Senior Project Abstracts – 2014

The Marginalization of Immigrant Populations: A Comparison of Federal and Local Level Government Integration Policies in Spain
Marionna Bennett, 2014

Immigration is a fairly new phenomenon in Spain. Since the 1980s Spain has experienced increased populations of immigrants from Third World countries. Even with increased numbers of immigrants entering into the country each year, the country failed to develop proper integration policies. Spain did not attempt to create a plan to facilitate the integration of immigrants until nine years after the first immigration laws were implemented in 1985. When policies were finally initiated at the federal level, they failed to promote the full integration of the immigrant population due to their already restrictive immigration laws. Even before the economic crisis, the Spanish government did not prioritize immigrant integration. Current policies still reflect the government’s attitude on discouraging immigration. Although this is true, this attitude is not present within the policies of Andalusia and Catalonia (two autonomous regions in Spain). Ultimately the federal government has continued to marginalize the immigrant population, while local governments have created policies to actually facilitate the integration of these foreigners.

Double Major: Spain/Spanish
Project Advisor: Dr. Jackie Gehring
Language Advisor: Dr. Teresa Herrera

Mass Killing in Civil Wars
Jessica Bonzo, 2014

What conditions explain the use of mass killing during civil wars?  To explore this question, I conducted a comparative study of the civil wars in Algeria (1991-2002), Jordan (1970-1971), Morocco (1975-1991), and Yemen (1994).  The Algerian and Jordanian civil wars used mass killing while the wars in Morocco and Yemen did not.  I tested the independent variables of instability, defection, guerrilla war, losing, intervention, and ethnic groups to determine which conditions explained why mass killing was perpetrated.  I found depending on the case, all factors were important, but that the most significant variable was losing because it was the only factor present in both the Algerian and Jordanian civil wars.

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

The Cause of All Free Men: An Examination of Movements for Algerian Independence in France during the Algerian War
Katelyn Chambers, 2014

The Algerian War was a crisis that continues to affect Algeria and France today.  During its history as a colony, French Algeria was considered to be a part of France and not just a colony, which was more than the other colonies.  Even the population of Algeria was largely European and had the largest French population of the remaining colonies.  The Algerian War for Independence was the bloodiest and longest of France’s decolonization war because of the shared history between Algeria and France.  Algerian nationalism grew throughout the history of French Algeria.
Algerian nationalism played an important role in the Algerian War.  It led to the creation of many groups that worked toward achieving independence.  These groups worked with French individuals and groups throughout the Algerian War, and this collaboration was vital for Algerian independence.  This project will examine the different groups’ participation in the Algerian independence struggle and show that even though many of these groups claimed to be in favor of Algerian independence, not all of the groups wanted an independent Algeria.

Double Major: Europe/French
Project and Language Advisor: Dr. Laura Reeck

Migration and Development in Senegal
Serafina Lanna, 2014

In 1994, the French government decided to devalue the CFA franc as part of an international structural adjustment program.  The hope was that this development effort would create economic growth in the African countries that use the currency and would stem the tide of migration.  Instead, it had the opposite effect, and migration skyrocketed.  However, the ensuing wave of migration unlocked new alternative avenues for direct development by Senegalese individuals through remittances and other forms of capital.  My research seeks to understand the developmental impact that these Senegalese migrants have upon their sending communities, through an evaluation of development in terms of human, social, financial, and political capital acquired abroad.  To determine these impacts, I examined the period of Senegalese migration between 1974-2014 with particular attention paid to structural adjustment measures that took place in that time period.  Based  on data that showed clear development benefits directly acquired from migrant capital, I concluded that migrant experience and capital acquired abroad has an increasingly positive effect on the development of Senegalese society.

Major Track: West Africa
Project Advisor: Dr. Steven Onyeiwu
Language Advisor: Dr. Laura Reeck

A Comparative Analysis of the United States’ Civil Rights Movement and the May 1968 French Student Protests: Similarities in the Convergence of the Two Movements
Amanda Lee, 2014

By May 1968, the United States had been in the midst of its civil rights movement for over a decade.  That month, Paris experienced a student led movement that quickly drew support throughout France.  This case study evaluates these two movements within their respective contexts in order to determine whether or not there were any ideological overlaps and to conclude whether or not the historical concurrence of the events influenced each other.  Beginning with the origins of the civil rights movement in the United States, I trace the successes and failures of the movement through 1968, looking closely at the laws and major events that shaped the movement.  Then I cover the events known as May 1968 in France, starting with the student protests at Nanterre in March and ending with the June 1968 presidential elections in which President de Gaulle retained the support of his country.  My final chapter explores in depth just what the results were of  the movements within the context of each other and the long-term effects in order to determine the potential influences and similarities.

Double Major: Europe/French
Project and Language Advisor: Dr. Laura Reeck

The Poverty Trap of Buenos Aires: Exploring How Economic and Geographic Marginalization Reproduces and Perpetuates Chronic Poverty in Villas Miserias
Kassandra Martinchek, 2014

Since the 1940s, villas miserias, or urban enclaves of poverty, have emerged in the fringes of a modern and developed Buenos Aires. These communities have become ensnared in chronic poverty that has only deepened over time. This project analyzes the economic and geographic marginalization through the lens of “poverty trap” models as a way to gain a greater understanding of the dynamics behind the chronic poverty that has plagued these communities for over half a century. As a result of this indigent socioeconomic context, drug use and drug trafficking have become widespread in the villas, creating a vicious cycle of debilitating addiction and dangerous drug-induced violence. This is used as an example of the ways that economic and geographic disadvantage have given rise to other problems that have served to deepen the marginalization of these communities. Through this analysis, it becomes clear that the interaction between economic  and spatial factors create a vicious cycle that intensifies the marginalization of the villas by reinforcing and deepening one another’s negative effects.

Double Major: Latin America / Spanish
Project Advisor: Dr. Don Goldstein
Language Advisor: Dr. Wilfredo Hernández

Continuity and Change Over Time in Egypt: The Military Coup of 1952 and the 2011 Revolution
Charles Murphy, 2014

Egypt has experienced different challenges for over a century and continues to struggle today. In this project, I examine both the 1952 Free Officers Coup and the 2011 Revolution. I attempt to determine how factors such as the political system, military power, the economy, international relations, and nationalist sentiment have changed or stayed the same thus also providing an analysis on the success of the movements. I examine these conditions in Egypt before and after both movements. Neither movement could successfully improve the economy. I found that nationalist sentiment developed due to early British involvement and would go on to have an impact on politics and Egypt’s relationship with the U.S. from 1952 to the present. Also, in the Free Officers’ attempt to create a non-corrupt government, they, instead, consolidated power and created an authoritarian system that would last until Mubarak’s removal in 2011 yet keep the most recent presidential elections from being truly democratic. The military has proven to be the most powerful organization between 1952 and the present. I found that while both movements attained some level of success, they encountered challenges compromising their overall success in what has now led to a military takeover similar to 1952.

Major Track: Middle East / Northern Africa
Project Advisor: Dr. Barry Shapiro
Language Advisor: Dr. Briana Lewis

Zen and the Art of the Fugue: The Aesthetic Link Between the Music of Johann Sebastian Bach and Zen Buddhism
James Scales, 2014

Since the founding of the Bach Collegium Japan by director Masaaki Suzuki in 1990, there has been a surge in popularity of Johann Sebastian Bach’s music in Japan.  This popularity seems to be driven by a sense of spiritual connection that Japanese people are finding with this music.  The stark religiosity of Bach’s music stands in sharp contrast to the traditional religious traditions of Japan.  As Christianity has traditionally held little sway over the Japanese people, this begs the question as to what the nature of this connection is.  The deeply aesthetic nature of Zen allows for it to readily serve as a lens for analysizing Bach’s music.  By also looking to the findings of neuroaesthetics, a case can be made for what the nature of this spiritual connection is.  The emergence of the Bach Boom was also dependent upon certain political and historical preconditions, namely the preservation of Hidden-Christian communities during  the Tokugawa period, the erosion of traditional Japanese systems of ethics and the onset of a widespread sense of pessimism, and the introduction and integration of Western Classical music into Japanese society.   These conditions allowed for the development of Masaaki Suzuki as an individual capable of leading the Bach Boom, and the spiritual connection to Bach’s music is helping to fulfill a growing need for spiritual meaning in modern Japan.

Major Track: East Asia
Project Advisor: Dr. Howard Tamashiro
Language Advisor: Dr. Jochen Richter

Investigating Ecuador’s National Plan for Good Living 2009-2013: A Critical Analysis of Sustainable Development, Rafael Correa, and Buen Vivir
Elisa Portillo Wein, 2014

Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa along with a constituent assembly created a new constitution in 2008 that gave the country the term plurinational and also granted rights to nature and many indigenous and minority peoples. It also called for the rewriting of the Country’s national development plan with the inclusion of the indigenous idea of buen vivir, or good living. Ecuador’s Plan Nacional para el Buen Vivir 2009-2013 (National Plan For “Good Living” for 2009-2013) was created to outline how buen vivir could lead to sustainable development for the country. By examining other alternative development indicators this analysis puts Buen Vivir in a global context. It then determines the key components of the Plan and categorizes them into four key themes: environmental sustainability, economic equity, political freedom, and sociocultural equality and justice. An examination of indigenous and afro-ecuadorian social  movements in relation to Ecuador’s politics today highlights the sociocultural aspects of both the Plan and the Constitution. Finally, a case study of the Yasuní ITT Initiative explores all four key themes and identifies possible shortcomings of the Plan.

Major Track: Latin America
Project Advisor: Dr. Liz Olson
Language Advisor: Dr. Wilfredo Hernández