Spring 2024

Philologia, Volume 15

          This issue of Philologia offers a snapshot of the work done in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences (CLAHS) in the past academic year. It shows the kinds of conversations taking place in classrooms and departments, among students, their peers, and their teachers across the College. A recurrent theme in this work is research centered around questions of society, justice, and inequality. Among the essays selected for this issue, this generally falls into 4 large areas: sustainability & infrastructure, learning, media, and politics & religion. The work we’re featuring explores these themes from a range of perspectives and represents the diverse variety of disciplines and scholarly approaches housed in CLAHS. These include works from English, Sociology, Political Science, Philosophy, Urban Affairs and Planning, and the Center for Humanities. We, the editors of the 14th edition of Philologia, are excited to share the work of our peers in CLAHS.   

          The first group of papers considers the relationship between sustainability and infrastructure. Each of these papers is animated by the idea that protection against environmental crisis and social inequity begins with pinpointing the largest factors and proposing effective solutions. These three papers interrogate the broader complex of government and industry that perpetuates climate change, exclusionary housing, and overall sustainability in transport. Lena Zennia does so through a focus on legislation on housing; Ella Alford examines urban sprawl and car-dependent infrastructure; and Brennan Rhodes describes the ways large corporations shift blame for environmental degradation onto everyday citizens. These papers’ common goal is to improve life in the urban landscape through transforming problematic aspects of infrastructure. 

          The second major cluster of papers focuses on education, asking how societies might better support education by adding opportunities for different types of students. These papers all revolve around the context of some sort of education and how it can benefit people all over. Claire Lindsey describes a grant for Virginia schools and how it can be used to help the system; Andrés López discusses second language in phonology and how these “learners” are introduced to several different learning approaches and how each approach benefits diverse types of learners; and finally, the multi-author piece discusses the process of bringing higher education to a Virginia prison. Each of these articles is motivated by an interest in the ways education might be made more accessible, and how this goal of accessibility can be better supported and improved. 

          The third group of papers focuses on issues of identity in media representation. Media representation plays a large role in the perception of marginalized people in America. From the LGBTQ+ community to low-income communities, the general population’s thoughts and opinions are drastically shaped by what is portrayed in popular media.  The real-life experiences of these people can and usually are very different than what is shown on TV or on the news. Misrepresentation can lead to discrimination, misunderstandings and harmful legislation.  Becca Berglie’s piece, “Silk Chiffon and the Queer Joy Revolution,” focuses on the portrayal of queer people and points to how pivotal positive representation is to the general public’s perception of the LGBTQ+ community. Jenalyn Dizon’s “How Contact Influences Attitudes Towards Income Inequality” discusses the importance of observing economic inequality for improving social attitudes toward low-income individuals and passing legislation that results in positive economic change.  

          The fourth section consists of two essays examining the intersection of politics and religion, addressing how religion is used to control groups of people, in one, through Caste systems in India, and in the other, the Islamic Regime in Iran. Though they discuss two different countries both pieces talk about the effects religious beliefs have on citizens and what power dynamics get created within these systems. Jyotsna Rathinam’s piece, “Caste Differences and Reservation Policies: A Socio-Psychological Analysis”, addresses how India’s “caste system [was] conceptualized by the Hindu religion and materialized by British colonialism [and] stained the social hierarchy of India, [however] there remains a hesitancy to acknowledge the caste system in fear of reinforcing it.” Anahita Ravanpak’s piece, “The Relationship Between Religion and International Support”, focuses on the effects of religious laws in Iran that “reveal the extensive history of violence, illusion, and oppression the Iranian people have faced at the hands of the Islamic Regime, which is comprised of a minority elite group of Islamists who continue to exploit religion in order to maintain power.” 

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