• Breaking Bad and the intersection of critical theory at race, disability, and gender

      McDonough, Matthew (2020-12)
      Thesis Abstract: The television series Breaking Bad (created by Vince Gilligan) is considered by audience and critics alike as one of the greatest television series ever made. It tells the story of the rise and fall of Walter White (Bryan Cranston), a mild-mannered chemistry teacher turned meth kingpin. He turns to a life of crime after having been diagnosed with terminal cancer, and he sees meth manufacturing as the most lucrative way to provide for his family. It has been nearly a decade since the series finale, yet it endures through sequel films, spin-offs, and online streaming. My thesis investigates the series’ staying power, and I would argue that lies in its thematic content. Breaking Bad is not just a straightforward story of one man’s descent into a life of crime, but it is also a mediation on dominant, repressive power structures. The series offers a look at these structures through the lens of race, gender, and disability through the actions of characters and their interactions with one another.
    • Entitlement, masculinity, and violence? an analysis of New York Times reporting and Twitter discourse on US school shootings

      Condelles, Eleanor (2019-05)
      A handful of salient factors are consistently omitted in public discourse surrounding school shootings in the United States. Uniformity of shooters’ race and gender persists across almost all of these events, as perpetrators of US school shootings have overwhelmingly been white boys and men. Following the work of previous scholars, I assert that the production and perpetuation of hegemonic masculinity and aggrieved entitlement play a pivotal role in school shootings. Today’s world relies heavily on the media for information dissemination, which in turn shapes our understanding of major events, social issues, and cultural values .I collected reports of recent US school shootings from the New York Times and later collected tweets that allowed for a comparison of how traditional (NYT) vs new social media (Twitter) frame these events. My research suggests that conversations surrounding the role of racialized/toxic masculinity and school shootings are occurring in some spaces rather than others, and has generated findings that could assist future scholars/activists in identifying how to effectively disseminate discourse surrounding this factor.
    • The impact of gun prevalence and background race on racial bias in the first person shooter paradigm

      D’Addario, Angelo (2018-08)
      Laboratory research on the first person shooter task (FPST), requiring participants to make a quick decision whether to shoot at a person who may be carrying a gun, consistently demonstrates a strong bias to shoot at Blacks more than at Whites. In order to enhance external validity, we manipulated the race of the bystander and the probability of the gun. 112 undergraduates were used in the FPST, in which the impact of four variables on Reaction Time and Error Rate were explored: Target Race (Black, White), Gun Prevalence (25%, 50% and 75%), Background Race (Black, White, half Black and half White), Object (Gun, No Gun). Results replicated a classically shown anti-Black bias. Bias was moderated, however, by both the prevalence of the gun and the race of the bystander. When there was no gun present, anti-Black bias was highest when the race of the bystander was all White. When there was a gun present, anti-Black bias was highest when there were any Black bystanders. Independent of background race, as the prevalence of the gun decreased, racial bias generally increased, as indicated by faster hits and fewer misses for Black targets. False alarms, on the other hand, generally decreased with decreased gun prevalence. In general, males made correct decisions faster than females, and the racial bias, limited to the decision to shoot someone holding a gun, hits, was greater for males than for females. These findings show that anti-Black bias in the decision to shoot must be explored under more externally valid circumstances.
    • Some girls you’ve never seen before: MFA Thesis - Painting & Drawing 

      Arvay, Julia (2019-05)
      In my MFA Thesis Show entitled, “Some Girls You’ve Never Seen Before,” I am exploring the perception of class and gender through materiality. I am intrigued by how society’s associations with a material can alter the viewer’s perception of an object. I use the historically masculinized canvas to create abstract portraits of women by adorning them with materials, colors, and design motifs that embody feminine and lowbrow stereotypes. I have situated the paintings in environments with matching wallpaper and ottomans, to further emphasize the presence of excess in consumer culture.
    • A story we agree to tell each other over and over: gender and disability performance in ​Game of Thrones

      Cavallucci, Katherine (2020-11)
      Game of Thrones​ presents us with a wealth of fascinating characters, many of whom do not fit neatly into the particular roles ascribed to them by binary systems. As a result of their nonconformity, they are often ridiculed, spurned, “othered.” In this thesis, I will focus on gender and ability as performances—social constructions—rather than as natural fact, and I will utilize the literary and film theory of Laura Mulvey, Lennard Davis, and Judith Butler to explore ​Game of Thrones t​hrough this lens. I intend to analyze how certain characters perform gender or dis/ability (or both), along with the ways in which they have changed the narrative and subverted traditional ideologies and systems of power.