Write Now!

2020-2021

Outstanding writing and research from the University Writing Seminars

spring blossoms at brandeis

 

The disabled community questions technology that can prevent disabilities. A coroner bounces astride a stiff corpse. The Amazon series Fleabag illustrates the role of female friendships in feminism. These are some of the contents of the papers you will find in this issue of Write Now! our annual compilation of best Research Papers, Research Proposals, and Lens Essays from the University Writing Seminars. Papers published here came from UWS topics "The Cosmos," "Black Voices in the 20th Century," "Conceptions of Friendship," "Sex and Advertising," and "Medical Ethics." In addition to reading these exemplary student essays, you can hear from the authors themselves and their instructors in video interviews. Get tips and advice from the best! All papers are published in accessible HTML as well as PDFs that demonstrate MLA or APA format and citation styles. Use these examples to inspire you to write papers that fascinate your readers and look great.

Lens Essay

Carina J. Luo
"Condemnation of Female Hunger"

Carina updates Susan Bordo's 1993 essay, "Hunger as Ideology," by applying it to recent advertisements. In one, a female coroner spares no effort to obtain the enjoyment of a male corpse's impressive protuberance—a bottle of Mike's Hard Lemonade. In a Yoplait commercial, a young woman casually consumes a cup of yogurt, unconcerned by the impatience of her panting lovers. From UWS 16a: Sex and Advertising, Fall 2020.

Research Proposal

Liam Carpenter-Shulman
"The Scoundrel's Journey: Visions of American Individualism in Star Wars"

Liam's research proposal for UWS 23b The Cosmos tracks the cultural and archetypal resonances of the original Star Wars trilogy from the first film's premiere in 1977. While others have focused on the idealist Luke Skywalker or the evil Darth Vader, Liam turns to Han Solo as a tough-guy type comparable to the Western gunslinger and hard-boiled detective of Hollywood past.

Research Essays

Rotem Arie
"Academic Dishonesty and COVID-19: A Biological Explanation"

College after college reports that when they went to remote learning during the pandemic, academic dishonesty — cheating — increased substantially. But as Rotem Arie explains in this paper from UWS 37a Biology of Morality, that might not be for the reasons you'd expect.

Alexander J. Dragunoff
"Putin’s Propaganda: The Effect of Russian Propaganda on Masculinity"

Alex explores how Vladimir Putin leverages hypermasculinity and homophobia to perpetuate his autocracy. Other leaders have projected a macho image as a means of attracting support, but none more successfully than Putin.  From UWS 16a Sex and Advertising, Fall 2020.

Ada de la Fuente-Akersveen
"Gene Editing: How Advancements in this Technology Highlight the Need to Redefine Disability"

There are now medical techniques to alter the DNA of a fetus in utero to prevent diseases and disabilities. But what exactly constitutes a disability? And what about mistakes? Ada examines the philosophical questions raised by this technology. What constitutes a good life — and how far should we push science to ensure it for our children? From UWS 4a Medial Ethics, Fall 2020.

Alexandra Pan
"Egalitarian Dating Initiation: Men’s View on Passive and Assertive Women"

What do men want from women anyway? Opinions vary. Men may be attracted to passive women so they can assume the role of pursuer. Others prefer women to be assertive or flirtatious. In this paper from UWS 2B: Darwinian Dating: The Evolution of Human Attraction, Alexandra Pan assesses the research to unravel these mysteries.

Roshni Ray
"Women’s Friendships and Feminism"

In her paper from a Fall 2020 UWS on Conceptions of Friendship, Roshni considers the role of female friendship in the course of feminism. She approaches the topic from the perspectives of historical events, academic articles, and the Amazon television series Fleabag.

Harrison Sugarman
“Kendrick Lamar’s ‘The Blacker the Berry’: Rap’s Ability to Influence Social and Political Activism"

Harrison argues that rap can and does serve as a successor to the Civil Rights movement. Lamar confronts racism with honesty and optimism, advocating Black power and pride. The complex beat innovations of “The Blacker the Berry” represent the rapper's nuanced take on African American culture.