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Undergraduate Research in Anthropology

Student Research in Anthropology

Click to watch Makda Aman '13 discuss her research project.


Pomona is a community of daring minds. It is a place for students who are venturesome by choice, who have talent, passion, and independence of spirit, and who are prepared to dream big and work hard in order to make a difference in the world.

One way that Pomona College provides opportunities for students to excel is through research opportunities. Conducting research as an undergraduate not only gives students an advantage when applying for fellowships or graduate school; it also gives them a chance to tackle real-world problems and to find out what it’s like to be treated as colleagues by their professors, many of whom are the leading experts in their fields.

Hong Kong Parenting

Hannah Chasnov (2013); Mentor(s): Pardis Mahdavi

Abstract: This project is a study of parenting in HongKong. Its purpose is to examine how parents from various cultural and social economic backgrounds in this unique city differ in their parenting methods and values.In order to focus my participants, I observed and interviewed members of a single, diverse community inHong Kong – a University campus. I interviewed members of the HKUST community: faculty, spouse,staff and workers about their family lives and their decisions regarding their children. Three main categories can be used to summarize my findings: the importance of education and the large selection available in Hong Kong, the importance of retaining Chinese culture and language in an increasingly international community, and how a difference in income and status largely affect the role in which parents play in their children’s upbringing. Findings from this study on parenting can serve as a window to examine cultural values of Hong Kong residents, a culture often described as the intersection between the east and the west.
Funding Provided by: Faucett Catalyst Fund

Trafficking Terror: Illicit Networks Forces in Opposition

Justin Gutzwa (2014); Mentor(s): Pardis Mahdavi

Abstract: My summer research was centered around helping Professor Mahdavi conduct research for her newRutledge book, Trafficking Terror: Illicit NetworksForces in Opposition. The goal of the research was to discern the difference between different forms of trafficking and the war on terror. Increasingly, politicians, scholars, media outlets, and the general populous alike are trying to find some form of connection between trafficking and terrorism. AsProfessor Mahdavi writes in her work, the terms “trafficking” and “terror” are thrown around so interchangeably and attached that they have taken on their own hybrid combination of “traficking and terror.”My research determined that generally, such claims are centered around inconclusive evidence which are based on correlations found in oftentimes faulty data. Through reading scholarly articles and books, news outlets, and political documents, we were able to determine there to be little to no connection between the two concepts.Specifically, my readings were generally focused around three different types of trafficking: human, drug, and weapons trafficking. Each of these are connected to terrorism on varying degrees. As most of my research concluded, however, none are directly related to terrorism. In addition to researching and reading, I also proofread the written chapters of Professor Mahdavi’swork and compiled reference lists for her chapters.
Funding Provided by: Pomona College SURP