Senior Project Abstracts – 2013

What causes Genocide? A Comparison of Benjamin Valentino’s and Matthew Krain’s theories of Genocide Onset in the German and Guatemalan cases
Leigh Charland, April 2013

Genocides have occurred far too frequently in the last century.  In this comprehensive project, I attempt to discover what causes the onset of genocides.  Benjamin Valentino argues that elites use genocide as a tool to solve their most difficult problems.  Matthew Krain argues that circumstances can create the right conditions for genocide.  I chose to test and compare these theories in the German and Guatemalan cases, while paying attention to specific and unique historical events that may demonstrate weaknesses in the theoretical approaches.  I found that Krain explained the German Holocaust better than Valentino did.  However, I felt that Krain’s approach did not completely capture the reasons why genocide occurred in Germany and that Valentino’s explanation was better for why the Guatemalan genocide occurred.  Overall, it seemed that both theories were an imperfect fit.  Instead, I would recommend an approach that advocates for  a set of variables, as genocide does not seem to be explained by only one or two variables.

Double Major: Europe / German
Project Advisor: Dr. Shanna Kirschner
Language Advisor: Dr. Peter Ensberg

La Lengua Porteña: A Historical Linguistic Perspective
Jordyn Chartier, April 2013

Within the community of Spanish-speaking countries, the regional dialect found in contemporary Buenos Aires, Argentina is an oddity. Outsiders are often puzzled by its features: the use of the archaic voseo, strange pronunciation of ll and y graphemes, and abundance of foreign loan words, among others. While scholars have studied individual characteristics of the dialect, none have attempted a complete historical linguistic analysis of the regional language. My research seeks to fill this void by uniting linguistic information with an investigation of political, historical, and economic factors in order to provide a comprehensive understanding of the history of language in Buenos Aires. To determine why this dialect is so unique, I have examined three stages of Argentine history that discuss the nation’s colonial birth, post-independence period, and era of immigration and industrialization. I conclude that although many of the region’s dialectal peculiarities date back to the colonial era, Buenos Aires’ linguistic evolution has been a slow process that spanned some 400 years from the city’s foundation in 1535.

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

The French Referendum for the Treaty on the European Constitution
Catherine Divilly, April 2013

On May 29th, 2005, the nation of France joined together to vote on the future of France within the context of the European Union.  After President Chirac proposed a national referendum to vote on the Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe, a majority of 54.7% of voters rejected the enactment of a European Constitution. The fundamental question of the project assesses the political, economic, and socio-cultural factors that led to the rejection of the referendum in France, one of the original proponents of European integration. In the referendum campaign, voters highly debated the many issues and fears surrounding the future of Europe, including the unpopular presidency of Chirac and Prime Minister Raffarin, political party polarizations, economic liberalization in a welfare state, and fears of the effects of globalization on French national identity.  In a state with an extensive social welfare system and market protection, the French f eared the liberal nature of the Constitution would move them away from a social Europe.  In an analysis of the political, economic, and cultural debates, four main hypotheses (executive popularity, anti-European Union, EU criticism, and political distrust) are tested to detail the prime influence that economic and social concerns had on the rejection of the Constitution.

Double Major: Europe / French
Project Advisor: Dr. Jacqueline Gehring
Language Advisor: Dr. Briana Lewis

The Creation of Juan and Eva Perón’s Descamisados, 1946-1955: A Study of Informal Political Channels and Their Effects on Public Identity
Molly Durot, April 2013

This project explains the mobilization of the working class in Argentina during Perón’s unofficial and official years in power (1943-1955). It is my contention that the working class willingly followed Perón because he was the first president to effectively address their concerns. He did so by using informal channels of political participation such as unions, clientelism, and patronage systems that included the working class in the political sphere for the first time. These informal channels also guaranteed the working class political and economic benefits that previous governments had denied them. Eva Perón herself ended up becoming the most powerful channel of informal political participation because her unofficial role within the government allowed her foster a direct relationship between the government and the people. While the Peróns continued the policies of previous governments, their use of informal political and economic structures made them successful in their pursuit of the working class’ political support.

Double Major: Latin America / Spanish
Project Advisor: Dr. Elisabeth Haywood
Language Advisor: Dr. Wilfredo Hernández

Mexico: Decentralization and Drug Cartels
Davisha Guerrier, April 2013

The PRI party in Mexico had a seventy-one year hold to power. They led a corrupt government which was deeply centralized. Over the years of their rule however the Mexican people grew weary of their illegitimacy, and they were forced to decentralize and gain the power they had usually stolen. However this meant that many changes would have to come to the way that the government was now ran, and one of those changes came with their interactions with the drug cartels. Once the Cartels and the PRI had a mutual understanding, but now with the PRI slowly getting ousted, what will become of the Cartels?

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

Crosses and Kofeyyes: Minority Integration Theory in Egypt
Alivia Haibach, April 2013

What steps can be taken to integrate previously disenfranchised minorities into broader society? This project studies the level of integration of the largest minority groups within Egypt: the Coptic Christians and the Bedouin. By examining each group’s historical experience and contemporary position within society, I discern where state integration efforts have failed.  I create a three pronged policy solution which incorporates military-integration, institutional integration, and the encouragement of community based development efforts. I believe that with the proper implementation of these policy solutions a greater sense of national pride will be fostered across ethnic groups in Egypt.

Major Track: Middle East/Northern Africa
Project Advisor: Dr. Shanna Kirschner

Examination of Keynesian Economics in the Case of Sino-German Economic Relations after the Global Financial Crisis in 2008
Jiarong Li, April 2013

The 2008 global financial crisis had a large impact to the world economy. As two of the biggest economies in the world, China and German stood out for their quick and significant economic recoveries compared to their peer developed and developing states. Since 2008, there has been also a significant increase in bilateral economic and political communications that have never been seen in recent decades, whereas their major exporting markets were still under slow recovery. Such a phenomenon was a result from both domestic expansionary policies as well as the changing economic conditions in the globe.

As a response to the crisis, both states adopted expansionary policy by increasing government expenditure, tax reduction and other stimulus policies to boost domestic economies. Despite the differences in terms of the economic/political structures as well as the scale and the scope of government intervention, statistics showed that both states had very good pre-crisis conditions to make expansionary policy feasible. At the same time, institutional, political and social structures contributed to the outcome of the policy implementation.

To further stimulate domestic economic recovery, the two states saw opportunities in each other. Supports on the state-level also speed up the process of cooperation. The rising bilateral trade communications contributed largely to their domestic growth or structural upgrading respectively.

Double Major: East Asia / German
Project Advisor: Dr. Sharon Wesoky
Language Advisor: Dr. Jochen Richter

Institutional Foundations and Neoliberal Adjustments: A Comparative Study of Argentine Party Factions and Uruguayan National Cooperation
Clay Moran, April 2013

This comparative study of Argentina and Uruguay focuses upon the impact of neoliberal adjustments in economic, political, and social terms. The fundamental question present in the study asks if political institutional characteristics are predetermining factors for the outcome of neoliberal adjustments in countries that undergo these reforms. In order to form a comprehensive assessment to this question, a joint political economic analysis is employed. Through presenting both macroeconomic and social development indicators, it is apparent that Argentina has higher levels of macroeconomic growth and lower social development, while Uruguay has better social development but lower levels of macroeconomic growth. After considering that both countries underwent similar trajectories of neoliberal adjustments, the conclusion of this study is that underlying political institutional factors impacted the effectiveness of neoliberal adjustments. In Argentina, the presence of caudillismo created a political system founded upon factional competition; in Uruguay, the development of batllismo consolidated power in the urban middle class and erected a common national focus for all social classes. Consequently, regardless of the scope of neoliberal adjustments, these political ideologies created varying levels of institutional strength and predetermined their successful impact on social economic development.

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

China’s Naval Deployments to the Gulf of Aden: A Focused Case Study on Soft Power
Luke Orndorff, April 2013

Over the past four years, the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has made 14 naval task group deployments to the Gulf of Aden to aid in the international counter-piracy effort taking place there.  As China’s first “blue-water” (oceangoing) naval deployments in modern history, the PLAN’s counter piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden constitute a momentous accomplishment for a navy traditionally confined to coastal defense (“brown-water”).   Since China’s first task group deployment to the Gulf in December of 2008, PLAN leadership has made tremendous efforts to enhance “blue-water” naval capabilities by conducting security detail on vessel escorts, policing sea lines of communication (SLOCS) and working cooperatively with other national and multinational naval forces operating in the region.  China’s uncharacteristic cooperation and enthusiasm in support of this multilateral initiative can be viewed through the lens of soft power.  Coined in the early 90’s by political scientist and author Joseph Nye, soft power is defined as the power of attraction as opposed to the use of coercion or economic inducement (hard power).  The theory behind soft power is simple: if I can compel someone to want what I want, I don’t have to threaten them with sticks or bribe them with carrots.  Similarly, China’s presence in the Gulf of Aden projects an image of legitimacy, responsibility and global citizenship, acts regarded favorably by actors and observers in the Gulf and around the world.  In other words, China is using it’s developing naval capabilities (traditionally considered hard power resources) to exert soft power on the International Community.  Throughout my thesis, I explore China’s expressions of soft power in the Gulf of Aden by compartmentalizing them into four distinct categories: Pre and Post Implementation Cooperative Be havior, Good Citizen Practices, Non-Coercive Signaling and Establishing Actors and Networks.  By evaluating the specific resources required for each behavior, (i.e. hospital ships, special forces, guided missile destroyers, etc.) I explain the relative likelihood of China’s soft power either remaining soft or turning hard, and the subsequent implications for U.S. National Security and the International Community at large.

Major Track: East Asia
Project Advisor: Dr. Howard Tamashiro
Language Advisor: Dr. Xiaoling Shi

Nuclear Abandonment and the German Energiewende: Viable Option or Doomed Design?
Ellen Rasmussen, April 2013

After the March 2011 Fukushima disaster, the German government decided to phase-out its nuclear fleet by 2022. This decision was formed under the context of their 2010 energy restructuring plan known as the “Energiewende”, but was influenced by various social and economic factors. This paper separates, defines, and closely analyzes these “soft” and “hard” elements in order to determine the major influence on the German policy. The first chapter presents a historical perspective of nuclear energy debate in Germany, providing a foundation on which to base the 2011 discussion and resulting policy. Using a socio-political model, the second chapter captures the national atmospheres in Germany before and after the accident. The third chapter measures the differential cost generated by the policy and extrapolates on the resulting socio-economic effects. The fourth chapter examines the roles of the economic and social stakeholders and evaluates probable consequences which the decision will have on other national and international interests to determine the future success of the policy. The analysis concludes that Germany’s nuclear abandonment policy was directed by social influences, and not economic considerations, but that the success of the phase-out will be determined by the ability of the state and its people to manage the large social and economic costs which the policy generates.

Major Track: Europe
Project and Language Advisor: Dr. Peter Ensberg

Integration and Diversification: Defining Functional Multiculturalism in Germany
Madeleine Rumbaugh, April 2013

Since its origins in the early 1940s, the term “multiculturalism” has seen use in many contexts. Often political leaders use the word as a tool to discuss domestic relationships between foreign and non-foreign residents while avoiding specific action. In Germany’s case, multikulti has gradually evolved from a potential solution into a symbol of inaction and failure. When Chancellor Angela Merkel declared the complete failure of multiculturalism in 2010, it signified a shift within German society and many saw it as a surrender to the conflicts between diverse groups. This project examines the complexities of German society more closely, and defines multiculturalism in a uniquely German context. German multiculturalism balances a completely assimilated society with a fragmented, separatist one. Although the German people struggle with nationalism issues, they collectively work towards a society which accepts diversity while still uniting under a common identity. For this reason, German multiculturalism has not failed. A completely successful implementation of multiculturalism requires far-reaching reforms in a variety of fields. But Germany maintains its potential for improvement and a greater level of acceptance for all people.

Major Track: Europe
Project and Language Advisor: Dr. Jochen Richter

Dancer Defection and Ballet Exchange: A Study of Cultural Diplomacy in the Cold War
Anais Schindler, April 2013

This project o describes the use and efficacy of cultural diplomacy as a tool in the arsenal of Cold War as employed by both the United States and the Soviet Union.  Realizing that the Cold War was based in large part on two battling systems, East and West, the use of culture becomes key.  In studying the many forms of cultural exchange used throughout the Cold War, effectiveness is measured though the ways in which the cultural exchanges were carried out as well as through their success in fulfilling the goals set out by both the United States and the Soviet Union.  Exchanges in dance and more specifically ballet are used as one example of effective cultural diplomacy.  The results, both intentional and unintentional, of such exchanges are also brought to light.  Defection is presented as an outcome of the dance exchanges.  This suggests that cultural diplomacy ultimately favored the United States and the West over the Soviet Union.  Overall  this project aims to demonstrate the power that culture had on the Cold War as well as the power that the Cold War ultimately had on culture and most specifically the world of ballet.

Major Track: Europe
Project Advisor: Dr. Kenneth Pinnow
Language Advisor: Dr. Briana Lewis

China’s Submarine Challenge: A Critical Look at China’s Maritime Security Strategy and its Expansion into the Asia-Pacific Region
Corey Shears, January 2013

Although originally conceived to play a primarily defensive role in naval operations, the submarine has more often been the instrument of choice for offensive operations by inferior navies. Moreover, as Owen Cote observes, historically, stronger navies have tended to underestimate the submarine threat to their sea lines of communication.

The applicability of China’s submarine advancements are both wide-ranging and significant. Most specifically, through strengthening these military capabilities, China has become bolder in its territorial claims to the South China Sea. These claims to maritime sovereignty have led to the increased power struggles between China and many regional actors. The majority of these regional actors are far weaker and less advanced than China’s naval presence, and thus they depend on the strong presence of the United States to uphold regional security efforts.

My thesis argues that China’s historical use of soft power has progressed into its modern asymmetric warfare patterns. This asymmetric warfare strategy has come from the primary development of its submarine fleet. The submarine capabilities in the PLAN are at the foundation of China’s naval preeminence in the modern age. As China develops its submarine capabilities, it strengthens technology and manufacturing capabilities for developing aircraft carriers, aviation and radar technology, and missile defense, providing China with deterrent-focused methods preventing regional threats.

Major Track:  East Asia
Project Advisor:  Dr. Guo Wu
Language Advisor:  Xiaoling Shi

Under What Conditions are Post-Conflict (Re-) Construction Policies Most Effective?
Sarah Twing, April 2013

Whether in Guatemala, East Timor or South Sudan, the presence of aid alone does not promote effective development assistance, but what does?  Whether the conflict begins as a result of economic deprivation, ethnic domination, religious persecution, or lack of representation in the government each conflict leaves a lingering resentment, distrust and disdain within the society, making it difficult to reconstruct the state.  This project analyzes the role of donors in the first (re-) construction decade following the end of a war.  Civil wars tend to recur within the first decade establishing the importance of donors’ influence in the four posited prerequisites for effective aid: whether or not the aid is tied; if the state implemented a Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) process; Monitoring and Evaluation of projects and transparency of organizations; and reconciliation. For an in-depth qualitative approach, I analyze the  cases of Guatemala and East Timor.  Then, I study 20 civil war cases from 1960s onward to supplement my argument.  I conclude that reconciliation is the most efficient and sustainable means of aid effectiveness.

Major Track: Middle East/Northern Africa
Project Advisor: Dr. Shanna Kirschner
Language Advisor: Dr. Wilfredo Hernández

Women in Occupied Iraq
Rachel Widany, April 2013

Women have disproportionately suffered the effects of the period insecurity following the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003. As victims of kidnappings, rape, and gendered violence, they have a unique position as the most vulnerable members of society and also as representatives of their respective groups. I argue that the dismal position of women in Iraq after 2003 is not merely an extension of existing values thrust into an insecure climate, but a part of the larger narrative of women’s changing roles in Iraqi society. The social progress made in the 1970’s followed by the destruction of war and the economic hardship and increasing conservatism of the l980’s and 1990’s shaped the Iraq which would experience the second Gulf War. Therefore, we must put this conflict into its historical context to in order to understand why the post-conflict period played out as it did. I argue that decades of conflict, poverty, and  divisive politics left Iraqi women in a position of extreme vulnerability to the economic, social, and political shocks which follow conflict. This position of vulnerability, directly resulting from Iraqi history and the policies of the Ba’ath regime, has had the greatest impact on the war the second Gulf War impacted Iraqi women, and a failure to recognize the ongoing effect of this history has enabled the further deterioration of security.

Major Track: Middle East/Northern Africa
Project Advisor: Dr. Shanna Kirschner

Maghrébines en France: Changing the Paradigm of Institutional Exclusion
Anastasia Wooten, April 2013

France, as a former colonizing state, now faces a burgeoning population of Maghrébine origin. This unintegrated and increasingly disenfranchised population in France is the source of much internal political and social tension, and begs the question: how do government policies affect Maghrébine women and what institutions enforce their status in society? Government policies, swathed in big talk of feminism and equality, implicitly target Maghrébine women and hinder their full membership in French society. The factors that contribute to the oppression of Maghrébine women are historic and reach back through centuries of European imperialism. Consistent dehumanization of Maghrébine women as backwards and oppressed (and their men as violent) has left a lasting impact on both the French psyche and the Maghrébine women’s reality. I seek to analyze government action/inaction and its role in the lives of minority Maghrébine women and consequently identify some of the institutional barriers to full citizenship faced by minorities and offer possible avenues of difference in order to accommodate a France that is more pluralistic and truly egalitarian.

Major Track: Europe
Project Advisor: Dr. Jacqueline Gehring
Language Advisor: Dr. Briana Lewis