Suspicious Closets: Gay Marriage, the Perverse Implantation and Suspect Classification
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Wairimu Njambi and Dr. Mark Tunick
The gay marriage debate has consumed the American political conscience for over a year now. While many important questions concerning equal protection, the institution of marriage, and modern conceptions of family have been asked, few have stopped to question what (aside from Judeo-Christian moral issue) makes homosexuals so wrong – so undeserving of the right to marry and have a family. The process of deviant identity construction and the perverse implantation must be comprehended in order for the gay claim to equal protection and suspect classification to be fully considered and appropriately evaluated. Ultimately, the gay marriage debate and the peculiar circumstance that characterizes the gay claim to suspect classification present an opportunity to examine the larger political scheme, specifically the objective standard that empowers legal and scientific actors. A reconceptualization of objectivity could quite possibly prevent a discriminatory case similar to gay marriage from surfacing in the future.
Hot-Cold Medicine Revisited
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Rachel Corr
The origin of hot-cold medicine, as it is practiced in different peasant communities throughout Latin America, has been a subject of debate since the 1950s. While some anthropologists argue that hot-cold medicine originated within the indigenous communities of Latin America, others argue that hot-cold medicine is a simplified version of humoral medicine, which was brought to the New World during the Spanish Conquest. Both sides of the debate contain inconsistencies, but the two arguments can be combined to suggest both New World and Old World origins. The different indigenous groups that first encountered the Spanish shared a cosmology that included beliefs similar to those associated with the European model of humoral medicine. This facilitated the adoption of Spanish words for already held and practiced ideas. In this paper, I analyze this debate in anthropology and trace how it relates to changes in anthropological theory.
Silvio Berlusconi and Italian Democracy: Challenge and Consolidation
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Timothy Steigenga
Silvio Berlusconi, the current prime minister of Italy, has challenged the consolidation of Italian democracy through his efforts to increase the power of the executive branch, expand governmental control of the media, and restrict the courts from investigating various charges of corruption against his own business practices. During the past three years of his premiership Berlusconi has demonstrated a continued effort to pass legislation that directly benefits his own businesses. However, the parliament, President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, the judiciary, and the Italian electorate have responded with their own efforts to check Berlusconi’s powers by overturning legislation and continuing investigations into various allegations of corruption and actually bringing Berlusconi to trial. The institutional and social changes in Italy’s political system that brought Berlusconi to power in the first place have also strengthened the elements of Italian democracy that have recently checked his power. Italy’s consolidating democracy has surmounted the challenge of Berlusconi’s self aggrandizing administration and has actually strengthened the democratic institutions that he threatened.
Developing a Lanthanide Luminescence-Based Method for Detecting Bacterial Spores in Extreme Environments
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Rakesh Mogul
Endospores, produced by certain bacteria under stress, are the most robust form of life on earth. Detection of endospores has applications both in anti-terrorism efforts (anthrax) and in the search for life in our solar system, particularly on Mars. Research is focused on developing a method for detecting bacterial spores based on a unique chemical marker, dipicolinic acid (DPA), to quantify endospore concentrations in soils obtained from extreme environments such as the Atacama Desert in Chile. Specifically, investigations concerned several methods to optimize the extraction efficiency of DPA from soils quantified by UV absorption spectroscopy. Results suggest high extraction efficiencies and low limits of detection for Lab sand and Atacama soil, though these depreciate with more complex soil matrices. In addition, evaluation of cooperative binding effects to enhance the limit of detection and selectivity for the Tb-DPA luminescence assay has been performed using fluorescence excitation. An optimized procedure for rapid detection of endospores in soils will allow quantification of the distribution and viability of the toughest form of life in the most extreme environments.
Beyond Cultural Relativism? The Implications of Moving Past the Culture Concept in Anthropology
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Rachel Corr, Dr. Wairimu Njambi
Moving beyond the culture concept, a proposal brought forth by the 2000 Wenner-Gren conference in Morelia, Mexico, I argue, requires reconsidering cultural relativism, which relies a great deal upon culture in its approach and consideration of various societies. Such a movement beyond culture and cultural relativism provides an opportunity for anthropologists to focus attention on and promote a broader range of individual and social agency wrapped in partial embodiment, solidarity (as opposed to unity, which implies uniformity), and heterogeneous intercommunication between peoples. This act of ‘moving beyond’ may allow anthropology a means of creating new legitimate narratives that destabilize the boundaries of self and other, and open up the interstitial spaces that exist between (and sometimes in place of) coherent identities. This would simultaneously look to respectfully acknowledge difference, and act as a better lens through which to recognize and understand the everyday praxis of the heteroglossic being in anthropology.
Good Morning America: Television’s Role in Political Election Campaigns
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Travis Lybbert
The United States holds more elections, more frequently than any other modern society. Americans are among the most opinionated people in the world and yet they do not vote, or at least not enough of them do. The profound changes in mass communications during the past two decades have greatly affected political campaigning, and television’s potential for affecting not only voter turnout, but the criteria of choice in elections was noted from the start. This paper will assess the impact of television advertising on voter turnout during presidential election years. The purpose of the study will be to find the stronger correlation between either, the amount of money spent on advertisements, or number of advertisements aired and voter turnout, a model that would allow political consultants to make an informative decision when allocating a fixed budget in a highly competitive cat and mouse game. Some political advertisements relate positive and encouraging messages, while others are hard-hitting, factual, determined attacks against their candidate’s opponents. The method used in assessing the effectiveness of these advertisements, whether negative or positive, is conducting regression analysis on the revenue, as well as number of advertisements aired on television, both on a national and state by state level. It is essential for the campaign to have crafted the most effective commercials, but it is equally critical that the commercials be strategically positioned for the maximum impact before the right audience at the best available price.
Mitochondrial localization of telomerase in yeast may bring about increased mitochondrial mutations
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Paul Kirchman
Upon DNA replication and subsequent cellular division, the physical ends of the chromosomes, the telomeres, are shortened. If the telomeres are allowed to be reduced to a critical length, the cell will undergo cell senescence. The function of the enzyme telomerase is to prevent cell death, by elongating the telomeres using reverse transcriptase via the TERT subunit. Previous studies performed by Haendeler et al. demonstrated that when induced with oxidative stress, telomerase exits the nucleus and enters the cytoplasm. Unpublished results have indicated that the nuclear enzyme travels to the mitochondria upon export, which increases mutational frequency. This study seeks to synthesize a mitochondria-directed yeast telomerase enzyme, which will be transformed into yeast cells. We believe that upon reaching the mitochondria, the mutation rate of mitochondrial DNA will increase. Such an assay will provide insight into the relation of telomerase localization and cancer development.
Rituals of Revolution: Anarcho-Primitivism and Globalization
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Daniel White, Dr. Rachel Corr
In the last 15 to 20 years, the failure of Communism as a viable revolutionary project has turned many on the Left to its historical rival: Anarchism. Merging with environmental discourses like deep ecology and the struggle for indigenous rights, Anarcho-Primitivism models its utopian discourse on ethnographic descriptions of hunter-gatherer societies and mythologized notions of the “Noble Savage.” Furthermore, its adherents retain high rates of visibility in the burgeoning antiglobalization movement, notorious for their black uniform and tactics of property destruction. My paper engages their attempts to invoke “the Primitive” as a metaphor for resisting the ascendance of global capitalism in the twenty-first century.
Karla Gabriela Dominguez
Comparative Immigration Policy: Out of the country or out of the Society? Case study of the United States and Spain
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Timothy Steigenga
Using the United States and Spain as case studies, this thesis argues that increasingly restrictive immigration policies instituted by receiving countries have little to no effect on the net inflow of immigration, nor do they promote a higher rate of assimilation for those immigrants already present within the host country. An analysis of the net inflow of immigrants, their social and economic status, and their rate of assimilation in the U.S. and Spain suggests that restrictive policies only further the social and economic exclusion of immigrants from the host society. Restrictive immigration policies are more effective at keeping immigrants outside of the host country’s society than its borders.
Democratization Challenges In Post-Communist Europe: The Case of Albania
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Timothy Steigenga
This thesis will argue for the value of gradualism in the process of democratic transitions. To illustrate the importance gradual reform, this study examines the Albanian case in the context of Samuel P. Huntington’s theory of “Third Wave” transitions to democracy. The Albanian case suggests that it is necessary for transitioning countries to have a period of reorganization and preparation prior to full transition to democratic governance. During the preparation process, the government should be given relatively wide powers, while simultaneously promoting respect for human rights and orderly public participation. Powerful international actors must allow these countries to undergo this phase even if it is not fully democratic.
“Them Niggers Ain’t Black…”: African Americans, the U.S. Communist Party, and the Construction of a Cultural and Political Identity
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Chris Strain
The influence of communism and the Communist Party on African Americans after emancipation had far-reaching effects. African-American focus can be described as one fixed on reform, of wanting to secure the benefits of American democracy and equality. The oppression and discrimination that African Americans endured gave impetus for the adoption of communist principles and ideals. Just as African-American identity has developed over time through shifts in ideology and practices, African American attraction and participation in the Communist Party followed suit. There are two key moments in African-American history that this shift in attraction can be analyzed. In the 1920s and 1930s, communism appealed to African-American activists as a vehicle for political organization, viability, and inclusion; in the 1960s and 1970s, the Communist Party attracted activists as a way of resisting racism and oppression and as a basis for constructing an independent, focused, cultural identity.
Laura R Lynch
Numerical Integration of Linear and Nonlinear Wave Equations
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Mark Rupright
We will first introduce integration and boundary methods for the linear wave equation and then extend our study to a nonlinear system introduced by Khoklov and Novikov. The nonlinearities are similar to those seen in General Relativity, and thus our analysis establishes the effects of numerical methods on gravitational wave simulations.
Ariana H. Magdaleno
La identidad sexual de las mujeres en la literatura caribeña
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Mary Ann Gosser Esquilín
Caribbean literature deals with controversial topics such as identity, social class, sexuality, and race. Sexuality, social class, and race contribute to the formation of a woman’s identity. Works such as the antislavery Cuban novel Sab (1841) by Gerturdis Gómez de Avellaneda, Cuban novel Cecilia Valdés o la loma de angel (1839) by Cirilo Villaverde, Puerto Rican play La cuarterona (1867) by Alejandro Tapia y Rivera, Breath, Eyes, Memory (1994) by Haitian-American novelist Edwidge Danticat, and Sirena Selena vestida de pena (2000) by Afro Puerto Rican author Mayra Santos-Febres illustrate this complex interconnection of elements. The representation of sexuality becomes very relevant depending on whether the author is male or female. Furthermore, being a white, mulatto, or black women in these works determines the image and the personality of the characters. For authors and readers, trying to differentiate among the various phenotypes renders the identification of the social class to which a woman belongs to, as well as determining her sexual identity, more difficult. This study explores those issues in depth.
Nudity in 17th Century England and Milton’s Paradise Lost
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Michael Harrawood
After writing Paradise Lost, many literary critics of John Milton’s time were uncertain about the propriety of Milton’s juxtaposition of nudity in the Garden of Eden. At the time, however, there was a standing fashion trend of court ladies and mistresses wearing clothing to social events that exposed breasts. Symbolically, the exposure of breasts was both a symbol for loose morality (as seen in known mistresses) and virtue, as seen in many of the works of art from this time period. There were varying degrees of acceptance of such a trend, and the symbolism such clothing choices implied. John Milton can be seen then to be reacting in a statement to the times. In Paradise Lost, John Milton makes literary choices to depict innocence, as a commentary on societal norms of the time.
Isolation and Structure Elucidation of Bioactive Compounds from a Marine Fungus Cultured from a Plakortis Sponge
Advisor/Professor: Sarath P. Gunasekera, Ph.D.
A marine fungus isolated from a sponge of the genus Plakortis (N595), was analyzed for the novel cytotoxic compounds. Using bioassay-guided fractionation, cytotoxic and antifungal compounds were isolated. Once purified, the chemical structures were elucidated using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) technology. The structures were confirmed by comparison with previous NMR literature data. Although no novel compounds were discovered, ergosterol, a known sterol produced in all fungi, was found to have cytotoxic effects on murine leukemia cell lines, and tanzawaic acid A was shown to inhibit bacterial growth.
An Ocean Apart: Campaign Finance in the United States and Great Britain
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Timothy J. Steigenga
The United States and Great Britain have very divergent approaches to the issue of campaign finance reform. This thesis compares data from the U.S. and Great Britain on election spending, spending by outside parties, and average donation size in order to determine which system works more efficiently. The author concludes that the system in the United States is bloated and overly complex, making it difficult to trace campaign spending. The British system, on the other hand, better reaches the goal of campaign finance reform, which is the prevention of corruption or the appearance of corruption in campaign finance.
Clothing and Gender Identity in Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness and Sarah Waters’ Tipping the Velvet
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Laura Barrett and Dr. Wairimu Njambi
Authors Radclyffe Hall and Sarah Waters, in their novels The Well of Loneliness and Tipping the Velvet, respectively, both use cross-gendered clothing to signify their protagonists’ atypical gender identities. However, because Hall wrote in the beginning and Waters at the end of the 20th century, the authors’ individual perspectives on gender and cross-dressing were shaped by different cultural forces. In the beginning of the century, cross-dressing was understood as a sign of gender inversion, a category that conceptually lumped sex, gender, and sexuality together under one heading. By the 1990s, sex, gender, and sexuality were considered separate though related categories and many theorists argued that gender is performative. In this context, cross-dressing could be read as a sign of homosexuality, transgenderism, transsexualism, or drag king performance. Taking historical context into account, I will explore the difference between the two authors’ portrayal of cross-dressing.
The North American Free Trade Agreement as a Two-Level Game and Implications for the Free Trade Area of the Americas
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Timothy Steigenga
The purpose of this paper is to break through the complexity of the NAFTA negotiations in order to reveal some of the contentious issues from three stages of the NAFTA bargaining process: the fast track agreement, the negotiations under President George Bush, Sr., and the side payments under President Bill Clinton. Putman’s two-level game theory will help describe how the interests of business, environmental groups, and labor unions influenced the outcome of the NAFTA through their respective win-sets, domestic and international power relations, and side agreements. Extrapolating from Putman’s model and the success in NAFTA bargaining, we can predict that the ongoing Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) negotiations are more likely to succeed if international representatives strategize to create favorable conditions for domestic ratification through understanding the domestic constituencies and win sets of the players.
“Go, and come no more …” : Fyodor Dostoevsky and Friedrich Nietzsche set the stage for world without God
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Christopher Ely
Friedrich Nietzsche and Fyodor Dostoevsky found themselves pushing the social standards by dealing with the idea of a God-less society at the close of the 19th Century. These two thought of the idea differently, as a result of their cultures and personal beliefs, but were able to capture the not only the large scale social struggle but also the personal difficulties that occur as people deal with such thoughts. The ideas they, or their characters, express in Beyond Good and Evil and The Grand Inquisitor are deeply rooted in their societies and, as a result of this foundation, are able to profoundly influence the future in many ways.
Openness and Putrefaction: The Ear as a Symbol of Female Vulnerability in Milton’s “Comus” and Paradise Lost
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Michael Harrawood
Seventeenth-century medical texts show the female body to be something of a receptacle; inward, passive, and responsive, the body (particularly the womb) absorbs outside stimuli and behaves accordingly. Correspondingly, religious sermons and tracts from the same era discuss the body’s weaknesses in similar terms; its vulnerable point lies particularly in its openness, specifically in the ear, which must be closed to wicked words and thoughts at all times. The religious and medical texts come together in the way John Milton symbolizes the ear and hearing in Paradise Lost and “Comus.” Milton, not necessarily wanting to discuss matters of feminine physiology, still thematizes female vulnerability in both poems as a sort of bodily invasion and corruption. Both poems feature a temptation scene in which male figures attempt to seduce a passive female victim with words. The ear is symbolic of the woman’s susceptibility, a gateway into her body and thus into her mind; the words themselves become invasive and polluting.
Hell Broke Loose: The Evolution of English Radicalism From Skepticism to Antinomianism
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Michael Harrawood
The popular concept of England during the mid-1600’s – the time of the English Revolution and writer John Milton– is that of staunch Puritanism. There was, in fact, an explosion of radical religious and social ideas during this time. These new religions, in addition to being ‘radical,’ were also popular in that they articulated the hopes and grievances of those outside the ruling groups in English society. There was, during this time, a huge range of “enthusiastic doctrines,” not obviously tied to any particular or established religious sect. Two of these doctrines have commonly been associated with two intimately linked religious movements: The Seekers and the Ranters. The Seekers were a loosely organized, millennial sect that rejected all church authority and dogma, preferring to wait for the millennium when Christ would come and command them directly, without the intervention of ecclesiastic authorities. The Ranters arose from an extreme form of Seekerism, believing that sin was not possible as God inspired everything and that, therefore, it was appropriate to do whatever one felt like doing, unrestrained by law or morality. I will use these two groups to frame the evolution of English Puritanism from the skepticism of the Seekers to the antinomianism and libertine lifestyles of the Ranters and apply their doctrines to the writings of John Milton in order to discover how these two prominent religious movements affected his work, which were very much a product of the times they were written in. I will do this using a variety of primary and secondary sources, including 17th century tracts and pamphlets written by and directed against both the Seekers and the Ranters.
Embarking on DSP, DFT, and DWT
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Terje Hoim
The concept of a “signal” extends from such obvious notions as audio and video signals to signals embedded in cosmic gravitational waves. Signal Processing is the area of Applied Mathematics concerned with identifying signals in raw recorded data and describing, analyzing, and modifying them; integral transforms are the main Mathematical tool utilized in Signal Processing. In this talk, I define the general concept of Digital Signal Processing and discuss how Fourier Transforms are used to analyze digitally sampled analogue signals in the frequency domain. I then generalize the notion of a transform, introduce Wavelet Transforms, and work out an eight-point example, using the Haar wavelet basis.
Matthew J. Snyder
Monism, Mortalism, and Milton
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Michael Harrawood
The nature of matter—and therefore of the body and soul—was a topic of heated debate in seventeenth-century England. Milton scholar Barbara K. Lewalski points out that the poet’s beliefs on the nature of matter underwent a profound transformation in his lifetime, from a Neoplatonic dualism (matter, or the body, and spirit, or the soul, are composed of two different and separate materials) to a fully developed monist ontology (all matter and spirit are composed of the same material), and that this transformation is evident when comparing Milton’s early poems to his later prose writings. Milton scholars such as George Williamson, Nathaniel Henry, C. A. Patrides, and Lewalski disagree as to whether Milton exhibits this fundamental change of belief systems in Paradise Lost; textual evidence seems to indicate that he does.
Christin Upshaw, Dr. Julie Earles, Dr. Alan Kersten
Complexities in Eyewitness Testimony- Memory is not Perfect, Especially when Observing Events with Multiple Actors
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Julie Earles
Undergraduate students and older adults participated in an experiment in which they observed a series of video clips with two actors in each clip. They were later tested for their memories for these video clips. Our data show that even when an individual’s confidence rating is high, memory is not infallible. We compared the performance of younger adults to that of the older adults, and found that older adults are more susceptible to a phenomenon known as unconscious transference, or incorrectly associating the actions of one individual with the identity of another. Our research is especially important in the field of eyewitness testimony. Individuals are often asked to remember specific details of events they have observed, and to rate their confidence in the reliability of their memories. An eyewitness account is often the deciding factor for jurors in court cases. Our data suggest this trend may not be an accurate one.