Welcome to the May 2011 issue of the Social Sciences
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OC judge and 2011 Lauds & Laurels award winner Scott Steiner on UCI's lifelong impact
Scott A. Steiner, political science '96, has held an interest in the justice system from an early age; at twelve-years-old, he showed up to his first formal costume party as a judge. Now, 25 years later, he's doing much more than dressing the part. In June 2010, Steiner was elected to the bench of the Orange County Superior Court, following 11 years as an Orange County deputy district attorney where, among other duties, he headed the hate crimes prosecution unit. A frequent campus career panelist and mentor, undergraduate political science guest lecturer, and presiding judge over UCI's annual mock trial invitational, Judge Steiner's continued connection to UCI and the local Orange County community in which he was raised have earned him the 2011 UCI Lauds & Laurels Outstanding Social Sciences Alumni Award. Here, Steiner discusses his pathway to his current post as judge, and his love for both the law and his alma mater.
22 million bachelors looking for mates in China
Anthropologist receives grant to study how the world's largest nation is handling gender imbalance
From 2005-25, an expected 22 million Chinese bachelors looking for love will fail to find a mate, says UCI anthropologist Susan Greenhalgh, and it won't be for lack of want. The problem, she says, is a residual effect of the country's more than 30-year-old one-child per couple policy, the highly successful national birth control measure which encouraged couples to eliminate daughters in an effort to end up with a son. Now of marrying age, these men are without an adequate supply of Chinese brides to wed. "Today, there are 120 boys per 100 girls born in China, and that gives the country among the highest sex ratios at birth in the world," she says. For the past 25 years, she has studied the creation and unintended impacts of China's one-child policy, tracing its origins to the late 1970s when missile scientists deemed it the only solution for averting what they saw as a pending population crisis threatening the country's global rise. The outcomes of the policy have instead created a different kind of crisis, she says, one that includes a rapidly aging population and an increasingly masculine society. In March, she received a $204,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to study the new sciences and policy thinking that are emerging to deal with the problem of what the Chinese call "surplus men."
Making thought-based speech a reality
UCI cognitive scientists' non-invasive synthetic telepathy communication work featured in April edition of Discover Magazine
In 2008, UCI cognitive science professors Mike D'Zmura, Ramesh Srinivasan, Gregory Hickok and Kourosh Saberi were awarded $4 million from the U.S. Department of Defense's Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative program to develop a communication system that would use thought rather than voice to communicate. Working with researchers Richard Stern and Vijayakumar Bhagavatula from Carnegie Mellon University and David Poeppel from the University of Maryland, that system is becoming closer to a reality. For an update on their progress, check out the April issue of Discover Magazine and their feature story, "Silent Warrior" (subscription required for viewing; full story available in print on newsstands).
Putting pen to paper
Study coauthored by Chicano/Latino studies assistant professor Belinda Campos finds health benefits of expressive writing do not apply equally across all cultures
Freud practically invented it and Oprah has made a career out of it, but not everyone embraces talking their way to mental health. The role that culture plays in determining whether or not treatment will be successful prompted UC Irvine researchers to study a popular psychotherapy tool: expressive writing. The practice encourages patients to put thoughts and feelings about traumatic events into words as a way to relieve stress and promote physical health. Researchers Eric Knowles and Belinda Campos randomly assigned white and Asian American participants to write about their worst traumas or trivial topics over a four-day period. They assessed physical symptoms before the writing exercise and again one month after the writing sessions. The researchers found that whites who wrote about trauma reported fewer illness and depression symptoms in the second assessment, a benefit not experienced by the Asian American group. Neither did this group report gaining any insights into their feelings or thoughts about trauma.
Making a difference in Afghanistan
UCI IMTFI researcher studies Afghan monetary practices to learn how the emerging mobile money industry could make a lasting economic impact
If you've always had access to banking services, it's hard to imagine how critical they are to leading secure, happy lives, says Jan Chipchase, a researcher with UCI's Institute for Money, Technology & Financial Inclusion (IMTFI). The use of bank and credit cards, as well as confidence in the financial institutions that facilitate transactions, have become second-nature for consumers in industrialized nations; for those in developing countries like Afghanistan, such immediate and reliable access is a luxury. In 2010, Chipchase, who is also the global insights director at Frog Design, was awarded an IMTFI research grant to study current monetary practices in Afghanistan and the country's potential as a new market for a cell-phone based money transfer system, similar to Kenya's highly successful M-PESA which now boasts more than 12 million subscribers. Through in-depth interviews conducted on the city streets and in the homes of farmers, police officers, schoolteachers and entrepreneurs, Chipchase gained unique access into the everyday lives of Afghan citizens. He has presented his research at conferences convened by the U.S. Department of State, the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and other key international organizations, and published his findings and documentary photos online. Here, Chipchase discusses his work, its importance and how it could change the lives of Afghanis and others in developing countries around the world.
Sociology undergrad Lalita Patipaksiri is first UCI player to be selected for the NCAA all-star golf team
As a junior on the UC Irvine women's golf team, sociology undergrad Lalita Patipaksiri has become accustomed to the season's long grind. From the first tournament in September to the Big West championships in mid-April, her tightly packed schedule includes early-morning practice, classes, homework and weekends tied up with more practice and tournament play. You'd think Patipaksiri would welcome a break this summer. Instead, she'll be playing golf almost nonstop for an entire month, touring Asia with some of the finest female players in the country. For 28 years, the NCAA All-Star Golf Team has visited Asia to promote good will and the game among some of the world's most avid fans. Starting June 21, Patipaksiri and nine other golfers from top programs such as Stanford University, the University of Arizona and Yale University will play in 16 tournaments over 28 days on courses in Tokyo; Seoul, South Korea; Hong Kong; and Nansha, China. Patipaksiri is the first UCI player selected for the Asia-touring team — the latest achievement for the young program, which, since starting up in 2001, has won five Big West Conference titles and played in two NCAA championship tournaments.
Giving others a break
While their peers partied on, many UCI students spent spring vacation working on service projects
During last month's spring break, as most college students recovered from finals by lounging in the sun, 14 UC Irvine undergraduates toiled under it at the La Jolla Indian Reservation, in northern San Diego County. They helped the Luiseno tribe plant a community garden, haul trash and pick California white sage for an upcoming Earth Day celebration. A total of about 50 UCI students sacrificed what precious little R&R they get during the academic year to participate in the campus Center for Service in Action's Alternative Break program. From March 20 to 26, they helped nonprofit organizations at five sites statewide. "It's a unique way for UCI students to engage in a community service project," says Tiffani Razo, a fourth-year international studies major who led the La Jolla reservation project. "A lot of them say they want to get involved but don't have time during the school year."
SPOTLIGHT EVENT: Kiang Lecture: What are the Major Challenges to High Growth in China?
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Reception: 5:00-5:45 p.m.
Social & Behavioral Sciences Gateway, Patio 1517
Lecture: 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Social & Behavioral Sciences Gateway, Room 1517
The UCI Center for Asian Studies presents the Eighth Annual Wan-Lin Kiang Lecture, "What are the Major Challenges to High Growth in China?" with Wing Thye Woo, Professor of Economics, UC Davis; Chang Jiang Scholar, Central University of Finance and Economics, Beijing; and Director, East Asia Program, Columbia University. Wing Thye Woo's lecture will draw from his paper, "The Challenges of Governance Structure, Trade Disputes and Natural Environment to China's Growth," in which he compares the Chinese economy to a speeding car, e.g. China's GDP has just overtaken Japan's in 2010. A car crash could occur from any one of the following three types of failures: hardware (the breakdown of an economic mechanism, e.g. a banking crisis); software (a flaw in governance that creates social disorders, e.g. a legitimacy crisis); and/or power supply (a shock that is mostly beyond the control of China, e.g. an environmental catastrophe and/or international sanctions). He finds that as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has identified its primary task as building a "Harmonious Society," software failure is likely the biggest challenge to its continued rule. Wing Thye Woo agrees only partly with the diagnosis of the CCP. In his view, enlightened self-interest would require that China develop a global view of its responsibilities, and help more actively in building a harmonious world. This event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited; RSVPs are requested. For further information or to RSVP, please email email@example.com.
SPOTLIGHT EVENT: Robin M. Williams Jr. Lecture and Luncheon: Creating Justice for the Poor in the New Metropolis
Thursday, May 12, 2011 @ 12:00-2:00 p.m.
Social Science Plaza A, Room 2112
The UCI Center for the Study of Democracy and Department of Sociology present the Robin M. Williams Jr. Lecture and Luncheon, "Creating Justice for the Poor in the New Metropolis" with Margaret Weir, Professor of Political Science and Sociology, Director of Building Resilient Regions Network, University of California, Berkeley. Weir received her Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago in 1986. Her research and teaching fields include American political development, urban politics and policy, political sociology, and comparative studies of the welfare state. She has written widely on the politics of social policy and inequality in the United States and Europe. She is director of the MacArthur Network on Building Resilient Regions, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the coauthor of a textbook on American government, We the People. Prior to coming to Berkeley, Weir taught in the Harvard government department and served as senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. This event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited; RSVPs are requested. For further information or to RSVP, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
SPOTLIGHT EVENT: Margolis Lecture: Humanity, Self-Determination and Armed Intervention
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Reception: 5:30-6:15 p.m.
Social & Behavioral Sciences Gateway, Patio 1517
Lecture: 6:30-8:00 p.m.
Social & Behavioral Sciences Gateway, Room 1517
The Center for Global Peace & Conflict Studies presents the 20th Annual Margolis Lecture, "Humanity, Self-Determination and Armed Intervention" with Michael W. Doyle, Harold Brown Professor of International Affairs, Law, and Political Science, Columbia University; and Former Assistant Secretary-General and Special Adviser to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Doyle's talk will address the following question: What should our rules for international nonintervention and intervention be if they are to reflect the modern conscience by simultaneously trying to adhere to three (contradictory) principles? The first is the cosmopolitan commitment to humanitarian assistance, irrespective of international borders; second is respect for the significance of communitarian, national self-determination; and, third is accommodation to the reality of international anarchy -- the absence of reliable world government -- that puts a premium on self-help national security. This event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited; RSVPs are requested. For further information or to RSVP, please email email@example.com.