CLASS OF 2023
I’m studying the relationship between American Christian theologies, the Black Church and black contemporary poetry. Specifically, I’m looking at the interpersonal and self-oppressions that have become part of Christian doctrine in this country and how they’ve affected Black peoples’ relationship to themselves and to their experience of pleasure. Presentation
My project is concerned with the role of animals and notions of animality in contemporary poetry, drawing from black studies and queer theory. It is a hybrid creative/critical writing project, with the goal of producing a poetry collection and a critical paper to accompany it, parts of which may serve as an introduction to the poems.Presentation
My research will focus on the female labor force participation rate of Nepal and how it responds to natural disasters, more specifically the 2015 Gorkha earthquake in Nepal. I will be using a difference in difference framework to use econometrics analyses with collected labor surveys in order to answer my question.Presentation
Enigmatic phosphatic tubular fossils of Cambrian-Devonian age were found in the Bouvette Formation of the Nadaleen Mountain in Yukon, Canada. Many of these phosphatic macrofossils are simple and cylindrical in shape; there are also small circular fossils of similar complexity and composition that appear throughout the samples. Despite their poor age constraints, these fossils might reflect phosphatization occurring past the Late Cambrian. Using light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, these fossils will be photographed, measured, and analyzed for their elemental composition. Further analysis of these tube-shaped fossils can assist in determining their taphonomy and phylogeny and potentially shed light on the true extent of the phosphatization window of the Paleozoic.Presentation
I'm researching the intersection of race and religion in Malaysia, and am more specifically interested in how political institutions and colloquial social processes have historically allowed ethnic minorities become racially "Malay" through conversion into Islam. In other words, a Chinese person could become legally recognized as Malay simply by changing their religion, in a process known as "masuk Melayu". This portal of racialization has been closing over the last couple decades, and the complex decline of "masuk Melayu" is my current focus. Why did politicians seek to close this portal, and were they completely successful? To what extent have we shifted to a Western understanding of phenotypic race, and is this truly a subversion of Malaysia's original conception of Malayness? What even is "Malayness"?Presentation
I'm currently researching the parent-child math homework environment, specifically in Spanish-speaking households. The aim is to make the relationship between parent and child during homework help a more positive one, therefore decreasing math anxiety for both parents and children.Presentation
I'm interested in examining the construction of Black identity in Black coming-of-age literature and films, as well as any similarities and differences in how Blackness is portrayed in the two mediums.Presentation
A bildungsroman is “a novel dealing with one person's formative years or spiritual education.” In my research, I plan to read various Black coming-of-age stories and use them as a guide to creating my own literary work that balances the difficulties of growing up (which includes the hardships that come with being Black) without abandoning what I like to call: the magic of the mundane, and the overall lightness that is inherent during childhood.Presentation
I research fascism and the construction of whiteness in Colombia and Guatemala during the 1950s through the framework of performance studies.Presentation
"My research goals are to investigate how coping strategies and rumination (focusing repetitively on distress, its causes, consequences), cognitive styles (the way individuals think, perceive and remember information), and different types of stress (1) influence stress sensitivity to depression and (2) modify the role of HPA axis regulation (one of the body’s main stress response systems) in depression during COVID-19.
For my first goal, my research on coping strategies/rumination will be guided by the Response Styles Theory (RST), which posits that when faced with stress, the rumination confers vulnerability for depression while distraction and problem-solving each reduce vulnerability (Nolen-Hoeksema, 1991). Cognitive styles will be guided by the cognitive vulnerability stress models (e.g., Hopelessness Theory (HT), Beck’s theory), which proposes that cognitive interpretation of stressors impacts stress physiology. Research supports that both HT and Beck’s Theory are associated with increased rates of depression (Alloy, 2012).
For my second goal, HPA axis dysregulation has been implicated as a risk factor in the development of depression (Stroud, 2019). Specifically, research on coping strategies/rumination will be guided by findings that girls who responded to interpersonal stress with more voluntary engagement(active) coping strategies were associated with adaptive HPA axis regulation (Sladek, 2017). Cognitive styles will be guided by findings that overestimating self-blame on independent stress is linked to lower latent trait cortisol (LTC) in early adolescent girls, which predicts increases in internalizing psychopathology (Stroud, 2020).
My goals are investigated in Professor Stroud's PAW Health—a longitudinal study of female-identifying young adults. The baseline study (T1) was conducted in 2018 and Time 2 follow-up (T2) was conducted in 2019; both studies consisted of the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM–IV to assess disorders, the life stress interview to assess early adversity (adapted Rudolph, 2000), and questionnaires. Also, three-day saliva (6 weeks apart) assessed the HPA axis functioning. During the fellowship, I will design and conduct the Time 3 COVID-19 follow-up (T3), which will assess factors known to affect risk or resilience in the face of stress, as well as depression and interpersonal stressors (e.g. social isolation, loneliness) since T2 using interviews and questionnaires. Because T1 and T2 occurred prior to the pandemic, we will be able to examine the role of early adversity, HPA axis regulation, and factors such as coping strategies, rumination, and cognitive styles to predict sensitivity to depression in the face of different types of interpersonal stress during COVID-19.Presentation
I am conducting a research on liquid surface interactions to understand the dynamic properties of fluids exiting a constrained geometry. To do that, I perform contact angle and rivulet analysis using my goniometer prototype. One of my main goals for this semester is to produce a refined version of my contact angle goniometer.Presentation
CLASS OF 2022
Using optogenetics/RNA knockout to turn on Toll receptor in Drosophila and observe changes in (immune) behavior.
This semester I will be researching the origins of Puerto Rican Holyoke and it’s connections to diasporic migration, labor, citizenship, deindustrialization, and race in New England—and in the United States more broadly.
This semester I am going to do some research for Professor Hicok’s spring semester class ENGL/AMST/WGSS 302: Feminist Poetry and Poetics in order to develop my archival research skills and deepen my understanding of both literary and artistic canon formation. I will focus on the relationship between the African American poet Audre Lorde and the African American abstract painter Mildred Thompson and their influence on each other’s work. Thompson produced a series of drawings based on Lorde’s poetry; Lorde is also an important theorist of Black feminism, and so her theoretical work is closely connected to my interests. Much of my work over the summer necessitates a new reading of Black femininity in the canon, and the relationship between these artists may give me the language for such an undertaking.
An examination of the philosophy of history through two primary lenses: suffering/violence and progress. I seek to, in conversation with both historical and contemporary sources, develop a framework around three key points: (1) the notion and transcribing of history can be weaponized;
- suffering is both a personal and communal experience; and (3) progress must take shape today as radical transgression and continued development of certain key values. Eventually, I’d like to use this framework to analyze real events, but the focus of this would principally be on demonstrating the potential applicability of my theory, not an empirical.
I am proposing a research project that reflects on the contributions of scholars including Alex Zamalin, Sami Shalk, and Stefanie Hunt-Kennedy, in order to evaluate representations of (dis)ability in black speculative fiction. The dialogue will be navigated by a reading of (dis)ability in The Deep by Rivers Solomon, a neo-slave narrative that opposes the erasure of disability in speculative fiction, enforces queer representation in the future, and challenges the tangibility of normative, utopian assumptions of freedom. I would also like to do further research on the thematic trends in black masculine speculative fiction and how this compares to works written by black queer or womanist writers.
My study seeks to broach the question of Black ontology through the monstrous, expanding on pre-existing scholarship concerning the relationship between Blackness and the horror genre as well as Black feminist theories on Black ontology and the posthuman. My research will focus on the processes by which Black people are made the monsters of a white imaginary, how, if at all, Black people have attempted to reconcile with the monstrosity ascribed to them, and whether or not these processes can be witnessed in the progression of American horror films. Ultimately, my research will measure the capacity of monstrosity to serve as an alternative mode of being for Black existence and evaluate monstrosity and the horror genre as a revelatory site indicative of the current state of Blackness within the United States.
In this semester, I will be working on two projects:
- Optimization of Nucleophilic Aromatic Substitution (SNAr) reactions via Trimethyl-Silane based promotion
- Exploration of a mathematical problem based on partitions and combinatorics found here.
Throughout history, the Black Manifesto (1969) and the demand for reparations from white churches has been framed as political, often being thrown under the "radical" umbrella of the Black Power Movement. Considering the literature available, however, it becomes clear that it is necessary to rethink the framework through which we view the demand for reparations specifically from the churches. My research aims to examine the Black Manifesto and the demand for reparations from white churches as inherently religious rather than solely political.
My research expands scholarship on the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church's politicization, often as an intra-national force of influence within the country’s multiethnic and post-marxist ideological landscape. My research will address how a newfound transnational identity established through displacement (namely, between Derg regime and EPRDF-era waves of migration into Washington, D.C.’s “Little Ethiopia” community) have affected mainstream relationships with Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo iconography, which I use as an index to map a modern history of diasporic ecclesiastical life and cultural politics. My study traces racialization, symbolic re-appropriation, and narratives of a coloniality through modern Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo iconography. Along these lines, I interrogate how authentic spaces for Blackness may be visualized through a modern Ethiopian Orthodox religious lens, as well as how a universalizing medium of iconographic imagery has served to reconcile the Church’s romantic position in anti-colonial historical discourse with its subjection to a Western landscape and indigenous politics of ethnic separatism. As such, my work will focus on reading reparative amplifications in Ethiopian Orthodox visual culture as a nationalizing aestheticization of ritual, with the ultimate aim of identifying this phenomenon as the birth of a new form of visual exegetical tradition.
My project is an analysis of Marxism in the third world along with its existentialist implications. I have a specific focus on South America and the Carribean, looking at two of the regions most influential philosophers: Frantz Fanon and Jose Carlos Mariategui.
CLASS OF 2021
I will be analyzing the relationship between Black woman subjects and the house in Black (Southern and Northern) Gothic Literature. I also aim to understand how regionality affects this relationship, as well.
As I approach the final semester of college and the end of my undergraduate math journey, my research project will focus on researching what math topics interest me. I will accomplish in four ways: attending math colloquia for this semester and reflecting what I learn from them, reflecting on the math colloquium I will give on October 20, 2020, reflecting on my coursework in MATH 310 and reading about any math topics I find interesting. This project will result in a report where I reflect on topics I liked and disliked, and quick attempts at working on them.
My academic goals for this semester is to set a foundation for a final paper that I am proud of. I have been struggling with writing a coherent paper for the longest time, so I am hoping that the work I do for my last two semesters at Williams will help me become more disciplined and productive.
I am currently taking two WGSS courses that I believe will provide useful foundational discourses and theories for my research.
The translator acts as the middleman between the original text and the reader. An authentic translator is tasked with the complicated job of making a translation that both looks to the past (i.e. the original text) and toward the future (i.e. the translation) in order to allow the reader to connect with the text’s original author. Translation should be assessed on its responsibility for authors and readers. The translators of the Tale of Genji have not been responsible for the translations’ readers and Murasaki Shikibu.
My project aims to understand the relationship of trans radical activists to the state. I focus my research on Street Transvestites Action Revolutionaries (STAR), a New Left organization of the Gay Liberation era.
Reading fictional and nonfictional neoslave narratives to specifically consider Black women’s geographies as they exist hyperspecifically, but also as maps for considering the ideas of human and monstrosity.
This project investigates the possibility of re-canonizing universalist theory with an aim of dethroning Euro-centric values from their privileged position therein.
My research objective is as follows characterizing and making measurements of dispersal Mechanisms to find out how Marchantia sperm are carried from one plant to another across large distances. My main goal this semester is to have a mostly confident answer to whether or not Aresolization is a feasible or likely explanation to the dispersal question This may prove to be the toughest and least-concrete aspect of my project overall so I want to make headway on both theoretical mathematical ideas and experimentation.
As I am now entering the last year of my Allison Davis Research Fellowship, I intend to shift my academic goalsto a rigorous vibrometric analysis of my membranophonic systems using the theoretical foundation I worked so diligently to develop last year and the interferometric system that is core to my thesis. In a sense, this goal is twofoldin that I am both finally applying procured state of the art knowledge, and entering an engineering phase of my research. By tackling the engineering challenges of designing an array of damping systems as well as the tools fortheir analysis, I am developing skills that will serve me in both graduate school and a research career. In a moreformal sense, I am building upon my understanding of non-relativistic and non-quantum motion with a tutorial onclassical mechanics which will help develop my skills in solving differential equations, as well as find moreconvenient ways to analyze complicated mechanical systems such as my membranes. Beyond the scientific realm,I am actively researching sources to build upon my understanding of sustainability as it relates to materials,society, politics, and the economy in hopes of better understanding their relationship in the modern world. In apersonal sense, I am using my involvement in several leadership positions and initiatives this year to develop mycommunication and decision making skills in relation to collaborative dynamics and status as a role model tounderclassmen and my peers in these challenging times.
This semester, I will begin working on my yearlong American Studies senior honors thesis, tentatively titled, “ ❝Nou led men nou la. We are ugly but we are here.❞: Haitians in (1980s) Miami and Beyond.” The thesis project will consist of a critical essay and a short story collection (i.e. For Phede: Stories) that explores the Haitian immigrant and refugee experience in Miami, Florida during the 1980s.
Now going into my junior year here at Williams, I am extremely interested in the ways in which black women undergraduate students go about healing and building community in predominantly white spaces. More specifically, I am currently investigating humor and the way it functions as a tool for healing in these spaces. As of now, my work is heavily based in analyzing depictions of these dynamics the Netflix series Dear White People.
To be posted.
CLASS OF 2020
Matthiew Chicoye, Geosciences
For my project, I will continue working in Prof. Cook’s lab, adding to and refining the spreadsheet of tephra samples for analysis. I would also like to continue making an annotated bibliography, possibly with figures that I find interesting as well.
Calen Firedancing, English, Africana
Kingface will be an essay series that works through the personal and political dimensions of masculine responses to feelings of criminalization in the landscape of an ever-commodified hip-hop
Malia Hamilton, Political Science, Africana
Black family television shows, specifically Good Times offer a framework to analyze the racialization of food consumption in contemporary America. The family’s navigation of food deserts and food stereotypes as a low-income black family living in a housing project in Chicago, impact their upward (im)mobility. The food that they eat is not only a reflection of their economic and social status, but also a reverberation of past racial inequality.
Mia Herring-Sampong, Art History, Africana
This semester I am continuing my research that I began over the summer on Carrie Mae Weems’ “The Hampton Project”. How are black bodies forced to conform in institutional spaces and how is this conformity mirrored in the production of the exhibit itself? Are black bodies only legible through their collective trauma?
Jasmine Jackson, Economics, Africana
My research project investigates the change in educational achievement rates of students of colordisproportionately affected by shutdown policy in Chicago, Illinois. Moreover, I want to analyzethe economic effect it can have on the projected social capital attained by CPS graduates.
Arslay Joseph, Political Science
Over the course of the Semester, I will study the Haitian Revolution to highlight the political motivations of the revolutionaries. I will use the framework I developed over the summer in regards to Vodou and agency to understand the Haitian Revolution as engendering its own unique political ideology.
Melinda Kan-Dapaah, Economics, French
In the United States, social media has served a role in addressing and raising awareness on issues such as sexual assault and police brutality, and it has led to worldwide campaigns like #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter. Similarly, what roles do, and can social media campaigns play in West African society? My research this semester intends to understand whether social media campaigns should be promoted as a way of addressing social issues such as gender-based violence and gender inequality within urban cities in West Africa, such as in Dakar, Senegal and in Accra, Ghana.
Leonel Martinez, English, Africana, LATS
My project is centered on the hybridization of an Afro-diasporic culture and the legacy of history. I am using the Island that I am creating to work through ideas of queerness in the Caribbean, the past, and the trauma of colonialism/imperialism. On the other side, my Dominican narrator frames my project with his modern life as queer Afro-Latinos to show the dichotomy but connection between two motherlands.
Meklit Tesfaye, Anthropology, Public Health
"Since their first major arrival in the U.S. during the 1980s and 1990s, Ethiopian immigrants have become the second-largest African immigrant group in the U.S. after Nigerians. Decades of adjusting to the U.S. have affected all aspects of Ethiopian immigrants’ lives, especially their health. Throughout Ethiopian diaspora communities in the U.S., there has been a recent increase in accounts of Ethiopian immigrants being diagnosed with chronic diseases to which other Ethiopian immigrants have responded with shock, fear, and confusion. This reaction has made me interested in understanding chronic illnesses and examining chronic illness experiences of Ethiopian immigrants, specifically refugees, in the U.S. I plan to investigate what chronically ill Ethiopian refugees attribute as the cause of their chronic illnesses and how these individuals make sense of their health experiences through illness narratives. I will be conducting an ethnographic project in the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia metropolitan area with male and female Ethiopian refugees living with chronic illnesses.”
Mi Yu, English
Is Chinese realism a literary movement that is anti-traditionalist from its inception? Can realism maintain or adapt its critical function after a society has moved beyond early capitalism? What would such a realism look like, especially in relation to the theory of Western realist novels proposed by Lukacs?
CLASS OF 2019
Mikhayla Armstrong, Biology, Africana
This semester I will be working in the Lebestky lab to answer the questions of: do specific mutations in the SERT system lead to behavioral changes in startle-induced arousal? Do sleep and startle-induced arousal differ in these different mutations, if so, how? I will be measuring this through the use of the startle-induced behavioral rig and the DAMS sleep monitor.
Arkey Barnett, Economics
In preparation for my Senior Thesis, I plan to build an empirical model, based off of the Mincer wage model to explore the determinants of wage disparities between blacks and whites in the mid-twentieth century, specifically in 1940. I hope to explore the extent to which current residential segregation can explain the wage disparity in 1940. If both practically and statistically significant, I hope to extend the research by looking at the determinants of residential segregation, looking at the influence of historical institutions like slavery and lynching. I hope to then extend the work by connecting school quality to the fray.
Arno Cai, Mathematics/Economics
For the fall semester of 2018, I plan to expand on my past empirical results on the extending ragweed pollen season and ask, in a more general sense, how pollen concentrations affect human behavior.
MarChe Daughtry, Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies, American Studies
My project is focusing on intersections of blackness, disability, and labor.
Neftaly Lara, Art History, French
The wounds left behind by the human rights violations committed during King Hassan II’s fortyyear reign run deep in those who suffered physical and psychological trauma at the hands of the makhzen, the Moroccan regime. Coined the “Years of Lead” in reference to the bullets that were shot at civilians during protests, this period in Morocco’s history (1956-1999) is plagued by chronicles of forced disappearances, mass imprisonments, torture of political prisoners, and severe censorship. Born from this period, Moroccan prison literature condemns the country’s dehumanization of its own citizens, and, in my work, I aim to explore how the words of the survivors and victims perforate the literary world and claim space in the country’s physical landscape. From the interviews that took place this summer, my thesis project has blossomed into an ode to the women who courageously stood their ground in their fight for a better tomorrow during the Years of Lead, particularly focusing on Fatna El Bouih and the late Saïda Menebhi, and the memorialization of their efforts onto the physical landscape of Morocco.
Merudjina Normil, Comparative Literature
How can one use the institution to point out the flaws of the institution? This semester, I am creating a documentary series of three shorts that demonstrate the ways in which Williams administration, professors, and/or faculty have harmed students of color.
Isabel Pena, History
This thesis titiled “The New O.C.: Race, Place, Immigration and the Building of Postsuburban California” will provide a connective history of the formation of Santa Ana’s predominantly Latinx La Cuatro district and Westminster’s predominantly Asian Little Saigon district from 1970s through the 1990s. La Cuatro and Little Saigon each present rich histories of place making and claiming which go against dominant regional narratives of racial and spatial homogenization. The daily practices of the individuals who built, worked and sustained the early growth of these multiethnic cultural centers forged into being networks of power and representation outside of city governance. Beyond representation in local affairs, these two communities engaged in regional racial formation where ties to place deeply informed the emergence of racial meanings and structures.
Bethel Shekour, Chemistry
This semester, my project revolves around the synthesis and characterization of candidate drugs for neglected diseases. This is a collaboration with dndi, an international non-profit organization that aims to cure neglected diseases such as Leishmaniasis, Sleeping sickness, and malaria.
Gabriel Silva-Collins, Anthropology
This semester I will be completing at least two chapters of my senior thesis concerning Inca road systems near Cusco, Peru. One will be a chapter describing and mapping all of the relevant sites I encountered during my research. The other chapter will be a discussion of general Inca history and background information relevant to the thesis as a whole.
Valeria Sosa-Garnica, American Studies
Booming Vehicle City, abandoned urban center, city of poisoned water and government failure. The definition and redefinition of Flint, MI, have played a key role in the outcome of the city. Using settler colonialism as a tool for analysis, how can we contextualize the Flint Water Crisis within larger narratives of race, space, capital, and power? What does this analysis tell us about the future of Flint, and how can we use that knowledge to push against the “Powers that be?”
CLASS OF 2018
I am interested in addressing how counties shape the policies that liberal and pro-immigrant cities in the United States create to limit the enforcement of immigration. Though immigration is under the federal government's domain, local governments have been implementing immigration enforcement policies since as early as the 1870s. However, the other often overlooked actor are the counties that cities reside within, which are often entangled in ICE and immigration enforcement. I would like to focus on the relationship between cities and counties, and how the initiatives of the county have shaped the variation of policies that cities create to limit local immigration enforcement.
Naomi Francois, Religion "Positionalilty and Faith in Politics."
Given my summer research imploring evangelicals who do not support the Black Lives Matter movement to turn and support the movement, I now seek to answer my questions regarding the 13% of Evangelicals who have voiced support for the movement: how and why do these Evangelicals support the movement despite the alleged differences in values, between them and the founders of the movement?
Ayami Hatanaka, Political Science/WGSS "Carceral Feminists at Home in the U.S. of A.: Sex Work, the TVPA, and State Violence"
By examining the institutionalization of carceral feminism through the legal discourse surrounding the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, passed in 2000, I aim to critique the criminalization of sex workers in the United States. I am partnering with sex workers in the California Bay Area to conduct oral history interviews to weave sex workers’ own voices through academic texts and analysis, as well as better understand how state violence manifests in their own experiences.
Ekekiel King Phillips, Geosciences/Chinese "Examining the marine C isotopic gradient through the Late Devonian using microfossils from the Kellwasser horizons"
In order to better understand the origin of the positive carbon isotopic excursions of the late Devonian, we extracted kerogens from black shales of the Kellwasser horizons at Cameron Creek and Eighteenmile Creek in upstate New York. We measured the d13C of 150 microfossils and kerogen grains using a cryotrapping, capillary-focusing ‘nanoEA’ for trace d13C measurements. This will be combined with biodiversity and relative abundance data of the microfossils to give a fuller picture of the Late Devonian biotic crisis.
Karen Linares, Anthropology/LATS
"Undocumented immigrants’ access to and seeking of health care in the U.S. has been extensively covered in scholarly work. I argue that there is often a heavy focus on undocumentation as a barrier when conducting research on how, why, and when undocumented people seek care. However, I advocate for a more holistic approach that focuses on undocumentation not simply as a barrier that prevents access to medical care, but also as an identity that influences conceptualizations of practices of care. I hypothesize that undocumentation goes beyond understanding the barriers in accessing a clinic by considering how the status of being undocumented could be conceptualized as a liminal state of being that often complicates the types of care undocumented individuals decide to seek. Scholars have examined how, for instance, legal obstacles prevent undocumented immigrants from accessing health care which emphasizes a low access to health care due to policy, fear, etc. (Rhodes 2015; DeRose, Escarce, Lurie 2007; Raymond-Flesch et al. 2014). However, these studies focus on immigration status as a legal category that impacts health care seeking behavior without examining how one’s legal status may itself inform people’s interpretations of their health. How are people conceptualizing their bodies and to what extent is that image influenced by undocumentation? I will consider how the embodiment of identity categories impact views of self-care practices, healthy bodies, and experiential encounters with health in clinical settings. My intent is not to only focus on the physical and social constraints that prevent undocumented Mexicans from seeking care, but also to critically study how they are being affected as reflected in how they place meaning onto their bodies.
Daniel Maes, Mathematics/Statistics "The Criticality of Understanding Critical Mass"
I am working on an applied mathematics project focused on the notion of critical mass, a loosely defined term used in affirmative action policies. I would like to better define and quantify it to increase its ease of implementation. My final goal is to generate predictive models that can be used to assess contemporary racial affirmative action policies in specific undergraduate universities (i.e. University of California, Berkeley or University of Texas, Austin) in the US.
Carlos Malache Silva, Philosophy/German "WORLD FORMATION AND WORLD COLLAPSE": A Hermeneutical Account of Symbolic Violence in Coloniality
"Through interpreting and comparing Hegel and Fanon, and more lately Heidegger, I aim to bring to light forms of symbolic violence perpetrated by colonising processes. Beyond the physical, psychological, even political violence of colonialism, I contend that there stands, as an objective condition for the possibility of these modes of violence, a symbolic structuring of reality imposed from without, which defines the colonised as colonised.
Anika Mitchell, WGSS
What are the physiological implications of the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) on postpartum maternal health? How do the stresses (early separation, inability to breastfeed, negative affect, institutional environment) of the NICU contribute to incompetent or under-enriched infant-mother bonding? What are the long term implications of experiential adversity on infant and maternal neurobiological and physical health? How do interventions such as the Family Nurture Initiative mitigate and or regulate these processes?
Keiana West, Psychology "Perceptions of Student Misbehavior, Punitive Discipline, and Psychological Intervention"
My research explores the effects of student demographics on both teachers’ and students’ perceptions of the causes of and appropriate responses to misbehavior. Perceptions of misbehavior and the effectiveness of various interventions likely influence disparities in teachers’ responses to misbehavior, as well as students’ decisions to seek support from school resources. A closer look at perceived etiologies of misbehavior and of various perspectives on interventions can help inform policies regarding school discipline and accessibility of psychological resources in school.
Noah Wright, English
The aim of this semester’s research is to establish the theoretical foundation for my Honors Dossier. In essence, I will be tracing the evolution of black radical thought from Reconstruction to the present day. To the question of what I will be studying and who I will be treating as my interlocutors, I await the findings of my coursework, my past creative and academic writing, and conversations with my mentor.
CLASS OF 2017
Eduardo Avalos, Political Science/LATS - "Art is a Weapon": Questioning Community and Complicity in Boyle Height's Cultural Economy
Through the study of the contestation over the existence of Chicanx art galleries in the Boyle Heights neighborhood in Los Angeles, my work explores the viability of community-bred alternatives to the inevitable narrative of displacement that accompanies gentrification. By mapping out the particularities of the politics of identity and its contestation in community dialogue and action, gentefication, or non-white gentrification, in Los Angeles operates as a distinct community-driven processes working in tandem with Chicanx historical nationalisms and place-making strategies, but crumbling as an alternative vision to gentrification and displacement. Understanding the racial economies of cultural production highlights the various ways art is a weapon over community and place-making, and the ways it affects the racial repackaging of histories and futures in the Eastside communities in Los Angeles.
Ricardo Diaz, History/Economics - Agriculture: An Alternative, Sustainable Development Model for Puerto Rico?
Kiyana Hanley, Political Science - The Philosophy of Education: A Close Look at Imprisoned Populations
This research focuses on public education institutions and how neoliberalism has become deeply engrained in every aspect of its transformation. Through reflection of my time as a teaching fellow with Uncommon Schools, a charter school network, I will be highlighting the dangers of the neoliberal panopticon and offering suggestions for sites of resistance for incoming educators that are constantly under surveillance.
David Jaramillo, Chemistry - Gemini Surfactant-Based Lanthanide Ion Complexes for Bioprobe Applications
Gemini surfactant chemistry has long been utilized in various industries to create petroleum purification products, shampoos, soaps, and gene transfection agents as a result of their solvation characteristics. Similarly, lanthanide metals are a crucial part of the average citizen's arsenal of appliances and modes of transportation due to their unique spectromagnetic properties. In the Patrick S. Barber laboratory, we are exploiting both surfactant and lanthanide chemistry in the design of a gemini surfactant based ligand for complexation with an Ln(III) cation for cellular imaging purposes.
Alejandra Mejia, Comparative Literature/LATS - Latina rebeldes: Agency and resistance within digital spaces
This semester, I will be conducting an interpretative textual analysis of the social media platform Latina Rebels to investigate the resistance and agency exercised by self-identified U.S. Latinas within digital spaces.
Tyrone Scafe, Political Science/Africana Studies/Africana - Decoloniality and its Limits: Student Movements and US Structures of Antagonisms
This project proposes a comparative study of the trajectory of student-led contestations of higher education in public institutions from the 1960s to private institutions in contemporary times. Ultimately, the aim of this study of institutions of education and student movements is to build on the relatively new theory of structures of antagonism by looking at the contradictions of proposed solutions such as diversity initiatives and affirmative action as well as the formation of “radical” fields such as African-American studies. This work will help future scholars pursue conclusions and solutions that differ from the stagnation of structural antagonisms as proposed by previous scholars.
Akhir Stewart, Art History/French/Africana - Imagined Liberation: Dismantling the Body Fiction in “Sartorial Anarchy”
Monica Miller’s Slaves to Fashion offers dandyism as a liberatory project by framing the dandy’s tactical manipulation of ambiguity as a paradigm of freedom. Engaging Arjun Appadurai’s The Social Life of Things, Jose Muñoz’s Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics, and Mignon Moore’s Lipstick or Timberlands? Meanings of Gender Presentation in Black Lesbian Community, this project explores the ways in which the dandy’s apparatus of choice, clothing, complicates the liberatory agenda of creating new social reality from ambiguity. By acknowledging clothing as an agent that actively possesses, obscures, and/or marks subjectivity, challenges to the dandy’s construction of self are revealed. Sartorial Anarchy, a self-portrait series by Nigerian artist Ike Ude, is introduced to not only identify this essential compromise to self-definition specifically as the body fiction, but also present a subversive reclaiming of the body in spite of it. By way of visual analysis, this project reimagines body fiction as a space of ambiguity, thereby expounding on the philosophical ideals of liberation represented in dandy scholarship.
Maoli Vizcaino, Geosciences - Morphology of fossils from the Tsagaan Olom Group, Mongolia-tintinnids or red algae?
Fossils in the Tsagaan Olom Group in Mongolia may give insight towards the diversity of early eukaryotes and their continued evolution through the Cryogenian glaciations. We investigate what these fossils are (tintinnids? Red algae?), what their morphology could signify, how abundant their populations were, and the nature of the environment they existed in.
Jaira Walker, Arabic Studies - The Aesthetics of Affluence: Is the Hyper - in Hypermodernism the Hyper - in Hypercapitalims?
This paper will focus on Gulf art (multimedia, exhibitions, installations, film, etc.) and development of a hypermodern visual culture that centers global metropolises as transitional spaces of unaligned diasporic encounters across time, space and imagination. I intend to deconstruct and interrogate how these artists are representing complex histories and identities through technologically nascent narratives of becoming, identity formation and state/national deterritorialization. The other portion of this paper pertains to how shift towards hypermodernity has facilitated a visual culture of Gulf dromo-economics facilitated on oil capitalism, hyper-consumerism and the flourishing tourist industry where massive amounts of capital is going towards constructing cultural/art institutions (i.e. Saadiyat Island’s Cultural District).
Rebecca Williams, Classics - American Law, Athenian Law, and Living Ancient Greek
This semester I am studying the ancient Greeks and their use of imprisonment. My research is focused on learning about punished in Athens and its rehabilitative effects on victims and criminals. Ultimately, I hope that my research on imprisonment in the Athenian legal system will aid my understanding and conceptualization of the purpose of imprisonment in the American legal system today.
CLASS OF 2016
Kyung Nahiomy Alvarez, Political Economy/Psychology - When National and Local Antipoverty Policies Clash: How Seattle’s New Minimum Wage Could Impact EITC Eligibility
Ahmad Greene-Hayes, History - "We Charge Genocide": African Americans and Human Rights, 1944-1955
Todd Hall, Political Economy - Tipping and Discrimination in the Restaurant Industry: Exploring the Implications of Automatic Gratuities
Brandon Mancilla, English/History - Ernesto Laclau and the Global South
Angela Pastorelli-Sosa, Art/History - Religious and Sexual Imagery in Surrealist Art during theSpanish Civil War
Susmita Paul, Chemistry/Sociology - Bengali Immigrants' Access to Primary Health Care inQueens, New York
Megan Steele, Chemistry/Psychology - Sporulation and the whiJ gene family in Streptomyces coelicolor
Roger Vargas, Math/Economics - A Review of Drosophila suzukii and the Implications of Cytoplasmic Incompatibilities in Host Populations
Cinnamon Williams, American Studies - "Coming Out:" Presenting Real Women and Fabulous Men at Debutante and Drag Balls
Chienfa Wong, Economics - Cuba: Structural Reforms in the 1990s
CLASS OF 2015
Alexis Akridge, Critical Theory - Detroit, the spatialization of industrialism, or wilderness Gabriela Azevedo, Philosphy - What could be meant by aesthetics?: Remarks on Wittgenstein's aesthetics lectures Sevonna Brown, American Studies - Caving In: Bearing Witness to Black Womanist Birthing Spaces Donald Kost, Comperative Literature - Magical Realism as Postcolonial Discourse in Haruki Murakami Tirhakah Love, Political Science/American Studies - KIPP Culture, KIPP Capital: A Narrative on the Crushing of Cultures Laurel O'Connor, Environmental Studies/Ethnic Studies - Landscapes of Climate Justice Alexander Pena, English/History - Governing the Other: The Alfonsine Code of Law and Islam in Medieval Spain Brandon Romero, Political Economy - Intra-Party Conflict and Induced Policy Stasis: A Modified Theory of Policy Making Alejandra Rosales, Political Science - Unpacking Gendered Representations in Music Video Daniela Zarate, Biology/Astronomy - Understanding the biogeography and genetic diversity of Scottish Asphodel under the impact of past glaciation and current climate change
Alexis Akridge, Critical Theory - Detroit, the spatialization of industrialism, or wilderness
Gabriela Azevedo, Philosphy - What could be meant by aesthetics?: Remarks on Wittgenstein's aesthetics lectures
Sevonna Brown, American Studies - Caving In: Bearing Witness to Black Womanist Birthing Spaces
Donald Kost, Comperative Literature - Magical Realism as Postcolonial Discourse in Haruki Murakami
Tirhakah Love, Political Science/American Studies - KIPP Culture, KIPP Capital: A Narrative on the Crushing of Cultures
Laurel O'Connor, Environmental Studies/Ethnic Studies - Landscapes of Climate Justice
Alexander Pena, English/History - Governing the Other: The Alfonsine Code of Law and Islam in Medieval Spain
Brandon Romero, Political Economy - Intra-Party Conflict and Induced Policy Stasis: A Modified Theory of Policy Making
Alejandra Rosales, Political Science - Unpacking Gendered Representations in Music Video
Daniela Zarate, Biology/Astronomy - Understanding the biogeography and genetic diversity of Scottish Asphodel under the impact of past glaciation and current climate change