2014 Interdisciplinary Research Grants

Rethinking the Triumph of US Internationalism: A Joint Project on Nationalism and Internationalism in Domestic Debates over America’s Role in the World


Rethinking the Triumph of US Internationalism brings together three scholars from the United States and the United Kingdom with respective backgrounds in religious studies, social history, and American diplomatic history/international relations. Responding to Clifford Geertz and Robert Westbrook’s call for “a social history of the moral imagination,” the group will translate the results of their preparatory individual and collaborative work into a joint study on the transformation of foreign policy–relevant beliefs from the New Deal through the present, focusing on four distinct yet overlapping groups in American civil society: soldiers, mainline Protestant and conservative Evangelical groups, immigrants, and foreign policy intellectuals. 

This collaborative project on the disparate visions of America’s role in the world and their transformation from World War II through the Global War on Terror  moves beyond official foreign policy ideas and national myths to probe more deeply how Americans experienced and viewed their country’s militarized globalism and how these experiences transformed their sense of national identity. Foreign policy–relevant views are anchored not only in national ideologies, but also in personal beliefs regarding relationship obligations, human nature, history/memory, and ethical commandments. These dispositions are grounded in religious and cultural practices and are expressed in private, sometimes visceral feelings of security, belonging, and duty. This interdisciplinary effort addresses these topics central to the understanding of the interconnectedness between our country’s role in the world and American democracy. 

Understanding the Causes and Consequences of Racial Inequality in Academic Grouping and Disciplinary Practices within America’s Schools


This project explores the extent, causes, and consequences of racial bias in academic grouping and disciplinary practices, something that is referred to as “second-generation discrimination.” The persistence of racial inequality across a number of arenas has interested social scientists across fields, given that few Americans admit to holding prejudicial attitudes and legislation has been designed to combat overt discrimination. Such progress has failed to eliminate substantial differences in educational outcomes for black and Latino children.

Bruch and Rocha will generate documentation of the extent to which second-generation discrimination continues to exist in American schools, and will work to understand how political and residential environments make academic grouping and racial disparities in disciplinary practices more or less likely. They will examine how black and Latino educational outcomes are affected by patterns of second-generation discrimination, drawing on data from the Office of Civil Rights, the US Census Bureau, and the Project for Representation, Equity, and Governance. 

A Holistic Model of Wellness and Care for LGBTQI People


This collaborative group proposes to create a mixed-method study, including a survey, focus groups, and case studies, to learn more about the health care experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, and intersex (LGBTQI) people. The outcome of this study will be a holistic model of health care and wellness that addresses not only medical issues, but also legal ramifications, unintended consequences, discrimination, and social stigmas faced by members of the LGBTQI community.

Most research on this community has focused on sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and mental health issues. Very little work has been done that includes issues of race/ethnicity and class. The hope is to create a transdisciplinary model that is informed by intersectionality with a focus on social justice and human rights. 

A variety of scholarly products are also anticipated from this collaboration, including journal articles, conference presentations, graphic essays, and creative nonfiction pieces. The LGBTQI health care clinic at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics will be the main site of the group's field work, but the survey will also include populations across and outside of Iowa. During the second phase of their collaboration, Nisly, Taylor, and Williams plan to put the model they design into place at the UIHC LGBTQI clinic so that it can enhance and continue to offer its high-quality holistic care, as well as become a model site for practitioners. 

Linguistic Analyses of Structured Written Emotional Expression: Revealing What Is Revealed


There is a critical need to develop and test creative, convenient, low‐cost, and easily administered interventions designed to promote the health and well‐being of family caregivers. Structured written expression (SWEE) is a highly innovative intervention that involves asking participants to write their deepest thoughts and feelings about a traumatic experience. Numerous studies have demonstrated beneficial effects of expressive writing on health and psychological outcomes, using a variety of measures and in a variety of populations. In this project, Butcher and Gordon will conduct a linguistic analysis of journal entries written by 47 caregivers of persons with Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders (ADRD). These written samples were collected during a previous study by Dr. Butcher investigating the potential for SWEE to reduce the stress of caregiving. A follow‐up analysis of the content of the written samples is proposed by using a computerized linguistic analysis program (Linguistic Inquiry Word Count) to reveal factors that may mediate the potential for health benefits to arise from written emotional expression.

The project is a unique interdisciplinary collaboration bringing together the methodological expertise of each researcher, one having in‐depthknowledge of interpretive qualitative methodological approaches and the other having in‐depth expertise in linguistics and quantitative data analysis. The primary questions are: Is the effectiveness of written emotional expression mediated by linguistic dimensions of the written samples, specifically, the use of particular word categories revealing emotional content and cognitive processing? Does the mode of written expression (handwriting vs. typing) influence the effectiveness of emotional expression? The analysis of these factors is expected to guide the development of future studies using experimental emotion disclosure combined with linguistic analyses.