Nine students in the arts, humanities and social sciences have been chosen as the Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry's 2017-2018 Graduate Fellows and awarded a total of $45,000 to support their research.
The fellowships are $5,000 awards provided to graduate students to fund creative, innovative research projects over an academic year. During the award period, fellows interact with an interdisciplinary cohort of grantees, receive professional development support and have opportunities to present their research to diverse audiences.
"This generation of scholars is combining creativity with academic rigor in their wide-ranging activities," said Javier Durán, director of the Confluencenter. "The projects span from tribal water rights and language preservation, to environmental issues and transgender studies. Some of the projects examine questions regarding social disparities."
The project and the respective fellows involved:
Voices From the Edge: Using Traditional Street Theater to Promote Climate Awareness in Coastal Bangladesh
- Saleh Ahmed, a student in arid lands resource sciences, is working to help connect rural populations, without access to mainstream media, to information on climate issues impacting the small community of Kalapara in Bangladesh's Patuakhali coastal district. Street theater is a deeply cultural aspect of Kalapara, and Ahmed's goals are to use it to disseminate climate information and enhance disaster preparedness. A large share of the population faces risks including sea level rise, salinity intrusion coastal flooding and tropical cyclones.
Multimodality, Social Semiotics and Literacy: How LESLLA Learners from Refugee Backgrounds Make Meaning
- Jenna Altherr Flores, in second language acquisition and teaching, is working to gain insight into how adult emergent readers from refugee backgrounds and non-Western cultures construct meaning from multimodal texts by focusing on still image, layout and writing. The results will be beneficial for multimodal assessment and pedagogical practices in learning environments, and for materials development and distribution by local and international institutions — such as resettlement agencies, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and language and literacy programs — that work with these populations.
Water, Law and Tribal Sovereignty: Paiute Perspectives on the Owens Valley Water Conflict
- Sophia Borgias, a student in the School of Geography and Development, is examining California's Owens Valley water conflict from the perspective of the Owens Valley Paiute tribes, whose history to reclaim water rights has been long neglected. Drawing political ecology into conversation with legal geography, the project uses a critical interdisciplinary lens to challenge the oversimplified economic and environmental analyses that have dominated study of the Owens Valley water conflict. It will use participatory methods in collaboration with the Owens Valley Indian Water Commission.
Eco-Grief: A Poem for No One
- Master of Fine Arts student Isan Brant is creating a project combining visual art, poetry and ecology to explore the themes of drought and transformation through the geologic and human history of the Sonoran Desert's basin and range ecosystems. Merging artistic and scientific query, this project calls on divergent ways of understanding the complexity of our human position in the desert ecosystem. Human dependence on natural resources, such as fresh water for both survival and culture, is a central motif.
Translating Science in a Digital Age: Digital Tools to Communicate Science for More Just Transitions to Renewable Energy
- The project of Arica Crootof, a School of Geography and Development student, will explore how digital tools such as story maps and visual simulations can help illustrate research to more effectively communicate science to diverse audiences. Crootof's objectives are to incorporate the digital tools to illustrate the spatial and temporal — as well as social and physical — dimensions of research, and to develop a blog that provides resources to make digital tools more accessible for academics.
waq dal naat maqlaqsyalank hema: Tribal-Centered Inquiry and Participatory Immersion for Klamath-Modoc Language Revitalization
- Linguistics student Joseph Dupris is developing and hosting a five-day, community-based language skills workshop and research inquiry intended to serve his tribe by articulating the stakes and expectations the Klamath tribal community prioritizes for the revitalization of maqlaqsyals (Klamath-Modoc language). This project is critical because children no longer are learning the language as a first language. The workshop is a tribal-centered inquiry through participatory practice for successful maqlaqsyals revitalization.
Murmullos (murmurs or whispers)
- Murmullos, which is Spanish for murmurs or whispers, is a photographic art project by Master of Fine Arts student Conor Elliott Fitzgerald that investigates violence in El Salvador. The project's aim is to engage audiences in an installation of large-scale photographs and an accompanying print publication to engender dialogue around how current insecurity in El Salvador is part of a complex legacy of neocolonial violence. The country's civil war, in the 1980s and '90s, was advised and financed by the U.S. government, and Fitzgerald will incorporate declassified U.S. governmental records on the war into the project.
Neither Here Nor There: Transgender Sex Workers and the Politics of 'East' and 'West' in Thessaloniki
- Saffo Papantonopoulou, a student in anthropology and Middle Eastern studies, explores the orientation of Thessaloniki, Greece, as holding either an Eastern or Western identity. Greece's cultural and geographical location on the borders between Europe and the Middle East have become pressing political questions, with very real impact on people's lives. Papantonopoulou will explore various sites that relate both to sexual politics, discourse and the production of imagined geographies.
Who Cares? How Caregiving Influences Early Communicative, Cognitive and Physiological Development
- Anthropology student Britt Singletary's project aims to improve understanding of how human allomaternal care (or AMC, care from someone other than the mother) practices have evolved by investigating whether AMC influences signaling, cognitive and physiological outcomes. It will help determine whether AMC improves early developmental outcomes. The project will examine how children successfully communicate with known and unknown receivers within an experimental setting that requires them to solicit help in order to fulfill their desires.