Our undergraduate researchers have provided a wide variety of assistance to our faculty affiliates and postdoctoral scholars, including media analyses, gathering sources on databases, and conducting, transcribing, and coding interviews, just to name a few!
Past URP Projects
2021-2022 URP Projects
"Remembering the Racial Violence of American Capitalism: The Destruction of Black Wall Street, 100 Years Later"
Rebekah Amaya, Dr. Steve Rahko
This study aims to understand how the three tenets of anti-memory are present in the remembranceefforts of the 2021 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial. It also explores how activist groups, survivors andcommunity members in Tulsa, Oklahoma combat anti-memory and the discourse that arises whenconfronted with who remembrance serves, and how it is carried out. This research draws on news articles from major news outlets as well as local papers published around the time of the Centennial Commemoration. Findings include:
- How kitsch, which Marita Sturken defines as “something that is consumed and experienced through images, memory, is thought to reside in commodities such as teddy bears, and memorials areaccompanied by gift shops.” (Sturken, 22) is present in the memorialization of the Tulsa Race Massacre
- How economic interests crowd out the centering of victims
- How the diminishment of existing ways of remembering have led to conflict in the community
Finally, this project will also explore how economic and political motivations shift attention away fromrestorative remembrance.
"Healthcare Utilization Among Unhoused People: Are unhoused individuals experiencing disadvantaged treatment in healthcare institutions?"
Maria Jaimes, Dr. Kosali Simon
This study examines if the social inequities and treatment that unhoused/homeless individuals experience carry onto the healthcare industry. This study is conducted by analyzing data sets collected by the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Surveys (NHAMCS). We create data visualizations that compare the visit characteristics to hospitals and EDs among unhoused and housed patients. Findings showed that visit characteristics among unhoused and housed patients differed in many areas. Unhoused patients were reported to have visits to the ED under a more urgent conditions compared to housed patients. However, unhoused patients had lower admittance rates to hospitals and experienced longer wait times to a first
provider contact. Efforts to reduce inequities among patient treatments should be addressed and further explored. Unhoused people continue to experience social inequities even within the healthcare industry in hospitals and EDs.
"The Portrayal of Asian Hate Crimes in Local and National Mandarin Media Sources"
Ann Kovoor, Dr. Chinbo Chong
Since 2020, with the start of the pandemic, there has been a significant rise in Anti-Asian Hate Crimes all around the US. This study examines two different Mandarin Chinese language media sources and their coverage of Asian discrimination and its after-effects during the COVID-19 pandemic. Previous scholars have mentioned and emphasized the importance of local vs. national news coverage, but these current works have not examined current coverage of anti-Asian hate crimes. Our research focuses on investigating this current event by comparing local vs. national newspaper coverage. Detecting how Anti-Asian racism and discrimination is covered in ethnic media will establish initial findings to build upon for further research.
"The Legacy and Future of Gwendolyn Brooks: How do Gwendolyn Brooks’ personal letters inform our understanding of her literature?"
Mofe Koya, Dr. Clark Barwick
Gwendolyn Brooks was one of the most influential writers of the twentieth century. In 1950, Brooks became the first African American to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize in poetry, for a volume titled Annie Allen that chronicled the life of an ordinary black girl growing up in the Bronzeville neighborhood on Chicago’s famous south side. Aside from her works of fiction, Gwendolyn Brooks wrote many personal letters during her lifetime that are now preserved in libraries all over the country. I collaborated with Dr. Barwick to analyze her numerous personal letters. Throughout our research, Dr. Barwick and I looked closely for themes in her personal life that could also be seen in her works of fiction. Our ultimate goal was to determine how Mrs. Brooks personal letters could be used to better inform her readers’ understanding of her literature.
"The Implication of the Rapid Expansion of Politically Polarized Media: Tracking the Trend of Prejudice and Civil Rights Voting Patterns"
Bella Melrose, Dr. Alberto Ortega
The questions examined in this study are two-fold: Does media bias affect Congressional voting patterns pertaining to civil rights? While, additionally considering, does media bias affect recorded feelings of explicit racial prejudice? This study assesses the progressive popularity of politically-polarized news sources – particularly, Fox News and MSNBC – between 2004 and 2008. During the years considered within this study, viewership figures of slanted news grew exponentially, implying a growing preference amongst American adults in consuming polarized media. Our study finds a significant effect of American adults’ increasing preference for slanted news on both Congressional support for civil rights legislation and American adults’ feelings of explicit racial prejudice.
"Gender/Racial Bias in Software Engineering Hiring: The Role of Diversity Demand across Job Levels"
Kemal Perdana, Dr. Koji Chavez
Previous research has established the prevalence of hiring discrimination against women and people of color, but variation in hiring discrimination across job levels has not been sufficiently studied. We develop two hypotheses based on the “glass ceiling” and “sticky floors” theories. We tested the hypotheses using data from a correspondence audit study of software engineering positions. We find strong evidence of “sticky floor” discrimination against Black men. However, sticky floors can not explain why white women are preferred when applying to senior positions. To better understand this puzzle, we conducted 60 semi-structured in-depth interviews with individuals involved in the software engineering hiring process. The qualitative analysis highlights the importance of the “demand for diversity” in counteracting bias. We draw from theories of racialized organizations to develop mechanisms that explain why women, particularly white women, benefit from the demand for diversity while Black men do not.
"Passport Photographs: A Historical Reflection and Artistic Revisitation"
Luke Swain, Dr. Vivek Vellanki
Dating as far back as 1789, the U.S. passport has constantly evolved in its function, composition, and structure. The essential goal of this project is to document the progression of the modern passport and visa as well as how this impacts immigrant communities. Through digital archival research, comparisons between U.S. American and other nations’ travel documents, and artistic workshops in the greater community, this project used a myriad of methods to engage and understand how visa documents shape migrant lives and experiences. With hopes to better understand immigrant reactions towards beaucratic assimilation in the U.S., this project facilitates a greater dialogue on the development of international travel documents and their social importance. Ultimately, this project uses the passport photograph as an artistic medium to show the rapport between the influence of the nation-state, travel restrictions, and the complexity of migrant lives.
"An Origin Story: The implications of the Page Act of 1875 on Asian American women and reproductive justice in Indiana"
Christina Yang, Dr. Ellen Wu
In 1875, Congress passed the Page Act to prohibit Chinese female prostitutes from immigrating to the US. Historians in law, Asian American studies, and gender studies have provided some answers about the cause of this event, but they have yet to explore the overlapping systems of oppressions that Asian female immigrants have faced and continue to face. Thus, I attempt to contribute to this discussion through the lens of intersectional history (Schnaffer et. al). I argue that exploring Congress’ imperialist, sexist, and classist attitudes in the 19th century can help explain the current criminalization of Asian female immigrants in Indiana.
2020-2021 URP Projects
"An Ideological and Organizational Analysis of the Black Lives Matter Movement"
Kia Heryadi, Dr. Fabio Rojas
The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement began in 2013 and reached a new peak in the summer of 2020. This project focuses on ideological and organizational differences between the BLM movement and the classical civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s. I use data collected from Twitter and documents such as statements and books from the discussion leaders of the BLM movement to illustrate these differences. I argue that the focal point of Black politics has shifted since the classical civil rights movement from the church to fields such as the arts, academia, and journalism. I also explore the unique role of women in the BLM movement compared to past social movements.
"Loving and the Spectacle of Interrace"
Mofe Koya, Clark Barwick
Dr. Clark Barwick’s chapter for Rupturing Post-Racial Fantasies will examine the landmark supreme court case Loving v. Virginia and its role in establishing and conceptualizing a fantastical post-racial America. Since Richard and Mildred Loving won their court case in 1967, their story has been retold many times. I collaborated with Dr. Barwick to analyze how the Loving story has been portrayed in the media by watching films, collecting archived newspaper articles, and reviewing photographs. Throughout our research process, Dr. Barwick and I paid close attention to how the media portrays Richard and Mildred Loving. It became evident that the characterized versions of the Lovings in each source were slightly different depending on the most pressing social issues present during the period in which they were released.
"Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic and Black Lives Matter Movement on Hiring Discrimination: A Natural Experiment"
Maria Martinez, Koji Chavez
Studies suggest that hiring is a critical site for racial and gender discrimination in job mobility. The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced a dramatic shift in the labor market. Additionally, the pandemic also arose during the height of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement which raised awareness of systemic racism in the United States. This study investigates whether the COVID-19 pandemic and/or the Black Lives Matter movement have impacted the levels of racial and gender discrimination in hiring. A previous audit study conducted serves as a point of comparison for this natural experiment. The results show that white men and black women benefited in hiring decisions pre-pandemic, while white women benefited over white men mid-pandemic. Preference for black men remained consistent between pre- and mid-pandemic. There were no significant changes in hiring found with the BLM movement. Ultimately, the study showed that even though macro level processes introduce dramatic shifts in the labor market as a whole, it still disproportionately impacts racial and gender groups.
"Adaptations and Augmentations: How Black-owned businesses in Detroit handled struggles"
Jordan Plunkett, Candace Miller
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about several challenges to small businesses, especially those owned by Black people. It has also, however, presented opportunities for adaptations. Understanding both gives us a picture of how these businesses will move forward in the future. In order to get to that point, we collected the information for businesses in certain zip codes around Detroit. I reached out via email, social media, and phone to schedule and conduct 90-minute interviews. Using the collected data, there were several ways in which the business adapted and augmented their offerings to circumvent regulations and maintain safety: by creating new space either physically, digitally, or within a new market. They made these changes in order to dodge financial and operational distress with the help of community resources that teach basic skills like running an online shop to maintain a connection with existing customers and filling out paperwork for grants and loans. Such tactics used to stay in business were employed by businesses in both “traditional” industries like food and retail and “unique” industries. Results varied, though, even across similar types of businesses.
"Composing a Sustainable, Engaging, and Inclusive Performing Arts Organization"
Paula Wilson, Dr. Alisha Jones
During the Summer of 2020, performing arts leaders were charged to implement effective diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies within their organizations. The performing arts field has a history of exclusionary practices and gatekeeping that prevents diverse representation onstage and offstage. This research explores effective and replicable changes that must be made by performing arts executives to create a sustainable, engaging, and inclusive arts organization. Interviews were conducted individually with Aubrey Bergauer, former Executive Director of the California Symphony and arts consultant; Tehvon Fowler-Chapman, Executive Director of Washington Concert Opera; Alex Poots, CEO of The Shed; and Afa Dworkin, President and Artistic Director of Sphinx. The interviews and literature review investigates effective marketing, fundraising, and programming methods within performing arts organizations. The compilation of the experience, insight, and creativity of these arts professionals will make this project an accessible and valuable resource for arts administrators, seeking to revive their organization and arts community.
2019-2020 URP Projects
"The Noble Mark: Noble M. Johnson and the Performance of Race" - Professor Cara Caddoo (History, The Media School) and Sam Bowden (History, Media majors)
"The Vampire Britannia: Monsters of the Empire in Helen Oyeyemi's White is for Witching" - Professor Maisha Wester (African American and African Diaspora Studies, American Studies) and Daun Fields (English major)
"An Imperfect Match? Gender and Racial Discrimination in Hiring Across Relative Qualification" - Professor Koji Chavez (Sociology) and Maria Martinez (Neuroscience, Philosophy majors)
"Evidence-Based Internet Treatment of Mental Health and Substance Use in a Community Sample" and "Subjective Social Status as an Indicator of Mental and Physical Health Among Black and Latinx Adults" - Professor Tennisha Riley (Psychological and Brain Sciences) and Kendall Riley (Psychology, Human Biology majors)
"John F. Matheus, Blackness, and the Harlem Renaissance Archive" - Professor Clark Barwick (Communication, Kelley School of Business) and Margaret VanSchaik (International Studies, Near Eastern Languages & Cultures majors)
Dr. Clark Barwick’s project consists of research of the life and works of Harlem Renaissance writer John F. Matheus.
During the 1920s, Matheus was a significant contributor to the so-called “New Negro” movement, publishing award-winning short fiction and plays along with essays and poems in major venues. Matheus’ work was attuned to blackness in immigration, war, and rural life, as well as diasporic blackness, with much of his writing focusing on racial struggle in Haiti, Africa, and Europe.
In his later years, Matheus became an influential scholar, committed to African American higher education and, in particular, foreign language education for African American college students.
Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society
Schuessler Institute for Social Research
1022 E. 3rd St., Room 209,
Bloomington, IN 47405
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