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Open Access Publications from the University of California


Welcome to the Berkeley Undergraduate Journal, a biannual publication dedicated to publishing exemplary undergraduate research in the humanities and social sciences.


The Owners of Humanitarianism: The Role of Nongovernmental Organizations in Haitian Underdevelopment

Haiti is still recovering from the effects of the massive 2010 earthquake that destroyed much of its infrastructure. While a large international humanitarian response was mounted to save lives and rebuild the country, international nongovernmental organizations have failed to meet many of their most important and relevant objectives in the last four years. Nongovernmental organizations operate within a precise set of legal, economic and political restrictions that have variously been described as too lenient and too obstructive. This paper seeks to examine the governing aid framework in order to describe how a specific combination of limitations and liberties have resulted in organizational imperatives that obfuscate the economic origins of humanitarian financiers, limit aid transparency, reduces NGO accountability to both donors and recipients and lead to poor overall development outcomes. To demonstrate these outcomes this paper uses detailed case studies of three large nonprofit organizations operating in Haiti: Partners in Health, Save the Children and CARE. The objective is not to assume that these are perfectly representative outcomes of aid, but rather to show a variety of development outcomes that the aid apparatus either allowed for or failed to prevent.

Moral Theories and Cloning in Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go

In this paper I will consider the ethics of cloning as it occurs in Kazuo Ishiguro’s dystopian novel Never Let Me Go from the standpoint of a number of moral theories – consequentialism, natural law theory, Kantian moral theory, rights based theory, and virtue ethics. In light of the moral theories, I will develop an analysis for why cloning-for-biomedical-research as outlined in the 2002 document Human Cloning and Human Dignity by the President’s Council on Bioethics is morally permissible, while the cloning-based donation program in the novel is morally impermissible.

The Building Environment: A Brief Study of Architecture's Influences on Human Survival

If we view the progression of human history through the lens of technology, certain institutions immediately emerge: fire, language, agriculture, the wheel, the internet, and so on. The ability of humans to define and divide physical and ritual space through architectural intervention, however, has been a critical yet under recognized element of nearly all of our species’ developments and engagements, including the creation and utilization of its major other technologies. Architecture, and the built environment at large, can be viewed as a developmental cocoon, within, and through which social, political, and cultural identities are expressed. Through an exploration of architectural activity within an historical and scientific framework, this paper examines the social, political, and cultural motivations which have defined the influence of environmental design, supporting the argument that the built environment has been not just a result of, but also a critical agent in the development and preservation of our species.