2020 Thesis Prize Winners

Daniel Rosenblatt ’20
Winner | “Déjame Que Te Cante Yo También”: Constructing Working-Class Puerto-Rican Identity in New York City, 1917-1936

Daniel RosenblattConcentrator in History & Literature

About Daniel: Daniel Rosenblatt is a senior concentrating in History and Literature with a focus field in American Studies and a language citation in Spanish. His research investigates the intersecting themes of migration, labor, empire, and racialization in American history and focuses primarily on the late nineteenth and early twentieth century period. At Harvard, he is a member of the Harvard Art Museums Student Board and the Club Tennis Team. 

Statement from Daniel: This thesis, which traces the early history of Puerto Rican New York, came together as the culmination of previous research projects and numerous conversations with my mentors within Hist&Lit and the EMR community. It aims to document a more inclusive history of interwar labor activism that takes account of grass-roots and at times unorthodox forms of political activism. The project would not have been possible without support from EMR’s Latinx Studies Thesis Research Grant and the kind assistance of the archivists at the Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños at Hunter College.

Honorable Mentions

Julie Chung '20
Honorable Mention | Redefining “Inclusive” Science: Hawai‘i’s Multicultural Settler Colonial Context

julie chungConcentrator in Social Anthropology

About Julie: Julie Chung is a senior from the Greater Los Angeles Area studying Social Anthropology with a secondary in Global Health & Health Policy. She ispassionate about addressing the intersections between environmentalism and health justice. While originally planning to conduct senior thesis fieldwork in South Korea, where her parents were born, she was surprised to discover strong activist networks between Korea and Hawai‘i in resistance to U.S. militarism in the Pacific. These connections led her to work as a research intern at the University of Hawai‘i Department of Native Hawaiian Health, during which she learned about the importance of ancestral knowledge and Aloha ʻĀina (love of the land) from the Department researchers as well as activists of the Protect Mauna Kea Movement. These leaders have inspired her to embrace her family heritage, including the generations of traditional Korean healers that came before her. Her thesis project has also inspired deeper reflections on how she can participate in projects of decolonization through her role as a settler of color in the United States. Based on work with food sovereignty leaders and diabetes researchers during her senior thesis fieldwork in Hawai‘i, Julie is working on food initiatives in low-income Asian American communities in her hometown. She is working with Asian Pacific Islander Forward Movement and Food Roots to provide food relief to low-income communities, increase enrollment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and develop an Asian American food sovereignty curriculum.

Jordan Villegas '20
Honorable Mention | La Pocha, Sin Raíces / Spoiled Fruit, Without Roots: A Genealogy of Tejana Borderland Imaginaries

jordan villegasJoint concentrator in Studies of Women, Gender & Sexuality and Anthropology

About Jordan: Jordan Villegas '20, is joint concentrator in Studies of Women, Gender, & Sexuality and Anthropology, with a secondary field in Latina/o Studies. While at Harvard, he was a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow and participated in the Radcliffe Research Partnership Program. Following graduation, he will begin his Ph.D. in History at Columbia University.

Statement from Jordan: My senior thesis takes as its object of study the disparaged figure of the “pocha,” a derogative term of Mexican origin used to mark “assimilated” Mexican-American women as ‘spoiled fruit’ who have ill-advisedly assimilated into dominant U.S. English-speaking culture. Drawing from numerous Spanish and English-language archives in South and Central Texas, I ask: how might we identify a shared borderlands politic from a historically grounded analysis of the lived experiences of ‘assimilated’ Tejanas as the language of ‘pochismo/a’ circulated throughout the twentieth-century? My interest in the topic emerged as a dialogue with the late Tejana theorist Gloria Anzaldúa, whose work I held in my mind throughout the several summers of archival and ethnographic fieldwork upon which the project developed.

Adele Woodmansee, '20
Honorable Mention | “It Is Pure Criollo Maize”: Subsistence Agriculture and Ideas of Locality and Contamination in San Miguel Del Valle, Oaxaca

adele headshot

Concentrator in Integrative Biology and Social Anthropology

About Adele: Adele is from northern Vermont and concentrated in Integrative Biology and Social Anthropology with a secondary in Latinx Studies. She is interested in interdisciplinary, collaborative research about small-scale agriculture, agrobiodiversity, and rural food security. During her time at Harvard, she participated in the Radcliffe Research Partnership, working with three different fellows. She was also musically active as a violist, participating in the Harvard Radcliffe Orchestra and chamber groups while taking private lessons through the Music Lesson Subsidy Program. Adele is also a Jack Kent Cooke scholar.  

Statement from Adele: I conducted research on maize agriculture in San Miguel del Valle, Oaxaca over the course of several years. When I began working there, I knew several families due to Zapotec language study during a pre-college gap year. I was initially interested in the contrast between international migration and small-scale agriculture as primary forms of subsistence within the community. I was also interested in conducting a community-engaged study for transgenic contamination in locally grown maize. My thesis focuses on the complex value that agriculture holds for San Miguel residents and the political significance of native maize seeds.