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Undergraduate Fellows: 2013-2014

Nabila Abdallah

Philosophy, Stanford University

Unlawful Enemy Combatant? Non-state Participants in War

Adviser: Allen Weiner

Nabila Abdallah is a senior in Philosophy writing a thesis for Ethics in Society. Her focus on issues of global justice was established early on in her Stanford undergraduate career. Moving to California from Tanzania, she began her undergraduate education in the SLE program, and spent a quarter abroad at Oxford to study modern Islamic political theory and the philosophy of aesthetics. Most recently, she took an overseas history seminar in Istanbul before a gap year in France and Tanzania. Nabila is now a resident in the Crothers Global Citizenship program. She hopes to one day become fluent in French, Farsi, and Arabic.

Nabila's thesis questions whether the rights and duties of war that state combatants receive under international humanitarian law should extend to non-state combatants. From a single spontaneous civilian action to organized insurgencies, Nabila develops criteria for who counts as a non-state combatant. She furthermore examines how the right of self-defense should be weighed against the requirement of a legitimate representative authority and the observance of the discrimination principle. Nabila argues that outlining standards for non-state belligerents in the Geneva Conventions will show insurgent forces how to gain recognition from the international community while also providing better legal criteria to hold them against than the "unlawful enemy combatant" policy of the Bush Administration.

Andrew Aguilar

History, Stanford University

Un mal nécessaire: Secular Interventions in French Islam, 1970-2012

Adviser: Joel Beinin

Andrew Aguilar is a senior and a co-terminal MA student in History. His research focuses on the Modern Middle East, in particular the intellectual history of contemporary Islamic movements and Muslims living outside the Middle East. Andrew is also a Research Assistant for Dr. Lynn Eden, Associate Director for Research of the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC), where he works on the historical evolution of nuclear policy in the 1960s and 1970s. In addition to his academic work, Andrew works with The Phoenix Scholars, a non-profit organization that helps disadvantaged students apply for college, plays clarinet in a variety of campus ensembles, and enjoys eating out in order to keep his food blog updated.

Andrew’s thesis will explore the history of the French Council of the Muslim Faith, the official representative council for French Muslims. Established in 2003 with the help of Nicolas Sarkozy, the Council has become the de facto organization for Islam and involves many of the leading Muslim associations. By constructing a history of this organization and the several iterations that preceded it, Andrew will explore how the concept of laïcité (French secularism) has developed flexible applications in both the government space and the varying Muslim federations of France. The government call to make Islam laïc, which in itself could be considered as a violation of their self-imposed secularism, has resulted in many Muslim associations using the concept to appeal to government authorities or to serve as a method of criticism against other Muslim groups. Andrew hopes to ultimately define Islam français as a series of ‘Islams’ that use the concept of laïcité as their ultimate point of reference.

Shane Bauer

English, Stanford University

Narrative Unity and Self-Fashioning in Beckett's Trilogy

Adviser: Alex Woloch

Shane is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in English, with honors. His studies are focused on the relationship between philosophy and literature.  He is primarily interested in narrative theory and genetic criticism.  Outside of the classroom, Shane works at the Stanford Literary Lab as a research assistant, and at the Stanford Photography Lab as a darkroom manager.

Shane’s honors thesis concerns Samuel Beckett’s novels Watt, Molloy, Malone Dies, and The Unnamable.  It will analyze the transition in Beckett’s style between these novels as it relates to the development of what the scholar Porter Abbott calls Beckett’s ‘autography’. It also will examine the philosophical implications of an autographical reading of Beckett’s oeuvre.


Chloe Edmondson

French Literature (BA), Communications (MA), Stanford University

Between Sociability and Literature: Female Authorship in Enlightenment and Post-Revolutionary France

Adviser: Dan Edelstein

Chloe Edmondson will receive her Bachelor’s of Arts with Honors in French Literature and her Master’s in Communication this June from Stanford University. As a scholar of French, Chloe’s interests lie in the history of the 18th century, the literature and poetry of the 19th century, and continental philosophy.  The topic of Chloe’s honors thesis in French reflects her research interests at the crossroads of literature, history, and gender studies, as she examines the ways in which Enlightenment practices empowered women to exercise socio-cultural and intellectual agency in the world of letters.  For her Masters thesis in Communication, Chloe has delved deeper into questions of aesthetics and visual culture, as well as the construction of the self and the personal narrative.

Chloe’s work concerns women writers in eighteenth-century France. He focus lies on the salon hostess Julie de Lespinasse, and the authors Madame de Genlis and Madame de Staël, engaging in both a historical analysis of their roles in society and a literary analysis of their writings.  The emphasis on practices in the cultural historiography of recent years allows a very pragmatic understanding of Enlightenment society, demystifying the notion of the salon as a place of female empowerment. Chloe propose that the synthesis of a cultural analysis of the social practices of the eighteenth century with challenging the idea that sociability is independent of intellectual life illuminates the ways in which the Enlightenment was an empowering historical horizon for women.  She argues that Enlightenment practices afforded women both socio-cultural and intellectual agency in the world of letters, and that this legacy allowed a continued influence into the 19th century, which is seen in the social influence of these three women, as well as in their literary influence on Romanticism.


Brady Magaoay

Art History, Stanford University

Gendering the Abstract: A Feminist Analysis of Helen Frankenthaler

Adviser: Richard Meyer

Hailing from Lanai City Hawaii, Brady Magaoay is a senior in the Art History department with a steadfast premedical background. Brady always had a burgeoning interest in American art and has been captivated by the development and rise of the Abstract Expressionists. His honors thesis, Gendering the Abstract: A Feminist Analysis of Helen Frankenthaler, was inspired by the career of the Second Wave Abstract Expressionist Helen Frankenthaler and her reception as a woman, wife, and foremost an artist.  Brady has engaged with many opportunities at the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts from working with in the collections department to assisting with the curatorial development of the Flesh and Metal exhibition. He has also spent two summers interning at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital as well as the Massachusetts General Hospital.  Brady hopes to pursue both his passion for the arts and medicine in the future.  Beyond the classroom, he enjoys reading early 20th century literature, visiting museums, and of course the beach, sand, sun, and surf.

Brady’s thesis explores the role and figure of the female artist among the Abstract Expressionists, which was a male-dominated, very masculine art movement headlined by Jackson Pollock, the James Dean of the art world and the so-called Greatest Painter in the United States.  Brady studies the position that female artists occupied during this particular art historical moment through a feminist perspective, specifically analyzing the reception of Helen Frankenthaler as the Color Field painter and later wife of a fellow Abstract Expressionist artist Robert Motherwell. Brady proposes to deconstruct the sexual rhetoric ubiquitous within the criticism Frankenthaler and her art received. Ultimately, Brady hopes to gain a better understanding of how Helen Frankenthaler’s negotiation of her identity as a woman, wife, and female artist affected her career as a Second Wave Abstract Expressionist.

Micah Siegel

English, Stanford University

The French Translation and Periodical Reception of F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1926-1952

Adviser: Gavin Jones

Micah Siegel is majoring in English with a minor in French. Her interests include early twentieth century American and British literature, particularly American modernism, as well as translation and reception studies.

Micah’s project will examine the two earliest French translations of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s work, Gatsby le magnifique (1926) and Tendre est la nuit (1951), and their contemporary reception in newspapers, magazines, and journals. By analyzing book reviews and articles from different social and literary circles, Micah hopes to complicate current arguments about the initial dismissal of Fitzgerald’s writing in France, engage with broader questions of modernism’s relationship to popular culture, and track shifts in French attitudes toward Fitzgerald over time.

Mary Ann Toman-Miller

French and English, Stanford University

Gender Imbalances in French Legislative Bodies: Causes and Solutions

Adviser: Dan Edelstein


Mary Ann Toman-Miller is a senior, double majoring in French and English. She is a J.E. Sterling Award recipient for Scholastic Achievement, a research assistant for a French professor, a French department peer advisor, and tutor of high school students in French. In her extracurricular activities, she focuses on voter registration, recruitment and support of women and minority candidates at home and abroad to run for political office. Her passion for politics and international affairs led to her internships with congressional leaders in Washington, D.C. the past two summers. She was News Desk Editor for The Stanford Daily, writing articles focusing on politics and human trafficking. She’s on the Pre-Law Society Executive Board and serves on two Stanford University committees: the student member on the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for Non-Medical research and the Advisory Panel for Investment Responsibility and Licensing (APIR-L). In her spare time she is an avid golfer and social dancer.

Mary Ann’s French honors thesis is on the French legislative system and gender parity. The topic allows Mary Ann to combine her interest in France’s culture and her passion for politics into one body of work. Mary Ann has interviewed numerous French senators, legislators, and cabinet members to get their perspectives on how to achieve greater representation of women.

Molly Vorwerck

American Studies, Stanford University

Teenagers in Love: The Roots and Implications of the 1950s Teen Idol Phenomenon

Adviser: Richard Gilliam

Born in Long Beach, CA to baby boomer parents, Molly Vorwerck was raised on the music and culture of the ‘50s and ‘60s. On top of her love of all things Elvis, Molly is an American Studies major with a concentration in the history of American journalism, as well as a Creative Writing minor with a focus in prose. A longtime member of The Stanford Daily, Molly currently serves as the Managing Editor of the Weekend, The Daily’s Friday publication. Molly has previously interned at The Orange County Register, The San Jose Mercury News, and most recently, USA Today. During the fall of her junior year, Molly participated in Stanford in Washington, where she interned at the Legislative Branch of the National Archives and Records Administration. She credits her discovery of the Archives’ collection of Senate Committee on Juvenile Delinquency documents with encouraging her to pursue her honors thesis topic in 1950s teen culture – comic books, Elvis the Pelvis and all. Molly is a Peer Writing Tutor at the Hume Writing Center, a member of KZSU Stanford and the editor-in-chief of the American Studies newsletter.

During the early 1950s, social unrest brewed underneath the surface of what Life magazine advertisements, television sitcoms, shopping mall mannequins and other elements of mainstream popular culture portrayed as the American way in the form of non-conforming “teen-agers”, a formerly overlooked demographic that came to prominence with the baby boom. The ultimate representation and outlet for this individualism was the “teen idol,” a celebrity marketed especially for teenagers, that was, for all intents and purposes, a relative novelty. With her honors project, Molly assesses the historical, sociological and cultural factors that led to the rise of the teen idol in the mid-1950s. She discusses Elvis Presley and Ricky Nelson as representations of teen idols, connecting their rises to fame and place in adolescent culture as tangible examples of the teen idol phenomenon. While both celebrities’ “idolhood” was launched by the combined forces of the baby boom, rock ‘n roll and television, Nelson’s calculated trajectory to fame represents a means of riding the coattails of the raw, unpredictable Presley to appeal to more conservative audiences.