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Presenting Next Generation Social Sciences

The Council announces Next Generation Social Sciences, a digital demonstration of the Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa program model, featuring the program's fellows and their work. Offering a replicable and at-scale fellowship to nurture promising early-career faculty, Next Generation Social Sciences responds to an emerging dilemma within higher education in the Global South caused by an emphasis on increasing undergraduate enrollment without proportionate investment in faculty development, a situation that has eroded the ability of universities to produce the next generation of researchers, leaders, and practitioners. Visit the new website to learn more about the Next Gen methodology and outcomes and to explore profiles showcasing the work of fellows and affiliated researchers and practitioners as well as first-person writings and videos in which fellows discuss the importance of scholarship, the change they hope to effect, and their fellowship experience.

Founded in 2011, the Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa program currently operates to strengthen tertiary education in Africa through a series of institutional and individual interventions, creating a pipeline for the development of faculty and research communities in Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda. The project features a thematic focus in order to renew basic research agendas addressing peace, security, and development topics as well as strengthen interdisciplinary social science research capacity on these issues. Approximately forty-five fellows are supported each year through three distinct fellowship opportunities: proposal development, dissertation research, and dissertation completion. These opportunities are presented as a sequence, allowing fellows who have successfully completed one stage to apply for the next. Workshops encourage the development of scholarly networks within and beyond the continent while helping fellows master research methodologies, engage key literature in their fields, and produce research publications.

In Council News

The Drugs, Security and Democracy program, supporting research in Latin America and the Caribbean relevant to drug policy across the social sciences and related disciplines, selected its 2014 cohort, providing dissertation and postdoctoral fellowships to international scholars for fourteen projects in English, Portuguese, and Spanish.

The Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship also announced its 2014 cohort. Seventy-two fellows will develop research in one of six interdisciplinary fields: Development and Migration, Immigrants and Their Homeland Connections, Making the Biotech Body, Modernity and Autochthony, Oceanic Studies, and State Building and Governance in Retrospect and Prospect.

A number of new SSRC Working Papers are available for PDF download: The Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum published the first in a series of CPPF Working Papers on Women in Politics. The African Peacebuilding Network launched its own working papers series to address gaps in peacebuilding knowledge. And the Drugs, Security and Democracy program continued its series of DSD Working Papers on Research Security.

Measure of America released its latest human development report, A Portrait of Sonoma County [PDF available]. Launched in California at a public meeting of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, the report closes with an Agenda for Action—a set of recommendations to address disparities in health, education, and income—and a Pledge of Support by over sixty community actors who have committed to building a comprehensive and inclusive response. North Bay Public Media’s KRCB radio covered the report’s development [audio available].

Measure of America codirector Kristen Lewis spoke at a Disconnected Youth Summit in Arizona that brought together local business, civic, education, and foundation leaders to address the program’s findings on youth disconnection in Phoenix, suggesting strategies to reduce it in an interview with local National Public Radio affiliate KJZZ.

Leon Sigal, director of the Northeast Asia Cooperative Security Project, wrote for the National Interest about strategic impatience in Pyongyang over stalled US negotiations and briefed World Politics Review on the failure of efforts to isolate North Korea.

China Environment and Health Initiative director Jennifer Holdaway called for integrated environmental health policies that address China's regional differences and inequalities in a coauthored piece for chinadialogue.net.

Journalist Peter Manseau, a New Directions in the Study of Prayer grantee, covered mindfulness apps for Al Jazeera America in “The Quantified Soul,” a story developed with SSRC support.

African Peacebuilding Network director Cyril Obi contributed an article to the latest Review of African Political Economy: “Oil and the Post-Amnesty Programme (PAP): What Prospects for Sustainable Development and Peace in the Niger Delta?

Renata Segura, associate director of the Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum, coauthored a chapter in Political Institutions of Latin American Democracies, now out from Huygens Editorial: “Constitution-Making Processes and Democracy: Clues for Understanding the New Latin American Constitutionalism” [in Spanish].

President Ira Katznelson received the 2014 Hillman Prize for Book Journalism for his volume Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origins of Our Time, as presented by journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates [video]. He discussed that work in depth on an episode of PBS program The Open Mind, taped before the death of host Richard Heffner [full episode stream].

Board member Margaret Levi was selected to receive the 2014 William H. Riker Prize in Political Science, in recognition of a body of research that exemplifies and advances the scientific study of politics.

Visiting Committee member Jonathan Fanton moderated “Are the People the Problem?,” a discussion with Jane Mansbridge and Paul Starr on the role of human behavior in the political process, the concluding program in a series of conversations on the Anxieties of Democracy presented with the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College [video available].

Transregional Research Postdoctoral fellow Kevin Schwartz (2013) organized an Inter-Asian Connections conference, “The Wide World of Persian: Connections and Contestations, 1500 until Today,” cohosted by the US Library of Congress and the Roshan Institute of Persian Studies at the University of Maryland. 

Bill O’Neill, director of the Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum, led sessions at a human rights workshop for young journalists and editors from media institutions in the Middle East and North Africa, cohosted by the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights and the Al Jazeera Media Training and Development Center at Al Jazeera headquarters in Doha.

The Education Research Program continued faculty consultations for the Measuring College Learning Project, convening a group of business scholars to discuss ways to articulate and measure learning outcomes for business undergraduates.

From Our Forums

A new Kujenga Amani feature, On the Spot, offers quick and concise expert insights into African peacebuilding issues, opening with a look by scholars and practitioners at the issues and implications of the recent elections in South Africa. A new Statebuilding and Security essay by Tanzanian national Nicodemus Minde considers the Tanganyika-Zanzibar Union.

At Reverberations, James S. Bielo explores the fusion of evangelical commitments and immersive entertainment at the Orlando, Florida, Holy Land Experience in “When Prayers Become Things.” Christine Wicker responds to Ebenezer Obadare’s earlier post on Africans praying in cars with “Taking It to the Streets,” a post at her Psychology Today blog Pray for Me.

The Immanent Frame series on the future of Egyptian democracy continues with an essay on the new face of authoritarianism and a rebuttal of a previous piece on the elusiveness of political legitimacy, “Electoral Legitimacy, Not Religious Legitimacy.” A new Book Blog features Peter van der Veers The Modern Spirit of Asia, with reviews and author commentary.

On Deadline

Mellon Mays Predoctoral Research Grants
Applications Due: November 1