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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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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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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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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