The Stability of Instability: A Historical, Political, and Theoretical Study of the Factors Supporting Jordan’s Regime Stability
Haya Yaish | 2014 My essential claim is that the Jordanian regime is not placed at any risk as a result of the protests in the country. The instability and formation of social movements is not equivalent to the instability of the regime. I will argue that, due to multiple factors, Jordan is politically stable, and the regime is not threatened by the unrest as long as these factors remain in place. I argue that the protests occur primarily for economic, not political, reasons, and political reforms arise as a consequence of unrest during economic difficulties the population is presented with.
Internal economic problems and an increase in prices as a result of economic liberalization reforms are a precursor to the majority of the protests and signs of instability, which will be proven by looking at the historical trajectory of instability within the country. This destabilization is an impetus for political reforms, which usually accompany protests and forms of unrest in the country. Jordan has an untraditional history of state formation. It has resulted in a different form of social mobilization, and consequently, a different reaction to the social mobilization.
I aim to show that the question of stability in Jordan is affected by a multiplicity of factors that cannot be isolated from the context and history of the country. All these factors show that it is very difficult to destabilize the country, and an Arab Spring in Jordan cannot be foreseen in the near future, as long as these factors remain present. The underlying social and political structures of the county do not skew towards instability, and any visual signs of instability remain indicators of short-term unrest. In other words, they do not pose any real threat to the regime’s stability. Finally, the argument can be made that the Jordanian population had a paradoxical reaction to the Arab Spring insofar as it sought to avoid the instability, brutality, and chaos other countries faced.
Chapter one introduces the history of state formation in Jordan and the role it plays in establishing the structure of the regime and institutions in the country, and their current effect on the country’s stability. The monarchy, the legitimacy it possesses within the country, and the role it plays in reaffirming the Jordanian identity will also be elaborated upon. The ethnic tensions within the country—including Palestinian issues and tribal relations with the state—and their impact upon the stability of the regime will also be discussed in the first chapter. Moreover, I will be describing the nature of the most recent protests in Jordan following the Arab Spring and offering an insight into the responses these protests initially garnered.
Chapter two presents economic aspects of regime stability today through key demographics and economic assessments of the country, proving that the country’s main issue and the root of its protests is purely economic. The role corruption plays in maintaining the regime’s power is also presented in this chapter. Moreover, the vital role foreign affairs and foreign aid, along with the role of the United States and Israel, will be thoroughly discussed, explaining how these factors facilitate the maintenance of the security of Jordan.
Chapter three discusses the social aspects of regime stability. The limitations and controls on freedom of speech and press laws and regulations will be elaborated upon in this chapter, in addition to their connection with maintaining regime stability and their evolvement over time. The cultural frame contention is perceived through the population’s response incited by the protests, which is valuable for maintaining regime stability, as it paradoxically reaffirms the population’s desire for stability. The limitations and different views regarding civil society laws and functions and their effect on the country’s stability will also be discussed here. Moreover, the role of women and young people within this context is addressed in this chapter.
Chapter four investigates the political aspects of regime stability, including the organization of the state and regime, the parliament and its inner workings, the army, security services, and the general intelligence directorate. Furthermore, I will be looking at the parliamentary elections and trends in recent history and discussing the different functions the electoral law and elections serve as a means to maintain regime stability. The reasons behind the weakness of political parties and the Muslim Brotherhood is also discussed. In addition, I assess the law’s impact on restricting these parties. Finally, I will be addressing the role, functions, and nature of the reforms that are being introduced and how they maintain regime stability without negating any of the regime’s power and control.
In my conclusion, I present my theory of regime stability in the short-run and long run. I also discuss the patterns of political regression and expansion seen and carried out by the government and their connection with the state of economic regression and expansion in the country. I illustrate how the political changes are ultimately measures the country takes to improve its economic state, driven by the regime’s priority; maintaining the country’s stability. Overall, this reinforces how this process ultimately results in an expansion and liberalization of political and economic policies—though not in a linear form—which is how the country’s stability is maintained in the midst of economic difficulties.
Revaluing the Body: An Analysis of Christian and Feminist Conceptualizations of Self
Abigail M. Wydra | 2014 In this thesis I explore Christian and feminist scholarship concerning the body. My aim is to search within these traditions for the makings of a conceptualization of self that recognizes the physical body as inherently valuable and the experience of embodiment as morally and personally significant. I argue that dualistic thought continues to pervade American culture and that it has real, tangible, damaging effects, particularly for women. This is why I seek an alternative that honors the body and provides good reason to honor the bodies of others.
In Chapter One, I examine the rhetoric behind cosmetic surgery, eating disorders, and contemporary sexual norms. I find that they express attitudes of disdain for—sometimes even hatred of—the material body. I argue that mind/body dualism remains pervasive in our culture and that it actively harms women.
In Chapter Two, I analyze the phenomenological concept of the lived body as described by Simone de Beauvoir, Toril Moi, and Iris Marion Young. I find that these theorists present a conceptualization of self that is profoundly non-dualistic, and that Young, in particular—because she also retains the concept of gender for purposes of social critique—articulates an improved method of conceptualizing identity and subjectivity. However, I conclude that although theorists who advocate the lived body do regard embodiment as morally significant, they fail to appreciate the physical body as inherently valuable, or to provide sufficient justification to respect our own bodies and the bodies of others.
In Chapter Three, I explore Christian theological anthropology. I argue that despite an ambivalent, at times contradictory treatment of the body, Christianity, on the whole, holds the physical body in high esteem. I argue, moreover, that this is because Christianity is an incarnational religion, in which God is believed to have come bodily to earth as Jesus Christ, and continues to pervade creation today. In this chapter I also analyze Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body in order to discuss a reading of the imago Dei, or image of God, that emphasizes sexual difference. Although I consider Pope John Paul II’s work deeply and meaningfully relevant to a project of revaluing persons and bodies, I conclude that he fails to conclusively assert the value of particularly marginalized and maligned bodies.
In Chapter Four, I argue that feminist liberation theology is uniquely prepared to address contemporary understandings of women’s bodies because it not only grants the inherent value of the material body, but also wields the analytical tools needed to truly understand our cultural conceptualizations of women’s bodies in the West. In this chapter, I explore two attempts to image the divine in one’s own body and the bodies of others. Specifically, I investigate Luce Irigaray’s alternative reading of the imago Dei within her “ethic of sexual difference,” and Carter Heyward’s “erotic theology.” I find that these two philosophers are able to combine Christianity and feminist theory such that they consider all bodies to be valuable while also recognizing that social systems of power and oppression have historically functioned to deem certain bodies less valuable than others.
In my conclusion, I contemplate the personal utility, and social ramifications, of a Christian feminist conceptualization of self such as the one I present in Chapter Four, when we must continue to live in an oppressive society. I conclude that we must respect our own bodies and selves first before we can capably effect societal change.
Building Ireland: A Sociospatial Analysis of the Multidenominational Movement
Larkin N. Willis | 2014 Mass public education systems are contested sites for the definition and transference of citizenship and public identity. As such, state funded systems of schooling negotiate the rigidity or flexibility of unifying national identities. In this thesis, I explore the educational and spatial goals of Educate Together, a major innovator in the Irish national education system, and establish that its ethos and school spaces are interdependent. The physical spaces of Educate Together schools tangibly and materially express cultural transformation that amplify, crystallize, and articulate the ethos of a broader social movement in Ireland.
In my introduction, I define my use of the terms ethos and school space, then outline the argument through the chapters that follow. Chapter one establishes a worldwide need for culturally flexible education in an increasingly global, privatized, and competitive world. It explores the relationship between the responding theoretical imperatives of social justice pedagogy and spatial justice within the public education sector. These theories are joined by necessity; social justice pedagogy and spatial justice embody and reinforce visions of a more just society.
Chapter two introduces Ireland as my specific target of interest. The island has a unique history of popular education. Since its conception, Irish education has juggled external and internal demands for a system that both caters to instrumental results and promotes social harmony in a religiously divided country. Though relatively obscure on the world stage, both past and present policy in the system significantly poise Irish education for socio-spatial analysis. Chapter two identifies environmental manipulations by multiple actors to achieve various educational goals over time, positioning these as spatial precedents for the Educate Together model.
Chapter three discusses the current geography of Irish education, which Educate Together majorly transformed over the last thirty years by introducing a culturally flexible multidenominational sector. This chapter examines the relationship between literature on ethos and school design from the Educate Together national office. It then explores the educational and spatial goals at work in three case studies of Educate Together national schools. In this chapter, I connect Educate Together’s particular treatment of school space and learning environments to its explicit social justice platform.
Space, understood as a mutually reinforcing counterpart to history and society, lends an immediate physical perspective to an otherwise intangible debate. In my conclusion I discuss how spatial analysis of Educate Together national schools improves existing socio-historical accounts by adding a new layer of research to the multidenominational movement in Irish education. I argue that the Educate Together model has an ethos driven inclination to promote spatial justice in its school spaces, which in turn actively reinforce its inclusive vision of Irish identity. This relationship demonstrates the organization’s ability to adapt broad cosmopolitan values to a uniquely Irish situation and makes Educate Together a true model for educationalists, policymakers, and activists interested in culturally flexible national education worldwide. Educate Together’s lessons in space making indicate the possibility for productive change when an education system reevaluates the norms of schooling from within, and those lessons serve as a platform for those seeking educational justice everywhere.
Adviser: Nana Last
Searching for Justice at Mr. Jefferson’s University: Race, Class and Labor Relations at the University of Virginia
Wonman Joseph Williams | 2014 Exploited African American slave laborers began construction of the University of Virginia in 1817. Since then, the University has continuously oppressed and excluded African American and low-income populations. In this thesis I show how, despite the University’s current “commitment to diversity” and its historic attempts to “address” the concerns of African Americans, the University’s long history of race, class, and labor relations has largely been marked by abuse, inattention, and insincerity.
In the first chapter, I contextualize my experiences navigating the University of Virginia as a minority and low-income student as well as a campus worker, and my initial involvement with the Living Wage Campaign (LWC). In addition, I introduce the “Bubble of Privilege” concept, which seeks to explain the nature in which more privileged populations are insulated from the problems, concerns, and lived experiences of less privileged groups. In the second chapter, I retrace the historical background behind the University’s particular “Bubble of Privilege.” I return to the University’s early years, in which it exploited enslaved African American laborers until the end of the Civil War. I continue to trace the University’s historical relationship to the local black community, which included the continued exploitation of African American labor as well as its systematic exclusion of African Americans from the student body, faculty, and administration until the Supreme Court outlawed segregation in public schools in 1954.
In the third chapter, I cover the University’s history from the period right after Brown vs BOE up through the early 1990s. I discuss the University’s initial attempts to remain racially exclusive, the activism of the University’s first black students, and the relationship between these students and the surrounding black community. I then cover the University’s continuous failures to address the concerns of black students as well as the growth and gentrification of the black student population and the resultant consequences. In the fourth chapter, I talk about the Muddy Floor Report – the only extensive study on the working conditions of the University’s low-wage black employees in the entirety of its 150-plus year existence. I discuss its portrayal of the extensive discrimination and oppression of the University’s black employees and the University’s subsequent attempts to cover up and discredit its findings.
In the fifth chapter, I begin the discussion of the modern movement for social and economic justice at the University with the creation of the Labor Action Group in 1997, and the subsequent formation of the LWC. This section covers up through the LWC’s second major thrust, a sit-in in 2006, and the subsequent lull in activism after that generation of LWC activists graduated. In the sixth chapter, I begin with the LWC’s regeneration just prior to the appointment of new University President Teresa Sullivan. In this section I detail the University’s refusal to negotiate with the campaign over the next two years and the campaign’s resultant tactical escalation culminating in the Hunger Strike of 2012. I then briefly cover major developments from 2012 to the present.
The conclusion summarizes the University’s historical role as an oppressive, exclusionary, and exploitative force and its reluctance to alter the internal structures that continue to operate in this manner. I revisit the historic role that student activism has played in pressuring the University to alter its operational procedures, and discuss the potential that the recent resurgence in student activism and labor organizing has to create a more just and equitable University of Virginia.
Adviser: Michael Smith
Writing Between Forms: J. M. Coetzee and ‘The Lives of Animals’
Charlie Tyson | 2014 In October 1997, the novelist J. M. Coetzee traveled to Princeton University to give the annual Tanner Lectures on Human Values. Instead of delivering a conventional academic talk, Coetzee read aloud a novella called The Lives of Animals. In The Lives of Animals, an aging Australian novelist named Elizabeth Costello travels to a Massachusetts college to speak about how humans in general—and poets and philosophers in particular—treat animals. Her lecture, in which she compares factory farming to the Holocaust, leaves her audience perplexed.
Through The Lives of Animals I explore several questions, some new, some ancient. I argue that the work, a literary-philosophical hybrid, is best read in a way that acknowledges its “literary” elements: the emotions it incites; the relationships it depicts; its sly humor; its deft analogies; its detailed setting; its skillful construction of character. Whereas many critics have focused on the work’s philosophical content, I attempt to analyze the novella with close attention to its social texture and its relation to Coetzee’s other works.
In the introduction, I lay out the animating question of the thesis: What “species” of work is The Lives of Animals? I position my thesis in relation to existing trends in Coetzee criticism.
In chapter one, I argue against the common reading of Costello as a mouthpiece for Coetzee’s arguments. I attempt to show that this interpretation suffers from simplifying assumptions about the nature of fiction. By tracking Elizabeth Costello as well as Coetzee’s other “doubles” through several decades of his writing, I show that Coetzee has a long-established practice of writing himself into his characters. I argue, however, that Elizabeth Costello’s recurring appearances over nearly a decade of Coetzee’s career, as well as her distance from South African topics, make her a singular character in Coetzee’s oeuvre.
In chapter two, I argue that reading The Lives of Animals as a campus novel helps us better appreciate the work’s realist qualities and its staging of social relations. These are aspects of the text that critics have largely neglected in favor of the novella’s philosophical content. Through a close literary analysis of several pivotal scenes, I show that the novella carefully observes academic hierarchies and the social dimensions of intellectual life.
In chapter three, I examine what the work can tell us about the relation between literature and philosophy. I place The Lives of Animals in dialogue with contemporary boundary disputes between philosophy and literary criticism. Using Martha Nussbaum’s work as a touchstone, I show how the novella’s treatment of embodiment and empathy resembles accounts of literature’s ethical properties that were coming out of philosophy around the time The Lives of Animals was published. Whereas philosophers like Nussbaum urged the importation of literature into the domain of philosophy, The Lives of Animals claims ground for literature and (ostensibly) advances an impoverished conception of philosophy. The novella’s heterogeneous form, however, undercuts the literature-philosophy distinction that it reinforces elsewhere.
In the conclusion, I suggest that The Lives of Animals serves as a exemplary case of what Marjorie Garber calls “the impossibility of closure,” the abiding tendency of literary works to open up more questions than they answer. I argue, however, that literary works such as The Lives of Animals do not offer us a state of absolute indeterminacy. Instead, they provide structured environments that lead readers to ask certain questions.
Adviser: Rita Felski
The Politics of a Croatian ‘Witch’: An Analysis of Dubravka Ugresic’s Literary-Political Project
Ian Michael Sander | 2014 In this thesis, I explore the political and social thought of the formerly Yugoslav novelist and essayist Dubravka Ugresic (1949-present) as manifested in her literary work of the period after Yugoslavia’s collapse in 1991. The body of work I analyze consists primarily of essays but also includes two novels. With this analysis of her work, I elucidate both Ugresic’s own politics and the political responsibility she prescribes for all people as a necessary part of being ethical and political agents.
As I point out in the Introduction, Ugresic is a political dissident in exile, a supra-national writer, and a fierce cultural critic. Here, I note Ugresic’s preference of political and literary autonomy over national or professional belonging. I also provide a functional framework of Ugresic’s general ethical and political values as the basis for the thesis’s analysis.
In Chapter One, I examine Yugoslavia’s disintegration from the lens of Ugresic attributing blame to nationalist politicians. I go on to claim that nationalism functions as a defective foundation for just politics. I then describe Ugresic’s identity politics of the “other” as her political resistance to nationalism and as exemplary of a just identity politics.
In Chapter Two, I trace Ugresic’s observations on the construction of the contemporary Croatian state paying close attention to the uses of history and memory. Ugresic provides insight on the sociological and political processes of nation-state construction but admonishes of the Croatian treatment of history and memory; thus, I continue the examination by articulating Ugresic’s notion of the proper treatment of the past in political and social thought and practice. History and memory, she argues, can inform present actors but actors maintain the ethical and political agency to ultimately decide the appropriate course of action.
Chapter Three turns the lens of analysis on Ugresic’s experience of the conflict in Yugoslavia and her post-conflict life. Identifying her observations as indicative of Raphael Lemkin’s notion of genocide, I argue that Ugresic theorizes a politics from the experience of genocide, violent patriarchy, and exile that empowers the traumatized person or victim. In Chapter Four, I attend to Ugresic’s thoughts on the character of evil and the international community. I argue that her treatment of these two subjects fits into her broader argument, in which she situates critical thinking as a necessary basis for proper political practice. Ugresic decries the perpetuation of stereotypes that in turn restrict and oppress people.
In the Conclusion, I explore Ugresic as a writer from the perspectives of practice and theory. I show that Ugresic embraces writing as her mode of political agency and that she attempts to illuminate new political possibilities using language to break oppressive silences, to represent the practice of agency, and to generate theory and space for deliberative purposes. I finish with a note on the possibilities of Ugresic’s politics: although they are certainly rooted in the particular, her politics are broadly applicable.
The U.S. State Department and Women’s Rights Abroad: From Rhetoric to Reality with Respect to U.S. Involvement in Afghanistan
Frances Russell | 2014 In this thesis, I examine the character of the U.S. commitment to integrating women’s rights into its foreign policy since the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China in 1995.
In the Introduction, I summarize the United States’ involvement with the United Nations’ efforts to advance women’s rights, including the Convention to Eliminate all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) (1979), yet to be ratified by the U.S., and the Commission on the Status of Women’s four World Conferences on Women, held in 1975, 1980, 1985 and 1995. I also describe the methodologies (especially critical discourse analysis). Finally, I note a major limitation of this thesis, namely, that the critical discourse analysis in Chapters 1 and 2 is of a specific subset of U.S. discourse on women’s rights: U.S. secretaries of states’ remarks associated with International Women’s Day (March 8) since 1995.
In Chapter 1, I seek to discern how the U.S. Department of State interpreted the United States’ commitment to advancing the status of women worldwide and how it sought to justify that commitment. I also show how the secretaries presented the United States as a prime agent for the advancement of women’s rights abroad.
In Chapter 2, I frame Afghanistan as a case study for how the U.S.’s interpretation of its commitment to women’s rights has played out in a region of extensive U.S. political, military, and humanitarian involvement. I show how in these statements we can see that after 2001, when the U.S. and NATO forces undertook military operations in Afghanistan, secretaries expressed greater concerns about the status of Afghan women. I also show that as early as 2002 these speeches celebrate U.S. efforts to advance women’s rights in Afghanistan.
In Chapter 3, I examine the history of U.S.-Afghanistan relations in order to provide background to the U.S.’s involvement after 2001. I argue that the history of U.S.-Afghanistan relations, combined with secretaries’ comparative reticence on women’s rights in Afghanistan prior to the U.S.’ military involvement in that country, supports doubt about the sincerity of U.S. interests in advancing women’s rights in Afghanistan.
In Chapter 4, I argue that secretaries’ claims of success for women in Afghanistan were premature since the U.S. did not sufficiently begin investing in efforts to engage Afghan women in reconstruction processes in Afghanistan until 2009, when the U.S. military changed its main and overarching strategy from counterterrorism to counterinsurgency and began employing Female Engagement Teams (FETs). I show how, from 2001 to the present, FETs have been underutilized because of American cultural biases against women on the frontlines.
In the Conclusion, I contend that the United States’ success in advancing women’s rights in Afghanistan and elsewhere has been contingent upon its ability to identify and eradicate discriminatory practices against its own women. I argue that the rhetorical strategies to legitimize U.S. agency, as demonstrated in secretaries’ statements on International Women’s Day, may have impaired this ability. I argue that a reinvigoration of efforts to ratify CEDAW might well initiate a process of necessary, critical self-reflection.
Advisers: Jen Petersen and Michael Smith
The Lost Colony: Political Parties, Policy and Development in Puerto Rico in the 20th and 21st Centuries
Herminio A. Rivera Sink | 2014 I point out in my Introduction that if we are to adequately analyze and evaluate the policy decisions that the government of a country or territory makes in attempting to enact progressive change, we need to have in hand key figures that can serve as a gauge of progress. In spite of continuing developmental deficiencies, the two main political parties, the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) and the New Progressive Party (NPP), have succeeded in maintaining a duopoly of political power, each retaining a core of voter support. Why, in this competitive two-party system, has lasting progress not been enacted through either party’s policy?
In Chapter One I put forward three hypotheses that might explain this puzzle. I present possible economic, institutional, and political features that might account for the island’s failure in development.
In Chapter Two I examine how the two-party system came to exist in Puerto Rico after the creation of the NPP in 1967 and its gubernatorial election victory in 1968. I then argue that the two parties formed their identities out of their antithetical positions on Puerto Rico’s political status, the NPP exclusively supporting statehood and the PDP supporting Puerto Rico’s current Commonwealth status. I suggest that voters’ affiliation with each party is based not on its governmental efficacy but simply on what each private citizen believes is the better option with regard to Puerto Rico’s future political relation with the United States.
In Chapter Three I show how Puerto Rico’s lackluster economic progress can be partly explained by the restrictions that the United States places on Puerto Rico. Both political parties have the task of figuring out how to create a sustainable economic plan for the island in the face of certain overhanging policies put in place by U.S. legislation.
In Chapter Four I compare and contrast the two parties’ policy proposals and decisions in order to highlight how alike or different their legislative enactments are in practice. I focus on several pieces of legislation that impacted the development in Puerto Rico in very major, even visceral, ways.
In Chapter Five I offer a rationale for comparing Puerto Rico with two other Latin American countries: Costa Rica and Ecuador. The comparisons are designed to help establish the impact of a stable, competitive party system to patterns in policy making and national development. I use the policy decisions in Costa Rica and Ecuador to piece together an answer as to why Puerto Rico has had a consistently stable party system yet development has stagnated and in some cases has receded.
I conclude by answering the motivating question from the introduction and asserting that the current party system is to blame for Puerto Rico’s lack of sustained progress since the establishment of the political duopoly in 1967. The lack of meaningful competition between parties has seen parties recycle failed policies and stifle the development of the island in the process. I close with a call for further research on the topic of Puerto Rico’s development.
Adviser: Carol Mershon
‘A New Balance’: Style, Substance, and the Year of Pope Francis
Conor O’Boyle | 2014 Jorge Mario Bergoglio had already filed his retirement letter with the Vatican when the College of Cardinals elected him Pope Francis in March 2013. Less than a year later, Francis had made his way from a humble apartment in Buenos Aires to the cover of Time and Rolling Stone. In this thesis, I examine the relations among Francis’s undeniable popularity, his political style, and his theological approach. I also argue that press coverage of Pope Francis reflects what must be considered a successful first year.
In chapter one, I consider the impact that Pope Francis’s political style has had on his popularity. Francis has achieved a nearly unimaginable level of popularity in his first year. I examine what it means for a pope, versus a politician, to be popular. The difference seems to be that Western media observers can dislike a politician but still call her popular among her constituents, whereas the West has to like a pope for a pope to be considered popular. But popes, like politicians, are political actors and therefore must adopt political styles. I argue that the political styles of different popes create their varying levels of popularity. I examine Francis’s political style in two different manifestations: first, in the humble actions with which he sets a tone for the Church; and, second, in his campaign-style approach to his July 2013 visit to Brazil. I argue that Francis has a sound theological backing to support his attempts at popularity: a popular pope may well lead to a popular Church, and a popular Church will attract more converts and make observers more sympathetic to Catholic messages of justice, charity, and mercy.
Chapter two explores another condition for papal popularity: an appeal to Catholics. I establish that the biggest challenges that Francis faced when trying to make himself, and thus the Church, popular among Catholics were the crises facing the Church that he inherited and the widely varying degrees of engagement and devotion among those who identify as Catholic. I then argue that Francis’s most effective tool in his attempt to appeal to Catholics has been a “pastoral tone.” The Second Vatican Council provides us with the historical origins of the “pastoral tone” and the main characteristics of pastoral communication: an emphasis on mercy and love instead of blame and guilt; an eschewing of canonical proclamations or anathemas; and an attempt to welcome all people into a conversation and a partnership from a place of humble uncertainty and curiosity, what Francis calls “social humility,” instead of arrogant and unbending gnosis. I show how and why Francis has been notably less vocal about three major issues, namely, abortion, gay marriage, and atheism, and how he has communicated with a pastoral tone when he has decided to address those issues, both in Argentina and in Rome.
In Chapter three, I analyze the New York Times’s coverage of the first year of Francis’s papacy, capturing the paper’s sense of hope and optimism with regard to the pope. I describe media “frames,” recurring themes that reflect the most important aspects of an article’s subject and often signal a writer’s outlook to readers. I analyze two particular frames—one that questioned Francis’s role in Argentina’s “Dirty War” and one that portrayed Francis as a “conservative” not different at all from Benedict XVI—and show how their recurrence during the first two weeks of the Times’s coverage of Francis’s papacy instilled a feeling of pessimism. I then analyze the beginnings of the frames we see today, those that capture Francis as a humble leader, willing to defend the poor and practice the message that his Church preaches. I argue that Francis’s actions have convinced the Times to eliminate their “conservative pope” frame for frames that tell of humility, action, and change, and I suggest that these new Times frames display the Times’s hope in Pope Francis’s papacy and future.
I conclude with my thoughts on how Francis’s “new balance” has shaped the world’s expectations for him in his second year as pope.
Adviser: John Portmann
Pursuing the Truth: An Ethnographic Analysis of the Honor System at the University of Virginia
Chelsea Jack | 2014 Since 1842, the moral imagination of the University of Virginia community has been shaped by the justifications and procedures of the Honor System. This student-run disciplinary system has been the self-proclaimed guardian of the “Community of Trust” for 170 years, as its representatives have identified, tried, and expelled university students found guilty by a jury of their peers for acts of lying, stealing, or cheating. Notably, there exists only a “Single Sanction” for those students tried and found guilty of an Honor Offense: expulsion from the university community.
Despite its severity, the Honor System remains one of the most entrenched and respected traditions by university students and faculty alike. In this thesis, I aim to ethnographically examine the processes involved in constructing the authority and credibility of Honor System at university – what I call its truth. I offer here an ethnographic analysis of the Honor System based on 32 formal interviews done with current and matriculated students, faculty, expelled students, and their families. I argue that those in the university community must attempt to separate notions of authority and reputation enacted by Honor from the actual practices and responsibilities that – understood through social and political histories, identity, relationships, and disparities – make the lives of particular persons morally meaningful.
In both the Introduction and Chapter One, I analyze how the Honor System claims to pursue true moral knowledge, and I focus on identifying the processes of construction and maintenance that contribute to the symbolic efficacy of the system. As part of this effort in the preceding chapters, I have analyzed contemporary forms of power in order to understand whose interests have gone underserved at the University of Virginia.
In Chapter Two, I ethnographically examine the experiences of Black students at the university. These experiences speak to particular relationships of place and belonging understood through the legacies of slavery and racial discrimination in the southern United States.
In Chapter Three, I continue to address underserved interests in relation to Honor by analyzing the discursive production of knowledge and cultural difference at the university. Borrowing from the work of anthropologist Webb Keane, this chapter begins my discussion of ethical reflexivity, with the aim of introducing moments of possible transformation.
In Chapter Four, I find that student-made comparisons between peer sexual assault adjudication and Honor adjudication at the university represent some of the most vocal calls for ethical reflexivity and change from inside the community today. As I aim to do throughout the entire thesis, this fourth chapter continues to argue against models of moral knowledge that neglect considerations for particular moral agents. I align myself with certain feminist ethicists, such as Margaret Walker, who have suggested relational and collaborative models of morality.
In my Conclusion, I suggest specific reforms. I argue that, by attending to forms of power and the construction of moral knowledge, it becomes possible to identify moments of potential ethical reflexivity and transformation, and, for that reason, I offer this thesis as a work in service of moral imagination.
Adviser: Allison Alexy
The Mirrors of Miskitu and Mestizo Nicaragua: Identity Formation through Cultural Collision on the Coast
Carl David Goete-Luciak | 2014 Conflict, consensus, and negotiation between Miskitu and Mestizo Nicaraguans reveal how ethnic and national identity is formed in interactions with “significant others.” The Miskitu indigenous peoples of Nicaragua have experienced a series of attempts in history by the majority Mestizo ethnic group to “reincorporate” them and their region, the Atlantic Coast, into the nation. These efforts at assimilation compelled the rearticulation of Mestizo and Miskitu ethnic identity as the two groups discovered differences and similarities between one another, ultimately compelling, in 1987, a redefinition of Nicaraguan nationality.
Chapter One outlines the formation of Miskitu ethnic identity on the Atlantic Coast from 1630 until the Sandinista Revolution in 1979. A traditional account of the Coast’s history is presented, drawn from sources sympathetic to the Sandinista perspective, which emphasized the influence of colonialism and depicted the Miskitu as passive social actors. I employ historical accounts and details to construct a counter-narrative stressing Miskitu independence and resistance of foreign powers. I show the Miskitu to have created a social dimension and political tradition entirely dissimilar from Mestizo Nicaragua, where historical forces and moments were experienced in dramatically divergent ways.
Chapter Two depicts the ways that differences in Sandinista and Costeño perceptions of social reality and history came to the fore in conflicts over class, religion, land rights, and foreign influence during the Sandinista project of national unification and development from 1979 to 1984. Discussion of the subsequent Miskitu rebellion engages the startling similarities it shares with the Sandinista Revolution in its rearticulation of collective history to unify the group in a struggle to reverse infringements upon their national identity.
Chapter Three details the public discourses surrounding regional autonomy, developing from 1984 to 1990, that synthesized Miskitu and Mestizo perspectives on history, identity and nationality—enabling the remarkable resolution of armed conflict on the Coast through a reconceptualization of the Nicaraguan state and people. Discussion of the ways in which the Miskitu and Sandinista Revolutions reflected and refracted one another is furthered by exploring the discourse of the Autonomy Law: where consensus balances contradiction, enabling the peaceful continuation of relations between Mestizo and Miskitu peoples, grounded in both similarities and differences.
Chapter Four gives room for diverse voices on the Atlantic Coast in 2013 to reflect on their identities and experience of autonomy since 1990. Brilliant librarians, passionate activists, shrewd politicians, and somber ex-combatants provide vivid anecdotes of their historical experience and employ vibrant metaphor in discussing the meaning of development, indigenous identity, political struggle and what makes life worth living. Through them, I show how people on the Atlantic Coast continue to rearticulate their identities in dealing with the political and cultural influences that both push Mestizo and Miskitu people together and pull them apart.
Ultimately, Miskitu and Mestizo interactions reveal how the very notion of “Nicaragua” was transformed—through consensus and contradiction, conquest and compromise—and continues to be negotiated in discourses of both difference and unity.
Adviser: Herbert Braun
‘In Someone’s Land’: A Phenomenological Exploration of What it Means to Ghanaian immigrants in the United States to be ‘Ghanaian’
Mame Frimpong | 2014 All Immigrants in the United States face cultural challenges that most work hard to overcome. In this thesis, I explore the experiences of Ghanaian immigrants in the United States and how the differences they meet constructs an idea of what it means to be Ghanaian. In the introduction, I ask the following questions: How do Ghanaian immigrants make sense of their lives in the United States? How is this culture and heritage defined? Is the application of this difference the same in literature of Ghanaians? What makes a Ghanaian different in the eyes of Ghanaian people? I also outline the chapters and the limitations and delimitations of the study.
Chapter one is aimed at answering the question “What is Ghana and who are Ghanaians?” I outline the formation of Ghanaian identity. Specifically, I look at the ways in which a Ghanaian identity has been crafted historically. I note that post-Independence Ghana’s government was a continued attempt to assert one nation rather than multiple ethnic divisions. Chapter two answers the historical questions: why did Ghanaians move? I describe Ghanaian presence all around the world, and their reasons for migrating to the US from 1959 to present time. Additionally, I outline the various economic pushes and pulls that have led Ghanaians to move to various African countries and European countries.
In chapter three, I discuss the benefits of the individual story, using the work of Ruben Martinez. Additionally, I explore the ways Ghanaian presence has been discussed in literature: through religion and the “Ghana” Association”. In the end, I argue that though the literature is helpful, an individual approach allows for proper exploration of how the immigrant experience helps the immigrant define themselves. Chapter four outlines the inspiration for my research method. Namely, I discuss in-depth Amedeo Giorgi’s strain of phenomenology and Kristen Lucker’s tips on interviewing. Using Giorgi’s method, I generated fifteen themes such as cultural insensitivity and feelings of isolation. I further simplified these themes into four major categories: appearance, accents, duty and respect.
Chapter five highlights the first two themes of appearance and accents. I conclude that appearance has two major shocks: the subtlety of difference (i.e. the meaning of looking or being African) and the difference between Africans and African-Americans. Additionally, accents can either be a benefit (when it changes) or a basis of scrutiny.
Chapter six highlights the two other themes of duty and respect. Duty can be seen in three themes: the imperative to move, respect, and Ghanaian identity as the root. Moving means to aim to improve one’s livelihood and take advantage of what the host country offers—but remain steadfast in cultural values. These cultural values are embodied in the concept of respect—which refers both to respecting age differences and treating other human being (regardless of status) with love and acknowledgement.
I end with three conclusions. First, my interviews showed that Ghanaians choose to integrate into American society and believe that should be the main concern. Second, Ghanaians find solace in spaces for Ghanaians because of several shocking tensions that they were met with that fall into the categories I discussed earlier. If all fails, most feel they can always go home—where relationships do not seem to change, even if time has passed. Third, I think assessing Ghanaian values can prove beneficial for the nation of Ghana and address the concerns of the Ghanaian people.
Advisers: Sabrina Pendergrass, Cynthia Hoehler-Fatton
The Dance of Democracy: Managing Social Pluralism through Coalition Politics in India
Ashna Contractor | 2014 Ever since India gained independence in 1947, the formation and consolidation of its democracy has fascinated political scientists and historians. India had every ingredient that was supposed to make it doomed to democratic failure. The country’s colonial history, high levels of illiteracy, low economic development, and large number of social cleavages made India’s future seem rather bleak. Yet the country has managed to defy expectations and sustain a vibrant and functional democratic structure and thus become the world’s largest democracy. This achievement has shocked and impressed many but it has not come without its own share of challenges and hurdles.
I am thus interested in understanding what it is about India’s political institutions and party systems that make democracy functional in this massive and deeply divided society. Considering that the country’s socially pluralistic nature is one of the most significant challenges that the success of democracy in India faces, I argue that India’s multi-party political structure and system of coalition politics facilitates the functioning of democracy in the country. I make this argument by presenting two major points. Firstly, multi-party coalition politics allows for the various social groups in the country to be represented in the central government. And secondly, the presence of coalitions curbs extremism in politics and encourages a more cooperative and moderate form of politics.
In chapter 1 I introduce the challenges of Indian democracy by describing its socially pluralistic nature and thus setting the stage for why it is an interesting case to study. I also describe the current party system and mention why it is important to Indian democracy. Chapter 2 looks into the general political science research that tries to tackle the problem of consolidating democracy in divided societies. I analyze the important democratic models and attempt to understand them in the Indian context. In Chapter 3 I discuss the evolution of the Indian party system since 1947 and thereby analyze how the changes in Indian politics have contributed to the success and stability of Indian democracy. For this I describe and analyze the three prominent phases of Indian politics – one-party dominance, wave politics and coalition politics. In Chapter 4 I discuss the benefits of coalition politics. I begin by emphasizing the importance of representation in Indian politics. I then go on to make the argument that coalition politics allows for the diverse social groups to be represented at the center. Finally, in Chapter 5 I analyze how coalition politics has the ability to curb extremism and encourage cooperation among different social groups. I do this through a detailed case study on the Bharatiya Janata Party and the moderating effect that it goes through due to the presence of coalition politics in the country. I conclude that the Indian system of coalition politics, though imperfect, plays a vital role in the success, unity and smooth functioning of Indian democracy.
Adviser: John Echeverri-Gent
Power in Trust: Reexamining the Legacy of Public-Private Partnership under the National Recovery Administration, 1933-1935
Daniel Clark | 2014 In this thesis, I seek to challenge the prevailing historiography surrounding a controversial moment in President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s early New Deal—the failed industrial recovery effort, as embodied by its signature agency, the National Recovery Administration (N.R.A.). The purpose of the study is to show that the failure of the N.R.A. was the result of a particular kind of administrative shortcoming stemming from associational imbalance in bargaining power among key stakeholders. I argue that this failure was, in essence, a failure of practice on the part of the agency’s managers and planners rather than a categorical failure of the principle of cross-sector cooperation. The result, therefore, is intended to partially vindicate the legacy of the N.R.A. and suggest ways in which similar undertakings—which I characterize as public sector and private sector partnerships—might be managed better in the future.
A key part of this undertaking involves establishing how certain associational relationships—particularly those between private enterprises in the years before the Great Depression—were formed and shaped to the point of dominating the N.R.A. upon its creation. This requires considerable explication of historical relationships and major events from the half-century preceding the New Deal, which I attempt to reconstruct through a synthesis of existing literature in Chapters 2, 3, and 4.
Chapters 5 and 6 trace the development of the industrial recovery policy through Roosevelt’s 1932 campaign against incumbent President Herbert Hoover and into the formative days of his administration. In these sections I argue that the great ideological distance between competing proposals for industrial recovery underscored the conflicted, catch-all proposal that ultimately became the National Industrial Recovery Act (N.I.R.A.) These accounts focus on a narrow period with emphasis on a few major policy minds who shaped the formation of the early N.R.A. Primary accounts used to trace the evolution of the measure within Roosevelt’s inner circle were compiled and analyzed from among collections housed at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, New York.
Chapter 7 examines the exceptional case of the bituminous coal code under N.R.A. governance. By tracing the deep historical development of a particular industry, this section lends clarity to the actual governing structure of the codes of fair competition under the N.R.A. Moreover, understanding the remarkable, localized success of the bituminous coal code helps to counterbalance the rest of the thesis, which predominantly focuses on issues inherent to the central administration of the N.R.A.
Chapter 8 returns to discussion of the overarching shortcomings of the N.R.A., recounting the manner in which support for the agency among key stakeholders faltered and ultimately dissipated by mid-1934. I argue that several influential historiographies misattribute the bulk of the N.R.A.’s administrative failure to the incompetence of individuals or groups within the agency, when much of the policy gridlock later in the tenure of the N.R.A. was more directly attributable to the associational power dynamics that the agency’s planners and administrators had ignored at the outset.
I point to three claims—or “lessons”—based on the history of the N.R.A. in the final section of the paper. First, I argue that the obvious managerial shortcomings of the N.R.A. were at least partially the result of policy imbalance in administering provisions of the Industrial Recovery Act, and not a failure inherent to centralized bureaucracy or public administration. Second, I argue that the excessive concentration of benefits from the industrial efficiency movement among a handful of large-scale industrial organizations resulted in many of the deeper issues underpinning the industrial economy and ultimately led to the Great Depression. Finally, I argue that the greatest mistake of Roosevelt and his advisors in conceiving the N.R.A. was their failure to account for the historical and associational continuities that they inherited in crafting industrial recovery policy. In accounting for these major lessons from the legacy N.R.A., it is my assertion that public policy can indeed proceed on a genuinely collaborative and mutually beneficial basis between business, labor, and the public sector.
Advisers: Charles W. McCurdy and Brian Balogh
Analysis and Authority: An Analysis of how Convention and Race position Speakers in relation to Standard English and Legal Language
Natalie Brown | 2014 Language as a means of communicating is central to the way we think, interpret, and understand the world around us. In this work, I argue that language as a convention introduces systems of power which separate dominant conventional practices from deviations deemed inferior. I argue also that the forms of exclusion indicative of this sort of dichotomy begin early on in conventional practices of Standard English, disproportionately disadvantaging certain races. These issues of access and exclusive practices on the elementary level work to instate an added sort of exclusion and inaccessibility within the law, a more complicated language that already poses issues for the common man in general.
Chapter one begins by pointing out language’s significance as a communicative medium, evidencing this with basic examples of the use of language without which proper transmission of actions and ideas is made either difficult or impossible. Chapter one also details Standard English as the conventional practice of language in the US. I will argue that this convention imposes assessments of individuals based on their ability to conform wholly to its standards. I use education statistics as evidence demonstrating the outcome of unequal access to this conventional language practice. In addition to this, I employ common examples of Standard English violations which lead to slanted ideas of the individual in question, often compromising his authority, credibility, and legitimacy as a speaker (and even as a listener). Thus, those who lack full access are therefore unfavorably assessed and judged by peers. In Chapter two I discuss legal language as being the next level in which these issues of access manifest themselves, making an already hard to grasp language even more difficult for the same already disadvantaged constituency. I argue that this inaccessibility makes it possible for certain groups to essentially be excluded from legal language.
Chapter three consists of legal case studies surrounding Stand Your Ground Laws, from which I intend the reader to extract and understand the linguistic difficulty of legal language and the sorts of assessments often made about people who fail to navigate legal language and its environment adequately. Additionally, this chapter argues that elementary conventional practices in Standard English help to instate the sort of built in exclusion that have been theorized. The final Chapter discusses the notion of access in relation to language as convention. The final chapter also includes an analysis of the power structure inherent in conventional Standard English. Here I also begin to theorize a reality devoid of such conventional practices which impose a dominant standard.
Adviser: Ellen Contini-Morava
Place of Contamination: The Single-Family Neighborhood and American Zoning Law
Michael Bock | 2014 This thesis analyzes the place the single-family home has taken in American zoning law since comprehensive zoning began in New York City in 1916. I suggest that zoning laws protecting single-family homes from other residential uses can be animated by an irrational fear of contamination. The law should be guarded from such unreasonable dictates of emotion and should focus on regulating primary objects, separating uses but not people.
The first chapter explores how the single-family detached home emerged as the center of concern and aspiration in several twentieth century judicial decisions on zoning laws. The Supreme Court’s rulings in Euclid v. Ambler, Village of Belle Terre v. Boraas, and Warth v. Seldin codified the exclusivity of detached single-family home communities.
The second chapter provides a closer examination, suggesting that the single-family detached dwelling possesses socio-economic and cultural significance for Americans, a status that is reflected spatially in American zoning laws. It emphasizes that residents who do not live in single-family dwellings are at risk of contaminating the perceived purity of single-family neighborhoods.
The third chapter explores these laws in the context of the emotion of disgust (the fear of contamination). This emotion can be an unsatisfactory gauge of danger and is characterized by laws of sympathetic magic that project disgust onto people in ways that do not withstand a rational review. Using the harm principle articulated by Martha Nussbaum, I suggest that the Supreme Court opinion in Village of Belle Terre v. Boraas allowed zoning to discriminate based on projections as well as primary objects. Municipalities, empowered by the Court’s ruling, could use zoning to discriminate against people as well as things.
I highlight in chapter four that by legally incorporating irrational fear, zoning has frustrated the aspirations of several urban theorists who highly regard diversity among people within a community. Such diversity reflects the natural life, and virtues, of the city and enables both individual and collective democratic processes.
The conclusion highlights how removing the hierarchy between people that zoning erects simultaneously eliminates barriers between the economically vigorous and laggard cities globally. Diversity is required to attract the thinkers that power post-industrial economies. Reducing the disparities in resources between regions and cities, and bestowed upon local residents, demands diversity.
Advisers: Charles W. McCurdy and Richard C. Schragger
Beyond the Zero-Sum Game: Satisfying Moral Duty and Economic Demand in United States Immigration Reform
Samuel Atkeson | 2014 On October 3rd, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law a series of amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act that created the modern immigration system. Beneath the Statue of Liberty, he proclaimed that a preference system based on family relationships and skills would mean the admission of immigrants who can contribute most to the growth, strength, and spirit of the nation. But nearly five decades later, the system’s overwhelming prioritization of family-based immigration has drawn much criticism from those who argue that current economic demand requires greater emphasis on the skill level and employment prospects of the country’s immigrant population.
In this thesis, I conduct an empirical and ideological examination of the debate between skills and family-based immigration in the context of recent efforts toward policy reform. I identify a well-founded need for increasing the country’s intake of highly skilled immigrants, but note that such an ideological and methodological shift in the immigration system must not inhibit the moral imperative to honor the reunification of immediate family members. I argue that just immigration reform that also meets labor market demands will necessarily involve a substantial, albeit viable increase in overall immigration intake.
In my introduction I outline the current preference system for immigrant admissions as reflected in the allocation of visas annually, and introduce the debate between skills and familybased immigration.
Chapter One provides a brief history of immigration to the U.S., in order to contextualize the emergence of family reunification and economic growth as the country’s principal immigration policy objectives.
Chapter Two examines the argument that current labor market needs require increasing skills-based immigration to the U.S. I find support for the net-positive impact of immigration on the economy, and discuss the significant participation of skilled immigrants in spurring tech industry growth. I identify the ways in which the current family-based system is indeed socially and economically valuable, but I conclude that its facilitation of low-skilled immigration is insufficient in meeting labor market demands.
Chapter Three explores the role of values, ideology and cultural myth in the formation of immigration policy. I argue that moral considerations of justice and duty are of primary concern in resolving the debate between skills and family-based immigration, and identify a moral obligation on the part of the U.S. to honor immigration for the purposes of family reunification.
Chapter Four discusses the policy implications of the above findings. I explore the ways in which reform might satisfy the moral duty to family reunification as well as the economic demand for greater skills, and find that increasing immigration intake is a necessary and viable option for which there is a considerable historical precedent.
In my Conclusion I return to the myths of America as a “land of refuge” and a “land of opportunity,” and argue that while the divergence of these narratives is a source of a tension in immigration policy, their convergence is a source of resolution—that is, a mutual endorsement of the profound importance of the American immigration tradition. I invoke President John F. Kennedy’s call for fairness, flexibility and generosity in immigration policy in framing my conclusion that if United States immigration reform is to be fair in admitting immediate family members, and flexible in filling labor market needs, it must also be generous in increasing overall intake.
Adviser: Milton Vickerman
Politicizing Education: Kenyan Lessons on Institutional Reform
Rehema Wachira | 2012 A predatory government seeking to centralize its power can manipulate the distribution of public goods and services to its own advantage but not without serious consequences. Kenya’s turbulent record of institutional reform shows at political liberalization is a risky endeavor for countries with weak institutions and polarized social groups. Important lessons can be learnt by other developing countries attempting to reform their own institutions.
In Kenya, education is a valuable and strongly demanded national service which the Kenyan government has transformed into a highly contentious political good. In the process, it has damaged the education sector, which has resulted in the further marginalization of the majority of Kenyans. The consequences have been severe and are exemplified by the near breakdown of the political order during the Post-Election Violence crisis of 2007/2008. But they also manifest themselves in more localized ways. For example, in a trend that shows no signs of stopping, it was reported that 7 primary school students and one school Headmaster committed suicide over their national primary school examination results, all at the start of 2012.
The first chapter examines how Kenya’s early political and economic development encouraged the politicization of education and polarized Kenya’s ethnic groups by creating a small ruling elite. The second chapter explores the factors that influenced the concentration and personalization of power in the Executive and his small ruling elite, as well as the subsequent misdirection of state resources toward patronage instead of social development. Finally, I analyse the most recent constitutional reforms, the distribution of power and resources that they entail and the impact it could have on the education sector.
I suggest that the 2002 general elections and the 2007/2008 Post-Election Violence were significant events that altered the country’s development discourse and forced an uneasy partnership between the people and the government. Although it is too early to determine the success of the new reforms, it is clear that Kenya is at a critical juncture with the potential to break the cycle of mismanagement of the education sector in particular and the country as a whole.
Minority Entrepreneurship & Economic Development: Toward A Theoretical Model of Capital Access
Evan Avery Shields | 2012 This thesis examines the role that black entrepreneurship plays in driving economic development. Black business has seen considerable gains in growth potential in recent years. For instance, between 1987 and 1992, the number of black-owned businesses grew by more than 46% as aggregate revenues of these firms grew from $19.8 billion to $32.2 billion in the same period. In the post-Civil Rights Movement era, the black middle class similarly has seen socio-economic growth as average educational attainment, household income, and quality of occupations have all improved. However, despite this recent growth, a lack of access to financial capital for black business continues to threaten the long-term sustainability of the black community’s economic viability.
In chapter one, I use a sociological approach to entrepreneurship to first explore how ethnic groups in America uniquely perform entrepreneurship as a method of seeking economic stability. I second seek to better understand the effect that capital constraints have on ethnic enterprise. I outline three prevailing sociological theories of minority entrepreneurship, including middleman minority theory, collectivist theory and ethnic enclave theory. Though these approaches provide explanations of immigrant ethnic groups performance in entrepreneurship, namely Japanese-, Greek-, and Cuban-Americans, they do not necessarily correspond to the economic situation of African-Americans. However, the economic detour theory provides an adequate framework for understanding the issues affecting uniquely black entrepreneurs. Marginalization by segregation, discriminatory lending and capitalization behavior, and the like has affected black businesses’ capability of growth. Through an analysis of economic detour we indeed find that a lack of access to capital is chief amongst these issues.
In chapter two, I use economist Joseph Schumpeter’s theory on economic development to more firmly connect black entrepreneurial innovation through financing with black economic development. After providing a detailed analysis of the manner in which enterprises gain financing, I find that ‘information asymmetry,’ a concept describing the disparaging effects of miscommunication between entrepreneurs and financiers, leads to the capital constraints described in chapter one. I believe that black entrepreneurs under an economic detour may face a more racialized form of this information asymmetry that has disproportionately marginalized their access to capital.
In chapter three, I turn to the field of social capital theory to find solutions to the financing obstacle of information asymmetry for black entrepreneurs. I first find in my research that entrepreneurs with social ties to financiers are more likely to receive capital for their firms, than those entrepreneurs who do not. I then turn the analysis toward the financiers themselves, examining the practices of the venture capital (VC) industry in particular. I posit that the minority-oriented venture capital (MOVC), a sub-industry of VC that relies on social ties to make investment deals with minority enterprises, may be a good field for examining these social capital solutions to information asymmetry for black entrepreneurs.
I conclude the thesis with two hypotheses. First, I hypothesize that minority-oriented venture capitalists serve as brokers between investors and black entrepreneurs and help close the gap of information asymmetry during the investment deal-making process. Second, I hypothesize that minority-oriented venture capitalists are economically motivated to closure networks between MOVC funds and entrepreneurs, further closing the gap of helping overcome the asymmetry and benefit minority entrepreneurs with capital constraints. In chapter four, I provide a brief two-part case study examining both of these hypotheses in-action. I first examine two MOVC firms and how they seek economic advantage by performing brokering roles. I second examine the National Association of Investment Companies, a trade organization representing minority-oriented financing groups, and its work in closuring networks of financiers and minority entrepreneurs. Though my analysis within this case study may be limited, I conclude that these hypotheses provide grounding for further research within the field, as well as point toward further solutions toward alleviating the capital constraints affecting black enterprise’s role in black economic development.
Genes and Ownership: The Controversy Over Intellectual Property Rights and Patenting Isolated Human DNA
Deeva Shah | 2012 In 1996, Myriad became the first company to officially file for a patent on the isolation of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, genes that helped diagnose breast cancer. When granted the patent, and thus a monopoly over all commercial uses of the gene, Myriad became embroiled in a conflict that included philosophers, politicians, public health specialists, doctors, researchers, lawyers, and many more. In 2009, the American Civil Liberties Union, working with the Public Patent Foundation, filed a joint lawsuit stating that patents on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes were unconstitutional. In this case, Association for Molecular Pathology, et al. v. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, et al., they argued that Myriad Genetics was using the patents to limit access to diagnostic testing and to prevent others from researching the genes and actually finding a cure for mutation-based breast cancer.
Regardless of the court’s ruling in Association for Molecular Pathology, et al. v. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, et al., the case over Myriad Genetics and its patents created legal, ethical and political questions that lingered even after a verdict had been issues. While the District Court of New York found in favor of the plaintiffs, the Association of Molecular Pathology, et al., the Federal Circuit Court found in favor of the defendants, the United States Patent and Trademark Office and Myriad Genetics. They attempted to address whether or not patents on isolated DNA constituted patents on ‘products of nature’ or were patents that were legally permitted; however both courts interpreted the statute quite differently from each other, leading to much confusion over the standard. Furthermore, the deeper constitutional and especially moral issues remained largely unaddressed by the courts.
I aim to take a deeper look at the Myriad case and use the case as a vehicle to understand the legal and moral arguments regarding a critical question: Should we allow individuals, companies, or even a well-meaning government to essentially own portions of isolated human DNA through patent protection? This case also provides a basis on which to judge the overall effect patenting human DNA has on businesses, researchers, patients, and many other stakeholder groups that are involved. In order to address this larger question, I focus on the following areas. First, I will give an introduction to the basics of patent law and biological patents in order to set a framework to assess the legal issues before the District and Circuit courts. Specifically, I will look at the introduction of biological inventions to patent protection and the conflicts that have arisen in recent history. Second, I will consider whether these existing standards can be applied to the case of patenting isolated DNA. In order to do that, I will discuss the decisions of both the District Court and Circuit Court in Association of Molecular Pathology, et al. v. USPTO and consider the courts’ differing reasons for why isolated DNA patents are or are not legally permissible. Third, I will take a look at the deeper questions the judiciary has failed to consider in the Myriad case. I will take a deeper look at the ethical issues of allowing property and commercial rights over isolated DNA sequences. Finally, I will conclude by addressing the policy concerns of allowing or denying patents on isolated DNA and how the international community has dealt with this apprehension. I will argue that the judiciary is not the only arena in which these conversations regarding patents on isolated DNA should take place.
Why Public Service Journalism Will Endure: Reflections on the American Newspaper Industry, 1945-present
Andrew Seidman | 2012 In this thesis, I consider several challenges to public service journalism, which is broadly defined as journalism that contributes to and frames debate over important public issues, exposes corruption at all levels, spurs reform and establishes trust with readers. The first perceived threat to public service journalism was consolidation in the newspaper industry. My research shows that even as the number of newspapers published in the United States in the latter half of the 20th century did not fluctuate much, they became heavily concentrated into a few conglomerates, or chains. By 1984, chains controlled two-thirds of America’s 1,730 daily newspapers and 72 percent of weekday circulation.
This trend worried both journalists and lawmakers in Congress who thought economic concentration in the newspaper industry could limit the number of editorial voices in any given community. Little consensus has emerged on the subject, however, so I instead offer two case studies of chain-owned daily newspapers to assess what effect, if any, chain ownership has on public service journalism. The case studies show that chain ownership in and of itself is not antithetical to public service journalism. Since roughly 1995, the Los Angeles Times (whose parent company, Times Mirror, merged with Tribune Company in 2000) has been led by chief executives and publishers who had no newspaper experience before they arrived at the Times. As a result, the newspaper experienced a series of humiliating events that damaged the paper’s integrity. The Philadelphia Inquirer, meanwhile, was once a biased independent that rose to national prominence after the Knight-Ridder chain bought it in 1970. Unlike the heads of Tribune Company, the Knights and Ridders were very much invested in high-quality journalism. Between 1972 and 1990, the Inquirer won 17 Pulitzer Prizes, second only to The New York Times.
More recent threats to public service journalism include the recession and a structural change in the industry in which readers have fled to the Internet for news, leading to the decline of the print advertising model which had sustained the newspaper industry for decades. Total advertising revenue dropped from $45.4 billion in 2007 to $23.9 billion in 2011, and classified print advertising has dropped by 75 percent since 2000. Yet I argue that newspapers are poised to remain strong sources of public service journalism in the digital age. The New York Times, for example, started charging readers for full access to NYTimes.com in March 2011, and has already signed up nearly 400,000 digital subscribers. This early success indicates that consumers are willing to pay for journalism online. Hundreds of newspapers have followed the Times’ lead, a sign that a once-stubborn industry is now ready to try to pursue new revenue streams. Perhaps even more important for newspapers in the digital age is The New York Times’ success in handling the WikiLeaks saga in 2010. While Julian Assange could have simply posted some hundreds of thousands of cables on his website, he instead decided to deliver the cables to the Times and other news organizations because he knew they had an advantage, one that no blogger or news aggregator will ever have: a newsroom with experienced journalists who could mine through the documents and turn up the most important information.
Finally, I argue that what newspapers have lost in resources through attrition in the newsroom can be made up for by partnering with online nonprofits like ProPublica that offer some of journalism’s finest investigative reporting. Although it is unclear how sustainable these nascent nonprofits can be, their early success also bodes well for public service journalism.
Privilege, Power, & Appropriation: The Essence of ‘Authentic’ Performance
Marvin Allen Richards, Jr. | 2012 This study examines the progression of attitudes on the performance of race and sexuality within western culture. With notions of a post-racial society looming about, one begs a deeper question: Are we in a post-essentialist wave culturally? Essentialism, the practice of regarding something (as a presumed human trait) as having innate existence or universal validity rather than as being a social, ideological, or intellectual construct (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). Could one step outside the socially constructed role that some would argue as innate and step into a social and cultural performance that is in opposition to one’s internal essence or nature? I want to take a look at race and sexuality, two descriptors often argued as being deterministic and ingrained in one’s existence. I argue that this post-essentialist wave has a limited scope in terms of attainability for all.
To examine racial fluidity, I researched the current trend of white female artists, entering the Blues and Soul sector of the music industry. In terms of social construction, Blues and Soul, historically, have been linked with African-Americans. But since the start of the 21st Century, the majority of mainstream Soul artists are white females. If Blues and Soul is considered an innate art performance of African-Americans, what is behind white female artists wanting and being able to tap into a culture that is essentially opposite of their white racial identity? Since this fluidity is happening for white women, are black women able to achieve the same type of racial fluidity. For example, can a black female artist pursuing a career in the alternative rock & roll sector of the music industry, which historically has been associated with whiteness, be able to successfully penetrate this sector or are they pressured to stay within the ‘black’ genres of music?
For sexuality, I focus solely on male sexuality and the ability of white heterosexual identifying men to adopt behaviors generally associated with gay men. I focus on male sexuality following Michael Kimmel, a sociologist who claims that hegemonic or most sought after masculinity is at odds with homosexuality; to be masculine, one has to be homophobic. If Kimmel’s claim is correct, how are straight men, especially white straight men, able to perform aspects of homosexuality, without being pressured to adopt a ‘true’ self that is homosexual? Can gay men, in ways comparable to straight men, appropriate aspects of a sexuality that conflict with their primary sexual identity? Can straight-identifying men of color be fluid with their sexuality without facing the consequences of being pressured to adopt a homosexual label and identity? Because sexuality is obviously complex, and because, as Michel Foucault points out, our culture tends to subscribe to the idea of an essential or fixed sexual identity, I researched numerous institutions in which some aspect of homosexuality is being performed by straight identifying men. Those institutions include acting careers within Hollywood, the gay porn industry, and the online, social community, Craigslist.
My findings and analysis show that we are moving into a post-essentialist wave on the grounds of race and sexuality, but only the dominant racial and sexual populations have racial and sexual fluidity. Secondly, racial and sexual fluidity is achieved by resorting to essentialism.
The Golden Lyric: Reflections in the Service of Iqbalianism
Eman Niazi | 2012 Muhammad Iqbal was born in 1877 in the sleepy city of Sialkot, Punjab, located in what was then undivided British India. Between then and his death in 1938, Iqbal gained regional and international fame as one of the greatest thinkers of modern times. It is reported that more than 70,000 Indian subjects participated in his funeral procession. Many view Iqbal as having single- handedly recreated the modern poetic tradition of the Urdu-Hindi language through his poetry. Beyond verse, Iqbal’s philosophical engagement with Islamic tradition has also had him described as the most important Islamic thinker of the last century.
In 1947, the British Crown ordered the partitioning of India along religious lines, resulting in the creation of modern-day India and Pakistan. Due to his political activism on the behalf of Indian Muslims, Iqbal was claimed “the national thinker” of independent Pakistan. Today in Pakistan his ideas have been appropriated for various, and at times problematic, political ends. Across the Wagah border, “Iqbal Day” is still enthusiastically celebrated throughout India, where most school children can recite his ode to a free Hindustan, Saare Jahan Se Acha. Due to the troubling history of the Subcontinent, Iqbal’s legacy and the meaning behind his works have been obscured.
Many today view Iqbal’s ideas as a sum of fascinating contradictions. But upon a closer reading of his philosophical works, it becomes possible to discover a deeper current to his thinking, a “golden lyric”, which resolves these oft-suggested inconsistencies. Indeed, there is in Iqbal’s work an unrelenting drive toward a comprehensive, and fundamentally unified, understanding of the human condition; one that boldly reaches across civilizations in order to construct its approach to the world. Thus, this thesis is an effort to present that greater Iqbalian Weltanschauung –what I described as Iqbalianism.
In presenting Iqbal’s ideas as an independent philosophical system, it becomes necessary to free his thought from the many “categories” in which it is often placed. Thus, this thesis might be viewed as a two-part project. The first part (roughly chapters 1, 2 and 3) consists of presenting Iqbal’s ideas in their deepest form. Iqbal’s approach might be broadly described as anti-classical, forward-looking and humanist. Central to his view of humankind is a championing of praxis and the sanctity of the individual.
Part two examines the implications of Iqbalianism in light of the insights accumulated in part one. Thus, part two attempts to free Iqbal from his associations with Islamic nationalism or the creation of Pakistan. At its boldest, part two suggests that Iqbalianism be viewed as a universal philosophy responding to humankind’s collective modern predicament. This is how Iqbal viewed his own ideas, not as the Islamic attempt to “catch up”, but as a vision for civilization’s greater next step. As a cure for modernity’s many ailments. Thus “part two” also attempts to free Iqbal from the well-known category of “Muslim poet-philosopher”. If there is a contribution that these essays make, it is in presenting Iqbalianism as a universal idea without shying away from the Islamic source of his inspiration. For Iqbal, Islam was something far more abstract than tradition; it was the embodiment of humankind’s first impulse in the pursuit of universal equality. For Iqbal, Islam is humanism.
Iqbalianism presents an opportunity to engage the Islamic world in a consensual, modern framework. Some view any engagement with Ancient tradition as a dangerous project and prefer an approach that seeks to side-step the “Muslim question” and offer preconceived Western solutions. But as the events of the last decade have shown, these “solutions” are short-term and ignore the greater challenge –and the great possibility– that Islam as a source of civilization holds. Whatever the danger of engagement, Iqbal suggested, through his life and work, that ignorance might be the greatest danger of all.
Dorothy Day and The Integrated Life
Emma Murphy | 2012 As a journalist and co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement, Dorothy Day (1897-1980) envisioned a life that united faith and practice. Committed to ordering her writing and work around the reality of God, she pursued a life of holistic integrity, which she termed, “the integrated life.” This thesis examines Dorothy Day’s integrated life from the founding of the Catholic Worker to the culmination of her eschatological vision in the postwar era. In the integrated life, Day sought a realization of the “whole” person as a creature of God in both body and spirit, in historical time as well as eternity.
After addressing Day’s recent consideration for canonization, the introduction traces the intersection of her religious conviction and her concern for the poor. This intersection defined Day’s search for a union of faith and work before her life with the Catholic Worker. In chapter 1, I explain personalism and the Catholic doctrine of the Mystical Body of Christ, which supplied the social and theological frameworks for Day’s integrated life. In chapter 2, I begin my study of the integrated life with the emergence of the Catholic Worker amidst the Great Depression. I argue that Day’s unique perspective as a Communist convert to Catholicism enabled her to merge her faith and her work in her response to the plight of the Depression era “workers.” Beyond restoring a Christian foundation to Communism, Day’s integrated life offered a positive, faith-based program for social change that affirmed the reality of God.
In chapter 3, I address the Catholic Worker’s transition into the World War II era, during which the practice of the retreats prompted the growth of Day’s eschatological vision. In this period, Day’s writing asserted a transformed way of life and a new focus on redressing social inequality as a fulfillment of the ultimate destiny of mankind and a realization of the present Kingdom of God on earth. In chapter 4, I conclude my discussion of the integrated life in the American postwar era. During this period Day’s notion of the integrated life culminated in her call to community with the poor. Community, as the sole solution to the “long loneliness” of human life, involves living and working with others to realize the united love of God and neighbor. Defining the poor as Christ’s literal presence on earth, Day perceived knowing and loving the poor as a necessary antecedent to communal salvation. In the theology of compassion, or shared suffering, Day formed the basis of her vision for the lay apostolate while also anticipating the Roman Church’s stance of the “preferential option for the poor.” I conclude with a brief reconsideration of Day’s canonization in light of her call for a universal sainthood of all Christians.
Anonymous: What do we have to fear from hacktivism, the lulz, and the hive mind?
Victoria McLaughlin | 2012 In this thesis, I argue that the online collective Anonymous deserves serious attention as a hacktivist group. Anonymous has gotten a lot of press lately, but because the group is an amorphous online collective most famous for foreboding YouTube press releases and Guy Fawkes masks few people take the group seriously. However, Anonymous is more than just a trolling outfit and it is important to recognize the real consequences of hacktivism. Hacktivism, a portmanteau of hacking and activism, is the use of computers and/or hacking techniques towards political and social ends. Anonymous’s main tool of hacktivism is distributed denial of services attacks (DDoS), an attack where a website is overloaded with traffic and shuts down for a period of time. Some, like anthropologist Gabriella Coleman, consider DDoS attacks to be a form of peaceful social protest. Coleman likens a DDoS attack to a digital sit-in. But, the FBI and international law enforcement agencies have arrested Anons around the globe that participated in DDoS attacks against public and private websites. I argue that, because DDoS attacks are not a national security concern, arresting and prosecuting attackers harms Internet freedom and undermines the spirit of the Internet.
The first chapter is a history of the hive mind and its origins on 4chan.org. Anonymous has a history of doing ‘spectacularly stupid’ things, but recent Anonymous Operations, such as Project Chanology, a protest again the Church of Scientology, and Operation Payback, an operation attacking anti-piracy outfits, indicate that the hacktivist collective is not only motivated by the lulz, a corruption of laugh out loud; the expression usually expresses joy in someone else’s misfortune. The second chapter is a brief history of the Internet and the hacker ethic, beginning in the 1980s. In the chapter, I elaborate on the open structure of the internet network and how this supported creativity and community among hackers. The chapter ends with a discussion of the end of the golden age of hacking and the rise of trolling, which I call the new nethic, or Net ethic. The third chapter describes Anonymous’s transformation into a politically active group; I advocate that Anonymous’s actions be assessed in terms of Internet use and misuse, that is, does the hive mind support or undermine the founding principles, such as free access and free information, of the Internet? The fourth chapter describes specific AnonOps and demonstrates that although Anonymous is an online collective, their actions have real consequences.
In the conclusion, I discuss the US State Department’s Free Internet Agenda and the three challenges that the open Internet poses to society. Namely, the open Internet and hackers put our liberty and security at risk; however, legislating against such activities would be a greater infringement upon First Amendment rights. In the end, I agree with cybersecurity specialist Richard Forno that Anonymous, as of yet, has not caused any grave damage and it is therefore better to live with the threat of a raid than begin a preemptive strike.
On Education Reform: The Transcendentalists, John Dewey, and the Harlem Children’s Zone
Tatiana Matthews | 2012 I examine three American education reform movements—two historical, one current—in order to address the ongoing debate surrounding American education reform. At three separate moments over a two-century span, the Transcendentalists, John Dewey, and the Harlem Children’s Zone radically re-envisioned the aims, process, and practice of education and offered an alternative to the educational status quo. In particular, each movement’s philosophy addressed the role of individual and social development in the learning process, and each movement’s primary actors opened a school whose example, they hoped, would influence practice on a larger scale.
In Boston at the beginning of the 19th Century, the status quo was a hierarchy of Unitarian educational institutions and a schooling paradigm of chaotic classrooms, corporal punishment, and religious indoctrination. The Transcendentalists envisioned an education system that valued the student’s spiritual and personal development. By the turn of the 20th century, the status quo was a nationalized bureaucratic school culture of assimilation, rote learning, and strict behavioral codes. John Dewey envisioned an education system that connected to the student’s own interests and linked the learning process to larger social goals. In our current moment, the status quo is an institution of mass schooling that too often fails to account for the external factors facing students—especially minority students— living in areas beset by systemic poverty. Geoffrey Canada envisions an education system that takes the student’s social circumstances into account.
I analyze the movements’ foundational philosophies and educational practices in order to address two questions out of the many issues within American education reform. First, what are the aims of education? Second, does top-down or bottom-up implementation achieve those aims best? From a reformist mindset, the first is a question of what change should strive for, and the second, a question of where change comes from: the individual acting on society and its institutions, or institutions acting on individuals.
I argue that the Transcendentalists and Dewey hold in common a distinctive view of the aims and process of education that, although manifested differently by each movement in practice, encountered similar difficulties in implementation. After establishing and comparing their philosophies, I examine the Harlem Children’s Zone as a working site to evaluate the capacity and relevance of these philosophies to current schooling and reform.
Climate Change in Historical Perspective: A Comparison through Economic and Ethical Frameworks
M. Pemberton Heath | 2012 In this thesis I place climate change in the context of three historical cases of public and environmental health: cigarette smoke and the tobacco industry, ozone depletion, and acid rain. Through the lens of economic analysis I articulate the unprecedented difficulty of solving the climate change problem. I simultaneously find that ethical arguments compel actors to regulate climate change for the preservation of intergenerational justice.
There have always existed natural amounts of greenhouse gases in the earth’s environment, and these gases regulate the temperature of the planet by trapping thermal radiation on earth. Since the industrial revolution human forces have been emitting greenhouse gases in unprecedented amounts, and concentrations of greenhouse gases have risen above values previously witnessed in human history. Increased concentrations of greenhouse gases have caused the temperature of the planet to increase nearly one degree Celsius over the past century. Without limitations on greenhouse gas emissions, temperatures could increase up to six degrees Celsius over the next century. This warming will both directly and indirectly affect human society in potentially catastrophic ways. In order to avert these damages, the United States and the world must take immediate steps to limit emissions of greenhouse gases.
Four chapters comprise the thesis. In chapter one I outline the most current understanding of the science, economics, and political relevance of climate change. In chapter two, I give background on the three historical cases of the tobacco industry, ozone depletion and acid rain. In chapter three I utilize an economic framework to analyze climate change in light of the three historic cases. In chapter four, I use a broader ethical framework to identify moral obligations for action on climate change.
I argue that action on climate change is of unprecedented difficulty because regulators face three significant barriers to action: uncertainty, temporal and spatial distance between origin and destination of negative externalities, and a lack of affordable alternatives to fossil fuel intensive goods. Climate change is the only case considered that faces all three of these barriers; the combination and scope of impediments exacerbates the challenge of enacting regulation.
I further argue that despite these difficulties the United States has a moral obligation to slow global climate change. Without overlooking the inherent difficulties in doing so, I outline that we must take action in order to preserve intergenerational justice and the progression of society towards moral maturity. The strength of the ethical arguments for action trumps the associated difficulties in discharging moral obligations.
The time to act on climate change is now. This thesis attempts to explain why the particular characteristics of climate change make action difficult, but why those same characteristics mandate that regulators move forward with capping CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions. By achieving a better understanding of climate change, especially as it relates to previous cases where the United States has had to protect public and environmental health, we can better understand how to turn inaction into the much needed action required to address global climate change.
Race, Culture, and History: An Examination of the Political Thought of W.E.B. Du Bois and Franz Boas at the Turn of the Century
Annacrizelda Funtelar | 2012 This thesis is an examination of the political and social thought of activist and scholar, W.E.B. Du Bois, and the German-American anthropologist, Franz Boas at the end of the nineteenth, and beginning of the twentieth century. During this time, the United States was simultaneously a nation of great wealth, and influence on the global stage, and a nation characterized by violent and tragic racial violence domestically, and high colonialism abroad. Many social scientists produced knowledge that championed racial, economic, and social hierarchies both domestically and abroad. Understandings and valuations of the racial types, the diversity of human cultures, and history during this time represented important spaces of intellectual and political negotiation. During a time of rampant racism and imperialism, W.E.B. Du Bois and Franz Boas would courageously challenge racialized and racist conceptions of racial types, human cultures, and socio-evolutionary narratives of history.
I begin by outlining the assumptions of race science at the turn of the century. I explain the ways in which biological, human evolution and cultural, civilizational evolution were conceptualized by Victorian social scientists of the day to be inextricably bound to one another. The laws governing models of human evolution were understood to be timeless, natural, and universal. This problematic conception of evolution produced a racialized view of human history that purported that one look out across the human diversity around the world and observe human beings at all stages of “development.”
After examining the particular formulations of race, culture, and history to which Boas and Du Bois respond, I examine the ways in which Boas and Du Bois sought to challenge racist science on the grounds of science itself. Through the lens of Boas’ 1909 Immigrant Study, I examine the ways in which Boas combatted the anthropometric data that physical anthropologists of the time used in order to establish racial types, and subsequently predict mental capacity. Using Du Bois’ The Philadelphia Negro: A Social Study, I examine the ways in which Du Bois employed the methods of social science in order to debunk eugenic and pathological assumptions in relation to black communities. I argue that both Boas and Du Bois place history at the foreground of the ways in which they seek to challenge race science on the grounds of science itself.
Next, I examine the ways in which Du Bois and Boas articulate race, culture, and history in their works intended for a popular audience. Du Bois and Boas fundamentally reformulate the prevalent popular and academic understandings of race, culture, and history through discussions of the ways in which these concepts were rooted in history, and inextricably bound to institutions of power and economics. Though Victorian social scientists of the day conceptualized their models of race, culture, and history to be universal, timeless, and natural, through the work of Boas and Du Bois, we can begin to understand the ways in which they were not.
An examination of these powerful texts by Boas and Du Bois brings to light the weighted symbolism of seemingly neutral and universal terms. For both of these theorists, to understand race, culture, and history during this time was to understand the ways in which these concepts were deeply embedded in the politics of culture and power. It meant grappling with the ways in which humanity was conceptualized in a time of racial turmoil, in the context of a world in transition.
Hedgehogs in Conversation: Suffering and Guilt in Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov
Maj-Britt Frenze | 2012 This is a thesis about suffering and guilt in The Brothers Karamazov and their relation to moral systemization. It is Dostoevsky’s belief that suffering is a process totally independent, and indeed antithetical to, moral attitudes that perceive of ethics as legalistic. In this thesis, I argue that positive moral law can be used as a means of asserting self-righteousness, and that such claims of perfect adherence to moral law function as an artificial mitigation of the kind of suffering caused by a guilty conscience. I narrow this extremely broad idea by focusing my discussion primarily on Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, and I reference the philosophical thinkers Kierkegaard, Berdyaev, and Levinas in order to see how Dostoevsky’s conception of suffering relates to prominent thinkers with an interest in philosophical theology and moral law.
I begin by using Kierkegaard’s thought as an introduction to the religious experience as one of suffering and inherent ambiguity; because we are finite human beings attempting to engage with absolute religious truths, an inevitable gap exists between the actuality of those truths and our perceptions of them. I then introduce Dostoevsky himself, with particular reference to The Brothers Karamazov. I argue that the suffering with which Dostoevsky is primarily concerned is that which stems inevitably from the existence of free will. Free will offers to human beings the necessity of choosing which actions to undertake and to which moral systems to subscribe. Though I by no means argue that this necessity translates into a kind of moral relativism by which each individual invents his own truth, I insist that human beings are subjected to enough ambiguity in this life as to preclude the possibility of claiming perfect moral knowledge. Because we can never be assured of our own righteousness, we live out our lives constantly aware of a guilt that pervades our relationships to others. Thus the moral experience is one pervaded by suffering that stems from a guilty conscience in the eyes of these thinkers.
I organize the thesis through a reading of The Brothers Karamazov in which I focus on suffering and guilt. I first introduce Dostoevsky and his view of suffering as an experience essentially independent of material or environmental factors; furthermore, it is an experience inherent to freedom. As will be discussed, his opinion on this subject largely colors his view of socialism. Along this vein, I discuss Berdyaev’s development of some of these ideas concerning the relation between freedom and suffering. In the third chapter, I shift the focus of the discussion to the guilt of conscience that results from freedom. I discuss Dostoevsky’s conception of guilt alongside Levinas’ insistence upon unlimited debt to “the other.” I wish to show that this outpouring to the other defies the limitations of systematized, or quantified, morality.
In writing this thesis I hope to offer an account of how The Brothers Karamazov resonates with thinkers concerned with the relation between morality and legalism., and I hope to elucidate the central role that suffering plays in the belief that the moral life cannot be quantified or calculated in such a way as to avoid suffering.
Currents and Sub-Currents: The Long Trek to Comprehensive Health Care Reform in America and The Promise of Patient Centered Care
Alex Eschenroeder | 2012 I argue that finding effective ways to work within the American health care system primarily through delivery system reform is an enduring and promising way to move the notion of health care as a human right closer to reality in America. After arguing that understanding the history of the U.S. health care system is essential in understanding the system that exists today, I start my historical analysis by examining the improvement of medical institutions and the development of physicians’ professional and cultural authority. I show that this authority was rooted in higher levels of clinical effectiveness, which also resulted in higher costs.
I explain the motivations and reasons for failure of reform efforts from the Progressive Movement to President Truman’s defeated call for national insurance after World War II. In covering these historical points, I highlight factors in addition to cost concerns, especially the power of private interests, that made resistance to reform successful. I also introduce modern private insurance and explain the reasons behind its spread throughout America as well as its role in opposing governmental health care reform attempts.
My transition away from the Truman reform attempt introduces the shifting goals of health reform in light of awareness of the implausibility of radical change to the health care system. I argue that the 1965 passage of Medicare and Medicaid, which are both programs designed to assist specific populations, reflect this shift.
I then introduce both Medicare and Medicaid and explain how their interactions with the American health care system encouraged cost growth in the years following their establishment. I evaluate the reform efforts of Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Carter in response to this cost growth and conclude that their attempts failed because of a lack of prioritization of the issues, and because of the difficulties posed by an increasingly complex set of opposing private and political interests in the health care system.
I also introduce HMOs and ERISA and explain their influence on President Clinton’s decision to pursue a comprehensive health system reform following moderate federal government program expansions under President Reagan. After describing Clinton’s reform attempt and explaining his reasons for failure, I analyze the lead up to and passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) under President Barack Obama in 2010.
I first present the popular provisions of the ACA before addressing the individual mandate and Medicaid expansion. Given the possibility that one or both of these provisions, and maybe the ACA as a whole, will be either repealed or deemed unconstitutional, I highlight a sub- current of reform known as delivery system reform that will likely persist with or without the ACA. I argue that the design of delivery system reform is promising given its understanding of provider behavior and desire to work in the current American health care system to reduce costs and maximize quality. Finally, I argue that these reforms, although currently in experimental phases, will prove to be enduring because of their practical benefits, but also because they save costs by place prioritizing patient-centeredness.
Monumentalizing Africa’s Momentous Decade: Building a Nation and Monuments in Uganda
Mark Duerksen | 2012 In 1962, the year Ugandans won freedom from British colonial rule, Gregory Maloba memorialized the momentous political accomplishment, and arguably also challenge, in Independence Monument and Independence Arch in downtown Kampala. I examine the history and aesthetics of Maloba’s monuments in order to understand what he intended them to convey, and what Ugandans have interpreted and appropriated them to mean. Explicating the evolving meanings of Maloba’s monuments provides a revealing lens to explore how Ugandans have struggled to give meaning to their own independence.
The first chapter reviews relevant scholarly literature on the significance of architecture in shaping identities and conceptions of power in emergent nations. Short sketches of the independence-era architecture projects in Ghana and Tanzania introduce general issues that the following chapters examine in greater detail for Uganda.
Chapters 2 and 3 contextualize how Ugandans understood independence in the context of how the British had ruled Uganda through the kabaka (king) of Buganda, one of the historic polities in the colony, and argue that British pressure resulted in Ganda thinking of their kabaka’s monumental thatched “palaces” as symbols of dominant power instead of places to experience the reciprocal relations that had underlain the historic kingdom. Chapter 3 then traces Maloba’s artistic development as student and professor at Makerere University in Kampala, where he experimented freely for the time period and distanced himself from the movement to “Africanize” art in the colony, perhaps in distaste for British perversions of a dynamic medium of participation to a sterile “tradition.” Chapters 2 and 3 also set the political tensions as Uganda prepared for independence, in which the politician who negotiated an alliance that promised to govern independent Uganda, Milton Obote, came to power at the head of a deeply divided coalition that shared no unified conception of nationalism beyond a short-term grab for power.
Chapter 4 argues that Maloba intended Independence Monument to invite reflection on Uganda’s ambiguous past, present, and political future, offering hope for independence if his countrymen and –women could find a unifying bond while still respecting multiculturalism and progress. Obote employed Maloba to create a second monument, Independence Arch, to represent Obote’s personal desire to become the paternalistic, controlling, father figure around whom Ugandans could unite. The Arch symbolizes Obote’s sheltering ambitions by offering a shaded area outside of the National Assembly for Ugandans to mingle, under a medallion of Obote’s profile. Neglect of Independence Monument’s message of the ambiguities of nationhood in the present and popular misinterpretations Independence Arch as a threatening symbol of Obote’s despotic political ambitions explain why Uganda spiraled into twenty years of ethnic conflict and militaristic misrule under Idi Amin after independence.
The troubled legacies of Maloba’s monuments form the subject of chapter five. Current President Museveni (since 1986) ended the neglect of Independence Monument by appropriating it as a symbol of his regime in attempts to convince prospective international donors that Uganda had fulfilled the hopes of unity and balanced prosperity that Maloba had expressed in the monument. Museveni’s government has given the Monument increased recognition, but skeptical Ugandan media have interpreted it as a symbol of Museveni’s reliance on outside sponsors and thus as a symbol of the failures of independence and the continued grip of neo- colonialism.
The conclusion highlights the particulars of Uganda’s monuments in comparison to the monuments of Ghana and Tanzania, such as the competition that resulted in an artist designing an ambiguous, reflective monument. Next the conclusion accounts for Africa’s tragic monumentalized militarization – the failure of African independence to full its promises – by considering the lack of means available to African nations, which were once available for Europeans to forge the nationalism required of modern states. The conclusion then considers the talented contemporary artist community in Uganda, people who keep alive Maloba’s hopes for a country engaged with the careful contemplation of artists. Finally the thesis concludes with a reminder that all monuments include the humanistic dynamics of art, which can motivate people who create their own varied meanings for the monuments, far beyond the sterile theoretical categories of architectural critics.
Understanding the China Bubble
Duan (Kate) Duan | 2012 China is a rising giant that has been attracting the world’s spotlight because of its speed and potential in economic growth. However, the Chinese economy began to show signs of overheating since the mid-2000s and it is certainly bubbling now. This thesis reveals the full picture of China’s bubble by arguing the entire process of how China’s macroeconomic imbalance is translated through its financial system and reflected as overlending and overinvestment.
In chapter 2, I argue that China’s macroeconomic imbalance is the root cause of the excessive liquidity in its domestic economy. The controlled renminbi exchange rate against the dollar and an imbalanced trading sector with huge dollar inflows jointly create a condition where monetary expansion is difficult to control. I further argue that the central bank’s sterilization tools are not effective in controlling the overall liquidity in the economy. Instead, sterilization tools reduce the commercial banks’ profitability and induce them to overlend at low rates and as a result, flush the economy with cheap credits.
Chapter 3 examines the banking system in China and explains how financial resources are intermediated via both formal and informal channels. Commercial banks in China seek for economic interests by lending, but they also function as political instruments for the state. Lending in the formal banking system is extremely biased towards the state-owned enterprises. As a result, many private enterprises are unable to get the capital they need from banks and they have to turn to the informal channels for funding. When the state-owned enterprises receive too many loans, they recirculate them to the shadow banking system and arbitrage the interest rate difference. With the flourish of trusts as the major intermediary, the shadow banking system encourages excessive lending to private enterprises at unsustainably high rates. In recent years, informal lending to real estate developers has become especially problematic and is aggravating the real estate bubble.
Chapter 4 contains a case study of China’s local government debt problem. After the 2008 financial crisis, the central government initiated a stimulus program and adopted a loose monetary policy to boost growth. As a result, local governments created a borrowing binge and invested massively in infrastructure projects. I argue that local governments have created a debt bubble as most infrastructure projects are either too early built or extremely wasteful and thus cannot generate enough returns for debt service. The local government debt bubble is a prominent case where an aggressive monetary expansion leads to overlending in the financial system and overinvestment in the real economy.
Covering the Shifting Sands: American Media and the Arab Spring
Matthew Diton | 2012 I argue that the American media’s coverage of the Arab Spring revolts was adequate in comparison to the coverage of previous events in the Middle East and North African region despite several errors, and also that the coverage represents a change into a new system of foreign reporting. To arrive at these conclusions I conducted a content analysis of various news sources’ coverage of the Tunisian and Egyptian Revolutions, which were chosen because they were amongst the first Revolutions to occur during the Arab Spring, and also because they both resulted in a complete regime change. The content analysis studied the coverage of the New York Times, the Washington Post, FOX News, CBS, ABC, and NBC. All of these news sources were chosen due to their widespread prominence in American society.
My first chapter serves as a justification of media analyses in general, primarily using Shanto Iyengar and Donald Kinder’s book, News that Matters. In their book, Iyengar and Kinder describe several media effects that impact how the media shapes the public’s understanding and perception of various events. Most significantly, they describe the agenda setting effect, which shows that issues that receive the most attention from the media become the issues that the public deems most important and pays the most attention to. Following the description of media effects, I proceed to describe the flawed American media’s coverage of the last Arabic revolution, the Iranian Revolution in1978-79 to provide historical context for my analysis, and also describe an instance of media coverage that has been almost universally declared a failure.
Following a brief description of the Tunisian and Egyptian Revolutions, I turn to my own analysis of the coverage of the two Revolutions. In my analysis I describe several errors in the media’s coverage. In no particular order, these errors are (1) false attribution of leadership and (2) sensationalism of the roles of violence and religion in the protests. Not all aspects of the coverage were negative, however, as unlike in previous examples of foreign reporting, the media was not subservient to the official administration line. Additionally, I argue that the large quantity of coverage of the Egyptian Revolution, in comparison to the other uprisings, suggests an American-centric bias in the media’s coverage because of Egypt’s strategic importance to American foreign policy in the region.
After critiquing the media’s coverage, I conclude the thesis by arguing that the manner in which the media covered the various Revolutions represents a fundamental change in foreign reporting. In the wake of the global economic downturn that has forced the closure of many foreign bureaus, traditional mainstream media sources have begun to rely more on social and alternative media sources and parachute journalists for information. These new sources of information both reduce the cost of coverage for the media sources and also provide a new conduit of information so that the reporters can rely less on official government sources for information. However, without traditional foreign correspondents in countries around the globe, it is more difficult for the American media to get a completely accurate report of global events. This proved to be the case during the Arab Spring, when many of the media’s mistakes came as a result of a poor understanding of Arabic culture and individual national sentiments. Barring a significant change in the economic structures of mainstream media sources (particularly newspapers, which have been hit hardest in recent years), I believe that the impact of social and alternative media sources and parachute journalists will continue to rise in foreign reporting, and the manner in which the media covered the Arab Spring will become the new norm for foreign event coverage.
Black Power, Student Activism, and the Development of Black Studies
Sarajaneé Davis | 2012 This thesis argues that the formal development of Black Studies is a direct result of Black student activism in the 1960s and early 1970s. Specific attention is given to the institutionalization of Black Studies at San Francisco State University, Harvard University, Columbia University, Howard University, and the University of Virginia. At these five institutions, student activists not only defined the political purpose of Black Studies, but they also engaged in scholarly debates that would shape the development of the field in decades to come.
Since student activism was central in the development of the discipline, my research explores how corresponding counterculture movements influenced students and the trajectory of Black Studies. Stepping back, one can see that the long tradition of Black student protest begins with the efforts of students at historically Black colleges and universities in the 1920s as students fought to secure greater control over their institutions. In the 1960s the youth counterculture movements, sparked by antiwar politics and Black Power ideology, greatly influenced the environment in which Black student activism emerged and the strategies students chose to employ. In particular, the core tenets of Black Power ideology profoundly shaped the direction and strategies of Black student activism through its emphasis on the political mobilization of marginalized members of the African American community and its critique of normative forms of political behavior. The greatest impact that Black Power ideology had on youth activists of the Black Studies movement was in shaping their overarching goal, which was to transform institutions of higher learning and create a society in which African Americans held a permanent position of power.
Clear parallels in the collective demands put forth by students reveal how their vision for the discipline shaped its formation. My research shows that seeking to dismantle the historic exclusion of the Black experience from mainstream realms of consideration, Black students pushed for a set of three demands. These demands included (1) increasing the representation of African Americans on college campuses in the faculty and student body, (2) improving the university’s relations to its surrounding community; and (3) the creation of a formal Black Studies program. Clearly, students saw Black Studies as a mechanism for creating an autonomous African American community that would secure a position of power for those within and beyond the university. This institution would ensure that academic scholarship focused on the Black experience and uncovered solutions to the problems plaguing the community.
My assessment finds that the most influential factors on the student activism and the development of Black Studies were geographical location, historical legacy and traditions, local environment and policies, and the demographic patterns of students who matriculated to these schools.
My research illustrates that since its formal inception in the mid-1960s, Black Studies has provided the academy with intersectional methods of analyzing institutions and their implications for broader society. Thus, a revitalization of energy around the discipline will ensure that if fulfills its potential as a transformative agent in the larger world. To renew energy and urgency around the discipline, those invested in its development will have to restore student involvement in the field as well as strengthen engagement with the African American community.
The One and the Ninety-Nine: An Examination and Analysis of Rising Income Inequality in the United States
Matthew Lee Cofer | 2012 Income inequality has been rising precipitously over the last thirty years in the United States. While the economy has continued to experience large overall growth, the economic rewards of this growth have been increasingly distributed to the top of the economic ladder. Much scholarship has been dedicated to understanding these trends, yet there is a considerable lack of consensus on key aspects of the story behind rising income inequality. This lack of consensus is important because how the story of rising income inequality is ultimately understood – its development, causes, and consequences – shapes the narrative of what can and should be done about it. I argue in this thesis that defenders of the status quo of high levels of income inequality have a misunderstanding of the story behind income inequality. Moreover, I argue that by examining the best and most recent research on the subject, a clear picture of income inequality emerges.
Theories that argue that income inequality is the inevitable result of technological change or economic forces related to globalization are ultimately unconvincing. They explain differences between educated and non-educated workers. But, as has been made clear, American income inequality is about the inequality between the really rich and the rest, not the educated and the uneducated. The more convincing explanation for rising income inequality lies in the organizational and political changes in Washington that have led policymakers to support the economic interests of a narrow economic elite at the expense of average Americans. Income inequality is not inevitable, but rather it is the result of choices made by key domestic institutions. Knowing that income inequality can be changed obviously begs the question of whether it should be changed.
The answer to this question is overwhelmingly clear: current levels of income inequality are unacceptable and must be reduced. The justifications for high income inequality fall flat in the face of even the most basic facts. Additionally, mounting evidence demonstrates that higher levels of income inequality have profoundly negative impacts on our society, our economy, and our democracy. To restore the critical features of American national identity that economic inequality threatens to erode, leaders in the United States must take decisive action to reverse the course of the thirty year rise of income inequality back towards a more equitable and fair track.
Forging the “Field” of Social Entrepreneurship
Lily Bowles | 2012 I argue that twentieth-century French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu’s definition of a “field,” along with the theoretical concepts that support it, can be used as a framework to analyze social entrepreneurship, the practice of using market-based approaches to solve social problems.
In this thesis, I contend the conceptual framework Bourdieu provides can be used to: (1) prove that social entrepreneurship does not have the necessary foundational components to be considered a legitimate autonomous field, as it is claimed to be in both public discourse and academic literature, (2) reveal the missing elements precluding social entrepreneurship from becoming a legitimate autonomous field in addition to the steps necessary for it to become one, and (3) remind proponents of social entrepreneurship that, while market-based solutions can solve perceived social problems to a certain extent, the root of all social tensions stem from power dynamic struggles between agents with different control levels over resources, which means systematic and sustainable social change requires a political dimension.
The foundation of my argument is rooted in Bourdieu’s belief that most aspects of social life are categorized into different fields. He claims each field has its own configuration of relations between positions, and involves agents who engage in strategies and practices based on their shared set of values and dispositions. Most central to my argument is Bourdieu’s suggestion that a high level of specificity characterizes an autonomous field. These elements of specificity include: a clear definition and boundaries, possession of a deep-rooted history, specific agents operating under a distinctive set of beliefs, and political and power dynamic struggles between these agents. According to my interpretation of Bourdieu’s definition, social entrepreneurship is not currently a legitimate field, as it is not characterized by these highly specified components. Subsequently, I outline the necessary steps for social entrepreneurship to become a field.
In the first chapter, I point out the growing interest and participation in social entrepreneurship, while acknowledging that a definition needs to be established before this phenomenon can be considered a field. In the second chapter, I define social entrepreneurship
to end disagreements about its meaning, determine the habitus of social entrepreneurs, and clarify the differences between them. In the third chapter, I contextualize social entrepreneurship in the history of development to reveal the assumptions it is founded on. In the fourth chapter, I discuss the ways in which social entrepreneurship’s neoliberal historical roots have given it a grand narrative, raise the problems with this narrative, and suggest that this narrative reincorporate politics. I conclude by urging the creation of cross-sector collaborations, as this is the only way to identify and eradicate the complex and intertwined sources of created inequality.
All of the steps I outline will take a concerted effort. Nonetheless, I argue they are steps worth taking because they will forge a revolutionary field that will serve as a constant force of creative-destruction in society; and, as Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter asserts, it is only through this process of creative destruction that old, outdated, and, often unethical, institutions and practices are replaced with ones that take society to a higher level.
The Origins of Extraordinary Acts: The Condition of Agency and Its Paradoxical Heritage
Andrew Chando Yu | 2011 In this thesis I argue that what motivates individuals to act extraordinarily above all else is their sense of agency—their control and capacity to act in the world. I suggest that as an individual’s sense of agency increases, so does the probability of the actualization of the belief that he or she can create a change or perform an extraordinary act in the world. At the same time, I acknowledge that opposing forces such as determinism and luck cannot be discounted because there is evidence of them in our everyday lives. Although attempts to understand the paradox that agency coexists with determinism and luck are usually set aside (because of the tension and discomfort the paradox causes), I argue that, nevertheless, the individual who profoundly understands, accepts, and moves forward with this paradox is likely to act extraordinarily.
The question at the center of this thesis—what motivates people to act extraordinarily?— cannot be answered a priori, but to argue for my hypothesis I first acknowledge the problem of exceptionality: the act of judging whether an act is, in fact, extraordinary is inevitably subjective. This inevitable subjectivity notwithstanding, I believe that agreeing that some acts are extraordinary is something that we simply do. The theological, classical, and Kantian traditions provide their own arguments for how appropriately to judge an act as extraordinary, but nevertheless I argue that as humans we simply look at certain acts and judge them as such. Thus to make the question more manageable, I narrow the definition of an extraordinary act to ‘an exceptional response against a seemingly overwhelming human evil.’ To lay the groundwork to analyze my hypothesis, I also suggest that a sense of agency can be learned through nurture, or what Fisher and Ravizza call “moral education.” Though agency lies at the heart of extraordinary acts, it certainly isn’t the only factor motivating individuals to act. I suggest that, in addition, the conditions of empathy and concern for humanity, as well as the ability to identify a human evil, are also necessary factors.
I analyze the three doctrines of determinism, luck, and agency to find what kinds of characteristics an individual would have by abiding by each of these. Individuals who follow the doctrines of determinism and luck are more likely to view themselves as under some control, and thus feel less responsible for acting against a human evil. Determinism and luck seem to suggest that there are other forces at play in deciding our actions; such beliefs deter individuals from taking the personal initiative to act against injustice. This is my main hypothesis. And yet, humans are not free from the forces of determinism and luck, which in many ways govern our lives to an extent that we may not even be aware of. Thus we seem to face an inescapable paradox: the existence of all these forces together seems to be contradictory. But this suggests a secondary hypothesis: perhaps an understanding and acceptance of this paradox of determinism and agency allows an individual to have a new and more holistic perception of the world. And perhaps this perception allows one to act in ways that ordinary people would not.
I understand that the question at hand is abstract and unanswerable, but I provide an analysis of four case studies – Wallenberg and Peshev’s heroics during the Holocaust, Rusesabagina’s acts during the Rwandan genocide, and King’s leadership during the Civil Rights Movement – that I hope will provide a more robust version of my hypotheses. In its true and objective form this thesis is merely a simple exercise in thought and analysis; but at its most ambitious, it attempts to move closer to understanding the certainty of uncertainty.
Fragments of a MacIntyrean Liberalism
Jeffrey T. Webb | 2011 In this thesis, I examine the relationship of Alasdair MacIntyre’s critique of modern moral philosophy to the philosophical tradition of political liberalism. To do so, I first explicate MacIntyre’s arguments over the course of his career, concentrating on his seminal work, After Virtue. I then argue that MacIntyre’s arguments deserve to be taken seriously because most current forms of liberalism rest on universalist and ahistorical arguments that ultimately are insufficient as the basis for a political tradition. Instead, I argue that the salience of MacIntyre’s attacks (hyperbolic as they are) give us reason to consider whether we might be able to accommodate them while retaining the undeniable benefits of liberalism.
I attempt to construct just such a type of liberalism that, using as a model MacIntyre’s own theory of a moral tradition. In formulating this conception, which I call (without much creativity) liberalism-as-a-tradition, I must consider what a teleological, character-rather-than- rules driven liberalism can be, including the specification of its cardinal virtues and the philosophical underpinnings of such a conception within the body of liberal theorists past. I argue that not only is the construction of liberalism-as-a-tradition a theoretical possibility, but it is superior in many ways to the types of traditions MacIntyre himself lauded, even by MacIntyre’s own standards of what constitutes a good tradition. In particular, I argue that liberalism’s value on political involvement and the development of independent practical reason give liberalism-as-a-tradition the opportunity for dynamic growth where other traditions have failed.
Finally, I turn from the purely theoretical to the still-theoretical-but-slightly-less-so task of examining what kinds of political institutions best support the fledgling tradition that I have just constructed. In so doing, I choose two models. First, I analyze the Greek city-state, or polis, one of the models MacIntyre himself believed was particularly conducive to human flourishing, and I conclude that, while the size and localism of the polis is particularly suited to liberalism-as- a-tradition, the militarism and xenophobia of Greek culture make the polis an unsavory model for any kind of liberalism. The second model I examine is one that retains the localism of the polis but exists in modernity—the contemporary university. I argue that, while there are significant logistical differences between a self-sufficient polity and the university, it nevertheless provides us with a useful model, if only a general one.
Three general and tentative conclusions are proposed: (1) it is possible to construct a liberalism that eschews universalism, draws from a deep and broad body of liberal thinkers, and adheres to MacIntyrean standards of a tradition, (2) that such a conception avoids both the theoretical problem of the not-actually-neutral state, and the oppressive tendencies of MacIntyrean traditions past, and (3) that a character-driven liberalism mitigates, at least in part, the shrill tone and emotivist tint of modern moral discourse.
Epidemic: An Examination of Type II Diabetes among African-Americans
Niket Todi | 2011 I argue that there are three types of solutions to the type II diabetes and each solution has its flaws and its benefits. Type II diabetes is a disease that is characterized by the declining response of the body to the consumption of glucose. Glucose is used as energy in every major pathway in the body and the loss of ability to efficiently manage carbohydrates leads to further disease. The rate of type II diabetes is increasing in every demographic of the American population, but the rate is highest among African-Americans. African-Americans are more likely to develop many diseases in the United States, but diabetes is perhaps the most troublesome. Type II diabetes is likely to cause illnesses in only every system of the body.
My research is focused on defining the risk factors that are characteristic of type II diabetes and the pathophysiology of the disease. There are numerous risk factors, but it appears that obesity and smoking are two of the largest factors. However, it appears that genetics and socioeconomic status are factors as well. Socioeconomic status along with race seems to have a similar effect as physiological conditions.
Thus I progress to make an argument for each of the three solutions that are discussed often in diabetes literature. The genetics argument is predicated on the research that shows that there appears to be differences in the rate of diabetes among populations even when socioeconomic factors and behaviors are controlled. In various chromosomes, there are genes found that exist at higher rates in certain populations. These genes are correlated with type II diabetes or obesity at significant levels. However, there are flaws in the genetic treatment of type II diabetes, mostly in the significance of the results. First, when two populations are compared, one will naturally have a higher instance of a gene. However there is significant overlap between African-Americans and white Americans and thus a genetic treatment that is targeted only towards one race is irresponsible. Secondly, as the true pathophysiology of genetics is unknown, it is unlikely that the genetic treatment will currently be effective. Finally, the definition of a population is variable between countries and communities. With the growing rates of racial mixture, racial categories will be increasingly arbitrary.
The second solution I focus on is the approach that requires interventions from physicians and lifestyle changes from those at risk for diabetes and those with diabetes. These interventions are designed to reduce risk factors. The presumption is that these risk factors are caused by behaviors and cultural aspects of the community. There are clear cultural trends in the African-American community that can contribute to the rate of type II diabetes. If physicians and diabetes educators are aware of these lifestyle choices and the reasons that they exist, then they can intervene and change these behaviors. However in many situations, these interventions are not enough as there are problems within the community. If these structural problems are not solved, then there is large chance that these behaviors will develop again.
Finally, I look structural problems and the solutions that are proposed by those who believe that these problems are the primary cause of type II diabetes. Physicians have been noted to be part of the problem as there is racism and discrimination. There is unequal access to healthcare and even unequal access to healthy food. The solution to this problem is not an easy one as it requires changes in each level of an institution. However there are no easy structural solutions to type II diabetes and the solutions proposed will take decades to work.
My research has shown that each of the solutions have to be implemented for there to be actual change. It is crucial that proponents of each of these solutions come together at diabetes conventions. These conventions do currently exist but are often specific to a particular discipline and can be a collection of individuals with the same idea.
Development in the Name of Christ: Examining the Mennonite Central Committee’s Work in Bangladesh
Ann Marshall Thomas | 2011 Christian missionary groups are notorious in the global development world for evangelizing to the people they aim to help. Like other types of development organizations, their work is often associated with colonialism, imperialism, and western hegemony. All types development organizations should use caution as they proceed in foreign nations, but this thesis explores whether Christian organizations warrant special consideration.
In 2009, I traveled to Mymensingh, Bangladesh with a classmate to study a collaborative project between the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) and a small, locally based sex workers’ rights organization called Shourav. MCC had just begun the Alternative Employment Program, through which it provides job training for Mymensingh women who wish to leave the sex trade. During interviews with American MCC workers, more than one person told us that being obedient to God’s will was more important than the concrete “success” of their programs.
Despite these troubling declarations, I began to question some of my negative beliefs about religious aid because of the positive attitudes expressed by the Bangladeshi people who worked with MCC and received their aid.
MCC was founded to provide relief to Mennonites stranded in Russia during the 1920s. Today it considers itself both a relief organization and a development organization that operates on a global scale. MCC’s activities range from HIV/AIDS education campaigns to infrastructure improvement to job creation programs. MCC is widely respected by both religious and non-religious development workers.
There is a wealth of information about the history and goals of MCC written by the organization’s founders, but we should not overlook the perspectives of those who receive MCC’s aid. Bangladeshi culture is rich and multi-faceted, with populations ranging from educated elites to religious fanatics to rural farmers trying to make ends meet. For the purposes of MCC’s collaboration with sex workers in Bangladesh, I have examined some of the history of and social circumstances surrounding sex work in the Mymensingh region.
In order to simplify the discussion about Christian missionary groups, I have divided them into two ideal type categories: conversion-focused mission and development-focused mission. Conversion-focused mission groups are concerned primarily with saving souls and spreading the word of God while development-focused mission groups attempt to alleviate poverty and suffering through sustainable projects designed to improve the lives of aid recipients. I argue that MCC shares many characteristics with development-focused missions.
I think there are four criteria we can use to determine whether a Christian mission group can be considered a development-focused group. They are 1) What is the organization’s policy about evangelizing? 2) What are the group’s criteria for selecting employees and volunteers? 3) How does the group decide which population to target for aid work? 4) Where does the group stand on tough policy issues that may conflict with religious teachings? I believe these criteria are useful tools in thinking about Christian missionary work and that they can be extended to non- religious aid groups as well.
Conscientious Capitalism: The Struggle to Balance Profits and Ethics in Corporate Social Responsibility
Anna Sosdian | 2011 An investigation of corporate social responsibility is fundamentally motivated by questions about business’ role in society. How can business be connected to ethical concerns of how to “do good?” Do companies create societal benefit by maximizing profits, or is there more to take into consideration? Is the expectation that business benefit society legitimate to begin with?
In the classical capitalist model, companies exist to pursue profits. This is based on the concept of Adam Smith’s “invisible hand,” in which a company may act in its own self-interest and simultaneously benefit society. Those benefits are typically conceived as the products that companies provide to consumers and the improving stock portfolios they give to investors. Yet debate has been growing in recent years as to whether this is enough. At the same time, more companies are finding that transparency, working toward a purpose other than profit, and “responsible” business practices do make them more money. Many companies are reorganizing their businesses to recognize the fact that emotional connections to consumers, investors, and employees foster loyalty to their brand. Because of the positive economic impact of corporate social responsibility (CSR), movement toward “green,” “sustainable,” and “social” companies is increasing.
This thesis explores two case studies that provide very different examples of how to approach CSR. First, Coca-Cola is at the forefront of the corporate social responsibility field as one of the largest multinational corporations and most visible global brands. Coca-Cola strategically selects its CSR initiatives to reflect its strengths as a company and potential payoff for the company. Although Coca-Cola is a leader in CSR, its justification for participation is still quite basic. The company focuses on the instrumental importance of CSR. Most initiatives are a conceived as a way to build Coca-Cola’s brand and image. Little room is given to normative considerations of Coca-Cola’s moral duty as one of the largest corporations in the world today. The company does express a value-based mission, but values are ultimately subservient to profit.
Patagonia provides an example of how a smaller, privately owned company may go about corporate social responsibility. Patagonia focuses solely on the environment in its CSR. In fact, its environmental mission is conceptually stronger than its business mission. While profits are essential to the continuation of any company, they are de-emphasized at Patagonia. As Board member Jerry Mander has said, “Without giving its achievement primacy, we seek to profit on our activities. However, growth and expansion are values not basic to this corporation.” Profit is considered a means to an end, rather than an end in itself.
CSR is one way that companies can prove their value by demonstrating that they have a net positive impact on the world. This is a departure from neoliberal logic that places intrinsic value on markets, competition, and business activity. Most companies have realized the need to engage in a new kind of logic; a logic born out of increased visibility, global communication, and cynicism of multinational corporations. This new mindset accepts the notion that business must play an active role in society, not only in terms of pursuing profit, but also in making targeted societal and environmental contributions.
Corporate social responsibility is a growing field in which companies must now engage. For many, CSR is just another way to dress up standard profit-oriented business practice. But as the trend develops and as ethical considerations become more prominent in business rhetoric and consumer expectations, more companies may rethink their responsibilities to society. Many have already done so. Corporate social responsibility does not represent any radical rethinking of business’ role in society, but it does indicate that profits alone are no longer enough.
“I, too, am America”: The Academic Achievement Gap between Black and White Students
Milan Monet Reed | 2011 This thesis explores the complexity of the Black-White academic achievement gap from national, state, and local perspectives. I argue that the disparity in performance between Black and White students can and will be closed through the collective effort of policy makers, educators, parents, community members, and students. The academic success of all children is the responsibility of everyone.
The achievement gap is a systemic issue. It exists before students enter formal schooling and is apparent through each grade level. The implementations of Brown v. Board of Education, Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and No Child Left Behind from a national standpoint have tried to eliminate the achievement gap. This legislation has attempted to rectify the years of discrimination and social inequities forced on the Black Community, but taken together, it has yielded few meaningful results. Examining the achievement gap from a national standpoint, I argue that there is a disconnection between the policy makers and educators in the classroom. The United States has given billions of dollars in funding to increase the academic success of its students, but the policies made at the top do not necessarily resolve the problems in the classroom.
The state of New Jersey’s efforts to close the achievement gap have shown that large amounts of funding do not, on their own, guarantee higher achievement. School districts must use the funding effectively and set clear academic goals for its educators and students. This efficient usage of funding was demonstrated by the Abbott v. Burke ruling in 1985. The Abbott decision led to an increase in school aid to urban and predominately low-income school districts throughout New Jersey. New education entities, known as the Abbott districts attacked the achievement gap in its early stages by requiring all students to learn how to read by the age of nine. This academic goal produced significant improvements in the educational attainment of minority and low-income students across the state.
In an analysis of the Essex County Public School District, I found that the achievement gap does not exclusively depend on the financial background or residence of a student. The gap is also present in suburban districts. Hence, there are other factors that influence the gap, including stereotypes of racial inferiority, lack of confidence in one’s academic abilities, issues of disengagement in the classroom, and failures in the structural elements of education institutions. The elimination of these factors is a vital part to the closure of the achievement gap.
Finally, in attempting to close the academic achievement gap it is important to examine policies and initiatives that have worked for other schools. How can these successful polices be implemented in other school districts? Clearly, the achievement gap will not end overnight. But I argue that the gap can and will be closed through collaborative effort and through the determination to achieve the desperately needed improvements in today’s schools. The most important aspect is to not lose hope.
Kristin Lavransdatter: A Study of Marriage In Medieval Norway
Maria Pluta | 2011 Marriage rates in America have declined, and academia, the media and your average Joe have noticed. The piece of historical fiction, Kristin Lavransdatter, set in medieval Norway, offers a cultural framework through which to understand this institution as it “flourished.” This thesis identifies the practices and values that sustained the institution of marriage for Kristin, and reflects on the relevance of these values in marriage today. It considers Kristin as a maiden, wife, householder, mother, and holy woman in context of her marriage, following her life from age seven until death. By performing a combination of sociological place-setting, medieval legal history, textual exegesis, and analysis, this thesis asks the question, “do Kristin’s roles still have currency in today’s vision of marriage?”
Kristin’s culture demands a social existence from all its participants. This primary feature of her surroundings defines her marriage and the manner in which she loves. One does not marry an individual, but marries rather in the presence of witnesses. The marriage rite marks only the beginning of the marital contract, lived out in full in community. Kristin’s love manifests in many different forms as she builds their own community, including her sexual love for her husband, her care, worry, and physical spending for her children, and her labor on their manor for her sons’ futures. Her loves consume her life, redefining her identity, making claims on her body, altering her beauty, and most importantly providing her with a means by which to experience God’s presence.
The culture of Kristin also presumes the sacramental feature of her marriage. This is the mixing of Christian values with local culture into a physical and permanent sign that gives grace. This fact of permanence presumes an experience of suffering in a marital narrative, though it also presumes the element of time necessary to transform this suffering into good fruit. Kristin’s triumphant death contrasts starkly with the life that supplies her with anguish, sorrow, and pain. Her marriage is a participation in the kingdom of God. The family she builds and nurtures is the cross she carries, but also the promise of salvation that she witnesses.
Kristin’s marital roles suggest a form of womanhood that blossoms in motherhood and other roles of ascetic character, contrasting with modern preferences for individualism within personal relationships. Although her narrative may not be immediately attractive, her roles and values offer a form of Lenten-like yet fruitful renewal for the institution.
Virginia Woolf: An Informal Education
Laura Nelson | 2011 Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) wrote fiction that has intimidated and captivated readers for nearly a century. Yet years before her novels became exemplars of high modernism, Woolf struggled to find her role in world where she identified insurmountable barriers between the educated and uneducated. Throughout the first decade of the twentieth century and up through World War I, Woolf confronted education as both an insider and outsider. Excluded from formal learning because of her sex, Woolf found an informal intellectual community when she became part of the Bloomsbury Group in her early twenties. This paper explores Virginia Woolf’s struggle to balance the embrace of intellectualism in Bloomsbury with her desire to extend learning beyond a privileged few.
Chapter 1 recounts Woolf’s early education through a combination of memoirs, diaries and biographical accounts. Born into a privileged literary household yet limited to home schooling, Woolf watched her brothers attend the elite Cambridge University. I describe the formation of the Bloomsbury Group: an informal association of friends, known for including Woolf, John Maynard Keynes, E. M. Forster and Lytton Strachey, amongst many others. I argue that Woolf’s introduction into the intellectual environment of Bloomsbury – full of spirited conversation and debate – shaped her ideas about what education could look like.
While Woolf was embracing the high intellectual of Bloomsbury, she also began to consider her role in extending educational opportunities to women historically excluded from learning. In chapter 2, I discuss and contextualize Woolf’s experience as a volunteer English and History teacher at the working class Morley College. After teaching at Morley, Woolf also began experimenting with political work, but struggled to feel genuine passion for the Women’s Suffrage movement.
When the First World War became an unavoidable reality, Bloomsbury dismantled and Woolf’s informal education came to a drastic halt. Watching many of her friends take on active roles during the war, Woolf was not able to commit herself to political work. In chapter 3, I discuss Woolf’s struggle to figure out how to use her education during a time of war. After a close literary analysis of her 1919 novel Night and Day, I explore Woolf’s decision to become a writer. I argue that Woolf’s decision to write allows her to pursue the extension of education beyond traditional boundaries.
Virginia Woolf’s informal education in her early years and up through the First World War allowed her to raise provocative questions about the role of education in society. Her experiences and her later writings on education challenge us to reconsider education in the twenty-first century. Woolf believes that learning can and should extend beyond traditional lines. Influenced by her experience as both an excluded woman and an included part of Bloomsbury, she provides a thought-provoking framework for considering how intellectual communities can bridge and connect individuals from all backgrounds.
From the Inside Out: A Questioning of Central-Core Imagery in Feminist Art and an Examination of Its Reception
Lauren Hillary Kimmel | 2011 In this thesis, I explore the various ways that artists of the Feminist Art Movement (1960s-1970s) used so-called “central-core,” or vaginal, imagery to promote the broader ideas and efforts of the Feminist Movement. For the sake of time and space, I consider only the works of Judy Chicago, one of the first artists to portray this type of artwork. I direct my attention primarily to her 1979 installation piece, The Dinner Party, bringing in other related works when need be. After explaining the wide-ranging functions of vulvar art, I critically examine arguments against the representation of the central core. I conclude by deciding whether central-core imagery is ultimately an effective method in feminist art.
In part one, I begin by asking why vulvar artwork become so central to feminist art. I detail the ways in which feminist artists depicted uniquely female experiences in relation to the female core. I also discuss key feminist practices, such as consciousness-raising exercises, which were crucial to new interpretations of womanhood during this time; activities like these led to the now-infamous feminist motto, “The Personal is Political,” which challenges the notion that specificities of womanhood are to be kept within the private sphere. Here, I look individually at two distinctively-female events, menstruation (which has painted the woman as impure) and maternity (which has painted the woman as unconditionally nurturing), to illustrate my claims. In part two, I address another purpose of central-core imagery—to display, in a public forum, women’s newfound rejection of their repressed sexual identities and the ever-objectifying male gaze. Here, I discuss vaginal artwork with specific reference to its air of female empowerment and the language of the central core as a visual symbology for newfound sexual identity.
Part three explains the reality of The Dinner Party’s reception and the wide-ranging reactions for and against the depiction of the vaginal core. While some critics praised the installation as ingenious and poignant in its depiction of womanhood, others were quick to find fault with it. Here, I discuss the particular reactions of Chicago’s contemporary feminist thinkers, who worried that the project’s close connection to the vagina would merely strengthen the toxic misconception that women are inextricably linked to their sex. Other women activists of the time (particularly black and gay feminists) protested the assumed whiteness and heteronormativity of the piece, which they said did not resonate with their own female experiences. At long last, I conclude by evaluating for myself whether central-core art is effective. From my research I deduce that vaginal art has proved to be effective in suggesting a community of women connected by their “core” experiences. Still, artists like Chicago must be aware of the fine line they walk between bodily liberation and biological limitation.
A New Age of Affirmative Action: Can the Argument of Class-Based Affirmative Action Resolve Today’s Inequalities in the U.S. Public Education System?
Chloe Jordan | 2011 I argue in this thesis that class-based affirmative action, as opposed to race-based affirmative action, within the public education system should be recognized as a comprehensible and legal policy tool for enabling persons of color (e.g. African-American applicants) the opportunity to gain admission into a accredited four-year universities or colleges. Whether they are labeled with the single status of first-generation applicant, a minority applicant with financial security, or a historically disadvantaged minority applicant with low socioeconomic status (SES), all three categorical “terms” are often misused and misrepresented in three ways. First, they work to stigmatize these students by faulty methods and underrepresentation in scholarly data; second, in the way that admissions officers in higher education determine and assess high- achieving students of color through correlative data; and third, these labels become misreported in data used to determine the rate of need for federal programs, especially when state-ballot initiatives block legal access to them. This thesis proposes there are three specific movements, or events, that have interrupted the parallel relations between race-based affirmative action and conventional civil rights movements, with the combined effect of impeding the social and economic mobility of the black community. The objective of this thesis was not to determine if either race-based or class-based affirmative action should be chosen for congruency in policy decisions about the use of racial preferential treatment in admissions processes. Instead, three separate chapters seek to examine key policy events that may have interrupted the progress academic institutions have made in addressing racial and material inequality since 1964.
The complexity of the debate on this issue has challenged me to research and outline my chapters in a way that de-emphasizes theory and relies more on concrete civil rights events. I analyze key moments that have affected the breakdown, or continuity, of racial preferential treatment in higher education in the United States starting in mid-1960s leading up to the 2003 U.S Supreme Court Case, Grutter v. Bollinger at the University of Michigan. I frame my overall conclusion in the form of question at the end of chapter three: in what way can we continue to secure the constitutional foundations for race-conscious diversity policies that still adhere to the Court’s directive to rely on individualized review and at the same time avoid using the diversity rationale simply as a cover for “racial balancing”?
A Comparative Analysis of Supreme Court Decisions, Legislation, and Philosophy Paralleling United States Mexican Immigration Policy and Anti African-American Jim Crowism
Brian James Gerrard | 2011 My thesis argues that contemporary Mexican immigrants/Mexican-Americans are experiencing disenfranchisement and facing xenophobic attitudes that parallel the Black American “Jim Crow experience.” I posit that by examining United States Supreme Court decisions, Senate legislation, media pundits, and discriminatory philosophies, one arrives at undeniable methods of discrimination. I try to establish an historical basis for my claim before introducing philosophical and social arguments for recognizing this vicious cycle.
My first chapter strives to legitimize Mexican immigrants as worthy of comparison to the Black American. Immigration is typically thought of as a contemporary issue, however Mexicans have a longstanding history of abuse and second-class treatment in America, particularly the Southwest. From 1845 to the Clinton presidency, I comb through examples of legislation, political rhetoric, and instances of social rejection to craft my argument. Once the Mexican historical precedent is established, I outline Jim Crow laws in a much narrower scope. I focus on voting rights, educational opportunity, residential segregation, and anti-Black violence that permeated the era. Each Supreme Court case, law and hate act is chosen in relation to the present and future obstacles Mexican Americans face.
The third chapter studies the philosophies behind discriminatory practices and attaches them to two intertwined theories regarding the assimilation of black and brown peoples. Author Leo Chavez, attaches Americans’ fear of Mexicans to a mixture of myths created by media, political pundits, and ignorance. It is fair to say that so far, he is correct. Nevertheless this is a rather optimistic view, because Chavez he does not attach any of the difficulty of assimilation to systems of white unification. Derrick Bell develops this theory in its application to black Americans. He believes that American race relations are much more complex, and that poor and wealthy Whites have established a silent covenant to deter Black progress. I connect the two philosophies stating that Bell’s theory applies to, and is the underlying reason Mexicans cannot assimilate. Simply put, Mexicans are experienced the same America that Blacks have endured over the last one hundred years. When the two theories are layered on top of one another, one must conclude that American conservatism, xenophobia, and racial hierarchies, founded on racial covenants and ignorance, work to prevent the full inclusion of Blacks and Mexicans in an equal American society.
How Does Al-Jazeera Arabic Influence Jordanian Political Attitudes and Identities?
Lillian Frost | 2011 This paper argues that Al-Jazeera Arabic, an independent satellite news station, emphasizes pan- Arab identity and provides the space for political liberalization. This research builds off of Marc Lynch’s Voices of the New Arab Public and aims to reassess his ideas concerning Al-Jazeera’s ability to create Arab unity as well as divide Arab among sectarian lines as well as to help generate political and social reforms in the region by providing a venue for the dissemination of information, expression of opinions, and acceptance of debate. I examined Lynch’s 2006 theories about Al-Jazeera in terms of 2011 Jordanian political attitudes and identities in two ways: first, by engaging 59 personal interviews conducted in Irbid and Amman, Jordan from January 5th through January 21st, 2011; and, second, by examining television news coverage of Al-Jazeera Arabic and Jordanian responses to this news before, during, and after the fall of former Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
I chose Al-Jazeera because it is by far the most popular independent satellite news network in Jordan and the Arab world, and I selected this news event because it captured the daily attention of Jordanians across social class, religious sect, and age group, while highlighting questions concerning Al-Jazeera’s role in spreading information, uniting Arabs, and inspiring political change.
Personal interviews that I conducted in Jordan provided evidence of individual perspectives explaining and supporting Al-Jazeera’s pan-Arab identity. Many people I interviewed also highlighted Al-Jazeera’s abilities to help generate political and social change, as evidenced by the events that spread from Tunisia across the region. In addition to establishing these two main conclusions, I evaluated Jordanian opinions toward and reactions to the Tunisian Revolution as well as Jordanian perceptions of Al-Jazeera’s popularity, credibility, and socio- political position in the Arab world.
I examine the news concerning this event by watching archived news broadcasts on Al- Jazeera, provided by Arabia Inform, and then assess public responses to the news in Jordan by looking at the articles, opinion pieces, and comments published on two of Jordan’s most popular news websites: Ammon News and Saraya News. This research led me to conclude that Al-Jazeera emphasizes pan-Arab identities across the region with newscasts that highlight the struggles and successes of the Arab people as well as the corruption and mistakes of Arab regimes. Similarly, Al-Jazeera newscasts provide the space for viewers to receive a variety of opinions, debates, and general information that helps create the type of critical thinking necessary for a more liberal and democratic civic environment.
I argue that among the implications of Al-Jazeera in this region, the most relevant, compelling implications exhibited in Jordan are the gradual liberalizing of the Arab public sphere, which facilitates political and social reform, and the influence of this network on reflecting and bringing out pan-Arab identities, while also revealing the divides between nationally oriented and pan-Arab identities as exhibited among Jordanians.
The Roots of Change: The Role of Community Organizing in Addressing Inequality in the United States
Erin Franey | 2011 I argue that community organizing is an important means of addressing inequality in the United States. Disparities in political, social, and economic power weaken democracy, polarize communities, and contribute to a wide range of health and social problems. Community organizing moderates inequality by reducing barriers between the socially marginalized and the political process through leadership development, political education, and action towards more just policies.
In my first chapter I discuss growing economic disparities since the 1970s and how they affect American politics and society. I argue that increasing concentrations of wealth among the rich in the United States distorts political access and influence in their favor because those with money can use its power to effectively shape government’s actions in their own interests. Poverty has always existed, but the disparities between the most and least privileged in America today are extreme and not predestined. Taken holistically, the purpose of my first chapter is to present why the causes and consequences of inequality should concern all citizens.
Saul Alinsky, known as the father of community organizing in the United States, worked principally in Chicago in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, to establish People’s Organizations. In my second chapter I analyze the underlying philosophies which guided his work and continue to influence the field of community organizing. Alinsky believed that all people possess the ability to understand the dynamics of power and organize with their neighbors around issues of common concern. His ideas are important in the context of my thesis because they stress the significance of local civic participation to building strong communities and invigorating American democracy.
Community organizing in the twenty-first century distinguishes itself from other local non-profits in its orientation toward goals of social, economic, and racial justice, ending forms of prejudice and oppression, and empowering the voices of those traditionally marginalized from the political process. In chapter three I explore the strengths and limitations of community organizing. I present four essential elements of the organizing process: leadership development, political education, relationship and community building, and action. I discuss how these aspects of local organizing strike at the core of what the process of community organizing can engender – citizen leaders who take collective action toward a more just society.
I conclude my thesis bringing the ideas discussed in the three preceding chapters into conversation with one another in order to explore why community organizing is critical to addressing inequality. The extent of economic and social disparities in the twenty-first century presents an opportunity to reevaluate and rebalance the relationships between the public sector, the private sector, and working and middle class Americans. Community organizations equip members with the skills to take power for themselves; in doing so they can work locally to challenge current structures and policies which perpetuate inequality. Community organizers also help their members develop a vision for a more just society – Americans across the country need such vision of the common good in order to reorient current trends. I argue that local community organizing is an essential part of local, statewide, and national shifts toward greater social and economic justice.
The African Union: Promise and Prospects for Africa’s Future
Ishraga Eltahir | 2011 I argue that the African Union (AU), at minimum, is a powerful and important symbol to have in Africa. The marginalization of the continent and its people for so long has created a dire need for proof of African agency. Over the last few decades, African countries experienced a series of challenges, particularly in the areas of development, peace, security, and governance. Formed ten years ago, the AU is as an intergovernmental organization that seeks to steer its member states toward African self-reliance in overcoming their challenges and advancing their citizens. Simultaneously, the AU takes into account the realities of globalization, and works to ensure that African states are strong contenders in its dynamics.
The African Union comes from a long legacy of movements that were based on Pan- Africanism. This ideology brought people of African descent together to conquer European colonialism and gain their independence. The AU is calling upon it once again. Being borne directly out of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), its predecessor, the AU is founded on a strong belief in African unity, dignity, potential, and agency. These Pan-African ideals are manifested in the structures of the AU and the goals they seek to accomplish.
I start my paper by highlighting the history of Pan-Africanism and the movements it has inspired. I define Pan-Africanism as an ideology that has motivated and mobilized African people to change their political, social, and economic structures over the course of the last century. By tracing a brief history and overview of Pan-Africanism, I emphasize the events that led to the formation of the OAU, and subsequently the AU. Then, I breakdown the structures of the African Union, and highlight the organization’s major departures from its predecessor. Mainly, these changes capture the shift from being an organization that focused on collaborating to achieve independence for all, to an organization working for economic and political development. The AU also pays more attention to peace and security, seeing those factors as prerequisites for development.
Therefore, I showcase the AU’s new culture of peace and security. To illustrate the AU’s level of commitment in this area, I use the cases of violence in Sudan and unconstitutional government takeover in Madagascar. Both of these events and the AU’s response exemplify the organization’s capabilities, potentials, and challenges. My paper also explores the AU’s New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), without which any analysis of the African Union would be incomplete. Since the AU’s inception, NEPAD has taken the lead in promoting development and good governance projects coming out of the African Union.
My findings show that the African Union is an organization that Africa needs at this moment in history. Not only does it provide a forum for African cooperation and problem- solving, but it also provides a vehicle for broadcasting African opinions to the rest of the world. Furthermore, I acknowledge the many challenges to the AU’s efficacy coming from within its own structure. Most noteworthy of these weaknesses is the AU’s reliance on foreign funding, a lack of popular recognition of the Union, and little political will from member states to fully support the organization. Nonetheless, I maintain the importance of the African Union’s symbolic value and the great potential found in its structures, policies, and plans.
News without Newspapers: American Journalism in Transition
Anna Duning | 2011 In light of the decline of newspapers and the changing structure of the news media environment at large, I address several of the challenges as well as promises associated with sustaining quality journalism in the United States. I orient the thesis around the newspaper, because, as I establish in the introduction, its reporting is foundational to journalism across all types of news media. Further, I believe it represents, at its best, what quality journalism is capable of doing and, at its worst, the ways in which digitization can enhance the future of American journalism in its many forms.
I discuss the history, current state and future of journalism in several respects. First, I provide a brief overview of the newspaper’s preeminence as a standard for American journalism and describe the business model that generously sustained it for so many decades. It was an advertiser-based model that transformed the newspaper into a general interest intermediary and made possible some of the best reporting for which the country’s top papers are known. I then explain how the internet threatened this age-old model, tearing newspapers across the country asunder, while simultaneously establishing the platforms for innovative journalistic ventures in blogging, social media and nonprofit public interest media.
Framing the thesis with this contemporary media history, I spend the first chapter discussing new media platforms with a more critical evaluation of the potential for new media tools in the United States to democratize the entire news system and for similar tools abroad to revolutionize entire nations. While new media posits promising new avenues for social and political change, I argue that technology alone is no panacea.
With an interest in the potential for news media to benefit society, I look at the rise and nation-wide proliferation of nonprofit and self-defined public interest news organizations attempting to make up for diminished local and investigative reporting at traditional newspapers. With three case studies of examples in hyper-local, regional and national reporting, I establish these organizations are becoming informatively valuable in their communities and enriching news sources in the greater media environment, though present limited promise of long-term sustainability.
Finally, I return to commercial newspapers to assess how they’ve weathered a rough and widespread media storm, acknowledging the nearly unavoidable challenges for metropolitan newspapers despite the extraordinary success of The New York Times. Discussing what’s lost and what remains of print journalism, I argue for the importance of strong and sustainable news organizations such as the Times, but show that few other print news organizations around the country will emerge from this media transition in similar fashion.
Concluding, I note several other connected issues and explain the difficulty, or the ill- advised hastiness, of determining the future of news media since it remains a period of transition. What is evident is that no single medium will ever dominate the news environment as the newspaper once did; but with intentional and public commitment, there exists cause for optimism in a multi-dimensional, diverse, and still-changing news system.
Resource Flows: Why Water and Sanitation Should Not Be Neglected
Caitlin Carr | 2011 I argue that access to clean water and adequate sanitation are integral components of other development areas and should even be prioritized in some situations. Water and sanitation issues play a role in each of the Millennium Development Goals, but funding for these issues is decreasing while funding for health and education is increasing. Throughout this paper, I look at the relationship between water and health, education, women’s rights, and economic opportunity using four criteria for comparison—breadth, cost-effectiveness, impact on community, and chronological prioritization.
Water and sanitation-related diseases are a leading cause of death in the developing world, but the scope of the impact of dirty water and inadequate sanitation exceeds these diseases. Water and sanitation issues have an impact on many distinct health areas including: neglected tropical diseases, malnutrition and cognitive development, maternal and newborn health, and HIV/AIDS. Along with their health implications, water and sanitation issues also affect school attendance rates and positively impact women’s rights. Cost-benefit analyses have shown that water and sanitation initiatives are wise investments with positive financial returns.
When assessing the benefits of water and sanitation projects, it is also important to explore other development initiatives. I look at both participatory development projects and vaccination campaigns and compare these to water and sanitation projects based on two criteria—community participation and cost-effectiveness. I conclude that, although there is no “magic bullet” that will solve poverty issues, improved access to clean water and adequate sanitation can have a positive effect on many development areas.
The Science of the Heart: A Socio-Psychological Overview of Online Dating in the 21st Century
Scott J. Bowman | 2011 Over the past decade, online dating has erupted into mainstream American culture. Today there are more than 1,500 different dating websites that generate annual revenue of nearly $1 billion collectively. These sites market themselves in a variety of ways, but this thesis will focus on dating websites such as eHarmony, which seek to help singles enter serious relationships and find lasting love. The rise of online dating raises several academic questions, which this socio-psychological overview of marriage-minded dating websites will address. This thesis will consider why online dating has emerged so quickly in America. It will also reflect on what place, if any, science has in human love and attraction. To address the issue of applying science to love, it will assess eHarmony, focusing especially on the effectiveness of the “science” the site employs.
Before considering the websites themselves, I ask whether one can apply science to the realm of attraction at all. The first chapter considers the question of positivism—the use of the scientific method to discover insight into human interaction. It outlines two philosophers’ arguments for and against the reductionist theory. I argue that research in the social sciences can make meaningful contributions to our understanding of human attraction, but that it has its limitations. Any scientific research on human interaction should claim to identify trends and correlations within a specific culture rather than to uncover universal laws. It is reasonable for dating websites to use research in the social sciences to match singles, provided the websites acknowledge the limitations of doing so.
Next, I consider different sociological factors that account for the quick rise of online dating. I argue that the growth of social media websites such as Facebook normalized online profiles, helping to erode the stigma of online dating. Additionally, I examine the evolution of courtship in America to identify two voids that online dating fulfills. First, today’s hook-up culture has frustrated singles looking for more serious commitment. Marriage-minded dating websites such as eHarmony appeal to these frustrated singles. Second, American singles no longer receive guidance from any type of authority when choosing a spouse. The “science” that the websites advertise provides singles with the direction they crave.
To understand the online dating phenomenon and its implications, one must examine a specific website. I assess eHarmony’s matching system as a concrete example of the application of science to romance. To assess the site, I delineate four heavily researched, basic factors that determine a successful marriage—religious views, personality, gender-role ideology, and personal interests. EHarmony ought to consider these four factors in its questionnaire and match singles whose responses are the most similar.
I applaud the company for addressing three of the four factors, and also for its ethos that similarity rather than difference is a better predictor of marital success. However, I then offer several critiques of the site’s methodology, focusing especially on its research as well as instances in which the business model may interfere with the objective to effectively matches singles in serious relationships. I determine that much of eHarmony’s research has not been published for peer review, and thus it should not be considered academically-acceptable science.
Finally, I consider the future of online dating and the implications of my conclusions. To close, I contend that although online dating has become more popular, its influence on the future of courtship has limitations: science can only tell us so much about interpersonal attraction.
Gay is NOT the new Black: Why LGBT Activists Lost the Black Vote in California’s Proposition 8
Reginald Benbow | 2011 This study examines why LGBT activists lost the Black vote in California’s Proposition 8, a ballot initiative that banned same-sex marriage in 2008. I gather evidence from formal interviews with LGBT activists, content analysis of newspaper & magazine articles and campaign advertisements, and secondary research to contest and move beyond the popular, media-driven narratives that “comparatively high church attendance and homophobia” drove Black Americans to vote for Proposition 8.
First, I argue that the politics of respectability offers an important framework for understanding Black voters’ opposition to same-sex marriage. Scholars define the politics of respectability as the way in which white middle class (i.e. mainstream) norms and ideals are reflected and reinforced in Black communities as a strategy for mainstream inclusion and racial advancement. I show how Black figures invoked ideas of normative sexuality and the uplift of black communities to garner support for Proposition 8, and argue that Blacks’ opposition may be seen as part of a larger strategy to protect the collective image of Blacks against the prevalent notion of Blacks as sexually deviant. While previous authors have looked at the relationship between respectability and class, my investigation elucidates the essential relationship between respectability and conservative notions of sexuality.
Second, I focus my attention upon LGBT activists. I find that the whiteness of gay culture, organizations, movements and communities, and homo-normativity, which reject intersectional and integrated analyses and deny the interlocking of oppressions in their embrace of white middle class normativity, help to explain why LGBT activists lost the Black vote because they inhibited activists’ strategy, outreach and engagement efforts. Further, I find that the controlling image of Black gay men as imposter/fraud led to the marginalization of Black LGBT persons and normalized the exclusion of Black LGBT persons from gay organizations; this image negatively affected the ability of activists to garner Black support, as Black LGBT persons are best equipped to bridge Black-gay divides.
In the next chapter, this thesis investigates the impact of suburban politics as the primary catalyst for Northern Virginia’s political development; the massive growth of the Washington metropolitan area and the impact of this on the population and newly formed communities created a new set of needs of state political leaders. The chapter poses the central argument that this social change, and not the vacillating partisan ideology of the state, plays the central role in the direction of post war state politics.
Finally, this thesis looks at economic development in Northern Virginia and illustrates how the influence of federal bureaucratic growth contributed to the local economy not only by government agencies and public works but also with the arrival of high tech, defense, and other related industries. Using the widening economic gap between Northern Virginia and the state, this thesis argues that the economic “boom” in Northern Virginia can be attributed almost exclusively to its advantageous location.
Branquemento: The Myth of Racial Democracy and Color-Blind Racism in Brazil
Christian West | 2009 This thesis focuses on the role of the myth of racial democracy in the formation of Brazilian national identity, racial categories, and Black social movements. It discusses why the idea that Brazil’s multiracial population purportedly lives in racial harmony has persisted despite colonization, slavery, and evidence of racial prejudice against Blacks. I argue that the myth of racial democracy rewrites colonization as historically and contextually irrelevant and legitimates white privilege in the emergence of the modern state. At a time when Brazil was in need of a unifying national identity, the myth of racial democracy was able to offer the Brazilian elites an answer to the “negro problem” while also concealing White hegemony. The idea of racial exceptionalism, the commonsense belief that Brazil is a society without racial antagonisms and is more racially and culturally accommodating, has become the very basis of the endurance of the racial democracy myth.
This thesis will explore this issue through three main questions: Why and how was the image of Brazil as a racial democracy created? Why and how did the government adopt this image and ingrained it into governmental institutions? How has the myth of racial democracy precluded Black social movements from political mobilization to prevent its endurance? I argue that Brazil’s ideology of a racial democracy devalues and prevents the identification of racial subordination needed to sustain an effective antiracist movement. The stronghold created by its commonsense adaptation has left the entrenched racial hierarchy of white privilege and non-white subordination created through colonialism unchallenged. In turn, this has perpetuated a system of “color-blind racism” that has complicated the aspects of nonwhite identity and precluded the effectiveness of social movements. I argue for a re-reading of Brazilian race relations with the importance and gravity of the residual effects of colonialism at its center.
Deconstructing the Memorial Museum: A Critical Analysis of the Intersection of Global Conventions and Local Healing in Post-Genocide Rwanda
Melissa Batchelor Warnke | 2009 This thesis will examine the competing practices of memorialization of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda that have emerged in the past fourteen years. The Rwandan people have chosen to remember these traumatic and divisive events in a myriad of complex ways, from preserving sites of mass killing as they were at the end of the genocide, bodies still where they fell, to holding commemoration ceremonies, whether annually in the national soccer stadium or weekly in local churches, to sharing testimonies. At the same time, the international community has also become involved in the memorialization process in much more abstracted and alien ways. As Rwanda’s economy and infrastructure were devastated by the genocide, external donors were invited in to assist with the completion of these “national” memorials. The resulting global memorials, copied and pasted from a UK-based Holocaust structure, fail in several ways to recognize how memory is processed and maintained on the ground in Rwanda.
Using primary research based on personal visits to dozens of locally-constructed and maintained genocide memorials, I will outline the local paths for remembrance in this wounded political community. I will then move to a critical analysis of the international design process and implementation of the Kigali Memorial Centre and, to a lesser extent, the Murambi Centre. This part of the thesis will focus upon how a standardized “international memorial museum” has emerged and what it looks like, complete with weekly survivor testimonies, symbolic gardens and naming walls, personal in styling but conventional and didactic in effect.
While the processes surrounding memorialization are rife with conflict, these local memorials are largely focused upon physical suffering and the preservation of ruined buildings and muitilated bodies as they were at the end of genocide. The fear present in these spaces recreates what it was to be in Rwanda at that time. To this end, the “education” they provide about genocide is embodied and experiential, inherently personal; they are whatever the visitor or survivor makes of them. The international productions at Murambi and in the Gisozi district of Kigali, alternately, tell the story of genocide in Rwanda linearly, using the organized information to come to standardized conclusions about abstracted humanistic values. They build bridges between what happened in Rwanda and genocides in other countries, sketching out a legal conception and framework of “genocide” as a crime against humanity, condemned and actionable under international law. That is to say, they focus not upon the land and people as sources of memory in and of themselves but frequently, in an attempt to use the museum as a tool for reconciliation, appropriate the trauma as representative of a larger sociopolitical problem to be solved.
Memory, truth and politics are not separate phenomena but are intricately intertwined and frequently appropriated for each others’ purposes, relative and circular elements. I argue that the way in which these global conventional memorials reproduce an abstracted construct for the relation of traumatic memory creates a forum for reconciliation and remembrance that is, at worst, irrelevant to the community in which this trauma was experienced and, at best, reduces the depth of their experience. Having examined and interrogated several of the current avenues for memory that exist in Rwanda, I will recognize the successful aspects of both local and global memorials and consider how these might be integrated and enhanced as communities in Rwanda seek to acknowledge and reconcile the losses they have experienced.
Neoliberalism and Education: How Americans Misappropriate the Free-Market Model
Quynh Vu | 2009 I argue that Americans have misappropriated the tools and models of free-market competition by using them in the education system. This misappropriation, starting in the early 1980s with the rise of neoliberalism and continuing in the present day, has implications in the classroom; it transforms political relationships and responsibilities into mere economic transactions.
Using David Labaree’s typology of the three models of education: democratic equality, social efficiency, and social mobility, I describe the historical debate of the goals of schooling. That these goals are not inherent in the definition of schooling, but, rather, are shaped by the social and economic forces of each era suggests that the current model of neoliberal education is not a given but is the result of political currents.
I document economic stagnation and faltering test scores as factors that led, in the 1980s, to the outcry of a failing US school system. Education discourse (including government publications, legislation, conferences, speeches) since the 1980s reveal the systematic use of free-market models as ways to conceptualize the education system. The business-like model of accountability (high-stakes testing), efficiency (decreased funding), and standardization (learning objectives) led schools to adopt new norms and goals that delimited the curriculum and reconceived pedagogy to look more like production in a factory than teaching in a classroom. The effect is a highly individualized, competitive, neutral, and consumerist education. I suggest that these changes have implications outside the classroom as well; they foster an atomized society, based in economic relationships and devoid of feelings of civic duties.
I find problematic not only the negative effects of the accountability and standardization model but also the inappropriate use of these models in the public education system. I analyze the criticisms that began in the 1980s of schools as the culprit for a stagnating economy and faltering test scores and conclude the labor market, population growth, and increased immigration account for more of these changes. I then highlight the differences between teaching/learning and working/producing and argue that implementing factory production mechanisms deprives schools of creating an educative environment. Further, I find significant incongruities between assumptions of the free-market model of firms and the realities of the education system; these disparities demonstrate that the model of free-market competition cannot be properly applied to realm of education.
Reforms, while difficult to implement and sustain, are possible. I analyze several reforms that challenge the certain assumptions of neoliberal education. I conclude that we must do more than react and counteract to the political ebb and flow; rather we must proactively re-imagine schooling. If we limit our debates on educational reform to questions of how schools can create economic growth or national security, we will only reproduce our current world. Instead, I posit that schooling should remake the world. Schools can be more than a product of social change; schools should be a lever for it.
Education and the problem of assimilation: The subversive tradition of French literature
Matthew Trumbo-Tual | 2009 As one of modern society’s most important cultural institutions, schools help to assert and reproduce the dominant cultural framework and its canon. This puts them at odds with writers who want to disrupt cultural norms and the reproduction of the status quo. The tension between writers and schools is particularly apparent in France, where schools have incorporated many writers who attack cultural norms into the curriculum. This seems at first like an attack on writers that emasculates their radical potential.
I argue the problem of assimilation rests on a faulty understanding of writers as autonomous from the dominant cultural framework. I show French schools assert both emancipative and oppressive values. By drawing on the former, experimental and avant-garde writers resisted French schools’ performative use of literary texts as evidence of the legitimacy of cultural and political norms defined by the state. Now, French schools approach texts as distinct parts of reality with their own ways of being influenced by and influencing their context. Although this change in schools’ approach to literature may not have had a revolutionary impact on society, it does have a subversive function in that it destabilizes the naturalization of the worldview asserted by schools as unified, self-evident and unchangeable.
Here Is Not Merely a Nation: Writing the New American Dream
Jia Angeli Carla Tolentino | 2009 Recognizing that the American Dream has many implications, I identify its fundamental promise as opportunity for all. This is the root of our history of immigration, and the reason why the melting pot and the American Dream are intertwined myths. Tracing the history of American immigration, I show that the Immigration Act of 1965 marked our largest step towards fulfilling this central promise, and explain why post-1965 America poses such a challenge to old ideologies. I posit that the current American Dream necessitates transnationalism, and moreover, that this is the telos of the original rhetoric: an American-ness defined by plurality, but powerful enough to transcend difference.
I use contemporary immigrant literature as my subject. I identify the latest wave of immigrant authors as uniquely positioned to examine the old American Dream against the complex realities of life in the U.S. today. They have rejected assimilationism in the traditional sense, yet they are committed to our myths in the name of equalizing and redefining our conceptions of American identity. They simultaneously affirm and destabilize national ideology, a dialectical process that casts away nativism and allows the essential promise of opportunity to emerge. To illustrate these dynamics, I examine three elements of the American Dream in contemporary literature: love of country, self-reinvention, and material success.
In the first chapter, Chang-Rae Lee’s Native Speaker shows Henry Park as a second-generation American whose love of country is fractured by feelings of alienation, and who consequently becomes obsessed with the fantasy of the trans-nation. Guided by Lacan’s theory of the mirror stage, I explore the displacements and projections of Henry’s cathected obsession, showing that the America he imagines is valuable (if his method is not). The trans-nation is an “orthopaedic” fantasy—strong enough to guide the work for change.
In the second chapter, I use Gish Jen’s Mona in the Promised Land, Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, and Bharati Mukherjee’s Jasmine as updates of the immigrant bildungsroman, examining the idea of self-reinvention as a way to establish American subjectivity. In these three novels, the protagonists adopt odd, paradigmatically American identities, forcing the reader to rethink ideas of the hyphenated-American subject and of the American subject as well.
In the last chapter I address the idea of material success as the ultimate measure of happiness/Americanness—specifically, in the way it affects the “model minority,” itself a nativist concept predicated on materialism. In focusing on the rich, unhappy second generation, Jhumpa Lahiri’s three works (Interpreter of Maladies, The Namesake, and Unaccustomed Earth), are studies of the dangers of this American idea of success as it has become applied to the uniquely positioned Indian techno-migrants and their children.
I conclude that the authors write from a new subject position—that of an American whose “otherness” has already been incorporated—and this leads and allows them to inhabit the discourse and then, to change it. Acknowledging the value of post-exceptionalist thought, I reject, as do these authors, the idea that we should (or can) fully discard the conception of America as endowed with unique opportunities. Rather, the work of this contemporary literature is to challenge the fallacious aspects of the American Dream so that its core might emerge strengthened.
Roadblocks to Palestinian Statehood: An Examination of U.S. Attitudes Towards Palestinian Self-Determination
Manal Tellawi | 2009 I trace and analyze the evolution of U.S. attitudes towards Palestinian self-determination, and the effects of U.S. policies on the creation of a Palestinian state. I begin by establishing the international legitimacy of the Palestinian claim to self-determination, by tracing the history of various UN resolutions. Because the Palestinians’ conception of what would constitute a true realization of their right to self-determination has evolved over the past sixty years, I focus on the claim made by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1988, calling for the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and a capital in East Jerusalem.
My main argument is that the U.S. has worked, in numerous ways, to oppose the creation of a Palestinian state. At the root of this opposition is the assumption that supporting the nationalist aspirations of the Palestinian people detracts from the U.S.’s special relationship with Israel. There are four main reasons behind the U.S. support of Israel—the Israel lobby, the perception that Israel is a strategic asset to the U.S., the sense of a moral duty in the U.S. to support the Jewish state, and the fact that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East.
My analysis begins with the First Intifada, or popular Palestinian uprising, which generated an immense amount of international and domestic pressure on the U.S to change its policy of neglect towards the Palestinians. The Palestinians won their right to sit at the negotiating table with the U.S. and Israel and a peace process commenced. However, the U.S. was not an honest broker because of the nature of its relationship with Israel. I compare and contrast the U.S. relationship with Israel and the Palestinians, in terms of military, financial, and diplomatic support to prove this point.
My thesis is subsequently divided into two parts: the Clinton era and the Bush era. Despite the beginnings of the Oslo peace process, the Clinton era remained characterized by an opposition to Palestinian self-determination and statehood. The Oslo peace agreements did not mitigate the effects of the occupation on the Palestinians, and were more favorable to Israel and less conducive to the creation of a Palestinian state. However, the Clinton administration managed to break the taboo on the concept of Palestinian statehood in 2000 with the Camp David summit. I argue that Ehud Barak’s proposal fell short of what would constitute a true realization of Palestinian self-determination, because if implemented, it would not have created a viable, contiguous, and independent Palestinian state.
The Bush administration inherited a failed peace process and a region plagued by turmoil and Israeli-Palestinian violence. I analyze the effects of 9-11 and the War on Terror on the U.S. perceptions of the Palestinians. The U.S. advocated for the creation of a Palestinian state, but it also disengaged from the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and allowed Israel to induce drastic changes in the occupied Palestinian territories, such as the construction of a barrier/fence through the West Bank and the unilateral disengagement from Gaza. Israel’s actions, which were supported and enabled by the U.S., had the effects of undermining the sincerity and legitimacy of the PA in upholding the cause in the eyes of the Palestinians. Thus, I argue that U.S. policy contributed to the factionalism in Palestinian society, as well as the prolonging of the current humanitarian and economic crisis in the Gaza Strip.
Closer to Conversation: Freedom, Objectivity, and the New Media Environment
Hamza Shaban | 2009 As new media outlets and technologies present themselves, traditional sources of news are being crowded out. Americans once received much of their information from the three broadcast networks, NBC, ABC and CBS, but novel outlets like cable TV, news websites and blogs are decentralizing the media landscape. Whereas many fear the loss of concentrated news-gathering and wide viewership, I argue that the changes we see in the media are democratically useful as they enhance civic participation and cultivate freedom of expression.
This thesis explores the transforming media environment and grapples with the consequences of recent structural change. Beginning with the Progressive Era, I trace the development of the institutions and standards that have come to define the modern mass media. This is done by discussing the political theory of Walter Lippmann. As a skeptic of the knowledge of the American citizenry, Lippmann argued for an elite driven news media. Because citizens are incapable of informing themselves, professional journalists and their specialized bureaucracies would decide what was newsworthy. They alone would have the power to disseminate this information. In Lippmann’s conception, so long as journalists adhere to the norms of objectivity and fairness, their democratic obligations as news-gatherers would be fulfilled. Because Lippmann’s views have come to dominate our cultural imagination, he acts as a spokesman for the modern media, the Progressive media regime. He works well as a starting point because the changes we notice in the media environment are changes away from Lippmann’s vision of the free press.
After describing the type of news that emerged during the Progressive Era, I offer a rebuttal to Walter Lippmann. This comes in the form of pragmatist theory, articulated by John Dewey and Richard Rorty. While these men see Lippmann’s claims about citizen competence as empirically correct, they argue that this need not be so. Rather than appoint an elite class of specialists to compensate for citizens, Dewey and Rorty want to work harder to better educate the public. Pragmatists also reject the norm of objectivity. Where Lippmann and the Progressives believed that objective reporting would lead to an approximate truth, pragmatists would rather cultivate free and open discussion—leaving truth to be created through deliberation. By tracing the objectivity norm through history, I reveal its conceptual weakness and its practical failings in journalism.
Once the pragmatist theory is outlined, I argue that Dewey and Rorty would welcome new forms of media that have emerged in the last few decades. I focus specifically on a new type of journalism that abandons objectivity, found in The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, as well as a new medium that enhances participation and weakens elite control of the news, the blogosphere. Using these two outlets, I illustrate the new media’s capacity to cultivate freedom of expression and reveal the shortcomings of the Progressive media regime. This thesis reflects on concentrated corporate ownership, the media’s deference to government, and of the fracturing and polarizing effects of decentralized news.
Seeing the State and Civil Society from the Mumbai Slum
Sidharth Sethi | 2009 This thesis concerns itself primarily with the politics of the Mumbai slum. I argue that the politics of the slum can best be understood by developing the concepts of state and civil society. The projects of nation building, modernity, development, and globalization, though, are not far and circulate throughout the paper.
The state today faces considerable pressure to reduce its size, scope and engagement within society. These pressures stem from the dissatisfaction with the state as a conduit for development and democratic representation. Civil society is put forward as an associational, grassroots, and usually apolitical alternative to the state.
I will first ground the state and civil society in India, and assert, generally that a) despite the pressures it faces, the state and its institutional arms are deeply embedded into local, every-day practices, and b) civil society exists in many forms in India, and cannot easily be separated from the state. From a similar premise, Partha Chatterjee argues that marginal groups compete for resources and recognition in “political society.” Civil society is constituted by citizens, i.e. the holders of substantive rights. Marginal groups are denied substantive rights, and their ability to engage the state is a function of the size of their vote-bank. I argue that political society and civil society may be simultaneously applicable to the slum.
But first, I attempt to show Dharavi, Mumbai’s largest slum using pictures and descriptions from newspapers, magazines, and literature. I highlight the negatively normative position that informs the urgent imperative for development. My purpose is to ‘un-deny’ the slum, and suggest it is not a space locked in a pre-history of under-development. I then return to the civil society/state paradigm and argue that political society has now found ways to rally citizen groups/elites and slum dwellers around the same cause of development. This has been achieved by using a market-based strategy for redeveloping the slum. At the same time, other civil society organizations, most notably, the Alliance, are finding new ways to engage the state, assisted by a federalized or an internationalized apparatus. Arjun Appadurai claims that these groups deliver “deep democracy” in the slum. I offer a more circumspect look at some of what they have done in the slum, and suggest that political and civil society will coexist in the slum.
From Integration to Reconciliation: Christian Theology as a Resource for Racial Reconciliation
Allison Lorraine Scott | 2009 This thesis proposes that Christian theology provides particular resources for bridging the social, cultural, economic, and religious divides that exist between black and white Americans living in a racialized society. Despite this claim, the Christian Church has often been silent and even complicit in perpetuating racial injustices and divisions within the American story. This thesis argues that this inconsistency is the manifestation of a serious error in theology within the American Church. It seeks to address this error by arguing that racial reconciliation, understood to be the act of creating new social spaces where the divisions of race are no longer the primary determinants in human relationships, is essentially related to Christian discipleship. Further, it presents examples from the Civil Rights Movement and emerging local movements as lived illustrations of the profound power and relevance of Christian theology for cultivating reconciliation and promoting social justice.
Chapter One provides a foundation for understanding Christian theology as a resource for racial reconciliation. This chapter seeks to challenge the mentality pervasive in American church culture—particularly among white evangelicals—that social problems are not to be the concern of Christians or the Church as a whole. In response to this mentality, this chapter presents a variety of elements present within Christian theology that create and affirm movement towards racial reconciliation.
Chapter Two connects these theological foundations with their expression within the story of the American Civil Rights Movement. In the midst of the contrasting struggles towards and against integration emerging in the 1960s, and still continuing in modern American society, theology has played an essential role in guiding many who have sought to live out a vision for racial reconciliation that included but surpassed the goal of legal integration. This chapter focuses on the rhetoric of the Civil Rights Movement, examining sermons and speeches given during this turbulent time in American history which contained theological arguments in support of integration and, ultimately, reconciliation. These words were the “weapons” of the non-violent movement against the powerful forces of segregated society. The voices offered in this chapter are voices of dissent, resisting the status quo and presenting alternatives based in theology to the social evils of injustice and racism particularly pervasive in the South.
Chapters Three, Four, and Five serve as a series of case studies examining particular modern organizations which have experienced some expression of racial reconciliation and were also founded on principles from Christian theology. All three present different but related models for the creation of alternative social spaces of reconciliation within the surrounding culture. Further, all these movements in some way participate in the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement and therefore reflect some of the implications of that movement for directing subsequent Christian social justice and reconciliation movements.
The conclusion to this thesis seeks to locate these reconciling movements within the broader context of the surrounding culture and examines the role that they play as models of alternate social spaces. It further explores the possibilities and limitations of theology for producing change in a racialized society.
Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing: Fantasy and Power in Girls Gone Wild
Jordan Rodakis | 2009 Girls Gone Wild, the pop culture powerhouse and brainchild of 35-year-old millionaire Joe Francis, is an increasingly popular form of sexualized entertainment. The company produces films that show “real college girls” bearing their bodies for the camera. As a medium, Girls Gone Wild can be defined as neither pornography nor reality film (documentary or otherwise). Its unique elements of coercion and contrivance set it apart from standard conventions of pornography, and as such, it is the leading example of the new phenomenon that author Ariel Levy calls “raunch culture.” Girls Gone Wild is a new, yet pervasive, vehicle for patriarchal oppression that presents a distinctly dangerous threat to the goals of feminism.
The films and the company itself are widely recognizable for their style—which, I shall argue, amounts to coercion and manipulation of young women. The males behind the cameras of Girls Gone Wild play a central role in the branding of the company because the crew also serves as directors and coercers. I use transcripts from the films to illustrate the tactics the filmmakers employ to exploit the young women they target. I explore the concepts of sexual deviance, performance, coercion, and fantasy so that I may further reveal how the producers of Girls Gone Wild films—and the men who enjoy them—capitalize on the humiliation and degradation of women.
I utilize Girls Gone Wild as a case study to analyze larger patriarchal influences on male fantasy—and how those influences situate women and men as adversaries in sex and sexuality. By basing my analysis in the feminist tradition, I can identify sexist structures within this franchise and deconstruct its power. In so doing, I attempt to illuminate why this new surge in raunch culture’s popularity threatens the human dignity of both women and men.
Hope is Not Enough: the High Stakes of Immigration Reform and the Obama Administration
Bernice Denira Ramirez | 2009 Immigration reform has been long awaited. To the frustration of many groups, the 109th Congress was in 2006 unable to come to a compromise. But reform remains critical for several reasons. The first concerns the historically large, and growing, number of immigrants to coming to the United States—both legal and illegal. But “illegal immigrants” pose the greatest challenge for reformers. Current estimates show that the undocumented population is the highest it has ever been. Reform that does not address the fate of this group will be incomplete. A second reason to enact reform concerns the changing relocation patterns of these immigrants, with many settling in areas with little or no history of immigration. The changing geography of immigration has pressured local and state governments to enact harsh policies targeting immigrants. Similarly the failure of immigration reform caused the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to step up enforcement of existing policy instead.
Although the need for reform is clear, the goals and methods of the direction immigration policy should take are severely contested. This thesis examines obstacles Barack Obama is likely to face if he chooses to reform immigration policy. The central question of this thesis is: what are Obama Administration’s prospects for immigration reform? To answer it, I review the evolution of immigration policy from the turn of the 20th century to the 9/11 events. Then I identify the central axis of the immigration debate and the actors advocating competing policies. Next, I explore the failure of comprehensive immigration reform efforts in 2006 and 2007 and the lessons they teach. Finally, I detail Obama’s own political approach and evaluate his ability to bridge the divides immigration creates.
In the past, immigration legislation has been very difficult to enact. Restrictionists have formed a vocal, cohesive front against immigration. Ultraconservatives like CNN anchor Lou Dobbs and Rep. Tom Tancredo opposed a path to legalization, claiming any option was “amnesty” regardless of what shape it took. The Democrats, on the other hand, found it difficult to sell their more complex “comprehensive” immigration reform plan to voters. In the end, ultraconservatives were able to build coalitions that pro-immigrant groups were not.
As applied to immigration reform, the notion of bipartisanship is more vacuous than usual. Some believe that the “pragmatic” Obama, emphasizing solutions over ideology, can bridge the rifts that comprehensive immigration creates. In contrast, I draw from the immigration debate in 2006 to show that immigration creates strife that makes middle ground difficult to achieve. Obama may be willing to cede some ground on the issue by protecting immigrants’ rights but also allowing the massive wall between Texas and Mexico to be built; but, for many reasons, most ultraconservatives are unlikely to accept this type of compromises.
Ultimately, I argue, the political costs of immigration reform are too high for the Obama administration to achieve a meaningful change in policy. Immigration is highly contentious and not a winning issue for Democrats. That is the primary reason why reform is not likely to happen during Obama’s first term. Besides the difficulty of compromising over the issue, Obama has a long list of other major policy issues will almost certainly trump immigration. Obama would lose too much political capital if he were to take on immigration: he would alienate important groups in return for small political gains.
Neo-Liberal Capitalism & the Relative Perspectives of Globalization: The Cosmopolitan Elite and the Lower Socio-Economic Class
Gautam Malhotra | 2009 I argue that the structural limits of neo-liberal capitalism result in vertical and horizontal polarization, leading, in turn, to distinctly contrasting class perspectives on globalization. Following from this distinct perspective, people in lower socio-economic classes use democracy to challenge neo-liberalism. I contend that with the collapse of the Bretton Woods system and the internet revolution, a seamless global economy has been created. This has proliferated corporate expansion, giving the rise to a new cosmopolitan elite class. Closely tied to transnational production networks, this class has been the greatest economic beneficiary of neo-liberal capitalism.
Neo-liberal capitalism has resulted in vertical polarization; I define this as the rising disparity of wealth between the transnational elites and lower socio-economic populations. The transparency of the cosmopolitan elite class’s social positioning, establishes them as the dominant class. I argue that this generates a cosmopolitan elite ideology that assumes cultural ‘synchronic pluralism.’ Reflective of neo-liberal capitalism, this implies a mixing of cultural materials across boundaries. I will argue that the ideology of nationalism, which understood the world to be organized in fixed enclosed bodies, such as nation-states, is being replaced by this cosmopolitan discourse. Through consumerism, this seeps into the middle class.
The decline of nationalism and state welfare creates a different perspective on globalization within lower socio-economic classes. Left feeling abandoned by the state, they have turned to their sub-national identities to reclaim their sense of belonging, and to make stronger claims on the remaining available state resources. This phenomenon is called horizontal polarization. One problem with Friedman’s model of vertical and horizontal polarization is it suggests that the lower socio-economic class continues to be marginalized, assuming the position that the lower socio-economic class remains helpless under neo-liberal capitalism.
I use Foucault’s theory of ‘governmentality’ to argue that new government technologies, serving as population measurement tools, shift the modern state’s governing methods. Now, governing is more scientific, focused on the objective finalities of measures, such as lowering poverty levels, raising employment, etc. Instead of governing civil society members, governments now govern populations, who are individuals of society who may live outside the law. I argue that this shift potentially empowers lower socio-economic classes, which can exercise the democratic right to vote, and keep governments more accountable to them.
To demonstrate how ‘governmentality’ has empowered the marginalized lower socio-economic class, I provide the example of the Texas Colonias population. By mobilizing and building a political network with several NGOs, state politicians, and the media, they were able to influence the passing of the 1989 Economically Distressed Areas Program legislation.
My research shows that several marginalized populations, especially in developing countries, have successfully altered their government’s neo-liberal economic policies. These examples, I argue, cast doubt on post-Cold War claims of democracy and neo-liberal capitalism as a “natural” pairing. Rather, marginalized populations are using democracy to participate in process of shaping their own systems.
Speaking of Faith: Justifying Charitable Choice in the Public Forum
Andrew J. Macklin | 2009 This paper presents Charitable Choice as a subject of public discourse. It answers the questions that might be raised in this discourse: What is Charitable Choice? Should political liberals accept it? Would its implementation produce impermissible outcomes or effects? Why should religious NGOs agree to partnerships with the state? And finally, why should Christians consent to participate in this fictional policy discussion?
First, Charitable Choice argues for government neutrality towards religion—the state may neither promote nor inhibit religion. In particular, it applies this principle to government funding of NGOs. The state may set certain criteria by which it chooses which NGOs to fund; however, religion cannot be a factor in these criteria. I examine Charitable Choice within the framework of public reason, which legitimates laws that are supported by a reasonable political conception of justice. The political value of fairness supports Charitable Choice’s proposal of government neutrality towards religious organizations; as long as they achieve valid public purposes, religious organizations should be able to partner with the state.
Political liberals will object to Charitable Choice if the policy has the effect of impermissibly promoting religion or fostering excessive entanglement between church and state. I argue that Charitable Choice emphasizes the expectation of good-faith compliance as a critical part of the government’s relationship with its citizens. It sets down specific standards that will help preserve distinct spheres of influence for church and state, and expects that citizens will, in good faith, comply with these standards to minimize impermissible unintended effects.
Similarly, religious NGOs object that partnerships with the state may dilute their religious mission, diminish their organizational autonomy, or impose restrictive bureaucratic standards. Charitable Choice responds in two ways. First, I urge religious citizens to focus more on positive social outcomes than on the integrity of their methods. Second, I invoke a moral imperative that implies that religious individuals have an obligation, as citizens, to partner with the state if it will increase the effectiveness of their efforts.
Finally, religious citizens object to the framework of public reason under theological conceptions of the church in contestation or opposition to the political world. I respond with a theology that places the spiritual and political worlds—and their correspondent vocabularies—under God’s sovereignty, so that participation in public reason is a spiritual act. I conclude that a religious citizen may introduce Charitable Choice into the public political forum because it makes properly political arguments that should lead reasonable citizens to accept it.
“Seeing the Population Issue Whole:” Population Policies, Reproductive Rights, and Demographic Goals
Laura Harris | 2009 For most of the 20th century, demographic perspectives formed the impetus and framework for most population policies worldwide. Some of these policies viewed women as merely ‘targets’ for contraception and resulted in human rights violations such as involuntary sterilization. In 1994, the International Conference on Population and Development resulted in a much needed global shift towards women’s rights and reproductive health as focuses of population policies. Yet this shift has also largely excluded demographic perspectives from mainstream population policies and discourse, which is worrisome because current global population growth and size are key factors that make our relationship with the earth unsustainable. I argue that policymakers must take into account both human rights perspectives and demographic perspectives in order to formulate population policies that are ethical and effective.
Demographic perspectives provide population policies with a focused, explicit goal: global fertility should be reduced to replacement rates or below as a necessary part of efforts to decrease environmental impact and improve human and environmental wellbeing. Yet these perspectives by themselves are incomplete as foundations for population policies because they provide little direction regarding methods of achieving fertility reduction. Past associations between demographically driven policies and human rights abuses should serve not as a condemnation of all demographic perspectives, but as a cautionary tale that emphasizes the importance of combining human rights perspectives with demographic perspectives.
A human rights perspective adds several important dimensions to population policies: it helps to refocus policies on the individuals they affect, and emphasizes the ultimate end of fertility reduction – the wellbeing of people through sustainability, health, and development. In many settings, a human rights approach has lowered fertility simply by rendering reproductive choice meaningful. Yet even when supplemented by concepts of global justice, including distributions of burdens, procedural justice, and reproductive responsibility, a rights-based perspective leaves population policies with so broad a mandate that they can become unfocused, and it casts fertility reduction as an added benefit rather than a central goal. When combined with a demographic perspective however, human rights can be a powerful orientation for population policies.
In order to link human rights and demographic perspectives, I propose policy strategies such as ad campaigns that influence the architecture of reproductive choices without limiting or unduly burdening these choices. These strategies are “nudges,” in the terminology of Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein. I provide case studies of policies consistent with nudges in Iran and Kenya, and I argue that these nudges can enlarge a human rights approach to embrace demographic focus.
Human rights and demographic perspectives are complementary in that they both contribute to more ethical and more effective population policies. On a deeper level, their synergy lies in a collaborative approach to population policies, which seeks to involve all people in making conscious reproductive choices with an eye to both their wellbeing and the wellbeing of society. There are some tensions between the two perspectives; the kinds of strategies each emphasizes most strongly vie for funding, and on a theoretical level, each seeks to reduce the other to merely a means to achieve its own ends. These tensions, however, show even more strongly that neither perspective is comprehensive, or sufficient. We need to employ both perspectives when thinking about population policies.
Within southern Sudan, President Nimeri’s actions and the subsequent loss of southern autonomy provided an opportunity for southern rebels to band together and create the Southern People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). In Chapter Three, I discuss the situation within southern Sudan, and how this situation was conducive to a future rebellion. The abrogation of the Addis Ababa Agreement provided southern rebels with an opportunity to begin this rebellion. The SPLA formed around the idea of an inclusive southern identity; instead of banding around a single ethnic group, SPLA leaders attempted to create a minimum-winning coalition of diverse ethnic groups in the region so as to become the main resistance group in the southern region, and to be victorious against the national army. While the SPLA focused on common southern grievances, individuals joined the SPLA because of the opportunities that this army provided.
Fragment and Fugue: Voices of the Postcolonial Self
Jessica Haney | 2009 This project explores the nature of intercultural dialogue in postcolonial society. It asks how we deal with the so-called “other”—as individuals and in aggregate—and how we might learn to deal with him so that he may become less “other” and more “us.” This task promises to be one of the most defining for the present generation, perhaps even for the present century. Indeed, in this contemporary global society, such an effort becomes critical if the wheels of diplomacy and economy are to keep turning, and peaceful existence is to be passed down to our children.
The issue of intercultural dialogue is especially acute in the context of the apparent dichotomy between “east” and “west.” The us-versus-them mentality is pervasive and pernicious on both sides of this so-called cultural divide. The opposite extreme and counter-ideal is a “post-racial” society, in which self and society are no longer fragmented along lines of cultural difference. However, the ideal seems impossible, since human subjectivity is inescapable and cultural difference its inevitable byproduct.
This project attempts to ascertain how one might transcend the crippling us-them dialectic in which so many of us live. The initial task is to explore how notions of cultural unity and divide have been expressed in contemporary English literature: specifically, the poems of Canadian Caribbean Nourbese Philip and Kashmiri American Agha Shahid Ali. Next, theoretical resonances of these poems’ joint insights are explored in the critical works of James Clifford, Tzvetan Todorov, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Kamau Brathwaite, and Salman Rushdie.
Based on this unique array of poets and critics read in aggregate, I conclude that the nature of the postcolonial self is fundamentally more paradoxical and complex than we tend to imagine. The discourses which polarize—those grounded in purely relativist or purely universalist mindsets—are insufficient for describing postcolonial reality. And the ideal “post-racial,” too, is insufficient. When these thinkers are put into dialogue with each other, the collective epiphany is that the post-racial can never be “post” racial; that the post-racial is by very definition racial. It is more than a mere appropriation of the “other’s” voice, and more than a mere backlash against it; and it is more than a simple creole or composite of the two. It is the contrapuntal interplay of other and self, when one’s objectivity and subjectivity are working in and through each other. We can conceive of our post-racial selves as whole fragments and fractured wholes. Dichotomy has been turned on its head but without being annihilated. Such knowledge offers a window not only into the postcolonial, but also into the post-lapsarian world. The propagation of these insights at a grassroots level has the potential, over time, to bring the transcendent racial post-racial further into being.
Winning Back the ‘Values’ Voter: The Religious Progressive Movement and a Development of a Framework Connecting Liberals and Christian Communities
Marta P. Cook | 2009 I argue that the 2004 election served as a wake-up call to Democrats, when post-election analysis showed that the more often a person went to church, the more likely he voted for George W. Bush. Many political liberals realized an enormous “God Gap” had developed between the two parties, that somehow many Christians felt that the Democratic party did not understand or represent their values.
In the first chapter, I examine the sociopolitical force of religion in America. I assess the political impact of the religiosity of this nation, from the ‘politics of belonging’ to the ‘politics of believing’. I explain how religion in America is as dynamic as it is constant, with denominational trends and ethnic demographics rapidly changing in the modern era. I evaluate how the Democrats began to understand this and to incorporate it in 2008 election strategies.
Then I outline who the current leaders of the religious progressive movement are and their outreach strategies to evangelicals and Catholics, specifically. It is essential, in understanding the loose and tenuous partnerships of this modern movement, to realize that many of the people and groups in it may be politically liberal, but still hold theologically conservative values. I will then examine the concerted faith outreach of both the Obama and Clinton presidential campaigns. I argue that the advances both of them made were crucially important in helping them build broad-based constituencies of support in unlikely places. I provide an in-depth case study of a Democratic congressional race in Virginia that became one of the biggest upsets in the 2008 elections, partially due to the campaign’s deliberate and extensive faith outreach in one of the most conservative districts in the state.
However, it is not enough to blame Democratic policy positions or choice of candidates to run as the reasons why they almost categorically fail to connect with conservative and moderate Christian voters. The problems lie deeper. Using moral psychological analysis and studies from the cognitive science field, I argue that Democrats have systematically failed to construct a framework for modern liberalism that can reach the vast majority of moderate and conservative Christians on a moral or emotional level. It is not that Democratic issues cannot appeal to Christians, but that the Democrats have essentially given no amenable overarching framework through which Christians could locate their own values within modern political liberalism.
Lastly, I argue that Christianity can help modern liberalism better envision and articulate its conceptions of the good. I demonstrate how the predominant paradigm of “choice” in liberal politics is not only strategically crippling in terms of outreach to moderate and conservative Christians, but also captures liberals’ philosophical disconnect with religious thought in negotiating their policy positions in the public square. I call for Democrats to reclaim the virtue of personal sacrifice. Then, I identify two Christian principles—the Body of Christ metaphor and the ethic of stewardship– that help to better illuminate the moral framework behind liberal policy positions. I outline potential applications of these theological concepts to the most pressing political issues of our time, in hopes of securing liberal victories that are not only long lasting but also help to develop common ground between the party and people of Christian faith.
Class Values: The Relationship between Social Class and Morality in America
Kathleen Connelly Casey | 2009 Although Americans are often uncomfortable discussing social class, class differences in morality are an important if not underappreciated aspect of American culture. Thus, the primary purpose of this thesis is to empirically investigate the relationship between social class and morality in America.
In order to establish an understanding of the study of social class in America, the first chapter briefly overviews traditional aggregate class theory, its critiques, and two alternative class theories, stratification theory and microclass theory. I then present the first goal of this thesis: To identify the models and measures of class that best predict morality. Next, the second chapter reviews different psychological theories of morality to determine a working definition of morality. I use this definition to review past research on the relationship between class and morality, which generally suggest that social classes possess different moral values in terms of authoritarianism, self-actualization, work ethic, and friendship. This chapter also introduces the second goal of this thesis: To determine if class differences in morality still exist in these and other areas of morality.
After reviewing past research on class and morality, the third chapter begins the empirical study of class and morality. It presents the analyses of three nationally representative surveys, including the General Social Survey, the American National Election Studies, and the World Values Survey. The analyses generally suggest that the lower classes value authoritarianism and loyalty more than the upper classes. In turn, they also suggest that the upper classes value self-actualization and fairness more than the lower classes. However, the analyses found no class differences in work ethic. The findings not only offer preliminary evidence of small but important class differences in morality, but suggest that both the stratification and aggregate models of class successfully predict moral values.
The results of the analyses in the third chapter provided the basis for the creation of an original survey on social class and morality. As in the third chapter, the results of this Social Class Survey suggest that that the lower social classes tend to value authoritarianism more than the upper classes. They also suggest, contrary to the previous findings, that the upper classes may value work ethic more than the lower. Finally, the analyses indicate that the upper classes tend to value the individualizing moralities, such as compassion and fairness, more than the binding moralities, such as loyalty, respect for authority, and purity.
The final chapter of this thesis summarizes interprets the results of the four empirical studies, identifies the limitations of the study, and suggests paths for future exploration. Overall, the results of the analyses presented in this thesis suggest that there are, indeed, small but significant class differences in morality in present-day America: The data suggest that the lower classes value moralities that promote group unity and function whereas the upper classes primarily value moralities that emphasize autonomy and individuality. Hopefully, this thesis will help clarify the relationship between class and morality in America and emphasize the importance of class in the twenty-first century.
A Question of ‘Resolve’: The Potential for Institutionalist Theory to Improve IMF Assessment of Program-Country Reform Capacity
Patrick Casey | 2009 Argentina’s “total economic and financial meltdown” in December of 2001 has attracted attention both for the severity of the crisis and for the role of the International Monetary Fund in Argentina’s collapse. I situate this thesis within the strand of research that holds that as a result of failures in its engagement process, the IMF contributed to the intensity of the crisis. By the IMF’s decisions in January and September 2001 to lend Argentina extraordinary sums of financial support when many analysts agree the Argentine reform effort was already doomed, the IMF “only postponed the inevitable and, by raising the debt burden, also meant that the costs of the eventual collapse were all the greater.”
Empathy with the misery of the Argentine experience and fear that such a mistake could be made again have motivated researchers to analyze the economic weaknesses that contributed to the crisis, to search for indicators that can facilitate those weaknesses’ earlier detection, and to propose economic policies that could guard against similar crises in the future. I approach the project of preventing another such catastrophe from a different angle.
Before the Executive Board of the IMF will commit to loaning funds to a state beset by crisis, it must be confident in two conclusions. First, the Board must be confident that the program of economic reforms formulated in conjunction with the crisis country will put the country back on a path to economic stability and growth, given the best economic forecasts available at the time. Secondly, the Board must be confident that local political leaders will be able to translate the policy proposals negotiated with the IMF into enforced law in the program country, so the program country can take advantage of the window of safety provided by IMF lending. In internal documents, the IMF often refers to this capacity as the country’s ‘resolve.’ I focus on this under-treated second concern.
In this thesis I will argue two points. First, I hold that the IMF’s failure to accurately assess program-country capacity to enact negotiated reforms caused it to approve loan decisions in 2001 that were at that point already doomed to fail. Secondly, I will argue that the application of an institutionalist theoretical framework has the potential to improve the IMF’s future assessment of program-country reform capacity. I support my first claim with an analysis of the IMF’s flawed assessment of Argentine ‘resolve’ in January and September of 2001. I motivate my second claim with an example of an institutionalist theoretical framework’s superior predictive power of Argentine resolve in January 2001.
From Radical Critique to Political Withdrawal: The Critical Theory of Horkheimer, Adorno, Marcuse and Habermas
William A. Callison IV | 2009 This thesis explores the foundations and development of critical theory from its inception in the 1930s with Max Horkheimer to its current state in the work of Jürgen Habermas. Critical theory began as a Marxian-inspired interdisciplinary research program, which integrated philosophy and the social sciences in an attempt to aid the German workers’ movement of the Weimar Republic (1919-1933). Today critical theory involves an interdisciplinary, dynamic approach to the critique of social, political and ideological structures. It has become widely influential throughout the humanities and social sciences because of the range of its analysis and the legacy of its proponents. In this thesis I examine the work of four influential members of the Frankfurt School of critical theory who have advanced this tradition in different ways.
School of critical theory who have advanced this tradition in different ways. I argue that both the “first-generation” (Horkheimer, Adorno and Marcuse) and the “second-generation” (Habermas) of critical theory began with a radical critique of the status quo, which engaged in the social and political struggles of their respective eras. However, in the latter part of both generations, critical theory fell into either a state of despair and inaction or into a position of uncritical complacency. I show that this shift resulted in a withdrawal from critical-political activity and a temporary disbanding of the tradition and mission of critical theory. The past failures of critical theory require explanation as well as revision to properly alter its undertaking for future analysis.
I advance these arguments throughout the thesis by chronologically tracing the work of the theorists in relation to their historical circumstances. I begin with a brief political history of the Weimar Republic to show how its turbulent environment shaped the mission of the early Frankfurt Institute for Social Research, and how Weimar’s collapse necessitated the emigration of Horkheimer, Adorno and Marcuse to America. Alongside this historical narrative I discuss the conceptual underpinnings of early critical theory and how its analysis changed in the midst and aftermath of World War II. During this bleak historical period, the theorists’ evaluation of modernity became similarly dark and pessimistic. In Dialectic of Enlightenment, Horkheimer and Adorno launched a totalizing critique of mass culture and the “new barbarism” of Western society. Marcuse likewise presented a virulent critique of what he called “one-dimensional society.” This period left the first generation in a state of political withdrawal.
Habermas, a student of Horkheimer and Adorno who would later take over as director of the Institute, reinvigorated critical theory with his examination of the public sphere and rational-critical debate. With his theory of communicative action, Habermas shifted the paradigm to an intersubjective and linguistic social analysis. But his later work ultimately departs from the tradition of critical theory, as it gives an uncritical legitimization of current political structures.
I conclude with a critique of the later Habermas’s work. To revise critical theory, I propose three necessary elements for its future undertaking: returning to the more critical and engaged project of the early Institute; integrating Foucault’s critique of power; while retaining Habermas’s linguistic and intersubjective focus.
No Party but the Grand Old Party: Evangelicals, Civil Rights and why the Democratic Party Can’t Close the “God Gap”
Jamelle Bouie | 2009 I argue that the current effort by the Democratic Party to close the “God Gap” in presidential elections by appealing to evangelical voters is doomed to failure. Democratic attempts to “reach out” to evangelical communities stem out of the perception that Democrats lost evangelical voters to the Republican Party and that this loss has hurt long-term Democratic viability. In turn, this perception is fueled by the narrative which gained currency following the 2004 presidential election and which has recently been popularized by journalist Amy Sullivan (and others).
In this narrative, the Democratic Party “lost” evangelicals when it failed to secure their long-term support following Jimmy Carter’s election in 1976, of which evangelicals played a significant part. According to Sullivan and other commentators, the Carter administration ignored evangelical concerns and pursued an agenda which was anathema to evangelicals. In particular, evangelical elites grew increasingly hostile to the Carter administration and the Democratic Party at large, so that when Republican politicians offered their support, evangelicals gladly obliged. For twenty years, Republican electoral dominance was built on an evangelical foundation, and as the argument goes, Democrats need to chip away at that foundation if they are to have any chance at long-term political success. To do that, Sullivan argues, Democrats need to moderate their positions and rhetoric on social issues (same-sex marriage, abortion, etc.) and conduct sustained outreach to evangelical communities, with the hope that regular contact will build familiarity and eventually, support.
This picture, however is not entirely accurate; as I argue, evangelical support for the Republican Party dates back to the 1960s, when evangelicals – a largely Southern demographic – were courted by the Republican Party on the basis of their vocal opposition to civil rights legislation. As I explain in my second and third chapters, modern evangelicalism is a conservative religious tradition with roots in early 20th century fundamentalism and conservative Protestantism. These conservative evangelicals are concerned with defending and maintaining a divine more order, which is often defined as a more traditional, hierarchical social order. In the South, defense of Jim Crow became a part of evangelical theology, to the point where religious language is used to defend the existing racial hierarchy. In the fourth chapter, I use recent analysis to show that this combination of Southern evangelicalism and racial conservatism makes said evangelicals more likely to express racial animosity and racially conservative beliefs, and that this in turn primed evangelicals to respond enthusiastically when first Goldwater and then Nixon used racial conservatism to garner votes.
I argue that this legacy of theological conservatism and racial prejudice do more to explain the enduring bond between evangelicals and the Republican Party than do the typical list of social issues. Evangelicals became Republicans when the GOP embarked on its “Southern Strategy,” and remained Republicans as the party became a vehicle for defending the existing racial and gender hierarchies. Try as they might, the Democrats will always have trouble attracting evangelicals as long as it remains a fundamentally liberal party.
Between Principles and Pragmatism: Nongovernmental organizations and competing approaches to humanitarian relief aid
James Thomas Anderson | 2009 I argue that traditional principles of humanitarianism such as humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence maintain their importance and relevance to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) delivering humanitarian relief aid in contemporary crises. I also temper this with the argument that no aid agency maintains a monopoly on the most effective means by which to engage in humanitarian assistance, nor is any one particular approach objectively or a priori morally superior to another. Rather, the principles’ continued efficacy is dependent on context and an appreciation of the nuance in various crises.
The topic is relevant given the current international system, specifically the nature of modern humanitarian crises, and the concomitant and increasing role of NGOs in alleviating the suffering that these crises cause. Acknowledging that both humanitarian crises, and NGOs’ role in them, will remain a part of the international system for the foreseeable future, the question regarding aid becomes not so much whether to intervene, but how to do so most effectively. In attempting an answer to this question, I challenge multiple trends from recent years in policy and scholarship advocating the abandonment of traditional humanitarian principles.
I outline and elucidate the theoretical justifications for humanitarian principles, and demonstrate how we may present agencies such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) as “ideal types” of approaches to humanitarian relief aid. Despite the agencies’ heavy rhetoric, they in fact compromise these principles and respond to crises with flexibility and initiative. My research into contemporary humanitarian crises and the relevance of humanitarian principles looks at the ICRC and MSF primarily. I look at the relative successes of these agencies across multiple crises spanning time (from the 1980’s to the present) and geopolitical arenas (examining, inter alia, Somalia, Cambodia, Bosnia, and Iraq).
The substantive analysis begins with a discussion of neutrality and impartiality, contrasting the discretion of the ICRC with MSF’s “witnessing” and advocacy. I then examine the humanitarian imperative in comparing relief aid to long-term developmental approaches to aid, identifying the importance of relieving immediate human suffering before addressing root economic and political causes of conflict. The final substantive chapter examines the principle of independence, critiquing recent attempts by states to embed themselves in humanitarian action, and technical standards and accountability measures that can restrict NGOs’ flexibility.
I demonstrate that traditional principles remain vital for humanitarian NGOs providing relief aid. They facilitate access to populations, help identify the key areas of horrific suffering, allow impartial protection of human rights, and assist NGOs in maintaining suitable distance from non-neutral actors and restrictive, rigid templates for action. Importantly, however, my research highlights the fact that no one principle is objectively and wholly better than another.
Humanitarian aid agencies should reconcile themselves to the continued complexity of these situations. Simone de Beauvoir has noted that ethics do not furnish recipes, and NGOs must persistently reflect on their context and capabilities to create effective humanitarian space.
Institutional Arrangements: The Politics of Art Museums
Jamin An | 2009 My inquiry examines art’s institutional arrangements through the present character of modern and contemporary art museums. This examination is positioned initially with the postmodernist theoretical evaluation of the art museum which argues the rupture of the modernist art episteme signaled the end of the museum and the project of constructing art’s history. I limited my inquiry to museums located in major art centers across the globe, the places and spaces that have defined the sphere of twentieth century art. These museums share national and historically influential platforms. Attracting the largest, most economically diverse audiences the museums I am interested in also define best practices for the preservation, collection and display of twentieth-century and contemporary art.
The inclusion of performance art in museum collections and exhibitions allowed me to assess the museum’s space of interpretation and purported reforms since the postmodern critique. What I draw from the different strategies to include and recognize performance is a desire for a synthetic theory and method of performance collection and presentation that remains committed to the modernist foundations of museum practice. Important questions that target the arbitrary origins of these criteria and recognize the interpretive constraints on performance art remain unanswered as the museum carves a marginalized space for performance art in the institution.
The myopic strategies that do not engage museum practices in Chapter One are shaped by the postmodern criticism that locates the site of museum critique only in the image or work of art. In Chapter Two, I retrace dominant postmodernist critiques of the museum to demonstrate that an artwork-centered criticism foreclosed any possibility to fully consider the museum’s instrumentality of producing particular epistemological systems. Instead, an impetuous evaluation of the museum is put forth through a reactionary dialecticism that is constructed between modernist and postmodernist art. Postmodernist critics champion modernist negation, pointing to the dissolution of mediums through multimedia work, or the use of new production strategies like photographic reproduction. However, what is posited in this reactionary negation is an equally authoritative, unitary criterion. A commitment to a democratized, egalitarian museum space that engenders multiple interpretive possibilities must cast a wider net and critique the structures of interpretation and visuality that underlie the museum’s conventions.
Guided by performance’s proposition of an intersubjective interpretive exchange and Michel Foucault’s theory of power/knowledge, the failures of performance inclusion and the postmodern critique of museums indicate the need for critical strategies that target the local possibilities of intervention and address the constitutive acts of the museum’s discursive field. Re-examining the connections between a museum’s practices of collection, display and preservation to a particular archive or discursive regulation I close this project with the hopes of offering a new critical direction for us to shape and mold our institutional realities.
The Microfinance Revolution: Making Business Sense Out of Poverty Alleviation
Matt Sherman | 2008 I argue that the publicity and enthusiasm surrounding microfinance is well-intentioned but fundamentally misguided. The public image of microfinance has been shaped from one particular perspective. Few people outside the microfinance world understand the diversity of thought and action within that world. In this thesis, I describe the phenomenon of microfinance and explain the tensions within the movement. I argue that one paradigm of microfinance is best suited to the current needs of the movement even though it receives less attention from the public.
Microfinance is fundamentally designed to meet the financial needs of poor people. Despite their destitution, the poor have ways of generating income and have needs for managing their money responsibly. Most are self-employed and run small informal enterprises. Access to loans allows poor people to invest in their informal businesses and increase their incomes. Access to other financial services like savings makes the poor less vulnerable to sudden economic shocks and more capable of withstanding hardship.
There are two ways to understand microfinance. Some see microfinance as a humanitarian effort to lift people out of poverty. Others see microfinance as a business effort to expand the market for financial services. In this debate between poverty lending and commercial finance, I argue the latter approach is more appropriate considering the current state of microfinance. Commercial microfinance institutions can grow to massive scale because their operations are fully sustainable. Currently, only five percent of the global demand for microfinance has been satisfied. The commercial approach is necessary to expand microfinance services worldwide and achieve the fundamental goal of microfinance — the democratization of financial services.
Currently, the attention is largely directed at the other side of microfinance that focuses more explicitly on poverty. From Nobel prizes to international summits, the public image of microfinance has been shaped from this perspective. The general public, both proponents and critics, would do well to understand the other side of microfinance. With a fuller understanding of microfinance one can experience the growth of a enterprise with a social mission. The story of microfinance demonstrates the capacity of individuals to affect positive social change in other people’s lives.
Tiptoeing on the Threshold: Exploring Buddhist Conceptions of the Ultimate through Performative Meditation
Blake Segal | 2008 I argue that artistic performance, despite its explicit prohibition in Buddhist texts, provides an ideal opportunity for Buddhist meditation. “Performance” and the field of “performance studies” resist restricting definitions and are embraced more as workable concepts than static pictures of a single kind of “theater”. Performing Arts, then, can become whatever the performers wish it to be. Universal to the many manifestations of performance, however, is the motivating force behind their creation. Meaningful performance aspires to brush with some kind of ultimate truth. Art captures the unexplainable in human nature, gives structure to the nebulous concepts of what we cannot articulate, and deals with “the big questions” of this life and the void beyond. I suggest that performance, should the performers and audience will it so, can be viewed as legitimate Buddhist meditation as a part of the path to enlightenment.
Chapter One outlines ideas, concepts and doctrines of various Buddhist schools in an attempt to present a possible definition of the Buddhist worldview. It is shown that earthly existence, defined as the illusory realm of samsara, is constructed of constant, infinite performances. Buddhists recognize existence and the “things” which construct what we call “real life” to be ultimately “empty”. Our lives are performative insofar as there is no inherent value, no eternal, singular soul-like essence as a part of ourselves or our interactions with our world. We are “putting on”. Existence is a kind of balancing act where we cling to the conditional truth of being in this illusory world while we strive to understand the ultimate emptiness of all things. This world is on the threshold, real yet ultimately not real. The only way to transcend the ignorance of “how things really are” is to experience truth through meditation. Surpassing a mere intellectualization of religious dogmas, Buddhism demands of its practitioners to really practice, to learn by doing.
Chapter Two connects this Buddhist definition of reality with the process of performance. Relying heavily on post-modern performance theory and the acting theories of Peter Brook and Konstantin Stanislavski, I suggest that performance can be read as an ideal way for Buddhists to pursue encounters with ultimate truth. Conceiving the “self” in terms of character representation, the threshold position of the performance and setting as being in reality yet not quite in reality, and the constant work required to be fully “present” on stage lends the process of performance to be identified as a kind of Buddhist meditation. I try to show that the performance and Buddhist conceptions of truth can share a reciprocal relationship with each informing and bringing the other to a deeper sense of higher truth.
Chapter Three connects the theory established in the first two chapters by exploring existing forms of Buddhist performing art. By showing that there are some established connections between Buddhism and performance, the discussion about deepening the relationship can begin.
I hope to leave the reader with a greater understanding of post-modern performance theory and the potential for performing art to be accepted as a way for humanity to come into contact with “ultimate truth”, whatever that may be. For the Buddhist community, this connects performance with the dharma of the Buddha.
Tell Me I’m Black Enough: The Power of Discourse on the Contemporary Debate on Black Authenticity
Nina Otchere-Oduro | 2008 Right now, the African-American community is fixated on the question of what constitutes authentic Black identity in America. Senator Barack Obama’s quest for presidency has placed him at the center of this public discourse. His bi-raciality as well as other factors has drawn members of the Black community to question whether he is “Black enough.” Furthermore, this thesis analyzes the current discourse on Black authenticity. I argue that the contemporary discussion on Black authenticity allows for the conceptual fragmentation of the meaning of blackness in American society. I define Black authenticity as the perception or act of performing a “real” Black racial identity as opposed to an imitation or falsified version.
Although the ongoing debate on Black authenticity is intended to promote a singular image of Black identity, the discourse rather works in a contradictory manner as it enables multiple notions of blackness to emerge through discussion. This allows for various images of Black identity to surface, which maximizes the amount of available definitions of blackness in society. This is shown by examining the key arguments, their effects on society, and their relevance to Black identity. I rely on the premise that proponents of Black authenticity assume that there is a singular definition of Black identity that should be followed by all Blacks.
Because the discourse on Black authenticity does not happen irrespective of the on goings in society, I utilize the key sociological factors that affect Black identity in society to examine the different sides of the conversation. Focusing on immigration, upward mobility, ideological diversity, and interracial relationships, I suggest that external forces are constantly influencing groups and individuals in society. Since these factors are the most prevalent forces that affect the discourse on Black authenticity, I analyze them in order to interrogate the different interpretations of blackness that exist in society.
Since the current discussion has real-world outcomes, I end the thesis with a discussion of its effects on the discourse on racial identity and the implications on society. Showing that the varying perceptions of Black identity contest the one-dimensional perception held by proponents of Black authenticity, I suggest that all the parties engaged in the discussion should lend their ears to opposing views. This will allow for the exchange of ideas and beliefs that can lead to an all encompassing notion of Black identity in the future.
Getting Better All the Time? Revisiting the “Darwinian” Argument for Inevitable Moral Progress
Ben McVane | 2008 I aim to assess critically the interpretation of natural selection as a process that leads to an increasing level of morality in human society. Specifically, I will address the question of whether contemporary accounts of biological underpinnings of human morality confer a higher degree of validity to the interpretation of natural selection as morally progressive than did Darwin’s original thinking about the matter. I argue that modern evolutionary theory, including the contributions of evolutionary psychology, does not strengthen any claim that morality in human society increases as an inevitable result of natural selection. My central argument focuses on a distinction between moral capacity and moral inclination, a distinction that I suggest can be extrapolated from a careful parsing of Darwin’s Descent of Man. I contend that moral capacity and moral inclination are incompatible ideas; they conflict in the same manner as do the irreconcilable concepts of human free will and historical inevitability, thus burdening Darwin’s project with the same logical contradictions as found in other historicist projects. The theoretical and substantive advancements of evolutionary biology can offer little to overcome this basic philosophical concern.
In chapter one, I outline Charles Darwin’s evolutionary account of the development of human morality. Centrally, I assess the presence of any implicit teleology in Darwin’s theory of natural selection, suggesting that while Darwin’s language at times implies a teleological directionality to the process of natural selection, the actual mechanisms of the process do not support such a conclusion. In light of this, I consider the balance Darwin attempts to establish between the role of human agency and non-human natural forces in the development of morality. I suggest that distinguishing between Darwin’s simultaneous account of the development of “moral beings” and the development of “moral sense” undermines any attempt to suggest that natural selection is a process of inevitable moral progress. If the development of “moral beings” is more central than the development of a “moral sense” (which I suggest it is), then Darwin’s account of the development of human morality requires an active role for human agency in the instantiation of morality, and thus cannot be seen as an inevitable process.
In the second chapter, I suggest that concepts presented by evolutionary theory and evolutionary psychology since Darwin further refute the understanding of natural selection as an inevitably morally progressive process. I will continue to try to parse out the role of human agency and non-human natural forces in the development of morality, specifically outlining three concepts which emphasize the role of human agency in the natural development of moral behavior: niche construction, developmental robustness and the influence of culture. I also explain the rejection of the concept of “group selection” that formed the foundation of Darwin’s argument for the inevitable development of moral behavior by the process of natural selection. These ideas support the conclusion that while natural selection may favor the development of moral capacity, the actual morality of a given era depends on the active role of human agency.
In the third chapter, I present the philosophical problems inherent in any argument that morality results from natural tendencies. I use Darwin’s account of morality as a biological development for the basis of consideration. I suggest that Darwin’s loosely articulated ethical theory best mirrors the moral philosophy of David Hume, and thus contains the same philosophical problems. I identify these problems by considering the Kantian criticism of Hume’s philosophy, identifying the necessary commitments and assumptions that are implicit in Hume’s ethical theory. I further look at the exaggerated nature of these problems in the Darwinian application of Hume’s philosophy.
Exemplary Response or Misleading Success Story? An Analysis of Uganda’s Fight against the HIV/AIDS Epidemic
Allison McNearney | 2008 I argue that Uganda has earned its place among the most successful African nations to respond to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In the early 1990s, the prevalence rate reached a high 18 percent among adults; as early as 1994, however, scientists were reporting a decline in infection. Today, the rate has leveled off, with UNAIDS estimating the current prevalence at 6.7 percent.
Despite this statistical proof, the international academic community continues to debate whether Uganda’s response can be qualified as a success. I argue that Uganda has achieved clear accomplishments in the difficult fight facing most of sub-Saharan and southern Africa. This success features two components. First is the more common indicator of prevalence rates. The government-led coalition against HIV/AIDS affected a drop in infection from the highest rates on the continent in the early 1990s to securely below 10 percent. This involved significant behavioral change among the population, primarily through reduction in partners but also advanced by greater use of condoms and increased abstinence.
The second constituent of success concerns the unique response developed by Uganda to tackle the disease ravaging its population. Government officials ignored international prescriptions and acted in ways that specifically engaged with Ugandan social norms, customs, and experiences with HIV/AIDS. Under the leadership of Museveni, the government designed an innovative strategy to combat the disease that included the implementation of a multisectoral approach. Museveni encouraged a collaboration of organizations, ranging from the national to international and the well-established to the grassroot. While the government launched a vigorous prevention campaign, the non-governmental sector filled in deficiencies, especially regarding treatment and social services for people living with AIDS and their families. In an extraordinary development, Ugandan society collectively mobilized to form new community initiatives and support the government programs, their neighbors, and families. The mutual cooperation of all participating sectors allowed the Ugandan government to coordinate activities and present a cohesive national response.
Although Uganda has waged a successful campaign for the past two decades, the population faces a challenging fight ahead to sustain the declining prevalence rate. In order to respond to shortcomings in the current approach, the government needs to scale up its response to counteract the socioeconomic consequences of disease, growing complacency, enormous population of AIDS-orphans, and high infection rate in conflict-ridden northern provinces. While Uganda must continually improve its national response, it has achieved categorical success thus far. Other African nations caught in ongoing epidemics can learn from the main themes of this successful national coalition against HIV/AIDS.
On Your Knees: The Efficacy of Apologies in American Political Communication
Aaron John Kornblith | 2008 Most American politicians accused of wrongdoing instinctively react by denying the charges, withholding information and trying to spin away the evidence as fabrications by their political enemies. While this strategy may have once held some value, the changing nature of the modern news media has rendered it nearly useless.
The media now pounces on scandals with even the slightest trace of believability. In the resulting “feeding frenzy,” as Larry Sabato puts it, all forms of media quickly adopt a damaging pattern of coverage that amplifies every negative finding, spurs a lengthy and exhaustive search for more damaging information, and speculates extensively on the fate of the politician in question. Denials and spin play to the media’s worst features, heightening the suspicions of already distrustful journalists and making the possibility of bringing down a corrupt (or less than corrupt) politician all the more enticing for them.
Faced with these circumstances, I argue that offering full and frank apologies for personal wrongdoing represents the best strategy for a politician looking to mitigate the political damage brought about by modern news media coverage of his or her scandal. When apologies meet the criteria of being substantive, plausible, prompt and impassioned, they allow politicians in some circumstances to short-circuit the feeding frenzy process, concentrating media and public scorn in the short run but ultimately preempting the devastating, drawn-out scrutiny and vitriol most feeding frenzies inflict. Even when the transgression sparking the scandal proves too damaging for the politician to survive, a well-crafted apology can still bring benefits in the eyes of the media and public.
I begin my analysis by tracking the development of press-politician relations over the course of the 20th century and into the 21s t. I show how the trends observed from this period have created a modern news media characterized by cynicism, intense competition bred from the commercialization of the news business, and technological advancements that have both fragmented and accelerated the flow of information.
To examine the role apologies play in this new dynamic of political communication and compare them with other strategies, I explore three case studies of recent scandals: Mississippi Senator Trent Lott, Virginia Senator George Allen, and New York Governor Eliot Spitzer. Senator Lott’s comments in praise of former segregationist presidential candidate Strom Thurmond eventually cost him his post as majority leader, but his eventual apology preserved his career and allowed him to later reclaim significant political power. Senator Allen attempted to dismiss his now infamous “macaca” comment, and the resulting frenzy cost him his supposedly-safe Senate seat. And Governor Spitzer, revealed by the press to have patronized a high-end prostitution ring, faced insurmountable political odds but still managed to bring his frenzy to a speedy conclusion and regain some control over his image with a thorough and heartfelt apology.
Despite the forces continuing to transform political communication into a more adversarial and manipulative contest, I argue the efficacy of apologies in defusing those tendencies, at least on an individual basis, offers hope for a democratic discourse many consider to have significantly decayed. By putting apologies into practice and witnessing their effects, politicians can restore some of the dissipated trust responsible for that decay among their peers, in the media and within the general public.
Untouchable No Longer: A Theory of Tobacco Control
Katherine Klem | 2008 I argue that effective tobacco control in liberal democracies embraces three paradigms in succession. In order to lower the incidence of tobacco-related illness and mortality, the public must first accept that a problem exists—that smoking hurts the consumer’s health and, at current rates, the wellbeing of entire communities. Second, it must also learn why tobacco has exacted such a significant toll, recognizing the role of tobacco companies. Linking the problem to agency imbues an understanding that societies can prevent this epidemic if they make the right choices. Educating citizens about the issue’s effects and causes primes them for the third paradigm: enacting public policies that govern the manufacturing, marketing, and use of tobacco products over the long run.
This theory derives primarily from the U.S., where the tobacco control movement, if only intuitively or even accidentally, followed these three paradigms. Researchers from the public and nonprofit sectors, especially in the 1950s and 1960s, discovered evidence of causal links between tobacco use and lung cancer, among other diseases. Though the tobacco industry spent decades denying these findings, nearly all Americans believed that tobacco use proved harmful by the 1990s. And as the country entered the twenty-first century, Americans regulated tobacco with unprecedented vigor. Tobacco taxes increased, workers gained protection from secondhand smoke, and courts forced tobacco companies to keep the promises they made to the attorneys general.
Many activists and observers alike have failed to recognize the importance of the paradigm between these phases. During the 1990s, advocates helped the country scrutinize the actions of cigarette manufacturers. Pointing to the pervasiveness of this paradigm, every attorney general sued the largest companies, which ultimately agreed to pay billions of dollars, stop marketing to youth, and turn over millions of their internal documents. Whistleblowers confirmed what those memos revealed, and also showed that the industry had purposefully made cigarettes deadlier and more addictive than tobacco’s natural form. Meanwhile states launched grassroots and media campaigns, the most successful of which youth led, that targeted tobacco executives. The public, then, came to believe that the problem of tobacco use began with corporate America, not individuals addicted, and citizens rejected its quest for profit that came at the expense of their own lives.
As this thesis shows, the theory of three paradigms also helps make sense of tobacco control in other countries. France, Japan, and Malaysia have never engaged their populations in sustained discussion of the tobacco industry’s behavior. France limited itself to regulation and only casually warned citizens of smoking’s health risks or the industry’s actions. Japan has never focused the country’s attention on any one paradigm, instead pushing health education and policy change concurrently. Malaysia passed bold laws early on but is only now talking about the reasons for their passage. All three countries still have high rates of tobacco use. Those in Malaysia are increasing.
Whether in Asia, Europe, or North America, tobacco use ravages public health, taking thousands of lives every year. To address this problem effectively, advocates cannot simply form coalitions or raise money to air ads. They must also strategically influence the norms that ground the behavior of citizens every day.
From the Fool’s Gold Mouthpiece: An Examination of Conceptual Metaphor and Rhetorical Technique in Presidential Speeches from 1941 to 2008
Daniel Keyserling | 2008 I argue that major presidential speeches between 1941 and 2008 exploit the emotional impact of conceptual metaphors, and that the affect of those concepts on American audiences helped to redefine standards of political rhetoric. Emerging forms of media continue to force politicians and political campaigns to change how they communicate with the public, and as the length of sound bites shrink, politicians must frame their messages more concisely. In other words, there exists a symbiotic relationship between politicians and the press, the dynamic of which reveals details of how words affect emotion, and how emotion affects politics.
My survey of presidential rhetoric begins with Franklin Roosevelt both for the sake of concision, and because Roosevelt was the first president for whom the modern media establishment existed and mattered. Included in the chapter on Roosevelt are Harry Truman and George W. Bush, both of whose rhetorical strategies exhibit clear influences from Roosevelt. Armed with a clear understanding of the recent history of presidential rhetoric, I then explore how political psychology and cognitive science affect how people interpret certain words, phrases, and ideas.
Using primarily from the research of George Lakoff and Drew Westen, as well as the philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein and Richard Rorty, I outline how changing forms of media influence how theories of metaphor and the contingency of language occur in real audiences. The following chapter applies the theories of language and the historical analysis of Roosevelt, Truman, and Bush to Presidents Reagan and Kennedy, both of whom forged new styles of rhetoric that continue to influence politicians and rhetoricians. Reagan and Kennedy adjusted Roosevelt’s conceptual metaphor of the United States as a sort of “noble victim” to a nation that carried “a torch that can light the whole world” to justify an increased presence in international affairs.
Finally, drawing from my own experience working within the communications operations of a presidential campaign, I deconstruct how a contemporary speechwriting team works, and what affect more theoretical concepts such as metaphor and emotional association have on day-to-day operations. I explore how the 2008 presidential primary campaign exemplifies many of the rhetorical techniques perfected by past administrations, and how the new media landscape affects how such techniques work in the world of 24-hour news.
Epic Beginnings: History, Myth, and Revision in Ulysses and The Waste Land
Anna Natasha Joukovsky | 2008 In his essay “Tradition and the Individual Talent,” T. S. Eliot argues that the synthesis of the timeless and the temporal, of the traditional and the original, is essential to the creation of canonical, lasting literature. I suggest that Eliot’s theory reflects the creative dilemma of the Modern artist in particular, and his precarious place in history. The “burden of the past,” or creative anxiety due to the greatness of prior accomplishments in literature, already weighed heavily upon the Romantics, and it only increased in the early years of the twentieth century. James Joyce’s epic novel Ulysses offered a possible solution to this problem: to revive and revise myth, to create ex materia rather than ex nihilo—a solution that greatly influenced Eliot himself, particularly in his magnum opus, The Waste Land.
I argue that Ulysses and The Waste Land, both published in 1922, have become the “twin ‘myths’ of Modernism” and the twin pillars of Modernist prose and poetry respectively, due to the similar juxtaposition in these works of the return to myth and the synthetic aesthetic—a new, distinctly Modern style of allusive fragmentism. William B. Worthen dubs The Waste Land “Eliot’s Ulysses”—and in many ways, it is. But the means by which Joyce and Eliot arrived at a similar convergence of tradition and originality varied widely, and in works so similarly hyperconscious of history, the historical lives of the documents themselves are of particular critical interest.
Both as a literary technique and in the process of editing itself, Joyce’s revisions were consistently additive: he attempted to remake history and myth through expansion and addition. Joyce originally conceived Ulysses as a short story, but it ultimately became the epic-length sequel to and revision of his first novel, A Portait of the Artist as a Young Man. Since Ulysses was published serially in episodes, Joyce wrote and published the beginning of the novel before he had a full idea of the rest. Hence I suggest that the novel is continually revising itself with each episode. Conversely, Eliot’s revisions to The Waste Land time and again involve a subtractive process of cutting away the good to leave only the great. Though originally conceived as an epic-length collection of contemporary caricatures, the first edition of The Waste Land ran only 433 lines. Largely following Ezra Pound’s extensive editorial advice, Eliot cut pages and pages of verse, and in so doing, I argue, he dramatically changed the nature and aesthetics of his poem.
As much the result of subsequent revision as original composition, Ulysses and The Waste Land have become the iconic Modernist novel and poem respectively—but what exactly this means is debatable. Based on a comparative study of the final episode of Ulysses—“Penelope”—and the final part of The Waste Land—“What the Thunder Said”—I conclude that, while acknowledging the multifarious nature of Modernism, we can identify one key aspect of the movement as the emergence of unity, possibility, and affirmation out of fragmentation, horror, and despair. Synthesizing the great works, ideas, and emotions of the past into the present in order to change the course of the future, Ulysses and The Waste Land—for all their technical difficulty and seeming intellectual elitism—are all-inclusive works that continue to be applicable to and provocative in our world today.
Cash or Charisma? Three Arenas of Transformational Leadership
Nicholas Jordan | 2008 The phenomenon of charismatic leadership has a long and controversial history. At least since the dawn of recorded history, charismatic leaders have created substantial change in our world. While there are many types of charismatic leaders, I have chosen to study charismatic leaders in three specific fields: social entrepreneurship, politics, and business. I argue that charismatic leadership, at least as social theorist Max Weber envisioned it, no longer exists in the field of business.
To set the groundwork for this argument, I first establish an understanding of Weberian charismatic leadership. Weber identified three types of authority: Traditional Authority, Charismatic Authority, and Rational-Legal Authority. Within the charismatic authority framework, unlike the paradigms of traditional or rational-legal authority, allegiance is owed to persons who possess charisma by virtue of their unique attributes and abilities. Weber’s charismatic leader is a visionary, able to create transformational change by inspiring individuals to participate in his or her cause through both the outward expression of passion and the effective use of persuasion. A genuine love of the cause is requisite; the leader cannot be motivated by money, power, or fame. The charismatic leader must also possess natural abilities such as passion, optimism, and a sense of urgency. Equally important are certain skills that may be developed, or practiced, such as oratorical and interpersonal skills.
After establishing a lens through which to evaluate charismatic leaders, I examine the lives and efforts of two social entrepreneurs, Paul Farmer and Wangari Maathai, who have made great strides in medicine, politics, and the environment. These profiles illustrate that charismatic leadership, as Weber envisioned it, exists in the field of social entrepreneurship. I then shift to the world of politics to profile Barack Obama. Once again, an analysis of Obama’s leadership characteristics and behaviors demonstrates that charismatic leadership also exists in the world of politics.
Finally, I turn to the business realm, where leaders like Donald Trump and Warren Buffet have built powerful corporate empires. While an examination of these leaders reveals that they have tremendous transformational power, their influence does not come from their charisma. It comes from their wealth, connections, and powerful names. This examination also reveals that the success of the leadership shown by Trump and Buffet rests on their ability to consummate “deals,” which in most cases depend primarily on money.
In business, people may like and want to believe in a leader. However, if that leader is unable to provide an appropriate return on investment, he will not be successful. As business leaders, Trump and Buffet do not require a following to do their jobs, and they likewise do not rely on those who would follow them. Unlike politicians and social entrepreneurs, these leaders rely on nothing more than their own assets, their shareholders, and their outsized reputations for success. As a result Trump and Buffet, and business leaders as whole, do not fit Weber’s model of charismatic leadership.
The Imperative of Embryonic Stem Cell Research: A Comparative Study on the Politics of Research and Policy
Victoria L. Ingenito | 2008 Every American at some point in their life will benefit from regenerative medical therapies. As the human body ages, tissues composing the eyes, brain muscles, bone and many other body parts begin to degenerate often leading to a greater risk of disease and debilitation. Today, American health care can only provide patches for these problems and the ailments that may follow as a result of body degeneration, but emerging research shows there may be more effective, lasting medical treatments on the horizon.
Many countries agree that embryonic stem cell research holds tremendous potential to revolutionize current health care and treatment strategies. Moral and ethical debates persist about the proper level of respect and the status we should attribute to human embryos. While these discussions continue to provide various ethical frameworks for the use of embryos in medical research, the actual science continues to push ahead. Governments in countries such as Great Britain, China, Singapore and the United States formed government regulatory frameworks to manage this delicate field of research while simultaneously encouraging technological advancement.
The United States regulatory structure limits the use of embryos and embryonic stem cells in research to those created after August 2001. However, almost all of these stem cell lines have contamination with animal cells, genetic mutations and other impurities making them unfit for use in human clinical trials. Due to the inadequate amount of human embryos available for government funded research, an increasing number of American researchers are leaving the country to find better research opportunities around the globe. They often travel to Great Britain, where the regulatory framework allows more access to human research-quality embryos, funding and general support for developing this technology.
I explore the issues surrounding embryonic stem cell research regulation by contrasting the United States and British frameworks and tracing the legislative developments in both countries over the past 20 years. Understanding the differences between these two regulatory models shows how the United States can reorganize its oversight mechanisms. I argue that the United States government should immediately formulate its regulatory framework in a way that emulates the British system. These changes are crucial to preserving the salience of the moral and ethical debate and giving American scientists the resources necessary to bring the United States to a competitive level with other countries’ research programs.
Big Steps, Small Footprints: Environmental Ethics and Its Implications for the Theory and Practice of Rural Development
Grace Kittredge Healy | 2008 In 1944, a group of American scientists gathered in the hills outside Mexico City at the newly founded International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). Their goal was to reduce rural poverty and extreme hunger by engineering an agricultural revolution in the developing world. By the late 1960s, leaders of developing nations around the world heralded this “Green Revolution” as a miracle— its innovations in high yielding agricultural technologies bringing the promise of prosperity to rural villages. By the early 1970s, however, the fields and farms of the Green Revolution were already showing signs that these new technologies were too good to be true. The high outputs and rapid accumulation of wealth experienced in the villages of the Green Revolution could not overshadow the rapidly accelerating environmental degradation and social instability.
These unintended consequences of the new agricultural technologies indicate a deep conceptual contradiction inherent in the logic of the Green Revolution. One the one hand, it sought to improve the lives of rural villagers. One the other, the Green Revolution sought to dominant and manipulate the natural environment, and to suppress the spontaneous productivity upon which rural livelihoods depend. This conceptual contradiction underlying the Green Revolution suggests a broader gap in our collective understanding of the value of nature, and our relationship to it.
Environmental ethics is a branch of philosophy which seeks to articulate the norms of attitude and behavior that should guide our interactions with the natural environment. The goal of this thesis is to explore the potential for environmental ethics to contribute a new ethical perspective to the theory and practice of rural development. Taking the legacy of the Green Revolution as a guide, I will explore three different theories of environmental ethics, analyzing them in terms of their ability to reconcile a moral responsibility to encourage environmental integrity with the fundamental concern for human well-being. After examining the anthropocentric (human-centered) and bio-centric (life-centered) approaches to environmental ethics, I will ultimately conclude that the eco-centric (eco-system centered) ethic offers both a philosophically sound and practically applicable approach to environmental ethics.
The eco-centric ethic suggests that eco-systems are inherently valuable and therefore are worthy of moral consideration. At its most basic, extending moral consideration to eco-systems requires that we seek, whenever possible, to support rather than diminish the integrity of natural systems. In doing so, we must seek to provide not only the environmental conditions for ecological flourishing, but also the social and economic conditions than enable people to act with concern for the natural environment.
In its conceptual foundations, the Green Revolution failed to acknowledge the intimate connection between human well-being and environmental integrity. The eco-centric environmental ethic can help fill this gap in our collective understanding of human’s relationship to nature, by suggesting that humans should seek to promote ecological well-being, as ethically responsible members of both human and natural communities. In doing so, the eco-centric ethic can suggest an alternative approach to rural development which focuses on ecological integrity as a foundation for other development efforts. Community-based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) is one such model of rural development. Using a case study of a rural development project in Rajasthan, India, I will argue that CBNRM not only reflects the principles of the eco-centric perspective, it can also lead us away from the Green Revolution model of rural development toward more ecologically and socially sustainable solutions to rural poverty.
Civilian Nuclear Power and Just National Policy Practices: A Rawlsian Analysis of Reactor Siting
Jennifer Meghan Hayes | 2008 This thesis concerns itself with the connection between reactor siting policies and political justice in the United States and to a lesser extent the UK and France. Of particular focus is the general lack of attention afforded meaningful public participation in the formulation and implementation of civilian nuclear power. The use of John Rawls’s political conception of justice serves as a device to navigate the competing demands of the aggregate welfare and of the individual liberties of each citizen. The fundamental ideas and the two principles of justice operate as checkpoints for the basic structure, procedure, and outcomes of the US nuclear policy system.
When focusing on public justification, political liberties, and the difference principle, three simple markers arise for evaluating nuclear policy. These are simplicity, safety, and democracy. A system that mitigates safety hazards while respecting the space of each individual is key to just policy. Nevertheless, without simplicity, the system becomes obscure and prevents the meaningful participation necessary for a democratic society.
The US system has erred on side of complexity and lack of democratic participation. While the activism of the 1970s introduced public participation, the result was only a pale imitation of meaningful political engagement. Today, public fear and misunderstanding of the technology and associated risks prevent meaningful participation. Debate surrounding nuclear power rarely moves past these hurdles. Scientists quickly dismiss the public as irrational and uneducated. In turn, the public perceives scientific support of nuclear power to be much less than it is in actuality. The information gap, inherited from the technocratic, closed-door decisions of the Atomic Energy Commission, persists in the current political milieu in a more subtle form.
Four chapters comprise the body of the thesis. Chapter One introduces the science and history of nuclear power in the United States. Chapter Two examines Rawls’s philosophy and offers concrete criteria for just nuclear power. Chapter Three surveys the possible risks associated with nuclear power generation and establishes the actual burdens those living near reactors bear. Chapter Four integrates actual policy practices of the United States, France, and the United Kingdom with the evaluative standard established in Chapter Two. The chapter systematically compares the history, structure, procedure and outcomes of the three policy systems. It finds that the US system, while inefficient, has the greatest potential to adequately respect the inviolability of the individual. The French system, though appealing by utilitarian measure, does not do so. The United Kingdom’s policy system trespasses upon the individual and also lacks efficiency.
The awesome potential of nuclear power must not be scorned. If the US used recoverable domestic coal reserves for all energy needs, reserves would be depleted in less than 100 years. If the US used all depleted uranium stores for all energy needs, four hundred years would pass before stores were depleted. (Galen Suppes and Truman Storvick, Sustainable Nuclear Power, (Boston: Elsevier, 2007), 2, xv). It can and should be used to support future energy demands. However, we must do so cautiously, continually examining the liberties of citizens.
Between Turbans and Ostrich Feathers: The Beginnings of the Second Sudanese Civil War
Mai Omer Hassan | 2008 I investigate the causes of the Second Sudanese Civil War. I argue that the underlying grievances within society influenced—but did not begin—the war. Instead, actors used specific opportunities to advance their interests within the context of broadly-held societal grievances. I study the specific opportunities that actors used to advance their individual positions along with how those opportunities were influenced by underlying societal grievances.
Many theories on this war detail how the underlying grievances propelled the country into war. In Chapter One, I examine the political, economic, and social state of Sudan before the Second Civil War. With this background established, I analyze the literature on established reasons for why the Second Sudanese Civil War began. The existing literature points to the underlying grievances left over after years of colonial rule, grievances resulting from cultural differences between northern and southern Sudan, or grievances resulting from Sudan’s economic situation. While these factors influenced the beginning of the war, and help explain social support for the Second Sudanese Civil War, these grievances did not ignite the war. Broadly-held societal grievances suffer from free-riding problems. Individual actors have no incentive to join a mass resistance movement and engage in a catastrophic and life-threatening war unless they can achieve an added benefit that they would not have received had they not joined the movement.
Within northern Sudan, President Nimeri attempted to secure his political power in this unstable political environment by appealing to northern Sudanese society. In an attempt to gain popular approval and political backing from rival political parties, Nimeri abrogated the Addis Ababa Agreement, implemented shari’a law uniformly across Sudan, and dissipated the Southern Regional Government. Yet, these incendiary actions were only possible because of the rise of pan-Arabism and Islamic fundamen-talism within northern Sudanese society, Big Man politics, and international support. These factors allowed Nimeri to attempt to consolidate his power even though that consolidation occurred through more broadly destabilizing actions.
Within southern Sudan, President Nimeri’s actions and the subsequent loss of southern autonomy provided an opportunity for southern rebels to band together and create the Southern People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). In Chapter Three, I discuss the situation within southern Sudan, and how this situation was conducive to a future rebellion. The abrogation of the Addis Ababa Agreement provided southern rebels with an opportunity to begin this rebellion. The SPLA formed around the idea of an inclusive southern identity; instead of banding around a single ethnic group, SPLA leaders attempted to create a minimum-winning coalition of diverse ethnic groups in the region so as to become the main resistance group in the southern region, and to be victorious against the national army. While the SPLA focused on common southern grievances, individuals joined the SPLA because of the opportunities that this army provided.
Amazing Gays: A Case Study in Christian Queer Activism
Wyatt Fore | 2008 I argue that Soulforce exemplifies a substantive shift in the way that the contemporary lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) movement treats the fundamentalist Christian movement. Although the two movements have historically taken a strongly antagonistic position relative to each other, the dramatic victories and defeats in the early and mid-2000s have caused the LGBTQ movement to reconsider its strategy in the way that it engages religious ideology. Rather than writing off conservative Christianity as an unchangeable adversary, Soulforce engages directly with the fundamentalist right to make the case for a Christian social justice approach to LGBTQ issues.
Because Christian moralistic claims regarding sexual orientation and gender identity are the basis for the continued oppression of LGBTQ people, Soulforce contends, a purely secular approach is insufficient to achieving freedom. Rather, Soulforce aims directly at the root of that oppression—the fundamentalist right—through direct action that specifically recalls the Civil Rights and Indian Independence movements. Furthermore, Soulforce purposefully focuses on individuals and Christian institutions to transform the contemporary LGBTQ movement from one focused on politics to one focused on broader social change.
Although the LGBTQ movement has historically written off the fundamentalist right as an unchangeable adversary, Soulforce exemplifies a new sort of re-evaluation of that relationship. In contrast to seeing Christianity and LGBTQ people as fundamentally irreconcilable, many Christians are beginning to cite Jesus explicitly as a figure for social justice to justify freedom for LGBTQ people. Although mainstream LGBTQ organi-zations continue to focus their efforts on a secular approach to the movement, there is a growing awareness that an us-versus-them approach to Christianity has not translated well into the struggle for LGBTQ freedom, evidenced by the increasing attention that mainstream LGBTQ organizations are paying to matters of faith.
I argue further that Soulforce adopts a fundamentally different model for achieving freedom for LGBTQ people. Whereas mainstream LGBTQ organizations conceive of people and institutions as along a typical political left-right continuum, Soulforce maps out identities, and then works within those identities. Thus, to mainstream organizations, the LGBTQ movement will succeed by moving from the left wing to the center, and then to the right wing. Soulforce, however, makes the case for LGBTQ freedom from within non-political Christian identities, rather than from a politically left-wing perspective as a method of targeting oppressive ideologies directly.
Where the Kids Have No Names: Celebrity Activism and the Popular Western Discourse on Africa
Rebecca F. Elliott | 2008 I argue that celebrity activism creates and promulgates a popular Western discourse on Africa that visually, emotionally, and politically reinforces unequal relations of power between Westerners and Africans. In their “activism,” celebrities use language and imagery that marginalize African voices, thereby asserting an authoritative “truth” about Africa and Africans. The “truth” they articulate—that Africans, understood very generally, are perpetually beleaguered and in need of Western rescue—favors charity from Western “rescuers” over the political reform that would alter those unequal relations of power. By rendering these issues “non-political,” celebrities squeeze out political deliberation, which is essential where structural poverty, disease, and conflict are concerned.
My research shows that Western celebrities exercise immense discursive power over what their audiences understand as “true” about Africa. This makes celebrity activism a political practice, because the popular Western discourse on Africa shapes the public opinion that forms around African issues. What Westerners think is “true” about Africa and Africans will inform how and to what extent they lean on their own governments and pressure international organizations to intervene in African issues. Hence, the popular Western discourse on Africa has profound material effects on the daily lives of hundreds of millions of people, who largely do not influence that discourse.
Given that immense discursive power, I investigate what celebrities are saying to Western audiences about Africa. I analyze three contemporary cases of celebrity activism: Live 8 in 2005, the July 2007 “Africa Issue” of Vanity Fair, and Angelina Jolie’s and Madonna’s adoptions. I show how, in each example of celebrity activism, African voices were marginalized, eclipsed by the celebrities who would presume to speak for them. I also explain the intensely visual nature of celebrity activism. Celebrities are self-consciously on display and they communicate with their audiences in a visual way. I explain how images, particularly images of suffering, can exploit and objectify their subjects while misleading and exhausting their viewers. I provide close readings of some of the images employed in celebrity activism and demonstrate how they act as a communicative site that marginalizes African voices.
Celebrity activism as we know it today began with Live Aid in 1985. I use Live Aid as a case study because of its importance as a precedent, and because it provides an example of the confluence of celebrities and exploitative images in the popular Western discourse. Live Aid became a spectacle that celebrated the generosity of Western audiences while describing Africa as “a world of dread and fear.” The emotionalism and stereotyping that came out of Live Aid unleashed an enormous charitable effort in Western countries, but it came too late and did not address the structural causes of the famine. Political deliberation about famine might have prevented future famines in Ethiopia and elsewhere.
My research concludes with a strategy for discursive contestation. The last chapter explains the importance of voice with reference to Jürgen Habermas’ public sphere theory. Rather than find a way to get (multiple, competing, diverse) African voices into the public sphere, I propose that we widen the discursive space with multiple publics. African “counterpublics” provide a space for the articulation of diverse and competing identities, needs, wants, goals, and strategies. Through deliberation as peers, counterpublics empower their members to lodge a collective, coherent, and sustained attack on the discursive power of celebrities. They can contest the stereotypes and emotionalism of celebrity activism, and reassert the political questions that get sidelined in favor of charity.
From Strangers to Neighbors: Building Community in Ciudad Bolívar, Bogotá
Daniel Rhyne Coates | 2008 I describe the community building experience of the grassroots development foundation Laudes Infantis in the neighborhood of Bella Flor. Bella Flor is a neighborhood at the very edge of Bogotá, in a massive migrant settlement called Ciudad Bolívar. I frame the neighborhood’s story with the idea of marginality; the notion that slums and their residents are disconnected from larger city life. I then turn to Bella Flor in an attempt to render accessible the richness of everyday life and the residents’ experiences in Laudes Infantis. Ultimately, Bella Flor’s story shows the capacities of people who are so often distanced in academic and popular discourse.
First, I set out the background for a full understanding of Bella Flor’s transformation. My initial chapter is a description of the growth of Ciudad Bolívar within Bogotá and Bella Flor within Ciudad Bolívar. Here I pay special attention to residents’ organizations, noting their character and content. In Bella Flor, I pay special attention to the relationship between public services, community organizations, and the city government. My next chapter furthers the contextual work by providing a description of daily life in Bella Flor. In this section, I pay attention to the richness of movement in the neighborhood, residents’ safety, as well as the nature of the community. This chapter can be conceived of as a demonstration Laudes’ success building a cohesive neighborhood in the face of harsh social and economic conditions
I then turn to a description of Laudes Infantis itself, describing the structure, services it provides, and its methodology. Today, residents of Bella Flor make up the entire staff of Laudes Infantis in the neighborhood. The foundation’s growth has been simultaneous with the development of Bella Flor. Indeed, there is little difference between the community and Laudes. Residents both work in the foundation and receive its benefits. Community members who receive services are asked to repay the foundation by giving their time or skill in another area of its work—an institutionalized barter system.
In my fourth chapter I give the word to residents. I follow their descriptions of the personal transformations that form the basis of Laudes’ success today. I describe how, under the leadership of Jackie, a former social worker who began the organization in late 1999, Laudes has built trust between residents. Community building is a process, and residents describe how making relationships and having positions of responsibility in Laudes gave them the self-confidence to be more assertive in their lives. Involvement in Laudes also created a tight knit web of connections between people living in Bella Flor, injecting a collaborative ethos into the neighborhood.
My fifth chapter is an analysis of Bella Flor’s development and Laudes’ work with relation to the larger political status quo. I describe how Laudes grew as a rejection of clientelistic gifts-for-votes relationships with politicians and other outside entities. Then, using a comparison with Peronist brokers in a shantytown in Buenos Aires (and drawing on the work of Pierre Bourdieu), I illustrate how even in its rejection of the status quo Laudes incorporates aspects of clientelism into its operations. Because the neighborhood was so new (it is at the very edge of the city), Laudes was able to embed a positive set of social relations that continue to define Bella Flor today.
Their success, while funded by some NGOs and government programs, is founded on what residents and Jackie did with the only resource left to them in economic hardship: each other. Their story, and success, presents a critique to the idea of marginality, and shows how those we think are distant are actually quite close.
Dirt Poor: Women and Land Ownership in Africa
Margaret E. Byrne | 2008 My thesis explores the challenge that African states face when they have competing political commitments to cultural groups and gender equity. It proposes a resolution through the development of inclusive dialogue and the enablement of marginalized voices. By voice I mean the ability to participate and to be heard. I consider the demands for justice of traditional, tribal groups along the same standard as women’s claims to rights: group rights and women’s rights are valuable insofar as they enable voice. Laws of land ownership and inheritance that exclude women are unjust and cannot pose to represent the interests of the group. The most just approach to conflicting claims for group rights and women’s rights takes into account the voice of the individual and the value of the community.
Chapter one provides the theoretical groundwork for the debate between cultural leaders and women’s rights advocates. Of the three prominent groups of thought—multiculturalists, liberal feminists, and deliberative discourse theorists—none fully take into account the limits on women’s voice in her cultural community. Multiculturalists like Will Kymlicka identify the significance of membership in a community to individual development, but do not fully acknowledge intragroup conflict, especially beyond the formal, public sphere. Liberal feminists like Susan Okin identify gender hierarchies, but present too impatient a separation between women and their communities. Monique Deveaux and other deliberative discourse theorists resolve intragroup conflict as a mediation of political interests.
I propose a fourth approach to balancing the conflicting claims to culture and rights. Having a voice enables marginalized individuals to become full citizens in their groups—to invest in the community, articulate their needs, and to have ongoing involvement in the resolution of intragroup conflict. In order for voice to be realized, I identify four necessary factors, namely commitment to inclusiveness, democratic structure, support, and a women’s coalition.
In chapter two I identify three factors that significantly influence the debate to make land law more inclusive. First, customary land law, which governs most women’s access to land ownership, is based on a false premise of cultural authenticity. Second, capitalism has weakened the social network that used to support women with only indirect access to land. Third, the incidence of affirmative action legislation to correct historical inequalities sets a positive precedent for correcting women’s exclusion from land ownership.
Exploring recent controversy in Uganda and South Africa around gender inequality in recent land laws, chapter three shows that there is a need for strategies to navigate cultural practices of tribal groups and the constitutional rights endorsed by the state. Such strategies will be successful only insofar as they can resolve conflicts without either reinforcing women’s subordination within cultural communities or dismissing the importance of community-based membership in the culture.
Cultural norms block women’s access to their rights. The solution to this stagnate in land law reform is found within the cultural group, not in opposition to it. A counterpublic of women’s voice challenges the traditional leaders who have defined the “group tradition” up to this point. When women members of the group are given a voice, the articulation of culture will not be positioned in opposition to women’s interests.
Kingdom in the Ghetto: How Christian Organizations Embody the Kingdom of God in the American Inner
Peter Robert Brewton | 2008 This thesis analyzes how Christian organizations try to embody and bear witness to the Kingdom of God. Christians believe that the Kingdom of God is the ultimate reality that defines human experience. The story of its entry into the world in the person of Jesus Christ constitutes, in the words of the theologian Karl Barth, the “real history of the world.” Christians attempt to live as if the Kingdom is indeed the ultimate reality of their lives. They celebrate its presence, participate in its advance, faithfully pray, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Like Christ, Christians and church communities try to embody the reality of the Kingdom of God with their words and by their actions.
Located on Perry Hilltop in Pittsburgh’s North Side, the Pittsburgh Project is one such organization. Pursuing the vision statement that “Pittsburgh will be called a City of Truth, where once again men and women of ripe old age will sit in the streets each with cane in hand because of age, and where the city streets will be filled with boys and girls playing there,” the Project fixes poor homeowner’s homes and runs after-school programs, which teach Christian principles as well as academic and social skills. Its influence on the author—as well as his experience growing up in a low income inner city neighborhood—deeply informs this thesis.
The first half of the thesis examines the dynamics of urban poverty in the United States. As a compromise between the most prominent perspectives on urban poverty—the structural position and the ‘culture of poverty’ position—I construct a model of urban poverty that contains three points of agency: the social structure, the cultural structure and the individual. The social structure is an ordered and interconnected system of legal, political, economic, and social relationships. It contains roles that define individuals’ relationships to others. The cultural structure is system of symbolic relationships between observable phenomena and hidden meanings. For example, the cultural structure defines a wink as a conspiratorial signal, or theft as a profound challenge to the victim’s status. Both the social structure and the cultural structure exist in a dialectical relationship with individual human agency. They simultaneously constrain it and are transformed by it. Thus, the model is a three-way dialectic that resists attempts to synthesize it into a neatly packaged, universally applicable model.
Chapter one outlines how social structural forces have caused and maintained the phenomenon of concentrated urban poverty, focusing on housing discrimination and the loss of jobs created by deindustrialization. It concludes by describing the social characteristics of concentrated poverty and beginning a dialogue with the cultural position.
Chapter two presupposes and defends the argument that cultural structure is an ordered system that exists in dialectical relationship to human agency. It then summarizes the main characteristics of ghetto culture and continues the dialogue begun in chapter one.
Chapter three responds to the content of the first two chapters by providing a Christian theological perspective on the individual, culture and social structure. It presents a Christian vision of the fully human life, looks at Christ as a model for cultural engagement, and articulates a Christian vision of social justice.
Chapter four describes the Pittsburgh Project in detail. It highlights how and where the theoretical and theological points developed in the first three chapters apply to the Project’s vision and programs. It then evaluates the effectiveness of the Pittsburgh Project in engaging and mitigating urban poverty.
In the conclusion, I briefly summarize and critique the main points and identify further areas of research. I end by suggesting some possible ways that the Project can flesh out its embodiment of the Kingdom of God by further engaging the structures that affect its local context.
فقط الجهاد ستحرر Only Jihad will Liberate: The Rise of Islamic Fundamentalism among Palestinian Refugees in Arab host countries
Kaitlin Clary Bottock | 2008 Islamic fundamentalism has surfaced in Palestinian refugee communities; but fundamentalism has only gained power and support in some of the countries in which these communities are located. This thesis studies the rise of this movement within refugee communities in order to discern what factors lead fundamentalists to attain power. I argue that the rise in Islamic fundamentalism in Palestinian refugee communities depends on the domestic opportunities afforded it by both the state and society of the country in which these communities exist. I define fundamentalism as the designation for activities that advocate the use of the Qur’an and shari’a, and employ Islamic principles as a political platform in their operations.
As the potency of fundamentalist movements among Palestinian refugees varies across countries, the factors that precipitate its rise must too vary from country to country. Despite the fact that many scholars claim fundamentalism to be innate to the refugees themselves, I argue that this is not the case. My first chapter outlines Palestinian refugee history in order to provide meaning to refugee identity. No matter where they live currently, they share similar experiences of exile and face challenges in their host countries. I contend that with the defeat of Arab nationalism in 1967, Palestinians set off in search of a unique identity separate from other Arab nationals.
My second chapter will look at the events that constitute a modern revival of Islamic fundamentalism. I will argue that fundamentalism began its ascent after the Arab defeat in 1967, but only appeared as a major global player after the Iranian Revolution in 1979. Since 1979, an array of events have brought fundamentalism to encompass a broad scope of activities, including national government, political opposition, resistance, transnational military force, and at times, terrorism. I argue that this revival provides valuable support to refugee fundamentalists, but I maintain that domestic opportunities are necessary to translate fundamentalism into action, activity, and operation. I support this claim using Sidney Tarrow’s refutation of the Strong Transnational Thesis.
I use the case studies of Jordan and Lebanon to provide evidence for my argument. I contend that these cases clearly show that fundamentalism does not result from characteristics intrinsic to the refugee community, but instead depends on the domestic context it operates in. In Jordan, the state tried to assimilate the refugees into society. The Hashemite monarchy took steps in order to curb Palestinian influence in the country, especially after Black September in 1970. The regime fostered a relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood, which absorbed many marginalized fundamentalists. This relationship also moderated the policies of the Brotherhood. Although other groups and organizations exist, they face the regime’s repression mechanism. The Jordanian state has curbed opportunities for fundamentalists. In Lebanon, fundamentalists have successfully executed and expanded their operations, ranging from militant groups to social and philanthropic organizations. They benefit from autonomy of the camps, and segregation from a sectarian society. They also capitalize the failure of the state to provide goods and services for refugees. The sectarian nature of state and society has provided opportunities for Islamic fundamentalism in refugee communities in Lebanon. These cases clearly demonstrate that Islamic fundamentalism requires domestic opportunities in order to establish itself in refugee communities.
Pulling Weight: Justifying Federal Intervention against Overweight-Obesity in the United States
May Alston | 2008 To say obesity is “on the rise” in the United States would be to seriously understate the growth curve. Some 65 million American adults and over 11 million American children qualify as obese, a designation indicating significantly altered baseline health status and increase risk for serious peripheral health problems.
This thesis outlines the implications of the American obesity epidemic and offers ethical arguments for paternalistic intervention to reverse the trend on a national scale. The paper begins with some attention to the history, current status, and associated implications of American overweight. With its connotations for aesthetic appearance and physical fitness, overweight-obesity is a particularly sensitive issue freighted with centuries of cultural implications. Only relatively recently has obesity taken center stage as the morbidity and mortality factor du jour: body weight is no longer merely a private choice or a personal burden, but rather the result of countless factors deserving of public concern.
After explaining the difference between epistemic and ethical considerations of public health intervention to demonstrate that overweight-obesity is indeed a public health issue meriting ethical consideration, the thesis focuses on the ethical bases for—and objections to—intervention in the lives of adults and children, which republican democracy considers distinctly as agents and thus as objects of government-sponsored action. As paradigmatic actors in the social contract, adults have theoretically inviolable powers of self-determination. Ethically justified intervention in adult lives, therefore, must facilitate individuals’ abilities to autonomously promote their own best interests. As less educated and/or personally mature, children both invoke the stronger protective responsibilities of public health and derive unique benefit from public health intervention in the long term.
Unlike medical ethics, the terrain of public health ethics maps interaction between individual liberties, the public interest, and external factors like cultural norms and commercial or political influences. Large-scale health initiatives can be notoriously insensitive to individual values and life circumstances. But “paternalism” needs not be a dirty word: to the contrary, paternalistic intervention represents a plausible strategy for improving individual decision-making and behaviors in the face of widespread ignorance, misinformation, and social justice issues that keep individuals from making rational choices regarding their own health. I argue that adequate public health response to overweight obesity is no longer a simple matter of publicizing the problem, but of enacting appropriate paternalistic interventions to interrupt this country’s slide toward potentially deadly widespread overweight.