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Undergraduate Leadership & Research Scholar


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Recent Comments

Jul 01, 2023
Replying to Aleena Garrison

1. A challenge that I’ve encountered is defining the word diva. Part of my research is finding toys and products from the 2010s that embody or promote diva-ness. This has allowed me to reexamine what being a diva means, and investigate what “type” of diva has been pushed towards certain generations versus others. Initially, this portion of the project was challenging for me because I was only searching for toys, ads, and other media and products for things that explicitly stated diva. There wasn’t much to go off of, so I had to redefine what diva actually meant. In the 2010s, being a diva was about being sassy and chasing fame, which is a stark difference from the definition in the 90s where being a diva meant owning your individuality, being outspoken, and embracing diversity. Using this, I was able to find more products and media that related to diva-ness, but didn’t explicitly state diva in them. Instead, they had many qualities of being a diva, as their products and ads boasted buzz words like “stardom”, “sassy”, and “fashionista”. This has shaped the larger picture of my research because not only am I getting to relive my childhood by examining girlhood in the 21st century, but I am really exploring the deeper meanings behind the shift in the word and nature of divas, and how that has shaped an entire generation of young women. Being a diva has become something negative when it used to be empowering. 

2. I have found Google Scholar to be particularly useful.

Aleena, I just wanted to say that I love Google scholar as well, it's the best for searching out articles and has nice filters as well. On another note, the challenge of definition is huge and it is so cool that you are trying to go underneath almost to search for deeper meanings and cultural trends. 

Jul 01, 2023

1. Some challenges I have often faced as I look for new sources is in terms of language barriers. In specific, the fact that I can't understand newspaper articles in Serbian or Hungarian, and that I can't track aesthetic developments of music in German or French, makes it more difficult. thankfully many things are translated into english, but sometimes I'll be reading a book in the library and they'll be an article or a letter printed in it I can't even hope to understand.

2. The most useful research resource for me was the MoMA library, which i've visited to find more books about my artist Katalin Ladik, because they have an extensive collection of critical books about contemporary art in particular. They also have many exhibition catalogues from other contemporary art museums, difficult to find anywhere else in the city, that are helpful in getting even more information. 

Jun 15, 2023
Replying to Aleena Garrison

I don’t have any immediate expectations of my research, but I know that my research will be a part of a book. The research gives my faculty member context to add to new and old chapters of her forthcoming book. It also serves as a reference guide for when she ultimately begins to promote the book, so she is more informed about the kinds of things to say about the continued relevance of divas past and present. I am excited that I’ve been able to be a part of the writing process of my faculty member because she lays out exactly how my research will help her.

I can’t believe it’s already been a month. I feel like I’ve gotten a lot done, but also not nearly as much as I thought I would’ve completed. I’m really enjoying my research though. My faculty member lets me continue researching things that I find interesting that are still relevant to her project, even if I was only supposed to work on the research for a week. I really appreciate that my perspective matters even though I am helping with someone else’s project. My research matters because it is about a topic often overlooked in academia. I’ve experienced this first-hand as a lot of my research comes from modern media instead of traditional books and article archives. My research is a part of my faculty member’s larger project of writing a book about her life in relation to divas. It is both personal and informative, I feel that she really captures the spirit of the divas she writes about in relation to an aspect of her life as a woman of color. This will open up a space in academia for something that some wouldn’t consider “scholarly”, but my faculty member aims to show that it is and that it rightfully deserves a spot in academia. The overarching questions that I am researching this summer are about the impact of divas on girlhood and the legacies they leave after their prime. I find this super interesting because I get to learn more about divas and their lives as well as see what they think of their own legacies because some are still alive today.

I think the divide between archives and valuing contemporary experiences/modern media is you talk about really important, because I agree that there definitely is a bias in academia that sees analyzing books/archives as more rigorous. I hope studying modern/nontraditional forms of media will be more accepted by academia as time goes on. 

Jun 15, 2023

1. My expectations for my research are, at least for this month in the first phase of the project, i want an annotated bibliography of my secondary sources on the topic that I can draw on for the future. I also do want to write a short bit about the primary sources and artwork I am working with, and put them in conversation with my secondary sources, not with the goal of creating a full, complete research paper, but just to synthesize my ideas a bit  and connect the dots of what I've been thinking about.

2. I think my work matters in terms of how I'm looking at an area of music research that's understudied, as music research often focuses on a very specific type of music and very specific type of composer that is "qualified" enough to be considered suitable for research. Going outside that, involving music creators that don't quite fit the "standard" bill, that are marginalized due to gender or national origin, is important.

Jun 09, 2023
Replying to Sively de los Santos

1. This week I've been asked to do research related to NYC's infamous stop-and-frisk policy. The policy brings shameful associations with police violence, wrongful incarceration, and racism. I've found myself feeling at a loss because while some of these events have happened in the past and there is nothing I can do to change it, I'm reminded that these misuses of power still occur. 

2. Previously, when doing research on stop-and-frisk, I, like many historians, investigate the relation between stop-and-frisk and race (how stop and frisk was used as a policy to isolate and traumatize black and hispanic communities). But, because the project that I am working on is focused on public health, I am now analyzing stop-and-frisk as a substance-related policy.

I think your second answer is really interesting how a government policy like stop-and-frisk can have several different alternative ways of studying it- be it more public health related or more from a historical viewpoint. Different disciplines can examine the impact of the policy on health and historical development, and come to a fuller understanding of its negative impact.

Jun 09, 2023

1. One ethical issue I have in my research is always a possible issue in Humanities research, but I find especially when studying modern artists, musicians, etc., it is difficult to not overanalyze them and over-assume their intentions because we have so much information about the context they lived in. It is important as a scholar that I don't mix up what I think their work means to me with what they think about it, so I don't misrepresent them. Especially with still-living artists, you don't want to box them in and be aware of your own biases and background. 

2. It's been really interesting at least in the field of music to consider alternative critiques from beyond the Western world of the subjects and concepts that standard Western classical music theory takes for granted. Considering these other thoughts really allows me to realize the complexities of what I am studying, and how it might be more widely relevant. 

Jun 06, 2023
Replying to Aleena Garrison

I enjoy hearing about the range of projects that everyone is working on in this cohort. During the school year, my studies were primarily STEM centered (apart from Lit Hum), and that’s what encouraged me to try something different and take on a humanities based research project this summer. The range of projects that people are taking on this summer inspire my research methods and academic interests. During our discussions, we talked a lot about how to begin research and what methods to take based on if we had humanities or STEM projects, and I found a lot of overlap between the disciplines that I could use in my own research that I hadn’t thought about before. Additionally, the range of projects make me curious to learn more about subjects I hadn’t thought much about before, such as linguistics and the overlap of music, which I found really interesting.

One thing that I have kept in mind is the fact that 6 weeks is not a long time at all. I can’t believe we’re almost 2 full weeks into this program. Time has always been difficult for me to manage, and I definitely felt it this week. I wanted to get so many things done for my research, but I only managed to complete about half of what I originally set out to do. Instead of beating myself up about not finishing everything on time, I remembered what was told to our cohort during our first meetings, which was that research is a process that is different for everyone. Every week will look different from the last, and just because I didn’t complete what I initially set out to do doesn’t mean I will have similar problems next week. Now I know that I have to adjust my goals for the week. 

I really resonated with your second point about how research and structuring research looks different for everyone. This is an important thing to even keep in mind also for my own expectations of myself. I should not always give myself the expectation that what I output will look exactly the same every week. There might also be times where I spend a lot of time on sources, but get less results, so it's important to always step back, appreciate what I have done, set smaller goals, and see research as a process. 

Jun 06, 2023

1. My project is an individual research project, and as I am researching music in its historical/artistic context my research requires me to go into other fields like History/art History in order to make a point— I can't just stay within the one song I'm working on. Talking to other Laidlaw students about how they are using archives, for example, or what they do with their sources has been incredibly helpful, because learning approaches from other disciplines allows me to think outside the box on my topic. I'm also interested in learning from students that have research projects at the complete other end from what I'm working on, in STEM disciplines like Physics or Neuroscience. This is because hearing someone who is passionate about their field talk about their research gives me a different and more engaging side of physics, for example, than I had to learn in high school textbooks, 

2. One discussion that really remains important for me are the discussions the faculty were having at their roundtable about creating a research project, the difficulty of narrowing an issue down, and the way fields and disciplines change over time. As I sift through academic articles, trying to decide which ones are relevant, and seeing how the conversation really depends on the place and date of origin of the articles, it reminds me of what they were saying.