M.A. Thesis Abstracts
Marlon Knopf Brown, THE DEPROGRAMMING CONTROVERSY: A STRUGGLE FOR IMAGE
Deprogramming: A Struggle for Image examines in narrative fashion the conflict in America over the controversial procedure of deprogramming. This thesis proves that both sides of this conflict attempted to win public support for their positions by projecting positive images of themselves through the mass media. This thesis also proves that the media was directly influenced by both sides. By closely analyzing the entirety of prime time network television programs which dealt with deprogramming as a theme from fall 1977 to spring 1979, this thesis shows that the media was overwhelmingly sympathetic to the influence of the anti-cult movement's message. This thesis proves that Jonestown was not the initiator of anti-cult sentiment among the American public, but the culmination of a seven year campaign by the pro-family anti-cult movement to win public sympathy and support for their battle against cults.
The counter-culture of the 1960's, the Women's Liberation Movement and the "sexual revolution" of the 1970's created an atmosphere of confrontation and change in American culture in which the institution of marriage faced increasing challenge. This study evaluates the viability of American marriage from 1959 to 1979. The research applies Thomas Kuhn's model of scientific revolution to the institution of marriage and the usage of Kuhn's model in regard to social change is discussed in chapter one. The second chapter presents American marriage in a historical perspective. Betty Friedan's book, The Feminine Mystique is used as a primary source in this study and is the topic of chapter three, defining the American marital paradigm in the 1950's. The evaluation is based on qualitative content analyses of short fiction in Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping and McCall's magazines, 1959-1979, and of five major college-level marriage textbooks in the same period, discussed at length in chapters four and five. In concluding the research, I found the American marital paradigm to be in a severe state of crisis yet unable to begin the process of revolution because of the attitudinal restraints of a larger cultural paradigm.
There are two distinctive methods of mate selection: arranged marriage and love match. In the United States, where culture encourages people to be independent and autonomous, love match prevails as a method of mate selection. In modern Japan, where traditional collectivism predominates and strong patriarchal authority still exists, arranged marriage is still commonly practiced, though love match has become popular nowadays under the influences of Western culture. To investigate the methods of mate selection as a cultural norm and female attitudes toward mate selection and marriage in both Japan and the United States, I administered a questionnaire to approximately a hundred college females each at Osaka City University in Japan and at California State University, Fullerton. I analyze the data obtained and reveal both similar and different attitudes toward mate selection and marriage between the two groups, with emphasis upon how much both cultures influence women and their marriage.
The romantic ideal of the artist is a set of motivations and rewards that inspires behavior and defines the role of the artist in American culture. This ideal developed from the romantic sensibilities of the nineteenth century and, despite the corrupting influence of succeeding art styles, it has been able to preserve values well over a hundred years old. In the recorded music industry, the romantic ideal is a potent force in setting standards because both the record company and the rock press support it, albeit in different ways and for different reasons. Their combined support enables the romantic ideal to continue to be disseminated to rock musicians as well as the audience at large. For the artist, however, the romantic ideal provides values that run counter to his working experiences. This leads to a conflict between the real and the ideal, a conflict that characterizes the art world in today's American culture.
In the decade of the eighties it is important to the American feminine image to be athletic and physically fit. Girls and women are active participants in sports whether it be dancing in an aerobics class or running a marathon. Such athletic activity was not always part of the accepted feminine image. Using Thomas Kuhn's model of changing paradigms described in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, this thesis presents an older paradigm of femininity in sports which narrowly defined the female role and led to the exclusion of females from most sports activities. Also described are the forces straining this paradigm -- the anomalies, debate and competing paradigm which eventually led to the downfall of the traditional paradigm as it applies to sports. The new paradigm is then described and evidence is presented which supports its position as the dominant paradigm of femininity in sports.
This thesis will examine nineteen twenties American expatriation to Paris from the perspective of participants who have been, until recently, virtually ignored. While the male-dominated community of Hemingway, Pound, and Fitzgerald has been studied extensively, another community abroad has remained obscure: the lesbian group of expatriates. Writers like Gertrude Stein and Djuna Barnes belonged to this community as did publishers Margaret Anderson and Sylvia Beach. This study explores such questions as: How did these expatriate women see themselves? Did they identify themselves as assertive lesbians, or, liberated women artists, or simply Americans abroad? Were their motions, situation abroad, attitudes and values toward their life and work different from their male contemporaries? Their published work--including novels, memoirs, articles, autobiographies, and interviews--form the basis for understanding the expatriate lesbian community abroad. Through the act of expatriation itself, these women won a measure of independence from societal "prejudice." They set themselves apart in a community where they could safely express their interests in art, politics, sexuality and the self. This thesis explores the individual and culture meanings of their dual act of expatriation and lesbianism.
American dominant culture's interpretation of food and it's effects on the human body is directly related to the evolution of the consumer culture in the twentieth century. Food consumption is part of a cultural double bind and is bound by contradictory expectations and values. One half of this food dualism requires the achievement of cultural ideals through food consumption. Eating becomes a way through which one experiences the "Good Life," the health, happiness, and success American expect. The other half of the food dualism perceives overweight as a condensed symbol of entire overconsuming lifestyle, a stigma revealing obvious character flaws and defects. This thesis explores this food dualism as revealed by the Ladies Home Journal from the 1890's through the 1980's, tracing many of the common cultural and historical issues that have been used to substantiate the reality of both sides of the dichotomous expectation.
A society experiencing change in its structure feels anxiety about its psycho-social identity. Cultural values lose their meaning, forcing society to adjust its world-view to accord with new structural realities. Through a process called boundary maintenance--in which a symbolic person or idea is used to designate the limits of acceptable behavior--society strengthens its threatened identity by readjusting its value system. Victorian America was a society undergoing significant change in its structure. Victorians were unsure about the traditional values girding their identity. They used boundary maintenance devices to readjust their values and reaffirm their identity. Symbolic villains were one such boundary maintenance device; Aaron Burr was a prominent Victorian villain. Burr, the third American vice-president, was an unusually popular subject in Victorian magazines, schoolbooks, and novels. An analysis of Burr's images in these media, therefore, illustrates how boundary maintenance helps a society align traditional values with new structural realities.
The cultural notions of beauty and physical attractiveness are important variables in life. "Good looks" shape self-esteem, preserve happiness, and determine the way people will be treated by others. Beauty matters because it affects how well individuals do in love, at work, and in life. One place in modern society where Americans create and share their culture's definition of beauty is within retail cosmetic departments. This ethnography of a suburban cosmetic department analyzes the ritual aspect of cosmetic use as women buy and sell American culture's image of beauty and femininity. Cultural forms find articulation with the "consciousness" of individuals as they transact their daily business. Cosmetic departments arbitrate male and female role definitions with society. The beauty rituals they sell regulate human interaction and communicate intense sentiments and senses of identity. Most importantly, American beauty practices create a dual persona in women. The "adorned" face is valued and deemed worthwhile; the "unadorned" face is worthless and socially unacceptable.
"Defending the Errand in the Nuclear Age: The American Civil Religion Under Stress" is a study of the dramatic transaction that took place between the American people and their leaders during three events: the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, the Mayaguez incident in 1975, and the Korean Airliner incident in 1983. Historical background for the study is provided in the first three chapters, which draw on secondary sources. Chapter One traces the historical development of the American civil religion; Chapter Two explores the myth of violence in defense of the national errand; Chapter Three addresses the role the civil religion plays in creating consensus in a diverse society. Primary sources for Chapters Four through Six are The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. The study provides evidence that in the nuclear age Americans act out the myth of violence in defense of the errand only in symbolic terms and that there is a significant movement in the culture to unlink the errand from violence.
This study interprets Elvis Presley as a powerful public symbol of American culture in general and of American life in the fifties in particular, using some of the theoretical and methodological principles of symbolic anthropology. The analysis of Elvis' symbolic role in American culture is based upon the examination of youth history, the social history of the fifties, Elvis' personality, life, and career, Elvis as myth, and publicly expressed Elvis images, perceptions, and interpretations. The study concludes that Elvis stands essentially as: (1) a symbol of youth, since he gave shape, direction, and power to a formerly fragmented and socially insignificant youth culture; (2) a symbol of communitas, since he had the power to instill in others new perceptions of alternative ways of interpreting life; and (3) a historical cultural symbol because he portrayed the American dominant cultural ethos in his person, life, and music.
The Bolsa Chica Wetlands of Huntington Beach have been molded and shaped as a cultural artifact by successive generations of human existence on that site. Using the "sequent occupance" approach, this thesis explores the cultural attitudes towards nature, land use, and wetlands, in particular of the Gabrieleno Indians (500 A.D.-1768), the Spanish and Mexican cultures (1768- 1850), the "Yankee" intrusion from the eastern U.S. (1829-1878), the "Great Revival" evangelical movement of the late 1800s, the Agricultural period (1870-1920), the Oil Boom (1920-1940), Urbanization and the Awakening of Environmental Consciousness (1960-1985), and the most recent changes in environmental thought during the late 1980s. It also examines the economic and political meaning of land to each particular culture and the criteria that deem a piece of land either "valuable" or "useless." Finally, it establishes how important it is for our society to culturally mold our landscapes to accommodate nature and the larger ecosystem, as well as the human community.
Orange County has experienced phenomenal growth in recent decades. This is reflected in factual studies as well as in fiction. This study examines scientist-writer Gregory Benford as a cultural critic. It compares Benford's novels with the novels of six other Orange County science fiction authors and sets them all within the larger context of science fiction history. It is based upon a close reading of numerous novels as well as oral history interviews. It uses these materials to explore fictional themes that reflect social concerns. These science fiction novels transform issues of the day into plot, metaphor and imagery. They address themes such as fear of change, nature versus civilization, family and community, challenges to authority, and the definition of humanity. By analyzing the works of Benford and other authors, this study explores the larger social meanings found in Orange County science fiction writing.
The language of films has often been the language of the stereotype. The repeated use of physical characteristics or personality traits provides clues to the audience and simplifies character development. However, the recognition of those stereotypes depends on shared cultural values and experiences. The purpose of this thesis is to examine the impact of those values on the depiction of public school teachers in American films, particularly those films released between 1968 and 1983, years in which public opinion regarding the educational system took a dramatic negative turn. The literary origins of earlier film stereotypes are examined and a comparison is made between those images and the real conditions of teachers during the period studied. Nine hundred forty-two films of the period were surveyed and fifty-five films depicting teachers were studied in depth. Although the image of teachers during this period generally became more positive, many negative portrayals of women remained. The main factors involved in these changes were the sex of the teacher depicted, the year the film was made, and the intended audience of the film.
Complaints from women concerning their role in the American Christmas tradition led to an investigation of the origins of the customs which have become so dear to most Americans and to the causes of a growing discontent regarding the celebration of the nation's most popular holiday. An examination of Christmas issues of women's magazines over the past one hundred and fifty years, along with in-depth interviews with contemporary women concerning their thoughts about Christmas, reveals that the customs which were nurtured by Victorian homemakers one hundred years ago to maintain and strengthen a holiday ritual favorable to family centrality have not been appreciably altered, in spite of significant changes in the fabric of American society. The dissonance caused from attempting to apply traditional values to the reality of the modern social structure will inevitably bring about change to the treasured American Christmas tradition.
Since research indicates that Americans often develop their "world view" at least in part from information gleaned from television, the fictional characterization of women on television is a significant source of potential role models in contemporary America. This thesis evaluates the central female characters of four situation comedies across a thirty year span: Sally Rogers of The Dick Van Dyke Show, Ann Marie of That Girl, Mary Richards of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and Murphy Brown of Murphy Brown. The qualitative analysis and interpretation of the implicit and explicit behaviors, expressed attitudes and character discourse of these characters and programs revealed a consistent pattern of reinforcement of traditional female sex roles. While highlighting that even programs touted as "progressive" are not as innovative as claimed, this study further indicates that traditional sex role definitions remain powerful even as the demographics of women's experience has become increasingly divergent.
This thesis analyzes the complex geographical and social history of the Santa Ana Canyon in Orange County, California. The many gaps that exist in the record of Native American and Hispanic contributions to the region are uncovered in contrast to the nostalgic view commonly portrayed in California history. Such canyon communities as Yorba, Peralta, Olive, and Atwood are examined as social entities hidden by urban development and the influx of Anglo-American culture. Using the "sequent occupance" approach, this study reveals how a natural river valley became an extensive cattle range, then turned into a vast citrus orchard. After World War II, people inundated the canyon, transforming its agricultural identity into an urban one. The little- documented history of Native American and Hispanic community members was uncovered through census records, interviews, historic buildings, and cemetery records. This study stresses the importance of recovering a lost sense of place.
Given the commodified nature of popular culture, it should follow that the consumer has a certain degree of agency over the material created by society's producers. Looking at the comic book superhero Batman, this thesis traces the character's change over time and examines the influence the reader/consumer has over the creative process. Letters written to the editor, which appear in a letter column within every issue of Batman comics, supply overwhelming evidence supporting the notion of the hero's popular construction. The correlation between the material in the columns and the shifts in character portrayal is remarkable. Every major change in Batman that has met with reader satisfaction, was requested by a large segment of correspondents in the years leading up to the shift. The few times DC Comics attempted to adjust Batman's depiction without reader promotion were met with significant disapproval, and the publishers were forced to revert to his previous style.
This thesis examines how the concept of romantic love has affected attitudes toward death in American and Vietnamese-American cultures. Beginning in the eighteenth and culminating in the twentieth century, American views of love, marriage, and family, and of death, dying, and bereavement have been increasingly affected by the rise of romantic love. The European base of American attitudes toward death are analyzed through secondary sources. Vietnamese cultural patterns are analyzed through ethnographies, oral histories, and questionnaires, with an emphasis on generational change in the Vietnamese community in Southern California. Changes in family structure and the acceptance of romantic love in both cultures accelerated the fear of the loss of the mate, thus increasing the fear of death in American and Vietnamese-American cultures.
This thesis uses the life of Aimee Semple McPherson, a well-known American evangelist of the 1920s, to understand the larger implications of religious fervency in American culture. Beginning with an examination of women as viewed in Christian tradition and American religious history, this thesis elaborates upon the changing trends in mass media and the rise of Pentecostalism of which McPherson could take advantage. Looking at her audience, this thesis evaluates what McPherson meant to the public of her era--her secular admirers, her followers, and her critics. The subsequent cost of becoming such an icon to so many people was the toll on what was left of her private life, losing some intimate relationships through criticism and controversy. Throughout the events of her life, her sustaining influence was her strong self-concept, something seen in her early life as a missionary and reinforced under the glare of public observation.
The primary theme of this thesis is the deconstruction of cigarette advertisements in print media from 1936- 1996. The largest source of ads came from the pages of LIFE, Cosmopolitan, and Sports Illustrated. The first chapter is a historical overview from colonial times to the present. Next, cigarette ad sampling covers a thirty- six year period from 1936-1972; themes and trends are discussed along with analysis of the ads. The polemic of advertising as an influence on consumers and two 1991 papers which concluded that Marlboro and Camel ads influenced adolescents to smoke are examined in the third chapter. Current Marlboro and Camel ads are decoded and corroborate that research. The fourth chapter analyzes a five-year ad sampling between 1978- 1982 in gender-specific magazines with an adolescent readership. Of interest is the rise in smoking among female adolescents. The concluding chapter examines the political climate in 1996, its effect on smoking and advertising, and its correlation to conclusions of this thesis's sixty year cigarette advertising study.
This thesis will explore the popular reception of journalist, children's author, and television heroine Laura Ingalls Wilder. In the 1910s, Wilder was an advice journalist for a country weekly, the Missouri Ruralist. Twenty years later, Wilder became more prominently known for her Little House series of books, stories about the pioneering experience in the 1870s and 1880s, which have been popular since their first publication in the 1930s and 1940s. Sales soared as a result of Michael Landon's television rendition of her stories in the 1970s. And, numerous historical "Little House" sites have been established throughout the Midwest and elsewhere. Overall, this thesis will explore what Wilder has come to represent in American culture that would cause such popularity and interest, not only in America, but all over the world.
In the twentieth century the coyote (Canis latrans Say) has increased in number and has expanded its range the from the Plains states to most of the North American continent, bringing it into increasing contact with people. At the same time, a dearth of biological evidence, coupled with a wealth of anecdotal and mythological treatments, has shaped the coyote into a cultural icon. An examination of the forces that shaped the coyote as icon reveal that there has never been a definitive coyote. It is as adaptable mythologically as it is biologically. Examining literature, art, urban attitudes, and the failure of a government extirpation campaign, we find an animal imbued with human characteristics that often preclude biology. The coyote has come to reflect our sense of ourselves--it is indeed the American character. This work furthers our understanding of this animal as an animal and as a part of our culture, so that we may live together successfully in our shared habitat.
The image of Icarus as an emblem in American popular representations of pilots suggests the tensions inherent in the image of the pilot as a heroic figure. Early images of pilots are seen as expressions of the tension between traditional ideals of chivalry and the modern emphasis on individual autonomy. With the technological change and mass mobilization of World War II, the pilot represents the conflicting impulses towards both individual technological mastery and cooperative action. The postwar image of the pilot reflects the tensions of heroic masculinity "domesticated" by dominant middle-class culture. Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff is examined as an important popular re-evaluation of the pilot as a modern American hero. Female pilots, and African-American pilots are also considered as heroic images representing ideals particularly important to those subcultures. Examples are taken from popular fiction and nonfiction, magazine articles and feature films produced between 1927 and 1997.
This thesis investigates how gay Asian men found, interacted with, and related to each other and other gay men in Los Angeles during the seventies and early eighties. It also documents the founding of Asian/Pacific Lesbians and Gays (A/PLG) in 1980, the first Asian Pacific organization in Southern California, and how that changed the dynamics of that interaction. Specifically, it examines the social, political, and cultural factors that reinforced an ideology of racialized desire that discouraged most gay Asian men from recognizing each other as sexual and/or romantic partners and that impeded the formation of a panethnic identity until A/PLG. Using the methods of both oral history and cultural studies, the thesis describes the contradictions that gay men needed to confront and reconcile in order to fashion a community based on both their race and sexuality.
This thesis explores the role of multicultural education within a majority-white community in the rural northwest. It uses ethnographic methods to examine three public schools in an agricultural valley in the state of Washington from the spring of 1996 to the spring of 1997. Interviews with teachers and administrators explore the ways that this school district understands the meaning of culture. This study found that although the district has made special accommodations for its small number of minority students, notably those of American Indian and Hispanic descent, the broader implications of culture and diversity remain largely unexplored. The lessons learned from this study of a rural school system suggest that developing a positive cultural identity is a necessary foundation for all students, both white and non-white.
In the contemporary United States, religion and spirituality are big business. Themes of religion and spirituality are found in most popular media—print journalism, radio, television, and film. At the same time, the U.S. has also become a more religiously diverse nation. As a result, religion and spirituality are continually being packaged and repackaged in ways that are designed to attract the widest possible audiences. Producers of popular materials face many cultural boundaries in dealing with religion and spirituality, from the federal constitution's religion clauses to the debates over the meaning of civil religion to the problems surrounding political correctness. Ultimately, however, materials that entertain without offending are what usually sells. This thesis explores these changing cultural boundaries by focusing on the ways that religion and spirituality have been packaged in contemporary popular materials, including advertisements, radio and television programs, and films.
The study of Southern California surf culture: including the history of surfing’s development, the meaning of being a surfer, the importance of gender in surfing, and symbols and values associated with surfing. Surfing originated in Hawaii, but found the greatest amount of cultural development in Southern California. The cross-pollination of Hawaii's traveling surfers, who introduced the sport to California in the late 19th century, and the migration to Hawaii of California surfers from the 1930s through the 1950s heavily influenced the surf culture that developed in Southern California.
Surf culture is unique in that it has developed on the beach; an area that lies between civilization and the wilderness. Surfers are influenced by the mass culture found upon land and the untamed nature that they paddle out upon, the sea. The beach has acted as a buffer between these two worlds and has allowed surfers to develop a rich culture with values grounded in play and masculinity. The value of play was in direct conflict with the Protestant work ethic, because surfers have traditionally been willing to drop everything to enjoy a good day of surfing. Surfing has allowed men to prove their masculinity in the challenging and dangerous surf, creating a conflict with women participating in the same activity.
The majority of the research for this project comes from surfing magazines and surfing books that include various autobiographies and historical studies. A few secondary sources were used, but were not heavily relied upon because surfing has not been explored extensively on the scholarly level. Fourteen years of personal experience in surfing was also used in the project to reflect upon an activity that has dominated my life.
This thesis examines presentations of surfing in popular genres, analyzing change over time as well as form and content. The introduction provides a brief history of surfing in California; the study proper examines surf narratives in film, music, literature, journalism, built environments, and fashion. Specific attention is accorded Gidget and Point Break in film; Kem Nunn’s The Dogs of Winter in literature; Surfer’s Journal in journalism; Huntington Beach as a built environment; and the rise of the surfwear industry and the commodification of surfing. The conclusion argues that in subtext surf narratives draw from various undercurrents of American thought—tapping into areas of topical social concern as well as historical ideologies. These include the cult of leisure, eco-spirituality, the frontier/wilderness experience, and the California Dream.
As increasing numbers of young, single women migrated to America’s cities throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, traditional definitions of female sexuality and true womanhood became questioned, challenged, and redefined. The presence of these “women adrift:” wage-earners and consumers who were devoid of familial constraints concerned many. Several groups responded to the social, cultural, and economic changes that were brought about through modernization by shifting their focus to prostitution in their literary and visual representations. This thesis explores the visual traditions of depicting prostitutes by sensationalists, reformers, cultural radicals, and political activists in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and the competing ideologies of female sexuality and womanhood that they in turn reflect. In examining these various depictions of prostitutes, we may see that they were rendered as a response to and a reflection of the emerging New Woman of the modern era, who asserted her economic, sexual, and social autonomy.
The goal of this study was to identify and discuss the major patterns regarding the American cultural view of women’s involvement in sports from the 1950s through the 1990s. Discussion centers on the cultural images, myths and beliefs about women in sports, and how those views may or may not have changed over a span of five decades.
Sports Illustrated covers featuring females were selected for evaluation. Data was gathered on cover photos and the corresponding feature articles or photo layouts. The length and content of each article was recorded with specific note made of descriptive language, references to looks, marital status, motherhood or femininity. Photos and captions were coded for size, activity level, and context. Statistics revealed the patterns of change and consistency over time. These topics provide the heart of the discussion.
I found that while women’s appearances on the covers of Sports Illustrated declined after the 1950s, competitive action photos have increased. Individual and Olympic sports were most frequently featured while team sports were excluded from the covers until recently. The Cold War had a significant impact on both the sports featured, and behavioral expectations of female athletes. Sports Illustrated has been an advocate of women’s sports, but the constant tension between accommodation of, and resistance to, women’s participation in an activity historically defined as masculine is clearly evidenced. This cultural strain is still being dealt with in infinite and complex way.
Backpacking was an obscure and eccentric activity until a surge of interest from 1965 until about 1977. The rapid popularization of backpacking in America was the result of cultural trends such as the Environmental Movement and counter cultural beliefs of the 1960s. These movements promoted the view of wilderness as a source of beauty and personal renewal. Environmental organizations, environmentalists, national environmental concerns, and the Back to Nature Movement encouraged people to explore backpacking. Inexpensive military surplus equipment and the World War II induced development of nylon and lightweight waterproofing contributed to the ability of people to backpack in comfort. Participation in the sport leveled off by the middle to late 1970s because of overcrowded conditions, the resulting regulation of wilderness activities, and shifting popular interest. By this time, backpacking was established within the culture as an accepted choice of vacations supported by a profitable industry.
This thesis examines popular cultural texts of the 1990s as expression and reflection of contemporary American life. Various methodological approaches are utilized in successive evidentiary chapters that analyze science fiction film, alternative rock music, and best-selling self-help literature. While each chapter employs textual analysis, the chapter of alternative rock music includes an ethnography of high school students, an examination of school shooters, and a discussion of the wider cultural debate surrounding violent themes in music. The self-help chapter utilizes an 80-year historiography to ground my interpretation of 1990s texts. This thesis argues that these texts express and reflect a contemporary America where individuals experience a lack of depth, a feeling of inauthenticity, an absence of a grounding narrative, and a lack of autonomous identity within consumer capitalism—what is identified as the postmodern condition. The final chapter explores the expressed strategies offered to overcome this condition across these texts.
This thesis examines the effect of 1970’s Glitter Rock movement on American youth. Various methodological approaches are utilized in successive evidentiary chapters that analyze album covers, songs, lyrics, magazines, books and newspapers. This thesis argues that that Glitter Rock provided a subculture in which American youth were allowed to play out sexual and gender issues. The first chapter will define Glitter Rock and the moment in time in which it emerged. The artists examined will be: Alice Cooper, Lou Reed, Iggy and the Stooges, the New York Dolls, Jobriath, and Suzi Quatro. Chapter four deals with Max’s Kansas City and Rodney Bingenheimer’s English Disco.
This thesis explores the "invisibiity" of the nation's largest Native American urban population, a population that now lives in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. It attempts to increase awareness of this community's unique experiences and rich culture. This is an ethnographic study based on my personal contacts and attendance at cultural events, focusing in particular on the experience of the Native American Inter-tribal Powwow. I first analyze the socio-economic characteristics of this population through census records and secondary scholarship. Content analysis of Holywood films is also employed to untangle the stereotypical "Indian" imagery in American popular culture. I then describe and interpret my observations of the urban Native American community and their activities, while being conscious of my "non-Native American, non-American" Japanese self. The conclusion identifies Native American people as contemporary city dwellers whose traditional values are beautifully maintained in their urban life.
This thesis explores the “American Dream,” as understood in belief and practice among Romanian immigrants to America. For many immigrants, life in America is equated with a “dream” life of freedom in the land of opportunities, and it is this “American Dream” which causes immigrants from all over the world to choose America as their adoptive country. This thesis is a critical analysis of the narratives of first and second generation Romanian immigrants, revealing their beliefs in and about the American Dream. In the course of my research, I used oral history as an ethnographic method, talking with a total of twenty-eight Romanian immigrants, now living in Southern California. I asked open-ended questions and I analyzed their responses as answered in their own words. I maintain that the American Dream is an attainable dream of relative definition that can be accomplished by immigrants coming to the United States.
This thesis examines why the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Corvette became American cultural icons. Chapter one explores the technological development responsible for the creation of muscle cars in the middle of the 20th century, particularly during the post-World War II years of the 1950’s. Chapter two explores the roots of the muscle car era, beginning with the influence of auto racing in America in the late 19th century; the production histories of the Mustang and Corvette are also examined. Chapter three examines the strategies Ford and Chevrolet used to sell the Mustang and Corvette in print advertisements to prospective buyers of each car. The cultural impact of the Mustang and Corvette in American motion pictures and television shows is discussed in chapter four; in chapter five, I use an ethnographic study to examine the impact organized Mustang and Corvette car clubs have had on each model’s lasting popularity in American culture. Finally, the concluding chapter reinforces the findings from the previous chapters and contemplates the future of Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Corvette as icons in American culture.
Orange County, California, occupies an eminent place on America’s contemporary cultural map. The area’s historically high standard of living has traditionally made Orange County the “happiest [real] place on earth.” There exists, however, a sense of alienation that contradicts Orange County’s utopian claims, an alienation that within recent years has become more pronounced in the wake of the county’s massive landscape transformation, its hyperreal development, and its relationship with affluenza, or the drive for overtly conspicuous consumption. The cultural artifacts of the music group No Doubt, science fiction writings of Kim Stanley Robinson, the county’s endeavors with Transportation Art and the depiction of Orange County in various films, such as Life as a House, Better Luck Tomorrow, and Orange County, and television programs such as The O.C., Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County, and Arrested Development, register and publicly project the psychological dislocations that living in this simulated utopia causes.
The master-planned City of Irvine , California embodies evolving notions of community and the suburban ideal in American society. By examining media representations of Irvine through Irvine Company advertisements and marketing materials, as well as through printed critiques, this study investigates the ways a master-planned city develops an identity through its projected and assigned image. Beginning with the influence of Ebenezer Howard's Garden City model of 1898, this research traces an American ideal enamored with greenery and small-scale community. Partly a reaction to the suburban critique of the 1950s, this continued search for the perfect “middle landscape” culminates in the development and depiction of the master-planned communities of the 1960s up through today. What results is a portrait of the master-planned city as a tightly-regulated, though nicely landscaped, enclave. This suburbanization of urban life raises issues of “otherness” and the aesthetics of control in contemporary American society.
Lotería is a Mexican folk game that has been in existence since the Mexican Revolution. For more than a century, Lotería has acted as a source of cultural remembrance to immigrants who left their homeland in search of a promising future in the United States and has also served as a source of cultural identification and preservation for those of broader Latino backgrounds. My thesis, El mundo de lotería: Transnational Identity in Play addresses the cultural world(s) that Lotería invokes and the ways in which Lotería elucidates transnational identity in “play” as people negotiate their identities in the United States.
Images from traditional Lotería cards are both iconic and omnipresent in American society—appearing on household items sold in upscale stores and in Latino communities, presented as focal points of politically charged art, and the subject of musings in Mexican, Chicano, and Central American literature. Lotería’s images are cultural mimes that challenge us to finish their stories. My study focuses on artists and writers who have utilized Lotería caricatures to voice their social, cultural, and political identities. Based on interviews with Lotería artists and in-depth analyses of representations of Lotería imagery in literary texts, I argue that Lotería is a vernacular border art born out of binational and transnational crossings and geographies. Even as Lotería and its vibrant images are seen as rather ordinary taken-for-granted objects, I find that the iconography of Lotería is able to conjure a myriad of folk narratives from various global locations that would otherwise go untold.
Dominating such a large portion of today’s youth market, the Disney Princess Collection (DPC) plays an important role in American popular culture by exposing children to important mainstream American beliefs about gender, romance, and love. Images displayed through this collection of eight films—including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, and Mulan—are part of an extensive marketing scheme that has the potential to significantly impact viewers. In this thesis, I will examine how the Walt Disney Company, one of the largest distributors of media to children, portrays romance, love, and happily-ever-after endings in this popular collection of animated films. Though Disney films have been previously analyzed in terms of gender, never before has the DPC been scrutinized as a whole. In this thesis, I will inspect DPC films exclusively in relation to love and romantic rituals. Though some scholars have touched on the issue of love in Disney films, none have analyzed DPC films independently from other Disney films or conducted a lengthy investigation of romance in Disney films. Though others may have investigated Disney films, none have assessed Disney sequels (and, in particular, DPC sequels) and how these films tie in with the entire Disney franchise. My thesis will shed a new light on Disney films and assess a very influential aspect of the Walt Disney Company that is often criticized but rarely analyzed.
This thesis examines hip hop culture among adolescents in the Inland Empire and seeks to understand the perceptions of hip hop music and culture in this region. In an ethnographic analysis, one high school was selected as representative of adolescents in the Inland Empire to survey the students. In addition to the data collected from the survey results, various forms of hip hop media and hip hop cultural critics were used for supplementary information. By examining how the students define hip hop music and culture, I trace the evolution that hip hop has made from its origin to the present. The first chapter includes a brief history of hip hop and moves in to the analysis of the data collected from the ethnographic research. Chapter Two discusses how the students define hip hop music, while Chapter Three explores hip hop culture in the Inland Empire. Chapter Four includes a personal account from having experienced hip hop in the Inland Empire as an adolescent, and Chapter Five aims to connect the information gathered with the current state and future of hip hop.
This thesis is part of a much larger research project that investigates the causes and effects of the anti-crime campaign conducted by the City of Oceanside, California with the collaboration of the United States Marine Corps from 1974-1976. It is a case study of this alliance, its exercise in power, and the organized resistance of the alleged criminals. I ask, who was blamed for the crime problem and why? How did the accused respond to the allegations? In answering these questions, I examine newspaper reports, legal documents, institutional records, personal correspondences, and oral histories. I use these sources to construct a descriptive narrative and interpretation of the events that occurred prior to, during, and in the wake of the war on crime. The evidence suggests a classic case of scapegoating. The narrative reveals the changing and elusive face of a suspected criminal: from unruly marine, to villainous black civilian, to the black marine, and finally, to the homosexual male, marked by the alliance as a predatory sexual pervert.
This thesis addresses experiences of rural women as farmers during the farm crisis of the 1980s. The farm crisis of the 1980s and previous times of agricultural distress were times that enabled farmwomen to acquire more recognition for their active participation in agriculture; they made their voices heard through protests and attempted to change the perception of rural women. During the 1980s farm crisis, many grassroots movements emerged in an attempt to gain parity for the farmers and farming women began to join this movement to gain recognition for themselves as well. Generally speaking, women have not been viewed as farmers themselves but rather in terms of their assumedly complementary or secondary roles as mothers, wives, and daughters of the male farmer. Nor have they had the same rights as their male counterparts. Utilizing primary source material from these grassroots organizations as well as oral histories from farming women, I examine what role they played within the farm movement. I also look at how rural women were viewed in popular media and society during the time of the farm crisis, looking at the way they were portrayed in films at the time.
During the course of this ethnographic study, one overarching theme became apparent. While The Rock and its members are very much a part of the secular world, they seem to struggle to find a balance between their involvement in the secular world and their withdrawal from it. This clash seems to indicate some of the remnants of the Christian edict to be in this world but not of this world. On some levels, members of The Rock attempt to separate themselves because they are wary of the temptation and corruption that they feel permeates the secular world. On the other hand, a major objective of their mission as a Christian is proselytization of the unchurched and non-believers, which demands interaction with the secular world. This study examines how this drive to strike a balance between participation in, and co-optation of, the secular world and an impulse to separate from that same world play out in three areas of church life—the appropriate level of political engagement for The Rock and its members, prescribed gender roles and expectations, and the accumulation of wealth.
This thesis examines literary representations of the Vietnam War from the perspectives of writers from three countries of the United States, Vietnam, and Japan. In doing so, I used the following fictional works; Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried, Bao Ninh's The Sorrow of War, and Takeshi Kaiko's Into a Black Sun. These three authors actually participated in the Vietnam War and witnessed the country at war with their own eyes. Through the medium of literature, they tried to reenact the cruelty of war. Investigating the Vietnam War novels of O'Brien, Ninh, and Kaiko, I found that these three writers particularly direct their attention toward the absolute gap between the institutional political forces and the individuals in the arena of the Vietnam War. The essence of this chasm can be aptly understood by the American sociologist Avery Gordon's theoretical concept of "ghostly matter." The stories of the war victims in the novels of O'Brien, Ninh, and Kaiko convey the truth of war which exists behind the official data on the war. Examining the "ghost stories" in the three writers' novels, I try to answer the following questions: (1) What truths do O'Brien, Ninh, and Kaiko tell us about the Vietnam War? (2) How do the three novelists attempt to reenact what they saw in Vietnam through their cultural medium of literature? and (3) How did the war change the three authors' protagonists and the authors themselves?
Using song lyrics as primary sources, this thesis examines the cultural significance of trucker music, primarily during its heyday between the early 1960s and late 1970s. Attention is given to the origins of trucker songs and the commensurate mid-twentieth century growth of country music, as well as to the changes in recording and listening technology that were felicitous to the genre's popularity. Central to its acceptance is the manner in which trucker music reflected and influenced American attitudes toward technology, mobility, anti-authoritarianism, gender, sex, and family life. Because of its cultural impact, the canon of trucker songs deserves to be considered America's last true worksong genre.
This thesis analyzes the emergence and commodifaction of hip-hop authenticity in the 1990s NBA. In the mid- to late 1990s, hip-hop's emerging youth cultural forms began to appear in professional basketball. These cultural forms were used to appropriate hip-hop authenticity as a product line marketed to youth consumers, not unlike the sensationalism and commodification of criminality and contiguous elements of black urban culture in the early 1990s. However, older consumers, particularly those within the mainstream sports press, negatively perceived many of the symbolic associations that hip-hop culture carried. This tension between the new NBA players' salable authenticity and the older generation that covered the game set the background for the late 1990s NBA. Ultimately, this thesis addresses both American consumerism as well as the way race is perceived in America. While I concede that this moment is merely one in the long history of middle-class white America's fascination with black cultural forms, it is unique in that this particular moment occurred upon a stage covered nightly by a postmodern media machine. Using newspapers and magazines for the bulk of my primary sources, I use mainstream public perception as my evidence to analyze how the tension in the NBA was played out on a public stage.
In January 1882, Oscar Wilde embarked on a lecture tour of the United States and Canada. Wilde was lecturing about the English art movement Aestheticism in conjunction with the comic opera by Gilbert and Sullivan called Patience or Bunthorne's Bride, which mocked the movement. Stretching from the East to West Coast, this was one of the very first press tours of its kind, made possible by new, faster train transportation and more press coverage. With his cunning, witty interaction with the press and his fantastical, gender-role-defying clothing, Wilde embodied a new cultural phenomenon: the counterculture artist celebrity. By detailing how Wilde defied Victorian gender roles while spreading the counterculture ideals of Aestheticism, this thesis shows the lasting cultural impact of Wilde's 1882 tour.
James Baldwin was consistently at odds with prejudice, racism, and homophobia. He was at odds with the shifting popularity, appropriation, and disavowal that characterized his "place" in America from 1924 to 1987. Out of this opposition comes an abundance of criticism of hegemonic notions of who and what is "American." This thesis deals with Baldwin's disputations of unrealistic notions of American identity and innocence. Specifically, it examines Baldwin's critiques of highly categorized identity and unrealistic national innocence as an American writer, male, and citizen. As a writer, Baldwin challenged impulses towards his being categorized as a black or gay author--instead offering himself simply as a human witness. Baldwin challenged mid-twentieth century masculinity for what he saw as interpersonal and imperial violence enacted by an ever-innocent American male, and the detrimental pairing of guilt and pleasure--especially homosexual. Lastly, as an American citizen whose race was a reminder of national guilt and sexuality a reminder of the variability of identity--Baldwin challenged that any American's voice he erased for causing such disruptions. Rather, his and other American voices--historically and contemporarily deemed deviant--ought to be reinserted into a realistically representative and just picture of America.
At the turn-of-the-twentieth-century, as doctors in Los Angeles helped boosters promote an Anglo-only city of health, and doctors nationwide professionalized, complex cultural changes were happening in maternity care. Issues of race, class, gender, urbanization, eugenics, infant mortality, and the role of modern doctors influenced and complicated the developing maternity culture. Surprisingly, however, a strong counter narrative among physicians challenged accusations against women, while questioning procedures that doctors who valued surgical skills increasingly implemented into maternity care. This thesis focuses its analysis on the Southern California Practitioner , a medical journal founded by influential Angelenos, that published the papers and discussions from local medical meetings alongside jokes, editorials, and articles, from 1886-1922. In its pages, an astounding number of doctors, including many women, contested predictable topics: eradicating midwives, promoting medicalized care, and supporting alternatives to mothers' milk. Gradually, this maternity culture developed within the region's colleges, hospitals, settlements, and public health services.
In 1951, Physique Pictorial began circulating across America. On each page stood thousands of muscular bodies; perfect, godly, and seemingly carved from stone. Each issue presented readers with a world commanding the universal admiration perfection demanded, reminiscent of Greek and Roman sculpture highly recognized as classically beautiful. However, in attempting to celebrate these bodies, readers of Physique Pictorial were under constant scrutiny from local and federal authorities hungry to stomp our their queer desires and existence.
This project examines Physique Pictorial and the world created and disseminated by editor, photographer, and owner, Bob Mizer. Following the publication and it's readers from 1951 to 1967, this project will show the transformation of Los Angeles, and more over the nation. Through letters, editorials, and photographs, Mizer depicted a world experiencing sexual liberation, regardless of the authoritarian search for "perverse" material. With each component that contributed to his magazine, Mizer and Physique Pictorial helped plant the seeds for the sexual revolution to come in the late 1960s, as well as jump start a psychological revolution among both queer and heterosexual readers.
George Orwell's Animal Farm has a unique place in American literary history. A beast fable born out of Orwell's frustration with the Soviet Union's version of communism, Animal Farm has been read in American classrooms for decades. It is one of those rare texts that have been read by Americans of all ages since its publication in 1945. Orwell's intent was to scrutinize Joseph Stalin and the Soviets during an era when many in the West looked to the U.S.S.R. has a crucial ally in fighting the Nazis during World War II. Additionally, many socialists viewed the Soviet Union as a government that could not be allowed to fail. Orwell's experience in Spain during its Civil War had convinced him that the Soviets were not to be trusted. Americans snapped up copies of Animal Farm. The Cold War period saw the canonization of the book into American secondary classrooms.
Since 1991, the usage of Animal Farm in the classroom has seen a decline. Additionally, Orwell's story, along with the man himself, have been reimagined in American culture as a result of historical events like the collapse of the Soviet Union and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. However, the legacy of Animal Farm endures. The story has remained in the American consciousness. The warnings of the story remain relevant at the dawn of the twenty-first century.
As we become an increasingly varied nation, scholars have highlighted the need for more integrative multicultural histories. While the stories of many diverse minority groups have found their place in the mainstream American curriculum, the experiences of Deaf people continue to enjoy little, if any, rhetorical space in even the most inclusive works. The following study gives voice to this often underrepresented group.
This ethnography is the product of over one year of fieldwork in which the author collected data through participant observation and multiple interviews with Deaf informants in the city of Riverside, California. Although researchers in the small but growing field of Deaf studies have described the Deaf as a culturo-linguistic minority, most of the existing literature has focused only on the linguistic half of this dichotomy. How is it that a group with no natural geographic locus and limited opportunities for rich social interaction in daily life comes to exist and survive as a cultural community?
This study addresses the complexities of cultural formation and membership by analyzing ethnographic evidence through multiple theoretical lenses. Throughout the paper, the Deaf example provides insight into how individual and collective identities are created and maintained; how subordinate groups maneuver within ideological power structures; and how the past and future play an active role in the construction of the present. In opposition to studies that force homogeneity on diverse groups, the author argues that culture should instead be understood as a fluid and transformative process.
The Internet is indeed a central component of contemporary American life. Everyday its use becomes more integral to successful participation in modern culture. There is perhaps no better demonstration of this than the popular social networking website Facebook. Users are able to create and transmit meaningful virtual representations of the self and partake in a vast digital community. A community that facilitates communication, information sharing, and social planning. This process is subtly shifting the manner in which individuals both conceive the self and participate in community.
This thesis presents the results of a cross-sectional survey of highly dedicated Facebook users to determine individual reasonings and meanings behind ever increasing digital identity construction and online communal interaction. By engaging thick readings of the survey data the transition to online identity, communication, and community are examined in the manner in which they are imagined. Contextualizing the findings within traditional theoretical explications of identity and community this work illustrates that online identity and digital community utilize the tools of the Internet, consumer culture, visual spectacle, and semiotic digital vernaculars to create a virtual evolution of the self and community in order to effectively navigate an increasingly digitally reliant world.
This thesis explores the political developments within the American punk scene between 1979 and 2004. 1 argue that the politics of punk should be understood as more than just a form of cultural resistance on the level of music, aesthetic style, and lifestyle choice. Rather, the history of American punk is replete with moments when punks used music as a starting point for their public, grassroots political activities. My sources include published interviews, news articles, documentaries, lyrics and linear notes, and articles printed in punk zines. In analyzing and contextualizing these sources, I detail the development of a politically engaged punk practice that challenged hegemonic political ideals and institutions.
This thesis begins with the work of Jello Biafra, singer of the Dead Kennedys, in San Francisco. In 1979, he ran for mayor as a protest candidate critiquing what he saw as the flawed political and social structures of the city. The next chapter details the evolution of punk from a scene centered on music to one that emphasized political involvement. Throughout the 1980s, punks began to practice their political viewpoints by protesting nuclear war, Reagan, and various social issues. The last chapter examines the political revival in the punk scene in the early-2000s aided by Fat Mike of NOFX in his effort to vote President George W. Bush out of office. After the punk scene lost its political energy in the 1990s, Fat Mike wrote music, created the website PunkVoter.com, and organized a tour as a way to revitalize the punk practice of political engagement.
The reputation of young Chicano/Mexican American fathers is riddled with stereotypes and assumptions. Some common perceptions include that of the absent father, the incarcerated father, the macho father, or the distant father. I investigate to what degree these stereotypes and assumptions affect the experiences of young Chicano/Mexican American fathers at every level of their lives. I focus my work on in-depth case studies of seven young Chicano/Mexican American fathers.
My study is grounded in secondary source literature that discusses Chicano/Mexican American cultural membership in the United States (including cultural constructions of family, parenting, masculinity and fatherhood), as well as the impact of dominant institutional forces (the law, education, and employment). I utilize semi-structured "life history" interviews as my primary method of evidence collection. The intent of this study is to understand the complex and ethnically specific dynamics of Chicano/Mexican American fatherhood through analysis of the lived experiences of these six men. Similar to the strategy Nicholas De Genova employs in his book Working the Boundaries , this research project does not presume to be an all-encompassing study of Chicano/Mexican American men and their "culture." Rather, this study reveals the experiences of these young males in their attempts to exercise their agency as fathers and as men.
The popularity of the post-apocalyptic genre is evident today in many different media. From literature to video games, it has invaded popular culture with images of apocalyptic destruction and stories of small groups of people trying to survive. This thesis examines the ways that motifs and archetypes from the Western genre have been adapted to create a post-apocalyptic frontier.
The first chapter introduces the subject of post-apocalyptic fiction. The second presents a historical overview of the foundations for stories about a post-apocalyptic frontier: The Western and Science Fiction. The third chapter analyzes three post-apocalyptic novels: The Stand (1978), The Road (2006), and A Canticle for Leibowitz (1960) and how they tell a larger story of destruction and regeneration expressed in a Civilization/Frontier binary. The fourth chapter considers three post-apocalyptic films, A Boy and His Dog (1975), Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981) and The Book of Eli (2010), and how they adapt Western genre motifs, archetypes, and stories to create a foreign but familiar frontier. The fifth chapter analyzes three post-apocalyptic video games: Fallout (1997), Fallout 2 (1998) and Fallout: New Vegas (2010). The frontier of the Fallout series is a battleground pitting the potential of the new world against the corruption of the old world. The conclusion considers reasons for the popularity of this new genre. The post-apocalyptic Western is a genre that alternates between the past and the present as well as between hope and fear.
While politicians are trying to understand where Russia and the United States have failed to "reset" their relations and overcome mutual distrust and enmity, this thesis suggests that culture is where we need to look for the answers. American films, as cultural texts with a strong commercial incentive, reflect the attitudes and values of American society that produces them and comprises their primary audience. Hence, they provide a useful clue to understanding widespread American beliefs and views. This study examines the ways in which Hollywood portrays Russia after the end of the Cold War and compares them with the images of the country the American dream factory has been constructing since the first Russian-genre movies. Cinematic portrayals of Russia reveal that the negative perception of the country by Americans goes far beyond the years of the superpower confrontation. In American culture and consciousness the image of Russia has always been framed as the "Other." Therefore, even when the country stopped being the U.S. ideological rival, Hollywood continues to represent Russia as a threat to the American way and assert the image of the United States as a rightful and true leader of the free world. Reproduction of the "America versus Russia" pattern in Hollywood, the most powerful entertainment media in the world, does not only reflect an American deep-seated perception of Russia as "the Other" but also potentially affect the way the two countries continue to see each other, which may significantly hinder the "reset" of the US.-Russian relations in real life.
This thesis analyzes the children's literature produced by Jean Craighead George, one of the most prolific nature writers of twentieth-century America. Not only did Jean produce an impressive body of work over the course of a long and successful career, she won the prestigious Newberry Medal for Julie of the Wolves in 1972, and a Newberry Honor for My Side of the Mountain in 1959. Both texts are considered classics in children's literature, and they continue to inform the lives of young readers today.
Despite the popularity of her writing, no one has produced a comprehensive analysis of Jean's life and work. This thesis attempts to correct that deficiency by investigating both Jean's personal history and the dozens of children's books she wrote between 1948 and 2014. Among other inquiries, it will investigate the author's evolving ideologies related to natural world (including its flora and fauna), and her changing beliefs about humanity's relationship to the outdoors.
After considering Jean's body of work, this thesis asserts the author's particular contributions to the field of children's literature. More than any other writer who crafted nature books for young people, Jean wrote texts that encourage the reader to view himself or herself as part of the natural world, and to treat open spaces and the life forms that exist there with respect and concern.
Today the fourth grade mission project, whose highlight is the construction of a miniature mission, is one of the most important curricular elements in the fourth grade, and arguably even in the entire elementary school experience. This study analyzes the origins of the educational mission replica, or the practice of replicating the Franciscan missions, as a means to learning the social memory of California.
First, I examine the mission replica as a stage for the dramatization of the mission myth. Literary productions and plays published on the turn of the century about the mission myth were means for the promulgation of a newly-formed California social memory and state identity. Second, I analyze the progressive era phenomenon of public history events as an evolution of the mission replica into active community participation and reproduction of the mission myth. Public history events allowed for the performance and reproduction of the California social memory through experiences such as role play. Finally, I study the various circumstances that brought the mission replica into the classroom, transforming the social memory into a ritualized performative experience that has endured decades of California elementary education. By participating and experiencing the ritualistic construction of the mission replica, fourth grade children engage in a mnemonic practice of social memory.
This thesis is a transnational intellectual history examining the cultural significance of the unique connection between the philosophies of Henry George, an American economist responsible for the emergence of the Land Value Tax theory in the late nineteenth century, and Leo Tolstoy, the prolific Russian novelist and later radical Christian philosopher of the same era. Using George's economics books and Tolstoy's religious works and fiction as primary sources, this study focuses on George and Tolstoy's theories as to what social conditions are necessary for George's economic principles to gain public acceptance. Central to their theories are the Christian elements that underpin George's economic argument for the Land Value Tax.
Jason Ward, THE PRIVATIZED CITY: FINDING SPACE FOR THE WORKING POOR IN ORANGE COUNTY
This study takes a personal look at how the working poor find themselves at odds with a culture that prioritizes privatization over community. Yet the men of Plent have found community at a local donut shop where they can afford to commune together for brotherhood, work opportunities, and life in the public sphere. However, this pursuit often puts the men of Galaxy Donuts at odds with a neoliberal public that fears the poor.
This ethnographic work examines the way neoliberal ideology has permeated into the constructed commonsense of Orange County, which attempts to hide the working poor, keep them off the streets, place them out of sight, and out of mind. The people of Plent, particularly the economically disadvantaged, get to voice their worldview and state their concerns and understanding of the city they inhabit. Extensive interviews with the working poor are examined as a reaction to a neoliberal, conservative, American Southern Californian city.
Rachel Schiff, JEWISH SUBCULTURES ONLINE: OUTREACH, DATING, AND MARGINALIZED COMMUNITIES
This thesis explores how Jewish individuals use and create communities online to enrich their Jewish identity. The Internet provides Jews who do not fit within their brick and mortar communities an outlet that gives them voice, power, and sometimes anonymity. They use these websites to balance their Jewish identities and other personal identities that may or may not fit within their local Jewish community. This research was conducted through analyzing a broad range of websites.
The first chapter, the introduction, describes the Jewish American population as a whole as well as the history of the Internet. The second chapter, entitled “The Black Hats of the Internet”, discusses how the Orthodox community has used the Internet to create a modern approach to outreach. It focuses in particular on the extensive web materials created by Chabad and Aish Hatorah, which offer surprisingly modern twists on traditional texts. The third chapter is about Jewish online dating. It uses JDate and other secular websites to analyze how Jewish singles are using the Internet. This chapter also suggests that the use of the Internet may have an impact on reducing interfaith marriage. The fourth chapter examines marginalized communities, focusing on the following: Jewrotica; the Jewish LGBT community including those who are “OLGBT” (Orthodox LGBT); Punk Jews; and feminist Jews. The conclusion explores the impact of the Internet on the Jewish idea of “kehilla” (community). The use of the Internet has moved the Jewish community beyond brick and mortar buildings.
Jasmin Gomez, REEL LATINAS, REEL FOOD: UNPACKING LATINAS' FOOD NARRATIVES IN FILM
This thesis explores Latinas’ relationship to food as depicted in four contemporary American films: Tortilla Soup (2001), Woman on Top (2000), What’s Cooking? (2000), and East Side Sushi (2014). In these films, food shapes the depictions of Latinas and illustrates how filmmakers overly rely on common tropes, and how food provides another layer to these deeply rooted stereotypes of Latinas. Yet, food also intersects with the politics of gender and Latinidad to both reinforce and challenge Latina stereotypes. These filmic representations illustrate how difficult it is for some filmmakers to move away from stereotypical Latina tropes, and to develop more complex character depictions. From the spicy Latina to the feminist Latina heroine, filmmakers are creating some new and multi-dimensional Latinas, and food is a key element to such depictions. While we continue to see films that perpetuate stereotypical portrayals of Latinas today, there are Latina characters that defy those representations as well. At the same time, these films show how it may be difficult to create Latina characters without using some form or shape of gender or racial stereotypes, but it is possible to present diverse depictions as well. The dominant film industry continues to perpetuate stereotypical images of Latinas, but there are also filmmakers that are looking to change the dominant narrative. We have come a long way from food being used as a prop on Carmen Miranda’s head to food helping to guide Latina heroines through their journeys of self-discovery.
Susan Mitchell, THE SHADOWS OF ASSIMILATION: NARRATIVES AND LEGACIES OF THE CARLISLE INDIAN BOARDING SCHOOL, 1879-1918
The Shadows of Assimilation: Narratives and Legacies of the Carlisle Indian Boarding School, 1879-1918, investigates the United States policy for assimilating Native Americans into the American national identity by using education as it means. Indian children were removed from their families to the Carlisle Indian Boarding School in Pennsylvania. Forbidden to speak their native language, they were regimented and disciplined in the civilizing traits esteemed by the white, Protestant middle-class. This assimilation process required the destruction of their Indian identity.
Although primary and secondary sources of the official narratives of Carlisle are readily available, researching the children’s narratives of their experiences at Carlisle is more difficult. Student records, letters, and other primary sources reveal the agency of their resistance, defiance, and accommodation strategies to the prison-like environment they experienced at Carlisle. Uncovered in this research is evidence of violent beatings and abuse by the Carlisle staff. The consequences of which not only caused suffering for the children but intergenerational trauma for their descendants.
By analyzing the stories and experiences of the children, a richer narrative is exposed of what happened and how the misguided assimilation policy still inflicts consequences on Indian communities. It is through the traditional storytelling in tribes that healing is taking place and the stories of their ancestors who attended Carlisle are being honored.
Christina Brown, SHAPING THE STORY: THE POETRY, TELEVISION, AND DANCE OF THE #METOO MOVEMENT
In this thesis, I examine the role of creative forms in starting, shaping, and responding to the viral #MeToo movement with a specific focus on poetry, television, and dance. In each chapter, I focus on one of these expressive forms, first establishing historical and industry-specific context, and then offering close readings of specific works that were created within the #MeToo movement. While the portrayals of the #MeToo movement in the general media focus on trends and the credibility of the people coming forward to tell their stories, creative and expressive forms primarily hold space for telling stories about the individualized, specific, nuanced experiences that, when woven together, make up the true fabric of the movement. As a social movement, #MeToo has been shaped by the creative work that has come from it. This creative work includes unmediated expressive forms, such as poetry and dance, that grant the survivors of sexual harassment and assault agency over the narratives of their own experiences, as well as by more mediated, mainstream forms, such as television, that depict some of these personal experiences, but do not necessarily grant agency or voice to the survivors whose experiences are commodified and repackaged for wider consumption.
Alex Foy, “YOUR BOY, JIM”: THE DIARY AND LETTERS OF A SOLDIER IN WORLD WAR I
This thesis aims to tell the story of James Austin Bowman as he navigated the Western Front during World War I. The thesis utilizes two main historical documents: the personal diary and the letters to his wife. During his time on the Western Front, Bowman wrote in a personal diary about the uncertainty and daily life of a soldier inching closer to war. Bowman also wrote over forty-three letters to his wife, Evelyn, as he shared his thoughts and emotions while the world was at war. For one hundred years, my family has preserved these historical documents. The thesis will use the diary and letters of James Bowman as main primary sources along with a variety of secondary sources on trauma, memory, and World War I.
The first chapter introduces James Bowman and history regarding his early life and the lifechanging move to California. The second chapter aims to analyze the diary within the story of James Bowman and the 91st Division. The second chapter allows the diary to serve as a guide to retell the story of James Bowman as the 91st Division inched closer to the Meuse Argonne Offensive. The third chapter examines a small portion of the letters that James wrote to Evelyn on the Western Front. The letters offer a glimpse into their relationship as a newly married couple and how open he is to share his thoughts and emotions during the fight of his life. The fourth chapter examines the impact of war on my family and how James Bowman’s experience during World War I affected his family in shaping their worldview.