Devouring Our History: An Inquiry into the Destruction of California Rock Art

Melissa’s interdisciplinary inquiry into the destruction of pre-historic rock art sites in California promises to shed new light on a relatively new but important field of archeological preservation. Through a combination of library research and field work in Mexico and the United States, Melissa will attempt to account for the neglect of these visual images left by ancient hunter-gatherer societies and to argue for the importance of their conservation and preservation. In addition to launching her Anthropology Senior Honors Thesis this summer, Melissa will be acquiring skills in a variety of archeological field methods in preparation for a professional career as an archeological researcher and conservator.

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The Commedia Workshop

Combining rigorous academic inquiry with the living practice of theater arts, Laura will be researching commedia dell’arte , a style of masked improvisational comedy that flourished in Italy during the Renaissance. She will devote herself to historical research and practical training this summer and will develop, rehearse and produce a commedia dell’arte production during the academic year, using a cast and crew comprised of Berkeley students. Laura plans to revive this dramatic art form in a historically informed way for the benefit of the entire University community, staging her production, along with a related panel presentation, at the Haas Spring Research Conference. As a further goal, she intends that the cast of the Commedia Workshop will continue to function as a UC Berkeley commedia dell’arte theater troupe after the conclusion of her Haas research project.

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Contemporary American Utopias: Diverse Intentional Communities from a Young Feminist Perspective

Kaci’s project creatively links a study of contemporary intentional communities with the rich history of nineteenth century utopian experiments in the United States. Kaci plans a road trip this summer that will take her to five very different cooperative living communities in Los Angeles, Texas, Tennessee, West Virginia, Oregon and the Bay Area. In order to dispel the popular notion that the “commune” was born as a concept in the 1960s, Kaci will investigate our national two hundred year history of utopian experiments-both actual and literary-to place her participant-observation studies of young women’s socialization in these modern American utopias in context. Combining academic theory with personal narrative, Kaci’s Women’s Studies Senior Honors Thesis will be deeply grounded in her own personal commitments and experiences as a feminist active in the student cooperative movement.

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Asian American Prisoners Oral History Project

Sora’s project promises to provide an important corrective to the stereotype of the “model minority” by giving voice to a generally silenced segment of the Asian American community. Through oral histories of incarcerated Asian Americans, Sora seeks to create a more complete and heterogeneous picture of the economic, social, political and cultural issues facing Asian Americans today. Sora will supplement her use of oral histories with more traditional research methodologies, in order to investigate thoroughly the situation and position of incarcerated Asian Americans and to improve our understanding of their encounter with the United States criminal justice system.

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The Irish-Mexican Connection: A Model for Coalition Building

Alison’s Peace and Conflict Studies Senior Honors Thesis will examine the specific coalition-building efforts that have taken place historically and in the present between Irish and Mexican peoples. Alison will travel this summer both to Mexico and to Northern Ireland in order to meet with Irish nationals who are involved in the struggle for indigenous people’s rights in Chiapas. In addition, she will be researching coalition work in the United States between Irish Americans and Mexican Americans, looking particularly at the San Patricios, an organization that commemorates Saint Patrick’s (San Patricios) Brigade, an Irish-American regiment in the American-Mexican War who deserted the U.S. Army to fight on the side of the Mexicans. Through this specific case of interethnic coalition-building, Alison hopes to uncover a useful paradigm for understanding how people of differing ethnic and racial backgrounds can find common ground through a strong civil society based on non-governmental organizations.

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Taiwanese Aborigines and the Education Dilemma

Kabrina will undertake a field-study of the indigenous people of Taiwan, who were colonized by Han immigrants from mainland China in the late-seventeenth century, focusing specifically on their attitudes toward education. Using surveys and interviews with several targeted youth and adult populations in the city of Taitung, she will attempt to ascertain the factors that have impeded this minority group from using education as a means of improving their socio-economic status. She intends her research to provide information that will aid in the development of a new aboriginal education assistance program in Taiwan, as well as to shed light on the broader question of the factors which inhibit the integration of minority groups into modern mainstream societies.

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Orbital Revolution: An Exploration in Visual Conceptual and Physical Communication

Tamarind will create an experiential multimedia performance piece that involves viewers in exploring processes and representations of communication. Live performers will interact with video documentation, photographs and drawings of visual symbols of technological communication, such as satellite dishes, telephone wires and television antennae. In order to add a global dimension to her performance piece, Tamarind will be traveling to Mexico this summer, where she will be researching, collecting and documenting images and interviewing people in Mexico City and Oaxaca City, focusing particularly on the traditional dances of Oaxaca performed during the Fiesta Guelaguetza. “Orbital Revolution” will use images and actions that reflect each other-the dish of the satellite, the curve of the eye, the orbit of the planet, the path of the dancer-to illustrate the many forms of global communication and the human desire to connect.

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Independent Cultual Production vs. the Culture Industry: Performance of Self and Creation of Value in an Eddy of the Mainstream

Using a combination of participant-observation and interview methods, Matt will study a local subculture of “indie” rock musicians, in order to theorize this marginal subculture’s relationship to the mainstream music industry. A community “insider” as both a performer and producer, Matt will be in an excellent position to analyze the community’s unique features and to determine the extent to which it may be pioneering a new type of relationship to the mass culture industry. Matt’s Senior Honors Thesis in Mass Communications will situate the data he collects in the field in the context of the theoretical debates now raging in the fields of cultural studies regarding the relationship between local and mainstream cultural production. In addition, Matt will be producing a photographically illustrated oral history that will document and give voice to this vibrant, creative community.

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Translation of a Poetry Book by the French Poet James Sacr

Christophe will translate for publication a volume of poetry, titledViens dit quelqu’un, by the French poet James Sacr. Sacr is one of the most accomplished French poets writing today, the winner of France’s most prestigious poetry prize (Prix Apollinaire, 1988) and highest cultural distinction (Chevalier dans l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres, 1987). Translated into Swedish and Spanish, Sacr’s work is still largely unknown in the English-speaking world, despite the fact that the poet has lived in the United States for the last twenty years, where he currently teaches as Smith College. A published poet in his own right, as well as the author of two article-length critical studies of Sacr’s poetry, Christophe is ideally suited to undertaking the first book-length English translation of the poet’s work.

...Read More about Christophe Marc Wall-Romana