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Thesis Abstract – Bala (2001)


Where Have All The Voices Gone? A case study in marginalization politics at the Robert J. Bernard Field Station of the Claremont Colleges

Author and college:

Yamini Bala, Pomona College




Bachelor of Arts


Rick Worthington, Pomona College


Preface provided in lieu of abstract

This thesis is not intended to be an indictment of our leaders — well, not entirely, anyway.

This thesis is meant to be an exercise in listening. I talked to a lot of people on every side of this issue, and tried hard to listen. I obviously have my biases, but I did my best to understand where everyone was coming from. I tried to evaluate groups instead of individuals as participants in this issue. My interviewees were requested to express views on behalf of the community group to which they belonged. I tried to find the opinions that best defined the majority of each group. Sometimes these came from resolutions, sometimes surveys, and other times analyses of local newspaper letters. In writing this up, I hoped to express the the voices I heard from a common ground.

It seems that we’ve let our voices become antagonistic — that we’ve lost the will to embrace new opinions and engage in debate. I hope that people reading this might listen to the voices that are speaking — understand where they come from instead of preparing a rebuttal of their opinions. Consider our own actions and how they affect the situation. Think about whether we’re prepared to let this battle divide our community into the dreamers who get their way and those who don’t — or if we are ready to listen to one another, offer compromises, and do what really benefits this community the most.

This thesis is an effort to explore different perspectives on a common issue and document the voices that have been cast aside and ignored. I originally wanted to speak for the Bernard Field Station, because I wasn’t sure how much longer it would be around to speak for itself. But I now realized it is futile. If you are willing to listen, the place speaks for itself ... and the story it tells is remarkable.

Thesis availability:

Scholarship@Claremont – http://scholarship.claremont.edu/pomona_theses/68/

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Page last updated 31 May 2012 by Nancy Hamlett.