Recent Submissions

  • Confronting The Over-sexualization of Afro-Latina Women in The Bluest Eye and The Poet X

    Valens, Keja; Lindholm, Jeannette; Caprio, Brittany (2024-05-02)
    Afro-Latina women experience over-sexualization within contemporary society in ways that their white, female counterparts do not experience. Since the Reconstruction era, black women have been stereotyped as being promiscuous and oversexed. These sexualized stereotypes have carried weight within society for generations and have begun to encroach on other minority races, such as Latina women. Within their novels, The Bluest Eye and The Poet X, Toni Morrison and Elizabeth Acevedo do not shy away from discussing sex, sexualized stereotypes, and how sex impacts young women of color. Instead, they have confronted over-sexualization in their coming-of-age novels about Pecola Breedlove, a young black girl living in Loraine, Ohio during the 1940s, and Xiomara Batista, a young Dominican teenager living in Harlem, New York during the 2000s. Both authors utilize the complicated world of a teenage girl in a society that is accepting of negative sexualized stereotypes and challenge the over-sexualization through their main characters. This thesis analyzes how both authors confront the over-sexualization of Afro-Latina women to give a voice to young women who may be suffering in silence, and who are struggling to navigate a world that tells them they are only valued for what their body can give to a man.
  • Death Unto Bloom

    Young, Stephenie; Delp, Brooke; Valens, Keja; Mailhot, Matthew Robert (2024-05-02)
    This is a narrative screenplay that focuses on a fictional dark fantasy world populated by both humans, and the monstrous ice beings that hunt and threaten their survival. It is a narrative that jumps between characters and scenes, not focusing solely on one main character in particular, in order to tell an overarching story. Other genres present in this screenplay's influences are gothic horror, post-apocalyptic, and religious horror.
  • Garden Rememory In My Garden (Book) By Jamaica Kincaid

    Valens, Keja; Wright, Heather (2022-12)
    My Garden (Book) is a collection of essays by Jamica Kincaid. In My Garden (Book) rememory is part of the storytelling and the overall narrative structure. Rememory appears as a recursive happening that allows Kincaid space to return to the historical record to offer recovery. Rememory is present in Kincaid's connection to Antiguan botany and a past that flourishes in the modern present; it exists as a bridge upon which much of the western African diaspora flows. Rememory is also present in the narrative structure of My Garden (Book). Kincaid shakes up the expectations of a narrative form; she breaks sentence structure with thought interruptions, jumps through time and place, inserts lists, and letters, and disrupts categorization and order, such as chapter titles. Rememory becomes an active agent in the narrative storytelling of the garden, excavates otherwise forgotten narratives, and demands a change in thinking, form, and the historical record.
  • From One Mentally Ill Artist to Another: An Actor Takes on Bo Burnham's Bleak Musical Humor, Inside-style

    Jaros, Michael; Schuster, Rachael (2023-05-01)
    In 2020, actor and comic Bo Burnham filmed, directed, produced, and acted in Inside, a musical comedy special filmed in his guesthouse. Inside is a piece of artwork dripping with sarcasm that reflects Burnham's cynical view of the world. It is laden with apparently genuine moments brought into question by Burnham's performativity. Burnham and his stage persona are two very different people, and Inside shows how he straddles this line and blends the personal and the performer into one entity whose mental stability is questionable at best. Upon my first viewing of Inside during COVID-19, I heard my voice overlaid with Burnham's. His performativity and self-criticism resonated strongly with my creative spirit. The harshly realistic concepts of acting to survive and existing in a hyper-critical, Internet-saturated world felt like he was peering into my anxiety-riddled mind. Analyzing Burnham's comedy specials and considering the suffocating post-COVID landscape I still find myself in, I selected songs and monologues I could re-perform. Pulling from fevered breakdowns and journal entries, I wrote monologues, weaving together my texts and his into a cohesive story, interspersed with my recreations of his witty and often startlingly melancholy music, and created, filmed, and recorded this all in one academic year, solely in my dorm room. This film is a space where the lines between my acting and ramblings, captured by the camera, are blurred so indistinguishably that no one, perhaps even myself, can tell the difference.
  • Tales of Eilu – A Fantasy Audio Drama

    Rodrigue, Tanya; Bova, Joseph (2023-05-01)
    Storytelling is about building on the canon of humanity and expanding the scope of what we can achieve through the power of words. In recent years, fantasy storytelling and audio storytelling have seen massive growth in terms of popularity in mainstream culture -- allowing for stories that are not confined by societal norms. During such turbulent years of my life, these modes of telling a story have been a haven for me as a creator. When we take various topics we are passionate about and put them together into one project, we can make something that is fueled by true magic. With Tales of Eilu, I hope to accomplish several things, but mainly I will be pushing myself to branch out as a storyteller. My primary goal was to complete the first extremely-polished episode of this series and build skills that will be able to help me to keep producing episodes after graduation. With the help of sound design and voice acting, I hope to capture the hearts and minds of those listening in this new world. I really want this project to be in an audio format because it will be more accessible to those that are interested in fantasy stories without having to sit down and face the daunting task of completing large volumes of them. Along with that, the flexibility of fantasy storytelling allows me to create a world for queer characters to learn and grow without the overbearing weight of societal norms and expectations. As a queer person, I want to give myself, and fellow people in my community, a world that truly sees love as simply love and does not define queerness by struggles of existing as queer. This piece is available on several podcasting platforms, but its most prominent home is on Spotify. This audio piece is a culmination of my experiences as a storyteller thus far, but it is only the beginning for this fantastical world -- a springboard for a whole series set in the world of Eilu.
  • Smoke Follows Beauty

    Scrimgeour, J.D.; Wright, Heather (2023-05-01)
    “Smoke Follows Beauty” is a poetry collection reflecting childhood experiences in the US South with a positionality concretely in the present. With a concise style, the collection considers racial and class divisions by engaging with family conflict and personal memory.
  • Work/house

    O'Neil, January; Miraglia, Meghan (2022-11-01)
    Work/house is a hybrid creative-research project that explores the narratives of Irish workhouse pauper inmates during the Great Famine. The project takes on multiple forms: a chapbook printed by Salem State University, a longer manuscript draft, and a digital story told through the coding platform Twine. Research on Irish workhouses was conducted independently after partaking in a free, audio-visual tour of the former Kilkenny Union Workhouse site in July 2022, the writing happening in conjunction with research. The sixteen poems included in the chapbook (and the roughly forty poems in the manuscript, still a work-in-progress) incorporate Irish poetic forms, Irish mythology, and real narratives of pauper inmates who resided in the South Dublin and Kilkenny Union Workhouses. These inmates include Eliza Dalton, a young woman who arrived in the South Dublin workhouse at age nine, and incited uprisings with other workhouse girls; Jane Kane, who drifted in and out of that same South Dublin workhouse while working at her mother’s brothel; Thomas Kelly, a deaf and blind inmate living in the Kilkenny Union workhouse, whose death circumstances were extensively investigated by workhouse Guardians; and James Heam, who, at fourteen, appealed his unjust corporeal punishment. Other phenomena typical of the time – contraction of venereal diseases, infanticide, poverty and starvation – are referenced throughout the poems. Artistic license (such as the blurring of timelines) has been taken in the creation of themes such as hunger, reclamation of femininity and humanity in oppressive social structures, bodily autonomy, complex relationships to/with land and language, motherhood, and female friendship.
  • Overwatered Classes

    Carver, M.P.; Baumann, Rachel (2023-01-01)
    Have you ever wondered when you started stressing so much or when you lost your focus and began grieving what once was? I have found that is part of being human, and I believe it is time to explore those topics and discuss them openly to understand ourselves, and our youth, better. My chapbook, “Overwatered Classes” discusses the impact of stress on a student’s education and how a broken system can emphasize or overlook difficulties in mental health. By comparing the natural world to students, I hope to help readers who desire to understand their world and their community in a more personal way. An abundance of societal and scholarly stress and a shortage of resources leaves students overburdened, or overwatered, with expectations that aren’t their own. My aspiration for this project is to start a dialogue about the stigma of stress impacting human experiences. While writing about my own experiences in the education system, I analyzed which of my experiences are not singular, but scarily common among students. I hope this will help me and my colleagues be better educators in the future but the poetry is for a wider audience. This chapbook is written for anyone who is ready to confront topics considering traumatic experiences, grief, and common disabilities. Some of the heavy subject matter discusses the cycle of frustration or depression with a bleak outlook but I believe it can have a positive end. “Overwatered Classes” is written for most students, educators, and anyone who seeks to understand and support those having difficulty. Most of all it is for anyone who is fighting to understand their own battles, as I once was. You can be understood and deserve patience, if not from others than from yourself.
  • An Institute-Based Approach to OER in Digital Caribbean Studies

    Valens, Keja; Collins, Perry; Huet, Hélène; Taylor, Laurie; Mistretta, Brittany; Toombs, Hannah; Baksh, Anita; Dize, Nathan H.; Glenn-Callender, Juliet; Johnson, Ronald Angelo; et al. (ACRL, 2022)
    In May 2019, more than forty educators, scholars, and librarians came together for a week-long workshop to collaboratively explore the potential—and the limitations—of digital pedagogies within Caribbean Studies. Hosted by the University of Florida (UF) and the Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC), “Migration, Mobility, Sustainability: Caribbean Studies & Digital Humanities” delved into digital projects amplifying community narratives across the Caribbean diaspora, low-barrier tools to enable student-instructor co-creation, and efforts to subvert colonialist legacies as we build and describe digital collections. This face-to-face experience offered a rich starting point for a two-year institute that fostered virtual dialogue, course development, and publication of a contextualized selection of open educational resources (OER). With a multi-institutional, international group of participants working across the Caribbean and the United States, institute leaders took a flexible approach to topical coverage, schedule, and anticipated outcomes that invited individual perspectives and experience to shape the conversation. This approach drove the capacious framing of OER, continued in this chapter, simply as content available freely online and useful to teachers and students. Rather than attempting to normalize vocabulary or prescriptively define what might “count” as an OER, the institute broadly encouraged knowledge-sharing around access to digital collections, technology, and models for leveraging both in the classroom. Presentations on courses and projects served as boundary objects, offering common ground where participants could explore potential next steps and opportunities for collaboration from multiple vantage points. This chapter focuses on the institute as a case study for OER development that centers relationship-building, lived experience, empathy, and flexibility as foundational principles, grounded in feminist approaches to digital pedagogy. Attention to social justice permeates this work, both in amplifying Caribbean voices across the diaspora and in leveraging approaches in the digital humanities (DH) that call on students to challenge reductive or colonialist perspectives. These values mirror those embodied by participants’ own research and teaching, and the following sections draw heavily on the publicly available reflections, syllabi, assignments, and other materials they contributed.
  • Sapphic Conceptions Of The Muse

    Valens, Keja; Giroux, Brittany (2022-05-01)
    From Dante to Gertrude Stein, some of the most prominent artists have found inspiration in another. This thesis explores what it is to be a muse and the role compulsory heterosexuality has in the conception of the passive muse in text as well as narrative cinema. Utilizing Audre Lorde's biomythography Zami a New Spelling of my Name and the film Portrait of Lady on Fire, I explore how these artists conceive of their muses. The difference between the passive muse conception and the various conceptions of these artists is necessary. Since the parameters of the passive muse conception do not account for women as content creators, much less lesbians as content creators, these artists cannot participate it in seeing as the convection doe not encompass them. Moreover, in this text and film, the muses experience the antithetical process to that of the passive muse. Which is to say they go from being an object in many regards to a subject. These works rely heavily on overarching themes of solidarity and the artists’ conception of their muses as extensions of themselves.
  • From Inexperienced To Passion-Driven: Navigating The Working World

    Carey, Kevin; Perez, Sofia (2022-05)
    This thesis follows the adolescent life of Sofia Perez, who acquires a job for the first time at 15 years old. She documents her first experience within the working world in this piece, and also discusses relationships she has made along the way. Over the course of seven years, she blossoms from a shy introvert, to an outgoing and positive spirit. She dives into the good and bad of the workplace, as well as how her strong work ethic has made her the person she is today. From hyperventilating on the first day, to leading a team with ease, Sofia is at the beginning of her career, and ready to find her place in the working world. Her journey started at a retirement community called Bayview, and the six years she spent there were transformative. She hopes for every young teen getting a job for the first time to experience a job that they love, even if it may challenge them or not be in their desired field.
  • Scar Of Nox

    Carey, Kevin; Scrimgeour, J.D.; Hughes, Miranda (2021-12)
    After witnessing her Papa's soul ripped from his body by the Unhallowed worshippers of the underGod, Nox has undergone the rigorous training of the Divine Shadows, an elite and secret force run by the Church of Adonex, god of Afterlifes. Fueled by the desire to free him, she prepares for the Rite of Death, the ritual that will give her incredible power. Before she can do that, she must overcome two obstacles--balancing her mistrust and fear of Adonex, the god who scarred her face the night Papa was taken, and learning to get along with her Tomas, her newest and most stubborn scholar-in-training yet. Follow Nox into the darkness as she hunts the Unhallowed, their Desecrated victims, and the truth behind the events that changed her life forever. This thesis is an exercise in writing for young adult audiences and exploring the use of fantasy as a way of discussing deeper topics. Nox herself is an exploration into the mind of a young woman facing trauma and pursuing closure that forces her to constantly choose between giving respite to the dead or saving the living, representing the often-difficult battle of attempting to overcome the past and plan for the future at the same time, a struggle I believe many readers can relate to.
  • A Key Without A Lock

    Carey, Kevin; DeCiccio, Albert; Quackenbush, William (2021)
    The first five chapters from the book A Key Without A Lock.
  • Emotional Flashbacks

    Scrimgeour, J.D.; Hughes, Courtney (2022)
    A collection of non-fiction poetry and prose that focuses on enduring and overcoming emotional trauma.
  • Journeying Through The In-Between: An Exploration Of Liminality In José Saramago’sblindness, All The Names, And The Cave

    Valens, Keja; Miller, Evan (2022-05)
    This thesis focuses on the concept of liminality and the presence of liminal states in José Saramago’s trilogy of novels, Blindness, All the Names, and The Cave. Defined by qualities of disorientation and ambiguity, liminality speaks to being in a state of “in-between,” which, I argue, is applicable to the central characters in each of these texts. Specifically, I examine how Saramago’s characters experience these liminal states, as well the qualities of the liminal states themselves, which share many - though not all - of the same characteristics as labyrinths and caves. To that end, I trace the liminal journeys of the central characters in each novel, the actions required to successfully complete their journeys, and how the culmination of these journeys manifest as an achievement of change engendered by realization, epiphany, and clarity of consciousness. This thesis is divided into three chapters, bookended by introduction and conclusion. In the first chapter, I detail the history of liminality and define the “liminal state” and “liminal subject.” I also discuss how Saramago’s characters can be considered liminal subjects, and the events that precipitate the characters’ entrances into their respective liminal states. The second chapter features the analysis of the beginning stages of the characters’ liminal journeys - the “descents into darkness and the “confrontations with death” - and introduces the concept of “concentric liminality,” as well as the parallels between liminality and symbolic existence. The third chapter explores the final stage of the liminal journey, the “ascension to light,” and the processes by which the characters can achieve their transformations and exit their liminal states.
  • Exploratory Theatrics: Muriel Spark's Treatment Of A Woman's Absurd In The Driver's Seat, Memento Mori, And "The Portobello Road"

    Valens, Keja; Escobar-Leswell, Chantelle (2022-05)
    Muriel Spark is sharp in her wit and delivery. She has been known to ‘hold her own’ among male writers of the contemporaneous period -- no small feat. for a woman who came of age in the 1930s. She writes dark -- veering towards sinister -- novels, novellas, and short stories, but what is striking about each of them is her uncanny ability to portray the absurd, a field rarely penetrated by women at all. In the chosen texts, Spark creates at once a sense of agency for the women characters, and an overarching lack of control over the universe in which they exist. Using select feminist theory alongside critical analyses of the absurd, this thesis aims to illuminate the ways Spark’s unique storytelling creates space for women in male-dominated terrain. This includes both the arena in which she chose to write, and in the circumstances she sets up for her characters.
  • Mosaics Of Wholeness: Healing Through Queer Indigenous Self-Telling In Billy-Ray Belcourt’s A History Of My Brief Body And Deborah A. Miranda’s Bad Indians

    Valens, Keja; Cook, Jessica (2022-05)
    This thesis examines texts by two queer Indigenous writers, Billy-Ray Belcourt (Driftpile Cree) and Deborah A. Miranda (Ohlone/Costanoan Esselen), to consider how writing about the self—what the Western literary canon commonly terms “memoir” or “autobiography”—is a form of healing in the afterlife of settler-colonialism. Through close readings of Belcourt’s essay collection A History of My Brief Body and Miranda’s Bad Indians: A Tribal Memoir, this thesis explores how Belcourt and Miranda both invent and reclaim the Indigenous self through the construction of metaphorical mosaics which, in their assembled wholeness, reflect a kind of “living through” of colonialism. Within this framework, this thesis goes on to argue that the stories of the self crafted by Belcourt and Miranda effectively reconstruct the queer Indigenous embodied self, writing against the colonial imagination with assertions of non-heteronormative sexual desire.
  • English Language Ideologies in ELT: Presence and Practices in Oaxaca, Mexico

    González, Melanie; Bustamante Martínez, Esaú Israel (2021-10)
    As the English language continues to expand globally, studies have found that socially constructed beliefs and ideological values around the role and status of English greatly influence the institutional policies and practices of English language teaching (ELT) programs. This study describes the findings of a phenomenological study conducted among EFL educators in Oaxaca, Mexico regarding the presence of English language ideologies in ELT programs. Findings revealed that sociocultural, linguistic, and economic ideologies affect institutional policies, access, and representation. Takeaways from this study suggest that English language ideologies impact institutional and programmatic practices in ways that relate to educational access, hiring practices, native speakerism, and an asymmetry between public and private educational systems.
  • Stories: Creating and Mirroring Community

    Valens, Keja; Eshelman, Sarah (2021-12)
    This is the portfolio of my work throughout my master’s program. I highlight five projects where I explored community as it is depicted or described in literature. I end with a final paper exploring how literature itself can be a connecting point for community in the real world through studying the work of Dawnland Voices. In my projects, I considered: community of a nation as formed by literature (examining Winthrop’s “Model of Christian Charity” and Harjo’s American Sunrise; community as a source and subject of healing in Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony; community formed over shared meals in young adult literature; community as found family in television shows; community and perspective in the classroom; and community seeking its own thriving through literature and social media.
  • Emotional Flashbacks

    Scrimgeour, J.D.; Hughes, Courtney (2022)
    A collection of non-fiction poetry and prose that focuses on enduring and overcoming emotional trauma.

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