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2016 Winners

Senior Thesis Division

Chelsea Clayton (Political Science & Communications)

Faculty Advisor: Mark Smith

The Forest for the Trees: A Comparative Analysis of Urban Forestry Regimes in Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon

This research project examines the development and implementation of municipal-level urban forestry policy in the cities of Seattle, Washington, and Portland, Oregon. The research examines the issue-specific context in which both developed, both broadly as an emerging area of scientific research and in the context of each state. Next, through a synthesis of interviews and analysis, it traces the development of each city’s approach and examines both its efficacy and the significant factors that emerged through the course of research as having made a significant impact on overall outcomes.

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Daniel Keum

Daniel Keum (Political Science & Law, Societies, & Justice)

Faculty Advisors: James Caporaso and Jamie Mayerfeld

Wavering into Capitalism: The Politics of Sustenance in North Korea

In the 1990s, a catastrophic famine engrossed North Korea. The famine not only claimed thousands of innocent lives but also the social, economic and political principles which had governed the nation since its founding. This paper contends that the famine engendered the rise of a rights-consciousness among North Korean working class citizens. In particular, the famine compelled the rise of bottom-up markets among common North Koreans, as the state failed to uphold its end of caloric compact, which then radically shifted the moral frameworks of the people. The nature in which these frameworks shifted is the focus of my paper. Chronicling the market protests which transpired during the late 2000s, this paper unveils the emergence of a novel constellation of power between the private citizen and the state in consequence of the markets engendering a rights-consciousness.

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Rhoya Selden

Rhoya Selden (History & Drama)

Faculty Advisor: Lynn Thomas

Women and the Moral Politics of Dress in Twentieth-Century Tehran

This research examines the politicization of women’s clothing under the Pahlavi monarchy and the Islamic Republican of Iran from the 1930s-1990s. I distinctively focus on the governments’ use of women’s clothing to define their idea of Iranian nationalism and how their sumptuary policies affected women’s lives. I assess the motives behind the sumptuary laws for each regime, and argue that both governments situated women as symbols of national health and honor, and used them as visualizations for the success of their platforms. Despite different interpretations of morality, my research suggests that both governments created these laws to “purify” their “corrupt” nation, using the same rhetoric. Paradoxically, this led to a sexualized culture that exists today in Tehran. I analyze a wealth of primary sources including women’s magazines, political cartoons, poetry, newspapers, extant clothing, photographs, legislation, autobiographies, speeches, passports, Revolutionary-era books written by Iranian intellectuals, and oral interviews that I conducted.

©Reproduction of this award project in part or in whole without permission of the author is expressly prohibited.

Kela Wong

Kela Wong (International Studies)

Faculty Advisor: Deborah Porter

Interrogation of Gender Identity: Aesthetic Consumption of Korean Dramas by Young Women in China

Given the popularity of Korean television dramas among various age groups in other countries, one would expect to see a similar pattern of consumption across different ages in China. Instead, we see high levels of consumption of Korean dramas by a very specific demographic. Why do young Chinese females consume Korean dramas at such high levels? I argue that young Chinese women’s heavy consumption of Korean dramas that portray a particular aesthetic of self and familial resolution may be explained by a need to redress contemporary psychological issues related to gendered self-identity. I posit that the identity formation processes of this particular demographic has been shaped by changes in family dynamics that stem from social and political restructuring in the 1980s, particularly the one-child policy. Thus, this thesis explores how the consumption of Korean dramas by young females in China may be understood as an implicit interrogation of gendered identity.

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Senior Non-Thesis Division

Yoojeong Cho

Yoojeong Cho (Vocal Performance & Italian)

Faculty Advisor: Judy Tsou

The Gaze and the Circumvention of Power in Richard Strauss’ Salome

Richard Strauss’ opera “Salome” is a musical discourse of the uneven power dynamics between male and female with the idea of the gaze as its central narrative. Under the patriarchal premise of the male gaze, the men emerge as the gazers, while the women are relegated to the role of submissive objectification. This paper examines the way Salome manipulates this patriarchal notion of the gaze for her own gain, voluntarily offering herself as the object of the male gaze. I further postulated that Salome strategically oscillates between the stereotypical image of femme fatale and femme fragile, intentionally succumbing to the masculine-constructed demonization and idealization of female power. Consequently, this paper traces how Strauss’ music realizes those gender portrayals and Salome’s resistance against the male order, reflecting the use of musical analyses as a tool in understanding gender roles and power in operas.

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Jennifer Smith

Jennifer Smith (History & Comparative History of Ideas)

Faculty Advisor: María Elena García

‘All of this Belongs to Us’: Land, Horses, and Indigenous Resistance on the Yakama Indian Reservation, 1900-1950

In the early 1900s, the Yakima Indian Agency welcomed non-Native ranching operations onto Yakama tribal lands, taxing rangelands, and resulting in widespread overgrazing. By the 1920s, agency concern for the welfare of ranchers facilitated a need to gain access to tribal grazing lands sustaining Yakama horses. As a result, agency officials launched systematic assaults on Yakama horse herds, citing horses as culprits of overgrazing and land degradation. However, Yakamas showed little interest in removing their horses, and instead actively opposed settler encroachment on tribal grazing lands. Through analyzing archival sources, conducting interviews, and reviewing scholarly sources, I argue that Yakamas and settlers used horses as a terrain of struggle, whereby they asserted competing claims to Indigenous lands and resources. Examining horses as a tool of resistance provides a useful lens for understanding forms of Native opposition to colonial hegemony, while interrogating problematic tropes settlers utilized to justify divesting Native communities.

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Non-senior Division

Rachel Hantman

Rachel Hantman (Neurobiology)

Faculty Advisor: Amy Piedalue

Albanian Sworn Virgins: A Visual Representation of their Transformation

This piece of art is a flipbook, analogous to the ones children play with as they make cartoon balls bounce with the quick flipping of pages between their thumb and index finger. However, instead of a playful scene, this flipbook is a commentary on Albanian Sworn Virgins. These are women from Northern Albania who, in their youth, swear to celibacy in order to gain the societal power that is exclusive to men in their culture. This flipbook demonstrates this cultural male-to-female shift and comments on its inability to ever be fully realized. This commentary is inspired by the words of Albanian Sworn Virgins in Elvira Dones’ documentary, Sworn Virgins, who feel betrayed by their biological need to menstruate and who view their reproductive system as a permanent obstacle in completing their societal shift. Just as a child’s flipbook tells a story, this flipbook illustrates the Albanian Sworn Virgins’ forever-unfinished transformation.

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Caitlin Nold

Caitlin Nold (Law, Societies, & Justice)

Faculty Advisor: Meredith Loken

Commodification of Black Bodies: Convict Leasing and Prison Privatization in the United States of America

The United States is home to a private prison industry, which allows for the detention of human beings to be transformed into a multi-billion dollar industry. This paper traces the parallels between the post-civil war convict leasing system and the current system of prison privatization, which encourages the commodification of black bodies in order to maintain a racial hierarchy. It analyzes the incompatibility of prison privatization with the US Constitution. Private prisons, which hold African American men at a higher rate that state-run prisons, take cost-cutting measures in order to increase profit, which expose prisoners to higher rates of abuse and increased recidivism rates. Private prisons have significant political power to determine crime control legislation, which has led to harsh laws which increase the number of men of color behind bars. This paper provides a three-phase plan for abolishing private prisons and reducing overall incarceration rates in the United States.

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Honorable Mentions

Shannon Abbott (Nursing)
Faculty Advisor: Ira Kantrowitz-Gordon
Senior Non-Thesis Project: Mindfulness Classes Transform the Experiences of Postpartum Women

Ian Bellows (International Studies)
Faculty Advisor: David Citrin
Non-senior Project: The End of Everest? Reimagining Himalayan Adventure Travel in an Age of Unnatural Disasters

Tomás Narvaja (Gender, Women, & Sexuality Studies)
Faculty Advisor: Nancy Kenney
Senior Non-Thesis Project: The Failures of Consent: How the (En)gendering of Sexual Scripts and Desire within Consensual Sex Preserves Rape Culture within the University