Three undergraduate students selected to present at national conference

CWRU students with Lisa Nielson
From left: Lisa Nielson with students Douglas Oswald, Caelyn Rosch and Nusaiba Chowdhury

Case Western Reserve University seniors Caelyn Rosch and Douglas Oswald and sophomore Nusaiba Chowdhury will present papers at the Popular Culture Association and American Culture Association (PCA/ACA) national conference in Chicago April 17-20.

Rosch, Oswald and Chowdhury all have studied with Lisa Nielson, the Anisfield-Wolf SAGES Fellow, who encouraged them to submit proposals. They will attend the conference with support from the SAGES program.

“Though I always have creative and excellent students in all my seminars, these projects were an especially good fit for the conference,” Nielson said. “Caelyn, Douglas and Nusaiba worked extremely hard on their proposals, with limited guidance from me, so their success is entirely their own. The creativity and intellectual depth of their papers testifies to the quality of their scholarship and will showcase the high standards for undergraduate humanities research at Case Western Reserve.”

Rosch, who graduates this spring with a bachelor’s degree in English, will participate in the PCA/ACA conference for the second time. Last year, she presented a comparison of 19th-century European depictions of Middle Eastern women’s dance with representations in the contemporary science fiction genre called steampunk. Her presentation this year, “Saviors and Slaves: Post-Orientalism and the Outsider Perspective in Contemporary Viking Narratives,” analyzes how medieval travel narratives construct the figure of the Viking as “Other,” and how this construction persists in contemporary film. After graduation, Rosch plans to earn a master’s degree in teaching, with the goal of working with students in the Cleveland public schools.

Oswald, who graduates this spring with bachelor’s degrees in biology and Japanese studies, will present a paper titled “Our Lives are Not Our Own: Buddhist Themes in the Literature and Film of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas” that grew out of his interest in film studies and research on contemporary Noh theater. Oswald is applying to doctoral programs in immunology and hopes to pursue a career in research. He will also continue his work in Japanese studies as an independent scholar.

Chowdhury, a sophomore majoring in medical anthropology with a concentration in public health, developed her project, “Representations of Mughal tawa’if in Bollywood,” from a paper she wrote for Nielson’s seminar “Seclusion, Gender and the Exotic: Imagining the Harem.” In this project, Chowdhury analyzes changes in the representation of Indian courtesans in Bollywood film over the last 20 years. After she graduates in 2016, Chowdhury intends to earn a master’s degree in public health and to work with underserved populations either in the U.S. or abroad.