A new set of scholars to receive the 2018 Quandt Awards has been chosen to pursue research overseas. The Quandt International Research Fund was started by the Department of Politics in honor of William Quandt, a distinguished faculty member and well-known expert on Middle Eastern politics. The Fund assists students and faculty in the Department to pursue studies and research abroad by making travel grants to defray the cost of international travel. The awards are administered annually by a faculty committee.
Project descriptions below are taken from their proposals and are subject to change based on their research and findings.
Mariana Brazao—The Aestheticization of Politics: The Role of Indigenous Benches in Brazil’s Political Representation
Brazao will seek to examine how the general aestheticization of every-day, indigenous goods in Brazil impacts the indigenous populations’ political representation and presence in the country. She will visit São Paulo and Brasília, conducting research for two weeks including face-to-face interviews with government officials from the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI), the Ministry of Culture, employees of BEI Editora, and employees of the Institute for Socio-Environmental Issues (Instituto Socio Ambiental – ISA). She will also conduct one-on-one interviews with indigenous tribe members, specifically the individuals who created the benches showcased in The Indigenous Benches of Brazil.
Danilo Medeiros—How Policy Preferences Interact with Income Inequality: Political Polarization in Democratic Brazil
Medeiros’ research will investigate how income inequality is associated with political polarization in Brazil. His research targets the policy agenda of the executive and the relationship between the president and the legislature – features that are often ignored by the extant scholarship. His project also adds to the research agenda that takes economic inequality as an independent variable by including a case outside the advanced industrial world. His final goal is a framework to study the relationship between inequality and political polarization in any democracy with available data.
Nicole Demitry—The NGO Effect: A Bisection of Private Interests and Foreign Perceptions of American Public Policy
Over the last year, Demitry has developed a working hypothesis on perceptual disconnect in Haiti: many Haitians see NGO presence as an extension of US foreign policy, not as neutral non- governmental organizations. Perceptions of the recipients of foreign aid do not seem to be a static factor in the policy and implementation decisions of aid organizations. If this is correct, there are massive political implications not just in Haiti, but in many other underdeveloped countries with a large American NGO presence. Without accurately considering the perceptions of those receiving aid, or addressing potential self-referential truths within Western aid evaluative frameworks, NGOs will continue to fail in successful implementation of humanitarian aid. She will research how unsuccessful NGO activities contribute to this perceptual disconnect and how these effects can be mitigated.
Olyvia Christley—Nativism, Gender, and the Rise of the Radical Right
Much excellent work has already been done concerning radical right politics, but important gaps still remain, particularly when it comes to our understanding of how the radical right operates in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the United States. The bulk of the research and theorizing on the radical right has arisen from Western European party politics. The historical legacies and political institutions of CEE and the United States are not entirely analogous to those in Western Europe, so it stands to reason that the presence and implications of the radical right movement across these regions might vary in ways that have not yet been properly explored.
Hungary, Poland, and the United States—these three countries share some striking similarities, perhaps most importantly the fact that each one has elected an authoritarian head of state and/or government that is sympathetic to the radical right in the last decade. Christley plans to conduct the first cross-country study in political science that systematically compares the individual belief systems of radical right supporters within CEE to those in the United States. She will also use experimental studies and interviews to disentangle nativist and gendered attitudes among radical right supporters and voters, and examine the conditions that prompt individuals who hold both nativist and pro- (or anti-) gender equality views to support radical right ideologies, policies, and candidates.
Elena Grissom—Cross-Group Alliances in Ethnically Polarized Societies: The evolution of Arab-Jewish relations in Israeli municipal elections
Up until recently, local elections have been an under-researched area in the study of ethnic politics. Grissom will use municipal elections in Israel as a lens through which to analyze the political identity of the Arab minority. Specifically, she is interested in the factors that cause Arab parties and candidates to ally with Jewish parties, even when it is seemingly contrary to their in-group interests.
In the field, she will use her Israeli contacts and her Arabic and basic Hebrew language skills to schedule interviews. Having traveled to Israel in the past, she is able to utilize her unique position of being a Jewish woman who grew up in the Arab world; straddling both cultures. She has also been granted a visiting research fellowship at Hebrew University in Jerusalem which will provide access to libraries, professors, and overall academic support.
Eric Xu—Brexit and International Students: A Chinese Case Study
Xu will travel to the United Kingdom to interview international students in the following prestigious London universities: London School of Economics (LSE), Imperial College, London (Imperial), and University College, London (UCL).
His project will target both post-graduate and undergraduate students at those institutions, in order to analyze the following factors relevant to higher-education migration: Why did they select the U.K., and London more specifically, as a destination for higher education migration? How did the U.K. post-visa process influence their decision, and how do they expect to remain in the U.K. after graduation? Has Brexit altered their perception of the U.K. and London’s openness to international students? What alternatives would they have considered in more detail had they had the chance to go back?
He will also speak with international student recruiting offices at the three schools in order to investigate their responses to the Brexit referendum and how they plan on recruiting Chinese students going forward. This project will allow him to collect responses from one of the centers of international student activity in the world, and analyze how push and pull migration factors are qualitatively changed by an exogenous political shock.