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ANTHROPOLOGY SENIOR PROJECTS
Diedra K. Cates: "Family Reaffirmation and Dyadic Belonging: The Effects of Globalization and Transnational Adoption on Korean-American Adoptees in the Willamette Valley" Since 1953, over 150 million South Korean children have been adopted by American families. This ethnography will explore the experiences of those who were adopted through Holt International Children’s Services in the Willamette Valley and are a part of a transracial family. I intend to unravel the ways in which Korean-American adoptees are affected by globalization; the state of public/governmental discourse on international adoption; the way transracial families reaffirm the validity of their socially constructed families; and finally, how Korean-American adoptees address their dyadic identity. By examining these themes this project will illustrate the interdependency of all processes, institutions, and individuals.
Katy Ahlvin: "The Burden of the Kayayei: Cultural and Socio-economic Difficulties Facing Female Porters in Agbogbloshie" This paper explores the experiences of Ghanaian migrant girl porters known as Kayayei who have been driven by economic and other hardships from their home region in the Northern part of the country to the capital city Accra. I describe some of the specific circumstances that drive these teenage girls to the city, and the challenges they face in the urban informal Ghanaian economy. As participant-observer of one group of Kayeyei during my AHA internship, I discuss preliminary findings of my of observations of the cultural and social world inhabited by these marginalized girls, mainly from their personal narratives.
Raven Graham: "Constructing Identities: Native American Music in the 21st Century" Music is a cultural phenomenon. It has increased in popularity, number of genres, and range of distribution during the 20th and 21st centuries. Concurrently, Native American musicians have been incorporating these new genres into their culture and making contributions to the musical field. As modern music is integrated into their cultures, how do Native Americans perceive their musical identities and how are they constructed? Although Native American music is gradually becoming an entertainment art form on the media circuit, it still reminds current generations of their ancestors and heritage, and expresses Native pride.
Susan Hicks: "'Til Death Do Us Part: Examining Relationships among Oregon Department of Revenue Property Tax Retirees" Previous studies have examined what circumstances, qualities, and activities lead to a positive transition and adjustment to retirement, by focusing on the individual and not the preretirement work group. This research project examines the experiences of members of a social group of retirees of the Property Tax Division of the Oregon Department of Revenue, who appear to have transitioned from the work group to retirement quite well. Through surveys, participant-observation, and informal conversations, my research adds to the aspect of a collective identity from a shared work history to the body of work on what leads to a successful, fulfilling retirement.
Lauren Bowden: "A Thriving Social Tradition: Modern American Consumerism and the Quilting Tradition in the Willamette Valley" According to the traditional household and gender divisions of labor, a major occupation for women in the United States for over two hundred years has been the craft of quiltmaking. Drawing on anthropological insights of the cultural perspective of commodities and interviews I will conduct with women quilters in the Willamette Valley, this study will explore the effects of mass production and consumerism on the contemporary quilting industry and its evolution over the past fifty years. It will examine the reasons lying behind the continuous survival of this tradition to understand what role quiltmaking plays in the larger U.S. society.
Lisa Catto: "Mortuary Archaeology: Studying Human Remains is Still Necessary in the 21st Century" This thesis argues that mortuary archaeology is still an important area of research to understand the past. We can learn a great deal from human remains, material remains associated with graves, funerary practices and cemetery organization, about nutrition, pathology, religious beliefs, ritual practices, kinship and social organization. This information could prove useful in modern circumstances, to understand how past societies dealt with challenges that continue to confront humanity. To gain direct evidence from human remains, it is vital that archaeologists act ethically, work with descendant populations, and limit excavations to graves endangered by erosion, construction, looting, or natural disaster.
Samantha Dunkel: "Religion versus Evolution: American Museum Representation of Two Ideologies." Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species (1859) initiated heated debate over the scientific basis of evolutionary theory and the validity of Creationism. In the United States, the controversy has taken on ideological meaning, generating much literature and public discourse. This study examines two museums in the Pacific Northwest that play opposing roles, promoting either evolution or creationist ideologies in the public sphere. I draw insights from anthropological debates on representation and interviews I conducted with museum staff and patrons to show how the museum may serve as a site for ideological education of the public.
Laura Gage: "Born American, Becoming Irish: Imagined Dual Identities." In the United States, much attention has been focused on the border-crossing experience of Latin American immigrants, to the neglect of immigrants such as the Irish and Italians who are assumed to be absorbed into the melting pot of U.S. culture. Drawing on fieldwork conducted among Irish Americans in the U.S., this study will demonstrate that the American Irish are also responding to globalization by reimagining and reclaiming their ethnic identity, culture and heritage. I draw on Anderson’s insights of imagined communities to explain why descendants of Irish immigrants are becoming dual citizens of the U.S. and Republic of Ireland.
Ashley Sexton: "Teen Pregnancy on the Rise in Willamina: Seeking to Understand a Rural Oregon Town’s Predicament" About 7 percent of all pregnancies in the United States occur among teenage girls (15-19 years old), the highest teen pregnancy rate among industrialized countries worldwide. In Oregon, the rate is 5.7 percent, with rural areas hovering between 6 and 7 percent. This ethnographic study examines teen pregnancy in the rural town of Willamina, Oregon, where the number is startlingly high. I conducted participant-observation in the community for three months, asking individuals “what is influencing the high rate,” and “how it can be lowered?” This study also sheds light on the costs to society of teen pregnancy.
Katherine Tremont: "The Mycenaean Footprint: Environmental Impact in Late Bronze Age Greece" This research project examines the environmental impact of the Mycenaean culture in the Messenian region of Greece during the Late Bronze Age, focusing on four areas of impact: habitat destruction and loss of biodiversity, agriculture and removal of ground cover, expanding settlement and urbanization, and growth of administrative hierarchies and complex societies. Archaeological data from Messenia and other areas of Greece are used to reconstruct the environmental impact during that time. This project finds that even in the Late Bronze Age, there was significant human impact in all four areas used for assessment. With this project, I hope to encourage further research in environmental archaeology, especially within the context of classical cultures, and assist in providing insight about environmental changes in the present.
Joy Charron: "The Working Child: Industrialization and Child Labor at the Thomas Kay Woolen Mill" Using information gathered from the Thomas Kay Woolen Mill and archival sources, I designed and executed an exhibit on how child labor has changed throughout history in American textile factories and how American corporations are connected to the issue today. The exhibit itself is a means to present the issue of child labor to those who view it and also an example of how to give the issue exposure and educate the public. Views on child labor have shifted between the rise of the textile industry and industrialization and the present day.
Mat Davila: "Uncovering New Philadelphia: Communicating the Relevance of History through Archaeology." An archaeological study of a blacksmith shop refuse pile uncovered in 2006 at the New Philadelphia, Illinois townsite. This study investigates the artifacts resulting from the preliminary excavation of the blacksmith shop at New Philadelphia through the use of documentary and ethnoarchaeological data. It is the goal of this project to illustrate with greater depth, the technology and behavior that created the artifacts in the refuse pile, as an effort to aid further excavation.
Mary Wright: "Rescuing 911: Adrift in a Sea of Stress, Staffing and Conflicting Identities" Across the United States, 911 emergency call centers are confronted with myriad problems including chronic understaffing and difficulty retaining qualified personnel. Stress from exposure to critical incidents or excessive overtime is often presumed as the cause for employee burnout. However, this paper argues that within routine calls are hidden conflict zones within which public safety communicators struggle with amorphous and conflicting identities. This paper examines the identity switches occurring during actual calls from the different groups using emergency dispatch services through sociolinguistic analysis of different language registers and patterns of thought.
Amy Franzen: "Colonias and Crayons: An Anthropological Study of Childrens Futures in Ladrillera, a colonia in a U.S.-Mexico Border Town." An anthropological study of families and their children in the colonia of Ladrillera, located in the U.S.-Mexico border town of Agua Prieta, Sonora, based on field research conducted during the summer of 2007 while taking part in WOUs first ever U.S.-Mexico border field school. This paper utilizes the theories of underdevelopment and dependency to help us understand the experiences of children and families and examines the cultural, economic, and systemic causes of their current plight in the poorer and underdeveloped neighborhoods of the city.
Jesus Zarate: "Sitting with a SMILE." My research demonstrates that the continuous need for positive social environment is necessary for the treatment success of renal failure patients. This research proposes that the distinctive networks of each patient has an effect on the social atmosphere of the clinic itself and finally on the holistic health of the patients. The benefit of this paper is to address the importance of a positive social networking and to make this knowledge available.
Nicole Juergeson: "Making Homes Out
of RVs: Alternative Housing in Rural Southern Oregon." An exploratory ethnographic
project will identify why low-income families in Grants Pass use RVs as a form
of alternative housing and how they create a sense of home in those RVs.
Megin Ellis: "Inclusion or Exclusion: A Museums Search for Balance Between Social Classes." Megin's internship at the Jekyll Island Museum provided an opportunity to explore the relationship between the elite, exclusive club culture commemorated by the museum and the community that visits the present day, publically-owned recreation area. Summer 2006.
Rachel Freel: "Ancient Pompeii: A City of Continuous Change. " While working as an excavation team member with the University of Bradford's Anglo-American Project in Pompeii, Rachel investigated how the city's economic and social life changed over the centuries before its destruction. Summer 2006.
Nini Callan: "Mt. Angel Monastery and the Ecology of Migration."
Christopher S. Harker: "Battle Scars: Pain and Ritual in Contemporary American Tattooing." Ethnographic research among tatoo artists and wearers in Salem and Portland focuses on aspects of the tattooing ritual that create a sense of community. Summer 2005.
Heather Maxwell: "Identity Creation in Skateboarders." Ethnographic research among frequenters of the Newberg Skate Park explores the creation of identity in members of the skater community with a focus on dimensions of leisure time, space, gender, and consumption. Summer and fall 2005.
Erica Meyer: "Art Harvest and the Creation of Community." Participant observation and interviews with artists during the Yamhill County Art Harvest Studio Tour exploring the impact of the tour on the lives and reputations of the artists and on the bonds among members of the community. Summer and fall 2005.
William Tornquist: "An Exploratory Study of Retirement: A Transition into Retirement." Explores the ritual and process of moving from work to retirement as a new social phenomenon. Why do people stop working and how well do they adjust to this new phase of life? Based on six months of participant observation on communities of retirees in three different states. Spring and summer 2004.
Melissa Boettcher: "The Expansion of the genus Homo into the Southern Iberian Peninsula during the Plio-Pleistocene: Interpretations Supporting an Early European Occupation." Dr. Joseph Gibert Clols has been excavating two areas in the southeast region of Spain since 1979 with his son Dr. Luis Gibert Beotas. The first location is Orce where there are several sites that the Gibert's have been excavating for signs of early human occupation. They have found four human bone fragments, cut marks on fossils, and Oldowan tool assemblages. The second site, Cueva Victoria, has been excavated since 1984. It has yielded a rich record of the fauna during the early Pleistocene period 1.2 mya. The Gibert's are proposing an early expansion of the species Homo occurred from Africa into the southeast region of Spain around 1.8- 1.2 mya.
Peter LaDuke: "Tools of the Bering Straight Region: Enhancing the Value of a Museum Collection." I conducted this research to increase my knowledge ofthe Bering Strait Region and to enhance the collection of tools at the Jensen Arctic Museum. I studied a tool collection at the Jensen Arctic Museum consisting of 243 tools: ulus, adzes, awls, and drills. I worked with each
tool individually taking down object name, identification number, tool location, material, condition, description, weight, measurements, sketch, and photograph. I did hands on work at the museum to accomplish this task. I have done outside research on the four types of tools that I have worked with consisting of Ulus, Adzes, Awls, and Drills. In my paper I have analyzed each of the tools starting with the ulu using the size of the object to show the use. I showed the difference in the traditional adze to the adze after the introduction of metal. With the awl I have showed the how the size correlates to the use. I showed the difference in the material used in the fire starting drill compared to the drill used to bore holes in material.
Julia Bell Parks: "Urban Symbolism: An underground community visited." The underground hip hop community in Portland, Oregon uses symbols everyday to resist the mainstream or commercial society. This study views them by looking at the history of hip hop. Members of the underground hip hop community are also viewed as they identify themselves as underground, through opposition to commercialism, opposition to "selling out," social action as resistance to the mainstream or commercial society, the idea of ritual as resistance, and the issue of race. I have conducted fieldwork during the summer of 2004 in Portland, Oregon in effort to answer the question of symbolic resistance in the underground hip hop community.
Jamy Beecher: "What is the Role of the Interpreter? Exploring how Interpreters Function in a Local Community." Explores the role of formal academic training influences behaviors towards the Deaf community and how interpreters balance personal and professional relationships with Deaf clients. Based on 3 months of fieldwork with members of the interpreting community at Western Oregon University, winter 2004.
Leslie Dooney: "Ghosts, Angry Gods, and the Scottish Play: Ritual and Superstition in the Theatre." An examination of rituals and superstitions in three college theatres in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. Based on participant-observation and interviews with both students and faculty members during fall 2003.
Stacy Hopkins: "The lifestyles of the Christian college student." An examination of a specific Christian faith held by college students in Portland, Oregon. Based on participant-observation at meetings and services with church members over the summer of 2003.
Michael Hicks: "Reconstructing the Self: A Look at Anonymity and Identity in the Online Game of Counter-Strike." Virtual and face-to-face interviews with participants in a squad-based shooter game to determine the effects of new technology role-playing in the online community.
Rebecca Lee: "In the American Shadow: Expressions by the French in Relation to the War in Iraq." An in depth look at underlying feelings towards America and its actions during the recent conflict in Iraq. Perspectives will be taken from interviews with people of different genders, age groups, and social and ethnic backgrounds. Based on a semester study abroad in Angers, France fall term 2003. Where is Rebecca now?
Jared D. Orosco: "Turkish University Students: Working on Success." Interviewed Turkish students and others at the University of Kassel, Germany, during study abroad spring-summer 2003, focusing on how they are able to "beat the odds" and obtain access to higher education.
Meagan Palmateer: "The Dirt on Soils and Sediments: What they Tell Us About Life in the Deserted Village, Achill Island." Participated as a member of the National University of Ireland at Galway research team exploring a pastoral village occupied during the medieval and post medieval time period during July and August 2003. Project will focus on understanding the landscape from an environmental archaeology perspective with particular attention to interpretation of soils.
Charity Yonker: "Consumer Tactics: Local Participants' Attitudes toward an International NGO in the Arusha Area." Participation and interviews with local farmers in Tanzania designed to learn local peoples' tactics in responding to Global Service Corps' Bio-Intensive Agriculture program. Based on six weeks of ethnographic field work during winter 2004.
Ardyth DeBruyn: "Culture in a Structure of Transition and Uncertainty: Liminality and Communitas among Modern Pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago." The Camino de Santiago is a modern pilgrimage trail that traverses the path medieval pilgrims followed to Santiago de Compostela. In modern times pilgrims from many diverse countries come together on this trail, traveling slowly by the traditional methods of hiking, horse riding, or biking (the modern equivalent of the horse). This paper examines pilgrim culture along the Camino using the idea of pilgrimage as a form of liminality as explained in the theories of Victor Turner. Turner adapts tribal liminality in rites of initiation to describe the experience of modern pilgrims in Western culture. Thus, between pilgrims, a culture of liminality and communitas forms, in which people of diverse backgrounds come together in rituals of shared faith and commonness of belief. The Camino de Santiago is an unusual pilgrimage in that pilgrims form a group of equals, facing the ordeals of travel together, separated from society, similar to that of the pilgrims of the Middle Ages. Thus, the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage follows a pattern of liminiality more similar to liminality in tribal societies than the variations of liminiality described by Turner and Turner in other modern pilgrimages. The Camino pilgrimage also differs from Turner and Turner's model in that pilgrims shelve their religious and ideological differences. This allows Christian pilgrims, New Age Pagan pilgrims, and pilgrims of undefined religious beliefs to bond together in a communitas environment rather than the communitas based on shared belief in Turner and Turner's work on pilgrimage. It is the ideas of who a pilgrim should be and how a pilgrim should behave that define pilgrims rather than shared religious belief or other factors such as nationality or social standing.
Adrienne McKeehan: "The Changing Practice of Traditional Thai Festivals: Songkran and Loy Krathong Today." Examines contemporary Buddhism in Thailand and explains how two major traditional celebrations have been adapted to fit modern needs. Based on a year abroad program.
Amanda Meuwsen: "Domestic Violence Webs and the Strands of Society: Women Working to Build Self-Sufficiency." Research into the motives and work of women who assist other women in escaping domestic violence. Based on volunteer service and ethnographic research at a shelter in a small Oregon town.
Elizabeth Lutgens: "Terrorism Decades Before 9/11: A case study of the Rajneesh attack in Wasco County, Oregon." Ethnohistorical and ethnographic investigation of the Rajneesh salmonella contamination of restaurants in the Dalles in 1984 and how it has affected individuals and the community.
Thomas W. Bahde: " 'Everyone is German': Revitalizing Ethnicity in Mount Angel, Oregon, 1966-2001." The resurgence of ethnic expression in the form of heritage and folk-culture celebrations among descendents of European immigrants has been interpreted by social scientists in two primary ways: either as white resistance to African-American, Latin@, and Native American ethnic movements or as a cultural fantasy enacted by people desperate for a unique sense of identity. I argue for a new interpretation by examining the rural community of Mount Angel, Oregon and conclude that expressing German ethnicity reinforces long standing community norms of solidarity and mutual support, which are also expressed through the agrarian and Catholic identities of the community. This tripartite agrarian-German-Catholic identity is flexible enough to incorporate the sizeable Hispanic and Russian ethnic populations into the community. A new interpretation of the white ethnic revival must be adopted which takes into account historical, economic, demographic, and religious factors in communities that have undergone such ethnic revivals. The form and function of the so-called white ethnic revival movement can only be understood through ethnographic fieldwork in specific communities.
Annmarie Hein: "An Analysis of Flaked Stone Tools and Debitage from Siuslaw Dune 35LA25: A Prehistoric Site on the Central Oregon Coast." The Siuslaw Dune site 35LA25 is located on the central Oregon coast near the city of Florence. Excavations were conducted at the site in 1999 and 2000 by Western Oregon University in partnership with the Siuslaw National Forest. Robin Smith, Department of Anthropology and Phyllis Steeves, forest archaeologist served as coprincipal investigators. When analyzing the flaked lithic assemblage at Siuslaw Dune I conclude that this site was used for lithic reduction into finished tools, with the raw material gathered elsewhere. Also, that the most frequently used material was chalcedony or cryptocrystalline silicate and in the 2000 expedition a chipping activity area, or lithic scatter, was excavated.
Kyle A. Locke: "Beyond Putnam: Golf as a Medium to the New American Community." Examines work and leisure in middle-class America and the way that golf has emerged a critical new associational activity among middle-class Oregonians. Involved ethnographic research at a local golf course, including interviews with owners, workers, and members. Also included archival research.
Kari Spencer: "Teenage Mothers: Breaking Through the Stereotypes." Examines American stereotypes of unwed mothers and the sociological interpretation that teens have babies to achieve "intergenerational closure." Research involved interviews with unwed mothers.
Roger Sundberg: "The Effects of the Law on Communities of Drinkers." Examines Oregonians' attitudes about new alcohol laws; research involved interviews with local bar owners and servers as well as bar customers.
Allison Wilson: "Looking for Water and Finding a Wife: Marriage Among the Tonga." The focus of this paper is to look at traditional marriage in the Tonga society of Siachilaba. This does not represent the entire Tonga population's beliefs as the information is taken only from one village. As well as looking at traditional marriage, this paper will also examine the gender roles in Tonga society, and the ways that outside influences have begun to effect the younger generations ideas of marriage, sex roles, and family responsibility. Where is Ally now?
Tori Fornaciari: "La Jara de Oro: A Study of Upper/Middle Women in Mexico City." La Jar a de Oro is a perspective of contemporary gender dynamics among a minute population of Mexico City. Mexicans from tropical, desert, rural, and urban regions migrate steadily into a city that is saturated with cultural diversity. In a metropolitan locality the contrast of economic and social position becomes painfully apparent: The upper/ middle class comprise a small sector of the twenty-five million people living in Mexico City, but they have an extraordinary amount of power. Opportunities rare to the majority of Mexico's men and women are available to Mexicans of a higher social and economic standing. Cultural ideals are also variable among the different social strata and are closely linked to available opportunities. Living with a financially privileged family I became familiar with the ideal and the real expressions of gender dynamics among the young adult generation. Traditional values have been appropriated into the contemporary values of modern Mexican culture.
Krista Gullickson: "Researching Arctic Belief Systems and Reinstalling the Spirit World Case at the Paul Jensen Arctic Museum." During the summer of 19991 served as an intern at the Paul Jensen Arctic Museum. My goals were to research Arctic cultures and rework the Spirit World display case. This study provides background on the Paul Jensen Arctic Museum and the Eskimos, primarily the Inuit. This was used to design and install a new exhibit that represents what shamanism is and how it uses dancing and masks. A finished display case is described and recommendations for future work are made.
Anthropology students are free to consult these theses. Please ask an anthropology faculty member if you wish to borrow a copy of any of the works listed above.
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