• “And the Word was God”: rejection, consideration, and incorporation of spiritual motivations in modernist literature

      Boyle, Katherine R. (2021-05)
      As existing scholarship demonstrates, the modernist period in literature (during the first half of the twentieth century) is generally considered to be a period marked by rationality, secularity, and persistent atheism. With the technological advances of the 1900’s, revolutions in science (such as the work of Charles Darwin), and new political priorities that valued dearly the separation of church and state, it is generally thought that the motifs and commitments of traditional, organized religion were long gone, especially within the literary world. In this project, I set out to demonstrate the ways in which three modernist authors – E.M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, and Jorge Luis Borges – reimagine and reincorporate, in their literature, traditional religious motivations. Specifically, I will examine how the “word” of God (exalted in Judeo-Christian doctrine) is utilized and examined by the three authors in order to imagine a new code of significance for language and communication during modernism. With this, I hope to demonstrate the ways in which the modernist period was not simply a rejection or forgetting of a more orthodox religious tradition, but a reimagination and relocation of spiritual experience within interpersonal communication and linguistic ecstasy.
    • Beyond the trenches: the impact of women's great war narratives on contemporary women in combat

      Kirchenheiter, Haleigh Taylor (2021-06)
      Four narratives from Great War V.A.D.s (Voluntary Aid Detachment): Mary Borden's The Forbidden Zone (1929), Ellen LaMotte's The Backwash of War (1916), Lesley Smith's Four Years Out of Life (1931), and Vera Brittain's Chronicle of Youth (1981) skillfully weave disenchanted and enchanted language to place readers inside the chaotic "second battlefield," unintendedly showing the resilience of the human spirit...These women overcame societal pressure to conform to traditional gender norms and serve their country in a war whose violence still haunts the world. Their bravery in facing death and sharing their experiences enrich the overall knowledge of war and demonstrate ways women improve combat effectiveness and provide a look at what it means to be wholly human in the face of such violence and destruction. Working on broken bodies daily forces one to face their own humanity.
    • Everybody belongs: incorporating disability studies into the classroom

      Albano, Alyssa (2021-12)
      A Disability Studies (DS) framework is often overlooked in general education, yet disabled people make up a large part of the population. As a result, students are often not informed about the importance of disability history, disability culture, and disability narratives. Therefore, it is imperative for DS to be taught in secondary education through a Disability Studies in Education (DSE) framework. Incorporating a DSE framework into a secondary classroom would not only teach students about empathy and allyship but also teaches students about our socio-cultural history and the diverse narratives prominent in our society. The goal of my research is to create an inclusive Disability Studies program that secondary teachers can seamlessly incorporate into their current curriculums. The program will provide a teacher’s guide with resources and background information about disabilities for teachers to follow, as well as multiple detailed lesson plans. The entire program will be fully accessible and model what an inclusive lesson plan should look like. As a whole, my program invites teachers and faculty to help create an inclusive environment for all students.
    • Narrative identity and agency: association between mood and psychological well-being

      Fitapelli, Brianna (2021-05)
      Narrative research is an evolving methodology that has been utilized in research and clinical practice. This study seeks to understand how the structure of narratives predict psychological well-being and mood, and how processing information in narrative form immediately affects respondents. A survey was created on Qualtrics and through an all-student email and social media, a recruitment script was advertised for individuals 18 years or older and English speaking. In this randomized, between-subject design, we gathered 289 complete datasets where one of three randomly assigned prompts asked the participant to write about a positive or negative event or list the foods they recently consumed. All narratives were coded for agency by the first author and 25% of narratives were also coded by one independent rater with an 86% agreement. Results indicated that participants who wrote about a positive life experience had higher levels of positive mood and agentic features. Further, higher levels of agency were associated with specific aspects of psychological well-being. The type of memory one recalls therefore may be beneficial for not only the self, but for relationships with others.
    • "What if I had never been depressed?": effect of counterfactual thinking on stigma for individuals who have experienced depression

      Tozser, Timea (2018-05)
      Depression is identified as one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States (NIMH, 2014). To understand such prevalence, many researchers have focused on the cognitive patterns associated with depression, suggesting that depressed individuals focus their attention on experiences of disappointment, worthlessness, and rejection (Gotlib & Joormann, 2010). This may include counterfactual thinking patterns that center upon detrimental “what ifs” that impede meaning-making, a process known to benefit individuals and reduce stigma. Accordingly, the purpose of the current study was to explore the relationship between depression, counterfactual thinking, and stigma. Using a mixed methods design, participants were randomly assigned to consider ways in which their life might have been better or worse if they had never had depression. They also completed a series of questionnaires and open-ended questions. The results indicated that individuals who were randomly assigned and prompted to think either about negative and positive counterfactuals perceived higher levels of stigma than those in the control group. Additionally, individuals who wrote about ways their life would be better without depression reported greater meaning making than those who wrote about ways their life could have been worse. Lastly, systematic differences in emergent themes of meaning-making were identified between groups. The current research sheds light on depression narratives and how individuals create meaning about depression.