By Mathew Bell
Adviser: Dr. Melissa Scheier
There are few issues more contentious in the modern political discourse than those dealing with religion and the First Amendment. Many argue that the level of separation, as interpreted by the Supreme Court in the last half century, inaccurately subjugates the church to the rule of the state as was not intended by the Founders, while the opposite end of the spectrum argues for the removal of “In God We Trust” from our coins and “One Nation, Under God,” from our Pledge of Allegiance. The facts of the dispute, as demonstrated by Court precedent and the writings and workings of the most influential Founding Fathers, tends to support a somewhat moderated view of the latter, that Church and State are meant, and were meant, to be separate as much as could be, and that each entity, within the realm of ecclesiastic and civic authority, respectively, should be independent of the other. This paper discusses the historical and legal precedents for American separation of Church and State, and applies the principles obtained from such analysis to modern contentious political issues in an attempt to resolve any controversy over the true legal aspects of these arguments.
By Adam Brown
Adviser: Dr. Rosemary Allen
In this thesis, I attempt to address the issue of adolescent conformity as presented in Young Adult Literature. More specifically, I focus on the groups to which a teen conforms, the extremes of conformity, and the happy medium of teenage conformity all within the context of five Young Adult novels. The novels used in the thesis are Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson; Chinese Handcuffs by Chris Crutcher; Hereâ€™s to You, Rachel Robinson by Judy Blume; House of Stairs by William Sleator; and The Rag and Bone Shop by Robert Cormier. These books represent several genres within Young Adult Literature, ranging from science fiction (of sorts) to a story that is essentially historical fiction; the narrative styles vary and the plots are completely different.
With the analysis of the aforementioned YA novels, the thesis first focuses on adolescent conformity to the family, to authority and to peers. Each novel provides different avenues of discussion for each group (family, authority, and peers) and all five repeatedly reveal the complex yet common aspects of such conformity. Teenagers often conform to something, this is common, but it is often difficult for a teenager to determine to what they should conform, how they should conform, and how they maintain a sense of identityâ€”and conformity doesnâ€™t look the same for all adolescents! Teenagers often need family, good authority, and a balance between peer conformity and individual identity as evidenced by the novels and accompanying research. Several novels also illustrate the two extremes of conformity: complete isolation and complete conformity. Each novel that deals with excessive conformity or isolation does so in a negative fashion and never truly favors either extreme. Almost all of the five novels converge on the idea of a happy mediumâ€”in true Aristotelian fashionâ€”of conformity (one novel does not present a round character that touches on the happy medium), advocating a strong sense of self while conforming to social norms, etc.
By Adam Glover
Adviser: Dr. Norman Wrizba
Although Adam can write a mean thesis, he never got around to providing an abstract.