Friends of Fondren Library Research Awards

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Launched in 2008 and funded by the Friends of Fondren Library, the Fondren Library Research Awards program recognizes students who demonstrate extraordinary skill and creativity in the application of library and information resources to original research and scholarship. Students submitted their research project and an essay outlining how they used specific library tools and resources to do their research. For more information about the awards, see here


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 96
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    Literary Landscapes: A Future for Post-Frontier Regionalism in Literature of the American West
    (Rice University, 2020) Wang, Jennifer
    Landscape portrayals—literary, visual, or otherwise—serve as recognizable features at the core of American Western iconography and aesthetics. Renderings of landscape point to an implicit gaze appraising the land—a gaze which often communicates its idealization, condemnation, or contemplation of the American West through physical and metaphorical description. Traditional western landscape portrayals may evoke images of breathtaking wildness, boundless freedom, and infinite potential—a sublime landscape that appeals to settler colonial gazes and fantasies. Through comparative analysis of three texts—The Way West by A. B. Guthrie, Jr. (1949), All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy (1992), and Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko (1977)—this essay examines textual treatment of the land to explore the legacy and future of the American West. Additional literary, historical, and theoretical concepts such as Frontier Theory, the Kantian Sublime, and feminist regionalist scholarship are introduced to explicate the shifting symbolic significance of the American West throughout history, the anthropocentrism underlying both American exceptionalism and settler coloniality, and the avenues of healing that may exist for Indigenous populations on a landscape marked by violence and destruction.
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    Organized Labor and Faction in the United States, 1930s and 1940s
    (Rice University, 2020) Wancewicz, Molly
    During the New Deal in the United States (US), labor unions began to accrue substantial membership and stepped, for the first time, into the realm of political activism. Key arenas of involvement included Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s multiple re-election campaigns, the passage of the National Industrial Recovery Act, and the passage of the National Labor Relations Act. This trend prompted criticism by contemporary political opponents, who denounced organized labor as an undemocratic faction of the type decried by James Madison in The Federalist Papers No. 10. To combat such criticism, the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) developed a new vocabulary of democracy, integrating American ideals of pluralism and representation into a carefully crafted narrative of unions’ governmental involvement. The specific political tactics utilized by organized labor defined the shape of its nascent electoral and legislative engagement and dictated the democratic rhetoric it used to defend its activism.
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    Re-membering Veracruz: A Decolonial Reading of Regional Colonial Cartography
    (Rice University, 2020) Martinez-Abbud, Sophia
    Upon the so-called discovery of the American continent, the Spanish crown wanted the means to document and surveil its new lands from afar. For this reason, the Relaciones Geográficas—questionnaires about the physical description of each colonial settlement in New Spain—were distributed, filled out, and sent back to the crown with the purpose of updating the Spanish world map. Recently and, I argue, relatedly, a different kind of colonial map, the Mapa Quetzalecatzin (1593), was made available to the public for the first time; as of yet no sustained scholarly analysis of the Mapa exists. In this essay I place it in context with indigenous and colonial maps produced for the Relaciones Geográficas to suggest the Mapa Quetzalecatzin is a kind of land claim. Its hybrid artistic style, the lands and physical markers depicted, the material qualities of the Mapa as object and the arguments it makes as a text, complicate our understanding of the colonial history of the region between Veracruz, Puebla, and Mexico City. Finally, reading the Mapa as a transaction provides a window into the kinds of strategies that indigenous peoples were forced to adopt in order to navigate a colonial system of land ownership.
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    Exchanges: Artistic Dialogues Between Tibet and China
    (Rice University, 2019) Ziebell, Zelda
    In a dynamic exhibition, Exchanges: Artistic Dialogues Between Tibet and China explores hybridized Sino-Tibetan and Tibeto-Chinese styles from the Tang to the Qing Dynasty. China and Tibet have engaged in an iconographic dialogue, facilitated through Buddhism, for a period of over a thousand years, and a survey of this convergence of styles will present museum visitors with a visual timeline of a complex, transcultural relationship. The exhibition is organized by three sections: Secular Portraiture and Encounters, Esoteric Buddhism and Chinese Emperors, and Vajrayāna Buddhist Figures.
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    Disability, Love, And Limitation: A Response To The Mere-Difference View
    (Rice University, 2019) Smith, Joshua Tyler
    Elizabeth Barnes’ argues that physical disabilities have no impact on how well someone’s life goes since disabilities are not negative difference makers to one’s life. I analyze Barnes’ position and tease out three background theses she utilizes in order to argue her position. The most significant of these theses (I call T2) suggests that the kinds of goods experienced by an individual are much less important than the amount of goods in a life. As long as a disabled person can participate in some goods unrelated to a disability, their life will go well for them. I argue that certain goods, especially those an individual loves, are not consistent with this thesis. I use the analogy with romantic love to illustrate that some goods are valued not for their relative quantity but because of their unique relationship to an individual. Given this inconsistency, I suggest that Barnes’ position needs further support to justify her argument.
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    Middle-Class Culture in Cairo Under Ottoman Rule – Perceptions of Power and Knowledge
    (Rice University, 2019) Rikab, Waleed
    This paper focuses on the emergence of a middle-class culture in Cairo under the Ottomans from the 16th to the 18th century…
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    Acknowledging Impostor Phenomenon: How Does It Affect and Individual's Likability?
    (Rice University, 2019) Lee, Jennifer
    The impostor phenomenon (IP) is the feeling of being an intellectual fraud regardless of any external evidence of incompetency. Research on the effects of IP on mental health is important in understanding how to nurture positive experiences through the duration of undergraduate life. However, the social interactions of individuals who experience IP are not well understood. We surveyed Rice undergraduates to understand how the disclosure of feelings of impostor might affect how an participant might perceive the individual.We analyzed how a hypothetical individual’s disclosure (N=148) or non-disclosure (N=144) of feelings of IP and participant’s own feelings of IP affect how participants rate the individual in likeability. Results indicated no strong effect of participant’s own IP on the likeability rating of the hypothetical individual. However, additional findings suggest that many Rice students experience some level of IP. These findings suggest that IP is an issue that deserves attention on how it affects the undergraduate life and research on methods for reducing the level of IP that students experience
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    Houston 311: An Analysis of Citizen Satisfaction and Engagement
    (Rice University, 2019) Bruce, Akin; Statistics
    Houston, like any other metropolitan area, has thousands of public issues that affect its economy and citizens each year. In 2001, a program named Houston 311 was developed to aid the city’s customer service. It allows Houston citizens to report non-emergency issues easily via telephone, email, smart phone app, or the 311 website. Most importantly, citizens have the ability to rate the manner in which their complaints were addressed and give feedback on the resolution process to hold the city accountable. In aiding this process, it becomes extremely important to identify what exactly the satisfaction rating data attempt to depict. What factors of the City’s efforts have been successful? What are the drivers of negative feedback? What are the drivers of positive feedback? And how can these factors help improve the efforts set forth in the city? In this paper, answers to these questions are outlined in detail, taking into account survey, geographical, and even census information to give as descriptive results as possible. Over the course of 2017, Houston 311 has received over 350,000 service requests, corresponding to more than 300 different types of services. Over the years, the service has received a greater number of responses among the citizens of Houston, increasing the value of the analysis of the survey data.
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    Josquin des Prez’s Motet Qui velatus facie and the Canonization of St. Bonaventure in 1482
    (Rice University, 2018) Wright, Megan
    On the basis of historical and stylistic evidence, I argue that Josquin des Prez’s motet Qui velatus facie was a response to St. Bonaventure’s canonization in 1482. In fact, my research supports the claims of Andrea Adami that Josquin was in the service of the Franciscan Pope Sixtus IV at the time he composed the motet, and that either Sixtus or a contemporary Roman cardinal commissioned Qui velatus facie. Josquin’s habit of traveling frequently has been a primary source of confusion in tracking the details of his career; therefore, connecting Qui velatus facie with Bonaventure’s canonization would place Josquin in Rome around 1482.
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    What Does it Mean for Muslim Women to Cover in America?
    (Rice University, 2018) Yelvington, Allison
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    Seeing opposite: The Battle of Algiers and “colonial analogy” in the “Panther 21”
    (Rice University, 2018) Rooney, Adrienne
    The People of the State of New York v. Lumumba Shakur et al (1970)—as of 1972, the longest and costliest Supreme Court case in New York State history—concerned the indictment of twenty-two members of the Black Panther Party. Charged with “an over-all plan to harass and destroy [the] elements of society which the defendants regarded as part of the ‘power structure,’” the case reads as an exposé on racism and classism in the U.S. at the time. During the trial, the defense and prosecution, the defendants, the jury, the judge, and members of the public sat together through a screening of The Battle of Algiers. The 1966 pseudo-documentary, by Gillo Pontecorvo, centers on a 1956-7 campaign of urban guerilla warfare against French colonial forces in Algeria’s capital city. Arguing the defendants used the film as a training manual for their alleged plan to bomb several public spaces and administrative buildings in the New York Metropolitan area, the prosecution presented it as evidence. While the defense, representing the BPP members, worried the screening would fuel a conviction of their clients, the opposite occurred. Indeed, at a time when the national “establishment” often marginalize those fighting against racist U.S. policy and European colonization, one of its branches—the DA’s office and the concomitant executive branch in the nations largest city—appropriated a highly affective film championing those very causes as evidence. As this paper argues, despite the DA’s intentions, the maneuver publically linked anti-colonial sentiment with inner city “radicalism,” a gesture that exposed profound equivalences between them.
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    Passing Prerogative: The Elizabethan Marriage Negotiations
    (Rice University, 2018) Simmers, Katherine
    Queen Elizabeth I is popularly remembered as one of the most powerful monarchs in English history, especially as the Virgin Queen. While she did have some control over her marital fate, Elizabeth’s decision to remain unmarried was not solely her own. Rather, the political and religious interests of her counsel paved Elizabeth’s path to celibacy. Elizabeth’s will was subject to the volatile political and religious climate of her reign, and her gender and contentious legitimacy further empowered male Protestant counselors to assert their duty and right to counsel the monarch. Elizabeth’s marriage negotiations between 1558 and 1581 facilitated extension of political counsel from the Privy Council and private favorites, like William Cecil and Robert Dudley, to the public sphere. These negotiations serve as a case study of England’s redefinition of kingship and counsel into the beginnings of a monarchical republic.
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    Harry Clay Hanszen
    (Rice University, 2018) Pierre-Louis, Camille
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    Developing Messianism from the Old Testament, to Qumran, to Jesus
    (Rice University, 2018) Ochoa, Lidia
    Studying messianism, one encounters a bottomless array of written work all of which are meant to clarify, elaborate, or identify the origins of Christian and Jewish beliefs in a Messiah. The abundance of work done in this field are evidence of the complex nature of the topic, and make it irrefutably clear that emphasis on a different set of primary materials, the use of slightly different versions of the same text, or even any single detail of a difference result in distinctions among scholarly findings. In this paper I seek to identify the definition of “Messiah” through the eyes of Old Testament, Qumran, and New Testament authors, and to trace how and why that definition transformed over time. Through this, I seek to answer the question of whether the Old Testament truly predicts the coming of Jesus, but more specifically, how we have come to believe that it does.
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    Adaptation of the Samson Narrative in The Simpsons
    (Rice University, 2018) Ochoa, Lidia
    Samson, the Nazarite Judge of the Judahites, is a character who has been widely discussed among biblical scholars. Scholars’ conclusions range from Samson as a hero, to Samson as a moral lesson, from Samson as a tragic character, to Samson as a literary device. There is no one view of Samson that is overwhelmingly more popular among scholars. However, scholars are not the only ones who have taken it upon themselves to interpret and bring forth a message or meaning from the Samson narrative. The creators of The Simpsons have also taken their own spin on the story in an episode cleverly titled “Simpson and Delilah.” In this paper I analyze the use of the biblical story of Samson in The Simpsons and ultimately compare the message conveyed in the episode to those found in the biblical story by scholars. The
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    John Saunders Chase: The Politics of a Black Architect in Postwar Houston
    (Rice University, 2018) Murphy, John P., Jr.
    John Saunders Chase (1925-2012) was an African American architect in Houston, Texas. As a student and architect, he broke a color line, becoming the first black graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and later to become the first black registered architect in Texas. Chase went on to establish a career of distinction and to lead an office of almost fifty employees, and was part of a group of architects responsible for the design of the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston. But perhaps more interesting than his architecture is his politics, as Chase was an active participant behind the scenes throughout his life, working at first as a conservative Democrat and later gaining influence in civic politics through his connections and participation in a political outfit known as The Group. In many ways, Chase's is a categorical Houston success story; in others, it lays bare the pervasive discriminations, large and small, that splinter society into unjust fragments. Chase navigated this racialized territory with a savvy compass, emerging with a complex story that deserves examination. Chase utilized the politics of respectability as a means of individual uplift for an African American in postwar Houston. Malcolm X identified the ballot or the bullet as the two means available for black advancement. Chase's story, as this essay will show, documents a third path for progress: the billfold.
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    Poe's Paradox of Unity
    (Rice University, 2018) Lewis, Jordan
    This essay is an analysis of some of Edgar Allan Poe’s artistic works through the lens of his empirical, but often very pedagogical works. In many ways, his later texts, namely “The Philosophy of Composition” and “Eureka” serve as a guideline upon which to evaluate Poe’s poems. This essay explores the degree to which the “rules” postulated in both Poe’s essay and prose-poem are followed in two of his poems, “The Raven” and “Ulalume.” Consequently, the meaning of “unity” in Poe’s writing is explored, and the degree to which adherence of his own prescribed rules has an effect on creating unity within the poem. I argue that there are two types of unity that embody these poems in different ways: ‘unity of impression’, which Poe defines and discusses in “The Philosophy of Composition,” and ‘perfect unity,’ a term derived from his contemplations in “Eureka.” Through this analysis, we can better understand the subliminal elements that may be at work in these pieces of literature, and the reason that Poe’s works are uniquely known to generate such effects on his readers.