We have a series of students going to NCA this year, and we couldn't be more proud of them! This article will outline on which topics these scholars will be presenting. If you have more questions about their research journey, consider coming to hear them speak at Pre-NCA Student Panel on Friday Nobember 8th 2019 from 5-8 PM in the UNT Black Box Theatre (GAB 321).
First up, is Emily Boldt. A TA for the department, Emily has compiled research on Minaj's Mechanism. Her paper delves further into Nicki Minaj's Pink Print, while researching how her different identities function to make up who she is as a person and performer; while simultaneously effecting how she is understood, portrayed, and how she informs mass media and society in general through her performances. Specifically, looking at how Minaj's alter egos reinforce stereotypical tropes that women of color are subjected to. Black feminist thought guides Emily's analysis and argues that Nicki Minaj perpetuates tropes focused around women of color in mass media and society through her use of specific alter egos within her album, The Pink Print.
Next, Melisa Brown, a Master's student in our department, is presenting on a panel along with Dr. Richardson. This unique panel brings together study-abroad program (SAP) faculty leaders and their student participants to analyze the former's methods and accountability for enhancing the latter's academic development and intercultural competence. Panelists will critically examine their own SAPs through the lens of communication theories and their practical applications to see how their SAPs have succeeded or failed in advancing SAP student participants' intercultural competence with tangible academic achievements.
Subsequently, Zane Dayton, also a TA for our department, has elected to present on how individuals perceive the risks associated with health behaviors continues to develop as a burgeoning area of study. In a paper he wrote with a colleague and alumni of our department, Madison Clary-Wortham, they focused their research on the emerging health behavior known as nicotine vaping and how individuals perceive the risks associated with such an act. They examined the use of visual/image agency assignment in conjunction with linguistic agency assignment when constructing health messages to further understand how individuals perceive risks associated with nicotine vaping. They concluded that participants that interacted with the threat image/human message stimuli reported the highest levels of threat severity and the lowest levels of self-efficacy. Additionally, participants reported higher levels of personal susceptibility when interacting with the threat image as opposed to the human image.
Les Delgado, a Master's Student, has compiled a solo performance wherein which they use shoes and feet as artifacts of survival to "walk through" the embodiment of the narratives of their posthumous father and brother. In the text, the author not only reflects the whirlwind of emotions of grieving and narratives of those lost but also asks how grief as works as survival by "walking in shoes labeled with last names belonging to those I love and continuing forward."
Kendal Lyssy, the only undergraduate going to NCA from our department this year, has chosen to focus on interpersonal conflict in intercultural marriages. She explores how spouses involved in intercultural marriages face the same challenges and deal with interpersonal conflict in the same ways as spouses of same-culture marriages while also facing special challenges because of differences pertaining to culture. However, intercultural couples share a stronger bond and a better understanding of identity. Additionally, Kendal reviews the existing research on Face Negotiation Theory, which is the behavior individuals choose to display. In this paper, Kendal proposes that researchers have not examined the connection between marital conflict and intercultural conflict in depth.
Lexie Nelson, a participant in our Pathway program and current masters student, reviews popular discourse on Fifty Shades of Grey and posits her own findings about what the film means for women. More specifically, she suggests that popular discourse retains two general ideas about the film series Fifty Shades of Grey: the film acts as a sexual reawakening for middle-aged women or as an uncomfortable, too-sexual film. However, I argue that Fifty Shades of Grey explores a new path in film for female sexuality within concepts of consent and open communication
Furthermore, Jennifer Sanmiguel, a TA in our department, focuses on the true crime fandom. Some suggest that a strong interest in this genre leads to desensitization about violence and/or macabre subjects when encountered in media texts. Jennifer's project explores these perceptions and asks whether true desensitization occurs among fans of the true crime genre. She reviews cultivation theory and gratification theory on the true crime genre in media while researching the fandom's relationship with the ever-growing rate of desensitization due to media consumption. An eight-minute-long podcast was made along with this research to analyze the genre. Participants shared their perceptions of the genre, experiences in the fandom, and why they held the beliefs they do about true crime. Results found that rather than desensitization, fans of the true crime genre expressed empathy for victims and their families and curiosity about the crime, itself. Participants in the podcast indicated that perceptions of true crime genre fans often are influenced by the behaviors of individuals within the fandom, rather than the group as a whole.
Finally, Kassie Hall, a TA for our program, looks at the way the ABC Family/Freeform show "The Fosters" queers intimacy using notions of queer kinship, sexual intimacy, and emotional vulnerability. Using scholarship from queer studies, she argues that The Fosters gives visibility to and normalizes the lesbian family experience, as well as creating a positive representation of lesbians on television in a landscape of dreary and depressing lesbian representation in popular media.