Current Winners

John L. Simpson Memorial Research Fellowship in International and Comparative Studies

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Term:
AY 2016-17
Department:
Film & Media
Fareed Ben-Youssef is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Film and Media at the University of California, Berkeley. He received his BA in English Literature with a Film Concentration from Princeton University and his master’s degree in the Film Studies Program in the department of Rhetoric at Berkeley. His dissertation, Visions of Power: Violence, the Law, and the Post-9/11 Genre Film , is concerned with specific moments where genre films (the Western, Film noir, and the Superhero film) disrupt a public discourse shaped by Manichean divisions. His conclusion examines international genre...Read more
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Term:
AY 2016-17
Department:
History
Exile, refuge and forced migration have profoundly and repeatedly altered the configurations of the modern world. My research project makes a close examination of a people who, dispersed by mid-twentieth century terrors, became paradigmatic to subsequent discussions of these phenomena. German Jews fleeing Nazi persecution or immigrating after the Holocaust left Europe for numerous destinations. Upon their myriad landings, they developed a diasporic network defined by a shared culture and history as well as by diverging contexts in their new home societies. I aim to trace and articulate this...Read more
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Term:
AY 2016-17
Department:
History
My project explores the life and political trajectories of a generation of communist activists, born in Poland, Hungary, or Romania. Emigrating to France in the interwar period, they participated in the French anti-Nazi resistance during WWII. Returning to their countries after WWII to “build socialism,” many were victims of Stalinist political trials or suffered other persecution in the first decade of the Cold War. Examining the way these activists (often Jews or other ethnic minorities) related to their origins, their ideology, and described their life experience at different stages allows...Read more
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Term:
AY 2016-17
Department:
Economics
China implements remarkable political meritocracy and decentralization, which solve many incentive problems and constitute the foundation of China's reform and growth. However, meritocracy and decentralization contradict the basic logic of autocracy, the loyalty-competence trade-off. How can China overcomes the dilemma and implements meritocracy and decentralization? In my dissertation, I propose that the appointment of both a party secretary and a governor to co-rule a province solves the problem. Using formal model, I show that how the “separation” of political and economic powers between...Read more
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Term:
AY 2016-17
Department:
ESPM
In the early 2000s, the Chinese and Lao governments heralded rubber as a silver bullet for development for Laos. The Lao state welcomed foreign direct investments in cash crops, granting over 130,000 ha of concessions for rubber alone, primarily to Chinese companies. The Chinese state also provided financial and bureaucratic support to Chinese companies investing in agriculture in Laos as a form of development cooperation. These projects were expected to replicate China’s domestic successes by facilitating the transfer of Chinese technology and agricultural management approaches. But global...Read more
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Term:
AY 2016-17
Department:
Anthropology
Transnational Anxieties: Negotiating Tradition in the Modern Coptic Orthodox Church explores (1) how Coptic (Egyptian) Orthodox Christians in the United States negotiate their relationship to the Coptic Orthodox Church and to Egypt, and (2) how the Coptic Orthodox Church has re-imagined itself as a “global” church due to increasing migration out of Egypt. While Copts began to leave Egypt in the 1960s and, especially, the 1970s due to religious discrimination, immigration has increased exponentially in the wake of the Arab Spring. My research analyzes the ways in which political, economic, and...Read more
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Term:
AY 2016-17
Department:
City and Regional Planning
My research will explore the changing role of urban government in urban street markets and regional financial markets in West Africa. I focus on a new municipal program in Dakar, Senegal to issue West Africa’s first sub-national bond without the sovereign guarantee of the nation-state. The bond is slated to fund the construction of a new commercial center intended to re-house thousands of vendors from the city’s largest public infrastructure: the urban street. Street vendors are expected to purchase space in the new buildings, which will be the key source of monetary value for repayments for...Read more
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Term:
AY 2016-17
Department:
History
Johannes Dantiscus was the Polish-Lithuanian ambassador to the court of Emperor Charles V from 1524-1532, at the time of the conquest of the New World, the Protestant Reformation, the Habsburg-Valois contest for Italy, and the Ottoman expansion into Europe. His correspondence, very little of which has been studied, gives us insights on contemporary statecraft, politics, and culture in this transformational time. My research examines how this courtier, in his travels, his friendships, and his writings, first took part in these affairs and then later became a literary figure of the Polish...Read more
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Term:
AY 2016-17
Department:
Music
My dissertation investigates how Indonesian activists utilize sound for primate justice. Today, the multinational palm oil industry is exterminating orangutans in Borneo. Humans risk their lives to save orangutans. In response to this crisis, the youth collective “Orangufriends” has organized Sound For Orangutan (SFO), an annual music event held in Indonesia since 2012. This leads to the pragmatic question: If these events have unique aesthetic consequences, then how effectively do they communicate primate justice first and foremost for humans, and as a result, for the non-human primates whom...Read more
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Term:
AY 2016-17
Department:
Political Science
In democracies, parties play a central role in representation, linking society and the state. Yet many new democracies have been characterized by unstable parties, and thus have faced crises of representation. This has been particularly visible in Latin America: after the neoliberal reforms in the 1980s/1990s, many traditional parties were discredited, lost electoral support, and virtually disappeared. The new parties that have emerged since then vary greatly in terms of the stability of their ties with voters and of their support bases. This project examines the different trajectories of new...Read more
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Term:
AY 2016-17
Department:
History
State formation has a social history. Rather than thinking of the state as an institution and tracing its existence as a government through time in order to determine its history, statecraft can be thought of as a bundle of technologies of power. The questions then are: Why did technologies of power change? And who developed those technologies and why? In this way, technologies of power that are now associated with “the state” can be shown to have origins, even social origins, outside the ancient halls of government. The project that I am working on looks at the changing technologies of power...Read more
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Term:
AY 2016-17
Department:
Anthropology
My project examines the role of “re-socialization” projects within the penal system of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The state’s prisons system proclaims its official mission to “Re-socialize to Conquer the Future”, one which stands in stark contrast to its reputation for punitive repression, violence, and mismanagement - yet re-socialization projects constitute a vital element in organizing prison life and politics. These projects move between efforts to transform to transform the lives of inmates, and those to reform the prison itself. However, as different groups aim to “re-socialize”...Read more
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Term:
AY 2016-17
Department:
Political Science
In the rural villages of North India, elected village councils are often super-imposed on entrenched power structures. In many places, these institutional efforts ultimately fail to displace the authority of traditional elites, and power relations continue to operate as they always have. However, in other places, these reforms have led to creation of democratic spaces for marginalized groups and poor. My dissertation seeks to ascertain why elite control declines in some places, while in other places elites manage to maintain the status quo. While a large number of studies have shown that the...Read more
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Term:
AY 2016-17
Department:
Architecture
Contemporary Indian temples are embracing modernity in unprecedented ways to captivate a young and increasingly affluent Indian society. My dissertation studies the creation of such modern temples, and their appropriation by Hindu nationalist agencies to reconstruct a new “Hindu-national” identity in postcolonial India. Questions central to this study are: how do contemporary Hindu temples become tools for political and ideological propaganda, and how do these spaces of public worship aid the conflation of religious and national identities. The answers lie in examining two parallel but...Read more
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Term:
AY 2016-17
Department:
South & Southeast Asian Studies
In spite of the early efforts of the Indonesian communists (PKI) in expanding their organization in British Malaya, it was their Chinese counterparts (CCP) who eventually established the Nanyang Communist Party (NCP) in 1925 under the tutelage of the Comintern. My research project examines the convergence of—and the corresponding conflicts between—the two trends of the pre-WWII communist movement in the Malay World (current Indonesia and Malaysia) in the last fifteen years of the colonial era. By borrowing lenses from classic anthropological debates on identity politics, my discussion on race...Read more

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