Graduate Profiles

Sally Littlefield - Twentieth Century American Culture

Sally Littlefield currently works for the Public Education Campaigns and Programs team at Futures Without Violence, a San Francisco-based national nonprofit organization dedicated to ending violence against women and children. Sally thanks her American Studies background for giving her the ability to understand the very real role culture plays in shaping our society. This knowledge has proven invaluable in her work developing public awareness campaigns that aim to break cultural norms that disempower women.
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American Studies 101: The Teen Age
American Studies 102: The Suburbs
American Studies C111E: The Great Exhaling: Culture, Politics, and History, 1946-1952
American Studies H110: Honors Seminar: Bay Area in the 1970s
Education 183: High School, The Movie
Music 137AC: Music of the Civil Rights Era
Thesis Sally Littlefield : - Women's Sexual Liberation Comes of Age: Portrayals of Teen Female Sexuality in 1990s Popular Culture (Class of 2017)
Beginning in the 1970s, the womens liberation movement began to challenge traditional American cultural ideologies that stigmatized female sexual autonomy, and in the 1990s, this rhetoric began to be applied to teenaged girls in addition to older women. In her senior honors thesis, Sally Littlefield calls this phenomenon the teen female sexual revolution. With the advent of the teen female sexual revolution came an increase in portrayals of sexual teens in magazines, television, films, and popular music, signaling how impactful this movement was in American culture. However, not all of these portrayals were as feminist and sex positive as the original movement that sparked them. Though some indicated positive change, some narratives surrounding teen female sexuality presented by popular culture were indicative of a widespread backlash against this movement. In this essay, Sally examines the conventions of portrayals of teen female sexuality in American popular culture present in the 1980s, exploring how these conventions align with the longstanding taboos against teen female sexuality. She then discusses how American popular culture of the 1990s subverted these conventions, in ways both empowering and disempowering for young women. Sally argues that 1990s popular culture expressed both support of and backlash against teen female sexuality. The thesis concludes with the observation that much of the convention-shattering tropes of the 1990s that directly addressed teen female sexuality seem to have faded by the early 2000s, indicating that the teen female sexual revolution was short-lived.

Miriam Perales - Healthcare in the U.S.

During her last semester before graduating, Miriam Perales studied health seeking behaviors in the small community of Mae Sot, which lies at the border between Thailand and Myanmar. This experience coupled with her senior thesis research on curanderismo confirmed her decision to pursue a career in medicine to work specifically with communities of color that lack sufficient health services. Miriam is currently employed as a medical technician at Eye Physicians of the East Bay where she interacts with patients, works alongside optometrists and opthamalogists, and learns about ocular health complications and diseases. She is also applying to post-baccalaureate-pre-med programs with the ultimate plan of serving her community as a doctora.

Anthropology 115: Introduction to Medical Anthropology
Chicano Studies 176: Chicanos and Health Care
ESPM 162: Bioethics and Society
Gender and Women's Studies 130AC: Gender, Race, Nation, and Health
Public Health 130AC: Aging, Health, and Diversity
Public Health 150D: Introduction to Health Policy and Management
Thesis Miriam Perales : - Have Women Healers Disappeared? : From Traditional Healing to Modern White Male Medicine (Class of 2017)
Miriam Peraless thesis explores traditional medicine through the lens of curanderismo, and critiques historic gender and racial dynamics that equate science with masculinity and whiteness and witchcraft with femininity and ethnic otherness. Using ethnographic interviews, Miriam also examines how traditional healers base their methods in the spiritual, psychological, and social needs of their patients.

Kristen Wilson - Immigration and the Cultural Geography of the U.S.

After graduating with Highest Honors from the American Studies and English programs in May 2017, Kristen Wilson, the Departmental Citation recipient for 2017, spent the summer traveling to console herself on the end of her undergraduate career. She plans to apply to graduate programs in American Studies and History in order to subject herself to at least another half decade of research, writing, and revision, with an eye towards a lifetime of such labor. Her ultimate ambition is to encourage similar dedication to and fulfillment through careful research, critical thought, and concise writing in the students she manages to trick into enjoying their academic pursuits.
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African American Studies 142AC: Race and American Film
American Studies 101AC: World War II
American Studies H110: The Secret History of America
American Studies H110: Bay Area in the 1970s
Asian American Studies 128AC: Muslims in America
Ethnic Studies 159AC: The Southern Border
Thesis Kristen Wilson : - The Slippery Slope: Paranoia and Alternative Morality in American Childrens Literature at the Turn of the Millennium (Class of 2017)
Kristen Wilsons senior honors thesis explores how Lemony Snickets (Daniel Handlers) A Series of Unfortunate Events (1999-2006) positions itself at the precipice of a new millennium, looking back to the Cold War and looking forward, towards 9/11 and beyond, as it seeks to offer child readers a framework for living as a noble enough person. With its dour, ironic tone, its approach to grief as a complex phenomenon that belies simple resolution, and its firm commitment to moral relativism, the Series offers a different path forward for American childrens literature and American society as a whole. This path only grows more starkly differentiated from that taken by the United States government following the events of 9/11 and the foreign and domestic policy taken up thereafter, Handler often challenging the basic assumptions of such policies directly, particularly the reliance on us vs. them binaries and the construction of extensive surveillance networks.
Handler, Wilson demonstrates, further challenges basic societal assumptions about the relationship of children to adults, highlighting the political, social, and cultural disenfranchisement that children endure, especially in homes without benevolent caregivers and most particularly in an environment of limited governance, when welfare programs designed to protect children are eliminated and replaced with inconsistent and inferior privatized versions that cater only to select groups. Expanding the relationship of parent and child to mirror that of state and citizen, Handler raises difficult questions about the existence of forbidden knowledge (classified information) and the outright lies which are so often told to comfort and even protect the child/citizenis ignorance ever preferable to knowledge?

Rosemarie Alejandrino - Popular Culture and the American Mediascape

After graduating with honors and a double major in English, Rosemarie went on to pursue a Master’s degree in Specialized Journalism (The Arts) at the University of Southern California. She is a first-generation college student and, in turn, is the first in her family to pursue a post-graduate degree. She is also the inaugural USC Annenberg-Rotten Tomatoes Fellow in Digital Innovation and Entertainment Criticism, working with Rotten Tomatoes to redefine the role of the critic in the modern era. Along with Charisse Celestial (’17), she is the co-founder of FLASH THRIVE zine collective, publishing art zines with work by local creatives.
Read more about Rosemarie’s Thesis and Area of Concentration

American Studies 101: The Teen Age
American Studies H110: The Secret History of America
English C136: A Gallery of Wonders, Curiosities, Spectacles, Cynics, and Suckers: Consumer Culture in Post-Civil War America
English 190: Research Seminar: Mass Entertainment in Classical Hollywood Film
Media Studies 101: Visual Communications
Media Studies 102: Effects of Mass Media
Thesis Rosemarie Alejandrino : - Breaking Free: The Cultural Impact of the 21st Century On-screen American Musical (Class of 2017)
Musical theatre re-erupted as a mainstream on-screen trend in the early 21st century. Rosemarie Alejandrinos senior honors thesis explores how on-screen musicals like Disney Channels High School Musical (2006) targeted a younger audience, catering to the audiences taste by establishing a postmodern musical aesthetic. Within these early made-for-television musicals, a trend of homogenization of socio-cultural difference emerges and is exaggerated and solidified by FOXs primetime musical television series, Glee (2009-2015). The run-off success from these early made-for-television musicals and the Glee phenomenonalong with the Academy Award-winning precedent set by the film adaptation of Chicago (2002)fed into the success and blockbusterization of musical film adaptations. This shift in the early 21st century of musical theatre in mainstream popular culture is ever-evolving and impacts popular culture today, including the advent of the live television musical and the increasingly auteur-centric nature of the Broadway stage musical, such as Sara Bareilless Waitress (2015).

Hunter Cobleigh - Consumerism and American Popular Culture

One month after graduation, Hunter packed up and moved to Melbourne, Australia, on a yearlong work and holiday visa. In addition to exploring the country, he is currently working in advertising for the Australian Traffic Network, where he is putting his area of concentration to work. Before returning to the U.S. either to continue a career in media or to pursue a graduate degree, Hunter plans to visit more of the South Pacific.
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African American Studies 119: Selected Topics in the Sociohistorical Development of the Black World
American Studies 101: The Birth of Consumerism
American Studies C172: History of American Business
American Studies H110: Honors Seminar: The Road in American History
Sociology 130AC: Social Inequalities: American Cultures
Sociology C167: Virtual Communities and Social Media
Thesis Hunter Cobleigh : - Luke Cage Power Man Activist for Hire #1: A New Universe (Class of 2017)
Over the course of Hunter Cobleighs thesis, the 2016 Netflix release of Marvels Luke Cage is explored as the revolutionary creation of a Black universe with a Black perspective and voice. The broader cultural, social, and political significance of the series is unpacked via close readings of character development and selected story arcs and scenes. In particular, Hunters thesis traces the development of the titular character from the 1970s era Power Man, a veritable side kick in disco attire to the black-hoodie clad 21st century avatar of #blacklivesmatter.

Miesha Garnett - Race, Family, and Childhood

Miesha currently works for the Solano County Office of Education in the Special Education department. She is studying for both the CBEST and the Housing and Urban Development written exam. With the goal of a career that allows her to make a positive impact on the community in which she lives, Miesha also plans to pursue a Master’s in Public Health Community Education.
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Ethnic Studies 176: Against the Grain: Ethnic American Art and Artists
Gender and Women's Studies 134: Gender and the Politics of Childhood
Gender and Women's Studies 130AC: Gender, Race, Nation, and Health
History 136C: Defiant Women: Gender, Power and Violence in American History
Psychology 140: Developmental Psychology
Psychology 150: Psychology of Personality
Thesis Miesha Garnett : - The Vampire Huntress: A Lens into Black Female Identity Formation (Class of 2017)
Miesha Garnetts senior honors thesis develops a close reading of reading of Black female identity formation in the Vampire Huntress Legend series of twelve novels by the late L.A. Banks. As she explains in her thesis, to counter the traditional erasure of Black women from vampire fiction, Banks writes a legendary, supernatural woman whose racial identity is the source of her power.

Robert Gibbons - Culture, Economy, and the American City

After graduation, Robert accepted a full-time position with Outward Bound USA, where he collaborated with ten of the most experienced Outward Bound educators to form a National Learning Lab tasked with re-evaluating Outward Bound’s curriculum with the aim of adapting it to suit K-5th graders in a traditional educational setting.Robert led a trial run of such a program this summer at an elementary school in Omaha with great success and will be rollingout five programs to the Omaha Public School system in 2017-2018. Robert is eager to pursue a Masters in Public Policy.
Read more about Robert’s Thesis and Area of Concentration

American Studies H110: The Road in American History
Anthropology 157: Anthropology of Law
City and Regional Planning 110: Introduction to City Planning
Geography 182: Field Study of Buildings and Cities
History 127AC: California
Political Economy 101: Contemporary Theories of Political Economy
Thesis Robert Gibbons : - The Presidio from Post to Park: Two Hundred Years of Transition (Class of 2017)
The Presidio of San Francisco was Americas the longest continuously operated military post until 1995, when the National Park and the Presidio Trust assumed control over this 1,500 acre site located at the entrance to the San Francisco Bay. As a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the Presidio is a national park unlike any other. It hosts more visitors than Yellowstone and Yosemite combined, and more is expensive to maintain. Robert Gibbonss senior thesis examines the unique fiscal challenges The Presidio faces, the allegedly altruistic aims of its governing bodies, and the federal agencies and political forces that protect and enhance its natural lands, while enforcing the dual mandates of revenue generation and free social services. Public documents detailing development plans, expert testimony, and community input provide a well-rounded perspective to the most urgent challenge the Presidio presently faces--recognizing cultural and physical barriers that exclude already marginalized Bay Area communities from enjoying this new type of national park.

Allison Ivey - California and the West

After graduating one semester early in December 2017, Allison is spending eight months traveling in Europe and Asia before starting her first year at Stanford Law School in the fall.
Read more about Allison’s Thesis and Area of Concentration

American Studies 102: The Suburbs
Anthropology 174AC: California Historical Anthropology
Education 188: Latinas/os in Education: Critical Issues and Perspectives
History 100AC: American Business History
History 128AC: California, the West and the World
Native American Studies 120AC: Photography and the American Indian: Manifest Destiny, American Frontier, and Images of American Indians
Thesis Allison Ivey : - The Children of California Shall Be Our Children: The Life of Leland Stanford, Junior and the Birth of Silicon Valley (Class of 2017)
Allison Iveys senior honors thesis focuses on the life and premature death of Leland Stanford, Junior. Founded as a memorial to the beloved son of Leland and Jane Lathrop Stanford, Stanford University was inspired by his intellectual curiosity, love of collecting, and nascent scholarship. Through a careful examination of how wealthy Californians shrugged off the mantle of European imitation in favor of carving out a distinctly American, distinctly Western, and distinctly Californian lifestyle, Allisons honors thesis traces the development of the surrounding area from farmland to the global business center now known as Silicon Valley.