By Christian Keeve | Faculty Advisor: Dr. Michelle Wright | African American Studies | NURJ 2015-16 "Best Senior Theses" Issue | Published: May 2016
The Black speculative body is one whose agency, construction, presentation, and function are undergoing a constant set of tensions and paradoxes of power and possibility. This project aims to trace the body politics threading through the Afrofuturist imagination, interrogating them for implications of cultural history and embodied possibility. To do this, I use an interdisciplinary approach that threads scholarship around superheroics, Modernity, Afrofuturism...
By Tamador Al Sulaiti | Liberal Arts, NU-Qatar | NURJ Online 2015-16
Majlis al-hareem is an integral institution in the Qatari community, in that it has played a significant role in providing women a vital space for socializing throughout history. While the term al-hareem translates to women, the term majlis refers to a room in every Qatari household, an exclusive, private space specifically used for familial and social gatherings.
By Mariam Al Askari | Art History, Asian Studies | NURJ Online 2014-15 | Published: September 17, 2015
How do we come to know art objects? Does art history bring us closer to certain artifacts and their pasts? What do we learn about objects that find themselves within the canonically Western context of the museum? The following paper is an attempt to question the epistemological values of art historical knowledge.
By Lena Gryaznova | Department of Slavic Languages and Literature | Department of Legal Studies | Interdisciplinary Honors Thesis | NURJ 2014-15
References to law are all around us. Every day, we encounter numerous instances where the legal system and laws come into action. The same concept applies to the literature that we read, whether it be newspapers, magazine stories or novels. In fact, scholars have suggested that the literature we read, especially...
By Kathryn Ikenberry | Department of English | Honors Thesis | NURJ 2014-15
Critics have long examined the portrayal of landscape in 19th century literature, often associating the outdoors with liberating activities and freedom from domestic expectations. From Romantic novels like Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice to Victorian works such as Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights and Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles, scholars have studied the authors’ picturesque...
By Paulina Mateja | Department of Comparative Literature | Honors Thesis | NURJ 2014-15
My thesis chronicles the strange career of Stanisław Moniuszko’s opera “Halka,” documenting the transfigurations of Polish romantic nationalism through the Halka narrative as it adapted and responded to political and social aspects of life in Poland and the U.S. Midwest. While “fHalka” has long been regarded as the most important operatic expression of Polish nationalism, my thesis is the first to explore...
By Christopher Hoffman | Department of Comparative Literature | Honors Thesis | NURJ 2014-15
Stéphane Mallarmé, and in particular his 1897 poem Un Coup de Dés Jamais N’Abolira le Hasard [“A throw of the dice never will abolish chance/hasard”], have become a touch point for the French intellectual tradition. Across the arts and letters, Mallarmé has incited fresh interpretations more than a century after his death. Since his death, he has been recognized as a precursor of twentieth-century thought, influencing people ranging from...
By Brian Earl | Department of Classics | Department of English | Interdisciplinary Honors Thesis | NURJ 2014-15
This paper explores the linguistic, historical, cultural, and philological problems of translating an ancient Roman novel, Apuleius’ The Golden Ass, for a contemporary American audience. The introductory essay surveys centuries of Western thought on the duties, goals, methods, problems, and dangers of translation, expanding on Dryden’s framework of categorizing a translation as metaphrase, paraphrase, or imitation.
THE WORK AND LEGACY OF FELIX GONZALEZ-TORRES
Identity Negation & Negotiation at the Venice Biennale & Beyond
By Claire Dillon | Department of Art History | Honors Thesis | NURJ 2014-15
The work of artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres (1957-1996) is widely renowned for its compelling engagement with issues involving aesthetics, politics, and the personal concerns thought to be inspired by Gonzalez-Torres’s lived experience as a gay and HIV-positive Cuban-American. Many analyses of his work are accordingly driven by limited narratives that focus on the personal and artistic significance of the minority communities to which Gonzalez-Torres belonged. However, Gonzalez-Torres’s art strategically uses abstraction and identity negation to create an empty interpretive space for its viewers, which solicits subjective analyses that are commonly motivated by the viewers’ own personal experiences more so than the artist’s identity.
By Alex Benjamin | Humanities | NURJ Online 2014-15
What if the items and animals left behind in the Ukrainian city of Pripyat could tell us what happened when the nearby Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded on April 26, 1986? I want to use research on the nuclear accident paired with contemporary scientific studies of wildlife regeneration in the surrounding marshlands to tell a unique story about the endurance of life in the face of disaster. I will imbue objects, animals, and human characters with the unique stories of Chernobyl in a play to be workshopped and developed with fellow students. Through the research and adaptation of this play—activities with which I hope to build a professional career after graduation—I will explore the universality of life and the power of the survival instinct in an unpredictable world.
By Mauricio Maluff Masi | Department of Philosophy | Honors Thesis | NURJ 2013-14
To any progressive regular of various online for the above epigraph sounds hopelessly out of touch with reality. Some might even be inclined to say that the opposite is the case: There is no place more racist, more sexist than the Internet. Nowhere are we more trapped in our bodies than on the web....
Racial Constructions and the Making of National Identity in the National Museum of Fine Arts of Argentina
By Jasmine Jennings | Department of Art History | NURJ 2013-14
Buenos Aires is often called the “Paris of Latin America” and Argentina has a reputation of being set apart from the rest of the continent as a more European country. This so-called “myth of white Argentina” has been actively perpetuated since Argentina gained independence from Spain in 1816. Other newly independent Latin American countries promoted themselves asmestizo countries, the results of mixing between European colonists and the indigenous population. Argentina from the outset, however, preferred to think of itself as a white country.
By Benjamin Ratskoff | Department of English | Honors Thesis | NURJ 2013-14
While marking a shift from the pensive woodland idiom of Petrarch, the sonnet’s royal forest preserve and the hunting performed therein evoke a different sylvan trope central to the Mediterranean tradition of erotic verse: the Greco-Roman myth of Diana and Actaeon, crystallized in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The sixteenth-century development of Anglophone humanism demonstrates the specific relevance of Ovid’s text to Henrician manuscript poetry. Deliberately reconstructing a literary lineage with classical Greek and Roman texts, Renaissance humanists, of whom Petrarch may represent the first important student, spread classical studies from Italy to Northern Europe.
By Ayanna Legros | Department of African American Studies | Honors Thesis | NURJ 2013-14
Traditionally, scholars mapping the Haitian diaspora focus on migratory movements to Western nations, rendering the Haitian diaspora as a phenomenon outside of Latin America and the Caribbean. Conversely, diaspora theorists cite the Dominican Republic as a place worthy of study because it relates to questions of race, nation, and diaspora in Latin America. However, Haiti is left out geographically and conceptually on the margins of these issues.
By Sydney Lazarus | Department of Slavic Languages & Literature | Honors Thesis | NURJ 2013-14
Vladimir Nabokov initially planned to begin Ada, or Ardor with an essay on Time, which was then to develop into a concrete story. He later reconsidered and placed the philosophical essay immediately preceding Van’s and Ada’s final reunion in Part Five, the novel’s last chapter. The result is Part Four, a long and meandering treatise on Time, in which Van sets forth to refute the traditional view of Time with its three partitions of Past, Present, and Future in favor of individualized, perceived time. For Van, the Past is “a constant accumulation of images. It can be easily contemplated and listened to, tested and tasted at random, so that it ceases to mean the orderly alternation of linked events that it does in the large theoretical sense” (545).
By Emily Wright | Department of Anthropology | NURJ 2011-12
Digging in the dirt, nurturing plants, and enjoying fresh air—these are basic experiences that people share in urban gardens, during which gardeners interact and establish relationships that form the foundation on which a community grows. However, the spatial design of a garden, such as physical layout and leadership structure, can impose barriers to building that community. This study examines the physical and symbolic elements in five urban garden spaces and analyzes the effects those elements have on the gardens’ community-building capacity. It concludes that collectivist garden spaces, which provide structure for shared responsibilities, decision-making, and benefits, have greater capacity to build community than individualistic garden spaces.
By Luke Fidler | Department of Art History | NURJ 2011-12
As the monks of 12th century St-Germain-des-Prés attempted to distinguish themselves from the profusion of religious institutions in medieval Paris, they commissioned effigies of the Merovingian kings who had, according to tradition, founded their church. In similar fashion to a contemporary project at the abbey church of St-Denis, this production of a royal necropolis used figural effigies to craft a particular narrative of history, memory, and power in order to enhance the church’s prestige. Unlike St-Denis, however, the St-Germain-des-Prés ensemble included an effigy for a woman, the Merovingian Queen Frédégonde.
By Britt Banaszynski | Department of Theatre | NURJ 2011-12
The development of ROOTS of EARTH has a long history in my creative research and is the primary artistic work of my current Honors Project in Theatre. The project acts as a avenue for the synthesis my training in dance, acting, music, choreography, and direction during my time at Northwestern University. During the first phase of the Honors Project, I reviewed the literature and works of artists who practice these artistic modes in cohesive, multi-media performances. I found that these multidisciplinary performance artists (e.g., Bill T. Jones, Blondell Cummings, Joe Goode, Emily Johnson) consistently research their own autobiographies and memories as a source for incubation of their voices as multi-disciplinary artists.