Transdisciplinary Areas of ExcellenceCitizenship, Rights and Cultural Belonging

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Citizenship, Rights and Cultural Belonging collaborative grants awarded


The following projects were awarded funds through a competitive, peer-reviewed program, with the goal of encouraging faculty to develop collaborative projects that stimulate the advancement of new ideas that can build Binghamton University's expertise toward a national reputation in the broad area of citizenship, rights and cultural belonging. 

  • Pakistani Christians: Perspective on Violence, Belonging, and Citizenship

    The focus will be on Pakistani Christians' experiences of multi-layered violence, constructions of citizenship, and perspectives on belonging as religious minorities in an Islamic society. This preliminary study will involve oral history and ethnographic interviews with 15 research participants of varied class backgrounds (8 of whom will be women), and a mapping, utilizing a human rights perspective, of policy initiatives and advocacy measures that target or encompass the lives of Pakistani Christians. A key feature of the study will be the attempt to gain an understanding of how class and gender structure peoples' constructions of realities and identities. The analysis will be multi-layered and take place at the intersection of several disciplinary boundaries – anthropology, sociology, history, and political science, and it will also derive its parameters from interdisciplinary fields such as cultural studies, women's studies, and social welfare studies. The study will shed light on a significant facet of the workings of a geopolitically strategic society, even as it will point the way to future directions for funded research.

    Principal investigators/departments: Lubna Chaudhry, Department of Human Development, and Josephine Allen, Department of Social Work
  • Accessing the Late Ottoman Empire: Transliteration and Translation of Ottoman Legal Codes Dealing with Citizenship, Rights and Cultural Belonging

    The enormous transformations of the Ottoman Empire during the nineteenth century are essential to understanding the creation and development of the contemporary Middle East. It was during this era that modern concepts of citizenship, ethnicity, mass politics, representative government, constitutionalism, equality, individual rights, and liberty entered the vocabulary and mentality of all levels of Ottoman state and society. These concepts were worked out and legislated by the Ottoman government and society in very public ways through the codification of Islamic civil and criminal law and the adoption and adaptation of Western legal concepts and procedures. Ottoman authorities promulgated a constitution and legislated enormous amounts of laws in an attempt to transform the empire into a modern nation-state. This corpus of legislation was serially published as the Düstur throughout the nineteenth century and is essential to understanding how Ottoman society and politicians conceptualized issues of citizenship, rights, and cultural belonging in this incredibly diverse empire first from a legislative perspective and then from local perspectives as populations engaged these new laws for their own use and benefit. The long term goal of this project is to transliterate and translate all of these legal codes and legislation from Ottoman Turkish (written in Arabic script) to a Latin script and then to English, digitizing these transliterations and translations, and making them open source so that these texts are freely available to the public, thus facilitating research, comparison, and collaboration across disciplines and continents.

    Principal investigators/departments: Kent Schull, Department of History, and         Dina Danon, Department of Judaic Studies
  • Human Security in Africa: Aids, Malaria, Tuberculosis and Conflict

Thousands of people are dying every day in Africa because of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, while African governments beset by economic and political problems are often incapable of providing the required health services to their sick citizens. The mounting health problems in Africa are not only a gross violation of the contract between the government and their citizens, depriving Africans of their basic right to live, but they are also predictors of other types of security problems such as civil wars and external conflicts. Grievances of the sick and their loved ones, increase the probability for civil wars, while declined state capacity, amidst health problems, increases states' vulnerability against external rivals and makes them a great target for militarized attacks. For this project, we code our own data; we rank key drugs' impacts on the burden of disease in Africa and then we aggregate these scores for each country. This aggregate score, which measures the gap between the sick and the treated in Africa, is a better measure of the extent of human security problems in Africa compared to existing datasets that only indicate the number of sick. We then show how this gap is linked to civil wars and militarized interstate disputes, thus further aggravating the human insecurity problem in Africa.

Principal investigators/departments: Seden Akcinaraglu, assistant professor of political science, and Nicole Hassoun, associate professor of philosophy

  • Decarceration: Human and Community Rights

Over the course of the last four decades, the number of persons incarcerated in the United States rose from 250,000 to nearly 2.5 million. Scholars have widely argued that this globally unprecedented level of incarceration is now a permanent feature of the U.S. social landscape. Incarceration on this scale has also, as a report this August to the UN Human Rights Committee emphasizes, significantly affected the citizenship and human rights of quite specific and racialized U.S. groups and communities. Yet, in the last few years, the number of incarcerated persons has begun to rapidly fall; the numbers of persons in New York state prisons has fallen, for example, from 72,000 to less than 54,000 in the last few years. Numbers in other states have followed suit. This unexpected development raises significant questions for the human rights of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated persons, the communities from which prisoners have been coming and are now returning and the largely rural, upstate communities that have hosted prison facilities. This project brings together quantitative data analysis, historical sociological investigations and qualitative ethnographic research to illuminate both the theoretical and policy implications of "decarceration" — and point the way forward to new, funded research.

Principal investigators/departments: William Martin, professor of sociology, and Joshua Price, associate professor of sociology and of the Translation Research and Instruction Program

Last Updated: 12/8/14