Fall 2006 Awards

Between the Lines: Contested Boundaries and the Fate of the Jews and Other Minorities in Eastern Europe during WWII
Holly Case
, Department of History

Structures of Social Interaction in Language Acquisition 
Shimon Edelman, Department of PsychologyShimon EdelmanHeidi Waterfall, Department of Psychology
Jennifer Schwade, Department of Psychology
Michael Goldstein, Department of Psychology

Grounding the Digital Copyrights Controversies
Tarleton Gillespie, Department of Communication

Women and the State in Europe Speaker Series
Rebecca Givan, Industrial and Labor Relations
Sydney Van Morgan, Sociology and Institute for European Studies

Between the Lines: Contested Boundaries and the Fate of the Jews and other Minorities in Eastern Europe during WWII
Holly Case, Department of History

Drawing on examples from 5 discreet, but related, territorial contests—for control of Transylvania, Slovakia, Northern Bukovina, Croatia/Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Macedonia—between 11 states or would-be states— Hungary, Romania, Slovak Republic, Croatia, Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia, the Soviet Union, Ukraine, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia—this project explores how territorial considerations affected the timing and execution of policy vis-à-vis the Jews and other minorities in areas not under German occupation during WWII. The analysis highlights the need to consider genocide in a regional, transnational and comparative context in order to understand the conditions that gave rise to the Holocaust and other forms of mass violence against minority populations during WWII, and the ways in which tensions between states in Eastern Europe around contested territories still color interpretations of the Holocaust and “ethnic” violence in the region.

Update: By spending two months in Sofia, Bulgaria and Zagreb, Croatia, where there was access to period books, newspapers and archival collections on the relations of the two states with one another and with other allies of the Axis, this research led to the discovery of a number of parallels, including the connection between backgrounds of high-level state officials and spokesmen and how it affected their decisions to support their countries’ alliance with Germany. Professor Case concluded that of these individuals studied and practiced law before becoming active in public life, and their experience with law and the legal profession made them sensitive to questions of minority rights, international law, and the nature of the “Rechtsstaat,” or rule-of-law state. Through probing the mechanisms by which small states sought to realize their foreign and domestic policy goals within an alliance system dominated by an extremely large and powerful state (Nazi Germany), we can better fathom how alliances work, when they fall apart, what aspects of foreign policy influence domestic policy and vice versa. This research will appear in a manuscript that is under an advance book contract from Princeton University Press for their “Human Rights and Crimes against Humanity” series.

Structures of Social Interaction in Language Acquisition
Shimon Edelman, Heidi Waterfall, Jennifer Schwade, & Michael Goldstein
Department of Psychology

Members of human communities on all levels of social organization (including families) interact in highly structured ways. In particular, the interactions of parents with their young children are often characterized by patterns or regularities in the forms of behavior, as well as the timing of that behavior. Thus, an important task of children during language acquisition is to recognize such patterns and eventually to become full-fledged participants in interaction. A growing number of developmental studies originating in our group and elsewhere suggest that participation in patterned social interaction may actively facilitate the acquisition of language by young children. We propose to explore the role of social interaction, ranging from behavioral to linguistic structures, in language acquisition. Specifically, our goal is to examine the ways in which parents and children coordinate their behaviors in communication, and how the resultingalignment influences language development. Integrating our research in linguistics, computer science and developmental psychology, we will investigate the role of aligned parent-child interaction behaviors in language acquisition. With ISS Support, we will be able to conduct pilot examinations of non-linguistic speech-related behaviors, speech input, and their relation to language development, as well as construct an initial computational modeling framework for predicting and isolating specific aligned behaviors, in preparation for the submission of a multi-year grant.

Update: This project was awarded a grant of $352,000 by the National Science Foundation to pursue further research, which was discussed in the article “NFS Grant Focuses On Baby Talk,” in May of 2009.

Grounding the Digital Copyrights Controversies
Tarleton Gillespie, Department of Communication

While recent technical and cultural innovations in who makes and distributes information pose real challenges to the traditional ways in which we participate in culture, these innovations are running up against copyright law, and more importantly, against those who need it to work as it has rather than adapt to what is now technically possible. One response has been to merge copyright law with a combination of technological protections governing how we interact with information and a set of laws and contracts giving those digital barriers political force. One of the most vital questions, then, for how information is regulated and culture is shaped is the particulars of this interlocking of technology, law, politics, and practice. To deepen our insight into these question, we must examine not just the biggest changes and the loudest debates, but also the ways these arrangements play out “on the ground”: how people in actual social contexts resolve the pressures of these competing forces. How do designers of new technologies understand their copyright obligations, and incorporate those obligations into the tools they design, amidst other economic and practical pressures? How do corporate partners collaborate on techno-legal strategies for enforcing their copyrights, and persuade legislators, the courts, and the public to see it their way? How do users come to understand what copyright is, and honor or disregard it in their everyday habits of acquiring and producing culture? This research aims to interview technologists, lawmakers, content producers, and artists who are working at the points of contact between technology, law, politics, and cultural practice.

Update: This project examined the recent anti-piracy efforts made by a number of industry, government, and nonprofit organizations, particularly those designed with curriculum producers for use in K-12 classrooms. Rather than the scare tactics common to the public materials, these materials adopted a educational frame, teaching children about copyright law, current controversies, and appropriate behavior. Nevertheless, they are far from disinterested, carefully framing the issues so as to legitimate and normalize a particular perspective on the current debates. More importantly, in the process they are also telling stories about new technology and its social role, the appropriate relationship kids should have to these technologies, and the natural economic and social shape of culture. Through examining these materials, and conducting interviews with representatives of the organizations distributing them and the curriculum producers who designed them, this project have been able to offer some insights into these campaigns as strategic interventions, as educational objects, and as cultural morality plays.

Women and the State in Europe Speaker Series
Rebecca Givan, Industrial and Labor Relations and Sydney Van Morgan, Sociology and Institute for European Studies

The Institute for European Studies will host a speakers series for spring 2007 focusing on state influences on women’s rights and welfare in Europe. The purpose of the series is to provide fresh perspectives on interactions between women and the state from both historical and contemporary standpoints. Anticipated speakers, who cover a diverse range of disciplines and who are both comparativists and country/area specialists, emphasize in their work themes of discourse, citizenship, mobilization, inclusion/exclusion, and policy-making.

Update: The Institute for European Studies organized a four-part speakers series in 2007 focusing on state influences on women’s rights and welfare in Europe.  All of the talks were well attended and enthusiastically received by students and faculty across the social sciences at Cornell. Speakers participating in the series included Myra Marx Ferree  (Sociology, Wisconsin) spoke on “Defining Women’s Interests: Abortion in Germany and the U.S.”, and discussed how national differences, including state institutional structures, shape media framing of controversial debates; Rianne Mahon  (Institute of Political Economy, Carleton Univ., Toronto), spoke on “Babies and Bosses: Reconciling Work and Family Life in OECD Policy Discourse,” which examined politics of childcare policy development as a window from which to view how the OECD’s childcare agenda is responding to women’s rising labor force participation rates; Amy Mazur (Political Science, University of Washington) delivered a talk entitled “Making Alliances Between Women’s Movements and Women’s Policy Agencies Work: Towards State Feminism?,” based on data collected by the Research Network on Gender Politics and the State; and Joan Wallach Scott (Center for Advanced Studies, Princeton) discussed her most recent book, Cover-up: French Gender Equality and the Islamic Headscarf, taking a critical look the “clash of gender systems” as a way of trying to understand the reaction of the state to Muslims and Muslim culture in France.