UW Undergraduate Research Program

<<< URP Home

Students in Research
See more URP photos!

URP Advising

Creative Commons License
The Undergraduate Research Program website, created by the Undergraduate Research Program at the University of Washington, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Permissions beyond the scope of this license are available at exp.washington.edu/urp/about/rights.html

The Summer Institute in the Arts & Humanities

Students - 2009 Summer Institute

Shifting Empire: Critical Imperial Studies in the Americas and Beyond

Eighth Annual Summer Institute in the Arts and Humanities
An Intensive Introduction to Scholarly Research for Undergraduates

June 22nd - August 21st, 2009

Julia Abelev, Philosophy & Political Science

This Institute will be my formal introduction to the humanities. I have always studied imperialism from the perspective of power and national interest, so I look forward to taking a new approach. I hope that by the end of the summer I will have a deeper understanding of how imperialism shapes culture, popular psyches and national identity. My intellectual interests include: international security, law, metaphysics, philosophy of religion and political philosophy. When I am not studying, I spend time with my family, entertain my two pet birds and read as much as I can.

Alizeh Bhojani, International Studies & French

I love the absurd. Anything out of the ordinary or simply ridiculous will always stick in my brain (such as the Defenestration of Prague which started the Thirty Years War). I read road signs while walking, and love funny typos on menus. In my spare time, I love reading webcomics (XKCD!), picknicking at the beach and adventuring into the world of exotic cuisine.

Mikail Blyth, Geography

My interest lies in the changing roles of non-western cities in global networks, specifically as they try to emulate western patterns of development in order to market themselves to the international economy. I am interested in the lived economic geographies of the people these cities (attempts at embodied and localized knowledge of their lives); as well as how the adoption of financial liberalization, the development of free economic zones, changing roles of state and urban governance, and the attraction of foreign investment changes the intraurban spatial patterns of the city. Additionally, my research is colored by my fascination with crisis economics/disaster capitalism, critical GIS/cartographies, and feminist geography. My favorite scholars include: Saskia Sassen, Neil Brenner, Hille Koskela, Jason Hackworth, David Harvey, Ankie Hoogvelt, and Manuel Castells.

Sarah Borsic, Classics

I met my true love early on in my university career, upon opening a Latin textbook and diving headfirst into ancient grammar. It was only days before I couldn’t understand how people spoke without the elegant logic of the Latin case system–or later, without the artistry of ancient Greek, so much of which cannot be translated for its richness. In addition to the beauty of its grammar, the field of Classics encompasses years of history, and great works of literature, a rich and fascinating mythology, as well as rather juicy tidbits about certain ancient public figures. Time and again while studying it I have been struck not only by the ancients’ foreign languages and customs, but by their thoughts about life and love, war and society, religion and morals, and how relevant these are today. When not poring over ancient texts (the praises of Ovid cannot be sung highly enough), I spend my time browsing feminist blogs, bargain hunting on the Ave, and overanalyzing popular media.

Christopher Santo Domingo Chan , Anthropology & Comparative History of Ideas

Seattle taught me how to walk. I'm a senior in anthropology and CHID. I'm interested in interrogating culture and its sites of production and representation, particularly popular culture- film, music, television, and other media. My research employs modern, post-Freudian phychoanalysis in the reading of texts as the symptomatic reverberations of cultural traumas. I'm also curious about anthroplogical approaches to history, language, and discourse, and in the transmission of these themes into artistic or literary production, youth culture, and elsewhere. When I'm not jabbering on about these things, I'm probably enjoying a nice meal with wine al fresco, wasting my youth inside coffee shops, advocating for community mental health resources, or indulding in the ethnography everywhere.

Camille Elmore , Communication & Comparative History of Ideas

I am a graduating senior in the Department of Communication and the Comparative History of Ideas program. The work that I do in cultural studies is rooted in illuminating and liberating others. I am personally invested in, and committed to dismantling racism, sexism, and homophobia while appropriating difference - an act of bringing those who are commonly marginalized to the front and center. I am most interested in epistemological research - a process that allows one to insert themselves into their work and into theory. My research interests include critical mixed race/multiracial studies, Black cultural studies, race and gender performance, and anti-racist pedagogy/movements. I am intrigued by the idea of intersectionality and wish to explore the ways in which our identitie(s) are constantly constructed, manipulated and consumed depending on which spaces we occupy in the world.

Nester Tupufia Enguerra Jr. , Philosophy & Political Science

Hester Goodwin, History

My name is Hester Goodwin. I am 20 years old, and a senior in History. I am originally from Indiana and Illinois, but moved to Seattle when I was nine years old. When I got into UW I decided to major in history because it had always been an interest of mine, and the more classes I took the more I enjoyed it! I especially love the study of the American West, because of how so many different cultural, jurisdictional, environmental and popular issues have intersected (and continue to intersect) here. Now I am graduating in August, and hope to go to graduate school in 2010 for a Ph.D. in history. When I'm not studying (which is rarely—I am working on setting up a tent in Odegaard) I enjoy reading, sports, crime dramas, hiking, camping, being terrible at riding my bike, and fashion.

Calla Hummel, International Studies

I am a Seattle native returning from my first year anywhere else (São Paulo, Brazil) with a critical, sometimes-cynical-sometimes-optimistic view of myself, my university, and my country. Through the Institute, I hope to develop an economic anthropology project that uses Brazilian academic perspectives to analyze my fieldwork in order to critique US institutions and the disproportionate power that we write into bilateral and multilateral (trade?) agreements. The ultimate goal of this project is to figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life.

Allexa Laycock , Comparative History of Ideas & Dance

I am in my first year at the UW and am currently majoring in CHID and dance. I am excited to have this research opportunity in my first year at college. I have been a dancer since age three and am always looking for a way to incorporate creativity into my intellectual aspirations; I also strive to be exposed to multiple disciplines and utilize different perspectives as my education progresses. Whether it is through dance, writing, filmmaking or other creative incorporations, my purpose is to expand my ability to think and create expressions that reflect my continuing synthesis. I grew up around Seattle, but am fervently interested in other cultures and ways of thought and I hope to be able to take my education abroad. I revel in new opportunities that challenge my accepted modes of thought. I think it is extremely important to realize the concepts out of which thought processes, knowledge and information stem from and I aim to analyze the self-evident in my education.

Rebecca Mark, English

I am happily an English major, yet I admit there are times I just wish I was good at math. I know that there are stigmas surrounding my discipline: we're poor, we're fluff. We may be in utter disarray but chaos is a magnificent place to begin. Born from this primordial soup of the humanities, I have come to realize that criticism is also an art, though perhaps more subtle in its presentation, and thus it demands imagination and respect for beauty. I find tremendous hope, at times overriding the sadness and anger, in those cultural productions that are made out of the context of empire. And while I do not know the exact nature of my research, be sure that I will treat it with as much grace and intricacy that I can marshal. In my spare time you can find me dancing (with abandon) and playing tennis (without any skill whatsoever.)

Brittney Patterson, Economics & Anthropology

I come from a diverse background. My parents are of African American, Irish, and Native American descent. My family reunions are colorful, with Aunts and Uncles from Palau to cousins with Native American heritage. As a young child I realized that I was extremely different from my classmates. I was semi-ashamed of my background because I felt different and that I never fit in. My own confliction caused me to become incredibly interested in race, identity, and structures that re-enforce cultural misunderstanding. In my research I like to focus on the socio-economic, political, and social constructs of African Diasporic dances in South America and the Caribbean. Currently I am focusing my research on Bachata, a dance and music style from the Dominican Republic. This dance interests me particularly because of its marginalization in the Dominican class system and its association with racism. I hope in the future that I will be able to expand my research and teach others about the cultural implications of dance and its importance in our everyday lives.

Martha Flores Perez , English: Creative Writing & Spanish and Latin American Studies

My English Honors Thesis is titled, "Representations in Latino Visual-Literal Culture" and it was about analyzing and interpreting the works of graphic novels and comic books by Latino artists. I hope to expand that thesis by focusing specifically on the Latino-Caribbean identity by looking at how the political structures have been portrayed and how have people from those regions responded. My family is from Mexico and El Salvador and I grew up in Seattle with my parents, my two lovely sisters and some pets (including my long ago rabbits- Andres, Carrots, and Jorge- and my current pet hamster- Lalo). I enjoy hanging out, visiting new places, writing, dancing, cooking, doing journalism assignments and riding my bike. for this summer I hope to read a lot, take my GRE test and finish kitting a scarf for my friend.

Paul Radakovich, Comparative History of Ideas

My name is Paul. I’m a senior in the Comparative History of Ideas Department focusing on a study of colonialism. Last fall quarter my CHID counselor informed me about the Undergraduate Research Programs in the Arts and Humanities. After finding out that the subject of this years Undergraduate Research Program is “Imperial Studies in the Americas and Beyond”, I immediately applied. I’m honored to have been chosen for such a great opportunity for research that parallels my academic interests. Upon completion of my Undergrad, I am aspiring to continue my graduate education in imperial and colonial studies.

Matthew Reed , International Studies

I am interested in my positionality to various ideas and experiences. I do not simply refer to my position with the machine (University of Washington), but also my position within webs of relationships that provide a rich environment for maturation, but also defines and limits my agency and space. Yet, despite the seemingly boundless structure of relations I've described, I think its important to recognize changes and differences that redefine and reimagine individual and group positionality within space. I hope my research challenges the various colonial and imperial tendencies that scholarly work reproduces. In contrast, I hope my research indicts how empire is reproduced in the everyday, and highlights ways to address and move beyond the injustices produced by empire.

Christopher Shulz, International Studies

Andrew Schwartz , International Studies

Life is really just a lot of fun! Once, when I was atop a mountain in Southern Utah, I saw someone I knew. I think that says a lot about what I like to do and how I do it; namely meeting people and going on adventures. Currently, I am working on a project that explores the varying ways culture produces divergent interpretations of ownership in regards to the body. In other words, where does the Self lay claim to our experienced lives? To the soul, the flesh, or the skin? My research for the Summer Institute will explore the way an El Salvadorian immigrant gang in Los Angeles, La Mara Salvatrucha (aka MS13), fashions the body via tattoos to articulate an identity centered around war, migration, and the everyday challenge to power that seeks to exclude their presence. By doing fieldwork in Los Angeles over the summer and through the Jackson School of Inernational Studies Honors program, I hope to develop a compelling thesis that explores identity politics, biopower, and subaltern strategies of survival.

Maggie Wollman , Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations

What started out as a facination with Arabic calligraphy became a full-blown engagement with language and culture after spending three months in Morocco. This passion has since followed me on a somewhat circuitous path, but has directed me back to school after a three-year hiatus. I'm incredibly grateful to be back again, and to be pursuing my academic interests fulltime. I can't wait to see in what direction the Summer Institute will take me: I can only hope to complicate my knowledge of the Near East with a better idea of how US imperialism has shaped our interaction with the region... oh yea, and I love ice cream.

Mandy Yu, Comparative History of Ideas

Leah Zajac , International Studies

I am a 24 year-old Jackson School student, slated to graduate after nearly nine years of intermittent higher education. Having done justice work from the age of 13, I am now interested in how philosophies of geography provide critical lenses with which to examine neoliberal globalization, the politics of gender, state and embodied securities and the subaltern. I am constantly preoccupied with my love of dance, bikes and hopping trains.