Questions of how best to conduct preliminary field research in order to cultivate a dissertation or thesis topic span across discipline and region—how does one establish him/herself in a community? What is the appropriate trip length? How does one identify the best information sources and develop scholarly contacts? What happens if you do not find the archive materials you were looking for?
Each year CLAS endeavors to help students answer these questions through the CLAS Tinker Field Research Grant—a travel award that supports master’s, doctoral, and professional school students from all divisions who wish to conduct pre-dissertation fieldwork in Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries of the Western Hemisphere.
In 2015 CLAS awarded 15 students from the MA program in Latin American Studies and PhD programs in Anthropology, Art History, the Biological Sciences, Comparative Human Development, Political Science, and Romance Languages and Literatures.
Two of these recipients, Mark Deming (Political Science), and Gabriel Velez (Comparative Human Development), discussed their research at the 2016 CLAS Tinker Field Research Grant Colloquium.
Mark Deming, Political Science
"Redeeming the Authoritarian Past: Rebuilding Peruvian Fujimorismo After Democratization"
Abstract: How does a weak and discredited former authoritarian ruling party regenerate after democratic transition? Peru’s Fujimorista Party faced nearly a decade of political exclusion after the collapse of the Fujimori dictatorship beneath allegations of systemic corruption in late 2000. Yet by 2011, the party had regained much of its former popularity, and it remains the strongest political party in Peru today. This project—entitled Redeeming the Authoritarian Past—focuses on the party-building efforts of Fujimorismo’s national leadership in the wake of transition as a key determinant of the party’s eventual regeneration. Beginning in 2011, Fujimorismo’s leadership assiduously worked to extend the party’s grassroots presence throughout the country, develop a network of committed youth activists, and generate greater intra-party discipline. Redeeming the Authoritarian Past examines these efforts in greater detail through a series of in-depth interviews with party leaders, activists, local scholars and opposition members.
Gabriel Velez, Comparative Human Development
"Identity Status, Political Attitudes, and Civic Engagement: Youth Civic Identity Development in Post-Conflict Peru"
Abstract: It has been just over a decade since Peru emerged from a period of violence and social turmoil and began reforms to its civic and education programs. As a result of these reforms, outwardly passionate demonstrations of civic pride and identity are prevalent amongst Peru’s adolescents—from celebrations of the day of the Peruvian potato to typical dances performed for a competition during school anniversaries. My project seeks to determine how these adolescent students—who did not live through the traumatic past—conceive of their identity as Peruvians, how they connected with civic norms, and what role the structures of the school played in this process. To answer these questions, I administered surveys with 294 15-year-old adolescents across five diverse schools in Tacna, and interviewed a subsample.
More information about the CLAS Tinker Field Research Grant, including information about past recipients and the application process, can be found here.