Past Quandt Awards


Jennifer Simons for research in France on the role of ethnic and religious minorities in the rise of radical right-wing parties in Europe.

Jennifer Simons

Carolyn Coberly, for research in Moscow on the role of non-governmental political parties in an authoritarian regime.

Carrie Coberly

Gregory Lannon, research in Czechoslovakia and Japan on Russian foreign policy toward Eastern Europe and Japan in the early 1990s. He will do archival research in both Prague and Hokkaido.

Greg Lannon

Yuang Cao

Research in Cangdong village in Guangdong Province, China
On how a very remote region is affected by larger issues of national politics.

Old Houses, New Money: Big Money Politics of Village Reconstruction in Kaiping, China

On June 24th, I arrived at Tangkou Town, a small township in Guangdong, the second southmost province in China. My first impression of this small town had no direct link with "heritage" at all. After all, the so called "heritage buildings" were built between late-19th century and mid-20th century; they all seemed too new, and too western.

The city of Kaiping has been known for the home of overseas Chinese. Since the California Gold Rush in early 19th century, Kaiping people (mostly men) began their emigration, especially to North America. Although the dream of finding fortune for most people at the time were struck ruthlessly by horrible working conditions, racism, and political exclusions, many Kaiping people strived to make a living in their new homes. After a while, many sent money back to Kaiping to help their families back in China, and in many cases, they also sent back pictures of western houses.

Inspired by western architecture, and supported financially, people staying at home started to build new houses with traditional Chinese structure and modern western design. Among new houses, two types incorporated aesthetic beauty and practical value: Lu (familial mansion) and Diaolou (Defensive houses). In recent years, these houses have drawn attraction from home and abroad. Therefore, Kaiping Diaolou and Villages became one of UNESCO Heritage Sites in 2007. After that, local governments began to invest heavily on tourism development; of course, as more players began to join the game of rural reconstruction in the name of heritage conservation, local politics was further stirred up.

During my research in summer 2017, I found an outstanding example of commercial reconstruction in Kaiping: Chikan historical town. In the following paragraphs, I will describe the redevelopments and further analyze its political economy.
In 2015, the city government of Jiangmen, Kaiping's superior, launched a 1-billion-dollar reconstruction program funded by Citic Group, one of China's largest state-owned investment institutions. This program was aiming at converting a historically commercial town, named Chikan, to a full-scale tourist area. In detail, the program sought to remain and refurbish the commercial part of the town and tear down other residential housing for building new resort-like apartment buildings. With ambition, both the city government and Citic Group announced that the program will be completed in three years.
However, two years have passed and the program has not yet fully claimed all residential areas. According to the officer at the local Housing Affairs Administration, by mid-July, 2051 households signed the contract and agreed to be relocated, while more than 1500 households refused to sign. Without full control of the residential area, the whole project could only start with the reconstructions of houses already in hold, while leaving many other houses untouched, thereby creating a "mosaic" scenario where local stores functioned next to demolished houses. Although a reconstructed Chikan means better housing, more tourists, and increasing economic opportunities, not all residents were willing to give up their old houses.

In the case of Chikan, big money found its dilemma in a local setting. Citic group seemed like another real-estate developer which simply shifted its agenda from cities to a small town. The local government, on the other hand, served as a subsidiary institution to the corporation, providing statistics and cleaning up logistics. However, under the control of Citic, the local government had little agency and could not effectively wield its mobility power to the local villagers, thereby creating a slow relocation process. Also, for many senior villages, they held their houses as the representation of their families, and they would not give up the emblem that carried their family names, no matter how much compensation they received. Before entering Chikan, Citic Group underestimated the locals' strong will to hold their land properties.
Chikan is not alone in village reconstructions across China. Many other villages which receive big money face similar situations. I think two major problems stand out as main obstacles to success. First, political administration is too hierarchical and sidelines the advantages local governments have in relocating villagers. Secondly, economics is not the only factor in reconstruction; land's special meaning to villagers need to be addressed before any mass reconstruction project begins.
I would like to thank the Quandt International Research Fund of University of Virginia's Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics for helping me in this summer project. Without the help of Quandt Fund, I would not be able to conduct such meaningful researches and produce exciting discoveries in rural China.

Yuang Cao

Aurora Lofton, for an internship in Oxford to increase her understanding of the international refugee problem.

Aurora Lawton


Yaping Wang
For search in China and Vietnam on territorial disputes in southeast Asia.

Yaping Wang

Robert Kubinic
For continuation of his research in Tunisia, Egypt and Algeria on the role of businessmen in political change during the "Arab Spring" events.

Bob Kubinec

Samuel Plapinger:
For continuation of his research on the dynamics of internal conflicts, with case studies of the Jordan crisis of 1970, as well as cases in Oman and Eritrea.

Sam Plapinger

Sonal Pandya:
Associate Professor of Politics at U Va, for research in Bombay on how Foreign Direct Investment affects the status of women.

Sonal Pandya

Nicholas Favaloro:
For research in South Africa on the role of jazz in the anti-Apartheid struggle.

Nick Favaloro


April Herlevi (Ph.D. candidate)
My dissertation examines the use of location incentives by national and subnational governments to attract foreign direct investment (FDI), focusing on SEZs. I am researching several cases to develop a theory of SEZ creation and compiling an original dataset of SEZs to examine the consequences for FDI. I used the Quandt Fund grant to investigate one country case, Jordan, to map enactment, implementation, and the effects of SEZs over time. Jordan is a particularly fascinating and fruitful case for theory development for three reasons. First, Aqaba was one of the earliest proposed zones (1970s) and the reinvigoration of the zone in the early 2000s provides an excellent longitudinal study. Second, Jordan also has qualifying industrial zones (QIZs) and regional development areas, which allows for cross-program comparisons. Third, Jordan is a case of economic development amid enormous challenges and provides an opportunity to examine the role of outside actors, such as the United States and international development institutions, in fostering geographically-separated economic enclaves.

April Herlevi

Robert Kubinic (Ph.D. candidate)
Robert Kubinec traveled to Tunisia in June of 2015 to delve into the country’s political history, both in terms of the recent political transition but also the foundations of Tunisia’s two long-lived dictatorships. Through his trip, Robert identified compelling hypotheses regarding the mechanisms through which the Tunisian dictators Bourguiba and Ben Ali maintained their hold on power for as long as they did. He is continuing this line of research for his dissertation, and expanding it to look at Algeria and Egypt.

Bob Kubinec

Sam Plapinger (Ph.D. candidate)
I am using the funds from my Quandt Research Award to primarily support the archival component of my dissertation research on the Jordanian conflict of 1970-71. In June 2015, I visited the National Archives and Records Administration in College Park, Maryland, where I accessed declassified State Department and CIA documents pertaining to the Jordanian conflict. In October-November 2015, I will travel to Beirut, Lebanon to visit the Institute for Palestine Studies to access their collection of documents and materials relating to the conflict. The focus of both of these trips is to gather information that helps me to reconstruct the course of events and trajectory of the conflict, as well as details on the characteristics and strategy of the actors that participated.

Sam Plapinger

Paromita Sen (Ph.D. candidate)
Comparative study of violence against women in South Asia and Turkey, with field research in Turkey.

Paromita Sen

Marina Omar (Ph.D. Candidate)
 I am currently writing my doctoral dissertation in Comparative Politics, which examines non-party formation in new democracies. As part of the dissertation, I examine the choices of political elites in building pre-electoral coalitions, and how they relate to non-party formation in Afghanistan since its transition to democracy in 2001. The case of post-2001 Afghanistan is used for theory building purposes. The theory will be tested for external validity using other cases of party formation in new democracies that show variation on both dependent and explanatory variables. The research focuses on historical grievances and pre-electoral alliance formation as key explanations for variation in party formation outcomes in post-2001 Afghanistan. The study uses process tracing to reveal causal mechanisms, explain actors’ preferences and account for a puzzle that conventional theories cannot fully explain.

Marina Omar

Sam Plapinger (Ph.D. Candidate)
With the support of the Quandt International Research Fund in Summer 2014, I was able to conduct six weeks of preliminary fieldwork with displaced Syrians in Jordan and Turkey, focusing on both the characteristics and behavior of armed groups and local-level governance practices in opposition-held areas of Syria. I spoke with three populations in Jordan and Turkey: civilians, opposition officials, and former combatants. More specifically, the encounters consisted of seven formal interviews (five in-person and two over electronic communication) and informal discussions and meetings in Arabic with about a dozen other individuals in Irbid and Amman (Jordan) and Gaziantep and Antakya (Turkey). These individuals possessed information on the local-level dynamics and trajectories of the civil war in parts of Deraa, Aleppo, Idlib, and Deir Az-Zour provinces, and the cities of Homs, Raqqa, Aleppo, and Manbij in Syria.

Sam Plapinger

Jonah Schulhofer-Wohl (Assistant Professor)
Research in Jordan on Islamic law and women’s rights, in collaboration with Deena Hurwitz and assisted by Robert Kubinic.

Jonah Schulhofer-Wohl