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Current Faculty Research

Research by Kellogg faculty fellows is at the top of the list for Institute funding. We also support an array of international studies initiatives led by Kellogg fellows or Notre Dame faculty more generally, including working groups, conferences and events, faculty-led student travel, and new course development.

Academic Year 2016–2017

Funding for Research and Its Dissemination

Faculty Fellow Kevin Donovan, Assistant Professor of Economics
Faculty Fellow Wyatt Brooks, Assistant Professor of Economics

“Risk and Farming in Rural Nicaragua”

The vast majority of rural households in the developing world engage in subsistence agriculture as a means of meeting their economic needs. These small farms have low yields, which keeps the incomes of farmers down. Part of this is because these farmers underutilize agricultural inputs, such as fertilizer and pesticide. In this project, we seek to understand why farmers use so little agricultural input by distinguishing between two potential explanations.

First, at very low income levels people are less willing to take risk, since negative outcomes may pose food security challenges. Agricultural inputs are a risk because a bad growing season may render the inputs useless. Second, households may lack the funds to buy the inputs, or the ability to borrow. To distinguish between these two mechanisms we propose to conduct detailed household surveys and use variation in the composition earnings within households to determine which constraints are most salient.

Faculty Fellow Lakshmi Iyer, Associate Professor of Economics
“Administrative and Political Centralization in India: Determinants and Consequences”

This grant encompasses two projects that put together data on the process of administrative and political decentralization in India and examine the effects of this process on policy and development outcomes. The first project will document when specific policy areas were devolved by different state governments to local (district and village) governments, and seek to explain the large degree of variation across states in the speed of devolution as well as the areas being devolved. The project will then examine the consequences of such administrative devolution on health and education outcomes. The second project will examine whether the intensity of gender quotas at the local level matters for crimes against women. Exploiting the variation in timing across states, we will examine whether increasing the gender quota from 33% to 50% makes a difference to reported crimes against women.

Faculty Fellow Tracy L. Kijewski-Correa, Leo E. and Patti Ruth Linbeck Associate Professor, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences
“New Modalities for Community-Driven Development through Autonomous Innovation: A Case Study in Human Centered Design by Local Agents in Haiti”

Effective problem identification and solution creation is an essential priority for major development organizations, particularly when strong emphasis is placed on achieving community-driven development (CDD). This often manifests as the engagement of the community to capture local perspectives during needs assessments, with generally less opportunity for community collaboration in the development of solutions in response to those needs—solutions they must ultimately embrace if long-term sustainability is to be achieved. But are there processes that can enable the community to drive its own development through solution creation and ultimately implementation? This case study offers Human Centered Design (HCD) as a possible modality to achieve this objective. HCD is a recognized framework with tools that enable its users to develop empathy, gather insights, and maintain the openness necessary to innovate creative solutions to challenges. Through focus groups and direct observations of a network of independent Innovation Clubs in Léogâne, Haiti, the PI and her research team will document how local agents use HCD within their communities to identify problems, source innovative ideas, and implement promising solutions. This work will also demonstrate how HCD tools can be customized to better support local agents. Our findings will explore the potential of HCD to enable autonomous innovation, wherein communities are empowered to advance their own development, creating an engine that can then be tapped by development organizations.

Faculty Fellow Emilia Justyna Powell, Associate Professor of Political Science
“Islamic Law and International Law: Peaceful Resolution of Disputes”

To bring a change in the way that Islamic countries resolve their disputes, policymakers and academic communities must understand how Islamic law—sharia—relates to classical international law. Sharia carries a distinctive understanding of what governance is, where it comes from, and how it should be: according to Muslims, it is Allah's perfect will for humanity. Classical international law, in contrast, is secular and strives to be indifferent to any particular religious stance. How do tenants of Islamic law relate to international law? In attempting to settle their international disputes, some Islamic countries are supportive of international courts while others resort to less formal conflict management strategies such as mediation or negotiations. This book project asks the following research question: are there any similarities between Islamic law and classical international law that may explain why some Islamic countries support only certain international settlement venues, but not others?

Research Conferences, Events, and Symposia

Faculty Fellow Peter J. Casarella, Associate Professor of Theology
“The Primacy of Relationship and the Challenge of Migrants”

The interdisciplinary colloquium called Per un nuovo umanesimo (“Towards a new humanism”) met in Assisi (2012), Perugia (2014), and Rio de Janeiro (2015) to discuss a range of topics. The next meeting of this group will focus on the situation of the migrant from the perspective of multiple disciplinary perspectives: philosophy, theology, psychology, and anthropology. We are researching the presuppositions that undergird a humane treatment of the migrant in each of these disciplines. The principal hypothesis to be considered is whether the distinct disciplines allow for a convergence on the question of the primacy of relations. Moreover, is the relational view of the human person going to advance the treatment of the migrant in a more humane fashion? Each discipline can investigate distinct cases in order to establish its own conclusions, but the gathering will focus on the exchange of perspectives and the development of a more unified understanding of the problem. This grant resulted in an international conference held in Rome in January 2016.

Faculty Fellow Karen Graubart, Associate Professor of History
“La Patrona Workshop”

La Patrona Collective for Colonial Latin American Scholarship was founded as a way to stimulate new perspectives on colonial Latin American history. The July 2017 workshop will allow collective members (8 faculty and 5–10 graduate students) to simultaneously begin individual research projects in Roman archives and libraries while also collaborating in a social setting. This will be a concrete step in the collaboration between the University of Notre Dame and the Vatican Library, announced with a conference and signatory event in May 2016. Our workshop will be an opportunity to accomplish a series of concrete outcomes:

  • Each scholar will work on an individual project (for faculty, a scholarly monograph; for graduate students, a dissertation)

  • Dr. Bianca Premo and Graubart will edit a special issue of a journal that showcases some of our findings and their relevance to intellectual history

  • Graubart, Premo, Voekel and Scheper-Hughes will produce an edited volume drawing upon the individual projects and demonstrating how the use of these archives transforms colonial Latin American history

  • We will disseminate general knowledge of Roman resources for colonial Latin Americanists through a collectively developed wiki/website.

Faculty Fellow Rev. Paulinus Odozor, CSSp, Associate Professor of Theology
“Reimagining African Catholic Theology”

Today, life in Africa is much more complex than in the pastand African theology is open to concerns other than African traditional religion. Colonial independence, war, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and the rise of Islam have fundamentally altered the African landscape; similarly, globalization, the sexual revolution, and the simultaneous rise of the Church in the Southern Hemisphere and its contraction in many Western countries has changed the way the African Church thinks about itself and its place in the world.

The international, multi-continental conference “Reimagining African Catholic Theology,” will be held at the Notre Dame Global Gateway in Rome from March 22–25, 2017, bringing together an unprecedented cross section of African theologians, international scholars of religion and society, Church leaders, knowledgeable lay men and women, and other scholars from a broad spectrum of African societies and beyond to rethink African theology and its nature, methods, and relationship and contribution to African churches and societies.

Faculty Fellow Karen E. Richman, Director of Undergraduate Academic Programs, Institute for Latino Studies
LASA Panel: “Imagining the Spaces and Faces of the Nation: History, Migration, and Diaspora in and beyond Hispañiola”

Since the passage of “La Sentencia,” questions of state and statelessness, national identity, and diaspora have become increasingly urgent in scholarly analyses of Hispañiola. However, in looking solely at the legislative issues at hand, scholars have sometimes missed larger questions surrounding the multiple identities and relations of the peoples of both island nations. This interdisciplinary panel combines historical, anthropological, literary, political, and legal perspectives to contextualize the array of interrelated concerns now surrounding Dominican and Haitian national and racial identities both on the island and beyond.

Visiting Fellow Amy Erica Smith, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Iowa State University
“The Country of the Future? Public Opinion, Democracy, and Development in Brazil and in Comparative Context”

This one-day conference in the Spring of 2017 will explore the themes of democracy and development in Brazil and promote public opinion research utilizing the World Values Survey and the AmericasBarometer. The format of the conference will be novel. It will be held simultaneously at Notre Dame’s Kellogg Institute and at the Graduate Program in Political Science at the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) in Brazil, using videoconferencing facilities at the two institutions. The papers will be presented in alternating sequence in the two countries, and each paper will be discussed by discussants at both institutions. Beyond the academic research and scholarly networks fostered through this event, key objectives for the Kellogg Institute will be to demonstrate the feasibility of such cross-national conferences and to strengthen ties between Kellogg and the UFRGS.

Projects in the Arts

Faculty Fellow Gilberto Cárdenas, Professor of Sociology
With Notre Dame Center for Arts and Culture (NDCAC)
“Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Exhibition & Events”

The annual Dia de los Muertos exhibition will take place at the Crossroads Gallery of the Notre Dame Center for Arts and Culture (NDCAC). This year the exhibition is community based. Notre Dame students, faculty, staff and greater South Bend community members were invited to install their own altars and ofrendas in the gallery space. Fifteen groups and individuals responded to the call and will be installing altars dedicated to family members, community leaders, and more.

Kellogg Institute Working Groups

Faculty Fellow Paolo Carozza, Professor of Law; Director, Kellogg Institute for International Studies; Affiliated/Concurrent Faculty, Department of Political Science
Rev. Paul V. Kollman, Associate Professor of Theology and Director, Center for Social Concerns
Catholic Social Tradition & Human Development”

The Working Group on Catholic Social Tradition and Human Development will be jointly organized by the Kellogg Institute (represented by its director) and by the Center for Social Concerns (represented by its director).

The Working Group will provide a forum for resident faculty, graduate students, and outside scholars to systematically discuss the insights of Catholic Social Tradition (CST) for questions of development. With “integral human development” as a defining commitment of Notre Dame’s Keough School, a discussion of the roots of this term in Catholic Social Teaching is timely, as well as an exploration of the connections between the concept of integral human development and key CST principles such as human dignity, common-good orientation, option for the poor, solidarity, and subsidiarity.

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The Kellogg Institute promotes scholarship, learning, and linkages that address issues of critical importance to our world. At the center of our interdisciplinary community’s work are two key themes: democratization and human development. 

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