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Yintong Bao, Comparative Literature

“Difficult Friends: Hospitality Revisited in Three Attic Tragedies”

Traditional philosopies and theories regarding hospitality tend to slip to two extremes: either extreme exclusivity, in which the host has full dominance over the guest and the guest is subservient to the host; or extreme openness, in which the host ought to be unconditionally welcome to the guest. Both attitudes fail to render hospitality just. Three tragedies by Aeschylus and Sophocles will be studied in detail in order to illustrate the inner logic of Greek hospitality. We will see that instead of legal and religious institutions, there is an aspect that is often ignored but decisive in the functioning of the institute of hospitality, namely the passions of individuals involved in the situation.

Maryclaire Koch, Art and Visual Studies

“Identity as Phantasm: A Diasporic Modernism”

Maryclaire juxtaposes Marc Chagall’s (1887-1985) body of work with that of Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920), and relocates them within their social-historical context. Although the two Jewish artists operated on differing ends of a spectrum of visual language, they met at a juncture that was both explicitly Jewish, and profoundly political. This dissertation argues that, when placed within the identity politics of their time, both artists’ bodies of work emblemized a specific brand of Jewish modernism that not only reflected historical processes, but also disrupted fixed notions of origin and identity.

Karolina Kulicka, Global Gender and Sexuality Studies

“The Problem with No Name: Mechansims of Organisational Gendering in the Polish Civil Service”

Karolina’s dissertation brings to light those forces behind gender inequity that are invisibly engraned into seemingly gender-neutral organizational policies, practices and cultures. Using the example of the Polish state administration (often labeled as the most women-friendly in the world), this project analyzes how seemingly genderless institutationl rules (e.g. political neutrality, professionalism), every-day work practices, spatial arrangements, new technologies, or the norms of the “right” looks can have a discriminating effect on female works. The project argues that organization are not just neutral sites of gender relations, but are themselves inherently gendered.

Elizabeth Garner Masarik, History

“The Politics of Motherhood: Sentimentalism, Illegitimacy, and the Welfare State”

Most scholars argue that single mothers were not eligible for benefits from the burgeoning welfare state at the beginning of the twentieth century. These arguments have not adequately addressed reform movements for single-mothers and the female reformers focused on its eradication. Elizabeth’s dissertation examines reformers during the Gilded Age and Progressive Era who worked to bridge private charity for single-mothers with state-funded public welfare. She uses the cultural and literary phenomenon of sentimentalism as a lens to explore the personal and collective reasons some women entered into public reform work on behalf of single mothers.

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