The Humanities Core Course and the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) have combined efforts to recognize excellent undergraduate research in the Humanities Core Course. Each spring, students in the Humanities Core Course complete a capstone research project on independently-chosen topics within the course theme. Instructors nominate the outstanding research papers from their sections, and a panel of instructors and the HCC Director then judge these essays and select the ten best.


2015 Winners

Clay Ammentorp, “The Virtual War: Representing and Criticizing Militarism in Games”

Aileen Fang, “Echoes of Reality: Representation and Alienation in Roman Polanski’s The Pianist

Dominic Javonillo, “Walt Disney and Propaganda: Creating Patriotism during the Second World War”

Jenny Ji, “Not Just for Laughter: The Solemn Facet of Art Speigelman’s Maus

Melanie Martinez, “War Through the Lens of Tarantino: Inglourious Basterds’ Overthrowing of the Third Reich and the Classical Hollywood Film”

Christy Munson, “The Rhetoric of an Era: An Analysis of the Post-September 11th Speeches of George W. Bush and their Adverse Effects”

Justin Ong, Glory: The Importance of Story Truth in Commemorating the 54th Massachusetts Regiment”

Trinh Tran, “Anti-Vietnam War Posters: The Techniques used to Appeal to Civilians and Their Effectiveness”

Shirby Wang, “Becoming The Walking Dead

Abby Workman, “‘Listen: Billy Pilgrim Has Come Unstuck in Time’: Billy Pilgrim’s Binary Function as Vonnegut’s Coping Mechanism and Anti-War Messenger”


2014 Winners

Arina Adourian, “Tolkien and the Great Wars: the First World War and the War of the Ring”

Claire Bantilan, “A Reflection on ‘Miss Saigon: The War on Representation’” (video)

Nicole Block, “Francisco Goya’s Disasters of War: The Humanist’s Dilemma in Artistic Representation of Violence”

Alan Chan, “A Close Reading and Analysis of the News Coverage of the 2009 Gaza War and Its Motivations and Implications”

Jasmine Diaz, “Bridging the Gaps: The Function of Persepolis in the Iranian Diaspora”

Sarah O’Connor, “Japanese American Internment: Comparing the Voices of Differing Relocation Representations”

Amber Sam Fong, “Understanding the Agency of American Soldiers Through Death in Brian Turner’s Here, Bullet

William Tan, “Portraits of the Forgotten”

Matthew Tsai, “Slave Spiritual Lyrics: A Glimpse of the Subjectivities within 19th Century Slave Culture”

Alice Yang, “Picasso’s Guernica: An Achievement of Realism Through Abstraction”


2013 Winners (2014 Student Conference)

Farheen Basith, Superfly and the American Dream”

Kym Butler, “Dürrenmatt’s Juxtaposition of Moral Codes in The Visit

Michael Gonzales, “I Know Why the Dammed River Sings”

Maranda Li, “Man, God, and Death: A Musical Analysis of Mozart’s Requiem and Stravinsky’s Requiem Canticles

Erin Lukow, “Suzon’s Revolution:  Manet’s Bar as a Window into the Chauvinistic Alliance between Two Opposing Subcultures of Parisian Society”

Marilyn Nguyen, “The Bluest Eye: a Critique of Racism, American Beauty, and Identity”

Mikaela Sharp, “Gender Roles:  The Effects of World War II on the American Housewife’s ‘Sphere’”

Akira Tokutsu, “The Modern Sisyphus:  An Estranged Man’s Perpetual Rebellion Against an Absurd World”

Stephanie Tu, “An Expiration Date You Wouldn’t Believe:  An Examination of the Essence of Jerome Eugene Morrow”

Christina Vu, “Memorializing the Vietnam War: Reflecting the Past and Looking Toward the Future”


2012 Winners (2013 Student Conference)

Michael Hui, "The Jungle by Upton Sinclair: Industrialism's Paradoxical Effect on the Nature of Society"

Nathan Lewis, "The Essence of Interpretation: Henze, The Bacchae, and The Bassarids"

Kevin Huang, "Aristotelian Justice on Affirmative Action: What Was ‘Just’?"

Kim Pham, "Post-Postmodemism in Warhol's The Last Supper"

William Slupik, "Two Criticisms of Epictetus' Theory of Happiness"

Olivia Bartz, "Prufrock's Hell and other Dantean Parallels in Eliot's Love Song"

Sharon Choi, "The Reality of the Photograph: Both Raw and Deceptive"

Sara Brown, "Badness and the Other Shop: Language, Nature, and Morality in A Clockwork Orange"

Bo Lundqvist, "'Bohemian Rhapsody’: Mercury’s Trial with an Unforgiving God and Merciless Society"

Priyanka Prasad, "The Literary Basis of Feminism: An Analysis Persuasion Through the Eyes of Vindication"


2011 Winners

Hillary Floyd, "A Self in Conflict: A Puritan Woman Engulfed by 'Them'"

Taryn Kamita, "Crash's Award-Winning Perpetuation of Asian Stereotypes"

Jackie Nguyen, "Visual Pleasure vs. Fascination: Gratifying and Subverting the Male Gaze in Black Swan"

Alexandra Enos, "Society, The Master and Margarita, and Faustian Characterization"

Andrew Burton, "The Fragility of Their Dominion: Society Collides with Nature in the Absence of Divine Intervention in Hieronymus Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights"

Annelise Downey, "Music as a Narrative in Film: the ‘Signifier of Emotion’

Carly DeMeo, "Le sacre du printemps: The Use of Human Movements to Advance the Dance World"

Carolyn Griner, "The Subconscious and Morality"

Michelle Maasz, "The Power of Persuasion - An examination of the political messages delivered through visual representation in Byzantine Art"

Oliver Luu, "All the World’s A Stage: The Quantum Mechanics of Social and Interpersonal Roles in Clannad"



2008 Winners

Family, Fancy, and Fragmentation: Utilitarianism and Failed Marriage as Kindred Discourses of Restriction in Hard Times

Culture Clash’s Chávez Ravine: Red Scare Politics in a Los Angeles Community - Victoria Fleming

Washed and Faded in the Mainstream: The Relics of a Political Message - Veronica Azcarate

Urbanization and the Aesthetics of the Instant Noodle - Jessica O’Neill Dummer

Carmina Burana: Through the Ages and into Today - Helen Yoshida

The Gospel of Judas: Gnostic Influences on the Definition of Orthodox Christianity - Charllotte Anderson

Bellum Omnium Contra  Omnes: The Hobbesian World of EVE Online - Robert Simpson

Vietnamese Manicurists: An Intermediary Between Cultures - Hong Kong Tran

Writing for Stability: Women and Children’s Holocaust Poetry, 1939-1945 - Rachel Cheng

Tango: Cause of Subjugation - Sarah Xie



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