By Janice Tieperman
In today’s rapidly changing social climate, gender studies have become a prominent topic of discussion.
On March 25, students from various schools in southeast Pennsylvania gathered at Muhlenberg College for the Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges (LVAIC) Gender and Women’s Studies Conference, presenting on a variety of topics.
Among these students were ESU senior English majors Lydia Hess and Ariel Mickey, who delivered presentations pertaining to feminism from both the past and the present.
Hess’s presentation, entitled “Sex Sells the Catholic Church,” discussed Richard Crashaw’s poem “To the Noblest and Best of Ladies, the Countess of Denibigh,” in which Crashaw compares religious pursuits to the sexual desires of the Countess. In her academic exhibition, she demonstrated how the sexual objectification of women has not been a new concept for this decade, as she referenced different lines of the 17th century poem.
On a different cultural note, Mickey’s presentation, entitled “The Dulling of the Blade,” discussed the various female characters in Yana Toboso’s manga series “Black Butler” and its corresponding anime series. After discussing the importance of these characters in the course of Toboso’s manga plotline, Mickey explained how the anime adaptation completely erased and mispresented the best, most important traits of these women.
While LVAIC is composed of Cedar Crest College, DeSales University, Lafayette College, Lehigh University, Moravian College and Muhlenberg College, other universities from the area had students in attendance, including Kutztown University and Albright College.
“The LVAIC was an amazing experience,” reflected Hess. “It gave me the opportunity to hear other’s perspectives and research as well as the chance to better define my own view of feminism.”
Although each student only had 10 to 15 minutes of total presentation time, the various panels allowed for many new conversations to begin on how feminism can be best implemented into society.
“The overall experience was really positive and enlightening,” added Mickey. “It was wonderful to have the opportunity to present in such an open and accepting environment. I loved getting to hear fresh perspectives on a wide variety of topics.”
While the LVAIC conference has come to close, there are more presentation opportunities approaching in the future for ESU students.
Hess, Mickey and many other undergraduate students will be displaying various kinds of innovative research at the upcoming Fifth Annual Student Research and Creative Activity Symposium on Monday, April 10 in the Hoeffner Science and Technology Center.
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