What are Resources and Policies that Could Best Support Children of Incarcerated Parents?

It is now common knowledge that the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the industrialized world. Many of the incarcerated population are parents. As the number of children affected by parental incarceration has risen, so too have the challenges in their everyday lives. Incarceration impacts both parent and child. It is the hardships that the children must endure that are ultimately the collateral consequences of incarceration. Tonatiuh’s research will focus on investigating what resources can best support children of incarcerated parents. She will conduct both surveys and qualitative interviews of adults who had parent/s incarcerated during their early childhood-adolescence. This project will have implications for programmatic decision-making in public policy, and enable more robust family reunification programs.

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Social Science

Political Development Among Homeless Children of Color in Community Youth Sports

Contemporary leisure studies research has broadened social and political understandings of leisure, particularly the meanings participants attach towards such activities. Discussions within the field suggest ways in which leisure activities, specifically sports, may promote political development among disempowered groups. Desi’s project and American Studies honors thesis aims to critically examine homeless children’s experiences in sports, specifically experiences of political development through youth sport in the California Bay Area. Through semi-structured virtual interviews, a Critical Race Theory framework will be used to investigate the ways racial identity shapes their sports involvement, the political nature of their experiences, and the social relationships therein. Ultimately, Desi hopes his research can advance the leisure and family studies field, inform youth sports policy, and guide the practices of educators, homeless advocates, service providers, and youth sports leaders.

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Social Science

Me Espera un Pueblo: Return Migration to Ancestral Homelands in Oaxaca, México

Return migration is often considered the end of a migration story. However, returning to one’s community of origin after living in diaspora implies emotional processes of reunification and estrangement that are rarely examined. Danielle’s research and documentary film will explore how Indigenous Oaxacan migrants view themselves and their communities after returning to their ancestral homelands in Oaxaca, Mexico. In Oaxaca, where they currently live, Danielle will conduct interviews with migrants who have returned after living in the United States for several years, as well as with representatives of transnational hometown associations and local community governments. Danielle’s life experiences make them uniquely qualified to pursue this multidisciplinary research, as they are a return Oaxacan migrant themselves, and have been sitting with the questions of this project for most of their life.

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Social Science

How Do People Living Next to Illegal Dump Sites in Oakland Cope with the Psychological and Physical Consequences of Everyday Life?

Imagine going to bed at night in your neighborhood, and slowly, over weeks, you witness your community being transformed into a scene that resembles a third-world country. Critical research examines the psychological and physical consequences of people living in urban centers where illegal waste dumping is a condition of everyday life. Oakland’s city streets have been overrun with illegally dumped trash. Before 2008, the dumping was confined to the backstreets of low-income neighborhoods of East and West Oakland. Today, middle-income communities are waking up to piles of debris on the main streets, parks, and recreational facilities in their districts. Violet’s research examines what city government agencies, and the citizens are doing about it and identifies how the tolerance of unlawful waste stigmatizes the city’s image.

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Social Science

The Economics of Agrarian Unrest in The Punjab Region of India

The ongoing farmer demonstrations in India that erupted in late 2020 in protest of agriculture reforms passed by the Modi administration have become some of the largest seen in modern history. However, agrarian unrest in the Punjab region has been a persistent issue since the partition of India, with external pressures such as debt, water shortage, and expensive inputs forcing its farmers to consider suicide as the only option. Simran will be conducting a meta-analysis of economic research in Punjab to determine policy factors that have contributed to the ongoing protests. Alongside this, she will be gathering qualitative data in the form of informant interviews with Punjabi farmers to explore the motivations behind these protests. The culmination of this research will be in the form of a senior thesis in Public Health.

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Social Science

The Doom of Zoom? Changes in Educational Accessibility for Students with Disabilities Due to the Shift to Remote and Zoom Learning in the Times of Covid-19 and How Female and Male Disabled Students are Affected Differently

Jae’s project will study how the shift to home and Zoom learning affected educational accessibility for UC Berkeley students with disabilities. She seeks to pinpoint some ways that the intersectionality of womanhood and disability has made this shift different for female-identifying students with disabilities. Jae will also focus on the differing experiences of students with disabilities of the body and those with disabilities of the mind. Jae will  conduct two quality of life surveys and a round of interviews that seek to allow students with disabilities to use their own voices and tell their own stories, and in so doing  give light to the unique and unexpected ways this shift has made educational access better or worse for them. Her goal is to create scholarship that can help create more equitable educational systems.

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Social Science

Do Gang Sentencing Enhancements Promote Rehabilitation?

Kevin is committed to researching the experiences of other formerly incarcerated adults who were persecuted under California’s draconian gang sentencing laws. Particularly, he seeks to research the traumatic experiences of people accused of gang affiliation, and whether the court, California Department of Corrections and parole department ever considered their trauma or provided psychological and rehabilitative resources. Kevin will also examine if gang sentencing laws impede access to resources during incarceration and post incarceration, and if this had any effect upon recidivism. To conduct his research, Kevin will travel to Southern California community centers that serve formerly incarcerated people. California sentencing courts continue to impose gang sentencing laws. Therefore, in order to inform policy, it is important to discover whether these laws are conducive to rehabilitation and public safety.

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Social Science

Prison Projects as Economic Panaceas? Testing the Claim that has Influenced Policy for Decades

The American mass incarceration boom, beginning in the 1970s, targeted poor rural areas, planned as a recession-proof economic development strategy to bolster local economies. While existing research fails to corroborate these claims, nothing has been published since the Great Recession of 2008. Laura’s research will close this gap. She will use a quantitative case-control approach to examine the economic impacts of carceral expansion projects in rural counties in California, Texas, and New York, through 2020. This project will use linear regression methods to identify causal relationships between building spaces of confinement and subsequent microeconomic variations. Laura’s research will contribute to public policy development, with the intent of providing economic evidence to support the claim that mass incarceration is more than just a humanitarian crisis, but also an economically excessive strategy.

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Social Science

Tough On Rehabilitation and (Re)integration: An Investigation of Hegemonic ‘Tough on Crime’ Ideologies in the Post-Release Supervision Sector

The era of mass incarceration is a well-studied product of discriminatory policies and practices. Less emphasized are the cumulative effects of the ‘War on Drugs’ and ‘Tough on Crime’ ideologies among those charged with facilitating and supervising post-release reentry efforts. Addressing this underdeveloped scholarship, Johnny’s research examines the attitudinal consequences of foundational mass incarceration ideologies among community corrections officers, and their effects on client revocation outcomes. By conducting in-depth interviews with probation and parole officers of Sonoma County, California, his qualitative approach will explore variation in supervisory strategies to analyze whether officers favor a rehabilitate-and-reform or control-and-surveil orientation. Amid the broader discussion of criminal justice reform, illuminating how community corrections officers conceptualize their occupational roles aims to improve processes of (re)integration.

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Social Science

The Autistic Experience of Awe: Can Awe Become a Tool in the Autistic Coping Toolbox?

Hari wants to draw on the new science of awe to help autistics thrive and grow, rather than be viewed only in terms of deficits. His research seeks to begin an understanding of the role of awe, an emotion shown to have transformative effects, in autism. More specifically, he wants to see how autistics, who are considered neurodiverse (as opposed to the neurotypical or non-autistic population), view and experience awe, and how these dimensions of emotion may diverge from what has been written from a neurotypical lens. His hope is that this research can result in additional tools, such as “small doses of awe”, that can be used in the coping and navigating toolbox for autistics.

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Social Science

Women on the Waterfront: Barriers and Opportunities

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) has been an engine of social mobility by negotiating high-paying jobs for its workers. But what happens when that social mobility is reserved for men? Nationally, of the 1.7 million full-time longshore workers, only 15.2% are women. Selena’s intention with studying the question, “What are the barriers women face in achieving upward mobility as longshore workers, and how can the ILWU better protect women?”, is to help labor organizers understand the underlying barriers and create solutions to improve women representation and upward mobility at the waterfront. Selena will make a documentary film to  present the (anonymous) interviews by women workers, survey findings, analysis on this labor market, and the history of women on the waterfront.

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Social Science