Honors Students and Papers

Class of 2022

Honors Students and Papers

Philip Schnabel Cavallo: "Football, Italian Immigrants, and Argentinidad: Luis Monti, Raimundo Orsi, and Guillermo Stábile as Agents of Nationalism" 

This research analyzes three Argentine footballers and their impact on the national identity of male Italian immigrants in Argentina in the 1920s and early 30s. Luis Monti, Raimundo Orsi, and Guillermo Stábile were of Italian descent and played for three of the most popular clubs in Argentina at the time, San Lorenzo de Almagro, Independiente, and Huracán, respectively. Local newspapers promoted the trio as Argentine icons because of their success domestically and internationally, including the 1928 Olympics and 1930 World Cup. Italian immigrants connected to the trio’s immigrant ancestry and perceived them as Argentine symbols. Articles from the newspapers La Nación and La Prensa, and report and balance sheets for the Argentine leagues in the 1920s and 30s serve as the main sources for this project. The research adds a new dimension to English language scholarship on football in Latin America and contributes new analysis of individual players as agents of nationalism through football.

Niharika Thakur: "Sustaining Dissent: Role and Impact of Student Protesters during Indira Gandhi's Emergency, 1975-1977"

The Emergency was a 21-month period when Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India, declared a national emergency and ruled by decree from 1975-1977. This period is characterized by the suspension of elections and civil liberties, censorship of the press, and mass arrests of political opponents, and is considered the closest India has teetered towards a dictatorship since gaining independence. My research seeks to shed light on the role and impact of student protesters in sustaining dissent against the Emergency. I accomplish this through a combination of secondary and primary sources, centering around the Shah Commission papers and oral history interviews with student protesters in Mumbai. I broadly categorize students’ resistance activities as covert and overt methods of resistance. The covert methods of resistance include smuggling opposition leaders and passing messages between jailed leaders and other party members. The overt methods are centered around satyagraha, which were protests carried out by students in universities and other public areas. I argue that these resistance activities had two main impacts: the first is that students’ relative anonymity allowed them to secretly maintain the political machinery of the opposition parties while their leaders were imprisoned, thus assisting in the formation of Janata Party which defeated Indira Gandhi in the 1977 elections after the Emergency ended. The second impact is that through evoking imagery of Indian freedom fighters when doing satyagraha, students gained a lot of personal legitimacy that enabled them to convince their community members, especially those who were ambivalent towards Indira Gandhi’s actions, to oppose the Emergency. The experience of the Emergency cemented students as political actors with the ability to influence change in India, and gave birth to a new generation of political leaders.  

Hannah Yeager: "Constructions of Political Legitimacy in Post-Soviet Russia and Belarus: The Personality Cult and Alternative Forms of Authority-Making under Putin and Lukashenko"

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia and Belarus, like other post-Soviet republics, had to redefine themselves. Alexander Lukashenko was elected as Belarusian President in 1994, and Vladimir Putin was made acting President of Russia on December 31, 1999. I decided to conduct a comparative study on the political legitimation techniques of each of these leaders, particularly with regard to the notion of the personality cult. I was especially interested in comparing Belarus and Russia, given their cultural, historical, socio-political and linguistic proximities to each other. Expanding upon existing scholarship and contributing  an  original comparative analysis of Lukashenko and Putin, I argue that in contrast to Putin’s established cult of personality, Lukashenko relies on alternative forms of authority-making, including: reliance on the Soviet and Great Patriotic War legacy (an aspect that David Marples originally identified and which I expand upon by  accounting for the continued use of this aspect since Marples wrote in 2014), ruthless state control and an absence of a public personality or fandom, and inciting fear about alleged “external enemies.” I use a combination of primary and secondary literature in this work. My primary sources include: images and posters, speeches, newspaper articles, videos, and websites. Ultimately, this project can serve as a jumping off point for future research on Putin and his contemporaries’ sources of political legitimacy in the post-Soviet sphere. Finally, this project highlights the importance of accounting for how history is used by different leaders to fulfill different ends,  as well as how issues of national identity are central to research on personality cults and other forms of authority-making at large.