2013 Grant Recipients

Summary of Graduate Student Projects:

  • Jimena Santillan, Department of Psychology.   Bilingualism and Cognitive Conflict Resolution. Previous research has found that bilinguals outperform monolinguals in tasks involving cognitive conflict resolution that requires the suppression of irrelevant information, and this has lead to the claim that bilinguals have an advantage in cognitive control. This study will, for the first time, dissociate the effects of bilingualism on cognitive control from the effects of possible confounding factors that have yet to be addressed in a single study: socioeconomic status, language proficiency, and cultural differences. To this end, Jimena Santillan will compare English-Spanish bilinguals from Latino backgrounds to non-Latino English monolinguals and non-Latino English-Spanish bilinguals who speak English as a first language but who have experienced Spanish language immersion from a young age.
  • Feather Crawford, Department of HistoryPower, Capitalism, and Race in the Florida Borderland, 1763-1842. Feather Crawford’s historical research focuses on a time when economic and political power was up for grabs in the North American Spanish borderlands and trade with Native Americans was the key to uncontested sovereignty over Florida. Her research will explain how economic interactions between Spanish and English colonialists and Creek and Seminole Indians influenced relationships of power between the European colonizers, Native Americans colonial subjects, and the U.S. nation-state. This project will explore the evidence that the Creek and Seminoles Indians who claimed the Florida borderlands derived political and economic power from what I am calling folk capitalism. Folk capitalism was a strategy of economic engagement with European colonialists that was developed and deployed by Creeks and Seminoles in response to conditions of colonial expansion and opportunities to preserve and accumulate social and material capital.
  • Brandon Rigby, Department of Romance Languages.   Representations of the “Other” and the Work of Poet Urayoán Noel. One of the principle concerns of translation studies is to analyze how cultures represent the “other”, and how this is transmitted across languages. The subfield of self-translation has traditionally resisted convenient categorization within the primarily binary classification system of translation studies, and for this reason it has been largely overlooked. Brandon Rigby will interview and study with Urayoán Noel. A large focus of Noel’s work is the performative aspect of bilingual poetry, so I will also attend poetry slams at the Nuyorican Poet’s Café. This will allow Brandon to situate the poet within the context of the other contemporary Latino poets with whom his work is in dialogue. While in New York, Brandon will conduct Puerto Rican and Latino research to supplement his work with Noel at Columbia University Library, New York University Library, the New York Public Library, the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College and the Museo del Barrio.
  • Amy Price, Department of International Studies.  Women in Labor and the Struggle for Justice:  An Ethnographic Study of Workers in the Colombian Cut Flower Industry. In spite of concerns about Colombia’s poor record on labor violations, President Obama announced the implementation of the US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in April, 2012. The FTA contains a Labor Action Plan intended to address various labor concerns; however, this plan makes no mention of women or gender-related issues. Colombia is the second largest exporter of cut flowers in the world, and women comprise 70% of the 100,000 workers in this industry. This research seeks to understand the implications of the FTA’s omission of protections for women on the ground in Colombia, as well as in the broader context of women and gender in development. Through in-depth interviews with women in the flower industry, Price will focus on the ways in which women’s lives are shaped by economic and political policies and how women in turn react to these policies in potentially transformative ways.
  • Collin Eaton, Department of Environmental Studies.   Understanding Obstacles and Incentives for Implementation of Low-Impact Housing Solutions in Guatemala. Among homeowners and housing lenders in Guatemala, there is a preference for conventional steel‐reinforced concrete‐block homes as proven, seismically‐stable, building systems. This “block‐centric” approach, however, is potentially problematic, as the use of high‐energy materials have significant environmental impacts compared to low‐energy vernacular materials, and are also more costly. The purpose of this research is to determine whether a strategy of reducing both the cost and environmental impact of homes simultaneously might be feasible. By conducting focus groups and surveys in several communities, Eaton seeks to understand the needs and preferences of homeowners across different regions of Guatemala and the likely reception of alternative designs by both owners and lenders. This research is one component of a larger project of developing a tool-kit to aid organizations and homeowners in reducing cost and environmental impact of homes in Guatemala.

Summary of Faculty Projects:

  • Impacts of Education in Guatemalan Women’s Microcredit Programs
    By Erin Beck, Assistant Professor of Political Science; Kristin Houk, President and CEO of Namaste Direct. The success of the Grameen Bank—which targeted poor, landless women—led many to herald the positive effects of increasing women’s access to credit. Beyond increasing women’s incomes, access to credit was thought to increase women’s self-esteem, expand their networks, and lead to their social and political empowerment. But microcredit’s long-term economic benefits and its broader “spillover” effects were often assumed rather than proven, and very few analyzed longitudinal data to study the long-term impacts of different models of microcredit. In this study, the University of Oregon’s Erin Beck partners with Fundación Namaste Guatemaya, a microcredit NGO operating in Guatemala, to address this gap. Namaste has shown that providing poor Guatemalan women small loans and business training increases their incomes in the short-term. Up until now, however, it lacked the resources to determine if increased incomes were sustained over time, or if they led to any spillover effects. With CLLAS’s support, Dr. Beck and Namaste will survey women who stopped receiving loans from Namaste two or more years ago, to determine the long-term economic, social, and political effects of their participation in this particular type of microcredit program.
  • PCUN Documentary
    By Phil Scher, Associate Professor of Anthropology; James Daria and Samantha King, PhD candidates, Anthroplogy. This is an innovative and collaborative project that will produce a multilingual documentary film in collaboration with the Pineros y Campesinos Unidos de Noroeste (PCUN), possibly the most important organization in the state addressing the labor, civil, and human rights of Oregon’s Latino community. Through the testimony of immigrant workers and community leaders, the film will tell the story of PCUN’s 2001 struggle to organize mushroom workers at the Pictsweet plant in Salem.