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Caleb Dawson, UC Berkeley, Education | "Black Interests, Institutional Commitments, and Gendered Configurations of Support in a Historically White University"

Caleb’s research examines how black folk differentially encounter antiblackness and cultivate life within and beyond historically white universities (HWUs) as simultaneous sites of education and employment. His ongoing comparative project employs in-depth interviewing and ethnographic observations to learn about (1) the desires that black undergraduates and staff bring to HWUs, (2) their perception of institutional commitments to diversity generally and black people specifically, and (3) the gendered configurations of support and institutional change on which black folk rely. This study advances a critique of the racialized neoliberalization of higher education and the gendered labor regimes on which institutional and collective survivance has been predicated.

Xavier Durham, UC Berkeley, Sociology

Xavier studies private policing (i.e. security guards) in the United States, examining the reproduction of class, gender, racial inequality, three trends of social control that are ever-present in the policing literature. Comparatively, little is known about the role private police play in these trends given their lack of organizational transparency and persistent, legal fragmentation. Furthermore, they pose unique questions about the economic, political, and symbolic dimensions of policing in contemporary society. With the University of Chicago as his field site, he is looking at allegations of discrimination, violence, and other rights violations related to University police misconduct from 2005 onward, noting the augmented interactions with marginalized communities within a jurisdiction that is majority white. At the dissertation level, Xavier hopes to expand the project to incorporate the newly-formed police force at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, a city whose rates of violence against marginalized communities are comparable and equally troubling.

Ina Kelleher, UC Berkeley, African American Studies | "'Weeping Mothers, Fallen Sons': The Politics of Mourning Urban Violence"

This project analyses how grief and mourning are experienced and performed, both publically and privately, by mothers who lose their children to urban violence. The purpose of this research study is to understand how mothers who lose their children to urban violence negotiate their roles as public figures. What are the challenges that accompany mourning a private loss publically? To what extent are mothers able to use this platform to their advantage politically, economically, and personally? And finally, what kinds of emotional labor accompany this experience? 

Meghna Mukherjee, UC Berkeley, Sociology

Meghna’s research questions the gendered and cultural issues that arise alongside the advancements in fertility and genetic technologies. Currently, she is completing her Master's thesis, "How Do You Want Your Eggs? Kin-Making in the Clinic and Social Reproduction in Kolkata, India and the Bay Area of the United States." Employing ethnographic methods and in-depth interviewing, this thesis is a comparative study of the medical management surrounding donor-assisted family building and its effects on reinforcing dominant race and class-based social inequalities. 

Joshua Neff, UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program | "Structurally Competent: Integrating Social Medicine into Clinical Training"

Josh Neff is a UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program (JMP) student in his last of six years of medical/graduate school. Over the last four years his research has focused on developing, implementing, and evaluating "structural competency" trainings for a wide variety of health professionals (pilot effort described here). To accomplish this work, for the duration of this research Josh has co-led the Structural Competency Working Group - a group of clinicians, scholars, community health activists, and graduate students (www.structcomp.org) affiliated with ISSI’s Berkeley Center for Social Medicine. Last year Josh postponed his final year of medical school to expand on this research, developing a multi-session curriculum that delves deeper into various components of structural competency, including structural racism and the (mis)use of race in medicine, the structural influences on the practice of healthcare, and strategies for social change. 

Prami Sengupta, UC Irvine, Social Ecology

Prami’s research investigates the dynamics of the interactions between climate and capitalism. Specifically, it explores the contradiction and interdependence between the natural environment and market economy as manifested within and across multinational corporations and environmental activist organizations in the U.S. Deploying mixed methods, Prami intends to (i) model temporal interaction patterns between the environment and the economy, (ii) identify challenges and outcomes associated with these interactions, and (iii) propose measures via which organizations can simultaneously attain their environmental and financial goals. To this end, her research develops and analyzes a unique multi-source database that comprises of panel data on corporate financial turnovers and environmental footprint, text data extracted from newspaper articles on environmental activism and corporate environmental practices, and interview data of environmental activists and corporate sustainable managers. Ultimately, Prami’s research aims to advance the understanding of collaborative solutions to environmental governance and policy problems.

Luis Edward Tenorio, UC Berkeley, Sociology | "Legalization, Relief and Deportability: Unaccompanied Minors in the United States in the Obama and Trump Era"

Drawing from participant observations of legal cases of Central American unaccompanied minors through a New York legal services organization from 2014-2018, my research analyzes the evolving landscape of immigration policy, practice and relief and its impact on minors, their families, and the immigration practitioners working on their cases.

David C. Turner III, UC Berkeley, Education 

I am interested in youth activism and civic engagement. More specifically, I am interested in how youth of color materialize social change. Through activist ethnography as an mode of inquiry and a political project, I would like to challenge conventional notions of "empowerment" and investigate what youth do to produce real differences (such as community gardens, local policies, etc.) in their communities.

Skyler Wang, UC Berkeley Sociology | "A Numbers Game: Online Dating in Shanghai and New York"
My research explores how singles make decisions on ‘when to commit’ in the age of digital romance. Singles today often bemoan that online dating has reduced romantic pursuits to a quantitative project, or as many would call it, a ‘numbers game.’ They say that dating apps have made an overwhelming amount of people available at the touch of their fingertips, but knowing when to stop 'relationshopping' and start 'relationshipping' has become a great source of disquietude. The paradox of choice, fobo ('fear of a better option'), and ‘the-next-best-thing-ism’ are all terms that describe the same cultural anxiety. Taking my research to metropoles such as Shanghai and New York, I ask: how do people respond to and/or play the numbers game? Furthermore, how do the technologization, commercialization, and quantification of one of life’s most intimate affairs shape modern understandings of selfhood and relationality? And more importantly, how do such social forces manifest and vary cross borders?

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