Category Archives: Fall 2016

Media Representation & Islamophobia

In my RBA I plan to analyze the comic series Ms. Marvel and its lead, Kamala Khan, as a response to Islamophobia in media representation post-9/11. By examining the creation of the image of the Muslim male as a terrorist and therefore a dangerous “other”, I hope to determine the importance of media representation and how or why it is effective in supporting a specific national image. Furthermore, I plan to establish how Kamala Khan is a response to this rhetoric and in what ways her story and character reinforces or subverts it, particularly as a possible response to assimilation pressures and the erasure of hyphenated identities.




RBA Planning: Masculinity and Homophobia in Cold War America

For my RBA, I plan to examine the relationship between the evolving ideals of masculinity and increased homophobia in Cold War America. I am interested in looking at how the manifestation of homophobia in policy and in the military was influenced by perceptions of masculinity in a consensus culture. Here is my map, which is more of brainstorm than an outline (I will need to cut down or prioritize importance)



Japanese Internment & Policing of Middle Eastern Bodies

For my RBA, I plan to research parallels between Japanese internment in response to Pearl Harbor and the policing of Middle Eastern bodies after 9/11 to show that containment culture and the marginalization of races is been embedded in American history. Due to extreme paranoia, the races held responsible for Pearl Harbor and 9/11 soon became seen as the “enemy,” and the military swept up innocent people and forced them into detention facilities in order to increase national security. However, as I will prove in my RBA, containment has only exposed America to racism, xenophobia, and animosity, leading America to be less safe. Below depicts the possible structure for my RBA:


The connection between education and the Space Race

My topic for the RBA is to analyze whether the Space Race resulted in meaningful and effective educational reform. In my analysis, I plan to examine multiple primary and secondary sources  in order to show how educational reform was short lived and did not live up to expectations.

First, I will explore the different pieces of legislation passed, and the effect that this legislation had. Next, will analyze both long term and short term trends and factors that help determine how the educational sector in the United States was influenced by the Space Race.

Here is my visual brainstorm:

Mind Mapping link between Executive Office and American Exceptionalism

In my RBA I am going to go through a series of sections in order to reach the eventual conclusion that the American Public is partially culpable for allowing Bush to mislead the public into the War in Iraq. In those sections I will explore the role of a modern President and more broadly the Executive Office, I will also look at how we define American Exceptionalism in terms of the Executive Office, lastly I will demonstrate how American Exceptionalism and the Executive Office have become linked.


RBA Research Topic: U.S. Perceptions of Germany during the Cold War

My research topic revolves around U.S. perceptions of Germany during the Cold War, specifically the binary rationale that German realities were cast into. As I analyze the U.S.- German alliance as a primarily strategic relationship, I intend to show how this binary logic “watered down” the complex international relations between the U.S. and Germany to a “with us” or “against us” mindset, which resulted in ambiguous and conflicting policies towards Germany.

This is a visual outline of my ideas:


RBA Topic+Mindmap–FBI Corruption

In my RBA, I will be focusing in on the corruption seen during J. Edgar Hoover’s reign as FBI Director and investigating the contributing factors that led to the development of this phenomenon. Specifically, I will be exploring how the imbalances in the hierarchical power distribution and the skewed culture of secrecy rendered the FBI susceptible to corruption during highly politicized times.

Link to MindMap:



My research topic

For my RBA, I will be exploring how islamophobia is a new form of McCarthyism, as the discrimination against Muslims and Arabs and the divergence in culture and ideology that emerged after 9/11 is reminiscent of the Red Scare. I will connect this to the overarching idea that a New Cold War has emerged, this time opposing terrorism and Western civilizations. Here is my road map:

Social Critiques in the 1960’s Political Satire Boom

I am researching the 1960’s  influx of American black comedy and satirical films which profoundly affected the entertainment medium as well as society itself.  Analyzing and mapping the influence such films had on the film industry and American culture is integral to understanding the full psychological and societal effects of Cold War rhetoric on citizens.

Humor has always offered an outlet for myriad emotions, however when artists express political frustration through humor their work usually evolves into a satirical work. Satire is a medium that allows artists to be critical of societal institutions while simultaneous expressing the feelings of anxiety, fear, and insecurity, in a humorous way. Most academic discussion around the so-called ‘satire boom’ of the 1960’s, revolves around the notion that the presence of these films reflected a changing popular opinion of capitalism and American foreign policy. Humor was mixed with comments on the fear and anxiety surrounding the ever-present threat of nuclear devastation to create some incredibly black comedies during this time period that reflected that growing shift in cultural attitudes. However, through the viewing of these films I’ve found that the more important target of their jokes is rather the social norms of the era.  In this way, satirical films caused the audiences of the 1960’s to not only look critically at the government, military, and nuclear politics, but to also turn that critical gaze upon themselves. My research focuses specifically on such critiques made by specifically on Billy Wilder’s One, Two, Three (1961), Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), and Norman Jewison’s The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming (1966).


The American Superhero

My research topic focuses on Ms. Marvel as a response to Islamophobia in the post-9/11 era. Specifically, I hope to relate how this attitude echoes the “us vs. them” dichotomy rhetoric that was prevalent during the Cold War era.

There has been frequent discussion in both academic and popular press about Ms. Marvel as a face of the changing dynamics of representation in comics. In her book Superwomen: Gender, Power, and Representation, Carolyn Cocca outlines the surprising success of the series and the relatability of its protagonist, as well. She also briefly discuss the image of Kamala and her family as subversions of the image of Muslims as terrorists that is frequently presented in modern media. Miriam Kent has also examined the popularity of the comic in her article “Unveiling Marvels: Ms. Marvel And The Reception Of The New Muslim Superheroine.”, where she addresses the overwhelmingly positive reception that Ms.Marvel has received from the press. However, she notes “a fondness for assimilation” in pitches from critics, who frequently stress the character’s relatability as a quirky teenager who is “just like us”, thereby reducing and sometimes ignoring the importance of her status as a depiction of a female Muslim character in comics. Kent also discusses the depiction of “otherness” in Ms. Marvel and Kamala’s attempt to balance her identity as a Pakistani American and her desire to fit in. I hope to further the discussion by addressing how Ms. Marvel’s depiction of Kamala Khan as an American superhero reconstructs what it means to be American, specifically as it relates to the “us vs. them” rhetoric that returned in the post-9/11 era, and better explain how this representation is a response to the post-9/11 era.