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Friday, April 24th

A Genealogy of the Criminalization of Poverty In America

Richard Lyda, Winthrop University

Faculty Mentor: Hye-sung Kim, Ph.D., and Michael Lipscomb, Ph.D.

This research aims to address the evolution of power structures as they relate to opinions and policies surrounding poverty in the United States. The analysis focuses on welfare policy, privatization of penal systems, and so-called quality of life offenses. The time frame of this analysis begins in the seventeenth century; however, the focus is primarily later nineteenth century forward. Arguably, in order to understand contemporary issues surrounding poverty policy and the treatment of the indigent, one must first understand the economic, political, and social conditions from which those policies have developed. Examining welfare policy over time illuminates ideologies that shaped the conceptualization of poverty, as well as how through surveillance the welfare system became intertwined with the legal system. In understanding the privatization of penal systems, it becomes clear that criminalization of the poor relieves burdens on the State while allowing for the creation of a pernicious profit system for wealthy individuals. Quality of life violations transform the racist roots of private penal systems into modern day classist systems of oppression that benefit the wealthy at the expense of the poor. This genealogical approach elucidates the persistence of class- and race-based systems of oppression and how they continue to profit private industries through disproportionate application of legal penalties against the indigent.

Historic and Geographic Patterns of Genocide

Cheyenne Altman

The topic of this interdisciplinary research is historical and geographical patterns of genocide since the 19th century. The research question for this topic is what are the historical and geographical patterns of genocide since the 19th century? The disciplines that are being used are history and geography. The reason for these two disciplines is because the historical perspective can unveil the causality of why genocides occur at the time that they do and historical context of genocides; and the geographical perspective shows the spatial relevance of two conflict groups and how other concepts of geography can help reveal why these two conflict groups have genocidal tendencies. The historical and geographical patterns of genocide can be shown and eradicated by correcting ethnical, racial, religious, and cultural tensions/differences, imperialistic and colonialist ideologies of genocide, territorial conflicts, the mindset of a group to perform genocidal actions, and ineffective international laws on genocide. Genocide is an important topic to research because since the 19th century there have been 46 genocides that have occurred, most of which were committed in the 20th century. The majority of modern history has been plagued with these atrocities that has led to the death of over 30 million people of various different cultures, racial and religious groups, and ethnicities. These death tolls from genocide are not based on the highest estimated death toll, but the lowest estimate of those who have died from genocidal actions. Genocide is a practice that needs to be studied so that it can be eradicated in the future.

Student Views on and Concerns Regarding Campus Safety

Jada Givens
Jasmine Ellis, Winthrop University

Faculty Mentor: Michael Sickels, Ph.D.

This study examines how campus safety is constructed as a part of the student experience by students at Winthrop University. At Winthrop, campus safety has been a recurring topic amongst students, so in order to learn how students actually feel about safety on Winthrop’s campus, we conducted 12 one-on-one interviews. The participants ranged in class standing (excluding freshmen) and gender. We found that both men and women at Winthrop University do contemplate safety and how they can feel safer on campus. Women are more likely to feel unsafe at night while alone and more likely to carry something with them to protect themselves. Men are likely to feel unsafe when they believe that campus police do not take them seriously; however, they fight against these feelings because the social construction of gender makes them believe that they must be strong and unafraid. We suggest improving building design, police presence, self-defense classes, and lighting in outdoor areas in order to improve campus safety.

The American Opioid Epidemic

William Tomlin, Winthrop University

Faculty Mentor: Ginger Williams, Ph.D.

America’s opioid epidemic is a complex, multifaceted issue that needs to be solved using an interdisciplinary approach. The American opioid epidemic is important because of the recent rise of deaths caused by opioids in America. The CDC states that opioids in America kill roughly 130 people every day. What are the best ways to combat the American opioid epidemic? In order to solve the opioid epidemic in America, we need to implement alternative pain management, stop overprescribing, curtail the illegal opioid market and better educate the public about the dangers of opioid use. The American opioid epidemic can be best combated by using the disciplines of education and psychology. Psychology and education are the two most qualified disciplines to solve the opioid epidemic in America because of their insights into addiction and opioid abuse. The discipline of education is most appropriate for combating the opioid epidemic because we need the public to know the dangers and risks involved when taking opioids. The discipline of psychology is most appropriate because of the insights it gives to addiction and how Americans view pain.

The Western Impact on Human Trafficking

Madison Ervin

Faculty Mentor: Ginger Williams, Ph.D.

This research paper will address the global issue of human trafficking and the factors that have contributed to its continuation across time and space. Human trafficking is an important global issue, because, despite its illegality in every nation, it is estimated that about 40.3 million people are victims of modern-day slavery around the world. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has also stated that human trafficking is the third largest criminal activity globally. This infringement upon human rights has severely and negatively impacted millions of vulnerable people who suffer from various forms of inequality. This paper will focus on the question: How have Westernized perceptions toward inequality spurred the continuation of human trafficking across the globe? The disciplines that will be utilized to frame this issue are history and geography. Historians analyze events from the past and attempt to demonstrate the ways in which the past can be relevant and useful in today’s world. Geographers, however, focus on global patterns and the implications that those patterns have on both humans and their environment. These disciplines allow insight into the issue of human trafficking by analyzing how it has continued across time and space. More specifically, these disciplines help scholars to understand how Western perceptions of inequality and victimhood have impacted policy and rescue efforts across the globe. The thesis of this paper states: Human trafficking is a global phenomenon that has persisted across space and time due to Westernized perceptions toward inequality that have influenced policies and response efforts.

Vindication? Grounds for the CIA’s Intervention of Guatemala, 1952—1954

Bowman H. Taylor, Winthrop University

Faculty Mentor: Gregory S. Crider, Ph.D.

The United States government’s motivation and reasoning for the Central Intelligence Agency’s coup of Guatemalan President Arbenz’s regime in 1954 was anything but precise. Through analysis of an evidentiary base that includes declassified documents, memoranda, interviews, and letters from the CIA, National Security Archives, and the Guatemalan government, these proponents of the CIA’s operation in Guatemala have been uncovered. The CIA declared that Arbenz and the Guatemalan government were under Soviet-Communist influence, and that immediate action was necessary to stop the spread of communism in Guatemala for national security reasons. The evidence behind this claim is nearly non-existent, and there is a significant amount of documentation that refutes it. The “why” behind the CIA’s coup, otherwise known as operation PBSUCCESS, does not coincide with the evidence of the Guatemalan events or people that the CIA utilized to provide justification for their actions. U.S. intervention in Guatemala in 1954 served as an example of America abusing its sovereignty over the Western Hemisphere in order to fulfill its own agenda throughout the Cold War.