Spring 2011 Editor’s Note

Spring is a time for transformation, new beginnings – and at gnovis – we honor this timely tradition of the season by the passing of the torch to a new leadership team and to present a fresh batch of scholarly articles. This season isn’t any different. After receiving a record number of submissions for our Spring 2011 issue, we are proud of the 12 articles included in our most competitive issue to date.

The articles of this issue touch on a number of subjects: from the construction of celebrity ailing bodies in terms of disease to memorializing bodies on Facebook. Exploring frameworks of interpretations among new and old medias to how technology can improve development and broaden the education experience, and more.

Neeraja Sundaram discusses celebrity culture as seen through the lens of disease and medical conditions. In You’ve been hit by a Smooth Liminal: Framing Michael Jackson’s Ailing Celebrity Body, she focuses on the decline of Michael Jackson’s health over the course his life by focusing on the news media framing of the celebrity diesease – through Jackson’s ailments and excessive lifestyle to the coverage surrounding his death.

In a common day memorializing process, Kyle Vealey examines the memorial policy surrounding profiles on Facebook in Making Dead Bodies Legible: Facebook’s Ghosts, Public Bodies and Networked Grief while synthesizing Freudian theories in a context that has become commonplace as social networks grieve for their loved ones through a shared semi-public space.

Continuing in this topic of bodies, Rachael Bryne looks at the changing constructions of the masculine form through an historical context in her paper: Re-Masculinizing the Jew: Gender and Zionism Until the First World War.

Fast-forward to the 1990s framing of post-feminism in Taylor Cole Miller’s Too Short to be Quarterback, Too Plain to be Queen as he examines the sitcom Roseanne as a platform for female empowerment contrary to norms of the time period and specifically looks to the character of Darlene as a vessel for Roseanne Barr’s comical social critique.

Some of the most iconic images of the last decade – images surrounding the September 11th attacks – continue to foster discussion about our national identity. Louis Gulino focuses on the empathetic and ‘safe spectatorship’ that occurs if images are recontextualized by focusing on Nietzsche and Eco’s aesthetic discussion between the beautiful and ugly in
Tracing Apollo’s Descent: Nietzsche’s Aesthetic Ontology and the Myth of Safe Spectatorship in Post-9/11 America.

Examining contemporary ‘new’ media for perpetuated stereotypes in Contemporary Coon Songs and Neo-Minstrels: Auto-Tune the News, Antoine Dodson and the “Bed Intruder Song,” Alexandrina Agloro focuses on the popular YouTube sensation of 2010. She compares such remixed productions to coon songs of the turn of the twentieth century.

Just as these new media fail to escape criticism similar to previous communications, Dan Leberg wonders where these outlets fit among the academy and young scholars – bridging both worlds. In Fanboys of the Ivory Tower: An Attempted Reconciliation of Science Fiction Film Academia and Fan Culture, Leberg focuses on a specific teaching experience to explore the space between academic film criticism and that that exists free-range on the Internet – and what this implies for the quality of future critiques.

In the spirit of linking new media and the academy, Meredith Clements explores blogging in a university setting in OMG! I forgot to Post: An Examination of How Student View and Use Blogs Within an Academic Organization. Focusing her paper on the students’ class blog experience of CCT, she examines if the practice leads to more useful discussions during class and if it can be considered a successful learning tool.

As formats for media evolve over time, so do the content. In two very separate discussions, language and its evolution are explored: Mariam Hobeldin’s Fwd: Modern Poem examines the cross-pollination of languages when Arabic and English are juxtaposed, especially the hybridization for youth cultures. In Eric Atkinson’s paper, The Griot: The Rhetorical Impetus of African-American Fiction, the evolution of language in oral and written traditions is explored as a formation of cultural literacy and community building.

In the construction of larger world communities, such as the European Union, Zita De Pooter discusses the deliberative qualities of the communication process surrounding the Greek bailout that occurred in May of 2010. In her paper, Negotiation Processes: EU Negotiations Toward the Greek Bailout in the Context of the Boundaries of the EU legal Framework, she discusses the quality of the communicative behaviors and evaluates the formation of mechanisms to maintain stability for future processes.

Communication technologies advance and enrich the experience of the academy and economy, as Ashley Mannes discusses the applicability of new technologies as aids to development by evaluating two case studies leveraging computers and mobile devices in her paper, Interoperable Technologies in International Development: Access to FrontlineSMS.

If you’ve made it this far in my inaugural note and will continue to read the articles in their entirety, then I commend and thank you. In the spirit of giving thanks, I have a long list of people to share my gratitude with – so bear with me.
To the authors, thank you for your patience and hard work over the course of the semester. Without your submissions and dedication to editing process, gnoviswouldn’t exist.

To our student and alumni peer-reviewers, without the hours spent with each paper and your tireless eyes, the quality of gnovis would fail to be at its competitive best. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your efforts.

To the gnovis staff of bloggers: y’all make my life so much easier. To work with such a talented group of people is an honor. I continue to be amazed by your enthusiasm and dedication to this process.

Particular thanks to Allison Bland and Alicia Dillon for your assistance in last minute editing and coding efforts, in addition to your continued dedication to gnovis as an academic platform. Josh Hubanks – thank you for your enthusiasm and perspective on all things gnovis-related now and in the coming months. To Mauricio Orantes, thank you for your patience in the final hours of publishing this issue. Without your technical expertise and flexibility, this issue would continue to exist only as a series Google Docs lost in the cloud – thanks for helping to polish our codes.

Colleen Valentine, our incoming Managing Editor, to say that this issue would not exist without you is an understatement. Thank you for keeping me organized and focused – as much as possible. Your work ethic and sense of humor keep me sane – and that is more than anyone could ask for in a colleague and friend.

To our fearless leader and my patient mentor, Lydia Kelow-Bennett: thanks for everything. For your expertise and perspective has been one of the greatest assets to me in learning the gnovis ‘ropes’ this year. You have selected a great group of enthusiastic next generation gnovis-ers – we hope to continue to make you proud and establishing standards as high as the ones you demanded of us.

To Lydia’s partner in crime, Akoto Ofori-Atta, more thanks. During your tenure as the sole gnovis knowledge vault, your dedication and support has been invaluable to our team. Your tenacious organization skills and devotion to gnovis is contagious.

To both of our graduating leaders: gnovis would not be where it is today without your foresight and leadership. I would thank you for your leadership in developing gnovisas to what it is today – but I’ve come to expect nothing less than excellence from the standards you set in the beginning of the Fall semester. I hope that you’ll continue to check in on the progress we make over the next year as we look forward to following your future accomplishments.

To the readers of gnovis: please enjoy our longest issue to date – don’t worry – you don’t have to read it all in one sitting and are encouraged to take your eReader to indulge in some fantastic graduate student work while soaking up the spring weather.

Lauren Barnett
Assistant Editor-in-Chief

Lauren Barnett

Lauren graduated from the University of North Carolina at Asheville in 2008 with a BA in Mass Communication. Upon graduation, and at the suggestion of a friend, she moved to Philadelphia to explore the 'real world' outside of academia. Ousting herself out of her comfort zone and plopping herself in the middle of a diverse city with thriving culture, she found work in a pizza restaurant, which was quickly followed by a return to the academic world, with a position on a peer-reviewed science journal. Simultaneously, Lauren worked closely with a youth literacy, after-school program, participating in the local art scene, hoping to one-day return to an academic setting separate from images of dissected nude mice. As a first year student in the CCT program, Lauren's interest currently include from net neutrality, education and technology, and the new role of journalism in the era of the Internet.