2009 Honorable Mentions

Benjamin Zumwalt Interracial Coalitions in the United Farm Workers: The Filipino Experience 
Jessica Walters The Winds of Change: How a Group of Alaska Native Aleuts Became a Community of United States Citizens 
Sarah L. Fong Changing Familial Roles in Doi Moi Vietnamese Literature 
Sheel Jagani Commodities and Machines at Work in Surrogate Motherhood 

Benjamin Zumwalt
Interracial Coalitions in the United Farm Workers: The Filipino Experience
Ethnic Studies 195
Professor David Montejano

Benjamin Zumwalt documented the Filipino farm workers unionization experiences, and explored how Filipinos were marginalized within the United Farm Workers union for his Ethnic Studies 195 class, in his project, Interracial Coalitions in the United Farm Workers: The Filipino Experience. While much has been written on the UFW, little is available from the Filipino point of view. However, with persistence Ben was able to find a number of sources including the oral history of Phillip Vera Cruz, a Filipino union organizer, and the Bancroft papers of UCB Professor Paul S. Taylor, one of the first scholars to study migrant farm workers. Ben also used the Mexican-American newsletters in the Ethnic Studies Library and the Filipino newspapers in the Newspaper Room in Doe. As part of his critical analysis of the events, Ben even analyzed census data to look at population trends in Kern and Delano counties in the 1960s and 1970s.

Ben’s faculty advisor wrote that “Zumwalt chose a challenging research question, and I believe he did a remarkable job given the ten weeks he has worked on this.”

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Jessica Walters

The Winds of Change: How a Group of Alaska Native Aleuts
Became a Community of United States Citizens
History 101
Instructor Erik Scott

Jessica Walter was originally interested in the forced internment of the Aleuts during World War II, but while researching the evacuation, she learned that the Aleuts had been essentially treated as wards of the United States government from 1867 to 1985. Intrigued, she expanded her paper from the three-year internment to this much more complex relationship for her History 101 project, Winds of Change: How a Group of Alaska Native Aleuts Became a Community of United States Citizens. Jessica used a wide range of library resources in including the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Citizens on microfiche in Bancroft, and from the Alaska Digital archives, the daily records of United States agents sent to administer the islands from 1890-1942, as well as many photographs of daily life on the islands. Jessica supplemented these primary resources with books and journal articles about the Pribilof Aleuts, including accounts of early Russian expeditions to the islands to document a long-term suppression of the native culture and language. “Despite these abuses, the Aleuts today celebrate and honor both their native heritage and their American identity.”

According to Jessica’s advisor, “There is very little written on the Aleuts in general, and nothing on the period and themes she has chosen; her paper is truly an original piece of research.”

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Sarah L. Fong

Changing Familial Roles in Doi Moi Vietnamese Literature
Southeast Asian Studies 10
Professor Penny Edwards
GSI Trang Cao

Sarah Fong’s project for her SEA 10 class, “Changing Familial Roles in Doi Moi Vietnamese Literature developed from an observation she made while studying data from the United Nations on urban migration patterns. Sarah noticed that a pattern in the increased number of women entering the workforce and the increased age at which women were marrying in modern day Vietnam. This observation coupled with the short stories read in class, shifted Sarah’s focus from migration to modern literature and the changing family structure in Vietnam as a result of Doi Moi (the economic reforms initiated by Vietnam in 1986). By using a variety of library resources, Sarah was able to find examples of contemporary Vietnamese literature (in English) and numerous secondary sources on Vietnam under Doi Moi.

Sarah’s advisor writes that “In her essay, Sarah Fong deftly navigates between literature and politics, links cultural production and the political economy and highlights the power of literature as a lens on swiftly changing familial relations and expectations in a Vietnam transitioning to a market economy.”

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Sheel Jagani

Commodities and Machines at Work in Surrogate Motherhood
Anthropology 115
Professor Lawrence Cohen

Sheel Jagani’s idea for a research project for Anthropology 115 began to coalesce when she realized that a class topic on organ trafficking raised many of the same issues she wanted to explore about surrogacy. Using philosophies of Michael Taussig and Michel Foucault that were discussed in class, Sheel’s paper, Commodities and Machines at Work in Surrogate Motherhood, explores the ethical and legal implications of surrogacy when one treats the womb and child as commodities. Sheel uncovered a wide variety of resources from multiple disciplines on reproductive technology using the Doe, Moffitt and Anthropology libraries, but her paper took a new direction when she discovered Doe’s transcripts of legislative hearings, and was able to add a legal dimension to her arguments.

Sheel’s advisor says “The paper itself engages with several different threads of analyst and reveals Sheel’s potential to develop her own unique authorial voice. In a young scholar like Sheel, these are rare traits indeed.”

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