Showing winners from the CGS essay contests held 2008-12


Self-objectification is the process of treating one’s own body as a mere commodity: an object that can only be appreciated for aesthetic value. Third-wave feminists have attempted to redefine objectification, claiming that by choosing to portray oneself as an object, the individual takes back agency from those who would have objectified them. Yet this understanding of self-objectification is controversial. What message does self-objectification actually portray: one of empowerment, or simply one of submission to the hegemonic standards to which self-objectification conforms? Continue reading

Posted In: 2013 Contest First Prize

Humbly nestled next to a laundromat on 236 Brighton Avenue is a martial arts gym with a combined team record of 83 wins and only 13 losses in professional and amateur bouts. Wai Kru Mixed Martial Arts, known simply as “Wai Kru”, is one of the most respected and sought out martial arts gyms in the Boston area, offering classes in Muay Thai, boxing, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. There is no doubt that the success of Wai Kru’s fighters can be attributed to the work of highly experienced training staff – experts and world champions in their respective arts, with decades of experience. But could the physical space and design of the gym also explain why Wai Kru breeds such skilled individuals, while at the same time, maintains a very relaxed, welcoming, and pleasant atmosphere? Continue reading

Posted In: 2012 Contest First Prize

History is history not because events happen, but because there are people there to witness and testify to it. However, since a single individual could not possibly know every detail surrounding any particular event while it happens, it is the role of the historian to see and understand history from as many angles as possible. Through the research process for this paper, I came to realize that events happen the way they do because each person present makes a specific decision to act a certain way. This is the story of that realization. Continue reading

Posted In: 2012 Contest Runner-Up

The live studio audience laughs hysterically, its frantic clapping steadily increasing in the background as the flaming redhead on screen pouts her lips, tilts her head, crosses her arms, and groans loudly as she realizes her most recent mistake. Lucy’s newest scheme has blown up again and a laughing Ricky is standing next to her shaking his head, rolling his eyes.

At first glance the 1950s sitcom I Love Lucy portrays the comical, prank-filled marriage of an adorable couple: Lucy and Ricky Ricardo. While on the surface it appears as if Lucy is just a goofy character who always seems to be getting into trouble, further inspection illuminates the fact that her actions and their outcomes are so much more than just clever scriptwriting. Continue reading

Posted In: 2012 Contest Runner-Up

Dear Mr. Keynes,

I am writing to address your notions on the current depressed state of the economy and your proposals concerning how to solve the difficulties the United States is facing. The Great Depression is an example of the instability that lies within capitalism. The law of accumulation has resulted in the elite class getting wealthier and Continue reading

Posted In: 2011 Contest Runner-Up

On Saturday October 4, 1957, Americans all over the country listened at their radio sets to the sound of a beacon being projected from a 183-pound man-made satellite orbiting earth at 18,000 mph.1 Given their intensity, Americans might have been celebrating the first US satellite launch.2 Instead, the country erupted into a state of hysteria, as the fear was confirmed that the Soviet Socialist Republic had pulled ahead of the US in an event that what would later be referred to as the largest defeat of the Cold War. What occurred over the course the next year could be described as nothing short of a crisis in confidence of the American people and their way of life. Continue reading

Posted In: 2011 Contest Runner-Up

Traditional Eurocentric historiography attributes Japan’s ascendance as a powerful actor on the international stage at the end of the 19th century as being the result of an adoption of Prussian and German paradigms regarding politics and the military. However, a more in depth analysis reveals that Japan’s ascendance stems from the desire to keep Japan Japanese, and that the story of Japan’s modern history is one of a Japanese struggle for sovereignty in a time and region dominated by Western imperialist practices. Continue reading

Posted In: 2011 Contest First Prize

How does an individual find their place in foreign territory, with different customs, and often a different language? These are only a few obstacles new populations must overcome to be associated with the dominant group. Historically the United States has, for the most part, welcomed immigrants and embraced the concept of a melting pot society where different people from different parts of the world share their cultures and enrich the diversity of America. Continue reading

Posted In: 2010 Contest Runner-Up

In an on going controversy regarding the very origins of the human species, ideas essential to the founding of our nation are being challenged. The line which separates church from state, an especially crucial boundary in terms of public education, is being continuously challenged by creationist science enthusiasts, who proceed to push for the incorporation of creationist origin theories into science curricula across America.  This matter has seen the insides of the highest of court rooms; two of the most notable cases Continue reading

Posted In: 2010 Contest First Prize

Deep learning is by nature next to impossible to teach in school because it relies so heavily on students’ self-motivation. A deep learner can always be recognized by the way he articulates his scholastic experiences. Instead of recounting which books he was assigned for class, he recalls specific discussions or readings that struck him on a more personal note. In his book, What the Best College Teachers Do, Ken Bain mentions that deep learners will speak about “developing an understanding, making something their own, ‘getting into it’, and making sense of it all” (9). This is not easy for every schoolchild to do, however. Continue reading

Posted In: 2010 Contest Runner-Up

This essay is missing from our archive, but we hope to locate it soon. Here’s an abstract:

A critique of Sue Williams’ recent documentary about the post-Tiananmen generation. Jonathan brings Marxist theory to bear on Williams’ Young and Restless in China in an effort to explain why Williams’ effort to let her subjects tell their own stories winds up inscribing them within a Western paradigm of economic progress.

Posted In: 2009 Contest Runner-Up

In the America of today, suburbia is simply a fact of life. It’s the place where much of the country eats, sleeps, plays and returns to every day after work. But why is it that modern America has not emerged as an entirely city-based culture as had been the natural trend since the Industrial Revolution? The answer is not entirely simple and requires looking back in time at an era familiar to many of us only as a time of drive-in movies, poodle skirts and finned-cars—the 1950s. Continue reading

Posted In: 2009 Contest First Prize

This essay is missing from our archive, but we hope to locate it soon. Here’s an abstract:

A thoughtful analysis of the ethics of photojournalism. Using Richard Drew’s iconic photograph of one of the jumpers from the World Trade Center as his point of reference, Thomas takes note not only of the contributions which this photograph made to public discourse and grieving, but also a variety of difficult and complicated ethical dilemmas that both preceded and followed the image’s publication.

Posted In: 2009 Contest Runner-Up

Children of all ages

“The greatest show on Earth is now the tallest show on Earth, the strongest show on Earth, the most amazing show on Earth, and the funniest show on Earth.”1 These are the lines heard in the television commercial shown in the Cleveland, Ohio area when Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus was coming to the Gund Arena in 1998. And they were not lying. What the spectator sees is amazing. The 29 second commercial shows acrobats and gymnasts who seem to be defying gravity, a man pulling, with only his mouth, a rope attached to an elephant, another man who blows fire, jugglers, clowns, tightrope walkers, and people bursting out of cannons. But it also shows a roaring tiger popping out of a paper- covered ring, an elephant dancing with a woman, and a choreographed dance in which elephants form a line and stand on their hind legs while hanging on to each other’s shoulders. Continue reading

Posted In: 2008 Contest First Prize

Often artists’ works speaks more to the human condition when they have a deep understanding of the human body’s physical makeup and how it relates to the mind and soul. Christine Borland, for instance, combines both scientific thought and medical research into her art in order to examine the ethics behind modern science. As both an artist and an apprentice to forensic scientists, she epitomizes the nexus between science and art Continue reading

Posted In: 2008 Contest Runner-Up