CHADRON – Three Chadron State College students submitted successful paper proposals for an undergraduate conference, Victorian Pasts, Presents, and Futures, designed by students at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin, with the guidance of Lara Karpenko, associate professor of English.
The CSC students are Harley Rhoades of Douglas, Wyoming, Sarah Wagoner of Gering, Nebraska, and Ezra Hare of Chadron. Although unforeseen circumstances prevented Hare from delivering his paper during the April 29 conference, both Rhoades and Wagoner presented their work, which was well received, according to Assistant Professor of English Dr. Kim Cox.
The papers emerged from the students’ final papers for Major Writers: Oscar Wilde (ENG 442) taught by Cox in Fall 2020. She mentored the students as they prepared their papers for the conference.
Rhoades made a case for teaching Oscar Wilde's The Canterville Ghost, alongside his Impressions of America to high school students.
According to Cox, Wagoner’s paper was a fresh take of her own construction on the Guillermo del Toro film Crimson Peak.
“She asserts there's a relationship between childhood and domestic violence and the incestuous relationship at the center of the film, paying particular attention to the film's color story,” Cox said.
Hare’s paper explored the character known as The Dwarf in Wilde's children's story, The Birthday of the Infanta. Hare made an argument for the importance of considering how children's literature has historically depicted and constructed the idea of disability.
Rhoades said presenting for the virtual conference was one of the most unique public speaking situations he has experienced.
“My goal was that the people, specifically English education majors, listening to my presentation would be interested in using it in their future classrooms. Also, I was open to any suggestions that might improve the unit I created. Overall, it was great to connect with other students in my field of study from across the country and internationally,” Rhoades said.
Wagoner said she appreciated the supportive atmosphere of the virtual conference.
“Everyone was very kind as well as open to discussing interpretations of Victorian art. I felt very encouraged by this attitude and the wonderful presentations I was in the presence of,” Wagoner said. “I believe exploration of disturbing themes says much of how far we have come in discussing taboo subjects especially the subject of abuse. Presenting this to peers opens up the important conversation a little more.”
Hare said it was an honor to have his paper accepted.
“I was really proud of the paper I wrote for this conference, so it was really reaffirming to have it accepted. I got to listen and discuss some brilliant ideas during the conference which has me motivated to try and submit something else for another conference in the future,” Hare said.
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