Research Roundup: Winter/Spring 2023

July 14, 2023

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.


jon-daehnke-cover.jpgAssociate Professor Jon Daehnke was co-editor of and contributor to Heritage and Democracy: Crisis, Critique, and Collaboration (University Press of Florida). Reaching across disciplines and national boundaries, this volume examines cultural heritage work within the context of both democratic institutions and democratic practices, including participatory, deliberative, and direct democratic practices. Case studies highlight how democratic politics and cultural heritage shape, impact, and depend upon one another. The essays in this volume ask: What are the democratic motives of heritage practice? Why do democracies need heritage? How do the social and cultural referents of heritage infuse democratic practices? Emphasizing the interplay of heritage and democracy in practices and institutions across scales of governance, Heritage and Democracy pinpoints a dynamic that has not been widely examined.

Assistant Professor Carla Hernández Garavito published Inka and Local ceramic production and distribution networks: A view from the Chinchaysuyo and Colesuyo, in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Report. The paper uses multiple geochemical ceramic datasets generated using Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass-Spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) to reconstruct patterns in the manufacture of ceramics in four locales of the Inka Empire. The approach emphasizes the importance of local potters in the production of ceramic vessels in the Inka corporate style, opening up discussion on the importance of local knowledge and dependance on local artisans even in the production of artifacts that archaeologists tend to identify as staples of imperial power.

Assistant Professor Ashwak Hauter addressed the psycho-spiritual intersection of geopolitics and medicine in the borderlands between Yemen and Saudi Arabia, at the margins of war, in her article Fright and the Fraying of Community: Medicine, Borders, Saudi Arabia, Yemen in Cultural Anthropology. Set in a Saudi Arabian Hospital in Jeddah, it examines patients’ demand for and physicians’ attempt to secure ‘afiya (psychic, physical, and spiritual well-being) amid regional upheaval and the limits of Islamicized biomedical care. Drawing on theories of the soul/self and the psyche, Professor Hauter explores how soul-fracture becomes a figure of postcolonial and wartime affliction, congealing in its evocation the end of neighborly hospitality, the fraying of community, and the breaking of a shared lineage: the abject Yemeni, exiled from their own region and the broader Muslim community.

andrew-mathews-shapeshifters-cover.jpgProfessor Andrew Mathews published Trees Are Shape Shifters How Cultivation, Climate Change, and Disaster Create Landscapes (Yale University Press), an exploration of the anthropogenic landscapes of Lucca, Italy, and how its people understand social and environmental change through cultivation. In Italy and around the Mediterranean, almost every stone, every tree, and every hillside show traces of human activities. Situating climate change within the context of the Anthropocene, Professor Mathews investigates how people in Lucca make sense of social and environmental change by caring for the morphologies of trees and landscapes, and analyzes how people encounter climate change not by thinking and talking about climate, but by caring for the environments around them. Maintaining landscape stability by caring for the forms of trees, rivers, and hillsides is a way that people link their experiences to the past and to larger-scale political questions. The human-transformed landscapes of Italy are a harbinger of the experiences that all of us are likely to face, and addressing these disasters will call upon all of us to think about the human and natural histories of the landscapes we live in.

Associate Professor Vicky Oelze published A bioavailable strontium isoscape of Angola and with implications for reconstructions of the Transatlantic Slave Trade in the Journal of Archaeological Science. The region of present-day Angola was one of the main areas from which millions of enslaved Africans were abducted and forced to migrate to the Americas during the transatlantic slave trade. Strontium isotope (87Sr/86Sr) analysis is a useful tool in reconstructing large-scale human movements across geologically distinct landscapes in archaeological and forensic contexts. However, the absence of environmental strontium isotop reference data from Angola hinders its use in analysis of provenance studies related to Angola, especially in identifying the geographic origin of enslaved people in the African Diaspora. In this study, the authors measured 101 plant samples from most major geological units to draft the first bioavailable 87Sr/86Sr map (isoscape) for Angola using a machine learning framework. The results suggest that the strontium isotop ratios in Angola span a large range between the different geological units. Specifically, the high average 87Sr/86Sr ratios found in the Angola Block of central Angola, are distinctly more radiogenic than any previously published bioavailable ratios for western Central and West Africa. However, these match the ratios previously published for human enamel samples from four historic slavery contexts in the Americas. Their research demonstrates that the strontium isoscape of Angola greatly improves the ability to assess the possible origins of enslaved African individuals discovered outside of Africa and they encourage the future use of emerging African isoscapes in the study of life histories within the slave trade.

Community Studies

Professor Julie Guthman published Fixing food with a limited menu: on (digital) solutionism in the agri‑food tech sector in Agriculture and Human Values, based on the authors’ ongoing research on the Silicon Valley-centered agri-food tech sector. Cataloging the technologies being pitched as solutions to the challenges of agriculture and food, they find that a large proportion of tech-driven solutions are digital technologies transferred from other domains. These technologies at best inform decision-making on the ecological processes of food and farming, but do not provide tools to treat them, and otherwise provide business solutions not even aimed at major challenges in food and farming. They suggest that tech entrepreneurs migrate to food and agriculture because it seems purposeful, exciting, or lucrative, but sometimes lack a clear understanding of the problems they might solve with their digital technologies. The article is part of a special issue of an international network of scholars working at the intersection of science and technology studies and food and agriculture that goes by the name of STSFAN. Professor Guthman also served as co-editor of the special issue.

In the same edition of Agriculture and Human Values, Professor Guthman published Social science – STEM collaborations in agriculture, food and beyond: an STSFAN manifesto. Also part of the STSFAN special issue, this jointly written "manifesto" draws on the collective experience of the authors as social scientists who have been called on or attempted to work with STEM-field researchers in interdisciplinary collaborations. They elaborate what social scientists can contribute to interdisciplinary agri-food tech collaborations; describe barriers to substantive and meaningful collaboration; and propose ways to overcome these barriers.

Professor Guthman also published Cultivating intellectual community in academia: reflections from the Science and Technology Studies Food and Agriculture Network (STSFAN) in Agriculture and Human Values. The jointly-written article by 25 STSFAN members reflects on their process of workshopping a paper and creating a cohesive intellectual community across many international borders and time zones.


Professor Galina Hale co-authored Research needs for a food system transition in Climatic Change. The global food system, and animal agriculture in particular, is a major and growing contributor to climate change, land system change, biodiversity loss, water consumption and contamination, and environmental pollution. The copious production and consumption of animal products are also contributing to increasingly negative public health outcomes, particularly in wealthy and rapidly industrializing countries, and result in the slaughter of trillions of animals each year. These impacts are motivating calls for reduced reliance on animal-based products and increased use of replacement plant-based products. However, our understanding of how the production and consumption of animal products, as well as plant-based alternatives, interact with important dimensions of human and environment systems is incomplete across space and time. This inhibits comprehensively envisioning global and regional food system transitions and planning to manage the costs and synergies thereof. The authors of this study propose a cross-disciplinary research agenda on future target-based scenarios for food system transformation.

Professor Hale also published Climate Risks and Foreign Direct Investment in the Journal of International Economics. Climate-related risks have increased in recent decades, both in terms of the frequency of extreme weather events (physical risk) and the implementation of climate-change mitigation policies (transition risk). This paper explores whether multinational firms react to such risks by altering their presence in countries that are more affected. In an extensive empirical analysis, the authors find some support for model predictions, but overall did not find consistent evidence for statistically significant effects of physical and transition risks on foreign direct investment (FDI). However, firm-level evidence suggests that firms that are more exposed to climate risks react more negatively to physical climate risk following the Paris Climate Accord.

In addition, Professor Hale published External Balance Sheet Effects and the COVID-19 Crisis in the Journal of Banking and Finance. At the onset of the COVID-19 economic crisis, as in other crisis episodes, economists observed a rapid appreciation of “safe haven” currencies, such as the US dollar. The authors quantify the effects of these changes in exchange rates on the values of countries' external balance sheets (their international borrowing and lending positions) for the first quarter and the full year 2020, and found that for some countries the effects were substantial, but, unlike in past episodes of such "flight to safety", most emerging markets did not experience large losses in the net value of their external balance sheet positions.

Professor Hale was featured in the podcast How much inflation did Covid fiscal support cause?, on VoxTalks Economics with Tim Phillips. In the podcast, Professor Hale discussed policies enacted to protect and stimulate Covid-hit economies, and to what degree the 2020 Covid rescue led to the subsequent spike in inflation in 2022.

Professor Hale also contributed the Brief of Economic Research Organizations as Amici Curiae in Support of Respondents cited in the Supreme Court ruling in the case National Pork Producers Council et al v. Ross, Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture et al.  

Distinguished Professor of Economics Emeritus Carl Walsh published The Role of Money in Monetary Policy at the Lower Bound in Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking. For the past 30 years, money has played very little role in either monetary theory or in the practice of monetary policy. Major central banks have implemented policy by using short term interest rates and/or the composition of their balance sheet without regard to the implications for the quantity of money. Following extended periods with central bank policy rates at or near zero and the recent surge in inflation, there is a need to reexamine what role money might play in both theory and in practice. In this paper, the authors reconsider the merits of strict money growth targeting (MGT) relative to conventional inflation targeting (IT) and to price level targeting (PLT). They evaluate these policies in terms of their success in maintaining low and stable inflation and in limiting fluctuations in the real economy, using a New Keynesian model while accounting for an occasionally binding zero lower bound (ZLB) constraint on the nominal interest rate. Although MGT makes monetary policy vulnerable to money demand shocks, MGT contributes to achieving price level stationarity and significantly reduces the incidence and severity of the ZLB relative to both IT and PLT. Furthermore, MGT lessens the need for fiscal expansions to supplement monetary policy in fighting recessions. These results suggest central banks such as the Federal Reserve could improve outcomes for inflation and reduce macroeconomic volatility by incorporating money into monetary policy.

Assistant Professor Ariel Zucker co-authored the paper Countering diabetes with incentivised lifestyle changes: Evidence from India in VoxDev. Promoting lifestyle changes such as regular exercise is critical for the global fight against diabetes. One barrier to lifestyle change is impatience (i.e., heavy discounting of the future), which makes short-run financial incentives for lifestyle change a promising approach and also makes it important to ensure the incentives work well in the face of impatience. In this paper, the authors evaluate whether providing incentives for exercise to diabetics can help address the problem of diabetes in India, and test a novel prediction, namely that "time-bundled" contracts, where the payment for future effort is increasing in current effort, are more effective when agents are impatient. They found positive results on both fronts. First, incentives increase daily steps by roughly 20% (13 minutes of brisk walking) and improve blood sugar. Second, consistent with their prediction, time-bundled contracts work better for more impatient people.

Environmental Studies

Assistant Professor J. Mijin Cha contributed Jobs, Justice and Climate: Labor's Response to America's Ecological Transition in International Labour Brief, published by the Korea Labor Institute in March 2023. This essay presents an overview of current climate policies and evaluates their effectiveness in reducing greenhouse gasses, and discusses the labor response to climate policy and climate change before concluding with a brief discussion of “just transition,” a term used to describe efforts to support fossil fuel workers and communities in an energy transition. Professor Cha notes that for the first time in several years, elected officials in the U.S. seem to be responding to the call for climate policy, and workers see potential for job creation in low-carbon industries but remain concerned about the types of jobs created and whether displaced workers will be supported. Whether this movement is enough to substantially reduce emissions while also creating quality jobs remains to be seen.

Professor Cha also published The Future of the Labor-Climate Alliance in Dissent. This article looks at the future potential of the labor/climate alliance and examines the provisions in the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act. Professor Cha argues that the privatization of the energy transition is detrimental for workers and for the climate. Rather, a robust labor-climate alliance should advocate for ambitious public sector proposals that democratize the energy transition.

greg-gilbert-cover.jpgProfessor Greg Gilbert and Professor Ingrid Parker (Ecology & Evolutionary Biology) co-authored The Evolutionary Ecology of Plant Disease (Oxford University Press). Understanding the symbiosis between plants and pathogenic microbes is at the core of effective disease management for crops and managed forests. At the same time, plant-pathogen interactions comprise a wonderfully diverse set of ecological relationships that are powerful and yet so commonplace that they often go unnoticed. Ecologists and evolutionary biologists are increasingly exploring the terrain of plant disease ecology, investigating topics such as how pathogens shape diversity in plant communities, how features of plant-microbe interactions including host range and mutualism/antagonism evolve, and how biological invasions, climate change, and other agents of global change can drive disease emergence. Traditional training in ecology and evolutionary biology seldom provides structured exposure to plant pathology or microbiology, and training in plant pathology rarely offers depth in the theoretical frameworks of evolutionary ecology or includes examples from complex wild ecosystems. This novel textbook seeks to unite the research communities of plant disease ecology and plant pathology by bridging this gap.

Professor Sikina Jinnah contributed an editorial, Solar geoengineering in the horizon: Humanitarian Dimensions to Frontiers in Climate. This special issue offers four original perspectives on the humanitarian dimensions of geoengineering. First, an examination of how solar geoengineering could relate to environmental peacebuilding. Second, an investigation of how solar geoengineering could differentially impact regions and sectors in Africa via modeling two understandings of drought, leading to potential tensions and the need for stakeholder engagement. Third, an assessment of the role of indigenous peoples in relation to geoengineering research, using discourse analysis to understand implications of the Sámi Council's opposition to the SCoPEx project. Fourth, an examination of the parallels between COVID-19 and climate change highlighting the need for anticipatory research. Humanitarians working on risk management are strained by rapidly changing climate conditions. They are also witnessing an acceleration in discourse and actions about the technologically feasible option to block or reflect incoming sunlight to lower global temperatures: solar geoengineering is on the horizon. Whether it is deployed or not, the potential for deliberate large-scale intervention in the Earth's climate system has major implications for the most vulnerable. Thus, it is a humanitarian issue, as evidenced by conflicting invocations of the global poor in arguments both for and against even researching the matter.

This spring, Professor Jinnah was appointed as a member of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) Committee for Atmospheric Methane Removal to assess viable technological options for reducing a powerful greenhouse gas. This recognition was highlighted in the UCSC News.

Professor MIchael Loik co-authored Toward Sustainable Greenhouses Using Battery-Free LiFi-Enabled Internet of Things, published in IEEE Communications Magazine. As the world faces a changing climate, agriculture needs to develop more efficient and sustainable food production systems. Traditional farming methods consume considerable amounts of energy and are largely manually controlled, which leads to suboptimal production. Green-houses, which enable year-round crop growth, can play an important role in efficient food production. Leveraging the need for artificial light in greenhouses when the natural sunlight available is not sufficient, the authors envision that recent progress in Internet of Things (IoT) technology, together with novel Light-Fidelity (LiFi)-based methods have the potential to significantly reduce energy and resources used in food production. The article describes their work towards sustainable and precision greenhouses by using LiFi-enabled IoT and presents a battery-free wireless network of IoT sensor nodes that exploit LiFi for both communication and power harvesting, while monitoring environmental conditions for optimal greenhouse operation and plant production. Also discussed are research challenges and the way forward to integrate LiFi to monitor and control greenhouses, as well as a proof-of-concept LiFi-enabled IoT system for a real-world greenhouse. UCSC co-authors include Greenhouse Director Sylvie Childress, Professor of Computer Science and Engineering Katia Obraczka, and Center for Agroecology Executive Director Darryl Wong.

Assistant Professor Maywa Montenegro co-authored Governing Food System Data: Is the UN Committee on World Food Security Up to the Task?, published in Global Data Justice. Data-driven agricultural technologies — from AI-enabled plant breeding to digital farm platforms to online food retail — are being rapidly brought online in countries around the world. But who is going to benefit from this so-called transformation? And how will digital food systems address the immense inequalities that lead to persistent food insecurity? Answers to these questions often pivot on how and by whom data is governed. This year, the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS), an inclusive multilateral body established after the 1972-3 food crisis, is negotiating a set of policy guidelines on “Strengthening FSN Data Collection and Analysis Tools for Food Security and Nutrition.” In this essay, the authors briefly sketch the history of food systems datafication and explore how the CFS could approach data governance through an inclusive, multilateral process that would protect and prioritize the data rights and sovereignty of Indigenous peoples, peasants, and other rural communities.

Assistant Professor Natalia Ocampo-Peñuela published The once-invisible legacy of Elizabeth L. Kerr, a naturalist in the early 20th century, and her contributions to Colombian ornithology in Ornithological Applications. A team of all-Colombian female scientists, under the mentorship of Professor Ocampo-Peñuela, uncovered the story of Elizabeth L. Kerr, a bird collector from the US who collected birds and mammals in Colombia in the early 1900s. Kerr's legacy to ornithology, including discovering a new species and several subspecies, remained invisible until the publication of this article. The work highlights the role of women in science and honors the legacy of Kerr with an all female expedition to study Colombian birds.

urban-garden-stacy-philpott.jpgProfessor Stacy Philpott was senior author on the study Multiple ecosystem service synergies and landscape mediation of biodiversity within urban agroecosystems, published in Ecology Letters. It has been assumed that cultivating food leads to a loss of biodiversity and negative impacts on other ecosystem services provided within agricultural systems. This research provides evidence that food production is not at odds with biodiversity conservation or with other ecosystem services, instead showing that urban agroecosystems (a.k.a. urban gardens) can positively affect biodiversity, local ecosystems, and the well-being of humans that work in them. The study was conducted by PhD students from UCSC as well as colleagues from other institutions. The authors quantified diversity of several animal groups, including natural enemies of garden pests and pollinators, and several ecosystem services, including pest control, pollination, climate regulation, soil carbon storage, water conservation, food production, and human well-being. The research documented that 55% of all correlations between ecosystem services were positive, and that no ecosystem services or biodiversity metrics negatively correlated with food production. Moreover, the researchers were able to determine the specific garden features (e.g., mulch use, tree cover within gardens) that are responsible for the few trade-offs that were observed, pointing towards important management recommendations for how to maximize certain services within gardens. Interestingly, the landscape context in which gardens are embedded can also affect the trade-offs between certain ecosystem services, so both landscape context and the local management practices used in gardens shape biodiversity conservation and ecosystem service provisioning within these important urban green spaces.

Assistant Professor Katherine Seto co-authored Local fishery, global commodity: The role of institutions in mediating intersectoral conflict, cooperation, and competition in a globalized fishery in Environmental Research Letters. Commons scholarship has improved understanding of how to govern resources for sustainability; however, natural resource governance is increasingly threatened by social and environmental trends like climate change and globalization. One of the most impactful but least understood consequences of these trends for fisheries resources are the conflicts and competition between small-scale and industrial fisheries. In this study, the authors use empirical data from 396 cases of interactions at sea between globalized industrial and local small-scale fishers in Ghana from 1984-2013 to examine the conditions under which resource users conflict or cooperate, linking them to broader political and economic dynamics across scales. They consider the institutional factors that mediate these interactions, identifying policies to promote cooperation and avert conflictual incidents, and they suggest that specific governance arrangements that reduce disparities between groups, promote bridging social capital, and enhance hybrid and cross-scale institutions offer the best potential to govern resource systems where traditional common pool resource systems and market-oriented industries converge.

Professor Seto also published Fishing through the cracks: The unregulated nature of global squid fisheries in Science Advances. While most research has focused on the legality of global industrial fishing, unregulated fishing has largely escaped scrutiny. In this paper, the authors evaluate the unregulated nature of global squid fisheries using AIS data and nighttime imagery of the globalized fleet of light-luring squid vessels and find that this fishery is extensive, fishing 149,000 to 251,000 vessel days annually, and that effort increased 68% over the study period 2017–2020. Most vessels are highly mobile and fish in multiple regions, largely (86%) in unregulated areas. While scientists and policymakers express concerns over the declining abundance of squid stocks globally and regionally, the authors find a net increase in vessels fishing squid globally and spatial expansion of effort to novel areas. Since fishing effort is static in areas with increasing management, and rising in unmanaged areas, they suggest actors may take advantage of fragmented regulations to maximize resource extraction. Their findings highlight a profitable, but largely unregulated fishery, with strong potential for improved management.

Professor Seto was a co-author of the paper, Deep seabed mining lacks social legitimacy, published in npj Ocean Sustainability. The impacts of deep seabed mining on people have not been sufficiently researched or addressed, yet the technology to mine the ocean floor for valuable minerals such as copper, nickel, and cobalt is currently being developed. Scientists have warned repeatedly about potentially serious and irreversible environmental impacts from deep seabed mining (DSM), including but not limited to: removal and destruction of sensitive and poorly known seafloor habitats and species; metal-contaminated and fine-particle sediment plumes that can impact benthic and pelagic fauna; changes to water properties; and increases in noise and light. What remains to be substantially debated are the social impacts of DSM. Using a legitimacy framework, the authors of this study discuss the social-equity dimensions of this emerging industry in the ocean commons.

Finally, Professor Seto was the lead author of the study, Evidence of spatial competition, over resource scarcity, as a primary driver of conflicts between small-scale and industrial fishers, published in Ecology & Society. Accounts of fishing conflicts have been rising globally, particularly between small-scale and industrial vessels. These conflicts involve verbal or physical altercations, and may include destruction of boats, assault, kidnapping, and murder. Current scholarship theorizes these as a form of resource conflict, where fish scarcity is the dominant contributor to conflict and competition. In this study the authors employ a novel spatial analysis to estimate the locations of industrial/small-scale conflicts at sea in Ghana, West Africa. Using data from narrative reports over the period of 1985 to 2014, they analyze conflict locations and find virtually all expected conflict locations (98%) occurred within the zone meant to exclude industrial vessels. These results suggest conflicts are likely more related to spatial patterns of vessel presence than patterns of resource use, and suggest a critical need for evidence-based and contextual information on the drivers of fisheries conflicts, rather than continued reliance on assumptions of resource scarcity. They also suggest that nuanced policies that reduce vessel encounter and clarify exclusive spatial rights may be more important in responding to these conflicts than approaches designed to broadly separate fleets or increase fish stocks.

Latin American & Latino Studies

Associate Professor Jeffrey Erbig published Afterlives in Captivity: Indigeneity and Penal Deportation in Southeastern South America in Atlantic Studies. This article draws upon archival records from Argentina, Uruguay, and Spain to analyze the use of deportation as a criminal punishment in southeastern South America. Focusing on the experiences of Indigenous captives who were banished to the Malvinas-Falkland Islands in the late eighteenth century, it reveals connections between the colonial practice of deportation and the dispossession of Indigenous lands.

Professor Fernando Leiva contributed a chapter, Beyond corporate social responsibility: New territorial management strategies for defeating community-based resistance to extractivism, to the new volume From Extractivism to Sustainability Scenarios and Lessons from Latin America (Routledge Critical Development Studies Series, Routledge). This chapter offers a succinct overview of why transnational mining conglomerates have abandoned Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and embraced more comprehensive strategies to pre-empt and defeat community resistances. It emphasizes what is distinct and novel about them, exploring how and why they arise, while presenting lines of sight to assess their impact. The volume is the result of an effort by scholars from the Americas and Europe to understand how extractive capitalism has developed over the past three decades, what dynamics of resistance have been deployed to combat it, and whether extractivism can ever be transformed into being a part of a progressive development path.

mapuche-chile.pngProfessor Leiva was interviewed and provided part of the narration for The Big Story: The Mapuche and the Myth of Chile, a film directed by Sanjiev Johal for Al Jazeera English. In September 2022, following three years of widespread protests against crippling economic inequality, the people of Chile went to the polls to vote for a new constitution. It was the most progressive constitution ever proposed for any nation in history, recognising, among other things, the nationhood of the Mapuche - Chile’s largest Indigenous group. But Chile voted "No." Various explanations have been put forward as to why a constitution that promised unparalleled rights, representation and protections for women, the LGBTQ+ community, the environment and long-marginalized Indigenous groups, failed to get the majority approval of the Chilean people. But at the dark heart of this refusal is a long-cultivated truth about the country’s relationship with the Mapuche, namely: Chile’s problem with race. Using the fallout from the 2022 "No" vote, this film examines how race and racism have shaped the myths used to forge the nation of Chile from the early 19th century to the present day. It sets out the path for this racialised legacy and mythmaking to emerge as a primary driver in rejecting the proposed new constitution, and shows how unprecedented land rights suggested for the Mapuche, as well as defining Chile as a "plurinational" country made up of diverse nations, helped trigger a deeply embedded wariness of Indigenous peoples among Chile’s majority population. It is a wariness inculcated across four centuries of racial "othering", marginalization and criminalisation of the Mapuche.

Assistant Professor Carlos Martinez published an opinion piece, No, deporting undocumented immigrants won’t solve the fentanyl crisis in the San Francisco Chronicle. In recent months, Republicans in Congress have been pushing the false narrative that unauthorized immigration across the U.S.-Mexico border is responsible for fentanyl-related overdoses across the country. The overdose crisis is increasingly being weaponized against migrant communities, with politicians pushing for more deportations and greater border enforcement. But no evidence exists that deporting people caught carrying or selling drugs has any meaningful effect on preventing drug sales, consumption or overdose rates. To effectively confront the overdose crisis, we need to increase funding and access to evidence-based public health policies, not a continuation of the criminalizing approaches that have dominated drug policy for decades.

Professor Martinez was also the lead author of Unido/xs Contra La Sobredosis (United Against Overdose), a needs assessment funded by the San Francisco AIDS Foundation & National Harm Reduction Coalition. In 2019, San Francisco was the county with the third-highest opioid-related death rate among Latinos in California. This report, the result of a needs assessment conducted in partnership with the San Francisco AIDS Foundation & the National Harm Reduction Coalition, reveals that Latino/x PWUD in San Francisco face multiple barriers to accessing critical harm reduction services and a significant portion lack knowledge regarding life-saving tools, such as naloxone. Moreover, the assessment indicates that Latino/x PWUD experience various social inequalities— including a lack of housing and employment, inadequate access to mental health services, and undocumented or precarious legal status—that make them more vulnerable to overdose and may alienate them from existing services. This study was highlighted in the UCSC News.

Professor Patricia Pinho co-edited Whiteness in Latin America: Perspectives on Racial Privilege in Everyday Life, a special issue of the journal Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies. This peer-reviewed publication is the first volume to assemble an interdisciplinary group of researchers of whiteness in Latin America. The contributors represent diverse ethnic/racial identities and institutions and are at different stages of their careers. Challenging the geopolitics of knowledge and offsetting US-centered paradigms, most of the thirteen articles assembled in the special issue were written by Latin American scholars, many of whom are based in Latin America. Examining different aspects of whiteness, the articles deepen the theoretical debates and empirical approaches to race and ethnic studies in Latin America, unsettling categories that have long remained unmarked and understudied. Professor Pinho and the two co-editors also co-authored the introduction, "A conceptual roadmap for the study of whiteness in Latin America," in which they offer the concept of "ordinary whiteness" to examine the often taken-for-granted aspects of white privilege and the everyday ways through which whiteness organizes routines, perspectives, subjectivities, and affects in Latin America. They scrutinize the intersection of race and class to examine the materiality of whiteness, and they examine the politics of race, space, and (im)mobility in the production of whiteness in the region.

Professor and Chair Catherine Ramírez contributed an opinion piece, The 1943 riot that spotlights how drag show bans can fuel violence, published in The Washington Post. The 1943 Zoot Suit Riots are typically recalled for the racism at their core, but they also demonstrate that stereotypes based on clothing and physical appearance — especially those tied to gender norms — can stoke hatred and facilitate state-sanctioned violence. Like the Zoot Suit Riots, recent anti-drag measures attempt to police gender in public spaces. They, too, are driven by fears that transgressive dress signals malicious intent and that people who challenge gender norms with their attire are dangerous.

Professor Jessica Taft contributed the chapter Discursive barriers to children's political influence to A Handbook of Children and Young People’s Participation Conversations for Transformational Change (Routledge). This book chapter identifies three common sets of narratives about children and young people that are deployed by a wide variety of individual and institutional actors that undermine children's abilities to have political power and influence in their communities and beyond. It highlights how such narratives may be used not just by those who are skeptical of children's political participation itself, but also by those who disagree with the content of children's political claims and visions.

Professor Taft also published Questioning Children's Activism: What is new or old in theory and practice? in Children & Society. This article looks at the growth of the idea of "children's activism" in the international child rights NGO sector. It asks how INGOs are currently defining and understanding this term, arguing that it is overused and under-conceptualized and that scholars and practitioners rooted in the field of children's participation who are new to this term would benefit from deeper engagement with work being done on youth activism and youth organizing. The authors also raise key questions for defining children's activism and offer their own conceptual framework for distinguishing it from advocacy, consultation, and other forms of political participation.


Associate Professor Elizabeth Beaumont contributed a paper, Civic Education and Faultlines of Constitutional Democracy, for a roundtable on Civic Education, part of a year-long series of gatherings exploring constitutional problems and the scholarship of Sandy Levinson. This paper considers how political crises facing the U.S. – from attacks on elections and voting rights, to surging racism, to misinformation – reveal the importance of the civic aspects of constitutional democracy, including the role of education and argues that recent political threats create new impetus to recognize a right to civic education – universal access to high-quality civic learning – as both an individual right of democratic citizenship and a precondition for legitimate rule of law and a robust and inclusive constitutional democracy. The current lack of adequate civic education creates serious problems of unequal citizenship for individuals, and it contributes to weaknesses and dysfunctions across the system of constitutional democracy. When significant segments of the body politic lack civic knowledge, or when there is unequal democratic inclusion, participation, or influence on public debates, representative institutions, political decision-making, and creation of law, it contributes to knowledge deficiencies, participation gaps, and injustices. The essay considers some challenges regarding civic education in the U.S., some emerging possibilities for recognizing it as a right, and some types of learning that could enable critical and constructive democratic thought and action. Professor Beaumont's essay and the Roundtable were also featured on the influential legal blog Balkinization.

Associate Professor Sara Niedzwiecki published Social Policy Expansion and Retrenchment in Latin America: Causal Paths to Successful Reform in Journal of Social Policy. The literature on social policy expansion and retrenchment in Latin America is vast, but scholars differ in how they explain outcomes, arriving at different conclusions about the role of democracy, left parties, favorable economic conditions, and social movements. What can welfare state developments since the end of the commodity boom teach us about the theoretical power of these arguments? This paper engages this question, seeking to explain recent incidents of successful social policy reform in 10 presidential administrations in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay. Using a combination of crisp-set qualitative comparative analysis (csQCA) and case studies, the authors identify multiple paths toward successful social policy expansion and retrenchment. The QCA results highlight two key findings. First, social policy expansion was generally carried out by programmatic parties (often, though not always, from the left). Second, retrenchment is most likely when non programmatic right parties face fiscal constraints. The case studies affirm these findings and show that differences in electoral competition, social movement pressure, and policy legacies shape the contexts in which expansion and retrenchment is feasible. The results provide new insight into social policy reform, underscoring the relevance of complex forms of causality.

Professor Matt Sparke published the article Bio-Pharma Hub Development in Global Production Networks: Contrasting State Policies and Conjunctural Value Strategies, in the journal Area, Development and Policy.  Co-authored with two UCSC undergraduate students, Edwina Malmberg and Ted Malpass, the article examines the ways in which regional policymakers develop bio-pharma development strategies to manage the trade-offs between economic value capture and securing value for health from innovation. Four strategic state roles are identified – provision, protection, procurement and production – and are all shown to be recombined in context-contingent ways. Case studies of California’s Bay Area, Puerto Rico’s Bio-Island, China’s Greater Bay Area, Singapore’s Biopolis and South Africa’s mRNA Hub in Cape Town illustrate how each regional conjuncture leads to recombinations of the roles in ways that reflect the connected but also competing and contested strategies for securing economic value vis-à-vis health value. The resulting variegation of development makes manifest policy struggles that continue to complicate the meanings of strategic coupling and value in hubs of bio-pharma production networks.  
Professor Sparke also published the article Collaborative online international learning, social innovation and global health: Cosmopolitical COVID lessons as global citizenship education, in Globalisation, Societies and Education.  Coauthored with Dave Shaw of UCSC's Right Livelihood College and Swati Bannerjee of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences School of Social Work in Mumbaithe article analysed the results of a COIL course taught by the three authors linking their classes in Santa Cruz and Mumbai during COVID (supported in part by UCSC's Global Classrooms initiative).  The teaching collaboration brought together our Indian and American students online to study how health vulnerabilities under COVID compared in the two countries. In turn, the collaborations of the Indian and American students helped them to develop practical skills in communication across a vast distance, while also offering cosmopolitical opportunities for learning ‘other-wise’. Based on their reflections on their learning in the course, the article indicates that the COIL approach provided a useful set of lessons about how global citizenship education can be enhanced through transnational and collaborative, but also critical and comparative attention to sub-citizenship in the world at large.
Professor Sparke additionally led the editorial team of Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers to publish an editorial entitled Care for Transactions that outlined new ways for the journal and its contributors to embrace the flexibilities of online publishing with more inter-article engagement, commentary and dialogue.


Professor Margarita Azmitia, Assistant Professor Saskias Casanova, and Paulette Garcia Peraza (Assistant Professor, CSU-Sacramento) published Social Identities and intersectionality: A conversation about the what and how of development in Annual Review of Human Development (in press). Research on the development of social identities in early and middle childhood has largely focused on gender; increasingly, however, theory and research have addressed the development of ethnic/racial, social class, sexual, and immigrant identities. Moreover, while it is assumed that individuals' thinking about and articulating of the intersectionality between their social identities emerge in adolescence and young adulthood, a growing body of work has shown that minoritized children conceptualize their intersectional identities by middle childhood. This article reviews that work and addresses how interdisciplinary scholarship and quantitative and qualitative methodologies can deepen our understanding of the development of social identities and intersectionality. The authors take a contextual approach to investigate how relational and cultural contexts contour the development of social and intersectional identities and include suggestions for how communities can support minoritized children and youth's navigation of their identities in schools and communities and cope with discrimination.

Assistant Professor Megan Boudewyn published Half-Listening or Zoned Out? It’s About the Same: The Impact of Attentional State on Word Processing in Context in Cognitive Neuroscience, 13 Jun 2023 This paper reports the results of an electrophysiological study examining how changes in attention influence language processing. The pattern of results showed that the consequences of split attention on language comprehension indices were comparable to fully inattentive periods.

Professor Boudewyn also published a paper, Managing EEG studies: How to prepare and what to do once data collection has begun, in Psychophysiology. This methodological paper provides guidance for the organization and implementation of human electrophysiological studies, including resources such as tutorial videos, processing scripts and more.

Assistant Professor Saskias Casanova co-authored Creating positive learning communities for diasporic indigenous students, published in The Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development. The article describes positive learning communities to best support diasporic Indigenous students in schools and beyond. The successful cultivation of positive learning communities also requires schools to learn from and cultivate partnerships with diasporic Indigenous families and surrounding communities to promote mental health well-being and equitable learning outcomes for all students. Recommendations for educators include understanding the effects of anti-Indigenous discrimination within Latinx communities and reflecting on the ways schooling may unintentionally reproduce colonial or damage-centered perspectives about Indigenous Peoples.

Professor Casanova also published Those are the Spaces Where I Feel Seen and Fully Understood: Digital Counterspaces Fostering Community, Resistance, and Intersectional Identities Among Latinx LGBTQ+ Emerging Adults, in the Journal of Adolescent Research. The article, co-written with social psychology graduate student, Gloriana Lopez Leon, examines how digital platforms serve as counterspaces, or contexts that promote positive identity development where Latinx LGBTQ+ emerging adults resist marginalizing narratives and collectively reimagine their intersectional selves. The qualitative case study spotlights how a self-identified gender fluid, assigned female at birth, bisexual Latinx emerging adult at a public university, used digital counterspaces to resist intersectional marginality and construct positive social identities. The research expands how we imagine counterspaces and provides recommendations for practitioners to increase their understanding of Latinx LGBTQ+ emerging adults’ social media use.

nick-davidenko-screenshot.jpgAssociate Professor Nicolas Davidenko delivered a talk, What You See Affects What You hear: The Role of Visual Perception in Misophonia, at the Misophonia Care Day, a day-long virtual conference for misophonia sufferers sponsored by and the Misophonia Research Fund. Misophonia is a condition where certain trigger sounds, like chewing or slurping, cause intense negative emotional reactions. Professor Davidenko’s research shows that substituting the video of a trigger sound with an alternative source can substantially diminish these negative reactions.

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. People enjoy conversations for lots of reasons, such as the conversational topic. But conversational mechanics – how the conversation flows – also influences assessments of quality. Three factors improved conversation quality: being well-balanced, reaching mutual understanding easily, and signing off smoothly. Two of these factors also influenced recognition accuracy of the conversations: conversations that were well-balanced were better recognized than those that were imbalanced – although conversations without understanding struggles were recognized less well than those with understanding struggles.

Professor Fox Tree also published Conversational Fluency and Attitudes Towards Robot Pilots in Telepresence Robot‑Mediated Interactions in Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW). In this study the authors tested how conversational participants felt about a person communicating using mobile telepresence technology versus a person communicating in person. The same person was rated as less likable, less intelligent, and less polite, among other attitudes, when using telepresence technology compared to when the person communicated in person. The authors did not find differences in discourse phenomena such as laughter, gaze, and use of expressions like "you know." This result has many implications, such as that all applicants during a hiring process should be interviewed in the same way.

Distinguished Professor Campbell Leaper recently published two research articles. One paper appearing in Race and Social Problems was co-authored with former graduate student, Dr. Antoinette Wilson (University of Houston-Downtown), and it is entitled “Do ethnic‐racial identity dimensions moderate the relations of outgroup discrimination and ingroup marginalization to self‐esteem in Black and Latinx undergraduates?” Among Black and Latinx undergraduates, experiencing either ingroup marginalization (within one’s own ethnic-racial group) or outgroup discrimination (from other ethnic-racial groups) were negatively related to self-esteem. Ingroup marginalization was more strongly associated with lower esteem than was outgroup discrimination. The negative impact of ingroup marginalization was more acutely indicated for those who felt typical of their ethnic-racial group. The research highlights the potential importance of ethnic-racial ingroup support for the psychological well-being of Black and Latinx undergraduates, especially when they strongly identify with their ethnic-racial ingroup.

The second paper, published in Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, was co-authored with former graduate student, Dr. Christine Starr (University of California-Irvine). The study, Undergraduates’ pSTEM identity and motivation in relation to gender- and race-based perceived representation, stereotyped beliefs, and implicit associations, examines the lowered sense of belonging in physical science, technology, engineering, and math (pSTEM) experienced by many women and underrepresented-minoritized (URM). Relative to non-URM men, URM women may experience a double disadvantage based on both their gender and race, whereby they observe few same-gender or few same-race role models in pSTEM. In this research with undergraduate students, women or URM students who reported observing same-gender or same-race pSTEM role models in their lives were less likely to hold explicit pSTEM stereotypes regarding gendear and race, respectively. However, when women and URM students did endorse these stereotypes, they were less likely to identify with pSTEM; and lower pSTEM identity predicted lower pSTEM motivational beliefs (e.g., confidence, interest). The research highlights the potential positive impact of ingroup role models both on students’ resistance to cultural stereotypes and on their pSTEM identity and motivational beliefs.

Distinguished Professor Eileen Zurbriggen co-authored an invited review article The Sources and Consequences of Sexual Objectification in Nature Reviews Psychology. The article reviewed hundreds of studies and summarized evidence that sexual objectification (treating a person as a body or collection of body parts) is prevalent, permeates many aspects of women’s lives, shapes general assumptions about women, and exacts many consequences on women and society. In general, sexually objectified women are perceived more negatively, and as less competent and less fully human than women who are not sexually objectified. Exposure to this cultural messaging has broad consequences and fuels sexist attitudes and violence towards women. A central consequence for women is self-objectification, which is associated with a more negative body image; diminished mental, physical, and sexual health; and impaired cognitive performance.


Associate Professor Hilary Angelo’a article, Boomtown: A solar land rush in the West, was published in Harper's Magazine. An account of solar in the Nevada desert that examines - and questions - the use of public lands for renewable energy development, the article profiles conflicts over the use of public lands for renewable energy development, based on fieldwork in Nye County, Nevada, where residents argue that old patterns of extraction and expropriation are being repeated in the current use of desert land for utility-scale solar.

Associate Professor Camilla Hawthorne published Razza e Cittadinanza: Frontiere Contese e Contestate nel Mediterraneo Nero, an Italian translation of her monograph Contesting Race and Citizenship: Youth Politics in the Black Mediterranean (Astarte Edizioni).