Honors Senior Theses/Projects

Date of Award

Spring 2020

Exit Requirement

Undergraduate Honors Thesis/Project

Department

Honors Program

Faculty Advisor

Gregory Poulin

Honors Program Director

Dr. Gavin Keulks

Abstract

The tendency for societies to organize themselves around contours of sameness and difference leads naturally to social constructions of "us versus them." Individuals are primed to identify with the groups to which they belong, and thus intellectually classify those unlike themselves as "the other." Our social inclination toward "othering" is intractable and ubiquitous across cultures. It breeds conditions of chronic inequality and marginality, reinforcing the ethos of xenophobia that perpetuates and undergirds human atrocities such as war, slavery, and genocide. Through a creative project — a webcomic entitled Blasphemy — I address and illustrate how othering behavior can manifest in the world. Armed with the knowledge that powerful lessons can be gleaned from the arts, the goal is to raise awareness of othering and its deleterious impacts on individuals, and the wider society. Blasphemy co-mingles narrative and visual image in a long-form, serialized webcomic leveraging my study of art and psychology and engaging my own yearning to lessen the suffering of those who find themselves marginalized or targets of discrimination. As is common practice in webcomic production, each update will advance the story until the full story arc reaches its satisfying conclusion. Given the length and nature of Blasphemy as a complete narrative published in series, the full execution of the project logically spans beyond the time scope of this thesis.

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