Senior Project Abstracts – Class of 2014

Project in French and Spanish

The Perversion of Optimism and the Façade of Moral Transgression: Madame Bovary‘s Trial and the Censorship of “Surcos”

Anderw Stephen Miller
Major: Romance Languages
Project Advisors: Briana Lewis (French), Nancy Smith (Spanish and French)
From the Introduction: Avant d’étudier le contenu spécifique des deux oeuvres de cet examen, il est trés important d’explorer les climats politiques auxquels les auteurs font référence.  Nous aurons plus de contexte sur les situations dans les pays pendant les sorties  des oeuvres et aussi une meilleure idée des buts que Gustave Flaubert et José Antonio Nieves Conde ont voulu faire dans ses oeuvres, Madame Bovary: moeurs de province et “Surcos.”  D’abord, je vais commencer avec deux moments spécifique dans l’histoire française qui jouent un rôle: la Révolution française et la Révolution française de 1848.  Ensuite je vais réflechir au contexte espagnol avant de la sortie du film. “Surcos,” pour mentionner les mêmes chose; le rôle de la guerre d”Espagne et du régime de Franco qui s’est passé après de la guerre.

Projects in Spanish

Adaptándose a una tierra nueva: la representación de judíos, alemanes y bolivianos en la literatura y el cine argentinos contemporáneos
Bethany Chien
Major(s): Spanish
Project Advisor: Assoc. Prof. Wilfredo Hernández
This thesis focuses on three people groups, the Jews, Germans and Bolivians and their experiences in Argentina as immigrants represented through works of Argentine literature and film. It begins with a brief summary of the history of immigration in Argentina and how the country accommodated for the influx of new inhabitants during the 19th and 20th centuries. Chapter two studies the Argentine Jews through the novel Lenta biografía written by Sergio Chejfec and the film El abrazo partido directed by Daniel Burman. In these two works we see the effects on children when the parents do not share their pasts with them. The third chapter tells of Germans in Argentina: one work about a criminal of war (Wakolda by Lucía Puenzo) and another about innocent German-Argentine citizens (El amigo alemán by Jeanine Meerapfel). This chapter shows the difficulty that many immigrants have in finding out their own identity in a new country. Finally, chapter four investigates Bolivians in Argentina. Through the novel, Bolivia construcciones, by Bruno Morales, and the film Bolivia, directed by Israel Adrián Caetano, the theme of discrimination shows itself. The Bolivians suffered substantially in Argentina due to the fact that they are not white Europeans (the ideal, according to Argentines).

Las minas y los mares: La representación de la naturaleza en Canto general por Pablo Neruda
Joseph Lampe
Major(s): Environmental Science/Spanish
Project Advisor: Assoc. Prof. Wilfredo Hernández
Poetry is a magical literary form and can be endlessly interpreted. The poetry of Pablo Neruda is exactly this: magical, diverse, complex, political, and full of passion and images of nature. The events of his life affected the themes of his work and how he wrote his poetry. Critics of Neruda have analyzed his poetry through various methods and specialties. Some have analyzed the historical context and politics of Canto general while others have analyzed the evolution and influences of the book, the important events that occurred during the writing of the poems, and the events that are mentioned to explain what Neruda wanted to say when he wrote the lines. Very few in-depth studies exist of his poetry, especially studies that focus on nature in Neruda’s poetry. In this study, I try to fill this void. In the first section, I give a summary of ecocriticism. Later, I talk about the life of Pablo Neruda and his book Canto general. In section s II and III is the analysis of the selected poems from Canto general and they are organized into two sections: “The Mines” and “The Seas”. Here, I examine the various sides and events of the life of Neruda. I examine how these events impacted what he wrote and representations of nature within the poems of Canto general. To conclude my thesis, I explain what I have learned during the entire process of conducting this study, that I have learned so much about ecocriticism and about Pablo Neruda, and that I am so happy and proud to have written two complete theses (one for Spanish and one for Environmental Science).

Rebelde y la celda: Los espacios de la opresión y el poder del testimonio en la España revolucionaria
Paige Slaughter
Major(s): Spanish, Philosophy
Project Advisor: Professor Eric Palmer, Assoc. Prof. Teresa Herrera de la Muela
My aim in this work is to explore the concept of rebellion and community in the context of Juana Doña’s novel-testimony, Desde la noche y la niebla, in which she tells of the experiences of women in General Francisco Franco’s prisons. I approach my task as a philosophical investigation of the Spanish Civil War and postwar era, contextualizing my ideas in the ideologies of that time; at the same time, I draw from late-twentieth-century feminist thought in order to suggest that Doña’s novel-testimony can be understood as both an expression of, and catalyst for, solidarity. I analyze Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon Writings in light of Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish in order to recognize Franco’s prisons as functions of societal oppression. Drawing from Doña’s account of her eventual liberation, I attend to George Yancy’s account of the Middle Passage, which sheds light on the ontological transformation of the oppressed, conceptualizing the transformation as one that persists even in one’s liberation from prison. After this account of different forms of oppression, I turn to an examination of rebellion, through the lens of Albert Camus’ The Rebel. I treat his conception of metaphysical rebellion as a premise regarding struggle as a tool of resistance, which leads me to consider testimony as an expression of solidarity and an answer to the rebel’s call for a better collective existence.

Entendiendo el feminicidio de Ciudad Juárez: Un análisis narratológico de cuatro obras (2002-2009)
Matthew Yen
Major(s): Spanish
Project Advisor: Assoc. Prof. Wilfredo Hernández
Once known as “The Capital of Murdered Women,” Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, is one of the most dangerous cities in the world. In addition to the Mexican Drug War, there has been an ongoing homicidal violence towards women, with the first body connected to these killings found in 1993. The violence continues to this day. Both the local and state authorities are rife with corruption, so there is no official count of how many women have been killed or kidnapped. However, women’s rights groups in the area, as well as groups such as Amnesty International, place the number of slain women near one thousand, listing thousands more as kidnapped. This thesis seeks to authenticate several Mexican works, two books, and two films, by analyzing how closely their representations of the killings coincide with reality. The method of analysis to be used is that of narratology, a literary approach that can be used to identify the more subtle way s in which authors represent something. The first chapter examines the background of the feminicide in Juarez, including various factors that contribute to the situation. The second chapter begins the analysis of specific works: Espejo retrovisor (2002; Héctor Molinar) and Tierra marchita (2002; Carmen Galán Benítez). This chapter uses two narratological elements, focalization (analyzing what is perceived and by whom) and ellipsis (the use of gaps in a story for dramatic effect), respectively, to understand the earlier representations of the feminicide. The third chapter analyzes two later works (Hijas de Juarez, 2007, Teresa Rodríguez; El traspatio, 2009, Carlos Carrera) using two other elements: time (analyzing how much of a given work focuses on a particular theme) and fábula (the overarching story of the work, a plot with background, historical context, etc.). The study concludes by determining that these four works each represented feminicide in Juarez well, but that each did it in a different way.