Sepanta Sarraf

The Sasanian Empire is known to have had a vast number of faiths within it. Despite this, most of the Persian sources of this time only refer to the known Zoroastrian elements of the royal pantheon. By studying these sources, as well as other records around this time, it is possible to learn if the majority of Iranian subjects held the same faith as their rulers, or if there was a difference. This topic will be approached in two major segments, which encompass the analysis of primary and secondary sources. Analysis of these sources will allow a final understanding of the Sasanian rulers’ religion relative to that of their subjects. The first step is to review primary sources created during the Sasanian Era. These sources mainly include the Sasanian Royal Inscriptions, rock reliefs, and Kerdir’s Inscriptions. The second step is to review secondary, scholarly sources about the Sasanian Empire, which […]

Ian Wong

In response to perceived violations of Hong Kong’s special autonomy, as enshrined in the “One China, Two Systems” framework, by mainland China, mass protests broke out in the city from 2019-2020. Viewing the city’s unique geopolitical position through cultural scripts, popular media framed the city’s pro-democracy movement in distinct ideological terms, stating that the residents of the financial hub were fighting for freedom and capitalism in the face of increased encroachment by “communist” mainland China. However, this tidy framework suggesting protestors took on right-leaning identities fails to account for the complex realities of organizing. Indeed, the recent movement showcased protestors choosing leftist tactics such as anarchist protest structures and unionization under the banner of Localism, an ideology calling for Hong Kong independence. Current scholarship however, ignores left-right ideologies in favor of the dominant pro-democracy versus pro-Beijing divide, despite the seemingly low predictive power of cultural scripts. My investigation thus fills […]

Eva Hannan

My project follows two trends that have developed since the 1970s and appear to converge on the site of the imprisoned female body. The first trend is the globalized “feminization of labor,” where large numbers of women join the workforce. The second is the increasing number of females incarcerated within the United States. Specifically, I want to examine the rhetoric of records and documents concerning the female prison laborer. I am interested to see how the language that dictates the subjectivity of women in prison has shifted, as its population has increased over time, and in comparison to their male counterparts. I will examine public records from government agencies and corporations, contracts for prison labor, news coverage and political messaging. I will look for patterns and trends in language that describe these women, their labor and their imprisonment.

Zoe Zong

Sexual Assault (SA) is a highly prevalent form of trauma – around 43.6% of women and 24.8% of men in the US will experience some form of SA in their lifetime. The physical and mental health consequences experienced by SA survivors place a tremendous burden on society, as SA is correlated with greatly increased risk for psychopathology, especially Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). However, little has been uncovered about the day-to-day PTSD development immediately following SA. How do PTSD symptoms interact with each other over time? How is this dynamic interplay related to long-term PTSD outcomes, and does this vary by person? The present study proposes to shed light on these questions using an idiographic network approach, aiming to best model the within-person relationships between symptoms and behaviors in a sample of SA survivors within one month of SA. This study will clarify patterns of association between PTSD symptoms on a […]

Jonathan Kuo

Current U.S. state laws permit vaccine mandate exemptions based on medical contraindications, religious beliefs, or personal beliefs. In recent years, outbreaks of measles attributed to subpar vaccination rates have caused the personal belief exemption to come under close scrutiny from lawmakers, medical officials, and the public. Current scholarly literature, however, lacks a clear history of the personal belief exemption, in part because that history varies by state. In this project, I will visualize and narrate the story of the personal belief exemption in American history. Through an interactive essay grounded in original historical research, I will explore how the exemption’s changing language, geographical spread, uneven application, and legal context reflect and inform America’s ever-shifting notions of conscience, liberty, and morality. In doing so, I aim to create a resource about the history of the personal belief exemption accessible to members of the public, policymakers, and public health experts, that I […]

Phee Marcial

In the past few decades, discussion of gender-fluidity in poetry has become more prevalent, but it is often limited to contemporary literature and the realm of modern queer theory. My research investigates poetic portrayals of gender-fluidity in the work of the ancient Roman poet Gaius Valerius Catullus. I am focusing in particular on the original poetry of Catullus alongside Romantic, Victorian and contemporary translations/adaptations in English in order to track how these portrayals have changed over time. The approach is grounded by the conception of poetry in translation as valuable in its own right and by the parallel conception that artistic performance of gender is its own sort of ‘translation’. This project also discusses and explores the portrayal and sociolinguistic creation of gender in Catullus’ poetry in the context of poem form and content. With this work I hope to present a novel perspective on these poems that provides insight […]

Isaac Engelberg

My project explores the pedagogy of urban scale models as they are disseminated from scholarly fieldwork. As my central ‘text’ I will use Detroit’s Greenfield Village — the nation’s first living history museum, created by the automobile baron Henry Ford — and trace the user experience of the park, exploring the discourse of good design it sought to construct. Greenfield Village is an essential document of the early 20th-century ‘field study,’ a method of sociological investigation which held that by systematically carving up and analyzing the city, one could reform it. In this way, field trips to Greenfield Village by students and tourists alike became a practical application of the field study, where everyday individuals could inhabit the role of the planner-on-high. Such renderings of cities began to pop up across the country — from Philadelphia to New York — all of which can be traced back to this academic […]

Jae Won “Jake” Sim

Past research shows an alarming phenomenon in which Asian-American young adults are suffering uniquely high suicide rates and risk of deadly mental health complications. In disaggregating that data more specifically with Korean Americans (KA), evidence suggests that there may be even more risk due to cultural, societal, and political issues in both Korea and in the US, past and present. In my research, I look into the question of what leads to such high suicide rates in KA young men. Specifically, I will utilize in depth interviews with 20 participants in convenience and snowball sampling to examine the role of intergenerational trauma and cultural (re)connection in mental health complications among 1.5 and 2nd generation KA young adult males and how connecting to culture, roots and heritage can provide a path to care. I hope to deepen culturally specific understanding of KA young male mental health to aid in coping with […]

Olivia Nouriani

The notion of a “Great Replacement” and the Eurabia thesis are two Islamophobic conspiracy theories with similar roots and trajectories. They both articulate the fear that, with the support of European elites, Muslims are demographically replacing Europeans, threatening to extinguish “Western culture” and replace it with a global Islamic civilization. Circulation of these theories has accelerated since 2015, alongside a rise in white supremacist violence. The theories themselves are linked to Zionist political thought, but they build on long-standing antisemitic tropes, and have occasionally been taken up in service of antisemitism, especially in the United States. I will investigate the transit and resonances of these theories in Israel/Palestine and Turkey — two Middle Eastern contexts which are often imagined to exist along “civilizational fault lines” between the Muslim and Western worlds. My project explores how the Muslim- and Jewish-majority states situated along these purported “fault lines” respond to or latch […]

Karah Giesecke

Before the invention of disposable pads and tampons during the late 1920s and early 1930s, period products were homespun creations. Period products were made by women for women out of leftover pieces of cotton and other fabrics that were often washed and reused. Those who could afford to, however, would dispose the pieces of soiled cloth. The ease of disposing menstrual cloths then resulted in the creation of products that were meant to be thrown away. Disposable menstrual pads and later tampons, unlike their more rustic forefathers, were branded and their advertisements associated these products with a new kind of modern “delicate” woman. While material culture, or the objects that surround individuals, are typically used to establish status and identity, menstruation’s material culture produces identity and status in more nuanced ways because period products are meant to be invisible. This invisibility, or menstruation suppression, paired with the commodification of period […]