Fall Undergraduate Research Forum

Presented by OUR&CI and the University Libraries, the Fall Undergraduate Research Forum is a stepping stone to larger venues such as the Denman Undergraduate Research Forum.

The 2017 Fall Forum is scheduled for Thursday, September 14 in Thompson Library. The event is open to the general public.

Four students who are presenting at the Fall Undergraduate Research Forum participated in our Spring Undergraduate/Faculty-Mentor Grant Program.  Learn more about their projects below.

Gretchen Klingler

Session 1: 11:00am-12:15pm

Student Presenter: Gretchen Klingler
Booth Number: 40
Research Mentor: Jeffrey Cohen
Project Title: More Than Babel: Opening the Door to Iraqi Women’s Narratives on Migration, Assimilation and Hopes for the Future

Abstract: The President’s executive order regarding immigrants and refugees entering the United States from seven Muslim majority countries has been questioned heavily for the last 6 months. However, resettled families already in the United States continue to face a steady and increasing stream of xenophobic and anti-Islamic rhetoric. My work is centered specifically on Iraqi women as they confront life and establish themselves in the U.S. Building upon my


experiences as a translator during my time in Iraq, I have a unique opportunity to interview in both English and the Iraqi dialect of Arabic. My background knowledge and understanding of Iraqi culture facilitates my research and helps me build bridges with my informants. I have developed my project around my contacts in the Iraqi communities located in California Bay Area (San Francisco/Monterey), and Columbus and Dayton, Ohio. The research is framed within the theory of Feminist Anthropology, and Parin Dossa’s work with Iranian women in Canada (Politics and Poetics of Migration: Narratives of Iranian Women from the Diaspora (2004, Canadian Scholars Press)) guides my ethnographic study. I discern how women’s narratives differ in relation to their experiences and how their experiences fit into the larger social realities of settlement. How Iraqi women respond to their new and changing environment is at the center of my project. Are Iraqi women looking forward to the future? Are they taking new precautions as they adapt to increasing Islamophobia? Do they hope to return to more culturally traditional roles or do they look to embrace new opportunities and express their agency in new ways? More than storytellers managing their own lives, my discussion of how Iraqi women narrate their experiences in response to xenophobia will reflect their changing roles as women in their communities,

and the process of assimilation and settlement in the U.S.

Read Gretchen’s blog post about her summer research.

Andreas Moghimi-Danesh

Session 2: 1:00-2:15pm

Student Name: Andreas Moghimi-Danesh
Booth Number: 62
Research Mentor: Alexander Wendt
Project Title: Towards a Just Acquisition of Citizenship

Abstract: Despite widespread use of the term “citizenship,” there is much debate in the literature with regards to what citizenship entails and how exactly it is acquired. Legal scholars, philosophers, historians, and political scientists alike have all advanced arguments across their disciplines to either support or undermine different models of citizenship and citizenship acquisition. For example, while 97% of citizens obtain citizenship jus sanguinis or jus soli, meaning citizenship by right of blood and by right of soil, respectively, there exist many moral and legal objections to these models. In my research, I examine Ayalete Shachar’s The Birthright Lottery, which essentially serves as Shachar’s entry into this ideological race. Contrary to traditional definitions of citizenship, Ayalete Shachar’s The Birthright Lottery posits that citizenship is an inherited property. While this theory advances general moral theorizations and assessments of trends such as nativism, it fails to address the jurisprudential ramifications of labeling an entity such as citizenship as being property, specifically an inherited property. In pursuit of satiating the absence of a jurisprudential nexus in Shachar’s argument, this paper applies the logic of various legal theories of property to modern models of the just acquisition of citizenship. In doing so, this paper will demonstrate how Shachar’s taxonomization of citizenship as property is an equivocation with dangerous consequences. Ultimately, once this “stress test” has been applied to Shachar’s argument, it will be clear that on normative and practical levels, Shachar’s entry is as insufficient as it is threatening to the establishment of a more just acquisition of Citizenship in the modern day.

Carley Reinhard

Session 2: 1:00-2:15pm

Student Name: Carley Reinhard
Booth Number: 77
Research Mentor: Stephanie Shaw
Project Title: Examining African American Slave Migrations through Folklore in the W.P.A. Ex-Slave Narratives

Abstract: During the 1930s, as part of the W.P.A. Federal Writer’s project, over 2,000 interviews of former slaves were completed. These interviews were transcribed and compiled into a grand collection of first-person accounts of all the former slaves who could be located at the time. Within many of these narratives, hundreds of accounts detail folktales the slaves grew up hearing in their communities. The development of these folk stories, which seem unique to African American slaves in their specifics if not in their generalities, reflect aspects of the larger development of African American culture that arose due to forced migration from Africa and, for some, their movement from the upper-South to the Lower South and Southwest as slavery expanded in the United States. Thus, these stories, along with other aspects of African American culture, arose in part as a product of the intersection of traditional African folklore and new circumstance. This research seeks to explore these stories, determining their origin and tracing their development and their dispersal. This will not only contribute to the current studies of the African Diaspora, but it will also contribute greatly to studies of the inter- and intrastate migrations of slaves that never delve into the culture of slaves and to the cultural studies of slavery that don’t pay much attention to the migrations of slaves. It is my hope through the course of this research to arrive at a more complete understanding of both the significance of African American folklore and the factors, including migration, that shaped it.

George Andrei

Session 3: 2:45-4:00pm

Student Presenter: George Andrei
Booth Number: 4
Research Mentor: Nicholas Breyfogle
Project Title: Nationality before Nationalism: Ethnic Politics, Geopolitics, and the Sustainability of the Magyar Kingdom in the East (1191-1400)

Abstract: The medieval kingdom of Hungary, founded by St. Stephan, was a patchwork of many ethnicities–Germans, Hungarians, Vlachs, Szekelys, and many others–sedentary and nomadic, Catholic and Orthodox. It was also situated on the very eastern border of Western Christendom; as such, its defense was of vital importance not solely to the local rulers, but for Rome as well. One group–itself multiethnic in nature–was made up of German colonists to southeastern Transylvania. First arriving in the middle of the XII century, the Saxons, as they are known collectively today, settled near several Vlach “countries”: simple confederations of Vlach villages which held significant sway over their domains. The Vlachs, predecessors of modern Romanians, had presences in modern Romania and Serbia, and spoke Latin-based dialects. My research explores how the Vlachs and Saxons would later come to play vital roles in maintaining the Hungarian Kingdoms domains in the east. I argue that the Saxons were, from the beginning of their colonization, used as a tool by the Hungarian Crown and other authority figures in the region to expand, stabilize, and dominate the area: drawing in, after the Mongol invasions, desperately needed manpower, taxes, and support from the local populations. Reading a plethora of published sources by Hungarian, German, Romanian and other historians, both contemporary and more antiquated, as well as archived primary sources from the Romanian national archives, I will argue that the Hungarian authorities enabled the Saxons to flourish by granting specific privileges, which allowed the Hungarian kingdom to acquire land, peoples, and thus providing greater stability in the east. This research provides another view at the long history of ethnic and religious minority groups used by authorities to fill certain societal roles, one from an area often overlooked by Western historians.

Read George’s blog post about his research here.


*Photos by George Andrei and Theodora Dragostinova

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