Research Roundup: Spring 2024

April 09, 2024


Professor Anna Tsing co-wrote and published the book Field Guide to the Patchy Anthropocene: The New Nature with Jennifer Deger, Alder Keleman Saxena, and Feifei Zhou for Stanford University Press. The book considers the climate crisis in context of how we can nurture a revitalized natural history in the midst of human activity. The authors explore ways of understanding and living with respect to places, ecologies, and histories in pursuit of a social justice-oriented, multispecies world. 


Associate Professor Vicky Oelze co-wrote and published the article "Strontium isotopes track female dispersal in Taï chimpanzees" in the American Journal of Biological Anthropology. This article explores how male chimpanzees remain in their natal community their entire lives while females disperse when they reach sexual maturity. Where these females go or where newly immigrating female chimpanzees come from remained one of the biggest unsolved questions in the study of chimpanzees. The project investigated the utility of strontium isotope analysis to identify the status (immigrant/natal) of females of unknown origin within one chimpanzee community in Taï National Park, Ivory Coast. Their findings show that strontium isotope analysis can be used to identify the geographic origins of immigrant females.


Professor Galina Hale gave a TedxSantaCruz talk on April 13 about funding climate solutions and discussed who should be paying for climate solutions, where we can find necessary funds, and what each of us can do to speed up this process. 

Environmental Studies

Professor Michael E. Loik published "Press, pulse, and squeeze: Is climatic equilibrium ever possible on mountains?" in Biological Conservation. This paper discusses how climate change is causing many plant and animal species to move towards higher elevations as temperatures warm. It also describes ways that changing precipitation patterns and topography can limit species' ability to keep up with their preferred climate. 

Assistant Professor Mijin Cha received an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation grant of $250k to conduct a just transition listening project along the lifecycle of lithium, a critical mineral necessary for the energy transition away from fossil fuels. This is the first Sloan Foundation grant awarded to UCSC. The grant will fund research at three different sites along the lithium lifecycle- extraction, manufacturing, and battery storage, to better understand potential injustices that might arise and how to best mitigate them in order to advance a truly just energy transition.

Professor Flora Lu co-authored the article “Building more epistemically inclusive and environmentally equitable universities” with ENVS lecturer Emily Murai, Associate Professor of Sociology Hillary Angelo, and UCSC alumna Serena Campbell (UCSC alum) in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences. This paper was based on the project Critical Environmentalisms, which surveyed and interviewed almost 60 UCSC faculty and staff. In order to support critical environmental work on campus, their findings reveal we must address epistemic exclusion, unequal burdens faced by marginalized scholars, and disparities in access to power and resources.


Lu also co-authored the chapter "Transcommunal peace, cooperation
and respect for diversity: A university/prison multi-partnership approach" with Professor Emeritus of Sociology John Brown Childs and Senior Director for College
Student Life of College Nine and John R. Lewis College Sarah Woodside Bury in the edited book Higher Education and the Carceral State: Transforming Together. This work reflects a collaboration between Colleges Nine and John R. Lewis, Santa Cruz Barrios Unidos, and the Cemanahuac Cultural Group at Soledad Correctional Training Facility.


Professor Matt Sparke co-authored the article “COVID and structural cartelisation: market-state-society ties and the political economy of Pharma” in New Political Economy, detailing how the big profits and influence of pharmaceutical firms that rose to prominence during the COVID pandemic illustrated far more than just the global reach and market power of Big Pharma. Their findings explain the power of these firms as a consequence of structural cartelization that is networked and nested across hybrid state and market relations. 

Sparke also published “Neoliberalism Revisited” in the International Encyclopedia of Geography, which explores how the term neoliberalism is widely used to describe efforts to make market competition the basis of economic coordination, social distribution, and personal motivation. Over time, the “neo” in the term has come to index the many ways in which neoliberalism keeps evolving into new hybrids of market rule.

Latin American and Latino Studies

Professor and Chair Catherine Ramírez co-edited a series of essays featured inlalsspring24
The Border Is the Crisis: Reflections on the Centenary of  the Immigration Act of 1924" for Public Books. These essays reflect on the legislation that led to the creation of the US Border Patrol and ushered in the most restrictive era of United States immigration history.

Ramírez and LALS colleagues Sylvanna Falcón and Jessica Taft are co-Principal Investigators of archiving Dolores Huerta’s legacy and shaping the future of Latinx Studies as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) campus. This three-year, one-million-dollar grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will grow Latinx studies at UCSC by supporting two UC Chancellor's fellows and a project archivist who will process the personal papers of Dolores Huerta and the records of the Dolores Huerta Foundation.  

In celebration of Ramírez contributions to the Routledge Handbook of CoFuturisms, she participated in a roundtable with other contributors of the volume at the Science Fiction Research Association conference at the University of Tartu in Estonia in May. 


Assistant Professor Megan Boudewyn published a study, “Assessing Trial-by-Trial Electrophysiological and Behavioral Markers of Attentional Control and Sensory Precision in Psychotic and Mood Disorders” in the Schizophrenia Bulletin. This study used electrophysiology (EEG) measures to track attention fluctuations over the course of a cognitive task in schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression. 


Professor Barbara Rogoff has been recently elected President of Division 7 (Developmental Psychology) of the American Psychological Association. She was also invited to publish the article “Mutually Constituting, Fractal: Individual and Cultural Aspects of Holistic Process” in the Review of Research in Education. This article makes theargument that individual and cultural/contextual contributions to learning and development can be understood as mutually constituting aspects
of a holistic fractal process flowing across generations.


Distinguished Professor of Psychology Campbell Leaper was interviewed for the article “For Gen Z, an Age-Old Question: Who Pays for Dates?” in The New York Times regarding his research on young heterosexual undergraduates' preferences for dating double standards, such as the man being the one to initiate and pay for a date and for the woman to take the man's last name in marriage. These preferences were related to holding benevolent sexist attitudes, such as believing there are inherent gender differences and favoring chivalrous notions that women need men's protection. 

Assistant Professor Saskias Casanova co-authored  “Cultivating the transfer landscape: Using a CRT framework to examine transfer receptivity at a HSRI” in the Journal of Social Issues. This article was co-authored with doctoral student, Valeria Alonso Blanco, STARRS director, Sara Radoff, and program coordinator, Francia Cruz Silva. Results reveal that faculty and peer relationships mitigated the negative effects of transfer stigma on transfer students’ of color sense of belonging. The authors recommend university programs that create opportunities for these students to foster relationships with peers, faculty, and staff.