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Seminars Archive

Dr.Jacqueline Urla
Jacqueline Urla

Basque Social Movements on Trial

February 28, 2008

BASQUE SOCIAL MOVEMENTS ON TRIAL. (February 28, 2008) Dr. Jacqueline Urla is Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Massachusetts Amherst. Dr. Urla reflects on how research on language and cultural activism has changed in light of new anti terrorist strategies in the Basque Country of Spain.

In 1996, the special anti-terrorist court of Spain, the Audiencia Nacional, began a new strategy for eliminating nationalist political violence that targeted what they call the social and economic “infrastructure” of ETA. The activities she had been documenting as an ethnographer -- language revitalization and civil disobedience -- once considered quite distinct from political violence, came under suspicion and their authors have been arrested and imprisoned.

As the line between legitimate forms of dissent and political violence were blurred, she found herself confronted with new ethical challenges. She used the case of the virtually unreported trial of civic dissenters concluded in December 2007 as an example of the new climate of fear and intimidation and the questions it has posed for her as an anthropologist with long-term ties to individuals who now find themselves in prison.

Dr. Nida Bikman
Nida Bikmen

History, Memory and Identity:

Remembering the Homeland in Exile

November 2, 2007

Dr. Nida Bikmen is Assistant Professor of Psychology, Denison University. Dr. Bikmen's research explored the effects of collective memory on intergroup relations among refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina. After receiving a master’s degree in psychology from Bogazici University in her native Istanbul, Turkey, Dr. Bikmen began her doctoral studies at the Graduate Center of City University of New York. She received her degree in social psychology in 2007 and is currently an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Denison University in Ohio.

In her research, Dr. Bikmen has examined various aspects of group identities and relations using methodologies ranging from experimental manipulations to in-depth interviews and focus groups. Much of her current work investigates issues associated with immigration, ethnic and national identification, perceived disadvantage, and attitudes toward collective action.

In addition, Dr. Bikmen and Dr. Jacqueline Mosselson (SEE BELOW) co-facilitated an open discussion on conducting research with immigrant and refugee populations.

Jacqueline Mosselson

Dr. Jacqueline Mosselson is an assistant professor at the Center for International Education at The University of Massachusetts Amherst. She earned her Doctor of Philosophy in comparative education and developmental psychopathology (2002) and a Master’s of International Affairs in economic and political development (1997) from Columbia University.

Her doctoral dissertation, Roots and Routes: Re-imagining the Reactive Identities of Bosnian Adolescent Female Refugees, explored the ways adolescent refugees understand and self-identities in the context of flight and relocation and the impact of education on the refugee condition. Dr. Mosselson has worked as a consultant for the International Rescue Committee, examining health-related issues in the Republic of Georgia, psychosocial functioning among escapees from the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, and as part of an evaluation team examining Afghan refugee school programs in Pakistan. She has also worked as a consultant for Unicef in Mongolia.

Dr. Ulrich Wagner
Ulrich Wagner

Prejudice in Germany

October 9, 2007

Dr. Ulrich Wagner is Professor of Social Psychology and Director of the Center for Conflict Studies, Philipps-University Marburg, Germany. Although Germany has always been a country with immigrants, until recently, German politics had officially considered the country as “non-immigrant.”

This paper described current relations between Germans and immigrants, with a special focus on German majorities’ prejudice toward immigrant minorities in their country. Data from large scale surveys demonstrate how many processes and theories used to explain ethnic prejudice can be applied to understanding Germans’ prejudice against immigrants. In particular, data show that an increase in the immigrant population at the district level (county) corresponds with reduced prejudice, as predicted by intergroup contact theory.

Dr. M. Brinton Lykes
M. Brinton Lykes

Feminist-Infused Participatory Action Research and Universal Human Rights:

Challenges from field work in rural Guatemala and urban USA

March 26, 2007

Dr. M. Brinton Lykes, is Professor and Associate Director, Center for Human Rights and International Justice, Boston College. Dr. Lykes has collaborated with women and their families in community-based participatory action research exploring the interface of indigenous cultural beliefs and practices and those of Western psychology and in the development of programs that respond to the effects of violence in war and post-war contexts of transition and transformation.

She has worked for many years with mental health and human rights and women’s groups in Guatemala and, more recently, in South Africa and Northern Ireland.In each of these contexts she has also collaborated in the design and facilitation of training programs using participatory methodologies that draw heavily on the creative arts (drama, creative storytelling, art, etc.) and in direct service with women and child survivors of sexual and other forms of violence in war and in urban contexts in the USA.

Dr. Demis Glasford
Demis Glasford

The Struggle Within:

Responding to Ingroup Violation of Personal Values

March 2, 2007

Dr. Demis Glasford is Assistant Professor of Psychology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Dr. Glasford's research draws on cognitive dissonance theory (Festinger, 1957) and social identity theory (Tajfel, 1978) to examine intragroup dissonance, a discrepancy between one's personal values and the behavior of one's ingroup that results in psychological discomfort. Across three experiments, Dr. Glasford manipulated whether participants' ingroup violated a personal value, measured participants' emotional responses and use of dissonance-reduction strategies.

As expected, individuals experienced psychological discomfort (but not negative self-directed emotion), when an ingroup, but not an outgroup, violated a personal value. In all experiments, disidentification was used as a dissonance-reduction strategy, such that psychological discomfort mediated the tendency to disidentify when the ingroup violated the personal value. Results are discussed with respect to social identity, cognitive dissonance theory and intragroup dynamics.

Dr. Emily Erikson
Emily Erikson

Central Authority and Order

November 17, 2006

Dr. Emily Erikson is Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Massachusetts Amherst. Strong central authorities are able to effectively manage costly defection, but are unable to adequately address lesser conflicts because of limits to their ability to monitor and enforce. We argue, counter-intuitively, that these limitations build cooperation and trust among subordinates: the limitations contribute to the production of order.

Through an examination of case studies, we isolate and describe the mechanisms by which central authority produces order as they operate in varied settings. We find that central authority may be effective, but the majority of this effectiveness derives from an indirect influence on dyadic relations rather than direct intervention. We briefly explore implications for the operation of law as well as the production of generalized trust.

Dr. Erikson's research interests include economic integration, the role of eastern markets in the development of capitalism, the relationship between organizational and network structure, and network dynamics. Her research incorporates multiple methods and uses a social mechanism-based explanatory approach to social processes. Recent research includes how organizations shape the expansion of foreign trade, the indirect effects of centralized authority on community-level relations, and the role of decentralized Asian markets in 17th-century market expansion.

Her most recent publication, co-authored with Peter Bearman and published in AJS, traced the positive impact of employee malfeasance in the English East India Company on organizational growth and the construction of the first global trade network. This research was covered by UPI and Scientific American. In addition to her teaching and research activities, Professor Erikson serves as Associate Editor for Social Science History.