Senior Project Abstracts – Class of 2018

Project in Chinese

Sumser, Keegan – Exploring Mindfulness as a Way to Decrease Chinese Consumerism

The recent rise of consumerism in China has led to various, negative environmental impacts. In order to decrease the negative consequences of consumerism and consumerism itself, this paper provides a fundamental understanding of Buddhism and explores how it can serve as a framework to fulfill this goal. While many Western, empirical studies show that mindfulness practice, a direct offshoot of Buddhism, can lead to more sustainable behaviors, consumerism is still on the rise in China. After researching Buddhism historical role in China and the most recent Buddhist revival, it is evident that the revival’s motivations are also not sustainable, explaining the continuous trends in Chinese consumer habits. In order for Chinese consumerism to decrease, the values of Chinese society need to evolve.

Major: Chinese Studies

Project Advisors: S. Wesoky (Political Science); X. Shi (Chinese)

Project in French, German and Spanish

Hendricks, Elsie Campbell – A Key, a Tree, and an Almond: A Multilingual Comparison of Three Cinderella Stories

The Aarne-Thompson-Uther classification index is an invaluable tool for the exploration and categorization of the vast and diverse realm of fairy tales. In this study, I made use of the ATU system in order to locate a version of the Cinderella tale (510A) in France, Germany, and Spain. I then conducted a multilingual literary analysis, culminating in a comparison between the three stories. In the first chapter of this project, I analyzed “Finette Cendron” by Marie-Catherine d’Aulnoy in French within the context of Louis XIV’s reign, and found a potential for discreet subversion. In the second chapter, I explored “Aschenputtel” by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm in German to reveal an ethically complex protagonist. In the third chapter, I translated and examined “La Ventafochs,” a Catalonian story by Francesc Maspons y Labrós, in conjunction with “La Cenicienta” by Manuel Milà y Fontanals to explore how the tensions present in 19th-century Spain can be seen in literature. In this multilingual study, we saw how three authors in three countries over three centuries interpreted the timeless and powerful Cinderella story.

Major: European Studies (Self-designed)

Project Advisors: B. Riess (Spanish); P. Jackson (Philosophy & Religious Studies); L. Reeck (French); P. Ensberg (German)

Project in German and Spanish

O’Donnell, Molly – A Comparison of the Past Tense in German and Spanish: Its Historical Implications

What are the rules of the past tenses in both German and Spanish and how are they established? This senior comprehensive project analyzes the various past tenses of the German and Spanish language through an in depth look into the rules of grammatical usage established by the institutions, der Duden and La Real Academia de la Lengua Española. These institutions produce a precise and clear understanding of the various usages of the German Präteritum and Perfekt and the Spanish pretérito perfecto simple and pretérito imperfecto. The analysis of these verbal tenses will be further developed through a brief history of the two institutions above and the linguistic history of the grammatical structures. Following the explanation of its historical significance, I will explain the establishment and various usages of the past tense and interpret two short texts that display the uses of the verbal tenses. The past tenses of both languages are then compared and contrasted, resulting in multiple similarities and differences. This project identifies that the preterite of both languages, das Präteritum and el pretérito perfecto simple, places emphasis on the temporal conditions in which the action occurs, whereas the other past tenses, das Perfekt and el pretérito imperfecto, do not. This paper also establishes that the two past tenses taken from German are interchangeable, but the two past tenses taken from Spanish are not. Thus concluding that the rules of the German past tenses established by der Duden are more flexible than the rules of the Spanish past tenses established by La Real Academia de la Lengua Española.

Majors: German, Spanish

Project Advisors: P. Ensberg (German); T. Herrera-de la Muela (Spanish)

Project in German

Dugan, Maggie – Die gedrehte Zunge: Eine literarische Analyse der Sprache als Vehikel zum oder vom Schwellenplatz in der Migranten-Erzählung

Within my senior comprehensive project, I investigate and analyze four migrant narratives as each narrative’s protagonist encounters concepts such as assimilation, the discovery of liminal space and formation of transnational identity. I examine Rudolfo Anaya’s Bless Me, Ultima and Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street as they apply to Chicano-American migration literature as well as Emine Sevgi Özdamar’s Mutterzunge and Dilek Zaptçioğlu’s Der Mond isst die Sterne auf as they apply to Turkish-German migration literature. Not only do I study their similarities and differences on the plot level, but I also study their forms, as each narrative possesses a different arc and reader experience. Acknowledging the cultural components that heavily play into each narrative, I examine language as a function of literature itself as well as how language acts as a character within each story, aiding or hindering the migrant-protagonists from discovering a sense of self. Ultimately, I ask whether or not each migrant protagonist reconciles a transnational identity based on the aforementioned factors, as well as how and why they do or do not achieve this realization.

Majors: German, English

Project Advisors: J. Ludewig (German); B. Slote (English)

Project in Spanish and French

Walker, Tyler D. – From Havana to Paris: The Cuban Revolutionary Space and the Artistic Development of Zoé Valdés and Eduardo Manet in Exile

From the Introduction: One of the most fascinating human experiences is our ability to foster a connection with the land, community and language in which we live.  Who we are and where we come from expose us to various social, cultural and historical markers that navigate and define the world around us.  In this project, I will use these frame works to analyze how Cuban exile in Paris has shaped the literary development of Eduardo Manet and Zoé Valdés as well as changed the way in which they are classified as authors in both Cuba and France.

Majors: Spanish and French

Project Advisors: B. Riess (Spanish); L. Reeck (French)

Projects in Spanish

Bethea, Starkwan – La resistencia sociopolitica en la música urbana: Una análisis de la letra de reggaetoneros y raperos puertorriqueños

This thesis speaks about Urban Musica which includes both Reggaetón and Hip-Hop.  It explores what messages of social political resistance appear in the songs of the albums of three Puerto Rican artists: Vico C’s Las Recta Final (1989), Misión la Cima (1990) and Explosión (1992); Tego Calderón’s Abayarde (2002); and Daddy Yankee’s Barrio Fino (2004). Afterwards it explores which elements, according to authors who have written on the subject, generate a basis of listeners in order to get out these messages of socio-political resistance.

Major: Spanish

Project Advisors:  B. Riess (Spanish); W. Hernández (Spanish);

Nass, Lucy – El uso del trabajo doméstico en dos películas hispanoamericanas
 del siglo XXI

At the turn of the 21st century, many Latin American countries took part in a political shift to the left, otherwise known as the Pink Tide. The movement encompassed anti­neoliberal ideologies and aimed for more progressive policies, socially and economically. The purpose of this project is to analyze the way in which two Latin American films from the 21st century use the representation of domestic workers to demonstrate a wider critique of the political change occurring in the region. It is done through three main chapters. The first chapter illustrates the historical context of domestic work in Latin America in addition to that of the political movement in order to form a basic understanding of the following analysis. The subsequent chapter will be dedicated to an analysis of the first film, La nana (2009), and the specific political implications that pertain to its represented country, Chile. The third and final chapter follows the same structure to analyze the film Zona sur (2009) and the country of Bolivia. Overall, the analysis reveals that the use of domestic workers in these films represents the idea that a political change will not be sustainable nor successful in the long term if no change or progress is achieved in the traditional yet problematic areas of society such as that of domestic work.

Major: Spanish

Project Advisors:  W. Hernández (Spanish); B. Riess (Spanish)

Patton, Joshua – Prisoners of War: How Women of Color in the United States and Indigenous Women in Mexico Are Disproportionately Punished by the War on Drugs

From the Introduction: This project was born from a desire to study institutionalized injustices and discrimination in both the United States and Mexico…Over the course of my education, a common theme slowly emerged that bridged the gap between my Political Science and Spanish majors: drugs… I have learned that the issues of drug violence and drug trafficking have become hallmarks in the study of U.S.- Mexican relations, as one is able to trace bilateral cooperation on anti-drug efforts between the two nations back to before the Cold War…

Majors: Spanish, Political Science

Picozzi, Alana – La experiencia multilingüe como aspecto formativo del estilo de un autor: los patrones literarios de la conciencia metalingüística en dos cuentos de Jorge Luis Borges

The multilingualism of Jorge Luis Borges, a prolific author who brought 20th century Latin American literature to the global forefront, impacted the way he interacted with the world and transmitted his ideas through his literature. The stories “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius” and “El informe de Brodie” show literary patterns of metalinguistic awareness according to a conceptual model adapted from the research of Ivana Marinić y Željka Nemet. Psychology and linguistics researchers maintain that metalinguistic awareness, a concept known for its associations with cognitive flexibility, knowledge of the arbitrariness of language, and the ability to separate a sentence’s form from its meaning, is better developed in people with exposure to multiple languages. Evidence of metalinguistic awareness discovered in “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius” and “El informe de Brodie” include the instances of neologisms, the fusion of languages, the appropriation of an existing word’s meaning, and the creation of fictitious linguistic systems.

Majors: Spanish, English (Creative Writing Emphasis)

Project Advisors: B. Riess (Spanish); W. Hernández (Spanish)