Students may apply for the Dietrich College Senior Honors Thesis Program. The Senior Honors Program is an opportunity for the college's most accomplished and promising seniors to work independently, with the close guidance of a faculty member, in the design and completion of a year-long scholarly or creative project.
The following Global Studies seniors are currently pursuing a Dietrich College Senior Honors Thesis:
Thesis Title:A critical perspective on the Spanish meal: An analysis of the effects of globalization on food culture in Spain.
Thesis Advisor: John Soluri
Thesis Abstract: I have spent the Spring 2017 semester studying abroad in Salamanca, Spain. Living with a Spanish family, I was reminded how integral food is to human life and how it acts as a motive for human actions. This peaked my interest in exploring traditions surrounding food culture in Spain within the context of modern food and health standards. This thesis originates from my personal passion and interest in food culture. I will incorporate my own empirical research on food consumption habits in modern Spain as well as reference published articles on Spanish cuisine and its corresponding traditions. In addition, I plan to draw upon my personal blog which I’ve kept during my time in Salamanca. The blog focuses on food, food products, and drinks here in Spain. I will integrate gender and class as an element which plays into both the preparation and consumption of food in modern Spain.
Thesis Title: Political Contextualization of China and Chinese-Americans during the 2016 Presidential Election
Thesis Advisor: Benno Weiner
Thesis Abstract: The goal of this project is to analyze the political contextualization of China and Chinese-Americans during the 2016 United States presidential election. During the recent campaign season, China became a popular topic for debate in the public sphere. Politicians frequently employed China as a rhetorical tool in speeches and debates, and pundits and commentators made it one of the main ‘issues’ of the election cycle. Interestingly, however, at the same time that China was receiving such panicky and outsized attention in the American public sphere, Chinese-Americans and Chinese migrants who were currently living in America received almost no attention at all. What accounts for this discrepancy? In my thesis, I plan to explore the various – and varying – roles played by both China and Chinese migrants in the 2016 election; I also plan to examine the ways in which Chinese people themselves tried to negotiate their own political identities in response to the political rhetoric.
Thesis Title: Pittsburgh City Programs and Their Impact on Income Mobility
Thesis Advisor: Necia Werner
Thesis Title: Border Walls and Immigration Detention: How U.S. Asylum Law Considers Victims of Gender Based Violence
Thesis Advisor: Therese Tardio
Thesis Abstract: An asylum seeker is an individual who flees their home country due to persecution and is claiming “asylum status” on account of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group (psg). Due to elevated rates of violence in the Northern Triangle Region (Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala) over the past several years there has been an influx of migrants, especially women, crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in search of safety. According to UN data, El Salvador had the highest female homicide rate globally in 2015, with Guatemala and Honduras following closely behind. Many of the women who flee do not qualify for one of the specified categories in order to claim asylum. Through case studies and interviews with lawyers, this study will examine the groups of women that have attempted to claim asylum status by defining a “particular social group,” whether their cases have been granted, and why certain groups ought to be considered a “particular social group.” In addition, it will compare the success rates of these claims when argued in immigration courts in detention centers versus outside of detention centers. This study will provide a comprehensive analysis of successful and unsuccessful gender-based asylum claims and supporting evidence for claims that have been unsuccessful. Given that so many female refugees continue to flee the Northern Triangle Region, this research will be useful to those learning about the asylum process, claiming asylum, and by providing relevant and supporting country conditions research. Having worked with immigrants in a variety of settings (legal services, family mentoring, and by providing humanitarian aid in the desert), I feel particularly drawn to researching the legal challenges that women face in search of safety.