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Announcing the 2016–17 Global Studies Thesis Awards

The Global Studies Thesis Awards are based 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.

Seven theses from the academic year 2016–17 were selected for distinction, and one of these received the Outstanding Thesis Award. All in all, the wide range of thesis projects overall were truly impressive.


Sayre Quevedo, Reconstructing Memory in Postwar El Salvador

Re:Construccion is a collaborative multimedia documentary art project that explores the legacy of the Salvadoran Civil War through the lens of six individual stories. The work is a product of two years of travelling, interviewing, and collaboration with Salvadoran artists, community organizations, and individuals across The United States and El Salvador. Quevedo’s thesis draws on his experiences developing the project as well as emergent themes that appear across the narratives to examine collective memory in the context of El Salvador.


Marissa Gery, Do No Harm: The Medicalization of Torture at Guantánamo Bay
Gery’s thesis takes on a consider the discursive ways Joint Task Force-Guantánamo (JTF-GTMO) works to produce the force-feeding of hunger-striking detainees as a modality of state care, rendering the resistant bodies of detainees and the state-sanctioned violence enacted against them invisible.

Michael Kemmett, The Atomic Farce: Deconstructing the Instrumentalist Mythology of America’s Nuclear Arms Regime
Kemmett’s thesis elucidates the underlying logics of nuclear deterrence theory and the need for a critical theory as not only an effective, but perhaps the only way to re-evaluate and challenge the inherent hegemonic intrenchment of those logics.

Indigo Olivier, A Geography of the Student Debt Crisis
Against the dominant US framing of higher education as a private investment geared to developing the skills for a “knowledge economy,” Olivier draws on the work of student activists from Occupy, Chile, Puerto Rico and the 1960s to offer alternative ways forward based on reconceptualizing debt as a new form of financial imperialism.

Emilee Pelletier, (De)Constructed Bodies: Transnational Adoption and the U.S. Body Politic
Pelletier’s thesis shows how transnational adoption practices by the United States from the 1950’s onward, through the monitoring of bodies crossing borders, the justification of intervention, and the assignment of degrees of value and threat, have worked to expand a U.S. body politic characterized by whiteness.

Reagan Rodriguez, Identity Maneuver: Mapping Muslim LGBTQ+ Identity Politics and Representation in Contemporary U.S. Social Spaces
Rodriguez’s thesis draws on extensive interview research to examine the intersectional identity of LGBTQ+ Muslims, focusing particularly on how religion, gender and sexuality, and race impact their navigation of liberal American LGBTQ+ social spaces — both physical and virtual.

Joanna Shieh, The Fate of the Western Sahara: the role of natural resources in the Sahrawi self-determination conflict
Shieh’s thesis focuses on the role of natural resources in the conflict between the Moroccan state and the indigenous Sahrawi population, to show how they both help legitimize Moroccan occupation and open up legal and activist avenues for the struggle for Sahrawi self-determination.

Congratulations to all!

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