February 8, 2015
Last December, Middle East Studies granted concentrators Lara Savenije ’15 and Max Schindler ‘15.5 Middle East Studies Undergraduate Research Travel Awardsfor their senior capstone and thesis respectively.
Under the supervision of Lisa DiCarlo, professor of sociology, Lara is writing her capstone on the Saturday Mothers, a women-led movement protesting the enforced disappearance of more than 1,000 Kurdish men following the 1980 military coup in Turkey. In particular, she is analyzing the use and utility of the discourse of motherhood and seeks to interrogate the seeming tension between motherhood and radical activism. Thanks to the MES award, Lara traveled to Istanbul, where she was able to attend two Saturday vigils and to speak with a number of participants. In addition, she conducted a series of interviews with human rights activists and scholars.
Max used the 2014-2015 MES research grant to travel to Israel and the Palestinian territories. Under the guidance of Mellon postdoctoral fellow Nicola Perugini and Professor Beshara Doumani, Max is writing a senior thesis on how ordinary Palestinians interact and acquire Hebrew speaking skills. Specifically, Max is focusing on Hebrew language acquisition vis-a-vis the jail cell, where an estimated 40% of Palestinian men have spent some time in Israeli detention since 1967. In January 2015, Max conducted fieldwork and interviews in Ramallah and Bethlehem, meeting with former Palestinian prisoners, labor migrants, a Haaretz journalist, and NGO staffers.
Are you a Middle East Studies concentrator and conducting independent research? Apply for the Spring cycle of the Undergraduate Research Travel Awardsby March 1!