Anthropology

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.

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.

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.

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.

Forced Migration and Accumulation by Dispossesion: A Suggested Model for Understanding Mexican Immigration

by Alejandro Monzón

The phenomenon of migration is best viewed as a general dichotomy between voluntary and forced migration. The following study pertains to the latter....[and] is divided into four sections. Section I is an outline and critique of conventional theories of migration which include neoclassical/neoliberal theory, new economics of labor migration (NELM), segmented labor market theory, social capital theory and world systems analysis. Included in this section is also a review and defense of the recent reconceptualizations of forced migration. Section II develops the framework of capital logic that creates forced migration. As a nuanced contribution to World Systems analysis of migration, I will highlight three Marxian concepts that dialectically constitute forced migration: expanded reproduction, the global reserve army and accumulation by dispossession. Section III looks at the relevance of aforementioned concepts in modern and contemporary Mexican history. Section IV is an analysis of the in-depth interviews I undertook with eleven Mexican nationals in Bloomington-Normal. I will highlight specific aspects of their experiences in order to expose first hand the injustices and complexities of forced migration. I then offer concluding remarks and ideas for social change. I will emphasize not only that migration is a human right, but also that there should be a right not to migrate: that is, alternative development-development on people's own terms-is the necessary prescription to cease forced migration. Accordingly, I will bring attention to what migrants themselves affirm regarding what is to be done.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Access and Innovation: A Study of Two NGO Schools in North India

by Christy Ivie, '09

Using data collected from two NGO schools in North India, this study presents two case studies that will shed some light on how NGOs in India are increasing access and innovation in the primary education system. By comparing and contrasting the two organizations, this study will also highlight the diversity of NGOs involved in primary education in India. Instead of making broad generalizations about the role and contributions of NGOs in primary education in India, this study aims to provide perspectives on two different organizations and raise questions about NGO schooling in India.