Schedule

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2017
Tuesday, April 11th
2:00 PM

Shari'a in U.S. Courts

Caroline Burnett

Olin 138

2:00 PM - 2:15 PM

For many years, especially in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, a prejudiced view of Muslims and the religion of Islam has existed in the United States. One aspects of the religion that is continually attacked is Shari’a, or Islamic law. I analyze the presence of Shari’a in the American legal system and how it is handled in the courts in light of this prejudice against Muslims. I examine court cases and legal documents in seeking to answer the question: What does the presence of Shari’a in the U.S. and, more specifically, in our legal system say about religious tolerance in a society that prides itself on diversity?

2:15 PM

Malleability of Political Attitudes Surrounding the 2016 Presidential Election

Holly Smith
Miriam Zuniga

Olin 138

2:15 PM - 2:30 PM

Frustrated with their political disagreement, John Stewart replied to Rick Santorum, “Ultimately, you end up getting to this point, where literally we can’t get any further. I don’t think you’re a bad dude, but I literally can’t convince you.” Inspired by interactions like this, we sought to explore psychological differences in politics. We examined the malleability of political attitudes in the context of the 2016 presidential election. Negative political advertisements and the Fear of Death Scale (creating mortality salience) were used. Participants’ explicit political attitudes were measured before and after the election, as were their implicit political attitudes through sensitivity to deviance. In our presentation, we hypothesize that political ads and mortality salience create a shift toward conservatism, as might the subsequent election of Trump. These shifts may differ according to people’s initially declared political affiliations. With this past year’s controversial election, these issues are more salient than ever.

2:30 PM

Counterinsurgency in the Vietnam and Iraq Wars

Emma Bishop
Joseph Zimmer

Olin 138

2:30 PM - 2:45 PM

Counterinsurgency began during the early 1960s under President John F. Kennedy in Vietnam, and continued to be utilized by the U.S. military during America’s commitment in Iraq under President George W. Bush. We examine how and why Kennedy and Bush implemented counterinsurgency, and the many parallels between the reasons the United States took action in Vietnam and Iraq. We argue that both interventions were justified through the ideologies of American exceptionalism. In order to uphold national credibility, the U.S. invested energy into building nations and fighting wars of liberation. Counterinsurgency was designed to work with local populations and produce less of a financial or moral burden on American society. However, both the Vietnam War and Iraq War are entrenched in controversy due to the circular and prolonged nature of the U.S.'s involvements.

2:45 PM

French, Wolof and the Politics of National Language in Postcolonial Senegal

Aly Counsell

Olin 138

2:45 PM - 3:00 PM

Language is an agent of power with an immense capacity to structure the way that people think. Designations of national language reveal information about the political values and power structures of a society, which can be particularly complicated in previously-colonized nations. In 1960, Senegal became an independent country after nearly two centuries as a colony of France. Though French remains Senegal's official national language, it is most often associated with politicians, business people, tourists and the urban elite. It is almost exclusively spoken by those with a formal education. In contrast, local languages such as Wolof, Serer, Pulaar and Jola are spoken as first languages among various ethnic groups throughout Senegal. Tensions between speakers of French and local languages, particularly Wolof, Senegal's most widely spoken language, have led to ongoing conversations among Senegalese scholars and activists about the future of language recognition in the country. My presentation addresses these issues.