Marie Bissell, Class of 2017
Majors: Linguistics, Anthropology Minor: Philosophy
Mentor(s): John Baugh
Project Title: “Mapping Prejudice: A Perceptual Dialectology Approach to Evaluating Language Attitudes towards South-Perceived Speech in the United States”
Project Description: My project focuses on measuring and analyzing dialect judgments towards English speakers perceived to be from the American South. Specifically, I utilize a two-pronged approach: a descriptive analysis of actual dialect judgments that occur and an explanatory analysis of speech characteristics that align with significant dialect attitudes. Ultimately, I aim to investigate the distinctiveness of the South in America’s linguistic consciousness and the implications that could come with it.
Shivani Desai, Class of 2017
Major: Anthropology: Global Health and Environment Minors: Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Political Science
Mentor: Shanti Parikh
Project Title: “Centering Women’s Voices: Global Aid and Local Realities of Obstetric Fistula”
Project Description: My project seeks to examine the realities of obstetric fistula in Uganda for affected women, exploring the disparities in narratives and understandings of the issue between the different levels of power and decision-making within the global health aid system.
Shaun Ee, Class of 2017
Majors: International & Area Studies, Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology
Mentor: Timothy Parsons
Project Title: “The Voice of Kenya: Competing Visions of Nationhood in a Post-Colonial State”
Project Description: Throughout the struggle for independence and after its final attainment in 1963, the elites of Kenya competed to realize their own vision of the fledgling nation. My project examines Kenya’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) as a zone of elite contestation in the years surrounding independence, from 1960–78. By following the careers of senior civil servants, I show that MIB ultimately became the purveyor of a state-officiated nationalism that excluded other post-colonial possibilities.
Patrick Goff, Class of 2018
Major: Germanic Languages & Literatures Minor: Economics
Mentor: Caroline Kita
Project Title: “Collected Silences: Radio Drama and West German Cultural Criticism”
Project Description: My project examines the cultural significance of radio plays (Hörspiele) in West Germany. Specifically, I am looking at the ways in which Heinrich Böll, a prominent literary figure and cultural critic, used the radio as a medium to criticize West Germany's “crisis of language” (Sprachkrise) in the early post-WWII period.
Max Hofmeister, Class of 2017
Mentor: Venus Bivar
Project Title: “Surviving the Farmer’s Market: Small Farmers in St. Louis”
Project Description: What does it take to operate a small farm in the 21st century in St. Louis? Small urban and nearby rural farms supply the niche products for the range of farmer’s markets, restaurants, CSAs and grocery stores in St. Louis. How do farmers find their markets and make production decisions in this cutthroat, rapidly evolving sector of the local economy? My project includes interviews with farmers, and an overview of the historical developments and governmental policies regarding unconventional agriculture.
Hilah Kohen, Class of 2018
Major: Comparative Literature Minor: Russian Language and Literature
Mentors: Vincent Sherry and Nicole Svobodny
Project Title: “‘Russian Fever’ and the Great War: A Turning Point in Russian-British Relations”
Project Description: A massive quantity of canonical Russian literature was first translated directly into English just as the First World War drew Russia and Britain into an unprecedented military alliance. My project asks how this simultaneous surge in cultural and political relations made possible new British imaginations of Russia that still shape British and American interactions with Russia today.
Allie Liss, Class of 2018
Major: Anthropology: Global Health and Environment Minor: Fine Art
Mentor: Shanti Parikh
Project Title: “Evaluating Social and Economic Conditions in East St. Louis Using GIS Technologies”
Project Description: My project looks at the historical roots of the current social and economic conditions in East St. Louis, Illinois. I am interested in using ethnography and GIS to gain a more comprehensive understanding of how East St. Louis has evolved over the last century in the context of the larger St. Louis region into its current state.
Sophie Lombardo, Class of 2018
Major: History Minor: Writing
Mentor: Anika Walke
Project Title: “Nuremberg and the Ratlines: The Politics of Postwar Justice”
Project Description: My project explores the longstanding tension between national interest and international justice through an investigation of illegal government activities involving war criminals (Nazis as well as Axis collaborators) following World War II. Conventional examinations of postwar justice tend to center on Nuremberg as a success for human rights law and a transcendence of burgeoning Cold War tensions, yet countries such as the United States, the Vatican and Argentina were actively protecting war criminals from trial and, in some cases, employing them. My hope for this project is — if not to tease out a normative argument regarding these activities — to at least determine the extent to which these operations occurred and the ramifications such actions had on international law in the postwar era.
Emily Murphy, Class of 2017
Major: History Minors: Sociology, French
Mentor: Lerone Martin
Project Title: “The Violin in a World of Violence: Enslaved Fiddlers and the Racial Hierarchies of the Antebellum American South”
Project Description: My project takes an intensive look into the lives of enslaved violinists/fiddlers in the American South. I will examine the diversity of their social roles in performing on various “stages” — for example, coerced ballroom soirées for slave owners and subversive secret gatherings among slaves. I hope to fully demonstrate how a delicate string instrument exposed the ever-changing degrees of ambiguity between resistance, collaboration and survival that defined the relationship between enslaved violinists/fiddlers and their audience.
Mary-Claire Sarafianos, Class of 2017
Major: English Literature (Concentration in Creative Non-Fiction Writing) Minors: Text and Tradition, Computer Science
Mentor: Vivian Pollak
Project Title: “Tell It Slant: Emily Dickinson and the Dash”
Project Description: The abnormalities of Emily Dickinson’s poetic linguistics have been a source of great confusion and frustration to both her critics and publishers. My own research aims to establish the importance of Dickinson’s dash in her poetry and explore the ways in which she used the dash to push back against the conventions of gender of the world she lived in.
Jessica Thea, Class of 2017
Major: International & Area Studies (Concentration in Development) Minor: Psychological & Brain Sciences
Mentor: Shefali Chandra
Project Title: “Power and Plague: Understanding International Power Dynamics during the 1994 Plague Outbreak in Surat, India”
Project Description: My project analyzse the ways in which international power dynamics in a globalized world shift during public health crises. Specifically, using David Easton’s definition of power, I argue that during the 1994 plague outbreak in Surat, India, power dynamics did not shift to help the vulnerable. Rather, preexisting global hierarchies strengthened, leaving India even more vulnerable.
Noah Weber, Class of 2018
Majors: Chinese, English Literature
Mentor: Letty Chen
Project Title: “Lao She’s Visions of Race”
Project Description: My project focuses on the early 20th-century Beijing-born writer Lao She as a diaspora writer, writing from the United Kingdom and Singapore, as well as for the Chinese mainland. It focuses specifically on his imagination of race in his home country, particularly as a Manchurian minority himself.
Nathaniel Young, Class of 2018
Majors: Spanish, Latin American Studies Minor: Marketing
Mentor: Ignacio Sánchez Prado
Project Title: “Nationalism and Popular Culture in Latin America”
Project Description: My project studies nationalism in Latin America and its social manifestations in the popular music, film and television of the region during the mid-late 20th century. I am interested in how pop culture made Latin America “Latin,” and how distinct nationalisms in Latin American countries came to be reflected in the content produced for their populations. I study how the racial mixture of Latin America has a profound impact in the way social messages are disseminated through daily popular culture, and how this culture shapes nationalism to exclude, idealize or unite distinct groups within the country.