Five English Department students win 2013-2014 Rapoport-King or Bernard Rapoport Scholarships
Mon, October 14, 2013
Sarabeth Flowers, Sarah Lusher, Alyssa O’Connell, Cassandra Shulter, and Cara Shaffer
The Department of English congratulates English undergraduates Sarabeth Flowers, Sarah Lusher, Alyssa O’Connell, and Cassandra Shulter, who have just received 2013-2014 Rapoport-King Scholarships as well as Cara Shaffer, who has just received a Bernard Rapoport Fourth Year LAH Scholarship. Congratulations and special thanks also go to the advisors of the Rapoport-King recipients. These advisors are, respectively, Professor Martin Kevorkian, Professor Mia Carter, Professor Elizabeth Richmond-Garza, and Professor George Christian. Both of these scholarships are given to students in the Liberal Arts Honors Program (LAH) who use the money to complete their thesis work.
Details about the Rapoport-King Scholarship form the LAH website:
“The Rapoport-King Thesis Scholarships honor Audre and Bernard Rapoport and Robert D. King, former Dean of the College of Liberal Arts. Audre and Bernard Rapoport of Waco, Texas have provided an endowment that enables the College of Liberal Arts to provide scholarship and research support for those students who are writing a thesis in one of the Departmental Honors Programs the year they apply.
To be eligible for a Rapoport-King Scholarship, candidates must be enrolled as a Plan I student and must be planning to write a senior thesis in one of the College's departmental honors programs. Fellows will be chosen on basis of academic record, the quality of the thesis proposal, and financial need. As Mr. Rapoport has put it: the candidates should be "smart and deserving." The dean will make final recommendations. Rapoport Fellows are expected to meet on a regular basis with other Rapoport Fellows and their faculty mentors. In addition, faculty members will be provided with a $1,000 research stipend, and it is expected that the student and mentor will work closely together.
Those chosen will be awarded a $2,000 scholarship for the senior year only; it will be awarded in two payments over two consecutive long semesters. If a student graduates after the first semester, the second payment will not apply.”
Sarabeth Flowers (advisor: Professor Martin Kevorkian) is a double major in English and French who is writing a thesis about how belief and mystical transcendence are portrayed in postmodern American fiction. Postmodern Re-Enchantment will analyze the ways in which Don DeLillo's novels conform to postmodern and poststructuralist theories of language and yet allow for recurrent moments of expansive encounter with the divine. Sarabeth will be conducting research in the DeLillo collection at the Harry Ransom Center, which houses over 137 boxes full of DeLillo's notes, typescript drafts, correspondence, research materials, and personal ephemera. After graduation she intends to take a gap year abroad and then pursue a PhD in English Literature.
In "The War Fought Between the Words,” Sarah Lusher (advisor: Professor Mia Carter) closely examines the punctuation, narration strategy, and intertextuality of Virginia Woolf's World War I novels in an effort to address intriguing questions about language, self-expression, and identity during times of war. Does language break down in the face of tragedy? Is the condition of anonymity more harrowing than death? With broken language, opaque characters, and oft uninformed narrators, Woolf's writing highlights the insignificance of death when compared to a life unexpressed and calls attention to the lack of individuality experienced by young soldiers who huddled in trenches and became machine gun fodder on the fields of France. Sarah plans to attend graduate school in August 2015 and complete a PhD in English Literature, with a focus on 19th and 20th Century British Literature. The development of an English Honors thesis provides her with invaluable insight into graduate-style research and writing and gives a first glimpse of that not-too-distant hurdle: the doctoral dissertation.
Alyssa O’Connell (advisor: Elizabeth Richmond-Garza) is writing about J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth Dwarves. During his life, Tolkien compared the Dwarves' language to that of the Jewish community, and his comments have continued to cause controversy due to the anti-Semitic stereotypes also visible within his texts. Alyssa is analyzing how the Dwarves function in Tolkien's books and how to understand fantasy works alongside real-world social issues. Writing this thesis is a fun and challenging way for Alyssa to end her undergraduate career and look to her future studies while researching one of her favorite authors. After she graduates in May, Alyssa hopes to eventually attend graduate school for English or library sciences.
Cassandra Shulter (advisor: George Christian) has always had a variety of unusual interests. Principally, her interest in fiber arts has led her to learn how to knit, crochet, and weave. She was introduced to fiber arts in novels in Professor Christian’s Law, Society, and the Novel in 19th Century Britain. Once she had realized that her multitude of interests actually coincided in a period of literature, her research topic was clear. Other than this class, Cassandra has taken several Victorian era courses and has loved each one. Therefore, it was no surprise that she would choose fiber arts in nineteenth century industrial novels as her topic. She is arguing that the changing connection of people to their handcrafts has altered the interaction of the bourgeois and the proletariat and the role of women in the domestic sphere. These societal alterations are expressed through the emotional and political connections that characters have with their fiber handcrafts and industrial textile machinery. She is focusing on novels by Charlotte Bronte, Geraldine Jewsbury, and Elizabeth Gaskell.
The Bernard Rapoport Fourth Year LAH Scholarship
The Bernard Rapoport Fourth Year LAH Scholarship is awarded to five LAH students each year based on merit and general achievement. In addition to demonstrating strong academic achievements, a dedication to community service, and leadership skills, students must complete a philosophical essay as a part of their application.
The generous funding from the Bernard Rapoport Scholarship will go towards research for Cara Shaffer’s thesis. Her project centers around David Henry Hwang’s innovative play, M. Butterfly. In her thesis, Cara argues that Hwang’s play, when viewed through a Brechtian lens, offers insight into the nature of the current scholarship and the way the play may have broader political and social implications than previously thought. This scholarship will allow Cara to view the only existing copy of the 1988 Broadway production of M. Butterfly, which is located in the Fine Arts Library at Lincoln Center.
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