Senior Theses

  • Cracks in the Pavement: Balancing Assistance and Incentives to the Street Population of Nepal, 1990-2015
    Michael Evan Greenwald
    Wed, 18 May 2016

    In urban centers throughout Nepal, the period between 1990 and 2015 was marked by both a substantial increase in the number of children and adults economically engaging with the city streets—the “street population”—and a steady rise in the activities of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) responding to the apparent economic situation of street population—the “street-population sector.” Choosing a life on the streets has serious implications for citizens of Nepal, both in terms of acquiring their day-to-day basic needs as well as developing the social and vocational skills necessary for an economic transition off the streets. In the absence of a government response to the street population, privately operated street population-sector NGOs are the sole providers of social welfare services to members of the street population. The provision of social welfare services by the street population-sector NGOs, however, does not yield the optimal outcome of eventually promoting economic independence for members of the street population. An unintended consequence of providing social welfare to the street population is the creation of incentive problems that perpetuate a portion of the street population rather than reduce it. Despite the multitude of NGOs working towards the same long-term goals (generally speaking), the services of the street population-sector NGOs inadvertently produce unsustainable short-term alternatives to the streets for service recipients. Studying the period between 1990 and 2015, this thesis examines the emergence of Nepal’s street population, the performance of the street population-sector NGOs, and the dynamic between the Government of Nepal and the street population-sector NGOs. After describing different conceptions of the “street population,” it first illustrates how street population-sector NGOs create incentive problems for both the Government of Nepal and individual members of the street population. Second, it assesses how these incentive problems arise from organizations’ failure to align with the economic realities of Nepal as a lesser-developed economy. Finally, it presents policy steps that the Government of Nepal may take with respect to the street population-sector NGOs in order to promote a “second-best” solution to the incentive problems impeding the optimal provision of services.

  • A Far Cry from the Aurea Mediocritas: Cambodian Education as a Structure and a Crisis
    Theodore Jun Chul Bang
    Wed, 18 May 2016

    Though previous literature on the Cambodian Education system has primarily been from a historical or political standpoints, this paper uses an interdisciplinary approach to examining structural inefficiencies, biases, and origins of its current crisis. By first establishing the historical context of the Cambodian education system, the post-genocide political reconstruction of the modern Cambodian education system is introduced as the foundation of the current crisis. Evidence via quantitive comparisons and qualitative interviews are then presented to reveal the disadvantages of decentralized agrarian communities, structural inefficiencies within the MoEYS’ budgetary and fiscal processes, and other nuanced societal factors. This thesis aspires to encourage new literature on the political implications of “planted democracies” and on the implications of education crises toward economic development in South East Asia.

  • Out of Sync: Physical Media Dominance in Modern Japan
    Sam Joseph Imperato
    Wed, 18 May 2016

    While most of the world's music markets have become increasingly digital over the past decade, Japan's has remained stubbornly dominated by physical media. The following examines exactly why this phenomenon has occurred (that is, why physical media still sells well in Japan), why Digital means of acquiring music failed to catch on in Japan, and whether or not there is a possibility of Digital music returning to prominence over the next several years.

  • Creating Spontaneity: The Evolution of the Samsung Group Under Lee Kun-Hee
    Andrew Joongi Lee
    Wed, 18 May 2016

    This thesis is a historical narrative tracing how the Samsung Group evolved from a highly centralized organization to a highly decentralized organization under the management of Lee Kun-Hee. Lee utilizes the centralized conglomerate created by his father, the founding chairman, to create a spontaneous order within the conglomerate. Within given constrains of Lee’s overarching vision of the firm, the spontaneous order within the conglomerate gave the executives of each affiliate great autonomy to pursue their own independent initiatives, allowing Samsung to tap into the specialized knowledge of the executives.

  • Echoes of Caliban's Curse: An Exploration of the Legacy of Negritude
    Chando Mapoma
    Wed, 18 May 2016

    This thesis explores the legacy of the Negritude movement. This nebulous concept was analyzed from four angles which constituted the four chapters of the thesis: Politics, Immigration, Education and Art. This is a multidisciplinary thesis that uses both literary analysis and social/intellectual history to answer the questions that are raised.

  • Echoing Silence: Memory and Contestation in the Neoliberal City
    Aidan Alexander Berkey
    Wed, 18 May 2016

    An interdisciplinary analysis of forms of commemoration in model cities of the modernizing global south. Investigations of memory and forgetting, framed as contestation between institutions and the urban periphery.

  • Another Learning-by-doing Process: The Development and Prospect of Carbon Trade in China
    Eva Xu
    Wed, 18 May 2016

    In order to promote marketization at a national level, the Chinese government established special economic zones in some coastal cities at the early stage of the Chinese Economic Reform. This learning-by-doing process helped the Chinese government to gain fruitful experience in designing market-based economic policies that are adaptable to China’s political and economic institutions. Thanks to the market reforms, China has enjoyed rapid economic growth and social development since 1980s. However, this economic achievement greatly contributes to some serious environmental issues, including climate change. As the world’s largest developing country, China has surpassed the United States and become the largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitter. Facing increasing pressure on carbon reduction from both international and domestic levels, the Chinese government finally decided to conduct a market-based instrument to control CO2 emissions with another learning-by-doing process. This thesis aims to examine China’s recent experiment on carbon trade, in preparation for the framework design of a national emission trading system (ETS). After explaining China’s preference to emissions trade rather than carbon taxes at the current stage, this thesis compares and discusses the seven pilot ETS programs, the key features and market performances of which are further evaluated. Finally, this thesis provides institutional recommendations on the evolution from the experimental emissions trading systems to a national ETS program.

  • We can Scuttle or We can Sail the Seas
    Bulelani Minenhle Jili
    Wed, 18 May 2016

    We have dismantled the structures of Jim Crow and yet in our country, the problems of race persist. This thesis questions the colorblindness of our moment and presses us to recognize the incessant suffering African Americans experience.

  • Primary Concerns: Groups, Parties, and Nominating Challenges in Contemporary Politics
    Gabriel Borelli
    Wed, 18 May 2016

    This thesis engages in a critical analysis of polarization, primary challenges, and interest groups in contemporary U.S. politics. The Democratic and Republican Parties have become both increasingly distinct from each other and ideologically extreme in recent decades, and many signs point to a partisan asymmetry with respect to how the two parties are separately contributing to polarization. Moreover, the number of intraparty primary challenges has risen drastically over the past two decades. After evaluating several of the major scholarly debates pertaining to polarization as well as other scholarly literature detailing primary challenges and interest groups, this thesis considers two major questions. First, it discusses and analyzes a series of primary challenges to incumbents in order to determine what variables predict where one would expect to see an ideologically driven primary challenge occur. Second, it outlines and evaluates differences among various types of interest groups in order to determine the source of any discrepancies between the propensity of groups to engage in primary challenges on the political left and the propensity of groups to engage in primary challenges on the political right.

  • An Inextinguishable Fire
    Kota Uno
    Wed, 18 May 2016

    The thesis is about the history associated with the 3.11 Fukushima Nuclear Disaster, and explains how all the historical factors connect to the catastrophe. It argues that the Fukushima crisis was not simply caused by the natural disaster; but it was derived from the utility’s heavy path-dependence, not only on the historical factors external to TEPCO, but also on the utility’s internal dynamics.

  • “Everywhere is Taksim, Resistance Everywhere”: The Gezi Uprising & Radical Democratic Beginnings in Turkey
    Deren Ertas
    Wed, 18 May 2016

    In this thesis, I argue that the Gezi Movement was a popular reaction to the increasing authoritarianism and neoliberal urban policies of the AKP administration. The initial occupation of the park was sparked by the Taksim Square Pedestrianization and Gezi Park Redevelopment Project, but it became a mass uprising against the government when the police used excessive force against the peaceful demonstrators. I argue that the occupation of Gezi Park became a radical democratic experiment spontaneously through the protesters’ grievances against the AKP. After the police cleared Gezi Park on June 16, the protesters occupied their neighborhood parks and squares in order to continue the resistance. I argue that it was in these popular assemblies that radical democratic practices and discourses became expanded and entrenched in the public’s image. The relations of solidarity that people formed with others and the lessons that the people learned through their participation ultimately give the Gezi Movement its counter-hegemonic potential. Although Erdogan and the AKP are still in power, their hegemony on defining the ‘common good’ was compromised by the uprising, which is evident in civil society’s continual mobility in opposing the economic, political, and social programs of the government, forcing the AKP to pursue increasingly coercive and illiberal methods to carry out policy paradigms and military interventions today.

  • "No Tyrant Awes Them": Republican Theory in the Early American Countryside
    Arthur Malcolm Halliday
    Wed, 18 May 2016

    This thesis tracks the development of an explicitly alternative theory of republicanism in rural America after the Revolution. In colonial America, urban mass politics proceeded from an understanding of the long British tradition of mob actions and politics “out of doors.” In cities, colonists engaged in collective movements to resist British policies and to engage with their government when all other means of doing so failed. For colonial farmers and backcountry settlers—who were easily and often ignored in political proceedings—the rich urban tradition of mass politics did not fit their geographical circumstances. Movements in rural Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and North Carolina adapted the premises and legitimizing drive of urban resistance movements—building a new tradition of an alternative politics for the countryside. After the Revolution, many rural communities were again ignored by their governors and legislators. They turned to colonial-era rural politics, and added to it from their interpretations of republicanism and their new republican documents of government. As republican citizens, marginalized political voices could engage in a legitimizing discourse on republican theory as part of extralegal attempts to participate in American politics. Shays’ Rebellion represented the first coherent challenge to the republicanism of the new, and often politically conservative, American gentry. This movement articulated a belief in the illegitimacy of taxation without local knowledge, the need for responsive and responsible representatives, and the importance of the right of the people to judge the legitimacy of government actions and to interpret founding documents and political theory for themselves. After the writing, debate over, and ratification of the Constitution—which excluded voices of rural dissent at every opportunity—the developing theory of rural republicanism had a codified and officially endorsed foil in Federalist republican theory. The Whiskey Rebellion and Fries’ Rebellion responded to this new order, refining the theories expressed by Shays’ Rebellion and articulating them more coherently and with greater procedural, legitimizing rigor. While these movements were unsuccessful, they emphasize the need to seriously consider rural republican theory, as expressed in the actions and petitions of underserved communities. This alternative interpretation of the political underpinnings of the United States and the promise of the Revolution presents a challenge to the binary of Federalist republicanism and Anti-Federalist republicanism—and emphasizes the importance of implicit, action-based political theory for communities that are easily ignored in the machinations of status quo politics.

  • Set Apart or Set Aside? Constructing Political Status Through Veteran Identity
    Laura Simone Werle
    Thu, 06 Aug 2015

    The history of veterans’ benefits can be neatly divided into two sections: before and after the GI Bill of 1944. From the Revolution through the bill’s passage, only officers and the disabled were granted federal pensions while the remaining veterans resumed a civilian political status despite the social implications of military service. Though Civil War pension policies played an important role in liberalizing federal spending and growing the administrative bureaucracy of the state, they maintained the bifurcation of the veteran population into the deserving and those who were not. Largely due to the efforts of the American Legion, the GI Bill cut ties with tradition and included all veterans in its groundbreaking benefit program. Further, the Legion’s relentless politicking efforts ensured that all of the GI Bill’s now-famous provisions—education, unemployment payments, job training, home and business loans, health care—were administered through the VA. In achieving these legislative victories, the Legion and its Congressional allies ensured that regardless of disability, veteran identity would lead to special benefits and thus elevated political status. As the American welfare state expanded, the extension of benefits to non-veterans threatened the special, elevated status the GI Bill had attempted to ensure. Still, the VA-only system of veterans’ benefits survives to this day, a testament to the political strength built into veteran identity by the GI Bill.

  • Weighing Change: Addressing Child Obesity Reforms in the United States
    Molly Ann Steinfeld
    Thu, 06 Aug 2015

    The goal of this thesis is to establish the causes of child obesity in order to pinpoint the faults and gaps of both the federal government’s and mainstream food movement’s proposals to manage child obesity in an effort to illuminate sectors for policy reform. The complicated causal mechanism that maps the recent rise in the child obesity rate necessitates a multilateral response that can address the larger structural origins of child obesity woven by the actors in the food market. Both the federal government and the mainstream food movement prescribe unilateral policy platforms that fail address both supply- and demand-sides of the child obesity causal mechanism. Ultimately, this thesis deconstructs the proposals of these movements in order to illuminate arenas for policy developments to improve health outcomes.

  • Understanding Voting Behavior of Muslims in Democratic Elections
    Ali Hamdan Shajrawi
    Thu, 06 Aug 2015

    Understanding Voting Behavior of Muslims in Democratic Elections

  • "A Revolution Is not a Dinner Party": Revolutionary Songs in People's Daily During Cultural Revolution China
    Merry Li
    Thu, 06 Aug 2015

    This thesis studies the relationship between revolutionary songs during the Chinese Cultural Revolution and their political context, specifically through the examination of the songs' original publication in People's Daily, one of the biggest Party newspapers during the ten years (1966-1976) of Cultural Revolution. It reveals the close correlation between a publication of revolutionary songs and the political events and needs surrounding the time of that publication. Revolutionary song were able to spread the political messages through lyrics efficiently and effectively, thanks to their entertainment element. In addition to lyrics, the musicality and performances of these revolutionary songs contribute to their effectiveness as propaganda tools. This thesis contributes to the existing literature on the Cultural Revolution by supplementing a crucial piece of information on this populist art form, which have often been casually dismissed in previous studies.

  • God Trusts the British in the Dark: Visual Diplomacy of the British Raj
    Nikhil Kumar Lai
    Thu, 06 Aug 2015

    Images of India range from depicting the grotesque to dramatizing the gorgeous, from etching the uncouth to sketching the unbelievable, from portraying the patrician to painting the paternalistic, and from visualizing truth to rendering falsity. Admittedly, the inherent dynamism of India’s centuries-old visual history is nothing short of extraordinary. Inextricably entwined with the rich diversity of India’s enduring visual culture is the multifaceted course of India’s social history, stretching from the Gangetic tradition of the Indus Valley Civilization in 3300 BCE to the BJP-led, relentlessly progressive iteration of modern India in 2015. Over this series of millennia, Indian people and their images have been dominant and dominated, victorious and victimized. Tracking this constantly active narrative, images of India recount the nation’s history with vivid color and a vast aesthetic vocabulary, depicting all that India is and was with visible self-awareness. One abundantly significant moment in modern Indian history is the epoch of the British Raj, a period emerging in the aftermath of the Uprising of 1858 and lasting until Partition in 1947. Over the course of this period, India was uncritically subject to the socioeconomic and political paramountcy of the British Empire and then, as the influence of the Raj waned in vigor, India began to liberate itself from the controlling yoke of extrinsic dominion. A period of seismic social transition, the British Raj era saw India go from embracing the patrician reverence of anglophile Indian opinion under the thumb of the Raj regime to harnessing the burgeoning legitimacy of the vox populi that rose in intensity as India surged toward self-rule. The iconography of the era, richly diverse in its portrayal of the colonized and colonizing realities that characterized the Raj’s ebb and flow, garners meaningful symbolic value to this day. By studying key examples of British Raj iconography that manifestly show the formative and reflective aspects of British rule in India from the middle of the 19th century to the incipience of the 20th, this thesis hopes to create original analytical value at the intersection of postcolonial theory and visual culture.

  • In Medias Res: Comparing the Print and Digital Revolutions
    John Joseph DiCandeloro
    Thu, 06 Aug 2015

    To what extent are the Print and Digital revolutions comparable? Both communications revolutions are shown to be revolutionary in their own respects, although in sometimes contradictory ways, exacerbating social and political tensions. The Print and Digital revolutions are comparable primarily in the sense that they generate cultures of virtuality, systems that make the otherwise unavailable open for confrontation and use through mediation. Movable type and digital coding have reduced previously uncaptured areas of life to information that can be modeled and put to work for new purposes, exemplifying the reorientation toward fields of possibility inherent to the cultures of virtuality created by such communications revolutions.

  • Between Jesus and Wall Street: Overcoming the Great Displacement in the American Cultural War
    Aobo Dong
    Thu, 06 Aug 2015

    The Great Displacement in the United States manifests in the displacement of progressive social concerns in the evangelical conservative camp and a hostility towards religious languages and contributions in the secular public square. This thesis examines the central tension between secular humanism and evangelicalism and attempts to offer a discourse theory conducive to a more healthy and fruitful dialogue between the opposing camps.

  • Seeing through the Smoke: The Origins of Marijuana Prohibition in the United States
    Michael Frederick Linden
    Thu, 06 Aug 2015

    This thesis explores how marijuana came to be prohibited in the United States. It considers the role of user demographics, the power of individual activists and politicians, and the relevance of "facts" to the debate. With a focus on the role of Harry J. Anslinger, Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, it emphasizes the ability of bureaucrats to effect policy change when issues are uncrystallized.