Shreya Sheth (Peace Studies, Honors Program,’21)

When Shreya Sheth (Peace Studies; Honors Program, ’21) found out that Regimes Museum (RM) Journal had published her undergraduate thesis, she knew immediately who to thank.

“I remember feeling incredibly excited to share the news with my family, friends, and Wilkinson professors because they had supported me from the brainstorming process all the way to the final edits.”

(RM) Journal published Sheth’s thesis, Crimes Against Activists: The Repression of Civil Liberties and Collective Action by Anti-Terrorism Laws Post-Arab Spring at the end of 2020. Her article was a perfect fit for the peer-reviewed history journal that publishes articles that deal with human rights issues, repressive regimes, and war.

“I think Shreya’s drive, intelligence, and persistence, together with some flexibility regarding her research, allowed for her to complete a wonderful capstone project – which turned into her publication,” said Dr. Hilmi Ulas, Assistant Professor in Peace Studies. “Quite proud to be a part of her journey here at Peace Studies.”

Sheth wanted her thesis to reflect her comprehensive Peace Studies education. Academic theories she learned in class, research methodologies she practiced as a research fellow in the Henley Lab, and experienced she gained presenting at scholarly conferences, such as the Hawaii University International Conference in January 2020, all contributed to the process of constructing and completing her thesis.

Sheth framed her paper to explore anti-terrorism laws after Arab Spring protests and how they impacted respect for civil liberties in Egypt and Tunisia.

“I utilized a quantitative analysis of civil liberties using data from Freedom House and Varieties of Democracy, and a qualitative analysis of state legislation and human rights reports.”

Her thesis concluded that anti-terrorism laws are not arbitrary measures, but a tool to reimpose authoritarian structures and allow the government greater autonomy to control how the laws of the land are applied to citizens challenging its rule. “It is important to convey that all governments have the means to repress civil society’s rights through anti-terrorism law as all states are affected by the lack of an internationally agreed upon definition of terrorism,” said Sheth.

Even with the thesis completed, Sheth continues to find ways to connect her educational experiences in Wilkinson to understanding major world conflicts by serving as president of the campus chapter of the Olive Tree Initiative. As president, Sheth helps provide a space for open and respectful dialogue regarding conflict resolution and diverse narratives surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“I am so proud of Shreya for her scholarship, initiative, and hard work. She has an incredibly bright future—the sky’s the limit for Shreya! I look forward to her visiting campus in a few years as an alumna to tell us about her stellar accomplishments,” said Dr. Ann Gordon., Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Henley Lab.

Congratulations Shreya, on all your accomplishments!