Stanley Graduate Awards: 2012 winners

In 2012, 16 graduate students received Stanley Awards of $2,500 each for a total of $40,000 awarded. A list of the Stanley Award recipients and their own summaries of their research projects follows:

Baker, Garbriel

Ph.D., History, Italy
Title: “Violence and Atrocity in Roman and Greek Warfare”

Purpose: Massacre, mass enslavement, mass deportation, and urbicide—acts that would unquestionably qualify as atrocities in modern warfare—recur to the point of redundancy in ancient Roman and Greek military narratives. Yet uses and reactions to such violence are not consistent across the time and space of the ancient Mediterranean, suggesting that the acceptability of mass violence could fluctuate considerably in ancient warfare. My project will examine the fourth through second centuries BCE in Italy and the Greek world in order to understand how and why atrocities occurred in Greco-Roman warfare, focusing especially on the social and political factors that promoted or limited their use as well as the reasons for different attitudes across time and cultures. The nature of this topic will inevitably lead to dependence on literary sources, but it is my intention to integrate archeological findings wherever possible; this type of evidence will be especially crucial for early Italian warfare, for which we have no contemporary written sources. Thus in the summer of 2012 I intend to do archeological fieldwork at ancient Gabii, Italy, and extensively photograph the ancient fortifications at the nearby sites of Ardea, Segnia, Norba, Terracina, Setia, and Alba Fucens. The hands-on study of these central Italian towns will yield important clues about the nature of warfare in ancient Italy and potentially act as a check against late, unreliable literary sources.  Moreover, first-hand archeological experience on the Gabii Project will increase my familiarity with the methods and limitations of archaeology as an essential research tool, while allowing me to assess the broader applicability of archaeological evidence in my project.

Fantauzzo, Laurel

Nonfiction Writing Program, Slovenia
Title: “The Life and Death of Film Critic Nika Bohinc”

Purpose: In Slovenia, I plan to explore the powerful consequences of an unsolved murder in the international, independent film community. During her career from 2004 to 2009, Nika Bohinc became the most prominent film journalist in Slovenia. She relocated temporarily to the Philippines to be with her partner, Alexis Tioseco, in January 2009, and on September 1 that same year, Nika was murdered along with him in a supposed robbery at his home. It was three weeks before Nika’s 30th birthday. The true motive for her murder remains unknown. What remains clear is that Nika Bohinic’s life—steeped in an upcoming love for film, art, and her partner Alexis – remains influential across the globe, and deserves close, careful attention.  By traveling to Nika Bohinc’s homeland, visiting her beloved Slovenian landmarks, and immersing myself in her personal and professional circles, I will research my first book-length, nonfiction work. For my MFA thesis project in the Nonfiction Writing Program, my goal is to investigate both personal and political implications of a European national dying under suspicious circumstances abroad. Most importantly, I want to understand and offer an international audience the deeper meanings of Nika Bohinc’s life beyond the tragedy that ended her.

Jackson, Abigail Naomi

M.F.A., Creative Writing, West Indies
Title: “Star Side of Bird Hill”

Purpose: I will spend eight weeks in Barbados conducting research for my thesis project, a novel, “Star Side of Bird Hill.” This novel is set in 1989 Barbados, where two sisters, aged 10 and 16, are sent to spend the summer with their grandmother in Bird Hill, an insular community on the east coast of the island. Their mother is in distress back in Brooklyn, experiencing a nervous breakdown, before she eventually kills herself and is buried at home. The girls’ father returns to fetch them, and the novel hinges on whether they will go home with him or stay in Barbados. My research will focus on gathering information that will provide historical and cultural context as well as emotional depth to my novel. Traveling to Barbados would help me with accurate characterization and dialogue for the Barbadian characters, and allow me to better understand how small, insular communities function on the island. There are four research questions that a trip to Barbados will help me answer: What is the history of midwifery and obeah (an African-based spiritual practice) in Barbados? How are the mentally ill treated in Barbados? What are the common speech patterns and idiomatic expressions of Barbadian people? What is life like in a small, insular community on the island?

Read more about Naomi:
A time of exploration and inspiration in Barbados

Janusch, Anne

Cinema and Comparative Literature, Germany
Title: “Exploring Uwe Tellkamp's Dresden in Search of a Vanished Past”

Purpose: In 2008, German writer Uwe Tellkamp was awarded the prestigious German Book Prize for his novel The Tower (Der Turm), in which he chronicles the last decade of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) through the story of one family. In addition to garnering literary accolades, Tellkamp received a political prize for his novel because of its historicism in portraying a vibrant East German cultural life that counters most people's notions about the Cold War era. The consensus among German critics is that The Tower is the most considerable work of East German literature to date—and yet Tellkamp's name remains unknown in the United States because his novel has not yet been translated into English for American readers. With the support of a Stanley Award, I would conduct site-specific research in the former East Germany, gathering the cultural wool of the unique places associated with Tellkamp's novel, in order to assess whether producing an English-language version of The Tower would make for a viable MFA thesis in literary translation.

Johnson, Noah C. G.

Ph.D., Anthropology (Sociocultural), Japan
Title: “Tradition and Authenticity in Shorin Ryu Karate-do”

Purpose:   The history of Okinawa has been shaped under the influence of Chinese, Japanese, and, most recently, American military domination.  This history has led to a current context wherein issues of cultural identity are imperiled and contested as the Okinawan people struggle to maintain their own distinctive sense of culture despite the need to accommodate the demands of these larger powers.  One of the most recognizable products of Okinawan culture is karate, at base a martial art but also a cultural practice inscribed with relationships and ideas inherited from wider Okinawan society.  What happens to a cultural practice with such localized meanings when the social context changes?  The proposed research consists of ethnographic fieldwork in Okinawa in order to establish a baseline for a broader study, focusing on the ways in which karate has been transformed through its introduction into North America and other parts of the world, and how this dissemination has in turn motivated Okinawans to reassert their proprietary claim to karate as an element of their intangible cultural heritage.

Levy, Lauren

Counseling Psychology (College of Education), Guatemala
Title: “Assessing the Impact of a Comprehensive Care Center for Abused, Guatemalan Women”

Purpose: Guatemala has the highest rate of femicide in the world. Due to significant local and international pressure, in recent years the Guatemalan government has not only codified legal protections for abused women, but has begun to enforce the state's responsibilities. In one important demonstration of its commitment to reducing violence, the Guatemalan government hired Generando (a non-profit organization) to manage the first regional social service organization devoted to the treatment of female survivors of interpersonal violence. However, despite significant demand for its services, little is known about the actual effects of Generando’s efforts. My objective is to investigate the activities and impact of Guatemala’s first regional comprehensive care center for female survivors of interpersonal violence. Multiple research methods and informants will be utilized to investigate the ways in which Generando positively impacts the lives of the women it serves. Specifically, research objectives will be accomplished by analyzing the demographic characteristics of the women who seek Generando’s services, reviewing archival data from the organization’s standard intake forms, and interviewing Generando staff, allied health and social service workers, and some of the women Generando serves.

Lewiton, Ariel

Nonfiction Writing Program, China
Title: “Strange Music: Variations on English in the Middle Kingdom”

Purpose: I plan to spend four weeks in China to conduct research for a work of long-form nonfiction that will use the form of the travel narrative to explore the ways in which English in China has been encoded, infused with culturally specific allusions, and borrowed syntactical arrangements, relationships, customs, and values. It will be a tour of the English language in China: my guides will be the brochures, signs, curatorial placards and menus that I encounter in urban centers and tourist sites as well as less-traveled destinations. There are two intertwined threads to this journey: I wish to chart the process of estrangement by which a native English speaker must abandon familiar contexts for words so that they may be interpreted in entirely different milieus; and to embark on a tour of the multivalent ways in which China—which is becoming globalized in a distinct and endogenous manner—expresses itself to both domestic and international audiences.

Martin, Sheri

Political Science, China
Title: “The Roles of Media and Culture in the Formation of Foreign Policy Opinion”

Purpose: I am initiating research for my future dissertation project on public opinion formation in China. For the first stage of my research, I plan to investigate the question: what leads Americans and Chinese to support different foreign policies in cases of external civil wars?  In a study about tolerance for the Ku Klux Klan (Nelson, et al. 1997), researchers found that media frames affected public opinion by altering perceived importance of public order values (free speech versus social order). My analysis (forthcoming) finds a similar dichotomy in U.S. and Chinese coverage of events in Libya; and Chinese news frames emphasize the importance of individual civil values in the formation of public opinion toward foreign policy in China. I plan to conduct a media experiment at Sun Yat-sen University in Guanzhou, China.  Given recent evidence that domestic public opinion can constrain China’s foreign policy options (Shirk 2011, Gries 2004), this study is also useful from a theoretical standpoint, in that conducting a framing media experience in China introduces cultural and environmental parameters that are understudied in current literature. Therefore, the study will contribute to our understanding of generalizability of the present literature.

Mitchell, Samantha

School of Art and Art History, metals and jewelry, Italy
Title: “Metals and Enameling Apprenticeship”

Purpose: I have been given the amazing opportunity to apprentice with Linda Darty in Certaldo Alto, Italy. I will spend four days a week, 8 hours a day, for 3 months, studying metalsmithing, jewelry, and enameling with Linda. She is a highly-revered metalsmith/enamellist who has invited me to work with her for three months in the fall of 2012. This work will provide me with an exceptional learning and professional experience from which I can build my post-graduate career.

O’Malley, Sean

Epidemiology, Nigeria
Title: “Hospital-based Surveillance of Staphylococcus aureus in Lagos, Nigeria”

Purpose: The goal of the research project is to increase surveillance of antibiotic resistant Staphylococcus aureus within hospitals in Lagos, Nigeria. Lagos, Nigeria, is the second-most populous city in Africa and one of the fastest growing cities in the world, yet transmission of S. aureus in Lagos is poorly understood. Gaining insight about S. aureus in Lagos, Nigeria, could improve antibiotic prescription methods within Nigeria and minimize the spread of hospital-acquired infections in other highly-populated urban communities. Potential hospital infection control measures as a result of the research include: improved data collection and management of prescribed antibiotics, decolonization of hospital employees and patients with S. aureus, and bolstered hand hygiene education for surgeons, nursing staff, and visitors. Understanding genetic and molecular typing of the S. aureus strains in Nigeria will ensure proper treatment of patients infected with this bacterium in the city of Lagos and throughout the country.

Pariyadath, Renu

Communication Studies, India
Title: “Being Political in the Indian Transnation: Theorizing the Diaspora's Role in Altering the Discourse of Development”

Purpose: For my dissertation, I plan to map the transnational political practices of an Indian diasporic volunteer movement, named Association for India’s Development (AID), as a way of understanding the changing modes of citizenship that emerge through and in response to globalization. This larger, multi-sited ethnographic project will examine how AID’s activism both in the U.S. and in India, their use of public spaces, and rights claiming practices challenge the way we currently understand citizenship, nationalism, and the role of the diaspora in development. My objectives for this summer project are two-fold. First, I propose to establish personal contact with AID’s network of fulltime social activists (jeevansaathis and saathis) in India, whom I can draw on for interviews over the next two years. Second, with assistance from these activists, I hope to identify ethnographic research sites, in both AID offices in cities and individual projects, that I can return to for fieldwork next year.

Renaud, Jeffery B.

Spanish and Portuguese, Chile
Title: “An Optimality Theoretic typology of three fricative-vowel assimilations in Chilean Spanish”

Purpose: This research examines three phonological processes that affect certain consonants in various dialects of Latin American Spanish. I focus on the case of Chilean Spanish given that all three processes have been claimed to occur in this dialect. The currently available data for the sound properties are found in sociolinguistic studies principally dating from the 1950s to the 1980s. However, no phonetic studies measuring the sounds’ acoustic properties have been carried out. These sound variations are of interest because speakers do not use them consistently, which raises the question of whether there is a greater or lesser tendency to use them depending on the preceding or following sound. Furthermore, similar phonetic variations seem to have existed in some earlier stages of Spanish. A better understanding of the factors underlying these sound alternations may shed light on processes of historical change. In order to gain such an understanding, fieldwork in Chile is required, as access to these unique dialects that exhibit all three of these properties cannot be found elsewhere.

Sabel, Jaime

Science Education/Teaching and Learning, South Korea
Title: “Investigating Inquiry-Based Science Classrooms in South Korea”

Purpose: Using inquiry as a tool for learning in science classrooms has been shown to be integral to science education. Although the United States places a strong emphasis on the importance of inquiry in science classrooms, our students still fall far behind globally in science achievement. I propose studying in South Korea, where science scores rank in the top positions globally, to examine how teachers set up classrooms for inquiry and, in particular, how they use writing as a means for negotiation in the science classroom. Preliminary results with our colleagues have shown the implementation of the Inquiry-Based Science Writing (SWH) approach in Korean classrooms has additionally improved scores above those high rankings previously reported. I propose to observe and analyze Korean classrooms, with a particular focus on how instructors set up the writing environment, to gain and understanding of how we could implement some of the same methods in the United States.

Seale, Yvonne

History, France
Title: “Reading the Premonstratensian Landscape: Woman, Space and Patronage in Medieval France”

Purpose: The purpose of my trip is to carry out the first-stage research which will be the foundation of my dissertation proposal. My main research interests are medieval French monastic communities belonging to a Catholic religious order known as the Premonstratensians, who have not previously been extensively researched. Most of the documents relating to these monasteries have not been published, and exist only in manuscript copies held in French archives. I have compiled a preliminary list of the documentary sources and narrative accounts relating to the order and hope to examine them, and to make the list an exhaustive one, during my research trip to Paris and Troyes between May and August 2012. To these written sources, I hope to add topographical, geographical and archaeological surveys which will be of great use given the interdisciplinary nature of my work. The French national cartographic agency also has a collection of topographic maps and aerial photographs on monastic sites that I intend to use, in conjunction with the holdings at the Archives photographiques and the Centre de recherches sur les monuments historiques. This summer’s research will form the core of my dissertation prospectus, and then of my dissertation. It will help me identify the departmental archives and regional libraries whose collections will be most useful to me during my later research, enabling me to continue to work efficiently and productively during the academic year here in Iowa.

Smith, Briana

Ph.D., History, Germany
Title: “Creative Alternatives: Art Scenes and Cultural Politics in Berlin, 1976-1999”

Purpose: A Stanley Graduate Award for International Research would provide me the opportunity to visit multiple archives and libraries around Berlin and perform the initial research on my dissertation project, "Creative Alternatives." This preliminary research abroad will enable me to apply for major grants in fall 2012 and complete my dissertation proposal by spring 2013. Materials contained in these archives include art exhibition catalogs, underground publications, promotional posters, as well as documents from state- and municipally-supported cultural organizations. Drawing from a diverse source base allows me to examine the relationship between East and West Berlin artists, audiences, and cultural administrators before and after unification. Berlin art scenes in the 1980s and 90s present an innovative platform for studying alternative cultures under democracy and state socialism and for exploring the role of artists in forging a united Berlin.

Wall, Kurt

M.D., Carver College of Medicine, Tanzania
Title: “A Needs Assessment of the Social and Medical Hardships of Persons with Albinism in Tanzania”

Purpose: The treatment of persons with albinism in Tanzania has been described by UNICEF as a “systematic violation of individual human rights that must be dealt with decisively.” Tanzanians with albinism face discrimination on a daily basis and constant threats of attack, murder, and rape. There are pervasive beliefs spread throughout East Africa that persons with albinism possess magical powers that other people may obtain by ingesting potions made from their skin, tongue, heart, and genital organs. As a result, Tanzanians with albinism live in a constant state of fear. Additionally, Tanzanians with oculcutaneous albinism face nervous health issues, including blindness and early onset fatal skin cancer. Poor medical treatment and insufficient local resources exacerbate these problems. The Tanzanian government and several non-governmental organizations have recently begun to address these issues, but it is unclear how effective their intervention has been. This summer, I will be spending 10 weeks at Nyakato Health Center in Mwanza, Tanzania. In addition to providing care at the health center for all community members in need, I will be obtaining information regarding the obstacles to care, safety, and integration into society faced by Tanzanians with albinism. I will combine my experiences in Tanzania with background reading and knowledge to formulate possible solutions to the medical and social challenges faced by Tanzanians with albinism. Upon my return, I will be applying to present my findings at global health seminars and research conferences in order to spread awareness of these issues.