Humanities and Social Sciences holds first annual symposium

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Timothy Smith, political science major, was one of the speakers at the first-ever Student Research Symposium. Smith presented “War Wages, and the Welfare State: Understanding the Development of Social Programming Through the World Wars.”
(Katie Albertson / Daily Titan)

Scholars from a variety of majors within the College of Humanities and Social Sciences shared their research projects at the Humanities and Social Sciences Inter-Club Council’s (H&SS ICC) first annual Research Symposium on Monday.

The symposium is one of many events Cal State Fullerton is hosting throughout the week in order to showcase contributions made to academia by students, and to encourage networking within the department.

Presentations covered several areas of research, including women and gender studies, geography, psychology, sociology and anthropology. Researchers explored subjects that are often thought of as unpleasant or controversial to talk about, such as the evolution of the “welfare state,” mental illness and male aggression.

Charles Laconico, a 20-year-old senior liberal studies major with a minor in American studies, gave his presentation, titled, “Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Body Politics in the LGBTQ Community.” Although he is not part of the LGBTQ community himself, Laconico said that he is a huge supporter of LGBTQ rights and ultimately chose the topic because of his own love of bodybuilding and admiration for the ex-governor of California.

When asked about his future plans for the research, he said, “I plan on getting it published. I am in the process of editing it for the American Papers, which is the annual paper for Cal State Fullerton’s American studies (department).”

Anthropology major Anne Marie Whitehead presented her research on “green burials” during the event, using a poster that showed comparisons between Hillside Memorial Cemetery, which practices traditional Jewish funerals, and the famed Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

Through the use of biodegradable caskets and shrouds, as well as the elimination of vaults, manufactured gravestones and toxic formaldehyde, Hillside Memorial Cemetery provides an eco-friendly alternative to the mainstream burial practices that leave a long-lasting negative impact on the environment.

The burial practices are certified by the Green Burial Council, a group that assists people in finding places like Hillside Memorial Cemetery, Whitehead said.

There are only two certified places in California that offer these kinds of services, the other being in Joshua Tree National Park, she said.

The symposium enthralled many audience members with its findings and subject matter, including Ashley Dorado, early childhood development major.

“I was really impressed with both the posters and the speeches. All of the presenters were really well-informed of their topic and they explained them clearly,” Dorado said.

Three Titan Shop gift baskets were raffled off during the event. They were awarded to two presenters as well as one attendee, with each valued at $100.

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