Final Project Series

Rapunzel and Her Changing Performance of Femininity

In this essay, I employ Judith Butler’s theory of gender performativity to analyse the performance of gender in ​Tangled ​and how it compares to the original 1812 Brothers Grimm tale ​Rapunzel. ​I analyse both works for their content and form, revealing significant differences between their respective portrayals of young and old female characters, as well as a changed overall message. Ultimately, I argue that despite the problematic depictions of older women as villain, the reimagining of Rapunzel as an active heroine signifies a step in a promising direction.... Read More

Revising the Paradigm of Mental Illness

Increasingly the way mental illness is diagnosed and treated in the Western world is skewing towards pathologization, which can have the potential of creating more of a social separation between those who are perceived as typical and those who are perceived as disordered. To address this issue, I propose a two-pronged experimental study focusing on reconceptualizing diagnosis through an inclusive and dimensional classification system and reforming treatment to address underlying social stigma, and hypothesize that such changes in current standards lead to improved patient outcomes.... Read More

How do ancient tectonic boundaries influence intraplate Earthquakes today?

The influence of Plate Tectonic theory cannot be overstated. It gave way to all kinds of exciting new observations. Many mountain ranges were finally understood to have formed due to tectonic compression at convergent boundaries, dispelling Harold Jeffrey’s hypothesis once and for all that mountains were the wrinkles on Earth’s cooling and shrinking surface. Volcanoes, too, were newly appreciated as the result of subduction processes, whereby sinking ocean plates and subducted water reduce the mantle’s melting temperature and produce magma, eventually to erupt out of a volcano and onto the continental crust. ... Read More


Gerrymandering, the practice of redrawing district boundaries in an area in order to distribute voters in a way which benefits a specific party, is a much discussed issue in the United States. In the US, district lines must be redrawn after every census, so once every ten years. In most states, the party in charge at the time gets to choose where those lines go. This has a huge impact on the results of any election, and is especially important in presidential elections.... Read More

Socioeconomic Analysis of the Science Fiction Fandom

In my essay, I address science fiction fandom and argue that their myriad fannish activities demonstrates an active engagement, challenging Adorno and Horkheimer’s model of ​audience as passive​. I investigate the history of SciFi fandom, drawing on concrete examples from American SciFi conventions, Italian fanzines, and online blogs to consider how Adorno and Horkheimer might have interpreted this widespread phenomenon were they alive today. Ultimately, I find their critique to be too cynical, too soon, and that SciFi fandom proves that modern audiences are just as critically engaged as ever.... Read More