To the Class of 2020,
Welcome to Fordham College at Lincoln Center and the world of college writing! This year’s issue of EP collects eleven essays, each written by a Fordham student last year in Composition and Rhetoric I, II, or Texts and Contexts. We congratulate the class of 2019 on the excellent writing represented here. Their work represents some of the finest Fordham has to offer, and we hope that it impresses, instructs, and inspires you to excel in your own writing. We also hope that in reading these essays, you will be moved to find your own voice, to ask your own questions of what you read and of the world around you, and to engage your mind with the rich and moving ideas and texts that college allows you to explore.
What is EP? EP is short for eloquentia perfecta, a Latin phrase meaning the right use of reason combined with eloquent expression. This idea of eloquentia perfecta has long been central to Jesuit education, and EP’s mission is to draw on the best of that tradition while bringing it into the 21st century. You will find perfect eloquence here in this expository prose, and you will also find extended play: essays that take an idea and break it apart, look at it from a new angle, and remix it, showing it to us anew.
Central to the exemplary nature and theme of EP 12.0, this issue also presents its own formal remixes. EP 12.0 marks the first year that the journal will be available in print and on the web (https://eloquentiaperfecta.org), enabling an even greater number of readers to access, read, and enjoy this exceptional collection of essays. In addition to bringing EP into the digital age, we instituted an even more rigorous blind peer review. Modeled upon the process used at our sister publication at Rose Hill, Rhētorikós, EP 12.0 relied upon two reading periods to winnow a large and impressive batch of essays.
Each submission received anonymous consideration from two members of our peer review board, comprised of eleven graduate students from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, traversing Fordham’s Rose Hill and Lincoln Center campuses. On numerous occasions, we arrived at split decisions, requiring the intervention of a third reader. Essays selected through the blind peer review were returned with two detailed reader reports (typically about 500 words) with which authors revised and resubmitted essays. Finally, the editors coordinated with authors to copy-edit final essays. With an acceptance rate of about 30 percent, EP 12.0 is one of our most rigorous issues to date, illustrating the best of first-year writing at Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus.
We are proud of the essays in this collection, and we believe that they are even stronger when placed in conversation with one another. To this end, our chosen cover image, an historical postcard for for the Lincoln Center campus, invites readers to consider the disjunction between appearance and experience in the past as well as in the present. As messages sent from one person to another, postcards work by putting an image into conversation (and sometimes even tension) with the written message they accompany. Such conversations between present-day writing and historic images, ideas, and practices appear throughout this issue of EP. We hope readers will approach the contents of this journal as a kind of gloss to EP 12.0’s historic cover image of Fordham Lincoln Center as they work in the present to become active members of our University’s community.
The tension between identity and affiliation in the past and the present serves as something of a through line for this collection. In the first two essays, authors describe their personal struggles with self-identification. Isabel Wallace-Green reckons with multiracial identity in the context of rigid classification systems, and Holly Yiping Wang describes her difficult process of coming out to her devout Christian mother.
The next two essays, written by Erica Messina and Caroline Shriver, read struggles with identification through literature. Messina considers Oscar Wilde’s descent into despair after he’s imprisoned for “gross indecency” (homosexuality). Shriver unites the works of Junot Díaz and Maxine Hong Kingston by theorizing that both writers articulate the “cultural limbo” they experience as multiethnic Americans as a form of open-ended trauma. Katie Doman extends that comparative analysis to posit that both the films Metropolis and Ex Machina equate technological takeover with fears of female sexual empowerment.
Essays by Kyoka Millard, Joseph Sullivan, and Katharine Richardson examine issues of identity and affiliation in dance, music, and music theater. Millar explores present-day ramifications of how Josephine Baker once appropriated fetishized black dances to earn celebrity and showcase her work on behalf of Civil Rights. Whereas Sullivan finds that offensive language lends the genre of rap both popularity and rhetorical strength, Richardson looks at how Lin-Manuel Miranda harnesses the genre to make musical theater more inclusive and accessible.
If Hamilton invites audiences to ask what history and past policy might teach us about present-day issues, the next two essays answer that call. Nijun Xie offers a nuanced take on China’s one-child policy, and Catherine Imossi provides a history of electrical interventions to argue that bioelectronics can provide an effective alternative to pharmaceuticals. We close this collection with a moment of synthesis that we hope will inspire a new generation of “New Yorkers” at Fordham. After receiving generosity from a shopkeeper at a midtown tattoo shop, Emma Szymanski writes about how she unexpectedly discovered a newfound sense of interconnectedness with her fellow New Yorkers.
Before closing our welcome to you, we want to reiterate our thanks to Dean Robert Grimes, S.J. for his continued and generous support, both financial and intellectual, of this endeavor. Simply put, without it, there would be no EP. Thanks also to Jane Van Slembrouck, Acting Director of Writing/Composition at Lincoln Center, who was instrumental to the design and implantation of our peer review process. Professor Glenn Hendler, Chair of the English Department, and Professor Sarah Zimmerman, Associate Chair of English for Lincoln Center, continue enthusiastically to support our work on this journal.
Our wonderful professors and instructors—Olivia Badoi, Julia Barclay-Morton, Jessica Denzer, Linda Goldberg, Laura Greeney, and Christy Pottroff—taught the courses from which this great work emerged. We thank these instructors, and all of our instructors, for helping our students reach their potential.
We hope to see your work here next year. Enjoy! And enjoy writing!