Faculty can apply for seed funds to support innovative research and collaborative conferences.
CCSS Grant Program for Cornell Faculty Members
The deadline for the Fall 2022 round of grants is Tuesday, September 13, 2022, at 11:59 pm. Please apply using this Qualtrics survey. Before you fill out an application, be sure to visit the submission, guideline, and FAQ tabs on the left side of this page to ensure you have the appropriate information prepared.
The CCSS Grant program supports social science research by PI-eligible Cornell faculty members and conferences that benefit Cornell faculty and students directly. For the Fall 2022 round, there are four types of grants: CCSS research grants, CCSS super-department grants and School of Public Policy grants, CCSS-Roper Center grants, and CCSS conference grants. All PI-eligible Cornell faculty in the social sciences are eligible to apply for these awards. Those that are not already an affiliate of the CCSS will be required to affiliate when they apply.
CCSS Research Grants
A primary goal is to fund research projects likely to lead to external funding. We are particularly interested in jump-starting research by junior faculty. We also support research by faculty teams spanning social science disciplines or units and interdisciplinary projects led or co-led by social scientists. Maximum award of $12,000.
CCSS Special Topic for Fall 2022: Super-department and School of Public Policy Collaboration Grants
Building on the Provost’s Review of the Social Sciences, the CCSS is offering support to researchers working in economics, psychology, public policy, or sociology. These special collaborative grants will support the catalyzation of innovative research, a central motivation in the creation of the super-departments and Cornell School of Public Policy. Each proposal should be made up of at least two researchers, at least one from each of two of the previous social sciences spaces (e.g., one from psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences and one from Human Development in the College of Human Ecology), and new collaborations are highly encouraged. Potential promise for future external funding will be considered as part of the review. Maximum award of $30,000 for each proposal.
CCSS-Roper Center Grants
The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at Cornell has identified hundreds of historical public opinion datasets from around the world that are currently in difficult-to-use file formats (e.g., column binary or ASCII). These data include Ronald Reagan’s private polls as well as data from India, Italy, Japan, Nigeria, and many other countries. Converting these datasets to usable formats is labor-intensive and can be costly, so the Roper Center is partnering with CCSS.
Suppose Roper Center has a historical public opinion dataset that will strengthen a CCSS Research grant project. In that case, Cornell faculty can apply for up to $12,000 in grant funding to convert these data to usable formats as a part of their CCSS grant. If selected, the Roper Center will match the CCSS grant with an in-kind contribution (i.e., a $12,000 award would equal $24,000 in data conversions). If interested in this opportunity, the PI should identify in their application the dataset(s) they would like to convert for use and briefly explain why their project will benefit from access to the dataset(s). For questions about Roper Center archival data and conversion estimates, contact the Roper Center via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CCSS Conference/Workshop Grants
Interdisciplinary conferences/workshops that are eligible for funding are those that are held at Cornell, open to all Cornell faculty members, and openly publicized. Awards for conferences rarely exceed $5,000. We do not support conferences organized by non-Cornell affiliated entities.
At the Cornell Center for Social Sciences (CCSS), we believe that social science will play a crucial role in understanding the crisis of COVID-19 and future crises. Please visit the COVID-19 Grants page to learn more.
The deadline for the Fall 2022 round of grants is Tuesday, September 13, 2022. Please apply using this Qualtrics survey.
Have the following information ready to paste into the application portal:
Name, professorial title (Assistant, Associate, Full Professor), departmental and college affiliation
Co-PIs (if you have a Co-PI, you must specify a lead PI)
Total dollar amount requested
Proposal type: research or conference
Indicate if the application qualifies under one of the special topics for the current round of funding OR is applying for Roper Center matching funds
If applying for Roper Center matching funds, PI must identify in the application portal the historical public opinion dataset(s) they would like to convert for use
Provide your plan for data replication and archiving or a brief statement explaining why archiving is not possible (see the CCSS data archiving policy here)
Pre-registration of experiments, if applicable
IRB attestation if human subjects will be used
Resubmission: Is this proposal a resubmission to the CCSS? If yes, please discuss your revisions in the proposal narrative.
Proposal narrative that is double spaced and no more than five pages in length (see guidelines below). The narrative should include replication details (see above).
Budget and budget justification (see guidelines below)
CV for the PI, as well as CVs for up to two additional investigators (maximum three pages each)
Each CV should list the researcher’s education, major appointments, and most significant publications, presentations, grants, and honors.
Proposal narrative guidelines:
Should not exceed five pages, should be double-spaced, 12-point font
A one-paragraph “publication ready” abstract (45 words max.) for posting on the CCSS website if the project is funded.
A comprehensive description of proposed activities and their significance, including details about the research design (if applicable)
Data archiving/replicability plan or a brief statement explaining why archiving is not possible (see CCSS data archiving policy for more info)
Plan of future activities with dates corresponding to major outputs (grant submission deadlines, book draft due date, publication draft submission goals)
Plans for pursuing additional funding (including a link to RFP), if any
If applying for Roper Center matching funds, the PI must briefly explain why the project will benefit from access to the historical public opinion dataset(s) they would like to convert for use
Budget justification guidelines:
Total funding amount requested
List of the individual expenses and a brief explanation of each expense
The budget justification does not count against the five-page-long narrative length limit
The budget can include replication expenses
If applying for Roper Center matching funds, the PI must work with the Roper Center to identify the estimated cost for converting the historical public opinion dataset(s) they would like to use and include the estimate as a line item in their budget. (The PI can apply for up to $12,000 in grant funding to convert these data to usable formats. The Roper Center will match the CCSS grant with an in-kind contribution (i.e., a $12,000 award would equal $24,000 in data conversions).)
A brief bibliography (under one page)
A brief sample survey or portion of a survey instrument may be included as an appendix and will not count against the narrative page length
For more information, see the frequently asked questions tab. If you have a question, contact email@example.com.
The maximum small grant award is $12,000. Faculty receiving a previous CCSS grant research award (or former ISS small grant) are eligible for another research award two years after their most recent award. Research grant awardees can submit a conference grant proposal within the two-year wait period, and conference grant awardees can submit a research proposal within the two-year wait period, as these are tracked separately. Likewise, there is a two-year wait period to submit a conference proposal after receiving a CCSS grant conference award.
CCSS approval is required for the principal investigator to reallocate more than 25 percent of the funds at any point after the award is issued; please contact Anneliese Truame. Funds not used within two years are returned to the CCSS for reallocation to other small grant awardees unless an extension is granted. In the event that the principal investigator resigns from Cornell, the remaining funds are to be returned to the CCSS.
The CCSS and the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation at Cornell University provide the funding for the CCSS grant program.
Data Archiving Policy
CCSS is committed to ensuring that research and data are open and available to support cumulative gains in social scientific knowledge. All CCSS-funded projects must provide a statement describing plans to archive data and/or replication materials in an appropriate and permanent archive, such as CCSS’s Data & Reproduction Archive, the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, or the Qualitative Data Repository (QDR), or a brief statement explaining why archiving is not possible. In addition, CCSS are members of the Qualitative Data Repository and ICPSR, which provides access to their curation services. CCSS’s complete archiving and replication policy can be found here. We encourage applicants to consult with Jonathan Bohan, CCSS’s Data Archive Specialist, if you have questions.
If your project will require an IRB, you must receive approval before engaging in the research and provide it to your departmental finance liaison before drawing down funds from your award.
CCSS grants support direct research expenses. Examples include the costs of collecting data, participant incentives, traveling to and from research or training sites, data replication and archiving costs, meetings with collaborators or potential funders, undergraduate or hourly graduate research assistance (summer grad RA stipends are also acceptable) supporting the faculty project, and specialized hardware or software necessary to conduct the research.
Examples of expenses ineligible for a CCSS grant award are publication fees or other costs associated with disseminating research (e.g., conference travel), faculty and/or Cornell staff salaries, travel costs for caregivers (for such funding, see here), and general-use hardware or software. We also do not pay for training, such as on an econometric technique. We also cannot support undergraduate or graduate student research projects with faculty CCSS grant funds.
The review process for CCSS grants has changed to one modeled after many field conference review formats. Each research project application with a budget above $5,000 is reviewed by three Cornell social science faculty members who have submitted within the same round (but are not in the applicant’s department). Every applicant applying for a grant will be asked to review 3-5 applications in the pool. The reviews must be completed by the deadline, or CCSS will disqualify the reviewing candidate’s application for funds. CCSS will internally review research proposals with budgets below $5,000. Previous recipients of CCSS grants are required to wait two years before they are eligible for another CCSS award.
The deadline for Fall 2022 is Tuesday, September 13, 2022, with awards announced on November 8, 2022.
Contact CCSS if you have questions about any of these policies.
By social science research, we tend to take a broad approach to social science. We typically support research that is eligible for funding from social science directorates of the major federal funding agencies. At the National Science Foundation, for example, this includes the Directorate for Education and Human Resources, the Directorate for Social and Behavioral Sciences, and their subsidiary organizations (e.g., Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences, Social and Economic Sciences, Law and Social Sciences, Human Resource Development, etc.).
The CCSS funds social scientific research eligible for funding by other federal agencies. For example, the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Energy support social science research. In general, the CCSS follows the federal government’s lead, and any social science research project eligible for funding from a federal agency is also suitable for CCSS support.
This does not mean that your faculty appointment needs to be in a department that carries the name of one of the disciplines NSF identifies as a social science: Anthropology, Communications, Economics, Linguistics, Government/Political Science, Psychology, or Sociology. Indeed, the CCSS strongly encourages participation by social scientists housed in multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary departments across Cornell.
Finally, we support social scientists engaging in collaborative research with non-social scientists, as long as the social scientist has a lead role in the project and the project has a significant social science component likely to lead to publications in peer-reviewed social science journals or other outlets. For example, CCSS would consider funding a social scientist who is co-leading, along with a geneticist, a study of the relationship between gene activation and social environments. It would not support a geneticist who is the sole investigator in a study of the relationship between gene activation and social environments.
What constitutes a strong budget justification?
A detailed budget justification gives the review committee a clear idea of what the funds will support and includes sources for cost estimates. For example, list the model of equipment or software to be purchased and its cost from a particular vendor, like Buy.com. How much does a ticket cost on Expedia or from AAA for car rental or air travel when you estimate you will be in the field? How many hours and at what rate per hour do you plan to hire a research assistant, based on what precedent?
At the time of submission of the proposal, does the proposed experiment already have to have IRB approval?
Do all the research project’s team members have to be at Cornell?
Can the research project include co-PIs, post-docs, or graduate assistants who are not faculty members?
The lead PI must be a Cornell PI-eligible faculty member. However, the entire research team does not have to be on Cornell’s faculty. The team can include non-tenure-track research associates, post-docs, and graduate students participating as collaborators and/or hired research assistants. However, CCSS grants cannot be used for tuition, stipends, or student fees on graduate assistantship lines. Grants cannot be used for graduate student research projects or dissertation projects.
If awarded a CCSS grant, when could I expect to receive the funding?
The PI is asked to complete an award transfer form. Once the award transfer form and any additional paperwork are submitted to the CCSS, small grant awards are typically transferred by the end of the month. CCSS small grant awards must be transferred by the end of the fiscal year.
Is there a time period restricting when the funds must be spent?
Grant awards have a term date of roughly two years. At that time, the PI is asked to file a 45-word impact statement and a brief report to the CCSS director regarding research progress, outcomes, and disposition of the awarded funds. If the PI does not request an extension, funds not used within two years are returned to the CCSS for reallocation to subsequent grant awardees.
What do I do if the research or conference budget needs to be reallocated after receiving my award?
PIs need CCSS approval to reallocate more than 25 percent of the funds at any point after funding. Please contact Anneliese Truame to request a reallocation and include the award year, account number, account balance, and reason for the requested reallocation.
How do I apply for a no-cost extension?
If you have not been able to complete your research by your award’s term date, you may request a no-cost extension by filling out this brief CCSS Grant Extension Form. If you have questions, please contact Anneliese Truame.
How does the CCSS evaluate proposals?
Projects requesting over $5,000 are reviewed by three peer scholars from the same application round, outside the applicant’s department, who evaluate each proposal based on the following criteria: quality of social science scholarship (including theory and methodology), the importance of the core ideas and whether they are innovative, whether the work is likely to inspire future research, and whether the budget is appropriate. We also consider whether the research design is methodologically sound, the likelihood of the research resulting in publication in peer-reviewed journals, and whether the project is likely to obtain external funding at some point. We fund conferences of interest to social scientists across the university when the budget appears justified and primarily supports Cornell social science faculty members instead of faculty from other institutions. Projects requesting under $5,000 in funding are reviewed internally.
If I have been funded by the CCSS before, how long should I wait before reapplying?
Faculty who have previously received a CCSS grant as a lead PI can reapply for funding after a two-year wait. In other words, if a PI received CCSS funding in Fall 2017, the faculty member may reapply in Fall 2019. Exceptions to this are that prior research grant awardees can submit a conference grant proposal and vice versa within the two-year wait period, and responses to calls for research on special topics may not be subject to the two-year rule. Research grant awardees must wait the full two years before submitting another research grant proposal, and conference grant awardees must wait the two years before submitting another conference grant proposal. CCSS Faculty Fellowships are not subject to the two-year rule.
Can CCSS Grants be used to fund graduate student research?
Not at this time.
Please see the Overview section for more information on the small grants program. Please direct questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Real Estate Cycles and Banking Crises
This project aims to analyze the role of real estate cycles in causing banking crises by creating a new historical database of the stock returns of real estate-related firms and investment vehicles since 1870 across 17 economies.
A Historic Preservation Local Law Census: Where and Why
People interact with preservation law predominantly at the local level, through historic commissions that opine on proposed rehab projects. Yet there is neither a census of local governments that regulate historic places, nor any scholarship that ties adoption to demographic characteristics, political inclinations, and state enabling authority features. My research will identify where historic districts have been adopted and explore how rates of adoption change from state to state depending on various independent variables.
Presidential Politics in an Era of Democratic Disruption Conference
This conference examines how presidential politics have helped precipitate and in turn been shaped by troubling trends in democratic governance in the United States and around the world. Papers will be published in a special issue of Presidential Studies Quarterly.
The 12th annual New Directions in Analyzing Text as Data (TADA) meeting will take place at Cornell Tech. TADA is the premiere venue for computational social science work involving documents, social media, and other text.
The Nature and Emergence of Property Norms
Where do ideas of private property come from? This project will examine how territorial instincts might generate property norms through biases in cultural learning. The project will also investigate how people think about property norms, e.g., whether they are fundamentally moral or conventional.
Incorporating “Zunde Ramambo” into Sustainable Nutrition Interventions to Improve Child Health
Zunde Ramambo is a community-initiated solution to looking after vulnerable children and households through the practice of sharing resources and we propose to engage the same cohort of households involved in the CHAIN trial to explore ways to incorporate it into sustainable nutrition interventions to improve child health and development.
Transnational Theories examines a network of anticolonial and anti-capitalist authors, artists, and activists over the course of their Atlantic and Mediterranean crossings between 1930 and 1970 and situates them as interlocutors in political theories of racial capitalism, empire, and patriarchy.
After Apocalypse: The Work of Utopia in White Power Activism
The white power movement is an apocalyptic force in the United States, but it is also animated by utopic visions of the world that will supposedly reign after national collapse. Rooted in the belief that fighting extremism requires taking extremists seriously as ideological actors who engage in violence with a purpose—rather than being driven by reactionary hate alone—our work thus considers the organizing power of utopian thought among white power activists.
Congress & History Conference
The Congress & History Conference is an interdisciplinary, two-day meeting of political scientists, historians, economists, and legal scholars who study any aspect of Congress historically. Topics of special focus include substantive and descriptive representation; polarization; public policy; and the relationship of Congress to US democracy.
Global Survey of City Leaders
The Global Survey of City Leaders (GSCL) is the first globally representative survey of city leaders. The survey asks 200 mayors about their perspective, priorities, and actions taken to address their local economy, housing, infrastructure, built and natural environments, social issues, governance, and finance.
Investigating individual differences in the emotional and perceptual responses to visual scenes
Empirical findings suggest that environmental aesthetics can impact psychological well-being. The proposed work focuses on individual differences and task demands to examine how different visual perceptual strategies lead to a variety of aesthetic and affective responses to natural environments.
Land Technologies: Interrogating Tools of Governance in the Colonial Present
A growing number of critical social scientists argue that climate change, growing inequality, and right-wing populism are related crises produced by capitalism's inherent contradictions. Yet development institutions and state agencies continue to promote technical and bureaucratic solutions that feed capital accumulation and environmental injustice. This workshop revisits one of critical geography’s central concerns – the politics of land – in this context, linking foundational work on capital accumulation and social difference with studies of new biological, cartographic, financial, legal, and digital tools that are reshaping land politics.
How University Status Impacts the Stigma Attached to Online Degrees
This study will explore how having an online degree, as opposed to a conventional residential degree, influences the hiring decision of job candidates. We especially focus how the status of the university that issued the degrees impacts the potential negative evaluation of online degrees.
Learning at Scale Conference at Cornell Tech
The annual Learning at Scale conference brings together social scientists and computer scientists who study how technology can support learning in a scalable, sustainable, and equitable manner. In 2022, the conference will be hosted at Cornell Tech from June 1st to 3rd. Cornell faculty and students are encouraged to attend this year's workshops, panels, keynotes, paper and poster sessions.
Enhancing the Effectiveness of Soft Skills Among STEM Doctoral Students
As the nature of STEM is increasingly team-based and cross-disciplinary, it is urgent that STEM doctoral students have access to strong training in Teamwork, Leadership, and Convergence skills. As a first step in that pursuit, this project will initiate a large and diverse sample.
The Insight Bias: People Overestimate the Quality of Ideas Generated via Insight
Research finds that people’s beliefs about creativity can influence how they approach creative work and creative performance. I propose to study whether generating ideas via insight (or the “A-ha!” moment) versus non-insight biases people’s assessments of their ideas and, ultimately, their performance.
Implications of Racial Codeswitching on Bodily and Psychological Outcomes
The demands of racial code-switching place a major burden on Black people who must actively manage their social identities in academic and workplace settings to avoid facing further bias and unfair treatment (Blanchard, 2021). The purpose of this project is to examine the physiological, bodily, and emotional implications of racial code-switching.
Linking Families and Community Institutions: Testing the Partners in Care Intervention
This project will conduct a study of an intervention to improve cooperation and communication between family members of assisted living residents and staff. It will test whether “Partners in Care for Assisted Living” leads to positive outcomes for families, staff, residents, and communities.
Measuring Race as a Social Construct: Toward Improving the State of the Art
Race is a social construct but typically gets measured as if it were an essential characteristic. This project will ask open-ended questions about how people understand race and racial identification. We will then develop and test new race questions based on these open-ended data.
Understanding Perceptions of Climate Change Through Food
This project explores whether climate change concern is heightened when people are made aware of the increasing risks to food systems. A national survey experiment will be conducted that compares the effect of reading a message about general climate impacts vs. food-specific impacts.
The effect of causal mechanistic explanations on perceptions of research findings
Does including a causal explanation when presenting scientific findings paradoxically undermine the perception of the work’s importance? We examine the extent to which presenting research with (vs. without) mechanisms affects whether the work is evaluated as novel, replicable, and worthy of funding received.
The Social Psychology Behind “Always On” Work Culture
Switching off from work boosts productivity and protects employees from burnout. Yet, the intangible nature of knowledge work has led workplaces to use response speed as a proxy for hard work, signaling to employees that the only way to succeed is to be “always on.” This research project examines a problematic bias around expectations of response speed for work emails, namely that receivers overestimate sanders' response speed expectations. The goals of this research are to: 1) document this bias, 2) understand when implicit work email norms result in exaggerated response speed expectations, and 3) test an intervention that leads to more accurate expectations, thereby helping to mitigate the “always on” workplace mentality. The proposed research will address these goals using experimental methods –both online and in the field–to manipulate the roles of sender and receiver, and to measure the well-being and productivity implications of mitigating this bias.
The Next Wall Street Housing Grab
In the wake of the 2008 housing crisis, a new type of institutional real estate investment firm emerged: the publicly traded real estate investment trust (REIT) that specializes in single-family rental housing (SFR). In the years that followed, SFR REITs funneled large amounts of global capital into local housing markets, which led to decreases in housing affordability and security (Charles, 2019). SFR REITs are well-positioned to exploit the Covid-19-induced 2020 housing crisis, potentially emerging with even greater iniquitous power over local housing markets. This study examines the investments of the four largest SFR REITs’ in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Using exploratory spatial data analysis methods(ESDA), the study addresses the following questions: 1) How have SFR REITs' property acquisition strategies changed since 2012to adapt to the current housing crisis? and 2) In what types of suburban neighborhoods and in what types of single-family housing have SFR REITs concentrated their investments?
Using EyeTracking to Investigate Real-Time Statistical Learning
Statistical learning—sensitivity to distributional patterns in the world—has been implicated in many aspects of behavior and cognition, particularly within the study of language. However, statistical learning experiments are generally based on passive exposure to simple input streams, followed by separate tests of the acquired regularities. Little is therefore known about the time-course of statistical learning, including what information learners use and when. The proposed study will leverage the fine-grained spatial and temporal resolution of eye tracking to reveal how different sources of information in the input are used in real time during the statistical learning of an artificial language. The expected results promise to not only provide new theoretical insights into the role of statistical learning in language acquisition, but also suggest how second-language learning instruction might be improved through statistical learning incorporating different types of information.
Portable Rights for Migrant Workers: Bringing the Sending State Back Into the Local
As international migration continues to rise, sending states have begun to play an integral part in “managing” their diasporas, in some cases even stepping in to protect their erstwhile residents’ labor and human rights. The Mexican government is perhaps the clearest example of this trend, increasingly directing its resources to the more than 11 million Mexican nationals living in Canada and the United States. While Mexican emigrants have enjoyed renewed political power in their country of origin, they face a litany of challenges in their destination contexts ranging from health needs, educational obstacles, and perhaps chief among them, workplace abuse and exploitation. Despite formal proclamations of support and legal commitments, we know little about how sending states are being held accountable for the everyday lives of their diaspora on the ground. Our book, Portable Rights for Migrant Workers: Bringing the Sending State Back into the Local (with Xóchitl Bada, University of Illinois – Chicago), fills this knowledge gap by analyzing the on-the-ground, transnational defense of migrant labor rights.
Immigrant Worker Precarity, Race and the Dual Pandemic
The project interrogates how law, race, and gender shape the experiences of low-wage immigrant workers. Its interdisciplinary and comparative research design breaks new ground by marrying legal analysis of the regulatory contexts and 280 interviews with low-wage workers from three immigration law status categories (unauthorized, temporary, permanent) and from two racial/regional groups (Haitians and Central Americans). With interviews both before and after the COVID-19 pandemic started, the project illuminates how the pandemic has shifted workplace dynamics. The project promises to bring theoretical and policy insights that inform efforts to address inequality.
Rhythms of the Land: Indigenous Knowledge, Science, and Thriving Together in a Changing Climate
Indigenous and rural societies that have contributed least to anthropogenic climate change are facing its harshest consequences. Social and biophysical scientists must collaborate with these communities to build the innovative systems that are needed for anticipatory capacity—that is, the ability to envision possible futures and develop a plan of action to deal with uncertainties. Rhythms of the Land: Indigenous Knowledge, Science, and Thriving Together in a Changing Climate is an International Conference to be held at Cornell University in September 2021. As a capstone to a transdisciplinary project (2016-21) involving social and biophysical scientists, community leaders, and government and civil society organizations, this conference will: (1) demonstrate the ability of ecological calendars to build anticipatory capacity, (2) develop climate change policy and adaptation strategies, and (3) facilitate curriculum development based on research.
James Tully: To Think and Act Differently
James Tully’s impact on the landscape of contemporary political theory is profound and diverse. From his inaugural studies of early modern theories of property to his latest writings on climate crisis and ecological citizenship, Tully’s writings have opened new fields of inquiry by dialogically bridging theory and practice. He has made landmark contributions to the history of political thought, democratic theory, constitutionalism and legal theory, Indigenous studies, globalization, cultural diversity and legal pluralism, and comparative political theory. James Tully: To Think and Act Differently collects writing from across Tully’s career to illustrate the origins, development, and reinvention of his central innovation in the study of political thought: reconceiving political theory as a dialogical practice. Edited volume to be published in the series 'Routledge Innovators in Political Theory'.
Sex Discrimination and Title IX Enforcement in the Academy
This project examines the experience of and institutional responses to sex discrimination in U.S. higher education. Using data contained in letters from the U.S. Department of Education to colleges and universities that have allegedly violated Title IX—the 1972 U.S. civil rights law that prohibits unequal treatment of the basis of sex in education—we are constructing an original dataset that provides a window into the veiled processes of sex discrimination in higher education and efforts to remediate it. Our study will be the first to systematically describe and analyze allegations of unlawful sex discrimination in academe, including how they are investigated and resolved, and to link these data with other school-level data to analyze other key characteristics of allegedly noncompliant schools. This grant proposal requests support to code and finalize pilot data that will be used in a National Science Foundation grant application.
Mao and Markets: The Communist Roots of Chinese Enterprise
China’s spectacular economic growth over the past four decades bears stark witness to the power of markets. However, as an avowedly communist country, China’s rise calls most existing social science theories into question. The unique model that combines a communist ideology and capitalist practices is unprecedented in world history and presents a “China puzzle.” Our book project aims to unravel this puzzle through a novel lens based on the lasting legacy of Chairman Mao Zedong—the founding leader of the communist regime in China—and his ideology. We specifically elaborate three important aspects of Maoism—ideological principles, campaign events, and institutions—and based on our prior academic research and extensive new data and case studies, we connect them to business and entrepreneurship in China. We show how Mao and Maoism leave a deeply ingrained imprint in Chinese society though a series of in-depth case studies and sophisticated statistical analyses of business and political leaders. Our research complements existing accounts by providing a new and more comprehensive angle to understand Chinese business, providing important practical and policy implications and shedding light on entrepreneurship theory and practices.
Machine Learning for Prediction of Tax Evasion
We develop a machine-learning prediction model aiming at improving targeting of auditing resources. Using millions of tax filings, the model will produce recommendations on filings' selection into audit. In collaboration with the Italian Tax Authority, the model will be tested and eventually updated. The predictive model, alongside novel data collection on manager-office moves over time, will be used to construct a novel measure of manager productivity in the government service sector.
Work Hours and Gender Inequality in Earnings Across Countries
Although women earn less than men in virtually all advanced industrialized societies, the magnitude of these disparities differs substantially across countries. Recent research on the United States highlights how changes in the social organization of work, and in particular the rise of long work hours (“overwork”), the growth in part-time work among service and manufacturing workers, and the per hour compensation associated with these different levels of work hours, contribute to gender and parental status gaps in wages. Less is known, however, about whether these results generalize to countries with very different legal, normative, and demographic contexts of work than the US. Using the Luxembourg Income Study, the proposed project explores the extent to which cross-national differences in work hours, in gender and parental status disparities in work hours, and in the compensation associated with different work hours can account for cross-national differences in the magnitude of wage disparities between women and men, between parents and childless adults, and between “mothers and others."
Civility as a Contextualized Social Psychological Phenomenon: The Role of Equality, Agency, and Mobility
The notion of civility has a profound impact in both private and public life. This research aims to clarify when and why people disagree about what civility means, and also the extent to which they agree – even when they differ in values or social position. To investigate this, the project takes a novel, empirically rigorous approach, using adaptations of classic economic games to examine how (a) observer versus agent perspective; (b) higher versus lower status; and (c) fixed versus mobile status affect perceptions of civility and civil behavior. Investigating these dimensions will advance understanding of civility as a contextualized social psychological phenomenon, varying in its nature based on agency, equality, and social mobility.
The American Political Economy after COVID-19
According to much social scientific thought, the “shock” of the COVID-19 pandemic should produce dramatic and long-term changes to the American political economy. But will it? Unlike other critical junctures in the history of capitalism (such as the World Wars or the OPEC oil crisis), the pandemic seems merely to have exposed rather than transformed pre-existing social inequalities, political-economic relationships, and public policies. This proposal requests support for a one-day conference to examine the effect of the pandemic on American politics and markets. Situating Cornell at the center of an expanding research field, the event will bring scholars from inside and outside the university to 1) explore whether and how the virus has shaped American capitalism 2) systematically assess whether this response is distinct from that of other countries 3) identify the new research questions that these issues pose.
Changes in Social Contact Due to COVID-19 and Implications for Health and Well-Being of Older Adults
Social integration brings numerous benefits for physical and mental health in later life. However, in the context of the COVID-19pandemic, many older adults face the difficult choice of whether to maintain in-person social interactions (risking exposure to the virus), curtail social interactions (risk isolation or loss of support), or shift from in-person to online interaction. These adaptations may vary across social groups and have implications for health and well-being. We will use data from the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (NSHAP), collected before and during the pandemic, to examine how older adults’ social contact has changed and how these patterns vary across sociodemographic groups and socioeconomic status. We will then examine how changes in social contact are associated withCOVID-19diagnosis, mental health, and health behaviors. Results Will advance understanding of how different forms of social contact affect health and inform policy efforts to support older adults.
Japan Reborn: Race and Foreign Relations from World War to Cold War
Japan Reborn: Race, Nation, and Foreign Relations from World War to Cold War examines efforts circa the Allied occupation of Japan (1945-52) to cleanse the nation of children born to Japanese mothers by foreign fathers, mostly U.S. troops, stationed in Japan after the war. Such “cleansing” would occur through eugenic abortion, proscriptions of interracial sex, resettlement of “mixed blood” children overseas, and the hoped-for but never achieved expulsion of U.S. troops from Japanese soil. Japan Reborn probes how Japanese nationalists reconstructed the imagined community (Anderson 1983) of the Japanese nation on the basis of the “pure race” rather than the failed state in the wake of defeat in World War II.
Reducing the Adverse Effects of Prenatal Maternal Stress on Child Neurodevelopment in a Low-Income African-American Sample
There is broad scientific consensus that a stressful pregnancy can increase the child’s lifetime risk for adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes, including poor affect regulation in infancy, increased anxiety and poor attentional and behavioral control during childhood, and cognitive and affective disorders during adolescence and adulthood. A promising intervention for reducing these lasting adverse offspring outcomes is to increase maternal intake of the essential nutrient, choline. Choline is vital to molecular and cellular processes fundamental to fetal neurodevelopment and is broadly neuroprotective against early life insults. Notably, data from animal models demonstrate that maternal choline supplementation protects offspring from the lasting adverse effects of prenatal stress on socioemotional outcomes—likely in part because choline-derived methyl groups are critical for repairing the DNA damage caused by stress-induced inflammation and oxidative stress. Given its critical roles in fetal development, it is of grave concern that over 90% of pregnant women consume less than the recommended amount of choline. Our long-range goal is to conduct a large clinical trial to test the hypothesis that supplementing the maternal diet with choline reduces offspring adversities due to prenatal stress. We plan to focus this trial on African-American women who are at high risk for both prenatal stress and inadequate choline intake. Our short-term goal is to collect preliminary data from a small ongoing choline supplementation study involving pregnant women and their infants, which will provide important preliminary data to support a large clinical trial. More broadly, success of this intervention may reduce risk to optimal child development caused by greater exposure to both prenatal stress and nutritional insufficiency.
Production Networks Under Uncertainty
In recent years, important work in macroeconomics has emphasized the importance of the network structure of production — the set of input/output linkages between firms — for aggregate fluctuations. But little research has been done on how this network is constructed in the first place. The goal of this project is to study the impact of uncertainty on the structure of the production network. The project will proceed in three parts: 1) a reduced-form analysis of the U.S. data to figure out how uncertainty affects firms sourcing decisions; 2) the construction of a theoretical framework in which firms make their sourcing decisions under uncertainty; and 3) an estimation of the model using U.S. data to quantitatively assess the importance of the mechanism.
The Effects on Children of Equality Rules for Religious Placement Agencies
Are children harmed when child placement agencies close their doors rather than follow antidiscrimination rules that violate their religious beliefs? Alternatively, what are the outcomes for children when agencies are allowed to continue operating while discriminating? The answers to these questions are central to conflicts between religious freedom and equality law that are currently raging in the United States. Surprisingly, there is no reliable evidence on how a decision to enforce equality rules might affect children. Our project excavates that evidence from previous conflicts where agencies have closed rather than follow antidiscrimination rules, while other agencies have remained open. Triangulating in-depth interviews, original datasets, and national archive data on child placement outcomes, our comprehensive analysis will impact not only the Fulton case currently pending in the Supreme Court, but also debates in lower courts and legislatures. In each of these conflicts, a central question is how children will be affected.
Cultural Differences in Event Perception: Neurophysiological Measures and Developmental Origins
Events form the units of experience, providing the basis for everything from learning about the structure of the world, to storytelling, and to planning future activities. This collaborative project brings together diverse expertise to examine the effects of culture on this process using measures of behavior, oculomotor patterns and neurophysiology. It will examine how the socio-cultural context in which individuals develop affects how they perceive and remember events as adults, as children, and as parent-child dyads.
Multigenerational Neighborhood Effects
Inequality in life chances is often rooted in the opportunity structure of previous generations. This project examines whether two successive generations of childhood exposure to neighborhood disadvantage is associated with respondents’ future adult well-being outcomes and the childhood health outcomes of their children. In addition, this project examines two potential sources of variation for neighborhood effects: (1) the timing of exposure to disadvantaged neighborhoods in childhood and (2) race and ethnicity. Studying the timing of exposure has the potential to uncover particular stages of childhood development when neighborhood-level policies and interventions may be most effective. Studying variation in neighborhood effects by race and ethnicity can also direct policy and intervention resources to particularly vulnerable population sub-groups.
What is the Advantage of Medicare Advantage? Supply and Demand Factors in Medicare Beneficiaries’ Enrollment in Private Insurance
Historically, the U.S. government’s Medicare program directly paid health-care providers for delivering medical services to elderly and disabled beneficiaries. But over the past decade, more and more Medicare beneficiaries have chosen to instead enroll in private health insurance via the Medicare Advantage program. As of 2018, 32% of the U.S. government’s $731 billion in Medicare spending is routed to Medicare Advantage insurers. Colleen Carey (Cornell, Department of Policy Analysis and Management) and Marika Cabral (University of Texas) combine a state-of-the-art statistical technique with large geographic variation in the Medicare Advantage enrollment rate to determine what market features predict high Medicare Advantage enrollment. Since Medicare Advantage plans differ from traditional Medicare in limiting beneficiaries to a network of physicians, the authors develop a novel measure of Medicare Advantage network breadth to determine how plan networks affect enrollment. The research will help improve the design and regulation of the Medicare Advantage program.
Returns to Mechanization through Rental Equipment Markets
In this project, we study misallocation in equipment rental markets and its impact on agricultural productivity. Mechanization is one of the main inputs in modern agriculture, and the lack of it, an important contributor to the low productivity observed in poor countries. Mechanization is particularly difficult for smallholder farmers, because mechanized practices require scale and equipment purchases that are large, relative to a farmer’s wealth. The development of rental markets for equipment is a key mechanism to grant access to mechanization to smallholder farmers. Yet, not much is known about their workings and their impact for farmers’ livelihoods and agricultural productivity. This project fills the gap by gathering the first systematic detailed transaction information, leveraging a government intervention in India. With this information we aim to answer: What is the extent of misallocation in equipment usage across farms? What type of market arrangements can improve upon the current ones? In developing countries, most rental contracts are relational, lack enforcement mechanisms, and tend to disadvantage smallholder farmers with long delays in service provision. The government of Karnataka has set up a first-come-first-serve (FCFS) rental provider to improve accessibility to this market. We combine administrative data from that intervention with our own survey data from 7000 farming households. We show that delays in service provision are costly, particularly so for smallholder providers. We structurally simulate a market arrangement where equipment owners rent their own equipment and compare outcomes with the FCFS allocation calibrated to fit the data. The solution to the optimal service queueing problem and the computation of productivity losses require evaluation of our structural model in 45 hubs over 90k transactions.
The Moral Psychology of Public Life: An Interdisciplinary Conference
In recent years, interdisciplinary inquiry into the effects of human psychology on morality has exploded, engaging researchers from across the humanities and sciences in the rapidly coalescing discipline of moral psychology. At the same time, increasing technological and social complexity has heightened contemporary ethical challenges, and scientifically informed solutions to these challenges are sought by the public and policy-makers alike. The interdisciplinary conference The Moral Psychology of Public Life features leading experts in moral psychology who employ agenda-setting research to investigate topics in moral psychology—including group conflict, moral judgment and decision-making, outrage, and empathy—with connections to contemporary social issues. Cornell faculty in allied fields will present their work and commentary. The conference, on April 17–19, 2020, will further offer an understanding of morality as it unfolds in the transforming of the public domain, and will spark dialogue across the university and wider Cornell community.
Community Needs Assessment on Facilitators and Inhibitors of Food Security in Toa Alta, Puerto Rico
Fifteen million U.S. children live in “food-insecure” households, which means children within these households have limited access to nutritious foods due to cost, proximity and/or other types of resources. Families in predominantly minority and low-income neighborhoods are at increased risk for food insecurity. In Puerto Rico (P.R.), a Latin American country within a U.S. territory and of predominantly Latino residents, food insecurity affected 1.5 million people in 2017. That same year, childhood food insecurity rates in P.R. were nearly triple the average for the rest of the U.S. (56%). In the aftermath of hurricane Irma and Maria in the second half of that same year, Puerto Rican families are still facing contextual challenges across many levels (i.e., cultural, environmental, social, political) that exacerbates the food insecurity issues among many residents in the island. Since tackling food insecurity requires an examination of the contextual factors that ultimately shape such an issue, community-centered approaches to build capacity offer a promising model to address both social determinants of health inequalities and familial health outcomes in at-risk community settings. The purpose of this study is to conduct a community needs assessment to identify facilitators and inhibitors to building capacity towards sustainable food security efforts in an underserved community setting in Toa Alta, Puerto Rico. This study is part of a larger community-based participatory research (CBPR) project, which will employ a community engaged collaborative process to develop a culturally-sensitive, family-centered intervention for Puerto Rican parents and their children (aged 0–8) to improve food accessibility, affordability, availability, and intake.
Democratic Representation: Acts, Aesthetics, Institutions
On May 15–16, 2020, Cornell will host its first annual conference of the International Conference for the Study of Political Thought. CSPT is the oldest scholarly organization dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of the history of political thought. Originally founded in Toronto in 1967 by J.G.A. Pocock, Melvin Richter, and Neal Wood, CSPT is now composed of an extensive international network of affiliated groups and scholarly organizations. The organization aims to hold one major conference each year on a topic of broad theoretical and political significance, drawing together scholars from political science, political and social theory, intellectual history, philosophy and related fields. This year’s conference is titled “Democratic Representation: Acts, Aesthetics, Institutions.” The political crisis of our time—sometimes described as the international “populist explosion”—is often attributed to a systemic crisis of political representation. There are multiple symptoms of this crisis: the breakdown of traditional party systems, the polarization and paralysis of parliaments and legislatures, the degeneration of established systems of electoral accountability, the proliferation of extremist micropublics fueled by new social media, and the rise of charismatic authoritarian leaders claiming to speak on behalf of the “real people.” Political theorists have responded with a renewed interest in the normative and institutional underpinnings of political representation in constitutional democracies. Moving beyond preoccupations with what Hanna Pitkin described as the “mandate-independence controversy,” recent scholarship is considering not only how political representation can best reflect already constituted preferences, interests, constituencies, or identities, but also how different forms of political representation give shape to, mobilize, or enact those interests, preferences, and identities. This year’s CSPT conference at Cornell expands and elaborates on these questions by exploring the theoretical, historical, and empirical dilemmas internal to the very idea of democratic representation, which poses distinctive difficulties arising from the fraught nature of its constituent subject—the people—as well as from the concept and practice of representation itself. A group of distinguished scholars will explore the diverse challenges of democratic representation along three interdependent dimensions—acts, aesthetics, and institutions—that together articulate a complex and dynamic ecology of democratic representation, where no single agent, activity, or embodiment can claim final democratic authority, and where contest among and between them animates the agon of democratic politics.
Whose America? U.S Immigration Policy Since 1986
Immigration scholars from across the disciplines will come together in April 2020 for a one-day conference to examine the impact of post-1980 immigration laws and policies on U.S. society and transnational immigrant communities. The demographic changes brought about by the 1965 Hart-Celler Act, the political realignments of the post-Cold War period, and global neoliberal economic policies have elicited a corresponding impulse to reinforce borders, reassess humanitarian commitments, and privilege particular forms of labor. Today’s policies and practices—the dramatic shift toward border militarization, family separation, and deterrence practices such as expedited removal, for example—have been decades in the making and have their ideological and discursive origins in the 1980s and 1990s. The conference presentations (and the anthology that will follow) will address such issues as the deterrence and detention of undocumented workers and asylum seekers; the technologies of border enforcement; the privileging of high-skilled labor; diversity lotteries; racial, gender-based and ideological exclusion; migration as a tool of foreign policy; citizenship; Temporary Protected Status (TPS); and the sanctuary movement.
Sub-Saharan African Migration Project (S-SMAP) (African Futures Project)
This is a multi-sited interview project focused on Ghanaian and Kenyan youth enrolled in secondary and tertiary educational programs. The project seeks to determine what, if any, benefits are accrued by migrants through long-term migration by generating the most suitable comparison group for migrants: similarly situated peers who have not migrated. Baseline interviews with respondents with similar social and economic backgrounds will be conducted before long-term international migration has occurred. From this baseline sample, there will be two rounds of follow-up interviews (five and ten years removed from the baseline interviews). By the second and third interview waves, it is anticipated that a sizeable portion of respondents will have migrated. These six data points will help clarify what (if any) characteristics separate those who eventually migrate from those who remain and whether migrant social and economic outcomes after migration differ drastically from peers with similar backgrounds who remain in the sending society. This project uses mixed methods for this undertaking, which includes a screening survey, in-depth semi-structured interviews, and an assessment of institutional information and support for those who desire to migrate.
The Take-Off of the Korean Wave: Antecedents and Consequences of the Globalization of Korean Pop Culture
This study proposes an in-depth examination of the globalization of Korea pop culture (the “Korean wave”) to better understand the antecedents of successful cultural products and their subsequent consequences to the domestic market. Korean cultural products including pop music (K-pop) and TV dramas (K-drama) have diffused to numerous foreign markets since the late 1990s. The Korean wave is exemplary in that Korea was not considered to be a cultural powerhouse but Korean cultural products gained popularity beyond Asian markets but also in culturally dissimilar markets and mainstream markets such as the U.S. In the context of the Korean wave, this study specifically investigates 1) how institutions including government-driven policies can positively impact the development of domestic cultural industries, 2) what types of cultural products can succeed in different foreign markets, and 3), how the success of cultural products can have a broader impact on domestic industries and the economy. By investigating the success story of the Korean cultural wave, this study contributes to theories of cultural diffusion and globalization of cultural products as well as highlighting implications to policy-makers and managers in cultural industries.
The Impact of Nature Engagement on the Health and Well-Being of University Staff and their Families
This pilot study aims to examine the impacts of a loose parts recess program intervention at public elementary schools on the outdoor play, learning, and social activities of school-age children. The pilot study would utilize an observational approach known as behavior mapping to analyze children’s outdoor play activities at two schools, one in Toronto, Canada and one in Ithaca, New York, both before and after the implementation of a loose parts recess program. Loose parts programs install a diverse range of manipulable and non-prescriptive materials (e.g., tires, cardboard boxes and tubes, sand, building materials, pine cones, crates, etc.) in the school yard to increase the quality and diversity of self-directed outdoor play opportunities during recess. This pre–post behavior mapping study will isolate and examine the impact of loose parts provision on children’s play behaviors outdoors at school, particularly those that foster child development, learning and well-being, as well as discern spatial patterns in children’s social and environmental interactions with and without the availability of loose parts.
Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT 30) - Support for Organizing a Conference
Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) 30 will take place at Cornell University from April 24–26, 2020. This annual international, interdisciplinary conference brings together researchers who study every aspect of meaning in natural language. SALT includes presentations on a wide range of phenomena from a variety of languages and from a variety of theoretical perspectives. These presentations focus on data from experiments, fieldwork on understudied languages, individual judgments or surveys of language communities. These data concern the form, meaning, and context of everyday language use, and are analyzed in terms of interacting linguistic and social competencies. Since being founded at Cornell in 1991, SALT has become the premier conference on the semantics of natural languages. Bringing SALT back to Cornell for the special occasion of its 30th installment will reaffirm Cornell’s position as a leader in this rapidly evolving interdisciplinary field, and enhance the already vibrant community of scholars working on this topic here.
Social Science Symposium on Climate Change
As David Fahrenthold noted in the Washington Post, climate change looks as if it was designed to be ignored: a vast, slow-moving problem, with no single villain, affecting communities and ecosystems across generations and around the globe. But as each new round of international negotiations reveals, climate change is also profoundly social: how people understand, engage with, and experience the issue is powerfully influenced by how others respond to the problem. Despite this growing recognition, and an urgent need for practical insights to bridging old and new social divides on the issue, social behavioral science research on climate change remains remarkably siloed within many social science disciplines (e.g., sociology, political science, psychology) relative to the natural sciences. The goal is to facilitate a social science symposium on climate change to bring together a group of distinguished scholars and practitioners to discuss emerging research on climate change, with a particular focus on bridging perspectives across the social and behavioral sciences. This two-day meeting (to be held in Claremont, California, in April 2020) will feature invited talks from leading researchers, and a follow-up workshop discussion on the state of the science and its application. Talks will showcase research that can advance scholarship on climate change as both an individual and collective decision-making problem, and its applications, and will result in an edited volume, to be published as part of the highly-cited Claremont Symposium on Applied Social Psychology book series, under contract with Routledge. This volume is intended as an accessible and influential source for considering how insights from the social and behavioral sciences can inform climate change communication, advocacy, and public policy. In addition to the book, the symposium will provide critical time and space for leading researchers to plan grant proposals, such as NSF’s Research Coordination Networks (RCN) grants, that elevate emerging, interdisciplinary research.
The Capacity to be Aggressive: Structured Management and Tax Behavior of Firms
This project aims to consider the effect of firms’ organizational capacity—proxied by structured management practices—on tax planning behavior of multinational firms (MNEs). Management practices improve productivity and hence should increase taxable corporate income of firms. However, better managed firms may also be better at tax avoidance. We explore the relationship between reported profits and structured management practices in MNEs headquartered in high-tax home countries operating in a low-tax host countries. We consider whether the patterns of reported profits across jurisdictions are consistent with more “organizationally capable” firms shifting profits out of high-tax country affiliates into low-tax country affiliates. This project aims to add a novel explanation for why some firms are more likely to engage in aggressive tax planning, with implications to the cost-benefit analysis of government-funded management upgrading projects.
The Effects of Avatar Appearance and Customization on Embodied Applications
A number of clinical and educational applications hinge on creating a sense of embodiment and social presence in an avatar, or digital representation, of a patient or user. Research suggests that a more realistic appearance can enhance this sense of embodiment. However, increasing the level of realistic detail also means that the avatar will inevitably diverge from the actual appearance of any individual user. In social science experimentation, avatars are frequently customized only to the extent that they align to broad social categories, such as gender and race/ethnicity, but this imperfect customization may damage the illusion of embodiment for some participants. This proposal tests two current approaches to customizing avatars: first, what choices users would prefer to see in avatar customization, and second, what the effects of having well- or ill-matched avatars have on a number of measures relevant to social science. This research may highlight ways in which future development can improve avatar resemblance in a diverse population. It can also provide guidelines for researchers currently working in this area.
An interdisciplinary team from Policy Analysis and Management, Government, and Sociology studied the level and extent to which incarceration affects families in the US. In addition to producing the first estimates of family-level contact with prisons and jails (at the national level, state level, and by demographic group), this research considered criminal justice contact beyond incarceration, current as well as historical family incarceration, and types or levels of family incarceration. Findings include the staggering revelation that nearly half of all people living in the United States have experienced incarceration in their family. One in seven adults has had a close family member spend more than one year in jail or prison—over 35 million people. This data, broken down by race, gender, and family income, provide policymakers, service providers, employers, and researchers with a much more nuanced and detailed understanding of how incarceration impacts American society.
Social Media TestDrive is an interactive educational platform created by researchers in Cornell's Social Media Lab in collaboration with Common Sense Education and with input from educators in Cornell’s Cooperative Extension and 4-H. TestDrive is an educational program that enables young people to learn and practice digital citizenship skills through a social media simulation. Like a driving simulator for young people learning to drive a car for the first time, TestDrive provides a simulated experience of realistic digital dilemmas and scenarios that young people may encounter as they enter the social media world. Each module is designed to teach a specific social media skill, such as managing privacy settings, smart self-presentation, upstanding to cyberbullying, and news literacy. TestDrive looks and feels like a real social media site, but all the content on the site has been created for instructional purposes. Young people interact with the content through instructions that lead them to build new knowledge and skills, allowing them to practice critical social media skills without worrying about negative consequences. The TestDrive platform is now publicly available to kids, parents, and educators--with 40,000 users worldwide so far--and offers an important tool to teach youth to become prosocial, productive members of the digital world.
An interdisciplinary team led by a Cornell historian with collaborators from universities in five states is building an ever-expanding digitized database of fugitives from American slavery. Freedom on the Move (FOTM) is an effort to collect, transcribe, and analyze all of the existing advertisements placed by North American enslavers attempting to coerce and capture self-liberating African and African American people. Taken collectively, these runaway ads, with their details of individual lives and agency, constitute a rare source of information about the experiences and resistance of enslaved people that does not appear elsewhere in the historical record. The free, open-source site has been designed so users can transcribe the text of an advertisement, contributing to the trove of information available for scholars, genealogists, and historians. Edward Baptist, the Lead PI on the project, notes that many will see in the surveillance of Africans and African Americans, including the pursuit of runaways, the historical roots of today’s policing of African Americans. In the modern era, both professional and volunteer attempts to police Black movements seem to continue the long tradition of stopping, questioning, reporting, disciplining, and seizing Africans and African Americans—actions for which ordinary white citizens were rewarded for doing under slavery, from the 1600s to 1865.