Women and Identity

A MiddLab Project


Coffee, Heptathlon, Thesis

Julia Sisson, Studio Art Senior Work 2012


Prestige: Coffee, heptathlon, thesis

I see prestige as a velvet-lined room filled with cigar smoke and old white men.  A concept embedded within nostalgia, something that my predecessors have pursued and achieved through good, hard, and honest work.  It is a type of honor gained through completing actions in the most pure or difficult ways possible.  This conceptualization has managed to saturate and motivate too many of my decision-making processes. I have sought it out in order to assert myself as a member of society—something that I feel I lack as a woman, artist, introvert, Midwesterner, or student within a rigorous academic institution.  However, in looking to ascend my own ladder of achievement, I end up simultaneously pushing myself down.  Seemingly absurd and useless knitted objects in my work serve to expose the absurdity of my own decision-making, but also question why we code and value certain objects different than others.


Special thanks to Professor Sanford Mirling, Rebecca Gooch, the Studio Art department, friends and and family for all their help and support in completing this project.




Heptathlon (2012)

Sod, mixed media, yarn



Desk, mixed media, yarn

Coffee (2012)

Kitchen, mixed media, yarn

Other Works

Nap.pal (2011)

Wood, recycled foam, mixed media



Ndánk, ndánk mooy japp golo ci ñdaay (Slowly, slowly one catches the monkey in the forest–Wolof Proverb) (2012)

Teapot, quilt, steel, mixed media


Musical Accompaniment for _Ndánk ndánk…_



Turkey maintains the image of a country bridging the divide between the Middle East and Europe; however, the continued prevalence of honor killings testifies to the difficulty in uprooting traditional patriarchal practices that remain widespread throughout the country. Although the Turkish government has enacted legal reforms – for instance, in 2002 and 2004 – aimed at eradicating the practice, new laws have been mostly ineffective and evidence indicates that both honor killings and the practice of “honor suicides” are actually increasing. My research explores this tension between secular government laws banning honor crimes and the continuation of honor killings within traditional and tribal communities. I argue that despite government efforts to educate the Turkish populace and institute legal reforms, the complex relationship between the cultural, patriarchal, and religious bases of honor killings makes it challenging to eradicate this practice in modern Turkish society.


Clara Rubin

Related Links


This project examines how the figure of the split mother in folk tales has changed over three historical eras. First, it focuses on two oral tales originating in the Early Modern period: “Hansel and Gretel” and “The Juniper Tree.” It also looks at Lucy Lane Clifford’s “The New Mother” (1882) and Neil Gaiman’s novel, Coraline (2002). The project examines the cultural and historical anxieties involved in this Good Mother/Bad Mother split. Finally, it questions whether today’s notion of the unattainable ideal mother continues to reflect the prejudices of the Early Moderns and Victorians.


Emily Culp

Elizabeth Napier
Sponsor & Henry N. Hudson Professor of English and American Literatures

Marion Wells
Sponsor & Associate Professor of English and American Literatures

Related Links


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