Research Roundup: Summer/Fall 2022 Issue

December 19, 2022

Research Roundup highlights the work of faculty in the Division of Social Sciences. For ongoing coverage of UCSC research, please visit the UCSC Newscenter and Social Sciences News.


Associate Professor Megan Moodie published Community voices: broadening participation in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine among persons with disabilities in Nature Communications. The "Comment" in Nature Communications, co-authored by social scientists and STEMM scholars, highlighted the need for a FAM (Flexibility, Accommodations, Modifications)-based approach to increasing the presence of people with disabilities in STEMM fields. Published on December 3 in honor of the International Day for People with Disabilities.

Associate Professor Vicky Oelze published A multi-isotope approach to reconstructing human residential mobility and diet during the Late Intermediate Period (1000–1450 CE) in highland Ancash, Peru in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. The Late Intermediate Period (LIP, c. 1000–1450 CE) was a time of cultural change in the Peruvian highlands; interpersonal violence increased, and settlements were placed in defensive locations at high elevations. High altitude settlement was also a proxy for agropastoral economies. Coinciding with these cultural and economic transformations were shifts in mortuary practices in which the deceased were buried in above-ground tombs, known as chullpas, and in caves. In this paper, we examine the implications of these changes with respect to diet and mobility through a multi-isotopic analysis of human burials from three LIP sites in the Conchucos region to conclude that groups living in Conchucos during the LIP created and maintained local exchange networks that exploited vertically stacked production zones.  

oelze02_200.jpgAssociate Professor Oelze also published A skew in poo: Biases in primate fecal isotope analysis and recommendations for standardized sample preparation in American Journal of Primatology. Stable isotope data from bulk fecal samples, increasingly utilized to study primate feeding ecology, may be biased toward the isotope ratios of undigested plant matter. In this study, the impact of this potential bias was assessed by comparing fecal samples of wild bonobos (total n = 228) and chimpanzees (total n = 30) with different fecal particle sizes. While the carbon stable isotope ratios values did not show strong variation between fecal fractions, variation in δ 15N values was significant and primarily influenced by fecal carbon-to-nitrogen ratios (presence of plant particles) and the age class of the sample donor. Prosed is a cost-effective and simple filtration method for primate feces to exclude larger undigested food particles from stable isotope analysis, which can easily be adopted by labs around the globe.

In addition, Associate Professor Oelze published A Healthier Smile in the Past? Dental Caries and Diet in Early Neolithic Farming Communities from Central Germany in the journal Nutrients. This bioarcheological study presents dental caries and stable isotope data obtained from prehistoric individuals (n = 101) from three Early Neolithic sites (c. 5500-4800 BCE) in central Germany. Dental caries and ante-mortem tooth loss (AMTL) were recorded and related to life history traits such as biological sex and age at death. The isotopic data indicated an omnivorous terrestrial diet composed of domestic plants and animal derived protein but did not correlate with the prevalence of carious lesions. The combined evidence from caries and isotope analysis suggests a prevalence of starchy foods such as cereals in the diet of these early farmers, which aligns well with observations from other Early Neolithic sites but contrasts to Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age populations in Germany.

Finally, Associate Professor Oelze, along with UCSC PhD student Seth Philips and UCSC undergraduate alumnus Payton Sime, published the study Ecological Drivers of Habitat Use by Meso Mammals in a Miombo Ecosystem in the Issa Valley, Tanzania in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. Although East and Southern Africa are characterized by a mosaic of deciduous woodlands and evergreen riparian forests, commonly referred to as “miombo,” and host to a high diversity of plant and animal life, very little is known about the communities of small-sized mammals inhabiting this heterogeneous biome. This study is the outcome of a project to document the diversity and abundance of 0.5–15 kg sized mammals (“meso-mammals”) in a relatively undisturbed miombo mosaic in western Tanzania, using 42 camera traps deployed over a 3 year-period.

tsim-schneider-report-cover-200a.jpgAssociate Professor Tsim Schneider co-authored Documenting U.S. State and Territorial Approaches to Black Heritage, Diversity, and Inclusion in Preservation Practices in The Digital Archaeological Record (tDAR). The Black Heritage Resources Task Force was organized in 2020 to address diversity and racial inclusion in archaeology and historic preservation in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and the protests that followed. Chaired by Dr. Maria Franklin (University of Texas at Austin), the task force included twelve members with professional affiliations to the Society of Black Archaeologists (SBA), the American Cultural Resources Association (ACRA), the Society for Historical Archaeology (SHA), and the Society for American Archaeology (SAA). The task force believes that State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs) can play an integral role in the preservation of African-American archaeology by providing guidance for the documentation of Black historic sites and consulting with Black stakeholders. As part of the two-year study, the task force reviewed SHPO office planning documents and National Register for Historic Places nominations; designed two surveys distributed to all US state and territory SHPOs and State Archaeologists to assess current practices regarding the documentation and preservation of Black heritage resources; and provided recommendations for initiatives to address diversity and inclusion in historic preservation for African Americans and other people of African descent. 


Professor Rob Fairlie published Black and White: Access to Capital among Minority-Owned Startups in Management Science. In this study the authors explore racial disparities in access to capital for new business ventures. The novel results on racial inequality in startup financing indicate that black-owned startups start smaller and stay smaller over the entire first eight years of their existence. Black startups face more difficulty in raising external capital, especially external debt. They find that disparities in credit-worthiness constrain black entrepreneurs, but perceptions of treatment by banks also hold them back. Black entrepreneurs apply for loans less often than white entrepreneurs largely because they expect to be denied credit, even when they have a good credit history and in settings where strong local banks favor new business development.

Professor Fairlie also published The Impact of COVID-19 on Community College Enrollment and Student Success: Evidence from California Administrative Data in Education Finance and Policy. Although enrollment at California’s four-year public universities mostly remained unchanged by the pandemic, the effects were substantial for students at California Community Colleges, the largest higher education system in the country. This paper provides a detailed analysis of how the pandemic impacted the enrollment patterns, fields of study, and academic outcomes of these students through the first four semesters after it started. Consistent with national trends, enrollment dropped precipitously during the pandemic – the total number of enrolled students fell by 11 percent from fall 2019 to fall 2020 and by another 7 percent from fall 2020 to fall 2021. The California Community College system lost nearly 300,000 students over this period. The analysis in this study reveals that enrollment reductions were largest among African-American and Latinx students, and were larger among continuing students than first-time students. Enrollment changes were substantial across a wide range of fields and were large for both vocational courses and academic courses that can be transferred to four-year institutions. In terms of course performance, the changes in completion rates, withdrawal rates, and grades primarily occurred in the spring of 2020.

Distinguished Professor Emeritus Daniel Friedman published Order Protection through Delayed Messaging in Management Science. Most trades in major financial markets now involve orders placed by computer algorithms that try to profit by moving faster than their rivals. This High Frequency Trading (HFT) alters competition on price (considered a good thing) to competition on speed, which is expensive (billions of dollars are wasted each year) and, some observers believe, may dangerously destabilize financial markets. There are many reform proposals, only one of which has so far been implemented so far: the Investors' Exchange (IEX), which delays new orders for about a third of a millisecond, allowing old "pegged" orders to be repriced. In this paper, Professor Friedman and co-author Eric Aldrich build the first theoretical model of the IEX, and demonstrate that it can indeed protect investors from aggressive HFT algorithms  and that its unintended side effects are not too severe.

Professor Friedman also published Varieties of risk preference elicitation in Games and Economic Behavior. In order to explain and predict risky choice behavior, over the last 90 years economists have proposed a variety of procedures or tasks intended to elicit individual risk preferences. Unfortunately, they have generally found that preferences elicited using one task have very limited power to predict behavior in even a different elicitation task, much less in the wider world. To investigate, the authors ran a new experiment using a variety of tasks whose attributes vary incrementally and found that predictive power deteriorates with increasing mismatches in task attributes, including attributes that have no role in consequentialist choice theory. One interpretation of the results is that, contrary to standard choice theory (and to prospect theory), people do not have well-defined, stable risk preferences (or value functions and probability weighting functions), but instead use heuristics that are not entirely consequentialist.

Finally, Professor Friedman also published On the Empirical Relevance of Correlated Equilibrium in Journal of Economic Theory. Correlated equilibrium (CE) is a generalization of Nash equilibrium (NE) widely used by computer scientists but so far of only minor interest to most economists and other social scientists. Games with interesting CE that are not NE were examined in the laboratory and conditions under which adaptive behavior converges to these interesting CE were found.

Professor Galina Hale published Stock Market Spillovers via the Global Production Network: Transmission of U.S. Monetary Policy in The Journal of Finance. It has been established in the literature that financial linkages between countries transmit U.S. monetary policy changes to asset markets abroad.  In this paper the authors show that linkages through trade of goods and services are also an important channel of the U.S. monetary policy transmission to stock returns in other countries.

Assistant Professor Alonso Villacorta published Macroprudential Policy with Liquidity Panics in The Review of Financial Studies. In this paper, the authors explore how a banking system that provides liquidity can be fragile because of precautionary behavior of its customers, and study the optimality of macroprudential policies. Their model describes the interplay between the behavior of bank borrowers and bank lenders that can lead to market breakdowns that are akin to a double bank run (simultaneous runs on both bank assets and liabilities). Indeed, the empirical literature shows such double runs were a key feature of both the Global Financial and COVID Crises. They describe how informational frictions in the interbank market can cause market freezes that disrupt bank financing and lead to banking crises and shortages of liquidity, prompting firms to accumulate their own liquid assets. Liquidity hoarding by firms in turn reduces the demand for bank loans and bank profitability, which makes interbank market freezes even more likely, and may ultimately trigger a self-fulfilling bad equilibrium. Such “liquidity panics” provide an additional rationale for liquidity requirements on banks, which alleviate frictions in the banking sector and, paradoxically, can increase aggregate investment. Instead, policies encouraging bank lending can have the opposite effect.

Assistant Professor Dong Wei published Learning from Manipulable Signals in American Economic Review. This paper analyzes how an uninformed principal can extract information from a noisy signal that can be further manipulated by an informed agent. The leading application is the VC-startup relationships, wherein venture capital companies often wish to make inference about a startup’s type (i.e., profitability) from some performance reports but those reports may be augmented/tampered with by the startup. The authors fully characterize the unique Markov equilibrium in a dynamic stopping game with asymmetric information and manipulable signals and find that terminations/market crashes are often preceded by a spike in manipulation intensity and (expected) performance. This result can help explain the extraordinary performance of some (in)famous startup companies, such as Theranos, Ofo, and WeWork, not long before these companies suddenly fell apart. They also show that, due to endogenous signal manipulation, too much transparency can inhibit learning and harm the uninformed party. In other words, opaqueness can sometimes enhance information transmission by discouraging manipulation. This finding provides a rationale for the views against excessive due diligence in VC investing.


Assistant Professor Michelle Aguilera published Walls, Bridges, Borders, Papers: Civic Literacy in the Borderlands in the journal Research in the Teaching of English. This study demonstrates the ways in which a third-grade teacher in the Southwest responded to students’ concerns about Trump’s rhetoric about immigration and constructing a border wall throughout his campaign and inauguration. Through the collection of field notes, interviews, and students’ writing, this work showed that students were able to learn about immigration policy and develop disciplinary skills via their teacher’s leveraging of their curriculum. Students positioned themselves as change agents and were able to convey their knowledge of academic genres and conventions, drawing on border thinking and politicized funds of knowledge.

Professor and Education Department Chair George Bunch created an open-access module, Equitable Policy and Practice for English Learners: What Should Teachers and School Leaders Know and Do, in a series of professional learning resources for teachers and teacher educators for the National Research and Development Center to Improve Education for Secondary English Learners, funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES). What are teachers and schools required by law to do to educate students who have been classified by their schools as English Learners?   To what extent do policies and laws help create equitable opportunities for this student population? In what ways have existing policies and laws perpetuated inequities? What more can and should be done? And what role can individual teachers and school leaders play in supporting a high-quality education for English Learners? This module invites participants to explore these questions, both historically and presently, at different levels: federal, state, district, school, classroom—and in the communities outside of schools as well. The module challenges deficit orientations toward the education of English Learners and proposes alternative viewpoints for explaining challenges facing this population, recognizing the strengths that speakers of languages other than English bring to the classroom, and envisioning challenging and well-supported learning opportunities.

Professor Bunch and UCSC Education Department PhD alumna Nora Lang also co-authored a chapter, “Scaffolding ‘Scaffolding’ in Pre-service Teacher Education,” in the book Scaffolding for Multilingual Learners in Elementary and Secondary Schools. “Scaffolding” is a potentially fruitful metaphor for articulating practices that provide K-12 students, particularly multilingual learners, with opportunities to engage in disciplinary practices across the subject areas and develop language and literacy. However, the term is often misused as a general synonym for any kind of “help,” or even worse as a means of simplifying learning activities instead of providing the elaborated support necessary to tackle more difficult ones. We ground our work in a sociocultural conception of scaffolding influenced by theories of learning as an inherently social activity. Based on this work, we emphasize that the real potential—and power—of scaffolding lies in its ability to foster opportunities for students to engage deeply and agentively in disciplinary practices, expand their linguistic repertoire, and develop a greater sense of autonomy. The chapter describes how the views that teacher candidates in one research university’s teacher preparation program first expressed about scaffolding changed, in many cases radically, after learning opportunities that candidates engaged in activities that themselves were instantiations of the approach we were trying to teach our teacher candidates.

In addition, Professor Bunch wrote a commentary, What do we mean by ‘language’? And other key questions related to building a language-related knowledge base for teachers, in the book The Role of Language in Content Pedagogy: A Framework for Teachers’ Knowledge. It is not only language teachers who need to know something about language. All K-12 teachers—through their own language use, their understandings and ideologies surrounding their students’ language, and the opportunities they do (or do not) create for students to use and develop language—play a central role in the language of the classroom. It is important to explore what teachers across the content areas know about language, what they need to know, and how researchers and teacher educators focusing on issues related to language for teachers can best support teachers to develop that knowledge. This exploration is particularly urgent as researchers and teacher educators attempt to challenge educational policies and practices around the world that have resulted in disproportionately low access to high-quality disciplinary instruction—including opportunities to engage in the linguistic and disciplinary practices of those disciplines—for students from marginalized backgrounds. Yet, articulating what knowledge about language that teachers need to have, not to mention how best to prepare them with this knowledge, is no simple task. This commentary reflects on a number of questions essential for teacher education scholars and practitioners to address, including the fundamental question of “what do we mean by ‘language’” when we say that all teachers need to know something about language?

Professor of Philosophy of Education Ronald David Glass published Living the Dream of Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Philosophy of Education in the journal Philosophy of Education. Professor Glass took the opportunity of the 78th Presidential Address of the Philosophy of Education Society to call the field to respond urgently to the variety of forms of organized violence against Black people. Engaging ML King's dream that demanded an end to police violence and a respect for the dignity of Black youth. He argued for a form of 'patient extremism' that would end schooling as we know it and build upon the 'freedom dreams' of the Black radical imagination. 

ron-glass-200.jpgProfessor Glass also contributed The Just Demands of Democratic Inclusion – Ubuntu Communities and Democratic Education, to the book Democratic Education as Inclusion by prominent South African scholars Nuraan Davids and Yusef Waghid who critique how higher education in their country has responded to the demands for equity. In this foreword, Professor Glass extends their arguments for ubuntu communities that are attuned to the equality of not only humans but of all being as the grounding framework for democratic education.

Finally, Professor Glass participated in a panel discussion, Are Just Partnerships Possible with University-Community Research?, hosted by The Ohio State University and jointly co-sponsored by three programs of the Center for Ethics and Human Values: Conversations on Morality, Politics, and Society; Conversations on Research Ethics; and Education in our Democracy. Professor Glass discussed the ethically fraught issues of community-engaged research. HE argued against the possibility of a position of ethical 'purity' in research and for a more humble position of negotiated relationality, responsibility, and accountability. Video of the one hour panel can be viewed here

Environmental Studies

Associate Professor Madeleine Fairbairn published Pitching Agri-food Tech: Performativity and Non-disruptive Disruption in Silicon Valley in Journal of Cultural Economy. The tech sector is increasingly entering into the business of agri-food system innovation. Tech startups are promising to disrupt food and agriculture–much as they have in other industries in the past-–and in the process to make them more sustainable, humane, and efficient. Yet the problems of the agri-food system are deeply entrenched and complex, meaning that they don't necessarily lend themselves easily to technological fixes. In this paper, the authors draw from participant observation at pitch events to analyze how the tech sector is discursively positioning its potential contributions to food and agriculture and to assess to what extent it can create truly transformative change.

Professor Sikina Jinna published a chapter, Global Health and Environmental Politics, in Pandemics: A Multilateral Approach, Philippe Bourbeau and Jean-Michel Marcoux, eds. The political science literature often assumes that policymakers rationally design governance systems according to the underlying problem structures they aim to address. This chapter argues that the problem structures of pandemics and environmental crises are similar on several accounts. Yet their governance systems differ in significant ways. The chapter explains this incongruity by pointing to systemic perception biases and structural power differentials. Addressing these biases and establishing new linkages could improve the global governance of both issue areas.

Professor Jinnah also published Top lesson from COVID for solar geoengineering: Anticipatory research is needed in the journal Frontiers in Climate. This article argues that anticipatory research into possible “emergency” response measures such as solar geoengineering will increase knowledge, and thus confidence, in any future decisions to either deploy or reject these technologies. Similarities between COVID and climate can reveal some perspective on the benefits of anticipatory vaccine research for anticipatory solar geoengineering research. Although they deeply hope governments will aggressively reduce emissions and scale up adaptation efforts in time to avoid the worst climate impacts, the authors argue that the benefits of anticipatory solar geoengineering research currently outweigh the risks of not moving research forward.

ocampo-penuela-bird-diptych-1.jpgAssistant Professor Natalia Ocampo-Peñuela published Increased exposure of Colombian birds to rapidly expanding human footprint in Environmental Research Letters. This study used satellite mapping data to analyze how changes in human footprint on the landscape between 1970 and 2018 overlapped with distributions of 1,469 Colombian bird species. The study is the first of its kind to expand focus from forested regions, like the Amazon and Chocó, to all of Colombia’s terrestrial habitats. Researchers also projected future trends in human impact on bird habitats through 2030. This research was also covered in the UCSC News.

Assistant Professor Ocampo-Penuela also published The value of standing forests for birds and people in a biodiversity hotspot in PLOS Climate. Colombia is recognized for its overall high biodiversity and being number one for bird richness globally. Colombia’s rich biodiversity and the multiple values associated with it are threatened by multiple drivers of change including deforestation and climate change. In this opinion piece, the authors argue that to succeed in protecting forests and associated biodiversity in Colombia, conservation actions need to consider local communities and focus on win-win situations for biodiversity and people. They highlight the example of birdwatching tourism as a nature-based solution that can help halt deforestation and contribute to climate change adaptation.

Latin American and Latino Studies

Professor Patricia Pinho published Labeling Brazil: A Nation’s Image on Beauty Products, Services, and Procedures in the journal Feminist Studies. The article examines the ubiquity and meanings of Brazil in the advertising of beauty products, services, and procedures in the United States. Grounded on transnational feminist cultural studies and critical geopolitics, Professor Pinho’s analysis is divided into three parts. First, she explains the concept of the geopolitics of aesthetics as a signifying system where specific and interconnected representations are assigned to nations according to their geopolitical positions. Second, she analyzes how advertising, cinema, and tourism, based both inside and outside the nation, and drawing on gendered and racial meanings, have jointly produced and circulated a dominant representation of Brazil that lends itself to the labeling of beauty items. Third, she examines how the geopolitics of aesthetics converges with the biopolitics of beauty as the consumption of Otherness is selective and fractional. “Brazil” functions as a representational device for the commodification of difference that makes the Global South available to be embodied and consumed in the Global North. She concludes by assessing some of the effects of these representations for the nation’s image and on women’s bodies.

Politics and Legal Studies

Professor of Politics and Director of Legal Studies Mark Fathi Massoud, published an article, The Price of Positionality, in Journal of Law and Society. Drawing in part on Professor Massoud’s empirical research and professional experience, this article investigates the benefits and burdens of positionality. Positionality is the disclosure of how an author's racial, gender, class, or other self-identifications, experiences, and privileges influence research methods. A statement of positionality in a research article can enhance the validity of its empirical data as well as its theoretical contribution. However, such self-disclosure puts scholars in a vulnerable position, and those most likely to reveal how their positionality shapes their research are women, ethnic minorities, or both. At this stage of the field's methodological development, the burdens of positionality are being carried unevenly by a tiny minority of researchers. He concludes by inviting socio-legal scholars to redress this imbalance by embracing expressions of positionality.

In addition, Professor Massoud received the 2022 Teaching and Mentoring Award from the American Political Science Association Law and Courts Section, and for his research, he received three additional awards for his book Shari'a, Inshallah. The awards include the 2022 Ralph J. Bunche Award for the best book on ethnic and cultural pluralism from American Political Science Association; the 2022 Distinguished Book Award from the American Sociological Association Section on Religion; and, most recently, the 2022 British Kuwait Friendship Society Prize for the best book in Middle East Studies. Earlier this year the book also earned the Hart SLSA Book Prize from the Socio-Legal Studies Association and it was a Finalist for the PROSE Award for the best book in government and politics, from the Association of American Publishers. Shari'a, Inshallah was recently reviewed in Foreign Affairs magazine. 

Associate Professor Sara Niedzwiecki and Associate Professor Agustina Giraudy (American University) published Multi-level governance and subnational research: Similarities, differences, and knowledge accumulation in the study of territorial politics in the journal Regional & Federal Studies. The Subnational Research (SNR) and Multilevel Governance (MLG) research programs have tackled some of the crucial questions in comparative politics. Despite their shared principle that actors and institutions located at one territorial level are shaped by and shape other levels of government, each tradition has developed its own set of concepts and theories without fully acknowledging the other. The authors believe that this has been detrimental for knowledge accumulation and argue that more knowledge accumulation in the study of territorial politics is possible if (1) scholars engage with each tradition, and (2) they are attentive to differences, or blind spots, in each traditions’ theories, concepts, and scope conditions. Drawing on two examples, the Regional Authority Index (RAI) and UCSC Professor Kent Eaton’s work (2021) they show the benefits of transcending the boundaries of each tradition and conclude by proposing a unified framework for the study of territorial politics that incorporates both SNR and MLG.

sara-niedzwiecki-200.jpgIn addition, Associate Professor Niedzwiecki is a co-author of The Political Economy of Segmented Expansion: Latin American Social Policy in the 2000s, part of the Elements in Politics and Society in Latin America series. The early 2000s were a period of social policy expansion in Latin America. New programs were created in healthcare, pensions, and social assistance, and previously excluded groups were incorporated into existing policies. What was the character of this social policy expansion? Why did the region experience this transformation? Drawing on a large body of research, this Element shows that the social policy gains in the early 2000s remained segmented, exhibiting differences in access and benefit levels, gaps in service quality, and unevenness across policy sectors. It argues that this segmented expansion resulted from a combination of short- and long-term characteristics of democracy, favorable economic conditions, and policy legacies. The analysis reveals that scholars of Latin American social policy have generated important new concepts and theories that advance our understanding of perennial questions of welfare state development and change.

Professor Matt Sparke, with Emma Mitchell-Sparke and Katharyne Mitchell, published the article Re-socializing Pre-Health Education in the Context of COVID: Pandemic Prompts for Bio-Social Approaches in Frontiers in Medicine. COVID-19 has underlined the critical importance of bringing biosocial and biopsychosocial approaches to pre-health education. Given the striking social inequalities that the pandemic has both exposed and exacerbated, the authors argue in this article that bridging between the biomedical and social sciences with such approaches is now more appropriate and urgently needed than ever and call for the resocialization of pre-health education by teaching to develop socio-structural competencies alongside physical and biological science knowledge. They suggest that community partnerships, which address local inequalities and their global interdependencies, should be encouraged as an essential element in all pre-health education. Educators should also support such partnerships as opportunities for students who come from more minoritized and impoverished social backgrounds to see their own social knowledge–including community-based knowledge of health-injustices revealed by the pandemic–as the basis of biopsychosocial expertise. By prioritizing this reconceptualization of pre-health education, we can empower future health workers to prepare more adequately for future health crises in ways that are socially aware and structurally transformative.

Professor Sparke also published the chapter Pandemic Co-Pathogenesis: From the Vectors to the Variants of Neoliberal Disease, in The Political Economy of Global Responses to COVID-19, Leila Talani and Alan W Cafruny, eds. This chapter describes the main socio-economic vectors which COVID spread across the world as a kind of neoliberal disease. It also analyzes in turn how the resulting mutations of the SARS-Cov2 virus have been paralleled by mutations of neoliberalism as well, with increasingly illiberal and authoritarian forms of neoliberalism becoming more dominant.

Finally, Professor Sparke contributed the chapter Immunizing Against Access? Philanthro-Capitalist COVID Vaccines and the Preservation of Patent Monopolies to The Routledge Handbook of Critical Philanthropy and Humanitarianism, eds. Katharyne Mitchell and Polly Pallister-Wilkins. Founded in 2020 at the start of the COVID pandemic, the Geneva-based public-private-philanthropic partnership known as COVAX was supposed “to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to Covid-19 … vaccines” globally. Over time, however, it has repeatedly failed to honor its promises and deliver even a reliable, let alone equitable, supply. This has exacerbated huge inequalities in vaccine access that have come to be critiqued by African leaders as ‘vaccine apartheid’, condemned by the UN Secretary General as ‘an obscenity’, and decried by the WHO Director General as ‘a catastrophic moral failure’. The chapter seeks to describe how the core COVAX facility has contributed to these failures despite securing considerable charitable support from donor governments and individuals, as well as programmatic support from the WHO and other global agencies. The authors explore how COVAX has come to dominate and define the policy space of responding to vaccine access inequalities, thereby pre-empting other alternatives inspired by ideas about waiving intellectual property (IP) protections and creating a generic ‘People’s Vaccine’. In place of these more radical calls for vaccine liberty, they argue that the vaccine charity of COVAX has been developed by drawing on an already established philanthro-capitalist convention for global health governance in Geneva. They describe this convention as a New Geneva Convention, in part to indicate its tenuous ties to the  city’s humanitarian history as the home of the Geneva Conventions protecting wartime human rights, but also in order to index the contrasting novelty, hybridity and philanthro-capitalist complexity of the effort by COVAX to offer limited vaccine protections to vulnerable communities while simultaneously protecting IP monopolies from calls for global justice.


Professor Margarita Azmitia published three papers, including Research with hard-to-reach emerging adult populations: Developing trust and respectful collaborations in Flourishing as a scholar: Research methods for the study of emerging adulthood.  

The second paper, Self-determination buffers the association between negative motivations for solitude and maladjustment among older adults in Personality and Individual Differences, argues that contrary to loneliness and isolation, alone time that is chosen and intrinsically motivated has been correlated with well-being. The study investigated whether self-determined solitude was a useful predictor of well-being in older adults, building upon research with younger populations. The findings underscore the developmental importance of solitude, showing that older adults experience increased well-being when their alone time is self-determined, and further suggest that the ability to spend time alone in enjoyable and meaningful ways buffers some of the detrimental effects of negative solitude.

Finally, Professor Azmitia published Seeking Solitude: motivations for “alone time” among senior living residents, a Mather Institutes industry report.

Assistant Professor Saskias Casanova published The “Other” Mexicans: Indigenous Yucatec-Maya Students’ Experiences with Perceived Discrimination in Journal of Latinos and Education. The article focuses on how Yucatec-Maya Indigenous youth in the U.S. experience discrimination by peers and adults in their schools and communities. The study examines the intersection of indigeneity, gender, and immigrant generation as social locations for these students. Results reveal more experiences with perceived discrimination for Yucatec-Maya indigenous students in the U.S. compared to their non-Indigenous Latinx counterparts. U.S. Yucatec-Maya Indigenous boys particularly experience the most peer-perceived discrimination instances as compared not only to girls (both Indigenous and non-Indigenous) but also as compared to non-Yucatec Maya Indigenous boys. This research highlights how indigenous and gender identities transform the experiences of indigenous Mexican students both in the U.S. and Mexico. The article makes recommendations for culturally-based interventions in schools and community non-profit organization youth programs to support diasporic indigenous Latinx students.

Assistant Professor Casanova was awarded a Spencer Foundation Small Grant, as co-PI with her colleagues, Drs. Keon McGuire (PI, Arizona State University) and Samiha Rahman (co-PI, CSU Long Beach) for their project Black Muslim Worldmaking: Race, Religion, and Gender in the Lives of Black Muslim College Students. The mixed-method study, situated in Black feminists’ articulations of intersectionality, community cultural wealth, and microaggression-microaffirmation frameworks, will examine how Black Muslim college students sustain joy, strength, and resistance in the face of interlocking systems of oppression.

Assistant Professor Casanova also received a Federal grant to advance transfer student success at UC Santa Cruz, as featured in UCSC News. She will serve as co-PI alongside PI Charis Herzon, Hispanic Serving Institution Initiatives Director, for a Department of Education Hispanic Serving Institution grant, which will provide five years of funding to Cultivamos Excelencia. The grant will build a transfer-receptive culture for Latinx and low-income community college students to thrive in their transfer pathways to UC Santa Cruz, and beyond, opening opportunities to graduate studies.

Associate Professor Nicolas Davidenko published Visual priming of two-step motion sequences in Journal of Vision. In a series of behavioral studies, the authors show how participants can be primed to see complex, two-step motion sequences (like Up-Right-Up-Right...) in randomly changing pixel arrays. The results imply that visual motion priming relies on short-term memory processes.

Associate Professor Davidenko also published Development and Evaluation of a Sound- Swapped Video (SSV) Database for Misophonia in Frontiers in Psychology. Misophonia is a condition of decreased tolerance for everyday, person-produced sounds (like chewing, slurping, etc.). In this work, the authors show that visual perception plays an important role in this condition. Participants experienced significantly less distress to trigger sounds when they are shown along with synchronized videos suggesting an alternate source (e.g. the sound of chewing synchronized with a video of someone ripping a piece of paper). The paper includes an open-access database of sound-swapped videos for misophonia researchers.

Professor Jean Fox Tree published In Pursuit of a Good Conversation: How contribution balance, common ground, and conversational closings influence conversation assessment and conversational memory in Discourse Processes. In this study, the authors discovered that how people had conversations – beyond what they said – influenced evaluations of the quality of the conversations and memory for the conversations. For example, balanced conversations were evaluated as better conversations than imbalanced ones. Well-balanced conversations were also better remembered.

cam-leaper-200.jpgDistinguished Professor Campbell Leaper recently published an invited theoretical article, “Origins and Consequences of Childhood Gender Segregation: Toward an Integrative Developmental Systems Model” in the edited volume, Gender and Sexuality Development: Contemporary Theory and Research (Springer Publishers). Gender segregation refers to children’s tendency to affiliate primarily with same-gender peers from early childhood into adolescence. It is the pervasive and impactful phenomenon seen across the world. In his chapter, Professor Leaper first reviews hypothesized explanations for childhood gender segregation and evaluates how well the evidence has supported these hypotheses. In addition, he reviews multiple ways that gender segregation contributes to the perpetuation of gender inequalities in society. Finally, Professor Leaper proposes an integrative developmental systems model to understand gender segregation. Leaper’s model takes into account the dynamic influences of early-appearing variations in behavioral dispositions (including play interests and temperament), ingroup gender identities, and peer group processes on children’s gender development. Moreover, the model emphasizes variations in gender development among cisgender children as well as children with transgender or other nonbinary gender identities.

Distinguished Professor Barbara Rogoff published a study, Children’s fluid collaboration versus managing individual agendas: Cultural differences in pair programming, in Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology. This study found that pairs of Mexican-heritage California classmates collaborated twice as much as European-heritage California pairs. Both groups collaborated equally in a computer programming activity, by making proposals about what to work on. However, the Mexican-heritage children also engaged especially smoothly without the need to make advance proposals. Rather, they just worked together off-the-bat, fluidly collaborating with needing to stop to make proposals. This is an important strength for learning.

rogoff-lopi-400.jpgProfessor Rogoff also published the article Learning as a community process of observing and pitching in in a special issue of Journal for the Study of Education and Development / Infancia y Aprendizaje. The article is the centerpiece of the special issue on Learning by Observing and Pitching In (LOPI) to family and community endeavors. It makes the case for the importance of the ways that communities organize opportunities for learning and of the role of community values and expectations regarding children's contributions. The paper also introduces a revised version of the diagram that summarizes key features of LOPI. The paper was published bilingually (in English and Spanish).

Assistant Professor Jeremy Yamashiro published Implicit intertemporal trajectories in cognitive representations of the self and nation in the journal Memory & Cognition. People can mentally represent the past and future for both themselves and their nations. Depending on how easily positive versus negative events come to mind, we can characterize these representations as having negativity or positivity biases. A change in the size or direction of this bias across different mentally represented time periods (e.g., the past and the future) indicates a temporal trajectory - for instance, of progress, decline, or stasis across time. In several nationally representative samples drawn from the USA and United Kingdom before and after COVID-19 lockdowns, we demonstrate pervasive implicit trajectories of decline in people's representations of their nations, as well as an unusual exception to the normally robust positivity bias in personal temporal thought in the context of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Assistant Professor Yamashiro also published Collective mental time travel can influence the future in WIRED magazine. The media article by Shayla Love includes an interview with Assistant Professor Yamashiro and other psychological researchers interested in collective mental time travel, and how particular ways of representing the collective past and collective future can be put to political purposes.

Sociology and Community Studies

Professor Julie Guthman published Agri-food tech’s building block: Narrating protein, agnotic of source, in the face of crisis in Biosocieties. This article shows that protein products dominate tech-driven novel food production and asks why protein garners outsized attention relative to other nutrients that might be objectives of food reformulation. The authors show that three narratives have made novel protein products appear both edible and investible: protein is ubiquitous and protean, which provides myriad opportunities for technological transformation; its longtime associations with vigor, strength and energy, along with current day obsessions with the negatives of fats and carbohydrates, renders it the one remaining macronutrient that it is unequivocally good; and widely circulated discourses of both future shortages and the problems with contemporary livestock production makes producing more an almost indisputable solution. 

Professor Guthman was interviewed for several publications, including in the Los Angeles Times, California’s strawberry fields may not be forever. Could robots help? by Sam Dean; in the New York Times, Is Bio-Designed Collagen the Next Step in Animal Protein Replacement? by Jonathan Kauffman; on the radio program Heartland Stories, with Theresa Marquez, focusing on organics and strawberry research; and by Sue Branford in Mongabay in a feature on George Monbiot that highlighted Professor Guthman’s agri-food tech research.

Professor Guthman was also featured in the podcasts Thriving Farmer (Michael Kilpatrick) on strawberry and ag tech research; and Farm to Table Talk (Rodger Wasson) on agri-food tech research (forthcoming).

camilla-hawthorne-200.jpgAssociate Professor Camilla Hawthorne published the book Contesting Race and Citizenship: Youth Politics in the Black Mediterranean, an original study of Black politics and varieties of political mobilization in Italy. Although there is extensive research on first-generation immigrants and refugees who traveled from Africa to Italy, there is little scholarship about the experiences of Black people who were born and raised in Italy. This book focuses on the ways Italians of African descent have become entangled with processes of redefining the legal, racial, cultural, and economic boundaries of Italy and by extension, of Europe itself. It opens discussions of the so-called migrant "crisis" by focusing on a generation of Black people who, although born or raised in Italy, have been thrust into the same racist, xenophobic political climate as the immigrants and refugees who are arriving in Europe from the African continent.

Associate Professor Steven McKay published In the Heart: Preserving and sharing Watsonville's rich Filipino Heritage in Inquiry, the UCSC Research Magazine. The article provides an overview of the community-engaged research initiative "Watsonville is in the Heart," a labor and oral history project that preserves and uplifts the history and heritage of Filipino workers and families in Watsonville and the Pajaro Valley. In 2022, the initiative launched a digital archive documenting the stories of the “manong” generation (Ilokano/Tagalog for "older brother") of Filipino migrant farmworkers who first recruited to work in the Pajaro Valley in the early to mid-twentieth century. The archive features oral histories collected from manong descendants, family photographs, heirlooms, letters, and newspaper clippings that capture the rich history of Filipino life and labor in Watsonville and the Pajaro Valley.

Assistant Professor Juan Manuel Pedroza contributed Uneven Migration Enforcement to Contexts, a quarterly magazine published by the American Sociological Association. In the US, the weight of immigration enforcement falls disproportionately on immigrants from Haiti and Central America. In this study, Assistant Professor Pedroza compares which origin countries account for an unexpectedly high number of deportations. In recent years, immigrants from select countries of origin (especially Haiti and Central America) are overrepresented among deportees when considering each origin country’s contribution to the United States’ unauthorized immigrant population.

Assistant Professor Pedroza also published Housing Instability in an Era of Mass Deportations in Population Research and Policy Review. The current era of mass deportation has disrupted a record number of families and households in immigrant communities. In most cases, when a parent is deported, the rest of the family stays in the United States. Among those who remain in the US, deportations can have broad ramifications for housing stability. Linear regression models with metro area and year-fixed effects were used to examine metro residents responding to the Current Population Survey (2013–2016) and these observations were merged with contextual, administrative data from the implementation of a national immigration enforcement program (Secure Communities). Metro residents in shared households (i.e., households with multiple families) are more likely to experience housing instability in high deportation areas. The positive association between instability and deportations holds only among residents in Hispanic households where noncitizens are present. By contrast, other residents—including those living with non-Hispanic noncitizens, Hispanic U.S. citizens, or non-Hispanic U.S. citizens—are not more likely to report instability in high deportation metros.

riley-pnas.2210941119fig02-400.jpgAssistant Professor Alicia Riley published Dynamics of racial disparities in all-cause mortality during the COVID-19 pandemic, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. While racial disparities in COVID-19 mortality are well-documented, it was unknown whether the pandemic has exacerbated overall mortality disparities in lasting ways. In this study the authors examined trends in monthly all-cause mortality for seven major racial/ethnic groups, comparing months before the pandemic to months since the start of the pandemic. They found that while mortality disparities returned close to pre-pandemic levels for most groups, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander populations in the United States below age 65 experienced a sustained widening of mortality disparities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their results highlight the modifiability of racial disparities, and warn of unprecedented mortality disparities impacting Indigenous communities which demand urgent attention and investment.