13th Annual Fall Symposium

Thursday, November 7th ~ Performing Arts Center ~ 6:30pm - 10:00pm

Keynote ~ PAC 134 ~ 6:30pm – 6:50pm

Dr. Peter Kittle

Peter Kittle is a professor in the Department of English at CSU, Chico and the current director of the Northern California Writing Project.

Session One: 7:00pm – 8:00pm

What’s in Mark Twain’s Pudd’n?

PAC 116

Moderator: Prof. Matt Brown

Mark Smith ~ The Tragedy of Reading Pudd'nhead Wilson

This paper will work with Mark Twain’s “Pudd’nhead Wilson” by first tracing the twin arcs of the titular character as he rises to fame and fortune while simultaneously plummeting into the depths of immorality. Furthermore, by establishing the reader’s responsibility in establishing the meaning of a text, I maintain that the readers of “Pudd'nhead Wilson” engage in a process similar to that of the novel’s protagonist. This paper contends that as Wilson sacrifices his morality to gain acceptance and success in his community, so too are his readers forced to sacrifice our own morality in order to get some enjoyment out of the reading experience. In this way, Twain forces his readers to confront their own weakness in the face of the moral challenges presented by slavery in 19th continued in present day racism.

Derek Swain ~ Speech Acts in Pudd’nhead Wilson

This paper examines the effect elicited by speech and its correlation with power and status in the antebellum South. In Puddn’head Wilson, racism is a prominent motif, yet this partiality is reflected most not through appearance but through performance and most prominently through dialect and speech . By drawing on J.L Austen's and John Searle's original elaboration on theories of speech acts, this paper will analyze the individual utterances of the characters of power and status as well as the negro, who is relegated to the lowest rung of the social hierarchy even if their appearance would appear to place them elsewhere.

Twain does not create an easily identified relationship between class and race in the language of Pudd'nhead Wilson, Roxy and her child are treated black even though they are for all intents and purposes white while David Wilson is treated black despite his classical education, gentle manners and innovative scientific ability. It is in this sense that the speech of the power of the community is seemingly conglomerated into a collective which divvy’s and rescinds power to its members and treats them accordingly.

As many speech act theorists have noted, the most noteworthy speech acts in this work of Twain’s are the many manifestations of the command throughout the novel. By drawing on the diction of speech act theory, I will analyze the effect of different commands and utterances using Austen's locutionary and illocutionary acts as a lens to better understand the verdictives placed upon the community of Dawson and the performativity of its members.

Athena Murphy ~ Humor in “Character of a Native Georgian” and Puddn’head Wilson

In both Longstreet’s “Character of a Native Georgian” and Twain’s The Tragedy of Puddin’head Wilson the use of humor is in conversation with one another, as in each humor can be seen to foster group identity as well as maintain boundaries that divide groups; however, in each, humor is used to different effect. The stories demonstrate that humor can be either a beneficial social force, breaking down boundaries and promoting acceptance; or it can be a detrimental social force, strengthening divides and limiting social mobility.  In either case, humor has a significant influence on group dynamics as it lends itself to the effort to solidify group identity.


Literature of Social and Natural Order

PAC 206

Moderator: Prof. Aiping Zhang

Victoria Proctor ~ Women as Society: A Look at Lucy Snowe and Maria Braun

I will present a comparative paper on the German film The Marriage of Maria Braun and Charlotte Bronte's Villette.  Both are non-traditional stories of the development of women in society and navigating their places respective to the men in their lives.  Both women are denied the happy marriage at the end and that is super interesting and that's what I'm planning on talking about.

Robert Searway ~ Conflicting Views of Landscape in Steinbeck’s Literary West

In the Epilogue to John Steinbeck’s The Pastures of Heaven, a sightseeing bus carries a group of passengers above the Salinas valley to gaze upon the pastoral scene.  The view of the valley below affords contrasting perspectives regarding the future development of the landscape, and thus reflects explicitly on conflicts portrayed throughout stories within the main text.  One tourist sees the development of economic modernity, and prophesizes an encroaching capitalist system that would destroy the environment for the pursuit of economic gain.  Another onlooker imagines the continuation of a pastoral way of life, of local communities living in concert with the landscape.  According to Sara Blair’s theory of cultural geography, localities become “specific places…where individuals negotiate definitively social relations” such as between these global and regional forces (545).  In Pastures, this clash of regional and global affects characters living in the quiet agricultural community as they suffer under the pressure of the encroaching economic perspective brought into the valley by the Munroe family.  Along with Cannery Row, Steinbeck portrays individuals struggling against the pressures of global capitalization in regional landscapes.  This paper will explore how small groups of misfit communities in Steinbeck’s works attempt to survive apart from greater economic forces just surrounding them. I argue Steinbeck reveals that individuals who come to uphold regional values that protect the environment against economic exploitation serve as the antidote to encroaching global forces and exemplify a potential way to navigate conflicting economic perspectives.

Jeremy Wallace ~ Gray Matters: Identity and Environment in Toni Morrison’s Jazz

I will be presenting a paper on Toni Morrison’s novel Jazz and show how the character Golden Gray is a symbol for the way southern ethics bled over into the North. And in doing so, I will touch on something that Morrison seems to make clear quite often, which is that the racism we tend to make synonymous with the South is not necessarily the whole story, and the North didn’t offer much more of the “freedom” that’s been preached about throughout history. Also, I will possibly (most likely) be using a power point as well.

In short, my paper will show the symbolic meaning of Golden Gray in Morrison’s Jazz and uncover the reasons as to why this important to understanding the novel and Morrison’s message as a whole.


Student Identity & Efficacy Through Writing

PAC 134

Moderator: Prof. Chris Fosen

Jessica Calhoun ~ Bridging Identity Gaps: Understanding How Students Navigate Writing Across the Disciplines

In 1987 Lucille McCarthy conducted research studying these very issues in her article "A Stranger in Strange Lands: A College Student Writing Across the Curriculum". McCarthy's research gave an in-depth account of a single student's struggles and triumphs writing in different disciplines and taking up different genres. My research began with McCarthy's ethnographic model and aims to answer the questions of voice, identity, and motivation across the disciplines. The aim of my research is to expand on existing research and address areas of Writing Across the Curriculum, Writing in the Disciplines, and genre theory that are specific to the students at California State University, Chico.

The goal of this research is to address three specific research questions: 1) how students "read" professors, classrooms, genres, readings, and disciplines, 2) how the issue of voice and identity is addressed in different courses and across disciplines, 3) and how students navigate issues of motivation and engagement with material through general education courses and into upper-division coursework. From my research thus far, it is evident that each classroom presents its own distinct community in which students need to situate themselves. Students often establish a writing voice that they assume will carry them throughout their academic career. However, students often overlook meta-cognitive moments that might help them situate themselves firmly within their classroom and discipline-specific genre conventions; this is often due to the shifting guidelines that vary from classroom to classroom and from genre to genre.

Kylie Kenner ~ Building Writing Self-Efficacy through Recursive Reflection: From Intimidation to Proficiency through Metacognition

“Building writing self-efficacy through recursive reflection:

From intimidation to proficiency through metacognition” 

This presentation focuses on pedagogical strategies for increasing undergraduate students’ writing self-efficacy. The presenter, a small-group tutor at the university writing center and MA Composition student, implemented short low-stakes, recursive and reflective writing assignments in an attempt to build students' confidence and self-efficacy as writers. The presenter then solicited feedback from tutees (as part of the normal tutoring process). In this symposium, the presenter will report on key themes that repeatedly emerged in the feedback. She will then discuss a formal qualitative research project she is currently conducting to explore these themes in more depth. The themes will be presented in a PowerPoint presentation. The research project will shed light on factors that inhibit or enhance students' self-efficacy in writing.

Francesca Nesfield ~ Acculturation among International Students’ Writing Identity at a North American University 

In this paper I will explore what is the process and if there is a process of acculturation in relation to international student’s writing identity. As many international student add more diversity to college and university campuses nationwide, I began to question their writing journey. Many students come from diverse countries with diverse writing styles. As these students begin to study in America they are told their way of writing in America-which uses elements of their native language is not valued. As students shift between translations of their own writing I want to know how are they negotiating their native writing identity and their assumed/emerging American writing-self. I would like to apply concepts of Pierre Bourdieu: symbolic capital, cultural arbitrary, habitus and field, to international students acculturation process into American academics and which writing values, if any are they incorporating. The methodology of this paper will be a series of interviews with the possibility of collecting writing samples.


Kindred Tales:  Creative Nonfictions

PAC 112

Moderator: Prof. Rob Davidson

Dani Fernandez ~ "Baby Girl"

A nonfiction piece about the relationship between a child and the young adult who became her "mommy." As a babysitter, I have spent time with a lot of children. The first time I worked with one family (with three young children) every day during my summer break from Chico State was the first time that a child ever called me Mommy. I wasn't her mother but I was the person who made her lunch, potty trained her, and taught her how to swim. Her mother worked from home and was not in a position in her life where she was prepared to be a mother to her children. As a response to this, her youngest child attached herself to the only female adult who spent significant amounts of time with her: an underqualified, nineteen-year-old nanny.


Tomie Bitton ~ "Musical Beds"

A creative nonfiction essay about life lessons learned from, in, on or around beds in my life. Themes in the essay include coming of age, family, marriage, pregnancy and death. From “Muscial Beds”:

“Our home and our beds may not have the consistency it once had, but pillow fights and jumping on the bed has taken on a whole new meaning. After what we’d consider to be a normal night of sleeping, one, then the other monkey join us for morning laughs and tickles before we tackle the day ahead. And there’s never been a better way to begin.

When I think back to the beds of my youth, the rooms that suffocated me, or the walls I stared at for hours on end, I cannot help but realize that each pillow my head happened to fall upon all led up to this one, though it might be a little lumpy at times. As we keep waking up each day, next to someone, or simply solo; in the custom mattress or one covered by a pee pad, I find all the comfort I need in knowing my days (and though it hurts to admit, nights too!) come along with precious moments like never before.”


Daria Booth ~ "Mad Man"

This is an essay about my father, and our relationship, which was inspired in part by the fact that he now has Alzheimer’s disease, and is nearly completely incapacitated. This essay began as a character sketch of a man who was larger than life, who sold advertising in New York, and whose interesting traits and personality  I wanted to document, before the disease made them all disappear. It became a piece that goes beyond a character sketch and explores the ways he and I clashed, and the ways we are similar and connected. These connecting points are what I carry forward, as the strength and presence of my father’s former self are diminishing.  

Marty Salgado ~ “Mexican-American Dreams”

I will present a creative non-fiction essay titled Mexican-American Dreams. In this essay I attempt to talk about my Mexican-American heritage and how it affected my childhood perception on society and how it continues to linger. I also discuss and question a great deal about my parents' heritage and their decisions in life and where that lead my family. This essay will help people reflect on their own heritage, and how they relate to society.

Break: 8:00pm - 8:10pm

Session Two: 8:10pm – 9:10pm

Poetic Ardor and Image

PAC 116

Moderator: Prof. Jeanne E. Clark


Kris Wheat ~ Put My Heart in Storage

I'll be reading a selection of poems I'm titling "Put My Heart in Storage." This collection of poems explores one woman's journey through love, loss, change, relationships, and family. Each poem is woven and connected to each other, presenting a vignette of a memory on their own while also creating a larger story when looked at together. A story that deals with the many different forms of grief, loss, and healing.


Stan Upshaw ~ 5000 Peacocks  

My poetry explores the imagination as a vehicle for discovery.  Rarely concerned with "true life," it utilizes bold, unpredictable imagery, while remaining clear and engaging.  I intend to create a poetic vision that does not "not makes sense" as the surrelists have done, but rather "makes perfect sense."  Poets who have influenced my style include James Wright and Charles Simic.

Jon McCallum ~ The Saying and the Said: Photographs and Poems

As a graduate student studying photography, I have also long held an interest in words. With my thesis exhibition only six months away, I have been exploring ways of integrating these two realms into one – photographs and poems. However, such a mix has been fraught with complications. Words on their own, particularly in poetry, can conjure keen and powerful imagery. Likewise, images on their own can stir much thought and feeling. The challenge of putting them together requires the avoidance of mere illustration on the one extreme and, on the other, too much abstraction. The tension between word and image suits the theme of my work well – the human voice – that physical, yet intangible, transmission of our unique being. During this symposium I wish to present a sneak preview of my thesis exhibition by projecting three or four images as I read an accompanying poem for each.

Lisa Berman ~ SaltWild

I will present 10-12 new poems from my master's project called Salty, Wild. The trajectory of my work has been created from meeting my ex-husband, waking up from the denial of his addictions, the divorce and post-divorce personal discoveries.


Going to God with Zora Neale Hurston

PAC 206

Moderator: Prof. Kelly Candelaria


Michael Fitzpatrick ~ Whom Were They Watching? The Role of God in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God

A good title helps trace the theme of a novel. An even better title adds complexity and subtlety to a novel’s theme. The grandiose title of Zora Neal Hurston’s classic falls under the latter. A story about an African-American woman’s journey of self-discovery in the post-Civil War south, Their Eyes Were Watching God richly explores Janie's quest for self-discovery through the mythological language of 'God'. But who is this eponymous character anyway? How much metaphysical substance does ‘God’ get in Janie’s world? A close analysis of the novel’s divine invocations reveals that God wears many hats. Throughout Janie’s journey, God seamlessly appears as the great Unknown, as a diefied slavemaster, as Judge, as Creator, and as Love, not personifying these profound themes, but rather typifying their concrete reality in the story. God is the force of things in the lived particularity of the hurricanes of Janie’s life.


Janette Allen ~ The Presence of God: Nature Imagry, Ecclesiastis and Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God

Despite the volumes of scholarship dedicated to Their Eyes Were Watching God the title of the text remains an elusive element in that it suggests a focus on God that isn’t clearly present in the narrative. In 1991 V.D. Dickerson said of Their Eyes Were Watching God that the “novel prominently features God in the title yet obscures him in the text” and yet I find this claim to be unfounded (Dickerson 221). I suggest instead that the proper angle for understanding God’s presence in the text has not yet been identified. My paper, titled “The Presence of God: Nature Imagery, Ecclesiastes and Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God” seeks to do just that. We must assume, based on the title of the work, that God factors importantly in the thematic arc of the narrative – it’s unlikely that Hurston would have chosen the title arbitrarily—in which case a deeper, more symbolic-centered evaluation of God’s presence throughout the text is necessary. Katharine Dell discusses the connection between nature imagery as symbolic representation for the divine cycle of life in her study titled, “The Cycle of Life in Ecclesiastes.” An in-depth examination of the religious symbolism in congruence with the nature imagery of Their Eyes Were Watching God yields an exciting new lens into the text, an angle in which God becomes an ever-present primary figure who Janie is always “watching.” Of course Their Eyes Were Watching God is not simply a story of a woman finding God, in fact it defies simplification on all levels, but to uphold the popular notion that it’s primarily a love story is to deny the depth and intelligence of the work.


Finding Our “Selves” in Poem and Story

PAC 112

Moderator: Prof. Paul Eggers

Dani Weast ~ “For What It’s Worth”

“For What It’s Worth” is a short fictional story that is part of a larger collection of short stories I have been crafting for my thesis project. Largely inspired by collections like Play It As It Lays, by Joan Didion and This is How You Lose Her, by Junot Díaz, this story is constructed to inform a larger theme of insecurity associated with guilt and the fictional narrative of gender roles in contemporary Western society. This piece follows the central character, Jenny Martinez, who is writing a series of letters to the college roommate of her ex-boyfriend. After years of not speaking, the character writes these letters in an attempt to acknowledge her role in the emotional and psychological damage caused by their secret affair. The larger work show cases this series of past events from various perspectives in order to more thoroughly inform the audience of the different reactions to this event. Jenny and Jack meet through his roommate and childhood friend, John, who Jenny has a prolonged, unofficial relationship with. When she realizes their situation is not exclusive, she sleeps with Jack as a means of revenge. Yet, when he returns from vacation, she chooses to stay with him, forcing Jack to live in the same house with the girl he may or may not love. Through these letters, the narrator explores the process of coming to terms with herself for perpetuating this age-old problem of betrayal and deceit. She does not seek forgiveness from this rhetorical audience, but rather to establish an honest account of what she can remember from their shared sins, to set the record straight in an effort to inform and empower this man that she has wronged and possibly find some semblance of salvation from her own self-hatred.


Nathan Collins ~ Shapes of the Mountains: A Collection of Pacific Northwest Poems

I have developed a short collection of prose poems which rely on ideas of reaching out for love, or acceptance, meshed with natural imagery and a strong sense of place. I would like this collection to be considered for this year's symposium.

Charles  Bradford Walker ~ “Burgers Medium, Please”

This short story is thematically focused on a father and son relationship in the present day and then also looking back at a moment from the past that may shine a light on their present day identities as father and son.  It takes place during a drive through the mountains of Northern California on the way to a family gathering.  Along the way they endure awkward moments of silence due to being two completely different people in their outlooks on life, but they attempt to (re)discover and remember the moments of earlier days when the son may not have been so different than the father or when their differences may not have mattered so.  Looking back at a time when it was simply a relationship of “Dad and Son.”


Rosa Scoma ~ Sunny Side of Hell II

I am hoping to share a variety of different types of poems. One is a persona monologue and the others are mainly lyrically driven sounding more like slam poetry. I am hoping to share with the audience the "Sunny Side of Hell" by presenting poetry that shows a positive in the negatives that come from bad situations. I will not need a PowerPoint or anything, just somewhere to stand to read.


Educational Literacy in Today’s Digital Classroom

PAC 134

Moderator: Prof. Kim Jaxon


Jarret Krone ~ Examining a Theoretical Relationship: The Intersection of Anti-Digital Dualism and Multimodality

This research examines the cross-disciplinary bridge that potentially links the socio-technological problem of “Digital Dualism” to the concept of “Multimodality,” which is a concept generally taken up and discussed within the field of composition and literacy studies.

Digital Dualism addresses an issue about modern social identity, where digital and non-digital narratives have come to represent conflicting value systems in our culture. The “Digital Dualist” framework encourages and forwards a fallacious ideology that we can, and must, retain our own humanity by denying the notion that digital experience is already deeply embedded in reality. Digital theorist Nathan Jurgenson contends that offline and online realities are no longer recognizably separate, but rather, the two spaces mutually reinforce and imply the other.  He boldly proposes “an alternative view that states that our reality is both technological and organic, both digital and physical, all at once” (Jurgenson, 2011).  

Shifting to a discussion of pedagogy and learning theory, I argue that “Digital Dualism” is a re-emergence of social skepticism toward new technology, and that this conceptual framework can become problematic if and when it manifests within the pedagogical practices of the academy. Building off of the work of Gunther Kress, Jason Palmeri, and others, I argue that the digital dualist ideology holds no merit or value in pedagogy, as it contradicts the widely-held belief that the practice of writing “is always already multimodal” (Palmeri, 2012). Both multimodality and the anti-digital dualist framework aim to break down social barriers. Multimodality pushes against extremely limited perceptions about what writing can do, and the methods by which literacy goals are accomplished. Every technological medium (every mode of communication) presents different avenues to create meaning. As more communication technologies emerge, the avenues for meaning-making multiply. I wonder: does this overwhelming amount of choice contribute to instances of pedagogical uncertainty about which communicative methods are most productive and relevant to use in the writing classroom? Perhaps this overwhelming amount of choice spurs emotional ambivalence towards potentials for meaning making, so that teachers find themselves falling back on what they are most comfortable or familiar with in the classroom.

My aim is to articulate the necessity to break down the stingy social barriers between tradition and innovation, and to allow our teaching practices to reflect the hybrid model for literacy development. In order to disintegrate the “Digital Dualist” framework from pedagogy and education, teachers must begin, “combining networked and physical spaces, blurring lines between academic and everyday social, creative and expressive practices; crossing traditional, generational, and cultural boundaries” (Anderson and Balsamo, 2008).  


Lina Dong ~ A Successful Large Class: Case Study of ENGL 130P at CSUC

Large English class is doable. The doubt that the size of large class may cause some difficulties influencing the efficiency of class is understandable; however, size is never the core problem of large class. Large class needs different approaches and scaffolding, and large class still can succeed. ENGL 130 jumbo class provides a successful example.

The data used for the research was from the survey done by instructors of ENGL 130 jumbo class since 2009, interview with instructor and mentors, and other survey designed for students of class in Fall 2012. ENGL 130P is successful based on the fact that the majority of students satisfied with the jumbo class they took, and a lot of them passed the class at the first time.  Very few students stated directly about their preference about class size, and even some of them clearly stated that they like jumbo class better.

From students’ viewpoint, most efficient things, also their wishes of perfect class, in class are workshop/small group with trained mentor, helpful, energetic professor, well participated peers, interesting theme and materials, etc. All these human and non-human objects participating in this class play a role. In this sense, size is the barrier of achieving these most efficient things, not the key to it. Also, this case study suggested paying more attention on students’ status, freshmen, new incomers in college. Students reflected that they are transforming from high school to college. They are struggling so they expect to have more personal, hands-on support from professor. Overall, to make a large class succeed, there are more to do than making it smaller.

Karissa Ringel ~ Reading Network Theory through the Lens of a Classroom

This paper is an exploration of the potential benefits of applying network theory to the higher education classroom. Though the study of networks began in the realm of math and computers, different disciplines have begun to use the concepts and vocabulary as a framework for understanding their fields in a new way. The study begins with a brief description of common network structures and the different ways we can see classroom structure through these networks. The focus in the paper is on network formation, and understanding the instructor as a ‘seed’ rather than a single central node in the network, which disrupts the traditional relationship of teacher to students. The study also touches on the interaction of human and non-human actors in a traditional classroom, and attempts to understand the impact both have on the creation of a successful learning network. The paper relies on numerous references to computer network terminology as a way to look at the basic elements of a classroom learning situation from new perspectives. Finally, the study invites the reader to consider how the network framework may change the way we think about teaching pedagogy.

Keywords: network theory, network formation, weak ties, boundary objects, seed node, hubs, protocols, agency

Reception ~ 9:10pm – 9:50pm ~ PAC Lobby