GSSJ Capstone Theses
Expand the accordions below to read thesis abstracts
Class of 2021
Acker, Alixandra | Investigating Indoctrination to Incitement: What is the Relationship between Hate Media and Genocide?
This thesis utilizes a synthetic, thematic approach to evaluate the role of hate media in inciting genocidal violence in six historical cases: Rwanda, the Islamic State, Myanmar, Guatemala, Yugoslavia, and Germany. Many scholars have debated the centrality of hateful discourse in cases of state violence, especially when voiced in a politically and economically charged context. This enduring debate has risen to the forefront of international jurisprudence, beginning with the trials of Nazi propagandists at the Nuremberg war crimes tribunal. The consequent “Media Case” in Rwanda held media executives accountable for inciting genocide. Moving into the modern century, the “media effects” debate remains unsettled: does hate media directly incite violence, or does it serve as a secondary driver of violence? This thesis will examine if hate media can be deemed as culpable for incitement to genocide as those who drew up the extermination plans, wielded weapons, or manufactured military munitions.
Baker, Lyndsay | Terrorist Rehabilitation in Response to the New Wave of Domestic Far-Right Extremism
How can terrorist rehabilitation programs address the far-right threat in the US? There has been an increase in far-right activity in the US over the past two decades and there is been a very limited policy response. Terrorist rehabilitation programs are one type of countering violent extremism (CVE) interventions that aim to deradicalize extremists and reduce repeat acts of terror. I post that there are clear gaps in US counterterrorism initiatives against far-right extremists through a review of US policy, global rehabilitation programs, and program methods. My research consists of expert interviews and analysis of Congressional committee hearings to gather information on the most effective rehabilitation methods and key characteristics of far-right extremists that programs must target. Analysis of this evidence yields a program focused on educational, vocational, and social rehabilitation that can be adapted to individual extremists’ circumstances ofradicalization. The success of these programs must be measured on the individual level and also through tracking trends in recidivism among far-right extremists.
Bhagat, Sahana | “Invasive” Sexuality: Migrant Reproduction, Eugenics, and the Nation
Recent allegations of forced hysterectomies on migrant women in American detention centers drew public attention to the biopolitical and eugenicist logic of border control. Public outrage, however, was limited, lasting only one news cycle and seemingly only sparking outrage among the political left. A discourse analysis of right-wing social media was conducted in an attempt to explain a lack of public rebuke. Findings reveal a series of justifications for sterilizations of migrants – cultural, economic, penal – that suggest sterilization is viewed as a “banal” evil in order to protect the American nation. These results suggest sterilization is not necessarily a policy to police migrant women’s bodies, but rather a policy to protect American white nationalism. As migration to the United States rises in tandem with xenophobia, constructions of the American nation as built on whiteness in contrast to immigrant “others,” as well as how xenophobia and white nationalism are expressed become increasingly significant in the language and policy of border control.
Burgess, Lane | Required Rehabilitation: Analyzing Treatments for Substance Use Disorders in Virginia’s Drug Courts
This study utilized interviews with various drug court staff across Virginia to examine the specifics behind how drug courts effectively rehabilitate their participants and what challenges are present in rehabilitation. These interviews highlighted certain less surprising aspects of drug courts, such as their reliance on national standards for their rehabilitation methods and the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their operations. Some of the more surprising findings revealed in these interviews included an emphasis on the need for housing and stable environments for drug court participants and the prevalence of societal stigma which hinders the operations of drug courts across Virginia. Despite the generalizations made in this study, however, it is important to recognize that Virginia’s drug courts are each unique in their operations and challenges based on the distinct factors of the environments in which they are situated.
Clarke, Allie | Violence in the Name of God: The Use of Religious Passages in Public Propaganda and Recruitment Materials by Islamic Terrorist Organizations
How do Islamic terrorist organizations utilize religion and religious texts to convince individuals to participate in extremist violence? This thesis analyzes the public theology and propaganda documents published by Al Qaeda in Raymond Ibrahim’s The Al Qaeda Reader, which contains direct translations of nearly two dozen essays, treatises, letters, interviews, press releases, and calls to action. The analysis of the religious passages is separated into several distinct categories: verses from the Quran, sunna and hadith (the teachings and words of the Prophet Muhammad), fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), and other religious references. Additionally, this thesis includes consideration of leading explanations for participation in religious violence, including political, economic, and territorial motivations. The leaders of Al Qaeda strategically utilize religious texts far more extensively in theology documents intended for devout Muslim followers than in propaganda documents with much broader audiences, which have a much greater focus on the political, economic, and territorial justifications.
Curran, Charles | A Deal with the Devil: Examining the Motivations of Ottoman and German Genocidaires
Though the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust have been the subjects of copious scholarship, their economic underpinnings are often neglected. Utilizing a range of scholarly literature, this paper presents separate analyses of each case, followed by a discussion of their similarities and differences. Motivating factors are elaborated, with particular emphasis on the extent to which the perpetrators were motivated by economic incentives. The findings suggest that significant correspondence exists between the ideologies of the perpetrators, the methods utilized, and the rhetoric employed to describe the victimized groups. Furthermore, they indicate that Ottoman and German genocidaires were influenced substantially by the lure of economic gain. The apparent voracity with which looting and robbery were carried out by both state and non-state actors and the extent to which these practices were intertwined with killing seem to demand reconsideration of the central drivers in each case.
Davis, Eric | Impractically Disclosed: International Intelligence Sharing and Its Drawbacks
Well before the onset of the First World War, the practice of collecting intelligence was crucial to the livelihood of nation-states. However, the First World War helped produce an understanding of the importance that the collected intelligence and information might need to be shared with other nations. Now, over a century later, scholars must ask themselves what drawbacks, difficulties and limitations have emerged in the practice of international intelligence sharing. A review of scholarly literature helped guide this investigation into impractically disclosed intelligence. Taking historical examples of complications within the practice of intelligence cooperation, this investigation looks at the impact that certain components have on the nature of intelligence sharing. These influences are the nations that are involved in the sharing or leaking, the channels and avenues that are being utilized in cooperation, and the break downs that are experienced in intelligence sharing. Combining these influences with interviews of experts in intelligence collection and dissemination, it becomes apparent that much of the impracticality is derived from tensions or strains in existing international relationships, coalesced with previous interactions or endeavors of cooperation with a given nation.
Dinko, Marisa | Healing After Conflict: Imagining Gender-Conscious Rehabilitation and Empowerment for Girl Soldiers
The term ‘child soldier’ technically includes the vast experiences of children as combatants, sex slaves, spies, and more. However, when it comes to Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration efforts, these diverse roles that all child soldiers—but especially girl soldiers—play in conflict are often ignored. Through a series of interviews with field workers, academic researchers, and policy makers, this paper will assess what the true physical, mental, and communal needs of girl soldiers are and how current programming is and is not meeting them. By first exploring the existing literature on gender and war, as well as the experiences of girl soldiers more broadly, original research can be done to mitigate gaps in knowledge regarding program effectiveness. Moreover, this original research explores reasons for recidivism, causes of recruitment, and challenges to program engagement. Finally, this paper will conclude with an assessment of the interview data and recommendations for future work.
Fletcher, Avery | Undocumented, Unseen: Exploring the Marginality of Undocumented Americans in the Archives of U.S. Sex Work Decriminalization Initiatives
This thesis critically examines initiatives to decriminalize sex work within the United States in order to determine the extent to which undocumented Americans are included in policy frameworks and discourse. Through an archival analysis of legislative initiatives, advocacy documents, and organizational memorandum, this thesis explores decriminalization efforts in the state of Rhode Island and the city of Seattle to ascertain whether these cases included substantive considerations for undocumented Americans. My research concludes that very few robust considerations exist within these initiatives, although significant variance exists between the major state and municipal cases. This capstone demonstrates that, despite some encouraging evidence, U.S.-based decriminalization initiatives must dedicate greater attention to the undocumented populations who are uniquely and inextricably linked to global trafficking schemes.
Habit, Brooke | Spaces of Interaction and Tools of Subversion on the MINUSTAH Facebook Page
To study how Haitians perceive the effectiveness of UN peacekeeping in Haiti during the period of the United Nation Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), I conducted a content analysis of MINUSTAH Facebook posts and their comments from the last two years of the mission mandate (2016-2017). In contrast to previous ethnographic and theoretical research, I conducted the first dialectical analysis of MINUSTAH social media presence. Utilizing a system of comment classification as positive toward MINUSTAH, negative toward MINUSTAH, or “other” in conjunction with a close discursive analysis of select posts, study suggests many Haitian people are frustrated not with MINUSTAH’s social initiatives, but with its failed administration. The comments section of MINUSTAH posts overall represent not only a place of interaction between UN actors, but also a tool of subversion for commenters to contradict the prevalence of MINUSTAH’s metanarrative of success in many of their Facebook posts.
Hendrick, Moriah | Abolition in Whose Lifetime? An Analysis of Change Within the American Abolition Movement
Depending on who you ask, carceral abolition might be described as a radical, fringe ideology, a well-defined scholarly field, or an immediate need for society. While the effort to abolish prisons has been around for as long as prisons themselves have existed, demands for “Abolition Now” and “Abolition in Our Lifetime” have grown louder than ever in the past year, as the global resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic cause a moment of intense change across the movement. Recently, the trial of Derek Chauvin further demonstrated the tension between the use of America’s existing carceral system and the hope for a better, radically reimagined system in the future. Through interviews with longtime abolition scholars and younger student organizers, this project aims to explore generational differences in the movement, place the changes of 2020 within the larger history of abolition, and illuminate the ways that these efforts will develop in the future.
Henriquez, Andrea | Sympathy in Crisis: Understanding the COVID-19 Pandemic's Impact on Immigration Discourse in Nationwide Newspapers from Mexico and the United States
This thesis provides findings concerning the 2020 global COVID-19 pandemic's impact on immigration discourse in nationwide newspapers in the United States and Mexico. The emergence of COVID-19 heavily affected global migration as countries attempted to slow the spread of the pandemic with safety precautions such as border closures and travel bans. On March 21 2020, a U.S.-Mexico joint initiative temporarily restricted all non-essential travel. Through the application of a critical discourse analysis, the words and language used by U.S. newspaper The New York Times and Mexico newspaper El Universal were compared and analyzed for anti-immigrant sentiment. The findings suggest that representation of immigrants in the media may be improving, particularly in the US, through a visible decline in anti-immigrant terms such as "illegal alien."
Kezman, Isabel | Applying a Plaintiff Selection Perspective to the Climate “Refugee”
Each year, millions of people are displaced by the effects of climate change, including shoreline erosion, desertification, agricultural disruptions, flooding, water scarcity, and other extreme weather events. This nexus of climate change and migration has become a central issue on the international stage, as there are currently no legal protections in place for those whose lives have been uprooted by climate change. The forced nature of climate-induced migration has caused many scholars and lawyers to call into question and test the applicability of the 1951 Refugee Convention for cross-border displacements caused by climate change. Thus far, no refugee or asylum claims based on climate change have succeeded. This paper attempts to increase the likelihood of success in a future climate refugee claim by answering the following question: "From a plaintiff selection perspective, what characteristics make the “perfect plaintiff” for cases seeking refugee protections due to the effects of climate change?
Lavoie, Maggie | An Analysis of Arizona State Legislature’s Securitization Rhetoric and Voting Patterns onImmigrationLegislationduringthe54th Legislature (2017)
This paper investigates the securitization of immigration legislation on a local level, specifically in the 2017 Arizona State Legislature. The research aims to answer the question, ‘Is securitizing rhetoric present in Arizona State Legislature records related to immigration? If yes, who is securitizing and are there demographic predictors of those securitizing?’ The content analysis of immigration bills reveals that securitization rhetoric is present, and more research is needed on whether demographic predictors can reliably predict whether a legislator will securitize. The findings indicate that Republicans securitize more than Democrats, Males more than Females, and Anglo Legislators more than Latinx Legislators. These groups that securitize more frequently also take anti- immigrant votes more frequently than their counterparts who securitize less. Party Identification (Democrat v Republican) proved to be the only statistically significant predictor of how legislators vote on immigration related bills. The content analysis also revealed the need to further define securitization into more nuanced categories: Securitization of Latin American Immigration, Securitization of Non-Latin American Immigration, and Counter-Securitization.
Lockwood, Emily | The Nerdiness of Evil: Creating Persuasive Narratives of Drones
This investigation will evaluate the persuasive tactics used by drone producing companies to create a favorable public image. Media from these companies which includes social media, podcasts, website articles, is relatively new to the realm of media studies and academic investigation. In analyzing the language and media narratives, I hope to bridge the creation with the impacts and provide an explanation for why such violence continues unjustly. In doing so, the drone producing companies omit how their weapons are used and reframe the weapons system to be a feat of scientific innovation that is good fo humanity. Using concepts from Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem and Bill Joy’s “Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us,” I attempt to put the media sources in conceptual lenses that highlight the sterilization of violence and how normal people---the engineers—rationalize creating weapons.
Neukrug, Emma | Women’s Incarceration and the Bangkok Rules: To What Extent Do Laws in the United States Meet International Standards?
The Bangkok Rules are a set of guidelines passed by the United Nations to support the rights of incarcerated women internationally. This paper examines the extent to which state laws in the United States follow the Bangkok Rules in the categories of providing appropriate healthcare, treating women humanely, preserving dignity during searches, protecting from violence, and providing for prisoners’ children. Results suggest that many state laws follow these rules to some extent, but that some states do better than others, and as a whole they prioritize pregnant women’s rights over those of women who are not pregnant. Results also indicate that states with a higher percentage of Biden voters in the 2020 election have more laws upholding incarcerated women’s rights, but the racial makeup of prisons does not play a significant factor in effecting the quantity of laws in each state.
Nuelle, Skyler | Offset Voices: An Analysis of African Environmental Activism and Foreign Climate Offsets
This thesis examines online publications by African environmental organizations and activists to assess African attitudes and concerns about foreign CO2 offsetting projects in Africa (i.e., those offsetting projects funded by foreigners that are based in Africa). Using archival analysis research methodology, this study identifies patterns in organizational perceptions of CO2 offsetting, problem identification, and actions taken in response to the projects. Findings indicate that African environmentalists are predominately opposed to the offsetting projects, especially those characterized by mass monoculture or afforestation. These stakeholders are primarily concerned with the implications of offsetting projects and associated carbon markets on those local African communities that are immediately adjacent to the CO2 offsetting projects. Aligning with other global environmental justice movements, African environmentalists reference resource exclusion, environmental degradation, dispossession, and neocolonialism as their primary concerns with CO2 offsetting projects in the continent. CO2 offsetting is not the only means of remediating the global climate crisis, and alternative policies should be considered in future climate negotiations.
Sauvage, Livia | Intimate Partner Violence: The Prevalence of Family Violence in a Refugee Camp as Understood by UNHCR and Partner Organizations
This thesis investigates the multifaceted approach to addressing the pressing issue of intimate partner violence (IPV) throughout refugee camps. As policy by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) informs international organizations (IOs) and non- governmental organizations (NGOs) how to best research and address gender-based violence (GBV) in refugee camps, this thesis analyzes how their policy goals relate to the current research on IPV, subsequently influencing our understanding of what drives IPV. Through the documented research, IPV is accurately framed as a complicated form of violence. Nevertheless, UNHCR neglects to recognize the fact that unsafe refugee camp conditions are directly influencing the drivers of IPV, placing refugees – of all ages – at a heightened risk for family violence. Future research needs to intentionally go beyond simply acknowledging these perilous conditions and position IPV into the discourse as a severe form of GBV that is exacerbated when located within refugee camps.
Saxena, Nishant | Cross-National Thinking: Ideological Differences Across the Alt-Right
Since the rise of the Alt-Right in 2016, there has been an exponential growth in its membership both domestically and internationally. As the Alt-Right spread across the world, so did many of its ideological beliefs. Many would assume that the Alt-Right would act as a cohesive unit and would follow a singular ideology. For this paper, I focused on three nations, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. For each case study, I read academic literature as well as analyzed raw rhetoric on Alt-Right message boards to determine if there were discrepancies in how each nation’s Alt-Right interacted with the themes of white identity, religion, economics, and politics. Ultimately, I found that there were, in fact, discrepancies amongst the nation’s Alt-Right movements. This finding suggests that there are ideological differences in the Alt-Right cross-nationally and that the Alt-Right is not a unitary movement following a single ideology.
Setchel, Zachary | Quality over Quantity: Are Special Operations Centric Approaches the Answer to Combatting Insurgency?
Operations of counterinsurgency are a global concern that have perplexed American politicians and military leaders alike over the last several decades. Two key arguments underlying the issues of counterinsurgency relate largely to the methods in which these operations are carried out. My collective work dissects not only the current policies of the United States, but also several case studies regarding both successful and unsuccessful operations throughout the Twentieth Century. Counterinsurgency requires surgical-like precision, consequently it requires soldiers with a unique skillset. More specifically, it requires individuals who are culturally trained and capable of interchangeably playing the role of both a combatant, and a “boots on the ground” diplomat. Special operations soldiers are able to navigate the uncertainties of insurgency, and adhere to the unique political, religious, and cultural needs of counterinsurgency operations. This unique capability and understanding is why special operations forces should be the keystone of counterinsurgency operations.
Shrestha, Apurva | How to Win Hearts and Influence Minds—An Analysis of Civilian-Military Interactions in Counterinsurgency Operations
My research question hopes to primarily take a look at the US military’s efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq as case studies to examine the best way to foster civilian-military interactions when conducting counterinsurgency (COIN) operations. The data comes from the memoirs, studies, and accounts of people who studied and experienced COIN efforts in those two countries, and from interviews from people who enacted these policies on the ground. I hope to temper my academic findings with the real-life experience people have had working under these policies. My preliminary findings show that COIN is such a complex topic that there might not truly be a “right” answer, as something that might work in one situation in one area of the world might not work in another. I examine how as the problems of COIN are unique, so are the solutions.
Still, Caroline | All the News that’s (Un)Fit to Print: A News Media Analysis of U.S. Perspectives on Election Security from 2016-2020
Both the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections raised concerns over U.S. election security and integrity. In 2016, the intelligence community confirmed Russian interference in the form of a targeted disinformation campaign and the hacking of the Democratic National Convention. In 2020, concerns shifted to a more domestic nature when top public officials like President Trump promoted widespread, baseless claims of voter and election fraud. This thesis examines the extent to which American perception of election security changed between the 2016 and 2020 elections, focusing specifically on how news publications and social media shaped national narratives surrounding misinformation. Significantly, my analysis supports the general conclusions that the framing of election interference in 2020 shifted to domestic rather than foreign actors, and that this brand of disinformation politics will continue to impact both future elections and American confidence in the democratic institutions.
Wirtz, Ryan | Rebel Movement(s) in the African Great Lakes: A Study on the Effect of Border Porosity on Transnational Conflict in the African Great Lakes Region 2000-2019
This paper attempts to analyze the relationship between border porosity and transnational violence by using refugee flow and trade flow data in the Great Lakes region of Africa. This research focuses on the relationships between the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. This research takes refugee flow and trade flow as proxy variables for the much more nebulous concept of “border porosity,” which is an as yet under researched topic within statistical research. I present three possible models of the data and ultimately find that there is a statistically significant positive relationship between total refugee and trade flows across a given boundary and instances of transnational violence within countries that share a porous border.
Class of 2020
Abdel-rahman, Ali | From Purported Ideology to Lone-Wolf Terror Attacks: ISIS 2014-2017
After ISIS was driven out of the Syrian town of Dabiq, it ended publication of its online magazine of the same name and created a new magazine under the name of Rumiyah. The re-capturing of Dabiq from ISIS, as well as the loss of other land, was a blow to ISIS, both ideologically and tactically, and the changing of the magazine name reflects, to some degree, a recalculation following a loss. So the question is: “Is the tone of Rumiyah more or less radical than that of Dabiq?” From my research, and as I had hypothesized earlier, the answer is a resounding yes; not only in terms of rhetoric but also within the context of directly provoking mainly lone-wolf terrorist attacks against virtually every Western populace.
Akinola, Temi | Perspectives from African Media Coverage on the International Criminal Court
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is the only permanent tribunal with global jurisdiction over genocide and crimes against humanity. Though it was initially established to ensure accountability following WWII, many have accused it of being a European court that unfairly targets Africans. Thus, this paper assesses how African societies currently regard the ICC. For the analysis, I read articles from over 14 African nations, some of which include, Kenya, Sudan and Nigeria. The obtained statements were made by action groups, news editors and local leaders. 52 percent of the articles contained an overall negative response which reveals that despite the ICC’s stated mission of redressing global crime, many affected communities are wary of the Court’s ability to impartially administer international justice.
Bertron, Cameron | Unification or Annexation? Discussions of Crimean Independence in the Russian Blogosphere
The Russian blogosphere is a place where Russians can voice diverse political opinions and criticisms which could not be published through mainstream media, as such it serves as a helpful metric of the oppositional political spectrum. However, on the topic of the 2014 Crimean annexation, relatively little oppositional blog posts exist. This paper uses content analysis of over 65 blogposts and mainstream news articles to investigate the diversity of public opinion on the topic of the Crimean annexation. It analyzes how much support or opposition is expressed in the blogosphere among different political leanings, the persuasiveness of certain arguments with different political affiliations, as well as how closely blogosphere discussions mirror mainstream media articles.
Buck, Joana | How Social Media Can Impact Your Opinions: A Survey Experiment on the Effect of Comment Sections on Opinions
In this survey experiment, I studied how comments containing unverified information can affect opinions on a topic. I used data privacy as an example of a topic that is not too inflammatory, yet not too niche. The data are from survey results distributed by convenience sample, but then randomly assigned to one of three conditions: comments in favor of increased data privacy legislation, comments against, and no comments. The goal coming into the experiment was to prove or disprove the generalizability of a study conducted by Health Affairs with a similar design on the topic of home births. My study found that there may be a small positive effect of both comments that support the need for increased data privacy legislation and comments against it, the latter being an intriguing finding. The data also reveal that political views and gender have a bigger effect on opinions and reactions to treatments.
Disch, Hailey | The 2016 Humanitarian Grand Bargain Four Years Later: What Does a Signature Mean?
In 2016 many major humanitarian actors signed the Grand Bargain, a document promising to make many changes to the humanitarian industry. Among these changes was the commitment to shift more power and resources to local and national organizations. In this paper I set off to research what some of these actors had actually done to fulfil their commitments, four years after the original signing. I chose the EU’s ECHO, UN OCHA, and Save the Children as actors to research, representing different power levels as a donor, UN branch, and INGO. Ultimately, these actors made small strides in a few localization efforts, but were constrained from obtaining the full Grand Bargain commitments by political, legal, and organizational factors. Different humanitarian actors serve different roles, and thus are not able to meet all Grand Bargain commitments as they are not relevant or attainable for the specific organization. Instead, actors prioritized the workstreams they felt they could best contribute to.
Dombrowski, Megan | The Role of Information Technology in Humanitarian Logistics: An Analysis of Contemporary Trends and Applications to COVID-19 Global Pandemic
Advancements in Information Technology (IT) continue to enhance business processes in the commercial sector, but it is unclear whether or not IT capabilities have been effectively integrated into the humanitarian sector. Understanding this relationship may be more important than ever in the context of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic. Accordingly, this Capstone aims to (1) profile the role of IT in modern Humanitarian Operations and Supply Chain Management (HOSCM) systems, and (2) analyze the role of IT in contemporary COVID-19 response. I began my research process by conducting a literature review of scholarship pertaining to HOSCM systems and IT- based case interventions. Next, I conducted a documentary analysis of news articles and institutional reports related to IT in emerging COVID-19 responses. I find that IT plays a pivotal role in current and potential COVID-19 interventions; I conclude that practitioners and policymakers must consider IT integration to enhance all humanitarian aid.
Dour, John | Pyro-Terrorism in the United States: A Modern Threat Analysis
The use of fire as a weapon is not a new concept, but in a security age defined by asymmetric warfare, pyro-terrorism is a dangerous and cheap terror tactic. However, pyro-terrorism still has yet to make its way into mainstream counterterrorism discussions. Accordingly, this thesis has adopted two aims. Firstly, it attempts to ascertain to what degree domestic pyro-terrorism should be regarded as a threat to homeland security. Secondly, this thesis seeks to explore how this threat differs between urban and rural areas in the United States. Using an interview-based research design, responses were obtained from seven industry stakeholders who generally recognized the potential threat posed by pyro-terrorism, but disagreed in determining whether it was more of an urban or rural threat. This thesis will exhibit why pyro-terrorism deserves more recognition in the counterterrorism field and will highlight the threat landscape of arson-related terrorism in the United States today.
Fischer, Luke | Narcoterrorism and Mexican Cartels: Analyzing the Implications of an Official Designation of Mexican Drug Cartels as Terrorist Organizations under US, Mexican, and International Law
Due to the overwhelming destruction and increasingly overt acts of violence that Mexican drug cartels have perpetuated throughout Latin America over the past decade, President Trump and legislators have considered classifying these drug trafficking associations as Foreign Terrorist Organizations. Because this designation has political and strategic implications and because a universal definition of terrorism doesn’t exist, there are many governments and parties that warrant consideration. While President Trump decided in December 2019 that he would delay making this formal designation, this paper examines whether or not the actions of Mexican drug cartels adhere to the definitions of terrorism under US, Mexican and international law, and whether or not they warrant an FTO classification. Furthermore, I find that the cartels’ actions fit squarely within the definitions of terrorism provided by relevant governmental bodies and that an FTO designation would impose real consequences upon the organizations that could begin to quell them.
Khattabi, Andrea | The Effects of President Donald Trump’s Deportation Policies on Undocumented Sex Trafficking Victims
This research paper explores the effects of President Donald Trump’s changes to federal immigration policy on foreign-born, undocumented sex trafficking victims. Interviews with two nonprofit attorneys, one former federal prosecutor, and one anti-human trafficking advocate/former federal agent added a missing fieldwork perspective to the current literature, and the findings were used to create a model of undocumented sex trafficking victims’ behaviors in response to immigration policies that intend to heighten the deportation of undocumented immigrants. This model indicates that there are two direct consequences of such deportation policies: 1) a decrease in T and U visa applications and issuances and 2) a decrease in protection (both real and perceived) for victims of sex trafficking. These two direct consequences lead to a third indirect outcome of negatively impacting victims’ physical and psychological health.
Khullar, Anchita | Breaking it Down: Analyzing Budget Expenditures for Aftercare Provisions Servicing Sex Trafficking Victims
While there is no disagreement over whether additional funding should be given to providing aftercare services for sex trafficking victims, there is a dilemma of what specifically funding should be allocated towards. Victims’ needs include mental health services, medical care, shelter, occupational therapy, food, clothing, and countless others. A survey of thirty eight trafficking victim shelters across the United States examined what services shelters currently allocate their budget towards and what services they would like additional funding for. Respondents revealed that aside from housing, their next largest categorical expenditures are related to immediate needs of survivors such as basic necessities and mental health care. The survey found that shelters would allocate additional hypothetical discretionary funding towards maintaining the shelter in addition to the immediate needs listed above. This indicates that future policy should allocate funding for mental health provisions for trafficking victims as well as general shelter supplies.
Lawson, Charlotte | Mourning a Martyr or Evading a Killer?: Iranian Twitter on the Qassem Soleimani Strike
In places absent of official public opinion polling, social media provides a useful tool for gauging general feelings of approval regarding government policies. Following the United States assassination of Qassem Soleimani, a flurry of Twitter activity — from Iranians within and outside of Iran — gave outsiders rare insight into Iranian attitudes toward the Islamic Republic regime. In this paper, I seek to provide useful metrics with which to analyze those responses, and draw conclusions using a comparative analysis between Iranians at home and in Diaspora. To that end, I evaluate roughly 1,400 Twitter messages, sorting them by hashtag, and placing them into various categories and subcategories. My study seeks to qualitatively analyze the subjects Iranian Twitter wrote about, when they were writing about them, and what sentiment they expressed in their commentaries. Overall, my findings determined that Iranians were profoundly vocal, highly opinionated, and largely disparate in their responses to the general’s death.
Livermon, William | #إيران: A Twitter Sentiment Analysis Examining Public Opinion towards the Iranian Regime in the Countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council
This research uses the Twitter API and sentiment-analysis Python packages to determine whether or not public opinion in each of the six GCC-aligned states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia) reflects positively or negatively on the Iranian regime. The analysis focuses on tweets containing Arabic and English language keywords from the time period of May 5th, 2018 to February 21st, 2020 and gives each tweet a score on polarity (which measures the sentiment in the tweet) and subjectivity (a measure of the relative objectivity of the tweet). The program developed for this research accepts three variables in terms of location, two coordinate values and a radius measure, allowing for analysis of roughly 80-85% of each country. The results of the analysis in its current form are inconclusive, though it is clear that the populations of the given countries have passionate opinions about the regime and express them consistently via Twitter.
Mortensen, Nicholas | Novel Investigators, Amateur Experts, and Everything In-between: An Exploration of the Open-Source Investigation Community
Since 2011, there has been a growing community of researchers, specialists, and investigators who conduct their work using only publicly accessible information, with a particular focus on imagery, videos, public databases, and other information beyond individual testimonies or covert tradecraft. The common buzzword for this work is “Open Source Intelligence (OSINT).” While the community and methodology has grown over the past decade, academic research of either has not. First, I review the current academic literature on OSINT, and highlight how most of it focuses on OSINT’s application in state intelligence or other professional contexts. I then provide summaries of interviews conducted with individuals from the open source community, journalists, and other professionals. From there, I analyze common themes and trends present in these interviews to build an understanding of how the methodology grew, how the community around it operates, and how it is seen by other investigative communities.
Mosqueda, Daisy | How do Twitter Users Link Extreme Weather Events to Climate Change Across Different Countries?
This thesis uncovers conversations that occur on Twitter after the bushfires that occurred in Australia last year, the European heatwave that took place last summer, and Hurricane Maria that hit Puerto Rico in 2017. These case studies are chosen in order to analyze not only across different regions, but also across different languages, as previous studies have focused on English-language tweets. I code the sentiment of 500 tweets in total to understand whether each tweet links the climate-related event to climate change or global warming. I find that overall, users are not blaming climate change for these extreme weather events, independent of where the user is from. Instead, other issues overshadow the need for actions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and slow climate change. Rather than encourage users to take action against climate change, the topics that trended on Twitter served as a distraction from productive climate advocacy discussions.
Peck, Jessica | An Analysis of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Discourse On Migration, 2017-2019
Since migration to Europe increased in 2015 and 2016, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has depicted migration as a threat to Hungary and to Europe. This paper strives to update the existing literature on PM Orbán’s rhetoric toward migration after 2016 by evaluating the frequency of certain variables, including terrorism, crime, culture & ethnicity, religion, economics, and Euroscepticism, as well as by conducting a discourse analysis of a sample of his statements. The content analysis reveals that migration is still a prominent discussion topic by the government, as an average of 70 percent of PM Orbán’s statements since 2017 have mentioned migration. The paper proposes an alternative model of securitization that distinguishes between security and security adjacent concerns. Under this alternative model, where terrorism and crime are categorized as “securitizing” statements and culture & ethnicity, religion, economics, and Euroscepticism are categorized as “identitarian-populist” statements, identitarian-populist statements predominate.
Rountree, Alston | Inter-Extremist Relations: An Examination of Islamic State Rhetoric on Al-Qaeda & Other Jihadist Groups
Since its inception, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has grown at an unprecedented rate. Their success as a terrorist organization has far surpassed that of their forbearer, Osama Bin Laden’s al-Qaeda (AQ), which many believe has fostered a high level of animosity between the two jihadist groups. For this paper, I read 19 issues of ISIS’s official magazine publications, Dabiq and Rumiyah, to see how the terror group’s rhetoric framed their relationship with AQ. For context, I also analyzed the extent to which ISIS expressed attitudes towards other extremist groups. My research found that current publications overemphasize ISIS’s hatred for AQ, and fail to discuss ISIS’s respect for, and deification of, Osama Bin Laden. This investigation also revealed that existing literature fails to acknowledge ISIS’s strong animus towards most other jihadist groups.
Scully, Elisabeth | Out of Sight, Out of Mind: How Newspaper Genocide Coverage is Shaped by Misinformation and Racial Stereotypes
This article provides findings concerning American newspaper coverage of the Bosnian and Rwandan Genocides. To varying degrees, newspapers used racially-coded words in their articles to describe both conflicts, with a heavier usage for the Rwandan Genocide. This can be attributed at least in part to minimal background knowledge of Rwanda, leading reporters to rely on racial stereotypes instead of research. Original contribution furthers this research into the modern era by adding two additional time frames, one year after the end of each genocide and 2019, to see whether newspaper coverage gradually became less racist. The findings ask us to consider why each racially-coded word was used more frequently at each time and place. This article finds that racially-coded language occurs more frequently during a period in which a stereotype is prominent in American pop-culture.
Shawkey, Emily | A Range of Reception: Global Attitudes on the Legality of Russian Involvement Abroad
Russia’s foreign interventions have provoked a wide range of global responses in terms of international law. From allegations of unlawful behavior to defense of Putin’s legal justifications, different national contexts and interests have driven various stances. This thesis will survey international opinions on Russia’s actions in three cases: the annexation of Crimea, the Syrian civil war, and interference in the United States presidential election of 2016. A latent content analysis examines international media coverage by region, assessing positive, negative, or neutral attitudes in regards to the legality of Russian involvement. Discussion analyzes the reasoning behind why nations have adopted such positions on these issues of law, and why certain legal arguments resonate where others do not.
Sippel, Charlotte | African Media Perspectives on UN Peacekeeping and the Prevention of Sexual Violence
One of the ways to prevent sexual violence in conflict is to employ United Nations Peacekeepers, but peacekeepers themselves have been accused of sexual exploitation and abuse. This paper uses the case studies of the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, and South Sudan to explore how African media portrays United Nations Peacekeepers. Data varied significantly among the countries, but 59 percent of the articles analyzed across all four countries placed peacekeepers in a negative light. African media’s perspective of UN Peacekeepers is affected by the objectives of the individual missions and the nationalities of the peacekeepers in each mission.
Vargas, Brittney | Unaccompanied Child Migrants in the Media: A Discourse Analysis of the Media Representation of Unaccompanied Child Migrants in the United States and Mexico Mainstream Media
The paper is a critical discourse analysis on the representation of unaccompanied child migrants (UCMs) in the mainstream media of the United States and Mexico. UCMs predominantly originate from Northern Central American countries fleeing in record numbers. The main objectives are: (1) to examine the ways the UCMs are portrayed in the mainstream media of both countries, (2) to uncover the persuasive messaging strategies employed to justify and legitimize that representation, and (3) to assess the impact on audiences based on the social context. The study reveals that American mainstream media represents UCMs negatively whereas Mexican mainstream media strikes a sympathetic view toward migrants. Overall the language associated with UCMs by mainstream media is highly provocative and polarizing, thus emphasizing how words matter. This understanding provides insight into becoming a critical consumer of the mainstream media and to think outside the cultural box.
Voell, Hailey | The Efficacy of U.S. Drone Strike Policy as a Counterterrorism Tactic
This capstone will address the history of drone strikes and specifically the strategy of leadership decapitation as a means of counterterrorism strategy. The data is mainly centered around drone strikes in Pakistan as the US’s presence of a drone campaign has been extensive there. However, the policy memo will provide suggestions that could be applied to drone use in a broader scope than just in Pakistan. The included data and charts will be used to analyze the efficacy of drones and their impact in the region and behaviors of the non-state actors that have been targeted. This capstone is concluded by a policy memo that is a reflection on what I have researched and included in the first portion of the capstone as an attempt to advise on current policies of drones and/or decapitation, based both on the research I have done and previous knowledge. I will be defending the nuanced position of critiquing drone strikes while also advocating for decapitation strikes.
Von Spakovsky, Anna | The Effect of Unresolved Legal Questions and Potential Judicial Branch Assertiveness on the Detention and Prosecution of Terrorists post-2009: An Examination of the Obama and Trump Administrations and Policy toward ISIS Fighters.
The fight with ISIS inflamed lingering legal quagmires from the Bush administration that threaten an effective American strategy for the detention and prosecution of ISIS fighters, including the scope of the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force and the overlapping jurisdiction of Article I and Article III courts. Looking at core court cases since 2009 and their relevant legal discussions, these questions are then applied to several pending ISIS cases and the policy options available to the United States in dealing with the ISIS fighters in SDF custody in Syria. I conclude that the judiciary seems increasingly willing to afford the executive less deference in these matters, which, instead of resolving Bush-era problems, could lead to lengthy military detention instead of prompt federal prosecution. Without a comprehensive strategy to resolve the overlap of Article I and Article III courts the United States cannot formulate a coherent strategy to prevent similar issues in future military engagements.
Weinberg, Natalie | Innovation aid: An interview-based study assessing the pros and cons of private sector involvement in aid ecosystems
This capstone addresses private sector involvement within humanitarian and development aid ecosystems. Throughout interviews with aid experts, scholars, and development practitioners, I explored how business innovation can improve inefficiencies and response systems in humanitarian and development networks along with sub-questions that investigate topics like financing, supply chain, design thinking, and agility. I interviewed five representatives from organizations within the aid ecosystem – USAID, the World Bank, UNOCHA, and social enterprise startups. Each provided a seasoned perspective on where and how the private sector fits into aid and where the challenges in aid can be attributed to. While several of the interviewees believe aid organizations are already engaged in business practices and are skeptical of moving much further in that direction, others offer up support for opportunities for further innovation. I wrap up the capstone recommending that this research be applied to specific case studies to transform the theory into reality.
Class of 2019
Averill, Colleen | Thinking Through Economics and Anti-Immigration Sentiment: An Analysis of FAIR’S Grievances
Connections between economics and anti-migrant sentiment have been frequently debated in the past few decades. Often, anti-migrant groups cite migrants as welfare burdens or job replacements as reasons to support restricted immigration reform. For this paper, I analyzed all relevant content within 72 newsletters from the nonprofit Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) to determine if the authors suggested economic factors make up their primary grievances towards migrants. Overall, I found evidence to support a strong connection between economics and anti-migrant sentiments. There was a total of 848 paragraphs which contained economic grievances and this accounted for 64.5% of migrant-related grievances held by FAIR, with the most commonly referenced economic grievance being FAIR’s perception that migrants perpetuate the uneven wealth distribution between American workers and businesses within the US. Security, cultural, and other grievances accounted for the other 35.5%, collectively.
Borja, Hannah (Mel) | Local Responses to the Question of Noncitizen Criminal Justice in the Commonwealth of Virginia
This is the Commonwealth of Virginia’s first outline of local-level responses to central questions of noncitizen criminal justice. Through a content analysis of local media and 13 interviews with law enforcement officials and other actors, I construct a census of the variation in 5 immigrant detention mechanisms that one may find on U.S. Route 29 and other selected localities. From this database of 36 counties and cities within 17 local and regional jail systems, I conclude that an undocumented person driving end-to-end down U.S. Route 29 in Virginia would face a criminal justice system that varies at least 8 times. I place this striking finding within the framework of subfederal immigration laws developed by Pham Huyen and as well as Ingrid V. Eagly’s framework of noncitizen criminal justice systems to discuss the significance of such local-level variation for the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Buell, Robert (Ben) | Courts over Commissions? A Legal and Practical Analysis of the Case for Future Civilian Prosecution of Non-Citizen Terrorism Defendants
Since the attacks on September 11, 2001, policymakers have debated the role of Article III federal district courts in the prosecution of non-citizen terrorism defendants. The courts have consistently achieved better outcomes than the military commission established at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. However, the rise of ISIL and online self-radicalization has changed the nature of global terrorism. This paper aims to determine whether the federal courts remain the most effective venue for prosecuting this next generation of terrorist threats. My analysis evaluates the performance of the federal court system on seven “efficacy indicators” typically associated with a successful terrorism prosecution. By comparing historical case studies from both the federal district courts and the military commission, it finds that civilian prosecution has the structures and procedures in place to effectively handle America’s future counterterrorism efforts.
DeBose, Dominique | “I Will Sing My Music:” Hip-hop and Rap Censorship in Contemporary Russia
My research updates considerable existing scholarship on censorship of punk music in Russia by examining more recent controversies over censorship of rap and hip-hop. Examining a variety of Russian language primary sources, I consider the relationship between censorship and the larger social and political climate. I incorporate the perspective of the Russian government as well as that of the artists being censored. I conclude that, although censorship of explicitly anti-Putin artists is certainly part of the story, it is not as large a part of the story as casual Western observers of the Putin regime tend to assume.
Gajadhar-Smith, Kateri | How Latin American Autocrats use Education as a Tool for Political Indoctrination: A Case Study of Chavista Venezuela
This thesis examines Chavista Venezuela (1998-2012) to analyze how Latin American autocrats use education as a political tool. I conducted a content analysis of Spanish-language government documents, legal documents, transcripts of speeches, and opposition sources including newspapers, teachers’ union documents, and parent interviews. I measured to what extent Venezuelan government officials actively used public education as a means to a political end, and how their efforts to do so were perceived by non-government actors and public opinion in general. I found extreme state control over the education system, which the government treated as an open secret and was unapologetic about accusations of indoctrination. The public’s opinion on this control is mixed: those who previously had no or little access to education did not comment on this theme of indoctrination, while those in private schools or urban areas protested it.
Givan, Sydney | The Rules of Engagement: A Legal Analysis of Signature Strikes in the Context of Precision Aerial Bombing
Since the Obama administration, drone warfare has captivated journalists and legal scholars alike. In this thesis, I examine a controversial tactic in drone warfare known as a “signature strike,” which targets individuals based on a pre-determined pattern of behavior. My thesis considers if existing laws on conventional aerial bombing can be effectively applied to signature strikes. Using the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia’s review of NATO’s Operation Allied Force as a case study, I compare precision aerial bombing from manned aircraft with signature strikes. My legal analysis relies on sources like the Geneva Conventions and the U.S. Department of Defense’s Law of War Manual. Ultimately, I conclude that international law neither clarifies what it means for civilians to participate in hostilities, nor fully addresses which precautionary measures must be taken prior to an attack. These unresolved questions weaken our ability to assess the legality of signature strikes.
Harris, Meredith | What’s in a Name: Does the Genocide Label Increase the Likelihood of International Intervention?
Although countries should intervene in genocidal conflicts according to international law, this typically does not happen. As a result, this paper delves into the potential correlation between the use of “genocide” in describing severe domestic conflicts and intervention efforts. The research is based on the background, discourse, and intervention efforts present in various cases. Did the discourse include the word “genocide”? Were interventions primarily based on humanitarian factors? Overall, most interventions are not humanitarian-based, but that is not always a bad thing. When countries make decisions in their own self-interest, they invest more time and resources which could better help to mitigate humanitarian crises. The “genocide” label has not been used enough in international discourse for me to see a correlation with international interventions. However, this research proves the inverse: intervention is not less likely to occur in conflicts that do not have the genocide label.
Hix, Samantha | How the International Criminal Court Can Increase Arrests: A Case-by Case Analysis
The International Criminal Court (ICC) aims to put war criminals and those who commit crimes against humanity on trial. Although the ICC is reliant upon states to apprehend their defendants, and has had varying success with this relationship, this analysis shows that there are a number of ways arrests can take place, taking a specific interest in the assistance of international military and peacekeeping forces and foreign state cooperation. The aim of this research is to offer suggestions and applicable case studies for how the ICC can most effectively arrest and surrender defendants in the future, as 15 defendants still qualify as ‘at large.’ By looking into the cases of defendants that have been arrested in the past, this research aims to provide a framework for the future in arresting those still at large and those to come – even advocating for a new international force specifically for the ICC.
Jewett, Margaret | A Regime of Rape and Terror: Addressing Crimes of Sexual Violence at the Trial of Hissène Habré
This paper examines the trial of Hissène Habré, the former president of Chad, at the Extraordinary African Chambers and determines the trial’s effectiveness in providing justice to victims of sexual violence. I examined primary documents from the trial, as well as selected supplementary documents, and analyzed these documents on the basis of legal scholarship on sexual violence in international criminal law, using similar evaluations of trials such as the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). My research revealed that the trial was largely successful in treating crimes of sexual violence. Such crimes featured prominently at the trial, and the chambers treated victims who testified at the trial with proper awareness and respect of specific issues relating to sexual violence. The trial did display some discrepancies in handling male versus female victims of sexual violence, and the road to justice faces significant challenges ahead in the reparations process.
Kim, Eric | American = White? An Examination of the Asian American Peace Corps Experience
The Peace Corps places a heavy emphasis on allowing its volunteers to have a deeply immersive experience with host communities. Living and working side by side with local community members is at the core of creating a positive intercultural experience. This is especially important in fulfilling the second mission of the Peace Corps: promoting a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served. In my research, I focus on how the factor of race/ethnicity impacts a volunteer’s intercultural experience. Due to the fact that many host communities have a preconceived notion of what an “American” looks like, volunteers of color have unique experiences and challenges during service. By conducting interviews of returned Asian American volunteers, I attempt to show whether or not being a volunteer of color enhanced or hindered the experience of integrating into host communities and promoting the second mission.
Kim, Sabrina | Biodefense as a National Priority: An Inquiry into the Current State and the Future Trajectory of DHS’ BioWatch Program
Just a few weeks after 9/11, five Americans were killed by anthrax spores in the U.S. mail system. The resulting fear of a large-scale bioterrorism attack contributed to the development of BioWatch, a national network of sensors and laboratories to detect aerosolized biothreats. Upgrades began almost immediately after BioWatch was launched, but the Department of Homeland Security cancelled the acquisition of the third-generation sensors in 2014. I interviewed ten subject matter experts to understand the implications of this cancellation, the current technological capabilities of BioWatch, and the future trajectory of U.S. biodefense. I conclude that there is a consensus surrounding the necessity of a national biothreat detection initiative, but the logistics of such a program cause widespread disagreement and frustration. Furthermore, the creation of an effective biodefense policy requires many individuals operating at the nexus of STEM and national security and will likely remain a work-in-progress for years to come
Lee, Joan | Weibo Netizen Attitudes Toward Zhima Social Credit Scores
How do Chinese netizens understand the role of social credit scores in their lives? Chinese tech and consumer giant, Alibaba recently created their Sesame (Zhima) Credit scoring system, which aims to capture value through both a person’s financial and social activities. Zhima Credit has since sparked the creation of various other alternative social credit scoring systems. Nevertheless, the fundamental ideology of evaluating both social and financial transactions remains the same. Many scholars and skeptics worry about an Orwellian-like society where constant feelings of surveillance skew people’s behavior, but this literature rarely considers Chinese citizen viewpoints. This paper undertakes sentiment and content analysis of Chinese Weibo posts to capture netizen sentiments on Zhima Credit. I conclude that sampled Weibo posts reveal a general acceptance of social credit scores. Predominately, Weibo users positively embrace the new financial and social opportunities that come with high Zhima Credit scores. A minority of critiques focus on how Zhima Credit can generate classism. Across the board, Netizens recognize that Zhima Credit tangibly impacts their social and financial lives for better or worse.
Litkowski, Hannah | Just a Number? Age Verification of Migrants in Europe
By virtue of their vulnerability, migrants found to be under the age of 18 in Europe are legally entitled to special protections and benefits. The process by which their age is identified, however, is politically contentious at best and deeply invasive at worst: testing processes are largely based on popular science from the early 20th century and deeply affected by individual European states’ funding capacities and willingness to accept migrants. Through interviews with a variety of stakeholders, this capstone suggests that the current age verification system fails both European states and migrants, and the failure to establish a single protocol across Europe leaves states legally vulnerable. Yet cross-cutting European issues, such as deep financial inequality between states, makes implementing a “silver bullet” solution difficult. However, increased training for border patrol officers to allow them to identify minors earlier, better funding for UN organizations and other NGOs carrying out child protection efforts and screenings, and more carefully evaluated benefits for minors are three potential improvements.
McLaughlin, Conor | Mass Media Response to a School Shooting Compared to the Response of the Affected Community: A Parkland Case Study
This thesis investigates both the Mass Media framing and the Community response framing of the 2018 Parkland shooting. Through the application of the van Dijk/Bell scheme, 500 print and web articles as well as 685 tweets from the 10 days following the event were analyzed. Analysis of the different responses and their themes indicated that the community affected by the shooting is much more likely to use the incident as an advocacy for firearm control legislation in comparison to mass media.
Mogel, Blake | Changing Children’s Communities and Opportunities: An Analysis of Child Sponsorship Programs in the Republic of Haiti
Despite the prominence of child sponsorship programs in the Republic of Haiti, there is no scholarly literature discussing the current operations and future prospects of both international and domestic child sponsorship (CS) in Haiti. The goal of my research was to consider Haiti's programs in light of broader academic debates. Through interviews with program representatives from various CS organizations, I examined the ways in which CS operations in Haiti affirm and deny academic criticisms. Aside from the shift in using development rather than direct sponsorship, I found that CS in Haiti confirms the majority of negative academic criticisms. My interviews with representatives also provided great insights into new changes and challenges facing CS operations for the future. For example, Haiti is very much a smartphone culture and this poses unique challenges to the sponsor-child relationship.
Park, Nathan | Sub-Saharan African Migrant Perspectives on Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia as Transit Countries
The research for this capstone looks to see how Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia are implicitly and explicitly perceived as transit countries for irregular transit migration. This occurs through personal migrant accounts and archival analysis of policy through news sources, literature, and social media platforms. Research shows that Morocco is the most stable option for migrants to transit towards because of its well established immigration policy, its sub-Saharan ethnic communities, and humanitarian aid. Tunisia lacks the same political and legal structures but is receptive towards policy aiding the growing number of migrants entering from Libya. Libya continues to have a high migrant intake but there are significantly less incentives due to its human rights abuses. The research highlights the present difficulties that migrants face in all three transit countries, each’s growing role for the future of international migration, and continuing complexities of transit migration.
Seely, John | Tracking Disparities in Violence: How Governance Measures Can Help Evaluate Colombia’s Widening Homicide Gap
This study compares trends in urban and rural homicide rates in Colombia from 2010 to 2018 with the World Bank’s Worldwide Governance Indicators. Simple regressions are conducted for each of the indicators and homicide rates at the national, urban, and rural levels. The homicide rates are then compared to associations found for the same period between poverty, extreme poverty, and income inequality in order to see how the associations compare. In general, the associations between the WGIs and homicide rates were negative, meaning that advances in governance tend to reduce homicide levels in Colombia. A number of indicators were even shown to share stronger associations with homicide rates than either poverty or inequality. One of the most notable findings is that urban homicides were more susceptible to changes in measures of democracy while rural rates were more closely associated with levels of corruption, suggesting further research on these two associations is warranted.
Shipp, Bradley | #ISIS: An Analysis of the Ummah’s Reaction on Twitter to Islamist Fundamentalism
Social media is frequently characterized as a breeding ground for radicalism, a unique environment wherein users are able to retreat behind usernames to like, comment, and share without repercussions. Moreover, scholars such as Graeme Wood have argued that ISIS supporters on social media are more religiously literate than the average Muslim. My research tests this claim via a content analysis of the language used by the Ummah to Tweet about ISIS, Islamist violence and terrorism through a Boolean search containing “Umma(h)” and various relevant phrases. After compiling nearly 3,000 relevant Tweets spanning over 5 years (March 1, 2014—March 1, 2019), I find that condemnation of ISIS is far more common than support and, contrary to Wood’s hypothesis, Tweets condemning ISIS are more likely to use religiously literate language than Tweets supporting it.
Suliga, Casey | Does History Repeat Itself? Examining the Influence of Cold War Legacies Upon Russian Relations and Foreign Policymaking in the United States
This paper considers: “how does the legacy of the Cold War influence contemporary policymaking in the United States, and are U.S.-Russian relations improving, or is the world experiencing a Cold War II?” Searches on the database ProQuest Congressional are conducted for the co-presence of “Russia”, “Cold War”, and a third term of specific focus within congressional documents published after the Soviet Union’s collapse. 100 documents are analyzed evenly from four main subject areas that have significant applicable content as generated by ProQuest Congressional: President Putin, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, nuclear armament, and the 2014 Crimean crisis in Ukraine. Deeper analysis will consider implications for American foreign policymaking and security interests in affairs with Russia and abroad. This paper then explores whether these findings indicate promising potential for improvement in the relationship between Washington and Moscow, or whether the world stands to backslide into another Cold War zero-sum game.
Toker, Zeynap (Lal) | Challenging the Notion that Refugees are a Burden on Host Countries’ Economies: Focusing on Syrian Refugees in Turkey
This paper aims to analyze the real effect refugees have on a host countries’ economies in an attempt to understand the validity of hostility towards refugees. Due to the importance and intensity of the crises in Syria, as well as their large population of 3.3 million, Syrian refugees residing in Turkey have been used as a sample to represent the overall effect of refugees on their host countries’ economies. Analyzing data on Turkey’s economy, demographics, and data on Syrian refugees in Turkey, I find that refugee populations have a positive impact on the host country economy as measured by either Gross Domestic Product or Gross Domestic Product Per Capita. Furthermore, I find that there is insufficient evidence to argue that refugees increase host country unemployment rates.
Vo, Anh-Thu | After Genocide: An Analysis of #Rohingya Tweets from 2019
This thesis explores how Twitter has been used as a tool to disseminate information on the Rohingya crisis in the aftermath of the recent genocide. In doing so, I examined four main questions. First, are the tweets mainly pro-Rohingya or anti-Rohingya? Second, are the tweets presented as opinionated or are they presented as informational? Third, do the tweets provide evidence from outside sources in the tweets and how reliable are the tweets? Fourth, what are the tweets about? I find that the vast majority of tweets on #rohingya are pro-Rohingya, often relating to refugee resettlement. In the #RohingyaIslamist hashtag, by contrast, all of the tweets were anti-Rohingya and many called for the expulsion of Rohingya refugees from host countries. Finally, #RohingyaJihad tweets were mainly anti-Rohingya and implicated the Rohingya as perpetrators of violence.
Wilson, Hunter | Tales of Gods and Blood: Religion and the Alt-Right
The Alt-Right claims to be a political ideology with no affiliation with religion, but this does not preclude a history of disagreements over the place of religion in the movement. I show that those who identify as part of the Alt-Right are discussing the connection between religion and political ideology, fighting about the best religion, and attempting to make peace across religious boundaries. Belief systems like Christianity, Norse Paganism, and atheism still animate identities and ideologies despite living in an increasingly secular world. Perhaps the most interesting development is the idea of creating a hybrid religion that takes the best aspects of all three traditions in an effort to promote unity in the movement. The panoply of religious ideologies available exposes one of the deepest ironies of the movement: that members are open to certain types of diversity if it means promoting in-group cooperation to achieve their political aims.
Woods, Emma | China in the Western Hemisphere: The View from the South
A strong and stable partnership with Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is a crucial aspect of U.S. national security. The growing presence of a U.S. adversary in the region is not only a threat to the U.S., but the entire region as a whole. How Latin Americans perceive China’s growing presence in LAC is key to understanding where the relationship with the United States stands going forward. I therefore conducted a latent content analysis of 146 newspaper articles published in the region from January 2018 to April 2019. I rated each article on a scale of -2 to 2 based on the sentiment of the article towards China and likewise highlighted noteworthy qualitative aspects of the articles. Ultimately, I concluded that while China has gained a foothold in LAC, there exists a disconnect between public opinion and policy in the region, presenting an opportunity for the United States.
Class of 2018
Achtermann, Benjamin | Outrage of Indifference: The Macroeconomic Impacts of Western Sanctions and the Kremlin’s Response
This thesis examines the ways in which the Russian government presents the sanctions issued by the US and EU in the aftermath of the 2014 Ukraine crisis and Russian annexation of Crimea. This content analysis of 130 publically available sources from the Kremlin suggests that the Russian government utilizes a rhetoric that downplays the impacts of the sanctions and emphasizes their own economic growth despite the measures. Additional themes stressed include the mutual harm caused by sanctions and the claim that sanctions are motivated by an attempt to hold Russia back. I next consider macroeconomic data on the performance of the Russian economy over the sanctions period and conclude that sanctions have not been as impactful as is sometimes thought, with oil-price fluctuations having had a far greater macroeconomic effect.
Boghosian, Elissa | An Exploration of Nama and Herero Perspectives on Reparations for Namibia’s ‘Forgotten Genocide’
Genocide reparations constitute an important element of transitional justice. Reparations validate victimhood, encourage healing, and enshrine perceptions of justice. Since the 1990s, the Nama and Herero have advocated for reparations from Germany to address the colonial-era genocide. While a significant volume of literature discusses genocide reparations, few authors have focused on this particular reparations movement, and no author has written exclusively on Nama and Herero perspectives. Integrating qualitative and quantitative content analyses, this thesis explores Nama and Herero perspectives on genocide reparations. I investigate whether and how these claims have changed over time. Additionally, I explore themes in the rhetoric and rationale for meriting reparations. Findings discussed in this thesis have significant implications for evaluating the efficacy of the reparations movement and its impact on victims’ descendants.
Boswick, S. Thomas | Beyond the Picture, Into the Print: A Content Analysis of African Media Representations of Male and Female Child Soldiers
Iconic images of the child soldier flood humanitarian and international dialogues. Depictions of young boys wielding machine guns or of parents lamenting the kidnapping of their daughters are useful for drawing attention to the issue of child soldiering, but these representations have been accused of displaying patterns of “gender invisibility” wherein child soldiery is portrayed as a uniquely male phenomenon. To systematically explore this issue, I analyze 150 newspaper articles on male and female child soldiers from across five Sub-Saharan African countries. I examine the age and sex of the soldiers portrayed in each article and create a five category victim-perpetrator scale to assess the tone of each portrayal. I conclude that African media outlets do display patterns of gender invisibility, almost exclusively highlighting abuses committed against female child soldiers, whereas the portrayals of male child soldiers are more complex.
Brooks, Aethena | Trends in Los Angeles Newspaper Coverage of the LAPD Consent Decree
This paper analyzes 115 newspaper articles published between 2001 and 2013 in the Daily News of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Times to assess local media’s perspective on the consent decree between the LAPD and the Department of Justice. I code for attitudes towards the consent decree and for acknowledgment of problematic practices within the LAPD and find that the denial of problematic practices correlates with negative attitudes. More surprisingly, I uncover a trend toward liberalization at both newspapers, starting in 2010 and peaking in 2013. While the Daily News exhibits a conservative slant between 2001 and 2006, by 2013 it becomes equally as liberal as the Los Angeles Times, which is neutral up until 2010. Furthermore, in 2010, both newspapers begin to fully acknowledge the Rampart scandal as proof of a pattern of misconduct within the LAPD and embrace the consent decree as an effective mechanism for reform.
Catalano, Rachel | Victims Say #MeToo, But What Else? An Analysis of the 2017 Twitter Campaign
My thesis analyzes how victims of sexual violence used the 2017 #MeToo social media campaign to seek justice. Though it is as yet too early to determine the campaign’s effect (if any) on progress for victims in reality, it is clear that #MeToo has gained unprecedented traction and longevity. Specifically, I performed a content analysis on a sample of 510 tweets over a two-week timeframe that yielded four key themes: amplification, accountability, prevention, and criticism. The last theme, created by adversarial posters, represented a small but vocal minority. Most posts from victims and allies, which were the vast majority of all posts, sought to create a supportive, validating microcosm of the internet. Most promising for the transition from internet to real world, however, were those tweets both within the accountability and prevention themes that used the hashtag as a tool to not only lament the prevalence of sexual violence but to circulate actionable solutions.
Cohen, Megan | Jail, Bail, and Supervision Fail: A Comparison of Pretrial Bond Statuses and Post-Trial Outcomes
This is the first known project to study the long-term effects of those under pretrial supervision. Specifically, this paper seeks to address the question of whether or not those subject to pretrial supervision have more post-trial success than other pretrial programs such as bail or jail. Preliminary findings indicate that offenders who underwent pretrial supervision actually had less successful post-trial outcomes than other pretrial statuses. The main driver for this pattern seems to be the unusually high rate of offenders that had their pretrial supervision revoked. Those that successfully completed pretrial supervision had more or less similar outcomes to those coming from bail or jail. However, those that failed pretrial supervision (had their supervision revoked) had significantly less successfuloutcomes than every other pretrial category. This means that pretrial supervision may not be useful for deviance prevention, but may still be a worthwhile tool for deviance prediction.
Conte, Lucy | Being a Local Foreigner: A Case Study of Charlottesville, Virginia as an Accessible Space for Refugees
Marcus and Legeby introduce a revolutionary approach to understanding refugee integration in host countries by asking, “to what extent does the built environment provide an urban public space that has the ability to facilitate such different kinds of activities so that a newcomer can be actively part of urban life and contemporary society?” Understanding refugee resettlement should not be limited to studying social and economic integration. This paper uses Space Syntax methodology to analyze integration levels of neighborhoods in Charlottesville, VA. The results show that, though Charlottesville suffers low “global integration” or overall accessibility, it demonstrates interesting patterns of local accessibility regarding the areas housing the most foreign-born residents. The data does not necessarily support the initial hypothesis that neighborhoods with higher populations of foreign-born residents are less accessible but does encourage further field and interview research on the relationship between urban design and the experience of resettled populations.
Couch, Kennedy | DEEP Analysis: A Discussion of Early Disruption in Countering Violent Extremism
Countering violent extremism has become a tenet of government platforms all over the world. Jurisdictions across the US are beginning to consider new approaches, looking to programs that can operate at the individual-level to divert radical extremists. One such program, the Disruption and Early Engagement Project (DEEP) in the Eastern District of New York, uses this framework to preemptively identify and redirect individuals on the path toward radicalization before they take substantial steps toward violence. This thesis seeks to review this program’s potential for effectively diverting cases of lone-wolf extremism. Through media reports and interviews with practitioners involved with the program, I find that DEEP applies successful practices from criminal justice youth diversion programs to CVE. This approach has high feasibility to work effectively in lone-wolf extremist cases because it addresses the root issues driving violent, radical action and borrows best practices from other fields that work with individuals to mitigate risk.
Dupont, Olivia | Reading Between the Lines: An Analysis of the Representation of Men as Survivors of Sexual Violence in Ugandan News Media
Men have historically been underrepresented as survivors of sexual violence within news media. Many cultural, political and social factors can contribute to the portrayals of male survivors within media sources. For this paper, I analyzed the quantity and quality of male survivor representation using 138 Ugandan news articles. I found that male survivors in Uganda are underrepresented within the media, only being depicted in about 11% of articles related to sexual violence. However, articles that included dialogue on male survivor experiences tended to be sympathetic to the survivor and actively recognized barriers to male survivors receiving support. Representations of male and female survivors shared several commonalities such as the role of culture in silencing survivors. While the male survivors were represented with a sympathetic and progressive voice from Ugandan journalists, there is much room for improvement in terms of quantity of representation.
Foltz, Katelyn | #MachismoCulture: What Twitter Reveals About Connections Between Masculinity, Gender-Based Violence, and Feminism in Latin America
Using Twitter’s geotag and keyword search feature, I analyzed tweets in Colombia, Argentina, and Chile to better understand what social media reveals about machismo culture, gender-based violence, and feminism in the Latin American region. After analyzing 500 tweets, major themes of feminism and acknowledgement of structural influence on machismo violence were revealed. These themes include encouraging women to come together to dismantle patriarchal values, advocating for addressing how machismo culture contributes to trends of violence against women, and hashtags allowing women to experience support. At the same time, there was considerable support of maintaining patriarchal ideas and anti-feminist sentiments, such as maintaining the idea that sexism is a myth and that women are doing things that provoke violence, instead of being victims of misogyny.
Foster, Jessica | Persuasive Power and the Rhetoric of Religious Tolerance in the PRC
Religious resurgence in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) leads many to question the direction of China’s historically controversial relationship with religion. While some point to a history of persecution to argue the revival has emerged despite the government, others propose the PRC has economic, nationalist, or moral incentives to promote religion. For this paper, I translated 62 passages of the PRC’s official newspaper The People’s Daily since 2010 to identify prevailing government attitudes and motivations. I found a rising trend of support for religious activity, including increasingly softer rhetoric towards minority religions like Tibetan Buddhism (though not the same degree of promotion). I speculate that China’s primary motivations for religious promotion center around its pursuit of increasing its transnational influence by building its persuasive power to support its already strong coercive power. The softer rhetoric, therefore, does not indicate a genuine rise in religious tolerance.
Frasca, Allison | An Analysis of Organizational Archives of Latin American Women in Climate Change Efforts
In this capstone, I analyze publications from 11 environmental non-profits based in Latin America and 2 IGOs to see if and how women are included in climate change efforts. Where the content was available, I analyzed trends in what discussion surrounded this content, and whether it seems significant. Women are central to fighting against the negative consequences of climate change, and can be particularly important when looking at the global south. My research found that women are included in climate change content significantly when discussing the effects on the indigenous communities and when discussing land rights. Women in these communities are the leaders and are in an effective position to use successful mitigation and adaptive practices. However, noteworthy women-inclusive content when discussing other topics in climate change efforts in Latin America proved lacking.
Gallegos, Isabella | Are Weapons Collection Programs Effective at Improving Citizen Security in Mexico?
This paper examines the effectiveness of the Campaña de Canje de Armas, a weapons collection program that has been part of the Mexican national defense strategy since 2013. It adds to the scholarly research on weapons buyback programs in Latin America and provides a first analysis of the effectiveness of the Mexican program. Specifically, it considers four indicators over the period 2009-2017: the number of weapons captured by the Mexican government, the rate of firearm and non-firearm related homicides, the rate of firearm and non-firearm related injuries, and perceptions of citizen security. It finds that there has been a significant reduction in the number of weapons seized by the Mexican government and that the buyback program had a short-term positive impact on lowering the intentional firearm homicide rate and the unintentional firearm injury rate. Public perceptions of security, however, did not improve during the study period.
Giovanniello, Dominick | Pounding the Gavel on Judicial Independence: Exploring the Role of Judicial Independence in Egypt, Turkey, and Tunisia
Much has been written about the Arab Spring and about judicial independence (JI), which is widely perceived as an indicator of democratization or liberalization. However, existing scholarship has failed to satisfactorily establish the relationship between JI and increasing autocratization or democratization within the Middle East. This paper seeks to understand more precisely the relationship between JI and democratization/autocratization by analyzing and contrasting the cases of Egypt, Turkey and Tunisia. Using primary and secondary sources, this paper updates existing scholarship and seeks to identify what factors have led to an increase or decrease in judicial independence in Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey, and to understand what role, if any, judicial independence has played in the autocratization or democratization of each country.
Hardie, Caroline | International Justice Efforts in the Democratic Republic of Congo: A Feminist Legal Analysis of The International Criminal Court
This paper examines the effectiveness of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in addressing sexual and gender-based violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The Lubanga trial, the Katanga Trial, and the Bemba Trial are analyzed through a feminist legal lens to determine their effectiveness in achieving justice for the survivors of sexual and gender-based violence that was committed in these three cases. The cases are organized in chronological order to demonstrate the progress that has been made by the ICC in addressing sexual and gender-based violence in the DRC, while exploring the ways the ICC can more effectively address gender-based violence in the future. The paper also examines how the ICC’s reparations process addresses victims of sexual violence.
Jenkins, Tiffany | The Media and Public Perception of Peace in Colombia
For over 50 years, Colombia experienced a violent and deadly civil war that an official peace agreement brought to a close in November of 2016. Since then, the government has been tackling the daunting task of implementing the agreed-upon peace plan. By use of a two-level latent analysis on Colombian newspapers, El Colombiano and El Tiempo, I assess the perceived efficacy of the implementation of the Peace Plan and threats to spoil the peace. I conclude that, overall, public opinion is negative surrounding the peace plan; the articles reveal that that the public does not approve of the government’s actions and that recent violence by the paramilitary group, Ejército Liberal Nacional (ELN) may succeed in spoiling the peace.
Jones, Alisia | Competing or Complementary? Practitioner Evaluations of Three Approaches to Combatting Labor Trafficking
Scholars often debate the merits of three major approaches to combating labor trafficking. The human rights approach focuses on increasing protections and benefits to trafficking victims. The legal approach prioritizes issues associated with current labor and immigration and laws. The labor approach advocates addressing fundamental problems caused by the economic system. Based on eight interviews with anti-trafficking practitioners, I examined 1) which principles NGOs and legal aid organizations endorse in theory and 2) how they implement these approaches in their work on behalf of trafficking victims. The majority of practitioners supported all approaches, and representatives of each organization claimed to implement at least two of the approaches in practice. Although these findings suggest that the three approaches are complementary, this is not to say that any approach is being implemented as scholars might wish. This is likely attributable to inherent limitations of nonprofit organizations that partnerships with lawyers, corporations, and lobbying organizations can help to overcome.
Kornfield, Isabel | The Status Quo No Longer: The Two-State Solution as the Way to Move Forward for Israel and Palestine
The Israeli-Palestinian debate has been at the forefront of international concern and legal debate since the 1967 war in which Israel began the occupation of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Following a brief discussion of how international law interacts with the status quo, this paper engages in a policy review aimed at identifying the most likely and achievable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that would end the longstanding occupation of the OPT, concluding that the two-state solution is the most strategic solution for Israel, Palestine and the surrounding region. Despite the fact that the peace process has stalled in the last decade, it is a surprisingly auspicious time to consider the two-state solution in light of realities on the ground, widespread regional and international support for such a solution and most notably, a growing willingness by Arab states to both recognize and support Israel.
Lynch, William | China’s Military Modernization: Legitimate Threats or Unnecessary Concerns?
China’s newfound military strategy paired with the advances in its military capabilities has created much uncertainty about China’s rise into the international system. US International relations theorists, the US Department of Defense, and members of the United States Congress have all watched China’s military modernization, in order to understand what the future may hold for U.S.-China relations. This thesis attempts to identify the common themes that international relations theorists, Department of Defense officials, and members of the United States Congress emphasize as aspects of China’s military modernization that actually pose a threat to the US. It finds that three aspects of China’s military modernization meet these criteria: China’s naval modernization, China’s modernization of its missile capabilities, and China’s continued development of advanced Anti-Access/Area Denial capabilities.
Mengale, Uma | The Road to Peace: A Counterfactual Analysis of the International Criminal Trbiunal for the former Yugoslavia
Using the former Yugoslavia and the establishment of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) as a case study, this paper poses the counterfactual: What if the international tribunal mechanism had not been implemented? Public opinion throughout the former Yugoslav republics before, during, and after the conclusion of the ICTY conveys the strong possibility that an alternate form of transitional justice or method of conflict resolution would have been more effective in addressing the concerns of victims and creating a foundation for lasting peace, defined in this paper as a lack of conflict recidivism coupled with a progressive shift towards accepting human rights norms. Primary and secondary archival sources are then utilized to depict these possible alternate scenarios and delineate some of their foreseeable consequences. While this paper does not conclusively prove the effectiveness of tribunal processes, it helps to provide a broader perspective on a contentious transitional justice mechanism.
Moreth, Gabrielle | To What Extent are Lone-Wolf Terrorists Influenced by Organized Groups?
Over the last two decades, attacks conducted by lone-wolf terrorists have increased in both frequency and lethality. These attacks are difficult for authorities to defend against because perpetrators are not formally linked to an organized group, making it harder to anticipate an attack before it occurs. This research seeks to answer two main questions: 1) to what extent are close friends, family, or a wider network of co-conspirators typically aware of a lone-wolf’s intent to engage in terrorist-related offenses? 2) To what extent are co-conspirators typically involved in planning stages of the offender’s intended terrorist attack? My analysis of socio-demographic network characteristics and antecedent behaviors of 108 lone-wolf terrorists in the US and Europe finds that many but not all lone-wolf terrorists regularly engaged in a detectable and observable range of activities with a wider pressure group, social movement, or terrorist organization.
Odle, Adam | Viewing Multinational Peacekeeping Through an African Lens: A Latent Content Analysis Examining African Perspectives of AU Peacekeeping Missions
This paper contributes to the study of multinational peacekeeping in Africa by considering the content of African newspaper articles as a key piece to understanding local perspectives of African Union missions. Drawing on Dow Jones’ Factiva database, the paper examines a latent content analysis of one hundred newspaper articles that reference the African Union Mission in Sudan, the African Union Mission in Somalia, and the Multinational Joint Task Force. The findings are complicated, but they generally indicate that Africans view these missions in a negative light. They illuminate certain problems common to all three missions (for example, finance) as well as problems unique to individual missions that have not yet been described by Western scholars. I conclude by discussing how future studies might expand upon these findings by using different research methods, and by reiterating the importance of assessing African perspectives on the AU model of multinational peacekeeping.
Pakmehr, Samira | New Year, Old Grievances? Public Opinion and Public Diplomacy Curing Iranian Political Unrest
A series of protests occurred throughout Iran from late December 2017 until early January 2018. The unrest appeared to be originating from economic woes, but protesters soon demonstrated their anger with the theocratic regime. I conducted content analyses of protest slogans using video footage and of public statements from Iranian political officials to examine what public opinion and public diplomacy looked like throughout Iran during the 2017-2018 protests. I consider slogans as a method of expressing public opinion, and public statements by political officials as a representation of public diplomacy. The results indicated there were wider political grievances beyond socio-economic distress in Iranian public opinion, suggesting a continuity in protest slogan history from 1979 onwards. While domestic leadership acknowledged the complaints, there was a tendency to shirk responsibility for the uprising and blame foreign influence.
Papiernik, Nyla | A Territorial Response to Terrorism: How Political Violence Affects Territorial Identities in the Levant
The Middle East has been a center of terrorism and identity conflict literature since the late 20th century. The changing borders, political instability, and terrorism provide ample ground for research into relationships between these various elements. Existing literature argues that terrorism exacerbates identity conflicts in the Middle East, but this research does not focus on how the government reacts to identity and terrorism together. Moreover, there is a gap in existing literature regarding the reinforcement or change of territorial identities at the expense of government policies. This paper asks three sequential questions about the relationship between terrorism and territorial identity. What is the environment for terrorism and territorial identity in a state? How does the government respond to these factors? And, finally, does terrorism affect territorial identity in this state? I argue that terrorism does affect territorial identities because governments respond to terrorism and domestic violence through territorial-based policies.
Stiebel, Olivia | Surveillance and Section 702: A Legal Analysis of the Government’s Controversial Program
This thesis analyzes the surveillance versus privacy rights debate as it relates to the FISA Section 702 program and two ongoing court cases, Wikimedia v. NSA and Jewel v. NSA. Much of the debate centers on challenges over the Fourth Amendment, Separation of Powers, and Article III. After examining the legislative history and background on FISA and the Section 702 program, I examine constitutional challenges to them based on the Fourth Amendment, Separation of Powers, and Article III. I concur with the legal opinion implicit in the fact that the Section 702 program has not yet been ruled illegal or unconstitutional, and suggest that it remains necessary for collecting vital intelligence, discovering new bad actors, and stopping future terrorist attacks. In reviewing the Wikimedia and Jewel cases, I similarly contend that the NSA’s programs of both “Upstream” and “dragnet” surveillance, as well as other types of government surveillance programs, are constitutional and necessary to preserve national security.
Walters, Jocilyn | Exposing a Disparity Between Human Trafficking Scholars and Practitioners
As human trafficking, or modern day slavery, continues to rise in prioritization by federal organizations and non-governmental organizations, various prevention methods are being implemented, including investigation and prosecution of traffickers, strengthening justice systems, and targeting economic factors contributing to slavery. Although some scholars call for strengthening the enforcement of the law, many also critique a linear law enforcement approach and argue for an incorporation of economics into prevention. Oftentimes there can be a gap between a scholar’s view from afar and a practitioner’s experience. My research utilizes interviews with anti-trafficking practitioners and reveals a disparity between organizations’ perception of the source of trafficking and their preferred prevention methods. Their self-evaluations and hopes for the future also reveal a gap between scholarly literature and practitioner experience.
Wilkinson, Jane | Fire, Fury and Big Red Buttons: How US Presidential Rhetoric Impacts DPRK Foreign Policy
The Trump administration has been a conduit of change in many forms, but one of the most notable has been the President’s untraditional language. “Fire and fury” creates uncertainty over the United States’ willingness to attack a nuclear state. Previously, North Korea had operated under the assumption that the US would never attack a state with nuclear weapons. There are two schools of thought on this: that uncertainty will either make North Korea realize its aggressive actions are not a viable way to obtain security, or it will accelerate North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons. This paper uses quantitative methods to examine how US presidential rhetoric relates to North Korean foreign policy, and how this relationship has changed between administrations. Its findings indicate that North Korea has both become more responsive to presidential rhetoric and less aggressive overall under the Trump administration.
Young, Gates | Pursuing Peaceful Moderation: An Analysis of Countering Violent Extremism in Minnesota
One theoretical solution to combatting ideologically motivated violence, known as countering violent extremism (CVE) has recently gained attention as it involves both security measures and community outreach or engagement techniques. The current case study considers how any CVE initiative can be evaluated holistically, and as a conglomeration of subfields seeking a similar end goal. I interviewed individuals involved in the implementation of CVE and related programs to analyze the “Building Community Resilience” Pilot Program in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. Four categories of interest arose from these interviews: 1) Motivators of Violent Extremism, 2) Development of Programs, 3) Messaging Techniques, and most importantly 4) Evaluation. This research found frequent agreement on theoretical fields of interest when evaluating CVE, yet conflicting perspectives across communities, individuals, and organizations. Notably, certain practical disagreements may prove detrimental to CVE programs if not addressed contextually at the outset.
Class of 2017
Chavez, Austin | Clouds Over Shabaab: A Systematic Analysis of US Drone Strikes on the Operational Capacity of al-Shabaab in Somalia
This thesis analyzes the impact of the United States drone campaign in Somalia on the al-Queada affiliated terrorist group; al-Shabaab. After reviewing existing literature on drone strike counterterrorism policies and on the Somali civil war, I critique the approach of the existing literature. Previous studies on drone strike effectiveness in Afghanistan and Pakistan have derived models that may or may not be applicable to smaller scale counterterrorism operations such as Somalia. Although this thesis arrives at no definitive conclusion about the course of U.S counterterrorism policy for Somalia; the modelling on number of terrorist attacks, attack casualties, and attack methods suggests a possible course of action for reducing particularly violent upswings and reducing highly publicized attacks in the future.
Culbreth, Madeline | Trump’s Travel Ban: Competing Cases and Conflicting Interpretations
Trump’s travel ban has sparked extensive legal debate. I examine current court proceedings, precedent, and legal scholarship to identify that debate’s major themes. Much of the legal debate centers on religious freedom, due process, and the Immigration and Nationality Act, and I conclude that no one argument is immune from the legal scrutiny of the opposition. However, the claim that the Executive Order violates the Establishment Clause is a stronger argument than the claim that the EO violates due process rights. The temporary restraining orders against the Executive Order have also cited additional laws and precedents, which prompted further research into the history and application of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Administrative Procedure Act and the history of the judiciary’s relationship with Executive Orders. Despite my extensive review of precedent, I conclude that this is unprecedented territory and we will have to wait and see as cases continue to move through the courts.
Dotterer, Eric | Does Voluntary Deradicalization Work? Prospects for Success of a New French Program
A new French deradicalization program aims to build twelve new centers across France, one in each province. The first center, created in September of 2016, seeks to disengage potentially radicalized individuals and reintegrate them back into society. Despite its newness, the center has drawn widespread criticism, presumably given the failure of past deradicalization programs. This paper examines similarities that the new French program shares with other domestic and international reintegration and deradicalization programs, and investigates which elements have seen successes in the past. I examine French and international media sources to determine early indicators of the program’s success and conduct interviews with journalists, officials, program critics and program defenders. My interviewees offer several different ideas about the predictors of successful disengagement and deradicalization, leading to some preliminary conclusions about whether this investment by the French government will see tangible results, events, and post-migration stress.
Fico, Jamie | Ageless Traditions, Rising Underdogs: The Changing Players of Humanitarian Aid Operations in Yemen
Traditional aid organizations rely heavily on the humanitarian principles of neutrality, impartiality, and independence in order to validate their work in conflict zones and protect the safety of their staff. Their approach is to not take sides in hostilities and to work to alleviate suffering for those most in need regardless of ideological, political, or racial affiliations. However, the humanitarian field has expanded in modern times to other sectors such as faith-based charities, state-backed assistance, and locally-formed community organizations. New actors straddle the line between doing good, honest humanitarian work that alleviates human suffering, while at the same time using their humanitarian pedestal to garner international and local support for their side in a conflict. Even more noteworthy are the new partnerships forming between traditional actors and these faith-based, state, and local actors. Yemen reveals the shifting alignments of the traditional aid community with newer humanitarian actors that break down divides between western and Islamic, foreign and local aid. These old and new actors alike have ultimately decided that they must work together to reach the war-tried population.
Finn, Amanda | A Comprehensive Analysis of the Main Grievances of the Indian Caste System as Defined by Dalit Advocacy Organizations
This thesis examines grievances regarding the Indian caste system by conducting a content analysis of available publications from seven major Dalit advocacy groups. Publications were analyzed and compared based on their references to different examples of caste-based discrimination. The publications analyzed were found online and each was in English. Budget reports and publications in Hindi were excluded from the analysis. Results of the content analysis pointed to both similarities and differences across organizations. Common themes from the available literature pointed to grievances stemming from the effect of natural disasters on Dalits and the lack of adequate prevention, preparedness and response mechanisms. Other frequent grievances included disparities in education and literacy rates between Dalits and higher castes, inadequate representation in the workforce, reliance on agriculture, gender rights, access to water and sanitation, and other forms of social discrimination and exclusion.
Gallahan, Nicole | You Say a Lot When You Say Nothing at All: A Study of the Relationship Between ISIS and Al Qaeda
The Islamic State (ISIS) and Al-Qaeda (AQ) are well known and fairly well researched in the world today. The two terrorist organizations were once closely affiliated and have since split drastically. Their similarities, differences, and tensions are well documented in the literature, but what is less documented is what they directly say about one another. I have conducted a content analysis of ISIS’s Rumiyah and Dabiq searching for direct mentions of AQ, as well as a content analysis of AQ’s Inspire looking for direct mentions of ISIS. My findings reveal that although their relationship has been well documented in the literature, they do not say much about each other in the publications. There are of course some mentions of one another, but a search for obvious key terms revealed little in the two organizations’ very detailed publications.
Goretsky, Rachel | With Friends Like These: Analyzing NATO Burden Sharing Trends
This paper examines how selected NATO Member States respond to criticisms from the United States to pay their fair share of European defense and how their decisions will affect the future of NATO. Six countries, three smaller states and three larger states are studied. All six countries have been increasing their defense spending in the last few years and plan to continue to do so. (Two, Poland and the United Kingdom, already exceed the targeted minimum.) I find that the smaller states have increased their defense spending in the context of growing Russian aggression, rather than as a result of President Trump’s criticisms. Regarding the larger states, France is spending more as a result of increasing terrorism and interest in becoming more autonomous in its security, rather than to abate criticisms. Germany is most resistant to increasing its defense spending, though the Germans are reluctantly spending more incrementally over time.
Grayson, Akitriana | Drones and the Pakistan Media: How does the Media Characterize Pakistani Leaders’ Responses to the U.S. Drone Program?
Since 9/11, the Pakistani government has allied with the US in the War on Terror, allowing it to conduct drone strikes on its territory. News reports show that Pakistani leaders are aware of US drone strikes, and these reports are sometimes the most reliable source of information we have to gain insight into the classified US drone program in Pakistan. Although there have been studies conducted on how civilians and militants in Pakistan respond to drone strikes, there has yet to be a study conducted on how the Pakistani media characterizes Pakistani leaders’ responses to US strikes. In order to assess how Pakistani heads of state respond, I conducted a content analysis of news articles from Pakistani sources to determine how the media characterizes leader responses. All outlets are overall strongly critical of Pakistani leaders. They describe their support for the US drone program as counterproductive to the War on Terror, leading to an increase of resentment from their citizens. However, the extent to which the news sources criticize Pakistani leaders does differ from administration to administration.
Hershman, Charles | A Quantitative Analysis of the Prevalence of Corruption in International Sport
There has recently been an increase in reported cases of corruption in international sport. In response, both sponsors and non-profit organizations have taken remedial action in order to protect sport through efforts to ensure accountability, good governance, and integrity in sport. This study analyzes the factors that could be used to gain a better understanding of the magnitude of corruption in sport in hopes of future applications of anti-corruption policies. The variables examined are: doping violations in Olympic drug testing, the nationality of athletes that committed violations, and the perceptions of general corruption within a country. The results suggest, perhaps surprisingly, that there is a negative correlation between the prevalence of corruption in sport and the perceived extent of general corruption. This analysis posits that the phenomenon of doping is more complex than many realize, as it encompasses a wide variety of behaviors, situations and motivations.
Jackson, Jake | Understanding Police Militarization from the Law Enforcement Perspective
Although the study of the militarization of police has been growing for the past several years, there is a lack of perspectives from practitioners within the law enforcement community. This paper seeks to fill that void by attempting to understand arguments for and against police militarization from a police perspective. I break the topic of police militarization down into several overarching themes: the police use of military technology and equipment; the use of militarized training and tactics; and the adoption of militarized values and beliefs commonly referred to as the warrior mindset. I explore these themes in a systematic analysis of online communities used by law enforcement officials and via interviews with two police officers. Although I hypothesized that there would be broad support for the militarization of police form the law enforcement community, the final research did not generally support this claim. Rather, opinions regarding militarized policing varied greatly across the various forums, blogs, and interviews.
Jenkins, Vendarryl | War on Drugs or a Blind Eye to International Law: Mass Incarceration as a Tool of Racial Destruction
The systemic racial injustices of mass incarceration in the US remain so prevalent that it should be categorized as a crime against humanity. While the Jim Crow era is understood to be a part of the historical Dark Age that ended with the victories of the civil rights movement, the present War on Drugs and the resulting mass incarceration of Black people has replicated the discriminatory effects. This paper will attempt to portray the War on Drugs through an international scope, which will underscore that America is in violation of international law and various international treaty conventions. Though much of the literature on the subject of racial inequality in the criminal justice system maintains a strictly domestic focus, this paper will further assert that the government of the United States has committed a crime against humanity according to the Rome Statute.
Kimlick, Madalyn | The Role of Food Insecurity in Egyptian Political Unrest
This study illuminates how and how much the role of food insecurity plays in Egyptian political unrest. To illuminate these connections, I conduct a detailed analysis of both regional and global news media regarding Egypt’s unrest and food insecurity experience. My content analysis establishes the importance of understanding food security as an input factor to Egypt’s political stability. The links, implications, and structures of political unrest and food insecurity responses are evidence of important connections, rarely addressed in current literature on Egypt. The study results indicate food insecurity contributes to unrest through political, population, global, and geographical variables. As such, this Egypt-specific study corroborates extant scholarship from other countries and regions indicating the vital connection between food insecurity and political unrest.
Mehta, Jaina | President Trump’s Executive Order #13769: Practical Security Implications for the United States
This thesis examines the real-world security implications of Donald Trump’s travel and immigration ban. Considering the question, “will this order truly increase the security of the United States and its citizens,” I analyze multiple aspects of this presidential action. Starting with the text of the executive order and its stated mission, I investigate the security considerations of implementing this ban of seven nations from entry into the United States. I gather both quantitative and qualitative data regarding environmental (political, social, and economic) factors in the nations banned, the terror and crime statistics of the U.S. regarding foreign nationals from these countries, and the likelihood of a terrorist attack being undertaken by non-U.S. citizens, including temporary and permanent residents travelling into the United States from elsewhere. I conclude that, overall, the executive order does not create policy that would lead to its stated aim. I also consider each banned nation individually, determine the potential threat level of each, and consider the appropriateness of its appearance on the banned country list.
Moreno, Jessica | Comparing the Effectiveness of Non-Governmental Organizations with Faith-Based Organizations Providing Services to Victims of Human Trafficking
There are many organizations working to fight human trafficking today, two of which are non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and faith-based organizations (FBOs). However, there is very little data showing which types of organizations are more effective in their work. The findings from a series of 10 interviews done in the Spring of 2017 with representatives from both NGOs and FBOs suggest that there is not a strong difference between the effectiveness of NGOs and FBOs. Rather, the success of these organizations is determined by a variety of factors that can be shared by either or both subgroups. Examples of these factors include the organization’s available resources and the strength and sustainability of the infrastructure. Solutions to improving victims’ service provision on the whole include increasing funding, research, accountability among faith-based organizations, performing frequent realistic assessments of internal structure and efforts, and hiring trained professionals for victim-specialized services.
Neal, Katherine | Investigating Food Justice and the Role of the Local Networked Non-Profit
Food justice is both a movement and a goal for equity in all aspects of food system production and consumption. The Charlottesville Food Justice Network (CFJN) is a small group of local organizations that are in some way invested in community food security. This research project addresses the role of collaborative structures and the limitations of non-profits organizing for food system change. It works to address the challenges of incorporating marginalized community voices within non-profit centered structures, as well as highlights the work of non-profit actors working to understand their privilege both individually and in collective work. Finally, this thesis presents the negotiation of food justice and the traditional food security paradigm with organizational engagement with emergency food providers.
Pickering, Althea | Examining the Role of Gender Inequality as a Predictor of Conflict
Women are disproportionately affected by violence and conflict across the globe, but are continually left out of political participation and peace processes that reestablish pre-existing frameworks of discrimination, insecurity, and inequality. Although women make up more than half of the world population, they continue to be underrepresented in politics and peacebuilding. These limited possibilities illustrate the paradox reinforced by traditional gendered norms and societal expectations of women that perpetuate inequity and discrimination. This paper uses quantitative analysis to examine whether gender inequality is a predictor for conflict and violence. The results confirm the findings in the existing literature that the presence of domestic gender inequality increases the likelihood of a state being involved in internal or international conflict. These results provide strong evidence that empowering women should be a global priority.
Robards, Mary Beth | The Belgian Case: Investigating the Links Between Language, Laïcité, and Terrorism
A 2016 article entitled “The French Connection: Explaining Sunni Militancy Around the World,” by William McCants and Christopher Meserole, attempts asserts that the best predictor for foreign fighter radicalization is “whether a country (is) Francophone.” This is explained by the idea that a “francophone effect” is caused by strict secularism of “French political culture.” This paper examines that claim in the context of Belgium, a francophone country that is divided linguistically and politically into three major regions. An examination of Belgian terrorists, terror attacks and foreign fighter numbers will show that the overwhelming majority of these people are from Flanders and the Brussels capital region, not from Francophone Wallonia. I then examine Belgian political culture in the three major political regions, measuring it against French laïcité in order to determine if there is in fact a relationship between laïcité and terrorism.
Schnider, Reid | The ‘Why’ Behind One of the World’s Most Lethal Terrorist Organizations: Deciphering the Motivations of Abubakar Shekau’s Boko Haram
In recent years, the Nigerian Salafist group Boko Haram has claimed thousands of lives and internally displaced millions of others, having undergone a dramatic tactical shift since the execution of its founder Mohammed Yusuf and the appointment of its current leader Abubakar Shekau. Given the new beast Boko Haram has become under Abubakar Shekau, it is more important than ever to determine what motivates what is now one of the deadliest terrorist organizations in the world. Literature on the subject is largely inconclusive, but generally argues motivation along four lines: economic motivations, political motivations, identity-based motivations, and religious motivations. Using a qualitative content analysis, this paper examines how the voices of relevant populations—current members of Boko Haram, former members of Boko Haram, victims and bystanders, and the armed forces combatting Boko Haram—reconcile with the conclusions of relevant academic literature.
Shahbaz, Mishal | Investigating Media Coverage of the Uprising in Kashmir through a War and Peace Journalism Perspective
India administered Kashmir has seen tremendous violence over the years in its struggle for independence. Summer 2016 saw some of the worst violence in modern history after the death of the separatist leader and militant, Burhan Wani. There was significant media coverage of the uprisings and the crackdown by the Indian army following his death. This study aims to discern the frameworks used in that coverage according to Johan Galtung’s peace journalism model. The study analyzed six news outlets and coded each article according to seven peace/war journalism indicators. The newspapers analyzed were Times of India, Hindustan Times, New York Times, Aljazeera, The Nation, and DAWN News. The findings indicated that the dominant frame used in the reporting was a war journalistic one, with the salient indicators being an elite-oriented and differences-oriented perspective. The salient indicators for peace journalism were seeing conflict as the problem and focusing on the causes and consequences of the conflict.
Smith, Effie | Belonging in the Borderlands: Social Citizenship and Community Integration of Haitians and their Descendants in the Dominican Republic
My field and interview research provides an explanation for how Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent living in the Dominican Republic achieve social citizenship and integrate themselves into Dominican society, particularly in rural areas, regardless of legal residency or citizenship. I show that Haitians and their descendents have been able to attain social citizenship despite the Dominican government’s restrictive immigration policies and continued attempts to bar them from integrating into the Dominican social fabric. This is important as much of the dialogue surrounding the issue is negative and presents a hopeless view of relations between Dominicans and Haitians. My research shows another side of this relationship. Although there is still a lot of racism towards and unfair treatment of Haitians and their descendents, these individuals also have positive experiences and strong relationships with their Dominican neighbors, particularly in rural areas and bateyes.
Travers, Victoria | Motivating Compassion: An Examination of What Drove Germany and Sweden to Adopt the Two Most Generous Asylum Policies on Earth
Over one million people displaced by the Syrian Civil War are seeking refuge and asylum in Europe. Most EU states, however, have barred these asylum-seekers, with the notable exceptions of Germany and Sweden. This thesis queries: What makes these two countries different? What cultural, economic, and political reasons initially compelled Germany and Sweden to adopt liberal refugee and asylum policies? To answer this question, I conduct comparative historical research and critical content analysis of newspaper reports, editorials, and opinion pieces to examine what Germans and Swedes view as the preeminent motivators behind their respective nations’ policies. Ultimately, my findings suggest that German empathy is intertwined with Holocaust guilt, low national pride, economic incentives, and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s unilateral political choices. Swedes, on the other hand, are driven by a resilient – though not inexhaustible – culture of compassion and sense of national pride.
Class of 2016
Anderson, Casey | Privatization Pushback: A Case Study of the Successful D.C. Effort to Dismantle a Private Prison
There has been a nationwide pushback against the privatization of jails and prisons, but thus far few campaigns have been as successful as the one headed up by ReThink Justice D.C. located in the District of Columbia. I, therefore, conducted in-depth interviews with participants in the Rethink Justice D.C. coalition regarding their attitudes about privatization, deprivatization and campaign strategy. There was more of a consensus among my interviewees about the problems of privatization than about how best to go about deprivatization or the reasons for the D.C. campaign’s success. Respondents also felt that their strategy could be applied elsewhere, though it would have to be adapted to fit the particular political and social climate of that area.
Boyd, Katrina | The Syrian Crisis: Understanding the Nature of Public Attitudes Toward Refugees in Turkey and the United States
The scope and duration of the Syrian conflict has made the situation for Syrian refugees and their host communities exceedingly difficult. In order to compare differences in public attitudes toward the arrival of Syrian refugees, a content analysis of Turkish and American newspapers examined relationships between security, cultural, and humanitarian concerns. Between 2013 and 2015, Turkish reports were more likely than US ones to exhibit anti-refugee sentiment. Additional analysis revealed that both the US and Turkey considered the refugee crisis through a security lens regardless of overall pro- or anti- refugee sentiment. It is concluded that while contact theory likely plays a small role in increasing social acceptance between host citizens and incoming groups, it is likely that inherent differences such as relative populations and geographic factors provide better explanations for the nature of varying public opinion toward refugees.
Dister, Jonah | Inclusion of Data on Mental Health of Short-Term Refugees Demonstrates Significance of Gender, Traumatic Events, and Post-Migration Stress
The resettled refugee population is particularly susceptible to mental illness primarily because of the prevalence of pre-resettlement traumatic experiences. Though existing literature has identified a number of risk factors and their corresponding associations with the prevalence of mental illness among refugees, there is no previous meta-analysis of the data on refugees displaced fewer than 5 years before. This review seeks to expand upon an existing 2015 systematic literature review from Bogic, Njoku, & Priebe through the incorporation of data on more recently displaced refugees. Twelve new studies were identified, and their data was extracted and compared with the existing data. Results demonstrated substantial differences in the risk factors of gender, number of traumatic events, and post-migration stress.
Gallo, Meredith | The Pressure Game: The Relationship Between US Pressure and the Efficacy of Pakistani Military Counterterrorism Campaigns
Since the warming of US-Pakistan relations after September 11, 2001, reconciling American and Pakistani counterterrorism interests has been a taxing and complicated process. This paper assesses the influence of US pressure on the effectiveness of Pakistani military counterterrorism campaigns through an analysis of US diplomatic pressure and militant and Pakistani armed forces casualties. Data for this research is drawn from the South Waziristan Operations in 2009 and early 2010, and the first months of the North Waziristan offensive in 2014.
Goodwin, Cori | Domestic Adoption Trends in Uganda: What the Media Can Tell Us
Adoption has been considered a solution for abandoned or orphaned children for decades, but has not always flourished everywhere. While Western countries have been using domestic adoption as a way to provide abandoned children with loving homes and childless parents with children for a long time, African countries have only rather recently started using legal adoption to provide solutions for vulnerable children. After years of research and discontent over the current handling of children in Uganda, the Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development began a campaign to encourage Ugandans to adopt Ugandan children. Now five years after the start of their campaign, this paper seeks to chronicle and analyze the shifting focus of this media campaign and how trends and opinions of domestic adoption have changed as a result.
Jensen, Erica | Who Will Attack Again? A Quantitative Analysis of Variables in Guantanamo Bay Detainee Recidivism
Recidivism continues to be a problem after detention for all prisons. However, due to the political significance of terrorism issues, Guantanamo Bay detainee recidivism requires greater examination. This paper examines factors that could be used to predict recidivism in detainees in hopes of applying this knowledge to counterterrorism practice. The variables examined are: years between release and reported recidivism, the administration who released the detainee, the detainee risk status as decided by the Joint-Task Force, the detainee’s region of origin, and whether or not a detainee was tortured during his time at Guantanamo. The results suggest that there is a negative correlation between recidivism and Obama releases when controlled for time, and a positive correlation between years since release and recidivism. Perhaps most interestingly, the results suggest a positive correlation between torture and recidivism.
Jurden, Maddie | The Real Third Phase: The Islamic State’s Evolution to Statehood
Terrorism has become a focus of international discourse over the past twenty years, and most recently the group on everyone’s mind is the Islamic State. The world watched the group evolve from Al-Qaeda in Iraq into a fledgling state that controls territory in Iraq and Syria. As the group’s operational landscape has evolved, so has its internal narrative developed a cohesive explanation of who they are, what they plan to do, and how, through their magazine, Dabiq. This essay uses the narratives present in the magazine to analyze the intersection between enemy focus and state sovereignty. The findings suggest that the organization is morphing in to a sovereign state with a very distinct rhetoric dictating friend versus foe. As Western forces become more involved with the group, understanding how its members see themselves will be paramount to mounting a comprehensive assault.
Lambert, Brianna | Bridging the Gap: Addressing the Sex vs. Labor Divide in the US Anti-Human Trafficking Field
For those involved in the anti-trafficking field, the discrepancy between the amount of funding, resources, and publicity for sex and labor trafficking initiatives is often pronounced. Considering the severity of both subsets of human trafficking, it can be puzzling why such a discrepancy continues to shape anti-trafficking campaigns and agendas around the US. Some scholars have sought to unpack this curious divide; however, there is a distinct lack of professional perspectives on the subject within existing literature. By conducting personal interviews with members of the US anti-trafficking community on why this distinction persists, how important it is in practice, and whether or not we should do something about it, I attempt to bridge the gap between anti-trafficking professionals and academic scholars on how we can best combat human trafficking in the future.
Leidy, Emily | Terrorists are Better at Chatting than Hacking
I examined whether or not the Sunni terrorist organization ISIS is technologically advanced by comparing their posts to posts from supposedly advanced hacking groups such as Anonymous. This provides a baseline to determine if ISIS uses more technical language than other terrorist groups, which would imply their relative technological advancement. I analyzed 37 ISIS Twitter accounts and compared them to 36 Anonymous Twitter accounts. To supplement, I also tracked and analyzed 4 active Telegram channels. I found that both ISIS and Anonymous were better at talking, or posting, than hacking. Anonymous used more technological language than ISIS and there was a statistically significant difference between the Twitter presence of Anonymous and that of ISIS. I conclude that although ISIS utilizes bots and is attempting to expand their hacking knowledge, their cyber capabilities are still limited and comprise a small part of their overall operation.
Masters, Nicholas | Is Charismatic Leadership Essential for Genocide? A Case Study of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi and the Islamic State
This thesis applies historic and modern definitions and interpretations of charismatic leadership to the case of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed caliph of the Islamic State. By analyzing a variety of sources including Dabiq (the Islamic State magazine), academic literature, and academic articles written about the Islamic State, this thesis explores whether Al-Baghdadi’s relationship to the Islamic State qualifies him as either a “charismatic leader” or one with a “cult of personality.” This thesis also looks at how the presence of either relationship has contributed to the Islamic State’s execution of genocide against individuals across Syria and Iraq.
McCarthy, Fiona | International Hopes, National Dissent: The Deteriorating Relationship Between the United Kingdom and the European Union
Using the United Kingdom’s relationship with the European Union as a case study, this report details several landmark court rulings to explore reasons for compliance or noncompliance with international law. The existing literature on the subject chiefly argues that nations only agree to international law when it is convenient for their national interest, and authors have most often used a broad survey of country data, court rulings, and historical analysis to back this claim. While this paper does not directly refute the national interest theory, it explores a single country with a greater degree of depth than is common in the literature. There seems to be no one particular reason for compliance, but two major reasons influencing noncompliance. These two reasons, politicization of these major cases and public opinion towards them, arise out of cases where the state has a compelling, if not always rational, reason not to cooperate with the ruling, and exaggerates the broader political, legal, and social implications of each case, with negative consequences for international cooperation in general.
Memon, Areeka | A Newspaper Content Analysis of Cross-National Differences in the Nationalism and Sensationalism of Public Health Media Coverage
This paper analyzes how newspapers in three of the most populous countries in the world, the U.S., China, and Pakistan, frame three major public health issues including, Ebola, malaria, and HIV/AIDS in terms of national and international interests as well as how sensational each country is in their coverage of these public health issues. Contrary to a prevailing view in the scholarly literature, I did not find that newspapers in any of the three countries were particularly sensational. The country with the most sensational newspaper articles is the U.S. and the country with the least sensational newspaper articles is Pakistan. The U.S. newspaper articles about these diseases are more likely to have an international focus, and the Pakistani newspaper articles are more likely to have a national focus. HIV/AIDS had the most sensational newspaper articles overall, and HIV/AIDS also had the most nationalistic newspaper articles.
Merritt, Isabelle | An Analysis of German Bundestag Speeches to Determine Refugee Sentiment Over Parties Regions, and Time
Among European countries, Germany is accepting the highest number of refugees from the Syrian Civil War. This paper examines refugee sentiment using latent content analysis of speeches in the Bundestag, the lower level of the German federal legislature. I examine how refugee sentiment is tied to party allegiance, regional economics, and changes over time. The findings suggest party allegiance is the most significant factor in determining a Bundestag member’s refugee sentiment with 100% of Die Grünen and Die Linke, 78.9% of the SPD, and only 15.6% of the CDU/CSU speaking positively towards refugees. Regional economics has no real effect on refugee sentiment. Support for refugees decreases notably over time, specifically in the SPD and CDU/CSU parties, providing evidence against the contact theory of immigration and suggesting that this refugee crisis is regarded differently from migration in the past.
Morlock, Erik | Refugees in the Media: An Analysis of Perceptions of Refugees in the US and Sweden
There are many potential reasons why one might believe Sweden is more receptive to immigrants and refugees than the United States. However, the United States was built on being a melting pot for immigrants from all over the world. There are also many reasons to believe neither of these countries would be receptive to refugees. This inspired an analysis of current media perception of refugees from Swedish and American news sources. A latent and manifest analysis of editorials and opinion pieces from the sources show conflicting answers regarding the question of the country that is more favorable to refugees. This is furthermore unclear because of the relative difference in refugee populations between the two countries.
Simon, Jackson | Precision Guided Slingshot: The Effect of Precision Guided Anti-Ship Munitions on American Power Projection
The development and proliferation of Precision Guided Munitions has increased the effective range and potency of weapons platforms, and altered the strategic landscape. This paper examines the effectiveness of PGMs in the Strait of Hormuz, and its impact on American power projection capabilities in an environment of accurate, survivable precision guided threats. It highlights the future vulnerabilities of legacy doctrine in an Anti-Access/Area-Denial environment through a comparison of current force capabilities and a scenario analysis of an attempted closure of the Strait of Hormuz. By weighing the significance of specific capabilities of precision guided weapons systems, and the concomitant political and strategic ramifications, this paper ties together operational planning and political analysis in Iranian-American relations.
Staff, Olivia | Vladimir Putin’s Foreign Policy Decisions: A Historiography of Western Interpretations
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin has befuddled Western leaders since he first ascended to power in 1999. Since that time, countless policy and behavioral theories have been created in order to provide clarity into his decision-making. This paper tracks the shifts in Western interpretations of his foreign policy over the past 17 years. Before the terrorist attacks on the United States on 9/11, scholars debated if Putin’s intentions were pro or anti West or pro or anti American. After 9/11 this debate was settled for a short time, when scholars reached a consensus that Putin was a pro-US actor. However, this honeymoon period was short-lived. Since the beginning of the US war in Iraq, Western interpretations of Putin’s foreign policy decisions have been riddled with a sense of distrust, culminating in the strained relations of today.
Stapleton, Lauren | Investigating the Link Between Economics and Terrorism: An Analysis of AQAP’s Motivations
The link between economics and terrorism has been a frequently debated topic in the last 15 years. Many people who believe that poverty serves as a breeding ground for terrorism cite AQAP’s success in Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the world. For this paper, I read all 14 issues of AQAP’s official publication, Inspire, to see if the authors suggested economic grievances as an incentive for recruitment or as a motivation for their actions. Ultimately, I found very little evidence to suggest a link between economics and terrorism. The paragraphs containing economic motivations accounted for less than 9% of the overall paragraphs listing incentives to support AQAP’s cause. Political and religious motivations made up 44% and 47%, respectively.
Taylor, Carly | The “T-Word” – Why French Journalists Were Most Likely to Define What Happened at Abu Ghraib as Torture: A Latent Content Analysis of International Media Coverage, 2004-2005
This paper is a continuation of a study that compared how the 2004 Abu Ghraib prison story was defined by journalists around the globe. I assert that due to social identity theory, vocal French opposition to the Iraq war, and a cultural memory of French torture practices in the Algerian War, French journalists were more likely than any other group to define what happened at Abu Ghraib as torture. I found that French journalists defined what happened at Abu Ghraib as torture in 73.5% of news articles, whereas other non-Anglo (German, Italian, and Spanish) journalists used the word torture in 66.1% of articles and American journalists used the word torture in just 19.2% of articles. Media coverage of Abu Ghraib also varied within France between the relatively right and left wing newspapers in France. The results do not indicate a convincing statistical relationship between a cultural memory of French torture practices in the Algerian War and the likelihood of defining what happened at Abu Ghraib as torture.