About the Author

Leia Yen is a fourth-year transfer student in the English major, Digital Humanities minor, and Global Studies minor programs at UCLA. She is interested in understanding the ways that digital technology allows more narratives to be represented in an increasingly connected world. Her hope is that by interrogating the intersections of technology, globalization, and human narratives, digital platforms and tools can be used to empower the representation of minority communities without violating their autonomy or cultural integrity. After graduating, Leia plans on continuing her research in graduate school with the goal of eventually teaching in higher education.

Leia and thesis advisor, Dr. Danny Snelson

Why a Digital Thesis?

Digital Syria uses many of the same digital tools and design standards that are critiqued in the thesis in an effort to consider the ways they are used within academia. Hypermediacy can be a used to make the critical interventions of literary analysis and research more apparent. For example, rather than using traditional footnotes or endnotes, citations and commentary are designed within a side panel so that users are always cognizant of the ways the thesis is written within the context of other theoretical conversations. Hyperlinks are also unique elements of digital mediums that allow the theoretical discourse of the thesis to be iterative and generative. The side panel allows users to easily explore the sources themselves. The conclusion for the thesis is intentionally short and comprised of hyperlinks that branch beyond the claims of the thesis to encourage further inquiry. The analysis and claims of the thesis create a framework through which users can read digital academic works with an understanding of their hierarchical mediations and designs. 


To Professor Danny Snelson, thank you for bringing clarity, cohesion, creativity, and compassion to this project. You treated every one of my abstract, unformed thoughts with patience and openness, providing the space, resources, and support to help me explore them with purpose. I could not have asked for a better advocate and mentor.

To Professor Yogita Goyal, thank you for helping me understand how post-colonial theory and literature create entry points for critical and creative forms of alternative representations. Thank you for helping undergraduates like me access those entry points by providing the opportunities to conduct research under your warm and constructive guidance.

To Professor Matthew Fisher, thank you for making this thesis possible by demystifying the research process. As a transfer student, I never imagined that I would be conducting independent research of this scale. Your practical and particular investment made the world of research approachable and accessible.

To Professors Peppard, Williams, Ketai, Bishop, Evans, and Hubble at El Camino College, thank you for believing in me from the very start. This thesis was set in motion because you set the foundation of critical skills and confidence that I could build on at UCLA.

To Desi, Sal, and Li-Ren, thank you for workshopping, editing, and reading this thesis at its various stages, especially when I was struggling to find direction. You each brought great insight to the project through your feedback. Your encouragement helped me get through my worst moments of writer’s block and brain fatigue by helping me find clarity, objective, and resolve. 

Finally, to my family and friends, thank you for keeping me grounded throughout the process of writing this thesis. I could not have finished this project without your encouragement, feedback, support, and care.