Current Winners

Pre-Dissertation Research Grant

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A Discourse Analysis of Today’s Humanitarian Response to the Syrian ‘Refugee’
Term:
Spring 2017
Department:
Architecture
While the world has been witnessing the largest refugee crisis since World War II, or what the European Commission calls “the largest global humanitarian crisis”, one feels the necessity to question the very notion of humanity in one of the powerful discourses of our time. I probe the question: if ‘the refugee’ is situated in relation to emerging forms of humanitarianism, is the refugee caught in a humanitarian discourse? In this research, I will identify the refugee camp as a site of action that is operated by international and humanitarian organizations, and enabled by the millions invested...Read more
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The colonial history of the Amazon Forest
Term:
Spring 2017
Department:
Spanish
The early modern period supposed the expansion of the European empires in a global scale. With this idea in mind, in my future dissertation, I plan to study the process of the conquest and colonization of the Amazon Forest during the period of the European expansion in America. Related to this conquest, one aspect that catches my attention is the formation of borders between the kingdoms of Spain and Portugal in the Amazonian area. These borders were established very late in the eighteen century through the “Treaty of San Ildefonso” in 1777. The reason for this treaty, among others, was that...Read more
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“Controversy College”: Useful Knowledge, Polemic and Scholarly Institutions in Stuart England
Term:
Spring 2017
Department:
History
In the mid-seventeenth century, an eclectic group of theologians, pedagogues, amateur physicians and enterprising husbandmen set about to disseminate “Useful Knowledge” throughout England. They used this concept to advocate for education in innovative agricultural practices and knowledge of political economy, while also pressing for new forms of religious devotion. Through my dissertation project, I plan to study how useful knowledge emerged as a pedagogical principle in theological debates in the wake of the Reformation, but authorized plans for England’s material and social improvement by...Read more
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Augusto Boal: Staging Resistance against the Brazilian Military Dictatorship
Term:
Spring 2017
Department:
Spanish and Portuguese
My current research centers on the relationship between the Brazilian military dictatorship (1964-1985) and the performance practices (theatrical, musical, literary, and pedagogical) that constituted acts of resistance against the oppressive regime. Through archival research in Brazil, I hope to continue this research by engaging with the work of noted Brazilian playwright and political dissident Augusto Boal. Boal’s theoretical contributions to theater, along with his dramatic production, had an enormous impact in Latin America and other world areas during his lifetime as well as into the...Read more
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Cultivating an Antiochian Orthodox Tradition: Renewal and Political Life in Lebanon
Term:
Spring 2017
Department:
Anthropology, Critical Theory
A general feeling of quiet crisis dominates in contemporary Lebanon: gridlocked government, the breakdown of basic civil services, and increasing municipal protests are compounded by Hezbollah’s military imbrication in Syria and the increasing influx of Syrian refugees into a polity already laden with considerable youth unemployment. My research addresses the Antiochian Christian Church’s renewal efforts, which negotiate Lebanon’s fraught social and political landscape. I seek to better understand the relationship between religious practice and political belonging in a region that has...Read more
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The Causality, Limit-formations, and Duplicity of Sovereignty in Eastern Indonesia
Term:
Spring 2017
Department:
Anthropology
Dylan Fagan is a PhD student in the Department of Anthropology. His research examines expressions of sovereignty in Indonesia. In dialogue with the literature suggesting that sovereignty binds a non-coincidental, double representation of itself in the appearance of a limit, his research addresses how the work of cinema, sculpture and poetry orients a bodied, vanishing point of political life . His summer fieldwork is based in Jakarta and Kupang, Indonesia.Read more
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Aesthetics of the Literary Avant-Garde in Modern Iranian Press Culture
Term:
Spring 2017
Department:
Comparative Literature
Throughout modern Iranian history, emerging print medias such as newspapers, magazines, and journals have created fertile ground for new waves of creative literary production. These emergences are grounded in the history of Iran’s newspaper culture, which is of course concurrent with discourses of modernity and modernization. The late 19th century experienced a turn in the domain of print culture where state sponsored newspapers did not constitute the only means of communication. For this reason, 20th century Iran, particularly the 50s, 60s, and 70s, marked an important moment for the country...Read more
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The National Values of Digital Innovation: A Comparative Study of Digital Technologies Industries in the US and PRC
Term:
Spring 2017
Department:
Sociology
My research investigates the socio-political implications of the growth of the information and communication technologies (ICTs) and the Internet more broadly through comparing the values undergirding the current development of new technologies by private firms in the United States and the People’s Republic of China. Through placing interviews with engineers and managers in IT and Internet-related firms in the US and the PRC within the context the political, economic and regulatory conditions of each national context, my research will analyze how different prevailing views and practices...Read more
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(Non)compliance and (Non)state Actors: Indonesia’s Haze Problem
Term:
Spring 2017
Department:
Political Science
Broadly, my research concerns the nature of individual compliance with forms of political authority, with a regional focus on Southeast Asia. This project is an effort to ground this larger research agenda in a specific problem – the yearly Southeast Asian haze crisis. There, when clearing brush for agricultural land use towards the end of the dry season, farmers typically ignite the fires to engage in slash- and-burn agriculture. This behavior is, of course, restricted by a patchwork of international treaties, national policies, and local edicts. With this project, I hope to understand how...Read more
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Documentation and Preservation of Yaeyaman
Term:
Spring 2017
Department:
Linguistics
My project centers on continuing the documentary efforts on the endangered Yaeyaman languages, a subgroup of the Ryukyuan languages, spoken in the southern part of the Okinawa Prefecture of Japan. Due to language policies and punitive measures that came into effect from the time Japan annexed the Ryukyu Islands, Japanese became the lingua franca and the Ryukyuan languages quickly failed to be transmitted to younger generations. As such, the Ryukyuan languages, particularly the Yaeyaman ones, are in a dire situation, with most speakers being over 70 years of age. I plan to record and subtitle...Read more
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The Reagan Revolution Manifested: The Iran-Contra Affair, 1981 – 1992
Term:
Spring 2017
Department:
History
My research focuses on the Iran-Contra Affair. National Security Council staff member Oliver North’s “neat idea” of converting profits from arms-for-hostages deals with Iran into aid for the Nicaraguan Contras violated the Boland amendments, which prohibited U.S. funding for the Contras, and an arms embargo on Iran. The scandal engulfed Ronald Reagan’s presidency. It mired the Reagan administration in a mixture of political theatrics, congressional hearings, and criminal investigations. America’s most notorious overt-covert operation has received ample attention from scholars and journalists...Read more
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Resource Control, Territory, and Technoscientific Knowledge in the Gold Mining and Mercury Chains in Colombia
Term:
Spring 2017
Department:
Environmental Science, Policy & Management
The main goal of my research is unraveling the conflicting flows of power, knowledge, technology, resources, and people associated with the gold mining and mercury chains in Colombia. For doing so, I will analyze how policy and law, as well as other local and global sources of expertise and resource control, have shaped the practice and regulation of the regionally diverse dynamics of artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) and mercury use in Colombia. On the other hand, I will examine how small-scale miners and other exposed populations have mobilized different types of technologies and...Read more
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The Archive of the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission: Processing Survivors' Testimonies
Term:
Spring 2017
Department:
Spanish and Portuguese
The Center of Information for Collective Memory and Human Rights, in Lima, holds the audio and video recordings of the public hearings, as well as other documents of the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (PTRC). In certain fortunate cases, from this archive it is possible to reconstruct the data processing: from the recording of the survivor’s testimony to its transcription, to the two- to three-page summary. Besides, since one third of the testimonies were collected in Quechua, the reconstruction of the data processing is crucial to understand the role that translators played...Read more
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Global Dreams: English Education in Southern Vietnam
Term:
Spring 2017
Department:
Sociology
Not originally offered to any students during the peak of Communist economic and social policy in Vietnam, within the last decade, English has become a compulsory course that must be taken from the third grade onwards in the Vietnamese education system. Beyond this shift in policy, the importance of the English language has exploded over the last few years as private English education centers have sprung up all over the country and employers have started scaling wages based on English language credentials. Situating this push towards the English language within the broader pattern of Vietnam’...Read more
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Chthonic Capitalism: The Imagination of a Global Minerals Market in Colonial Congo 1899-1931
Term:
Spring 2017
Department:
History
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, railroads defined colonial economic influence in Africa as European colonizers consolidated their empires. Yet at the same time in Leopold II’s (King of Belgium) Congo Free State, cross-border British railway and mining activity was exploding. My dissertation project seeks to unravel the colonial political economy of this region, which faced multiple overlapping forms of imperialism—Leopold’s authoritarian rule and Britain’s investment-based influence. This summer I will do research at the John Rylands Library at the University of Manchester, looking...Read more