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STUDENT PROJECTS

Beginning with Graduate Student Dissertations, this site summarizes and provides links for University of Michigan student projects that address the topic of citizenship. 

GRADUATE STUDENT DISSERTATIONS

Doctoral students from various University of Michigan schools and departments are working on or have recently completed dissertations related to citizenship. 

INCORPORATING IMMIGRANTS THE SPANISH WAY: NATIONALISM, SECURITY,
AND THE POLITICS OF EXCEPTION

Avraham Astor, Sociology Department
Contact: aastor@umich.edu
Faculty Advisor: Genevieve Zubrzycki

My research focuses on the ways in which Spanish society as a whole and particular regions within Spain are coming to grips with the recent influx of immigrants from developing countries.  I examine the ways in which nationalism, security concerns, and membership in the European Union are shaping this process.

THE AUTONOMY FOSTERING STATE: CITIZENSHIP AND SOCIAL SERVICE DELIVERY
Elizabeth Ben-Ishai, Political Science Department
Contact: benishai@umich.edu
Faculty advisor: Mika LaVaque-Manty

I argue that the state must play a central role, through delivery of social welfare services, in fostering the capacity for autonomy in its citizens, particularly those who are vulnerable or have been historically marginalized.  Autonomy, I claim, is a requirement for attaining full citizenship rights in contemporary democracies.

FINDING MECCA IN AMERICA: AMERICAN MUSLIMS AND CULTURAL CITIZENSHIP
Mucahit Bilici, Sociology Department
Contact: mbilici@umich.edu
Faculty Advisors: Fatma Muge Gocek, chair; Michael Kennedy; Andrew Shryock; Margaret Somers; and Genevieve Zubrzycki

My dissertation is a study of Islam in the United States through the prism of cultural citizenship. It focuses on the cultural incorporation of Islam as an American religion, exploring the various citizenship practices of American Muslims in the post-9/11 era.

GRASSROOTS FEMINISM: DIRECT ACTION ORGANIZING AND COALITION BUILDING
IN NEW YORK CITY, 1955-1995

Tamar Carroll, History Department
Contact: twcarrol@umich.edu
Co-chairs: Gina Morantz-Sanchez and Matthew Lassiter

My study of grassroots women’s activism in post-WWII New York City suggests that identity-based politics – often conceived of as inherently fragmentary – rather offered an important resource to groups seeking inclusion in the New Deal state’s promise of expanded citizenship.

ISLAMISM AMONG THE URBAN POOR OF TURKEY: RELIGION, COMMUNITY,
AND CLASS IN EVERYDAY POLITICAL INTERACTION

Cihan Tugal, Sociology Department
Contact: ctugal@berkeley.edu
Faculty Advisors: Müge Göçek, Howard Kimeldorf, George Steinmetz

The rise of religious movements worldwide has challenged long held expectations concerning the ultimate separation of religion and politics. The predominance of Islamic movements in Turkey is especially puzzling, as it is the most secularized Muslim country. This dissertation analyzes the mechanisms which lie beneath the politicization of religion.

COSMOPOLITAN NATIONALISM: THE EMERGENCE OF TRANSNATIONALITY
IN JAPANESE CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS

Hiro Saito, Sociology Department
Contact: hsaito@umich.edu
Faculty Advisors: Michael Kennedy and Julia Adams

My dissertation examines the development of new forms of national identity, cognition of national groups, and civic consciousness in Japanese youth—concurrent with globalization that has been transforming the nation-state—and probes socio-cultural conditions of emergence of cosmopolitan nationalism that imagines and confronts global risks while embedded in local belongings.  

Does Casework Build Democracy? Legislative Representation and Public Opinion in the Middle East and North Africa
Lindsay Benstead, Political Science and Public Policy
Contact: lbenstea@umich.edu
Faculty Advisors: Mark Tessler and Susan Waltz

Few studies of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region gather systematic evidence concerning the constituency service activities of Members of Parliament and their impact on public opinion.  This lack of attention is particularly surprising given the critical importance of strong public support of democracy for democratic transition and consolidation to occur.  How do Members of Parliament in liberalizing regimes define representation and to what extent does this compare with the attitudes and evaluations of citizens?  Using survey data from a random cluster sample of electoral districts in Algeria, the paper addresses several aspects of representation by matching data from Members of Parliament about their representational activities, such as how much time they devote to casework, with perceptions of citizens in their constituencies.  The project uses multivariate models to test the effect of casework requests on citizens’ confidence in the government, the Parliament, and democracy as the best form of government. 

COLLEGE STUDENT RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION AND SPIRITUAL IDENTITY:
A QUALITATIVE STUDY

Jenny L. Small , Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education
Contact : jlsmall@umich.edu
Faculty advisors : Edward St. John (chair), John Burkhardt, Lesley Rex, David Schoem

This dissertation is based on a new conceptual framework that removes the Christian content predominant in theories explaining how faith and spirituality develop over a person's lifespan. The research questions ask how Christian and non-Christian students use language to conceptualize their own spirituality and how religious affiliation impacts spiritual identities.