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UCI Social Sciences E-News

Welcome to the September issue of the Social Sciences E-News

Upcoming Events

Campuswide New Graduate Student Orientation

Welcome Week Activities for Social Sciences Undergraduates

Fall Classes Begin

IMTFI Annual Conference for Funded Research

See more events

Social Sciences
in the Media

For black candidates, Obama is an elusive model

Can Californians trust what Whitman is selling?

Mobile money's innovation crisis

Love letters: The A, B, C and D of finding 'the one' in Shanghai

Prop. 8 gay marriage delay a 'good thing' for eager couples?

People-powered research

Local veteran works out his post-service plan

Slugs from the west, travel to the West Bank

Back to school do's and don'ts

A sharp drop in illegal border crossings reported

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UCI sociologists earn honors at national association annual meeting

Faculty and graduate student awards and office elections recognize UCI sociologists for research and leadership

With more than 500 million users, Facebook is the dominant force in the relatively new and rapidly evolving field of online social networking. If you’re one of the few who have managed to abstain from the online craze that consumes more than 700 billion minutes of users time each month, don’t assume you’re out of social networking’s grasp. “Social media sites like Facebook have made many people more aware of how their relationships are linked to others by making invisible ties visible,” says Carter Butts, UCI sociology associate professor. “But the study of social networks is about much more than Facebook. It's about uncovering the social fabric that structures our everyday lives.” For the past 11 years, he has studied how social networks operate and their effects in both the real and virtual worlds. He has uncovered some surprising findings on topics ranging from how leaders emerge in times of crisis to the role of timing on the spread of information and infectious diseases. At the 2010 annual meeting of the American Sociological Association (ASA), Butts was recognized for his research accomplishments with the Leo Goodman Early Career Award. Joining Butts in receiving recognition at the four-day August meeting in Atlanta were several of his UCI colleagues including Elizabeth Chiarello, sociology graduate student; Valerie Jenness, criminology, law & society professor, affiliated sociology professor, and School of Social Ecology dean; Rubén Rumbaut, sociology professor; and Judith Treas, sociology professor.

Read on for more award details and news from the meeting...

Helping Haitians gain access to financial services

UCI's Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion receives additional Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funding for on the ground research in developing countries

When a 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti eight months ago, it toppled the country's already struggling infrastructure. With funding from UCI's Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion, a team of researchers is studying how communication technologies like the mobile phone can be used to help rebuild and establish new financial services in the disaster stricken region. “Most Haitians possess little access to banks and other key financial services which means moving money is challenging and time-consuming,” says Heather Horst, a researcher with IMTFI and UC Humanities Research Institute. “The earthquake, especially efforts to distribute relief money and goods, made this tenuous system more visible.” She is leading an IMTFI research team which, prior to the January 12 earthquake, was studying how mobile phones were being used in Haiti and the Dominican Republic for economic and social wellbeing. With financial services and their effective delivery one of many infrastructural casualties resulting from the earthquake, the team's research and its potential applications have taken on a new – and more urgent – sense of importance. This month, IMTFI was awarded an additional $363,849 in research support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to fund projects including the Haiti team's work and others like them performing on the ground research in developing countries.

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Greenhalgh receives Rachel Carson Prize for book on China's one-child policy

Award marks the anthropologist's third major recognition for most recent book on population science and governance in China

Susan Greenhalgh, anthropology professor, has received the Rachel Carson Prize from the Society for Social Studies of Science for her book, Just One Child: Science and Policy in Deng's China, in which she draws on her more than 20 years of research into China's population politics to explore how a team of Chinese missile scientists convinced the country's government to adopt a strict one-child per couple policy as a means for controlling population growth. The Carson Prize, which was presented at the society's annual meeting in Tokyo August 25-29, recognizes Greenhalgh's work as the best book in science studies in the last three years with social or political relevance, and marks her third major recognition for the book since its publishing in 2008. In March, she received the Association for Asian Studies's Joseph Levenson Book Prize for the best book on China post-1900, and in 2009, an honorable mention in the Society for Cultural Anthropology's competition for the Gregory Bateson Book Prize. Just One Child has also been positively reviewed in more than a dozen publications, including Nature, Science, and the Times Literary Supplement.

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Harvest of Loneliness earns top honors at 2010 Latino Film Festival in LA

Documentary on Bracero Program co-directed by UCI's Gonzalez and Price receives Cinelatino Audience Choice Award

Gilbert Gonzalez, Chicano/Latino studies professor, and Vivian Price, UCI political science Ph.D. alumnus, received the Cinelatino Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary at the 2010 Los Angeles Latino Film Festival for “Harvest of Loneliness: The Bracero Program.” In the award-winning documentary, the pair explore the historical accounts of migrant Mexican farm workers brought into the U.S. from 1942-1964 under the temporary contract worker program known as the Bracero Program. The documentary was one of more than 91 films presented at the Los Angeles Latino Film Festival August 19-25, and one of only two to receive an award. The Best Documentary recognition carries a $1,000 cash prize and was presented to the co-directors at the close of the weeklong festival.

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Afghan history

Ph.D. alumnus and social sciences lecturer Bojan Petrovic discusses Afghanistan's political evolution in new book

In his new book, social sciences lecturer Bojan Petrovic explores the historical state-building process of Afghanistan. Through media and secondary sources, he tells the story of Afghanistan's political evolution, beginning with its status as a neutral, “buffer” state between the Tsarist Russia and the British Empire in the nineteenth century. During the Cold War, the country also served as a neutral zone between Soviet and U.S. forces. In Afghanistan: The Political History of a Buffer State, he explains how the late stages of the Cold War fragmented the Afghan state structures, creating great instability that has been carried over into its current post-Taliban status. He argues that in order to bring stability back to the region, Afghanistan must be restored to its original neutral origins.

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Wan receives fellowship to study changes in nuclear non-proliferation talks and treatises

Political science graduate student's findings could impact future discussions on prospects for nuclear disarmament

Wilfred Wan, political science graduate student, has received an $18,000 dissertation fellowship from the University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC) to study how international talks and treatises designed to halt the proliferation of nuclear weapons have evolved since 1970. Using archival data from a number of sources including the International Atomic Energy Agency, Office of Disarmament Affairs, United Nations Archives and National Security Archives and conducting interviews with officials involved in the 2010 review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Wan plans to piece together a historical narrative on the changes that have occurred surrounding non-proliferation discussions and policy. His findings may be used in future discussions on the prospects for disarmament.

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McGuire receives research award to study policies for combating gangs

Anthropology graduate student's findings may aid in design of future, more effective strategies for reducing gang violence

Connie McGuire, anthropology graduate student, has received a $20,000 doctoral dissertation fellowship from the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation to study policies designed to combat gangs from Los Angeles to San Salvador. Findings from her research may contribute to the identification of future, more effective strategies for reducing gang violence in the Americas.

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SPOTLIGHT EVENT - Welcome Week Activities for New Undergrads and Grads

September 16 - New Graduate Student Orientation
September 20 - Welcome Week Activities Kick-Off for Undergrads
September 23 - Fall Classes Begin

With the start date for fall classes only a few weeks away, the School of Social Sciences is getting ready to welcome 1084 new freshmen and transfer students and 90 new graduate students for the 2010-11 academic year. Learn more about welcome week and orientation activities planned for new students online.

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SPOTLIGHT EVENT - IMTFI Annual Conference for Funded Research

September 29-30, 2010 @ 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
UCI Student Center, Doheny Beach Rooms A&B

The Institute for Money, Technology & Financial Inclusion's Annual Conference for Funded Research brings together the institute's second year award recipients who will present their preliminary findings. As more and more philanthropic, industry and development actors ask whether mobile technology can help provide access to needed financial services like savings and money transfer, these projects look to the experience on the ground of existing, traditional money systems and financial practices, as well as the potential and real impact of new technology in providing access to finance for the world's poor. Registration is free and open to the public, but space is limited and RSVPs are required.

Read On...

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