Harpur College Faculty Development Endowment
The goal of this internal grants program is to promote the scholarly, creative, and artistic activities of Harpur faculty. Priority is given to proposals for new projects or for projects that represent a new direction within an existing project. Priority is also given to projects that are likely to lead to external foundation or government funding.
- 2023 Recipients (Awarded $66,624)
Experimental testing of the Nash bargaining solution’s properties in externality provision problems
Zili Yang and Ozlem Tonguc - Economics
Extending Yang's (2021) analytical research results on the environment and externality, this project aims to test the behavior validity of the axiomatic foundation of the Nash bargaining process when an externality exists. The tests are achieved through carefully designed experiments outlined in the project description. This study has strong policy implications for global climate negotiations and other pollution control issues that can be resolved through collective bargaining. The project will help the academic development of Tonguc and Yang in different directions. This collaborative project includes an international cooperation component. Its execution will enhance the international visibility of BU.
The Silent Killer: Industrial Disease and the Making of the Modern World'
Arnab Dey - History
This book manuscript project examines the relationship between occupational diseases and the making of the modern, industrial world. More specifically, it looks at the history and politics behind the non-recognition and misidentification of industrial ailments in India from around the mid-nineteenth century up to the present. It argues that focusing on two intertwined logics of this story—one, ‘socio- political’ and the other, ‘medico-legal’—allows us a closer understanding of the indeterminate, and largely invisible praxis of industrial epidemiology in the mines, factories, and textile manufacturing units of the subcontinent for over a century and more. To that end, the project’s second ambition is to analyze law’s role in this history. It specifically looks at the Indian Workmen’s Compensation Act, No. VIII of 1923, its policy debates, operational legacy, and novel reconceptualization of ‘disease as accident’ to suggest legislative complicity in making occupational sickness a haphazard and neglected aspect of worker safety, health, and well-being in colonial and contemporary India. Sources from environmental, medical, legal, and labor archives are used.
Making Pagans: Theatrical Practice and Comparative Religion in Early Modern England
John Kuhn - English, General Literature & Rhetoric
Making Pagans recovers the spectacular scenes of “pagan” religion that filled England’s theaters in the seventeenth century. Recycled across many plays, these set-pieces--prophetic altars, bloody mass suicides, triumphal parades, and devilish magicians--were highly stereotyped and indiscriminately used in plays set in a whole variety of cultural and geographic sites, from Ancient Rome and Britain to contemporary Africa and the New World. This book documents the emergence of these stage pagans, arguing that their stereotyped nature emerged as a consequence of the institutional practices of theater companies, and tracing the diverse political ends to which these figures were put by dramatists writing in an early modern England on the verge of empire.
Entrepreneurism, Globalization, and the Origins of Mongolian Autonomy in Inner Mongolia, 1870–1950
Yi Wang - History
This project places the Chinese borderlands of Inner Mongolia at the center of global transformation of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It explores the set of new ideas, technologies, institutions, and practices emerging there as China became integrated into the dynamics of capitalism, nation-states, and globalization. I focus on three scenarios–entrepreneurism in Baotou as a case study of frontier capitalism, expansion of railway networks and epidemic disease, and the quest for Mongolian autonomy in response to the global discourses of sovereignty and ethnic self-determination. This project sheds light on how an array of multinational entrepreneurs, migrants, professionals, and indigenous Mongols imagined and engaged with modernity in ways distinct from their counterparts in core parts of China. Far from being an economic and cultural backwater, borderlands such as Inner Mongolia were at the forefront of global interactions that reshaped the history of modern China.
Exploring the Application of Dynamic Nuclear Polarization Enhanced Solid-State Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy for Slow-Freezing Mammalian Neuronal Cells
Wei Qiang - Chemistry
As one of the primary clinic hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the extracellular amyloidogenic aggregation of beta-amyloid (Abeta) peptide results in neuronal cell death. The non-specific disruption of cell plasma membranes is widely considered a plausible mechanism for Abeta-aggregation-induced cell necrosis. However, understanding the molecular basis of this neurotoxic process remains challenging due to the formation of heterogeneous and low-abundant intermediate. To this end, high-resolution solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (ssNMR) spectroscopy offers a viable approach: By introducing isotopes into Abeta molecules and utilizing the natural abundance 31P resources in cell plasma membranes, the ssNMR probes intermolecular interactions within a sub-nanometer distance range. Signal-enhanced dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP) technique further extends the applicability of ssNMR to low-abundant intermediates. This project will explore the feasibility of applying DNP-ssNMR spectroscopy to the study of Abeta aggregation and membrane interaction in slow-freezing mouse and human neuroblastoma cell lines.
Confucian Literature of the Tang and Song Dynasties: An Annotated Anthology
Zu-yan Chen - Asian & Asian American Studies
Chinese literature, with its rich tapestry of aesthetic elements, also possesses a remarkable capacity for conveying the profound thoughts and aspirations of its authors. This tradition finds its roots in the teachings of Confucius (551-479 BCE), who held poetry in high esteem for its dual role as a model of eloquence and a source of moral inspiration. Surprisingly, this unique fusion of literature and philosophy has largely escaped the attention of contemporary scholars in both fields. To date, no anthology or research book, be it in English or Chinese, has been dedicated to the exploration of Confucian insights embedded within literary works. Consequently, my book endeavors to bridge this notable gap and establish "Confucian Literature" as a multidisciplinary genre. In essence, this book aspires to present novel and thought-provoking concepts in the realms of literary aesthetics, critical theory, philosophical interpretations of literature, and the literary treatment of Confucianism.
Human Memory Research
Deanne Westerman - Psychology
I am requesting funds to purchase experiment-building software that will allow me to continue to conduct my research on human memory.
Subvention for open access publication of the Government Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic - Between a Rock and a Hard Place. Edited by Olga Shvetsova
Olga Shvetsova - Political Science
As the world is entering the era of increased frequency of global health and natural disasters, how we are governed matters for how we will live through these difficult times. Authors in this volume, majority of whom are Binghamton university faculty, graduate students, and alums, provide observations backed with mixed method analysis on the many ways in which government organization and political realities affect crisis response and crisis management. The volume is authoritative, offers global coverage, and is forthcoming in print at Palgrave-McMillan in 2024. I am requesting the funding to publish in open access the introductory chapter, “What the world has learned about their governments during the COVID-19 pandemic,” by Olga Shvetsova (BU) and the concluding chapter, “Commonalities and differences in governments’ COVID-19 public health responses around the world,” by Olga Shvetsova (BU) and Andrei Zhirnov (recent BU PhD). Open access to these chapters will increase interest in the entire volume and expand its readership to Africa, Asia, and South America.
Index for Depth: A Kantian Account of Reason
Melissa Zinkin - Philosophy
Depth: A Kantian Account of Reason provides a new interpretation of Kant’s view of reason. It argues against recent interpretations, which claim that for Kant reason is valuable because it is the source of moral value. Instead, it argues that Kant considers reason to be the source of a more fundamental and wider ranging value: depth. Although philosophers often use the term “depth” to indicate a kind of value, they rarely make explicit what they mean. This book argues that depth is the value of cognition that results from systematic reflection and that it is distinctive of the activity of human reason. This value, however, is not just a moral or an epistemic value. Rather, depth is best understood as an aesthetic value. An account of Kant’s view of reason as what is the source of depth has advantages over other accounts because it can solve several interpretative puzzles in his texts and show that, throughout these texts, Kant has a unified view of reason. Moreover, it can reveal the connection that Kant saw between our reason and our humanity. An implication of this account is the importance of deep reflection for science and moral action as well as the arts.
Hiding History: Queer Medieval Nuns and the Nazi Who Tried to Erase Them
Bridget Whearty - English, General Literature & Rhetoric
This project will fund a summer research trip, visiting archives in England and Germany, to complete original research for my book, Hiding History: Queer Medieval Nuns and the Nazi Who Tried to Erase Them. While we know, in theory, that LGBTQ+ people have always existed, there is a dearth of books that are both academically rigorous and publicly engaging. In Hiding History, I seek to create that missing link, using the story of 3 anonymous love letters preserved in a twelfth-century German manuscript to teach: how Latin works and provides the evidence that these letters are written by—and written to—women; the lives of twelfth-century nuns, and manuscript studies. In 5 chapters, plus a coda, I move from the letters’ composition, to their long journey through history, to their very nearly successful cover-up by the Nazi spy and academic, Hennig Brinkmann, to their recovery by Peter Dronke (who fled Nazi Germany as child), and their flourishing visibility through a range of digital media today.
Mapping mitonuclear epistasis using a novel recombinant yeast population
Heather L. Fiumera - Biological Sciences
Mitochondrial functions require genes from nuclear and mitochondrial genomes that must work together. These interactions influence organismal fitness and coevolutionary processes yet it is difficult to identify the genes involved. Here, we created a novel collection of yeast designed explicitly for mapping mitonuclear genes. We used this collection to reveal genes influencing the maintenance of mitochondrial DNAs (mtDNAs), a trait important for human health. The mapping population presented here is an important new resource that will help to understand genotype-phenotype relationships and coevolutionary trajectories. Additionally, this work provides insight into mechanisms underlying mtDNA stability.
Re-Making Justice: Abolition and Alternative Adjudication Processes
Marina Sitrin - Sociology
Communities and groups resolving conflicts and harming themselves, without looking to the state or judiciary is not, in and of itself new. The scale to which this is currently occurring around the globe, however, and the diversity in geographies and variations on the processes, is. My forthcoming book, under contract with Pluto Press, under the same title as this proposal aims to offer alternatives to punitive measures when addressing harm and conflict. Successful experiences of peace and consensus building, and avoiding punishment as a resolution to harm, will be explored as a basis for future possibilities. My project explores a number of global sites, outlined below, from small intentional communities to entire towns and cities. I will examine both historical and contemporary Native American and African Indigenous practices of circle justice, community peacekeeping, and adjudication outside forms of coercion. This book aims to rethink justice from the perspective of within movements and communities, grounded in current and past nonstate-centered adjudicative processes. Then, from the position of reimagining justice, propose some possible remedies to our current judicial systems.
How do curfews affect radicalization? Case of Turkey
Seden Akcinaroglu – Political Science
Between 2015 and 2019 Turkey imposed over 200 curfews in its Southeast region to fight PKK militants. This military campaign affected nearly 1.5 million people and resulted in large-scale human rights violations. People under curfews suffered extensively from the violation of their rights to life, rights to work, rights to health, rights to adequate food, and rights to education. They were subject to detentions, torture, unlawful killings, and forced displacement. The areas under curfew suffered from large-scale property destruction, electricity, and water outages (Tens of people killed in Turkish towns under curfew 2015; Turkey 2016; UN Committee against Torture 2016). However, despite the scale, the effects of this counterterrorism campaign on radicalization and terrorism remain under-researched. This study aims to contribute to this line of literature and conduct a survey to assess the impact of Turkey’s 2015-2019 counterterrorism campaign on radical beliefs.
Painting the Mediterranean red: tracing access to a prestige pigment in the Roman world
Hilary Becker - Middle Eastern and Ancient Mediterranean Studies
Racing the trade and control of natural materials over the longue durée is one way to understand the economic and political history of a region. The present study traces the use and exploitation of the pigment cinnabar in the ancient Mediterranean, using the analysis of mercury, sulfur, and lead isotopes to understand from what location archaeological samples of cinnabar (whether raw pigment from a paint pot or a painted fresco) were originally sourced. This study will utilize samples from across the Mediterranean and Europe and from a long period of time in order to see if there are chronological patterns in usage, and whether the patterns of pigment exploitation change once the Roman state no longer controls the mines.
Re-Os Isotope Geochronology of Organic-rich Mudstones: Development of a New Sampling Strategy to Reduce Age Uncertainty
Jeffrey T Pietras – Earth Sciences
Chronostratigraphy allows earth scientists to determine the synchronicity of geologic events and the rate at which they occur. It is a fundamental tool when investigating the cause-and-effect relationships of environmental and palaeobiological change. The chronostratigraphic tool kit includes index fossils, stratal boundaries, radiogenic geochronometers, and magnetostratigraphy. Unfortunately, not all rock units contain these common chronostratigraphic markers. This is especially true in many packages of marine and lacustrine mudstone which compose approximately two-thirds of the sedimentary record on Earth. However, tools that rely on temporal changes in the geochemistry of mudstones can provide chronostratigraphic information. One relativity recent advancement is the use of rhenium-osmium geochronology of organic-rich mudstones. Unfortunately, the uncertainty of these ages can be quite large. The proposed study intends to develop a new methodology to optimize sample selection which may greatly reduce uncertainty.
STEM Toolbox and Material Matters Apps: web-based science communication platforms
Gökhan Ersan - Art & Design
Material Matter App is an interactive teaching tool that maps out conceptual relationships between the humanistic and scientific layers of materials. The user can further explore scientific topics by hyperlinking, within the domain of the STEM Toolbox app, and interacting with motion graphics. I will engage in two primary activities with my research. I will compile, sequence, and reformat the existing infographics library for the web. I will also work with a web developer who would implement the user interfaces that I have already developed for the apps. Through this project, I hope to discover suitable ways in which the web platform can enrich STEM communication. Ultimately, the web-based Materials Matter and STEM Toolbox Apps will be high-profile resources —demonstrating the power of infographics in orienting learners with the science foundations; simultaneously providing researchers and teachers with a visual language to communicate their efforts.
Hanabi - A short film about light and sound
Tomonari Nishikawa - Cinema
I will make a short 16mm film about fireworks, which will reveal how the mechanism of the film projector works to project the image and produce the sound from the visual information on the filmstrip.
Is the Large-billed Crow (Corvus macrorhynchos) a single species? Using museum specimens to uncover cryptic species and unique ecologies across its range
Anne B. Clark - Biological Sciences
Crows are known worldwide for their intelligence and adaptation to urban life, but the number and conservation status of species is poorly known. Large-billed Crows (Corvus macrorhynchos) are nominally one species distributed across islands and mainland of Asia--from tropical to sub-arctic habitats and climates. Little studied in the wild, they almost certainly comprise several distinct species. Differences in morphology—size, shape, especially bill shape-- evolve in relation to diet, behavior, and ecology during speciation. We will visit museums with C. macrorhynchos specimens, and use digital photographic methods to record and analyze bills and other morphometric traits across its massive range to infer biogeographic patterns of distinctiveness. We will also establish a shareable image catalog and specimen database to facilitate later genetic analyses. Our first-ever study will be the basis for testing speciation hypotheses and help identify ecologically unique species before extinction.
Request for Support for High-Quality Color Reproduction of Images to Accompany Article: "Peacocks and Rainbows: Visual Spectacle and Allegorical Performance in Albion and Albanius"
Andrew Walkling - Art History
His request is for funds to cover the licensing and high-quality color reproduction of two images I recently discovered in an archive in the UK and about which I have written an article, which will be appearing in a forthcoming volume of scholarly essays memorializing the life of an eminent scholar in late-seventeenth-century British literary studies. The images, showing a spectacular celestial phenomenon observed in the sky above the English Channel in 1684, shed important new light on an extravagant allegorical opera performed in London in June 1685, shortly after the death of King Charles II. The opera’s libretto explains that one of the stage machines used in the performance was based on the drawing of this celestial phenomenon, but until my discovery only a crude nineteenth-century woodcut illustration of the drawing was known to exist.
- 2022 Recipients (Awarded $79,457)
Prenatal methadone effects
Marvin Diaz - Psychology
With the ongoing opioid epidemic, there has been a surge in opioid use during pregnancy resulting in increased number of opioid exposed offspring. Additionally, opioids, such as methadone, are the standard of care for treating opioid use disorder (OUD), including in pregnant women. However, the extent of neuro-behavioral and -biological effects in opioid exposed offspring is not well known. We have developed an animal model of prenatal methadone exposure (PME) and have begun to characterize learning and memory behaviors and neuronal function within the hippocampus, a structure known to regulate learning and memory. Interestingly, we found sex-specific effects, with PME adult females having more learning and memory impairments and alterations in hippocampal neuronal function compared to control females. Conversely, PME adult male offspring showed minor alterations. These findings suggest that opioid exposure, particularly opioids used to treat OUD, can lead to long-term alterations in offspring.
Black Women and Energies of Resistance
Mary Albanese – English, General Literature & Rhetoric
My first book Black Women and Energies of Resistance (currently in production with Cambridge University Press) rethinks familiar narratives of 19th-century modernity. While traditional accounts of modernity have emphasized advancements in communication technologies, animal and fossil fuel extraction, the rise of urban centers and Walt Whitman’s electric body, I propose that women of African descent – including Maria Stewart, Sojourner Truth, Marie Laveau, and Pauline Hopkins - combated these violent regimes through diasporic spiritual beliefs and practices. Drawing from texts in English, Dutch, French, Kreyòl and Spanish, as well as unorthodox methodologies (which includes reading oral histories, Vodou songs, and accounts of performance and religious rite), I expand the archive of hemispheric modernity to include previously neglected Black women. In doing so, Energies of Resistance re-writes the seemingly constrained and gendered local on a global scale.
History of Drug Addiction in Modern France
Elisa Camiscioli – History
This book project recounts the cultural history of drug addiction in twentieth- and twenty-first-century France. It explores the theories of addiction and recovery put forth by physicians, mental health professionals, politicians, and self-appointed experts; the organizations and institutions established to address the problem; as well as the experiences of individual drug users. Focusing on opioids, cannabis, cocaine, and crack, it asks how political and public health regimes have understood addiction at key moments in global French history: the uprisings of the 1960s, the development of social security, immigration from the former colonies, racialized urbanization, and the rise of the security state and far-right populism. It combines a top-down and bottom-up analysis to show how representations of addiction and drug addicts are created by state and non-state actors in medical, legal, and political discourse; and how individuals relay their stories of addiction and recovery.
Surya Parekh – English, General Literature & Rhetoric
Black Enlightenment reads works written by Black authors who become “free” in a society hostile to that freedom. From this perspective, it reimagines the Enlightenment from the position of the Black subject. It reads eighteenth-century Black thinkers, among them texts by Francis Williams (1697-1762), Ignatius Sancho (c. 1729-1780), and Phillis Wheatley (c. 1753-1784), alongside such canonical authors as David Hume and Immanuel Kant. The book places these authors within a geography that includes the Caribbean, West and South Africa, Europe, and South and Southeast Asia and works with texts in English, German, French, Latin, Spanish and Dutch. By looking at this expanded area, this study invites us to imagine Black Enlightenment authors in their complexity, rather than reducing them to figures of assimilation or covert resistance to slavery. Black Enlightenment teases out an imperfectly foreclosed Black subject necessarily contained within the concept metaphor of the European Enlightenment.
Assisted Immigration (AI)
Blazo Kovacevic – Art & Design
Assisted Immigration (AI) represents a continuation of my creative research into the social phenomena related to conflict, migration, and loss of privacy. Unfortunately, this work is relevant today as it was 15 years ago when I first started looking into this issue. In my recent work, I explored emerging Mixed Reality media such as Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality (a project generously supported in 2019 by Harpur College Subvention Award and currently included in the juried prestigious Cornell Biennial 2022 Futurities, Uncertain Local Futurities satellite show at Cherry Gallery, Ithaca, NY; https://cca.cornell.edu/biennial/2022-biennial-artists-announced / and https://artpil.com/news/futurities-uncertain-2022-cornell-biennial/ ). In Assisted Immigration project, I wish to explore new creative artificial intelligence (AI) tools that offer new and unexpected perspectives on image making. Primarily I am interested in DALL-E 2 from OpenAI but also in the more recent and arguably more capable applications, including Midjourney and Stable Diffusion. I wish to create a body of new work using these text-to-image and/or image-to-image tools.
Support for Publisher’s Layout/Production of “Facsimile Edition” of Cupid and Death (1653)
Andrew Walkling - Theatre
Musica Britannica volumes are published by Stainer & Bell, an established British music publisher, but Musica Britannica itself (which is not-for-profit) is responsible for all arrangements and costs of production. If necessary, I can draw from a small amount of departmental funds (possibly $200–300), but support from the Harpur Dean’s Office is crucial to our ambition of producing the Facsimile Edition as a high-quality scholarly resource that will significantly enhance the volume.
Manga Migration to Zanzibar, 1890-1963
Nathaniel Mathews - Africana Studies
During the era of a British protectorate over the sultanate of Zanzibar (1890-1963), thousands of Arabs from the interior of Oman migrated to the two islands in search of economic opportunity. Funding from Harpur will enable me to complete a research project on the social history of these migrants, using data from their 1950s naturalization applications to become nationals of Zanzibar.
Socially Valuable Gossip under the Threat of Retaliation
Ozlem Tonguc - Economics
Gossip may be valuable in environments requiring collective action as it might help decision makers to form beliefs about their others’ cooperation and make decisions accordingly. However, it relies on the persuasion of individuals. Thus, gossip may not be as powerful in fostering cooperation as an objective reputation mechanism. However, recent studies where third-party gossipers can share unverifiable information show that gossiping nevertheless promotes cooperation and trust. These studies justify the presence of gossip as part of our communication. However, a natural extension to these results is to ask whether these positive effects of gossip are robust to situations in which gossipers have future material interests. For example, it might be the case that in some settings, gossipers may have an incentive to misreport or refrain from reporting behavior because the target of the gossip may later retaliate against them. In this project, I plan to study utilizing a laboratory experiment whether the possibility of revenge restricts individuals’ desire to gossip to the extent that it does not achieve any efficiency gains over the environment where gossip is not allowed.
Mormons & Armenians in the Modern Middle East: The Life and Times of Joseph Wilford Booth, Mormon Missionary to the Ottoman Empire (1898-1928)
Kent Schull - History
Based upon LDS Church and Ottoman archives, Mormon-Armenian family histories, and Mormon missionary journals, this book situates the story of these missionaries and their converts within the broader context of Protestant Missionary and Armenian experience in the Middle East during a time of great violence and upheaval. The Mormon experience in the Middle East is best understood through a framework of compounding marginalization where Mormons and their converts were extremely marginalized by the U.S. and Ottoman governments, their Protestant missionary contemporaries, and the broader Ottoman-Armenian population. The intersection of this compounding marginalization provides keen insights into non-Muslim experiences within the Middle East during this tumultuous time of rapid transformation. I propose to use the grant monies to take two short trips to the LDS Archives in Utah and the Ottoman State Archives in Istanbul, Turkey in order to complete my research.
Bacterial degradation and bioaccumulation of poly- and perfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) in landfill leachate and soils
Thomas Kulp - Geological Sciences and Yuxin Wang - Environmental Studies
This proposed study will investigate bacterial populations in landfills and identify strains that are responsible for the breakdown and biodegradation of poly- and perfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) and their environmental precursor compounds. This initial pilot study will focus on elucidating pathways, rates, and mechanisms of bacterial degradation or biosorption of commercially available PFAS and precursor compounds at elevated concentrations in microcosms and enrichment cultures by endogenous bacterial communities obtained from samples of landfill leachate or PFAS-contaminated soils. If successful, additional funding will be requested from external agencies including NSF and EPA to apply the developed methodologies to a broader range of PFAS-impacted environmental settings using in-situ PFAS compounds and concentrations, and to identify functional genes responsible for PFAS degradation in isolated bacteria.
Global Health Impact
Nicole Hassoun - Philosophy
Binghamton University Professor Nicole Hassoun on behalf of the Global Health Impact Project is seeking funding for two publications on global health inequality. The first paper will be published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and evaluates existing data on the need for drugs, their efficacy, and their treatment percentages to estimate the impacts of various regimens on the global burden of several neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). The second paper will be published in the British Medical Journal Global Health and outlines a mechanism for ensuring equitable access to essential health technologies in pandemic times for potential inclusion in a pandemic treaty or instrument currently under negotiation at the World Health Assembly.
Late Romanticism and the End of Politics
John Havard - English, General Literature & Rhetoric
"Late Romanticism and the End of Politics: Byron, Mary Shelley and the Last Men" shows how a circle of influential literary writers in the early nineteenth century used "the end of the world" to imagine political change. The argument has implications for thinking about a period of reform and emancipation, the uprooting of entrenched political elites, and the current climate crisis.
Impact of Adolescent Social Isolation on Oxycodone-Mediated Regulation of Behavior and Neurotransmission
Seden Akcinaroglu - Political Science
We investigate the emerging role of commercial satellites in information revelation (IR) in conflict zones. Ukranian-Russian war is defined as the “first commercial imagery conflict” where satellites serve as the open-source intelligence by providing captured images from war. But more importantly, commercial satellites are likely to be the future of wars which is why studying their impact is important. While it is a fact that leaders tell their own version of war events, we know so little about the conditions under which public chooses to believe and continue to believe false rhetoric. We are interested in finding out if commercial satellite images lead to fact checking, and some means of convergence in public perceptions. Or are perceptions sticky, reinforced continuously against all evidence by leader rhetoric? By conducting an experimental survey about the Ukranian-Russian war on the means and credibility of IR, we seek to shed light on the impact and stickiness of fake news, on the factors that shape public perceptions and the room for learning and information convergence in conflict zones.
The Heart of American Darkness: Empire, Revolution, and Horror in Eighteenth Century Ohio
Robert Parkinson - History
The Heart of American Darkness: Empire, Revolution and Horror in Eighteenth-Century Ohio is under contract for publication from Liveright/Norton, to be published in Spring 2024. It is a study of the causes and consequences of a gruesome attack that took place on April 30, 1774, where nine Indigenous people were ambushed and murdered along the Ohio River. It is a dual biography of the two families (one colonist, one Native) who collided on that spring day; the perpetrators and the victims of the Yellow Creek Massacres were members of two of the most prominent families in North America on the eve of the Revolution. Its main themes are to use this incident and these families as a way to explore the bewilderment of empire on the eve of the American Revolution, but explores the themes of settler colonialism, empire, and violence in America from 1740 through the end of the nineteenth century. It argues that these concepts lie at the very heart of the United States, from its founding until today.
Development and Validation of a Spanish-language Measure of Intimate Partner Violence
Matthew Johnson - Psychology
Intimate partner violence (IPV) has been notoriously difficult to assess. Last year, we collected data that allowed an Item Response Theory (IRT) model to develop a valid measure of IPV. The aim of the new proposed study is to use test whether the Spanish translation of this measure is equivalent in its factor structure and validity. To do this we will collect data from a large group of Spanish-speaking participants and compare them to a large group of English-speaking participants. Once tested, I will apply for funding from the U.S. Department of Justice to validate the measure in other ways, including with at-risk populations. At that point, the publicly available measure will allow practitioners to assess cases of IPV in Spanish or English.
Protective Policy Index, a Global dataset of origins and stringency of COVID 19 mitigation policies
Olga Shvetsova - Political Science
We have developed and made accessible for the multidisciplinary audience a unique global dataset of the behavior of political actors during the COVID-19 pandemic as measured by their policy-making efforts to protect their publics. The dataset presents consistently coded cross-national data at subnational and national levels on the daily level of stringency of public health policies, overall and within specific policy categories. The data on these public mandates of protective behaviors is collected from media announcements and government publications. The dataset allows comparisons of policy efforts and timing across the world and can serve as a source of information on policy determinants of pandemic outcomes, both medical and societal.
Boccaccio and Exemplary Literature: Ethics and Mischief in the Decameron
Olivia Holmes – Medieval & Renaissance Studies
This book places Giovanni Boccaccio’s 14th-century story-collection in the context of the wide array of didactic narrative traditions that his tales are largely based on and frequently parody, including such sources as Aesopic fables, medieval compilations of sermon-stories and saints’ lives, framed narrative collections of Islamicate origin, and classical compilations of historical anecdotes. In Boccaccio’s revisions, the inherited stories suggest very different ethical paradigms (more skeptical, more tolerant of natural impulses) than in earlier contexts. I examine Boccaccio’s texts in relation to both pre-modern notions of literary exemplarity and recent critical claims about narrative’s ability to promote empathy and emotional intelligence. Boccaccio asserts in the Decameron’s Preface that his tales provide readers with useful advice by showing the consequences of human behavior, but the very plethora of variant teachings and outcomes that he proposes undermines the assumption that a specific narrative lesson can ever be universally applied.
Digital Codicology: Medieval Books and Modern Labor
Bridget Ruth Whearty – English, General Literature & Rhetoric
In Digital Codicology I argue that the rules of book history and codicology (the study of manuscripts as physical objects) do not end (or even change very radically) when a medieval book is copied into a digital form. Thus, we can—and I contend, we must—extend the same familiar modes of inquiry in order to understand digitized copies of medieval and early modern books as complex objects in their own rights. On the one hand, we must continue to ask where and when a particular physical manuscript was first copied (for example, c. 1480, in London). At the same time, we must also more rigorously historicize digitized manuscripts in the moments of their own creation: a digital facsimile made in Berkeley, CA in 1998 is a very different object than one made in London in 2017. We must understand how medieval manuscripts were made, but we must also understand how they have been reproduced across media—from the rise of print in the later 15th century, to the rise of photography in the mid 19th century, to the rise of the internet in the later 20th century and beyond. Digital Codicology does this work, connecting medieval manuscripts to their much longer copying history in order to more rigorously understand the past, present, and future of medieval books (and of digital humanities cultural heritage more broadly).
Passionate Peace: Emotions and Religious Coexistence in Early-Modern Germany
Sean Dunwoody – History
In the German city of Augsburg in the sixteenth century, Protestants and Catholics lived side-by-side in peace, at a moment in European history that witnessed large-scale and widespread religious violence elsewhere. In my book, I use the case study of this community to demonstrate how emotional practices—a novel conceptual framework recently crafted out of conversations in History, constructivist Sociology, and cognitive Psychology— were central to Augsburg’s religious coexistence. Rather than focusing on ideas or norms, my project shows how emotions—religious, civic, and social; and framed within the various spaces of this community—were central to the ways in which Augsburgers thought about themselves. By examining changes over time in the relative salience of different emotional practices I show that emotions are the keystone to understanding what fostered and what undermined peaceful coexistence in a religiously mixed community.
Identifying the microbial communities of Neotropical lizards and their potential adaptive functions
Laura C. Cook and Lindsay Swierk – Biological Sciences
Microbes play a vital role in the health of ecosystems and the survival of individual species. Despite their importance, the microbial communities of some taxa are severely underexplored despite intriguing potential host-microbe relationships, like fungal disease prevention or other beneficial adaptations. The skin (cutaneous) microbial communities of reptiles are almost entirely unexplored, with the exception of a single published study that suggests that reptilian microbial communities are much more diverse than those of their co-occurring amphibian species. We propose a study to explore cutaneous microbial diversity in Costa Rican lizard species, with special emphasis on a semi-aquatic lizard (Anolis aquaticus) that we hypothesize may use its cutaneous microbial communities to aid in underwater respiration. A combination of metagenomics and 16s rRNA sequencing will allow us to examine the community on organismal and genetic levels.
German Conquistadors in Venezuela: The Welsers’ Colony, Racialized Capitalism, and Cultural Memory
Giovanna Montenegro - Comparative Literature
This book investigates one of the strangest episodes in the conquest and colonization of the Americas––the governance of the Province of Venezuela by German bankers, the Welsers, in the sixteenth century. It also recovers the production of this episode’s cultural memory on the German and Venezuelan sides in subsequent centuries. I argue that in the sixteenth century, amidst nascent European-centered globality that saw the demand for world commodities by an increasing number of European consumers, German, Genoese, and Flemish merchant capitalists provided needed capital to European monarchs to embark on the colonization of the New World. In the case of the Welser Company, the German bankers would lend money to Hapsburg Emperor Charles V (who was also King Charles I of Spain) and soon after received certain privileges that gave them a free pass for many commercial ventures, including the production and trade of commodities such as sugar in Madeira, La Palma (Canary Islands), and Hispaniola; the exportation of illicit New World drugs such as balsam; the trafficking of humans in the Atlantic slave trade; and the conquest of indigenous peoples in the Province of Venezuela.
Towards an understanding of the Kuroshio Current Extension during warm climates of our past and future
Molly Patterson - Geological Sciences
By 2100, projected atmospheric CO2 concentrations will range from 430 to >1000 parts per million in the atmosphere. Over the past decades, western boundary currents have been warming at a rate of 2–3 times faster than the rest of the ocean. These systems are vastly understudied regions of the world ocean, and have huge potential to influence weather and climate patterns. This proposal will use sediments from Ocean Drilling Program Site 1207, drilled on the northern edge of the Kuroshio Current Extension, to create a robust age model from 3.4–2.9 million years ago, the last time in Earth’s history when atmospheric CO2 concentrations were above 400 ppm. These new geochemical data are imperative to infer the timing of change in the current related to warming, and will provide a basis for future studies using different proxies.
Mapping Musical Aspiration in Jim-Crow Houston
Paul Schleuse - Music
This book-length project will be the first study of the Coleridge-Taylor Choral Club, a Black community chorus that thrived in Houston, Texas in the 1920s and 30s. Its founder, C.F. Richardson, was the publisher of The Houston Informer and other important Black newspapers, a leader of the Houston NAACP and the National Negro Business League, and an outspoken activist against the KKK and the white primary in Texas. The book will track the people, institutions, and venues associated with the Choral Club across Houston’s segregated neighborhoods, including its annual festivals at the City Auditorium. This concert hall was also home to the all-white Houston Symphony, which will provide a contrasting example of musical activity in the fast-growing city. Richardson’s enthusiastic promotion of the Choral Club in his Houston Informer columns resonates with contemporary Black theories of racial uplift associated with W. E. B. DuBois and the “New Negro” writers of the Harlem Renaissance.
Politics of Good and Evil: Conspiracy Theories’ Role in Democratic Erosion
Ekrem Karakoc - Political Science
Conspiracy theories have always been widespread - secret societies ruling the world, potential alien invasions, or suspicious assassinations of political figures, - and until recently, those who entertained such beliefs had widely divergent political ideologies. But what happens when rival politicians use popular conspiracy theories against each other, or citizens rely on these ideas to inform their political decisions? How do such claims impact people’s understanding of democratic politics? What does this conspiracist challenge mean for the future of democracies? This project explores the consequences of conspiracy beliefs, emphasizing a recent wave of partisan conspiracy theories from Turkey and the U.S.A. - two significantly different countries with surprising resemblances. Having identified what major conspiracy theories in both countries, this project, then traces when conspiracy theories become relevant and influential in mainstream politics either as divisive and destructive to democracy or unifying and helpful to democratic forces.
Subsurface Mapping with Ground Penetrating Radar
Jeff Pietras - Geological Sciences
Ground penetrating radar is a geophysical tool used to image features in the subsurface or within human-made construction. The Department of Geological Sciences and Environmental Studies has a modern suite of GPR equipment used for environmental, geological, and archeological studies. While this equipment is used for a broad range of topics with the ability to resolve centimeter-scale features in the first meter of the subsurface and larger features several meters into the subsurface, the ability to map geologic features deeper than 5 to 10 meters is restricted due to the lack of very low-frequency antennas. One application that would benefit from a deeper depth of penetration is mapping the thickness of sediments (top of bedrock) on land and in lakes. Bedrock mapping is useful for hydrological studies and to understand ancient river or glacial systems among other topics. Lacustrine sediments commonly contain paleoclimate records, and determining their thickness is crucial prior to coring. Funding for this project will be used to purchase a set of 50MHz antennas that will be used to map bedrock and sediment thicknesses at Green Lake in Fayetteville, NY.
Around the Dead Sea
Shay Rabineau - Judaic Studies
In all of recorded history, only one group of people is known to have walked all the way around the Dead Sea. In 1934, nine Jewish teenagers from British Mandate Palestine circled the world’s lowest body of water during a grueling two-week trek, and wrote a book about it. Shortly afterward, outbreaks of violence turned the area around the Jordan River and the Dead Sea into a militarized border zone. Treasure hunters scoured nearby caves for scrolls and artifacts of enormous monetary and political value. Israeli and Jordanian exploitation of the area’s water and mineral resources drained the sea and rendered its southern basin an industrial wasteland. In Fall 2022, I plan to undertake the second-ever circumambulation of the Dead Sea. The expedition will be the basis of a book that examines the origins of one of the world’s worst environmental crises, encounters the human communities affected by it, and explores the political paralysis that has forestalled practical solutions.
Capitalist Outsiders: Oil Politics in Mexico and Venezuela 1938-2000
Leslie C. Gates - Sociology
Before Trump, there was Vicente Fox: Mexico’s capitalist outsider. Sporting a cowboy hat, this swaggering former Coca-Cola executive rode a wave of anti-establishment sentiment to his nation’s presidency in 2000, much as Trump did in 2016. The trend is not only vexing; it is also perplexing. Just two years before Mexicans elected Fox, Venezuelans shunted their Fox-like capitalist outsider and elected Hugo Chávez. Similar to Fox, Chávez was an outsider to the political establishment. In stark contrast to Fox, however, Chávez was a former lieutenant colonel who railed against the capitalists privileged by neoliberalism. Why do political outsiders like Fox, who are tight with capitalists, win despite circumstances seemingly propitious for anti-capitalist outsiders like Chávez? This book demonstrates how capitalists, capitalism, and their history so often empower pro-capitalist, over anti-capitalist, outsiders with two instances of divergent outsider politics in Mexico and Venezuela: in the neoliberal era and mid-20th century.
Impact of Adolescent Social Isolation on Oxycodone-Mediated Regulation of Behavior and Neurotransmission
Anushree N Karkhanis - Psychology
Opioid epidemic was already on high rise at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic-related mandate on social isolation has synergistically heightened the opioid epidemic, with increased cases of overdoses. Unfortunately, we do not have an FDA-approved treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD) that is effective in all individuals. This is partially the result of a gap in our understanding of neural mechanisms that promote the development of OUD. This project uses a translational rat model of addiction vulnerability in which rats are housed in social isolation throughout adolescence to first identify the impact of social isolation on oxycodone consumption. Then the same model will be used to assess dopamine transmission in one of the reward and emotion processing centers of the brain, the ventral pallidum. Finally, we will identify the locus of opioid receptors on different neuron populations in the ventral pallidum to understand how opioids modulate neural activity.
- 2021 Recipients (Awarded $42,784)
Endless Intervals: Cinema, Psychology, and Semiotechnics around 1900
Jeffrey West Kirkwood - Art History
My monograph, under contract with MIT Press and the University of Minnesota Press, is entitled Endless Intervals: Cinema, Psychology, and Semiotechnics around 1900. It reframes early cinema—traditionally viewed as the exemplary medium of modernism—as a key technical and theoretical foundation for the digital age. I argue that cinematic technologies were not only instrumental in understanding the human psyche as a machine defined by series of discrete operations, but that they also showed how such operations could be assembled to form continuities of thought, imagination, and meaning. This is what I refer to as “semiotechnics,” which bridges between nineteenth-century machine theories to the semiotic theories of the information era. What early cinema offers is thus a groundwork for cybernetics, contemporary neural nets, and a path from pure binary to artificial intelligence. The resulting theory the book pursues introduces an information-age understanding of early cinematic technologies, arguing that cinema evolved to regulate intervals and create an entirely new model of the psyche—a model that was at once mechanical and semiotic, physiological and psychological.
The Many Pasts and Futures of Guiana and El Dorado: Colonial Fantasies and Environmental Resistance
Giovanna Montenegro – Comparative Literature
Many Pasts and Futures of Guiana and El Dorado explores how the multi-national region of Guiana (Guyana, Venezuela, Brazil, Suriname, and French Guyana) has been and continues to be represented as a utopia of unguarded natural resources since European contact. The El Dorado legend, steeped in fantasy––including treasures of gold guarded by Amazons within the shifting waterscape of Lake Parima— has shaped how Guiana has been read as territory open to penetration and extractive practices since the sixteenth century. The book essentially aims to revise not only how Guiana’s environment has been read and mapped, but also how indigenous and enslaved labor forces have resisted colonial and neocolonial environmental practices. It also will tell the story of the region’s recent indigenous resistance and environmental victories against loggers and miners.
Cleaning chemicals from the environment utilizing mycoremediation: the capacity of six species of fungi to intercept perfluorooctanoic acid
George Meindl – Environmental Sciences
Toxic contamination of our water, soil, and air has been increasingly documented over the past few decades by chemicals such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which is found in fluoropolymers present in non-stick pan coatings and stain resistant fabrics in clothing and rugs. It is pervasive in the environment and resists degradation, which has led to its presence in low levels within human blood worldwide. However, to date no research has identified biological means for complete removal or degradation of PFOA from the environment. This project seeks to determine the capacity of six different species of fungi to intercept environmentally-relevant concentrations of PFOA. Towards this goal, we will expose fungi mycelium to PFOA solutions at three concentrations for 28 days. We will assess the interception capacity of the fungi species by measuring the amount of PFOA contained in the fruiting body, mycelium, and solution. This research will contribute to protecting the health of humans and organisms via affordable and non-invasive bioremediation efforts which aim to remove harmful PFOA from the environment.
Caribbean Gore: Capitalism, Crime, and Community in Contemporary Puerto Rican and Dominican Literature and Film
Sandra M. Casanova-Vizcaíno – Romance Languages & Literature
My book manuscript Caribbean Gore: Capitalism, Crime, and Community in Contemporary Puerto Rican and Dominican Literature and Film analyzes 21st century narratives about “bichotes” (drug lords), “gatilleros” (hitmen), smugglers, and thieves. These stories are primarily about drug and human trafficking, sex work, crime, and gang and state-sponsored violence, but they are also stories about love, survival, and the construction (and sometimes violent destruction) of identities, familial ties, and friendships. I explore how these stories reconfigure Caribbean society and geography by demonstrating how key concepts, such as national borders, identity, heteronormativity, kinship, and community construct the region as a space that both experiences and reproduces violence, and that is constantly redefining the ways in which its inhabitants come together to care for each other. By looking at the ways in which these texts and films create new worlds that come into dialogue with our own lived experiences and perceived worlds, my book proposes the creation of a new narrative canon as well as the creation of new epistemologies that redefine these two Caribbean nations from within.
Luchino Visconti and the Alchemy of Adaptation
Brendan Hennessey – Romance Languages & Literature
My book, Luchino Visconti and the Alchemy of Adaptation, is under contract with SUNY Press and will be published within the next year. The book examines the cinema of Italian director Luchino Visconti (1906-1976). Visconti is among Italy's greatest 20th century directors, regarded as one of the forefathers of Italian cinema as it developed after WWII. Specifically, I focus on those Visconti films based on books. Of the eighteen movies he directed between 1942 and 1976, twelve were literary adaptations. Alongside such figures as Alfred Hitchcock, John Huston, and Stanley Kubrick, Visconti’s legacy will be forever entwined with the cinematic transformation of literature. Yet, more than forty years since his death and through a voluminous scholarship dedicated to his cinema, there is no concentrated study that moves beyond one or a few individual adaptations. The absence of such a unifying monograph is revealing. It is embedded in the contradictions of the artist himself, but also in the thorny question of adaptation that his films disclosed.
Verification of methane emissions from orphaned oil and gas wells in New York State.
Timothy S. de Smet - Geological Sciences and Environmental Sciences
Methane-emitting oil and gas wells present a significant environmental concern and an impediment to economic development in regions of the US where such wells have been drilled prior to the introduction of regulations detailing their location and condition. The problem is particularly pronounced in New York State, which was the locus of some of the earliest hydrocarbon exploration and production activity in the 19th century; recent estimates suggest that there are as many as 35,000 oil and gas wells orphaned across the state. In a recent study, our research group demonstrated that magnetic anomalies associated with the metal casing of abandoned oil and gas wells are detectable in UAV aeromagnetic surveys collected at an altitude slightly above the regional tree line. We are seeking support to verify the location and condition of wells initially detected in the aeromagnetic survey, their level of methane emission, and priority as for environmental mitigation efforts in New York.
Capitalist Outsiders: Oil Politics in Mexico and Venezuela
Leslie Gates - Sociology
Before Trump, there was Vicente Fox: Mexico’s capitalist outsider. Sporting a cowboy hat, this swaggering former Coca-Cola executive rode a wave of anti-establishment sentiment to his nation’s presidency in 2000, much as Trump did in 2016. The trend is not only vexing; it is also perplexing. Just two years before Mexicans elected Fox, Venezuelans shunted their Fox-like capitalist outsider and elected Hugo Chávez. Similar to Fox, Chávez was an outsider to the political establishment. In stark contrast to Fox, however, Chávez was a former lieutenant colonel who railed against the capitalists privileged by neoliberalism. Why do political outsiders like Fox, who are tight with capitalists, win despite circumstances seemingly propitious for anti-capitalist outsiders like Chávez? My book demonstrates how capitalists, capitalism and their history so often empower pro-capitalist, over anti-capitalist, outsiders with two instances of divergent outsider politics in Mexico and Venezuela: in the neoliberal era and mid-20th century.
New Methodology for the Study of Early Modern Government Maps: Computer-Based Analysis of the Venetian Republic’s Map Collection (the First GIS)
Karen-edis Barzman - Art History
This pilot project introduces computer-based analysis to assess the earliest geographic information system (GIS). This system was assembled by the republic of Venice, the first state to collect comprehensive geographic data about its territories, then store and transmit the data via images (rather than written description, as was typical.) Adapting certain features of landscape painting, the maps otherwise departed from contemporary art and cartography with their precision in representing distances and relative location in unobstructed “bird’s eye” views. Harpur funding will permit acquisition of high-resolution scans of selected maps and collaboration with BU’s Geophysics and Remote Sensing Lab. The purpose is to digitally cross-reference the maps with modern maps and what is still on the ground, generate elevation models, and establish sightlines and possible viewpoints for the mapmakers, to assess the maps’ accuracy and the practices behind their production.
- 2020 Recipients (Awarded $38,034)
Olga Shvetsova - Political Science
Project Title: Hazards of Federalism in COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in the traumatic and uncertain phase of its initial global onset, has created new patterns of political accountability. Specifically, deaths not prevented, have become a new factor in the political incumbents’ calculus of survival in office. In comparison to unitary states, federations offer political incumbents a different range of constituent incentives, and the accountability patterns in federations, furthermore, vary across levels of government. In this essay we show how the emphasis on the new, deaths not prevented, aspect of political accountability, has affected policy making in federations. We propose a formal model which argues that subnational governments have relatively stronger incentives to institute protective public health policies, with the implication that in countries, where subnational policy authority is more extensive, higher level of public health policy protection would be available to the population. We then use the data from the COVID-19 Public Health Protective Policy Index Project (Covid-19 PPI) to draw comparisons in support of the predictions of the model.
Jessica Hua – Biological Science
Project Title: Developing Personalized Management Plans for Diverse Environmental Issues
The highly context-dependent nature of environmental issues is a major hurdle for developing effective conservation and management solutions. Similar to the “Personalized Medicine” concept where medical treatment is tailored to individual characteristics of each patient, this proposal seeks to develop best practices for generating “Personalized Environmental Management Plans.” While tailoring management plans to an individual stakeholders’ specific property can lead to more effective efforts, increased time investment is an important criticism to address. Thus, the goal of this proposal is to implement and refine a newly developed three-phase protocol for generating Personalized Management Plans. By working with local stakeholders, this award will also strengthen the relationship between lifelong environmental stewards and graduate students which is paramount to the development of future engaged scientists. Finally, funding will allow graduate students to integrate a high-quality and interdisciplinary field component into their thesis research, providing invaluable flexibility for students working in the face of COVID-19 lab-space constraints.
Sabina Perrino – Anthropology
Project Title: Narrating Ideologies in Northern Italian Barzellette
In this project, I will finalize the data collection for my second single-authored academic book, entitled "Narrating Ideologies in Northern Italian Barzellette." This book centers on the specific and powerful performativity of Italian barzellette, or ‘short funny stories’, as they are enacted in various and varied northern Italian regional settings and across different types of speech events. Stemming from an old, and well established, literary genre, barzellette have been part of Italians’ daily discursive practices for many centuries. Today, barzellette tellers help aliment sociocultural, political, and racialized ideologies in contemporary Italian society and beyond, given the transnational reach of these jokes in the digital realm as well. While barzellette are known for their performative, interactional dynamic, their digital presence has indeed increased tremendously in recent times, especially during the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic.
Colin Lyons – Art and Design
Project Title: The Laboratory of Everlasting Solutions
A Harpur Faculty Research Grant will provide essential seed funding for developing an ambitious art installation titled The Laboratory of Everlasting Solutions, that will be presented at Unison Arts Center (New Paltz, NY) in 2021, and l'Œil de Poisson (Québec City, QC) in 2022. The Laboratory of Everlasting Solutions is a printmaking-based installation that proposes speculative climate prototypes which borrow from practical alchemy and contemporary geoengineering models. The installation will be powered by an experimental rooftop battery fueled by etching plates and acids, and much of the base material will be drawn from regional brownfields, mine tailings and industrial ruins. Its intricately etched sheathing will utilize alchemical symbolism to provide a map for the proposals held within; weaving together historic and speculative narratives ranging from proposed geo-engineering trials to desalinate and re-freeze arctic waters, phytoremediation via invasive plant species, and ocean fertilization using dissolved industrial artifacts.
Mark F. Lenzenweger – Psychology
Project Title: Psychometric Development of a Measure of Fearless Resourceful Resilience
The current proposal seeks support for a validation study of a new psychological measure that will be useful in the selection and assessment of personnel that work in high-intensity, high-stress environments such as work in first-responder contexts, operational contexts (e.g., law enforcement, intelligence community, special operations), and other emergency services. The proposed measure, which has already gone through basic development, is now ready for a trial in a national adult sample drawn from the community. Such a trial would allow for mathematical evaluation of the technical properties of the measure, a crucial step in the development of any high-quality psychological measure. The measure has 147 questions that to tap three central psychological factors: fearlessness, resourcefulness, and resilience. The current version of the measure will be administered along with other measures to evaluate its validity. This novel measure includes all three domains in a compact instrument.
Marvin Diaz - Psychology
Project Title: Long-term effects of prenatal methadone exposure on anxiety
The recent opioid epidemic has resulted in a multitude of issues worldwide, including increased use of opiates during pregnancy. In particular, methadone, an opioid agonist, is commonly used to treat opioid addiction in pregnant women. However, little is known about the long-term consequences of prenatal methadone exposure (PME) in offspring. Human and animal studies have identified alterations in emotional processing (i.e. anxiety) in offspring exposed to opiates in utero. However, the mechanisms underlying these behavioral alterations remain unknown. We have developed a highly translational model of PME that produces alterations in neural function and dopamine receptor gene expression in the basolateral amygdala, a brain structure associated with emotional processing. The objective of this proposal is to assess alterations in anxiety-like behaviors in PME offspring and to determine if dopamine levels are affected within the basolateral amygdala following PME. Successful completion of this study will provide us with sufficient and essential preliminary data necessary to develop a competitive R01 grant application through the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Olga Shvetsova - Political Science
Project Title: Traditional Authority in the Native Nations in the United States
I will research interactions between indigenous authorities of Native American Nations with constitutionally defined governmental authorities in the US. I will visit Native American studies research institutions and do on-site work at the locations of the governance bodies of Native Nations. At this stage, I plan to visit only the governance locations within the State of New York. This project continues my research program of studying the balancing of legitimacy between indigenous and modern constitutional governance structures. This work has been previously conducted in African (JMAS 2019) and global comparative (“Bargaining . . .” with Carol Mershon) contexts. The queries are the following. Where do the competing sovereignties of Native Nations and American government stand in terms of their perceived legitimacy by the Nations? How do these competing sovereignties affect decisions of incumbents across governing structures? How do political shifts in Native Nations affect their standing with constitutional actors? My goal is to account for the ebb and flow of exercised sovereignty as affected by the political processes inside and outside of the Native Nations.
Guifang Fu - Mathematical Sciences and Statistics
Project Title: Integrating functional data analysis with the newest machine learning skills
Advances in next-generation data collection technologies require concomitant advances in data science methodology. Prevailing functional data analysis approaches either focus on modeling time-varying dynamic trends for curves or perform poorly for high dimensionality. The overarching objective of the proposed research is to develop innovative methodologies to detect important associations between a high-dimensional curve response and a high dimensional set of predictors, while accurately capturing complex structures such as nonlinear or high-order interactions. The proposed methodologies will be applied to a wide range of disciplines, which not only produce testbeds but also expand its scope. Successful completion of this proposed research will expand on traditional statistical approaches for functional/curve data to a new level by utilizing the newest machine learning skills, providing ground-breaking methodological support for data science, and ensuring that data analytical strategies keep pace with high-end technologies that generate datasets, while boosting the progress of multidisciplinary collaborations.
Matthew Wolf-Meyer - Anthropology
Project Title: Unraveling: Remaking Personhood in a Neurodiverse Age
My in-press book, Unraveling: Remaking Personhood in a Neurodiverse Age (UMN Press, 2020), develops a cybernetic theory of subjectivity that shows how subjectivity is produced processually through complex human-environment interactions which rely on symbolic, material, and physiological capacities and their social facilitations. The book describes fieldwork with neuroscientists, psychiatrists, educators, and support groups, and analyzes memoirs and scientific monographs. At the book’s heart are a series of profiles of families, each of whom has a member diagnosed with a biologized “neurological disorder.” Analyzing how these families facilitate the inclusion of and communication with their disabled family member, I show how dominant models of subjectivity rely on neurological reductivism, symbolic anthropocentrism, and narrow materialism, and thereby exclude both specific individuals and whole categories of neurological difference from full personhood. One of the key causes of these exclusions is the belief that communication— and language especially—is central to human claims to personhood and subjectivity and based in a biological predisposition in humans as a species and its absence is widely accepted as disabling. By focusing on the lives of families with disabled members and situating their experiences in a capacious cybernetic framework that extends Gregory Bateson’s work, I argue that an integrative approach that draws on material experience, embodied interactions, and diverse forms of communication helps to overcome these biases in conceptualizing subjectivity and personhood as based in an exclusionary model of human biology.
Robert Parkinson - History
Project Title: Thirteen Clocks: How Race Made America Independent
The book Thirteen Clocks: How Race Made America Independent is an abridgement of sorts of my prize-winning book published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2016, The Common Cause: Creating Race and Nation in the American Revolution. That book won two national prizes, the James A. Rawley Prize for the best book on U.S. race relations given by the Organization of American Historians, and the History Division Book Award for the best book on journalism and mass communication by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC). It earned rave reviews in the New York Review of Books, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal (starred), William & Mary Quarterly, CHOICE, Reviews in American History, Journal of American History, American Historical Review, English Historical Review, American Quarterly, among others.
Meg Leja - History
Project Title: Embodying the Soul: Medicine and Religion in Carolingian Europe
The work for which I am requesting funding is my book manuscript, Embodying the Soul: Medicine and Religion in Carolingian Europe, under contract to be published with the University of Pennsylvania Press in their Middle Ages Series. This monograph has been the focus of my research activities since I started employment at Binghamton in 2015, and it is the culmination of work that began during my doctoral dissertation. My research has thus far been supported by the Princeton Center for the Study of Religion, the Mellon Foundation, Binghamton’s own Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, and a Harpur Dean’s Research Semester. These sources of funding have enabled me to undertake significant amounts of new archival research for the book project, examining manuscripts held in libraries across Europe. The book is consequently not simply a revision of my dissertation; it has been entirely re-written, with a different structure and several original chapters.
David Bisaha - Theatre
Project Title: American Scenic Design and Freelance Professionalism
American Scenic Design and Freelance Professionalism rewrites the history of scenic design by calling attention to a less-examined area of its practice – the establishment of the profession itself. In the interwar period, American scenic designers raised the relative status of their careers by dissociating their labor from earlier generations of scenic artists and establishing a professional identity consciously aligned with the white-collar professions of architecture, medicine, and law. This new identity embraced freelance, contract labor and defined the way the scenic design field is known today: as a form of creative artistry, a professional discipline, a component of university study, and a key element of American performance culture. Simply put, American Scenic Design and Freelance Professionalism is a cultural labor history that explains why American scenic designers work the way that they do.
Jeanette Patterson - Romance Languages and Literature
Project Title: Making the Bible French: the Bible historiale and the Medieval Lay Reader
My monograph is about how Guyart des Moulins’s 1295 Bible translation “makes the Bible French” for a general target readership of French-literate lay aristocrats, as well as how its large and varied manuscript tradition adapts it to the personalized circumstances of individual intended readers. Vernacular readers’ reasons for reading the Bible, their ways of reading (or listening to) it and their capacity for interpreting it in a manner congruent with established orthodoxy would all have differed from those of the biblical scholars and clergy who would have read it in Latin, using Jerome’s Vulgate translation. Making the Bible French meant not only translating its language but also enacting a cultural translation for medieval French-speaking lay aristocrats. It meant making biblical narrative intelligible to lay readers who lacked advanced education in theology; making it enjoyable to avid consumers of courtly French literature; and helping those readers apply biblical lessons to the practice of their faith and to their wider social and political lives. To achieve these goals, the translator constructs a fictional dialogue with readers to answer anticipated questions, assuage their doubts and fill in narrative gaps: “Did insects bite before the Fall?” “How did Eve convince Adam to eat the forbidden fruit?” “How did the animals on Noah’s Ark not kill each other?” “Where is Noah’s Ark now?” Meanwhile, as was typical of hand-copied books in an age before print, manuscript compilers, scribes, and artists adapt each copy’s contents to the needs of individual readers as well as large- scale trends of the time: adding, removing or updating units of translated text or glossing programs, adding treatises, acrostic prayers and localized litanies of saints, tailoring illustration programs to reflect current events or a particular recipient’s self-image, and in a few cases, even marking verses deemed important for a specific intended reader. Each hand-copied and hand-illustrated copy asks and answers anew: what is the Bible, and what should it do for its reader?
Robyn Cope - Romance Languages and Literature
Project Title: The Pen and the Pan: Food, Fiction and Homegrown Caribbean Feminism(s)
The Pen and the Pan: Food, Fiction and Homegrown Caribbean Feminism(s), my comparative study of a cross-section of works drawn from the past quarter-century of Francophone and Anglophone Caribbean culinary fiction, brings something new to the table. The Pen and the Pan is the first comparative study of food imagery in Caribbean women’s writing across linguistic, racial, ethnic and sexual orientation lines. It examines fiction by Guadeloupeans Maryse Condé and Gisèle Pineau, Haitian Edwidge Danticat, and Trinidadians Lakshmi Persaud and Shani Mootoo. I read food imagery in these Caribbean women’s writing not only for what it can teach us about the colonizer-colonized binary, but also in order to gain insight into power dynamics within the Caribbean itself—between generations, ethnic and racial groups, religious and political affiliations, social classes and sexual identities, and most especially between women. In this way, my reading showcases Caribbean women writers’ gendered perspective on past and present intra-Caribbean relationships, symbolized by interactions in the kitchen and at the table, and on future possibilities for coalition-building, figured by the central trope of the shared meal.
- 2019 Recipients (Awarded $86,680)
Seden Akcinaroglu, Associate Professor of Political Science
Project Title: Strategic Use of Social Media by Non-State Armed Actors
As a result of this grant, we applied for the Cite-Data Experimental Omnibus Grant. If we receive the grant, it will allow us to conduct a conjoint experiment that will further examine the impact of various communication strategies on social media. In addition, a student has been gathering data on terror group websites and is creating a dataset and we have agreed with a survey company in Turkey to conduct a national survey (14,000 people) on the project.
Timothy de Smet, Environmental Visualization, Research Assistant Professor
Alex Nikulin, Assistant Professor of Geological Sciences and Environmental Studies
Project Title: Drone-based Thermal Infrared Detection of Plastic Antipersonnel Landmines
Currently the research has resulted in three peer-reviewed publications. The project also recently won Create the Future 2018 Award in the Aerospace & Defense Category beating NASA teams.
Hans Gindlesberger, Associate Professor of Art and Design
Project Title: Imaging the Form of Photography
Working on making prototypes for the project and pursuing grants to support this work from the NY Foundation for the Arts and Creative Capital.
Bryan Kirschen, Assistant Professor of Romance Languages, Literatures, & Linguistics
Project Title: Documenting Judeo-Spanish (Ladino)
In the process of collecting, scanning, transcribing, translating and uploading materials written in Judeo-Spanish in Solitreo, which will constitute the core of the archive.
Andy Merriwether, Professor and Chair of Anthropology
Project Title: The Cost of Education: The impacts of psychosocial stress on health through epigenetics as seen in college undergraduates
He has 100 participants enrolled in the study and the team is collecting survey data for statistical analysis. DNA extractions are expected to be completed this semester.
Diane Miller Sommerville, Professor of History
Project Title: Motherhood and Madness in the American South
Undertook research in Richmond, Virginia, at the state records annex and the main Library of Virginia focusing on “lunacy papers” and asylum records.
Elizabeth Mozer, Associate Professor of Theater
Project Title: Natural Causes - a new play
Conducting meetings and interviews on the west and east coasts with individuals engaging in the embodied acts of civil disobedience. These meetings and interviews are the creative sources and fuel for the new play.
Plamen Nikolov, Assistant Professor of Economics
Project Title: Immigration and Labor Market Outcomes in the E.U.
In the process of collecting data and conducting analyses, as well as integrating undergraduates into the project.
Jeff Pietras, Associate Professor of Geology Sciences & Environmental Studies
Tim Lowenstein, Distinguished Professor of Geology Sciences & Environmental Studies
Project Title: Mapping Environmental Conditions and Deposits in Modern Saline Lakes
This grant opened up opportunities for additional funding from startups and FRI to purchase a very complete piece of kit which is now on campus. Jeff Pietras is in talks with aquatics to get it in the pool. Field work in NY is planned for better weather, field work in Utah is scheduled for the second week of June, and the first external grant is being written for a March 15 deadline.
Benita Roth, Professor of Sociology
Project Title: Fighting the opioid epidemic in Upstate New York: marginalized voices, activism, and community
She has hired graduate student researchers to begin data collection from Broome, Tioga, and Tompkins counties for comparison of the politics of the opioid crisis in Central New York.
Pam Smart, Associate Professor of Art History and Anthropology
Project Title: The Technical Production of Affect: Restoring the Rothko Chapel
Conducting field work at Rothko Chapel in Houston, which has expanded the project into a new book for broad readership.
Katherine Wander, Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Project Title: Trade-offs in Milk Immunity
Data collection is in process, and this semester they will complete the analyses of milk specimens, with the plan to present preliminary results at conferences in the spring.
Xiangjin Xu, Associate Professor of Mathematical Sciences
Project Title: Some problems on Geometric PDEs and Harmonic Analysis on Manifolds
Completed a research trip to China over winter break that included a visit to Shanghai Center for Mathematical Sciences and Fudan University, Shanghai, China. In addition, I attended and gave an invited talk on workshop on “Harmonic Analysis and Applications” at Tsinghua Sanya International Mathematics Forum (TSIMF), Sanya, Hainan, China, and completed one paper.
Chuan-Jian Zhong, Professor of Chemistry
Project Title: Demonstrating a New Sensor Array Coupled with Pattern Recognition for the Development of Point-of-Care Breath Early Detection of Lung Cancer
In the past three months, the team’s work has focused on preparation and testing, and the establishment of a working sensor platform with the initial sensor hardware and software for the project. The team is currently working with simulated breath samples and work is in progress to develop the initial database.
- 2018 Recipients (Awarded $48,409)
Brian Callahan, Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Project Title: Protein-nucleic Acid Ligation Using Biological Catalysis
This project seeks to develop the first enzyme-based technology for protein-nucleic acid ligation. The grant will fund a graduate student and supplies in support of the high risk/high gain research in biomedical technology.
Marilynn Desmond, Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature
Project Title: The Fall of Troy and the Origins of Europe: The Trojan Diaspora and the Vernacular Cultures of the Medieval West
The goal of the project is to complete the research for the final chapter of her current book, which includes examination of medieval manuscripts in the UK, Italy, and France.
Arnab Dey, Assistant Professor of History
Project Title: The Business of Knowledge: Scientific "Expertise" and State Authority in South Asia, c. 1810-2010
His study aims to highlight the historical stakes, practices, and legacies of the relationship between science and "expert" knowledge in colonial and postcolonial India. The research entails travel and acquisition of archival materials, data collection, imaging, and permissions for this new second book project.
Ekrem Karakoc, Associate Professor of Political Science
Project Title: Political Risks and Strategic Responses of Business and Society in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)
The aim of this research is to identify and explain different types of political risks (e.g., military coup, revolution) and strategic responses of business and society in MENA. The project requires travel and field work in Tunisia and Turkey to conduct the research.
Neha Khanna, Professor of Economics
Project Title: Using Satellite Data to Measure Air Emissions from Shale Gas Development
The project will quantify the change in local air quality due to the emission of particulate matter in the Marcellus shale areas of Pennsylvania from 2005 onward. An advanced Economics PhD student will be hired to work on the project.
Tomonari Nishikawa, Assistant Professor of Cinema
Project Title: Wabi-sabi, a film about Japanese aesthetics – transience, decay, and imperfection
The project is a short film about Wabi-sabi, the Japanese aesthetics that appreciate the transience, decay and imperfection. Footage will be captured at Ginkakuji, one of the most famous Zen temples in Japan, which was built during the period when the idea of Wabi-sabi was flourished.
Jennifer Stover, Associate Professor of English
Project Title: Living Room Revolutions: Black Women and Latinas' Record Collecting and Selecting in the 1970s Bronx and Beyond
Research and interviews will be conducted to be used for a new book project about Black and Latinx women in early hip hop. The study will allow for a new understanding of the role of collecting records in the lives of women of color and will amplify the overlooked ways in which black women and Latinas have been crucial in developing major social, artistic, and political movements.
- 2017 Recipients (Awarded $19,550)
Elisa Camiscioli, Associate Professor of History traveled to France three times to do archival work for two interrelated book chapters from Trafficking Stories, a study of illicit migrations within France and its empire and between Europe and Argentina.
John Havard, Assistant Professor of English conducted archival work in Edinburgh and London related to his book project The Last Men: The Ends of Politics in the Byron Circle. This project examines a pervasive language of world-ending in writings by Byron, Mary Shelley, and their circle that reverberated with topical political reference points and concerns specific to the Romantic age and that has in turn acquired sharpened resonance in our own time.
Tim Lowenstein and Joseph Graney, Professors of Geology purchased supplies needed to run a laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometer: LA ICP-MS, including gases (argon-fluorine, nitrogen, helium), and a glass standard for instrument calibration to study changes in the chemistry of ancient seawater.
Claudia Marques, Assistant Professor of Biology conducted research on chronic infections with the goal to determine whether the host recognizes and responds to the presence of persister cells, using an in vitro model with THP-1 macrophages and developed a Drosophila melanogaster in vivo model.
Wendy Martinek, Professor of Political Science hired a graduate student during the summer of 2018 to collect and clean an original dataset of decisions made by state courts of last resort judges. The goal of the project was to disentangle the influence of legal and extralegal factors on judicial retention, which is largely ignored by the literature on different judicial retention mechanisms.
Matthew Sanger, Assistant Professor of Anthropology took graduate students on a four-week field program on Hilton Head Island, SC where they conducted archaeological research on ancient Native American shell sites.
Thomas Wilson, Professor of Anthropology conducted initial interviews and explored possible sites for future ethnographic research, in Northern Ireland on issues related to the creation of a hard or soft border between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland as a result of the UK's departure from the European Union in 2019.
- 2016 Recipients (Awarded $27,530)
Carmen Ferradás, Associate Professor of Anthropology conducted preliminary fieldwork in Argentina to unravel the political, economics, and environmental entanglements of the new industrial complex of cattle production.
Tomonari Nishikawa, Assistant Professor of Cinema created a short film ("Perimeter of the Night") about the landscape and people's activities at night in the area next to the restricted zone in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan.
Gerald Kutcher, Professor of History traveled to several libraries in the United Kingdom to study the use of colloidal lead to treat cancer during the interwar period by the famous gynecologist William Blair Bell and his team at the University of Liverpool.
Wendy Wall, Professor of History funded a graduate assistant and traveled to several libraries in the US in pursuit of her book project to explore the Cold War and grassroots politics as they ultimately produced and shaped the landmark Immigration Act of 1965.
Dave Clarke, Professor of Political Science conducted a pilot project and collected data on repression events, to foster his work with the Political Instability Task Force (PITF) on protest events captured government repression during protests, but not outside of those protest events.
Kenneth Kurtz, Associate Professor of Psychology traveled to New Zealand and NY City to work with co-authors on his projects on machine learning and human learning.
Andrew Walkling, Associate Professor of Theater traveled to Los Angeles, CA, Austin, TX, and several cities in Europe to collect material for his book project: "Instruments of Absolutism: Restoration Court Culture and the Epideictic Mode."
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