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Current Undergraduate Fellows

Isabelle Barnard

Anthropology and Iberian and Latin American Cultures

"Human-Animal Interactions in Kichwa Households"

Advisers: James Fox, Krish Seetah

Isabelle Barnard is an undergraduate majoring in Anthropology and Iberian and Latin American Cultures. As an environmental activist who has spent the past two summers living and working with indigenous communities in Amazonian Ecuador, Barnard’s interests lie at the intersection of human rights and environmental protection. She has studied climate policy, languages, and 20th century Latin American literature in Chile, Ecuador, and Oxford, and she is now completing her honors thesis in Anthropology with the guidance of Professor Jim Fox. Isabelle is also co-president of the Stanford Green Living Council, and she can often be found baking vegan cookies, carrying around a reusable silverware set, and explaining the recycling system to confused freshmen.

What is the focus of your current research?
My current research looks at interactions between humans and animals in Amazonian Kichwa households. I am examining the household as a contact zone between all kinds of species, from dogs and chickens to “wild” animals that people raise as pets. How are categories like wild, domestic, human, and animal performed or contested? How and why do people care for the nonhumans that live in their homes, and do these personal relationships of care affect the ways that they think about and engage with the nonhuman world?

What drew you to this topic?
I’ve always been an animal lover, and my childhood love for nature documentaries and books about big cats was what started me on the path to environmentalism. When I was in Ecuador last summer doing research on oral narratives, a woman I worked with told me a story about two capuchin monkeys she raised as pets. Now, she told me, she doesn’t eat capuchin monkeys, even though they’re considered a delicacy. Capuchin monkeys are people, she said. The decision not to hunt or eat a particular animal species impacts the environment. But it's also born out of a set of personal, emotional experiences with animals, as well as a particular cultural way of thinking about animals as people. So, I was curious whether people’s interactions with household animals shaped their practices and attitudes toward what we call “the environment,” more broadly.

How are you conducting your research?
My thesis is based on my own fieldwork. I’ve spent the past two summers studying the Kichwa language and living with Kichwa families, observing, asking questions, and conducting formal interviews.

What would people be surprised to learn about the topic you are working on?
Sometimes people in the States assume that pet-keeping is just a phenomenon of Western industrial capitalism, and that people in other places keep animals only for utilitarian purposes. That wasn’t what I encountered! People in my field site may not have been buying their dogs $30 kibble, but many formed deep emotional bonds with their animals. At the same time, there were aspects of Kichwa human-animal relations that were completely new for me—especially keeping wild animals as pets. The first time I came downstairs and saw an ocelot cub in a cage in the kitchen, I was shocked! I think the array of commonalities and differences between pet-keeping behaviors across cultures attests to the importance of paying attention to specific practices and beliefs, rather than making sweeping generalizations about “Western” and “non-Western” thinking about animals.

In your view, why is it valuable to study this topic?
I believe that ethical, effective environmentalism requires attention to the culturally-specific ways that different people relate to their nonhuman environments. The Ecuadorian Amazon is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet, and indigenous Amazonian peoples have successfully managed that ecosystem for thousands of years. It’s both unjust and absurd to talk about conserving the Amazon without working with indigenous communities, but effective community-based conservation requires that we understand as much as we can about the complex and particular ways that people think about, talk about, and care about the nonhuman world. My research will contribute to this body of knowledge by shedding light on a crucial but often-overlooked area of human-animal interactions: the domestic space.

How is your honors thesis impacting you academically and/or personally?
My research experiences have led me to become more critical of the role that indigenous peoples, as well as “the Amazon,” play in the global imaginary. And on a personal level, I notice animals everywhere! Every interaction seems strange to me—people walking their dogs, clips of baby goats or pigs that people post on Facebook, the raccoons I see crouched over the sewers late at night. As a result, I’m constantly thinking and talking about animals and what they mean—in my literature classes as well as in everyday conversations.
 

Emily Frantz

History

“Swift’s Satire on Science in Colonial America: The Impact of Bacon’s Empiricism and the Royal Society through the Lens of Gulliver’s Travels”

Adviser: Jessica Riskin

Emily Frantz is a senior History major in the History of Science and Medicine track.  She is focusing on scientific and technological advances in Britain during the early modern period, especially the rise of empiricism and the Royal Society of Britain.  In addition to her love of history, Emily has a long-held interest in community service.  As a freshman, she joined Side by Side, a community service singing group that sings and dances to music from the 1920s to 1960s as well as converses with audience members at around 35 nursing homes, VA hospitals, and hospice centers throughout the Bay Area each school year.  Since 2014, she has been the music director for the group.

What is the focus of your current research?
I am examining the influence of empiricism and the Royal Society on colonial America during the early 18th century through analysis of the reception and referencing of Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels by American intelligentsia.

What drew you to this topic?
As a former pre-med, I’ve always had an interest in science.  My decision to switch to history major was a complete gamble as I had taken very few classes in high school, but I immediately felt at home.  I met my current adviser, Professor Jessica Riskin, shortly thereafter. Under her guidance, I discovered an interest in how science as we know it today was forming during the early modern period and then percolating into culture. That brought me to my current research exploring how empiricism and the Royal Society was influencing culture not just in England, but also in its colonies such as America.  Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels encapsulates this moment in history. Living in a “colonized” state, Ireland, Swift’s writing directly engages with the science of the day, and Gulliver’s Travels was both very popular and very controversial. My research focuses on how Americans reading Swift viewed empiricism and the role of the “New Science” in the New World.

How are you conducting your research? 
I am reading pamphlets and letters by Americans on Gulliver’s Travels, as well as on the role of empirical study within the colonies.  I also am mining the sources and ideas written on this subject from a variety of secondary sources. In a sense, I am attempting to bridge two large and fascinating fields of research: research on the links between empiricism, the Royal Society, and Jonathan Swift’s "Gulliver’s Travels", and research on empiricism and the formation of an “American” culture in colonial America.

What would people be surprised to learn about the topic you are working on?
Most people do not realize how new our concept of science really is.  The concepts of scientific facts and of the role of an experimenter as an unbiased observer of natural phenomena were relatively new in the early 18th century.  Empiricism takes the scientific community by storm, fueled by new academies of science such as the Royal Society of Britain.  At the same time, natural philosophers (the notion of a scientist did not yet exist) have new fodder to study from the New World.  Some natural philosophers travel to colonial America, launching the development of a culture of science.

In your view, why is it valuable to study this topic?
This topic affords a new, broader perspective on the influence of empiricism in America and how science is transitioning during the 18th century.

How is your honors thesis impacting you academically and/or personally?
In addition to improving my time management skills and gaining greater research experience, this project is an important step toward my career goals.  I wish to have a career in academia and am currently applying to Ph.D. programs around the country.  I’m also excited to grow as a scholar.

Marilyn Harris

Slavic Languages and Literatures

Dobra Sestra: British Medical Missions to Serbia, 1914-1918

Adviser: Jovana Knezevic, Gabriella Safran

Marilyn Harris is majoring in Slavic Languages and Literatures with a concentration in Language, History and Culture as well as a minor in Computer Science. In addition to dancing with Los Salseros de Stanford, the campus’ Latin dance performance team, she is active in organizing cross-cultural exchanges to empower young leaders, first with the Stanford U.S.-Russia Forum, and now with a new initiative to bring entrepreneurs from Latin America to Stanford for training and networking opportunities.
 
What is the focus of your current research?
My research focuses on the how the Eastern Front of the First World War functioned as a frontier both literally and metaphorically for the expansion of British female agency through wartime service. Specifically, I examine how the Balkan context of these women’s service in medical missions differentiated their perceptions and experience from the service of women who performed similar roles on the Western front.
 
What drew you to this topic?
I was looking for a paper topic on World War I for another class, and discovered Flora Sandes, the only British woman to serve in a combat role during the war. Interestingly enough, she served in the Serbian, not the British army, so I had to investigate how an Englishwoman had ended up in Serbia during the war in the first place. It turns out quite a few women from Britain had served in Serbia, and I had to investigate why.
 
How are you conducting your research?
Building on my initial archival research in London two summers ago as a Chappell Lougee Scholar, I am examining these women’s personal writings, published reports and journals, the propaganda they helped produce, and the material culture and ritual used in Serbia to remember and honor the legacy of these women’s service. Additionally, I’ll be using discourse analysis to understand the “Western Gaze” towards the Balkans as it manifests itself in these women’s writings.
 
What would people be surprised to learn about the topic you are working on?
Many of these women self-organized and volunteered to travel to Serbia in the first days of World War I, several years before women would be conscripted into state-sanctioned forms of service. Many of these women had never been so far from Western Europe and their homes before, but among them were professional doctors, surgeons, nurses, as well as ambulance drivers, orderlies, cooks, and hospital administrators, who often also functioned as the main point of diplomatic contact between the Serbian or occupying military administration.
 
In your view, why is it valuable to study this topic?
Even today, World War I scholarship focuses mainly on the Western Front. My topic contributes to the small literature on Serbia’s war experience, but I am also trying to answer questions about how the citizens of Western countries observed and spoke for the Eastern, “exotic” populations they interacted with through their aid work. Because these aid workers then helped produce propaganda that was disseminated throughout Britain, they were directly implicated in shaping English perceptions, both negative and positive, around Serbia. Because these aid workers were also women, and therefore marginalized in their own society at the time, this topic provides an interesting study in how this feminine identity may have been obscured by their Western identity in this foreign context.
 
How is your honors thesis work impacting you academically and/or personally?
Finding this topic two summers ago and finally writing this thesis has been and currently is one of the greatest pleasures of my Stanford academic experience. I have really fallen in love with this narrative, and have been challenged to ask questions about these women and their service that extends beyond the novelty of their stories and accomplishments. I see this experience as an opportunity to be intellectually generous with myself, to create the breathing room necessary to think deeply, and produce an original work of my own.  Even since the beginning of the year, I’ve noticed a shift in the quality of my ideas and thinking and feel that this is the kind of growth I wanted to see out of my undergraduate career.

Natasha Patel

Philosophy/Education

“Community Colleges; A Case Study in the Political Philosophy of Democratic Education”

Adviser: John Willinsky

Natasha Patel is a Philosophy major with an honors in the School of Education.  She currently serves as a Chief of Staff to the Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) Executive and as a mentor/tutor for the East Palo Alto Stanford Academy. Natasha is highly active in community-engaged, political work and has formerly served as President of the Stanford Democrats, an Undergraduate Senator, a White House Intern, and an organizer with various community-based organizations. This spring she was selected as a Latinos Unidos scholar to study education and social movements in Lima, Peru. Her community-engaged work motivates the questions she asks in her scholarship.

What is the focus of your current research?
My research focuses on open access in postsecondary education as a possible lynchpin for a healthy democracy.  In particular, I focus on the catch-all of American postsecondary education, community colleges. I aim to understand how educational inequity affects the functioning of the modern American ideal of democracy.  

What drew you to this topic?
The thesis is a good opportunity to thoroughly address questions of social inequity. Over the past two decades, higher education has become a de facto prerequisite to earning a decent wage and receiving the social benefits economic stability can provide.  This evolution in postsecondary education lends itself to remaining an important mechanism for social stratification. Political philosophy can help us think through implications of policy making in the heterogeneous realm of higher education institutions.

How are you conducting your research?
I start with a study of the principles of democracy under deliberative and egalitarian notions, and compare these principles to what democracy means for this nation at this time.  Then I move into literature about open-access systems in education.  I plan to take advantage of publicly available data about community college demographics, retention, and attrition rates within high open access systems like California and Tennessee.

What would people be surprised to learn about the topic you are working on?
The concepts I am working with in my paper, like open access, are generally considered "positive" in the progressive education movement. However, it may be that open-access as a value marker for educational institutions is not positive for democracy.  The central philosopher to my work, John Dewey, is known for holding a similar theory about concepts.  Dewey argues that some values (e.g., classical liberalism), which can be helpful to solving practical problems, may outlive their usefulness.  

In your view, why is it valuable to study this topic?
There is extrinsic value in knowing whether we are meeting our goals as a society.  Namely, the value is that state governments can accordingly shift policy priorities or research institutions can reconceptualize the position and importance of research about community colleges.

How is your honors thesis work impacting you academically and/or personally?
Academically, the thesis work is an opportune moment for me to revisit the question: am I cut out for a doctoral program?  Personally, it is a trial in accountability and stretching my mind!

Ellie Redding

English

"Writing in the Wild West: Style in the Dime Western"

Adviser: Adena Spingarn

Ellie Redding is majoring in English with a minor in Computer Science. Her academic interests range from social dance to earth systems to classical Greek, and her long-term goals include just reading books all the time. She is an alumnus of Stanford’s Structured Liberal Education (SLE) and serves as a writing tutor for current SLE students. She rides bikes and ponies and leads groups of freshmen on SPOT, Stanford’s pre-orientation backpacking trip. She is cultivating an affinity for $4 coffee, grapefruit, and archival research, and spends as much time as possible in California’s national parks.

What is the focus of your current research?
I am studying dime novels, a cheap and unbelievably popular form of literature from the mid 19th century to the early 20th century. Dime novels includes detective fiction, school and sports stories, and nascent sci-fi, but I’ll be focusing on the western, which was the first and most prevalent. In particular, I’ll be using digital humanities tools to study the writing style of the dime western.

What drew you to this topic?
During the course of a class on literature of the American landscape, I first dove into Stanford’s dime novel archives. I loved it: flipping through what are essentially 150-year-old boys’ magazines, with practical joke sections and lurid illustrations, as well as the dime novels themselves. As I began to learn more, I realized that what really enchanted me about these novels was their writing style. I also realized that no one else seems to bother with it – which is crazy to me, because they are unique and surprising in so many ways.

How are you conducting your research?
My thesis uses digital humanities tools to identify and track the diction, syntax, and grammatical structure of the dime western in order to define and describe the genre’s style. Using an existing corpus of 19th century English literature as a control, I will show how each element of this style contributes to the success of the dime western. Then I will compare the style to other genres of dime novels, other westerns, and other popular fiction, then and now.

What would people be surprised to learn about the topic you are working on?
While most dime novels were ghostwritten, written anonymously, or use pseudonyms like “An Old Scout”, authors include a number of highbrow writers like Upton Sinclair and Louisa May Alcott.

How is your honors thesis work impacting you academically and/or personally?
It’s invaluable to be able to spend this much time developing, refining, and learning more about a single topic. I’m also thrilled to have the chance to learn new skills and research strategies, and I find that I’m much more invested in that learning because I approach it with personal stakes.  

Sarah Sadlier

American Studies/Iberian Latin American Cultures/Political Science

American Studies Project: Finding Red Horse: Visually Narrating the Lost Life and Times of a Minneconjou Sioux Artist and Warrior

Adviser: Scott D. Sagan

Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) Project: “Cooperation Among Peoples for the Progress of Mankind”: Brazil’s Diplomatic “Bridge-Building” Strategy and its Implications for Brazil-U.S. Relations

Adviser: Stephen J. Stedman

Sarah Sadlier is majoring in History, American Studies, and Iberian and Latin American Cultures. She is pursuing honors theses in American Studies and in International Security Studies through Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC). Her interdisciplinary studies have largely focused on “The Face of Battle” and “The Art of War.” She was a course assistant for Steve Stedman’s course “WWI: Origins and New Controversies.” Additionally, she developed and co-led a student-initiated course called “The Art and Artifacts of the Battle of the Little Bighorn,” which analyzes the battle through cultural, historical, aesthetic, anthropological, archeological, and linguistic lenses.

Q & A for American Studies Project: "Finding Red Horse: Visually Narrating the Lost Life and Times of a Minneconjou Sioux Artist and Warrior"

What is the focus of your current research?
In January of 2016, the Stanford Cantor Arts Center will present twelve of the Minneconjou Chief Red Horse’s forty-two 1881 drawings of the Battle of the Little Bighorn. These pieces are on loan from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Anthropological Archives and will be on display until May 2016. Their impending exhibition has sparked questions not only about the power of ledger art during this important moment in American and Native American history but also about Red Horse (1832-1907). There are no biographies of his life, and the little is know about him other than his name, his 1877 and 1881 accounts of the battle, and his residence in 1881. My American Studies thesis seeks to uncover the life and times of Red Horse, which can lead to a greater appreciation of his influential artwork and of the Lakota experience before, after, and during the Little Bighorn.

What drew you to this topic?
After attending Professor Sagan’s Sophomore College, “The Face of Battle,” which visited the Little Bighorn in 2013, I became involved in the Cantor’s 2016 Red Horse exhibition. While I am interested academically in the history of the American West, I am personally interested in the Little Bighorn because my ancestor, who was a translator for Sitting Bull and at the Little Bighorn the morning of the battle, was likely the interpreter of Red Horse’s 1877 account.

How are you conducting your research?
I am using oral stories from Red Horse’s descendants, documents from the Smithsonian and National Archives, and secondary sources on the Plains Wars. These will be used to write a 50-page biography of his life. Then, I will use ledger art examples from the late-nineteenth century to create my own pictographic biography of Red Horse’s life, as this is the medium through which he would have told his own story.

In your view, why is it valuable to study this topic?
The Cantor will use my biography of Red Horse to write the exhibition guides and the introduction panel to the exhibit. Thus, my original research will be on display for the larger Stanford community and help contribute to the conversation about the importance of ledger art and the resilience of Native narratives in the modern era.

How is your honors thesis work impacting you academically and/or personally?
My thesis work will help me determine whether or not I will pursue a career in academia. I am excited for this nine-month-long journey, which will have a profound impact on my life trajectory.

Q & A for CISAC Project: “Cooperation Among Peoples for the Progress of Mankind”: Brazil’s Diplomatic “Bridge-Building” Strategy and its Implications for Brazil-U.S. Relations

What is the focus of your current research?
My CISAC policy-oriented project will determine how Brazil has navigated its relationship with the United States given its “bridge-building” or cooperation with countries unaligned with the U.S. interests through multilateral institutions, such as the United Nations. These non-traditional partners include Iran, China, and Russia.

What drew you to this topic?
After taking Brazilian Portuguese at Stanford, I decided to apply my linguistic skills to my interest in international security studies. Brazil, and South America as a whole, is understudied and underappreciated in the realm of security and peace studies, so analyzing Brazil’s rising power on the world stage seemed particularly novel and significant.

How are you conducting your research?
My CISAC thesis will evaluate Brazil’s bridge-building through case studies, including one on Brazil’s participation in the 2010 Tehran Deal and its 2011 “Responsibility While Protecting” proposal. I will also interview former Brazilian UN diplomats for this thesis.

In your view, why is it valuable to study this topic?
For the United States, understanding Brazil’s bridge-building calculus is not only of historiographical importance, since it has been virtually unaddressed by U.S. scholars, but also of policy relevance. Brazil’s status as an emerging power makes it a potential partner for the United States. A greater comprehension of Brazilian bridge-building behavior regarding the Middle East, Russia, and China will afford U.S. policymakers, as well as UN negotiators, the ability to more effectively anticipate and respond to Brazilian international actions; therefore, these connections merits increased attention by the scholarly community.

Eve Simister

History

“Confronting Historical Injustice at American Universities”

Adviser: James T. Campbell

Eve Simister is a senior majoring in History with a concentration in Public History/Public Service. Her research focuses on modes of remembrance in American history, questioning whose voices narrate and whose voices remain suppressed. She engaged with these issues this past summer as an intern at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. Her other work on the politics of representation and commemoration includes Stanford research assistantships with the 9/11 Memorial Mapping Project at the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA) and the Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project.

What is the focus of your current research?
I am investigating the ways in which American universities have confronted their institutional histories of injustice. In the past fifteen years, over a dozen universities throughout the United States have taken steps to research, publicize, and redress instances of violence and oppression in their pasts. Brown University led the way in 2003, when President Ruth Simmons appointed the Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice to investigate the university’s historical relationship to the transatlantic slave trade. Most of the subsequent projects have also focused on slavery, while a few have focused on the cultural genocide of Native Americans or racism in the Jim Crow South.

I am exploring the following questions: Why are universities engaging in these projects at this moment in time, and to what effect? Whom do these projects serve? What can this trend among universities tell us about the politics of retrospective justice and recognition?

What drew you to this topic?
I arrived at my topic after wondering about Stanford University’s history, and what might be missing from the version in the brochures and tours. In a nineteenth-century American history class, my T.A. mentioned that Chinese artifacts were found in Leland Stanford Jr.’s grave when his mausoleum was moved to its current location. These tokens--placed there by the family servants--piqued my interest in the Stanfords’ relationship with Chinese immigrant labor. As I learned more about the way Chinese workers endured brutal conditions and enabled Stanford Sr. to accumulate his fortune on the Transcontinental Railroad, I became curious about how other universities relate to their pasts. After several inspiring conversations with my advisor, Jim Campbell, I decided to explore the recent trend of universities confronting their difficult histories.

How are you conducting your research? 
I am conducting interviews with scholars who have been central to the initiatives at different universities, studying the reports that universities have published about their projects, and reading reactions in student newspapers. I am also incorporating secondary literature on reconciliation, reparations, retrospective justice, and memorialization.

In your view, why is it valuable to study this topic?
America’s penchant for forgetting has harmful consequences. We need to look critically at the histories of our communities and institutions in order to avoid perpetuating discrimination in the stories we tell ourselves. My gut feeling says that the projects at universities are beneficial, but I want to step back and approach the trend more critically. I wish to contextualize the projects and examine how they are operating.

How is your honors thesis impacting you academically and/or personally?
Working on my honors thesis gives me the opportunity to hone my research and writing skills with the support of a strong intellectual community.

 

Benina Stern

American Studies

"The Historical is Theatrical: Examining the Rise of the American Avant Garde Performance Ensemble"

Adviser: Branislav Jakovljevic

Hailing from Los Angeles, Benina Stern is an American Studies major, focusing on 20th century culture, and a Theatre and Performance Studies minor. When she is not in class, Benina spends a lot of her time involved in various student theatre groups, in roles ranging from actor, to director, to light board operator. She has also worked with professional performing arts organizations, including TheatreWorks, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Stanford Live. Having completed the Structured Liberal Education (SLE) program her freshman year, she is a resident tutor for this year’s students.

What is the focus of your current research?
I’m looking at the relationship between history and the impact it has on shaping theatrical performances. In narrowing this theme, I am examining the creation and the works produced by avant-garde theatrical ensembles during the 1950s and 1960s, including The Living Theatre and Open Theatre.

What drew you to this topic?
I’ve always been fascinated by how theatre can be used as a tool of social awareness or activism, both in my experience as an academic and as someone who creates performances—historical reality influences how and why art is created. This project and the subject matter at hand synthesizes my interests and experiences as a historian, a critic, a theatrical analyst, and an actor, so it seemed like a natural topic on which I could write a thesis.

How are you conducting your research?
I’m looking at a variety of sources. An important part of my research involves contextualizing and defining the American avant-garde, since it is quite different from the avant-garde movement that took place in Europe decades prior. That facet of the project involves a focus on a broader cultural history, in order to understand what the avant-garde is responding to. The part of my research that excites me the most is delving into these theatrical groups as primary sources—analyzing their founding manifestos, director’s handbooks, newspaper reviews, and if available, film recordings of performances. A large part of my research is making sure I get an accurate sense of how these ephemeral, live performances functioned within their historical moments, so I want to make sure I research as complete a picture as possible.

What would people be surprised to learn about the topic you are working on?
So much of these ensembles’ ideologies involve the blurring between reality and performance—actors would use their own names during the show, and the everyday would be exhibited onstage, but minutes later the show’s director would come onto the stage and talk about how what the audience is seeing is performance. There is a shift from theatre as a mirror to society, something that makes an audience take a few critical steps back, to theatre as an extension of society itself. Can "theatre becoming society" further a politicized message or not?

In your view, why is it valuable to study this topic?
In this day and age, many people see theatre as an a passive experience—you sit in your seat, the lights dim, and two hours later, you go home with the memory of a story. However, through their involvement with their audiences, these groups provoked and challenged their patrons by destroying the boundary between theatergoer and performer. The visceral effect that these groups sought to achieve with their performances sought to inspire change or create a new consciousness. I think it is important for people today to recognize that power of experiencing and giving energy to live performance, and how these ensembles furthered the emphasis on the audience/performance relationship.

How is your honors thesis work impacting you academically and/or personally?
This thesis is truly a culmination of the academic and extracurricular aspects of my time at Stanford, and therefore feels like something that is an extension of my self and my passions. I am combining a variety of the modes of thinking that the interdisciplinary American Studies major has given me—formalist and historical—to a topic that is a synthesis of my academic and personal interests. Through this yearlong endeavor, I hope that my understanding of these theatrical ensembles adds nuance to and shapes my own personal beliefs in how theatre should function in society, and how I can add to that conversation.