Faculty Awarded Research Grants
Era of Epidemics
Professor Seiji Takaku
This proposed program of research ex-amines various psychological factors and mechanisms that might alleviate the negative prejudice attitudes and feelings held by people of many Asian countries against contemporary Japanese due to their ancestors’ having been victimized by Japan’s military invasions during WWII. In initial studies, my students and I would like to empirically document the extent to which contemporary Chinese and Koreans hold prejudiced attitudes toward contemporary Japanese and the extent to which their collective guilt assignment (i.e., expecting the contemporary Japanese to feel guilty of their ancestors’ wrongdoing) can explain their level of prejudiced attitudes toward the contemporary Japanese. We would then like to see if their prejudices and negative emotions toward the contemporary Japanese can be reduced and their tendency to forgive them can be increased by applying prominent social psychological principles/theories on prejudice and inter-group relations. In one study, we will investigate how different levels of social categorization of the contemporary Japanese citizens by the contemporary Korean citizens (i.e., categorizing Japanese as either an out-group or an in-group) influence their level of collective guilt assignment and their willingness to forgive the con-temporary Japanese. The hypothesis tested in this study will be derived from the inter-group contact theory (Allport, 1954; Pettigrew, 1998), one of the classic social psychological theories on inter-group relations. It is expected that when Korean people perceive Japanese as a distinct out-group and perceive the contemporary and past Japanese as a single category or group, the level of their collective guilt assignment will increase and their forgiveness tendency will decrease. However, when they perceive the Japanese as part of a single, inclusive, super ordinate group (e.g., Asians or humans) and perceive the con-temporary and ancestral Japanese as two separate groups, the level of their collective guilt assignment will decrease and forgiveness will increase. The entire survey experimental study will be done online and all survey materials are currently being translated from English into Korean so we can collect not only Korean Americans participants, but Korean participants in Korea as well.
Professor Nalini Rao
The Buddhist monasteries in Gandhara (NW India/ Afghanistan and Pakistan) had multiple roles, social, economic and intellectual. They were part of a system of ex-change networks of traders, merchants and kings. Evidences point out that they were active participants in an exchange of money transactions, such as lending money, raising funds for construction and maintenance of an elaborate monastic institution. They lived by elaborate Buddhist monastic and administrative rules. As pilgrimage sites they drew a large heterogeneous population. The monks as teachers, provided an attractive religious doctrine that favored urban living and developing the monastic centers into places for rejuvenation and worship. Monasteries had an attractive ideology that drew all types of elite groups, and legitimized the prestige and position of the Kushan kings. The Kushans patronized a variety of cults and gods - Sumerian, Persian, Indian Buddha and Shaivism - which were not antagonistic cults, but reflected a political dimension of royal religious patronage. By incorporating local cults, they claimed their legitimacy over them and patronage was a major way of domination, and power. Viewed from this perspective, Buddhist art and institutions developed largely under the patronage and supervision of monasteries which were Indian in religion, ideology, organization and social networks. This is substantiated by the construction of devakulas in Mat in Mathura and Surkh Kotal which signified Kushans as special patrons of Buddhism. Thus the trans-Asian overland trade network led to a transformation of the region, with magnificent Buddhist monastic sites that revealed their strong networks of power with merchants, kings, and local population. They were dynamic interpreters of the monastic tradition which began and spread to Gandhara and continued to be preserved in architecture, imagery and ritual practice. Art was also a means for the diffusion of Buddhist philosophy, way of life and a unifying element of cultures. Aesthetically, the enigma of the sublime and determination of the essence of beauty was a product of the sangha. Monasteries were a visual statement of internal dynamics of religious patronage and power that accommodated the challenges of the times. Art was a visual form of power that expressed the dynamics of political and religious net-works of transaction. The paper is based more on historical facts than theory and recognizes North West India not as a passive receptacle of Greek culture, but as an active player in the formation of this school of art.
Professor Xiaoxing Liu
The aim of this research is to ex-amine a certain group of peasants in China--those who still work in the fields. My preliminary research suggests that some inspiring work has been done by peasants, scholars, and government officials from various perspectives. All point in the direction of the importance of organizing. Models of such organization include 1) peasant coop-eratives for special production; 2) share-holder cooperatives; 3) leading enterprise-driven cooperation; and 5) intermediary-driven cooperation. In the summer of 2009 I did a collaborate investigation with colleagues from Beijing University to collect empirical data from developed areas in Jiangsu Province, developing areas in Henan Province, and remote ethnic areas in Yunnan Province. We also interviewed scholars from the Research Center for Rural Economy, the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and the Henan Academy of Social Sciences, on the issue of peasants' organization. We ob-served that 1) in a highly developed area such as Kunshan in Jiangsu Province, strong organization based on village level CCP branches and administration gave the peasants an advantageous position in negotiations with the developers of new industrial and technological areas. The life of villagers was changed so dramatically that they didn't even need to work, let alone to work in the fields. 2) In Henan province, peasants were struggling to cope with bad weather and a shortage of funds, but the level of organization was very low due to a lack of participation. 3) In the ethnic minority village we visited in Yunnan Province, a small number of villagers voluntarily pooled together their land and houses to start an ethnic cultural tourist business. This endeavor received support from the local government. 4) The ups-and-downs of garlic planting in China also indicates that peasants who produce agricultural products rarely benefit from their production, while those who do benefit from agri-cultural products are often not peasants but people who are engaged in pre- and post-agricultural production enterprises. I've collected the data for a research paper, but won't be able to complete the paper until summer vacation next year, because of my teaching and other obliga-tions. I hope to collect some updated data next summer to make the paper timely but I’ve decided not to apply for an external grant until I’ve completed this paper and my other tasks.
Professor Kristi Wilson
In the Fall of 2007, drawing upon legal precedents established during the Nuremberg Trials, the Argentine supreme court made an unprecedented decision to do away with a set of amnesty laws called Punto Final. These laws provided court-protected immunity to military officers and civilian leaders for crimes against humanity committed during The Dirty War, a period of history between 1976 and 1983 in which an estimated 30,000 people were brutally tortured, killed and disappeared in an international, collective genocide referred to as Operation Condor (or Plan Condor 1973-1980). Operation Condor’s success at fighting what was perceived to be international terrorism depended upon the close cooperation of the military governments of Chile, Paraguay, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Bolivia. In the years following the Dirty Wars of Latin America, victims, historians and activists noticed a disappearance of documentary evidence that paralleled the disappearances of human beings. During the Clinton administration, thousands of pages of classified CIA documents about the Dirty War years were released to the public under a controversial order issued by Made-line Albright. While this is a watershed moment in the history of archives about state-sponsored terror being made available to the populace, a handful of international human rights lawyers, judges, journalists and powerful grassroots organizations like The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, and documentary filmmakers have long been working on these topics. This rich interaction made possible by the avail-ability and circulation of these texts offers an unprecedented opportunity to analyze what has been called Latin America’s Holocaust in all its complexity. The PBRC grant allowed me to do re-search in the summer of 2009 toward examining the role that documentary film has played in cataloging these atrocities and consequently, in providing groundbreaking evidence that has both paved the way for democratic reform policy in certain countries, and helped to change complicated amnesty laws that have blocked the prosecution of crimes against humanity, thus impacting the international legal community. In particular, I established contact and an ongoing scholarly relationship with Argentine po-litical filmmaker Alejandro Fernandez Moujan, who has made documentary films on social genocide, Peronism and artists working on themes related to the Dirty Wars in Latin America. My interest in this subject is a rhetorical one. I am interested in the power of and other primarily visual media to influence social groups and ultimately, human rights legislation.
Please refer to the PBRC Update for more information about faculty research.