Cultural Studies

The Representation of Dictators in Contemporary Arabic Literature

Faculty Member: Sami Alkyam

This project focuses on the manifestation/s of dictators and dictatorships in contemporary literary genres—the representation of its various configurations, and the politics of re/writing history. Specifically, the project focuses on contemporary Arabic novels that call attention to the parallel/s between narrative and the rhetorical processes and structures that once played a role in empowering dictators and helping them to create godly-like figures of themselves. Each literary work offers an articulation of history and history-making where it is conceived as a fluid narrative that is ideologically constructed through interaction, rejection, and recognition. The project focuses on opening a discussion on how novels can be read as tools of dissent against “Arab dictators” ongoing rhetorical self-empowering over their own people and nations.

Constance Baker Motley and the American Century: A Biography of Race, Gender, Class and Social Change

Faculty Member: Tomiko Brown-Nagin 

This project considers what 20th century American history looks like if it is told through the life and workplace experiences of Constance Baker Motley—the black woman lawyer, politician and judge who rose from poverty to play a decisive role in three social movements that reconstructed American law and society.

China Biographical Database Project

Faculty Member: Peter Bol

Description: This research project consists of prosopographical, social network, and spatial analysis.  We are in interested in how Chinese social and political elites interact from the 7th through the 19th century.  Students are responsible for research on items (such as historical placenames) used for coding data, some database management, research on historical bureaucratic titles.  A reading knowledge of Chinese is required.

Building a Corpus of Spontaneous Speech in Tsez

We plan to create a corpus of spontaneous speech in Tsez, an endangered language of the Caucasus spoken by about 6,000 people, and three endangered Mayan languages. The project will involve collecting, transcribing and annotating the data in such a way that they could be used by other researchers. We will then compare these languages to spoken production from several heritage languages (Russian, Chinese, Avar, Spanish, and Mam) whose corpora will also be transcribed and annotated.

Longitudinal Study of War-Affected Youth

In 2002, in collaboration with the International Rescue Committee, Dr. Betancourt, director of the FXB Center’s Research Program on Children and Global Adversity began a prospective longitudinal study (LWSAY) on children associated with armed conflict and armed groups (CAAFAG) in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Follow-up data were collected in 2003/2004 and 2008. The sample includes former child soldiers and other war-affected youth.

Digital Humanities

Over the past two years, Afsaneh Najmabadi has developed a digital archive and website that preserves, links, and renders accessible primary source materials related to the social and cultural history of women’s worlds during the reign of the Qajar dynasty (1796 – 1925) in Iran. Over the next period, the project will be focused on is the development and launch of two new features: an interactive research platform and an interactive genealogy and geography feature.

State Responses to Immigration Regulation

Why do states vary in their approaches towards the regulation of immigration?  In this research project, we will map and explain cross-national variation in the way receiving states attempt to regulate immigration flows in contemporary times. Using statistical and qualitative case analysis, we plant to consider a range of explanatory factors including (a) interest groups; (b) partisan politics; (c) market factors and (d) legal and political institutions.