Past Winners

Pre-Dissertation Research Grant

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Replaying the "tape of life": the Parallel Diversification of Spiders in the Bonin Islands
Term:
Spring 2016
Department:
Environmental Science, Policy, and Management
Since Darwin's time, there has been much debate about the predictability of evolution; what really will happen if we replay the so-called "tape of life"? From one perspective, evolution may be dictated by contingencies with unpredictable trajectories at the outset of any diversification event. Alternatively, evolution may be more deterministic with diversification of species filling similar ecological roles. Remote oceanic archipelagos, with their discrete and often replicated islands, provide model systems to study these replayed evolutionary trajectories. My work will study a lineage of...Read more
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Agricultural Landscapes and Societal Transformation in Pemba, Tanzania: AD 1000-1850
Term:
Spring 2016
Department:
Anthropology
My research focuses on the long-term development of rice producing landscapes and related societal transformations in Zanzibar and on the East African coast over the last millennium. Rice production is known from historical sources to have intensified dramatically in Zanzibar and on the coast sometime between the 11th and 17th centuries AD, in some relation to Islamic conversion, the development of large towns, and the advent of Portuguese colonialism. I am using geoarchaeological methods, satellite remote sensing, and archaeological landscape survey to assess the spatial, social and...Read more
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Term:
Summer 2015
Department:
Linguistics
This research project involves initial fieldwork on Laru, a severely endangered and undocumented language of western Nigeria. This research will document and describe the language with two main goals. The first is to develop a thorough sketch of the sound system and word structure of the language. The second is to create a transcribed audio-visual corpus of narrative and conversational discourse.Read more
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Term:
Summer 2015
Department:
Sociology
Despite epidemiological studies showing that both the United States and France have high and increasing levels of depression, data show that its distribution, categorization, and treatment differ in ways that cannot be explained through a medical lens. This dissertation examines this disparity, considering how uneven institutional developments across the Western world promote certain social constructions and distributions of mental illness. I am interested particularly in the role of political factors in explaining this difference, such as the decline of the asylum, rise of patients’...Read more
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Term:
Summer 2015
Department:
Anthropology
My research focuses on the artistic communities of Johannesburg in order to understand South Africa’s changing economic and political landscape and the relationship between artistic practices, labor, and national development. The project investigates how the production of cultural, artistic objects in the post-apartheid moment is bound up with questions of the nation’s economic and political past and future. I ask how the labor of contemporary artists, in what is recognized as fine art, craft or “ethnic” art, or simply work, shape personal and national futures in the country, and why these...Read more
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Skeletal Morphology of Early Modern Homo Sapiens from Middle Awash, Ethiopia
Term:
Spring 2016
Department:
Integrative Biology
The emergence of anatomically modern humans is of great interest and importance to the study of human evolution. However, informative fossil specimens are scattered geographically and temporally, obscuring the details of how early humans evolved, and what exactly they looked like. My research project describing an early modern human from the Middle Awash research area of Ethiopia will contribute to our understanding of human evolution at a critical and interesting time and locality. The majority of previous studies have been constrained to craniodental fossils, making this study of a nearly-...Read more
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Compensatory Behaviors in Locomotions Induced by Autotomy in Daddy Long-Legs
Term:
Spring 2016
Department:
Environmental Science, Policy, and Management
As a biologist I am interested in how animals use their behavior and their anatomy to cope with environmental pressure. Specifically, I am studying the consequences of a defense strategy used by many animals: the voluntary loss of legs. While being attacked by predators, arachnids can release their legs to escape. However, the long-term costs of this strategies have been rarely studied. My current research focuses on the changes in the biomechanics of locomotion, sexual behavior and chemical defenses in Neotropical daddy long-legs in Costa Rica and Panamá. Ultimately, my research bears...Read more
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The Making of a Transnational Labor Force: An Intergenerational View of the Philippines' Labor Export Regime, 1974-2014
Term:
Spring 2016
Department:
Sociology
My project takes stock of the emergence, evolution, and expansion of the Philippine transnational labor force from 1974 to 2014. The overall goal is to develop a long-term historical analysis of the process by which a labor force becomes increasingly integrated to global labor markets through patterned dynamics between the “labor-exporting” state, transnational workers, and their families. I will examine this four-decade period, beginning with the New Labor Code (1974), which launched a state-facilitated labor migration regime, following the narrative through up to contemporary expansion of...Read more
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Term:
Summer 2015
Department:
History
This summer I will travel to The National Archives in Kew to research British Colonial and Commonwealth Office archives relating to the regulation of fishing in Caribbean waters during the nineteenth century. I am interested in how maritime jurisdiction functioned across the interpenetrating spheres of imperial sovereignty in the West Indies, and in the relationship between natural resources, the environment, and the project of state-building. I am particularly interested in documents relating to the regulation of fishing in Cuban waters in the run-up to the Spanish-American War. My research...Read more
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Term:
Summer 2015
Department:
Film and Media
The idea of simultaneous visual communication – of a videophone – has long captured popular imagination. Over the twentieth century many attempts were made at introducing such a technology, and yet each iteration - from the earliest working models appearing in the 1930s to as late as the 1990s – was generally considered a failure. A media archaeological approach to the history of this “failed” (and now, in the digital era, finally “successful”) technology will offer critical insight into the less-known backstory of a now ubiquitous mode of moving image culture. In pursuit of a transnational...Read more
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Information or Incitement? Digital Media and Sexual Education Practice in Senegal
Term:
Spring 2016
Department:
Anthropology
My project explores transformations in Senegalese sexual education practice in a region officially marked by and popularly stigmatized for sexual violence and disease. I investigate perceptions of online media’s paradoxical status as both threat to and vehicle for the principled sexual development of Senegalese youth . Preliminary fieldwork suggests that initiatives combatting teen pregnancy are staged as battles for communicative space. My point of departure will be a UN-sponsored Internet platform deployed to break the “taboo” on parent/child communication about sexuality and appropriate...Read more
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Effect of Greater Local Autonomies on Regional Economic Polities - Comparative Study of Dutch and Belgian Local Authorities
Term:
Spring 2016
Department:
Political Science
The effect of decentralization in the context of growing subnational economic divide is an issue of importance in regional political economy. Thus I am going to conduct comparative field research on regional politics and economic policies in Belgian and Dutch provinces . The main purpose is to investigate the effect of local fiscal constraints, central state intervention, lobbying by local economic actors, and competition with other regions on regional microeconomic policies , in the contest of different level of decentralization. Belgium has a federal government due to a historic and...Read more
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Term:
Summer 2015
Department:
Environmental Science, Policy, and Management
As an ecologist and conservation biologist, I am interested in understanding how humans and wildlife can co-exist and share space. Understanding the human-wildlife interface is a critical global issue, especially given current human population growth around protected areas and the implementation of new conservation strategies in human-dominated landscapes. For my dissertation research, I will be exploring these issues in Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique. Gorongosa lost 90% of its large mammal populations during Mozambique’s civil war, but extensive wildlife reintroductions and renewed...Read more
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NGOs in a Globalized World
Term:
Summer 2015
Department:
Sociology
In 2012, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) gave $13.7 billion to the non-governmental organization (NGO) sector, which is now the 7th largest economy in the world. I am interested in understanding the effect of large funding agencies on the growth of NGOs and whether national policies modify this relationship. This summer, I plan to compile an organization-level dataset that integrates information on LGBTQ NGOs and the contexts in which they operate. Wide variation in funding availability and in government support for LGBTQ issues – 14 countries have legalized...Read more
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Term:
Summer 2015
Department:
Economics
To what extent do international trade regulations and barriers to local production affect economic development in poor countries? This project approaches this question by exploring Portuguese colonial policies implemented in Angola and Mozambique before their independence in 1975. Similarly to other former colonial powers, Portugal set restrictions to local production of manufactures and to trade with other countries in its overseas territories. These policies might have had an impact on welfare and economic development in the colonies for many reasons, which include preventing learning-by-...Read more

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