By Andrew McCullough - Every social interaction is shaped by goals—our own, and those of the other people involved. As we interact, we draw inferences about the goals of others, both consciously and unconsciously. Nicholas A. Palomares, associate professor of communication, studies these inferences, including the extent to which they can influence a given goal’s “outcome success.”
By Andrew McCullough - How does memory work? How do neurons in the brain allow us to remember past experiences? Understanding how the brain encodes and retrieves memories fascinates Brian Wiltgen, associate professor of psychology. Wiltgen and his colleagues use cutting-edge tools and techniques to understand how the brain remembers.
By Griselda Jarquin – How do we end the cycle of poverty in the United States? How can children’s health and nutrition services reduce destitution among minors? What are the long-term benefits of safety net programs? On the eve of her Bacon Public Lectureship at UC Center Sacramento, Professor of Economics Marianne Page explains.
By Griselda Jarquin – In colonial East Africa, young women faced intense scrutiny in their personal and professional lives. Today, in a series of connected projects, Associate Professor of History Corrie Decker investigates how those lives played out in Zanzibar, Kenya, and beyond.
By Tanzeen R. Doha – Economics, migration, and labor markets: the relationship between these three fields fascinates Katherine Eriksson, assistant professor of economics. Specializing in economic history, Eriksson places particular emphasis on the early 20th century in the United States. In a recent co-authored paper, she explores how the cultural practice of naming children can affect their future placement within the labor market.
By Phyllis Jeffrey – Why does transparency matter? As the so-called "replication crisis" places the methods, measures, and culture of science under ever-greater scrutiny, what can social scientists do to maintain faith in their research? Such questions fascinate Simine Vazire, associate professor of psychology and transparency advocate.
By Tanzeen R. Doha – Jeffrey S. Kahn is an assistant professor of anthropology at UC Davis and a legal scholar interested in migration, mobility, and border policing. His research focuses on Haiti, the Guantánamo Naval Base, the United States, and the Republic of Bénin. Here, Kahn, who earned his PhD at the University of Chicago and his JD at Yale Law School, and who served as an Academy Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, talks to ISS about how he is shaping these interests into two forthcoming books.
By Tanzeen R. Doha - In the second of two features, we introduce some of the newest members of the social sciences faculty at UC Davis.
By Phyllis Jeffrey - With new physical evidence appearing every day, why does climate change remain a subject of contention, confusion—even flat-out denialism? Approaching climate change through collective orientations toward time and imaginings of the future, Research Professor of Sociology John R. Hall seeks to shed light on the sociological side of the climate change conundrum.
By Phyllis Jeffrey - Here, in the first of two features, we introduce some of the newest members of the social sciences faculty at UC Davis.
By Phyllis Jeffrey - Does “being responsible” simply mean fulfilling our duties, or paying what we owe? In her first book, Assistant Professor of Political Science Shalini Satkunanandan explores the history of calculative thinking in ethics and politics—a history with profound implications.
By Rebecca Egli - If a hiker were lost in the backcountry and you were able to rescue them, would you feel morally obligated to do so? Would the hiker be similarly obliged to take adequate precautions against getting lost? In recently published research, Assistant Professor of Philosophy Tina Rulli grapples with the ethics of risk and rescue, and their implications for public policy.
By Phyllis Jeffrey - Caitlin Patler’s passion for immigration research was sparked by a very particular time and place. Bringing together approaches from sociology of law, race and ethnicity, as well as literature on immigration, she channels her experiences of 1990s California into work with wide-reaching resonances.
By Rebecca Egli - In his first book, Assistant Professor of History Ian Campbell examines how imperial Russian bureaucrats and local Kazak intermediaries worked together to produce knowledge about the strategically important but isolated Kazak steppe in the nineteenth century. Campbell’s work highlights the fundamental weakness of the Russian Empire on its borderlands, and the limits of what it could know and do.
By Tory Brykalski - On the eve of its Winter 2016 keynote event, we look at the important, interdisciplinary work of the Mellon Initiative in Comparative Border Studies at UC Davis.
By Loren Michael Mortimer - What does it take to leave one’s homeland in search of an uncertain future? Why do entire communities migrate to faraway lands in ways not explained by rational self-interest? Such questions have long intrigued David Kyle, associate professor of sociology and founding member of the Temporary Migration research cluster at UC Davis. In a recent paper, he offers some potential answers.
By Loren Michael Mortimer - In his latest book, historian Eric Rauchway places Franklin Delano Roosevelt at the center of a worldwide monetary revolution. Roosevelt wanted to end the Great Depression in a way that preserved capitalism and democratic institutions. His decision to take the U.S. off the gold standard was key to the country’s economic recovery. But his monetary policy has been given scant credit—until now.
By Tory Brykalski - Anthropologist Smriti Srinivas is searching for alternative futures—in the present. With today's urban spaces facing problems of waste, pollution, and uncontrolled growth, how, she asks, can we lay the foundations for humane and livable cities of tomorrow?
By Loren Michael Mortimer - Since the 1950s, the study of Spanish colonial art has fallen out of favor among art historians inclined to view Colonial paintings as merely "slavish" reproductions of European originals. But Almerindo Ojeda, professor of linguistics at UC Davis and director of the Project on the Engraved Sources of Spanish Colonial Art (PESSCA), disagrees. Rejecting what he calls an "inferiority complex among colonial historians," Ojeda sees important stories embedded in colonial paintings—stories that deserve to be told.
By Ben Hinshaw - The UC Global Food Initiative is committed to tackling the global food challenge, including the controversial matter of GMO crops. In a recent two-session panel entitled "GMOs: All Facts, No Fiction" held on two consecutive evenings at UC Davis and UC Riverside, the Initiative invited four experts to discuss the complexities and implications of genetically modified food. One of the panelists was Belinda Martineau, former genetic engineer and current ISS grant writer. I talked to Belinda about her background in GE food and her thoughts on what consumers deserve to know.
By Tory Brykalski - The effects of the War on Terror can be felt as far afield as Pakistan and Palestine, and as close to home as on the UC Davis campus. Exploring what some of those effects might be for her forthcoming book THE 9/11 GENERATION: YOUTH, RIGHTS, AND SOLIDARITY IN THE WAR ON TERROR (NYU Press, Fall 2017), Sunaina Maira, professor of Asian American studies, enlisted the help of local Muslim American students. In the process, she found herself wondering: who exactly is social science for?
The Gibe III dam sits on the Omo River, 300km southwest of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia's capital. A designated UNESCO World Heritage site, the Lower Omo Valley is home to five national parks and over 200,000 people. Scholars predict that the dam and its associated plantations will have catastrophic effects for these citizens. It could also impact the region’s fragile ecology and complicate relations between Ethiopia and Kenya.
By Loren Michael Mortimer - Did Herbert Hoover's hostile response to the unionization efforts of farmers in New Deal-era California sow the seeds of today's ultra-conservative politics? That's the question Kathryn Olmsted, Chair of the Department of History at UC Davis, seeks to answer in her new book.
By Alex Russell - The major challenge of big data for social scientists today is in figuring out how to turn this wealth of information into knowledge, according to Martin Hilbert, an assistant professor of communication at UC Davis. Hilbert studies information technology, big data and what it means for human societies.
By Alex Russell - A lot happens when we remember. Networks of neurons firing throughout the brain let us see, hear, smell, touch and maybe even taste something that happened in the past. An interdisciplinary research project at UC Davis is using music to access memories that on most days seem buried under years of living—and forgetting.
By Alex Russell - Children whose parents are in prison have worse health, poorer school performance and are at a greater risk for depression, anxiety, asthma and HIV/AIDS, according to a policy brief released by the Center for Poverty Research at the University of California, Davis.
By Alex Russell - Security on the Web has as much to do with the programmers writing code as it does with firewalls and virus protection. Linguistics Associate Professor Raúl Aranovich studies language structure and theory, and is working on a project for the NSF that could identify programmers most likely to write vulnerable code.
By Alex Russell - Compared to other animals, humans have highly stratified societies. Birds, fish and other animals have this, too—as do other primates—but it’s not as pronounced as it is with humans. UC Davis anthropologist Margaret Crofoot, a member of the ISS Executive Committee, is working to understand what primate societies can tell us about humans and also the changing global environment.
By Alex Russell - Jorge Peña, an assistant professor of communication, has recently been teaming up with researchers across disciplines to observe the impact that virtual experiences, which includes playing video games, can have on people in the real world.
By Alex Russell - Patrick Farrell, a professor of linguistics, recently wrapped up a joint project with statistics professor Fushing Hsieh that used a language game from the 1870s to build a visual representation of the English language as a network.