Mellon Research Grants

Through a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the integration of study abroad with students’ senior-level work back on campus, the Rohatyn Center awarded dozens of research grants to both Middlebury College undergraduates on an approved study abroad program as well as undergraduates from other institutions studying at a Middlebury C.V. Starr School Abroad.

Due to the tremendous success of the Mellon Research Grant program, we established the RCGA Study Abroad Research Grant program in Fall Semester 2015. For further information, application materials, and deadlines, we invite you to visit the RCGA Study Abroad Research Grant webpage. 

Fall 2015 Grant Recipients

Fall 2015 Middlebury College Recipients 

Victoria Hidalgo ’17, history of art and architecture
An Alchemist’s Scrolls: The arcane science of creation
Karina Toy ’17, international politics and economics
A Comparison of Society’s Expectations of Solar Power to the Economic Outputs of Jordan
During my research in Jordan, I intend to study the effect that investing in environmentally friendly (henceforth referred to as “green”) energy resources will have on a country’s economic growth. I will do this by interviewing people who are investing in solar power and those who are using solar power in their daily lives. Through these interviews, I hope to learn what their expectations are as to the effect that investing and using a green energy resource like solar power will have on the economy. I will then compare the articulated expectations to various economic indicators of Jordan and analyze how the results of increased usage of a green energy resource match up with people’s expectations.
Danielle Weindling ’17, history of art and architecture
Travel to the Fashion Museums in the UK and France to Research the Corset
I will use this grant to travel to three different fashion and textile museums (in the United Kingdom and France) in order to research the corset, a fascinating and complex object of material culture. From its emergence in the first half of the sixteenth century to its decline in the first half of the twentieth century, the corset has proved to be a notoriously controversial garment, complicating perceptions of gender roles, sexuality, and class boundaries. I am particularly interested in the corset’s ability to connect binary opposites: as an undergarment close to the body it suggests both dress and undress; its stiffness points to controlled decorum and its curves point to sexual appeal; it recalls both the archetype of woman as exotic temptress and woman as chaste virgin. This research is important because I believe the corset not only demonstrates the power of one article to shape and define multiple identity and social roles but also reveals the interdependent nature of certain powerful socially constructed binaries such as the temptress and the chaste virgin.

Fall 2015 Non-Middlebury undergraduates studying at Middlebury C.V. Starr Schools Abroad

Isabella Gatti ’17, Georgetown University, Chinese and biology (minor)
My Trash Is Your Trash: The relationship between recycling and the Chinese concept of oneness

The objective of this study is to produce an ethnography on the recycling behaviors of Chinese university students. I will analyze qualitative interviews with Zhejiang University of Technology (ZJUT) students and environmental organization staff to better understand what motivates Chinese students to recycle. There are three levels to my study: first is to distinguish if there is a stronger relationship between student recycling and the hypothesis of altruism or between recycling and the hypothesis of oneness. Second is to apply my findings of the former to better understand China’s shift from a collectivist to individualist society. Third is to supplement my study with an educational film to creatively display how the recycling movement relates to this shift.

Daniel Kim ’17, Wesleyan University, environmental studies and government
Carbon Taxing and Copper Mining: Chilean government responses to climate change
The project hopes to examine the ways in which the government has already begun reducing the environmental impacts caused by Chile’s copper-mining industry. Perhaps the country’s carbon tax is a response to the industry’s harmful practices. The project seeks to understand how and why the carbon tax was implemented, in the hopes of a) investigating whether the Chilean government can/will pursue more measures to combat climate change, and b) discovering lessons drawn from relevant political processes to be applied to the implementation of a carbon tax in other countries. The project also intends to investigate ways in which the government could and/or should respond more or better to both the negative effects of climate change in general and the environmental destruction wrought by the copper-mining industry, as well as the current and/or potential political obstacles that could challenge such change.
2014-2015 Grant Recipients

2014-15 Middlebury College Recipients

Aoife Duna ’16.5, dance and sociology/anthropology (joint)
The West African Heartbeat: Body, Gesture, and Creative Process in Ghanaian Festival Dance

        With my Middlebury-Mellon grant, I researched the role of traditional dance in the rapidly modernizing country of Ghana. Globalization has contributed to increasingly westernizing lifestyles in Ghana; ancient traditions and modern life interweave in a complex and vibrant cultural tapestry. I explored the performing arts in many settings: funerals, festivals, school assemblies, at home. I interviewed performers and choreographers, attended events, and participated in workshops. In my interviews I asked performers about their perspectives on the blend of tradition and modernity in Ghanaian culture. This line of questioning led me to work with a number of different organizations with varied missions. I was drawn to the groups that used the arts to facilitate conversation about national development. Many of these groups used traditional and regional dance as a foundation for dialogue in their target communities about pressing modern issues. Although Ghana is viewed by the world as being one of the most economically and politically stable African countries, the country struggles to maintain even the most basic infrastructure. The vast majority of Ghanaians live in slums with little to no potable drinking water, infrequent electricity, gutters overflowing with trash, and extremely limited access to adequate toilet facilities. I was fortunate enough to connect with groups that used performing arts and local traditions to initiate conversations about the very visible issues of national development. This is not a comprehensive list but instead a few examples of organizations I worked with: Sankofa, a theatre and development group currently working on educating communities on fecal dumping into the ocean through semi-scripted theatrical works, Hipsters of Nature, which educates about sanitation and proper waste management through spoken word performances, trash-to-fashion shows, sculpture, and dance, the National Dance Company of Ghana which collaborates with Zoomlion, a waste management service, to educate about trash and health hazards.
        In a politically corrupt country, these arts organizations occupied an important space by giving voice to the concerns of the community where otherwise they would be voiceless. For my anthropology thesis, I will continue to explore Ghanaian social activism in the health, sanitation, and environmental sectors. I am interested to see how Ghanaians make use of art, one of their major attractions, to influence national development and to become more visible on the global stage.  In particular, I am curious how the edge between modern and traditional Ghana will morph in the next few years: how will Ghanaians navigate their changing world? How will they express themselves and also find a balance of tradition and modernity? Ghanaians revere their traditions; progress is rooted in the past. I hope to develop an in-depth profile of the environmental challenges facing Ghanaians today and the artistic projects that are reactions to those issues. My thesis will analyze the utilisation of traditional songs, dances, and rituals in those projects as a bridge to the conversations about modern Ghanian dilemmas. However, I remain open to developments in my questioning and other research possibilities.​

Timothy Fraser ’16, international and global studies
Japanese Youth Politics in the Wake of 3.11: Reevaluating Tokyo and Tohuku Youth Sociopolitical Landscapes

Restarting the Sendai Reactor: Ecology of Japanese Civic Activism Post-Fukushima
Between 2011 and 2014, over 70% of Japanese favored phasing out nuclear power after cover-up of the 2011 Fukushima disaster destroyed public trust in pro-nuclear bureaucrats and the nuclear power industry. Given widespread public opposition, how could and did Kyushu Electric manage to restart the Sendai Nuclear Power Plant Reactor No. 1 on August 11, 2015? Prior to and following the restart in August 2015, I conducted semi-structured interviews and participant observation in Kagoshima Prefecture with nearby residents, civil society campaigns, women’s associations, food coops, and local government officials supporting and opposing the Sendai restart. In my thesis, I argue that age, gender, and place-based social norms limited effective political activism and messaging in Satsumasendai. Because of these social norms, insular politics, media censorship of protest and nuclear power issues, and local economic incentives enabled local officials and Kyushu Electric Power Company to restart the reactor despite widespread public opposition.

Helena Hlavaty '16, economics, Arabic (minor)
Reproductive Health and Family Planning in Jordan

Examining the Impact of Male Circumcision Supply on Women's Sexual and Reproductive Health Behaviors in Zambia
My project hopes to understand whether an increased prevalence of male circumcision within a community has an impact on various aspects of women’s sexual health behaviors in Zambia. To answer this question, I will use an unbalanced panel data set to estimate the statistical impact of increased male circumcision prevalence on the outcomes of interest. However, these initial estimations, which will include individual fixed effects, will only begin to explore the economic relationship of interest. Indeed, my proposed research project seeks to understand whether there may be certain categories of women who are more affected by the presence of male circumcision in their communities than others. As an example, I propose examining potential heterogeneous effects based on calculated level of personal sexual risk, reported levels of perceived risk, marital status, and baseline knowledge of MC benefits (which Hewett et. al. (2015) began to explore), using a series of interaction terms to isolate out potential heterogeneity.

Wan Ning Seah ’16, political science
A Comparative Study of Rousseau's and Tocqueville's Views of Human Nature and Their Implication for Democratic Theory

Cicero and Machiavelli on Duty and the Nature of Human Virtue in Politics
In my research project, I seek to compare Cicero and Machiavelli’s distinct accounts of human virtue in De Officiis and The Prince respectively.  The chief reason for this comparison lies in the intrinsic connection between these two works: Machiavelli’s Prince is an intentional critique of Cicero’s. In Book I.42 of De Officiis, Cicero uses an analogy of the lion and the fox to signify the two ways that man can commit injustice—force and fraud.  In Chapter 18 of Prince, Machiavelli uses the same analogy of the lion and the fox to assert a new meaning: force and fraud are the two ways a prince may rule successfully. By putting Cicero and Machiavelli into conversation with one another on the question of human virtue, I hope to show how Machiavelli’s critique of Cicero involves a redefinition of Cicero’s conception of virtue, and how the root cause of their disagreement lies in their fundamentally divergent views on human nature.

Heyon-Seok Yu ’16, economics 
Overview of Affordable/Low-Income Housing in Beijing and Major Developments

2014-15 Non-Middlebury undergrads studying at Middlebury C.V. Starr Schools Abroad

Estefania Hecht-Toltl ’16, Haverford College, Spanish; peace, justice and human rights (concentration)
Interstate (DE-) Formations: Tracing the Trajectory of Argentinean and Chilean Geo-political Relations 1973-1990

This research sought to accumulate archival information in order to begin an assessment of how border identities are formed and affected in tandem with violent political intervention; specifically those of Argentina and Chile from the 1970s thru 1990. As the geo-political relation between Chile and Argentina has been one historically marked by deterrence, the work I did helped to begin the process of seeing how the changing political climates of Argentina and Chile helped to contribute to the two countries breaking the pre-established bilateral relations and led them to the brink of war (The Beagle Channel Crisis). The work I accomplished, allowed me to aggregate articles written in the established time period from various archived periodicals and track patterns in journalistic language. The information collected from these archives point to an increased valorization of the two countries respective military forces and a corresponding patterns of framing that highlight the othering of the two countries from each other. As my thesis is still in the beginning stages, the accomplished research has supported my hypothesis that the governing politics of Argentina and Chile did have a significant affect on nation-station identity, but currently shows no conclusive connection between the change in geo-political relations and the presence of their dictatorial regimes.

Oliver Moller ’16, Brown University, geology
Water Quality in the Umm Sayhoun Bedouin Settlement in Southern Jordan


2013-2014 Grant Recipients

2013-14 Middlebury College Recipients

Rana Abdelhamid ’15, international politics and economics
The Muslims Are Mobilizing: An in depth analysis of anti-Muslim backlash on the collective action of Muslims in New York City and Madrid

In Spain, on November 1, 2015 more than 50 Muslim associations mobilized their members in Madrid to protest the Charlie Hebdo attacks in France. The silent march to the French Embassy brought together around 4,000 Spanish Muslims, many holding flowers as symbols of solidarity and grief. This example drives the main question of this research: What impact does terrorist event backlash (increasing hate-crimes and discrimination, surveillance policy, deportation and detention facing Muslim minority groups) have on collective action? Using Madrid, Spain as my case study, I use grievance and rational choice social movement theory to explore Spanish Muslim mobilization in light of increasing anti-Muslim backlash. My tests of two key hypotheses lead me to find that grievance theory best explains the increase in Muslim collective action. I argue that rational choice theory is useful in explaining why indirect collective action methods developed in Madrid, rather than direct action.​

Jacob Eisenberg ’15, environmental studies and geography
Informal Urban Agriculture: Innovation and resilience in Hanoi, Vietnam

Unlike most rapidly urbanizing cities, Hanoi has not fully eliminated its agricultural periphery. Though Peri-Urban agriculture is undoubtedly declining, it is not necessarily disappearing. Deep questions remain as to why it persists and how urbanizing forces are contributing to its transition. Urbanization has undoubtedly reduced the size and scale of peri-urban production around Hanoi. However, urbanizing factors linked to water, proximity, consumer demand and knowledge transfers have allowed urban agriculture to adapt rather than fully disappear. Small-scale urban forms of production, improved spatial connectivity to markets and knowledge spillovers are helping to foster new and resilient methods for urban cultivation in a fast-changing urban landscape.

Dante Francomano ’15, music
African Music Performance in the American Academy: Capital exchange, institutional dynamics, and the challenges of representation

In this thesis I examine the phenomenon of African music performance in American colleges and universities. The act of American students performing African musics is complex, and it presents a number of questions to the analytical observer. This practice might initially appear illogical or absurd, but through the analysis of capital transactions, I demonstrate that all of the various parties involved in this practice experience capital gains that motivate them to participate in the activity. Pursuing the relevance of capital as an analytical tool or framework, I investigate how various capital interests promote continuity and change in the process of musical transplantation and integration. I also explore strategies that musician-teachers employ in efforts to maximize students’ capital gains while simultaneously promoting ease of learning. In addition, I interrogate the ethics of African music performance in the academy, and I propose a redirection of ethical concerns.

Forest Jarvis ’15, international politics and economics
Foreign and Domestic Environmental Policy in Bolivia: Conflicts and contradictions

My Mellon Grant research investigates Bolivian foreign and domestic environmental policy, using the TIPNIS protests of 2011 as a case study. I analyze the leadership style of the Morales government during this crisis, and analyzing the reasons why it failed in many ways. I use theories of groupthink and charismatic leadership to argue that, given the highly personalist yet idealogical style of leadership under the MAS (Evo Morales' party), the president and his cabinet were unable to define the situation in a realistic manner as they were trapped by the nature of their party, due to its collective, bottom-up nature. As this conflict suddenly put them in the position as the oppressor, they were unable to sell their position to their base, and unable to tell a coherent narrative backing up their position in favor of a highway to be built through protected territory, revealing a complete reversal of their policy.

Jia Jun Lee ’15, geography
Contested Margins: Geopolitics and informal labor in Amman, Jordan, amidst the influx of Syrian refugees

As of August 2014, more than 600,000 Syrians refugees have fled to Jordan alone (UNHCR, 2014), a figure that is all the more significant when we consider that Jordan’s population was only 6 million before the Syrian civil war broke out. While the majority of international attention and aid has flowed into refugee camps, only 20 percent of Syrian refugees live in such camps, with the silent majority i.e. 80 percent of them living in urban areas in the north of Jordan (Migration Policy Center 2014). In order to survive, these refugees are taking up informal work in cities such as Amman, Irbid, Ramtha and Mafraq. The ILO reports that more than 160,000 Syrian refugees are already working illegally in Jordan in the agricultural, construction and service sectors (2014). But with unemployment high and the economy struggling, the Jordanian government is depicting Syrian refugees as “displacing” local populations from their jobs. Amidst this backdrop, my research project aims to examine the effects of the Syrian refugee influx on informal work in Amman, Jordan. Based on qualitative data, I posit that we must consider the demand and characteristics of Syrian labor, the “culture of shame” among Jordanians and the demographic dynamic of the informal labor market in order to properly understand how Syrian refugees are affecting informal work in Jordan. 

Winnie Yeung ’15, history
The Hashemite King, Jerusalem, and Bedouins: A study of building national images in Jordan, 1923-1980

Deploying the mechanism of designing national images and diffusing them to different arena has been a phenomenon in Jordan as much as anywhere else in the Arab World and the West. This project examines the function of national images to legitimize the Hashemite family’s rule in Jordan over the course of critical moments throughout the Kingdom’s history between 1923 and 1980. This research incorporates previous scholarship on various images deployed in the political and cultural history of Jordan to study the statecraft of generating national images. This thesis demonstrates that the Hashemite family created symbols and imagery as national images in response to important historical moments, as a means to rally support and advance the Hashemite ruler’s political agenda. After the second Arab-Israeli war in 1967, the Jordanian statecraft moved towards creating a Jordanian-specific image, leaving a legacy for future Jordanian political campaigns.

2013-14 Non-Midd Undergrads studying at C.V. Starr-Middlebury Schools Abroad

Christina McDonnell '15, Yale University, history of science and medicine
"Unamuno's Cientificismo: The intersection of philosophy and science"

Anne Elise Stratton '14, Tufts University, biology and environmental studies
"Spreading Mapuche Seeds: Revitalizing ‘trafkintü’ for perceived health, economy, and culture"


2012-2013 Grant Recipients

Middlebury College Recipients

Caroline Kahlenberg '14, history
"'The Gospel of Health': American Missionaries and the Transformation of Ottoman Women's Bodies, 1890-1932"

This research analyzes American missionary and Ottoman government attempts to physically transform and “modernize” Ottoman women’s bodies from 1890-1932. By the early 20th century, both groups viewed Ottoman women—and their bodies, in particular—as a visible reflection of the supposed sickness plaguing the “dying Empire.” Therefore, women’s physical transformation from “fat” to “fit” was seen as central to the Empire’s survival and revival. Specifically I examine the curricula and rhetoric at the missionary-run American College for Girls in Constantinople (ACGC) to understand the broader collaboration in spreading physical education, hygiene, and recreational sports in women’s schools across the country. It was believed that such curricula would transform students’ bodies and lives from “unhealthy” and “uncontrolled” to “robust” and “disciplined”—creating “good mothers” and “controlled wives” for the emerging Turkish Republic. In highlighting these shifts, I argue that women’s bodies should be studied as an important site of reform and modernization.   

Mirian Nielsen '14, environmental studies
"Environmental Sustainability through a Creative Lens"

China, as a rapidly developing country, is encountering many environmental issues. From conflicts arising from the building of the Three Gorges Dam that flooded villages upstream and caused droughts downstream, to the highly prevalent use of cycling for transportation amid the heavy pollution in most large cities, Chinese government and peoples are frequently adapting to and dealing with issues of sustainability. My video work focused on capturing my experience as a student and visitor in relation to the environment in China. This work culminated in a multi-media thesis project aimed at addressing the lack of easily available environmentally focused online media. I created a suite of environmental films and a website for the curating of online environmental media. Please check out for more information.  

Paul Quackenbush '14, environmental studies and geography
"A River Runs through It: The Geolinquistics of Two Trentino Valleys"

My project investigated the spatial distribution of linguistic and sociolinguistic phenomena in two valleys know as Le Giudicarie Interiori in Trentino, Northern Italy. I collected survey responses from ninety-three participants from ten towns scattered throughout Le Giudicarie Interiori and tape-recorded dialect use from each survey participant. The linguistic analysis of these tape-recordings generally confirmed my hypothesis that towns located geographically closer together tend to speak dialects that are more linguistically similar. The extensive sociolinguistic data on dialect-use in Le Giudicarie Interiori paints a picture of dialect-use that is declining, but still deeply-rooted when compared to the rest of Italy, with 77 percent of respondents regularly speaking dialect in their day-to- day lives and 87 percent of respondents desiring that their children learn to speak dialect. Dialect-use was considerably higher among residents in mountain villages when compared with larger towns located in the valley. Above all, dialect-use serves as a powerful expression of connection to a town and to one’s roots. 

Rachel Sider '14, international and global studies
"Human Security Dilemmas: Social, Political, and Economic Implications of the Syrian Refugee Crisis"

Since the Syrian uprising against President Bashar al-Assad erupted in March 2011, neighboring countries including Jordan and Turkey have witnessed an influx of hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees. Dozens of local non-governmental agencies in Jordan have collaborated with the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, to assist in hosting tens of thousands of Syrians, while the Turkish government has entrusted the management of refugee camps exclusively to the Turkish Red Crescent and its own disaster and relief agency, AFAD, turning down offers from NGOs to contribute. The differences in approaches taken by Jordan and Turkey towards refugee crisis management reveal the limited resources and capacity of Jordan an addressing humanitarian crises. Yet the Jordanian government claims that its primary concerns regarding refugee arrival are based on security. This topic is particularly of interest as the number of Syrian refugees continues to increase and will affect stability in the region. 

Daphnee Tuzlak '14, geology
"Chemical and Mineralogical Evolution of Arid Tropical Soils (Pacific Coast, Ecuador)"

This study examines changes in soil chemistry and mineralogy of arid tropical soils formed on marine terraces (85 ka to ≥ 1 Ma) along the Pacific Coast of Ecuador. Given that this region is very arid compared to most of the tropics; this study provides the opportunity to compare soils in dry tropical climates to more-frequently studied soils in the humid tropics and determine whether or not temporal changes in soil mineralogy/geochemistry are effective in correlating terraces for tectonic interpretations. XRD, ICP-AES, SEM, TEM, grain size and pH were used to study mineralogy, chemistry and physical characteristics. Results show that smectite dominates in soils > 1 Ma and rates of reaction appear to be at least ten times slower than in moister terrace soils in Costa Rica and Colombia. Trends in soil geochemistry and mineralogy suggest that there is potential to correlate terraces for tectonic interpretation. 

Napol Wills '14, American studies and German
"The Other Germans: Black Germans and Their Connection to American From 1945 to Present"

Gregory Woolston '14, geography
"(An)Other Space in Neoliberal Amman: Souk Abdali"

Urban scholars (Parker 2009; Daher 2013) increasingly describe Amman as a neoliberal city. Indeed, political and capitalistic actors have produced new abstract spaces through gated communities, low-income housing, shopping malls, and corporate towers; said spaces ensurecontrolled consumption among the city’s inhabitants. As Lefebvre (1991) repeatedly argues, however, inhabitants are also spatial actors with the ability to produce space. Their other spaces are of and for the people, acknowledging and serving a multiplicity of inhabitants and interests; they are an actual result of the “right to the city,” or the inhabitant’s struggle to participate and appropriate. In this intervention, I argue that Souk Abdali, an informal market that temporarily occupies a former transportation hub each week, is an instance of other space in Amman; further, I reveal the tactics of the market’s production, namely (1) physical appropriation, (2) behavioral appropriation, (3) self-management, and (4) diverse participation. The examination explores a hopeful void in neoliberal Amman, in addition to providing an empirical example of Lefebvre’s theoretical writings. 

Non-Midd Undergrads studying at C.V.Starr-Middlebury Schools Abroad

Christian Bale '14, College of William and Mary, public policy and French and Francophone studies
"The University's Role in the Republic: A Study of the French University System, its Discourse, its Impact on Social Mobility and the Effects of the Law LRU"

Devikara Devakula '14, Smith College, East Asian studies and Women and Gender Studies, and medical anthropology
"(Re)producing Anxiety: Intersections of Infertility, Privilege, and Technology in Southwestern China"

David Gardner '14, Macalester College, history and Hispanic studies
"Religious Change at Frontier Sites in Colonial Argentina"

Emily Goldman '14, Brown University, Development Studies (Middle East/South America)
"Hip Hop Don't Stop: Egyptian Hip Hop and Its Political Potential"

Ella Nalepka '14, McGill University, Middle East Studies major, political science minor
"The Politics of Exclusion: Palestinian Representation Under Jordanian Electoral Law"

Simone Schriger '14, Bates College, psychology 
"University Student Perceptions of Dating Violence in Chile"


2011-2012 Grant Recipients

2011-2012 Middlebury College Recipients

Harrison Anixter '13, geography
"Occupations of Residential Space in Buenos Aires as 'Heterotopia'"

My grant-funded research connects the case of squatters in Buenos Aires to the concept of Lefebvrian heterotopia in order to provide an example of how and why an avenue for resistance emerges in a group-consciousness fragmenting urban context and to better understand the political implications of a large group of Buenos Aires squatters. Employing focus groups with 46 squatters in Buenos Aires, it finds that neoliberalization, and the particularities of culture and place, explain the emergence of heterotopic spaces in Buenos Aires. The practices and discourses through which squatters produce heterotopic spaces challenge (and at times reproduce) the dominant spatial discourses and practices through which capitalism, patriarchy, and marginality are enforced in Buenos Aires. Bringing together the case of squatting in Buenos Aires and the concept of heterotopia, my grant-funded research fills important gaps in Critical Urban Geography and Squatting Studies literature.

Prottoy Akbar '13, math and economics
"Minimal Percolating Sets in Bootstrap Percolation"

Suppose a set of sites on a grid are initially infected (by some disease). Once infected, a site remains infected forever and a new site is infected if at least r = 2 of its neighbours are infected. Given n initially infected sites, is it possible to distribute them on an n-by-n grid such that the entire grid is eventually infected? Is this the minimum number of infected sites to have this property? Further, what is the minimum number of initial infections needed to eventually infect the n-by-n grid if r = 3 or r = 4? Suppose a grid G is eventually infected given a set A of initially infected sites. How large can A be so that no proper subset of A will eventually infect G? My research explores contemporary combinatorial works on Bootstrap Percolation theory to answer the questions above.

Peter Andersen '13, history and geography
"Catography, Science, and the Rhetoric of Empire in Qing China"

This research, conducted in the Peoples Republic of China and Taiwan during the fall and winter of 2011, consisted of (1) establishing a base knowledge of Chinese cartography, through the study of a broad range of maps, and (2) focusing on a more selective, intensive reading and analysis of Ming and Qing dynasty manuscript maps. The intensive study of Taipei’s National Palace Museum Library manuscript map holdings led to a better understanding of how internal and external administrative divisions were depicted cartographically, as well as how topography was rendered either planimetrically or at an angle.  This work allowed me to critically compare these traditional cartographic conventions with those used by the Jesuits in their comprehensive mapping of the Qing empire.  Reinterpreting the Jesuit maps as following these conventions leads to a rethinking of how the Qing dynasty appropriated Jesuit mapping technology.

Emily Evans Ashby '13, international and global studies 
"From Guns to Carnations to Resistance: The Rise and Fall of the Azorean Movement for Independence from Post-Revolution Liberal Centrist Power" 

I mapped the foundations, rise, and fall of the Azorean independence movement the Azorean Liberation Front, which began as a conservative backlash to the liberal 1974 Portuguese Revolution. Although its short duration and conflicting features made it difficult to classify, I charted the development models of three genres of political movements—radical right, secessionist, and social-based—and mapped each of these onto the historical trajectory of the Azores, as lenses to pinpoint critical events and junctures. I then teased out the internal structural, national, and international environmental elements that were most important to its formation and which led to its failure in 1978, paying special attention to political leftist movements of mainland Portugal, the economic viability of the islands, the legacy of Azorean autonomy, U.S.-based Azorean immigrant movements, and social and class divisions within FLA.

Kate Bass '12, sociology and anthropology
"Pseudo Citizens: Perceptions of US Immigration Law in Rural Michoacán, Mexico"

Nathaniel Brown '13, international politics and economics
"Reworking Old Clay: The Effects of Chinese Economic Transition on Jingdezhen Potters"

Through my Mellon Grant I investigated how economic transition affected local potters in the Chinese ceramics industry. My research was based in Jingdezhen, China’s “Porcelain Capital,” a city that has subsisted on government-supported porcelain production for over 1500 years, but in 1999 experienced a collapse of its ceramics industry during market reforms. The brunt of my fieldwork focused on a total of 28 interviews with a broad demographic range of people, ranging from government officials to nationally recognized artists to unemployed ex-factory workers. This was supplemented with a self-conducted market survey on sellers’ attitudes towards the current state and future trajectory of Jingdezhen’s ceramic market. From my fieldwork, I was able to not only delineate patterns of producer adjustment trajectories, but I was also able to establish that the cities economic situation has been improving rapidly. How potters in Jingdezhen were able to succeed after economic transition is the basis for my senior work.

Peter DiPrinzio '13, international and global studies
"Where's the Beef? Changing Incentives in Argentina's Beef Industry"

Nathan Goldstone '13, Russian
"Folk Tales of Russia's Altai Republic"

Zoe Hamilton '13, political science
"Hate Speech: Judicial Decision-Making in the French High Courts"

This thesis examines the considerations that judges take into account when forming decisions in civil law systems. To that end, the example of hate speech law, laws that restrict racist speech, is studied. Hate speech law provides a particularly interesting case because no scholar has yet studied how these laws have been applied in practice: what types of speech have been restricted under what circumstances? This has deep implications for how liberal democracies have managed to balance the competing values of protection against racism and the freedom of expression. Ultimately, the study finds that in close call cases judges have greater latitude to take into account external factors such as the historical contexts of groups claiming protection. When it is unclear whether speech qualifies as hate speech, judges are more likely to protect groups that historically have been vulnerable to prejudice, therefore maintaining the original integrity of the law. 

Colin Herd '13, international and global studies
"The Political Economy of Brazil's Oil Industry"

Brazil’s long-awaited rise to global prominence has been the result of a combination of complex political, economic, and social factors. Yet, one industry stands out in its deep linkages to not only Brazil’s historical trajectory, but also its present challenges and future prospects; the oil sector of the economy. This thesis provides a thorough summary of the historical development of Brazil’s petroleum industry from its creation until the 2007 offshore discoveries, focusing on its dynamic relationship with evolving political and economic factors. It builds off of this historical framework to evaluate the response to the Pre-Salt discoveries through the lens of the three primary factors; political leadership, the structural alignment of Petrobras, and the role of private investment.  This work thus contributes to the growing body of literature on the Brazilian energy sector by contextualizing the response to the Pre-Salt discoveries within the broader historical context of the petroleum industry, and demonstrating how this response has been deliberately structured to balance nationalistic political motives with progressive economic development.

Amelia Linsky '13,  history and Italian
"The Ferrara Earthquakes, 1570-1579: Science, Religion, and Politics in Late Renaissance Italy"

My thesis analyzes a particular body of scientific works written on the destructive earthquakes which occurred in Ferrara from 1570-1579 within their socio-political context in order to show that scientific discussion did not take place in a vacuum, but was closely linked to political concerns. Whenever the writers of the earthquake treatises addressed the popular question of why the Ferrara earthquakes occurred, they necessarily took sides with either Duke Alfonso II or Pope Pius V. I follow the historiographical tradition of examining the documents produced in connection with a specific event in order to contribute to the debate on the relationship between science and religion. In this debate I support and refine the complexity thesis. I argue that the Ferrara earthquake corpus shows that science and religion were inextricably intertwined in the authors’ worldviews, but these two ways of understanding the world came into conflict because they reflected political oppositions.

Maria Elena Lloyd '13, biology
"The Effects of Artificial Ocean Acidification on the Behavior and Physical Characteristics of the Chilean Mussel Species, Perumytilus Purpuratus"

The oceans of the world currently absorb 30-50% of the CO2 produced by human activity, resulting in a gradual decrease in ocean acidity over time. As acidity decreases and the concentration of shell building materials decreases, marine calcifying invertebrates like mussels, crabs and plankton may have greater difficulty creating calcified structures. The effects of ocean acidification on an ecosystem engineer of the South American intertidal zone, the Chilean mussel species Perumytilus purpuratus, were measured. P. purpuratus was held at increased concentrations of CO2 in the laboratory over a three-month period and the animals were measured experimentally for reduced calcification rates and stress in both physical and behavioral characteristics. It appears that this species was mostly unaffected by increased levels of CO2 over the course of the experiment, although shell strength tests suggest overcompensation in the strengthening of shells. Longer-term studies may reveal more subtle effects on the health and survival of the species.

Emma Loizeaux '13, environmental studies and geography
"The Political Ecology of Himalayan Forests: Demystifying Human-Environmental Relations in China and India"

Northwest Yunnan, China is both one of the country's most ethnically diverse and ecologically rich regions. Local people harvesting wood for heating, cooking, and building is considered the primary threat to this biodiversity hotspot. Through conversations with villagers and my own observations during a fieldwork session this January, I researched what forest resource use and management looks like at the local scale. Examining where forest resources are harvested in each of the two villages and why helps identify factors influencing forest harvesting. These include convenience (how far people must travel to obtain wood), legality (where is it legal to cut wood), ecology (where do the desirable species grow), inter-village relationships (where are the management boundaries between villages), and spirituality (where are sacred mountains located). With these factors in mind we can begin to consider how forest management might be improved in the context of southwest China.

Anna Mack '13, sociology/anthropology and Chinese
"One Hundred Million People Equal: Experiences of Nongovernmental Disability Advocacy in Modern China"

The study of disability in global contexts is fundamental to the field of Disability Studies. Despite growing awareness of the importance of cross-cultural studies of disability, little research has been done on disability in modern China. The United Nations Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), signed by China without reservation in 2008, lends itself to analysis of internalization of international disability discourse in modern China. Through case study of Chinese rights advocacy organization Zhengzhou Yirenping, I show how nongovernmental organizations draw on the CRPD and its social model of disability to challenge biomedical definitions of disability instituted by the Chinese state. Using data from interviews with Yirenping clients and advocates and participant observation field notes, I argue that nongovernmental disability advocacy in twenty-first century China is a form of political resistance for persons in civil society. Utilizing the rhetoric of disability rights as human rights in the CRPD, disability advocates in civil society petition for state recognition of the human rights of all Chinese citizens. 

Jaewon Oh '13, international and global studies
"The Relationship Between Catholicism and the FN Vote in France"

My senior thesis topic was the relationship between Catholicism and the FN vote.  Previous literature has established that practicing Catholics are much more likely to vote for the right than non-practicing Catholics or non-Catholics, but there has been an equally strong consensus that practicing Catholics do not vote for the far right in as high numbers, and the electorate for the largest far right party, le Front national (FN), is as secular as any other political party’s.  Therefore, I looked to see what might explain this disconnect.  My first hypothesis was that it was a question of distinct Catholic and FN values that fundamentally clashed.  The second was that it had more to do with which demographic groups practicing Catholics were under- or overrepresented in.  My second hypothesis held up pretty well, but it is worth looking into more about Catholic values, particularly as concerns xenophobia.

Elizabeth Scarinci '13, international and global studies
"Moving to Survive: The Lives of Child Domestic Servants in the Andes Mountains"

Thousands of children from remote areas of the Andes Mountains have migrated to cities to work as domestic servants. Most of these children live with their employers, attend school part-time and earn money to send back to their families in the countryside. These children, often younger than sixteen, are vulnerable to physical and verbal abuse and undergo major transformations that threaten their indigenous identities. I will present on my research conducted on the lives of underage domestic workers in Cusco Peru. During the summer 2011, I interviewed domestic workers, their parents, the urban families that employ workers, etc. to ultimately answer the question of whether domestic workers improve their lives by migrating to the city.

Katie Siegner '12, international studies
"Competing Claims Over land Use and Development in Chile: The Example of the Proposed Hydroaysén Dam Project" 

The isolated Aysén region of Chilean Patagonia currently sits at the front lines of a heated national discussion regarding Chile’s energy future. The massive Hidroaysén dam proposal seeks to develop the region’s hydroelectric potential through the creation of five mega-dams across two rivers, the Baker and the Pascua. While the project would provide substantial energy to the mines and cities of the north, it would also irrevocably change the river ecology and alter the lifestyles of local populations. During J-term, I used Mellon Grant funding to travel to Chile and conduct field research on the social and environmental impacts of the proposed dam project. I visited several of the proposed dam sites in Aysén and conducted interviews in both Aisén and Santiago with local residents, Hidroaysén employees, politicians, and anti-dam campaigners. My project examines how competing claims over land use and development are addressed in the Chilean post-transitional political system.

Jared Smith '13, international and global studies
"Coming Out in Rio: Sexual Identity Formation Among Middle-class Brazilian Men"

We often underestimate the extent to which social structures, situated in history and culture, affect how we relate to our sexuality. By analyzing gay identity in a different culture, in which the label carries different assumptions and connotations, we can begin to understand how sexual identity is shaped. Urban Brazil is a particularly interesting case, due to deeply embedded class divisions, a long history of cultural imperialism from the global North, and a juxtaposition of violent reactions against and extremely tolerant attitudes towards non-normative sexual identities. Between my semesters abroad in South America, I spent five weeks in Rio de Janeiro, completing a total of twelve 40-minute interviews with young gay men about their "coming out" experiences. This data is presented in combination with extensive secondary research in my International & Global Studies (SO/AN) senior thesis.

Kaveh Waddell '13, international politics and economics
"Authoritarian Durability in the Middle East"

2011-2012 Non-Midd Undergrads studying at C.V. Starr-Middlebury Schools Abroad

Benjamin Bates '12, University of Mississippi, international studies major
"Medical Diplomacy within China: An In-depth Analysis from the Perspective of Medical Personnel" 

Ann Dennis '13, Pomona College, biology and French
"Biomimicry in Sustainable Design: How Nature Infiltrates French Architecture"

Katie M. Gray '13, Tulane University, Latin American studies,
"Securing Underpopulated Borderlands: Policy Responses to Immigration in Brazilian Amazonia"

Stephanie Huezo '13, Wesleyan University, Latin American studies
"Chile Remembers the Disappeared"

Yureli Lopez '13, Pomona College, science, technology, and society
"Evaluating the Regulation of Cigarette Disposal in Capital Federal, Buenos Aires"

Valentine Sergon '13, Pomona College, politics major
"Navigating Cultures: Arabs in Argentina"

Sophie Weihmann '13, Yale University, political science and economics major
"Changing Political Structures in the EU: European Economic (Dis)Integration under Franco-German Leadership"

2010-2011 Grant Recipients

2010-11 Middlebury College Recipients:

Sydney Alfonso '12, geography and German
"The Old Men and the Sea: The Overfishing and Pollution of the Bosporus Straight and What it Means for Local Turkish Fishermen"

Old men in black hats tanned by years of hard living, non-apolitically smoke their cigarettes as they fish along the curved shores of the fishing villages in Istanbul. Facing pressure from the Turkish Coastguard (Sahilguvenlik), larger institutions such as Green peace and the EU as well as the large fishing conglomerates, the traditional fishing culture is at risk of extinction. By analyzing the fishing culture through a geographical lens, this research project critically examines the causes that contribute to this ancient disappearing tradition.

David Cutler '12, political science
"UNRWA and the 'Paletinian Refugee Problem': Evaluating 62 Years of Temporary Relief" 

In 1950, a special UN agency was created to deal with the “Palestine refugee problem.” The agency (UNRWA) was instructed to care for some 900,000 Palestinian refugees, pending a permanent solution to the conflict; its original mandate was good for one year. 62 years later, the temporary relief agency functions more like a quasi-state bureaucracy that touches almost every aspect of the refugees’ lives. My research rests on the proposition that if it looks like a state and acts like a state, it can be evaluated as a state (with certain caveats and qualifications). I use the UN’s Human Development Index to gauge UNRWA’s work through the decades, measuring which factors have had the greatest impact on the welfare of Palestinian refugees. I find that despite UNRWA’s erratic evolution and neocolonialist trappings, the agency has relied upon relatively high levels of funding, unmatched local networks, and a hard-earned reputation for political neutrality in its successful bid to keep Palestinian refugees healthy, educated, and out of extreme poverty.

Molly Drane '12, international studies
"The Living-Dead: Is There Another Hope for Paco Users in Argentine Society?"

This senior project focuses on the stigmatization of paco in contemporary Argentine society in conjunction with the popular social discourse of the drug and its addiction. I explore the history of paco use in order to understand how this substance came to be so highly vilified and why its reputation surpasses the traditional taboos attached to the more common illicit drugs. The study focuses on a population of so-called paco addicts who live in the villa of Bajo Flores in Buenos Aires, Argentina. They are a part of the rehabilitation program Hay Otra Esperanza run by las Madres Contra el Paco. Through their testimonies, I aim to explain both how and why the social construction of paco and the paquero was born and why the dominant social discourse continues to promote a certain course of thought despite the changing reality of paco use.

William Ford, '12.5, international studies
"Environmental NGOs in China: Participation without Democracy"

In the last twenty years China has experienced a proliferation of environmental NGOs. This research project examined the different strategies which various environmental NGOs based in Beijing, China, have pursued their interests, in comparison with Hong Kong NGOs. Interviews with these environmental groups revealed innovative strategies with regard to political participation in mainland China that have important implications for the roles that actors outside the government play in the political process. Some of these strategies involve leveraging local and national media, creating effective issue frames, and building coalitions. Through these strategies, environmental NGOs have been active participants in the political process. If China is to be better understood, it is essential to appreciate such nuanced political participation in what is often perceived to be shut-off political system. For proponents of democratization in China, such trends may reveal a different approach to political liberalization and reform.

Genevieve Guyol '11, history
"Rising Cold War Tensions and Protests at Universities in Spain and the United States"

My project compares the 1949-1952 Loyalty Oath Crisis at the University of California at Berkeley and the February 1956 Student Demonstrations at the University of Madrid. In both countries, protest developed on university campuses in the years following World War II. Activists in both Spain and the United States called upon their governments for greater guarantees of civil liberties. I contrast the ways in which protest developed in Spain under a dictatorial regime and in the United States under a democratic government. The second goal of my project is to examine the ways in which American anticommunist policy affected the rise of protest in each of the countries. In both cases, protestors responded to contradictions in their societies that American anticommunist strategies had helped to create. These events provide two examples of the contradictions that emerged between the practical realities of preventing the spread of communism and America's democratic ideals.

Matthew Hedgpeth '12, English
"Event of Distance, A Novella"

The research I completed abroad in New Zealand over the course of six months started as an ethnographic approach to the expatriate’s role in literature and the reciprocal nature of cultural influence. Since then it has gone through a series of alterations and is now in the form of a novella called Event of Distance. It was only after I’d spent a few months back at home that I realized the story I really wanted to tell­­ was one that, while partially based on personal experience, primarily responded to works from the still-growing but distinct literary traditions of the Māori and the Amerindians––once preliterate cultures. Had I not spent time away from home, I would never have discovered this particular subject. Ultimately, Event of Distance deals with issues of racial/ethnic identity but it is also partial record of what, in my mind, makes studying abroad an incredibly valuable experience.

Celine Lim, '11, environmental studies and geography
"Forest Governance in the Peruvian Amazon from a Rights Perspective"

The rich, biodiverse forests of the Peruvian Amazon are a challenging resource to manage, especially within Peru's complex forest governance structure that involves multiple actors at several scales. Communities at the local level are critical actors directly involved in managing forest resources, but are often poorly informed and give the least say in decision-making processes. Within the context of an international conservation scheme, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) in the Madre de Dios region of Peru, this work investigates forest governance from a rights perspective, exploring the implications of a multiscalar governance structure on the agency of local communities. Interviews with government officials, NGOs and community members reveal the perceived influence of these actors and suggest a lack of coordination and communication between them. Effective and just management of the forest requires that governance activities are nested across scales and that local users are well integrated into policy decisions.

Clara Loebenstein '12, international studies
“Who Was Sendero Luminoso? The Actors and Motivations Behind the Shining Path of Peru” 

This thesis presents the tragedy of the internal conflict in Peru from the perspective of the Peruvian peasantry in order to analyze and determine who joined, as well as the why they joined, including the various factors that may have motivated these people to join the Shining Path. Basing my analysis on a variety of individuals using the Truth and Reconciliation Committee’s documents, I explore specific cases to determine the relationship between individual motivations and Sendero’s group cohesion. Incorporating research funded by the Mellon Grant, I stress that many of the motivating reasons and problems academics describe such as socio economic disparity, colonial and feudal legacies, racism towards the indigenous, and lack of state presence are still issues present in Peru making certain kinds of citizens susceptible to terrorism under alternative leadership.

Denise Marte, '12, Italian
"Women in Silvio's Italy: Politics, Labor, Media, and Women During the Berlusconi Era"

Seeking to define the status of women in contemporary Italy, this project has looked at the progresses and degresses of women's rights and empowerment in the political sphere, the social sphere and the labor sphere during the seventeen years of Silvio Berlusconi's government. combining on-field research with research conducted independently at Middlebury, this project will evidence the harmful effects that an authoritarian-democracy based on sexist ideals and a powerful media empire, have had on the status of women in Italy.

Avery McNiff '12, history of art and architecture
"The Landscape Palimpsest: Revealing and Concealing History in William Kentridge's Felix in Exile"

This thesis looks at the process behind animation in the work of the South African artist, William Kentridge, in order to explore the relationship between landscape and memory. I propose that the recreation of land through art reveals how we construct memory and history in social, political, and geographical terms. Kentridge’s animated film, Felix in Exile (1994), provides insight into the ways in which the artist remembers and reimagines land, specifically in South Africa, and raises the question, does landscape reveal or conceal history.

Lauren Redfield '11, international politics and economics
"Families in Action? The Realities of Colombia's Conditional Cash Transfer Program"

Women's empowerment is a vital component of poverty eradication and sustainable economic development, as has been affirmed by both the Beijing Platform for Action and the Millennium Declaration. Conditional cash transfers (CCTs), it is often claimed, generate such empowerment through increasing a mother's control of resources, augmenting her decision-making abilities, and encouraging the formation of social agency within her community. Critics, on the other hand, argue that CCTs place an overwhelming burden of time and responsibility on mothers, reinforcing traditional gender roles without necessarily guaranteeing long-term improvement in human capital. This thesis project delves into the debate, examining how female political and social empowerment is treated and measured in Colombia's Familias en Acción program and commenting on aspects of community leadership and participation, capacitation, politicization, and errors in implementation. The project implements both quantitative and qualitative analysis, but draws primarily upon first-hand interviews with program beneficiaries collected during field research.

Tucker Van Aken '12, international politics and economics
"The Two Faces of China's Unique Policy Process: Adaptation and Noncompliance in Energy Policy"

China's ruling Communist Party has maintained its hold on power not simply through repression, but rather through a unique combination of authoritarian institutions, local experimentation and policy adaptation that 1) culls best practices for national implementation and 2) ensures local policy implementation reflects vastly differing necessities province to province. Despite the aegis of central control, policymaking and implementation in China is both top-down and bottom-up. However, local control also often results in mixed policy outcomes, as local governments have the latitude to distort national policies to suit local, predominantly economic, interests. Using the example of industrial energy policy, an area that Beijing has emphasized in recent years, this study employs novel statistical analysis and first-hand interviews to show that China's unique policy process is particularly effective, but due to differing levels of provincial autonomy and local economic interests, results in wide regional variation in the level of success.

Rachel Wold '11, sociology and anthropology
"Feminism and Occupational Identity in Contemporary Spanish Female Visual Artists"

This presentation will center on my thesis research on the occupational and feminist identities of contemporary female Spanish visual artists. The study of female feminist artists, a minority within the artistic community, and their relationship to a society historically dominated by the proliferation of art created by men with a patriarchal worldview, invites many questions. How do the identities associated with artistry, feminism and femininity intersect and/or come into conflict in modern Spain? How does state feminism affect the artists' careers and conceptions of Spanish feminist identity? The social construction and characterization of the role of art and artists in modern society and ebates on the aesthetics of feminist art will also be discussed. The presentation will draw on English and Spanish-language scholarly works as well as personal interviews conducted with Spanish artists.

Gordon (Will) Woodworth '12, history and political science
"Victories Reversed: The 1938-9 Clash of Mohandas Gandhi and Subhas Chandra Bose"

The popular Western perceptions of both Mohandas Gandhi and Subhas Chandra Bose are belied by their interactions in 1939. Gandhi, popularly perceived as the saint-like Mahatma, displayed his willingness to play political hardball to retain his hold on power. Subhas Chandra Bose, a left wing rival to Gandhi within the Indian independence movement, left a political legacy within the movement that controverts his image as an Axis collaborator of minor importance. Using primary source documents including British colonial records, contemporary newspaper reports, Indian National Congress resolutions, and statements issued by Bose and Gandhi, I outline the reasons for their clash and argue that Bose's influence persisted past his ouster from the Congress Party leadership, reappearing in the push for the Quit India movement in 1942.
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Emma Stanford '12, literary studies
"Perpetual Circle and Ceaseless Change: The Intersection of Poetry and Change-Ringing in the Seventeenth Century"

This project investigates the connection between English change-ringing and seventeenth-century poetry. I study the underlying philosophy of change-ringing and the treatment of its themes, notably change, constancy, and order, in poetic works ranging from Spenser's Mutabilitie Cantos to Milton's Paradise Lost and the devotional poetry of Herbert, Donne, and Traherne. Through a close reading of canonical poetry, belfry doggerel, diaries, and historical texts, I find a symbiotic relationship between change-ringing and contemporary literary ideas, particularly in the poetic treatment of universal teleology and the relationship between human and divine. Research was conducted during summer 2011 at the University of Oxford with the generous support of a Mellon Foundation grant.

Pui Shen Yoong '12, international politics and economics
"Buying Out the Poor? Bolsa Familia and the 2010 Elections in Brazil"

Hailed for reducing poverty and inequality in Brazil, the Bolsa Familia program (PBF) is the largest conditional cash transfer program in the world. Critics, however, have accused President Lula and his party of indirectly 'buying' the poor vote through the PBF. This research investigates the relationship between the PBF and the voting patterns of its recipients in the recent election. Is the PBF an apolitical poverty reduction strategy? Does it influence the formation of political preferences? Based on interviews conducted in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, I focus on the beneficiaries' own perceptions of the program, exploring the concepts of "ownership" and "clientelism" in social welfare.
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Anna Zauner '11, history of art and architecture and French
"Degas, Gauguin and the Theme of Isolation in Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Art"

Paul Gauguin and Edgar Degas were working side by side, though they had never collaborated on a project. In 1892 Gauguin took an unprecedented step in his career and completed the unfinished drawing of Degas titled Nude Woman Drying Herself. Degas and Gauguin are two of the most celebrated nineteenth-century French Artists. Degas' art focuses primarily on the urban Parisian figure, while Gauguin is more fascinated with the rural character, enhanced by his sojourns in both Brittany and Tahiti. What unites the two artists' work is their fascination with the depiction of the human figure in intimate contexts and the theme of isolation. In nineteenth-century art, the capturing of private moments was not a theme exclusive to Gauguin and Degas; however, these two artists are linked by inextricable similarities in their art. My research focuses on these aforementioned similarities that scholars have yet to explore.
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2010-11 Recipients - Non-Midd Undergrads Studying at C.V.Starr-Middlebury Schools Abroad:

Peter Grbac '12, Harvard University, sociology and anthropology
"Spaces of Conflict: North African Migration and the French Urban Experience"

Christopher Philpot '12, Kenyon College, Spanish
"The 'Recuperation' of Indigenous Identity  in Contemporary Popular Texts"

Laura Valerio '12, Pomona College, Spanish
"The Transcendental StoryFrom Oral Narratives to Flamenco"

Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs

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