The National Communication Association is awarding CSU M.A. student, Juliet Letteney, the James L. Golden Outstanding Student Essay in Rhetoric Award for her paper, “The Polysemous Border Between North and South Korea: Metaphors for Unification at the Demilitarized Zone.” The award will be presented on November 9, at the 104th NCA Annual Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Letteney’s essay uses three metaphors to describe the demilitarized zone, or DMZ. She describes this area of struggle between the two countries as binoculars, a bridge, and a barrier.
“Binoculars serve the idea that North Korea is being watched and eavesdropped on by the rest of the world,” Letteney said. “The bridge represents the idea of unification and having this space is important for its progress, though at the same time the DMZ is also a barrier that is preventing unification.”
Letteney says that her mother’s Korean heritage has inspired her interest in the culture and political climate of North and South Korea throughout her college career. After completing her undergraduate degree, Letteney was able to visit South Korea, where she met some of her family members, and began to understand the complications between North Korea, South Korea and the United States.
“Living in America, it is widely accepted that South Korea and America are ‘the good guys’ but it feels more complicated than that when you are speaking with Korean citizens,” Letteney said.
After returning from her trip, Letteney enrolled in SPCM 601, taught by Assistant Professor Allison Prasch. The graduate seminar focused on the history of rhetorical theory and inspired Letteney’s interest in metaphor regarding political place.
Letteney is in the second year of her master of arts program and attended CSU for her undergraduate degree as well. Beginning as a psychology student with a focus in criminal justice she adopted began a double major in communication studies. After completing her undergraduate degree, Letteney enrolled in the CSU master’s program.
“I had only applied to CSU’s program because other schools were going to force to pick a set track and our program offers much more flexibility for me to choose what I’d like to study,” Letteney said.
Letteney plans to spend time teaching English to students in South Korea after completing her master’s degree this year.