RCGA Summer International Research Grants

Call for Proposals

The Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs (RCGA) Summer International Research Grants fund overseas research for Middlebury College juniors and seniors preparing to write senior theses.  Students from any discipline or program whose proposed project is international in its orientation are eligible to apply.  Qualified applicants include students who plan to conduct summer research when they have one, two, or three semesters remaining in their undergraduate career.  The maximum award is $4500.  The deadline for receipt of applications is March 31.

Criteria for Selection:  Applications will be judged on the strength of the research design, the degree of preparation for the proposed work, the candidate’s academic record to date, the feasibility of the research project, and the need for overseas research to bring it to successful completion.  Research in a foreign language, while desirable, is not a necessity.

Expectations of Grant Recipients:  All grant recipients will be required to do the following: (1) in the current spring semester, attend the RCGA overseas research workshop (special arrangements will be made for students studying abroad); (2) in September following the research, submit a report of no more than 750 words outlining the work accomplished to date; (3) in the fall following the research, participate in a meeting to discuss the status of the project; (4) complete the thesis; and (5) in the final semester, present the results of the research in a public forum.

Contact Information:

If you have any questions about what projects might be eligible for funding under this grant, please contact:

Charlotte Tate
Associate Director
Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs
Robert A. Jones '59 House 114
Middlebury College

Tel: 802-443-5795
Email: tate@middlebury.edu

2019 Grant Recipients

John Carew ’20, Comparative Literature; Molecular Biology and Biochemistry | Jordan
HIV in the Jordanian, Chilean, and United States Imaginaries: How does literature reflect and create a public health response?

Jessica Garner ’19.5, International and Global Studies - Middle East Studies | Jordan
Antisemitism through the Ages: An analysis of European creations of ethnic cleavage and nationalisms

Chica Morrow ’20, Economics | Japan
"Moai": The role of rotating savings and credit associations in health outcomes in Okinawa, Japan

Marianna Odoy ’20, Comparative Literature | Germany and Jordan
Tracking the Displacement of Syrian Migrant Literature

Akhila Roy Chowdhury ’20, Political Science | India
The Structural Framework of Active Indian Politics and Its Effect on Political Success and Efficiency

2018 Grant Recipients

Henry Burnett ’18.5, Comparative Literature | Senegal and Martinique
Paradox of Place: The Complex Relationship of Black Identity and Geography in Poems of Négritude and The New Negro

My thesis project in Comparative Literature examines poems from the Harlem Renaissance and Négritude, two early-1900s literary movements that considered Black identity and the relationship of Black people with white systems of oppression, both local and global (slavery, Jim Crow, colonialism in Africa, etc.). Although much scholarship describes the Harlem Renaissance and Négritude as unique phenomena - separated by language and focused exclusively on local conditions in the United States and French colonies, respectively - my thesis focuses on the relationship between the American and Francophone authors of these movements as they mixed in Paris and New York and considers their calls for a Pan-African understanding of blackness that could unite "the darker races of the world." My thesis evaluates how these calls for unity of identity are reflected in the authors’ poems, specifically focusing on their portrayals of Africa and of the white spaces such as Paris that permitted the authors to mix. The Rohatyn Center Senior Thesis Research Grant funded my travel to archives in Senegal and Martinique, where I gained a deeper, first-hand appreciation for the complex relationship of those places with the French metropole.

Adam Druckman ’19, Political Science | Canada and England
Cultural and Social Practices Contributing to Wrongful Conviction: A comparative analysis of the US, Canada, England, and Wales

What explains wrongful conviction in the United States, Canada, England, and Wales, and are there international commonalities of wrongful conviction that these countries face? By understanding how wrongful conviction occurs in these Western, wealthy, industrialized nations with adversarial criminal justice systems, larger transnational comparisons can be drawn. These countries are being used as case studies to understand the larger issue of how wrongful conviction occurs in the Western world. These nations have many commonalities with regards to their history and how their criminal justice system is structured. The variation between these countries with respect to their social order, institutional structure, and legal frameworks will be the key to understanding why wrongful conviction differs in these nations.

Kelsie Hoppes ’18.5, Political Science & Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies | South Africa
Crisis Pregnancy Centers in Post-Apartheid South Africa: A global approach to reproductive politics

South Africa's post-apartheid constitution is often hailed as one of the most progressive in the world, naming reproductive health as a right and leading to one of the world's most liberal abortion laws. However, these laws have also led to widespread anti-abortion activism, including Africa’s largest network of crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs)—religiously-informed non-profits that rely on deceptive tactics (such as concealing their anti-abortion ideologies, appearing to offer abortions when they do not, and working to look like medical clinics when there are no medical professionals) to dissuade women facing unintended pregnancies from seeking abortion. Because CPCs systematically provide women with inaccurate medical information on abortion, scholars have argued that they infringe on reproductive rights— an especially compelling point given South Africa’s constitutional protections. By using site visits and staff interviews with South African CPCs, this thesis is the first academic work to examine CPCs outside of the United States, and the first to examine the global impact of North American anti-abortion networks. My research evaluates the large presence of CPCs in South Africa, allowing for a new perspective in recognizing problems with international CPC networks and in engaging with the limits of extrapolating from United States-based critiques.

Muhammad Garda Ramadhito ’19, International and Global Studies | Turkey
The New Turkey: The rise of Muslim nationalism and illiberal democracy in Erdogan's Turkey

My thesis examines the rise of Muslim nationalism in Turkey led by Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) from their first electoral victory in 2002 to its current phase of “The New Turkey” (Yeni Türkiye) beginning in 2018. I identify and analyze the important political developments involving Muslim nationalists that led to the decline of democracy in Turkey, notably mass trials against opposition within the state apparatus and the Turkish intelligentsia, the conflict between the AKP and the Gulen movement and the ensuing state of emergency following the 2016 failed putsch attempt. Then, I dissect the components of the Muslim nationalist vision of “The New Turkey,” namely Ottomania, competitive authoritarianism and crony capitalism. This thesis ultimately reveals the inherent tension between structure and agency within Turkish politics and in democratic backsliding broadly speaking. It questions the inevitability of democratic decline associated with religious-nationalist parties by presenting the many elite choices that were decidedly authoritarian as well as the pre-existing anti-democratic rules of the game that went against attempts at further democratic consolidation. Lastly, I offer a hopeful development on the rise of a Muslim democratic rebellion against Muslim nationalists from my RCGA-sponsored research last summer.

William Simpson ’18.5, French | France
"I pay my part for Lafayette": The memory of the Larayette Escadrille at the centennial

In my Fall/J-term French honors thesis, I study the memory of the Lafayette Escadrille in France and the United States today. This squadron of Americans flying for the French Air Force during the First World War (years before American entry) became legends along the Western Front for their courageously selfless mindset in the context of increasingly bloody and brutal air battles. But not only their famously bold traditions, like the employment of a lion mascot, remain famous today; their very identity as a symbol of Franco-American unity remains key to their particularly visible recognition today by French and American civilians and governments. In my thesis, I use my experiences abroad with the RCGA grant to study how the Lafayette Escadrille is remembered today stems from the distinct legend formed around them during the war. As a group of American “cowboys” participating in a European war, the Lafayette holds a special place in the world of aviation history and provides interesting material for analysis in the context of mythical “Knights of the Air” tropes. My research trip this summer allowed me to explore these themes through interviewing a variety of French Air Force officers and aviation historians.

Lulu Zhou ’19, Sociology | China
Go Hard and/or Go Home? Migrant children's negotiation of educational choices, aspiration, and attainment in Beijing, China

This thesis examines how migrant children navigate educational trajectories in contemporary urban China. My project explores the following questions: 1) How do legal barriers like hukou act as a dimension of stratification that limits migrant children’s educational choices? 2) In what ways have migrant schools and families influenced those migrant children’s educational aspirations and resources? 3) How have migrant children perceived and negotiated their educational trajectories after middle school? Drawing on in-depth interviews with 21 adults who attended 6 migrant schools in Beijing, my study focuses on the processes in which individuals made their educational decisions and how those decisions were influenced by legal status, families, and schools. I find that legal status structures migrant students’ educational aspirations and resources over time, although the degree of its impact on students’ educational attainment varies based on their school’s and family’s capital. In particular, migrant schools saliently shape migrant children’s educational aspirations and orientations, which influence these individuals’ negotiation of their pathways after middle school. While legal status is seen as a binary with documented and undocumented categories, my thesis illustrates diverse migrant educational experiences in different educational spaces that highlight their in-between status within China’s divided urban-rural educational systems.

2017 Grant Recipients

Hanna Laird ’18, Political Science | Sweden and Norway
Housing and Settlement Policies for Immigrants in Norway and Sweden: A Comparative Assessment of Policy's Impact on Integration

In 2017, there were 23 identified ‘problem-areas’ in Sweden – densely immigrant neighborhoods considered too dangerous for even the police to enter. Sweden has received significant attention for these “ethnic enclaves”, whereas its neighbor, Norway, has seemingly avoided this. My thesis explores this dynamic by comparing the refugee settlement policies in Norway and Sweden and their impact on integration. This research was conducted through interviews with policymakers and professionals across Norway and Sweden, alongside a study of national and municipal legislation. The central difference in policies is that Norway uses financial incentives to limit settlement options (controlled-settlement), while Sweden grants refugees much greater autonomy (self-settlement). My findings indicate a strong tie between housing/settlement policies and residential integration, and that Norway’s system of controlled-settlement greatly limits the formation of ethnic enclaves. The connection between settlement policies and labor integration is weaker, but self-settlement appears detrimental to forming relationships with municipalities necessary for effective labor integration.

Naing Phyo ’18, International and Global Studies | United Kingdom
Understanding the Anglo-Burmese Relations during the Late 18th and 19th Century: The Structural and Political Courses of the Three Anglo-Burmese Wars

The British colonization of Burma happened gradually over the 19th century, marked by three Anglo-Burmese wars in 1824, 1852 and 1886 respectively. Given the rapid expansion of the British Empire in the 19th century and the tremendous growth of the East India Company’s power as a colonial state in Asia, the annexation of Burma was perhaps inevitable. My research attempts to seek answers to the many questions surrounding the annexation of Burma and the deposition of the Burmese monarchy in late 19th century. What political and structural changes took place within British India and Burma, causing the three Anglo-Burmese Wars and the annexation of Burma? Understanding the Anglo-Burmese relations during the 19th century is important because it gives insights into the nature of British colonialism and imperial expansion, as well as the gradual transformation of a kingdom into a colonial state.

Vassily Zavoico ’17.5, Environmental Studies and Biology | Norway
Population Dynamics and Spatial Behavior of Svalbard Reindeer (Rangifer Tarandus Platyrhynchus) in a Quickly Changing Climate

The green wave hypothesis (GWH) states that migrating herbivores follow spatiotemporal variation in vegetation in the spring, essentially “surfing” a “green wave” of high quality forage at the leading edge of spring green-up. For many ungulates, however, vegetation is not the only predictor of migrations due to the complex systems they live in. It is unknown whether Svalbard reindeer make small-scale migrations, but because of the relative simplicity of their ecosystem, the GWH should apply to them as well. Our study’s principle aims are thus twofold: to test whether Svalbard reindeer conduct small-scale migrations, and whether the migration is in accordance with the GWH. We used 28 years of demographic and spatial data from an annual spring census to relate inter-annual variation of reindeer distribution and spatial aggregation with the progression of spring, essentially recreating the distribution patterns over one spring season. We also test whether population density and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) may also play a part in driving reindeer migrations. We find significant patterns of movement along gradients of elevation and terrain ruggedness according to the progression of spring, indicating that reindeer initially move to avoid melting snow, and then follow the green wave. We do not find significant relationships with spatial aggregation, likely due to a scale mismatch between their movements and our measurements. Ultimately, we find that Svalbard reindeer migrate in the spring, that GWH provides a plausible explanation for the migration, and that ruggedness is an important terrain characteristic for reindeer in the spring.

Ana Sanchez Chico ’18, Economics | Kenya
The Impacts of a Violence Prevention Intervention in Kibera, Kenya

The AGI-K provides combinations of sector-specific interventions (violence prevention, education, health, and wealth creation) to over 2,000 adolescent girls in Kibera. This Randomized Trial was designed to estimate the effects of the education, health, and wealth creation interventions relative to the violence prevention program (a community-wide intervention). Evidence of the impacts of violence-related interventions is limited. To provide further empirical evidence, this study estimates the absolute effects of AGI-K’s violence program using a double difference matching analysis with Huruma, the non-experimental control group. Despite its strengths, this technique continues to rely on the strong assumption of common trends between the two groups. The evidence from our analysis, however, demonstrates the failure to satisfy this assumption. Although estimated impacts of violence-related outcomes appear negative, these findings are most probably the result of different trajectories in the two areas.

Sylvia Lynch ’18, International and Global Studies | Cameroon and Tanzania - Awarded the Lesley T. Ketzel '49 Fellowship for Integrating Research with Study Abroad
'La Vie en Blanche': The Gendered Experience of Women with Albinism in Cameroon and Tanzania

Since 2000, over 500 attacks and murders of people with albinism (PWA) have been recorded across Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), with 200 of these occurring in Tanzania alone. During my semester in Cameroon, I was curious about the differential experiences of PWA in Cameroon, which is absent from the literature and news about albinism in Africa. Additionally, I focus on the gendered experience of women with albinism, who have been ignored in all the documentation of the persecution of PWA in SSA. Albinism is a rare recessive genetic condition that results in the lack of melanin and pigmentation in the eyes, hair, and skin of people with the condition. Albinism occurs naturally in all populations across the world, but is particularly common in SSA and is particularly visible in majority-black countries and has resulted in stigmatization and discrimination in many domains of life. My research looks at the institutional and social barriers women with albinism face and how they navigate these challenges.

2016 Grant Recipients

Alaa Abdelfattah ’17, Economics | Egypt

"Assassinated Dreams: A Fictional Story about the Egyptian Revolution"
Out of eighty million Egyptians, only a fraction (granted millions) were protesting in Tahrir Square, so what were the other seventy million doing? And what were those protestors thinking? To provide possible answers, I constructed a fictional narrative based on the answers of many relatives and friends to address those very questions. This story takes place in Cairo, Egypt starting on January 4th, 2011, and ending on February 11th, the day of Mubarak’s abdication. While I follow four main characters to their homes and workspaces, one of the central places in which events of the novel take place is Quhawat Abo-Ali. It is the place where men from all walks of life go to hangout and talk about everything and nothing. The café (Quhawat Abo-Ali) is the common thread between these different characters and is symbolic for the greater venue of interest, Cairo. 

Jacob Faber ’16.5, Environmental Studies | Canada

"The (Green?) Machine(s?) in the Garden: Sustainable development and social equity in Eeyou Istchee-James Bay, Québec"
In 2011, Québec premier Jean Charest inaugurated the “most important sustainable development project of Québec’s future,” the Plan Nord (“Northern Plan”). In the northern region of Eeyou Istchee-James Bay, the Plan Nord comes on the heels of decades of large-scale industrial development which has caused widespread ecological degradation and environmental injustice, particularly for the region’s Cree population. My thesis explores the ways in which the Plan Nord addresses issues of social equity in its official discourse and implementation. After spending a month in the field conducting key informant interviews, I employed a political ecology lens to demonstrate the historical underpinnings of environmental injustice and to evaluate the ways in which the benefits and burdens of sustainable development have been distributed across lines of social difference.

Amir Firestone ’17, Sociology/Anthropology | Germany

“Ingredients of Integration: A Study of Collaborative Cooking Classes as Mechanisms of Social and Cultural Integration of Syrian Refugees in Germany”
In recent years, the United States and much of Europe have experienced political turmoil in the face of the largest global refugee crisis since World War II. Amid growing social, cultural, and political tensions, some have sought creative ways to mend divides and prevent further social and cultural schisms. This study examines a method of integrating refugee and host communities in Berlin, Germany through collaborative cooking classes. Focusing on two cooking classes led by Syrian refugees, I examine how social relationships emerge from these interactions and the role that food plays therein. A close analysis of these events and of nine follow-up interviews with class participants reveals how these events function as rites of passage, rituals of reversal, social dramas, and exchanges of forms of capital, in which food plays a central role. This study reveals the extensive potential of collaborative cooking for fostering social interaction among distinct cultural groups and offers insights into the practical uses of food and cooking to these ends. 

Jordan Killen ’17, Environmental Studies and Sociology/Anthropology | Spain

“The Myth of Marinaleda: Ideology and the Creation of Utopia in an Andalusian Village”
My project explores the creation and perpetuation of revolutionary utopian ideology in Marinaleda, a village of 2,700 in Andalusia (the southern region of Spain). Specifically, analysis addresses the following: (1) how regional social structures and historical movements set ideological and political precedents for the more contemporary collective struggle that landless Marinaledan day laborers initiated in the late 1970s; (2) how the ideology that emerged from that struggle has manifested generally in the conceptions that village residents express of themselves and of their local history; and (3) how both struggle and ideology have served to support and legitimate Marinaleda’s basic contemporary social structure and political hegemony. Methodology took place chronologically, in two main phases: first, fieldwork in the Marinaledan community, including participant observation and semi-structured interviews; second, analysis of interview recordings, field notes, ideological materials gathered while on-site, and relevant secondary sources, synthesized into grounded theory.

2015 Grant Recipients

Catherine Brennan Delattre ’16, Neuroscience | Brazil

"Capoeira: The Effect of an Afro-Brazilian Movement Art on State Anxiety, State Self-Efficacy, and Prosocial Behavior Tendencies"
Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian movement art that incorporates elements of dance, martial arts, instrument playing, singing, acrobatics, and physical improvisation between partners to comprise a multifaceted and conversational “game.” The sport has moved out of Brazil and expanded globally over the last several decades. Despite its rising demand and growing international popularity, however, the psychological benefits of capoeira to participants had not previously been investigated within a scientific framework. Inspired by recent neuroscientific research as to the benefits of exercise, meditation, yoga, and mindfulness practices, the present study sought to investigate whether engagement in a capoeira session was associated with altered state anxiety, self-efficacy feelings, and prosocial behavior tendencies as compared to engagement in cooperative movement, combative movement, and non-movement control activities (acro-yoga, savate, and graduate-level mathematics class, respectively). One hundred nineteen capoeiristas in the greater Rio de Janeiro, Brazil area completed surveys before and after a session of capoeira. Surveys were subsequently analyzed for pre- and post-session variations and were compared to the various control groups. Background research and literature review were conducted February to May, 2015; data collection took place in Rio during July and August of 2015; and data analysis occurred from September to December of 2015.


Timothy Fraser ’16, International and Global Studies | Japan 

"Restarting the Sendai Reactor: Ecology of Japanese Civic Activism Post-Fukushima"
Between 2011 and 2014, over 70% of Japanese favored phasing out nuclear power after cover-up of the 2011 Fukushima disaster destroyed public trust in pro-nuclear bureaucrats and the nuclear power industry. Given widespread public opposition, how could and did Kyushu Electric manage to restart the Sendai Nuclear Power Plant Reactor No. 1 on August 11, 2015? Prior to and following the restart in August 2015, I conducted semi-structured interviews and participant observation in Kagoshima Prefecture with nearby residents, civil society campaigns, women’s associations, food coops, and local government officials supporting and opposing the Sendai restart. In my thesis, I argue that age, gender, and place-based social norms limited effective political activism and messaging in Satsumasendai. Because of these social norms, insular politics, media censorship of protest and nuclear power issues, and local economic incentives enabled local officials and Kyushu Electric Power Company to restart the reactor despite widespread public opposition.


Esme Valette ’16, Comparative Literature | Cameroon

"Behind Bars: The Subjugation of Women and the Power of the Pen in Tu T'appelleras Tanga by Calixthe Beyala and Vaste est La Prison by Assia Djebar"
I spent three weeks abroad in Yaoundé, Cameroon, doing research for my Comparative Literature senior thesis on contemporary West African female writers. The goal of my research was to unbury the voices of an important yet often overlooked group of francophone authors.

In traveling to Yaoundé, I hoped to contextualize the works of one post-colonial Cameroonian female author in particular: the prolific yet controversial Calixthe Beyala. Many Western critics accuse Calixthe of giving herself over to pornographic writing intended to attract a readership looking for cheap eroticism and exoticism. Considering the harsh criticisms coming from a relatively liberal readership, how would Calixthe’s writing be received in Cameroon, a conservative and homophobic country?

I probed scholars for their perspective on Calixthe Beyala, such a controversial figure in the West, and also for their personal stories and wisdom. A handful of women gave me tattered copies of their texts and spoke and wrote with the same verve that Beyala exhibits. I also encountered a widespread acceptance of Beyala. One interviewee clarified that Calixthe employs a crude vocabulary in order to capture a certain reality, in order to prove that she is not afraid of writing in a male arena of authorship. My research on Beyala was essential to my thesis, since I argued against the popular notion that she is a fraud.

2014 Grant Recipients

Linnea Burnham'14.5, French and History | France

De la Main à la Machine: La Modernisation de l’Industrie Laitière Française, 1880-1900 
This thesis analyzes the French dairy industry at the end of the nineteenth century. Specifically, I examine the Franche-Comté, a rural, predominantly agricultural region located in Eastern France to demonstrate that cheesemakers and farmers resisted industrial and technological changes between 1880-1900 because they lacked financial resources, education, and the motivation to change their traditional ways. Comté, the Franche-Comté’s traditional cheese, is central to my narrative because current producers tend to resist any change to their cheese industry, claiming that Comté is too deeply connected to their heritage. By exploring the reasons why the Franche-Comté dairy industry resisted change in the nineteenth century, this thesis argues that Comté was not always so iconic or important to the French national identity as it is today. More broadly, I hope to provide a new lens for understanding of French history, cultural traditions and food as a form of national self-identity.


William Gevertz '14.5, Political Science | Bosnia-Herzegovina

Out of The Frying Pan: Reflections on International State Building in Bosnia-Herzegovina
I was able to utilize the RCGA research grant to aid in the completion of my senior honors thesis in political science. The RCGA grant allowed me to travel to Sarajevo during summer 2014 in order to collect qualitative data on the functioning on the international community in the deeply divided, post-conflict society of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The data I collected was crucial in my analysis of the efficacy of international organizations in the management of Bosnia’s protracted post-conflict recovery. I was able to collect expert opinion from over 20 sources ranging from European Union officials, to academics, to employees at nongovernmental organizations, all of whom had first-hand knowledge of the trials and tribulations that have afflicted Bosnian society since the end of their ethnically fueled civil war during the 1990s.

2013 Grant Recipients

Rajsavi Anand '14, History and Biochemistry

"Examining the creation of a Sikh identity in the era leading up to and including the partitioning of India"
In the period from 1940-1947, the Sikh community experienced a profound struggle to situate itself vis-à-vis the other major constituents in the country—the Indian National Congress, All Muslim League, and the British Government—as the idea of Pakistan came to fruition. The Sikhs presented an incoherent front in these years and ultimately saw their homeland vivisected. Little weight has been placed on the period from 1920–1940, during which the Sikhs mobilized as a whole community, as the cause for the divisive and incoherent Sikh responses in the wake of Partition. While the extremist Sikh leadership was successful in mobilizing the rural populace during the Gurdwara Reform Movement (1920-1925), it created issues for the Sikh community in the following decades when it attempted to increase its political representation. The incompatible communal and nationalist rhetoric that evolved out of the Gurdwara Reform Movement led the Sikh community to alienate the British government and the Indian National Congress, all the while causing internal rifts among themselves. This research project began at the British Library in the India Office of Records and would not have been possible without the generosity of the Rohatyn Center.

Vincent Mariano '14, Sociology and Anthropology

"The Body and Christ: The Intersection of Spiritual and Corporeal Care in Catholic Philippines"
In the De La Salle University Medical Center (DLSUMC) located in Cavite, Philippines, belief in the interconnectedness of body and soul, Catholicism, and medicine combine to create a unique environment that informs how Filipino patients, their families, and the medical personnel react to suffering and death. With my Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs International Research Grant, I conducted an ethnography within the hospital to explore how Christ’s Passion narrative is symbolized within DLSUMC and how it allows patients to create a “meaningful suffering” and “redemptive death”. During my research, I also examined how religion can help a patient’s family cope with grief, related to a patient’s suffering or death. Lastly, I investigated how religion augments the provision of care that DLSUMC doctors and nurses give to the sick and dying. 

Bradley Osborne '13.5, Environmental Studies

"Nature, the Right's Bearer: A Study of Environmental Theory and Practice in Ecuador"

Samuel Peisch '13.5, Political Science

"The Livingstone NGO Study: The Effect of NGOs on Improving Health in Livingstone, Zambia"
Does foreign aid work?  Moyo or Sachs?  So often the discussion about Western development efforts revolves around whether foreign aid is helpful or hurtful for Sub-Saharan Africa.  Yet often neglected in this discussion is the impact of non-governmental organizations (NGOs).  To study their impact, the Livingstone NGO Study sought to measure the effectiveness of NGOs by conducting survey research interviewing 80 patients in the 10 districts of Livingstone about their perceptions of short vs. long-term health benefit, access to care, and health care preferences.  This research formed a critical case study that was part of a larger thesis that concluded that NGO impact on health is mixed: they are effective in achieving some improvements in individual health outcomes, but they are also responsible for gaps in public health provision, thereby hindering improvements in health in Sub-Saharan Africa.


2012 Grant Recipients

2012 Grant Recipients


Samuel Koplinka-Loehr '13, independent scholar: environmental justice
"Until Justice Rolls Down Like Water: Environmental Justice in Yunnan, China"

The past decade - and those to come - brought unprecedented levels of dam building, development, and displacement to Yunnan Province, China. While dams represent an avenue for achieving energy independence and reaching national carbon dioxide targets, the local human and environmental impact is enormous. Moreover, those most affected often receive little to no benefits from dam construction, which primarily go to urban centers on the east coast of China. Environmental Justice has become an international movement: does it have weight in the movement against dams in Yunnan? How are community activists framing their resistance in a country with a history of top-down control and persecution of activists? This presentation will draw on my interviews in Yunnan over the summer of 2012 and my thesis research.

Anil Menon '13, economics and history
"The Silver Crisis in India"

Colonial India experienced the first tremors of the global silver crisis (1870 - 1900) in 1876. The effects of the falling gold value of silver impacted various groups within British India. The Government of India and its salaried officials faced increasing financial strains due to the depreciation of the rupee in sterling value. The Anglo-Indian mercantile community became increasingly agitated as volatile business conditions persisted. Despite such difficulties, a policy measure to counter the vagaries of the silver crisis was not implemented until the 26th of June 1893. Attempts at currency reform in 1878, 1881, and 1886 were unsuccessful, having failed to overcome laissez faire arguments for non-intervention and/or because these proposals conflicted with British interests. My talk will examine how the simultaneous fulfillment of certain criteria was necessary for the successful legislation of Act VIII of 1893.

Savant Man Shrestha '13, economics and Spanish
"Effects of the Global Financial Crisis on Migrant and Non-migrant Households in Huehuetenango, Guatemala"

The paper examines the relationship between an exogenous economic shock "the global financial crisis of 2008" and migrational remittances in the rural highlands of Guatemala, a region with substantial international migration outflows and significant remittance inflows. Using a panel data set, a difference-in-difference approach that controls for the selectivity of migration is used to assess the impact of the global financial crisis on migrant and non-migrant households in Guatemala. Literature on the post-financial crisis' effects is rather thin. What are the differences in remittance levels sent to households before and after the crisis? How do households respond to overseas members' economic shocks and how is it reflected in total per-capita expenditure? What connection, if any, is there between the pervasiveness of risk in developing countries and international remittance flows? These are burning questions that beg further investigation and upon which this paper attempts to shed light.

2011 Grant Recipients

2011 Grant Recipients


Arthur Choo '12, political science; sociology and anthropology
"Administering Integration: North Korean Refugee Resettlement in South Korea"

The number of North Korean refugees entering South Korea has increased exponentially in the past decade. Whereas only a couple hundred defectors migrated south annually until the 1990s, this figure now hovers at approximately 3,000 refugees each year. To accommodate this increase, the South Korean government continues to develop programs that manage refugee resettlement/integration. Currently, North Korean refugees who arrive in South Korea undergo a highly regulated resettlement process- one that begins with their application for political asylum and continues long after they begin their new lives in the South. This project focuses on how the South Korean government manages resettlement in ways that facilitate the transformation of refugees into functional individuals as defined by the state. In particular, it explores how power operates through the structural composition of various resettlement institutions while also investigating how refugees use their limited agency to resist these transformative processes.

David Tyler Gibson '12, international politics and economics
“The Effects of China’s 2008 Contract Law on Labor Organization”

Kyle McHenry Hunter
 '12, political science 
"Present at the Creation: Norm Promotion and LGBT rights in International Politics"

In June 2011, the UN Human Rights Council passed the first ever resolution calling on states to protect rights based explicitly on an individual's sexual orientation and gender identity. How did this happen? My thesis research looks at what factors have caused LGBT rights to emerge as a contentious issue in global politics, and also at the domestic level in South Africa. Specifically, this study focuses on interactions between networks as an important variable in determining whether activists succeed in getting their issue noticed, and subsequently codified and/or institutionalized. With support from the Rohatyn Center for International Affairs, I spent this past summer interviewing UN officials, LGBT rights activists, those working in the HIV/AIDS as well as government officials in Geneva and Cape Town. This presentation will briefly describe the research experience and then highlight some of my findings from South Africa.

Pui Shen Yoong '12, international politics and economics
"Evaluating Brazil's Bolsa Familia: Do Local Governments Matter?"

Brazil’s Bolsa Familia program (BFP) is a conditional cash transfer scheme aimed at ending poverty and inequality. Qualifying families receive a monthly stipend on the condition that they fulfill certain requirements in health and education. Although the BFP is a federal program, each of Brazil’s 5, 564 municipalities play an important role in its local implementation. Using a combination of regression analysis and four case studies from the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, this study evaluates the impact of local government capacity on beneficiaries’ health and education. I find that the percentage of beneficiaries who comply with the program’s health and education requirements is likely to be higher in municipalities with higher administrative capacity – the ability of public agencies to track and monitor beneficiaries. The results suggest that municipalities are critical actors in the success of this program, and that more investment is needed to build local administrative capacity.

2003-2010 Grant Recipients


Shabana Basij-Rasikh '11, international studies major, “Suicide in the Form of Self-immolation as an Increasing Response to Domestic Violence in Afghanistan
Maxwell Benjamin '11, economics and mathematics double major, “Testing Worker Output Evaluation Differences between American and Japanese Citizens.”
Molly Brister '11, international studies major
Proposed research topic: “Legal ramifications of the Ottoman millet system on sectarian relations in Lebanon.”
Research presented at 2011 RCFIA International Research Travel Grant Presentations: "The Women's Movement in Modern Lebanon (1920-1990): A Critical Reassessment."
Alhaji Jalloh '11, political science major, “The Influence of Economic Development in Religious Extremism in Mali and Senegal.
Xiaoxue Weng '11, international politics and economics major
Proposed research topic: “Political Factors that Shape Japanese Emergency Assistance Abroad.”
Research presented at 2011 RCFIA International Research Travel Grant Presentations: "The Politicization of Japanese Humanitarian Aid: What Political and Economic Factors Shape the Process?"


Elissa Bullion '10, sociology and anthropology major, “Moche Social Structures Evidenced in Archaeological Sites of San Jose de Moro, Peru.”
Forrest Orme '10, history major, “Personal, Religious, and Intellectual Motivations of Cyrus Hamlin for the Development of a Westernized Education System in the Middle East.”
Elizabeth Sutcliffe '10, sociology and anthropology major, African studies minor, “The Impact HIV/AIDS Denialism on the South African people.”


Abigail Blum '09, a political science major, African studies minor, "Overcoming the 'Hollow Ring:' The Implementation of Socioeconomic Rights Rulings in South Africa"
Nicole Conti '09, an art history major, "Illness and Devotion on Hieronymus Bosch's Triptych of the Temptation of St. Anthony in Lisbon"
Ria Shroff '09, a Spanish major, "Cuerpo femenino, arte y memoria: Eva Perón y sus representaciones artísticas y Literarias" (Feminine body, art and memory: Eva Perón and her artistic literary representations)


Sage Bierster '07, an international studies major with a focus on Latin America, sociology/anthropology and Portuguese, "Os Meninos da Casa Dom Bosco: Coming of Age in a Shelter"
Amanda Goodwin '07, a political science major, "Ethnic Minority Voting Behavior Explained: Resources, Mobilization and Motivation in Context of the 2005 British Election"
Talia Lincoln '08, a sociology/anthropology major, "Non-governmental Organizations in Northern Thailand"


Aglaya Glebova
 '07, history of art and architecture major, "Representations of Women in Natalia Goncharova's Early Work."
Mateal Lovaas '07, international studies major, "Africa on Stage: Understanding the West's Collective Representation of Sub-Saharan Africa through a Comparative Analysis of Children's Literature and International Development."
Courtney Matson '07, international studies major, "The Politics of Epidemic: How Government and Civil Society Address HIV/AIDS Crisis in the People's Republic of China."
Rachel Rosenfeld '07, international studies major, "Jewberia: The Struggle to Define Russian Jewish Identity in the Postmodern Period."
Devin Wardell '07, international studies major, "Beautiful Craft, Beautiful Life: The Manufacturing Philosophy of William Morris."


Grace Armstrong 
'06, independent scholar, "North-South Copyfights: Ideology and Copyright in the United States and Brazil."
Rachel Dunlap '06, English and theater joint major, "Brave, Sexy, and Tired: The Collected Experiences of Senegalese Women."
Helen Price Massey '06, international studies major, "An Analysis of Leadership in the Fight against HIV/AIDS: The Cases of South Africa, Malawi, and Uganda."
Danielle Naugle '06, sociology/anthropology and Spanish double major, "The Afro-Uruguayans of Montevideo: Blackness, Discrimination, and Identity."
Pauley Tedoff '06, sociology/anthropology major, "Marriage by Correspondence: A Sociocultural Exploration of Matrimony between Swiss Men and Mauritian Women."
Nathalie Wolfram '06, English major, "'Scenes Not Inferior to Any in England': Creating the Stage in Eighteenth-Century Exeter and York."


Naomi Cookson
 '05, history major, "Greening a Red China: The Development of Environmental Civil Society in the People's Republic of China."
Amichai Kilchevsky '05, international politics and economics major, "Peace and Economic Interdependence in the Middle East."
Yohanne Kidolezi '05, economics major, "Household Surveys and Street Child Labor: Evidence for Selection and Reporting Bias."
Leslie Lartey '05, political science major, "Examining the Link Between Democracy and Decentralization in West Africa: A Case Study of Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.”


Lila Buckley '04, Chinese and sociology/anthropology double major, "The Newborn Kingdom: Voices of Urban Chinese Women and the Politics of Reproduction."
Brian Hoyer '03.5, international studies major, "Nipke Kikupe: Dependency, Reciprocity, and Paradoxes of Food Aid in Lugufu Refugee Camp, Kigoma, Tanzania."
Rituraj Mathur '04, international politics and economics major, "Insurgency and Development: The Case of Assam."
Kristina Rudd '04, independent scholar in international development studies, "Death is Following Us: The Impoverishment of the Ugandan Batwa Associated with Bwindi Impenetrable National Park."
Andrei Takhteyev '03, international politics and economcs and German joint major, "Deutsche unter Deutschen? Die Einwanderungspolitik der BRD und die Eingliederung von Russlanddeutschen" (Germans among/under Germans? The FRB's Immigration Policy and the Integration of "russia"-Germans).