The Gender Studies BA Program | Academic Requirements | Student Learning Outcomes | Minor in Gender Studies | The Senior Project | Courses | Faculty

The Gender Studies BA Program: The Senior Project

About the Senior Project
The senior project is a collegewide requirement for both the BA and BS degree. Students devote two semesters to an in-depth, original, and creative study. The gender studies guidelines for the senior project range from in-depth research culminating in a baccalaureate thesis to text combined with a visual or performance component.

A professor within the board of study of the student’s major sponsors the project. After the student chooses a faculty sponsor, he or she consults with that sponsor about the choice of a second reader.

Examples of Senior Project Proposals

Sexual Assault 101: The Issue of Consent and Rape on College Campuses
Sloane Sandler
Sponsor: Lisa Jean Moore

Universities and colleges across the United States have been “dealing with” the problem of sexual violence on campuses for decades. However, very little has been done nationwide to prevent and end sexual crimes against female students. Educational institutions fail to accurately support college students who have been abused mentally, physically, and emotionally by sexual assault. Therefore smart, young, hardworking students are secretly becoming “victims” and “survivors” in addition to college graduates.

This senior project examines the definition of sexual violence and explores the ways in which different policies calculate and determine sexual violence. Additionally, I explore the difficulties of young women identifying sexual violence in a culture so rife with exploitation.

Reactions and Responses: First Wave Feminists and the Press
Jessica Mendenhall
Sponsor: Lisa Jean Moore

My senior project is about how the first-wave women’s rights activists used the press. I have broken it down into two major topics: the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848 and how the press reacted to it; and the women’s rights papers that started soon after the convention. I analyze primary documents such as the Declaration of Sentiments and newspaper articles.

The Involvement of Women in Mormon Fundamentalism and the Consequences of Their Roles
Samantha Sudano
Sponsor: Lisa Jean Moore

Throughout history, women have been treated many times as second-class citizens in all facets of society, including politics, government, the family, and religion as just a few examples. This struggle of inequality is still occurring today, and this paper seeks to specifically examine how women are treated and viewed in Mormon Fundamentalism, a religion that is grounded in the inferiority of women to men. Part of studying the female expectation within these religious communities, one of the bigger issues that I am interested in studying is why exactly women will collaborate in their own oppression by participating in these subservient roles in the first place.

Issues such as child brides, child abuse, polygamy, rape, and psychological components will also be under discussion and utilized to further elaborate on the relationship between Mormon Fundamentalist women and their continual domination. I will be using texts such as Escape, Under The Banner of Heaven, and When Men Become Gods to understand the first-hand accounts of these women and to specify the exact injustices that have been found to continue this cyclic pattern of female obedience and compliance.

Sing the Body Electric: Boundaries, Bodies and the Cyborg
Lara Rodriguez
Sponsor: Lee Schlesinger

Characters such as Ahab and Walt stand out because of their monstrosity—their transgressions elicit from us both terror and excitement. In Moby Dick and Leaves of Grass, these characters’ bodies inhabit liminal spaces and experience transgressions of boundaries between organic and inorganic; these transgressions arouse and excite. However, in addition to elation, their hybrid, multibodied queerness also incites anxiety. What do their corrupt, hybrid essences threaten? Ahab is a disabled, crippled figure, a version of biblical Adam, but also a superhero, technofied posthuman who embodies the Romantic dream to escape the tedium of corporeality. Walt declares an I who is nothing less than a complicated, fraught articulation of we. What is to be found in the discussion of these characters’ techno-organic hybridity is a new articulation of the self.

Anticipating the liberatory cyborg subject of her cyborg manifesto, Haraway writes, “Inhabiting these pages are odd boundary creatures... these boundary creatures are, literally, monsters, a word that shares more than its root with the word to demonstrate. Monsters signify...” (2). Ahab and Walt are boundary creatures, monsters, hybrids, cyborgs. What do they demonstrate? Haraway is integral to a discussion of Ahab and Walt as a cyborg or queer subject, because it is she who invented the language to talk about cyborgs; drawing from a feminist tradition of situated knowledges, Haraway enables me to discuss Ahab’ s cyborgness as important because it is his embodied situatedness which affects his perception of and interaction with the world. Ahab’ s experience with and knowledge of the world as a result of his unavoidable corporeality and hybridity demonstrates and signifies something significant which the wholly disembodied Ishmael cannot. Similarly, Walt’ s poems of the body articulate the self's relationship to the world in terms which are deeply enmeshed in his ecstatic techno-organic invocations of the body.

Cyrus Conflict
Alexandra Friedman
Sponsor: Zehra Arat

My senior project is a case study examining the Cyprus Conflict and asks to what extent U.S. Cold War goals and policies were implemented by the U.S. with regards to its actions in Greece, Cyprus, and Turkey in order to resolve the Cyprus Conflict.

Rape’s Context in War
Rachel Cleary

In this paper, I will discuss rape’s context in war, focusing on the war in Bosnia that occurred in the early 1990s. Before I even began my research, I had this question: Why does rape occur on such a large scale in seemingly every war in history? I came to this question out of general curiosity and concern: rape is still used as a military weapon at this present historical moment. Almost daily, we read and hear about the atrocities committed in the current conflicts in Darfur and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Furthermore, rape is widespread in regions of relative “peace.” My thesis will focus on Bosnia because of the amount of established work and literature on the topic; however, I will look at issues in Darfur and the DRC in the conclusion of the paper. Specifically, I hope to examine how rape is used as a tool of militaries and nations in times of war. I will also assess how this affects survivors of war-related rape, especially in regards to their identity and personal agency.

Arrow up icon