Class of 2022 Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program Fellows
Advisor: Peter Schmidt
Tristan Alston is a junior from Housatonic, MA, majoring in Peace & Conflict Studies (Honors) and minoring in both Black (Honors) and Environmental Studies. His research interests include the traditions of Black resistance, the racialization of space, and the intersections between Peace & Conflict and Black Studies. This past summer, he researched the 20th-century Black Freedom Movement, with a localized focus on rural grassroots organizing in the deep South. To build upon this research, he plans to examine the role of Black veterans and armed resistance in the history of activism within the U.S. Outside of academics, Tristan is a Writing Associate, a member of the Track and Field team, and a Lang Scholar. After graduating from Swarthmore, he hopes to pursue a PhD/JD joint degree graduate program.
Advisor: Micheline Rice-Maximin
Samantha Barnes, a junior double majoring in Peace & Conflict Studies and Political Science, studies ethnology, latinidad, and africana studies. During the summer of 2020, she researched a core group of Black feminist women who birthed the Négritude Movement, a French literary and social movement developed in the 1930s. She will continue to expand this research to explore how this movement is comparable to the Harlem Renaissance in the U.S and Negrísmo in Latin America as well as how multiculturalism and colonialism influence the Black female identity around the world. Outside of academics, Samantha has studied French and Spanish, is on the Swarthmore women’s soccer team, and volunteers with Design FC, an afterschool program at Stetser Elementary in Chester, Pa. that encourages creative design thinking and self expression for 5th and 6th graders.
Advisor: Farha Ghannam
Anuk DeSilva is a junior double majoring in Diaspora Studies and Anthropology and Peace & Conflict Studies. With academic and research interests relating to South Asia, “third gender” studies, and diasporic gender and sexuality, this summer, Anuk built on knowledge of the interplays in South Asian studies, anthropology, diaspora studies, and gender and sexuality studies; this culminated in the creation of an annotated bibliography of sources discussing trans, nonbinary, and “third gender” South Asian and South Asian diasporic experiences, histories, and identities. In the upcoming year, Anuk will be preparing to conduct summer field research by designing methods to interrogate how trans and nonbinary South Asian American youth relate their understandings of personal and communal identity to those of South Asian “third gender” communities. Anuk hopes to attend a PhD program in anthropology, specializing within South Asia and South Asian diasporas.
Advisor: Diego Armus
Sonia Linares is a junior double majoring in History and Peace & Conflict Studies. Her research interests include analyzing how United States intervention in the Cold War Era has affected the development of Latin American countries, specifically El Salvador. Through her research this summer, she placed actions by the US government—such as deportations—in dialogue with the current crisis in El Salvador. She also researched alternatives to punitive punishment in El Salvador—a country whose government has often sought to decrease gang violence through increases in punishment by incarceration and policing. She intends for her research to inform a thesis project that maps the history of U.S. intervention, while simultaneously addressing the ways Salvadorans are finding justice through their own means. After Swarthmore, Sonia plans to pursue doctoral studies in an interdisciplinary field.
Murtaza F. Ukani
Advisor: Ahmad Shokr
Murtaza Ukani is a junior from Skokie, Illinois who is double majoring in Anthropology and Sociology and Peace & Conflict Studies. His research interests trace transoceanic commercial, economic, and cultural exchanges in the Indian Ocean basin between the Swahili Coast, Arabian Peninsula, and western India. In the summer of 2020, he sharpened his ethnographic skills in economic anthropology and immersed himself in the foundational works of the emerging field of Indian Ocean basin studies. During the academic year, he will continue his involvement with Swarthmore’s Student Government Organization—serving as student body president—and will enjoy spending his weekends with Swarthmore’s archery club. He intends on entering a graduate program with an economic anthropology emphasis after Swarthmore.