Senior Project Abstracts – 2010

Turning Shades of Green: How Public, Political and Economic Spheres Influence Germany’s Domestic Climate and Energy Policies
Marie A. Hoffman, Fall 2010

As an economic and environmental leader, Germany’s domestic climate and energy polices are often regarded as role models for international action due to its success with its feed-in tariffs, eco-taxes, emissions trading, and research and development programs. By carefully forming and implementing these four strategies to protect the environment and by developing new initiatives to encourage the blossoming renewable energy market, Germany has become one of the largest leaders in this field. The road to the country’s ecological success was not straightforward; rather, it was the result of three interest groups (public, political and economic) coming together. How have the interactions among these spheres helped shaped Germany’s stance on climate and energy issues? This comprehensive project sets out to explore the influence that each player exerted during the domestic policy-making process. By considering the cultural and public opinions of the public sector, the government’s structure and role, and the capitalist interests and reactions of Germany’s economic sphere, this project investigates how each of these players interacted to create a uniquely German environmental movement that is reflected in the current policies. Although Germans have strong cultural and political incentives to create efficient domestic policies, this study finds that the country’s capitalist interests have the greatest influence during climate and energy policy-making.

Project Advisor: Dr. Jackie Gehring
Language Advisor: Dr. Jochen Richter

Vietnam: From Colony to Communist
Emily Benz, Spring 2010

Vietnam has a long and complicated history. It has been a nation of tribes, a Chinese colony, a monarchical state, a French colony, and today is one of the few nations left that calls itself Communist. This senior project will examine how and why the Vietnamese Communists of the Indochinese Communist Party, led by the notorious Ho Chi Minh, were able to take control of the country in 1945. The French colonial system was harsh, repressive, and designed to favor the French while exploiting the Vietnamese. From the time of the French conquest to the end of World War I in 1918, the Vietnamese nationalist movement was limited to the literati class of mandarins, the traditional leadership of Vietnam. However, these men were unable to expand their appeals and their movements to the larger, mainly peasant society. Their movements were limited in scope, appeal, and organization. This first major stage of nationalism was followed by the rise of more traditional political parties. Vietnamese society was in the middle of a great transition as a middle class emerged and began to feel ostracized from the higher echelons of society they felt their education entitled them to. During this period, such men formed political parties like the VNQDD and the Constitutionalists, whose programs ranged from the reformative to the revolutionary. Again, however, they were unable to arrive at coherent, defined ideologies that could inspire the masses. Many were hindered by internal disunity, French repression, and scattered organization. When the third phase began in the 1930’s, it was clear that only the Communists possessed the organization, ideology, and propaganda that could allow them to transcend regional and particularistic support, but it was not until Ho Chi Minh returned to lead the Indochinese Communist Party on the eve of World War II that the Communists gained their last real advantage: a leader who could steer them through the difficult political waters of the war, the Japanese occupation, and the political vacuum that followed. In August, 1945, the ICP’s patient preparation, propaganda, ideology, and organization allowed them to ride the wave of nationalism to power while the other nationalist groups floundered in their own unimportance.

Double Major: Western European Studies / French
Project Advisor: Dr. Howard Tamashiro; Language Advisor: Dr. Phillip Wolfe

Writerly Responses to the Integration Debate in France: Azouz Begag and Qui fait la France ?
Deborah E. Burnett, Spring 2010

From the 1970’s to today, the topic of integration has been a point of particularly strong debate in France. With the rise of Maghrebi immigration directly following the end of World War II, France has found it difficult to cope with the changes it has since experienced. The perceived lack of integration of immigrants and their children brings many people in the French government to argue that these ethnic minorities may never integrate. However, until recently very few people have been listening to the voices coming from the ethnic minorities themselves. In this senior project, I examine the role of ethnic minority writers in the integration and post-integration debate. I chose to focus my study on the work of Azouz Begag and le Collectif Qui fait la France ?. Thus, I focus on discussing to what extent they have shaped and provoked these debates. I suggest that their writerly responses are important to the health of public and political debate in France. In addition, I also analyze the recommendations these writers have made in regards to the promotion of equal opportunities and the fight against discrimination and inequalities.

Double Major: Western European Studies / French
Project and Language Advisor: Dr. Laura Reeck

A Step Towards Defeating the Drug Cartels in Mexico: A Free Print Media
Rebecca L. Burns, Spring 2010

Today, Mexico is greatly consumed and plagued by the drug trade. Unfortunately, political liberalization in Mexico exacerbated the drug problems. While undergoing the democratization process, Mexico’s print media also underwent a similar process. Investigation of core topics, such as presidential authority and the military, under the PRI were strictly forbidden. During the economic crises of the 1980s and 1990s, the government was forced to eliminate their leverage. Expenditures were cut which included bribes, subsidies, etc. Once the leverage of control was gone, the media started investigating major scandals such as the 1993 assassination of Cardinal Juan Jesus Posadada-O’Camp, the 1994 assassination of presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio, and the Raul Salinas scandal. The media quickly realized there was profit in printing the truth. However, before the print media was able to change in regards to the drug trade, drug cartels stepped in using violence to control the media. Over the years, a few journalists have tried to investigate these cartels, but they have paid the price through assassinations, assassination attempts, and various other violent tactics. This fear of violence keeps the media from investigating drug cartels. Instead the media prints the number of deaths and arrests. If the media were to begin investigating these cartels and the individuals who compose them, the people would have a tool to hold high level officials accountable regarding their relationships with drug cartels. Moreover, the government would be able to work with the media to conquer the drug trade. The print media does not stand between Mexico and its freedom from violence and tyranny. A print media free investigating the drug cartels, is however, a useful tool that could be utilized as a key component in a strategy to claim victory over the drug cartels in Mexico.

Major Track: Latin American Studies
Project Advisor: Dr. Hale Haywood, Language Advisor: Dr. Wilfredo Hernández

The German Disappearing Act: An Examination of the Economic and Political Effects of Low Fertility in Germany
Angela J. Couse, Spring 2010

Since the 1970’s, Germany and many other Western European nations have experienced below replacement fertility, which means the citizens are not having enough children to sustain the total population. Therefore, in the last 20 to 30 years, the population of Germany has slowly begun to decline. The purpose of this paper is to provide a summary and critical evaluation of prevalent conditions of this fertility decline, with a specific focus on economics. However, answering the question “why has fertility decreased?” involves a complex examination of multiple qualitative elements including culture, health, economy, societal standards, education, politics, and gender roles. Chapter 1 presents the economic theories behind declining fertility as background information to the problem. Low fertility impacts the economy macro economically through the market demands and labor force. Micro economically, economic theory is used to help explain the reasons for low fertility. Chapter 2 discusses the cultural and political patterns associated with lowering fertility in Germany. The divide between the east and west, the incompatibility between work and children, delayed marriage, divorce, childlessness and delayed childbearing all play a role in analyzing the complex answer. The data proves that Germany in no different than its neighboring countries in regards to the reasons why fertility has fallen; the trends have just been taken to farther with greater impact. Chapter 3 then discusses the problems created by low fertility, politically and economically, focusing on the pension system. The government has already enacted many policies to combat this problem; those too are discussed within the third chapter. However, the effectiveness of such policy is hard to discern due to the time lapse necessary to see any major demographic changes.

Double Major: Western European Studies / Economics
Project Advisor: Dr. Antoni Moskwa, Language Advisor: Dr. Peter Ensberg

A case study of SOS Racisme and Ni Putes Ni Soumises: To what extent do these influential ethnic minority neighborhood associations in France adhere to the ideals of French Republicanism, which in its fundamentals discourages mobilization along ethnic lines?
Riley D. DePellegrini, Spring 2010

The subject of ethnic citizens in France has been a dominant topic in the media and scholarly writing for some time now, especially because of recent events such as the riots in 2005 and the ongoing debate about Muslim headscarves’ place in the school system and public space. Since the French Revolution, “Republican” values have been at the forefront of governmental policy-making and social interaction. I aim to define what French Republican values mean and how they affect ethnic minority organization. I will also identify the root causes of ethnic minority unrest in France. I will then bring in the particular case studies of SOS-Racisme and Ni Putes Ni Soumises, two of the most well-known and highly active ethnic minority associations, to show how these values are utilized by associations to become more “acceptable” and therefore more “powerful”. Because of governmental support and the appeal to popular opinion, groups that have incorporated these values into their core belief systems have seen extremely positive results in accomplishing their goals. However, there are negative side effects for this set of beliefs. Specifically, many ethnic people feel excluded by the associations’ universalist approach or feel that this approach is a form of “selling-out” to the government’s demands. To conclude, I reignite the argument of whether or not Republican values negatively impact the goals of ethnic minority associations by depicting the success of these two groups and their connections to these values.

Major Track: Western European Studies
Project Advisor: Dr. Laura Reeck; Language Advisor: Dr. Courtenay Dodge

Barcelona’s Rise as a Global City
Lindsay Johnson, Spring 2010

Since the third century BC, the city of Barcelona has held a significant position as a Mediterranean port. This geographic location has been crucial to the city’s relationship with the rest of Europe, as many new European trends and technology arrived there before the rest of Spain. As a result, Barcelona was able to gain international recognition for its industrial advancements and Catalan culture. However, by the 1980s, Barcelona’s thriving society had become a thing of the past and was in desperate need of urban and cultural revitalization. Fortunately, as time went on, Barcelona had various opportunities to reclaim the success it had lost over the previous four decades. This investigation examines the main features that have impacted Barcelona’s subsequent transformation from a weakened industrial center to a global city on the rise. I explore two different ways in which the concept of integration has played a role in Barcelona’s progress: politically and economically in terms of how the city is affected by Spain’s relationship with the European Union, and culturally in terms of the city’s approach toward its immigrant population. I later discuss how the 1992 Summer Olympics jumpstarted a process of major urban change that helped renew a global interest in the Catalan capital. Finally, I consider how Barcelona has constructed an image of modernity for itself and how this image has impacted global recognition of the city. I find that while Barcelona still may not be the epitome of a global city, its efforts during the past few decades have been instrumental in helping it advance as an important metropolitan area.

Double Major: Western European Studies /Spanish
Project Advisor: Dr. Jackie Gehring; Language Advisor: Dr. Barbara Riess

The Formation and Evolution of Basque Nationalism in Spain
Arielle Kanner, Spring 2010

This project examines the creation and progression of nationalism in the Basque region of Spain. It attempts to discover what Basque nationalism is and why it developed the way it has. What began as a social reaction to the decline of the Spanish empire in the late 17th Century was augmented by the Golden Age myth, and continued to grow as a reaction to Carlism, foralism, and the rapid industrialization which occurred during the 19th Century. At the end of the 19th Century, Sabino de Arana y Goiri transformed nationalism into a political movement by founding the Basque Nationalist Party. The dictatorship of Francisco Franco lasted from 1939 to 1975, and his extreme repression and violence had two distinct effects on Basque nationalism: it grew stronger in defiance of his cultural oppression, and with the creation of the group known as ETA it became violent. During the transition to democracy, violence heightened and Basque nationalism became even more popular, and in 1979 a statute of autonomy for the region was finalized. In more recent years, however, the use of political violence has become less appealing to the Basque people, and they have formed organizations and demonstrated against it. Basque nationalism is the unique result of a specific set of events that occurred in a specific cultural and historical setting; it is unlike any other nationalism because it developed along a unique path all its own. Today, Basque nationalism continues to evolve, reacting to the changing elements of the nation.

Major Track: Western European Studies / Spanish
Project and Language Advisor: Prof. Nancy Smith

Protecting the Borders: The Political Response to Spain’s Immigration “Problem”
Zack Kerosky, Spring 2010

My senior project is entitled, “Protecting the Borders: The Political Response to Spain’s Immigration ‘Problem’”, and the intent of the project is to analyze the government’s response to the perceived “problem” of immigration, and to explain why immigration is such an established and widespread phenomenon within the Spanish state. My research begins with the history of country, which I use to explain the traditional nature of Spanish society and to highlight immigration as a new issue within Spain, which has traditionally been a country of emigration.

My goal is to underscore this point by explaining how the government is unsure how to proceed in terms of its immigration policy. As the economy blossomed throughout the 1980s, I explain how Spain changed from a labor-exporting country, with its citizens working outside of Spain and sending remittances back to their families within the country, to a labor-importing country, which has seen some of the highest levels of immigration in the last decade.

I go on to review and analyze many of the government’s immigration policies, beginning with their inception and ending with the most current legislation. I identify each piece of legislation and explain how the legislation affects Spaniards and immigrants, as well as the relation between the two. The project concludes with some incite on the government’s immigration policy, both in terms of its integration and border control programs.

Major Track: Eastern European Studies
Project Advisor: Dr. Jackie Gehring; Language Advisor: Prof. Nancy Smith

The Politics of Censorship: An Examination of Mexican and Argentinean Theatre in the 1970s
Christine C. La Rochelle, Spring 2010

The purpose of this study is to analyze how Mexican and Argentinean playwrights in the 1970s expressed political criticism in their works, and to investigate how the governments of these countries attempted to limit this expression via direct and indirect censorship. The study concludes by arguing that plays written in these countries should be ‘read’ politically. Critics should take into account the extent to which censorship constitutes a barrier to open political dissent before the plays are judged to be ‘political’ or ‘apolitical’.

The study defines key aspects of political theatre as argued by two major theorists of the twentieth century, Bertolt Brecht and Augusto Boal. In Chapter two, a summary of Latin American theatre history is presented, and relevant examples of politicized theatre movements and censorship are identified. Chapters three and four examine plays from the 1970s in Argentina and Mexico, respectively, and explain the sociopolitical realities of those countries. The chapters attempt to prove that the plays should be considered as expressions of political theatre due to their content and structure. Chapter five focuses on governmental attempts to limit the content of theatrical works via indirect and direct censorship in Mexico and Argentina.

Double Major: Latin American Studies / Theatre
Project Advisor: Dr. Kale Haywood; Language Advisor: Dr. Barbara Riess

Opening and Reform in China as Explained by Theories of International Relations
Matthew N. Neckelmann, Spring 2010

This project ultimately aims to shed light on the importance of leadership change in producing formative change in the international political system. A single case study seeks to satisfy both the scope of this project while verifying the ambitiously general claim above. This case study, Deng Xiaoping’s introduction of the market mechanism to China and “opening up” of China to international trade, focuses on one nation’s possible future as an economic hegemon and a single man’s responsibility for such seminal change. Ambitions of regional hegemony, of course, can only be attained with the necessary means – China’s spectacular economic growth since 1978 suggests that China may eventually be in a position to challenge the United States as a world power. Such challenge entails movement from a unipolar international system to one characterized by bipolarity. This project contends that a single leader, Deng Xiaoping, and his policies of market-based reform set the stage for China’s recent economic development and possible rise as an economic superpower. If one man’s reforms ultimately caused fundamental change in the international system, how do international relations theories, abstract understandings of world politics that endeavor to predict and rationalize real world phenomena, explain this? By examining the most prominent contemporary theories of international relations (realism, liberalism, and constructivism) and Deng Xiaoping’s Opening and Reform, the role of the leader in international relations theories will be thoroughly scrutinized. In doing so, this project examines which theory best explains the phenomenon of Opening and Reform and its role in international politics and what aspects of contemporary international relations theories require tweaking and reposturing if they are to explain phenomena in which individuals effect critical transformation in the international system. This examination will reveal that liberalism best addresses the issue of leadership change in transforming the international system as highlighted in liberalism’s explanation of Deng Xiaoping’s Opening and Reform policy in China and the effects these policies have had on the international system.

Major Track: Asian Studies
Project Advisor: Dr. Sharon Wesoky; Language Advisor: Dr. Jochen Richter

Providing Presence to Mujeres Libres: an Examination of its Path to Creation and the Dynamics of the Organization
Sarah N. Powers, Spring 2010

Mujeres Libres was an anarchist based movement that centered on the training and empowerment of working-class women during the Spanish Civil War. An organization with a focus on the working-class woman was unprecedented in Spain, yet it receives minimal attention amongst the heightened mass political mobilization that marked the period. Each chapter builds on developing a complete picture of Mujeres Libres in order to explain why such an organization was able to attain success during the Spanish Civil War. The first chapter examines the political, economic and historical events preceding the Spanish Civil War that shaped the creation of the organization. This chapter offers an understanding of the instability that marked Spain in the early 20th century, and would lead to the Spanish Civil War. The second chapter develops the dynamics of the organization. Through educational training and consciousness-raising efforts Mujeres Libres mobilized around the collective identity of the working-class woman. The chaos of civil war and the dual governments in existence allowed women to lay claim to the political space they had long been absent from. Mujeres Libres took advantage of this newly opened space to demand social revolution and female emancipation. The third chapter offers a cultural representation of the period through the analysis of poetry by two authors of the Generation of 1927: Ernestina de Champourcin and Concha Méndez. Their poetry identifies women’s recognition that they were in a position of subjectivity, and their need for fulfillment through self-actualization. Mujeres Libres gave working-class women the tools to successfully adjust to their transition to the public workplace, so women would be prepared for their journey toward autonomy.

Double Major: Western European Studies / Spanish
Project Advisor: Dr. Shannan Mattiace, Language Advisor: Dr. Barbara Riess

Who Voted for the Nazi Party and Why: The German Elections of 1930 and July 1932
Lauren M. Winberg, Spring 2010

Prior to the election of 1930, the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei had received very little electoral support and was considered to be an insignificant party in Weimar Germany. Scholars have analyzed electoral returns, voting data, conditions in the Weimar Republic and other relevant information to explain which groups of Germans voted for the Nazi Party during the elections of 1930 and 1932. There are four main theories explaining who voted for the Nazi Party, which focus on the middle class, the working class, Protestants, and previous non-voters. This paper merges these four theories into an all-encompassing model that explains which groups of Germans voted for the Nazi Party. This paper also explores the possible motivation of these groups in their decision to vote for the NSDAP. Finally, this paper examines the history and importance of anti-Semitism in Germany, as well as how it specifically relates to the Nazi Party. The analysis incorporates electoral behavior theory, voting data and economic statistics in answering the question of who voted for the Nazi Party and why.

Double Major: Western European Studies / Economics
Project Advisor: Dr. Kenneth Pinnow, Dr. Tomas Nonnenmacher; Language Advisor: Dr. Peter Ensberg

Concubines, Prostitutes, and the Second Breast: Are Er’nai Contemporary Concubines?
Jennifer Yin, Spring 2010

Concubinage was a large part of society in traditional Chinese culture, yet largely ignored as an exclusive topic. In 1950, when the Communist came to power, concubinage was fully eradicated from society. Er’nai, literally translated to “second breast” is a modern phenomenon gaining popularity in the urban centers of China. The word has been popularly translated to mistress or concubine. Due to the fact that er’nai often trade sexual favors for gifts and a life of luxury, they are occasionally seen as high class sex workers. Through the analysis of concubines in Chinese history a societal and legal trend will be established, as well as what it meant to be a concubine. Bao er’nai will be compared to concubinage, prostitution, as well as the keeping of a mistress in the western world. I show that er’nai is the modern variation of concubinage, and the reasons why it would be incorrect to identify it as prostitution or keeping a mistress. I will also be looking into the latest marriage laws in the People’s Republic of China, as well as recent legislation passed to discourage the practice of bao er’nai.

Double Major: Asian Studies / Chinese
Project Advisor: Dr. Sharon Wesoky; Language Advisor: Prof. Rui Wu

The Evolution of China’s Economic and Political Relationship with Africa: History, Motivation, and Criticism
Theodore Zielinski, Spring 2010

This project analyzes the continuing evolution in economic and political relations between Communist China and the African continent. Beginning in the period following the Communist victory in the Chinese Civil War, I explain that the bi-polar world created by the Cold War forced Mao Tse-tung to look to the developing world in general and Africa in specific to project Chinese power and offset political ideologies endorsed by rival superpowers like the United States and Soviet Union. This project further demonstrates that the successful political and economic reforms undertaken in China by Deng Xiao-ping after Mao’s death further increased and strengthened China’s overall relationship to Africa, expanding trade and creating numerous developmental projects throughout the continent. As the economic side of China’s African engagement increased, unofficial development models emerged that were markedly different from anything typically utilized by the West. China’s tremendous growth within the last two decades increasingly generated both criticism and optimism internationally. Many Western politicians and scholars believe that China is increasingly engaging in economic imperialism as policy to secure African raw materials and is responsible for destabilizing developing African nations. This project will demonstrate that China’s modern African policies are the product of a historical desire to attain overall political and economic leadership of the “non-aligned” developing world. Further, the models for development most closely linked with China’s recent African expansion are a result of successful national economic reform and the operational characteristics of both state-owned and private Chinese companies within Africa, not state-sanctioned economic imperialism.

Major Track: Asian Studies
Project Advisor: Dr. Sharon Wesoky; Language Advisor: Prof. Rui Wu