Thursday, September 7, 2017

OSCAR Student Ruthann Clay Researches Guilt with the American Character

Hi my name is Ruthann Clay and this summer I researched guilt with the American character in one of OSCAR’s group research projects. I became interested in summer research, after working with a mentor this past year and because I enjoyed my prior research, I was looking for a way to continue. This summer, mentored by Dr. Stearns, three other students and I picked a facet of the American character that had undergone some interesting changes in the past half century to research. I focused on understanding why guilt had continued to remain so prevalent within the American character following the conclusion of the 1960s. It struck me as paradoxical particularly because it was during this period that America as a whole was becoming more tolerant and was seemingly less self-reflective than the 1960s. In an attempt to at least partially answer this question, the majority of the early days of my research were composed primarily of analyzing childrearing manuals and books published at or after the 1960s. I read everyone from Dr. Spock and Penelope Leah to John Rosemond. Additionally, I reviewed various articles in Newsweek from 1980 and 2000, which referenced parental guilt. After collecting my data, the final few weeks were spent analyzing and writing my paper.

I have throughly enjoyed my time researching this summer. When I reflect back on the process, there are two things that stick out to me the most. First, I have loved being able to go into DC and research at the Library of Congress. Being so close to DC, it was amazing to have an opportunity to take advantage and learn from the remarkable collection of books and material. Second, working in a group and having a mentor who is available to help and guide you has been an experience unlike any other that I have had in college. It was from this hands-on research that I feel I have gained more applicable knowledge regarding research, writing, and presenting than I have at any other point in college.