2013-2014 Projects

From left to right, top to bottom: Geoffrey Boyce, Dylan Baun, Kevin Chau, Diane Daly, Adam Kullber, Mark Blair, Courtney Dorroll, Megan Henley, Erin Durban, Diana Montano, Kristin Helland, Lucero Radonic, David Tecklin, Miriam Gay-Antaki; Not pictured: Morgan Apicella, PennElys Droz, James Howell, Maya Kapoor, Sarah  Kelly-Richards, Diane Richardson

More than 75 graduate students from across the colleges of Fine Arts, Social and Behavioral Sciences and Humanities applied for Confluencenter Graduate Fellowships of up to $5,000. Fellowships were awarded for the most innovative or collaborative research projects. The nineteen 2013-2014 fellowships granted reflect the most innovative or collaborative research projects.


Lettuce Turn Up the Beet: Assessing Barriers and Opportunities to Increasing Teacher Involvement in Gardening and Ecology Programs

Morgan Apicella (Geography and Development) assessed the factors that influence the participation of teachers in gardening and ecology programs at their schools in Tucson. Apicella's project determined what types of support might encourage and sustain teachers' involvement in these programs in order to improve a gardening and ecology teacher-training program. This study, in the initial stages of development, involved a partnership between Manzo Elementary School, the Community Food Resource Center (CFRC), as well as faculty and students from multiple disciplines at the University of Arizona.

Rethinking Conflict: Social Mobilization, Popular Politics and Practices of Violence in Lebanon

By rethinking recurrent strife in Lebanon from the 1950s-1970s, Dylan Baun (Middle Eastern and North African Studies) considered those "from below" who actually participated in conflict. To capture the underlying dynamics of social mobilization and armed conflict, this project focused on the practices of two populist organizations that used violence in this period (i.e., the Kata'ib Party and the Lebanese National Movement) and their perceptions and experiences. 

The Native American Graduate Center

Mark Blair (American Indian Studies) identified the factors that support Native American student retention and what American Indian Studies Programs are doing to support students. His research helped him propose the re- establishment of a Native American Graduate Student Center on campus.

Pushing the Boundary: Border Policing and Everyday Geographies of Immigration Enforcement in Southern Arizona

Geoffrey Boyce (Geography and Development) studied how the 2010 controversy over Arizona's SB 1070 illuminated the proliferation of policies that target and criminalize immigrants and their loved ones in the United States. Yet in the debate surrounding the Arizona law there was strikingly little discussion of the ways that SB 1070 merely extended -- rather than departed from -- the broader thrust of federal policy directed toward the policing and criminalization of immigrants. Boyce's research addressed critical gaps in conversations about SB 1070.

Visualizing Classical Music

Kevin Chau (Music) composed a creative performance project aimed at the development of a real-time art music visualization program that reflects live music. The resulting live acoustic performance combined a musician and responding real-time visualization program with an intention to guide an audience into an active listening role.

Designing and Documenting A Virtual Community Space for Living Mexican Puppetry

Diane Daly (Information Resources and Library Science) created a dynamic virtual space to strengthen the Mexican puppetry community and advance the field of puppetry research in the Americas. Her project website facilitated the Mexican puppetry community's collective expression and added value to its artistic output. In recognition that living Mexican puppetry is an animation of popular Mexican society and a subculture with great influence on puppetry in the Americas, the site advanced interdisciplinary scholarship by promoting research access.

Representations of "Turkishness": A Neighborhood Analysis

Courtney Dorroll (Middle Eastern and North African Studies) examined a Turkish neighborhood called Hamamönü which underwent extensive revitalization and restoration in 2010. This neighborhood stands as a visual representation of the Neo-Ottoman movement in contemporary Turkey.

Indigenous Epistemologies and Bio-cultural Engineering

Indigenous peoples worldwide demonstrate profound resilience amidst challenges emerging from colonization, working to re-empower and provide for the contemporary needs of their people in a manner supporting bio-cultural integrity and the interconnectedness of people and homeland. In this project, PennElys Droz (American Indian Studies) accomplished the following goals: identification of the areas of intersection between Indigenous epistemologies, practices and ecological engineering; creation of a design methodology rooted effectively in culture, land and community relationships; and identification of successful practices and challenges to the use of a biocultural design method.

Heteronormativity and the Postcolonial Nation-State: Queer Haitians after the Earthquake of 2010

In the words of M. Jacqui Alexander, how and why does the postcolonial nation-state become "configured as heterosexual"? Erin Durban-Albrecht (Gender and Women's Studies) examined this question and considered the following in a study of queer communities in Haiti: Why is it common sense that some places are inherently homophobic? What effect do these configurations and understandings have on gender and sexual minorities? This project, guided by these pressing questions, contributed to cutting-edge scholarship in several interdisciplinary fields and intervened in harmful thinking that impacts multiply-marginalized communities.

Engendering Climate Change: A Feminist Approach to Climate Governance

The literature on gender and climate governance is very sparse with little attention paid to issues of gender or feminist perspectives. Miriam Gay-Antaki (Geography and Development) addressed relevant questions about women's relationship to the environment, and about how others, especially in government and NGOs, see their roles. Gay-Antaki explored ways to document these relationships for the community and communicated her findings at the national, international and NGO levels.

Expanding the Linguistic Landscape: A Multimodal Approach to the Study of Code-switching in the Media

Kristin Helland (Second Language Acquisition and Teaching) explored code switching in three different genres (a TV/Internet ad, a music video and a film) from the perspective of linguistic landscape (LL) and multilingualism. This study expanded the definition of LL that goes beyond the visual texts found in public spaces to incorporate "all those displayed and interwoven 'discourses'-- what is seen, what is heard, what is spoken, what is thought" (Shohamy & Waksman, 2009, p. 313). It introduced an innovative way of analyzing linguistic and non-linguistic semiotics in advertising, music videos and film.

Their Best Care: A Survey Comparison of Attitudes Toward Labor Practices and Sources of Knowledge Among Labor and Delivery Nurses, Childbirth Educators and Doulas across the United States

Medical research has demonstrated that emotional and physical support during labor improves birth outcomes, yet existing research has paid little attention to the workers who provide that care. Megan Henley (Sociology) used results from The Maternity Support Survey to understand the roles and experiences of labor and delivery nurses, childbirth educators and doulas in the United States. This survey asked delivery nurses about their views of childbirth, their perceptions of obstetric practices, the sources of their beliefs about best care and the organizational supports and challenges that they face.

Oceans and Deserts: Charting Transdisciplinary Currents in Environment and Culture within the Arts and Sciences

Interdisciplinarity can seem daunting to graduate students and faculty faced with the often isolating structures of academic fields. This collaborative project led by James Howell and Diane Richardson (German Studies) strove to overcome obstacles to interdisciplinarity by building tangible bridges between various fields of study. This goal was realized through a symposium, "Oceans and Deserts: Charting Interdisciplinary Currents in Environment and Culture Within the Arts and Sciences," hosted by the Transcultural German Studies Program during the spring of 2014. 

Keeping Our Seeds: Saving Desert Seeds as a Human Response to Climate Change

Maya Kapoor (English) explored how humans manage desert plants in the face of climate change. Specifically, it considered the connection between Arizona's ecology and the rest of the world, and how conserving our species in response to climate change is a global problem with global players and solutions. 

Bridging the Divide: Developing Collaborative Interdisciplinary Projects Across Borders

As of late, there has been a focus on ideas of engaged scholarship, community collaboration and multidisciplinary work, but there remains a need for models appropriate for border cities and an ongoing dialogue about the structure of engagement for these endeavors. This project by Sarah Kelly-Richards (Geography and Development) brought together social science and natural and physical science students from both sides of the border to create multimedia materials and workshops on community-based research that addressed complex issues of engaged scholarship. 

Mapping the Social and Environmental Impact of Nuclear Weaponry and Technology in the Southwest

Adam Kullberg (English) analyzed the impact of nuclear weaponry and technology on various sites and populations throughout the Southwest, including uranium mines throughout the Navajo Nation in Utah, Arizona and New Mexico; nuclear testing sites; and cities affected by radioactive fallout. It explored not only how experiences connected to these sites have affected specific populations, but how the lasting impact of political and environmental changes have rippled through generation after generation, transforming these populations' neurological, physical, spiritual and ethical connections to the land.

La Muerte Viaja En Tranví­a: Walking and Falling between the Tracks of Mexican Modernity, 1900-1920s

Diana Montano (History) examined the ways culture shaped Mexico's course of electrification, contributing to the discussion of the making of a modern nation and modern citizens. It placed the ordinary citizen at its center to reconstruct how modernity was lived, consumed, rejected and shaped in everyday life. It presented modernity not simply as an abstract force or a static concept but a complex pattern of human choices.

Recording Tales of Repair, Not Despair: An Ethnography of Informal Infrastructure

Using infrastructure surveys and resident interviews, Lucero Radonic (Anthropology) traced the water that flows through a multi-authored maze of pipes connecting a low-income indigenous neighborhood in Sonora, Mexico.  An interactive infrastructure map, ten short video vignettes and some explanatory texts were uploaded onto an interactive and bilingual website where visitors can learn about informal water infrastructure and the micro politics of water management. 

Telling Property Stories Geographically: A Proposed Interactive Map of Competing Resource Claims Along the Chilean Coastline

David Tecklin (Geography and Development) explored how fishermen, women shoreline collectors and indigenous leaders have reinterpreted and reshaped the property rights designed for them as part of the Chilean government's large-scale privatization of the coastline. The final product is a web-based interactive map (or story map) that presents filmed interviews as embedded within the larger geographic context of struggles over the country's coastal waters. The project thus advanced interdisciplinary inquiry into property claims as a theme in environmental governance and explored new and accessible ways of communicating the practical relevance of such research.