• “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.
    • ‘God Never Talks': alternative interpretations of the rhetoric used in William Friedkin and William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist

      O’Keefe, David (2021-05)
      Competing explanations have been brought forward regarding the rhetorical implications of the 1973 horror film, The Exorcist. This paper aims to argue against those which insist that the film is meant to be viewed as endorsing a solely theistic interpretation. An opposing argument as such alienates and disregards a number of credible explanations and integral pieces of evidence, from both outside sources and the film itself. Therefore, this paper will utilize several of such sources, which include, but are not limited to film analyses and reviews, rhetorical analyses, and comparative writings with other works in the field. Ultimately, this paper will compare its own explanations and arguments with opposing ones, with the goal of illustrating that The Exorcist’s rhetoric is far more ambiguous and secular than many interpret it to be.
    • A growing American identity within a Jewish community: Kingston, New York, 1880-1960

      Ehrlich, Miriam (2018-05)
      In the 19th and 20th centuries, many Jewish people immigrated to America to escape anti-semitism in Eastern Europe. Frank Reher was one of these immigrants. He opened up a successful Jewish bakery in Kingston, New York, where there was a growing Jewish population. His family provides a case study of one family who developed an American identity, largely through Americanizing events in their synagogues. However, they never lost touch with their Jewish identities.
    • A Re-evaluation on racism: how a strong U.S. tradition of anti Mexican sentiment was responsible for the 1930s Mexican repatriation crisis

      Donofrio, Nikki (2018-10)
      My paper will discuss the events that led to the 1930s Mexican repatriation crisis as well as the social and cultural motivations of racism that allowed for both the local and national government to repatriate around 400,000 Mexicans during 1930-32. The most agreed upon number is 400,000 and that includes lawful U.S. residents, illegal aliens, and Mexican Americans who were U.S. citizens. While it has most often been cited as an outcome of the economic depression during the late 1920s and early 1930s, the specific brand of anti Mexican racism that flourished post 1924 Immigration Act cannot be ignored. By looking at specific case studies, such as the Los Angeles La Placita Raid and repatriation processes in cities like Detroit and Gary, Indiana, I was able to identify a frustration targeted against anyone Mexican, automatically labeled a non-citizen, disguised as economic anxiety. These events and the racism that motivated them cannot be ignored, especially in today’s mindset of ‘America First’.