American Studies

Neha Goel - Race, Politics, and Culture

After graduation, Neha, a double major in American Studies and Psychology, moved to the other side of the Bay to serve as the Project Manager for the Healthy Body Image Study at Stanford University and Palo Alto University. This clinical psychology research study aims to improve body image culture on college campuses by offering a suite of programs that are designed to prevent and treat the onset of eating disorder symptomology amongst college women. Neha hopes to attend a clinical psychology doctoral program in the Fall of 2017 and will utilize the racial, social, and political awareness that she gained from her American Studies courses in her future work as a clinician. Nehas ultimate goal is to work at the intersection of cultural and clinical psychology in order to address the stigma of mental health that affects all individuals, most especially people of color.

Area of Concentration Courses

American Studies H110: Imagining America
English 166AC: Race and Performance
Ethnic Studies 100: Comparative Ethnic Literature in America
Gender and Women's Studies 129: Bodies and Boundaries
Psychology 166AC: Cultural Psychology
Psychology 167AC: Stigma and Prejudice


Neha Goel : - From East to West, Whiteness Is the Best: A Cultural Analysis of How South Asians Attain Social Status in America (Class of 2015)

In her senior honors thesis, Neha presents a larger discussion between two culturally distinct countries, India and America, that both suffer from problems of racism that similarly exhibit themselves through an internalized desire for whiteness as a means of gaining social status. She first notes how this desire for whiteness amongst South Asians is manifested physically throughthe socially pathogenic skinbleaching phenomenon and then shifts the conversation over to the American landscape to argue that IndianAmericanshave turned away from this physical demonstration of lightness in order to attain their own form of whiteness. In order to gain the same levels of social status, socioeconomic status, and social advancement that is associated with skin lightening practices in India, South Asian Americans are engaging in social, rather than physical, practices of whitening through an adherence to the model minority stereotype and through promotions of anti-Black racism. In order to accomplish this feat, Neha critically analyzed various cultural mediums, such as social media platforms, television shows, advertisements, literature, psychological research, and anthropological studies to provide evidence for her case.

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