Abstract Research Paper Examples

My dissertation expands the range of dissociation by applying it specifically to visual contexts and using it to critique visual arguments in a series of historical moments when political, religious, and economic factors cause one form of media to be valued over the other: Byzantine Iconoclasm, the late medieval period, the 1950’s advertising boom, and the modern digital age.

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By focusing on a variety of cultural texts—advertisements, fictional novels, historical writings, medical texts, popular print, and film—this project aims to create a sense of how these cultural productions work together to construct narratives about sexuality, reproduction, and reproductive control.

Relying heavily on a historicizing of these issues, my project shows how these texts—both fictional and nonfictional—create a rich and valid site from which to explore the development of narratives of sexuality and reproductive practices, as well as how these narratives connect to larger cultural narratives of race, class, and nation.

I argue that the space of the specter is a force of representation, an invisible site in which the uncertainties of antebellum economic and social change become visible.

I read this spectral space in canonical works by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, and Walt Whitman and in emerging texts by Robert Montgomery Bird, Theophilus Fisk, Fitz James O’Brien, and Edward Williams Clay.

It explores the literary presence of the middle class managing daughter in the Victorian home.

Collectively, the novels in this study articulate social anxieties about the unclear and unstable role of daughters in the family, the physically and emotionally challenging work they, and all women, do, and the struggle for daughters to find a place in a family hierarchy, which is often structured not by effort or affection, but by proscribed traditional roles, which do not easily adapt to managing daughters, even if they are the ones holding the family together.This dissertation, then, constructs a cultural narrative of the process of controlling birth.Moving away from a focus on “negative birth control”—contraception, abortion, sterilization—the term “controlling birth” also applies to engineering or encouraging wanted or desired reproduction. Visual rhetoricians have often attempted to understand text-image arguments by privileging one medium over the other, either using text-based rhetorical principles or developing new image-based theories. My dissertation addresses the question of how meaning is made when texts and images are united in multimodal arguments. Mitchell has famously noted that we are in the midst of a “pictorial turn,” and images are playing an increasingly important role in digital and multimodal communication.I argue that the relationship between the two media is more dynamic, and can be better understood by applying ’s concept of dissociation, which Chaim Perelman and Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca developed to demonstrate how the interaction of differently valued concepts can construct new meaning.Yet, in doing so, it also suggests that if it is position not passion that matters, then as long as a woman assumes the right position in the family then deep emotional connections to others are not necessary for her to care competently for others.”“Prior to the advent of modern birth control beginning in the nineteenth century, the biological reproductive cycle of pregnancy, post-partum recovery, and nursing dominated women’s adult years.The average birth rate per woman in 1800 was just over seven, but by 1900, that rate had fallen to just under than three and a half.The managing daughter is a problem not accounted for in any conventional domestic structure or ideology so there is no role, no clear set of responsibilities and no boundaries that could, and arguably should, define her obligations, offer her opportunities for empowerment, or set necessary limits on the broad cultural mandate she has to comfort and care others.The extremes she is often pushed to reveals the stresses and hidden conflicts for authority and autonomy inherent in domestic labor without the iconic angel in the house rhetoric that so often masks the difficulties of domestic life for women.

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