Land Team Awards Research Grants to Graduate Students (Spring 2013)

By Lori Sonken

Six Cornell students were selected to receive small grants to fund dissertation research related to living on the land.

Charis Boke (anthropology), Youjin Chung (development sociology); Mark Deets (African history); Laura J. Martin (natural resources); David Rojas (anthropology), and Susana Romero Sánchez (history) each won $2,500 this spring through a Contested Landscape Theme Project competition rewarding field research around the globe

“We’re very excited about the graduate student grants.  We are pleased to support interesting and important research being done on campus by graduate students able to spend several months or more directly engaged in investigating contemporary land issues,” said Wendy Wolford, team leader.

Boke plans to travel to Putney, VT this summer for her ethnographic study looking at the people involved in the Transition Towns movement trying to build local resilience to address threats to the economy and the environment. Martin will go to Washington state to examine biological surveys conducted during the nuclear weapons testing program in the Marshall Islands from 1946-1954.

Two students are working in Africa. Deets is examining the historical claims on land, territory, place, place and nation in Senegal. Chung is interviewing villagers facing displacement and resettlement due to a large-scale sugarcane and ethanol project in Tanzania.

In Colombia, Sánchez’ archival study examines how state-led programs of inexpensive housing, flexible credit, and urban development in two cities in Bogotá and Medellín, were conceptualized, defined, implemented, reworked and evolved over time.

At the upcoming United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Rojas is conducting an ethnographic study examining the different ways that those attending meetings use the term “landscape” as they advance diverging political projects.

“We will post the traveling students’ reports as regular blogs on our website. Students working on campus will participate in the land team’s regular events, bringing productive empirical material to the conversation,” Wolford said.

  •  Governing Ecosystems: Ecologists and Natural Resources Management in the United States, 1945-present
    • Laura J. Martin (Natural Resources)
  • Honor in the Sacred Forest: Space, Place, and Nationalism in Senegal, 1885-2007
    • Mark Deets (African History)
  •  Dealing with the Masses: Housing, Credit, and Urban Development during an Age of Reform in Colombia, 1935-1957
    • Susana Romero Sánchez (History)
  • Resilience/Resistance: Ecologies of Care and Logics of Security in Environmental Activist Praxis
    • Charis Boke (Anthropology)
  • Atmospheric Landscapes and Landscapes of Resistance at the United Nations
    • David Rojas (Anthropology)
  • Gender Implications of Large-scale land Acquisitions for Sugarcane and ethanol Prouduction in Bagamoyo District, Tanzania
    • Youjin Chung (Development Sociology)