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Interdisciplinary Journal CONCEPT Celebrates Graduate Student Scholarship

Interdisciplinary Journal CONCEPT Launches 2020 Edition Online
The 2021 CONCEPT Graduate Research Prize was awarded to James Alfano, master's student in History.
Watch the 2021 CONCEPT Recognition Ceremony.

VILLANOVA, Pa. – CONCEPT, the scholarly journal of graduate students in the Villanova University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, launched its 2021 edition at a virtual event on April 22. This year, the CONCEPT Graduate Research Prize was awarded to James Alfano, master's student in History, for his paper, "We are not content: Environmental exploitation against Taiwan's minority populations."

CLAS Graduate Studies Dean Emory Woodard, PhD, hosted the virtual CONCEPT Recognition Ceremony, which featured a discussion with Faculty Managing Editor John Kurtz, PhD, and other faculty editors, as well as student authors, editors and peer reviewers about all areas of the CONCEPT process.

"Thank you for your tremendous work to make yet another fine issue of CONCEPT possible," said Dean Woodard. "To all of the faculty and student editors - thank you for your service and efforts to curate this exceptional piece of work. To the authors - thank you for your intellectual labor to share your important insights with the world."

Alfano's work was inspired by his experience as a Fulbright program English teaching assistant in Taiwan.

"While I was [in Taiwan] I was able to see indigenous art, music festivals, indigenous villages, schools ... while cultural elements were persistent throughout Taiwan, I noticed there was a historical record that simply wasn't there, or something that was very fragmented," Alfano said. "So what I wanted to do was take my observations during my year in Taiwan and try to craft a historical narrative that seemed to be greatly missing within Taiwan. I found that there was a backstory that often did include exploitation, relocation and discrimination against Taiwan's indigenous populations."

This year, CONCEPT includes papers from graduate students in Applied Statistics, English, History, Liberal Studies and Theology. The journal seeks to honor and highlight not only exemplary papers within their respective disciplines but also scholarship with wide interdisciplinary appeal. It is published in partnership with the Office of Graduate Studies and Falvey Memorial Library.

"All programs in Graduate Studies can produce interesting, accessible papers for a wider readership," said Dr. Kurtz. "It's just a matter of language and how you present your work ... There is too much of a perception across campus that CONCEPT is just a liberal arts periodical. I'm so delighted that Adhiraj Roka's paper on bone age and X-rays from a statistics and machine learning perspective made it into the print version ... that paper interested everyone who read it."

"The best thing about CONCEPT is that I learn new things each year, " added Dr. Kurtz. "Whether it is about Paradise Lost, Taiwan or bone age, every student's paper teaches me something."


Papers appearing in the print and online editions:

Graduate Research Prize Essay
James Alfano, History
"We are not content: Environmental exploitation against Taiwan's minority populations."

Em Friedman, English
"Another skie: Eve's Eden and feminine cosmologies"

Sharon Gutkowksi, Theology
"Ecological conversion as stigmata of the heart"

Hannah Pfeifer, History
"The rediscovery of Carrie Buck: A historiography of Buck vs. Bell and the injustice wrought by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr."

Matthew Reese, History
"Scenes of cooperation and conflict: Competing interests between Palestinian Arabs during the British mandate"

Adhiraj Roka, Applied Statistics
"Predicting bone-age using x-ray images: Deep learning"

Papers appearing in the online edition:

Samantha Dugan, English
"Des excuses"

Thomas Harvell-DeGolier, History
"From brotherhood to federation: Native Alaskan organizing, citizenship, and land claims"

Anne Jones, English
"The vexed position of the Black secret-bearer: Concealments and revelations in Hannah Craft's The Bondwoman's Narrative"

Amanda Piazza, English
"A joke without a clear punchline: Joker as a supervillain to linearity"

Michael Podgorski, Liberal Studies
"The authoritarian roots of contemporary populist movements: Explaining the rise of the Alternative fur Deutschland"

Franki Maria Rudnesky, English
"All influence is immoral: Actor-network theory in the Picture of Dorian Gray"

Read all of the CONCEPT papers.

CONCEPT Editorial Board

Faculty Managing Editor
John Kurtz, Psychology

Student Editorial Assistant
Melanie Glatz, Psychology

Faculty Editors
Paul Bernhardt, Applied Statistics
Sarah Faggioli, Liberal Studies
Rebecca Makas, Augustine and Culture Program
Bess Rowen, Theatre
Erica Slotter, Psychology

Graduate Student Editors
Caitlyn Dittmeier, English
Shama Huq, Psychology
Carson Schatzman, English
Olivia Stowell, English
Kimberly Webb, History

Peer Reviewers
Yakendra Bajgain, Biology
Kathleen Bampfield, Public Administration
Gabrielle Coker, Mathematics and Statistics
Samantha Dugan, English
Erika Feeney, Psychology
Emily Friedman, English
Erica James, Liberal Studies
Lirona Joshi, Political Science
Chelsea Kryder, Psychology
Christopher Mano, Education and Counseling
Yi-Yun Minnie Tsai, Counseling
Renee Romagnoli, Biology
Kyle Scripko, History
Mayci Shimon, Environmental Science
Allison Warner, Psychology

About Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences: Since its founding in 1842, Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has cultivated knowledge, understanding and intellectual courage for a purposeful life in a challenged and changing world. With 39 majors across the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, it is the oldest and largest of Villanova’s colleges, serving more than 4,500 undergraduate and graduate students each year. The College is committed to a teacher-scholar model, offering outstanding undergraduate and graduate research opportunities and a rigorous core curriculum that prepares students to become critical thinkers, strong communicators and ethical leaders with a truly global perspective.