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Council Update Banner April 2013

A Lens on the World: IDRF Photo Competition Winners

IDRF Photo Winner

The International Dissertation Research Fellowship (IDRF) program, supporting the next generation of scholars in the humanities and humanistic social sciences pursuing research that advances knowledge about non-US cultures and societies, is pleased to announce the winners of the 2012 IDRF Photo Competition. Fellows from 2010, 2011, and 2012 were invited to submit a single photo, a self-portrait, or a photo essay conveying a sense of their IDRF-funded research and experience abroad. Two winners in each category were selected—one by the SSRC Fellowships Office and the other by IDRF Fellows themselves. Subjects range from a cow traveling by motorbike in Benin to a mineral refinery in Peru to mobile ethnography in Java and conservation in the Galápagos Islands. Since its inception in 1997, the IDRF program has funded more than nine hundred projects, with research spanning the globe.

As a guardian of independent social science, the SSRC is actively seeking the repeal of US Congress Continuing Appropriations Act provisions prohibiting the National Science Foundation from funding research in political science that the agency does not certify as “promoting national security or the economic interests of the United States.”

SSRC scholars continue to be closely and centrally engaged in inquiry and reporting surrounding ongoing tensions on the Korean peninsula. Leon Sigal, director of the Northeast Asia Cooperative Security Project, shared his deep insights with the International Peace Institute’s Global Observatory, the National Interest, and Spy Ghana. He also spoke with the Federation of American Scientists in a “Better Understanding North Korea” Q&A for their Strategic Security Blog, as did Abe Fellow Jacques Hymans (2007).

Also from the Abe Fellowship Program, Fellows Richard Samuels (1998) and Narushige Michishita (2006) commented for the New York Times on Japan’s shift away from pacifism as anxiety in the region rises. And in a new book from Brill, Slurp! A Social and Culinary History of Ramen, Barak Kushner (2007) dishes up Japan’s favorite noodle soup as a microcosm of the country and its historical relations with China.

New Directions in the Study of Prayer grantee Tanya Luhrmann (2012) opened her series of guest op-eds for the New York Times with “How Skeptics and Believers Can Connect.” The religious motivation of the alleged Marathon bombers was analyzed by Academia in the Public Sphere grantee Olivier Roy (2010) in a “Boston: More like Sandy Hook than 9/11” interview with the New Republic.

Measure of America's A Portrait of Marin inspired an art project on educational inequality at California's Dominican University. And Education Research Program director Richard Arum was quoted in an Inside Higher Ed article on economic and social inequalities at universities.

Original content at SSRC Forums includes “Kenya’s Jubilee Election: What Next?,” an African Futures essay by Jacqueline Klopp. At Reverberations, Ann Taves writes on the devotional practices determining supernatural presence, and the Materiality of Prayer series has new pieces from Anderson Blanton and Robert Orsi. Engaging Eurasia is featuring video and materials from the latest Quantitative Methods in Eurasian Studies webinar: “Cultural Context and Measurement Validity in Comparative Survey Research.”

President Ira Katznelson’s book Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origins of Our Time, lauded by the New York Times Book Review for its “robust prose” and “imposing scholarship,” has been selected as the kickoff volume for Wonkblog’s new book club at the Washington Post.

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