Strong motive is generally a prerequisite for a strong argument. When authors respond to a particular puzzle or incongruity in their evidence, they narrow the scope of their argument and also clarify its implications. Papers with compelling motives often tap into broader personal or societal narratives. For example, editor Emily Wu points out that Sam Bisno’s paper builds on an incongruity in a painting by David Hammon to explore the artist’s storytelling and its relationship to the Civil Rights Movement. Ayra Maheshwari’s paper on air pollution in India and the accompanying editor commentary also focus on global motive. Conversely, in her discussion of Willow Dalehite’s paper on Irish music, editor Natalia Zorilla emphasizes the personal narratives that motivate Dalehite’s argument. Both Christina Cho’s and Owen Travis’ editor commentaries (discussing David Veldran’s paper for the Philosophy Department’s Aesthetics and Film Junior Seminar and Anais Mobarak’s paper on Hugo Chávez’s mythologization of Simón Bolívar, respectively) focus on scholarly motive. Despite their scholarly framing, both papers engage with the role of narrative in today’s society: the stories we tell, whether through film or political mythology, affect our ethical interpretation of our surroundings.
— Frances Mangina, ’22