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Undergraduate Fellows

In 2008-09 the Center inaugurated its Undergraduate Fellowship program, offering advanced honors undergraduates the opportunity to participate in the life of the center and benefit from the critique of their work by other Cogut Fellows. As a key player in Brown’s initiative of academic enrichment, the Cogut Center provides multiple programs to bring Brown faculty and students into regular and innovative contact with each other, with national and international scholars and scholarship, and with the coming generations of scholars whose training for academic life and for the world at large is the foremost task of the university.

The 2013-14 cohort of Undergraduate Fellows: David Adler, David Borgonjon, Valeria Fantozzi, and Saudi Garcia.

David Adler '14 is pursuing a double concentration in Development Studies & Economics. During his time at Brown, he has explored a range of issues in political economy, seeking to understand how states develop economic programs and how citizens participate or resist them.

His thesis will investigate the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and its effort to rehabilitate the Kathputli slum in West Delhi. He seeks to interrogate the interactions between the slum and the state in order to understand better how the narratives of India’s development trickle down from policy to practice. Through his fieldwork in Delhi and Mumbai, he hopes to shed more light on the DDA’s implementation process: how the DDA pursues its goals, how it negotiates with the demands of Kathputli residents, and how it reconciles its commitment to housing the urban poor with the transition to the World Class City.

David Borgonjon '14 is concentrating in English at Brown and Painting at the Rhode Island School of Design. He is currently working on two projects. The first focuses on how Western European consumption of exports from the East Indies led to imitation and ultimately the invention of novel cultural forms such as the "Bizarre" silks and the Oriental Tale. In the latter, his thesis, he approaches the literature, film and art of the '80s and '90s in the US and China in the context of economic privatization and increased trade. As these works rehearse questions of sovereign planning as against organicist markets, they develop conflicted positions towards the multinational corporation, which can prove both a site of cosmopolitan solidarity and of elite oppression. He pursues an art practice that cites, glosses and refutes his research. 

Valeria Fantozzi ’14 is concentrating in Development Studies and History of Art and Architecture, focusing on Architectural Studies. She is interested in the influence of architecture and design in human life, and how sustainable architecture can improve the lives of people with few resources. She wants to focus on anti-seismic and post-disaster reconstruction in developing countries, especially in Peru, her country of origin. For her thesis, Valeria will conduct research on the specific case of the 2007 Pisco earthquake. She will investigate the architectural aspect of reconstruction, looking at the different materials and methods used for single-family dwellings in the area. In addition, she will investigate the different actors involved, governmental and nongovernmental entities, and the policies they implemented after the disaster occurred. She wants to investigate why, after more than five years after the earthquake, many citizens are still homeless and living in poor conditions. In addition, by comparing the case of Peru to other seismic areas around the world such as Japan and China, she hopes to find possible architectural solutions for the future.

Saudi Garcia '14 is concentrating in Anthropology. Her research interests include youth, transnationalism, the historic relationships between the United States and Caribbean nations and the cultural politics of immigration and diaspora formation. As a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, Saudi has been interviewing young women for the Dominican Girls Speak! Project, a year-long investigation into the cultural identity and perceptions of success for Dominican girls in Providence, Rhode Island. Her senior thesis will explore and compare the diasporic identity development of Dominican girls ages 14 to 18. Following their stories of dispersal, incorporation to American society and current perceptions of connection and return to the homeland, this project attempts to answer the questions: How does a diasporic identity develop? What are the modern contours of this identity among a digitally and highly mobile population? What is the role of memory and affect in diasporic identity development? To answer these questions, she will conduct in-depth interviews and participant observation sessions with youth in Providence and New York City. In her free time, Saudi enjoys playing for the Brown Women's Rugby Team, volunteering in Providence and cooking.