Literature Students Present Feminist Research in Annual Colloquium
Galloway, N.J. — Three Stockton University students were selected to present their research during the New Jersey Women & Gender Studies Consortium’s 19th Annual Undergraduate Colloquium on March 31 at Georgian Court University.
Elizabeth Myers, Victoria Orlowski and Allison Truax were asked to present the research that they did while in their courses "Senior Seminar in Literature" and "Native American Indian Literature."
“Though the subjects of their papers were quite different, each of the students I nominated wrote a paper that demonstrated exemplary research skills — an essential aspect of work presented at the NJWGSC undergraduate research colloquium — and insightful literary analysis that incorporated an intersectional feminist lens,” Gussman said of the cohort.
Senior and BOT Student Fellow Myers presented her research titled “Queerbait or Postcolonial Critique?: An Analysis of ‘Queerness’ in Louise Erdrich’s ‘The Night Watchman’.” The paper focused on gender and sexuality within the Ojibwe Indigenous culture.
“My paper discusses the role of same-sex attraction and deviation from what many consider ‘traditional’ femininity in ‘The Night Watchman’ ,” the Literature major from Hammonton said. “My analysis deconstructs readers' notions of what it means to be queer in Ojibwe culture, ultimately identifying the term as a colonial construct.”
“Though the subjects of their papers were quite different, each of the students I nominated wrote a paper that demonstrated exemplary research skills... and insightful literary analysis that incorporated an intersectional feminist lens."
Myers seeks to use her analysis as a way to “prompt the audience at the colloquium to challenge what preconceptions they may have on what it means to be considered ‘queer’ and give them greater insight into gender and sexuality in pre- and post-colonial Ojibwe culture.”
Junior Literature major Orlowski’s research focused on the different relationship dynamics in Indigenous culture and “how Indigenous relationships subvert Western expectations of what family and community means.”
The Somers Point native hoped her presentation — specifically highlighting the traditions of the Metis and Chippewa tribes — would demonstrate the importance of community and relationship building. The paper was titled “Family Time: An Analysis of the Power of Community Dynamics in Healing from Trauma in ‘The Night Watchman’ and ‘The Marrow Thieves’.”
“American culture is very individualistic,” Orlowski said. “This paper challenges individualism by looking at how integral family and community are to a person's well-being, specifically healing from trauma, through Indigenous cultures.”
Although Orlowski was unable to attend the colloquium, her research was still honored with one of three second-place prizes overall and across all member/participating campuses in absentia.
When explaining the significance of students representing Stockton at this colloquium, Gussman provided two reasons.
“First, the students have an opportunity to share their research and engage in dialogues with feminist student and faculty scholars across the state, broadening both their knowledge and their networks,” Gussman shared. “Second, the audience gets a chance to see some of the innovative and important work being done by Stockton students.”
– Story by Loukaia Taylor
– Photos submitted by Betsy Erbaugh and Deborah Gussman