2022 - 2023 CRG Student Research Grantees

AY 2022 - 2023 CRG Student Research Grantees

Grid with photos of Fall 2022 CRG Student Research Grantees

Fall 2022 CRG Student Research Grantees


Department:  Environmental Science, Policy and Management

Project Title:  Making Power: Indigenous Sovereignty, Oil and Gas Development and Environmental Justice on the Ute Reservation

There has been a recent profusion of scholarship situating oil and gas development/extraction (ODG) as an environmental justice issue impeding Indigenous sovereignty. Yet, multiple tribal nations rely on OGD for revenue and their perspectives remain largely unexamined in the literature. The Ute Tribe has been leasing land on their 1.2-million-acre Reservation in northeastern Utah since 1971 and this revenue has lifted the Tribe out of poverty. However, the permitting process for a well on the Reservation involves a tangled web of environmental approvals from four federal agencies whose decision-making processes often do not include the Tribe. This is in direct contradiction to the Tribe’s own jurisdiction, making “ the environment” a contested space and its protection deeply political. Exacerbating these tensions, air quality on the Reservation has reached unhealthy levels with 90 percent of emissions coming from OGD. This project draws on critical Indigenous studies and political ecology to examine the complex and contradictory relationships between OGD, Indigenous sovereignty, and environmental justice on the Ute Reservation. I will engage in archival and ethnographic research to explore how Ute people rationalize OGD, and its concomitant environmental and public health issues, within Ute epistemologies.

AJ KURDI  (Fall 2022)
Department:  Comparative Ethnic Studies
Project Title:  The Multiscalars of Intersectionality: Ethnic Minority Queer Organizing in Comparative Perspective

My doctoral research aims to detangle conceptual and empirical puzzles pertaining to transnational social movements, equality policies and intersectionality. By conducting a comparative study on the self-organization of queer people belonging to racial and ethnic minorities in Hungary, Germany, Canada and the United States, I seek to demonstrate how different forms of ethnic minority queer organizing shape the priorities and political orientations of mainstream LGBTQI movements and public policies in Europe and North America.

Department:  Comparative Ethnic Studies

Project Title:  Interview with Brazilian Artist Luana Vitra

With the support of the CRG Student Grants Program, I will conduct an in person, filmed interview with the Brazilian artist Luana Vitra, focusing on her art practice as well as her art installation "Zanzado em Trama é Armação de Arapuca", exhibited at the FRESTAS Trienal de Arte, SESC- Sorocaba, Brazil. This interview is a crucial component of my current doctoral research which centers the contemporary art practices of Indigenous, Black, and mestiza artists from Latin America, and their diaspora in North America, with a focus on how particular aesthetic practices interrogate and resist the coloniality of gender and its intrinsic hierarchies of racial categorization. I am eager to consider how these practices may constitute an insurgence-resurgence of non-modern (non-Western-colonial) knowledges, reconceptualize the human as delinked from the imposed modern colonial episteme, and elicit a sensory-erotics of affinity carved out of—and in spite of—difference. By extension, I also intend to explore how specific art practices may open possibilities for a reconception of aesthetics, one detached from Enlightenment aesthetic philosophy, which has decisively served to regiment hierarchies of the human, determining who gets to be a subject of rights in a liberal state. Ultimately, I will inquire how these art practices might repair the modern separation of knowing, sensing, and being to amplify what art can be, do, and become.

Department:  Environmental Science, Policy and Management
Project Title: A Comparative Ethnographic Study of Strategies of Resistance Employed by QTPOC (Queer and Trans People of Color) Agricultural Collectives

Myriad groups have been excluded from studies of the environment and agriculture. Recent research analyzes the unique relationships of people of color to environmental topics. In addition, nascent research has investigated queer communities in relation to environmental studies. Yet very little work has brought these two analytical perspectives into conversation with one another. My work pairs scholarship on Black, Indigenous, and People of Color food sovereignty and community resistance with scholarship on queer agricultural communities to explore the particular relations of QTPOC to land and agriculture as well as their unique strategies for advancing political inclusion and social equity. My work highlights the intersectional forms of discrimination that QTPOC face in relation to agriculture, food security, and food sovereignty. Simultaneously, I investigate unique strategies of QTPOC resistance while creating reciprocal and collaborative relationships with community members. Of particular interest are the role of disability in mediating agricultural relationships; coalitional possibilities between Black, Indigenous, and Latinx queer agriculturalists; mutual aid and anti-capitalist organizing; diasporic spices and traditional medicines; and the role of agricultural collectives in helping marginalized communities adapt to climate change.

Department:  Graduate School of Education
Project Title:  The Testimonios of UndocuGrads: Undocumented Latinx/a/o Doctoral Students attending the University of California (UC) system

Martha's dissertation seeks to document and uplift undocumented graduate students’ voices and experiences as they navigate professional and academic degree doctoral programs. The research questions guiding her dissertation are as follows: What factors, if any, influence the educational experiences of undocumented Latinx/a/o doctoral students at the University of California? And what are the support mechanisms that undocumented Latinx/a/o doctoral students draw upon to navigate their respective doctoral programs? To begin answering these questions, Martha's dissertation will conduct online individual testimonial interviews with either current or recent Latinx/a/o doctoral graduates who completed their degrees from one of the UC campuses.

AMBER SWEAT  (Fall 2022)

Department:  French
Project Title:  "Banlieues Bleues": Girl/womanhood, "néo-négritude", and the peripheral communion

My research project, with travel support from the Berkeley Center for Race and Gender, will consider the Paris metropolitan's “Banlieues bleues’’ festival as an afterlife of the négritude movement’s Black arts festival, which first took place in Dakar 1966. While the festival does not officially champion any racio-ethnic specificity, I conceptualize it as a site of Black gathering that has recently taken on both youthed and feminized dimensions in tandem with Blackness; essentially, its novel programming structure and iconography centralize Black womanhood, girlhood, and afroféminisme, that which have largely been exempt from conversations on Paris’ periphery due to the banlieue’s historically adulti-fied and masculinized imaginary. I will be evaluating the ways in which Black women and girls cultivate allegiances between themselves, other girls and women of the Black francophone diaspora, and broader transatlantic networks. Going a bit deeper, I am particularly interested in how this festival will forge networks between Black girls and women in a peri/‘post’-COVID world. How can Black girls and women sing together— how can we melodically breathe together —in an era where the dissemination of contaminated breath has destabilized and restructured our methods of communion?

Department:  Anthropology
Project Title: Additional Support Necessary to Overcome Programmatic Barriers to Return to Work and Rehabilitation


NILO BAÑOS (Fall 2022)
Department:  Legal Studies

Project Title:  A Narrative on Latina Oldest Daughters, From Immigrant Households Navigating Higher Education

Households typically take on significant roles of responsibility within caregiving, emotional support for family members, language brokering, and so on. A variety of literature points to the correlation between birth order and mental health risk factors. First borns are reported to have higher emotional disorders as well as educational achievement being lower. Latina undergraduate students already face a challenging time navigating higher education with challenges being intensified by cultural norms and family expectations. Considering such challenges, as well as, the weight of expectations both during formative years and through undergraduate school, how does that affect the navigation of higher education for LODs? This study aims to identify common threads amongst the lived experiences of oldest daughters and use my findings to further investigate the factors that Latina oldest daughter's identity as having an significant impact on their decisions attending college, and how it affects eldest latina daughters through the navigation of higher education both academically and socially.

SARA BETTS (Fall 2022)
Department:  Political Economy

Project Title:  “Awareness, Access, and Eligibility: Health Insurance Enrollment and Navigation of the U.S. Healthcare System Post-Incarceration

This research project seeks to better understand how outcome gaps between individuals with different socioeconomic status affect their interactions with the U.S. healthcare system after incarceration. Many states have different approaches to connecting individuals to coverage and care upon reentry, but little research has documented the best practices and challenges involved in doing so. My project asks two key questions. First, what are the challenges associated with individuals’ health insurance enrollment and navigation of the United States healthcare system upon release from prison? Second, what are the programmatic and policy opportunities that may lower these barriers and increase access to the coverage and care that is so critical for formerly incarcerated individuals? Following an in-depth analysis and discussion, this study will contribute to increasing awareness of the awareness, access, and eligibility barriers that formerly incarcerated face in the U.S. healthcare system and therefore serve as a step toward mitigating those barriers.

MEL BRITT (Fall 2022)
Department:  Political Science
Project Title:  Localizing Justice: The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia's Indirect Contribution to National Healing

This project will examine the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) and its contribution to national healing beyond prosecutions. The ECCC was established in 2003 to hold individuals legally accountable for atrocities committed during the Khmer Rouge regime. The international community has been quick to criticize the court given that the ECCC was only able to convict three individuals by the end of its mandate. However, emerging local stories suggest that the influence of the tribunal reaches far beyond the courtroom. The ECCC is currently partnering with several domestic non-governmental organizations that are increasing opportunities for testimonial therapy, psychological healing, education, and memorialization. Yet, the extent and impact of these contributions on national healing have not been thoroughly examined. An in-depth understanding of the non-judicial activities the ECCC has supported will allow scholars to have a more comprehensive understanding of the role international criminal tribunals might play in the pursuit of justice for mass atrocity crimes.

MARK DEL TORO (Fall 2022)
Department:  Chicanx Latinx Studies

Project Title: How does a parent’s immigration status impact Chicanx/a/o undergraduate students when pursuing higher education in a predominantly white institution?

Coming from a mixed-status family can be difficult growing up since citizen children are exposed to their family's vulnerability at a young age. These experiences can affect the way children navigate life and could follow them as they become adults. Existing literature on the importance of a parent’s legal status discusses various themes revolving around the development of children coming from these mixed-status backgrounds. The prominent themes that were constantly mentioned were: a) understanding the importance of their parents’ legal status and affects it has due to immigration policy changing, b) the threat of deportation that children experience at a young age, and c) children are impacted by their parent’s legal status as it can affect their education and upward mobility. My research question investigates the following: “How does a parent’s immigration status impact Chicanx/a/o undergraduate students when pursuing higher education in a predominantly white institution?” By reviewing the effects a parent’s legal status has on a child as they grow older, my study is aimed to look into the social, mental, and educational journeys that Chicanx/a/o undergraduate students face as they become adults and navigate higher education on their own. Throughout my research, in-depth interviews will be conducted where Chicanx/a/o undergraduate students will be interviewed to experience firsthand the hardships that these citizen children had to endure as they navigated life as de facto undocumented immigrants rather than the citizen that they are. This research will contribute to existing literature that has been made about undocumented parents' struggles in assisting their citizen children to pursue higher education, along with possibly developing new policies or protocols that can protect citizen children from constantly living in fear due to their parent's immigration status/troubles.

Department:  Interdisciplinary Studies

Project Title: Safe and Sound: Gender Violence and the Routines of Daily Living

Women experience multitudes of cultural guidance on how they must conduct themselves in order to avoid any confrontations that may result in violence. My project will look at how South Asian women of various religious and cultural backgrounds have altered their daily lives and their forms of living in order to avoid being confronted with violence. I will collect narratives of their daily lives and routines, and analyze the methods in which they structure their lives around protecting themselves from harm. I will specifically conduct qualitative interviews on how honor and gender violence is perceived and lived by women of South Asian descent. I’d like to see what South Asian women are individually taught about gender violence, and how that affects their daily actions (i.e. not going out after 6pm, or dressing a certain way, etc.). I’d diversify the cultural backgrounds of the women, and see if culture plays an aspect in the determination of how South Asian women conduct themselves on a daily basis. The main question I will be answering is: how do South Asian women structure their daily lives around avoiding gender-based violence?

RUHAO (IRENE) PANG (Fall 2022)
Department:  Sociology

Project Title:  How Do You Decide Your Major(s)?: An Extended Study of Asian American Female College Students’ Major Choice(s)n

The “model minority myth” is an overgeneralized symbol for Asian Americans, which defines the characters and pursuits of Asian Americans based on their racial identity. Meanwhile, the myth perpetuates an image of Asian women as feminine, caring, and gentle. Thus, the intersectionality of race and gender creates overlapping pressure and discrimination against Asian female college students. Given the stereotypes of the Asian and Asian female community, this study will answer the following research question by adding a gender component: How did Asian American female college students choose their major(s)? This research aims to navigate the variety of reactions when Asian American female students choose a major in college. This research will extend my prior research at the University of California, Berkeley. While the existing literature mostly talks about conformity of the model minority myth, this study will explain how students develop their unique strategy to show their agency when deciding on their college major(s). By exploring personal motivation, family expectations, and institutional influences, this research will extend the scope of the existing literature to explore students’ agency, and how Asian American female students negotiate and balance multiple factors that influence their major choice(s).