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Open Access Publications from the University of California


Welcome to the Berkeley Undergraduate Journal, a biannual publication dedicated to publishing exemplary undergraduate research in the humanities and social sciences.

Volume 23 Issue 1 2010


Millie-Christine McKoy and the American Freak Show: Race, Gender, and Freedom in the Postbellum Era, 1851 - 1912

Recent historical research has focused on a few popular acts of late nineteenth-century American freak shows, such as the “Siamese Twins” Chang and Eng Bunker, in order to understand how notions of inherent racial and physical difference continued to be institutionalized in the absence of slavery. Although the conjoined twin sisters Millie-Christine McKoy enjoyed a similar level of celebrity and financial success as the Bunker twins, they have not received nearly the same amount of attention from historians. As black women born into slavery, Millie-Christine illuminates different aspects of nineteenth-century culture than Chang and Eng. Her life complicates our understanding of the intersections between race, gender, and the meaning of freedom in the post-Civil War period. In this paper, Millie-Christine’s life is reconstructed through a variety of primary sources, including contemporary circus pamphlets, medical journal studies, newspaper articles, and advertising broadsides, as well as the twins’ autobiography, letters, and will. Although Millie-Christine’s experience confirms some previous analyses of the American freak show, she ultimately departs from the assumptions that freak show performers were passive victims, that women were defined by their children and husbands, and that conjoined twins were physically and metaphorically unable to experience freedom. Millie-Christine McKoy’s unusual body lands her on the freak show’s often exploitative stage, but it also gives her the kind of wealth, success, and agency virtually unknown to black women in postbellum America.

Jantelagen and Multiculturalism: a Dynamic Dual

The purpose of this thesis is to critically examine and uncover the limitations of multiculturalism as a policy of incorporation in Sweden. Although there is much to be gained from the introduction of diverse languages, religions and cultures, incorporation has been inadequate. While the perceptible differences between the host society and immigrants has presented a visual barrier to unity, I posit that the real impasses lie much deeper; that they are deeply correlated to the bureaucratic structure of the welfare state which has prolonged the process of integration, surpassing protectionary efforts and stifling the process altogether. By advocating a shared responsibility on behalf of the state and society to harbor the victims of global conflicts and disasters, the state has constructed a hierarchy between the ‘privileged’ Swedes and the ‘victims.’

The level of segregation in Sweden today is pervasive, penetrating the most fundamental demands of incorporation. Largely a result of a highly ambitious housing project, immigrants are overrepresented in government subsidized housing located in the periphery of major cities. Reflecting some of the most multicultural neighborhoods in the country, these districts have become traps of alienation through their embodiment of all that is perceived to be different and ‘foreign’ from Swedish culture, society and norms. For this reason, multiculturalism has been defined against Swedish society rather than within it, transforming multiculturalism from a policy of accommodation and toleration to a microcosm for Oriental perceptions of how to define the relationship between Swedes and immigrants.

Communication Between Caregivers and the Elderly: Adapting and Expressing Care through Direct and Indirect Methods of Communication in Japanese Elderly Care Facilities

This paper explores the role of communication in Japanese elderly care facilities in an attempt to understand not only what constitutes as communication itself, but also how such communication will influence the growing number of elderly services in Japan, a nation where one out of every four people will be over the age of 65 by the year 2040. Based on three months of interviews and participant-observation fieldwork conducted in three elderly care facilities in Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan, this paper presents a brief ethnographic look at the methods employed by a group of rural caregivers who must compensate for the declining level of care in Japanese facilities, brought on by factors such as an overall lack of staff, low wages, a reliance on overtime, and a trend towards younger caregivers as older, more experienced caregivers slowly transfer to new occupations. Using some of the only methods left to them, this group of rural caregivers uses direct and indirect communication as a way to provide a high level of care despite the growing ‘generational gap’ between caregiver and patient, and the tendency of older Japanese patients to refrain from voluntarily communicating with caregivers. I hope to show how communication between caregivers and patients is undergoing changes that point to innovative and humanistic developments in Japanese attitudes towards elderly care.

Modernity, Photography, and History Painting in Manet’s Execution of Maximilian

In 1967, Paris hosted a grand Exposition Universelle. Exhibited in this fanfare were goods from all over the world, technological marvels, and France’s best artists. The Exposition was a chance for France to prove its cultural hegemony. For, at that moment, it was struggling to prove its status as a global power. Napoleon III had conquered Mexico in 1864, establishing the Austrian Archduke Maximilian as the country’s Emperor. Maximilian was essentially a puppet of the French empire, however, and his disposability quickly became clear as the European occupation weakened at the hands of the Mexican revolutionary Benito Juarez. Napoleon III, realizing the vulnerability of his troops, withdrew and abandoned Maximilian. At the Exposition’s prize giving ceremony, Napoleon III received the news of his empire’s failure. Juarez had captured Maximilian along with two loyal Mexican military generals, and had publically executed them. As the weeks following the event went by, various accounts and photographs of the execution began to trickle into France’s periodicals, feeding the populace’s outraged imagination. Manet’s Execution of Maximilian attempts to perform many of the same functions as these photographs. The canvas is a curious hybrid of the traditional and the modern. Manet’s Execution of Maximilian is essentially a history painting that attempts to carry the journalistic burden of the photograph.