Winners from the Class of 2018

Madeleine Gardner, “The Nameless Boy: Loss of Identity in Baldomero Lillo’s ‘Gate No. 12’” 

This nuanced literary analysis considers the character of the nameless boy in “Gate No 12,” a story about the exploitation of laborers, like this young coal miner, by the mining companies in Lota, Chile. Through a close reading of the short story, Gardner teases out the implications of the young boy’s namelessness and concomitant depersonalization. She argues that the story dramatizes the boy’s loss of innocence and his enslavement by the corporation that “robs him of his freedom, hope, happiness, and right to a name and a ‘self.’”

Jessie Jansen, “Oppression at the Roots: Feminism, Hair, and Alice Walker

Interrogating the Eurocentric expectation that black women’s “unkempt” and “ugly” hair should be covered, this essay links black women’s hairstyles to issues of political oppression and feminist self-definition. Jansen investigates how novelist Alice Walker, in the context of the Black Feminist Movement of the 1970s, “encourage[d] an exodus from conventional beauty norms.” Jansen concludes that Walker used the feminist platform and the topic of hairstyles to “call attention [to the] greater societal limits placed on black women.”

Katelyn King, “Governmentality and the Yi

This essay focuses on the clash between the traditions of the Yi people, a Chinese minority group, and the environmental policies of the Chinese government. King synthesizes a variety of sources in this essay that interweaves political science and environmental studies perspectives. King ultimately reveals how the environmental policies that arose from China’s push for modernization “have degraded the lives of the Yi.”  

Norma Jean Park, “The Effectiveness of LGBTQ Equality Efforts in the 1990s

Using Dickinson College as representative example, this essay examines the conflict between “progressive institutional norms” and the “unsupportive college atmosphere” for LGBTQ college students in the 1990s. Park’s research quest begins with an analysis of a 1995 survey administered to LGBTQ students, which she gleaned from the Dickinson archives. Park shows that although the administration tried to create a “positive sense of place” for these students, the prevailing campus climate kept them “in the closet.”