Honors Theses 2008

Natalie Long, Navneet Jaswal, and Jennifer Scott

Natalie Long, Navneet Jaswal, and Jennifer Scott (left to right) with the medallions they were awarded at the 2008 Senior Legacy Symposium after presentations based on their honors theses.

Caste Mobilization in Uttar Pradesh vs. Andhra Pradesh: Sources, Successes, and Failures
Director: Dr. Timothy Lomperis
Natalie's thesis examines different theories of caste mobilization. Natalie argues that A. K. Verma's theory of a "sandwich coalition" explains the electoral victory of the Bahujan Samaj Party in Uttar Pradesh, while a lack of such a coalition by the Telegu Desam Party in Andhra Pradesh resulted in their electoral failure. By applying an archetype to both case studies, she found the BSP met the "sandwich coalition" criteria, while the TDP did not. Hence, she argues that the "sandwich coalition" is an extremely effective form of caste mobilization for a political party to achieve electoral victory.

Pathologies of Politics: Deliberative Democracy and Celebrity Culture over Two Centuries of American Campaigning
Director: Dr. Elizabeth Markovits
Navneet's thesis examines the way in which political campaigning has evolved over the last two centuries, with a primary focus on the "celebritization" of politics. Taking the critical theory of deliberative democracy as an ideal model of democratic government, she shows that contemporary politics have shifted to decision-making based on superficial values rather than thoughtful consideration of substantive issues. This trend leads to a dangerous decrease in the quality of democratic deliberation. To demonstrate this shift, Navneet analyzes two historically significant speeches and their respective media coverage, the first by Abraham Lincoln and the second by Barack Obama.

Rape as a Weapon of War in Bosnia and Darfur
Director: Dr. Ellen Carnaghan
In recent conflicts in Bosnia and Darfur, rape has been used systematically as a weapon of warfare. Thousands of women and female children were and, in the case of Darfur, still are being forced into organized mass rape camps where they endure systematic rape, torture, and sometimes murder at the hands of their enemies. Using theories of social construction concerning gender and ethnicity and relying on personal narratives of victims, Jennifer argues that rape--by dehumanizing women and emasculating men--destroys the foundations of the community of victims; at the same time, rape not only creates but also strengthens a community among perpetrators. Because of these reasons, rape is an effective weapon of war.

Higher purpose. Greater good.
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