Abstracts: Wednesday, February 14th

9:00 - 10:00 

Danting Jiang | Biology 
The Role of Protein-coding vs Regulatory Evolution in Speciation of Wild Yeast
Advisor: Helen Murphy 
Although the evolutionary process leading to the generation of new species has been studied extensively in plants and animals, not much is known about the speciation of microbes, especially microbial eukaryotes. This project aims to thoroughly study a case of eukaryotic microbial speciation on the genetic level: the effects of migration on wild yeast, Saccharomyces paradoxus. Previous studies have found that there are three populations involved in this migration event: a North American, a European, and a migrant population that originally came from Eurasia but is currently inhabiting North America. The migrant population has been genetically diverging since its arrival and now avoids mating with the North American population. We are investigating both the protein-coding and regulatory regions in the wild yeast genome that may be associated with migration, adaptation to a new environment, and ultimately, speciation.

10:30 - 11:30 

Sora Edwards-Thro | Interdisciplinary Studies 
"This Isn't A Simple/Single Story": Body, Home, And Memory In Haitian Speculative Fiction
Advisor: Kara Thompson
Non-realist genres such as science fiction are often seen as the province of Western, White male minds. Fortunately, movements like Afrofuturism prove there’s room for representation in our imagined worlds. My thesis explores how Haitian authors in particular make use of speculative fiction. Rather than selecting published texts to analyze, I collaborate with a local writer community to produce a collection of eleven new pieces in Haitian Creole. My research includes group discussions about the genre and individual interviews with authors along with literary analysis of the stories themselves. In addition to applying my Body Home Memory framework drawn from a review of Afrofuturist creations, I consider how the creole concept of blending appears in these works: a little science, a little Vodou; something natural, something artificial; something looking forward, something looking back.

Madelaine White | Anthropology 
From Being to Thing: Commodification and Flexible Personhood in Domesticated Animals
Advisor: Brad Weiss
Domesticated animals in the United States occupy a nebulous space between “people” and “property”. The person making the assessment, the situation, and the context of the encounter determines the value assigned. Furthermore, these classifications are extremely flexible, and an animal’s use as a thing to be owned or discarded often overrides its temporary status as a person. The conception of animals as things perpetuates their ownership and treatment as goods to bought, sold, and used as products; pursuits which take priority over the animal’s well-being. However, the perception of personhood does not guarantee good treatment. Many animals granted personhood continue to suffer due to lack of understanding of or respect for their needs and animalhood. This essay seeks to understand the mechanisms and effects of these different valuation systems, as well as their systemic origins, and to explore the oppositional relationship between commodification and personhood.

Christina Danberg | English
"O God Within My Breast:" Examining the Religious Attitudes of Emily Brontë
Advisor: Deborah Morse
The scholarship surrounding the life and works of Emily Brontë is generally divided in two sects. There are those who believe that Emily Brontë, although influenced by her father’s piety and role as a minister of the Church of England, rejected patriarchal Christianity in her works. These scholars, such as Stevie Davies, point to Wuthering Heights as a fundamentally profane text full of the supernatural which spurns Orthodox religion in favor of a female spirituality deeply rooted in the natural world. The other primary body of scholarship argues that Emily Brontë is fundamentally Christian, although somewhat unorthodox. These scholars, such as Simon Marsden, point to Brontë’s poetry and the Biblical intertextuality of Wuthering Heights as evidence that Emily Brontë was challenging Orthodox religion while still espousing its main principles. I argue that neither of these depictions of the religion of Emily Brontë are entirely accurate. Although Wuthering Heights itself can be seen as containing profane or heretical elements, such as the rejection of patriarchal Christianity and the profusion of the supernatural, when combined with Emily Brontë’s poetry a much fuller picture emerges. Emily Brontë transforms and critiques, rather than rejects outright, traditional religious attitudes through a duality of profane and sacred imagery in both Wuthering Heights and her poetry. 

12:00 - 1:00 

Ava Chafin | International Relations
Islamic Ideology in Pakistan
Advisor: Rani Mullen
My honors thesis examines the role that Islamic ideology plays in Pakistani politics by analyzing how parties at both the national and sub-national levels appeal to Islam. Specifically, it will examine the religious motivations of political parties and how they integrate Islam into their platforms, as both civilian and military leaders have used Islam to win elections and sway the public. A political parties "use of Islam" will be defined as how they refer to Islam in their manifestos, speeches as well as a justification for their policies. Most research has focused on how Islamic ideology is used at the national level, but this thesis will go a step further by also exploring the links between Islam and regional parties, and if these parties use Islam to appeal to their public in the same ways that national ones do.

Yoongbok Lee | Mathematics
Polycyclic Group Based Cryptography
Advisor: Eric Swartz
Public-key cryptography is crucial to our daily lives because it provides us with secure encryption methods that are hard to decode. However, in the near future, the methods used currently might be vulnerable to certain attacks by computers with greater processing power. My Honors Thesis will analyze and develop cryptosystems based on algebraic objects called nonabelian groups, which are potentially more resistant to such attacks.

Lauren Hoak | Music
Native American Music: The Women Who Studied It and the Legacy They Left Behind
Advisor: Anne Rasmussen
Native American music was a relatively new topic of study in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Four women-Frances Densmore, Alice Fletcher, Natalie Curtis, and Helen Roberts-conducted the research that we still refer to today. Because their work was significant and influential, it's important to examine how their research represented Native American music and communities. This thesis investigates whether the work of these women empowered Native American people or contributed to further "othering" of their culture and peoples.

1:30 - 2:30 

Graeme Cranston-Cuebas | Government
The Role of Air Forces in the Conduct of Coup d'état
Advisor: Dennis Smith
Following the attempted Coup D'etat in Turkey in 2016, figures throughout the field and in the policy community began to inquire as to whether an Air Force was capable of aiding in or pulling off a coup. In the extensive literature on the nature and conduct of the Coup D'etat, or military/elite revolt, the role of the Air Force in such actions is universally described as marginal if not inconsequential. However, many states spend considerable resources to "coup proof" Air Forces despite their theoretically small threat. This thesis is a plausibility probe that seeks to suggest a theoretical framework that governs the complex interactions between the use of airpower in coups, the factors that provoke disloyalty among Air Force officers,  and the methods that states utilize to prevent Air Force attacks against leadership individuals and institutions. This framework will then be explored through three in-depth case study of the Iranian Air Force, the Moroccan Air Force, and the Turkish Airforce. 

Devon Wolfe | Government 
Mill and Athens: Participation, Competency, and Election Reform
Advisor: John Lombardini
Modern representative systems, characterized by single member districts and first-past-post voting, are riddled with issues that misrepresent, over represent, or fail to represent certain groups of individuals. While many agree that these are serious issues in society, there are still questions about how to solve them. John Stuart Mill discusses these issues and recommended implementing proportional representation to reform the electoral system. My thesis will explore this reform, and determine if it would accomplish the goals he sets forth for a good society. Additionally, I will show how Mill learned from Ancient Athenians about how a democracy should work. While I am not specifically discussing modern electoral issues, I maintain that there is much to learn from this paper for anyone interested in election reform today. Discussing electoral issues and their solutions can help us better understand the goals of society and what solutions should be put into place.

3:00 - 4:00

Thomas Briggs | Philosophy 
Making Sense of the World: Arendt and Kant on the Crisis of Meaning in Modernity
Advisor: Aaron Griffith
The political events of the first half of the 20th century, such as the rise of fascism, totalitarianism, and ideological politics, revealed a crisis in our ability to understand and come to terms with our modern political and historical experience. This crisis was a central concern of Hannah Arendt, an incredibly influential philosopher and political theorist. In an attempt to understand the nature of this crisis and restore a shared understanding of our world, Arendt began to write a theory of political judgment based on Kant's theory of aesthetic judgment found in his third Critique. Because Arendt died before she could finish her theory, its full significance - both in terms of its relationship to her own work, as well as to our past and current political experience - has not been fully appreciated. The aim of my thesis is to shed more light on both aspects of this significance.

Yonghao Wang | Philosophy 
Towards an Interactionist Dualism
Advisor: Matthew Haug
This thesis defend interactionist dualism, the idea that mental properties are fundamental (i.e. distinct and independent of the physical) and have causal effects onto the physical world.

Hannah Winckler-Olick | Philosophy 
Ethical Borders: Citizenship and Partiality
Advisor: Christopher Tucker 
There is a debate among philosophers of ethics concerning whether there is room for some degree of partiality in moral theory, and if so, on what grounds. Are we allowed to favor the interests of those important to us over the interests of strangers? Those in favor of allowing some degree of partiality are faced with the task of articulating an acceptable theory that avoids the dangerous implications of racism, sexism, and harmful “othering.” My aim in this honors thesis is to discuss the tension between a commitment to equality and the possibility of partiality on a structural level in today’s society. Specifically, I ask whether the relationship of “fellow citizen” constitutes a morally permissible grounds for partiality. I aim to articulate a functional system of partiality that allows me to maintain the current global framework of sovereign nation-states without providing a justification for the harmful ideologies and unacceptable consequences mentioned above.