CUREJ – College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal
Our Commitment to Research
The University of Pennsylvania was founded on the principle of uncompromising scholarship and its practical application. True to this tradition, the University has long been recognized as one of the nation's leading research institutions. Penn's College of Arts and Sciences is proud to be among the first to formally support and encourage its undergraduate students to participate in meaningful research with faculty mentors. The College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal presents a sampling of that research and celebrates the academic achievements of our young scholars.
PublicationThe Asian Currency Crisis: The Role of Industrial Policy and Imbalanced Embedded Autonomy(2010-04-16) Shin, Adrian J.Over the past few decades, East Asian countries achieved unprecedented rates of economic growth. Starting with Japan’s post-World War II economic miracle, followed by South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore, the region raised itself from an abyss of poverty to glorious economic prosperity. The grace of the East Asian model continued with great economic success, only to see its ultimate collapse in the Asian Financial Crisis in the late 1990s. This paper argues that certain sectoral dynamics combined with industrial policy had led to the imbalance of embedded autonomy. This imbalance is accountable for various policy consequences that generated perception noise among international portfolio investors. Through these observations, investors inferred about the high risk of industrial policy and launched massive speculative attacks on the victims of the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997. PublicationNorth Africa and the Making of American Psychological Warfare and Propaganda, 1942-1945(2021-01-01) Nelson, TaylorIn 1942, the United States founded the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Tasked with preparing North Africa for the first major Allied invasion of World War II, the OSS conducted extensive preparations that drew on resistance groups for support, utilized radio propaganda to destroy morale, spread rumors to discredit the enemy, and produced leaflets and pamphlets that influenced local populations. Operation Torch, as it would be known, was instrumental in laying the foundation for U.S. intelligence operations in the World War II period and beyond. After Operation Torch, the OSS conducted numerous psychological operations in Europe, the Middle East, and the Far East. While the OSS faced challenges in conducting propaganda, stemming from jurisdictional battles with other U.S. wartime intelligence agencies, it was able to significantly improve its propaganda methods and tactics. In fact, by 1944, OSS radio programs had become so sophisticated that they fooled American military radio operators into believing they were enemy broadcasts. Other OSS psychological operations also showed great success, showcased by the thousands of soldiers who would surrender to Allied forces with OSS-made pamphlets in hand. Eventually, with the end of the War, President Truman abolished the OSS, instead replacing it with transitional intelligence agencies which culminated in the establishment of the Central Intelligence Agency. This study utilizes a variety of recently declassified OSS documents to emphasize the importance of North Africa in the birth of modern American psychological warfare, which seems to stem from present day Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. PublicationThe Political Mobilization of the Arab Minority in Israel: Shifts in Political Demands and Activities(2010-04-09) Abd El Rahman, SherihanPrevious scholarly work on the demands and political activities of the Arab minority in Israel have focused on studying Arab political parties and parliamentary participation, asserting that Arab demands fall into one of two categories: radical or adaptive. That is, in studying Arab participation, or lack thereof, in parliamentary processes, one can claim that Arabs want either complete separation from the state of Israel (radical demands) or complete integration into the state of Israel (adaptive demands). However, recent trends have witnessed a decrease in Arab Israelis’ interest in political parties and parliamentary participation, such as voting in Knesset elections and attempts to pass legislation. This disinterest is a direct result of the inability and inefficiency of parliamentary processes to make practical changes in the daily lives of the Arab minority, who are underprivileged, socio-economically, politically, and legally. However, disinterest in parliamentary processes does not translate into disinterest in political mobility, and consequently, Arab Israelis have turned to other means, particularly extra-parliamentary organization, to achieve their demands. This paper then takes a different approach in that I study extra-parliamentary organizations to explore the nature of Arab demands towards the Israeli government. In studying extra-parliamentary organization, I have found that the nature of Arab demands no longer fall within the radical-adaptive dichotomy proposed by previous scholars. Rather, the Arab minority’s demands can be described as being ethnoregional in nature. That is, the Arab minority in Israel demand collective national rights based on the fragmented geographical regions they occupy. PublicationPhotography as History in the American Civil War(2014-05-01) Covkin, SerenaThroughout the American Civil War, northern photographers, many of whom were officially attached to the Union army, generated more than seven thousand images of Union commanders and ordinary soldiers, faraway landscapes, and scenes of unprecedented death and destruction. In doing so, they aimed to create a supremely objective, visual history of the war. Because these photographs have so thoroughly influenced how generations of Americans have understood and remembered the Civil War, it is imperative to examine how northern photographers, Union military and political officials, and the American public conceived of the pictures’ contemporary enduring historical significance. In particular, this paper focuses upon the work of Mathew Brady, the first Civil War photographer to travel to the front lines and whose collection of Civil War negatives was purchased by Congress in 1875, and of Alexander Gardner, Brady’s employee-turned-competitor, whose 1866 Photographic Sketch Book of the War was the first published book of American photographs. These bodies of work have been analyzed at length by historians of American photography, but they have not received adequate attention from political and intellectual historians of the Civil War and Reconstruction periods. Indeed, Americans’ estimation of the relationship between photography and history serves to shed light on how they absorbed the war’s events and how they perceived the role that history played in their own lives—an especially essential endeavor given the degree to which both Union and Confederate officials were concerned, even during the war itself, with how their respective causes would be remembered. While Brady, Gardner, and their compatriots asserted that their photographs held a unique claim to objectivity, and thus to historical significance, they were thoroughly implicated in the Union political project. Moreover, photography’s technical limitations ensured that it could not capture in real time what nineteenth-century conceptions of history deemed most important—namely, epic scenes of battle. By focusing instead upon ordinary soldiers performing mundane activities or upon the corpses of the dead, Civil War photographers fundamentally challenged prevailing notions of what and who constituted history’s rightful subjects. PublicationThe Spread of Raising: Opacity, lexicalization, and diffusion(2007-11-11) Fruehwald, Josef TCanadian Raising is typically described as the centralization of the nucleus of /ay/ before voiceless segments. However some recent studies in areas affected by Raising have shown that the current conditioning factors are not as regular as reported previously (Vance, 1987; Dailey-OCain, 1997; Hall, 2005). This paper explores the status of Raising in Philadelphia. Examining data from 12 boys, ages 14 to 19, it appears that Raising has lexicalized here as well. While Raising occurs before a number of voiced stops and nasals, the words which experience Raising most regularly suggest that it has spread due to its opaque applications. Publication"A Tempestuous Voyage at Sea and a Fatiguing One by Land": Ulsterwomen in Philadelphia, 1783-1812(2014-03-20) Riblet, Sarah VThis thesis examines the lives of women who came from the north of Ireland, the area traditionally known as Ulster, and settled in the city of Philadelphia between the end of the American Revolution and the beginning of the War of 1812, when economic strife and political rebellion within Ireland impelled many to emigrate. In so doing, this work aims to augment the historical record on a group of people and a period of time that have received relatively little attention, as most scholars have heretofore focused on the experiences of male Irish immigrants during either the period of North American colonization or Ireland’s Great Famine of the 1840s and 1850s. The research methods utilized include quantitative analysis of data from late-1700s and early-1800s transatlantic passenger lists, newspapers and the intake records of various benevolent societies in Philadelphia. In addition, several case studies based on readings of primary sources, such as letters and journals from the period, are incorporated throughout. The findings of this research undermine the historical notion that the United States was a land of prosperity; many of the women studied put their financial security and even their lives at risk, leaving familiar people and places to engage in a dangerous transatlantic passage and arrive in a city lacking opportunities for women. Thus, the chances they took in leaving Ulster were not often rewarded with comfort, stability, or even subsistence, in Philadelphia. PublicationThe No No-Miracles-Argument Argument(2007-02-01) Singer, Daniel JThe No Miracles Argument is commonly used as a defense of scientific realism. I claim that the No Miracles Argument is begging the question because of the way it uses the notion of ``best explanation.'' I show this by giving a fundamental account of explanation, describing how these explanations can be compared, and showing that, in the case of the No Miracles Argument, the use of the notion of ``best explanation'' will entail a correspondence theory of truth. I also show that the first premise of the No Miracles Argument and a correspondence theory of truth entail realism. Hence, the No Miracles Argument is begging the question. PublicationHow Do We Build Democracy In Iraq? Identifying the Theoretical Foundations of the U.S. Effort to Bring Stable Democracy to Iraq(2007-03-30) Tassin, PhilipThe project to build a stable democracy in Iraq presents an unparalleled opportunity to better understand the processes of democratization, and to therefore improve our grand theories about how democracy emerges. In order to do this, it is crucial to first know what theories are invoked or suggested by U.S. policy in Iraq. The purpose of this paper, therefore, is to identify the theoretical foundations of the intellectual debate within the U.S. foreign policy community concerning democratization in Iraq. It is my hope that by knowing what theoretical approaches are implied in the policies and recommendations of foreign policy elites, we may also know better how these approaches have stood up to the test of real world application. The subjects of this analysis are not only government officials, but also anyone who has had a significant influence in the discourse within the U.S. foreign policy establishment. This includes public commentators, academics, and former advisors to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq. The arguments each of these opinion leaders make can be grouped into four theoretical approaches—democratic universalism, political culture, sequentialism, and rational choice. Opinion leaders rarely adhere exclusively to one approach, and their application of multiple approaches frequently leads to incompatibilities. I identify which approaches are used, inconsistencies in argument, and deeper problems with the theoretical approaches themselves. Finally, I examine the implications of the experience in Iraq for the theoretical approaches, finding that while democratic universalism has been nearly discredited, the other three approaches do still offer useful frameworks for understanding democratization, despite their own shortcomings. PublicationPhiladelphia’s Complaint System Against the Police: A Band-Aid on a Bullet Wound(2023-05-02) Prakash, AnikaComplaint systems against police officers are often cited as a means by which to reduce police misconduct and promote accountability; however, they do not necessarily function as ideally as intended. Despite Philadelphia’s transparency in its complaint data, there are many flaws with both the complaint system and adjudication process that prevent it from being truly constructive. Philadelphia’s data, like that of other cities, highlights the bleak outcomes of allegations brought against officers, with few complaints being sustained, fewer officers being found guilty, and still even fewer officers actually facing disciplinary consequences. Moreover, Philadelphia’s complaint data mirrors racial trends exhibited across the country, such as a disproportionately high representation of Black complainants, with Black residents also being more likely to report serious allegations of misconduct. This thesis utilizes data from Philadelphia and other cities in conjunction with a variety of literature to demonstrate that both in Philadelphia and across the country, complaint systems are minimally effective in providing either satisfaction on an individual level or in spurring reform on an institutional level, especially as it relates to reducing police misconduct and racial bias in policing. PublicationFair Use in Independent Documentary Filmmaking(2006-06-26) Hennefeld, MargaretCopyright law's "fair use" doctrine aims to protect artists' First Amendment-informed rights by establishing the legality of their non-licensed citation or incorporation of copyrighted material of another author's copyrighted work into their own. However, ambiguities surrounding the function and extent of fair use, and the sheer legal expenses of clarifying these uncertainties on a case-by-case basis, frequently deny authors their First Amendment-based fair use rights. In the context of independent documentary filmmaking, a rigidly structured and highly expensive rights clearance culture generates many ethical ambiguities and thereby functions as a significant form of censorship.