Directed Research in Sociology and Anthropology

Sociology and Anthropology at Warren Wilson College is a thesis track program.  Each senior must design and complete a research project and present their thesis.  Past topics include Creating Identity in a Digital Age: The Facebook Addiction, Zooarchaeology: The Language of Faunal Remains, Persistence in Beliefs, Modifications in Behavior: The Effects of War and Separation on Southern Sudanese Culture, and Voiceless Women Speak: Structural Oppression and Crime in the Lives of Female Inmates, among many others.  To view the full text of a thesis click on its title from the selection below.


2013

“If A Man Has No Boots, How Can He Pull Himself Up By His Own Bootstraps?”: Discourse, the Other, and Living Under the Homeless Label

by Shaina Castonguay
Anthropology/Sociology

This research examines the ways in which homelessness is constructed as a discourse, a particular set of ideas that shape the way we have of thinking about the topic, through exploring how individuals who have experienced unstable housing interpret both their housing situations, as well as being categorized under the label of homeless. This research explores how power structures are inherent within the dominant discourse on housing, and what that means for individuals who find themselves caught within it. Some participants in this study acutely described being discriminated against, and being treated as something other or less than human, while all participants expressed concern about safety, comfort, and control over their own lives. The emergent theme was that the discourse surrounding homelessness is self-fulfilling, in that the devaluation of the homeless status allows for individuals to be treated as less than full citizens, making both every day life and the process of getting back into housing more difficult. This research also suggests that there is an alternative discourse, in which those who don't have housing are seen first and foremost as people, and in which the very premise on which homelessness is devalued is put into question.

“Are You With the Band?:” Gender Construction and Feminist Action Within DIY Punk Communities

by Brian Hausman
Anthropology/Sociology

This research explores the ways in which gender is constructed and contested within DIY (do-it-yourself) punk communities.  Despite the efforts of feminists within the subculture, women and other gender and sexual minorities still experience unequal status.  This research examines how gender roles within the subculture are actively contested through a number of media influenced by the do-it-yourself ethic.  Self-publication of music, zines, and the creation of feminist collective groups that address gender inequality are methods used by people looking to challenge the patriarchal norms of punk communities.

Ancient Animals: Exploring the Significance of Mississippian Effigies in the Southeast

by Nathaniel P. Horne
Anthropology/Sociology

In the field of archaeology, effigies are clay or stone artifacts that portray animals or people.  Effigies are important to study because they are categorized in a group of artifacts that are known to provide insight into the cultures that created them.    My objective with this research is to compare effigies from two Southeastern prehistoric archaeological sites, the Berry Site and the Warren Wilson Site.  Using stylistic and comparative analysis, I have designed a study that uses a research design based on an original instrument of classification to record the similarities and differences between effigy pieces found at the Warren Wilson site and the Berry site, and that addresses any cultural significance that may be reflected in the artifacts. 
There is a significant difference in the effigies from the two sites.  The Warren Wilson Site effigies are a combination of zoomorphic animal head appendages, partial figurines and fragments, while the Berry site has far fewer clearly zoomorphic effigies.  The Southeastern Ceremonial Complex puts the Appalachian Summit and Western Foothills regions on a similar cultural plane for the Mississippian period, therefore one possible difference in the effigies is an issue of the artifacts provenience in relation to what units were excavated.

Pink Camo: Gender Construction and Interpretation in American Gun Culture

by Colleen Monahan
Anthropology/Sociology

This thesis explores the gender dynamics within American gun culture and how hegemonic gender norms can be reinforced, subverted or reappropriated within this subculture. Typically guns have been tied to the masculine through such mythologies as the “citizen soldier” and the cowboy (Kohn, 2004). However, this paper shows how women have negotiated these historical and cultural symbols and sought to create the new identity of the female shooter. Through qualitative research, using interviews, participant observation, and content analysis, I have sought to illuminate the ways in which gender norms are created and contested by American shooters and representations of these shooters. I discovered that shooting can be a form of empowerment for women, yet there are ways in which female shooters can be reinforced in their marginal status.

Surviving the Fire: A Case Study of Firefighter Identity at the Swannanoa Fire Department

by Brendan J.M. Nancarrow
Anthropology/Sociology

This research adds to the discussion of fire fighters identity in—and perceptions of—the fire service by suggesting that there is an ongoing shift  in the occupation away from the masculine discourses that defined the homosocial nature of the profession towards an emphasis on professionalism and inclusion. This case study examines how policy, administrative action, firefighter interaction, and beliefs about what it is to be a firefighter have all contributed to this shift at the Swannanoa Volunteer Fire Station.

Bronies – Brave, Tolerant, and True to Themselves: Interpretations of Masculinity by Male Fans of My Little Pony Friendship is Magic

By Leah Palmer
Anthropology/Sociology

This paper explores contemporary understandings of masculinity as interpreted and mediated by adult male fans of a traditionally female TV show, My Li ttle Pony Friendship is Magic. Ideas regarding gen der have been shifting over the past several years , allowing more liberal interpretations to surface and begin to take root. Our ideas of what it mean s to be masculine are bypassing the traditional va lues of physical strength, a penchant for violence , lack of emotion and hypersexualization, expandin g to include a variety of models featuring myriad attributes, some of which may once have been consi dered ‘feminine’ (Connell 1995; Kimmel 2008; Ander son 2011). As demonstrated by the young adult fans of My Little Pony Friendship is Magic (bronies) i nterviewed for this research, expressions of masculinity and femininity are no longer so rigidly bou nd to one’s sex. The overall meanings of masculini ty and femininity are losing clout as the defining markers of one’s gender, becoming instead ways to express one’s specific identity as the characteri stics are mixed together as markers of adulthood.

“I Don’t Just Want You to Hear Me, I Want You to Listen”: An Examination and Analysis of The Act of Storytelling as an Avenue for Personal Empowerment

by Abby Wallace
Anthropology/Sociology

In 1998, Michel Foucault stated, “Discourse transmits and produces power; it reinforces it, but also undermines and exposes it, renders it fragile and makes it possible to thwart.” This research examines the act of storytelling within various arenas, and the ways in which it can function as a form of expression in which the individual sharing the story gains a sense of personal empowerment after sharing an experience of conflict and/or a feeling of powerlessness with others. Using Erving Goffman’s theory of symmetrical and asymmetrical relationships, I examine the impact of physical space and context of which stories are shared, as well as the roles and relationship between the storyteller and the listener/audience. This study also looks into how sharing personal narratives can both create as well as strengthen relationships between the storyteller and the listener/audience in regard to community and support networks. Through the use of qualitative research methods I examine varying definitions of power and empowerment as defined by the individuals interviewed throughout the research; the stories which are shared and the themes of those stories; as well as an examination of the act of storytelling itself.

Pits and Spits: Recreating Mississippian Cooked Bone Remains

by Claire Woerner
Anthropology/Sociology

This research focuses on replicating cooked deer bones to examine if experimentally heated bone can be used to determine the cooking method used for heated bones found on archaeological sites. Bone is altered by heat in ways that are visible and can be measured. The degree of heat obtained by areas of bone can be determined by color changes and cracking patterns that are both macroscopic and microscopic; this experiment sought out any discernible patterns of these two variables in Odocoileus virginianus remains cooked via a pit roasting method and a spit roasting method in an attempt to replicate cooking techniques used by Native Americans in the Southeast during the Mississippian stage. Both cooking techniques used wood and kindling that would have been available to these people and efforts were made to make the experiment as authentic as possible. When compared macroscopically, these two heating techniques produced very similar results because they heat in similar ways. Both methods have an external heat source and while the heat source comes from one direction in the spit method and two in the pit method, because of turning in the spit method they produce an indiscernible result. It is concluded that there is not enough discernible differences in bones cooked by these two methods at this time to determine any differences in archaeological remains. More research is needed to see if any other methods or analysis techniques can produce more definitive results.

“You Just Make A Buckskin Laptop Case”: Identity and Authenticity in the Primitive Skills Community

by Hannah Smith Schiller
Anthropology/Sociology

The primitive skills subculture is what Dick Hebdige would call a “subculture of taste,” in which members congregate around shared interests and active participation—both literally, through participation in the visceral experience of gatherings and cooperative living situations; and symbolically, through the assertion of a specific style, one that exemplifies subcultural values and preferences and the individual’s participation within those. This research examines the subculture’s alternate “system of aesthetic principles”—a sort of classification or code of the values and preferences deemed authentic or credible by the group—in order to explore what it means to be a member of this community and how identity and authenticity are constructed within it (Bourdieu 1984 : 267). It addresses the means through which group affiliation and commitment are created and communicated through an analysis of the symbolic exchanges and performances that have occurred within subcultural settings. It explores the meanings and values attributed by members to particular objects, skills, and aesthetic choices such as in clothing and tattoo, which are determined to be and communicated as authentic. It also addresses how subcultural capital is measured within the group and how a subculturally specific valuation system is constructed and maintained as this community negotiates its place within and against mainstream society.

2012

Broomsticks and Cauldrons: The Representation of Gender Roles In the Harry Potter Series

by Evan Ilana Cohen
Anthropology/Sociology

This study focuses on heteronormative gender depiction in the Harry Potter series and readers’ conceptions, perceptions, and understanding of the characters gender roles. Existing research (Ackman 2008, Cherland 2008, Ruthann 2006) discusses the roles of the women and men in the series, but no studies include the perceptions of the readers about the books. My study fills this gap, focusing on the importance of the readers’ perceptions of the gender depiction in the series. This study provides critiques of heteronormative representations that are often oppressive and discriminatory to those that exist outside of the gender binary.

 

Pansies and Sissies and Dykes, Oh My! An Analysis of Queer Individuals and Same-Sex Relationships in Film

by Anna Ehredt
Anthropology/Sociology

Heterosexual imagery has been pervasively present in the history of American cinema, while homosexuality has rarely been acknowledged. Filmmakers shied away from obvious homosexual characters and homosexual embraces or kisses were never depicted in early American cinema. Since the onset of the sexual revolution in the 60s, major film studios have included a larger variety of sexual orientations in their films. Because Hollywood film is so prevalent in American culture (as well as world culture), it is important to study how queer individuals are represented to American society within the content of films. This study uses both qualitative and quantitative methods to study the representations of queer individuals and same-sex relationships in 15 of the top-grossing “gay/lesbian” films from the 1990s up to the present. Compiled from previous literature and research on the topic, a collection of some of the most common stereotypes of queer individuals and same-sex relationships was assembled and developed into a coding system. The amount and type of affection displayed between queer characters was also examined. Using manifest and latent content analysis (the coding system and extensive note-taking) and the theories of heteronormativity and compulsory heterosexuality as a framework, this study illuminates the common stereotypes and reveals whether these stereotypes have been changing and/or staying the same. The question as to whether or not the theories of heteronormativity and compulsory heterosexuality still exist in contemporary films specifically listed under the gay/lesbian genre could not be answered but only examined further. The quantitative analysis debunked the theories, suggesting that the theories do not still exist in the films; while the qualitative analysis reinforced them, suggesting that they are still prevalent.

 

Wanna Have Sex? Untangling the Complexities of Sexual Consent Among Warren Wilson College Students

by Jillian Metcalfe
Anthropology/Sociology

Previous research on sexual consent has largely been limited to quantitative measurements of heterosexual behaviors of sexual consent (Hall, 1995, Hickman & Muehlenhard, 1999, and Humphreys, 2004). Little research has explored behaviors of consent among students of varying sexual orientations (Beres, Herold, &Maitland, 2004), and qualitative research methods in consent research has also been minimal. My research qualitatively explores Warren Wilson students’ sexual scripts of consent. This research includes students’ definitions of consent as part of their sexual scripts, and includes participants of varying sexual orientations. In my research, the complexities of consensual sexual scripts will be examined Simon and Gagnon’s Sexual Script Theory, which states that sexual scripts are informed on cultural, interpersonal, and intrapsychic navigations (1986). I conducted nineteen student interviews in order to explore the ways in which students navigate their relationship with larger sexual scripts and the sexual scripts introduced through Warren Wilson College. I discovered that students’ adopted language and concepts from the definition of consent outlined in the Warren Wilson Sexual Misconduct Policy, however, specific levels of consent and verbal and nonverbal communications of consent adhered to larger culturally designated sexual scripts, or interpersonal and intrapsychic navigations of consent.

 

Gaeilgeoirí Mheiricaé: Irish American Irish-Language Learners and Ethnic Identity Construction

by Meghan Furey-Moore
Anthropology/Sociology

This project explores the process of language-learning and its connection to ethnic identity construction. Irish Americans’ study of the Irish language can be understood through Gans’ theory of symbolic ethnicity, in which ethnicity is constructed by the use of symbols: images, names, words, or anything that represents an ethnic identity without being accompanied by actual difference in practice. The Irish language has been used as such a symbol in Ireland as an element of Irish nationalism. Are learners in the United States perceiving the action of learning, or using it, in this way? Previous research has concluded that the Irish language is being learned and used by some Irish Americans in cultural events (Sullivan). Research into these learners’ motivations supports elements of symbolic ethnicity theory. This study combines observations of online learners on the Irish Learners’ Forum and the Daltaí na Gaeilge forums with qualitative questionnaires, with the goal of further investigating this subject in a different context and supplementing previous research. My research supports the theory that, for Irish Americans, the Irish language is a clear symbol of ethnic identity, but the way in which this relates to ethnic identity construction is more complex and the learners themselves are more varied than has been assumed. Members and visitors to the field sites demonstrate different levels of involvement with the language, and a difference between learners and users. These complications are important to an understanding of modern ethnic identity construction in the United States and may be applicable to other studies of European American ethnicities.

 

Construction and Expression of Cultural Identity at Warren Wilson College: A View Through the Lens of Physical Appearance

by Valorie Nichols
Anthropology/Sociology

Appearance transformation among college students lacks sufficient analysis of environmental factors. This study examines the construction and expression of cultural identity among Warren Wilson college students by focusing on indicators of institutional, media, and peer influences on physical appearance. In this institutional space, students are pressured by judgments of peers to fit into a non-conventional norm, simultaneously producing and being shaped by their environment. (Goffman; 1959, Cooley; 1902, Bandura; 2001, Scott; 2004). This paper discusses how Warren Wilson students adapt to their collegiate environment and how they express personal social statements and institutional values through dress and consumer behavior. Research on trends of appearance will benefit the recruitment, retention and public image of the college. This paper will draw on qualitative interviews conducted with a number of current undergraduate Warren Wilson students, faculty, and staff. Interviews will provide a foundation for future research on similar topics.

 

Communing with the Dead Guys: Tectonics of Tradition, Purpose and Execution Within Classical and Old-Time Music

by Rachel Rudi
Anthropology/Sociology

In 1833, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow deemed music "the universal language of mankind," suggesting that the art form has been and will eternally be a platform for commonality within and across geographical and social borders. The author's words are still spoken to this day, but for centuries musicology was pursued by upper-class, white, male Westerners and focused on classical music. The world's other genres were dubbed "folk" or "primitive" musics, and to speak of the two canons analogously was to equate sophiticate to savage. As musical genres exist because of and within the communities that create them, the imbalance in academic attention emphasized social stratification. In an effort to bridge the gap, this study examined the perspectives of six old-time musicians, six symphony members, and one orchestral conductor--all residents of Western North Carolina. Semi-structured interviews explored how informants learned their genre, what compels them to pursue it, what trends and stereotypes they have observed, and how the music informs their lives. Theoretical substrata include Christopher Small's articulation of musicking, Karl Marx's analysis of capitalism, commodity fetishism, and mystification, and George Ritzer's something-nothing continua. By comparing and contrasting musicians' commentary, social scientists can glean a more in-depth understanding of music and its hold on the psyche.

 


2011

Psychedelics, Liminality, and the Rite of Passage

by Alex Griswold
Anthropology/Sociology

This research is about psychedelics, the people that use them and why. Whereas much contemporary research has focused on a clinical short-term approach towards ascertaining the effects that psychedelics have on those that use them, this research explores the longer-term effects of psychedelic substances by examining the relationship between substance, experience, and life narrative. It proposes that the long-term effects of psychedelics can be understood by examining the personal evolution of the users and draws on formal and semi-formal interviews to address how users have incorporated psychedelic experiences into their life narratives. Additionally, this research suggests that the psychedelic experience is an intrinsically liminal experience that can generate meaningful experiences typical of a rite of passage. Through analysis of the interviews, relevant anthropological and sociological theory, and the historical discourse surrounding psychedelics, this research examines the place of these substances in the lives of a few individuals, and extrapolates these findings to culture-at-large.

 

Analyzing Burke and Pisgah Phase Pottery in Western North Carolina Using X-Ray Flourescene

by Cassandra Monahan
Anthropology/Sociology

Archaeologists can tell many things from ceramics which may include outside cultural influences. The Pisgah culture (1000-1550 AD), which is present at the Warren Wilson site, is mostly found on the headwaters of the French Broad and Little Tennessee Rivers (Dickens 1970). The Burke culture (1400-1600 AD), which is found at the Berry site, is concentrated in the Upper Catawba River Valley (Moore 2002). Although these two cultures exhibit relatively different types of ceramics, excavations among the Burke culture at the Berry archeological site in Morganton, North Carolina, has uncovered pottery that exhibits a Pisgah style while containing a Burke composition, possibly implying a blending between the two cultures. Through the use of X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) analysis, I compare the pottery found at the Berry Site to the pottery found at the Warren Wilson site in Swannanoa, North Carolina. Using historical documents as a foundation I analyze Burke, Pisgah and the intermediate pottery with XRF to a) examine possible cultural influences and b) to determine whether XRF is an appropriate tool for this type of analysis.

 

"This Is Not Your Parents' Derby:" How Women's Flat Track Derby Is Challenging Gendered Expectations of the Sport

by Devon Malick
Gender and Women's Studies

Although roller derby in the United States operates under the larger patriarchal institution of sports, it is the woman-only teams that manage their own leagues with very limited male involvement, except for the occasional male coach, sponsor or referee. In this woman-dominated space, women are free to create identities that are not constrained by the dichotomies of gender performativity that are so often seen in athletics (Eng 2006; Finley, 2010; Griffin, 1992; Hall, 1998). The women of roller derby accomplish this by using unparodied derby names, wearing comical costume and makeup, and by creating on-track personas and gimmicks. However, as the sport becomes more recognized as a display in athletics than a carnivalesque display, players have retired their tutus and replaced them with standardized uniform and many are changing their derby names to match their own. Through three months of field research among the Music City Rollergirls of Nashville, Tennessee, I deconstruct the image of the rollergirl and reveal how the emergence of the standardization of the sport affects identity expression among these athletes.

 

Consuming Culture: How Southern Restaurants Preserve Authenticity and Personify Southern Hospitality

by Jaclyn DeGeronimo
Anthropology/Sociology

Southern food is an essential part of southern culture as it brings people together and tells stories of the regions past. This research will explore the notion of hospitality, a commonly perceived characteristic of the south and how this is incorporated in the dining experience of authentic southern restaurants. The significance of this research is to understand how southern food is used to represent southern culture and how in a time where food becomes increasingly McDonalized, how do southern restaurants attempt to keep their food traditions authentic. The data collected for this research was done over a three-month period in Charleston, South Carolina, conducting interviews and through participant observation. This research demonstrates the importance that authentic southern food has to the regions identity and contributes to a larger scholarly discussion of the relationship between food and identity.

 

Girl Fight: Apologetic Behaviors among Female Mixed Martial Arts Fighters as a Reaction to Social Stigmatization, Stereotyping, and Labeling of Sports Participation

by Janet Martin
Women and Gender Studies

As early as the 1970s, sports scholars have suggested that female athletes rely on apologetic behaviors in response to the belief that female athletes reside outside of the parameters of hegemonic femininity, particularly those who participate in ‘male-type’ sports or appear to resist compulsory heterosexuality. This research employs a mixed-methods approach to examine the incidence, types, and contexts of apologetic behaviors of female Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters. Mixed Martial Arts fighting is viewed as a hyper-masculine sport and as such contradicts hegemonic femininity and heteronormativity. Quantitative survey data and qualitative interview data indicate that female MMA fighters do engage in apologetic behaviors as a reaction to social stigmatization, stereotyping, and labeling of sports participation. Further, quantitative data indicate statistically significant differences in use of apologetic behavior by years of experience in MMA and sexuality of the respondents. Data indicate a need for additional research on use of apologetic behaviors by female athletes to negotiate feminine gender performance while countering masculine attributes, social stigmatization, and stereotyping associated with participation in traditionally masculine sports such as MMA.

 

Effects of the Living Wage on Low-Wage Workers' Well-Being: An Examination of Asheville, North Carolina

by Mia Carrasco-Songer
Anthropology/Sociology

Researchers critique the current federal minimum wage, the legal floor for hourly wages, as ineffective in reducing poverty. In contrast, proponents of the living wage—an alternative, higher wage floor—assert that a living wage allows workers to better meet basic needs and have greater participation in their communities and society. This research employs a mixed-methods approach to examine whether a living wage increases privately-employed, low-wage workers’ wellbeing. The study uses a non-random-sample survey of workers at or above living wage and a non-random-sample survey of workers below living wage to measure workers’ economic, physiological, socioeconomic, and sociocultural wellbeing. Semi-structured interviews qualitatively explore how low-wage workers experience different levels of wellbeing. Data indicate that a living wage does decrease poverty, however, it does not contribute to a higher level of wellbeing. The study finds that low-wage workers struggle in terms of their socioeconomic wellbeing—measures which are left out of the current measure of poverty. Findings suggest that a living wage could be one important tool to improve the lives of workers if it were calculated using an expanded measure of poverty, including absolute, relative, objective, and subjective measures. Further research exploring adequacy of a living wage to improve wellbeing is needed. Limitations of findings are discussed.

 

Tights in Flight: A Quantitative Deconstruction of Super-Masculinity in American Comic Books

by Drew Thilmany
Anthropology/Sociology

Drawing on theories of social constructionism and research by Carrigan et al. (1985), Hildebrandt (2004), Morrison and Halton (2009), and others, this research uses manifest and latent content analysis to examine demographical and behavioral attributes of characters in super-hero comic books. Research hypotheses predict whiteness, heterosexuality, and extreme musculature as normative masculine traits among characters, with alternate traits being minimized, excluded, or sanctioned. Analysis of 138 characters in 14 comic books identifies patterns of aggression, humiliation, sexuality, and race. Preliminary data analysis indicates whiteness as a dominant character trait (65.2% of characters) and heterosexuality as the exclusive form of sexuality expressed. Extreme musculature among men is more prevalent than any other body type (48.6%) and roughly one fifth of all men represented (21.4%) could only achieve their body type with the use of ergogenic aids (such as steroids). Extensive examination of the data and suggestions for further research are included.

 

Native American and Spanish Ancillary Structures: An Analysis of Postholes at the Berry Site

by Abra Joghart
Anthropology/Sociology

Postholes are places where wooden architectural posts once stood. They provide primary, secondary, and ancillary structural evidence at archaeology sites, all of which aid archaeologists in reconstructing spatial uses of the past. This study uses posthole analysis to discover structure patterns at the Berry site, a late Mississippian site near Morganton, NC. By sorting postholes based on size and shape and analyzing their distribution on the site map, this study discovers possible Spanish and Native American ancillary structure patterns. The study of square postholes at the site reveals a concentration in the northwest corner of excavations, indicating a possible small Spanish structure between two Spanish domestic structures. Visual evidence shows several privacy fences surrounding the buildings, and one possible Native American circular structure around the large pit feature 23.

 

A Chilly Classroom Climate? A Mixed-Methods Assessment of Warren Wilson College

by Victoria Dempsey
Anthropology/Sociology

While some previous research suggests that female college students experience behaviors in the classroom that may significantly impact their self esteem, academic ambitions, class participation, and overall academic learning experience, other research indicates there is little to no evidence of systematic discrimination that disadvantages women in academic environments. Inconsistencies in findings suggest that methods of data collection may have a considerable impact on the results obtained from studies assessing gendered interactions in the college classroom. In order to obtain a more reliable assessment of women’s classroom experiences at Warren Wilson College, this investigation employs a student survey, classroom observations, and multiple focus group interviews to measure the presence of both subtle and overt behaviors in the college classroom that serve to systematically disadvantage female students. Data suggest that professors are more likely to participate in higher levels of ancillary engagement, remediation, and praise with male students in the classroom. Data also suggest that in classrooms where male students comprise only a small percentage of total students, female professors are more likely to engage in high initiation behaviors with male students than with female students.

 


2010

Vamos A Bailar: A Look at the Transmission of Culture through Dance in First- and Second- Generation Latinos in Buncombe County

by Kendra Cole
Anthropology/Sociology

Numerous scholarly studies focus on music—the sounds, the beats the words—yet only since the 1990s has significant research been done on the dances that accompany the music. Literature on the subject of dance is fairly new, emerging only within the past twenty years. Literature on Latin-style dance focuses on the hegemonic boundaries both created and upheld with dance and racial differences in the United States. This study looks at the transmission of culture through Latin-style dances, such as Salsa, Cumbia, Merengue, Bachata and other cultural dances, in first- and second-generation Latinos in Buncombe County, North Carolina. Data from participatory observation, as well as formal and informal interviews, indicate that dance contributes to many aspects of Latino culture, and that many Latinos in Buncombe County dance to demonstrate who they are and where they come from. Data also indicate that dance is used as a social tool to meet and interact with people. This research only looks at those Latinos living in Buncombe County, and more research is needed to look at the significance of different dances in Latino cultures everywhere.

 

Becoming Evangelical: Transformation from "Lost" to "Saved" in a Southern Ohio Nazarene Congregation

by Brent Figlestahler
Anthropology/Sociology

Evangelicalism is a growing movement in the United States, including many Protestant Christian denominations. Spiritual rebirth, or salvation, is a required element for inclusion in the Evangelical movement. This is a central tenet for many Protestant congregations. After studying a Nazarene congregation in Southern Ohio, I have come to realize that although often stigmatized, the process of becoming a Christian member of this movement is a life changing experience that is similar to other rites of passage. The commonality of “Salvation” experiences reinforces the movement’s belief in a duality of “lost” and “saved,” while strengthening group boundaries and membership. Often referred to as conversion in the academic world, salvation is the emic concept of “becoming” a member of God’s “Eternal Kingdom.” This thesis attempts to reconcile conversion and salvation and explain the salvation process in a way that sheds its stereotypical connotations, legitimizing the event for members of the movement and onlookers.

 

Negotiating Dominant Discourse: The Social Construction of Menstruation among Students at Warren Wilson College

by Victoria Hancock
Anthropology/Sociology

Menstruation is a biological act fraught with cultural implications. The culturally constructed menstrual taboo is apparent in many cultures, including our own. Western taboo against menstruation is evident in popular presentations of menstruation that consistently reinforce negative perceptions. As a result of the cultural socialization of American youth, it is not surprising that dominant discourse is reflected in their attitudes toward menstruation. However, there is an increased exposure to positive representations of menstruation at Warren Wilson College. The purpose of this study is to explore whether an environment that encourages discussion about menstruation would change perceptions. Additionally, due to the lack of extant research about college students’ perceptions of menstruation, this research is also designed to explore general attitudes in order to contribute to the larger body of data. Research measured various dimensions of perception: menstruation as debilitating, holistic, bothersome, and powerful. Data indicate that the most significant differences in attitudes are between males and females. If these results are typical, it is apparent that people are socialized to internalize negative views of menstruation. Data collected during the Spring of 2010 suggest that perceptions of menstruation are well entrenched in students at the College.

 

The Rise and Fall of Corporate Paternalism in the Swannanoa Valley

by David S. Paul
Anthropology/Sociology

The community of Swannanoa has been defined, for much of its history, by its interactions with the now-defunct Beacon Blanket Company, which was once its largest employer. I interviewed former Beacon workers and listened to recorded interviews with others in order to understand what working life was like for them. Beacon owner Charles D. Owen III used a combination of charity to workers and the community and a hands-on managerial style to establish an image of himself as a father-figure to Beacon and the whole community. After Beacon was sold in 1969, the new management shifted away from personal leadership and towards a more conventional bureaucratic style. This resulted in decreased loyalty toward management on the part of Beacon workers. Through Beacon's history, however, a strong social support network existed among workers and their families to help each other out in time of need. I analyze Beacon's history from Marxian and Weberian viewpoints, and suggest that it points towards the resilience of social networks in the face of changing economic conditions.

 

"Defending Yourself from the Quietness of American Bullshit": An Inquiry into Collective and Collaborative Approaches to Subversive Artistic Media in Western North Carolina and Beyond

by Douglas Berman Young
Anthropology/Sociology

This ethnography provides an inquiry into those efforts to create hybridized forms of art to provoke, and transform public consciousness. Subversive, collective and collaborative approaches to the performance and production of artistic media have created opportunities whereby formalized or institutionalized conceptions of domesticity, public and private space, and art and art making can be challenged. By providing an alternative view of the world through images, sounds, and shared spaces, groups such as the Elsewhere Artist's Collaborative in Greensboro, North Carolina, and others of specific mention in this ethnography, help the viewer, participant or otherwise engaged individual visualize an alternative to a constructed world of consumer culture, simulated realties, and adolescent power dynamics. The concatenation of art and social change present in collective and collaborative approaches to artistic media in the context of shared living spaces has every intention to resist and replace the refuse of conventionality and the perversion of power. Alternative forms of education, paired with certain practices and acts of resistance, engender reclamation, and collective interaction as the means by which absorption within a constructed continuum is avoided.

 

Fitting into the Eternal Sisterhood: Gender Ideology Among Lifelong Mormon Women and Female Converts

by Emily Ann Gary
Anthropology/Sociology

This paper explores gender ideology among Latter-day Saint women in Asheville, North Carolina in order to consider whether there is a difference in ideology between converts and lifelong Mormon women. Using Brenda E. Brasher’s theory of a gendered sacred canopy within fundamentalist Christian sects, this paper explores the importance gender roles within Mormonism and the ways in which women in the religion live out these prescribed roles. Specifically, this research examines levels of adherence to traditional gender roles, attitudes towards gender roles as defined by the Mormon Church, and how Mormon women think non-Mormons view the religious gender ideology. Results come from participant observation, survey research, and in-depth interviews in one Latter-day Saint congregation. Findings indicate that there is no significant difference in ideology between lifelong LDS women and female converts. Although Latter-day Saint women construct gender ideology in a manner that is consistent with contemporary LDS teachings, they also resist, negotiate, and contest aspects of the ideology that are inconsistent with their own lives. Implications for future research are discussed.

 

The Plants are Real: Cultivating Spirituality and Healing within Herbalism

by Carroll Anne Anderson
Anthropology/Sociology

Herbalism remained the dominant form of healing for thousands of years, mostly pioneered by women, in congruence with their role as caretakers of the family and community. However, since the inception of biomedicine as the dominant medical practice in American culture, it has existed in the margins of society. Based on ten interviews with female herbal practitioners, both professional and non-professional, this paper addresses the alternative status of herbalism as a reaction to dissatisfactions with biomedicine, and explores the spirituality that is cultivated by those within herbal medicine. I will address how herbalism functions from an alternative conceptual basis that allows for a holistic focus and involvement of the individual, as well as the utilization of alternative forms of knowledge that both define, and perpetuate herbal medicine's oppositional nature. All of these aspects of herbalism as well as its focus in healing through the use of and connection to plants and nature positions herbalism in a spiritual realm that represents the web of life and the herbal practitioners' position within it.

 

I Don’t Listen to the Man, I Look Up To Heaven: Locating Outsiders and Visionaries Within Aesthetic Hierarchies of High and Low

by Charis Elizabeth Fisher
Anthropology/Sociology

This paper deconstructs three ideas: the language used to discuss Outsider art, the stereotypes attached to terms such as ‘naïve,’ ‘primitive,’ and ‘visionary,’ and the social discrimination against Outsider artists that occurs as a consequence of debasing labels. I include discussion of taste as a cultural construction and artistic appreciation as occurring along a ‘vertical symbolic hierarchy’. I also examine the hierarchical structure of the mainstream art world and valuative patterns of appraisal as they reflect marginalization within greater society. Lastly, I attempt to illustrate the Visionary experience as a legitimate and transcendental state of creative expression. Once the many misconceptions about this group are shed, Visionaries and Outsiders may be better recognized as highly spiritual and intuitive individuals. The ultimate motivation of this analysis is to represent this group of highly talented individuals as candidly as possible in the midst of their cultural and creative contexts. While the appeal of Outsider art tends to center on artists’ unique and often remarkable biographies, I want to encourage a greater emphasis on the creative capacities of the artists that make them so extraordinary.

 

Casting the Circle: Community and Individualism in Buncombe County Witchcraft

by Ashley Manwiller
Anthropology/Sociology

This study examines the issue of community and individualism within Witchcraft traditions practiced in Buncombe County, North Carolina. I found that Witches in the area tend to practice the craft both alone and with others, which I argue is an indication that they are interested in both maintaining their individual identities and creating communal ties. In my analysis, I discuss how Witches from different traditions use Pagan beliefs, practices, and symbols to create their personal and communal identities. My research has led me to believe that the practitioners of different Witchcraft traditions within Buncombe County are united as a community through the sharing of certain earth-based beliefs, practices, and symbols that transcend individualized forms of Pagan culture.

 

Thug Life: A Case Study of Race and Language at Warren Wilson College

by Erin Murphy
Anthropology/Sociology

Students at Warren Wilson held a party titled “Thug Life” in the Spring Semester of 2010. Leading up to, during, and following the party, students engaged in a discourse that solidified social norms that allow racism to continue to occur on campus. The majority of white students used two particular rhetorical tactics to justify the “Thug Life” party, the social norms that “fun should not be examined” and the social norm of “celebrating diversity.” I argue that these two tactics in fact further marginalize the small population of students of color here at Warren Wilson, and disconnect race from power. This research works to analyze this discourse by contextualizing it within a discussion of power and privilege. I hope that this paper can give students both at Warren Wilson, and perhaps at other colleges, the intellectual tools to break down racism on their campuses and in the United States.

 

Spatial Implications of Domestic Structures: Application of GIS in the Analysis of Architectural Grammar

by Corey T. White
Anthropology/Sociology

This paper provides a comparative analysis of late Mississippian and early protohistoric settlement patterns in the Southeastern United States. The focus of this study is the Berry site, which is located on the upper Catawba River in Morganton North Carolina. At the Berry site five burnt structures have been uncovered and are believed to be the remains of Fort San Juan from the Pardo expeditions (AD 1567-1568). This study compares the five burnt structures at the Berry site using geographic information systems (GIS) to other late Mississippian and protohistoric sites to determine if the structures have a different architectural grammar than the comparison sites. Data indicate that the burnt structures at the Berry site do differ; they are larger and are more spatially dispersed. Also, the Berry site lacks separate public and domestic structures. However, due to a dearth of similar studies and the newness of archaeological application of GIS, conclusions must remain inconclusive.

 


2009

"Swanna-Nowhere or Swanna-Somewhere?": Social Change as Understood by Swannanoa Residents

by Marilyn Combs
Anthropology/Sociology

The Cliffs development is currently in the process of becoming the newest addition to the community in Swannanoa, North Carolina. The local residents of Swannanoa who live in the valley have been experiencing increasing rates of development and change in the area. Through in depth interviews with members of the Swannanoa community I was able to find how residents are viewing the changes that are happening around them. Swannanoa is a community in transition as it is in the process of changing from an industrial manufacturing based economy to a service oriented economy. People are, like Swannanoa, in transition and are finding it hard to let go of the past and their strong attachment to place while anxiously looking forward towards the future. This information enables readers to understand the implications that development has on small town rural areas and to understand the views of those in the rural communities experiencing change.

 

Si Me Quieres: Latin American Transnationalism and Musical Identities

by Max Panconesi
Anthropology/Sociology

A Ripe Moment: Sowing the Seeds for Reclamation

by Elizabeth Pullan
Anthropology/Sociology

The Industrial Agriculture movement shifted America’s agricultural practices in the time shortly after World War II, when synthetic fertilizers and pesticide use soared on American Farm. Presently we are witnessing the fallout; the impact the industrial agriculture has on the social and environmental conditions has proved very significant. However, increased education and awareness on climate change and the limits of our natural resource are on the upswing. There is also increasing attention to the more sustainable agriculture practices as an alternative to industrial agriculture. From various data collected from interviews, secondary sources, observations and literature reviews, I explore the prospect of an alternative system of agriculture and look at the values, motivations, roles and challenges faced by small-scale farmers in the US, specifically in Western North Carolina. I have found that the values and practices of small farmers are closely tied to those of others who also believe in alternative lifestyles to create more sustainable system.

 

The Cultural Archive: Split Labor Markets, the Working Poor, the Media and Discourses Concerning Immigration

by David Rigby
Anthropology/Sociology

This research utilizes content analysis and semi-structured interviews in an attempt to examine potential connections between the framing of stories concerning immigration in print media and the expression of negative prejudice by domestic laborers competing in a split labor market with Latin American immigrants. Tracking leading economic indicators such as unemployment rates and the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index and making use of group-threat theory, Frame Analysis, and Stuart Hall's linguistic model of representation, I look at possible correlations between framing of immigration articles in the New York Times and Chicago Tribune and public perceptions of immigration as the current economic crisis was becoming apparent. The results indicate that there is no statistically significant correlation between economic growth and discussion of immigration in terms reflecting competition for jobs and social services consistent with group-threat in print media. My results do show that as economic growth is increasingly negative, the number of articles concerning immigration that appear in the newspapers studied drops significantly. There is also evidence of a “cultural archive” of stereotypes regarding Latin American immigrants that domestic laborers in Western North Carolina utilize to attach meaning to and interpret their experiences with the local immigrant population.

 

Made in the Mountains: Identity Formation and Change on the Blue Ridge Parkway

by Suzanne Snyder
Anthropology/Sociology

In this paper I illustrate the ways three different groups of people use the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) to talk about identity and change. These groups are visitors (tourists and short-term residents of Asheville), residents (who have lived in Asheville between five and thirty years), and leaseholders (men who rent land from the Parkway to pasture cattle and grow hay). I use Michel Foucault’s method of discourse analysis, Emile Durkheim’s understanding of social change, and Anthony Giddens’ theory on structuration as the theoretical framework for my research. Through an analysis of 27 in-depth interviews I show how connections to place affect how people create identity and understand change. Although there was some overlap between visitor, resident, and leaseholder discourses, in general I found that each group had a unique relationship to the Parkway. Visitors viewed the Parkway in terms of its difference and natural beauty. They had little to say on the topic of change since they saw the Parkway mainly as a landscape with little relation to anything else. Residents valued the Parkway for its isolation, as well as its connections to the past. Both of these themes contributed to community and individual identity. Because of the importance of the BRP to identity, residents tended to view change negatively but also recognized the role the Parkway could have in adjusting to change through education of the public. For leaseholders, the Parkway was used to validate and adapt their livelihoods and identities. Their connections to the land as well as their interactions with tourists were tools for resisting the negative impacts of social and economic change.

 

Being Biodynamic in Buncombe: Individual Expressions of the Biodynamic Approach to Farming

by Max Wolf
Anthropology/Sociology

Although the biodynamic approach to agriculture considered is the world’s oldest alternative agricultural movement, it is not well known in the United States (Lorand 1996:1). At the same time there is a greatly increasing interest in alternative farming systems in response to the many shortcomings of conventional industrial agriculture. With the growing interest in alternative systems there has also been a gain in farming organizations that advise and assist farmers about more sustainable, alternative methods. Farmers may overlook biodynamic agriculture as a viable option without realizing its high level of adaptability and utility. It may be helpful to better understand how and why farmers use biodynamics for farmers and for agricultural professionals such as cooperative extension agents, academics, and policy makers to properly address the needs of individual farmers and communicate information accurately and effectively. Most literature on biodynamics explains the overall methodology of biodynamic farming without much information on how individual farmers can adapt the methods for their unique situation (Lorand 1996: 7). According to Andrew Lorand, “one consequence of a superficial understanding of current practices is that practitioners are not able to improvise and adapt recommended practices to their unique challenges” (1996:7).

 


2008

"Not Just a Place on the Map": The Implications of Israel/Palestine for American Jews

by Candace Anthony
Anthropology/Sociology
Presentation

This paper is an exploration of the role Israel plays for American Jews. I argue that Israel, in many cases, is seen as the body of Judaism and Jewish people. I also explore how Israel, as the motherland is gendered and the implications of a gendered body. Once Israel is a mother/body, I look at the ways people understand and construct the categories of self and other, and work to uphold and reinforce bodily purity. Finally, I note that people who do not agree with dominant-state supported narratives will often disembody the Jewish people from Israel and point to strength in the Diaspora.

 

In New Orleans, It Bubbles Up From the Streets: Authenticity and Identity in the Post-Katrina Music Scene

by Gretchen Caverly
Sociology/Anthropology
Presentation

Structures and Styles: Identifying Spanish Contact Through Architecture at the Berry Site

by Andrea Glenn
Archaeology
Presentation

This essay explores the possibility of identifying sixteenth-century Spanish contact through the architecture of five burned structures at the Berry site (31BK22), a Mississippian period site in the Piedmont of North Carolina. Hypothesized as the location of Juan Pardo's Fort San Juan, the five structures at the Berry site may have been for the use of Juan Pardo and his soldiers. This paper examines the possibilities of identifying Spanish contact through a comparison of Mississippian Native American and sixteenth-century Spanish architectural grammars.

 

Creating Identity in a Digital Age: The Facebook Addiction

by Elizabeth Koenig
Sociology/Anthropology
Presentation

Process Over Product: The Career of an Asheville Graffiti Artist

by David Nosse
Sociology/Anthropology

This research explores the role graffiti plays and has played in the lives of its creators. Using Howard Becker's concept of a deviant career as a framework, this essay interprets the issues of motivation and identity as they play out during a career in graffiti. Information was collected through formal interviews with six Asheville graffiti artists. This research challenges existing ideas surrounding graffiti as a means of attaining symbolic capital, instead suggesting that graffiti subculture is oriented toward community involvement and the attainment of fun, with the process (all aspects leading to the completion of a piece of graffiti) rather than the product (tangible pieces of graffiti) providing the ultimate motivation.

 

Creativity and Capitalism in Asheville's River Arts District

by Juliana Martin Ratner
Sociology/Anthropology

This research explores how some of the ways being an artist is constructed and contested in the River Arts District of Asheville, North Carolina, and how they are interpreted within a capitalist framework. Structuring my paper around the narratives embodied by objects, I quote from interviews with artists, developers, and other residents to gain an understanding of the ways that systems of semiotics overlap with economic transactions. I conclude that although art and capitalism are often conceived of as distinct spheres, they can both exist in one interaction in the River Arts District, although conversion is never complete.

 

Mining for the Source: Identifying the Origins of Prehistoric Raw Muscovite through XRF Analysis

by Emma Richardson
Archaeology
Presentation

This research explores the prehistoric trade of mica in the eastern United States with the purpose of determining the possible production sources of raw sheet muscovite. X-ray fluorescence spectrometry was used to detect whether trace elemental analysis is effective in determining regionally specific patterns of chemical characteristics in muscovite. While this initial analysis shows no distinctive regional characteristics of the material, more work is necessary before a conclusion is reached on whether geochemical analysis is a viable method of sourcing muscovite.

 

Framelines: Nice Media and Identity in Board-Rider Communities

by Katie Rose
Sociology/Anthropology
Presentation

This thesis will examine the relationship of board-riders to niche media produced by and for the subcultures of surfers, skaters, and snow-boarders. This thesis will also look at the how boarder subcultural scenes are positioned as distinct from mainstream culture. This thesis will also examine why boarders represent themselves in the ways that they do and are as a group comfortable with the representations crafted in the genre of board sports niche media as iterations of their identity. This thesis is primarily concerned with aspects of the board-riding community that relate to the experience of subcultural lifestyles and niche media representations. This thesis is finally an addition to research on these subcultures and the methodologies by which media mediates the social worlds of participants and functions as a mechanism of dispersal, collection, and reaffirmation of individual and community cultural capital.

 

Zooarchaeology: The Language of Faunal Remains

by Jacob W. Schlesinger
Sociology/Anthropology
Appendix 1
Appendix 2
Appendix 3

This research project presents an introductory overview of zooarchaeology, a multidisciplinary field based on the analysis of animal remains from archaeology sites. This relatively young discipline seeks to understand how and in what ways humans and animals have interacted in the past, and how these interactions have affected human culture and the environmental context in which it exists. Theoretical paradigms such as cultural ecology and specialized methods such as fine screening combine to provide useful tools with which researchers may better understand aspects of past culture such as nutrition, trade, spirituality, and social stratification, among others. After a general overview of the field is presented, this paper outlines how the author applied zooarchaeological techniques to faunal remains obtained by Warren Wilson College.

 

Persistence in Beliefs, Modifications in Behavior: The Effects of War and Separation on Southern Sudanese Culture

by Christopher Wilson
Sociology/Anthropology
Presentation


2007

Idealizing Community and Avoiding Responsibility: Sexual Violence at Warren Wilson College

by Amanda J. Bilyk
Women and Gender Studies

This research explores the construction of community that leads to barriers for taking responsibility on issues of sexual violence at Warren Wilson College. I discovered that the reinforcement of these barriers impede change and the prevention of sexual violence. Through interviews, observations and a campus-wide survey, I found most campus members are more likely to overlook sexual violence in the community and distance themselves because it contradicts the image that they would like to believe.

 

Contemporary Textile Art and the Living Laborer

by Daryll Breau
Sociology/Anthropology

This essay explores textile artists living in and around Asheville, North Carolina. It discusses the many ways textile artists (weavers, felters, quilters) pose an alternative to the dominant values of a capitalist mode of production. It also explores what happens when a pre-industrial mode of production is reintroduced, re-enact within the dominant capitalist context. This paper employs the ideas of Karl Marx, George Ritzer, Walter Benjamin, and Roberto J. Gonzalez in the analysis of textile art within a capitalist contemporary society and mode of production.

 

Placing Displaced Veterans: Recovery Through a Rite of Passage

by Hart Dahlhauser
Sociology/Anthropology

This ethnography of a shelter for displaced veterans explores how the shelter works to reincorporate the veterans into their own homes. The shelter provides helpful services that allow the veterans to save up money and purchase their own home or apartment. The veterans pass through a processural rite of passage by entering the shelter, saving up to get their own place, and then moving into their own place. Sobriety is not mandatory at the shelter, and inebriation is mildly tolerated. Substance abuse inhibits the effectiveness of the rite of passage. The effectiveness of the shelter is determined by the individual's choice of how they utilize their time at the shelter. This paper discusses the process of recovering and finding a home as a rite of passage.

 

Bricoleur Aesthetics and the Built Terrain: An Inquiry into the Art of Collective Dissent

by Shaina DeCiryan
Sociology/Anthropology

While many Americans are content to live their lives in accordance with the established social orders they encounter, activist subcultures prefer to imagine and actively try to cultivate grassroots changes to work towards what they consider to be a more responsible, sustainable world. This ethnography explores several ways in which activist artists create hybridized forms of art to express and provoke public consciousness. Activist artists cause others to question the idea of private property by using the cityscape as their canvas, and in doing so help the people who occupy these spaces in their everyday lives reclaim their ability to collectively interact and voice their opinions in these spaces. A second theme addressed in this paper is how activists are using art as a tool for public education. By explaining the interconnected nature of the world through images, groups such as the Beehive Collective help the viewer visualize the current results of American foreign policy and a society based on consumerism, as well as his or her role within the system. These examples tie into a range of social changes that activists are pursuing through art that agitates, educates and organizes.

 

Negotiating Local Land and Power within the Tourist Economy: Swannanoa, North Carolina

by Martha Eberle
Sociology/Anthropology

Through an exploration of community status and hierarchies, this article seeks to undermine the notion that small communities threatened by development are passive in their forms of resistance to the neo-capitalist system of tourism and high-end development. With a special focus on a mill town in what used to be a rural part of Appalachia, the purpose of this discussion is to show the ways in which new development is represented in the community as well as to deconstruct the often hidden ways in which people on the outer edges of the capitalist system challenge the power of newcomers and developers through everyday interactions in the context of local society.

 

An Archaeological Survey of Mulberry Creek

by William Gulley
Sociology/Anthropology

What Major Should I Choose: The Prestige of Majors at Warren Wilson

by Simon Johnson
Sociology/Anthropology

Explores the Schemas that Warren-Wilson students use when choosing a major. This is done through the use of a survey and interviews done with students. The survey only returned 79 responses out of 790 so it was used mainly as a representation since it cannot be considered valid. The interviews consisted of five altogether. Three categories were studied in relation to majors: Interesting, Practical, and Hard. This was based off of Moffat's book Coming of Age in New Jersey: College and American Culture. Out of these three Interesting turned out to be the most important since based on the interviews students pick majors based on their personal interests. Cognitive Anthropology was used to analyzes the results of this survey, especially the use of Schemas to describe how students view their major and other majors.

 

Deconstructing the Term "Immigrant": Arab Identity in Asheville, North Carolina

by Seth Jones
Sociology/Anthropology

This research explores the ways Arabs living in Asheville, North Carolina negotiate and transform their ethnic identities through the acculturation process. Specifically, it shows how Arabs adopt local cultural forms and preserve aspects of their home cultures. The fieldwork consisted of formal and informal interviews with Arab persons living in Western North Carolina and participant observation at a local mosque. I found that some behaviors and familial roles reflect home country norms/values and are primarily confined to personal living spaces. Public representations of identity reflect a readiness to accept new cultural forms, particularly among younger Arabs. Ultimately, Arabs living in Asheville have integrated (or acculturated) due to the city's relative lack of cultural pluralism and ethnic social groups.

 

Escape to Solitude! A Descriptive Analysis of Long Distance Hikers and Hiker Culture

by Lexy Lewis
Sociology/Anthropology

The focus of this paper is the identities and culture created by long distance hikers. I broke down my research into three specific themes through which I viewed long distance hikes and hikers. These three themes are: a chosen separation from an urban setting, the language hikers, and long distance hiking as pilgrimage. These three themes are further explicated through common themes from in theoretical anthropology, such as theories of identity and social roles. In the conclusion of this paper I illustrate ways in which the research could be furthered on a more sociological perspective of long distance hiking.

 

Butterflies Grow Here: A Look into the School Garden Program at Hall Fletcher Elementary

by Cory Lininger
Women and Gender Studies

Gardens have been used as learning environments in schools for centuries. There are many reasons why a garden creates such an enriching environment for young children. This study explores some of these benefits within the context of educational psychology, experiential learning, and environmental education. Research for this study has been compiled from my experiences working with elementary students at Hall Fletcher Elementary, located in West Asheville, North Carolina. The major findings of this study and the purpose of this paper are threefold. First, I found the school garden creates an environment that promotes teamwork, and teaches responsibility. Second, it is an environment where students are often exposed to things for the first time leading to a heightened sense of understanding. Lastly, the school garden is an environment that gives concrete examples of the abstract concepts learned in the classroom.

 

The Good, The Bad And The Yummy: Food and What it Means Within the Warren Wilson College Coming of Age Ritual

by Wyn Miller
Sociology/Anthropology

I attempt to discover the roots of perceived elitism present in the environmentalism practiced at Warren Wilson College in the 2000s. I investigate food as a key arena, finding that the system of distinction between good and bad food constitutes an ambiguous body of knowledge that serves as a form of cultural capital. I apply four anthropological perspectives of food to the foodism found at the college: food as an aesthetic preference, as a political statement, as a key symbol, and as a religion. I find that no matter what approach taken, the system of distinction is still an integral factor that allows for the implementation and reproduction of cultural capital, thus introducing elitism into the environmental values of the college. I also view college as a coming of age ritual and explore how the identity-forming aspect of this ritual intersects with the system of cultural capital described above.

 

An Ethnographic Case Study of Warren Wilson College: Our Place, Our Identities, and Our Lives

by Michelle Mockbee
Sociology/Anthropology

This is an ethnographic study that examines the images that represent Warren Wilson College, and the lived everyday realities of community participants within that representation. This representation is discussed by describing the college in relation to its history, and how the founding of the school has created an ongoing discourse of being an alternative to the dominant society. By breaking down these representations of alternative, we find something interesting in what each community member represents, and what it means and does not mean to be the alternative culture to the dominant society and culture of capitalism and consumerism.

 

Intercultural Encounters at Warren Wilson College: Multiculturalism on Our Campus

Appendix

by Yuki Tabata
Women and Gender Studies

In order to build a multicultural campus, Warren Wilson College, like other institutions of higher education, has set an admission plan to enroll more students from abroad, and its academic programs have expanded the focus of research to include topics that are non-western studies. However, the higher number of foreign students or the diverse programs alone cannot create a multicultural community. Intercultural communication is the necessary tool to provide students an avenue of cultural understanding. The tool also removes stereotyping and separations in our community.

 


2006

Toss Them In and Hope They Can Swim: An Ethnographic Study of the Struggles of First Generation Hispanic Students in Buncombe County

by David Andrews
Sociology/Anthropology

This ethnography is designed to look at how first generation Hispanic students are adapting into the Buncombe County school system. This research was conducted through interviews and observations of students and administration within a specific school in Buncombe County. Specifically, it shows how the different cultural views on education, discrimination, and language barriers affect these students' progress. While all three of these factors influence the students, language barriers seem to be the most significant for the students in my study.

 

Male Dominated Work Environments: Gender Identity and Bail Enforcement

by Jessica Baker
Sociology/Anthropology

This study analyzes the profession of bail enforcement in western North Carolina from the feminist perspective. Bail enforces have a dangerous profession which additionally consumes all of their time and involves high stress and monetary instability. The research framework examined this profession within the confines of social and gender identity and professional identity dissonance formation, implications of generational change, impact of a patriarchal and capitalistic foundation, and media's influence of assumptions of women and bail enforcers. The results suggest that these theories impact the whole community of bail enforcers, but at the same time, it divides them into two separate generational thinkers with distinct values based on the social ideologies that were dominant in their youth.

 

Contra and Contradiction: Gender and Agency Within a Social Dance Community

by Shaina Kapeluck
Sociology/Anthropology

This research explores the ways in which gender roles are shifting within the extended contradance community in Asheville and around New England. Though at first glance, the structure of contra dance (a couples' dance) appears binary, current dancers are re-interpreting its structure. Anyone, regardless of their gender identity, can dance the gents' or ladies' role, highlighting performative aspects of gender and opening the discussion of power dynamics between dance partners. In my observations and interviews, I found dancers to be striving towards a sense of their own agency over this binary structure, in the ways it governs dress, movement, and nonverbal communication.

 

Fit for the Family: A Case Study of Domestic Work in Shreveport, Louisiana

by Jesse Mitchell
Sociology/Anthropology

This study examines the institutions of domestic work and the Family in Shreveport, Louisiana. The fieldwork consisted of interviews with both employers and employees, and all of my informants except one employer were female. This paper examines the relationships between white employers and black employees, how the family structures and family ideologies are affected by the institution of domestic work, and how dominant constructions of race, class, and gender are both apparent and hidden. Family ideologies of employers are most important and create the basis and justification for employing domestic workers, as well as the unique employer-employee relationships that often exist. These unique relationships are often characterized by the following: employers and their families often identify their employees as part of the Family (and employees sometimes agree); the pay and benefits systems are often indicative of these defined relationships; and employing or being employed within the Family through the field of domestic work reinforces the systems and histories of inequality that envelop this institution.

 

There Ain't no 'I Know Butoh': Dialogue and Identity Among Butoh Performers

by Anneliese Ranzoni
Sociology/Anthropology

Since its appearance, butoh has developed into a complex dance form. Butoh is unconventional within the realm of traditional dance and theater forms; ballet, modern dance, Noh and other older performance art are referred to as traditional in this paper. It is argued by participants that there are no basics by which to define butoh and there is no authority on the subject of the art form. However, when one begins to listen to the descriptions of performers, an underlying sense of individualism emerges. I have looked at how the practices of butoh are represented in a set of speech forms. This set of speech acts define current butoh as based in individual autonomy versus its Eastern origins in a historically specific context.

 

Building a Bohemian Boom Town: The Construction of a 'Creative Class' in Asheville, North Carolina

by Mary Scherer
Sociology/Anthropology

This research investigates the ways in which urban development, gentrification, and dominant representations of a boom town create a city tangled in contradictions. The case study was conducted in Asheville, North Carolina, an increasingly popular urban destination because of its progressive image and high quality-of-life standards. I found that development, gentrification and representation are cooperating to obscure what is not unique about the increasingly moneyed city by promoting, and more importantly creating, uniqueness. After interviews and observations were conducted, my analysis is that citizens are aware of its surface-level controversies, but have mostly accepted the deeper contradictions. This supports my hypothesis that Asheville maintains the consent of citizens by constructing a hegemonic discourse of the good city.

 

Dirty Work on the Midway: Examining Stereotypes, Discrimination, and Self-Identity of the Carney

by Johanna Vasek
Sociology/Anthropology

This research project is designed to explore the stereotypes attributed to the occupation of carnival work, how they are created, what forms of discrimination carnival employees experience because of these stereotypes and how the carney creates a positive self-identity in spite of these societal perceptions of their occupation. Through interviews, internet messageboards, and field research I have found that there are definitive negative assumptions held by dominant society about carnies and these have led to the stigmatization of individuals within this subculture. Despite these stereotypes and experiences of discrimination the carney has established an identity that reveals a connection to "outsiders" as well as a separate pride and significance in being part of the "inside" group. Carnies have a unique outlook on their occupation that provides them with personal fulfillment and pride of their work.

 

Planting By the Signs and Biodynamics: Agricultural Tradition in Cosmopolitan Times

by Rachel Williamson
Sociology/Anthropology

The values and methods associated with traditional planting by the signs have been undermined by conflicting cosmopolitan lifestyles, but both traditional values and methods are finding a surprising resurgence among members of a younger generation who practice biodynamics. This research paper explores the life values of people who learned the tradition of planting by the signs from their families (keepers) and how they have been challenged by the growth of cosmopolitan society. Furthermore it explores why and how people (seekers) would endeavor to seek out agricultural traditions, such as Biodynamics, that they were not raised with. Keepers and seekers reveal many basic similarities in agricultural practices and life values, but even more significantly they share the task of negotiating and perpetuating traditional knowledge within an unsupportive cosmopolitan society. Fundamentally this paper addresses how people negotiate their lives between traditional knowledge and cosmopolitan society, and what they believe it means for the trajectory of our society.

 


2005

Voiceless Women Speak: Structural Oppression and Crime in the Lives of Female Inmates

by Kelly Binderim
Sociology/Anthropology

The purpose of this study is to try to understand the lives of women in a prison institution. Societal factors are explored in order to discover if there are issues that contribute to oppress some women in our society causing them to be more likely to commit crime. Specifically, I focus on societal issues such as abuse, addiction, education level and socioeconomic standing. Further, this research delves into the rehabilitation process offered at the Black Mountain Correctional Center for Women in an attempt to find how the inmates feel about the rehabilitative programs offered at the prison.

 

Growing Up in a New Religious Movement: A Study of the Second Generation of the Family

by Natasha Boeri
Sociology/Anthropology

My study is on the second-generation of a new religious movement (NRM) whose practices concerning children went against mainstream society and the groups effect on the second generation while they were members and once they left. I researched the NRM formerly named the Children of God and now called the Family. The movement was started has a Fundamentalist Christian commune in the late 1960's by David Berg; it now has a worldwide membership of 12,000. The Family received a bad reputation because of their radical sexual practices that included threesomes, sharing, prostitution in the name of God, and sexual acts with minors. The second-generation was socialized for the Family, not mainstream society, concerning their goals and duties. I studied the effects that growing up in this environment had on the children who left once old enough. I focused on the effect it had on their relationships with their parents, siblings, relatives, and non-members while they were in the group and once they had left. I also looked at how the participants felt about interacting with non-members and adjusting to their new life once they left the Family. I found that the participants had negative feelings about the Family and that it had affected their relationships. Also, the participants had a difficult time adjusting to mainstream society once they left.

 

The Construction of Masculinity and the Roots of Domestic Violence as Seen in the Accounts of Battered Women

by Laura Leigh Dean
Womens Studies/History

This study focuses on the roles of gender and power within abusive relationships and how batterers perform gender roles that maintain their control. I collected data from 63 applicants to a local domestic violence service within a legal services agency. Various research methods included participatory investigation, interactions with clients, client interviews and use of the legal services questionnaire with secondary analysis. Cultural constructions of masculinity contribute to the perpetuation of domestic violence against women. This paper examines the tactics that batterers use against their partners to reinforce their statuses of control and power within the relationship, including: 1) abusers using sex as a weapon of control, dominance, and abuse; 2) abusers molesting or abusing children to maintain their control over their partners; 3) abusers using alcohol as a medium to act out aggression against their partners; and 4) batterers controlling the economic resources of the family. I contend that batterers construct and maintain masculine identities through their use of systematic violence and control within intimate relationships.

 

Caring for Cash: How Nursing Impacts Ideas of Femininity, Family, and Self

by Rebecca Fried
Sociology/Anthropology

Nursing is still considered a female gendered labor by many in the public spectrum. Despite the rise of male nurses, the field is still over 85% female. Working within a field that is so gendered, the question arises of what impact this may have on one's perception of gender. Nursing has also been subjected to many stereotypes, which the media plays on. Is there validity behind the image of the unhealthy chain-smoking nurse or the angel nurse? This research seeks to expand upon how the role the nurse plays in the office is projected on to other parts of her life. Four nurses were given in depth interviews with questions regarding their lives, their families, and their coworkers.

 

I Can Move Better, Baby! Determinants of Exercise Adherence in the Diabetes Wellness Project

by Amanda Gammon
Womens Studies

Diabetes is an increasing health concerns in the United States. Though diabetes can be controlled through exercise and risk factors such as sedentary lifestyle and obesity are modifiable, many interventions have been less than effective in promoting regular physical activity. This research focused on the role of the Diabetes Wellness Project, a community-based wellness program, in improving exercise adherence for people with diabetes. Data for this study included interviews with 20 participants enrolled in the Diabetes Wellness Project of Asheville. The results of this study suggest that the Diabetes Wellness Project was successful in increasing physical activity for participants. This program aided participants in overcoming various barriers to physical activity and aided participants in better health management practices. The results of this study may be useful in identifying aspects of this program that were successful in changing health outcomes for participants of community-based wellness programs.

 

Isolation and Incorporation: The Lives of Hispanic Immigrants in Asheville, North Carolina

by Matthew Stewart Cox George
Latin American Studies

This ethnography examines the ways in which the experiences and assimilation of Hispanic immigrants in Asheville, North Carolina differ as a function of the permanence of their stay, their access to social and human capital, and their labor market incorporation. The value of hard work and a moral discourse are common themes among participants stories. Temporary labor immigrants experience social isolation and allocate much energy to pursuing economic goals through work. A Hispanic Pentecostal church provides a small ethnic enclave that encourages members to integrate economically and to segregate morally from United States culture. Labor market incorporation modifies the experience of permanent immigrants, who enjoy greater amounts of human and social capital.

 

Are We Failing Our Children? Adult Involvement in Child Athletes

by Amanda Tuzik
Sociology/Anthropology

My main goal in this research project was to analyze the motivational factors that create fanatic adults in youth sports. Through personal experiences and the observation of media sources, it has become apparent that positive parental behaviors have been out-competed by the immature actions of a highly visible minority of fanatic individuals. For intriguing reasons, parents and coaches have been pinpointed as the nemesis for entertainment in youth sports. A thorough investigation concerning this mysterious, nation-wide phenomenon has resolved personal intuition.

 


2003

Importing the Other: An Exploration of Foreign Traditions Within the Katuah Capoeira Angola Community

by Jesse Berg

This paper explores the Katuah Capoeira Angola community in Asheville, N.C., a community based around an Afro-Brazilian art form. Through its respect for traditions, its resistance to categorization and its practitioners' intentions, this community acts as counter hegemonic sub-culture. The art of capoeira, as used by this community, is a tool to resist the dominant hegemonic culture. The abstract idea of "capoeira traditions" acts as an ideological alternative to that of the hegemonic culture in which smaller acts of resistance can take place.

 

SocioAcademic Status: Achievement Levels and Values Differences Between Student Loan Recipients and Paid-Tuition Students at Warren Wilson College

by Megan Star Best

The goal of this paper was to examine the relationship between socioeconomic status and academic achievement in the college setting. A secondary goal of this research was to determine if there were differences in values and perceptions related to money and spending patterns between students from different socioeconomic status. Students from Warren Wilson College filled out surveys, and then were selected for interviews based on their year, sex, and the amount of student loans they received. The results indicated that student loan recipients do perform more poorly than their paid-tuition counterparts, and also have different studying habits and values related to coming to, and staying in college.

 

Social Implications of Capitalism on Armenian Women's Self-Identity and Familial Structure

by R. Byrnes

This research attempts to address assimilation and resistance patterns concerning introductions of Western capitalist ideology over the past twelve years in Armenia. This paper is based primarily on seventeen interviews I conducted over a three week period in Yerevan, Armenia, and observations I made during my visit. I use ten interviews with an assimilated Armenian community in Boston, Massachusetts as a backdrop to the ideas presented in this paper about Hayastantzi women.

 

Resurrecting the Marginal Voice: An Episcopalian Model of Discursive Engagement

by Kevin Giddens

This research consists of an in-depth analysis of the Church of the Advocate's use of ritual to create an empowering discourse for socially marginal people, particularly the homeless. By creating a liminal space, members of this church are able to break through rigid social labels in order to feel comfortable with their personal identities. By embodying marginality, members are able to form intimate relationships with Jesus. And by manipulating their inferiority, church members are able to project a prophetic narrative voice. Church of the Advocate represents a progressive model of horizontal sharing as opposed to vertical dictating of truth, power, and love.

 

Taxidermy of Time: Hyperreal Tourist Destinations of the Southeast

by Drew Heller

This research addresses the function of simulation and hyperrealism in the context of several tourist sites in the southeastern United States. The sites were analyzed using Baudrillard's mapping of the simulation process. The historical narratives and underlying ideologies of each site were used to examine the role of simulation in each context.

 


2001

Understanding Important Issues of Adolescent Girls

by Gretchen Davidson

This paper examines what issues a group of young African American girls deal with on a daily basis. Observations, a focus group, and limited questionnaire responses were used to determine three main stress factors. These factors are parents, peers, and boys. These categories were analyzed to discover how the group of girls talk about these stresses, how they interact with parents, peers, and boys, and finally how they empower themselves through female unity to negotiate the boundaries of growing up.

 

Southeastern Mississippian Mortuary Practices: A Gendered Perspective

by Denene Erin Fleming

The goal of this paper is to discuss gender roles and ideologies that are important among Southeastern Mississippian peoples. Traditionally, gender roles have been ignored or presented as a universal assumption in archaeological research. For many decades archaeologists have looked at the burials of people in prehistoric communities as expressions of those communities' gender ideologies and social organization. This paper considers the research of Southeastern Mississippian mortuary practices and how they have been studied in the past and present. My primary interest is the inclusion of gender in mortuary studies and how researchers study gender issues. I will conduct a basic analysis of the mortuary practices at the Warren Wilson site, focusing on sex differences and social status representations within the burials.

 

Consumerism at Warren Wilson College

by Zoe Keefer-Norris

This paper explains how students' attitudes towards money and consumerism at Warren Wilson have changed since the sixties and why this change has occurred. It examines how the economic backgrounds as well as patterns and values learned growing up effect students' consumerism at Wilson. This paper looks into the difference between being working class and poor, and acting working class and poor, and how this difference effects dress and status at Warren Wilson. In conclusion, the paper shows that the amount students consume has gone up very little over the years, but the reasons that people continue to consume very little today are very different from the reasons students in the past consumed little.

 

Identity and Socialization of Children in the Day Care Environment: Gender Roles, Power Struggles, and Authority

by Bethany R. Schell

This paper takes a look at how children construct personal and age group identity as well as how they socialize with other children and adults outside of their family, the world around them, and the day care environment. The purpose of the paper was to see how children construct gender roles, the concepts of power, and how they reconstruct family structure as a coping method to deal with a sense of abandonment and separation from their families.

 

Adolescent Girls' Perceptions of Dating Relationships and Violence

by Evangeline Simmons

This paper addresses how a group of African American adolescent girls perceive dating relationships and violence. Because of their young age, the girls are just beginning to experience the world of dating. Observations, interviews, and focus group data are used to uncover the ways in which these girls think about their social lives, and ultimately balance their actions and interactions with their perceptions. Violence/aggression is included as an important issue because of the ways in which it intersects with dating relationships and with the construction of gendered social roles.