Anders Lindstrom

Anders Lindstrom
ENGL 1301.4009
Dr. Hughes
9 November 2017

The Future of Energy

            The perpetually moving wheels of progress stop for nothing. They turn day after day, year after year. Technology has revolutionized countless industries, from the manufacturing of automobiles to the harvesting of crops from a farm. The same is true for our electric grid. Where coal once reigned supreme, it is being slowly supplanted by greener, more economic power sources such as natural gas and renewables, like wind and solar. As the world heads into an exciting future of renewable energy, the question is simple. Given the power output of renewables is largely dependent on environmental variables, how do we maintain the reliability of the power grid as we know it today? A solution exists, and it might even bolster the American economy in the process.


            To address any given issue, one must first understand the problem that calls for a solution. The way our grid has historically functioned under primarily coal energy has been simple. The more fuel that feeds the power plant (in this case coal), the more energy is produced. Natural gas and oil power plants also operate on a very similar principle, as do thermo-nuclear reactors to an extent. This creates a very reliable means of increasing electrical production as demand requires, and decreasing it during off-peak hours. Unfortunately, renewable energy throws a wrench into this system. The power output of solar and wind cannot be scaled up or down on demand, as is reliant on certain environmental variables. In the case of solar, this is reliant on time of day, cloud cover, and the orientation of the sun relative to the solar panels (Astbury 211). Wind energy has fewer variables to worry about, but relies entirely on the wind strength conditions at its given location. Because of this variance in power output, a power grid constructed purely of renewables and emissions free sources of power would seemingly prove unreliable. Fortunately, there are an array of potential options.


            There is a wide array of potential solutions to stabilize the power output of a largely renewable based electrical grid. Some have advocated for an all or nothing approach, in which a single option must be used across the board. Fortunately, our nation is not constrained to a single option, as there are many. Some are best suited to certain geographical areas, where others are not. The first option is extremely simple. Say one has a grid largely comprised of solar power in Nevada. During the day, a significant amount of power is generated, yet none is created at night. For a largely solar powered grid to be successful, one must find some way to store the power generated during the day, so that it can be utilized during the night. To do this, a very simple technology already exists that the public has most likely already heard of: hydroelectric power, or more specifically, Pumped Storage Hydroelectricity. Where conventional hydro-electricity is a power generation method in and of itself, pumped storage hydroelectricity is an energy storage medium instead. During the day, solar panels (or any other form of renewable, such as wind) power a series of water pumps, elevating water from a low-lying reservoir, into a higher lying one. At night, water is then lowered from the high-lying reservoir into the lower lying one, passing through a hydroelectric turbine generator on its way down, thus creating electrical power after dusk (Rehman 588). While this is perhaps not the most efficient electrical storage medium, the mechanics behind it are simple, and it has already been implemented in certain areas successfully.

The next potential energy storage medium is one most are already very familiar, albeit on a much smaller scale: batteries. Rather than taking electricity, storing it in a mechanical medium (pumped storage hydroelectricity), and then converting it back into electricity, batteries allow one to store electricity as electricity, and it stays that way. This energy storage technique can be somewhat cost prohibitive, as high capacity batteries are still expensive to manufacture, as many require rare earth elements such as lithium. A significant advantage to this approach, however, is the sheer simplicity of the storage medium. Unlike pumped storage, batteries do not require water, a complicated pump system, hydroelectric turbines, or reservoirs. Such a system is currently being actively developed and installed for various utility companies by Tesla corporation (Lambert).

Using a combination of the aforementioned electrical storage mediums may prove invaluable to efforts to construct a truly next generation, sustainable power grid. To that end increased government funding to sponsor research and development efforts of the variety of corporations involved with energy storage technology is advocated. By utilizing government funds to give American companies an edge in this arena, not only can the United States become the world leader in electricity storage solutions, it can export its technology to other nations as well. Not only will the nation lead the way towards a future of zero emissions and sustainability, but it will be opening new, potentially massive markets in which an economy could benefit.


            First and foremost, the largest benefits of having an effective energy storage solution is the ability for us, as a society, to push forward and continue our roll-out of renewable, sustainable energy. There are obvious benefits to being able to construct a carbon free power grid, such as its impact on reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, however there are additional tangible benefits.

For one, the construction and installation of these energy storage solutions would entail a significant effort. Many jobs could be created in this sector. For instance, individuals who work in the coal industry could be re-trained and given the tools and skills to work in a new industry with a bright future, rather than a stagnant and declining one. Further, retrained coal miners would no longer have to spend their days underground in hazardous conditions, and could work in a much safer environment on the surface. Another benefit would be an increase in energy independence. Unlike other fuel sources (such as oil), wind and solar based renewable energy is inexhaustible and highly abundant just about everywhere.

Additional benefits would stem from further economic growth in the United States. To support this developing industry, large factories, distribution facilities, and offices would need to be constructed. It would create many domestic manufacturing jobs, require many engineers to design and implement the technology, and provide jobs for countless administrative, sales, and other personnel.


            A significant amount of work will be required to continue the charge forward on the path of progress. There will no doubt be great costs incurred by the transition to renewable, next-generation energy, but the benefits far outweigh the costs. By funding the development of energy storage solutions, the nation will be able to not only take a step towards securing the environmental future of the planet, but will be able to economically benefit from such efforts as well. By ensuring that the United States leads the world in energy storage technologies, efforts will be made to help save the planet, provide jobs to countless Americans, and even make a profit in the process.



Works Cited

Astbury, Chrissy. “How America’s Solar Energy Policies Should Follow (and Stray) from Germany’s Lead.” Indiana International & Comparative Law Review, vol. 27, no. 2, ser. 2017, 1 July 2017, pp. 211–211. 2017, doi:10.18060/7909.0051.

Lambert, Fred. “Tesla Quietly Brings Online Its Massive – Biggest in the World – 80 MWh Powerpack Station with Southern California Edison.” Electrek, 23 Jan. 2017,

Rehman, Shafiqur, et al. “Pumped Hydro Energy Storage System: A Technological Review.” Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, vol. 44, Apr. 2015, pp. 586–598., doi:10.1016/j.rser.2014.12.040.

Posted in Visual Communication 2018 | Leave a comment

Nikohl J. Allgood

Adoption as Relinquishment and How It Impacts Mental Health

by Nikohl J. Allgood


According to psychologists, adoptees are overrepresented in mental health treatment settings (Sunderland, 2010).  A study published in Pediatrics: Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics found that an adoptee’s risk of a suicide attempt is four times greater than their non-adopted peers (Keyes, Malone, Sharma, & McGue, 2013, p.7). Adoptees also present at higher rates than non-adoptees with a number of psychological disorders including ADD, depression, and substance abuse disorder (Sunderland, 2010). This paper will explore the reasons behind this phenomenon and what can be done to reduce this risk.

Adoption as Trauma

Shareen Pine, an adoptee, describes adoption as a “traumatic, lifelong experience that is rarely recognized as one” (2015). Most people do not see adoption as a traumatic event, in fact the majority of us who have had little personal experience with adoption envision adoption as something out of a fairy tale. The problem with this way of thinking is it ignores the immense trauma and grief that accompanies every adoption. Paul Sunderland, a therapist specializing in treatment of addition and adoption issues, explains that every adoption begins with at least one relinquishment and every relinquishment in the early years of development causes trauma. He believes Developmental Post Traumatic Stress Disorder will soon be recognized as a subcategory of PTSD. To those who question whether adoption begins with trauma, Sunderland says, “Can we imagine, is there a bigger trauma than being separated from your mother, the one person you need at the beginning of life? I think not” (2010). Another respected doctor who has studied the effects of early trauma on mental health, Gabor Maté, explains that separation from the birth mother whose voice, body, heartbeat, and rhythms the newborn is used to can have a devastating effect on the infant’s nervous system. A baby needs a consistent caregiver. Many relinquished children move several times before being adopted. The fact that adoption is forgotten as a factor in emotional security amazes Maté (1999, p. 51).

Effects of the Trauma of Relinquishment on the Brain

Hormonal Imbalance

Most women who give their babies up for adoption live with a great deal of stress during the pregnancy. This stress causes her hormones to remain at abnormal levels, especially cortisol which is the stress hormone. Cortisol affects infants developing brains and nervous systems which puts all adoptees at a greater risk of psychological problems (Maté, 1999, pp. 51-52). In their book Reparenting the Child Who Hurts, Caroline Archer and Christine Gordon reiterate the impact cortisol has on the brain, specifically that it is known to affect the development of neurons during pregnancy and immediately following birth (2013, p. 23).

High levels of cortisol as well as adrenaline occur during any trauma, but in mother-infant bonding trauma, reduced levels of serotonin also occur. These irregular hormone levels make a huge impact on an infant’s brain chemicals and neurotransmitters. Infants are born with over 100 billion neurons. These neurons make connections based on experiences. Sunderland quoted famous neuropsychologist, Allan Schore, who observed, “Neurons that fire together, wire together” (Schore as cited in Sunderland, 2010). Relinquishment at birth feels life threatening; cortisol and adrenaline levels raise, neurons fire, and now the infant’s brain has made neurological connections between danger and abandonment. This causes the adoptee to experience real fear of any kind of separation or abandonment. An adoptee also experiences a strong need for attachment while at the same time fearing it, because the first important person in their life left, so they expect everyone will abandon them eventually as well (Sunderland, 2010).

Loss of Identity

Fear of Abandonment

The fear of abandonment can cause a child to live unconsciously on high alert. “There was a trauma, I’ve got to make sure it does not happen again” (Sunderland, 2010). Adoptees often internalize the belief that they caused the first abandonment and hope to somehow prevent another by pretending to be something they are not. Either by trying to mold themselves into what they think their adoptive family wished they were or by trying to be the good, perfect child. In both scenarios, the adoptee hides their hurts, fears, and struggles in an attempt to be accepted (Sunderland, 2010).

No Pre-trauma Personality

Adoptees have no remembrance of their identity before their trauma of relinquishment. Due to this, they begin to believe they are the person they adapted into. Most people who experience a traumatic event can remember a time before the trauma. That knowledge can help them get back to the person they were before the event occurred. When trauma happens at the start of life, there is no pre-trauma life to remember (Sunderland, 2010). There is nothing to measure their current self against. It is difficult to become the person you would have been without the trauma when you have no idea who that person might have been.

Lack of History

A loss of identity can also stem from a lack of personal history. Most individuals look to their families or their culture to help them connect to the world – to help them form a sense of who they are. Frequently, adoptees have little or no knowledge of their beginnings. Pine asks, “Can you imagine being the only person in the world you know you’re related to?” She says this led to internal questioning she kept secret out of fear and insecurity (Pine, 2015). This kind of questioning does nothing to alleviate the pain. Questions asked silently can never be answered and will lead to further feelings of frustration and isolation as more questions arise.

Recovery from the Trauma of Relinquishment

Thankfully, experts agree, healing of developmental trauma is possible at any age though will prove more effective the earlier the process is begun (Archer & Gordon, 2013).


Creating a Healing Environment for Adoptees

Counseling for adoptive parents. When possible, prospective adoptive couples should seek counseling prior to adopting. Counseling will help them deal with any grief caused by being unable to conceive a child. It will also help to ensure they are not unintentionally attempting to fill the gap of a biological child with an adoptee. It is impossible for an adoptee to become someone they can never be in order to heal a wound in their adoptive parents, and this only contributes to further loss of identity for the adoptee (Sunderland, 2010).  After healing the wounds of their own grief, a couple is in a much better position to help their adopted child heal as well.

Investigate the adoptee’s history. When going through the adoption process, the adoptive parents should gather as much information about the child’s natural family as possible. This will ensure they are fully equipped to help their child explore their history when the time comes.

Be honest and open about the adoption. Acknowledge their loss, grief, anger, and pain. Allow them to share their feelings openly. Archer and Gordon put it well when they observe, “It may be painful for us and our children to think about past hurts, but this in no way equals the pain of bearing them in isolation” (2013, p. 215). They need to know it is acceptable to share their feelings about their birth parents without feeling disloyal. When a child is able to talk about the trauma in their past, it begins to lose its power (Archer & Gordon, 2013, p. 78).

Provide reassurance and acceptance. Give adoptees permission to be themselves and to make mistakes. Let them know they are not expected to be perfect; no one is perfect. Take steps to get to know who they really are and accept every part of them. Reassure them they are loved and accepted for who they are, not what they do or who they pretend to be.

Find friends, mentors, and counselors uniquely able to help. Look for people who have similar backgrounds either culturally, if necessary, or as a fellow adoptee. Enlist the help of people who can connect with the adoptee in ways the adoptive parents are not able to and celebrate those connections. This will not only help with the adoptee developing their own identity; it also gives them the opportunity to make new, safe attachments.


Although the trauma of relinquishment presents adoptive families with a unique set of struggles, adoption provides a child who has been relinquished with a family to love them. When adoptive parents proactively address the issues facing their children, they provide an environment where the adoptee can begin to heal. The correlation between mental illness and adoption remains largely unstudied. More research is needed to determine how differing approaches to healing affect an adoptee’s mental health long term. Until then, acknowledging the trauma of relinquishment and being aware of the elevated risk of mental illness in adoptees bring the first steps toward healing.


Archer, C., & Gordon, C. A. (2013). Reparenting the child who hurts: A guide to healing developmental trauma and attachments. London: Jessica Kingsley.

Keyes, M., Malone, S., Sharma, W., & McGue M. (2013). Risk of suicide attempt in adopted and nonadopted offspring. Pediatrics: Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. 132(4), 1-8. Retrieved from

Maté, G. (1999). Scattered: How attention deficit disorder originates and what you can do about it. New York: Penguin.

Pine, S. (2015, January 9). Please don’t tell me I was lucky to be adopted. Washington Post. Retrieved from

Sunderland, P. (2010, November 9). Adoption and addiction ‘remembered not recalled’. Lecture. Retrieved from

Posted in Visual Communication 2018 | Leave a comment

Jesse Ward

Jesse Ward
Dr. Gonzales
ENGL 1301
21 November 2017

What PTSD Looks Like

Brian Scott Ostrom sits alone in a waiting room on a blue-checkered cloth chair. The chair has brown wooden arm rests, but he uses neither one. The chair to his left is open and has a magazine sitting on the cushion. An open area is to his right, and his green backpack rests against his chair. No one is sitting next to him. Two seats over to his left, another man sits waiting as well. Scattered throughout the lobby, several individuals sit waiting to be seen. Most appear to have been sitting there for a while. Some have a book or an iPad out to help pass the time. Others, like Brian, have headphones in so they can listen to music while they wait. This is how all waiting rooms in every VA Medical Center across the country look.

Brian prefers to go by his middle name: Scott. Scott is a Veteran of the Iraq war. He is sitting in a waiting room in the VA Hospital. His hands are together holding his cell phone in his lap. He appears restless, even anxious. His eyes peering through his glasses look uneasy. His mouth is wide open as if he is taking a deep breath very slowly. He shows all the signs of someone who has been patiently waiting for his turn. One by one, people are called. With every announcement of the next patient’s name, he anxiously waits to hear his name called. His anxiety slowly turns into frustration as each minute passes. Scott does not know why the other patients are there. He only knows that they too must need to see a doctor, just as he does. All of the other patients are veterans, varying in age. Scott reminds himself that he is not the only one who needs to see a doctor and his turn will come shortly. This only temporarily subdues the overwhelming anxiety that fills Scott.

You see, Scott struggles with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or more commonly known as PTSD. He, like many other returning war Veterans, struggles to cope with everyday life due to PTSD. It affects every aspect of his life, and there is no way of getting away from it. No break. No pause. No relief. Instead, constant fear, anxiety, anger, frustration, impatience, resentment, paranoia, sleep deprivation, mal-nourishment, and stress are a few of the overwhelming feelings Scott experiences daily. This disorder is affecting his quality of life in ways that make him consider any way possible to stop it. He contemplates suicide almost daily. He can tell you his detailed plan of how he would commit suicide. Just by hearing his plan, you can tell that it has been rehearsed dozens of times in his own mind. Hearing him speak of it will send shivers down your spine. He has convinced himself that death may be his only escape from the side-effects of PTSD. However, at the same time, you can see that he battles with himself internally about that decision. Otherwise, why else would Scott be here sitting in a waiting room outside the pharmacy in the VA Medical Center in Denver, Colorado?

Scott finally hears his name called. He tells the doctor about the issues he is having and how they are affecting his life. After seeing Scott’s mental state, the doctor prescribes him some antipsychotic medication. Just another medication, another pill that he has to take. It seems as though Scott has a pill to take for every feeling he experiences. Two months later, Scott is finally accepted into the PTSD Residential Rehabilitation Program: a program designed to help Scott deal with the traumatic events triggering his PTSD. A program that will hopefully help Scott cope with the variety of overwhelming emotions he feels constantly and lead a more normal life. Time will tell whether the program helps Scott or not. He is optimistic about it and speaks of a day when he no longer struggles. He hopes that day is soon. In the meantime, he will work the program and focus on himself.

All too often, veterans return from war and battle with PTSD. Some cases are minor and eventually subside on their own. Others, however, such as Scott’s, require treatment. Oftentimes, veterans are scared to reach out for help. They are afraid that by admitting that they need help, they will be labeled as weak or crazy. So, they say nothing about it and try to deal with it on their own. Sometimes they can suppress the side-effects; other times they cannot. Meanwhile, the people that they are truly hurting are their family members. PTSD is a sickness and is no different than alcoholism; PTSD requires special treatment in order for its victims to live a healthy and normal life. Episodes of depression or anxiety can be so overwhelming at times that suicide seems like a relief. To many veterans who struggle with PTSD, the thought of committing suicide is less frightening then the thought of reaching out for help.

Just like Scott, I too have battled with PTSD. After coming home from serving 13 months consecutively in Iraq, I was not the same. I had paranoia so bad that I got anxiety driving, going into a gas station, or even spending time with loved ones who I had not seen in a while. I would lay down at night to go to sleep, but my mind would begin to play tricks on me. I would start hearing noises that could not possibly be real. I would break out in sweats from the anxiety and paranoia that someone was trying to break into my home. I had multiple panic attacks at places such as church, the grocery store, and even at my in-laws’ house. The only thing that brought me comfort or relief from these symptoms was medication or a pistol. I began sleeping with a loaded pistol sitting next to me on my night stand. I bought a dog and trained to him to be extremely protective of my house. So protective that he would growl at my own brothers and sisters. Eventually, the temporary relief faded. Once again, I was left alone to deal with my PTSD. Just like Scott, I finally broke down and went to seek help. It was by far one of the hardest things I have ever done in my entire life—much harder than physically fighting in Iraq.

So, if you happen to pass by while Scott is sitting on that blue-checkered chair patiently waiting his turn to be seen, sit down next to him. Ask him how he is doing and if he needs anything. Take a moment of your time to see if he is okay. You never know. You may just say something that changes his life. You may talk him out of committing suicide because he no longer feels alone. If he is sitting there with his headphones in, tap him on the shoulder and say hi. More importantly, tell him that, as a nation, we have not forgotten his sacrifice and because of his service, we will always be here to support him. Let him know that he is not alone, and we are eternally grateful for his sacrifice. Because of people like Scott, we all can sleep better at night. We can go to Starbucks in the morning on the way to work. We do not have to worry about a suicide car-bomber driving into the Starbucks while we wait for our caramel macchiato. Scott and other veterans need to know that we appreciate what they sacrificed for our freedom. If anything, our support will provide them with a moment of peace, and that sliver of peace is the least we can offer.

Posted in Visual Communication 2018 | Leave a comment

Minerva Gillis and Marilyn Shaughnessy

Medicine on Mars
by Minerva Gillis and Marilyn Shaughnessy


Posted in Visual Communication 2018 | Leave a comment

Laura Ramirez

Fred Marer and The Marer Collection
by Laura Ramirez

Ramirez1_Fig. 1
Voulkos, Peter
Sculpture with thin colemanite glaze
35 x 21 x 21
Stoneware, (82.2.1)
(MacNaughton et al. p. 95)

Carefully organized within the walls of Scripps College in California lies a vast conglomeration of nearly 900 works by American, British, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese artists (MacNaughton 9). As one studies this collection, one begins to notice that the core of this diverse collection is focused locally on west coast ceramics— especially the work of a handful of artists nicknamed “the Otis group.” In the mid 1950’s, these artists challenged ceramists’ tradition-bound attitudes (MacNaughton 9). Through their creation of non-utilitarian, larger-than-life sculptural clay art, they would soon catch the attention of a man who would in time collect many of their works. This man would collect enough works to not only fill an entire house, but also detail the historical outline of an important period in ceramic history. These works, also known as the Marer Collection, were all obtained by one man with a humble passion for ceramics: Fred Marer.

Ramirez2_Fred Marer (pictured left in Fig. 2) was a humble mathematics professor at Los Angeles City College from 1937 to 1976 (MacNaughton 9,48). While he was interested in the ceramics works created at the Otis Art Institute as a child, it wasn’t until the early 1950’s after Marer bought his first ceramic piece, hat he became truly invested in modern ceramics of the time, as well as the artists that were making it (MacNaughton 10). The piece bought by Marer was the striped piece entitled Bowl, 1954 (pictured right in Fig. 3) Ramirez3_by leading Southern California artist Laura Andreson (MacNaughton 10; Koeninger 17, 19). Marer soon after ended up attending a faculty exhibition at the Los Angeles County Art Institute (later Otis Art Institute) and instantly became interested in the work of a young artist named Peter Voulkos (MacNaughton 10).

Ramirez4_Peter Voulkos (pictured left in Fig. 4) was the head of the ceramics department at Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles from 1954 to 1957. According to MacNaughton, this is the place where Voulkos led a “revolution in Clay” (MacNaughton 47). The artists that were involved in this group were Billy Al Bengston, Michael Frimkess, John Mason, Mac McClain, Ken Price, Janice Roosevelt, Jerry Rothman, Paul Soldner and Henry Takemoto. Ramirez5_These young artists wanted to break free of the tradition surrounding ceramic forms, creating “nonfunctional, sculptural works that gave the medium a new freedom of expression” (MacNaughton 47). And as illustrated in the image on the right (Fig. 5), these artists absolutely would create a new, less traditional platform for ceramic art with help from the financial and moral support given by Fred Marer.

After discovering this “dynamic group of young artists” that were producing “new and unfamiliar works that challenged traditional notions of ceramics” in 1955, Marer would soon befriend them and become a major support for the group as their patron (MacNaughton 10,48). Marer loved so many of these ceramic works that his own home was soon overrun by pieces of all shapes and sizes. Marer was not a particularly wealthy man; however, he was able to collect so many works despite not having a lot of money because he knew the artists personally, and bought directly from them — sometimes even buying works immediately after they came out of the kiln (MacNaughton 10). Revolution in Clay: The Marer Collection states it simply: “What he lacked in funds he made up for in engagement with artists” (MacNaughton 9). It was this unrestrained love and support that Marer had for these works that truly helped many of these artists continue to survive and experiment as young creators. Marer collected simply because he liked pieces, not due to any fame or importance of an artist. This was tantamount in Marer’s contribution towards supporting a vast range of artists, both new and unknown.

The Marer Collection features an incredibly vast series of artists and works, however the major “core” of this collection was created by the original “Otis group” that triggered Marer’s collecting career. Such artists include Peter Voulkos (51 pieces in collection), Michael Frimkess (47 pieces– some collaborative with wife Magdalena), John Mason (23 pieces), Jerry Rothman (22 pieces), Henry Takemoto (29 pieces), and Paul Soldner (16 pieces) (MacNaughton 9).

Ramirez6_In fact, it was through a friendship with Paul Soldner, a ceramist who came to Scripps College after graduating from Otis Art Institute (pictured left in Fig. 6), that Marer eventually donated parts of his expansive Marer collection to Scripps (MacNaughton 11). Marer now insists that the collection be widely used for teaching. Specifically, teaching that “artistic change must always be valued for its continuity as well as for its uniqueness” (Koeninger 24). This additional focus on continuity reveals that Marer was very aware that it was much more than the Otis group itself that led and built up to new creative frontiers in ceramic art. Not only this, it speaks to Marer’s awareness of the continued effect on modern ceramic art that came after this period of time. To Marer, ceramic innovation was tied together by a historical timeline of works new, old, and spanning across the globe.

In fact, Fred Marer was not only a major supporter of local works, but works from all over the world. Marer held interests in European, English, and Japanese works. This is further exemplified by the vast series of international works found within the Marer Collection (Koeninger 22). As small examples, Marer traveled to Japan in 1977 and visited England every year from 1978-85 (Koeninger 22). Marer made many acquaintances on these trips to ceramic artists such as Bernard Leach, Michael Cardew, and Jun Kaneko ( Koeninger 22).

For a collection of works so varied in source and artistic direction, it is no surprise that the Marer Collection features an incredibly wide range of cultural ideologies. This massive diversity of works from different cultures allows art historians clear snapshots into different ceramic movements during the specific period of the 1950’s.  As stated in Revolution in Clay: “These pieces offer unparalleled documentation and special insight into the creative development of that period (1950s)” (MacNaughton 9). Especially in the case of the California Otis group, these works depicted a “turning point in the history of contemporary ceramics when these artists and their colleagues broke the boundaries of functional ceramics to claim a freedom of expression long enjoyed by painters and sculptors” (MacNaughton 9).

In my own personal opinion, Marer’s genuine love for ceramic art is something to be admired. I appreciate so much his non-discriminatory attitude towards a multitude of unique works by artists of all backgrounds. It is that simple “I bought things because I liked them” attitude that makes Marer so genuine and special as a collector (qtd. in MacNaughton 10). Here is a humble man that took on multiple teaching jobs in order to continue supporting artists of all levels. The idea of collecting not for renown, but for pure enjoyment is, in my opinion, something to be protected and held in high esteem.

It’s incredible that one man’s passion for art could become so large that it offers such a clear image of the 1950’s ceramic climate. Many of the works featured in the collection are from artists that would later become famous; however,  Marer was a man who bought them when they were made simply because he liked and saw something special in them. As Marer observed,  “When I acquire, I don’t look for types of work, but the work I like. I respond to each work individually” (qtd. in MacNaughton 10). Marer’s active and continuous support for ceramic artists is what truly makes The Marer Collection such an important part of art history.

Works Cited

Andreson, Laura. Bowl. 1954. Scripps College. Revolution in Clay: The Marer Collection of Contemporary Ceramics, edited by Mary Davis MacNaughton et al. Scripps   College, 1994, p. 28.

Fred Marer. 1956. Photograph. Revolution in Clay: The Marer Collection of Contemporary Ceramics, edited by Mary Davis MacNaughton et al. Scripps College, 1994, p. 10.

Koeninger, Kay. “The Studio Pottery Tradition, 1940-1970.” Revolution in Clay: The Marer        Collection of Contemporary Ceramics, Scripps College, 1994, pp. 17–24.

McNaughton, Mary Davis. “Innovation in Clay: The Otis Era 1954-1960.” Revolution in Clay:    The Marer Collection of Contemporary Ceramics, Scripps College, 1994, pp. 47–68.

— . “Preface.” Revolution in Clay: The Marer Collection of Contemporary Ceramics, Scripps     College, 1994, pp. 9–11.

Paul Soldner’s M.F.A. exhibition at Otis. 1956. Photograph. Revolution in Clay: The Marer          Collection of Contemporary Ceramics, edited by Mary Davis MacNaughton et al.        Scripps            College, 1994, p. 56.

Peter Voulkos’ trimming plate. 1970. Photograph. Revolution in Clay: The Marer Collection of Contemporary Ceramics, edited by Mary Davis MacNaughton et al. Scripps College, 1994, p. 101.

Voulkos, Peter. Covered Jar. 1956. Revolution in Clay: The Marer Collection of Contemporary   Ceramics, edited by Mary Davis MacNaughton et al. Scripps College, 1994, p. 90.

—. Sculpture with thin colemanite glaze. 1957. Revolution in Clay: The Marer Collection of Contemporary Ceramics, edited by Mary Davis MacNaughton et al.

Scripps College, 1994, p. 95.

Posted in Visual Communication 2018 | Leave a comment

Tomás Córdoba Marín

The Letters of Vincent van Gogh: A Research Comparison Analysis

Tomás Córdoba Marín

Vincent van Gogh is one of the most famous Post-Impressionist artists that ever lived. His work is characterized by the extensive use of colors that appeal to the emotions of the viewer. He also was renowned for being an eccentric artist. Art historians and doctors have concluded that his mental health was tormented by schizophrenia. Art is said to be the expression of the self. It is extremely remarkable how an artist that went through so much pain in his life expressed his emotions in paintings that reflect the opposite. They are pure color ecstasy in motion. His use of color is so impressive, that it influenced many art movements following his death, including the Fauves and German Expressionists.[1] Beautiful art can be created from pain.

This pain was often recorded in a journal where the artist depicted many scenes from his daily life. These records often included landscapes. In these journals, it can be seen how Van Gogh was tormented by his psyche. However, he also reflected on his never-ending love for art. Van Gogh sent the majority of these entries in the form of letters to his brother, Theo van Gogh.  Theo was known to be the major economic support of his brother during his lifetime. Vincent only sold one painting in his life with Theo as the buyer. The majority of these descriptions were later recorded visually in his paintings. An interesting analysis can be made from this fact. How did Van Gogh’s paintings differ from his letters and journals?

To understand how a written record can differ from a visual one, it is pertinent to address the psychology of color. This field of psychology studies the influence of color in human emotions and behavior.[2] This branch of psychology is still in its early stages but can be an amazing tool when it comes to analyzing the formal characteristics of a painting. It has been widely used throughout history by artists and marketing companies, but it has just been recently formalized as a field of study. In the psychology of color, each color is linked to a certain emotion or behavior. For example, the color red is associated with feelings of anger, passion, and lust. Following this pattern of the psychology of color, the first description in a letter (Figure1) for analysis is the following made by Van Gogh:

Foreground of green and pink grass, on the left, a green and lilac bush and a stem of plants with whitish foliage. In the middle, a bed of roses. To the right a hurdle, a wall, and above the wall a hazel tree with violet foliage. Then a hedge of lilac, a row of rounded yellow lime trees. The house itself in the background, pink with a roof of bluish tiles. A bench and 3 chairs, a dark figure with a yellow hat, and in the foreground a black cat. Sky pale green.[3]

This letter refers to the painting The Garden of Daubigny (Figure 2). As it can be observed, Van Gogh is a master descriptor. The painting is remarkably similar to the description. This ability to portray landscapes so accurately from memory was only outmatched by his ability to communicate through color. However, this description differs in some respects from the painting. The first one is that Van Gogh describes the foreground as the green and pink grass. In the painting, it is clearly noticeable how the foreground consists of the much brighter house and sky. Van Gogh switched the traditional role of the foreground-background relationship by adding more color to the house and sky. This leaves the impression that the foreground is the house (that in a traditional color scheme would be the background). This shows how Van Gogh used color in order to change the perspective of his paintings without actually changing the composition. The second element that sets the difference between the written and visual descriptions is the dark spot in the painting. It is located on the left side of the painting among the trees. Van Gogh does not mention the inclusion of this spot but, ironically, is one of the most outstanding elements of the composition. If this is approached from the psychology of colors, it can be assumed that the inclusion of the dark blue spot can be associated with feelings of melancholy, depression, apprehension and fear. This can be interpreted as an inclusion of the memorial of the death of Charles-Francois Daubigny. Daubigny was a famous painter admired by Van Gogh and owner of the garden. The third difference from the letter is the color and shape of the cat. In the letters, it is emphasized that there is a black cat. In the actual painting the cat can hardly be seen. If the viewer is not paying enough attention, it can be confused as part of the grass.

The second letter to be analyzed is the one Vincent wrote in 1878 (Figure 3). The letter describes his famous view from his asylum in Saint Rémy. The famous view would later be interpreted into the painting, Starry Night (Figure 4), the artist´s magnum opus:

This morning I saw the countryside from my window a long time before sunrise with nothing but the morning star, which looked very big. Daubigny and Rousseau did that, though, with the expression of all the intimacy and all the great peace and majesty that it has, adding to it a feeling so heartbreaking, so personal. These emotions I do not detest.[4]

This letter is crucial because it reflects pure intimacy. The final sentence of the letter recognizes that the artist was settled in the asylum. The letter describes a morning star, Venus. The artist exaggerates the star immensely in the painting. He does not achieve this by exaggeration of size but exaggeration of color. The star is significantly whiter than the rest. Once again, Van Gogh achieved magnificent communication through the use of color. According to the psychology of color, yellow represents emotions of happiness. This color dominates the painting and it can be interpreted as Van Gogh´s happiness. It is often thought that Van Gogh took his time at Saint Rémy as if he were on a mystical journey.[5] This letter does not differ in composition from the painting. The main difference is the exaggerated use of color in the painting. The colors are not described at all by Van Gogh in his letter, but are passionately portrayed in the painting.

Van Gogh was a great artist, and he not only achieved art through painting but also through his writing. They can be usefully compared, and the artist’s writing is very intentional. From the given descriptions, the reader can imagine exactly what the artist was seeing and living. The main aspect missing from the letters, as discussed above, is the accuracy of color. Van Gogh was much more expressive with his colors when it came to painting. This does not make his writing less enjoyable, but rather showcases Van Gogh’s facility for the use of color in order to express emotions. Reading the letters is an amazing experience that is enhanced by studying the paintings. It is always interesting to investigate what was going through an artist´s mind, which is crucial for a full comprehension of the art.



Figure 1: Van Gogh letter, 1890
Accessed April 13, 2018

Figure 2: Daubigny’s Garden,
Vincent van Gogh, 1890
Kunstmuseum Basel

Figure 3: Van Gogh letter, 1878

Figure 4: Starry Night, Vincent van Gogh, 1889
Museum of Modern Art, New York


Gogh, Vincent van and Anthony M. Ludovici. The Letters of Vincent van Gogh.

Lawrence, Kan.:, 2010.

Heller, Eva, and Joaquín Chamorro Mielke. Psicología Del Color (Spanish Edition).   Barcelona: Gustavo Gili, 2005.

Kleiner, Fred S. “Europe and America, 1870 to 1900.” In Gardner’s Art Through the Ages: A Global History, 833. 13th ed. Vol. 2. Boston, MA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2009.

Soth, Lauren. “Van Gogh’s Agony.” The Art Bulletin 68, no. 2 (June 1986): 301-13.  Accessed April 13, 2018. doi:10.2307/3050939.

[1]Fred Kleiner, “Europe and America, 1870 to 1900.” In Gardner’s Art Through the Ages: A Global History, 833. 13th ed. Vol. 2. Boston, MA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2009.

[2] Eva Heller, and Joaquín Chamorro Mielke. Psicología Del Color (Spanish Edition).

Barcelona: Gustavo Gili, 2005.

[3] Vincent Van Gogh, and Anthony M. Ludovici. The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh.

Lawrence, Kan.?, 2010.

[4] Van Gogh, 73.

[5] Soth, Lauren. “Van Gogh’s Agony.” The Art Bulletin 68, no. 2 (June 1986): 301-13.

Figure 1: Accessed April 13, 2018 doi:10.2307/3050939.

Van Gogh letter, Vincent van Gogh, 1890

Posted in Visual Communication 2018 | Leave a comment

Aisyah Ahmad Abir

Genre: Technical Description
Title: The Ketupat and its Significance to the Malay Culture
Student: Aisyah Ahmad Abir
Professor: Lori Hughes


The key to writing an effective technical description is to ensure that it contains sensory perceptions, incorporates images when possible, and includes as many descriptive details as possible to the audience without being over-whelming, or crafting a procedural document, such as a manual. What I particularly admire about Aisyah’s description of the Malaysian dish, Ketupat, is her strong purpose statement, well-organized body paragraphs, clear headings, and explanations of the cultural significance of this artistic treasure. I learned (in a relatively succinct document) what Ketupat looks like, how it is crafted, and why it is so important to her culture—all great qualities of an effective technical description.

-Lori Hughes


The Ketupat and its Significance to the Malay Culture

Aisyah Ahmad Abir

In most cultures, during festivities and times of celebration, food plays a significant role. Whether Thanksgiving or Christmas, no less than a grand feast is expected. In Malaysia, food is arguably the largest part of its multiracial culture. While various regions in Malaysia prepare different dishes, the one dish common to almost all Malay households during festive times, is the Ketupat (pronounced Ke-too-pat).  Typically, diamond-shaped, the Ketupat is a dumpling made of rice filled into a woven leaf pouch [1]. While commonly found throughout Southeast Asian cultures under varying names, it is easier defined as “packed rice.” The purpose of this description is to provide to all a thorough description of the Ketupat, detailing its nature and cultural importance to the Malay race in particular. However, contexts such as details of how to weave the Ketupat and its richer origins are not discussed in the succeeding text.

The Ketupat’s Art

img01  img02
Figure 1: Traditional Ketupat hung from a high surface(
Figure 2: A Close-up of Ketupat weave (

In its form, many regard the weave of the Ketupat as beautiful art. Young green leaves are used to create an interlocking crisscross pattern that envelops the diamond shape. Fresh leaves are used to provide both flexibility and strength, as well as provide a brighter and more vibrant color.

Techniques to weave the Ketupat are often passed down from one generation to the next, and are a skill no longer known to many modern Malaysian households. The most common leaves used to weave the Ketupat are coconut leaves due to its large size and flexible properties. Two long rectangular sections of the leaves are held with one leaf on each hand. These are then woven to intercross one another and ultimately create its final form. Depending on the skill level of the individual, the weaving process can take anywhere from less than a minute to ten minutes or more to construct a single Ketupat.

Figure 3: Process of weaving a Ketupat using ribbons (

Several steps are taken to prepare and serve the Ketupat. Once the outer shell is woven, rice grains are poured into the Ketupat, which is then boiled. When the rice cooks, it expands into the pouch and is compressed into taking the diamond-shape of the pouch. This process, although simple, can take hours until the rice is fully cooked. When serving this dish, the Ketupat is cut open, the outer leaves are removed, and the packed rice is cut into smaller cubes. This dish is never served alone; rather, it is always accompanied by other dishes, most commonly by a thick peanut sauce. The reason for this is that the Ketupat, by itself, tastes no different from normal rice. The sole difference is the texture of the food, as the Ketupat is thicker and stickier than the rice commonly found. Like white rice, it is bland and requires the sweetness, saltiness and spiciness of accompanying dishes to enhance the eating experience.

The Significance of the Ketupat to the Malay Race

Malaysia is a nation made up of three major races: Malays, Chinese and Indians. Malays are often referred to as the natives of Malaysia and are primarily Muslims. Therefore, due to its Islamic origins, it is understandable why the Ketupat is most prevalent in the Malay culture. [1]. While the Ketupat is eaten during other occasions, the dish is especially important during Eid al-fitr celebrations.  Much like Christians celebrate Christmas and Jews celebrate Hanukkah, Muslims celebrate Eid al-fitr, which marks the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadhan. During this month, Muslims fast from food and water from sunrise to sunset. Therefore, after a full month of fasting, one can imagine the importance of food as a component to this particular celebration. The Ketupat in particular is significant to Eid al –fitr due to its origins that trace back to the 15th century. The celebration of Eid al-fitr is a time where Malays are encouraged to return to their roots, and continue traditions passed down over generations. Thus, although other dishes may differ from household to household, the Ketupat remains as a continued tradition found across Malaysia.

Other Types and Uses

Although most commonly diamond-shaped, the Ketupat can take multiple other forms. The types of leaves used can also differ, such as the use of palm or pandan leaves. Ribbons are often used to produce Ketupat as decorations during festive occasions such as weddings or religious celebrations. While the tastes may vary slightly depending on which leaves are used, the biggest difference is regarding the aroma of the Ketupat. Pandan leaves are known for their sweet aromatic properties and is commonly found in Malaysian dishes. Moreover, varying grains can also be used, which can change the taste and textures dramatically.

img04 img05
Figure 4: Triangular-shaped Ketupat made of palm leaves ((
Figure5: Ketupat served with other dishes  (

The Ketupat is a simple dish but represents a larger meaning to the Malay culture. It is a tradition and requires a skill that is passed down over many generations. Traditions are important to preserve, as they remind a culture of its values and roots, serving as a grounding force. Today, many Malay homes no longer weave the Ketupat; instead, they purchase the ready-made products available in local supermarkets. Thus, it is important to spread the knowledge of this tradition and continue this practice for many generations to come.

Work Cited

[1]  P. Nugraha et al. (2014). Muslims celebrate Lebaran Ketupat a week after Idul Fitr. The Jakarta Post. [Online]. Available:

Posted in Visual Communication 2017 | Leave a comment

Aimee Beliveau

Vascular 3D Visualization Software

Reducing the Time and Ionizing Radiation Needed for Successful Liver Tumor Embolization Procedures

Download Presentation (pptx)

Posted in Visual Communication 2017 | Leave a comment

Anthony L. Brown

Genre: Personal Reflection paper
Title: Psychoeducational Group for Couples with Young Children
Student: Anthony L. Brown
Professor: Cynthia Trumbo

Parenthood is a demanding job for which there is no “user’s manual” and or time off. For parents of young children, time is often spent balancing work demands, relationship needs, and child rearing, all of which can be very rewarding, yet exhausting. Human Services student Anthony Brown developed a psychoeducational group to educate and assist couples at this stage of life. First, he identified specific research to support his rationale and develop relevant content. Next, he methodically structured each session with relevant discussion topics and activities. By the final session, Anthony developed brief survey questions to assess members’ overall satisfaction with their group experience. Overall, his proposal illustrates how research can inform treatment practices.

-Cynthia Trumbo


Psychoeducational Group for Couples with Young Children

Anthony L. Brown
Lone Star College-Montgomery

The purpose of this educational group is to provide information to couples of young children on how to maintain and nurture their relationship after recently having children. The instructor would integrate ideas from family, cognitive and behavioral therapies, and laboratory-based marital interaction research to share with the couples to prevent marital distress, and dysfunction (Myrick, 2011). The instructor is a licensed marriage and family therapist, and has facilitated numerous family and marriage groups. The main objectives of this group are as follows: 1) Provide couples with education and information for maintaining healthy relationships, 2) Offer stress reducing techniques, and 3) Provide couples with an outlet to share their own experiences with other couples. Furthermore, couples are encouraged to keep in contact with the other couples outside of the group to arrange playdates, and assist each other with childcare for previously arranged date nights.

This group is important for couples (both married and unmarried) who are struggling in their relationships after having children, to strengthen their relationships and teach skills that foster healthy relationships. This group is designed for couples, ages 18 and older, who have recently had children. The starting age of 18 is to ensure that we will have consenting adults in the group who are able to make decisions without parental consent. Couples in this group are dedicated to maintaining and enriching their relationships and realize that children who grow up in a healthy, two-parent family do better on average on a host of outcomes, and that healthy relationships yield many benefits for adults and communities (Myrick, 2011). The addition of children to a relationship can be a tough conversion for most couples. In order to alleviate the stresses of this major life event, an educational group would be invaluable in the couple’s transition from a couple to a family (Myrick, 2011). Because most participants would be new to the group experience and may need additional counseling resources, the instructor would refer those couples to counseling professionals who could assist them. The membership size would be open to ten couples who would be encouraged to attend each session.

The leader would facilitate discussion session by addressing problems couples have maintaining their relationships. Hearing from other couples would help stimulate thought and discussion within the group (Jacobs, Schimmel, Masson, & Harvill, 2015). The leader would also discuss what some therapists refer to as the “fish bowl theory”, related to the interconnectedness between the parental bond and the well-being of children (Mitcham, 2009).  A prevalent theme throughout the group would be to make couples aware of how important their relationship is to the health and well-being of their family as a whole. By choosing to attend the group, they have made it a priority to continue to enrich their lives and the lives of their children.


The group would last seven weeks, meeting once per week for two hours, at a local church. The first hour of the first meeting would serve as an “icebreaker” activity where members would get acquainted, review group’s purpose, norms, and give members an opportunity to discuss their expectations. The instructor would open each session with personal anecdote from his own experiences of raising children, and ask participants to share their stories. This icebreaker activity would help relax and get them ready to fully participate in the learning and discussion presented for that session. Group members would also be encouraged to share any amusing stories or observations they had experienced since the last group session. After the leader and group members shared, the leader would discuss the activities and topics planned for the session.



Purpose: “Introductions and Expectations”

Theme: Icebreaker

Activities: In session one, the leader would set the tone by letting the group members know that the educational group is meant to be informative and fun. He would provide the group members with his credentials and restate the goals and purpose of the group. Next, the leader would communicate to the group that since there will be no children attending the group, members should view their time in the group as time to “recharge their parental and relationship batteries.” To begin, the group leader would conduct a round by asking each couple if they would share any pictures they may have of their children and answer the following questions: 1) How long have they been in their relationship? 2) How many children do they have and what are their ages? and, 3) Would they share a story about the last time their spouse or children made them smile? Once the round was completed, the leader would conclude the discussion and summary of the session.


Purpose: “Communication and Children”

Theme: Effective Ways to Communicate

Activity: The leader would request group members to participate in a role-playing game. The leader would ask the couples to create a scenario where one couple was trying to communicate with each other while another couple played the role of their children. The role-playing activity would allow the leader to observe what may be effective versus ineffective about each couple’s communication patterns. The leader will then discuss the ineffectiveness of patterns such as ignoring children (Levine, 2005).


Purpose: “Establishing Personal Boundaries”

Theme: Personal Space

Activities: The leader would discuss with members the importance of maintaining individuality and emphasize that creating boundaries is not the same as creating “barriers” in a relationship (“Personal Boundaries,” n.d.). The leader would use a “sentence completion” handout to help members set boundaries with their partners and children. The notecard would read “We will be setting better boundaries for ourselves and the children, such as _________,” leaving enough space for each couple to write their answers. The leader would then ask members to read aloud and discuss their answers with the group.


Purpose: “Child-Rearing and Well-Being

Theme: Discipline

Activities: Leader would lead a discussion concerning common myths and misconceptions about child rearing and tantrums. The leader would give each couple a “true/false” quiz related to the myths of temper tantrums developed by Levine (2005). There will be nine questions: “1) Are temper tantrums unhealthy? 2) Is a temper tantrum-prone child a bad child? 3) Do temper tantrums lead to delinquency? 4) Are you a bad parent because your child has temper tantrums? 5)Is there anything you can do about your child’s tantrums? 6) Are temper tantrums attempts to manipulate? 7) Does responding to your child’s tantrum spoil them? 8) Should you always have full control over your child? 9) Is there one “right” way to cope with temper tantrums?“(Levine, 2005, p. 9-12). Once the leader dispels these myths he will provide information about how to effectively deal with temper tantrums when they arise.


Purpose: “Daddy and Mommy Time”

Theme: Date Night

Activities: The leader would discuss the importance of establishing “date night” for couples and solicit ideas from the members. Each couple would pick one of the ideas, have a date night of their own, and share their experiences the following session.


Purpose: “Me Time”

Theme: Self Care

Activities: Leader would discuss the importance of maintaining self-care and proper work life balance. Couples would discuss ways they have struggled and brainstorm ideas for maintaining home and work balance.


Purpose: “What have You Learned?”

Theme: Group Closing

Activities: This final meeting will be a review and discussion of the topics covered during the course of the group. The leader would encourage members to share what they learned. During the final meeting, members would be encouraged to exchange information so they could keep in touch with other members for playdates and childcare arrangements.



During the final ten minutes, group members would be asked to anonymously evaluate the effectiveness of the group and leader. Questions would be rated on a scale of one to ten and include: 1) How likely are you to recommend this group to other couples you may know, 2) How effective was the instructor in relaying information, 3) What is the likelihood you would attend another group with this instructor?

They would give their surveys to the instructor as they exited.



This educational group was designed for adult couples with young children, to help them maintain healthy relationships. The main objectives were to: 1) Provide couples with education and information to maintain their healthy relationship, 2) Offer stress reducing techniques, and 3) Provide couples with an outlet to share their experiences with other couples. Topics addressed included: communication skills, maintaining personal boundaries and well-being, child rearing, date night ideas, work versus home life strategies, and self-care ideas. The important premise of this group was to strengthen families by improving the relationship of the parents. As adults, parents provide the foundation of the family, which allows the children to grow up in a healthy environment.



Jacobs, E.E., Schimmel, C.J., Masson, R.L., Harvill, R.L, (2015). Group counseling: Strategies

       and skills. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Levine, J. (2005). Everything: Parents Guide to Tantrums. Avon, MA: Adams Media.

Mitcham, Bill. (2016). Parent’s bond impacts children. Retrieved from



Myrick, M. (2011) Marriage and relationship education: (MRE) program development

       management manual. (n.d.). Retrieved from


Personal Boundaries in a Relationship. (n.d.). Retrieved from



Posted in Visual Communication 2017 | Leave a comment

Victoria Webb

Victoria Webb
U.S. History 1302
Professor Craig Livingston
Spring 2017




During the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, a group of journalists confronted Americans with the ills of their society.  “Muckrakers,” as they were called by Theodore Roosevelt, published articles and books detailing social, political and economic issues in the hopes of educating the public and prompting reform.  Five such muckrakers were especially influential during this time and have been credited with exposing the harsh truth and inciting reform in the areas they focused on.

Two factors, economic and intellectual, helped shape the successful achievement of these journalists.  First, printed media underwent huge growth from the 1870’s to the early 1900’s.  Daily newspapers increased from 574 to 2,600.  Periodicals such as McClure’s Magazine and Ladies’ Home Journal were priced at 10 cents, therefore making them affordable to a greater percentage of the population.  The Ladies’ Home Journal had circulation numbers of over 1,000,000.  Second, Americans, especially the growing middle class, had an appetite for realism.  They wanted to see America portrayed in a truer light, with objectivism and skepticism.  The muckraker journalists were doing exactly that.

One such writer and socialist, Upton Sinclair, wrote about the filth and unsafe conditions occurring in meat packing plants.  His 1906 book, The Jungle, was truly an eye-opener for the public and Congress alike.  Not long after his book was published, the government passed the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act.

Another journalist taking on industry was Ida Tarbell.  Through her investigative journalist work, she exposed the shady practices of J.D. Rockefeller and his Standard Oil Company.  Her articles were printed in 19 installments in McClure’s Magazine and eventually compiled into a book, The History of Standard Oil Company.  She has been credited with being one of the reasons why the Justice Department eventually broke up Standard Oil.

Lincoln Steffens was an author who took on corruption at the local government level.  He also wrote a series of articles in McClure’s that were later published into a book titled, The Shame of the Cities.  He exposed bribery and shady deals in such cities as St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and New York City.  His work exposing corruption on Wall Street helped to bring about the Federal Reserve Act of 1913.

Jacob Riis highlighted the deplorable conditions of slum, tenement housing in New York City.  His book, How the Other Half Lives, was unique because he included a photograph of homeless children sleeping in a hallway.  Not soon after, New York passed legislation, the “New” Tenement Housing Law.

Finally, George Kibbe Turner was especially influential with his work, bringing attention to a social cause of the time, prostitution and the white slave trade.  He published articles in McClure’s Magazine such as, “The Daughters of the Poor . . . ,”  and was successful in bringing to light the disintegration of families in the ethnic urban areas.

When Theodore Roosevelt coined the term, “Muckrakers,” he meant it in a negative way.  However, these Muckrakers embraced that label and wore it as a badge of honor.  Through their work, these Progressives were able to bring uncomfortable truths to light.  They were instrumental in bringing about reform and helping to make America better for all of her inhabitants.

Posted in Visual Communication 2017 | Leave a comment