Session A: 9AM – 10:30AM

Humanities. Session A – Poster Presentations, Ballroom, Union

Location: Ballroom, A. Ray Olpin University Union

(Un)Manning Alexander: The Reception of Bagoas the Eunuch in Contemporary Narratives of Alexander the Great
Annie Jensen, University of Utah

Faculty Mentor: Mira Green, University of Utah

SESSION A (9:00-10:30AM)

The increased interest in queer theory has prompted academia to re-examine popular narratives in all areas of study; the field of Classics has seen a surge of literature concerning gender, sexuality, and power. Scholarship has focused on the sexuality and gender performance of Alexander the Great, the infamous King of Macedon that expanded from the Northern Balkans to the western borders of India. Literature that supports Alexander’s masculinity being tied to his sexuality often falls into two broad categories: the empowerment of Alexander and his empire due to his personal relationships, or Alexander’s loss of power because of his personal relationships. Within this discourse, one of the figures closest to Alexander in his later years is also the one who has been most overlooked: Bagoas the Younger, his eunuch courtier. My research examines Bagoas and his place in the historiography and popular reception of Alexander the Great. My argument is two-pronged. First, I explore the inclusion and exclusion of Bagoas in historiographical sources to consider ancient authors’ concepts of power, empire, and gender. Then, I examine the popular use of Bagoas in the popular reception of Alexander in plays, novels, and movies as expressions of constructed masculinity in post-war periods of the twentieth century.  Relying on scholarship about sexuality in the ancient Meditteranean world including Foucault, Halperin, and Dover in conjunction with modern queer theorists such as Butler and Sedgwick, I argue that ancient and contemporary accounts of Alexander, Bagoas, and their relationship are affected by the systems of sexuality and gender.


Got Global Identity?
Samantha Denbow, Southern Utah University
Sarah Penner, Southern Utah University

Tanner Shandy, Southern Utah University
Sterling Brown, Southern Utah University

Faculty Mentor: Julie Johnson-Pynn, Southern Utah University

SESSION A (9:00-10:30AM)

We will be looking at different methods of presentation regarding public health messages during the COVID-19 pandemic. Research has shown that the use of information through media formats such as images and text can affect people’s opinions (ÇELİK et al., 2022). Another study showed the importance of consistent, evidence-based public health messaging (Pfattheicher, S. et al., 2020). Participants were exposed to an online survey measuring Global Identity. This online survey collected sociodemographic information from each participant, and then asked them to assess their level of Global Identity. After exposing them to either ten stock photos or ten images of health statistics relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, participants were asked once more to measure their level of Global Identity. The survey was distributed through the official Southern Utah University Portal, researcher’s personal social media accounts, and to General Psychology students through SONA. Our hypothesis is that those who are exposed to images of human faces will report higher Global Identity compared to those who are exposed to images of statistical data. This is expected because human faces are more likely to elicit feelings of connectedness to the global populace. Our study is impactful because it evaluates the efficacy of public health messaging, and suggests a way to present information that will unite the human race in the midst of a pandemic. Results are forthcoming.



Cultural Models of Water in Northern Utah
Jacob Martin, Utah State University
Dorie Pardoneu, Utah State University
Brelle Christensen, Utah State University
Kayla Warren, Utah State University

Faculty Mentor: Francois Dengah, Utah State University

SESSION A (9:00-10:30AM)

Water heritage studies serve as a nexus for research and applied sciences to understand myriad roles that water functions in everyday life. The Water Heritage Anthropological Project evaluates dimensions of water, its infrastructure, and management practices through an interdisciplinary lens. We report on ethnographic work from northern Utah where we conducted semi-structured interviews with three different categories of water users: farmers, water managers, and community members. Our work identifies cultural dimensions of water identity that study participants use to describe their relationship with water. We discuss the social, economic, and environmental implications for communities in the Mountain West.



Spooks and Spanks: Unraveling Paranormal Romance’s Presence on BookTok
Lizzy Bermudez, Utah State University

Faculty Mentor: Joyce Kinkead, Utah State University

SESSION A (9:00-10:30AM)

This research project examines the frequency at which the romance subgenre, paranormal romance, appears on the online social media subcommunity BookTok. The term paranormal romance refers to any title containing a protagonist or associate who is deemed to be unnatural or supernatural in species, ability, presence, or otherwise wherein a romance containing the supernatural character is prominently featured. Collecting data from top BookTok accounts, we found that paranormal romance appeared more often within BookTok creator content. However, surveys from BookTok users asserted that the contemporary romance subgenre dominated their “For You Pages.” Interviews with BookTok creators suggest that BookTok viewers often used major romance genres as catch-all categories, grouping titles that didn’t technically meet set criteria for the sake of efficiency. Overlap among top subgenres is becoming increasingly common due to the rise of self-publishing, which forgoes the traditional publishing process that typical genre determination is associated with. As titles become increasingly harder to categorize appropriately, it seems that readers opt instead to group fiction based on loose overarching, broad categories into definitions that differ from industry standards. By analyzing BookTok and other online reading communities, we uncovered interesting information about the state of the current reader, whose interpretation of book categorization deviates from the industry and is more in tune with the cultural shifts within the reading community. These findings have the potential of offering information to the publishing industry or self-published authors on how they market their books.



Revisualizing Translation: How Multimodality Can Benefit Translations of Latin Poetry
Jay Paine, Utah State University

Faculty Mentor: Frances Titchener, Utah State University

SESSION A (9:00-10:30AM)

Because the grammar of Classical Latin allows for a greater freedom of word order than Modern English, translators confront a problem when adapting lines of Latin poetry containing word pictures, a poetic device that allows writers to create meaning by ordering words in artistic arrangements. This problem begs the question: Is it possible to preserve this striking poetic device and its communicated meanings, and if so, how can translators optimize the device’s effect for a modern English-speaking audience? To answer this question, I turn to the Phaethon passage found at the beginning of Book II of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. In one instance from this section, Ovid describes vicious beasts (i.e., constellations) surrounding the character Phaethon, but Ovid does not communicate this image using traditional syntax. Instead, he arranges the noun and adjective denoting the vicious beasts to surround the adjective and verb referring to Phaethon, creating a word picture. This is possible because Latin uses case endings to indicate how a word is operating in a sentence. However, Modern English has lost its case endings, so it relies on word order for communication, restricting writers to conventional syntax. To explore how translators navigate this issue, I compared three translations of the Phaethon passage to Ovid’s original, and I discovered that the translators Miller and Martin disregarded the word picture entirely, losing its meaning in translation. In contrast, Humphries was careful to communicate the meaning created by the word picture using conventional English syntax, though the effect feels mundane compared to the Latin original. Based on my comparisons, it is clear that translators who utilize written text alone will inevitably fail to preserve the vivid images and effects created by word pictures. Therefore, translators should consider adopting multimodal approaches, which are gaining popularity among literary artists. For example, some poets are pairing their poetry with animated shorts, producing video poetry. Other artists are combining their creative nonfiction with comics to create cartoonish or heroic representations of their lives. After considering the shortcomings of the three translations and the usefulness of visual effects, I hypothesized that incorporating multimodality into the translation process would preserve the intended effects of word pictures in translations targeted toward a modern, English-speaking audience. To test this, I produced a multimodal translation of the Phaethon passage using both my own translation as standard text and concept art, which I will later transform into a short animation or comic. During this process, I discovered that although the poetic device itself cannot be preserved in full, adopting multimodal approaches can help communicate the meanings underlying many of the word pictures while simultaneously preventing translators from having to sacrifice imagery and effects for poetic English.




Underrepresentation of BIPOC Designers in Graphic Design History Textbooks
Alejandra Henriquez Roncal, Utah Tech University

Faculty Mentor: Rachel Ramsay, Utah Tech University

SESSION A (9:00-10:30AM)

Graphic design history textbooks used at an undergraduate level seem to focus mostly on works and movements that originated in Western Europe and the United States of America. Thus, graphic designers of color are significantly underrepresented. This project aims to focus on the underrepresentation of non-European and non-North American designers and especially the lack of presence of Latin American designers. In order to provide a concrete insight on the current graphic design history education, the project analyzes a specific textbook titled Graphic Style: From Victorian to Hipster by Steven Heller and Seymour Chwast, which is used for the graphic design history class taught at Utah Tech University. This textbook includes a total of 773 pictures of which 771 display graphic work by different designers. For the analysis, each one of those images was catalogued with information regarding its date, graphic design movement, author’s name, author’s gender, author’s nationality, and author’s ethnicity. From the data collected this project aims to shed light on the percentage of works that belonged to designers of color, and specifically Latin American designers.



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Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research 2023 - Program Copyright © 2023 by Office of Undergraduate Research is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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