First Prize

Look At Me Now: Self-Objectification and the Illusion of Agency in Media

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

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Creating the Canvas for the Martial Arts

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 Continue reading

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Late 19th Century Japan; Eastern Teutons

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

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An Intelligently Designed Curriculum: How the Use of Clever Language May Change School Board Standards Regarding the Teaching of Creationism in Public Schools

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

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The Surge of Suburbia and its Legacy

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

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The Greatest Show on Earth?

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

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