The Dean’s Research Development Award

Dear CSSH Faculty,

I am pleased to announce the five inaugural recipients of the College of Social Sciences and Humanities (CSSH) Dean’s Research Development Awards. The grants are designed to support CSSH faculty members’ research and lead to proposals for more significant support from external sources. Our inaugural cohort includes Elizabeth M. Bucar, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy and Religion; Danny Faber, Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology; Kathleen Coyne Kelly, Professor, Department of English; Shelly McDonough Kimelberg, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology; and Ineke Marshall, Professor, School of Criminology and Criminal Justice and Department of Sociology and Anthropology. A committee of CSSH faculty and Dean’s Office staff reviewed all proposals. For short descriptions of the funded projects, please see below.

Please note that a second round of applications for the CSSH Dean’s Research Development Awards will be accepted until March 1, 2013. For more information on the application process, please review the call for proposals.


Uta G. Poiger
Interim Dean, College of Social Sciences and Humanities


More on the recipients:

Associate Professor Elizabeth Bucar’s seed funding will support research for her book, “The Good of Ambiguous Bodies: Transsexuality in Catholic and Shi’i Ethics,” and the final phase of data collection and translation for this project. Her research includes comparative religious ethics methodology and will draw on findings in official Vatican documents, legal opinions in Iran, evidence of the development of religious doctrines on transsexuality in newspapers, journals, and documentaries, and testimony of clerics and transsexuals from each community. The grant will also fund the translation of these data sources from Arabic, Persian, and Italian.

Professor Danny Faber, who directs the Northeastern Environmental Justice Research Collaborative, will take a “climate justice” perspective in research on the vulnerability of the poorest populations in the Pacific Island Countries and Territories where rising sea levels, the salinization of water supplies, disease, and prolonged drought are rendering such islands uninhabitable. His research ultimately seeks policy prescriptions that address these impacts. Faber has been invited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Division of the Civilian Volunteer Medical Reserve Corps to present his work at their workshop, which he hopes will generate significant non-governmental and governmental funding opportunities.

Professor Kathleen Coyne Kelly’s research project, for which she will seek National Endowment for the Humanities funding, is entitled, “Lost and Invited Ecologies”: Archival Research on Tintagel Castle, Cornwall. She is examining medieval literary texts, maps and other documents to explore places that either no longer exist or have changed dramatically, and she hopes to write a history of entanglements between the built and the natural for the projected book, “Lost and Invented Ecologies: The Medieval Natural World.” The basis for one of her chapters is Tintagel Castle on the coast of Cornwall, England and its evolving importance in the English imagination and privileged place in the landscape.

Assistant Professor Shelly McDonough Kimelberg’s research project, “Diversity in the Classroom: Measuring the Racial Preferences of Urban Parents,” seeks to answer how racially diverse parents want their child’s classroom to be. Recent research suggests that white middle- and upper-middle-class parents value racial diversity in schools, a possible factor attracting them to urban public schools rather than driving them away from these schools. To examine what parents’ ideal racially-diverse classroom actually looks like and the local contexts of these preferences, Kimelberg’s research will measure the school racial-composition preferences of a large sample of parents in two or three major U.S. cities, including Boston. She plans to submit major grant proposals to the Russell Sage Foundation and the Spencer Foundation.

Professor Ineke Marshall will conduct U.S. field work for her research project, “American Youth Delinquency and Victimization in International Context: A Multi-City, Multi-Method Test of Competing Theories.” Based on this research she will develop a grant proposal for the Law and Social Sciences Program (LSS) this summer. Her field work will tackle a workable and methodologically sound sampling plan for school-based surveys of 7th, 8th, and 9th grade students from randomly-selected classrooms in select cities. The CSSH research development grant will also benefit a small pilot study in the U.S. that will determine if computerized data collection is possible and to assess if all questions are fully understood by the students.