Anaya Crouch

With her project, Anaya aims to create an animated archive of dance moves and cultural nuances of Trinidadian experiences. This region has not been explored through creative means, and Anaya wants to accurately portray a slice of a lived experience that has not yet been grappled with within mainstream media. The project will draw on the theoretical works of Professor Kenyatta Hinkle, Sreyashi Jhumki Basu, and Greg Niemeyer. While using her animations in order to partake in this research, she will travel to Trinidad and Tobago to humbly observe, participate in, and gather information based on the lived experiences of her grandparents, cousins and family members, as well as old friends in order to affirm the interpersonal connections she has with the land, the people, and the culture.

Kevin Cosby

The global and national turbulence of recent years has resulted in the increased popularity of conspiracy theory as an interpretive lens for world events – prompting both the shift of conspiracy theory from the fringe to the political mainstream and an explosion in conspiracy theory studies. Kevin is researching the connection between conspiracy theory as a social phenomenon and its analogue in literature and pop culture. He seeks to link conspiracy as a political practice with its cultural representation, to better understand the collective myth-making of paranoia. Kevin plans to explore how the treatment of conspiracy in fiction reflects or influences conspiracy theory’s social and political development. His project will analyze the feedback loop of popular culture and popular thought – from Pynchon to Pizzagate, from Mulder and Scully to Infowars.

Henry Nicholson

Religious conflict in Late Antiquity has been passed down through surviving Christian and pagan polemic and apology: Letters, diatribes, and speeches attacking or defending either religious viewpoint. Henry will examine five essential Christian texts in Greek with an eye to something specific: The literary treatment of pagan mystery religions, faiths supplementary to mainstream belief where adherents were initiated into exclusive cults to particular deities. Through analysis of these texts and travel to essential sites in Greece and Italy, Henry will investigate what these cults can say about Christian-pagan relations and shed light on popular feelings around these secretive faiths, arguing that all critiques of mystery cults are deflections of indictments Christians themselves received. Henry’s research will build on and challenge modern scholarship’s view of the rise of Christianity and the decline of pagan religions through analysis of this period’s most divisive and tantalizing religious phenomena.

Jenny Lee

From 1932-1945, during the Pacific War, Japan mobilized an imperial agenda in many Asian countries. To prevent Japanese soldiers from sexually exploiting Japanese women, the government created stations in colonized countries to provide sexual “comfort.” This became a formalized system of sexual slavery composed mostly of young, impoverished Korean women; following the war, as South Korea modernized, ‘comfort women’ were largely omitted from national remembrances, rendered invisible in the linear narrative of post/colonial development. Jenny will be traveling to Korea to research at national archives and interview ‘comfort women’ survivors and scholarly experts to examine the enduring, gendered impacts of the Pacific War. Ultimately, her research aims to reimagine the linear, masculine temporality of contemporary Korean history and challenge binary, rigid ways of contemplating national memory, identity, and boundaries.

Sera Smith

Ntozake Shange’s 1976 choreopoem for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf is a work that many Black feminists continue to celebrate today. When Nzinga Stewart, a Black woman filmmaker, attempted to produce her 2006 adaptation of the play, she was directed to Tyler Perry, who rewrote the script and produced his 2010 film For Colored Girls.  Sera is studying Stewart’s unproduced adaptation to recognize Stewart’s intellectual contributions to Black feminism. She uses rhetorical analysis to study representations of healing in Stewart’s screenplay. The project involves examinations of materials at Shange’s archive, interviews with Stewart, and secondary sources about each work, healing and Black feminism. The findings of this research will culminate into Sera’s senior thesis in African American Studies.

Jonah Lounds

This summer, Jonah will be exploring the available digital archives of the Russian National Library, US Library of Congress, Princeton’s Cotsen Children’s Library, and the Gosfilmofond in Moscow, in order to compile and analyze a vast collection of Soviet children’s books, films, and animations produced in the 1960s and ‘70s which display the trope of the personified and humanized animal. Lounds’ research is intended to illuminate any new cultural meanings produced by the common use of a trope that is so irreconcilable with traditional Marxist assertions of human exceptionalism and supremacy over the natural world. Such findings should offer an alternative to the common assumption that, with the waning political relevance of Marxism-Leninism in the USSR’s twilight years, the Soviet Union had become completely devoid of vision and thought.

Eunice Elizabeth Paredes Zamudio

The Popol Vuh is a historical narrative recounting the traditional mythology and origin of the Mayan Kʼicheʼ people. Eunice’s thesis explores how this foundational book and its oral traditions contribute to maintaining the beliefs and culture of Mayan immigrant communities in the United States, specifically in East Oakland. Her work centers on oral interviews of immigrants from northern Guatemala, southern Mexico and parts of Belize, and will investigate how the tenets of the Popol Vuh resonate in these communities. This research helps us understand and interpret how Mayan families perceive and preserve their traditional customs and provides us a new way to understand and interpret the legacy of foundational narratives, such as the Popul Vuh, in the present day.

Gianfranco Gastelo

Gianfranco’s interdisciplinary civilizational project, inspired by Michel de Montaigne’s essay “Of Cannibals,” will investigate the concept of cultural relativism within the context of the First Spanish Conquest by exploring the following overarching question: how have the self -figurations of two Peruvian intellectuals of indigenous lineage, Inca Garcilaso de la Vega’s and Felipe Guamán Poma de Ayala,  been meaningfully transformed by colonization? Though scholarly literature has coupled these two authors in conversation with written and pictographic portrayals of colonization, their individual receptivity of this period has unfortunately been undertheorized despite the parallels and divergences in their identities. With my investigation, Gianfranco aspires to enrich existing discussions of indigenous texts of the colonial era by complexifying these authors’ polarized identities in the social and educational spectrums, yet with similar motivations, in chronicling the Spanish colonization in Peru.

Salvador Gutierrez Peraza

In 2010, the Arizona legislature banned the teaching of Ethnic Studies in public schools (K-12) via House Bill 2281. The bill specifically targeted Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican-American Studies program. According to the proponents of this bill, the MAS program was dangerous because it promoted ethnic, racial, and class divisions among students. Salvador will spend the summer in Arizona investigating the historical and political factors that led to the drafting and adoption of HB 2281. Salvador’s project will directly engage with the growing historical and political literature documenting the struggle of Mexican-American students for education rights in the Southwest. His investigation will also document the ongoing battle to revoke or to maintain HB 2281 as a valid law. His research will produce a senior honors thesis for the department of History.

Armen Davoudian

The Waste Land is a metapoem that doubts whether it is a poem: a paradoxical achievement of expression through expressing an inability to express. This antithetical way of writing poetry makes new relations among different tropes possible. For instance, iron–which normally either precludes or retrospectively denies pathos–can become elegy as Eliot complains that he cannot sing, thereby singing. Armen senses a similar concern in Eliot’s other poetry, and he wonders, for example, whether the many paradoxes in Four Quartets can be explained in terms of this argument. He also wants to study Eliot’s use of self-reflexivity (e.g. in his imagery of hair) and self-allusion, both structural and thematic. Ideally, analyzing how Eliot dramatizes this anxiety in his poems should generate some theories about why he felt it in the first place.