the Chinese law and international practice.”58 Several international NGOs, however, fear the politicisation of the trials. Just after the 5 July riots, Urumqi Communist Party Secretary Li Zhi stated that those responsible for the riots would be “sentenced to death” and the Beijing Municipal Judicial Bureau “issued a notice on its website on July 8 calling on justice bureaus, the municipal lawyers association, and law offices in Beijing to ‘exercise caution’ in representing cases related to events”.59 So, the Chinese judicial system is significantly influenced by the statements made by national politicians. After the riots in 2009, political statements were leading in the trials of Uyghurs that were accused of involvement and the national “Strike Hard” campaign has led the courts to apply swiftness and severity to trials. Indeed, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation notes that the outcome of the recent trial of the accused rioters was not a legal, but merely a political decision. This allows the Chinese Government to use the judicial system to achieve their objectives combating separatism in East Turkestan and enhancing state unity.

China uses the label of the War of Terror to justify its continued political and security crackdown in East Turkestan under the “Strike Hard” campaign. After the attacks on 9/11 in the U.S., China has taken on the opportunity to manoeuvre itself side by side with this powerful state in the war against terrorism. Then, having managed to receive support from the U.S. in the struggle against “terrorism”, the Chinese authorities amended the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China to allow discretion to Chinese authorities and severe punishment of these terrorist crimes in its own territory. However, these amendments have been used in the national “Strike Hard” campaign to justify the suppression of Uyghur opposition in East Turkestan. The increased military and judicial power in the region have led to a severe intensification of human rights violations and loss of neutrality of the judicial system in the crackdown on Uyghur dissenters. The reasons that the antiterrorism legislation can be used for the purpose to silence Uyghur opposition of the Communist Government focus on two main flaws in the amendments. First, the wording of several parts of the amendments to the laws are vague, leaving much discretion to the courts to determine what constitutes a “terrorist crime” or what is defined as a

57 Six Sentenced to Death over Xinjiang Riot. (2009). Xinhua News, 12 October 2009. Retrieved

13 October 2009 from 58 Id.. 59 Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation. (2009). 2009 Hearing: World Uyghur Congress and UNPO

at EU Parliament. Retrieved 24 October 2009 from 21

Cris Boonen • Criminalising an Ethnic Minority: The Case of the Uyghurs in China

“terrorist organisation”. This has not only led to uncertainty with regard to what conduct is prohibited but has also resulted in the criminalisation of peaceful activities of Uyghurs. Expressions of ethnic character, religion and the political wish to establish an independent state has been labelled by the Chinese Government as a “terrorist action” or an obstruction to “state order”. Second, the amended provisions of the Criminal Law provide no specification of a maximum punishment. This means that the death penalty may be applied as a punishment under most of the articles. Indeed, the authorities have detained many Uyghurs, of which the majority are held in complete secrecy, and sentenced them to life-long prison sentences or to death after grossly unfair trials. These problems with the amendments of the Criminal Code and the subsequent human rights violations have been picked up on by some states that have openly spoken out about the issue. In October 2001, for example, President Bush warned the Chinese regime to not use the anti-terror label to justify a crackdown on China’s minorities when visiting Shanghai for a regional summit.60 Similarly, Dru Gladney, a Central Asia expert at the Asia-Pacific Centre for Security Studies in Hawaii, said

that “They [the Chinese Government] want to take advantage of this situation and clean house”61 when he heard that two people were executed and many others were sentenced to jail as part of the “Strike Hard” campaign. With regard to the recent unrest in Urumqi in July 2009, the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, even went as far as to say that China’s ethnic violence in the region can be defined as “a kind of genocide”.62 Indeed, the action against the human rights violations in China has to come from these states. The Uyghurs themselves have limited access to remedies against the state’s violence. They cannot file individual complaints at the Human Rights Committee since China has not ratified the ICCPR and the competence of the CAT to receive individual complaints has also not been recognized by China. Therefore, the Uyghurs depend largely on actions from other states to combat the violations. From past practice, it shows that political and economic pressure are powerful in influencing both China’s internal and external behavior.63 In general, however, the international community has responded with much hesitation on the issue. In 2001, the War on Terror led the United States to capture

60 Kan. S.A. (2009). U.S.-China Counterterrorism Cooperation: Issues for U.S. Policy. Congressional Research

Service. p. 3. Retrieved 29 September 2009 from 61 Gluckman, R. (2001). Strangers in their own Land. Retrieved 28 September 2009 from 62 Turkey Attacks China’s ‘Genocide’. (2009). BBC News, 10 July 2009. Retrieved 24 October 2009 from 63 Foot, R., Wan, M. and Kim, S.S. (2002). Rights beyond Borders: The Global Community and the Struggle over Human Rights in China. American political science review, 96(2). p. 468 22

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twenty-two Uyghurs in Pakistan64 who were transported to Guantanamo Bay under the legal justification that they were “enemy combatants”.65 And despite the fact that six of them were declared “NonEnemy Combatants” only four years later, the Secretary of State decided to detain the prisoners for almost another year.66 Holding them for “as long as it takes”67 because no state was willing to accept the petitioners, the other seventeen were held

until recently, with very limited contact with the outside world. So, despite knowing that the Uyghurs did not pose any threat to either international or national security, no country in the world was willing to support these Uyghurs and grant them asylum. In more general terms, no state has stood up for the nationally and internationally established rights of the Uyghurs, which are violated en masse under the continued “Strike Hard” campaign.

64 Wright, R. (2005). Chinese Detainees Trapped in Limbo at Guantanamo. Washington Post, 24 August 2005.

65 Smith, U.S. (2007). “More Ours than Theirs”: The Uighurs, Indefinite Detention, and the Constitution. Cornell International Law Journal, 40. p. 270 66 Id. 67 Smith, U.S. (2007). “More Ours than Theirs”: The Uighurs, Indefinite Detention, and the Constitution. Cornell International Law Journal, 40. p. 272 23

Cris Boonen • Criminalising an Ethnic Minority: The Case of the Uyghurs in China

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Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law. Retrieved 14 October, 2009, from 10_06.pdf

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the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. Retrieved 8 October, 2009, from

asset/ASA17/010/2002/en/ f8e02362-d873-11dd-9df8-936c90684588/asa170102002en.pdf

Amnesty International. (2003). Fear of forcible return / Fear of torture / Fear of execution. Retrieved 14 October,

2009, from 511472003?open&of=ENG-USA

Amnesty International Report 2009: China. (2009). Retrieved 6 October, 2009, from

Biddulph, S. (1993). Review of Police Powers of Administrative Detention in the People’s Republic of China.

Crime & Delinquency, 39(3).

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Committee Against Torture. (2008). Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 19 of

the Convention. Geneva, 3-21 November 2008. Retrieved 12 October, 2009, from CAT.C.CHN.CO.4.pdf

Davis, E.V.W. (2008). Uyghur Muslim Ethnic Separatism in Xinjiang, China. Asia-Pacific Center for Security

Studies, January 2008.

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Fidler, S. (2006). Beijing ‘spends more on defence than it claims’. Financial Times, 25 May 2006. Retrieved

6 October, 2009, from

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Human Rights in China. American political science review, 96(2).

Gluckman, R. (2001). Strangers in their own Land. Retrieved 28 September, 2009, from

Human Rights Council. (2009). Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review China. Retrieved

3 November, 2009, from /UPR/Documents/Session4/CN/


Human Rights in China. (2007). China: Minority Exclusion, Marginalisation, and Rising Tensions. Retrieved

6 October, 2009, from

Human Rights Watch. (2003). U.S.: Don’t Send Detainees Back to China. Retrieved 14 October, 2009, from

Information Office of State Council. (2002). “East Turkistan” Terrorist Forces Cannot Get Away With Impunity.

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Islam, S.S. (n.d.). State Terrorism in the Name of Communism. Retrieved 7 October, 2009, from

Kaltman, B. (2007). Under the Heel of the Dragon: Islam, Racism, Crime, and the Uighur in China.

Ohio University Press.


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Kan. S.A. (2009). U.S.-China Counterterrorism Cooperation: Issues for U.S. Policy. Congressional Research Service.

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Kellner, T. (2002). China: The Uighur Situation from Independence for the Central Asian Republics to the Post

11 September Era. UNHCR, Emergency & Security Service. Retrieved 14 October, 2009, from

Millward, J. (2004). Violent Separatism in Xinjiang: A Critical Assessment. Washington: Policy Studies. Police arrests 1,434 suspects in connection with Xinjiang riot. (2009). China View, 7 July 2009. Retrieved

2 November, 2009, from

Radio Free Asia. (2009). China: Clampdown on Uyghur cities. Reprinted by the UNHCR on 9 July 2009.

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Six Sentenced to Death over Xinjiang Riot. (2009). Xinhua News, 12 October 2009. Retrieved 13 October, 2009,


Smith, J. (2002). Making Culture Matter: Symbolic, Spatial, and Social Boundaries between Uyghurs and

Han Chinese. Asian Ethnicity, September 2002.

Smith, U.S. (2007). “More Ours than Theirs”: The Uighurs, Indefinite Detention, and the Constitution. Cornell

International Law Journal, 40.

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The Chinese Response. Canadian Security Intelligence Service. Retrieved 8 October, 2009, from

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Republic of China (III). Retrieved 8 October, 2009, from


Trevaskes, S. (2007). Severe and Swift Justice in China. The British Journal of Criminology, 47(1). Turkey Attacks China’s ‘Genocide’. (2009). BBC News, 10 July 2009. Retrieved 24 October, 2009,


UN General Assembly A/C.3/62/L.29. (2007). Moratorium on the use of the death penalty, 1 November 2007.

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Parliament. Retrieved 24 October, 2009, from

Wright, R. (2005). Chinese Detainees Trapped in Limbo at Guantanamo. Washington Post, 24 August 2005.


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Effect of Accents in Orally Administered Instructions on Stress Response to a Speech Task in Dutch Male Undergraduate Students: An Experimental Exploration A. Ayukonchong, P. Feyen, J. Gutzmer, Y. Mabuto, A. Stuewer | Roosevelt Academy In partial fulfillment of the requirements for SCI 369 taught by Dr. Christine Gispen de Wied

Abstract The rise in the migration of populations around the globe along with advances in communication technology means that human contact with speech produced in a foreign accent is increasing. This study is a primary exploratory one, aimed at determining the role that accented speech has in causing tensions between immigrant and native populations. The research analyzes the effect of accented speech on stress response systems by using a variety of instruments (self-evaluations, biomarkers, behavioral observations) in a controlled experiment. Although the results indicate possible associations between accented speech and elevated stress responses, larger scale studies are needed to eliminate the role of individual variability experienced in the current sample.

1. Introduction

tensions arise between immigrant and native populations. The aim of this study is to determine the role of accented speech (common in early generations of immigrants) in the rise of this tension. Here we try to establish a relation between accented speech and increased stress levels of the listener, with the notion that stress inducing communication is unfavorable to the listener and adverse to the efforts of integration. The effect of an accent has never been studied within this paradigm and there is a hope that this exploration will foster future interest in the subject. Furthermore,

The need for effective communication between native populations and immigrants is becoming increasingly important for successful integration. With people moving ever more across international borders, native populations are frequently coming into contact with accented speech. The term accent follows from Wardhaugh (1992) as the language varieties spoken by communities from various regions of the world, within a given language. Grammar and vocabulary are similar, only pronunciation differs. In many countries 27

A. Ayukonchong, P. Feyen, J. Gutzmer, Y. Mabuto, A. Stuewer • Effect of Accents in Orally Administered Instructions on Stress Response to a Speech Task in Dutch Male Undergraduate Students: An Experimental Exploration

we hope that this study will shed some light on the role that accents play in oral teaching in an international university like the Roosevelt Academy. More specifically: do accents lead to heightened stress, and if so, how does this stress affect learning outcomes?

exposure to a stressor causing chronic elevation of cortisol levels greatly upsets homeostasis and eventually leads to adrenal exhaustion; the body runs out of its energy reserves and immunity. This reversal of the body’s natural homeostasis is commonly known as allostasis, and can be measured as a function of cortisol levels in an individual. The stress response also contains a psychological facet which is subject to individual variability (Biondi & Picardi, 1999). This facet results not only from prior emotional experience with a similar stressors, but also from coping strategies which individuals develop as a natural mechanism to reduce stress (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). It is therefore important to bolster physiological and biological markers with self-evaluation instruments (Taylor, 2006).

2. Background 2.1. Stress Response Systems Stress is defined as an emotional experience accompanied by biochemical, physiological, cognitive, and behavioral changes that are directed either toward altering the stressful event or accommodating to its effects (Taylor, 2006). During a stress response there is a release of adrenaline, which increases the individual’s ability to mobilize energy to attack or flee (Fight-orFlight). The response is characterized by a heightened heart rate (Biondi & Picardi, 1999) and elevated salivary alpha amylase levels (sAA), a reliable biomarker of the autonomic stress response system (Stegeren et al., 2007). The general adaptation syndrome (GAS), which consists of three phases: alarm (mobilize to meet threat), resistance (make effort to cope) and exhaustion (failure to overcome threat) describes how chronic stress responses develop. During the alarm phase the body releases adrenaline and the last two phases activate the Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. This axis culminates with the release of cortisol (Biondi & Picardi, 1999) which is necessary for sustaining energy by increasing blood sugar and for placing the immune system on high alert. If the cause of the stress, or stressor, is not removed, resistance or adaptation occurs. Chronic

2.2. Trier Social Stress Test In order to develop a test situation, which was suitable for our research question, we decided to use the basic design of the “Trier Social Stress Test” (TSST). This controlled experiment makes use of a public speaking task to elicit a stress response in the subjects (Kirschbaum et al., 1993). Although subjective perception of a situation is said to be a main determinant of the psychoendocrine response pattern, TSST reliably triggers a significant HPA axis reaction as well as an increased heart rate, both of which are a reliable indication of stress (Het et al., 2009). The TSST was modified in a few ways for this study. In the anticipation period the accent stressor was introduced. The subjects listened to an audio recording of a story which had been narrated in Standard English (American English) for controls and Accented English 28

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(American English with a French Accent) for the treatment group. In the test period subjects gave a public speech about the topic which had been phonologically presented to them. It is thought that accented speech is the potentiator of the public speaking task stressor through a perceived increase in the importance of the task in which the stressor is introduced.

using two groups of subjects; a treatment group (which received instructions in foreign accent) and a control group (which received instructions in standard accent). We hypothesized that the presence of a foreign accent in the instructions will induce a heightened stress response in our subjects. This hypothesis was investigated with the following research questions in mind: f ). Are there significant differences in the stress responses between the two groups? g). At what level of the stress response system will the added factor (accent) have an effect? 1. Is there a stronger HPA axis reaction in the subjects who received the treatment compared to those in the control group? 2. Is there a different sympathetic response in subjects who received treatment versus those who do not? 3. Do subjects who received treatment report higher levels of post-test stress than control subjects? h). Does controllability play a role in the heightened stress response?

2.3. Characteristics of Stressor The potentiator of interest (accent) to the current study aims to interfere with perceived controllability. During the presentation of the audio file, the test subject did not have the option to change the way in which information is presented, which is supposed to cause stress from ‘being out of control’ and feeling helpless (Dickerson et al., 2004). The potency of this stressor was further compounded by the self-relevance or ego involvement of the task which has been found to be a reliable characteristic for the potency of a stressor (Het et al., 2009). This aspect of the stressor is incorporated into the design with the public speech task. Het et al. (2009) further stated that “uncontrollability and threat to the social self and self esteem were to be especially effective for inducing a significant cortisol response”. On this basis we expected that our experimental situation would result in a marked increase of cortisol levels as well as innervating other aspects of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems (denoted by heart rate and salivary amylase concentration) (Het et al., 2009).

4. Methods 4.1. Subjects Our research group contained six Dutch male students attending the first year of the Roosevelt Academy. 4.2. Recruitment Subjects were recruited by sending out an email to all first year Dutch students via the Roosevelt Academy weekly Newsletter. During the recruitment, subjects were instructed to avoid behaviors that influence stress response systems.

3. Objectives The objective of this study is to investigate the effect of accents on stress response systems among Dutch male undergraduates 29

A. Ayukonchong, P. Feyen, J. Gutzmer, Y. Mabuto, A. Stuewer • Effect of Accents in Orally Administered Instructions on Stress Response to a Speech Task in Dutch Male Undergraduate Students: An Experimental Exploration

Public Speaking Task, and Relaxation. During the accommodation period (20 minutes before the beginning of the actual experiment) subjects were asked whether or not they followed the instructions given during the recruitment. They also had to sign the informed consent form, the visual analog scale and the perceived stress scale. At the start of the experiment, during the preparation period (time = 0 minutes), subjects listened to either an accented or an unaccented audio, after which they gave a five minute long presentation on the received information (task period, time = 10 minutes). A final relaxation period lasted 45 minutes. Heart rate was measured throughout the experiment which lasted 80 minutes. Saliva samples were taken six times.

4.3. Instruments and Measuring Methods • Cardio Equipment for measuring heart rate; • Salivary Cortisol (nmol/l); • Salivary Amylase (relative units/ml); • Visual Analogue Scale for Self Evaluation of Stress during the experiment; • Tri-modal Behavioral Observation Scale; • Perceived Stress Scale for allostatic load. 4.4.Reliability and Validity • The cardio apparatus is a licensed apparatus; • The Perceived stress scale’s and visual analogue scale’s reliability has been established in literature (Cohen et al., 1983); • The inter-rater reliability amongst scorers of the behavioral observation of stress was verified several times before the experiment day; • The reasons given above for reliability are also the reasons for the instrument’s validity.

5. Analysis Data was analyzed using Microsoft Excel 1999®. 1. Descriptive statistics which included mean, maximum and minimum of perceived stress level, visual analogue and extended visual analogue scale were analyzed. 2. The average heart rate data for both the treatment and control group was plotted as a scatter plot of beats per minute (bpm) versus time during distinct parts of the experiment. We also took into consideration the slope of the function at critical moments such as the preparation and the task period as well as maximum values. Due to the small number of subjects no other statistical analysis was performed. However, in the case of a larger experiment, the following statistical analysis would have been performed. 1. Each set of heart rate data would be

4.5. Design The independent variables were foreign accent and standard accent. One group received instructions in the foreign accent (treatment group) and the control group received instructions in the standard accent. Subjects were randomly assigned to either group. Stress response, which was the dependent variable, was measured by means of visual analogue scales, salivary cortisol levels, salivary amylase levels, and heart rate. 4.6. Procedure The experiment was divided into four parts: Accommodation, Preparation, 30

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Fig. 1 + 1a : VAS and EVAS results.

analyzed for a best fit line, in order to integrate the resulting function. The value of this integral would serve as a measure of change in heart rate during the different parts of the experiment. 2. A T-test would be used to compare the stress level means of the group that listens to accent (treatment group) with the means of the group that does not listen to the accent (control group). 3. A Chi-square test would have been used to verify the hypothesis.

group contained two subjects, and the treatment group contained four. Subjects were aged 18-19 years old. 6.1. Self Evaluations The average score on the perceived stress scale was 17.83. Only one subject, control subject 2, deviated largely from this average with a score of 28. Visual Analogue Scale results indicated similar average pre-test stress levels for treatment (T) and control (C) group (T = 5.375; C = 5). The treatment group reported higher controllability than did the control group (T = 7.375; C = 5.75) while also reporting higher average post-test stress levels (T = 6; C = 5) (see figure 1).

6. Results In our experiment six subjects out of the expected eight participated. Our control 31

A. Ayukonchong, P. Feyen, J. Gutzmer, Y. Mabuto, A. Stuewer • Effect of Accents in Orally Administered Instructions on Stress Response to a Speech Task in Dutch Male Undergraduate Students: An Experimental Exploration

Fig. 2: Average anylase levels in treatment and control over.

Fig. 3: Average cortisol levels in treatment and control group over time

15 minutes) the control group showed an increase in amylase concentration whereas the treatment group showed a gradual decrease in amylase concentration. During the relaxation period, time 15-55 minutes, both groups followed a similar trend – a gradual decrease in amylase followed by an increase. However, the treatment group rose with a slightly higher gradient. Both of the groups displayed post-relaxation amylase levels higher than their baselines.

6.2. Salivary Alpha Amylase The control group shows a steep positive incline during the accommodation whereas the treatment group shows a less steep negative decline in this period (see figure 2). During the time interval 0-10 minutes (preparation), the treatment group showed an average positive gradient whereas the control group remained at a steady amylase level within the range of 81-81.5 units/ml. Then, during the task period (from 10 to 32

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Fig. 4: Average heart rate in treatment and control group over time

6.3. Salivary Cortisol During accommodation period (time period -20 to 0) the treatment subjects showed a decline in their average salivary cortisol levels (see figure 3). This decline was followed by a minor incline during preparation (time period 0 to 10). Subsequently, after a minor drop during the listening task period, the average cortisol levels started to steeply incline with a peak at 25 minutes. After this time cortisol levels declined until 60 minutes, marking the end of the experiment. In contrast, the control subjects showed a higher average cortisol baseline level at -20 minutes which rose during the accommodation period to a peak at 0 minutes. After this peak, the cortisol levels of the control subjects steeply and steadily declined until 25 minutes, after which cortisol levels still declined but in a less steep fashion until the end of the experiment.

groups was during the resting period. At 12 minutes, during the task period, the heart rate of the treatment and control group was equal. During the relaxation period heart rates decreased to baseline levels for the treatment group, and below baseline levels for the control group.

6.4. Heart Rate The average heart rate of participants in the treatment group was higher than those in the control group throughout the experiment (see figure 4). The greatest difference in heart rate between the two

7. Discussion

6.5. Behavioral Observations Behavioral observations made during the task period, showed higher frequency of stress-related behaviors in two of the three modalities for the control group (see figure 5). Fidgeting was not observed at any point in the control group, but was observed in the treatment group. Overall, there does not seem to be a linear relationship between the observed behaviors. No direct relationship was observed between the frequency of behaviors and the progression of the task period either.

7.1. General Discussion Overall the experimental design was effective in terms of eliciting a stress response. This is reflected in the sympathetic, 33

A. Ayukonchong, P. Feyen, J. Gutzmer, Y. Mabuto, A. Stuewer • Effect of Accents in Orally Administered Instructions on Stress Response to a Speech Task in Dutch Male Undergraduate Students: An Experimental Exploration

parasympathetic and self-evaluative results. With regard to our primary research question, a general trend of a potentiating effect of the accent-stressor could be delineated as revealed by different stress response patterns in the treatment and control group. In answering the sub-questions it becomes apparent that the full truth is more intricate; some of the investigated levels of the stress response systems give full support to the notion that accented speech leads to a heightened stress response. Other levels do not give such direct answers due to confounding factors.

behavior and self-evaluative data causes this difficulty. The effect of the accent could thus not be observed in this aspect. Individual variability, namely coping strategies, are likely causing the discrepancies. 7.3. Heart Rate Heart rate data, providing a reflection of the sympathetic and parasympathetic system, was congruent with hypothesized expectations. The averages of treatment heart rates were higher in most parts of the experiment, with the exception coming at 12 minutes (during the presentation) into the experiment when both groups shared a maximum peak in heart rate. This would suggest that the speaking task was the most potent stressor in the experiment. The potentiating effect which accent has on this stressor is noted in the treatment group’s retarded return to baseline level, indicating a heightened allostatic load in the treatment group as compared to the control group.

7. 2. Behavioral Observations Because of the lack of consistency in behavioral data (see results), translation of the material into answers to our research was not possible. The lack of a relationship between the three modalities, as well as a lack of relationship between the frequency of

Fig. 5: Average Frequency of Behaviors


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elicit a stress response on the sympathetic HPA – axis as reflected by salivary cortisol output. Furthermore, the average cortisol levels of the treatments subjects show that the experimental set-up was valid, as they display the expected pattern of accommodation/relaxation effect and test effect (Het et al., 2009). However, the data of the control subjects cannot fully support the assumptions. This is mainly due to the high baseline cortisol levels, which indicate an already active HPA response. This provides an explanation for why the control subjects did not show the expected patterns, since the strength of the stressor, in terms of eliciting a stress response, depends on how active the HPAaxis was prior to the exposure. The high average baseline level is presumably due to the fact that a control subject reported a deviant high score on the perceived stress scale, an indication of allostatic load in the individual. A consequence of allostatic load is irregular cortisol secretion patterns. Lastly, the incline during the accommodation period is probably caused because of the imperfect experimental conditions, as previously discussed.

7. 4. Salivary-Amylase Levels The second component of the sympathetic system, salivary amylase, showed mixed results. Although controls had higher average levels during the experiment, treatment subjects showed a markedly higher amylase output during the preparation period. In this time period levels are denoted by a 20 units/ml increase in the treatment group while the control group showed a smaller 10 units/ml increase. This is again evidence for the potentiating effect of accented speech, which is introduced in the preparation period. The fact that the general amylase output of the control group is higher than for the treatment group can be explained by the unusual amylase levels of one of the control subjects. Exclusive analysis of his data revealed that this subject experienced a stress response during the accommodation period. This was likely caused by imperfect testing conditions; the subject was exposed to a prolonged waiting period, faulty equipment and an unexpected change in experimental location. 7.5. Salivary-Cortisol Levels The pattern of cortisol output, the parasympathetic biomarker, seems to underscore the potentiating character of the stressor ‘accented speech’ when displayed by the average levels of control and treatment subjects. For the treatment group results, the following becomes clear: taking into account that cortisol is secreted with a latency of 10 to 15 min to the introduction of the stressor (Het et al., 2009), the peak observed at 25 minutes in apparently reflects the impact of the accented speech stressor, indicating that it is strong enough to potentiate or even

7.6. Self-Evaluations The self-evaluation of the subjects provides evidence for the stress inducing effect of accented speech. Both groups reported similar pre-test levels of stress, however posttest stress levels were higher in the treatment group. Contrary to our expectations this post-test difference does not seem to be caused by the subjects feeling of ‘being in control’, as the treatment group reported a higher level of controllability. This result may however be misleading as a control 35

A. Ayukonchong, P. Feyen, J. Gutzmer, Y. Mabuto, A. Stuewer • Effect of Accents in Orally Administered Instructions on Stress Response to a Speech Task in Dutch Male Undergraduate Students: An Experimental Exploration

subject (the control subject who experienced imperfect testing conditions) reported the lowest level of controllability. The influence of the external factors on his perception of controllability cannot be determined due to the limited sample size.

variability, as well as leading to more definite conclusions concerning intra/inter group correlations and differences. The issue of individual variability could also be further addressed by using subjects as their own controls. Another unfortunate limitation was the matching of a Dutch sample to an English audio listening task. Ideally, such a study would make use of a population whose primary language relates to the unaccented audio file. This would more precisely address the goal of increasing ‘the likelihood that perception of the foreign accent was the same’ in the subjects.

7.7. Recommendation for future research Although the current design yielded valuable results aimed at answering the research questions, future studies ought to take several critical remarks into consideration if further investigations using this current design are to be conducted. 7.7.1. Sample Our choice of subjects aimed at keeping validity of the study high while maintaining the feasibility of the research. By accepting only males into the sample, confounding factors such as the menstrual cycle in females was eliminated. An all Dutch sample was supposed to increase the likelihood that perception of the foreign accent was the same. The decision to only include first year students resulted from the possibility that adaptation had occurred in later year students who had had a prolonged exposure to an accent-rich environment. The decision to recruit only Roosevelt Academy students was a matter of practicality. In hindsight some limitations of this approach can be highlighted. For one, the final sample size (8 minus mortality rate of 2) was too small for formal statistical analysis to be carried out. For this reason future studies should make use of bigger sample sizes. It would permit for a more accurate analysis on the effect of individual

7.7.2. Testing Conditions Future studies should focus on creating settings conducive to a smoothly operating experimental procedure. A more controlled environment than the one used would prevent external interference such as that experienced by the control subject. One should also make note of the speech of the researchers who are interacting with the subjects in order to avoid possible confounding effects. 7.7.3. Cognitive Load The clarity of speech is analyzed in two categories: intelligibility and comprehensibility. A high intelligibility means that a message intended by the speaker is properly conveyed. It can be operationalized with tasks like mispronunciation detection, sentence recognition, and repetition tasks. Prolonged exposure to an accent results in adaptation of intelligibility. Comprehensibility is a 36

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function of the perceptual and cognitive effort, necessary to identify intended words. It is operationalized by reaction times for sentence completion tasks or word recognition tasks. Studies have shown that accents “trigger a delay in word identification processes, which does not seem to habituate with repeated exposure to the same speech style” (Flocia et al., 2009). As the evidence of the current experiment points to increased stress levels in the treatment group, the cause may be the extra cognitive load caused by low comprehensibility of the accented speech. Future studies could investigate this postulation by introducing a third group to the current design. This group would be made to listen to the standard listening task, which is modified with an auditory distracter (song,

intermittent noises) to imitate a barrier to comprehensibility by introducing a higher processing demand.

8. Conclusion This study has proven to be valuable in the exploration of this previously uninvestigated topic. The preliminary findings discussed above suggest that accented speech can indeed serve as a potentiator of the stress response. However, the limited sample size magnified the effect of individual variability. Overall, the indefinite nature of the results means that no straightforward answers to our research questions can be formulated. Future research should make use of larger sample sizes to try and eliminate the discrepancies experienced in this study. This would also allow for more accurate statistical analysis to be carried out.

References Biondi, M., & Picardi A. (1999). Psychological Stress and Neuroendocrine Function in

Humans: The Last Two Decades of Research. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 68, 114-150.

Cohen, S., Kamarck, T., Mermelstein, R. (1983). A global measure of perceived stress.

Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 24, 385-396.

Dickerson, S.S., Gruenewald, T.L., & Kemeny, M.E. (2004). When the Social Self Is Threatened: Shame,

Physiology, and Health. Journal of Personality, 72(6), 1191-1217.

Floccia, C., Butler, J., Goslin, J., & Ellis, L. (2009) Regional and Foreign Accent

Processing in English: Can Listeners Adapt? Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 38, 379-412.

Het, S., Rohleder, N., Schoofs, D., Krischbaum, C., & Wolf, O.T. (2009). Neuroendocrine and psychometric evaluation of a placebo version of the ‘Trier Social Stress Test’.

Psychoneuroendocrinology, 34(7), 1075-1086.

Kirschbaum, C., Pirke, K.M., & Hellhammer, D.H. (1993). The ‘Trier Social Stress Test’ – a tool for investigating

psychobiological stress responses in a laboratory setting. Neuropsychobiology , 28(1), 76-81.

Lazarus, R. S., & Folkman, S. (1984). Stress, Appraisal, and Coping. New York: Springer. Taylor, S. (2006). Health Psychology. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies. Van Stegeren, A., Wolf, O. T., & Kindt, M. (2008). Salivary alpha amylase and cortisol responses to different stress

tasks: Impact of sex. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 69(1), 33-40.

Wardhaugh, R. (1992). An introduction to sociolinguistics. Oxford: Blackwell. 37

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“A Planet in Peril”: Contrasting Bush and Obama Domestic and International Environmental Policies Djeyhoun Ostowar | Roosevelt Academy In partial fulfillment of the requirements for SSC 255 International Relations taught by Prof. Dr. Giles Scott-Smith

Abstract The UN Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen held in December 2009 ended in a huge disappointment. The participating states failed to agree on a legally binding document. Some critics accused developing states, others pointed at developed countries. Barack Obama was held individually responsible for spoiling the momentum because of his discouraging statements before the conference. Against the background of growing attention to the problem of greenhouse gases and the role of the US as one of the prime polluters, this paper analyzes the environmental policies of two US administrations, the Obama administration and that of his predecessor. It concludes that there are significant differences between the two. Whereas Bush pursued a policy of voluntarism internationally and domestically relied on quasi-legal instruments, Obama employs legislative measures at home and seems keen on signing an internationally binding document. Yet, the main obstacles lie in the US legislative system and the representation of interests at the state level.


levels by 2020, the EU with 20 percent and Japan with 25 percent (Al Jazeera, 2009). While it is true that the Chinese and Indian contributions remained unclear or even unsatisfactory, it was striking that the White House had only pledged to have 17 percent of emissions cut by 2020, and not of 1990 but of 2005 levels (BBC, 2009a). In this context, it is worth mentioning that between 1990 and 2005, the US CO2 production rose with approximately 1.1 percent per year (Science Daily, 2008).

The announcement about the attendance of Barack Obama at the 2009 UN Summit on Climate Change in Copenhagen was the ‘breaking news’ of major international media outlets, appearing on the main web pages of CNN, BBC and Al Jazeera. However, by then almost all other world leaders had already committed to attend the summit and many key-players had pledged quite ambitious and promising cuts in CO2 emissions: Russia with 25 percent of 1990 39

Djeyhoun Ostowar • “A Planet in Peril”

Media and much of the international diplomatic community welcomed the presence of Obama in the Copenhagen Summit; analysts and politicians spoke of a renewed hope for a treaty. However, Obama’s visit was also portrayed as a mere symbolic gesture, or as a result of growing international pressure amid the uncertainty around his participation in the conference. The fact remains that Obama attended only one day of the two week conference, meaning that he was absent at the most critical stages of negotiations. Furthermore, by traveling to Copenhagen on December 9, Obama made sure that his presence at the summit coincided with the receiving of his Nobel Peace Price in the neighboring Oslo on the next day (BBC, 2009b). There is no doubt that Obama’s schedule is overloaded, but critics already began comparing Obama to Bush, and accused both of trying to ‘weaken’ the international commitment to mitigate the problem of rising greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, in particular CO2 (Adam, 2009a). Reuters came out with an article titled “Obama has failed the World on Climate Change”, in which the author, Christian Schwagerl, went so far as stating that “if the rest of the world were to follow the US example in their approach to fossil fuels, the oceans would not only heat up, but would probably soon begin to boil”. The disheartening conclusion of the whole story was that “America has once again failed miserably” (Mason, 2009). This kind of frustration and anger could be seen in many European countries. Perhaps it also had something to do with the meeting between Obama and several Asian leaders that took place on November 15, 2009 in Singapore. There, the US President practically ruled out any

possibility of a Copenhagen treaty, warning against making “the perfect the enemy of the good” (Luce, Brown, & Harvey, 2009). Unfortunately, the Copenhagen conference indeed became a big disappointment for many. The negotiating states were unwilling to compromise on the most contentious issues, and hence, no legally binding deal could be sealed. The developments and tensions described above raise several important questions. First of all, how can the actions of Obama be assessed in the larger context of US environmental policy across time? In this regard, this paper tries to draw a comparison with the previous US administration, that of George W. Bush. If there are major differences, then what are the implications of the new environmental approach by the White House, both at the domestic and the international levels of American environmental policy? Obama had made climate change one of the main pillars of his presidential election campaign and pledged in his famous Berlin-speech to act as a ‘citizen of the world’. Can his actions around the Copenhagen conference then be regarded as a failure to fulfill his promises?

Background: International Climate Change Regime The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded in its Fourth Assessment Report (November 2007) that the climate system is warming at an alarming rate as demonstrated by the increases in global air and ocean temperatures, rising global sea levels caused by the high melting rate of snow and ice (Busby, 2007). In addition to the natural detriment, climate change can potentially have security implications such 40

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as “heightened internal and cross-border tensions caused by large-scale migrations; conflict sparked by resource scarcity, particularly in the weak and failing states of Africa; increased disease proliferation, which will have economic consequences; and some geopolitical reordering as nations adjust to shifts in resources and prevalence of disease” (Chalecki, 2009). Following a concept paper by the UK, on April 17, 2007 the United Nations Security Council held its first thematic debate on the security implications of climate change and security issues arising from it (UNSC, 2007). It was the first time that the topic was brought up to the institution with powers of enforcement much greater than most international forums, and whose traditional function is to deal with military conflicts to ensure global peace and security. Climate change is now increasingly analyzed in terms of national security (Busby, 2007). While today climate change is at the forefront of the international political debate, its importance and potential threats have become part of the global discourse and policy only in the last quarter of the 20th century. The 1972 United Nations Conference in Stockholm resulted in the creation of the United Nations Environmental Program. Approximately a decade later, in 1983, the UN established the World Commission on Environmental Development (Luterbacher & Sprinz, 2001). In 1992 the Conference on Environment and Development was held in Japan where it was agreed to implement an international cut of CO2 emissions. This agreement, known as the Kyoto Protocol, specifically aimed at industrialized countries (37 in total). It entered into force in 2005 and

remains effective until 2012 (Luterbacher & Sprinz, 2001). The Kyoto protocol is unique as it goes beyond ‘encouraging’ environmental friendliness in actually committing countries to mandatory emissions cuts. It was agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions levels to an average of 5 percent from 1990 levels over the period 2008-2012 (Yamin & Depledge, 2004). In international law and relations, states always remain sovereign and no real enforcement measures for the implementation of international treaties are at hand. Nevertheless, a legally binding agreement which specifies commitments and stipulates numbers and percentages has a considerable legal and political force. The Copenhagen Conference held in December 2009 tried to build on the Kyoto Protocol. New numbers, commitments and deadlines had to be set for beyond 2012, and more countries had to join the agreement (Shankland, 2008). The Copenhagen Conference failed to meet the expectations of many participants because it produced a ‘weak political commitment’ in which the governments recognized climate change as one of the main challenges of our time but did not commit to any legally binding targets. This conference was perhaps also a very strong illustration of the Global North and South divide between developed and developing countries. During the last two days of the conference a group of 26 countries held separate talks, excluding most developing countries who demanded access to funds in order to adapt to climate change. Unfortunately, these smaller group negotiations did not yield significant results either. In addition, this step undermined the multilateral character of 41

Djeyhoun Ostowar • “A Planet in Peril”

the United Nations platform (EurActiv, 2009). Since the Kyoto Protocol, US environmental policy can be characterized by two main aspects. First of all, for measures to be effective both developed and developing countries have to bear the burden of mitigating climate change. Secondly, environmental policy measures against negative consequences of global warming may not damage the economic growth of the US and its future economic competitiveness. A large part of this kind of foreign policy lies in the forces and interests at the domestic level. The 1997 Byrd – Hagel Resolution, which was passed unanimously in the Senate, clearly stated that an international agreement which solely focuses on developed countries will not receive the support of the Senate, because such an agreement would harm the US’s economic position on the world market (Skodvin & Andresen, 2009). Bill Clinton actually signed the Kyoto Protocol in 1998 but faced harsh criticism at home and eventually settled for a non-mandatory policy toward industries (Shankland, 2008). What followed the Clinton administration were perhaps two completely opposite approaches: Bush strongly pursued voluntary measures, while Obama shows a relatively strong support for more concrete, ambitious and legally binding environmental measures at the international level and legislative measures at the domestic level.

(2001). He explained his decision by referring to the Byrd-Hagel Resolution and claiming that he could not count on the support of the legislature. Noteworthy is the fact that in his presidential campaign Bush had vigorously pledged to tackle CO2 emissions (Skodvin & Andresen, 2009). After withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol, the Bush administration came with an alternative: a proposal called Climate Change Initiative, aimed at reducing greenhouse gases by 18 percent by 2012 (Pataki & Vilsack, 2008). This was not necessarily in contradiction to the Kyoto principles, but a crucial difference lay in the fact that emissions cuts had to be made through voluntary programs with industries and through technological development. Bush argued that engaging in partnerships with industries could be very effective in mitigating climate change (Harris, 2009). Internationally, Bush did not avoid negotiations and gatherings, but he consistently refused to enter on any binding commitment. In 2003 the US became part of the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum, in 2004 of the Methane to Markets Partnership, in 2005 it entered the AsiaPacific Partnership, and in 2007 the Major Economies Forum. The Bush administration was strongly in favor of the APP, which eventually became a coalition of six industrially advanced nations who supported an alternative to the Kyoto agreement. The Major Economies Meeting on Energy Security and Climate Change held at the initiative of the US included 17 biggest economies. The focus of all these forums was on the technological development and on engaging developing countries in the mitigation of the consequences of climate change (Shulman & Sepkoski, 2007).

George W. Bush and Environmental Voluntarism One of the very first actions of George W. Bush after becoming President was withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol 42

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In practice, tangible progress in the debate about climate change measures was stalled by the mutual conditionality of on the one hand the US and on the other hand rapidly growing developing countries, in particular China and India. The Bush administration refused to join an international climate change convention if these countries were not subjected to the same requirements as developed countries. China and India, playing a smart game, refused to engage in mandatory cuts of greenhouse gases emissions until major economies, in particular the US, would show their commitment first (Pataki & Vilsack, 2008). It is expected that in the near future most of the growth of global carbon emissions will come from developing countries. Therefore, in 2002 Washington decided to engage in negotiations about granting developing countries access to advanced technology designed to limit greenhouse gas emissions (Repetto, 2006). The whole framework of the APP fits in the soft-law model where a policy rests on quasi-legal measures such as non-binding principles, statements and codes of practice. In the context of American environmental policy, it means primarily that an introduced instrument does not require the support of the Congress or the Senate. It is true that thanks to a large margin of action in the executive branch – the governmental sector operating directly under the President – Bush guaranteed his administration a lot of freedom in handling the question of climate change. Internationally, however, there was a lot of criticism and cynicism about the APP plan. Most of Bush’s environmental actions were seen as part of a larger political game in which the US has to deal with mounting pressure amid the withdrawal

from the Kyoto Protocol (Repetto, 2006). Moreover, the APP was considered to be undermining the progress made in Kyoto as it withheld even more countries from joining the protocol. Besides, according to several evaluations by the Climate Institute, the APP did not manage to meet its own objectives and had a “marginal” impact on climate change (Skodvin & Andresen, 2009). To put it bluntly, it appears that Bush’s environmental policy largely discredited the US internationally.

Carpe Diem, Obama! Obama’s presidential campaign is memorable for many pledges to tackle global environmental challenges; he spoke about “a planet in peril” and expressed his desire to make the US a leader in the international climate change regime (Environment News Service, 2008). He announced that among his goals concerning climate change was a stabilization of greenhouse gases emissions at their 1990 levels and 80 percent reduction from 1990 levels by 2050 (Wood, 2008). After his election to office Obama took two quick measures to address climate change issues; within days he introduced several soft-law measures. First of all, Obama requested the Department of Transportation to come up with new standards for fuel-economy before March 2009, in particular with regard to motor transportation. This request was significant as it included more than two thousand car models (Mason, 2009). Strict limits were introduced. They require car makers to achieve an average of 35.5 mpg emissions by 2016, meaning 5 percent efficiency improvement each year starting in 2012. The impact of this measure is considerable as it is expected to reduce 43

Djeyhoun Ostowar • “A Planet in Peril”

the US carbon dioxide footprint by 30%. Obama stated that “for the first time in history we have set in motion a national policy aimed at increasing gas mileage and decreasing greenhouse gas pollution for all new trucks and cars sold in the United States” (Goldenberg, 2009). Emphasizing the magnitude of this measure Obama explained that its effect was equal to “shutting down 194 coal plants or taking 58 million cars off the roads for a year” (Goldenberg, 2009). Secondly, Obama demanded from the Environmental Protection Agency that it review California’s initiative, known as the Clean Air Act. California, led by environmentalist Schwarzenegger, wished to implement its own, much stricter, limits to carbon dioxide emissions produced by motor vehicles (Office of the Governor, 2009). The Act formulates several measures against carbon dioxide emissions. It requires the state government to take action against pollutants “endangering public health or welfare”. The initiative was previously rejected by the Bush administration. Allowing the review Obama aligned himself with more environmentally friendly states. “The federal government must work with, not against, states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” he explained later (Mason, 2009). The positive ruling, which finally came on June 30, 2009, may affect policies concerning other forms of emissions (such as refinery and power plant emissions). It can also encourage other states to follow California’s example (Salzman, Polikov, & Profeta, 2009). The international policy on climate change pursued by Obama is also quite different from Bush’s. Obama looks favorably upon US potential membership

in an international treaty constituting mandatory reduction of CO2 and other greenhouse gases emissions. However, the US decision-making structure forms a strong obstacle. The problem is that a membership in an international climate change regime with mandatory emissions cuts requires a two thirds majority vote in the Senate (Adam, 2009b). Furthermore, US law requires a federal document on the implementation of specific commitments before ratification of any international treaty by the Senate (Skodvin & Andresen, 2009). In June 2009 the US House of Representatives passed Obama’s climate bill entitled Clean Energy and Security Act. However, the Senate has not passed it yet, and the decision on the bill has been postponed until spring or summer 2010 (Block, 2009). In addition, in the light of previous experiences it is very likely that the bill will face major obstacles in the Senate. In fact, Republicans already showed strong resentments against the bill by boycotting the debate in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Democrats passed the bill through the committee without the participation and voting of Republicans because a simple majority is enough for Committee documents (Wiener, 2009). However, the position of the Obama administration has been strongly weakened since January 2010. The US operates with a so-called filibusters system in which the governing party needs at least 60 seats in the Senate in order to overcome random obstruction by the opposition party. Without three-fifths of the Senators in favor of a motion to proceed to the voting practically any senator can request the continuation of the debate. Obama had 44

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the necessary 60 Democrats in the Senate, but because of the sudden death of Senator Ted Kennedy in August 2009 new elections had to be held to fill in the position of the Senator of Massachusetts. It was a big blow for the Obama administration when the elections were won by a Republican, Scott Brown (CNN, 2010). Obama is now forced to make significant concessions to the Republicans on all major legislative measures, at least until the composition of the Senate changes. The US political debate has always been very complex; however, the whole situation is complicated by the political representation of interests linked to the production and use of energy. While the US has only two percent of the total world oil reserves, it is in the top three of oil producers in the world. A significant part of the electricity and energy consumption of the US is based on coal. Coal reserves and their production are located in 26 different states (Kelderman, 2008). Three states, California, Alaska and Texas, are heavily involved in oil production and most car producing states rely on electricity supply linked to coal (Energy Information Administration, 2009). As demonstrated with previous examples, drastic measures aimed at greenhouse gas emissions will have consequences for these states. At the same time it means that Senators representing those states will continue to show opposition to drastic cuts in the emissions of greenhouse gases; they simply have to take into account the interests of their constituencies. The main concerns center around jobs and rising energy prices due to more expensive renewable energy technologies. When Clinton’s UN ambassador signed the Kyoto Protocol at a special conference

in Argentina, outrage flared in some circles of the US lobby and policy making. The Heritage Foundation, for instance, warned that signing the Kyoto Protocol would result in “30,000 dollar loss of income per family and up to 2 million lost jobs each year” (Antonelli & Schaefer, 1998). Political scientists Fisher and Bang have shown that Senators and Congressmen from “resource-dependent states” are less likely to support a bill for mandatory climate measures and this tendency is “relatively consistent” across time. In addition, this geographically-dependent representation counts even stronger than party affiliation (cited in Skodvin & Andresen, 2009). The current Obama Climate Bill was described by Texas Senator Rick Perry as a “legislative monstrosity” bringing an “economic disaster” to Texas (Rudolf, 2009). It is not Obama who is in the way of a legally binding international treaty on climate, but rather it is the politicized representation of economic interests within the United States.

Conclusion Before the Copenhagen Conference, the US position towards the Kyoto principles was seen as the main obstacle in the global effort in mitigating negative consequences of climate change. A few years ago, the US was surpassed as the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world by China. Nevertheless, its share of pollution has remained significantly high. In 2007 the United States greenhouse gas emission was 7282 million metric tons, which is almost a quarter of the world’s total CO2 emissions (Science Daily, 2008). Washington’s unwillingness to support the Kyoto strategy has in fact hampered the international climate change debate. The tension over 45

Djeyhoun Ostowar • “A Planet in Peril”

the Kyoto approach resulted in setting up the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, which presented an alternative route. Looking at the period 2000-2008 one can define Bush’s climate change policy by his strong opposition towards any legally binding measure. Domestically, Bush pursued a strategy of negotiation and agreement with industries while internationally his administration supported the so called ‘soft-law’ approach. Obama’s environmental policy can be considered as fundamentally different as he pursues legislative and treaty-based measures at the domestic level and ‘hardlaw’ policy internationally, shifting toward the approaches of other Western countries, in particular those of members of the EU. Obama’s policy on climate change also means a shift in the branches of government normally responsible for measures in this domain. The executive branch is able to adopt and implement non-mandatory

measures. A policy through the legislature pursued by Obama, in particular with regards to a potential legally binding commitment in an international treaty, requires passing through Congress and the Senate. As the US continues to be extremely resource-dependent, in particular of coal and oil, and because there is a continuing opposition to climate policies among large parts of the legislative branch, Obama will have to find ways to handle congressional and senatorial obstacles through compromises and deals. He will somehow have to foster endorsement of Senators who represent oil and coal states. It is true that Obama’s environmental policy presents a “momentum”, a “window of opportunity” for a stronger global environmental deal. However, while there is hope for a greener US and greener world, everyone must remain cautious of major legislative limitations that the Obama administration faces at home.


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References Adam, D. (2009a, September 15). US Planning to Weaken Copenhagen Climate Deal, Europe Warns. Guardian.

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Adam, D. (2009b, November 15). Copenhagen Climate Talks: US Refusal to Rush Gives Obama Time to Get

Senate Onside. Guardian. Retrieved November 27, 2009, from


Al Jazeera. (2009, November 25). Obama to Pledge Cuts in Copenhagen. Retrieved November 25, 2009, from

Antonelli, A., & Schaefer, B. D. (1998, November 23). Why the Kyoto Signing Signals Disregard For Congress.

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BBC News. (2009a, November 25). Obama Vows Greenhouse Gas Emissions Cuts. Retrieved November 25, 2009,


BBC News. (2009b, November 15). Climate Change Talks ‘Need Obama’. Retrieved November 25, 2009, from

Block, B. (2009, November 20). As U.S. Climate Bill Stalls, Global Treaty Languishes. Retrieved November 27,

2009, from

Busby, J. (2007). Climate Change and National Security: An Agenda for Action. New York, NY: Council on Foreign

Relations Press.

Chalecki, E. L. (2009). Climatic Cataclysm: The Foreign Policy and National Security Implications of Climate

Change. Review of Policy Research, 26 (4), 495-497.

CNN. (2010). Massachusetts Vote May Derail Obama Agenda. Retrieved on May 25, 2010,


Energy Information Administration. (2009, November 25). U.S. Overview: Leading Energy Producers & Consumers.

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Environment News Service. (2008, November 5). President-Elect Obama Faces Challenge of a “Planet in Peril”.

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EurActiv. (2009). EU Looks Beyond “Weak” Copenhagen Climate Deal. Retrieved May 25, 2010, from

Goldenberg, S. (2009, May 20). Obama Sets Strict Limits on Car Exhaust Emissions. Guardian. Retrieved

November 27, 2009, from


Harris, P. G. (2009). Beyond Bush: Environmental Politics and Prospects for US Climate Policy. Energy Policy,

37 (3), 966.

Kelderman, E. (2008, March 8). Future of Coal Power under Fire. Stateline. Retrieved November 27, 2009,


Luce, E., Brown, K., & Harvey, F. (2009, November 16). Obama Rules out Copenhagen Treaty. Retrieved

November 25, 2009, from

Luterbacher, U., & Sprinz, D. F. (2001). International Relations and Global Climate Change. Cambridge,

Mass: MIT Press.

Mason, J. (2009, January 26). Obama Begins Reversing Bush Climate Policies. Reuters. Retrieved November 26,

2009, from


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to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Retrieved November 27, 2009, from

Pataki, G. E., & Vilsack, T. J. (2008). Confronting Climate Change: A Strategy for U.S. Foreign Policy: Report of an

Independent Task Force (Independent Task Force Report). New York: Council on Foreign Relations Press.

Repetto, R. C. (2006). Punctuated Equilibrium and the Dynamics of U.S. Environmental Policy. New Haven:

Yale University Press.

Rudolf, J.C. (2009, September 22). Texan Sees ‘Economic Disaster’ in Climate Bill. The New York Times. Retrieved

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Salzman, J. D., Brigham; Polikov, H., & Profeta, T. (2009). Regulating Climate: What Role for the Clean Air Act? Science Daily. (2008, December 5). U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Still Increasing. Retrieved November 25, 2009,


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Shulman, S., & Sepkoski, D. (2007). Undermining Science: Suppression and Distortion in the Bush

Administration. Isis, 98 (4), 877.

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Wood, P. (2008, November 11). What implications does Obama’s victory have for climate change? Retrieved

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Automated Form Processing using Template Matching Gerhard Burger | Roosevelt Academy Under the supervision of Dr. Ir. Richard van den Doel Abstract Roosevelt Academy (RA) is a Liberal Arts & Sciences University Honors College of Utrecht University, located in Middelburg. Multiple choice course evaluations are an important part of RA’s internal quality control system. Processing these forms was first done by hand, but this was very time consuming. This report presents a method to process these forms automatically, using a scanner with stack feeder, and the image processing package in Wolfram Mathematica 7. A robust and fast application has been developed (≈ 3 sec/form) based on Radial Projection Transformation (RPT). The application is robust in the sense that it can also detect filled circles that are not filled as expected, and it allows for determining revised responses. Experimental results show that the application is almost 100% accurate

Automated Form Processing using Template Matching

the forms are collected by course and aligned, empty forms are taken out. Per course the forms are then scanned at low resolution (TOSHIBA e-STUDIO 603 at 150 dots per inch (DPI)). Finally, the forms are imported into the computer algebra software package Mathematica (http://www. where the real processing takes place. The paper feeder of the scanner introduces a shift, mainly in horizontal direction. The first step of our approach is to measure this offset, and correct for it in order to determine the correct region of interest (ROI). The ROI contains open circles and closed (selected) circles bound by four straight lines. Questions are separated by horizontal lines. This report focuses on the recognition of the open and closed circles in the ROI. After determining the selected circle, a score or result is calculated.

Roosevelt Academy (RA) is a Liberal Arts & Sciences University Honors College of Utrecht University, located in Middelburg. Per semester it offers close to 100 courses with an attendance of approximately 25 students per course. At the end of term, every student evaluates his 4 courses by means of a 21 item questionnaire, the Course Evaluation Form as shown in fig. 1. This amounts to roughly 50.000 data items per semester that must be read from paper forms and inserted in a spreadsheet for further statistical analysis; course evaluations are an important part of RA’s internal quality control system. This report presents a method to process these forms automatically. First the forms are printed and filled in by students. Then 51

Gerhard Burger • Automated Form Processing using Template Matching

Finally, all the results per course are saved in comma separated value (.CSV) files. After all the forms have been processed, the results are automatically sent to the appropriate instructor, head of department, and the director of education. The main advantages of automatic processing are that it is low-budget and time-saving. It is low-budget as no new machines have to be bought, and timesaving because the forms no longer have to be processed by hand, which proved to be very time-consuming. This report is simplified, and most of the formulas and equations are left out. What still might be confusing is the notion of adding and multiplying digital images. Since pixels also have a numerical value, and these operations are done pixel by pixel, they are practically the same as regular addition and multiplication. The only constraint is that the images must have the same dimensions. For example, if two images are added the value of every pixel at position [m, n] of the first image is added to the value of the pixel at position [m, n] of the second image. A more technical and in depth report is available for the interested reader (Burger & van den Doel, 2009).

effective, the dimensions were measured and used again in the new form. Scanned at a resolution of 150 DPI, these circles have an inner radius of 5.25 pixels and an outer radius of 7.5 pixels, corresponding to 0.07 inch (≈ 0.178 cm) and 0.1 inch (≈ 0.254 cm) respectively. Fig. 2a shows this circle. Using these dimensions, two templates of 17 x 17 pixels were created: one for an empty circle, and one for a filled (selected) circle. Fig. 2a and 2b show how the empty and filled circles, respectively, appear on the form. Fig. 2c and 2d show the templates Topen[m, n] and Tclosed[m, n], respectively the open and closed circle represented in pixels.

Template matching using Radial Projection Transformation Template matching is an image processing technique used to find parts in an image that are similar to a smaller image, the template. In template matching the template is shifted over the image and for every pixel position the similarity between the template and the corresponding part of the image is computed. A high response means the template matches the image, whereas a low response indicates a mismatch. In this paper the radial projection transformation (RPT), a special form of template matching, is used. This RPT consists of two stages: (1) converting the image of the scanned form and the template images to vectors, and (2) comparing those vectors using statistical quantities such as correlation and covariance (Choi & Kim, 2002). The RPT method is used several times in the evaluation of the forms.

Evaluation form and templates One of the first steps taken was to redesign the evaluation form. Important for processing the results are the horizontal lines separating the different questions, and the equidistance between the circles as shown in Fig. 1. They allow for creating a grid, as will be discussed in a later section. The evaluation form consists of 21 items, each with 5 possible responses. Since the dimensions of the circles on the old evaluation form were proven to be

Templates The RPT converts a 2D template image (dimensions W x W pixels, where W is an 52

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odd integer) to a radial projection vector RPV(r) of length R + 1, where R = (W-1)/2; a template of 17 x 17 pixels is converted to a vector of 8+1=9 elements. It takes the average of all pixel values on a circle with radius 0≤ r ≤ R, centered at the middle pixel in the template image. W must be odd, otherwise the center of the image falls exactly in the middle of four pixels forming a 2 x 2 square. The distance from the center is computed by r = [(m2 + n2)1/2], where [.] is the round operator, m the horizontal distance, and n the vertical distance to the center. Fig. 3 shows the templates Topen [m, n] and Tclosed[m, n] with the distance to the center for all pixels. The maximum radius r for which there is still a complete circle in the template is 8; parts of the circle with radius 9 fall outside the template image. Therefore, this circle is not taken into account. The vector has 8 + 1 = 9 elements, in which the i-th element represents the fraction of black pixels in the circle with radius i-1 from the center. Thus, the first element represents the fraction of black pixels in the circle with radius 0 from the center, which is the center itself. The second element represents the fraction of black pixels in the circle with radius 1 from the center. Using this approach the radial projection vectors (RPV) for the templates Topen[m, n] and Tclosed[m, n] become Topen : RPVopen (r) = [0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 2/7, 1, 1, 0], Tclosed : RPVclosed (r) = [1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0]. Here the main advantage of the RPT method becomes clear: RPT averages over angles and is therefore rotation invariant. This means that circles that are only “halffilled” correspond to approximately the same

RPV. Fig. 4 shows some “half-filled” circles which have the same RPV(r).

Evaluation form Per pixel of the form image (ROI of course evaluation form) the R + 1 elements of RPV(r) must also be computed. A straightforward approach is to take an image part of size W x W around the pixel under consideration and compute RPV(r) using the approach described above, and do this for all pixels. This approach takes approximately 0.5 min/form. Instead of calculating all elements of the RPV(r) per pixel of the form image, we calculate one element for all pixels of the form image at the time and combine these to get the entire RPV(r) for all pixels. Technical details are discussed in the original paper (Burger & van den Doel, 2009). This approach could be as fast as 1 sec/form.

Template Matching The similarity between the template RPV and the RPV of the form is simply defined as the squared covariance. The image of the squared covariance is then scaled to values in the range [0,1]. The result of this step is another image, in which all values are represented by the gray level of the pixels; white equals 0 and black equals 1. Fig. 5 shows a part of the form image, and the resulting image of the covariance squared between the form image and the two templates; the RPT gives high responses (black) if the image content matches the template. The scaling of the results to the interval between 0 and 1 creates a dynamic segmentation: the circles can be filled in several ways, as long as it is done consistently. This is because the best match 53

Gerhard Burger • Automated Form Processing using Template Matching

will always be scaled to the value 1. The dynamic segmentation also has a downside: when processing a form that is not filled in, the program will consider almost every circle as filled, returning random output. This can be solved by manually excluding empty forms. Fig. 6 shows some results of this dynamic segmentation for filled forms.

dilated (Castleman, 1996). Finally, segmentation is applied, removing the responses that have a covariance squared below 0.9, keeping only the filled circles, as is shown in Fig. 8. Now, for all the responses or objects that are left, the coordinates of the centers of gravity are computed and stored in a list. Relating coordinates to answers In order to relate the centers of gravity of the responses to the corresponding questions and answers a grid is used. This grid is created using the particular characteristics of the layout of the evaluation form (Fig. 1): the horizontal equidistance between the circles and the horizontal lines in between the questions. The grid is saved as a list of rectangles, where the rectangles are represented by their top-left and the bottom-right corners. Dividing the width of the form image into five equal parts determines the horizontal boundaries of the rectangles. The horizontal lines in the form image define the vertical boundaries. Discussing how the positions of the horizontal lines are determined falls outside the scope of this paper. There should be a rectangle for every item and response, resulting in a list with 21 x 5 = 105 rectangles. For each coordinate saved in the list of responses, the corresponding rectangle is determined and the correct score is written to a table. In Fig.9 an overlay of the grid with the evaluation form is shown.

Processing results Getting coordinates To get the actual responses, the image obtained by the previous step needs to be further processed first. Using an empty form (Fig. 1) and the template for the open circle, an image containing all the possible circles is created using the approach described in the previous section. This amounts to an image with 21 x 5 peaks at the centers of all the open circles. From this image only those peaks are kept (segmentation): this results in an image with value 1 (TRUE) at the position of peaks and value 0 (FALSE) otherwise. The objects with value 1 are made bigger such that they are just larger than the circles on the form (dilation) (Castleman, 1996). Now the image with responses of a filled form, obtained with the template for the closed circle, is multiplied with the image containing all the possible circles. This is identical to a logical AND operation and makes sure that only the responses corresponding to an actual circle are kept; text and added drawings which look like a circle which are not located at a possible circle are removed. Fig. 7 shows this process. Then, the responses are closed (circles are filled on the inside) using a closing filter (equivalent to applying first a maximum filter and then a minimum filter) and

Correction methods While testing the form analysis method as described above, two problems appeared. One of these was caused by the printer and scanner and one by students that fill in the forms. 54

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The extended border of Tclosed[m, n] and the fact that both the corrected and the new response circle are completely filled, causes that only the pixels outside of the circle are deciding in determining the best response. Secondly, template matching is applied and the circle which corresponds most to Fig. 11 is selected as correct response. Fig. 12 shows some results of this method. Experimental results The first opportunity to test the program was for the evaluation forms for the Fall 2009 semester. Approximately 1700 forms were aligned, scanned, processed and the results automatically sent to the instructors in half a working day. Of those 1700 forms, approximately 1650 were processed without problems. For 2 courses the forms (≈50) were printed incorrectly, they were shifted half a centimeter downwards and the program could not find the landmark anymore. This was solved by manually copying the content of the forms onto new forms and scanning them again. This time they were processed without problems. The region of interest in which the program looks for the landmark has been enlarged in order to avoid these situations in the future. On the forms that were processed without problems, the program achieved almost 100% accuracy. Furthermore, a program was created that allows for a visual check on the processed forms by drawing boxes around the answers that were selected. Fig.13 shows some results.

Offset correction While scanning the forms, the stack feeder of the TOSHIBA e-STUDIO 603 introduced a mainly horizontal offset. In order to correct for this offset, the form contains a landmark in the form of the template Tclosed (Fig. 2b). Using the approach as described in this paper, template matching in the region where this landmark is expected with Tclosed results in the center of gravity of the landmark. This center of gravity is used to calculate the offset, which is in turn used to determine the correct ROI, containing all the responses. Fig. 10 shows the image sum of 15 forms without offset correction and with offset correction, for the region where the landmark is located. Revised responses This way of analyzing forms supposes perfect responses by the students, which may not be the case; students may change their mind about a response and alter it. Using the approach described above, the response most to the right is returned, because the centers of the responses are sorted top to bottom, left to right. This will of course give an inaccurate view of the opinion of the student, and therefore a special module is built to catch these odd cases and analyze them separately. While processing the list of coordinates, a check is added to see if the question corresponding to the current coordinate already has a response. If so, the part of the form corresponding to that question is taken (using the grid) and template matching is done using Tclosed with an extended border, as shown in Fig. 11. Firstly, the lines on the form are made thicker (dilation), filling half filled circles but leaving the open circles open. Also, the cross through the circle, indicating a revision, is made thicker.

Conclusion A robust application was developed in Mathematica 7 to process evaluation forms automatically. The method is based on the Radial Projection Transformation (RPT), first published by Choi and Kim (2002). 55

Gerhard Burger • Automated Form Processing using Template Matching

The method is robust in a sense that it can also detect filled circles that are not filled as expected. The offset introduced by the scanner and the revised responses by the students are dealt with by adding two modules to the program. The application takes 3 sec/form on average. The total processing time of 2.500 forms is reduced

to a few hours, saving a lot of time compared to processing by hand. The application is also flexible; adapting the program to new forms involves changing some variables and takes approximately 15 minutes. In the Spring 2010 semester the program was adjusted to process the Tutor Evaluation Forms.

References Burger, G. & van den Doel, R. (2009). Automated form processing using template matching. Technical report, Roosevelt Academy. Castleman, K. R. (1996). Digital Image Processing. Prentice Hall. Choi, M.D., Kim, W.Y. (2002). A novel two stage template matching method for rotation and illumination invariance. Pattern Recognition, 35, 119-129.


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Figures – Figure 1.a

Figure 1. (a) Empty evaluation form, and (b) the region of interest (ROI) containing the responses. 57

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Figure 2.a + 2.b

Fig. 2: (a) Open circle, (b) closed circle, (c) template for open circle Topen[m, n], and (d) template for closed circle Tclosed[m, n]. Figure 2. (a) Open circle, (b) closed circle, (c) template for open circle Topen[m, n], and (d) template for closed circle Tclosed[m, n]. 58

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11 11 11 10 10 9 9 9 9 8 9 8 8 7 8 7 8 7 8 7 8 7 9 8 9 8 9 9 10 9 11 10 11 11

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Figure 3. Radius map for (a) Topen[m, n], and (b) Tclosed[m, n]. 59

9 8 7 6 5 4 4 3 3 3 4 4 5 6 7 8 9

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Figure 4. The RPT of these selected circles amount to RPV(r) = [0,3/4,1/3,5/8,3/8,11/14,1,1,0] .

Figure 5. (a) Part form image, (b) covariance squared Topen[m, n], and (c) covariance squared Tclosed[m, n]. 60

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Figure 6: These results show the use of dynamic segmentation

Figure 7: (a) Result from template matching, (b) image with all the circles, (c) result of logical AND. The six responses will be analyzed further.




Gerhard Burger • Automated Form Processing using Template Matching

Figure 8. Result (a) before, and (b) after applying closing, dilation and segmentation. 2

Figure 9. The grid consisting of rectangles. The dashed line shows the region of interest.

Figure 10. Fifteen added images (a) before, and (b) after offset correction.


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Figure 11. Tclosed[m, n] with an extended border.

Figure 12. Some results of the module that detects revised answers.






Gerhard Burger • Automated Form Processing using Template Matching

Figure 13. Some results, the squares indicate the selections found by the program.


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Discovering Kate Chopin’s Views on Southern Slaveholding Society: an Analysis of Speech and Thought Presentation in ‘Desiree’s Baby’ Mirjam Holleman | Roosevelt Academy In partial fulfillment of the requirements for ACC 220 Stylistics, taught by Dr. Ernestine Lahey(Spring 2009)

Abstract Kate Chopin has often been labeled a racist by her readers and critics. This essay tries to answer the question: Does the short story ‘Desiree’s Baby’ contain evidence of Kate Chopin’s view on racial subordination and slavery? ‘Desiree’s Baby’ tells the story of a seemingly white young woman, who was found by her white adoptive parents. She marries a wealthy plantation owner and nothing seems to stand in the way of their happiness until their baby is a few months old and it becomes clear that the child is not pure white. This spells disastrous consequences for Desiree and her baby. My thesis is that Kate Chopin, through the narration of ‘Desiree’s Baby’, provides a subtle critique of her society, with its institution of slavery and the racist ideologies surrounding it. I will argue this thesis by analyzing speech and (the absence of ) thought presentation, the manipulation of value-laden expressions, social deixis, modality, and the psychological point of view Chopin used in narrating ‘Desiree’s Baby’.


where did this feeling arise? Maybe it was influenced by my own cultural background and experiences, but perhaps it was also Kate Chopin’s intention to arouse this kind of sentiment in her reader and thus convey a subtle critique of her society. If so, how did she do it? By considering the narrator’s use of social deixis, modality, and value-laden expressions, I will try to discover the position or attitude the narrator takes towards the characters in her story. Social deixis refers to the way the characters are addressed (Short, 1996, p. 272). Modality

Many scholars have tried to uncover Kate Chopin’s views on slavery and her ideologies concerning race (Adams, 2003; Dyer, 2002; Peel, 1990). While she was very progressive and outspoken about the issue of gender inequalities (Adams, 2003, p. xxi; Maguire, 2002, p. 123), Chopin’s views on race remain obscure (Adams, 2003, p. xxxiii). My first impression after reading ‘Desiree’s Baby’ was a strong feeling against the absurdity of a system that classifies people based on their race and concludes that black people are inferior to white people. But from 67

Mirjam Holleman • Discovering Kate Chopin’s Views on Southern Slaveholding Society

commonly uses modal auxiliaries, or modal expressions like “may, might, must, and should” to indicate the speaker’s attitude, or level of certainty toward the propositions they express (Wales, 2001, p. 255; Fowler, 1986, p. 132). Value-laden expressions are “expressions which are evaluative in nature” (Short, 1996, p. 265). My thesis is that Chopin, through her narrator, presents the characters in the story as puppets of their society, displaying limited self-awareness and agency. Their lives are bound to, and determined by, social structures such as the institution of slavery and the racist ideologies surrounding it. She achieves this mainly through the manipulation of speech and thought presentation by an omniscient third-person narrator. Next I will explore what the reader may gather about the implied author’s point-of-view on her society, specifically concerning the issue of race. I will do this by considering the narrator’s use of value-laden expressions, modality and the specific pointof-view from which the story is narrated, referring back to the analysis of speech and thought presentation, and finally analyzing the surprise ending of the story.

story “rather than any other story,” one assumes the author sees significance in its message. “[She] intrudes at every step [of the narration], however unobtrusively.” The voice of the author is heard through the story. (Booth, 1961, p. 164). However, Kindt et al. disagree with Booth’s suggestion “that the implied author be …treated as the entity that wants to express exactly what the text means” (2006, p. 52). Moreover, they question whether the implied author should ever be “the central concept in a theory of interpretation, the defining entity to be sought for when interpreting a text” (Kindt, et al., 2006, p. 8). They see little significance in trying to understand this “implied author”. It must be said that one can never be completely sure that a narrator of a story holds the same views as the author (Woodlief et al., 2005). For the purpose of this analysis, however, I will choose to go with Booth’s claim, in The Rhetoric of Fiction, that “the author’s judgement is always present, always evident for anyone who knows how to look for it” (1961, p. 20). That is what I aim to do.

The Author Narrator, Implied Author, and Real Author

Catherine O’Flaherty Chopin (18501904) grew up during the American Civil War in St. Louis, Missouri. Much of Kate Chopin’s work covers controversial issues, yet her treatment of themes such as racism and sexism was often ignored by her contemporaries. Her literary critiques focused mainly on, and praised, her brilliant use of language and the stunning imagery (Adams, 2003, p. xx). Over time, her writing has remained popular and her “treatment of diverse characters and topics” has gained a greater appreciation (Adams,

“The implied author works ‘behind the scenes’ shaping the values that the narrative projects onto [the] audience” (Narrative Wiki). Although Booth admits the implied author is not necessarily the real author, in The Rhetoric of Rhetoric he explains that all written work has an implied author “who intrudes in making the necessary choices to get his story or argument… written in the way he desires” (1961, p. 164). Just by deciding to tell this particular 68

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2003, p. xix). Kate Chopin “refuses to provide simple answers to the difficult questions [her work] raises” (Adams, 2003, p. xix). ‘Desiree’s Baby’ raises questions concerning racial injustice and miscegenation. What were Chopin’s views on this? During the Civil War, her family and most of their friends were on the Confederate, pro-slavery, side. Her family owned slaves (Adams, 2003, p. xvi; Maguire, 2002, p. 124; Dyer, 2002, p. 239) and as a child she was taken care of by a “black mammy” (Adams, 2003, p. xvi). It would come as no surprise if Kate Chopin took over the pro-slavery ideologies of her social environment or simply never questioned the institution. Moreover, she would marry a white supremacist, Oscar Chopin, and move to New Orleans with him. It is evident that she loved and supported her husband (Adams, 2003, p. xviii), but did she fully support his racial views?

scholars have started reading her prose more closely to shed new light on this issue. Roberta S. Maguire has argued that Chopin’s novel The Awakening provides a subtle critique of Southern society (2002, p. 128). Joyce Dyer focused on Chopin’s treatment of race in particular and found that it plays a central role beneath the surface of her writing: “Chopin knows that her character’s fate is inextricably linked to the fate of Africans…She explores this theme not only in The Awakening but throughout much of her short fiction” (p. 150). Does the short story ‘Desiree’s Baby’ contain evidence of the author’s ideological point-of-view, or general mindset (Short, 1996, p. 277), concerning her society with its institutionalized system of slavery and racism?

The Setting Slavery was an institutionalized part of the antebellum Southern society in which Kate Chopin lived. Some people had started to question the morality of slavery in this era leading up to the Civil War, but Southern conservative Christians justified the institution by claiming that it had been divinely established by God (Dabney, 1867). They looked to the story in Genesis where God proclaimed “a curse on Canaan! He will be a slave to his brothers” (Genesis 9: 25). Slaveholders then identified the people of Africa as the descendents of Canaan and reasoned that “[t]hese descendants were included in the punishment of their wicked progenitors on that well-known principle of God’s providence, which ‘visits the sin of the fathers upon the children’… so that not only punishment, but the sinfulness, becomes hereditary” (Dabney, 1867, p. 102). Hence many Christians believed it

The Debate It is known that Kate Chopin was outspoken about women’s rights (Adams, 2003, p. xxi; Maguire, 2002, p. 123). It may seem contradictory to some readers that such a liberal thinker would have been pro-slavery. Yet many of her readers and critics have labeled her a racist (Dyer, 2002, p. 142; Maguire, 2002, p. 124; Adams, 2003). Others have read her works as indicative that she was ambivalent about the position of black people in her society or at least never dared to voice her own opinion, and managed to repress it completely in her fictional writing (Adams, 2003, p. xvii; Dyer, 2002, p. 139). In other words, Chopin’s views on slavery seem ambiguous and/or undiscoverable. Recently, however, 69

Mirjam Holleman • Discovering Kate Chopin’s Views on Southern Slaveholding Society

was their God-given right and duty to keep Africans as slaves. Since it was presumably God that had created the divide between white people and black people, and since so much depended on one’s skin color in antebellum Southern society, it became crucial not to blur the line between ‘white’ and ‘black’. Miscegenation was considered a serious trespass and was kept a secret when it occurred (Adams, 2003, p. xxiv; Peel, 1990, p. 227). There is no doubt that it did occur and that it created confusion in the system of classification. What if a person was half black and half white? Would God place him in the camp of the slaveholders or should he be a slave? Generally, the “onedrop rule” was applied (Peel, 1990, p. 227). If a person’s descent could be traced to indicate even “one drop” of “black blood,” it could have serious consequences for that person’s status in society – even if the person appeared to be “white”. “‘Desiree’s Baby’ calls attention to the paradoxes that result from miscegenation and the one-drop rule” (ibid.).

is used to narrate the story gives the narrator access to each of the characters’ thoughts, feelings, motives, etc. and also allows the narrator to “foresee how events are going to turn out in the future” (Fowler, 1986, p. 127). The narrator is thus distanced from the emotions and the ideologies that the characters believe in. The narrator witnesses the events of the story from a more objective point of view than the individual characters that are entangled in their fictional world.

The Characters The narrator most commonly refers to Armand Aubigny by his full name, indicating some feeling of distance (Short, 1996, p. 272). He is addressed by his first name, “Armand”, only by the characters in the story. This use of social deixis is perhaps indicative of a discrepancy between the narrator’s view of Armand Aubigny’s character and the way the characters in the story perceive him. The narrator’s portrayal of Armand will be further explored in a later section of this paper. As one reads through the first part of the story, which gives an account of Desiree’s origins and identity, one notices that the modal expressions move from expressing doubt or ambiguity: “she might have strayed there of her own accord, for she was of the toddling age” to increasingly more certainty, “The prevailing belief was that she had been purposely left by a party of Texans,” and “In time, Madam Valmonde abandoned every speculation but the one that Desiree had been sent to her (1, emphasis mine). The first sentence in the paragraph about Desiree’s origins refers to her as “the little one,” which could be seen as symbolic of her initial lack of identity, until it is bestowed or projected on her by the people

The Story Desiree, who was found as a baby and raised as a white girl by her white adoptive parents, marries a wealthy plantation owner, Armand Aubigny, and has a child with him. After some time it becomes clear that the baby is not white. That is how it is discovered that Desiree must have some black blood in her. Her husband, who was always very harsh to “his negroes” (2), becomes cold and evasive towards Desiree, too. He does not want that kind of shame on the family and finally asks her to leave with the baby. His cruelty towards Desiree ends with her suicide. The omniscient third-person point of view that 70

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she comes in contact with. Her identity is gradually constructed by these people as they speculate about her origin, and finally solidified as indicated by the use of her given name: Desiree. Ellen Peel remarks that the character of Desiree seems “malleable” and “invite[s] projection” by the other characters (p. 225). Peel moreover points to the significance of names and naming in Desiree’s Baby. First Madame Valmonde gives Desiree a name, and when Armand decides to marry her, and is reminded that she was a foundling and therefore nameless, he thought: “what did it matter about a name when he could give her one of the oldest and proudest in Louisiana?” (1). It doesn’t matter who she ‘really’ is. “Madam Valmonde wanted a child, Armand wanted a wife” and so they project their desires onto Desiree (Peel, 1990, p. 225). She becomes who they want her to be. It is noteworthy that the slave Negrillon, the black servants, Zandrine and La Blanche, and Desiree are the only characters in the story that the narrator consistently refers to by their given name. Through this use of social deixis, the narrator not only encourages the reader to feel closer to these particular characters (Short, 1996, p. 272), but also creates a parallel between them, foregrounding their similarity. This is perhaps an indication that both the identity of Desiree as well as those of the slaves may be seen as social constructs.

Indirect Thought (FIT). “The more minimal forms of presentation are unlikely to be appropriate” (311). The total absence of Direct Thought (DT) and FIT is therefore remarkable in the story of ‘Desiree’s Baby.’ Whereas speech is consistently presented directly in the main part of the story, thought is once presented indirectly and other than that not at all. In the instances where thought is clearly going on in the minds of the characters, although not presented to the reader, one is left to infer these thoughts. Verba sentiendi, which can be defined as “words denoting feelings, thoughts, and perceptions” (Fowler, 1996, p. 172), provide important clues as to what these hidden thoughts might be. Through the use of verba sentiendi,“the author [can give] an account of the mental process, feelings, and perceptions of the characters”, sometimes in an indirect way (Fowler, 1996, p. 138). This occurs, for example, shortly after Madame Valmonde’s startled exclamation, “This is not the baby!” Madam Valmonde had never removed her eyes from the child. She lifted it and walked with it over to the window that was lightest. She scanned the baby narrowly, then looked as searchingly at Zandrine, whose face was turned to gaze across the field (2). In the extract above, verba sentiendi have been italicized and serve as linguistic indicators of Madam Valmonde’s implied thought process. Especially the adverb “searchingly” may be significant in this context, as it suggests uncertainty and looking for something. Perhaps Madam Valmonde is searching for clues as to the child’s true color. What does this lack of Direct Thought indicate about characters’ awareness and control over their thoughts? Mick Short

Analysis Thought Presentation How aware are characters of their own thoughts? Mick Short explains that thought is usually presented directly or using Free 71

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explains that DT is normally used to present “conscious and deliberate thought” (p. 312). In ‘Desiree’s Baby’ there thus seems to be no indication of conscious and deliberate thought on the part of the characters. The characters are presented as being driven by something other than their own thoughts and choices. Their rationality and agency is limited. Moreover, through the use of FIT “we are bound to want to sympathize with the characters’ position” (Short, 1996, p. 316). The avoidance of this common form of thought presentation is perhaps an indication that the narrator does not wish to promote much sympathy for the individual characters in her story.

and directly those of the character; the narrator backs away in this instance. In this sense, Chopin may, through her narrator, be disassociating herself from the world of her characters. As Roberta S. Maguire observed, Chopin “seemed not wholly to identify herself in her life or through her work as a Southerner” (2002, p. 123).

Manipulation of value-laden expressions and thought presentation As mentioned earlier, there is one case of indirect thought in the narration of ‘Desiree’s Baby’. It occurs after Armand finds out his wife is black: “He thought almighty God had dealt cruelly and unjustly with him” (5). We know this is a case of indirect thought because, like indirect speech (Short, 1996, p. 304), there are no quotation marks, the reported clause is subordinated to the reporting clause even though there is no conjunction between the two clauses, and the reported clause comes after the reporting clause. Indirect thought, like indirect speech, creates distance between the reader and the character (Short, 1996, p. 305). The reader is therefore less likely to sympathize with Armand. Rather than representing his thought directly – “God has dealt cruelly with me” – the narrator mediates in conveying the thought from the character’s mind to the reader. Rather than distancing herself to let the characters do the talking and thinking, her voice remains close and exerts control. Interestingly, the same adjective, “cruelly”, that Armand is said to have used to describe God’s actions, was used previously by the narrator to describe the way Armand spoke to Desiree. The value-laden expression – “cruelly” – thus parallels these two instances. The narrator evaluates Armand’s

Speech Presentation Except for one instance of Narrator’s Representation of Speech Act, which simply gives an indication of the general content of the talking that occurred (Short, 1996, p. 298) – “He [Armand] was reminded that she was nameless” (1) – speech is consistently presented directly in the main part of the story. The ‘main’ part is that which is temporally located in the present, so not including the opening section of the story, which is a flashback. The first instance of (direct) speech is Madam Valmonde exclaiming, “This is not the baby!” Direct speech can usually be identified through the use of quotations marks and the fact that the reported clause is not subordinated to the reporting clause (Short, 1996, p. 288). It is commonly used to emphasize the weight and significance of what a character is saying (Short, 1996, p. 292), as well as indicate a character’s true expression without interference of narrator’s interpretation of what was said (Short, 1996, p. 288). The words that the reader receives are thus purely 72

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actions the same way Armand evaluates God’s. Perhaps Chopin is implicitly indicating her own point-of-view on the situation: namely that Armand got what he deserved. It can be argued that the narrator’s implied opinions match those of the author, as “authors do tend to use third-person narrations to narrate attitudes with which they sympathize (Short, 1996, p. 258).

stands out. That is to say, it is foregrounded because it is externally deviant. Perhaps this is an example of Joyce Dyer’s observation that “At times… the truth about race in America haunted and overwhelmed Chopin – and became so great it led to the temporary loss of artistic control” (p. 149). It seems fair to say that the statement “… must have stabbed him, if he was human” is a strong one, coming from a narrator that is expected to make very few judgments. Perhaps Chopin is using her narrator to let her own critique, especially towards Armand, shine through here.

Internal Type B and Narrator Modality Fowler divided psychological point-of-view into four distinguishable types. Using his framework, ‘Desiree’s Baby’ can be classified as ‘Internal Type B.’ Characteristics of ‘Internal Type B’ include: an omniscient narrator, using third-person pronouns, significant use of verba sentiendi, and an infrequent use of narrator modality – which would make explicit the judgments or opinions of the narrator. With Internal Type B the “author-narrator can…locate himself in an ideological and spatio-temporal position independent of the characters” (p. 137). It is thus possible that Kate Chopin held a different view on reality than her characters and that she allowed her own thoughts and feelings – about the world of her characters – to be read between the lines of the story, as has been explored in this paper. There is at least one instance in the story of which it can be said that the authornarrator gave away her opinion in a less than subtle way. It involves a clear case of narrator’s use of modality: “she [Desiree] called to him [Armand], in a voice which must have stabbed him, if he was human” (4, emphasis mine). Since narrator modality is infrequent in Internal Type B narrations, the use of the modal auxiliary, “must”,

From Critique of Individual Character to Social Critique It may be tempting to cast the blame for Desiree’s misfortune and the tragic ending of the story on Armand. Ellen Peel argues that the reader becomes too concerned with the individual characters, leaving little room for the author to pass a critique on society at large. “By failing to connect the personal with the political [‘Desiree’s Baby’] stops short of attacking hierarchical power structures” (Peel, 1990, p. 237). Peel is of the opinion that Desiree is presented as a type of ‘poor little rich girl’. Desiree’s misfortune is presented as stemming from the shocking realization that she is not who she thought she was and the subsequent loss of her privileged position. It is all about Desiree’s individual bad luck as she is brought to suffer by her mean husband. However, it can be argued that the critique of the story goes beyond the individual characters. By avoiding the most common form of thought presentation, which encourages sympathy for the characters, the narrator perhaps tried to steer our attention away from the individual characters. 73

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Moreover, the narrator chose to foreground a similarity between Desiree and the slaves by making them the only characters addressed by their first names throughout the story, possibly portraying both as social constructs. The further significance of this similarity will be discussed in the next section of this paper. The other part of my argument for this has also been covered previously: thought is not presented in the entire story, but through verba sentiendi, the reader does get the impression that thought goes on in the minds of the characters. The fact that it is not presented, though it is present, is perhaps an indication that it occurs on a subconscious level. For instance, there are indications of subconscious, repressed knowledge – especially in the character of Desiree – that only gradually begin to surface. She tells her mother “I am so happy; it frightens me” (3). “Frightens” is a strange word to use in this instance. Is it really happiness that frightens her? Grammatically, the phrase “it frightens me” is separated by a semicolon from “I am so happy”. I think this could be an indication that in her subconscious mind, too, her fear is not related to her joy but stems from something else. Is she perhaps becoming aware of the fact that she and her baby are black, and of the consequences this will have for them in their society? If the characters are not given the agency to control their own thoughts or even be fully aware of their thought processes, then can any individual character be blamed for what happens in the story? Perhaps one should be more inclined to look at a greater power, for example society’s structure, that steers and determines the characters’ lives. The characters are unable to look beyond

this social structure. They cannot perceive a different reality other than the one that says Africans are a ‘cursed’ race.

The Ending At the end of the story, Armand discovers a letter that reveals that his mother was black. His mother’s words appear paradoxical in that she “thank[s] the good God for having so arranged [their] lives that… Armand will never know that his mother… belongs to the race that is cursed with the brand of slavery” (6) when it was this same “good” God that presumably cursed the entire African race to begin with. Chopin may be employing irony, as “an oblique polite form of criticism” (Wales, 2001, p. 224), to express the view that people and societies, not God or nature, create classifications such as race and institutions such as slavery. Thereby she reduces society’s racial structures and ideologies to less than the divine establishments they were often perceived to be. Moreover, recall that the narrator used social deixis to equate the character of Desiree with those of the slaves, and therefore both identities could perhaps be viewed as social constructs. It can be said then, that through this ending, where Desiree turns out to be ‘innocent’, the narrator may be suggesting that the African slaves, too, should not be presumed to be cursed by God. One’s beliefs and actions can turn out to be unjustified. The story of ‘Desiree’s Baby’ pulls into question the possibility of true knowledge (Peel, 1990, p. 223). It is full of surprises and unexpected twists of fate, so that Kate Chopin may “[appear] to be endorsing the traditional southern view of slavery, but actually complicates this stereotyping” (Dyer, 2002, p. 151). 74

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However, Rachel Adams (2003, p. xxiv) claims that Armand knew all along that it was he who was not white – so Desiree may still have been fully white – and he lied to cast the blame on Desiree to save his own image. Adams then uses this interpretation to propose that the story’s underlying ideology is racist, as the protagonist ends up suffering at the hands of a ‘black’ man. But I am of the opinion that Armand never knew it until the end either. For example, indefinite articles are used, indicating that the letter and the information it presents to Armand is ‘new,’ not ‘given’ (Short, 1996, p. 266): it was “an old letter from his mother” not “the old letter from his mother.” Moreover, “He read it”. Why would he read it if he already knew what it said? And even if the story is ambiguous about whether Desiree or Armand was ‘to blame’ for the fact that the child was not white, and whether Armand knew or not, it seems to me that the story is really trying to say that skin color should not matter at all. Skin color is only significant and decisive to the individual characters because they live in a society that has made it to be so.

Africans isn’t real, it was real to those in Kate Chopin’s society who believed it to be real. It was real to her characters in ‘Desiree’s Baby’. But, arguably, it did not seem like a fixed reality to Chopin. “Chopin knows there can be no freedom – in the South, or anywhere in the nation, not in a single heart – without the recognition that black servitude in any form dare not remain. And there can be no artistic freedom without finding a way – perhaps encoded, nuanced, contradictory... – to say this” (Dyer, 2002, p. 152). This is, as I have argued, is what Chopin did in Desiree’s baby. She accomplished this through her negative portrayal of the racist slave owner, Armand Aubigny, for example. Moreover, by narrating the story from a point-ofview that allows the author to disagree with the characters, and presenting their speech directly, Chopin disassociates herself from the characters’ ideas. Finally, by not presenting conscious, direct thought on the part of the characters, and by creating a parallel between the character of Desiree and the slaves, she manages to steer the focus of her subtle critique away from the individual characters in the story to their society. She could see the absurdity and the contradictions in the system that classified people based on their race and encouraged white supremacy, and arguably, through the voice of her narrator, she tried to get this message across to the reader.

Conclusion The Thomas Theorem (Thomas & Thomas, 1828) holds that when something is perceived as real, it has real social consequences (qtd. in Merton, 1995, p. 380). Although we know that the curse on


Mirjam Holleman • Discovering Kate Chopin’s Views on Southern Slaveholding Society

References Adams, Rachel. (2003). Introduction. The Awakening and Selected Short Fiction. By Kate Chopin. New York:

Barnes & Noble Classics, xv-xxxvi.

Booth, W.C. (1952). “Implied Author.” The Rhetoric of Rhetoric. Chicago: UP. Booth, W.C. (1961). The Rhetoric of Fiction. Chicago: UP. Dabney, R. L. (1867). A Defense of Virginia (and through her, of the South,) in Recent and Pending Contests Against

the Sectional Party. New York: E. J. Hale & Son.

Dyer, Joyce. (2002). “Reading The Awakening with Toni Morrison.” Southern Literary Journal, 138-153. Fowler. (1986). “Point of View.” Linguistic Criticism. Oxford: UP, 127-146. Fowler. (1996). “Point of View.” Linguistic Criticism, 2nd ed. New York: Oxford UP, 266-173. “Implied Author.” (2008, May 15). Narrative Wiki. Georgetown University and the Ohio State University Press.

Retrieved Jun 15, 2010, from:

Kindt, Tom, and Hans-Harald Muller. (2006). Narratologia, The Implied Author: Concept and Controversy. Berlin:

Walter de Gruyter.

Maguire, Roberta S. (2002). “Kate Chopin and Anna Julia Cooper: Critiquing Kentucky and the South.

Southern Literary Journal, 123-136.

Merton, Robert. K. (1995). “The Thomas Theorem and the Matthew Effect.” Social Forces. 74.2, 379-422. Peel, Ellen. (1990). “Semiotic Subversion in ‘Desiree’s Baby.” American Literature. 63.2, 223-237. Short, Mick. (1996). Exploring the Language of Poems, Plays and Prose. Essex, UK: Pearson Education Limited. Wales, Katie. (2001). A Dictionary of Stylistics. (2nd ed.). Harlow, England: Pearson Education Limited. Woodlief, A., B. Bird, & L. Yakle. (2005). “Glossary.” LitWeb The Norton Introduction to Literature Website.

Norton and Company. Retrieved 15 Jun, 2010, from:



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De-colonial Epistemic Shift: The Act of Knowing in Practice and Theory Anne Hordijk | Roosevelt Academy In partial fulfillment of the requirements for SSC 312 Contemporary Latin American Social Theory taught by Dr. Rolando Vazquez

Abstract The “de-colonial epistemic shift” challenges traditional Western ideas about knowledge as objective and universally true. Epistemic and political projects striving for social justice show that knowledges are constructed from social experience and therefore closely related to subjectivity. The paper conceptualizes knowledge as a social, political and ethical topic and develops the idea of an “ecology of knowledges” as an epistemic alternative to the totalitarian discourse of modernity. Concrete examples are given to illustrate how knowledge relates to interventions in reality. The underlying premise is that social justice is attainable only through a diversity of social experiences that is reflected in knowledges engaging with one another.


alternatives to the existing world order. The people who have experienced the imposition of modernity and the accompanying label of inferiority upon them struggle both in concrete social movements and on the epistemic front. In this context, ideas about knowledge from the Western tradition of modernity have to be revised. The “de-colonial epistemic shift” asks for a conceptualization of knowledges – in the plural – grounded in social experience. This paper will develop a tentative response by exploring the idea of an “ecology of knowledges” (Santos, 2006). With this concept, it is possible to pose a plurality of knowledges against the hegemonic modern epistemology, instead of merely replacing it by a similarly totalitarian one. This difference will be made clear in

In what is considered the West, modernity may be a self-evident reality. In the modern world, science is the accepted form of knowledge, liberal democracy and human rights the standardized ideal for political organization and the free market the dominant economic model. These hegemonic ideas originated in Western Europe, but have been forced on the rest of the world as well. Non-Westerners experienced modernity “from its other side”, as it was forced upon them and tied with the denial and destruction of other ways of being. A group of Latin American scholars have termed this “dark side” of modernity “coloniality” (Mignolo, 2005). The experience of coloniality lies at the basis of different kinds of thinking that propose 79

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comparisons between de-colonial projects and some versions of Islamist thought. The paper approaches “knowledge” as entangled in social reality, politics and ethics. Thus, the understanding that is formed of the topic is ethical as much as theoretical.

(Mignolo, 2005). Although this is now no longer fashionable, this racialization of differences (Walsh, 2007, p. 231; Mignolo, 2005, p. 17) has also been presented as scientific.

The de-colonial epistemic shift Western epistemology

The universality of Western thought, assumed by most Westerners, is questioned by others. These others are the ones at the wrong end of the spectrum that ranges from primitive to modern. They have been exploited and they have been denied their rights as autonomous subjects of their own; as Mignolo explains, “control of money and control of meaning and being are parallel processes” (2005, p. 153). In Latin America, projects striving for the liberation of the marginalized are therefore performing a social shift as much as an epistemic one. Thus, from people and places that have met the West through colonization and exploitation, other ways of thinking emerge. They show that the supposed universality of Western thinking does not apply to their social realities; it has in fact invisibilized them, their realities and their epistemes (Walsh, 2007, p. 224) by subsuming the whole world in its narrative. From these previously silenced experiences, efforts are being made to break away from the universalist pretentions of Western ideas. An example of this is the indigenous movement of the Zapatistas. They rebelled against neoliberal exploitation and oppression by the Mexican government and established autonomous rule. The very act of doing this reveals the limits of Western thought, because it is based on an experience that does not exist as such in the Western tradition. It is “delinking” from Western thought. The de-colonial epistemic

Using the adjective “Western” will inevitably cause generalizations. Here, it will denote the hegemonic discourse and epistemologies that are Eurocentric (Grosfoguel, 2007, p. 3), most notably that of modernity. Alternative and critical ways of thinking that also found their origins in Western minds should be assessed in their own right. In Western philosophical tradition, knowledge is perceived as an objective entity that humans can uncover and possess. Point of departure is the assumption that an objective, neutral position can and should be assumed in discovering the truth (Grosfoguel, 2007, p. 4). Reason and science are the tools one works with. Reason is seen as transcending the subjectivity of the individual, providing access to the abstract world of knowledge. In a similar fashion, science seeks to compose of the systematic observation of facts general, universal truths about the functioning of the world. In this epistemology, the knowing subject gradually increases his grasp of the world. Knowing amounts to being able to dominate over reality. The discourse of modernity can be seen as the epitome of Western philosophy. It has produced rational abstract ideals of progress and development that are supposedly applicable to the whole world. Doing so resulted in the creation of a hierarchical classification of people, ranging from primitive to developed and modern 80

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shift is made by projects of liberation that are both political and epistemic. What they share is a recognition of the other and a striving for social justice. The first step towards this goal is decolonizing knowledge and being, and allowing for a diversity of ways of knowing and being to coexist (Aparacio & Blaser, 2008, p. 83). The re-claiming of epistemic and subjective rights has important implications for the understanding of knowledge itself, too.

or interventions in reality. He contrasts his usage of knowledge with “knowledgeas-a-representation-of-reality”, which is a “knowledge in abstraction” (2007, p. 15). He proposes an “ecology of knowledges”, which is a real alternative to the present totalitarian discourse of science as the only valid epistemology (Santos, 2006, p. 18). Crucial to this concept is the recognition of diversity in social experience and therefore in knowledges. One consequence of this approach is that questions about knowledge can no longer be asked in terms of truth and falsehood, instead this must be done in terms of relevance and credibility (Santos, 2006, p. 19). No knowledge can be assumed to be universally applicable and true, as knowledge exists only by virtue of its relevance, which lies initially in its specific context. There is, however, the possibility of “concrete hierarchies” of epistemologies (Santos, 2007, p. 15). These will be based on a pragmatic approach to real-life problems; whatever intervention in reality provides the best solution to a particular problem will be implemented. Thus, it gives different epistemologies equal opportunities in concrete situations.

An understanding of knowledge From objective universality to subjective pluriversality The first point to address is that of objectivity and universality. From the epistemic shift, it becomes clear that knowledge is a product of engagement and interaction between the knowing subject and reality. As there are many subjects and everyone experiences reality from a different angle, many different subjective realities and knowledges exist. This can be called a shift to pluriversality (Mignolo, 2005). As it is physically impossible to know of all existing realities, any knowledge is ignorant of other realities and knowledges (Santos, 2004, p. 19). Thus, all knowledges are particular and partial, because of their spatial and temporal location with the subject. This is a shift from the supposed Western objectivity, which has for centuries been a European White male’s standpoint vis-à-vis the world (Grosfoguel, 2007). In sum, the knower matters; knowledge is not objective, but a specific, subjective articulation of reality. The next questions would be what a knowledge consists of, and what the relation between different knowledges is. Santos speaks of knowledges in terms of practices,

Social context and political power of knowledge However, as knowledge is formed from social experience, practical or technical knowledge cannot be seen completely separate from “structural knowledge”. This latter term will be used to denote more abstract philosophical or ideological forms of knowledge, which are related to questions of identity and meaning. Santos recognizes this by stressing the importance of translating knowledges, which has to account for structural differences between epistemologies 81

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(Santos, 2004). In other words, one cannot simply extract pure technicalities embedded in an enveloping discourse. An example of this from a different context is provided by Tibi, when he discusses “the Islamic dream of semimodernity” (2002, p. 66). He criticizes attempts of some Islamists to embrace only what he calls “institutional modernity”, while denouncing the “cultural project of modernity”. These terms can be seen as parallel to practical knowledge and structural knowledge. Islamism is an umbrella term for political projects that are set up as an Islamic alternative to modernity. Some of these – but by no means all of them – aim to accept the practical, tangible products of modernity, while replacing the modern worldview with one that supposedly returns to the roots of Islam. For Muslim Brotherhood intellectual Sayyid Qutb, among others, the only acceptable alternative is the “nizam Islami” (Islamic order). Despite the rhetoric, this system is an invention of their own, which lacks historical precedent and a concrete outline. It is a direct reaction to modernity, which does not delink from it, but leads to a similarly totalitarian discourse. This form of Islamism thus reproduces the logic of modernity, its assumed universality and the exclusion of other epistemologies, substituting the ideas of progress and the democratic state with the “return” to the “nizam Islami” (Tibi, 2002). If knowledge were an objective truth, it would end where interpretation, beliefs and values begin. The social construction of knowledge, however, entangles these concepts. The subjective processing of reality and its consequential interpretation is the very starting point for the forming

of knowledge. Interpretations are shaped by what was previously termed “structural knowledge”. A further idea of this concept may be given as follows. The situation of knowledge in time and space is also a situation in a “historical-cultural condition and experience” (Walsh, 2002, p. 70). Thus “foundational elements and a logic grounded in a cultural system of thought” (ibid.) structure the subjective experience and the forming of knowledge. Some examples of these elements are language, grammar and the subjective experience of time (Santos, 2006). These processes at the collective level are the basis of a knowledge that cannot be neutral and has political power (Walsh, 2002). Structural elements of knowledge are founded in the experience of social reality, their presence at the same time shapes how social reality is experienced. The articulation of knowledge thus has a power that is social, ethical and political; knowing becomes a performance of subjectivity. Claiming epistemic rights, then, is the act of asserting one’s own subjectivity, instead of being the object of another knowledge (Walsh, 2007). It allows for an assessment of the world in one’s own terms, and forms the basis of another way of living and another way of organizing one’s world. The most concrete illustration of this comes from those who are performing the de-colonial epistemic shift; largely Indigenous social movements in Latin America. The Zapatistas from Chiapas, Mexico are exemplary for the projects that are both epistemic and political. As they say about “los Caracoles” (autonomous Zapatista municipalities): “This method of autonomous government was not simply invented by the EZLN [Zapatista Army of National Liberation], but rather it 82

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comes from several centuries of indigenous resistance and from the Zapatistas’ own experience” (EZLN, 2005). The quote shows the difference between the Zapatista and the Islamist projects discussed above; while the first are trying to construct their own world from their own experience, the latter attempt to project another abstract, totalitarian discourse on the world.

level, behaving becomes acting when one becomes conscious of what one is doing. The articulation of this consciousness forms a knowledge which is the first step toward a possible change in the way one is partaking in reality. As such, a knowledge can be conceived of as an intervention in reality, be it in abstraction in first instance. Knowing acts as a claim of subjectivity in an otherwise objective reality, which changes the quality of that reality. It is then no longer a detached entity one is subjected to, but one becomes involved and assumes the power to act, to intervene in reality concretely. In an ecology of knowledges, this amounts to an infinite array of latent interventions. Thus, although the initial concept seemed to be designed for concrete practical problems, it may be possible to apply it to broader currents of consciousness as well. This understanding is similar to the one Santos employs in his concept of the “sociology of emergences”, although it puts a stronger emphasis on the implications of knowledge in abstraction and the “fluid interconnection of culture-identity-politics” (Walsh, 2002, p. 69) extending to practical knowledges. To describe this idea, the term “ecology of subjectivities” might be appropriate. The ideal-typical conception of a coexistence and dialogue between knowledges and subjectivities finds expression in the Universidad Intercultural Amawtay Wasi in Ecuador. This university is a transformation from the conventional, Western idea of a university, for which Mignolo coins the term “pluri-versity” (2005, p. 122). The intercultural university Amawtay Wasi is based on Indigenous principles and cosmologies, but seeks to serve the whole of society (Universidad Intercultural Amawtay

Ecology of subjectivities Understanding knowing as a political act may lead to a re-interpretation of Santos’ working definition of knowledge as practice and intervention in reality. Distinguishing and separating “abstract” and “practical” forms of knowledges has been demonstrated to be problematic, as they stem from the same social experience and are therefore to a high degree entangled (cf. Tibi, 2002, p. 69). Knowledge has been formulated as a social construct and the act of knowing as a performance of subjectivity that shapes further experience of reality. Reality is interpreted and re-shaped in as many knowledges as there are subjectivities, while collective experiences form to a great extent the way in which these knowledges are articulated. These particular conceptions of reality are social, ethical and political and they enable the formulation of possible concrete interventions. By performing the act of knowing, people take their place in social reality and take on the possibility of shaping the world they experience. They can give meaning to phenomena and take up responsibility for change. On the collective level, a formulation of knowledge as past experience paves the way for a change in current experiences of reality, as demonstrated by social movements like the Zapatistas. On the individual 83

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Wasi, 2004). It conceives of knowledge “not as an isolated ‘thing’ […] but rather as the emergent result of communal effort” (Aparicio & Blaser, 2008, p. 78). In three cycles, students learn ancestral knowledge, Western knowledge and intercultural knowledge with the overall goal of “learning wisdom and the good way to live” (UIAW, 2004). Amawtay Wasi contributes to the decolonization of knowledge by putting Indigenous epistemologies on a par with the Western one of science. At the same time, it does not negate the validity and use of science where relevant. This is what constitutes “interculturality” and can be seen as the ecology of knowledge at work. The close connection and interaction between living experience and knowledge also allows for an interpretation of this university as an ecology of subjectivities in practice.

conscious of a possible other way of behaving. As such, there can be no purely technical exchange of epistemologies without a change in the experience of reality. What was termed “structural knowledge”, is then in the end also dynamic. If the functioning of an ecology of knowledges is extended to subjectivities, this may be formulated as the continuous evaluation of subjectivity in respect to reality. The term “translation” can play an important role here also. In an ecology of subjectivities, or knowledges that are not directly practical, translation means a dialogue between subjectivities. This dialogue inevitably becomes part of subjective reality and, as such, a tool for a continuous assessment and re-assessment of knowledges, meanings and identities. The mutual molding that takes place between the formulation of knowledge and the experience of reality renders both permanently under construction. In that case, translation may be seen as taking place as much between as within subjectivities, and the formulation of knowledge may be seen as a subjective translation of reality. The example of the totalitarian Islamist projects shows what happens in case translation lacks. Tibi explains that the World of Islam encountered modernity through military expansion and subjugation that was made possible by technological superiority (2002, p. 68). As a response, some Muslim countries adopted products of Western thought without accommodating them in the corresponding framework of structural knowledge. This project was doomed to fail, which leads Tibi to state that “politically, economically and culturally, the encounter with the West has shattered Islamic civilization” (2002, p. 72). Islamism

Dynamic knowledge Key principles of an ecology of knowledges are the equality of opportunities for epistemologies and subsequently the forming of concrete hierarchies (Santos, 2006). To function, an ecology of knowledges needs translation of knowledges (ibid.). Santos defines translation as “the procedure that allows for mutual intelligibility among the experiences of the world” (Santos, 2006, p. 36). This will have to account for the differences in knowledge that are structural, only after a translation procedure a well-founded assessment of epistemologies can be made. With an understanding of knowledge as the performance of subjectivity, the act of translation means another intervention in the experience of reality. In the procedure of translating knowledges, one articulates the way in which one behaves and becomes 84

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arose from this experience. For some Islamists, however, operating in a world dominated by the West was coupled with a straightforward rejection of every form of Western thought. This creates a discrepancy between reality and formulated knowledge; subjects are not actively engaging in a translation of reality. Thus their possible interventions are disengaged from experiences and reality. The invention of the “nizam Islami” is the illustrative case. If knowledge is not grounded in reality, an intervention in reality has to be imposed and forced upon the world, instead of being the result of an interactive process with that reality.

advanced (Mignolo 2007). Paradoxically, the idea of subjectivity was objectified and universalized according to a specific experience of subjectivity which was White, European and male. Thus a Eurocentric approach (Grosfoguel 2007; Mignolo 2007) was wrongly conceived of as an “anthropocentric approach” (Tibi 2002:65). The idea of subjectivity was not allowed to remain with and within every subject. Subjectivity then lost its value, as the world, its history and future were narrated in a pre-set version. The supposedly objective, universal understanding of reality allowed for concrete interventions in the world that were also supposedly objective and universal. European technologies and institutions were to become universal technologies and institutions. Both the Islamic world (cf. Tibi 2002) and what was to be known as Latin America (cf. Mignolo 2007) suffered from this fatal project. Coloniality then is the experience of imposed interventions in reality that are alien to one’s own dynamic interaction with reality, while being denied that very experience. An ecology of knowledges and subjectivities, on the other hand, allows for the inevitable differences between people’s concrete experiences that arise from the concretely different environments they are in. Here, science and European subjectivities can coexist with other knowledges, recognizing that none of them are universal and static. Thus the modern idea that science can, should, and will find a solution for any possible problem is mistaken and unnecessary. Science, also, is not an objective tool, but a development from a specific (European, male) understanding of the world. Other people in different contexts can, should and will find their own

Conclusion By way of conclusion, another look at modernity will be given in perspective of an ecology of knowledges. Key to the “project of cultural modernity” is “‘the principle of subjectivity’, according to which a person is defined as an individual of free will, capable of determining his/her own destiny and changing the social and natural environment” (Habermas, quoted in Tibi 2002:24). This sounds remarkably similar to the ideas presented above in the discussion of the ecology of knowledges and, indeed, subjectivities. At the same time it is a flagrant diversion from what was previously said about modernity. How is one to account for the discrepancy between the modern idea of subjectivity and its conception of knowledge as objective and universal? Where did the experience of coloniality come from? The problem is that the principle of subjectivity was exclusively linked to European history, which allowed Europeans to perceive themselves as the most 85

Anne Hordijk • De-colonial Epistemic Shift: The Act of Knowing in Practice and Theory

ways of dealing with problems. If modern thinkers had not tied the principle of subjectivity to their specific experience of it, they would have recognized that it had been at work all along. It did not have to be “brought” or “developed” in other social environments. Whatever people make of their environments, this is a product of the performance of their subjectivity

within these environments. Any unilateral intervention in that ongoing process disrupts it. By contrast, interventions that are multilateral, that is to say, via dialogue and translation, can expand the horizons of experienced reality for everyone involved. This may lead to inclusive epistemic and political projects to find ways to establish social justice.


Ad Astra • June 2010

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Ad Astra Issue Four  
Ad Astra Issue Four  

June, 2010