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From Sovereignty to Mortality: Tenth Decade Awards Support Research Across Disciplines

May 15, 2024

Ryan Griffiths 560px

Ryan Griffiths

Jenn M. Jackson

Jenn M. Jackson

Carol Faulkner

Carol Faulkner

Scott Landes

Scott Landes

The Tenth Decade Project was developed 10 years ago in the lead-up to the Maxwell School’s 100th anniversary in 2024. Funded by gifts from hundreds of individual donors, including a lead gift from long-time Maxwell supporters Gerry and Daphna Cramer, the project has since awarded funds for dozens of faculty-led projects that have explored topics related to citizenship—from labor policy to free speech jurisprudence to climate change.

Below is a sampling of some of the projects across disciplines that have been supported by Tenth Decade awards in recent years.

Challenges to Sovereignty, Order and Conflict: Multidisciplinary Working Group

Directed by political science professor Ryan Griffiths, this Tenth Decade project was designed as a springboard for research on topics such as crime syndicates, global black spots, cyber terrorism, illicit trade, ethno-political violence, civil war and post-conflict reconstruction. With support from a $25,000 Tenth Decade grant, the group ran a three-year speaker series spanning the social sciences that concluded in June 2022 with a workshop on rebel governance at Syracuse University’s Minnowbook Conference Center. That workshop also yielded a special issue for the journal International Politics, to be published later this year, with articles by Griffiths as well as by political science graduate students Heidi Stallman, Falak Nur Hadi and Mansour AlMuaili.

Race, Risks, and Responses: Mapping Black Americans’ Responses to Group Threat

Political science professor Jenn Jackson led this investigation into how young Black Americans experience threats—especially policing—differently based on variations in their social location and orientation to power. The project received a $20,000 Tenth Decade grant as part of a call to support research and initiatives that confront systemic racial inequality. In the initial research, Jackson conducted 50 interviews with young Black Americans in the Chicago area, and then followed with a national survey to further generalize these findings across racial groups. The grant funded an additional 50 interviews in ten other cities, including Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore, New York City, Syracuse, Houston, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Oakland and Washington, D.C. This work has resulted in Jackson’s manuscript “Policing Blackness: The Political Stakes of Racial Trauma,” currently under publisher review.

Citizenship Across Borders: An International Conference

This project emerged in response to the global refugee crisis and backlash against immigration, and convened scholars for a conference considering the history, politics and laws of citizenship within and across borders. Directed by Carol Faulkner, professor of history and Maxwell’s senior associate dean for academic affairs, and Samim Akgönül, a professor at the University of Strasbourg and an instructor for the Syracuse Abroad Center in Strasbourg, France, where the Citizenship Across Borders conference was held in the fall of 2022. A $16,000 Tenth Decade grant supported the event. Panel topics included naturalization law; the language, literature and perceptions of citizenship; and challenges of immigration between Africa, the Middle East and Europe. Conference participants included Maxwell faculty members Seth Jolly in political science, Azra Hromadžić in anthropology, Amy Lutz in sociology, and Chris Kyle in history.

The Impact of State Laws and Policies on the Developmental Disability Mortality Disadvantage: Creating a Comprehensive Database to Allow for Multi-Level Analysis

The first goal of this two-year project, awarded a $33,420 Tenth Decade grant, was to build and share data on state-level intellectual and developmental disability (IDD) mortality patterns by demographic characteristic. The project team, led by Scott Landes, associate professor of sociology and a faculty associate of the Aging Studies Institute (ASI), completed the database in 2020. Once the database of IDD mortality patterns was in place, Landes and his collaborators, including Maxwell Professor of Sociology and ASI Director Janet Wilmoth and Katherine McDonald, associate dean of research and professor of public health in Falk College, published their first study on race-ethnic disparities in mortality among adults with and without IDD. Last year the Population Reference Bureau, a nonpartisan research organization based in Washington, D.C., released a report based on the data focusing on the impact of COVID-19. While U.S. adults with IDD are living longer, the report found, COVID-19 threatened to erase this progress.

By Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers


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