College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

School of World Languages and Cultures

2009 Capstone Class

The Spring 2009 WLC 400 Capstone Course was taught by Dr. Maria Zielina.

The Spring 2009 WLC 400: WLC Major Capstone: WLC Major Capstone Capstone Course was taught by Dr. Maria Zielina.

Student project abstracts are available below and were advised by Dr. Yoshiko Saito-Abbott, Dr. Maria Zielina, Dr. Donaldo Urioste and Dr. Shigeko Sekine.

The Capstone Festival was held May 14, 2009 and student presentations are available on YouTube.

  • バワーズ宏美 Hiromi Bowers

    Hiromi Bowers


    Japanese Folktales: Trends and Changes in Perceptions of Moral Values

    Advisor: Dr. Yoshiko Saito-Abbott and Dr. Shigeko Sekine

    日本昔話は古くから多くの日本人に親しまれ、そこに織り込まれている伝統的な価値観が、その昔話を通して次の世代へと受け継がれてきた。そのような価値観は昔話発祥当時の時世に見合った子供たちの道徳教育と深い関係があったと思われる。しかし日本の国際化が顕著な昨今、様々な外国文化に触れる機会を持つ日本人に日本昔話伝承の習慣は果たしてどのくらい守られているのだろうか。現代の日本人は日本昔話にみられる価値観にどのような意義を見出しているのだろうか。これらを考察するため、日本人を対象に意識調査を行ってみた。年齢別の統計を取ることにより、世代によってその意識にどのような隔たりがあるのかを追求した。また、日系アメリカ人へのインタビューを行い、日本昔話が彼らにとって 何を意味するのかを調査した。

    Japanese folktales play an important role in shaping Japanese children’s sense of morality. Japanese traditional moral values are passed on to the next generation through numerous folktales. These values reflect the society’s needs and wisdom at that time when the stories were originally created. However, the influx of foreign culture into modern Japanese society is seen by some as alarming in terms of its effect on traditional values. In this capstone, I researched how the custom of handing down traditional stories is faring in today’s Japan while it faces the age of globalization. How do contemporary Japanese people approach their folktales today and interpret the same traditional moral values, which remain unchanged in some of the folktales? Discoveries on this research, some of which were revealed by surveys targeted to the generations of Japanese populations, may be indicative of certain changes in Japanese society. I also conducted interviews with some of the first generation Japanese-Americans, who have experienced cultural conflicts that greatly impacted their new lives in the United States, and discovered what the significance of Japanese folktales and the traditional moral values are to them.

    Heather Jorgensen

    Heather Jorgensen

    Rigoberta Menchú y Domitila de Chungara: resistencia y testimonio

    Rigoberta Menchú and Domitila de Chungara: Resistance Testimony

    Advisor: Dr. María Zielina

    Mi Capstone es sobre Rigoberta Menchu, de Guatemala y Domitila de Chungara, de Bolivia, dos mujeres indígenas muy valerosas las que tuvieron la oportunidad de compartir sus experiencias con el resto del mundo y mostrar cómo fueron víctimas, en sus propios países, de discriminación racial y opresión social por el simple hecho de haber nacido mujeres y ser indígenas. Ambas mujeres aprovecharon el testimonio, género literario que desde la conquista ha brindado espacio a los marginados, discriminados, hablar desde una perspectiva autobiográfica.

    My Capstone is about Rigoberta Menchu, from Guatemala and Domitila de Chungara, from Bolivia, two very brave indigenous women that had the opportunity to share their experiences with the rest of the world and to show how they were victims, in their own countries, of racial discrimination and social oppression for the simple fact that they were born women and because they are indigenous. Both women made good use of testimony, a literary genre that since the conquest has assisted those who have been marginalized and discriminated against, to speak from an autobiographical perspective.

    Elizaura Magaña

    Elizaura Magaña

    Veracruz y la africanía: Aportación de los esclavos a la cultura mexicana

    Veracruz and the Africanía: The Contribution of the slaves to the Mexican Culture

    Advisor: Dr. María Zielina

    En este proyecto investigaré la aportación cultural de los esclavos africanos al estado de Veracruz. Primeramente, presentaré las causas por las cuales lo esclavos africanos arribaron a esta parte de México. Comentaré sobre la situación de los mismos durante y después de la conquista, y sus luchas para ganar su libertad. Después describiré cómo se presenta la influencia africana en este estado y el impacto de la africanía en la música, fiestas religiosas y literatura veracruzana de hoy. En este proyecto utilizaré entre otros los siguientes textos: Presencia africana en México de Luz María Martínez Montiel, La música afromestiza mexicana por Rolando A. Pérez Fernández, El negro esclavo en Nueva España: la formación colonial, la medicina popular, y otros ensayos por Gonzalo Aguirre Beltrán, Blacks in Colonial Veracruz: Race, Ethnicity, and Regional Development por Patrick James Carroll y La población negra de México por Gonzalo Aguirre Beltrán.

    In this project, I will study the cultural contribution of the African slaves to the state of Veracruz. First, I will present the reasons why the African slaves arrived to the Mexican state. I will explain their situation during and after the Spanish conquest, and their struggle to obtain freedom. Then, I will describe how the African influence is revealed in the state of Veracruz, and the impact it has on today’s music, religious feasts and literature. Among the texts that I will use are: Presencia africana en México by Luz María Martínez Montiel, La música afromestiza mexicana by Rolando A. Pérez Fernández, El negro esclavo en Nueva España: la formación colonial, la medicina popular, y otros ensayos by Gonzalo Aguirre Beltrán, Blacks in Colonial Veracruz: Race, Ethnicity, and Regional Development by Patrick James Carroll, and La población negra de México by Gonzalo Aguirre Beltrán.

    Akemi Maniwa

    Akemi Maniwa


    Trends of the Hero in “Tokusatsu” Films

    Advisor: Dr. Yoshiko Saito-Abbott and Dr. Shigeko Sekine




    Tokusatsu is a portmanteau of the words tokushu satsuei “????” which literally translates into special photography and refers to the Japanese style of special effects films and TV shows. This distinctly Japanese genre of video media has a rich history and cultural significance that belies its outwardly gimmicky appearance. The first tokusatsu film, Godzilla, was a response by filmmakers to the events of WWII, specifically the Atomic-bomb. Since then, tokusatsu has continued to entertain audiences around the world.

    There have been many developments and changes in the themes of tokusatsu that demonstrate the evolving Japanese awareness about social issues from 1954 to present day. This trend is reflected in the transformation of heroes in tokusatsu. The genre remains a strong television and movie staple of Japan as it continues to be popular even today.

    Examining the trends of the heroes of tokusatsu films and TV shows leads to a better understanding of the cultural mindset of the Japanese from Post-War Japan to present day. I investigated the reasons this genre and its heroes have continued to be successful and highly popular in Japan, while their popularity in the US has declined.

    Omar Mendoza

    Omar Mendoza

    Federico García Lorca y la Generación del ‘27: Deshumanización en Poeta en Nueva York.

    Federico Garcia Lorca and the Generation of ‘27: Dehumanization in Poet in New York.

    Advisor: Dr. María Zielina

    Los poemas que se encuentran en la colección poética Poeta en Nueva York , escritos por Federico García Lorca, han sido descritos como angustiosos, herméticos, casi irreales. Estos poemas hablan de la incursión del poeta en temas que abarcan desde la conciencia trágica del individuo hasta la muerte de seres humanos angustiados por la realidad despiadada. En mi Capstone, analizaré, el uso de las metáforas y el lenguaje surrealista que aparecen en la oda “Grito hacia Roma”, y después, cómo se revela el caos espiritual que se produjo por la crisis económica de 1929 en los habitantes de esta gran ciudad, utilizando el poema “La Aurora”.

    The collection of poetry found in Poet in New York, written by Federico García Lorca has been described as having surreal, anguish and hermetic sentiments. These poems speak about the poet’s incursion on themes that take on a tragic conscious of the individual up to the death of anguished human beings surrounded by a malicious reality. In my Capstone, I will analyze the use of the metaphor and the surrealist language that appears in the ode, “Cry to Rome,” and then, explore the spiritual chaos that the economic crisis of 1929 produced in the inhabitants of this great city, through the poem “The Dawn”.

    グレゴリー・マイルズ Gregory L. Miles

    Gregory L. Miles


    The Impact of Media; Realities and Misconceptions of “Hikikomori”

    Advisor: Dr. Yoshiko Saito-Abbott and Dr. Shigeko Sekine



    Hikikomori are members of Japanese society who have shut themselves away and rarely if ever come into contact with other people. While the number of Hikikomori in Japan is estimated at 1% of the total population, approximately 1,250,000 people, who have effectively removed themselves from society.

    There are many claims as to whether Hikikomori suffer from either a psychological disorder or from a societal disorder. However, each case is unique and there are no rules or patterns to the symptoms of Hikikomori. Many Hikikomori have the same reasons for sheltering themselves, often related to the social issues and problems that face Japan’s younger generation today. The issues at hand range from bullying to family relations and the effects of group mentality on individuals.

    Hikikomori is gaining more public acknowledgement as a problem that needs to be solved. Partially responsible for this is an increase in the number of support groups and private schools for socially challenged youths, as well as a growing amount of media coverage of the issue. In this capstone I researched not only what Hikikomori are, but also the causes and various ongoing rehabilitation efforts, and the impact popular media has on perceptions and treatment of Hikikomori.

    Gerardo Núñez

    Gerardo Núñez

    Cinco de Mayo: Otra Batalla Cultural

    Cinco de Mayo: Another Cultural Battle

    Advisor: Dr. María Zielina

    ¿Es importante el Cinco de Mayo para los descendientes mexicanos? Siendo mexicano y habiendo crecido en México, no recuerdo que este día se festejara en México de la misma forma en que se hace en los Estados Unidos. La mayoría de la gente en los Estados Unidos confunde el Cinco de Mayo con el día de la Independencia de México de España. Desconocen que es una fiesta patria mexicana, celebrada mayormente en Puebla, y en ella se festeja el triunfo del general Ignacio Zaragoza, mexicano, quien al mando de un limitado ejército derrotó las fuerzas napoleónica, el 5 de mayo de 1862.

    Mi propósito es presentar como la derrota sufrida por el poderoso sobrino de Napoleón Bonaparte, Maximiliano de Austria, a manos del General mexicano, Ignacio Zaragoza se ha convertido en un evento de comercialización masiva en los Estados Unidos. Durante la década de los setenta, los Chicanos reclamaron este día y lo convirtieron en un evento de resistencia e identidad cultural. Actualmente el Cinco de Mayo se ha reducido a un evento en que se resalta el folklore, la comida, y la música de las distintas regiones de México.

    Why is Cinco de Mayo important to Mexican descent? How everything started it? Why is this celebration so popular? Being Mexican and growing up in Mexico, I do not remember this date being celebrated in the same way as it is celebrated here in the US. The majority of the people here in the United States get confused between Cinco de Mayo and Mexican Independence Day, and they don’t know that the Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of patriotism held mainly in Puebla, Mexico, where the battle took place. In this celebration they honored the victory of General Ignacio Zaragoza, Mexican leader in charge of a limited army, who defeated the forces of Napoleon on May 5, 1862.

    The purpose of this presentation is to demonstrate how the defeat of the powerful nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, Maximiliam of Austria, by Mexican peasants has become an event of massive commercialization in the US. During the decade of the 70’s, Chicanos reclaimed this day and converted it into an event about cultural identity and resistance. Today, however, the Cinco de Mayo has been reduced to an event that highlights mainly folklore, food, and the music from different Mexican’s regions.

    Jesús Quintero

    Jesús Quintero

    La Raza cósmica. Visión del mestizaje latinoamericano dentro del pensamiento filosófico de José Vasconcelos.

    The Cosmic Race. The Vision of Latin-American Mestizaje Through the Philosophical Ideas of Jose Vasconcelos.

    Advisor: Dr. María Zielina

    En este proyecto analizaré los razonamientos que sobre el hombre latinoamericano expuso José Vasconcelos, importante filósofo, ensayista, y político mexicano en uno de sus ensayos más conocidos, La raza cósmica. Es en esta obra donde Vasconcelos lleva a cabo un análisis utópico y futurista sobre la humanidad, especial de Latinoamérica. La raza cósmica representa la identidad de los pueblos iberoamericanos, los que son forjadores de una nueva raza, la quinta raza. Esta raza cósmica representará los prototipos y anhelos del género humano. De acuerdo a Vasconcelos, esta nueva raza, la quinta raza, será la fusión no solamente de las diferentes razas, la blanca, negra, roja y amarilla, si no también de las diferentes culturas. Investigaré su pensamiento sobre el mestizaje, el proceso que él sugiere es necesario para la formación de esta raza universal. Analizaré el propósito y la misión que él sugiere para esta nueva raza, la forma en que él veía a los pueblos europeos y las razones que harían que este “nuevo hombre iberoamericano” superara a todas las razas anteriores. También estudiaré la filosofía que Vasconcelos expone sobre el positivismo, la estética, la armonía y el espiritismo dentro de su obra.

    In this Project, I will analyze the rationales exposed by Jose Vasconcelos, an important Mexican philosopher, writer, and Mexican politician, about the Latin-American race. The Cosmic Race represents the identity of the Ibero-America civilization, which according to the author will form this new race, the fifth race. Vasconcelos makes an utopist and futurist analysis about humanity, especially about the Latin America. This “cosmic race” will represent the purpose and desires of the human race. According to Vasconcelos, this new race, the fifth race, will be the fusion not only of the different races, white, black, red, and yellow, but also of the different cultures. I will investigate his philosophy about mestizaje and the process he suggests is needed to form this universal race. I will analyze the purpose and mission of this new race, the way he saw the European and Anglo-Saxon civilizations, and the reasons that would make this “new ibero-american race” surpass all past races. I will also study the philosophical ideas about positivism, aesthetics, harmony, and spirituality, exposed by Jose Vasconcelos in his work.

    Natalya Rimburg

    Natalya Rimburg

    Las contribuciones de Victoria Ocampo

    Victoria Ocampo’s Contributions

    Advisor: Dr. María Zielina

    Victoria Ocampo, mujer argentina, ha influido a mujeres, escritores y empresarios a tomar riesgos y discutir temas fuera de los estereotipos culturales y de género. Al exponer al mundo su trabajo literario, la trayectoria de su vida y las traducciones, Ocampo provocó que las mujeres y los escritores exploraran y discutieran temas que estaban prohibidos al mundo latino. Al traducir obras universales de español a otros idiomas, ayudó al resto del mundo a conocer a los escritores latinoamericanos y eliminar los prejuicios contra la gente de esos países. Para terminar este proyecto, usaré la información que obtuve durante mi viaje a Buenos Aires, sus testimonios y autobiografías artículos de la revista Sur y la red.

    Victoria Ocampo, a woman of Argentine descent, has influenced women, writers and entrepreneurs to take risks beyond their cultural and gender stereotypes. By daring to expose her unconventional opinions and actions through her critical essays and business endeavors, Ocampo provoked other women and writers to think and act beyond their comfort zones and aim for normatives generally not designated for marginalized groups in society. Additionally, with the establishment of Sur Editorial, Ocampo allowed Latin Americans to become familiar with foreign literature and art, and let other countries to become familiar with Argentina’s talents. By translating literary work into Spanish, she helped to revolutionize Latin American thought and inspire Latin American writers. In order to complete this project I will use personal research from my trip to Buenos Aires, Ocampo’s testimonies, autobiographies, analytical articles and the Internet.

    Antonio Romero

    Antonio Romero

    La cualidad única de la evolución lingüística en el norte de Nuevo México

    The uniqueness of the linguistic evolution in northern New Mexico

    Advisor: Dr. Donaldo Urioste

    El enfoque de esta investigación será sobre las variedades lingüísticas del español en el norte de Nuevo México desde la colonización española en el Siglo XVI hasta el Siglo XX. En esta región, el español ha evolucionado de una manera diferente en comparación con otras regiones tales como Tejas, California, Arizona y países como Argentina, Cuba y México. Por ejemplo las variedades en la pronunciación de algunas palabras, la conjugación de los verbos, los arcaísmos y los prestamos lingüísticos de otras idiomas. Examinare aspectos históricos, geográficos, políticos y culturales que han influenciado en las variaciones del español en la región del Norte de Nuevo México. Me concentrare en las comunidades de Santa Fe, Española, Taos, Córdova, Chimayo y Las Vegas.

    The focus of this investigation is on the linguistic variations of the Spanish spoken in Northern New Mexico from the time of the Spanish colonization of the 17th Century up to the 20th Century. In this region Spanish has evolved in a different manner in comparison with other regions such as Texas, California and Arizona, and countries such as Argentina, Cuba and Mexico. Linguistic variations are for example the variations in the pronunciation of certain words, the conjugation of verbs, archaisms, and loaned words from other languages. I will examine historical, geographical and political aspects that have influenced the development of the language in Northern New Mexico. My concentration will be on the communities of Santa Fe, Espanola, Taos, Cordova, Chimayo and Las Vegas.

    Theresa Shaw

    Theresa Shaw

    El arquetipo sevillano de Don Juan en la ópera Don Giovanni y el arquetipo de la cultura gitana en Sevilla en la ópera Carmen

    The Sevillian Archetype of Don Juan in the Opera Don Giovanni and the Archetype of Sevillian Gypsy Culture in the Opera Carmen

    Advisor: Dr. María Zielina

    El propósito de mi proyecto es analizar como dos arquetipos sevillanos son presentados en opera. Uno de los dos arquetipos es la figura de “Don Juan”, basando en la obra teatral El burlador de Sevilla, de Tirso de Molina. Investigaré como el cliché del hombre español como un mujeriego es presentado en la ópera Don Giovanni de Mozart. El otro arquetipo investigaré es un estereotipo cultural es la gitana intrigante, ladrón y seductora. Analizaré estos estereotipos culturales en la ópera Carmen de Georges Bizet. Para llevar a cabo el análisis de los dos arquetipos investigaré los origines, como son presentados en la opera como las óperas perpetúan los arquetipos y como influyeron la cultura sevillana hoy en día. Investigando estos arquetipos y estereotipos, espero que la audiencia entienda sus impactos en la cultura española y sevillana.

    The purpose of my project is to analyze how two sevillian archetypes are presented in opera. One of these archetypes is the figure of “Don Juan”, which is based on the play El Burlador de Sevilla, by Tirso de Molina. I will investigate how the cliché of the Spanish man as a womanizer is presented in Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni. The other archetype I shall investigate is a cultural stereotype, that of the gypsy as a schemer, a thief, and a seductress. I shall analyze these cultural stereotypes in the opera Carmen by Georges Bizet. To complete my analysis I shall explore the origins of the archetypes, how they are presented in opera, how opera has perpetuated the archetype, and how they have influenced sevillian culture today. By exploring these archetypes and stereotypes through opera I hope the audience understands their impact on Spanish and sevillian culture.

    Juan Torres

    Juan Torres

    Características de la literatura indigenista en Hombres de Maíz

    Characteristics of indigenous literature in Men of Maize

    Advisor: Dr. María Zielina

    La literatura indigenista es una de las varias ramas de la literatura latinoamericana. En ella se habla del maltrato que han sufrido los indígenas desde la colonización hasta la actualidad; de cómo fueron abusados a diferentes niveles y como se les veía y se les ve actualmente. A través de este género, los escritores humanizan al indio y se les refiere como seres humanos, no como herramientas de trabajo. Hay vastos libros en cuanto a este tema, tales como Hombres de maíz de Miguel Ángel Asturias, Raza de Bronce, de Alcides Arguedas, El mundo es ancho y ajeno, de Ciro Alegría, El indio, de Gregorio López y Fuentes, Balún Canán y Oficio de tinieblas de Rosario Castellanos y otros más. Yo me enfocaré en Hombres de maíz, libro escrito por el guatemalteco y premio Nobel de literatura Miguel Ángel Asturias. Describiré la creación de este libro y hablaré acerca de su autor. Analizaré las diferencias entre la literatura indianista e indigenista y el por que se considera Hombres de maíz un valido ejemplo del género indigenista.

    Indigenous literature is one of the several branches of the Latin-American literature. It discusses the mistreatment indigenous people had to go through since colonization to present times. Throughout this genre, writers humanize indigenous people and they shown them as real people, not as a work instrument. There are many books about the subject, such as Hombres de maíz, written by Miguel Ángel Asturias, Raza de Bronce, by Alcides Arguedas, El mundo es ancho y ajeno, by Ciro Alegría, El indio by Gregorio López y Fuentes, Balún Canán and Oficio de tinieblas by Rosario Castellanos, and others. I will focus on Hombres de maíz, a book written by Guatemalan author and Nobel Prize winner Miguel Ángel Asturias. I will describe the making of the book and discuss biographical information about the author. I will analyze the differences between literatura indigenista and literatura indianista and why Hombres de maíz is considered a valid example of the indigenous [literature] genre.

    ワン・ユフェイ YuFei Wang

    Yufei Wang


    Kaidan: Interpreter of Humanity through Social Oddities

    Advisor: Dr. Yoshiko Saito-Abbott and Dr. Shigeko Sekine

    日本の怪談としては小泉八雲の作品が国際的にも認められている。 日本では様々な民話伝説に加えて独創的に人格化させているため、彼の著した『怪談(Kwaidan)』は怪談を日本文学の位置に引き上げた作品と言える。日本では、近年怪談をテーマとしたアニメや漫画が数多く出回り人気がでている。その中にでてくる妖怪は昔の民話伝説に出てくる妖怪とは違い、非常に人間的に描写されており、親しみがわくキャラクターになっている。しかしその一方、現在怪談は日本や世界でもただ怖い話と見られている誤解も多い。このキャップストーンでは今若者がどのように最近の怪談物を理解しているか、その見解をアンケート調査を通して探ってみた。また最近の妖怪物は様々な社会問題を扱っているが昔の怪談がどのようして今の怪談の形を取るようになったのか、その変遷の要因を探ってみた。

    The Japanese literature genre of Kaidan, translated as "strange tales," is composed of enigmatic stories about spirits, monsters, and demons, often written in gruesome details. Kaidan are spoken-tales derived from folktales across Japan; during the Edo period (1603-1867), these stories were collected and published as a means of entertainment for the Japanese people. Later, during the Meiji period (1868-1912), Lafcadio Hearn's renowned work, Kwaidan, marked the pinnacle of Kaidan literature. Waning since the 19th century, today Kaidan is assumed only as Japanese ghost stories to Japanese and people around the world alike. Through investigating the structure of classic Kaidan and its modern representations in Japanese pop culture, this capstone will illustrate the cultural and social significance of Kaidan. Through the research, I found that Kaidan’s role as a social commentator facilitates the physical, emotional, and spiritual understanding of human lives in society. This capstone investigated how Kaidan has changed from its historical origins to the modern interpretations and the contributing factors.