Tag Archives: sociology

Narrative, Spring 2021

Agents of Change: Hollywood Agents and Gatekeeping

In a Tortoiseshell: In her Junior Paper, Jacy Duan explores the role of Hollywood agents in perpetuating a lack of racial diversity among actors. She carried out seven interviews with agents, which she draws on here in order to explore whether agents recognize their role as gatekeepers controlling the presence (or lack) of diversity in the industry. Jacy establishes a strong motive in her introduction and then weaves together the individual opinions of the agents into a broader narrative about diversity in Hollywood. Jacy’s treatment of narrative ensures that her argument is both accessible and engaging.

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Motive, Spring 2020

The Influence of Faith-Based Organizations on American Anti-Trafficking Policy: Understanding the cause and consequence of the prioritization of sex trafficking within the broad category of trafficking crimes in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000

In a Tortoiseshell: In his paper that investigates the role of faith based organizations in American anti- trafficking efforts, [redacted] takes on the existing scholarly establishment through the use of an eloquent and compelling motive. By illustrating that the existing scholarly conversation, which focuses on whether faith-based organizations are effective in their work, overlooks the important fundamental question of why faith-based organizations are involved in anti-trafficking efforts to begin with, [redacted] produces a meaningful and needed reframing of the conversation surrounding the role of faith-based organizations in anti-trafficking efforts.

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Evidence and Analysis, Spring 2020

The Invisible Man: Distribution of Blame for the Spread of HIV in African American Communities

In a Tortoiseshell: In her paper, Debby Cheng utilizes her thesis to roadmap her text to explore the nuances surrounding the distribution of blame within the black community during the AIDS epidemic prior to the introduction of an effective treatment. Using enriching and creative sources to provide evidence to her claims, Debby efficiently asks the reader to question, just as she does, the role of the heterosexual black man as the “invisible” force that perpetuated the spread of HIV in the United States during the last two decades of the 20th century.

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Spring 2019, Thesis

Japanese Citizens Becoming Masked Heroes to Serve Society

In a Tortoiseshell: In her R3, Nanako Shirai argues that surgical masks in Japan have transformed from individually-oriented devices meant to protect against the spread of the H1N1 virus into symbols of Japanese collective identity and social duty.  Her thesis extends from a clear research question and motive, as well as from a strong set of evidence, which help make it feel new and interesting.

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Feature, Spring 2019

Crusaders Past and Present: European Semiotics and the Radical Right

In a Tortoiseshell: In his Writing Seminar R3, Christian Maines puts the discourse we see today in the news regarding the Alt-right into historical context, letting his research guide his understanding of the group, rather than the other way around. His use of structuring elements—purposeful orienting, definitions of key terms, clear topic sentences, consistent tie back sentences—sets his argument up for success. Motivating his thesis from the beginning to the end, Christian is able to not only sustain his topic, but make an insightful contribution to our understanding of the Alt-right.

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Literature Review, Spring 2018

Student Reflections on Service: Cultural and Socioeconomic Variations in Motivations for and Valuation of Volunteering

In a Tortoiseshell: In her junior paper, Rebecca Kahn explores the influence of socioeconomic status and cultural context on undergraduate students’ conception of service work. One of the primary strengths of this paper is its literature review: by summarizing and pinpointing shortcomings in the research around her topic, Rebecca ultimately solidifies the importance of her contribution to the greater body of scholarship concerning service work.

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Orienting, Spring 2018

Modeling the Model Minority: Does the Immigrant Health Paradox Apply to Asian Migrants’ Mental Health?

In a Tortoiseshell: In her paper about the immigrant health paradox, the notion that foreign born, recent arrivals of a given ethnic group typically have better health than their American born counterparts, Diana Chao positions the reader to appreciate the nuances of her argument, that the immigrant health paradox does not apply to Asian migrants, by effectively orienting the reader. After first providing the reader with concise definitions for key terms which are necessary to understand her thesis, Diana proceeds to give a comprehensive outline of the scholarly conversation surrounding her topic, which feeds directly into her motive.

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PSY’s “Gangnam Style”: A Social Critique of Korean Consumption Patterns and the Media’s Perpetuation of Nationalism

In a Tortoiseshell: This essay is about the Korean media’s nationalist sentiments, as seen through its reaction to PSY’s ridiculously popular music video “Gangnam Style.”  The following excerpt situates “Gangnam Style” as a satirical commentary, orienting the reader to the actual features of the Gangnam district and how those features clash with the song’s representation. Continue reading