Announcing the 2017 Undergraduate Research Award Winners

UO Libraries honors five students for outstanding achievement in scholarship


Five University of Oregon students who authored outstanding research papers and theses during the 2016 calendar year have been named winners in the university's Undergraduate Research Awards competition. Sponsored by the University of Oregon Libraries, the annual program honors UO students who produce exceptional original research and scholarship using UO Libraries collections and resources. A reception honoring the recipients was held in the Knight Library Browsing Room on Friday, May 13, 2016.

“All of us in the UO Libraries are proud to honor these outstanding students and the faculty members who mentored them during their research projects,” said Adriene Lim, dean of libraries and Philip H. Knight Chair. “The celebration of this exemplary work allows us also to highlight the crucial role that librarians and library resources and services provide in the University’s efforts to ensure undergraduate student success.”

Barbara Jenkins, the library's coordinator of outreach and special programs, serves as chair of the Undergraduate Research Awards Committee. "Each year the committee enjoys seeing papers and projects that showcase the rich intellectual diversity of student research on campus," she said. "It is exciting to see the students’ passions, growth as scholars, and their special  relationships with their faculty mentors."

Electronic copies of all winning students’ work will be deposited in Scholars’ Bank, the library’s open access digital archive for UO research, publications, and supporting materials.

The Undergraduate Research Awards are made possible by endowments established through the generous support of Gretchen and Walt Barger, Lisa and Jon Stine, and Barbara Blinco Sparks.


Winner in the Thesis Category

Claire E. Aubin Claire E. Aubin

Major: International Studies and Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies

Faculty Sponsor: Julie Hessler, History

The Internationalization of Atrocity: John Demjanjuk and the Politics of Post-War Justice

War crimes trials have always been the subject of both political and legal controversies, and are often highly reflective of the changing nature of justice. One such set of trials centered on the case of Ivan “John” Demjanjuk, the first naturalized U.S. citizen to be denaturalized twice, the first accused Nazi extradited from the U.S. to Israel, and the accidental poster boy for the didactic capacity of the international legal system. The Demjanjuk case calls into question the efficacy of a global legal system so tied to external political realities, as well as highlights the failures and strengths of that system as the arbiter of justice. Using existing literature and archival materials, this thesis examines the effects that political and social circumstances have on the development of a specific war crimes trial, while offering contextual information on the broader nature of post-war justice for the victims and perpetrators of atrocity.


Winners in the Term Paper Category

Augustine Beard Augustine Beard

Major: History and Environmental Studies

Faculty Sponsor: Mark Carey, Robert D. Clark Honors College

“Enemy in the Forests: Narratives and Fires in the Pacific Northwest”

Contemporary historians, ecologists, and foresters agree that the policy of all-out suppression of forest fires was misguided and that it led to the proliferation of highly flammable fuels contributing to larger, more frequent fires over time and up to today. While historians have examined the role of science, the state, and capitalism in fire suppression policies, there is a need to turn to the use of narrative and discourse to better understand the motivation behind fire suppression. Using the Pacific Northwest as a case study, this article draws on sources from fire prevention campaigns that developed out of World War II and the fear that forest fires would threaten the war effort. It shows how organizations such as Keep Oregon Green, Keep Washington Green, American Forest Products Industries, Inc., and the Cooperative Forest Fire Prevention campaign made fire a “foreign enemy” through racialized iconography and associating fire prevention with national defense. The timber and wood products industries were portrayed as the heroes in the fight against fire, normalizing the presence of capitalism in the forests. In the end, the fire-enemy narrative that saw fires as foreign and detrimental to forests was as much concerned with protecting timber capital as it was with extinguishing flames.


Tate James Tate James

Major: Comparative Literature and Creative Writing

Faculty Sponsor: Alisa Freedman, East Asian Languages and Literatures

"Magical Girl Martyrs: Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Purity, Beauty, and Passivity"

This paper discusses whether Akiyuki Shinbo’s anime, Puella Magi Madoka Magica (2011)is an effective critique of the magical girl genre. Many critics have claimed that the show is progressive. They cite the fact that the show blurs the line between innocent young girls and evil old women, which have historically been dichotomized in magical girl shows, as well as its handling of complex female characters as evidence for a positive reading. While Madoka Magica does make important headway in the realm of dismantling harmful female archetypes, the moral judgments the show assigns to those archetypes problematizes such a positive reading. This paper examines the magical girl genre’s history as well as Madoka Magica’s treatment of nonlinear storytelling, female agency, and purity in order to assess the effectiveness of its critique. The conclusion that is argued is that Madoka Magica is not especially progressive compared to other magical girl shows.


Michael McIntosh Michael McIntosh

Major: Economics and Political Science

Faculty Sponsor: Ron Mitchell, Political Science

"International Agreement Effectiveness: A Case Study Using the 1985 Pacific Salmon Treaty"

With global environmental problems reaching an all-time high, international cooperation in addressing them becomes ever more important. The widely agreed-upon key to facilitating this cooperation is international environmental agreements. However, many agreements that have already been reached to solve environmental issues have been impotent thus far (e.g., the Kyoto Protocol, the Basel Convention). There are a number of factors that determine the potential effectiveness of an international environmental agreement. This piece discusses several of those factors and applies them in the case of the 1985 Pacific Salmon Treaty between the United States and Canada to explain what constitutes a compelling international environmental agreement. 


Angela Rothman

Angela Rothman

Major: History and Political Science

Faculty Sponsor: Ellen Herman, History

"Revolutionary Theatricality: Dramatized American Protest, 1967-1968"

Protests against established power in the United States grew between the years 1967 and 1968 when dramatic aspects of political and cultural rebellion manifested in theatrical methods. Prominent examples include the early radicalism of the San Francisco Mime Troupe, the production of Paradise Now by the Living Theatre, the Broadway cast production of the musical Hair, and the Festival of Life by the Yippie movement outside the Chicago Democratic National Convention. During this intense period of domestic conflict, these activists embraced radical theater as a visible form of protest. This visibility was necessary to engage a complex and erratic American public who, inundated by conflicts of the era, could better understand the movements’ beliefs and intentions through the groups’ theatrical methods. This study uses the scripts of plays, the writings of the movements’ leaders, and secondary analysis of the conflicts in which these groups participated to argue that each borrowed tactics from one another to bolster the effectiveness of “revolutionary theatricality.” Because of such tactics, the United States in the late 1960s was a domestic theater of war: the home front of the Vietnam War was almost as turbulent a society in its own way as was the conflict in Vietnam itself.


Graduating Seniors: Papers and theses written in the Winter and Fall Terms of 2017 are eligible for next year's Undergratuate Research Awards. Apply before you leave campus!

Deadline: Friday, June 16, 2017