Deconstructing Butter

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Can a fiction based upon a hoax tell us anything about who we are? “Spinning Into Butter” is a controversial and award-winning play, inspired by a racial incident that occurred while playwright Rebecca Gilman was a student at Middlebury in the early ’80s. On April 9th a multi-racial cast presented scenes from “Spinning Into Butter,” interspersed with audience reactions, to explore the script, its source material, and how we experience and respond to race at Middlebury in 2010.

Sophia Wang ‘13: The Splendor of Europe: Art Markets in Antwerp, Amsterdam, and London

The Global Market- MBH 216 at 6:00 p.m. from the Undergraduate Research Spring Symposium
Faculty Sponsor: Pieter Broucke, History of Art & Architecture
Major: International Studies

This research endeavor will bring us to the art markets of Antwerp, Amsterdam and London from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries—a time of great intellectual ferment across Europe, birthed by a burgeoning interest in the cradles of Western civilization. We shall explore these markets from cultural, geographic, political and economic angles, concentrating on an aspect peculiar to each city. Thanks in part to its strategic crossroads location, the Antwerp market developed earliest, nurturing a dynamic, cosmopolitan scene. Amsterdam, which inherited the role of international art center in the wake of political upheaval, boasted a democratic system, luring many a middle-class collector and artist. We shall also discuss financial difficulties that artists, notably Rembrandt, may have faced. Lastly, we shall leave the continent, venturing across the English Channel to roost in London, which itself came to showcase a glittering auction and art market, dominated by the royalty and aristocracy.

Doug Shultz ‘10: The Changing Landscape of Migrant Labor Markets in China: Differences in Compensation Across Space

Session: The Global Market- MBH 216 at 5:40 p.m. from the Undergraduate Research Spring Symposium
Faculty Sponsor: Anne Knowles, Geography
Major: Geography/Economics

Chinese household registration policy classifies each citizen as either an urban or rural dweller. Based upon factors such as birthplace and parents’ birthplace, this classification can generally be changed only by graduates of higher education, wealthy people, or government employees. As China’s coastal urban economies began to rapidly develop in the late 1970s and 1980s, many rural dwellers migrated to cities in search of higher wages. These migrant laborers were not able to receive the services (e.g., child education, health care, job protection) provided to urban dwellers by local city governments. Over the last decade, however, some migrant laborers began to receive services such as medical insurance, unemployment insurance, or pension funds. This paper uses data from the 2002 Chinese Household Income Project Survey to analyze the economic, social, and spatial attributes of the group of laborers receiving these forms of compensation. Preliminary results show that employers are more likely to offer these types of increased compensation when they are located in more mature job markets where the supply of jobs exceeds demand.

Emily Gullickson ‘10: Gastronomic Hierarchies of Value: A Case Study of the Market for French AOC Wines

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Session: The Global Market- MBH 216 at 5:20 p.m. from the Undergraduate Research Spring Symposium
Faculty Sponsor: Thierry Warin, International Studies; Linus Owens, Sociology & Anthropology
Major: International Studies

The business model of the food industry, as it stands today, is unsustainable. Dominated by fast food and international agribusinesses, the industry increasingly wreaks havoc on traditional agricultural processes, nutrition, and the distance between producer and consumer. To counter these negative trends, organizations like Slow Food International have begun to champion the importance of “quality” for health, the environment, and the art of gastronomy. But what does quality mean and what will be its impact on the global food industry? An analysis of wines produced in France and labeled with the government-sponsored quality certification system, Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée, reveals that an emphasis on quality and geography, rather than brand, makes the food market more monopolistically competitive, more inclusive yet hierarchical. Furthermore, quality changes the values of the food industry from efficiency and low-prices to diversity and people’s fundamental right food that is “good, clean and fair.”

J.P. Allen ‘11: Made in Tianguis: Informal Commerce in Guadalajara, Mexico

Session: The Global Market- MBH 216 at 5:00 p.m. from the Undergraduate Research Spring Symposium
Faculty Sponsor: Nicole Chance, International Programs & Off Campus Study
Major: Political Science

Guadalajara, Mexico’s second largest city, has grown and thrived primarily through commerce. Often the most important kind of commerce in the city is informal buying and selling at unfixed prices in unfixed or temporary locations. Important aspects of Tapatían (Guadalajaran) culture are represented in the day-to-day activity of street vendors and tianguis (open-air markets): the mixture of the sacred and the mundane, attitudes toward piracy and images, and above all, a focus on customs rather than rules. This project gathers information from maps, photographs, the historical record, interviews, and personal experiences to tell a brief story of Tapatían culture as revealed through the tianguis tent. This presentation is adapted from a long-form essay (in Spanish), written during a semester on Middlebury’s program in Guadalajara.

Derek Matus ‘12: Architecture and Identity: Moshe Safdie’s Ben Gurion Airport

Session: Jewish Identity: Influences and Reflections- MBH 216 at 3:30 p.m. from the Undergraduate Research Spring Symposium
Faculty Sponsor: Jennifer Hock, History of Art & Architecture
Major: History of Art & Architecture/Studio Art

My presentation will discuss the construction of cultural identity in contemporary architecture through the work of Moshe Safdie in his native Israel. I will examine the various influences on his practice, from the tradition of vernacular, Islamic architecture that has developed in Palestine for centuries, to European Modernism introduced by 20th century Jewish immigrants, as exemplified by the Bauhaus movement in Tel Aviv, and relate them to the contemporary discourse of critical regionalism. Specifically, I will refer to Safdie’s theoretical work and his project at Terminal 3 at Ben Gurion, Israel’s principal international airport, to analyze how the architect has constructed an experience that approaches the complex issue of a unified Israeli identity.