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Life in Transition: Analysis over Time & of a Moment

Aspiring Adults Adrift

The Education Research Program has released Aspiring Adults Adrift: Tentative Transitions of College Graduates, covering phases 2 and 3 of the Collegiate Learning Assessment Longitudinal Study, a follow-up to the program’s landmark 2011 volume on phase 1, Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses (both from University of Chicago Press). The New York Times examined the new book’s analysis in “The Economic Price of Colleges’ Failures,” and the Wall Street Journal asked coauthors Richard Arum, former program director, and Josipa Roksa, “Are Colleges Producing Career-Ready Graduates?,” while the Chronicle of Higher Education cited their previous work in an article on colleges walking a fine line between student empowerment and entitlement: “The Comfortable Kid.” For a full discussion of the study’s findings to date, listen to an American RadioWorks podcast interview or watch a video of the authors in an extended Connected Courses conversation with Mimi Ito, research director of the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub.

Tanur Prize Winners

The winners of the 2014 Rachel Tanur Memorial Prize for Visual Sociology were recognized this summer at the International Sociology Association's XVIII World Congress of Sociology, held in Yokohama, Japan. Named for Rachel Dorothy Tanur (1958–2002), an urban planner and lawyer who cared deeply about people and their lives and was an acute observer of living conditions and human relationships, the prize recognizes students in the social sciences who incorporate visual analysis in their work. Each applicant must submit two commentaries, one based on one or more of Rachel Tanur’s photographic works and one examining an original photo. Kristin Miller, a PhD candidate studying urban sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, received the $2,500 first prize for her photo essay “Waiting for the Facebook Bus, 24th and Valencia” and accompanying analysis of the Tanur photograph “Guatemalans Boarding Bus.” The other winning entries focus on the “Steppe Childhoods” of boys in Mongolia and gender transition in the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” US military. The next Tanur Prize competition will be held in 2016.

In Council News

The Council is pleased to join the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University (CASBS) in presenting a summit on “The City” that will bring together some of the world’s top social and behavioral scientists in discussion with leaders in industry, media, and the community to address key questions about the best means and policies for improving the urban experience. Keynote speakers will be Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com, and Pedro Noguera, professor of education at New York University. SSRC president Ira Katznelson and board member Margaret Levi, director of CASBS, will lead the wrap-up discussion. The November 8 summit will take place on the Stanford campus in Northern California. [Register to attend, with a 20 percent discount code: CASBS14SSRC.]

Several new SSRC Working Papers are available for PDF download: “Doing Research in Violent Settings: Ethical Considerations and Ethics Committees,” by Corinne Davis Rodrigues, and “Numbers under Fire: The Challenges of Gathering Quantitative Data in Highly Violent Settings,” by Javier Osorio, are the latest installments in the extensive Drugs, Security and Democracy Program series on research security. Dan Kuwali’s “Just Peace: Achieving Peace, Justice, and Development in Post-conflict Africa” is the second paper in an unfolding African Peacebuilding Network series seeking to address gaps in peacebuilding knowledge and practice.

An edited transcript of “Istanbul Connections,” a roundtable discussion organized by the InterAsia Program’s Transregional Virtual Research Institute for the 2013 conference Inter-Asian Connections IV, appears online in Media, Culture and Society.

Transregional Research Postdoctoral fellow Kevin Schwartz (2013) reviewed A Thousand Years of the Persian Book, a US Library of Congress exhibition that delved into a millennium of textual production across the Persianate world, for REORIENT magazine.

Abe Journalist fellow Elizabeth Green (2010) drew on her fellowship research in Japan in a cover story for the New York Times Magazine, “Why Do Americans Stink at Math?,” an adaptation of her new book Building a Better Teacher: How Teaching Works (and How to Teach It to Everyone) (Norton). Sebastian Stockman reviewed the book for the New York Times Sunday Book Review, and at the Atlantic, Sara Mosle used it as a starting point to discuss challenges to teaching in American schools.

Karim Kamel, program associate for the Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum, coauthored a chapter with Chatham House research director Patricia Lewis in the new Routledge volume Regional Security Dialogue in the Middle East: Changes, Challenges and Opportunities: “A Helsinki Process for the Middle East?”

President Ira Katznelson was presented with two awards for his book Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origins of Our Time (Liveright) at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association in Washington, DC: the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award, honoring books on government, politics, or international affairs; and the J. David Greenstone Book Prize, recognizing the best books in history and politics of the past two calendar years.

Measure of America codirector Sarah Burd-Sharps speculated on the consequences of declining public investment in the United States as a participant in Next American Economy, a Roosevelt Institute project that brought together experts from various disciplines to envision emerging economic and political challenges and develop workable solutions [video].

The African Peacebuilding Network hosted an international conference in Dakar, Senegal, with the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) on “International Criminal Justice, Reconciliation, and Peace in Africa: The ICC and Beyond” [video available]. In addition to program staff, in attendance from the SSRC were Tom Asher, program director, Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa; Tatiana Carayannis, deputy director, Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum; Mamadou Diouf, chair, board of directors; and Ron Kassimir, senior advisor. APN staff and advisory board members also attended an international conference on “Society and Security in Africa,” hosted by program partner the African Leadership Centre in Nairobi, Kenya.

The Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship Program cosponsored “Look Out! Visual Culture and the Future of the Humanities,” a symposium at the University of Southern California, which was organized in part by participants in DPDF’s 2007 Visual Culture research field.

The International Dissertation Research Fellowship Program, providing support to graduate students in the humanities and humanistic social sciences enrolled in PhD programs in the United States and conducting dissertation research on non-US topics, selected its 2014 cohort: eighty fellows from thirty-five universities will pursue projects in twelve disciplines. Students interested in the current IDRF competition can register for an October 15 application webinar with program director Daniella Sarnoff or watch a previous webinar online [video].

From Our Forums

In a featured essay at Kujenga Amani, human rights scholar and law professor Dan Kuwali warns against African Union ratification of an immunity clause shielding state leaders from prosecution. Pieces focused on individual states include Kiven James Kewir’s take on the crisis in the Central African Republic, Nicodemus Minde’s reflections on peace efforts in Tanzania, and APN grantee Fredrick Ogenga’s call for a discursive security project in Kenya.

Reverberations has a new prayer portal on the Architecture of Multi-faith Prayer, through which New Directions in the Study of Prayer advisory committee chair Courtney Bender considers prayer in our times across a range of secular institutions and imaginaries. NDSP grantee documentarian Savitri Medhatul is interviewed by Jennifer Hahn about capturing on film the complexities faced by Pentecostal-Charismatic converts in India.

At The Immanent Frame, a new series on Religions and Their Publics, guest edited by James Bielo and Eric Hoenes, explores how religious communities create, maintain, contest, and materialize their visions of the public sphere. Yasmin Moll writes on media framings of secularism versus Islamism for the Future of Egyptian Democracy series. And Devin Byker considers the renaissance of political theology within early modern literary studies.

On Deadline

Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship

Applications Due: October 15

Mellon Mays Predoctoral Research Grants

Applications Due: November 1

International Dissertation Research Fellowship

Applications Due: November 4

Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Fellowship

Applications Due: December 1

Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa

Applications Due: December 1

African Peacebuilding Network

Applications Due: December 14