Volume 3, 2015

Special Undergraduate Edition

Undergraduate Articles

Resistance of Mayan Women against Obstetric Violence
Gonzalez-Flores, Marina

Abstract. Mayan women are often victims of obstetric violence in the Yucatan Peninsula. Obstetric violence is defined as violence women experience by health officials or midwives during birth. This article will examine five different communities within the states of Yucatan, Campeche, and Quintana Roo in Mexico and compare and contrast activism efforts against obstetric violence among Mayan women. Mayan women are organizing to create unions for midwives, workshops on reproductive rights and health care, and demonstrations that advocate for the end of obstetric violence in their communities. Through unstructured interviews and participant observation, this research illustrates the variety of experiences these women face when giving birth, and the expressions of activism women utilized to counter obstetric violence and resist larger issues of structural violence. This research can help us understand the obstacles Mayan women face and provide strategies for organizations, governments, and institutions to further support and empower women’s organizing strategies. Such work is important for informing practical solutions to end obstetric violence in these communities.

Keywords: Obstetric violence; Mayan women; maternal health; organizing; activism; Mexico.

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The Ghosts of Colonialism: Economic Inequity in Post-Apartheid South Africa
Farkash, Andrew Tzvi

Abstract. Although political apartheid in South Africa ended in 1993, racial and economic inequity persisted. The end of White minority rule in government prompted the birth of the multicultural/non-racial “Rainbow Nation,” promising freedom and equality for all South Africans. However, the shift in political representation to Black majority rule in 1994—led by the African National Congress (ANC) and former president Nelson Mandela—failed to confront and reverse the vast inequities produced by the former apartheid state. This paper contextualizes the current state of affairs by tracing the histories of occupation and racial capitalism in colonial South Africa.

Keywords: South Africa; apartheid; colonialism; post-colonialism; racism; multiculturalism; Nelson Mandela

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Hong Kong and China: One Country, Two Systems, Two Identities
Yip, Anastasia

Abstract. Since the handover of Hong Kong from Britain to China in 1997, there has been underlying tension and many outbreaks of civil disobedience in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong people’s hostility towards China was fully visualized in the student-led “Umbrella Revolution” in September 2014. This paper explores the roots of conflicts this social uproar from cultural and political perspectives. It examines the fundamental flaws of “One country, two systems” that provokes fear of re-colonization by assessing the similarities between the British hegemony and Chinese sovereignty in Hong Kong. This paper also analyzes the rhetoric of the Hong Kong Federation of Students and their demands, in order to provide a deeper investigation into why Hong Kong people often alienate themselves from their mainland counterparts. One hypothesis in this paper suggests that over a century of British colonization influenced the political ideals in Hong Kong, while such concepts cause resentment as they deviate from those of the rest of China. Seeing the divergence of Hong Kong’s individualism from Chinese Confucianism, this paper proposes that the departure of cultural identities within one national framework creates difficulties for forming a cordial relationship between Hong Kong and mainland China. While Confucianism emphasizes on constructing harmony in the society, the construction itself requires much exclusion, as well as sacrifice of personal interests. This harmony building agenda proves extremely hard in Hong Kong, where multiple languages are spoken and individuality, as opposed to conformity, is celebrated. Despite the return of sovereignty, conflicts between Hong Kong and China become almost inevitable with these fundamental differences.

Keywords: Revolution; China; constitution; special administrative regions

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Lowriding Through New Spaces
Cano, Beatriz

Abstract. Although lowriders may be a familiar image, many people merely label these custom cars as a manifestation of gang culture rather than seeing them as a Chicano cultural production. The former view dismisses the rich background that informed and led to the creation of lowriders. This paper argues that the creation of lowriders is not a manifestation of gang culture, but instead reflects efforts to create a space that expresses Chicano identity informed by inequality and segregation. The lowrider is a way of symbolically and literally traveling beyond segregated spaces that marginalize Chicanos, giving rise to Chicano pride and power. Lowriders also express Chicano identity through their abstract and representational painting, for example the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, a significant Chicano icon, which is often painted on lowriders. The lowrider is more than a vehicle; it is a representation and display of Chicano identities informed by experiences with inequality, segregation, and resistance.

Keywords: Lowriders; Chicano identity; art; space; Virgin of Guadalupe; resistance.

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Sayyida Salme / Emily Ruete: Knowledge Flows in an Age of Steam, Print, and Empire
Maxwell, Katherine

Abstract. This paper analyzes the writings of Sayyida Salme bint Sa’id ibn Sultan (1844-1924), the Zanzibari-Omani princess who married a German merchant and converted to Christianity. While she spent the rest of her life as Emily Ruete, existentially she lived “between two worlds.” I argue she successfully navigated her core identities as an Islamic(ate) woman despite adopting and adapting to European customs. Her successful Memoirs of An Arabian Princess, originally published in German as Memoiren einer arabischen Prinzessin in 1886, and her Letters Home (Briefe nach der Heimat), published in 1993, demonstrate her ongoing significance to scholars of gender, travel, globalization, and culture. I seek to expand her legacy by going beyond the constraining narrative that she failed to achieve her initial goal of monetary remuneration. I will instead focus on moments of hybridity, wisdom, resilience, and growth to show how she made progress in her second goal: to rectify distorted views of “the South.”

Keywords: Globalization; German-African trade; Zanzibar; Muslim female travelogue; 19th Century.

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A Radical Theory of Bodies: Synthesizing the Manipulation of Corporeal and Affective Bodies in Feminist Theory
Baker, Sally

Abstract. Drawing chiefly upon Judith Butler’s theory of gender performativity, this article argues that feminist theory does not operate in isolation from the body, but rather that the body is a medium through which feminist theory is performed. It examines how various feminist theorists conceive of the body, both corporeally and affectively, and how the body is mediatedby a variety of culturally specific forces. Through a carefully crafted Butlerian lens, the article examines the body of the third world prostitute, the body of the fetus, the invasion of bodies by modern capitalism, the reimagining of the body in radical feminist utopia, and other constructions of the body. By placing the work of multiple feminist theorists in conversation with one another, the article offers theoretical insight by synthesizing seemingly disparate feminist theories.

Keywords: Gender Performativity; Corporeality; Affectivity; Bodies; Cultural Mediation.

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Political Psychology, Identity Politics, and Social Reconciliation in Post-Genocidal Cambodia
Ebrahim, Shireen

Abstract. Various factors besides culture and religion assist in defining the identity of a community. In the case of Cambodia, the tragic genocide of the Khmer Rouge and its aftermath forged a Cambodian identity suffering from severe psychological trauma. The lack of essential reconciliation and rehabilitation efforts by the government has played a role in the transgenerational passage of the trauma and needs to be addressed for the stable progression of Cambodian society.

Keywords: Political Psychology, Identity Politics, and Social Reconciliation in Post-Genocidal Cambodia.

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Helping Hands in Haiti: Examining the Sustainable Strategies of Partners In Health and Build Change
Neiman, Andrew Joseph

Abstract. Much has been written on the negative aspects of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Haiti and elsewhere as organizations have been criticized for squandering donor funds, back room decision making and operations, and for creating a cycle of dependence between developing and developed countries. On the other hand, many NGOs have done good work in their respective nations. This paper examines the projects of two NGOs working in Haiti: Build Change and Partners In Health. Drawing on observations gathered from travel in Haiti as well as scholarly books and articles, press releases, and other content, I highlight similarities between the strategies taken by these organizations, such as their focus on development and in installing a full system or industry in Haiti, rather than distributing imported commodities. My conclusions provide insight that can be used by potential donors as well as local and international governments. Moreover, other NGOs could benefit from this information in determining ways to improve dysfunctional organizations, other projects and programs, and reverse the problem of dependency on relief aid by underdeveloped countries.

Keywords: Haiti; NGOs; Sustainable Development; Disaster Relief; Foreign Aid.

(PDF) (eScholarship)