Final Presentation Recap

In my original presentation, I knew I wanted to focus on the Beat Movement of the 40’s and 50’s and the artists who were involved. After reading The Typewriter is Holy, however, I realized that I hated every member of what I had previously thought of as the “Beat Generation.” In The Typewriter is Holy, Bill Morgans thesis was that Allen Ginsberg was the head of the Beat Generation. The more I thought about this thesis, the more I realized that I wanted to argue a similar idea with a different subject. From the beginning of my research I was drawn to Carolyn Cassady, the only consistent woman figure in the group. She also seemed to me to be the only morally upright person, which also attracted me. After finishing Cassady’s memoir, Off the Road, and with the help of our class session last week, I decided that I wanted to argue that Cassady acted as the “mother” for the entire group of the Beats surrounding her (including her husband, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg).

Thus my subject changed from the beat movement to Carolyn Cassady’s influence on the Beat Movement. I’m curious to see how Carolyn’s influence can change the accepted idea of the Beat Generation as a male-dominated movement. I am still going to use the letters between the Cassadys, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg as sources, but now my main source is going to be Carolyn’s book. I am fascinated by Carolyn’s independent spirit in a decade dominated by the image of the ideal housewife.

In a letter to Neal, Allen Ginsberg writes, “Jack is full of Carolyn’s praises and nominates her to replace Joan Burroughs as Ideal Mother Image, Madwoman, chick and ignu” (Cassady 184). While raising three children by herself, Carolyn also tried to teach the men of the Beat Generation responsibility and morals. I don’t think it matters whether or not she succeeded in her final goal; what is important is that she tried. While she did divorce Neal before his death, she stayed faithful to him until his death, and she loved him for many years after their divorce. This faithfulness and kindness kept the Beat Generation together for longer than the men were interested in it.

One of Neal’s lovers wrote to Carolyn after Neal’s death, summing up Carolyn’s personality perfectly: “Please try to find some happiness for yourself- you’ve lived for him so long, and you’ll get and deserve such pleasure if you’d love someone else. I love you Carolyn. And I wish you all the tolerance, patience and devotion you’ve shown, and love” (Cassady 426).

A proposal: American missionary women in Asia

In previous assignments, I in part explored how North American women contributed to the U.S. project of economic and cultural imperialism in the Panama Canal Zone during the canal construction period. For our final project I’ve unwittingly fallen into a similar topic: I will be looking at the experiences of Protestant missionary women working in East Asia. I hope to contribute to the ongoing debate about whether or not these women were agents of U.S. cultural imperialism abroad by pulling from the letters of Dickinson graduate of 1911 and missionary doctor Julia Morgan. However, I am still struggling to limit the scope of my project and examine this popular topic from an original angle.

Paper Proposal

For my research topic I have decided to focus on United States Army medics in both World War One and Two. I plan on comparing and contrasting the training, equipment, and their effects on the combat experiences of Army medics in both World War One and World War Two. Medics were an integral part of the medical evacuation system and the first line of care for casualties prior to being sent to the rear field hospitals. For World War Two accounts I will be researching accounts from all theaters of combat the army medics were involved in. This is important for my research as the three theaters of World War Two are integral to the application of different adaptations the medics had to make, and the utilization of new medical technologies in relation to casualty rates. Relating to the combat experiences of the medics I will research the new innovations in both weaponry and medicine. Advances in medicine such as sulfa drugs and penicillin were both developed and mass produced in the 1930’s and 1940’s, and helped to decrease casualty rates due to bacterial infection and venereal disease. Through researching the different experiences of Army medics in both World War One and Two, I will be able to trace the evolution of the medics’ importance in the Army and changing experiences due to the differing warfare styles and medical innovations in both time periods.

Paper Proposal

For my final paper I have chosen to learn more about the Trout Gallery and how it has evolved since it was founded by Helen and Ruth Trout in 1983.  The Trout Gallery currently owns over 6,000 pieces in its permanent art collection, as well as it loans art pieces to place on exhibit.  The exhibits rotate on a frequent basis, which allows more opportunities to explore different types of artwork.  The Trout Gallery is utilized by professors and students from Dickinson as well as regional schools.  There are numerous opportunities to explore the exhibits that are displayed throughout the years.

I am specifically interested in comparing the economic status of the Trout Gallery.  I would like to know how the Gallery handles its finances.  Along with the finances, I am curious to know how they select pieces to be displayed in exhibits or to be apart of its permanent collection.  I want to focus on the guidelines and requirements the Gallery has in the selection process.

Paper Proposal

For my final paper, I will be writing about the Dickinson Health Center, how it began, and how it has evolved into what it is today. It began in 1944 as the “Fink House”, which was purchased as a residence and turned into an infirmary.The Health center was unofficially named the Fink House after the long time director Oneta Fink. A few years later, the house was split into two sections, one for faculty residences, and the other as the infirmary. It was then moved into Drayer Hall, which at the time was an all women’s dormitory. It was stocked and able to respond to any students need, to include flu outbreaks which had broken out. As time progressed and the college continued to develop, I was very curious as to how the birth control and contraception were viewed, used, and distributed by the college to their students. Officially, in 1987 condoms were given out free of charge to both male and female students. In 2009, an article was published in the school paper, The Dickinsonian, which discussed the other types of contraceptives that would be available for students in the Health Center. In my opinion, this topic is very important and interesting to discuss because the Health Center is a place where students can go and discuss anything pertinent without their parents ever having knowledge if the student chooses. Students are actually required to sign a form to allow the Health Center to share information with parents.  To see the progression and the development of the Health Center and the easy accessibility for students to get medicines, among other types of care,  can make life much easier for college students.

The Effects of Collectivism, and a Lack of Individuality on the “Individual” In Anthem and We

The Effects of Collectivism, and a Lack of Individuality on the “Individual” In Anthem and We  By Katie Mooradian:


I plan to analyze individuality in both Ayn Rand’s Anthem, and Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We. I hope to find similarities between how their limited opportunities for individuality, take away their humanity. Both stories feature a removal of “human universals” such as choosing a mate, and child rearing by their natural parents, which compete against what we today would term as human nature. I am assuming that the protagonists of each story will share similar personality traits, and that I can analyze how their lack of individuality affects their overall psyche. I plan to analyze this information directly from the texts. I also wish to look at differences between societies, most specifically how each government keeps control over its citizens, and how they maintain a lack of individuality among them. We has technology, but the government highly oppresses their citizens with laws, and police who have nearly complete visibility of all citizens including their home lives because every one lives in glass houses. This creates very complacent citizens who fear disobeying any rules, as well as other individuals who ban together in an organized rebel group. In Anthem society has regressed, and is now less technologically advanced by state mandate. Citizens have very restricted freedom of choice in how they live their lives from childrearing, to career choice.  These topics may eventually lead into talking about revolutions by the protagonists against the rest of society, and what acted as their catalyst. Both stories include another female character who helps to assist the main character, but Anthem ends much more successfully with the creation of a new society, whereas any progress made in We was annihilated by the government.

There is much writing on the biblical references in both We and Anthem, which describe how both novella’s include two main characters, one male, and one female. They are both said to be expelled for “Eden” to create new societies, in the same way as Adam and Eve. Although there are some works done describing individuality in each book separately I have only been able to find one article by Peter Saint-Andre titled Zamyatin and Rand which tries to analyze the books together. Saint-Andre focuses on the similarities between both utopias, why they collapse or do not function properly, and similarities in structure. Since I have not read We I am unable to draw further conclusions just yet, but I hope to see connection to how a lack of individuality takes away what could be considered natural human behaviors, and how it spoils a potential utopia, transforming the societies into dystopias.

The primary sources that I will be using are of course both novels themselves, as well as a variety of criticisms of each novels, focusing on sections involving individualities, human nature, and reasons why each society is a dystopia. Literature such as Human Nature in Utopia: Zamyatin’s We, and Needs of the Psyche in Ayn Rand’s Early Ethical Thought will speculate on how collectivism effects the “individual’s” emotional wellbeing and shape their interactions with the world. Where-as Deception of Self in Zamyatin’s We focuses more exclusively on how the lack of individuality changes the lives of characters in We. Nearly all criticisms of Anthem discuss the lack of individuality because it is such an obvious part of the book since “I” and “Ego” are entirely removed from the book, and it is such a turning point when the main character discovers these words and their implications.

I own both of the primary sources for my topic which helps make this paper more practical, but I am struggling with secondary sources, especially for Rand. I am able to find informative pieces on all the subjects I am looking to cover in the databases, but Dickinson doesn’t own many of the books and journals I need for my paper so I will have to take out interlibrary loans for all the sources for Anthem, as well as the majority of sources for We. I am hoping that the library will be able to help me get access to them, otherwise my research topic will be somewhat impractical. Overall I have found more related information than I had originally expected to find, and the scope of my project has broadened. I plan to focus the majority of my attention on the affects of individuality, but since that is so interconnected with concepts such as human nature and the structure of government in We and Anthem both will inevitably be included, and articles on those topics are likely to also include information about individuality.



Works Cited

Primary Sources:

Rand, Ayn. Anthem. Champaign, Ill.: Project Gutenberg, 1938.

Anthem was written by Ayn Rand in an attempt to warn of the dangers of collectivism. The novella takes place in the future, but the date is not specified. Technology has been limited, and individuality has been entirely removed from their society to the point where “I” and “Ego” are no longer part of citizens vocabulary. As in We individuality is removed for the collective will of the people. The main character, Equality 7-2521 has lost much of his humanity due to the way citizens are raised, which includes being raised by someone other than biological parents, he may not choose his profession, and is not allowed to have friends. The names in Anthem are similar to We in that people are primarily identified by numbers.

Zamyatin, Evgeniĭ Ivanovich. We. New York: Viking Press, 1972.

We is a novel which is focused primarily on the idea of surveillance. The main character D-503 living in a house made of glass which removes all possibility of privacy for the citizens of One State, a futuristic nation. The way of life in D-503’s country also limits individualism. Characters are forced to march in formation, there are strict rules controlling relationships, and children are also raised by the state. Collectivism and government control has a very obvious effect on the personalities of the characters, most specifically D-503 who is wary of breaking the laws, when compared to the rebel I-330 who is in an organization, MEPHI which is revolting against the government and its restrictions.

Secondary Sources:

Berman, Michael. “Studies on Themes and Motifs in Literature.” In Disguise, Deception, Trompe-l’œil: Interdisciplinary Perspectives.. New York: Peter Lang, 2009. 133-148.

Brook, Yaron. “The Ayn Rand Institute: News and Highlights.” The Ayn Rand Institute: Center for the Advancement of Objectivism. (accessed September 20, 2012).

Cooke, Brett. Human Nature in Utopia: Zamyatin’s We. Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 2002.

Doyle, Peter. “Zamyatin’s Philosophy, Humanism, and ‘We:’ A Critical Appraisal.” Renaissance & Modern Studies 28 (1984): 1-17.

Mayhew, Robert. Essays on Ayn Rand’s Anthem. Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books, 2005.

Saint-Andre, Peter. “Zamyatin and Rand.” Journal of Ayn Rand studies 4, no. 2 (2003): 285-304. (accessed September 30, 2012).

Saint-Andre works to analyze both We and Anthem together. He looks at similarities in the structure of the writing, and of the utopias themselves. He points out many parallels experienced by both of the main characters including their way of life within each society. They experience the same types of upbringing, and neither was able to choose his own profession. This article has proven very helpful because it is very thorough and detailed.

Smith, Natalie . “Human Nature in Utopia: Zamyatin’s “We” .” Slavic and East European Journal 47, no. 2 (2003): 317-319.

Wegner, Philip. “On Zamyatin’s We: A Critical Map of Utopia’s ‘Possible Worlds.” Utopian Studies 4, no. 2 (1993): 94,23.

Paper Proposal

American society is one that values boldness and strength, and the person getting the attention is most often the one demanding it.  People are recognized and rewarded for being outgoing.  Success and happiness are often associated with sociability and popularity among peers, while loneliness is often associated with introversion.  However, a significant portion—at least a third—of the American population consists of wallflowers, of people who’d rather listen than be heard.  In my essay, I’d like to discuss the value of the quiet ones, and bring attention to the household names that belong to people who were brilliant and introverted, such as Einstein and Van Gogh.  One doesn’t need to be extroverted to be social, and one shouldn’t need to be ostentatious to be heard.

Loneliness is a state of being or mind. It is circumstantial, it is almost always negative, and it is also very different than being alone.  Introversion is not just a choice, it is a personality trait and it characterizes the lifestyles of millions of people.  In my essay, I would like to discuss the differences of loneliness and being alone, as well as the affects of both on many peoples’ health and way of life.  To define and explore loneliness and how it affects people, I will refer to essays and research summaries written and reviewed by licensed doctors and psychologists, some of which can be found on  In addition, I’m watching an hour long film released by Cornell University, titled The Anatomy of Loneliness, which outlines the effects of social isolation (real and perceived) on cognition and health.

The next questions I want to address are as follows: what is it about boisterousness that is so attractive?  Is it just that the loud ones are the easiest to see, and people tend not to put the effort into understanding unassertive people?  Ostentatiousness is unmistakable, but is it as valuable as it seems?  Why or why not?  Before I begin to answer these, I’d like to define “introvert” and “extrovert” and compare them and the associations with which they come.  An article in Time Magazine called The Upside of Being an Introvert (and Why Extroverts are Overrated), available online from the Dickinson Library, outlines the differences between introverts and extroverts, and references many psychological studies of child development in an attempt to pinpoint what external factors may contribute to introversion.  Similarly, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain, includes many narratives from individuals that consider themselves introverts, as well as Cain’s views on why introverts are undervalued in America. She lists famous, successful, and highly influential people who were/are also “quiet”, and goes on to explain why dismissing introverted people is dangerous for the growth and success of America.  This book, which can be taken out from the Dickinson Library, will be very helpful, because it includes first-hand accounts and explanations of what it is like to be a quiet person in a very loud community, and will help me to explain what it really means to be an introvert, and why it is just as (if not more) valuable as being an extrovert.

I hope that differentiating between introversion and loneliness will set my paper apart form other writing, due to the fact that it combines and compares two related, but very different concepts.  I want to clarify that introverts and extroverts are both valuable members of society, and examine why it is that the latter is held in such high esteem, when so many of the worlds most famous thinkers, activists, and political figures were “wallflowers”.




Cain, Susan. Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking. New York: Crown Publishers, 2012.

In Quiet, Cain refers to psychological as well as neuroscience studies in her explanations of the differences between introverts and extroverts.  Cain compiles her own experiences with research and tales from other people to determine why America undervalues introverts, and how that hinders society.

Christakis, Nicholas A., and James H. Fowler. Connected: the surprising power of our social networks and how they shape our lives. New York: Little, Brown and Co., 2009.

Kahneman, Daniel. Thinking, fast and slow. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011.

The Anatomy of Loneliness. Film. Directed by Cornell University. Ithaca: Cornell University, 2010.

The Anatomy of Loneliness is an hour long documentary film featuring John Cacioppo, an University of Chicago psychologist, as he summarizes his research on the effect that isolation has on the brains, the bodies, and the personalities of socially-deprived individuals.



Brock-Abraham, Cleo, and Bryan Walsh. “The Upside of Being an Introvert (and Why Extroverts are Overrated).” time, February 6, 2012, 40-45.

Goodman, Brenda. “Loneliness Linked to Death, Disability.” WebMD – Better information. Better health.. (accessed September 30, 2012).

Osterweil, Neil. “Putting Presidents to the Personality Test.” WebMD – Better information. Better health.. (accessed September 30, 2012).

Parker-Pope, Tara. “Why Loneliness Can Be Contagious.” New York Times, December 1, 2009. (accessed September 28, 2012).

WebMD Health News. “New Ways of Looking at Wallflowers.” WebMD – Better information. Better health.. (accessed September 29, 2012).

Zelenski, John M., Maya S. Santoro, and Deanna C. Whelan. “Would Introverts be Better Off if they Acted More Like Extraverts? Exploring Emotional and Cognitive Consequences of Counter Dispositional Behavior..” Emotion 12, no. 2 (2012): 290-303.


The Success of Celebration, Florida (Paper Proposal)

Sam Bellissimo

Paper Proposal

In my research paper, I plan on discussing the town of Celebration, Florida, which was an intentional community proposed by Walt Disney himself. Intentional communities have been attempted a variety of different times over the past hundred years, but despite the good intentions they are created with, failure has proven to be much more prominent than success. Celebration was founded less than fifteen years ago, so unlike other communities where one can blatantly identify achievement (or more often, lack of,) it is still developing and thus has much room for improvement. I plan to divide my paper into the following three sections to address the three basic aspects that will hopefully aid me in making a final judgment as to whether Celebration has been successful or not.

The first section will outline the mantra and goals of Celebration, in order to lay a foundation for the rest of the paper. One cannot begin to analyze a town without taking into account why, by whom, and under what premises it was founded. Were certain rules established from the start to make it as ideal as possible? Was it created in the name of perfection, or did the founders recognize early on that trying to make everything perfect would be impossible? These are important questions I plan on proposing in my paper. Branching off of that, the second section will dive into how the members of Celebration plan on executing and living by the ideals under which the town was created. This thought will lead into additional questions revolving around how Celebration is maintained. Is there a local branch of government? Are there events within the town to bring the community together, and thus create a friendly, almost Utopian environment? Questions like these will help generate information that will help me formulate an opinion in regard to the success of the town, which will take place in the third section. This third section will take all of the information from the previous two sections and use them as evidence to help establish exactly how successful the town has been thus far. There has been murder, homicide within Celebration- but do those controversies lessen the quality of life, or are they simply just a bump in the road? Controversial findings like this- and more- will be evaluated and will ideally help me come to a conclusion about the town.

I think the “so what” aspect of my paper will be some of the previously mentioned questions. Disney is often associated with being “the happiest place on earth,” so I think people will be interested to see how a town not only founded by Disney, but located ten minutes away from Disney World, will function. Will it be just like the theme park, where everything is highly functional and there is no room for corruption and imperfection? Will it be so ideal that it compares to Thomas More’s idea of a Utopia? In the novel Celebration, U.S.A.: Living in Disney’s Brave New Town, the author mentions the town being criticized for the lack of diversity, claiming that it is “elitist: gingerbread glosses over social inequity” (Frantz.) Can Celebration be successful in acting on its cornerstones of “health, education, technology, sense of community, and sense of place” when such comments are being made about it? Additionally, intentional communities are really dying down in the world, so I believe that people might take interest in how one functions in the first place.

Unfortunately, not much work has been done on Celebration prior to my essay. As previously mentioned, it was founded pretty recently, and thus has not been under the public eye as much as one might have expected. The majority of the sources I found were articles that were either written for a newspaper and put online afterwards, or were written with the sole intention of being published on the Internet. However, the Celebration official website was very helpful in providing me with information about the foundation and intentions of the town, while Frantz’s novel about living in Celebration gave me the unbiased perspective of a resident. Additionally, I was able to discover information about Walt Disney’s original vision for the Celebration community when I discovered author Kathleen Hogan on the Virginia University database. For example, I learned that the town was originally going to be called EPCOT (short for the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow), but that EPCOT was too much like a futuristic Utopia, and was instead turned into a Disney World theme attraction. I struggled with finding print sources, but I do believe that I was able to unveil a variety of different sources online that will help me learn more about Celebration.



Primary Sources:

“Official Website of the Community of Celebration| Located next to Walt Disney World | Celebration, FL.” Official Website of the Community of Celebration, 2011. Accessed September 25, 2012.

–          This is the Celebration, Florida official website, and is very informative when it comes to the basics of the town. A variety of information tidbits are present here, such as the mantra, goals, and cornerstones that Celebration prides itself in having. It is a very tourist friendly site, so not only does it apply to native  Celebration members when it outlines community events and such, but it also talks about restaurants and other attractions that visitors might be interested in. This source is probably a bit biased because it was made by an official of the town, but it is informative just the same.

Booth, William. “Planet Mouse: At Disney’s Tomorrowland, The Future Is a Timid Creature.” The Washington Post, June 24, 1998. Accessed September 30, 2012.

Frantz, Douglas, and Collins, Catherine. Celebration, U.S.A.: Living in Disney’s Brave New Town. New York: Holt Paperbacks, 2000.

–          Though I have yet to read the entire novel, by reading a few different summaries and the first chapter, I can tell that this book is a valuable source. Journalists Frantz and Collins moved from Westport, Connecticut to Celebration, Florida in 1997. The novel tells of what it was like to live there from the nonbiased, open-minded perspective of this family new to the town. From what I can tell, there is insight on everything from real estate to the education system, so the breadth really allows for one to gain insight into the town through the eyes of actual citizens.

Pollan, Michael. “Town-Building Is No Mickey Mouse Operation”. New York Times Magazine, December 14, 1997. Accessed September 25, 2012.

Severson, Kim. “Celebration, Florida, Has Its First Killing.” The New York Times Online, December 2, 2010. Accessed September 25, 2012.

Quinn, Judy. “Disney Town Sparks (at least) Two Books.” Publisher’s Weekly, March 10, 1997. Accessed September 30, 2012.

Wisch, Robyn. “How Far Are We From Disney’s Utopia?” KVNO News Online, April 6, 2011. Accessed September 25, 2012.


Secondary Sources:

Hogan, Kathleen. “Walt’s Vision.” American Studies at the University of Virginia. Accessed September 27, 2012.

–          I found this source to be extremely useful, because it went into the history of Walt Disney’s intentions and what he had planned Celebration to be. Unlike many of the other websites I encountered, that told of people living in Celebration, this one was very factual and provided me with great historical context. For example, had I not found this source I would not have known details like what kind of land Walt was looking for when he rented a private plane to fly over Florida, or the fact that theme park of EPCOT had been originally intended to be this intentional community.

Hogan, Kathleen. “Celebration, Florida.” American Studies at the University of Virginia. Accessed September 27, 2012.





Paper Proposal


Where Technology meets Religion

While reading and analyzing Plato’s The Republic and More’s Utopia through class discussion, it has been made quite clear that human nature poses a major problem in shaping ideal societies. No “perfect” society can truly be formed. Even in films like “Metropolis” and “Gattaca” it was greed, lust, anger and pride that led to failures of their technological worlds and made it a dystopia. However, would those worlds have succeeded if there was a way to limit human desires? Karl Marx argues in the Communist Manifesto that it is the unsatisfying human wants that will lead to innovation and make capitalism prosper but in the process it will also create class differences and essentially, a dystopia. However, even Marx’s theory would be proved wrong if wants were restrained. Is it possible for capitalism to exist without having class difference oppression? Or is instant social revolution always the answer? My paper’s objective will be to apply the religious practices in More’s Utopia and the education methodologies in Plato’s Republic to the technological utopian society in I, Robot. Combining each of these authors’ ideas may possibly unveil the ideal society they were striving to achieve. It may also mean that happiness for all may not mean sacrificing the happiness of the capitalists through communism, as Marx had suggested in the Manifesto.

The impending problem to any technological utopia is the volatile temperament of human nature, which is swayed by the slightest selfish nudge. Therefore, we must somehow control this desire or want in humans. In Plato’s The Republic and More’s Utopia, we come across many ways in which the authors propose to control this yearning. Compulsive religious affiliation as in More’s Utopia will allow people to strive for spiritual means rather than materialistic things. While looking for a way to find the religious enlightenment they will discard greed, lust, anger and pride. In More’s Utopia we see that happiness cannot be found from wealth, rather from the satisfaction that comes from helping others and devoting yourself towards religion and self-sacrifice. Fearing the repercussions of causing chaos in this world prevents violent or selfish thoughts. Could religious association serve as a restraint to the unlimited wants that humans naturally desire?
With that said, there also must be a way to enforce these ideas and provide a strong sense of discipline and faith within the people. Here, I would like to use Plato’s ideas of raising the philosopher king and guardians which he had identified in books 2,3,4 and 8. If selfish wants and the desire for better life are not encouraged in society will they ultimately become obsolete?
Robbin (1969) in his article “Utopia: Ideal or Illusion” illustrates that the concepts in Utopia were not as optimistic and impractical as suggested by critics, rather they were quite applicable in real life. Dominique (2009) in his article “The More Part: Upstaging the Law” agrees that More also did believe that good will and the right sense of justice could create a utopia.
On the contrary in Kessler’s, “Religious Setting for More’s Utopia“, he discusses that More’s work was strongly influenced by his resentment of the Catholic Church for their one religion propaganda and the English monarchy, which ran on the King’s personal motives rather than the good of the people. In the same way, Plato resented society because it killed his teacher, Socrates and led him to believe that democracy was flawed because the opinions of the majority were not always correct and therefore his Republic believes in an elitist society. These works were flawed because they were not completely unbiased and hence, could not achieve the ideal society that they were thriving for.

The work is quite original in that no one has so far compared Plato or More with the movie I, Robot, let alone integrated these ideas to form a Utopia. However, there are many that have analyzed the similarities between Plato’s and More’s works and how one influenced the other (Miles, Leland, “The Platonic Source of Utopia’s ‘Minimum Religion’“). Furthermore, a utopia without extreme insurgent ideas is relatively new as previous utopian writers have suggested that it would be impossible to model a new society while following the rules of the present one or without undergoing a revolution.
In regards to research materials, I already have the books, “The Republic”, “Utopia” and “The Communist Manifesto”. The film, I, Robot can either borrowed from the library or viewed online through any one of the popular video streaming websites. My secondary sources i.e. the articles and books are available through Dickinson College Library Database (EbscoHost) and their personal catalog.


Plato, . The Republic. New York: Dover Thrift, 2000.
Plato recounts the dialogues that Socrates had with other students and fellow citizens to answer the question, “What is Justice?” and the what makes a ‘perfect’ state. He uses metaphors and different allegories to try to understand the concept of justice in different contexts. Finally he comes to the conclusion that they could do all the thinking they wanted but maybe true justice is something unachievable by humans in their current state. This book also gives methodologies on raising leaders or effective members of society which I believe are essential to apply to the ideal society proposed in my paper.

More, Thomas. Utopia. New York: Dover Thrift, 1997.
More imagines a perfect world in a island separated from the rest of society. His world practices religious tolerance, excessive democracy and the people do not own property. His society prospers on optimistic belief in human nature and mostly positive fundamentals. More’s emphasis on religion and good practices are a vital element in controlling human wants which I intend to show with my paper.


Marx, Karl, and Freidrich Engels. The Communist Manifesto. New York: Dover Thrift, 2003.

Proyas, Alex. “I, Robot.” Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Mediastream Vierte Film       GmbH & Co.             Vermarktungs KG, Davis Entertainment. Decem,14 2012. DVD
The film is about a technological utopia where robots are the ones doing all sorts of labor and making the lives of humans easier. Although the film’s main focus is around a homicide of one of the major scientists who developed robotics, it shows what a society where capitalism is successful can be like. It helped me see what a technological utopia could be like and hence is also an important setting for my paper.

Johnson, Robbin S. More’s Utopia: Ideal and Illusion. N.p.: Yale University Press, 1969.

Here the author explores some of the concrete and realistic(idyllic) features of More’s Utopia and the concepts to be learnt from it. People can learn about human nature and themselves from Utopia and can learn know how their evils can be controlled and also what human society should aspire to be like. Thomas More’s work should not be criticized for being too optimistic rather consulted for its realistic aspects that can be applied in real life. The author cites the opinions of articles that analyze the pragmatic concepts of Utopia.

Miles, Leland. “The Platonic Source of Utopia’s ‘Minimum Religion’.” Renaissance News  9,         vol.2 (1956): 83-90.

Goy-Blanquet, Dominique. “‘The More Part’: Upstaging the Law.” Law and Humanities 3., vol. 2
(2009): 151-74.

This article tries to answer if More believed in his ideas that good law and education can run a society well and did he believe some laws could be changed so that a perfect society can exist with flaws.
His behavior in life contradicted his ideas. However, since he died upholding his sense of justice he possibly could have believed some of them. More’s doubt in his ideas not only reflected in his ideas but also in his life decisions. The author draws on contradictions between More’s life choices and principles in Utopia by referring to accounts More’s Biography.

Sanford, Kessler. “Religious Freedom in Thomas More’s “Utopia”.” The Review of Politics 64, no. 2          (2002): 207-229.

Paper proposal

  • I want to examine the effect that photography as propaganda can have on a society.  Photographs are the ultimate tools of manipulation because they are seen as facts/reality/truth. In reality, photographs are easily manipulated and can cause people to believe whatever they see, without considering what “lies beyond the frame.”  Because of peoples’ tendencies to believe whatever is in a photograph, photography is often used in propaganda by governments in an attempt to sway the people in a certain direction. I will examine propaganda from Nazi Germany that was used to persuade Germans that Jews are inherently “bad” and are the cause of all their problems. Propaganda in Nazi Germany often involved unflattering photographs of Jews, causing people to view them in a negative light. Ultimately, photography played a huge role in turning Germany against the Jews.  I will go on to discuss propaganda in democratic societies and how, although we may not consider it propaganda, photography has often been used as a means of persuasion in America. For example, during the great depression, the Farm Security Administration produced many photographs depicting the impact of the depression on rural America.  The goal of these photos was to sway public opinion in favor of Roosevelt’s rural economic recovery program. Although the intentions of these photographs were good, they could be seen as propaganda because their point was to influence politics and the public opinions.


  • Propaganda and censorship are both methods used by the government to control their people. In The Republic, Plato describes a society in which censorship of literature is used in order to shelter society from negative descriptions of the gods. However, he is also trying to form a utopia in which everyone is educated and has escalated from the “cave” that is naïveté.  By including censorship in his government, isn’t Plato actually pushing society back into the cave? How are censorship and propaganda similar and what effects have they had when implemented in real-world societies? What makes photographs such a powerful tool in influencing people? Can propaganda be ethical?


  • The use of photography in propaganda has been debated for a long time and many have questioned the ethics of using images to persuade a society.  In the book of essays, On Photography, Susan Sontag argues that photography, in a way, has chained humanity down, creating a reality for us that may not actually be true.  She argues that a camera is like a gun in that whoever holds it has complete control over the subject and the situation. Her overall thesis is that we are chained down by our assumption that everything we see in a photograph is true.  This concept relates to propaganda throughout history, beginning with Nazi Germany.  One example of propaganda in Nazi Germany is a book called The Eternal Jew, which contains unappealing and dehumanizing photos of Jews.  Photos like these made Germans more comfortable with blaming and turning against Jews because they seemed less human.  Another source I will use is an article called “The FSA photographs: Information or Propaganda?” by Chris Meyer. This article takes a look at the photographs used by the Farm Security Administration and discusses whether or not they should be considered propaganda.  This can tie into my question of whether or not propaganda is always bad


  • There is enough evidence to prove my points.  There are many books and essays explaining how photographs can be deadly because people believe whatever they see.  Furthermore, many people have written about the effects of photography in propaganda and how a society can be influenced through the use of photography. I will use a few primary sources, with pictures of influential propaganda and I will also use some secondary sources that argue what the effects of propaganda are.  All of these books and journals are available in the library, but On Photography is checked out right now.  It can be borrowed from another library though.


Works cited:

Chris Meyer. “The FSA Photographs: Information or Propaganda?” WR: Journal of the Arts & Sciences 1, no. 1.

  • This article is helpful because it confronts my question of whether or not propaganda is always bad.  This article examines the FSA photographs and how they influenced Americans. While the consequences of these photographs may have been beneficial, they were still aimed at manipulating the political views of Americans, and therefore they are propaganda. This article will help me discuss how photography in propaganda has also been prevalent in democratic societies, but perhaps in a different way than in authoritarian governments.

San Mateo County Community College District. “Persuasion, Propaganda, and Photography.” Films on Demand video, 27:00. 2001.


Sontag, Susan. On Photography. London: Penguin, 1997.


Morris, Errol. Believing is seeing : Observations on the Mysteries of Photography. New York: Penguin Press, 2011.


Welch, David. The Third Reich: Politics and Propaganda. New York: Routledge, 1993.


Bytwerk, Randall. “The Eternal Jew.” German Propaganda Archive. August 2004.

  • This website is helpful because it includes various examples of Nazi German propaganda that portrayed Jews as evil. These examples will be very useful because in order to fully understand the effect that propaganda had, people must see the actual propaganda itself.  The pictures on this website will help to show how the Nazis attempted to portray the Jews as hideous, inhuman creatures.