English Theses and Dissertations

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    The 25th Year
    (2023) Bronson Boddie, Sebastian; Weiner, Joshua; Creative Writing; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    THE 25TH YEAR is a collection that seeks to understand what it means to bear witness. Cataloging their environment is how the speaker reconciles their fraught reality, making sense of the disorder of living. This disorder is reflected in the form of the work, as most of the poems are in free verse, with occasional variation. The poems in this collection explore themes of memory, community, and ordinary human kindness – and meditate on how powerful the practice of witness can be. In the tradition of Baldwin, Baudelaire, and the flâneur, the speaker observes what can often be missed, in order to connect to their community and themselves.
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    (2023) Hansen, Katherine Robbie; Mitchell, Emily; Creative Writing; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This is a collection of magical women doing bad things. There are six stories narrated by six women. These women are: Louise, a woman cursed with the knowledge of when her husband will leave her; Joy and Amity, two young sisters struggling with their roles in their uncle’s small-town drug business; Lisi, a new mother who has been separated from her body; Flossie, a woman whose jealousy manifests itself in the mysterious and supernatural deaths of those around her; Clara, a conservatory musician confronted with the sudden disappearance of her girlfriend; and Ruth, a lost daughter who finds everything she wants in a magic powder which returns the skin to youth. Their tales are strange and otherworldly, occurring in planes beyond comprehension and control. The women narrate; their words always are their own.
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    (2023) Collins, Meghan Ann; Mitchell, Emily; Creative Writing; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    From a pathologically shy student who ghosts her classes in Paris, to a directionless college graduate who cheats on her girlfriend with a much-older coworker, and another who, in lieu of leaving a bad relationship, decides to move to an apocalypse-proof bunker under the ocean, the characters in these stories are unified by their shared traits of curiosity, confusion, embarrassment, existential dread, and by the magnetic pull of self-sabotage. They are painfully ambivalent, sometimes throwing themselves with reckless abandon toward the object of their longing, the next seeking the destruction of all avenues of possible connection. These stories evoke the constant and repetitive search for meaning, identity, and belonging that characterizes young adulthood. Beneath the angst and self-doubt that rules each character’s mind, there is also a young person’s stubborn belief in revelation: the hunch that enlightenment could come at any moment, and that, when it does, this will all somehow finally make sense.
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    The Best of the Wreck
    (2023) Smith, Cecilia; Weiner, Joshua; Creative Writing; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    The poems in this collection explore the cyclical nature of relationships, family history, and natural phenomena, as well as the extent to which these cycles shape the trajectory of one’s life. Surrealism becomes a means of control, as it allows the speakers of these poems to transform their surroundings through imaginative perception. This childlike imagination is juxtaposed with disillusionment, coming-of-age, and the failures of intimate relationships. Written in a range of forms and meters, including fable-like rhymes and gnomic stanzas, these poems investigate our instincts for physical pleasure while questioning what we think and why we think it.
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    Critical Montessori Education: Centering BIPOC Montessori Educators and their Anti-Racist Teaching Practices
    (2023) D'Cruz Ramos, Genevieve; Liu, Rossina Z; English Language and Literature; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    While many BIPOC Montessori educators engage in anti-racist and culturally responsive teaching, Montessori education remains predominantly race-evasive. As a philosophy, it is rooted in colorblind perspectives in its focus on "all children" and lack of explicit centering of BIPOC students’ experiences. Teaching must account for race and racial lived realities in order to better support BIPOC students’ ways of knowing in culturally relevant and sustaining ways. This study seeks to center the voices of BIPOC Montessori educators and disrupt the pattern of Montessori research conducted without a critical racial lens. Framed by Critical Race Theory, this study focuses on the strengths, assets, and anti-racist teaching practices that one BIPOC educator brings to her classroom. I use critical ethnographic methods to better understand how a BIPOC Montessori teacher at a public charter Montessori school interprets and enacts the Montessori method to support BIPOC students. I consider how her racial identity informs her practices, and the structural barriers she faces at her school when enacting anti-racist and strength-based approaches. The guiding research questions of this study are: How does a Black Montessori teacher interpret the Montessori philosophy to more relevantly support her BIPOC students? How does she practice the Montessori method through culturally relevant and sustaining practices? What are the structural barriers that continue to challenge her as a Black educator doing her work? My analysis suggests that the teacher maintains her classroom space as a tangible and intangible cultural space that reflects and maintains her students' identities; that her own identity as a Black woman deeply contribute to the school's work around anti-racism and culturally responsive pedagogy; and that there are external barriers that both the teacher and the school face, that prevent them both from fully achieving culturally responsive teaching practices. At the core of the study, I seek to understand the possibilities and challenges of Montessori education from the perspective of BIPOC Montessori educators, and how we could learn from them to better support BIPOC students. I hope to begin a path toward more counter-stories in the Montessori community to specifically support BIPOC Montessori educators and understand the structural barriers they face to anti-racist teaching in Montessori programs in the United States.