Academic writing does not often find its way out of the classroom and into the spotlight. Yet often work that begins as a required assignment turns into something worth celebrating. Students at the University of Denver consistently produce written work that goes beyond the assignment prompt to produce meaning, challenge assumptions, and inspire creativity. They forge connections with authors of old and follow the footsteps of contemporary pioneers in their disciplines. WRIT Large provides writers with an avenue to celebrate these works and, by sharing them with readers, hopes to foster a community of engaged and curious writers who continue in this tradition. This year we are proud to host a wider variety of disciplines and genres than ever before. With great anticipation, we introduce you to this yearâ€™s writers: Meg Swartley guides us through the world of steampunk, sharing with us the potential in combining the old with the new. Emily Krebs challenges our perspectives and encourages us to look beyond what we see, and what is shown to us, in popular culture. Gabe Rusk enters a long-standing philosophical debate, engaging in dialogue with prominent theorists of law. Caroline Stephens engages in extensive research to explore the psychological implications of cultural differences in experiencing childbirth. Katie Beisel savors sweet dumplings, connecting her love of 18th and 19th century â€œjamsâ€? with a scholarly study of music. Viktor Stigson investigates recent controversies in sports news by applying classical sociological concepts. Shem Kikamaze correlates education and poverty in Uganda, raising awareness about stereotypes and the potential for change. Angus Kitchell reinterprets the comic Calvin and Hobbes, exploring its cultural significance through the lens of Thoreau and Zhuangzi. As editors, we have found it a pleasure to work with our peers to bring this volume to you. While these eight works are only a sample of DU writing, we hope that they reveal the complexity and diversity of work produced on our campus each year that is well-worth some time in the spotlight. It is with pride and enthusiasm that we welcome you to the third annual issue of WRIT Large. Student Editorial B oard: Monica Heilman, Devon Varoz, Ellie Lindner, Mary Haynes, Adrienne Meyer, Andrew Wood
2 Clockwork Brains:
S teampunk S ubculture
8 The Aladdin Effect: O rientalism
Emily Krebs 16
M odern Popular Culture
A Descriptive Sociology of the Law:
The Practice Theory
“A rbitrary” Rules
Spotlight on Student Editors
Cross-Cultural Emotion Regulation during
Caroline Stephens 28 A Great Duet for Sweet Dumplings: Clarinet Pieces I nspired
Katie Beisel 36
Suicide among Retired Professional Athletes:
A Case S tudy
Viktor Stigson 44
A nomic S uicide
Education and Life on the other side of
Shem Kikamaze 53
Wandering the World of Calvin and Hobbes
Appendices A, B, and C
Call for Submissions
W r i t L a r g e 2 0 14
Clockwork brains: Morality
Meg Swartley WRIT 1133: Writing and Research Professor LP Picard
I was introduced to steampunk in an art class my second year of high school. Two girls sitting
near me were participating in National Novel Writing Month and would bounce ideas off each other periodically. One’s story included a character she called “the Goddess of Steampunk,”
who would appear and manipulate plot points in the hopes that the world would move towards a more steampunk ideal. I was enchanted by the idea and drew a picture of the Goddess.
At that time, my view of steampunk was limited by what I overheard these two girls discussing during class, but after attempting my own costume, hosting a steampunk-themed tea party for
my 16th birthday, and attending several of the Colorado Steampunks’ events, I began to discover
aspects of steampunk that I never knew I had an interest in. Suddenly, there was a name for the fantastical brass-and-wood aesthetic that so drew me to my favorite movie—Treasure Planet—
and a way to balance the value for old-fashioned things that my mother instilled in me with a desire for scientific and social progress.
There is something so enchanting about old things in the way they take on the aura of the people they have been used and loved by before. However, the future does not have time to
wait for people who only know how to look backward. Through this essay, I hope to encourage even more people to learn to build bridges across history.
Introduction The relatively unknown aesthetics of steampunk have been gaining popularity and an audience in the public eye. Pop singers such as Taylor Swift have been seen in gear-studded, half-Victorian, half-futuristic outfits on stage, and designer brands such as Prada have released steampunk -inspired collections, with studded vests and— surprise!—middle-aged men as models. But what is steampunk? Simply put, it is “Victorian science fiction” (Falksen, 2009, para. 1). Steampunk as a genre takes the technological advancements of the Victorian era and reimagines them, creating “a future that looks dramatically un-modern to 2
WRIT Large: 2014
modern eyes” (Falksen, 2009, para. 3), or “a history that never was” (Barber & Hale, 2013, p. 165). Some of the most famous images include goggles; clockworks; brass, leather, and wood; corsets for both genders; and steam-powered airships made from cloth. Suddenly, the streets of London in the 1880s become a science fiction-worthy petri dish for gentlemenly ray gun duels, lost time travelers, and gleaming clockwork robots. Steampunk is a genre found in novels, movies, music, and art. However, due to its recent popularity, steampunk has gained a sizeable community following that has been described
© Kiselev Andrey Valerevich / Shutterstock.com
as a punk subculture (that is, a subculture that defines itself by its irreverence for mainstream ideals) (Cherry & Mellins, 2011). Members of this community—known as steampunks—use the steampunk genre as a creative mode for expressing their personal identities (Akah & Bardzell, 2010). Steampunks gather to forge friendships and exchange ideas with each other at conventions and various Victorian-themed events. Popular activities include art shows, role-play, and photo shoots (Forlini, 2009). The old-fashioned brass-and-leather aesthetics often carry over into steampunks’ daily lives, with many artisans refurbishing ordinary household electronics (computers, televisions, USB drives, etc.), furniture, and even entire houses into a more steampunk style (Akah & Bardzell, 2010). But what is it that really attracts people to the genre of steampunk? Some people are drawn in simply for the love of history, others to the never-was technology, and still others to the potential for new fashion (Falksen, 2009). Steampunk artifacts are certainly interesting and unconventional, but is that really all? Or are there underlying themes and values that attract people to the subculture? One of the foundational characteristics of steampunk is the open sharing of ideas, even between time periods (Forlini, 2009). Steampunk, by its old-meets-new nature, promotes a creative recombination of motifs from different inspirational sources. Steampunk fiction is renowned for its juxtaposition of hard science-fiction elements (such as space and time travel) painted against dusty Victorian settings. The conventions of two
opposing genres—the Victorian social problem novel à la Charles Dickens and science-fiction future novels such as Ender’s Game—are combined into a doubly potent, if unorthodox, new genre. The same is true for costumery and the visual arts in steampunk. When developing a steampunk costume, the general advice is to start with a Victorian outfit and embellish it with punk or science-fiction aesthetics (Falksen, 2009). A steampunk inventor might dress himself in a suit worthy of Nikola Tesla, and then build himself a gleaming robot arm like something out of Battlestar Galactica. Steampunk art creatively combines aesthetics and ideas, regardless of any temporal boundaries between sources. Unrestrained by the limitations of time period, steampunks are in a unique position to question old ideals while simultaneously upholding them; they ask questions such as “should this ideal have been glorified for so long?” and “why was this ideal lost?” Most notably, steampunks “Love the Machine” but “Hate the Factory” (Huxtable, 2013, p. 218). They reject the notion of mass production and instead embrace unique handcrafting, and yet they support the advancement of technology and practicality. Steampunks question many socially-prescribed identities, from gender roles to social classes to racial stereotypes. Steampunk novels are characterized by anarchic, troublemaking protagonists, including zombie hunters, explorers, ex-aristocrat vampires, and mixed-race prostitutes (Perschon, 2013). The corset is viewed as a symbol of female empowerment rather than a restriction (Taddeo, 2013). At its core, steampunk is, once again, a Volume 3
Meg Swartley is a sophomore majoring
in Studio Art and Psychology. Her hobbies include drawing, costumery, collecting
ball-jointed dolls, and learning languages. She once broke a tooth in half playing
limbo at an extreme speed during a tae kwon do class. Meg is from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
punk movement whose countercultural attitudes flourish in a distinctive melting pot of ideas (Cherry & Mellins, 2011). There are certainly a number of values that recur throughout steampunk as a genre, but how much does this carry over into the actions and morals of the steampunks themselves? Though a few studies have conducted research on specific aspects of steampunk life, none have attempted to take the temperature of the steampunk value system as a whole. This research asks the question: does the steampunk subculture have its own specific moral code? Through surveys and interviews, this research examines the overall beliefs held by steampunks.
Methods The survey used for this research asks questions concerning people’s professions, hobbies, and personal morals inside and outside of the steampunk subculture. The survey adhered to the 4
WRIT Large: 2014
University of Denver’s IRB approval guidelines, meaning it was completely anonymous, and only those who were able to give legal consent were allowed to participate. The questions are designed to determine the trends in steampunks’ interests, what attracts them to steampunk, and what kind of influence steampunk has over their personal values (see full survey in Appendix A). The survey was distributed online to the Colorado Steampunks Facebook group, which boasts more than 1,100 members. While the majority of the group members are Colorado residents, they have a wide variety of ages, professions, and hometowns. In total, 92 people responded to the survey. Interviews were also conducted with three members of the Colorado Steampunks Facebook group. Two of them, M. and Mme. Deville, were an older couple who were introduced to steampunk through a convention in Texas. The third was Col. Sanders, a young photographer who specializes in photographing people and portraits. Each interviewee was asked questions over the phone about their personal morals inside and outside the sphere of steampunk, such as “what was it that first attracted you to steampunk?” “what is your most valued personal moral?” and, subsequently, “what bearing does steampunk have on your personal morals?” Each interview was about half an hour long, and each interviewee gave consent according to IRB approval guidelines.
Results According to the data, 81% of respondents considered themselves to be artists, while only 22% of all respondents practiced art professionally. Some other common professions included librarians, scientists in various fields (such as biology, chemistry, and computer science), and homemakers. Respondents were asked to indicate what first attracted them to steampunk (with a possibility to choose more than one answer). The following are the top five reasons people are attracted to steampunk: 1. Aesthetics (81%) 2. Emphasis on creativity (66%) 3. Reimagining of history (64%) 4. Do-it-yourself opportunities (58%) 5. Juxtaposition of old and new (54%)
Respondents were also asked to rate a number of steampunk-related, but not necessarily steampunk-determined, moral values on a scale of one to five, with one being “not at all important” and five being “extremely important.” The average ratings for these values were as follows: 1. Promotion of creativity: 4.80 2. Individuality: 4.42 3. Free sharing of ideas: 4.40 4. Diversity: 4.25 5. Making & maintaining friendships: 4.24 6. Promotion of scientific discovery: 4.10 7. Environmental friendliness: 3.63 Forty-four percent of respondents said steampunk did not alter their opinion on any of the moral values mentioned above. Forty percent said steampunk altered their opinion on the promotion of creativity, and 24% said steampunk altered their opinion on the free sharing of ideas.
Analysis Judging from the population surveyed, most steampunks were attracted to the subculture because of its aesthetics and/or its emphasis on creativity; and when steampunk caused a change in its members’ personal values, it was typically on their perception of creativity. Steampunks also expressed similar high value for creativity in interviews. Interviewee M. Deville said his favorite thing about steampunk was “the Victorian styling; the mechanical nature of things; the Edwardian, Victorian era kind of look or impression. . . [T]he men loo[k] stylish, yes, but they also ha[ve] a sort of rough-and-tumble style.” Col. Sanders said, “[A]ll the things that are related to [steampunk] are most of the time one-of-akind things.” Steampunk’s high emphasis on creativity promotes originality, which people take note of and are attracted to. Steampunk also has a high population of art hobbyists, despite there being a relatively small population of professional artists; it encourages creativity in the general population but is not exclusively for artists. Steampunk also had a strong influence on people’s perception of the free sharing of ideas. Idea sharing was the third highest rated moral value, and the value second most influenced by steampunk itself. These data indicate that the free sharing of ideas is the next most important value to the steampunk subculture. Steampunk
© 3355m / Shutterstock.com
artists are generally very transparent in their creative methods (Forlini, 2009). While some artists may carefully guard their techniques, most steampunks answer questions freely, and many even write tutorials for how they make their creations. Through any of a number of convention panels or do-it-yourself websites, steampunks might build their own musical Tesla coil with no prior knowledge of electrical engineering or make their own corset having never before touched a sewing needle. Steampunk gives easy access to an infinite number of creative possibilities, and that attracts people to join in. More and more people can take an idea, modify it, and contribute their new idea to the group’s collective knowledge. Interviewee Col. Sanders explained the advantage of sharing ideas: “artists’ ideas can mix with other people’s ideas and create brand new concepts.” Essentially, by placing a high value on freely sharing ideas, steampunk promotes its greater moral concept: the promotion of creativity. This kind of recombination is another defining value for the steampunk subculture. A large percentage of survey respondents said they were originally attracted by steampunk’s reimagining of history and juxtaposition of old and new. It is such juxtaposition—the Victorian contrasted with the future—that sets steampunk apart from other genres of science fiction (Falksen, 2009). As the steampunk genre has grown into a subculture, its characteristic juxtaposition continues to set it apart; no other subculture chooses and combines ideas and visuals from any time period in quite the same way. As Falksen says, “[P]eople looking for fashion ideas, character inVolume 3
Steampunks question many socially-prescribed identities, from gender roles to social classes to racial stereotypes.
© Kiselev Andrey Valerevich / Shutterstock.com
spirations or scenes to describe can find a wealth of starting points in the countless vintage photographs and film reels left over from the 19th century” (para. 9). Yet an artist need not be restrained by the aesthetics of the past. People are attracted to steampunk because it is characteristically anachronistic.
Limitations The results of this research are somewhat limited due to the fact that only Colorado residents were surveyed, and less than 10% of the Colorado Steampunk population at that. Further research could be conducted in the more general Steampunk Facebook group, which, being nearly twenty times the size of the Colorado Steampunks group, represents a much wider variety of members. However, conducting survey research over the Internet still poses limitations, since not everyone uses Facebook or even has regular Internet access. There could be other contributing factors to the steampunk moral code that the survey did not address because there were few open-ended questions. Questions and possible answers were chosen based on trends in the steampunk subculture observed by prior research, so areas that have not been studied before may have been neglected. Discussion From the results, it is more likely that people with similar morals are attracted to steampunk than it is that steampunk enforces a certain moral standard. Most survey respondents said that steampunk had no influence over their personal 6
WRIT Large: 2014
morals; however, there were trends in what personal morals people said they most valued. For example, one might assume that steampunk attracts a lot of artists rather than converting people into artists. This is not to say that steampunk does not encourage certain attitudes within its membership; it starts with a seed that is already planted. Those who are already looking for a creative outlet can find a home in the steampunk subculture. As more and more people are attracted to this aspect of steampunk, creativity flourishes. As steampunk gains a spotlight in the popular eye, it encourages these morals in the mainstream audience. According to Col. Sanders, “By introducing steampunk and having it become more mainstream, people are introduced to more creativity and more of those old-fashioned values . . . Steampunk encourages a certain level of decency that’s not found nowadays: manners, customs, that all seem to have been lost over time. And then mixing the old-fashioned with the modern and the new can revive the old-fashioned ways.” Mme. Deville said, “Something about it makes me think [steampunk] would be better for the mainstream.” Like Mme. Deville, most steampunks desire the public to have close contact with its ideals and artifacts—unlike in a museum, there are no “do not touch” signs. Steampunk’s contrasting old-meets-new visuals promote critical thinking and reevaluation of ideals. If these values were to be widely promoted to a mainstream audience, it could have a revolutionary impact on how the population as a whole views the arts, and on how everyone determines their own personal morals.
© crop / Shutterstock.com
References Akah, B., & Bardzell, S. (2010, April). Empowering Products: personal identity through the act of appropriation. In Proceedings of the 28th international conference extended abstracts on human factors in computing systems (pp. 4021–4026). New York: ACM. Barber, S., & Hale, M. (2013). Enacting the never-was: Upcycling the past, present, and future in steampunk. In J. A. Taddeo & C. J. Miller (Eds.), Steaming into a Victorian future (pp. 165–183). Lanham, MA: Scarecrow Press. Cherry, B., & Mellins, M. (2011). Negotiating the punk in steampunk: Subculture, fashion & performative identity. Punk & Post Punk, 1(1), 5–25. Falksen, G. D. (2009, October). Steampunk 101. [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.tor.com/ blogs/2009/10/steampunk-101. Forlini, S. (2008). Technology and morality: The stuff of steampunk. People, 151, 147. Huxtable, S. (2013). “Love the machine, hate the factory”: Steampunk design and the vision of a Victorian future. In J. A. Taddeo & C. J. Miller (Eds.), Steaming into a Victorian future (pp. 213–233). Lanham, MA: Scarecrow Press. Perschon, M. (2013). Useful troublemakers: Social retrofuturism in the steampunk novels of Gail Carriger and Cherie Priest. In J. A. Taddeo & C. J. Miller (Eds.), Steaming into a Victorian future (pp. 21–41). Lanham, MA: Scarecrow Press. Taddeo, J. A. (2013). Corsets of steel: Steampunk’s reimagining of Victorian femininity. In J. A. Taddeo & C. J. Miller (Eds.), Steaming into a Victorian future (pp. 43–63). Lanham, MA: Scarecrow Press.
The Aladdin effect: O rientalism
Modern Popular Culture
Emily Krebs WRIT 1133: Writing and Research Professor Kara Taczak
When I first came to DU as a bright-eyed pre-med student, I honestly had no idea what I really
wanted to study. My long-time dreams of going into medicine were waning, and sitting in the back of an 8am chemistry lecture sealed the deal. I dropped the course and my major aspirations just two days into the quarter and—in typical freshman style—registered for one of the few courses with an open seat: Communication and Popular Culture.
To be honest, I thought it was going to be a boring “easy A” at best. If someone would’ve told
me that I would end up reading unassigned chapters in the textbook during my spare time, I would’ve laughed them off in a heartbeat. But just a week into the quarter, I was hooked. Crit-
ical media studies seemed to infiltrate every aspect of my life, and I was amazed at just how much influence media held over popular perceptions. As the taboos surrounding discussions of
race, class, sexuality, and gender were lifted, I was forced to look at the world through a series of critical lenses that utterly obliterated my understandings of power and privilege. The whole thing was gritty, nuanced, and frustrating . . . and I couldn’t get enough of it.
So two quarters later, when my WRIT professor gave free rein on choosing a research topic, I jumped at the opportunity to pair this initial academic love affair with another one: Middle East studies. What resulted was “The Aladdin Effect,” a very brief introduction into an extraordinarily
complex intercultural clash. I hope this paper will encourage readers to rethink the ideologies that affect popular media’s portrayals and prejudices.
An Introduction: Carpets and Camels and Cruelty, Oh My! Oh I come from a land, from a faraway place, where the caravan camels roam. Where they cut off your ear if they don’t like your face, it’s barbaric, but hey; it’s home! –“Arabian Nights” from Aladdin (Original Theatrical Version) In the opening scenes of Disney’s Aladdin (1992), children are provided with Hollywood’s quintessential image of “Arab Land”: a fictional territory of dark-skinned aggressors, barbaric injustice, and camel-riding fools, all of which went 8
WRIT Large: 2014
on to become integral parts of this animated classic. Needless to say, however, not everyone was thrilled by the film’s portrayal of the Arab world. The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) was appalled by the stereotypical language in “Arabian Nights.” The group confronted Disney on the matter, and the studio agreed to change the lyrics before the film’s VHS release the following year. Despite its success, the ADC’s complaints fell largely under the public radar. In the following months, the film went on to win two Academy Awards (Best Original Score, Best Original Song); and, after grossing over $500 million
© rook76 / Shutterstock.com
worldwide, Aladdin was eventually made into a television series, two sequel films, and a host of non-media merchandise. A Broadway adaptation is expected to hit New York City in 2014. But who cares? It’s just Hollywood, just an animated kid’s movie, right? I certainly was not exempt from this line of thought. For years, I watched the film without regard for the implications of Jafar’s serpentine manipulation or Princess Jasmine’s sexualized form. But with the weight of today’s foreign involvement in the Middle East, these sorts of images must be looked upon more critically in order to ensure that basic humanity is recognized in all people. Interestingly, this fictional “Arab Land” is not a new creation; we inherited it primarily from Colonial Europeans (Jhally, 2006). Media have, over the past 200 years, effectively created a faux-identity for an entire group of people— an identity that perpetuates negative stereotypes and cultural injustice. So with today’s heavy economic and military ties to the region, how have these media trends shaped modern American perceptions of Middle Easterners? To explore this question, I will discuss the origins of these images and their effectiveness in conveying cultural knowledge, followed by a critical take on their recent manifestations.
Orientalism, Exoticism, & the Inheritance of the Fictional “Arab Land” The Colonial period marked the beginnings of Orientalism, a topic made famous by Palestinian-American scholar Edward Said. As defined
in his 1978 work of the same name, Orientalism generally refers to representations of the East through the Western lens. As artists, scholars, and historians (termed “Orientalists”) traveled to the Eastern world from their homes in the Occident, they perceived these newfound cultures through their own inherent biases and ethnocentric tendencies; in short, their creations were interpretations. “He comes to the Orient as a European or American first, as an individual second,” noted Said (1978, p. 137). The travelers tended to fixate on the exotic aspects of these cultures—sultans, camels, and veiled women—because this sort of novelty was much more likely to return a profit. Through this process, they effectively produced an imagined “other” in the Orient, specifically in Islamic culture (Said, 1978). Cultural scholar Talal Asad (2009) defines this relationship through a series of binaries: Middle East vs. West, aggression vs. rationality; backwardness vs. modernity; choice vs. coercion. As these dichotomies have further distanced the Westerner from the Middle Eastern “other,” popular media’s racial type-casting has continued to reign largely unquestioned. But why were these images created this way in the first place? “The relationship between Occident and Orient is a relationship of power, of domination, of varying degrees of complex hegemony” (Said, 1978, p. 133). In the creation of this binary opposite, Western culture was able to assert its righteousness and dominance. Therefore, Orientalist images are a demonstration of Euro-Atlantic sovereignty, a hierarchy in which the ideologies of the Western World hold power over the East. Volume 3
over-sexed belly dancer: an object of sexual conquest for white males throughout popular film. Decades after gaining independence from their colonizers, Middle Eastern women in entertainment media continue to be highly eroticized. “The Arab woman today is bright, intelligent. She’s someone who is exceeding in all professions. And yet this reality, still, is being denied to us on silver screens. It seems the more Arab women advance, the more Hollywood keeps them locked in the past,” explains culture studies professor Jack Shaheen (Jhally, 2006). By using these misrepresentations consistently, media discount and deny the progressive successes of Middle Eastern women. As a child, Emily Krebs got the phrase “Hey, watch this!” banned from summer camp for safety reasons. Now a sophomore
majoring in Communication and Culture, Emily’s hobbies include rock climbing, skiing, photography, and film production. She comes from Littleton, Colorado.
This force is exemplified in Malek Alloula’s 1987 book The Colonial Harem, which explains the role of the photographic postcard in French control over Colonial Algeria. Aside from being a physical symbol of territorial spread and conquest, the postcard was also a highly mobile medium for the exchange of Orientalist imagery, specifically for asserting dominance over the native women. This process was challenged, however, by the local practice of niqab veiling in which women were covered from head to toe in dark, cloth garments. These full-body coverings blocked the male gaze and prevented the sort of bodily objectification that the photographers were accustomed to capturing. The result was an ironic paradox: the veiled subject became the object of unveiling (Alloula, 1987). To circumnavigate this barrier and create the illusion of domination, the photographers hired scantily-clad models to pose for their images. Within this practice lies the root of the under-dressed, 10
WRIT Large: 2014
Media Accessibility and the Transmission of Knowledge Everything we know is learned either somatically or symbolically—that is, through direct sensory perception or through mediated means (Ott & Mack, 2009). Learning solely through one or the other is very rare, however. Most knowledge is gained through a mix of the two, effectively creating a system of checks and balances that denies complete power to the biases of either one. Unfortunately, it would seem that this counterbalancing effect is not present in American understandings of Middle Eastern cultures, at least as demonstrated by results from a survey of American young adults (see Figure 1). The findings clearly depict low concentrations of travel to the Middle East/North Africa. The power of cultural media, therefore, lies in its accessibility as the primary means of conveying knowledge of these regions. The issue with this lies in its inherent biases; mediated information is merely a reflection of the ideologies held by its creators (Hall, 1981). Hegemonic holds eventually allow these ideologies to be uttered as truths, essentially the sorts of naturalized stereotypes seen in popular culture’s depictions of Middle Easterners as violent, opulent extremists. This perceived “truth” about the region’s people is clearly expressed by the respondents to the aforementioned survey in their replies to questions like this: “Throughout the world, are there any regions that you feel strongly about visiting or avoiding in the future? Please explain.” Every response regarding the Middle East—including
The findings clearly depict low concentrations of travel to the Middle East/North Africa. The power of cultural media, therefore, lies in its accessibility as the primary means of conveying knowledge of these regions. The issue with this lies in its inherent biases; mediated information is merely a reflection of the ideologies held by its creators (Hall, 1981).
Figure 1. Countries and regions visited by American young adults.
positive ones—referred to violence: 1. “I find Pakistan terrifying and refuse to visit it.” 2. “The Middle East is not the safest place . . . but I would still love to go.” 3. “There’s not a single place I wouldn’t want to go, including places like the Middle East or the drug-riddled pockets in South America.” 4. “[I’d] avoid the Middle East because it’s dangerous.” (See Appendix B for survey questions.) These sorts of responses aren’t limited to anonymous surveys. In fact, these notions are commonly discussed in public, multicultural settings. Arab-American comedian Dean Obeidallah produced a video in 2008 entitled “Don’t Call Me That!” in which he and his friends list off responses that they’ve received in regards to their Middle Eastern backgrounds. These remarks begin with merely naive, ignorant comments such as “Oh, you’re from the Middle East! Do you have cars there?” or “Are you an Islam?” Later, others branch into stereotypes of polygamy, women’s oppression, and violence. “Oh you’re Arab! Don’t take this the wrong way, but if you hear of any terrorist attacks coming up, will you warn me?” Despite the innocent nature of these comments,
they’re still racist . . . and they are likely rooted in media representations, not in somatic knowledge gained from travels to the region. Granted, these comments cannot be claimed as truly representative of Caucasian-American perceptions in the United States. But their mere presence makes it clear that some Americans are having trouble recognizing the vast separation between Hollywood creations and reality. This troubling phenomenon begs the question: What exactly are media saying about these people?
[Mis]representations in Recent Popular Culture Modern media’s version of “Arab Land” is exemplified in the 2010 film Sex and the City 2, in which the four infamous women travel to Abu Dhabi for an all-expenses-paid vacation. From the time the airplane lands in the Emirates, the film is teeming with images of wealthy sheiks, camels, and ornate tapestries—all of which are used as points of contrast to the women’s New York City home. This depiction of Said’s “other” did not go unnoticed by its viewers. “Not since 1942’s Arabian Nights has Orientalism been portrayed so unironically,” remarks Hadley Freeman of The Guardian UK (2010). University of Michigan blogger Kristynma notes further: “The Volume 3
most Orientalist scene in the film involves a scenario in which the women discuss the veil . . . Carrie regards the veiled women as more than just exotic, but as a symbol of backwardness.” Ms. Bradshaw’s obvious discomfort with the facial coverings is clearly noted in the dialogue at the beginning of the scene: “It’s like they don’t want women to have a voice,” she whispers with disapproval. The hijabs are perceived as direct challenges to the Sex and the City clan’s oddly constructed feminism (or postfeminism as it is often called). The garments are, as a result, exotified and made into symbols of oppression and a less-worthy culture—one which frowns upon Samantha’s promiscuity and condom-flinging, both images of the Western World’s “free” woman. Again, Euro-American sovereignty is asserted through this perception of captivity and coercion. The “othering” exoticism displayed in Hollywood media is not unique to film or television. According to Radhika Parameswaran’s “Local Culture in Global Media” (2002), even seemingly more sophisticated media outlets such as National Geographic frequently fall into the Orientalist trap. She describes one National Geographic cover depicting an upper-middle-aged Indian woman in detail: her deep red silk sari with a gold border, thick gold bangles, and “body and posture announce her alignment with tradition” (Parameswaran, p. 291). This representation of Indian culture is not falsely conjured, but it is used similarly to that of the previously discussed French-Algerian postcard as an exotified object whose sole purpose is to hold its viewers’ (read: potential buyers’) gaze. Ostensibly, this imagery is harmless and merely artistic. In actuality, however, the singularity of the highly traditionalist garb reduces an extraordinarily diverse culture into a single, anachronous image. This sort of tokenism is the very root of prejudice and ultimately highlights the muted forms of Orientalist media penetration in the United States today. The power of this image-based media is further addressed by National Geographic photography director David Griffin in his Ted Talk, “How photography connects us” (2008). Griffin explains the notion of “flashbulb memories,” basically that our minds work very similarly to cameras; they store and recall important events in single image frames. For this reason, “photography carries a 12
WRIT Large: 2014
Image-based publications like National Geographic . . . allow a single image of a culture to become representational for that peoples’ entirety. They fuel Orientalist stereotyping and often define foreign cultures in terms of their lower-income, traditionalist members—a direct contrast to the wealthy modernists that are made symbolic of the United States. National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry’s famed image entitled “Afghan Girl” is largely known as the most recognizable photograph in the history of the magazine . . . It is a subtle but powerful symbol of American superiority over the region, specifically Afghan culture.
power that holds up under the relentless swirl of today’s saturated, media world . . . It can make a real connection to people” (Griffin, 2008). Image-based publications like National Geographic, according to Griffin’s theory, allow a single image of a culture to become representational for that peoples’ entirety. They fuel Orientalist stereotyping and often define foreign cultures in terms of their lower-income, traditionalist members—a direct contrast to the wealthy modernists that are made symbolic of the United States. National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry’s famed image entitled “Afghan Girl” is largely known as the most recognizable photograph in the history of the magazine and, as many argue, one of the most famous images of all time. The subject was just 12 years old at the time of the image’s capture, and in the past 28 years she has become the poster child of the frightened, oppressed Muslim woman in need of saving, an idea often associated with the push for American
Many news media outlets were quick to join these Twitter users in blaming a foreign assailant, often citing the use of a pressure cooker as an undeniable link to the Middle Eastern, Islamic extremists. Other social media users were more sensitive to the “terrorist” label and astutely pointed out the ignorance in these assumptions.
Figure 2. Tweets following the Boston Marathon bombings (2013).
military involvement in the Middle East (Johnson, 2011). It is a subtle but powerful symbol of American superiority over the region, specifically Afghan culture. While McCurry’s photo could arguably align with Said’s initial focus on Euro-Atlantic power-thirst as the root cause of Orientalism, I would argue that today’s media is trapped by a much more relevant beast: capitalism. The economic system’s profit maximization goals reduce diversity and fuel cultural imperialism (Ott & Mack, 2009). Since images of the exotic—the belly dancer and the angry Arab—have proved extraordinarily profitable in the past, the “Logic of Safety” states that their use should be continued. As the axiom goes, “Nothing breeds success like success.” For instance, a film depicting a white, female, Christian terrorist would disrupt an audience’s perceptions of what Stuart Hall (1981) described as unquestioned truths; it would defy hegemonic ideologies and simply not fit into American media culture. Why would such an innocent, honorable human being commit an act of terror? But the constructed Arab, the angry, rich, violent individual, is expected to lash out against his enemies (Jhally, 2006). So as long as media producers are looking to make a profit, these Orientalist ideologies and their rac-
ist manifestations will persist. In clichéd Marxist terms, money (unfortunately) makes the world go ‘round.
Current Events & Implications for the Future American capitalism isn’t likely to fall in the near future. So what sorts of implications do its resulting media trends hold for the United States and our relations with the Middle Eastern World? In looking to our recent past, there is a clear image provided for our future. The Boston Marathon bombings on April 15th, 2013 stamped it out quite explicitly. Almost immediately after their occurrence, social media was teeming with racist accusations against Middle Easterners. Through Twitter’s #Discover tab (see Figure 2), I was able to observe people from all over the world as they came to conclusions about the identities of the bombers, days before the suspects were announced. Three of these tweets from the day of the bombing are represented in Figure 2. The first of these directly references a falsely accused Saudi Arabian suspect, a student injured in the attack. Despite the fact that the FBI did not release names or identities of the suspects until nearly 75 hours after the explosions, the tweet was posted just 20 minutes after the initial Volume 3
Figure 3. A Facebook status regarding suspect accusations following the Boston Marathon bombings (2013).
blast. Regardless of this fact, many news media outlets were quick to join these Twitter users in blaming a foreign assailant, often citing the use of a pressure cooker as an undeniable link to the Middle Eastern, Islamic extremists. Other social media users were more sensitive to the “terrorist” label and astutely pointed out the ignorance in these assumptions (see Figure 3). I wondered if these sympathetic notions were also held by those in close proximity to the blasts, those with more emotional and somatic ties to the event. In an interview with a Northeastern University student during the week after the manhunt for suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev ended, I was surprised by her pragmatic response to the situation. “Students here are very culturally and politically aware,” stated the NEU freshman, “so they really tried to deny any assumptions about an Islamic connection. But ‘terrorist’ is a pretty politically charged term. You know, either a white guy bombed it, or a terrorist” (K. Maclean, personal communication, May 5, 2013). The student went on to describe how her Indian-American friend was unable to board his British Airways flight out of Boston on the night of the attack for what she assumed “could only be racial profiling.” American media’s portrayals of the angry, violent Arab male (or in this case, seemingly just dark-skinned male) directly affected our population’s response to the Boston Marathon bombings. Those in support of the discriminatory accusations and assumptions that followed tried to assure others that they were not being racist; they were merely making educated guesses based 14
WRIT Large: 2014
on past experiences with terrorism. But in reality, more radical violent acts are carried out by white men in the United States each year than are carried out by foreigners. The only difference is the label. As pointed out by The Electronic Intifada blog, if a white man opens fire in a Connecticut elementary school or a Colorado movie theater, he is merely a “disturbed individual” whose ethnic and religious identities cannot be blamed (Abunimah, 2013). The “terrorist” title is reserved for foreigners whose actions are assumed to have political motives. Death tolls and casualties are apparently irrelevant.
Conclusion: What Can We Change? So how have lasting media trends from the Colonial period formed American perceptions of Middle Easterners today? They’ve buried them in anachronism, exoticism, and flat out fabrication; and with entertainment media’s extraordinarily powerful influence on our lives, it’s clear that these images continually produce negative sentiments on all accounts. But despite their detrimental nature, these productions unify and educate us, effectively perpetuating the very ideologies that hold our society together—Hollywood and Washington share the same DNA (Jhally, 2006). Because of this, changes in the way our nation treats Middle Eastern people must be rooted in a media revolution. Mass media are the storytellers of our time, the bases of our cultural environment, and ultimately the guiding forces of our lives (Ott & Mack, 2009). This colossal power, while typically used in reflection of the
status quo, can just as easily be used to defy hegemonic forces. But what if you’re not the one producing media, Orientalist or otherwise? What can you do? I don’t have an easy answer, but as critical consumers of this media, we have the responsibility to turn our awareness into action. In the words of social rights activist Desmond Tutu: “If you
are neutral in systems of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor” (Younge, 2009). Silence is consented participation in this inequity. Whether it be through audible criticism of “Arab Land” depictions, or merely through the support of alternative media, we must all actively challenge unjust media and its aftermath.
References Abunimah, A. (2013, April 20). Obama’s rush to judgment: Was the Boston bombing really a “terrorist” act? The Electronic Intifada. Retrieved from http://electronicintifada.net/ blogs/ali-abunimah/obamas-rush-judgmentwas-boston-bombing-really-terrorist-act. Alloula, M. (1987). The colonial harem. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. Asad, T. (2009). Free speech, blasphemy, and secular criticism. In T. Asad, J. Butler, W. Brown, & S. Mahmood, Is critique secular?: Blasphemy, injury, and free speech (Townsend Papers in the Humanities) (pp. 20–57.) Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Clements, R., & Musker, J. (Director). (1992). Aladdin. [Motion picture]. United States: Walt Disney Pictures. Earp, J. (Producer); Jhally, S. (Director). (2006). Reel bad Arabs: How Hollywood vilifies a people [Motion picture]. United States: Media Education Foundation. Freeman, H. (2010, May 23). The death of Sex and the City. The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.guardian. co.uk/film/2010/may/23/sex-and-the-city-film-terrible. Griffin, D. (2008, February). David Griffin: How photography connects us [Video]. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/ talks/david_griffin_on_how_photography_connects.html. Hall, S. (1981). The whites of their eyes: Racist ideologies and the media. In G. Dines & J. M. Humez (Eds.), Gender, race, and class in media: A critical reader (pp. 81–84). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc. Johnson, B. (2009). Symbolic oppressions: The rhetoric and the image of the veil in the West. Prized Writing. Davis, CA: University of California Press. King, M. P. (Director & Producer). (2010). Sex and the City 2 [Motion picture]. United States: Warner Bros. Pictures. Kristynma (2013, April 19). What’s wrong with Sex and the City 2: Manifestations of Orientalism. [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://reimagingamerica.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/whats-wrong-with-sex-and-the-city-2manifestations-of-orientalism/. McCurry, S. (1985). Afghan girl [Image]. Retrieved from http://stevemccurry.com/galleries/portraits. Ott, B., & Mack, R. (2009). Critical media studies: An introduction. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. Parameswaran, R. (2002). Local culture in global media: Excavating colonial and material discourses in National Geographic. In T. Hanitzch (Ed.), Communication Theory 12(3) 287–315. Washington, D.C.: International Communication Association. QueenRania (2008, July 28). Don’t call me that [Video]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=W_1hYyV7tes. Said, E. (1978). From Orientalism. In P. Williams & L. Chrisman (Eds.), Colonial discourse and post-colonial theory: A reader (pp. 132–149). New York, NY: Columbia University Press. Younge, G. (2009, May 22). The secrets of a peacemaker. The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.guardian. co.uk/books/2009/may/23/interview-desmond-tutu.
A Descriptive Sociology of the Law: The Practice Theory
“A rbitrary” Rules
Gabe Rusk Political Philosophy, Student Abroad Program @ Oxford University Professor Raquel Barradas de Freitas, Oxford University
This essay is a descriptive analysis on the derivation of law or, as H. L. A. Hart quips, the essay is a “descriptive sociology” of the law. Philosophy of law often enters two separate debates.
There are descriptive projects and prescriptive projects: How is law formed, and how ought laws be formed? I assert in my essay that the law derives from social conventions. I posit,
following Hart, that social conventions are not dependent on categorical imperatives, relative
circumstances, or even morality. Social conventions are dependent on two facets: first, an initial logistical or preferential conflict and second, a general agreement. This descriptive project
has philosophically troubling implications. I argue that, at the point at which social conventions are dependent on coordination problems and general agreement, then the law is seemingly
arbitrary. Hart is right to exclude certain conditions from the derivation of law, but, in their very exclusion, the law is left in a precarious and arbitrary position.
Laws do not exist sui generis. A particular sect of legal philosophy attempts to reconcile the genesis of the law through the exegesis of the concept of a rule or convention. The practice theory of rules is a particular conceptual formulation of a social rule or a social convention. This essay asserts, first, that the formulation of a convention does not speak to the moral efficacy of the rule. A society can possess morally “iniquitous” (Hart, 2012, p. 257) social conventions. Even the simplest moral rules, such as “thou shall not kill,” do not necessarily arise from the same formulation of social rules. Second, this essay asserts that the formulation of a social rule is ultimately arbitrary in nature. Social rules come to fruition by subordination to rules that are coordinated not through normative judgments or from moral platitudes. The practice theory of rules is a “test” to distinguish and “discriminate” (Hart, 2012, p. xxii) between particular rules and habits. It is 16
WRIT Large: 2014
self-evident in the colloquial approach to the use of the word rule that there is an inherent need to delineate types of rules. For some, a rule is categorical. For example, “love they neighbor” is a Biblical rule that is also categorical. One ought always love thy neighbor. The rule is thus an absolute imperative. For others, that rule might remain relative. A generally accepted categorical rule, do not kill, is difficult to abide philosophically in cases of self-defense. This inherency to delineate is derived from an individual’s ability to impose what he or she may deem a rule on himself or herself. For example, this individual might have a rule to not drink alcohol before 11 a.m. or to eat cheese once a day. While these rules may appear influenced by external forces, such as fear of recourse, they do not necessarily require external force to impose, and conversely that individual would not expect to impose that rule effectually on another. Categorical and relative rules are necessarily in conflict. It would ap-
© GOLFX / Shutterstock.com
pear that they are mutually exclusive, that both cannot be tenable. As a descriptive project, neither a categorical nor a relative definition of rules encapsulates the nuances of even a handful of hypotheticals. It is said that rules can also be derived from “custom.” For cultural, religious, or traditional circumstances, a rule can be imposed due to long standing history and provenance. A customary rule comes about due to its common use. The very fact that individuals can impose rules on themselves or that rules can be imposed by custom suggests that rules are not unitary in nature. A single formulation of rules will not encompass customary rules, self-imposed rules, and categorical rules. Practice theory attempts to address this definitional problem by whittling down the appropriate and meaningful ground for rules. The practice theory posits that the rules that eventually dictate our laws are derived not from categorical imperatives, self-imposition, or custom but from social convention. The practice theory of rules is thus a test and formulation for how and why a social convention or a social rule is formed and distinguishable from other rules. Take a usually non-controversial social convention like opening doors for any person who follows you. There are basic tenets to such a convention’s formulation: Individual X ought to open the door for anyone immediately following. The fruition of opening doors to the status of social convention or the fruition of any social convention would occur if and only if 1. Most individuals who are members of the society open doors for those following
them. More simply, most people open doors for those who follow them. 2. On most occasions when an individual would not open a door when someone is following, there is usually a critical react ion by the person following or other mem bers of the society. More simply, most people would criticize those who do not open doors for others. 3. On the occasion in which others crit icize an individual of not opening the door, it is generally not the case that they are criticized for their own criticism by others excluding the individual in ques tion. More simply, criticism is not met with criticism. 4. Members of the society express that “an individual ought open the door when someone proceeds them” to justify their own actions. (as cited by Raz, 1975, section 3.1) A social convention is thus dependent on the frequency of the act, the severity of the backlash when that act is not committed, and the general use of the convention as a justification to act. This formulation speaks nothing to whether the convention is immoral or moral but rather underpins its social and conventional nature. The individual might morally disapprove of the rule while simultaneously accepting it as a rule. Leslie Green concurs: “Acceptance does not require approval,” he claims, even in the case of opening doors. The individual does not have to approve of the opening of doors for others to accept it, for the authority of the rule “it is not a matter of how [said persons] feel about the rule,” Volume 3
Gabe Rusk is a DU senior double major-
ing in Philosophy and Religious Studies. He is a competitive debater, coaches high
schoolers, and teaches at camps around the country. In his free time, he enjoys shopping for used books in thrift stores,
visiting art museums in his hometown of
Denver, Colorado, seeing movies, and
hiking. His favorite poet is the objectivist George Oppen.
but “their willingness to use it. People can accept rules in Hart’s sense because they think they are good rules, or to please others, or out of fear or conformism” (2012, p. xxi). Critics retort that this formulation “deprives” (Raz, 1975, section 3.2) social conventions of their normative— i.e., moral—character. The practice theory of rules necessarily removes the normative value in opening a door for those who follow them. If practice theory denies that rules are necessarily normative, then the presence of normative or moral standing in rule-making precludes the status of said rule of being conventional. Any “shared morality of a group” that is “constituted by the fact that members of the group have and generally act on the same but independent reasons for behaving in certain specific way” could never “explain the normative character” because “these rules establish duties and reasons for action to which appeal is made when such rules are cited, as they commonly are in criticism of conduct and in support of demands for action” (Hart, 2012, p. 256). For example, opening doors for others 18
WRIT Large: 2014
would not be a social convention if that rule was accepted and followed only because being polite was an intrinsic good. Opening the door for others is a social convention if and only if most others do it and justify it, and abstaining from it would cause backlash. The social or conventional element is thus not contingent on any moral evaluation of the very rule. Ronald Dworkin’s criticism of the practice theory of rules is founded in this demand for moral exegesis. Take H. L. A. Hart’s example of a man taking off his hat in church. This is a seemingly uncontroversial social convention, not unlike opening a door. However, Dworkin retorts, there is no normative state of affairs under the practice theory of rules for taking off the hat. For Dworkin, a normative state of affairs would include religious piety or propriety as warranting removal of the hat. For example, to take off a hat because of fear of divine retribution or due to a textual command would be normative. Removing the hat because most other men remove their hats posits no moral status on removing the hat itself. To demand morality be a part of the formulation is a descriptive error and too “strong” (Hart, 2012, p. 257) a request. There are three further objections to be made against this critique. First, if all social conventions require general moral goodness or moral approval, the existence of immoral social conventions would disprove the rule. Hart aptly points to the existence of segregated water fountains. Even in the cases when it was not law, there was no moral justification for segregation. African-Americans would oblige the social convention because most others in their community would oblige their proscribed water fountain; individuals who chose otherwise would be criticized. That this rule was a social convention did not preclude its being immoral. The concepts are not mutually inclusive. Morality has no conceptual basis in social conventions; it is a qualifier. If a social convention can be both moral and immoral, it cannot be wholly contingent on morality. The criticism of the practice theory of rules gains some traction if it is argued that the original act was dictated by morality. Take as examples the practice of opening doors, of taking your hat off at church, and of choosing the ra-
cially segregated water fountain. To say that the first person to open the door for someone else, take off his or her hat, or drink from the water fountain did so due to social convention would be circular logic. The first act could not be dependent on other acts. It cannot be argued that a preschool student shared his or her snack first because other students were sharing their snacks. As the first action, it cannot be defined by the preceding actions. Social convention appears to be governed by those who control the first act and corresponding response. The first person to take off his hat in church may have done so for moral reasons or even for an unrelated social convention or adhering to some esoteric religious text, but its fruition to a social convention is not necessarily contingent on that original choice. Second, if social conventions are not contingent on custom, categorical imperatives, selfimpositions, or even morality, then they are seemingly arbitrary. They are ultimately arbitrary in nature due to the pivot upon which a society agrees it ought be generally agreed. A society does not generally agree upon a rule because it is generally agreed upon. If a social convention establishes general agreement, it cannot stem from an already existing general agreement. Again, the general agreement that all hats should be taken off in church cannot come from the general agreement they should. At some point, a justification independent of general acceptance has to be put forth. In Law in the Age of Pluralism, Andrei Marmor (2007) writes that conventions arise originally from “coordination problems.” A typical coordination problem would arise: when several agents have a particular structure of preferences with respect to their mutual modes of conduct, namely that between several alternatives of conduct open to them in a given set of circumstances, each and every agent has a stronger preference to act as the others will, than his own preference for acting upon any one of the particular alternatives. Most coordination problems are easily solved by simple agreements between the agents to act upon one, arbitrarily chosen alternative, thus securing uniformity of action among them. However, when a particular coordination problem is recurrent, and agreement is difficult to
© Sebastian Duda / Shutterstock.com
obtain, a social rule is very likely to emerge, and this rule is a convention. Conventions, in other words, emerge as solutions to recurrent coordination problems, not as a consequence of an agreement, but as an alternative to such an agreement… (Marmor, pp. 160–161)
In the case of opening a door, the individual was never part of the incident that led others to agree upon opening doors. There probably never was an agreement amongst anyone to continually open doors; moreover, the convention came about due to the problem of coordination. It receives status of convention because it is no longer followed to avoid coordination problems but to solve them. The coordination problem in fact solves the chicken or the egg problem that a social convention could understandably have. Even if social conventions are most reductively dependent on peer pressure, they still require a first action or actor. The coordination problem suggests that social conventions generally come about first as a conflict in logistics or preferences. Their eventual resonance and ubiquity is attributed to general agreement. Yet this semblance of independent justification through coordination suggests a more pervasive problem. While Hart is right in his descriptive project that there are reasons why society would not wish this to be the case, Dworkin is also right to argue that normative character is stripped from the law if the practice theory of rules is tenable. Dworkin’s argument remains prescriptive not descriptive. Even if morality Volume 3
The practice theory posits that the rules that eventually dictate our laws are derived not from categorical imperatives, selfimposition, or custom but from social convention.
© Sergey Nivens / Shutterstock.com
ought to be part of rules, that does not mean it actually is. Many often forget that Hart is going about a “descriptive sociology” of the law. His project attempts to trace the roots of rules, not how they ought to be made. The social and conventional element of rules is dictated by the arbitrariness of subordinating oneself to coordination and eventually agreement. No normative position has to exist to subordinate. Thus, a social rule or convention is likely followed regardless of any normative disposition that an individual has.
The implications are striking. If laws are derivative of their corresponding social rules and said rules are subordination through coordination, the law is duly stripped of a lot of legitimacy. The law would be derived from a bureaucratic propriety that remains in a purported and objective vacuum. That vacuum in fact is just a byproduct of the aforementioned need for coordination and eventually agreement. Thus the social or conventional status of rules in the practice theory is necessarily arbitrary.
References Green L. (2012). Introduction. In Hart, H. L. A. (2012). The concept of law. (3rd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hart, H.L.A. (2012). The concept of law. (3rd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Marmor, A. (2007). Law in the age of pluralism. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Raz, J. (1991). Practical reason and norms. (2nd ed.) Oxford: Oxford University Press.
WRIT Large: 2014
Spotlight on Student Editors
Devon Varoz, a Philosophy major, is a recent DU graduate. With his newly found time (for the time being), he will resume his collecting of blue glass objects from thrift stores on weekends. He dreams of the day he can make wallpaper out of lost dog and cat flyers in a home of Brutalist architecture. Denver, Colorado, is his hometown, where writing, for him, is a game.
Senior Monica Heilman, originally from Colorado Springs, Colorado, is majoring in Sociology and Art. She likes to read, draw, and paint life-sized animal sculptures. She once had a job where blowing bubbles for babies was a main responsibility. She has written musicals, fan fiction, and poetry, and in the future she hopes to pick up creative writing again.
Now that she has graduated, Ellie Lindner will remember to sing in the shower and laugh at the loveliness of life. She came to DU from Galt, California, in pursuit of snow, but now that she has her BA in Creative Writing with minors in Philosophy and Hebrew, she prefers the sun. She tries to write in laughter, as she holds writing to her heart like a gun to the head.
In high school in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Adrienne Meyer was voted most likely to have her own TV show. Now a sophomore majoring in Business, she enjoys photography and cooking. She also enjoys creative writing but prefers to read the work of others because she always learns something new.
For sophomore Mary Haynes, writing is a preferred form of expression. She finds herself writing constantly and plans to use her History major to teach and her English/Creative Writing major to become a part-time novelist. Her hobbies include reading and travel, and she has a lifelong dream to ride an ostrich. She comes from Pagosa Springs, Colorado.
Andrew Wood, a sophomore International Studies major from Batavia, Illinois, is an Earl Grey tea fanatic; he also likes running and collecting old books. At DU, he has realized that writing is often the most effective way for individuals to have their voices heard, and to present meaningful arguments that have concrete impact.
Cross-Cultural Emotion Regulation during Childbirth Caroline Stephens Excerpt from Senior Honors Thesis in Psychology Professor Kateri McRae & Professor Wyndol Furman
I cannot remember a time when I did not love to travel. I live for the thrill of learning about a
new placeâ€”about the people, the customs, the history, the food. My passion has taken me
everywhere: Mexico, Costa Rica, all over Europe, Ecuador, and most recently Uganda. It only seemed fitting then, when choosing a topic for my senior honors thesis in Psychology, that I
somehow incorporate travel into my research. Following many brainstorming sessions about topics relevant both in the field of psychology and to cross-cultural research, I developed my research proposal for the study of emotion regulation during childbirth.
It was a long process to say the leastâ€”two years of data collection, statistical analysis, and writing while balancing a double major, participating in numerous extracurricular activities, and
preparing for medical school. However, I am extremely proud of the result, a testament to the fact that hard work pays off.
I owe endless gratitude to my mentor, Dr. Kateri McRae, who took a chance on an unfamiliar
project. Just as important, though, are my senior honors professor, Dr. Wyndol Furman, who
made us smile on even the most stressful days, and my family and peers who edited drafts, listened to presentations, or gave feedback on PowerPoint and poster formatting.
Emotion Regulation Everyday, we encounter situations and face tasks that require us to use memory (Phelps, 2006), attention (Vuilleumier, 2005), and decision-making (Bechara et al., 1999). Typically, it is our emotions that influence our ability to complete a given task. As a complex and yet essential part of our lives, our emotions help guide our behavior to be appropriate and adaptive; however, there are times when having control over emotions is necessary. Emotion regulation strategies can be helpful in curtailing or otherwise shaping our emotional responses. Two commonly used emotion regulation strategies are reappraisal and sup22
WRIT Large: 2014
pression. Reappraisal involves actively changing how a situation is perceived in order to change its effect (Gross, 1998). Strategies could involve focusing on a detail of a situation or changing how a stressful situation is thought about to create a more positive experience (Hofmann et al., 2009). For example, one could reappraise a situation in which a friend was sick in the hospital by focusing on recovery options or on the fact that the ailment is not life threatening. This strategy is antecedent-focused, meaning the regulation occurs prior to a full emotional response (Gross, 1998). Suppression, on the other hand, is response-focused and occurs after an emo-
ÂŠ vlavetal / Shutterstock.com
tional response has developed to a particular stimulus (Gross, 1998). When attempting to use suppression, an individual actively inhibits his or her emotional expression or other types of emotional response. This strategy could manifest in a number of ways, primarily by not openly sharing feelings or not showing how one is feeling on oneâ€™s face. Although these two strategies are not the only regulation strategies available for use, they are very commonly studied and make for interesting points of comparison. In Western cultures, these coping strategies have been shown to have drastically different effects on users. Reappraisal is considered the most adaptive strategy, as it decreases physiological activation (Gross, 1998), decreases negative affect experience and expression (Hofmann et al., 2009), and decreases response in the amygdala, an important part of the brain for emotion processing (Goldin et al., 2008). Conversely, suppression decreases negative affect expression, but not the experience (Hofmann et al., 2009). Suppression is also associated with memory loss, reduced quality of interactions with others (Butler et al., 2007), and increased response in the amygdala (Goldin et al., 2008). Due to this evidence, it is often suggested that reappraisal be used to moderate potentially negative emotions, as it has been found to be a more successful and adaptive strategy than suppression. However, these findings are not consistent across cultures. Different cultures possess different values, and in order to maintain these values, norms are created for appropriate emotion regulation (Matsumoto et al., 2008). In col-
lectivist cultures, those that typically promote a traditional social order as well as the importance of the group over the individual, suppression is found to be much more prevalent (Matsumoto et al., 2008). Conversely, in individualistic cultures, which emphasize uniqueness and individual advancement, suppression is used less frequently (Matsumoto et al., 2008). Interestingly, the negative side effects that have been shown to accompany suppression in Western cultures may be dependent on cultural norms, as consequences such as decreased responsiveness and hostility may not be present in societies where suppression is more often exhibited (Butler et al., 2007).
Pain Coping One negative emotion that can be significantly modulated by cognitive strategies, such as emotion regulation, is pain. In cases of chronic pain coping, use of regulation strategies not only helps diminish pain level, but it also decreases the risk of developing other psychological disorders as a result of the painful experience (Peres & Lucchetti, 2010). Often, use of these coping strategies is successful due to the fact that it provides participants with methods to control the negative emotion they are feeling (i.e., pain) (Haythornthwaite et al., 1998). To my knowledge, no studies of suppression in the context of pain coping have been performed to date, potentially due to the previously mentioned negative effects of suppression use in Western cultures. However, the other emotion regulation strategy of interest, reappraisal, has been studied extensively for its effects on chronic pain coping. As Volume 3
Childbirth has long been perceived as a painful, distressing, and anxiety-inducing experience (Leventhal et al., 1989). However, it is often described as the most memorable pain and accompanies an array of sentiments, including pride, responsibility, and joy (Callister et al., 2003).
Caroline Stephens graduated from
DU in 2013 with double majors in Biology
and Psychology, a minor in Chemistry, and a concentration in Cognitive Neuroscience.
She comes from Dallas, Texas, and her hobbies include running, horseback riding,
cooking, and playing with her dog, Rocky. Caroline also loves socks, especially holiday-themed or fuzzy ones.
with regulating negative affect in general, the use of reappraisal has been shown to be more useful than other commonly used chronic pain coping methods (Fernandez & Turk, 1989). Whereas the effects of different natural pain coping mechanisms have been studied extensively, reappraisal and suppression have not been directly compared. More limited literature focuses on reappraisal and suppression use as effective mechanisms for a single, short-term painful experience, such as childbirth. Childbirth has long been perceived as a painful, distressing, and anxiety-inducing experience (Leventhal et al., 1989). However, it is often described as the most memorable pain and accompanies an array of sentiments, including pride, responsibility, and joy (Callister et al., 2003). In the United States, where those involved with the childbirth process are most concerned with the motherâ€™s comfort, there are myriad ways to alleviate some of the psychological side effects that accompany the experience. While analgesia 24
WRIT Large: 2014
is a commonplace choice in Western cultures, many women choose to utilize cognitive coping strategies in addition to or instead of medication (Escott et al., 2009). These strategies are learned prior to delivery through education, either from an antenatal birthing class or a midwife (Escott et al., 2009). As with chronic pain coping, reappraisal has been studied as a childbirth pain coping mechanism, but to my knowledge, there are no studies of suppression in this context. While the childbirth pain coping strategies taught prior to delivery are similar to those used for chronic pain coping, research suggests that use of any strategy is more effective than use of no coping strategy at all (Niven & Gijsbers, 1996). Past literature does not suggest the advantage of using one specific emotion regulation strategy over another. Finally, these strategies are most effective when multiple strategies are practiced prior to labor and implemented during labor (Escott et al., 2009). As with general pain coping, the effect of reappraisal and suppression use during childbirth has not been compared.
Cultural Differences As mentioned previously, collectivist cultures have been shown to demonstrate higher levels of habitual suppression than individualistic cultures. As minimal research has been done in the region, Ugandan culture may be of particular interest, as it is distinct from the United States in both cultural and childbearing practices. Uganda is more collectivist than individualist in its culture, with a focus on the progress of the community (Triandis, 1989). Thus, the differences
in habitual emotion regulation are predicted to replicate the previous findings of cross-cultural emotion regulation, which suggest that collectivist cultures exhibit higher levels of suppression than those in individualistic cultures. The differences in childbirth processes also provide reason to believe that the frequency of emotion regulation strategy (reappraisal and suppression) use will differ. Just as various cultures have unique norms for acceptable amounts of expressing emotion on a daily basis, different cultures have different norms for the childbirth process and the expression of emotion during labor and delivery (Callister et al., 2003). This could be partially influenced by the differences in collectivist and individualistic cultures as mentioned above, but it could also be explained by the discrepancy in the antenatal care processes. A high percentage of Ugandan women attend at least one antenatal visit; yet, these visits are strictly medical, providing the mother with vitamins, vaccinations, and fetal check-ups (Tann et al., 2007). There is no educational portion to childbirth preparation, leaving mothers only with their preconceived expectations and without knowledge of coping strategies. This is not the case in the United States, as nearly all women receive some sort of education prior to delivery (Escott et al., 2009). Women in the United States have access to myriad education techniques, from Lamaz class to the Bradley Method, in addition to the insights given to them by their Ob/Gyns at routine antenatal visits (typically more than 10 visits) (Escott et al., 2009). Conversely, women in Uganda are limited to information given to them by trained midwives and nurses at a select number of antenatal visits (typically less than five visits). Further, most of the information received is oriented toward health (concerning vaccinations and fetal growth) rather than preparation for delivery (Abrahams, Jewkes, & Mvo, 2001). Due to the differences in antenatal practices and care between the two countries, Ugandan women often do not develop a personal relationship with their midwife. Thus, whereas the primary support system during a delivery in Uganda is the midwife, she mainly serves a medical role instead of a more holistic, educational, and supportive role as midwives do in the United States (Abrahams, Jewkes, & Mvo, 2001). Without education
The greater need for social order in collectivist cultures, with high value placed on hierarchy and embeddedness in the community, prompts these cultures to use both strategies simultaneously.
on coping strategies and without emotional support in the delivery room, Ugandan women are likely to continue to suppress their emotions, including the expression of pain. Significant differences in evaluation of pain across cultures have been shown repeatedly, with the results varying by which region is studied (Lee & Essoka, 1998). In addition, the known cultural differences in emotion regulation do not speak to the use of emotion regulation strategies for the purpose of regulating pain outside of Western cultures. By measuring differences in pain ratings in addition to gathering information about emotion regulation, we are able to examine more than the differences in frequencies of use between the two emotion regulation strategies discussed; we can examine the differences in the effectiveness of each of the two strategies in Uganda and the United States, as well.
Current Study The current study stems from the limited literature surrounding cross-cultural emotion regulation in Africa (specifically, Uganda), as well as the use of reappraisal and suppression during childbirth. First, the study seeks to examine differences in emotion regulation between the women in Uganda and the women in the United States, both habitually (in order to create an accurate baseline against which the other results can be compared) and during childbirth. Second, it seeks to determine whether the strategies used by women habitually are different from those strategies used during childbirth. Third, it seeks to determine whether reappraisal can be used as Volume 3
a pain coping mechanism in short-term painful situations as it can in chronic pain coping. It is hypothesized that Ugandan women will exhibit higher levels of suppression both habitually and during childbirth. It is also hypothesized that women in both cultures will use different emotion regulation strategies during childbirth from those they use habitually. Finally, it is hypothesized that reappraisal will have a negative relationship with pain in the US. In accordance with past research, the Ugandan sample might demonstrate a negative relationship among suppression and pain.
Results Our results indicate that there are two primary differences in the use of emotion regulation strategies. The first is a difference based on culture: Ugandan and US women use different strategies both habitually and during childbirth. The second difference is one based on context: women in both cultures use reappraisal and suppression differently during childbirth than they do habitually. In addition, our results do not support the idea that reappraisal is an effective pain coping mechanism in either culture. The difference between Ugandan women and US women in emotion regulation strategy use was only observed in usage of suppression. Ugandan women used suppression more frequently than US women both habitually and during childbirth. This finding is consistent with previous research concerning the more frequent use of suppression in collectivist cultures (Matsumoto et al., 2008). Further, reappraisal and suppression were positively correlated in the Ugandan data in the habitual context. This relationship has been found in other collectivist cultures as well (Matsumoto et al., 2008). The greater need for social order in collectivist cultures, with high value placed on hierarchy and embeddedness in the community, prompts these cultures to use both strategies simultaneously. Context also played a major role for both cultures. In Uganda as well as in the US, women used reappraisal and suppression less frequently during childbirth than they did habitually. One
WRIT Large: 2014
possible explanation is that the chaos and stress of childbirth could result in an overall decrease in emotion regulation, regardless of the strategy. It also might be the case that women, in an attempt to fully experience the childbirth experience, made a choice not to regulate their emotions to the same extent that they would on a normal day. As an important life event, women might want to remember the authenticity of the experience. Finally, women could be using a different emotion regulation strategy during childbirth (as there are many other emotion regulation strategies besides reappraisal and suppression). When investigating our third question and hypothesis concerning reappraisal and pain coping, we did not observe a significant negative correlation between pain and reappraisal use as predicted. Similar to the differences found between contexts, it could be that women are using another emotion regulation strategy to manage their pain during childbirth. In addition, childbirth is not only an acutely painful experience, it is associated with myriad emotions (both positive and negative) other than pain (Callister et al., 2003; Leventhal et al., 1989). Thus, the complexity of the experience could have impacted the effectiveness of reappraisal in modulating pain, as the women were not only regulating a negative emotion but a spectrum of other emotions as well. When the data were separated by group, suppression use and labor satisfaction were negatively correlated with one another in the US sample, suggesting that women were generally more unhappy with their labor experience when using suppression. In addition, suppression use in the US sample was positively correlated with anxiety ratings. These results are consistent with past literature that suggests that in US populations, suppression is not a particularly adaptive strategy (Butler et al., 2007; Hofmann et al., 2009). However, there were no observed correlations between these variables and Ugandan usage of suppression, suggesting that perhaps suppression is not as maladaptive of a strategy in collectivist cultures as it is in the US.
© liseykina / Shutterstock.com
References Bechara A., Damasio, H., Damasio, A. R., & Lee, G. P. (1999). Different contributions of the human amygdala and ventromedial prefrontal cortex to decision-making. The Journal of Neuroscience, 19(13), 5473–5481. Butler, E. A., Lee, T. L., & Gross, J. J. (2007). Emotion regulation and culture: Are the social consequences of emotion suppression culture-specific? Emotion, 7(1), 30–48. doi: 10.1037/1528-3522.214.171.124. Callister, L. C., Khalaf, I., Semenic, S., Kartchner, R., & Vehvilainen-Julkunen, K. (2003). The pain of childbirth: Perceptions of culturally diverse women. Pain Management Nursing, 4(4), 145–154. doi:10.1016/S15249042(03)00028-6. Escott, D., Slade, P., & Spiby, H. (2009). Preparation for pain management during childbirth: The psychological aspects of coping strategy development in antenatal education. Clinical Psycholog y Review, 29(7), 617–622. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2009.07.002 Fernandez, E., & Turk, D. C. (1989). The utility of cognitive coping strategies for altering pain perception: A metaanalysis. Pain, 38(2), 123–135. doi: 10.1016/0304-3959(89)90230-3. Goldin, P. R., McRae, K., Ramel, W., & Gross, J. J. (2008). The neural bases of emotion regulation: Reappraisal and suppression of negative emotion. Biological Psychiatry, 63(6), 577–586. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2007.05.031. Gross, J. J. (1998). The emerging field of emotion regulation: An integrative review. Review of General Psycholog y, 2(3), 271–299. doi: 10.1037/1089-26126.96.36.1991. Haythornthwaite, J. A., Menefee, L. A., Heinberg, L. J., & Clark, M. R. (1998). Pain coping strategies predict perceived control over pain. Pain, 77(1), 33–39. doi: 10.1016/S0304-3959(98)00078-5. Hofmann, S. G., Heering, S., Sawyer, A. T., & Asnaani, A. (2009). How to handle anxiety: The effects of reappraisal, acceptance, and suppression strategies on anxious arousal. Behavior Research and Therapy, 47(5), 389–394. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2009.02.010. Leventhal, E. A., Leventhal, H., Schcham, S., & Easterling, D. V. (1989). Active coping reduces reports of pain from childbirth. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psycholog y, 57(3), 365–371. doi: 10.1037/0022-006X.57.3.365. Matsumoto, D. (1990). Cultural similarities and differences in display rules. Motivation and Emotion, 14(3), 195–214. doi: 10.1007/BF00995569. Niven, C. A., & Gijsbers, K. (1996). Coping with labor pain. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 11(2), 116–125. doi: 10.1016/0885-3924(95)00158-1. Peres, M. F. P., & Lucchetti, G. (2010). Coping strategies in chronic pain. Current Pain and Headache Reports, 14(5), 331–338. doi: 10.1007/s11916-010-0137-3. Phelps, E. A. (2006) Emotion and cognition: Insights from studies of the human amygdala. Annual Review of Psycholog y, 57(1), 27–53. doi: 10.1146/annurev.psych.56.091103.070234. Tann, C. J., Kizza, M., Morison, L., Mabey, D., Muwanga, M., Grosskurth, H., & Elliott, A. M. (2007). Use of antenatal services and delivery care in Entebbe, Uganda: A community survey. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 7(1), 23. doi: 10.1186/1471-2393-7-23. Triandis, H. C. (1989). The self and social behavior in differing cultural contexts. Psychological Review, 96(3), 506–520. doi: 10.1037/0033-295X.96.3.506. Vuilleumier, P. (2005). How brains beware: Neural mechanisms of emotional attention. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 9(12), 585–594. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2005.10.011.
A Great Duet for Sweet Dumplings: Clarinet Pieces Inspired
Katie Beisel MUAC 3545: The Making of Romantic Music–Paris and Leipzig in the 1830s Professor Antonia Banducci
My mom once told me I have an “old soul in a young body.” My favorite “jams” usually come
from the 18th and 19th centuries, my favorite books are written by long-dead authors (with the
exception of Harry Potter), and I have yet to acquire a smart phone. In other words, it is no surprise to me, or to anyone who knows me, that I have dedicated my professional plans to living in the past through studying music and its history.
This examination of the relationship between Felix Mendelssohn and the Bärmanns combined my attraction to musical history with my other love in life, the clarinet. It seems too common to
me these days that students and professionals in the world of music strictly focus either on per-
formance or on the academic study of music, without considering both sides of this spectrum. For me, focusing on both makes music more meaningful. In the case of the pieces discussed
in this essay, discovering the heartwarming history of Mendelssohn’s concert pieces made the experience of listening to and playing them immensely more rewarding.
The class this paper originated in was dedicated to Romantic music in Paris and Leipzig during the 1830’s. What was most fascinating to me in this class was discovering how so many composers and musicians during this time period were connected in one way or another. Mendelssohn and the Bärmanns are just one example of how so much music written in the 19 th century,
as well as throughout all of music history, was created in response to social relationships and events.
Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy was not only an extraordinary composer of music during the 19th century, but like many of his contemporaries, he was also a steadfast composer of letters. Two of Mendelssohn’s most frequent yet under-emphasized epistolary contacts were Heinrich and Carl Bärmann, father and son clarinetists who catapulted the clarinet past the level of orchestral instrument to solo instrument.1 Mendelssohn adored these men greatly, particularly Heinrich, and his adoration is clearly visible in his letters to the Bärmanns. In one of his many doting letters to Heinrich, Mendelssohn writes: I would give the whole of Paris to be able to 28
WRIT Large: 2014
hear even for a minute that sweet world of magic tones of every grade that stream from your wooden instrument so light and bright, so mellow and low, flowing and glowing, clear and dear, pure and sure, clinging and singing so sweetly.2
The Bärmanns in turn were equally fond of Mendelssohn and happy to play the clarinet for him, especially when he wrote pieces for them to perform. Many musicians are aware that Mendelssohn’s Konzertstücke für Klarinette, Bassethorn, und Pianoforte 3 (Concert Pieces for Clarinet, Basset Horn, and Piano) were written for the father and
© nito / Shutterstock.com
son duo. What is frequently overlooked, however, are the specific ways the Bärmanns influenced the making of the Konzertstücke and, in turn, how the Konzertstücke influenced later works of Carl Bärmann, in particular his Duo Concertant for Two Clarinets. This trio of connectivity undermines the popular notion that Mendelssohn was the only member of this group to produce works in result of the friendship. Connections between their musical works and letters also reveal that the Bärmanns had a more direct contribution to the creation of the Konzertstücke besides being their dedicatees, most likely because they played these works with Mendelssohn rather than just for him. As I will demonstrate, Mendelssohn himself reveals how he wrote his second Konzertstück with a favorite musical theme of Heinrich Bärmann’s in mind. Echoes of both Konzertstücke persist in Carl Bärmann’s Duo Concertant for Two Clarinets, 4 which was published decades after Mendelssohn’s death (it is possible Carl was thinking of the Konzertstücke after his father’s and Mendelssohn’s deaths because Carl completed the orchestration of the second Konzertstück’s piano accompaniment, which Mendelssohn began but was unable to finish). In all of these works, common themes and styles can be noticed, which reveal further the strong relationship between Mendelssohn and the Bärmanns.
Mendelssohn most likely met Heinrich Bärmann at his family home in Berlin, although it is likely Mendelssohn had already heard of Heinrich before this time due to his interest in Carl Maria von Weber’s works, many of which were also written for Heinrich. The Mendelssohns were wealthy, and his mother, Lea, would invite notable musicians to their house to play with her musical family, which also included his sister Fanny.5 Mendelssohn used music as a way to be closer to people he loved and admired, even from a young age. Clarinet scholar Pamela Weston notes that at only fifteen years old, Mendelssohn wrote his first dedication to Heinrich Bärmann in 1824, the Clarinet Sonata in E-flat Major. Heinrich was forty years old at this time. Mendelssohn was much closer in age to Carl Bärmann, who was only one year younger than him. Although a fairly large age gap existed between Mendelssohn and Heinrich, they remained very close throughout their lives, and Mendelssohn visited the Bärmanns at their home in Munich whenever he could. As he writes in a letter to Heinrich regarding such a visit, “They were the jolliest days I ever passed, and I have you specially to thank for this.” 6 Mendelssohn’s admiration for Heinrich and Carl Bärmann fueled the creation of the first and second Konzertstücke für Klarinette, Bassethorn, und
Heinrich Bärmann (1784–1847). Carl Bärmann (1810–1885). Felix Mendelssohn, Paris, to Heinrich Bärmann, Munich, 16 April 1832, in Letters of Distinguished Musicians, 406–407. 3 Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Konzertstücke für Klarinette und Bassethorn Nr. 1 & Nr. 2, Op. 113 & 114 (Breitkopf und Härtel, 1875). 4 Carl Bärmann, Duo Concertant for Two Clarinets, Op. 33, 1870. 5 Pamela Weston, Clarinet Virtuosi of the Past (London: Robert Hale & Company, 1971), 143. 6 Felix Mendelssohn, Rome, to Heinrich Bärmann, Zürich, 14 February 1831, in Letters of Distinguished Musicians, 393. 1 2
Katie Beisel graduated from DU in 2012
as a Clarinet Performance major. Originally from Franktown, Colorado, Katie is now a
first-year graduate student at Northwestern University, majoring in Musicology. In addition to playing the clarinet and the piano,
Katie is always ready to go to the sympho-
ny or opera. She is an avid movie watcher and always corrects people who get movie quotations wrong.
Pianoforte, which I firmly believe were originally written for the purpose of spending time together as friends. The father and son duo not only played these pieces together, but Mendelssohn also participated by frequently playing the piano accompaniment part (Weston points out that the friends also enjoyed playing works of other composers together, particularly those by C. M. von Weber). In both Konzertstücke, Heinrich played the clarinet part and Carl played the basset horn, which is an early member of the clarinet family with a longer bore and lower pitch range than the modern clarinet. Though camaraderie was possibly the original motive for writing these works, they evolved into popular showmanship pieces that could be, and still are, found in the concert hall. The first Konzertstück was first performed by the three musicians on January 5, 1833 in Berlin.7 The piece was very successful, and the Bärmanns played it frequently with different pianists during their tours. 30
WRIT Large: 2014
Shortly after the first Konzertstück was written, the Bärmanns made plans to tour Russia. Since the first Konzertstück was so successful, Heinrich asked Mendelssohn to write another for their next tour, and of course Mendelssohn was happy to oblige. It has been said that Mendelssohn wrote the second Konzertstück in one day, in the amount of time it took for Carl to make his homemade Dampfnudel and Rahmstrudel (sweet dumplings and cheese strudel). Carl Bärmann described the scene of this day, illustrating how both he and Mendelssohn had until five o’clock to complete their respective tasks (for Carl dumplings and strudel, for Mendelssohn the new Konzertstück). When five o’clock came, each man presented their work in a covered dish. Mendelssohn was said to have claimed that Carl’s “dumpling composition” was more ingenious than his.8 The events of this particular day are the reason why Mendelssohn’s original title for his second Konzertstück was The Battle of Prague: A Great Duet for Sweet Dumplings or Cream Strudel, Clarinet, and Basset Horn. Mendelssohn did, however, send a more polished edition of the piece later on to Heinrich. With this version Mendelssohn included a letter, which now stated the title of the work to be Grand Duo ordered by Mr. Bärmann, composed on a favorite theme of Mr. Bärmann for Messrs Bärmann, by F. Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, amongst others. As this title, along with the rest of this letter from Mendelssohn to Heinrich, reveals, Mendelssohn received inspiration for these pieces not only from his friendship with the Bärmanns, but also from favorite musical ideas of Heinrich Bärmann. Mendelssohn continues in this letter: The following are my intentions: see the first movement, of which your theme forms the subject; my fancy painted to me Herr Stern, after you had won all his money at whist, and he had flown into a passion (you will soon see him, give him my compliments); in the adagio, I wished to give you a retrospect of our last dinner at Heinrich Beer’s, where I was obliged to compose it.9 The clarinet depicts my ardent yearnings, while the tremor of the Basset horn represents the grumbling of my stomach. The last movement is purposely kept cold, because you are going to Russia, where the temperature is supposed to be ditto.10 I believe there are two possibilities for what
Heinrich’s “theme” might be, both of which appear in earlier clarinet works of Mendelssohn. The first possibility is the second Konzertstück’s opening theme, in which the clarinet and basset horn are in unison in octaves (see Example 1). Example 1. Beginning of Mendelssohn’s Konzertstück no. 2, mm. 1–2
A different version of this theme can be found in Mendelssohn’s first Konzertstück. This version of the theme has a very different character from the opening theme of the second Konzertstück, defined by a soft, legato phrase rather than a fortissimo, staccato statement, but the rhythm and pitch intervals are very similar (see Example 2). Since Heinrich was already familiar with the first Konzertstück, it is possible he related to Mendelssohn his fondness for this theme, persuading Mendelssohn to use it again in the second Konzertstück. Example 2. From Mendelssohn’s Konzertstück no. 1, Allegro con fuoco, mm. 17–19
The second possibility for what Bärmann’s theme might be can also be found in the first Konzertstück, as well as in one of Mendelssohn’s earlier works for Heinrich, the Clarinet Sonata in Eb Major. This theme, which might be better described as a motive, is part of the first theme of the second Konzertstück following the opening phrase. This rhythmic theme is a descending eighth note pattern where each pitch is repeated before descending to the next pitch (see Example 3).
Example 3. From Mendelssohn’s Konzertstück no. 2, Presto, mm. 19–21
This pattern can be found as the very first theme in the third movement of Mendelssohn’s Clarinet Sonata in Eb Major. Mendelssohn wrote this piece eight years before the first Konzertstück, and the eighth note pattern in question is found as the main recurring theme in the third movement of the clarinet sonata, though it is found as sixteenth notes rather than eighth notes (see Example 4).
Example 4. From Mendelssohn’s Clarinet Sonata in Eb Major, Allegro moderato, mm. 1–2
Another version of this theme is present in the second movement of the first Konzertstück, in a relaxed triple meter (see Example 5). Example 5. From Mendelssohn’s Konzertstück no. 1, Andante, mm. 37–38
It is possible this rhythmic motive seen in all three of the above examples is Heinrich’s “favorite” theme, since he had seen it before in the earlier clarinet sonata dedicated to him by Mendelssohn. Weston, 144. Cited from the preface of Mendelssohn’s Konzertstück No. 2 by Sabine Meyer, Wolfgang Meyer, & Reiner Wehle of Trio di Clarone, 1997. 9 Heinrich Beer, the brother of Giacomo Meyerbeer, was a tenor. He married the granddaughter of Felix Mendelssohn’s great uncle. 10 Felix Mendelssohn, Berlin, to Heinrich Bärmann, Munich, 19 January 1833, in Letters of Distinguished Musicians, 415–416. 7 8
The fact that it is present in the second Konzertstück suggests that Heinrich may have expressed his liking of it to Mendelssohn. Also notable in this letter about the second Konzertstück is the slightly silly yet very illustrative way Mendelssohn has described the movements. His descriptions are clearly evoked in each movement and, as we shall see, most likely later influenced the work of Carl Bärmann. The “yearning” Mendelssohn speaks of in the second movement is depicted by two-note motives in the clarinet part that resemble “pleading” towards a resolution that does not come until the third “plea” from the clarinet (see Example 6). In addition, the basset horn is a perfect instrument to imitate Mendelssohn’s “grumbling” stomach because of its darker tone quality and lower pitches compared to the clarinet. Mendelssohn portrays his indigestion using constant ascending and descending sixteenth notes in groups of six (see Example 6). Example 6. From Mendelssohn’s Konzertstück no. 2, Andante, mm. 106–107
Mendelssohn describes the last movement of the second Konzertstück as “cold.” Though it is sometimes difficult to pinpoint the characteristics of “cold” music, I view the term in this context as having a similar meaning to “strict,” or “frigid.” The lack of expressive and free lyricism that was found in the second movement, combined with very strict and fast rhythmic lines, could contribute to the “cold” aesthetic. The bulk of the movement is comprised of continuous sixteenth note diatonic scalar and arpeggiated runs (see Example 7) rather than having a distinct, lyrical melody like that of the second movement (see Example 6). Example 7. From Mendelssohn’s Konzertstück no. 2, Allegro grazioso, mm. 196–199
Overall, it is easy to find Mendelssohn’s inspiration for his Konzertstück no. 2 both in Heinrich Bärmann’s musical ideas and in their shared experiences together, which included what sounded like a rather entertaining dinner at Heinrich Beer’s according to Mendelssohn’s letter. Mendelssohn, however, was not the only one to be compositionally inspired by the relationship between the three musicians. As Mendelssohn looked to Heinrich Bärmann for musical insight, Carl Bärmann looked to Mendelssohn. Carl formed his own friendship with Mendelssohn during their youth. Because the two were only separated in age by one year, they were sharing similar experiences of striving to become known in the current musical world and helped each other to be successful in it. In a letter to Carl, Mendelssohn attempts to offer some advice in regards to organizing a concert: My dear good Bärmann, For some time past, even before I got your letter, the subject of your concert had been on my mind, so I hasten to answer you to the best of my knowledge and ability. You played so charmingly, and pleased so universally, that it really would be a pity not to give a concert or a soirée. Much will depend on your selecting a suitable time, otherwise, you could not reckon on a well-filled hall.11 Mendelssohn’s eagerness to help Carl reflects a strong friendship, as well as Carl’s less thorough knowledge of performing compared to that of his famous father or Mendelssohn. Nevertheless, Carl Bärmann knew the clarinet extremely well and composed a good amount of work for the instrument. Duo Concertant for Two Clarinets was one of these compositions, and although it was published in 1870, twenty-three years after Mendelssohn’s death, influences from Mendelssohn’s Konzertstücke (which Carl finished orchestrating after Mendelssohn’s death) can be found in it. 32
WRIT Large: 2014
The very beginning of Carl Bärmann’s Duo Concertant audibly resembles the beginnings of both Konzertstücke. All three pieces begin with bold dotted rhythms (see Examples 8, 9, and 10). Example 8. Clarinet entrance of C. Bärmann’s Duo Concertant, mm. 8–9
Example 9. Beginning of Mendelssohn’s Konzertstück no. 1, m. 1
Example 10. Beginning of Mendelssohn’s Konzertstück no. 2, mm. 1–2
Carl also utilized sixteenth note lines in both clarinet parts that ascend and descend in opposite directions, much like Mendelssohn did (see Examples 11 and 12). Example 11. From C. Bärmann’s Duo Concertant, Var. IV, mm. 4–5
Example 12. From Mendelssohn’s Konzertstück no. 1, Presto, mm. 121–123
Carl Bärmann’s Duo Concertant also includes a section resembling Mendelssohn’s “grumbling stomach” movement in the second Konzertstück. The first clarinet has a melodic line consisting of some tension and release, which is illustrated by accents on the dissonant ‘D’ flat, which is not part of the main key of Eb major (or F major as written for Bb clarinet) followed by a diatonic ‘D’ natural. This resembles the passage in the second Konzertstück that Mendelssohn described as his “yearning” (See Example 6). The second clarinet plays a repeated sixteenth note figure, which of course represents Mendelssohn’s “grumbling” stomach (see Example 13). Example 13. From C. Bärmann’s Duo Concertant, Rondo, mm.140–142
Felix Mendelssohn, Leipzig, to Carl Bärmann, 6 March 1843, in Letters of Distinguished Musicians, 447.
Mendelssohn and the Bärmanns placed great value on their friendship and saw extremely high quality musicians in one another. The three of them took great pleasure in displaying their fondness for each other not only in letters but also in their music. © Nicku / Shutterstock.com
The resemblance of Carl’s Duo Concertant to Mendelssohn’s Konzertstücke strongly illustrates the influence Mendelssohn had on Carl, especially given that Carl wrote his Duo Concertant during a time when teaching had become his main focus as opposed to performing. Composing the Duo Concertant must have roused fond memories for Carl of working with his father and Mendelssohn. As we have seen, Mendelssohn and the Bärmanns placed great value on their friendship and saw extremely high quality musicians in one another. The three of them took great pleasure in displaying their fondness for each other not only in letters but also in their music. The Bärmanns were in an elite group of musicians highly regarded by Mendelssohn, who had no problem vocalizing his opinion when he experienced music or musicians not up to his standards. For example, Mendelssohn describes his disregard for the clarinetists he had heard in Berlin in a letter to Heinrich: Here, where I have been several times at the opera, they puff away at the clarinet as if it were mere wood; a sort of pea-shooter, for each time
WRIT Large: 2014
the clarinet comes in, the noise is like a shower of blows, and quite startles you when they cut in sharply, so coarse and clumsy and screeching, and yet tame.12
In the same letter, Mendelssohn describes how reading a recently written biography of Heinrich (which I believe is the biography written by August Lewald in 1834)13 made his “mouth water for the sounds of a good clarinet.” Mendelssohn did not hand out this high praise to just anyone, as seen by his harsh description of the Berlin clarinetists. Mendelssohn’s deep admiration of the Bärmanns only further solidifies their reputation of being true masters of the clarinet. Thanks to this friendship, clarinetists today are still able to enjoy wonderful pieces produced by these musicians and can find traces of each man in the other’s work. It is sometimes easy to forget that one of the greatest joys in music is using it to connect with other people. The case of Mendelssohn and the Bärmanns brings into new light the happy reality that behind these exceptional composers and performers was a friendship shaped by music.
Felix Mendelssohn, Berlin, to Heinrich Bärmann, 27 September 1834, in Letters of Distinguished Musicians, 428. August Lewald’s biography of Heinrich Bärmann was published in Der Freimüthige on August 16,1834. See Weston, 146.
© Nicky Rhodes / Shutterstock.com
Bibliography Bärmann, Carl. Duo Concertant for Two Clarinets, Op. 33. Mainz: B. Schott’s Söhne, 1870. . Vollständige Klarinettenschule, Op. 63. Offenbach am Main: Johann Andre, 1864. Bärmann, Heinrich. Concertino for Clarinet and Orchestra, Op. 27. Leipzig: Breitkopf und Härtel, 1828. Lewald, August. Biography of Heinrich Bärmann in Der Freimüthige, Berlin, 1834. Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Felix. Konzertstück für Klarinette und Bassethorn no. 1, Op. 113. Leipzig: Breitkopf und Härtel, 1875. . Konzertstücke für Klarinette und Bassethorn no. 2, Op. 114. Leipzig: Breitkopf und Härtel, 1875. . Clarinet Sonata in Eb major, 1841. Meyer, Sabine, Wolfgang Meyer, and Reiner Wehler. Trio de Clarone. Preface to Konzertstück für Klarinette und Bassethorn no. 2, Op. 114 (Felix Mendelssohn). Leipzig: Breitkopf und Härtel, 1875. Nohl, Ludwig. Letters of Distinguished Musicians: Gluck, Haydn, P.E. Bach, Weber, Mendelssohn, trans. Lady Wallace. London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1867. Todd, R. Larry. “The Unfinished Mendelssohn,” Bard Music Festival: Mendelssohn and his World. New Jersey: Princeton UP, 1991. Weston, Pamela. Clarinet Virtuosi of the Past. London: Robert Hale & Co., 1971.
Suicide among Retired Professional Athletes: A Case Study
A nomic Suicide
Viktor Stigson SOC 2020: Sociology Classics Professor Paul Colomy “Suicide Among Retired Professional Athletes: A Case Study on Anomic Suicide” was written for Professor Paul Colomy’s “Sociological Classics” class during winter quarter 2013. As a core
requirement of the sociology curriculum at DU, this class provided an in-depth examination of the most central concepts in the field of sociology, including the work of Emile Durkheim in his groundbreaking book Suicide.
Faced with the task of applying Durkheim’s concept of suicide to modern-day phenomena, I
naturally turned to my go-to topic of interest: sports. Through my (addictive) habit of keeping up with the latest sports news, I had been closely following the ongoing controversy surrounding
suicide among athletes. Roughly a year after the highly scrutinized suicide of legendary NFL
linebacker Junior Seau, the sports world was still caught up in a furious debate about the po-
tential connection between contact sports like football and Chronic Traumatic Ecephalopathy (CTE), a depression-inducing disease caused by repeated concussions.
Personally, I wasn’t sure where I stood in this debate. Of course, I couldn’t deny the correlation
between head trauma through sports and CTE, as research had clearly established. At the
same time, I couldn’t possibly attribute CTE to every known instance of depression and suicide
among retired athletes. After all, athletes in non-contact sports have also suffered from these ailments. Maybe the cause wasn’t so much psychological as it was sociological. I decided to investigate. Enter Emile Durkheim and his concept of anomie, the lack of social regulation.
Introduction On May 2, 2012, the sports world was stunned by yet another shocking addition to the long line of suicides by former professional athletes. This time, it was 10-time NFL All-Pro linebacker Junior Seau who had chosen to end his own life, turning a gun on himself in his beachside house in California (Marikar, 2012). The sports world was up in arms: How could such a legendary player with everything going for him choose to end it all? What led him to make such a tragic decision? 36
WRIT Large: 2014
In the aftermath of this suicide, many sports psychologists offered explanations, mostly citing NFL players’ exposure to repeated concussions from consistent hits to their heads. According to this theory, these violent hits could eventually result in a disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which produces side effects like memory loss, dementia, aggression, confusion, and depression (“What is CTE?”, 2009). There seems to be some credence to this theory, as many other former athletes of contact sports also suffered from CTE and committed
© Scott’s View of the World / Flickr.com
suicide. Among these athletes are former NFL players Dave Duerson, O.J. Murdock, Mike Current, Ray Easterling, Shane Dronett, Andre Waters, Terry Long, and Thornton Stonebreaker, among others (Dorish, 2012). Hockey has also seen multiple suicides following CTE, most notably the recent deaths of Wade Belak, Rick Rypien, and Derek Boogaard (“Belak’s Death,” 2011). Famous boxers like Edwin Valero, Sonny Liston, Alex Arguello, and Freddie Mills fell to the same fate (Weir, 2010). All together, these examples paint a grim picture of retired athlete suicides, most of which have been partially attributed to head trauma and CTE. However, head trauma can’t explain the entire phenomenon by itself. What about suicides by athletes who play sports that experience less head trauma? For example, what explanation can there be for the 2011 suicide of former Wales and Newcastle United standout soccer player Gary Speed, or the more than 15 other known cases of suicides by retired soccer players (“Former Premier League,” 2011)? Or the more than 65 known cases of baseball players who committed suicide after retirement? Or the 10 basketball players (“Enke,” 2009)? These cases suggest that suicide is a prominent issue across many sports, not just the more violent contact sports. With this assumption, it seems head trauma cannot account for every case of suicide by retired athletes. But then, what other factors are involved? It is this question that I will attempt to answer in this paper. Instead of looking at the psychological and biological explanations for suicide among this specific demographic of retired
athletes, I will focus on sociological reasons. What is it about the transition out of professional sports that puts these athletes at risk for suicide? Specifically, is suicide by this demographic influenced by a lack of social regulation? I argue that the transition out of the highly regulated world of sports can have negative effects on the social states of retired players. In other words, perhaps retiring from sports could lead to the development of anomie, the Durkheimian sociological concept of lacking regulation, which thus produces an inclination towards suicide. My research for this paper will examine the possible correlation between this concept of anomie and suicide among retired athletes to either support or dispute the causal relationship proposed above. My research methods include a literature review combined with a media analysis, as I gather previous academic research on the topic and relate it to personal accounts told by real athletes who have experienced the process of retiring from professional sports. It is my hope that this research leads to better awareness and advocacy in the sports community regarding protection, support, and mitigation for retired athletes against risks for suicide.
Theoretical Framework In order to understand a possible connection between lack of regulation and suicide among retired professional male athletes, I first will elaborate on the basic assumptions of Durkheim’s concept of anomic suicide. Essentially, he argues that people inherently need regulation in their lives. According to Durkheim (1997), “human Volume 3
Within the sphere of sports, it is the team and its coaches, executives, and other authoritative forces that regulate the players, who in this case are the individuals within society . . . Active players are protected by their teams from the risk of anomie within their professional, and often personal, lives.
Viktor Stigson grew up in Gothenburg, Sweden, before coming to the U.S. at the
age of 10. His hobbies include playing and
watching sports—especially soccer and tennis—running, writing, and playing the
piano. Viktor graduated from DU in June
2013 and is currently working as a copywriter for an interactive advertising agency.
activity naturally aspires beyond assignable limits and sets itself unattainable goals” (p. 175). In other words, people’s needs and wants often exceed their ability to fulfill them. Because people have the tendency to set lofty goals that are often unrealistic, they enter a situation where “inextinguishable thirst is constantly renewed torture” (p. 247). Having unlimited aspirations thus becomes a source of torment. Ultimately, the reason humans set these unattainable goals and expectations is because they cannot regulate themselves. According to Durkheim, individuals are weak, unable to apply restrictions on their moral, practical, and psychological behavior. Society, on the other hand, is strong: “it is the only moral power superior to the individual, the authority which he accepts” (p. 249). Therefore, Durkheim argues that society must provide regulation for the weak individual. With this regulation, humans can contain their aspirations and thus reduce their inclination toward anomic suicide, the type of suicide stemming from lack of regulation. 38
WRIT Large: 2014
Relating Durkheim’s theory to sports, we first have to envision athletic teams as regulative institutions of society. Within the sphere of sports, it is the team and its coaches, executives, and other authoritative forces that regulate the players, who in this case are the individuals within society. The institution of sports puts restrictions, rules, and regulations on players, thus freeing them from the aforementioned possibility of unlimited aspirations, goals, and desires. As a result, according to this theory, active players are protected by their teams from the risk of anomie within their professional, and often personal, lives. The purpose of this paper is to test whether or not the transition out of professional sports into retirement increases the likelihood of anomie. The world of sports is highly regulated, so the world a former athlete enters following retirement could potentially feel very undefined and unrestrictive. Without the constant routines, games, practices, and team structure, the open-ended nature of retirement and post-professional life could negatively impact the former athlete’s social state and give an indication of the downward spiral seen in the many cases of suicide among retired sportsmen. This paper builds on Durkheim’s idea that “whenever serious readjustments take place in the social order, whether or not due to a sudden growth or an unexpected catastrophe, men are more inclined to self-destruction” (p. 246). I hypothesize that the transition for an athlete into retirement serves as a “disturbance in the collective order” in the direction toward anomie, playing a significant role in the tendency toward suicide (p. 246).
© rgmcfadden / Flickr.com
Among the types of suicide outlined by Durkheim, altruistic or fatalistic reasoning seem not to apply to this specific scenario. If anything, there would be less altruism among retired athletes, since upon leaving their teams they are no longer cohesive within the group. Additionally, fatalistic reasoning should be excluded on this very same ground. Athletes undeniably face less regulation once they leave their teams than when at the height of their careers. Suicide due to overregulation after retirement is simply not applicable. This leaves only egoistic suicide as another viable explanation for the suicides within this demographic. However, while athletes may lose social integration upon retiring, this possibility isn’t expansive enough to encompass all retiring male athletes. Many surely still have social bonds and groups with their former teammates, friends, and other acquaintances, not to mention their spouses. Anomic suicide, on the other hand, seems reasonable for almost all retired male athletes; barring them entering a new career more regulated than a sports team, post-professional life is bound to be less regulated and thus creates more of a “disturbance in the collective order” for these retirees. Ultimately, anomic suicide provides the most reasonable and realistic explanation for the problem researched in this paper.
Method and Sample My chosen method of research for this topic was a combination of literature review and media analysis. Ideally, I would have used interviews to access the most relevant information for this re-
search. However, this method has several downfalls in the context of this study. First, gaining access to the type of elite retired athletes I am trying to study would be extremely hard for someone with no connections to the professional sports industry. Second, even if I were to gain access to retired professional athletes, the short time period I had to complete this study would limit my ability to conduct enough interviews to compile substantial data. Consequently, a literature review and media analysis proved to be my best options. If I couldn’t ask the athletes themselves, I could find pre-collected data in which other people studied similar issues and perhaps asked similar questions to those that I would ask. Thus, my goal for using a literature review was to gain an initial understanding of the transition from professional to retired athlete. The data gathered through scholarly research gave me a foundation from which to understand retirement from sports and how it unfolds in the lives of former athletes as they assume new identities. Then, to substantiate these findings, I used media analysis to incorporate real quotes from interviews with former athletes into the research. Many researchers have surveyed and interviewed athletes to access relevant information on life after sports.
Findings Upon conducting this research, my initial hypothesis carries considerable credence. Of course, all suicides have a personal stamp, and it is problematic to categorize every suicide among retired athletes as a case of anomic suicide. Some cases Volume 3
of depression or suicide may very well be attributable to a range of other factors. However, based on the available data, it appears that in transitioning out of elite sports, many former athletes are thrust into life situations where their social lives acquire a special proclivity toward anomie or lack of regulation. Research uncovered two main themes guiding this lack of regulation. The first of these problems equates to a loss of identity and a subsequent decline in lifestyle and prestige. The second problem entails a shift toward more unrestricted routines and daily schedules compared to their days in sports. This first theme of identity loss manifests itself very early on in an athlete’s retirement. According to Lally (2007), “the loss of the athlete role upon retirement affects not only one’s athletic identity, but one’s overall sense of self” (p. 86). This sense of identity change was illustrated by the statement of one anonymous athlete: ‘‘I would say identity crisis is an understatement. Basically everything in my life changed, everything I identified with was gone” (p. 95). This former athlete is certainly not alone in feeling these types of emotions. George Koonce, a recently retired NFL linebacker, has a similar contention in saying that “a part of him had died” as soon as he retired; he had completely lost his identity (as cited in Fish, 2012, para. 19). To further elaborate on these ideas, consider former Pro Bowl NFL cornerback Troy Vincent’s words: “You’re talking about an identity crisis. Every athlete has to face the same question when they’re done: ‘Who am I?’”(Chadiha, 2012, para. 5). As these quotations illustrate, retirement quickly eliminates a prominent part of an athlete’s identity. In turn, this loss of identity leaves them feeling very confused about not only what they do, but who they are as people. The following statistic is telling of this phenomenon; according to Carasik (2012), more than half of retired athletes feel like they’ve lost their purpose in life. This loss is especially relevant to athletes because they are not only leaving a career; they are leaving a career in which they made a substantial amount of money and achieved a significant level of stardom. When their lives essentially peak in their 20s—or when “your whole life can be over by 30,” as stated by former NFL center 40
WRIT Large: 2014
Retired athletes fight a losing battle to retain their previous levels of status and achievement.
Being accustomed to an extremely regimented life, retired athletes often do not know how to handle their excess time.
Matt Birk (Merrill, 2012, para. 11)—professional athletes have attained a lifestyle that most people won’t reach at any point in their lives. Even though many of them, like former NFL safety John Lynch, agree—“You’ve got a lot of life to live, and suddenly, you’re hit with the realization: ‘I’ll never have that again’” (Steeg, J.L., 2012, para. 16)—the pressure is often there for athletes to retain the status of their playing days. When they are accustomed to fame and fortune, being idolized by thousands of people coming to watch them play games, their standard of living is extremely high. Consequently, their goals for the rest of their lives are set to nearly unattainable levels, resulting in Durkheim’s concept of anomic suicide: “inextinguishable thirst is constantly renewed torture” (p. 247). Tinley (2002) describes how retired athletes struggle mightily with the concept of feeling like a “has-been.” Retired athletes fight a losing battle to retain their previous levels of status and achievement. With money in the bank from their athletic success, they have nothing regulating their desires, yet they have very slim chances of reaching the same success in new careers. Smith and McManus (2008) argue that identity crises and anomie are most prevalent in highly successful athletes who haven’t considered other career options besides sports prior to retirement. Used to being in the limelight, they will expect to remain famous and successful, yet do not possess the means of doing so in other careers. Rintaugu et al. (2011) confirm these findings: The process of retirement is often most traumatic for those professional athletes who
have been the most visible, have earned high incomes and have little formal education and few job skills to transfer to non-sport occupations [. . .] Some of the problems experienced by retired athletes include poverty, downward income mobility, unemployment/ unemployability, psychological crisis, depression, confusion, loss of identity, idleness, dejection, lack of direction, substance abuse and marital break-ups. (p. 477)
Thus, for high-profile athletes, the process of retirement profoundly alters their identities and sends them down an unforgiving road of trying to maintain the high expectations created during their successful playing days. The second theme of lacking regulation found in my research relates to former athletes’ undefined routines after retirement. Perhaps former NFL quarterback Trent Green sums it up best: “For 15 years, I knew exactly what I was doing in March, June and September because there was a schedule” (Chadiha, 2012, para. 6). Playing in the NFL, like playing in any other sports league, means living “a very structured life for a minimum of 26 weeks per year. Each and every day, almost year ‘round, they knew what their schedule and their responsibilities were. Eat, sleep, think and dream football” (Steeg, J., 2012, para. 8). Stephan (2003) explains: Their performance-oriented life style is facilitated by the sport environment, such as coaching staff. Werthner and Orlick (1986) and Kerr and Dacyshyn (2000) observed that, retrospectively, very few athletes indicate a strong sense of control during their sport career, and note that, in fact, the coach or the association had been in control of their lives. Many decisions are made for them, ranging from how, when and where to train to arrangements for plane fares and accommodations (Werthner & Orlick, 1986). They lead formally-managed lives with restricted autonomy and are nurtured and protected (Gearing, 1999), and thus develop a false sense of control (Werthner & Orlick, 1986). (p. 355) Ultimately, retirement from sports disrupts what has been a meticulously regulated life. This newfound freedom, compared to their regulated athletic careers, becomes a source of frustration and confusion. Being accustomed to
an extremely regimented life, retired athletes often do not know how to handle their excess time. Aforementioned retired NFL linebacker Koonce admits that he missed the “structure” of professional life, what he calls being “institutionalized” (Fish, 2012, para. 19). This lack of structure led him to depression and suicidal thoughts. Larry Izzo, another retired NFL linebacker, asserts that he misses the structure of being “told when to wake up, when to arrive at the facility, and when to eat” (Merrill, 2012, para. 21). This open-ended structure to life following retirement leaves many athletes lost and not knowing what to do during their spare time. According to McKnight et al. (2010), since athletes are so used to having coaches make decisions and plans for them, “they often lack the skills in self-management they need to make alternate career decisions” (p. 66). This theory can explain the case of former NFL running back Tiki Barber, who didn’t know how to occupy himself after retirement and spent significant portions of his days watching the TV show Golden Girls (Chadiha, 2012). To occupy his time upon retirement, NFL cornerback Vincent would wash his clothes every single day and mow the lawn three times a week, simply because he felt he had nothing else to do (Chadiha, 2012). What these examples show is that retirement presents former athletes with an existence lacking the regulation to which they have grown accustomed.
Discussion The results of my research for this project confirm my initial hypothesis; anomie does seem to be an alternative explanation to the common occurrence of post-retirement suicides among athletes. While my findings are by no means conclusive, they do shed light on the sociological explanations leading to athlete suicides, specifically as related to Durkheim’s theory of anomic suicide. I relate my findings to anomic suicide using the two themes found throughout my research: 1) a loss of identity leading to a decline in lifestyle and prestige and 2) a shift toward more unrestricted routines and daily schedules. In both of these lifestyle trends among retired athletes, there is a common thread: lack of social regulation. As for the first trend, this lack of reguVolume 3
© Nata-Lia / Shutterstock.com
lation manifests within identity transformation during the transition into retirement. Because athletes—especially those who reach high-profile fame and fortune—are so accustomed to being successful, they feel the pressure to live up to these expectations after retirement. In what becomes a sort of identity crisis, their needs and wants often exceed their ability to fulfill them. Consequently, again aligning with Durkheim’s beliefs, their unlimited aspirations become the source of their torment. They enter a period of their lives when their social orders are drastically readjusted, leading to a “disturbance of the collective order.” This, according to Durkheim, drives people toward the risk for suicide, in this case specifically anomic suicide. As for the second theme, there is a similar alignment with Durkheimian sociological explanations for suicide. Having lived extremely regulated lives within the realm of professional sports, retired athletes are not used to making decisions by themselves. Their entire schedules have been pre-determined by coaches, team officials, or league authorities. Never have they had to regulate themselves or make personal decisions about how to spend the majority of their time. Instead, forces within professional sports took on the role of regulating their lives. During their careers, athletes do not worry about lack of regulation; upon retirement, however, their lifestyles change. Suddenly, they have to regulate themselves, which Durkheim argues is impossible and which ultimately sets them up for the risk of anomie. Though these findings and patterns are clearly in their preliminary stages of development, this research presents valid alternatives to the psychological reasoning for suicide in sports, such as depression resulting from head trauma. Sociological tendencies toward anomic suicide are present within the world of retired professional athletes. The extent to which these anomic patterns affect suicidal patterns among retired 42
WRIT Large: 2014
athletes, however, cannot be determined without conducting much more extensive, in-depth research on the topic. Future researchers could not only conduct widespread interviews with athletes from a range of sports but also create surveys to gather statistical data on the suicide rates of non-contact and contact sports. In contact sports, CTE does present a valid case in explaining suicide. However, it does not account for every case.
Conclusion This study’s contribution to sociological theory lies in its application to one of modern society’s prominent institutions: sports. The concepts of classical theorists are often applied to traditional sociological institutions like family, class, education, religion, and gender. However, the sociology of sports is still a developing field with many issues remaining unexplored. What makes this research useful is that it delves into the hot-button issue of suicide among retired athletes and provides sociological explanations for this phenomenon. For the most part, society is still explaining these trends using psychological factors, which may only prove to be partially accurate. As is always the case, social issues have deep roots within social facts and social explanations. If developed fully, the issues addressed in this research can move the current thinking in sports towards the realm of sociology. This research could also eventually lead to more awareness on the topic of suicide in sports. It is tragic to continually see stories of troubled athletes resorting to self-destruction. Perhaps if more knowledge were generated on these issues, the institution of sports could create better systems of support for athletes in their transitions away from the game. In the long run, this support would allow for a happier, healthier existence as athletes struggle to live fulfilled lives past their athletic primes.
References Belakâ€™s death a suicide. (2011, September 2). Boston.com. Retrieved from http://www.boston.com/sports/hockey/ articles/2011/09/02/belaks_death_a_suicide/. Carasik, S. (2012, May 5). The NFL needs to take care of its players and offer better suicide prevention. The Bleacher Report. Retrieved from http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1172019-nfl-suicide-rate-the-nfl-needs-to-takecare-of-its-former-talent-in-prevention. Chadiha, J. (2012, May 31). Life after NFL a challenge for many. ESPN. Retrieved from http://espn.go.com/nfl/ story/_/id/7983790/life-nfl-struggle-many-former-players. Dorish, J. (2012, May 23). Retired NFL players who committed suicide. The Examiner. Retrieved from http://www. examiner.com/article/retired-nfl-players-who-committed-suicide. Durkheim, E. (1951/1997). Suicide: A study in sociolog y. ( J. Spaulding & G. Simpson, Trans.). New York: Free Press. Enke follows worrying trend of athletes who have committed suicide. (2009, November 11). The Hindu. Retrieved from http://www.thehindu.com/sport/enke-follows-worrying-trend-of-athletes-who-have-committed-suicide/ article46785.ece. Fish, M. (2012, November 27). Rushing to find a connection. ESPN. Retrieved from http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/ story/_/page/Football%20at%20Crossroads2/when-former-football-players-commit-suicide-some-see-connection-brain-injuries-suffered-playing-days-experts-urge-caution. Former Premier League star and Wales manager Gary Speed commits suicide. (2011, November 28). The Australian. Retrieved from http://www.theaustralian.com.au/sport/former-premier-league-star-and-wales-manager-garyspeed-commits-suicide/story-e6frg7mf-1226207778957. Lally, P.S. (2007). Identity and athletic retirement: A prospective study. Psycholog y of Sport and Exercise, 8(1), 85-99. Marikar, S. (2012, May 2). Junior Seau dead in apparent suicide. ABC News. Retrieved from http://abcnews. go.com/Entertainment/junior-seau-dead-suicide-nfl-linebacker/story?id=16263047. McKnight, K.M., Bernes, K., Gunn, T., Chorney, D., Orr, D.T., & Bardick, A.D. (2009). Life after sport: Athletic career transition and transferable skills. Journal of Excellence 13, 63-77. Merrill, E. (2012, February 9). The road to NFL retirement. ESPN. Retrieved from http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/page/hotread-retire/nfl-players-weigh-pros-cons-retirement. Rintaugu, E.G., et. al. (2011). Retirement from competitive sport: The experiences of Kenyan soccer athletes. Current Research Journal of Social Sciences, 3(6), 477-482. Smith, J., & McManus, A. (2008). A review on transitional implications for retiring elite athletes: What happens when the spotlight dims. The Open Sport Sciences Journal, 1(1), 45-49. Steeg, J. (2012, May 31). NFL post-career obligations. National Football Post. Retrieved from http://www.nationalfootballpost.com/NFL-postcareer-obligations.html. Steeg, J.L. (2012, October 14). Junior Seau: Song of sorrow. UT San Diego. Retrieved from http://www.utsandiego. com/news/2012/oct/14/junior-seau-real-story Stephan, Y. (2003). Repercussions of transition out of elite sport on subjective well-being: A one year study. Journal of Applied Sport Psycholog y, 15(4), 354-371. Tinley, S. (2002). Athlete retirement: A qualitative inquiry and comparison. Retrieved from http://www.academia. edu/660927/Athlete_Retirement_A_Qualitative_Inquiry_and _Comparison. Weir, T. (2010, April 20). Edwin Valeroâ€™s death is fourth boxing suicide in a year. USA Today. Retrieved from http://content.usatoday.com/communities/gameon/post/2010/04/edwin-valeros-death-is-fourth-boxing-suicide-in-a-year/1#.UT7UGhzRdVg. What is CTE? (2009). BU Medical Journal. Retrieved from http://www.bu.edu/cste/about/what-is-cte/.
Education and Life on the Other Side of Paradise Shem Kikamaze WRIT 1133: Writing and Research Professor Amber Engelson
After a year in the United States, I still always break out in a cold sweat when I realize that I am going to write a paper of more than 700 words. Coming from a Ugandan education system that
emphasized British English grammar and comprehension while requiring only one 700-word essay every term, I am still making a “slow but sure” transition into the US university writing
system. Thankfully, my transition has been eased and guided by my writing classes, which
were fun but somewhat more difficult than my electrical engineering classes, because I love crunching numbers and trying to solve problems. My interest in problem solving is why I chose
to do research on the social problem of limited education opportunities in the Ugandan slums. I did not specifically provide a solution, but I wanted to raise awareness of the problem so that the reader might ponder possible solutions based on the causes that I found.
Overall, I meant to show the correlation between education and poverty in the slums. As a for-
eign Ugandan at DU, I encounter stereotypes of not only my country, but Africa as a whole (even though as a Ugandan, I do not know how hot the Sahara is). In the US, I encounter the question “which animals do you hunt?” more than “do you hunt?” This question is meant to reinforce a
Hollywood stereotype. Uganda, just like any other place in the world including the US, has de-
veloped places and undeveloped places in the forms of slums and villages that remain in poverty due to some of the causes pointed out in the research. There are also innovative and creative people in such places whose potentials are never unlocked.
Introduction I am seated in a class in one of the wonderfully designed buildings at the University of Denver. The class is a fine work of art because the doors, chairs, and even the students—whose clothing is suave and sophisticated—look like meticulously-made sculptures. I am listening (with my eyes half-closed) to the gospel of how every person in the world in this new Global Era has many wonderful opportunities (including jobs, healthcare, and education) due to globalization. The students are nodding their heads with affirmation while the Professor explains, like the Shepherd leading his flock, that “the Atlantic Ocean is no longer described as an ocean but rather as a pond.” “Is all this true?,” I ask myself. This ques44
WRIT Large: 2014
tion has led me to research what happens on the other side of this “pond.” Does everyone on the other side of paradise have equal opportunities? Does everyone on the other side have a good education? If not, what are the causes, and how do people cope with life? I know some of the answers to these questions because I am from Uganda, but I wanted to conduct more formal research by surveying some respondents who live in the Ugandan slums. My research is on how people attain education in the areas commonly known in Uganda as “the slums.” I focused on education because I believe it opens up someone to numerous technical
© Ian Beatty (ibeatty) / Flickr.com
skills, job opportunities, and creative thinking, which are further developed at school through interactions with various kinds of people and possible mentors. My belief is shared by Kathleen Blanco, the 54th Governor of Louisiana, who tried to persuade her grief-stricken citizens after the devastating Hurricane Katrina disaster that education is important. “Think about it: Every educated person is not rich, but almost every educated person has a job and a way out of poverty. So education is a fundamental solution to poverty” (Blanco 32). In this case, Blanco identified education as one of the rebuilding blocks of Louisiana, and I believe such an approach could work to eliminate poverty and slums in Uganda. My research aims to raise awareness of a correlation between slum conditions and education. What, though, is a slum? According to UN-Habitat, a slum is a household or a group of individuals living under the same roof in an urban area who lack one or more of the following: 1. Durable housing of a permanent nature that protects against extreme climate conditions. 2. Sufficient living space, which means not more than three people sharing the same room. 3. Easy access to safe water in sufficient amounts at an affordable price. 4. Access to adequate sanitation in the form of a private or public toilet shared by a reasonable number of people. 5. Security of tenure that prevents forced evictions. (UN-Habitat) As this definition suggests, slums are not the
best place to live due to unhealthy, unsafe, and poor conditions. There have been many research articles written on life and poverty in the slums that provide an overview of how people in slums attain education. According to Pauline Rose, Director of the United Nations 2012 Education for All Global Monitoring Report, “As we [the UN] have made improvements in getting more children into school, those who are left behind are those that are hardest to reach” (qtd. in Joselow). These children are hard to reach because they live in slums. According to Ramaswamy et al.’s study on the right to education in the slums of India, “the life of the poorest households revolves around the daily survival in the margins of life” (293). The children are not able to get an education because they cannot afford it; the households in which they live concentrate on fulfilling the basic needs to ensure that everyone in the household survives. Therefore, education, which should be a basic need attained by everyone in the world, is lacking in slums. The people in such areas are cut off from the rest of the world when it comes to educational opportunities. In addition to Ramaswamy et al.’s findings on scarce opportunities for education, Oketch et al. note in their research on education policy in Kenya that a third of the parents in the slums surveyed took their children to low-cost, poorlyfacilitated schools. Children were taken to such poorly-facilitated schools because of poverty (i.e., families cannot afford a better school). In “Free Primary Education Policy,” Oketch et al. find that 83.87% of the schools in the study sample Volume 3
Shem Kikamaze, a sophomore major-
ing in Electrical Engineering, comes from
Kampala, Uganda. He describes himself as
eclectic: he might listen to Ugandan music,
Jamaican riddims, hip hop, rap, R & B, pop, ballads, country, and a Pavarotti opera in a
single day. He attributes his eclectic nature
to a family that is ¼ Muslim, ¼ Catholic, ¼ Protestant, and ¼ Traditionalist.
of the slums were private, individually–owned, and poorly–facilitated schools that provide education at a lower cost than government schools. Even if children receive an education, it is below standard to the extent that such schools are not recognized by the Kenyan government, although they absorb nearly half of the children in the slums (Oketch et al. 173). The above-mentioned authors not only try to explain the situation of education in the slums, but also provide insight into what causes poverty in the slums. Furthermore, Oketch et al.’s survey points out that only 11% of men in slums have salaried jobs, and that they can only afford low-cost schools (176). Ramaswamy et al.’s work complements this argument by pointing out that, due to poverty, many families in slums experience predicaments which include either “‘taking their A-student girl to school’ or ‘paying medical bills for a husband who is the bread winner’” (307). In such scenarios, families tend to spend their 46
WRIT Large: 2014
income on basic needs like food and health, and children may not go to school, because all the other needs have to be fulfilled first. These examples provide a practical view of how barriers to education arise. First and foremost, only a few are employed; hence, many of the people are poor. Families either cannot afford to provide an education for their children, or the few employed take their children to poorly–facilitated schools in the surrounding area. George Owusu et al. theorize that the problems of slums are caused by population explosions due to rural-urban migration. They introduce the notion that globalization leads to the formation of slums, suggesting that “reforms such as Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) have led to increased poverty” (Owusu et al. 181). Similarly, Mike Davis, in his book Planet of Slums, provides an explanation of what SAPs are—rules provided by international donors that poor countries should adhere to in order to receive loans. These rules include “devaluation [of currency], privatization, removal of import controls and food subsidiaries” (Davis 153). Davis writes about the economic impact of SAPs on these countries and how they ultimately affect the growth of slums; he points out that “artificial depression [is] engineered by IMF (International Monetary Fund)” (155). For example, when subsidies are removed for rural farmers, the agriculture sector requires more expenditure than income to the extent that people move from rural areas to urban areas for different jobs. Thus, there is a huge population explosion of illiterate farmers who move into temporary shelters in towns with very few jobs requiring highly educated employees.1 I concur with Davis that globalization and SAPs, which were originally meant to promote development, are one cause of the formation of slums, but I also believe the onus to provide the needs for the citizens of a nation-state lies on the shoulders of the nation itself. Developing nations should reduce corruption and resist spending money on ensuring the ruling party’s political superiority. The ruling party spends most of its available funds on projects that would increase the number of votes in the next election, rather than providing services that would benefit the entire community or generations to come. For example, the President of Uganda recently
gave out sacks of money worth $100,000 at one of his political rallies (Aljazeera English). In this case, the President does not provide his people with fishing skills that would benefit them later, but only with fish. The education system in the country is in dire shape; while the teachers are receiving meager salaries, the political officials benefit from corruption. However, not everybody in Uganda lives in such dire slum conditions; my high school was renowned in the country for tuition scholarships. In my high school, I met students who spent their free time in heated arguments, insisting that it was not possible for a person to earn less than a dollar a day. Most of these students were privileged, relatives of government officials and other educated and respected people in the country. Most of these students also had dreams of becoming influential government officials or heading large government institutions like their family and friends. Having lived privileged lives, these students were unaware of the existence of people living for less than a dollar a day in their own city. Remember, this was all happening in a country the World Bank estimated to have 24.5% of its population was below the poverty line of $1.25 a day. My high school experience made me realize that the wealthy remain wealthy, since their children get the best education and, ultimately, great high school grades. The great high school grades then entitle these students to university merit scholarships. The poor who could afford such good high schools rarely get the grades needed for admittance. Therefore, the educated privileged continue to exert control
over the wealth and resources of the country, just as the poor remain uneducated and poor. Despite the obstacles to attaining education faced by people in slums, most research that I reviewed concluded with a notion that people living in slums had a beacon of hope that life would improve. In their article about parental aspirations, Oketch et al. conclude that although the slum-dwellers were faced with many problems, they aspired for their children to at least receive an education (771). Ramaswamy et al. add to this conversation in showing that children have dreams after education like becoming doctors and helping with diseases in the area. The research shows that many of these â€œdreams were enmeshed within and inseparable from the net of familial obligationsâ€? (308), and that people in slums are hopeful that life would be better in spite of all the problems they faced.
Methods To explore access to education in the Ugandan slums, I designed a questionnaire to be taken by a small representative group of respondents. My sample group was made up of 29 people from the slums of Kitintale and Mutungo, which are on the outskirts of Kampala, the capital city of Uganda. The two places are not quite one mile apart, and life in both places is similar. My questions were based on factors I had found in my research: for example, the cost of school, the employment rate, and age groups of the respondents. I chose my sample group because I knew most of the people, and I could relate to the type of questions they would be able to answer. Most
(top left) Image of Kitintale slums provided by author ÂŠ KerdaZz / Shutterstock.com
Does everyone on the other side of paradise have equal opportunities? Does everyone on the other side have a good education?
Image of Kitintale hill provided by author
of these questions were multiple choice, since I felt my sample group would have been more willing to answer by ticking boxes rather than writing out answers. I included spaces on 80% of the questions for anyone who had suggestions I had not specifically asked about. (My questionnaire is included in Appendix C.) Since most of my sample group would have had to pay for the Internet to access my questionnaire, I had to make a paper one. I sent it to my brother, who printed and distributed it to interested friends. Since most of the people were also my friends, I was confident that I would get a fairly good reply rate. Some were administered by my brother, who interviewed people who could not read and write properly. He then scanned and emailed the questionnaires back to me. I entered the results into an analysis program at https://udenver.qualtrics.com. I personally entered each scanned response into the website so that this program could create charts and tables. I also converted any currency questions to dollars using http://coinmill.com for the conversion from Ugandan shillings to dollars on May 5, 2013, when the conversion rate was one dollar for 2,550 Ugandan shillings.
Results and Discussion Of the 29 adult responses that I received, 45% were below the age of 25 while 34% were above the age of 30, and the remaining 21% (6 respondents) were between 24 and 30 years. Overall, 66% of my respondents were in the typical age bracket for attaining a university education. 48
WRIT Large: 2014
From my questionnaire, I wanted to know the highest level of education obtained by my respondents. Almost allâ€”28â€”had never received a higher degree, 54% of the respondents had achieved secondary school education, and 36% had received tertiary or technical education through either a certificate or a diploma. Only one person did not report the level of education attained. This result suggests that people in slums do not go far in terms of education. Even though the respondents were all adults, there was not a single one who had gone as far as a degree. Only one person was at an accredited university pursuing a certificate or diploma. These results correlated with Oketch et al.â€™s research on the low rates of education in slums (178). According to Ramaswamy et al., people in slums face a lot of predicaments when it comes to choice of education and surviving life (293). My other questions, then, focused on the economics of education: how much the respondents earn, how much their guardians earn, how many are supported by the government, and how many siblings they have. Of my respondents, 71% answered that they had four or more siblings. This means that most of the families are large, and I presume that the guardians/parents with multiple children and low incomes would not choose which person to educate and which person to not send to school. This situation ultimately leads to poor education for most of the children, since the scarce resources have to be divided equally. With the previous predicaments in mind, I asked the respondents how much it costs per term/semester at their school and how much
they think their parents or guardians earn per month. I multiplied the range by 12 to see how much it would cost in a year. I also asked how much they earn per day if they work. I multiplied that amount by 365 with an assumption that they work every day of the year. Table 1 shows the breakdown of parents’ and guardians’ annual income, and Table 2 shows the daily and annual income for the respondents themselves. Table 1. Annual salaries of respondents’ parents or guardians Estimated Annual Salaries in US $
More than $3,279.96 total
Table 2. Daily and Annual Salaries of respondents Daily Salaries in US $
Estimated Annual Salaries in US $
The tables show that 80% of those who work earn below $1,440 a year, and 56% of the guardians earn below $940 a year while the rough cost of college tuition is about $1,054 annually without extra fees (“Fees Schedule”). With the assumptions that my respondents work every day of the year, that they all have parents or guardians, and that their guardians or they themselves support their siblings, these tables reinforce the fact that education is affordable for only one person in a family. After making some calculations, I realized that if these families were to pay for the respondents’ university tuition, then the entire family would only live on about $4 a day. That amount per day would never provide basic needs like food, clothing, and shelter for a family (and 71% of my respondents have siblings). Therefore, most families who forego paying uni-
versity tuition cannot afford to pay tuition and still afford to provide for family needs. One might still continue to argue that $4 per day is good enough for people living in developing countries, since many commodities are cheap, without taking into account that, as shown in my introduction, most commodities are expensive due to large quantities of imported goods. The prices of these goods are determined by the international community. Therefore, earning $4 a day with soaring food prices and transportation costs presents a predicament for parents who either must choose to take that one child to university or try to make sure that everyone in the family survives. I should note that, with regard to income earned, I believe my estimated calculations may be off, since only one respondent out of the 29 said that he/she had a salaried job. Although my respondents were all adults, 54% of them were unemployed. In my questionnaire, I split unemployment into two sectors and found out that nearly half those who are unemployed go for any job available: making bricks, carpentry, carrying heavy loads, etc. I therefore split the unemployment into two sectors so that I could find out how my unemployed respondents earn a living. The results from these additional calculations further show that most of my respondents are uneducated and end up in slums with scarce employment. Of 26 respondents, only two people said that at least one of their parents had earned a university degree; 73% of the respondents pointed out that none of their parents had ever gone above secondary education. These findings reinforce the idea that the vicious cycle of poverty and low education is passed down through generations. As the wealthy attain a good education, the people in slums get little or no opportunities to develop, since most jobs are dependent on the level of education attained. In addition to getting some information about how education is attained, I wanted to know the reasons why people stay in slums. Some 55% of the 29 respondents pointed out that they had moved from the villages to the place they were living, while 41% said that they were born there. Only one person had moved from a city in Kenya. From this information, I presumed that those who had moved to the slums had left their Volume 3
parents in the villages or had moved with them. These data seem to support Davis’s research that argues the formation of slums is primarily caused by rural-urban migration, which has been theoretically caused by Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs). Should the international community, with globalization and SAPs, be the only scapegoat for the existence of slums? Of course not; the existence of slums is caused by other factors, which may include corruption of governments, nepotism, and also lack of transparency. Of the 27 respondents who answered the question about receiving help from the government concerning education, 26% (seven respondents) said that they had received government help with primary or secondary education. The other 74% had never been helped by the government. This correlates with another result showing that 73% of the total respondents knew at most three people who had ever received university government scholarships. According to New Vision, Uganda’s leading daily newspaper, 75% of government scholarships were awarded to children of the rich, since they always go to the best schools while the poor “fend for themselves” (Businge). To add salt to the wound, when asked about state scholarships for study abroad, 90% knew at most two people who had ever received state scholarships, with 62% knowing none. When I researched these state scholarships further, I found out from The Daily Monitor, another Ugandan newspaper, that the government does not release the list of those who receive such scholarships to the general public (Nalugo). This suggests that the government lacks transparency around scholarships. Lack of transparency is an issue that affects not only education, but the African continent as a whole. According to Kofi Anan, former Secretary General of the United Nations, the continent is plagued by lack of transparency because of secret deals with international corporations that only benefit the rich government officials rather than the whole country (BBC). It seems, then, that slums are caused not by only one reason, but by many. Like most of the researchers I studied, I asked my respondents about their expectations for the future. When asked what they hope concerning their highest level of education, 83% of 50
WRIT Large: 2014
the 23 respondents answered that they would receive a university degree or a PhD, although they were all adults and have never gone to university. These respondents still have hope that they will receive a good education. At the same time, only 19% said that their further education would be funded by their parents. The other 80% responded by saying that their education will be funded either by no one or by a good samaritan or the government. One of the respondents said that he/she thinks that the University of Denver will further his/her education. Overall, my research suggests that respondents are not able to receive a good education because of the place that they live and because of poverty. The poverty rate leads to few educational opportunities, since the uneducated guardians cannot afford to take their children to school. The uneducated children then grow up with few job opportunities, since most jobs with a good income require an education. These uneducated adults then give birth to children in the same condition as their forefathers, and the cycle of poverty and illiteracy continues down generations.
Limitations: My project did have some limitations. First of all, it was kind of hectic in the sense that I had to send the questionnaire to my brother, who had to print it out and supply it to my respondents and then re-scan it and send it back in three days. This is basically due to the fast-paced quarter system, which requires a person to learn a lot in a short time. Furthermore, I had to use a paper version of the questionnaire because I realized that my respondents would have had to pay Internet café fees to access it. This was also to counter the problem of finding respondents who could not understand English or who could not use a computer. In such cases, my brother translated the questionnaire into the local language just like in an interview. I also did not pay any particular attention to gender in my survey. I believe that if I had asked a question about gender, then I might have gotten more information on how parents choose when it comes to dividing of resources among children. Is there any gender bias? Further research could address this question.
Kathleen Blanco identified education as one of the rebuilding blocks of Louisiana, and I believe such an approach could work to eliminate poverty and slums in Uganda.
© debelzie / Flickr.com
Conclusion Despite these limitations, I was able to get some interesting results. As previously stated, my research was meant to provide insight into the way education is attained on the other side of paradise and the barriers to attaining education in the slums of Uganda. I realized that many people in slums do not have access to the resources that would provide them with a good education. Many of the respondents do not have a university-level education, and the unending cycle of poverty is passed down through generations. My research was also meant to provide an insight on the issue of why slums still exist. From the results, I found that many people migrate to slums, most of them with low levels of education and jobless, to look for cheaper settlements. My research shows that barriers to education in slums start from larger global phenomena and ul-
timately affect a smaller population in the slums. In other words, the problems are caused globally by the SAPs and continue down to non-transparent governments that do not provide enough opportunities to the poor and finally down to the poor in slums, who do not have enough skills to attain a good income so that they can educate their children. My research continues to show that disadvantaged people need help in the form of long-term skills that will help them to be able to fend for themselves. I believe that is what the disadvantaged need most: long-term donations. On a large scale, change can be achieved through lobbying for transparency of governments and/ or international organizations to provide a safe world for all. On a smaller scale, change can be begun by building more schools in the areas that need them.
Due to these SAPs, the cost of living in cities for these immigrants also becomes high. SAPs make the poor developing countries import more than they export (“Uganda Trade”). The prices of imported commodities like oil are determined by international organizations, and these commodities have high and fluctuating prices in the importing countries. Therefore, the price of, for example, imported petroleum affects the transport sector which in turn affects the price of basic needs like food. The European Commission reiterates this factor by suggesting that many factors influence the rise of commodity prices including “supply and demand . . . Nevertheless, petroleum prices raise input costs and increase demand for . . . products” (“High Prices on Agricultural Commodity Markets: Situation and Prospects.”). Expensive imports mean that people in slums may resort to taking care of their families rather than putting an emphasis on education.
© IgorGolovniov / Shutterstock.com
Works Cited AlJazeera English. “Uganda President Hands out Sacks of Cash.” AllAfrica.com: Resources. 23 Apr. 2013. Web. 17 May 2013. BBC. “Kofi Annan: Africa Plundered by Secret Mining Deals.” BBC News. 10 May 2013. Web. 17 May 2013. Blanco, Kathleen Babineaux. “Louisiana Solutions to Poverty: Engaging Ideas, Empowering People, Enhancing Lives.” Governor’s Summit on Solutions to Poverty Summary Report. State of Louisiana, 2005. PDF File. Businge, Conan. “Admissions Favour Rich.” New Vision: Uganda’s Leading Daily. 28 June 2012. Web. 17 May 2013. Davis, Mike. Planet of Slums. London: Verso, 2006. Print. “Fees Schedule for Private Students.” Makerere University. 2010. Web. 17 May 2013. “High Prices on Agricultural Commodity Markets: Situation and Prospects.” European Commission Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development. July 2008. Web. 17 May 2013. Joselow, Gabe. “UN Report Finds Africa Education Goals Stagnating.” Voice of America. 14 Nov. 2012. Web. 8 May 2013. Nalugo, Mercy. “State House Sponsorship Scheme ‘not Changing.’” The Daily Monitor. 6 May 2013. Web. 17 May 2013. Oketch, Moses, Maurice Mutisya, & Jackline Sagwe. “Parental Aspirations for Their Children’s Educational Attainment and the Realisation of Universal Primary Education (UPE) in Kenya: Evidence from Slum and Non-slum Residences.” International Journal of Educational Development 32.6 (2012): 764–72. ScienceDirect. 4 Apr. 2012. Web. 22 Apr. 2013. Oketch, Moses, Maurice Mutisya, Moses Ngware, Alex C. Ezeh, & Charles Epari. “Free Primary Education Policy and Pupil School Mobility in Urban Kenya.” International Journal of Educational Research 49.6 (2010): 173–83. 31 Mar. 2011. Web. 24 Apr. 2013. Owusu, George, Samuel Agyei-Mensah, & Ragnhild Lund. “Slums of Hope and Slums of Despair: Mobility and Livelihoods in Nima, Accra.” Norwegian Journal of Geography 62.3 (2008): 180–190. Academic Search Complete. Web. 28 Apr. 2013. Ramaswamy, V., Lorena Gibson, & Sita Venkateswar. “The Right to Education and the Pedagogy for Hope: Some Perspectives on Talimi Haq School.” Critical Asian Studies 42.2 (2010): 289–310. Academic Search Complete. Web. 28 Oct. 2013. “Slums: Some Definitions.” UN-Habitat. 2006. Web. 17 May 2013. “Uganda.” The World Bank. 2013. Web. 17 May 2013. “Uganda Trade, Import, Export.” Economy Watch. 9 Apr. 2010. Web. 17 May 2013.
WRIT Large: 2014
Wandering the World of Calvin and Hobbes Angus Kitchell WRIT 1733: Honors Writing Professor David Daniels If you enjoy receiving puzzled looks from strangers, take a large stack of Calvin and Hobbes
collections, go to the library, and begin to annotate them aggressively. This activity constituted a large portion of my research and was certainly the most entertaining aspect of the project. This piece was my first experience writing an interpretive essay, and it proved to be a surprisingly enjoyable process.
The goal of the assignment was to identify an artifact and explain its cultural significance, us-
ing a critical framework to reach a new understanding of the object in question. Choosing this framework was both a pleasure and a challenge, as my initial research on comics and their
related themes led me to many fascinating articles but left me with an almost limitless number
of angles from which to explore Calvin and Hobbes. Ultimately, I selected a framework that gave me the opportunity to connect a field of growing personal interest (philosophy) with an artifact
of personal value (Calvin and Hobbes), resulting in a paper that I felt was a truly unique expression and exploration of my own ideas. Using the philosophies of Thoreau and Zhuangzi as lenses, I was able to find new meaning in an artifact that I once thought I understood completely.
And perhaps most importantly, this project gave me an opportunity to sit in a comfortable chair, reread a hefty chunk of my favorite comic, and justify it all as schoolwork.
In the winding history of this nation, there is perhaps no artistic genre that so accurately and thoroughly encapsulates the American psyche as the comic strip. A lowborn conglomeration of bubbled speech and colored chaosâ€”the bastard child of visual art and scholarly literatureâ€”the comic strip is a combination so vivacious it often defies the laws of visual presentation, bulging over the edges of its paneled confines in its eagerness to exist. It is possibility incarnate. And tellingly, its history has many parallels to that of the American people. What began as a movement of the counterculture, an artistic uprising of sorts, gradually
morphed from a peripheral art to a stronghold of cultural identity, showcasing its diversity of subject material and versatility of presentation. However, as noted by Ramzi Fawaz, professor of American Studies at George Washington University, it was not until the 1950s and beyond that the genre would reach its zenith, undergoing a fundamental transformation in response to the heightened social and political commentary that stemmed from the aftermath of World War II. With an abundance of new material and a readership that spanned a wide demographic, the comic strip became a mouthpiece for the plethora of progressive movements shaping the Volume 3
In these adventurous panels, Watterson criticizes society’s contempt for anything that falls outside preconceived boundaries of truth and knowledge, as well as its efforts to pull children from their youth and plug them into a standardized system of education and development.
Angus Kitchell, originally from Seattle, Washington, is a sophomore majoring in Ecology and Biodiversity. His hobbies include hiking, skiing, kayaking, and gener-
al exploration of the outdoors, and he is a recipient of the Clean Plate Club lifetime achievement award.
nation’s ideology—a move that catapulted the genre to the forefront of social and political relevance, where it still remains today. In short, it is the comic strip’s ability to present pressing social and political commentary that affords it this continued success. Such is the case in Bill Watterson’s Sunday classic Calvin and Hobbes, in which Watterson’s marriage of childish exuberance, social commentary, and philosophical quandary make for a uniquely appealing literary and visual adventure. Given that the strip’s eponymous characters make reference to the 16th and 17th century philosophers John Calvin and Thomas Hobbes, it comes as little surprise that Watterson explores a broad spectrum of philosophical issues through the thoughts and interactions of his characters. Indeed, as they make their way through daily life, Calvin and Hobbes are often seen discussing matters of identity, consumerism, environmentalism, political power, and countless other 54
WRIT Large: 2014
realms of lofty thought. The juxtaposition of this sophisticated contemplation with youthful naiveté and recklessness serves as one of the central sources of the strip’s humor, as Calvin simultaneously pairs immaturity with a level of thought that far exceeds the realistic cognitive capabilities of a 6-year-old boy. And while examining the influence of Hobbesian thought or Calvinism in the strip would undoubtedly lead to interesting conclusions, I wish to explore Watterson’s work in relation to a separate pair of philosophers: the American naturalist Henry David Thoreau and 4th century BC Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi. Both have personal philosophies with many parallels to themes explored in Calvin and Hobbes. Examining the strip in this philosophical context helps to reveal the subtleties of Watterson’s work and the social commentary it provides. Although separated by thousands of years, Thoreau and Zhuangzi shared similar philosophies, noting the value of wandering through nature as a means of expanding one’s intellectual domain and escaping the restrictions imposed by society and language. For both Thoreau and Zhuangzi, the experience of learning was of greater value than knowledge itself. This very same philosophy is one of the central motifs of Calvin and Hobbes, offering a lens through which Watterson explores imagination, education, and cognitive development (in addition to the other themes mentioned above). These philosophical undertones are the genius of Calvin and Hobbes, adding tremendous depth to what appears on the surface to be a simple children’s comic. What Watterson has created is a wonderfully complex
CALVIN AND HOBBES © 1990 Watterson. Reprinted with permission of UNIVERSAL UCLICK. All rights reserved.
mixture, at once a timeless characterization of the joys of youth and a powerful medium for social commentary, capitalizing upon society’s narcissistic need for self-admiration while simultaneously appealing to our critical nature and desire for candid self-assessment. And it all starts with Calvin. A 6-year-old boy who is as precocious as he is mischievous, Calvin is impressionable but still largely unbiased, making him the perfect vehicle for cultural analysis. Watterson takes full advantage of this dynamic, using Calvin’s youthful impressionability to reflect the misguided priorities of our society while satirizing the mainstream media. When viewed through the eyes of a 6-year-old, many values of American society appear comically outlandish. This perspective lends an added dose of practicality to discussions of cultural ethics, causing readers to pause and reconsider topics they previously had not questioned. Using Thoreau as a lens, Calvin’s naiveté puts him at a great advantage, as he is not beholden to the deceptive and limiting confines of conventional knowledge. Problems arise when existing knowledge is valued over the process of discovery, thereby preventing us from examining an issue objectively. As Zhuangzi notes, instead of treating each item, moment, or event as a separate and unknown experience, society attempts to contextualize these ideas within pre-formed definitions, which then eliminates opportunities for learning. As a genre, comics are unique for their ability to present information without this contextual baggage, as the paneled layout and
limited space of a typical strip force each incident to be considered on its own. In his writings, Zhuangzi tells a story of a man who possesses a set of massive gourds, vegetables whose hollow shells were used by the ancient Chinese to transport water. So large are the gourds that the man complains they are of no use, as they are unsuitable for their conventional purpose. Rejecting this perspective, Zhuangzi proposes that the man use the gourds as a makeshift sailing vessel in which to explore the local waterways. This fable has a close parallel in Calvin and Hobbes in Calvin’s numerous imaginative uses for a cardboard box. As anyone who has read the strip will know, a few strokes of a permanent marker transform a tattered box into Calvin’s trusty transmogrifier, which conveniently changes him into any creature (real or imaginary) he desires. Cross out the word “transmogrifier” and replace it with “time machine,” and suddenly Calvin is soaring above a primordial swamp as he surveys the dinosaurs of the Triassic. A few more pen strokes and the box is now a duplicator, churning out clones that Calvin uses to finish his homework, complete his chores, or serve as a stand-in come bath time. (Alas, this final trick always seems to create more trouble than it saves, but one must admire the attempt.) Through the use of his yet undestroyed childish imagination, Calvin transforms a seemingly useless item into a means for adventure, personal discovery, and education. However, when Calvin recounts these adventures to his parents, teachers, or peers, his epiphanies are rejected as frivolous child’s play. Volume 3
© Adrienne Meyer
In these adventurous panels, Watterson criticizes society’s contempt for anything that falls outside preconceived boundaries of truth and knowledge, as well as its efforts to pull children from their youth and plug them into a standardized system of education and development. Watterson frequently portrays elementary school as a place of stagnant and constrictive learning, leaving little doubt as to the source of Calvin’s hatred of educational institutions. With the proper nurturing, Calvin’s blossoming creativity could undoubtedly be channeled towards educational growth. Imagine for a moment that instead of living during the Warring States period of China in the 4th century BC, Zhuangzi had lived in the American Midwest suburbia of the 1980s. Had this been the case, he would have welcomed the chance to make Calvin his pupil. In fact, Calvin lives much of his life in accordance with the teachings of Zhuangzi. In particular, Calvin exemplifies the wandering of the mind that Zhuangzi finds so important in developing cognitive flexibility and in distancing oneself from the dangers of conformity and homogenization. At any given moment, Calvin’s perspective of the world may undergo a sudden and drastic change, whether in physical scale, dimensionality, coloration, or some other form of abstraction. At the whim of his imagination, Calvin might shrink to the size of a bug or spontaneously grow until his head sits well above the clouds. Seconds stretch to hours, planes of geometry come and go, and the law of gravity is found to be fallible after all. Such adventures sometimes culminate 56
WRIT Large: 2014
in a revelation, but, in line with the philosophy of Zhuangzi, it is the experience itself, the expansion of perspective, that demonstrates the ability to examine the world outside of the framework provided by society. In these panels, Watterson cleverly blends philosophy with simple childhood nostalgia, transporting his audience back to a time when the universe was a mysterious entity of endless possibility, an interactive canvas waiting to be painted with imagination. Imagine now that Calvin has finished his lessons with Zhuangzi for the day. As the two of them walk back towards Calvin’s house from their hypothetical temple in the woods (if you’ve read the strip, you know that Calvin’s neighborhood is surrounded by a remarkable expanse of pristine forest), they are joined by none other than Henry David Thoreau and soon are engaged in deep philosophical conversation. In Watterson’s creation, it is here in the wilderness that Calvin and Hobbes do much of their deepest thinking, reflecting on topics as robust and varying as religion, morality, identity, society, and life itself. Whether lazing on boughs of a tree, trudging through a snow-covered field, or flying down a forested hillside in a small red wagon, Watterson uses these panels to subtly demonstrate the inherent value of nature, often voicing concerns on the deteriorating state of the environment as a result of human impact. As our philosophers wander their way through nature, Zhuangzi and Thoreau gradually morph into a singular entity, who may be referred to simply as Hobbes. Apart from his role as Calvin’s partner
CALVIN AND HOBBES © 1992 Watterson. Reprinted with permission of UNIVERSAL UCLICK. All rights reserved.
in crime, Hobbes provides Watterson with a soft-spoken counterpart to Calvin’s constant chatter. Watterson often uses this facet of Hobbes’s personality to criticize humanity as a whole, typically in the form of a short but powerful comment that forces Calvin into an uncharacteristic moment of silence and reflection. One can assume that such panels are intended to have the same effect on the reader. However, what makes this strategy so effective is that it comes in stark contrast to the customary cheerfulness of the comic. In fact, it is this contrast of triviality and sophistication—these long stretches of heartwarming humor punctuated with brief moments of earnest criticism—that separates Calvin and Hobbes from other comics. The use of the comic strip as a medium for sociopolitical commentary is a well-established facet of the genre, and is by no means unique to Calvin and Hobbes. As an example, Garry Trudeau’s acclaimed comic strip Doonesbury has found long-term success in its dry, politically charged humor, touching on topics as weighty and controversial as the Watergate scandal, the Iran-Contra affair, and the Iraq War. In contrast, many comics opt to avoid such serious topics, focusing instead on more youth-friendly themes. FoxTrot by Bill Amend and Zits by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman have both enjoyed wide readership while consciously circumventing politically charged subject matter. The genius of Calvin and Hobbes, then, is Watterson’s ability to fuse the political with the childlike, explaining the universal appeal of his creation. To be fair, the foundation of the comic strip
is built on childhood and its freedoms, curiosities, and pleasures. But it is the shrewd infusion of sociopolitical commentary, subtle enough not to distract a youthful reader and yet still sufficiently prevalent as to catch the eye of a parent or other sophisticated reader, that solidifies Calvin and Hobbes as an object of cultural interest. To believe that simplicity precludes profundity is to miss the spirit of Watterson’s work. And while Calvin’s physical and mental wanderings feed the unpredictable tales that draw us to the work, what we truly value in Watterson’s creation, and in many classic comics, is its stability, even if we do not immediately recognize its importance. Across the genre, it is the relationship between the characters and the reader that makes the comic strip so powerful. Accordingly, the rare comics whose characters grow along with its audience in real time, like Lynn Johnston’s For Better or For Worse or Frank King’s Gasoline Alley, often develop the most devoted followings. The rationale is one that transcends comic strips, appearing in all manner of literature, cinema, and television. As we watch our favorite characters develop in unison with our own growth, the gap between fiction and reality becomes ever narrower, promoting a perceived understanding or emotional connection. This is what made Harry Potter (in which characters aged at almost real time for over a decade) the bible of a generation. We see our own growth mirrored in that of our heroes. In light of this trend, I sometimes find myself wondering what Calvin would be like today if his maturation had been concurrent with my own Volume 3
development from childhood through adolescence and beyond. Thankfully, Watterson never considered this thought. Or perhaps more likely, he considered it briefly and realized it to be an abject contradiction to everything that Calvin and Hobbes stands for. To remove Calvin from childhood would be to undermine the entire foundation of the comic strip. Without the wonder and imagination of youth, the comic’s philosophical side would fall flat, and the authenticity that Watterson worked so diligently to maintain would be irreversibly damaged. The same reasoning motivates Watterson’s deliberate and steadfast resistance to the merchandising of Calvin and Hobbes. How can his characters be taken seriously if their creator cannot stand up to the very societal constructs he seeks to criticize? Like a nursery rhyme or fable that conceals a broader moral implication, Calvin and Hobbes disguises an honest self-evaluation of our own societal flaws within the sentimental veil of childhood and its charms. And while Watterson’s portrayal of the latter of these two elements is enough to make Calvin and Hobbes one of the best-loved comic strip collections of all time, it is the subtle sophistication that continuously prompts readers of all ages to return to the shelf and flip through its pages. With each new
reading, a previously unseen or overlooked profundity manifests itself, making the strip equally gratifying to children, adolescents, and adults. Through this multidimensionality, Watterson has developed an unprecedented strategy in character development. Over time, Watterson’s characters grow increasingly complex, not through the creation of additional storylines or new details, but through the personal development of the reader. While the story exists in full all along, it reveals itself to readers incrementally, growing along with individuals from childhood to maturity as they become more able to understand and process increasingly sophisticated themes. Blissfully ignorant and yet infinite in his own simplistic wisdom, Calvin will ever remain the consummate philosopher, arriving at ephemeral epiphanies and abandoning them just as quickly as he wanders life’s winding path in the company of his tiger friend. As long as there are Sunday mornings and summer afternoons, snowy fields and trickling streams; as long as there are cardboard boxes and crimson capes, snowmen to be built and water balloons to be thrown; as long as there are dinosaurs in the back yard and monsters under the bed, Calvin and Hobbes will continue to captivate each new generation. Once it has, it will stay with them for life.
Works Consulted Barthes, Roland. “Toys.” Mythologies. Trans. Annette Lavers. New York: Hill and Wang, 1984. Dull, Carl. “Zhuangzi and Thoreau: Wandering, Nature, and Freedom.” Journal of Chinese Philosophy 39.2 (2011): 222–239. Engle, Gary. “What Makes Superman So Darned American?” Superman at Fifty: The Persistence of a Legend. Eds. Dennis Dooley and Gary Engle. Cleveland, OH: Octavia, 1987. 79–87. Fawaz, Ramzi. “‘Where No X-Man Has Gone Before!’ Mutant Superheroes and the Cultural Politics of Popular Fantasy in America.” American Literature 83.2 (2011): 355–88. Hoffman, Diane. “Childhood Ideology in the United States: A Comparative Cultural View.” International Review of Education 49.1 (2003): 191–211. Ray, Robert. B. “The Thematic Paradigm.” Signs of Life in the USA. 6th edition. Eds. Sonia Maasik and Jack Solomon. New York: Bedford / St. Martin’s, 2008. 439–46. 58
WRIT Large: 2014
Appendix A: Swartley, “Clockwork Brains” Survey Questions
(Choices: Friend, Family member, Website, Book , Movie, Other genre/fandom, Other [please specify])
(Choices: Genre, Subculture, Both, Neither)
(Choices: Aesthetics; Reimagining of history; Emphasis on scientific discovery; Emphasis on
materials; Accepting community; Diversity of artworks and community members; Rejection of
• Do you consider steampunk to be a genre or a subculture?
• What attracted you to steampunk when you were first introduced to it? (Check all that apply)
creativity; Juxtaposition of old and new; Environmentally-friendly aspects, e.g., repurposing of old mass-production; Interesting fiction/fictional characters; Do-it-yourself opportunities; Sharing of ideas between community members; Other [please specify])
• Are you an artist? (Check all that apply)
(Choices: Photographer, 2-D artist, Sculptor/modifier, Textile artist/costumer , Musician, Writer, I am not an artist, Other [please specify])
• What is your profession? Please rate the importance of the following values to you personally.
(1= not at all important, 5= extremely important)
scientific exploration, Making and maintaining friendships, Individuality, Diversity)
(Choices: Environmental friendliness, Free sharing of ideas, Promotion of creativity, Promotion of
• Would you say that steampunk has in any way altered your opinion on any of these values?
(Choices: Environmental friendliness, Free sharing of ideas, Promotion of creativity, Promotion of
altered my opinion)
scientific exploration, Making and maintaining friendships, Individuality, Diversity, Steampunk has not
Appendix B: Krebs, “The Aladdin Effect” Survey Questions
This online survey entitled “Travel and Media” was open from May 5–8, 2013. It was distributed openly through my own social media accounts; however, its 36 respondents were not drafted into or rewarded for their participation in any way. All respondents were between the ages of 17 & 24. • What is the highest level of education you have completed?
(Some high school, high school degree, some college or similar program, undergraduate degree, some graduate school, graduate degree)
• Out of the following, which five regions do you think Americans visit most often?
(North America, Central America, South America, Africa, East Asia, Australia/Oceania, Middle East/North Africa, Europe, Other [please specify])
• Which of the following regions have you visited?
(North America, Central America, South America, Africa, East Asia, Australia/Oceania, Middle East/ North Africa, Europe, Other [please specify])
• What sparked your interest in traveling to those areas?
(Family, friends, work, video/movies, books)
• If you consume culture-based media on at least a semi-regular basis (National Geographic, Discovery,
Travel Channel, etc.), which regions do you see represented most often?
(North America, Central America, South America, Africa, East Asia, Australia/Oceania, Middle East/ North Africa, Europe, I do not consume this kind of media, Other [please specify])
• Optional: Throughout the world, are there any regions that you feel strongly about visiting or avoiding in
assume that they are relatively fair and truthful?
the media portrays them?
• Optional: When you see a reputable media source’s stories on non-American cultures, do you generally • Optional: In your traveling experience, have you found your destinations to be generally as
W r i t L a r g e 2 0 14
• How were you first introduced to steampunk?
W r i t L a r g e 2 0 14
Appendix C: Kikamaze, “Education” Questionnaire
WRIT Large: 2014
This survey was administered on paper; results were entered into a computer program that analyzed the results. • How old are you? (18–24 years, 25–30 years, 30 years and above) • What is the highest level of Education you have attained?
(Primary Education, Ordinary Level Secondary Education, Advanced Level Secondary Education,
Certificate or Diploma, Degree)
• Which school did you go (or currently are in) to attain the above qualification? (write-in) • Were you?: (day scholar, boarder)
• How much did it cost per term/semester?
(UShs. 100,000—UShs. 200,000; UShs. 200,100—UShs. 500,000; UShs. 500,100—UShs. 1000,000; UShs. 1,000,100—UShs. 2,000,000)
• Who paid (or pays) for your tuition?
• How far do you expect to go in your education?
(Ordinary Level Secondary Education, Advanced Level Secondary Education, Certificate or Diploma,
• Do you like school?
• Who do you think will pay for your further education?
• How many schools have you attended since childhood?
• Do you still live with your guardians? Parents in the same house or home? • How much do you think your parents/guardians earn per month?
(UShs. 1,000—UShs. 3,000; UShs. 3,100—UShs. 10,000; UShs. 10,100—UShs. 30,000; UShs. 30,100—UShs. 50,000; Other)
• What is the highest level of education that your parents attained?
• Did your parents ever come to Kampala for a job or education from the village? • Which type of job do you have?
(Kagwiraawo, Self-employed, Employed (salary not constant), Salaried employment, Do not work)
(UShs. 1,000 – UShs. 3,000; UShs. 3,100 – UShs. 10,000; UShs. 10,100 – UShs. 30,000; UShs.
• If you work, how much do you earn per day?
30,100 – UShs. 50,00; other)
• Do you rent?
• Where did you spend your earliest childhood?
(Same place where I am now; In the village, I just came to Kampala; other)
• How many brothers and sisters do you have? • Are they all in school?
• Do you have any children?
• Do you think the government has helped with your education? (Yes, No)
If Yes, explain how?
(Clinic; Health Centre, e.g Naguru, Kiswa; General Hospital, e.g., Mulaga, Nsambya; Use local herbs;
• When you or any of your family members are sick, where do you go for treatment? Church; Other)
• How many times do you fall sick in a year?
• How many people do you know in your area that have received Government scholarships for University? • How many people do you know in your area that have received State scholarships to study abroad? • Do you take part in sports betting?
We are pleased to announce our annual call for submissions. In the journal, which showcases academic writing produced by University of Denver undergraduates, we welcome not only essays and research papers but also scientific and business reports, creative nonfiction, multimodal projects, and more. If your work is accepted for publication, it will appear in the 2015 issue. Submission Guidelines: 1. Deadline: Texts may be submitted electronically (by students or by instructors on behalf of students, with their permission) to the Editorial Board at email@example.com. Please limit each submission to 20 double-spaced pages or fewer. There will be 2 rounds of submissions, and each round will be given equal consideration. • First round submissions must be submitted by March 15, 2014. • Second round submissions are due by June 15, 2014. 2. Authors must be University of Denver undergraduates, and submissions must have been completed during the Fall 2013, Winter 2014, or Spring 2014 quarters. 3. Submissions must be the original, previously unpublished work of the authors (group submissions are also accepted). Authors must assume full responsibility for the accuracy and documentation of their submission, and a bibliography must be included, when appropriate. 4. Submissions must also include all of the information below. Incomplete submissions will not be considered for publication. • Name, Student ID, & Contact Information • Expected Date of Graduation • Course & Instructor • Full Title & Brief Description (<100 words) of Submission
We are pleased to announce a call for Undergraduate Editors. We are looking for current DU undergraduates who would like to join our Editorial Board for the 2014–2015 academic year. Activities will be concentrated in the fall quarter and will involve (1) collaborating with other faculty and student members of the Editorial Board to choose submissions and (2) working closely with selected authors to edit their work for publication. This volunteer position is an exciting opportunity to gain experience with reviewing and editing. If you are interested in being a part of WRIT Large, please contact the Editorial Board at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will send you an application.
Acknowledgments We are very grateful to Doug Hesse and the DU Writing Program for funding and supporting this project, and to Amy Kho for her continued diligence in managing the journal’s budget and printing process. We extend our thanks to the newest members of our Editorial Board, who have helped us expand and enhance this year’s publication: David Daniels, Sarah Hart Micke, Kamila Kinyon, Carol Samson, John Tiedemann, Mary Haynes, Adrienne Meyer, and Andrew Wood.
2013–2014 Editorial Board Managing Editors: Megan Kelly, Heather Martin, Juli Parrish Design and Production Editor: LP Picard Faculty Editors: David Daniels, Sarah Hart Micke, Kamila Kinyon, Carol Samson, and John Tiedemann Student Editors: Mary Haynes, Monica Heilman, Ellie Lindner, Adrienne Meyer, Devon Varoz, Andrew Wood
© UNIVERSITY OF DENVER WRITING PROGRAM
WRIT Large is published by the Writing Program at the University of Denver
All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission from the University Writing Program at the University of Denver.
www.du.edu/writing email@example.com 303.871.7448 2150 E. Evans Ave. Denver, CO 80208
Design and Typesetting: LP Picard Cover, inside front & inside back images: John Tiedemann
WRIT Large: 2014
A journal of undergraduate research and writing from the University of Denver.