Greg Yellen, The United States and Postwar Challengers: Applying an Interest-Based Prism
This thesis attempts to remedy the paucity of parsimonious scholarship on the logic of conflict and cooperation between the United States and potential challengers to U.S. power in the postwar era. In doing so, it proffers a theory of interest distance, which hypothesizes that the ‘distance’ between the foreign policy interests of the great power and those of a potential challenger determines the accommodative or aggressive nature of the great power's response to the challenger’s relative power rise or transition to an unshared ideology. Concluding that no prior study has offered a sufficient analysis of U.S. responses to potential challengers, the thesis tests interest distance theory in the postwar experience of the United States, examining the role of three variables – relative power, ideology, and interest – in cases of U.S. interaction with four rising powers and two revolutionary states.
Emma Aylor, "The vernacular of light": Wallace Stevens' Constructions of Belief
Wallace Stevens’ poetry is best-known for its exploration of imagination and meditation as part of the search for what he called the supreme fiction. This fiction for Stevens would replace, for the modern age, the myth-remnants of past religions that have become souvenirs. In my thesis, I examine Stevens’ drafts and unpublished manuscripts, as well as his letters, essays, reviews, journal entries, interviews, and body of poetic work, to explore in particular the way this search for a sustaining but temporary fiction incorporates claims for love, art, and comparisons to traditional religious belief.
Nick Martin, The Effect of Masked Performance Techniques on the Perception of Identity
Masked performance offers many unique opportunities and possibilities to actors, and can also help guide audience reaction to theatrical content. The central question of this research is how the application of masked performance to a piece not generally performed in mask will affect the audience perception of identity in the piece, and how it helps actors engage with a challenging text. Attempts on Her Life by Martin Crimp is an unconventional play. It does not specify the number of actors needed for the production, the division of lines, or how many characters there are. Further the 17 scenes which comprise the show are seemingly disjoint, held together only by the recurrence of a woman named Anne. The research has focused on analysis of the text and historical context surrounding the play and playwright to justify and highlight the ways in which the masked performance is a choice that compliments the piece. The research will also include the performance of the play with masks, which has been in the rehearsal process for the past month and when performed will provide audience insight into the results of the process.
Benjamin Lauer, The Winter's Tale: Social Drama, Liminality, and Communitas
I begin with the idea that The Winter’s Tale can be effectively analyzed using Victor Turner’s social drama, an anthropological unit of analysis he uses to refer to moments of upheaval and contention in social groups. There is an inherent liminality to the social drama, since it occupies a space apart from and bracketed by the normal life of the social group, and there is the possibility that liminal actions or rituals might be a significant part of the redressive mechanisms that eventually bring the drama to a close. Liminality is an important quality to The Winter’s Tale too. The liminal spaces of the play’s fourth act are the space that scholars have long cited as being redemptive, and I would argue that these spaces are redemptive because they are liminal, that liminality is key to bringing about the changes necessary to happily resolve the plot and rehabilitate the play’s characters. Based upon my experiences and observations directing The Winter’s Tale for the College of William and Mary Theatre Department’s Second Season, I am also suggesting that there are ways we can translate this analysis, based on the social drama, liminality, and communitas, into performance. There is a redemptive broadening of agency and an opening of society that occurs in The Winter’s Tale that provides a model opposite to Leontes’s authoritarian rule in the first half of the play, and we can extend that broadening and opening to audiences in performances of the play to create theatrically liminal spaces. The result is that the trajectory of the performance mirrors that of the play’s structure.