SPSS Fellows 2021-2023
Arab American University
Mediatized Politics in Palestine: The Influence of Online Platforms on Framing Politicians’ Messages
Shadi Abu-Ayyash's research addresses the way in which Palestinian political communications are influenced by the development of new communication technologies, through studying how political messages are influenced by online media content, technical requirements and formats. He examines the mediatization approach in the Palestinian political context through studying how main politicians from the ruling party, Fatah, adapt their communication methods to accommodate digital venues.
His paper data collection is based on conducting semi-structured interviews and analysis of political actors’ online content. The paper results suggest there is no clear relation between political message-framing ability on social media and the format of these platforms. Not only does his paper support the claim that social media platforms are used differently for different audiences, but it also provides evidence that the language of the audience may interfere in determining what platforms to use in political communication. He reaffirms conclusions by previous studies that political social media is newsworthy for journalists.
Urban and Regional Planning
Benue State University, Makurdi
The Politics of Belonging: Deconstructing the Impediments to Peacebuilding in Farming and Pastoralist Communities in Nigeria
There is increasing realization that conflicts and peacebuilding efforts in Africa are shaped by prevailing narratives of identity, belonging and constructions of the “other.” Such narratives of belonging build on the diversity that exists between groups to promote the vilification and poor perception of the “other,” thereby inciting violence even among groups that once co-habited peacefully. While the protracted conflicts between farmers and pastoralists in Nigeria are often categorized as natural resource conflicts, available evidence points to the contrary. Patience Adzande's paper therefore argues that the major drivers of conflicts between these two groups and by extension, the major impediments to peacebuilding efforts are embedded in the constructions of the “other.” Specifically, the identities of the “other” are defined by ethnic and religious affiliations. Fieldwork which entailed interviews and focus group discussions in farming and pastoral communities was conducted in Benue, Plateau and Adamawa states. The key issues that were identified as threats to sustainable peace are associated with the “indigene” (non-settler) – settler dichotomy, ethnic or religious differences, marginalization and the perceived quest for territorial expansion and control.
Paula Ahumada's research proposal analyses the relationship between constitutional and monetary orderfrom a legal-institutional approach. Money has been rediscovered as a topic of legal inquiry following the works of legal scholars who have challenged the orthodox economic conception of money as a neutral instrument and have emphasized its political and always contingent institutional form. Inspired by these heterodox theories of money, Ahumada uses Chile as a case study to explore the possible correlations between changes in the constitution and legal reforms over money, with the caveat that she does not intend to show causal relations between each other, but rather to explore the plausibility of heterodoxtheories of money while also to illuminate the role of law in the construction of social order.
Bader Al Saif's project presents the first transnational intellectual history of modern Arabian Peninsula (AP) with a focus on the reform of Islamic thought and praxis. The study traces both the ideas and actions of individual reformers and state organizations. It analyzes their reform conceptualizations, programs, and methodologies to assess the (dis)connect between their thought and praxis and to construct a paradigm for reform in the AP. The work argues for a neo-Nahḍa [renaissance] in the making under the banner of “Reform Islam.” Reforming the status of women is its clearest manifestation through a diverse set of Islamic feminisms that is mindful of shifting gender relations and decolonial in its approach. The conclusions are based on fieldwork in seventeen countries and across fifteen AP cities along with a discourse analysis of several primary source types: textbooks, periodicals, government papers, interviews, sermons, school curricula, conference presentations and declarations, memoirs, social media content, and unpublished works.
Fernando J. ASTUDILLO
Universidad San Francisco de Quito
Initial Evaluation of the Rapid Extraction of Phytoliths Protocol to Identify the Fuel Sources at the 19th-Century Sugar Mill of El Progreso Plantation, Galápagos
Fernando Astudillo combines Environmental Archaeology and Historical Ecology to investigate the recent past. His career focus is the exploration of past interactions between humans, landscape, and the environment with an interdisciplinary research framework that combines Eco-anthropology, historical ecology, ethnobotany, archaeology, and environmental history. He has applied this research framework to understand the impacts of colonialism ontropical ecosystems and ecological frontiers since colonial times. His research is based in the examination of the preserved botanical evidence on archaeological and historical sites of Ecuador.
Universidade Federal de Rio de Janeiro
Contemporary Brazilian Far-Right Politics: Geopolitics, transnational articulations and narratives of enmity
Fernando Brancoli's research proposal sets out to investigate the international dimensions of contemporary Latin American far-right politics, which have gained a momentum since the presidential election of Jair Messias Bolsonaro in Brazil, Mauricio Macri in Argentina and Lenin Moreno in Ecuador, just to quote some examples. His aim is to probe on how the systemic constraints of the neoliberal crisis have affected recent developments in Brazilian politics, allowing for the electoral takeover of a far-right party coalition.To this end he proposes a historical sociological analysis by investigating three international vectors constituting the LatinAmerica case: 1) political economy, 2) geopolitics, and 3) the politics of enmity.
Hannah Dawson's book project examines how mass joblessness is engendering new forms of social, economic and political life in South Africa and beyond. Drawing upon 14 months of ethnographic fieldwork in an informal settlement on the outskirts of Johannesburg, her book examines the everyday economic and social lives of unemployed youth in South Africa, a country where two-thirds of young people are without work. By documenting every-day moments in young men’s livelihoods, social relations and political struggles, the book adds both empirical and theoretical novelty to the existing literature, and forges new ground in terms of how we think about the relationship between wage work, citizenship and the social order.
Universidade Estadual de Montes Claros
The second Brazilian migration wave: the impact of Brazil’s economic and social changes on international migration to Global North
Gustavo Dias's project examines the effects of Brazil’s recent economic growth and the narrowing of the inequality gap on the second Brazilian migration wave to the global North over the last two decades. He further explores how the opening up of the Brazilian economy to international capital flow, and the implementation of social programs followed by the enlargement of its domestic consumer market, helps to explain the current increase and diversification of Brazilians abroad in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Gender Studies and Religion
National Scientific and Technical Research Council Argentina (CONICET)
Traditional healing and spirituality in women´s experiences of abortion and massive feminist demonstrations in Argentina, 2015-2020
Karina Felitti's project explores the relationship between women´s spirituality and feminisms in contemporary Argentina, in connection to secularisation and sexual politics. She focuses on the history of the New Age movement in Argentina since the 80s, investigating women's experiences in terms of sexual and reproductive rights, bodily knowledge, empowerment and wellness.
Since 2002, international agencies have officially affirmed the relevance of the recognition of refugee status to applicants based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Isadora França’s project is based on research carried out in two distinct national contexts (Brazil and Spain) on the emergence of the category of "LGBTI refugees" and proposes to deepen understanding on: a) the implications of this category in terms of the relationship between violence, nation and subjects and b) the possible agency by immigrants and refugees who are interpellated by the category of "LGBTI refugees" given the precarious conditions they face. The general objective is to work on these two fronts, based on a review of literature on the subject in the Social Sciences and related areas, on the ethnographic material already produced in previous research and on ongoing field research in Brazil.
Raquel Guimaraes claims that preparedness to natural disasters have been increasingly recognized as key in disaster risk management efforts. Those coping mechanisms, such as having a family evacuation plan, an emergency supply kit, and disaster insurance, can be critical to survival. Nevertheless, these strategies are may emerge with uneven burdens for males and females. She argues that, if there are different roles for males and females in disaster preparedness, climate change is likely to have a significant effect on the livelihood gender gap. Drawing on a case study from Brazil and Thailand, she investigates the gender roles in flood-management planning, and whether education and previous disaster experience may explain those differentials.
Victor M. GWANDE
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
University of the Free State
A Portrait of Monopoly Capital: Anglo American Corporation’s evolution and experiences in Colonial Zimbabwe, 1923-1965
In terms of either turnover or capital invested, "Anglo" is the largest single economic entity in Zimbabwe apart from the state. Victor Gwande's study, therefore, examines the scope, extent, and nature of Anglo American Corporation's power and influence in Zimbabwe. The work traces the evolution of the Corporation through the various sectorial investments it made and how it achieved this. The growth and expansion of Anglo occurred under different government administrations between 1923 and 2003. Equally, under these administrations, the socio-economic-political circumstances evolved. How all these developments may have impacted Anglo require an investigation. Thus, using the case of Anglo, one can probe the power of capital and its relations with the state in a colonial and post-colonial context, over the economic trajectory of a country.
Weeam Hammoudeh's study builds on exploratory research which has focused on one area that has been especially impacted by territorial fragmentation, enclavization, and mobility restrictions, the Northwest Jerusalem enclave, to examine the effects of the interplay between exposure to prolonged political violence, mobility restrictions, reconfiguration (and disfiguration) of space, and fragmentation of social life, livelihoods, and health. Building on ongoing in the Northwest Jerusalem enclave, in this project, the attention is turned towards the everyday agents residing in the Northwest Jerusalem enclave in order to understand how everyday people endure, adapt, transform, and resist in a settle-colonial context. What forms of agency and subjectivity are produced and reproduced by people in their everyday lives? How do people view themselves in relation to their context? How do they navigate their life-worlds? What modes of endurance, adaptation, and resistance are used in the every day?
Nkatha Kabira's research project examines how Commissions came to occupy a central place in law and governance in Africa. The purpose of this work is to explore the role of Commissions, interrogate existing Commission discourses, examine the power of Commissions and their place in law and governance, investigate the global developments of their legal and socio-political dimensions, a process that involves a holistic transdisciplinary approach that probes and unpacks Commissions in their complexity.
In the case of underage women, the questions are about how gendered punishment practices are when one shares the imprecise categorization of being a woman and a girl. If justice systems historically place women in the same category as children, being a girl and a woman entails a double violation that entails processes of infantilization and custody. The body-guilt-sin triad is intensified by the religious component that is updated in punishment practices (Dolores, 2009). The hybridization of custody-religion will impose an additional control on women, characterized by the infliction of physical and psychological punishment on the bodies of these adolescents. The domesticity of these bodies, lived as rebellious, will focus on the field of sexualities (López-Gallego, Montes-Maldonado & Galeotti-Galmés, 2018). In the first part of this project, Laura López Gallego focuses on the moral and warm side of the UJJS. Some notions such as cruel optimism, the promise of happiness, and moral economy allow her to reflect on the affects that sustain the fantasies of the good life in contexts of omnipresent precariousness. Likewise, she analyzes some of the affects that accompanied her as a researcher in these institutional spaces, especially the operation of fear as a way of distributing bodily vulnerability in the different spaces. In the second part, she discusses slow death as a process of precarity destined to certain populations selected by the Penal State.
Oscar Javier MALDONADO CASTAÑEDA
Universidad del Rosario
‘Comparisons are extremely difficult’: Exploring conversations about screening technologies and signs in prostate and cervical cancer online forums
Oscar Maldonado's project analyzes how different modes of governance and valuation have surged from healthcare policy reforms and the ways in which these modes interact and coexist. By following the trajectory of specific medicaments, this study will recreate different layers in the governance of the Colombian healthcare system, highlighting the tensions between the actors and the institutions involved in the governance of health technologies.
Marcelo Moura Mello's research project approaches forms of historical knowledge mediated by the presence of spirits in the lives of coastal residents of Guyana, by focusing on the relations between Indo-Guyanese and Dutch spirits inthe context of the worship of the Hindu goddess Kali. Spirits of the country’s first colonizers' countries are taken as instances of production, creation and circulation of historical knowledge and, more specifically, of histories of violence connected to Guyana’s colonial past. In becoming part of the biographies of humans, spirits carry with them the density of past events and introduce uncertain implications into the relations between the living and the dead throughout time.
The American University in Cairo
Epistemology of the South and Praxis of Struggle in the Global South: Evidence from EnvironmentalMovements in Egypt, Morocco and Algeria
Aziza Moneer's study follows the trajectory of a number of environmental movements that erupted in the Arab region in the wake of the Arab Spring. She investigates the different frames that were developed around these environmental mobilizations. She also focuses on these environmental movements as sites of knowledge production particularly in relation to human-nature interactions and how people in the global South perceive and relate to nature.
The Lebanese French University
Muslim-Jewish intellectual and cultural interconnections in the Past and in the Present: The case of Farabi-Maimonides and its nowadays relevance
In this project, Khaled Sheykholeslami will look at the Muslim-Jewish intellectual and cultural interconnections in the Past and in the Present by focus on Maimonides' dialogue with Farabi and its current relevance. He tries to illuminate how and why that shining age of relative peaceful coexistence and intellectual dialogue between Muslims and Jews in the Islamic medieval civilization disappeared. By looking at the nature and logic of Islamic-Jewish Intellectual and Intercultural dialogue in Medieval age, he tries to answer this main question: why and how Muslim-Jewish intellectual and cultural interconnections in the medieval ages became possible and why it collapsed in the modern age of Middle East? Finally, he will investigate how and why the destruction of this intellectual and cultural interconnections devastated the foundations of social and political order in some Middle Eastern communities.
Jean G. TOMPIHÉ
International University of Grand Bassam
Which Way Africa 2050: the next Economic Eldorado or the Island of Global Security Threat?
With the anticipated doubling population, from 1.2 to 2.5 billion by 2050, this game-changer is positioning Africa as the second-fastest growing economy, just behind Asia. Its unmatchable demographic dividend forecasts it the next economic Eldorado. Yet, in the absence of institutions strengthening rule of law governance, the reverse side of that doubling population exhibits instead a ticking time bomb. Laying emphasis on the theoretical institutionalization of public administration structures, and relatedly the failure of rule of law governance, Jean Tompihé identifies three plausible scenarios: A Top Tier Africa, performing well and likely to remain successful as far as nation-state building; a Middle Tier Africa that has embarked on public administration reforms, and thus able to consolidate its fragile peaceful social cohesion; and Bottom-Majority Africa, still characterized by inefficient administration and gross instability-related group rivalries that are most likely to be exacerbated by the doubling population. He shows that Africa’s future is hanging in that Bottom-Majority and thus considers possible relations involving the continent’s globalized neighbors and various international institutions to reinvigorate state administration based on a coherent set of rules.