Review of Strangers Below

By David York

Joshua Guthman’s book, Strangers Below: Primitive Baptists and American Culture, tells the story of a small, fairly obscure, group of Southern Calvinistic Christians called the Primitive Baptists (as the title well implies). Although Guthman’s book uses the Primitive Baptists to trace a part of the American Calvinist experience in order to demonstrate how it shaped the Second Great Awakening and the post-World War II folk revival, Strangers Below also demonstrates that the Bible Belt was formed in the fire of religious schism.


In a World with a Nuclear North Korea, Can We Question the Power of Nuclear Non-Proliferation?

By M. Ethan Johnson

It’s been nearly two weeks since the Hermit Kingdom declared that it had successfully launched and detonated a hydrogen bomb—much to the surprise and dismay of the international community.

Major news outlets have argued, minimalized, and debased the plausibility of a nuclear Democratic Republic of North Korea, but let’s consider such a world.  

Volume Five

Legacy of the Mongol Empire

By Ethan Johnson

Acts of war fuel change—changes in foreign and domestic relations, changes in politics, and most often changes in national boundaries. The conquests of Genghis Khan in the 12th and 13th centuries C.E. absorbed such boundary lines into the Mongol Empire, extending his rule from the steppes of Mongolia to the eastern shores of the Black Sea. His reign over such a vast expanse of land and large collection of people was due to his strict military leadership, paired with a powerful army to carry out his will. At the head of his army was a handful of generals who answered to him directly, and obediently followed his orders. 

Volume Five

Outcry from Tibet

 By Hsin-Ta Tsai

First, should the universality of the UDHR be applied to the people of Tibet in the first place, discounting its sociocultural context? To answer this question, we have to consider the appropriateness of having some principles or a set of human rights regulations that all cultures and nations can agree upon, a rather Western cosmopolitan view on international ethical issues. In cosmopolitanism, national borders are morally irrelevant because “a truly moral rule or code will be applicable to everyone.” However, it raises concerns knowing that most of the debates about international ethics come from Western traditions of moral theory.

V5 Featured

The Lonely King

By Victor Zou

Beowulf is a classic and ancient Anglo-Saxon hero’s tale. The various monstrosities he faces define his story and character. His defeat of Grendel, his atrocious mother, and the dragon all reflect his prowess and courage as a heroic champion. But these victories also encourage the growth of ill-fated attitudes. As J. Leyerle describes, he is a hero that “follows a code that exalts indomitable will and valor in the individual.”[1] In fact, the more Beowulf grows as a heroic warrior the more independent and prideful he becomes. And yet, in the midst of this he is pushed towards taking on the role of a king, which is a role he is woefully unfit to take. To lead a people-group requires a willingness to cooperate and a humility that a Beowulfian hero is simply disinclined to have. This disconnect between both ideals is the crux of Beowulf’s journey. While Beowulf assumes both positions, there is a clear distinction between the characteristics of a successful hero and a successful king. Thus, the tale acts as a critique of a heroic culture that values pride and independence by showing the dangerous tendencies that this encourages, and what can happen when a hero is given power and responsibility.


Volume Five

The Paradox of Globalization

By Christopher Albert Jacques D'Silva

The advent of globalization has brought about sweeping changes that have left indelible marks on societies. While newfound interconnectedness between cultures, information, and people creates an increasingly homogenized planet in some respects, such trends also have the effect of isolating certain non-members of the so-called “global community.” This residual marginalization has typically affected those who obstinately cling to the past, and those who are simply dubious towards the current state of affairs. For these persons, methods of coping with this social and psychological schism run the gamut from complete denial and delusion, to important modulations of acceptance.

Video Matters

Theodore Lowi on AVM

Theodore J. Lowi was born on July 9, 1931 in Gadsden, Alabama. He and his wife, Angele, reared two children, Anna and Jason. He currently makes his home inIthaca, New York. Lowi obtained a Bachelor of Arts from Michigan State University in 1954, and an Master of Arts and Ph.D. from Yale University in New Haven,Connecticut, in 1955 and 1961, respectively.

Video Matters

Naomi Tutu on AVM

The challenges of growing black and female in apartheid South Africa has led Nontombi Naomi Tutu to her present as an activist for human rights. Those experiences taught how much we all lose when any of us is judged purely on physical attributes. In her speeches she blends the passion for human dignity with humor and personal stories.

Volume Four

Laughing at Men

By Sara Maki

The situation comedy, or the “sitcom,” is an established part of daily television. Prime time is rife with them; some are considered classics (All in the Family, The Cosby Show,Cheers), and others are quoted long after they are off the air (Friends, Seinfeld, Will and Grace). 

Volume Four

Cloud Atlas

By Cory Collins

A circle has no end or beginning. It contains two equal halves, connected by the diameter and an invisible plane. David Mitchell’s novel emulates this eternal, undefined symmetry. His story ends where it begins, connecting twelve half-lives at the book’s center and throughout with an invisible force that binds them together.

Volume Four

Back to the Futurism

By Rosalind Fursland

Mina Loy is primarily known as an early modernist poet, although she was also an admired creator in other spheres. One of Loy’s most recognisable and insightful remarks in her essay “Modern Poetry” is that “Poetry is prose bewitched, a music made of visual thoughts, the sound of an idea” (Loy 157)

Volume Four

Erasing the Grotesque

By Quinn Gilman-Forlini

The Book of Repulsive Women is a collection of eight poems and five drawingsby Djuna Barnes first published in 1915. Despite the fact that this was Barnes’ first publication of what she considered to be her “serious” work, she later hated the book and wished to repress the fact that she had written it at all. 

Volume Four

Deciphering the Manic Pixie Mythos

By Julianna Joyce

Unnaturally colored hair, alternative style, an affinity for the Smiths, and just socially awkward enough to be lovable, the alternative girl has found her way out of the high school and college hallways and directly onto the silver screen.  In the last twenty years, television and film have begun to feature the quirky, alternative female alongside the usual female characters who embody homogenized ideals of feminine beauty. Television shows such as New Girl, Girls, and even NCIS have featured the alternative girl as either a protagonist or an important secondary character. The acceptance of diverse and alternative female characters into mass media represents a move towards drawing in the “Indie crowd,” a now marketable demographic made viable by the hipster movement. 

Volume Four

Perspectives in Music

By Helena Gandra

The difference between art and non-art is merely one of perception and we can control how we organize our perceptions- Kyle Gann in “No Such Thing as Silence”

The 21st century is an era characterised by diversity. By looking at the 19th and 20thcenturies, one can better understand the music of their own time. The Present is shaped by both a past and a future. Wagner (1813-1883) and John Cage (1912-1992) are key figures in music history and have had a fundamental impact on the music of today.