Graduate Liberal Studies Program

2010 North Carolina Graduate Liberal Studies Conference

April 2010

During the weekend of April 9-10, 2010, UNCW's GLS Program held its fourth annual GLS conference. In fact, it was actually the third conference as lack of funding caused the cancellation of the 2009 conference. The conference has gradually grown in both scope and participation and has become better recognized throughout the state. It began as a small get together with mostly UNCW GLS students. In this year's conference, we were pleased to have 21 presenters from UNC Wilmington, Asheville, Greensboro, Charlotte, ECU, Wake Forrest, and NC State.

On Friday, April 9, an opening reception was held for presenters, guests, and students at WHQR's Gallery space in downtown Wilmington. Wine and light refreshments were served. Dr. Peggy Downes, Director of the MLA program at UNC Ashville was the keynote speaker. She spoke on "What is Liberal Studies" detailing why it is an important major and what kinds of classes are involved.

Reception GuestsReception GuestsReception Keynote Speaker

On Saturday, April 10 from 9 - 5:20 p.m. there were seven panels. Topics included poetry, literature, history, and gender. The conference was free to the public and students from each University were encouraged to attend to support their program and classmates. The Call for Papers was not limited to Liberal Studies programs. Because Liberal Studies encompasses all of the humanities, invitations were extended to Graduate programs in English, Creative Writing, Communication, and all other arts. This also ensured more submissions and greater participation. For a detailed look at the presentation abstracts and the presenters, please scroll down to the Conference Schedule.

Saturday evening, a closing dinner for presenters and staff was held at the Indochine restaurant.

Dinner Photos Another dinner photo

A lot of hard work and effort went into setting up and running a conference of this size. Special thanks go to Amanda Johnson, the GLS Conference Coordinator, Drs. Herb Berg and Mika Elovaara, Director and Assistant Director of the GLS Program, and Perry Campbell, the GLS Program Assistant.

Special thanks are also appropriate to Dr. Peggy Downes for her relevant and thought-provoking keynote speech and to all the presenters. We hope we will see all of you next year.


Communicating Through Song and Blog

9:00 - 10:20 am

Moderator: Mika Elovaara, Ph.D.

BonnieChristina and Crystal

Bonnie Monteleone, UNC Wilmington

"Communicating Science From Ship to Shore: The Blog"

Having blogged from two gyres, the North Atlantic and North Pacific, Monteleone shares her experience from both gyres. This presentation will discuss who she communicated with, what the interaction was like, how it was possible, and why it mattered. Other aspects covered will be the pros and cons of multimedia blogging from sea, exploring audience diversity through scientific blogging and demonstrate how multimedia blogging from the field can make science digestible and intriguing to the general public.

Christina Riley, NC State University

"Lil' Kim's Acts of Subversion: New Definitions for Female Empowerment in Hip-Hop"

By analyzing Lil' Kim and her work within the critical framework of Audre Lorde, Judith Butler, and Susan Sontag, this presentation will demonstrate how the artist's command over her erotic desires, usurpation of masculine-identified gender traits, and Camp performance serve as tools for Black female empowerment. It also considers the artist's lyrics, videos and album covers as a textual springboard for critical analysis.

Crystal Hendricks, UNC Wilmington

"More than Noise: An Exploration of Heavy Metal Lyrics"

The facets of the Heavy Metal world, such as its social commentary, its rebellious nature, and its surprising eloquence, can all be understood and appreciated through a close examination of Heavy Metal lyrics themselves. This presentation explores the lyrics of five specific, and fairly well-known, Heavy Metal songs. Included are musical samples and lyrical quotations, accompanied by an interpretation of the meaning of the songs, in efforts to dispel the negative stereotypes of Heavy Metal that permeate our society.

America at Home and Abroad

10:30 - 11:50 am

Moderator: Herbert Berg, Ph.D.

Toni, Dr. Herb Berg, and Lee

Lee Todhunter, UNC Greensboro

"Opposition in Okinawa: The Future of the US-Japan Security Alliance"

There are 90 American military facilities in Japan, of which 75 percent are based in the geographically small Okinawan islands. Since the end of World War Two, the local population has endured land confiscation, noise pollution, military accidents, and crimes committed by American servicemen. This presentation explores the current relationship of the U.S-Japan security alliance. The question remains whether the Japanese government will side with its own people and take a new direction in its security alliance or if it will continue to make concessions for the U.S. military presence.

Toni Gazda, University of North Carolina Wilmington

"Living Outside the Box: Multicultural Identity Politics of Postcolonial Hawaiians"

In this presentation, Gazda addresses the issue of multicultural identity politics of postcolonial Hawaiians. A Honolulu-born American citizen of Hawaiian-Hispanic-Native American-French descent, her presentation examines the issue of identity through the broad lens of postcolonial literary studies, where the impact of Western colonialism on native, indigenous cultures is considered.

The Use of the Self in Poetry

10:30 - 11:50 am

Moderator: Ashley Hudson, MFA

Amanda, Stefanie, Joe, Michael

Amanda Rutstein, Stefanie Silva, Joe McCormick, and Michael Zinkowski, UNC Greensboro

"The Use of the Self in Poetry"

This panel will discuss the authors use (and disuse) of the personal pronoun "I" in poetry. Discussions include subject matter, lyric vs narrative poetry and the uses of personae, and authors' individual resistance to confessional poetry, be it conscious or unconscious. Questions arise such as: Is there still a place for confessional poetry in the contemporary poetic world? How much does a poem reflect back on the poet when using third person or a persona? What types of universal ideas concern us in our poetry? And, is it ever safe to assume that the speaker of the poem is the poet himself or herself? The panel will also include short readings of original work by all of the panelists.

Stories: Fiction and Non-Fiction

1:00 - 2:30 pm

Moderator: Kimberly Faxon, MFA

Connie, Justin, Will, Kimi Faxon

Will Bobbitt, UNC Greensboro

"Mystery Fiction: The Art of the Whodunit"

This short story is the author's first attempt to delve into mystery fiction. In addition to a brief discussion of the mystery genre, the presentation will include how this story came to be, and how the characters helped write it. There will be a reading from the short story "Bawdy Night" to illustrate the features of this energetic literary design.

Justin Kingery, East Carolina University

"Mending Walls" A Creative Non-Fiction Essay"

The essay uses the well-known Robert Frost poem "Mending Wall" as a vehicle to assess a heated skirmish the author has with his elderly neighbor in the middle of a Midwestern ice storm. "Mending Walls" is a true story of false identities, scorn, and unseen paths to doleful forgiveness

Connie Styers, UNC Greensboro

"I saw an Armadillo in Alabama"

I Saw an Armadillo in Alabama is the story of a middle-aged man traveling to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina to help in the recovery efforts of removing trash and debris. Based on a true account, the story depicts the hard times and government red tape him and a 24-year old former construction student encounter over a three-month period. Capturing the entrepreneurial spirit of a blue-collar American, they coin their adventures the "New Orleans Gold Rush", but their ambition to work to earn an honest day's wages are crushed and destroyed.

Original Poetry

1: 00 - 2:20 pm

Moderator: Ashley Hudson, MFA

Kimberly, Cheryl, Joan, Ashley Hudson

Kimberly Grey Purser, UNC Asheville

"This Heart is not a Houseboat"

Using the historical events of the Vietnam War as a point of departure, this lyrical collection of poems imagines glimpses into the life of a woman living in South Vietnam in 1963. In order to develop her own understanding of the conflict and devastation Americans think of today as the Vietnam War, the author began to explore the idea of war. War that is not only out there, against other people in other lands, but war that manifests itself daily as ones' choice, conflict and struggle.

Cheryl Wilder, BFA UNC Wilmington, MFA Vermont College of Fine Arts

"Home: Seclusion and Transparency Through the Looking Glass of Architecture and Poetry."

Looking at both architecture and poetry together reveals experiential connection to the human concept of home. This presentation highlights the evolution of our contemporary homes and introduces ideas from philosopher Louis Hammer and architectural writer, Heinrich Engel. It explores two opposing structural components in architecture, a Japanese teahouse and a modern glass house, and discusses their specific characteristic differences: seclusion and transparency. Two poems reflect these opposing structures, relating these buildings in which we live with the ways in which we see and express ourselves.

Joan Heller, UNC Asheville

"Magdeburg: A Collection of Poems"

Magdeburg is a collection of lyric and narrative poems inspired by exploring family history and German history from the Holy Roman Empire to the Weimar Republic. As a complement to a more analytic historiography, the approach through poetry conveys a totality in a smaller space on the page and in time, urging us to comprehend it with immediacy.

Analyzing Literature

2:30 - 4:00 pm

Moderator: Herbert Berg, Ph.D.

moira, Kori, Brittany, Dr. Herb Berg

Moira Bradford, UNC Asheville

"I Seem to Speak: Self Presence and Self Expression in Beckett and Derrida"

"I seem to speak, it is not I, about me, it is not about me" cryptically says Samuel Beckett through the voice of one of his elusive narrators. How do we make sense of these mutterings? Understanding Beckett's prose can be a difficult task. Understanding the writing of Jacques Derrida is also a difficult task. However, in conjunction these two authors serve to inform and explicate each other. In this presentation we will explore some excerpts from Beckett alongside Derridean language theory, in order to achieve understanding regarding these two great thinkers.

Kori Sullivan, UNC Charlotte

"Harry Potter and the Representation of Girlhood: Ginny Weasly's Journey to Agency."

Critics of the first few Harry Potter novels have stated that the female characters in the series are not only stereotypical, but also voiceless, disempowered girls and women who simply follow the action of their male counterparts. This presentation argues that the character Ginny Weasly is an example to readers of all ages that life is a journey and overcoming societal gender stereotypes is possible.

Brittany Beck, East Carolina University

"(Re)Visioning Lily Bart: Discipline and Surveillance in The House of Mirth."

This presentation examines The House of Mirth through the lens of Michel Foucault's Discipline and Punish to argue that Old New York is a disciplinary society, and its status as such influences how knowledge about the character Lily is created and how her character is constructed by others throughout the novel. Exploring New York society as a type of Panopticon, this presentation will discuss how the disciplinary practices of surveillance and normalizing judgment are used as means of social control that, because Lily resists conforming to cultural conventions for women, are deployed against her to construct her as a transgressor.

Gender Lessons

4:10 - 5:20 pm

Moderator: Mika Elovaara, Ph.D.

Dr. Mika Elovaara, Linda, Anita, Deborah

Deborah Chatkoff, UNC Wilmington

"Heritage and Gender Lessons"

Through original sculptures, this presentation explores on a visual and emotional level, common threads of gender norms and how they are transmitted in our society. The themes addressed are the appearance, dress, and behavior of women as well as the rules society imposes on gender roles and the silencing of women.

Linda Ramge, UNC Wilmington

"White Gloves, White Girls, and White Lies: Personal Recollections of Seventeen Magazine in the Post World War II Era."

Written from the perspective of a baby boomer who came of age during the fifties and sixties and read Seventeen magazine for news and advice on fashion and relationships, this study analyzes the socializing effects of this publication on teenage girls in the years following World War II. This analysis was conducted by a targeted reader and includes autobiographical segments.

Anita McDaniel, UNC Wilmington

"Inequity in Empathic Support Between Cross-Sexed Friends: Perception or Reality?"

This presentation explores the empathic inequity reported by women in their close, cross sex relationships. Specifically, emphasis is placed on issues such as how perceptions of cross-sex friendships and relational exclusivity influence the under benefitted/over benefitted dichotomy expressed between the sexes when communicating support. Social exchange theory is proposed as a possible motivating framework to address two questions that arise from past research findings on empathy and support communication between cross-sex friends: Why might women continue to provide support to and seek support from reportedly reluctant male friends? and Why might men be inclined to deny bids for support from their female friends who reportedly provide support on demand?

Last Update: May 14, 2010