Qualifying Paper Presenter Profiles
These graduate students will be writing and presenting their qualifying papers during the 2017-18 academic year, the culmination of their Master's Degree.
Lauren Balogh’s research focuses on Holocaust memorials in Budapest, Hungary; specifically the “Memorial to the Victims of the German Occupation,” and the “Living Memorial” at Szabadsag Ter (Liberty Square), as well as the “Memorial to the Hungarian Jewish Martyrs.” She explores how the Fiesz government and Prime Minister Viktor Orban use memorial architecture as a form of propaganda to further their right-wing agenda. Through meeting and interviewing scholars in Budapest, as well as her various travels there, she examines these three sites in order to explore how Hungarian politics play a role in memorialization in Budapest.
She became interested in this subject through familial ties to Hungary, her many travels there, and Dr. Young’s Spring 2017 graduate seminar, War Memorials and Museums. Lauren’s research is important because there is a deficit in English sources about these memorials. It was not until the fall of Communism in 1989 that English sources about the Hungarian Holocaust surfaced and she aims to contribute to the growing interest in, and ability to write about, this subject.
Jayne Cole’s qualifying paper examines photographer Samuel Fosso’s and painter Kehinde Wiley’s mimicry of Chinese Propaganda Posters. Utilizing postcolonial theory, she suggests that both Fosso’s and Wiley’s works make a political statement on relations between China and Africa and multiculturalism. The first to examine Fosso’s Emperor of Africa (2012) Wiley’s World Stage: China (2007) in relation to each other, Jayne’s research offers an art-historical analysis of a contemporary political topic.
Jayne became interested in this topic after taking Heather Shirey’s spring 2017 class “Photography of Africa and the African Diaspora.” She was further convinced of her topic after spending 6 weeks in China in the summer of 2017, particularly after her visit to the Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Centre. Utilizing her background in both contemporary and Chinese art history, this paper offered her an opportunity to combine a variety of her art historical interests.
Margaret George is writing her qualifying paper about the new Catholic Charities building complex, Dorothy Day Place, in downtown Saint Paul. She proposes, in a time when fewer sacred spaces devoted to religious experience are being constructed, that this complex with its transformative model for the homeless created by Catholic Charities coupled with the socially conscious architecture of Cermak Rhoades Architects could be a new definition of sacred space. She supports that with some research she did on monastic architecture which has similarities to the design fulfilling the housing needs of the Dorothy Day residents. Margaret became interested in this topic during the class Contemporary Architecture taught by Dr. Victoria Young. She also has volunteered with Catholic Charities and found their work inspirational, a connection she has made to this new residence.
Amanda Lesnikowski has been at St. Thomas since 2009 when she began her undergraduate degree with the department of Art History. Returning to St. Thomas to complete her M.A. was a natural fit! Through the lens of memory theory, her paper will examine how architecture at two memorial museums, the National September 11th Memorial and Museum in New York and the Museum of the Second World War in Poland, convey an understanding of institutional memory tied to the tragic events of 9/11 and WWII, respectively. This research is important given the current boom in dark tourism and the resulting growth of commodification of tragedies. The tourism industry has seen a spike in the number of people that flock to sites of tragedy, like Ground Zero, to feel a personal connection to the people that died. She will consider with each the role of site, institutional memory approach, and the responsibility of being a memorial in a museum. This research was inspired by a seminar with Dr. Victoria Young on contemporary architecture.
Keith Pille is shocked to be nearing the end of four years as a student in the art history department. After deciding against such qualifying paper topics as “the role of embroidered suits in the visual culture of mid-20th century country music” and “imaginary built environments in Pixar movies,” he is deep into the process of revising a qualifying paper on autobiographical comics made by women. These comics are fascinating because they 1) provide a powerful channel for women to tell their own stories in a manner and environment that they control, and 2) represent a unique way for individual voices to be heard in a very crowded media landscape. They are also fun to read and think about, and allow for such abstract questions as what the proper level of formality is when discussing a comic strip called The Fart Party. This project is a natural culmination of Keith’s longtime interest in independent comics and art made by members of communities that are sidelined by artistic and cultural establishments.
Lindsay Simmons is writing her qualifying paper on the National Museum of African American History and Culture located in Washington D.C. She is interested in the memorial based architectural design elements of the museum and is writing about how these features create more meaningful experiences for visitors. She became interested in this topic while taking Dr. Young’s War Museums and Memorials class last spring when she wrote a paper on the architecture and design of the military exhibits within the NMAAHC. She believes this topic is important to explore because this museum has had a large impact on the millions of visitors it has had since its opening in 2016, and the memorial design features allow for a deeper, more personal understanding of America’s history.