Page 1

The social science magazine of Duke University Sponsored by the Social Science Research Institute fall 2010, volume 4, Issue 2

gist f ro m t h e M i l l

The Center for Child and Family Policy

Celebrates 10 Years Improving the lives of children and families


issue, this edition of AS IN every GIST from the Mill provides news and features related to the social and behavioral sciences at Duke and their catalyst, the Social Science Research Institute (SSRI). This issue celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Center for Child and Family Policy (CCFP), a highly successful center that personifies Duke’s theme of “Making a Difference.” Other articles in this issue focus on social networking, the use of DNA in forensics, and the history of Soviet women’s participation in WWII combat. These studies are illustrative of the importance and breadth of ongoing work in the social sciences at Duke. SSRI is one of seven signature University Institutes, all of which were formally designated in Duke’s strategic plan. These seven institutes and their affiliated centers contribute interdisciplinary, problem-focused research and education. But each has its own character; SSRI augments the research infrastructure available to Duke social scientists faculty and students and supports interdisciplinary collaborations among social scientist and others. Specifically, our administrative, educational, and data services cores and the DIISP Labs provide key infrastructure to individual investigators and to a set of research centers affiliated with SSRI: The Center for Child and Family Policy (CCFP) featured on this issue’s cover, the Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness (CGGC), the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Gender in the Social Sciences (REGSS), the Duke Population Research Institute (DuPRI), and the Duke Network Analysis Center (DNAC). The last two centers, the population

(DuPRI) and network centers (DNAC), are new affiliates of SSRI. The population group, led by DuPRI Director, Seth Sanders, is organized around research on population health and aging, and on child health and human development. Recently, working with the sociology and the evolutionary anthropology departments, SSRI and DuPRI were able to make two tenure track appointments of scholars whose work integrates biology and population studies. The network group, led by James Moody, has plans for a world-class network science and analysis program at Duke. This center will make visible the cutting-edge network scholarship currently ongoing, but distributed and disconnected, at Duke. The center will promote interdisciplinary collaborations in network science at Duke and beyond, as well as introduce and train new researchers in network science method and theory. DNAC will serve as a connecting hub to link researchers with complementary skills, provide substantive workshops, methods training, and limited direct research support. Let me note two other current initiatives. In the spring, Scott Huettel will launch a program in social neuroscience that originated in the 2009-10 SSRI Faculty Fellows Program (Decisions and Behavior: from Society to the Brain (and back), convened by Rachel Kranton and Scott

Huettel. This program will be cosponsored by a sister institute, the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences (DIBS). Stay tuned; details are forthcoming. The second initiative focuses on survey methodology and is led by Sunshine Hillygus. Its goal is to build a community of scholars with expertise in the various aspects of survey research, including selecting samples, preparing survey instruments, and planning analyses of the data collected. The group will serve as a resource for other campus researchers and will organize research teams to address methodological and substantive issues in survey research. Specifically, I have only scratched the surface of activities of SSRI and its affiliate centers: the CCFP, featured on this issue’s cover; the CGGC; REGSS; DuPRI; and DNAC. See our website for more information and the most recent updates, or contact me if you would like to get involved in SSRI activities or those of our affiliates. Sincerely,

S. Philip Morgan Director


fa l l 2 0 1 0 , vo lu m e 4 , i ss u e 2

f ro m t h e M i l l


www. ss r i . duk e . e du / g i s t

features 6 The Center for Child and Family Policy Celebrates 10 Years 10 Finding a Balance Between Sharing and Privacy


12 DNA: Adoption Fraud, Forensics, and Pharmacogenetics 14 Duke Professor Studies Soviet Women in Combat


Editor: Courtney P. Orning Assistant Editor: Claire Cusick Designer: Regina Barnhill-Bordo


GIST Advisory Board: Karl Leif Bates Paul Dudenhefer Andrea Fereshteh Hallie Knuffman Adriane Lentz-Smith Richard Lucic Ara Wilson

The Social Science Research Institute at Duke University is a part of

in every issue 2 In Brief 16 Profile: Faculty 17 Profile: Student 18 Ask the Social Scientist 19 Questions 20 Research Back Cover Final Note

This publication is printed with vegetable-based inks on chlorine free paper containing 10% post-consumer fiber. Please recycle this magazine.

w w w. ss r i . d u k e . e d u 1


in brief

Volunteerism = Happiness? by Nancy E. Oates and Shelley Lanphe r As part of Cultural Convergence lnternational (CCI)—a branch of Duke Circle K— Michele Lanpher (back row, far right) traveled to the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica to reach out to impoverished communities. One of the primary goals of the service program was to engage the youth of the community through athletics. In recent years, the CCI members taught clinics in basketball, baseball, volleyball, and soccer.

Duke’s commitment to making a difference in the world is quite extraordinary. A culture of civic engagement has emerged among both faculty and students alike. It seems intuitive that those who volunteer their time and talents might benefit directly from this behavior. Michele Lanpher (Trinity ‘10), a DukeEngage Fellow during her junior year, conducted a study on the relationship between extended volunteer work and its benefits. The results of her project—“Positive Psychology: Do DukeEngagers experience feelings of ‘authentic’ happiness as a result of civic engagement?”—were so encouraging that she expanded the investigation into an independent study this past academic year and used her findings as the foundation for her senior thesis. For her efforts, she was awarded the Karl E. Zener Award for Outstanding Psychology Thesis. A DukeEngager herself during the summer after her sophomore year, Lanpher drew from her own experience as a volunteer. For her DukeEngage project, she initially developed an educational program for elementary school children to combat childhood obesity, and then taught the eight-week class in fitness and nutrition to students at Crispus Attucks Community Center in her hometown of York, Pennsylvania. She began her journey into volunteerism in middle school, helping a Special Olympics basketball team. At Duke, she held various leadership roles in Circle K, participated in two international service trips, and was active in Duke Red Cross. She was presented the Betsey Alden Outstanding Service Learning Award in May 2010.            2 g i s t f r o m t h e m i l l • fa l l 2 0 1 0

Lanpher wanted to stay connected to DukeEngage and was invited to serve as a Fellow for the 2008-09 year. She studied the DukeEngage program itself to examine the topic of positive effects of extended volunteerism. After a pilot study revealed significant findings, Lanpher developed an online pre-test and post-test and administered this survey to 99 DukeEngagers from Summer 2009 and a control group of 52 undergraduate students. Her study included measures of well-being, mood traits,  and demographic variables. The study built on Lanpher’s interest in positive psychology, which looks at human virtues and strengths and tries to discern what make life more fulfilling. “Without ignoring weaknesses,” she said, “positive psychology involves understanding positive human functioning and the quest for happiness.” Lanpher completed her analysis in 2010 and the results showed that extended volunteerism promotes greater levels of authentic happiness, personal growth, character strengths, life satisfaction, and frequency of inspiration. She concluded that happiness levels were not stagnant traits and that experiences such as extended volunteerism can boost levels of functioning. She also found that greater benefits are derived from immersive long term volunteering rather than sporadic acts.  Future research might examine whether high levels of well-being persist for DukeEngage volunteers. Other studies may also want to address the issue of motivational factors for participating in DukeEngage and whether there are any health related benefits to extended volunteering.


in brief

Children with Home Computers Likely to Have Lower Test Scores by Karen Kemp

Around the country and throughout the world, politicians and education activists have sought to eliminate the “digital divide” by guaranteeing universal access to home computers, and in some cases, to high-speed Internet service. According to a new study by scholars at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy, these efforts would actually widen the achievement gap in math and reading scores. Students in grades 5 through 8, particularly those from disadvantaged families, tend to post lower scores once one of these technologies arrives in their homes. Professors Jacob Vigdor and Helen Ladd analyzed responses to computer-use questions included on North Carolina’s mandated endof-grade tests (EOGs). Students reported how frequently they use a home computer for schoolwork, watch TV, or read for pleasure. The researchers examined answers from 2000 to 2005, a period when home computers and high-speed Internet access expanded dramatically. By 2005, broadband access was available in almost every zip code in North Carolina, Vigdor said. The study had several advantages over previous research that suggested similar results, Vigdor said. The sample size was large —numbering more than 150,000 individual students. The data allowed researchers to compare the same children’s reading and math scores before and after they acquired a home computer, and to compare those scores to those of peers who had a home computer by fifth grade and to test scores of students who never acquired a home computer. The negative effects on reading and math scores were “modest but significant,” they found. “We cut off the study in 2005, so we weren’t getting into the Facebook and Twitter generation,” Vigdor said. “The technology was much more primitive than that. IM (instant messaging) software was popular then, and it’s been one thing after the other since then. “Adults may think of computer technology as a productivity tool first and foremost, but the average kid doesn’t share that perception,” he said. Kids in the middle grades are mostly using computers to socialize and play games, Vigdor added, with clear gender divisions between those activities. Vigdor and Ladd concluded that home computers are put to more productive use in households where

parental monitoring is more effective. In disadvantaged households, parents are less likely to monitor children’s computer use and guide children in using computers for educational purposes. The research suggests that programs to expand home computer access would lead to even wider gaps between test scores of advantaged and disadvantaged students, Vigdor said. Several states have pursued programs to distribute computers to students. For example, Maine funded laptops for every sixth-grader, and Michigan approved a program but then did not fund it.

“Scaling the Digital Divide: Home Computer Technology and Student Achievement” was published online by the National Bureau for Economic Research. The research was funded in part by the William T. Grant Foundation.

w w w. ss r i . d u k e . e d u 3


in brief

Bhutanese Resettlement Project

The Kenan Institute for Ethics pilots a multi-site community-based research project in eastern Nepal and Durham exploring the effects of resettlement upon Bhutanese refugees. by Aimee Rodrigue z

North Carolina is one of a number of states that will take in thousands of Bhutanese refugees over the next five years as they are resettled by the U.S. government, with a significant number coming to Durham and the wider Triangle area. Around 100,000 Bhutanese refugees of Nepali descent have been stranded in refugee camps in eastern Nepal for the past 18 years, with the Bhutanese government unwilling to allow the refugees to repatriate and the Nepali government unwilling to officially accept the refugees into the country. Now, other governments around the world have decided to step in. Approximately 60-65,000 will come to the U.S., with the Triangle and Triad areas serving as two of the main resettlement locations. The Bhutanese resettlement affords an unprecedented opportunity to engage a refugee community before and after relocation and to understand how displacement affects ways of thinking and being. This summer, the Kenan Institute for Ethics piloted a community-based research project, deploying two research-service teams to Durham and Nepal to explore these issues. In Durham, Duke students partnered with two local organizations, Church World Service and World Relief, to assist incoming Bhutanese as they transition to life in Durham. In Nepal, students worked with Caritas, an NGO that manages the camp education system, to teach 9th- and 10th-grade classes a special two-period curriculum emphasizing the importance of continuing their education in camp schools and what refugee students can expect if and when they enter the American education system in the future. They

Badri Rai (Nepali interpreter), Ben Mintz Elkind, Scott Sorrell, Priyanka Sista, Greg Randolph, Neelima Navuluri, Brian Clement, Mari Armstrong-Hough, Damayanti Bhatturai (Nepali interpreter), Lou Brown

4 g i s t f r o m t h e m i l l • fa l l 2 0 1 0

courtesy of Kenan Institute for Ethics

also conducted a set of interviews with Bhutanese refugees who are planning to resettle to the United States. “We were interested in exploring the life stories of these individuals,” said Suzanne Shanahan, associate director of the Institute and director of the Institute’s Bhutanese Resettlement project. “We wanted them to tell their own story in whatever way made sense to them.” One of the Institute’s priorities moving forward is to create a publicly accessible digital archive of the interviews. “The archive will provide a research resource for people who are interested in learning more about the refugee population, but it will also serve as a way to preserve the refugees’ stories for the community itself,” Shanahan said. The project’s working group is also systematically going through the materials collected over the summer to explore the kinds of insights that can be gleaned from the refugees’ stories, both of their experience of life in the camps and during the resettlement process. “There are a number of interesting trends that are coming to light as we work through the material,” Shanahan said. For example, initial findings suggest that while resettlement is certainly an experience that’s unique to individuals, it’s very much a collective experience as well. “People in the camps describe how there’s much less collective responsibility and sense of community now that the idea of resettlement has entered. Psychologically many have already started to move on.” The Institute’s third goal is to determine whether there’s any opportunity for future research, particularly in the form of a longitudinal study comparing the experience of a resettled population in different locations. “We’re interested in determining the opportunities to more systematically examine the implications of these resettlement policies on the populations and their well being and life success over time,” Shanahan said. “We actually don’t know what makes resettled populations do well in their new communities.” The Institute hopes to participate in a broader social policy discussion that looks at the U.S. resettlement system. As Shanahan says, “It’s important to determine how do we do this, and how do we do it right.”


in brief

Report Finds New Promise

for U.S. ‘Green Jobs’ Duke team’s study of rail car industry is latest in a series examining supply chains for low-carbon technologies. by Andrea Fe reshteh Mary Lowe, Research Analyst, CGGC

Duke University Photography

after the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and President Obama urging the nation to reduce its use of fossil fuels, a new report by a Duke University research team says U.S. manufacturers could play a major role in producing the rail cars that might help coax more Americans out of their cars. The team’s report, “U.S. Manufacturing of Rail Vehicles for Intercity Passenger Rail and Urban Transit,” identifies nearly 250 U.S. manufacturing locations in 35 states that could support new rail infrastructure projects. With $8 billion of the federal stimulus bill dedicated to new high-speed rail corridors and intercity passenger rail, and Congress preparing a new surface transportation bill, “this research pinpoints considerable opportunities for job growth in manufacturing at an especially opportune time,” said Marcy Lowe, the study’s lead author. Lowe is a senior research analyst at Duke’s Center for Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness (CGGC), which has been carrying out a series of studies over the past two years of whether U.S. companies are ready to compete with China and other nations in providing the parts and labor needed for low-carbon technologies. The team’s answer, in this case and others ranging from LED lighting to hybrid trucks, is yes —but time is wasting for both the private and public sectors to make the investments needed to keep green jobs at home. “What our research has revealed is that every one of these technologies has complex supply chains that touch on many different industries,” said Gary Gereffi, professor of sociology and director of CGGC. “We need to understand the linkages across these different supply chains. That’s something missing in our discussion of job creation.” Gereffi notes that major manufacturing industries were once dominated by well-known companies that did everything from producing components to selling finished products. However, with the advent of globalization and outsourcing, big firms look increasingly to other industrial suppliers to contribute to the process. “To understand what it takes to produce a rail car or LED light, you need to knit together 10, 15, 20 different types of firms participating in different industries,” Gereffi said. Understanding how the different firms stack up and might fit together —or not —is essential to determining how competitive the U.S. might become in an industry overall.

“Value chain studies show that individual companies don’t really control destinies as they did in the past,” Gereffi said. “To be competitive, companies have to find ways to collaborate or link strategies with other companies in the same value chains. That kind of collaboration strategy is something really new in the business arena.” For an industry such as rail car production that stands to receive a sizeable government investment, supply-chain mapping is one way to look beyond generalities about green industries to understand which are most likely to produce jobs and profits for American companies while helping the environment. For its rail study, Lowe’s team contacted nearly every firm it could identify in the supply chain —177 in total. “We found a significant piece of U.S. manufacturing in almost every segment of the chain, and additional areas where U.S. manufacturers could move up the supply chain into higher value activities,” she said. This rigorous approach has begun to pique the interest of Washington policymakers who want both stimulus spending and federal energy investments to also strengthen domestic manufacturing, which has been hit hard during the recession. After studying the supply chains for energy-efficient windows, hybrid trucks and other low-carbon industries, Lowe said a green economy can indeed emerge to advance multiple U.S. goals, but it needs greater support from both public and private sources. “What it takes is consistent, long-term investments on the public side and policies that are very steady —much steadier than piecemeal tax credits and short-term investments,” she said. With the rail study now completed, the CGGC team is turning its attention to supply-chain studies of lithium ion batteries, solar panels and geothermal energy technologies. It also will examine why some U.S. clean-energy firms have decided to open facilities in China and other countries, and how to capture high-value supply chain activities such as design and engineering. “Our trading partners use public policy to stimulate demand through energy pricing and long-term incentives, and this approach works,” Lowe said. “It creates a demand trajectory that trumps all piecemeal efforts.”

w w w. ss r i . d u k e . e d u 5

6 g i s t f r o m t h e m i l l • fa l l 2 0 1 0

The Center for Child and Family Policy

Celebrates 10 Years by Nancy E. Oates

Think of children playing in the water near the top of a waterfall, said Ken Dodge, director of the Center for Child and Family Policy (CCFP). Some of the children slip and are pulled over the edge and down the falls. Most child intervention policies treat children once they’ve hit bottom, Dodge said. But the work of the CCFP concentrates on safeguarding the area at the top of the falls, preventing children from being swept away in the first place. In March, the Center for Child and Family Policy celebrated its first 10 years of early intervention efforts. Officially launched in July of 1999, the center has become one of Duke’s most productive in terms of making policy and having an impact on the community, and one of its richest when it comes to attracting grants, not only to the center for academic research but to state agencies for practical application. Provost Peter Lange attributes the center’s success in attracting funding to the quality of the research it is doing. The center’s commitment to studying the most relevant issues benefits the students, the community and the university as a whole. “The policymaking aspect is important to Duke because it ties to our broader commitment to knowledge in the service of society,” Lange said. w w w. ss r i . d u k e . e d u 7

“Students are interested in contributing to new knowledge through research but have concerns about being isolated from the communities in which they live. But the research done at the center is certainly not in any ivory tower. It’s in the schools, in health centers, in neighborhoods.” —David Rabi ne r

The beginnings

The center began as a way to make it easier for academic research to be used by practitioners and policymakers to benefit the community. In the mid-1990s, a handful of faculty members approached William Chafe, then dean of the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, about creating an interdisciplinary center that would enable their research in child development to have a broader impact on society. At the time, the Sanford Institute (it had yet to become a school) was creating a number of signature programs that would solidify Duke’s reputation as a sought-after place to study. Chafe recognized that child development was an area where Duke’s researchers could have a significant impact on matters of imperative social need. He secured the support of the administration and arranged the initial funding. He recruited Ken Dodge, who has been the center’s director ever since. Then Chafe issued a charge to the center’s faculty and staff: “Make a difference.” And they have, creating opportunities for students, pulling in grant money for social service agencies and influencing policy decisions to make permanent changes for the better. “It has done everything I hoped it could do,” Chafe said. In setting up the center, Dodge hired a

8 g i s t f r o m t h e m i l l • fa l l 2 0 1 0

librarian, to find bibliographic material of use to scholars writing grants; a publicist, to spread the word of the center’s impact; and a policy liaison, Joel Rosch, to align the work of the researchers and the needs of the practitioners. Rosch said he had to encourage practitioners and policymakers to tap the rich resource of the center’s scholars, and at the same time persuade the scholars to focus on research questions that would be most relevant to practitioners. “It was a two-way street,” he said. To get the conversation started, Dodge volunteered the center to help North Carolina’s Department of Social Services (DSS) with a new form of organizing child protective services called Multiple Response. North Carolina was one of the first states to try out the initiative, and it became clear to Dodge and Rosch that DSS did not have the means of evaluating the program’s efficacy. The center set up a system for the state to monitor the program. Eventually, the center won a contract to handle the program evaluation. Today, North Carolina’s Multiple Response is recognized as a national model, and the head of DSS travels around the country to help other states implement similar versions. In the process, the center’s scholars learned a lot about how social service agencies work,

Rosch said, and public agencies saw that the center was a good partner. “Now,” he said, “whenever state agencies are starting new programs to work with kids, we get called to help them think about it and sometimes evaluate it.” Organizing the work, creating impact

The center cultivated expertise in three main areas: education policy, adolescent problem behavior and early childhood adversity. Education policy gave birth to the N.C. Education Research Data Center, which provides large administrative data files to researchers worldwide. Adolescent problem behavior covers substance use disorders, drug dealing, and general delinquency and crime. Early childhood adversity battles child maltreatment in Durham, which at one time had a higher rate of child abuse than any other county in the state. Faculty work groups organize around topics to identify which problems to tackle first. Some of the recent issues faculty have studied include tying lead levels to academic performance, determining whether middle school should begin in sixth or seventh grade, measuring the benefit of teacher bonuses, and examining racial and ethnic achievement gaps and segregation. The center has been at the forefront of

establishing a liaison between Duke and the Durham public school system. David Rabiner, associate professor of psychology and neuroscience and the center’s associate director of program evaluation services, and Jenni Owen, the center’s director of policy initiatives, organized Duke students as consultants to principals, school board members and Durham’s new superintendent of schools. They provide research information on issues the system staff identifies as their most difficult challenges. “It’s a significant service to the schools and a great opportunity for our students to gain experience as consultants for an education professional,” Rabiner said. Dodge has involved undergraduates and graduate students in all aspects of the center’s work. Students take part in research projects, serve internships in a wide range of agencies, conduct hands-on research that results in a dissertation or article for publication, and are mentored by faculty and public officials alike. Recently, the center established a certificate program, Children in Contemporary Society. In the area of child abuse prevention, two main programs have emerged from the center’s work. The Durham Family Initiative created a countywide system of care through social service providers coordinating a network of resources, reducing child

abuse in Durham County by two-thirds since the program began in 2002. Durham Connects, launched in 2008, aims to reduce the isolation and other stresses in families with newborns that can lead to child abuse. A nurse makes a home visit to every mother a few weeks after her baby is born. If the mother appears to be struggling, the nurse refers her to an array of social services that can help. In the area of adolescent problem behavior, the center has studied ways to help students succeed in community college, searched for circumstances in schools that predict involvement in the criminal justice system, and looked at school performance and economic shocks to a community, such as a factory closing. A multisite intervention called Fast Track identifies and evaluates interventions to prevent youth violence. The center also hosts guest speakers, opening the talk to practitioners and others in the community. In 2002, the center brought together the U.S. Secretary of Education and five of the six people who had previously held that office. The panel attracted an audience of some 900 researchers and practitioners. Rosch calls the work done by the center “practice-informed research.” The research is grounded in day-to-day problems faced by public officials and others in the field

because of the dialogue the center has opened between researchers and practitioners. “They’re coming to us with their problems,” he said. “We’re in a better position to translate our research into practice that affects people’s lives.” Delving into real-world issues, Rabiner said, enables students to see that they can do interesting research and help children and families. “Students are interested in contributing to new knowledge through research but have concerns about being isolated from the communities in which they live,” he said. “But the research done at the center is certainly not in any ivory tower. It’s in the schools, in health centers, in neighborhoods.” What happens in the first few years of childhood is crucially important and can have long-term effects, said Phil Morgan, director of the Social Sciences Research Institute. “The Center for Child and Family Policy focuses on children at a key time in their development that is important for all sorts of future outcomes,” he said. “It’s cost effective to intervene early. This is where resources should be going.”

w w w. ss r i . d u k e . e d u


Finding a Balance Between

y ivac r P d n a g in Shar by Mary-Russell Robe rson

“ We love Facebo ok an but we want mor e to be able to sa y, — land on co x

1 0 g i s t f r o m t h e m i l l • fa l l 2 0 1 0

control over our da

e our stuff

ta. We want

‘This shouldn’t be

shared,’ and

be shared behind

our back.”

know that it won ’t

d we want to shar


ike most people, Landon Cox uses online social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and Flickr. He has a Facebook account and he regularly posts pictures of his two young daughters on Flickr. In fact, he said, sites like these are central to his life: “It’s the main way I communicate with other people.” Also like most people, Cox has concerns about his privacy while using these online sites. But unlike most people, he’s actually in a position to do someCox thing about it. Cox is an assistant professor in Duke’s computer science department, and he investigates ways to ensure privacy in the context of online social networks. Cox, whose expertise is experimental software systems, has a specific concern about “inadvertent oversharing.” This can happen when a naïve user does not monitor his or her privacy settings closely enough, or when a social network provider rolls out a new feature that reduces privacy for everyone. A couple of years ago, Facebook introduced a new feature that automatically broadcast users’ online purchases to their Facebook friends. This did not go over well, especially with the man who had just bought a diamond ring online as a surprise gift for his wife. Facebook eventually recalled the feature, but the privacy of users had already been violated. Online social networks want their users to share as much information as possible because the more people share, the more time everyone spends on the site, and the easier it is to sell ads. These ads are the way online social networks pay for the enormous infrastructure needed to store all the words and photographs that hundreds of millions of people post every day. The companies that provide the online social networks own the rights to all information stored in their data centers (users agree to that when they sign up). Companies use the data to target ads and to encourage more sharing. Providers are

constantly trying out new ways of exploiting users’ data; if they go too far, users protest. Via this push-and-pull process, providers and users are working out where the privacy line is. “Privacy is a really fundamental issue,” Cox said. “Most of what the online social networks are designed to do is to allow people to share information with each other. Privacy is the exact opposite: not wanting to share. I find that tension to be a really interesting thing to look at.” One solution for inadvertent oversharing would be to allow users to choose to store sensitive information somewhere else instead of the social network’s data centers. This decentralized storage would keep the sensitive data private even if the provider rolled out an unexpected feature, or if the user accidentally clicked the wrong privacy settings. Implementing this idea requires new software that can work at the intersection of online social networks, web browsers and the entity where the sensitive data is stored —all in a way that appears seamless to the user. It’s just the kind of challenge that appeals to Cox, who earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science at Duke in 1999. “It’s thinking about how software should be structured, especially in distributive settings where you have a lot of stakeholders,” he said. In 2009, Cox won a three-year, $498,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to investigate the idea with his graduate students Amre Shakimov and Dongtao Liu, and with Ramon Caceres at AT&T Labs in Florham Park, N.J., which is also funding the project. The group is exploring three different strategies, all of which use “virtual individual servers” to store sensitive information, such as the photos from that crazy party last Saturday. The location of the virtual individual server is what differs among the three strategies. The first strategy is for users to keep sensitive information on an online utility, which is a data-storing service offered by various companies, including Amazon. Cox and his colleagues have designed software that enables users to store information on

a utility in such a way that it’s viewable by people approved by you but safe from, say, potential employers in the event of a privacy breach at the online social network. Unfortunately, storing data with an online utility costs money. “The good thing is you still own your data. In the licensing agreement, utilities like Amazon make no claims on your data,” Cox said. “The downside is it costs $75 per month.” A second strategy is for users to store sensitive information on their own desktop computers. But personal computers are not always on, so Cox and his collaborators propose that users store information on several desktops —their own and backup computers belonging to very trusted friends and family members. These people would need to be folks with whom you’d feel comfortable sharing those Saturday night party pictures. You and your friends would install software that would allow your web browser to retrieve the sensitive data from your desktop or the desktop of a friend when an approved person wanted to view it. “The nice thing about this is that it’s free,” Cox said. “The downside is that you are required to find these 10 most trusted friends.” The third strategy is a hybrid of the first two. The user would store sensitive information on a personal computer. If the computer was down, the information would automatically go to a secure utility. Cox and his colleagues have prototyped the first two strategies and have found that both work well, although some wrinkles remain to be ironed out. “I think today the desktop version is most practical because it doesn’t cost people anything,” Cox said. All of the strategies are designed to integrate with existing social networking sites, not replace them. Cox expects users would continue to keep most of their data with the social networking site, and use the virtual individual servers only for a small subset of information. “We love Facebook and we want to share our stuff,” Cox said, “but we want more control over our data. We want to be able to say, ‘This shouldn’t be shared,’ and know that it won’t be shared behind our back.” w w w. ss r i . d u k e . e d u 1 1


Adoption fraud, forensics, and Pharmacogenetics by Wh itney L.J. Howell

Ask Sara Katsanis why she cares about safeguarding DNA samples and test results, and she won’t mention privacy, identity theft, or denials of health care coverage. Instead, she’ll tell you about a woman who gave up adopting a Guatemalan child after discovering the child and the individuals claiming parentage weren’t related. She’ll even tell you other couples don’t care and adopt anyway. At first glance, confronting adoption fraud—the practice where adults put unrelated children up for adoption doesn’t seem directly connected to genetics research. But for Katsanis, a genetics expert who sees the potential for abuse of DNA, it’s an easy fit. Now a research associate in the Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy (IGSP),

1 2 g i s t f r o m t h e m i l l • fa l l 2 0 10 08

Katsanis knew after completing her graduate degree that she wasn’t destined to work at the bench, investigating the minutiae of specific genes in some tucked-away lab. She was far more interested in the usefulness of DNA and protecting it from misuse. “When it comes to genetics and genetic testing, it’s important to look broadly at the

policy implications of applying science in a way that gathers and stores DNA information,” she said. “My interest is determining how to minimize the impact on the public’s civil liberties while still using the genetic information in a way that can protect vulnerable groups.” Her path to genetics policy work, however, was a bit of a winding road. In the mid-1990s, she launched her career as a DNA analyst for a forensics lab. She later moved into biotechnology to work with the mouse genotype before transitioning to the DNA Diagnostic Lab at Johns Hopkins University. At Hopkins, she conducted cystic fibrosis and other prenatal genetic tests and developed a new diagnosis-based fetal sequencing technique. By that point, Katsanis was keenly aware that the genetics industry had no broad

policy for handling DNA tests —each agency that uses the tests follows its own guidelines. Taking a role as a collaborator on genetics oversight with Hopkins’ Genetics & Public Policy Center gave her a platform to address her concerns. Today, she uses her expertise to shape public policy that hits the delicate balance between meeting society’s needs and protecting individual citizens’ rights with specific focuses on adoption fraud, forensics, and pharmacogenetics. It isn’t an easy task. In combating adoption fraud, Katsanis recommends altering DNA tests used for crime scene analysis so they pinpoint genetic markers more suited for determining kinship, such as phenotype and ancestry single nucleotide polymorphisms (a DNA sequence variation on one nucleotide). Using different markers will create a powerful tool to protect powerless children, she said, but the genetics field must first research the impact of the change. “We need to understand the ramifications on the population as a whole of using these markers in this way,” she said. “And, after analysis, what do we do with the samples? Who keeps them? Do we dispose of them? How do we protect people? We have a responsibility to make sure we’re not raising ethical issues.” Katsanis currently collaborates with the international company DNA Pro-kids to supply DNA kits to adoption agencies in Guatemala. She also works with the interdisciplinary UNC-based Carolina Women’s Center to combat sex trafficking globally. According to Donna Bickford, the center’s director, it is Katsanis’ unique blend of hard science and public policy experience that makes her invaluable to the center. “[Katsanis] is the only member of the Research on [Sex] Trafficking work group at the center who is in the hard sciences,” Bickford said. “She brings a different appreciation to our work around human trafficking. She knows how to use sci-

“ My interest is determining how to minimize the impact on the public’s civil liberties while still using the genetic information in a way that can protect vulnerable groups.”

—Sara Katsanis entific evidence to identify potential or current victims.” A database with DNA from women in the sex trade could help law enforcement if a woman is a victim of a violent crime, and the Dallas police department launched one such database in July. But, Katsanis said, law enforcement officials could use the database beyond its intended purpose if a prostitute were suspected in a crime, placing many innocent women at risk for discrimination. Katsanis sees similar pitfalls with databases of DNA from criminals. Police success in using this information to solve cold cases has prompted public officials to suggest expanding the collections to include

samples from individuals who were only arrested or convicted of misdemeanors. The implications are far reaching. “At first glance, expanding databases is a great idea, but if we devote more resources to putting more samples into the system, we have less ability to process actual case samples,” Katsanis said. “Familial searching could also be a problem. For instance, a woman is convicted of assault, and her DNA goes in the database. If her son throws a rock through a window, and the police pull DNA from the rock, they could identify the son through the mother’s DNA without her consent.” Katsanis’ work will impact the criminal justice system operates, as well as future uses for identifying information, said Lauren Dame, associate director of the IGSP Center for Genome Ethics, Law & Policy. “In criminal cases, if DNA evidence is offered in a trial and something in the way the test was conducted raises questions about accuracy, then confidence in the legal system breaks down,” she said. “Privacy regarding DNA in databases, though, is a complicated policy issue. Without fail, pressure always builds to expand the functions of these collections beyond their initial intended purpose.” A clinical application for Katsanis’ work exists in pharmacogenetics. Her interest lies in the amount of genetic evidence needed to change warning labels about drug side effects common to racial or ethnic groups. Currently, medications can warn against use by an entire ethnic group when genetic tests indicate only a sub-group is at risk. The lack of specificity can affect prescribing patterns and deny some individuals the drug’s benefit. But science alone can’t change the public policy approach to genetics, Katsanis said. “Genetics policy takes scientists, lawyers and communicators pulling together to really understand the issues,” she said. “If we do it in silos, it doesn’t work. That’s why I came to Duke.” w w w. ss r i . d u k e . e d u 1 3

Duke Professor Studies

Soviet Women in Combat by Paul Dudenhefe r

“I lost my history. So I became a historian.” That is how Anna Krylova, associate professor of modern Russian history at Duke University and author of the recently published Soviet Women in Combat: A History of Violence on the Eastern Front, sums up the series of events that led her to study history professionally. Krylova grew up in Moscow; she was in high school when Mikhail Gorbachev initiated perestroika, opening up the official Soviet history to a complete reexamination. It proved to be an emotionally wrought enterprise, so much so that, in her senior year, the history examination was cancelled.

1 4 g i s t f r o m t h e m i l l • fa l l 2 0 1 0

Krylova believes that, unconsciously at least, the cancellation of the history exam played a decisive role in her decision to become a historian. But if she was to study Soviet history constructively, she knew she had to do it someplace other than Russia. “I had to get away,” she said. “I had to get some perspective, some distance. I had to find out what people in other parts of the

courtesy of Anna Krylova

“History was something people screamed about and cried over; it was an emotional event,” Krylova said. “And you couldn’t stay on the sidelines. I was expected to take sides. ‘Did I love Lenin, or did I hate Lenin?’ people would ask, and demand an answer. It was a rare moment, a moment in which people cared so much about what really happened 50, 60, 70 years ago.”

world thought about the Soviet Union.” So in 1991, the year the Soviet Union dissolved, Krylova moved to the United States, to Philadelphia, to finish her undergraduate work at Drexel University. She then went to graduate school at Johns Hopkins University. While at Hopkins, Krylova focused her studies on the Soviet experience in World War II and started reading Soviet newspapers from the 1940s. “I was shocked,” she said of the stories and images she came across —stories of Soviet women in combat, images of Soviet women dressed in military uniforms, holding sniper rifles, teaching other soldiers to kill. “I didn’t know women fought, and taught others, including men, to fight,” Krylova said. “That was complete news to me. As a young girl growing up in Moscow, I remember seeing women in their fifties and sixties showing their veteran cards in grocery stores and other places, which they did to get special treatment (and well-deserved at that). At

l to r: Young women volunteers of 1941; the most famous Soviet woman sniper with 309 kills, Liudmila Pavlichenko in 1942; a young woman joining the troops and taking an oath.

the time, I assumed they had been nurses and medics in the war. It never occurred to me that they might have been on the front line, firing machine guns.” What was even more startling about the newspaper coverage, Krylova remembered, was the way in which those young women were represented. “The journalists wrote about those women with no apologies, with no suggestion that they were writing about something unusual, something that violated what we would today call gender norms.” Krylova began to wonder: What kind of culture could produce women, and men for that matter, for whom the idea of a woman combat soldier was acceptable and did not violate any gender-specific norms of identity and behavior? The results of her exploration can be found in her new book, which was published by Cambridge University Press. What Krylova discovered was extraordinary for its time. Before the war, the Soviet Union had implemented a state-sponsored educational system that was fully integrated along gender lines. Especially when it came to paramilitary training, men and women received the same education and, even more important, were expected to perform the same tasks. “The result,” Krylova explains, “was a generation of men and women who grew into adulthood without

“It never occurred to me that they might have been on the front line, firing machine guns.”

—Anna Krylova

being bound by the traditional gender norms that were otherwise prevalent in society.” Significantly, the Soviet women who became soldiers did not think of themselves as women performing a man’s job; rather, as Krylova writes in her book, “they were realizing their ‘hidden female talents,’ to use a phrase many employed in the late 1930s and early 1940s.” “What made the Soviet experience different was not just the presence of feminist ideology. After all, most countries in the West had access to that ideology. What was different in the Soviet Union was the idea that men and women were equal —and that a space had been created in the schools in which that equality could be performed. It was that space that made the difference. Ideology, alone, was not enough.” As Krylova explains, the Soviet Union was not the only country to use women in combat in World War II. In Britain, for instance, many women served in anti-aircraft

brigades, and the Soviets even looked to the British as a model. But in Britain, unlike in the Soviet Union, the women could only “help”; they were not permitted to fire guns. “So the British created a situation in which women were in combat, but combat defined in such a way that the British, through a linguistic charade, could reassure themselves that they had not violated some taboo, that they were still ‘civilized,’” she said. “After all, to have women in combat was ‘barbaric.’ Only the Russians would do something like that!” In contrast, in the Soviet case, women not only actually pulled the trigger; they were also explicitly identified and talked about as combatants. “So in the Soviet Union men and women had the courage to make this psychological jump that broke the barriers that had kept war a masculine space.” If there is one thing she would want readers to take away from her book, it is the value in testing our notions of genderappropriate roles and behaviors. “Create a space that permits men and women to act against type, as the Soviets did in the 1930s, and see what happens. A change in attitudes can come about very quickly —in a generation, and even in such a repressive state as Stalinist Russia was in the 1930s and 1940s.” w w w. ss r i . d u k e . e d u 1 5

facult y


Rhetoric Versus Reality New professor studies the contradictions of European immigration by Angela Spivey

Should a Swiss town have the right to vote on whether or

1 6 g i s t f r o m t h e m i l l • fa l l 2 0 1 0

Fluent in Norwegian, McIntosh spent two and a half years conducting ethnographic research —interviews, observations — in Oslo. That work included building relationships with immigrant and non-immigrant families, riding along with police officers in immigrant neighborhoods, interviewing government officials and caseworkers who worked with migration issues, and participating in a refugee assistance initiative. “I was invited to participate in the initiative as a ‘refugee’ myself, since I was also one of many types of ‘newcomers’ to Norway. One year later, my role switched and I was able to provide assistance, while also doing follow-up research with many of the long-term volunteers in the program,” McIntosh said. McIntosh is also working on a documentary about some of the families she encountered during her research, and a new project on the impact of asylum seekers in southern Europe. McIntosh said she is excited to join the Duke faculty because of the Department of Cultural Anthropology’s vibrant intellectual environment. “The department truly values interdisciplinary inquiry, and my own research necessitates that, because I am involved not only in anthropology, but in European studies, critical race and gender studies, and public policy.”

Duke University Photography

not a Swiss-born woman of Turkish descent will have her citizenship application approved? Should immigrant children and adult learners take ‘Britishness’ courses in school? Is religious pluralism possible in an age of increased anxieties about diversity? These are the sorts of questions that new faculty member Laurie McIntosh explores as an anthropologist of Europe. McIntosh, assistant professor in the Department of Cultural Anthropology, uses immigration as a lens through which she studies issues of gender, citizenship, multiculturalism and race. “My research asks how communities in western societies make sense of the ideals of democracy and the principles of western political thought when they believe these standards fail to be realized in their lives,” McIntosh said. Immigration is a topic of intense political interest throughout the world, but McIntosh examined Norway, a country that often gets overlooked by North American scholars who study Europe. “The Scandinavian region has flown under the radar in immigration studies, because these countries are believed to be ethnically homogenous and beyond the reach of past and present patterns of migration into Europe,” she said. “Even within European studies, France and Germany have predominantly been the site of social scientific inquiry for students and scholars. But in the past 50 years, Europe has been completely redefined by new immigration.” Norway has long been hailed as a place where concepts such as equality, solidarity, and human rights are well established. But arguments heard in public debate and mainstream media suggest that Norwegians are anxious about the increased diversity of their society, McIntosh said. “Pundits and political leaders maintain that many societal problems are a result of the inability, or refusal, of immigrants to fully integrate into Norwegian life and adopt Norwegian values. But when I speak to first and secondgeneration, or mixed-heritage Norwegians, who primarily, or only, understand themselves to be fully Norwegian, they ask, ‘what is it that society is really demanding of me?’” What does a society do when its members report not being able to get a job interview until they change their name to one that sounds ‘less foreign,’ or when newspaper headlines tell of an injured, semi-conscious African-Norwegian man denied medical care by ambulance workers? “In the past 10 years, stories like these have shaken Norwegian society to its core,” McIntosh said. “Among immigrant populations, people tell me that, ‘No matter what we do, what it boils down to is, do you look Norwegian? Do you look like you belong?’ So are we talking about values or are we talking about something else?”


p rofile

Religion and Health Global Health Student Explores Religion’s Influence on Health in Honduras By Alyssa Zamora

Editor’s Note: This story was written based on Catalino’s preliminary observations while working in the field. A scientific analysis of his research project is currently under way.

The faith of a community can play

Joaquin Sierra

a critical role in how people seek treatment for illness and disease. Michael Catalino, a 23-year-old graduate student in DGHI’s Master of Science in Global Health (MSc-GH) program and player on Duke’s national championship lacrosse team, spent the summer in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, where he studied the intersection between religion and health. From this experience, he has also learned about holistic medicine and what it means to have a servant’s heart and keep life in perspective. As part of his MSc-GH research project, Catalino is identifying the cultural and personal worldviews of Hondurans and using survey data on health to correlate certain worldviews with health seeking behavior. Christianity is popular in Honduras, and some data suggests people are likely to use prayer as a substitute for or complement to going to the doctor. “Once I spent some time in Honduras this spring and talked with my in-country mentor,” said Catalino, “I concluded the best approach to reaching the communities and making a real change in the future is through their faith, spirituality, and the religious culture.” After a week of training, a team of 11 surveyors helped Catalino carry out his survey, traveling door-to-door in eight locations within the capital city of Tegucigalpa to survey more than 500 people. For the second part of the study a team of 20 medical students from national teaching hospital, Hospital Escuela, collected 731 surveys. “We had an excellent team working with us,” said Catalino. “They know the locations well, learned quickly, worked diligently and were so polite in recruiting subjects. Also, my Spanish improved so much that I was able to give surveys myself, which is unbelievable.” Catalino learned the Honduran community is very open to discussing their views on faith and health. Interestingly, he found that people do not necessarily associate methods of treatment with their perceived origin of illness. “Someone may say, for example, that germs and other biological organisms do not cause disease, but physicians are very important in curing disease,” said Catalino. “Along those same lines, someone may say that punishment from God for sin has no influence on causing illness, but faith and prayer are a sure way to cure illness. But, it is amazing how diverse the responses have been.” Prayer and spirituality are becoming more popular in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) research, and Catalino’s research looks at prayer and spirituality in this unique Central American community. Preliminary observations show an above average rate of CAM use in this Honduran community. Catalino hopes his research will help physicians better understand effective and culturally appropriate strategies for treating their patients. “Getting medicine to people who need it is the obvious problem, and there are many researchers

working on such aspects of the Millennium Development Goals,” said Catalino, “but I am also interested in how to provide culturally competent health care services that are well received by the patients, because the services are personal and fit their worldview, which could increase quality and effectiveness of care. This could be along the lines of a patient explanatory model, or taking a spiritual history, even call it holistic, cura personalis medicine.” Catalino said his research project has shown him the kindness of the Honduran community; many people have opened their homes to him and were willing to participating in the survey. The experience has also given him a deeper understanding of how to serve a population while being responsive to cultural sensitivities. “In order to serve a culture competently, you need to know that culture well,” said Catalino, who in addition to the MSc-GH program, will attend medical school at Georgetown in the fall of 2011. “I know I will return to the global health field once I become a physician, and this experience has made one thing very clear: I need to choose one group of people I want to serve, then learn about their culture and how best to serve them.” In the past, Catalino has volunteered at a hospital in South Africa and an elementary school in Vietnam. “Do you wonder why more people do not dream of working in the developing world? I bet it has something to do with people not wanting to work outside of their comfort zone,” said Catalino. “I, on the other hand, love to work outside of my comfort zone.”

Catalino trains a team of 30 surveyors to help him carry out a research project in Tegucigalpa, Honduras on the impacts of religion on health.

w w w. ss r i . d u k e . e d u


ask th e social sci e ntist

Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, Sphinn, Digg, LinkedIn… it seems like everyone is online these days. Is social networking hindering our abilities to have deep, meaningful relationships or is the constant communication helping us foster relationships? Social Media is just a tool, one that can be used to

A very interesting question with not one definitive

a variety of ends. It certainly allows for new kinds of communities to emerge, and to interact in new ways, and as such represents a shifting terrain whose precise impact is difficult to pin down. It opens up opportunities for regular and constant communication across long distances, for the cultivation and creation of affinities and connections that would otherwise be impossible. Some are anxious about the impact of social media, of course. They worry that people will abandon local face-to-face communities in favor of virtual ones, or cocoon themselves within a network rather than confronting and engaging with diverse viewpoints. But I don’t think social media really has the capacity to alter human behavior in any radical way: it channels it, perhaps, and reframes it as well, but the basic impulses people bring to it are broadly those they bring to other forms of connection and communication. Others have more pragmatic worries: namely, that it’s a waste of time, a distraction from more productive things. But I find that it actually saves time, for it allows me to navigate and find information rapidly about issues and events that concern me. It enlivens my intellectual and cultural life and brings me new information and perspective, and keeps me connected to a variety of communities of thought and action that are precious to me.

answer —it is both good and bad. I run a summer program, the Ralph Bunche Summer Institute, and keeping track of the students had become extremely difficult. So, I had my younger daughter set-up a Facebook account for me and to track down as many past participants as possible and send them a friend request. As a result, I have lots of “friends” and have a way to keep track of the many students who have come through the program. So, this is the good side of social networking sites. I have also received friend requests from people whose names I remember from high school, but whose pictures now do not resemble the picture I remembered from high school. (This is where the senior year high school yearbook comes in handy.) This is another positive of the existence of social networking sites. On the negative side, however, is that many people feel that everything they do is worthy of letting their entire friend’s list know about it. I actually had to “de-friend” one of those high school classmates because the person reported so much minutia that I got annoyed with how much time and space the person was taking up on the News section of Facebook. How could anyone have that much time on their hands? Another negative is that people do not have a filter on what they say and what information they communicate to others. It is easy to be lulled into thinking that if you get into a “conversation” with one person that the conversation is private. It is sent to “the world” and many have found themselves in disputes over things they wrote that they thought were private. Do social media sites foster meaningful relationships? I do not think so. It is nice to see what old college and high school friends are doing, but we have not rekindled a long lost friendship. Maybe, in some instances, individuals pick up a phone and actually talk to someone they have reconnected with or met on the social networking sites, but for the most part, everyone is posting information on themselves. It is still “all about me.”

Laurent Dubois Department of History Department of Romance Studies

Paula D. McClain Department of Political Science Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Gender in the Social Sciences

1 8 g i s t f r o m t h e m i l l • fa l l 2 0 1 0

que stions

L A SANA HARRIS GIST sat down with Lasana Harris, a new addition to the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, to learn a bit more about him and his research. by Courtney Orni ng

Q: Initially you wanted to be a journalist and then trained as both a social psychologist and cognitive neuroscientist. Why social neuroscience? Harris: It was a bit of an accident really. When I decided to switch from journalism, I explored a number of possible majors. It just so happened that psychology was in the same building with the journalism school, so one day during this dilemma, I saw the sign, walked into the chair’s office, and he convinced me in 30 minutes to become a psychologist. When the time came for graduate school, I applied to a number of programs in different areas of psychology, including educational psychology, social psychology and personality psychology. During my social psychology interview, my future advisor, Susan Fiske, mentioned that she wanted to train a student simultaneously in social psychology and cognitive neuroscience, and wondered if I would be up for the challenge. I had never considered neuroscience before, and I had no background for it, but she was confident that I could do it. I thought long and hard, but saw it mostly as a challenge and an opportunity to do research no one else seemed to be doing, and to focus on issues that were important to me that had been overlooked. I said yes, and here I am.

Q: You recently joined Duke as an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. What attracted you to Duke? Harris: I was attracted to Duke for three reasons, besides the fact that it was a top research university. The interdisciplinary nature of the university was very important. From the deans on down, every-

Q: What do you hope to achieve with your research? Harris: I hope to continue to add to the growing body of literature that would one day make real changes to the way we live together as human beings. I feel like a lot of social problems boil down to inferences we make about other people that in many cases are not accurate. This leads to unfair, immoral and violent behavior. We often see other people as a means to an end and do not consider their position, or think that others are threatening, evil, lazy, or stupid when they may simply be different. In the short term, I would like to understand more about social cognition, how we figure out other minds, and how this process is biased, manipulated, and evolves. In the longer term, I would like to use my research to tell more complete stories of the human condition.

w w w. ss r i . d u k e . e d u 1 9

Duke University Photography

Q: You’ve said that the goal of your research is to “understand the psychological mechanisms underlying dehumanizing behavior.” Can you explain what you mean by dehumanizing? Harris: Dehumanization, or rather, “dehumanized perception,” as I call it, involves not perceiving a person as fully human. In particular, it means not engaging the mind of another human being. I say dehumanized perception to distinguish it from dehumanization, which is behavior toward human beings traditionally reserved for non-human entities. It is almost impossible to study these usually violent, extreme behaviors in the lab, so I focus instead on the psychological and neural processes that may underlie such behavior. We spontaneously mind-read or think about what someone else is thinking when we encounter them. Dehumanized targets fail to engage this basic cognitive skill, resulting in less consideration of their position as human beings. We feel less human emotions toward them and more emotions reserved for non-human entities. My research focuses on this cognitive/emotional/perceptual processes.

one stressed how important interdisciplinary research was here at Duke. As an interdisciplinary scholar, this was very important to me. I don’t want to appear as too much of a cognitive neuroscientist or too much of a social psychologist. Duke provides me a space to be my academic self. Second, the department had a strong representation in both cognitive neuroscience and social psychology, and that is a rare find. A lot of departments are biased one way or the other, so finding a place with good colleagues in both fields was a huge plus. Finally, the weather in Durham is far better than up the east coast. As an immigrant from Trinidad in the Caribbean, just above the equator, warmer weather was a big draw for me. After 10 years in the northeast, I longed for a milder winter.




The shootings at Fort Hood,

Houston, Buffalo and RaleighDurham, funded by a grant from the the recent arrests of five young U.S. Department of Justice. men in Pakistan and last summer’s “Muslim-American communities arrests of terrorism suspects in have been active in preventing North Carolina mark a troubling radicalization,” said Kurzman. “This increase in terrorism-related activis one reason that Muslim-American ity by Muslim-Americans. terrorism has resulted in fewer than But a new report by scholars at three dozen of the 136,000 murders Duke University and the University committed in the United States of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, since 9/11.” which analyzes the extent of terrorThe research shows that denunist violence by Muslim-Americans ciations of terrorism, internal since 9/11 and identifies strategies self-policing, community buildto head off “home-grown” terroring, government-funded support ism, says the number of radicalized services and political engagement Muslim-Americans is still small. can all reduce risks of radicalizaSince the terrorist attacks of tion. Schanzer and fellow researchSept. 11, 2001, 139 Muslimers came to these conclusions after Americans have committed violent analyzing interviews with more terrorist acts, been convicted on than 120 Muslim-Americans as well terrorism charges involving vio“Muslim-Americans organizations... firmly as websites and publications from lence or been arrested with charges pending. Of that number, fewer reject the radical extremist ideology that Muslim-American organizations, data on prosecution of Muslimthan a third successfully executed Americans for terrorism-related justifies the use of violence to achieve their violent plots, and most offenses, and existing studies of of those were overseas. political ends.” Muslim-American communities. The report recommends that poli“The general public as well as the cymakers reinforce successful anti —David Schanze r Muslim community at large will get radicalization activities now under a better sense of what kinds of measures are being taken within the way in Muslim-American communities to address this low —but not Muslim communities surveyed to prevent terrorism and advance insignificant —level of terrorist activity. integration,” Moosa said of the report. “Such experiences need “Muslim-Americans organizations and the vast majority of individto be shared with others in order to protect the communities from uals that we interviewed firmly reject the radical extremist ideology being undermined by subversive forces.” that justifies the use of violence to achieve political ends,” said coThe authors noted that Muslim-Americans “are feeling the author David Schanzer, director of the Triangle Center on Terrorism strain of living in America during the post-9/11 era.” Policies that and Homeland Security. alienate Muslim-American communities in an effort to crack down The report, “Anti-Terror Lessons of Muslim American on terrorism are likely to exacerbate, not reduce, the threat of Communities,” was co-authored by Schanzer, associate professor at homegrown terrorism. Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy; Charles Kurzman, profes“Our research suggests that initiatives that treat Muslim-Americans sor of sociology at UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences; and Ebrahim as part of the solution to this problem are far more likely to be sucMoosa, associate professor of religion at Duke. It summarizes two cessful,” said Schanzer. years of research in Muslim-American communities in Seattle, “Anti-Terror Lessons of Muslim-American Communities” is posted on the websites of the Sanford School of Public Policy ( and the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security, a research center co-sponsored by Duke, UNC and RTI International (

2 0 g i s t f r o m t h e m i l l • fa l l 2 0 1 0

Get Connected with SSRI Check out our site: like us on Facebook: Search for Duke SSRI Follow us on Twitter: Watch us on YouTube:

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


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. ss r i . d u k e . e d u


Non-Profit Org U.S. Postage PAID Durham, NC Permit No. 60

P. O . B o x 9 0 4 2 0 | D u r h a m , NC 2 7 7 0 8

gist f ro m t h e M i l l

final note

Survey Methods by patrick mille r

SSRI is welcoming a new resource for the Duke community this fall. The Duke Initiative on Survey Methodology (DISM) is an interdisciplinary program that aims to enhance research and teaching in survey research methods across Duke. DISM was founded by political science professor Hillygus D. Sunshine Hillygus. Now in her second year at Duke, Hillygus was previously director of the Program on Survey Research at Harvard University. Hillygus’s research and teaching is focused on public opinion, political campaigns, and survey methodology. “Duke is a terrific place to study survey methods because there are so many survey scholars and practitioners in the area,” said Hillygus. One of DISM’s goals is to bring together the survey research community in the Triangle which already has well established survey methodology institutions at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and at various businesses in Research Triangle Park.

DISM’s primary goal, however, is to be a resource for furthering the study and usage of survey methods at Duke. DISM offers workshops on a variety survey methods topics, including questionnaire design, mixed-mode survey design, basic survey methods for undergraduate thesis writers, and web-based surveys and experiments. Also available to Duke students and faculty is free one-on-one consulting about every stage of the survey process, including questionnaire development and pretesting, sampling designs, or vendor recommendations. DISM also provides consultation on several web-based survey platforms, including Checkbox, Viewsflash, and Qualtrics, and small grants for graduate students to place questions on national surveys. DISM is open for business and eagerly welcomes the Duke community to its doors. Any Duke students and faculty who would like to learn more about the program, ask questions about specific research projects, or make recommendations for DISM activities are welcome to contact the group at

GIST Fall 2010  

Celebrating 10 years of the Center for Child and Family Policy, finding a balance between sharing and privacy, and studying Soviet women in...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you