Society and Culture Blog Posts

Political Science Graduate Student Wins Audience Vote in Grad Slam

March 14, 2019
Nahrain Rasho, a doctoral candidate in political science who studies ethnic conflict and policies to reduce it, won People’s Choice and placed third Wednesday in the UC Davis Grad Slam. Rasho was the second College of Letters and Science finalist in two years to win the People’s Choice award in the annual research communication competition.

When International Security Alliances Fail

February 27, 2019
Two political scientists at UC Davis have been awarded a $1.37 million, three-year grant from the Department of Defense’s Minerva Research Initiative to study how countries share the burdens of security alliances like NATO.

Can Social Media Help Bridge Our Political Divide?

February 22, 2019
With the political divide growing wider and emotions running hotter, what can we do to help people to better understand each other and work together even when they don’t see eye to eye? Magdalena Wojcieszak, an associate professor of communication at UC Davis, is looking for answers.

What Gives a Word Its Meaning?

December 12, 2018
Dictionaries provide us with descriptions of word meanings, helping us to answer the question: “What does this word mean?” Adam Sennet, a professor of philosophy, seeks to answer a different question: “What gives this word or utterance meaning?”

Katia Vega: Creating the Interactive Body

November 26, 2018

Katia Vega, an assistant professor of design, is breaking ground in creating the “interactive body.” Her recent research has included bio-sensitive tattoos that give information about body chemistry, conductive makeup that allows one to turn lights on and off with the blink of an eye, and paying for purchases though microchips attached to fingernails.

“I’m interested in creating seamless technology; the goal is to make it indistinguishable from our body,” she says.

What Historians Could Teach Senators on the Judiciary Committee

November 16, 2018

by Ellen Hartigan-O’Connor and Lisa G. Materson

Hand-written notes on a teenager’s calendar. Remembered whispered confidences. Letters of support signed by wealthy acquaintances. Letters of non-support signed by wealthy lawyers. Therapist records. Rate My Professor scores. The recent Kavanaugh hearings, and the broader #MeToo movement in which it unfolded, were less a contest of he-said/she-said and more a battle over evidence.

What Makes Trauma Memories Different?

November 16, 2018
The sexual assault and child pornography conviction of former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. The child sex abuse scandal of Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky. Hundreds of priests accused of sexual misconduct that took place over many years. These and other shocking cases — in addition to shattering public confidence in once-trusted officials and the institutions that employed them — raised the question in people’s minds: How well can anyone remember events that happened years, and even decades, earlier?

How the Cyberworld Enhances and Undermines Elections

November 05, 2018

With the midterm elections just a few days away, several faculty members provided insights into how messy, self-reflective and fact-free political conversations can get online; ways art can help us understand the magnitude of social media on elections; and how easy it is to hack voter information.