Congratulations to the seven Faculty COVID-19 Impact Fund award recipients from Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences! The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many faculty members’ ability to sustain their creative and scholarly activity. The Faculty COVID-19 Impact Fund aims to stimulate scholarly and creative activity among those faculty members who have experienced substantial obstacles due to the pandemic. We look forward to seeing the outcome of these projects, which will elevate the national visibility and reputation of our entire college, and demonstrate the timeless value and importance of the arts, humanities, and social sciences to better understand our past, present, and future.

Below is a summary of each of the funded projects.

Policy, Retail Environment, and Use of Tobacco and Cannabis Products
Amount Awarded: $5,000
Dr. Georgiana Bostean, Associate Professor of Environmental Science, Health and Policy

This grant will advance Dr. Bostean’s progress on an American Lung Association-funded grant (funded June 2020) that examines how city-level policy is associated with retail environments and use of tobacco and cannabis products across the state of California. Bostean will combine data from several large databases to address two aims: Aim 1: Examine how local tobacco and cannabis policies create disparities in exposure to tobacco retailers, vape shops, and cannabis dispensaries. Aim 2: Determine the roles of tobacco and cannabis policy and retailer density around schools in adolescent vaping, smoking, and cannabis use (and concurrent use of combinations of these products).

Jews and Race in the Italian Colonization of Africa, 1890-1940
Amount Awarded: $5,000
Dr. Shira Klein, Associate Professor of History

Dr. Klein’s book project, Jews and Race in the Italian Colonization of Africa, 1890-1940, explores the causes, nature, and consequences of Italian Jews’ support for imperialism. Klein argues that Italian Jews participated in the colonization of Africa between the 1890s and 1930s and that by doing so, they unwittingly contributed to their own downfall under Fascism. Italian Jews supported the empire to its end, even after Italy embarked on its anti-Jewish Racial Laws in 1938, never seeing the strong ties between anti-Black and anti-Jewish propaganda. This monograph brings a new perspective to the nascent field of Jews and colonialism, and the literature on Jews and race.

Blacklisted Rebels: Commitment to Child Rights in the Philippines
Amount Awarded: $4,901
Dr. Minju Kwon, Assistant Professor of Political Science

Dr. Kwon’s project examines non-state armed groups’ compliance with international humanitarian law with a focus on United Nations action plans for children. Internal armed conflicts in Mindanao, Philippines have involved various child rights violations, including recruitment, abduction, and sexual exploitation of children. Kwon will conduct field research in Mindanao to collect qualitative data through interviews with stakeholders. As the first systematic mixed-method research on UN action plans, this project contributes to the literature on international institutions and political violence by leveraging theories in these fields and providing new empirical evidence.

Visualizing the Anthropocene – spurring museum climate actions
Amount Awarded: $4,285
Dr. Jamie Larkin, Assistant Professor of Creative and Cultural Industries

Museums are increasingly aware of the need to tackle the Climate Crisis, both in terms of operational emissions but also how they display this subject to visitors. Yet, there are few resources to guide museum professionals on meaningful actions they can take to effect change at their institutions. Working with staff at partner museums, Dr. Larkin will lead a team of students to develop a series of core sustainability messages and best practice case studies. This research-led teaching project will produce high-quality scholarly and creative outputs, including a journal article examining key issues surrounding museum sustainability utilizing survey findings and data collection and a range of media visualizations.

Homeless in Orange County: A Return to Research
Amount Awarded: $5,000
Dr. Lisa Leitz, Associate Professor of Peace Studies

Homeless in Orange County is a multi-year ethnographic project examining the contentious politics around homelessness in Orange County. Before the pandemic, Dr. Leitz and student researchers planned to develop this work into a book. However, the pandemic fundamentally changed many aspects of how communities responded to people experiencing homelessness, opportunities and priorities of activists and charities, and the political and social landscape. Leitz will interview people experiencing homelessness and community leaders and will analyze existing materials (meeting transcripts, websites, and legal cases) to update the sections about government, activism, social services, and lawsuits.

Advancing Chapman University agenda in quantitative Political Science research and teaching
Amount Awarded: $4,933
Dr. Andrea Molle, Assistant Professor of Political Science

Dr. Molle’s proposal includes two projects aimed at increasing expertise and visibility in quantitative research of Politics, as well as offering our students more opportunities to acquire quantitative and computational skills. The first project, Understanding the Multilateral Governance of Outer Space: the ‘Space Power, Policy & International Cooperation’ (SPPIC) Index, tackles the complexities of measuring power in the space domain using advanced statistical methods. The second project, Predicting and assessing risks of interstate conflict in power transition conjunctures using stochastic multiplayer games, addresses the issues associated with “power transition” in international relations systems using game theory.

Parting of the Ways & Geoglyphs of the Anthropocene
Amount Awarded: $2,500
Professor Julie Shafer, Associate Professor of Art

Professor Shafer’s first project, Parting of the Ways, is an expansive body of work consisting of rubbings and photographs along the Oregon Trail in Wyoming. This project includes the production of 40 large-scale silver gelatin photographic prints of negatives. Shafer’s second project, Geoglyphs of the Anthropocene, is a research-based art project in which Shafer collaborates with a Glaciologist and Microbiologist from the University Centre in Svalbard, Norway, and an Environmental Data Analyst from NASA/JPL, to document the climate crisis in the Arctic Circle. Using drones outfitted with infrared and thermal cameras, Shafer will photograph active and abandoned Russian coal mines, thawing permafrost, and fissures in the ice sheets.