Past Winners

Reinhard Bendix Memorial Fellowship

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Term:
AY 17-18
Department:
ESPM
Irrigated agriculture is spreading across the Chihuahuan Desert. Where huge ranches once dominated, farming communities have sprung up and continue to spread despite conservation efforts to halt the advance. Conversion rates and patterns differ across the Mexico-US border, and this comparison provides one lens of analysis for my research. Using extensive in-depth interviews bolstered with textual data, I am tracking the history of land use and conversion across the western corner of the Chihuahua-New Mexico borderland. Mexico’s post-Revolution land reform is one key piece of the puzzle, as...Read more
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Term:
AY 17-18
Department:
Sociology
My dissertation is a study of media depictions of gentrification in San Francisco, CA and Baltimore, MD from 1990 to 2014. The media plays a central role in meaning-making, both reflecting and shaping the public’s perceptions of social processes. Americans gain insight and exposure to the experiences of others through journalists’ coverage. Using newspapers, I document how the media portrays the process of gentrification over time and how that varies by the social, political, and economic conditions of San Francisco and Baltimore to better understand common perceptions, assumptions, and...Read more
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Term:
Fall 2012
Department:
History
While the profound transformation and ensuing disintegration of the Ottoman empire from 1839-1923 has been conventionally summarized as an interim stage before the ultimate triumph of ethnic nationalism and secular modernity in the Middle East, this popular narrative elides the fiercely contested nature of institutional changes in the region. In particular, such accounts marginalize the acute struggles of scholars, statesmen, and everyday citizens to constitute alternative modernities not rooted in strictly secular-liberal or eurocentric cultural epistemes. The “ Nizamnama ” codes of King...Read more
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Term:
Fall 2014
Department:
History
My dissertation examines the Chukotka and Seward Peninsulas, half in Russia and half in Alaska - a space divided by national and ideological lines but united by a common ecological space. The project is framed around the human relationship to energy – to food, fuel, and the technologies that access both, in a landscape that is defined by its lack of energy, since most of the solar energy that underwrites biological life is reflected back into space at the poles. In the rough century between the 1880s and the 1980s, I look at how the energy-intensive, and constantly energy-acquisitive,...Read more
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Term:
AY 2016-17
Department:
Political Science
While social science research has illuminated cross-national differences in governance and their relationship to the outbreak of conflict, my dissertation focuses on a dynamic about which we know far less: What strategies do governments use at the subnational level to ensure peace and order in post-conflict settings? My dissertation examines the relationship between violent internal conflict and subsequent state-building over time. I specifically study how political incentives shape the strategies of post-conflict governance along three important dimensions of public goods provision:...Read more
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Term:
Fall 2010
Department:
Political Science
The conception of philosophy presented in John Rawls’s “A Theory of Justice” (1971) still influences many approaches to political inquiry today. Rawls thought that philosophy is a theory-building activity: it takes considered judgments of reasonable persons as its starting point and aims to explicate them in terms of one or several general principles. He thus assumed that all reasonable persons would agree in their judgments, and that they would make these judgments for the same several reasons. Yet – to the dismay of many – Rawls qualified his view by stating that principles are sometimes...Read more
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Term:
Fall 2013
Department:
Political Science
Kidnappings and hostage-taking have played central roles in conflicts and governance throughout human history and across a wide variety of different societies. The tactic remains prominent in a number of contemporary terrorist and insurgent conflicts, but wide variation exists in its adoption. This project seeks to explain why some states experience heightened periods of political abductions in certain time periods, while violent groups in similar states or in different time periods fail to adopt the practice of kidnapping. By tracing the causal mechanisms through which kidnapping tactics...Read more
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Term:
AY18-19
Department:
History
My dissertation project traces the development of memory regimes in post-1989 Central Europe with a focus on a few key institutions: the German Gauck Institute, Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance, the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes in Prague, and the transnational network called European Platform for Memory and Conscience. In addition to watching over the archives of the defunct Communist-era state security, these bodies took up the task of – in their own words – shaping democracy by fostering a living memory of totalitarianism. I examine this mammoth labor of...Read more
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Term:
Fall 2010
Department:
History
The transportation of Indian indentured laborers to various British sugar colonies in the nineteenth century generated a peculiar legal problem: under what law would the marriages of Indian migrants be governed? My project investigates demands made by Indian indentured laborers and their descendants for the legal recognition of their marriages according to system of religious personal laws that prevailed in British India. Laborers invoked their status as imperial citizens to petition colonial governments in Fiji, British Guiana, Trinidad, and Mauritius for noninterference in the religious...Read more
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Term:
AY 17-18
Department:
Political Science
Sarah Lee is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of California at Berkeley, focusing on international relations, comparative politics, and methods. She is interested in authoritarian regimes, foreign policy, and religion and politics in the Asia-Pacific. She has written on topics ranging from major power dynamics in the context of multilateral institutions in the Asia-Pacific, to church-state relations in China. Her dissertation project focuses on explaining the selective treatment of Christian churches in authoritarian China, in the context of a rapidly...Read more
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Term:
AY 2016-17
Department:
History
My dissertation project draws on an unusual source—land survey records—to demonstrate the centrality of Native American land to regime change and modern state formation in North America. I examine imperial transitions in three places: the St. Lawrence River Valley of Quebec surrounding the 1763 Treaty of Paris, the Lower Mississippi Valley before and after the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, and the Los Angeles Basin under Mexican and United States jurisdiction around the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. After these treaties were signed, government land surveyors were tasked with mapping these vast...Read more
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Term:
AY18-19
Department:
History
What is decolonization? Does it mean the same thing in different places? My dissertation traces the entangled political and intellectual histories of South Africa and the Soviet Union in the context of the Cold War and the 1990s. As European empires disintegrated, Soviet Africanists and activists in the South African liberation movement developed a shared commitment to anti-imperialist struggle while debating its content. Did liberation mean that people of different languages and ethnicities should live together or apart? Having supposedly solved their own ‘national question,’ having...Read more
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Term:
Fall 2014
Department:
Political Science
What are the origins of the rule of law? When do strong property protections emerge for vulnerable groups, like the rural poor? The standard answer is that democratic institutions will protect property rights and strengthen the rule of law. Once the vulnerable have a voice in a representative institution like an elected national assembly or a village council, governments are likely to be more accountable to them. However, in my dissertation project, I argue that participating in democratic power-sharing institutions can backfire for marginalized groups — and weaken the security of their...Read more
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Term:
Fall 2013
Department:
History
Despite appearances to the contrary, the three historical moments on which my dissertation centers—the Nazi-led exhumation of 4,500 Polish officers in the Katyn Forest in today’s Ukraine, a the formation of a team of Argentinian graduate students led by a forensic expert from Texas, and the trial of Radislav Krstic at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia—have much in common. My dissertation argues that they are not only important moments in the history of forensic investigation, but they are all, even the Nazi example, important moments in the history of human rights...Read more
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Term:
Fall 2012
Department:
Political Science
Why did Japan and Germany approach WWII legacies and war responsibilities differently? And, more generally, why do countries attempt to come to terms with their problematic past the way they do? These are the central questions in my dissertation. To answer these queries I focus on the analysis of political elites in Japan and Germany. By examining Japanese and German primary sources I explore how they interpreted their nation’s participation in WWII and what policies they supported in regards to reconciling with their former victim nations in East Asia and Europe. Most of the current...Read more

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