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.
Analyzing spoken, written, visual, or tangible material can offer sophisticated insight into the complexity of social life, understood through analysis of language in its widest sense; it offers ways of investigating meaning, whether in conversation or in culture. The idea of retelling foreign texts may be alien to some cultures, and understanding why, how, and when a particular work was created is essential for understanding the Russian one. In highly censored Russian culture, skepticism is a prerequisite for reading a text in the Soviet era, as it frequently served as an Aesopian hint or an allegory on contemporary issues. “Aesopian language” as a term was first coined by Russian satirist Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin in his Letters to Auntie (1881-1882), in order to designate a “figurative language of slavery”, an “ability to speak between the lines… at a time when literature was in a state of bondage”. The practice of this elusive discourse is investigated in Lev Loseff’s fundamental study, in which he defines Aesopian language as “a special literary system, one whose structure allows interaction between the author and reader at the same time that it conceals inadmissible content from the censor”.1Russian texts written during this time have a tendency to unlock secret meanings, social critique, and political challenges, thus Soviet cultural production can be understood as an act of resistance.
In this study, Polish cultural identity as derived from shared cultural memories is explored. The persistence of a strong Polish cultural identity even throughout a turbulent history is examined during the Soviet era through the analysis of three films, Andrzej Wajda's Ashes and Diamonds, Agnieszka Holland's To Kill a Priest, and Andrzej Wajda's Katyn. Because viewing films can result in the adoption of prosthetic memory which contribute to support of cultural memory, and because the creation of film itself can be considered scriptotherapy, each film is a lens to better understand how reaction to traumas of World War II and adherence to belief in Catholicism have influenced cultural memory and, by extension, Polish cultural identity throughout the period of study.
No copy of this thesis is available.
Approaches to what exactly a fairy tale should accomplish and how it accomplishes it are varied. Nevertheless, however diverse the conclusions of different fairy-tale genre studies may be, they all come to a similar result: a fairy tale is a representation of cultural perspective and understanding that acts as an important socialization tool, whether it teaches its audience how to understand and mitigate basic fears and human functions or reinforces an existing moral and social structure. Maria Tatar, a contemporary folktale and fairy tale scholar, writes that the "staying power" of fairy tales "suggests that they must be addressing issues that have a significant social function" (xi). Tatar also goes on to write that "fairy tales ... develop maps for coping with personal anxieties, family conflicts, social frictions, and the myriad frustrations of everyday life" (xi). In other words, fairy tales at once confront prominent sociocultural issues while simultaneously performing a didactic function for how to contend with the reality of these issues.
Challenges in Migration Policy in Post-Soviet Russia
by Lina Meilus
The goal of this paper is to analyze Russian migration policy in order to understand why migration policy in post-soviet Russia has become inconsistent and ineffective. The problems of Russian migration are significant because they affect the estimated ten million labor migrants currently working in the Russian Federation who suffer from human rights abuses. Migration policy is also significant because the Russian Federation is the main receiver of labor exported from Central Asian states and without a consistent migration policy Russia risks endangering the social and political stability of Central Asia. By combining an analysis of migration policy with research on the nature of the Russian state and a comparative migration analysis, it becomes clear that Russia is still in a state of transition from the Soviet Union. The problems of a transitioning state, such as a lack of state capacity, institutionalization of informal practices and a lack of trust in state institutions, combine with an overarching lack of national identity to prevent effective policy from being realized.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.