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The Augsburg Honors Review Edition I 2008

An interdisciplinary journal of undergraduate scholarship

Copyright 2008 Augsburg College Minneapolis, Minnesota


Founding Editor-in-Chief Brian Krohn

Managing Editor Shawn Boonstra

Layout Editors Bryony Anderson Brian Krohn Joseph Preimesberger

Editors Hannah Carlsen Julie Curtis Amanda Dock Stacey Kinder Brandon Klukow Molly Koppes Joseph Preimesberger Rebecca Reilly Johannes Specks Matt Torgeson

Staff Bryony Anderson Nicholas Blixt Joshua Fiene Jenna Forbrook Michael Janas Murriel Kroll

Featured Staff Writer Edward J. Matchett

Augsburg Honors Review, Ed. I, 2008


Table of Contents

Letter from the Editor

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Features in the 2008 Augsburg Honors Review

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Why “The Yellow Wallpaper� is Essentially Feminist in Nature and Origin

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Imagination and Fancy: A Response to Three Essays

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The Tricontinental Conference

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Suburban Spaces and the Formation of Political Identities

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Letter From the Editors

I am personally very proud to introduce the first edition of the Augsburg Honors Review (AHR). The AHR made a bold leap this year from a hopeful idea presented by the Honors Council and into the finished paperback form you hold in your hands. It could not have made that leap without the hard work of its determined editors and staff. With the shared goal of publishing quality academic papers written by fellow undergraduates, this group of talented, driven, and dedicated students has worked together to develop the AHR’s structure, standards, policies, design, and website. As a result of these momentous student-driven efforts, this inaugural edition of the AHR will serve as the foundation for future staff and editors in publishing their respective editions of the AHR. We have established a high standard of undergraduate scholarship and we hope that future generations of editors and staff will continue to push the AHR to the highest level of academic excellence. Of course the AHR would also not be possible without the support of the faculty advisers and the Augsburg Honors Program. The AHR would like to thank the director of the Honors Program, Dr. Groven, for offering his innovative ideas and laying the groundwork for the AHR. Also, we would like to thank Dr. Liddle, Dr. Boeh, Dr. Fuehrer and Dr. Irvine for their support and encouragement during the development process. The AHR has an exciting and ambitious goal. It seeks to serve undergraduate students by providing them with the opportunity to participate in scholarly conversations within their disci4

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plines and by exposing them to the critical but constructive dialogue that commonly occurs between a journal and a contributor. The AHR does this by having editors establish a connection with the authors and by providing them with comments and suggestions from the editorial staff and from faculty members in the relevant academic fields. Developing an undergraduate journal, as opposed to a graduate or a professional journal, presents unique challenges. Most notably, a journal of this kind pertains to wide range of papers that vary in form, style, content, and intent. Because most undergraduates are not pursuing research projects that entail the production of lengthy dissertations of original research created for the purposes of publication, a journal of undergraduate scholarship must develop a different—but no less rigorous—set of standards from that of a graduate or professional journal. Accordingly, the AHR has divided papers into two categories: Treatises—lengthy original research papers—and Essays, which demonstrate an advanced level of critical thinking and writing as well as the spark of an original idea. We hope that in selecting a variety of papers the AHR has taken a first and significant step toward making scholarship more accessible to undergraduates and at the same time, showcasing excellent examples of undergraduate academic work. Founding Editor-in-Chief Brian Krohn Managing Editor Shawn Boonstra

Letter From the Editors

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Features in the 2008 Augsburg Honors Review

Why “The Yellow Wallpaper” is Essentially Feminist in Nature and Origin Jessica Moses This paper, by Augsburg graduate Jessica Moses, attempts to separate Charlotte Anna Perkins Gilman’s now-famous story, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” from the feminist reputation it has held since its 1970s reissue. Moses instead finds feminist traits in the story’s inherent literary qualities–a seemingly obvious source that is easily neglected in favor of stereotype. This should not imply, however, that Moses engages in New Criticism; her argument takes into account biographical factors and the peculiar nineteenth-century attitude toward mental illness in women. In this way, Moses considers “The Yellow Wallpaper’s” 1892 authorship, rather than its 1970s discovery, if only to confirm the story’s remarkable foresight.

Imagination and Fancy: A Response to Three Essays Kari Aanestad This paper, by Augsburg senior Kari Aanestad, examines three essays that attempt to identify specific influences on Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” The purported influences range from biological accounts of “slimy” sea creatures to Eastern religious prohibitions on animal slaughter. Aanestad, however, uses Coleridge’s stated creative principles to further refine the 6


essays’ assertions. Namely, she divides the essays into two categories according to the type of creative influence they describe, one of which Coleridge would consider a technique of good poetry, the other he would not. This provocative distinction warrants discussion among students and professors of literature. The Tricontinental Conference Sean Stanhill Hosted by the Cuban government in 1966, the first Tricontental Conference is a little-known episode in Cold War tensions. This charged meeting of communist party delegates from around the world based its agenda largely on opposition to U.S. foreign policy. In his paper, Sean Stanhill discusses the irony of such a meeting occurring only ninety miles from the Florida coast, as well as the internal competition between the Soviet Union and China for prominence at the Conference. Stanhill assembles an extensive set of sources in this thorough portrayal of the Conference’s circumstances and magnitude.

Suburban Spaces And the Formation of Political Identities Edward Matchett This featured selection, authored by Augsburg senior Edward Matchett, explores how living in a particular built environment, namely a suburb, impacts the process of political socialization. Firmly contextualized in the existing body of sociological literature, Matchett argues the way in which a community is physically constructed helps shape the political ideology of its individual members. For example, the suburban environment restricts the formation of diverse social networks making individuals more likely to adopt conservative political belief systems and ideologies. Matchett charts the historical rise of today’s most prominent urban form, the suburb, and provides provocative conclusions on its social implications.

Features

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Jessica Moses

Why “The Yellow Wallpaper” is Essentially Feminist in Nature and Origin Jessica Moses, Augsburg College Note from the editor: This paper, by Augsburg graduate Jessica Moses, attempts to separate Charlotte Anna Perkins Gilman’s now-famous story, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” from the feminist reputation it has held since its 1970s reissue. Moses instead finds feminist traits in the story’s inherent literary qualities–a seemingly obvious source that is easily neglected in favor of stereotype. This should not imply, however, that Moses engages in New Criticism; her argument takes into account biographical factors and the peculiar nineteenth-century attitude toward mental illness in women. In this way, Moses considers “The Yellow Wallpaper’s” 1892 authorship, rather than its 1970s discovery, if only to confirm the story’s remarkable foresight.

It is clear why Charlotte Perkins Gilman is considered a feminist, both by herself and others, because of her work in the name of gender equality and female independence. She was a feminist writer, lecturer, editor and activist. But why is “The Yellow Wallpaper,” the short story she wrote in 1891, feminist in its own right? When the story was first published in 1892 in The New England Magazine, the Victorian audience categorized it as a horror story told from a madwoman’s point of view. When it was republished in the 1970s, “The Yellow Wallpaper” was quickly added to the annals of feminist literature. What evidence is there within the original text that points to this feminist reading? The feminism within the story comes partially from the construction of the plot itself–namely, the depiction of a woman struggling against stereotypical domestic roles set for women. The voice and setting of the writing are also decidedly feminist in their new approach to story telling from a female point of view; there is also something to be said for the fact that “The Yellow Wallpaper” is semi-autobiographical for Gilman. Humanities

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Why “The Yellow Wallpaper” is Essentially Feminist in Nature and Origin

After being asked repeatedly about the dark story, Gilman published an article entitled, “Why I Wrote ‘The Yellow Wallpaper.’” In it she said, “It was not intended to drive people crazy, but to save people from being driven crazy, and it worked” (53). It is Gilman’s hope of touching other women in her own predicament that is inherently feminist, the idea that one woman can reach out to others and help them while helping herself. In a broader view of literature, it is important to identify what is essentially feminist about one of the first so-called feminist works in order to apply or defy the definition in future literature. The narrator, who is never named and thus will be referred to as “the narrator” throughout, most consciously struggles to live up to the standard roles expected of her, mother and wife, but is trapped by her husband in a childlike state. The narrator has supposedly retreated to this “hereditary estate” attempting to become “well” and capable of caring for herself, John, and their new baby; however, she is never given the opportunity. Instead of receiving guided instruction and an opportunity to practice fulfilling her domestic roles, she is deprived of all responsibility. She is not allowed to familiarize herself with her baby as a mentally stable, healthy woman would do. Instead of taking care of the baby herself, she allows Mary (an assumed housekeeper, relation, or family friend aiding the new parents) to take all responsibility for caring for the newborn. She states, “It is fortunate Mary is so good with the baby. Such a dear baby! And yet I cannot be with him, it makes me so nervous” (Gilman, “Yellow” 14). Instead of being a companion, John takes on the role of parent and enforcer, and makes sure that the narrator does what is “best” for herself even though she dislikes and disagrees with it. “He said we came here solely on my account, that I was to have perfect rest and all the air I could get… So we took the nursery at the top of the house… It was a nursery first and then playroom and gymnasium, I should judge; for the windows are barred for little children, and there are rings and things in the walls” (12). The narrator is trapped in the nursery and a child-like role. The bars on the windows and rings in the walls–in the words of Gilbert and Gubar, “the paraphernalia of confinement”–are reminiscent of a prison or dungeon setting (146). 10

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It is impossible for John to belittle her and expect her to be a source of support. “John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that in marriage” (Gilman, “Yellow” 9). Although the narrator wants to be a wife rather than a child to John, her sickness and John’s “cure” prevent her from being useful. “I meant to be such a help to John, such a real rest and comfort, and here I am a comparative burden already!” (14). John’s attempts to make the narrator well trap her inside her hysterical tendency. Through social convention she consciously believes that as a man, husband, and doctor, John’s prescribed treatment must be her cure regardless of her intuition. This warps her normal sensibilities until she starts believing she belongs in a nursery more than her infant son. “I never thought of it before, but it is lucky that John kept me here after all, I can stand it so much easier than a baby, you see” (22). She reasons that a baby would be as agitated as she is. The logic confining the narrator to these roles of mother and housewife are skewed: in order to be able to be a good mother and companion, she must rest and be neither. The narrator rebels against these molded female roles in important ways. The most clearly prohibited activity the narrator takes part in is writing in her “journal,” without which there would be no story at all. Multiple times the narrator reminds the reader that John “hates to have me write a word” (Gilman, “Yellow” 13). She continues writing, which she refers to as her work. As “work,” it is assumed her writing is a serious rather than leisurely pursuit, because she feels it is good for her condition. She is honest with the reader as she cannot be with anyone else for fear of John thinking her condition is progressing: “John says if I don’t pick up faster he shall send me to Weir Mitchell in the fall” (18). She defies John by not only writing, but also by making him believe that she is getting better and more capable when in fact she is not. The final way the narrator bucks her stereotypical role as mother and wife is through the creation of an alternate reality. Within the yellow wallpaper of the nursery the narrator finds an outlet for all her feelings–the woman beneath the wallpaper’s pattern. The woman is both the narrator’s alter ego and a psychological manifestation of her subconscious thoughts and feelHumanities

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Why “The Yellow Wallpaper” is Essentially Feminist in Nature and Origin

ings. Just as the narrator longs to escape the nursery and all the restrictions imposed on her as a female, the woman she sees wants to escape the overwhelming front pattern of the yellow wallpaper. “And she is all the time trying to climb through. But nobody could climb through that pattern--it strangles so” (Gilman, “Yellow” 30). So the narrator endeavors to free the woman as she cannot free herself: “As soon as it was moonlight and that poor thing began to crawl and shake the pattern, I got up and ran to help her” (32). This is reminiscent of Gilman’s own attempt to free her peers through the writing and publishing of “The Yellow Wallpaper.” It is the longing for companionship and adult independence that allow the narrator’s subconscious to create this reality. As a madwoman not in touch with reality, the narrator is no longer held responsible to her duties as wife and mother. It is the final rebellion for a woman who cannot fit into her society’s presumed female roles to create her own reality where she can be whatever she wants. The trouble with the patriarchy the narrator faces is its enduring and subtle pervasiveness. With good intentions, John dominates and plagues his wife, aggravating her condition unknowingly. Societal and medical conventions of the time convince him that his wife is not his intellectual, physical or emotional equal. Because he loves her and believes treating her as his equal in any way would upset her health, he treats her as a sickly child. He takes all responsibility from her. He disregards all her suggestions that she is not getting better, that she is in fact getting worse. In turn, she slips further and further away by keeping her opinions to herself. To prevent her over-stimulation, he forbids her any company, which in fact allows her to slip further into her own reality. To keep her from convincing herself she is sick when there is not any reason she would be, he tells her she is getting better and disregards her opinion that she is only getting worse. It is ironic that John asks the narrator to take care of herself, but only on his terms. She must take care of herself by submitting to his cure, no matter what she thinks might be good for her. In a quotation that illustrates the pervasiveness of patriarchy, the narrator states, “It is so hard to talk with John about my case, because he is so wise, and 12

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because he loves me so” (Gilman, “Yellow” 23). She does not say that it is hard to talk to John about her case because he does not believe her, or listen to her; she says it is hard to talk to John because he loves her. It is because John loves her that he will not believe her or listen to her because quintessentially he knows better than her. The narrator questions her husband and brother, her personal representatives of the medical community, and their methods for “treating” the diagnosis they do not believe in. The narrator says from the outset that her husband does not accept her as truly ill: “You see he does not believe I am sick!” (Gilman, “Yellow” 10). Ultimately the narrator rebels against the medical professionals by proving the gravity of her condition. She is right; her condition is progressing rather than improving. However, there is perhaps logical reasoning behind her husband’s doubt. In the nineteenth century, not only was it seen as natural for women to be constantly ill, but it was also fashionable. Weakness, frailty, and unhealthiness were essentially feminine, and sickness was romanticized. Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English, explain that, “Not only were women seen as sickly–sickness was seen as feminine” (95). The more sickly a woman was, the more feminine she was. This “cult of female invalidism” led many women to “hysteria”–no more than an act for many upper- and middle-class women. This was a conundrum for physicians who had trouble discerning between this form of hysteria (play acting for attention) and Gilman’s brand (post-partum depression). A two-week “treatment” or the threat of the rest “cure” was often all the pretenders needed to become “well” again–that is, to stop throwing fits and having “fainting spells.” This is the only scenario in which the rest cure was successful, yet it confused physicians into treating a truly depressed woman in the same manner. The narrator attempts to tell John time and time again, to no avail, that she is not recovering and that she feels she is going crazy. Perhaps John feels his wife is merely trying to appear as feminine and womanly as possible; perhaps he thinks she just wants his affection and attention. John attempts to allow his wife this “play acting” and give her the love she needs as she tells of her worsening condition. “ ‘Bless her little heart!’ said Humanities

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Why “The Yellow Wallpaper” is Essentially Feminist in Nature and Origin

he with a big hug, ‘She shall be as sick as she pleases!’ ” (Gilman, “Yellow” 24). The style Gilman chose for “The Yellow Wallpaper” is in itself an expression of feminist thought. Using a first-person female narrator allows the reader first-hand insight into the personal thoughts and feelings of a woman–thoughts and feelings she feels comfortable revealing only to a journal she assumes no one else will see: “(I would not say it to a living soul of course, but this is dead paper and a great relief to my mind)” (10). There is little introduction to the story; no background is given on any of the characters, least of all the narrator herself, and no satisfactory conclusion is reached. This is a revolution in story telling. The use of the first-person narrator eliminates the need for an omniscient narrator, a patronizing and patriarchal narrator. All responsibility is put upon the reader to decode the movement and meaning of the tale. The setting is domestic: the reader as the “journal” is never taken out of the nursery itself. The text is admittedly intriguing; one male physician reader argued for its censure but admitted it “held the reader ‘in morbid fascination to the end’ (Living 64)” (Golden, “One” 4). The reader is trapped in the nursery, just as the narrator is trapped there by her husband. The writing of “The Yellow Wallpaper” itself was feminist in its very origin, because it was Gilman writing both to help herself defeat hysteria and to teach other women how they could do the same–without the help of patriarchal doctors or husbands. Charlotte Perkins Gilman had her own bout with what has now been assumed to have been post-partum depression and based “The Yellow Wallpaper” on this experience. Under the care of the famous “nerve-specialist” Dr. S. Weir Mitchell, she underwent the rest cure. Mitchell had this advice for Perkins: Live as domestic a life as possible. Have your child with you all the time. Lie down an hour after each meal. Have but two hours’ intellectual life a day. And never touch pen, brush or pencil as long as you live (Gilman, “Autobiography” 62).

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This “cure” was commonly prescribed to alleviate the symptoms of hysteria in middle and upper class women of the nineteenth-century. To understand this experience, one must understand the nineteenth-century medical view of female physiology. Ehrenreich and English, explain that women were seen as more susceptible to diseases simply because they were women. The underlying medical theory of women’s weakness rested on what doctors considered the most basic physiological law: “conservation of energy.” According to this theory, each human body contained a set quantity of energy that was directed variously from one organ or function to another. This meant that you could develop one organ or ability only at the expense of others, drawing energy away from the parts not being developed. In particular, the sexual organs competed with other organs for the body’s fixed supply of vital energy. The second postulate of this theory–that reproductivity was central to a woman’s biological life–made this competition highly unequal, with the reproductive organs in almost total command of the whole woman, (98). In other words, because a woman’s body was so focused on being prepared for impregnation, there was little energy left for any other organs, such as the brain. This led medical professionals to assume too much development of a woman’s brain would inevitably “atrophy the uterus” (Ehrenreich and English 99). Physicians also suggested that women get sick when they are intellectually aggressive or in any way unfeminine. The rest cure is meant to allow a woman’s body to conserve energy thus allowing the immune system and other bodily functions to operate unheeded, while at the same time stopping any intellectual or “masculine” pursuits that would agitate her health. In “The Yellow Wallpaper” Gilman subtly suggests it is not women’s bodies or biological functions that are at fault but the medical professionals themselves. “John is a physician, and perHumanities

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Why “The Yellow Wallpaper” is Essentially Feminist in Nature and Origin

haps–(I would not say it to a living soul, of course, but this is dead paper and a great relief to my mind)–perhaps that is one reason I do not get well faster” (10). Ehrenreich and English agree, stating, “The more the doctors ‘treated,’ the more they lured women into seeing themselves as sick… [A woman] might be tired of being a kept woman, she might yearn for a life of meaning and activity, but if she was convinced that she was seriously sick or in danger of becoming so, would she dare to break away?” (105). Gilman suggests an alternative cure. The narrator in “The Yellow Wallpaper” intuitively wants to write, to engage in intellectual pursuits. Several times she contends that stimulus would be good for her if it were not met with such “heavy opposition.” By creating such a character, Gilman is “in essence urging that a woman should be independent, that she be her own physician, so that the real business of healing can get underway,” says Ann Douglas Wood, a contributor to the book Women and Health in America (112). The narrator intuitively knows that writing is therapeutic and ultimately beneficial, just as Gilman herself did. She suggested this cure through “The Yellow Wallpaper” because she is living proof of her cure’s effectiveness. She found health only through continuing her work, her writing. In “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Gilman illustrates what can happen (perhaps what she believes would have happened to her?) if a hysterical woman undergoes the rest “cure” too long: madness. Paula A. Treichler, a feminist critic, suggests this is the other way to defy patriarchy: “…madness is seen as a kind of transcendent sanity” (198). By showing other women that the rest “cure” could one day lead further down the path to insanity than where they began, Gilman gave them the choice the narrator is not given: the option to rebel consciously. The narrator refuses to continue her work and defy John and conventional society and so her unconscious does it for her. “Now why should that man have fainted? But he did, and right across my path by the wall, so that I had to creep over him everytime!” (Gilman, “Yellow” 36). Given the choice when faced with this possibility, more women would chose to make their own decisions about their illness and their cure. Gilman admits being conscious of this purpose: “…It was intended to save people from being driven crazy” (“Why” 53). 16

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This female empowerment is essentially, intrinsically, and radically feminist. Gilman chose to think and act independently, and she independently wrote a story to encourage other women to follow in their lives. It is important to identify the aspects of the feminist character of “The Yellow Wallpaper” because this is the clearest approximation of the first piece of undoubtedly feminist literature. From there, it has evolved and expanded to incorporate other topics and issues faced by women; but these are the conditions and issues that made the birth of feminist literature possible. Like the “big bang” theory of our universe’s expansion, “The Yellow Wallpaper” collapses all the pieces that made feminist literature possible in the late nineteenth-century and is the point from which all feminist literature has expanded and will continue to expand in the future. In 1891 when “The Yellow Wallpaper” was first published, it was considered a Poe-esque horror story of one woman’s path to insanity; in the 1970s when it was revived, it was immediately considered a story of one woman’s struggle against the bondage and confinement to which patriarchy subjected her. Although the text remained the same, its readership did not. The role of women in society has evolved over time, with many thanks to such revolutionary women as Charlotte Perkins Gilman herself.

Humanities

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Why “The Yellow Wallpaper” is Essentially Feminist in Nature and Origin

Works Cited Ehrenreich, Barbara, and Deirdre English. “The ‘Sick’ Women of the Upper Classes.” Golden 90-109. Gilbert, Sandra, and Susan Gubar. “The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination.” Golden 145-148. Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. The Living of Charlotte Perkins Gilman: An Autobiography. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1991. ---. “Why I Wrote ‘The Yellow Wallpaper.’” Golden 51-53. ---. “The Yellow Wallpaper.” 1899. Afterword Elaine R. Hedges. New York: The Feminist Press, 1973. Golden, Catherine. “One Hundred Years of Reading ‘The Yellow Wallpaper.’” Golden 1-23. Golden, Catherine, ed. The Captive Imagination: A Casebook on “The Yellow Wallpaper”. New York: The Feminist Press, 1992. Treichler, Paula A. “Escaping the Sentence: Diagnosis and Discourse in ‘The Yellow Wallpaper.’” Golden 191-210. Wood, Ann Douglas. “‘The Fashionable Diseases’: Women’s Complaints and Their Treatment in Nineteenth-Century America.” Golden 110-119.

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Kari Aanestad

Imagination and Fancy: A Response to Three Essays Kari Aanestad, Augsburg College Note from the editor: This paper, by Augsburg senior Kari Aanestad, examines three essays that attempt to identify specific influences on Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” The purported influences range from biological accounts of “slimy” sea creatures to Eastern religious prohibitions on animal slaughter. Aanestad, however, uses Coleridge’s stated creative principles to further refine the essays’ assertions. Namely, she divides the essays into two categories according to the type of creative influence they describe, one of which Coleridge would consider a technique of good poetry, the other he would not. This provocative distinction warrants discussion among students and professors of literature.

There is a significant amount of scholarly debate about Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” The experiences that Coleridge had and the writings that he read just prior to or around the time of this poem’s authorship have served as sources to many articles, dissertations, and papers that argue the possible influences for his inspired poem. Three articles in particular argue that Coleridge reproduced in his poem phrases and imagery from texts that he read and experiences that he had. In these three articles there are two methods the scholars use to analyze Coleridge’s work and the possible influences on his work; one of the methods upholds “Rime” as a good poem according to Coleridge’s own standards, whereas the other method doesn’t. First, Coleridge defines good poetry in “Biographia Literaria”: “…first, that not the poem which we have read, but that to which we return, with greatest pleasure, possess the genuine power, and claims the name of essential poetry,” (748). In other words, in order for one to return to poetry, one must have been deeply affected by the poem. Coleridge writes that true poetry Humanities

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Imagination and Fancy: A Response to Three Essays

should invoke “…a more than usual state of emotion, with more than usual order, judgment ever awake and steady self-possession, with enthusiasm and feeling profound or vehement…it blends and harmonizes…our admiration of the poet to our sympathy with the poetry,” (753). In conclusion, good poetry evokes emotion in the reader. Coleridge in “Biographia Literaria” divides imagination into two categories, primary and secondary. Good poetry can only be produced by the secondary imagination. The primary imagination is the ability of a mind to perceive; “[secondary imagination] dissolves, diffuses, dissipates, in order to re-create; or where this process is rendered impossible, yet still at all events it struggles to idealize and to unify,” (750). In other words, the secondary imagination expresses what the primary imagination perceives. If good poetry is poetry that evokes emotion, and if good poetry can only be produced by the secondary imagination, then the secondary imagination also evokes emotion. Fancy, on the other hand, is quite different according to Coleridge. While secondary imagination seeks to reveal and express the primary imagination, fancy deals with nothing more than the physical world. Fancy “has no other counters to play with, but fixities and definites. The Fancy is indeed no other than a mode of Memory emancipated from the order of time and space, and blended with, and modified by the empirical phenomenon of the will…” (750). In other words, fancy simply breaks down one’s perceptions of “fixed and definite” objects and reassembles them into a different image or idea. There is no emotional response invoked by works of fancy, and therefore no good poetry can come from fancy. Out of the three articles that I read, there are two methods used to analyze “Rime.” One argument shows that Coleridge wrote the poem using imagination, and the other implies that Coleridge used fancy. In the first method of analyzing the poem, the author examines the influences on Coleridge’s work. The author first proves that Coleridge was familiar with a certain text before he wrote “Rime.” Next, the author examines very specific elements of both the text and “Rime,” and shows the similarities. Finally, the author concludes that various parts of the text were 20

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reproduced in different phrases in “Rime” to invoke an emotional response in the reader. Therefore, the first method implies that Coleridge wrote “Rime” using his imagination. The second method, however, implies that Coleridge used fancy to reproduce similarities in “Rime” from another source. The second method starts off much like the first in that the author finds a source that resembles a part of “Rime.” The second method, however, shows that Coleridge rearranged various elements of his past into a plot and setting in a poem instead of focusing on the emotional aspect of the influence. Clearly, this is an example of the task of fancy. The second method implies that Coleridge used fancy when writing parts of “Rime,” and therefore implies that “Rime” isn’t a good poem. One author I read uses the first method. In his essay, John B. Ower tries to demonstrate that Coleridge uses biology texts as an inspiration for the description of some of the sea creatures in the poem. He examines the possible complex origins of Coleridge’s imagery describing the “creatures of the calm” by comparing descriptive words in the poem to biological descriptions of Greenland and Spitzbergen. Ower focuses his argument on David Crantz’s “History of Greenland,” which was published in London in 1767, 31 years before the first edition of “Rime” was published. Crantz’s work contains a description of sepia that almost feels demonic. Ower argues that the description of sepia would have reminded Coleridge of Milton’s description of the devil in “Paradise Lost” Bk. 1, 1.56, which would in turn create the same “infernal ambiance”. Ower argues that Coleridge uses Crantz’s description of sepia in “Rime” to inspire terror, especially in II.111-262 when describing LIFE-IN-DEATH. Ower also advances his argument by citing specific passages from Crantz’s work in which cuttlefish, sepia, and starfish are referred to as “slimy” and “slimy things,” the same words used by Coleridge when describing “creatures of the calm.” This then demonstrates how Coleridge’s mind subconsciously relates ideas and then manifests them in a “work of condensation.” By examining biological works that Coleridge read prior to the authorship of “Rime,” Ower argues that it is possible to “reconstruct the intricate Humanities

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Imagination and Fancy: A Response to Three Essays

workings of Coleridge’s imagination, and thereby bring to light… hidden significance in STC’s poetic imagery” (482). Ower’s essay employs the first method because he first uses a text that was published and distributed 31 years before Coleridge wrote “Rime.” Next, he examines the descriptions of various sea creatures and compares them to those found in “Rime.” He then finally concludes that by illuminating certain influences on Coleridge’s writing, one is able to see how Coleridge’s imagination works. This method of analyzing Coleridge’s work is effective because it upholds Coleridge’s own theory on imagination. Ower argues that Coleridge reproduced descriptions of fish in “Rime” according to the emotional response that was invoked in him after reading Crantz’s descriptions of the same fish. Clearly, this implies that Coleridge used secondary imagination to author “Rime.” The other two authors I read used the second method to analyze sources of influence for “Rime.” In an essay entitled “The Eastern Ancient Mariner,” P. H. Knox-Shaw examines Eastern thought and compares the killing of the albatross, the Mariner’s subsequent punishment, and the reanimation of the ship’s crew by the Polar Spirit in “Rime” to concepts found within Hinduism and ancient Sanskrit writings. Knox-Shaw primarily focuses on a “highly esteemed”, well-known orientalist named William Jones, who translated the “Laws of Manu.” Knox-Shaw claims that Coleridge was familiar with “Laws of Manu” by 1796, a year before the first part of “Rime” was written. In “Laws of Manu” not only are there “repeated injunctions against killing birds…but accounts of chandrayana – moongoverned fasts – and of other penances appointed for the transgressor,” (123). Knox-Shaw points out that “[w]hat Coleridge does in the “Rime” is entertain something equivalent to the ancient view of animal slaughter as a violation,” (123). By highlighting Coleridge’s familiarity with the “Laws of Manu” and then showing that there is a similarity between the plot of “Rime” and the Jones’ work, Knox-Shaw implies that Jones’ translation was an inspiration for “Rime.” Knox-Shaw also argues that the reanimated crew of the Mariner by the Polar Spirit is evidence of “a distinct debt to the 22

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‘Laws of Manu,’” (126). Coleridge describes the inspirited shipmates as ‘lifeless tools’ that merely perform the “bare, locomotor function of human being,” (127). Knox-Shaw points out that within basic Hindu eschatology there is a belief in an entity that is specific only to bodily movement. Within the “Laws of Manu,” the law-giver makes a distinction between the rational soul and jivatman. Jivatman is the power that moves a body and can be transferred from one body to another. This can be applied to “Rime” by considering that an entire crew was dead, reanimated by a spirit only to perform physical labor, and then left again. Clearly, there are similarities between Coleridge’s reanimated crew in “Rime” and the ideology of the soul within the “Laws of Manu.” The process that Knox-Shaw follows in his essay is an example of the second method because it first examines the influences on Coleridge’s work. Knox-Shaw first proves that Coleridge was familiar with the “Laws of Manu” before he wrote “Rime.” Next, he examines very specific elements of both the “Laws of Manu” and “Rime,” and shows the similarities. Finally, he concludes that various parts of the “Laws of Manu” were reproduced in different forms in “Rime.” Knox-Shaw does not, however, prove that Coleridge used his secondary imagination when reproducing Hindu principles in “Rime.” Instead, he shows that Coleridge simply took parts of the Hindu tradition and mythology, and reassembled them as parts of the plot in the poem--a task of fancy. This second method undermines “Rime” as a poem since no good poetry can come from fancy. Sarah Moss also uses the second method. In her essay entitled “The Bounds of His Great Empire: The Ancient Mariner and Coleridge at Christ’s Hospital,” Moss attempts to connect Coleridge’s experience as youth at a boarding school with the setting of a ship in “Rime.” She first mentions William Wales, one of Coleridge’s teachers at Christ’s Hospital. According to Moss, Wales kept a journal of the sea voyages of a man named Cook. There is a possibility that the journal circulated through the boys at the school, and that Coleridge had an opportunity to read it. Following the assumption that Coleridge read Wales’ voyage journal, Moss then highlights certain passages from Wales’ Humanities

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Imagination and Fancy: A Response to Three Essays

journal and compares them to excerpts from “Rime.” Similarities include: a description of sea snakes, Wales shooting an albatross, a description of murky water, the imagery of a thunderstorm, and the imagery of aurora. Beyond the influence of Wales’ journal, Moss also argues that Coleridge’s actual life experience at school influenced “Rime.” First, she explains that since Christ’s Hospital aimed to train students for the Navy, the teachers who had sailing experience as captains essentially ran the school like a ship. Next she quotes passages from letters by students of the school describing the harsh treatment by the teachers. On a ship, the punishment for challenging authority, or mutiny, was severe. Shipmates who were suspected of mutiny were forced to have an almost unbearable weight hung around their necks and to work for days at a time. Moss then quotes a passage from “Rime” that describes the reanimated crew endlessly working, showing a definite similarity in the treatment received among the real crew on a ship, the crew in “Rime,” and students at Christ’s Hospital. Moss uses the second method of interpreting the sources of influences for “Rime.” First, Moss shows in her argument the similarities between the school and a real ship. Therefore, according to Moss, Coleridge was influenced by his experience at Christ’s Hospital, and the evidence is in the plot and setting of “Rime.” Instead of focusing on the emotional response that Coleridge experienced during this period and then on the subsequent emotional response that the reader experiences after reading the poem, Moss simply focuses on the surface level aspects of plot and setting. She implies that Coleridge rearranged specific parts of his childhood and reproduced them in the poem--a task of fancy. Furthermore, Moss fails to prove that Coleridge actually read the journal. The journal was neither published nor distributed, and therefore the chances that Coleridge read it are slim. Therefore, her argument is weak and relatively unsupportable. The first method is better for interpreting sources of influence for “Rime” because it is not only logically refutable, but also strongly supported. Furthermore, the first method upholds “Rime” as a good poem according to Coleridge’s own standard. The second 24

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method, on the other hand, implies that Coleridge wrote “Rime” using fancy. Moss clearly shows this as she argues that Coleridge simply reassembled parts of his experience at school and then reproduced the parts in the poem. Moss and Knox-Shaw, by attempting to explain elements of plot and setting in “Rime,” actually imply that Coleridge used his fancy instead of imagination, which would mean the poem isn’t good according to Coleridge’s own standards. Ower, on the other hand, emphasizes the reproduction of the emotional response in the images found both within “Rime” and the texts he studied; that form of emotional reproduction is only a task of the secondary imagination. The first method clearly upholds “Rime” as a good poem according to Coleridge’s own standards because it shows authorship using the secondary imagination. In the three aforementioned essays about Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” each author finds unique influences and makes strong arguments as to why a text or experience influenced Coleridge’s work. The actual influences on an author writing a poem are arguably indefinable. While the topic of influence has served as a subject for many scholarly articles, the discussion becomes intriguing when one’s argument potentially discredits the primary author’s work according to the primary author’s own standard. Out of the three articles I read, two ways of interpreting the influences on “Rime” emerged. One of the methods upheld Rime as a good poem according to Coleridge’s own standards, whereas the other method didn’t.

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Works Cited Coleridge, Samuel Taylor. “Biographia Literaria.” British Literature: 1780-1830. Ed. Anne K. Mellor and Richard E. Matlak. Boston: Heinle & Heinle, 1996. 745-55. Knox-Shaw, P. H. “The Eastern Ancient Mariner.” Essays in Criticism: A Quarterly Journal of Literary Criticism. 46.2 (1996): 115-134. Moss, Sarah. “The Bounds of His Great Empire: The Ancient Mariner and Coleridge at Christ’s Hospital.” Romanticism: The Journal of Romantic Culture and Criticism. 8.1 (2002): 50-61. Ower, John B. “Crantz, Martens and the ‘Slimy Things’ in ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.’’ Neophilologus. 85.3 (2001): 477- 484.

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Sean Stanhill

The Tricontinental Conference Sean Stanhill, Augsburg College Note from the editor: Hosted by the Cuban government in 1966, the first Tricontental Conference is a little-known episode in Cold War tensions. This charged meeting of communist party delegates from around the world based its agenda largely on opposition to U.S. foreign policy. In his paper, Sean Stanhill discusses the irony of such a meeting occurring only ninety miles from the Florida coast, as well as the internal competition between the Soviet Union and China for prominence at the Conference. Stanhill assembles an extensive set of sources in this thorough portrayal of the Conference’s circumstances and magnitude.

The Revolution Will Be Televised The Castroite government of Cuba hosted the first and only Tricontinental Conference in 1966, a gathering of representatives from the continents of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The purpose of the conference was to create a front for the spread of global communism, a gathering of nationals from communist countries and rebels from aspiring communist countries alike. It was established in order to create a general headquarters to support and facilitate international communist development and revolution, as well as inspire a feeling of worldwide solidarity. The gathering was anti-American by criticizing U.S. foreign policy and by focusing on, among other things, the United States’ police action in Vietnam. Yet there was much happening behind the scenes of the conference; both China and the U.S.S.R. were vying for the premier spot as the internationally recognized leader of the global communist movement. The conference is still not a well-known event and it deserves analysis, since its significance is unquestionable. The main focus of the first Tricontinental Conference, of course, was to spread communism and to develop a supportive network which aspiring or developing communist nations could use as a resource (namely the U.S.S.R. and China), politically, militarily and economically. Humanities

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The research that facilitated this paper is not as broad as it is deep. The conference was well attended with over 260 members of the international press present, yet there is little record of first person accounts published in English.1 That said, the backbone of this paper is manifest in a document published for the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate – a congressional review of the conference. Not only does this document provide excellent insight into the American anxieties surrounding the conference, it is also a wealth of information regarding the background of the conference, context, speech highlights, and analysis of Sino-Soviet relations in relation to the conference. It contains excellently documented primary sources that stand alone without senatorial analysis. Secondary in importance to the judicial committee review is the speech Fidel Castro delivered during the closing session of the conference on January 16th. It is invaluable as a primary source because Castro was a major leader at the conference and his words provide a context for the mood there. In the speech, Castro addressed the many aspects of the conference and aimed to relate each of the participating countries in order to generate solidarity. The New York Times also provides a wealth of information on the conference. Although the paper is a secondary source, it offers what many sources do not: American political speculation on subject matters that, at the time, were relatively unknown. The articles range in date from 1961 to 1966 and in relevance from the relationships between Peking and Moscow to coverage of the conference itself. Finally, there were two necessary resources through which the Sino-Soviet tension was made abundantly clear: an article written by Ernst Halperin, an academic journalist, which appeared in the journal The China Quarterly, and the lecture in class that took place on October 24th by Professor Don Gustafson. With careful consideration, all of the utilized resources coalesce to create a strong and balanced narrative of the conference by which one can truly gain a better understanding of the context in which the Tricontinental Conference of 1966 took place.

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“You will not be able to stay home, brother”2 The first Tricontinental Conference, also known as the Organization of Solidarity of the People of Africa, Asia, and Latin America (OSPAAAL), was held for the duration of thirteen days, January 3rd to the 16th, 1966. The conference was an unprecedented success in terms of unification. Expressed by Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro, “Never has there been a gathering of such dimensions and of such magnitude, a gathering in which the revolutionary representations of 82 peoples have met to discuss problems of common interest.”3 Of the peoples (countries, protectorates and colonies) in attendance, 28 came from Africa, 27 from Asia, and 27 from Latin America, which includes the Caribbean Islands. Representing these countries were 150 delegates from African countries, 197 from Asian countries, and 165 from Latin American countries.4 Of all the countries represented, why was Havana chosen to host the conference? The reasoning is quite simple. The significance of Havana being chosen to host the conference exists in three parts. It is important to note that Latin America was of particular interest to both China and the U.S.S.R., the two leading communist world powers. Especially for the Soviets, creating a communist envelope around the United States was an ideal tactic for a dominant position in the Cold War. Secondly, the political climate was closely monitored in Castro’s Cuba and any domestic activity to spoil the “tranquil political climate” would be swiftly dealt with.5 Thirdly, the humiliation for the U.S. not only having had a worldwide communist gathering 90 miles from the “Yankee Imperialist’s” shore, but also having created its headquarters there is “a thousand times as humiliating” as the conference taking place at all.6 A series of meetings, lectures, and workshops, along with cooperation among the representatives of each of the continents led to many resolutions. Of which, some were adopted from prior conferences of communist peoples and some were developed at the Tricontinental. On January 8th, the sixth day of the conference, an agenda composed by the Committee on Preparations was adopted to address the following: 1) the struggle against imperialism, colonialHumanities

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ism, and neocolonialism; 2) Issues concerning said struggle and the struggle’s implementation regarding the three continents; and 3) Anti-imperialist solidarity among the African, Asian, and Latin American peoples in economic, social, and cultural fields and the economic emancipation and cultural liberation of the peoples of said continents from said imperialism.7 In other words, the conference was officially organized to spread communist revolution backed by revolutionary armed struggle. “The revolution will put you in the driver’s seat” 8 The spread of the revolution to other countries, and its facilitation and maintenance were paramount goals of the conference. Although each attending delegate was associated with a communist party at home, this did not imply that the country from which they came was communist. Indeed, there were many persons in attendance who had gone to the conference in order to alter their home country’s politics. Speaking on the matter of the purpose of the conference, Castro states, “the contacts which have been established, the ties which have been created between the world movements fighting against imperialism, […] will play an unquestionable role in the revolutionary struggle.”9 These relationships were to be invaluable for all those involved in the movement. The Tricontinental Conference was meant as inspiration for solidarity and a resource for those who came from noncommunist countries. As one would expect, those coming from noncommunist countries were taking the greatest risks. The intention of the conference was not unknown and those who came from countries that were not communist faced reprisal. For example, the New York Times reported on January 15th, 1966 that those who represented the Dominican Republic were barred from returning home.10 According to the judiciary committee review, Dr. Guido Gil, the head of the Dominican Republic’s delegation to the Tricontinental, is noted as saying, “The imperialist government of the United States is condemned as an aggressor and violator of the sovereignty of the Dominican people.”11 Dominican President Héctor Garcïa-Godoy cited his reasons for barring this ideology from returning home as being the very same as the 30

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mission of the conference: violent and communistic attempts for revolution. Aside from the evidence of the obvious intention of the conference, there were alternative views on its implication; Cuba’s most celebrated revolutionary, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, had not attended.12 Author Jon Lee Anderson, biographer of principal revolutionary Guevara, proposes a theory for Guevara’s absence. Anderson puts forth that Che was readying a revolutionary faction to stimulate Bolivian revolution.13 His absence, recognized and addressed by everyone including Castro during his closing speech and the U.S. government, was noted and questioned. Castro states, “The imperialists are […] interested in learning all the details as to [Guevara’s] whereabouts, what he is doing and how.”14 Ernst Halperin supports the method of Anderson’s theory in that Che believed that one could simply bypass the culminating factors that, as orthodox Marxists believe, eventually lead to a revolution born of necessity. Halperin cites Guevara as asserting that “it is not necessary to wait until all conditions for a revolution exist; the insurrectionary nucleus can create them.”15 To further support Guevara’s clandestine activities, Castro observed in 1965, one year before the conference, that Guevara had revoked his Cuban citizenship to devote himself entirely to revolutions in other parts of the world.16 As is exemplified by Anderson’s theory, revolution begets revolution. However, one cannot succeed at revolution without meeting forms of resistance. The immediate and blatant confrontation of “Yankee Imperialism” was a necessity to maintain a momentum of communistic revolutionary idealism. Provocation and severe criticism of the United States was an intentional effect of the conference. Antagonism was expressed to the point that the common sentiment, articulated by Castro, was that no matter the geographic location, Cubans and others represented at and by the conference would never succumb to imperialism nor abandon their resistance.

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“The revolution will not be right back after a message about a white tornado, white lightening or white people.”17 The conference, according to many American sources including the senate judiciary committee review as well as the New York Times, had a “pronounced anti-American tone.”18 Seemingly, almost every stated instance of imperialism referred to actions and foreign policies of the Unites States as an enemy of social justice and economic emancipation. Every country in attendance had an agenda that was in some way or another anti-American, as each had either previously allied with or was formerly a protectorate or colony of the U.S. But no one who spoke had as much to say as the Cubans themselves. Aside from Castro, other Cuban officials expressed their own antiAmerican sentiments. Most poignantly, addressing the crowd at the conference, Cuban President Osvaldo Dorticos said, It is certain […] that North American imperialism, which has assumed the sad role of international gendarme, is sharpening the violence and is intensifying the taking advantage of all vile instruments of aggressions against peoples, from bribery and blackmail up to the most barefaced forms of violence and armed intervention. There is no better place than this conference to proclaim without vacillations the right of peoples to oppose imperialist violence with revolutionary violence.19 The attitudes of the conference are not out of character considering the audience, most of whom had the American conflict in Vietnam on their minds. Those in attendance were very impressed with the fact that their anti-American, pro-communist conference was but 90 miles from the Yankee coast. But no group was more impressed with this fact than the Cubans themselves. Castro communicated this best when he said on September 14, 1965 to the Chinese charges d’affaires, “[…] our country had liberated itself from imperialism 90 miles away from our coast; […] our country would not accept 32

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similar practices being imposed on us by another […] country 20,000 kilometers away.”20 Such bold statements warranted anxiety on the part of the American government. Even those trained by the United States themselves have turned coat and joined in the communist struggle. “The revolution will not show you pictures of Nixon blowing a bugle”21 Causes for American fear as a result of the conference are characterized by concerns both obvious and implied. The implied fear is far more telling of the position in which the United States actually stood. There were many forces churning in their own hemisphere that put them into compromised positions such as trading drugs and having their own military training used against them. Luis Augusto Turcios, the leader of the Guatemalan revolutionary front, had close ties to the United States. A New York Times article reported that Turcios was in fact trained by the United States at Fort Benning, GA in late 1959, the location of the infamous School of the Americas. The article said that Turcios was not a Communist party member but that, “his philosophy was close to that of the [communist] party.”22 Egg of this magnitude on the face of the U.S. results in misdirected policy: that which their own tactics and training could and invariably would be used against them. After all, Turcios attended the conference and announced his involvement in the Guatemalan independence struggle coincidently on the last day of the Tricontinental Conference, January 16th.23 Two years before the conference, the New York Times reported on September 24th, 1964 that Cuba had been saturating Puerto Rico, a U.S. protectorate, with drugs in order to “undermine the economy of the island.”24 It is stated in the judiciary committee review that, “It is believed that the sale of drugs, particularly heroin, in the United States […] provides a considerable amount of foreign exchange by which Cuba finances guerrilla activities.”25 Such subversive activities create a complex relationship that is best explained by a scene in the film, Scarface. The scene is set on a news program, an interviewer speaking with a Peruvian academic,

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Host: I’ve heard whispers about the financial support your government receives from the drug industry. Guest: Well, the irony of this, of course, is that this money, which is in the billions, is coming from your country. You see, you are the major purchaser of our national product, which is of course cocaine. Host: On one hand, you’re saying the United States government is spending millions of dollars to eliminate the flow of drugs onto our streets. At the same time, we are doing business with the very same government that is flooding our streets with cocaine.26 In other words, the United States is, by trying to inhibit illicit drug trade, funding Cuban guerrilla activities, which then funds revolutionary ventures in other countries. That said, it is not hard to imagine how the U.S., so to speak, funded the conference itself over the course of two years without being able to influence the matter in the least bit. Avoiding being too obvious, there was enough cause for concern to harbor fear of the benefactors of such drug policing. Essentially, there are many more factors than a simple gettogether that are cause for concern on the part of the United States. Losing those whom one has specifically trained militarily and drug trade sabotage were both big problems within the hemisphere of the U.S. What about problems around the world? There is no greater example of problems facing the U.S. than the conflict in Vietnam. “There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down brothers on the instant replay”27 Vietnam was a hot-button issue during the conference and a major focus for those in attendance. The conflict was in full swing by 1966 and, as a revolting nation fighting for communism, there was at the forefront of the conference an assurance of solidarity and commitment to the common struggle shared by almost everyone in attendance. Castro summed up the feelings of the confer34

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ence, “To the amazement of the world, the people of Vietnam are furnishing the most extraordinary example of heroism the history of any liberation movement has ever seen.”28 The spirit of support and unification was never so strongly felt as when Vietnam was the topic of discussion. The conflict was seen as imperialist imposition on a country going through the process of revolution. The judiciary committee review has the most to say about the attitudes, which surrounded the conference and statements about, “’The American ‘dirty war’ in Vietnam.’”29 Delegates from the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam (Viet Cong) were in attendance at the conference. More than any other delegation, they were given time to give a full report on the success – according to their own assessment – of how their resistance to the imperial forces was progressing. Concluding the report, Nguyen Van Tien of the Viet Cong delegation said, “We are determined to defeat [the U.S.], determined to fight on for 5 years, 10 years, 20 years, or even longer until the Yankees abandon their policy of aggression and get out of our territory.”30 He then proceeded to promote similar struggles to that of Vietnam in other countries. There was a large push for the development of an official conference stance on the conflict in Vietnam. A resolution demanded that the United States call an immediate end to the conflict in the region unconditionally, cease bombing North Vietnam, send home the military presence there and “dismantle” all military bases in the region. Furthermore, it wanted the United States to recognize the sovereign right of the Vietnamese people to deal with domestic politics as they saw fit as per the 1954 Geneva agreement on Vietnam.31 Following the approval of this stance, there was proposed a movement to hold a “week of solidarity” with Vietnam, scheduled in the following March and to be observed on a “Tricontinental scale.”32 Intercontinental identity played into the politics of the Vietnam conflict, creating linkages to further the feeling of solidarity amongst the worldwide communist movement. Dr. Guido Gil made another remarkable appearance at the conference, “[vowing] that Dominican Communists ‘will convert the Dominican ReHumanities

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public into the Vietnam of Latin America.” Nothing would please the Chinese or Soviets more. The Soviet Union, having furnished the Communist Vietnamese with “the most modern weapons,”33 had their hands deep in the pot of promoting, as Castro said in his closing speech, more revolutions which aspire to be like that of Vietnam in the context of Latin America.34 Again, as previously stated, the Soviet Union wanted to see nothing more than a total communist presence in Latin America. But both communist world powers spent a lot of time and energy on such encouragement and none too altruistically. Ernst Halperin suggests, “Peking’s interest in Latin America [is] determined by the assumption that this area is one of ‘the storm centres of world revolution dealing direct blows at imperialism.’”35 This observation is an important commonality between the two communist super powers. Such was the surface tension that one can see start to rise out of the conference like the steam from a pot readying to boil. Vietnam was a dividing tool, a way for the Chinese and Soviets to tangentially bid for big brother status during the conference. But Vietnam aside, both the Chinese and Soviets were very interested in garnering influence on Latin American revolutionary efforts and, more expansively, winning the hearts and minds of all in attendance at the conference. The real motivation, or push, for more Vietnams on a Tricontinental scale came in the form of a clash for influence between the Chinese and the Soviets and their respective Marxist philosophies, to promote communist solidarity and to attempt to end Yankee Imperialism. “NBC will not be able to predict the winner at 8:32”36 The most prominent division between the two most powerful communist nations in the world, China and the Soviet Union, was the distinction one could make about their perspective on Marxist philosophy. In order to better understand the currents of world communism and the alignment of developing countries, notably Cuba, one must spend a little time getting to know the general principles of each. Soviet-branded Communism is referred to as “Leninist” or “Orthodox.” In their scenario, as mentioned previously, one must 36

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wait out a revolution as something that occurs naturally; no individual or group can artificially incite revolution. As the revolution progresses, it begins in industrialized centers of wealth and capital by urban industrial workers. These are the subjects upon which Soviet Communism focuses. However, the agrarian portion of the society was not undervalued. In fact, farming was the strongest part of the economy. Yet Lenin saw the rural laborers as little more than mules-in-yoke, essentially reaping benefits from a marginalized (and often persecuted) population. During and after the revolution, big businesses, banks, etc. were immediately nationalized.37 Chinese Communism, or Maoism, in many instances, took the opposite approach. Mao saw the economic value of farmers and rural workers and put them at the forefront of his brand of Marxism, something Marx did not recommend. Mao convinced the rural peoples of China to stimulate a revolution and, in 1949, the People’s Republic of China was founded. He stressed that the nationalization of businesses and banks was detrimental to winning hearts and minds and let the management that existed before the revolution phase itself out over time. Most importantly, though, the rural farmer was far more valuable in Maoism than the urban laborer.38 Emphasizing their respective philosophies and resources which they had to offer developing communist countries, the Soviet Union and China each jockeyed for influence at the conference. The Soviet delegation was the largest, counting 40 delegates in total.39 The official U.S. assessment of the Soviet Union’s involvement in the conference was that “The U.S.S.R. had much to gain by giving moral and material support to the Tricontinental Conference.”40 It also assumed that in the conflict between Soviet and Chinese influence, the conference was a battleground upon which the Soviets scored a propaganda victory.41 Halperin academically agreed with the United Sates’ judiciary committee political assessment in saying, “At the Tricontinental Conference, the new Soviet policy of collaboration with Castro proved completely successful.”42 That is to say that the Soviet’s propaganda success is largely due to China’s poor decision making regarding Castro and Cuba. Humanities

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Castro was very good at playing the U.S.S.R. and China off of each other. Working each side against each other, he effectively put himself into a position where he could jump into the powerful arms of whomever he could theoretically insult the least or use the most judiciously (the Soviets). In other words, “He has skillfully exploited the Sino-Soviet split to extort concessions from the Russians without ever wholly committing himself to either side.”43 One could go as far as to say that Castro, knowing that he would eventually wind up in the sphere of the Soviet Union, had milked China for all that they were worth. In fact, it was during the conference that Castro announced that China had informed him that they had cut down on their trade ties with the island nation on January 2nd, the eve of the conference. The Chinese decreased trade with Cuba, diminishing a long-standing exchange of rice, the staple food of the Cuban diet, for sugar. Instead of the 250,000 tons of rice expected, the Chinese allocated only 135,000 tons for Cuban export.44 Decreases in rice shipments slashed the amount of rice per person from six pounds to three, effective January 7th, midway through the conference.45 But this was not entirely a malicious move on the part of the Chinese. Cuba’s production of sugar was much lower than expected, decreasing by several million tons.46 Publicly, on February 1966, Castro accused the Chinese of conspiring with the United States to nurture the economic embargo placed on Cuba.47 However, such a tactical blow did not hamper Chinese success at the conference itself. Even though the Soviets had the largest body of delegates and that “whenever the Chinese attacked Moscow for ‘collaborating with [U.S.] imperialism,’ the sympathy of the majority of delegates was on the Soviet side,” Peking won out with its Maoist brand of philosophy.48 Even the U.S. government recognized the Maoist victory at the conference on the “ideological plane.”49 “The revolution will be live”50 The Tricontinental Conference, held in Havana in 1966, was a significant development in many aspects of the worldwide communist movement and very representational of U.S. response. 38

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With a focus on anti-imperialism, the conference developed a tone of extreme anti-Americanism. Drug trade, U.S. trainees changing sides, and other factors led to inevitable fear and misdirected policy on the American side, considering that this was the largest gathering of communists in world history, which took place just 90 miles to the south of its border. Topically, the conference focused heavily on Vietnam as a revolution currently underway, interfered with by the “Yankee Imperialists.� But aside from the agenda of the conference at face value, its greater significance was that of embodying the Sino-Soviet conflict, the two sides fighting out their own brands of communism, jockeying for dominant positions in the global communist movement. In conclusion, the Tricontinental was a landmark occurrence in a very exciting and dynamic period of time, a windsock in the global wind currents of 1960’s communism.

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Notes 1. Eastland, James O. 1966. The Tricontinental Conference of African, Asian, and Latin American Peoples. Vol. 89th Congress, 2nd Session. Washington D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 47. 2. Scott-Heron, Gil. “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” Flying Dutchman Productions, 1971. 3. Castro, Fidel. Text of Fidel Castro Speech to the Closing Session. Havana, Cuba. 1966. 4. Eastland, James O., 47. 5. Ibid., 26. 6. Eastland, James O., 27. 7. Ibid., 11 . 8. Scott-Heron, Gil. 9. Castro, Fidel. 10. “Dominican Leader Bars 8 Reds’ Return.” New York Times. January 4, 1966. Page 3. 11. Eastland, James O., 16. 12. Anderson, Jon Lee. Che. New York: Grove Press, 1997. Page 684. 13. Anderson, Jon Lee., 684-687. 14. Ibid., 684

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15. Halperin, Ernst. “Peking and the Latin American Communists.” The China Quarterly no. 29:111. 1967. 16. Ibid., 148. 17. Scott-Heron, Gil. 18. “A Cuban Will Head New Leftist Group.” New York Times. January 15, 1966. Page 8. 19. Eastland, James O., 16. 20. Halperin, Ernst., 151. 21. Scott-Heron, Gil. 22. Giniger, Henry. “Guatemala Rebel Bars Any Truce.” New York Times. January 17, 1966. Page 7. 23. Ibid. 24. Eastland, James O., 22. 25. Ibid. 26. De Palma, Brian. Scarface. Produced by Martin Bregman. Universal Pictures, 1983. 27. Scott-Heron, Gil. 28. Castro, Fidel. 29. Eastland, James O., 18. 30. Eastland, James O., 17. 31. Ibid., 17. Humanities

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32. Ibid., 19. 33. Ibid., 29. 34. Castro, Fidel. 35. Halperin, Ernst., 111. 36. Scott-Heron, Gil. 37. Gustafson, Don. Russian and Chinese Communism. Augsburg College. October 24, 2007. 38. Ibid. 39. Eastland, James O., 2. 40. Ibid., 28. 41. Ibid., 28. 42. Halperin, Ernst, 149. 43. Ibid, 130. 44. Halperin, Ernst., 150. 45. Eastland, James O., 34. 46. “Cuba May Profit From Communist China’s Cut in the Purchase of Sugar.” New York Times. January 4, 1966. Page 4. 47. Halperin, Ernst., 150.

48. “Leftist Parley Ends in Havana With Victory for Chi42

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nese Reds.� New York Times. January 16, 1966. Page 7. 49. Eastland, James O., 32. 50. Scott-Heron, Gil.

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Suburban Spaces and the Formation of Political Identities

Suburban Spaces and the Formation of Political Identities Edward J. Matchett, Augsburg College Note from the editor:

This featured selection, authored by Augsburg senior Edward Matchett, explores how living in a particular built environment, namely a suburb, impacts the process of political socialization. Firmly contextualized in the existing body of sociological literature, Matchett argues the way in which a community is physically constructed helps shape the political ideology of its individual members. For example, the suburban environment restricts the formation of diverse social networks making individuals more likely to adopt conservative political belief systems and ideologies. Matchett charts the historical rise of today’s most prominent urban form, the suburb, and provides provocative conclusions on its social implications. Following the conclusion of the Second World War, suburbanization exploded in the United States. Growing from onequarter of the population in 1950, to one-third by 1960, and to over half by the mid-1990’s, suburbanization stands as perhaps one of the most rapid and fundamental changes to occur in American society. Though having been the topic of innumerable articles and books over the last half century, relatively little has been written of the immense political consequences associated with suburbanization. Utilizing critical social theory and empirical evidence, these consequences will be evaluated and examined, with special attention paid to the relationship between community structure and the formation of political attitudes and identity. Firmly contextualized in the existing body of literature, this paper seeks to explore how living in a particular community—in this case the suburb—impacts the process of political socialization and vote choice by restricting the formation of diverse social networks, specifically “weak tie” 44

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associations, pulling individuals—in aggregate—moderately to the ideological right. Historical Underpinnings Historically, the topic of suburbanization has been a popular one, especially among scientists, journalists, and intellectuals. Beginning in the early 1950’s, the tide of literature centering on the suburban landscape began to permeate much of America’s popular and academic presses. Among the most notable titles were, The Crack in the Picture Window by John Keats, The Organization Man by William Whyte, and The Split-Level Trap by Gordon, Gordon, and Gunther. While almost uniformly critical of suburban existence, none delved much into the political realm of suburban life, nor did many of the academic articles that were awash in the academic journals at the time either. Instead: A move to the suburbs was alleged to foster overconformity, hyperactivity, anti-individualism, conservatism, momism, dullness and boredom, status seeking, as well as a host of specific psychological and social ills including alcoholism, sexual promiscuity, and mental illness (Popenoe 3) Thus, while a popular topic with no shortage of speculation, the political implications of suburbanization were initially very narrowly defined, usually taking the form of a conformity-to-conservatism argument (Levine). Though perhaps moderately intellectually stimulating, the alleged trend toward conservatism was, on the whole, inflated and empirically unjustifiable at the time. Though there was a wide-held belief—clearly visible in the popular academic literature at the time—that a move to the suburbs was indicative of increased support for the Republican Party, neither political scientists nor sociologists were able to find any conclusive evidence that the suburbs fostered this behavior, or that suburban residents were any less likely to have contact with their neighbors or community. Thus, because these claims were largely unverifiable, political scientists concluded that any difference that did Social Sciences

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exist between the urban and suburban could be explained instead by differences in individual-level characteristics, such as race and income (Gainsborough). It has only been relatively recently that such a tread has been captured empirically. However, until now, suburban political behavior has been traditionally understood as merely “demographic differences.” For instance, Zikmund, a political scientist interested in voting behavior, analyzed suburban voting behavior in every presidential election between 1948 and 1964 (36). Finding that suburban voting followed the national trends of each election, and “despite large increases in population size, the political composition of most suburbs remained stable” (37), Zikmund argued that this was evidence not of conversion to the new “political environment” but of a more innate tendency to want to live among those that are similar. In a similar spirit, Wirt et al. found that the “apparent city-suburb differences in partisan political attitudes are primarily attributable to demographic differences between the two locales” (114). Congruently, Greer and Greer, in their “Suburban Political Behavior: A Matter of Trust” concluded, “The key variables [responsible for the disparity] seem to be socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and life style” (205). Given the evidence, and its logical extensions, researchers at the time were unable to conceptualize this phenomenon as anything other than a divide in demographics; thus, they were unable to fully capture the social significance of place. Methodological short-comings and an almost institutionalized aversion to any sort of social determinism gave rise to the rational-choice model of voting behavior (Gainsborough). Because researchers were unable to carve people up any further than universally defined categories, such as class or race, they disregarded the geographical as important. It is easy to see why, given that significant degrees of variations between individuals can be accounted for on the individual-level. However, as quantitative methodology has become more sophisticated and the effects of place ever more apparent, it is entirely probable that there did exist a specific suburban politics all along, but, for reasons mentioned, it was simply overlooked by researchers at the time.

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Contemporary Development and Implications As more than 25 years have past, many authors have drawn a fundamental distinction between the suburbanization that occurred prior to 1945 and that that occurred afterward, on into the present. Suburbia, from its origins in eighteenth century London, has traditionally been understood as a “specialized portion of the expanding metropolis” (Fishman 46). Regardless of suburbs actual geographical location—either inside or outside the city’s political boundaries—it has always been understood to be functionally dependent on the city itself. Without the existence of the urban core, the suburb would cease to exist. However, for reasons, we will soon discover, this traditional notion of suburbia is no longer valid, nor has it been for quite some time. Robert Fishman and Joel Garreau, in Bourgeois Utiopias: The Rise and Fall of Suburbia and Edge City: Life on the New Frontier respectively, have written extensively on what they believe to be the formation of a new urban form. They believe this new form (representing such a drastic shift in residential and urban structure) to be not merely a structural adaptation of suburbia, but a new form of city entirely. Fishman, calling it the “most important feature” of postwar development, goes on to discuss the breakaway of the urban periphery from the central city. Unlike suburbs of the past, the Edge City—to borrow Garreau’s term—is made most characteristically distinct by its decentralized form and independence from the urban core. By Edge City, I am referring to the sprawling peripheral zone that has emerged as a functionally independent socioeconomic entity. Noted for its campus-like office parks, shopping malls, retail strip clusters, schools, hospitals, massive superhighways, and a full-range of housing tracts, the Edge City is the new decentralized mode of urban form. Complete with all the amenities once only found in the traditional cities, residents need not look any further than their immediate agglomerate community for their employment and residential needs. The Edge City is the net result of individuals wanting to live where they work. Thus, from Los Angeles to New Jersey, the United States has witnessed a dramatic and transformaSocial Sciences

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tive evolution in urban geography and organization, the likes of which has profound social and political implications. Pulling from Urban Design It should thus be of no surprise then that urban and planning literature offers important insights into how the principal design features of suburbia shape not only the aesthetic environment, but the social environment as well. Though the connection between architecture and design and political behavior is clearly defined, the general suggestion that can be drawn from this literature is that “particular housing patterns shape residents’ social landscapes by determining with whom [and how] they interact” (14). Mike Davis, for instance, the renowned urban theorist, draws strong connections between the suburban form and its corollary, the privatization of space, with the formation of political attitudes. In his history of Los Angeles, Davis makes the argument that privatization and single-use zoning have created a patch-work of suburban enclaves, all of which rally “around the defense of household equity and residential privilege” (74). Moreover, he suggests that suburbs’ principal design features, particularly those which have grown out of its single-use zoning characteristic, reflect the desire of suburbanites to insulate themselves from the problems of the outside world. Davis describes the suburban ethos as the following: A rhetoric of social welfare that calculates the interests of the urban poor and the middle classes as a zero-sum game. In cities like Los Angeles […] one observes an unprecedented tendency to merge urban design, architecture and the police apparatus into a single, comprehensive security effort (224). The effect of which, Davis believes, is the disappearance of public spaces, either all together or made so inhospitable as to render them useless. Congruently, Davis writes that these new suburban— Edge City—developments outside the traditional city limits “often become fortress cities, complete with encompassing walls, restricted entry points with guard posts, overlapping private and public 48

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police services, and even privatized roadways” (244). Thus, Davis believes there has been a great narrowing of social and political concern among suburban residents. Though urban planning and design literature provides provocative and credible analysis linking location and political behavior, it does not afford us with a more generalized sense of how this linkage varies between the various strata of suburbs, nor does it account for all the political variation that continues to exist within the suburban continuum. While the literature supports the claim that the linkage results in an increased disposition toward conservatism, the form-function causality has not yet been firmly documented empirically, or for that matter, theoretically. However, both Garreau and Fishman certainly make persuasive cases that the suburbs are no longer the “bedroom communities” that they once were, as today they serve almost the entire gamut of human needs and services. Fishman writes: The multiplicity of destinations makes public transportation highly inefficient, but it does remove the terrible bottleneck which necessarily occurred when work was concentrated at a single core within the region. Each house in an Edge City is within a reasonable driving time from a vast array of jobs and services, just as each workplace along the highways can draw upon a large number of workers (213). Thus, as the Edge City is increasingly self-contained, meaning that individuals no longer have to commute into the central city, it may well be that this very diversification of functions within this new urban form has made possible the rise of a distinctly suburban politics. Fishman himself offers support for this idea. With the emergence of the edge city or “Technoburb,” as Fishman calls it, residents now have access to all the functions of the city without ever having to leave their immediate suburban community. This presSocial Sciences

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ents a problem, however, marking an important distinction between the old and new urban form: Unfortunately, residents of the new city have generally resisted attempts to build low-income housing in middle-class areas and have discouraged public transportation links. They want to keep the new city’s expanding tax base for themselves and to avoid any direct fiscal responsibly for the urban poor. The new city has thus walled itself off from the problems of the inner city in a way that the Social Darwinists of the 19th Century could only envy. (Fishman 42) With so many of the traditional city amenities “in house,” the Edge City makes it increasingly possible for today’s suburbanites to live without giving much thought to the urban core which they surround. The fact that suburbanites never visit the city and their daily lives are, to them, seemingly unaffected by its problems, permits the development of distinctive suburban attitudes toward politics. In a similar sense, this growing fault line allows suburban residents to push the needs of the poor and working class out of mind, as the social distance between them and one another increases. And while Edge Cities may not correspond completely to the traditional picture of suburbia, they make the literature concerning the development of shielded enclaves ever more relevant. Outlying communities are becoming increasingly self-sufficient and, as a consequence, self-serving. This attitude shift has not only been written about in academic circles, but has shown up in popular press articles as well. For instance, in 1991, a poll conducted by the New York Times found that suburban residents do indeed have fewer reasons to go to the city than before. As the poll reported, only 22 percent of “chief wage earners” in the suburbs worked in the city, while over 58 percent reported that they worked in the county they lived in. 51 percent of suburban residents reported that they spend “an evening 50

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or a day in the city less frequently than they did five years ago.” Expectedly, 52 percent of suburban residents said that “events in the city have hardly any impact on their lives today,” marking a substantial increase from the 39 percent who responded that way in a survey conducted in 1978 (Glaberson). For suburban residents, with decreased contact comes a diminished feeling of affinity. Congruently, just as the suburban environment has come to insulate individuals from concern for their urban counterparts, it has also retarded empathetic concern for even those that one might consider neighbors. The social isolation afforded to suburban residents appears to erode the diversity of their social networks. Principally, because suburban residents, in aggregate, have fewer “weak ties” than their urban counterparts, they are more likely to remain averse to new forms of political information (Pattie). Suburban residents are more likely to have static ideological views and attitudes, as they are less likely to be afforded with contradictory information, by virtue of their insulated spatial locations. Kenneth Jackson, in his classic Crabgrass Frontier, cites the development of new attitudes toward leisure and recreation, specifically the “establishment of the home as a self-sufficient entertainment center” (279) as a contributing factor to the ever increasing “weakening of community” among suburban residents. While central cities still boast plentiful concert halls, theatres, museums, and public squares, the suburban community is far less generous in this regard. As Robert Wood noted, it is not the influence of urban culture that is most significant, but the general suburban resistance to it. Suburban residents frequently choose not to avail themselves to the variety of experience the city has to afford. “They voluntarily restrict their interests and associations to the immediate vicinity,” diminishing contact with larger society. (Jackson 279). Though suburban residents do join organizations, vote, and volunteer, there is an increasingly pathological focus on the home as the center of social activity. This, in addition to the physical composition of suburbia, pulls residents moderately to the ideological right. Suburban residents, today, exhibit a far greater propensity to engage socially within the home, rather than in a larger neighborhood or community setting. Social life has all but Social Sciences

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disappeared from the sidewalks and small parks. In fact, as the usage of the automobile has increased, many developers have opted out of such amenities, reinforcing this tendency toward privatized social interaction. As Jackson puts it, “residential neighborhoods have become a mass of small, private islands; with the backyard functioning as a wholesome, family-oriented, and reclusive place” (280). Out of the anonymous expanses of sprawl has arisen the Edge City. Here, individuals must go much further out of their way to interact with one another. In the suburbs to a much greater extent than in the urban core, one cannot simply walk out the front door and stroll a short distance to a gathering place and feel a welcome sense of belonging. In everyday suburban life, whether in our neighborhoods or doing errands, we are surrounded by strangers. In order to connect with others, relationships have become far more formalized and controlled, perhaps even standardized. Much as the bureaucracy transformed the structure of social organizations, the impersonal nature of the suburbs has, in effect, led to sort of bureaucratization of larger society. Because we don’t know one another, we have come to rely increasingly on abstracted positions, each ascribed with a sort of imbedded code that informs us as to how we are to act. Today, the position rather than the person informs our action and behavior. Whether it is in a restaurant or at a check-out counter, interactions increasingly take the form of a transaction. Contrived verbal exchanges, predicated on job-specific social positions, are what pass for social interaction along and among commercial boulevards of the Edge City. Thus, as well over half of United States citizens now reside in a sort of suburban environment, our society has replaced conversation with convention, relationship with transaction (Sennett). Jane Jacobs, in her renowned book The Death and Life of Great American Cities, observed that before the advent of sprawl the daily interactions that took place on the sidewalks of cities and towns across America were the “glue” that held society together. Though today, in suburbs across America, sidewalks are empty, and in many places they aren’t even present at all. In fact, due to the decentralized nature of most modern developments, sidewalks 52

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would be of little use because most new municipalities lack a centralized core. Instead, residents are forced to rely on the use of a self-contained automobile if they are to get anywhere. The express way and the divided highway have replaced the walkable boulevards and avenues of the past, leading individuals into what can only be described as a collective separateness. Modern suburbs were built to accommodate cars and commerce. As a result, people no longer walk, casual interaction no longer occurs, and consequently, a genuine sense of community is harder to establish. Though part of the suburban allure comes from the sense of privacy it is believed to engender, the sheer magnitude of privacy one can enjoy in the suburbs is undermining the formation of meaningful connections and thus, community (Morris). The increased spatial distance between individuals has, in aggregate, led to greater social segregation and isolation. Due to single-use zoning, suburban communities have compartmentalized the varying facets of life into varying geospatial districts—shopping centers here, housing there, restaurants and recreation over there—requiring individuals to drive, rather than walk or ride between them (Morris). Consequently, since each section serves only one particular activity, be it residential, commercial, or industrial, suburban residents are forced to spend unprecedented amounts time traveling between the varying zones (Fishman). Moreover, as the edge city has come to take on almost all of the functions traditionally associated with the urban core, individuals frequently never leave this anomic existence. This does, as it turns out, have political implications. As commuting patterns have shifted with the expanding scope of services offered by Edge Cities, many central cities are largely bypassed all together by those residents living on its periphery (Fishman; Gainsborough; Garreau). Today, commuting is primarily an intra-suburban affair; the days of commuting into the central city, for most, are long over. Again, because of the decentralized nature of the edge city, many theorists including Fishman and Garreau have come to believe that individuals now increasingly create “their own city” (214), the geographical center of which is one’s own home. Fishman writes, “Household[s] create their own Social Sciences

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city from the multitude of destinations that are within suitable driving distance” (215). Thus, commuting within the Edge City is omnidirectional, allowing individuals the capacity to quickly get in their car and be among the fellows they choose. Individuals are able to select, much the way they would a television program, the type and kind of interaction they would like to have. Gone are the days of informal meetings of chance. Today, in the suburbs, social interaction is controlled and mitigated through the use of advanced communication technology and a new social protocol to boot. Again, without the existence of confined space and dense webs of associations, individuals have come to rely on abstracted social positions to inform their daily social interactions. In order for an individual to make a new social connection, they must first be granted access; this usually requires some form of a preexisting relationship or a formalized social context. However, the suburb and its corollary, the reduction of public space, have made it extremely difficult to create and maintain new social contacts (Morris), or maintain a healthy set of weak ties (Pattie). Thus, the suburban individual social network is usually less diverse than the average urban one. This difference makes primary groups—family and close friends—all the more important as socializing agents, particularly for political socialization. Accordingly, the social contexts in which we participate—primarily groups and institutions—determine how we identify ourselves and others. It is through the lens of these particular affiliations that we make sense of social space. Thus, as the suburban environment encourages the formation of a highly individualistic social network, it should be of no surprise that an ideology predicated on individualism is more appealing, as it approaches a better fit. Social associations, in the suburbs, are created in such a fashion that places a tremendous emphasis on the individual, creating practical virtues out of individual choice and self-selection. Should it be of any wonder that this generation is known as the Me Generation? The suburb, or Edge City, is itself a unique and palpable social context. The way in which the suburban landscape is constructed has a direct bearing on the nature and types of interper54

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sonal associations that are formed. And while differences exist among suburban structures and layouts, the general form is largely the same, just as most central cities are similarly constructed. This allows for a broad theoretical consideration of space as a dependent variable on social activity, and by natural extension, political activity as well (Gainsborough). As individuals initially learn about politics, political parties, and the political process in their homes and local milieus, political ideologies tend to remain relatively fixed throughout life (Zuckerman). However, as “personal and household characteristics are transformed in tandem with changing national and local contexts” (Pattie 187), ideologies may shift. New circumstances and sources of information are brought to into consideration, most of which will relate to contemporary concerns. Just as one’s home background provides a context within which political attitudes are structured and restructured, these attitudes too provide the “framework within which contemporary events and concerns are evaluated” (Pattie 188). Thus, when individuals bear witness to an event, they are not merely experiencing that event in a vacuum, but rather they contextualize that event, placing it into a pre-established narrative. Every event, then, comes to be seen as a part of a pattern, and depending on how an individual was politically socialized, different individuals come to interpret the same objective event in different ways (Edelman). For instance, a Presidential proposal to drill in the arctic fits, for many, a pattern of events proving that a president lacks environmental concerns and is in the pocket of the oil lobby. For others, however, it fits just as neatly into a preconceived pattern proving that they president is working diligently to address the issue of energy. Thus, no matter what incidents occur politically, they will all fit nicely as evidence to support an individual’s preconceived hopes and fears. What matters is their remoteness, not content—social contexts ascribe the meaning. Form Follows Function Form follows function, or so the old adage goes. The suburban form, like any social environment, has a strong bearing on the formation of social networks; and it is the social networks, Social Sciences

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in conjunction with the suburban form, that ultimately provides function. Eric Oliver finds that the greater the social homogeneity of a community, the lower the level of political involvement: “By creating communities of homogeneous political interests, suburbanization reduces the local conflicts that engage and draw the citizenry into the public realm” (Oliver 205). Congruently, Laurence Kotler-Berkowitz finds that diverse friendships, defined as “friendships across multiple group boundaries, are positively related to higher levels of political participation” (155). And as the suburban structure, generally, discourages meetings of chance by increasing social distances between not only individual residents, but between the residents of suburbia and the urban core, suburbanites generally have fewer weak ties and sparser personal networks (Gainsborough). The result is that suburbanites are increasingly isolated and insulated from the plight of others, which tacitly helps justify the maintenance of ideology predicated on individualism and thus, restricted governance (Gainsborough; Zuckerman). A Social Psychological Perspective? This phenomenon, of increased social distance and its effect on human behavior, has been of supreme interest to the social and behavior sciences. As Stanley Milgram demonstrated in his obedience experiments, social communication between individuals is sometimes restricted less by physical distance than by social distance (33). His findings lend credence to the idea that as social distances, among suburban individuals, have increased, so too has the likelihood for selfish and pathological behavior. Milgram himself alluded to the primacy of social structure over network structure in human cognitive processes when he said, “by belonging to certain groups and playing certain roles, individuals acquire characteristics that make them more or less likely to interact with one another. Social identity, in other words, drives the creation of social networks” (64).

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Just as social identity impacts the creation of social networks, the amount of social distance between individuals impacts behavior. Milgram effectively demonstrated this in his classic obedience experiments by decreasing the distance between the teacher and the learner. Milgram observed that decreasing the social distance between the teacher and the learner increases the propensity of empathic cues from the learner, principally those cues indicating suffering, such as screaming or banging (36). Likewise, suburban individuals, given their spatial locations, reside in conditions that mitigate the prevalence of similar cues, such as poverty or other social hardships. It could be said that Suburban individuals have fewer avenues through which they might receive such empathic cues, or feedback. Thus, like the teacher, there are fewer ways for the suburbanite to assess the level of suffering of the learner, or in this case, the general “other,� making it easier on the suburban individual’s conscience to inflict harm. Understanding how the changing distance between the learner and subject affected obedience is important because as the social distances were narrowed, the percentage of subjects that were fully willing to obey the experiment shrank dramatically. While in the remote-victim condition, as it was called, the teacher received no feedback from the learner; however, in the feedback Social Sciences

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conditions, the suffering of the learner became undeniable. As the teacher had greater and greater opportunity to observe the learner, whether it was through voice-feedback, proximity, or the touch condition, the willingness to inflict harm was increasingly mitigated by empathic cues (Milgram). Thus fewer individuals were willing to do it. Conversely, as social distances have expanded within the suburban landscape, individuals are less and less afforded with opportunities to see the results of not only their individual actions, but larger policy actions as well. Another keen insight that might be borrowed from Milgram’s obedience experiment and its subsequent contribution to the body of social psychology literature is the concept of “cognitive narrowing” (38). In the remote-victim condition, Milgram suggested that a “narrowing of the cognitive field” occurs. That is, the teachers can put the learner out of mind as they concentrate on the learning task instead. As the victim becomes more visible, however, such a narrowing becomes increasingly difficult. Milgram’s findings suggest that inflicting harm on someone one that can sense—see, hear, or touch—is profoundly more difficult than inflicting harm on someone that one cannot sense. Presumably, this is why it is easier to bomb a city from thousands of feet in the air than strangle someone with one’s own hands. Similarly, it is possible to infer that because of a similar “cognitive narrowing,” suburban individuals are, again, increasingly able to shut out the concerns of others. The conceptualization of cognitive narrowing is highly congruent with the depravity frequently associated with the suburbs among academics. Marx would suggest of course that such an ideological development is nothing to be surprised over. In fact, he strongly recognized that material conditions or the physical circumstances that groups find themselves in frequently give rise to an ideology that justifies the current arrangement. In other words, material conditions give rise to cognitive and moral justifications. Thus, as individuals have come to reside in residential communities that encourage individualism, it should be of no great surprise that this had led to a swing toward ideological conservatism, as it justifies human existence amidst such conditions. Moreover, Hughes and Gove, in 58

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their article “Living Alone, Social Integration, and Mental Health,” posit that the Durkheimian thesis that “a lack of social integration, including isolation produced by living alone, is strongly associated with a variety of pathologies” (1981: 56), in particular psychological distress. Again, as more individuals are isolated from one another, as is the case in the suburbs, it follows that we would see a continuous rise in the prescription of anti-depressants and those seeking psychological consultation—which we have. Thus, there is ample evidence of an increased social isolation and the emergence of a distinct suburban brand of politics, both buttressed by existing sociological theory and empiricism. The suburban form indeed has a distinct corollary function. Conclusion American “ towns” today are gruesome boulevards of commerce, with garish fast-food outlets, huge big-box stores, monotonous office parks, cookiecutter housing clusters, screaming neon signs, contrived themed restaurants, and roads choked with cars (Morris 28). With the advent of superhighways and sophisticated telecommunications, suburban individuals have been given even greater control over the construction of their networks of associations. As these new technologies have progressed, geographic distances have come to matter less and less. No doubt, the automobile has transformed the nature of individual associations. Suburbs, or Edge Cities, have made it so that a preexisting relationship is necessary in order for most interaction to take place, conditions opposite of those found in the urban core. Up until the 1950’s, Sociologists were still working with the classic definition of community: “an aggregate of people who occupy a common and bounded territory within which they establish and participate in common institutions” (Gainsborough 17). This definition of community has become inadequate, leading many including Richard Sennett, a sociologist and culture critic, Social Sciences

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to offer a new approach. Instead of insisting on an increasingly troublesome linkage to geography, Sennett suggests that a “community is more than a set of customs, behaviors, or attitudes about other people. A community is a collective identity; it is a way of saying who ‘we’ are” (310). A city then, to Sennett, is a “human settlement in which strangers are likely to meet.” It is a “milieu of strangers whose lives touch” (311). Of course, it does not take a great deal of deduction to see that the new city of today—the Edge City—stands as almost an antithesis to Sennett’s definition. Some sociologists, including Fishman, believe that this new urban form is superior, as it has “liberated community” by disconnecting it from place of residence. More properly understood as a “network,” the whole consists of a “focal individual” and the sum of his or her various connections with others. Garrreau disagrees, however, writing that, “to call something that small, unstable and vulnerable a community is dubious sociology at best.” While the relationships an individual maintains with members of his or her social circle have a far greater impact on the individual than the individuals that may reside in his or her neighborhood, neighborhood form indeed does have an impact on individual cognition of social and political questions. These theorists and academics effectively demonstrate that politics is a social experience, with individual political decisions taking place in a particular social setting. The information, viewpoints, and more general socio-political cues that an individual encounters are, at least by a degree, specific to a particular social context. Thus, it should be of no surprise that when social context changes, so too does the basis by which political decisions are made. The suburb, as it is itself a social context, provides a unique social setting. Consequently, the political decisions themselves are dependent upon social context—social context is itself a political influence. While more Americans than ever may be “Bowling Alone,” the resounding message of these theorists and others has been that individuals are not in fact voting alone. People “do not act as isolated individuals when they confront the complex task of citizenship” (Robert Huckfeld 20). This presents a significant point of contention, for in the suburbs residents go through daily 60

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life in the presence of others, but not in their company. The larger policy implications of this shift have only begun to be considered. Though at present, social context should remain firmly atop the mantle of any conceptualization of political behavior, as sociologists, political scientists, and urban theorists, work to document the prevalence of non-local friendship and kinship ties as fundamental political socializing agents. Community is no longer confined to a specific neighborhood, but more to a general form, and studying non-local communities as well as social networks may yield even firmer linkages between urban form and the construction of social associations, values, and beliefs.

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Works Citied Davis, Mike. City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angles. New York: Vintage Books, 1990. Edelman, Murray. The Symbolic Uses of Politics. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1967. Fishman, Robert. Bourgeois Utopias: The Rise and Fall of Suburbia. New York: Basic Books, 1987. Gainsborough, Juliet F. Fenced Off: The Suburbanization of American Politics. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown Univesity Press, 2001. Garreau, Joel. Edge City: Life on the New Frontier. New York: Doubleday, 1991. Glaberson, William. “For Many in the New York Region, the City is Ignored and Irrelevant.” New York Times 2 January 1992: A1. Greer, Ann Lennarson and Greer, Scott. Suburban Political Behavior: A Matter of Trust. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976. Jackson, Kenneth. Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985. Kotler-Berkowitz, Laurence. “Friends and Politics: Linking Diverse Friendship Networks to Political Participation.” The Social Logic of Politics: Personal Networks as Contexts for Political Behavior. Ed. Alan S. Zuckerman. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2005. 152-168. Levine, Jeffrey. “Choosing Alone? The Social Network Basis of Modern Political Choice.” The Social Logic of Politics: 62

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Personal Networks as Contexts for Political Behavior. Ed. Alan S. Zuckerman. Philadelphia: Temple Univeristy Press, 2005. 133-151. Milgram, Stanley. Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View. New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1969. Morris, Douglas E. It’s a Sprawl World After All: The Human Cost of Unplanned Growth--and Visions for a Better Future. Gabriola Island: New Society Publishers, 2005. Oliver, Eric. “The Effects of Metropolitan Economic Segregation on Local Civic Participation .” American Journal of Political Science (1999): 186-212. Pattie, Ron J. Johnson and Charles. “Putting Voters in Their Places: Local Context and Voting in England and Whales, 1997.” The Social Logic of Politics: Personal Networks as Con texts for Political Behavior. Ed. Alan S. Zuckerman. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2005. 185-208. Robert Huckfeld, Paul E. Johnson, and John Sprague. “Individuals, Dyads, and Networks: Autregressive Patterns of Political Influence.” The Social Logic of Politics: Personal Networks as Contexts for Political Behavior. Ed. Alan S. Zuckerman. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2005. 21-48. Sennett, Richard. The Fall of the Public Man: On the Social Psychology of Capitalism. New York: Vintage Books, 1974. Wirt, Frederick M. On the City’s Rim: Politics and Policy in Suburbia. Lexington, 1972. Zikmund, Joseph. “Suburban Voting In Presidential Elections.” Midwest Journal of Political Science 12.2 (1968).

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Zuckerman, Alan S. The Social Logic of Politics: Personal Neworks as Contexts for Political Behavior. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2005.

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Augsburg Honors Review, Ed. I, 2008


Profile for Augsburg College Honors

Honors Review Volume I  

Honors Review Volume I

Honors Review Volume I  

Honors Review Volume I

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