In a Tortoiseshell: In his essay, Jayaditya “Jojo” Deep analyzes conflicting research about the psychology of conspiracy theorists. In his introduction, Jojo details a hypothetical scenario that immediately captivates a reader’s attention and creates an understanding of how conspiracy theories propagate. Continuing, Jojo uses this hypothetical scenario to lay the context of his main conspiracy of study—Ong’s Hat—before explaining how this case sheds light on the related psychological literature. Continue reading
In a Tortoiseshell: In her paper, Maya Chande pairs mathematical and historical analyses in order to provide a possible explanation for the higher concentrations of yellow in Vincent van Gogh’s paintings. By conducting a cross-disciplinary analysis based on van Gogh’s letters, biography, and a mathematical examination of van Gogh’s use of color, Maya concludes that the higher concentrations of yellow can be attributed to shifts in van Gogh’s personal life. This excerpt highlights the way Maya weaves together scholars from various disciplines in order to create a clear scholarly motive and then skips to Maya’s conclusions. Continue reading
In a Tortoiseshell: In her essay, Julia Zhou uses an unconventional primary source to argue that while male-led Chinese TikTok dances engage in gender subversion, they do so by operating within an artistic framework that welcomes innovation. To help readers engage with her analysis, Julia carefully describes key choreographic techniques, then orients readers to the significance of each technique. Having made the dances legible to her readers, she then engages in a rewarding close reading of their choreography.
In a Tortoiseshell: In the following introduction and excerpted body paragraphs from her final Writing Seminar paper on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Paige Min adopts an against-the-grain argument. She complicates the mainstream understanding of the text, namely that good children like Charlie who resist capitalistic temptations are rewarded while bad children who succumb to their desires are not. Paige frames her motive and thesis by orienting the reader to this common argument. Based on a close reading of the text, she argues that the story actually normalizes dangerous elements of capitalism and teaches children to blindly accept authority. Continue reading
In a Tortoiseshell: In the final paper for her Writing Seminar, “Gamification,” Theresa Lim argues that gamified elements of the MyFitnessPal app push users towards the unhealthy end of the eating behavior spectrum. Her cross-disciplinary analysis creatively combines scholarship in psychology, nutrition, and game theory. By carefully defining relevant key terms from these disciplines, and by clearly illustrating how the concepts she defines intersect in the MyFitnessPal app, Theresa arrives at a nuanced argument and makes important contributions to the scholarly conversation. Continue reading
In a Tortoiseshell: In her paper, Katherine McIntire analyzes the Disney World theme park “Frontierland,” arguing that by relying on the historically inaccurate concept of the lone cowboy it promotes problematic values that are antithetical to Walt Disney’s philosophy. Her incredibly clear introduction orients the reader to the analytic work she plans to do and to the many sources she plans to consult while constructing her argument. By giving herself space to tease out the specifics of her primary source and the various key terms relevant to her argument, Katherine effectively lays the groundwork for her motive and thesis. Continue reading
In a Tortoiseshell: In his paper that investigates the role of faith based organizations in American anti- trafficking efforts, Nathnael Mengistie takes on the existing scholarly establishment through the use of an eloquent and compelling motive. By illustrating that the existing scholarly conversation, which focuses on whether faith-based organizations are effective in their work, overlooks the important fundamental question of why faith-based organizations are involved in anti-trafficking efforts to begin with, Nathnael produces a meaningful and needed reframing of the conversation surrounding the role of faith-based organizations in anti-trafficking efforts.
In a Tortoiseshell: In this excerpt of her essay on genetic enhancement and therapy, Asher Joy exemplifies how to create a motivated thesis by engaging in a complex, scientific debate. Drawing on interdisciplinary sources, Asher adds her own contribution to the debate at hand by pointing out a particular issue with the discourse surrounding genetic modifications and discusses the implications of such an error. Continue reading
In a Tortoiseshell: In this excerpt of her essay, Yuxi Zheng solidifies her thesis by analyzing scenes from Dolce & Gabbana commercials. Yuxi takes special care to break down the minute details of each scene to explain the messages conveyed through the dialog, acting, and directorial edits. By engaging in this close looking, Yuxi makes an astute argument that explains why D&G was not able to create an advertisement that successfully catered to the intended Chinese audience. Continue reading
In a Tortoiseshell: In her R3, Nanako Shirai argues that surgical masks in Japan have transformed from individually-oriented devices meant to protect against the spread of the H1N1 virus into symbols of Japanese collective identity and social duty. Her thesis extends from a clear research question and motive, as well as from a strong set of evidence, which help make it feel new and interesting.