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.

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.

Surveillance and Foucault: Examining the Validity of Foucault's Notions Concerning Surveillance through a Study of the United States and the United Kingdom
by Sharif Shawki, '09

Once the new surveillance systems become institutionalized and taken for granted in a democratic society, they can be used for harmful ends. With a more repressive government and a more intolerant public-perhaps upset over severe economic downturns, large waves of immigration, social dislocations, or foreign policy setbacks-these same devices easily could be used against those with the 'wrong' political beliefs, against racial, ethnic, or religious minorities, and against those with life-styles that offend the majority.

The Evolution of Hominid Bipedalism
by Michael J. Friedman '06

Paleoanthropologists mark the divergence between apes and hominids with the adaptation ofbipedalism five to six million years ago. In this paper, I argue that while the first upright hominids occurred in this time frame, the process ofbecoming a fully efficient biped took much longer and was not complete until Homo erectus at 1.8 million years ago. To provide context to the puzzle ofhow and why our ancestors evolved upright walking, I examine many of the prevailing theories ofbipedal origins, including the aquatic ape hypothesis, the heat hypothesis, and the carrying hypothesis.

"Loss of Estrus" and Concealed Ovulation in Human Evolution: A Reevaluation.
by Joshua S. Wagener '06

Accounts ofhuman evolution tend to highlight a number ofsignificant characteristics as critical in defining humanity including bipedalism (Jolly 1970, Lovejoy 1981, Wheeler 1984), enlarged brains (Falk 1990, Foley 1996), hairlessness (Morris 1963, Schwartz and Rosenblum 1980), and language (pinker and Bloom 1990, Dunbar 1996). Less frequently, scholars have focused on the unique aspects of human sexuality. In this paper, I seek to demonstrate that sexual swellings are not the norm among alloprimates and that the prevailing absence ofestrus among female humans is better viewed as a derived trait which is no more unique than that of any other primate. As such, I would argue, current theories of the"loss" of human estrus should be reevaluated.

Serving Sophomore Students
by Jessica S. Lothman '06

College sophomores have been deemed "invisible students." This label is the result of a combination of issues students typically face during their sophomore year. Problems include: integration into social networks, declaration of a major, decisions regarding study abroad and/or internships, and disenchantment with the university, among others. A review of survey data reveals that sophomores at Illinois Wesleyan University are no different and face all of these problems. In addition to the above, sophomores at Illinois Wesleyan University have some expectations of the University that are not being met, such as course availability, adequacy of food service, and advising. These combined forces are resulting directly in attrition of some sophomores from the university. This project aims to justify and design a program that would address both universal and specific issues for sophomores at Illinois Wesleyan University. By studying programs in place at other universities and surveying Illinois Wesleyan University students, I will propose recommendations to Illinois Wesleyan University which may effectively address sophomore-specific concerns.

A Preliminary Evaluation of Heartland Head Start
by Michelle Uhlenkott '05

Head Start, a federally funded preschool program for low-income families, works to nurture the children academically, socially, and nutritionally. In the past couple of years social critics and the federal government have begun questioning the efforts of Head Start, arguing that the children in the program do not progress enough in academic areas for the money spent on them. Heartland Head Start, the local chapter which manages thirteen preschool classrooms and 325-330 children annually, is mandated by the federal government to observe and test the children three times per year on multiple indicators to monitor their academic progress. This study, in collaboration with Heartland Head Start, evaluated their program using data collected over the years of 2002-2003, 2003-2004, and the fall of 2004. The data were used to evaluate the academic progress of the children between the different years and within the 2003-2004 year, and to review the effect of the children's native language and age on their progress in the 2003-2004 year. An analysis of the data highlighted the academic areas where the children excelled and the areas that were still problematic for them.

Beyond the Bun: An Ethnographic Examination of the Meanings and Significance of Hair in Samoa
by Laura Myford '05

This paper examines the meanings and significance ofhair in Samoa, with focuses on hair length, color and texture, and style in Samoa, from both historical and contemporary perspectives. Data has been gathered from interviews, observations, and surveys, and is presented in an ethnographic format. Examined in depth is the topic of the tuiga, the Samoan ceremonial headdress, with an emphasis on its changing construction and usage in contemporary Samoa. The subject ofhair and tourism in Samoa is another focus, specifically how Samoans are portrayed in literature produced to attract travelers to Samoa. Also discussed are the teine sa, or spirit women of Samoa, and how and why the threat ofrepercussions for going against social norms relating to hair affect Samoans today. In conclusion, the effects of increasing influence from New Zealand, Australia and the USA on Samoans are discussed in terms of consequences for hair, visible markers in Samoa in relation to hair, and implications for the future in Samoa.