CGS Alum featured at 16th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium

in Spotlight
October 25th, 2013

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Chelsea Bray

Chelsea Bray, CGS ’11, CAS ’13, was one of 5 featured researchers (out of 284) at the 16th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium held on Friday, October 18, 2013 in the George Sherman Union ballroom.  A book of student research abstracts was distributed at the event, and Chelsea’s project had a full-page description in the opening pages of the book, along with the other featured researchers. Chelsea worked with Natalie McKnight, Dean ad interim of the College of General Studies, on this project, which was funded by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP).

For her project, Chelsea researched the history of garden imagery in literature and the history of responses to English imperialism to interpret a sinister garden scene in Dickens’s last novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood.  In the paper, Chelsea argues that the novel’s villain, John Jasper, represents imperial England, while the garden and Rosa Bud, the novel’s innocent heroine, can be seen as a pre-industrial, edenic England threatened by the imperial project.  Jasper’s opium addiction links him both to England’s colonizing of Asian countries as well as the corruption that results from the imperialist mission.

Chelsea presented her paper at the 17th Annual Dickens Symposium at the University of Toronto in July, and then continued to work with Dr. McKnight on a second Dickens project involving his responses to a literary journal, The Lowell Offering, written and produced by Lowell women factory workers in the 1840s. Their co-authored paper has been accepted for publication for a book on Dickens in Massachusetts.

To read more about Chelsea, check out this article about her Charles Dickens research.

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