Institute for the Study of Societal Issues e-News
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ISSI e-News
Winter 2020
From the Director, Martín Sánchez-Jankowski
We begin the second half of the academic year with renewed energy and anticipation of another exciting and productive semester. I want to take this opportunity to welcome and introduce our new Administrative Manager, Maxwell Vanderwarker.   
I invite you to browse through the newsletter to learn more about the new and ongoing research of our affiliated faculty, students and visiting scholars as they work to bring new data, insights, and attention to pressing social problems in ways that shape scholarship, public discourse, and policy making.
This spring, in addition to our usual activities, we will be busy planning for some exciting summer workshops (for Native youth, Native museum professionals, and ethnographic researchers) and symposia (on right-wing studies and ethnographic methods). We will be sending out information on these programs throughout the semester.
We have a full calendar of events planned for the spring. So please join us, and if you would like to keep track of our events and activities, please sign up for our email list here or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.
In the Public Sphere
  • ISSI scholars are committed to engaging in relevant research that informs public discourse and policy on pressing social issues. Chris Herring, ISSI graduate student in residence and PhD Candidate in Sociology, has had his research on homeless tent cities featured in a series of public and policy forums. His recent op-ed “Democrats hate Trump's plan for homelessness. But it's their plan too.” was published in The Washington Post. In the op-ed, he argues, “After a federal appeals court ruled last year that arresting or citing homeless people when no shelter is available is cruel and unusual punishment, cities are increasingly creating superficial — but insufficient — shelter solutions so police can continue to enforce anti-homeless laws …this failed strategy of slim carrots and big sticks seems to be precisely what the Trump administration is pursuing.” Chris is one of the co-organizers of the conference Power at the Margins II: Mobilizing Across Housing Injustice, which will take place March 13-15 at Cal.

Videos of ISSI and Center Events
ISSI and its research centers sponsored colloquia and conferences throughout the fall semester, and many of them are available for viewing here. If you would like to be notified as soon as we upload a new video, please subscribe to the ISSI YouTube channel!

Featured Video:

"Legal Passing: Navigating Undocumented Life and Local Immigration Law"

On Tuesday, September 10, 2019, the Center for Research on Social Change presented Legal Passing: Navigating Undocumented Life and Local Immigration Law, a talk by Angela S. Garcia, Assistant Professor, School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago. The talk was co-sponsored by the Latinx Research Center, Center for the Study of Law and Society, and the Berkeley Interdisciplinary Migration Initiative.

International Scholars in Residence at ISSI

This past fall ISSI hosted international visiting scholars from Norway and Brazil. New international scholars will join us in the spring, and we will feature them in ISSI’s weekly update throughout the semester.

Valéria Mendonça de Macedo, Professor, Anthropology, Federal University of São Paulo, Brazil

Vegard Kolbjørnsrud, BI Norwegian School of Business, Oslo

Bernt Bratsberg, Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research, University of Oslo

Visiting Scholar Valéria Mendonça de Macedo was in residence with us from February-December 2019. When asked to reflect on her time at ISSI, Valéria replied:

“My stay at ISSI in 2019 expanded the horizons of my academic trajectory. This happened through the friendly contacts I made and the intellectual dialogues I engaged in with researchers from the US and other countries, from different fields connected to my research interests. ISSI gave me the opportunity to attend and participate in talks and debates in areas such as medical anthropology and human rights, as well as indigenous, racial, and gender issues. Now home at my university in Brazil, my activities will continue to be influenced by the experiences I had at ISSI, to which I am so grateful!” 

Save the Date
On Tuesday, April 14, 2020, UC Riverside Professor of Media and Cultural Studies John Jennings will present his talk Crossroads and Cyborgs: The Speculative Design of John Jennings - a retrospective of his work, his current research, and critical making projects, including his illustrations for the graphic novel adaptations of Octavia Butler's Kindred and Parable of the Sower. Presented by the ISSI Graduate Fellows Program, the event will take place from 4:00-5:30 p.m at the Multicultural Community Center, Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union, 2495 Bancroft Way
Awards and Publications

Congratulations to all ISSI affiliated faculty, staff, visiting scholars, and graduate students on their recent awards, fellowships, and publications!  Here are some highlights:


  • Angela Aguilar (ISSI Graduate Fellow and PhD Student in Ethnic Studies) Complementary and Alternative Medicine / Integrative Medicine Special Interest Group of the Society for Medical Anthropology 2019 Graduate Student Paper Prize. “Envisioning 'Loving Care' in Impermanent Healing Spaces: Sacred and Political Organizing Towards Decolonial Health/Care in Oakland, California.” 

  • Charles Briggs (Anthropology and Co-Chair of Berkeley Center for Social Medicine) became the President of the Society for Medical Anthropology in November, 2019.

  • Naniette Coleman (Sociology) University of California-National Laboratory Graduate Fellowship. Research sponsored by this program targets areas of strategic importance to UC and provides an important foundation for students enhancing their competitiveness for extramural support. Naniette, whose research focuses on privacy, cybersecurity, and surveillance, will spend extensive time over the next few years at Los Alamos National Lab in New Mexico.

  • Nicole-Marie Cotton (African Diaspora Studies) received the Fall 2019 Creative Discovery Grant for a DeCal course she designed called “Inclusive Pathways into Tech and Entrepreneurship”. 

  • Nicole Arlette Hirsch, PhD (ISSI Visiting Scholar) Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Grant, "Understanding Organizing Ecosystems: Case Studies in Civic Engagement and Power Building through Community-Driven Ballot Initiatives." She will serve as co-PI along with Esperanza Tervalon-Garrett, CEO and founder of Dancing Hearts Consulting, LLC.

  • Seth Holmes (ESPM/Med Anthro and Co-Chair of Berkeley Center for Social Medicine); Ietza Bojorquez, El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, Estudios de Población; and Carlos Martinez (BCSM-affiliated graduate student), The Health Initiative of the Americas Grant for “Urban Border Ecologies & Environmental Health Among Tijuana’s Homeless Population”. 

  • Seth Holmes was awarded the William T. Grant Foundation Mentoring Grant with Carlos Martinez and Fabian Fernandez (BCSM-affiliated graduate students). The two-year mentor grant is designed to support junior researchers of color in their career trajectories and to help faculty strengthen their mentoring support for these researchers. 

  • Seth Holmes, in collaboration with Georgetown University and scholars from Germany, was awarded a DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) Grant to develop a transatlantic network of scholars and a series of articles. The group of social scientists from Germany and the United States will compare and contrast distinct national and international contexts of migration, health, inequality, and international affairs using diverse methodologies and theoretical tools to frame and interpret how such crises lead to social and political responses. 

  • Mahasin Mujahid (BCSM-affiliated Associate Professor of Epidemiology, UC Berkeley), is playing a key role in a new six-year, $21 million study probing the causes of the disproportionately poor health outcomes of people from rural communities in the southern United States, serving as a principal investigator of the Risk Underlying Rural Areas Longitudinal (RURAL) study.

  • Franklin Zimring, (CRSC-affiliated Berkeley Law Professor), The Stockholm Prize, the top international honor in criminology. Noted among his accomplishments cited by the award committee were his books Crime is Not the Problem: Lethal Violence in America (with Gordon Hawkins) and The City That Became Safe

New additions to ISSI's working paper series:

New books by ISSI affiliated faculty:

Other publications by ISSI affiliated faculty, researchers and graduate students:
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