A journal of interdisciplinary papers presented at the annual West Coast Symposium.
After a hiatus of two years due to pandemic cancellations, this 2021 volume of essays continues to demonstrate the strong interdisciplinary scholarship found at the institutions participating in this year’s West Coast June Symposium.
In volume 7, each of the essays illustrates different forms of a journey—physical travel as well as interior examination; after two years of “sheltering in place,” it is clear that the writers were still able to wander and reveal. In Michael Breger’s “In a Sentimental Mode,” we read of the case of Alexander Radishchev, the fictional written account of an anonymous traveler that became a medium for political and literary expression in Imperial Russia under Catherine the Great. The sentimental travelogue Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow served as a critical examination of the locations between two cities as well as the political and social landscape during the twilight decades of the 18th century. In “Relationality Re-imagined,” Brighid FitzGibbon shows how Circe author Madeline Miller gives rare authority and agency to the female protagonist of the ultimate wanderer, Odysseus. She shows how the novel creates a nuanced study of power, value, and perception absent from other portrayals of female characters in heroic epics. In her article “Music and Medicine,” Olivia Knuffke provides a brief introduction into the many ways that music can be used to promote wellness; from rock ’n’ roll to classical concertos, the restorative power of music provides a means by which those who may suffer can be transported to a place of healing. In “The Formation and Social Function of Popular Film Genres,” Michael Schock explains the form and social function of Hollywood genres according to the Ritual School of film theory in which practitioners contend that popular genres center upon currently-irreconcilable cultural contradictions or sources of anxiety.
We hope the essays within volume 7 challenge you to think in new ways about how narratives and language usage allow us to journey to new places—both in our own minds as well as in our physical space. Enjoy!
Candy Carter and Peter Kline
Photographer of the cover image taken in the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge is Robert David Siegel, MD, PhD, Stanford University. The image cannot be used for sale or profit. The photographer retains rights to the image.