Society and Culture

Grant Awarded for Ongoing Muslim Women and Media Project

Suad Joseph, Distinguished Research Professor of Anthropology and Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, is among a cohort of three interdisciplinary teams awarded $45,000 each from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) to advance public understanding of global religions. The new award builds on an ongoing UC Davis project on Muslim women and the media, as well as a New York Times media project, both led by Joseph. “Decolonizing the Representation of Muslim Women in the Media: Training Next Generation Journalists” is an extension of Joseph's 25 years as general editor of "Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures."

Podcast Features Clifford Saron on Neuroscience of Meditation

People have practiced various forms of meditation for thousands of years, usually in a religious context.  But only recently has meditation been the subject of scientific study. In the latest episode of The Backdrop podcast, Clifford Saron, a neuroscientist at the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain who directs the Shamatha Project meditation study, discusses how mindfulness can affect our physical, mental and emotional health.

Asiatic Society Honors UC Davis India Scholar

Sudipta Sen, a professor of history and Middle East/South Asian studies, was recently awarded a Sir Williams Jones Memorial Medal from the Asiatic Society of India for his influential work on the history of South Asia. Sen is a historian of the late Mughal and early British India and the British Empire, and of the environment. 

Native American Studies Professor Wins Carnegie Fellowship

Beth Rose Middleton Manning recalls being elated watching the Eklutna River in Alaska flowing freely after a dam was removed. The UC Davis Department of Native American studies professor had a similar feeling upon learning she received a 2022 Andrew Carnegie Fellowship for her research on dam removal and land restoration. She is one of 28 scholars, journalists and authors awarded the fellowship, which carries a $200,000 stipend.

How a South African Community’s Request for Its Genetic Data Raises Questions About Ethical and Equitable Research

For the past decade, genetic researchers from the Henn Lab have worked among the Khoe-San and self-identified “Coloured” communities in South Africa, requesting DNA and generating genetic data to help unravel the history and prehistory of southern Africans and their relationship to populations around the world. However, the researchers have been unable to fulfill a common request: providing them their individual genetic ancestry results. What they found is that there is no easy answer.

Critic Maya Phillips to Give Talk on Stories of Alternate Realities

The multiverse, long a topic of science fiction and fantasy, seems to be popping up in narratives everywhere, notes Maya Phillips, cultural critic for The New York Times. Phillips will explore “Storytelling in the Multiverse of Madness” in a talk on May 5 at 4:10 p.m. at the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at UC Davis — one day before “Dr. Strange” opens in theaters nationwide.

Research Review Shows Self-Esteem Has Long-Term Benefits

In recent years, self-esteem has fallen out of favor in the scientific literature and in the popular media as an important factor for life outcomes. But a new large research review conducted by psychologists at UC Davis and the University of Bern suggests that high self-esteem can have a positive influence in many areas of people’s lives. 

A Tree Reborn, a Commitment Renewed

A 40-foot-tall buckeye — among the first trees to be planted in the UC Davis Arboretum 85 years ago — broke apart. Juan Ávila Hernandez, a member of the Committee to Honor the Patwin and Native Americans, noticed and set in motion a replacement project culminating in a tree-planting ceremony on March 4, 2022. Three saplings will vie to be the buckeye that takes over the spot overlooking the Native American Contemplative Garden.

How the Indigenous Practice of 'Good Fire' Can Help Our Forests Thrive

In the past several years, California has endured the most extreme fires in its recorded history.

2018’s Camp Fire grew into the state’s deadliest and most destructive fire on record, devastating the towns of Paradise and Concow. Last year the state suffered the Dixie Fire, raging for months through five Northern California counties on its way to becoming the single-largest blaze in state history.