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Open Access Publications from the University of California


Aleph (pronounced “ah-lef”) is UCLA’s undergraduate research journal for the humanities, social sciences, and behavioral sciences. Aleph publishes one issue each year in both print and open access formats. The journal reflects the quality and breadth of undergraduate research at UCLA, and is sponsored by the UCLA Undergraduate Research Center for the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences.


Issue cover
Undergraduate Research Journal for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Letter from the Editor

Letter from the Editor

Jillien Keim Malott

Editor-In-Chief, 2018-2019


Prejudices and Obstacles Immigrant Students Face in the Los Angeles Unified School District

California law states that “all children in the United States are entitled to equal access to a public elementary and secondary education without regard to their or their parents’ actual or perceived national origin, citizenship, or immigration status,” (U.S. Department of Education). If the previously stated law is true, why are immigrant students isolated in English Learner Development (ELD) classrooms? Why is it difficult to reclassify English learner students as English proficient? Why are teachers not properly trained to teach immigrant students? Why do foreign-born students perform poorly and drop out of school? My goal is to answer these questions as well as elucidate the prejudices, injustices, and corrupt enforcements that are inflicted upon immigrant students in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). The presence of these unjust principles is exemplified by my internship experience during the fall of 2017 at a LAUSD high school located in the San Fernando Valley; the school has asked to remain anonymous for legal reasons. Despite this anonymity, the obstacles and situations these immigrant students face should be known and addressed by the public.

Fickle Fortune: Pinning Down Fortune in 16th Century Italy

The allegorical significance of Fortune in Dosso Dossi’s Allegory of Fortune has been largely unstudied. Though the painting’s patronage cannot be confirmed, the few scholars who have written on Dossi’s piece agree that Isabella d’Este is the most likely patron. If this is the case, then Isabella d’Este’s role as the commissioner of this work must be taken into account. This paper proposes that the Allegory of Fortune is not just an allegorical representation of the quality of Fortune, but an allegory for Isabella d’Este’s own struggles with fortune. By depicting such a temporal quality in a permanent state, Isabella d’Este was asserting her control over her own fortunes in life. This idea is echoed in other representations of Fortune, as well as in a Latin poem that claims that artists can assert their power over Fortune through the physical act of representing her. By giving shape to an intangible quality, both artists and patrons in the 16th century were able to trap Fortune and proclaim her to be their own. Yet in spite of these efforts, representations of Fortune continued to change, reaffirming her volatile nature.

The Invisible Labor of UCLA Southeast Asian Student Organizations: Investigating the Work That Goes Behind Enacting Diversity

This research combines the frameworks of campus climate and invisible labor to investigate th eannual Southeast Asian (SEA) Admit Weekend programat the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). This research explores campus diversity work by asking how the SEA Admit Weekend program contributes to UCLA’s campus diversity and how UCLA as an institution continues to overlook SEA student diversity work. By utilizing campus climate, invisible labor, and interviews with UCLA students and staff affiliated with the SEA Admit program, this research uncovers the sociopolitical and cultural implications of student diversity work.The findings show that student diversity work, as demonstrated by the SEA Admit program, dismantles institutionalized racism, while UCLA as an institution overlooks the imposed student labor that this diversity work necessitates. As a result, SEA students face higher levels of academic stress, time constraints, and economic hardship. This research provides suggestions for how universities can further work with under represented student groups on campus to meet diversity goals.

Female Linguistic Differences Based on the Addressee’s Gender in Fox News Coverage

Journalism outlets provide coverage of Capitol Hill’s endeavors, but the passion and tension within the political atmosphere can elicit subconscious bias in treatment of interviewed parties. This study selects three female anchors’ respective July 12, 2018 Fox News broadcasts and analyzes their gender-isolating tendencies to offer mitigative or assertive language when engaging with male versus female interviewees. The data collected for the three anchors followed a trend of utilizing authoritative forms of language towards women and deferring with reservation towards men. These anchors displayed selective choices in the visibility of expressing dissent with significantly more interruptions of female guests and a greater use of hedges towards male guests. When accounting for the political parties of the interviewees, the anchors offered more deference to Democratic male guests than female Republican guests or female Fox News correspondents. These findings indicated a sociolinguistic difference which could possibly indicate a denial of equal opportunity to female interviewees on news broadcasts.

U.S. Central American Students in Higher Education: Finding a Sense of Belonging

This paper highlights the overlooked experiences of U.S. Central Americans in higher education. Given the absence of Central American studies departments and various shared experiences with Mexican communities in the Southwest, this study analyzes how Chicana/o/x studies departments can serve as relatable spaces for U.S. Central Americans. This study draws from eight semi-structured interviews with U.S. Central Americans in UCLA’s Chicana/o studies department to provide insight into how they navigate and create agency within academia. The findings show that U.S. Central Americans in this study developed a dual sense of belonging as Latina/o/x and U.S. Central American students. As Latina/o/x students, the Chicana/o studies department offered tools and knowledge that affirmed their belonging in a predominantly white institution. However, as U.S. Central Americans, the Chicana/o Studies department lacked a complete inclusion of their specific ethnic and cultural experiences. This research argues that to document these realities is to begin to understand how to facilitate the success of U.S. Central American students to critically assess the multiple academic realities of an increasingly diverse population of Latina/o/x collegestudents.

Women Warriors: The Impact of the Maternal on Racial and National Identity in the Work of Jessie Fauset and Nella Larsen

During a time in which African Americans fought for civil rights, many African American writers rose to literary prestige. Many of these authors’ works address the search for identity — both individual and national — as a way to cope with their lack of societal rights. Two novels exemplify this theme by exploring the impact of the maternal on an individual’s identity: Jessie Fauset’s Plum Bun and Nella Larsen’s Passing. This paper argues that these works stress the importance of motherhood in finding one’s place in a hostile environment, focusing particularly on the way in which mothers stand as warriors for the maintenance of their cultural communities. Although many scholars have argued that the characters presented in these narratives are negatively impacted by family and community, the novels show the positive impact maternal figures can have on the upkeep of African American culture. By presenting this impact in their works, Fauset and Larsen exhibit how African American identity can be fostered through maintaining a

The Contribution of Education to Tamil Separatism and to the Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka

Although there are many factors that have contributed to ethnic separatism and the 30-year ethnic war in Sri Lanka, this paper explores just one factor: education. Prior to the war, the discrimination against the Tamils through education was done explicitly through outright anti-Tamil rhetoric, programs, and policies. However, modern discrimination against the Tamil community through education is implicit because it is embedded and legitimized in the culture. Prior to the war, the education system continued to teach students in their native tongue despite the Swabhasha movement for a Sinhala-only language policy. This resulted in poor educational and employment opportunities for Tamil students because the Tamil language was devalued in the education system. Practices in education, the 1972 admission policies, and the 1974 quota system explicitly discriminated against the admission of Tamils into higher education. Now, the discrimination against Tamils is normalized within the culture by pro-Sinhala practices and policies. Popular textbooks express a Sinhala-centric view, and second language education policies are ineffective. Although such racism was explicit prior to the war, it is more naturalized within the culture today.

Wharton's Allegory of the Cave: The Age of Innocence as a Metafictional Cautionary Tale

This paper examines the conflicting realities in Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence using the allegory of the cave found in Plato’s The Republic. In The Age of Innocence, Wharton’s metafictional warping of reality can be confusing to the reader, and her disappointing ending can leave the reader wondering what the novel’s point was if Newland doesn’t choose Ellen in the end. But when one considers Wharton’s presentation of realities through the lens of Plato’s cave allegory—with the New York Reality, Newland’s Reality, and Ellen’s Reality representing the statues carried in front of the fire, the shadows cast on the cave wall, and the world outside—one comes to understand how Newland’s Reality was more real to him than Ellen’s Reality. This revelation disconcerts and scares the reader, transforming the novel into a tale of warning. The already established metafictional nature of The Age of Innocence provokes the reader to critically consider reality in the context of their own lives and to individually find true meaning and purpose both inside and outside of the novel.

Education as a Population Control Mechanism in China: The Education and Policy for Migrant Children in Shanghai

This research investigates the different educational opportunities available to migrant children here defined as children whose hukou (household registration) is incompatible with their residing locality due to parental migration. I focus on Shanghai, the city with the largest migrant population in China. In the first section of this paper, I introduce the hukou system which maintains the regional exclusivity of public education among other forms of welfare and debars migrant children from having the same education opportunities as children with local-hukou. Then, I historicize major policy changes and effects, drawing from official statistics as well as international literature. The second section is comprised of my interviews with principals, administrators, and teachers from seven schools in Shanghai. Through the cross-comparison of numerous factors, this research finds a recurring trajectory from 2008-2018 among the interview migrant schools. Due to Shanghai’s city-wide demolition of unauthorized constructions and increasingly stringent migrant student admission requirements, migrant families are radically expelled from the city, resulting in a continuing decrease of student enrollment which threatens the survival of the remaining private migrant schools.

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