Can Kangaroo Rats Reason? An Inquiry into the Ecology of Logical Inference

Through a series of carefully designed experiments with Kangaroo Rats (Dipotomys mirriami), Melissa’s Cognitive Science Senior Honors Thesis will test her hypothesis that these rodents’ capacity to perform “transitive inference” tasks constitutes true reasoning and relies on the same neural structures as less abstract forms of reasoning. A long history of philosophical thought views human reason as unique in and apart from nature. In contrast, evolutionary theory suggests that our reasoning abilities are based on the requirements of the natural environment in which they evolved and, furthermore, that there should be a continuity between our capacities and those of other animals. By increasing our understanding of the neural basis of logic in Kangaroo Rats, Melissa’s project will contribute to illuminating our broader understanding of the nature of cognition.

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Sciences

Double Crossing: The Impact of Immigration and Welfare Reform on Migration Between Mexico and the United States

Through a combination of quantitative analysis and qualitative field research, Peter’s Interdisciplinary Studies Field Major Senior Honors Thesis will investigate the effects of the 1996 Immigration and Welfare Reform Acts on the flows of undocumented migration between Mexico and the United States. Focusing particularly on the differential impact of this legislation on women and families, Peter will be testing his hypothesis that the new laws favor single people over families, men over women, and working-age people over children and the elderly, with the overall impact of encouraging cyclical migration rather than permanent settlement. Peter’s research project, which emerges out of his academic interests and his work as a community organizer, will help policy makers and the public better evaluate the complex issues surrounding immigration.

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Humanities

Genetic Analysis of PEST Sequences in the L. monocytogenes Protein Listeriolysin O

Simmie’s research project is situated at the intersection of cell biology, immunology and molecular biology in the important field of bacterial pathogenesis. Understanding the interaction of intracellular pathogens with mammalian systems is critical for preventing and treating a number of diseases that pose a major challenge to the biomedical community. Specifically, Simmie will focus on the way in which a protein produced by a particular intracellular pathogen, Listeria monocytogenes, is degraded in the cytosol of the host cell. By illuminating the complexity of the host-parasite interaction in this instance, Simmie’s research will also help us gain a better understanding of the nature and function of healthy cells.

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Sciences

Ethical Museum Storage Practices: Native Californian Cultural Possessions in Museum Repositories

To better understand the relationship between Native Californians and museology, Charles will visit five nationally known museums that house Native Californian cultural possessions, in order to research the techniques and methods employed in cataloging, storing and caring for Native Californian possessions. He will then critically analyze the data he collects, in order to explore the racialization of museum practices vis–vis indigenous possessions and to recommend more culturally sensitive methods for archiving them. He intends to submit the results of his study as his Native American Studies Senior Honors Thesis. Charles will also use his findings to inspire other Native Californians to work with museologists to ensure that their Native cultural possessions are properly cared for while inside museums.

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Humanities

History and Representations in Early Chinese Literature

Kevin intends to uncover theories of history prevalent in ancient China through an examination of the representation of known historical figures in the literature from the Eastern Zhou through the Han dynasties (circa 771 – 86 BCE). Focusing particularly on Zhuangzi, a compilation of philosophical treatises whose historicity has been conventionally discredited, as well as Shiji, the first comprehensive history of China, Kevin will examine the interplay between ideology, history and legend in the treatment of historical figures in these classical Chinese texts. In addition to using traditional empirical methods of textual criticism to solve questions surrounding the compilation of Zhuangzi, Kevin will also examine the relationship between the ancient Chinese theories of history he deduces and contemporary western critical theories that consider the narrativity of historical writing.

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From Tribe to Empire: An Examination of Political and Cultural Processes in the Nascent Persian State

Kate’s project will explore the origins of the ancient Persian civilization with a focus on its dramatic transition from tribal society to dominant empire during the seventh and sixth centuries BCE. In order to better understand the influence of the declining Mesopotamian and Elamite civilizations on the emerging Persian empire, she will travel to the Iran National Museum in Tehran and renowned archaeological sites including Persepolis and Susa in order to examine archaeological and art historical evidence from the period. Kate will also engage in intensive study of the Persian language and examination of textual sources in preparation for her research in the field. The results of her research will be presented in her Near Eastern Studies Senior Honors Thesis.

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Humanities

Reveries in Lots: An Interpretive History of Social and Topographical Change in San Francisco's China Basin/Mission Rock District

Marisa’s project combines historical research and creative expression to explore the gentrification of one of San Francisco’s historically working class neighborhoods. Formerly a shipyard and port-based community, the China Basin/Mission Rock district has undergone recent rapid development, leading to the demolition of historic buildings and the displacement of native locals. Marisa intends to research and document the history of the neighborhood and to create a site-specific installation accessible to the public at an abandoned lookout point overlooking the San Francisco Bay. Finally, she will create a website combining a live video feed of the installation with historical and interpretive data. A virtual analogue to the physical installation, it will invite participation by a broader audience, as well as symbolize the process of dematerialization of physical, geographical space that is exemplified by the economic transformation of the neighborhood.

...Read More about Marisa M. Jahn
Humanities

Asian Improv: Defining Identity and Social Reality Through Music

Loren will undertake a case study of a group of musicians who have recorded for the AsianImprov Record (AIR) label. These musicians have pioneered a musical sensibility commonly known as “Asian American Jazz,” which combines traditionally African American musical styles with Asian instruments and approaches to composition. Through a combination of oral histories with key members of the music community on the east and west coast, a musical analysis of albums recorded under the AIR label, and a review of the theoretical literature on ethno-racial formations, Loren will explore the complex relationship between social movements, cultural production and the rituals of ethnic identity formation. The resulting Ethnic Studies Senior Honors Thesis will inquire into what extent the idiom of music itself might be a useful paradigm of identity.

...Read More about Loren Yukio Kajikawa
Humanities

Role of Sgk in Apoptotic Signaling

Brian will investigate apoptosis, an active choice made by an individual cell to embark on a pathway that ultimately results in its demise. It is generally accepted that apoptosis plays an important role in eliminating damaged cells and maintaining a stable cellular environment; however, relatively little is known about the regulator and effector molecules that may be involved in initiating and relaying apoptotic signals. By increasing our understanding of the regulatory role of the serum and glucocorticoid regulated kinase (sgk) protein in apoptotic signaling, Brian’s project will have implications for the medical treatment of diseased cells, including the development of new drugs for treating cancer, viruses and strokes.

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Sciences

Elucidating the Major Environmental Factors for the Enhancement of Selenium Volatilization from the Soil-Salicornia System

Through a series of experiments conducted at a UC Berkeley laboratory greenhouse and at the Agroforestry site in Five Points, California, Anita will investigate the physical, chemical and biological factors that produce high rates of selenium volatilization from the soil-Salicornia system. An essential trace element that becomes toxic at high concentrations, selenium is currently a big concern in the San Joaquin Valley. The volatilization of selenium is a promising new technique for land reclamation. Whereas traditional phytoextraction methods sequester selenium in plant tissues, volatilization can potentially remove a significant amount of selenium from a contaminated system by harmlessly releasing it into the atmosphere. Anita’s Environmental Science Senior Research Project will determine the major sites of volatilization, the role of microbes, and the optimal soil and environmental conditions necessary to enhance rates of volatilization from Salicornia, thus increasing the efficiency of this environmentally promising technology.

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Sciences

Incitement to Discourse: The Lord Chamberlains Censorship of Plays in Late Victorian England, 1890-1910

Matthews project will take him to the British Library in London this summer, where he will investigate the censorship of plays during the transition from Victorianism into Modernism. In particular, he will be examining the significant role the Lord Chamberlain played in maintaining English morality through his censorship powers. Taking Foucaults theories as a starting point, Matthew will test his hypothesis that the Lord Chamberlains censorship activities, which were deployed inconsistently, were less concerned with the maintenance of decency and morality than they were with who had the authority to control the expression of desire. Matthew proposes to examine both the original manuscripts of the censored plays, with the Lord Chamberlains annotated markings, as well as periodicals and newspapers from the period that will help provide a critical historical context for understanding Foucaults insight that censorship leads paradoxically to a proliferation of a discourse on sex. The resulting study will […]

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Humanities

The Semiotics of Digital Storytelling

Combining research with creative expression, Marisa will be exploring digital storytelling, a new multimedia narrative form that uses images, film, text and sounds that are electronically stored and retrieved via computers. She will be investigating the structural/narratological characteristics of this new medium in order to theorize the points of divergence between analog and digital narratives and to test her hypothesis that digital storytelling endows authors and readers with greater agency. She will be looking most attentively at digital stories that are autobiographical, in order to study the nature of digitally-generated literary subjectivities. As a companion to her thesis, Marisa will also be creating her own digital story under the tutelage of the co-directors of the Center for Digital Storytelling, which has recently formed a partnership with the UC Berkeley School of Education. Her project promises to speak to a wide variety of people both inside and outside the academy who […]

...Read More about Marisa S. Olson
Humanities

Vectors of Cultural Development in Trinidad and Tobago: Commodification and Self-Identification in the Rapso Movement

Stephanie’s project will explore the connection between consumption and self-identification within the rapso community of Trinidad and Tobago. Since the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Trinidadian musical form of rapso has been a vehicle for social change and cultural activism; however, to date, it has received almost no scholarly attention. In order to test her hypothesis that rapso offers a grassroots alternative to the colonial legacy of externally imposed identity, Stephanie will conduct field-research in Trinidad this summer, using participant-observation methods and formal and informal interviewing techniques with artists, audience members, record label representatives and government officials. She will also visit the West Indiana Collection at the University of the West Indies in St. Augustine, Trinidad in order to study secondary source materials not available in the United States. The results of her research will be presented as her Anthropology Senior Honors Thesis.

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Humanities

Contemporary Lebanese Women's Novels

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Humanities

Searching for Cultural Identity in the Worlds of Sounds and Signs: A Story of One Deaf Artist

Amber will create a multimedia narrativelayering videos, performance, sound, and slidesand a written journal based on her experiences of culture shock as she explores her deaf identity as a young adult. Growing up, Amber was mainstreamed and considered herself hard-of-hearing, but had never met anyone from the Deaf community. This summer, Amber consciously immersed herself in Deaf culture and American Sign Language (ASL) for the first time. She visited the Professional Theater School of the National Theater of the Deaf (NTD) in Chester, Connecticut, observing deaf people engaged in the process of propagating Deaf culture through performance. Through their example, she learned about the meaning of being a deaf person, and also learned some basic ASL, which is the keystone of Deaf culture. While at NTD, Amber became reconciled with her identity as a deaf person. She continued her ASL studies with a class at Gallaudet University in Washington DC, […]

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Humanities

Asian-Latin Writers in Modern Day Argentina

Anny will investigate Asian-Latin literary production in Argentina, focusing particularly on a vibrant literary community of Chinese and Japanese immigrants and descendants in contemporary Buenos Aires. In order to understand how these Asian-Latin writers represent their multiple identities in a homogeneous culture lacking a multicultural vocabulary, she will travel to Buenos Aires this summer to interview writers and editors and to examine published and unpublished works. In addition to conducting face-to-face interviews, she will be undertaking primary source research at cultural center archives in Buenos Aires that house contemporary materials, as well as materials dating from the 1930sanother period when an Asian-Latin literary community thrived. The resulting comparative study will compose her Spanish Senior Honors Thesis.

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Humanities

Portable Culture: Representations of Gypsy Identity and 19th Century Narratives of Nationalism

Miruna will research the representations of Gypsy identity in writings at two historical moments: first, the works produced by European non-Gypsy writers in the period from roughly 1770-1870, and second, the emerging work of Gypsy artists in Europe after 1989. Her study will examine how the nineteenth century development and current modifications of the concepts of nation-state, nationalism and national identity have affected the ways Gypsy identity–based neither on a common territory, a standardized language, or a normative set of institutions–is constituted. In addition to undertaking a comparative study of published literary works from England, France and Romania, she will also travel to the Romani Archives at the University of Texas at Austin to examine unpublished materials. Her resulting study will help us understand what is at stake by defining ourselves nationally, offering new perspectives on questions of state, citizenship, migration and the status of minorities.

...Read More about Miruna Andrea Stanica
Humanities

The Mulatto and the State: An Analytic History, 1890-1936

Scott’s project examines the crystallization of the “one-drop rule” in the United States between 1890 and 1936: a relatively unique principle of racial classification which defines as “black” anyone with even the slightest trace of black or African ancestry. Over the summer Scott will be visiting the Schomburg Center for Research in Harlem, and, in order to investigate the internal workings of the United States Census Bureau, he will be conducting research at the National Archives in Washington, DC. In addition to explaining some of the more distinctive features of “race” and bureaucracy in the United States, Scott’s project promises to make a significant contribution to a current stream of debates within the social sciences over (i) the general relationship between “categories” and “groups,” (ii) the peculiar role that states play in the ongoing production of racial divisions, and (iii) the overall link between systems of social classification and systems […]

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Humanities

Heavy Fermion Refrigerator

Elizabeth plans to design, construct and test a prototype of a low temperature refrigerator, in order to demonstrate an efficient and simple method for cooling to temperatures below 1 Kelvin. Currently, dilution refrigerators are used to achieve such low temperatures, a technology that is complicated, expensive and experimentally demanding. By pioneering the use of a refrigerator that uses a flowing electrical current through superconductor junctions, Elizabeth’s prototype will improve on the cooling power of some preliminary electronic refrigerators by more than four orders of magnitude and create a technology that has the potential to become commercially viable and scientifically important in fields such as physics, material sciences and astronomy.

...Read More about Elizabeth Nicole Wilcut
Sciences

Earth-based Detection of CMBR Polarization: Data Analysis and Control Software Development

Ki Won’s project involves an investigation of cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR). CMBR travels to us over cosmic distances, beginning its journey a short time after the Big Bang, the birth of the Universe. In essence, it is a snapshot of the aftermath of creation. Specifically, Ki Won will study the polarization characteristics of CMBR, using a polarization-capable radio telescope being built at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Ki Won will develop a detailed plan for the use of the telescope to detect CMBR polarization, write software to automate the telescope and data acquisition, and perform analyses on the resulting observations for clues to this elusive signal. In this way, Ki Won hopes to make a contribution to the larger field of Cosmology and to increase our understanding philosophically and scientifically of our place in the Universe.

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Sciences