Student Research Blog

10/1/15

Finding global history in the Archives Nationales

For anyone studying the ancien régime society of eighteenth-century France, the Archives Nationales in Paris provide an invaluable but not unproblematic perspective. Fastidiously classified and organised, the archives help the uninitiated to navigate and make sense of  foreign world. Yet they also impose a sense of order on to a society that was made up of a patchwork of corporations, customs and loyalties that were often resistant to the centralizing and rationalizing aspirations of reformist ministers in the service of the monarchy.

9/29/15

How Human Cognitive Performance is Impacted by Pressure-Filled Situations

Sometimes it seems that no matter how hard we study for a test or prepare for an interview, we find ourselves completely failing when the pressure leans on us. We blank on test answers that we were sure we knew, or we get tongue-tied when our interviewer asks what our greatest weakness is. But why? Why exactly is it that these high-stakes situations cause us to fail? Past research within my lab has provided an initial explanation for the phenomenon: cognitive resources that could be used for one task are co-opted by thoughts pertaining to personal performance.

9/29/15

Wissen fuer Alle: Popular Science in Austria-Hungary

Fin-de-Siecle Austria (1882-1914), famous for its artistic and cultural luminaries, was also home to a natural scientific tradition of tremendous achievement in a wide variety of fields, including geology, physics, physiology, meteorology, and evolutionary biology.

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.