|Friday, April 20th|
Amber Anderson, Winthrop University
Faculty Mentor: Maria Aysa-Lastra, Ph.D.
Political efficacy is a measure of a person’s understanding of the government and how much s/he feels that s/he can influence political affairs. People who have high levels of both internal (understanding) and external (influence) efficacy are more likely to participate in a variety of political activities that include voting. In a democratic society, it is important that citizens have high levels of efficacy so that they feel that their voices matter. Because of the history of racial discrimination in the United States, African-Americans have had lower levels of efficacy and trust in government than Caucasians in the past. However, the recent election of this country's first African-American president provides a reason for updated research on the political efficacy of African-Americans in the United States. Previous research has shown that people feel more efficacious after a candidate that they support wins an election, and that African-Americans, particularly, feel a stronger sense of group efficacy than other ethnic groups in the United States. This paper will investigate whether or not the political efficacy of African-Americans has increased after the election of President Barack Obama. Using data from the American National Election Survey, this question will be explored at the national level for all African-Americans; in addition, this paper will also explore if substantial changes in measures of political efficacy vary by region. After examining this, there will be a discussion on ways to increase political participation among those who were historically kept out of the process.
Kathryn T. Burt, Winthrop University
Faculty Mentor: Matthew Fike
Previous criticism of Julius Caesar has observed that Shakespeare uses metatheatrical strategies to comment on the performative nature of politics; however, scholars tend to present the play as either politically radical or politically ambiguous. Naomi Conn Liebler and Jack D’Amico both offer radical interpretations of Julius Caesar, whereas Richard A. Burt argues that the play’s political message depends entirely “on the way that play is received and articulated”. Interestingly, contradictory readings these and other scholars have about the political identity of the play parallel the media’s fluctuating responses to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Furthermore, Julius Caesar is a play about a political outsider and his friends attempting to overthrow the establishment through radical means, but it uses metatheatrical strategies in order to give the audience the cathartic experience of vicariously murdering an authority figure while reinforcing the desirable stability of a monarchal government. Similarly, by calling attention to and mocking the performative nature of American politics and ostensibly empowering his audience with knowledge of the political system, Trump garnered trust while using the very strategies he mocked to create the appearance of credibility. The metatheatrical correlations between Julius Caesar and the Trump campaign indicate a political cycle in Western culture wherein the governed tolerate their political establishment until the inability of establishment figures to accomplish anything on behalf of constituents incites a desire for revolution. When this revolution ultimately fails because the new authority figure(s) are unprepared to lead, the public returns to the more stable establishment.
Kendall Roberson, Winthrop University
Faculty Mentor: Padmini Patwardhan Ph.D.
The purpose of this campaign is to promote the College of Arts and Sciences at Winthrop University. The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) is the largest college at Winthrop University and is the home to 19 undergraduate programs and over 1,332 accessible courses. The main objective of the campaign was to give the College of Arts and Sciences a cohesive brand image that promotes belonging among students, faculty, and staff. We conducted in-depth qualitative and quantitative research in order to have an understanding of how the CAS was perceived on campus. Our research showed that a majority of students, faculty, and staff have a positive attitude toward the CAS. Students are aware of what the CAS is, but not what it does. Faculty and staff are very aware of the CAS and recognize the college as the backbone of the university. Faculty, staff, and students view the CAS as a sincere, competent and exciting brand. We recommend that the CAS brand itself as an exciting and sincere brand. The starting point should be increasing communication between the CAS and its faculty, staff, and students. The CAS should also host events to help students feel like they belong. Through our campaign, we hope to create conversations that spread the word about the new College of Arts and Sciences.
Ana Karen Castellanos, Winthrop University
Faculty Mentor: Jennifer Disney, Ph.D., and Michael Lipscomb, Ph.D.
This paper combines the primary data from an interview, lyrics from contemporary songs about immigrants, poetry about U.S. imperialism and the human experiences of people of color in the U.S., with theories created in the academic sphere. The author, Ana Karen Castellanos, uses the songs, poems, and interview to highlight aspects of the unauthorized immigrant experience, such as the difficulty of leaving the home country, the unnaturalness and flaws of U.S. restrictive immigration policies, and immigrant resilience. In doing this, the aim is to display important, untold stories of people with very human dreams and inhumane traumas who are trying to make it in the U.S., in the face of restrictive immigration policies, punitive deportation policies, and an overall unwelcoming atmosphere in their new home. In this paper, the author argues that fear, distrust, and/or hatred of foreigners exists because the dominant white population in the U.S. is generally distanced from the entire humanity of these immigrants. With knowledge about different kinds of people comes understanding and acceptance. Castellanos calls this work a combination of scholarship and activism, because it uses academic means for a clear normative end: this paper not only proposes an optimistic solution to the current divisive political climate, but is also part of that solution. It itself is a bridge seeking to deliver hidden stories to those deprived of the ability to readily see different people as full, humanized people.
Tadean Page, Winthrop University
Faculty Mentor: Ginger Williams, Ph.D., and Kinyata Adams Brown, M.A.
Any fire can spread quickly, resulting in a large amount of damage. Fire can be used as an analogy to represent the lack of inclusivity on Winthrop University’s campus. That lack of inclusion often results in racial tension and the feeling of isolation for people of color, sexual identity, or interests other than the majority. I believe it is essential for us to recognize that there is an issue here, that our kitchen is, in fact, on fire. The analogy of the kitchen on fire represents the current state of our university because that fire has the potential to expand and “burn down the house,” referring to the status and reputation of Winthrop University. It is my desire to see Winthrop thrive holistically, and I believe that can come to fruition only if we work to put out the fire and improve our inclusiveness. The research I completed observed the current landscape of the ACAD 101 curriculum and how diversity is introduced during the course. I viewed the issue from an interdisciplinary perspective, seeking to find a solution that was most effective. With the assistance of various student-affairs professionals, I was able to sculpt a plan that fosters a sense of inclusion on the campus of Winthrop University by considering the level of exposure, instructor training, and the tactfulness of the curriculum.
DIGS 222 Session II, 2:45-4 p.m.