formerly Best Student Essays
UNM Nonfiction Review
Limina UNM Nonfiction Review
formerly Best Student Essays volume 32
Published by the Student Publications Board at the University of New Mexico. All rights revert to contributors upon publication. Limina: UNM Nonfiction Review publishes nonfiction work, including academic papers, memoirs, and photo essays, from undergraduate and graduate students at the University of New Mexico. Email: email@example.com Website: limina.unm.edu Printed by Starline Printing 7111 Pan American Freeway NE Albuquerque, NM 87109 505-345-8900 Cover design by Ally Wiesel and Bella Davis Magazine design by Bella Davis Cover image: From the photo essay “Brother” by Bryce Dix, edited in Photoshop for the cover, original appears on page 35 Fonts: Termina, Mrs Eaves
To transformation, and to hope in the face of uncertainty.
Masthead Limina: UNM Nonfiction Review is made by students for students. Our staff is comprised of undergraduate (and sometimes graduate) volunteers who solicit submissions, select works for publication, copyedit, design, and market the magazine on campus.
Bella Davis Ally Wiesel Symon Majewski Indica Simpson Loreena Cain
— — — — —
Editor in Chief Managing Editor Editor Editor Editor
fter thirty-one volumes of Best Student Essays—spanning more than thirty years— we’ve changed our name. Limina is the plural form of the Latin limen, meaning “a threshold.” College is by its nature transformative. We’re changed by the people we meet, the ideas we’re exposed to, and the work we do. We find new opportunities and new passions. This magazine is a labor of love. It’s always occupied an unfortunately small space on campus, but its continuous publication, year after year, communicates an important message: “We’re here. We care. Students’ voices should be amplified and the work they’re doing matters.” As you move through the pages that follow, bear in mind that most of the students published here have never been published before. In submitting their writing, they’re placing a great deal of hope in us, the editors, and you, the reader; hope that we’ll carefully read every submission and, if we select their work for publication, that we’ll diligently edit it while upholding their unique style; hope that you’ll come to their work with kindness, curiosity, and a desire to understand their perspective. And so here it is, the first edition of Limina: UNM Nonfiction Review. We’re so very excited to share it with you. Really, what I want to say is this: I hope we always remember what becomes possible when we care.
Ta b l e of (1) “and that can’t come from God, right?”: An Exploration of Queerness and Religious Violence Through Danez Smith’s “Genesissy” — English Department Award Alex Dickey Nominated by Jonatha Kottler, Honors College (8) Spring Awakening: Revived and Deaf! — English Department Award Rhonda Hall Nominated by Dr. Maria Szasz, Honors College (18) Election Security in the Age of the Internet: A Policy Analysis of Options to Combat Cyber-Based Election Interference Liam Paul Nominated by Dr. Renee Faubion, Honors College (24) The Sectional Identities of Sandra Cisneros in Chicana Literature Benjamin Tabáček Nominated by Sarah Worland, English Department
C onte nts (33) Brother Bryce Dix Nominated by Kate Nash Cunningham, Department of Communication and Journalism (40) Jesus Christ Superstar and Hamilton: Bringing Old Revolution into Sharp Relief Ella Rappaport Nominated by Dr. Maria Szasz, Honors College (47) The Future in Our Stars Anna Granquist Nominated by Jonatha Kottler, Honors College (57) Masking War Through Excessive Representations of Patriotism in Meet Me in St. Louis Laura Anderson Nominated by Angela Beauchamp, Department of Film and Digital Arts (63) Place & Identity — English Department Award Crys LaCroix Nominated by Dr. Cleophas T. Muneri, Department of Communication and Journalism
“and that can’t come from God, right?”: An Exploration of Queerness and Religious Violence Through Danez Smith’s “Genesissy” Alex Dickey
eligious violence has been the primary way in which queer people interact with the broader American public since the contemporary definitions of “queer” have emerged. As new identities and definitions such as transgender and, in particular, nonbinary genders have surfaced, the ways in which religious violence affect the queer and trans communities have never been more relevant. In turn, the ways in which queer and trans artists discuss the community’s relationship with religious violence have never been more vital to our understanding of these dynamics. In Danez Smith’s poem “Genesissy,” Smith queers the narrative of the biblical creation story, making queer people integral to the fabric of mankind and bringing an otherwise marginalized community to the forefront of the conversation. Perhaps more importantly, Smith underlines the complexities that exist between queerness and religious violence. Before discussing queerness and transness in Smith’s work, it is imperative to discuss queerness and transness as they relate to Smith themself. Danez Smith identifies as gender non-binary, or a person “whose gender is not male or female”
(National Center for Transgender Equality). Though there is some debate on the subject, non-binary identity is generally accepted as a transgender identity, making Smith a trans writer. This is particularly salient as it makes “Genesissy” a piece of writing about the black trans community written by a member of that community. However, Smith has said they want “to continue to be a voice for hushed choir boys, the walking shadows, the joy, hurt, and journey of the black, queer men” (Melton 10). This selfidentification with the lineage and journey of black queer men is indicative of a blending of categories, that Smith is at once perhaps both gender nonbinary but still within the boundaries of manhood. This blending, which is in and of itself arguably an act of queering, creates questions surrounding Smith’s transness or lack thereof. In addition to their queerness and their transness, Smith’s blackness permeates their work, including “Genesissy,” which explicitly tackles issues facing black-identified queer and trans people. The intersectional pressures facing black queer people, especially black transgender women of color, are particularly heavy and all too 1
often deadly. The violence these people face is often rooted in religious rhetoric, with studies noting “an ever-present communal rhetoric around same-sex behavior as against the will of God and thus not valued within Black religious communities” (Garrett-Walker). This religious violence is at the core of much of the queer community’s struggles for acceptance in the broader culture, as well as at the core of “Genesissy.” Violence against the queer community is a significant problem. In 2016 alone, 6,121 hate crimes against LGBTQ people were reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, constituting a five percent increase from 2015 (US Official News). This number is likely lower than the actual number of hate crimes committed, as reporting these crimes is not compulsory. Though it is impossible to say how many of these crimes were motivated by religious beliefs, it is certain that religious rhetoric against the queer community is pervasive. In his book God Hates Fags: The Rhetorics of Religious Violence, Michael Cobb describes scenes ranging from the pickets of the Westboro Baptist Church to the murder It is evident from of Matthew Shepard, the outset that and in reference to “Genesissy” will be Christian attitudes on blending queer and the LGBTQ community religious themes he states that “hatred together. is mainstream” (Cobb 3). Indeed, the Southern Poverty Law Center’s 2018 list of LGBT-focused hate groups is prefaced by confirmation that “anti-LGBT groups primarily consist of Christian Right groups.” It is into this atmosphere of intolerance and fear that Danez Smith writes “Genesissy,” as an expression of fear and fearlessness in the face of religious oppression.
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It is evident from the outset that “Genesissy” will be blending queer and religious themes together. The title itself is an example of that blending, being a portmanteau of Genesis, the first book of the Bible and the home of the creation story, and sissy, a derisive epithet often used to describe effeminate men and boys. By linking the mockery of queer men to the beginning of the Bible (and indeed, the beginning of all things), Smith makes violence against queer people integral to our understanding of the world around us, a fact made to be self-evident. Throughout the poem, Smith makes use of both direct biblical language and slang originating in queer communities of color. The poem opens with “and on the 8th day, God said ‘let there be fierce,’” with the first section of the poem being structured around the “and on the __ day” structure (Smith). This wording mirrors that of the Biblical creation story, which takes place over seven days (New International Version, Gen. 1:1-2:3). As with the title, Smith’s additions to the creation story directly tie queer people of color to the biblical creation story, making queerness as natural as phenomena such as darkness and light. Furthermore, by using religious, specifically Christian language to do so, Smith is using the language of oppressive Christian communities to liberate the very people those communities marginalize, using violent religious
language as a pathway towards freedom for queer people of color. The manner in which the figures of God and Jesus are characterized in the first section also directly serves to subvert religious imagery and language. Smith writes, “On the 12th day, Jesus wept in the mirror mourning how his sons would shame his sons for walking a daughter’s stride” (Smith). Describing Jesus weeping at the shaming of queer men as opposed to joining in or commanding the condemnation is a reversal of much of the root of religious violence. Even God “just didn’t know what to do with himself” in response to violence against queer people (line 28). This inaction is contrary to God’s more “traditional” call to action against the queer, and similarly serves as a reversal. This reversal returns Jesus and God to their biblical function as beings of love and points out the fault in using these figures to encourage hate. The structure of the second section of the poem also mirrors the Bible. Beginning “the Lord begat man, man begat sin, sin begat a new joy,” much of the rest of the section is structured around repeated use of the word “begat” (Smith). This is a reference to the book 1 Chronicles in the Bible, which denotes the lineage of the Hebrew people and is structured in a similar fashion. The use of “begat” equivocates the story of God’s chosen people with
the story Smith is telling. By doing so, Smith highlights the divine importance of his own narrative. The section also includes another direct biblical reference, this one to the book of Leviticus. Early in the section, Smith writes that “sin begat a new joy, a new joy begat Leviticus,” which is in and of itself a brief story of sorts. The reference This reversal returns to Leviticus is almost Jesus and God to certainly referring to their biblical function the following verse: as beings of love and “If a man has sexual points out the fault in relations with a man as using these figures to one does with a woman, ecourage hate. both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads” (Lev. 20:13). This verse is commonly cited as the primary biblical condemnation of homosexuality. The “sin” that Smith refers to is queerness, which created “a new joy,” which in turn led to Leviticus. Importantly, this places Leviticus as a backlash (which is more in keeping with the often reactionary nature of Christian institutions in response to queerness) as opposed to a divine law that preceded the “invention” of homosexuality and other queer identities. This section then serves to chart the story of humanity and queerness after the creation story that took place in the first section, similar in narrative structure to the Bible itself. The most important part of the story Smith tells in the second section takes place at the end of the section, detailing a direct instance of violence. They describe how “the song begat a hymn at the sweet boy’s funeral, the sweet boy’s funeral still begat his aunt’s disgusted headshake, his aunt’s disgusted headshake begat the world
that killed the girl child and stole her favorite dress off her cold shimmering body.” The shift from “sweet boy” to “girl child” is one laden with transness, with the delayed realization that the “girl child” was killed because of her trans girlhood which is symbolized by “her favorite dress” and “shimmering body.” Also described is the aunt’s “disgusted headshake” Ultimately, the which “begat the world end of the poem that killed the girl addresses another child.” This directly facet of religious lays the blame for the violence: spiritual, in violence responsible addition to physical for killing the “girl and emotional. child” at the feet of those who propagate homophobic and transphobic attitudes, in this case the aunt. Immediately following the funeral scene, Smith ties the narrative back to religion. The final line of the second section is “and that can’t come from God, right?” Here, Smith returns to the definition of God as a being of pure love to question how love could lead to such hate, and even violence. Furthermore, by making it a question instead of a statement, Smith forces the audience to answer the question for themselves, on their own terms. The final section of “Genesissy” is a fragmented and bastardized version of the traditional hymn “I Am On the Battlefield,” twisted to reflect the reality of what terms like “battlefield” mean to people in the queer community. Smith openly says “I am the battlefield,” demonstrating how the queer body has been made into the site of violence, embodying the cruelty leveled against it. The poem ends with the phrase “I, I die, I battle my Lord,” with the repetition of “I” emphasizing the individual strength and individuality of
the titular “I” (Smith). Ending the poem by saying “I battle my Lord” is a simple and effective way to describe how many queer people struggle not only with religious violence, but, as a result, with religion itself. This robbing of communal spirituality is merely a different kind of violence, one which entails a sort of “battle” with the Lord (or any other deity). Ultimately, the end of the poem addresses another facet of religious violence: spiritual, in addition to physical and emotional. However, in “Genesissy,” Smith does more than simply point out the mores of religious violence. In their act of subversion, they queer the Christian tradition itself. This act is important, as it calls into question Christianity’s fundamental relationship with queerness. In his book Queer Christianities, Mark Larrimore writes, “Marginalized people’s experience is a truer framework for understanding the meaning of the gospel, and that includes the experience of sexual minorities.” This assertion is based in the gospel’s numerous references to the poor and downtrodden (such as the famous “So the last shall be first, and the first last” [Matthew 20:16]). By forcing the perspective of queerness on Biblical texts and stories, Smith forces their audience to reconsider the Bible from the perspective of a marginalized community, which is arguably more true to the intent of the Bible itself. This further evidences
the wrongheadedness of Christian religious violence. With greater specificity, transness is also an important part of “Genesissy,” and is also an important part of queerness more broadly. The poem is dedicated to “Deloqui Jones and Islah Meadows, two black transgendered women who lost their lives at the hands of their own communities,” with “their communities” being a reference to the black communities these women belonged to (Smith). An important piece of context for this poem is the dangerous environment in which many trans women of color live, as “a large majority of transgender homicide risk is borne by young Black and Latina transfeminine individuals” (Dinno 1446). As has already been discussed, a majority of violence against queer and trans people is religiously motivated, and as Smith is a trans person of color, it is self-evident that the trans element of queerness is of at least some importance to the poem. Religion and transness specifically also have a particular relationship, at least in regards to modern Western conceptions of transness. As religious studies examine the intersections of gender, sexuality, and religion, more liberal theologians are in the process of applying transness to Christianity and other traditions. In “Transing Religious Studies,” Max Strassfeld argues that “whether or not we are transgender, we engage in trans
theology whenever we try to look past sex and gender, bodies and binaries, to understand what in humanity reflects the image of God” (52), which here serves as another example of the queering (specifically, transing) of religion. This can be drawn back to “Genesissy” in its efforts to view religious traditions through a marginalized lens, both pointing out the contradiction of religious violence and making religion and queerness somewhat less mutually exclusive. Smith strives to do a similar thing in regards to queerness, and transness specifically, in their poem, bringing transness to the discussion as an integral part of both queerness and religious violence. In their performance of “Genesissy,” Danez Smith layers multiple exemplifications of the relationships between queerness and religion on top of one another. The text of the poem itself, as explored above, deals directly with these relationships. Additionally, however, in performing this poem in a cisnormative mode as a non-binary person, Smith subverts expectations of gender and transness. By appearing as radically different than what one might expect Religion and a trans person to look transness specifically like, Smith normalizes also have a particular trans identity, folding relationship, at least transness smoothly in regards to modern into the picture of an Western conceptions average person. This of transness. “everyday transness” has the effect of underlining how religious violence affects queer people by making those people seem more fully realized to the audience. While it may seem counterintuitive to emphasize transness by performing cisnormativity, it is precisely in the normativity that the key to the performance lies. Smith’s approach to the performance of
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gender, then, adds another layer to the already multifaceted “Genesissy.” In their poem “Genesissy,” Danez Smith weaves queer and trans themes into the Christian tradition, pulling queerness and its relationship with religious violence directly in front of their audience. In doing so, Smith emphasizes the pervasive nature of religious violence and the complicated relationship between queerness and religion itself. These complicated relationships, which are often fraught with violence, are at the crux of the safety and livelihoods of queer and trans people throughout the United States, and even the world. “Genesissy” examines the violent ways in which queerness enters the public forum and is understood by millions of people. This violence must be addressed if the lives of queer and trans Americans are to ever improve.
Works Cited Cobb, Michael. God Hates Fags: The Rhetorics of Religious Violence. New York University Press, 2006. Talvacchia, Kathleen T., et al. Queer Christianities: Lived Religion in Transgressive Forms. New York University Press, 2015. Strassfeld, Max. “Transing Religious Studies.” Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, vol. 34, no. 1, 4 Apr. 2018, pp. 37–53. Garrett-Walker, Ja’Nina J., and Vanessa M. Torres. “Negative Religious Rhetoric in the Lives of Black Cisgender Queer Emerging Adult Men: A Qualitative Analysis.” Journal of Homosexuality, vol. 64, no. 13, Feb. 2016, pp. 1816–1831. Melton, McKinley E. “I’ve Got a Testimony: James Baldwin and the Broken Silences of Black Queer Men.” James Baldwin Review, vol. 2, no. 1, 2016, pp. 6–27. “Understanding Non-Binary People: How to Be Respectful and Supportive.” National Center for Transgender Equality, 5 Oct. 2018. “New International Version (NIV).” Biblica. Human Rights Campaign Staff. “Data Shows Increased Reported Incidents of AntiLGBTQ Hate Crimes.” Human Rights Campaign, 13 Nov. 2017. “Anti-LGBTQ.” Southern Poverty Law Center. Dinno, Alexis. “Homicide Rates of Transgender Individuals in the United States: 2010–2014.” American Journal of Public Health, vol. 107, no. 9, 8 Aug. 2017, pp. 1441– 1447.
Spring Awakening: Revived and Deaf! Rhonda Hall
o many, a deaf musical sounds like an impossibility. However, the world of deaf theater is one rich with history and adversity. Particularly on big Broadway stages, deaf roles are close to unheard of and there is an extensive past filled with deaf roles being filled by hearing actors. In her article about “Disabilities in the Fine Arts: Deaf West Theater Revolutionizes Communication,” Rosie Alger discusses the long road deaf actors and actresses have endured and are still enduring; similarly, she notes that deaf actors are receiving the most attention they ever have, due in part to the success of the Spring Awakening revival of 2015. Prior to this revival, deaf people did not have a place on Broadway. In an op-ed for the Washington Post, Sandra Mae Frank, who plays Wendla in the revival, speaks out about the struggles within the community to get where they are now as well as just how far there is to go: #DeafTalent, the official hashtag to promote deaf artists and spread awareness about oppression in the theater, has had a big impact on the deaf community, but the story of its creation is an ugly one. The community has stood by and watched in frustration for years as roles for deaf characters have been filled by hearing actors: ‘Medeas,’ ‘Listen to Your
Heart,’ ‘After the Silence’ and ‘The Secret Life of Words,’ to name a few. (Sandra Mae Frank in the Washington Post as quoted by Alger) The newest revival of Spring Awakening has opened eyes and hearts in ways never before seen in deaf theater as a whole. What about this particular show is so special and why does it seemingly lend itself to the prospect of a deaf production? Being one my favorite musicals of all time, I have so thoroughly enjoyed exploring the countless ways in which this revival was crafted and have seen how uniquely Spring Awakening is an especially valuable deaf production. Spring Awakening first premiered at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre on Broadway on December 10, 2006. Set in late nineteenth century Germany, the story details the struggles of a group of teenagers going through comingof-age turmoil. In a society heavily censored by religious rhetoric, the young characters are forced to learn about sex through their own trial, error, and research. As summarized by Scott Miller, the show is about “a handful of teenagers first discovering their own sexuality, along the way grappling with masturbation, abortion, homosexuality, rape, child abuse, and suicide” (262). The difficult topics addressed in the show are relevant even today, over one
hundred years after the original play takes place. The musical itself is innovative in how the creative team chose to utilize music: “Although set so long ago, the creative team on the original production chose to go with contemporary rock music to further communicate the rebellion and youthfulness of the cast” (Miller 263). Using angsty rock music accompanied with old Victorian school boy outfits makes the show interesting and new from beginning to end. Not only is the content of the music unique and controversial, but the technical aspects are equally as defiant of Broadway precedents. In the time of Rodgers and Hammerstein, the greatly influential musical theater writing team of the mid-nineteenth century, the art of seamlessly weaving music in with the story was mastered. Concept musicals later turned the musical on its head by removing plot. Just as these types of musicals have been created through the years, Spring Awakening is an example of a new type in that the music is hardly integrated into the story at all. The creators of the musical state that “the songs…came to function as subtext” and “[they] wrote songs as confession” (Sheik 11). The purposeful distinction between spoken and sung content produces two independent worlds within the story: that of the characters and that which lies in the minds of the characters. This technique, according to Miller, “transformed this long-ago story
into a contemporary, relevant piece of theatre” (263). The original production with Lea Michele, Johnathan Groff, and John Gallagher Jr. won eight Tony awards and ran for two years in its first run (Miller 264). The 2015 revival also won a Tony for Best Revival and broke several boundaries on the Broadway stage. Deaf West, established in California in 1991 by Linda Bove and Ed Waterstreet (“Inside Deaf West Theatre’s ‘Spring Awakening’”), is considered to be the “premier sign language theatre in the U.S.” and their primary goal as an organization is to set higher standards for inclusive theatrical experiences (Marks). Around two years prior to the Broadway premiere, Michael Arden and Andy Mientus came together with the idea for a partially deaf production of Spring Awakening. They wanted to cast two of the three main characters as deaf to place communication issues at the forefront of the story (Talks at Google). The first performances were in Los Angeles where Deaf West is located and one year later, a producer offered to take it to Broadway for a special Not only is the 18-week run. Its success content of the has been unparalleled, music unique and as the revival was able controversial, but the to profit even just in technical aspects the short 18-week are equally as run and the cast made defiant of Broadway history on numerous precedents. fronts. Spring Awakening is the first Broadway production to employ deaf people as 50% of its cast and crew and their cast included the first ever person to perform on Broadway in a wheelchair, Ali Stroker. Ali has since continued to be on Broadway in shows such as the recent Oklahoma! revival, but she remains the only person in a wheelchair on Broadway. This production of Spring Awakening is
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extraordinarily unique in terms of the idea behind it and how it came about. In an interview with Google, the voice of Wendla discusses how the creative team came up with the idea surrounding the show’s core theme of As I watched the communication (Talks at production, the Google). The entire show tensions among centers around adults’ the adults and unwillingness to share the children were information with their tangible. children and communicate fully about all of the confusing, painful experiences teenagers go through from sexual identity to their education. Since 90 percent of deaf children have hearing parents, these same communication issues can be even more pronounced as they come of age. Additionally, sign has been prohibited on and off throughout history in schools where most deaf children become enculturated in the Deaf community to begin with; this has countless repercussions similar to that of what the Spring Awakening characters experience. In the American Theatre Wing program, director Michael Arden discusses the original idea that he brought to the deaf artistic director, DJ Kurs: “Here’s the idea. There is a hearing mother and a deaf daughter and the daughter is asking, ‘where do kids come from?’ and if the mother only knew the signs she had learned from her daughter, how would she be able to impart this knowledge with her hands? She wouldn’t be able to so, therefore, this destructive chain of events would occur because communication was broken” (“Working in the Theatre: Sign Language Theatre”). Deaf children of hearing parents experience these kinds of issues all the time which is an obstacle with which most hearing children would never dream of dealing. As I watched the
production, the tensions among the adults and the children were tangible. Those tensions are rooted in deep miscommunications and a lack of willingness to bridge gaps. The use of these relevant issues in Deaf culture made the show much more impactful and meaningful as a deaf production. The point was not to do a dry translation from English to ASL, but rather to truly connect the culture to the story in ways that are purposeful rather than just convenient. Through my growing coursework in ASL, I have learned a lot about Deaf culture and history which is partially why this revival of Spring Awakening was so profound to me. The producers so beautifully integrate a plethora of concrete issues that the Deaf community have faced for centuries, especially in educational institutions. Since the founding of the very first American deaf school in 1817 in Hartford, Connecticut, deaf school curriculum has yo-yoed back and forth between a variety of methods prior to finally recognizing ASL in the 1970s and ‘80s, a result of the research and advocacy of William Stokoe, the creator of the first real ASL dictionary. The most problematic and common methods were that of Signed English and oralism, which are examples of dialectization and replacement, respectively. Dialectization is the process through which those with the most power convince those with less power that their language is simply
a less intelligent dialect of their own language and that, in order to fix this, the language must be made more like the ruling language. This is how Signed English came about. Signed English utilizes the modality of signing, but uses English word order, grammar, and concepts. It is not a naturally occurring separate language, but rather was invented as an English system. Alternatively, the even more oppressive process used was that of replacement which is essentially forbidding a population from using their own native language and, instead, forcing them to use the dominant language. For deaf people, this means not being allowed to use their hands at all and learning to speak aloud instead. Oralism leads to some major issues in terms of language acquisition and general learning since lip reading is not sustainable or doable and because deaf people are unable to effectively hear or produce the sounds they are forced to mimic. These oppressive teaching methods have set deaf people back for centuries. Although times are changing, there is a long way to go. Spring Awakening’s 2015 revival does an amazing job of integrating the historically accurate issues of the 1890s time period in which the show is set. In 1880, the Milan Conference/Congress occurred which was essentially a meeting of educators, hearing and deaf, where they discussed what method of
teaching would be most effective. The hearing majority ruled in favor of oralism and across Europe and the U.S., deaf teachers were fired and signed languages were banned. Spring Awakening occurs just following this monumental step back for the Deaf community and reflects that time painfully and poignantly. With the issues regarding deaf oppression in mind, it’s interesting how the producers of the deaf revival chose to incorporate these tensions in both the academic and home realms. In the numbers such as “The Bitch of Living” that occur in the classroom, the audience can see the students signing to one another, but when the teacher speaks it is in spoken English only. The students are not supposed to sign at all. This is entirely historically accurate, as the Milan Conference that made oralism the standard had happened just a few years prior. “Through aggressive manhandling, hand restraint, and forced speech, the schoolroom scenes play up the adult characters’ efforts to repress the youth while also avowing an active dimension of the politics of deaf education in Germany during the For deaf people, writing of Wedekind’s this means not play” (Wilbur 148). This being allowed to treatment is reflective of use their hands at the historical period the all and learning to musical is set in. When speak aloud analyzing the script, instead. artistic director DJ Kur and his team purposefully looked back on the Deaf cultural issues that occurred in the 1880s right after the Milan Conference which led to the decision that all deaf children be educated through oralism and that all deaf teachers be fired. Learning a language that you are unable to hear or mimic is painful and the goal of the musical was to show that perspective (American Theatre Wing).
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Sarah Wilbur notes that the directors Arden and Kur’s attention to history is demonstrated in the show through “privileging of oral and aural learning practices through tactile manipulation by schoolmasters to effectively situate [Moritz] Stiefel’s educational failure… as a failure to perform to pedagogical standards driven by speech and sound as dominant senses” (Wilbur 148). Moritz is unable to perform at the standards given to him, but he is not given a fair chance either. When the boys are reciting lines of Latin, the fully deaf Moritz Stiefel, played by the fully deaf Daniel Durant, is forced to stand up and speak the lines orally. He, of course, makes mistakes and is condemned accordingly. In the process, the teacher often yells at him with his back turned or when at his side. Moritz is not given the opportunity to understand as he cannot see or hear what is being said to him. In the Deaf community, Moritz would be known as an oral fail. She cries out to Oral fails are those who her mother, ‘Why never achieve much of didn’t you tell me a formal education due everything?!’ to the failure of the oral education system. Fully deaf individuals are unable to thrive in an oral environment and, therefore, often fail and drop out, or, in Moritz’s case, get kicked out. Addressing this issue, particularly through Moritz’s storyline, who later commits suicide, speaks volumes about the consequences of these methods. In the same thread, Wendla’s relationship with her mother is strained by her lack of legitimate ASL knowledge. When Wendla first asks her mother where babies come from, she presents a botched ASL response with botched meaning; this is in part due to the fact that she does not want to tell Wendla, and partly because she is
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unable to communicate it to her daughter in the first place. Later in the show, when Wendla’s pregnancy is revealed, Sandra Mae Frank, the deaf actress who plays Wendla, speaks aloud the only words she says in the entire show. She cries out to her mother, “Why didn’t you tell me everything?!” (booksandcats7). For me, this was one of the most impactful moments in the show and was made far more profound by the deaf element. In the original production this moment is heartwrenching, of course, but the fact that Sandra Mae Frank speaks only those words and screams them out with such emotion elicits something special in the audience. This choice on the part of the directors and producers further highlights the communication gap between Wendla and her hearing mother. Wendla dies later on as well from a botched abortion. Both of the characters who lose their lives in the story are deaf teenagers who were not given any other opportunity or way out. Language is the key to each of these issues, a truth taken into account by the creative team when constructing the ASL translations. Naturally, in translating a work of art from one language to another, there will be major obstacles. Languages do not express the same things in the same ways and often the more abstract ideas can get lost in translation. Hearing actor Andy Mientus, who plays Hanschen, addresses the misconception people
carry about ASL and English being analogous to one another and assuming that what is being signed is the same as what is being sung during a given song. This is a false assumption, as the structures of the languages are entirely separate. Mientus uses a line from “The Guilty Ones” as an example: “Who can say what dreams are? Who can say what we are?” In ASL, if one were to translate verbatim rather than interpret, they are signing, “Dreams in a jar, can’t. Us in a jar, can’t” (American Theatre Wing). This specific example is entirely demonstrative of how different languages convey abstract, poetic meaning in different ways. The overall meaning is the same, yet they are presented in very distinctive ways. This was a challenge the creators faced and I so admire how much care was put in to ensure the ASL side of things received its due care. The use of touch in some of the songs is an aspect of the show that resonated with me and touched me in ways that the original production did not. Particularly, in the song, “The Word of Your Body,” which is a very intimate song, many of the signs are performed on a different signer’s body (Jenna Grossbarth). I highly recommend watching both the Act I “The Word of Your Body” as well as the later Act II reprisal (Bird Mom), as the same touch is used. In the Act I song, Melchior and Wendla start the song sitting
side by side signing adjacent to one another. As the song begins to refer to being “your” wound, they turn to one another and place some of the signs being “done” to the other person on that person’s body. For example, the exact translation of the last chorus is, “Oh, I Languages do not will become hurt. Oh, express the same I will express/give things in the same (your) hurt. Oh, I will ways and often bruise (you). Oh, you the more abstract will bruise (me).” All ideas can get lost in of the “you” and “your” translation. pronouns are achieved by literally signing the word “bruise” or “hurt” on the other’s forehead or chest. The English translation for the chorus is, “Oh, I’m gonna be wounded. Oh, I’m gonna be your wound. Oh, I’m gonna bruise you. Oh, you’re gonna be my bruise.” In the reprisal, the first time Hanschen signs a word on Ernst’s chest, he pulls away. This is also reflective of their relationship, as it is new and uncertain. During that time, two boys together was unacceptable, so Ernst’s hesitation being integrated into the ASL lyrics was equally as profound to me as the presentation of the first version. The signed form of this song entirely changed my perspective on the song overall which speaks to the efficacy of the interpretation done. I previously referenced the “voice” of Wendla (depicted by Katie Boeck), which is a piece of the distinctive communication efforts that occur throughout the show. The characters played by deaf actors are shadowed by their “voice” who sings in English while the actor signs their lines and lyrics. The voices are also members of the band, so they are often seen carrying guitars or playing piano. They bridge gaps in communications for hearing audiences just as
deaf audiences have always desired in return. Some have thought of them as the characters’ subconscious, or guardian angels, or imaginary friends. The role of these voices is not just functional, as can be seen numerous times throughout the show. The characters often interact with their voices as if they were a second person. Some have For example, during thought of them “Mama Who Bore Me,” as the characters’ the scene opens with subconscious, or Wendla on one side guardian angels, or of a mirror and her imaginary friends. voice on the other side as they sing/sign. They perform as one. As the show continues, they act less and less like one united whole and more like the voice is a manifestation of Wendla’s conscience. According to Rosie Alger, “A character’s voice often acted as a personification of their conscience or who they internally saw themselves as, and little things throughout the show made the two inseparable” (Alger). This idea is made evident in how Wendla and her voice interact. During “I Believe,” when Melchior is convincing Wendla to have sex, her voice can be seen down below in the fetal position at one point in the interaction. Even though all the audience sees is the voice’s shadow, her posture adds a second layer of meaning to the interaction between Melchior and Wendla. Particularly with Wendla, “…the actors and their shadows exchange glances or inaudible confidences, enlarging the illusion of characters’ interior lives” (Marks). Her voice doubles down on the uncertainty of the moment with Melchior and is able to amplify that in the audience’s eyes as well. The conscience theory is diminished slightly by the interactions of some other characters with their voices. The most communication between voice
and self is seen in Moritz. There are subtle interactions that make it appear as though Moritz’s voice, played by Alex Boniello, is a separate entity, whereas Wendla’s is presented as more of an extension of the self. For example, there is a point in the show when Moritz gives his voice a cigarette (booksnadcats7). Just this tiny exchange adds a great deal of complexity to the voice as a symbol in the show. During “Don’t Do Sadness/Blue Wind,” Moritz’s voice is very active in determining Moritz’s fate with Ilse. Just as Moritz is about to agree to at least walk Ilse home, his voice runs into the scene and pulls him away from Ilse suddenly (Jenna Grossbarth). Once again, the voice seems like the character’s conscience, but, in Wendla’s case, the voice stood by and watched Melchior and Wendla. In this manner, Moritz’s voice is distinctive from the others. The inclusion of voices in the show is so characteristic of this revival specifically and set it apart from any show I have ever experienced. Yet another consideration taken in the show–necessarily so–is that of sightlines. Sightlines are a unique shift that needed to be made for the half deaf production. For example, in the original production, in classroom settings for numbers like “The Bitch of Living” and “All That’s Known” the desks face forward towards the audience. In the revival, the desks are arranged at a kind of slant diagonally across
the stage so that the audience can see the profiles of all of the cast members. The chalkboard is also placed at a slant so that captions could be projected during the periods of strict speaking such as when the teacher speaks. These staging choices make the show allinclusive for both hearing and deaf theater-goers and bridges the communication gaps being demonstrated in the show itself. Throughout the show, all of the performers and sets are oriented to have enough signing space and to be facing toward the crowd with enough light to be seen and properly understood. The show lends itself well to these necessities, as the sets are already “extremely minimalist, using only chairs to delineate scenes” in the original production (Miller 263). As such, the staging and choreography did not require a complete restructuring of the show as a whole. With the choreography, the show becomes a mind-blowing technical sensation. The choreography integrates constant cues between the hearing and deaf actors in order to keep both of them on the same beats and sequences throughout the show. Choreographer Spencer Liff has said he prefers to use actordriven cues that don’t draw one’s eye such as an arm movement, posture, eye gaze, or body shift (American Theatre Wing). For example, in “And Then There Were None,” there is a point at which someone on
the stage holds the railing of the bed and when that person opens their hand, Daniel Durant (Moritz) starts signing a given part. The show is filled with tiny details in order to keep the hearing and deaf actors in sync with one another. “And Then There Were None” is especially rife with cues that can be picked out if one knows what to look for. There are several occasions on which Durant is given a sheet of paper and each of those times he stops signing. When it is taken from him, he begins again in a new verse. The conversation-like structure of the song lends itself well to this back and forth as countless cast members interact with Durant and each other so that both Durant and his voice are able to stay on the same page. Liff states, “I think it’s the most complicated piece and the part that the audience doesn’t notice at all” (American Theatre Wing). The difficulty in detecting these cues without knowing exactly what to look for is a testament to just how well-designed the show is as a whole. Not only are these technical phenomena fascinating, but the goal of With the the choreography was to not only bring ASL to choreography, the show becomes hearing people but also a mind-blowing to bring music to deaf technical people, as artistic director sensation. DJ Kur has discussed. In terms of how the signs are presented, the choreography of the songs is rhythmic and fluid as it moves with what the hearing people are hearing from the band. In this way, it bridges a gap between two cultures in a beautiful way that can be universally understood (American Theatre Wing). I can’t express enough just how excited I was to find out that my favorite musical had a deaf revival. My two worlds really did collide in the most beautiful and eye-opening way
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possible. I couldn’t help but cry at several points throughout the musical, partially because of the emotional impact of the tragic story, but also because of how thankful I am that this production was done so well with so much attention to detail. Although I am not deaf and, therefore, lack authority on the matter, I was proud every moment of watching and I can only hope that the future is even more bright for deaf talent that are so often ignored in mainstream entertainment, among other industries.
Works Cited Alger, Rosie. “Disabilities in the Fine Arts: Deaf West Theater Revolutionizes Communication.” The Elm, 4 Feb. 2016. “Deaf West Spring Awakening Act 1 [Subtitled].” YouTube, uploaded by Spring Awakening, 11 Aug. 2017. “Deaf West Spring Awakening Act 2 [Subtitled].” YouTube, uploaded by Spring Awakening, 7 Sept. 2017. “Deaf West Theatre’s ‘Spring Awakening’.” Facebook, uploaded by Washington Post, 27 Oct. 2015. “Don’t Do Sadness/Blue Wind.” YouTube, uploaded by Jenna Grossbarth, 24 Aug. 2016. “How to Make A Musical for The Deaf.” YouTube, uploaded by BuzzFeedVideo, 6 July 2015. “Inside Deaf West Theatre’s ‘Spring Awakening’.” Facebook, uploaded by Salon, 2 Feb. 2016. Marks, Peter. “’Spring Awakening’ gets a stunning revival - and reinterpretation - with deaf actors.” Washington Post, 29 Sept. 2015. Miller, Scott. “The Rock Musical Now and Forever.” Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll, and Musicals, University Press of New England, 2011, pp. 262–264. “News Q’s -- Lights, Gestures, Action! How to Stage a Broadway Musical with Deaf Actors.” The Learning Network: Teaching & Learning with The New York Times, 2015. “sa 06-13-15.” YouTube, uploaded by booksandcats7, 29 July 2017. Sheik, Duncan, et al. Spring Awakening. [Electronic Resource]. Theatre Communications Group, 2007. “Spring Awakening (Broadway revival cast) | Talks at Google.” YouTube, uploaded by Talks at Google, 10 Nov. 2015. “The Mirror Blue Night.” YouTube, uploaded by Jenna Grossbarth, 24 Aug. 2016. “The Word of Your Body.” YouTube, uploaded by Jenna Grossbarth, 24 Aug. 2016. “The Word of Your Body (Reprise) DWSA NY cast.” YouTube, uploaded by Bird Mom, 13 Mar. 2018. Wilbur, Sarah. “Gestural Economies and Production Pedagogies in Deaf West’s Spring Awakening.” TDR: The Drama Review: The Journal of Performance Studies, vol. 60, no. 2 [T230], 2016, pp. 145–153. “Working in the Theatre: Sign Language Theatre.” YouTube, uploaded by American Theatre Wing, 20 January 2016.
Election Security in the Age of the Internet: A Policy Analysis of Options to Combat Cyber-Based Election Interference Liam Paul
eeping elections safe and secure has always been one of the main priorities of a democratic state, as fairly run elections are the only way to guarantee a properly democratic system of government. Over the years, however, the process of election securitization has become notably more complex, with a larger voting population and the advent of new technology. In the past, attempts at influencing elections had to be done with the aid of a poll worker, or with a vast media or religious network. Thus, measures such as sporadic election audits to ensure validity and an equal time regulation on traditional broadcast platforms to help ensure fairness of media coverage for candidates have been instated (Burke 1, 47 U.S.C. § 315). Measures like this are illequipped to deal with more modern electoral threats, however. Today, actors wishing to influence elections have taken to computerized methods such as making private campaign and party documents public as well as creating misinformation campaigns targeted at pivotal voting
populations, according to comparative politics researchers Hansen and Lim (152). These methods, along with potential ones such as tampering with electric grid infrastructure, constitute a new threat to the electoral process, one that skips the voting center and goes straight to the voters themselves. A modern problem such as this requires a modern solution, one that can reach voters, or at least change the way voters are reached during elections. Solutions that meet this requirement include an updated perspective on and greater investment in civic education and attempting to interfere with foreign actors abroad. The most applicable and astute solution, however, is regulating social media companies’ advertising practices and treatment of data. By regulating the entities that have been used to influence voters, foreign actors cannot reach key voters as effectively, if at all. Background Information The newer kind of election interference through computerized means, dubbed cyber voter interference by Hansen and Lim, has occurred
multiple times within the last few election cycles worldwide, notably in France in 2017 and the United States in 2016 (150). Among the options for interfering with foreign elections, these methods are prominent and effective because while voting machines have been in use for decades, they are not connected to the internet except for when their software must be updated and when the results are sent to the respective authority’s database for election results (Burke 12). And while voting machines tend to be outdated as well as prone to bugs and glitches, their general security makes them harder to infiltrate. Newer methods, such as targeted disinformation, have proven to be easy to employ and efficient in their voter influence, however. There is no U.S. statute prohibiting the spread of deliberately false and misleading information, unlike the way false advertising has been regulated in traditional media (15 U.S.C.§ 54). This means that foreign actors, including those sanctioned by governments, have been able to mount campaigns of private document distribution and targeted misinformation. An example of how methods of cyber voter interference work can be found in data consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica, a company that grew in infamy in the 2016 U.S. presidential election after revelations that the firm had harvested and bought data on
over 50 million Americans, and was using that data to manipulate voters in some of the closest projected swing states (Berghel 84). While misinformation on a broad scale serves no other purpose than to create confusion, targeted misinformation campaigns can make a real difference in election results in states and districts whose elections can be decided by as little as thousands of voters. The fact that data scientists at Cambridge Analytica were able to gather and utilize data so easily is alarming, as it raises issues about the vulnerability of social media users, as well as the ease at which misinformation is spread on social media platforms. Social media users in the United States, as well as across the globe, are ill-equipped to discern which information sources are truthful and can be trusted. This Social media users may be due to a in the United States, lack of education as well as across the on the topic, but globe, are ill-equipped blame may also to discern which fall on the culture information sources created by news on are truthful and can social media. As news be trusted. is spread more on social media than by traditional means, media platforms are forced to make more sensationalist content aimed at attracting users to view their content, instead of focusing on fact-finding and representation of the whole truth within a story.
Policy Options To solve the looming problem of digital electoral interference, two options stand out as the wisest choices. These are a revitalized and better-supported civic education program and a bold new application of existing regulatory 19
framework to social media companies. Both options aim to protect the populous from the effects of cyber interference but attempt to do so in different ways. A return to mandatory civic education in schools across the country, with a revitalized curriculum focused on As civic expression educating young people changes form in about citizenship and younger generations, how it applies to them, so too does the could help the voting definition of population eventually citizenship. understand the media landscape and how to discern between the misinformation promoted by foreign actors and accurate news. Regulation of social media companies’ ad content and user data as a public resource, in the same manner that traditional media is regulated today, would make social media platforms a safer place to consume information and news content, as many Americans switch to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter as their primary news sources. A new approach to civic education would have to incorporate lessons on how to navigate the new online frontier of civic expression. Traditionally, conversations about civics and politics have occurred in the home and in public places. However, new research by education scholars Literat and Kligler supports the idea that newer generations are taking these discussions online (401). Namely, their research found that young internet users are expressing their political beliefs in online communities dedicated to animation, creative writing, and video creation (403). As civic expression changes form in younger generations, so too does the definition of citizenship. Although citizenship is not and cannot be directly taught in schools, it is the intended product of a civic
education program. With that goal in mind, it becomes difficult to design a curriculum of civic education due to the many forms that citizenship can take. Three forms are outlined by Westheimer and Kahne in their seminal research into citizenship: the personally responsible, the participatory, and the justiceoriented citizen (240). These types all use different methods but share the same goal of contributing to society in their own way. With online expression included in these types of citizenship and civic expression, a new civic education curriculum begins to take shape; students must be taught to navigate the internet with civics in mind and discover how to express their political and civic ideals online and elsewhere. Regulating social media companies must be done carefully because of the problems that arise from depriving users and content creators of their First Amendment rights. Therefore, a regulatory rationale must always be present when imposing regulations on the media to explain their constitutionality. In the case of social media, the public resource rationale, as applied by technological policy expert Phillip Napoli, would be the best course of rationalization because of its precedent and applicability to the matter (8). The public resource rationale, when applied to social media, says that ad content, and especially the data of the platform’s users, is a scarce public resource and therefore can be restricted
in its acquisition and use by the government. This rationale has been in use since the advent of radio and thus has legal precedent, as well as a historical record of practice. It should be applied to social media to lessen the data acquisition of large firms such as Cambridge Analytica, as well as to give users a more fair and truthful experience on social media platforms. Policy Analysis In weighing the solutions to the issue of digital election interference, both proposed options have their benefits. Civic education changes and investment could increase the voters’ knowledge at the ballot box as well as insulate them from targeted misinformation campaigns and data leaks. Regulation of social media platforms could rein in a disproportionately powerful political group and protect users from potential interference. They do both have their drawbacks, however. The time needed for an overhauled civic education curriculum to take effect would be too long and the sensationalist effects of social media on the news may not be mitigated enough. Regulation of social media companies may infringe on First Amendment rights if executed poorly and may also make social media platforms harder to run due to the companies’ legal liability increasing as regulations fall into place. A civic education strategy, in
this case, would take a long time to come into effect. Students who receive this education will have to grow up and become the voters of a new generation to change the impact of digital electoral interference. Also, it would take a long time to implement the education required to create discerning and knowledgeable citizens, which the solution requires. For example, each cohort of the Madison County Youth in Public Service program studied by Westheimer and Kahne takes two years to complete the program and show results of participatory citizenship development (246). The culture of social media may also lead to the reception of misinformation, making it hard to confront this problem from a purely education-based standpoint. Successful social media platforms are built on retaining users for the longest time possible, thus begetting a necessity of sensationalism among advertisers and content producers to focus on viewer and reader acquisition and retention rather than Regulation of social substantive content. It media platforms is therefore too slow could rein in a of a process, as well as disproportionately possibly too focused on powerful political one aspect of the issue, group... to have any protective effect on closely upcoming elections, which may have interference attempts. A difficult aspect of regulating social media platforms is the First Amendment. As Napoli writes, “Any governmental directives regarding the curation of content on social media platforms represent a potential intrusion upon the First Amendment rights of platform owners” (3). What users see as they log into a social media site is at the discretion of the company that created the platform, therefore making it their content. However, if user and site data are
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covered by the public resource rationale, social media companies and their platforms can be regulated in a way that could help stave off voter interference attempts. It could be illegal for a company like Cambridge Analytica to harvest or acquire the user data protected by regulations, thus making such attacks, especially targeted misinformation campaigns, much more difficult to carry out. Another regulatory strategy is to apply rules to the ads that populate social media sites that are similar to those applied to general media, especially those dealing with politics. False advertising in traditional media is illegal and applying that standard more aggressively to social media could help with the sensationalist nature of advertisements on such platforms as well. This regulatory scheme is not foolproof either, as actors could choose to utilize other avenues of attack via the internet, but it may be the best protection against the misinformation and other types of attacks that have been widely used in recent years. Recommendation The threat of digital election interference is not only looming as technology progresses and increases in popularity—it is a threat that is already upon us. State-sponsored and independent actors have attempted, sometimes successfully, to interfere with elections globally in recent years. Knowing the seriousness and immediacy of this threat, the most astute and speedy solution to the problem is the regulation of social media companies under the public resource rationale, both in their user data and advertising policies, to combat the targeted attacks that have been observed throughout the past decade. This method will help to ensure that elections are not decided because of misinformation or leaked private information spreading on social media and focus the voting 22
population’s attention on the already momentous decision that must be made for the future of a nation in an election.
Works Cited Author’s Note: In-text citations of the U.S. Code were retrieved from the Senate Election Law Guidebook as cited here. Berghel, Hal. “Malice Domestic: The Cambridge Analytica Dystopia.” IEEE Computer, vol. 51, no. 5, 2018, pp. 84-89. Burke, Paul. “Scanners, Hashes, and Election Security.” Journal of Physical Security, vol. 11, no. 1, Jan. 2018, pp. 1–19. Hansen, Isabella, and Darren J. Lim. “Doxing Democracy: Influencing Elections via Cyber Voter Interference.” Contemporary Politics, no. 2, 2019, pp. 150-171. Literat, Ioana, and Kligler-Vilenchik, Neta, “Youth online political expression in nonpolitical spaces: implications for civic education.” Learning, Media, and Technology, vol. 43, no. 4, 2018, pp. 400-417. Napoli, Phillip M. “User Data as Public Resource: Implications for Social Media Regulation.” Policy & Internet, early view, 2019, pp. 1-21. United States. Cong. Senate. Senate Election Law Guidebook 2010. 111th Cong., 2d Sess. S. 18. Washington: GPO, 2011. Print. Westheimer, Joel, and Joseph Kahne. “What Kind of Citizen? The Politics of Educating for Democracy.” American Educational Research Journal, vol. 41, no. 2, pp. 237-269.
The Sectional Identities of Sandra Cisneros in Chicana Literature Benjamin Tabáček
dentity of the self and identity of culture serve as foundational themes in the literary works of Sandra Cisneros. Her autobiographical discourse in poetry, prose, and letters incorporates facets of her identities as a Chicana author and woman. She provides narration on her multi-ethnic background and her relationship with global borderlands, introducing the voice of an underrepresented population of individuals through border narratives. In other works, Cisneros discusses womanhood, primarily Mexican and Chicana womanhood, and feminine sexuality, celebrating her independence and what it represents for Chicanas. The relationships Sandra Cisneros has with the individual parts of her identity are intricate and layered, each one with the ability to be dissected through close reading. Cisneros’s identity, like many others, is intersectional. However, I argue that her many themes of intersection are deconstructed in works such as her collections of short stories, A House of My Own: Stories from My Life and Woman Hollering Creek, her collection of poetry, Loose Woman, and in her novel The House on Mango Street. Sandra Cisneros’s individual identities are developed sectionally through these works in order to explore the variations of identity in Chicana literature.
The Development of Chicana Identities As a vital member of the Chicana literary movement, many of Sandra Cisneros’s texts detail Chicano/a culture, borders, and multi-ethnic identity. In the academic journal article “Sandra Cisneros: Border Crossings and Beyond,” Robin Ganz writes, “[She] derived inspiration from her cultural specificity and found her voice in the dingy rooms of her house on Mango Street, on the cruel but comfortable streets of the barrio, and in the smooth and dangerous curves of borderland arroyos. In her work, she charts new literary territory, marking out a landscape that is familiar to many and unfamiliar to many more” (1). In Ganz’s discussion of Cisneros’s inspiration, Chicano/a and borderland culture, Cisneros’s identity becomes less intersectional. Her identity as an author who derives inspiration from her culture is separate from her other identifying labels. This becomes a part of her sectional identity. By sectional identity, I am referring to the individual components of Sandra Cisneros’s literary self rather than the intersectional or combined whole of these facets. Through close examination of Cisneros’s intersectional identity, Ganz examines other aspects of Cisneros and the duality of two of her identities, the culturally connected Chicana and the American educated individual: “...
Because of her bi-culturalism and bilingualism: She charts not only the big city barrio back alleyways, its mean streets and the dusty arroyos of the borderland, but also offers us a window into the experience of the educated, cosmopolitan Chicano/ artist, writer and academic” (10). This duality exists in Cisneros’s characterization and her works as separate sides of the self. Operating independently of one another, these varying sides then offer separate perspectives of Chicana literature as sectional identities. In the short story “Woman Hollering Creek,” Cisneros introduces the identities attributed to immigrant women from Mexico. Her characterization discusses the cultural roles of daughter, sister, mother, and wife on borderlands, exploring how each one functions independently from the others. Cisneros writes that the expectation of love and marriage in Mexican culture is “...having to put up with all kinds of hardships of the heart, separation, and betrayal, and loving, always loving no matter what, because that is the most important thing” (2). This notion, learned from cultural reinforcement and telenovelas as mentioned in “Woman Hollering Creek,” is one of the more popular platitudes in the discourse on Chicana culture. The sectional identity that is a woman’s relationship with love and marriage is developed in many of Cisneros’s works and is explored by
Réka Cristian in the journal article “Home(s) on Borderlands and Inter-American Identity in Sandra Cisneros’ Works.” Cristian writes, “A particular identity facet of Cisneros’s women characters in ‘Woman Hollering Creek’ is ‘a powerful awareness of misogyny and the control of women through the control of their sexuality.’” The control of Chicana women in “Woman Hollering Creek” is exhibited in several ways, though Cisneros develops the theme of domestic abuse most prominently. At the first mention of abuse, Cisneros writes: “But when the moment came, and he slapped her once, and then again, and again, until the lip split and bled, she didn’t fight back...instead, when it happened the first time, when they were barely man and wife, she had been so stunned, it left her speechless, motionless, numb. She had done nothing but reach up to the heat on her mouth and stare at the blood on her hand...She ‘She had done could think of nothing to say, said nothing. nothing but reach Just stroked the dark up to the heat on curls of the man who her mouth and stare wept and would weep at the blood on her like a child, his tears of hand...’ repentance and shame, this time and each” (222-23). The attributed emotional trauma caused by abuse is centric to the sectional identity of Chicana sexuality and the feminine role in relationships. In “Home(s) on Borderlands,” Cristian writes that the protagonist is “still abused and lives in poverty” and that “after several traumas, her homeplace is mentally relocated [to a setting] bearing the mythical subtext of the La Gritona or La Llorona, a [cursed] mythical feminine figure...who seeks to punish men for her suffering.” The cursed female figure is centric to Chicano culture, and
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allusions to La Llorona or La Malinche, the sexualized and criminalized Aztec princess in Mexican legend, are prevalent in the formation of the Chicana identity. As Cisneros explores the control and oppression Chicana women face through her texts, the sectional identity of sexuality and duty to love is solidified. The Development of Individual Identities Cisneros’s connection to her independence is displayed through a collection of many works. Outside of the norm for many Chicana women, being unmarried and childless either by choice or situation is often villainized. However, Cisneros offers a perspective of her independence that is raw and expository. In her collection A House of My Own, Cisneros writes: “To be nobody’s mother and nobody’s wife was not a choice for me, but a requirement; I was poor and could hardly The declaration of raise a child alone her independence as on my salary. And ‘nobody’s mother and being single was a nobody’s wife’ begins result of another the establishment kind of poverty: my of her independent poor choice in men, identity. though, in retrospect, I’m grateful for these constraints. They allowed me the solitude and singlemindedness necessary to write” (309). The declaration of her independence as “nobody’s mother and nobody’s wife” begins the establishment of her independent identity. This side of her, uncommitted to others for the necessity of her own success and livelihood, introduces a variation of underrepresented Chicana existence.
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Cisneros’s development of this identity is common in many of her works and is explored heavily in her poem “Loose Woman”: They say I’m a beast. And feast on it. When all along I thought that’s what a woman was. .................... I am the woman of myth and bullshit. (True. I authored some of it.) I built my little house of ill repute. Brick by brick. Labored, loved and masoned it. (1-3, 24-28) Defining womanhood for herself is a crucial aspect of how Cisneros develops sectional identities. By taking an autobiographical approach to each identity, her creative works feature the defining characteristics of what each part of the self contains and how it looks in herself. Talking about her own womanhood in “Loose Woman” is inspired by the relationship others have with her femininity. In the first three lines, Cisneros writes about what “they” (others, society, critics) say about her and then writes about her own interpretation of their perception. Her reclamation of “what a woman [is]” is her first display of independence in the poem. Cisneros introduces the metaphorical “house of ill repute” as a physical place that she builds herself. By doing so, she introduces themes of physical labor, a traditionally masculine activity, but discusses how she alone masoned the house “brick by brick.” Cisneros calls into question what is masculine by challenging it with a
feminist perspective. In this poem, she is presenting how she has built a reputation for herself without a man. The sectional identity of independence, primarily from men and children, is crucial in Chicana literature. Through the development of this sectional identity, Cisneros establishes not only her own independent reality but the possibility of independence for other Chicana women. In most literature, the identity related to place is abstract and often left to the interpretation of the reader. Oftentimes, it is expressed through a geographic location or surrounding cultural influence. Cisneros incorporates both influences in many of her works. However, when building the sectional identity of home in The House on Mango Street, Cisneros is able to provide representation through the physical manifestation of a house. In the novel, Chicano/a culture is represented through the physical location of Mango Street, a Hispanic neighborhood, as well as interpersonal relationships between the characters and their culture. These influences pertain to the home in which the main character lives and the construction of viewing home as an identity. Cisneros writes, “The house on Mango Street is ours, and we don’t have to pay rent to anybody...They always told us that one day we would move into a house, a real house that would be ours for always so we wouldn’t have to move each year” (1-2). The house on
Mango Street represents more than physical space, but permanence, belonging, and a sense of ownership. From the perspective of an immigrant family, living on Mango Street provides a sense of solidified residency. In the journal article “Investigating ‘Othering’ in Sandra In most literature, Cisneros’s The House the identity related on Mango Street,” to place is abstract Matava Vichiensing and often left to the writes, “She reflects interpretation of the the differences about reader. cultures, languages, and the way of life among the Latino community and the outers surround them. She also reflects an alienated self, inferiority and being ‘othered’ in the American home” (53). In the novel, the separation of Latino-American culture by the mainstream American culture results in a crisis when discussing the identity of home. In Cisneros’s work, the sense of being “othered” in an American home is culturally specific. Vichiensing explains that the feeling of unhomeliness is “to feel that you are not at home, even though you are in your home because you are not at home in yourself... a feeling that one has no cultural ‘home’, or sense of cultural belonging” (55). Cisneros establishes a sectional identity of home in Chicana literature through the various representations of home within The House on Mango Street. From the connection to the physical house, the neighborhood of Mango Street, and to America, having a home or being without a definitive sense of home is crucial to Cisneros’s literary representation of the identity, or lack of identity, of home. Racial and cultural self-identity is arguably the most common theme in Cisneros’s works. Her manifestation of self-identity as a Chicana
woman is seen explicitly in her article “To Seville With Love.” She writes, “We walk, hoping to be mistaken for natives and not the Mex-Tex and Tex-Mex aliens we are” (Cisneros 227). The Oxford English Dictionary defines “Tex-Mex” as “designating the Texan variety of something Mexican; also occasionally, of or pertaining to both Texas and Mexico.” This definition seems relevant as Cisneros is discussing the physical state her translator and herself take as visitors in Seville: “aliens” in a foreign city. The dissection of her identity into two sides, American and Mexican, allows her a specific perspective to write from when discussing her relationship to places and cultures. Her adoption of the term Tex-Mex is her portrayal of the Americanized version of herself. The sectional identity of the self is fundamental to Chicana literature and Cisneros begins to build it in her writing by questioning her identity. Understanding her ethnic and cultural history is principal in establishing herself as a Chicana She is an ‘alien’ in writer, and she writes, the city of her family, “I’ve since been filled striving to be seen with a desire to travel as a native because somewhere that might being half is not explain and answer the good enough. question ‘Where are you from?’ and, in turn, ‘Who are you?’ Isn’t this why all writers write, or is it just those of us who live on borders?” (Cisneros 227). She is labeled, both by herself and others as half American, half “other,” this other being Chicana. As a member of border culture, Cisneros is the embodiment of disparity via race and ethnicity, gender, and class. She is an “alien” in the city of her family, striving to be seen as a native because being half is not good enough. In Beyond Borders, Maria-Theresia Holub makes note of the use of language
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in Cisneros’s works. Cisneros’s bilingualism in literature and her interjected Spanish or Spanglish words represents the connection she has to her bicultural identity. Holub writes, “Another important aspect of Cisneros’ use of multiple tongues in her stories is the attempt to show the inability to adequately translate migrants’ experiences into the world of experience of the dominant culture. Instead of appropriating the unfamiliar into the dominant discourse, Cisneros confronts the (western part of her) audience with a feeling of unbelonging usually experienced by the migrant in society” (164). As Holub mentions, Cisneros confronts her western audience, and arguably her westernized self, through the display of her migrant and/or Chicana self through language. It is through these instances that Cisneros’s representation of self-identity is constructed in her works through bilingualism and representation of her bicultural “halves.” As she constructs identity through her stories, letters, and poems, these halves become sectional identities of their own. Conclusion Sandra Cisneros’s identities are developed sectionally through many of her works in order to explore and establish the variations of Chicana identity in literature. Having an intersectional identity made of “halves” is what makes
Sandra Cisneros and her texts so intriguing. The development of each identity in her works, either through characters, plot structure, or her own autobiographical discourse, offers a dissected perspective to Chicana literature. In exploring each “half” or part of her identity, Cisneros’s work becomes a significant representation of what being Chicana looks like, sounds like, and feels like. Cultural elements such as language and Cisneros’s feminist perspective are what establish these varying lenses. As a voice of the Mexican-American literary movement, Cisneros lays a foundation for self-discovery and growth in identity.
Annotated Bibliography Cisneros, Sandra. A House of My Own: Stories from My Life. Alfred A. Knopf, 2015. In Cisneros’s collection of poetry, her relationship with identity is fragmented. Each poem addresses a separate part of her; her relationship with people, her relationship with places, and her relationship with herself. In each text, she addresses each intersectional perspective, thus creating the “halves” and parts of her identity which my paper focuses on. Her use of tone, structure, and word choice play important roles in how she defines herself. In my paper, I will use several letters found in this collection to exhibit the different “halves” of Sandra Cisnero’s identity as a Chicana writer, and through these works, I discuss not only the parts of herself which she writes about blatantly but also the parts which are hidden and suggested through connotation. ---. Loose Woman: Poems. Alfred A. Knopf, 1994. In the poetry collection, Loose Woman, Cisneros brings forth a part of her identity in a style that is more celebratory and brandish. Cisneros describes her femininity as powerful and loud, and introduces themes of sexuality and the relationship it has with Chicano/a culture. Her voice is striking and rough, rougher than it is in many of her letters, and thus establishes a new pillar of identity. She speaks blatantly in this collection, similar to her collection of letters because she is the leading voice rather than a character she has created. This modernist approach to poetry allows readers to hear her. In my paper, I pull not only from her poems, but from my own interpretation of these poems as I discuss the “halves” and parts of her identity which are raw, romantic, and loud. ---. The House on Mango Street. 2nd Vintage Contemporaries ed., 25th anniversary ed., Vintage Contemporaries, 2009. In The House on Mango Street, Cisneros writes a main character with identities mirroring her own. The novel focuses on a young Chicana girl growing up in Chicago. Cisneros introduces the themes of gender, class and social status, cultural heritage, sexuality, age, and intellectual freedom. These themes are constructed as the intersectional identity of the novel’s main character. The book itself centralizes on the idea of “home” and what that may mean to different people. I explore Cisneros’s representation of home and identity in The House on Mango Street and make connections to common themes found in her other works. This source may allow me to dissect identities not so present in my other sources such as sexuality and age.
---. Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories. 1st ed., Random House, 1991. Cisneros’s collection of short stories introduces the signature identities of Chicana literature. She talks about border-crossing, domesticity, Mexican and MexicanAmerican culture, and gender in Woman Hollering Creek, each theme constructed as an independent facet of the character’s identity. I will use the foundational identities of Chicana culture in my paper, exploring how Cisneros writes them to exist both separately and intersectionally. Cisneros also establishes a pattern of bilingual writing in her stories, and this connects to several other sources I use in my paper. Through Cisneros’s use of Chicana cultural themes in her writing, I am able to examine her relationship with identity as a collection of parts. Cristian, Réka M. “Home(s) on Borderlands and Inter-American Identity in Sandra Cisneros’ Works.” Americana: E-Journal of American Studies in Hungary, vol. 11, no. 1, 2015 In this journal, Réka Cristian discusses the identity of “home” in Cisneros’s works. She prefaces with a cultural history of “home” in Chicano/a literature stemming from Aztec and Mexican colonization, the concept of home being closely associated with migration and border crossing. Cristian’s discussion of home in Cisneros’s work is focused primarily on The House on Mango Street and Woman Hollering Creek. Cristian argues that identity found within having a place to call home and what that home may look like is pertinent to Cisneros’s representation of Chicana identity. The shame and pain felt by a Chicano/a who has failed at attaining the home they think they and their family deserve is central to their identity, especially when this home is the end destination after crossing a border. This journal provides support for a concept of identity I discuss in my paper and the connection it has with both The House on Mango Street and Woman Hollering Creek makes this journal a useful source in my research. Ganz, Robin. “Sandra Cisneros: Border Crossings and Beyond.” MELUS: The Journal of the Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States, vol. 19, no. 1, 1994, pp. 19–29. In this academic journal, Robin Ganz explores the themes of Chicano/a literature, centralizing on the presence of racism, pain, power, and gender marginalization in works of fiction, poetry, and autobiographical writing. By discussing Chicana authors, primarily Sandra Cisneros, Ganz unfolds many parts of the intersectional Chicana identity. Ganz discusses the identities which exist in several of Cisneros’s works as she “converted the unyielding forces of gender and ethnicity” (1). In my own research of Cisneros and her work, I find many similarities to Ganz’s material. I 31
examine the prevalent themes and discourse on identity found in “Sandra Cisneros: Border Crossings and Beyond.” I will support the construction of my arguments with the analysis of Sandra Cisneros’s Chicana identity found in this journal. Holub, Maria-Theresia. Beyond Borders: Re-Membering Language and Self in Sandra Cisneros’ Woman Hollering Creek and Emine Sevgi Ozdamar’s Mutterzunge (Mother Tongue). 2005. In this text, Maria-Theresia Holub examines the way in which “border culture” is written about in relation to the meeting of cultures, classes, and races. She discusses Chicana feminist theory and Cisneros in “border literature” which focuses heavily on migrant and minority literature. Most importantly, Holub uses this text to investigate how Cisneros presents the Mexican-American borderlands as not only “a place of alienation and peril, but...with the help of language, is able to transform this...into a potential space for re-creating and re-membering identity” (162). Dissecting identity into parts is the premise of my paper and Holub’s approach to Cisneros’s identity as a bilingual, Mexican-American writer is one that examines these parts of identity as they stand alone and as they form a whole. It is the way in which Holub unites identity and language that makes this text an appropriate source for my paper. Vichiensing, Matava,. “Investigating ‘Othering’ in Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street.” International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature, no. 2, 2018, p. 52. In this academic journal, the conceptual theory of “othering” is explored by Matava Vichiensing. Vichiensing defines the act of “othering” as a “part of a postcolonial theory” which is “manifested in forms of linguistic features, mimicry, double consciousness, unhomeliness, gender roles, and socioeconomic class” (52). Vichiensing focuses on exhibiting the negative effects of othering practices in psychosocial and economic ways, exploring how these negative effects pertain to the characters and people involved in The House on Mango Street. The intersectionality of this theory pertains to my paper as I explore the “othering” of identity in Sandra Cisneros’s work. This journal brings forth the perspectives of gendered, geographical, and interpersonal cultural identity in my paper.
Brother Bryce Dix “Brother” is a multimedia project that explores my relationship with my younger sibling and how his absence shapes me into the person I am today. An empty bunkbed. Substance abuse. Unanswered text messages. It seems the only closure I get is scratches on pieces of paper.
Jesus Christ Superstar and Hamilton: Bringing Old Revolution into Sharp Relief Ella Rappaport
ome stories, no matter how old, always manage to capture the heart of a modern audience. When the musical Jesus Christ Superstar came out in 1970, nearly 2,000 years after the biblical story it tells, it was met with global acclaim and fanfare. When Hamilton was released in 2015, almost 300 years after the story it tells, it was received with an incredible amount of enthusiasm and support. The reason these historical musicals carry so much emotional weight in the modern day is two-fold. First, they both embody the timeless archetype of revolutionary tragedy; furthermore, musical theater helps bring this archetype into modern life by itself invoking equally revolutionary, rebellious music to tell its story. In order to recognize how both Jesus Christ Superstar and Hamilton embody the same archetype, it is first necessary to define the archetype itself. No one describes this type of hero, and the specific circumstances that make his journey possible, better than famed literary critic and theorist Northrop Frye. In his Anatomy of Criticism, Frye details five kinds of heroes, each existing within his own so-called “literary mode.” The hero that matches Jesus and Hamilton is the “leader-hero,” who
“has authority, passions, and powers of expression far greater than ours … but is subject both to social criticism and to the order of nature. This is the hero of the high mimetic mode, of most epic and tragedy” (Frye 32). According to Frye, while the leader-hero may be morally superior to the rest of society, he is equally susceptible to adversity and pain. In fact, a fundamental component of his story arc is his fall; he rises from nothing to become a beloved and principled leader, only to expose and isolate himself, bringing about his own inevitable demise. Both Jesus and Hamilton fit the mold of leader-hero. Their stories, although radically diﬀerent in some ways, are strikingly similar in others. Specifically, there are four thematic parallels between the two with regards to the archetype. First is the presence of a strong and young male protagonist. This protagonist rises from nothing, becomes a charismatic leader with strong principles, and defends a group of followers against a malevolent government. Second, both protagonists are portrayed as realistic and flawed humans who come in and out of favor with their supporters. Third, both protagonists have a complicated, non-traditional love story. Lastly, and perhaps most interesting, both have
a friend-turned-foil from whose perspective the story is told, who directly or indirectly causes the protagonists’ deaths, and who then feels tremendous remorse. The first parallel, a young male leader with strong principles who defends a group of people against a dictatorial regime, is fairly straightforward. In Jesus Christ Superstar, Jesus of Nazareth rises from the peasantry of his carpenter father by claiming to be the son of God. He cares for the poor, becomes the iconic leader of the Jews against the Roman governor Pontious Pilate, and espouses ideals of compassion, love, and asceticism. This last ideal is made clear in the musical when Jesus arrives at his temple only to find that his followers have turned it into a bartering marketplace. Upon entering, he screams, “My temple should be a house of prayer / But you have made it a den of thieves / Get out! Get out!” (“The Temple,” Webber et al.). Besides proclaiming these ideals, he is motivated by a much greater purpose. His mission, which he believes has been given to him by God, is to martyr himself for the greater good of humanity. He struggles intensely with this fate, going back and forth between denial and acceptance. At the end of his show-stopping, tumultuous song “Gethsemane” (Webber and Rice), he relents, gasping, “God, thy will is hard / But you hold every card / I will drink your cup of poison / Nail me to your cross and break me
/ Bleed me, beat me / Kill me / Take me, now! / Before I change my mind.” Like Jesus, Hamilton rises out of unfavorable circumstances, albeit more dire ones. As Aaron Burr says, he was “…a bastard, orphan son of a whore / And a Scotsman, dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean / By providence, impoverished in squalor…” (“Alexander Hamilton,” Miranda). Hamilton arrives in America with the bright-eyed enthusiasm of a teenager and the intellectual prowess of a much older man. Indignant at the British treatment of the colonies and fueled by adolescent hormones, he is desperate to use the American revolution as an opportunity to prove himself. In “My Shot” (Miranda), he says, “We are meant to be / a colony that runs independently / Meanwhile Britain keeps shittin’ on us endlessly / Essentially, they tax us relentlessly / Then King George turns around, runs a spending spree / He ain’t never gonna set his descendants free / So there will be a revolution in His mission, which this century / Enter he believes has been me.” Intelligent and given to him by God, charismatic, he rises is to martyr himself through the ranks and quickly becomes for the greater good George Washington’s of humanity. right-hand man. After the war, he champions ideals of federalism and is instrumental in setting up the American financial system. While this first thematic parallel paints very positive pictures of both characters, the second rounds out the image by instead drawing on some of their flaws. In Jesus Christ Superstar, for example, Jesus is not always the selfless proponent of the poor he is made out to be in popular culture. In “Everything’s
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Alright” (Webber and Rice), as Mary Magdalene rubs ointment on Jesus’ skin, Judas decries the unnecessary luxury. Scathingly, he yells, “Woman your fine ointment, brand-new and expensive / Should have been saved for While both Jesus the poor. / Why has it and Hamilton are been wasted? We could best known for the have raised maybe / way they publicly Three hundred silver engage with society, pieces or more.” Jesus, they have turbulent angry that Judas would personal lives question the importance as well. of his own comfort, replies, “Surely you’re not saying we have the resources / To save the poor from their lot? / There will be poor always, pathetically struggling. / Look at the good things you’ve got.” Later on, when Jesus is in his temple, beggars crowd around him asking to be cured of their various ailments. They grow insistent, swarming him, and Jesus spits out, “There’s too many of you / Don’t push me. / There’s too little of me / Don’t crowd me. / Heal yourselves!” (“The Temple”). Hamilton, too, finds himself limited by human weakness. Rather than hypocrisy and self-importance like Jesus, though, he is inhibited by hubris. Throughout the latter half of the musical, he quarrels constantly with Thomas Jeﬀerson and the other founding fathers about the state of the new nation. He believes his plans and ideas are superior to the rest but lacks the patience and subtlety to get others on his side. After the first cabinet battle where Hamilton tells Jeﬀerson to “… turn around, bend over, I’ll show you where my shoe fits” (“Cabinet Battle #1,” Miranda), Washington warns, “You wanna pull yourself together?...Watch your mouth” (“Cabinet Battle #1”). Later on, the depth of Hamilton’s
ego is further revealed when he writes the Reynolds Pamphlet, a publication freeing him from charges of fraud but simultaneously condemning him as an unfaithful husband. In “Congratulations” (a song that didn’t make it into the final show), Angelica condemns Hamilton as selfish and egodriven. She says, “You took a rumor, a few, maybe two, people knew and refuted it by sharing an aﬀair of which no one had accused you / I begged you to take a break, you refused to / So scared of what your enemies will do to you / You’re the only enemy you ever seem to lose to.” While both Jesus and Hamilton are best known for the way they publicly engage with society, they have turbulent personal lives as well. Specifically, they both have complicated love stories. Jesus remains unmarried but has an intense connection to disciple Mary Magdalene. The exact nature of their relationship remains unclear in the musical but nevertheless provides another interesting contrast to the popular idyllic image of Jesus. Mary, as portrayed in Jesus Christ Superstar, is a prostitute, or a woman of sin. It’s important to note that this portrayal is actually based on a long history of false biblical interpretations. Mary Magdalene is never mentioned in reference to prostitution or sin in the bible; rather, “at some point Mary Magdalene became confused
with two other women in the Bible: Mary, the sister of Martha, and the unnamed sinner from Luke’s gospel” (“Religions - Christianity: Mary Magdalene”). Regardless, her portrayal in the musical adds an edge to Jesus’s character. Early in act one, Judas and Jesus spat over Mary’s involvement in their campaign. Judas sneers, “It seems to me a strange thing, mystifying / That a man like you can waste his time on women of her kind,” (“Strange Thing Mystifying,” Webber and Rice) and Jesus retorts with, “Who are you to criticize her? / Who are you to despise her? / Leave her, leave her, let her be now” (“Strange Thing Mystifying”). Not only is their relationship confusing from an outsider’s perspective, it’s perplexing to Mary herself. Later on, she expresses her mixed feelings in the emotional ballad “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” (Webber and Rice), saying “He scares me so / I want him so / I love him so.” Compared to Jesus, Hamilton’s love life is much more traditional. He marries Elizabeth Schuyler, daughter of wealthy New York senator Philip Schuyler, in his early twenties and the two of them go on to have nine children. Despite being more traditional, however, his relationship is not immune to trouble. The diﬃculties in his marriage, like those in his political life, stem from hubris. One summer, when his wife and children
are staying upstate with her father, Hamilton finds himself alone and reckless. After refusing to join his family on vacation, stating, “I have to get my plan through Congress / I can’t stop until I get this plan through Congress” (“Take A Break,” Miranda), he begins an aﬀair with Miss Maria Reynolds. Unfortunately for Hamilton, Maria Reynolds’s husband finds out about the aﬀair and blackmails him for months to keep it quiet. Hamilton’s political foes, always searching for a way to ruin his public image, discover “…check stubs, from separate accounts / Almost a thousand dollars, paid in diﬀerent amounts / To a Mr. James Reynolds way back in / Seventeen ninety-one” (“We Know,” Miranda). When they threaten to expose him for financial fraud, Hamilton decides to write the Reynolds Pamphlet. By publishing the story of his aﬀair and subsequent blackmail, he protects himself against undue charges of financial fraud but at the same time compromises his marriage. In a gut wrenching song, Eliza Hamilton deplores her husband’s actions, saying, “You published the Compared to letters she wrote you / You Jesus, Hamilton’s told the whole world / love life is much How you brought this more traditional... girl into our bed / In however, his clearing your name / relationship is not You have ruined our immune to lives … I hope that you trouble. burn” (“Burn,” Miranda). The final and most striking thematic parallel between the stories of Jesus and Hamilton is the presence of a friendturned-foil who narrates the story, catalyzes the protagonists’ deaths, and feels anguish and remorse as a result. For Jesus, this man is Judas Iscariot. One of the original twelve disciples, Judas bears witness to the entire story of Jesus’s rise and fall. Although he believes in Jesus and
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the movement at first, he eventually grows worried and bitter as the tide turns and the Jews become increasingly ostracized. In the opening song, Judas pleads with Jesus to take heed, saying, “Listen Jesus to the warning I give. / Please remember that I want us to live. / But it’s sad to ...after seeing see our chances weakening Jesus beaten, with every hour. / All your bloody, and limp followers are blind / Too after his arrest, much heaven on their Judas begins to minds / It was beautiful doubt his own but now it’s sour” (“Heaven actions. On Their Minds,” Webber and Rice). At the end of act one, he goes to the Jewish priests and, in a state of emotional turmoil, gives them the information they need to arrest him. However, after seeing Jesus beaten, bloody, and limp after his arrest, Judas begins to doubt his own actions. He doesn’t know whether Jesus understands his intentions, saying, “I don’t believe he knows / I acted for our good / I’d save him all this suﬀering / if I could” (“Judas’ Death,” Webber and Rice). He then relents completely, horrified by what he’s brought about and terrified for his own moral standing, asking, “When he’s cold and dead / Will he let me be? / Does he love me too? / Does he care for me?” (“Judas’ Death”). Finally, as the gravity of the situation overtakes him, he hangs himself. Unlike Jesus’s foil, Hamilton’s foil does not end his own life. He does, however, follow a very similar trajectory. His name is Aaron Burr. The musical begins with a young and eager Hamilton introducing himself to the slightly older Princeton graduate. Initially, Burr acts as a sort of mentor to Hamilton, saying, “While we’re talking let me oﬀer you some free advice / Talk less … Smile more … Don’t let them know what you’re against or what you’re for” (“Aaron
Burr, Sir”). Soon, however, Burr begins to watch as Hamilton’s charisma, energy, and prolific writing skills catapult him to the top of the political sphere. In “NonStop” (Miranda), Burr remarks, “Even though we started at the very same time / Alexander Hamilton began to climb / How to account for his rise to the top? / Man, the man is non-stop.” He watches as Hamilton becomes Washington’s right-hand man during the war, reaches an unprecedented compromise with Jeﬀerson and Madison, and endorses Jeﬀerson for president over Burr. After years of compounding resentments, Burr has had enough, saying, “I am slow to anger / But I toe the line / As I reckon with the eﬀects / Of your life on mine / I look back on where I failed / And in every place I checked / The only common thread has been your disrespect” (“Your Obedient Servant,” Miranda). Burr challenges Hamilton to a duel, which Hamilton accepts. Only after shooting him in the chest does Burr realize that “[t]he world was wide enough for both Hamilton and me” (“The World Was Wide Enough,” Miranda), saying that Hamilton “… may have been the first one to die / But I’m the one who paid for it … Now I’m the villain in your history” (“The World Was Wide Enough”). Both of these musicals tell stories of revolutionary leaders who alter the course of history. Fittingly, both musicals tell these stories
with equally revolutionary genres of music, making them accessible to modern audiences. Jesus Christ Superstar, for instance, was one of the first so-called “rock musicals.” It was so unconventional that music critic Derek Jewell “pronounced that Superstar would find life tough as it would be ‘caught in the crossfire’ of people oﬀended by a rock treatment of Jesus and rock fans who thought the subject was uncool” (Webber 138). Jewell, as it turned out, vastly underestimated the widespread appeal of such a juxtaposition. After hearing the first single “Heaven On Their Minds,” managing director Brian Brolly called the song “a major — he even used the word ‘cathartic’ — breakthrough for pop” (Webber 117) and Time magazine was “eulogistic about the music” (Webber 139). The revolutionary nature of rock music pulled Jesus’s story out of the past, dusted it oﬀ, and revealed the raw emotion to a contemporary audience. While Jesus Christ Superstar utilized rock music of the 1970s, Hamilton utilizes hip-hop and rap music of the 2010s. Although it now seems obvious to include this genre of music in musical theater, it is in fact a very recent addition. Before Hamilton, there was only one other musical that used rap, and it was created by the same person behind Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda. In the book Hamilton: The Revolution, written by both Miranda and Public Theater staﬀ member Jeremy McCarter,
McCarter comments on the intentional parallelism between the revolutionary nature of the story and the unprecedented inclusion of rap music in musical theater. He writes: “There’s the American Revolution of the 18th century, which flares to life in Lin’s libretto… There’s also the revolution of the show itself: a musical that changes the way that Broadway sounds, that alters who gets to tell the story of our founding, that lets us glimpse the new, more diverse America rushing our way” (McCarter 10). Like the rock music in Jesus Christ Superstar, the rap music in Hamilton wrenches the story of Alexander Hamilton out of antiquity and renders it emotionally accessible to a modern audience. Both musicals tell stories of flawed leaderheroes fighting tyrannical regimes. Both musicals also utilize modern genres of music to bring their historical tales into current times. Jesus Christ Superstar uses rock music to tell the ancient story of Jesus of Nazareth’s tragic rise and fall while Hamilton uses rap music to tell the story of founding father Alexander Hamilton’s legendary life and career. As these two unprecedented musicals, and many others since, show, musical theater is not restricted to telling only certain kinds of stories with certain kinds of music. Rather, musical theater is a living, breathing storytelling device, constantly adapting to better convey its messages to modern audiences. And it begs these questions: What stories will it tackle next and what new, innovative music will it use to bring them to life?
Works Cited Frye, Northrop, and Robert D. Denham. Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays. Princeton University Press, 1957. Hamilton: An American Musical. Performances by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr., Phillipa Soo, and Jonathan Groff. Atlantic Records, 2015. Harbert, Elissa. “Hamilton and History Musicals.” American Music, vol. 36, no. 4, 2008, p. 412. Jesus Christ Superstar. Performances by Ian Gillan, Murray Head, Yvonne Elliman, Victor Broz, and Barry Dennon. Decca Broadway, 1970. Miranda, Lin-Manuel, and Jeremy McCarter. Hamilton: The Revolution: Being the Complete Libretto of the Broadway Musical, with a True Account of Its Creation, and Concise Remarks on HipHop, the Power of Stories, and the New America. New York, NY: Grand Central Publishing: Melcher Media, 2016. “Religions - Christianity: Mary Magdalene.” BBC, 20 July 2011. Romano, Renee Christine, and Claire Bond Potter. Historians on Hamilton: How a Blockbuster Musical is Restaging America’s Past. Rutgers University Press, 2018. Webber, Andrew Loyd. Unmasked: A Memoir. Harper, 2018.
The Future in Our Stars Anna Granquist
r. Crusher! Engage.”
Such are the words of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, fearless leader of the USS-Enterprise-D, in the popular 1990’s Star Trek spin-off The Next Generation. As soon as Picard utters this phrase, the Enterprise leaps off into the inky void of space, jumping between solar systems in a matter of minutes or hours (Paramount Domestic Television). It sends a shiver down my spine every time. The interstellar nature of their adventures captures my imagination. What strange new worlds might the crew of the Enterprise encounter with this new leap into distant territories? Interstellar travel has long been a mainstay in science fiction throughout popular culture, from television to literature to film. Star Trek is only one example. But science fiction may become science fact, and sooner than expected; our society is now beginning to actually develop the tools required for future exploration of distant star systems. I am currently majoring in mechanical engineering, which I plan to use in the aerospace industry. At the moment I am looking forward to a summer internship with Raytheon, a company that builds missile defense systems for the U.S. government. I took this internship because Raytheon is a renowned aerospace and defense
organization and an internship with them will provide valuable experience and varied, fascinating work with realworld impacts. However, although the missile defense industry is also projected to grow in the future (Jarocki), I would like to move on eventually and work in other aerospace fields, particularly the space exploration industry. Although the defense industry protects and preserves borders, the space industry will break those borders and build them anew. But how exactly will the advent of the interstellar age come about, and what will be its impact on my future career? Due to recent technological and economic developments, mechanical engineers will develop incredible interstellar technology within my lifetime, which will have significant ramifications for morality and diversity within the field. Technological Overview It would be difficult to discuss the field of interstellar exploration within mechanical engineering without a thorough analysis of possible interstellar technologies and their plausibility within the near future. Humanity has dreamt of interstellar travel since it could conceptualize outer space; Greek writer Lucian wrote his satire True History, which touched on interplanetary travel and warfare, in the second century AD (Fredericks), nearly 2,000 years ago. 47
However, the last century has seen the first true abundance of real, possible, scientific ideas about interstellar technology. For the purposes of this paper, I will explore the potential of nuclear reactions and light sails in powering interstellar spacecraft. Spacecraft Propulsion: Nuclear Reactions In 1973, a group of scientists and engineers with the British Interplanetary Society undertook Project Daedalus, a study that resulted in a comprehensive plan for an interstellar spacecraft powered by nuclear fusion (Martin). In their plan, a series of nuclear fusion bombs would propel the Daedalus spacecraft in a process known as nuclear pulse propulsion, allowing it to achieve 12% light speed in approximately four years. After approximately fifty years, Daedalus would reach its destination at Barnard’s Star, 5.9 light years from Earth (Martin). Project Daedalus was by no means the first such project to explore the potential of nuclear pulse propulsion; however, ...the last century it was the first to specify that the design must has seen the first be able to travel to true abundance its destination within of real, possible, a human lifetime scientific ideas and be feasible using about interstellar current or near-future technology. technology. If the engineers of Project Daedalus designed their ship to be feasible using “near-future” technology in the 1970’s, they may have expected us to be happily deploying fleet upon fleet of nuclear interstellar probes by the year 2019. Although we haven’t yet reached that point, our lack of advancement is likely because the very real ideas behind Project Daedalus remained largely unexamined
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until recent years. The first true reexamination of Project Daedalus launched in 2009 with Project Icarus, an ongoing effort to update and complete the designs from Daedalus (Long). The precedent set by Daedalus and Icarus will provide companies and organizations with a ready-made blueprint towards success when they do dedicate time and resources towards interstellar travel. The National Air and Space Administration, meanwhile, is now exploring methods of propelling Mars-bound manned spacecraft using nuclear thermal propulsion (Bennet). Unlike the theoretical spacecraft described above, NASA’s propulsion systems would use nuclear fission (while nuclear fusion, or the combination of atomic nuclei, has the capability to produce more energy and less radiation, it is more difficult to achieve and relatively newer than nuclear fission, or the process of splitting said atomic nuclei). In either form, nuclear energy has the potential to propel spacecraft much more quickly than current chemical or electric propulsion systems. Using nuclear energy for deep space missions in any form represents an important first step in developing interstellar probes. Spacecraft Propulsion: Light Sails Nuclear propulsion is not the only option for interstellar space flight. Light sails present another
promising technology, especially for unmanned craft. In this space travel concept, the spacecraft uses large solar arrays to generate solar energy from photons that come into contact with the arrays. This energy is used to power observation equipment and communicate with Earth, while the sail’s large, reflective surface area and light material ensure that it is accelerated by solar radiation pressure (SRP), or pressure exerted by photons from nearby stars (Tsuda). The first successful interplanetary solar sail launched in 2010 with the Japanese IKAROS project (not to be confused with Project Icarus). IKAROS completed its mission—accelerating as a result of SRP and using SRP for navigation and control—and now orbits around the sun while periodically transmitting data to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Tsuda). One of the biggest drawbacks to solar sails like IKAROS, which operate on radiation pressure and photons exerted solely by our sun, is unreliability. IKAROS transmits data for only about three months per year, due to a lack of sufficient available solar energy (JAXA). There are, however, proposed light sail alternatives using other photon sources. Recent advances in light sail technology have raised the possibility of laser-powered sails, which would involve propulsion of light sails by Earth-based lasers. These sails would be much smaller
than IKAROS to reduce the accelerated mass and travel at nearly 20% light speed. Scientists have calculated that a spacecraft with laser sails could reach Mars within three days and Alpha Centauri, 4.4 light years away, in as few as twenty years (Lubin). Realistically, a laser sail could be launched and reach a different star within my lifetime. In fact, Russian billionaire Yuri Milner and late British scientist Stephen Hawking announced an initiative in 2016 to explore laser sail technology, called Breakthrough Starshot (Daukantas). Although speculative, this technology is seen as relatively plausible, Interstellar travel prompting scientists to will inevitably come publish ideas about how at a high cost, such a spacecraft could both in money and be decelerated using a resources. combination of photon pressure and gravity assists once it reaches Alpha Centauri (Heller). The dialogue around solar sails suggest that, with the proper funding, it could become a reality in the near future.
Economic Considerations Interstellar exploration will inevitably come at a high cost, both in money and resources. The architects of Breakthrough Starshot argue that the only realistic way to build a gigantic Earthbased bank of lasers is through collaboration between world governments, both because it is far too expensive for one nation and because a global effort would help prevent military conflict over new technologies (Daukantas). However, geopolitical tensions continue to increase and show no signs of slowing down in coming years. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report for 2019, 90% of experts predicted growing economic hostility between 49
global powers this year (Collins). Although it is difficult to predict what the world political arena will look like in fifty or sixty years, the immediate trends do not favor the globally governmentfunded model of space exploration. Rather, the future of interstellar travel lies in governmental collaborations with private companies and large investments from the very rich. Commercial companies— Of course, when Virgin Galactic, Elon Bezos envisions this Musk’s SpaceX, and Jeff golden age of people Bezos’s Blue Origin, traveling, living, and to name a few—have working in space, he been investing in means those with satellite and human the financial means spaceflight technology to do so. in collaboration with government organizations like NASA in a space race of their own. Musk has repeatedly described his intention to colonize Mars and his company is currently developing the Big Falcon Rocket, designed to carry humans to the Red Planet. SpaceX rockets routinely service the space station, an indication that space exploration is shifting away from the sole responsibility of organizations like NASA. Blue Origin, meanwhile, builds rockets with the outlook of being able to make spaceflight accessible to tourists. Though they haven’t yet launched a manned flight, Blue Origin successfully reused its first rocket in a flight to space in 2015, an important step in reducing costs. Bezos even claims that “we are sitting on the edge of a golden age of space exploration” (Fishman). Of course, when Bezos envisions this golden age of people traveling, living, and working in space, he means those with the financial means to do so. A ticket to eleven minutes of sub-orbital space on one of Blue Origin’s first trips could cost future space tourists around $250,000
(Carter). When SpaceX begins taking people to Mars, we can expect the price tag to be similarly massive. And although a space industry catering to the whims of the rich may be unappealing to some, it is the pockets of Bezos’s rich space tourists and Musk’s wealthy Mars colonizers that will allow companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin to subsidize further space exploration. One estimate by a Bank of America Merrill Lynch project suggests that the commercial space industry will explode from $350 billion in 2018 to $2.7 trillion by the 2040s, increasing at around six to eight percent per year (Foust). That’s almost a full order of magnitude difference in only twenty years—imagine what thirty or forty years in the future might look like. We can compare this to the aerospace and defense (A&D) industry. Global A&D revenues grew 2.7 percent to $686 billion in 2017 (Jarocki). If A&D maintains this growth rate for the next twentyfive years, we can extrapolate the data using an exponential model to predict that A&D revenues will reach $1.34 trillion by 2044. Notice that this value of $1.34 trillion is much lower than the project space industry value of $2.7 trillion in the 2040s. Therefore, although the defense industry currently employs far more mechanical engineers than the space industry, we can expect this to change well within the length of my professional career.
Ethical and Moral Considerations Although the technology to build unmanned interstellar probes certainly exists, it’s less clear if the technology to send manned missions within my lifetime exists. There is little doubt that, as the Mars rovers have gone before future manned Mars missions, unmanned probes will also precede human beings in other solar systems. The minimal weight required of solar and laser sails may prohibit such technology from transporting adult humans. It could, however, be used to transport small payloads; a sample of human DNA, for example. A light sail capable of transporting ten grams of equipment like that described by Breakthrough Starshot should be able to carry a message from or a biological remnant of human civilization. Some researchers have even argued that transportation of “digital and biological genomes,” or physical genomes and digital information about humanity, could be a viable precursor to actual human interstellar travel within this century (Friedman). Ultimately, it will be an engineer’s job to incorporate such tokens of humanity by optimizing the weight, thermal properties, and other technical aspects of the spacecraft and associated components (e.g. different rocket stages used during liftoff) to ensure that the precious payload remains secure. This brings us to a central question of engineering that
seldom receives much attention: is the engineer ethically responsible for what happens as a result of the things he or she creates? Since I will be working on missile defense systems this summer, I am considering whether it is ethical for me to create weapons of war, even if they are meant to defend against incoming threats rather than take out human targets. If at some point I work on an interstellar spacecraft, I would be forced to consider whether it is ethical to work towards the expansion of human civilization into untouched parts of the universe. There is also the question of whether space exploration is worth the enormous resources it would require to build and launch interstellar spacecraft when such resources could be put to use on Earth, where they are badly needed. Philosopher James S. J. Schwartz, who specializes in the ethics of space exploration and space policy, summarizes the main arguments made by proponents of space exploration as the “survival obligation” and the “welfare obligation.” The survival obligation argument states that we are morally compelled to ensure the Although the survival of the human technology to build species, and because space development is unmanned interstellar probes certainly the only way to ensure exists, it’s less clear human survival given if the technology the possibility of to send manned some sort of global catastrophe (e.g. climate missions within my lifetime exists. change), we are therefore morally obligated to pursue space exploration. The welfare obligation argument states that we are morally compelled to improve overall human welfare and because the Earth has finite resources, the only way to improve welfare is to access new resources via space exploration (Schwartz).
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Schwartz argues that the survival and welfare arguments do support the establishment of human colonies long-term. However, in order to ensure human survival, these colonies would need to be self-sustaining, something that could take centuries. What Schwartz does not discuss is the use of human biological components in space. For example, if engineers were to collaborate with biologists in testing the survival of human cells in space, would they be responsible if, in another hundred years, their research were used to send human embryos to a distant planet? These questions have no easy answers but must be asked given the trajectory of space development. Furthermore, the welfare argument does support scientific exploration of space, in our solar system and beyond. Probes and other datacollecting spacecraft allow us to gain knowledge about the resources in the universe around us and how we can use those resources to improve human welfare in the future. In this sense, the exploration of space is well worth the investment To have a legacy of money and Earthis the ultimate based resources because it could contribute accomplishment, the ultimate way to toward a much larger influx of non-Earth thumb our noses resources later on. The at our inevitable relatively little knowledge deaths. we currently have about what lies outside of our solar system further justifies the exploration of interstellar space. However, engineers would need to constantly re-evaluate the moral implications of the projects they work on. The lasting impact of the expansion of human civilization beyond Earth, when examined on an even larger time scale, is even more complicated. When the Pioneer 10 probe
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launched in 1972, its mission was to do a flyby of Jupiter and collect scientific data on the gas giant. However, Jupiter’s gravity would lend so much speed to Pioneer via the slingshot effect that the probe would launch into interstellar space following its mission completion. As science reporter Richard Hoagland described it at the time, Pioneer was “something that will last longer than the pyramids, the ice ages and even the earth itself” (Paglen). Hoagland collaborated with prominent scientist Carl Sagan and his wife Linda Sagan to create what would come to be known as the Pioneer Plaque, a message to any extraterrestrial life that might encounter Pioneer in hundreds, thousands, millions, or billions of years. The idea was modified for Voyagers 1 and 2, which are now also in interstellar space, to include samples of music and images from Earth on what is now known as the Golden Record (Paglen). Most of us have the ambition, in our lives or careers, to make an impact on the world or on those around us. To have a legacy is the ultimate accomplishment, the ultimate way to thumb our noses at our inevitable deaths. But the space industry raises the stakes a hundredfold: future engineers could create something that will not only outlast them, but all life on Earth and the entire solar system to boot. Not only that, but engineers would be building a representation
of humanity. When Sagan designed the Pioneer Plaque, he wanted any civilization that found it to be able to locate the Earth civilization that sent it, both in place and time. When his wife drew human figures for the plaque, she wanted the hypothetical civilization to understand human anatomy. But what if their intentions were misinterpreted? Once it is out in the vastness of space, we have no control over how the Pioneer Plaque might be interpreted by possible extraterrestrial life, should it exist. It is also worth noting that the illustrations on the Pioneer Plaque portray what the creators thought to be “average” humans; that is, Caucasian and athletic in features. For future space missions, it would be imperative that any messages, illustrations, DNA samples, or other representations of humanity represent the diversity of the human race. Rather than just three people haphazardly creating a plaque in a matter of weeks, future engineers should work with linguists, ethicists, biologists, and people from diverse backgrounds to ensure that any representation of humanity reflects its diverse nature. Diversity in Mechanical Engineering I have hinted at the importance of diversity in mechanical engineering in the space industry. Since mechanical engineers will be a part of the team that represents humanity throughout the wider
universe, that team must be able to accurately reflect the diverse makeup of humanity itself. The role of diversity in driving innovation also demonstrates its importance in engineering. One 2018 study found that pro-diversity policies generally predicted an improvement in a firm’s “innovative efficiency.” It ...STEM fields— found that companies and particularly with policies that support mechanical women and minorities engineering—are generally had more new not traditionally product announcements diverse spaces. (Mayer). Another study found that gender diversity in a team environment fosters something called “radical innovation,” meaning breakthroughs in technology or approach that challenge the status quo and drastically increase customer benefits (Díaz-García). What field is more driven by radical innovation than the space industry? Interstellar technology requires the proliferation of new and radical ideas, something that this research shows would be greatly aided by diversity in engineering. However, STEM fields—and particularly mechanical engineering—are not traditionally diverse spaces. According to Data USA’s analysis of the US Census, men comprise 81.6% of those with a mechanical engineering degree and white men comprise 61.2% (Data USA). Greater diversity in mechanical engineering is essential to the improvement of today’s technologies. At the University of New Mexico, I often find myself feeling slightly out of place. When I look around me, I realize why: in most classrooms, I am one of a miniscule number of women and an even smaller number of queer people. In my design II machining lab, I am the only woman out of twelve students. There is a great deal of chatter in STEM circles about
increasing diversity to address situations like this. Efforts are focused both on attracting students to STEM fields and engaging young people in those fields. Although the success of programs to stoke interest in STEM is often not well quantified, some do succeed in motivating students to pursue science-related careers, and many universities are proactively pursuing such programs (Packard). Optimistically, because current-day programs are a significant improvement to those available even ten years ago, we can predict that diversity in engineering will increase and prompt a new era of innovation. Increased diversity will improve the level of inclusion and comfort I feel in my chosen profession and drive the next wave of human advancement into space. Conclusion Soon enough, interstellar travel will no longer be the stuff of science fiction. Increasing public interest in outer space and an explosion in private investment will lead to a massive boom in the space industry in coming years, providing new opportunities for mechanical engineers. When the space industry overtakes the defense industry in the global economy, mechanical engineering jobs will no longer be focused solely in the aerospace and defense sector. Although ethical quandaries are not new to mechanical engineers, the exploration of space will certainly raise new ethical questions of a more lasting nature. It will also require that the workforce of mechanical engineering become more diverse in order to drive innovation and ensure that our next steps into space reflect human diversity.
Works Cited “Small Solar Power Sail Demonstrator ‘IKAROS’: Topics.” JAXA, 29 May 2015. Bennet, Jay. “NASA’s Nuclear Thermal Engine Is a Blast From the Cold War Past.” Popular Mechanics, 21 Feb. 2018. Carter, Jaime. “What Space Tourists Will Get for Their $250,000 Ticket.” Travel and Leisure, 29 Sept. 2018. Collins, Aengus et al. “The Global Risks Report 2019.” Geneva: World Economic Forum, 2019. “Mechanical engineers.” Data USA, 2018. Daukantas, Patricia. “Breakthrough Starshot.” Optics and Photonics News (2017): 26-33. Díaz-García, Cristina et al. “Gender diversity within R&D teams: Its impact on radicalness of innovation.” Innovation (2013): 149-160. Fishman, Charles. “Is Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin the Future of Space Exploration?” Smithsonian Magazine, December 2016. Foust, Jeff. “A trillion-dollar space industry will require new markets.” Space News, 5 July 2018. Fredericks, Sigmund C. “Lucian’s True History as SF.” Science Fiction Studies (1976): 4960. Friedman, L. et al. “Evolutionary Lightsailing Missions for the 100-Year Starship.” Journal of the British Interplanetary Society (2013): 252-259. Heller, René, and Michael Hippke. “Deceleration of high-velocity interstellar photon sails into bound orbits at Alpha Centauri.” The Astrophysical Journal Letters (2017): L32. Jarocki, Andrew C. “How is the global defense industry performing? 3 takeaways from a key report on revenue.” Defense News, 17 July 2018. Long, K. F., et al. “PROJECT ICARUS: Son of Daedalus, Flying Closer to Another Star.” Journal of the British Interplanetary Society (2010). Lubin, Philip. “A roadmap to interstellar flight.” Journal of the British Interplanetary Society (2016): 40-72. Martin, Anthony R., ed. “Project Daedalus: The Final Report on the BIS Starship Study.” Journal of the British Interplanetary Society (1978). Mayer, Roger C. et al. “Do Pro-Diversity Policies Improve Corporate Innovation?” Financial Management (2018): 617-650.
Packard, Becky Wai-Ling. Successful STEM mentoring initiatives for underrepresented students: A research-based guide for faculty and administrators. Stylus Publishing, 2015. Paglen, Trevor. “Friends of space, how are you all? Have you eaten yet? Or, why talk to aliens even if we can’t.” Afterall: A Journal of Art, Context and Enquiry (2013): 8-19.
Schwartz, James SJ. “Prioritizing scientific exploration: A comparison of the ethical justifications for space development and for space science.” Space Policy (2014): 202208. Star Trek. Paramount Domestic Television. Prod. Rick Berman Gene Roddenberry. Netflix, 1997-1984. Tsuda, Yuichi, et al. “Achievement of IKAROS—Japanese deep space solar sail demonstration mission.” Acta Astronautica (2013): 183-188.
Masking War Through Excessive Representations of Patriotism in Meet Me in St. Louis Laura Anderson
n order to avoid making Judy Garland sound, as she put it, “lugubrious”, songwriter Hugh Martin was told by Garland, her co-star Tom Drake, and director Vincente Minnelli to change the lyrics of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” for the 1944 film musical Meet Me in St. Louis. Begrudgingly, Martin conceded and changed the original lyrics from “it may be your last / next year we may all be living in the past” to “let your heart be light / next year all our troubles will be out of sight.” In a 2006 NPR interview “The Story Behind ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’” with Terry Gross, Martin admitted that his younger self was arrogant to the glum tone set by his original lyrics (Martin 2010). Throughout its decades of success, the tune has been sung in numerous variations, but Martin refused to stray from the political climate of the 1940s that haunted his writing. The film that prompted the creation of the song, which is now regarded as a beautiful Christmas classic, masks overwhelming feelings of horror surrounding World War II. When Minnelli’s film was released, the war was omnipresent in American households and was stirring uncertainty for the future of many families. The heaviness
brought on by the war motivated Minnelli to create a film that evoked a sense of American patriotism and hope for a prosperous future. While the film is set in St. Louis in the year leading up to the 1904 World’s Fair, following the upper-middle class Smith family, the narrative as a whole portrays a fantastical image of an average U.S. household. Essayist Vincent Casaregola assesses the anticipation of the World’s Fair as a desire for a “better future (a positive wartime theme)” and “a dutiful celebration of the American way (a second, positive wartime theme)” (36). Throughout his essay, “See St. Louis and Die: Wartime and the Morbid Child Psychology of Meet Me in St. Louis,” Casaregola examines the film’s patriotic propaganda as a means for the audience to feel as though it is an escape from reality. However, the exposure to war and its ever-lingering side effects began to generate children who were no longer virtuous. Suddenly children, much like six-year-old Tootie (Margaret O’Brien), one of the family’s four children, developed a fascination with death as a result of vulnerability to the effects of war. Although Meet Me in St. Louis is a film set at the turn of the century, it could not hide the present realities of war that 57
underscored Tootie’s storyline. Ultimately, Tootie’s role undercuts the escapism intended to dictate the film’s tone as she becomes consumed by the idea and processes of death. Not only does she incorporate dramatic irony into her role, but she also highlights the difficult times of America through an uplifting early twentieth-century narrative. Tootie “fantasizes about death and enacts numerous morbid rituals related to death,” as characterized by Casaregola (35). Her dejected quirkiness is immediately established in her first appearance in the film as she rides along with the local ice delivery man. Describing the various illnesses her dolls suffer from, Tootie cheerfully expresses her doubt of their survival. Clearly, she is being set up to act as the American in charge, both in life and death. Shortly after this, she begins to sing the line, “I was drunk last night, dear mother...” infusing her innocence with negativity (Casaregola 38). Ultimately, Tootie’s innocence masks her inner fatalism They symbolically towards America, but because she can portray perform ritualistic murder by powdering her darkness through their victims with flour, wit, she underscores her morbid fantasies thereby recreating through a cheerful the paleness that image. represents death. Throughout the film, the audience sees other glimpses into Tootie’s fascination with morbidity. She has even handed down a death sentence to each of her dolls. She divulges this information and must dig up the dolls’ graves after learning her family will relocate to New York. While the whole family is upset about having to move away from St. Louis for the father’s job, Tootie is clearly the most affected since everything that has been familiar
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is suddenly taken away from her (Casaregola 43). Her innocence is damaged far before she learns of the news, though. On Halloween, neighborhood children gather to partake in traditions, including setting fire to leftover furniture and symbolically murdering unwanted neighbors. They symbolically perform ritualistic murder by powdering their victims with flour, thereby recreating the paleness that represents death. Not only is she encouraged by the other children, but Tootie’s mother prepares her bag of flour. While passed off as an innocent way to celebrate Halloween, the children ultimately act as the contributor of souls for the next Hallow’s Eve. Constantly told she is too young to participate, Tootie proves herself by taking on the most feared neighbor, Mr. Braukoff. Casaregola characterizes the Braukoff name as German-Jewish, connecting this to the xenophobia against those who were European immigrants (40). As a result, the children stage their own world war through murdering their victim, and Tootie proves herself most patriotic by successfully executing the ghastly attack. Although the neighborhood tradition is seemingly harmless, it does not hide “shadows of the Nazi persecution” towards the Europeans and almost celebrates their actions through holiday rituals (Casaregola 40). For instance, while flour mimics
death’s paleness, their way of throwing it onto their victims represents a bomb-like motion, with the rising powder replicating gas chambers. Furthermore, in her act of patriotism, Tootie goes as far as to kill Braukoff in the comforts of his own home, an echoing WWII practice. Clearly depicted as a learned behavior from fellow damaged youths, Tootie’s innocence is subjectively consumed by themes of war, U.S. patriotism, and death. The influence of war on children was prominent in part due to studios like Disney feeding anti-Nazi propaganda to younger viewers. In the 1943 animated film, Der Fuehrer’s Face, Donald Duck has a nightmare that he is a member of the Nazi party. Eventually, he wakes up to understand his pride in America, after being forced to undergo multiple commands through antiNazi depictions. Assuming the average American child viewed this kind of propaganda, it is critical to understand its individual impact on the child’s relationship to the presented media. Donald Duck is a cartoon character infamous for his low tolerance and extreme temper. On the surface it seems comedic to see an explosive character be told to put aside his emotions for Hitler. The dream is introduced through the song “Hail Hirohito,” a salute to then Japanese Emperor and Nazi ally, Hirohito. The German characters are presented
as overweight and unfit soldiers, while the Japanese are racially depicted through slitted eyes and a completely yellow complexion. In the dream, Donald is awoken by a knife cutting through his window, akin to the pervasive nature of killing through home invasion as depicted by Tootie. While getting ...while flour mimics ready, he is not death’s paleness, allowed to enjoy the their way of throwing pleasures of coffee it onto their victims and fresh bread but represents a bombmust consume his like motion... breakfast by spraying it from a perfume bottle into his mouth. Now ready to go to work at an ammunition factory, Donald must carry a Nazi-decorated drum which is much too heavy for him to endure. He then enters a hell-like vision, with gas attacks represented by redorange imagery. Sitting in the middle of this vision is Donald’s place of work. Donald’s tasks at the factory include capping the top shell of bullets and sealing the lids of gas tanks. He quickly becomes overwhelmed by the expectations to speed up his process. The cartoon mocks Nazi Germany’s obsession with “hailing” Hitler by incorporating framed portraits onto the conveyor belt. Eventually, Donald self-implodes and launches into a cage, representing his inability to ever achieve freedom as an individual. Eventually, the chaos awakes Donald and he mimics the fashion of Uncle Sam, complete with a starred shirt and striped pants. Almost subconsciously, Donald attempts to salute the Hitler-like shadow on the wall, but quickly realizes the shadow is of a Lady Liberty figurine. Donald hugs and kisses it, proclaims his pride to be “a citizen of the United States of America,” and the film ends with a tomato being thrown at the image
of Hitler. The tomato is extremely violent in presentation and hits Hitler directly in the eye, before falling apart like blood spatter. Although this is meant to be a satirical representation of Hitler’s death, it is overshadowed by overt, haunting images of racism and violence. In principle, because Disney employs a beloved cartoon character to endure the pains of Nazi Germany, they encourage their young viewers to take on the responsibility of being Americans. After watching this, Instead, she has no longer can the become consumed by war-torn America’s child enjoy the innocence of youth, need to rise to power but must fulfill the through violence. expectations of being patriotic. Tootie, much like the other children forced to endure a culture of violence, is denied the pleasures of childhood and is instead expected to leave the things that mean the most to her: home, dolls, and the collection of memories preserved in both the family home and the neighborhood. After learning that the family must “deploy” for her father’s job, Tootie is inconsolable and her older sister Esther (Judy Garland) attempts to comfort her by singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” The song is glum and does not reflect the same values and hope the film holds for the future. Rather, it acts as a hymn of uncertainty for the future of the country. No longer is Garland’s tone cheerful, but instead reflects the fear of war families experienced through lyrical mourning. Ironically, this scene holds all the elements to employ a perfectly crafted moment of comfort, but refuses to take on that narrative. Garland, though twentytwo at the time of her performance, acts as the messenger of mourning between children and
adults. Using her celebrity status, she voices the average American’s concern about defeat in the war. This bleak reality is also depicted by Tootie’s rash decision to forgo Esther’s comfort and destroy the snowmen she built with her family. In destroying her creations, Tootie diminishes her most recent Christmas memory and final connection to childhood. Since her childhood is entirely subsumed within the white picket fence of the Victorian household, moving to New York will cause Tootie to take on a new identity, one that is shaped by war propaganda. In purging her innocence through the act of murdering the snowmen, she demonstrates that she no longer cares for life, and is willing to sacrifice her own memories for the sake of America. It is evident through her rage that Tootie is upset by her inability to have a proper childhood. Instead, she has become consumed by war-torn America’s need to rise to power through violence. Although the move to New York is hard on the whole family, Tootie’s reaction is the main reason her father decides to cancel the move. However, staying in St. Louis does not lessen Tootie’s lack of innocence, but rather provides it the same platform to rot. Tootie’s narrative is a collective set of stories projecting images of death seen through other contemporary media, like Der
Fuehrer’s Face. Because children of the ‘40s consumed massive amounts of anti-war propaganda, they were denied the privilege of the blissful ignorance of youth. Although Meet Me in St. Louis was intended to be an escapist film, it couldn’t hide America’s reality at the time of its release. This turn-of-the-centurybased film fails to completely separate itself from the influence of war. Even though the film attempts to present a patriotic, hopeful vision for the U.S., it is overwhelmed by the backdrop of Tootie’s narrative. Even with songs that became as iconic as “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” a feeling of uncertainty about the future was prevalent in children and adults. Tootie’s rage about her lack of a childhood evidently can only be projected through death of others. As a result, Meet Me in St. Louis not only concerns itself with the future of America, but reflects insecurity through masked variations of patriotism. No longer are children innocent; their childhoods are tainted by the exposure to death and an insecure American nationalism.
Works Cited Casaregola, Vincent. “See St. Louis and Die: Wartime and the Morbid Child Psychology of Meet Me in St. Louis.” Red Feather Journal, vol. 2, no. 2, 2011, pp. 34–46. Martin, Hugh. “The Story Behind ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’.” Fresh Air, NPR, 19 Nov. 2010. Minnelli, Vincente, et al. Meet Me in St. Louis. Burbank, CA : Distributed by Warner Home Video, c2004., 2004. “Donald Duck - Der Fuehrer’s face | eng sub.” YouTube, uploaded by Solarer111, 4 Jan. 2011.
Place & Identity Crys LaCroix
pace is not a neutral starting point. Instead, it is a product of social relations and practices. For De Certeau (1988), space is produced through stories, such that “stories transverse and organize places” (p. 117). Stories thus make place socially meaningful in that they create boundaries, frontiers, in and out groups, membership and identity. Indeed, to be asked who you are means in many ways to be asked where you are from, and where you are from is fraught with the social relationships of the past and present that shape how one experiences the world and as such, experiences themselves. To talk about oneself is to talk about space, and to understand space, one must understand the narratives and stories that have been created about those spaces. Stories are not stagnant, though. They can be transformed with time, they can be communicated and miscommunicated, they can change form as you yourself do. The stories we tell ourselves about home and querencia might be familiar, safe, and longlasting. For Arellano (2017), querencia involves an affection and longing for one’s favorite place such that one feels a sense of responsibility to that place. To conoce como su manos (p. 3), or to know a place like one’s hands, ultimately anchors one to the land. Querencia, however, is not always tied to a physical space or place. It can instead refer to
“a certain time of day, a certain type of weather, music, art, literature, food, taste, or smell” (p. 3). This offering suggests that home is not always directly tied to a physical space or place, but can be more nuanced and abstract, relating to what we do that can bring us closer to feelings and experiences of home. Stories help us make sense of how we understand home and querencia. More often than not they change as we ourselves do, and this requires us to consider and re-consider where we belong, in what ways we belong, and how the minutia of human experiences has perhaps brought us closer to, or expelled us away from, a given space. It is in this shifting relationship to the places that we originate from that we can learn most about what matters to us and who we are. * I am told that I was a fat and sizable baby. My fleshy thighs and protruding belly made it difficult for my father to remove me from the swing that surrounded me. My weight now fluctuates, impacted either by my willingness or aversion to eating and my varying levels of stress. But a certain softness remains, a trait likely passed down from my mother. I do not remember the swing or my father’s hands offering me speed enough to propel me towards the blue-white of a spring sky. Indeed, 63
many of my memories of that time are foggy, dreamlike, indistinguishable. I oftentimes osculate between absolute certainty that the memories I have of my childhood are wildly inaccurate, contrasted with being deeply sure that what I remember is correct. That stories oftentimes rely on memories makes them inherently fraught with potential inaccuracies, Now, I’ve reclaimed causing me deep my name: shortened confusion about how I it to ‘Crys’ and grew up, questioning insisted upon this what is real and what is new utterance imagined. from strangers and * friends alike. I was born in Worcester, Massachusetts to my parents Elizabeth LaCroix and Garry Heunigan. Residents of Worcester take to dropping the “er” from its spelling, replacing it with a hard and fast “a” instead, such that “Worcester” becomes “Worcesta”: the land of Dunkin Donuts drive-thrus, aggressive driving, and accents that rise with what seems like aggression but is usually just a spirited Massachusetts tongue. While Massachusetts is a place I have increasingly attempted to put physical distance between, I will always feel a deep and unyielding affection for the accented talk that sounds like home; for the rolling hills and crisp air and the blossoming trees; for the springs and autumns that are marked by rain and more rain. My mother named me Crystle May LaCroix, and I was the last of the children she would have. In light of many dead family members and my disconnection from my family as a whole, I cannot trace the origins or history of my last name. And because both of my parents have died (my father in 2010, my mother in 2016), I cannot urge an explanation regarding my first
name. Indeed, I am forever curious about my mother’s choice to take an alternative spelling to “Crystal,” a choice that causes many strangers to have me spell and respell it for clarity, which is typically followed by “that’s an unusual spelling” and I will nod, noting that my mother herself was unusual. Now, I’ve reclaimed my name: shortened it to “Crys” and insisted upon this new utterance from strangers and friends alike. It sounds more like me, and I feel a sense of control and satisfaction at being able to urge this new spelling and new name from others. My parents met when they were homeless and addicted to drugs. They managed to hobble a life together that was mostly maintained through unhealthy patterns, mental health issues, addiction, and (temporarily) raising a few kids. Momma was a notable sixteen years older than my father and had a predilection for endless, insistent, never-ending chatter that filled every room she was in and every phone call she made. Talking on the phone with her usually started with a resounding “Hi, honnie, how are you,” followed by stories that were told with such quickness that the only thing I could offer in return was a repeated “mhmm, yeah ma,” as she moved from one story to the next. My mother was a red-haired woman with a sizable mole on her right chin (another inherited
trait that my own chin now boasts of) who favored teasing her hair, plucking her eyebrows too thin, and wearing bright colored clothes that garnered attention and praise. My father seemed entirely the opposite. While my mother took up space, both physically and verbally, my father was a whisper of a man: tall, thin, dark-eyed and dark-haired with a mouth that rarely formed a smile. He was incredibly quiet: prone to taking to the back room to smoke cigarettes and stare idly at the television screen. My parents gave myself and my two sisters up for adoption when we were six, seven, and eight, respectively. My grandmother, who had at that point already raised twelve children and buried multiple husbands, took us in and moved us to North Brookfield, Massachusetts. I have managed to forge together a sense of forgiveness for my mother regarding the adoption, namely because after she gave parental rights to her own mother, she still maintained a relationship with us. She tried. This trying took the form of visitation meetings at the McDonald’s in Spencer, Massachusetts. She would show up decked out in bold lipstick, wearing heavy earrings that swayed eagerly as she leaned in to kiss me. She would call us every week and though I hated talking to her at the time, I now attempt to imagine what it must have been like to have children but not be able to be with them, to try
and overcome the distance of motherhood by offering weekly phone calls and sending cards with change stuck inside of them. My father, on the other hand, did not show up for visitation hours, refused the phone calls, and took to the back room for quiet when we later visited him as adults. His absence was palpable and everpresent, even before his death. * My grandmother was not a soft woman. She had a stocky build, broad shoulders and a protruding belly. Her hair was permed and curled in on itself in soft patterns, as if a gray cloud moved and danced above her head. Nanna’s temperament mirrored her physicality. She had a quick tongue that was prone to complaining about the goddamn neighbor that bothered her every morning with conversation, yet she still opened the door for him and poured him one pot of coffee followed by another. Hers was a mouth that was quick to form another swear or complaint, oftentimes directed at me. We grew up in a trailer on a few acres of land. The trailer was narrow and long, as all trailers are, and quite literally falling apart, with the ceiling of the long closet in the back that leaked water and the bathroom that sank in every Hers was a mouth time I dared step inside quick to form for a tooth brushing or a another swear or shit. I oftentimes worried complaint, often the toilet would literally directed at me. fall through the floor, shit spilling out in various directions, our true white trash nature finally revealed to our neighbors. I grew up ashamed of my home, a feeling that was heightened by my grandmother’s refusal to allow my friends to visit. Home became a place of hiding rather than invitation and even now, as a grown thirty-three-year-old woman, to invite
“ ” 65
someone into my home feels deeply personal and, sometimes, frightening, so worried I am about how people might think I live. The kitchen, though, was one of the best spots in the house. My grandmother could cook, she could throw the hell down in the kitchen, and would spend hours boiling or baking or cooking something up. The meatballs that she layered atop mounds of perfectly cooked pasta paired with seasoned homemade sauce took hours to cook, the smell wafting around the house, coaxing moans of anticipation from my belly. She could make a mean pork tenderloin, seasoned and sliced to perfection, and her chili boasted tender beef and robust spices that could never be replicated by anyone else in the family. My grandmother was not a soft woman but, in many ways, I understand that her cooking was her way of caring, and that in the midst of poverty, she kept us fed and full. I have now learned the power of a plate of food offered to someone, and want to say, “Hello, come in, let me cook for you” to my lover and friends as a measure of care and affection for the people I welcome into my home. * There was a beautiful and towering oak tree at the highest point of the hill in our backyard. It would blossom and dance with colors of brown and red during autumn. My sisters and I were tasked with gathering the leaves it gave us, piling them into towering black trash bags to be placed around the base of the trailer to keep the heat in when cooler weather came. This was the tree where I would sit and read, held firm by the base of its trunk, shoulders and back pressed into its rough bark. This was the tree where our cats, and at one point our single and ever-curious chicken that would peck at the side of my legs, would join me to receive affection while I read and wondered. It’s where I would write letters 66
to my best friend and fill my various diaries with ideas and worries and experiences. It’s where I would take my Walkman and play Céline Dion and Backstreet Boys on repeat, my wobbly and uncertain tone straining to match their voices. It’s where I danced and dreamed and imagined. * It is tempting to succumb to narratives about my childhood, to assert that it hurt and thus, my life should continue to hurt. Rich (1978) reminds me, “I want to go on from here with you, fighting the temptation to make a career of pain” (p. 28). To refuse the pattern of continued pain is to take back the narrative, to reroute familial patterns and to earnestly try for healing. There is much work to be done, as lacking a fundamental base of support and kindness early on in my life has made me prone to selfdestructive habits and patterns. I do not always know how to be good to myself and in many ways, do not know how to be good to others. What I learned though, particularly while living in North Brookfield, is the power of removing myself from unhealthy situations. In particular, I learned that a book read underneath a tree could take me up and away from my own reality. Stories about vampires or female detectives or hinted-at sex scenes that made my skin crawl with a red blush worked to heighten my imagination. I fostered a feverpitched love for what written words
can do, the way a well-worded sentence can stun me into silence or pull a resounding “Oh, my god” from my mouth. I learned that a pen put to paper is where I could safely speak truths. I learned to simultaneously internalize my experiences through quietness and physical separation from others, but unlike my father, I took to creative endeavors in order to find ways to speak. The landscapes of my childhood have shapeshifted into graves and an abandoned home, but one singular, new reality is still possible and entirely mine to claim.
References Arellano, E. J. (2007). Taos: Where Cultures Met Four Hundred Years Ago. Grantmakers in the Arts Reader, 18(3), 1-8. de Certeau, M. (1988). The Practice of Everyday Life. United Kingdom: University of California Press. Rich, A. (1978). The Dream of a Common Language: Poems 1974-1977. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company.
Co nt ri b u to r Alex Dickey Alex Dickey is an Albuquerque native and sophomore English major at UNM. Their research interests are focused on the performance of identity in poetry, especially at the intersections of marginalization. “and that can’t come from God, right?”: An Exploration of Queerness and Religious Violence Through Danez Smith’s “Genesissy” page 1
RHONDA HALL Rhonda Hall, 20, is a senior studying psychology, sociology (pre-law), American Sign Language, and interdisciplinary studies. She enjoys dance fitness, dogs, and Harry Potter. After graduating, she hopes to attend law school as well as become a signed language interpreter and researcher. Spring Awakening: Revived and Deaf! page 8
LIAM PAUL Liam Paul is currently a freshman studying political science at UNM. His interests include geeking out on political data, listening to musical theatre, and basketball. You can find him on campus volunteering for political groups and registering voters. Election Security in the Age of the Internet: A Policy Analysis of Options to Combat Cyber-Based Election Interference page 18
Benjamin Tabáček is a poet, artist, and writer from Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is currently attending UNM and pursuing a degree in English. He is the author of two unpublished poetry collections and a novel and is currently preparing them for publication. The Sectional Identities of Sandra Cisneros in Chicana Literature page 24
BRYCE DIX Bryce Dix is a senior at UNM studying multimedia journalism and mass communication. Passionate about filmmaking, Bryce is pursuing a minor in media arts and a designation from the Honors College. He is currently working for the NPR affiliate KUNM news as a general assignment reporter. He also the news host for NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday. Bryce was born and raised in the Albuquerque area, refusing to leave New Mexico’s beautiful sunsets. Photography, running and soccer take up most of his time when he isn’t writing. Brother page 33
bi o g ra ph ie s Ella Rappaport Ella Rappaport is a senior at UNM graduating with a double degree in chemistry and psychology. She didn’t realize how much she loved musicals until taking a musical theater class with Dr. Maria Szasz. Fair warning: don’t go on a road-trip with her unless you’re willing to belt out entire musicals at a time (and sing the instrumental bits, too). Jesus Christ Superstar and Hamilton: Bringing Old Revolution into Sharp Relief page 40
Anna Granquist Anna Granquist spends most of her free time watching Star Trek and reading murder mysteries. After her summer engineering internship, she changed her major to applied mathematics. However, she still loves the idea of interstellar travel and regularly thinks about her future on Proxima Centauri b. The Future in Our Stars page 47
LAURA ANDERSON Laura Anderson is a senior at UNM. She is double majoring in media arts and English and works as a marketing writer for Popejoy Hall. Laura hopes to further her education in film studies through the study of gender and sexuality in films. Inspired by the works of feminist writer Judith Butler and essayist Laura Mulvey, she aspires to produce similar work with a modern lens. Outside of her studies, she can be found pondering Pinterest for crafting ideas or working on her Netflix-based “homework.” Masking War Through Excessive Representations of Patriotism in Meet Me in St. Louis page 57
CRYS LACROIX Crys LaCroix is a PhD student studying intercultural communication. She enjoys poetry, photography, and riding on her scooter, Tonto, with her husband. Place & Identity page 63
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