Diana Witt
Theatre and Independent Scholars

In their irreverent 2011 musical, The Book of Mormon, writer-composers Matt Stone, Trey Parker, and Robert Lopez satirize the work of Mormon missionaries. This paper analyzes the musical's book and lyrics, its cultural context and reception, and postcolonial scholarship. The paper argues that while The Book of Mormon operates as a postcolonialist text by critiquing cultural hegemony, its also reinforces stereotypes and practices present in colonization like othering and cultural colonialism. 

Madeline Hekeler
Health Sciences

The term “silent epidemic” is fitting for Alzheimer’s disease (AD), as its negative impact is widely felt but rarely discussed. Burnout among AD caregivers has become an epidemic of its own as caregivers experience an increase in health risks, stress, and financial burden. This literature review focuses on caregiver burnout and how imperative it is that caregivers are better supported in their role. Researchers have developed instruments to assess and intervene in caregiver burnout that have shown effectiveness among caregivers and their families. Nevertheless, further longitudinal research is warranted regarding more effective interventions, including stress management and social support mechanisms.

Sydney T. Inger
Social Work

LGBTQ+ individuals and couples who want children negotiate systemic inequalities in the United States of America. This literature review surveys America’s confusing legal map and the gaps in its enduring scholarly theories. The paper then examines the challenges that LGBTQ+ individuals and couples confront in working through the common pathways—same-gender adoption and fostering, in vitro fertilization, and surrogacy—to become parents. Dispersing information on the pathways will be a positive step towards breaking down the inequities for those in the LGBTQ+ community who want to start a family.

Ian Jarosz
Anthropology

The book of Leviticus from the Hebrew Bible is often referenced when discussing the LGBTQ+ community and related topics. This project offers historical, literary, and etymological analyses of Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, exploring cultural and thematic similarities between Leviticus, the Avestan Vendidad of ancient Persia, and the Book of the Watchers in 1 Enoch. The paper argues that the verses are concerned with specific sexual acts between male-bodied individuals, in particular circumstances, rather than with a sweeping indictment of gay orientations and identities. More broadly, the paper suggests that enforcing secular laws based on singular, unintelligible religious laws and ignoring the historical context of the original texts has led to immeasurable violence condemned in other parts of the Bible.

Julian Gouffray
Economics and International Affairs

This paper examines how the Bitcoin-altcoin return relationship has evolved over three periods between 2015 and 2020. To understand this relation, we observe data on the cryptocurrency Bitcoin and prominent altcoins Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple, Stellar, and Monero, which collectively represent over 90% of the market throughout the observed periods. We employ a Vector Autoregressive model (VAR) to produce forecast error variance decompositions, orthogonal impulse response functions, and Granger-causality tests. We find evidence that Bitcoin return variation has increasingly explained altcoin returns and that market inefficiency has increased in more recent periods, as shown by increased Granger causality between Bitcoin and altcoins. The findings suggest that the properties of the cryptocurrency market are highly dynamic and that researchers should be hesitant to generalize market properties observed during idiosyncratic periods.

Nicholas Mays
Biology

Over half of the global human population suffers from lactase nonpersistence, a condition marked by losing the ability to digest lactose after infancy. However, a minority of the global population, primarily located in Central and Northern Europe, has a genetic mutation that results in lactase persistence, which is the continued ability to process lactose after infancy. This interdisciplinary analysis blends archaeology, cultural anthropology, evolutionary biology, and archaeogenetics to explore the origin and rise of lactase persistence in Europe and its contribution to the end of hunter-gatherer societies in Scandinavia. The paper uses gene-culture coevolutionary theory to argue that lactase persistence was introduced to Scandinavia by an outside culture and attempts to identify the geographical and cultural origin of the genetic mutation.

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