2022 Senior Thesis Projects for Africana Studies

Author: Vicky Nguyen

2022 Senior Thesis Projects

The Department of Africana Studies would like to highlight a collection of senior thesis projects completed by students that are associated with our department in the College of Arts & Letters Class of 2022. We are so proud of our scholars for completing hours of original research, interviews, practice, analysis, writing, and creative work to contribute to academic scholarship and our department. Join us in congratulating and highlighting our seniors as they have completed their 2022 Senior Thesis projects. 

Grace Doefler 

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  • Major: History 
  • Supplementary Major: Africana Studies 
  • Glynn Family Honors Program 
  • Suzanne and Walter Scott Scholars Program 
  • Advisor: Kathleen Sprows Cummings

Finding Women’s Voices in the Catholic Clergy Sex Abuse Crisis

"I examined the role of whistleblowers in the clergy abuse crisis, specifically Catholic sisters who blew the whistle in their different roles in the Church. Through this lens, I examined how gender and power ultimately functioned to delegitimize women’s voices and reinforce silence about clergy sex abuse. I have been interested in researching the abuse crisis since I began college. Over the past few years, I have learned a lot about the too-little-known stories of women in Catholicism. Choosing this topic was an opportunity to learn from those who are too seldom heard."

Duncan Donahue

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  • Major: Sociology
  • Supplementary Major: Peace Studies 
  • Minor: Africana Studies 
  • Advisor: Garrett Fitzgerald

The Intersection on Stolen Land: Critical Engagements Between Intersectionality and Indigenous Resurgence

"In 2019, Patricia Hill Collins warned that “without serious self-reflection, intersectionality could easily become just another social theory that implicitly upholds the status quo.” In the interest of combatting its hollowing, my research reflected on intersectionality in light of another critical knowledge project — Indigenous resurgence. Through three lines of engagement with Indigenous resurgence, I constructively problematized several currents and applications of intersectionality in the academy and popular discourse. I have developed a keen interest in decolonial theory in my studies at Notre Dame and thought there was much to be gained from the productive tension between Indigenous resurgence and intersectionality as two critical theories from the North American context."


Daut'e Martin 

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  • Major: Africana Studies
  • Minor: Education, Schooling, and Society (ESS)
  • Posse Scholars Program
  • Advisor: Maria McKenna

Imagining What’s Possible from Notre Dame and Beyond

"This project aimed to understand the ideologies of Black educators in historically white spaces. One of the main goals of this project was to make it apparent that there’s a particularity to how Black educators teach, especially in historically white spaces. Using autoethnography, I offered my learning experiences from Black educators within interdisciplinary fields. I explored how a single experience of a Black female student encouraged Black educators to enter the world of higher education.

I choose this topic because I believe that my experiences at Notre Dame matter. More importantly, it’s been hard to imagine what senior year and graduating from Notre Dame would look like. I want my thesis to be a remembrance of my transformative growth and legacy at Notre Dame."