Past Winners

Undergraduate Merit Scholarship

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How does urbanism manifest itself within a city by the water? How do we use these unique spaces were the city meets the water? How does this play out in Rio de Janeiro and San Francisco?
Term:
Spring 2015
Department:
Geography
I will be studying urban patterns in Rio de Janeiro and comparing them to my hometown of San Francisco. I am interested in the similarities and differences in land use in each of these cities, especially as it pertains to the area where the city meets the waterfront. Both the calçadão and the Embarcadero are highly used areas of the city in terms of economy, recreation, and transit. I will incorporate the histories of how these areas transformed from a utilitarian site of commerce and exchange to the current redevelopment of both of these areas into sites of leisure and collectivity. Each of...Read more
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Term:
Spring 2011
Department:
Political Science
How can we understand the American University in Cairo (AUC) as a leading player in the larger project of constructing a gated, exclusive Cairo? Both popular media and academia have failed to recognize that in Cairo private educational institutions are embedded in the process of inequitable urbanization. Due to this de facto separation, the agent has been removed from the process. The overarching goal of this research project is to re-embed the university and other private educational institutions as driving forces in Cairo's inequitable urbanization and investigate the rise of informal...Read more
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Term:
Spring 2013
Department:
Anthropology
The archaeological site of Dhiban, Jordan is characterized by a complex legacy of colonial dominance by foreign empires. This turbulent history is reflected in its archaeological record, requiring a much greater detailed system of analysis than offered by standard analytical practices forinterpretation of site use. To better unravel complex quotidian use at the site my project looks at site interpretive resolution of more standard “heavy-fraction” analysis (items >4mm in size) in relation to “microdebris” analysis (items <4mm in size), focusing on the patterning of microremains...Read more
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Term:
Spring 2012
Department:
History
Since 2002 the Brazilian government has used a complicated quota system as a form of Affirmative Action for State and Federal Universities. Depending on the University, the system provides approximately 30-50% of spaces to Afro-Brazilian students from a public school background. Its implementation has been largely unsuccessful due to the lack of preparation for Afro-Brazilian students in early education and their subsequent inability to pass the Vestibular—a complicated entrance exam which varies based by University and Major of application. My research focuses on how the quota system and the...Read more
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Linguistic Purism and Community-Building
Term:
Spring 2016
Department:
French
Purist and prescriptivist movements in languages have long been an area of interest for linguists, possibly because their dependency on the notion of language fixity is so paradoxical to a living, changing language. Particular attention has been paid to French, as the language is well known for its often-rigid prescriptivism, attested to by the existence of the Académie Française , a governmental body that concerns itself mainly with the defense and definition of the standard French language. Despite this focus on French, however, purist and prescriptivist movements have appeared in many...Read more
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Victory in Defeat: The Six-Day War in Syrian Ba'athist Textbooks
Term:
Spring 2014
Department:
History & Arabic Language and Literature
My research will evaluate how the Syrian Ba’ath Party rendered political narratives in Syrian textbooks in the 1970s and 80s. While the loss of the Golan Heights after the Six-Day War (1967) represented an embarrassing defeat for Syria and embodied one of the Syrian regime’s major grievances towards the Israeli state thereafter, accounts of the war have been fabricated in Syrian schoolbooks in the decades that followed to convey that the Syrian army was the true victor in the war. My aim is to trace an intellectual history of nationalist ideas through an analysis of the falsification of key...Read more
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Term:
Spring 2011
Department:
Critical Development Studies
How can we understand the American University in Cairo (AUC) as a leading player in the larger project of constructing a gated, exclusive Cairo? Both popular media and academia have failed to recognize that in Cairo private educational institutions are embedded in the process of inequitable urbanization. Due to this de facto separation, the agent has been removed from the process. The overarching goal of this research project is to re-embed the university and other private educational institutions as driving forces in Cairo's inequitable urbanization and investigate the rise of informal...Read more
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Term:
Spring 2012
Department:
Peace and Conflict Studies
Traditional ideological and political theories of conflict no longer sufficiently describe our world. We now live in a world where the majority of new wars are civil conflicts involving a plurality of state and non-state actors. There is a rich field of research in conflict studies, but significant knowledge gaps still exist. The factors of poverty, economic shocks, and weak state institutions are considered to have robust empirical relationships to the onset of civil war, but are under-researched. My goal is to find out how foreign aid interacts with these elements. This research hopes to...Read more
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Documenting a New Identity: British Documentaries and the Reeducation of West Germany
Term:
Spring 2014
Department:
History
With a distraught, defeated, and denazified populace, Germany was ripe to receive the reeducation efforts of the British government after the Second World War. A robust British documentary tradition and a precedent of shaping national identity through film combined with a scrapped German film industry presented a unique opportunity for the British to project their preferred German identity onto enthusiastic cinemagoers through the cinema. By studying the British policy of reeducation it is possible to understand what the British political motivations were in West Germany and to what extent...Read more
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Balancing Rights in International Criminal Prosecutions
Term:
Spring 2016
Department:
Political Science
In congruence with my Political Science honors thesis, I am conducting research that asks the question: “How can the International Criminal Court (ICC) best improve its victim participation scheme in order to maximize tangible benefits to victims?” The ICC has been hailed as the first international tribunal to grant victims what institutional actors have acclaimed as “groundbreaking” and “unprecedented” rights. Victims can participate in all stages of proceedings through a lawyer and are entitled to reparations. But with no historical experience to instruct the victim participation model, the...Read more
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Term:
Spring 2011
Department:
Anthropology
I will use the IIS Merit Scholarship to facilitate a photography project for young street children and teenagers of the Street Academy in Accra, Ghana. The purpose is to have the youth capture and represent life in Accra through their eyes. The Ga are an ethnic group of Ghana native to what is now the modern day capital city of Accra. Having been it's original inhabitants, the Ga today are overshadowed by other cultural groups such as Akan culture that has come to dominate the city of Accra. The Ga children I will be working with will tell the story of what the reality of their poverty is...Read more
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Term:
Spring 2011
Department:
Rhetoric
For the past year, Marta has been producing a feature-length documentary about umbilical cord blood banking in connection with the office of California Assembly member Anthony Portantino and the Cal Cord Blood initiative, a group of Berkeley students working to promote public cord blood banking in California. Umbilical cord blood is a rich source of blood-forming stem cells, which, like bone marrow, can be used to cure more than seventy life-threatening medical conditions, such as leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell anemia, and testicular cancer. Berlin doctor Gerard Hutter and his medical team...Read more
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Unequal Survival: The Afterlife of WWII Memorial Monuments in the Former Yugoslavia
Term:
Spring 2016
Department:
History of Art
How does a monument die? Is it through a collective disremembering? Does a monument's life depend on the persistence of a lineal cultural ideology? Or, can, in fact, a monument outlive its nation? My research will examine the perceived death of World War II memorial monuments in the former Yugoslavia, and will determine the ways in which medium and form can activate or deactivate the memorializing function. By confronting the unstable cultural ideologies, fluctuating nationalisms, and both the post-modern and post-socialist conditions, that have existed within the Yugoslav context, I intend...Read more
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Term:
Spring 2011
Department:
Sociology
This project examines three monumental structures/spaces recently constructed in South Africa to produce a cohesive and coherent post-apartheid national identity: the Nelson Mandela Bridge, the Apartheid Museum, and Constitution Hill. Following Rom Harré’s work on how an object becomes social “by its embedment in a narrative,” this paper argues that meanings attributed onto monumental structures and spaces are entangled in multiple and sometimes dissonant national narratives. This research also explores whether national monumental material culture in Johannesburg reflects and refracts toward...Read more
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Term:
Spring 2011
Department:
Economics
Transitioning to a smart electricity grid is essential for ensuring reliability and sustainability in the electricity industry. The organization and regulation of this industry will have a strong impact on differing national goals and plans for the smart grid transformation. This paper focuses on the case studies of France and the United States to illustrate the impact of distinctive electricity industry structures on national smart grid goals.Read more

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