Social Sciences Blog
My dissertation research asks the following question: how and when do civil rights interest groups influence the courts? I argue that special interest groups taking firm positions on issues of civil rights attempt to and do influence the judicial process at many points, not just when judges render decisions, which has historically been the main focus of literature on interest groups and the courts.
I have spent the last few months conducting archival research in the United Kingdom, where I followed threads of evidence from the British Library, to the National Archives, to the West India Dock Company Archives at the Museum of London. This research was part of my ongoing dissertation work, which examines practices of hospitality on the Betty’s Hope Plantation of Antigua between 1750 and 1900. By supplementing the results of previous archaeological field research in Antigua, the data I obtained in Britain helped me better understand the mechanisms of the transatlantic trade in sugar be
The archaeological fieldwork phase of the research project detailed in the original grant proposal at Baruun Mukhdagiin Am in Mogod county, Bulgan province, Mongolia, was completed successfully thanks to the generous support of the Social Sciences Division of the University of Chicago. The Long-term Research Grant enabled for the successful completion of pedestrian survey designed to locate prehistoric herder campsites from the Xiongnu period as part of the broader research program designed to examine the relationships in life and death between humans and animals within a Xiongnu community
Lost once again in a city of over 25 million people, I was delighted when a friendly passerby pointed me in the right direction. After navigating my way over three pedestrian bridges, I approached the imposing 18th-century building ahead, silently thinking to myself that the journey had better be worth it. And it was. The guard led me through the entrance, across a lush, tree-lined patio, to the western corner of the grounds (for a virtual tour in Spanish, see http://oncetv-ipn.net/itinerario/?p=1157).
This summer I went to Brussels for my research on urban diversity governance. Brussels is the capital of Belgium and, in administrative terms, of Europe. Brussels is a super diverse city in terms of population and language. Officially, the city is bilingual but in practice it is multilingual. Because half of the Brusselian population has its roots in migration, English, Arabic, etc. are commonly spoken languages besides the official languages (Dutch and French). Every year, more than 30,000 immigrants arrive in Brussels. It is thus the immigrant gateway city of Belgium.
My fieldwork conducted through the summer of 2013 was focused on several goals: to initiate contacts on the ground who could both be interlocutors and guides through the city, to establish connections with organizations that represent the Maghreb community, and to concretize the themes and focus for my dissertation.
Regular readers of this blog will know that archives hold a sort of magic for historians: it is where we feel the electric frisson of encountering the new in beholding the old; where we experience the melting away and reforming of our conjectures in the face of documentary evidence. This is true whether the historian is encountering the handwritten ledgers of nineteenth-century slaveholders, the delicate stone tablets of ancient cultures, or—as in my case—the dutifully typed, conscientiously filed bureaucratic reports of the military-industrial-academic complex. It is a testament to that
The familiar din of a trowel’s edge on hitherto buried masonry, the contours of a wall coming into focus with precise yet feverish work, the satisfaction of seeing one’s hypothesis confirmed: May 25th was a good day. We had been working at the Betty’s Hope Plantation site in Antigua for a few short days only, following up on fieldwork I had undertaken there in 2012, and already we were hitting some significant strides towards achieving my research goals for the summer. I was hoping to better understand how the kitchen yard associated with the plantation’s Dwelling House was transformed du
No one can really accuse the ancient Romans of being low key or disinclined to draw attention to themselves. On the contrary, everywhere they went, they marked the landscape with monuments, erected by officials or institutions, but also by private individuals. The ancient lands of Armenia and Iberia (modern Georgia) were no exception to this Roman drive to declare their presence (and often their beneficence or magnanimity).
“I don’t know. Why don’t you go have a look?” Exasperated after a morning spent trying to locate the 250 year-old documents I hoped to consult for my dissertation research, Miss Grace was eager to get back to more pressing work at the busy Grenada Registry Office.