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MFLL Undergraduate Research

Sullivan Smoak
German Honors Thesis. Stefanie Ohnesorg & Edward Schilling, supervisor.
Title: “Cultural Influences on Pain and Pain Management in the United States and Germany”

Click here to view thesis

Completed Dec. 2017:
Meredith J. Maroney
Double major in Journalism & Electronic Media and in Hispanic Studies, with a minor in History.
Senior Honors Thesis. Gregory B. Kaplan, Professor of Spanish (Department of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures)

Title: “Undocumented in Knoxville” 


My UT senior honors thesis focuses on the undocumented experience in Knoxville in light of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. My objective is to present different perspectives that measure the extent to which DACA and other undocumented individuals impact the city (in economic, social, and other cultural spheres) as well as document the emotional impact on Knoxville. During a 30-minute video, I interview a variety of individuals touched by DACA and other undocumented individuals including the individuals themselves, professionals who support them, and their loved ones who are documented. I also interview individuals who discuss current policies on immigration to the U.S. The interviews, which I conduct in Spanish and English, center on real life experiences, which in turn provides a platform for a variety of voices.

Erika Knowles
Honors Thesis in Russian Studies. Stephen Blackwell, supervisor.

Title: “Tolstoy’s Function Argument—Ethical Aesthetics”


Modern English-language scholarship has been tolerant at best, and derogatory at worst, of Leo Tolstoy’s “What is Art?”. Many have dismissed it as simply a self-contradictory and misguided attempt at repossessing art as a tool for moralizing and preaching. Even the relatively favorable blurb on the back of the English edition describes “this powerfully influential work” as “impassioned and iconoclastic.”  Tolstoy was attempting to undertake a philosophically rigorous approach to defining art—with the motivation of justifying and furthering his religious and political beliefs, but not without validity of some kind. He was intensely interested in Greeks and Homer. The evidence of Aristotle’s influence throughout “What is Art?” is intriguing in its own right, while also bringing forth many features of Tolstoy’s views that are otherwise obscured by a mixture of little philosophical training and less-than-perfect English translations. This thesis argues that “What is Art?” can be best understood as an aesthetic adaptation of the function argument.



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