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Fear and Punishment as Catalysts for Identity Formation

2:30-2:45 Willa Reising, "Charles-Henri Sanson: the executioner of Paris"

      I am a second year master student who is original from Portland, Oregon and my area of interest is the French Revolution and criminal reform.
      My presentation for the conference will be on chapter two of my thesis which covers Charles-Henri Sanson the executioner of Paris and his dissatisfaction of his profession because of the Reign of Terror. 

2:50-3:05 Julian Cerminara

      Julian Cerminara is a senior majoring in Classics, History, and Theater, with a minor in Medieval and Renaissance studies at Duquesne University. Having presented in the student poster section at the Pennsylvania Historical Association on his research of Pittsburgh’s Chinatown and as a panelist at the Oral History Association under Dr. Jenifer Taylor for his work in recording oral histories of BLM protestors. He will be continuing his education at Duquesne’s graduate school of History. 
      Within the previous century, Cosmic horror, also known as Lovecraftian horror, formed as a uniquely American genre within a forty-year time frame from 1892 to 1937. The majority of authors working within this genre published stories through the use of pulp magazines, which allowed them more creative freedom than a publishing company would. This allowed for content that at some points greatly pushed societal norms, yet still reach a large reader base. Prolific, celebrated authors of this period, such as Charlotte Gilman and H.P. Lovecraft, pulled from an already unique American literary zeitgeist, Puritan paranoia. The combination of societal anxiety of late 19th and early 20th century America and the Puritan belief of a constant unseen evil cumulated into a genre that is a realization of highly prolific racism, antisemitism and European based xenophobia that ultimately cultivated into a conservative, and sometime anti-futurism horror genre. This unique genre has remained constantly relevant in American media into the 21st century via interpretation of these text into that of television and movies. Through the historic context of literary works, private letters, and recorded lives of authors Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Robert W. Chambers, and H.P. Lovecraft arises a clear understanding of how these works formed around these problematic thoughts. This then befalls the question to modern audiences if retellings of these stories are themselves problematic due to their rooting in the American zeitgeist. Using historic context, the genre of ‘cosmic horror’ reflects a uniquely American literary identity that manifested from a national zeitgeist of racism, antisemitism, and European based xenophobia which was rooted in puritan belief.

3:10-3:25 Stiffin Ndungu

      Second year PhD student focusing on Mau Mau and colonial history in African history wider field.
      In October 1952, a military counterinsurgency was established to deal with the challenges caused by Mau Mau insurgency, a wider project was started the same period to social engineer Kikuyu identity. This colonial pathology was designated to counter the insurgency through presenting alternative solutions to the challenges that informed the Kikuyu detachment from colonial rule. However, to achieve success, the project was premised on carceral institutions, where Kikuyu detainees were given a chance to de-oath, learn new skills that would help them in life, get rehabilitated and earn their reintegration.