“Hereditary Democracy in Japan and its Effect on War Memory”
Isadora Jaffee wrote this paper for a history course, US-Asia Wars in History and Memory. Her paper reflects on hereditary links in Japanese politics, emphasizing continuities but also embedding contemporary support for “hereditary democracy” in memory politics. Isadora makes the case for why such hereditary politics makes sense to today’s Japanese voters. Isadora was nominated by Professor Jason Petrulis.
"The Struggle of Okinawa: Contentious Social Movement in the Anti-base Movement"
Cassie Guevara’s capstone project uses the collective contentious movement against the U.S. military base in Okinawa as a case study. She demonstrates how history, politics, culture, and foreign policy has influenced the anti-base movement. Cassie translated local Japanese newspapers and materials to create a multifaceted portrayal of all parties involved. Cassie’s project was nominated by Professor Qiusha Ma. She was also selected as the 2013-2015 Oberlin Shansi Fellow to Japan.
Chloe Dalby received the 2012 Shansi Prize for her Comparative Literature capstone paper. Taking Japanese literary and artistic treatments of the supernatural and the ‘weird’ as her starting point, Chloe traces their migration to modern Hawaiian storytelling and literature. In the process she analyzes similarities between the native Hawaiian religious tradition and Japan’s Buddhist Shinto religion. She was nominated by Professor Suzanne Gay.
Justin Chen’s independent writing project was one of the recipients of the 2011 Shansi Prize. His work was a memoir focusing on his passion for long-distance running intertwined with growing up as the son of a Taiwanese immigrant father. Throughout the memoir he covers a range of seemingly disparate subjects–from philosophical meditations on long distance running, to honest and often bemused observations of the dissonances between Taiwanese village culture and American urban culture, to the experience of being a stranger in one’s parents’ language – and unifies them all in a larger sense of longing. Justin was nominated by Associate Professor Sylvia Watanabe.
“Appropriate With your Dying Will!: Boys’ Manga and the Doujinshi Subculture”
This paper was written as the culmination of Kelly Orita’s 2010 East Asian Studies winter term capstone project. She attended the Comiket Market in Tokyo, observing and interviewing fan-attendees. She was nominated by Professor Suzanne Gay.
Asha Tamirisa spent 2009 Winter Term in Hyderabad, India where she researched tabla immersions. She was awarded the Shansi prize for her public presentation and performance for the Oberlin community after returning from her trip. Her work investigated the social and historical aspects of tabla, a percussion instrument, as well as its theory and compositions. She was nominated by Associate Professor Jennifer Fraser.
“Democracy Inaction: Problematizing New Media and the Internet in Contemporary China and Japan”
Daniel Tam-Claiborne’s capstone project was one of two research papers that won the 2009 Shansi Prize. Daniel’s paper defined the roles of contemporary media in China and Japan as an essential component of understanding each countries’ social and political realms. He critically analyzed the ways in which China and Japan’s media outlets play very distinct and different roles in society and abroad. He was nominated by Professor Qiusha Ma.
Kara Carmosino was awarded the Shansi prize in 2008 for her creative non-fiction essay exploring complex racial and cultural issues. “Connecting Flight” examines the liminal spaces of an adoptee and the hyphenated cultural, ethnic, and racial identity that identify so many in a multivalent society. Kara’s essay was nominated for the Shansi Prize by Sylvia Watanabe.
“Fiction, History and an Ethic of Imagination in Midnight’s Children”
Nick Pumilia’s senior tutorial essay on Salmon Rushdie’s book examines and interrogates the critical commonplace that the novel exemplifies postmodern and/or post-colonial narrative agendas. Instead his essay explores an ethic of imagination that emerges from an imaginative act’s self-reflexive awareness of its own limitations and historical contingency. He was nominated for this prize in 2008 by Professor Anu Needham.
Andrew Feng was one of two Shansi Prize 2007 recipients. His work was based on his Winter Term project on an exhibition at the Allen Memorial Art Museum of 16th century Chinese paintings. Andrew organized the exhibit and finalized the exhibition list of private paintings by the great masters of the Suzhou School of painting. Andrew’s exhibit offered an opportunity for the larger community of those interested in East Asia, scholars, patrons of the arts, and students to gain understanding of Chinese painting and sculpture. He was nominated by Dr. Chung-Lan Wang.
“Soil Fertility and Changes in Fertilizer use of Intensive Rice Cultivation in the Red River Delta and Mekong Delta of Vietnam”
Jennifer Soong spent Spring 2005 in Vietnam and used this experience to obtain primary data on the soil quality of some of Vietnam’s most productive rice paddies. Jenny’s paper was the result of thorough research where she combined history with field analysis to reveal the disparities between the Northern and Southern deltas with respect to rice growing technique. Her project was nominated by Associate Professor John Petersen in 2007.
“Social Instability and Democratic Discourses: Village Elections as Points of Resistance in the Chinese Countryside”
Morgan Ramsey-Elliot’s 2006 paper developed the compelling argument that village elections, intended to preempt protest, have been lightning rods for it. His paper focused on the dynamic interrelations between village-level democracy and rural collective action. His paper was nominated for a Shansi Prize by Professor Marc Blecher. Morgan received a 2005 In-Asia Grant and was also selected as the 2006-2007 Shansi Fellow to Shanxi Agricultural University in Taigu, China.
“Character Through Concept: An Exploration of Hybridity in Hari Kunzru’s The Impressionist”
Katie Hubbard was one of two recipients of the 2005 Shansi Prize. Her work examined The Impressionist, a novel about a protagonist, the child of an English father and an Indian mother, who seeks upward social mobility and power via the project of becoming English. Her essay was a careful reading of the novel and a theoretically savvy attempt to revise and expand hybridity’s purview, including a grasp of its positive potential and limits. Her paper was nominated by Professor Anu Needham.
Ting Fong Lee was the second recipient of the 2005 Shansi Prize for her research paper examining innovative urban rainwater harvesting systems in Chennai, India. She looked into contemporary and historical factors to understand why and how the policy was implemented by the state and municipal governments. Her work was nominated for a Shansi Prize by Professor Michael Fisher.
“Subaltern Studies and Kancha Ilaiah’s Dalitbahujan Alternative”
In 2004 Dwaipayan Sen won the Shansi Prize for his honors thesis about the relation between caste and communal identities in the history of Indian Secularism. He was nominated by Professor Anu Needham.