Summer 2016

In 2016, graduate students from across the Division of Social Sciences put their ISS Summer Travel & Research Awards to good use. From excavating in Alaska to hacking in Hong Kong, recipients conducted and presented research all over the world—as well as right here in Davis.

Anthropology | Communication | Economics | History | Philosophy | Political Science | Psychology | Sociology | Center for Regional Change

Anthropology

Susan Lagle

For my dissertation research in paleoanthropology, I am exploring the idea that the Quina Mousterian, a distinct variant of Middle Paleolithic stone artifact assemblages from around 70,000-45,000 years ago, reflects shifts in Neandertal mobility as a part of a greater cold-climate subsistence and settlement strategy. One of the major components of my research is studying the faunal (animal) remains associated with Quina assemblages from three archaeological sites in southwestern France (Roc de Marsal, Jonzac, and Pech de l'Azé IV). This summer, I traveled to the Old Stone Age Institute (Carsac-Aillac, Dordogne, France) and Musée National de Préhistoire (Les Eyzies-de-Tayac, Dordogne, France) where I analyzed part of the Roc de Marsal faunal assemblage.

The primary goal of this research trip was to generate data on species, skeletal part, age, seasonality, and and bone modifications (e.g., breakage, percussion damage, cutmarks, burning) and I will use these data to assess Neandertal prey procurement and processing methods. Additionally, I was able to use my time in France to foster professional relationships with archaeological colleagues and museum personnel.

Though incredibly rewarding, international research can be an expensive endeavor and the Summer Travel & Research Award from the Institute for Social Sciences at UC Davis helped to facilitate my research by covering a subset of my travel expenses. 

Chelsea Smith

Chelsea M. Smith is a PhD student examining the importance of prehistoric dogs within the field of archaeology. Her research focuses on the evolution of the human-dog bond and tests whether prehistoric dogs can serve as a proxy for cultural developments that accompany their human counterparts. Chelsea's research integrates the use of genomic, stable isotopic, as well as radiocarbon data to examine evolutionary histories, dietary reconstruction, and chronological sequences associated with ancient dogs excavated from the California Channel Islands.

Chelsea's Summer Research & Travel Award from ISS allowed her to act as a visiting student researcher at UC Merced's Paleoecology Lab, directed by Dr. Jessica Blois, and to attend the "Using Galaxy for Analysis of High Throughput Sequence Data" workshop led by the UC Davis Bioinformatics CORE. While at UC Merced Chelsea gained experience in extraction of ancient DNA from bone and library preparation techniques associated with high throughput sequencing. The UCD workshop addressed issues associated with storing and analyzing large data sets that result from generating genomic data.  As a participant Chelsea had the opportunity to explore software and protocols, create and modify workflows, and diagnose/treat problematic data. Participating as a visiting student researcher and attending the workshop helped Chelsea to design and budget her dissertation research project as well as get to become acquainted with the outstanding researchers at UC Merced's Paleoecology lab and UCD's Bioinformatics CORE.

Jason Miszaniec

The funds awarded to me by ISS went to covering the partial costs of a two week long field season in Shaktoolik, Norton Sound, Alaska. Arctic fieldwork is logistically difficulty and costly.  Since transportation is so crucial, the funds aided in covering airfare to and from the native village of Shaktoolik.

The goal of my 2016 fieldwork was to determine the antiquity of large-scale fishing societies in the Norton Sound, western Alaska. The fieldwork consisted of placing subterranean test units in the large prehistoric village site of Difchahak (NOB-004). Previous work suggests that this site was occupied by the Norton tradition who lived around 2000 years ago and were a specialized coastal adapted culture, subsisting on marine mammals and fish. The site included 160+ semi-subterranean dwelling depressions and is estimated to have been occupied between 2500-2000 B.P (before present). Dwelling depressions were around 5 meters in diameter and 1 meter deep, the village itself extend for around half a kilometer. Despite its size it has received little archaeological attention.

My objectives for this summer were 1) to further test the site to better understand its function; 2) to locate midden (garbage deposits). Animal bones can provide data on past diets as well as past environments and 3) to better understand the sites occupational history through excavations and radiocarbon dating.

The excavations yielded a variety of information which shed light on the day to day activities at the site as well as the long-term occupation of the area. Stone tool debitage indicated that past peoples were constructing and or repairing tools. While formal stone tools included chipped stone knives, projectile points (used for hunting) and adzes (used for woodworking).  The most common artefact were stone net sinkers, which would have been used for fishing. The prevalence of net-sinkers suggests that fishing may have been an important activity for the village. Animal bones and shell fragments were also located. These remains will provide information on the past diet of these prehistoric populations as well as the environment which they lived in. 

The data collected this summer indicates that this site is suitable for my dissertation and I plan on return next summer. The information gleamed will shed light on when hunter-gatherers began to intensively fish and how subsistence practices were affected by long term demographic and climactic trends. 

Tory Brykalski

Tory Brykalski used the Institute of Social Sciences summer travel funds to travel to Lebanon, where she spent two months living in a small Syrian neighborhood on the outskirts of a Lebanese village on the Syrian-Lebanese border and volunteering as a teacher in one of the hundreds of informal emergency schools established to serve children fleeing Syria. As a neighbor and teacher, she was able to work closely with Syrian teachers and families, and think with them about how their experiences during the revolution and war have affected the ways in which they are trying to make sense of the present.

She also had the opportunity to work with one of her Syrian colleagues to start to develop and implement a curriculum designed to address and open a conversation about the realities - including the problems, dangers, and opportunities – their students face in their workplaces. As a result of recent amendments to Lebanese residency laws, which has made it increasingly difficult for Syrian adults to work, many children have had to become their family’s primary breadwinners, leading them to neglect their studies or think about dropping out of school entirely. In addition to gaining in-depth knowledge about how her fourth grade students made sense of this experience, Tory also had the opportunity to learn about how and why they - together with their families - make the decision to work, as well as about the difficult and desolate circumstances that serve as the backdrop to this decision.

Tory spent the final six weeks of the summer in Beirut, where she worked on developing formal and informal ties with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working with Syrian children and their families in Lebanon. She also collaborated with a Syrian educational NGO to develop a research project designed to identify which of the children they are working with (or have worked with in the past) are no longer in school and are instead employed as full-time laborers, and the ways in which this NGO might be able to better - and perhaps more holistically – address some of their educational needs. Tory is still in Beirut, where she will spend the next year implementing this project and conducting longer term ethnographic fieldwork with these children and their families, as well as with the NGOs designing and implementing interventions.

Mei-chun Lee

With the support of ISS Summer Travel & Research Awards, I spent my summer doing fieldwork on a research project of open government and civic hackers both in Taiwan and Hong Kong. These civic hackers promoted open government data and experimented on various ways of civic engagement via digital technologies. In the beginning of the summer, I accompanied a group of civic journalists from Taiwan to live stream Hong Kong’s July 1 Rally. There, we met several Hong Kong open source advocates and exchanged ideas on open source and civic engagement.

After this short trip, I went to Taipei, Taiwan and joined a civic hacker community, g0v. I participated in their hackathons, in which hackers brainstormed technical solutions for civic problems. We also held regular meetups and vibrant online conversations to share ideas, techniques and gossips. Besides participant observation with these civic hackers, I interviewed some government officials who are in charge of digital affairs and had the opportunities to attend a few government meetings regarding open data. Thanks to the Institute for Social Sciences, this summer was very productive and laid a good foundation for my dissertation research.

Marie McDonald

The award from ISS allowed me to visit sites along the New Jersey shoreline where Hurricane Sandy, a storm that occurred in October of 2012, had a severe impact. While most of the physical damage has been repaired through land restoration, a fisherman from Red Hook, NY informed me that he and his co-workers continue to bring smaller catches to shore compared to what they caught before the storm and are still feeling the storm’s economic effects. Other shoreline residents in New Jersey told me how they are attempting to protect the shore from comparable future damages with bags of sand, flood banks, and by garnering political support for the construction of seawalls.

These conversations helped me gain a better understanding of the ways residents, local officials, and politicians prepare for future severe weather events locally, as well as how the possibility of future loss can re-configure political commitments to a place. More broadly, the award from ISS helped me to explore sites in which forms of preparedness are implied and entailed by efforts to restore land from weather related damages. Further, it allowed me to examine how this can generate local politics of protection and prevention that are installed into the built form of a place.

Josh Weiss

My project examines the vernacular discourses and localized perceptions of emerging internet practices in Havana, Cuba. The current moment in Cuba, heavily marked by a process of normalizing relations with the United States, represents a unique opportunity to capture a radically shifting telecommunications landscape as it develops. Through fieldwork with an array of actors (university students, newly independent business owners, and freelance programmers), I analyze and recontextualize political suppositions that reflect the experience of data-connectivity (or the lack thereof) in Havana.

My summer research continued my work into the questions: Why and how is internet access understood as important to Cubans, and how might this differ from conversations happening outside the island? My research at this stage is, in part, to map this constellation of affects, beliefs, and practices Havana.

This summer in particular was spent touching base with several of my long-term research interlocutors and mapping out the possibilities for my next phase of longer research – enabled by a large-format research grant. This summer’s purpose (mapping out longer-term research) meant engaging in lot of face-to-face conversations with cultural institutions (email is not yet standardized practice) to solidify permissions, planning my housing situations, and continued qualitative fieldwork with my contacts there.

Awards were also presented to Melissa Salm, Roshanne Bahktiary, and Grace Davis. 

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Communication

Tessa DeAngelo

I used my Summer Research & Travel Award to travel to the International Communication Association Conference in Fukuoka, Japan in June 2016. While at the conference I gave a poster presentation on how, in an era of information overload and rising online news consumption, two distinct writing structures (inverted pyramid vs. news narrative) may increase how efficiently news stories are processed in terms of time spent reading and memory for the news stories. Furthermore, while navigating the conference, I received vital feedback from a number of influential scholars within my field. Overall, attending the conference was a wild success! I would like to thank the Institute for Social Sciences for affording me the opportunity share my research and expand my knowledge.

Meng Chen

This summer I traveled to Fukuoka, Japan with financial assistance from Institute for Social Sciences to present my paper “Narrator point of view and persuasion in health narratives: The role of protagonist–reader similarity, identification, and self-referencing” in the 66th International Communication Association Conference. From June 8th – June 12th I presented my paper and attended several relevant panels. My paper examines whether narrative persuasiveness can be possibly enhanced by language features of narrative, and investigated underlying mechanisms of narrative persuasion. I would like to express my utmost gratitude to Institute for Social Sciences for funding my travel. This financial support enabled me to present my work in an international conference, receive insightful suggestions and comments for my paper, and stay connected with international scholars.

Grace Benefield

I am incredibly grateful for the funding that I received from the ISS Summer Travel and Research award. Because of this award, I was able to attend the University of Oxford's Internet Institute for two weeks for a summer doctoral program. The program invites PhD candidates who study various aspects of social science and the Internet to attend lectures from world-class faculty, present their dissertation proposals, and network with other candidates.

As an Internet social scientist, this experience was invaluable as a way to help develop my dissertation, which examines communication and social network dynamics on Wikipedia talk pages. I received critical and encouraging feedback from other attendees in terms of its quantitative methodology and its qualitative impact. Most importantly, I have a better understanding of how to frame my research in terms of its possibly global impact.

My favorite part of the program was meeting other scholars with both complementary and diverse academic perspectives from around the world. I also enjoyed developing relationships with other members—many of whom will be research colleagues, as I am also planning on conducting research collaborations with other students and University of Oxford faculty, who live in the United Kingdom, Australia, and the US.

Saifuddin Ahmed

I am grateful to the Institute for Social Sciences, who funded my travel and attendance at The Second CityU Summer School in Social Science Research, held at City University of Hong Kong, from June 2-5, 2016 and organized by Dr. Marko M. Skoric of the Department of Media and Communication. I was also fortunate to also be awarded a full scholarship by the organizers, which covered the registration fee of the workshop.

The workshop was attended by sixteen early PhD students in Communication from several universities worldwide. Of the curriculum, I particularly enjoyed the three-day tutorial by Dr. van Atteveldt of VU Amsterdam on advanced methods for text analytics, and I plan to apply what I learnt in my work. Dr. Nathaniel Poor gave a great talk. peppered with insights and personal anecdotes, about how to integrate big data with traditional social science data collection methods. Because of my focus on political communication, I found Dr. Liang's talk on mining political conversation, particularly exciting.

I was also able to attend The 2016 CityU Workshop on Computational Approaches to Big Data in the Social Sciences and Humanities (CityU CSS 2016) which was being held a day after the workshop's conclusion. It had a very interesting talk by Dr. Nan Cao on 3D visualization of user behaviors in social media.

I really enjoyed my experience at the workshop. It was a good break after a hectic semester to discuss new ideas and gain new perspectives. I am thankful to Dr. Skoric for organizing this workshop, that helped me meet so many great people. I will especially cherish the long discussion I had with him, about my future goals and career path. Thanks again, to the Institute for Social Sciences, for making my travel and participation possible!

Cassandra Alexopoulos

The ISS Summer Travel & Research Award allowed me to attend the National Communication Association's Doctoral Honors Seminar, which was hosted by Ohio University. The seminar gives advanced graduate students in Communication the opportunity to work with well-known scholars in the field and receive feedback on their dissertations. I was able to present the groundwork of my dissertation, which examines the effects of exposure to infidelity in entertainment media on young adults' beliefs about infidelity. We discussed various topics related to Communication, methodological considerations, and how to market your research. I was also able to network with other graduate students from all over the country.

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Economics

Luca Macedoni

What are the welfare consequences of a trade liberalization or trade agreements such as the Trans- What are the welfare consequences of a trade liberalization or trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)? To answer this question I develop a model of international trade that focuses on the behavior of large firms that export multiple products. Recent empirical work has in fact shown that world trade is dominated by firms producing multiple products, and that a few large exporters, or superstars, account for most of a country's exports. These findings challenge traditional models of trade, in which each firm is small and produces a single product.

Studying how large exporters choose how many products to export has new implications for the welfare of consumers. In my research I first document that firms offer more varieties in richer economies, suggesting that trade can have different effects on welfare depending on the level of development of the countries involved. Second, large exporters avoid introducing new products because these could reduce the sales and profits of the existing products. This phenomenon, which we refer to as “Cannibalization Effects”, limits the number of products that firms export. A trade liberalization weakens the “Cannibalization Effects” faced by large firms and consumers are able to enjoy the new products that firms are willing to introduce.

Chenghao Hu

This summer I attended an international conference using the award from the Institute for Social Sciences. The conference was held in Shenzhen, an economic frontier in the Southern part of China. When I came out of the airport and took a taxi, I was told by the taxi driver that the overall GDP in Shenzhen last year (year 2015) has already surpassed that of Hong Kong. Hearing this news I hardly believe it. However, when I really see the skyline of the city, I understand why.

Compare to Hong Kong, Shenzhen is relatively new, more energetic and is more resource abundant, which means there are more capacity for future development. I’m pretty excited to visit Shenzhen for the first time. One can only tell how fruitful it is for China’s economic reform in the past 25 years when you really see it for yourself. During a three-day conference I learned a great deal from others not only from senior economists, but also other young economic researchers like me. We exchanged ideas with each other and through this process I got to know the cutting-edge researche related to emerging economies, which I’m quite interested in and will focus on in my career.

Besides, I also had the opportunity to present my own research paper titled “International Macroeconomics, Sectoral Financial Vulnerability and Trade Volatility” to a crowd of audience. In this paper I investigate the link between international financial remoteness and trade volatility and show several novel and interesting empirical patterns which are undocumented else before:

1)    A country’s geographical position tends to be a key determinant of its export volatility. When a country is geographically distant from major international financial centers in the world, its export tend to be more volatile. This effect has been quantitatively important and robust.

2)    The impact of financial remoteness on export volatility is especially pronounced for sectors that are more financial dependent (require more external finance). In addition, better developed domestic financial market or more efficient information sharing mechanism can alleviate those undesirable effects of financial remoteness.

The feedback from the conference is also very positive and insightful. Without the award from the Institute for Social Sciences my conference presentation will be impossible. I do appreciate the support from ISS.

Joe Kopecky

My research studies the way in which aging populations can alter the rate of entrepreneurial activity in an economy.  On average, individuals late in life are unwilling to take on highly risky assets while those in early stages of their working life lack the funding and expertise to do so.  This life cycle nature of investment decisions has been studied in financial markets, but has largely been ignored as an important component of entrepreneurial behavior.

By studying the general equilibrium properties of a simple macroeconomic model I am able to explain the slowdown in the rate of new business creation in the United States since the 1980s as well as project that such decline in entrepreneurship may continue in the coming decades. The benefit of such a framework is that I am also able to use such a model economy as a laboratory for policy experiments to better understand how governments can affect decisions of such individuals in order to encourage entrepreneurship.

Because this research lies at the intersection of many fields it is crucial for me to solicit outside feedback from a large number of people. Thanks to my grant from the ISS, I was able to travel to the North American Summer Meeting of the Econometric Society and present my research to a diverse group of economists. I received valuable feedback from this experience that will not only help me write a better dissertation, but also to expand the impact of my research. 

Dillon Carlos

Thanks to support from the Institute for Social Sciences, this Summer I presented my research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago conference on Money, Banking, Payments, and Finance. This workshop offered me a forum to receive feedback from monetary economists from all over the world. Support of the ISS allowed me to fly to and from Chicago for the five day conference, a cost I may not have been able to cover otherwise.

My project is joint work with Seungduck Lee and Athanasios Geromichalos. We explore the economic reasons why a) so much trade in safe US treasuries occurs before they mature and b) how this relates to treasuries' usage as media of exchange. To do so we have developed a model that provides foundations for asset trade in secondary markets. Now, we look forward to taking the theoretical predictions to data as the next frontier of our work.

Awards were also presented to Jaerim Choi and Kelsey Fortune. 

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History

Génesis Lara

Supported by ISS, the UC Consortium for Black Studies, and a HIA Tinker Grant, Génesis spent her summer conducting research on exiles from the Dominican Republic. Her project took her to Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and New York City.

Check out Génesis's summer research blog.

Jessica Blake

My dissertation, “A Taste for Africa: Imperial Fantasy and Clothes Commerce in Revolutionary-era New Orleans,” is a cultural and social history, examining how New Orleans consumers’ interest in the exploitation of West Africa coast reappeared in the clothing styles of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. I analyze European and American fashion periodicals, slave sales, and travel accounts to illustrate that emulations of West African-styled clothing garnered broad popularity in New Orleans thanks to an imperial allure associated with it.

Support to utilize the Library Company and Historical Society of Pennsylvania enabled me to build a key collection of anecdotes on craftswomen’s communities in New Orleans and West Africa. Engravings by S. Boulton (1780s) and Thomas Kitchin (1774) revealed prints of linen and mixed-cotton in West Africa, in addition to similar forms of cloth head wrap, which resembled those in New Orleans. Comparing style similarities across the Atlantic allowed me to demonstrate how French Caribbean artisans adopted aspects of West African culture.

Travel accounts, too, enabled me to focus on West African markets as sites for European merchants and travelers to relay information about regional opportunities to extract people and resources. M. Saugnier and Francois Le Vaillant’s narratives from the 1780s and 1790s describe how enslaved people and raw materials moved across the Atlantic. Their writings illustrate numerous cultural and economic exchanges that occurred before West African cloth reached New Orleans artisans and merchants. Slave trade accounts by Alexander Falconbridge (1792) and James Stanfield (1788) expand on European conceptions of West Africans’ production capabilities. Such writings enabled me to make crucial linkages between garment commerce and colonial ambition.

The generosity of the Institute for Social Sciences significantly enhanced the global scope of my project, allowing me to further illustrate the importance of cross-cultural influence in Gulf South markets.

Shan (Zoe) Lin

I am a PhD candidate at history, studying political culture of China during the thirteenth century.  I am now in the advanced stage of dissertation writing. Thanks to the summer travel award, I was able to use the funds for my travel to the Asian branch of the annual conference of Association for Asian Studies, held in Japan during June 24 and 27. This conference provided me with an excellent opportunity to exchange and build networks with scholars in my field or interested in similar themes beyond my field. I organized a panel on conflicts and political communication within the bureaucratic state in Medieval China and presented part of my ongoing dissertation. I enjoyed the experience of working with both a graduate student from Harvard and two leading scholars in this field in Japan. I received intriguing questions and extremely useful comments from my audience, which has been incorporated into the new draft of this chapter.

Apart from my own panel, I attended in other penal, including those closely related to my topic, my teaching interest, and those of cutting-edge topics. The four-day conference also allowed me to introduce myself and my work to some scholars I had yet to have a chance to meet. One of them even offered to read my dissertation chapters and give feedback on them. I am really grateful for the funds provided by the Institute for Social Sciences.

Stacy Roberts

Stacy N. Roberts used her summer funding from the UC Davis Institute for Social Sciences to attend the American Antiquarian Society’s Center for Historic American Visual Culture 2016 Summer Workshop: “Seeing Nature: The Environment in American Visual Culture to 1900.” Kathryn Morse and John Coleman, professors of American Environmental History at Middlebury College and the University of Notre Dame, respectively, led the week-long meeting that brought together scholars from a wide range of backgrounds: art history, literature, museums, archives, and history. Seminar sessions moved forward chronologically, starting with Native America and the initial decades of contact with Europeans and ending at the start of U.S. conservation in the late-nineteenth century.

Each day students and faculty engaged with primary sources from the AAS collections related to subject matter discussed during seminar, including: deforestation, agriculture, and industrialization, among others. Additional activities included a visit to Harvard Forest, the famous dioramas of the Fisher Museum, and cook-outs both at the center and a historic home in the New England countryside. Participants networked, shared stories and experiences, and learned from each other’s disciplinary perspectives on how to analyze sources.

The grant funding from ISS paid for travel and accommodations in Worcester, MA and registration for the workshop. More important, the ISS summer grant provided me the opportunity to partake in an incredible week of enlightening activities and friendship-building with scholars from across the social science spectrum.

An award was also presented to Melania Ann Peinado.

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Philosophy

Ceth Lightfield

Thanks to financial support from ISS, I was able to present my research at the annual meeting of the International Society for the Philosophy of Chemistry. The ISPC annual symposium is an opportunity for philosophers and chemists to discuss current research in topics at the intersection of these two disciplines.

The work I presented concerns algorithmic chemistries. I argue that those based on lambda-calculus, typed or otherwise, fail to meet the needs of contemporary computational chemists. Starting from logic and computer science results in chemistries that are too limited to be of use to practicing chemists.

I propose a chemistry-first approach in which an algorithmic chemistry is determined by choosing the target chemical attributes to be modeled and then selecting a suitable logic. The general and formal framework labeled "artificial chemistry" is adopted to facilitate this process. To illustrate, I show that molecular symmetry in a reaction network may be successfully modeled by an artificial chemistry based on linear logic.

Fabio Lampert

The Institute for Social Sciences award enabled me to participate in the week-long 2016 NASSLLI at Rutgers University. The North American School of Logic, Language, and Information happens approximately every two years. Several courses are offered, with a focus on logic, linguistics, and their interaction. In this sense, NASSLLI provides attendees with a very interesting interdisciplinary experience.

There were six talks from graduate students as well as a number of poster presentations. I had the chance to present my work as a talk in the section devoted to logic and epistemology. My paper “Tableau methods for two-dimensional modal logics” offers a development on familiar prefixed tableau methods for modal logics, but involving double-prefixed formulas, given the two-dimensional character of the semantics. Although there has been much debate over the philosophical aspects related to the semantic side in the past decades, proof systems for two-dimensional logics have been mainly unexplored. My goal in the paper was to at least partially fulfill such a gap. Besides the novelty of the proof system, the paper also argued for the expressive incompleteness of the usual languages considered by two-dimensional semanticists.

The 2016 NASSLLI was the perfect event for me to present my work, as some of the best professionals in my area were there. Moreover, it provided me with a great opportunity to interact with graduate students and professors from different institutions, which was an enriching academic experience for me.

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Political Science

Adam Kunz

Adam spent his summer exploring the concept of fraternity in John Rawls' seminal text A Theory of Justice. As an ISS Summer Blogger, he provided regular updates on his musings and findings.

Check out Adam's summer research blog.

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Psychology

Olivia Atherton

I am currently a 4th year PhD student in the Department of Psychology. Broadly, my research interests include: 1) personality development in adolescence and adulthood (and more specifically, the development of self-control), 2) person-environment interactions and mechanisms of personality stability/change, and 3) the co-development of self-control and the initiation/escalation of problem behavior over time.

With funding from the Institute for Social Sciences, I spent the summer conducting research to better understand the influences of poverty and family stress on the development of delinquency among Mexican-origin adolescents. A significant amount of previous research has discussed the widespread effects of poverty and family stress on adolescents’ engagement in delinquent behavior; however, we know little about how and why these risk factors are related to adolescent maladjustment. Using data from our longitudinal study, the California Families Project, I adapted theoretical ideas stemming from the Family Stress Model to propose a process by which poverty influences the co-development of adolescent self-control and delinquency via two forms of family functioning (i.e., parent antisocial behavior and parental monitoring). As evidenced by the Figure, there are multiple pathways through which poverty and family functioning can affect the development of adolescent delinquency. For example, within the impoverished family, one (or both) parents may resort to engaging in antisocial behavior, by stealing or committing fraud, in attempt to provide resources for themselves and/or their family. However, this in turn, affects their parenting practices of the developing adolescent because of their absence from the family completely (due to incarceration), or a preoccupation with engaging in antisocial behavior. Thus, as result, poor parenting practices affect the development of adolescent self-control, and subsequently, the adolescent’s own engagement in delinquent behavior.

Aligned with previous research, I found that the experience of poverty is related to lower levels of self-control over time (and to delinquency later in adolescence), which provides initial evidence that the family stress process may be developmental in nature. The preliminary findings also demonstrate positive associations between poverty and family functioning (i.e., parent antisocial behavior and parental monitoring) -- the more economic hardship a family experiences, the more likely parents are to engage in antisocial behavior and poorly monitor their children’s behavior. Moreover, there seems to be evidence for associations between higher levels of parent antisocial behavior and less parental monitoring. However, there is no consistent evidence to suggest that parents and their children are engaging in delinquent behavior together (given the inconsistent relations between parent antisocial behavior and adolescent delinquency over time). Notwithstanding, more proximal factors to adolescent development, such as poor parental monitoring, are strongly associated with the adolescent having lower levels of self-control and higher levels of delinquent behavior. Taken together, these initial findings imply that the influences of poverty on adolescent delinquency may be explained by deficits in family functioning.

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Sociology

Sam Haraway

I used my ISS summer grant to attend the Society for Social Studies of Science and European Association for the Social Study of Science and Technology conference in Barcelona, where I presented a paper based on my dissertation research. My dissertation is a socio-historical study of the “techno-athlete” that treats Lance Armstrong’s seven-consecutive Tour de France victories (1999-2005) and doping controversy as a case by which to reexamine questions concerning subjectivity, agency, and doping in sport. In my conference paper and presentation, I first reconstructed sport as “trials of strength” (Latour 1988) between heterogenous actor-networks. Far from competitions between human individuals or symbolic representations of the “pure” body, what I call “techno-sport” is anchored in assemblages of laboratories, materials, bodies, knowledge, institutions, sponsorships, and so on. Second, I explored Armstrong’s training for the 1999-2005 Tours de France. I argued that Armstrong’s bodily performances were embedded in, networked with, and constituted through material practices such as periodized training methods, wind-tunnel testing, clothing and equipment designs, blood-boosting techniques, and race reconnaissance. The bodily performances of techno-athletes are therefore distributed though networks.

My conference paper will appear in a special journal issue on Science and Technology Studies and Sport. I am grateful for the ISS grant that allowed me to attend the conference, network with other scholars in my field, and work towards a journal publication.

Beth Hart

The Summer Travel & Research award I received from the Institute for Social Sciences funded conference travel and data analysis. The ISS grant funded my subscription to Dedoose, a mixed-methods, cloud-based software for data analysis. Dedoose allows both myself and my co-author to collaboratively organize, code, and analyze focus group and in-depth interview data.

In August 2016, I presented my research based on this analysis at the American Sociological Association conference in Seattle, Washington on a regular-session panel titled “Post-secondary Institutions and their Impacts on Students.” My paper, “Succeeding against All Odds: Cultivating Human Capital at a Community College,” examines students’ narratives and accounts of building skills and knowledge within a community college to understand how human-capital decisions are playing out on the ground. We find that students do not have adequate support from parents or counselors in making academic and career decisions, and that lottery admissions systems at the colleges keep students from rationally choosing and completing their major of choice. These barriers prevent people from investing in their human capital and realizing the benefits of community college credentials. Based on the feedback I received at the conference, I plan to continue revising the paper and submit it for publication this quarter. 

Jennifer Kutzleb

Thanks to my ISS Summer Research & Travel Award, I was able to present at the 4S/EASST Conference in Barcelona, Spain, Aug 31 - Sept 3 2016. This conference brought together scholars from around the world who study science, technology and society and was a great opportunity for me to network with other scholars studying similar areas of research and to gain feedback on my own research project.

My paper presentation explored the topic of Governing Excellent Science and was titled “Fostering Excellent Science in the Irish Research Center through Institutionalized Entrepreneurism.” My presentation explored how university-industry research centers are a growing global trend with the goal of bridging the gap between academic knowledge creation and industry commercialization. The university and industry, as social institutions, have different norms, cultures, goals and informal and formal rules, yet States often see their convergence as an opportunity for innovation and economic growth. So how does a State coordinate engagement between these two, often contradictory, institutions?

Using in-depth interviews with staff from an Irish scientific funding agency, I explore how this agency fosters university and industry collaboration in Ireland. I argue that the agency often leverages its research funding to define the meaning of “excellent science” and to shape and reshape the role university researchers play in knowledge production, pushing them towards acting and thinking of themselves as “entrepreneurs,” and at the same time, preserving their status as “disinterested” knowledge producers. Formally, the agency uses the grant application process to push university researchers to think about and talk about their scientific research in terms of its economic impact.

To maintain the claim to producing “excellent” and “disinterested” science, the agency uses an “unbiased” international peer review panel to evaluate the quality of the science, university researchers produce. Informally, agency staff engage with university researchers by coaching, guiding, and advising in order to reshape and modify their ambitions and bring them more in line with industries commercial goals. I argue that it is these formal and informal mechanisms that ultimately shape the kinds of science that emerge in Ireland.

Zach Psick

My dissertation research considers the needs and experiences of people who are age 40 or older and have been incarcerated. Members of this group, who now fill about 40 percent of all prison beds in California, are of particular interest in the midst of the historic prison reforms currently underway because they cost far more to incarcerate than their younger peers but pose little threat to public safety if released. However, most lack the basic skills, experience, and information that enable success after release.

The project I worked on this summer considered considered the role of technology in prisoner reentry. The “digital divide” is a mostly unexamined aspect of the reentry process that emerged in my early interviews as particularly important for older people. Many who have been incarcerated are poor, lack a diploma or GED, are racial minorities, and have limited experience using the many forms of technology that are essential for meeting everyday needs. Basic computer literacy can help overcome these barriers and keep them from compounding by facilitating access to important information and resources. Yet no known research has documented this group’s knowledge about, experience using, and attitudes toward technology, and few programs exist to help them acquire relevant skills.

The ISS grant was used to purchase gift cards to incentivize participation in a survey and interviews intended to gather information about how clients of a local probation reporting center use technology. In addition to contributing to my dissertation research, this information will also be used to develop a computer literacy class at the probation office.

Jingjing Chen

My dissertation seeks to expand knowledge on trends and determinants of divorce in China since the economic reform, and effects of marital status on and gender disparity in health within such a social context. China, with its large population experiencing rapid social change, serves as a valuable case in understanding how large-scale social transformations, including rising educational level, economic development, urbanization, migration, and shifts in gender ideology, shape family dissolution.  Since marriage remains a universal and patriarchal institution in China, divorce may carry a physical and mental toll on the parties involved. Exploring effects of marital status on and gender disparity in health within such a social context will shed light on the consequences of social change, as well as the pathways through which social inequality transpires.

Using multiple data sources from 1982, 1990, 2000, 2005 1%, and 2010 China Census, three waves of Chinese Family Panel Studies (2010, 2012, 2014), and 2004 China Statistical Yearbook for Regional Economy in China, the dissertation uses GIS mapping techniques to visualize divorce rate shifts over time and space, and multilevel modelling to test the association of structural- level characteristics and individual marital decisions. Survival analysis and logit models are used to estimate the changing effects of education on divorce, and gender and health disparity in marital status.

Funding from ISS has permitted me to travel to a conference on urbanization in Xi’an, China, present my work on divorce in China and obtain valuable feedback. This experience has deepened my understanding of the social transformation in China and inspired me to further revise the paper, which I will send out for publication in the fall. The funding from ISS also helped me to stay focused on preparing datasets for further analysis.

Amara Miller

This past summer I utilized the ISS Summer Travel & Research award to complete the field work for my dissertation, Yoga R/Evolution: Deconstructing the Authentic Yoga Body. This work included the last of my participant observation work and interviews. Participant observation work entailed traveling to the bay area regularly to participate and observe at a yoga teacher training, while interviews varied in format and location depending on convenience for the interviewee and consisted of historical figures in yoga, yoga teachers and studio owners, and body positive activists. I was able to gather a great deal of information about the experiences of marginalized teachers within yoga from my conversations with various yogis and studio owners, and collected valuable data on the experiences and format of a nationally representative certification program that will inform the next several chapters I am writing for my dissertation.

This award was helpful in providing summer funding to complete the travel and research I needed before digging into writing this upcoming school year to finish my dissertation, providing me with gas and toll money as well as ensuring I was able to gain access to a certification program, which can have high costs of entry but was necessary to better understand the experiences of teacher trainees, including who has access to such programs and how they function to socialize teachers to particular constructions of authenticity in the practice.  

Krysti Ryan

My ISS Summer Travel & Research Award enabled me to attend the 2016 Pacific Sociological Association (PSA) meeting in Oakland, CA, where I presented findings from my doctoral dissertation research in a regular paper session on “Parenting Against the Grain.”

My research focuses on the experiences of parents who are raising and supporting transgender and gender diverse youth. The paper I presented at the PSA, entitled “Mother-Blame and the Contested Power of Hegemonic Masculinity: Raising Gender-Diverse and Transgender Children,” identifies and examines the circumstances under which mothers become the targets of blame narratives for their child’s gender difference. My analysis shows that mothers of children assumed to be boys at birth are uniquely at risk of being held responsible for their child's non-normative gender identity or expression. Resulting deviancy discourses, which identify the mother as the proximate cause of the child's difference, are exacerbated when the mother's gender politics are perceived as being in conflict with dominant gender ideology and heteronormativity.

My participation in the conference was a valuable and rewarding opportunity to gain critical feedback on my work, and to connect with other scholars in my subfield. I am very grateful to ISS for this opportunity!

An award was also presented to Angela Carter.

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Center for Regional Change

ISS 2016 Summer Travel & Research Awards were presented, via the Center for Regional Change, to six social science students in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences: Marisa Coyne, Laura Daly, Frannie Einterz, Madeline Gottlieb, Stacie Townsend, and Jessica Zlotnicki.

For details on all of their projects, visit the Center for Regional Change website.