The Consumption of Aloeswood and the Incense Culture of Japan

Krisa will travel this summer to Japan and Laos in order to explore the complex relationship between aesthetic and environmental practices through a case study of aloeswood, a highly valued ingredient in many Japanese incenses that is harvested in Southeast Asia. She plans to produce an ethnography of the incense culture of Japan and to explore the environmental impact of harvesting practices by the Lao suppliers of the raw material used by traditional incense arts practitioners. Krisa’s research will serve as her Honors Thesis for her self-designed Individual Major in Ethnobotany, the study of cultural uses of plants. She also plans to document her research in audio-visual form in order to educate the broadest possible audience of artists, scientists and religious groups and to promote more ecologically sound production and consumption practices.

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Rock Art in the Matopos: Interpretation, Impact and Identity

This summer, Rachel will travel to Matobo National Park in Zimbabwe to conduct a community-based study of rock art sites, dating from approximately 9,000 years ago when San hunter-gatherers painted images on rock shelters. Her goal is to develop a collaborative interpretation of the sites, through empirical research and qualitative interviews with local inhabitants, including Shona, Ndebele and white Zimbabweans. With the official endorsement and support of the museum that administers the sites, she will be well positioned to deepen our understanding of the effects of tourism and archaeological study on identity formation and nationalism in modern Zimbabwe. Her research will culminate in her Senior Anthropology Honors Thesis and in a multimedia module that will make her research more broadly accessible.

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The World Seen Without a Self: The Epistemology of Unoccupied Perspectives in To the Lighthouse

Located at the nexus of linguistics, philosophy and literary studies, Zach’s Senior Honors Thesis in English will examine Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, specifically to illuminate the relationship between the theory of knowledge inherent in the novel’s syntax and the epistemological issues the novel thematizes. In order to understand Woolf’s syntactic use of “unoccupied perspectives” in the “Time Passes” section of the novel, Zach will be making use of a relatively unexploited linguistic approach to looking at philosophical issues in Woolf’s fiction. His project will not only deepen our understanding of epistemological concerns in To the Lighthouse, it will also demonstrate more broadly how linguistical methods can be productively incorporated into literary scholarship.

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Ethnographic Investigation into the Factors Contributing to Variation of Academic Achievement Among Hmong Students in a Central Valley High School

The purpose of Leena’s study is to identify factors which contribute to variation in the academic achievement of the Hmong, a relatively recent community of Asian American immigrants to California who first arrived in the mid-1970s as refugees from the Vietnam War. She will undertake a comparative ethnographic study of academically successful, college-bound Hmong students and students who are not academically successful at a high school in the Central Valley, where a large Hmong community has settled. Leena will be testing her hypothesis that, as descendants of refugees, Hmong share characteristics with other involuntary minorities such as African Americans and Latinos rather than voluntary minorities such as Chinese, Japanese and Koreans who are typically associated with the model minority stereotype of Asian Americans. She will submit her research as her Senior Honors Thesis in Anthropology and will share it with educators and community leaders in order to promote more effective […]

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The Social Stratification of Language: A Comparative Analysis of American Indian English Among the Wintun and Kumeyaay

A double major in Linguistics and Native American Studies, Bree will study the social stratification of American Indian English, a single dialect of English that is shared by Native Americans of very different backgrounds across the United States and Canada. Indian English shows parallels to Ebonics, but has been poorly researched by comparison. Bree proposes to investigate the sociolinguistic variation of American Indian English among Wintun and Kumeyaay tribal members within the tribally owned casinos of Cache Creek, Sycuan and Viejas in California, in order to investigate how speech communities are impacted by Indian gaming. The resulting research will be presented as her Senior Honors Thesis in Linguistics.

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No One Belongs Here More Than You: Creating an Image of Israel for Tourists and Pilgrims

Marc’s interdisciplinary interest in the phenomenon of Israeli tourism in the millennial year is informed by religious studies, marketing, and the anthropology of tourism, as well as his history major. He will undertake a comparative analysis of how Israel uses its Ministry of Tourism to create a range of images in order to market itself to Jewish, Christian, and Muslim pilgrims, as well as secular tourists as an “official destination of the millennium.” Marc plans to travel to Israel this summer to interview officials in the Ministry of Tourism and to compile and analyze data from Ministry of Tourism documents. By exploring some of the paradoxes created by Israel’s need to protect its identity as a Jewish state and , simultaneously, to attract international dollars and good will through tourism, he will make a significant contribution to the burgeoning field of tourism research.

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Negotiating Female Film Fandom, 1910-1940

Shirley will investigate how early female movie fans interacted with film celebrities between the years 1910 and 1940, the formative years of film practice in Hollywood. Traveling to New York and Los Angeles this summer, Shirley will examine early fan letters, publications and other artifacts housed at archives, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Although feminist scholars have given much attention to the theoretical aspects of female spectatorship, fan interaction with celebrity culture has too often been overlooked. At the intersection of film studies, gender studies and popular culture, Shirley’s research has the dual potential to contribute to our historical understanding of early spectatorship and to our present-day participation in mass culture. The resulting interdisciplinary study will be presented as her Senior Honor’s Thesis in History.

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