2007 Research Projects

Seniors majoring in International Economics and Cultural Affairs engage in a year-long independent research project. During the Fall semester they  choose their topic and in the Spring their research culminates in a 30-40 page paper, under the supervision of 2 faculty readers in appropriate disciplines. This year, all papers fall under the general topic of Rights and Wrongs.


Allison Clark Wrong Rites of Passage: International Efforts to Reverse West African Thought about Female Genital Mutilation
Allison Clark (IECA/French major) will be examining the cultural conflicts associated with female circumcision in West Africa. While this practice has been an integral part of many cultures since the beginning of civilization, it has been called into question by many who see it as violating the UN Declaration of Human Rights, created in 1948.   For decades, Western  countries, NGOs and IGOs  have sought to influence the governments of Western Africa and pressured them to pass legislation  curtailing this practice. The emphasis of this paper will focus precisely on the role of the international community in the last 30 years—what has its role been and how has it influenced West African governments in their policy-making with regard to female genital mutilation? Readers: Professors Schaefer (History) and  Kilpinen (Geography).


Anastasia Wilson Closing the Gap: Legislative Efforts  to Achieve Equality for Women in the French Workforce
Anastasia Wilson  (IECA/ French) will study the rights of women in the workplace in France. Article 23 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights  of 1948 states that everyone has an equal opportunity to work in just conditions and has the right to equal pay for equal work. Many countries have subsequently passed legislation  in order to comply with these international guidelines, including France, with the 1973 adoption of the Code du Travail, a general labor code that serves as the foundation of equal opportunity rights and the Roudy Act of 1983, which promoted temporary affirmative action for women. The paper will study the extent to which legislative efforts in France have been successful in actually achieving equal rights for all working women. It will focus on discrimination  against females in the hiring process, the wage gap between the genders, and sexual harassment in the workplace, as this is understood legally and culturally in that country. Readers:  Professors Shingleton (Economics) and Duvick (Foreign Languages)


Katie Jatner US Perceptions of Dictatorship in Chile 1970 to 1990
Katie Jajtner (IECA/Spanish) On September 11, 1973, military forces in Chile overthrew the democratically elected  Salvador Allende, an act which resulted in the death of the president and the institution of a military dictatorship headed by  Agusto Pinochet.  Under the new regime, the Chilean government targeted countless individuals who were deemed a potential hazard to the return of right wing politics.  These subversive individuals often met with fates of torture and death via various methods used by the government to silence the people. In recent years, many people have come to question the US’ involvement in the 1970 elections, in the coup itself, and its broader role  in Chilean politics during the dictatorship.  Did  certain US presidential administrations actively or passively support the dictatorship? The paper will examine the changing stances of US administrations from Nixon to Reagan toward the Chilean government from 1970 to 1988, the factors that contributed to the changing political agendas vis-à-vis that country, and how they affected Chile politically or economically. Readers: Professors Ames (Foreign Languages) and Trost (Political Science)