Every year, the University Center for Human Values awards up to three prize(s) to senior theses that best apply ethical reasoning to advance our understanding of human values. Nominations for this prize are made by departments across the University.
2023 Senior Thesis Prize Winners
Department of Politics
THE REPUBLIC OF DRUNKARDS: The Political Pathogenesis of Addiction and Development of the Temperance Philosophy in America, From the Plymouth Colony to 1850
In Anthony’s outstanding study that is both impressive in scope and sophisticated in fine-grained analysis of source materials, Anthony shows how drunkenness was categorized and treated as a social ill in the early history of the United States. Despite an evolving understanding of alcoholism as a disease, she reveals how a persisting lack of sympathy permeated the various social responses to the addict’s predicament. Her study holds up a mirror to us today and offers us the chance to reflect on how we might equally be seeing certain states of affairs through a lens that is heavily conditioned by institutions and lack of scientific knowledge. Anthony's outstanding scholarship reveals how values shape us as much as we shape them.
Department of Philosophy
Animal Exploitation and the Capitalist Growth Drive: Towards an Ecosocialist Philosophy
In this impressive, intellectually sophisticated thesis, Bejarano makes original interventions in not just one philosophical area but in two. In its first half, the thesis argues that Marxist exploitation should be construed in terms of the concept of political domination, to offer not just an ethics for the treatment of animals but a political philosophy for sentient beings; in its second half, it explores the inherent damage which capitalist growth poses to the environment and sketches an ecosocialist alternative. Throughout, Bejarano’s work is exemplary in both its intellectual clarity and its moral relevance.
Department of Anthropology
‘Te Abre un Mundo’ │‘A World Opens to You’ : In and Out of the Clinical Gaze in Tijuana Migrant Healthcare
Brown’s thesis is an arresting and groundbreaking ethnographic study of migrant healthcare on the Mexico/United States frontera/border. In this exemplary thesis, Brown deftly weaves themes of health equity, environmental justice, and the conventional boundaries of humanitarianism throughout an ethnographically rich narrative of her fieldwork with a non-profit health clinic in Tijuana, Mexico. With compassion and originality, Brown invites us to expand our conventional understanding of medical ethics and humanitarian aid across borders.