We are happy and proud to share with you the awards for distinction for the academic year 2017–18. Five theses were chosen for distinction, and one of these received the Outstanding Thesis Award. All in all, the wide range of thesis projects were truly impressive.
This year’s awardees are:
OUTSTANDING THESIS AWARD
Maren Hurley-Matz, We Charge Genocide: The Impact and Contemporary Legacies of the 1951 We Charge Genocide Petition
Maren’s thesis examines the 1951 ‘We Charge Genocide’ petition from its origins to the US state suppression that she argues has led to its erasure from academia and public awareness, to its contemporary legacies in the work of the Chicago activist group We Charge Genocide and their submission of a 2014 Shadow Report to the United Nations Committee Against Torture. Highlighting the importance of going beyond American exceptionalism in the understanding of colonial and genocidal violence, the thesis argues for a reframing of the petition as “a model and living record of community justice processes through contemporary organizing.”
Cierra Bland, ‘My lonely is mine’: Social Stigma and the Black Woman’s Search for Freedom
Through a close analysis of two 20th century novels — Jessie Redmon Fauset’s Plum Bun: A Novel Without A Moral (1928) and Toni Morrison’s Sula (1973) — Cierra’s thesis takes Black women’s literary tradition as a site beyond “invalidation from the white-male-patriarchal knowledge validation process” from which to understand the social isolation that middle class Black American women face when they commit to “seeking personal happiness and self-fulfillment”.
Dominique Flaksberg, The Urban River Movement: Aquatic (His)tories of Sao Paulo
Sao Paulo’s rivers have been covered by roads through a process of urban development. Dominique’s thesis takes the form of a booklet that examines this process and responses to it in the context of colonialism and neo-colonialism, and connects the artists, educators, activists and projects intervening into this history — including her own artistic and cartographic projects — as part of a broader movement.
Shanley Mitchell, Branding Bhutan
Shanley’s multimedia thesis examines the mechanisms and ethics of nation branding in Bhutan around sustainable tourism. Through a research paper and a magazine, she looks at how Bhutan’s nation branding and restrictive tourism policies present the nation as a heterotopia for Western fantasies while offering the potential to change its tourists’ values and behavior.
Cassidy Nelson, Argentina llamando: Grassroots Refugee Resettlement in Argentina
Focusing on the case study of Argentina as an ‘emerging refugee resettlement country,’ Cassidy’s thesis examines how local dynamics of Syrian refugee resettlement are shaped by a “local-global continuum” from local Argentine Arab diaspora organizations to state policy to shifts in the global refugee regime.
Please join us in congratulating them on their remarkable accomplishments!
We base these awards on a range of criteria, including: academic rigor; depth and breadth of research; the ability to formulate a cogent project and put it into action; sophisticated understanding of the subject and relevant literature; innovative research or creativity; originality; and clear, effective and compelling communication. The recipients are selected by the Global Studies faculty based on the comments and nominations of the readers.
We thank the faculty advisors and readers whose support for the students and assessments of the projects are crucial to this process.