2016 Interdisciplinary Seed Grants

The following recipients were awarded funding to support their proposals for research, events, conferences, and workshops on interdisciplinary topics in Science and Society for the 2016-2017 academic year.

TITLE: Ethnographic Surveying of NGO Work in Uganda
RECIPIENTS: Or’el Anbar, Undergraduate Student, Columbia University
DESCRIPTION: A common criticism of sustainable development work in Sub Saharan African countries is that it is neocolonial. Indeed, the principles of sustainable development stem from Western ideas of progress, and it is unknown whether underlying cultural differences or tensions between communities and the international sustainable development sector may affect the outcomes of this outreach. Funds will support the student’s field research from May 14, 2016 – June 27, 2016 as an intern for Community Concerns Uganda (CCUg). Similar to an NGO, CCUg is a legally registered community based organization (CBO). The student will join three other Columbia University student interns to assist CCUg to execute projects focusing on group savings programs, sexual and reproductive health among adolescents and youths, health through water sanitation and hygiene, education for orphans and vulnerable children, and female empowerment through agriculture. While executing these initiatives, the student will conduct ethnographic research and collect data that will further expand the analysis of the effectiveness of the sustainable development work in Uganda.
TITLE: Embodied Cognition Reading Group
RECIPIENTS: Jenny Boulboulle, Lecturer in discipline and Columbia-CHF Scholar, Department of History, Columbia University
Andrew Goldman, Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience, Columbia University
Celia Durkin, M.A. in Art History, Columbia University
DESCRIPTION: The interdepartmental Embodied Cognition Reading Group brings together scholars and practitioners from a variety of domains and disciplines to investigate how theories of embodied cognition can be refined through observations of practice, and how they can help us understand the nature of the relationship between body, mind, and world. The group has the specific aim to bring together students, scholars and professionals in the humanities, cognitive science, and performance arts; including historians, musicians, philosophers, biologists, neuroscientists, psychologists, and dancers. The group will use the funding for two principal expenditures: inviting speakers to join the group for discussions and formal dinners with invited speakers, and to bring the group to laboratories and workshops to facilitate (bodily) interaction with the materials and methods actually physically used to study this burgeoning field of research.
TITLE: Diversifying and Strengthening Feminist Science and Technology Studies at Barnard/Columbia
RECIPIENTS: Rebecca Jordan-Young, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Barnard College
DESCRIPTION: In March 2016, Barnard College hosted the Fourth International Meeting of the Neurogenderings Network, an interdisciplinary group of scholars and scientists who conduct research at the intersection of critical gender/sexuality studies and neuroscience. In the four meetings of this group since it first convened in Uppsala, Sweden in Spring 2010, fewer than 5% of participants have hailed from outside the U.S. or Europe, and only one has come from the global South; further, fewer than 20% of participants have been people of color. Funding will be used to hire a graduate research assistant who can support a focused and systematic effort to diversify the Neurogenderings Network, by identifying more scholars from outside the US/Europe, especially the global South, as well as to identify scholars of color from any region whose work is of relevance to this network, and who may be interested in joining. An additional charge of the graduate research assistant will be to identify potential funding sources to enable collaborations and, crucially, travel for Network members from the Global South to attend these bi-annual meetings. Additionally, funds will be used to defray the costs of supporting an attendee of the 2016 meeting from the global South, and a small portion of the seed grant will be used to support a monthly reading group on “Feminist Science and Technology Studies.”
TITLE: Global Urbanism: Cross Disciplinary Investigations
RECIPIENTS: Anupama Rao, Associate Professor, Department of History, Barnard College and Columbia University
DESCRIPTION: This initiative focuses on those regions of the global South where accelerated processes of urbanization are transforming ideas of the city and received paradigms of social change, while straining environment and natural resources. The emphasis is on exploring a transformative moment of “citymaking” across the global South in areas that are research rich, resource poor, and “data dark,” and which offer new models for collaborative research, and theory generation. Funding will support a workshop on the global histories and materialities of cement/concrete, and its ubiquity in producing the modern urban landscape.
TITLE: Coastal and Fishing Community Resilience in the Southeastern U.S.: Mapping Business Diversity Measures and Environmental-Social Indicators
RECIPIENTS: Jason C.Y. Wong, Ph.D. Student in Sustainable Development, Columbia University
DESCRIPTION: In marine and coastal environmental research, there has been growing emphasis on the inclusion of human dimensions, in particular, human well-being. Given the multi-dimensional nature of marine and coastal issues, it is important to integrate economic, social, and ecological approaches. This project contributes to methods in developing holistic baseline socioeconomic characteristics of communities in the southeastern United States. Funding will support the the participation and mentorship of two undergraduates at Columbia or Barnard in hands-on, policy-oriented research. Using the newly constructed economic diversity measures at the place level, the undergraduate researchers will assist in the project to produce maps and databases to investigate community vulnerability and risk influences along the southeastern coasts. Such a study contributes to meeting National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Next Generation Strategic Goals on resilient coastal communities. The study adds to environmental sociology and regional science literature in regional diversification and vulnerability, which has consisted mostly of cross-country comparisons to date. This study will also contribute to long-term government planning and assessment of coastal and fishery communities, which could help improve community resilience and well-being. The project provides hands-on training for undergraduates in GIS, quantitative and qualitative research at the intersection of natural and social sciences. The funds will also enable travel to a NOAA Fisheries Science Center to present this work with the Social Science Research Group.

@The Center of Science and Society at Columbia University 2016
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