Henry, Kelsey Elizabeth (Kelsey Elizabeth Henry) (Author), (Megan Glick) (Thesis advisor)
This project challenges exclusions and erasures in queer theory concerning aging in later life. I elucidate tendencies to overlook older populations while asking why their unique spatiotemporal orientation, at the far end of the human life course, and the embodied temporalities this orientation engenders, are often ignored and unaddressed in queer theories of time. I contend that growing old is not a process of ontological stagnation, but a queer unbecoming and rebecoming of the self that deviates from narratives of desirable maturation and challenges us to rethink not only what constitutes queer time but what makes a valuable and viable human life., 2015, Old URL: https://wesscholar.wesleyan.edu/etd_hon_theses/1486, In Copyright – Non-Commercial Use Permitted (InC-NC)
(Black) Midwifery Foreclosed: The Racialization and Medicalization of Childbirth Care, 1910s-1950s explores the historical roots of racial disparities in maternal health by assessing the transition of childbirth care that took place in the American South during the early and mid-20th century. In this project, I argue that the gradual replacement of Black midwives by White health practitioners was not done entirely out of concern for improving maternal and infant health among Black women. By using race as a focusing lens through which to analyze the change in the administration of childbirth care from Black midwives to White health professionals, I propose that the motives for this change were also––and perhaps more so––grounded in the desire for White practitioners to (re)gain authority over and control of Black bodies. As will be seen throughout this project, the practical skills and capabilities of Black midwives were often framed as secondary to those of White medical practitioners, which ultimately implied their inferiority on the basis of race and gender and justified their regulation by White health professionals; Given these circumstances, I also argue that the relationship between the phasing out of midwifery and its association with Black women was reciprocal, which lead to the racialization of midwifery as a profession and ultimately facilitated its dismantling by White medical professionals over the course of the 20th century., 2019, Old URL: https://wesscholar.wesleyan.edu/etd_hon_theses/2214, In Copyright – Non-Commercial Use Permitted (InC-NC)
Fine, Isabel Sarah Rosenberg (Isabel Sarah Rosenberg Fine) (Author), (Kerwin Kaye) (Thesis advisor), (Megan Glick) (Thesis advisor)
This thesis examines Greek Life through a case study of one sorority, ABC, at one university in the fall of 2016. With the support of twenty-eight loosely-structured, in-person interviews, I explore what it means to be in a Greek-lettered organization at a Big State U through the lenses of selectivity and exclusion. While scholarly material provides essential theoretical frameworks, the majority of the data presented in this thesis come from raw and analyzed primary material, with secondary sources as supplement. This thesis argues that ABC is comprised of white, wealthy, and straight women. It is Jewish as per its sorority national charter, which places ABC at Big State U in an intermediary space between its peers’ whiteness and its peer’s anti-Semitism. While ABC is comprised of individuals, as a whole organization, it encourages its members to shed individual identity in favor of collective dedication to being in ABC in order to further the institution, its notoriety, and its perceived image around campus. This is a study of the intersection of identity, institution, and power. I contend that whiteness, and a strive for whiteness, become the norm through the practices of the Greek System at Big State U. In this sense, while this is a case study of a single sorority, perhaps it can also function as a case study of how national and societal ideologies of normativity, race-based exclusion, heterosexism, elitism, and anti-Semitism become expressed and disseminated in microcosm., 2017, Old URL: https://wesscholar.wesleyan.edu/etd_hon_theses/1722, In Copyright – Non-Commercial Use Permitted (InC-NC)
Morreale, Samuel James (Samuel James Morreale) (Author), (Megan Glick) (Thesis advisor)
This work seeks to collapse the space between actor network theory and theories of performance in order to offer a speculative gesture into social materiality and its interventions. In this endeavor, I critically examine the movement of objects in space, the way they recapitulate social reality, the human position in this conversation, and the speculative offering made by theater through short analyses of the work of contemporary black playwrights Aleshea Harris and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins., 2019, Old URL: https://wesscholar.wesleyan.edu/etd_hon_theses/2148, In Copyright – Non-Commercial Use Permitted (InC-NC)
Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) are pro-life, often evangelically linked centers that offer support for women experiencing unplanned or unwanted pregnancies. Their mission is to convince women to carry their pregnancy to term and their tactics for doing so are powerful and coercive. They tend to function within some of the most vulnerable populations with clientele consisting mainly of women of color, low socioeconomic status, substance abuse problems, abusive relationships, mental illness, or age under eighteen years. In recent years there has been a movement towards “uncovering” these centers and their deceptive tactics. While it is fantastic that society is beginning to recognize CPCs for what they are and what they do, the dialogue that has taken shape around them tends to paint the picture of these centers as extreme anomalies that blight the otherwise clean landscape of pregnancy in our society. In reality, CPCs are far from rare, are often state funded, and are not in fact extreme when one steps back and looks at the broader picture of pregnancy counseling.
In this paper I use CPCs and the six interviews I conducted with CPC staff members in Connecticut as a lens through which to analyze the convoluted, confusing, ambiguous, and moralistic landscape pregnant women must navigate in an attempt to receive accurate, informative, not overburdening information regarding their pregnancy and the choices available to them. I propose that CPCs ought to be seen as microcosms, which are representative of broader societal attitudes and narratives towards pregnant women and their fetuses. In “uncovering” them, we must not miss this critical opportunity to reassess the entire landscape of support and counseling for pregnant women., 2017, Old URL: https://wesscholar.wesleyan.edu/etd_hon_theses/1749, In Copyright – Non-Commercial Use Permitted (InC-NC)
In this thesis, I demonstrate the parallels and cause and effect relationship between the U.S. government?s response in the contemporary moment to the growing number of Salvadorian immigrants, especially the ?unaccompanied minors? and MS-13 gang members, and its response during the 1980s. I do so to demonstrate how historically the criminalization of Salvadoran immigrants was enabled by intersecting forms of racialization that occurred during the 1980s, known as the ?War on Crime? era, due to the reformation of drug-related and mandatory minimum sentencing laws, this time period witnessed the rapid expansion of the prison industrial complex. This thesis examines how the racialized War on Crime in general, and discourses surrounding the rise of African American criminal gang activity in specific, led to a ?symbolic blackening? of Salvadoran immigrants associated with MS-13. This connection has continued into the contemporary moment and informs the new wave of ?tough on crime? rhetoric used by the Trump administration.
However, I want to be clear here that I do not equate the experiences of Salvadorans in the U.S. to those of black people. I also do not essentialize criminality as blackness but instead call attention to the sociocultural and juridical factors that have served to link blackness and criminality in the U.S. context. Further, by using the idea of ?symbolic blackening,? it may seem that I am falling back on binary racial understandings that exist within a black-or-white framework. However, this is not the case, as I also address the complexities of race and racial classifications for Latina/o groups. In this thesis, I have chosen to use the framework of symbolic blackening because of the criminalization of African Americans in the U.S. that has occurred alongside the criminalization of immigrants. In the time periods I examine, the mechanisms that were used to imagine black people as criminal threats to U.S. society became repurposed against Latinas/os, more broadly, due to anti Latina/o immigrant sentiments, but has different implications for Salvadorans due to the link between the population and MS-13. Thus, this repurposing has not occurred equally among all Latina/o immigrant groups, due to the politics that drive different groups to migrate to the U.S. The racialization of these groups occurs both as a result of global and local hierarchies that impact their lives in their home countries, and also as an effect of how they are perceived when they arrive in the U.S.
The language and terminology used to discuss Salvadorans within the legal realm and the media is extremely important for my analysis. The discourse used to devalue this population and to construct it as immoral, criminal, and a constant threat to ?civilized? society, has long-term repercussions. It justifies and normalizes various forms of state-sanctioned violence that deny personhood and force populations into spaces of precarity and marginality. As I will show, the links between racialization, gang culture, and the denial of childhood produce the conditions that denigrate the ?unaccompanied minors,? in the contemporary moment, denying personhood through racialized illegality., 2018, Old URL: https://wesscholar.wesleyan.edu/etd_hon_theses/2017, In Copyright – Non-Commercial Use Permitted (InC-NC)