April 29 2016 – FRC Student Presentations

On April 29, 2016, the Feminist Research Collective will host research presentations by two PhD students:

Brianni Nelson

You’re Just Being Sensitive: Blurred Lines of Race Humor in New Media

Passively or aggressively, we work, play, debate and laugh on the Internet – as individuals or as parts of communities. While the space has enabled connections between people that may have previously been impossible, it has also created a false belief that we are simultaneously in tune with complex cultural nuances. When this assumption is combined with casual humor, the danger of this pseudo cultural awareness is further complicated. Many popular Internet phenomena employ race and ethnic idiosyncrasies as a comedic selling point – to be liked, shared and mimicked. New media accelerates this process, inviting people to laugh at problematic jokes at rapid rates. Creators and consumers receive free passes to laugh at racial content, while riding a very subjective line of appreciation versus appropriation. What happens when we think we’re in on a joke, but don’t have actual cultural context of the groups at the center of the jokes?

Brianni Nelson is an Art and Technology PhD candidate and Instructor at The University of Texas at Dallas. In 2012, she earned an MA in Emerging Media and Communication. She is a 2012 HASTAC Scholar and 2015 PEO Scholar Nominee. Currently, she explores the relationship between colorblind/post-racial politics and humor in meme culture.

Rebecca Sader

The Repurposing of Literary Forms by Women Writers in Early Modern England

My research focuses on how English women writers used traits of culture and literature, as well as the humanist belief in self-fashioning, to navigate the social barriers to their authorship during the early modern period. The women writers I am studying were part of a rhetorical culture that placed high value on well-established genres and on literary templates, called figures, as well as on persuasive rhetoric I believe it is important for scholars to note that in a culture that demanded their obedience, their chastity, and their silence, women authors studied and adapted conventional literary forms and manipulated genres and subjects considered acceptable for women in an attempt to maximize their chances to contribute to the cultural discourse, the querelle des femmes, regarding the true nature of women.

Rebecca Sader is currently a PhD student at The University of Texas at Dallas. Her current research focuses on women writers’ successful creation of transgressive works while maintaining compliance with cultural restrictions.