Studies in Comparative Literatures and Arts MRP
Students currently enrolled in the Studies in Comparative Literatures and Arts graduate program here at Brock University will be required to submit an electronic copy of their final Major Research Paper to this repository as part of graduation requirements.
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Tropes of the Theatrical in Media Representations of the War in UkraineThere is a theatricality to the narrative of war as it is presented in the media. News media is a mediating factor between reality and its reception. Through this process, meaning is lost and created while different perspectives are applied, incidents are narrated, and characters are developed. This research will look at the news coverage of the war between Russia and Ukraine, which started in 2022, and discusses how this presentation creates an Aristotelian ‘spectacle’ in the news. Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Vladimir Putin are the main actors in this ‘play’, and this ‘theater of war’ revolves around these two characters' actions and words. Drawing on Jonas A. Barish, I will argue that the two characters' leaderships contain elements of mimicry and self-manifestation. I will also discuss the metatheatricality of their presence in media in that Zelenskyy and Putin are themselves two political actors that direct the war between the two countries. Elements of absurdism and escapism are present in the news narrations of the war in Ukraine in a way that the literal absurdity and escape can be viewed symbolically when the war is presented as a spectacle which also provides content for the audience of the news to escape to. The symbols and their references add to the layers of interpretation of the spectacle that news media creates of this war. This research also focuses on the display of violence in the media, comparing war with a wrestling competition as different embodiments of violence in the media and the way news media uses both of these spectacles in news reports of the war in Ukraine.
The Gaze of the VoiceThe present project begins in the middle of an always already becoming phenomenon: voice. In brief, I endeavour to explicate, expound, and articulate the phenomenon of “voice” without reducing the voice to any aspect of its embodied or theoretical forms, i.e., without a reduction to a simplistic account of the “material” phenomenon nor a divorce of the voice from its aesthetic-cum-theoretical registers. This means the project is situated across theorizations, not to reconcile them, but to uncover the voice in the constitution of subjectivity without reifying its uniqueness or, in other words, without devocalizing the voice we are attempting to index in a register of its constitution of subjectivity, as well as the theorization of that constitution and subsequent tracing of the refrain it articulates even as it departs from it. This project is informed by a comparative methodology where a recorded vocal piece in my own voice, which I accompany with written attempts to describe and think that very phenomenon of my own vocality; set in (unreconciled) dialogue with my own ancient texts of myth, modern story-telling, primary theoretical texts and my interpretation of them. The multivocality of comparative sources situates the present form as performative of its content; there are multiple voices without anyone voice reconciled as a master narrative.
Representation of Black Youth in John Singleton's film, Boyz N the Hood, and Dominique Morisseau's play, Pipeline.Black youth in North America has been plagued with many challenges and disadvantages from birth that range from structural economic factors to social inequities. This demographic group has been badly treated, marginalized, and denied equal opportunities in multicultural democratic systems for so long. Most of them are born and raised in the toughest environments where they have to struggle on their own with little or no support from society and have to prove to the world every second that just because they are black does not make them less human. Black youth are beginning to question their existence and identity which, according to some, is the result of an absent father in their lives to nurture them. This project explores the representation of Black youth in North America through the lenses of the visceral drama, Boyz N in the Hood, by John Singleton, which depicts Black youth in Black communities with evident realism and compares it to the potent and riveting play, Pipeline, by Dominique Morisseau, which delves into the school to prison pipeline which affects students of colour. The study will focus on Black youth in North America as it explores the dominant ideology found in both genres: the absent father in the life of Black youth.
A Search for Sustainable Public ArtThis paper explores international and Canadian public art contexts and installations within the last fifty years. Public art requires public places for installation, visibility, and democratic discussion. This text will extend its scope to include a historical overview of the divide between public and private property. In light of this, the notion of agonism will be central to my argument regarding public space, dissent, protest, critique and collaboration. As artists and philosophers recognize agonism, in art, as critical to how public art functions, this paper reviews its powers to question and contribute to ecological regeneration as urban public spaces are shrinking from growing commercial pressures. Ultimately this text will support the usefulness of artist interventions and agonism in the struggle to enhance and support the planet's ecology and discuss the crucial role public property plays in shaping our relationship with the earth.