The Department of Political Science has recognized Helena Taye '12 (political science) and Lilian Chukwurah '12 (legal studies) for their outstanding, original research this semester by awarding them the Department's annual Best Thesis Awards. Taye and Chukwurah, whose theses were unanimously chosen for this honor, each received a cash award in recognition of their work.
According to Taye, "the number of people living in poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa has nearly doubled, from 200 million in 1981 to nearly 380 million in 2005." Such a change has encouraged debate about underdeveloped countries and economic development, and this debate is what intrigued her to pursue an honors thesis. Her thesis, "David and Goliath: Does Political Consensus Support Economic Development in Sub-Saharan Africa?," explores "whether or not political consensus within the state among citizens in eighteen African countries affects their economic development." Her findings suggest that increased levels of political consensus are in fact associated with economic development. Taye's work was supervised by Professors John Brigham and Carlene Edie.
Chukwurah's research examined "The Use of Humanitarian Rhetoric in the Iraq War: A Portrayal of the 'Other.'" Chukwurah notes that "Scholars have discussed the legality of the war and its connection to imperialistic ideologies. ... I argue that in light of the illegitimacy of other justifications for war under international law, President Bush used humanitarian rhetoric to gain support for the war." She explores this rhetoric by examining key speeches made by President Bush throughout his two terms in office and argues that such humanitarian justifications coincided with "the construction of Iraqis as the 'other.'" Chukwurah's thesis was supervised by Professor Diana Yoon.
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