Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Senior Research Topics

2011-2012 Research Paper Topics List
1.     Explore Shakespeare’s use of comic relief in his tragedies.
2.     William Shakespeare—did he write his material?
3.     Why was Euripides adversely criticized by his contemporaries?  In light of current knowledge, was the criticism justified?
4.     Father and son relationships in the drama of Arthur Miller
5.     The motives and character of Shakespeare’s Hamlet have been analyzed by many critics.  Present a selection of these views.  Try to account for the varying opinions.
6.     Select several works by the same playwright and discuss the uses of parody, irony, didacticism, imagery, and other literary and dramatic techniques.
7.     Fairy Tales (their origins and purposes) as a valid and important form of psychological literature.
8.     Emily Dickenson and Robert Frost: Whose road would you take?
9.     What is the “Western Canon” and why do people care about it?
10.   An in depth analysis of any work of literary merit.  Subject to teacher’s approval.
11.   Vampires have recently become very popular in young adult literature?  Why?  What history does literature have with vampires?
12.   What has been the influence of Latin American music on modern Jazz?
13.   Research the goal and evaluate the achievements of the Federal Music Project during the Depression.
14.   Compare and contrast the compositional practices of Mozart and Beethoven.
15.   The role of Masonic ideology in the music of Mozart.
16.   The shofar in Hebrew culture.
17.   Social commentary in early hip-hop music.

18.   Elements that influenced the art of Wassily Kandinsky.
19.   Techniques of Paleolithic cave paintings.
20.   The fauves of French painting.
21.   The mosaics in San Vitale, Raveena Italy.
22.   Michelangelo’s design of the Sistine Chapel.
23.   Materials, colors, and symbolism of Navajo sand paintings.
24.   Pablo Picasso: the cubist years.
25.   Children in Mary Cassatt’s paintings.
26.   Examine the ways in which modern technology has altered the artist’s tools and physical product.
27.   Paintings of the Last Supper: Discuss their variety, historical contexts, and critical opinions.
28.   Surrealism and Salvador Dali.

29.   Hospitals are historically non-profit agencies.  For-profit hospitals have flourished in the last decade.  Detractors claim their goals are detrimental to quality patient care.
30.   Evaluate the arguments in the Karen Quinlan right-to-die case. 
31.   Humans have been used for medical experimentation.  Examine the guidelines and special considerations involved.
32.   Should the federal government fund stem-cell research?
33.   The risks and perils of genetic engineering (These means, for example: If Sally and Jim can afford it, they could arranged to have a blue-eyed, blond haired daughter with an IQ of 170)
34.   Mandatory AIDS testing (at school, work, in communities, etc) is nothing more than the greatest good for the greatest number.  True or False?
35.   Surrogate mothers: examine the ethical considerations of the parents, the child and society.
36.   Administering the death penalty by lethal injection is viewed by many health professionals as an ethical issue.  Why?
37.   Parents with a terminally ill child, sick with a cancer, should have a second child in order to prolong the life of the second (genetically engineer the child’s blood type compatibility to match that of the sick child).  True or False?
38.   The use of animal organs as human transplants.
39.   When is a person dead so that organs can be harvested for transplantation to save another’s life?
40.   Should those who test HIV positive or have AIDS be identified (available to the general public, like sex offenders are)?  Why or why not?
41.   What are the problems, if any, of genetically engineered agriculture?
42.   Euthanasia: What are the issues, what should the rules be?

43.   Sum up the results of the great stock market crash of 1929.
44.   How can developing countries ever repay their national debt?
45.   Discuss the economic necessity argument for immigration reform.
46.   Can inflation be stopped?  What have been some proposals to curb inflation?
47.   The flat tax and how it could function in the U.S.
48.   Economic growth versus environmental concerns.
49.   What is the traditional impact of immigration on the labor force?
50.   What led to the savings and loan disaster? What it predicted? Could it have been averted?
51.   What led to the current economic recession in America?
52.   Is the United States a dying empire?

53.   The transcendentalism of Henry David Thoreau.
54.   Hiroshima: ethical considerations.
55.   Is the Protestant ethic obsolete?
56.   B.F. Skinner’s concept of the perfectibility of people as expressed in Walden II.
57.   What is mysticism?  Explore Bertrand Russell, William James, and the Eastern Philosophers.
58.   Appropriate technology for underdeveloped countries.   Select a particular area such as agriculture, textiles, mining, etc.
59.   Impact of Eastern Philosophies on Western culture.
60.   Existentialism
61.   What is Yoga? What is an ashram? Is this way of life possible in America?
62.   Creation science vs. evolution.

63.   The effects of institutionalization on mentally handicapped children.
64.   Treating drug addition as a mental illness.
65.   Effects of emotional deprivation on humans.
66.   Differing perspectives on the causes of childhood autism.
67.   The treatment of manic depressives with lithium.
68.   Twentieth-century changes in the public’s attitude toward the treatment of mental illness.

Criminal Justice
69.   Investigate the major problems in the correction systems in your state.
70.   DNA analysis has been the focus of many controversies.  Is it a valid type of evidence?
71.   Criminologists are featured in many popular TV shows today.  What is the real job of a criminologist and why does Hollywood distort it so fantastically?  Why are these shows so popular?
72.   Private prison systems: A valid idea, or an ethically corrupt one?
73.   Can the death penalty be justified?
74.   Should guns be banned?
75.   Do you think that Public Surveillance Technology will make your city safer or just invade your privacy?
76.   Assisted suicide—should it be a crime?

77.   Discuss the Renaissance as a bridge to the present.
78.    What have been the problems encountered by the National Endowment of the Arts? Consider several of the issues involved.
79.    The opposing forces in the premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s “Right of Spring”
80.    The impact of Muslim culture on world history.
81.    Abraham: how can he play an important role in Christianity, Islamic and Jewish religion?
82.    Economic and political factors that contributed to the rise of Christianity.
83.   The sacred cow: can religious beliefs be harmful?
84.    What does the existence of places like Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo say about the democratic and freedom-loving principles of the United States?
85.    Global warming—is it real?

Political Science
86.   Should Mexico become the 51st state?  What about Puerto Rico?
87.   The Constitution begins “We, the people…” What does that mean?  Has the meaning changed since 1791?
88.    Why does there seem to be so much poverty, disease and political corruption in sub-Sahara Africa?
89.    The Political Economy of the Micro-Island Nations of the Caribbean: The Impact of Tourism on Caribbean Culture, Environment and Society
90.    The Austrian Freedom Party in 2000
91.    Telecommunications Policy in China
92.    Women, Identity and Political Activism during the Allende Regime in Chile
93.    Effectiveness of Rape Shield Laws
94.    Stereotypes between American and Arab-Americans in the United States
95.    Sexual Harassment: Comparative Legal Analysis
96.    The Fourteenth Amendment and Privacy
97.    Squatter Settlements in Post-Apartheid South Africa
98.    Development of a Constitutional Right of Privacy
99.    Public Education and Religious Establishment
100. Legislative Redistricting in Illinois for 2002
101. The Effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement
102. The Supreme Court and Reproductive Rights
103. U.S.-Japanese Trade Policy: A Defense of Limited Unilateralism
104. An Assessment of the Voting Rights Act of 1965
105. Title IX and Collegiate Athletic Opportunities
106. Mexico's Changing Political Party System
107. The Equal Rights Amendment: Why Controversy Ensured its Defeat
108. The Debt Crisis in Heavily Indebted Poor Countries
109. Globalization and the Anti-Globalization Movement
110. An Evaluation of International Law as Applied to Genocide from Nuremberg to the Balkans
111. Celebrity Influence on Political Campaigns
112. The Patriot Act: Security/Rights Issues in Historical Perspective
113. A study on Equitable Water Provision in Latin America
114. Affirmative Action: National Origin Minorities
115. Mexico, Corporate Globalization and the Media
116. Racial Profiling in post 9/11 United States
117. Content Regulation in Broadcasting
118. Children Soldiers in Africa
119. Truth Commissions and Civil Society
120. Nature within the City: The Greenway Movement and the Transformation of Urban Form
121. Aid to the Health-Related Sector: The United States, Japan, and Germany
122. Sweatshops in third world countries.
123.Same sex marriage laws.

Ancient history
124. Roman triumphal architecture: Propaganda tool, monstrous toy, or great art?
125. Egypt and Mesopotamia were geographically similar.
126. Roman persecutions of Christians: when, why, how?  Think “Gladiator” with Russell Crow.
127. What were the major domestic characteristics of Neolithic communities?
128. How the gods of antiquity were used to explain natural phenomena.
129. The Greek Pythian games.
130. Eleusinian mysteries: what were they?  Why have they been shrouded in secrecy then and now?
131. The Council of Nicaea and the Bible. 

Social History
132.    The effects of the British colonization of India
133.    The historic plight of the gypsies
134.    How the industrial revolution changed the life of the common man.
135.   The cultural heritage of the modern Eskimo
136.    Utopian Socialism
137.    What were the effects of European colonialism on Africa?
138.    The invention of the printing press in Europe and its impact on history.
139.    Hundred Years War: causes, consequences, aspects (e.g., finance, social impact, etc.). Joan of Arc is here, Henry V and a great deal more. Don't plan to do "The Hundred Years War" - plan to do some aspect of it.
140.    Changes in warfare and weaponry
141.    Cannons and gunpowder come along, but an increased importance of infantry, which has significant social implications
142.   Ciompi Revolt: A short-lived but significant revolt in Florence
143.    Rise and fall of Burgundy: not the narrative, but why it became prominent; or why it collapsed as a duchy under Charles the Bold
144.    Royal fiscal policy: How kingdoms raised money and how they spent it. Good fodder for a comparison-style paper.
145.    Medici (or another family dynasty): their impact on history.
146.    The papacy in the late Middle Ages: The development of papal government, a pope, or a set of popes, or compare a couple of popes.

147.Why do some groups do poorly on standardized tests?
148. Why do colleges have “Black Studies Departments” but no “White Studies Dept?”  “Female Studies” but not “Male Studies?”
149. Who was John Dewey and why should students care?
150. What are charter schools and do we need them?
151. Brown v. Board of Education: 50 years later, schools are still segregated.  Is that good or bad?
152. Freedom of expression in school: what are the limits?  What should the limits be? (for students, teachers and administrators)
153. Is the failure to provide Advanced Placement classes in inner city public schools racist?
154. What are school vouchers?  Why are they a good or bad idea?
155. Who decides what “knowledge” is worth having?
156.Single sex education—support or oppose?
157.Women are exceeding men in college and graduate degree completion.  What does this mean for the future?
158.Should schools be privatized by business?  Some already exist.  Good or bad idea?

159. Roe v. Wade—its effects on women
160. Can women break the glass ceiling?
161. Will there be a woman president?  Study gender gaps in voting.
162. Who was the first feminist?  What did she accomplish?
163. John Stuart Mill and the equality of women.
164. Queens and female rulers: Would include countesses, duchesses, etc.

Contemporary issues of African Americans
165.Should all African American students learn the history of African Americans?  Why?
166.Organizing African American voters in the South; its impact, past and present.
167.Contemporary African American art and its place in the art world.
168.Interracial marriage and race dissolution—causes and effects.

Historical issues of African Americans
169.The communist Party’s influence in Black American from 1900 to 1950.
170.The historical relationship between Blacks and Jews in the United States.
171.The role of African-Americans in taming the West

Minority issues
172.What is wrong with profiling?
173.Should English be the official language of the United States?
174. Was official government policy towards Native-Americans a form of genocide?
175. Are Native-American mascots (Chief Illini, for example) racist?
176. Is the Quota/Reservation System in India really going to bring about social equality? Wouldn't it be better to implement a quota by economic standards instead of caste?

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