Bolivia's Constituent Assembly: Remapping the State

After half a decade of political turmoil and the rise of social and indigenous movements in Bolivia, elections in 2006 and early 2007 have put the new party “Movement Towards Socialism” lead by Evo Morales in power with the charge of “refounding” the state and writing a new constitution. This summer I will travel to the constitutional capital Sucre, and observe the ongoing process of drafting new articles in the constitution under the categories of “Land and Territory” in the Constituent Assembly. Through onsite research and interviews, I hope to gain insight into the politically contested processes of remapping the Bolivian state in relation to emerging conceptions of indigeneity and “intercultural” social relations. The shape of the new constitution will not only have repercussions for the nationally divisive politics of land inequality and regional autonomy, but additionally the convening of a new constituent assembly in Ecuador and wider shift towards […]

...Read More about Devin Burnett Beaulieu
Humanities and Social Science

Well-Intentioned in the Worst Way: Retracing the Life of James Plemon Coleman

James Plemon Coleman was the Mississippi Governor who, in 1957, assured his fellow citizens that a baby born in Mississippi today will never live long enough to see an integrated school. He vowed to resist the federal mandate handed down by Brown in 1954, and became the first head of the controversial State Sovereignty Commission. But due to his later ties with the Kennedy-Johnson Administration and an eventual reputation of being a racial moderate, many think segregationist is a title he did not earn. In order to better understand the development of Colemans political identity, the development of his racial identity, and where the two might intersect, I will travel to Mississippi and spend two weeks in the State Archives researching his life. I hope to emerge with a more comprehensive picture of who he was as a person, and the ways in which his personal views on the race […]

...Read More about Joshua Jones Begley
Humanities and Social Science

Post-Holocaust Comedy: The Function and Use of Humor in Peter Greenaway's The Falls and Gold

While the application of humor to the Holocaust may seem difficult and even offensive, humor during the Holocaust was employed as a means of critique and rebellion, aiding in developing solidarity amongst prisoners and as a mechanism for coping with trauma. Though such rationales exist for the use of comedy during the Holocaust, there is no such theorization for post-Holocaust comedy written in response to the event. In looking at the British filmmaker Peter Greenaways post-witness portrayals of the Holocaust, specifically, his 1980 film The Falls and his latest novel from 2002, Gold, I will ascertain how by presenting the Holocaust through comedic fiction focusing on absurdity, Greenaway develops a new and necessary function for humor in contemporary portrayals of the Holocaust.

...Read More about Beatrix Chung-Yiu Chan
Humanities and Social Science

Identification of genes that are inappropriately regulated in hereditary iron overload

Iron is an indispensable micronutrient for living organisms. Studies have shown that the Hfe gene plays a significant role in iron regulation in mammalian cells. However, it is unclear how gene expression is affected by the defective Hfe gene to elicit higher iron accumulation than normal iron levels, and if strain differential iron overload in Hfe knock-out (KO) mice is associated with strain specific interactions of the genes. This summer, I will be addressing these questions by using microarray: differentially expressed genes in Hfe KO mice will be determined in both AKR and C57BL/6 background rather than strain specific gene differences or secondary to high iron content. Genes that are specifically affected by Hfe gene disruption will also be determined.

...Read More about Hannah Chung
L&S Sciences

Asclepius at Epidaurus: Healing the Ills of Ancient Greece

Asclepius, Apollo’s son, was an important healing deity in ancient Greece. Asclepian healing sanctuaries existed at Epidaurus, Kos, Pergamum, the Athenian Acropolis, and Corinth. The main vehicle for healing at these sanctuaries was dreaming, where one could converse and be healed directly by the god Asclepius himself. This summer I plan to explore the various methods of worship at different Greek sanctuaries, specifically focusing upon sanctuaries that employed different healing methods. Then, I will focus in on the sanctuaries that utilize dreaming as the primary healing method. The site that I am choosing to focus on is the sanctuary of Asclepius at Epidaurus, due to its abundance of archaeological resources.

...Read More about Tweed Arden Conrad
Humanities and Social Science

Artistic Bias and Class Restrictions: A History of Unknown Nineteenth-century Painter Marcelle Jullien

My goal is to investigate how a pastors wife, my great-great-grandmother (1867-1947), found the financial and technical means to paint and the significance of her work in the greater scheme of late 19th century artistic tradition. I will begin by gathering biographical information from archives, religious institutions and surviving relatives to create a psychological and chronological framework. Then I will examine her work contextually, contemplating the conditional education of middle-class nineteenth-century women, other female artists of her generation, and the tradition of still-life painting. Marcelle Jullien managed to carve a space for her creative expression despite the societal pressures and restrictions of a patriarchal world. Since Art is a reflection of the environment within which it was created, this study is about gender and class as much as it is about Art History.

...Read More about Alexandra Laure Courtois de Vicose
Humanities and Social Science

On the Conceptualization of Space in the Work of 20th Century Latin American Author Julio Cortazar

The overall aim of the project is to provide a detailed analysis of the concept of space/place in the work of Argentinean writer Julio Cortzar, an overarching theme that echoes throughout his work and has been overlooked by both literary critics and scholars in the past. In preparation for my senior thesis for the Spanish department, I will analyze the concept of space/place via a close reading of Cortzars experimental novel Rayuela, along with a selection of his short fiction. I will focus on Cortzars depiction of topographical, societal, and perceptual landscapes, such as cities, streets, stairways, language, interactions, etc. and the meta-fictional spaces he co-creates with the readers, which allows his audience to become active participants in a process that is unique to his literature, in order to show how the author achieves to engage the reader in a pluralistic conception of reality through a unique and innovative proposal.

...Read More about Alice Lucille de Young
Humanities and Social Science

The function of prm-1 in Neruospora crassa membrane fusion

Cell-cell fusion is a highly regulated event that is fundamental to the development of most eukaryotic organisms. However, despite its fundamental roll, the mechanisms of cell-cell fusion in most systems are not very well understood. Using the orange bread mold Neurospora crassa, I plan to study one of its integral membrane proteins known as prm-1. Prm-1 is implicated in the function of the cell-cell fusion pathway for N. crassa. Clues as to the exact function of the prm-1 protein will be gained by significant phenotypic analysis of growth and sexual development, localization by fluorescence tagging, and suppressor mutant screening.

...Read More about Spencer Diamond
L&S Sciences

Investigation of the Genetic Mechanism by which Curcumin Achieves the Hypoacetylation of Histone

Curcumin (CUR), the active chemical of the Asian spice tumeric, has a strong anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory effect in preventing neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimers (AD), as well as an anti-proliferative effect on cancerous cells. Based on broad ranges of scientific literature on this topic, CUR has correlated with dramatic reduction in acetylation of histone. However, the precise mechanism by which curcumin achieves hypoacetylation and therefore represses the transcription of cancerous cells, is poorly understood. In this experiment, I will culture C6 rat glioma cells and through using immunostaining and protein assay, I will quantitatively monitor the proliferation and differentiation of neuroglial cells with different doses of CUR. Hopefully, this research will provide further explanations of CURs preventive-therapeutic role in wide ranges of neurodegenerative diseases.

...Read More about Kamelia Ghazi
L&S Sciences

Understanding Senegal's Successful Response to the AIDS Epidemic: A Detailed Look at the History of a Proactive Goverment

Within the AIDS public health crisis currently affecting the African continent, Senegal stands apart from its African counterparts throught its succcess in controlling the HIV/AIDS epidemic. This relative success is attributed to the early and timely government response, as well as to the joint efforts of multiple actors of the Senegales society including community religious leaders. But what were the already existent political bases and networks that facilitated the implementation of a national response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic? This summer, I will work from Dakar with local and international actors such as public health officials, community leaders, and NGO partners and I will consult local government archives in order to investigate the social, political, and cultural mechanisms present in the country during the mid 1980s when the first AIDS cases were reported.

...Read More about Anca Giurgiulescu
Humanities and Social Science

The Effect of Scarcity on Children's Decisions

My project investigates the nature of basic human economic principles with special focus on the scarcity bias – the tendency to select objects in greater scarcity. A recent study observed children were more likely to choose an object from the less abundant of two sets (Markson, personal communication). Before explaining this behavior, I am seeking factors that could confound this bias. I plan to test children and adults and see if visual information is required for exhibiting this behavior. Subjects will have the option of choosing an object after providing only verbal information about the quantity of the two sets. This will test whether perceptual saliency is an important factor and also examine the dominance of the bias in either group.

...Read More about Eduardo Habitan Europa
L&S Sciences

Legal Aspects of Korea-American Human Sex Trafficking

According to the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 4, No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms. Complying with the U.N. mission, both South Korea and United States governments have made many efforts to combat this modern-day slavery both legally and socially through legislative acts and expanded NGO services. However, the rate of sex trafficking, from the time the acts were written to the present, has actually increased significantly. This summer, I will be evaluating the legal wordings and the compliance to these acts by both countries. I will be talking to government officials and NGOs about their involvement, the pros and cons of the acts, the future of this issue, and then ultimately, suggest ways in which this issue can be combated more effectively and efficiently.

...Read More about Jennifer Koun Hong
Humanities and Social Science

History of Female Subjectivity in Kashmir: From 1947-Present

My particular interest for this summer is to explore whether the ongoing violence in Kashmir have inspired women to lead movements or organize petitions against the government in the last decade. I wish to study specific examples of resistance that have been attempted in the past, and to analyze the types of initiatives organized particularly by females, who seldom receive any acknowledgement for their efforts. Women in Kashmir are generally written into history as submissive and marginalized figures, who due to their social suffering, cannot bring themselves to oppose either patriarchal attitudes or domestic abuse. I intend to analyze to what extent women internalize instances of rape, fear, displacement, and the loss of their husbands or children. I hope that this analysis will provide me with a strong background to understand when, if, and how women release their anger, and whether this is ever done through the medium of resistance, […]

...Read More about Samma Ishaq
Humanities and Social Science

Manifestations of the Blind Prophet: The Appearance of Tiresias in the Masterworks of Modernism

T.S. Eliot, James Joyce, and Ezra Pound, the three pillars of Modernism are bound in their use of allusions, an attempt to tie their works to those of the past. One particular element that finds itself repeatedly invoked in the works of these Modernists is the figure of the Theban soothsayer Tiresias. I hope to identify the importance Tiresias plays as character and formative reference in each of the texts. My research will focus on a close reading of these three texts, the classical texts they draw on, and literary criticism concerning these works. The goal will be to determine why the blind soothsayer, the messenger from beyond the veil, makes such prominent appearances in each of these three works.

...Read More about Jordan Kevin Jeffery
Humanities and Social Science

Conspicuous Cuisine: Iron Chef and the 90s in Japan

1989 saw the collapse of the Japanese real estate market as well as the death of the Showa Emperor. As the 90s began, it was clear that the forces that had shaped the country for much of the postwar era were changing dramatically. I am going to Tokyo this summer to look into these changes by somewhat abstruse means. I plan to interview the cast and crew of Iron Chef, the quirky, now internationally known television show that combined cooking and sports-style competition, and aired between 1993 and 2000. I am interested in how Iron Chef exemplifies some of the major trends of the 90s in Japan and, possibly, how the show can modify our understanding of the decade.

...Read More about Colin Philip Charles Jones
Humanities and Social Science

Unspoken Trauma: Narrating the Representation of Sexual Abuse in Harriet Jacobs' Slave Narrative

As a slave narrative, Harriet Jacobs’ autobiography bears the burden of truth telling demanded by this genre. However, this categorization has largely prohibited critics from fully addressing Jacobs’ utilization of fantasy, which becomes apparent in her seemingly unbelievable and fantastic portrayal of her protagonist’s ability to constantly thwart her master’s sexual advances. Continuing my exploration of fantasy in Jacobs’ text, I will spend this summer reading extensively in psychoanalytic theory in order to further articulate an argument that accounts for the work’s fictional aspects as a manifestation of psychological trauma. I will also research primary and secondary documents related to slavery, especially slave narratives, so as to better understand the genre and the tremendous implications of Jacobs’ break from it.

...Read More about Allison Kathleen Lahl
Humanities and Social Science

Investigation of a conjugative plasmid in Staphylococcus aureus

An alarming number of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections have begun to surface in communities due to a particular strain USA300. USA300 carries a single conjugative plasmid, pUSA03, which confers multiple antibiotic resistance. This is of great concern because the plasmid has been suggested to be able to acquire additional resistance genes in response to changing antibiotic uses. To study the evolution of pUSA03, I hope to characterize the pUSA03 plasmid found in USA300 isolates infecting patients by whole plasmid PCR scanning that could detect any structural changes in the plasmid DNA sequence. Any variations found from the prototypical pUSA03 plasmid may be indicative of plasmid evolution, and I plan to sequence those plasmids to determine the nature of the changes.

...Read More about Felice Lin
L&S Sciences

Modernization Theory in the Post-Cold War Era

In the 1950s, modernization theory became the driving factor for American foreign policy as a reaction to the beginning of the Cold War. In the decades to follow, modernization theory slowly subsided in popularity, until a recent revival in the 1990s by several prominent American neo-conservatives in response to the presumed victory of the Cold War. This project plans to explore the reasons for the revival of modernization theory and its adoption by the neo-conservatives in the US. In preparing my answer in a 30-50 page paper, I will focus on the primary documents – in support of modernization theory from the 1950s and the 1990s – and place them in the context of the political atmosphere in the US during both periods.

...Read More about James Yushang Lin
Humanities and Social Science

Understanding the 'Korean Wave': The Role of Korean Soap Operas in Asian-American Identity, Pleasure and Cultural Proximity

This summer I will be investigating why Asian Americans engage in (inter)cultural viewing of Korean soap operas. I am interested in tying this question in with the Korean wave, that is, the general enthusiasm for Korean pop culture, but also to larger questions of pan-Asian identity, language and cultural proximity. To answer these questions, and hopefully more that I have not yet thought of, I will be viewing the most popular Korean soap operas and interviewing other viewers. I will also be engaging in Internet ethnographynetnography to further explore viewers opinions and feelings. I will track and monitor chat rooms and fan-sites that are devoted to discussing Korean soap operas. Guiding my research is the notion of the self as the subject-in-progress, one that is shifting, making and re-understanding.

...Read More about Stephanie Lo
Humanities and Social Science

Community Empowerment in Dictatorship and Democracy: An Examination of Shantytwon Women in Santiago de Chile

My history thesis project will analyze the Santiago de Chile of 1964 to 2006 from the perspective of shantytown women, with an emphasis on the community institutions that offer them employment, personal development opportunities and/or activism networks. I will examine what poor women do within these institutions, why these opportunities are significant in their lives and what this civic participation represents in the greater context of womens rights in Chile. Additionally, I will examine the consequences of dictatorship and democracy on shantytown women, to determine whether poor women have greater or fewer rights under dictatorship than under democracy, in order to better understand the position of women in modern Chilean society.

...Read More about Meghan Elisabeth Lowe
Humanities and Social Science