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Sociology

Immigrant Spaces in Melbourne, Australia

Eli Kaplan (2013); Mentor(s): Colin Beck

Abstract: The most recent Census data in Australia reveals that over 25% of the population was born outside of the country. The goal of this project was to examine this broader demographic trend on a local level by analyzing how these population changes have impacted social and commercial spaces in two neighborhoods of Melbourne. I gathered data for this study through field observations conducted in the neighborhoods of Fitzroy and Footscray and by interviewing those associated with social services and cultural organizations in these communities. My research indicates that the presence of immigrant populations in these neighborhoods has taken on two different forms: visible immigrant space in Footscray and confined immigrant space in Fitzroy. Immigrant communities have a noticeable presence in Footscray’s commercial center and public spaces, which represent a social and cultural hub for immigrant populations residing throughout the metropolitan area. In Fitzroy, immigrant space exists almost solely within the confines of the Atherton Gardens Housing Estate, a high-rise public housing project occupied primarily by migrants and refugees. While commercial areas in Footscray play an important role for immigrants, in Fitzroy these spaces are not intended for nor utilized by the immigrant community.
Funding Provided by: Faucett Catalyst Fund

Refugee rights and human trafficking and Bangkok, Thailand

Kuniko Madden (2013); Additional Collaborator(s): Jessica Therkelsen*; Mentor(s): Colin Beck
*Asylum Access

Abstract: Considering the difficulties in locating both trafficking survivors and asylum-seekers in Thailand, anti-trafficking and refugee advocacy groups may have interests in collaborating to provide mutual clients with more resources. This study aims to survey refugee and anti-trafficking organizations in Bangkok, Thailand, to determine tentative directions for collaboration on resource sharing and capacity building. 10 interview subjects were selected for semi-structured interviews using snowball sampling. These interviewees represent non-government organizations located in Bangkok whose work relates to refugees and/or human trafficking. Organizations working with refugees and migrants reported much more hidden or illegal activity than anti-trafficking organizations, which hold more legitimacy in Thailand. Both types of organizations reported using informal networks to provide resources, such as shelter, to beneficiaries who they perceived Thai government programs could not best serve. Responses also suggest that rather than producing vulnerability to trafficking across the board, certain groups of refugees are at much greater risk of being trafficked through Thailand than others. This study concludes that the informal nature of many resource sites makes networking important, especially for refugee serving organizations, and that protocols to gather information on the relationship between refugees and trafficking would be helpful in directing policy.
Funding Provided by: Paul K. Richter and Evalyn E. Cook Richter Memorial Funds

A Past Still Present: An Exploration of Women's Reproductive Rights in the Puerto Rican Birth Control Movement

Karina Mendez (2013); Mentor(s): Gilda Ochoa

Abstract: Between 1925-1948 Puerto Rican women faced an unjust repossession of their reproductive rights as a result of the government’s efforts to minimize the poverty and underdevelopment that, according to the government, were caused by over population The government attempted to do this by encouraging, and in instances forcing, Puerto Rican women to get sterilized as a means of population control. This project served to give voice to the generations of women who have since been affected by the actions taken on the first generation of women living during the time of the immense population growth. My research took place in Puerto Rico and in Chicago, IL. I conducted in-depth interviews with eight Puerto Rican women and had informal conversations with over 10 women. Puerto Rican women of varying generations in order to answer the questions: If/How these women feel directly impacted by the forced sterilization of their ancestors? Why are so many Puerto Rican women today still undergoing sterilization while there are plenty other means of birth control that exist now? Although results varied, there was an overwhelming majority of women who saw no problem with the issue; they felt believed “that’s just the way it had/has to be.”
Funding Provided by: Faucett Catalyst Fund

A Dark History Revealed: An Investigation of the Organizations that Aid in Holocaust Education Across the Czech Republic

Zack Kraushar (2013); Mentor(s): Lynn Rapaport

Abstract: In a country where more than 87 percent of the Jewish and population was murdered, as part of the “Nazis Final Solution,” discussion of the Holocaust remained taboo in schools across the Czech Republic for more than 40 years. Only following the fall of the Soviet Union, did Holocaust education begin to find its way into textbooks and history lessons across the small Eastern European country. Even though there have been profound improvements over the past 23 years, the Czech Republic still struggles to find an effective universal educational methodology in approaching the topic. Through a series of in-depth interviews and participant observations, my research investigates how three organizations attempt to bridge the gap from past to present. The Jewish Museum of Prague, The Museum of Romani Culture and The Terezín Memorial, all struggle in various ways to educate the youth on a topic that is forever becoming more distant. By constantly updating their methods and tools, most importantly moving from traditional lecture based seminars to hands on workshops and exhibitions; these organizations have taken the first steps in enlightening a population of their dark past. However, as part of a relatively new educational system that has a plethora of problems, from a lack of funding to a scarcity of well-educated instructors, further improvements of Holocaust education will depend on reforming the Czech education system in general.
Funding Provided by: Berliner Holocaust Studies Fund

Research at Pomona