GLOBAL STUDIES THESIS PROJECTS: 2018-2019

Spring 2019

*Eliza Kamerling-Brown - Interrogating Wilderness: Colonial Myths, White-Settler Imaginaries, and the Politics of Environmental Justice Education. (Outstanding Thesis Award 2018-19)

Interrogating Wilderness: Colonial Myths, White-Settler Imaginaries, and the Politics of Environmental Justice Education (Outstanding Thesis Award 2018-19)

Eliza Kamerling-Brown

Historically and today, ‘wilderness’ and spaces of nature within the U.S. have been socially and materially constructed as white spaces. These constructions are inextricably tied to forces of settler colonialism and Indigenous dispossession that continue to operate through reincarnations of patriarchal white possessive logics, anti-Black and environmental racisms, and colonial gender violence, in everyday systems of the settler state. Through enactments of ‘whitestream’ environmentalism in popular outdoor gear branding and experiential education programs, linkages between these ongoing colonial legacies and environmental degradation become strategically erased from the settler imaginary. This enables settler subjects to continue seeking and accessing spaces of nature without understanding them as racialized, gendered, classed and sexualized entities, and without critically examining how white-settler senses of belonging or attachments to nature are situated within violent histories of ongoing genocide that continue to (re)produce contemporary harms. Together, these structures of erasure work to sustain the larger settler project of Indigenous elimination and dispossession, and continue to undermine Indigenous knowledge systems. This thesis interrogates why it is necessary to seriously reimagine how environmental and outdoor education is approached and conducted within settler societies (like the US, Canada and Australia). I argue that critical efforts to (re)historicize and (re)politicize these spaces must be made in attempts to intentionally disrupt the pervasive colonial logics that continue to sustain ‘progressive’ institutions; I also urge the necessity of materially supporting anti-colonial, Indigenous-led work already being done to (re)envision what critical place-based education of the future might entail.

*Katie Nixdorf - The Mask of Multiculturalism: Technologies of Settler Colonialism in the Calgary Stampede (Honorable Mention 2018-19)

The Mask of Multiculturalism: Technologies of Settler Colonialism in the Calgary Stampede (Honorable Mention 2018-19)

Katie Nixdorf

Canadian national identity coalesces around the idea of Canada as a global peacekeeper, a “humanitarian” power, and a nation invested in the pursuit of multicultural tolerance. Yet these narratives of Canada as a multicultural paradise exist in stark contrast to accounts from Indigenous scholars and activists who articulate the violence of life under the Canadian state. The tension between these two discourse reveals how tactics of erasure have shifted from more explicitly assimilationist policies to seemingly progressive and inclusive projects such as liberal multiculturalism. In this thesis, I take up the Calgary Stampede, a 10-day festival that celebrates “western heritage, culture and community spirit,” in which to examine how multiculturalism functions to obscure and uphold settler colonialism. I analyze archival posters from the Calgary Stampede to highlight the colonial logics that have shaped the “western heritage” that it now celebrates. I trace how, despite being a festival rooted in the celebration of white settler colonialism, the Calgary Stampede has adopted a discourse of multiculturalism, inclusion, and diversity into its mythologies. This multicultural branding does not reflect a shift in power, but a way to mask its investment in and glorification of settler colonialism. Situating the Calgary Stampede within within the web of settler colonial power can instigate a broader rethinking of how cultural celebrations and institutions that are seemingly disconnected from the state can function as technologies of settler colonialism.

*Yamiles Bonilla - DeColonizing Education: A Critique on Projection of Criminality Through Discriminatory Disciplinary Policies (Distinction, 2018-19)

DeColonizing Education: A Critique on Projection of Criminality Through Discriminatory Disciplinary Policies (Distinction, 2018-19)

Yamiles Bonilla

Preservation of social order and civilization has historically thrived off of its extensive producing and legitimization of racial categories as a way to separate and otherize communities who do not fit into the upholding of whiteness. In an attempt to justify hierarchies within social relationships and maintain white supremacy, people of color have time and time again been stripped of their individuality, humiliated, persecuted and marginalized through their social identities. This work aims to focus on the constructed inextricable linkage between the racialization of criminality and the criminalization of race and how it fosters the legacy of slavery and settler colonialism in more subtle yet disputable forms through implementation of what Andrea Morrell defines as zero-tolerance laws, communal vigilance and violent purges. Within social structures like the government and public education, police and state sanctioned violence continue to threaten low-income communities on a false premise of mandating structure and control through regulation of bias laws that disproportionately target these same communities. Andrea Morrell, an anthropologist who critiques the current carceral state through her work Policing the Carceral State, urges us to not simplify the markers of the carceral state to things like steel bars, cuffs, batons, and prisons but to also consider the ways in which it reinvents itself outside of those mechanisms. The expansion of the prison industrial complex has created an infinite amount of ever-lasting effects within social institutions that reflect the racializing of how and who we think about in regards to criminality, especially within our public school systems overarching disciplinary policies.
Throughout this work, I explore the relationship between the school to prison pipeline and mass incarceration and the ways in which both have perpetuated this linkage between the criminalization of race and the racialization of criminality. Through an in depth historicization of punitive approaches through the lens of Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow and Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish, I examine how prisons and schools have operated through similar structures and regulation that justify violence against people of color through their enforcement of disciplinary power. To highlight its massive impact on the education system, I analyze the No Child Left Behind Act and Zero Tolerance policies that do the work of further excluding and displacing Black and Latino youth from academic spaces through testing rituals, inequitable distribution of resources and most importantly the criminalizing of their behavior with increasing police presence and surveillance equipment. In an attempt to present the necessity for alternative approaches within current curriculum that combat the barriers enabled by the logics of the school to prison pipeline, I propose two programs working hands on with Black and Latino youth to better serve their educational needs. Exalt, based in Brooklyn, works with youth currently involved in the court system and I Have A Dream, based in Harlem working with children living in low-income housing projects from the second grade up until after their high school graduation. I offer them as examples of solutions that are doing the work today to bring about those changes so desperately needed.

*Morgan Fryar - When Snakes Disappear: Biodiversity Loss and the (In)Visibility of Nature (Distinction, 2018-19)

When Snakes Disappear: Biodiversity Loss and the (In)Visibility of Nature (Distinction, 2018-19)

Morgan Fryar

Snake species have been declining at astounding rates and have shown similar patterns of decline across the world. This is indicative of a larger crisis brought by anthropocentrism and exploitative practices. This paper looks at why snakes are disappearing in order to understand ecosystem ­level deficiencies that reflect broader complexities in human ­environmental relations. It is often the things that are invisible in nature that matter the most, and by linking snake biodiversity loss to tangible effects on humans, the importance of biodiversity of all species will be emphasized. Protecting species against the sixth extinction means increasing public awareness to implement policy­ level changes that will enable better protection for vulnerable species. These changes begin with rethinking what it means to be human and how we relate to nonhuman animals in the midst of the Anthropocene.

*Sonu Gurung - Tiers of Silencing: Understanding Trafficking in Nepal (Distinction, 2018-19)

Tiers of Silencing: Understanding Trafficking in Nepal (Distinction, 2018-19)

Sonu Gurung

Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world, yet little is known about the issues of human trafficking because of the silences around the subject. Despite various laws and programs aimed at combating human trafficking, the numbers of trafficked victims are only rising. Human rights of women in Nepal are being denied due to problems like caste systems, political instability, corruption, poverty, and illiteracy, which has only caused the number of trafficked victims to increase by 500% since 2013. This paper examines the silences of human trafficking in Nepal by looking at the three layers of silences— the national, community, and international levels— . Through Nepal’s corrupt government and the open-border friendship with India, this paper looks at the roles of law in forming silence around human trafficking. It answers how the patriarchal system has helped in silencing this issue and created difficulties of the reintegration process for trafficked victims. This paper argues that because every research, academic sources and international definitions on human trafficking focuses on sex trafficking, it sidelines the other forms of trafficking such as skin trafficking. The thesis suggests the need for clarity in definitions and invites academics and international organizations to pay further attention to forms of trafficking that do not fall under the category of sex trafficking.

*Tiffany Jonassen - Carnival Roots & Routes: Post-Colonialism, Performance, and the Politics of Carnivals (Distinction, 2018-19)

Carnival Roots & Routes: Post-Colonialism, Performance, and the Politics of Carnivals (Distinction, 2018-19)

Tiffany Jonassen

Carnivals are more than just annual fun affairs. Reappearing throughout different regions, and different time periods, carnivals show a high degree of
historical continuity. So how can we explain carnival’s continued reappearance throughout history? This paper examines the continuity and reappearance of carnivals through a historical lens that emphasizes the legacies of European colonization. At the core of the carnival blueprint, there is a particular struggle — the struggle for power in the context of unjust hierarchical structures. In the midst of oppression, and cultural domination, marginal groups find an outlet to resist and express themselves. Carnivals are thus, products of a cultural mechanism that seeks to find a space for the silenced, who do not have a voice on formal political platforms. The elements of this carnival blueprint are found throughout the tracing of carnival’s evolution: The scope of the study begins from carnival traditions rooted in ancient pagan festivals, which then connect to the pre-Lenten European traditions of the medieval period, and then follows the transportation of the carnivals to the Americas through colonization. Finally, it connects to the new wave of carnivals appearing in the metropoles, forming a feedback loop that reflects the legacies of colonialism. Additionally, the paper examines the institutional revival of carnivals in the 20th-century, and questions, whether this is the end of carnivals formed as grassroot social movements, or if it’s the start of a new phenomenon.

*Hunter Stewart - Absent Other: Interrogating Excavatory Racism at The New School through the Claiming Our Space Campaign (Distinction, 2018-19)

Absent Other: Interrogating Excavatory Racism at The New School through the Claiming Our Space Campaign (Distinction, 2018-19)

Hunter Stewart

Using critical race and whiteness scholars, this thesis coins the term excavatory racism and understands it as a unique form of racial violence that occurs in white institutions that purport to
be socially progressive. The author draws on her experience as a Black organizer and student at The New School to theoretically understand how predominantly white liberal arts institutions uniquely and covertly exploit and abuse students while masquerading as proponents of social justice. In order to explore this topic, she first synthesizes Sara Ahmed’s theory of nonperformativity through a moment of high political tensions with the formation of the Claiming Our Space campaign and the widespread demand from students of color to see the institution designated an exclusive space for students of color on campus. From there she steps back to consider the historical precedent for excavatory racism as they take shape within the institution by using alleged New School co-founder John Dewey’s “Education as a Necessity of Life.”Applying this framework to the experiences of Claiming Our Space, she articulates the means by which the white institution sustains itself by appropriating the labors of its students and further locates excavatory racism in the process of this labor appropriation and removal of the laborer in question through language and institutional speech. The thesis ultimately offers new theoretical understandings of the exploitation of student organizers, and contends that the language and action of excavatory racism is essential to understanding and navigating white institutions.

Muhammad Arham Ahmed - The Sino-Pakistan Axis and the China Pakistan Economic Corridor: A Game Changer or Trojan Horse

The Sino-Pakistan Axis and the China Pakistan Economic Corridor: A Game Changer or Trojan Horse

Muhammad Arham Ahmed

Since the creation of the Peoples Republic of China and the now Islamic Republic of Pakistan in the late 1940s, the two countries have enjoyed a unique friendship that is based on strategic and anti-colonial interests. From the 1950s to the late 1990s the relationship and friendship between Pakistan and China was based on a shared animosity of India, mutual acceptance, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs and an exchange of military knowledge and equipment, including the ‘grandfathering’ of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program by China. Around the turn of the 21st century the two countries had reassessed their national and bilateral priorities and included economic expansion and China’s ambition to become the new foremost
economic super power in the world as the latest defining factors of the Sino-Pak axis. Decades of cooperation and “All Weather Friendship” between the two countries has culminated in the advent of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, which is the flagship project of China’s ambitious Belt Road Initiative and the focal point of this thesis. The CPEC offers Pakistan a chance to rejuvenate its failing economy and revitalize its outdated or lacking infrastructure. For China the CPEC serves as basis for breaking the United States of America’s hegemony in the region and subsequently the world, while providing a more convenient and less-expensive trade route to the Middle East, Europe and Africa. Since the CPEC is an ongoing project, it is the newest chapter in a much larger story of the historical Sino-Pak axis that has seemingly tied the economic and political fates and destiny of Pakistan and China together after decades of cooperation, trust and friendship with the promise of being a game changer for the country.

Kristian Keene - Student Suicide in the United States: Causes and Prevention

Student Suicide in the United States: Causes and Prevention

Kristian Keene

Vicki Nguyen - Tracing Paths: Central Asian Migrants in Russia

Tracing Paths: Central Asian Migrants in Russia

Vicki Nguyen

Central Asia was once known to be a part of the biggest superpowers in the world, the Soviet Union. Comprised of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, the Central Asian migrant labor force has a predominant presence in Russia. With visa-free regime amongst the Central Asian nations and Russia, migration in between these countries may seem easy. Despite then, Central Asian migrants face exploitation by their employers and firms while also having to withstand the working conditions that these firms force them to work within. Despite many complaints, Central Asian migrants are often ignored by the government due to improper and insufficient documentation of their work in Russia which often result in bans and deportation. This thesis follows narratives of many migrant workers in which these stories document the flow of migration into Russia, what they do within the territory such as labor sectors and life in Russia, and what is emitted out such as remittances for maintaining their households and big celebrations. In doing, this thesis aims to track a fraction of the world migration issue by capturing what is occurring Russia with Central Asian migrants.

Daniela Ochoa - Of Youth During Sin: The Legacy of Alternative Peacemaking Practices in Colombia

Of Youth During Sin: The Legacy of Alternative Peacemaking Practices in Colombia

Daniela Ochoa

Experience, or what we call experience, is not the inventory of our pains, but rather the
learned sympathy towards the pain of others.
−Juan Gabriel Vásquez, The Sound of Things Falling

This paper presents a locally-grounded consideration of the components that have shaped Colombia in the past fifty years, by focusing on grassroots movements that are striving for peace. Through content analysis and fieldwork, it demonstrates the particularity of Colombia as a country; despite its stable political system, it is also a country that has hosted profound levels of internal conflict and trauma. Colombian citizens have challenged the mechanisms used by the state that were born out of the 2012 peace process in order to nurture the prospect of a more equitable nation. Using contemporary examples of alternative peacemaking practices in rural and urban zones in Colombia, this paper analyzes how graffiti, murals, and coffee production are reshaping what contribution to a larger worldmaking project can look like. Worldmaking implies that the creation of another world is viable due to the “politics of the possible”. “Peace,” “alternative peace,” and “state-backed peace-seeking projects” are put into  conversation in order to understand that there is an urgent need for collaboration between citizens and the state in order to make these imagined realities of the future attainable. The title, “Of Bodies During Sin” is an allusion to the role that carnality has had in the context of the violence. It is a title dedicated to remembering the victims of extrajudicial executions, and all those who have been murdered, displaced, and profaned in this period of monumental agony. Citizens’ livelihoods suffered the consequences of poor land reform acts, and a state that has time and time again violated human rights. This paper merges theory inspired by Colombia’s legacy of suffering, and vast fear of displacement, with civilian driven peace-seeking endeavors in order to highlight the importance of understanding micro-scale moments of solidarity, and community building as vital to a larger peacebuilding commitment.

Isoken Osagie - Domestic Child Labour in Nigeria: A Case-study of Lagos House-helps

Domestic Child Labour in Nigeria: A Case-study of Lagos House-helps

Isoken Osagie

The househelp practice in Nigeria dates back to pre-colonial era. Since then a lot has changed but the idea is still remains – disadvantaged children are sent off to work as domestic staff for upper income families, in exchange for educational opportunities or apprenticeship. Today, NGOs refer to this as child labour and it is illegal to employ a househelp under the age of 18. Furthermore, these children working as domestic staff are subject to emotional, physical and sexual abuse. This research seeks to understand how various factors intersect to uphold child domestic labour despite Nigeria’s labour laws that have been put in place against underage househelp practice. My paper explores cultural nuances, the tensions that exist between written laws and cultural practice while advocating for the agency of these girls through the use of African-centered methodology, a case study and autoethnographies. Findings indicate that despite househelp practice being exploitative it could also be a way out of poverty for some girls and their families. I offer up implications of this practice and sustainable ways to monitor the domestic serve industry in order to ensure that the rights and wellbeing of young girls in Nigeria are protected.

Delaney Peterson - (Dis)Empowered: Unpacking Corporatized Notions of Female Empowerment as is Tied to Pornographic Imagery of Women in the United States Context

(Dis)Empowered: Unpacking Corporatized Notions of Female Empowerment as is Tied to Pornographic Imagery of Women in the United States Context

Delaney Peterson

In this thesis I address the corporatization of female sexuality through objectification and its correlation with popular empowerment discourse. I explore avenues of where this is occurring and hypothesize that such commodification serves to take the place of concrete feminist action. Laura Mulvey’s concept of ‘the male gaze’ is utilized as it set the standard for how images of women were produced and consumed through the introduction of Playboy, leading to the current high-speed internet porn in existence today. I identify a societal-wide desensitization occurring through consumption of pornographic imagery of the female body and conclude that gendered harm is simultaneously produced through such a trend. I delve into my selected case studies of Victoria’s Secret and Instagram, in conversation with Ariel Levy’s critique of ‘raunch culture’. Fredrickson and Roberts ‘objectification theory’ serves as a grounding framework when identifying the material consequences of existing in a culture saturated with objectifying imagery of women. These three theorists inform the analysis of Jost and Banaji’s ‘system justification theory’ which highlights the regressive impact such avenues of ‘empowerment’ may have on women’s liberation from patriarchy. Through these localities in popular culture one can see how women have internalized what Naomi Wolf entitles ‘the beauty myth’ how capital has stunted what the second wave of feminism set out to achieve: female sexual autonomy.

Hattie Simon - Mapping Intersections Between Muslim Women’s Activism and The NYC-Based New Sanctuary Movement

Mapping Intersections Between Muslim Women’s Activism and The NYC-Based New Sanctuary Movement

Hattie Simon

This thesis examines the role that Muslim women in NYC play in the New Sanctuary Movement (NSM), a movement of immigrant and faith based communities historically tied to the church that aims to protect and stand with mainly undocumented immigrants facing deportation and detention. In this paper I explore how Muslim women’s resistance to growing xenophobia in the U.S. intersects with the New Sanctuary Movement, despite the fact that only one Mosque in the greater NYC area has declared sanctuary. I seek to find out how the experiences of the women at MALIKAH, a NYC-based grassroots organization led by Muslim women, and their efforts to create spaces of safety and anti-violence complement or diverge from the New Sanctuary Movement, and if they do intersect, find out why their efforts are not explicitly framed as sanctuary. I argue that it is important to draw connections between these movements in order to better understand the concept of expanded sanctuary, which explores the possibilities of sanctuary as a vision of social justice that encompasses cross-movement coalitions. Expanded sanctuary aims to draw connections between deportation, detention, gender-based violence, and all forms of marginalization, pushing the potential of sanctuary to lead to more inclusive forms of protection for marginalized communities beyond undocumented migrants. Through a critical intersectional feminist framework, I conducted a case study of MALIKAH, took part in participatory observation, and conducted qualitative interviews with activists and scholars. I draw from literature that analyzes cultures of protest, ethnographies and social movements, and pushes for
the intersections between women’s rights and sanctuary. Although both of the movements are defined by unique goals that may not overlap, when looking at these two movements through the framework of expanded sanctuary, I found ways that the work of both organizations can push for a larger discussion of safety, positioning intersectionality as a core tenet of social justice.

Gabriella Wagner - The Healthcare Debate in the United States: Why Is It Not Accessible For All?

The Healthcare Debate in the United States: Why Is It Not Accessible For All?

Gabriella Wagner

Healthcare in the United States has been an ongoing topic of debate between those in politics, private business and individuals living in the U.S. especially within the last ten years. The current healthcare system is based off of policies that are set by the federal government but only favor specific individuals, which are those who are in the middle and upper class in the U.S. Access to healthcare has always been difficult for those who are not within the middle and upper class in society because one’s healthcare plan is determined by income, occupation and their place of work. Individuals who are from lower economic backgrounds and minority communities have a more difficult time in accessing healthcare because their jobs do not offer the option of healthcare or it is too expensive to pay into. In article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations states that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” This quote demonstrates why this one aspect of public policy is very important to examine and discuss because one’s access to healthcare shouldn’t be based upon an individual’s wealth, occupation and income. One’s health is a human right, not a privilege. In my paper I am going to discuss why access to healthcare is difficult, why this has been an ongoing debate, the negative implications of not having health insurance,in addition to how this system can change in order to provide equal accessible insurance for all. The argument that I will be making in my paper is that legislation is the answer of how to alter this debate in the United States. If policies were written to diminish the control that major health care corporations have in order to provide affordable and accessible healthcare it would be an option instead of shifting over to single payer, another system that has its own set of problems.

Fall 2018

Gavi Barahona - Neither from Here nor There: Traveling Memory within Salvadoran Diaspora Post-Civil War

Neither from Here nor There: Traveling Memory within Salvadoran Diaspora Post-Civil War

Gavi Barahona

 In the following pages I explore what it means to be Salvadoran in the realm of unspoken memory within the Salvadoran diaspora post-civil war (1992). Memory is defined in several different ways, and approached as so. Most commonly known as the word describing the action of remembering, memory may shape unity, but it also proves difficult to construct and relate to a memory when outside forces are obstacles. Therefore to show examples of such, the following pages contain interview led research and detailed background information to prove how difficult it can be to relate and withhold a memory, let alone an identity, when it is hardly spoken or taught about. The interviews were conducted among the Salvadoran community, some I have personal connections to, but others are just as well communities that have been repeatedly disenfranchised by the very same society who have placed them in that position in the first place. The Salvadoran community is important, they are a major immigrant community residing in the United States who also contribute in several ways to the country, but unfortunately many do not know much about El Salvador let alone its tumultuous history.

LJ Leach - Glyphosate: Toxic Bodies & Systemic Disruption

Glyphosate: Toxic Bodies & Systemic Disruption

LJ Leach

Sofia Nicollela - Rethinking Women's Empowerment Programs: Syrian Refugees in Jordanian Host Communities

Rethinking Women’s Empowerment Programs: Syrian Refugees in Jordanian Host Communities

Sofia Nicollela

This thesis analyzes the refugee women’s empowerment programming, looking at the ways in which the western regime of international humanitarian aid has supported women’s empowerment programs aimed only at helping women be more independent and practice agency. In comparison, this thesis is examining the work done by Arab Feminists around agency and independence, how that challenges a certain perception about Arab/Muslim women, and work done around psychosocial support, to apply that non-western framework about women’s empowerment to the humanitarian response to the Syrian Refugee Crisis. As a case study, I conducted LRB approved participant observations at parenting classes, while interning at a NGO in Jordan. This internship was completed at the Jordan River Foundation Queen: Rania Family and Child Center (QRFCC) in Marka, Eastern Amman, Jordan. The focus of this internship and learning experience was centered around women and girls empowerment through tools used for their domestic protection.

Estela Seabra - Hummus Sapien: How Hegemonic Masculinity Impacts Plant Based Food Consumption

Hummus Sapien: How Hegemonic Masculinity Impacts Plant Based Food Consumption

Estela Seabra

This thesis proposes to research and discuss the different dynamics of masculinity (and gender norms) that are leading to men not consuming vegan foods (men eat 50% more animal meats than women in the US, and feel that eating only plant foods is ‘un- masculine’ and even unhealthy in some cases). Investigating the nature of the relationship between masculinity (a little femininity) and eating vegan foods. It has been found by Pew Research Center that men who do not eat meat are perceived as approximately 40% less masculine than women. There is no scientific or factual data to support this observation, and so we need to understand why and how this came to be the case. Contrastingly, women more readily accept vegan foods, and are significantly more likely to try, enjoy and consume sustainable and plant-based consumer products. This is gendered dynamic is important because animal foods are very resource intensive, environmentally taxing, and contribute to problems in the meat industry, animal justice movement and international relations. Thus, masculinity disregarding vegan food is not only an issue of personal freedom; in order to curb communal and global issues such as global warming, it is important to understand why an entire gender, half of the human population, is not comfortable with eating vegan foods.

Andrew Douglas Sokulski - Living Without Connection: The Case of the Hikikomori in Japan and Contemporary Loneliness

Living Without Connection: The Case of the Hikikomori in Japan and Contemporary Loneliness

Andrew Douglas Sokulski

In Japan there are people who lock themselves within their living space for at least 6 months. Withdrawn from society and isolated in their own world, often digital and fictitious in many
regards, these individuals, and the phenomenon that encapsulates their existence and anxiety, have been termed as and called hikikomori. In my thesis I suggest that the denuclearization of the family, a naturalized sense of pressure, and a political as well as economic malaise has led to the development of this drastic form of isolation in contemporary times. By using books such as: Hikikomori: Adolescence Without End by Tamaki Saito; and Shutting Out the Sun; How Japan Created its own lost generation by Michael Zielenziger, as well as dozens of peer-reviewed articles in the realm of psychology and sociology, as well as looking at the wide impact of this on other nations, I have developed a sufficient case as to why people have resorted to or have been ‘forced’ by emotions and conditions to seclude themselves.This issue, though decreasing in number in Japan, is becoming a global issue. I want to show its origins and create a possible solution or more of a concerted effort toward abating and eventually eliminating this issue. This topic is of interest to Millennial youth and parents, medical practitioners, and policy makers worldwide.