MMUF Cohort 13 (2020-2021)

Keidan Chavez '22, Film Studies

Hispanic Outreach Taskforce: Education in Whittier

The National Center for Education Studies found that, “In school year 2018–19, the national adjusted cohort graduation rate (ACGR) for public high school students was 86 percent, the highest it has been since the rate was first measured in 2010–11. Asian/Pacific Islander students had the highest ACGR (93 percent), followed by White (89 percent), Hispanic (82 percent), Black (80 percent), and American Indian/Alaska Native (74 percent) students.” While there has been evidence of an increase in minorities, specifically Latinos, that have started to participate and graduate in higher education there is still a persistence of structured discrimination and lack of proper guidance and support with the college application process. Likewise, the passing of Prop 209 in 1995 severely limited the conversation about race in educational spaces, hiding under the exterior of equality, which has allowed these issues of discrimination to persist towards Latino students, especially those living in low-income communities. In 1990, the Hispanic Outreach Taskforce (HOT) was formed with the mission to provide representation, both educationally and culturally, of the Latino community. The HOT board members were motivated to start this taskforce as many of them also experienced racism and discrimination throughout their own education, and were active participants in Civil Rights movements like the Chicano Moratorium. Through their scaffolded programs, HOT provides moral and financial support to students throughout their K-12 education within schools servicing the Whittier, CA area. Today, the continued existence of HOT as a program brings up questions regarding the continued lack of support from governmental entities towards the educational needs of underprivileged communities. My project aims to explore the impact the HOT has had and continues to make within the Whittier community of low-income Latino students, as Whittier is a largely Latino community, showcasing for future students and the surrounding community, the resources that are available to them. 

Dayquan Moeller '23, Theater and Performance Studies

LA Swan Songs: Site Specific Theatre as a Response to Gentrification

In 2015, the city of Los Angeles announced plans for the demolition of the historical Sixth Street Bridge, which had been a local landmark since the 1930s. That very same year, moves were made to demolish another piece of L.A history: the Jordan Downs public housing unit in Watts. These demolitions are not only linked as victims of ongoing gentrification, but also as subjects of two site-specific theatre productions: Susan Silton’s A Sublime Madness of the Soul and Nancy Keystone’s A Jordan Downs Illumination. Both works demonstrate how the aesthetics of site-specific theatre reject neoliberal homogeneity in favor of communal art-making, and thus are uniquely positioned to resist gentrification. This presentation contextualizes these works in the site-specific canon, and proposes new methodologies for theatre as social practice.  

Abigail Sanchez '23, History Major

Political Impact of Imperial Women in the Roman Empire, 27 BCE to 68 CE

In ancient Rome, women were unable to vote or hold any political office which limited the ways they could make on the Roman Empire. While more scholars have been giving voice and recognition to the women of Rome, such as Emily Hemelrijk, there are still many avenues that can aid the reconstruction of Roman history in a manner that acknowledges the actions and achievements of all individuals, as opposed to one that is only Roman male dominated. While it is preferable to highlight women of every social status, it is also important to keep in mind the lack of documentation regarding women of lower social status in general. Which is why the focus of this research is on Imperial women. Therefore, the aim of this research paper is to highlight and analyze the ways women of the Imperial household were able to make a political impact in the Roman Empire, to reclaim and recognize the role women played in Roman history while living in a patriarchal society. This research will consider the political culture and historical events that took place during the Julio-Claudian Dynasty, 27 BCE to 68 CE, to better understand the significance of the actions taken by Roman imperial women in the political world. This research will also recognize the limitations and/or freedoms the women had, as well as how they were viewed within the Roman Empire. 

Arlo Sandoval '22, Philosophy Major

Enfleshing Gender: Trans Non-Binary Denial of Gendered Corporeality

In this project, I base queer/trans philosophy and politics on a decolonial analysis of power rather than a fraught sense of shared identity in order to depart from the prevailing “beyond the binary model.” While I explain why the current beyond the binary model is problematic, I also illuminate how the former can be seen as a resistant narrative. This account has two key ideas. First, I draw from the work of María Lugones to defend a decolonial feminist model, arguing that new thinking about gender assumes dominant, colonial logics and methodologies when critiquing the gender binary, failing to properly challenge heterosexualism. Second, I draw from literature that discusses the way Western cultural narratives obscure the organization of life for the colonized to argue that gendered corporeality is an important consequence of dominant ways of doing gender. The traditional beyond the binary model can be seen as resisting gendered corporeality.

Sara Silva '22, Philosophy Major

Gender and Sexuality Within Female-Written Gay Werewolf Fanfiction

This study analyses five female-written, gay werewolf fanfiction novels posted on Wattpad through an ecofeminist lens. I will use textual and extratextual elements to connect common tropes, such as rejections of female corporeality, the value of rationality, and the placement of human abilities into the supernatural in order to understand its canonical perception of humanity. The werewolf is an important figure as it is critically linked to Western notions of femininity, and blends what Western thought sees as transcendent and materially inferior. Likewise, the werewolf also represents multiplicitous realities as it is in a position where wolves gain subjectivity, humans gain corporeality, and differing forms of ecosystemic life are recognized. Contextualized by the gendered and sexualized history of the Western werewolf as well as ecofeminism, this project aims to answer the questions: How does the contemporary female-written gay werewolf express gender and sexuality, and how does their expression interact with coloniality? By being integrally connected to perceptions of bodiliness and emotionality, the werewolf serves as a useful tool to understand and potentially dissolve entrenched reductivity and embrace embeddedness.