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UCI Social Sciences 


Welcome to the March 2014 issue of the Social Sciences eNews!

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Upcoming Events

The Bigger Picture of Corruption: A Comparative Analysis of Europe and the Rest of the World
March 3, 2014

Default Logic, Priority, and Statutory Reasoning
March 5, 2014

The Masculinities of Postcolonial Governance: Bureaucratic Memoirs of Indian ICS
March 6, 2014

Re-orienting Discussions of Scientific Explanation: A Functional Perspective
March 7, 2014

Bipartisanship and Public Policy
March 7, 2014

Visualization and O-minimality
March 12, 2014

Drama, Law and Justice: The Making of The Trial of Dedan Kimathi by Ngugi wa Thiong'o and Micere Mugo
March 13, 2014

When is Now? How Beeps, Flashes and Snaps Undermine a Privileged Now
March 14, 2014

Second Irvine-Pittsburgh-Princeton Conference on the Mathematical and Conceptual Foundations of Physics (IPP 2014)
March 20-21, 2014

XVI Southwest Economic Theory Conference
March 21-22, 2014

Foundations of Gauge Theories
March 21-23, 2014

Event Calendar

Social Sciences
in the Media

OP-ED: With Sochi as Long Beach's sister city, lest Putin forget
Boellstorff, Long Beach Post

Pssst: Some economists favoring $10.10 an hour are Marxists
Neumark, Bloomberg Businessweek

Minimum wage supporters mischaracterize its effects
Neumark, Washington Examiner

Are Mexicans the most successful immigrant group in the U.S.?
Lee, Time, San Francisco Chronicle, SF Gate, Zocalo Public Square, OC Weekly

Guest: Satya Nadella, 'Triple Package,' and the resurrection of the model minority stereotype
Lee, The Seattle Times

Strictly business: High price of low-cost products
Neumark, The Columbian and Bloomberg Businessweek

Sestak wrong about the minimum wage; raising it hurts jobs: PennLive letters (Letters to the Editor)
Neumark, PennLive

Businesses set to cash in on baby boom
Wang Feng, China Daily Europe

CBO report fuels debate on costs and benefits of boosting the minimum wage
Neumark, PBS Newshour

The election of Democrats alone is not enough to ensure gay rights
Smith, USApp–American Politics and Policy blog

Voicemail is a dying form of communication
Boellstorff, The Huffington Post

Wage hike would raise pay for 16.5M, but cut 500K jobs, says CBO
Neumark, Southern California Public Radio

Commissioner questions whether tax credit is achieving its goals
Neumark, The Hartford Courant and Bloomberg Businessweek

Unusual 1968 experiment at UCI detailed in new book
Kett, OC Register

China tiger moms turn guardians of one-child policy as law eases
Wang Feng, San Francisco Gate and Today Online

Only on CBS2: Authors of controversial new book try to pinpoint what makes certain ethnic groups successful
Lee, CBS Los Angeles

New RCMD article provides insights from researcher Ruben Rumbaut
Rumbaut, ICPSR

New policy wielded as economic tool
Wang Feng, China Daily

Immigration reform 2014: Immigration activists wage political war against GOP, say 'No Republican is safe'
DeSipio, The Latino Post

Immigration activists threaten GOP political payback
DeSipio, USA Today

Your race can change over time, study shows
Penner, The Christian Post

NerdScholar favorites: International studies programs
UCI international studies undergrad degree, Nerd Scholar

Staying confident, Scott Brooks leads West All Stars
Brooks, USA Today

What do record airline profits mean for you?
Brueckner, Los Angeles Times

Brain zapping makes role of mirror neurons clearer
Hickok, New Scientist

Bribery allegations threaten California political dynasty
DeSipio, Mint Press News

Olive tree branches out
Olive Tree Initiative, OC Register

Higher minimum wage doesn't cut poverty (Opinion)
Neumark, OC Register

Minimum-wage debate rages on
Neumark, Chicago Tribune

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Lifelong learner

Social sciences lecturer and alumnus receives award for her efforts to open education to wider audiences

Joanne Christopherson was enjoying a successful career in the corporate world. For more than 25 years, the single mom had worked in the escrow industry, at one point owning her own business, even serving as president of the Orange County Escrow Association. But something was missing. "I had started college out of high school, but I never finished and that was really my dream," she says. So in 1995, the California native quit her job, paid off her car, downsized her life and became an Anteater. "I've always thought of myself as a lifelong learner," she says. "I don't shy away from a challenge and I like to pick up news skills as I go." That attitude served her well on what would become a 12-year educational journey toward a Ph.D. in environmental health sciences. In January, Christopherson was named the 2013 recipient of the R1edu award for online instructors, an honor that recognizes her as an innovator in the distance learning effort.

Read on...

Reaching out

New social sciences robot designed to help children with autism hone their social interaction skills

Carl-SJR isn't your typical-looking robot, if in fact there is such a thing. It doesn't have human-like features such as arms or legs, but it enjoys being touched and rubbed. It's these combined traits that may just be what make the robot a winner with its target audience – children with autism and other developmental disorders. "Children with disorders such as autism and ADHD can sometimes be intimidated by people and non-repetitive or sudden movements," says Jeff Krichmar, UCI cognitive sciences professor and Center for Cognitive Neuroscience and Engineering director. "This is where a lot of newer therapies like trained animals and specially designed, socially assistive robots are stepping in, helping to teach social interaction skills." Enter Carl-SJR, short for Cognitive Anteater Robotics Laboratory – Spike Judgment Robot. Developed in Krichmar's social sciences research lab, the surface of its "body" is covered with 67 track balls, the same as those used in Blackberries and older computer mice. When touched or pet, the balls send a signal to LED lights that can display in a variety of colors. The goal is for the user to get comfortable interacting with an object that responds to his or her actions.

Read on...

NerdScholar favorite

UCI international studies program is ranked top in the nation by NerdScholar

In today's globalized world, it's important for people to not only understand various businesses and economies, but also to be able to comprehend the cultures and societies behind those industries. That's where international studies majors come in. NerdScholar spoke with some of the top international studies programs in the country to find out what makes them unique. UC Irvine topped the list and here's what they had to say: At UCI, international studies students gain a unique perspective on global issues, societies, and cultures. Using 21st century analytical skills, students are able to "understand and contribute to shaping the rapidly evolving global community," Laura Rico of the UCI communications department says. Four focal areas - global issues and institutions, global conflict and negotiation, the global role of California and the U.S., and global society and culture - allow them to develop expertise in specific aspects of international life; while new regional area specializations - the francophone world and the Islamic world - reflect global realities.

Read on...

Are Mexicans the most successful immigrant group in the U.S.?

UCI's Jennifer Lee comments in Time

The narrative of the American Dream is one of upward mobility, but there are some stories of mobility we prize above others. Who is more successful: a Mexican-American whose parents immigrated to the U.S. with less than an elementary school education, and who now works as a dental hygienist? Or a Chinese-American whose parents immigrated to the U.S. and earned Ph.D. degrees, and who now works as a doctor? Amy Chua (AKA "Tiger Mom") and her husband Jed Rubenfeld, author of the new book The Triple Package, claim it's the latter. But what happens if you measure success not just by where people end up - the cars in their garages, the degrees on their walls - but by taking into account where they started? In a study of Chinese-, Vietnamese-, and Mexican-Americans in Los Angeles whose parents immigrated here, UCLA sociologist Min Zhou and UCI sociologist Jennifer Lee came to a conclusion that flies in the face of Chua and Rubenfeld, and might even surprise the rest of us: Mexicans are L.A.'s most successful immigrant group.

Read on...

Expanding their work

UCI cognitive scientists receive NSF grant to expand their hearing research to speech perception

When UCI cognitive scientists used fMRI last year to successfully map a new dimension in the human auditory cortex, they created a new method that allows researchers to more accurately plot where and how sounds are processed in the human brain. In September, the National Science Foundation awarded Alyssa Brewer, Gregory Hickok and Kourosh Saberi a four-year, $476,000 grant to further their research on how these maps could tell us more about speech perception. Similar to the researchers' previous mapping work, human subjects will run through a series of hearing tests while their brain activity is measured using the 3T fMRI scanner at the UCI Research Imaging Center. The research will provide a way to measure how the auditory cortex changes with various hearing disorders such as sensorineural hearing loss and tinnitus, which could lead to the development of better assistive devices.

Read on...

Accounting for the uncounted

Bean receives grant to refine estimates of the size of unauthorized population in the U.S.

Understanding the size of the unauthorized Mexican population in the U.S. is crucial for developing adequate policies to address issues like health disparities, English-language education and labor force needs, says Frank D. Bean, UCI sociology Chancellor's Professor. For the past six years, he has been working with Penn State researchers on methods to provide better estimates, finding that previous numbers underestimate the size of the Mexican-born population in the country during economic-boom periods. In July, he was awarded a $100,000 grant to further refine and update these numbers using birth and death registrations in conjunction with net migration methods based on both Mexican and U.S. data. The award is funded by the Office of Science and Technology Directorate of the Department of Homeland Security through a subcontract with the University of Arizona. Working with him are Jennifer Van Hook, sociology professor at Pennsylvania State University, and former graduate student James Bachmeier, UCI sociology Ph.D. '10 and sociology assistant professor at Temple University.

Read on...

The election of Democrats alone is not enough to ensure gay rights

Smith comments in London School of Economics' USApp–American Politics and Policy blog

Although Congressmen are elected to represent their districts and states, they will occasionally defy majority opinion to support the rights of a minority group. Drawing on data from House Democrats that voted against the popular Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), Benjamin G. Bishin and Charles Anthony Smith determine that favorable district composition, membership in the Congressional Black Caucus, and competitive elections were associated with opposition to DOMA. They conclude that the difficulty of passing legislation to protect minority rights leaves the courts as the best option for such advancement.

Read on...

More interviews with soc sci's top profs

What's your most significant research accomplishment and how has it made a difference?

We asked some of our National Academy members, Distinguished Professors, Chancellor's Professors and named chairs in social sciences to comment on the above and we got some really interesting responses. Learn more about their work below and be on the lookout for more videos.

  • Ruben Rumbaut, sociology professor, discusses his research on large movements of people across international borders.
  • Stergios Skaperdas (pictured), economics professor and Clifford S. Heinz Chair, discusses his work using mathematical models to understand competing interests.

Check out more videos from UCI's top profs...

VIDEO: CBO report fuels debate on costs and benefits of boosting the minimum wage

Neumark comments on minimum wage on PBS Newshour

Amid dialogue over how to reverse income inequality, both political parties are seizing on a report by the Congressional Budget Office that claims that raising the minimum wage could lift 900,000 families out of poverty, while possibly eliminating half-a-million jobs. Judy Woodruff talks to Thea Lee of the AFL-CIO and David Neumark of the University of California, Irvine for opposing takeaways on the report.

Check out the video...

VIDEO: Voicemail is a dying form of communication

Boellstorff comments in interview with The Huffington Post

Perhaps one of the biggest non-secret secrets of the digital world is the number of people never, ever checking their voicemail, preferring text messages and email over the slightly more time consuming and personal verbal communication. Tom Boellstorff, digital anthropology professor at UCI, weighs in on the topic as a guest on the HuffPost Live.

Check out the video...

Olive Tree branches out

UCI's Olive Tree Initiative is featured in the OC Register

Prompted by tensions between on campus groups over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a group of UC Irvine students wanted to learn about that region firsthand rather than accept what they read in books or saw in the media. Fifteen students of Jewish, Muslim, Christian and other backgrounds raised some money then spent two weeks in 2008 visiting the Middle East to study the conflict. That was the first class of The Olive Tree Initiative, a program founded at UC Irvine that allows students to visit Israel and Palestinian territories, meet the region's community leaders and discuss what they learned in an academic setting. Since then, Olive Tree has spread to other California universities. The trips combine students of multiple universities and now include stops in Washington, D.C., and New York to meet with government officials and agencies.

Read on...

See past issues of the Social Sciences Monthly eNews.

School of Social Sciences
University of California, Irvine
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