Critical Theory Minor Best Essay Award 2019-2020
Please see below for the announcement from the Critical Theory Director of Undergraduate Studies, Professor Alejandra Uslenghi, on the winner and other submissions for the Critical Theory Minor Best Essay Award for 2019-2020.
Critical Theory Minor: Best Undergraduate Essay Award, 2019-2020, Winner:
Dimitris Gkoulimaris, ‘When I die, throw me into the sea’ Greek rebetiko as a political art form.
- Dimitris writes a beautiful essay on the Greek tradition of rebetiko, a form of popular urban Greek song, which since the 1960s gained particular political connotations, associated with protest and rebellion. As Dimitris deftly analyzes, in present day Greece and its challenging socio political circumstances rebetiko has seen a revival and serves as a prism from which to think forms of political resistance and contestation. Following Jacques Rancière’s characterization of political art form in The Emancipated Spectator, Dimitris writes of rebetiko: “By painting an honest, straightforward image of life on the margins of society, as well as by expressing, implicitly or explicitly, an opposition to the status quo and a disdain for authority, it can provoke a questioning of our rigid moral, social, and political configurations, as well as evoke a sense of solidarity and empathy for the least advantaged and the most deviant members of our society.” Dimitris essay also received an honorable mention for the Sam Weber Prize for Best ALCET (our Paris Program) Paper. Dimitris is graduating this year with a Bachelor in Music and Minors in Critical Theory and Sociology. Congratulations!
Jagoda Rachwal, “Imagining Self-Care: How Science Fiction Allows Space to Explore Caring for the Individual and Collective Self”
- Jagoda insightfully analyzes literary works by Audre Lorde, adrienne maree brown and Amal El-Mohtar to engage the ideas around self-care. She writes: “Taking self-care seriously is revolutionary in a capitalistic society that constantly disembodies those whose labor is exploited. Self-care in marginalized bodies holds many purposes: self-preservation, rest, the establishment and/or reinforcement of boundaries, the strengthening of community, the prioritization of joy and more.” (Jagoda is graduating this year with a major in Learning Sciences and a minor in Critical Theory. Congratulations!)
Rishi Mahesh, “Marriage and Long Term Commitment: Unsustainable Terms of the Human Condition”
- Rishi analyzes the institution of marriage from the perspective of French philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau and his foundational ideas on civil society. He proposes, “It is his reasoning that offers support for the critique of marriage, that it is not just a construction of political society, but is directly antithetical to human nature.” (Rishi is a rising senior majoring in Theatre and minor in Critical Theory)
- Nick analyzes French philosopher jean Paul Sartre’s ideas of dependency and relationality in the construction of human subjectivity. As he writes: “Why then does Sartre later go on to posit that one does not make oneself alone—that one is defined by the objects of the world around oneself? This is the more complex/fun question, and the one this paper truly aims to address: namely the complexity of our subjectivity.” (Nick is a rising junior majoring in Philosophy and with minors in Critical Theory and Chinese)