Student Research Blog

9/28/15

The Possessions of Death

Most people are aware that the Ancient Egyptians believed that an individual could transport amenities like food, liters, and slaves from the world of the living to the world of the dead through the construction of representational votives. Far fewer realize that the Romans and their predecessors, the Etruscans, performed similar actions but for different reasons. This summer, I spent time in Southern Italy trying to gain a deeper understanding about what the world of the dead can tell us about the world of the living.

9/24/15

New Methods for Studying Culture and Religion

Most ethnographers never utter phrases like, “I'm about to show you a nine-point scale…” but my ethnography is far from normal.  I study how different groups of people understand what religion “is” and how their understandings change in different settings.  Revealing the various shapes of religion as a social category is imperative considering the continuing prominence of religion in our society and around the world.  For example, when politically liberal and conservative individuals in the United States argue over the role of religion in public life, how do we know that they’re even talkin

9/23/15

Policy and Practice: An ethnography of migrant integration in Geneva, Switzerland

“Geneva is the city of human rights.” During my research at a French language school for undocumented (or precariously residing) migrants, students often used this phrase to describe not only the city’s unique history and character, but to express their own aspirations for a good life there.

9/23/15

Gender Inequality in the Transition to Adulthood

The Social Sciences Summer grant funded my review essay on gender inequality in the transition to adulthood.  This essay serves as the foundation for the literature review of my dissertation on the same topic.

9/22/15

The IAEA: a nuclear bureaucracy

My dissertation examines ideologies of knowledge and expertise in the global governance of nuclear technology through an ethnographic study of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Department of Safeguards and the world of non-proliferation policy interest groups.

9/21/15

Effects Of Exploration And Maternal Influence On Cognitive Development In Free-Ranging Rhesus Macaques

From the moment we are born, we are forced to make sense of our environment, and it is by exploring our environment that we are able to gather information about increasingly larger spaces, domains, and relationships. The onset of independent locomotion is known to facilitate a pervasive set of changes in perception, spatial cognition, and social and emotional development, but the details of this process or whether there are any lasting effects is still unclear.

9/15/15

Kierkegaard on Inwardness, Suffering, and the Search for a Secure Ground in the Face of Contingency

My dissertation research focuses on the turn to interiority in Kierkegaard’s religious ethics. One of Kierkegaard’s central claims is that we, in our modern age, have forgotten how to exist and have forgotten what inwardness is, and that the way in which philosophers generally write about ethics has encouraged this.

5/5/15

Learning from Others: The Influence of People on Event Memory in Infants and Young Children

From birth, the people in our environment shape the way we perceive, understand, and interact with our world. During my four years as a graduate student at the University of Chicago, I have built upon these principles to ask whether people also shape what children remember about their world. In my previous research, I have found that children who watch an event that includes a person are more likely to remember that event than children who see the exact same stimuli without a person present (Howard, Riggins, & Woodward, under review).

4/13/15

Other than Honorable: The Decline of Citizenship for Service

My dissertation prospectus initially sought to understand how non-citizen immigrants incorporate into American society through the United States military. This broad question raised more questions around the relationship between citizenship and membership. The country recognizes its subjects through citizenship, which creates a reciprocal relationship between the individual and the state.