Modje Taavon Honored with the Distinguished Thesis/Graduate Project Award

May 21, 2019

The purpose of the 2019 Distinguished Thesis/Graduate Project Competition is to recognize and reward distinguished scholarship, research and creative activity at the master’s level. Each academic college is invited to nominate two theses/graduate projects for consideration for this distinguished award. Apart from this honor, recipients will receive a monetary amount.

Modje Taavon's thesis, "Let Vengeance Rule, Not Pity: On the Universality of Female Rage," was recommended by her faculty mentors, Dr. Michael Bryson and Dr. Danielle Spratt. It was chosen as one of the two theses/graduated projects submitted by the College of Humanities to Graduate Studies. From there, the Award Committee in Graduate Studies honored Modje as one of two truly outstanding theses/graduate projects among all of the colleges. She has been invited to the Graduate Student Awards luncheon on Thursday, May 23rd, at the Orange Grove Bistro.

"Let Vengeance Rule, Not Pity: On the Universality of Female Rage" is a cross-cultural and historical analysis of world literature spanning from the ancient Near East of 2300 BCE through the Classical world, medieval, early modern, and nineteenth-century Europe, twentieth-century America, and ending in the twentieth-century modern Middle East. These works feature female rage as both commentary and criticism of the oppressive and unjust sociopolitical and cultural structures of each and every time and place which gave birth to these literatures.  With these works, this thesis rejects the long-promulgated idea of the non-referentiality of language. French critics like Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, and Deleuze & Guattari (all channeling Gorgias of Leontini) argue that the written word holds no extra-literary meaning, that literature and language are not only non-communicative, but uncommunicative. It is against the backdrop of such theories that this thesis challenges the orthodoxy prevalent in literary studies by arguing that literature is not reducible to an articulation of limitation or lack. Indeed, in a world literature tradition that spans nearly 4,300 years, patterns of human behavior and powerful expression emerge out of analogous cultural circumstances again and again over the millennia.

Congratulations again to Modje, a Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Scholar, who is graduating from CSUN with a Master's in English Literature in the Spring of 2019.