2016 Seed Grants

Recipient:

  • Or’el Anbar (Undergraduate Student, Department of Anthropology)

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.

Recipients:

  • Jenny Boulboulle (Lecturer in Discipline; Department of History)
  • Andrew Goldman (Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience)
  • Celia Durkin (Graduate Student; Department of Art History)

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.
  • Funding will be used for two principal expenditures: inviting speakers to join the group for discussions and formal dinners, 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.

Recipient:

  • 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.”

Recipient:

  • Anupama Rao (Associate Professor; Department of History; Barnard College)

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.

Recipient:

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 participation and mentorship of 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 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 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 an NOAA Fisheries Science Center to present this work with the Social Science Research Group.