Current Winners

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

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Term:
AY19-20
Department:
Anthropology
How are distinctions drawn between ‘failed’ and ‘successful’ urban spaces, and what economies accompany such differentiations? My research addresses these concerns in the context of Jeppestown, a neighborhood in Johannesburg, South Africa. With a history as one of the earliest developed areas of the city—settled shortly after gold was discovered in 1886—Jeppestown’s streets house a multitude of businesses and economic activities. I focus primarily on a single street in this neighborhood, which is particularly dense with these activities. Today, this post-industrial area is portrayed as either...Read more
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Term:
AY19-20
Department:
History
Maelia DuBois is currently a Ph.D. student in the Department of History at UC Berkeley. Her first field is Late Modern European History, and her secondary fields are Global Colonial & Imperial History and Reproductive Demography. Maelia’s geographic and temporal specialization is in nineteenth and early twentieth century Germany, with a focus on imperialism, colonialism, women’s history, reproduction, and migration. Her dissertation project examines the politics of reproduction in the German Empire, specifically the intersection of German motherhood ideals, pro-natalism, and expansionist...Read more
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Term:
AY19-20
Department:
Anthropology
I will research the daily practices surrounding the production and consumption of bread and their ethico-political significance amongst Syrians displaced by war in Tripoli, Lebanon to understand how communities living with destruction attempt to forge alternative futures. What symbolic forms emerge as salient for Syrians amidst the psychic intensity of war and its aftermath, especially as articulated in an Islamic idiom? For that, I turn to bread and its associations with ‘life’ and ‘justice’ in the region. Can the practices organized around bread facilitate access to resources in the Islamic...Read more
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Term:
AY19-20
Department:
Political Science
In my dissertation, I study outsider candidates’ decisions in terms of their location along the policy dimension and the type of rhetoric employed when appealing to voters. Outsider candidates are changing the way elections are run. The most well-known outsider candidates who have won office share a populist style and have adopted extreme positions on policy issues, both on the right and on the left of the political spectrum (e.g., Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, Alberto Fujimori in Peru, among others, including Donald Trump in the U.S.). This empirical observation has, in...Read more
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Term:
AY19-20
Department:
Sociology
My dissertation explores the rise of the transnational transgender movement. As reflected in its usage in UN documents and speeches, in the largest international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) advocating for sexual and gender minorities, and increasing usage among biomedical experts, gender identity has gained political salience in recent years and ‘transgender’ has come to encompass many forms of gender variance. I build on David Valentine’s extraordinary ethnography of the emergence of ‘transgender’ in New York City, examining the geopolitical and organizational processes through...Read more
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Term:
AY19-20
Department:
Environmental Science, Policy and Management
Scholars and international organizations have shown that climate change disproportionately affects women across the globe. Indigenous women and women in the Global South are particularly impacted. Affected women have organized an international movement of women and feminists for climate justice. They seek to remedy the disproportionate effects of global warming on women by advocating that there can be “no climate justice without gender justice.” Drawing on extensive multi-sited ethnographies and interviews with international women and feminists for climate justice, my research provides a...Read more
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Term:
AY19-20
Department:
Geography
In the 1800s, British colonizers in India began to study marine biodiversity from their trading bastion of Cochin. What they found was not only a vibrant natural history but also an extant commercial fishery exporting millions of pounds of fish oil to London to replace dwindling whale blubber. One prodigious but mercurial fish, the Indian oil sardine, enabled this nascent industry. Yet colonial officials would deem such fisheries “primitive, slow, ineffective and undiversified,” crying out to be “modernised and improved by the aid of science, knowledge and capital.” My dissertation examines,...Read more
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Term:
AY19-20
Department:
Sociology
My dissertation research asks in what manner and why Mainland China’s information technology industry has diverged from its international counterparts. By investigating a series of historical events and phenomena which have undergirded developments in this industry since the late 1980s, I will explain the current features of this industrial sector in China as the culmination of state and business coordination in relation to the particular political, social and economic conditions of the reform era. This research will shed light on political-economic changes in Mainland China over this period...Read more
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Term:
AY19-20
Department:
Political Science
A prominent literature in political science holds that the meritocratic recruitment of public servants is associated with significant boosts in bureaucratic performance. It is typically assumed that these institutions ought to also have positive effects on social cohesion. In theory, the meritocratic distribution of civil service jobs enables members from all groups—ethnic minority, or otherwise—to win coveted employment in the public sector. Drawing on a series of contemporary and historical case studies across South and Southeast Asia, this dissertation challenges this argument. Instead, I...Read more
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Term:
AY19-20
Department:
History
My dissertation is a comparative and transnational history of Japanese and West German atomic power. Aside from occupying similar geopolitical positions within the West’s Cold War alliance, Japan and West Germany shared the experience of catastrophic defeat during the Second World War, and both states were prohibited from undertaking nuclear research during the subsequent occupations. When the research bans were lifted in the early 1950s, the nascent nuclear industries of both countries found themselves facing a “ten-year lag” with respect to “the advanced countries.” This perceived...Read more
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Term:
AY19-20
Department:
Environmental Science, Policy and Management
Small-scale, often informal, gold mining has expanded worldwide in recent decades. This growth has provoked new questions at the core of debates over resource extraction. Small-scale operations have redefined who can participate in mining, spurred new environmental and public health concerns, and challenged the longstanding conviction that mineral resources should be managed by the state and allied companies. My research ethnographically explores how these changes have unfolded in a gold mining region in West Java, Indonesia. To do so, I center the everyday experiences of those participating...Read more
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Term:
AY19-20
Department:
Energy and Resources Group
If political theory, in the broadest sense, seeks to assess and offer answers to the question, “how ought we live together?”, the discipline has largely overlooked entire traditions’ and regions’ answers to this question. In particular, political theorists have largely failed to take seriously the diverse and intricate traditions of indigenous political thought. Simultaneously, the Canadian government and public continues to reckon with the country’s colonial past, undertaking projects of healing, reconciliation, and indigenous recognition. Within this disciplinary and regional context, my...Read more
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Term:
AY19-20
Department:
History
In 1954, after the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu and the conclusion of the Geneva Conference in July, a great transition took place in cities in North Vietnam: the First Indochina War was over, and Ho Chi Minh’s government took over the cities previously controlled by the French and their Vietnamese allies. My dissertation narrates the political and social transitions that took place in urban areas in North Vietnam, with a focus on Hanoi – the former capital of French Tonkin and since 1954, the heart of communist rule in Vietnam – during the first two years of the Democratic Republic of...Read more
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Term:
AY19-20
Department:
Political Science
How do women candidates navigate informal candidate selection processes in new democracies? While the number of women in elected positions has been slowly increasing over time, there is limited understanding of the unique decisions and challenges they face in countries where democratic institutions remain weak. To understand the strategies women employ when entering politics, this project examines the role of party gatekeepers as barriers to the selection of women in party-controlled candidate nominations. The argument this dissertation project proposes is that barriers are magnified for...Read more
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Term:
AY19-20
Department:
Political Science
When politicians from minority groups are elected to office, how do institutions that are created and led by non-minority individuals react? This question has yet to be explored, particularly in the context of female politicians and male-led bureaucracies. The interaction of politicians and bureaucracies is crucial given the former relies on the latter to implement a host of public policies that eventually impact voter perceptions of the government. The examination of how bureaucrats react to the entry of new groups, particularly those that are perceived as inexperienced and ill-prepared to...Read more

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