We are proud to welcome you to the second issue of the sixth volume of ESTRO for this academic year. It has, once again, been a great pleasure to collect exceptional student research papers representing the range of disciplines taught at Essex. This edition of the journal invites you to an intellectual journey through the realms of the psychological, the medical, the political and the allegorical, in the hope of broadening your academic horizons and challenging your critical perspectives on a variety of topics.
We start in a somewhat unique way compared to previous issues of ESTRO. We are delighted to introduce ‘In Memory’, a creative piece written by Sadie Lummis. ‘In Memory’ is a poem following the life of the protagonist for as long as she remembers and does not remember, as we see her memories simultaneously constructed and unravelled through the narrative. The author marries attributes of Alzheimer’s disease with key historical events, producing poetry which –using repetition and beautifully minimalistic language– is heart-breaking in its effect. In a similar vein, our second article is also immersed in the inner workings of the mind and the memories it collects. Here we move away from Lummis’s game of words and lyricism to Espen Sjoberg’s exploration of the scientific methods used to detect the condition of amnesia. Sjoberg employs a particular focus on the malingering of this disease, and examines the way in which some patients can ‘fake’ symptoms in order to pursue their own agendas.
Adeleke Fowokan’s ‘Outbreak Control of Ebola Haemorrhagic Fever’ continues our sequence of articles on medical conditions that can affect the human body. Fowokan relies on current scientific research to clearly explain the social and contextual issues related to outbreaks of the Ebola virus to non-specialised readers. The author is also critical of the various ways in which these issues have been managed and suggests alternative methods for outbreak control, thus taking the essay beyond mere factual recitation into the regions of practical application. Similarly, Ayowumi Ogunjobi’s ‘Bordetella Pertussis in Children in the United States of America’ also addresses virus outbreaks, with a particular focus on the present threat of Pertussis occurring in the U.S. The author argues for better recognition of the disease, as well as either the introduction of a new vaccine to strengthen immunity or the improvement of the current acellular vaccination.
We remain in the U.S. with our next essay, in which Frazer Merritt establishes a symbolic parallel between Captain Ahab’s pursuit of the elusive white whale in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick and the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq. Merritt creates a web of landmark events, including the Second World War, 9/11 and the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and explores the way in which the reception of Moby Dick has evolved in accordance with these historical pinnacles. While fictional characters provide the main focus in this piece, Merritt reveals their allegorical potentiality and their representation of political ideas. He skilfully highlights the way in which, 160 years on, Melville’s gargantuan novel still holds an important bearing on contemporary America.
In our next article, ‘Power in Lewis Carroll's Alice Books’, Amalia Mihailescu also examines the provocative function of allegory in literature and succeeds in shedding a new light on these popular tales. In the first part of her analysis, Mihailescu meticulously interrogates the complex language and imaginary in Carroll’s novels and focuses on the distribution of power between Alice and the fictional creatures. In the second part, she delves deep into the nonsensical machinations of Wonderland and presents the novels as m editation on Victorian society, of the anxieties over emerging modernity and its distorting effect on their existing conception of reality.
The theme of power is continued in our next essay by Daniel Devine, in which he addresses party competition in the conflict state of Northern Ireland. Devine asserts that existing literature concerning the Northern Irish party system is limited in its scope. However, through extensive research and in-depth analysis, he is able to critically assess the varying theoretical approaches to party competition and concludes in favour of the ‘ethnic tribune’ model.
We hope you find this edition of ESTRO as enjoyable and inspiring to read as we have done. Each author’s engagement with their topic offers a fascinating perspective and has the potential to make you think outside of your comfort zone. We would like to thank all of our writers and reviewers for their continuous hard work and commitment to the journal. ESTRO is run by students for students and depends on your submissions to remain the high quality journal it is.
© Sofia Parunova and Jessica Houlihan. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY).