Recent Submissions

  • The Unsung Heroines of the British Empire

    DiFilippo, Giovanna (2017)
    Center of Social Science Research Student Paper Award Winners (2017) The female perspective of British travelers to the British Empire has been widely ignored by historians. The study of gender migration is a relatively newer field of history that has gained some attention. For the historians who have taken a look at female migration to and female explorers in the empire’s colonies, some tend to over romanticize the experiences these women had in their travels abroad. This trend seems to take root in naming women such as Gertrude Bell and Mary Kingsley as heroines for being groundbreaking female explorers. While Mary Kingsley and Gertrude Bell are from two different time periods, they both encompass images of women who defied traditional gender roles and influenced how historians examine female travelers today. These women are outliers due to their own British privileges, socioeconomic statuses and the masculine nature of their achievements. Feminist historians give overwhelming credit to Mary Kingsley and Gertrude Bell for essentially “breaking the mold” of the influence women had in their travels to the distant lands of the British Empire. Unfortunately, claiming Bell and Kingsley as all-encompassing heroines depletes the recognition of ordinary women being nurses, teachers and missionaries in the empire. These everyday professions should be considered as heroic because all three fields are essential in the wellbeing of the people within the empire and without them the empire could never exist.
  • Aristophanes: Entertainment of the Ancient World

    DeVenezia, Kristina (2017)
    Center of Social Science Research Student Paper Award Winners (2017) When imagining the ancient city of Athens, intriguing philosophy, beautiful art, and advancement in mathematics and science may be brought to mind. However, one man, Aristophanes, seemed to be the complete opposite of the portrayed picture of the Athenian people. He was a comedian, and a very unrefined one. His vulgar, sexual, uncouth plays were extremely popular, viewed by citizens of all statuses. The Ancient Greeks, so well known for laying the intellectual foundation of the Western world, enjoyed Aristophanes’ inappropriate and crude humor so much because his comedy was an entertaining, relatable outlet for their frustrations at the time and provided satirical advice on current problems with society for all.
  • Effect of Urbanization on Biodiversity: Ecological and Sociological Perspectives

    Vricella, Carl (2017)
    One of the most pressing issues facing not only the United States but the world is the accelerated loss of biodiversity. The leading cause of declining biodiversity, from an ecological point of view, is the destruction and fragmentation of habitats; urbanization is almost second to none in this regard. The literature is rich with studies showing the detrimental impacts of increasing levels of urbanization on biodiversity. The bulk of these studies are ecological spatial analyses, mainly focusing on avifauna. Sociological literature is not overly saturated with research relating to biodiversity loss, particularly on the sub national level of the United States, where such research is none existent. Considering this, we attempted to analyze the relationship between increasing urbanization and bird biodiversity via bivariate correlations and linear regression models. Here, we test different sociological/ecological theories, namely: Urban-Rural Dynamics (URD), IPAT, and Ecological Kuznets Curves (EKC). We mainly focused on URD but saw this as an opportunity to test other relevant theories for which we had sufficient data. Support was found for URD and partial support was found for the IPAT model however, our results for EKC were inconclusive. Research was limited by the data available, which was expected, as this is the first study of its kind to be done on the sub-national level of the United States.
  • Influence of Shintoism on Environmental Management and Perceptions of Lake Biwa, Japan

    Temple, Gwendolyn (2017)
    Throughout history, Japan has been heavily influenced by one major religious philosophy: Shintoism. It is a philosophy centered around animism—the belief that all things, animate and inanimate, house a soul. What influence does Shintoism have on environmental management and perceptions? This research attempts to answer this question as it relates to Lake Biwa, Japan’s largest freshwater lake. Lake Biwa supplies millions of individuals throughout Shiga Prefecture with freshwater. Home to hundreds of endemic species, the lake also serves as a hotspot of biodiversity. However, there are many different threats to the water body, including invasive species and urbanization. Using literature review and first-hand observations, this research attempts to explore the way Shintoism affects people’s perceptions of Lake Biwa as they relate to sense of place, the Soap Movement of the 1970s, the Mother Lake 21 Plan, and management of invasive/nuisance species such as the largemouth bass and great cormorant. In exploring the complex relationship between Shintoism and environmental management in Lake Biwa, this research helps add more dimensions to the influence Shintoism has had on people’s perceptions surrounding Lake Biwa and open avenues for future research.
  • Ghost Stories: A Survey of Cultural Beliefs in Regards to Death and the Spirit

    Graziosi, Annie (2017)
    No matter what culture, or historical time period, the only inevitable truth is that life is finite. Comfort is found with either the formation of religious or philosophical belief systems that establish certain, accepted standards for life and death. Human beings have always strived to understand the supernatural and what happens after life. We tell ghost stories around the fire and speak wistfully about our lost loved ones. We are connected by our desire to believe in something more, something greater than what we know. These practices have existed since the beginning with the Neanderthals, when grave goods were first placed with the dead in the form of flowers, until today when hills are filled with tombs and stone angels. The purpose of this project is not solely to be an exploration of different cultural beliefs, but to create an understanding of how people try to hold on to those they have loved and lost, and how they create their own ghosts. While this project covers many different, isolated points of history which all give a different answer to what comes after death, it was not created to give one true answer to this question. It was also not meant to present certain cultures as having correct or mistaken views on the happenings of death and after. Rather, the goal has been to bring light to the different cultural perspectives and practices that exist outside of the popular Western canon.
  • Beyond Stereotype and Spectacle: Understanding the Latino Threat Narrative

    Bates, Alexandra (2017)
    Historically, the United States has been referred to as a “melting pot”; a country rich with cultures, ideas, traditions, and immigrants. Immigrants, in particular, have played a pivotal role in the foundation of the United States as a nation. Despite their contributions to this country, perceptions towards immigrants have always varied and over the last few decades, Americans' perceptions have drastically changed towards one group in particular; the Latino immigrant population. Feelings of negativity and animosity that exist towards Latino immigrants have given way to a larger threat narrative built upon a set of premises, or taken for granted truths, regarding Latinos. Stereotypes perpetuate this national dialogue and are to blame for the ways in which Latinos are perceived in the United States. This research highlights the prevalence of the Latino Threat Narrative in today’s society and the ways in which it continues to reaffirm the Latino community’s place on the margins of American society.