Meet our 2017 Global Synergy Research Grant recipients. These outstanding Purdue Liberal Arts faculty are advancing their disciplines by their commitment to their research and passion for change.
The Global Synergy Research Grant provides support for these types of projects:
research proposed in collaboration with an individual faculty member at an international institution
collaborative projects among faculty in the liberal arts at Purdue partnering with faculty at an international institution
collaborative projects at the institutional level that involve the College of Liberal Arts at Purdue University and an international institution
2017 Purdue Liberal Arts Faculty
Mangala Subramaniam is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology
Christie Sennott is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology.
Professor Subramaniam and Professor Sennott received the 2017 Global Synergy in Research faculty award for their project: "From Mother to Daughter: HIV Risk and Knowledge Transmission about Sexual and Reproductive Health in India and South Africa"
In 2015 approximately 36.7 million people worldwide were living with HIV and of these almost 2.1 million had become newly infected, a number that has not changed in the past 10 years (GBD 2015). These trends reinforce the need for research on HIV prevention efforts and high risk groups with attention to the social and political context. In pursuing this call, our proposed exploratory study will focus on how and what sexual and reproductive health information women at risk of HIV share with their children, focusing on two countries that have been inordinately affected by the AIDS epidemic: India and South Africa. In both countries, most HIV infections occur through heterosexual transmission and women have been disproportionately affected by the epidemic (NACO 2011; UNAIDS 2015). Given the challenges women face in protecting themselves from infection, and the generational divides surrounding beliefs about sex in both countries (as healthy or not, as taboo, as culturally important), in this project we ask how conceptions of motherhood inform the role that women play in their children’s sexual socialization. Therefore, the main goal of this project is to unravel how and what kinds of sexual and reproductive health information that women at risk of HIV, as mothers, convey to their daughters. To address this question, we rely on qualitative data from women at high risk of HIV in rural Mpumalanga Province in northeast South Africa and rural areas of two states – Karnataka and Telangana—in Southern India. The findings of this comparative project may provide practical pathways to increase mothers’ agency and enhance communication about sexual and reproductive health between mothers and daughters living in a context of risk.
Manjana Milokoreit is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science.
Professor Milokoreit received the 2017 Global Synergy in Research faculty award for her project "Imagination in Transformation - Building Theory in Support of Social Change"
Today’s global sustainability challenges place significant transformational demands on modern societies. Given these pressures, political and scholarly interest in the theory and practice of social-ecological transformations has been growing rapidly over the last decade. Imagination is an important source of transformational capacity given that it enables individuals, communities, and states to envision, assess, deliberate, and decide about their near- and long-term future. Its lack or suppression poses obstacles to mobilizing for change. This project investigates the role of imagination in triggering, shaping, or constraining transformation processes related to climate change. We focus on a particular type of imagination, which informs public deliberation and decision-making in the present: the linked cognitive and social processes that create scientifically informed, collectively shared visions of possible futures. Drawing on existing knowledge across multiple disciplines, we will develop a theoretical framework that integrates imagination into current theories of social-ecological transformation, enabling insights into the processes that generate socio-climatic imaginaries and their impacts on societal trajectories of change.
Kyle Hayes is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science.
Professor Hayes received the 2017 Global Synergy in Research faculty award for his project: "Offsetting Uncertainty: Interstate Signaling with Two-Sided Incomplete Information"
This project examines how states communicate or “signal” their intentions during shifts in the international distribution of power. An extensive literature on interstate signaling and reassurance examines how declining states attempt to determine whether rising states harbor aggressive intentions. These models typically assume that the declining state is uncertain of the rising state’s intentions, but that the rising state is perfectly aware of the declining state’s preferences. This assumption is useful for creating tractable models and generating easily interpretable predictions. It is also grossly unrealistic. This project develops a game-theoretic model of interstate signaling where both the rising and declining state are uncertain of the other’s preferences. The model indicates that mutual uncertainty can have important “offsetting” effects, as it encourages both actors to honestly signal their true preferences. The Global Synergy grant will be used to implement a computerized experiment examining how people communicate and cooperate under varying degrees of uncertainty.
2017 Purdue Liberal Arts Students
Marcela Poirier, Department of Anthropology
Graduate student Poirier received the 2017 Global Synergy in Research student award for her project: "Archaeology and Education: Museum Engagement in Chavin de Huantar, Peru"
By conducting ethnographic research at the town of Chavín de Huántar, Perú, I will explore what Indigenous children are learning about their local and national past, as well as how different institutions help in such teachings. This project seeks to explore which local histories are excluded and silenced from the national curriculum and the official historical narrative. These silences and exclusions contribute to a collective memory of imperialism that subjugates Indigenous peoples world-wide. Additionally, it will also explore the relationship between current archaeological investigations and the schooling of the past at a local elementary school. This project will contribute to the existing efforts by the museum, archaeological project, and NGOs that wish to include and benefit the local community and its children, through an inclusive and empowering presentation and education of the past. Educational spaces, teachers, and educators in general, have great power to teach in ways that transform consciousness, reflection, and action on the world in order to create positive change within it. In a collaborative effort with the National Museum of Chavín and Dr. Maria Emma Mannarelli, we seek to create a space in which Indigenous individuals can explore the construction of their past in more empowering and inclusive ways; as well as create activities that can help both teachers and students better understand their past.
This project is crucial for the future of education and archaeology in Perú as it entails working in collaboration with teachers, archaeologists, historians, and community members. Archaeologists and their collaborators can create an articulated presentation of the past where different people contribute in order to benefit children and other community members, rather than just encourage the conservation of archaeological sites. As archaeologists, we not only have a responsibility towards the past and future of archaeological sites and material remains, but can also contribute significantly to contemporary populations today, especially through education.
Elizabeth Hall, Department of Anthropology
Graduate student Hall received the 2017 Global Synergy in Research student award for her project: "Exploring Cultural and Biological Factors of Zoonotic Infectious Disease Emergence in a Central African Forest Reserve"
Some of the most recent and devastating human epidemics are the result of zoonotic pathogens transmitted between humans and nonhuman primates (NHPs). Zoonoses can be transmitted bi-directionally between wildlife and humans, and are closely linked to the increasing frequency of emerging infectious disease (EID) events. Researchers and public health experts have increasingly called attention to the need for more context-specific understanding of factors influencing zoonotic pathogen transmission, yet scientific understanding of ways biological and cultural factors interact to influence zoonotic EID risk remains limited. This study aims to increase understanding of biological and cultural factors influencing zoonotic EID transmission between humans and nonhuman primates in the Dzanga Sangha Protected Areas (APDS), Central African Republic (CAR). Collection of behavioral, nutritional, and immunological data from indigenous and migrant communities living in APDS will take place over a 15-month study period. Analysis of this data will investigate the interaction between behavioral risks of zoonotic pathogen exposure and biological factors influencing immunological susceptibility to infection. This study is situated within a broader framework of research targeting zoonotic emergence and transmission at the human-primate interface in West and Central Africa. It contributes to a larger body of ongoing research conducted by multidisciplinary research teams at Pasteur Institute in Paris, France.
Lacey Davidson, Department of Philosophy
Graduate student Davidson received the 2017 Global Synergy in Research student award for her project: "Bias & Philosophy"
Over the past several years, philosophers and those in related fields have become more interested in bias, particularly bias toward or against particular social groups. We ask questions like: What is bias? How does bias work? Why does bias exist? And how can we change our biases? Building on the current online infrastructure of the Bias and Philosophy website (http://biasproject.org/), which has begun connecting people around the global and consolidating information, we will bring together research, resources, conference opportunities, and teaching materials and best practices from the foremost scholars writing and researching in bias. Utilizing the Digital Humanities framework, we will create an interactive online space, sponsored by Purdue and the University of Sheffield, that will serve to bring together scholars to facilitate further research. This Bias & Philosophy project has the potential to shape the future of research in philosophy and related fields by providing a highly collaborative, global space for researchers to connect, share, and innovate.