An internal monthly update on your
Social Sciences news and up-coming events

March Headlines

Dr. Joseph White to receive honorary degree from University of Minnesota
Joseph White, social sciences professor emeritus, has been awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University of Minnesota. The degree is the highest award conferred by the university and recognizes individuals who have achieved eminence in cultural affairs, public service or a field of knowledge and scholarship. White, who received the UCI Alumni Association's highest honor - the Lauds & Laurels Extraordinarius Award - in 2004, is highly regarded for his teaching, research and mentoring of generations of students. Widely considered the 'father' of Black psychology, White is a founding member of the Association of Black Psychologists and a pioneer in changing psychology to respect and understand African Americans.  Read on...

HABLA program receives grant from Verizon Wireless
The Home-based Activities Building Language Acquisition (HABLA) community outreach program recently received a $9,500 grant from Verizon Wireless to fund additional supplies in support of their early language development program. As a supporter of UC Irvine since 1987, Verizon's recently awarded grant will be the company's first gift specifically targeted for the HABLA program.  Read on...

The stigma of going solo
For a woman, going out solo to social settings like a restaurant or movie theater can be an unsettling concept to others. "I've never been to a bar or to a movie by myself," said Veronica Hernandez, 28, of Costa Mesa. "I don't even go to a friend's party or family parties without bringing someone." Hernandez said she prefers to have company to socialize with at such outings, but "I can go to (fast food) drive-throughs and to Blockbuster by myself!" It's not that women are brave for going out by themselves. A lot of them are just impatient. If they want to go do something or eat something, it's just easier not to have to deal with finding someone who wants to do said activity with and then after that, finding an agreeable time in their schedules. There are possible explanations for this so-called stigma for women who go out solo. Calvin Morrill, a professor and chairman of sociology at UC Irvine, says it has to do with cultural expectations for women." Read on...

At the Martyrs' Museum
No one guards the gates of the entrance to the grounds of the Imamzadeh Ali Akbar Cheezari in Tehran, where the son of the Imam Zayn al-Abedin is interred, the first time I visit, in 2000. The mausoleum is not considered a historic monument or artefact, though there are indications that it may once have been a Dervish lodge. It now stands in a cemetery where hundreds of martyrs of the war with Iraq are buried. Read on...

Re-examine policies that no longer apply
The U.S. economic and travel embargo against Cuba has been in place now for over four decades and has been strengthened under the last three administrations. It is surprising that at least the travel ban -- a limitation of the freedom of the people of the United States -- is not more contested, or even discussed, by the American people and media. On a recent three-month research trip to Cuba, I became more familiar with the depths and lengths of U.S. policy against Cuba than I ever desired to be.  " Read on...

Deborah Vargas receives Haynes Foundation 2007 Faculty Fellowship
Congratulations to Deborah Vargas for her receipt of a John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation 2007 Faculty Fellowship Award, a very competitive fellowship award for her new project entitled "Radio Waves/Immigrant Waves: Spanish Language Radio, Immigration, and Cultural Citizenship."

Roadmap for optimal decision-making
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -- I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference." For cognitive sciences professors Michael Lee and Mark Steyvers, the process behind Robert Frost's classic example of decision making is at the heart of their recently funded study, "Modeling Exploration and Exploitation in Structured Environments."  Read on...

2007 Lauds & Laurels Recipients in Social Sciences
The School of Social Sciences is pleased to have among its faculty, staff, students, alumni and community friends, five recipients of the UCI Alumni Association's Lauds & Laurels Awards for 2007. Established in 1971, the UCI Lauds & Laurels Awards recognize, honor, and celebrate the accomplishments of alumni, students, faculty, and staff of the University of California, Irvine and community friends. Read on...

New major in business economics has major interest from business community
Entering UCI with plans to study medicine, Brian Cho enrolled in a course that would produce a very different diagnosis. "As a pre-med major, I had to take quite a few biology and chemistry courses," Brian says. "For a change of pace, I enrolled in Intro to Economics and found myself completely enthralled." Changing his major to economics, Brian began working as an intern with several local consulting firms where he quickly discovered his knack for developing strategic solutions to a variety of issues facing these businesses. As a junior, Brian and four of his classmates founded NRG Consulting to provide consulting services to non-profit organizations. Now a senior with multiple job offers from top notch consulting firms, Brian knows he made the right decision. "Majoring in economics gave me the opportunity to develop skills essential to the business community, allowing me to competitively enter an industry and job market where I was up against business graduates from other top schools in the nation," Brian says. Read on...

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If you have a good idea for a featured story or would like to post a news item to the School of Social Sciences website, please contact your department manager or Heather Wuebker,

April 2007 Events
(as received prior to March 27, 2007)

April 4, 2007 
'Why Civilizations Can't Climb Hills: State and Non-State Space in Southeast Asian History'

James C. Scott, Yale University  
Guest Speaker

Time: 12:00-1:30pm
Location: Social Ecology I, room 112
Further details...

April 5 , 2007
Correcting Spurious Resolution in Defocused Retinal Images
Optical modeling shows that retinal defocus commonly experienced in presbyopic vision produces contrast sign-reversals ("spurious resolution", or "phase reversal") for spatial frequencies in the 2 cycles/letter range known to be critical for reading. Simulations show that such reversals can have a decisive impact on character legibility, and that correcting only this feature of defocused images can make unrecognizably blurred text completely legible. The deblurring impact of this phase correction is remarkably unaffected by the magnitude of defocus, as determined by blur-circle size. Both the deblurring itself and its robustness stem from the effect correction has on the defocused pointspread function, which changes from a broad flat cake to a sharply pointed cone. This SR-corrected pointspread acts like a delta function, preserving image shape during convolution regardless of blur-disk size. Curiously, such pointspread functions always contain a narrow annulus of negative light-intensity values whose radius equals the diameter of the blur circle. We show that these properties of SR-correction all stem from the mathematical nature of the Fourier transform of the sign of the optical transfer function, which also accounts for the inevitable low contrast of images pre-corrected for SR. Further details...

April 15, 2007
Nancy Abelmann Colloquim-Part of the Korean Studies Workshop
The Department of Anthropology in conjuction with the UCI Workshop for Korean Studies Presents:  
Colloquium with Nancy Abelmann  
"Fragile Cosmopolitans:  
South Korean College Students Go Global"
Further details...  

April 19 , 2007
Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland, to give Peltason Lecture
The Center for the Study of Democracy and the Chancellor's Distinguished Lecture Series invite you to attend:  
"Human Rights and Globalization," a presentation by Mary Robinson, President of Ireland (1990-1997) and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (1997-2002)  
Thursday, April 19, 2007 at 4:00 p.m.  
Social Sciences Lecture Hall, Rm 100  
There will be a reception in the Social Sciences Plaza immediately following Mrs. Robinson's presentation.  
This event is free and open to the public.  
Mary Robinson is a guest of the Center for the Study of Democracy at UC Irvine and the Chancellor's Distinguished Lecture Series. The Center hosts the annual Peltason Lecture on Democracy that invites leading political figures to lecture on campus. The series is supported by a grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.  Further details...

For current Social Sciences events, make sure to visit our website,

If you would like to post an event to the School of Social Sciences calendar, please contact your department manager or Heather Wuebker,