Thursday, November 15, 2012

Featured Abstract: "Boycotts for Liberty: How the Non-Importation Movement Shifted Women's Place in Colonial Society"

Today's featured abstract is an oldie-but-goodie.  Hallie Wolff delivered this excellent oral presentation during our very first Symposium in 2010.

Boycotts for Liberty: How the Non-Importation Movement Shifted Women’s Place in Colonial Society
Hallie Wolff
Faculty Sponsor: John Moser, History & Political Science

In the years leading up to the outbreak of the American Revolution, many colonial leaders called for the boycott of British goods in an effort to force British Parliament to repeal colonial taxes. The success of the non-importation movement was contingent on the cooperation of colonial women. Studies have been conducted on the years leading up to the American Revolution and on women in colonial society, but little has been done on women’s participation in the colonial boycotts. Works by prominent historians such as T.H. Breen and Carol Berkin were studied as well as primary sources from the era to analyze the changes the non-importation movement brought to colonial women. Women were key participants in the non-importation movement. Their participation brought them something they never had access to before: a voice in politics. Through refusal to purchase certain goods, colonial women were able to voice political opinions without stepping outside their duties as a wife, mother, and daughter. The small political freedoms women gained through this era did not lead to any major changes in the political rights of women, though. At the conclusion of the American Revolution and non-importation movement, women’s lives resumed as they were before, showing that the political role women undertook during the various boycotts was not continued afterwards.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Featured Abstract: "How to Be a Wicked Witch; or, A Guide to Becoming the Next Dark Lord"

Today we're introducing a new element of the blog- the Featured Abstract!  Every few days, we'll put the spotlight on a particularly well-written abstract from a previous Symposium.  We hope that prospective presenters will use these for inspiration as they write their own fabulous abstracts.

Today's featured abstract comes to us from the 2012 Symposium.  If you were in the audience for this presentation, you know that Madeline, Drew, and Edward delivered a presentation that was every bit as fantastic as this abstract.

How to Be a Wicked Witch; or, A Guide to Becoming the Next Dark Lord
Madeline Beer, Drew Rothhaar, Edward Carney
Faculty Sponsor: Fabio Polanco, Theatre

In the world of musical theatre, it is important to know your “character type.” Your appearance, demeanor, humor, personality, and style indicate the spectrum of characters that you may be able to play. One person may be best suited to play the heroic lead while another may be more inclined to take the role of a comedic sidekick. As we examined our own character types, we found we both fell into a happy, “good-guy/girl” category. In order to challenge ourselves even further before leaving the academic theatre world and entering the professional theatre world, we have concocted a musical revue in which we both play villains. We collected information and songs from the canon of villains in musical theatre and film and devised a script around the recurring themes of jealousy, vanity, lust, anger, gluttony, greed, and sloth. One researcher has found that his biggest challenge has been portraying the narcissism of characters such as the evil Gaston from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, while the other researcher has found that hers has been portraying the seductive nature of characters such as Velma Kelly from Kander and Ebb’s Chicago. As we continue to work toward our final performance at the end of March, we will hone in on these particular challenges in order to epitomize the villainous character type. Stretching ourselves beyond the characters we usually play will help us identify our personal character types and reveal our strengths and weaknesses. During our session, we will be performing and then elucidating for the audience a scene from our production that exemplifies these villainous characters and the challenges they pose.