Wednesday, November 4, 2009

My Orca Will Kick Your Orca's Trash

And by ORCA I do not mean the giant sea mammal also known as a killer whale. So every year here at BYU the Office of Research and Creative Activities offers research grants to undergrads. They are a BIG deal. No matter how you look at it getting one is a win win situation...you get MONEY, it looks AMAZING on a resume, and I get to work with my FAVORITE professor. I applied for one last year while in Vienna and was sorely disappointed when I did not receive it, traurig. Not to worry though, I applied again this year and pretty sure if I do not get it, the reader is smoking crack, and that is against the honor code. Here's a little tasty snippet of this fine piece of writing...I know it may be boring to you but trust me, it's awesome.
Importance of Project
This project will provide an interdisciplinary examination of religious texts for young children written during Germany’s colonial period. By examining the rhetorical and visual devices that conceal a politically charged agenda, this study will attempt to identify the implicit beliefs that shaped the cultural identity of a generation that would grow up to embrace the authoritarianism that fueled two world wars. It will answer the questions of how children’s literature shaped and fostered racial prejudices and it will explore the assumed cultural values that are implicit within a society that had uncritically accepted scientific notions of biological and racial determinism.

and this is the best paragraph...
Main Proposal Body
Numerous forms of media participate in upholding the ideas that shaped cultural and political movements in the colonial era: art, music, religion, literature and political discourses all play a significant role. Within these forms there may be contradictory voices, but we can nonetheless identify trends and prevailing themes that constitute a general cultural consensus that is readily apparent and explicitly stated. By carefully analyzing the various discourses, we can also identify more powerful, but less visible, forces shaping the cultural identity of entire nations—a set of implicit ideas, beliefs or assumptions that are so widespread and so universally accepted, that they inform all discourses in a given culture but are rarely, if ever, stated outright. Thus, all texts (in the broadest sense of the word), even those that seem to comprise a culture’s most politically innocuous genres, have the potential to be complicit in upholding paradigms of imperialist expansion and racial domination. This project proposes to offer one of the first explorations of colonial literature for children under the age of ten, by examining a series of religious picture books entitled Missionbilder mit Versen für Kinder (Images of the Missions with Rhymes for Children) published in Berlin in 1904, at the height of Germany’s colonial period. Coincidentally, 1904 also marked the beginning of the Herrero wars in the colony of German Southwest Africa where the German Colonial troops eventually exterminated over 60,000 African natives. Children’s literature, which fosters cultural norms and shapes a child’s national and racial identity, offers a glimpse into the implicit cultural mindset and pedagogical agenda of a nation on the verge of genocide.

Now I know that some of you are thinking...huh? But this is amazing stuff and so fun to talk with my professor about! Anyways, it consumed my life for a good week and I am pretty sure it was worth it. Look out Shamu...

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Camille, you amaze me. I understood what you were talking about, but never in a million years would have thought about it...so, just saying, you are one smart lady!

k N d said...

i'm so glad someone wants to research that! there is so much power in the way children are educated and i would love to see the results of your brilliant study!!! good luck!

ANNwithanE said...

nice one, smarty pants. shamu better have a "plan B" because your orca is ALL over it...haha! does this mean that you'll be going back to do some studying in germany? can i come? :)

ps - i think i might plagiarize your words for my grad school applications. societal attitudes have such a STRONG impact on child development...you will be my inspiration.