Student Projects

Ben Manger ’11, Dana Callahan ’13, Matthew George ‘12.5, and Clayton Pashke ’13: Restorative Justice at Middlebury College

Discuss this project in MiddLab
Session: Conflict Resolution and the Quest for Order- MBH 216 at 2:30 p.m. from the Undergraduate Research Spring Symposium
Faculty Sponsor: Jon Kidde, Sociology & Anthropology
Major: Philosophy

According to Howard Zehr (2002), “Restorative justice is a process to involve, to the extent possible, those who have a stake in a specific offense and to collectively identify and address harms, needs, and obligations, in order to heal and put things as right as possible.” In the following paper, we propose various methods of incorporating restorative practices into the Middlebury College judicial system. These practices usually include an open discussion between the victim and offender of a crime, in which the victim explains the impact of the crime on his/her life, and how the offender can repair the harm. We will address how restorative justice can meet the needs of offenders, victims, and our campus community in cases of academic dishonesty, sexual assault, and physical battery.

Christopher Rogers ‘09.5: Oath-Sworn: The Concept of Oath-taking in Northwestern Medieval Europe

Discuss this project in MiddLab
Session: Conflict Resolution and the Quest for Order- MBH 216 at 2:10 p.m. from the Undergraduate Research Spring Symposium
Faculty Sponsor: Louisa Burnham, History
Major: History
Oaths play an important role in our modern society from swearing-in procedures to Middlebury’s own Honor Code. A thousand years ago, oaths had a much larger role in early medieval society. Oaths were used to create artificial bonds between people. These bonds were the glue that kept the often violent early medieval society from falling apart. Compurgation, the legal defense that was based on the support of oath-helpers, swore not to the truth of a situation, but to the oath-helpers’ support of a litigant. Successfully passing Compurgation would prevent society from breaking out into a blood feud. This type of social control kept law and order in a decentralized state that was northwestern Europe in the early middle ages. My study focuses on the social history of the oaths in northwestern Viking Age Europe through a close examination of Norse Sagas and French and English epics.

Eleanor Johnstone ‘10: Dialogues of Tradition and Nationality in the Legal Systems of Cameroon’s Muslim North

Session: Conflict Resolution and the Quest for Order- MBH 216 at 1:50 p.m. from the Undergraduate Research Spring Symposium
Faculty Sponsor: Michael Sheridan, Sociology & Anthropology
Major: English & American Literature
During my study abroad experience with SIT’s Develo p.m.ent and Social Change program in Cameroon, I spent six weeks in Ngaoundéré, a large town in the country’s Muslim North. Using surveys, interviews, and secondary materials I examined the relationship between the national secular legal system and traditional Islamic Fulbe law. My goal was to explore the balance between the two systems and identify areas of tension; I was particularly interested to discover if the relationship impaired prospects for develo p.m.ent in Ngaoundéré’s community. Keeping issues of gender, religion, language, and nationalism in mind, I assessed the effect of the dual legal system on the civilian sense of choice and order. My presentation will give an overview of Cameroon’s national history and will address Ngaoundéré’s significance within this highly diverse country. I will then describe my research process and present its findings.