Class Instructor: Macarena Gómez-Barris

Presentation: Tuesday, April 29, 2014, 2:00-5:00pm, KAP 445

Charday Adams

Imagination & Consciousness: How the Mississippi Freedom Schools Reconstructed Emancipation

Charday Adams is a senior double-majoring in African American Studies and Economics. She has spent the past five years merging spoken word and education in ways that highlight and hone youth voices for social change. Her Senior Honors Thesis in American Studies & Ethnicity seeks to respond to the question: Who frees the oppressed? She close reads the lesson plans and practices employed in the Mississippi Freedom Schools in 1964, while considering the role that agency plays in the liberation of exploited populations.  Thesis Adviser: Shana Redmond

Perri Alexis Keyes

Beyond Fear: An Exploration of California’s Punitive Response to Street Gang Crime

Perri Alexis Keyes is a native of the Midwest who has lived in four states so far and is looking forward to continuing her travels to new locations in the future. As a student of American Studies & Ethnicity at USC, Perri is excited to be able to combine two of her passions in the making of her thesis project: criminal justice reform and the art of filmmaking. Using a documentary format, her project explores the phenomenon of anti-gang legislation in California, with particular emphasis placed on Proposition 21 and civil gang injunctions. Through interviews with those closest to the issue, the film aims to bring the topic of anti-gang legislation down to a more intimate, human scale.  Thesis Adviser: Rafael Angulo

Mellissa Linton-Villafranco

Black Sand Conception: Interrogating Memory and Nostalgia in the Salvadoran Diaspora

Mellissa Linton-Villafranco is a graduating senior, emphasizing in English Literature and American Studies and Ethnicity. Mellissa is a queer, biracial woman who will begin graduate study Fall 2014. Her thesis locates Salvadoran diasporic experiences, using queer of color critique to interrogate “the homeland.” Mellissa uses textual analysis of poetry to rethink dominant representations of Central America, gender, and sexuality. She also focuses on cultural production that emerges out of grotesque state violence and memory to think critically about “home” within Los Angeles and the Mission District of San Francisco.  Thesis Adviser: Macarena Gomez-Barris

Marco A. Valadez

How the Undocumented Decolonize Economic Theory:

An Exploration of LA’s Segmented Labor Market

Marco is a senior double majoring in Economics and American Studies and Ethnicity with a minor in Business Entrepreneurship. He is interested in the intersectionality of these fields of study. A polymathic student by heart, Marco’s thesis is centered on the notion that the undocumented labor market proves beneficial and vital to the public good.  His paper explores how social normative behaviors in the undocumented day labor population of Los Angeles challenges Economics Theory. It also puts into question ideas of economic “rationality” and competition.

Thesis Adviser: Jeffrey B. Nugent

Shamoiya A. Washington

Democratizing Mobility:

A Comparative Analysis of the United States, Japan and France’s Immigration Laws

Shamoiya Washington is a Political Science and American Studies Ethnicity double major who has spent much of her undergraduate experience traveling the world. While abroad she developed an interest in how nation-states define citizenship. With a cross-continental focus, Shamoiya’s thesis studies mobility in relation to immigration, analyzing the successes and failures of multiple states. Given that freedom of mobility is a recognized human right by the United Nations Shamoiya assesses how the United States, France, and Japan address this concept within citizenship laws, immigrant integration, and other national exclusions. Thesis Adviser: Eliz Sanasarian



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Department of American Studies & Ethnicity

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University of Southern California

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