The Quest | The Free Press of Reed College

Thesis Christ! Sammi Massey

Religion major Sharon (aka Sammi) Massey thinks that the scholarship on Syrian Jews in New York City has been missing a large chunk of historical analysis. She had heard and read in popular media about this community of Syrian Jews being fiercely insular, but these observations did not line up perfectly with what her Syrian […]

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Thesis Christ! Andrew Watson

Income inequality in the United States has been on the rise since the mid-1980s. Until that point, the gap between the rich and the poor had been slowly declining, as it had been theorized it should by Simon Kuznets in the 1950s. According to Kuznet’s theory, income inequality rises rapidly when an economy is developing, […]

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Thesis Christ! Patrick Sadil

Disembodied Singing Frogs Central pattern generators are clusters of neurons that allow an organism to sustain rhythmic behavior. Any activity that needs to be turned on, modulated, or just left on without conscious upkeep is controlled by these generators like a heartbeat that, though it speeds up and slows down throughout the day, must be […]

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Thesis Christ! Nathan Eisenberg

Modularity of Neural Plasticity In order to become a licensed London Taxi driver, one must acquire “the Knowledge” of London’s myriad grid of streets. The process usually takes three to four years, with the trainees having to pass a number of tests. The brains of those who do well on the tests and become licensed […]

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Thesis Christ! Aya Maguire

Feces Christ

Mapping Dark Matter Using Gravitational Lensing What we traditionally think of as matter, what we can see and touch, is really only about 5% of all matter in the universe.  The scientific community refers to this as baryonic matter, and in recent years has been able to conclude that the remaining matter in the universe […]

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Thesis Christ: Shantanu Chatterjee

When we talk about things that we must do, we are talking about actions that are prescribed. What is it that prescribes these actions? In philosophical literature, people refer to norms and normativity to explain why it is that people do what they do. It is a topic of debate in the field of legal […]

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Thesis Christ: Wendell Britt

Following the Chinese cultural revolution of the 1980s, an avant-garde literature movement emerged. Linked with postmodernism, it was “a literary Renaissance in which writers were experimenting because they could for the first time,” says Chinese Literature major Wendell Britt. His thesis, advised by Alexei Ditter, will focus on a number of short stories by Yu […]

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Thesis Christ: Brian Moore

Brian Moore

Economics major and and former Student Body President Brian Moore wrote his thesis on government policy change and whether or not this effects investments made by manufacturing companies. In times of economic downturn, Moore says, many say that the government should not try to change policy, as this creates an uncertain economic environment that possibly discourages investment. For instance, “if you’re a small manufacturer, and the government is considering regulating your industry, you’re less likely to invest until you know how that regulation is going to look, or how that regulation might effect you as a firm.”

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Thesis Christ: Clara Redwood

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Clara Redwood’s ’13 thesis: “Creating Origami Crease Patterns for Curved 3 Dimensional Objects.”   Clara Redwood’s ‘13 thesis desk is littered with origami paper. Clara, the only girl who is strictly a math major in her class, is writing her thesis with Math Professor Irena Swanson on folding algorithms. Clara, of Buffalo, New York explains […]

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Thesis Christ: Frank Sosa

Frank Sosa

Eight years ago, scientists at Yale University tested seven capuchin monkeys to see whether they deviated from a basic economic theory: that, when faced with an economic choice, humans (or, in this case, primates) will act rationally. Unsurprisingly, they did. But the important finding from the study was that the capuchin monkeys deviated from the […]

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Thesis Christ: Heidi Whitehouse ‘13

Heidi Whitehouse

In the Congo in the time of King Leopold II, Belgian colonists and companies brutally exploited indigenous Congolese peoples in the name of “civilization.” Such is the premise of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, a Victorian-era novella that is touted in academic circles as a scathing criticism of racist imperialists. But with her thesis, Heidi Whitehouse ’13 points out that Conrad’s novella may not be as anti-racist as academics are prone to believe—and that, in fact, Conrad’s language bolsters the racist language of the Victorian Era.

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Thesis Christ: Harry Fukano ‘13

In the 1840s, Ireland experienced a potato famine that wiped out one-eighth of its population and displaced another fifth. According to one thesising senior, the heavy impact of Irish displacement, combined with Irish nationalism, had an unexpected effect on the American Civil War. Harry Fukano ’13, from Los Angeles, California is writing his 90-page History […]

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Thesis Christ: Autumn Dobbins ‘13

Autumn Dobbins

Sometimes, at the end of an odyssey, you have to walk around, waiting for someone to ask if your oar is a fan for winnowing grain. Sometimes you do a thesis.

Autumn Dobbins ’13, of Kirksville, Missouri is doing her Theater thesis on a new way of designing for the stage to reflect the digital age.

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Thesis Christ: Danny Sellers

Danny Sellers

In the 1990s, development economist Amartya Sen formulated a controversial theory. He postulated that countries that have a free press and competitive elections are better at averting famines, and he used events in Ethiopia, Sudan, Botsawana, and Zimbabwe to prove his point. Using the same countries as Sen, and incorporating three additional African countries, Political Science major Danny Sellers ’13 will seek to challenge this theory.

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Cool Thesis of the Week: Auden Lincoln-Vogel

Auden Lincoln-Vogel’s ’12 studio sits in the far eastern corner of Reed’s art building. Various art supplies, past projects, posters, and papers line the walls and tables, embellished here and there by a typewriter, a clothes hanger lined with dangling keys, and a half-serious contract allowing him to borrow a friend’s scooter. It all creates […]

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Cool Thesis of the Week: Francois Paultre

Two bisexual Latina girls, named Maggie and Hopey, lie together in bed. It’s 1982, and the two eighteen-year-old girls are part of the California punk-rock scene. Suddenly, Maggie needs to leave for her job repairing rocket ships. This is the first strip of Jaime Hernandez’s comic series Locas, which details the relationship of Maggie, Hopey, and […]

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Cool Thesis of the Week: Katelyn Best

Katelyn Best

Thirty years ago in Managua, Nicaragua, a group of students had an incredibly rare opportunity. After the Sandinista revolution, a school for disabled children was founded, bringing over 400 previously isolated deaf children into contact with each other. Initially having no language with which to communicate, the children interacted by making up their own signs […]

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Cool Thesis of the Week: Wyatt Alt

Wyatt Alt

Wyatt Alt’s ’13 thesis? Counting the Number of Domino Tilings in the M x N Projective Plane. “You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension – a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of […]

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Cool Thesis of the Week: Max Maller

Max Maller

Much of the material academics study is the product of the elite. But Max Maller ’13 seeks to study an art form that rose out of the lower echelons of 19th Century China. His Chinese thesis, which he is working on with Professor Hyong Rhew, explores the art and evolution of Xiangsheng, a popular form of comedy in China that originated in the markets and temple fairs of Beijing during the Qing Dynasty.

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Cool Thesis of the Week: AnnaLise Bender-Brown

AnnaLise Bender-Brown

In Western culture, female genital mutilation is regarded as a violent act against women that is a product of patriarchal oppression. Girls who are victims of this mutilation are stripped of their agency and coerced into a ritual that destroys the possibility of sexual pleasure in the future. AnnaLise Bender-Brown is out to deconstruct these […]

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Cool Thesis of the Week: Transforming Russian Graves into Artists’ Books

Rose Lewis

“Samizdat,” a portmanteau literally meaning “self-published” that was applied to carbon-copies of censored materials that dissidents made and circulated in the Soviet-era.  Cemeteries spark a morbid curiosity in many people and move us to ponder the lives of the dead. Tombstones reveal limited information about the deceased, which leads us to wonder – how much […]

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Cool Thesis of the Week: Rowan Hildebrand-Chupp

“Mental disorder” is a tricky diagnosis to give to any psychological difference, as it immediately implies a judgement that someone has something “wrong” with them. Until recently, for example, homosexuality was officially classified as a disorder, and once, escaped slaves were considered to be disordered. But despite its tricky implications, the diagnosis of “disorder” is […]

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Cool Thesis of the Week: Tristan Nieto

Tristan Nieto

Tristan Nieto ’12 is updating a tradition-heavy cult ritual. Fans of The Rocky Horror Picture Show are well acquainted with the film’s cult rituals. When fans get together to watch the 1975 B-movie, the screenshow is accompanied by a cast of actors in front of the the movie, who shadow the movements of the actors […]

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Cool Thesis of the Week: Alan Montecillo

Alan Montecillo

Alan Montecillo ’13 looks past the smut to see the music. If you mention the 17th-century Chinese novel The Plum and the Golden Vase to most people in China, says Alan Montecillo ’13, “the first thing that comes to mind is pornography.” The impulse is understandable. The novel is filled with about 70 vividly described […]

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Cool Thesis of the Week: Andy Malkin

Andy Malkin

Some games, maybe one played on a paper tablecloth waiting for food at a restaurant, don’t seem like they were meant to be taken seriously. But Andy Malkin ’13, of Ojai, California, says there’s a lot behind even some simple games. Andy is writing his math thesis with professors Joe Roberts and Jamie Pommershein on […]

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Cool Thesis of the Week: Shakespeare for the Masses

Lisa Henderson

Lisa Henderson is taking Shakespeare to the SU to remind people how his plays were originally—crude, spontaneous, and geared toward everyone. Shakespeare—the name evokes fear in high school English classes the world over. Brought to mind is an elitist, inaccessible playwright who takes a doctorate to be understood. Not so, says Lisa Henderson ’12. Lisa, […]

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Cool Thesis of the Week: Marie Perez

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Marie Perez ’12 is rooting through garbage for her thesis—and finding money. Portland has an interesting history of waste disposal, says Marie Perez ’12. The Alphabet District in Northwest is built on compacted trash over an old wetlands, and there was a time when people expected the city’s rivers to be “cleansing, self-healing entities.” The […]

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Cool Thesis of the Week: LiLu Sexton

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Each week, The Quest profiles the thesis of one senior whose work is worth sharing with the Reed community. The purpose of this column is to increase awareness among Reedies of the work being done in various academic fields and to make disparate forms of scholarship accessible and understandable to all. Society relies on law […]

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Cool Thesis of the Week: Randomness as Fairness

Justine Stewart

Economic theory expects certain things of people: They will behave predictably, act to maximize utility, and if they can choose between getting money and not getting any, they will usually take the cash. However, says Justin Stewart ’12, there are well-known cases in which people regularly reject an offer of free money, against all the […]

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Cool Thesis: Commercially Sexually Exploited Children In Portland, OR

Rachel

America’s news media loves horror-story narratives, and little makes for a better horror story than the commercial sexual exploitation of children. However, according to Rachel Cole-Jansen ’12, the media more often than not gets the story wrong. Rachel, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, has spent her senior year at Reed studying children in the sex trade […]

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Cool Thesis of the Week: The Complexities and Caveats of Microfinance

Nisma Elias

Since the financial crisis, Americans have been constantly concerned with bad loans and borrowers who are unable to pay off their debts. According to Nisma Elias ’12, this doesn’t just happen here. Microfinance, a practice in which people in the developing world are given small loans to help them start businesses and earn an income, […]

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Cool Thesis of the Week: Cancer as a Social Construct

Most people with illnesses turn to science for the cure. Some turn to religion. Hunter Kirkland ’12 turns to anthropology. “Cancer is merely a product of the collective consciousness of Western society.” Hunter, an interdisciplinary Anthropology-Biology senior from New London, Connecticut, believes that in his work on his thesis, he has uncovered a revolutionizing theory […]

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Cool Thesis of the Week: “Suburban Paradise or ‘Sprawlsville, Washington’?”

Alex Walker

Walking through the city, it is easy to look at stores and people, taking in their individual character. What many people do not consider, however, is the larger layout of the city. For Alex Walker ’12, however, the broader organization of a city is of utmost interest. His History thesis, “Suburban Paradise or ‘Sprawlsville, Washington’?: […]

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Cool Thesis of the Week: Fantastical Genderfuck Circus

Erika Kurth

“Reedies often forget to interact with the real world,” says Erika Kurth ’12. While Reed enjoys a relatively high level of tolerance on campus, students can easily forget that this is not the case in the rest of the world. This is why, Erika, of San Antonio, Texas, decided to use her thesis production to […]

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Cool Thesis of the Week: Intonation Patterns in an Arabic Oral Epic

Cool Thesis

“No, it’s not this one; it’s that one.” “It’s actually not the way I thought.” When we speak English, we rely on rhythm, speed, and intonation to convey the difference between new and given intonation, giving extra weight to words that convey previously unknown facts. Though this may seem elemental to English speakers, it is […]

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Cool Thesis of the Week: Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity

Gabriel Barello

All too often, the complaint over the impracticality of the humanities resounds through Hauser: “All these abstract ideas, none of them really exist. Not like what they do in the hard sciences.” Not so for Gabriel Barello ’12, a Physics major from Seattle, Washington. Gabriel, who is working on his thesis with Professor David Latimer, […]

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Cool Thesis of the Week: An Evaluation of Court-Ordered Prison Reform

Lindsay Shields '12 thinks prisoner's rights are important too.

Each week, The Quest profiles the thesis of one senior whose work is worth sharing with the Reed community. The purpose of this column is to increase awareness among Reedies of the work being done in various academic fields and to make disparate forms of scholarship accessible and understandable to all. It’s easy to think […]

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Cool Thesis of the Week: A Qing Dynasty Social Satire

Cool Thesis lol Resized

Each week, The Quest profiles the thesis of one senior whose work is worth sharing with the Reed community. The purpose of this column is to increase awareness among Reedies of the work being done in various academic fields and to make disparate forms of scholarship accessible and understandable to all. Throughout their primary education, […]

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Cool Thesis of the Week: Claire Thomforde-Garner

Cool Thesis of the Week Web 770x430

Each week, The Quest profiles the thesis of one senior whose work is worth sharing with the Reed community. The purpose of this column is to increase awareness among Reedies of the work being done in various academic fields and to make disparate forms of scholarship accessible and understandable to all. For most Reedies, dancing […]

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Cool Thesis of the Week: Healing Cults in Ancient Greece

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Each week, The Quest profiles the thesis of one senior whose work is worth sharing with the Reed community. The purpose of this column is to increase awareness among Reedies of the work being done in various academic fields and to make disparate forms of scholarship accessible and understandable to all. All too often, a […]

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Cool Thesis of the Week: Melissa Aslo Islam in a Superhero Comic

Melissa Aslo

Each week, The Quest profiles the thesis of one senior whose work is worth sharing with the Reed community. The purpose of this column is to increase awareness among Reedies of the work being done in various academic fields and to make disparate forms of scholarship accessible and understandable to all. Many thesising seniors come […]

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Cool Thesis of the Week: Lucy Bellwood Creativity and Comics

Lucy Bellwood

Each week, The Quest profiles the thesis of one senior whose work is worth sharing with the Reed community. The purpose of this column is to increase awareness among Reedies of the work being done in various academic fields and to make disparate forms of scholarship accessible and understandable to all. To most, comics are […]

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Cool Thesis of the Week: Decadence and Totalitarian Society

Dylan

Each week, The Quest profiles the thesis of one senior whose work is worth sharing with the Reed community. The purpose of this column is to increase awareness among Reedies of the work being done in various academic fields and to make disparate forms of scholarship accessible and understandable to all. Many historians over the […]

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Cool Thesis of the Week: Cherenkov Radiation to Characterize a Reactor

CTW Ahmad

Reed’s research nuclear reactor has tons of cool features. Its core contains 3,000 grams of uranium-235, and it can put out as much as 250 kilowatts. However, one feature is probably the coolest: When brought up to power, the water around the reactor core emits a blue glow. This glow, called Cherenkov radiation, is the […]

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Cool Thesis of the Week: Home Invasion in 1970′s Horror Cinema

Emily Symington '12 loves thinking about what keeps us up at night.

Each week, The Quest profiles the thesis of one senior whose work is worth sharing with the Reed community. The purpose of this column is to increase awareness among Reedies of the work being done in various academic fields and to make disparate forms of scholarship accessible and understandable to all. It’s a common scary […]

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Cool Thesis of the Week: Suraj Pant and “The Impact of Tourism on Poverty and Inequality”

Every week, The Quest will be profiling the thesis of one senior whose work is worth sharing with the Reed community. The purpose of this column is to increase awareness among Reedies of the work being done by people in various academic fields and to make disparate forms of scholarship accessible and understandable to all. […]

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Cool Thesis of the Week: Lizzy Martin: Critical Analysis of “Howl and Other Poems”

Lizzy

Each week, The Quest profiles the thesis of one senior whose work is worth sharing with the Reed community. The purpose of this column is to increase awareness among Reedies of the work being done in various academic fields and to make disparate forms of scholarship accessible and understandable to all. At the beginning, “the […]

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Cool Thesis of the Week: Maya Edelstein: “From School Segregation to the Gentlemen’s Agreement: Japanese Immigrants and U.S. Citizenship”

Maya Edelstein '11 sees the human side of immigration.

Every week, The Quest will be profiling the thesis of one senior whose work is worth sharing with the Reed community. The purpose of this column is to increase awareness among Reedies of the work being done by people in various academic fields and to make disparate forms of scholarship accessible and understandable to all. […]

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