PCS Faculty Summer Research and Action

Sean T. Mitchell: I will spend this (northern hemisphere) summer in Rio de Janeiro (where it's winter) getting started on my new long-term research project on changing class relations in Brazilian cities and how those changes are impacting politics.  I'm part of a team funded by the National Science Foundation working in three Brazilian cities (I'll be in Rio and I have collaborators working in São Paulo and Recife). We are first conducting a survey of people in those cities who were classified by the government as "poor" in  2000 and "middle class"  just over a decade later (a population that, nationwide, numbers around 40 million). After that, I'll be doing participant observation research in Rio's neighborhoods.  It's a time of enormous political and economic crisis in Brazil and I'll be in Rio during the Olympics. So, in addition to my scholarly research, I'll do some writing in English for the public. I'll update this website with a link when I do so.

Alex Hinton.  In June, Alex Hinton will travel to Tokyo where the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights will co-host the final conference of the "Rethinking Peace Studies: Translation, Memory, Dialogue" initiative (http://www.rethinkingpeacestudies.com/blog/wbeaeymzal763p8l26abdlc2zjh9rh). This summer he will also teach a faculty seminar at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and return to Japan for another conference in August. Meanwhile, he is working on his second book on the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. The first, Man or Monster? The Trial of a Khmer Rouge Torturer is in press with Duke University Press. 

Aldo Civico will continue to work on his new ethnographic project which analyzed the performance of justice as it pertains to high-ranking members of NJ based gangs when they leave prison and reenter society. The uniqueness of the project is that Prof. Civico is working by implying methods rooted in the tradition of action oriented research. For this research project, Prof. Civico enjoys the collaboration of the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey Paul J. Fishman and his team, of Senator Booker and his office, and of social entrepreneur Charles Rosen. Over the summer, Prof. Civico will participate and observe the work of the federal re-entry court, participate in closed-door meetings of federal judges, observe court sessions with ex-offenders, and he is also designing and facilitating workshops for ex offenders at the federal court in Newark.  Welcoming an invitation of the University of California Press, Prof. Civico will also dedicate time to write a memoir on his experiences in conflict resolution. Finally, Prof. Civico will travel at the beginning of June to London for a speaking engagement. On July 6, he will present his book The Para-State to the Washington DC based policy and human rights community in an event organized by The Washington Office of Latin America. Aldo was also invited to address the business community in Colombia to share insights on peacebuilding based on his 15 years of research and scholarship.

Ira Cohen begins a new project this summer in response to the question: can we reconcile meaning, motive, and practice in a single account of social action?  Why do theorists of practice have such trouble with motivation? Why do theorists who shed brilliant light on the meaning of action leave many questions of how we behave in the dark?  Such oversights suggest that there may be some "essentially contested" terrain in the sociology of action. Cohen is also completing an article entitled "Deep Solitude" that will appear in a volume devoted to various cultures of solitude.  The latter essay follows from Cohen's book Solitary Action published earlier this year by Oxford University Press.

Isaias Rojas-Perez.  This summer, I am traveling to Peru to conduct preliminary fieldwork for my second book project on the complex relationships between government, biopolitics and state violence in the Peruvian Andes. In this book project I seek to examine the ways Quechua-speaking communities have historically mobilized on and off the category of victim as a political strategy for securing a relation of coexistence with an ever threatening and mercurial state-power. I am focusing particularly on the Andean peasant village of Accomarca, in the highland region of Ayacucho, where the Peruvian army massacred 69 villagers in August 1985, during the height of the counterinsurgency in Peru’s central southern Andes. This case of state atrocity has been ever since considered as the Peruvian counterpart of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam."

Nicole Butkovich Kraus.  This summer, Dr. Kraus is an invited speaker at the Fisher Forum at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, presenting her work "Xenophobia and Homophobia in the Russian Federation and Eastern Europe." She will also be presenting at the American Sociological Association annual meeting this August in Seattle. She is completing work on regional differences in xenophobia within the Russian Federation as well as an article on emotional prejudice-types. She is starting a new project looking at stratification within the Russian labor market.

Jamie Lew.  I am working on a comparative study of refugees and integration policies in the US and Europe. Specifically, I am examining how social capital/ networks facilitate refugee children settlement and integration in NY metropolitan area and European urban centers.

Kurt Schock.  This summer Kurt Schock is writing/revising a number of chapters requested for edited volumes including “Civil Disobedience and Direct Action,” chapter 19 in Preventing War and Promoting Peace: A Guide for Health Professionals, edited by William H. Wiist and Shelley K. White (Cambridge University Press); “Violence vs Nonviolence as Strategic Alternatives,” (with Chares Demetriou) chapter 20 in the Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Social Movements (second edition), edited by David A. Snow, Sarah A. Soule, Hanspeter Kriesi, and Holly McCammon; and “Gandhian Struggles for Land in India: The Bhoodan and Ekta Parishad Movements,” chapter in preparation for a volume edited by David Hardiman.  He is also completing a book manuscript tentatively titled Rightful Radical Resistance: Struggles for Land in India and Brazil. Furthermore, he is overseeing the development of the Nonviolence International – Rutgers University International Institute for Peace Digital Library s24 of training manuals and related material on nonviolent struggle, and preparing a new course for fall semester titled, Civil Resistance: Theory, Practice, Technology & Media for the Rutgers-Newark Honors Living-Learning Community.

Ken Kressel will be engaged in a variety of conflict management interventions and consulting activities in higher education over the summer.

Genese Sodikoff is returning to Madagascar this summer to explore Malagasy people's understanding and experience of zoonosis (disease that jumps from animals to humans), specifically rabies and the bubonic plague.  This is in the town of Moramanga, adjacent to a large industrial mine and it's biodiversity offset, a protected rain forest.  In recent years, outbreaks of the plague have been getting worse. This could be tied to a combination of deforestation and climate change, which affects the population and migration patterns of black rats and fleas, carriers of the plague.  Also, Moramanga's growing population of stray dogs is exacerbating the rabies problem for animals and people.  The risk of transmission to endangered species in the mine's biodiversity offset has also become a growing concern.

R.  Brian Ferguson.  The goal this summer is to finish revision of my long term book project on war and human nature, “Chimpanzees, ‘War,’ and History.”  This is a comprehensive, critical evaluation of all field observations of chimpanzees (and bonobos), which demonstrates that their violence does not represent an evolved predisposition, supposedly shared by humans, but a response to disturbance by human activity in their vicinity.  It extends earlier research into ethnography, archaeology, and evolution to show that human beings do not have an innate urge to kill.