Peyton Barranco (Junior/Senior Winner)
Mental Health Theming in BoJack Horseman
The animated world of BoJack Horseman is a bright, colorful image of Hollywood which is populated by an array of both anthropomorphic animals and humans. Despite the series’ vivid art style and its quick-witted humor, BoJack Horseman investigates themes related to mental health, such as depression, substance abuse, and trauma. It is noteworthy that BoJack Horseman, an adult animated comedy about a depressed anthropomorphic horse, offers an insightful and artistic representation of themes on depression and trauma. BoJack Horseman may be able to provide insight into how sophisticated representations of mental illness in media can impact viewers’ attitudes towards or impressions of mental illness. In this research paper, I investigate how BoJack Horseman makes use of its genre and animated medium to communicate its themes related to mental health. My research suggests that the series’ genre and medium are crucial to its ability to deliver a poignant commentary on mental health issues.
Dylan Greifinger (First Year/Sophomore Winner)
In Statu Naturae: A Case Study of Civil Unrest in Seattle
This paper analyzes civil unrest in Seattle during the summer of 2020 under a Hobbesian framework. Specifically, it seeks to assess whether protestors in the Capitol Hill Organized Protest were living under the state of nature as described in Hobbes’ Leviathan. First the paper looks at what the modern and classical interpretations of the state of nature look like. This section includes commentary from scholars as well as looks into the origins of this theory with an examination of Thucydides’ A History of the Peloponnesian War. This section seeks to display the state of nature as the state of fear. After assessing the components of the state of nature and the consequences of such a state, the paper moves into a look at the state of affairs in the CHOP. Relying on firsthand accounts, the last section analyzes the factors in play in regard to governmental structures and the state of fear. The paper concludes that the state of nature, while referred to as the state of war, does not necessarily require war, rather fear of war to exist. Furthermore, it opines that the CHOP certainly lay nest to a pervasive state of fear and the absence of authority. Because of this, the analysis demonstrates that the state of nature effect was, in fact, present in the CHOP.
Amy S. Millin (Graduate Winner)
THE PUBLIC PARK AS LIMINAL SPACE: A STUDY OF SPONTANEOUS AND INTENTIONAL BEHAVIOR AND THE IMPACT ON COMMUNITY
Public spaces, such as parks, provide a space and time that exists outside of the familiar. They are set apart from the everyday, thus providing opportunity for engagement in activities, exploration of behaviors, and interactions with others. They are temporal spaces – ones that are intentionally entered and left. I posit that parks are liminal spaces which provide opportunities – expected and the unexpected. Felix Rosch states that “it is in these liminal spaces that societal changes are being triggered and new collective identities can emerge” (Rosch 2017, 290). The thesis strives to answer the question “how do we encourage cultural health and equity in a diverse and unequal world through the use of public space?” Furthermore, I begin to explore what this means for surrounding communities. Field documentation in Patterson Park (Baltimore, MD) provides current data to augment academic research. The data will be used to support academic research and conclusions. An historical overview of the intended purpose and actual use of public parks is included. Observing happenchance intersections, or avoidance, of park participants begins to inform and answer questions related to whether public parks fulfill their missions, hints to how they could adapt, and provide information about the impact on communities.