The Crafting of the Revolution and the Legacy of Carlos Fonseca

To the Nicaraguan people, Carlos Fonseca was the unchallenged leader and theoretician of the Nicaraguan revolution. In an attempt to propel Fonseca as the paragon of the revolution, the F.S.L.N. obscured Fonsecas doubts about the process of revolution itself. Through Fonsecas extant writings Carlos project will examine why the idea of Fonseca as a leader of the revolution was abandoned once the revolution was consolidated. Carlos argues that Fonsecas portrayal by scholars and propagandists has emphasized his role as a devout follower of Augusto Cesar Sandino. In doing so, Fonsecas inclination towards Sandino has been created, thereby validating a belief in the contemporary Sandinista party ideology, conveniently lining Fonseca and Sandino in a straight line leading to the FSLN. The project plans to understand how Fonsecas dissent within the ranks affects our perception of the revolution. His research, conducted in part through fieldwork in Nicaragua, will culminate in a senior […]

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Social Science

Olfactory Localization: the what and where pathways in Human Olfaction

Localization of biologically relevant stimuli in the world is a basic feature of sensory systems and is well studied for visual and auditory stimuli. It is well known that mammals are very sensitive to odors and can trace them to their sources, but it is not well studied nor understood whether this localization can be accomplished egocentricallythat is, with the head kept stationary. For her Senior Honors Thesis in Psychology, Elizabeth will evaluate the abilities of humans to egocentrically pinpoint odor sources in space. She will first address the behavioral question of whether humans can spatially localize different odors in a psychophysical experiment. She will then conduct a neuroimaging experiment using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to understand the neural substrates underlying this activity. Elizabeth hopes that understanding how humans localize odors and the neural substrates subserving this ability will contribute to the current development of a device that will […]

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Social Science

Song for Today: The Dialectic Between Langston Hughes Early Jazz and Blues Poetry and the New Poetic Genre

Exploring the lyrical conversation between the jazz and blues poetry of Langston Hughes and contemporary hip-hop musicians, Shanesha will analyze the musical techniques and poetic structure of Hughess poetry and the lyrics of musicians Black Star and Jazzmatazz, musical poets who contribute to what she calls the New Poetic Genre. Identifying parallels between the socio-political and historical contexts of Hughes and of these contemporary musicians, Shanesha will research the consciousnesses conjured from resistance, the search for identity, and the subsequent struggle for self-expression. As a double major in English and Interdisciplinary Studies, Shaneshas deep interests in music, poetry, and history meld her project into a treatise that will integrate musical and textual analysis, literary theory, and interviews. She will also work with archival materials at Yale Universitys Beinecke Library and at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, New York. The results of her research will be […]

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Tourism and Ethnic Identity: Creating the Long-Neck Karen of Northwest Thailand

Lorna Macmillan and Francisco Nanclares propose to undertake ethnographic research that examines the shift in gender power relations among Padaung Karen refugees resulting from the influx of tourism to the Mae Hong Son province in northwestern Thailand. Their goal is to build on previous research to explore the ways in which the economic power that tourism has provided the so-called long neck women affects their familial and communal roles. They will do ethnographic field research in Thailand, resulting in a senior honors thesis in anthropology. Macmillan and Nanclares anticipate that their findings could have implications for designing refugee policies.

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Is There Biological Evidence for Quantum Consciousness?

Pushed aside by a tradition of Cartesian dualism, the mystery of consciousness has recently resurfaced as a problem on the cutting edge of intellectual thought. My expanded honors thesis for Systems Biology will investigate if we can better understand what consciousness is, based on processes occurring throughout the whole organism, instead of just inside the brain. I will evaluate the ability of modern theories and experiments on brain processes to account for findings outside of neuroscience that suggest consciousness to exist on an organismal level. I hope to explore alternative grounds from which to create empirical studies about how we might investigate consciousness in other organisms. In doing so, I will achieve a deeper understanding, both for the academic fields involved, and for myself, of what conditions within living systems might give rise to the phenomenon of consciousness, and to scientifically question the distinctions we have placed between humans and […]

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International Standards for Grassroots Democracy? A Case Study of a Guatemalan Fair Trade Coffee Cooperative.

The recent growth of the Fair Trade coffee niche market in the United States suggests that consumers are beginning to concern themselves with the social conditions under which their coffee was produced. Fair Trade coffee consumers accept that the Generic Fairtrade Standards established by the International Fairtrade Labeling Organization (FLO) provide certain de jure guarantees regarding production conditions. Yet what is the de facto situation within the coffee cooperatives? Benjamin will travel to a Fair Trade certified coffee cooperative in Guatemala this summer to investigate the grassroots application of the Standards section entitled Democracy, Participation and Transparency. Benjamin will employ a comparative analysis of the cooperative over time, focusing on pre/post FLO certification. Through extensive interviews and data collection, Benjamin intends to establish the effectiveness of international autocratic standards in the development and regulation of grassroots democracy.

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Emotion Narratives in Schizophrenia

The primary objective of this project will be to examine the way in which patients diagnosed with schizophrenia use language to describe their subjective emotional experiences. Using a clinical interview, the Schedule for Deficit Syndrome, patients with schizophrenia will be asked to provide a brief narrative of salient emotional experiences in their lives (e.g. what makes you happy?). Trained research assistants will then transcribe and code the videotaped interview. Through the results of the study, the researcher hopes to shed light on the way in which emotion affects linguistic properties of speech in addition to enhancing our understanding of the emotional features in patients with schizophrenia.

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Social Science

An Analysis of Candidate Genes Involved in Neural Tube Closure during Xenopus Development

The coordination of cell movement is an integral process in development, affecting morphological shape as well as cell fate specification. While the importance of this process has been long realized, the molecular regulation of cell movement remains poorly understood. Saori plans to investigate the roles of two genes, fuzzy (fy) and inturned (in), in establishing cell polarity during convergent extension movements in the early frog embryo. Convergent extension is the process by which a population of cells redistributes itself by converging along one axis, thereby elongating along the perpendicular axis. In cloning and characterizing these genes through loss and gain of function analyses, Saori aims to integrate the results she collects to build upon a developing signal transduction pathway that triggers this intricate array of movements for her seniors honors thesis in Molecular and Cell Biology.

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Constructing Nature: Cultural Constructions of Nature and the Creation of the San Francisco Bay Area Landscape, c. 1940-1980

This study seeks to understand how residents of the San Francisco Bay Area constructed definitions of Nature in the late 20th century, and how that construct in turn affected the development of the Bay Area landscape between 1940 and 1980, focusing specifically upon the construction and utilization of Bay Area parks. The dynamic interplay between designer and user reveals something of how humans relate to their environment as the park is physically adapted to shifting definitions of landscape and nature. Providing an entry point through which scholars can begin to unravel the tangles of urban ecology, the park serves as a key to unlock the greater questions of Nature and Artifice, perception and actualization. The research for this project naturally revolves around the Bay Area in the form of site studies and archival research. The project will culminate in a series of documentary photographs and a History senior honors thesis.

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Social Science

The Framing of Free Trade: Interest Groups, Political Punditry, and Public Opinion

Eden will examine newspaper editorials and public opinion data to determine how interest groups advance and amplify specific frameworks to influence domestic discourse on the issue of free trade. This research will combine a quantitative content analysis of editorial opinion on free trade and the recent protests against it in Seattle and Quebec City along with in-depth interviews with political actors who seek to frame debate around this important issue. Within these “framing contests” on free trade, the potential for interest groups, as well as journalists, to influence public opinion is significant due to the issues complexity, a general lack of prominent information, and a dearth of perceived personal experience with the issue. Consequentially, this study attempts to understand how diverse interest groups shape the production of mass media “opinion leadership” and the effect its subsequent consumption has on public opinion. Research will culminate in a senior honors thesis in […]

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Social Science

The Efficacy of International Law in Regulating Trade between LDCs and DCs

Olga will examine to what extent less developed countries (LDCs) and developed countries (DCs) benefited from the informal World Trade Organization (WTO) compromise in which LDCs allowed uniform regulation of intellectual property and DCs allowed uniform regulation of textiles. To do so she will compare the disputes from 1995 to 2001 between India and the United States that were referred to the WTO to those that were not. Olga will conduct archival research and interview trade officials in Washington, DC, Geneva and India. She will present her findings as her senior honors thesis in Political Science.

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Social Science

Fiat Lux

Debra’s life experience as a caregiver to her husband throughout his terminal illness has inspired her to create an art exhibit that narrates his lifetime as a man and soldier groomed by the social effects and fears of the Cold War. Her work will investigate agent orange exposure of American soldiers who fought in Vietnam. Fiat Lux, will be grounded in the social understanding of artwork from the 1960s, moving forward in time to explore some of our current veteran health issues. Six multi-media sculptures, four paintings, and a video installation produced from archival films will look at a person who survived from multiple cancers over thirteen-years, and ultimately, will examine his death. Her artistic contribution is unique in that it uses Pop Art techniques of the 1960s as a lens to look at contemporary issues of the post-Vietnam landscape.

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An Ethnography of Urban Paramedics

Kevi is studying the work-lives of Alameda County paramedics. His objective is to describe a dynamic process by whereby social relations and culture shape the practices of the paramedic community. His work should improve our anthropological and sociological understanding of factors that influence the behavior of groups of people. Results of Kevi’s research may also be useful to companies and governments that provide emergency services.

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Developing an Innovative Three-Dimensional Histological System

Histological analysis has been a vital technique for studying biological tissue structures for many decades now. Recent developments have allowed histologists to use fluorescent labels to visualize dynamic events such as bone remodeling. More advanced biochemical developments have expanded histological analysis to gene expression patterns, protein and mineral deposits. In spite of these advances, histology is primarily used for qualitative visual purposes (usually only in two dimensions). The product of John’s research will be a system capable of performing three-dimensional analysis including the complete reconstruction of bone tissue composition and gene expression, as they are in situ. The immediate impact will be an ability to understand the relationships between the mechanical loading and the cell/tissue response in skeletal loading models. Although this is just one specific example of the proposed systems use, we believe that as this technology becomes more widespread, it will be a critical asset to many areas […]

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Rastafari in Jamaica: Resistance to State Economic Policies

Shannon will examine the effects that Rastafarianism has had on the political economy of Jamaica since the implementation of structural adjustment programs by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1977. Specifically, she will describe and analyze the ways in which Rastafarian organizations have challenged the policies of the Jamaican state regarding land use, land availability and small-scale agriculture in relation to the lowering of trade barriers and currency devaluation imposed by the IMF. This summer, Shannon will travel to Kingston and Ocho Rios, Jamaica to conduct archival research and interviews with members of the three main houses of Rastafari. On the basis of empirical findings concerning Rastafarian organization of material practices, her project will closely investigate the relation between political action in non-western regions and the role the organization of spirituality can assume in a political context. Shannon will present her findings as her senior honors thesis in Interdisciplinary Field […]

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Out of Denmark: Isak Dinesen in a Colonial Context

Marie will examine the works of the Danish writer Karen Blixen (1885-1962), known in America as Isak Dinesen. Dinesen lived in Kenya for 16 years, and although she was a colonialist, she respected the Africans as aristocratic and noble human beings. Her position and relations to the Africans grant her a unique dual perspective on the colonial situation in Kenya creating a bifocality that also permeates her later writing on multiple levels. Investigating the colonial aspect of this duality, Marie will use postcolonial literary theory to examine selections of Dinesens authorship, including Out of Africa and Shadows on the Grass. This summer Marie will be studying Dinesens texts in both Danish and English at the reading room of the Danish Royal Library in Copenhagen. While in Denmark, she will also meet with several Scandinavian Dinesen scholars. The product of this research will be a senior honors thesis in English.

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The Illusion of Inclusion: A Proposal to Investigate How Citizenships and Legal Status Shape Community Perspectives on Prison Complexes within a Small California Town

This project, which will be Martín’s senior honors thesis for Interdisciplinary Studies, will explore the process through which a small town, populated mostly by farmworkers, approved the construction of carceral facilities that are detrimental to a significant portion of its population. Prisons today are of significant importance to the communities of the California Central Valley, yet rigorous debate persists as to whether this is a positive trend. This research, which will draw from key informant interviews and archival research, will try to illustrate why it is important to comprehend the motivations and justifications for this community to want to attract multiple prisons, more specifically, an INS detention facility. The question put forth here is: why does Mendota, a town whose majority is comprised of Latino farm workers, want these facilities? And how have notions of citizenship and legal status legitimized and informed the political decision-making of this small Central Valley […]

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Maya Perceptions of Archeological Practice

Throughout Mesoamerica the effects of archaeological practice and the prospect of tourism on communal farmlands have caused native communities and foreign scholars to interact in roles ranging from adversarial to collaborative. A major in social/cultural anthropology, Timoteo’s project is to examine the relationships of North American archaeologists to the Maya farming communities of Chunchucmil and Kochol in rural Yucatan, Mexico. The local communal farmland is a largely unexcavated, non-touristy ancient Maya archaeological site embedded with tens of thousands of artifacts and dozens of pyramids. Archaeologists seasonally conduct research in this area and hire local farmers as archaeology labors. Simultaneously, the local communities use this land to raise cattle, hunt, and farm–often directly on the ancient ruins. Timoteo will research the question: What are the consequences of dissimilar utilizations of the same land by local farmers and foreign academics? The resulting ethnography will serve as his senior honors thesis.

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Three Selves: Sexuality, Self-Censorship, and Self-Publication in the works of Virginia Woolf and Gertrude Stein

Jennifer plans to write an English honors thesis that will comparatively analyze Virginia Woolf and Gertrude Stein. She is interested in how these two writers censored sexuality in their writing even though their substantial income gave them the option of self-publication. Jennifer will explore what combination of social pressures and inward conflicts led to this. By combining historical contextualization with an intense critical analysis of the published texts as well as the drafts, manuscripts, and personal correspondences drawn from archives at Yale and the University of Sussex, she hopes to reveal how Woolf and Stein internally and externally struggled when describing the body’s experience.

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An Exploration of Emotional Contagion in Infants

Emotional contagion is defined as the tendency to automatically mimic and synchronize facial expressions, vocalizations, postures and movement with those of another person. It is a major means by which one human being comes to feel and behave in the same fashion as another, and may be fundamental to empathy and prosocial behavior. For Maggie’s Senior Honors Thesis in Psychology, she will study whether emotional contagion can be seen in young human infants. To conduct this research, she will videotape infants of different ages (4 to 12 months) interacting with their mother while coding the facial, vocal, and bodily expressions of the infants. Maggie’s research will shed light on the origins of emotional contagion and the purpose it might be serving for the development of attachment, social relatedness, empathy, and prosocial behavior in the infant and young child.

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Social Science