Respondez! - Volume 24 2015 Edition In dedication to the University of Tampa Honors Program & To the Memory of Anthony Quattrochi
Respondez! Walt Whitman
RESPONDEZ! Respondez! (The war is completed--the price is paid--the title is settled beyond recall;) Let every one answer! let those who sleep be waked! let none evade! (How much longer must we go on with our affectations and sneaking? Let me bring this to a closeâ€”I pronounce openly for a new distribution of roles;) Let that which stood in front go behind! and let that which was behind advance to the front and speak; Let murderers, thieves, bigots, fools, unclean persons, offer new propositions! Let the old propositions be postponed! Let faces and theories be turnâ€™d inside out! Let meanings be freely criminal, as well as results!
Selene San Felice
Asst. Editor-in-Chief Nicoletta Pappas
Joanna Bond Valeria Fernandez Elizabeth MacLean
Copy Editor Jessie Long
Letter from the Editor-in-Chief Celebrating the work of the UT Honors Program has been my absolute pleasure. I wholeheartedly believe this is the best edition of Respondez! in the publication’s history so far. Each one of the papers chosen showcases the brilliance of the UT Honors students. Of course Respondez! would be nothing without the guidance of Dr. Gary Luter. Thank you for keeping this publication alive and on track. I would also like to thank Jonna, Valeria, and Liz for their dedication. From selecting and editing papers to enduring my constant stream of emails these ladies put all they had into making this book the best it could be. I would also like to thank Kier Magoulas for designing our gorgeous cover, and copy editor Jesse Long for dotting our i’s and crossing our t’s. Most of all I would like to thank my Assistant Editor-in-Chief, Nicoletta Pappas. Without her drive and vision this year’s publication might not have happened. Thank you for helping me breathe new life into this publication. Thank you also to last year’s EIC, Max Davidoff, for believing in me enough to hand over his baby. Dr. David Reamer was also a huge help in the design process, and his assistance is much appreciated. Although I did not have the pleasure of working with Anthony Quattrochi very long, I was very upset to hear of his passing.
Anthony was part of this yearâ€™s editorial board, and was extremely passionate about the honors program and publication. He offered many kind words of support to me personally at the start of the Fall semester, and I have striven to honor his passion for good writing and research with this edition. Thank you to everyone who submitted work, and to all those who believe in our little book. Respondez! has a bright future ahead. As long as UT students continue to research and write, we will continue to honor their work. Selene San Felice, Editor-in-Chief
Table of Contents Developmental Assistance and Developing Sub-Saharan Africa Taylor Kurkechian
The Human Genome Project: Science, Society and Ethics Morgan Chmielewski
The Use of Digital Technology in Music Education Kelly Cuppett
China Incarnate Maggie Poling
Sensory Proccessing Disorder or Something Else? Lindsay Kraun
Gender Discrimination of Women in Nigeria Tonie Schankweiler
Awards First Place for Outstanding Research in International Issues “Developmental Assistance and Developing Sub-Saharan Africa” By Taylor Kurkechian
Second Place for Investigative Excellence of Scientific Ethics “The Human Genome Project: Science, Society and Ethics” By Morgan Chmielewski
Third Place for Exceptional Studies in Feminism “Gender Discrimination of Women in Nigeria” By Tonie Schankweiler
Honorable Mentions “Sensory Processing Disorder or Something Else?” By Lindsay Kraun
“China Incarnate” By Maggie Poling
“The Use of Digital Technology in Music Education” By Kelly Cuppett
The controversial shortcoming of aid and its argued causality for a dismal and dependent future of Africa still floods the realm of international economics.
Developmental Assistance and Developing Sub-Saharan Africa Structural Change vs. Pocket Change By Taylor Kurkechian Abstract This paper assesses the lingering dispute regarding the reality of aid performance in Sub-Saharan Africa. More specifically, it questions the relationship of aid upon aggregate savings and investment, which have been previously regarded as precursors to growth and sustainable development. A normative and empirical summation of precedent literature is presented as well as a regression analysis that is based on an aid-encompassing Solow growth model. Following a comprehensive division of results and data analyses, an amended plan of action is presented for Sub-Saharan Africa to adopt incremental policies that will equip the region in withstanding future development drawbacks. I. INTRODUCTION From the start of the new millennium, Africaâ€™s economy has been on the rise. Deviating from a hopeless narrative, the region has begun to evolve into a newfound picture of growth and opportunity. The continent has shown recent perseverance during the global financial crisis of 2008/2009, and continues to shine brightly in terms of domestic demand while benefitting from high commodity prices. Economic output in Sub-Saharan Africa alone has nearly doubled the global rate, with some of the fastest emerging economies expected to grow over five percent throughout the next five years (Cameron). In addition, growth in trade and foreign direct investment into oil-rich nations has surged overall productivity. Despite economic prospects tilting upside, grave concerns remain. Most development strategies have failed to yield successful poverty alleviation methods despite Sub-Saharan Africa collectively receiving the largest amounts of development aid in the world (in proportion to GDP). According to Dambisa Moyo, former economist at Goldman Sachs and author of Dead Aid:
“Giving alms to Africa continues to be one of the biggest ideas of our time—millions march for it, governments are judged by it, celebrities proselytize the need for it. Yet, this insidious aid culture has left African countries more debt-laden, more inflation-prone, more vulnerable to the vagaries of the currency markets and more unattractive to higher-quality investment.” (Wall Street Journal) Most alarmingly, inadequate performance in savings mobilization has snagged most SSA countries in low-income traps, constrained by high investment-saving gaps and amplified dependence on external capital (Ndikumana). Beyond the immediate struggle to combat diseases plaguing the region, for instance HIV/AIDS, there is a heightened concern that international assistance has and may continue to foster low propensities to save in SSA. The perpetual financial inefficiency, capital flight, and diminishing investment rates brought on by systematic aid to Africa could diminish the regions historical resilience to exogenous market shocks. With population projections expected to explode out of proportions, the methodology of development aid should be questioned. If continuous inflows of cash generate inadequate savings policies by exacerbating myopic behavior in SSA, then it’s back to the drawing board for African growth and sustainability enthusiasts. II. LITERATURE Normative Review Historically, foreign aid has not been a necessary condition for developed nations. High domestic saving rates married with sustained domestic investments have been agreed upon as the recipe for achieving long-term growth and development for low-income countries. For example, history shows us that the East Asian economic miracles of Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore were the product of exponential saving rates coupled with broad-based local investment derived from an export driven economy. Throughout the history of development research, notable literature in the discourse of economics has broadcasted high savings rates as a link for countries to move from desolation to development. Sir William Arthur Lewis
conceptualized that a poor nation could prompt the development process through high voluntary saving rates. W.W. Rostow formulated the structural “Stages of Economic Growth” theory, in which all societies could be identified as lying within five hierarchical categories and that economic progress is achieved through materialistic surpluses from modernization. Similarly, a basic quantitative growth model by Robert Solow (Solow Growth Model) has been established under the assumption that saving is a form of capital accumulation and if raised, will induce economic development. Overall, understanding the relationship between saving and investment is key to formulating and implementing comprehensive growth theories. Moreover, investment is a necessary condition for economic growth. Saving, by in large, is a channel in which investment is financed. A journal by Levine and Renelt titled, A Sensitivity Analysis of Cross-Country Growth Regressions, has provided empirical evidence that investment is the strongest driver of long-run growth. This is why development policies and growth strategies blatantly emphasize high rates of domestic investment (Ndikumana). In addition to funding economic growth, saving at the macroeconomic level provides a buffer against global shocks especially in regards to agricultural commodity prices (the most absorbed sector of SSA economies). At the household level, a higher rate of individual savings helps shield families from microeconomic setbacks attributed to climate changes and natural disasters. Still, market volatility often consumes the resources of farming households, and informal savings habits (such as tying material wealth to livestock) perpetuate low individual and countrywide saving rates. Therefore, developmental assistance and private capital inflows to Africa are deeply and historically entrenched in the public sector, tied with a plethora of binding terms and constraints for repayment which are often open-ended. Thus we have the “aid efficiency” debate. Aid, specifically Official Development Assistance (ODA), is a transfer from one government or multilateral institution to another government that is constrained by a lack of domestic resources in order to finance investment.
In addition to bilateral assistance (country to country) and multilateral assistance (UN, World Bank, NATO), non-governmental aid (NGOâ€™s) provides funding on behalf of membership organizations for unique causes. Aid purposes may also be categorized into humanitarian (short term relief in nature), developmental (conducive to economic growth), and quid-pro-quo (Latin: â€œsomething for somethingâ€?). In discussing saving and investment effects of aid, development assistance is most prominently scrutinized. Fundamentally, the purpose of systematic development aid (either bilateral or multilateral) is to ease the pressure on societies falling short of cash, so they may finance higher investment levels and reach greater thresholds of economic growth. For the sake of simplicity, it is significant to note that categories of aid vary from binding, non-binding, or grants (100% repayment free) and not all forms of aid are intended for investment purposes. For example, in 2012 the Democratic Republic of Congo was the largest recipient of ODA in Africa, with $3.96 billion (USD) sponsored by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC). Its allocation of funds was divided into six categories: social infrastructure (37%), debt relief (23%), humanitarian aid (15%), economic infrastructure (8%), production (7%), and program assistance (9%) (OECD Aid Data Statistics). The DAC is comprised of 29 donor members including the European Union with oversight provided by the World Bank, the United Nations Development Program, the IMF, the International Development Association, the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank (oecd.org). Seemingly magnanimous in nature, the premise of the DAC and their role in providing Official Development Assistance to low-income countries has been both proselytized and protested. *Although this paper is not intended to affect the deliberation of the controversial discussion concerning the success of aid, it is important to emphasize the consequences of aid on savings (a nexus for development), so both donors and recipients are able to reevaluate policy. Advantages of Aid Literature based on moral premises advocating flows of aid to SSA is compelling. Supporting SSA financially is charitably justified and targets inequality
in the worldwide political economy. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair described Africa as a “scar on the conscience of the world” and called upon the international community to heal it (Akonor, 1072). Arguably one of the most famous advocates of African developmental aid is Jeffrey Sachs in, The End of Poverty. Inspired by the UN Millennium Project, he boldly declares that if all prosperous countries increase their budgets for foreign aid between $135 million and $195 million and properly allocate this money for the next ten years, then extreme poverty (those making less than one dollar a day) can and will be eliminated by 2025. In an IMF seminar publication, Jaycox argues that Africa will almost always need international support to overcome its macroeconomic challenges (Andrews, 10). Rudimentary observations suggest that even the assemblage of such complex institutions such as the World Bank and IMF demonstrate the significance of developmental assistance to Africa. Without these bodies of lenders, where would the continent be today? Disadvantages of Aid According to the opposition, Africa would be better off without the disturbance of aid, as it dismantles the incentive structure of capitalism and perpetuates the cycles of debt between the North and South. Peter Bauer, professor of Economics at the London School of Economics insists: “The drastic policies often pursued in the name of comprehensive development planning, and promoted by foreign aid, do not augment resources: they only centralize power. Nor do they promote or strengthen the human qualities, attitudes, and social institutions conducive to progress.” (The Freeman) Similarly, in 2004, Jeffrey Winters, a professor at Northwestern University claimed before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, “the World Bank had participated in the corruption of roughly $100 billion of its loan funds intended for development” (Wall Street Journal). As aid flows freely to SSA, corruption and cronyism are rife throughout the developmental process (or lack thereof).
It is no surprise that in 2000, 70% of public expenditure, 12.4% of gross national product (GNP), and over 50% of imports were derived from foreign aid (Ampaw). Likewise, Moyo believes that a majority of Africa is, “Stuck in an aid world of no incentives, there is no reason for governments to seek other, better, more transparent ways of raising development finance” (Wall Street Journal). Authors alike tend to believe that aid acts as a “smokescreen” to cover up the illicit laundering of hefty domestic assets amongst African despots. According to global development writer Mark Anderson, a group of NGO’s found “sustained looting in the continent as it loses nearly $60 billion a year through tax evasion, climate change mitigation, and the flight of profits earned by foreign multinational companies” (The Guardian). Director of the Inter Region Economic Network and Kenyan economist James Shikwati theorizes, “development aid fosters the so-called ‘political industry’ and curbs the real economy, no wonder that in Africa the richest people are politicians, not entrepreneurs” (Immanuel 9). Irresistibly, aid wealth has fueled civil unrest, eroding democratization efforts in SSA and has bred new dependency magnitudes in which disenfranchised citizens succumb to the symptoms of aid addiction. William Easterly, primary challenger of Sachs, pursues the notion that “the idea of ‘aid buying growth’ is an integral part of the founding myth and ongoing mission of the aid bureaucracy” (Andrews 11). The Samaritan’s Dilemma, by Gibson, conceptualizes the adverse effects of aid in investor attractiveness, suggesting that recipient countries reduce their own country’s competitiveness (Andrews 11). At the micro-level, many assistance programs unintentionally crowd out opportunity for local investment and reinforce the poverty cycle. For example, say a western government-inspired program brings 100,000 mosquito nets to a small town in Africa. There is now no longer a need for local mosquito net providers, so the individual and his employees go out of business. After time, when the mosquito nets are torn and useless, not only is there is no repairman to fix them but the cycle of poverty repeats because there is a dependency on western institution to provide mosquito nets (Moyo). Thus the dependency cycle becomes self-enforcing.
As complexly as African development theories are organized, many believe that culture is an ancestor to development. This idea suggests that some cultures are more conducive to economic prosperity. Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen claims “culture influences economic behavior, political participation, value formation and evolution” (Andrews 12). In agreement with Sen, Walter Rodney, author of How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, suggests colonialism has negatively impacted Africa’s development culture as the region lost much of its power to defend its interest and govern internal matters, the prevalence of lump sum funding is only prolonging this misfortune for generations to come (Andrews 13). Expanding Population: Opportunity or Liability? A working IMF paper titled “Africa Rising: Harnessing the Demographic Dividend” hypothesizes Africa alone will account for 3.2 billion of the 4 billion increase in the global population by 2100 (UN World Population Database). It is suggested that demographic transitions will become revolutionary for Africa, as the continent’s global share of the working age population is expected to surge from 12.6% in 2012 to 41% before 2100 (Drummond/Thakoor/ Yu). This increase in the working age population may provide an opportunity to generate a demographic dividend (a process driven by declining mortality and fertility rates) thereby increasing labor supply and growth potential (Drummond, Thakoor, Yu). They stress “the increase in working age population and resulting decline in dependency ratio causes an increase in output, savings, and investment” (IMF Report). Their empirical analysis is revolutionary, countering the common assumption that population growth will wreak havoc upon all ends of the earth (Malthusian Principle). The report also emphasizes efficiency in channeling savings from the working age population is key. Additionally, healthy policies are essential concerning quality of governmental institutions, labor market regulation, macroeconomic management, openness to trade and capital flows, and human capital. Positive international spillovers from this demographic dividend could jumpstart Africa’s success in the global economy, but without proper incentive structures to save and with an inefficient financial infrastructure, rising unemployment and social risks may flourish.
Now it is essential to ask, will systemic aid hurt these prospects of a demographic dividend? Does aid discourage aggregate savings and/or investments? If so, with population on the rise, will SSA be able to create stronger incentives to save and invest despite the possibility of aid encouraging consumption? Empirical Review Andre Gunder Frank (1956) first exposed aid as a hindrance to development through the “dependency theory”. It proposes that the purpose of aid is to push donor investment into short-term fixes for social problems and extract capital from SSA in the long run. This process not only neglects to enhance growth but also reduces aggregate savings and would prolong underdevelopment in the region. Milton Friedman highlighted the effects of aid as a replacement of domestic resources, creating dependency on cheap foreign capital for consumption. Leftover foreign wealth will consequently weigh down long-term growth because of low productivity effects (Serieux 3). The Harrod-Domar model and its extension the “two-gap” model by Chenery and Strout set a precedent for analyzing the relationship between development aid, savings and investments. In Politics and Effectiveness of Foreign Aid, Peter Boone began a series of studies with a 96-country comparison dataset and found that aid was ineffective and promoted wasteful government consumption (Boone 1996, p.290). Alternatively, Hadjimichael et al. and Durbarry et al. highlighted a significant correlation between aid and growth through investment within a specified aid/GDP ratio range (IMF paper) Less extreme conclusions by Burnside and Dollar (2000) suggested aid is only significant and linear with growth in societies upholding strong macroeconomic policies. Both the normative and empirical literature analyzing the effects of aid on savings, investments, and overall economic growth is expansive and paradoxical in summation. Ultimately, discrepancies among case studies will be inevitable, as cumulative data does not perfectly account for irrational consumption behavior at the individual level. Additionally there is a plethora of
proxies that are used in determining the incalculable concepts of growth and development. Data biases saturate nearly any fundamental analysis, hence the disparity in precedent research. II. THEORY Although many studies explore the effects of aid on overall domestic growth (often measured as percent change in GDP and/or GDP per capita), SSA fosters far too many social complexities that constrain this variable. Also, rather than attempting to promote causality, this analysis intends to outline a correlation between foreign aid (independent variable) and savings (dependent variable), along with foreign aid (independent variable) and investment (dependent variable) in SSA. Therefore the following hypotheses will act as the groundwork for an empirical analysis. Hypotheses H1: Aid has a measurable effect, either positive or negative, on gross domestic savings in SSA. H1 : βaid ≠ 0 H0: Aid does not impact gross domestic savings in SSA. H0 : βaid = 0 H2: Aid has a measurable effect, either positive or negative, on gross domestic investment in SSA. H2 : βaid ≠ 0 H0: Aid has no impact on gross domestic investment. H0 : βaid = 0 Models For simplification purposes, this report divides the growth variable into its capital accumulation parts, savings and investment. While accounting for possible effects of aid, the basic Solow model has been revised by contributions to developmental economics and is formatted into the following equations (Bhagwati 257): (a) Sit = β0 + xitβx + aiditβaid+ aid2itβaid2 + Si + εit (b) Iit = β0 + xitβx + aiditβaid+ aid2itβaid2 + Ii + εit
In the equations, “i” denotes countries, “t” denotes period of time, “Sit” denotes the ratio of gross domestic savings to GDP, “Iit” denotes the ratio of gross domestic investment to GDP, “aidit” denotes the ratio of aid to GDP measured, “aid2it” seizes diminishing returns, “Si/Ii” controls for multivariate country effects, and “xit” is a collection of practical determinants of capital accumulation in SSA: foreign direct investment, inflation, growth rate of GDP per capita and balance of budget. Lastly, “εit” is the error variable that processes vacancies in data submissions (Bassi 24). These models act as a framework for expounding variables regarding aggregate saving (DV) and aggregate investment (DV) in SSA. III. SOURCES AND RESEARCH DESIGN Official Development Assistance (ODA), according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD): 1. Is administered with the promotion of the economic development and welfare of developing countries as its main objective and 2. Is concessional in character and conveys a grant element of at least 25 percent (calculated at a rate of discount of 10 percent) (oecd.org). Traditionally, aid studies use the net ODA assessment to quantify the flow of funds. The scientific analysis in this paper is performed through two Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regression test using IBM-SPSS. In addition, an F-test and T-test are performed to quantify statistical significance for explanatory variables. Using the dataset created by former senior fellow of the Center for Global Development David Roodman (2007); a two-fold series is presented for the effects of aid (IV) on savings (DV) and investment (DV). Comprised of Worldwide Economic Indicators by the World Bank Roodman’s dataset restricts the continent sample to SSA and measures aid in three proxies: the ratio of Net ODA to real GDP in constant US$, the ratio of Net ODA to nominal GDP, and the ratio of Effective Development Assistance (EDA) to real GDP (Bassi 24). A former report published by the University of Essex investigating “How Foreign Aid Damages the Recipient Country” (Bassi) served as an outline for these regression tests, as it provides insight in diverse explanatory variables (Table 3).
IV. RESULTS Aid (IV)/ Savings (DV) Aid advocates emphasize the importance of development assistance as a stimulus to the process of development in SSA. By generating an accumulation of domestic savings, aid is assumed to facilitate economic growth. Alternatively, others suggest that aid prompts consumption propensities to increase consequently reducing aggregate savings. Table 1. provides an evaluation of foreign aid on savings in SSA. Overall, the model provides for 71% of the variation amongst savings in SSA. The regression suggests that all explanatory variables run are statistically insignificant. Despite this, each of the three models are mutually significant according to the F-Test (at the level of 5%). Although the coefficients are insignificant, one can deduce by the zero signals that there is a presence of the multicollinearity phenomenon, meaning, the impact of the variables on gross domestic savings as a ratio to GDP is less accurate than if the same variables were uncorrelated with the one another (Bassi 27). The issue of multicollinearity obstructed the reliability of the regression. Results show that the t-statistic for each variable of aid is less than the critical value at 5% therefore the effect of foreign aid on savings in SSA is neither negative or positive, thus the alternative hypothesis (H1 : βaid ≠ 0) is rejected, in favor of the null hypothesis (H0 : βaid = 0). Aid (IV)/Investment (DV) The relationship between foreign aid and gross domestic investment is slightly more conclusive than the model revealed for aggregate savings. Comparable studies done by Hadjimichael et al. (1995) found 71% of variation among the explanatory variables, the regression performed in both this report and Bassi’s, produced 72% of explanation in investment terms. Table 2. Illustrates similarities between theoretical expectations and results with occasional insignificance in the coefficients (Bassi 26). Empirical observations with significance: 1. Increase in GDP per capita creates a statistically significant positive effect
2. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) creates a significant effect on investment (3.06-4.27*). Empirical observation without significance: 2. The effect of aid on investment is ambiguous. 3. ODA has a negative effect. 4. EDA has a positive effect. By results failing to show that an increase in development assistance significantly impacts investment levels, it is fair to deduce that aid plays an alternative role to investment in the financial sphere of SSA. If not savings or investments, the final sector (according to the standard Solow growth model) is consumption. The world’s lowest levels of FDI SSA’s dependency on aid are dwindling through SSA’s dire marginal propensity to consume. Therefore, any amount of aid funneled to SSA ceases to advance investments, arguably the most robust driver of growth and development (Bassi 26). V. ANALYSIS The extensive debate regarding the provisional effectiveness of ODA in SSA has been the developmental topic of the decade. Prolonged debt, rampant poverty, and multiplying financial losses have infiltrated the economic systems throughout SSA from the inception of economic literature on the region. Despite roughly $134 billion flowing into Africa each year, annual net losses of $58 billion force economists and policymakers alike to urgently rethink their numbers as a swelling African population is underway (Cameron 2014). Set on the premise that decent savings and deep investment fosters development, as seen in the development miracle of the East Asian Tigers, this analysis explored the relationship (or lack thereof) of aid on the factors of growth in the Solow model. Supporting the concept of behavioral economics in African consumption levels is essential in order to understand the data. Where absolute poverty exists in SSA, an individual’s marginal propensity to consume is 100%, as short-term survival obviously surmounts the long-term effects of saving and investing. This process is termed “economic myopia,” choosing current con-
sumption at the cost of saving for tomorrow. Much of the pro-aid discourse generally assumes that developmental assistance will stimulate various sectors of productivity in order to meet immediate subsistence challenges, meanwhile, boosting savings and investments. Albeit multicollinearity in OLS findings, it is presumed that any quantity of aid fails to persuade myopic behavior in SSA, subsequently, individual incentives to either save or invest are unaltered. VI. CONCLUSION- PLAN OF ACTION The controversial shortcoming of aid and its argued causality for a dismal and dependent future of Africa still floods the realm of international economics. With a mass of literature and econometric models surrounding the topic, experts should examine developmental success stories provided by history in the wake of uncompromising projections for a rising African population. The potential to capture the benefits of a growing working population through proper saving and investment structures is imminent and attainable. While quality of life is already threatened by a surfeit of impediments to development, uncertainty of the adverse effects surrounding climate change may further entrench destitution in SSA. Luckily, policies independent of aid have promising hope for the region. Strategies executed in emerging China, India, South Africa, and Botswana rely on development finance through entrepreneurship over a â€œstaid aid-system of development that preaches hand-outsâ€? (Moyo). Furthermore, SSA could redirect their bond market acquisition to China (which is already taking place in many African countries) to circumvent open-ended aid agreements with current western donors. Additionally, transformation requires the role of the state to control their abdicated responsibilities and implement gradual, yet simple changes to the business climate, in order to become attractive to foreign investors. President of the Institute of Liberty and Democracy in Peru, Hernando De Soto has concluded that the centrality of dual economy disasters derives from a lack of property rights. The fact lies mainly in that the developing world is
not void of assets but holds their assets in defective forms. De Soto emphasizes the pervasiveness of social contracts in even the most dysfunctional informal economies and advocates that third world governments institute these principles into â€œan all-encompassing legalityâ€? (De Soto 2012). Reducing red tape, redirecting efforts towards trade, and taking U.S. hands out of their pockets are critical policies to consider. Regardless how small the policies are, Africa is long overdue not for petty, charitable change but for a change. APPENDIX Table 1: Effects of Foreign Aid on Gross Domestic Savings
Table 2: Effects of Foreign Aid on Gross Domestic Investment
Table 3: Effects of Foreign Aid on Gross Domestic Investment
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The Human Genome Project: Science, Society, and Ethics By Morgan Chmielewski “I saw—with shut eyes, but acute mental vision—I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life and stir with an uneasy, half-vital motion. Frightful must it be, for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavor to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world.” -Mary Shelley, Frankenstein The story of Frankenstein reveals themes applicable to the happenings in today’s world of modern science. As science is evolving and expanding into new horizons, the opportunities seem limitless. Yet, the freedom we push so hard to achieve has implications that reach beyond science. Shelley illustrated the unnaturalness of the monster with its “half-vital motion,” the strange relationship between the creator and the created, and the consequences of acting God-like. The most imperative message within this quote and the story is the danger of misusing knowledge. The exploration of the human genome has provided the science community with exciting prospects of a new future in science. I wish to prove that the momentum of this research and application into social medicine may have negative consequences in other realms of society. This research under the name of The Human Genome Project is promising scientifically, but it poses monumental negative implications socially, ethically and philosophically. The problems associated with the publication and use of this genetic data are not as grotesque as Shelley’s story, but the effects of Frankenstein’s creation mirrors very real repercussions of the Human Genome Project. In order to analyze the Project’s daunting impact, it is vital to know exactly what the Project set out to achieve and its process. The origins of the Project began at the intellectual stage in 1911 with Alfred Sturtevant’s Drosophila
gene map (“Brief History” 1). Scientists continued to explore the genome, discovering its double helix structure in 1953. The most relevant discovery was Frederick Sanger’s techniques of sequencing DNA in 1980. This is when ideas of gene mapping were first seen as plausible and exciting for the future of science. The very first genome project was initiated by Congress to determine the effects of radiation on mutating genes (“Brief History” 1). However, it was not until October 1, 1990, that the National Institute of Health and the Department of Energy coordinated their efforts and launched the Human Genome Project (Gannett). In 2005, on its premeditated completion date, 30,000 to 40,000 human genes had been identified and located by the Project (Miller 73). This long history of fascination with the human genome produced great momentum towards the projected goals, promising groundbreaking and significant research applicable to modern science. The Project outlined six goals. Four of them include: to identify all genes of the human genome, to cultivate tools for data analysis, to create databases for the newly acquired information, and to sequence the number of “model organisms” (Gannett). The most interesting goal was the sixth, “to address ethical, legal, and social issues” (Collins 34). The inclusion of this objective indicates the recognition of such problems the Project can cause in society. Its funding began at three percent of the total Project’s funding, but then rose to five percent a few years later, showing a growth of concern (Gannett). Although philosophers, socialists, and biological scientists were said to be actively following such implications, the excitement of scientific strides overshadowed bringing those worries to public awareness. The subsequent information presented will be used to provide specific examples and justifications of areas the Project can and has directly influenced in a negative manner. These implications were predicted, but it will be proven that they go beyond simple changes in our use of science. Cumulatively, they will alter how the human body is viewed and treated. The first event that must and will happen in order to apply genetics into scientific practice is the definition of the normative genomic sequence. How does the Human Genome Project have the ability to define what is the norm?
Genomes of two individuals are different by at least three million base pairs (“Disposition” 5). It is impossible to create one super genome, ideal in every way, when each person possesses completely different sequences. Even though a gene may have great effects in a certain person, it may not have the same effect in another because of the differences in the interplay of genes. The Project, at its fundamental core, challenges the belief in individuality over an ideal prototype human. These beliefs can be compared to Hitler’s ideas on the elite human: a blonde hair and blue-eyed person. Genetic science will push people to compare their genomic sequencing with the Project’s set “perfect” genome. Nonetheless, the HGP (Human Genome Project) is creating this ideal genome based on limited data. The majority of the genome sequenced originates from too few people to be adequately used as a comparative tool. About 74.3 percent of the total bases sequenced were from a single clone library: a man in Buffalo. Seven other libraries make up the other 17.3 percent (Gannett). It would be impossible to use such small sampling to justify the supreme gene sequence that everyone should be compared to. There is also a risk of defining ‘good’ and ‘bad’ genes. Overall, the problem with this research in defining the absolute norm is that it will embed the idea that everyone is not adequate unless they are similar to this sequence. Appreciation and acceptance of diversity will be challenged. As thinking shifts towards what is wrong with certain genes of certain people compared to different genes within others, pre-Human Rights Movement differences between races will be justified through the Project. Geneticists “reinscribe” race in human population studies where they use genetic mapping to define ethnic and racial groupings. Kimmelman argues, “Findings like these appear to promote the belief that persons belonging to different races or cultural groups are, ‘deep down,’ different from each other” (Kimmelman). The Project’s aim to categorize every possible difference between people will enforce stereotypes that have been disbanded as discrimination. Such categorization will hurt society as this is an already unfairly segregated nation. Once again, there will be a justification of an elite human, including
race. This discrimination could transition into insurance and health care discrimination as well. Arguments have been made such as “we don’t choose our genes and ought not be punished for what is outside our control” (Gannett). Refusing to insure someone because of genetics will be a whole new standard of discrimination. There is a chance of creating a set “biological” or “genetic underclass” (Gannett). This process is worrisome because the ethical disturbances and effects it will have on society. There is a value to human genetic diversity, but the Project has lead to creating a stigma associated with such variation (Kirschner 123). On the other hand, the HGP has insinuated the importance of genetics over the environment on causation of personality and characteristics. Watson, a director of the NIH during the HGP, once wrote, “The Human Genome Project is much more than a vast roll call of As, Ts, Gs, and Cs: it is as precious a body of knowledge as humankind will ever acquire, with a potential to speak to our most basic philosophical questions about human nature, for purposes of good and mischief alike” (Gannet). This statement justifies that the HGP and its scientists believe in nature over nurture. The ongoing debate of nature versus nurture keeps a delicate balance that needs to be maintained. Its importance is illustrated in the criminal justice system. For example, what if criminals were judged differently because they claim their genetics made them kill a person? Ethical and moral responsibility of the judicial system cannot solely rely on genetics for justifying an individual’s criminal actions. Genetic causes of behavior are likely to be tendencies or predispositions for certain effects, but the general public is more likely to sway towards genetic explanations of criminal actions due to media reports of certain genes determining such behavior (Gannett). The fear is the detachment of personal responsibility from their actions. Instead of applying genetic factors to humanity as a whole, the modern man will separate himself from what is inherently him. Another example of ignoring multiple factors will occur in disease diagnostics and treatments. Rare disorders seem to be caused by mutations of a certain gene. However, complex disorders like diabetes, heart disease, common
cancers, autoimmune disorders, and psychiatric disorders, are a combination of many factors. The director of the NIH, Francis Collins, writes that these disorders are not solely genetically influenced, but come from environmental factors as well (Collins 32). Gilbert, a scientist working on the Project, dismisses the simplistic determinism by saying we must look beyond the first reaction to see ourselves as the “consequences of our genes.” He claims it is “shallow,” “unwise,” and “untrue.” Although scientists urge the public to not view genetics as absolute determinants, the reality is that the Human Genome Project will enforce this thinking with its research. Collins does admit in writing that environmental factors need to be taken into account, but how the Project produces results ignores those factors (Collins 33). In congruence, cases of Down syndrome, similar disabilities and their treatment show the disadvantages of predominantly genetic science treatments and the implications they have on the ethics within a society. Kristi Kirschner argues, “The range of life potential for people with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities was significantly expanding as a result of deinstitutionalization and improved educational, therapeutic, and social support services.” This proves that the environment, social interactions and stimulation are vital in development. It is also known that some doctors in these cases provide inaccurate information to parents regarding their future lives with their child (Kirshner 123). Factors other than genetics cannot be ignored in cases like this, especially since it determines the possible termination of pregnancies or future institutionalization. The medical world’s use of the Project will solidify practices like these that limit the potential of people due to their commitment to genetics, and genetics only. The ethical implications stem from the question: If the use of genetic testing is regularly implemented and society starts to view a disability as the women’s lack of prevention, including gene therapy or even abortion, will the family face a society that is less supportive and conducive to their family’s needs? Discrimination will then shift against the mothers who give birth to disabled children in a world that could have prevented that now “unwanted” situation (Kirshner 123-124). This is a huge ethical concern over the regular
use and the protection of rights. Support for women’s rights to abortion is not significant; the unnatural interference with diversity will have negative social and ethical consequences. The acceptance of people’s choices and their unique traits, including disabilities like Down syndrome, make the world and the people in it humane. Refusal to permit someone equal rights of life and social acceptance is what genetic science will ultimately cause in this scenario. The unintentional effects of this project are key in preserving our morality and social ethics. The large toll these practices have on the way we as a collective think seem improbable, but they are very real repercussions if we are not aware of what our actions are defining through our medical practices with genetics. This transition of societal thinking unjustly indicates the rising imperialism of genetic science. The nature versus nurture debate, as previously discussed, exemplifies this phenomenon as well: “There is a long, ignoble history of marshaling ideological justification for unjust and oppressive social and political institutions and structures by appealing to the ostensibly scientific assertion that “human nature is fixed by our genes.” Critics of the HGP saw it as placing “the seal of approval from mainstream science” on hereditarianism, favoring nature over nurture like the eugenics of the early to mid-20th century, to promote a “technological fix” for social problems.” (Gannett) The Human Genome Project is the “seal of approval” for thinkers to choose genetic science, unconditionally, over all other sciences or factors. This is already a trend, as stated above, and will furthermore make a large impact on people’s lives. The Project will prove to those unable to differentiate between causation and correlation that genetics is the absolute, imperial science. Social science and psychology will become irrelevant as useful practices. Those using the new genetic information, physicians and scientists, will become the primary deciders of “who is worthy and who is unworthy” (Kirschner 123). This hierarchy will affect those able to receive treatment and what kind of treatment they are permitted to receive. Also, a problem
lies within the philosophy people will obtain. The human body will be objectively viewed, since we will feel no power over who we are as people. The human being is more than genes and the interplay between them (“Disposition” 4). The Project will put genetics over humanity. We will all be seen as malleable mechanisms, instead of a result of our surroundings chemically, biologically, and socially challenging our identities. This is daring as it further removes us from the life forces that we are and makes us more like Frankenstein’s monster. The Human Genome Project enhanced our society’s desperate wants by making self-improvement and prolongation possible and attainable. Although defining the norm allows discrimination in society, it also allows people to compare their own selves to this ideal state. In response, the people will choose to alter themselves, through genetics or lifestyle, in order to be the most optimal human being. Ultimately, this process illuminates our culture’s want to avoid death. This inescapable looming event inclines us to abort children that may die young so that pain does not have to be felt. This is exemplified in Francis Collins article. She explains that genetic testing shifted from family planning to personal predisposition. Selfless acts of wanting to ensure a capable and not helpless human being into the world is now adapting to a selfish act of obtaining information to prolong one’s own life (Collins 31). Perhaps genetics has become the imperialist science because it promises the chance of improving ourselves beyond natural means. Although the exact means of prolonging our life is still unknown, the Human Genome Project has opened very enticing doors of opportunities ahead. It feeds our inner desires to be indestructible. In viewing our bodies this way, it separates our souls from our physical make ups. There is an overall change in the view of the human body from a holistic view to a view of the body as individual malleable mechanisms used to showcase our most desirable characteristics and live the longest. The Human Genome Project as a scientific exploration is truly amazing. The collective bank of knowledge supports the community of medicine. The research coming together with the hopes of the common health is truly
inspiring (Collins, 30). With the purest intentions, worrisome effects can occur. The biological feats of the Project are paired with sociological and ethical consequences. Defining the norm genomic sequence ignores genetic variability. “What is to some the amelioration of disease is to others the abridgement of human diversity” (Kirschner 122). Discrimination is an inevitable result of the Project and will be reflected in our society. It carries into the treatment of disabled people and their families as discrimination is enhanced along with enhancement of technologies to prevent disabled child birth. In total, the lack of awareness and protection of our humanity as ethical and moral human beings is what the Human Genome Project threatens. In hopes of trumping this great change in our society, discussions of creating a new science called “genetic sociology” have been introduced (Fredericks). If science remains the main influential factor of progress, the story of Frankenstein will be a recurring theme in modern day life. Instead, there needs to be the implementation of this new science to fight the discrepancy between scientific feat and social implications. A call for such a thing shows the extreme effect this Project has had on our culture. These unnatural alterations of life will be “frightful.” We as human beings are more than just what makes up our insides. Although we can have the opportunity to enhance ourselves until we believe to be immortal, the reality is that the unnatural adjustment of our being is comparable to death. Frankenstein learned that in the most dramatic of ways, but our society will change in unforgivable ways if we let science push us too far without regards for societal implications.
Work Cited “A Brief History of the Human Genome Project.” National Human Genome Research Institute. N.p., 13 Dec. 2011. Web. 24 Oct. 2012. <http://www.genome.gov/12011239>. Chadwick, Ruth. “Personal Genomes: No Bad News?” Bioethics 25.2 (2011): 62-65. Academic Search Premier. Web. 28 Oct. 2012. Collins, Francis S., Michael Morgan, and Aristides Patrinos. “The Human Genome Project: Lessons from Large-Scale Biology.” Science ns 300.5617 (2003): 286-290. JSTOR. Web. 28 Oct. 2012. Collins, Francis S. “Shattuck Lecture- Medical and Societal Consequences of the Human Genome Project.” New England Journal of Medicine 341.1 (1999): 28-37. Web of Science. Web. 28 Oct. 2012. “Disposition and Determinism- Genetic Diagnostics in a Risk Society.” http://www.thomaslemkeweb.de/engl.%20texte/Disposition%20and%20 Determinism.pdf Fredericks, Janet, et al. “Toward An Understanding Of ‘Genetic Sociology’ And Its Relationships To Medical Sociology And Medical Genetics In The Educational Enterprise.” Education 125.2 (2004): 222-235. Academic Search Premier. Web. 28 Oct. 2012. Gannett, Lisa, “The Human Genome Project,” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2010 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL= <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2010/entries/human-genome/>. Kimmelman, Jonathan. “The Post-Human Genome Project Mindset: Race, Reliability, And Health Care.” Clinical Genetics 70.5 (2006): 427- 432. Academic Search Premier. Web. 28 Oct. 2012.
Kirschner, Kristi L., et al. “The Next Exclusion Debate: Assessing Technology, Ethics, And Intellectual Disability After The Human Genome Project.” Mental Retardation & Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews 13.2 (2007): 121-128. Academic Search Premier. Web. 28 Oct. 2012. Miller, Virginia L., and Angela M. Martin. “The Human Genome Project: Implications For Families.” Health & Social Work 33.1 (2008): 73-76. Academic Search Premier. Web. 28 Oct. 2012. Shelley, Mary W, and Johanna M. Smith. Frankenstein: Complete, Authorita tive Text with Biographical, Historical, and Cultural Contexts, Critical History, and Essays from Contemporary Critical Perspectives. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2000. Print.
Gender Discrimination of Women in Nigeria: Eradicating the Practice of FGM By Tonie Schankweiler It’s midafternoon in Nigeria. Nimko sits in a dark hut with the rest of the girls. They have been corralled together while they wait for the midwife. It’s been two—no— three hours since they’ve seen their mothers. Some of the girls whisper—they’re ready. They’ve waited thirteen years for this. Everyone knows this is the single, most defining moment in a girl’s life—the transition to womanhood. Nimko thinks to herself, “The next time I leave this hut, I’ll be a woman. I’ll be eligible as a wife.” Then, she hears the drums, off-beat clapping, and jeering. The celebration has begun. Soon, the midwife will be there. The entire village is outside waiting, dancing in anticipation. Louder and louder the drums and voices cheer. Finally, the midwife comes in, followed by bursting rays of sunlight and five other women—each one a mother of one of the girls. Nimko sees her own mom and tries to speak, but she is thrown on the ground; someone sits on her chest. She can hardly breathe as her shoulders are pinned to the floor. She sees her mother. She’s coming with a cloth. Out of the corner of her eye, for a brief moment, she catches the sharp glint of a knife. The midwife’s booming voice yells out. Soon, she’s blindfolded and gagged. The dust from the hot earth rises and fills her nose. It’s becoming harder and harder to breathe. She tries her best to struggle free, but she can’t move. Someone pulls her feet and knees apart. Then she feels it—the sharp, deep cut between her legs. A mark that will forever remain on her body—the symbol of a wound that will never heal. There is a practice that exists today in parts of the world, mainly in Africa and the Middle East, which is so medically invasive it is considered mutilation. Officially is it termed female genital mutilation (FGM), more widely known as female circumcision or female genital cutting. Traditional circumcisers such as midwives, mothers, aunts and grandmothers wrongfully misappropriate the role of “doctor” and perform the inhuman procedure of FGM on young girls. In some cases, FGM is carried out on adult women, but generally mutilation occurs on girls ages fifteen or younger (“Female Genital
Mutilation” 2014). The practice of FGM is a violation of human rights, and the individuals who perform this harmful ritual are ignorant of the dangerous health risks associated with FGM. According to statistics provided by UNICEF, female genital mutilation is practiced in twenty-nine countries across Africa and parts of Asia (“In 19 of the 29” 2014). Currently, there is over 125 million victims of FGM alive today. Even more shocking, over three million girls in Africa are at risk of being mutilated every year (“Female Genital Mutilation” 2014). Due to Nigeria’s large population it’s not surprising that it’s responsible for approximately one quarter of all FGM victims in the world (UNDP et al. 2006). This form of gender discrimination, ubiquitously performed in Nigeria, must be stopped. Many women in this area are uninformed of the negative effects this procedure has on a woman’s body. The most effective way to end this unnecessary practice is through education programs by way of government legislation, as well as through hospital involvement and interference. Despite the illegality of female circumcision in Nigeria, certain groups and communities still insist upon retaining this futile practice. Female circumcision violates a woman’s rights and is harmful to the body. Depending on the exact location in Nigeria, FGM is performed on female infants, children, brides-to-be, and first-time pregnant women. This discriminating practice includes any or all procedures that partially or completely remove external genitalia or other injury to a female’s genital organs for no clear medical purpose. Such an act has no excuse. No culture, community, or human being, under any circumstances, has the authority to subject someone to the horrors of such a practice. Fortunately, organizations and communities across the globe are speaking out against this monstrosity and their efforts are shedding light on this very serious matter. For the first time, people are recognizing that FGM, at its core, is a fundamental basic rights issue, whereas in the past it has been ignored (Akinsanya et al. 2011). With the government’s help and education programs, the frequency of FGM can be greatly decreased, if not completely eliminated from parts of the world like Nigeria. Since the initial cry of injustice, FGM, has been made illegal to perform in Nigeria. That, in itself, is a huge accomplishment. However, more needs to be
done. Due to the power both government and healthcare hold in society, the ultimate eradication of FGM will be achieved. Neither can stand alone, but as a unit this human injustice can be overcome. Perhaps one of the greatest reasons why female circumcision is perpetuated is the lack of understanding on behalf of the victim. Sadly, this violation of human rights is and has been carried out on girls as young as infants. In a 2009 study of female circumcision in Nigeria, 24% of girls were found already circumcised by age six (Awusi 2009). Although the parents of these girls think it is best for them to undergo FGM, the girls themselves clearly do not have a choice in the matter. They, in turn, grow up thinking that it’s just a normal part of being a woman in Nigerian society. This leaves no room for self-questioning or autonomy, and results in their approval, even encouragement of this procedure on their own daughters. There is a second age group that FGM also targets. According to the same study, a shocking 68% of these young women had already undergone FGM between the ages of 16 and 25 (Awusi 2009). This is a tell-tale indicator that marriage matters when looking at the continuation of FGM in Nigerian culture. It is around this age when women of Nigerian culture get married. That being said, for a woman to be considered worthy and pure, she must be circumcised. One of the many reasons why she undergoes FGM is to ensure that she is a virgin for her husband. Even more, if that same woman gets pregnant and she is not already “cut” then she will most likely undergo FGM for the sake of the pregnancy, even though research shows it is unnecessary. Due to FGM’s deep-rooted prevalence and acceptance in these areas, women are left with little choice in regards to FGM; if they reject this traditional practice they risk losing their status, respect and eligibility as a wife in the eyes of their community and pool of men. The greatest contributor to the ongoing practice of female genital cutting is the lack of education women have concerning the consequences of FGM. Little do they know that the possible effects of FGM are sepsis, dystocia, and loss of libido. Procedures are usually “performed under aseptic conditions and without anesthesia” (Ekwueme et al. 2007).
The effects of such an invasive procedure are directly followed by “severe pain, heavy bleeding, shock, acute urinary infection, pelvic inflammatory disease, and the risk of contracting HIV and hepatitis B” (Akinsanya et al. 2011). Future problems like “cysts, abscesses, urinary incontinence, psychological and sexual problems, and difficulty with childbirth” are just a few of the many long-term effects that result after such a procedure (Iliysu et al. 2012). It’s also important to recognize the psychological issues caused by FGM. Victims struggle with anxiety, depression, trauma, frigidity, and marital conflict as a result of undergoing FGM (Akinsanya et al. 2011). Despite all the harmful effects associated with FGM, many women in Nigeria are uninformed about these dangers. In a study in Nnewi, Nigeria, women were asked about their knowledge concerning the risks of undergoing FGM. Researchers found that only 20% of women were aware of potential risks via health education. In addition, 50% of the women admitted that they weren’t aware of the risks at all (Igwegbe and Egbuonu 2000). This striking reality, although disheartening, is not impossible to change. It’s evident by these numbers that the majority of women and girls are either too young or in a too vulnerable position to take a stand against FGM and challenge the status quo. There has never been a greater need for health education in Nigeria than there is now. If fostered within the context of education, change can pervade the nation of Nigeria and have a lasting impact on the freedom of women and the rise of self-efficacy. Change must first start within the affected community or village. Midwives and traditional practitioners of FGM must be informed and retrained. Due to the money they normally earn by “cutting” girls, an incentive for these people would be to give them a monthly stipend in turn for their advocacy of the dangers of FGM. The time they normally spend performing FGM can then be used to inform villages, parents, teachers and girls of the dangers of this practice. Second, hospitals must be responsible for stopping FGM when they see it. Doctors must also be retrained and informed about the consequences of FGM. They must once again take the Hippocratic Oath in their hearts and remind themselves, “First, do no harm.” Medical personnel must notify police officials of FGM cases that they witness or believe have occurred. Finally,
the government must resolve to listen to the cry of women in Nigeria and to seriously consider the ramifications this practice has on their society. Nigerian government must also take steps to raise funds for health care programs that will promote awareness of FGM and implement them into public education, making health classes a requirement for students. In closing, because the widespread practice of FGM in Nigeria puts young girls and women at risk and violates human rights, governments and hospitals must join forces to develop education programs to end this practice. Clearly, there is still much work to be done battling the practice of female genital mutilation. If it is to be taken seriously, the people of the world and of Nigeria need to take on their prescribed roles in this fight. To affect change one must realize that women lack the materials needed to arm themselves against such a practice; they lack an understanding of FGM and how it affects them. Simply put, they lack education. By meeting this need, women will be able to protect themselves. It will prevent young girls like Nimko from being subjected to this crime against the body. Girls like Nimko will be defended not only by the law, but also by other females. Women need to know they have a voiceâ€”that their opinion does matter. Even the greatest women of all time didnâ€™t stand alone. Many had support groups made up of men. This call to action is not just simply for other women around the world, but to all genders. By rallying together on this issue, FGM will be stopped. By carefully collaborating the goals of government and healthcare, this current practice will come to an end. The greatest service that can be done for the women of Nigeria is to ensure they are educated about the dangers of undergoing FGM. If steps toward education and government involvement succeed, gender equality will, in time, prevail and be within societyâ€™s grasp.
Work Cited “Female Genital Mutilation.” World Health Organization. World Health “In 19 of the 29 Countries Where FGM/C is Practised, Most Girls and Women Think Akinsanya Alo, Olubunmi, and Babatunde Gbadebo. “Intergenerational Attitude Changes Regarding Female Genital Cutting in Nigeria.” Journal of Women’s Health 20.11 (2011): 1655-61. Academic Search Complete. Web. 17 Oct. 2014. Awusi, V.O. “Tradition versus Female Circumcision: A Study of Female Cir cumcision among the Isoko Tribe of Delta State of Nigeria.” Benin Jour nal of Postgraduate Medicine 11.December (2009): 3-9. Academic Search Complete. Web. 17 Oct. 2014. Ekwueme, O.C., H.U. Ezegwui, and U. Ezeoke. “Dispelling the Myths and Be liefs toward Female Genital Cutting of Woman Assessing General Outpa tient Services at a Tertiary Health Institution in Enugu State, Nige ria.” East African Journal of Public Health 7.March (2010): 66-69. Aca demic Search Complete. Web. 17 Oct. 2014. Igwegbe, A.O., and Ifeoma Egbuonu. “The Prevalence and Practice of Female Genital Mutilation in Nnewi, Nigeria: The Impact of Female Educaction.” Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 20.5 (2000): 520-22. Academic Search Complete. Web. 17 Oct. 2014. Iliyasu, Z., et al. “Predictors of Female Genital Cutting among University Stu dents in Northern Nigeria.” Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 32.May (2012): 387-92. Academic Search Complete. Web. 16 Oct. 2014. It Should End.” UNICEF Data: Monitoring the Situation of Children and Or ganization, Feb. 2014. Web. 31 Oct. 2014.
UNDP/UNEPA/WHO/World Bank. 2006. Female Genital Cutting. New knowl edge spurs optimism. Sexual and Reproductive Health Research 2006; 72. Women. UNICEF, 2014. Web. 31 Oct. 2014.
Sensory Processing Disorder or Something Else? By Lindsay Kraun A bell rings, and a child covers her ears. Another child rocks back and forth in his chair, while a third child pleads with his parents for a tag to be cut from his clothes. Each of these children has sensory integration problems, but is it possible that they may have a Sensory Processing Disorder? For years, pediatricians and occupational therapists have tossed around the diagnosis of Sensory Processing Disorder, some claiming it is a legitimate condition, and others arguing that Sensory Processing Disorder is not a valid disorder because its diagnosis could mask other disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder or even be a part of the Spectrum itself. Tied in closely with this controversy is Sensory Integration Therapy, which some opponents of Sensory Processing Disorder argue lacks sufficient evidence. However, there is considerable evidence supporting Sensory Processing Disorder as a genuine condition, suggesting that Sensory Integration Therapy is effective on children with sensory integration issues. Human beings receive information through their senses every day. This information provides details about the physical conditions of their bodies and the environment around them. For example, when someone hears a bell, his or her senses will let that individual know whether the bell is loud or soft. Innumerable bits of sensory information enter a person’s brain every second from everywhere in his or her body. This sensory information not only comes in from the eyes and ears, but from the hands, feet, mouth, nose, and any other place an individual’s body has contact with the world. Sensory integration refers to the way human beings organize the sensory information we receive and turn that information into the appropriate responses. When a person’s brain organizes the sensory information properly, the sensations can be used to form behavior, perceptions, and learning. However, “when the brain cannot properly process incoming signals for an appropriate physical or verbal response” this is known as Sensory Processing Disorder (Healy 1). According to existing material, one in twenty children has Sensory Processing Disorder (Gavin et al.). In a child with Sensory Processing Disorder, the
sensory signals coming into the brain are like a rush hour traffic jam, chaotic and disorganized. As a result, children with Sensory Processing Disorder have difficulty processing every day stimuli in their brains. For example, the bell that just rang calling the class to order; while a typical child may just shrug at the sound, a child with Sensory Processing Disorder might clamp his hands over his ears, the sound being much louder for that student than it was for his typical peer. Robyn Levine, a special education teacher who has been teaching for thirty seven years in the Fulton County School System in Georgia, provided another example, comparing a typical person and a person with Sensory Processing Disorder eating a bland food. When “we taste something and say, ‘Oh it needs salt,’ they [children with Sensory Processing Disorder] don’t need the salt, because it’s really a sensory overload” (Levine). Due to the chaotic state of the sensory information entering the brain, their senses are heightened. Those with Sensory Processing Disorder cannot normally process the world around them. The diagnosis of Sensory Processing Disorder is controversial among experts. Depending on whom is asked, it is either written off as common childhood behavior or it is a neurological disorder that requires treatment (Chan 1). With both sides at odds, Sensory Processing Disorder “has yet to be officially recognized by the American Psychiatric Association” as a legitimate condition (Healy 1). Naysayers claim a diagnosis of Sensory Processing Disorder could mask other conditions such as Autism Spectrum Disorders or Attention Deficit Disorder, both of which also have a sensory integration issue component. One particularly influential group of opponents is children’s pediatricians. Pediatricians play a critical role in diagnosing any disorders present in a child and recommending the course of treatment, which can include sensory integration therapy. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the main body of pediatricians, it is unclear “whether children who present with sensory-based problems have an actual ‘disorder’ of the sensory pathways of the brain, or whether these deficits are characteristics associated with other developmental and behavioral disorders” (Zimmer and Desch 1186). The American Academy of Pediatrics also firmly states in an article in their academic peer-reviewed journal, Pediatrics, that it is their
strong belief that “sensory processing disorder generally should not be diagnosed” (Zimmer and Desch 1186). As a result, many pediatricians automatically refute Sensory Processing Disorder as a diagnosis and turn towards other more common diagnoses for children with sensory integration issues, such as Autism Spectrum Disorders and Attention Deficit Disorder. On the other hand, proponents argue that Sensory Processing Disorder is a real medical condition, providing substantial evidence that Sensory Processing Disorder is very different from Autism Spectrum Disorders. While some children with Autism Spectrum Disorders have Sensory Processing Disorder, all children with Sensory Processing Disorder do not have Autism Spectrum Disorders (Goldstein 1). In their book, The Mislabeled Child, Brock and Fernette Eide, both doctors who lecture throughout the United States and Canada to other doctors, therapists and clinicians, and are the founders of the Eide Neurolearning Clinic where they specialize in learning disorders such as Sensory Processing Disorder, state that “the majority of children with SPD are not autistic” (292). In fact, they argue that children with Sensory Processing Disorder are very different from children with Autism Spectrum Disorders “because they do not experience breakdowns in the connections that control social affiliation and emotional empathy” (Eide and Eide 292). Since children with Sensory Processing Disorder are either very hypo or hyper sensitive to stimuli, this extreme sensitivity is what often causes the interference that is seen in these children’s abilities to socialize and relate to others. Unlike a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, a child with Sensory Processing Disorder does not experience a complete breakdown in empathy or social ability. Similarly, there is strong evidence Sensory Processing Disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder is not one and the same. According to Eide and Eide, children with Sensory Processing Disorder are commonly “being mislabeled with ADHD” (311). This is due to the fact that symptoms of Sensory Processing Disorder “may present similarly to attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder” (Walbam 65). Still, that does not equate to a diagnosis of Sensory Processing Disorder being tossed out in favor of an Attention Deficit Disord-
er diagnosis. Often, children with Sensory Processing Disorder share symptoms with those who have Attention Deficit Disorder because they both have interference with “abilities to socialize, learn, and enjoy themselves in different environment” (Eide and Eide 311). However, in a child with Sensory Processing Disorder, these are caused by a child’s extreme hypo or hyper sensitivity to stimuli to the senses. One example provided by Katherine Walbam in the Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal deals with a child who is spoken to and does not seem to listen. While this is a possible standard for a child with Attention Deficit Disorder, in a child with Sensory Processing Disorder “this behavior may in actuality be the result of a child’s hypo-sensitivity,” and “the child simply may not register this verbal stimulus” (Walbam 65). Still, that does not equate to a diagnosis of Sensory Processing Disorder being tossed out in favor of an Attention Deficit Disorder diagnosis. Often, children with Sensory Processing Disorder share symptoms with those who have Attention Deficit Disorder because they both have interference with “abilities to socialize, learn, and enjoy themselves in different environment” (Eide and Eide 311). However, in a child with Sensory Processing Disorder, these are caused by a child’s extreme hypo or hyper sensitivity to stimuli to the senses. One example provided by Katherine Walbam in the Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal deals with a child who is spoken to and does not seem to listen. While this is a possible standard for a child with Attention Deficit Disorder, in a child with Sensory Processing Disorder “this behavior may in actuality be the result of a child’s hypo-sensitivity,” and “the child simply may not register this verbal stimulus” (Walbam 65). The child’s senses may not actually be detecting the sound of a person’s voice, and therefore, the child remains unresponsive. Evidence backs that although Sensory Processing Disorder is similar to Attention Deficit Disorder, Sensory Processing Disorder differs in the way it functions within the body. It affects the way stimuli are processed in the brain, supporting the idea that it should be classified as its own condition. Additional research conducted further validates Sensory Processing Disorder as a medical ailment affecting the sensory pathways in the brain. While a chief concern of the American Academy of Pediatrics is that there may, in
fact, be nothing wrong with the sensory pathways, according to a study published in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy, the major academic peer-reviewed journal of occupational therapists, by Patricia Davies and William Gavin, “children with SPD demonstrated less sensory gating than children who were typically developing” (176). Children with Sensory Processing Disorder displayed sensory pathways in the brain that did not receive sensory information in the same way their typical peers did. This study was done using electroencephalography (EEG) technology on twenty eight children with Sensory Processing Disorder and twenty five children who were typically developing, all between the ages of five and twelve. The conclusion of this study was that “children with SPD display unique brain processing mechanisms compared to children who are typically developing” (Davies and Gavin 176). The brains of the children who had Sensory Processing Disorder were different than those of the typical, normal developing child. This distinct difference provides “external validity for the diagnosis of SPD” (Davies and Gavin 176). A second study examining eight hundred children in one county and published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology showed Sensory Processing Disorder was prevalent in rates that ranged from 3.4 percent to 15.6 percent (Gouze et al 1077). These findings are some of the most recent in identifying Sensory Processing Disorder in a set group. Both studies provide evidence that refutes the argument that sensory pathways of those who have Sensory Processing Disorder have nothing wrong with them, and in fact, add support to the debate that Sensory Processing Disorder should be classified as its own disorder. Entangled in the debate with Sensory Processing Disorder is the dispute over the validity of Sensory Integration Therapy. Sensory Integration Therapy is the therapy used by occupational therapists to “organize the sensory system by providing vestibular, proprioceptive, auditory and tactile inputs” in children with Sensory Processing Disorder (Zimmer and Desch 1186). The vestibular system, located near the inner ear, deals with a person’s balance coordination and movement, and the proprioceptive system helps a person figure out where his or her body is relative to their surroundings. Both systems often create some of the biggest challenges in a person with Sensory
Processing Disorder. During Sensory Integration Therapy, occupational therapists use brushes, swings, and balls to help children with Sensory Processing Disorder respond and process stimuli, and formulate the appropriate responses. For example, the aim of a child bobbing on a bungee swing as a part of Sensory Integration Therapy is to improve balance and coordination. Sometimes children even provide their own Sensory Integration Therapy. A child running his hand down the wall in the school hallway is trying to establish where he is in space. When teachers yell at these children to put their hands down, they are actually doing the children a disservice because that leaves them lost in space (Levine). The goal of Sensory Integration Therapy, according to Eide and Eide, is to simplify sensory inputs to be more easily recognized, making them more accurate, efficient, and automatic for children with Sensory Processing Disorder (313). Sensory Integration Therapy allows children with Sensory Processing Disorder to balance their demand for output with the necessity of input. It also provides them with the opportunity to disentangle the sensory information that enters into their brain every day from the world around them. Opponents of Sensory Integration Therapy debate its effectiveness on children with Sensory Processing Disorder and even other conditions with sensory integration issues, such as Autism Spectrum Disorders and Attention Deficit Disorder. Its usage has been called “controversial among doctors” (Pittman 1). The main cynic, the American Academy of Pediatrics, has argued that there is not enough evidence to support this type of therapy for children with Sensory Processing Disorder and sensory integration issues. In an article in Pediatrics, they maintain that “the amount of research regarding the effectiveness of sensory integration therapy is limited and inconclusive” (Zimmer and Desch 1186). They caution parents and pediatricians that although occupational therapy with the use of sensory-based therapies may be effective, it should not be the whole therapy, only a component (Zimmer and Desch 1186). Much of this disbelief in Sensory Integration Therapy stems from the American Academy of Pediatrics’ unwillingness to diagnose Sensory Processing Disorder, as Sensory Integration Therapy is the key therapy for children with Sensory Processing Disorder coping with their disorder. Since
many pediatricians turn from Sensory Processing Disorders to other diagnoses, they often recommend the therapies that come with them, warning against heavy usage of Sensory Integration Therapy or dismissing it all together. However, Sensory Integration Therapy is effective. According to Robyn Levine, when Sensory Integration Therapy is provided by an occupational therapist that really knows and understands what he or she is doing, “it is one hundred percent effective.” Not all kids with Sensory Processing Disorder are seeking the same type of input, and applying the same generic therapy to each child simply does not work. A therapist who truly knows the ropes of Sensory Integration Therapy will be able to distinguish between what the child does and does not need included in their therapy. The job of an occupational therapist is to “focus on improving their clients’ ‘occupational function’ and their ‘activities of daily living’” (Eide and Eide 313). In children with Sensory Processing Disorder, or any sensory integration issue, this means getting them to a level where they can function almost normally in the everyday world. Sensory Integration Therapy effectively allows these children to reach that level by strengthening “sensory and motor maps and help to integrate them with each other” (Eide and Eide 313). Sensory Integration Therapy helps children with Sensory Processing Disorder to learn how to correctly process the sensory information entering their brains. While the opposition argues that Sensory Integration has little to no effect, there is mounting evidence that if Sensory Integration Therapy is tailored to a specific child and performed correctly, it has the ability to impact children with Sensory Processing Disorder (Pittman 1). Sensory Integration Therapy is effective on those children with Sensory Processing Disorder so long as it is done correctly. For years pediatricians and occupational therapists have debated over the existence of Sensory Processing Disorder in children, but growing evidence has begun to display otherwise. Studies have shown that children with Sensory Processing Disorder do, in fact, have something wrong with the sensory pathways in their brains, which impacts their ability to correctly sense and
perceive the world around them. Further arguments contend that a diagnosis of Sensory Processing Disorder could conceal a condition such as Autism Spectrum Disorders or Attention Deficit Disorder. However, signs have started to point towards the direction that they are not all the same thing, and Sensory Processing Disorder is its own condition. While critics maintain Sensory Integration Therapy to treat Sensory Processing Disorder lacks evidence, this common type of therapy has shown that when performed by the right therapist who has an understanding of what he or she is doing, it is absolutely effective. Parents of children with Sensory Processing Disorder have been pushing for this condition to be validated, to give them answers on how best to help their children. Despite strong opposition from the American Academy of Pediatrics, it should be confirmed that Sensory Processing Disorder is indeed a medical condition, and the evidence does imply that Sensory Integration Therapy is beneficial for children with this disorder.
Works Cited Chan, Amanda. “Sensory Processing Disorder Debated.” Seattle Times. 27 July 2010. Web. 13 April 2014. Davies, Patricia L. and William J Gavin. “Validating the Diagnosis of Sensory Processing Disorders Using EEG Technology.” The American Journal of Occupational Therapy. 61.2 (2007):176-189. Web. 13 April 2014. Eide, Brock and Fernette Eide. The Mislabeled Child. New York: Hyperion, 2006. Print. Gavin, William J, Alycia Dotseth, Kaylea K. Roush, Courtney A. Smith, Hayley D. Spain and Patricia L. Davies. “Electroencephalography in Children With and Without Sensory Processing Disorders During Auditory Per ception.” The American Journal of Occupational Therapy. 65.4 (2011): 370-77. Web. 13 April 2014. Goldstein, Lauren. Telephone Interview. 16 April 2014. Gouze, Karen R, Joyce Hopkins, Susan A. LeBailly and John V. Lavigne. “Re-examining the Epidemiology of Sensory Regulation Dysfunction and Comorbid Psychopathology.” Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. 37.8 (2009): 1077-1087. Web. 13 April 2014. Healy, Vikki Ortiz. “Sensory Disorder Diagnosis on the Rise.” Chicago Tri bune. 4 April 2012. Web. 13 April 2014. Levine, Robyn. Telephone Interview. 6 April 2014 Pittman, Genvera. “Pediatricians Raise Caution on Sensory- Based Therapy.” Chicago Tribune. 27 May 2012. Web. 25 March 2014.
Walbam, Katherine M. “The Relevance of Sensory Processing Disorder to Social Work Practice: An Interdisciplinary Approach.” Child and Ado lescent Social Work Journal. 31.1 (2014): 61-70. EBSCO Host. Web. 25 March 2014. Zimmer, Michelle and Larry Desch. “Sensory Integration Therapies for Children with Developmental and Behavioral Disorders.” Pediatrics. 129.6 (2012): 1186-1189. Web. 25 March 2014.
China Incarnate By Maggie Poling The May Fourth Movement gave the people of China an opportunity to express their opinions on Chinese culture in a creative yet subtle manner. Through the use of national allegories, strategic metaphors, and a myriad of other literary devices, authors like Lu Xun were given the long awaited opportunity to express their feelings of oppression and frustration via creative outlets, including the short story. Lu Xun’s “A Madman’s Diary” and “The True Story of Ah Q” characterize contemporary China by means of the protagonists, who vividly reflect the author’s feelings about Chinese culture. Lu Xun’s “A Madman’s Diary” begins in classical Chinese to ease the reader into the story. By using the scholarly and authoritative classical style the diary itself appears more authentic. Thus, Lu Xun renders his readers focused listeners before the story even begins because they feel as though the madman’s diary has validity. This is Lu Xun’s way of asking his readers to pay attention to what the madman has to say for it directly relates to how Lu feels about Chinese culture. This connection between the madman’s personal insight and Lu’s own frustrations begins in the first diary entry, which states, “Tonight the moon is very bright…during the past thirty-odd years I have been in the dark; but now I must be extremely careful…I have reason for my fear” (“A Madman’s Diary” 9). While reading this from a literal standpoint is enough to convince anyone that the madman is indeed senile, Lu asks his readers to dig deeper. If they do, they will see that the madman’s words are Lu’s words. By explaining that he has “been in the dark” Lu reveals that he did not realize how oppressive Chinese society was until recently, but now that he has gained this insight, “the moon is very bright” (“Madman” 9). However, as the madman soon explains, he must be very careful because the people around him are notorious for consuming each other. This concept is introduced in the madman’s third diary entry, where he talks about how he saw a woman on the street spanking her son, yelling, “I’m so angry I could eat you!” (“Madman”
10). This scenario leads the madman to a startling discovery: “I see that the woman’s ‘eat you’…is obviously a secret sign. I realize all the poison in their speech…they use their teeth to eat men” (“Madman” 10). The madman’s revelation is probably quite similar to the epiphany Lu Xun had before deciding to join the May Fourth Movement. Realizing that his society consists of selfish citizens who “consume” or take advantage of one another for their own personal gain, the madman is disgusted and frightened, just like Lu Xun.
But where does this egotistical mindset stem from? The madman discovers the answer to this question when he sifts through Chinese history books. He explains that his “history has no chronology and scrawled all over each page are the words ‘Confucian Virtue and Morality’” (“Madman” 10). According to the madman, “the whole book was filled with the two words – ‘Eat people’” (“Madman” 10). Here, the madman explains the reason why people are consuming each other is that the Confucian teachings were passed down to them by their parents, who learned about Confucianism from their parents and so on. What is more, the madman mentions that his history has no chronology. By “chronology” he means that Chinese society has not made any progress; it is at a standstill. And since, as the madman reminds us, “in ancient times…people often ate human beings” (“Madman” 10), it is no surprise that China’s practice of “eating people” has remained the same, considering their teachings on Confucianism have not changed either. Henceforth, through the madman’s observations, Lu Xun claims that to quell this consumption of people China must also end its traditional Confucian teachings. The madman ends his diary with a hopeful thought: “Perhaps there are still children who haven’t eaten men? Save the children…” (“Madman” 16). We know that even the madman becomes a victim of his society from the introduction, where the madman’s brother tells the doctor that he has “recovered some time ago and has gone elsewhere to take up an official post” (“Madman” 8). Lu Xun explicates that his generation (which is also the madman’s generation) is already lost and has no 47
hope of turning around. However, there is still a younger generation that can take hold of China’s vices and correct them. According to Lu Xun and the madman, “the children” are our only hope. While the madman expresses Lu Xun’s feelings about China through his observational and thoughtful diary entries, Ah Q in “The True Story of Ah Q” encapsulates Lu’s notion of Chinese society by way of his personality. Whereas the madman represents the views of Lu Xun along with others involved in the May Fourth Movement, Ah Q epitomizes the vices of China: he’s closed-minded, temperamental, uncertain, and prideful. According to Lu Xun, these adjectives accurately describe China. Lu showcases Ah Q’s characteristics throughout the story, including a passage that refers to how he “looked down on all the inhabitants of Weichuang, thinking even the two young ‘scholars’ not worth a smile, though most young scholars were likely to pass the official examinations” (“The True Story of Ah Q” 70). While Ah Q is known for having no regular work, “simply doing odd jobs for others” (“Ah Q” 70) he behaves as though he is above everyone else even though he has absolutely no reason to feel superior. This is Lu Xun’s way of explaining that, like Ah Q, China does not deserve to act as though it is a cut above its citizens because it has not done enough to merit respect. What is more, Ah Q becomes enraged over trivial concerns. For example, he feels that nearly everything the townspeople do is wrong, which angers him. Such was the case when the townspeople called what he considered a long bench a “straight bench” (“Ah Q” 70). According to Ah Q, this terminology was ridiculous. Similarly, Chinese culture was still in support of classical Chinese writing at the time this story was written, so writing in vernacular Chinese would appear as ridiculous as calling a long bench a straight bench. By using the anecdote about bench jargon, Lu Xun is providing an example of the kind of trivial issues that seemed to emerge in Chinese society when someone did something or said something that was against traditional Confucian teachings. Moreover, it is apparent that Ah Q is a harsh judge of anything he does not
understand. One example of this is when the narrator illustrates Ah Q’s disgust for Ringworm Whiskers Wang: “Ah Q felt that while scabs were nothing to take exception to, such hairy cheeks were really too outlandish” (“Ah Q” 75). Since Ah Q possesses his own ringworm scabs, he does not judge Wang for having them, too. However, the characteristic that he does not identify with–Wang’s hairy cheeks–disturbs him because Ah Q is incapable of understanding anything beyond himself. The same is true for China: anyone who goes against Confucian teachings in Chinese society is considered strange, even insane (does the madman come to mind?). Thus, Ah Q is as closed-minded as the country he embodies. However, the tables turn at the end of the story when Ah Q is about to be executed. Once again, Lu Xun leaves us with another hopeful message: in the end, China will lose and the people will prevail. Since Ah Q is meant to be a representation of China, his execution symbolizes the death of the old China and the initiation of the new. The onlookers cheer as Ah Q travels to his death for they know that his demise will be their victory. Lu Xun believed that the way to change the world was through literature. While the profundity of his impact is arguable, it is certain that Lu’s works richly capture the essence of Chinese society during the May Fourth Movement. What is more, his stories make valid points about the vices of Chinese culture. Through the madman in “A Madman’s Diary,” Lu is able to express his own frustrations by utilizing the personal journal of his protagonist. In “The True Story of Ah Q,” Lu Xun uses his main character as a symbol for China, with its many flaws clearly displayed in Ah Q. Albeit the madman and Ah Q are quite different, they are similar in that through Lu Xun’s stories, they become China incarnate; the madman represents Chinese citizens who participated and believed in the May Fourth Movement while Ah reflects the iniquities of China. Together they create a vivid display of China as a whole, with its myriad layers and complexities fully showcased through these two stories. The question of whether they made the impact Lu Xun had hoped they would is questionable; however, their soundness as potent national allegories is incontestable.
Works Cited Lu Xun. “A Madman’s Diary.” The Columbia Anthology of Modern Chinese Literature. 2nd ed. Ed. Joseph S. M. Lau and Howard Goldblatt. New York: Columbia University Press, 2007. 8-16. Print. Lu Xun. “The True Story of Ah Q.” Selected Stories of Lu Hsun. Translated by Yang Hsien-yi and Gladys Yang. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2003. 70-75. Print.
The Use of Digital Technology in Music Education By Kelly Cuppett As stated on their website, “The mission of the Florida Music Educators Association (FMEA) is to promote quality, comprehensive music education for all Florida Students as a part of their complete education.” However, this is quite difficult when 85% of Florida’s students and 82% of the national student population are not enrolled in a music class (Bula). The Florida Music Educator’s Association 2014 conference was themed “Relevance is Key” and focused on how to reach the secondary school students not enrolled in a music class, commonly referred to as “the other 80%” (Strategic). One solution that educators have come up with is to integrate technology. The rise of computers and digital instruments has already revolutionized the way music is composed, performed, accessed, and even defined. It seems only logical that teaching is the next step; maybe technology will provide the relevancy, and therefore enrollment boost, that music programs need. However, it remains to be seen if technology is any more effective than the methods we currently use, and it may even be detrimental to student’s learning. Therefore, while digital instruments and pedagogical software may be an engaging tool for beginning learners and a great way to spark creativity in both beginners and advanced players, a massive amount of research needs to be done before directors overhaul their programs in favor of a technological reformation. How students are taught has a huge impact on the music that they create. Mozart, child prodigy and defining composer of the Classical era, learned how to write his piano concertos from studying with JC Bach, son of Baroque giant JS Bach. Beethoven revered both Mozart and Bach, and studied with Haydn, a contemporary of Mozart who defined and mastered the symphony and string quartet. Franz Liszt, arguably the greatest pianist of all time, was a student of Czerny, who studied with Beethoven. The educational model that produced these great composers is founded on the same principles of creativity, ensemble cooperation, and individual dedication and skill that produced modern day artists such as John Williams, Elton John, and even
Lady Gaga. There have, however, already been major changes in implementation of those principles since the first conservatories were formed. The first major change in the United States took place simply to keep music in school. During the Cold War, the government became actively involved in improving the public education system as a matter of national security (Mark). The arts struggled to find a place in the new science-driven curriculum and were consistently thought of as a “frill” that was not necessary to the education of the nation’s youth (Mark). Music faced elimination from the public school curriculum if educators could not justify their programs’ value to the government, parents, and students. Surprisingly, music educators found an ally in the scientific community, who confirmed that the best scientific minds were also involved in music, and that musical ability correlates to improved mathematics and reading skills (Mark). Technology also played a huge part in keeping music in schools. It was at this time of space-race technology and need for reform that the tape recorder and the Moog synthesizer were invented, without which the music classroom as we know it today would not exist (Mark). Group piano is now taught almost exclusively on the descendants of the Moog synthesizer, touch-sensitive keyboards, in both high school and college settings. Mp3 recordings, played via CD or the Internet, allow students to hear performances that they might never get the chance to see live and give teachers a low-cost opportunity to expose their students to high-quality ensemble repertoire in seconds. The first institution to utilize these innovations was Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, often referred to as IUPUI (Peters). In their essay titled “Teaching Tools in Music,” music professors David Peters and Darrell Bailey describe the high-tech practice rooms and piano labs at IUPUI. Computer-controlled accompaniment and software to help musicians stay in tune were added to practice rooms (Peters). Computer labs featured MIDI keyboards and microphones at every station, and group piano was taught using a computer at the teacher’s keyboard that controlled and tracked 24 student keyboards (Peters). These kinds of technologies that grew out of the
Cold War era are a standard in the modern university music classroom that was revolutionary at the time. Today, most music programs do not face the same threat of elimination that they did during the Cold War. However most music programs are dealing with a crisis of dwindling interest that many educators, and the FMEA (Florida Music Educators Association), blame on a lack of relevancy. There are many educators who believe that technology can save music once again, and that relevancy could be achieved through incorporation of digital instruments. One unexpected benefit of going digital is cost effectiveness. TI:ME (or Technology Institute for Music Educators) is just one of the organizations that exist to further the integration of technology and music education (TI:ME). The keynote speaker at TI:ME’s 2013 National Conference was Dave Sebald, Director Emeritus of Music Technology at the University of Texas at San Antonio (“Future”). “There’s tremendous economic pressure to change the ways people do music,” Sebald says. The price of an R13 clarinet in 1964 was $250, and by 2013 it had risen to $3,285 (Sebald). The price of a computer, however, has dropped from $133,000 at the low end to a much more powerful and portable $299 model in the same time frame (Sebald). Sebald uses these facts to predict that performance-only curricula, or traditional large-ensembles made of acoustic instruments, will decline and be overshadowed by digital music making. Will ensembles comprised of computers be the new norm? There is, in fact, an ensemble of this type currently in existence at the University of South Florida. Touch, an iPad quintet, was founded by music professor Dr. David Williams (Melendez). They have performed several concerts at USF and at the Palladium in St. Petersburg, comprising of everything from covers of pop music to original compositions in styles like blues, punk, and even an African drumming piece (“Touch”). Dr. Williams says that the use of digital instruments is just the next step in the evolution of music; iPads are replacing acoustic instruments just as the piano replaced the harpsichord, which replaced the lute. He says, “It’s not a fad…either we evolve with it or make ourselves irrelevant” (Melendez).
Behind his advocacy for digital instruments is an idea for music education that Dr. Williams confesses is something with which “many of my colleagues violently disagree.” In his ideal world, music classrooms would look much more like garage band jam sessions than the current conductor/director model, where “everybody’s in a semicircle and looks at [the teacher] and the teacher makes all the decisions.” Students would work in small groups, choosing their own repertoire and instrumentation. The conductor is transformed into a guide, who could help them obtain and arrange music as well as learn the instruments which that particular piece calls for, whether that be an acoustic, electronic, or a mix of instruments (Williams). Dr. Williams readily acknowledges that the meaning of “quality” changes in this system, from putting on a high-caliber performance to giving students a meaningful experience that can continue past graduation. Some musicians think that digital instruments have much to offer but have some reservations about how they will be used. Libby Larsen, one of the most prolific American composers of all time, looks forward to the developments that synthetic instruments and computer programs will bring, though she warns, “giving a child an iPad and telling them it’s a clarinet is a lie,” even when they select “clarinet” for the sound. She is all for using these new instruments as long as they are presented as new music-making devices, and not as a substitute for the original acoustic instruments (Larsen). Bradford Blackburn, a music professor at the University of Tampa, agrees and thinks that electronic instruments are poor substitutes for the real thing, and should instead be used in a way that takes advantage of their unique timbres and capabilities (Blackburn). In this way, electronic and acoustic instruments can coexist and even work together, as evidenced in the compositions of Mark Snyder and many electroacoustic composers (Snyder). This fits well with Dr. Williams’ model of student choice, and allows for students to learn the best situations in which to use either type of instrument. Ironically, Dr. Williams’ ideas of mixing instrument types shows that even he does not think that acoustic instruments are irrelevant quite yet. Current data and usage trends even suggest the opposite of Dave Sebald’s predictions
of computer-dominated ensembles. Grand pianos, which have a well-established digital equivalent in both the portable keyboard and partially electronic versions of grands, are one example of an acoustic instrument that is hardly irrelevant. They remain just as impressive in pop concerts as in classical ones. In fact, Billboard’s Best 10 Grammy Performances between 20002013 include two instances where a grand piano is highly featured. Elton John and Lady Gaga secured the sixth place with their 2010 performance of a duet on a custom-built grand piano, and in 2001 Elton John appears again at number two with Eminem (“10 Best”). Artists like these continue to use grand pianos on stage even when they are on tour, when a portable digital piano would be far easier to manage. Dr. Grigorios Zamparas offers another insight into the choice between digital and acoustic instruments. The University of Tampa piano professor has performed numerous Baroque concerts, and has both a digital and an acoustic harpsichord in his office. When asked what the advantages of the digital version are, he overwhelmingly cites tuning. He says, “It’s easier to move, it’s portable… after every ten minutes you have to re-tune [an acoustic harpsichord].” Well then, why bother keeping the more temperamental harpsichord around? Dr. Zamparas says that color and authenticity are major factors. He adds, “A real harpsichord is much better, depending on the maker, because you can do more with the manuals, the overtones, the colors” and “if you have what we call period instruments, the performance is more authentic with a real harpsichord.” Clearly, there are advantages to each, though Dr. Zamparas still prefers acoustic instruments (Zamparas). Whether digital advocates advise for mixed instrumentation or not, Dr. Williams, Dave Sebald, and most others who advocate the use of digital instruments share the notion that the large ensemble is dead and irrelevant to today’s students who will not play this kind of repertoire anywhere except school. On the other hand, the school provides the rare opportunity of having a large group of musicians in the same room, a situation that students are unlikely to encounter again unless they pursue music as a career. Why not take advantage of these numbers and play the large symphonic works
that would be impossible to put together otherwise? Japanese students at Ina Gakuen are taking full advantage of this opportunity. Ina Gakuen is a public school in Ina, Saitama, just north of Tokyo. Ina Gakuen is just one of many high-quality ensembles that prove technology is not necessary to keep the modern student engaged and dedicated to the arts. The 114-person ensemble is not a music class, but a club that meets for multiple hours a day after school under the motto “Let’s Play Music.” Florida Tour 2014 is the school’s sixth trip to Florida, during which they played at high schools, gave clinics at colleges, and also visited Disney World (Ina Gakuen). Their performance at Gaither High School included an hour and a half of orchestral arrangements by Wagner, fanfares, opera overtures, and intermezzos, but that was not all. They played another hour and a half of pop music, all arranged for wind ensemble. Throughout the concert, every child on stage without an instrument pressed to their face was smiling, especially during the pops section (Ina Gauken). So why is this ensemble thriving when American equivalents are floundering? Questions like this need to be definitively answered before we write off the large ensemble and what Dave Sebald refers to as “performance-only curricula” that has produced the masters we know and love. Given the current use of acoustic instruments, expert opinion, and existence of incredibly successful large ensembles, it seems that acoustic instruments are still very relevant and therefore cannot be the root of the relevancy problem described by FMEA. While there is no doubt that digital instruments are on the rise, it is clear that digital instruments and acoustic instruments do not have to replace each other; both can coexist simultaneously and even work together. Perhaps, then, the best route for educators is to expose students to both kinds of instruments. While this seems to present a happy medium, challenges remain. Even using playback devices, which we have already labeled as both a commonplace and necessary tool to expose students to a breadth of literature that would otherwise be inaccessible, can become a problem in the long-term. When some-
thing is recorded, the sound is compressed so that it will not be distorted in speakers or headphones. In the compression process, volume and frequencies are altered so that the dynamic range as well as overtones are shortened or eliminated. Control of dynamics is shifted from the performer to the sound engineer, and Libby Larsen sees this as a huge problem for students. Due to this compression, they rarely sing soft or loud, but instead hover somewhere in the middle. Even composers at leading conservatories fail to use instruments to their full potential because they do not understand how to utilize overtones and balance in a live performance (Larsen). If something as commonplace as listening to recorded music is having such an impact, what are digital instruments doing? Perhaps these instruments are doing more harm than good. Software is another digital answer to making music education more relevant. Teachers are generally more familiar with computer programs than digital instruments, so this may be an easier reform for them. Music educators like using technology for administrative and presentation purposes, just as it could be used in another classroom, however they rarely use it for objectives specific to music making (Webster). Peters and Bailey make a distinction between learning “about” music and learning music. Learning “actual information about composers, music notation, music instruments, periods of music, and musical form” can, and should, be done in much the same way as other subjects (Peters). This is not particularly controversial and is largely successful in almost all subject areas, music included. Here, we will be discussing software that helps students learn about playing music rather than about it. There are lots of these types of music-making software to take advantage of. In Hong Kong, a study was done on student and teacher perspectives of technology, which found that when “carefully planned,” technology “can support students’ motivation and enhance the quality of learning.” Students cited clearer notes, visuals, listening examples, and accuracy and one said “technology can arouse my interest in music.” Another study conducted at an elementary school in South Korea indicates that using an Internet-based music teaching software also promoted “self-moti-
motivated engagement” and improved students’ “perception of music in general” (Kim). One software that is already being widely used in Hillsborough County is SmartMusic. Wynton Marsalis, the great jazz trumpet player, says, “SmartMusic is revolutionizing music education” (“SmartMusic”). SmartMusic allows students to practice ensemble skills, among a multitude of other things, outside of class. Many students use it to prepare for the Solo and Ensemble festival, in which students can play a solo with an accompanist and receive a grade from a judge. Oftentimes, it is only practical to rehearse with a live accompanist once or twice. For students used to having a conductor and a band with them, suddenly hearing a piano and keeping their own time can be a bit of a shock. SmartMusic can play their accompaniment and help them keep time, along with correcting notes and rhythmic issues. One respondent in a 2014 survey of Hillsborough County band and orchestra directors says, “Smart Music is a big help, students hear the accompaniment, a steady beat and their part. For those who do not have the program at home, I make CD’s for them.” For students who have trouble booking a pianist, it can even be used to accompany the student in this festival and others. Another respondent required their students to use SmartMusic as their accompanist, and five out of six participants earned the highest rating. There are many other uses as well. Directors can give assignments, track practice time, and make portfolios of a student’s progress, including recordings (“SmartMusic”). However, there are many that still doubt a computer’s ability to cooperate with students in a meaningful way. In my survey, one Hillsborough County director does not use SmartMusic. They find that “students get more out of having an accompanist” since having a pianist “forces them to listen to the other part as well as their own,” while another said that the “live pianist did a better job following.” In the same Hong Kong study that found technology was motivating, students and teachers gave mixed reviews. One student “emphasized the motivation to learn music comes from students themselves,” not technology. One teacher said that technology “could never replace the traditional value of group coordination and cooperation that
was found in the rehearsal of a school band or orchestra” (Ho). Others in the study voiced similar concerns, saying, “Teachers can see the responses of their students but [software] cannot” and technology “cannot replace teachers” (Ho). Peter Gregson, surprisingly, shares these views. The cellist, composer, and programmer recently created a piece called “The Listening Machine,” which uses algorithmic translation of Twitter feeds to convert Twitter posts into music (Gregson). Yet even someone so invested in software and technology is against the idea of digitizing music education. He, like many others, questions the benefits of computers when compared to human interaction. “I’m fortunate to work with some of the top people in these fields [of music teaching technology] and I’m yet to see anything that does anything,” he told Tom Lamont in an interview for The Observer. Gregson uses several examples to demonstrate this belief, including software that listens for pitch problems, but cannot detect “horrifically bad technique…because it can only look out for a certain number of things.” He tricked it into thinking he had just played a “beautiful” scale when he actually played it with an orange instead of his finger. Gregson believes that music “is a human thing,” and that software is “nowhere near as sophisticated as a person sitting looking at a pupil” (Gregson). The survey of Hillsborough directors shows a similar preference for private teachers and face-to-face, individualized instruction. While the level of encouragement and performance results from those using SmartMusic varied, there was no discrepancy in the resulting performance of students who have private teachers. When asked if students with private teachers did better at Solo and Ensemble, every response begins with the word “Yes” (except for one, who said, “YES!!!!”). Every director in the survey also encourages their students to get private teachers, for various reasons. One respondent points out that students working with private teachers are exposed to solo repertoire, rather than just the large ensemble music that is played in concert band. Many recommend teachers because students can receive “one-on-one attention from someone who is proficient on their instrument,” and “pri-
private teachers can fix unique technique problems at a much faster rate than ensemble/classroom settings.” It seems that the traditional method is far preferred over software for issues such as technique. But how does technology stack up in other fundamental music skills? One Hillsborough County director said that the students using SmartMusic had better intonation than others, but also said that they lacked in “musicality and style.” In a 2002 study by scholar Smith, some middle school students practiced rhythm-reading skills using a program called Music Ace. There was no “significant difference” between the pretest to posttest scores of students who used the software and students who did not, though both groups made improvements (Webster). In his article, “The iPad in the Music Classroom: Useful Tool or Expensive Toy?,” James Frankel says, “The point of technology is to make a task easier, not more difficult.” Educators like him think that integrating technology can be an unnecessary complication in the already overwhelming lives of directors, especially when studies like Smith’s show results equivalent to traditional teaching methods. Technology has come a long way. Both digital instruments and computer software can be incredible assets to any director. Since computers were invented, educators have been debating how best to utilize them. However, just because we have options does not mean we should automatically use them. Theodore Sizer wrote in 1974, “Thinking about the computer’s role in instruction does not mean thinking about computers. It means thinking about instruction” (Sizer). In thinking about instruction and the relevancy we need to cultivate, let us consider the current standards given by the National Association for Music Education. They include singing and playing instruments alone and in an ensemble with varied repertoire, improvising, composing and arranging, and understanding the relationships between music, other arts, history and culture (“National Standards”). These standards should provide the skills that will enable graduates and current students to continue music outside of the classroom setting, but only if these standards are fully employed. However, not all directors do this. Over half of the respondents in the Hillsborough
County director survey admitted to not complying with the improvisation requirement. Only half of the survey participants said that they teach some form of composition and arrangement. If NAfME’s standards actually became standards, students would leave school with the ability to make their own arrangements, compose, improvise, and the confidence to play alone. Then, large ensemble music could be played while the opportunity to be in a large ensemble exists, and after graduation students would be able to continue to participate in music on their own or in small groups. If educators change the instruments they use and the methods they teach, but what they teach does not change, the incorporation of the technology is pointless. If critics are still unsatisfied that the ability to create pop covers and original compositions, to play alone and in a group, and to make connections between music and other arts and culture make music education relevant, there are still yet other methods to increase relevancy without making the unsteady leap into the world of digital instruments and software. Directors can follow Ina Gakuen’s lead and add pop sections and audience participation to their concerts. They can also give students an opportunity to put on an all-pop concert at the end of the year, as Gaither High School and many others do. Other arts programs can be combined with music, such as the University of Tampa did at a concert in October of 2013 called “Music Inspired by Visual Art,” during which the Wind Ensemble played music inspired by visual art as University of Tampa art students painted what they were inspired to create by the music. Not just the music, but the relevancy of the program as a whole can be greatly increased by allowing students to strive to leadership positions, such as section leaders, librarians, etc., through which students can develop skills that are relevant to all aspects of life.
Therefore, I propose that music educators teach to the standards that have been established, optimizing the current system and milking it for its full potential before we toss it aside in favor of a technological revolution. Clearly, technology is an incredible asset that research has shown can be engaging and effective in some aspects, such as intonation. However, research and expert opinion have also shown technolo61
gy is no better at teaching rhythm than directors, and it does not compare to one-on-one instruction, nor is it particularly good at teaching technique and musicality. Therefore, educators should hold to the tried-and-true large-ensemble, acoustic model until more research has been done, particularly about the effects of using compressed sound. Exposing students to new horizons that can be attained with digital instruments, and giving them the resources that can be easily accessed with software, can and should be implemented if possible, but only as a supplement to a clearly dominant traditional music education that incorporates all of NAfMEâ€™s standards.
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Kim, Eunjin. “Music Technology-Mediated Teaching and Learning Approach for Music Education: A Case Study from an Elementary School in South Korea.” International Journal of Music Education 31.4 (2013): 413-27. Sage Journals. Web. 27 March 2014. Kinkartz, Sabine and Helen Whittle. “Elite German piano maker expands to China.” Deutsche Welle. Deutsche Welle, 9 December 2012. Web. 7 April 2014. Larsen, Libby. Personal Interview. 5 March 2014. Mark, Michael L. “MENC from 1957 to 1982: Music Education Against the Backdrop of the Cold War, the Struggle for Civil Rights, and Emerging Technology.” Journal of Historical Research in Music Education 28.2 (2007): 127-39. Education Research Complete. Web. 28 March 2014. Melendez, Barbara. “The Rise of the iPadist.” USF News. University of South Florida, 2013. Web. 20 Feb. 2014. “National Standards for Music Education.” NAfME. National Association for Music Education, 2014. Web. 9 April 2014. Peters, David G. and Darrell L. Bailey. “Teaching Tools in Music.” The Elec tronic Classroom: A Handbook for Education in the Electronic Environ ment. Ed. Erwin Boschmann. NJ: Learned Information, 1995. 119-129. Print. Sebald, Dave. “The Future of Music Education: A Geek’s Perspective.” 2013 TI:ME National Conference. San Antonio, Texas. 14 February 2013. TI:ME.org. Technology Institute for Music Educators, 2014. Web. 16 April 2014.
Sizer, Theodore R. “Foreword.” The use and misuse of computers in educa tion. Ellis, Allan B. United State of America: McGraw-Hill Book Compa ny, 1974. ix-x. Print. “SmartMusic for Educators.” SmartMusic. Makemusic, 2014. Web. 21 April 2014. Snyder, Mark. Multimedia Concert. Concert. Reeves Theatre, Tampa, Florida. 3 March 2014. “Strategic Plan 2013-2015”. FMEA. Florida Music Educator’s Association, 2014. Web. 1 May 2014. Ti:me. Technology Institute for Music Educators, 2014. Web. 20 Feb. 2014. “Touch iPad Quintet Rocks the Palladium Theatre.” School of Music. University of South Florida, 2014. Web. 29 April 2014. University of Tampa Wind Ensemble. Music Inspired by Visual Art. Cass Gym, University of Tampa, Tampa, Florida. 5 October 2013. Webster, Peter. “Key Research in Music Technology and Music Teaching and Learning.” Journal of Music, Technology and Education 4.2/3 (2011): 115-130. Academic Search Complete. Web. 21 Feb. 2014. Williams, David. Personal Interview. 8 April 2014.
Contributor Bios Taylor K. Kurkechian Taylor is a Government & World Affairs major with minors in both Economics and Urban Studies. She has done extensive research pertaining to international policy and economics in Dubai and was selected by the honors program to continue her research this semester at the University of Oxford for Developmental Economics and Political Islamism. Lindsay N. Kraun Lindsay is a junior from Georgia. She is studying psychology with a minor in history, and her future plans include working with children as an occupational therapist. Kelly M. Cuppett elly is a third-year student at UT with double majors in Music Performance K and Philosophy and a minor in Mathematics. Her primary instrument is piano, which she studies with Dr. Grigorios Zamparas. Maggie Poling Maggie is a sophomore studying English and Writing. Morgan Chmielewski Morgan is an English major and Business minor graduating in May 2015. She will be attending New York University’s Masters in English program in the Fall with a focus on early American literature.
Staff Bios Selene C. San Felice Selene is a junior majoring in journalism. She is also the Assist. Arts + Entertainment Editor and Sex & Love columnist for The Minaret. Her research paper “Peaches, Pigs, Planes and Punishment” on the work of Roald Dahl won 3rd place in the writing center’s 2015 Wordsmith Awards. She will be studying at the University of Oxford in Fall of 2015. Nicoletta Pappas Nicoletta is a sophomore majoring in Criminology and Psychology. She is a member of Sigma Delta Tau volunteers as a Gardian Ad Litem. Her future plans include studying Forensic Psychology and behavioral studies. Elizabeth MacLean Liz is a freshman studying communication and journalism. She is a member of Alpha Chi Omega, a photographer for The Minaret, and rows on the women’s crew team. Valeria Fernandez Valeria is a sophomore, soon to be junior, at UT and is an Allied Health major with a concentration in Physical Therapy. She’s California born and South Florida raised. This is her first year on the Respondez! team and she hopes you enjoy this publication! Jonna D. Bond Jonna is a sophomore with a major in psychology and a minor in criminology. She plans to pursue a Bachelors of Science degree before working for the Bureau of Prisons and getting her doctorate. She is from Inverness, FL. Jesse Long Jesse is a sophomore at the University of Tampa, originally from Mooresville, North Carolina. She is currently studying English with two minors, Journalism and Writing. After graduation she plans on attending graduate school, with the goal of achieving a doctorate degree.
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