SOAN Club Brownbag this Wednesday at 1:00 PM

forestWhat:   Senior Allison Nasson will talk about her AHSS Summer Research Project
When:  Wednesday September 28 from 1:00 to 1:50
Where: MacIntyre Room 303

The SOAN Student Club is happy to announce they’ll be hosting the first in a series of brownbag discussions this Wednesday. Senior Allison Nasson was one of several SOAN students awarded the AHSS Summer Research Awards. Allison’s project explored how nonprofits go about the process of constructing and purveying narratives of victimhood. Here’s her description:

Storytelling has become an invaluable tool for nonprofits as they attempt to garner attention and funding for their causes. Countless choices go into the construction of a narrative, and this begs the question: to whom are nonprofits catering these choices? When building and telling a victim’s story takes place with the goal of maximizing donations, NGOs are accountable to potential donors rather than to the people whose stories are being told. This shift in accountability requires an analysis of how victims’ narratives are constructed, whose stories go unheard, and the ramifications of manipulated portrayals of marginalized identities.

Only in recent years has such analysis begun to be called for in communities of activism. In this vein, my research studies the three processes I found nonprofits most consistently applied to victims’ narratives: simplification, sanitization, and solving. This examination allows insight into how storytelling practices contribute to perceptions of legitimate victimhood, and the attribution or denial of this status. Such analysis is critical to understanding whether nonprofits are serving victims effectively, or if well-intended organizational practices are in fact creating further exploitation and harm.

After a brief presentation about her project and its findings, the brownbag session will turn to an open discussion about her conclusions, her project design, and the AHSS summer research experience. Please join us!



Professors Hoffman and Burke on Anthropology and the Environment

Anthropology and the Environment Prelim Poster B-page-001

The SOAN Student Club has organized a pair of lectures for Monday evening. Drs. David Hoffman (Mississippi State) and Brian Burke (Appalachian State) will be describing several of their research projects, and conveying how they sought to address broader environmental concerns with anthropology. Both Hoffman and Burke have a variety of diverse research projects under their belts, many of which are focused on Latin America. After describing a few of them, the lecture will pivot to a student-guided conversation about anthropology, doing anthropology, and the goal of contributing to a more environmentally sustainable and just world.

Anthropology and the Environment: Balancing Society and Sustainability
Brian Burke (Appalachian State) and David Hoffman (Mississippi State)
Monday, March 28, 2016, 5:00 PM
Murray Boardroom, Wheelock Student Center

We hope to see you there.



Summer Research Award for SOAN’s Rodger Caudill

Hi all,

Rodger and DoubleLift, a League of Legends professional.

Rodger and DoubleLift, a League of Legends professional.

Rodger Caudill is another of the SOAN students to receive the AHSS award this cycle. So as you many know, the University of Puget Sound offers students competitive Summer Research Awards. These awards, varying from $3250 to $3750, allow students to pursue an in-depth research project over the summer months. Several students in the department were successful this year, and I’ve asked each to tell us a little bit about what they’ll be doing with their time, energy, and stipend monies in the coming summer. Here’s what Rodger had to say about about his interesting project:

S4 worlds

The Season 4 League of Legends World Championship, with 40,000 in attendance

This summer I will be studying the online community of League of Legends, a five versus five competitive e-sport. With a population of players larger than the population of France, League of Legends is a massive e-sport that has its own culture and large scale competitive events. Within the game of League of Legends, I will be examining “what makes the dream-work”, or in other words, what the recipe is that allows five players from all across the world to cooperate in a task more strategically complex than any sport aired on ESPN. To do so I will be researching cooperation and altruism with a sociological lens in addition to interviewing key members of this young and growing e-sport in hopes that the knowledge in uncovering the source of cooperation and altruistic behavior in this e-sport can be applied to further cooperation and altruistic behavior in a globalized world.

We look forward to hearing about your findings, Rodger, and we hope this research allows you to amass a substantial cache of Influence Points.


Summer Research Award for SOAN’s Carolynn Hammen

Hi all,

Carolynn Hammen, who evidently found her way to the shores of this Swiss pond

Carolynn Hammen, who evidently found her way to the shores of this Swiss pond

As you many know, the University of Puget Sound offers students competitive Summer Research Awards. These awards, varying from $3250 to $3750, allow students to pursue an in-depth research project over the summer months. Several students in the department were successful this year, and I’ve asked each to tell us a little bit about what they’ll be doing with their time, energy, and stipend monies in the coming summer. Here’s what Carolynn Hammen (SOAN class of ’16, and currently studying abroad in Switzerland) had to say:

For my project, I will be examining migrant access to psychological healthcare. I have the incredible opportunity of partnering with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) office in Cairo, Egypt to conduct my research, where I will be also working as an intern in the psychosocial health division. During my stay in Cairo, I will be using the resources of the IOM to examine barriers–both cultural and policy-based–that prevent migrants from obtaining or seeking psychological healthcare. I will also be conducting a review on existing policies and programs that aim to make psychological treatment accessible to migrant workers. Once identifying their weaknesses, I will work with the IOM to construct new policy recommendations to help improve said policies and/or programs. I am incredibly excited to embark on this adventure, and to see the results of this project!

That does sound like an amazing opportunity, Carolynn, and we can’t wait to hear how it goes. And summer in Cairo … well, that will be an experience of its own. Good luck, and we’ll look for an update later in the summer.


Professor Anthony D’Costa on Compressed Capitalism and Indian Development!

Hi all,

anthony-1Professor Anthony P. D’Costa from the University of Melbourne will be on campus for a presentation this week. Here’s the key information:

  • Date: Thursday, April 2, 2015
  • Time: 7:30 pm to 8:45 pm
  • Location: Trimble Forum

Professor D’Costa will be analyzing and exploring Indian development and the nature of the underlying capitalist processes embroiled in that development. Here’s more detailed information about his talk:

Compressed Capitalism, Globalization, and the Fate of Indian Development

India’s economic turnaround since the 1980s and since 1991 has been widely credited as a result of economic reforms. Gradual and systematic deregulation at home and increased international integration promises even better economic performance. This is only partly true since a good part of India is untouched by economic reforms in any meaningful way, even if official reports of declining poverty are to be believed. The question this paper poses is why despite envious economic growth rates, India’s development seems elusive. This is a complex issue and could be addressed variously but they are all likely to resort to ‘nation-centric’ explanations. I take an alternative perspective (still work in progress) to position India in the wider capitalist dynamic of the late twentieth century articulating the national with the global. Late capitalism in India, and for that matter many other developing countries, has meant new technologies, mature capitalists, and a relatively well-developed state. All three cumulatively stand for economic growth, industrialization, urbanization, and some politically negotiated redistribution. However, I will argue that the working of compressed capitalism, that is, primitive accumulation, which is historically complete elsewhere, is an ongoing feature in India and coexists with advanced sectors on a high road to accumulation. However, the dispossession and displacement of people and the persistence of petty commodity production in the context of technology-led, enclave-based economic production add to the development conundrum. The resulting inequality (and polarization) in India in an expanding economy is thus not an anomaly but a reflection of systemic dynamics of contemporary India.

Professor Anthony P. D’Costa joined the University of Melbourne and the Australia India Institute as Chair of Contemporary Indian Studies in 2013. Prior to joining Melbourne University, he was Research Director and A.P. Moller-Maersk Professor of Indian Studies, Asia Research Centre at the Copenhagen Business School, Denmark (2008-13). He was also with the University of Washington for 18 years. He has written extensively on the political economy of steel, auto, and IT industries covering themes of capitalism and globalization, development, innovations, and industrial restructuring.Of his several books, most recently he co-edited Transformation and Development: The Political Economy of Transition in India and China with Amiya Kumar Bagchi (2012), Globalization and Economic Nationalism in Asia (edited, 2012), and A New India? Critical Reflections in the Long Twentieth Century (edited, 2010).He is working on globalization and the international mobility of IT workers (Routledge) and After Development Dynamics: South Korea’s Engagement with Contemporary Asia (edited, Oxford). He has been a fellow of the American Institute of Indian Studies, Fulbright-Hays, Korea Foundation, Social Science Research Council, World Institute of Development Economics Research, Abe (Japan Foundation), and POSCO Fellow, East West Center.

SOAN Students at the SfAA Conference in Pittsburgh

Hi all,

Puget Sound students at the Pittsburgh SfAA Poster Session

Puget Sound students at the Pittsburgh SfAA Poster Session. Clockwise from upper left: Mason Constantino, Reilly Rosbotham, Mally Wyld and Elena Becker.

Seven Puget Sound students just returned from the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA) annual meeting in Pittsburgh, PA. The SfAA is the second largest annual gathering of anthropologists, and it attracts both practitioners and academics who work in heath, development, environmental change, education, migration, and a constellation of other topics.

Six Puget Sound students participated in the poster session — a session that’s a perennially popular event at the SfAA. Students (and others) prepare a poster that details their research project, and hundreds of conference attendees explore and discuss these projects with students. Amongst many others in the audience, Puget Sound students discussed their research with H.Russell Bernard, Brian Burke, David Hoffman and Erin Dean.

Most of these posters detail the students’ senior thesis projects in SOAN — projects in progress this semester. Sophomore Elena Becker presented the findings from her independent project from SOAN 299: Ethnographic Methods, and Parker Raup (IPE) presented a poster about his summer research project in Tanzania. Altogether, here are the titles of those posters:

Parker Raup

Parker Raup

  • Mason Constantino (Puget Sound) Empowerment through Care: An Ethnographic Examination of a Youth Gardening and Sustainable Living Education Program in Tacoma, WA
  • Elena Becker (Puget Sound) Generational Change in Durable Intentional Communities
  • Kasey Janousek (Puget Sound) The Fashionista’s Dilemma: The Identity Politics of Following Fashion Trends
  • Parker Raup (Puget Sound) Defending Pastoralism: Livelihood Diversification and Competing Currencies in Northern Tanzanian Maasailand
  • Kasey Janousek

    Kasey Janousek

    Reilly Rosbotham (Puget Sound) Imagining the Wild: Conceptions of What MakesLand Wild among proponents of Wilderness Conservation and Re-Wilding Efforts in Western Washington

  • Mally Wyld (Puget Sound) Our Daily Choices: Analyzing How and Why We Eat What We Eat

Notably, Erica Hann also had a poster in the session. Erica graduated from Puget Sound (IPE) in 2011, and she previously won an award at this very poster session. Nowadays, she’s completing her Master’s Degree in Geography at Pennsylvania State University.

Elize Zeidman's presentation

Elize Zeidman’s presentation

While most students presented posters, SOAN senior Elise Zeidman presented a paper as part of a session presenting undergraduate research, organized by Tara Hefferan (GVSU). Elise’s paper — Migrants Search For Asylum from Narco Violence — captivated the audience, and resonated with many other and papers at the conference this year.

My own paper, entitled An Ethnographic Assessment of Transnational Labor Migrants’ Experiences In Qatar’s Justice System, comprised a description of that recently-completed project and report, followed by a discussion of the reception of that report by an invited audience of policymakers, ministry officials, and other stakeholders in the Qatar Justice system.

The SfAA conference will be in Vancouver, BC next year, and we’re hoping for an even larger Puget Sound presence at that meeting.


Summer Training Program in Social Science Research

Hi all,

The University of Michigan is renowned for its methodological contributions to social science and to the academy as a whole. This internship, which comes with many interesting opportunities and a substantial stipend, might be of interest to some of you. Here are the details:


Summer Undergraduate Internship Program

Last year's interns?

Last year’s interns?

Applications are being accepted now for the 2014 ICPSR Summer Undergraduate Internship Program, an intensive, 10-week program in Ann Arbor, Michigan, for students interested in social science research.

Apply now through the ICPSR online application portal. To complete the application form, students must answer a few questions; upload a cover letter, resume, and list of relevant courses; and provide contact information for two recommending college faculty or staff members, or employer references. The recommendations must be completed through the ICPSR recommendation portal.

The deadline for all materials is January 31, 2014.

About the Internship
The NSF-funded Research for Undergraduates (REU) internship program (Grant No. 1062317) matches students with mentors at the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), and supports exploration of a research question from start to finish — including literature searches, data analyses, and creation of conference-ready posters summarizing students’ research findings. Interns can attend graduate-level courses in quantitative methods at the University of Michigan taught by leading faculty across various research fields. Additionally, all ICPSR interns learn valuable data-management techniques using statistical packages such as SPSS, Stata, and SAS. Visit our website or view the flyer (PDF, 466 KB) for more information.

For examples of research projects done by past ICPSR interns, please see these videos.