Congratulations to our 2023 Summer Fellows!

Mir Usman Ali

Organizational Antecedents of Under-reporting of Legal Intervention Deaths

Recent studies have observed that the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS), the US government system responsible for collating and standardizing death certificate data, tends to underreport deaths due police-involved violence, especially deaths that occur due to the use of ‘less-than-lethal’ force (GBD 2019 Police Violence US Subnational Collaborators, 2021).  Scholars have recommended using data from open-sourced databases as a standard to assess whether deaths resulting from such violence are accurately classified in the NVSS(Conner et al., 2019).

In this study, I propose to focus on ‘less than lethal’ police violence to (1) assess the extent of underreporting of police-involved deaths, and (2) tease out the organizational antecedents (e.g., funding, quality and quantity of human resources, use of information technology) of coroner and medical examiner (CME) offices that are associated with such underreporting.

This study will help identification of weaknesses of the population of CME offices in the nation, and therefore the policies that are needed to support the above offices. Addressal of the weaknesses of CME offices will also help in promoting a complete accounting of police involved deaths in the US, which official statistics currently underreport.

Pamela R. Bennett

Black Immigrants’ Use of an African American Strategy of Mobility Through Higher Education

Although contemporary immigrants may follow historical patterns of immigrant incorporation into “the American mainstream,” traditionally defined as the white middle class, segmented assimilation theory cautions that alternative destinations are possible. According to that perspective, contemporary immigrants must contend with unfavorable structural changes in the labor market, racialization as non-whites in the U.S., and residential proximity to low-income minority communities, all of which makes them vulnerable to downward assimilation or remaining tied to ethnic enclaves in contrast to past waves of European immigrants. Other scholars envision a fourth destination—the middle class of minority groups, were contemporary immigrants to adopt a “minority culture of mobility.” This perspective has received relatively little attention. Critics charge that it lacks both empirical support and relevance to immigrants that segmented assimilation theory is concerned with— those facing structural disadvantages.

My research addresses this debate by (1) offering a complement to the “minority culture of mobility” concept that is directly relevant to immigrants facing disadvantages (a “minority strategies for mobility”) and (2) empirically evaluating the concept. I conceptualize historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) as an institutional component of an African American culture of mobility and their use for degree attainment (i.e., entry into the middle class) as an African- American strategy for mobility. I then investigate whether and why a contemporary immigrant group, black immigrants, utilizes HBCUs as pathways into the middle class, as so many African Americans have done. This research relies on existing quantitative data sets and qualitative data to be collected in order to make contributions to literatures on immigrant incorporation and social mobility.

Christine Mair

Cross-National “Kinlessness” at the End-of-Life: Developing Concepts, Measurement, Support, and Policy to Address the Growing Global Population of Unpartnered and Childless Older Adults

Due to declining fertility and marriage, the population of older adults who are without a partner and a child (referred to as “kinless”) is anticipated to increase substantially, yet this population remains largely understudied from a cross-national perspective. Therefore, generating conceptual and empirical scholarship on this topic is urgent. Although the demographic transition to a substantially large aging population is well-documented, the simultaneous increase in “kinless” older adults is still severely understudied. It is estimated that “kinless” will compose up to 20% of the aging population in some countries by 2050. Yet, scientific conceptualization and measurement on this topic cross-nationally are in the early stages and there exists very little published empirical work about how this growing population will face health risks and place strains on governments, extended family, and friends. Previous work on this topic is limited to a single country (e.g., United States), a small number of countries (e.g., United States, England, and China), or countries within a single region (e.g., European Union). Only very recently have datasets been collected, finalized, and incorporated into a database (Gateway to Global Aging) that captures a range of global regions. Currently, the database includes United States, Mexico, England, 20 countries in the EU, China, Korea, India, Costa Rica, and most recently—Malaysia.  Although not designed to study “kinlessness,” these harmonized cross-national datasets offer a rich starting point for documenting the needs of this vulnerable population. In this project, I propose to continue my 2019 START post-sabbatical strategy that was heavily disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Specifically, I propose to travel internationally to visit with my East Asian colleagues via two prestigious conferences in the Pacific to solidify my international team of collaborative scholars, present my work on this topic, and deliver manuscripts and an R01 grant proposal on the topic of “kinlessness” and aging cross-nationally.

Funds for this fellowship are provided by the Center for Social Science Scholarship and the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CAHSS). 

Prior awardees include Marina Adler (SAPH), Keisha Allen (EDUC), Dena Aufseeser (GES), Amy Bhatt (GWST), William Blake (POLI), Bambi Chapin (SAPH), Christy Chapin (HIST), Sarah Chard (SAPH), Dennis Coates (ECON), Jeffrey Davis (POLI), Amy Froide (HIST), Tim Gindling (ECON), Irina Golubeva (MLLI), David Greenberg (ECON), Brian Grodsky (POLI), Loren Henderson (SAPH), Andrea Kalfoglou (SAPH), Tasneem Khambaty (PSYC), Douglas Lamdin (ECON), Jiyoon Lee (EDUC), Tania Lizarazo (MLLI), Camee Maddox-Wingfield (SAPH), Christine Mair (SAPH), Marvin Mandell (PUBL), Susan McDonough (HIST), Zoe McLaren (PUBL), Nancy Miller (PUBL), Sara Poggio (MLLI), Bob Rubinstein (SAPH), Dena T. Smith (SAPH), Nianshen Song (HIST), Eric Stokan (POLI), Fernando Tormos-Aponte (PUBL), Christelle Viauroux (ECON), and Noor Zaidi (HIST).