2017 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 2017-2018 academic year.

Also see: 2018 Seed Grants2016 Seed Grants, 2015 Seed Grants

TITLE: Social Ties to Muslims and Political Engagement: A Social Network Approach
RECIPIENTS: Maneeza Dawood, Doctoral Student, Department of Psychology, Columbia University
Valerie Purdie-Vaughns, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Columbia University
DESCRIPTION: — The purpose of this study is to better understand majority and minority group social networks and how they can change throughout the course of a school year. Furthermore, this study will analyze how social networks can influence political participation, and possible ways to increase engagement in political policies and activism that may impact minority group members.

— Muslim Americans are the proposed minority group in this study, as they are deeply affected by the political policies being adopted by the United States.

— This study will examine prior work on social networks in high schools and their effects on political participation through the lens of Muslim and non-Muslim adolescents.

TITLE: The Fight against ‘Alternative Facts’: Finding Ways to Accurately Communicate Neuroscientific Information to the General Public
RECIPIENTS: Kristen Michelle Frazer, Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Psychology, Columbia University
Christopher Medina-Kirchner, Post Baccalaureate Student/Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Psychology, Columbia University
Ana Singh, M.A. Student, School of Journalism, Columbia University
David Lipkin, Student, Bronx High School of Science
DESCRIPTION: — In the current changing political landscape and the rise of ‘alternative facts,’ it is essential that the general public have access to accurate information, specifically in the field of neuroscience.

— In collaboration with the School of Journalism at Columbia University, this project will create a website that evaluates the accuracy of neuroscientific statements made by mainstream media.

— Furthermore, funding will be used to study the effects of a neuroimage on the perceptions of cannabis research fundings. Indeed, the results of this study will show how journalists can better disseminate accurate scientific information to laypeople.

TITLE: Graduate Student Transdisciplinary Salon: Increasing Literacy around Ecological Concepts, Frameworks, and Vocabularies
RECIPIENTS: Ben Mylius, Doctoral Student, Department of Political Science, Columbia University
DESCRIPTION: — As cross-disciplinary collaborations and exchanges around ecological issues become more and more urgent, efforts to help scholars develop ‘transdisciplinary literacy’ are hampered by the fact that different disciplines use the same concepts and words in vastly different ways.

— This project will establish a ‘Transdisciplinary Salon,’ comprised of primarily graduate (or postdoctoral) students at Columbia, but open to undergraduates and students from other institutions.

— Meeting once a month around a particular word or concept (agency, temporality, value, responsibility, etc), the salon gives both scientists and humanists the chance to meet together, share their concepts with others, and increase their own ability to read and dialog in more sophisticated was across the two cultures divide.

TITLE: Impairment and the Social World: Towards a Sociology of Disability
RECIPIENTS: Erela Portugaly, Doctoral Student, Department of Sociology, Columbia University
Adrianna Bagnall-Munson, Doctoral Student, Department of Sociology, Columbia University
Jonathan Lin, Doctoral Student, Department of Sociology, Columbia University
DESCRIPTION: — In 2010, close to one in five Americans had a disability and more than 4% needed assistance in daily activity. While the experience of living with a disability affects a significant portion of the population, it is relatively understudied in social science.

— Rather than making disability the subject of investigation, most sociological research uses disability as a test case to questions regarding the production of knowledge, expertise, and scientific facts instead of a meaningful social category in itself and worthy of scholarly attention. This project will host a two-day conference to bring together graduate students and faculty members in the social sciences who focus on disability and mental illness.

— Following the conference, a special journal issue or edited volume based on a selection of the conference papers. The conference aims to strengthen disability scholarship by promoting research and network building among early career scholars.

TITLE: ‘Materialized Cosmologies’ Concept Lab
RECIPIENTS: Adrien Zakar, Doctoral Student, Department of History, Columbia University
DESCRIPTION: — This daylong event will bring Professor John Tresch (University of Pennsylvania) together with five graduate students to discuss the concepts of materialized cosmology,” share their research experience in different academic disciplines, and present case studies.

— In Cosmologies Materialized: History of Science and History of Ideas, Tresch proposed to reframe the history of science as the comparative study of materialized cosmologies and look for concrete representations of the universe, or cosmographs, by examining a broad range of objects, including maps, diagrams, buildings, calendars, poems, and encyclopedias.

— The concept lab participants will their about how their interest in cosmographs influenced their research practices, helped them describe new historical processes and actors, and shaped their argumentative strategies within specific theoretical and historiographical traditions.


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