Anthropology and Sociology Senior Integrated Projects

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This collection includes Senior Integrated Projects (SIPs, formerly known as Senior Individualized Projects) completed in the Anthropology and Sociology Department. Abstracts are generally available to the public, but PDF files are available only to current Kalamazoo College students, faculty, and staff.

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    Intercultural Understanding : A cultural analysis of the faculty and administration at Kalamazoo College
    (2002-11-01) Martyn, Sarah; Stauffer, Robert E., 1941-
    With the current decline of liberal arts colleges, this study aims to analyze the culture of the administration and faculty at Kalamazoo College in order to better assess the college's strengths and weaknesses. It investigates three particular areas of the college: the K Plan, responsibilities of the faculty, and the institutional mission of the college. In doing so, this study uses William Bergquist's (1992) four academic cultures as a theoretical framework to look at the culture of the faculty and administration of Kalamazoo, asking what that culture entails, and what changes are needed to occur within that culture to ensure success and productivity for the future. Bergquist' s four academic cultures include collegial culture, developmental culture, managerial culture, and negotiation culture. In order to add extra depth to the analysis, this study uses William Tierney's (1988) six cultural categories: socialization (how new members are brought into the institution, what one needs to excel in the institution), environment ( definition and attitude toward the environment), mission (definition, articulation and agreement upon the mission as well as if it is used as a basis for decision making), leadership (who are the leaders-both informal and formal, what the institution expects from them), information (what constitutes information, who has it and how is it spread), and strategy (how decisions are made, who makes them, and what happens when a bad decision is made). The study found significant strengths with respect to the college's ability to foster student development and a progressive educational pedagogy. However, it also found that a large amount of ambiguities exist in both the mission and goals of the college, which lead to ill-defined roles and responsibilities and could significantly hinder attempts for future planned change.
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    An Ugly Guide to Beauty : A Sociological Analysis of Beauty Constructs, Economy, and Resistance
    (Kalamazoo, Mich. : Kalamazoo College., 2023-11-01) Eilenfield, Meghan; Joshi, Nupur
    Glamorous, symbolic, and defiant beauty often emerges as a theoretical abstraction that resists precise definition. Simultaneously, perceived beauty, or its absence, can serve as a tangible locus of control and consequence on the body (Armstrong, n.d.; Bourdieu, 1984). This research grapples with the power and privilege vested in beauty and its contingency on "the Other" (Collins, 1991; Keng, 1997; Perea, 1997). In the United States, White European settlers defined a standard of beauty that favored their own supremacy, leading to the formation and perpetuation of a hierarchy based on physical attributes, including race, gender, and class (Bourdieu, 1984). The establishment of this appearance-based hierarchy facilitated the standardization and conferral of power and authority onto White masculine bodies. An abundance of pseudo-scientific endeavors, supported by racist ideology, served as an instrument to legitimize the imposition of violence, control, and dispossession of bodies that deviated from the White masculine standard (Bourdieu, 1984; Nudson, 2021; Wolf, 2002; Johnson, 2009). This historical grounding realizes beauty as more than a self-determined participation, but as a system deeply entrenched in identity, politics, and power (Nudson, 2021; Wolf, 2002). Despite the presumption that beauty primarily concerns women, it is men who are the primary benefactors of beauty (Nudson, 2021; Wolf, 2002). The prevailing patriarchal social structure has historically and contemporarily employed beauty as an obstruction to women's economic, social, and personal mobility (Nudson, 2021; Wolf, 2002). Consequently, a woman's preoccupation with her appearance may not be superficial or vain but rather, a means of survival within a system that restricts the imagination of what a woman should or should not look like (Nudson, 2021). In the defiance or inability to meet these expectations of beauty and behavior, many women face the risk of social punishment (Nudson, 2021; Wolf, 2002). The tools used to achieve beauty are also deeply rooted in patriarchy (Arsenault, 2021; Kwan and Traunter, 2009; Marx, 2015; Nudson, 2021). The beauty industry profits off of manufactured flaws, which contribute to a culture of insecurity, particularly amongst young girls (Marx, 2015). Engaging in the beauty economy becomes near mandatory to access the social, economic, and personal benefits associated with beauty (Marx, 2015; Nudson, 2021). Despite the presence of oppression in beauty frameworks, it is powerful, possible, and important to resist, detract, and reimagine beauty (McMillian, 2019; Reischer and Koo, 2004). Beyond perceiving the body merely as a reflection of social order and oppression, it can be recognized as an active agent in social action (Koo and Reischer, 2004). This perspective acknowledges the tangible impacts of body hierarchies, where certain bodies become targets of subordination, while simultaneously urging us to broaden our analysis of the body beyond the influence exerted by systems (Armstrong, n.d.; Koo and Reischer, 2004). This philosophy encourages exploring the potential of bodies as vehicles of resistance (Bourdieu, 1984; Jacobs, 2016). In short, this research contends that beauty saturates human existence and posits that beauty holds the power and possibility to simultaneously oppress, privilege, and resist.
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    Bridging the Past : Gullah/Geechee Meaning Making amid Dispossession in the Lowcountry
    (Kalamazoo, Mich. : Kalamazoo College., 2023-11-01) Sweeney, Keegan; Baptiste, Espelencia M., 1970-
    The Lowcountry and surrounding sea islands of South Carolina have evolved over time hosting different groups of people pushing and pulling on one another's cultures in various ways. Charleston, South Carolina was one of the main sites of the slave trade and is a site of the ongoing dynamics of race and socioeconomic class stemming from the Antebellum South. The Gullah/Geechee people, descendants of Central and West Africans enslaved in the Lowcountry and surrounding sea islands of coastal South Carolina, have built an insulated people and culture through the process of 'informal' generational land ownership and African traditions. In a broader sense, the Gullah-Geechee form a cultural and ethnic corridor stretching from coastal North Carolina to Northern Florida. The Gullah can be understood as the people living in the northern half of the corridor while the Geechee can be understood as the people in the southern half. Many people in Charleston specifically call themselves Geechee, however, my research focuses on the Gullah in the northern half of the cultural corridor. Over time, Gullah/Geechee communities have been met with resort and land developments threatening Gullah peoples' identity and the retention of their culture. Simultaneously, Gullah culture has shaped the coastal region surrounding Charleston, South Carolina. The Gullah continue to make meaning and resist hegemony through foodways, art, religion, language and storytelling. One overarching theme emerges throughout the paper: that the Gullah/Geechee's connection with their land and retention of their culture are inextricably connected while also not limiting their community solidarity. In this discussion, I have drawn upon the research of scholars on narrative construction, ethnic formation, ethnic mobilization, and land ownership to address questions regarding the Gullah/Geechee's continuing resilience and meaning making amid threats of dispossession and cultural erasure in the Lowcountry.
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    Chicago's Chinatown as an American Repertoire
    (2022-11-01) Cheng, Emily; Baptiste, Espelencia M., 1970-; Mowry, Robert
    Chicago's Chinatown was formally established in 1910 however, the first Chinese in Chicago immigrants can be dated back to 1878. Chinatown initially functioned as a textbook ethnic enclave, where new Chinese immigrants resided in this community to find familiarity within the same ethnic group in a strange new country. Chinatown was initially viewed as "dirty, dangerous, and full of diseases," these racist sentiments were catalyzed due to the Chinese Exclusion Act and segregation. Chinatown's image of being "undesirable and unwelcoming" ironically contributed to the idea of Chinatown today. Now functioning as a tourist center, Chinatown reframed itself for the tourist economy and a space where one could visit the "Orient" without having to go there. The pivot of Chinatown to be a tourist hub was an act of survival to boost capital, jobs, and the assimilation of future generations of Chinese Americans. This necessary shift paved the way for Chicago's Chinatown to serve as a stepping stone for immigrants to pursue their American Dream. While underneath the economics, Chinatown still functions as an ethnic enclave, many younger generations are questioning the functions and purpose of Chinatown as a constant redevelopment for tourism rather than an actual community. This research analyzes the shifts and byproducts of temporal spaces Chinatown undergoes to redevelop itself for the tourist economy and how this impacts residents' ability to find community amidst these changes.
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    We Gon' Make It Regardless : A Qualitative Study of Black Women's Experiences of Predominantly White Institutions
    (Kalamazoo, Mich. : Kalamazoo College., 2022-11-01) Jennings, Mya; Baptiste, Espelencia M., 1970-
    In the US, Black women have been active in teaching themselves and others for centuries. From enslavement to present day, education has been held in high esteem within the Black community and is viewed as a form of liberation, autonomy, and empowerment. However, despite their persistent existence in academia, Black women have not always been afforded that reverence. Over time as they've gained more access to educational positions, their realities within academic institutions have continued to be overwritten and disregarded. This inattention is not only because of their positioning as Black but as women as well. As a Black woman currently in higher education, I've increasingly grown interested in how our realities within education affect our college experiences. Furthermore, I am interested in seeing how Black women navigate PWis given that we all engage with oppression and struggle in different ways. In this study, my research questions are the following: How do Black women students uniquely experience PWis, and how do their identities affect how they navigate these institutions? I conducted ten qualitative interviews with open-ended questions and employed a Grounded Theory approach to answer these questions. Through these methods, I constructed grounded theories that show how Black women navigate PWis. Moreover, I found that Black women students inevitably experience microaggressive environments and behavior. Through their awareness that PWis were not created to support them, they generate persistence strategies that help them move through PWls.
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