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Vassar
Africana
Studies

The Work

The Thesis

Description

The senior thesis is expected to be a significant intellectual and academic experience for students majoring in Africana Studies. It is expected to be a sustained and high-quality piece of academic or creative work that shows the research, analytical, multi/interdisciplinary, and writing skills that students have acquired generally in their undergraduate education, and specifically within the Africana Studies program. The issues, themes and topics chosen for the work should reflect the passionate interests of the student as well as the curricular orientation of the program. This means that the choice of thesis topics should be Africana-centered, focusing on and reflecting on issues, topics and themes relating to the experience of peoples of African descent in Africa, the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe and elsewhere.

All thesis topics have to be approved by the thesis advisor and the program faculty. The length of the thesis is normally about 50 (fifty) pages, double-spaced and in standard 12-point font. For longer or double theses, students must petition the program. Each thesis is expected to have a topic, introduction and conclusion, annotated bibliography, well-articulated central argument(s), and well-developed ideas and arguments based on credible and academically accepted evidence.

Students may propose to do their thesis in the form of a project in the creative and performing arts. The final approval for such projects rests with the program faculty in consultation with the student’s thesis/project advisor.

When well executed, the thesis can be a rewarding and enriching experience for both students and thesis advisors. Please find time to take a look at some of the outstanding and really innovative theses that our majors have produced in previous years.

Thesis Advisor

Each student writing a thesis in the Africana Studies Program is assigned a supervisor by the Director of the program in accordance with the student’s interests and availability of faculty. The thesis advisor may also be the student’s faculty advisor in the program. The responsibility of the advisor is to guide students through the conception, research, writing and the defense of their theses. The advisor and student are expected to schedule regular meetings to discuss the progress of the thesis. Students are expected to complete the necessary assignments by the deadlines set by the program and the advisors and to be fully prepared for the thesis meetings with their advisors. Students are assigned another faculty member as second readers upon the completion of their thesis. Students are required to present their proposals to Program faculty and students in December and to present and defend their final theses on thesis defense day, usually the Thursday or Friday of the end of classes in the spring semester.

Theses

2019

  • Yold Delius: Ki Kote Nou Prale? Narratives of Hattian Longing and Belonging in Brazil
  • Sundus Hassan: PAPERCLIT
  • Marcia Manning: Dancing the Political Transitions Black Male South African Ballet Dancers Caught between Apartheid and Post-Apartheid
  • Janine Unika Smith: What of My Refusal: Erotic Freedom and a New Black Women Atheist Imaginary
  • Savannah Smith: Man and Land Acquisitions in Nanga-Eboko, Cameroon: Competing Ontologies and Reimagined Futures

2018

  • Alexander Charnov: Sickness in the Walls of Gotham: Community, Legal and Legislative Responses to Indoor Allergen Exposure in New York City’s Low-Income Minority Communities
  • Jesse A. Schatz: Orientalism and Dicourses of Modern Slavery: Lessons from Laborers in the Arab Gulf from pearl Diving through the Present Day
  • Cheyenne Celeste, Eve Tobias: loving my Mothers: an afrofuturist mapping project
    Taylor Veasley City-Sanctioned Displacement: how the Philadelphia government has encouraged the displacement of Black people for centuries through external institutions.

2017

  • Asia Alman: From Margin to Center: UndocuBlack Women and Black Transnational Feminism
  • M. Samhar Khalfani: Black Women’s Agency: Connecting Slavery’s Sexual Violence and Modern Sexuality

2014

  • Paul Clarke: (Un)settling Gun Peoples: Superfluity and the Dispositifs of the Gun in the United States an South Africa
  • Doug Greer: Intersecting Stereotypes: An Examination of Black Female Stereotypes in Today’s Network Television Shows

2013

  • Altisha Younger: Black Easter: Employing a body politic of dignity and visibility within the scared and the secular