Publications by Type: Thesis

2015
Barcia, Daniel. 2015. “Restless Liberty: The Fall of Florida's Maroon Haven and the Largest Slave Rebellion in US History, 1835-1838.” Harvard University.Abstract

For more than two years, the United States waged war on Florida’s black rebels and lost. In 1835, a group of fearless and visionary runaway slaves, or maroons, living in Florida’s swamplands entered into an alliance with their enslaved brethren on plantations to rebel against white authority. Together, the blacks waged a successful guerilla campaign to secure their own freedom. Twenty-five years prior to the Emancipation Proclamation, the U.S. government’s decision to “set forth all Negroes . . . who delivered themselves up to the Commanding Office of the Troops . . . free” confirmed the rebels’ triumph over a nation still dominated by the pernicious and peculiar institution of slavery.  By the spring of 1838, the blacks rebels “felt themselves restored to that liberty of which they had so long been unjustly deprived . . . [and] were thoroughly convinced of the perfect safety and propriety of immediate emancipation.”  Amid an intensifying national debate over the status of slavery, this band of more than one thousand black rebels built—and fought for—a free society of their own. It was a rare and unheralded antebellum victory for liberty.

d.barcia-restless_liberty_.pdf
2013
Singer, Paolo. 2013. “The Political Economy of Late Development:Industrial Policy in the Information Technology and Banking Sectors in India.” Harvard College.Abstract

To inform the policy debate in developing countries over strategies for economic development, this paper uses the tertiary sector in India—in particular, the information technology (I.T.) services and banking sectors—as a case study of economic governance. This paper uses a new dataset on the I.T. sector collected from the paper archives of the Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) in New Delhi during July 2013, and a dataset of the 72 largest banks in India collected from public documents at the Reserve Bank of India in Mumbai. Socioeconomic indicators, specifically wage level, higher education and urban agglomeration, only partially account for the growth of these sectors. In both the banking and I.T. sectors, government ownership promoted stability and geographical agglomeration but reduced performance. Government investment in a shared infrastructure commons through STPI was critical for the growth of the I.T. sector after 1991. Gradual deregulation following state ownership resulted in significant gains for both sectors. The paper concludes with a theory for the growth of technologically advanced sectors in India, which promotes gradual liberalization in sequence with government promotion of infrastructure and domestic competition.

psinger_thesis.pdf
2011
Liss, Daniel. 2011. “Black, White, and the Limbo in Between: The Precarious Position of the South African Chinese Under Apartheid”.Abstract
The South African Chinese have long labored to manipulate their racial position to advance their individual and collective economic and political interests. Their negotiation reached its peak under apartheid, the oppressive system of segregation instituted by the National Party in 1948. Under various concurrent tenets of apartheid law, the Chinese were classified as non-white, Coloured, Asian, and Chinese. Like other non-white groups, the Chinese were subject to discrimination because of their race. Yet over the course of apartheid, the Chinese slowly gained more rights. By the late 1970s, they were still Chinese but had won many of the privileges reserved for Whites. The Chinese population managed this success through their small size and specific political strategies intended to portray their community as diligent, law-abiding citizens. Instead of protesting the existing social order, they sought to manipulate the apartheid apparatus to their advantage. Ultimately, the South African Chinese managed to manipulate racial policies to their advantage because of the apartheid state’s overarching concerns about its political and economic relations with the Republic of China’s government. Chinese South Africans represent a miniscule fraction of South Africa’s population and have received a commensurately small amount of historiographic attention. However, their experiences offer a privileged vantage point into the connections between South Africa’s domestic racial policies and international relations during the apartheid years. Ultimately, this study demonstrates that the international context deeply shaped the construction and reconstruction of racial and ethnic categories in apartheid South Africa—a regime too often dismissed as exceptional and divorced from a changing international order. This work not only engages the literature on the experiences of the South African Chinese, but also provides a critical case study for the larger literature on the functional utility of race in the policy formation of apartheid.
Guo, Elizabeth Congcong. 2011. “Conceiving Conception: The Bioethics of Assisted Reproductive Policy in China”.Abstract

My thesis explores the ethics behind assisted reproductive policy in China by examining how ethical issues are identified, framed, and implemented among three groups of professionals: academic bioethicists, policymakers, and medical personnel. I will then examine how these issues are transferred across groups and identify the factors that shape their formation. Finally, I argue that while ethical priorities are heavily shaped by traditional cultural structures and definitions, they are simultaneously being altered by international influences. My research draws on ethnographic data collected through in-depth qualitative interviews and is supplemented with non-participant observation conducted at field sites in Beijing.

Lehner, Eliza A. 2011. “Conceiving the Impact: Connecting Population Growth and Environmental Sustainability”.Abstract

This thesis seeks to analyze what would have to change in American discussions of global environmental sustainability for population growth to assume its rightful place in the discussion. The amount of carbon that people consume times the number of consumers determines the total carbon emissions and thus environmental impact, yet most environmentalists avoid any mention of population growth. I examine the common sources of opposition—religious, feminist, capitalist, ethical, and even environmental—to understand what specific element of population stabilization each group reacts against and whether there are ways to address those concerns while still discussing population growth in environmental terms. To do this, I conducted informational interviews with people in the population and/or environment movement, observed a population organization and did archival research there, and read population-ethics theory. I suggest that sustainability discussions can include population growth, within certain important bounds, and in doing so, create the space for more effective policy.

Lin, Stephany Yu-Zhu. 2011. “Making Place for Belonging: Migration and Public Space among Turkish Women in Copenhagen”.
This thesis asks how uses of city space among a minority demonstrate engagement and identification with the city overall. Research focused on ethnographic interviews with second-generation Turkish women in Copenhagen, about their use of the city throughout different stages of their lives. This was supplemented by participation observation across Copenhagen’s public spaces and interviews with urban planners and leaders of various women’s centers. I find that the second-generation Turkish women demonstrate multiple uses and understandings of city spaces based on their multiple, fluid identities, so that through a particular identity a physical space becomes a meaningful place. Because people are situated and related through space, space and place play an important role in an individual’s identification with and against others. I define space as composed of the built and physical environment across all scales. Place, on the other hand, is space made especially meaningful, interpreted by individuals based on their histories, use, and perceptions of the space. Place is thus a product of a particular identity and its respective ways of being in the city. Different contexts and spaces become the platform for enacting different identities. The result is to conceive of space as dynamically constructed into different places as different identities play out across the city. I demonstrate this first by describing how Turkish immigrants claim and appropriate urban space in Copenhagen, recreating their cultural uses of space within the context of Copenhagen. I continue by contextualizing these Turkish practices within the diverse repertoire of identities of second-generation Turkish women and their accompanying diverse understandings of place. Ultimately, allowing for an open, fluid sense of identities and place creates a more inclusive framework for belonging in a multicultural, transnational city.
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Thorlakson, Tannis R. 2011. “Reducing Subsistence Farmers’ Vulnerability to Climate Change: The Potential Contributions of Agroforestry in Western Kenya”.Abstract
Climate change is predicted to have huge impacts on rural farmers in developing countries, as small-scale farmers are particularly vulnerable to climatic stresses and shocks. Agroforestry, or the use of trees in the cropping system to improve farm productivity, has been put forth as a potential strategy to improve farmers’ ability to adapt to future climate changes. Through a case study in western Kenya, I examine agroforestry’s role in helping subsistence farmers adapt to climate change through both qualitative and quantitative analyses. My results show that farmers are unable to cope with current climatic shocks in a sustainable way. By examining household responses to the most recent floods and droughts I find that often households are forced to engage in erosive coping strategies that threaten their farm’s long-term productivity. Farmers and the general literature agree that the most effective way to cope with future climate variation and shocks will be to improve general livelihoods through increasing farm productivity and enhancing non-farm incomes. My statistical analyses support my qualitative observations that agroforestry techniques can improve farm productivity and household wealth. From these results I conclude that agroforestry practices have the potential to help farmers adapt to climate change through improving general household wellbeing in rural western Kenya. My findings also stress the importance of location-specific evaluations of effective development strategies and the need for enhanced community participation in development practices.