Student Honors Papers

The Student Honors Papers collection represents exemplary work in anthropology and sociology 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.

Native American Projectile Points: What Stories Can They Tell Us?
by Katelyn S. Scott

Native American Projectile Points are ubiquitous throughout the United States and have been an important icon of indigenous peoples of North America and their past. This paper explores what projectile points can tell us about the people who made and used them, the history of collecting projectile points, and the challenges associated with projectile point research and collection management. The focus of this research is a collection of Native American projectile points in the Tate Archives and Special Collections in The Ames Library at Illinois Wesleyan University. In addition, the paper also describes the process used to catalog the collection, the many complications encountered throughout the cataloging process, and the display created on the first floor of The Ames Library at IWU in order to showcase and educate the public about the projectile point collection.

From the Philippines to The Field Museum: A Study of Ilongot (Bugkalot) Personal Adornment
by Sarah E. Carlson

Abstract: The Philippine Collection at The Field Museum contains over 10,000 objects, including hundreds of objects of personal adornment. As an intern at The Field Museum in the summer of 2012, I got to experience the collection first-hand and began examining six ornaments from the Ilongot peoples of the Philippines. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Ilongot wore ornaments to visually communicate social meaning about themselves, their villages, and their relationships. The Ilongot were a headhunting society with fearsome warriors who beheaded their enemies. These hunters wore delicately crafted earrings and headdresses to mark their masculinity and skill. Ornaments further marked the strength and importance of alliances and trading agreements and visibly demonstrated their wearers’ social standing, wealth, and cultural power at ceremonies. When collectors carried the objects from the Philippines to The Field Museum, they unavoidably projected their own cultural constructions onto the objects. In this way, the historical context and racial climate of the collecting culture is an important component in understanding the stories these objects have to tell. In addition, the ways museums choose to use and display the objects places further constructions upon them. Museums must practice active engagement both with members of the culture that produced the objects and with museum visitors to display the meaning that objects can communicate.

Singing to the Spirits: Cultural and Spiritual Traditions Embodied in the Native American Gourd Dance
by Alicia M. Gummess

In this paper, I provide a brief overview of the history and practice of the Native American Gourd Dance, a traditional ceremony integrating music and dance practiced by Gourd Dance societies in Southern Oklahoma. I examine the reasons behind its popularity and spread to other regions of North America, including the Southwest and the Northern Plains. Gourd Dance performances usually occur in the context of larger ceremonial gatherings called pow wows, in which Native American communities hold dances to celebrate their values and practice their religious beliefs and cultural traditions. Pow wows feature many traditional and more modern Native American dances, including War Dance, Omaha Dance, and Fancy Dance. The Gourd Dance usually precedes any other events on the program, including the Grand Entry, a ceremonial procession into the pow wow arena or circle made by veterans, dancers, and head members of the pow wow committee. Gourd Dance occupies a separate place in the schedule due in part to the fact that it has an entire body, or "repertoire," of songs specific only to the Gourd Dance. At the heart of its dissemination is its accessibility to anyone who wishes to learn how to perform it. The songs and customs of the Gourd Dance communicate spiritual and cultural values that have a rich and vibrant place in the traditional life of Native Americans.

Filling a House with Meaning: The Construction of a Chicago Housing Cooperative
by Laura Hones

A housing cooperative is a non-profit form of housing tenure that has been a feature of American university campuses since the 1930s. Living in a co-op allows members the benefits of low rent, a close-knit social group, and democratic control of their living space. Unlike communes, however, members do not typically share income or unite around a particular ideology. This paper is the result of ethnographic research of one such house, Haymarket House of Qumbya Housing Cooperative in Hyde Park, Chicago. In 1988 the founders of Haymarket established its methods of structuring everyday life on principles of socialism, egalitarianism, and environmentalism. Since then, as residents have come and gone, the community has shifted away from its politically-charged origins, though members are still conscious of the political implications of their everyday life. This article seeks to understand the character of people’s lived experience with co-op living and the relationships of the people of Haymarket to the ideologies “built in” to their everyday practices. Though ethnographic research revealed that members differ in their attitudes about the concepts of utopia and intentional community, they share a desire to live differently than their neighbors, and Haymarket allows them a space to imagine alternatives.

Perceptions of the Underrepresentation of Women in Agriculture and Motives for Movement into the Industry
by Jennifer Long

In the U.S., agriculture has historically been a male-dominated industry. Women have been underrepresented in agriculture even as they have played important roles on and off the farm. In the last 25 years, however, women have been moving into agriculture and increasing their visibility in positions on and off the farm even in light of structural changes to agriculture and environmental concerns. Learning motives for moves into the industry can help supply information about the changing roles of women in agriculture and help determine whether agricultural trends follow other occupational trends. Giving a voice to women that have been underrepresented can help them continue to alter the roles expected of them and policies can be developed to support them. An in-depth literature review and 16 in-depth interviews were conducted in the Midwest region of the United States. Twelve interviewees had roles on the farm, 7 women had roles off the farm, and 3 women had roles on and off the farm. It was found that women have been underrepresented for a number of reasons including the social construction of gender, patriarchal households, documentation issues, cultural and familial changes. Regardless, women are changing the roles expected of them and opportunities are increasing, especially in the sustainable agriculture, locavore and local food movement. Agriculture does not follow the occupational trends of women moving into male-dominated industries and women have multiple reasons for moving into the industry. Technical and social barriers women experience when they enter agriculture have been overcome with networking.

Addressing the Elephant in the Room: Understanding the Daily Life of Undocumented Latino High School Youth
by Sylvia E. Rusin

The 1.5 generation are the undocumented students who were born abroad and were brought to the United States by their parents at an early age. Many of these children came here during the population boom in the 1990’s and are now teenagers or in their mid 20’s. As they are finishing high school, nearly all of them are confused about their post-secondary options because of their undocumented status. The IL Dream Act, passed in 2011, qualifies undocumented youth to pay in-state tuition when attending public universities in Illinois and provides trained counselors who are aware of the college options and post-secondary resources for undocumented youth. However, this research shows that counselors may still be confused and unaware of the resources for their undocumented students, and about the struggles of their daily lives. This study intends to discover what school staff in McLean County know about the everyday life of their undocumented students and what kinds of post-secondary resources (available through the IL Dream Act) are being recommended to this unique group of students.

Talking Masturbation: Men, Women, and Sexuality through Playful Discourse
by Geoffrey Evans-Grimm

This study seeks to understand the relationship between talking about masturbation and masturbation as an everyday practice in the United States. This essay is arranged in terms of a number of overlapping sections that converge to offer a clearer interpretive context for a discussion of the results of the questionnaire and interview data. The first part of my essay is an attempt to make sense of the cultural history and to situate conceptions about masturbation and attempts to regulate it up to present day. Then, as a gendered talk, it is necessary to engage in a theoretical discussion of gender and gendered knowledge, which integrate all of the arguments in the paper. Before finally discussing my own data, I will review the work of other scholars that have studied masturbation and sex talk in the U.S.

Cuba for Cubans? Contradictions in Cuban Development Since 1990
by Martin Carriel

Not long ago, eighty-five percent of Cuban trade was conducted through the the Soviet Union's Council of Mutual Economic Assistance and the US maintained a strict economic embargo. Today, most Cuban trade is conducted with countries as diverse as Venezuela, China, and Canada, and despite the economic embargo, the US is the largest source of food for Cuba. The fall of the USSR in the early 90s forced Cuba into restructuring its trade, with widespread repercussions throughout Cuban economic, political and social systems and the ideology behind them. World-systems theory offers a theoretical framework that allows an understanding of the transition of Cuban society within an international, national, and ideological context. Contradictions in key areas of Cuban policy are specific manifestations of general contradictions in the capitalist world-economy.

A Web of Connections: The Role of Social Capital and Trust in the Formation of Virtual Organizations
by Paige Erin E. Maynard

Many community based agencies engage in collaboration in order to solve community problems no one organization can accomplish on its own. One such form of collaboration is the virtual organization. A virtual organization is an organization that relies on multi-party, co-operative agreements between structural, temporal, and sometimes geographic boundaries. Looking narrowly at virtual organizations on the community level is one approach which allows for better understanding of why and how community based collaboration takes place. The objective of this research is to examine the extent to which virtual organizations are utilized by community agencies while simultaneously understanding the role both social capital and trust play in the formation of these organizations. By surveying human service agencies in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois, both qualitative and quantitative data were collected on virtual organizations that exist in this community. Both social capital and trust appear to be two of the driving forces in the formation of virtual organizations across social service agencies. This research seeks to better understand virtual organizations as well as the associated successes and failures.

Coping with Forest Fragmentation: A Comparison of Colobus angolensis palliatus dietary diversity and behavioral plasticity in the East Sagara Forest, Tanzania.
by Noah T. Dunham

Habitat destruction and forest fragmentation are perhaps the largest threats to primate species around the world. While national parks, games reserves, and primate sanctuaries are instrumental in primate conservation, research suggests that some non-governmentally protected forest fragments may also serve as viable habitats for primates. Of course not all primates respond to fragmentation in the same way, but a species’ ability to survive in a fragment relates to 1) home range size 2) degree of frugivory 3) dietary flexibility and behavioral plasticity and 4) ability to utilize matrix habitats. Here I describe these variables in relation to black and white colobus monkeys while focusing on dietary and behavioral plasticity. In general, black and white colobus monkeys seem well adapted to cope with forest fragmentation compared to other primate species because of their small home ranges, predominantly folivorous diets, and dietary and behavioral flexibility. For 15 days during October and November 2009, I observed two troops of Colobus angolensis palliatus in a small encroached forest fragment in the Western Usambara Mountains of northeastern Tanzania. Utilizing past studies from Preston (2002), Fox (2004), Heinen (2006), and Olsen (2007), this study monitors behavioral changes in terms of activity budgets and feeding effort to analyze stress levels associated with fragmentation. Furthermore, this study explores black and white colobus monkey dietary diversity in terms of tree species and selection ratios. This study suggests Colobus angolensis palliatus exhibit remarkable dietary diversity and may be altering their behavior to cope with increasing food scarcity over time. These characteristics likely contribute to primates’ ability to persist in this forest fragment.