Current Winners

Undergraduate Merit Scholarship

anders_mieko.png
Dead Labor: Spectrality and Twentieth-Century Fictions of the Japanese Work Ethic
Term:
Spring 2019
Department:
English & Sociology
My thesis reads British author Kazuo Ishiguro's historical novel set in U.S.-occupied Japan, An Artist of the Floating World (1986), alongside its archival notes and drafts, which indicate that he originally intended the novel to be set in 1980s England. Focusing on the novel's depictions of laboring bodies as lifeless or ghost-like, I aim to explore the implications of conceptualizing Japanese labor and culture as constituting a unified national "geist" during the peak of Japan's economic miracle in the 1980s. I will also explore how the novel’s narrator can be read as a proxy for W.E.B. Du...Read more
img_5940_copy.jpg
Haitian Mobility from Brazil to Mexico
Term:
Spring 2019
Department:
Development Studies & Latin American Literatures
In the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Brazil became the primary destination for Haitian migrants, where they were granted humanitarian visas and presented with employment opportunities, largely in construction for the World Cup and Olympics. In 2016, Brazil’s economic recession, combined with the urgency to enter the U.S. while they were still eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), drove an estimated 30,000 Haitians in Brazil on a costly and dangerous journey across the Americas. However, a sudden shift in U.S. migration policy resulted in the current bottleneck of...Read more
cummings_mason.jpg
 Inner Vision: The Role of Endogenous Visual Phenomena in the Masks of the Baining
Term:
Spring 2019
Department:
History of Art
For my research project, I will be investigating how endogenous visual phenomena (entoptics) are involved in ritual masks made by the Baining people of Papua New Guinea. Entoptics are the visible effects derived from within the brain's optic system, and are thus produced independently of visual input from the external environment. One may be familiar with entoptics in the form of phosphenes or migraine auras, though they are most vividly realized during altered states of consciousness, such as drug intoxication or hypnotic trance. While seemingly random, neurological research on the visual...Read more
headshot_2.png
The Physiology of Despotism
Term:
Spring 2019
Department:
History
This original project proposes to place Hannah Arendt’s seminal work on totalitarianism, The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951), in dialogue with the Kim dynasty of North Korea. A key work in the historiography of totalitarianism, Arendt’s work witnessed a resurgence of interest following the election of President Trump. Interestingly, despite a renewed interest in the work, there is a significant deficit of scholarship drawing comparisons between The Origins of Totalitarianism to a truly totalitarian state in our own time – the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Especially relevant today...Read more
foda_arnold.jpg
Revolutionary Ruptures and Continuities: Understanding the Criminalization of Sexual Harassment by the Egyptian Security-State
Term:
Spring 2019
Department:
Political Science
While a “sexual harassment free-zone” is a prominent narrative of Tahrir Square’s atmosphere during the eighteen days of Egypt’s January 2011 Revolution, this utopian undercurrent for women was shattered by an epidemic of sexual violence, which feminist and human rights groups have labelled the “circles of hell”. During the post-revolutionary period, whether under the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF), the Muslim Brotherhood and the early return of the military regime in 2013, sexual violence has been deployed as a tool to exclude women from the public sphere. The military state-...Read more
lamont-dobbin.jpg
Analyzing the Turkish Political Response to the Refugee Crisis through Anti-Human Trafficking Discourse
Term:
Spring 2019
Department:
Political Science
Political stakeholders regularly use human trafficking discourses to promote particular political agendas, framing trafficking as a national security issue. This is highly problematic considering that framing trafficking in such a narrow manner ignores it's human rights implications and often aggravates it. My research examines how the Erdogan regimes in Turkey has co-opted human trafficking in the face of challenges to its sovereignty including the refugee crisis and terrorist threats from PKK and Daesh. It will specially examine how the regime negotiates its position with the EU through...Read more
2.jpg
Cyberpolicing of Gender Politics in China
Term:
Spring 2019
Department:
Sociology & Gender and Women's Studies
Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have been playing an unprecedentedly crucial role in civic participation. Social media has forged a new public sphere to enable “connected actions” surrounding issues such as race, ethnicity, class, gender, government corruption, etc. Whereas social media brought new possibilities for democratic actions proven by movements ranging from Arabic Spring to #Metoo, they also created space for the state to impose further restrictions on political and social liberties. In recent years, the Chinese government launched significant institutional and...Read more
img_0840.jpg
Cash Transfers: Theory and Practice in Neoliberal Aid
Term:
Spring 2019
Department:
Development Studies
Cash transfer (CT) programs, administered by governments and NGOs as well as for-profit companies, are rapidly gaining traction throughout the Global South. Many insist these programs will revolutionize development work and successfully eradicate extreme poverty. CTs have attracted a broad coalition of supporters, from African heads of state to Silicon Valley billionaires. However, few have critically examined the emergence of these programs and how they function. To investigate this trend in development work, I am studying GiveDirectly (GD), a US-based NGO that distributes unconditional CTs...Read more
pingitore_headshot.jpg
“Building Socialism,” Material Culture and Political Ideology in Modern Cuba
Term:
Spring 2019
Department:
History
My research explores how communist ideology is manifested in built form. Specifically, I am investigating La Escuela Nacional de Artes in Havana, Cuba, which in many ways embodies the entirety of the Cuban revolution. Now a mostly defunct art school complex, it was built atop a Batistan era country club, and at its inception in the 1960s, symbolized the energy of Cuba’s young revolution. But as the nation’s economy lagged, and became increasingly reliant upon Soviet political and economic aid, the building of the art school was abandoned, the architects fired, and their art labeled a...Read more
img_2729.jpg
The Hogeweyk Dementia Care Model: Evaluating Efficacy and Impacts on Community Health
Term:
Spring 2019
Department:
Molecular and Cellular Biology
According to Alzheimer’s Research UK , roughly 50 million people currently have dementia, a number expected to triple by 2050. While scientists search for a cure, health professionals seek to shift geriatric assistance from isolated medical care to holistic treatment. Hogeweyk, a Dutch facility for advanced dementia patients, is one such example. The staff provide specialized care for residents while preserving normalcy by encouraging autonomy and community participation. A model example of dementia care, Hogeweyk has fewer bedridden residents, less recorded aggression, and reduced use of...Read more
dsc03607.jpg
International Context of Eco-Blocks: The U.S. and NL on neighborhood scale renewable energy and resource reduction
Term:
Spring 2019
Department:
Sustainable Environmental Design
Transitioning to renewable energy using timely, thorough, efficient, and cost-effective strategies is necessary in supporting our current and future society. Eco-blocks, if containing these characteristics, may have the potential to do this. An eco-block is composed of multiple connected homes that collectively lower or eliminate the need for inputs of energy, water, or other resources. They may be composed of elements like microgrids, rainwater catchment, or nontraditional building materials. Eco-blocks are considered a sustainable whole system approach and are each unique in nature...Read more