Funded Projects

2018-2019 Graduate Grant Awards

Jane Abell, Cultural Anthropology
How Arab Muslims in Philadelphia Self-Perceive, Think, and Talk About Race

The goal of this research is to shed light on racial dimensions of Muslim personhood today and to contribute to conversations on the racialization of Islam and the nexus of race and religion in the United States and in Philadelphia more specifically. Although Philadelphia is one of the most well-researched cities in the U.S., especially in terms of social scientific work, very little has been published about the city’s large and historic Muslim communities. Although statistics are unavailable on the total Muslim population in the city, Philadelphia ranks fourth nationwide in terms of number of mosques, which is a strong indicator of Islam’s great reach in the city. This project turns attention to the effects of racialized narratives on the thinking and subjectivities of Arab Muslims, an under-explored area for research.

Aldo Anzures Tapia, Educational Linguistics, School of Education
The Promise of  Indigenous Early Childhood Education in Mexico

Early childhood education (ECE) has been branded as a social equalizer that will reverse poverty trends in Mexico. When language is included in ECE debates in Mexico, it is often used as a proxy for “school readiness” – as in, students are prepared to attend classes in Spanish, the actual language of instruction – precluding discussions on multilingual education and overlooking the impacts of these policies in Indigenous communities. This study provides an ethnographic account of how different stakeholders in one Indigenous community in the Yucatan Peninsula respond to language policies and ECE initiatives that promise quality education under the guise of social justice, inclusive education, and economic returns. Moreover, situated within a region coping with migration and mass tourism, this research also traces the impact of these processes on the compromises parents and teachers make in regard to their children’s education.

Kimberly Cardenas, American Politics, Political Science
Beyond Linked Fate: Identity Politics in Latinx LGBTQ Organizations

I seek to incorporate gender and sexuality in my analysis of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) identifying Latinxs by asking what it means, politically, to simultaneously identify as an ethnic and sexual minority. Other questions that drive this study are: How do sexual orientation and ethnic identity inform political ideologies, why, and when? Is there a tension in identifying as both Latinx and queer, or is the espousal of these two designations instead suggest “an affirmative identification that suggests a progressive approach to racial and social issues?” In this project, I will develop and test a theory of LGBTQ Latinx political identification by examining in-depth two Latinx LGBTQ organizations in Philadelphia and New York City.

Andres Castro, Sociology
Multi-State Models: Life Course Analysis from Event Histories and Panel Data

In this 4-day course, participants were introduced to the concept of multi-state models. Learning involved how to estimate the essential quantities in the two most frequently encountered data situations: Event-histories, for which the exact times of transitions are known, and panel data, where observations are only made in (more or less) regular intervals, leading to interval-censored data.

Lisette Enumah, Teaching, School of Education
Racial Pedagogical Content Knowledge in Teacher Education

This study uses grounded theory methodology to explore the practices of teacher educators who teach about race and racism. Specifically, the researcher inquires about how teacher educators across a range of contexts conceptualize the knowledge and pedagogy that are essential to engaging issues of race and racism in their teacher education classrooms. The focus of inquiry in the study is to develop a more concrete framework for “racial pedagogical content knowledge.” Through interviews, focus groups, and artifacts from teaching, participants reflect on their teaching goals, pedagogical practice, and successes and challenges in teaching about race and racism.

Maryam Khojasteh, City and Regional Planning, School of Design
Place-Making for Health: How Do Immigrant Food Entrepreneurs Contribute to Community Well-Being in a Hyper-Diverse Community?

This project investigates how immigrant food businesses contribute to health and community well-being in a multi-ethnic community. This research employs a mixed-method approach and relies on historical research, ethnographic methods and cross-sectional surveys to explore how such businesses contribute to community economic development, impact the community food environment, and shape food shopping and consumption patterns of different groups of residents (native vs. foreign-born). This work highlights human agency and social processes within built environment that shape food shopping patterns and makes a case for the significant role of small grocery stores in community building, workforce development and provision of healthy and affordable food. The findings have implications for public health interventions and public policies designed for incorporation and integration of new Americans.

James Morone, American Politics, Political Science
Activist Populations and Possibilities for Organizing in High-Poverty Black and Latinx Urban Neighborhoods

This project examines political and civic activism in high-poverty neighborhoods of U.S. cities.  Through field work in two neighborhoods of Chicago (one a mostly black neighborhood and one a mostly Latinx “point of entry” neighborhood), I examine how public policy, foundations, educational institutions, and other forces created and reproduce populations of neighborhood activists with particular perspectives on racial and economic justice—from socialist visions of redistribution and public provision, to neoliberal visions of market-driven real estate development.   I consider how these activist populations respond to opportunities to participate in politics, and thus determine which kinds of political projects take root in, or emerge from, their neighborhoods.

Joao Victor Nery Fiocchi Rodrigues, Sociology
Slavery, State Formation and Citizenship: A Comparative Historical Analysis of the United States and Brazil

This research project seeks to analyze how the legal systems of two slave societies (the United States and Brazil) defined who belongs to the body politic. The specific empirical concern is to understand the legal status of the black enslaved and freed populations in the United States and in Brazil and whether and how they were granted the right to “migrate”. In order to so, archival data (legal documentation, slavery abolition collections, historic newspapers) will be analyzed through the comparative-historical method. This investigation attempts to empirically operationalize Goldberg’s theory of the racial state, which argues that race is a central category to understand the development of the modern racial state, and also its historical and current inequalities.

Marlén Rosas, History
Indigenous Activists’ Archives and Power in Twentieth-Century Highlands Ecuador

For this project, I have developed contacts in Cayambe, including school directors and teachers, to help with archival documents listing students enrolled in indigenous schools from 1946. With the help of the great-granddaughter of the Governor of the Pesillo community in Cayambe and member of the political indigenous group Pueblo Kayambi, I will spend 4 months, (March 2019-June 2019) interviewing former students to learn about their education in makeshift classrooms. Additionally, Pueblo Kayambi promotes their own vision for grassroots indigenous education through leadership workshops for directors of Cayambe’s communities. I will interview members of the organization to inform the discussion of current education projects.

Carmen Torre Perez, Hispanic Studies, Dept. of Spanish and Portuguese
Counter-Hegemonic Mestizaje on a Changing Island: Bearing Witness to a Punk Culture in Cuba

As part of an ongoing research project, video footage will be recorded in Cuba consisting of interviews and shows about the Cuban punk scene. Music files will be gathered as well in order to create a documentary on Cuban punk and a digital punk music directory.

2018-2019 Undergraduate Grant Awards

Amanda Damon, Communication and Public Service, College of Arts and Sciences
The Immigration Debate in America Today: A Modern Day Civil Rights Issue

This research project is intended to draw a connection between and call immigration a modern day civil rights issue. By traveling to the Lyndon B. Johnson presidential library in Austin, Texas and the Ronald Reagan presidential museum in Simi Valley, California as well as analyzing contemporary political speeches delivered by President Trump and President Obama on immigration, I will compare how past civil rights and current civil rights/immigration rhetoric differ, and why it is not effective today as a result. Primarily through my textual analysis of signing statements, speeches and/or other internal administrative documents, in the end I am arguing that because immigration today is a civil rights issue, it requires the same kind of legislative outcome, which is a law, and thus we can look to LBJ on civil rights as a historical model for success. 

Jennifer Langer, Non-Profit/NGO Leadership, Social Policy and Practice
Beyond Cultural Competency: A Case Study of Puentes de Salud’s Model of Care

The United States Department of Human Services, alongside the Office Of Minority Affairs, has recognized the need for better healthcare practices to address the growing diversity in the population, and therefore have created The National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Care. However, the outcomes of these standards and their implementation at smaller, community health organizations is not well documented. This study explores how the standards informed the healthcare model of Puentes de Salud, a health clinic for Latinx immigrants residing within the Philadelphia area. Results from the study reveal that Puentes de Salud meets many of the standards proposed by the government, paying special attention to linguistically appropriate care and a model built with the input of the community. However, it also reveals that their model goes far beyond these standards, and is more comprehensive of the needs of the population served, accounting for the political, legal, and economic situations of their patients as determining factors in how they provide care.