2012

Danello CW. The History of Anglo-American Banking Relationships at the Turn of the Twentieth Century, in WCFIA Undergraduate Thesis Conference. Cambridge, MA: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs; 2012.Abstract
From the end of the American Civil War through the beginning of the First World War, US financial institutions grew increasingly transatlantic in form. Flows of capital across the Atlantic were greater in 1900 than they would be at any time for the next hundred years. While historians have written on foreign investments in the United States, however, few have focused on the role of financial institutions per se. Nonetheless, financial firms were more than passive conduits for money; they were active in the formation of a broad-reaching transatlantic economic system. Using letters of correspondence, financial statements, ledger books, and other archival records, I demonstrate that the connections between British and American firms proved substantial and significant. Benefiting from newly available material, I write the evolution of transatlantic finance: from letters of correspondence, to agency agreements, to increasingly sophisticated forms of partnerships. I show the significant quantitative benefits of these relationships to both European and American firms, as well as more qualitative advantages. I demonstrate how firms reacted—and averted—market crises, and I illustrate the growing intellectual conception of financial markets as transatlantic, rather than national in form. This project comes at a time when capital markets across the globe suffer many of the same difficulties that the nineteenth-century firms sought to avert. By examining the creation and workings of the history’s longest-lasting international financial system, we gain insight into the challenges of the present day.
Trowbridge AF. Political Opinion Formation among Palestinians in Chile, in WCFIA Undergraduate Thesis Conference. Cambridge, MA: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs; 2012.Abstract
A wide range of factors are thought to be important in the formation of political opinion in immigrant-origin populations, including individual-level, group-level, and context-based factors. Studies have shown that in various communities and circumstances, such variables influence participation, partisanship, and left-right orientation. However, these studies usually focus on only one of the aforementioned aspects of political opinion (participation, partisanship, and left-right orientation), and the results that they find have been contradictory. In addition, the studies have almost exclusively focused on immigrant-origin populations in North America or Europe, leaving a geographic gap in the investigation of context-based arguments. This thesis attempts to address this gap in the literature by studying a community of immigrant-origin Palestinians in Chile. It examines political opinion formation within this group, attempting to determine why some individuals have developed political perspectives that differ from the rest of the group. In doing so, it draws upon original field research gathered from the Palestinian Chilean community over a period of three months in Santiago. Using in-depth interviews, it finds that one factor cannot conclusively explain participation, partisanship, and orientation within this population. Rather, it concludes that the interaction between contextual factors (the political environment) and individual-level factors (such as education, age, and occupation) is most relevant.
Pesek MA. The Perfect Storm: How the Combined Effect of State Feudalization in Argentina and Diplomatic Misperception Contributed to the Outbreak of the Falklands/Malvinas War, in WCFIA Undergraduate Thesis Conference. Cambridge, MA: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs; 2012.Abstract
A synthesis of both comparative political theory and international relations, this work analyzes how the increased degree of state feudalization in Argentina in comparison to its other bureaucratic authoritarian neighbors (Brazil and Chile) contributed to a more unstable and vulnerable regime that was more prone to seek out an external conflict to solidify domestic support. Subsequently, Great Britain failed to signal to Argentina that it was willing to fight for the islands due to its misperception of Argentina’s willingness to invade, leading Argentina to invade thanks to the misperception that the Falklands/Malvinas would not be defended, and a bloodless war would gain it the support its domestic political institutions could not.
Lamothe HD. Reclaiming Society: The Role of Communal Organizations and INGOs in Public Goods Provision in Peruvian Peasant Communities, in WCFIA Undergraduate Thesis Conference. Cambridge, MA: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs; 2012.Abstract
Communal organizations play an important role in the sociopolitical structure of peasant communities in Peru. Not only do they act as a source of organization within these communities, but they also play a critical role in managing interactions between peasant communities and formal institutions from both the state and society. The existence of these communal organizations is crucial not only to the management of local resources, but also plays a key role in bringing much needed public goods and services to rural communities. The impact of communal organizations on public goods provision, however, is limited in both its scope and effectiveness. Even when their interactions with formal state institutions are successful, communal organizations are only able to bring resources to their community members, or at best, to only a small segment of the rural population. Overall, they are unable to affect public goods provision at the regional or even municipal levels. Ethnographic observations and qualitative interviews conducted in two non-governmental organizations (NGOs) education projects in rural regions of Peru finds that NGO interactions with these internal communal organizations can play a critical role in bringing about larger scale impact. This impact is greater than would have been possible through the work of either party alone, affecting municipal and regional state institutions’ involvement and investment in education.
Shah HN. Negotiating Islamic and Secular Judicial Interpretation in Pakistan, in WCFIA Undergraduate Thesis Conference. Cambridge, MA: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs; 2012.Abstract
This thesis explores the relationship between Islam and the state in Pakistan by examining the Pakistani Supreme Court in its production and use of Islamic law in adjudicating matters of the state. The court serves as an important institution to observe the production of and negotiation between Islamic and Western legal norms. The essay first examines the historical foundations of Islamic legal theory in the development of the Pakistani constitution and judicial system, through interrogating the ideas of Pakistani legal theorists and Islamic scholars. The essay then traces the decision-making methodology of the court, focusing on the Supreme Court Justices and Islamic scholars who sit side by side on the bench, and together debate and ultimately adjudicate legal cases. Through interviews with justices, religious scholars, and reflections on previous studies of the court, the essay attempts to identify the construction of “secular” and “Islamic” methods of interpretation and reasoning within the judiciary. The thesis ultimately argues for a revision of the dichotomy between “secular” and “Islamic” interpretation in order to more fully understand the modern Islamic State.
Miller CE. Tourism and Nature in Banff National Park, Alberta, in WCFIA Undergraduate Thesis Conference. Cambridge, MA: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs; 2012.Abstract
Banff, Alberta, located just ten miles inside the border to Banff National Park, is a town driven by tourism. Everyone in this small mountain village is at most one or two points removed from the tourism industry, whether they be pouring coffee at the local bakery or pushing paper at the town hall. Banff is Canada’s first national park, and the town has been a jumping-off point to various wilderness tourist attractions since its inception. Today, Parks Canada places high value on conservation of the national park, but the park and the town of Banff both have long histories of tourism promotion, which still cast shadows of the same over the area. Because of this confluence of today's intent and yesterday's history, the town of Banff stands as a battleground—a contested field where ecological preservation and commercial development duel for priority. In this thesis, I plan to address the contested purpose of Banff National Park and the push and pull that occurs between environmental and economic concerns. Historically, the policy “pendulum” in Banff has swung between a tourism/development extreme and a conservation extreme, although for decades it lingered nearer the tourism end of the spectrum. Today, it seems to have settled close to the middle of the debate, but the debate itself still rages on. I hope to examine the town of Banff as a case study of the contestation between townspeople, seasonal workers, and Parks Canada regarding environmental and tourism issues. I would like to situate the theoretical side of my thesis in current environmental theory, although it does not apply directly to my topic. Neither, though, does anthropological theory, so I will attempt to use a combination of both to situate my theoretical argument regarding Banff National Park, the town of Banff, and the tourism and ecological concerns regarding both.
Rose KN. The Personal is Political: Re-claiming Identity in South African HIV/AIDS Interventions, in WCFIA Undergraduate Thesis Conference. Cambridge, MA: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs; 2012.Abstract
As opposed to historical instances of politicization of sexuality—anti-sodomy laws, prohibitions on interracial sex, marriage restrictions, for example—South Africa’s post-apartheid transition to democracy positively politicized sex within the country by prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and legalizing same-sex marriage. These changes were part of a larger effort on the part of South African society to fashion itself as beyond racial/gender/sexual inequality, despite the fact that social attitudes remained vastly intolerant. Moreover, the emergency scale HIV/AIDS intervention that was occurring in South Africa at the time, absent of attention to or understanding of difference, further coincided with the greater social shift away from identity as an influence on behavior. Despite the billions of dollars poured into these initiatives, HIV infection rates in many parts of Southern Africa, South Africa included, continue to rise while HIV knowledge among males and females of all age groups has seen significant decreases. Using populations of marginalized sexual identity such as LGBT, straight-identified men who have sex with men (MSM) and sex workers as a lens, this project demonstrates how the failure to address identity within HIV/AIDS interventions has propagated a “one size fits all model” of HIV prevention that, due to its generality, might not actually fit anyone. Rather, this project will advocate for identity-based interventions with greater ability to take into account the complicated intersections of sexuality, race, and gender that often affect how individuals understand and practice sexuality. This project calls for a re-politicization of sexuality within HIV/AIDS interventions and discourse and a re-claiming of “the personal is political” as a component of socially influenced health crises.
Rivers S. A Study of Rape in South Africa, in WCFIA Undergraduate Thesis Conference. Cambridge, MA: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs; 2012.Abstract
This thesis addresses two major goals: first understanding how local female government representatives and activists against sexual assault in South Africa understand the issues of rape and sexual assault; second clarifying how their perceptions of the issues and of government’s role in addressing them shaped their ideological and practical relationships to each other in the movement to decrease rape in South Africa. To investigate these relationships, I conducted 19 in-depth interviews with both local female councilors and activists against sexual assault in Cape Town. The data revealed that the politicians use a gender-blind lens drawn from nationalist rhetoric and as a result understand rape less as a gender-crisis and more as a result of rural "backwardness" and economic inequalities. The activists, however, from a younger generation, rely on feminist lens to understand the issue. As a result, they see the gender of politicians as less important than their gender philosophy in addressing rape. They see the issue of rape as reflective of the patriarchal system that the government has failed to adequately rectify, particularly when it comes to budgeting funds that would allow the implementation of South Africa's progressive rape legislation. Recognizing this disconnect in ideology and the sense of alienation some activists feel from the government can be useful in understanding why rape in South Africa continues with a startling frequency despite the high level of female political representation and the legacy of a strong women's movement.
Kim S. Cambodian Bureaucracy: Public Forms of Commemoration as Vehicles in Constructing Social Memory, in WCFIA Undergraduate Thesis Conference. Cambridge, MA: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs; 2012.Abstract
My senior thesis provides an anthropological analysis of social memory and state construction in genocide and post-genocide Cambodian society through a close examination of the Tuol Sleng Museum. Using the site as its background, my research focuses on five key actors: the Khmer Rouge regime that had employed documentation practices as a means of population management; succeeding governments like the People’s Republic of Kampuchea (PRK) that have used Khmer Rouge documents, especially the victims’ mugshots, as public Museum displays to establish its governing legitimacy; the local and foreign publics that have been brought into direct interactions with these displays and the “official” genocide narrative they represent; and non-governmental organizations that have initiated various projects to counteract this official narrative and change the ways in which the genocide is learned about and remembered. While works of renowned scholars like David Chandler and Judy Ledgerwood provide an extensive overview of one or two of these actors, it is just as important and even necessary to consider a broader layout of the interconnections between and among the five actors. My senior thesis, in turn, aims to see at once how public perception converges or diverges from state intent, how civil society responds to a dominant social authority, and how official memory is affected by contesting interpretations of the past from both an unknowing and knowing public.
Berbecel MD. Evaluating the Factors Affecting Differences in Policy Stability in Argentina and Brazil, in WCFIA Undergraduate Thesis Conference. Cambridge, MA: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs; 2012.Abstract
This thesis will examine policy stability in Argentina and Brazil, where by “policy stability,” I mean “the level of fluctuation in policies.” In a comparison of the levels of policy stability in Argentina and Brazil, an intriguing puzzle becomes evident. By the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, both countries could be described as “messes” in terms of their levels of policy stability. In Argentina and Brazil at this moment, laws and governance models would change radically in a relatively short period of time, with no apparent external cause. Nevertheless, throughout the next two decades through today, Brazil was able to stabilize, whereas Argentina has continued to exhibit an extremely high degree of policy volatility. Throughout the thesis, in trying to solve this puzzle, I will narrow my focus to policies in the economic realm. I will analyze two root causes of this divergence between the countries, namely the strength of institutions of horizontal accountability and the degree of consensus-building in both the executive and legislative branch. With regards to the former, I will examine the weakness of the Argentine congress, Supreme Court and government bureaucracy relative to its Brazilian counterparts. With regards to the latter, I will demonstrate how although the different political actors in Brazil became willing to compromise and sort out differences starting in the mid-1990s (particularly through coalitions), in Argentina negotiation and cooperation among politicians continue to be virtually nonexistent. After linking these two independent variables to policy stability on a theoretical level, I will use three representative case studies to illustrate this link, namely pension reform, monetary policy, as well as privatization/nationalization schemes.
Mohamed NY. The Art of Literacy or Literacy through Art: Corporal Punishment, Rote Learning, and an Education Arts Intervention in Zimbabwe, in WCFIA Undergraduate Thesis Conference. Cambridge, MA: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs; 2012.Abstract
This thesis consists of two parts. The first examines the current state of the Zimbabwean education system and the relationship between colonization and the pedagogical methods used in the Zimbabwean classroom, namely, rote learning and corporal punishment. Through interviews with high school students and teachers, the thesis outlines the possible psychological disorders and the negative classroom dynamics which may result from rote learning and corporal punishment. The second part of the thesis examines a post-colonial pedagogical intervention, which the author implemented this past summer. The program focused on using arts as a tool for teaching literature and positively influencing the student learning environment. After the author trained six teachers and four artists how to teach literature through the arts, the teachers then taught between 40–70 students for eight weeks. Using pre- and post-program interviews with teachers, students, and artists as well as questionnaires and ethnographic data, the chapters will outline the effects and shortcomings of using the arts as a tool for learning in the Zimbabwean context.
Rao SK. Playing Defense: Generating a Strategy of Best-Practice Mobilization to Protect Housing Rights in Developing Democracies that Host Mega-Sporting Events, in WCFIA Undergraduate Thesis Conference. Cambridge, MA: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs; 2012.Abstract
In 2016, Brazil will become the first ever South American nation to host the Olympic Games. This event will be preceded in 2014 when Brazil will host the FIFA World Cup. Amidst the positive attributes inherent to these mega-sporting events, a puzzle exists wherein expected revenue rarely translates to tangible benefits for poor people within the host nation. While it is without a doubt that the beautiful skyline of Copacabana Beach will become an imprinted memory of Brazil’s hosting endeavors, what will not be as readily available are the images of poverty that afflict the city, and the impact that the preparation of these events has on the urban poor of Brazil’s major cities. In order to fulfill its promises to FIFA and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), it is forecasted that more than 3,500 families in six slums in both western and northern areas of Rio de Janeiro will be removed. Brazil represents an important case study of housing rights protection during the preparation for major sporting-events because it is a developing democracy, because it will host both the World Cup and the Olympics consecutively, and because it will become the first South American nation to ever host the Olympics Games. Through comparing the strategies of intervention undertaken by social movements during the 2010 South African World Cup and the 2010 Indian Commonwealth Games, this thesis will attempt to generate a theory of best-practice that can be employed in Brazil and other developing democracies prior to hosting mega-sporting events.
LaBelle C. Social Capital in North America: Do Generations Growing Up During Times of Economic Distress Engage with Society Differently than Generations Growing Up in Prosperous Times?, in WCFIA Undergraduate Thesis Conference. Cambridge, MA: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs; 2012.Abstract
Do generations growing up during times of economic distress engage with society differently than generations growing up in prosperous times? In order to assess this we explore the relationship between the unemployment rates young adults experience to self-reported measures of civic engagement in the General Social Surveys of Canada and the United States. Using time variations in national macroeconomic conditions, it is apparent that individuals from lower educated families who experience high unemployment rates in young adulthood are less likely to have voted in the most recent presidential election. Individuals from higher educated families who experience high unemployment rates in young adulthood, on the other hand, are more likely to have voted in the most recent presidential election. It seems that the former loses faith in the ‘system’ while the latter is empowered to further engage in the democratic process. We find trust in others and political ideology to be important mediators in this relationship that should be studied further in order to understand more about this enlightening finding and the general nature of socioeconomic status on interpreting adverse conditions in early adulthood. Please note that this analysis is still a work in progress.
Kaufman JM. Chinese Islam(s) on the Border: Islamic Authenticity, Ethnic Boundaries, and Images of Home in a Bi-National Immigrant Community, in WCFIA Undergraduate Thesis Conference. Cambridge, MA: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs; 2012.Abstract
This thesis examines the social dynamics that animate the relations between Burmese and Chinese (Hui) Muslims in and around the Jinghong Mosque in Jinghong City (Xishuangbanna Prefecture, Yunnan, China), which ultimately contributes to a broad, but primarily speculative, body of literature surrounding the influence of interaction with foreign Muslims upon the Islamic practices and perceptions of Muslims in post-Cultural Revolution China. I contend that each of the two ethnic groups in the Jinghong community maintains its own standard of what defines Islamic authenticity, which limits the degree and depth of intellectual and spiritual exchange between the Hui Chinese and Burmese communities. Further, I probe the various mechanisms of boundary making that reify and maintain the salience of ethnic difference between the two groups, drawing upon a wide spectrum of classical and modern social theory. Throughout the work, I insert my discussions and conclusions into broader historical, anthropological and sociological arguments surrounding the construction of the Chinese Muslim identity and ethnic/national identity in China and Burma/Myanmar at large. My methodology is ethnographic, and my primary data derives from participant observation research and formal interviews that I conducted in and around the Jinghong Mosque in July and August 2011.
Lambert TJ. Beyond Patron and Client: Corruption, Democracy, and the Aid Industry in Kenya, in WCFIA Undergraduate Thesis Conference. Cambridge, MA: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs; 2012.Abstract
This thesis tells a story about money and politics in Kenya. All over the world these two topics represent two sides of the same coin, but in Kenya, a country notorious for its political corruption, as well as its extensive internationally-funded non-profit sector, money and politics intersect in complex, contradictory, and even revelatory ways. One part of this story concerns the way money and politics meet within the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), a popular and highly visible government institution expressly devoted to development. A second part of the story concerns citizen groups who undertake activities called “social audits,” which attempt to address corruption in the CDF through democratic mobilization. The final part of this story concerns the relationship of these accountability projects to a different source of money—international aid money—and the contradictions that this relationship generates. I draw on twelve weeks of mixed-methods field research in several locations throughout Kenya to weave an argument out of the multiple perspectives captured by this story. I engage with the theoretical framework of neo-patrimonialism, to anchor my analysis and offer what I consider a more nuanced way of understanding political corruption, and the fight against political corruption, in Kenya. I argue that the various “social audits” of government expenditure in Kenya represent a direct challenge to a political culture characterized by the state’s domination of the electorate. They do this by turning the laws the state uses to exclude the citizens into a weapon the citizens use to demand inclusion. Despite this, this democratic form of resistance remains weak and often ineffectual, due to the auditors’ dependence on an aid industry that has contrived to mistake this very dependency as the problem.

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