Internal and External Manifestations of the Model Minority Stereotype on Asian American Students at Trinity University

Student: Ollie Bowen
Faculty: Elaine Wong

This research project will gather and analyze information about the external and internal manifestations of the model minority stereotype on Asian American students at Trinity University and its effects on academic performance and overall well being. Specifically, how does the model minority stereotype affect relationship building with parents and peers? Asian Americans have long been stereotyped under the model minority stereotype, which falsely depicts all Asian Americans as academically skilled, driven, and successful. This label has been shown to have detrimental effects on familial relationships and mental health (Lee et al., 2020). In order to study the model minority stereotype’s effects at Trinity, we will conduct a small focus group study consisting of around 5-6 Asian American students. Following the collection of qualitative data from the focus group, we will analyze the information using grounded theory (Chametzky, 2022; Museus, 2008). The project will further our understanding of the ways the model minority stereotype has influenced the Trinity Asian American community, thus allowing us to better address their struggles and needs. 

“Woke Disney” and “DeathSantis”: A Battle for Cultural Hegemony and LGBTQ Rights

Student: Claire Carpenter
Faculty: Camille Reyes

Beginning in 2022, The Walt Disney Company found itself at odds with Florida Governor Ron Desantis in a battle concerning education, identity, and power amidst the backdrop of the culture wars. With Disney experiencing backlash from employees, shareholders, and the state regarding their behavior surrounding the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” act, we have the opportunity to take a closer look at employee activism, cancel culture, and the current American socio-political landscape. Watching a culture and media giant, such as Disney, struggle in the face of political controversy raises questions surrounding rhetorical expectations in similar situations.  Who sets the standards for acceptable discourse? How do we define cancel culture? What strategies are used to frame these debates? To address these questions, through the lens of the Disney case, Dr. Reyes and I will be conducting textual analyses of press articles, social media posts, public opinion polls, shareholder communications, regulations, and other documents. Our study will provide clarity on many contemporary cultural topics including social justice movements in relation to employee activism and institutional power. 

TU Comunidad in the Archives: The Latinx Experience at Trinity University

Student: Lee Denney
Faculty: Dania Abreu-Torres & Abra Schnur

The main goal of this project is to record oral histories and gather archival information in order to create a digital exhibit about the Latinx community at Trinity University. More granularly, this project seeks to determine how the Latinx community has been involved in the Trinity community and the San Antonio community, as well as how the Latinx community’s involvement has changed throughout history. Week by week, Seb Mora and I will learn how to conduct archival research and refine our inquiries with the University Archivist Abra Schnur, as well as hold oral interviews of TU Latinx alumni with the help of Schnur, Dr. Dania Abreu-Torres, and Dr. Emilio De Antuñano. These three individuals will help us ask the best questions for the interviews given my findings from research. More personally, I will keep a daily journal throughout the course of the project for the results of my work, which will be looked over by Dr. Abreu-Torres.

The Dark Green: Plants, People, Power: the Multispecies Power Chapter

Student: Laura FitzSimon
Faculty: Heather Sullivan

Jeff Vandermeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy brings special attention to the transformations of both the humans and non-humans as they become strange hybrids. Such hybrids are the result of the series’ titular “Area X”. I consider these multi-species transformations as an embodiment of the human/non-human relationship, a way for both parties to better understand the other. My research of Vandermeer’s “weird fiction” contributes to Dr. Sullivan’s environmental humanities and critical plant studies book, The Dark Green: Plants, People, and Power. The book considers portrayals of the power of plants in ecosystems and human cultures. Focus is placed on the study of the plant-human relationships present in German and English language texts. While the book’s chapter on “multi-species power” has a broad focus on fungi-plant collaboration, research on Vandermeer’s transformations will contribute to the discussion of fungi, plant, human, and non-human dynamics.


Catholic Faith, Military History, and Material Culture in South-Central Texas

Student: Jordyn Guzman 
Faculty: Sarah Luginbill

This project analyzes the role of portable objects in Catholic devotion in modern warfare, emphasizing the overlap between faith, combat, and material culture. We investigate how the need for portable devotional items shaped U.S. Catholic identity through research in and around San Antonio, including at the Institute of Texan Cultures, the Archdiocese of San Antonio, Trinity University, the University of the Incarnate Word, the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, St. Mary’s University, and the University of Texas at San Antonio. Despite recent significant publications on U.S. religious identity during World War I and II, as well as new scholarship on military chaplaincy that encompasses multiple faiths, the widespread use of material culture by Catholic military personnel remains absent from scholarly conversations about national religious mobilization in wartime. Our research surveys textual sources from military chaplains, the Catholic organizations, and soldiers to study the movement of portable Mass kits. Alongside the textual record, we examine photographic evidence for Mass kit use in wartime, as well as surviving portable altars and kits. 
This project is part of a larger endeavor that explores the materiality of devotion in the U.S. military, particularly in south Texas, during the 20th century. The research will culminate in scholarly articles and a monograph, which will be the first time most of the textual sources and all the physical objects will appear in print.

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Classroom Censorship in Texas Schools

Student: Harper Horn-Clegg
Faculty: Habiba Noor

In the summer of 2021, the Texas State Legislature passed new laws regulating the teaching of history, current events, and race in public schools. As of 2022, Texas has the highest number of book bans in the country, standardizing a policy for regulating discussion of race in the classroom. This research, based on work conducted by Dr. Noor in 2022, aims to understand how various stakeholders in public education are making sense of this policy. The study will analyze how public narratives around CRT (Critical Race Theory) and gender identity in education have changed the discussion of race and gender in public schools. Qualitative and ethnographic methods will be used to interview teachers, students, and parents in multiethnic suburbs to understand how this state policy is affecting teacher practice and student identity.


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Beyond Parental Rejection: How Does Non-Parental Relatives’ Support Impact the Housing Stability and Safety of LGBTQ Youth?

Student: Ryann Moos
Faculty: Amy Stone

This summer research project will work as a component of Dr. Stone’s larger project, Family Housing and Me (FHAM). It is a multi-site longitudinal study of housing stability of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) youth that is funded by the National Science Foundation. This 14-month mixed methods longitudinal study will be the first study to examine how non-parental relatives’ support pathways of housing stability and safety before youth end up at shelters, on the streets, and in contact with homeless service organizations. The two sites of study are the Inland Empire in California and South Texas. This project approaches these pathways to housing instability through examining the dynamic quality of how non-parental relatives’ (grandparents’ and other relatives’) support shape the housing stability and safety of 83 LGBTQ youth participants through interviews and surveys. Much of the research conducted through this SURF project will draw upon follow-up interviews conducted with the original 41 youth participants from South Texas. Overall, this research will bring to light certain housing experiences that queer youth undergo in regard to their non-parental relatives. 

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

Student: Maya Ozymy
Faculty: Rebecca Densley

In this day and age, media is increasing in its accessibility to and engagement of children and adolescents. Although kids may consume content that is problematic, they also have opportunities to engage with educational media.  This project will seek to analyze educational messages in  media content to better understand children’s math learning. Specifically, we will code  the strategies used in the children’s TV program NumberBlocks to determine if the content will benefit children in their math learning. Dr. Densley, myself, and other researchers working on this project will work to achieve inter-coder reliability, then code  all existing episodes of NumberBlocks, and finally run statistical analyses. This project will set the stage to understand  how the episodes impact kids’ in their early stages of math learning, and the effectiveness of the strategies used within the episodes to teach math concepts. The results of this project will have the ability to provide meaningful recommendations for parents, educators, and future children’s media content creators.

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We Are Family: The Social and Theological Impact of Matthew’s Genealogy (Matt 1:1-17)

Student: Caroline Parish
Student: Kim Bauser-McBrien

The beginning of the Gospel of Matthew claims to present "an account of the genealogy of Jesus" (Matt 1:1, NRSV), beginning with Abraham. The list is largely patriarchal but does, surprisingly, include five women (including Mary). It is also the genealogy of Joseph, despite Jesus’s not being genetically related to him. There are notable similarities between the first four women in the genealogy that might explain their inclusion in this messianic family tree. All of them are non-Israelites, whose unconventional sexual encounters lead to their and their children being adopted into the line of Abraham. When read alongside Jesus’s relation to this genealogy, one could see their inclusion as precedent for Jesus’s own adoption into Joseph’s family line. This research project will explore these aspects of the genealogy and their relation to Matthew’s broader understanding of Jewish identity and the inclusion of Gentiles in early Christian communities. The goal of this project is to be published as an article for Bible Odyssey.  

Visualizing Holocaust Testimony

Student: Kate Schulle
Faculty: Victoria Aarons

With the end of direct survivor testimony, there poses the challenge of transmitting Holocaust testimony through the lens of subsequent generations. While the Shoah may seem like history, there has been a shocking rise in antisemitism and racially and ethnically motivated intolerance since the end of the war 78 years ago. This is why there is a dire need to study contemporary expressions of intolerance and prejudice in the context of the Shoah. Holocaust testimony has now expanded to include a multitude of genres, ranging from memoirs to novels and to graphic narratives. Our project will reflect on the ways in which Holocaust testimony is negotiated through these multi-generational, overlapping voices and perspectives. We will examine the effect of different artistic styles on the representation of Holocaust testimony and the different approaches to the transmission of traumatic memory. We will examine further the ways in which these comics artists, in re-inscribing survivors’ narratives, create a visual testimony to memory by recreating a material landscape of trauma. Together, the diverse voices raise important questions about forms of testimony and witnessing as well as the future of Holocaust representation.

"Always on Tuesdays": The Tuesday Musical Club, Women's Empowerment, and the Establishment of Classical Music Institutions in San Antonio, 1901-41

Student: Corrinne Tallman
Faculty: Carl Leafstedt

One of the most musical cities in the United States for much of the 20th century, San Antonio today remains a largely unstudied city in many aspects of its cultural history.  Indifference to, or uncertainty about, the value of the arts in central Texas has left much of the city’s music history – the rise of its institutions, its important individual figures – no longer remembered.  Our study will investigate the Tuesday Musical Club's role in establishing classical music culture in the early 20th century.  Still active, now in its 122nd year, the Tuesday Musical Club drove the rapid emergence of San Antonio's classical music culture in the years around World War I.  Music, in the hands of its all-female membership, became an important vehicle for civic and personal empowerment.  The Club's historical archives, now preserved at UTSA's Special Collections, will form the basis for our study.

Trouble Brewing: Adolphus Busch's Legal and Political Battles

Student: Sarah Theuret
Faculty: Todd Barnett

The prohibitionist movement in the late 19th to early 20th century portrayed brewing interests as morally and politically corrupt. However, the tactics brewers used to battle prohibition sentiment,  like lawsuits, advertising and lobbying campaigns, were also effectively used by temperance organizations like the Anti-Saloon League. While many studies of prohibition focus on the differences between prohibition and anti-prohibition forces, this project will examine their similarities. It will study lawsuits and political actions launched by prohibitionists in order to deduce to what degree prohibitionist organizations and breweries used the same tactics. Additionally,  while the history of lawsuits over the Budweiser brand between the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Association and Bohemian brewers is well-known, less work has been done to analyze the domestic lawsuits Anheuser-Busch launched to protect Budweiser and its other brands from imitators in the late 1800s and early 1900s. We will use case files, court reports, organizational correspondences, and primary source newspaper articles to ascertain the political and legal culture of the prohibitionist movement in its relation to Anheuser-Busch and Adolphus Busch’s other investments, and to analyze the domestic lawsuits Anheuser-Busch launched to protect its interests in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Tracking the Religious Writings of Harriet Beecher Stowe

Student: Emma Utzinger
Faculty: Claudia Stokes 

Author of the enormously popular anti-slavery novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe is one of the most prominent writers of 19th-century America. Beecher Stowe was also deeply engaged with the religious teachings of protestant America, having published extensively on the topic, both in periodical and book form. These works highlight the religious and interpretative authority that Beecher Stowe and her contemporary women writers had. With this Mellon project, I plan to help Dr. Claudia Stokes collect and edit Beecher Stowe’s religious writings. Harriet Beecher Stowe published in her brother Henry Beecher Stowe’s periodical, Christian Union, and I will be preparing scholarly editions of these essays. Despite being a major part of 19th-century literary culture, many of these works have never been published in a comprehensive edition. I will be doing the important work of transcribing, collating and annotating Stowe’s essays in an attempt to investigate the publication and historical contexts behind these works.