Middlebury

 

Mellon Grant Recipients

2010-11 Middlebury College Recipients

2010-11 Non-Midd Undergrads studying at C.V.Starr-Middlebury Schools Abroad

2011-12 Middlebury College Recipients

2011-12 Non-Midd Undergrads studying at C.V.Starr-Middlebury Schools Abroad

2012-13 Middlebury College Recipients

2012-13 Non-Midd Undergrads studying at C.V.Starr-Middlebury Schools Abroad

2013-14 Middlebury College Recipients

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


2010-11 Middlebury College Recipients:

David Cutler, '12, political science major
Proposed research topic:"The UNRWA Education Programme: Its Crises, Its Compromises, and Its Larger Implications."
Research presented at the 2012 Spring Student Symposium: "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 major
Proposed research topic: "Los Muertos vivos."
Research presented at the Spring 2011 Student Symposium: "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 major
Proposed research topic: "Chinese Youth Participation in Environmental Clubs: Changing Political Attitudes."
Research presented at the 2012 Spring Student Symposium: "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 major
Proposed research topic: "A Comparison of the 1950s Student Protest Movements in Spain and in the United States."
Research presented at the 2011 Spring Student Symposium:
"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 major
Proposed research topic: "Drawing Breath in the Short Story Sequence."
Research presented at the 2012 Spring Student Symposium: "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/geography major
Proposed research topic:"Natural Resources and the Protection of Rights in the Peruvian Amazon."
Research presented at the 2011 Spring Student Symposium: "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 major
Proposed research topic: "Structural and Cultural violence and its Relationship to Terrorism: Shining Path and its Representation in Peru."
Research presented at the 2012 Spring Student Symposium:   “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 major
Proposed research topic: "Feminism in Italy: Where does it Stand Today?"
Research presented at the 2012 Spring Student Symposium: "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 major
Proposed research topic: "Twirling Wires: Art, Identity, and Politics in Contemporary South Africa."
Research presented at the 2012 Spring Student Symposium: "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 major
Proposed research topic: "Do Conditional Cash-Transfers Truly Empower Women?"
Research presented at the 2011 Spring Student Symposium: "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 major Proposed research topic: "Energy in China: Supply, Demand, Policies and Attitudes."
Research presented at the 2012 Spring Student Symposium: "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 major
Proposed research topic: "The Social Construction of Feminist Art in Contemporary Spain."
Research presented at the 2011 Spring Student Symposium: "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.

Pui Shen Yoong, '12, international politics and economics major
Proposed research topic: "Buying Out the Poor? Bolsa Familia and the 2010 Elections in Brazil."
Research presented at the 2011 Spring Student Symposium: "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 double major
Proposed research topic: "Edgar Degas' Influence on Paul Gauguin."
Research presented at the 2011 Spring Student Symposium: 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 major, "Spaces of Conflict: North African Migration and the French Urban Experience."
Christopher Philpot, '12, Kenyon College, Spanish major, "The 'Recuperation' of Indigenous Identity  in Contemporary  Popular Texts."
Laura Valerio, '12, Pomona College, Spanish major, "The Transcendental Story: From Oral Narratives to Flamenco."

2011-2012 Middlebury College Recipients:

Sydney Alfonso '12, geography and German joint majors
Proposed research topic: "The Old Men and the Sea: The Overfishing and Pollution of the Bosporus Straight and What it Means for Local fishermen of Turkey."
Research presented at the 2012 Spring Student Symposium: "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.

Peter Andersen
, '13, history and geography join major, "Chinese Cartography? The Kangxi Atlas and Qint Territorial Claims."

Emily Evans Ashby, '13, international studies major, "From Guns to Carnations to Autonomy: Devolution through Azorean Resistance to 20th Century Portuguese Dictatorial Regimes."

Kate Bass '12, sociology and anthropology major
Proposed research topic:"Becoming Aliens: Citizenship and Mexican Migration to the United States."
Research presented at the 2012 International Research Grant Presentation: "Pseudo Citizens: Perceptions of US Immigration Law in Rural Michoacán, Mexico"
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Nathaniel Brown, '13, international politics and economics major, "Bowls of Broken Shards: Poverty and Pottery in Jiangxi Province."

Peter DiPrinzio, '13, international studies major, "Where's the Beef? A Historical and Economic Analysis of Effects of Export Controls on the Argentine Beef Industry."

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

Zoe Hamilton, 13, political science major, "Racist Speech: The Development of Judicial Thought and Practice in France."

Colin Herd, '13, international studies major, "Energy and Brazil: Economic Liberation and Industrial Performance."

Emma Loizeaux, '13, environmental studies/geography joint major
Proposed research topic: "Ethnic Environmental Attitudes in Yunnan, China"
Research presented at the 2012 Spring Student Symposium: "Microgeographies of Forest Resource Use in Rural Yunnan, China"
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 '14, sociology and anthropology and Chinese joint major, "Communities of Canjiren: Disability in China."

Elizabeth Scarinci
, '13, international studies major
Proposed research topic: "Investigate the Lives of Indigenous Child Domestic Servants in Cusco, Peru"
Research presented at the 2012 Student Research Symposium: "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 major
Proposed research topic: "The Hydroaysén Dam Proposal in Chilean Patagonia: Sustainable Development or Ecological Exploitation?"
Research presented at the 2012 Student Research Symposium: "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 studies major, "Coming Out in Rio: How Gay Identity is Negotiated in Brazilian Culture."

Emma Stanford
, '12, literary studies major
Proposed research topic: "Investigation of Intellectual, Cultural, and Thematic Relationships between 17th Century English Literature and Change Ringing."
Research presented at the 2012 Student Research Symposium: "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.

Kaveh Waddell, 13, international politics and economics major, "Examining opposing Political, Religion, and Social Groups in Post-authoritarian Egypt."

Gordon (Will) Woodworth, '12, history/political science double major Proposed research topic: "Primary Source Research on Subhas Chandra Bose Utilizing Unique Resources Available at Four London Archives."
Research presented at the 2012 Student Research Symposium: "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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2011-12 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."
Annabel Bruno
, '12, McGill University, international development studies major, "Iraqi Refugees in Jordan."
Ann Dennis
, '13, Pomona College, biology and French double major, "Biomimicry in Sustainable Design: How Nature Infiltrates French Architecture."
Katie M. Gray
, '13, Tulane University, Latin American studies major, "Securing Underpopulated Borderlands: Policy Responses to Immigration in Brazilian Amazonia."
Amy Huang
, '13, Oberlin College, East Asian studies major, "Health Issues and Institutions in East Asia."
Stephanie Huezo
, '13, Wesleyan University, Latin American studies major, "Chile Remembers the Disappeared."
Yureli Lopez, '13, Pomona College, science, technology, and society major, "Evaluating the Regulation of Cigarette Disposal in Capital Federal, Buenos Aires."
Marjolene Nowicki, '12, State University of New York, Stony Brook, Spanish language and literature and American studies double major, "Peruvian Immigration in Chile: A Comparison to the Dreams and Realities of Caribbean Immigrants in the United States."
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."

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2012-13 Middlebury College Recipients

Prottoy Akbar '13, math and economics double major, "Attending the Colloquia in Combinatorics 2012 in London."

Harrison Anixter '13, geography major "Using focus groups to examine how squatters have handled and challenged neoliberalism in Buenos Aires.

Alex Coblin '13, Chinese and political science joint major, "Hukou Re-unification: A case Study of Chengdu's hukou reform program."

Caroline Kahlenberg '13, history major, "Preaching Gender: American Christian missionary education of women in the late Ottoman Empire."

Kelley Jordan '14, international studies major, "A Qualitative Assessment of the Recently Elected Islamist-led Parliament in Egypt."

Maria Elena Lloyd '13, biology major, "The effects of near future ocean acidification on the production of byssal threads and predator evasion in the Chilean mussel species."

Mirian Nielsen '14, environmental studies major, "Environmental Sustainability in China through a Creative Lens."

Jaewon Oh '13, international studies major, "The Relationship Between French Catholicism and Voting for the Far Right."

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

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

Morris Swaby Eubanks '14, international politics and economics major, "The Manifestation of Politics in Brazilian Carnival."

Daphnee Tuzlak '14, geology major, "Relationship of Tectonic Uplift and Soil Evolution Along the Pacific Coast of Ecuador."

Kyle Warner '13, sociology and anthropology major, "Ethnogenesis and the Creation of Identity Through the Changing Experiences of Maasai and Waarusha Warriors."

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

Gregory Woolston '14, international studies major, "Inclusion and Exclusion in Amman: Examining the Policies and Design of Informal Settlements Across Scales."


2012-13 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  major, "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 major, "(Re)producing Anxiety: Intersections of Infertility, Privilege, and Technology in Southwestern China."

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

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

2013-14 Middlebury College Recipients

Rana Abdelhamid '15, political science major, "Mobilization in Immigrant Communities"

Jacob Eisenberg '15, environmental studies--geography joint major, "Resilient Food Systems of Vietnam"

Dante Fracomano '15, music major, "The Transaction of Power and Expression of Cultural Values in African Musical Pedagogy"

Forest Jarvis '15, international politics and economics major, "The Politics of Social Justice Movements in Bolivia"

Ioannis Kipouros '15, art history and chemistry double major, The effects of Quantum Theory in the development of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism in the 20th Century Europe"

Jia Jun Lee '15, geography major, "Informal Voices in Shifting Amman: Studying the Perspective and Agency of Jordanians Working within the Informal Economy in Amman amidst the Influx of Syrian Refugees since 2011"

Winnie Yeung '15, history major, "Constructing Jordanian nationalist discourse through ancient historic heritage: analysis of excavations, maps, and museum exhibitions"

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

Christina McDonnell '15, Yale University, history of science and medicine major, "Unamuno's Cientificismo: the Intersection of philosophy and Science"

Simone Schriger '14, Bates College, psychology major, "Assessing psychological distance across cultures using a picture-word Stroop task"

Anne Elise Stratton '14, Tufts University, biology and environmental studies major, "Culinary Diffusion and Traditional Ecological Knowledge: Food Insights into Mapuche-Chilean Culture"

2010-2011 Grant Recipients

2010-11 Middlebury College Recipients:

David Cutler, '12, political science major
Proposed research topic:"The UNRWA Education Programme: Its Crises, Its Compromises, and Its Larger Implications."
Research presented at the 2012 Spring Student Symposium: "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 major
Proposed research topic: "Los Muertos vivos."
Research presented at the Spring 2011 Student Symposium: "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 major
Proposed research topic: "Chinese Youth Participation in Environmental Clubs: Changing Political Attitudes."
Research presented at the 2012 Spring Student Symposium: "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 major
Proposed research topic: "A Comparison of the 1950s Student Protest Movements in Spain and in the United States."
Research presented at the 2011 Spring Student Symposium:
"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 major
Proposed research topic: "Drawing Breath in the Short Story Sequence."
Research presented at the 2012 Spring Student Symposium: "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/geography major
Proposed research topic:"Natural Resources and the Protection of Rights in the Peruvian Amazon."
Research presented at the 2011 Spring Student Symposium: "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 major
Proposed research topic: "Structural and Cultural violence and its Relationship to Terrorism: Shining Path and its Representation in Peru."
Research presented at the 2012 Spring Student Symposium:   “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 major
Proposed research topic: "Feminism in Italy: Where does it Stand Today?"
Research presented at the 2012 Spring Student Symposium: "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 major
Proposed research topic: "Twirling Wires: Art, Identity, and Politics in Contemporary South Africa."
Research presented at the 2012 Spring Student Symposium: "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 major
Proposed research topic: "Do Conditional Cash-Transfers Truly Empower Women?"
Research presented at the 2011 Spring Student Symposium: "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 major Proposed research topic: "Energy in China: Supply, Demand, Policies and Attitudes."
Research presented at the 2012 Spring Student Symposium: "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 major
Proposed research topic: "The Social Construction of Feminist Art in Contemporary Spain."
Research presented at the 2011 Spring Student Symposium: "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.

Pui Shen Yoong, '12, international politics and economics major
Proposed research topic: "Buying Out the Poor? Bolsa Familia and the 2010 Elections in Brazil."
Research presented at the 2011 Spring Student Symposium: "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 double major
Proposed research topic: "Edgar Degas' Influence on Paul Gauguin."
Research presented at the 2011 Spring Student Symposium: 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 major, "Spaces of Conflict: North African Migration and the French Urban Experience."
Christopher Philpot, '12, Kenyon College, Spanish major, "The 'Recuperation' of Indigenous Identity  in Contemporary  Popular Texts."
Laura Valerio, '12, Pomona College, Spanish major, "The Transcendental StoryFrom Oral Narratives to Flamenco."