Undergrad Research: Honors Thesis Symposium TODAY

University of Texas

Research week at UT begins next week, and the American Studies honors thesis writers will be presenting a year’s worth of hard work at our annual symposium on Wednesday, April 17, 5:30-7:30pm in Burdine 214. Below are some brief remarks about each thesis and each presenter. Come by to see the great work these students have done!

Aaron Davatgar


Amanda Martin, “Pole Power: A Photographic Exploration of Pole Dancing Fitness as ‘Female Empowerment'”

“Pole Power” is an interdisciplinary thesis exploring the ways contemporary women claim “empowerment” through mediums some feminist scholars consider regressive. For this creative project, I am photographing members of a pole fitness studio and performance troupe called Brass Ovaries.

Amanda Martin is a senior in American Studies with a minor in photojournalism. She was first introduced to photography and writing while working for her high school newspaper. Since then, she has cultivated a deep love for telling human stories, both visually and verbally. After she graduates in May, she plans to continue pursuing freelance photography.


Lawrence Peart, “Objects of whatever, people and their things”

“Objects of whatever” is a visual exploration of people and the objects they find significant to their identity, well-being, or sense-of self. For this project I photographed a selection of individuals alongside an object they regarded as especially significant, and interviewed each person about their object and what it meant to them.

Lawrence Peart is a senior in American Studies and International Relations, and has been working with photography as a medium for the past three years.


Richard Stein, “Home Lost and Found: Sonobeat Records and the Formation of the Austin Music Scene”

In the late 1960’s Austin, Texas was a growing city of 200,000+ people.  Known for its universities and the state capital, Austin’s music scene consisted primarily of a handful of bands playing fraternity parties and the occasional club gig.  In 1967 the father and son duo Bill Josey Sr. and Bill Josey Jr. formed Sonobeat records and began to record their favorite local groups around town.  Many of the musicians they recorded would go on to become nationally recognized artists and would play a major part in establishing Austin as the “Live Music Capital of the World.”

Ricky Stein is a 28-year-old American studies senior, aspiring singer/songwriter, and lover of Austin music.  A second-generation Austin musician and third-generation Longhorn, Stein has contributed to The Daily Texan as a music columnist and has written and released two critically-acclaimed self-produced albums.  He became interested in the story of Sonobeat Records and its place in Austin history while interning for KLRU-TV.


Laramie Stroud, “Inside Looking Out: The Relationship Between the Johnson White House and the Civil Rights Movement”

The years 1957-1969 saw arguably the most decisive victories for civil rights since the 1860s. Beginning with the successful maneuvering of the Civil Rights Act of 1957, as Senate majority leader to the eventual signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as President, Lyndon Johnson showed special interest in carrying the cause of civil rights. The purpose of the research is to analyze the strenuous, but yet successful relationship between the Johnson White House and the civil rights movement.

Laramie Stroud is a senior double-majoring in American Studies and Government. His desire to study both the Civil Rights Movement and the 1960s coalesced in this work in order to shine a different light upon the various relationships within the Movement. Upon graduation, Laramie hopes to attend law school and eventually serve in a public capacity.


Lauren White, “Don’t Blame the Grease, Blame the Media: Soul Food, Neo-Soul, and the Media”

“Don’t Blame the Grease, Blame the Media” is an analysis of African-American soul food culture and its portrayal in the media. By discussing the history of soul food, it will lend credibility to the mostly silent neo-soul food movement and debunk the popular image of traditional soul food as being the only authentic choice. Soul food can be prepared to meet all dietary needs and still encompass the rich flavors of African-American cuisine.

Lauren White is an American Studies senior and ethnomusicology minor. Food culture has always been a part of her life, but she did not truly begin examining it until her junior year. She fostered this and her other interests by writing articles for food studies and pop/geek culture blogs and refined her analysis skills in the process. She hopes that her interest in food, music, and pop culture will continue to coexist peacefully in her graduate studies.

One comment on “Undergrad Research: Honors Thesis Symposium TODAY

  1. […] recently featured some of the fascinating theses from our graduating honors undergraduates, and we’d like to take a moment to congratulate some of our graduate students who will be […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s