Skip to main content

Organismal Biology (Chancellor West)

1:30pm: Visually Driven Threat-Sensitive Behaviors in Larval Mosquitoes

Christopher Bonilla (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University)

The complex life cycle of mosquitoes involves an aquatic larval stage wherein they are faced with predators attempting to feed upon them. These mosquitoes utilize a variety of cues (e.g. mechanical, olfactory, visual, etc.) to detect and respond to in a threat-sensitive manner. While we know how mosquito larvae respond behaviorally by perceiving chemical cues signaling threat, the relative significance of visual cues in contexts of threat is largely unknown. My research in the Vinauger Lab is aimed at understanding the neural and molecular processes that mediate visually driven threat-sensitive behaviors in mosquito larvae. To simulate threat, I used an LED arena to deliver a looming, predator-like visual stimuli to freely-swimming mosquito larvae. The results from these experiments will allow me to determine the variables (e.g. distance between larvae and the stimulus, orientation of larvae towards the stimulus) that are likely to trigger threat-sensitive responses in larvae. To further investigate the mechanisms underlying the observed threat-sensitive behavioral responses, I will be employing molecular, neurophysiological, and imaging approaches targeting the larval visual system (e.g. the rhodopsin movement to and from the rhabdomere). A better understanding of the role of mosquito larval vision, from a behavioral perspective in contexts of threat, will reveal novel targets for stage-specific control strategies.

2:50pm: Patterns of Neural Activation in Pair-Bonded Prairie Voles Following Mating

Anthara Gnanakumar (University of Virginia)

Prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) have frequently been used as an animal model to understand the neural circuitry underlying human social behaviors such as biparental care, specifically by staining for oxytocin positive cells in animals that have formed monogamous pair bonds. However, it remains unclear as to whether staining for oxytocin positive cells is the most salient measure of brain activity for these animals. As such, c-Fos expression was used as a marker of the extent to which a mating stimulus, in the form of cohabitation, facilitates the formation of a pair bond. Brain tissue samples were collected from cohabiting male and female prairie voles 2 hours, 12 hours, and 24 hours following mating, with one control group consisting of virgins that did not cohabit and another control group consisting of virgins that cohabited but did not mate. Immunohistochemistry was used to label c-Fos positive cells and DAB (Diaminobenzidine) staining was performed to visualize the staining under a light microscope. Cell bodies were counted within various regions of the brain to quantify the extent to which c-Fos was expressed. Females exhibited a significantly greater number of c-Fos positive cells, specifically within the hypothalamus and nucleus accumbens, compared to males across all groups, most notably with greatest c-Fos expression in females of the 12 hours post-mating group. This study establishes c-Fos as an important marker for future studies that seek to identify brain regions implicated in human social behaviors.

3:10pm: Footpad Dermatitis in Broiler Chickens: Novel Remedial Treatments

Nathan Freeman (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University)

Footpad lesions and gait impairments can be painful and are common issues in the broiler chicken industry. The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of 3 flock-based treatments for footpad dermatitis (FPD) lesions in broiler chickens, applied from day (d) 1 or d29 of age. Male broilers (n=546) were housed from d1 until d49 in 42 pens, with 13 birds/pen. Seven treatments were tested, 3 flooring treatments applied either from d1 (preventative) or d29 (remedial), plus a control. The flooring treatments were: used poultry litter from a previous flock (CONTROL), change of litter with new pine shavings every 4d (CLEAN), pens with an absorbent mat with 3L of antiseptic solution (MAT), and pens with the mat and a slatted floor (SLAT). FPD and gait were scored weekly (0-100 score, with 100 representing the worst lesion/gait) and analyzed in SAS. MAT and SLAT flooring treatments showed the worst FPD and gait scores in both preventative and remedial applications. The CLEAN treatment showed almost a complete reduction in FPD lesions when provided either at d1 or d29. Providing clean litter at d1 and replacing it throughout production resulted in healthier footpads and better gait compared to the other treatments. Providing clean litter at d29 resulted in healing lesions, but no difference in gait. Despite the antiseptic solution in MAT and SLAT treatments, it was not effective against treating FPD. The application of clean shavings was the most effective in preventing and remedying severe FPD lesions, which could be a feasible option in the poultry industry after some modifications.

Equity in Africa (Chancellor East)

1:30pm: Uncovering Injustices: The Intricacies of Natural Resource Management in Southern Africa

Vanessa Merritt (North Carolina State University)

Southern Africa’s current conservation framework is a product of the region’s complex natural resource management history. This study critiques natural resource conservation in southern Africa through the examination of the region’s colonial history, military and poaching alliances, and community-based conservation practices. Through analysis of scholarly literature and interviews conducted with Namibian citizens, this study aims to change the rhetoric surrounding conservation in southern Africa by bringing to light its current shortcomings and by advocating a necessary shift in dominant nature ideology. On a historical level, southern Africa’s colonial past has resulted in present-day land evictions, human-wildlife conflicts, and discriminatory park employment practices. The proliferation of both military forces and white Afrikaner nationalists within the region’s conservation realm has resulted in systemic ivory/rhino horn poaching and insidious white supremacist undertones within southern Africa’s natural resource management system. Community-based natural resource management is meant to engage local people in conservation while providing them with economic benefits, but often this practice fails to align the goals of the conservationists with the goals of the community members. A potential solution to these issues involves a fundamental restructuring of the idea of “nature” away from the false Western separation of nature and culture. This study concludes that a realization of this ideological change could result in a shift in southern Africa’s natural resource conservation away from land evictions and racial discrimination to a new conservation reality that serves both human and non-human nature.

2:50pm: Obstetric Fistula in Ethiopia and Limited Health Functions

Delane Dixon (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

In Ethiopia, rural women suffer the casualties on the battlefield of gender and developmental inequalities. Lack of infrastructure leaves them vulnerable to labor for several days while giving birth, resulting in obstetric fistula and death of the fetus. Medical intervention prevents obstetric fistula is most nations — unenforced legislature, national statistics, and health outcomes demonstrate how disenfranchised women are in Ethiopia.

Women with resources in Ethiopia are more likely to have the opportunity to negotiate with their husbands about household decisions. These resources constitute at least a year of education, access to wealth or capital, and a BMI above 18.5, which together indicate more negotiating power and the ability for self-determination concerning medical care. Women who do not meet these qualifications are more susceptible to denial of medical care by their husbands.

After women develop obstetric fistula, they are shunned from their homes as a consequence of hygienic problems, making it especially challenging to tabulate their prevalence within a population. Some forms of biomedical interventions are not socially unacceptable and therefore rejected by patients.

Better infrastructure would not only allow more women to travel to hospitals but also allow for a medical provider to access remote areas where Ethiopian women are must vulnerable to obstetric fistula. These actions would prevent future mothers from developing obstetric fistulas during birth.  Societal changes to empower women with obstetric fistula would minimize stigma for women suffering from the disorder and allow them to reacclimate into their society.

3:10pm: The Role of the Institute of Healing of Memories in Transforming the Lives of South Africans Post-Apartheid

Rita Venant (Wake Forest University)

Apartheid, a strictly enforced system that racially segregated individuals, is a large part of South Africa’s history. This system was established in 1948 by the National Party, a group primarily comprised of Afrikaners (people who are primarily of Dutch origin), with the intent of maintaining white supremacy. Apartheid forced families to be separated, people to move to designated racial areas, and citizens to carry identification documents, among other restrictions. With only 25 years since its abolishment, South Africans are still working towards equality. The Institute of Healing of Memories (IHOM), headquartered in Cape Town, South Africa, is a non-profit organization that was founded to promote healing and reconciliation for individuals of all backgrounds in the post-apartheid years. I used ethnographic methods, attended workshops and healing dialogues, to analyze how the IHOM’s work guides participants to confront traumatic experiences so that they can transition and integrate more peacefully into a desegregated society. Through IHOM ethical practices, they have been able to expand their work to help communities remember past injustices and empower individuals to take a step towards healing.

Culture and Communication (Hill Ballroom Central)

1:30pm: Creative Rhetoric: Mapuche Creative Expression in Chile

Jacob Thomas (Wake Forest University)

The occupation of indigenous, Mapuche land in the Southern region of Chile precipitated a forced emigration of Mapuche people to Santiago for economic incentive. This transition facilitated rhetoric that illustrates the political nuance of this migration. Contextually, the political organizing of Mapuche people in response to legislative and military developments underpins the rhetoric of demands for Mapuche rights and land acknowledgements. In Santiago, I wanted to investigate how migration ultimately contributed to a new understanding of Mapuche identity that factors into contemporary modes of cultural continuity. Through qualitative analysis, by attendance and evaluation of manifestations of cultural continuity and preservation in the city, I examined the ramifications of this migration on a new understanding of Mapuche identity. This analysis determined many demonstrations of Mapuche cultural continuity in Santiago are rooted in efforts towards just treatment, autonomy, and the significance of land acknowledgement in Southern Chile. In contemporary Chile the advent of Mapuche poetry, film, and theater in Santiago follow these themes of cultural continuity harkening back to the historical context of occupation and oppression of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

2:50pm: Printing Supremacy in Early Modern Nuremberg

Allison Marino (Florida State University)

Early modernists have long considered Nuremberg an influential city for knowledge and artistic production. Scholars often cite Anton Koberger’s 1493 Nuremberg Chronicle and scientific instruments produced in the city as evidence for Nuremberg’s advanced intellect and the pivotal role that its intellectuals had in the development of cosmography, mathematics, and geography. I begin this paper by using the Chronicle to prove that early modern Nuremberg held immense power. Then, by tracing cosmological depictions from the Chronicle to those created using scientific instruments produced between 1500-1550, I argue that Nuremberg’s printers retained the city’s intellectual, commercial, and artistic centrality throughout the first half of the sixteenth century. As I build my argument, I discover an interesting stylistic phenomenon: content rendered in a circular format. The Chronicle, celestial maps, and round aerial topographical views produced mid-century all depict an area within circular borders. I argue that artists used a similar visual template for illustrating celestial and terrestrial realms to encourage viewers to associate these images with the intellectual capacity required to depict them on paper. This essay sheds fresh light on the methods that early modern Nuremberg artists used to propagate the city’s power to the early modern world at large.

3:10pm: Inventorying, Reporting, and Communicating Human Osteological Findings from Highland Creek, KY

Nikki Ardary (University of Louisville)

The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) of 1990 was a direct response to years of blatant desecration to Native American burial sites and sacred spaces. NAGPRA mandates that museums, universities, and public institutions inventory and report all Native American remains and burial artifacts within their collections, and stipulates that no invasive study be undertaken on NAGPRA remains without tribal consent. The seeming inability to engage in extensive study has led to a shortage of anthropologists, specifically archaeologists and bioarchaeologists, electing to work with indigenous remains. With the legal limitations inherent to NAGPRA, there is continuous debate as to whether this legislation is a hindrance to osteological (bioarchaeological) research, or whether it encourages an ethical baseline to our scientific research. This study set out to examine human skeletal remains excavated from Highland Creek, Kentucky by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1997 and currently curated at the Center for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage at the University of Louisville. Previous examination of remains from individual and commingled contexts identified 214 skeletal elements. For this study, more comprehensive macroscopic, non-destructive methods were employed to both estimate age, sex, and minimum number of individuals (MNI) and provide preliminary palaeopathological data for inventory purposes. Complete and fragmentary skeletal elements from the site were inventoried in newly designed NAGPRA documentation forms that were designed to communicate osteological findings and inventories to tribes in a culturally sensitive manner. Results showed that current MNI counts, utilizing this new recording system, differed from the original report, highlighting the need for more thorough macroscopic analysis and accuracy in NAGPRA reporting and consultation. Without diluting scientific results, immediate, actionable changes to NAGPRA procedures within our lab demonstrate that respectful methods do not hinder but enhance our research and relationships with past and present indigenous peoples and cultures.

Activism, Art, and Women (Hill Ballroom South)

1:30pm: Migrant Activism in Street Art: A Study of Contemporary Public Practice in Paris

Paris Gilstrap (Florida State University)

Scholars Anne-Laure Szary (2012) and Allison Young (2014) argue that street art has increased in areas with border conflict, where street art functions as a visual opposition and advocacy against physical barriers. Many twenty-first century artists and scholars address migration in what T.J. Demos (2011) calls a “globalization crisis,” caused by war, colonialism, and economic inequality; this crisis affects mass migrations of people and is a prominent topic of many contemporary artists, especially in Paris. My paper applies relevant discourse on migration in street art that positions the genre as an activist response to geographic borders opening and closing, specifically in Paris. How has street art in Paris proliferated to form political responses to border politics and migrant advocacy? Through formal and social art historical analysis, supported by fieldwork in Paris, I argue that street art in Paris heavily focuses on policies regarding migration in France, responding to government actions and effects of a “globalization crisis,” in the works of Zoo Project, Alo, JR, and Hazul. I examine historic examples of street art as a form of political protest to address how contemporary street art constitutes a vernacular of images, symbols, and placement of artwork in accessible public spaces that responds to France’s policies on migration and colonial history.

2:50pm: Shaking Things Up: The Influence of Women on the American Cocktail

Elizabeth Sholtis (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University)

At the beginning of the 20th century, much was changing for American women. Working toward the right to vote and the passage of prohibition gave women a route into the public sphere and allowed them to contribute to political and social discourse. One such way women did this was by beginning to drink publicly. While drinking had always been seen as a male only activity, many women began drinking publicly during prohibition. This era of liberation and commercialization allowed women to enter the drinking space, but also that the conception of leisure time popularized and commercialized the American cocktail for women, shaping and solidifying it in ways important for its rise in popularity in the years following prohibition. This, in turn, affects the type of alcohol being served in bars of the time.  By examining how and why where women were drinking as well as what women were drinking was changing, it is clear that women were major catalysts in America’s advancement of the cocktail, even during Prohibition. Newspaper articles and cocktail recipes from cocktails created and popularized in the period from 1920-1933 are used to examine these cultural shifts across time as well as by secondary research on women’s history during the period. Through analysis of these resources, it is clear that prohibition allowed an entry point for women into a drinking space previously reserved for men and that their emergence into this space, in turn, affected the composition of the American cocktail in a way that can still be seen to this day.

3:10pm: The Development and Impact of Afro-Feminism in France

Grace Assogba (Boston College)

France’s history of colonialism and imperialism has created pathways for immigration as those who navigate their Black French identities are constantly negotiating belonging and non-belonging in the state of political dominance or lack thereof. There have been many questions about color blindness within French society and the rejection of race being acknowledged on an institutional and systemic level that has caused discrepancies in the lived experiences of Black French people and in particular, Black French women. The lack of institutional power combined with deeply rooted policies and societal conditions against the existence of Black French women has become the cause for the emergence of a social movement. A cause for unification, these women are fore-fronting the construction of a narrative that gives fluidity and power against the voiceless and the historical impacts of colonial partitioning. This has created liminality in the experiences of Black French women, especially within the existing societal rhetoric on the inclusion of both race and gender. With reference to Black American Feminist scholars, French literary work on Black France, and interview data, I show that the emergence of the afro-feminist movement has caused a necessary disruption in the societal conditioning of narratives on race and gender in Paris, France. Moreover, I argue that the movement is pivotal to the intersectional development of Black feminist theory and builds a new framework as to understanding the enduring injustices of Black French women. This process highlights both the ongoing role of race and the afro-feminist movement in constructing socio-political space for Black French Women.