Coronavirus COVID-19 Updates: uc.edu/publichealth


Cantando al Amanecer (A Drum is a Woman) + The contemporary verse novel written by Latinx female author,
Julia Piastro Garcia, Romance and Arabic Languages and Literatures.
Foto Ju 2Novels in verse are not a recent phenomenon. This genre was born between the 18th and 19th centuries, at the same time as the prose novel. The Anglophone sphere witnessed a notable resurgence of novels in verse at the end of the 20th century, many of them aimed at adolescents and young adults. In the United States, Latinx literature has been part of a shift towards a plurality of perspectives within this genre. However, there are few examples of contemporary verse novels written in Spanish. In this project, I propose to write the verse novel in Spanish "Cantando al Amanecer" (A Drum is a Woman), a book exploring themes of identity, sexuality, and machismo within the Mexican culture. This creative project will be complemented by an academic research of three verse novels written by contemporary Latinx female authors: Elizabeth Acevedo, Melissa Lozada-Oliva, and Alessandra Narváez-Varela.

“Looking Backward, Moving Forward”: Carroll Greene Jr. and Black Public History Movement, 1960 – 2000 
Erena Nakashima, History

Erena NakashimaMy dissertation examines the life and work of Carroll Greene Jr. (1931 – 2007), a Black Museum professional, to explore the institutional formation of the Black public history movement in the late twentieth century. Throughout his four-decade career, Greene played a crucial role in bridging Black artists, intellectuals, local organizations, and museum world professionals. Examining Greene’s seven projects in public institutions to find a place for his expertise, to create and preserve spaces and institutions that presented Black-centered perspectives, and to collect Black material culture that had been largely neglected or ignored, my project illustrates Black public history as a multi-dimensional movement built upon a web of local, national, and international knowledge and resources as well as tactics to democratize American cultural landscape.

Listening to Appalachian Voices in the Writing Classroom
Chelsea Ensley, English

Ensley ChelseaDrawing from relational cultural theory, my dissertation, "Listening to Appalachian Voices in the Writing Classroom," demonstrates the value of growth-fostering relationships between Appalachian students and writing teachers. By conducting interviews and surveying composition teachers at a rural university, I bring awareness to how Appalachian student-writers perceive their cultural identity and literacy practices, as well as how composition teachers understand and engage their Appalachian students. In addition, my dissertation argues how student-teacher relationships—characterized by mutuality, connection, and empathy—can potentially empower Appalachian students as academic writers and members of their own cultural community.

Haley Crigger, English

Crigger HaleyThis story collection traverses 250 years of Northern Kentucky history—from 1801 to 2050—examining themes of legacy, self-determination, queerness, addiction, family, Evangelical culture and the bastardization of Christianity, and the false narrative of white supremacy. It will be supplemented with a critical essay that examines the 21st-century literary landscape of the “Christ-Haunted” South. Namesake of frontiersman Daniel Boone, birthplace of Margaret Garner, southern border of the Ohio River, Boone County, Kentucky has often set the stage for our nation’s greatest moral crises. As a whole, the collection is a meditation on geographical and metaphysical crossroads, located in the historical call and response between evil and the Bluegrass.

The Performance of Motherhood,
Barbara Besendorfer, Asian, East European, and German Studies

1353BesendorferBarbara5354The first German women’s movement at the end of the 19th century used spiritual motherhood as a concept to move women, primarily childless and unmarried women, from the margins of society and place them at the center as spiritual mothers. This conceptualization contributed to and institutionalized a maternal discourse prevalent in the German Empire, other European countries, and North America since specific female ethics and motherliness were assumed in every female human being. Focused primarily on the writings of Henriette Schrader-Breymann, Helene Lange, and Helene Stöcker, this dissertation will first explore spiritual motherhood as a valuable tool for women to open up the private sphere of the household. Second, it will elucidate spiritual motherhood as a form of feminist mothering as it was described in the writings of Second Wave feminism, and third, it strives to investigate ideas of spiritual motherhood in the newly gained German colonies. This dissertation argues that spiritual motherhood was not only a way to move women from the margins of society to the center but also a modern form of mothering that allowed women at the end of the 19th century to escape the patriarchal system of its time.

Participation in extracurricular activities and college matriculation: Is there an advantage for the disadvantaged?

Michael Parrish, Sociology

Parrish MichaelResearch suggests two competing theories about the benefit for adolescents who involve themselves in extracurricular activities during secondary school education. Cultural capital theory posits that participation in school-based activities can expose youth from lower class backgrounds to high class culture and values. In doing so, individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds may gain access to better educational opportunities. The “diminished returns” stance states that students involved in school-based activities must manage the competing demands of academic achievement and extracurricular involvement, and therefore the former may suffer due to the latter. The proposed research examines whether involvement in school-based activities—such as the arts, sports, literature, politics, and academic activities—have a differential effect for minority student’s and girl’s ability to matriculate to a post-secondary institution. I use longitudinal data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (ADD Health) which consists of a nationally representative sample of respondents taken from 7th thru 12th graders during the 1994-1995 school year *Wave I) and follows their educational progress taken from respondents through 2008-2009 (Wave IV). Employing this data, this research examines which type of extracurricular activity involvement increases the probability of college matriculation for students of color and girls.

Long-Term Effect of Early Exposure to Substance Use
Sachin Sisodiya, Economics

Sachin PhotoUsing National Survey on Drug Use & Health (NSDUH) data, this study tries to explore (1) the gateway drug effect (i.e., progression of substance abuse from licit drugs (for example, alcohol, and cigarette) during adolescence to harder drugs (for example, heroin, and cocaine) abuse and/or dependence in adulthood, (2) the impact of exposure to substance use and/or abuse during adolescence on the economic, health, and educational attainment outcomes during adult life, (3) conditional on substance use and/or abuse during adolescence, whether delaying the initiation of substance use and/or abuse helps significantly reduce the negative effects on economic, health, and educational attainment outcomes during adult life. 

Veiled Schools: A Comparative Historical Analysis of Placemaking in Black High Schools in the U.S. South
Kierra Toney, Sociology

Headshot CropThis study offers insights into how majority Black high schools contribute to Black placemaking – or how urban Black people create sites of endurance, belonging, and resistance through social interaction. This study explores the historic and ongoing Black placemaking in two majority Black high schools in a midsize city, Chattanooga, Tennessee. The two schools chosen as the focus of this analysis represent two pathways which (re)produced racial homogeneity in schools following the legal desegregation of the education system. To do this I use a comparative historical case study methodology by combining archival document analysis, in-depth interviews, and ethnographic observations. In this study I apply the Black placemaking framework to Black high schools to better understand the multifaceted relationship between schools and the communities which sustain them.

Feature film screenplay An Ordinary Life: Character Development Methodology for Screenwriting
Daniela Granja, Romance and Arabic Languages and Literatures

foto 2021My doctoral dissertation project consists of two parts: a screenplay for a feature film entitled An Ordinary Life and a character development methodology for screenwriting. The screenplay includes elements of diversity and inclusivity both in theme and how the characters are portrayed telling the story of an Ecuadorian couple who travels to Indiana, USA, to study and how their marriage progresses into forming a family. This story deals with culture shock, discrimination, racism, acceptance, generosity between cultures, relationship issues, diverse views of parenthood, even diverse ways to love. The research part of my dissertation centers on the elaboration of a character development methodology that will link academic elements raging from literary criticism to film studies and practical approaches to the exercise of creative writing. The creative writing part of my dissertation exemplifies the methodology and the proposed concepts.

Regularity of sets of finite fractional perimeter and nonlocal minimal surfaces in metric measure spaces
Josh Kline, Mathematical Sciences

Josh Kline - math headshot (square)If one takes a wire loop and dips it into a dish of liquid soap, the film that remains will have the smallest possible surface area compared with all possible films stretching across the wire. Such a film is an example of a minimal surface, and the surface area measurement is an example of a local perimeter measure.  In the setting of a metric space (where we can talk about distance, but not direction), we study a related nonlocal notion, known as fractional perimeter, and objects called nonlocal minimal surfaces, which minimize this measurement. In particular, we first study the dimension of the boundaries of sets which have finite fractional perimeter.  Concerning minimizers, we then investigate when nonlocal minimal surfaces exist, and the improved smoothness of their boundaries when they do.

Transnational Feminist Networks in South Asia: Bridging Divides and Building Solidarities in South-South Feminist Relations
Sarah Imran, School for Public and International Affairs

SarahFor my dissertation, I propose to conduct an investigation of transnational feminist networks in South Asia to determine how they developed, for what purposes, and with what challenges in an attempt to flesh out what is distinctive about transnational feminist political organizing in the region and what it can contribute to transnational feminist theorizing. A particular focus on these divides and whether South Asian TFNs take them on in their organizing is particularly important in a regional context rife with conflict and with a rich diversity of contentious ethnic, cultural and religious identities, and political ideologies. I propose to study South Asian TFNs that span Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.

Marijuana Politics: Elite Racial Discourse, Socio-Economic (In)Justice, and Attitudes Towards Marijuana Legislation in the US
Yorkow Oppon-Acquah, School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA)


Legalizing marijuana is widely characterized by proponents as an attempt to correct the wrongs of continuing racial unfairness in the American criminal justice system. However, no prior study directly evaluates the influence of pro- and anti-legalization arguments by elites that are framed explicitly in terms of the effects legalization would have on the African American community. Considering this, the primary objective of my dissertation is to understand how deeply rooted opinions about marijuana legalization are. I do so by (1) examining the extent to which explicit elite racial appeals prime voters’ racial predisposition on marijuana legalization policies, (2) assessing the extent to which communities perceive the economic impact of marijuana legalization on their racial in-groups, and (3) studying why some sectors of the population are fiercely opposed to marijuana legalization even when exposed to positive information about legalization. To address these research inquiries, I employ a two-step methodology. Initially, I analyze support for marijuana policies, utilizing nationally representative surveys. Subsequently, I incorporate a novel survey-embedded experiment to assess the impact of elite racial communication on voters’ views and their willingness to reconsider their beliefs when confronted with countervailing information. 

Generalized Hastings McLeod Functions
Kurt Schmid, Mathematical Sciences

A wide range of phenomena from traffic patterns in urban centers to the behavior of neutrons in heavy metals can be modeled by a family of highly nontrivial differential equations known as the Painlevé equations. One such class of these solutions that has gained increasing attention in recent years is the generalized Hastings McLeod functions. In my dissertation, I will provide novel, rigorous estimations of these solutions. While other mathematicians have rigorously approximated other Painlevé equations, the generalized Hastings McLeod functions is still an open problem. As such, my work will provide a new, effective way for physicists and civil engineers to explain a variety of phenomena.

Engineering Progress in Science

Collin Lucken, Philosophy


Dissertation Fellows
2022 - 2023
2020 - 2021
2021 - 2022
2019 - 2020
2018 - 2019
2017 - 2018
2016 - 2017
2015 - 2016
2014 - 2015
2013 - 2014
2012 - 2013
2011 - 2012