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Cover page of Non-Disclosure Agreements: The Real Impact of Reality Television

Non-Disclosure Agreements: The Real Impact of Reality Television


Reality Television is often regarded as a mirror to society; a feedback loop of media sustained by and produced for its audience. In just two decades, it has transformed the television industry by establishing not only a unique production culture but by also participating in culture production. Through its purported depiction of “reality,” it has been able to serve as a rich site for studying social, political, economic, and cultural trends. Further, where secrecy is a vibrant part of this entertainment sector, the use of Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA) has flourished. While a plethora of works study the television industry, the rising popularity of the genre, and the crucial role NDAs played leading up to the #MeToo movement, there is a lack of academic discourse surrounding a synthesis of Reality Television and NDAs in the present era. My thesis seeks to remedy this gap by analyzing the industry’s harmful labor practices paired with its use of NDAs in an increasingly digital age by conducting a case study of a recent controversy: Season 25 of The Bachelor. I conducted the study by examining critical media scholarship, television footage, interviews, trade publications, social media posts, as well as NDAs and legal sources. I found that the Reality Television industry has dominated the culture industry and has influenced numerous spheres of collective culture in tandem with harmful labor practices being silenced by confidentiality agreements. My thesis concludes that the use of the NDA has codified and perpetuated an ongoing and legalized system of racism not only within the industry but for the consumption and normalization of American audiences.

Cover page of Explorations of Blasianness Through Mixed Race Narratives in Postmodern Literature

Explorations of Blasianness Through Mixed Race Narratives in Postmodern Literature


This study is an exploration of mixed race narratives in postmodern literature, specifically in its iterations of Blasianness. In exploring the literary representation of Blasian individuals, this research does not seek to impose a concrete definition on what it means to exist at the intersection of Blackness and Asianness. Rather, it implores the implications of representing Black/Asian mixedness as it has manifested thus far via literary fiction.

Because of the newness of its presence in the popular imagination, we have yet to form a developed vocabulary for thinking about multiraciality as it pertains to Blasianness; a central goal of this study is to extend us towards remedying that epistemological shortcoming. Adding to the burgeoning field of Critical Mixed Race Studies, this paper dissects the limits and possibilities of Blasian representation by interrogating modernity, racialization, and what critical mixed race studies theorist Michele Elam calls the anti-Bildungsroman—an alternative coming-of-age narrative that positions mixed race characters as periphery to an assimilationary arc. Using the resulting framework alongside the narratives of Lisa Countryman from Don Lee’s Country of Origin and Joey Sands from Jessica Hagedorn’s Dogeaters, I argue that the representation of Blasians in postmodern literature complicates how we imagine racial being in ways that are both limiting and expansive.

Cover page of The Sacred Revolution: The Art of Propaganda in North Korea

The Sacred Revolution: The Art of Propaganda in North Korea


Thirty years have passed since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and while most former and current communist states have integrated themselves into the global economy, North Korea is still largely, and fiercely, resistant to it. It is one of the poorest countries in the world, with millions living without electricity and suffering from malnutrition. It is also one of the most repressive regimes in contemporary times, with hundreds of thousands imprisoned and tortured without probable cause, compelled to perform forced labor in a vast network of concentration camps. Typically, widespread destitution and oppression inspire liberal reforms or democratic revolutions, but neither have happened in North Korea. This raises the question of how the regime has maintained internal control so effectively for so long. One explanation for its survival is the pervasive security apparatus, but mass surveillance and state-sanctioned violence cannot be the exclusive explanations. One of the key ways cultures maintain stability without coercion is religion, which can be defined as a belief system adhered to by a community and supported through behaviors that result in a desired psychological state. This article argues that the ruling-Kim dynasty’s personality cult functions as a state religion that regulates the daily lives of North Koreans and contributes to the regime’s survival. Using Émile Durkheim’s religious framework and Clifford Geertz’s thick description I will examine propaganda works, social institutions, and defector testimonies to understand and explain the efficacy of the myths and rituals of the state.

Cover page of Dead Air: A History of NPR’s Creation & Exclusion of Marginalized Communities

Dead Air: A History of NPR’s Creation & Exclusion of Marginalized Communities


This thesis examines the ways NPR failed to serve marginalized communities by analyzing the history and creation of the National Public Radio network. NPR was created on the founding mission statement that promised to represent the diversity of America and to provide programming that would supplement a lack of representation or opportunities on American airwaves, such as adult education programs. This mission statement was to also uphold the Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) requirement of serving the public interest in order to justify NPR’s programming being on air. However, using the research study, Audience 88, conducted by NPR’s lead Research Analyst, David Giovannoni. NPR’s main audience was revealed to be educated, middle to upper class, older White people. This thesis asks the question, how did a radio network built with a focus on inclusivity fail to capture and serve a diverse audience?

Cover page of Do Women’s Movements Include All Women?: A Social Ontological Evaluation of White Womanhood in the US

Do Women’s Movements Include All Women?: A Social Ontological Evaluation of White Womanhood in the US


Abstract:  White womanhood as a social ontological category has evolved as racial and gender power dynamics have evolved throughout US history. I build on research about White womanhood’s relationship to racism in feminist and antifeminist movements to discuss the use of racism as a strategy to navigate racial and gender power dynamics. I first evaluated Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Catharine Beecher. These women were contemporaries on opposite sides of the suffrage movement. Stanton was a prominent feminist leader in favor of women’s suffrage, and Beecher was a prominent antifeminist leader opposed to women’s suffrage. Both White women utilized segregationist racist statements to make their ideas more receptive to the White men in power over the US government. I then evaluated Betty Friedan and Phyllis Schlafly. Friedan and Schlafly were contemporaries on opposite sides of the second-wave feminist movement. Friedan helped launch the movement, and Schlafly worked to dismantle the movement. Both White women utilized segregationist racism to assert power in the racial epistemology of the seventies. Overall, I identify that all of the White women studied, even being on opposite sides of the movement, utilized segregationist racism to navigate their time period’s racial and gender power dynamics. All of the White women studied recognized they held a distinct position in the gender power dynamics of their time and utilized their Whiteness to overcome their gendered situations. As White womanhood continues to evolve, whether this trend will continue will point to the growth of antiracism or racism within feminist and antifeminist movements.

Cover page of Comfort Women: A Tragedy Posed as a Controversy

Comfort Women: A Tragedy Posed as a Controversy


Comfort women were sex slaves forcibly taken and used by the Japanese imperial army during WW2. These women were often poor and uneducated. These women were taken from many places across Asia, however, I specifically will focus on Korean comfort women. Comfort women were women who were used as sex slaves by the Japanese army. This is where the controversy starts. Japan refuses to state they were sex slaves but rather prostitutes. This is the controversy when engaging in discussion about comfort women. I am studying why it is considered a controversy versus a tragedy. Other works focus on the tragedy of comfort women, why it happened or what allowed it to happen. However, it does not focus on why on an international-scale we allowed people and a whole nation, Japan, to deny that these women were sex slaves. Finding translations, government documents, and first hand testimonies were important in understanding the reason why this tragedy is posed as a controversy. After researching, it was discovered that due to colonization, sexism, language, racism, and the historical circumstances around Korea after the second world war ended is what allowed these women’s lives to be contested. The hope is to broaden the understanding of these women’s experiences and how Japan was not the only offender in failing them and hurting them.