Student Honors Papers

The Student Honors Papers collection represent exemplary work in International Studies at Illinois Wesleyan University. The Ames Library is proud to archive these and other honors projects in Digital Commons @ IWU, the university's online archive of student, faculty and staff scholarship and creative activity.

Biological Prospectors, Pirates, Pioneers, and Punks in the Andes Mountains: An examination of scientific practice in the Andean Community of Nations
by Sarah Takushi

This paper compares and contrasts two models for conducting science: that of the patent-driven intellectual property rights regime, and that of the popular-interest driven civilian science regime. To frame this comparison in less abstract terms, the paper presents maca (Lepidium meyenii) as a case study of the struggles of different interest groups to patent scientific innovation or keep it in the public domain. I find that for reasons of finance, human resources, and infrastructure, Peru and the other member-states of the Andean Community of Nations are pulled towards a patent-driven intellectual property rights regime. However for reasons of avoiding regional competition, maintaining national sovereignty, and fostering national pride these nations might seek to further develop civilian science programs. Ultimately I conclude that neither model, as practiced in the Global North, is appropriate for the Andean Community of Nations. Rather a hybrid of these two scientific regimes is required to address the specific issues of scientific innovation in a biologically megadiverse developing nation.

Russia’s International Adoption Policies: Realities of the Soviet Happy Childhood Myth
by Hannah L. Freeman

Russia’s International Adoption Policies: Realities of the Soviet Happy Childhood Myth, focuses on dispelling the Soviet myth of happy childhood through revealing the numerous groups of children who were systematically left out of this upbringing. The paper focuses in particular on the plight of orphans in the USSR and continues to follow their childhood experience through investigating the intercountry adoption policies between the U.S. and Russia. My research aims to dispel the laws and regulations that are currently in place within the Russian orphanages and adoption system through real life experience including personal interviews that were conducted with American parents of Russian adoptees. Ultimately, the study aims to prove that Russia’s adoption laws are roadblocks to the safe, humane, and legal adoption of Russian children by foreigners and that the “myth” of happy childhood that existed throughout the time of the Soviet Union continues for those children who remain as orphans in Russia today.

A Comparison of Theory and Lived Experience: Immigration to Bloomington-Normal
by Jennifer Ceisel

This project compares theories of international migration and theories of integration into the U.S. to the lived experience of actual immigrants in Bloomington-Normal, as ascertained by McLean County census data, supplementary reports by community agencies, and personal interviews of immigrants. While interview participants were recruited on a referral basis and are not representative of the entire immigrant population, their personal stories help to humanize the data. Following national urban-to-rural settlement patterns, immigrants who participated in this study chose Bloomington-Normal over urban migration hubs like Chicago. However, Bloomington-Normal stands out from other downstate Illinois communities because of the profile of employment opportunities, most notably the State Farm Corporate Headquarters in town. Participants cited economic opportunities, family reunification, and political persecution as primary motivations for leaving their countries of origin. They were drawn to Bloomington-Normal because of pre-existing networks and chose to remain because of employment opportunities, the presence of universities, a friendly community, and convenience factors. In general, the immigrant family experience—as assessed by economic well-being, educational opportunities, and level of comfort in the community—can be split into two immigrant experiences as divided on a continuum of education and skill level. The experiences of Bloomington-Normal immigrants are premised on education/skill level, facility with language, legal status, and pre-existing immigrant networks and associations, though none of these is an absolute predictor of successful integration.

Choice, Coercion, Capabilities and Conflict: Multilingualism, Human Development and Peacekeeping in a Globalized World
by Megan R. Thompson

The development of English into an international lingua franca is not an inevitable result of globalizing forces. Instead, the “triumph” of the English language and the consequent decline of the world’s linguistic diversity cannot be viewed in isolation of its parallel history of conquest, violence, power and exploitation. Today, the languages privileged by the powerful—not only English, but also other dominant languages or standard varieties of those languages—determine access to social, economic and political mobility. This fact renders any discussion of language “choice” irrelevant—when a choice yields the sacrifice of basic human capabilities on one hand and the denial of cultural liberty on the other, the issue becomes one not of choice, but of coercion. Both Amartya Sen and the UNDP Human Development Report (2004) argue that the expansion of freedoms and choices is a prerequisite to human-centered development. Additionally, the UNDP claims that protection of cultural diversity is essential to peacekeeping. Drawing on these premises, this paper explores the notion of linguistic choice by analyzing the personal narratives of multilingual individuals, with the ultimate conclusion that the ability to choose ones language must be understood as an essential resource for human development and conflict prevention.

Maoism in South Asia: A Comparative Perspective On Ideology, Practice, and Prospects for the 21st Century
by Ryan D. Nielsen

The Maoists in both India and Nepal have drawn on Maoist theory to analyze their countries as semi-feudal and semi-colonial, setting the stage for Maoist revolutionary movements. The two movements differ in their historical interpretations of communist revolutions and Marxism—the Nepalese Maoists have come to reject Marxist notions of the state, while the Indian Maoists have uncritically upheld the experience of socialist states and communist revolutions. These differences in historical interpretation are intimately linked with the divergent theoretical and practical orientations of the Maoists in both countries, orientations that have emerged due to distinct material conditions that both revolutionary movements have faced. These Maoist movements show that while a movement can utilize Mao’s philosophy and strategy broadly, each country has particular conditions that a revolutionary movement must confront. The communist revolution in China cannot be repeated identically in any country in the world today, and new theoretical and practical orientations must emerge to update and make Maoism effective in the 21st century.

The Forgotten Ones: Child Sex Trafficking in Post-Communist Romania
by Sarah K. Moir

Child sex trafficking is a global issue, and much can be learned about the causes by analyzing the histories of certain countries. The historical analysis of this paper focuses on Romania: the devaluation of children throughout Romanian history led to a situation where Romanian children were easily victimized. I begin by examining the place of children within the haphazard and inadequate educational system in Romania since the mid-19th century and into the 20th century. This neglect continued under communism, when education was more inclusive but it was dominated by ideological indoctrination rather than actual academics. Combined with economic factors, emigration patterns, corruption, and organized crime; these ideological issues increased the level of neglect for Romania’s young. Finally, I examine the increase in the supply of child sex workers originating from Romania with the fall of communism in 1989. Trafficking was bound to occur in Romania due to these factors, which created an at-risk environment for its young citizens.

The Importance of Education Systems in Post-Conflict Settings: The Case of Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH)
by Emily Coles

This paper considers how education systems in post-conflict settings impact reconstruction processes using the case of Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) as an example. Three separate literatures are reviewed: post-conflict settings/reconstruction, reconciliation, and education systems. The paper analyzes the transitions, security, political, social and economic, which characterize post-conflict settings and reconstruction and argues that they must occur consequentially. Additionally, post-conflict reconstruction must always include both short and long-term goals in the peace agreement and provide for development of local capacity. In BiH these transitions were incomplete. The placement of a constitution in the peace agreement, without provisions for its revision, has also led to political gridlock. Reconciliation is then discussed as a central component of reconstruction. In the case of BiH, even though it has been 15 years since the conflict, reconciliation has not occurred and the society remains polarized according to the three ethnicities. The role of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in promoting reconciliation is criticized and indicators of the continued presence of ethnic tensions are reviewed. Lastly, the role of education systems in post-conflict reconstruction is discussed. Because education can play a critical role in reconciliation, and in reconstruction, education should be mandated in any peace agreement. Since education was not considered in the Dayton Peace Accords, the education system in BiH remains divided and this is impeding reconciliation. It is argued that, if education is not emphasized as a key component in peace agreements, then divided education systems will continue to prevent successful reconciliation, which in turn hinders the long-term success of reconstruction efforts.

Explaining Ethnic Peace: The Importance of Institutions
by Rebecca Tong, '09

This paper examines the cause of ethnic peace, and subsequently, the cause of ethnic violence. Varying theories explain ethnic violence: primordialism, instrumentalism, and constructivism. The question central to this study is how master narratives, scarce resources, and democratic institutions have influenced the occurrence of ethnic violence. Small n comparison is used to analyze two pairs of sub-Saharan African nations in order to control for other explanatory variables: (1) Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana, and (2) Kenya and Tanzania. In each pair, one nation is relatively peaceful and the other relatively violent. Drawing from ethnographic research papers, and news sources this paper finds that while cultural and economic factors play heavily into ethnic violence, it is the carrying capacity of political institutions that enable ethnic peace. Better political institutions foster civic trust amongst citizens, and ensure peaceful means for the demonstration of political and economic frustrations.

Surrogate Freedom: Transmitting Democracy to the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc
by Lauren Nelson, '09

While currently relocating to a building away from the center of Prague, since 1995, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) has been headquartered in the former Czechoslovakian parliament building. The former President of Czechoslovakia, Vaclav Havel, invited the radios to move from Munich to Prague and occupy the parliament building for a symbolic dollar a year rent. This gesture of historical irony is especially appropriate in considering the history of international radio broadcasting: a building representative of Communism was converted into the headquarters for radio stations extolling the benefits of democratic media. This symbolic move signifies one of the paradoxes of the twentieth century: the United States, the major financial contributor to RFE/RL, profited from the broadcasting and ideological infrastructure developed by the Soviet Union, and the medium intended to unify and spread Communist goals was ultimately used against the system and contributed to the downfall of the regime. To examine this phenomenon, this paper will consider the beginnings of two forms of broadcasting: early Soviet and post-WWII programming by Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty.

When Is a Terrorist Not a Terrorist?: American and Chinese Media Portrayals of the Chinese Uighur Minority Pre and Post 9/11
by Anna File, '09

Over the past sixty years the Uighur population in China has faced a variety of complex issues, both domestically and internationally. In large part due to their geopolitical positioning as inhabitants of Xinjiang Province as well owing to several issues with their Muslim faith, Uighurs have constantly been at odds with the Communist traditions imposed upon them by the central Chinese government. Not only do problems with their religion affect them nationally, but more recently with the trend towards suspicion of Muslim groups by Westerners, the Uighurs are in a seemingly helpless position. This paper hypothesizes however, that this has not always been the case, and that the politics of 9/11 in particular have changed the tone of articles towards Uighurs in a negative way, especially within American media. In terms of Chinese media coverage, it was originally suggested that Uighurs were always negatively portrayed in newspaper coverage, and that post 9/11, media attacks on Uighurs would become even more aggressive due to the increase in fear that Americans felt towards Muslim fundamentalists as opposed to Communists (a fear that may have been felt by the Chinese towards Muslim fundamentalists as well). As the findings of this paper will later reveal however, an almost opposite approach was discovered after careful observation of related Chinese news articles.