Outstanding writing and research from the University Writing Seminars
Why are Black men diagnosed with schizophrenia more often than white? What have Disney and Brokeback Mountain done to the American Cowboy? Why do men prefer women without body hair? Is there “aura” on Instagram? These are some of the questions that inspired the most interesting and well-written UWS papers in 2021-2022, which we are delighted to present here. All papers are published in HTML and in PDF versions that exemplify MLA, APA, and Chicago styles. Read these fascinating student papers and be inspired to write your own!
“A Blind Spot in the Listening Ear”
Can you hear race? With an assist from Jennifer Lynn Stoever’s The Sonic Color Line: Race and the Cultural Politics of Listening, Caelen Hilty decodes the code-switching in Sorry to Bother You, a scathing satire of speech racism by writer-director Boots Riley.
“Taylor’s Aura: Ingrid Goes West and Its Challenge to Walter Benjamin’s Views on Art”
Is there aura on Instagram? To find out, James Landeryou applies Walter Benjamin’s 1935 essay, “The Work of Art in the Age of its Technological Reproducibility” to an enterprising influencer in the 2017 film Ingrid Goes West.
“Who am I? And Who Are You? The Role of Documents in Creating Identity in Transit”
Documents define us: documents we have, documents we want to have, documents we don’t have. Informed by Lisa Gitelman’s Paper Knowledge, Jordan Sims explains the epistemology of documents in the 2018 film, Transit.
“Podcasts and Parasociability”
How do podcasts encourage listeners to develop a sense of personal connection with their hosts? And do podcasters exploit these virtual relationships in any sense? These questions motivate Mandy’s plan to research and write about parasociability in social media, focusing on Pod Save America as her case study.
“Escaping Online: Why World of Warcraft is the Most Addictive Game Ever Made”
Are players of Massively Multiplayer Online videogrames socially inept losers who can't relate to people in the offline world? Or is it time to rethink this sterotype? Jeremy plunges into the research and outlines his investigation of causes and effects in online gaming.
“Male Stigmatization of Female Body Hair”
Evolutionary theory suggests that heterosexual men should be attracted to women with body hair as a secondary sexual characteristic — an indicator of reproductive maturity — yet there is ample evidence that men prefer hairlessness. Why?
“Disney’s Frontierland Fantasy: How the Free Market Fabricates the Wild West”
In Disneyland’s idealized fantasy of the Old West, Walt Disney deployed misleading and racist tropes to pioneer new vistas of commercialism and profiteering.
“Pathologizing Bias: Racial Disparities in The Diagnosis of Schizophrenia”
Black male mental patients are significantly more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia than others. While environmental factors may contribute, biased perceptions of Black men as violent, dishonest, or mistrustful generate overdiagnosis, leading to incorrect treatment and avoidable side effects.
Hana Klempnauer Miller
“Out West: The Queer Sexuality of the American Cowboy and His Cultural Significance”
Far from a betrayal of the American Cowboy as a cultural icon, Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain is a welcome corrective, restoring nineteenth-century concepts of masculinity that have been obcured by Hollywood and the dictates of heteronormativity.