The Gardner Fellowship ends in an annual Policy Conference during the reading days in May. We have breakfast and lunch together and the Fellows generate poster presentations to summarize their research for fellows, alumni, faculty mentors, family, and other friends of the Gardner program. Below are select abstracts from the Gardner Fellows research over the past several years.

“A Perfect Picture of Africa:” The Impact of the Haitian Revolution on Race in San Domingue

Isaac Margolis, Political Science & History

Advisor: Marisa Fuentes, History

This project seeks to analyze the impacts of the 1791 Haitian Revolution on the social and racial structure of colonial and post-colonial San Domingue/Haiti. In it, I analyze speeches, correspondence, and government documents from the predominant racial groups at the time to break down how each of them viewed race before and after the war. Specifically, it looks at the role that the violence of the rebellion played in transforming perspectives of race and racial hierarchy within colonial whites, enslaved Africans, and free people of color. These findings illustrate that the chaos and mass violence of the revolution broke down the racial hierarchy on the island, while forcing the white colonists to redevelop an oppressive social utility to slavery.

A Comparative Analysis of Sentencing Practices: The United States and Portugal

Hena Mehta

Majors: Political Science and Criminal Justice
Faculty Advisor: Professor Milt Heumann

Policy Presentation Theme: Security and (In)Justice

The US and Portugal operate under two distinct legal systems and retain separate ideas as to how often incarceration should be used as a sanction for offenders. Among others, plea bargaining, sentence lengths, and appellate review, can be argued as the notable differences that lay the framework to better understand why the two countries practice different ideals. This basic framework, I find, ultimately points to a bigger conclusion about each country’s perspective on what proper offender punishment looks like, most especially with drug crimes. This divergence stems from each country’s trust in different legal models that they believe is the best approach in handling offender behavior; Portugal believing in a more rehabilitative model, which implements shorter sentences, resorts to incarceration less, and strictly focuses on offender rehabilitation, whereas the US pushes for the opposite – longer sentences and emphasis on incarceration as the readily viable form of punishment.

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A Little Love Goes a Long Way: Effects of Intimate Partner Violence on Young Children

Sara Safa, Political Science& Psychology

Advisor: Patrick Carr, Sociology & Criminal Justice

This project reviews the effects and frequencies of child exposure to Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) for the purpose of raising awareness and understanding the detrimental outcomes that can result. For this study I conducted a synthetic literature review on the subject of child exposure to IPV and I analyze the frequencies of exposure from the combined 2016 and 2017 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH). Specifically, I investigate what the effects of child exposure to IPV are, and how exposure to IPV varies according to the child’s age, gender, family structure, household income, and race/ethnicity. I find that while there are variations in exposure according to the characteristics of age, gender, and race/ethnicity, the most striking variations are found in child exposure on the basis of household income and family structure. Overall, a significant number of children that are exposed to IPV come from poor and non-intact families. These children often experience many adverse effects that can extend into adulthood. It is critical that we pay greater attention to this issue and increased social supports are necessary in order to help provide the services needed to help at risk children overcome the effects of IPV.

Abjection and the Ecological Metaphor in Edwidge Danticat's Breath, Eyes, Memory

Terese Osborne, English

Advisor: Renée Larrier, French

This project approaches Haitian writer Edwidge Danticat’s book Breath, Eyes, Memory with three questions: how is the trauma of sexual assault addressed in the works? Why is it so particularly horrifying? And how does Danticat use language to help her characters heal from such trauma? After providing a brief background of the history of sexual assault in Haiti, particularly its use as a political tool during the Duvalier regime, I address the first two questions by using psychoanalyst Julia Kristeva’s theory of abjection from Power of Horrorto argue how, in Breath, Eyes, Memory, the root of the damage and horror of sexual assault is the abjection of main character Sophie and her mother Martine’s perception of themselves as well as the abjection of the mother-daughter relationship. To address the second question, I argue that Danticat’s use of ecological metaphor in Breath, Eyes, Memory allows both Sophie and Martine to regain empowerment due to the connections made between nature and their identities. I additionally use Danticat’s book Krik? Krak! to highlight the significance of the mother-daughter relationship and the use of ecological metaphor.

Alternative Criminal Justice Systems: A Game Theoretic Analysis

Adriana Scanteianu

Major: Mathematics
Minor: Urban Studies
Faculty Advisor: Professor Andrey Tomachevskiy

Policy Presentation Theme: Security and (In)Justice

There are many flaws in our current criminal justice and carceral system, but perhaps the most gripping is the exclusion of victims’ input regarding the resolution of interpersonal violence. This research aims to create and analyze game theoretical models of the current criminal justice system, as well as a restorative justice bargaining model similar to that pioneered by Danielle Sered at her organization Common Justice in Brooklyn, NY. Current justice system games were developed using a modified Prisoner’s Dilemma, while the restorative justice bargaining model was created by cooperative modifications to the Ultimatum Game. Although the restorative justice bargaining model did not suit all crimes or situations, this research found that involving both victim and defendant in resolution bargaining can lead to a more just outcome. Results also indicated that defendants facing longer prison sentences are more likely to choose the restorative justice bargaining approach over traditional methods. Much work and experimental practice remains to be done to elucidate how effective restorative justice is in the real world.

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An Evaluation of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon

Yuma Do, History & International & Global Studies

Advisor: Ewan Harrison,Political Science

This project analyzes the effectiveness of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNFIL), one of the oldest UN Peacekeeping forces that remains active to this day. To do this, I review the limited literature available on this mission from distinguished experts, such as Ramesh Thakur and Vanessa Newby. I find that, due to the intertwining of the two conflicts of the region, the Arab-Israeli Conflict and the Lebanese Civil War, and how rushed its creation in 1978 was by the hands of the United States, this particular UN peacekeeping mission was set up for failure. Despite this, UNIFIL has contributed much for the local citizens and the community through humanitarian aid and more, thus earning credibility among the local populations and proving to be a beneficial entity in the region.

Anti-Muslim Sentiment: The Czech Republic and India

Political leaders’ use of rhetoric, in the aftermath of a critical point, against specific minority groups drives a wedge between those groups and the majority population. A careful analysis of the effects of such rhetoric provides insights in understanding the motivating factors and effects of the resulting division, which can be applied to deconstruct the emergence and durability of anti-minority sentiment. First, I will focus on the definition of a critical point and its relation to Manufactured Crisis Theory to identify a specific point that has been critical in the scope of political power for specific leaders and the rise of anti-Muslim sentiment in India and the Czech Republic. Next, I will explain the root of some Hindu-Indian’s and the Czech Republic citizen’s underlying hostile inclination towards Muslim populations. Last, I will explore the larger impact of those attitudes and its relation to radicalization of both right-wing nationalist and Islamist groups. My findings will relate rhetoric to the perpetuation of radicalism in that nationalist leaders use rhetoric to manufacture crises and create critical points between majority and minority populations. The resulting friction between the two groups heightens levels of anti-minority sentiment due to some of the majority’s underlying hostile inclinations towards the minority population. This prompts the isolation of that group and increases radicalization within both populations.

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Aristotle's Rhetoric and the Moral Reasoning Behind Violence

Max DuBoff, Classics & Philosophy

Advisor: Robert Bolton, Philosophy

Aristotle claims in the Nichomachean Ethicsand elsewhere that certain types of intellectual and moral knowledge require orthos logos(sometimes translated as "right reason"). A prominent recent interpretation of orthos logosin Aristotle holds that, particularly as applied to moral reasoning (phronēsis), right reason requires an agent to grasp an explanatory account of the knowledge in question. Prima facie, this interpretation seems accurate for discovering scientific knowledge. However, drawing on Aristotle's Rhetoricand other sources from his corpus, I push back against this argument and show that Aristotle presents multiple cases, such as rhetorical and eristic reasoning, where one can grasp an account of certain knowledge with orthos logoswithout identifying a corresponding explanation of it, because the account itself is more fundamental than an explanation for it. I thus cast doubt upon the claim that phronēsisin Aristotle requires explanatory accounts. Then, drawing on moral psychology and considering the impact of this conclusion about phronēsison Aristotle's discussion of moral weakness (akrasia), I consider the causes of violent actions on an individual ethical level with an eye to how practical philosophy can help reduce violence.

Assessing the Impact of Domestic Workers’Legislation

Melanie Arroyave, Labor Studies

Advisor: Yalidy M. Matos, Political Science & Latino & Caribbean Studies

This project uses a mixed-methods approach to explore the impact of states with domestic workers bill of rights (DWBR) to states without DWBR, and how that impacts immigrant domestic care workers in relation to the quality of patient care. A high proportion of domestic workers are predominantly female immigrants. New York is the very first state in the nation to pass DWBR followed by eight other states, but does not include the neighboring state of New Jersey, which shares a diverse demographic and a history of progressive legislation. Labor force legislation and data indicates New York’s DWBR has resulted in higher quality of treatment to both immigrant domestic care workers and patients. New Jersey’s lack of labor legislation and enforcement for domestic care worker protections indicate domestic care workers are exposed to exploitative practices and patients are at risk of experiencing lower quality of care. More in-depth policy analysis suggest that New Jersey’s patient quality of care can be addressed by a “domestic worker bill of rights” as passed in eight other states or by targeted domestic care work legislation that includes increased wages, benefits, and job responsibilities.

Can the Master's Tools Dismantle the Master's House? Domestic Homicide, Race and Gender in the Liberal American State

Sonya Abrams, Political Science

Advisor: Lisa L. Miller, Political Science & Criminal Justice

Domestic, or interpersonal, violence is a continued threat to women, and its most fatal consequence, homicide, remains all too common. In addition, not all women are equally vulnerable to such violence. Interpersonal homicide (IPH) rates in the United States are racialized, as Black women are killed by intimate partners at higher rates than are white women. This research examines domestic homicide rates in America, with a particular focus on gender and race, and seeks to understand how and whether state intervention can mitigate the risk of IPH to women. Specifically, this project draws on critiques of the Liberal state from feminist and critical race scholarship using the 1994 Violence Against Women Act as a policy lens. Using these sources, I analyze the extent to which policy approaches to IPH directly confront and disrupt violent gender and racial hierarchies. I find that most policy responses to IPH focus on helping women avoid patterns of abuse and removing them from abusive settings, rather than that seeking to identify and reduce male violence against women through more direct intervention with men.

Charter Schools, School Choice, and the Students of Color Caught in Between

Charter schools are publicly financed but independently managed educational institutions. Since the adoption of the first charter school law in Minnesota in 1991, they have received considerable attention. However, since the administration of Donald J. Trump, and the appointment of his then Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, the political tide surrounding charter schools has begun to shift. Understanding the charter school system in the United States, and analyzing the way that it impacts American students, is a complex and nuanced task. The literature review will, first, explain the role of charter schools in the American education system, the school choice debate, the politics surrounding charter schools, and the reframing of the achievement gap. The findings for this project will compare the racial demographics of top performing and lower performing charter schools. This comparison raises more questions concerning equity in a specific charter school system in Arizona, and the complexities of this school’s practices are explored. Finally, policy proposals concerning the future of charter schools as well as its implications on traditional public schools are offered.

Comparative Analysis of COVID-19 response in Germany and the United States

The United States and Germany are two high income nations with strong healthcare systems that differed quite significantly in pandemic outcomes. From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic to March 1rst, 2021, The United States recorded nearly three times as many COVID cases per capita than Germany and nearly two times as many COVID deaths per capita. In my comparative analysis between the two countries, I examine differences in health demographics, healthcare delivery, mask mandates, testing strategy, PPE procurement, and social distancing policies between the two countries and analyze the degree to which these differences account for different infection and death rates. I found that the United States has significantly higher rates of comorbidities compared to Germany that increase the chance of hospitalization and death from COVID. Testing rates and percent positivity suggests that Germany was testing much more adequately for the virus. Although there was tremendous variation within both countries, Germany appeared to have a more unified approach in mask mandates and reopening plans between its federal states. Finally, both countries suffered widespread PPE shortages due to a lack of a domestic supply chains and over reliance on imports.

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Crimmigration Politics: Development of Converged Punitive Systems

Luke Hinrichs

Major: Economics and Political Science
Minor: Philosophy
Faculty Advisor: Professor Lisa L. Miller

Policy Presentation Theme: Security and (In)Justice

Immigration policy is not only grounded in the regulation of the size and demographics of the United States population, but also reflects conceptions of national identity, social order, and international relations. Recently, scholars have drawn attention to the ways in which law enforcement and immigration control have increasingly overlapped as the lines between the two systems of immigration and criminal justice have blurred. This paper: explores how immigration policies, procedures, and discourses have become increasingly criminalized; identifies the key developmental periods of the relationship between immigration and criminal law; and characterizes the nature of the relationship between the systems. I conduct a literature review to establish a timeline of critical events in the development of federal immigration policy and identify key periods of criminalization, track the use of “criminal alien” and “immigration control” from 1880 to 2008, and incorporate an analysis of the immigration and crime laws between 1947 to 2012. My study identifies critical developmental events and constructs a new framework for understanding the nature of the converged punitive system of crimmigration.

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Curtailing Religious Liberties Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic from Indian High Courts

This project seeks to understand how government restrictions imposed during COVID-19- and more specifically judicial involvement of the Indian High Courts- impacted religious liberties in India. For this study I analyzed a number of judgements made by the courts that demonstrate how judicial authorities interpret the Government of India’s response to COVID-19 with respect to religious freedoms, how the courts influenced religious practices, and where the courts stand regarding the constitutionality of the restrictions on religious freedoms. I argue that the courts strongly support imposing these restrictions in the interest of public health, which takes priority over religious freedom according to Article 25 of the Indian Constitution. Furthermore, the cases outlined in the course of this study will show that there exists an inherent tension between India’s judicial authorities and the state and federal governments, largely due to the court’s perception that the government ought to take a stricter stand in placing these restrictions instead of its relatively passive approach. One instance of this tension is explored in the case study of the Tablighi Jamaat, a transnational Islamic missionary organization that was persecuted by mainstream media and government officials for the spread of the coronavirus. In a landmark decision delivered by the Bombay High Court, the bench condemns the government’s oppressive treatment toward the Tablighi Jamaat, asserting that shifting the blame onto this religious minority group was unwarranted propaganda driven by malicious political efforts to find a scapegoat for the spread of COVID-19.

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Disaster Management in the United States: a Case Study of Puerto Rico After Hurricanes Maria and Irma

Michelle Wong, Supply Chain & Marketing Science, Political Science

Advisor: Kevon Rhiney, Geography

This study analyzes the United States government’s failed response to Puerto Rico following Hurricanes Maria and Irma. By leveraging supply chain concepts, this study aims to isolate the root causes of FEMA’s failures to implement its disaster management processes effectively, then provide potential remedies for these operational gaps. The sources used in this study include FEMA publications, congressionalrecords, and popular press. I find that chief failings in the US disaster relief effort were: FEMA’s practical disaster management frameworks; FEMA’s mistakes prior to, during, and after the hurricanes made landfall in Puerto Rico; and longstanding impediments to the people of Puerto Rico to shape their own policy regarding disaster management. Based on these findings, I contend that Puerto Rico was set up for failure and the US Federal Government has not been held accountable for failing to deliver on its responsibilities as defined by its own policies. To address some of these failures, I recommend that disaster management in the United States should leverage supply chain integration, create mechanisms for accountability in fulfilling roles and responsibilities, and ensure that for all government organizations, designated responsibilities correspond with relative capacity and resources.

Edmund Burke and the Revolutionary Controversy

Andrea Vacchiano, History & Political Science

Advisor: Jennifer Jones, History

During the early stages of the French Revolution, a pamphlet war broke out between prominent British intellectuals about the legitimacy of the upheaval in France. This project analyzes Edmund Burke's criticisms of the French Revolution within the context of violence, drawing upon Burke's famous pamphlet, Reflections on the Revolution in France. Burke claimed that the Jacobin ideals of abstraction and the dismantling of traditional institutions posed a threat to the stability of society. This project also seeks to analyze the arguments of one of Burke's fiercest critics, Mary Wollstonecraft. While it may seem obvious to analyze these works within the context of violence, they are rarely so interpreted because they were penned before the Reign of Terror. Yet, I argue they represent anticipations of this period in the French Revolution. Ultimately, Burke and Wollstonecraft offer timeless, if opposing, arguments that can help shape our understanding of political violence today.

Effect of the Catalan Secession from Spain on Equity Markets

Christine Botvinnik, Finance & Economics

Advisor: Diego Anzoategui, Economics

This paper examines the effect of Catalan secession on the markets, in particular through changes in stock prices of relevant companies on the day of key events of the movement. It begins by discussing similar studies, including those about Catalonia. Specifically, I examine extant research on separatist movements in other areas and their effects on stock prices, the impact of secession movements on other economic indicators, and the general effect that violent and political conflicts have on the economy. Overall, I find that research suggests that political uncertainty, whether it be due to violent or nonviolent events, has some impact on an economy. This paper concludes with an experimental design on this same question. The design delineates key events of the Catalan secession movement between 2010 and 2015, identifies each as political, violent, or both, and offers a regression equation with stock prices as a dependent variables and the aforementioned designations as dummy variables. Thus, this paper will offer a method for testing if changes in equity markets are due specifically to violent events as opposed to any news regarding the secession movement.

Effects of Partisan Leadership on Congressional Committees: A Case Study of the 115th Congress

Dylan Serrentino-Mullins

Major: Political Science
Faculty Advisor: Professor Ross Baker

Policy Presentation Theme: Economic and Educational Cooperation and Conflict

Although debates about political polarization often revolve around high stakes bills and events, such as presidential impeachment, these instances are unrepresentative of the day-to-day work done by Congress. This paper explores the influence of political polarization on the Legislative Branch—not during the flashy moments that often garner media attention—but on congressional committees, where much of the legislative work within Congress actually occurs. The paper first recounts the existing literature on the functions of congressional committees, with specific emphasis on the effect that congressional committee leadership has on committee members and the committee itself. Given the influence of committee leaders, I hypothesize that the overall bipartisanship of a given committee will reflect the ideological separation of the committee chair and ranking minority member. Using the 115th Congress as a case study, this hypothesis is ultimately disproven, as even committees with large partisan disparities between the chair and ranking member have high rates of bipartisanship. Instead, the data collected confirms existing literature suggesting that a committee’s jurisdiction plays a significant role in the operations of that committee.

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From Settler Colonialism in Israel/Palestineto Settler Colonialism in Mandatory Palestine

Lior Ben-Zvi, French & Middle Eastern Studies

Advisor: Maya Mikdashi, Women and Gender Studies

This project conducts a comparative analysis of modern Israel’s settlement and land use from the dominant cultural perspective of Zionism and settler colonialism. I find that where Israelis envisioned a return to a utopian homeland, Palestinians experienced displacement. While early Zionists romanticized their liberation through labor, that very process engendered conditions in which Palestinians faced unemployment. According to Israeli history, the colonial period ended with British withdrawal in 1948. Palestinian narrative asserts that the colonial period is not over yet. This project explores what it means to be a settler colony for the settled, as well as for the settler, revealing how these opposing frameworks for understanding Israel are both viable, depending on perspective. I contend that crossing the incommensurable gap between Israeli and Palestinian cultural and political understanding requires coming to terms with the gulf between these historical narratives.

Gender, Security and Mobility in Paris, France

Grace Alt

Majors: French Cultural Studies and Political Science
Faculty Advisor: Professor Naa Oyo Kwate

Policy Presentation Theme: Security and (In)Justice

Gender equality has become an increasingly core part of the international conversation on sustainable societies in the 21st century. Upon an intersectional study of gender, security, and mobility issues, I became increasingly intrigued by the everyday, lived experiences of women in cities. What exactly about a public urban environment makes women feel afraid or uncomfortable, and why are these experiences so different for men? This research is a small piece of the exploration into the aspects that inhibit safety in urban environments when gender is evaluated as a core component. Using Paris as a case study, this project looks at public transportation as a mechanism of accessibility and its influence on gender security. The resulting analysis highlights room for policy change, addressing the key components of spatial environments in metros, busses, and trams that stimulate gender-exclusive fear and restrict women’s mobility.

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Gendered Household Dynamic Amongst Refugees

The Syrian refugee crisis has become a critical site of research for migration and displacement scholars, yet the effects of gendered experiences of displacement must be expanded upon. Drawing from the experiences of Syrian refugees in Jordan, this paper explores how gendered household relationships are destabilized when refugee women represent the head of the household. The resulting analysis highlights how institutional and gendered hierarchies change for refugees based on their displacement, and the need to highlight such experiences at the center of policy efforts.

Greek General Elections 2019: Why Play the Russia-Putin Card?

Ioannis C. Lovoulos, Political Science

Advisor: Daniel Kelemen, Political Science

This project analyzes the major contenders for the Greek General Election in 2019. Specifically, I ask why each of them—New Democracy, SYRIZA, Independent Greeks, and Golden Dawn—increasingly look to Russia in terms of their respective foreign policy. I identify and analyze three motives for why Greece’s political parties seek alignment with Putin’s political agenda. I then consider whether Greece’s flirtation with Russia poses a long-term danger to western, namely American, interests as well as Greece’s status as a western democracy. I theorize how the proverbial gates are opened to Russian influence: whether at the national level, or via individual political parties, or even influential individuals, which make certain states like Greece vulnerable. This project thus complicates the dominant account in the relevant literature that frames nations as passive “Trojan Horses,” which serve as conduits for Russian intervention. I conclude by assessing the ramifications of Greece’s ties with Moscow not only for the future of Greek politics, but for the future of an American presence in an ever-more important strategic part of the world.

Humans as Weapons: Tools for the Cause

Courtney Davenport, Political Science

Advisor: Eric Davis, Political Science

Conventional wisdom in the post September 11th world has it that terrorism is caused by Islamic fundamentalism. Suicide terrorism, in particular, has become prominent in the global sphere as the deadliest form of terror. Although suicide attacks amounted to just 3 percent of all terrorist incidents between 1980 and 2003, they account for 48 percent of all terrorism fatalities. The perpetuation of this narrative by Western media has largely foreclosed the possibility of other explanations. This research brings attention to some of the other motivating factors behind suicide terrorism aside from “religiosity.” Rather, my research suggests that nationalism, religion, and gender are major factors driving participation in these deadly attacks. I conclude that without properly understanding the reasons for participation in such acts, we will never be able to stop its rise.

Introspection as a Vehicle for Change: A Comparative Study of St. Augustine and Said Nursi

Aysenur Guc, Philosophy

Advisor: Dennis Bathory Political Science

It is often thought that the amelioration of violent conditions comes with external action—engaging in war, using police force, or holding elected officials accountable. Through a comparative study of the work of St. Augustine and Said Nursi, this project explores how introspection, or action within, can play a role in peacemaking in times of social conflict. St. Augustine, a fourth century philosopher and public figure of his time (354-430 CE), offers a remedy to societal problems by emphasizing a process of individual introspection through a reorientation of the self’s object of love and value. Said Nursi, a Muslim scholar from the twentieth century (1877-1960 CE), expresses in his magnum opus, the Risale-i Nur, an existentialist framework that shares great similarity with that of Augustine’s. Fundamental to understanding this framework is the knowledge of how the writings of both scholars are reflections of their personal experiences, not detached theological text. Despite a lifetime of war, exile, and oppression, a recurring theme imbued in Nursi’s writing is on the importance of reforming one’s internal state for lasting societal transformation. Directing the gaze inwardly towards one’s self-loving and prideful tendencies results in the formation of an individual consciousness that serves as a building block of a peaceful society.

Just Can’t Debt Enough: Monetary Sanctions and Criminal Justice Reform

This project examines the role of monetary sanctions in equity-centered criminal justice reform. Monetary sanctions have long been a critical part of the United States’ criminal justice system but have only recently been under the academic and social microscope to see how they affect individuals of different demographics. With social movements and popular culture bringing necessary attention to reforming practices of injustice in the court system—such as upending disparities in criminal sentencing based on racial identity—it is arguable that monetary sanctions also need to be explored as an entity that can be changed in order to level the playing field. This project expands upon former scholarly work to offer contemporary comprehensive policy suggestions that will guide state criminal justice systems to be equity oriented in their administration of justice. As a result of this research, I argue that state legislatures can further make criminal justice an equitable environment for indigent defendants by implementing laws to account for a person’s status and ultimately restructuring the justice system’s finances.

Justice Delayed: Rethinking Transitional Justice Theory in a Chilean Context

Briony Smith, Political Science and Spanish

Advisor: Robert Kaufman, Political Science

While conventional transitional justice (TJ) theory suggests that TJ must precede democratic stabilization, the Chilean experience indicates that the reverse is true. TJ has two primary goals (to provide some degree of justice to victims, and to facilitate institutional reforms) and operates on two fundamental postulates (establishing norms will socialize bad actors into the new society, and truth telling creates a process of national catharsis). The report of the Comisión nacional de verdad y reconciliación (National Truth and Reconciliation Commission, or, Rettig report) in 1991 attempted to accomplish these goals, but was hampered by concessions to the remnants of the previous authoritarian regime. Throughout the 1990s, efforts toward TJ in Chile stagnated, but Chilean democracy continued to stabilize. By the end of the 1990s, Chilean courts began to reinterpret laws in order to prosecute disappearance cases from the dictatorship. In 2004, the Comisión Nacional Sobre Prisión Política y Tortura (Valech report) released a report that completed the work that the Rettig report had begun. This paper concludes that the Chilean experience reveals that TJ is an ongoing process that is completed following the democratic stabilization of a country. Greater stability permits more complete truth telling and therefore more complete justice.

Mashonaland to the Moon: Colonial Administrations on the Frontier

Nick Pellitta, Political Science & Economics

Advisor: David Hughes, Anthropology

This project examines how publicly and privately run colonial administrations in southwestern Africa during the 1890s resulted in vastly different human rights outcomes for the African peoples that inhabited them. Colonies administered by a combination of public and private elements, such as charter companies, had the least lethal human rights outcomes. This is because the competing interests of both parties developed a more humanitarian rule of law. I analyze three test cases: the Congo Free State, which was run privately by King Leopold II of Belgium and his International Association of the Congo; German South West Africa, which was administered by the German metropole and its agents; and the British South Africa Company, a private entity that was awarded a royal charter to operate in the territories of Mashonaland and Matabeleland. Although native African populations were brutalized in all three territories, they faced worse outcomes in the two former ones. German authorities killed over 100,000 in a genocide against the Herero people, and King Leopold’s exploitative labor practices caused millions of deaths in the Congo. I argue that these findings can extend to future extraterrestrial expansion. As humankind moves to colonize the moon and other systems, we should look to systems of governance that will best protect human rights.

Mother Dearest: The Complexities of Rape, Gender, and Motherhood During Conflict

Elizabeth O’Brien, Psychology & Women’s and Gender Studies

Advisor: Julie Rajan, Women’s and Gender Studies

Mothers who perpetrate rape subvert every moral norm and ideal of woman’s parenthood such that to imagine “mother” and “rapist” as one person staggers the conscience. Yet, my research explores how during periods of violent conflict women have perpetrated rape against other women under the banner of ‘motherhood.’ In my case studies of the Rwandan Civil War and Sierra Leone Civil War, I find that women-rapists during periods of Civil War perpetrated sexual violence by deploying distorted cultural and biological notions of motherhood that had been reappropriated by patriarchal forces beyond their control. I contend that while women in these contexts may have sexually victimized other women of their own volition, their agency was constrained by social hierarchies of patriarchal oppression and overwhelming needs for basic survival. I also explore a contrasting case wherein notions of motherhood were used to eradicate rape during conflict in Sri Lanka, calling attention to ways that motherhood can be deployed to resist patriarchal hierarchy and sexual violence, and even to dismantle it. Thus, women, rape, conflict, and motherhood engender complicated dynamics of oppression and power that cannot be understood through an absolute moral binary based on liberal notions of individual agency.

Nonviolence and Violence: A Crossroads in Liberation

Anu Chugh, Political Science

Advisor: Edward Ramsamy, Africana Studies

This project reconsiders two classic historical cases of nonviolent liberation movements by challenging the commonly accepted notions that the Indian Independence Movement and the South African Anti-Apartheid Movement were nonviolent monoliths. While it is generally believed that the successes of these two liberation movements centered wholly on civil disobedience led by Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, nonviolent tactics were not the only ones employed in the campaign for liberation, nor were these social movements homogeneous. Instead, my historical research reveals a dynamic interplay between violent and nonviolent tactics that co-existed as strategies to resist oppression. Drawing from more than 20 historical sources and monographs, I recount that while Gandhi and Mandela advanced nonviolent efforts, independent actors concurrently engaged in violence. Moreover, prominent leaders of nonviolent efforts, like Mandela, not only tolerated but also directed militant groups. Finally, I suggest violence perpetrated outside the confines of the organized nonviolent movements reminded their oppressors that their power was penetrable such that the British and South African governments were swayed to negotiate with peaceful nonviolent leaders rather risk all-out war.

Not-so-Natural Disasters: Gender and the Intersectionality of Vulnerability

Paige Tetens, Philosophy & Political Science

Advisor: Kevin Rhiney, Geography

Hazard events like hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes amplify already-existing vulnerabilities such as socioeconomic status, physical mobility, and geographic location. I contend that the violence that people suffer in natural disaster events is the result of such factors. My research explores how gender, in particular, functions as one of these vulnerabilities. Specifically, I identify why women are often more vulnerable than men using two case studies: the effects of Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast, and the effects of typhoons and extreme floods in South Asia. These cases occur in two very different parts of the world and demonstrate that vulnerability to hazard events exists regardless of location. Through thoughtful and sensitive public policy and social action, policymakers and citizen groups can prevent the worst effects of natural disasters and minimize their disparate impact on vulnerable populations.

Opportunity Zones: Lessons Learned and Lost from Empowerment Zones

Chelsea Wong

Major: Economics and Political Science
Minor: Philosophy
Faculty Advisor: Professor Rosanne Altshuler

Policy Presentation Theme: Economic and Educational Cooperation and Conflict

The highly partisan Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 did more than simplify the individual tax code and slash taxes for corporations. A new program creating “Opportunity Zones” (OZs) was buried in the bill. The program uses tax incentives to draw investment to distressed communities. OZs, modeled after a previous place-based development program (Empowerment Zones), were first proposed by a group of bipartisan senators. The goal was to lift communities from poverty through the development of thriving local economies. Three years after its creation and as the number of zones expands, policy makers are questioning whether the program will succeed in helping the targeted communities. Some analysts worry the program is simply a tax avoidance scheme that benefits only rich investors. Others fear it encourages gentrification that will not benefit communities. Inspired by this controversy, I investigate the program’s potential for success by drawing insight from the lessons learned from Empowerment Zones.

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People, Forests, and Fire: Instances and Management in California

John Milligan, Political Science

Advisor: Kevon Rhiney, Geography

This project promotes a new explanatory paradigm to assess the “new normal” of wildland fires with their longer-lasting, more expansive and expensive burn seasons. Policymakers have long interacted with wildfires in a narrow approach --to suppress all fires as part of a fire exclusion paradigm. Increasingly, however, wildfires are becoming too large and intense to put out before they reach human communities. Tension exists among the driving forces and causal factors of increasingly devastating wildfires in California. This paper frames two lines of analysis at the center of explaining increased costs and intensity associated with more devastating wildfires: A biophysical discourse and a socially critical discourse. The biophysical focuses on ecological factors, linking worsening effects of climate change to longer droughts, higher temperatures, and other factors that underpin increased devastation of wildfires. The socially critical frames issues through human action/inaction, highlighting poor forest management practices, human-started wildfire accounting for a majority of fires, and increased human migration to wildfire-prone wildland-urban interfaces. I contend that approaching causes, effects, and responses to wildland fire in a more holistic socio-ecological framework will help stakeholders create a clearer picture ofwhat factors influence wildfire destructive capacity, including the specific and interlinked factors, social and ecological, which influence this capacity.

Portrayals of Death in War:Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan

Megan O’Boyle, Political Science

Advisor: Lisa L. Miller,Political Science & Criminal Justice

This project analyzes the portrayal of dead bodies in mass media, particularly film, in wars involving the United States since the Vietnam War. Over time, I find, by way of footage from Vanderbilt Television News Archive, that the portrayal of dead bodies is increasingly sanitized and controlled in the news. I also find that as the number of deceased Americans shown in the footage increased, the individualization of the segments also increased. Those of other nationalities remain consistently unnamed and appear less frequently over time as segments tend to feature individual fallen Americans rather than battlefield carnage in Iraq and Afghanistan. While it is even easier to obtain graphic raw footage in real time, the news has a tendency to sanitize the footage in a way that was not done in Vietnam and chooses to no longer show such graphic pieces without warning. Based on these findings, it can be said that news has changed the way it chooses to portray death, American or other over time. News sources continue through both Vietnam and Iraq/Afghanistan to portray American soldiers in a more humanized light, allowing for an “othering” of non-Americans featured, while becoming increasingly more sanitized overall.

Reconstructions from Home: Passive Confrontation

LaVee Johnson, English

Advisor: Elin Diamond, English

This project examines Solange Knowles’ music videos and supplementing aspects such as lyrics, essays, and her ideology.Through the medium of the music video, Solange invites the viewer into another dimension in which she discards the confines of our current society. Her use of aesthetic, gestures, diverse representation and camera perspective outlines her command over an acknowledgment of social hierarchies. This project analyzes the music video as an aesthetic, non-narrative, object first and as second as an object that bears political weight simply because it presents the world anew. In the hands of Solange Knowles, I argue the music video outlines a new form of resistance that discards passive resistance-one that seems to express passive avoidance. Instead, Solange confronts and both powerfully and gently discards the silent treatment. She creates a voice, sense of belonging, and command over one's agency. In comparison to her contemporary peers,Solange Knowles' compositions and visual representation paired with thought-provoking lyrics, help plant a seed that allows others to escape the binding social structures. In her videos, social structures and hierarchies are not acknowledged and even the most deserted locations places are hot spots for freedom.Solange creates an anti-form of an embodiment of social experiences. Ultimately, her work has the ability to inform social resistance and individual behavior and thought.

Representation through With How Representative Omar and Talib Construct Muslim Identity Online

Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib are the first Muslim women to be elected to Congress. Media tropes against Muslim women limit Muslim women to being victims, terrorists, and un-Patriotic, denying Muslim women’s agencies. In my paper, I explore how Omar and Tlaib forge a new construction of Muslim identity by analyzing tweets during the time period of Jan 6 - Feb 6. My analysis looks at how these women use humor, break through social politeness, and are unafraid to show their emotions in response to three events that happened during this time period: the Capitol insurrection, the Biden inauguration, and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene's Islamophobic comments. I find that these women represent themselves through brashness, wit, and emotional vulnerability.

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Room and Time Enough

Ashley Fowler, English

Advisor: Richard Dienst, English

This project employs Rebecca Solnit’s analytical method to consider the many intertwined histories of place. In particular, I examine the representation and act of dispossession in the Owens Valley in California. The Owens Valley is north of the Mojave Desert and in between the Sierra Nevada Mountains and White Mountains. There are many examples of violence and dispossession in this place—the displacement of Native populations, the Japanese internment camp, Manzanar, which operated during WWII, and water policy, specifically the construction of the LA Aqueduct, which takes water from the valley to Los Angeles. The valley is also interestingly strung between two wealthy entities—LA to the south and Mammoth to the north, a ski resort town. History in the valley can be told through a variety of methods—through examining landscape, through literary texts as well as photographs, landscape and otherwise, and federal documents which describe the establishment of National Parks or re-location native populations.

Security and Sustainability: New Jersey Agriculture

Juan Santiago

Major: Political Science
Minor: Spanish
Faculty Advisor: Professor Mark Robson

Policy Presentation Theme: Sustainability, Health, Well-Being

Agriculture plays a vital role in its economy and quality of life of New Jersey. However, factors such as climate change and unsustainable farming policies and practices pose a substantial risk to its sustainability. If left unchecked, climate change will lead to changes in temperature and weather that could seriously affect New Jersey agricultural systems. Building on various sources, this paper creates an initial evaluation of sustainability in New Jersey agriculture and argues for its importance in dealing with climate change and its effects. In this context, sustainable agriculture is a system that can produce enough food and keep the land fertile and productive for generations to come. The results, however, indicate that there is insufficient data collected in order to determine just how sustainable New Jersey Agriculture is. Further research should evaluate how many farmers are aware of the resources available to them from the state, and a more extensive research project could assess a certain number of farms in a county for sustainable farming practices.

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State Education Laws in the United States: Enumerated Protections for LGBTQ Students

Daria Martin, History

Advisor: Benjamin Justice, Graduate School of Education

This project assesses public policies that are most effective in limiting bullying, social rejection of and violence against LGBTQ students in K-12 public schools in the United States. This project takes as given the need for enumerated protections for LGBTQ students within state law, specifically, [legal] prohibitions on bullying and discrimination based on the actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity of a student. In assessing the protections and restrictions within the legal codes of the fifty states and Washington D.C, this project found that only thirteen states and D.C. provide legal protection for students against both bullying and discrimination on the bases of sexual orientation and gender identity. Twenty six states have no enumerated protections against bullying and discrimination on the bases of sexual orientation and gender identity, while eight states restrict the inclusion of LGBTQ topics and/or mandate that LGBTQ identity be portrayed negatively. Additionally, only six states mandate that sexual health education include LGBTQ identity and experience. This research demonstrates the need for every state to adopt policies that ensure the safety and well being of students of all sexual orientations and gender identities.

The 30 Million Word Gap

Nathaniel Serio

Major: Philosophy, Cognitive Science, and Linguistics
Faculty Advisor: Professor Kristin Syrett

Policy Presentation Theme: Economic and Educational Cooperation and Conflict

Language is a causally important factor in most of what children learn early on in development. Indeed, according to some researchers, kindergarten language scores are the best predictor of school achievement by the time they reach third or fifth grade (Pace, Burchinal, Alper, Hirsh-Pasek, & Golinko, 2019). With that being said, gaps in cognitive skills arise before children even step on their first bus to go to school. Hart & Risely (1995) famously observed there to be an enormous difference in the amount and quality of language experience between children from high SES family backgrounds and children from low SES family backgrounds. These results effectively sparked discussion on what is now putatively been called the 30-million Word Gap in the literature. As part of a larger context, the research coming out of this literature has established that despite the phenomenon being called the “word gap,” it isn’t just a disparity in the token number of words that children hear at home. In this video, I’ll review some of the research from this literature (Hart & Risely, 1995; Hoff, 2003; Romeo et al., 2018) and in the process of doing so, explain what exactly the gap is and why the 30 million number is significant.

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The Archaic Evolution and Classical Parameters of Andrapodismos

Jonas Tai, Classics, History & Medieval Studies

Advisor: Thomas J. Figueira, Classics

This project examines the concept of “andrapodismos”—the military action in which a conquering army would execute men and enslave women and children of the subjugated population—in Herodotus and Thucydides to argue that that the term included a variety of different methods of enslavement and population displacement, depending on the actor and the specific historical context. Specifically, I find that when perpetrated by Greeks against Greeks in the Archaic period, it often referred to the piecemeal capture and enslavement of relatively small portions of the enemy population. When perpetrated by Persians against Greeks, it typically designated the large-scale deportations of enemy populations to the internal territories of the Achaemenid empire, consistent with other examples of Achaemenid and other Near Eastern deportation policies after conquest. Athenian andrapodismosduring the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BCE) was predicated on the extermination of urban populations to crush dissident factions and resettle the andrapodized poleis for further economic exploitation. I conclude that the unmatched brutality and frequency of andrapodismos in the Peloponnesian War can be linked with the last stages of the larger development of state structures in the city-states during the preceding years of the late Archaic period (776-480 BCE).

The Biological Impacts of Child Abuse and their Legal Implications

Neeha Pathan, Biology

Advisor: Paul Manowitz, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

This project bridges biological studies and criminal justice literature to elucidate the mechanisms by which abuse suffered in childhood can induce violent behavior in the victim as an adult through a criminal justice lens. Few researchers have attempted to isolate the specific biological impacts of child abuse and then critically evaluate their impact on a victim’s future. This review aims to address that gap. Multiple searches of the PubMed database were conducted, and the results analyzed, to first isolate resultant biological alterations in humans following abuse. One of the most prominent alterations uncovered in this first phase was research, changes to the function of the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis, was then further studied in relation to aggression in adults.The clear majority of literature reviewed supported the notion of a link between abuse, an altered HPA axis, and violent or criminal tendencies in an adult. Even with the establishment of this potential link, courts are divided on whether behavioral genetic evidence can and/or should be used. Continually, though this form of evidence has been increasingly used, though still sparingly, in the court of law, it has largely failed to impact legal outcomes. This project concludes with suggestions that the use of behavioral genetics be more strictly regulated in court in an attempt to strengthen its claims.

The Effect of Perceived Polarization on Voter Turnout

This investigation studied the question: can perceived polarization be maximized to elicit an optimal level of voter turnout? Polarization is defined as the extent to which the ideologies between parties and their members differ from each other. A certain level of polarization is not only inevitable but is also encouraged because it has positive effects on democracy, including fostering political participation, simplifying the voting process, and thus encouraging individuals to vote. However, when political parties become too polarized in their ideologies, it can have detrimental impacts on democracy, including less willingness to negotiate and compromise, and a greater willingness to allow antidemocratic principles to persist as long as it comes from your own party affiliation. Although there are many studies that depict the positive and negative impacts on democracy, there are few studies that have studied the impact of political polarization in U.S. national elections on voter turnout, and the studies that have been done relating polarization and voter turnout have yielded mixed results. Given that voter turnout is one valuable measure of democratic success, this investigation sets out to answer the question of what level of perceived polarization is optimal in a democracy, to maximize voter turnout. It was hypothesized that when polarization reaches levels that are too high, individuals will lose faith in democratic institutions, thus deterring them from voting and decreasing voter turnout. However, the results of this study found that among the years between 2008-2020 in which national elections were held, the correlation between voter turnout and perceived polarization was highest during the 2020 election, when perceived polarization was also the highest; however, the correlation was also noticeably high during the 2008 election in which the perceived level of polarization was at its lowest among the national election years used in this study. Once again, this study corroborated the mixed results yielded from previous studies, that in some cases polarization has more influence on voter turnout than others. Moreover, the findings suggest that further studies should be done to observe how perceived polarization works in conjunction with other influences on voting behavior, because ultimately, it is a combination of factors that encourage people to come out to vote. The extent to which these factors influence voting likely differ in each national election.

The Effect of Voter Identification Laws on Voter Turnout: A Three-State Study

Angela Febres, Political Science

Advisor: Katherine McCabe, Political Science

This study examines the question of whether voter identification laws have an effect on turnout. Using an original typology, I classify states as having minimal, non-strict, or strict laws. Rather than classifying based on the stringency of the requirements within laws, I use the logic of the calculus of voting theory to classify states based on the options presented to a voter when they do not have the proper identification at the polls. Requirements dictating what voters who lack the proper ID should do might impose greater costs than whether a photo or non-photo identification is required to vote, possibly decreasing turnout. Using county-level election turnout returns from 2008, 2012, and 2016 as well as demographic data, I use the difference-in-differences method to compare voter turnout in South Carolina, a state that created a non-strict voter identification law in 2013, to North Carolina and Virginia, states that maintained the same laws during this time-frame. I find that the non-strict voter identification law had a negative but small and non-significant effect on voter turnout. It is possible that the effect is not measurable solely through an analysis of turnout and might disproportionately affect minority groups, requiring further study.

The Origins and Effects of Kosovo’s Patronage System

Valmir Magjuni

Major: Philosophy
Minor: Economics
Faculty Advisor: Professor Jan Kubik

Policy Presentation Theme: War, Development and Sustainable Peace

Twelve years after Kosovo declared independence, it continues to struggle with high unemployment, low amounts of foreign direct investment, inefficient democratic processes, and high levels of corruption. This paper investigates the origins of corruption in Kosovo and proposes solutions to ameliorate the corruption problem. Drawing on the a wide range of academic literature, I find that the root cause of corruption in Kosovo is a patronage system that was established in the early 1990s and which grew out of the informal institutions created by the Albanians during Serbia’s occupation of Kosovo. Once the leaders of these informal institutions were selected, they gained control of the new institutions that were created following the expulsion of Serbia in 1999. Once elected to official positions in Kosovo’s new government and economic systems, they grew the patronage system by rewarding their supporters monetarily and with government positions. The key reforms I suggest are: increase accountability for public officials by shielding judges from political pressures; eliminate government jobs designed to support the patronage system; and weaken the ties between local governments and the community by making certain functions like tax collecting a federal matter.

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The Perils of a Narrow Scope in the Fight Against Gender-Based & Sexual Violence

Veronica Bido

Major: Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies
Faculty Advisor: Professor Summer Lindsay

Policy Presentation Theme: War, Development and Sustainable Peace

This paper explores the effectiveness of the sexual violence (SV) and gender-based violence (GBV) frameworks utilized by the international community and civil domestic actors, using comparative qualitative analysis. I find that the focus on sexual violence and gender-based violence solely in conflict settings does not fully address the matter of sexual violence. The issue of sexual violence cannot only be addressed through the isolation of conflict settings but must also be perceived in the society and culture of local communities. Sexual violence and gender-based violence are not issues that only happen in conflict settings, they happen in everyday life, and in different societies and cultures. If we cannot tackle this truth, then we can never fully address this form of violence in conflict settings. This issue extends beyond conflict settings, but this paper focuses solely on conflict settings and aims to determine the policy implications necessary to help better address and resolve sexual violence in conflict settings.

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The Prosecutorial Discretion of Environmental Crime

Prosecutorial discretion has historically been the subject of acute scrutiny for both its breadth and unfettered authority in the criminal justice system. In the area of environmental law, this discretion is especially impactful given that the environmental regulatory system does little to distinguish between civil and criminal enforcement. Considering these concerns surrounding broad discretion and the vague regulatory system, this research intends to contextualize how environmental prosecutors make charging decisions. Specifically, this study analyzes a series of civil and criminal pollution cases across the administrations of President Obama and President Trump; the purpose of this design is to investigate the factors that compel a prosecutor to pursue a criminal charge and furthermore, determine the differences between civil and criminal enforcement. The results suggest that, across both presidential administrations, prosecutors reserve criminal enforcement for cases that include significant environmental harm or deceptive conduct. Moreover, civil enforcement is typically reserved for defendants that do not commit knowing or willful violations. However, when analyzing the data between presidential administrations, the results suggest that, in order for a case to have been criminally prosecuted during the Trump administration, the violation had to be especially severe. Ultimately these findings imply that prosecutors have coherent patterns to their behavior and that the political administration in power can affect a prosecutor’s decision to pursue a case civilly or criminally.

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The Semantic Dissonance Surrounding Palliative Care

Julia McMillan

Major: English and Public Health
Faculty Advisor: Professor Anita Franzione

Policy Presentation Theme: Sustainability, Health, Well-Being

More than fifty years have passed since palliative care was first introduced as a pain-mitigating service for patients dying from cancer, and since then the patient population that may benefit from this medical service has expanded considerably. However, palliative care’s complex association with hospice care and its various definitions across medical literature have contributed to the term’s continued association with end-of-life care and resulted in a stigma rooted in society’s fear of death. This paper examines the confusion associated with the term palliative care through an analysis of terminology that has appeared in definitions over time. I begin by providing a brief history of the origins of palliative care and hospice care, and later shift to a discussion of the specific terminology that has perpetuated negative connotations of palliative care. According to my findings, confusion and death-related stigma have resulted in limited access to palliative care, and an unwillingness of physicians to refer patients to palliative care services. We must confront the semantic dissonance and death-related stigma that plagues the term palliative care through education and the creation of a stronger, universal definition.

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The State of Affairs and Ethical Implications of IBD Genetic Testing

Rohit Aita

Major: Genetics
Faculty Advisor: Professor Michael Verzi

Policy Presentation Theme: Sustainability, Health, Well-Being

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic illness of the digestive tract that is characterized by recurrent inflammation. The prevalence of IBD is increasing, especially within Westernized countries, and to date, there is no single identifiable cause nor cure. While treatments can help achieve remission or control with IBD, they often carry many risks and no treatment is guaranteed for long-term control. As of today, genetics is one of the many risk factors of IBD, yet IBD related genetic testing is a largely understudied topic. Genetic testing is an emerging technology that intersects the fields of ethics and genetics. To that end, I investigate the scientific progress and ethical implications of IBD genetic testing by conducting a conceptual literature review on PubMed.

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The State of Our Union: Pro and Anti-Statist Presidential Rhetoric, 1932-2020

The Reagan administration is widely acknowledged as bringing about the official end of the New Deal Era and starting an anti-government movement in the United States. This generally accepted claim is a simplification of the ever-competing pro- and anti-statism ideologies that exist in very clear opposition to one another in the United States. Statism is the belief in the authority of the state, and those that identify as pro-state would advocate for the involvement of the state in social and economic affairs, while those who are anti-state would advocate for as little involvement as possible by the state. As the head of state, the president has immense power to influence both sides of statist sentiment, as demonstrated clearly in a number of different presidential administrations. The United States supposed anti-statism has been attributed to a number of factors by researchers, including an underlying liberal philosophy, race relations, and fundamental government structure. But how can we know for sure? All of this begs the following questions: what does pro- and anti-statist presidential rhetoric look like and how does it change over time? By answering these questions, we may be able to pinpoint the exact time in American history that anti-statist fervor grew, the impact that presidents themselves have on such sentiment, and whether anti-statism is ingrained in American political culture or if our leaders have been peddling such beliefs.

Truth, Reconciliation, and the #MeToo Movement

Samantha Chen, Biology

Advisor: Edward Ramsamy, Africana Studies

This project theorizes a pathway through the fraught terrain of the #MeToo movement through a comparative analysis of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in post-apartheid South Africa. I detail the complications of the #MeToo movement through news articles, opinion pieces, and social media posts of prominent public figures. Using public records and Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s novel, I examine the process of South Africa’s TRC which I then use to develop a reconciliation plan for the #MeToo movement in the modern United States. In particular, I identify public hearings as a crucial avenue through which #MeToo victims tell their stories and begin the process of personal and societal healing.

Understanding Price Transparency as Healthcare Pricing Reform

Price transparency as pricing reform in a fee-for-service healthcare system aims to empower consumers by providing cost information so that they can shop for low cost, high value care and drive providers to lower healthcare prices through free market competition. Price transparency was codified as the Transparency in Coverage federal rule in 2020 after a lengthy public comment period that collected feedback from stakeholders across the provider, payer, administrative, and patient populations. This study analyzes price transparency as pricing reform in American healthcare by conducting a systematic literature review on price transparency in healthcare and following the federal rulemaking process through the proposed rule, Federal Register comments, and the final Transparency in Coverage rule. Recurring themes in the comments such as forced disclosure of proprietary trade secrets, patient needs, administrative burden to health plans and providers, and the roadblocks to more substantial pricing reform, are presented in a narrative synthesis. After analysis, the study has three key findings: 1) the public comment period of the rulemaking process has the potential to collect feedback from interest groups but may be inaccessible to patients, 2) the Transparency in Coverage rule will allow for greater access to data that will allow patients to budget for medical care and researchers to reveal industry trends and practices, and 3) the rule specifically and price transparency generally face pitfalls as pricing reform by potentially masking implementation challenges, lacking generalizability, and an unfairly assigning cost-cutting burden to patients. Policy takeaways include improving patient education, outreach, and engagement in the federal rulemaking process, better understanding the benefits and consequences of a proposed rule through pilot programs before national implementation and regulating healthcare prices from the top-down rather than relying on consumers with limited power and resources to drive down costs.

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Vertical Farming and US Agriculture Climate Resilience

Climate change is causing and will continue to cause extreme and unpredictable weather events that will threaten the agricultural industry and therefore the global food supply. Conventional agricultural practices are at the will of the climate, and do not provide any resilience to environmental changes. For the agricultural industry to become sustainable in the face of climate change, it will need to utilize practices that aid in climate resilience. An alternative practice, vertical farming, has risen from academia to an upcoming industry within the past three decades, and provides a possible solution to the issue of weather-dependent crops. Vertical farming is an indoor practice that relies on technology to supplement natural lighting, soil, nutrients, and other climate conditions like humidity and wind. The crops are grown in vertically stacked shelves and regulated by workers or machinery constantly. This practice has been achieved on large scales like factories but can also be utilized as micro-farms in restaurants, schools, and even shipping containers. AeroFarms is known as the company with the largest vertical farm factory in the world and was utilized as a case study for this paper. The EPA’s three pillars of sustainability provided the framework around the analysis of AeroFarms. The analysis found that vertical farming is not sustainable with current technologies due to its heavy reliance on carbon-based energy sources and its lack of accessibility to lower income farmers. However, alternative practices such as conservation and regenerative agriculture are more affordable for lower income farmers and foster resilience in the surrounding environment. Further research could indicate how these practices can be incorporated into the agricultural industry, and also how effective each practice is when compared to others.

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Virtual Realities: Intersectional and Online Violence Against Women in Politics

Violence against women in politics is a concept that draws from political violence and gender- based violence literature, addresses their convergence, and posits that violence against women in politics represents a frequently occurring but underexplored phenomenon that may depress women’s political representation. The small but growing collection of violence against women in politics literature acknowledges that factors like race and ethnicity, as well as age and political ideology, may interact with gender to exacerbate the abuse that politically active women experience. But I argue that few contributions to the field have adequately incorporated an intersectional lens, even one which is broadly defined so as to account for political ideology. Given the definition of intersectionality adopted by scholars of violence against women in politics, my research seeks to bridge this gap by examining the extent to which elected representatives’ gender identities, intersectional identities, and ideological leanings interact to elicit abuse. Employing unique Twitter data and utilizing a violence against women in politics framework, I examine a week’s worth of tweets sent to a sample of three pairs of similarly positioned representatives serving in the Congressional Progressive Caucus and seek to isolate the effect of gender. Though I find that violence, violence against women in politics, and intersectional abuse are rare at both the tweet level and at the congressmember level, differences within the pairs of similarly positioned representatives confirm that gender does shape the experience of online abuse. My research also suggests that other characteristics belonging to representatives, including their visibility and caucus leadership positions, may shape the ways in which as well as the extent to which the public engages with representatives in online spaces. This work offers both quantitative insights into the magnitude of abusive tweets that representatives receive and qualitative insights into the ways in which such tweets make reference to representatives’ intersectional identities and ultimately lays the groundwork for future research.

What Do We Want From a Theory of Conceptual Engineering?

Jürgen Lipps

Major: Philosophy and Comparative Literature
Minor: German
Faculty Advisor: Professor Ernie Lepore

Policy Presentation Theme: War, Development and Sustainable Peace

How can we improve our (linguistic) representational devices? Can words change their meanings? These are some of the questions at the heart of the current philosophical literature surrounding the topic of conceptual engineering. Conceptual engineering is a metaphilosophical topic, and it is directly relevant to issues in philosophy of law, language, mind, and feminist philosophy. Consider, for example, the case of the word “marriage.” This word has supposedly changed its meaning over time from “a civil partnership between a man and a woman” to “a civil partnership between people of any gender.” What are the underlying metaphysical facts of this case? If a new word that shared sound and spelling conventions with the word “marriage” was created, and queer people are married only in the sense that the newly created word refers to their relationship (but not the old word “marriage,” which shares an articulation with the new one), then we must say that queer people cannot be married in the sense that straight people are married. This is a deeply unsatisfying solution! A complete theory of conceptual engineering should be able to avoid such politically undesirable outcomes, and I offer one such account. My account emphasizes the role of epistemic amelioration–improving one’s grasp of a word’s meaning–in conceptual engineering.

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White Hostility and the Great Recession

Julien Rosenbloom

Major: Political Science
Minor: Philosophy, Politics, Economics (PPE)
Faculty Advisor: Professor Katie McCabe

Policy Presentation Theme: Economic and Educational Cooperation and Conflict

Public opinion research has long attempted to explain changes in attitudes toward immigrants based on external economic events and respondent characteristics, such as race, ethnicity, income, age, education, and others. Broadly speaking, the results of such studies have shown increased hostility toward immigrants after economic crises, with low-income and white respondents in the United States exhibiting the strongest increases and overall hostilities toward immigrants. Building off of research that examines the attitudes toward immigrants after the Great Recession, I sought to understand the extent to which white Americans displayed increased hostility toward immigrants on interpersonal and community levels in 2006 and 2011 using panel survey data from the World Values Survey. The results of my study show that while there was little change in interpersonal attitudes between 2006 and 2011, hostility toward immigrants in a labor market context actually decreases categorically among respondents, including white and low-income Americans. I conclude by discussing possible explanations for this trend and considering implications for current events.

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