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THE SOCIAL SCIENCE MAGAZINE OF DUKE UNIVERSITY sPoNsored BY the soCial sCieNCe researCh iNstitute fall 2008, Volume 2, issue 2

gist F RO M T H E M I L L

changing faces, changing dynamics STUDy SHOWS THE EFFECT OF LATInO IMMIGRATIOn InTO THE SOUTH




n July 1, I succeeded John Aldrich

Duke University Photography

and Wendy Wood as the Faculty Director of the Social Science Research Institute (SSRI). Let me begin by thanking them, on behalf of the social and behavioral science community at Duke, for the many successes of SSRI. John’s initial vision and Wendy’s subsequent leadership energy were crucial to the development of SSRI during the past five years. John developed a very successful graduate-level educational program in quantitative research, the Program for Advanced Research in the Social Sciences (PARISS), and Wendy was instrumental in the development of interdisciplinary social science resources at Duke, especially the Duke Interdisciplinary Initiative in Social Psychology (DIISP). I am pleased to report that John, along with Scott de Marchi, has agreed to lead the SSRI education core (including the PARISS program) for the next three years. Wendy has agreed to continue directing the DIISP Labs for a three-year period. Their participation provides continuity in key aspects of SSRI’s mission. I look forward to working with them to further develop these core functions and SSRI more generally. Among John and Wendy’s contributions was their support of Gist from the Mill. Gist is a news magazine that provides news and features related to the social and behavioral sciences at Duke and its catalyst, SSRI. This issue covers a variety of research areas, with features on depression in teenage girls; the effect of Latino immigration on the black-white dynamic; coping with HIV/AIDS in Tanzania; and race relations in the South, during the past five decades. SSRI has joined a group of seven interdisciplinary signature University Institutes, all of which were formally designated in Duke’s 2006 strategic plan “Making a

Difference,” The seven University Institutes and their affiliated centers contribute interdisciplinary, problem-focused research and education, and generate knowledge in the service of society through initiation and facilitation of novel collaborations and programming. As one of the signature institutes at Duke, SSRI is now able to make research faculty appointments. The goal of faculty appointments is to link to and complement the work of standing faculty in the social sciences while bringing independence and additional contributions. We look forward to additional hires that will contribute to the interdisciplinary scholarship at Duke. Other initiatives that are just beginning include the call for proposals for the 2009-10 Faculty Fellows Program and the launching of this year’s program, “Medical Decision Making” (Co-conveners John Payne, Fuqua School of Business and Kevin

Weinfurt, Medical Psychiatry). We are also collaborating with the Duke Global Health Institute to promote and integrate research efforts aimed at a major 21st century health issue: obesity. I am pleased to announce several organizational changes that will enhance SSRI services to the social and behavioral science community. As of July 1, we merged several functions with our affiliated centers in order to provide more comprehensive services. The first of these functions was grants administration. The Center for Child and Family Policy (CCFP) and the Duke University Population Research Institute (DuPRI) grants office has been integrated with SSRI’s grants management operations. The resulting integration will result in a growth from two people to seven. SSRI has secured additional space at Erwin Mill, Bay C that will allow us to relocate affiliated center activities to Erwin Mill and to centralize administrative functions and personnel. We will be moving the administrative staff to this area in the late fall. We anticipate that this will not only provide for better services but will also allow us to backfill vacated space for needed affiliate and center expansion. The planning process has begun and we will be working with the affiliated centers on a space plan that will effectively allocate space and provide synergy between researchers. This re-organization signals the next phase of SSRI growth and maturation. We continue to search for ways to support the behavioral and social science community at Duke. We welcome your comments and suggestions.

S. Philip Morgan Director


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W W W. S S R I . D U K E . E D U / G I S T

FEATURES 6 Changing Faces, Changing Dynamics


10 SSRI Seminar Inspires Thorough new Look at Race in the South 12 Brooding Teen Girls


14 Coping with HIV/AIDS in Tanzania editor: Courtney P. Orning assistant editor: Claire Cusick designer: Regina Barnhill-Bordo


gist advisory Board: Karl Leif Bates Paul Dudenhefer Andrea Fereshteh Hallie Knuffman Richard Lucic Courtney P. Orning Erika Patall Ara Wilson

In EVERy ISSUE 2 In Brief 16 Profile: Faculty 17 Profile: Student 18 Ask the Social Scientist 19 Questions 20 Technology 21 The Strip Back cover Final note

cover illustration: Robert neubecker This publication is printed with soy inks on chlorine free paper containing 10% post-consumer fiber. Please recycle this magazine.

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in brief

by Andrea Fereshteh

Blooming with Culture Oil on board Collection of the Wolfsonian-Florida International University

Year of Diverse Programming Celebrates Britain’s Bloomsbury Group What do art and economics have to do with each other? What does a famous fiction writer have to say about public policy? What do authors Virginia Woolf and E.M. Forster have in common with economist John Maynard Keynes? One word: Bloomsbury. Named for the section of London where these thinkers gathered for trysts and to debate art, gender and public policy, the Bloomsbury Group developed ideas and theories in the early 20th century that had a lasting influence on society. This year Bloomsbury comes to Duke. “The issues that Bloomsbury addressed are eternal and have become increasingly significant for people who think about how they should spend their lives,” said Craufurd Goodwin, James B. Duke Professor of Economics. Goodwin, who teaches a course on the Bloomsbury Group in Duke’s Graduate Liberal Studies program, is the driving force behind a year-long, campus-wide series of events celebrating the group and their contributions to society. Beginning in September, Vision and Design: A Year of Bloomsbury, draws on faculty from across disciplines such as women’s studies, economics and international studies to examine issues ranging from gender and sexuality to the history of economic thought in the context of the Bloomsbury Group. The events center around the first major presentation of Bloomsbury art in American collections coming to Duke’s Nasher Museum of Art later this year. “This is a broad-ranging initiative in terms of the kinds of scholars and students it appeals to. It is a unique historical group who most scholars know about, more or less intimately, and an important group intellectually, artistically and creatively,” said Susan Roth, vice provost for interdisciplinary studies. “It’s a good model for collaboration in many ways…To bring people together with diverse set of interests in a way that celebrates an important period in time is exactly the kind of thing we want to be doing at Duke.” When Cornell University’s Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art decided to pursue an exhibition of Bloomsbury art to coincide with the 100-year anniversary of the group’s formation, Goodwin got involved. Nearly 50 pieces of the Cornell exhibition, which considers how America reacted to the art produced by the group between 1910 and the 1970s, come from Goodwin’s personal collection. Author of a book on the writings of Bloomsbury member and art critic Roger Fry, Goodwin (who earned his Ph.D. in economics from Duke in 1958) has had a lifelong interest in Bloomsbury. With support from the Provost’s Common Fund, he used the exhibition as

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Duncan Grant, British, 1885-1978, Design for “The Sheaf ” decoration for the Queen Mary, 1936

a launching point to craft a year of diverse programming around a societal phenomenon known for their radical views and influence on literature, art and economics as well as attitudes toward feminism, pacificism and sexuality. Even in today’s context, the Bloomsbury group would be considered controversial, and the fact that they embraced a diverse range of disciplines makes them appealing to students, says Goodwin. “Most students find an element of Bloomsbury interesting,” he said. Goodwin also notes that the Bloomsbury Group epitomized interdisciplinarity through their interactions with each other and contributions to art, literature and public policy. Bruce Caldwell, professor of economics and founding director of Duke’s new Center for the History of Political Economy, will join several other Duke economists in February 2009 to examine the place of noted economist and Bloomsbury member John Maynard Keynes. He says that considering thought leaders in their historical context is important for understanding current issues from a broad perspective. “From gas prices to gender and the wage gap, our discussions echo things said 100 years ago – these are not new issues,” he said. “They have been debated by intellectual people in different contexts throughout the ages.”


in brief

Wealth Mobility Another event happening this fall highlights the Bloomsbury Group’s approach to experimental thinking and living. English professor and chair of Duke’s women’s studies program Ranjana Khanna says that inherently, gender and sexuality issues raised by the group are interdisciplinary. The very nature of the field of women’s studies demands an interdisciplinary investment, she said. “It’s always necessary to look at the intersections of race, class, gender, nation and sexuality” when considering such issues, Khanna notes. This type of interdisciplinary engagement is critical for addressing current global issues and problems that will face future generations, said Roth. “I think there’s no question in everyone’s mind one of the important ways to educate students is to work in multidisciplinary teams around problems that have real world significance,” she emphasized. “The ways we produce and disseminate knowledge is changing,” Roth said. “People are eager to understand societal problems that are very complex. They realize that takes knowledge from a variety of different places to really tackle those kinds of problems.” Anne Schroder, coordinating curator for the Bloomsbury exhibition at the Nasher, says it is this type of event that showcases all Duke has to offer. “Duke is such a great brain trust,” she said, “and this is one way we can disseminate that throughout the region and the state, by making [knowledge] available and accessible. When the best of Duke all comes together around a project like this, the public can become engaged.” Learn more: Duncan Grant British, 1885–1978 Roger Fry, ca. 1915 Chalk 11 x 7 1/2 inches Private collection

Duke Researcher Lisa Keister Examines How Religion and Our Beliefs Affect Wealth by Marci Ryan Alapati

Money. It is the one thing that binds us to our daily grind.

Julie Magura, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art

Alexis de Tocqueville, a perceptive observer of American life, once said, “The love of wealth is therefore to be traced, as either a principal or ac­cessory motive, at the bottom of all that the Americans do.” There is no denying our fascination with money and wealth. Yet we don’t often take time to assess what values we have that contribute to our daily spending habits and thus accumulated savings. What are the ‘natural laws’ that facilitate wealth mobility? It is an interesting question that Duke Professor Lisa Keister has been investigating and the topic of one of her recent books, Getting Rich: America’s New Rich and How They Got That Way. Through the use of large data sets on consumer expenditures and longitudinal surveys, Keister has found that certain values facilitate mobility. Engrossed in questions of inequality and wealth, she finds the questions of how day-to-day behaviors affect upward mobility to be fascinating. Her findings on wealth mobility emphasized that adult wealth ownership is a function of behaviors and strategies learned early in life. These include: • Fertility • Timing and ordering of marriage • Educational aspirations and attainment • Job-related outcomes • Attitudes towards savings These are all questions that have been examined before, but Keister dug deeper. “Why do people end up in the positions that they do?” she asked, “How does family background, how many siblings you have, and religion affect wealth?” Her recent research delves into how religious beliefs affect wealth. Keister’s currently at work on a book, Faith and Money: How Religious Belief Contributes to Wealth and Poverty. She has found that conservative Protestants do not typically accumulate wealth despite family background and other traits. Reasons for this include low educational attainment, early fertility, large family size, and low rates of female labor force participation. Conversely, Catholics—once viewed as generally poor—are now showing trends of being upwardly mobile. Educational attainment, fertility rates dropping, and income all contribute to the systematic change.

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in brief

Former Teacher Studies Teacher Retention in Durham Public Schools by Mary-Russell Roberson

Susan Wynn wants to know why some teachers leave the teaching profession shortly after they start while others stick with it. It’s a pressing concern because almost half of teachers nationwide leave within their first five years. To explore the question, Wynn, an assistant professor of the practice in Duke’s Department of Education and the director of Duke’s Secondary Teacher Preparation Program, has been surveying new teachers in Durham Public Schools for the past four years. Wynn is a former public school teacher herself. She taught English and language arts in middle and high school for nine years. Of her own decision to leave teaching, she says, “I wanted to have a greater impact on students. I wanted to be in a position where I could work with teachers to make positive changes.” So she earned a master’s degree in school administration, and was an assistant principal and principal in Durham Public Schools. But she says her decision to leave secondary teaching was multidimensional. “The subtext was I was a single woman working three jobs,” she said. “It was hard to survive on that salary and have a car and a house.” After working as a principal for several years, she earned her doctorate in education from UNC-Chapel Hill and joined the faculty at Duke. She has been surveying first-and second-year teachers at elementary, middle and high schools. The survey, filled out by teachers on a voluntary basis, asks questions relating to their satisfaction with school climate (facilities, atmosphere, availability of equipment and resources), administration (leadership qualities of the principal and assistant principals), and mentoring programs for new teachers. Wynn analyzes the surveys with the help of Erika Patall, a graduate student in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. They have found consistent correlations between satisfaction with two of those factors (school climate and administration) and the teachers’ self-reported expectation of staying in the profession. For those who are considering leaving, salary tops the lists of complaints.

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The surveys have also provided important information about Durham Public School’s mentoring program, which was redesigned between the first and second years of the survey. In the 2004-2005 school year, the mentoring program consisted of full-time teachers who were paid a stipend to mentor new teachers in addition to a full teaching load. The following year, the program was revamped with full-time mentors who were completely relieved of their teaching duties so that they could focus solely on observing and helping new teachers. Wynn’s surveys show a statistically significant increase in satisfaction with the new mentoring program among new teachers. “Putting full-time mentors in the schools was a move in the right direction,” she said. Fred Williams, executive director of recruitment and retention for Durham Public Schools, says Wynn’s work was helpful in providing the baseline data of how new teachers viewed the old mentoring model as compared to the new one. He believes the new mentoring model is a big reason that turnover rate among first- through third-year teachers in Durham has dropped dramatically. “When we began this new program, the beginning teacher turnover rate was 28 percent,” he said. “With this model, that has gone down to 14 [or] 15 percent. That still remains a concern, but it’s close to a 50-percent drop.” Wynn’s surveys did not show a relationship between the mentoring program and teachers’ expectations that they would stay with the profession, but that doesn’t mean that the program is not effective at helping new teachers grow into their role. “It’s very possible that these teachers are more effective in the classroom,” Patall said. It’s also possible that the mentoring program does affect retention rates, but in a way that doesn’t show up in the statistical analysis. Wynn and Patall are continuing their study with a newly revised survey that will allow them to track and compare the responses of individual teachers over time. The new approach will give them the opportunity to mine the data in more ways—for example, to keep track of which teachers do leave or to correlate the teachers’ responses to student achievement. Wynn also wants to supplement the surveys by interviewing teachers in person. This spring she plans to interview new teachers to gain more insight into the factors that keep them in the schools or push them away. She believes she’ll learn more than is possible through written surveys alone. “There are more complex reasons why beginning teachers stay and why they go,” she said.


in brief

Speaking the Same Language Shared Curiosity About How People Make Decisions Leads to Unexpected Partnerships by Angela Spivey

how did Fuqua School of Business Professor Alon Brav end up pursuing a master’s degree in psychology and neuroscience? It began when some Duke faculty from very different disciplines decided to learn the same language. After neurobiologist Michael Platt came to Duke in 2000, he started talking to neuroscientist Scott Huettel. They both study the neuroscience of decision making—how the brain works when people make decisions and evaluate risk. Platt conducts most of his studies in non-human primates, while Huettel, associate professor of psychiatry and neuroscience, conducts his studies with human participants. The two decided to form a journal club on neuroeconomics—a field that combines research methods from cognitive neuroscience and experimental economics to study how and why people make the decisions they do. The club attracted researchers who specialize in psychiatry, neuroscience, and business. But before they got to work, they spent a year presenting to the group tutorials on the basics of their various fields. “We followed a methodical path toward our goal of having a really educated group of people who could speak the language of both economics and neuroscience,” said Platt, associate professor of neurobiology. More conversations and information collaborations started in 2005, when Platt, Huettel, and Jill Stowe, a business professor who has now left Duke, founded the Center for Neuroeconomic Studies. Today, the collaborations are even closer. John Payne, professor of psychology and of management and marketing, and a leader in decision making research, has worked with a graduate student in Huettel’s lab on three different projects. Dan Ariely, professor of behavioral economics, works with one of Platt’s graduate students to develop an animal model to study whether how much you’ve paid for something in the past influences how much you’re willing to pay for things now. “That question hasn’t been studied much in animals,” Platt said. And then there’s Brav, who has been sitting in on research meetings in Huettel’s lab for the last six months. This fall he begins work on the M.S. degree in hopes of applying neuroscience techniques to his research on financial decision making. He works with David Smith, a graduate student in Huettel’s lab, to design a study to offer more insight into how people make large financial decisions. Many studies in Huettel’s lab use imaging techniques to track how a person’s brain works when he plays a simple game involving two different options and small (typically $3 or $10) rewards. Brav is trying to design studies to find out if the brain acts differently when

the stakes are higher, such as in decisions about allocating savings for retirement or taking out a mortgage. Huettel predicts that such collaborations will slowly influence sociological models of decision making. For instance, economists have debated whether people really behave differently when making decisions that are risky (such as when you’re gambling and know the rules of the game and the odds of winning), than they do when the choices are ambiguous (you have no idea of the outcome or your chances of winning). A 2006 paper by Huettel and Platt, and research by others, suggests that there is a difference between these two types of decisions. “We’ll know for sure in the next couple of years, but studies suggest that the brain really does treat these types of situations very differently and there are different mechanisms involved in making the decisions,” Platt said. “That’s a concrete example in which neuroscience reinforces a model that’s out there in the economics literature.” Brav has already had an idea that may change the way Huettel’s lab analyzes fMRI data. “I had done this analysis for 10 years now and had never thought of one relatively straightforward thing that he saw almost immediately, because of his background in finance,” Huettel said. It’s a given in finance that stock markets tend to move in conjunction with each other. “Whether you’re Google or IBM, your fortunes to some extent move with what happens to the general economy,” Brav said. “The question is, do those signals that we see in the brain tend to also share some co-movement?” Some early research shows that may be the case. Brav works with Smith to take that into account when analyzing brain imaging data. Can financial minds really have an effect on neuroscience, and vice versa? Stay tuned.

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changing faces, changing


study shows The effect of Latino immigration into the South by Michele Lynn

While the Statue of Liberty welcomed generations of immigrants who settled in urban centers of the Northeast and Midwest, more recent immigrants, many of whom are Latino, are finding their way to other locations, particularly in the South. In fact, the dramatic increase in Latino immigration represents a new population in the South, one which is altering the traditional black-white dynamic of the region.

Robert Neubecker

This changing dynamic piqued the interest of Paula McClain, professor of political science at Duke and co-director of the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Gender in the Social Sciences (REGSS). McClain, who for 20 years has focused her research on racial intergroup relations, was intrigued by an observation she made while teaching the undergraduate class “Introduction to Racial and Ethnic Minorities in American Politics” soon after she arrived at Duke in 2000.

Using a series of maps depicting population distribution based on data from both the 1990 and 2000 censuses, McClain noticed emerging pockets of Latino population on the maps reflecting 2000 data in areas of the South where, in 1990, the Latino population was less than 2 percent. “Given the fact that I worked on racial intergroup relations and the difference the changing percentage of black population makes for the political resources and outcomes of Latinos as well as the other way around,

I decided that this would be the next step in the work that I have been doing…to focus on the South,” McClain said. McClain put together a research team­— primarily Duke political science graduate students—to identify sources of conflict among blacks, whites and Latinos as well as the effect Latinos are having on the politics and socioeconomic status of blacks and whites in the South. The team selected Durham as the research site for a 2003 pilot study. “We chose Durham not because it was convenient, which of course it was, but because it was a perfect fit for our research design,” said McClain. “We wanted to be able to see whether blacks at different income levels and class levels had different reactions to the increasing Latino population. “Durham, like only a few other southern locations, has had the full range of class structures: you have some incredibly wealthy blacks, stemming from the ‘Black Wall Street’, (e.g., North Carolina Mutual, Mechanics and Farmers Bank) as

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class structures sources of conflict black-white

negative stereotypes well as very concentrated black poverty,” she added. “We knew we would be able, when we surveyed, to get a representative sample of blacks from the various class strata.” The fact that North Carolina has the fastest growing Latino population in the country—with Durham the home of many of those immigrants—also made Durham an ideal location for the research. The pilot study, funded by the Ford Foundation, is named “St. Benedict the Black meets the Virgin of Guadalupe” because of an incident at a local church. In the early 1990s, when the Latino population first emerged in Durham, the majority were Catholic. Holy Cross Catholic Church, the one historically black Catholic parish in Durham, opened its doors to these newcomers and invited them to worship there. The church began a Spanish-language Mass in addition to a Mass that included historically black community and religious traditions. According to McClain, by 1995, the Latino population was continuing to grow to such an extent that the black parishioners of Holy Cross began to fear that the historically black character of Holy Cross was going to change significantly. The parish council passed a resolution that all masses would be conducted in English so that congregants would share one church and speak one language. Soon after, in the middle of a mass, the Latino parishioners walked to the altar, removed the Virgin of Guadalupe statue and walked out of the church with it. “St. Benedict the Black, one of the black Catholic icons, and the Virgin of Guadalupe, who serves a similar role for Latinos, didn’t hit it off,” said McClain. “We took this conflict in this small

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church as a metaphor for what we might in fact begin to see on a larger scale in Durham between blacks and Latinos.” And the researchers did find some rocky relations between blacks and Latinos. After reviewing historical documents, conducting interviews and surveying 500 Durham residents, they found “the prevalence of negative stereotypes of black Americans in the Latino immigrant community is quite widespread and seems especially so when compared to the prevalence of white stereotypes of blacks.” The data show that 58.9 percent of the Latino immigrants in the study reported feeling that few or almost no blacks are hard working; approximately one-third (32.5 percent) of the Latino immigrant respondents reported feeling that few or almost no blacks are easy to get along with; and slightly more than a majority (56.9 percent) of the Latino immigrant respondents reported feeling that few or almost no blacks could be trusted. According to a paper based on the data, “The results show that for the most part, Latino immigrants feel that they have more in common with whites than with blacks. Yet, whites do not reciprocate in their feelings toward Latinos. Latinos’ negative attitudes toward blacks, however, are modulated by a sense of linked fate with other Latinos…the stereotypes of blacks by Latinos are more negative than those of white respondents. Among whites, the comparable figures are: only 9.3 percent indicate that few or almost no blacks are hard working; only 8.4 percent believe that few or almost no blacks are easy to get along with; and only 9.6 percent feel that few or almost no blacks could be trusted.

Consistent with our theoretical expectations, it does appear that many Latinos hold very negative stereotypes of blacks.” Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto, now assistant professor of political science at Northwestern University, was a member of the McClain research team during her graduate studies at Duke. “Latinos don’t just show up in the U.S. with a racial tabula rasa,” she said. “They come with their own racial baggage. Latin America has the same [racial] pyramid, with black on the bottom and whites on top. There may be different manifestations of racism that are not as explicit as Jim Crowism or segregation in the South, but there is still that sense of white supremacy in Latin American society.” In 2007, with support from the Russell Sage Foundation, McClain and her research team expanded the study. They re-surveyed Durham using a sample size of 950, as compared to the 500 surveyed in 2003 and added the cities of Memphis and Little Rock, which are also high Latino immigrant receiving centers. McClain says that in Durham, Latinos are coming into a city where blacks and whites are in about equal proportion and where race relations have not been as pointed as in other Southern cities. Memphis, which has had a very tough racial history between black and whites, is a majority black city with a black mayor. There, although blacks hold elective office now and in substantial numbers, they did not come to power until the last 20 years. And while Little Rock has a significant place in the history of race relations, with the integration of Central High School in 1967, McClain said, “It is a city where blacks are still a minority of the city

emerging latino population

dynamic racial relations

in the south

“ Those wanting to group minorities into a “rainbow coalition,” assuming that all minorities are going to have similar interests, need to think again. On the flip side, you can’t generalize that minorities don’t get along. We find that the devil is in the details.” —defrancesco soto population and whose ability to gain political power has not been as significant as one would have thought given its history.” By choosing three different Southern cities, with three different histories, each of which is receiving large numbers of Latino immigrants, McClain and her team examined whether the findings they observed in Durham in 2003 still hold in Durham in 2007 and whether they see the same patterns in Little Rock and Memphis. “The intent now is to see whether or not we can generalize across Southern locations about the effect, in general, of Latino immigration into these locations,” said McClain. “Or if we will find that different city types, with different racial histories, will produce either more positive relations between blacks and Latino immigrants or more negative. And then on the other side, we are looking at how Latino immigrants will perceive themselves relative to blacks and whites in these three different locations.” While the analysis is still being done on the 2007 results, it seems clear that generalizations cannot be made for the entire South. Monique Lyle, a post-doctoral research fellow in health policy at the University of Michigan, joined the research team while a political science graduate student at Duke. She said, “One of the more

interesting things I have noticed recently in re-running the data from the new cities is that there are differences between Little Rock, Memphis and Durham.” DeFrancesco Soto finds the lack of generalizations interesting. “Inter-minority dynamics depend very much on the individual level,” she said. “Those wanting to group minorities into a “rainbow coalition,” assuming that all minorities are going to have similar interests, need to think again. On the flip side, you can’t generalize that minorities don’t get along. We find that the devil is in the details.” McClain believes that her team’s research is beneficial for a number of reasons. “First of all, the politics of the South has been structured historically for centuries as a black-white dynamic, and everything has been viewed through that lens,” she said. “We’re not saying that this lens is no longer important…what we’re seeing is that these new immigrants are viewed and view themselves through this historic black-white lens. Even though we are talking about the changing dynamics of the South, I think we shouldn’t discount the continuing power of the black-white frame as the mechanism through which these new immigrants will view themselves and will be viewed.” “The second thing,” she continued, “is

that even though this black-white dynamic is still powerful, how do we then accommodate or account for the changing dynamics in terms of Latino immigrants?” Niambi Carter, an assistant professor of political science and African American studies at Purdue, also joined the research team during her political science graduate work at Duke. “This project really represents what is the best about social science research in general and political science research in particular,” she said. “There is a lot of talk now about immigration. We are trying to look at this in a more nuanced way…and presenting information that will be useful to the broader public discourse.” Efren Perez, assistant professor of political science at Vanderbilt University who was a doctoral student in political science at Duke when he joined the McClain team, agreed. “This project gives us an understanding of an issue that often lends itself to an acrimonious approach: why do immigrants dislike other groups that are not like them and vice versa,” he said. “It’s a cacophonous debate, but I would say that a lot of the empirical evidence to support a particular view is lacking.” “Most of what we know about immigrants, especially within political science, tends to come from data sets in the Southwest or other traditional gateway cities, such as New York or Miami,” he added. “This project allows us to replicate previous research using a new setting. And as far as science is concerned, that is a good stride to take. This research is a contribution both to science and to the popular discourse on immigration.”

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SSRI Seminar Inspires Thorough

New Look at Race in the South by Scott Huler


yearlong SSRI seminar, “Understanding the Transformed and Transforming South: Perspectives on Race, Economics and Public Policy,” caused so much excitement among its participants that they are now collaborating on a book. Co-convened by William Chafe, Alice Mary Baldwin Professor of History, and Kerry Haynie, professor of political science, the seminar brought together several scholars from multiple disciplines, including economics, public policy, and psychology, African and African-American studies, and sociology during the 2007-08 academic year. Chafe called the meetings remarkable. “We had these two-and-a-half hour meetings where nobody stopped talking because they were so excited,” he said. “And we had a diversity of talent that is unparalleled.” Diverse indeed: the dozen faculty members in the seminar were about equally divided between men and women, black and white, younger and older faculty. The seminar included people like Sherman James, who’s been studying racial disparities in health care for decades, focusing on eastern North Carolina; Charles Clotfelter, who studies education and desegregation; Paula McClain, interested in race and politics and the political impact of the growing Latino population in the South; and Ralph Lawrence, an urban policy expert from the University of Kwazulu-Natal in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, who is interested in comparing racial and urban transformations in the United States and South Africa. “We had this extraordinary degree

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of expertise about the American South,” Chafe said, “and we made it our project to understand what had changed and what has remained the same. What does it mean that 30 to 40 percent of blacks are in the middle class? How much difference does it make that there has been at least substantial desegregation? What does it mean that there’s a new Latino lumpenproletariat taking on the old traditional black jobs?” The group decided not to be tempted by easy conclusions, Chafe said. “On the surface, it appears everything has changed” in the last half-century: schools are desegregated; a black middle class has emerged; black candidates routinely get elected; and black access to health care has improved. “Nonetheless,” he said, “you could argue that nothing has changed: the same elite powerful interest, mostly white, continues to control Southern life. “So we are setting out to see what is different.” Still energized by the seminar, the group will examine race in the South in a variety of ways. Chafe wants to bring the kind of oral histories that made up the successful documentary project, “Behind the Veil,” that he co-directed at the Center for Documentary Studies, together with quantitative data: statistics, maps, surveys. “We’re trying to bring together stories with statistics,” he said. On one hand, “we’re trying to get money for a brand new survey on race and politics,” he said. On the other, “we’re also asking for money to get a whole lot of people to go out and do oral histories.” When he says “we,” he refers to the seminar group as a whole, whose aim is to

write a volume comparable in scope and importance to books written half a century ago or more. Books like Gunnar Myrdal’s An American Dilemma, V.O. Key’s Southern Politics in State and Nation or John Dollard’s Caste and Class in a Southern Town. “We realized there was just a huge vacuum that needed to be filled with new studies about the American South with race as the critical hinge that will assess what has and has not changed,” Chafe said. The lack of current books on essential topics was something that the seminar participants noticed, said Sherman James, Susan B. King Professor of Public Policy Studies. “Part of the reason we’re in the mess that we’re in politically,” he said, “is because academics have not made the kind of contribution we should be making to the public discourse about what needs to happen in this country if we’re going to have an America that we all want.” Exactly, said Chafe. “We’re daring to dream big. We want to create a new classic—a classic for the early 21st century.” The group is breaking into writing groups, planning sections on politics, health care, education, income distribution, power elites, the rise of the Republican Party, and finally a case study based on Durham. “We’re going to write a book called, ‘A Whole New World?: The Transformation of Race in the Twenty-First-Century American South’ which essentially poses the question of what has changed, and what has not.” “We do indeed have big dreams,” said Kerry Haynie. “You might even say that we have outrageous ambition, which has become the Duke way of approaching new

public domain image / Wikimedia Commons

left: Drinking Fountain on County Courthouse Lawn, Halifax, North Carolina, 1938. below: SSRI Faculty Fellows Program co-conveners, William Chafe and Kerry Haynie led discussions on race, economics and public policy in the South.

Duke University Photography

initiatives. For example, rather than being an end unto itself, our ultimate goal is for the book to be the beginning of an ongoing interdisciplinary research program that will make Duke one of the best places in the world for Southern Studies.” Haynie added that their vision includes developing linkages and cooperative ventures with existing institutes, centers, and programs at Duke, like the Global Health Institute, the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender in the Social Sciences, the Center on Globalization, Governance, and Competitiveness, and the Franklin Humanities Institute. As Chafe points out, though the conversations have begun and the writing groups have been formed, the research is just starting and there are significant near-term funding hurdles that must be overcome before this new initiative can really take off. In the short-term, however, Chafe and Haynie have secured some internal funding from the Provost’s Common Fund and from the Dean of Arts and Sciences that will keep the faculty fellows group up and running for at least the next year. Both the book and the center are lofty goals, but Chafe, who hired many of his coworkers during his years as Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, likes the group he sees around him and is optimistic about their prospects for success. “We are thinking more and more ambitiously,” he said. “Given the talent we have in that seminar, and the resources we had to bring to this, we’re thinking that we can be a standard setter for research.”

2007-08 SSRI Faculty Fellows and research team for the planned volume on the South

John Aldrich (Political Science) William Chafe (History) Charles Clotfelter (Public Policy/Economics) William Darity (Public Policy/African and African American Studies) Kerry Haynie (Political Science/African and African American Studies) Sherman James (Public Policy/Sociology) Robert Korstad (Public Policy/History) Ralph Lawrence (Public Policy/Urban Policy– University of Kwazulu Natal) Adriane Lentz-Smith (History) Paula McClain (Political Science/Public Policy) Karen Shapiro (History) Laura Smart Richman (Psychology and Neuroscience) Anne Fletcher and David Sparks (research assistance)

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Brooding T ee n G irls by Dawn Stuart

Brooding teens have been a fixture in pop culture from the time of Dobie Gillis’ 50s beatnik Maynard G. Krebs, to the appearance of Claire Danes in the 90s as Angela in the realistic teen drama My So-Called Life. It turns out that in real life, teenage girls actually brood more than their male counterparts, with negative psychological consequences. A recent study found that girls are more likely to ruminate on negative events, making them more vulnerable to depression in adolescence than boys. The translational study came out of the social psychology lab of Timothy Strauman, professor and chair of psychology and neuroscience. It was part of an interdisciplinary working group sponsored by the Provost for studying ways to prevent depression, and was published in the journal Development and Psychopathology in 2006. One of the study group’s aims was to identify those potentially vulnerable to depression and devise interventions before they reach full-blown depression in adulthood. One of Strauman’s grad students came up with the idea for the teen girl study, and made it part of her dissertation. Alison Papadakis, one of Strauman’s coauthors on the study, now at Loyola College, was particularly interested in girls making

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the transition into adolescence. Boys and girls have the same rates of depression before adolescence. When adolescence hits, girls’ rates double, and boys’ stays the same. One reason for the discrepancy may be that adolescence is simply more difficult to negotiate for girls, according to Strauman. “I think one of the things we’ve learned is, it’s just harder to be a teenage girl. Biologically it’s more complex, and to some extent, it’s harder because society is in the process of changing. Psychologically, girls still kind of get caught between. It’s certainly a lot more acceptable and in some cases mandatory for girls to have the same achievement standards as boys, but they also know that they’re supposed to have some more traditional, family-related goals. And there’s all this extra baggage of body

“ Parents set higher expectations for girls, so they have more chances to feel like they’re failing. Parents expect boys to act like boys. Girls are more likely to see themselves as having to be perfect.” image and appearance. That’s something that boys have to deal with but not anywhere near the magnitude that girls do,” said Strauman. The study found that boys and girls differ not only in the kinds of standards and ideal goals they aspire to, but also in the way they react to failures and negative feedback. “Girls tend to ruminate about failure more than boys do,” said Strauman. The study data, collected from interviews with girls, found correlations for discrepancy between real vs. ideal self-image, brooding as a coping strategy, and depression. In other words, perfectionist, self-critical tendencies combined with brooding or rumination becomes a vicious circle. Rather than coming up with an action-oriented strategy, girls tend instead to interpret the negative event as a personal failure. Brooding lies not in the events themselves, Strauman explains, but in girls interpretations of them. As an example, he cites the nearly inevitable scenario of receiving a college rejection letter. “She will feel really bad when she gets a rejection letter, like anybody would. So the question is, how is she interpreting that? Is she interpreting that as, well I applied to a bunch of colleges, I’m not accepted here but I know I’m accepted at this other place. Or will she interpret it as, I’m not accepted at this college, I’m not going to get accepted to any college, I’m not going to have the kind of life I want, sort of spinning out of control. That’s what the brooding is, thinking again and again about the negative thing that happened to you and all the permutations of it. It’s sort of paralyzing. It’s not a good coping strategy because it doesn’t lead you do actually do anything,” he said.

—timothy strauman

Strauman notes that while we all feel bad about negative feedback, it alone doesn’t lead to depression. A bad grade on a test might, instead, motivate us to study harder. So why are girls less likely to use failure feedback productively? One possible reason is that they get more, so they get overwhelmed by it. Teenage girls get, or at least perceive, more negative feedback than boys, said Strauman. Another reason is that, stylistically, girls are more likely to internalize their response to failure, whereas boys are more likely to externalize it. “Ironically, boys are much more at risk for externalizing disorders. They get in trouble with the law more, they’re more likely to abuse substances. The fact is that boys don’t tend to ruminate, on average girls do more of it than boys. That means girls are going to be more vulnerable to the kinds of disorders that result from keeping something inside and blaming yourself for it,” said Strauman. So why do girls ruminate more? Strauman thinks cultural factors play a role, from parent’s subtle expectations to explicit media messages about unattainable appearance goals. “Parents set higher expectations for girls, so they have more chances to feel like they’re failing. Parents expect boys to act like boys. Girls are more likely to see themselves as having to be perfect. The more negative affect you feel, the greater the likelihood you’re going to get stuck brooding rather than saying, ok I’ve got to do something here,” he said. What can parents of a brooding teen do to help them deal with difficult events? Strauman says, just understanding how the

process works can be helpful. “The question isn’t what happened in a factual sense, the question is, how did that person interpret what happened? As a parent, you can either help them square up their interpretation with the actual event, or if they’re interpretation is accurate, you say, ok, how can I help you deal with that event?” said Strauman. Strauman says there is no point in trying to change a girl’s personal style, but that she herself can learn to intervene in the cycle. Instead of staying up all night brooding about a paper, for example, a more productive option might be to take the evening off to watch a movie or get a good night’s rest. “A really good thing to do when you’re failing at one goal is to distract yourself by doing something else,” said Strauman. “Ask yourself, what can I do right now that would at least keep me from getting into this brooding thing?” Having ideal goals for ourselves isn’t the problem, Strauman concluded. “Ideal self-guides aren’t the problem, that’s where positive feelings come from. You don’t have to attain them to feel good, you just have to see yourself as making progress toward them,” he said. “Brooding is taking negative feedback and blowing it up so it’s not just your test grade, it’s you as a person, and it’s everything about you. So it’s not like, why didn’t I do better on that test, it’s what’s wrong with me?” said Strauman. Others might blame an external factor: the teacher’s unfair, the test was too hard, etc., he says. If that’s all you did it would be maladaptive, but at that moment, it’s not such a bad coping strategy because at least you’re not beating yourself up.”

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in Tanzania by paul dudenhefer

Kathryn Whetten, an associate professor in the Sanford Institute of Public Policy and director of Duke University’s Center for Health Policy, has spent more than a decade studying in detail the lives of HIV-positive people in the United States and Africa. She has examined what it means to a particular person in a specific community to receive a diagnosis of HIV. As HIV/AIDS has become more and more a disease that afflicts the poor, the rural, and the disenfranchised, the rate at which patients adhere to their treatment regimen has declined. A survey of adherence studies published in August 2006 in the Journal of the American Medical Association states that one-fourth of HIV-positive residents of Sub-Saharan Africa do not complete their treatment regimen, and that figure may be low. As a 2008 study published in the Tanzanian Journal of Health Research demonstrated, patients may overstate the extent to which they comply with their treatment regimen. “To educated people who are part of mainstream society, it seems illogical that someone wouldn’t adhere to their antiretroviral therapy,” Whetten explained. “But if we think they act illogically, it is because we don’t understand the circumstances of their lives. Once we understand their histories and their current situations, we can better understand why conventional treatment regimens may or may not work.” Seeking to understand those histories and situations is what drives Whetten’s current research. Whetten will test that hypothesis in a study of adherence rates to antiretroviral therapy in Moshi, Tanzania. The study,

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“Coping with HIV/AIDS in Tanzania,” or CHAT, began this summer and is funded through 2012 by the National Institute of Mental Health. By collecting detailed oral histories of residents of Moshi, the study seeks to better understand the context— the psychosocial, physical, and sociodemographic circumstances—in which a diagnosis of HIV enters a person’s life. Whetten will be working on the project with Nathan Thielman, associate professor of medicine at Duke and director of the medical center’s new Global Health Residency Program. Both scholars are members of the Duke Global Health Institute, of which the Center for Health Policy is a part. CHAT will collect oral histories of 1,500 to 1,700 Moshi residents. Three groups will be interviewed: those who are HIV-positive; those who are HIV-negative; and a random sample of residents. The survey instrument is extensive, spanning nearly 40 pages, and asks sensitive, personal questions, including questions about mental health, risky sexual behaviors, spirituality, and emotional and physical trauma. The length and level of detail reflect the researchers’ belief that the more a physician or policymaker knows about a patient’s history and present

Marsha Green, Duke Global Health Institute

Coping with HIV/AIDS

circumstances, the better the chances of devising an effective treatment regimen. More broadly, the study wants to determine the interrelationships among physical and mental health, visits to doctors and clinics, and adherence to treatment. Women, the poorest of the poor, and those with less social support are expected to have lower rates of adherence, as are those who have experienced more stressful and traumatic events, those who face greater obstacles to accessing medical care, and those who have more complicated treatment regimens. Like the Global Health Institute, CHAT is an interdisciplinary effort. “There are all kinds of reasons why a patient may not take their medication—emotional, physical, spiritual, economic,” Thielman said. “It may take an epidemiologist, psychologist, and health policy expert, together, to understand a patient’s motivations and concerns and draw up a treatment regimen that makes sense for that patient.” Duke has had a presence in Moshi for more than 10 years. It now includes faculty from the departments of obstetrics and gynecology and community and family medicine, a Hart Fellow from the Sanford Institute of Public Policy, medical residents in pediatrics and infectious diseases, medical students and undergraduates. The programs at Moshi are all under the administrative umbrella of the Global Health Institute. In many ways, CHAT is an extension of a

left: Mother signing up to be part of the Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) program.; center: Testing a blood sample to determine whether the person is HIV positive or HIV negative.; right: VCT worker sorts blood samples.

study Whetten and Thielman conducted a few years ago of the HIV-positive population of the southeastern United States. A good deal of that research focused on eastern North Carolina, where 16 percent of the population lives below the poverty line and in which rates of HIV infection equal those in African countries. “There are incredible similarities between areas of the Deep South and communities in Africa,” said Whetten, who has traveled extensively in poor nations, including Tanzania. “The research questions for the deep South emerged from what I had seen in developing countries.” The research conducted in the southeastern United States offers a preview of the research that will be undertaken in Moshi. Much of it is recounted in Whetten’s 1992 book, You’re the First One I’ve Told: New Faces of HIV in the South, written with Trang Quyen Nguyen, who was a doctoral student in epidemiology at the University of North Carolina. Thielman, who graduated from the Duke Medical School in 1990, first visited Moshi in 2001, when he traveled with a colleague to assess the need there for HIV care and research. Since receiving a Fulbright award to work there for an extended period in 2003–4, he has visited Moshi two to three times a year. “We’ve seen a tremendous amount of change in the past seven years in Moshi. The HIV clinic was initially a one-room, one-day-a-week operation; now

“There are all kinds of reasons why a patient may not take their medication—emotional, physical, spiritual, economic. “It may take an epidemiologist, psychologist, and health policy expert, together, to understand a patient’s motiva tions and concerns and draw up a treatment regimen that makes sense for that patient.”

—Nathan Thielman

there is a beautiful new facility, the Child Centred Family Care Center. And whereas antiretroviral treatment used to cost around $35 a month—expensive for the typical Tanzanian—it is now available for free, thanks to initiatives such as PEPFAR and the Global Fund.” (PEPFAR is the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which was reauthorized in July of this year.) Whetten, who holds a Ph.D. in health policy and administration from UNC, has also been to Moshi several times and is there this fall. She knew she always wanted to work in poor countries. “One of my ambitions is to help communities express their needs to researchers and policymakers. How do we get the community’s voice heard? And the reverse: How

can we get policymakers and scholars to communicate better with the people they are trying to help?” The standard treatment regimen for HIV/ AIDS is three medicines in one pill, taken twice a day. Failing to take one’s medicines as directed can make the virus resistant, which raises a whole new problem. “If the initial regimen is not followed, a new and usually more complicated regimen often becomes necessary,” Thielman said. “If patients didn’t follow the simpler regimen, it is unlikely they will follow the more complicated one. That’s why it’s crucial that we understand the proximate psychosocial determinants of incomplete adherence to antiretrovirals.” When people don’t take medicine for a highly contagious and deadly disease, “it can seem so simple to government and policy officials from afar,” Whetten notes. “Suppose policymakers decide that transportation is the reason people are not getting treatment, and let’s say they decide to provide a van that will take patients to the clinic. If no one rides the van, the officials may simply blame it on some fault of the patients. What they may not know is that the van became stigmatized as the ‘AIDS van,’ or that the van came on market day. By talking to people on the ground, as we will do in CHAT, we can see things from the community’s perspective and begin to make policies that respond to actual, rather than imagined, realities.”

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facult y


Jerome P. Reiter T’92 Assistant Professor of Statistical Science by Jerry Oster

Jerome P. Reiter worries about intruders—not the lock-

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After working as an actuary and earning his Ph.D. from Harvard, Reiter returned to Duke to head up the Statistical Consulting Center.

Ph.D. from Harvard. Another of his research interests is missing data. “Pretty much every analysis, especially in the social sciences, is plagued by missing data. Researchers and practitioners often typically pick up the rug and brush the missing data under it, and analyze just the cases where there is complete information. That can cause a lot of problems. For example, if people in a sample who make large incomes decide not to tell you what their incomes are, and you compute the average income from the people who responded, your average is going to be too small. “An idea I work with is called multiple imputation for missing data. The idea is to build a statistical model that explains the data well and then impute missing values. For example, if you don’t know someone’s income, but you know where they live, and you know the value of houses in that neighborhood, you can impute the value of their income.” “Statisticians need data,” Reiter said, putting in a plug for his department’s Statistical Consulting Center, where statistics faculty and Ph.D.s offer help to faculty, students and staff on research involving statistical methods. “We’re constantly looking to be involved with social scientists, natural scientists, political scientists. We are open for business.”

Duke University Photography

picking kind, the kind that prowl public datasets in search of confidential information. “When statistical agencies release a set of microdata— data about individuals—to the public,” Reiter explained, “they are legally and ethically and practically required to protect the confidentiality of respondents: identities, income, health variables, and any other sensitive information. Employees of federal statistical agencies face jail and $250,000 fines if they release data in a way that enables identification of an individual.” Beyond the legal considerations, Reiter continued, “there are serious ramifications for the whole federal system if there are breaches of confidentiality. One of the reasons a potential survey respondent is willing to give truthful answers is his or her belief that they will be kept confidential. I’m not going to tell the truth about my income or my disease status if ill-intentioned users— let’s call them intruders—can figure out my identity from the dataset that’s been released.” “There’s more fear now with more detailed information being collected on biomedical and genetic variables. Biomarker data— something as simple as cholesterol levels or blood-pressures or as complex as whether someone has a certain disease or a certain genotype—are data an insurance company might not mind having.” A 1992 Duke graduate with a B.S. in math (“there was no statistics back then”), Reiter helps statistical agencies evaluate the risks of releasing microdata. “I come up with statistical methods that give agencies a probability that an individual will be identified, given what’s been released about them and various assumptions about what an intruder might know.” Reiter is also working to protect data through what he calls “a radical, crazy idea that’s actually catching on: releasing simulated data rather than genuine data. In its extreme form—and this hasn’t been done yet—we can build a statistical model that tries to capture the relationships in all the data and then simulate new data from that model and release that simulated data. If we do a good job in capturing the relationships between the data, then the person who analyzes the simulated data should still get similar answers. “A variant approach that’s actually being used is to simulate just the sensitive values in a dataset. The Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Participation is using simulated datasets to gauge the effectiveness of public-assistance programs. The bureau is going to use simulated values for the data on people living in group quarters—prisons, dormitories, shelters—in its American Community Survey. Agencies in Germany, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia are trying these methods out.” Reiter worked for two years as an actuary before getting his



Alvaro Jarrin Taking a Closer Look at the Emphasis on Beauty By Beverly Schieman

It’s not unusual for children to dream of growing up to be firemen, ballerinas or even cowboys. But while growing up in Ecuador, it was clear to Alvaro Jarrin that he would have a career in academics. “I was very nerdy in a way,” the doctoral student stated. “But to me there was this constant idea that the only way I was going to be able to come to the United States to study was through working very hard in school.” Jarrin cites his journey to the United States as the catalyst for his decision to study cultural anthropology. “Just coming here and trying to figure out all the cultural differences was very intense,” he said. “And that led to my interest in culture in general—why it is so powerful and what it means for people’s lives.” Jarrin has been able to focus on his three areas of interest—anthropology, women’s studies, and Latin American studies—by working closely with all three departments at Duke. Duke’s women’s studies program has already awarded Jarrin with a certificate in that area, and is funding his sixth year of graduate study. Jarrin’s interest in Brazil brought him back there after his second year of graduate school to seek out a research topic. His original intent was to focus on sexuality—possibly sex workers. His advisor recommended he keep his eyes open for a fresher topic, and it didn’t take him long to find it. “I heard about plastic surgery everywhere,” Jarrin said. “It was evident on TV, in magazines; it’s a symbol of national pride. Plastic surgeons in Brazil are recognized worldwide.” Though Americans are often considered to be overly concerned about appearances, Jarrin said Brazilians are even more so. “It’s

Alvaro Jarrin studies how far Brazilians will go to feel beautiful.

Duke University Photography

much more intense there,” he said, “I have never heard people be so worried about their looks that it would affect their whole life. They believe that if they’re ugly, they won’t be able to get a job or get ahead in life.” The focus on physical perfection results in unusually high numbers of plastic surgeries. In Brazil’s universal health care system, the government foots the bill for many of them. Jarrin was determined to get to the bottom of the situation, so he returned to Brazil to live and study during his fourth year of graduate school. At first, he was convinced the government was to blame for funding all these unnecessary plastic surgeries, and thereby promoting the beauty obsession. But as he learned more about the process, he found it wasn’t that simple. “The state didn’t know what was going on,” Jarrin said. “I realized the government was a complicated machine, where people weren’t necessarily communicating with each other. I can’t blame anyone specifically for it.” In the course of his research, Jarrin developed close friendships with many of the surgical residents at the public hospitals, and learned that the doctors often labeled the surgeries as “reconstructive” rather than elective when submitting the cases to the state. He also developed new concerns. He found that some doctors were using untested compounds in risky surgical procedures, and inexperienced residents were performing surgeries to become trained for work in the private sector. Jarrin is fascinated with Brazilians’ willingness to go to such lengths for beauty. “The lines for these procedures are so long,” he said. “People with minimal income will save up for months to have these surgeries. I want to know why these surgeries acquire so much meaning—why are these people willing to go through the risks?” For the answers, he is investigating historical precedents as well as current aspects of Brazilian culture. He said it’s partly an issue of race and class, wherein appearance denotes position in society, and partly because of the Carnival images of thin, tan, scantily clad natives that Brazil exports to the rest of the world. Jarrin hopes his research will eventually help Brazilians question the importance of the emphasis on beauty. “I think we learn what is beautiful by what society tells us is beautiful or not,” said Jarrin. “I would love if people read my work and became more critical of that concept, but it is difficult to change when it is so ingrained in them.” Jarrin fell in love with Brazil and longs to return, possibly for good. “The people are so friendly, so tolerant of others and passionate about everything,” he said. “Any excuse is good to celebrate and be positive about life. By the time I had to leave, I felt I had become Brazilian inside.”

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What issue(s) do you think matter most to Voters in this election?

as sOmeOne who stud-

ies behavioral economics and human irrationality, I have a rather pessimistic view on this question. Over the years we have found that people do not have well defined preferences: We don’t know exactly how much we love our spouses, how much we are willing to pay for coffee, and if drinking bitter liquid (beer) is pleasurable or disgusting. With such lack of certainty about our own preferences people usually look for the environment to tell us what is important and to suggest course of action. “If this product is on sale it has to be worth the money....” In the domain of politics, the problem is even more pronounced. The domain is complex and most of us understand at most a small part of the story (not to mention that the trust we have for politicians is at an all time low). Seriously, what is more important, the war in Iraq, terrorism, the stock market, the housing crisis, the oil problems, the medical crisis or the social security problem (to name but a few)? It is hard to admit but most of us have no idea how to rank the importance of these problems. So what will make some problems more important to voters this election? Sadly, much as gay marriage became an important issue in the last election, the political complaints of both parties will largely determine what we will care about most in the next election. dan ariely James B. Duke Professor of Behavioral Economics

it seems that many voters are focused on issues related to the economy and the war in Iraq, but for many of us, the quality of public education is of enormous concern. In particular, the impact of high-stakes testing on student achievement and motivation is an issue that continues to be problematic for educators, parents, and children. In addition, measures that have been legislated to close the achievement gap have had limited success. The education of our children should be an issue at the forefront of this year’s election; however, candidates have offered little in terms of vision and policy. Jan riggsbee Director, Program in Education

the pOlitical dynamic favors short-term thinking, when meeting our most profound challenges requires a longer view. To begin working on problems of global warming, unfunded entitlements, eroding national standing, increasing inequality and the other sources of national unease requires something we haven’t had for a while—strong and skillful leadership committed to investing in the future. The issue is one of time horizon. phil cook Terry Sanford Professor of Public Policy Studies

as alWays there will be a number of issues of serious consideration to American voters. number one on that list, in my opinion, is the economy. This is so for several reasons. First, the economy is in poor shape and so voters recognize it is an important national consideration. Voters also see other issues, such as the environment/global warming/oil and energy dependence as important concerns to the nation. Potentially serious concerns beyond these two include the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (and related trouble spots, Iran, Pakistan, and the like) but the immediate concern about them has lessened slightly, so unless there is a major new flareup or a new terrorist attack, this set of concerns should be less consequential. Second, everyone has direct experience with the economy on a day-to-day basis, so it is likely that many voters see the economy as an important concern to the nation AnD to themselves. Third, there are a whole host of considerations that tend to be lumped together under the label “the economy,” and so there is some economic issue for everyone. Finally, the two parties take distinct positions on the economy, and the public is also used to holding the party of the president accountable for bad economic conditions. Whether people will then vote on the economy depends upon what the candidates do about it. In 2000, Gore chose not to emphasize the Clinton-Gore record and the relatively strong economy did not work to his advantage. If Obama and McCain campaign heavily on the economy, if they take distinct positions on it, if Obama can emphasize the apparent failures of the Bush administration, and if McCain is unable to be seen as independent of the economy decisions of the last few years, then this important concern will also become an important voting issue. John aldrich Pfizer-Pratt University Professor of Political Science

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rick t ysOr Executive Director, Office of Interdisciplinary Program Management (OIPM), Duke University “interdisciplinarity” may be a buzzword to some, but not at Duke. Already embedded in the culture here, working together across disciplines “is paramount to providing the ultimate service to society.” Q: Many people think the word “interdisciplinary” is just a buzz word. How would you best explain it? a: Well, there are certainly many definitions available. To me, it describes a method, a team or an approach that includes or encompasses experts and specialists across multiple disciplines and professions working together as partners to create and apply new knowledge to address a common challenge. Most of today’s problems and challenges are extremely complex and—to borrow a term from engineering and marine science—require more of a “systems approach” to successfully address them. If we are to address those challenges on a more global scale, our leaders need to consider all aspects of a proposed solution, to include the technical, scientific, social, economic, ethical, political and cultural impacts. Often, working together to arrive at a comprehensive, integrative solution is paramount to providing the ultimate service to society. Q: Why do you think it’s important for a university, such as Duke, to promote interdisciplinarity? a: Interdisciplinarity at Duke has been formally recognized as an important initiative as far back as 1988, when Duke published a reaccreditation self-study, Crossing the Boundaries: Interdisciplinary Planning for the Nineties. Since that time interdisciplinarity is becoming, in the words of Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies Susan Roth, “more firmly embedded in the very fiber of the institution.” As Provost Peter Lange stated in an earlier article, there is a lot of intellectual excitement at the boundaries between disciplines, and if we can create a culture in which those boundaries can be explored, we can achieve intellectual leadership in some areas. By exploiting interdisciplinarity, we can build communities that are larger than departments. Duke continues to recruit and retain faculty members due in part to their opportunities for collaborative research, teaching and activities across schools, departments and programs.

Q: you began your job in February ’08 and took on a newly created position. What obstacles have you had to overcome? a: So far, there have been very few, if any obstacles at all, to overcome. Quite frankly, everyone (and I truly mean everyone) that I have had the opportunity to work with has been extremely helpful and supportive of our initiatives. I have been in the process of learning how Duke conducts business, recruiting and building a solid team, and understanding the unique missions and capabilities associated with each institute and the affiliated centers. We are now focusing our efforts and activities to develop policies and procedures that will meet the needs of the School of Medicine, the Office of the Provost, and the University. These will hopefully simplify and reduce or eliminate redundant activities and streamline the administrative operations and oversight of the UICs.

uniVersity institutes: Duke Global Health Institute Duke Institute for Brain Sciences Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute Kenan Institute for Ethics nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions Social Science Research Institute


Q: The Office of Interdisciplinary Program Management (OIPM) facilitates interdisciplinary teaching and research at Duke, with a particular focus on the seven signature university institutes and centers (UICs). What exactly are UICs? a: The University Institutes were formally designated in Duke’s 2006 strategic plan “Making a Difference,” as part of the goals to: establish inquiry-based and interdisciplinary learning as the distinctive signature of undergraduate education; increase the capacity of faculty to develop and communicate disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge; and strengthen the engagement of the university in real world issues. The seven University Institutes contribute interdisciplinary, problem-focused research and educa-

tion, and generate knowledge in the service of society through initiation and facilitation of novel collaborations and programming.

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tech nology

Wealth of resources available for research, collaboration by Dawn Stuart

for researchers, the right source of data is like a gold mine. Social science researchers at Duke have a new mining resource in the SSRI Data Services Core (DSC). “We are here to help researchers find, collect and archive data,” said Rick Hoyle, director of the DSC. “We are particularly interested in facilitating collaborative efforts, bringing together partners in research who can benefit one another.” As a unit supporting research in social and behavioral sciences across schools within the university, the DSC often recognizes opportunities for collaborative partnerships where individual researchers may not. DSC staff members offer consulting and training as well as support for data retrieval, collection and archival. In some cases, the group can also provide funds to seed research projects. Hoyle anticipates the DSC will grow as the demand for its services increases. Recently his group facilitated the data collection for a nationwide evaluation project for the Center for Child and Family Policy. The DSC provided new web-based survey software to securely collect and manage the necessary nationwide data. “We were able to provide a secure, web-based survey to collect the data at a faster rate than the researcher anticipated,” said Hoyle. Additionally, the DSC is a resource for archiving collected data. “Federal research grants require that data be archived within specific guidelines for security and accessibility,” Hoyle said. “We can help researchers meet the archival requirements, whether the nature of the data is publicly accessible or highly sensitive and restricted.” Two specialized data centers also housed at Duke offer additional resources for social science research: the Triangle Census Research Data Center (TCRDC) and the North Carolina Education Research Data Center (NCERDC). The TCRDC is one of nine sites in a network made possible through a partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau. Researchers given permission can access unpublished microdata from the bureau’s economic and demographic censuses and surveys, located primarily at major research universities. The Duke site, housed in the Department of Economics, is the only center in the southeastern U.S. In June, Time Magazine featured results of a research project entitled “Who Gentrifies Low Income Neighborhoods.” Duke-based researchers using the TCRDC partnered with teams at other universities for the project. “Studying the census data at a finer level than what is published and made public provides nuanced analysis of social and demographic issues,” said Gale Boyd, executive director, TCRDC. Researchers must get approval from the U.S. Census Bureau to use the database for each study. In addition to the census informa-

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tion, data from the National Center for Health Statistics and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality are also available through the TCRDC. Boyd’s goal is to make the databases available and accessible at Duke as much as possible within the confidentiality and security requirements. The second specialized data center, the N.C. Education Research Data Center (NCERDC), is housed in Duke’s Center for Child and Family Policy (CCFP) and offers access to data collected by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) and other agencies such as the National Center for Education Statistics. “We have established and maintained a relationship of mutual benefit with the state Department of Public Instruction,” said Clara Muschkin, director of the North Carolina Education Research Data Center (NCERDC) “As a result, we are one of only two or three states where researchers have access to longitudinal student and teacher information.” NCDPI annually collects data on its 117 districts, 2,300 schools, 1.3 million students and 100,000 teachers. Access to these files at the NCERDC facilitates much research that could not otherwise be undertaken, according to Muschkin. All research is conducted in strict compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. “Access to the state’s statistical resources provides our researchers a comprehensive look at the lives of teachers and students in North Carolina,” she said. “In return, we can provide insight on a broad set of educational outcomes and their policy implications for schools and districts across the state and at all levels. “We are a conduit for connecting researchers with each other and with state and local policy makers,” Muschkin said.

For More info on the data centers at Duke , go to: SSRI Data Services Core: Triangle Census Research Data Center: North Carolina Education Research Data Center:

Social Science @ Duke Social Science Departments

University Institutes and Centers (UICs)

African & African American Studies

Duke Global Health Institute

Cultural Anthropology

Duke Institute for Brain Sciences

Economics www.

Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy

Program in Education

John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute


The Kenan Institute for Ethics

Political Science

Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

Psychology & Neuroscience

Social Science Research Institute

Public Policy Sociology Program in Women’s Studies w w w. s s r i . d u k e . e d u


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ssri eXpands grant suppOrt serVices By SyLVIA PFEIFFEnBE RGE R

sOcial and BehaViOral scientists often run into unexpected obstacles when it comes to applying for and administering their grants, especially when doing global and interdisciplinary research. How do they figure out the logistics of sharing grant money with research partners in another department, or at a university in another country? How does one fund research through the Chilean government, or pay interviewees in a Jordanian refugee camp? “We know how to do that,” said Anne Pippen, Grants and Contracts Manager at SSRI. Pippen, who has more than 20 years experience at Duke, leads a team who specialize in grant support to faculty working across institutional, national and international boundaries. SSRI, an initiative of the Provost’s office, provides grant support services that cover every aspect of the pre-and post-award process, from applications and budgeting through administration of the grant and renewals. Anyone conducting social and behavioral science research can come to SSRI for support, and their grants can

come from any and all sources, including state, federal or foreign governments, private industry, individuals and foundations. “We’re bringing other grant groups into a cooperative venture, which is moving toward making SSRI the focal point for grant activity in the social and behavioral sciences,” said Jules Heisler, SSRI’s administrative director. Besides providing staff and services, the SSRI grants office can save investigators time by helping them navigate the universitywide approval process. All SSRI’s grant specialists have Duke’s RCC (Research Cost and Compliance) certification. “We work them through the Duke system so we get all the approvals necessary,” Pippen said. “We also work really closely with the Provost’s office, so I think that’s also a benefit for the investigators. Most grant people at the university won’t have that access,” she said. “Basically, coming through us, they don’t have to deal with any of the red tape associated with either the funding agency or Duke. All the P.I. has to worry about is the science,” Pippen said.

GIST Fall 2008  

A new look at race in the South, brooding teen girls, and coping with HIV/AIDS in Tanzania.

GIST Fall 2008  

A new look at race in the South, brooding teen girls, and coping with HIV/AIDS in Tanzania.