2007 McNair Program Abstracts
Constructing Masculinity in Updike's Rabbit, Run and Yates's Revolutionary Road
Mentor: Professor Monica Berlin, Knox College
How strong were the pressures on men to conform to an idealized construction of masculinity during and after the Eisenhower era? I will address this question by analyzing Updike's Rabbit, Run and Yates's Revolutionary Road. I will also be using secondary sources to examine the historical and social contexts of the novels. A broader goal of this research is how literature serves as a useful means of understanding human identity against the milieu of social change.
Migrating to the Slaughterhouse: Mexican Immigrants Working and Living in the Rural Midwest
Mentor: Dr. Chad Broughton, Knox College
Using semistandardized interviews and participation observations, this research examines the experience of working and living in the rural Midwest among immigrant workers at Farmland, a hog slaughterhouse in Monmouth Illinois. In this research I examined the following themes: What do Mexican immigrant workers think of their experiences at work? How are Mexican immigrants responding to the Midwestern lifestyle? Is there a mobilization of local community resources to help workers assimilate into the community? Using the perspective of current and former workers, their families, and others, this research will explore the immigrant experience of assimilation and difference in the rural Midwest.
(Un)real Roman Women
Mentor: Dr. Brenda Finberg, Knox College
Knowledge about women in the ancient Greco-Roman world is limited by scanty evidence and especially by a dearth of evidence left by the women themselves. Portrayals of women from antiquity lie at two extremes: at one end, idealized nurturing figures; at the other, devouring hyper-sexualized monsters. My research attempts to find the real women of Rome. Did they bear any resemblance to the women of myth and legend? I have searched historical and literary texts and material remains from the third century BCE through first century CE in order to reconstruct some aspects of these women and their lives.
The Problem of Misogyny in Juvenal Satire 6
Juvenal's sixth satire is famous for his brutal invective against Roman wives. Scholars have discussed the possibility that Juvenal's narrative bears evidence of his own opinions on women: was Juvenal Rome's greatest misogynist? Juvenal's satires was evidently working in a tradition of misogynistic poetry that can be traced from Rome back to ancient Greece. In 7th-Century BCE Greece, for example, the poet Semonides of Amorgos mocked women by comparing them to animals. It is uncertain if Juvenal, in 2nd-Century CE Rome, read Semonides but it is evident that these texts are similar in subject matter. Coincidental, or is Juvenal working in a similar satirical tradition? Focusing on Juvenal, I explore the characterization of women in ancient humor. Was Juvenal's sixth satire indicative of Roman attitudes about women? When audiences laughed at these satires, which were meant to be humorous, were they condoning such beliefs? To answer these questions I focus primarily Juvenal's sixth satire, since this is his most sustained treatment of the topic of women, but I will also discuss some of the other satires relevant to my topic. In addition I will examine earlier examples of misogynistic humor such as Semonides and Greek Old Comedy, Juvenal's Roman predecessors such as Plautus and Horace, and Juvenal's contemporaries such as Martial.
The Eritrean Revolution and Contemporary Eritrean Women: Will History Repeat Itself
Mentor: Dr. Lawrence Breitborde, Knox College
Will Eritrean women of the new generation regress back into traditional societal roles after the recent Border War (1998-2000) as women did in the Eritrean Revolution (1961-1991)? Life stories, garnered from interviews conducted in Eritrea with women who have participated in the Liberation war are compared with the experiences of contemporary youth from the Border War. The research explores society's failure to sustain the equality gained during the liberation war and how it affects the views of the current generation of women guerrilla's on their societal position.
Coping With Change: Welfare Reform and the Low-Income Family
Mentor: Dr. Chad Broughton, Knox College
Welfare reform has brought about a new set of work-oriented demands for low-income families. With these alterations to the welfare system more pressure is being placed on recipients to leave their children and seek out forms of income other than public aid. Families, therefore, may need to adapt new ways of caring for their children and sharing resources. In my interviews with welfare-reliant women and their family members, I explore these adaptations. My hope is that this study will aid our understanding of the working and living situation of welfare recipients.
In Search of the Asian American Panethnic Movement
Mentors: Dr. Frank McAndrew, Knox College and Dr. Janet Benson, Kansas State University
The Asian American Panethnic Movement first emerged in the late 1960s as a mode of empowerment through ethnic unity, but where is it today? Has the movement backfired and led to a stronger disidentification? Criticisms have arisen that the movement was too focused on certain ethnicities and that it failed to find new issues of interest for its members. To garner more information, online surveys will be distributed to college students and interviews with movement leaders from the past and present will be conducted. Ultimately, this research can help the movement by suggesting what directions to head towards.
Chicago's Chinatown: Political Participation by Chinese Americans
Mentor: Dr. Sean Matheson, Knox College
Is there a difference in political participation between U.S.-born Chinese Americans and their foreign-born counterparts? Research on Asian and Hispanic Americans suggests that foreign-born citizens vote far less and participate in the American political system less than those Americans born in the United States. Does this hold true for Chinese Americans, and if so, why is there this disparity? This study relies on focus groups to explore the relationship between socialization and political participation, particularly with regard to place of birth, education level, age, and language barriers.
Homelessness and its Effects on Childhood Behavior
Mentor: Dr. Frank McAndrew, Knox College
How does homelessness contribute to the negative behaviors of school-aged children? Previous studies have indicated that homelessness causes feelings of anxiety, depression, apathy, and anger in homeless children. This study consists of several case studies of homeless families in Western Illinois, as well as interviews with a variety of shelters. An investigation of resources available to homeless children as well as an examination of compliance with federal regulations in the Galesburg, Illinois, school system will be included as well.
Teens Perceptions of the Usefulness of Coping Skills in Avoiding Drug Use and Relapse: A Case Study
Mentor: Colleen Conley
This study will evaluate the way teens perceive the coping skills they have learned in a drug treatment program in Orange, CA. This study will consist of surveys taken from minors who have been placed in the ASERT drug treatment program by the juvenile court system. Each minor in this program takes a life skills course at the school on grounds, which teaches them both valuable life skills such as balancing a checkbook and getting a job, as well as coping skills to deal with daily stresses as well as avoid relapse. The survey will evaluate whether the minors feel that they had the coping skills they needed to stay off drugs, and whether they perceive the skills they have learned in the program to be useful to help keep them clean once released. It will also address the issue of minors who have been released from the program before and relapsed and whether the minors feel that the skills they were taught in the ASERT program were valuable in keeping them off drugs, even for a brief period of time.
Social and Gender Ideologies of Latina Gang Members
Mentor: Dr. Michelle Day, Knox College
What are the social and gender ideologies of gang related Latinas? This is a qualitative study of life stories and self-definition of gang Latinas in Portland, Oregon. Common themes included: initiation, violence, types of homegirls, drug use, and crime. Using previous research, data collected was analyzed comparatively, investigating ambitions, expectations, as well as gender and social roles within their micro-society. The goal of this study was to objectively add to the general understanding of why Latinas participate in gang related activities.