Senior Project Abstracts – 2012

Judicial Policymaking: An Examination of Federal Integration by the European Court of Justice
Stephen Adelgren, Spring 2012

This project investigates the role of the European Court of Justice in creating a more federal polity of the European Union. The Court’s effectiveness in this pursuit is evaluated with respect to its success in causing federal integration in the Union in each of three areas: politics, economics, and society. The analysis is performed by examining relevant case law, evaluating the significance of the Court’s decisions, and determining the effects of the decisions for Member States. The first two chapters discuss political and institutional relationships, social policy and economic policy. The third chapter is slightly different. It deals with the societal and cultural aspects of integration and evaluates the Court’s effectiveness in increasing socio-cultural integration and exchange, with regards to both its indirect and direct influence. The case of Spain is examined specifically, due to its unique cultural and linguistic heritage and its recently ended isolation from the rest of Europe. The analysis concludes that despite the European Union’s difficult political identity, the ECJ has succeeded in increasing the federal relationships of the Union at all of its levels: from the individual in society, to state economies, and to all the political relationships of the EU and its members.

Major Track: Europe
Project Advisor: Dr. Jackie Gehring
Language Advisor: Dr. Nancy Smith

Argentina: Radical or Moderate Democracy?
Kathleen Bacon, Spring 2012

n recent years, the presidencies of Latin America have experienced a significant shift to the left in terms of economic, social and political policy. As the left emerged it began to separate into two sections. Scholars have categorized these as the radical and moderate left. Clear cases of the radical left include Venezuela and Bolivia, while cases of the moderate left include Brazil and Chile. Argentina however, has not been clearly defined as a radical or moderate leftist government. The presidencies of Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner represented the shift to the left in Argentina’s government. While the Kirchners share a similar history and economic policy with that of moderate presidency of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, of Brazil, they also share several policy characteristics with the radical presidency of Evo Morales, of Bolivia. The Kirchners took a pragmatic view when dealing with radical and moderate democracies within the region. Rather than aligning with one ideology or the other, the Kirchners have chosen to align themselves with both sides in a way that is most advantageous to their country. While the classification of Latin American countries sometimes leads to a categorization of “good” and “bad” countries, these definitions are important in gaining insight into the policies of leftist democracies within the region.

Major Track: Latin America
Project Advisor: Dr. Shannan Mattiace
Language Advisor: Dr. Barbara Riess 

Dividing the Nomads: How the Mongolian Question Developed Sino-Soviet Relations
Steven J. Jones, Spring 2012

Sino-Soviet relations have been a critical area of study for much of the Twentieth Century. Nearly every aspect of their relations has been written about at great lengths. Outer Mongolia, known as Mongolia, played a significant role in developing their relations. However, Mongolia has received only a nominal amount of analysis by scholars.

The goal of this paper is to expand the conversation of Mongolia’s importance in developing their modern relations. Pre-modern relations with Mongolia had helped shape both Russia and China’s governments. But at the turn of the twentieth century, Mongolia had become loosely ruled by a weakened China.

From 1900 to 1950, both China and Russia constantly fought over who held the fundamental right to define Mongolia’s nationhood. Why did Mongolia become such a contentious issue?

This paper argues that Russia and China had three primary interests in influencing Mongolia. China struggled to symbolically reunite their nation to its original borders, while Russia hoped to expand Asian communism through Mongolia. Both nations also valued Mongolia’s natural resources, hoping to make them dependent on their luxury goods. And finally, there was a desire by both nations to make Mongolia a strategic buffer zone in case war ever broke out between these two nations.

These primary disputes over Mongolia would carry over long after the decision was finalized in 1950, attributing to the Sino-Soviet Split and a revived interest in Mongolia in the early years of the Twenty-first Century.

Major Track: Asian Studies
Project and Language Advisor: Dr. Guo Wu

The Evolution of Françafrique in Côte d’Ivoire: From Independence to the 2011 Crisis
Bridget L. McCartin, Spring 2012

The term “Françafrique,” which originated just before France’s African colonies were granted independence, has changed over time. Though it was first used in a positive way, referring to a mutually beneficial relationship between France and its former colonies, it has now become a negative and nuanced term. As the term has evolved, so has the relationship between France and its former colonies. Through a case study of the relationship between France and former colony Côte d’Ivoire, this project aims to follow these changes to gauge the relative strength of “Françafrique” today. Through further examination of French-Ivoirian relations in economic and military contexts, it becomes clear that although the level of influence France has maintained throughout history has fluctuated, France still has a strong influence over Ivoirian affairs at present.

Like Côte d’Ivoire, many other African nations have seen an evolution in the potency of “Françafrique.” However, there has also been a push by the French in recent years to end this neocolonial relationship, a changing consciousness that may mark another change in the evolution of “Françafrique.” This project will examine the evolution and current strength of Françafrique in one country, and evaluate what the potential future of “Françafrique” may be.

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

Changes in Maternity as a Result of Gender Role Transformation: A Case Study of the Maquiladoras on the U.S.-Mexico Border
Rebecca McDaniel-Hutchings, Spring 2012

This project examines the effects of the demand for female workers in the maquiladoras on the U.S.-Mexico border on the traditional gender role of women as mothers in Mexico and the reproductive consequences of these effects. Mothers are a cultural phenomenon in Mexico and have been since its beginning. The idea of femininity is tied to motherhood and the Mexican woman’s place is in the home. By demanding female workers in their factories, the maquiladora companies are opening the door to gender role change. These changes are already causing reproductive repercussions and back lash, but there is still a long way to go before total gender role transformation occurs. This project found that there are many obstacles that women face while working in the maquiladoras: lack of reproductive support, low-level assembly line positions, unsafe and environmentally hazardous working and living conditions, reproductive consequences and violent backlash. However, the maquiladora women workers are finding freedoms, independence, and new self-esteem in their work. With these newfound abilities, the women of the maquiladoras will be able to reshape traditional gender roles.

Major Track:  Latin America
Project and Language Advisor: Dr. Barbara Riess

Indigenous Mobilization in Ecuador: the Search for Sumak Kawsay and the Fight for Rights
Chelsea Orr, Spring 2012

The Indigenous population of Ecuador has suffered from centuries of marginalization and domination that was born during Spanish colonialism. They have been treated as inferior and have been exploited mercilessly. A repressed group in any way, the indigenous population did not have a voice to defend their own rights. I introduce Bartolome de las Casas as the first defender of the Indians and the first to even conceive of Indigenous Rights. I study the literary genre of Indigenismo as a defense of the Indigenous and Huasipungo, a monumental novel by Jorge Icaza.
Huasipungo was published in 1930 when indigenous activism was stirring in Cayambe Ecuador. During the 20th century indigenous people mobilized around peasant rights. However eventually indigenous communities began to mobilize around identity, rather than class. The indigenous movement in Ecuador would grow to be one of the most successful in the region. The indigenous population demands social, political, economic and cultural rights.

In general, the international and non-indigenous community has responded positively. The UN has released the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People and the Ecuadorian government adopted a new constitution in 2008 that incorporates indigenous rights and ideology. While these are valuable achievements for the movement, they have not ensured the indigenous all of the rights that they demand. The right to self-determination is still violated by President Rafael Correa who violates indigenous land rights when national interests intervene.

Major Track: Latin America; Double Major: Spanish
Project Advisor: Dr. Shannan Mattiace
Language Advisor: Dr. Barbara Riess 

Caudillos with Electoral Legitimacy: The Consequences of Personalism in Latin American Politics
Marco Parodi, Spring 2012

The term caudillo has a large variety of definitions. However, it most commonly describes regimes that utilize charisma and political patronage in order to obtain and maintain a hold on power. The loyalty of the populace is concentrated on the person of the leader and not on an institution. As such, the term need not be limited to describing dictatorships. It can be used to describe any regime that utilizes personalistic tactics. The presidential administrations of Benito Juárez between 1867 and 1872 and those of Hipólito Yrigoyen between 1916 and 1930 fall under this definition of caudillismo. These two men, Mexican and Argentine respectively, were unable to break from their countries’ past systems of caudillo rule, despite their democratic idea. This work is a case study of the actions these two presidents took, how these actions demonstrate the flaws of caudillismo, and what effect these actions had on their societies in the long run in terms of prospects for democracy. The ways in which their choices affected the advancement of democracy is particularly important since these men are considered to be national heroes in their countries. Additionally the analysis of the dictator novel El señor presidente, written by Guatemalan author Miguel Ángel Asturias aids in the development of an understanding of the effects of caudillismo on the people within a society. It presents a different perspective as it captures the feelings of the population in a way that history may struggle with. The novel also presents a broad based critique of caudillismo that encompasses the experience of all Spanish America in regards to life under a dictatorship. When combined, the different perspectives, along with the different situations outlined in the case studies provide a complex picture of caudillismo that applies to the entire continent.

Major Track: Latin America; Double Major: Spanish
Project Advisor: Dr. Kenneth Pinnow
Language Advisor: Dr. Barbara Riess 

Pace of Democratic Change: The Cases of Egypt and Mexico
Robert Raimond, Spring 2012

This senior project aims to determine what fosters ad hoc changes to democracy. It compares pacted transitions to ad hoc transitions to determine whether political parties, economic liberalization, or foreign intervention speeds up or slows down the pace of the transition. To do this the study examines the transition of democracy in Mexico and Egypt. In the case of Mexico strong political parties, corporatist systems and United States assistance led to a pacted transition that has created a strong democracy. Egypt on the other hand has experienced change so rapidly that its political and economic systems are weak. These weak systems combined with foreign intervention that favors continuity have created an uncertain situation in which democracy is still possible but may not be achieved.

Major Track: Latin America
Project Advisor: Dr. Shannan Mattiace
Language Advisor: Dr. Wilfredo Hernández

Collective Identity and Exploitation: A Comparison of Two Social Movements Within the Argentine State
Erin Shipley, Spring 2012

This composition is a comparison between to powerful, well-known and active social movements within the Argentine State. The unionization movement in Argentina was once of the most powerful and politicized union movements in Latin America. Unions and their role in the rise of Peron will be studied for years and the results of the twentieth century in Argentina are still being seen. Unions had a long history in Argentina before Peron and the structure of those unions is important to how they became as influential as they were even Peron took power. During the 1990’s in Argentina the government was weak, the economy was unstable and there was almost no trust in government. After the unemployment rate skyrocketed, social unrest began and similar to the union movement, the workers began to look to the government. The second part of this composition consists of comparing these two movements through the application of social movement theory .. The application of these theories will show that the piquetero movement referenced the union movement during its formation, claims making process, and its type of contention. The final chapter will explore the role of literature in social movements. It is an analysis of piquetero identity through the paradigm of politically influential literature. Since the piquetero movement is considered a reactionary movement, its identity is usually identified by the movement’s formation, their collective identity as the unemployed and their rejection of traditional forms of representation within the state. Rosana López Rodrigues explains the piquetero identity, the class war in Argentine society the basis of how art can separate the classes, and how literature contributes to movements. The book, La Herencia examines the cultural side to the movement, while still contributing to the political sphere.

Major Track: Latin America; Double Major: Spanish
Project Advisor: Dr. Shannan Mattiace
Language Advisor: Dr. Barbara Riess

Uses of Indigenous Identity: Coffee Cooperatives and Fair Trade in Southern Mexico
Elise Swanekamp, Spring 2012

Within indigenous social movements, a collective identity is used to mobilize members to prevent the free-rider problem. These movements also frame their grievances in terms of their indigenous identity, and in many instances they do so to gain international recognition and NGO support. The use of identity in this manner can have some negative and unintended consequences. In some instances national officials resent the social movements and in others the options for future development are confined to the indigenous community’s original statements about their identity. Therefore, it is important to understand how indigenous identity is being used in other forms of organizations.

I researched the use of indigenous identity in coffee cooperatives in southern Mexico to determine, how the cooperative was using identity internally, for selling coffee, and within the fair trade network. My conclusions are that indigenous identity is used primarily for uniting members and explaining the vision the cooperative has for the community. Only one cooperative explicitly uses their identity to sell coffee, but this does not appear to have any negative implications for the cooperative. Overall, the fair trade network does not appear to be concerned with the identity of the cooperative members. It also appears that the idea to use indigenous identity came from within the cooperatives.

Major Track: Latin America; Double Major: Environmental Studies
Project Advisor:  Dr. Shannan Mattiace, Dr. Terry Bensel
Language Advisor: Dr. Barbara Riess 

From Grassroots Movement to Mainstream Political Party: How Environmental Issues have aided in the Success of the German Greens
Heather Wilson, Spring 2012

In spring 2011, the German Green Party took control in the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg, a stronghold of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling party for nearly sixty years. The Green Party made history by appointing Winfried Kretschmann as the first green Minister-President in a German state. At the time of the Landtag election, environmental issues were of major concern amongst many voters in Baden-Württemberg. The Fukishima nuclear disaster had occurred just two weeks prior to the election, which stemmed mass protest against nuclear energy. The Baden-Württemberg Landtag election altered the country’s political climate and forced into question the Green’s future political outlook within Germany. Over the course of three decades, the German Greens have managed to evolve from a grassroots movement to a mainstream political party. Since the Green’s comeback in the 1994 Bundestag election, the party has gained credibility and an increase in voter support, allowing it to become a key player in the country’s five-party system. The Greens success can be attributed to their ability to embrace realpolitik, as well as their strong focus on environmental issues. This project primarily serves to answer the following questions: From where did the Green Party originate? How did the Greens evolve from a grassroots movement to a mainstream political party? How have environmental issues aided in the success of the Green Party? What does the future look like for the German Greens?

Major Track: Europe; Double Major: German
Project Advisor: Dr. Jacqueline Gehring
Language Advisor:  Dr. Jochen Richter