Past Summer Research Grant Recipients


2017 Recipients

Terese GagnonTerese V. Gagnon

Bio and Research Proposal

Terese Gagnon is a second year PhD Student and Teaching Assistant in the Department of Anthropology. Her research is with Karen individuals from Burma in relation to plants and agriculture. Due to the 70 year long ongoing civil war between Karen armed resistance groups and the Myanmar military, hundreds of thousands of Karen people, many of them deriving their livelihood from shifting cultivation and foraging, have been displaced from their homelands. With the burning of lands due to civil war, the increased incursion of extractive industries, and the displacement of people, these human-environmental interconnections are challenged. Her ethnographic research, which traces the co-movement of Karen people and seeds/plants across the three landscapes of 1) a rural village near Hpa’an in Karen State, Burma 2) Mae Sot refugee camp in northern Thailand and 3) the third-country resettlement site of Syracuse, NY examines the ways that Karen peoples’ embodied, and sensory engagements with plants—such as cultivation, foraging and cooking—emerge or don’t emerge in each of these milieus. Utilizing methods of participant observation, she asks: when homelands are burned and the people displaced, what become the v ectors of Karen collective memory? In what ways are engagements with plants linked to memories, stories, and discourse in each of these locations? How do the distinct socio-material constraints and affordances of these spaces affect Karen plant-human relationships? How might the performance of “affective economy” and narratives of alienation and/or (re)enchantment arise differently, or be silent, in and across these places? 

Li Shao


Li Shao

Bio and Research Proposal

Li Shao is a PhD candidate in Political Science, Maxwell School. His research interests focus on public opinion and political behavior in non-democratic setting. His dissertation explores how media environment affects citizens' participation in policy-oriented collective actions in China.

Jiayi Zhang


Jiayi Zhang

Bio and Research Proposal

Jiayi Zhang was born and raised in Xuzhou, Jiangsu Province, China. He obtained his Bachelor of Education degree in Education from Yangzhou University in China. He received his MA degrees in Social Sciences from Waseda University in Japan, and in Political Science from Syracuse University. Jiayi studies international relations and comparative politics.