Activism and The Impact of Christian Spirituality on Identity of Black Athletes

Azariah Anderson (Trinity '25) and Dr. Brandon Crooms

From the horrible history of the objectification and killing of black bodies to the systemic racism throughout America’s past, the year 2020 shockingly revealed that the remnants of this dangerous ideology still bear weight in our society. Americans, including Black Athletes, have demanded justice despite the rising rhetoric and resistance from white nationalists, in addition to the distinct influential position and urge of being social activists to the “new reality of one of the world’s worst pandemics in 100 years” (Graupensperger et al., 2020). The challenges of intersectionality for Black Athletes from the mental health aspect are significant. Historically, religious faith has had a potent influence on African Americans’ identity development (Harrison et al., 2011; Dancy, 2010). The data for this project originates from a recorded interview panel of two international professional basketball players discussing their spiritual journey and societal tensions in the U.S in 2020. Through both female and male Christian viewpoints, the professional athletes gave insight into the intersections of race, sport, and religious faith. Additionally, the athletes articulated their perception of blackness from an international perspective. By researching the relationship of racial identity and Christian identity of Black American professional athletes, an understanding of the complexity of the identity of Black American athletes. Results of this study could reveal the social demeanors and motivational facets towards the engagement of activism as an athlete.

photo of student Azariah Anderson giving a presentation

Understanding the Covenant Chain: Settler-Haudenosaunee Diplomacy in Seventeenth-Century New York

Maeve Armand (Trinity '23) and Dr. Erin Kramer

The word covenant is typically used in religious and political contexts to demonstrate a union between two or more previously separated groups. Covenant is also how the Haudenosaunee often referred to the alliance between themselves and the Dutch during the early period of colonization. This ancient covenant or kaswentha was arranged by the original Dutch settlers and people of the Haudenosaunee nations. The town of Albany was dependent on the covenant agreement, due to the highly impactful trading relationship that sprung forth from this union. This covenant was often renewed by both groups, which allowed for the relationship to continue being successful even after the English conquered the territory in 1664. Descendants of the original Dutch covenant builders were able to remain in their important positions in Albany due to their usefulness to English power in the region. However, the European settlers and the Haudenosaunee did not always agree on what it meant to uphold and preserve the covenant, as well as the expectations or obligations held between themselves. In this project, we will be using our spreadsheet of relevant data regarding the kaswentha, which was built from our reading of a document set of court records and the council meetings between the Dutch settlers and the Haudenosaunee nations. Our research will contribute to a larger book project about the kaswentha and the town of Albany, as well as a paper describing the significance of the covenant during colonization.

Ever Whitlock (Trinity '24) and Dr. Erin Kramer

The lifestyles and practices of the Haudenosaunee, or Iroquois, people are still a topic of interest for most historians. There is still so much that is left to discover and learn about. This is the starting point for our summer research project. I plan to delve deeper into Haudenosaunee diplomacy practices and the role that women played in them. Working with Dr. Kramer, we will focus on the documents that refer to women’s participation in diplomatic events and the impact that their participation had on both settlers and Indigenous women. We will utilize both written documents and oral histories to determine the effect that gender had in diplomatic settings.

photo of Maeve Armand, Dr. Erin Kramer and Ever Whitlock

Media Parenting Contexts: An In-Depth Analysis of Factors Influencing U.S. Parents’ Engagement in Parental Mediation

Jocelyn Brooks (Trinity '23) and Dr. Rebecca Densley

As current media conditions have made content increasingly accessible and sophisticated, children and adolescents are engaging in media more than ever. In response, some parents have begun implementing various mediation strategies in order to increase the positive and decrease the negative media effects on kids. However, it is unknown why some parents choose to engage in parental mediation and some do not, and why certain mediation strategies are practiced over others. To address this, our study will strive to determine which factors predict different parental mediation strategies in multiple media types with children of all ages in the United States. Dr. Densley and I will conduct an online survey collecting data measuring parents’ attitudes surrounding media content and mediation as well as their own mediation habits and strategies. By collecting additional information about the children, such as their media usage, demographics, and temperament, our study will provide a comprehensive profile of the key predictors of parental mediation in the United States.

photo of  Jocelyn Brooks giving a presentation

The Bard in the Borderlands: An Anthology of Shakespeare Appropriations en la Frontera, Volume 2

Eva Buergler (Trinity '23) and Dr. Kathryn Santos

Shakespeare has become a site of adaptation and appropriation for different communities and identities over time. Our research will contribute to the second volume of an open-access anthology entitled The Bard in the Borderlands: An Anthology of Shakespeare Appropriations en la Frontera, which Dr. Santos is co-editing with Drs. Katherine Gillen and Adrianna M. Santos at Texas A&M University–San Antonio. The anthology, which will be published by ACMRS Press at Arizona State University, will include twelve plays that repurpose Shakespeare to reflect the histories of the U.S.–Mexico Borderlands and meet the needs of their communities, telling stories of and for La Frontera. The final published work will make these otherwise inaccessible plays available to teachers, scholars, and artists, thereby enabling culturally and regionally relevant teaching, research, and performance. During the fellowship period, we will prepare a critical edition of Chicano playwright José Cruz González’s Invierno, a multilingual reimagining of The Winter’s Tale set in nineteenth-century California under Mexican rule and in the present. We will format and edit the text, annotate for historical and cultural references, create a glossary and endnotes with translations, research performance histories, interview the playwright, draft the introduction, and develop teaching resources.

Paloma Diaz- Minshew (Trinity '23) and Dr. Katherine Santos

Our research will contribute to the second volume of an anthology entitled The Bard in the Borderlands: An Anthology of Shakespeare Appropriations en la Frontera, which Dr. Santos is co-editing with Drs. Katherine Gillen and Adrianna M. Santos at Texas A&M University–San Antonio. The anthology, which will be published as an open-access book by ACMRS Press at Arizona State University, will include twelve previously unpublished plays that repurpose Shakespeare's texts to reflect the multilayered histories of the U.S.–Mexico Borderlands and to meet the needs of their communities, creating space to tell stories of and for La Frontera. The final published work will make these otherwise inaccessible plays available to teachers, scholars, and artists, thereby enabling culturally and regionally relevant teaching, research, and performance. During the fellowship period, we will prepare a critical edition of Mexican American playwright Bernardo Mazón Daher's Measure por medida, a bilingual "tradaptation" of Measure for Measure set and staged in San Diego, CA. We will format and edit the text, generate annotations for historical and cultural references, create a glossary and endnotes with translations, research the performance history, interview the playwright, draft the introduction, and develop teaching resources.

photo of Eva Buergler giving a presentation



Photo of Paloma Diaz-Minshew giving a presentation

Latina Poets Laureate: Sharing Experiences

Kimberly Granados (Trinity '24) and Dr. Norma Elia Cantú

The Latina stands at the crossroads of many fragmented identities. A recent rise in recognition for Latina writers has broken barriers and provided a substantial shift towards cross-cultural representation within literature. With a rich history concentrated in Texas, conversations with Latina writers will illuminate local patterns of literary thought that bridge a connection to the global Latinx community. To further examine the cultural and sociopolitical contexts that have been embedded in the work of these poets, for this proposed research, interviews will be conducted with five Latinas who have served as poet laureates in Texas either at the state or local level: Emmy Perez, Rosa Maria De Llano, Rosemary Catacalos, Carmen Tafolla, and Laurie Ann Guerrero. Through detailing the experiences and writing processes of these poets, this study seeks to provide a cultural context for the writings of Latina poets. The interviews will be the foundation for an analysis of the complex intersectionality between cultural expression - and rejection - and its effects on writing. Based on the growing Latinx demographic, research on the forms in which culture is disseminated through literature will provide valuable insights into the intimate and systemic workings of Latinx cultural identity, especially as experienced by these poets.


Instability in Climate Change Narratives

Harrison Hartman (Trinity '24) and Dr. Gregory Hazleton

Research will explore how late 20th and early 21st century authors employ narrative to explain and contend with the threat of climate change. Understanding how this threat extends beyond the question of a livable planet to challenge frameworks of hegemony that have structured the relationships amongst beings; both humans and non-humans, will be essential to this work as it is to many authors. Ecological findings have furthered the realization that human’s existence on the planet is entangled with the existence of other beings and contingent on balanced earth systems. As our conception of the planet shifts, our understanding of the world we have built on it and our place in it must shift also. In response, authors are crafting new narratives to explain humanity’s relationship to the earth at this moment in time. I aim to explain how authors are incorporating two competing truths, one past and one forthcoming, into their telling of stories; the truth that nature is inert and unchanging and the truth that nature is agential and responsive. Understanding these narratives is important, now in particular, as we are challenged to act according to a new truth in a human world structured around an old one.

photo of  Harrison Hartman giving a presentation

“You’re a bit taller than I thought you would be”: Exploring online daters’ partner expectations and impressions before and after meeting offline

Audrey Herrera (Trinity '23) and Dr. Erin Sumner

This summer research fellowship will be part of Dr. Sumner’s larger project about online daters’ perceptions following their first in-person date with a partner. It will draw from expectancy violations theory (EVT) and the modality switching perspective. Most research regarding online dating and modality switching has been quantitative, motivating our use of a more qualitative and humanistic approach to the subject. More specifically, past research has asked participants to rate their partner expectations prior to meeting in-person, and partner impressions after meeting, using a series of likert-type scales. There remains more to be understood regarding how online daters might describe their partner expectations and impressions when given the opportunity to use their own words. This SURF will employ qualitative thematic analysis to explore open-ended survey question responses regarding what types of physical and social expectations online daters form when using an online dating platform, as well as whether and how these expectations were confirmed or violated upon meeting in person for the first time.

Photo of Audrey Herrera giving a presentation

Economic Situations and Support for Authoritarian Values: The Evidence from Fourteen Asian Societies

Andrew Jett (Trinity '23) and Dr. Yen-Hsin Chen

People’s authoritarian values might vary across different types of societies. That is, some people in democratic countries might hold high levels of authoritarian values, while some people in authoritarian countries might hold low levels of authoritarian values. What factors contribute to this variance? Is social-economic condition a driving force that leads individuals toward democratic values, or is it a source of popular support for authoritarian values instead? This project aims to offer explanations to this phenomenon by taking individual’s social and economic conditions into account regarding what factors shape individual liberal-authoritarian attitudes in different types of societies. In this project, we will analyze these factors using information from the Asian Barometer Survey Wave IV and world economic databases (such as the World Bank and the World Trade Organization) in order to conduct an individual-level analysis. This project will provide an important investigation into the causes and ideals of democratic and authoritarian governments. For example, US foreign policy in East Asia focuses on building relations with individual states, compared to the region-wide development of the European Union. This strategy may not prepare the US to meet its foreign policy challenges in East Asia, namely attempting to create a community of democracies.

photo of Andrew Jett and Dr Yen-Hsin Chen standing next to each other

CUREing the Museum of the Bible

Vex (Charis) Maxwell (Trinity '24) and Dr. Chad Spigel

The Museum of the Bible (MOTB) states that its aim is to provide an unbiased account of the history of the Bible and its impact on modern culture. When evaluating and critiquing the MOTB, scholars have focused on the museum itself. The website, however, has been largely ignored, despite its importance as the museum’s primary method of communication during the pandemic. Our research aims to investigate and evaluate the MOTB’s website, using the methods employed by previous scholars who have studied the museum itself. We also aim to determine whether the website fulfills the museum’s mission or presents the evangelical interpretation of the Bible as the “real” Bible. Furthermore, we will create a Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) in an Omeka website so this research can continue in the Hebrew Bible course. My responsibilities in this project include researching the website and the museum by reading academic and non-academic articles, closely examining the website and its presentation of the Hebrew Bible, working with Professor Spigel to develop the CURE, evaluating the website’s presentation of the New Testament, and writing a sample article for the CURE that focuses on the website’s presentation of the New Testament.

photo of  Vex Maxwell giving a presentation

Muslims and the Politics of Post-Truth

Kenneth Nelson (Trinity '23) and Dr. Peter O'Brien

Many characterize today as the “post-truth era” because of rampant “fake news.” Through coordinated Internet campaigns, purveyors of “Islamophobia” argue that Islam threatens the West, while purveyors of “Europhobia” assert the reverse. This project argues that Islamophobes’ and Europhobes’ demonizing rhetorical strategies mirror each other. For example, where Islamophobes argue the Hijab oppresses women, Europhobes argue Western societies’ hypersexualization oppresses women. To examine this hypothesis, I will conduct three tasks. First, I will conduct a literature review with respect to scholars who seek to combat Islamophobia through persuading its purveyors that they are incorrect. Although Islamophobes will likely ignore persuasive appeals, understanding why will demonstrate the pervasive impact of fake news on Islamophobic and Europhobic attitudes. Second, I will analyze a rich, textual database of Islamophobia and Europhobia from Spanish, French, German, Turkish and Urdu media. This analysis will include trend analysis and graphical representation of the media to assess similarities between Islamophobic and Europhobic discourse. Finally, I will construct and administer a survey to German youth who reject Islamophobic and Europhobic tropes. The survey will discuss their attitudes about Muslims and non-Muslims, revealing strategies that can be used to resist these distorted portrayals.

photo of Kenneth Nelson giving a presentation

From Archives to the Stage: Exploring the Impact of a Fifty Year-Old Professional Regional Theatre

Scarlett Patino (Trinity '22) and Dr. Nathan Stith

The primary purpose of this summer research project is to gather archival data and practical experience that will lead to a more well-rounded understanding of the role of regional theater plays within a community. I will be working at Oldcastle Theatre Company in Bennington, Vermont to label, organize, and chronologically arrange 50 years of production records that will serve as a resource for Dr. Stith’s upcoming book project. By consolidating these archives, we will be able to tell a sequential story of Oldcastle’s past and the economic and cultural impact it has had on the town of Bennington. Additionally, I will be working with Dr Stith as an assistant stage manager for two of Oldcastle’s upcoming productions, Souvenir and Fully Committed. This aspect of the project will permit me to shadow a professional production stage manager and subsequently learn the skills necessary to operate in the realm of regional theater.

photo of Scarlett Patino surrounded by research material

The Art and Science of Writing Literary Commentaries

William Turner (Trinity '23) and Dr. Erwin Cook

This project would have me working alongside Dr. Cook to complete his commentary on Homer’s "Iliad." This is a professional-level commentary that has been in progress for some time now and will be published in 2023 in Italian. My contribution to this commentary will largely focus on researching and analyzing Homeric similes. I will be studying these similes in Greek to try to find the best methods of construing both their meaning and significance within the text as well as their literary and cultural intertext. Further, I will be looking for intratextual patterns among the similes, such as shared imagery in the vehicles, differing implications between shared imagery, and the sometimes widely different effects they achieve. I would also be looking for supporting scholarship to enrich my interpretations and the commentary as a whole.

photo of  William Turner giving a presentation

The Portrayal of Mothers in Ovid's Metamorphoses

Savannah Wahlgren (Trinity '23) and Dr. Tim O'Sullivan

This project examines Ovid’s portrayal of motherhood in his epic poem, the Metamorphoses. The poem is a collection of numerous myths and legends, connected by the theme of metamorphosis of the body. Stories of motherhood comprise a large portion of the poem, resulting in both moving and disturbing depictions of women’s suffering. From exploring the social consequences of pregnancy out of wedlock to the all-consuming grief felt by mothers at the loss of a child, Ovid transports his audience, mostly elite men, to places that would have only been known by women, through stories about a metamorphosis only experienced by women. Scholarship on the Metamorphoses has only recently started to examine Ovid’s portrayal of women, and though this scholarship has touched on his portrayal of motherhood, there is surprisingly little work on this topic. Our project this summer will aim to fill this gap by collecting and analyzing the portrayal of motherhood in this epic, particularly in light of contemporary Augustan social reforms that aimed to promote childbirth. This research will inform Dr. O’Sullivan’s book project on metaphors of change in the Augustan era and Savannah Wahlgren’s honors thesis on the depiction of motherhood in Ovid’s poetry more broadly.

photo of Savannah Wahlgren giving a presentation

Re-imagining Auschwitz in Graphic Narratives

Madeleine West (Trinity '23) and Dr. Victoria Aarons

Auschwitz was the largest and most complex of the concentration camps during the Holocaust and came to embody the Nazi genocide. In memory, Auschwitz has come to represent the traumatic imprint of the Holocaust for generations extending beyond the experience and testimony of direct witnesses. Representation of Auschwitz is important considering that we are in a time that is witnessing the end of direct survivor testimony. The following research project will look at the representation of Auschwitz in graphic novels and contribute a chapter to the Routledge Handbook of Auschwitz-Birkenau, a collection of essays designed to contribute to shared understandings of the role of Auschwitz-Birkenau in the implementation of genocide and the continuing legacy of the Holocaust. The chapters collected in this book bring together scholars from a range of disciplinary perspectives to examine Auschwitz as both a site and a symbol of Nazi genocide. Our research will take into account the narratives of unrepresented victims at Auschwitz and will explore depictions of Auschwitz-Birkenau as they are shaped by the intersections of text and image. We will investigate the ways in which Auschwitz is embodied in the collective imagination as a site of testimony, memory, and trauma.

photo of Madeleine West giving a presentation

Scholarly Edition of the Religious Writings of Harriet Beecher Stowe

Dean Zach (Trinity '24) and Dr. Claudia Stokes

Despite her massive popularity and influence in 19th century America, the author Harriet Beecher Stowe has never before received a comprehensive scholarly edition. In early 2021, it was announced that Oxford University Press would publish The Collected Works of Harriet Beecher Stowe, a planned 33-volume collection of all of Stowe’s works. Although she is primarily known today for her massively influential anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Stowe was also known to her contemporaries for religious writings like Woman in Sacred History, an 1874 book that highlights the lives of notable Biblical women and argues for their significance in the narrative of the Bible. In this project, I assist Dr. Claudia Stokes in the creation of a final reading text for the scholarly edition of Woman in Sacred History, complete with an introduction and annotations. First, I research the history of the book’s publication, including its shape-shifting over time in different editions and its reception among audiences. Then, I help with the transcription of Woman in Sacred History by finding and resolving textual differences between editions using software. The ultimate result will be two complete Dr. Stokes-edited volumes of Stowe’s religious writings which will correct this oversight in the scholarship.

photo of Dean Zach giving a presentation

2022 Mellon Summer Institute


Transgender and Non-Binary Experiences During the Pandemic

Samuel Cutter Canada (Trinity '24), Gwen McCrary (Trinity '23), Megan McGuire (Trinity '23), Lauren Stevens (Trinity '24), Dr. Althea Delwiche, Ms. Alexandra Gallin-Parisi, and Dr. Amy Stone

During the shelter-in-place of 2020 and 2021, there is anecdotal evidence that an unusual number of adults and youth in the United States began to identify with and come out as non-binary or transgender. This project takes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding whether this happened as a phenomenon and what are the aspects of shelter-in-place culture that support non-binary and transgender identification. We are interested in the participatory culture and distributed support networks that helped (or hindered) people who were figuring out their gender identity during the pandemic, along with the general conditions of pandemic life. We will approach this question through quantitative methods (e.g. quantitative content analysis, social network analysis) to describe how these participatory networks are shaped online and qualitative methods (e.g. virtual ethnography, depth interviews) to learn more about the meanings that people are developing based on interaction with these communities. We hope to approach this question about non-binary and transgender identification with multiple disciplinary approaches. This research is significant because we know little about the ways that dramatic, sudden changes in the social world alter the dynamics of identity development and expression.

photo of multiple students presenting at the 2022 Mellon Summer Institute