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Sociology [clear filter]
Tuesday, April 24
 

8:40am PDT

Working Toward a Pedagogy of Activism:  How Whites Approach Issues of Social Justice Interpersonally
The purpose of this research is to investigate ways that college-aged white students approach issues of social justice interpersonally, primarily within their most intimate relationships wherein conflict and disagreement take place in complex and under-examined ways. To approach this study through a critical lens of whiteness necessitates a discussion of prior-conducted research on what we know about how whites talk and think about race. This literature has wide implications for advancing our collective understanding of how whites reproduce white racial dominance through color-blind ways of thinking, lack of critical awareness and discussion of whiteness, and lack of critical self-reflection. These investigations explore how white children undergo racial socialization, largely based upon the decisions and parental priorities of their guardians. Building off of these ideas and evidence, my research will investigate how white college-aged students understand their whiteness and their approach to activism as a result of their academic experiences. I will explore how these understandings then play out in familial and intimate relational interactions. In other words, as their understandings of whiteness evolve, how do white college-aged students racially socialize their families and close friends?   My research has also led me to recognize gaps in the literature surrounding what we know about the practice of teaching activism. Based on the literature I’ve observed, pedagogies of teaching and instilling consciousness of social justice and activism in educative settings lack any integration of critical whiteness theory as well as discussion of strategy for mediating personal and political points of contention with people they love. My research methodology has involved engaging seven college-aged white students in reflective dialogue surrounding questions of racial socialization, activist participation, academic experiences, and how these relate to and inform familial relationships. In response to the information and material I’ve collected, I argue that as we work toward developing a pedagogy of activism, we must consider tools for bridging gaps between white students and their families and simultaneously develop opportunities and space for more nuanced discussions of social justice with students before they reach higher education. Furthermore, I suggest an imperative move toward a careful integration of critical thinking surrounding our own identities and standpoints, with an ethic of love and care as we continue to navigate complex questions of how to be useful participants in political and social discourse as white students and graduates.


Tuesday April 24, 2018 8:40am - 9:00am PDT
236 Zageir Hall

9:00am PDT

A City In Red: The Effects Of Redlining And Urban Renewal On Black Women In Asheville
Housing is an issue that affects individuals in nearly every aspect of their lives. Substandard housing can have severe negative effects on mental and physical health, ability to find and secure a job, and even ability for individuals to locate different housing options in the future. In the United States, a long history of redlining and urban renewal has resulted in Black individuals being negatively impacted by the current housing system much more so than other racial groups across the country. Additionally, negative ramifications are often felt more strongly by Black women living in communities that have been subjected to urban renewal. To study this situation more in-depth, the history and contemporary effects of redlining and urban renewal in the city of Asheville, North Carolina will be examined, with a focus on the lived experience of Black women. This will be accomplished through a content analysis of oral histories from Black female residents in Asheville along with other historical documents regarding urban renewal. This study takes an intersectional approach to research, examining how the dual identities of being Black and being a woman work together to give Black women a unique experience with redlining and urban renewal.


Tuesday April 24, 2018 9:00am - 9:20am PDT
236 Zageir Hall

9:20am PDT

It Gets Blurrier: Redefining Queer Success Through The "It Gets Better" Project
In September 2010, Dan Savage and his partner Terry Miller uploaded a video to Youtube, prompted by a perceived increase in the suicide rate among queer youth. With the hope of explaining to struggling (and perhaps suicidal) teens that "it gets better", this video started a trend that later became a large-scale social movement for queer youth, dubbed the "It Gets Better" (IGB) Project. This article investigates the 20 most viewed videos made for IGB, focusing specifically on how the videos, while encouraging hope and perseverance, ultimately reproduce a neoliberal definition of success and reinforce homornormativity. Although these IGB videos were recorded with the best intentions in mind, they also reinforce other narratives consistent with consumerism and neoliberal values. A content analysis of these IGB videos will be used to discuss the project's overall message and the themes that frequently emerge from within the project's dominant narratives. Results imply that these videos encourage neoliberal ideology, identify suicide as a personal failure, and encourage homonormativity.

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Tuesday April 24, 2018 9:20am - 9:40am PDT
236 Zageir Hall

9:40am PDT

La Operación.
The transition of imperial power to the United States in Puerto Rico transformed sociocultural definitions and ideals of gender, race and family structure. In an effort to implement a model democracy, the United States emphasized the institution of capitalism in which women were expected to be involved in the workforce. The shift of women's labor from the home to a structured work environment was accompanied by a new standard of a nuclear family structure. Women were allocated the responsibility to limit their fertility, and the state further enforced this with a narrative of population control as being beneficial to the well being of families and the economic well being of Puerto Rico. In this framework, imperial values of whiteness and class were implied as markers of responsible motherhood and henceforth womanhood. Sterilization was introduced as a method for population control in the 1930s and gained popularity throughout the twentieth century. To examine the effects of this form of imperialism, this research explores trends of fertility and sterilization rates relative to class and race using secondary analysis of census data and studies on sterilization conducted by state officials, economists and social scientists in various fields. The findings of the research demonstrates the ways in which imperial sociocultural values of race and class impacted the fertility and sterilization rates of demographic groups during the twentieth century.


Tuesday April 24, 2018 9:40am - 10:00am PDT
236 Zageir Hall

10:15am PDT

The Transformative Power Of Worker-Owned Cooperatives
As their membership and political power continues to decline, labor unions are struggling to fight the growing issues of income inequality, precarious work, and economic insecurity. The current failure of unions to ignite progressive change for the working class has turned more attention toward the idea of worker-owned cooperatives, in which businesses are structured and ran democratically and collectively. Research since the emergence of the cooperative model has largely focused on the economic potential of worker owned businesses. However, there are still many questions as to how worker ownership can be expanded, and what benefits that will bring to labor reform. This study concerns the transformative power within worker-cooperatives in terms of what kinds of social change they can provide to contemporary labor movements, as well as the economic and political reforms that are necessary to ignite a larger cooperative movement. By examining case studies of a variety of cooperatives in North Carolina, as well as qualitative interviews with cooperative employees, this research will answer questions of how cooperatives empower workers, what organizational and formative challenges are presented for these firms, and how co-ops can be a force for broader progressive change. Preliminary findings suggest that cooperatives can be a positive force for remedying issues of income inequality and employment insecurity, while simultaneously changing our relationship with labor. Moreover the cooperative structure has the potential to create businesses that provide community and social services largely unseen within many conventional firms. Nevertheless, cooperatives still face specific disadvantages within the marketplace, requiring large scale economic and policy reforms.

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Tuesday April 24, 2018 10:15am - 10:35am PDT
236 Zageir Hall

10:35am PDT

Seeing is Believing: Paranormal Belief Construction in the American South
Western culture is obsessed with the saying “seeing is believing.” Dominant groups in America put a lot of weight into rationality and scientific thinking in comparison to other embodied and spiritual forms of knowledge. Why is it, then, that paranormal belief is so pervasive in the American imagination? In fact, belief in some form of paranormal--ranging from traditional Christian ideas of resurrection and Virgin Birth to aliens and clairvoyance--is the norm, with 90% of Southern Focus Poll (SPF) respondents believing in one or more forms (Rice, 2003). The notion of ghosts and the paranormal “violate a number of binaries” that dominate Western culture: life or death, past or present, body or soul. (Baker and Bader, 2014). Rather than “or,” the paranormal exists within the and, where life and death are deeply intertwined. The paranormal subsist somewhere between conventional time and space, and belief in such leads to a “culturally powerful position” wherein participants can “shatter” the binary constraints of reality (Baker and Bader, 2014). The construction of this belief, however, varies across social locations. For this project, I will examine how various socioeconomic, ethnic, and religious groups interact with these binaries. In other words, how do differing groups know what they know about the paranormal? What influences paranormal belief? How is this knowledge constructed, and how do different groups perpetuate that knowledge? How do sociology and epistemology interact here?

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Tuesday April 24, 2018 10:35am - 10:55am PDT
236 Zageir Hall

10:55am PDT

Youth Participation in Athletics as a Deterrence from Juvenile Delinquency
During the developmental stages of youth, the presence of positive social bonds and a sense of belonging are essential to deter juvenile delinquency. Athletics specifically can be an outlet for youth to avoid criminal behavior. Like other extracurricular activities, sports unites children as a team forming a sense of “community” or “togetherness.” Participating on sports teams creates social bonds and consumes a majority of youths’ free time lowering chances of youth to turn to crime. Numerous studies have already been conducted affirming this relationship. Past research contains conflicting data, therefore a meta-analysis will be conducted to synthesize and integrate previous findings and explore the patterns in relation to athletics that deter juvenile delinquency. Results will indicate that youth who are involved in athletics are less likely to be involved in juvenile delinquency due to the strong bonds generated from being on a team. Applying this evidence into our society will assist in the daily efforts to reduce juvenile delinquency rates.

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Tuesday April 24, 2018 10:55am - 11:15am PDT
236 Zageir Hall

11:15am PDT

I Can't Breathe: Musical Protests in the Black Lives Matter Movement
Due to numerous highly publicized killings of unarmed black men and subsequent lack of justice for their killers, a social tipping point was reached in 2014. In response to these many racial injustices, the social movement called Black Lives Matter was formed to fight institutionalized racism and challenge anti-blackness that permeates the white-dominated society of the United States (Black Lives Matter 2018 “Herstory”). Through content analysis of song lyrics, it will be shown that music reflects the themes of the Black Lives Matter Movement, such as addressing police brutality and mass incarceration as racial injustices. Music which addresses racial injustice will be referred to as musical protest. The potential effects of these musical protests may be to increase participation and awareness, as well as to spread messages of the movement to wider audiences. Music may be a unique rhetorical medium for communicating about police brutality and institutionalized racism, expressing pain and anger nonviolently, and engaging in social conversations and negotiations about race in the United States. Therefore, music may serve crucial functions in the Black Lives Matter Movement so that a complete understanding of the dynamics of the social movement may not be reached without consideration given to musical protests.

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Tuesday April 24, 2018 11:15am - 11:35am PDT
236 Zageir Hall

11:35am PDT

Weaving The Narrative: Material Culture Analysis Of The Elegiac Patchwork Of Selections From The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt
Discourse involving the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) epidemic have centered on the social and political climate at the onset of the outbreak in the early 1980’s. At that time, AIDS was categorized as a gay disease and initially labeled terms such as “gay cancer” and “the gay plague.” As gay men began to die exponentially from this disease they were further marginalized by the lack of governmental involvement and societal stigma. Thus, personal and intimate stories of those who lost their battle to AIDS and individuals who were close to them were pushed to the periphery of society. The purpose of this study is to illustrate how the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt acts as more than a tool for awareness and site of grieving; it humanizes the lived experience of each individual memorialized within its panels by preserving their stories. Through content analysis of a selection of quilt panels, cathartic and symbolic themes are explored. These threaded themes, such as the importance of naming the deceased and the significance of the clothing, photographs, handwritten letters, and other paraphernalia mosaically exhibited on the panels, provide a plurality of voices to these otherwise hidden and silenced narratives. The results of this research add these narratives into dominant historical discourse surrounding the AIDS epidemic.


Tuesday April 24, 2018 11:35am - 11:55am PDT
236 Zageir Hall

1:00pm PDT

A Liberal Mystique: Pragmatist Reflections On Contemporary American Life
Individual Americans are growing more atomistic every year. Recent studies have suggested that emerging adults - the next generation of citizens - are adopting moral individualism in a society that structurally prevents participatory citizenship. At the same time, political science research reports that social capital is in decline in the United States. This problem has been talked about by many, but scholars have failed to organize this social ennui under a single name. Nonetheless, the problem is ubiquitous: American society fails to maintain an engaged, caring populace and has suffered greatly because of it. American endoxa tend to value individualism, specialization, and marketability as virtues. The marriage of individualistic neoliberal social and political thought with postmodernism’s skeptical constructivism has produced a static citizenry. Drawing on an interdisciplinary set of texts in social and political thought, this paper weaves a narrative that identifies their shared thematic concerns. I appraise and offer insight into formal and informal public institutions by employing a pragmatist framework. In renewing dedication to inclusive, deliberative, and expressive democratic ideals, we may - as Richard Rorty said and James Baldwin before him - achieve our country.


Tuesday April 24, 2018 1:00pm - 1:20pm PDT
236 Zageir Hall

1:20pm PDT

My Business Ethics Brings All The Consumers To The Yard: Analyzing The Existence Of Ethical Corporations Under Capitalism
Most Americans are active participants in corporate capitalism so it is important that we as employees and consumers are attempting to make ethical choices in how we participate in capitalism. Within the current United States capitalist economy it is difficult to define ethics in terms of large scale corporations. The pre-existing formulas for corporate ethics in circulation, while extensive, are inaccessible to the average person and do not consider environmental or community factors. A new model must be built to define what ‘ethical corporations’ would consist of. How can we as participants in corporate capitalism find out for ourselves which corporations we should patron to do the least cultural damage? This paper intends to build a ethical checklist model using current working models for ethical capitalism and business ethics. The checklist model is intended to be used by the average person in order to identify where a corporation in lacking and what they are doing well in way of providing for the community, providing for their stakeholders, and caring their environmental impact. To prove the model works fifteen large scale corporations will be tested with the checklist and assessed for their ethical standing.


Tuesday April 24, 2018 1:20pm - 1:40pm PDT
236 Zageir Hall

1:40pm PDT

Flying Under The Gaydar: How Femme Queer Women Navigate Visibility, Identity, And Partnerships
The relationship between sexuality and identity plays a vital role in LGBTQ+ wellbeing. The gender and sexual expression of queer individuals leads to diverse representations of sexuality. Often adopting a role or identity within the queer community can create a sense of visibility or acceptance for an individual. However, while these forms of personal expression can be empowering for members of the queer community, the identities of individuals within interpersonal relationships can impact one another. At times the identity of one partner may shift, leading to adaptations in the personal identities of everyone in the partnership. Past studies have found that femme queer women prioritize their sexual identity as an aspect of themselves and often feel that they must maintain certain labels in order for their identities to be seen as valid by both heterosexual and queer communities, even when their identities come at the expense of respecting their partner’s identity. However, research has also shown that femme queer women prioritize their partner’s identity, appearance, and financial standing less than heterosexual women (Fahs and Swank 2013). This study will use snowball sampling and person-to-person solicitation to interview self-identified femme queer women and explore how their identities impact how they relate to not only themselves, but their partners; this research seeks to examine the power dynamics and intimacy present in queer relationships and how those factors relate to femme identity in the queer community. Findings suggest that femme queer women approach their relationships from a perspective that prioritizes their femme identity and carve their space in their communities accordingly.

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Tuesday April 24, 2018 1:40pm - 2:00pm PDT
236 Zageir Hall

2:00pm PDT

According To Them: Community-Based Participatory Needs Assessment Of A Local Public Housing Community
It has been well documented that low-income communities of color experience substantial health inequalities. This is partially a result of and perpetuated by limited access to adequate, affordable, culturally-competent medical care. While similar factors often contribute to limited access across low-income communities of color, knowing the specific needs of individual communities is essential for appropriate interventions. This research seeks to shed light on the individual needs of a local public housing community comprising largely People of Color. To identify specific needs and potential remedies, a community health assessment survey was administered to residents in the neighborhood. To center the perspectives of the most impacted people and to empower community-led intervention, the research was conducted through a community-based participatory framework and represented a collaboration among community members, an independent researcher, and the resource center within the housing community. Preliminary findings suggest a community need for mental health services and a desire for a past herbalism program to return. Final results will be used to inform an intervention implemented as part of the resource center’s 2018 work plan.


Tuesday April 24, 2018 2:00pm - 2:20pm PDT
236 Zageir Hall

2:20pm PDT

Diversity In Children's Literature: An Examination Of Books In Asheville Elementary Schools
Lack of representation of minority or marginalized groups in children’s literature is not a new phenomenon. The term “diverse literature” has been implemented to embrace a broad scope of identities in literature, such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, immigration status, disability, and cultural and linguistic differences. Research has demonstrated that there are myriad reasons why this type of representation matters in children’s literature, such as validation and valuation of identity, creation of positive associations with books and reading, self-empowerment, and imagination development. In the present study, a content analysis of elementary schools’ library catalogues is performed to examine the books available to children in the elementary schools (including public and private) in Asheville, North Carolina. Asheville is one of the few liberal cities in a predominantly conservative state, and has an active LGBTQ+ community, but is almost 80% white. The data empirically evaluates the type and amount of diverse literature available to elementary school students in Asheville, and how this differs based on the school. The present study then sociologically illuminates the theoretical implications of how diverse literature is (or is not) presented to children in a predominately white, liberal city in the Southeastern United States.


Tuesday April 24, 2018 2:20pm - 2:40pm PDT
236 Zageir Hall

2:45pm PDT

Influence of Religiosity on Parental Discussion of Sexual Violence
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, individuals ages 12 to 34 are at the highest risk of experiencing sexual violence. Due to this prevalence, there is a continuing need for more effective prevention efforts directed towards adolescents. Current prevention methods exist primarily in school settings, leaving a gap in understanding what adolescents obtain from their socialization at home through discussion with their parents. Existing research infers that there is an intersection between religiosity and attitudes towards sex, but fails to discuss how these religious beliefs govern parents' communication with their children on sexual violence specifically. To explore this influence of religiosity on parental discussion, I conduct qualitative interviews to compare discussions held by parents of strong Christian faith to those held by parents of no apparent faith. Preliminary findings suggest that there is a lack of direct discussion of sexual violence in both households, which supports the theme of silence found in rape culture. By identifying differences in religious and secular parental discussion, rape prevention and sex education programs may gain clearer direction in how to address their audiences accordingly.


Tuesday April 24, 2018 2:45pm - 3:05pm PDT
236 Zageir Hall

3:05pm PDT

“Man, I Feel Like A Woman”: A Feminist Literary Critic Of Mrs. Doubtfire
It is perhaps surprising that a story about a man who violates court orders, manipulates his family, and perpetuates stereotypical gender roles would ever have been considered fit for the big screen. In our society, however, if we add a ridiculously-costumed comedy actor to an already impressive cast, a film can make over $400 million at the box office, as Mrs. Doubtfire did. Using the lens of feminist literary criticism, I will take a deeper look into this film, which was and is still characterized as a remarkable tale of the lengths that a devoted father will go to be with his children. In this paper, I will argue that Daniel Hillard (played by Robin Williams) perpetuates both male and female gender stereotypes through his mannerisms, speech, and body language. I will also take a deeper look into the specifics of the female body which Hillard chose to inhabit. I write this critical examination of the portrayal of this man as father, “mother,” and husband in an effort to answer the question of why Hillard chose this particular body to accomplish his purposes, and how his perspective changed as he shifted from the father figure to the “mother”. I will also briefly discuss the problematic themes of the book Alias Madame Doubtfire by Anne Fine, which was the inspiration for the film. A presentation by Natalie Branson (under the advisement of Dr. Melissa Burchard) in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Bachelor of Arts in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.


Tuesday April 24, 2018 3:05pm - 3:25pm PDT
236 Zageir Hall

3:25pm PDT

Resisting The Male Gaze In 21st Century American Poetry
In Western Literature, the male gaze has become a staple in speaker perspective through poetry in which women have been objectified by the poet for the benefit of art. Since men have been the primary gatekeepers for who gets published and whose story gets told, only one side of the gaze is provided. However, this is changing within the context of women poets from America in the 21st century. By being given the agency to share their stories and their perspectives, they are proving that women do not need to be objectified for art, in fact the art is now becoming one with the speaker. There has been much debate and scholarship on the effect of the male gaze since Laura Mulvey coined the term the male gaze; and some critics believe that the concept of the male gaze is so concrete that it’s impossible to actively and accurately resist the male gaze. Taking that into consideration, Zoe will take multiple female poets and use their poetry in case examples of how resistance is occurring in each. Using foundational theory and historical context of the development of the male gaze in the written world she will prove how the handful of poems successfully subvert the male gaze. Zoe will then consider the patterns of resistance and subversion by the female poets and look towards the future, contemplating an era in Western Literature where the male gaze will become completely obsolete.


Tuesday April 24, 2018 3:25pm - 3:45pm PDT
236 Zageir Hall

3:45pm PDT

Illusions Of Choice: Reproductive Control And Violence Against Black Women In The United States
In the United States, pro-choice movements predominantly led by white women have been concerned with safe and legal access to abortion. The reality is that reproductive rights look radically different for Black women. Women of Color scholars such as Patricia Hill Collins, Dorothy Roberts, and Jael Silliman argue that Black women’s experience, and therefore, their issues surrounding reproductive rights must be understood in the historical and social contexts of coercion, sterilization, and sexual violence specific to Black women. This research argues that social control is a fluid system that is constructed by binaries of race, gender, sexuality, morality, and ability. In order to analyze patterns of social control, its production must be understood by examining how specific groups of people are targeted and controlled in specific times and locations. In the context of Black women and reproductive control, racialized, hyper-heterosexual controlling images rooted in chattel slavery have served as justification for violence. The purpose of this research is to develop a specific theoretical framework of social control to be applied to two case histories regarding Black women and their reproductive autonomy: eugenics and the coercive use of Norplant and Depo Provera. This framework of social control was developed through the theoretical analysis of scholarship on race, class, gender, sexuality, and disability to examine how three factors, namely, 1) controlling images, 2) erasure of resistance, and 3) structural racism, work to create illusions of choice regarding the reproductive control of Black women in the United States. This project proposes an intersectional method for analyzing a history of reproductive control.


Tuesday April 24, 2018 3:45pm - 4:05pm PDT
236 Zageir Hall

4:05pm PDT

Exploring Kinesthetic Intimacy In Asheville’s Blues-Fusion Dance Community
As a form of social partner dancing, Blues-Fusion is a cultural experience that occurs through socially negotiated physical interpersonal interaction. Unlike other forms of social partner dancing, Blues-Fusion does not follow an established set of patterned steps. Instead it relies on nonverbal cues performed in a closer frame, which allows an intersubjective connection that highlights intersubjective connection. This ethnographic research explores how participants engage to create and maintain a space of interpersonal intimacy. One of the themes the researcher focused on was embodied knowledge, the idea that the body knows things without conscious thought, such as practiced movements. She applied qualitative movement analysis to her observations of the movements of couples engaged in the practice. She also collected data along the lines of Paul Stoller’s Sensuous Scholarship, using her own body as an access point to the data. Lastly, she critically engaged with verbal content, both in conversation and in media surrounding the event. The researcher relates Diedre Sklar’s concept of kinesthetic empathy into the creation of intimacy. Kinesthetic empathy is corporeally recognizing, translating, and feeling what another person is feeling and is a skill that can be developed. She observes that connections in kinesthetic empathy in the context of Blues-Fusion are formed through mostly unscripted nonverbal signals and create what the researcher describes as kinesthetic intimacy- the main focus of this sociological exploration. She also identifies consent and vulnerability as integral components of kinesthetic intimacy, expressed both explicitly and implicitly. In a world where both sexual misconduct and the stories of people speaking up about it are coming more and more into the public eye, discussions about intimacy are becoming increasingly important. She hopes that by engaging with this research, her audience will see a new avenue to navigating healthy connections.


Tuesday April 24, 2018 4:05pm - 4:25pm PDT
236 Zageir Hall