Recent Theses

Global Studies students have produced thought-provoking theses tackling and analyzing issues such as growth and development, the refugee crisis and its impact on globalization, remittances, migration and conflict resolution.

Below are some theses produced by the Global Studies cohort over the years.

Talal Ahmed

“Clash of Interests among Afghan and Foreign Players and Limits to Cooperation to bring Peace and Stability in Afghanistan

The purpose of this research is to find out how different domestic, regional, and international stakeholders view the current situation in Afghanistan. This paper is a humble endeavor to lay down the interests of all the major parties currently involved in Afghanistan.

Jannat Akhter

“Corruption, Democracy and Development in Bangladesh”

This paper examines how perpetuating corruption, historical aspects of colonialism, and extractive institutions are significantly linked and affect the democratic institutions and economic development of a country.

Kathryn Brody

“Minority Report: The Danger of Women in Islamic Terrorism and in ISIS”

This thesis focuses on the role of women in modern Islamic terrorism, especially their participation in the terrorist organization, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, also known as ISIS. Although women are traditionally viewed in Western countries as not posing the same threat level as men in Islamic extremist organizations, this thesis argues that women are important to the structure of radical Islamic organizations and should be given more attention by security authorities.

Selene Campion

“Islamist Extremist Inspired Radicalization in France: Analyzing Recruitment Methods in Mosques, Prisons and Online”

The study investigates Islamist extremist inspired radicalization recruitment methods in France’s mosques and prisons, as well as online, to determine each strategy’s relative efficacy. It concludes that prison radicalization produces France’s most violent extremists, and points to a connection between a predisposition to criminality and likelihood of becoming involved in extremist violent action. Internet radicalization does not appear to serve as a primary cause of radicalization, but rather acts as a gateway for those who are already interested in Islamist extremism.

Bethany Clark

“History and Peacebuilding: The Role of Authoritarianism and Colonialism in Serbia and Rwanda”

This thesis studies the role that colonialism and authoritarianism played in the types of peacebuilding processes developing in Serbia and Rwanda after their conflicts in the 1990s. It contends that while Serbia’s history developed into a society that depended on civil society networks to act as a bridge between the population and the government, Rwanda’s created a society where the population depended on central authority.

Laura Ernst

“The Predicament Perpetuated: How Progress Toward Democracy and Gender Equality in the Arab World is Held Hostage by the Arab-Israeli Conflict”

The Muslim world has a reputation for being the final frontier of both democracy and women’s emancipation. But recent studies suggest that it may actually be the Arab region, not the Muslim world in general, that is especially resistant to the global movements toward democracy and gender equality. This paper explores various factors that might explain these twin ‘Arab gaps’ — factors such as oil-dependent economies, robust tribal-patriarchal norms, the special cultural centrality of Islam, the anti-imperialist drive for cultural authenticity, and even the impact of one gap upon the other.

Stephen Ernst

“The Paradox of High-Skilled Migration: Is the Brain Drain the Best Antidote to the Brain Drain?”

Scholars have commonly understood the brain drain phenomenon as mostly a loss of human capital for developing countries — and little more. As many scholars consider human capital to be an important determinant of economic growth, the brain drain may actively deprive low-income countries of their engines of development.

Weiei Fang

“The Outcast”

This thesis provides an analysis of the Chinese hukou system in relation to India’s caste system. It argues that by assigning citizenship according to people’s blood relations and their geographic residency, the Chinese Household Registration System (Hukou) not only segregates rural and urban spaces, but also unjustifiably categorizes and entrenches its citizens through long-lasting restrictions on social welfare, human capital and upward mobility.

Brittany Finney

“Redefining Self-Sufficiency for Refugee Integration in the United States”

Unlike most countries, the United States resettlement programs are designed to permanently incorporate refugees to become naturalized citizens. The primary objective is to help refugees achieve self-sufficiency. Although United States refugee resettlement programs have claimed that they have helped 82% of their refugees become self-sufficient, the definition of self-sufficiency and how it is measured misrepresents the integration outcomes of refugees. This thesis argues that a bottom-up definition of self-sufficiency, incorporating economic, psychological and social aspects, is necessary to make U.S. refugee resettlement programs more effective.

Wit Gan

“China: A Nation Shaped in Consumerism”

This paper investigates Chinese economic development during the post-reform period (after 1980) following the death of Mao Zedong, when China changed directions under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping into creating a controlled market economy. This new economic model has effected new ideas of consumption of goods and services in mainland China. The evolution of China into a burgeoning market economy has created new consumer desires that many have never seen before. With the large growth of China’s population moving into the middle class that has produced more disposable income, new forms of consumption habits have risen.

Kathleen Hossack

“Duties of Virtue and Justice: Rethinking Responsibility in the Global Refugee Regime”

This paper offers a new perspective on the current refugee crisis, using Kant’s moral philosophy to understand accountability towards refugees.

Fanchao Ji

“The Chinese Kongsis in West Borneo: the Rise of the Chinese in Global Trade in the Early and Mid-19th Century”

This thesis provides an overview of the Chinese Kongsi, a unique overseas Chinese community established on the Southeast Asian island of West Borneo (1770 to 1885). Beginning as an industrial gold mine, this community ended up dominating West Borneo both economically and politically in the late 18th century and the first half of the 19th century. It argues that Dutch suppression of the Kongsis not only caused the economic and population decline of West Borneo, but more importantly, prompted the Chinese to develop close trade relations with the British.

Ruiyi Li

“The Marketization of Philanthropy and Charity in China: How Markets Shape the Landscape of Chinese Civil Society”

Drawing on original ethnographic research, this thesis focuses on the nonprofit sector in China and explores how civic actions are achieved or hampered in different organizational contexts, including NGOs and social entrepreneurship. The thesis concludes that only mature NGOs, which are capable of developing public fundraising activities and social entrepreneurship, which addresses non-political problems, are able to achieve civic action.

Wanbo Li

“Study Abroad Waves and China's Development”

This thesis assesses the three types of social remittances that were being transferred to China by Western-educated Chinese students and scholars in the three study-abroad waves between 1872 and the present.

Sarah Mabry

“Transculturalism in Chicano Art: Literature, Visual Art, and Film”

This thesis looks at Chicano culture through selected works of literature, film and visual art to reveal aspects of transculturalism. All three cultural artifacts share a common geographic space in southern California, were inspired by and created during the Chicano Movement of the 1960s and 1970s, and exhibit forms of transnationalism. The thesis embarks on a journey through film, literature and art to illuminate ways in which Chicano identity crosses national and cultural boundaries to create a new way of understanding the Chicano experience in the United States.

Samantha Mandigora

“Best Fracking Waste Management Practices for South Africa from The United States”

This paper presents a comparative evaluation of best practices in fracking waste management in the United States for future recommendations to South Africa, as the nation lifts its moratorium on fracking. Existing waste management legislation in South Africa provides a glimpse of how this nation manages its oil and gas waste, and the degree of protection it assigns surface and underground water that may be affected by fracking operations. This paper will conclude with recommendations for legislative development in South Africa to mitigate potential risks resulting from fracking accidents, as was seen in the Pennsylvania case study.

Samantha Minshull

“An Examination of the Effects of New Media on the Non-Contiguous Geographic Dispersion of Contentious Collective Action”

This thesis investigates the role that new media technologies (including mobile communications and social media) play in the diffusion of a protest action. Literature on collective action reveals that participation is likely driven by personal stakes in the outcome of the action; as such, the existence of a digital, global civil society is posited to explain a transnational stake in the actions of participants separated by geography. Two case studies are addressed: the diffusion of riots starting in London in 2011 and the diffusion of protests emanating from Tunisia that same year.

Keegan Remy-Miller

“Sports in the Desert: How Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Dubai are Employing Sports to Make Economic, Political and International Gains”

This thesis discusses the role that sports play in government actions in Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. These national and emirate governments utilize sport in economic, domestic and international policies. Major sporting events are hosted for economic gain and international prestige, and they typically focus on the welfare of national society. The thesis questions the long-term impact the sporting industry will play in economic development for these nations.

Marisa Saraci

“Leveraging Albanian Remittances for Economic Growth and Development”

The purpose of this research is to outline the vital role remittances have played in the economic development of Albania following the fall of Communism in 1990, and to emphasize the potential they hold for future economic growth and development for the country.

Ellen Sarkisian

“Russia: A Nation in Progress”

The Russian state has shifted from monarchy to totalitarianism and now, in theory, a democracy. Liah Greenfeld argues that Russian national identity first emerged in the 18th century as a result of shifts in the Empire.

Shayna Straus

“Moroccan Migration to France: Historical Patterns and Effects on Assimilation”

This paper seeks to understand assimilation patterns of Moroccan immigrants in France. Through the study of quotidian Moroccan life, starting with the establishment of the French protectorate, both the reasons and conditions of migration are outlined.

Marinella Taoushiani

“Effects of the Syrian Refugee Crisis on the EU: Nationalism on the Rise”

This paper explores ways in which the Syrian refugee crisis has exacerbated EU governance issues by increasing nationalism within certain member states. It will also examine the potential breakdown of European values by looking at the rise of right-wing politics, and the increasing xenophobic attitudes of political leaders and EU citizens.

Misha Vilenchuk

“‘My Brother’s Keeper’: American Jewish Youth and the Making of the Soviet Jewry Movement”

This thesis provides an analysis of the global movement for Soviet Jewry and gives credence to the American youth branch that galvanized the American Jewish community to action. Focused on the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry, it chronicles the coming of age of diasporic Jewish students in the post-Holocaust era. The analysis accounts for those at the cross section of “Jewish” and “youth” during the tumultuous era of countercultures.