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Royal Myths: Chicago's Humboldt Park in Print and Oral History

Acevedo, Jose ('10);  Javadizadeh, Kamran

At one time, the Humboldt Park neighborhood in Chicago housed one the largest factions in the country of the Latin Kings gang. But what was this neighborhood like for non gang members? Does Humboldt Park’s existence differ between the Chicago Tribune, the most popular gang novel about the subject My Bloody Life, and the oral histories of the neighborhood’s residents? In order to answer these questions I initially familiarized myself with scholarly works written about gangs and gang culture. I then analyzed newspaper archives and the novel My Bloody Life to determine how Humboldt Park exists in each of these sources. Finally, I took oral histories from people who lived in the neighborhood during the mid-seventies and early eighties. The result is a turbulent neighborhood controlled by the violence of rival gangs. However, fiction and news discount the positive impact the residents had on the neighborhood’s future.
Funding provided by: Pomona College SURP

Choose Your Own Apocalypse

Phelan, Chanda ('09);  Worley, Meg

My research focused on apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic literature. By focusing on popular pulp fiction, written by authors more interesting in telling a good story than searching for great literary truths, I will be able to search for the similarities and truths that “leak through” almost in spite of themselves, things so integral to our thinking that we hardly notice them anymore. Americans are unusual in our preoccupation with the end of the world. Though my research will continue through the year before I make any definite conclusions, concepts like manifest destiny, the cowboy mentality, and “the city upon the hill” interact with our preoccupation. By researching more than 500 works dealing with the Apocalypse, I have categorized all apocalyptic scenarios and highlighted the religious tropes in the fiction, so as to better find why the image of a blossoming mushroom cloud sends shivers of pleasurable dread down our collective spine.
Funding provided by: Pomona College SURP

Research at Pomona