Summer 2017

From reconstructing the diets of prehistoric Californians to investigating Mao Zedong's infamous 'Sent-down Movement', graduate students did some amazing things with their 2017 ISS Summer Travel and Research Awards.

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

 

Anthropology

Nicholas Hanten

Although acorns were the staple food for most native Californians just prior to European contact, the exact time at which this particular lifeway was adopted varies across the region. My research is focused on the spatiotemporal pattering of this shift in prehistoric subsistence patterns in the Sierra Foothills. In particular, I am looking at the extent to which resource availability can explain the temporal difference in the adoption of an intensive acorn focused diets in the Sierra foothills. This research question requires the careful excavation of several additional archaeological sites with a focus on identifying the exact timing of these shifts in prehistoric subsistence practices. The funds from the ISS 2017 Summer Travel and Research Award were used to cover the cost of travel to conduct archaeological excavations as a part of this research in the Lower Merced Watershed, just west of Yosemite National Park.

While I had initially intended to conduct field work this summer as a part of the 2017 UC Davis Archaeological Field School, a major wildfire required us to evacuate the area before we could complete excavations. The Summer Travel and Research Award allowed me and a few UC Davis undergraduates to return to the project location later this summer, after the fire, to complete excavations. During our time at the site, we were finish the excavation of several partially complete excavation units that would otherwise have been abandoned as a result of the field school evacuation. These excavations yielded an abundance of stone tool artifacts and production waste, animal bone, and paleobotanic samples that will be used to reconstruct prehistoric diet and lifeways. While excavating, we noticed changes in the groundstone artifact assemblage (tools used for processing plant foods like nuts and seeds) that may directly address the shifts in subsistence patterning that is the focus of my research. Without the funds from the ISS Summer Travel and Research Award, we would not have been able to return to this site to finish these excavations providing me with these valuable data, with the additional benefit of providing undergraduate students with important fieldwork experience.

Bryna Hull

For my dissertation research in archaeology, I am using the stable and radiogenic isotopic signatures from archaeological remains to reconstruct paleodiets of prehistoric California hunter-gatherers. Dietary reconstruction, when done in this manner, is a means to elucidate diachronic cultural change, environmental adaptation, as well as life-history information. In essence, my research utilizing stable isotopic signatures allows for the study of ancient societies’ relationships with food and how that may reflect certain aspects of society, such as migration, parental investment in offspring, sexual division of labor, and communal food sharing. When radiocarbon data is added, these aspects of society can be tracked through time. 

My ISS Summer Research and Travel Award enabled me to submit collagen samples for 34S analysis. δ34S is a useful tool for distinguishing freshwater consumers from terrestrial or marine consumers. Likewise, it is an aid in tracking migrations from one geologic region to another. The submitted samples derive from remains recovered from among three sites in the Central Sierra Nevada foothills. The remains date to between 3000 BP to about 180 years ago. My previous stable isotopic analysis of these individuals suggests no dietary differences between the sexes, or between age groups. Taken together, individuals from both sexes and all age groups exhibit the same range of variation, however this range is large enough to suggest a diet based on similar resources but in varying quantities. The individuals, when parsed by radiocarbon date, exhibit a declining reliance on animal-based protein and a heavier reliance on plants as one moves closer to the present. This suggests a terrestrial foraging pattern, despite slightly enriched δ13C in some individuals. The small δ13C enrichment could indicate anadromous fish consumption; however, it may also be attributable to a plant within the base of the diet. The goal of submitting these samples is to help establish some parameters for dietary sulfur signatures for Central Sierra Nevada dwellers, as well as further discriminate between the possibility of a terrestrial diet versus marine or freshwater. Sample submission can get quite expensive very quickly, and I am grateful that this award allowed me the opportunity to submit a fair number of samples which will aid in my future research.

Neetha Iyer

The goal of my research in the Evolutionary wing of the Department of Anthropology is to understand the dynamics of sociality and disease transmission in primates. Much of my field work requires rigorous days following and observing Grauer’s gorillas, a great ape endemic to the tropical forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Of course, this necessitates months of preparation before embarking on a field trip. My goal was to collect behavioural data on a habituated social group in one region as well as to collect fecal samples to determine what species of parasites can be found in different social groups.

One constant of field work is that you must always be prepared for the unexpected. Unfortunately, weeks of excitement and anticipation were quelled by visa delays and I was unable to get to the field. So instead of spending my time tracking gorillas and collecting feces in the tropics, I travelled to the far cooler northern latitude of Sweden where I was trained in molecular techniques at Uppsala University. I worked with Dr. Katerina Guschanski to learn how to extract parasite DNA from low-quality fecal samples that were previously collected from these gorillas. Due to the remote nature of the field site, fecal samples are often stored in ethanol and then preserved in silica gel. My goal was to determine if DNA from parasite eggs could be extracted and sequenced from these dry feces. The good news: parasite DNA can successfully be extracted using the same method that is used to extract gorilla DNA from these low-quality specimens! The bad news: the methodology must be further optimized to identify parasites to the species level. The skills I learned were invaluable and will be used in subsequent work for my dissertation. My hopes are to return to Uppsala for future collaborations during my thesis work. 

This work was made possible by the 2017 Summer Travel & Research Award from ISS, which afforded me the flexibility to travel to Uppsala University and helped to partially cover the costs of airfare to Sweden. This financial support was crucial as it allowed me to rehash my summer research plans due to unforeseen circumstances.

Corey Johnson

This summer I was invited to assist in the analysis of part of the lithic assemblage from the early Upper Paleolithic site of Shuǐdònggōu Locality 2 (SDG2) with a team of colleagues at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) in Beijing, China. The ISS Summer Travel and Research Award funded my purchasing of a digital caliper, which I used to help accurately and precisely record the metrics of over 2000 stone artifacts from SDG2. Along with artifact metrics, we also identified and recorded the raw material type, degree of weathering, cortex percentage, flake scar morphology, presence of knapping accidents, extent of retouch, as well as multiple other technological and typological attributes of the stone artifacts from SDG2. The results of our analysis will provide a more detailed assessment of the sites lithic characteristics and give greater context to inter-locality technological variability at Shuǐdònggōu and inter-site technological variability in the early Upper Pleistocene archaeological record of eastern Asia.

While working at the IVPP my PhD advisor and I were invited on an excursion to the Nihewan Basin to learn more about the Oldowan archaeology taking place there. This involved a two-day tour of several Oldowan localities including the first Nihewan site ever discovered, Xiǎochángliáng, and the oldest site discovered so far in the basin, Majuangou III. During our visit, I was also given the opportunity to excavate at one of the most archaeologically rich Oldowan sites in the Nihewan Basin, Dōnggǔtuó.

It is through funding like that provided by ISS that I may continue investigating early hominin lithic technological strategies, behavioral ecology, and evolution during the Lower Pleistocene. And so, I want to thank the Institute for Social Sciences for its generous support of my research program.

Sara Watson

My research focuses on changes in technology from the Middle to the Later Stone Age in southern Africa, about 50,000-20,000 years ago and the associated changes in the behavior of early modern humans. During the Middle Stone Age, we see advances in technology, such as the emergence of projectile technology and the heat treatment of lithic materials to improve their quality for use in making stone tools, but these developments do not appear consistently in the archaeological record. It is not until this transitional period from 50,000-20,000 years ago that these technologies become a continuous part of early modern humans’ behavioral repertoire. Few sites discovered to date have evidence of occupation during this little-known and poorly understood time in human history, leading to a poor understanding of this transition and the context for the emergence of such behaviors later on in other parts of the world.

Funding from the ISS assisted in my travel to South Africa to participate in archaeological excavations at a Middle and Later Stone Age site on the country’s southern coast, one including evidence of occupation during Middle to Later Stone Age transitional period. My field season began in Mossel Bay, South Africa, where I spent time working in lab, sorting materials from the site, coding artifacts, and collecting technological data on the lithics, or stone tools, from the site for my dissertation research. From there, I went to the nearby town of Knysna to work with an international crew to excavate the recently discovered site of Knysna Eastern Heads Cave 1 (KEH-1), where I continued lithic analysis, as well as assisted in daily site activities, running the field lab, and gained knowledge on the spatial arrangement of the site and how to work with this information digitally.

An award was also presented to Muneeza Riviz.

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Communication

Saif Ahmed

This summer, thanks to the ISS I was able to attend the Third CityU Summer School in Social Science Research, held at City University of Hong Kong, from June 1-4, 2017 and organized by Dr. Marko M. Skoric of the Department of Media and Communication. The workshop was attended by graduate students from many universities worldwide. It was a great chance to get to know my peers and further my quantitative skills while learning about social network analysis from Dr. Itai Himelboim. The curriculum was particularly relevant to my own work with analyzing the role of social media platforms in political communication.

I was also able to attend the workshop on causal inferences by Dr. Liang Hai which helped me see my own research proposal from a new perspective. I plan to apply my learning to a future study of online communities.

The main takeaways from the workshop were about how a non-programmer like me can use social networks to track patterns of information flow, emerging communities and influential users. I'm grateful to ISS for the scholarship, and to Dr. Skoric for convening another fantastic summer school. I look forward to staying involved with the events at CityU's summer school which is truly creating a name for itself as a reputable forum for communication research students.

Teresa Gil Lopez

Thanks to the ISS 2017 Summer Travel & Research Awards I was able to attend the 3rd Summer School in Social Science Research organized by the Department of Media and Communication at City University of Hong Kong. In addition, this award also contributed to financing my participation at the 3rd Annual International Conference on Computational Social Science, taking place in Cologne, Germany.

From June 1st to June 5th, the CityU Summer School in Social Science Research gathered 15 PhD students from several countries and universities around the world to attend workshops and lectures focused on social network analytical methods applied to the study of social media. Specifically, during our time at the school we explored the foundations of social network analysis, then continued to identifying users in key positions, major information sources, patterns of information flow, and the emergence of key communities in the network. These topics are of great relevance to my research project and future career as a communication scholar, to which the identification of communities is central, and network analysis has become a significant methodological tool since it allows for an empirical examination of communication relationships among people. In all, this summer school was a great opportunity to build meaningful professional connections and learn about new tools.

Later in July, I had the opportunity to present a conference paper at the International Conference on Computational Social Science, IC2S2, an interdisciplinary event for academics, industry experts, open data activists, etc. dedicated to advancing social science knowledge through computational methods. My experience at this conference was memorable, as it provided me with new opportunities for collaboration and allowed me to meet extraordinary researchers coming from such different backgrounds, yet willing to build a common research enterprise for the future. 

Attending international conferences and schools is an exceptional opportunity for our careers, but also costly. Thanks to the financial support provided by the ISS, this summer has been immensely rewarding.

Yining Zhou

I used the ISS Summer Travel and Research Award to travel to the 3rd Annual International Summer School at Michigan State University. I presented my proposal: “The dark side of online support groups: Effects of unsynchronized and under-benefitted emotional support on patients in four cancer stages.” The proposal suggested that researchers could examine potential negative effects of using online support forums in coping with cancer. I listened to talks given by distinguished scholars from multiple disciplines and was able to discuss how to move communication theories forward with them and other international students. I appreciate the award from the Institute for Social Sciences. With the award, I was able to present my proposal, get critical feedback, learn from scholars in person, and receive insight from diverse disciplines and methodologies.

  

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Economics

Briana Ballis

More than 13 percent of public school students are being served in special education programs. While access to special education programs grows, we have very little understanding of how such expansions will impact students short and long-run outcomes.  Because special education programs significantly alter a students’ learning environment, these changes in access could be having large implications for success in school and eventual success in life. This paper provides the first causal estimates of special education access on long-run outcomes. This is achieved by focusing on a policy change that significantly and abruptly reduced special education access. This policy allows me to focus on comparisons between students with similar baseline characteristics, but whose special education status was entirely policy-driven. The results of this analysis have important implications for the role of special education access as a potential determinant for later life income inequality and in understanding whether these programs are achieving stated goals of helping disabled youth take advantage of opportunities later in life.

Thanks to the Institute for Social Sciences, I was able to access the data that allows me to conduct this research. I am able to identify the short and long-run impacts of this policy change on student outcomes using student-level data. This data follows the public-school students tracking key educational and labor market outcomes for each student. 

Matthew Curtis

I used my ISS Summer Travel and Research Award to attend the 2017 CAGE, EHES, and IAS Summer School at The University of Warwick. The topic of the summer school was "Geography, Institutions and Economic Growth in History," and professors and graduate students from all over the world attended. During the five day program, there were lectures by senior faculty, seminar-style presentations on cutting-edge research, and workshops for graduate student research. I found it particularly helpful to present my own early stage research and get feedback from the audience. It was also a great opportunity to discuss research ideas with other graduate students in between sessions.

Xuan Fei

Why is there a decline of manufacture share in the advanced regions in an economy? How will trade liberalization impact the manufacture and service share for a country like China which features heterogeneous regional developments and trade openness? My research studies the particular role of international trade in the structural transformation of each region in China. I show that there exhibits a non-linear, hump-shaped relationship between international trade freeness and manufacture labor share in China which is also consistent with the previous literature. I also rationalize this fact in a model that focuses on labor and land allocation across different sectors and regions.

Thanks to the support of ISS, I was able to travel back to China and attend the conference in the 2017 International Workshop on Regional, Urban and Spatial Economics in Xiamen, China this summer. I received valuable feedback and comments from the experience which will definitely help me a lot in my future research.

 

Tamoghna Halder

India is famous for its caste system, and the unique social disabilities that created. After independence, the Indian Government in 1950 took strong measures to promote social mobility through its reservation system for places in higher education and for government jobs. Reservations were granted to people who were assigned to three disadvantaged categories, based on the last British census of 1931: Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), Other Backward Classes (OBCs). The reservation system has expanded over time and now often covers 50% or more of positions in education or government. But there has been little systematic work examining what the actual effects of the system have been on social mobility. 

This summer, thanks to the grant from ISS, I could start gathering records of admissions of elite Indian universities (names not disclosed on purpose) or colleges over the last 40 years to examine the effectiveness of the reservation policy. It is a time taking process and due to the constraint of time and other resources, there are a lot to be done. Yet, I could at least start working on the topic, and I sincerely thank ISS for their generous support. The records of admissions I am gathering would include among other details, the surnames of the students, through which the respective caste memberships are revealed. Using this, I shall be measuring over time the relative frequency of elite surnames among university attendees, and compare it with the distribution of lower caste surnames. If the relative gap between these two distributions is found to be shrinking over time, the next question to ask would be, what is the rate at which this gap shrinks and whether the reservation policy helped this gap to shrink faster? Using surname distributions, thus we shall be able to compare long run mobility rates for elite and non-elite castes groups in India into the stream of higher education for the above-mentioned period. ‘Stream of higher education’ in this context would precisely stand for the Bachelors, Masters, M.Phil., or Ph.D. degree courses offered in these elite institutions.

Annie Hines

With the generous assistance of the Institute for Social Sciences, I am obtaining data on Immigration and Customs Enforcement deportations in each county from 2007-2014. This data, which I will obtain through the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, will be essential to my broader research agenda studying both the labor market effects of immigration enforcement and the consequences of deportations for the health care access and health outcomes on immigrants. This is a particularly important question given the current political environment, and the sparsity of research on the effects of deportations. While prior studies show that increases in immigration have generally had positive or null effects on U.S. workers, academic research has not yet analyzed the labor market effects of deportations in a comprehensive manner. Furthermore, the effects of increases in enforcement on undocumented immigrants and their families are not fully understood. In particular, fear of deportation may lead to high stress levels with negative outcomes, and this fear may also cause undocumented immigrants to bypass health care for themselves or their children. Finally, although multiple states passed legislation extending prenatal care to the unborn children of undocumented immigrants, heightened immigration enforcement may deter undocumented mothers from taking advantage of these benefits. I am grateful for the support of ISS in exploring these questions further. 

Zhixian Lin

My research project aims to evaluate the long-term effect of a nationwide forced migration policy (Send-down Movement) on the human capital formation in the rural areas. The Send-down Movement was a nationwide migration policy in China implemented between 1962 to 1980, which forcefully migrated the senior and junior high school graduates in urban cities to the countryside. Those migrated youth were called educated youth, since most Chinese population were illiterate at that time. This program moved approximately 18 million educated youths nationwide. More interestingly, by 1981, most educated youth returned to their home cities with the termination of this policy. 

So, the Send-down Movement provides us a good social experiment of temporal human capital reallocation. For the rural areas, this program brought huge human capital gain temporally. While the long-term effects of such temporal human capital gain have still not yet been fully examined in the literature. 

To identify the causal effects of the Send-down Movement on the rural receiving areas’ human capital formation, we firstly try to construct a county-level dataset on the number of educated youths received by each county. Fortunately, some historians have already compiled all the relevant information from county annals into a collection of historical archive, the Historical Archive of Send-down Movement (Jin & Jin), which was published in 2014. So, this summer, with the travel award granted, I visited Beijing to get this collection of archive and digitalized the relevant data. 

Rizki Nauli Siregar

I am very grateful for the support that ISS gave me this summer to conduct my research in Indonesia. This research, with whom I co-author with Dr. Sam Bazzi (Boston University), Dr Zoe Cullen (Harvard Business School) and Dr Bo Cowgill (Columbia Business School), tries to learn what the barriers to access online labor markets and what the impacts of these online platform to welfare and development. With the advancement of ICT, such platforms enable employers to find workers from all over the world, and vice versa, to work on tasks that can be delivered remotely. Indonesia is an interesting case as it has rapid internet penetration and high share of youth from its 250 million-wide population, which give some advantage in online labor platform. Moreover, we want to learn whether access to online labor platforms can be part of the solution to uneven development in different parts of Indonesia. With the travel grant, I was able to conduct interviews and FGDs to better understand the landscape of digital economy in Indonesia and all its relevant stakeholders. Understanding the real dynamics in place allow us to better design the study. We are now conducting a pilot randomized control trials (RCT) in 10 villages in Central Java, Indonesia. 

Xiaotong Su

The topic of my research is “The Household Vehicle Purchase Decision: Implications for Permanent Driving Restrictions”. In order to reduce the number of vehicles in main city zone and improve air quality, a series of driving restrictions was introduced in Beijing after 2008. The key policy is “End-number License Plate Policy” (ELPP), which mandates that automobiles in Beijing city shall cease going on public roads for one day per week by the end number of the license plate. It is a common observation that more and more Beijing residents own a second car with a different last digit on the license plate to circumvent the restrictions.

Therefore, I want to examine whether ELPP in Beijing can affect people’s purchase decision of the second car; if it can, what is the magnitude; and furthermore, how about the correspondent undesirable negative externalities and social welfare loss. Since driving restrictions are widely used and hotly debated around the world, it deserves further research.

One cannot make bricks without straw. This study relies heavily on disaggregate data with high quality. Thanks to my grant from the ISS, I was able to travel to Beijing in this summer and have talks with some “data” directors to obtain valuable data. And I did make big progress.  For example, I got the new release of CHFS dataset, which collects comprehensive micro-level household information about income, expenses, and purchase of vehicles. Now I can conduct my empirical analysis and some interesting outcomes are on the way. It is the support from ISS that makes this possible.

Cynthia van der Werf

With the support from the Institute for Social Sciences, I visited the University of Copenhagen during the summer. The funding allowed me to work closely with Mette Foged, my coauthor at the university, and provided the opportunity to interact with other Ph.D. students that work with the same source of information, forming academic relationships that will be useful for my career. It was an incredibly valuable opportunity as I acquired information about the data that I would not have obtained otherwise. Moreover, I also received valuable feedback on other research projects from faculty and students at the university.

During the summer, we worked on a project that studies how the timing of language acquisition affects refugees’ dynamic labor market outcomes such as the likelihood of being employed, their earnings trajectories, and their occupation in the short and long run. Currently, there is large variation in public policy recommendations regarding the importance and timing of language classes on immigrants’ integration programs. For instance, the European Commission recommends providing language integration programs as early as possible while recent policy changes in Denmark moved away from requiring a basic level of knowledge of Danish before starting to work to viewing language acquisition as a skill that can be learned later while working.

However, although the literature has established that language knowledge is positively correlated with measures of economic success and assimilation, no study has identified the causal effect of language acquisition, as immigrants who sign up for language classes are systematically different from those who don’t sign-up. To fill this gap in the literature, this project seeks to determine if the timing of language acquisition affects refugees’ dynamic labor market outcomes. To do so, it will take advantage of registers that have detailed information on language course starting and finishing dates, attendance, and grade in each training module, available from administrative data in Denmark.

I’m very grateful to the Institute for Social Sciences as their support encouraged me to travel to another research university and allowed me to get feedback from a different perspective.

Awards were also presented to Monica Rodriguez Guevara, Derek Rury, and Justin Wiltshire. These students requested extensions on their funding; their reports will follow in due course.

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History

Dante Barksdale

The 2017 Summer Research and Travel Grant I received from the Institute for Social Sciences helped me go to Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haitien, Haiti, to begin conducting preliminary research for my dissertation. During the three weeks I was in Haiti I spent many days going through the documents and files of the Haitian National Archives. Additionally, I visited the Haitian National Library and the Musée du Panthéon National Haïtien to research the Haitian soldiers who aided Simon Bolivar in fighting the Spanish during the latter 1810s. At the library I was able to read works that have not been translated into English which pertain to the subject of my research.

In and around Cap-Haitien, which is in the northern part of the country, I was able to locate several key locations that were important to the origins and the aftermath of the Haitian Revolution and the subsequent two decades."

Dmitri Brown

My project aims to explore the relationship between Los Alamos and the nearby Tewa Pueblo communities during the Manhattan Project. By the spring of 1943, Santa Clara, San Ildefonso, and other villages were providing hundreds of workers daily—maids, carpenters, janitors, etc.—whose role was to help maintain the city that would create and assemble the world’s first nuclear weapon. For most Tewa people, these jobs signified an introduction to wage labor. In the Pueblos, centuries-old community structures of kinship and shared economic responsibility and distribution eroded as workers returned daily with dollar bills in their pockets.

Thanks to the 2017 Summer Travel and Research Award from the Institute of Social Sciences, I was able to spend nearly two months in New Mexico. During this time, I visited several archives including the Los Alamos Historical Society Archives, the Laboratory of Anthropology Library in Santa Fe, and the Center for Southwest Research at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. One of the most valuable aspects of my travel was the connections I made with archivists. Everyone I spoke with was incredibly helpful in suggesting new ways of thinking about the project and pointing me to various other archives in the area.

Part of my family comes from Santa Clara Pueblo, which, along with San Ildefonso, is the focus of my research. During the summer, I reached out to members of my family and elders of the pueblo who voiced support for this project and demonstrated a willingness to be a part of it. For me, aware that Pueblo people have frequently expressed wariness toward histories written about them, this was a crucial step. I also began conducting oral interviews with elders of Santa Clara and hope their narratives will become central sources for my thesis.

Gerardo Alcala Dyer

The ISS award allowed me to travel to Mexico City. The purpose of this trip was to visit the national archives' Fototeca, or photo archive, to gather material for my dissertation. I looked at two photographic collections: the Enrique Díaz collection and the Hermanos Mayo collection. Together, these two collections contain more than five million negatives that span from the early 1900s to around 1980.

These images are key to studying aspects of Mexico's political, social, and cultural history. To narrow down the number of images to be analyzed, I have limited my project to the decade of 1940. My goal was to find photographs that reveal details of the daily life in Mexico City during that era: civic events, landscape transformations, public transport, and entertainment, among other topics.

The archive's consultation policy establishes only a two-hour session per week. Despite this limitation, I was able to look through hundreds of negatives and reproduce the images I consider most relevant for my dissertation. The image I include here shows a glimpse into the life of a lower-class child who hired himself to cross people over the flooded streets of Mexico City during the 1940s.

Nina Farnia

My dissertation examines the rise and fall of the left in the long twentieth century. Through a world historical analysis of key American legal cases involving prominent Marxists in the United States and their ultimate deportations, I seek to understand the racialized, gendered and ideological role that American law and legalism have played in the repression of the international Third World left and the modern expansion of the American empire. 

In each case I evaluate, the defendants’ race, gender, and ethnicity is rarely mentioned, but the fact that each of these activists landed on American shores from the Third World fighting for decolonization and gender justice is not lost on the courts.  Thus, race, gender, Marxism, and deportability draw all the defendants in my case studies together.  And my study of their activism is not just a study of American law and policy, but also of world history, interrogating both change over time and geography. 

With the support of the Institute for Social Sciences, I was able to travel to complete archival research in the attorney files of one of the cases I will be covering in my dissertation.

Mike Haggerty

This summer, with the generous support of the UC Davis Institute for Social Sciences, I traveled to the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library in Fremont Ohio. At the library I searched for materials regarding President Hayes’ support for prison reform in the late nineteenth century. Hayes spent much of his life engaged in various prison reform projects. Over the course of his political career President Hayes organized prison conferences, established political support for the development of new carceral facilities and met with reformers from across the country. The Summer Travel and Research Award I received provided invaluable support during my time at the library. The funds allowed me to photocopy transcripts of personal correspondence received by President Hayes over the course of his life. During my visit I was particularly interested in the library’s extensive collection of correspondence between President Hayes and noted prison reformers. The library’s collections contain letters exchanged among several prominent nineteenth century reformers, including President Teddy Roosevelt and noted Illinois reformer Frederick Wines.

Although I was only able to visit the library for a couple of days, the collection of photocopies I procured will allow me to continue my research this fall at UC Davis. Of particular interest are a series of letters written to Hayes in the spring of 1889. These letters, authored by Frederick Wines, suggest that Hayes was engaged in a strategic political agenda aimed at promoting the development of public prisons across the American South. Following the Civil War, many southern states developed systems of convict labor as part of a Jim Crow justice system that was aimed at violently disciplining black men and women. Although many historians have focused on southern convict labor as a continuation of southern slavery, few historians have explored how northern reformers engaged with these systems in an effort to improve their organization and management. Therefore, these letters raise new questions about prison development in the nineteenth century American South. How successful were northern reformers in their efforts to develop organized prison systems in the post-Civil War South? How widespread was support for these reformers in southern communities? Finally, how did the reformist efforts of former presidents lead the way for America’s current prison industrial complex? Thanks to the UC Davis Institute for Social Sciences, answers to these questions are closer than ever before.

Marco Rosales

With the generous award from the UC Davis Institute for Social Sciences I was able to present my dissertation research at the Labor and Working Class History Association’s (LAWCHA) annual conference in Seattle, Washington. I shared my work about the Arizona Farm Worker Movement’s lasting influence on immigrant rights activism with leading scholars of labor and Chicana/o history from around the country. As the West’s agricultural industry became more dependent on the labor of undocumented immigrants following the end of the Bracero Program and the 1965 Immigration Act’s limits on Western Hemisphere migration, Chicana/o labor organizers in Arizona attempted to counter management’s efforts to take advantage of migrants’ precarious situation. In doing so, Chicana/o and Mexican organizers implemented a new model of solidarity that spanned both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border and asserted the inalienable labor rights of undocumented immigrants.

The ISS funds provided me with the invaluable opportunity to share my research, to meet those veteran scholars who have influenced my own intellectual development, and to refine my ideas as I continue to work on my dissertation.  I am grateful to the ISS for helping to further my work.

Muhammed Sen

My ISS Summer Travel & Research Award enabled me to attend Doctoral Conference (Enchantments, Disenchantments, Re-enchanments) at Central European University in Budapest in 29 June-1 July 2017. My presentation subject was “Confessionalization and Social-Disciplining in the Early Modern Ottoman Colleges.”

As a subject field, I focus on the Middle Eastern History. Particularly, I specialize on the Ottoman Empire. Currently, I am working on my dissertation project, which is about ‘confessionalization and identity formation in the early modern Ottoman Empire.’

In my project, I focus on not only how the Ottoman Empire attempted to construct imperial Sunni identity, and to form pious and loyal subjects, but also how non-Sunni groups resisted against state’s exclusive policies and tried to make alternative identity formation within the umbrella of Alevi-Bekthashism. 

As a part of this project, in my presentation, I specifically analyzed ilm-i kelam (science of scholastic theology) and aqaid (catechism) books particularly dealing with the subject of imamet (leadership), and I looked at the way in which Ehl-i Sünnet (Sunni Community) and other Islamic groups were understood and treated. I am interested in ilm-i kelam and aqaid literature because it helps the Ottoman state to indoctrinate the Sunni faith, and to construct the Sunni consciousness in the mindset of students. 

Kelly Kean Sharp

This past summer, Kelly Sharp, a PhD candidate in the Department of History, got the opportunity to present at the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association with financial assistance from the UC Davis Institute for Social Sciences. Kelly presented on a panel titled “The Complexities of Culture in the American South” on her research about the manuscript cookbooks kept by Charleston’s antebellum elite white women.

Kelly’s dissertation, “Planters’ Plots to Backlot Stewpots: The Culinary Creolism of Antebellum Charleston,” is a culinary history of race-making in the nineteenth-century South. The historical study of antebellum Charleston’s regional foodways is a history of interaction to define race through the population’s exchanges and adaptations in regards to methods of food conceptualization and evaluation, cultivation and distribution, preparation, consumption, and ritualization. While her scholarship is centralized on the role of Charleston within its immediate environs, Kelly place Charleston’s foodways in an Atlantic world context to highlight the economic, biocultural, and cultural contributions of Africa, Europe, the Americas, and the Caribbean in shaping regional Lowcountry culture.

The conference Kelly attended, the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association, is the west coast meeting of the largest organization for historians in academia. This conference brings together historians from all geographical, chronological and topical specializations. Kelly argues recipes crossed households in ways that shatter the concept of the domestic as a “private” sphere; recipes were transit points which actively created and defined knowledge of communities and networks of association. Through her research of sixteen hand-written recipe manuscripts, Kelly found these sources reveal the French, English, and regional cultural heritage which came to define the appetitive practices categorized as “Lowcountry cooking.” Collectors used recipes to navigate and situate different aspects of “self”-  white, woman, elite, Lowcountry, early nineteenth century.

An award was also presented to Rajbir Judge.

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Linguistics

Lisa Gonzalves

The Institute for Social Sciences summer travel funds allowed me to attend the Linguistic Society of America (LSA) Summer Institute. This biennial program brings together hundreds of prominent professors and linguistics students from around the world to engage in intensive courses, lectures, scholarly workshops, conferences, professional development, and social activities for an entire month at the host university. This year’s summer multi-week institute took place July 5th to August 1st at the University of Kentucky, Lexington. Along with 2 other members of my UC Davis Linguistics cohort, I had the opportunity to work with well-known researchers and take courses in areas of linguistics which aren’t available here at Davis, thereby expanding my own knowledge of the field, and applying this to my own research. Perhaps more importantly, via my classes, one-day seminars, poster sessions, and daily happy hour gatherings (!), I established connections with dozens of new colleagues, from seasoned researchers to new graduate students. Given this platform, I discussed and attained critical feedback and new perspectives on my own research involving second language and literacy acquisition in non-literate adults. The institute provided such a unique opportunity to expand my national and international professional network, who I anticipate crossing paths and building bridges with throughout my entire career. 

Fortunately, the next LSA Summer Institute will be held here at UC Davis! As such, we anticipate that our first-hand experience at this year’s institute will serve as an invaluable contribution to our own faculty in their planning for the 2019 Summer Institute. You can learn more about UC Davis hosting the 2019 LSA Summer Institute at our new website: http://lsa2019.ucdavis.edu/

Claire Henderson

This summer I traveled to Lexington, Kentucky so that I could attend the 2017 Linguistic Institute at the University of Kentucky. The ISS Summer Travel and Research Award helped cover some of the tuition costs and travel expenses. The Linguistic Institute is a month-long event offered every two years by the Linguistic Society of American with the purpose of providing advanced training in linguistics that is not readily available through the regular course offerings of any single academic institution. In addition to unique course offerings, there were also many opportunities at the Institute to attend workshops, present at conferences, listen to lectures from renowned linguists, and connect with linguistics faculty and students from universities all over the world.

At the Linguistic Institute, I was able to take a course in Linguistic Field Methods, which I would not have otherwise had the opportunity to take. The focus language in this class was Kalaallisut, the native langue of Greenland. With the instructor and in consultation with two native speakers of Kalaallisut, we learned about elicitation methods, recording equipment, data organization, software for recording and data analysis, and preparedness for working in the field. This class taught me valuable methodology and skills that I need for my proposed dissertation work in language documentation.

Ryan Redmond

The very generous ISS Summer Travel & Research Award made it possible for me to attend the Linguistic Society of America Summer Institute in 2017 at the University of Kentucky. This rotating institute, which happens every two years, is one of the most important meetings that a linguistics graduate student can attend. As a UC Davis student, I felt it was extremely important to attend, as our university is hosting the next institute in 2019. These institutes not only give young scholars from across the country the opportunity to network with each other, but also to meet and take courses offered by legends in the field. During my time in Kentucky, I was constantly surrounded by scholars who I had cited dozens of times as a researcher, yet had never seen their faces. Luckily, the organizers planned daily social and networking events, and no one remained faceless for long. During the institute, I was also lucky enough to take many courses that are not offered here at UC Davis. These courses, and the skills I gained therein, were very easily my favorite part of the institute, and I will undoubtedly take this knowledge and these experiences with me as I continue forward in my academic career.

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Philosophy

Rachel Boddy

Funding from the ISS enabled me to travel to Munich, Germany this summer to attend the European Congress for Analytic Philosophy. At this week-long congress, several sessions were devoted to my specific fields of research: philosophy of mathematics and history of early analytic philosophy. At one of these sessions, I presented my paper “Fruitful definitions”, which is part of my dissertation research.  In this paper, I discuss the role of definitions in proof, with a particular reference to the work of the influential philosopher/mathematician Gottlob Frege. Specifically, I develop an interpretation of Frege’s notion of fruitful definition and use this to address an important puzzle that arises for languages that allow for stipulative definitions, including the language of classical mathematics.

My dissertation research is still in its early stages. Through presenting at this conference, I gained valuable exposure and feedback from experts in my field that will help me move forward with my project.  The opportunity to attend this conference also allowed me to interact (more informally) with other researchers, both graduate students and professors. This has already proven very fruitful; for example, as a result of this, I am now making plans to return to Europe next year for a research visit. 

Louis (Scott) Cole

The Institute for Social Sciences summer travel funds enabled me to attend the International Society for the History, Philosophy and Social Sciences of Biology (ISHPSSB) conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil in July of 2017. There, I presented a talk entitled “Resituating Scientific Knowledge Using Instrument Platforms.”

A well-known philosopher of science, Mary Morgan, coined the term “resituation” to describe the process by which scientific knowledge developed at one laboratory travels to and is used by one or more other laboratories. She also describes the strategies that scientists use to foster such knowledge resituation.

But scientific knowledge takes different forms. It comprises not only new experimental results but also new experimental methods and techniques. My talk examined whether the concept of resituation can also be applied when a scientific instrument platform (a technology) developed by a commercial laboratory is purchased and used by a scientific laboratory. In other words, my talk explored the nature of commercial resituation of technical knowledge and the strategies used by commercial labs. 

I based my talk on a case study: my own experience working in the scientific instrument industry in the 1990s at a company that commercialized instrument platforms for the rapid, automated sequencing of DNA, including whole genomes. I argued that this commercial lab’s success was, in fact, highly dependent on successfully resituating their internally developed knowledge. I also identified five ways that such organizations effect resituation, including: 1) embedding knowledge in packaged products, 2) providing static knowledge” (e.g., User Manuals, Application Notes), 3) providing dynamic knowledge accessible from company employees of different technical levels, 4) facilitating access to dynamic knowledge possessed by other customer labs, and 5) encouraging access to commercial partners’ knowledge.

The ISHPSSB conference was an ideal place for me to present this work, since it included both historians and philosophers of biology. I made a number of connections with international scholars interested in the role that instruments platforms play in scientific research. Based on one connection I made there, this Fall I’ll be attending a workshop exploring the historical role that automated DNA synthesis instruments played in furthering biotechnological advance during the 1990s and 2000s. 

Tyrus Fisher

My dissertation is about philosophical issues to do with theories of meaning and logics for conditional sentences—sentences like 'If Oswald hadn't killed Kennedy, then someone else would have' (plausibly false) and 'If Oswald didn't kill Kennedy, then someone else did’ (almost certainly true). Conditionals play important roles in our reasoning practices, but just what their meanings and truth conditions are is controversial and not well understood. For example, the aforementioned conditionals clearly have different meanings, but just what this difference comes to is a matter of much controversy among linguists and philosophers of language.

I used my ISS award funds to help pay for travel to the 3rd Belgrade Conference on Conditionals. Attending and presenting at this conference was a great opportunity for me to interact with and exchange ideas with experts on the topics that my dissertation concerns, and I have since had success publishing the work I presented at this conference. I am grateful for the award funds I received from ISS.

Denise Hossom

Thanks to the ISS Summer Travel & Research Award I had the opportunity to present my research at a biennial international professional conference this summer in Brazil. The International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology (ISHPSSB) 2017 conference was held in Sao Paulo at the University of Sao Paulo (USP) as a joint conference with the Brazilian Association of Philosophy and History of Biology (Associação Brasileira de Filosofia e História da Biologia – ABFHiB). I presented my paper, titled “From Personhood to Neighborhood: Biotic Communities and Personal Identity”, to a brilliantly collaborative and interdisciplinary audience. This was especially important to the research I presented as it contends with both the history and philosophy of biology; I focus on the early 20thwildlife conservationist and forester, Aldo Leopold. The paper delves into Leopold’s biotic community concept and the theoretical and methodological challenges the concept faces in environmental ethics and philosophy of biology, drawing parallels to the issues in the metaphysical and normative discourse for personhood and personal identity (the person concept).  Crossing disciplinary traditions at ISHPSSB has been a part of its focus since the inception of the conference, making this a key platform to present my work.

Presenting my research at this conference had two other main points of significance for me. Firstly, as a part of my professional development this conference served as one of the largest gatherings of international philosophers of biology, and the connections I made were hugely influential to my future research in the field. Secondly, I am Brazilian American, and this was the first time that ISHPSSB was ever held in South America. Holding the meeting jointly with ABFHiB was an incredible opportunity to connect with South American researchers and to see a new era of Latin American academic exchange for the ISHPSSB conference. Because I identify as Latinx, the inclusion and collaboration with a Brazilian association in my field of research held personal importance to me. I aim to continue to foster the connections and conversations from the new diversity and representation of scholars I experienced at ISHPSSB 2017 going forward in my research. I express my sincerest gratitude to the ISS Summer Travel & Research Award for helping to make this experience possible for both my presented research and future interests in this small, but globally expanding area of philosophy of biology. 

Rick Morris

This summer, I had the opportunity to travel to São Paulo, Brazil, for the 2017 meeting of the International Society for the History, Philosophy, or Social Studies of Biology (ISHPSSB). ISHPSSB is a professional organization of scholars of the life sciences, and draws participants from all over the world. The conferences are a great chance to network with colleagues working on the same issues and to learn about new and emerging research projects. The organization works hard to be welcoming to grad students, and the prominent scholars who attend these meetings are usually happy to take the time to talk to us. I attended in order to present my paper "Stranger in a strange land: an optimal-environments account of evolutionary mismatch," which is a chapter in my dissertation. My dissertation is focused on evolutionary mismatch, a putative biological phenomenon in which an organism finds itself in an environment very different from the environment for which it evolved. Sometimes, these environmental changes can lead to decreases in health or fitness. As a grad student focused on the philosophy of biology, I am interested in helping refine the concepts used by working scientists in their research programs. My paper is an attempt to do that for the mismatch concept specifically. The conference not only gave me the chance to get feedback on my own work and to meet other philosophers interested in the same issues, it introduced me to new projects in astrobiology research on extraterrestrial life. I have my next research project already picked out! 

Traveling to Brazil was expensive, requiring a visa, extensive air travel, and a hotel stay with transportation to the conference venue. The Travel and Research Award significantly defrayed these costs, and I am grateful to the Institute for Social Sciences for helping me make the trip.  

Tamar Schnieder-Zipory

This summer I participated in the International Society of History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology (ISHPSSB 2017) in San Paulo in Brazil. This summer meeting takes place every other year and provides opportunities for people interested in biology from different disciplines to meet and learn from each other. Also, this is an excellent opportunity for graduate students to present their work and get feedback from peers and other professionals from around the globe. Thanks to the financial support from the ISS I was able to travel to San Paulo and participate. 

I gave a talk about the bacterial interactions in the symbiotic relations with their host. As a result of discovering the connection between microorganisms and organisms’ survival, the notion of the ‘holobiont’ has become prominent and has been suggested as a biological individual. This view, commonly called the Hologenome Theory, focuses on the interactions and relations between the host and its symbionts and their relevance to the host’s development and evolution. I address the question of how should we understand the holobiont and offer to look at this issue from the perspective of interactions. The debate about the nature of the holobiont centers on two questions: where to place the boundaries of the individual and what are the criteria to distinguish inside from outside. Two main views relate to these matters: one view is that the holobiont is indeed a biological individual and its borders include the symbiotic interactions and exclude the harmful interactions. The other view excludes all interactions that are not inherited thus considering the holobiont as an individual only in these particular cases. All other types of interactions between host and microorganisms should be considered as an ecological community mixed of different individuals. 

I argue for a third way of thinking about the holobiont as an individual that is also an ecological community. By shifting the focus from the degrees of the cohesion of the host-symbiont interactions to the heterogeneity of interactions, I suggest a different perspective on interactions and their role in shaping the character and nature of the holobiont. I argue that an ecological view of these interactions could help us better understand the holobiont in its specific environment and could highlight their role in the evolutionary process.

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Political Science

Cory Belden

Thanks to support from ISS, Cory spent two weeks this summer at an intensive methods program for social scientists called the Institute for Qualitative and Multi-Method Research in Syracuse, New York. This program, partly funded through the National Science Foundation, provides political scientists with training in a wide variety of qualitative and mixed method research approaches, including text analysis, causality, ethnography, fieldwork, natural experiments and process tracing. Cory spent most of each day in intensive coursework. In addition to coursework, participants were given the opportunity to present and receive feedback on one of their research designs. She presented one of her dissertation chapters, which asks how the presence of a constitutionally-strong president influences legislative response to severe drought in Chile. In addition to coursework and research feedback, IQMR offered opportunities to network with faculty and graduate students from around the world. She is now applying the methods she learned at IQMR to her current research, and is pursuing collaborations with scholars she met at the Institute.

Fiona Ogunkoya

Thanks to funding from the Institute for Social Science, I was able to attend a course on process-tracing organized as part of the 2017 American Political Science Association conference. The course was a great opportunity to learn from experts in process-tracing on how to best structure and refine theories to leverage explanatory power—the first step to good process-tracing and the core of developing good theories.

My research is on how state identity—a set of beliefs shared by members of a state regarding qualities or characteristics intrinsic to the state as a corporate entity—impacts state choices to engage in conflict. For example, do states with strongly defined religious identities, such as Saudi Arabia, behave differently regarding conflict than other states, such as China, where religion is less central to the ethos of the state? Or how do the beliefs of Americans regarding what it means to be America impact how, why, when, and with whom the U.S. engages in conflict? I join other conflict scholars in hoping that by better understanding important factors in why rational actors lead their states into conflict, we can reduce the prevalence of conflict.

A major challenge of my research is identifying and measuring state identity. Identities are formed, contested, and sustained through a process of intersubjective discourse, and multiple identities interact and compete for relevance in any particular circumstance. A thorough investigation of the impact of state identity on conflict management strategies requires an approach that respects the intersubjective nature of identity and aims for generalizable and replicable results. The techniques I acquired through the course are currently helping me make a more compelling argument regarding what “intersubjective” state identity looks like and how state identity works on interstate interaction compared to how other factors impact interstate interaction.

Roi Zur

My research focuses on political representation, voting behavior, and parties’ strategy in advanced industrialized democracies. In my dissertation, I examine the causes of the electoral failures of centrist parties in Western Democracies. 

This summer, I spent two weeks at the University of Houston participating in the Empirical Implications of Theoretical Models (EITM) summer institute. The travel to Houston was financed by the ISS Summer Travel & Research Award. In EITM I worked on the second chapter of my dissertation where I look at the 2015 collapse of the Liberal-Democratic Party in the 2015 British general election.

The EITM institute helped me to improve my research, better understand the weaknesses and strengths of my work, and strengthen its methodology. Concluding this research, I find that similar to the German Free Democratic Party (FDP), the British Liberal-Democrats suffered from deterioration of their valence image before the 2015 elections. That is, in 2015 voters perceived the Liberal-Democrats as less competent, honest, and unified party than in 2010 (previous election). This sharp deterioration of the Liberal-Democrats’ valence image, I argue, caused their vote share to drop from 23 percent to 8. The EITM program helped me formalize my theory, test it, and reach this conclusion.

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Psychology

Jehan Sparks

The funds awards to me by ISS helped me to make significant progress on my dissertation research examining how people think of unrealized possibilities, or counterfactual alternatives to reality. The choices we don’t make can occupy our minds— prompting us to imagine how things could have been better (upward counterfactual), or how things could have been worse (downward counterfactual). Previous research has provided insight into the affective and behavioral consequences of such directional counterfactual thinking. But research has yet to investigate the role of order in simulating these counterfactuals in sequence (i.e., upward-to-downward vs. downward-to-upward). There is reason to believe that order may matter in important ways. Guided by my own recent work looking at how people’s attitudes change in response to sequentially encountered negative and positive frames (Sparks & Ledgerwood, 2017), I spent the summer developing the idea that directional counterfactuals can “stick” and have lingering effects on how people feel about past outcomes. In four studies, I will investigate the extent to which a common set of negativity and positivity biases describe sequential framing and sequential counterfactual thinking. This work will provide evidence that certain counterfactuals resist reconsideration in predictable contexts. Moreover, by identifying a set of biases that describe different mental processes, this research will inform the literatures on negativity and positivity biases. I plan to discuss implications for a unifying model to help organize biases across a broad range of positive and negative information. 

Fortunately, thinking about what might have been can happen everywhere—and I empirically confirmed this by working on my dissertation in a variety of beautiful locations this summer.

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Sociology

Courtney Caviness

In my dissertation research, I examine the workplace experiences of U.S. military personnel on the gender and sexual margins: transgender, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer military members, specifically. Primarily, I use in-depth interviews with current and recently discharged LGBTQ military members to explore what the increasingly “inclusionary” military workplace looks like from their vantage points. I also examine how trans military members navigate the precariousness of a workplace that was slated by the Obama Administration to formally welcome them, but that is now instructed by the Trump Administration to reject and potentially discharge them. The Institute for Social Sciences summer travel and research award funded conference travel, data collection, and analysis, but also helped fund gift cards used as incentives for interview participation. Specifically, the grant helped fund travel and data collection at local, regional, and national LGBTQ military events as well as a subscription for data analysis software that allows me to transcribe, code, and analyze data collected from in-depth interviews.

Christopher Lawrence

The ISS Summer Travel and Research Award supported an ongoing study of mine on the relationship between money and citizenship. Using Amazon Mechnical Turk to recruit survey participants, I draw comparisons between three age groups of Americans: 57 to 71 (baby boomers), 36 to 56 (Generation X), and 18 to 35 (Millennials). The catalyst for this study was recent research showing the disengagement of young adults with financial institutions. Compared to older generations, Millennials are more likely to switch banks and use financial technology (e.g., digital banks and mobile phone payment processors). Today’s young adults have also accumulated an unprecedented amount of debt and are less likely than prior generations to own a home or seek professional financial advice. At the same time, alternative means of payment and wealth in the form of virtual currencies (e.g., bitcoin and ether) and initial coin offerings (i.e., equity in a business that is funded by a unique virtual currency) have grown in popularity, especially among young adults.

What do these two trends—disengagement with traditional finance and adoption of alternative currencies—suggest for one’s citizenship? How committed are individuals to using their national currency? To what degree do they support their national economy? Would they move to another country if they could? How likely are they to use “Internet money” such as bitcoin in the future?  Further, do these relationships differ by age group? The assistance of ISS has been essential in helping me answer these questions.

Kristin McCarty

My dissertation research examines the legal consciousness of non-traditional families in the U.S. with respect to family-building. To understand how these families experience interactions with socio-legal institutions and how they may or may not resist or implement legal ideas, I will conduct in-depth interviews to understand how these families understand their interactions with socio-legal institutions. This research will contribute to the sociology of family and legal consciousness by expanding our understanding of how non-traditional families are created, and how they utilize but are also constrained by law. Furthermore, this research will continue the work of socio-legal scholars to underscore the ways that legal ideas and discourse shape the behaviors of marginalized populations, which has implications for the nature of legal consciousness and the way we understand the reproduction of law's legitimacy and power.

The Summer Travel & Research grant from the Institute for Social Sciences funded my travel to and from several major cities in California, which enabled me to establish and foster the necessary connections for conducting my dissertation fieldwork and interviews. With funding from the ISS grant, I was also able to purchase professional transcription software, a foot pedal, and a transcription headset for transcribing my field notes and interviews.

Zach Psick

I used an ISS summer research grant to travel to the Law and Society Association's annual meeting in Mexico City for my first international conference. There, I presented my working paper Risk, Need, and Learning Disorder: Interinstitutional Venue Sorting in a System of Juvenile Injustice, which investigates the relationship between social disadvantage, problems in school, criminal risk, and the likelihood that youth are sorted out of public schools and into alternative learning centers or juvenile correctional facilities.

The conference gave me the chance to interact with scholars in my field from all over the world, which broadened my thoughts about research. For example, a law professor told me that in his country, researchers had a difficult time accessing administrative data like I was using to investigate race and class disparities in government institutions. His point that having data to analyze in the first place represents important progress was well made at a time when transparency and accountability in my own country are being questioned and threatened from many sides. State-sanctioned injustices are sometimes only visible from the outside when the very government committing them makes them visible.

The trip was as personally rewarding as it was professionally beneficial. Long before I set out to become a sociologist, I wanted to be an archaeologist. Then I read an archaeology textbook, realized it entailed more science than adventure (a la Indiana Jones), and changed my mind. But being able to visit the nearby pyramids at Teotihuacan was still one of the most amazing experiences I've had. So thank you, ISS!

An award was also presented to Lauren Acosta.

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Center for Regional Change

ISS 2017 Summer Travel & Research Awards were presented, via the Center for Regional Change, to eight students in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences: Alfonso Aranda, I-Chieh Chang, Samir Noory, Meg Pannkuk, Kellan Parrish, Natalie Popovich, Marya Sanchez, and Tor Tolhurst.

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