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2018 Undergraduate Thesis Library Research Award

This last Tuesday at the Senior Honors Thesis Showcase reception on Berry Main Street, Dartmouth College Library presented its Undergraduate Thesis Library Research Award to two undergraduate scholars for the second year in a row. Eligibility for the award is open to any student who writes a senior thesis and is majoring in the humanities, social science, and interdisciplinary fields. This award is analogous to the Library Research Award in the Sciences which has been awarded at the Wetterhahn Symposium since 2015.

Winners of the award demonstrated exceptional ability to locate, select, evaluate, and synthesize library resources (including, but not limited to, printed resources, databases, collections, web resources, and all media) and to use them in the creation of a project. They also displayed evidence of significant personal learning and the development of a pattern of research and inquiry that shows the likelihood of persisting in the future.

This year, the winners of the Undergraduate Thesis Library Research Award were Tyler Anderson and Kennedy Jensen, both members of the class of 2018.

Anderson's thesis was supervised by Ayo A Coly, Professor of Comparative Literature & African Studies. Titled, "#BlackLivesMatter, the Antithesis: #NoLivesMatter," Anderson's work applies an Afro-pessimist theoretical lens of analysis to the #BlackLivesMatter movement and concludes that, while the #BLM movement may be useful in actualizing the spiritual energy and social life of blackness, there needs to be an alternative hermeneutic for approaching revolution with a higher potential for change. The alternative Anderson posits is a new provocative lens coined #NoLivesMatter. #NoLivesMatter, as a lens, shifts priorities from constructing black power to deconstructing the power of anti-black privilege. It reorients the debate away from the language of black survivability and its negative impacts and towards the goal of throwing civil society into incoherence. This alternative does not discount the benefits of #BLM and black liberation strategies like it but rather gives attention to a more provocative analysis of black power, survivability, inter-, and intra- racial violence.

Jensen's thesis, titled "Running a Blurry Line Lived Experiences of Disordered Eating Among Female Distance Runners," pulls on macroscopic themes of American culture to expand the current models of disordered eating as constructed by existing academic approaches, specifically within the context of female distance runners. It seeks a point of entry for change by exploring the multitude of influences on these unhealthy behaviors, attempting to map the foundation upon which such pernicious attitudes are built in order to identify potential disruptive solutions to a self-perpetuating issue. As a ethnopsychological phenomenon, a complete understanding is necessarily predicated on an anthropological exploration of both the macro- and micro-contexts these behaviors are situated within. Rather than treating these illnesses as an anomaly among the very few, Jensen states that we must seek to understand the events, perceptions and pressures in athletes’ lives and subcultures that logically lead to these outcomes. After burying deep into the experiences of a small subset of individuals, her thesis reorients its view outward, using the psychopathology of a few to reflect on the western culture we ourselves are situated within — our assumptions, values, idols — a larger psychocultural patterning that, regardless of our awareness, guides our decisions and priorities. In this way, the behaviors we once recognized as deviant become a lens with which to more clearly view ourselves.

We congratulate Tyler and Kennedy for their excellent accomplishment and look forward to collaborating again with the Senior Honors Thesis Showcase to honor students who demonstrate exceptional research skills and a high level of intellectual inquiry with regard to their theses.

Winners of the Undergraduate Thesis Library Research Award

2018

Tyler Anderson '18
Kennedy Jensen '18

2017

Emily Burack '17
Megan Ong '17

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