Class of 2017

Somali Refugee Secondary Migration- Maine and Minnesota

Fleeing home as result of the horrific results of the civil war, many Somalis ended up in refugee camps or were resettled in other countries as refugees. United States is one of the countries that offered third country resettlement to Somali refugees. After their initial placement, Somali Refugees in the United States tend to live or move to places like Maine and Minnesota as secondary migrants. This project explores the leading causes why Somali refugee secondary migrants move. By looking in to the personal stories of selected Somali refugees, this project shows recurring reasons that lead to Somali refugee secondary migration.


Tracking and Explaining the Sephardic Diaspora

In 1492 the Spanish Inquisition officially started marking the beginning of the of expulsion of Jews from Iberia. As a result, Spanish Jews were forced to either convert to Christianity, flee their homes, or face persecution. This project tracks the migration of Spanish Jews from Iberia to the Ottoman Empire, the most common destination for Jewish refugees. The central substance of this investigation is a mapping that not only illustrates the Sephardic migration, but also tells the story of tolerance. Through displaying primary source accounts that describe the events or circumstances of a specific location and date, this map not only investigates the difference between Judeo-Christian and Judeo-Islamic tradition materializes but also explains why this difference existed.

Depicting Disability on Reality Love Television

Love and dating reality television hardly provides an accurate or diverse slice of its represented population. The average American reality show features a cast far whiter, more upper-class, more able-bodied, and more attractive than a truly random populous sample would produce. Disability, underrepresented on all forms of television, is depicted in a similarly disappointing fashion on reality love television. Those with disabilities are underrepresented, misrepresented, and exploited on these television programs which, in turn, perpetuate stereotypes about disabled aromanticism and asexuality. This project explores the importance of representation and the power of media while tackling troubling myths about disability.

A Comparative Study on How White Working Women are Portrayed in Advertising

We are living in an advertising world. Advertisements are on magazines we read through, smartphones we scroll through and billboards we pass by. It is how companies and products connect with customers and generate revenue. Therefore, how women are portrayed in advertisements is crucial in how femininity is constructed and defined. This project looks at post-World War 2 and today and how portrayal of white working women has changed over the last 70 years.




 Stratification as a Public Policy in Bogota, Colombia

Stratification (estratificación socioeconómica) is a public policy developed in Colombia that classifies residential areas into strata through physical appearance. The purpose of this policy is to subsidize the cost of domiciliary public utilities for the low-income population (strata 1, 2, 3) using the contributions of the high-income population (strata 5, 6). This article examines stratification and many of its unintended consequences in Bogotá and lays down a framework in visualizing the history, causes and consequences of this controversial policy through the development of a digital project using ESRI’s Story Map.


How Swedish Policies Impact Sami Indigeneity in Sweden

Around the world, indigenous peoples are marginalized in terms of their identities, histories, and abilities to exercise and produce their cultures. The Sami are a group of people indigenous to four countries in Northern Europe: Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia. In Sweden, legislation regarding Sami rights such as reindeer husbandry and education have created a policy of exclusion and separation of Sami. These policies reflect a perception of Sami culture that is limited to only 10% of the true Sami population. This lack of broad understanding and form of categorization leads to stereotyping of Sami people and impacts their well being and authority over their own identities. This project looks at the way Swedish policies categorize Sami and create perceptions of Sami culture and identity. 

A Critical Edition of To Pimp A Butterfly 

Too often gangsta rappers are labeled as the catalyst for death and poverty in their communities. However, gangsta rappers actually expose the social issues and narratives from their respective communities in order to reveal the harsh realities of America that tends to be ignored. Kendrick Lamar used his album To Pimp A Butterfly to give positive and enlightening messages to Black people, while also critiquing the government for it’s hypocrisy and biased legislation.  This project aims to unpack  overarching themes and provide scholarly evidence to support his claims in the album.


Afro-Jamaican Working Class Women in Dancehall Spaces

The verdict on dancehall as a space of empowerment for working class women is always in contention depending on whom you ask.  For some, it is a space that unrelentingly denigrates women.  For others, it is a space for feminist liberation.  The truth, however, is somewhere in between.  The space’s duality forces us to reckon with the complexity of histories of colonial violence and globalization and disapora and the way they play out in cultural expression.  Using Afro-Caribbean and other black feminist schools of thought, this project aims to challenge simplistic representations of dancehall as only (dis)empowering for Jamaican working class women by examining moments within the space that speak to the complex manner in which their daily lived experiences manifest.  I am interested in alternatively arguing for what I call a politics of negotiation.

Class of 2016

 State Machinery of the Islamic Republic of Iran

ProjectThe current political establishment in Iran is an astute combination of post revolution political institutions that reflect the ideals of the clergy, particularly of Ayatollah Khomeini, and the pre existing political institutions. The Islamic regime in a masterful move of statesmanship managed to accommodate these two sets of institutions under one system. This project attempts to explain the decision making within Iran’s highly complex power structure by introducing a fresh “Iron Fist/Velvet Glove” conceptualization to understand it. The study utilizes original translations of the Constitution of Iran to classify the institutions as belonging to Iran’s Iron Fist or her Velvet glove. 


Soviet Mo(nu)ments: The Influence of Bulgaria’s “Double Liberation” on their Treatment


After the political changes of 1989 in Bulgaria, society’s split narratives concerning Communist monuments never reconciled. Despite that, the government continues to maintain and protect some of the most controversial memorials. This project analyzes how Bulgaria’s “double liberation”, once from the Ottoman Empire and then a second time from fascist forces, has played a vital role in reinforcing a sense of indebtedness and brotherhood towards Russia. By building a database and creating a visualization consisting of mapping and timelines, the project examines the connections between history, government, and monuments.




Synth Guide

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Electronic music synthesizers are exemplars of the intersection of technology and music.  The Synth Guide project is an online, interactive, semi-linear narrative that examines the most popular electronic music synthesis technologies in their technological, musical, and commercial aspects in a Scalar book using TimelineJS and SoundCloud.  The project aims to familiarize readers with synthesizers by demystifying the workings of sound in electronic music synthesis and highlighting key trends in the commercial synthesizer market from its conception to its current state. – Johnny Gossick



Yeats and The Second Coming of Textual Analysis  

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William Butler Yeats’ is a poet of prolific writing and study. His works and authorial conception have been reified into the minds of literary students and critics. With an examination of word frequency and poetic conventions, this paper asks if the standard, “mystic,” lens and biographical implications that often accompany Yeatsian analysis have bearing. Word frequency was tracked and illuminated by topic modeling software, mainly Voyant tools. Furthermore, the piece reanalyzes the conception of authorship and formalistic text analysis, trying to reconcile post-modern conceptions with formalistic analysis.


The Hadhrami Diaspora: Islam and Indian Ocean Connectivity

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Over centuries merchants, religious scholars, and mystics have migrated from Hadhramaut, a region in south Yemen, to various coastal regions of the Indian Ocean. This has led to the formation of Hadhrami diaspora communities in East Africa, India, and Southeast Asia. Using descriptions of prominent Indian Ocean port cities written by the renowned world traveler Ibn Battuta in the 14th century, this project presents an interactive map that traces his travels in relation to Hadhrami migration and influence on Indian Ocean trade and culture. The purpose of this visualization is to highlight Hadhrami migrants who played versatile roles in an interconnected Indian Ocean world.



The Evolution of Student Political Engagement at Lafayette College 

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 10.47.44 AMIn contemporary discourse, some research paints college students as politically disinterested and uninformed as compared with student activism of the 1960s and 1970s, whereas other research states that these students simply engage with political material in different ways than previous generations. This project uses topic modeling in order to investigate the political atmosphere at Lafayette College during two time periods: 1967–1972 (a time of heightened college activism) and 2011–2016, using the college newspaper as a primary source. By using Cytoscape, GitHub, and Neatline, this project explores how students at Lafayette College engaged with political issues through events such as guest speakers compared between the two time periods. 



Topic Modeling the Supreme Court

my website screenshotIt has long been recognized that justices’ personal beliefs and policy preferences shape the ways they view constitutional law. In this project, digital tools, like MALLET and a web scraper built using Python, are used to look at whether or not ideologically liberal and conservative justices have differences in themes that appear in their majority opinions. To do so, a topic modeling analysis of majority opinions by Justice Sotomayor, Justice Scalia, and Justice Kennedy was done of their opinions since 2009, obtained using Harold Spaeth’s Supreme Court Database and

Save Our Species

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This project was designed to show the impact of humans in the top 5 countries with the most endangered species. Through the interactive graph, created using Tableau, you are able to visually engage with Ecuador, the United States, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Mexico. Using the graph you will be able to see what two greatest threats in each country have posed the most risks to the countries species, look at human population increase, and examine the different factors that are pushing our worlds species to the brink of extinction. – Jillian Fahy

Class of 2015

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Tempo of the Times

This project was developed in hope of discovering connections between music and society. Artists set out to create music that entertains, but also look to create art that represents the times in which they live. This project looks to examine the way in which societal changes shift musical composition. – Vincent DeMarco and Benjamin Draves



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Got Folktales?

This project aims to capture Ethiopian folktales and map out reoccurring themes as well as to highlight the moral behind each folktale. In order to accurately represent the diverse ethnicities found within the country we have selected five stories from each of the 13 regions within the country- Feevan Megersa



FreedomofthePress Solution Based Press Freedom Project

The Turkish government’s relationship with the country’s press is negatively affecting the quality     of its journalism. The country should focus on factors such as press market strength, legal restrictions, and self-regulation to create an environment like Finland’s that is more friendly to the free, untainted flow of information. – Ian Morse





BarryFarmsGentrification and Barry Farms

This project will analyze the economic and social situations at hand for many people experiencing gentrification specifically in Washington D.C. Gentrification will not only have a detrimental impact on the citizens of Barry Farms, but will also be deleterious to the entire city of Washington DC. – Ahmed Braxton




Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 4.04.05 PMGarden of Easton

The Garden of Easton seeks to aggregate the relevant information from all of these entities to connect local residents to food, whether that be a community garden, a CSA pickup location, a homeless shelter or a meal center. We do so by providing an all encompassing Android Application, web based map and plain text list of the food providers and producers in our community so that residents have an easily accessible site to find resources they need. – Miranda Wilcha and Peter Todaro