Resource Conflict: Oil and the Nigerian Youth

Haas Scholar Program: The struggle of the Niger Delta people has been widely documented. The years of oil spills, unequal distribution of oil wealth, and marginalization of the people of this region both by the Nigerian state and the multinational oil companies, is known very well to those interested in this area. Because of the documentation of these conditions, academics who study this region often attribute the uprising that have emerged in the Niger Delta to some form of deprivation without studying these movements. My research explores why the Ogoni Movement of the 90s, and the militant movements of 2005-2009, occurred at the specific times that they did.

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Social Science

Campesinos Voice the Discourse of Fair Trade

Nicholas Calderon’s project, Campesinos Voice the Discourse of Fair Trade, will take place in the Altiplano region of Bolivia, where he will investigate the degree to which Fairtrades purported benefits are met. He will examine the extent of grower knowledge regarding Fairtrade entitlements, and their use of the Fairtrade social premium. His methods will combine an examination of discourses about the benefits of Fairtrade, digitally interactive participant observation, and interviews conducted with small-scale growers (those producing less than 2 hectares). The significance of this research is to enlarge the consumers understanding of the global food trade. Nicholas hopes to make this contribution by publishing a free eBook that will compare Fairtrade discourse with the quinoa growing process and what a fair system of global trade means to the Bolivian campesino.

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Social Science

Healthy Identities: Transgender Health Care Access and Social Disparity

Morty’s research begins by asking how access to public health care has changed social conditions for the transgender community in San Francisco within the last 10 years. He will explore how current medical and mental health access challenges affect the physical, social and mental gender transition of transgender individuals. Beyond the importance of this research study as means of understanding the historical transgender community in San Francisco, the goal of this study is to record cultural and social differences within a nontraditionally gendered minority group. Morty will research policy changes, conduct in-depth interviews and perform an ethnography at a San Francisco transgender health non-profit. Morty hopes to reveal a new paradigm for understanding transgender experiences, one where health care plays a pivotal role in social connections within the community.

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Social Science

Ketwea Bea Nswa: Susu and Institutional Microfinance Models in Ghana

Susu is a traditional microfinance scheme in Ghana that has been ignored by commercial banks and microfinance institutions in the country. Ernest’s research asks why Ghana does not have an institutionally acceptable microfinance model that is specifically designed to fit the socio-economic and cultural needs of Ghanaians. His project will first investigate the susu model to find out what makes it institutionally unacceptable. Second, Ernest will survey the socio-economic and cultural dimensions of Wale and Ewe communities in northern and southern Ghana respectively. Ernest’s goal is to propose a new model that is specifically designed to replace susu, which will be acceptable by commercial banks.

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Social Science

Is There an Education Bubble: Theory and Evidence from South Korea

Korean policy makers fear an impending education bubble caused by an over-supply of college graduates. Analysts point to the presence of three million unemployed college graduates as evidence that there are already too many young people with advanced education in Korea. The recent national Half-Tuition protests that paralyzed colleges and shut down roads suggests that students and parents are deeply concerned about the over-education problem facing Korea. This research project will use comprehensive schooling and labor market data, combined with econometric methods to analyze: (i) the existence of an education bubble, (ii) possible explanations of the phenomenon, and (iii) consequences on the labor market.

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Social Science

Mic Check! (Mic Check): Tracking the Circulation and Recirculation of Protest Folklore on the U.C. Berkeley Campus (Tracking the Circulation and Recirculation of)

Drawing on over five decades of folklore from U.C. Berkeleys Folklore Archives, as well as interviews and ethnographic participant observation to be conducted at Occupy events this summer, Kristine’s project draws comparisons between the folklore of the Free Speech Movement of 1964 and of the Occupy Movement of 2011-2012. With an understanding of folklore as promoting group identity and perpetuating notions of group boundaries, Kristine will trace pieces of folklore through each movement to demonstrate these tendencies. She will also examine the significance of the UC Berkeley campus as a venue for protest. Preliminary analysis of folklore in both movements suggests a strong resemblance in the folk speech, art, gestures, and customs while also suggesting some amount of transformation between the 1960s lore and that heard today.

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Social Science

Peer to Peer Piracy: Sustained Cooperation in a Public Good Game

Modern day pirates are among the most seemingly altruistic collaborators in the world. At least they are in reference to sustaining a public good. In fact, these internet based pirates provide a stunning real world example of a self-sustaining public good despite strong incentives to free ride. We observe this phenomenon in peer to peer (P2P) file sharing. The crux of Seung-Keun’s research project centers upon the question: How do P2P networks form and sustain themselves, and how can this be extended to influence better outcomes for other public goods? To answer this, Seung-Keun has designed a three-treatment strategic experiment involving continuous time, varying levels of information, and endogenous entry and exit. The results of this experiment will give new insight into what policies would encourage cooperation.

...Read More about Seung-Keun Martinez
Social Science

Undocumented, Unafraid and Unapologetic: Development of Inclusive Activism in the Immigrant Youth Movement

An estimated 11.2 million unauthorized immigrants live in the U.S. 2.1 million youth may attempt to legalize through the DREAM Act, if enacted. An activist movement led by eligible youth has mobilized around this legislation, which has given rise to a narrative that casts eligible youth as deserving, othering the 67% that would not qualify. Through interviews and participant observation of two support groups, Rising Immigrant Scholars through Education and 67 Sueos, Gabriela will explore how the DREAM Act narrative has triggered a divergent process of oppositional consciousness among ineligible youth and how new sites of activism are created in the process. Her work will provide insight into a struggle that seeks to humanize immigrants and challenges mainstream notions of who should have access to opportunities in American society.

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Social Science

Microcredit and the Discourse of Empowerment: A Case Study in Jinotega, Nicaragua

In an effort to narrow the gap in gender equality and improve public health, microfinance institutions are increasingly creating products for women in developing countries. Experts caution against assuming that women’s empowerment is an automatic outcome of microfinance, and call for accompanying soft services such as health education, literacy training, and discussion groups on domestic violence. Organizations offering such services have had great results. However, the majority of micro lending institutions are for-profit entities uninterested in offering these expensive social services. Kristen’s project investigates the dynamics of group lending and its ability to create female empowerment in the absence of these ideal soft services. She hypothesizes that the trust and solidarity created through group-oriented micro lending offers the social support needed to create women’s empowerment.

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Social Science

I'm Expected to get Married for Papers: Latino/a Undocumented Young Adults and their Navigations of Intimate Relationships

Humbertos project will examine how Latino/a undocumented migrant youth negotiate migrant illegality in their everyday lives through relationships of love, kinship, and companionship. While a growing literature has examined how this population navigates public contexts of higher education and civic engagement, no scholarship has analyzed how these youth negotiate their undocumented status in their private, personal lives. In order to investigate how undocumented young adults develop unique attitudes, beliefs, and experiences with respect to friendships, dating, and marriage, I will interview 20 self-identified Latina/o undocumented young adults from the Bay Area and Los Angeles to answer the following question: How does migrant (il)legal status become a social-political power dynamic that must be negotiated by undocumented young adults in their personal relationships?

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Social Science

Illuminating Social Landscapes: unearthing life of the Mayan non-elite through household excavation and catchment analysis

Extensive work has been done on the civic centers of Classic Maya culture. However, archaeological study of Maya commoners has been scarce until recent years. Kimberly’s research will focus on the artifacts uncovered in an excavated household at Chinikih, Mexico. Through a catchment analysis using GIS mapping, she will assess the economic resource basis for settlement. A catchment is the zone from which residents of a place drew their resources. This research will allow Kimberly to consider Chinikih within a larger context: she will look at the relation of commoner households to major Maya centers such as Palenque in order to assess how the carrying capacity of the Chinikih areas natural resources strengthened or weakened integration with the wider region.

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Social Science