Skip to Main Content

Social Sciences Projects

Recently Funded Projects

Student Investigator

Cultural Trauma and Resiliency in Colonial Displacement of Tlingit Place Names

Student Investigator: Luke Holton

The original purpose of this film project was to document the current sociopolitical attitude towards revitalization of Tlingit place names within Southeast Alaska. Several high-visibility name revitalizations (Utqiagvik, Denali, Tlux’satanjin, etc) have been facilitated by the Alaska Historical Commission in the previous years, and this film addresses the cultural impact that name revitalization might have on Alaska Native populations.

View

Previously Funded Projects

White Privilege: The Effect of Informer Race on Perceived Legitimacy

Student Investigator: Elizabeth Hawkins

  • Faculty Mentor: Amanda Sesko, Ph.D.
  • Funding Source: URECA

The goal of this research was to investigate how the race of an informer of White privilege affects the perceived legitimacy and recognition of its existence through either a factual based (central route) or emotion based (peripheral route) message.

View

Place Names as Evidence for Historic Resource and Property Rights Among the Tlingit: An Interactive Approach

Student Investigator: Elise Sorum-Birk

My goal was to create an interactive app of Tlingit place names in the Juneau area in order to use it as a tool for education and resource management. The secondary objective was to write an academic paper about the project and to present at the Alaska Native Studies Conference in Fairbanks.

View

Workplace Discrimination Against Individuals with Skin Based Stigmas: The Role of Stigma Origin

Student Investigator: Izzy Rowland

  • Faculty Mentor: Amanda Sesko, Ph.D.
  • Funding Source: URECA

This study explores how the origin of a stigma influences hiring decisions and ratings of competence and warmth. To do so participants will rate an applicant who either has a self-inflicted stigma (a visible neck tattoo), biologically inflicted stigma (a facial birthmark), an ambiguous stigma (a facial burn scar), or no stigma (control).  In general, we predict while there will be a pro-hiring bias toward the non-stigmatized control, the applicant with the ambiguously inflicted facial scar will be more likely to be hired and rated as higher in competence than applicants with either a biologically inflicted stigma or self-inflicted stigma.

View

Prototypicality of Race and Gender: The Role of Attractiveness on Ratings of Competence in the Workplace

Student Investigator: Ashley Troupin

  • Faculty Mentor: Amanda Sesko, Ph.D.
  • Funding Source: URECA

The goal of this research is to investigate how attractiveness and perceived gender prototypicality differentially affect ratings of competence and hiring decisions in the workplace for Black and White women compared to their Black male and White male counterparts. To do this, I will be running two studies online through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk.

View

The Very Interesting Case of Jennie Lynch

Student Investigator: Ghert Abbott

The immediate goal of the Jennie Lynch research project is to access various legal and personal records currently archived in Anchorage and Juneau.  The information attained from these records will be used along with information available in Ketchikan to construct a research article laying out the persons, events, timeline, outcome, and social-historical importance of the lengthy Jennie Lynch case.  This article will be sent to Alaska History for peer review and publication, providing a foundation for expanded research on this topic. 

View

Laxsgiik; Yesterday to Tomorrow: cultural changes experienced by the Tsimshian eagle clan

Student Investigator: Heather Haven Evoy

This project focuses on the Tsimshian Eagle clan migration from British Columbia Canada to Southeast Alaska. Over the last century and a half many Tsimshians have moved to Metlakatla Alaska and experienced cultural changes that will be examined. The research methods employed will be elder and community member interviews; archival work, specifically with Viola Garfield's papers and field notes at the University of Washington; and work with contemporary anthropologists on my family genealogy. 

View

Evaluating perceived severity of Alaska Native victim rape

Student Investigator: Anna Bullock

  • Faculty Mentor: Amanda Sesko, Ph.D.
  • Funding Source: URECA

American Indian and Alaska Native women make up a large 34.1% of reported victims of rape. In fact, women living in Alaska have a four time greater chance of being raped than the national average—61% of which are Alaska Native women (Fuchs, 2013). While these numbers are particularly high for Alaska Native women, they are rarely represented (or “invisible”) within the literature that investigates the effects of race for experiences and perceptions of rape.  Research investigating the effects of race for perceptions of severity of an acquaintance rape, has almost exclusively focused on Black and White individuals. This work generally shows that rape severity is rated as highest when 1) the rape is interracial (Hymes, Leinart, Rowe & Rogers, 1993), 2) the victim is a White female (George & Martinez, 2001), and 3) the perpetrator is a Black male (Varelas & Foley, 1998). The current work build on this research by investigating 1) how race matters for perceptions of rape severity for Alaska Native women compared to White and Black women, and 2) the role of gender of the victim for evaluations of rape severity. To test this Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) participants will be randomly assigned to read a scenario in which a victim (who is male or female, Alaska Native, Black or White) has reported being raped by an acquaintance of the opposite gender (who is Alaska Native, Black or White). After reading the scenario participants will then rate the severity of the rape and the legitimacy of the claim. Anna predicts the race and gender of the victim will matter: Female rapes will be rated as more severe than male victim rapes, and White victim will be rated as more severe than both Alaska Native and Black victims. In addition, when the victim is a White female the rape will be rated as more severe than if she is an Alaska Native or Black female, and this will be particularly the case when the rape is interracial. But, when the victim is male, the rape will be rated as more severe when he is Alaska Native compared to White or Black, and White male victim rapes will be rated as more severe than Black male victim rapes, and this will be particularly likely when the rape is interracial.

View

Laxsgiik; The Role of Backlash in Selecting Non-normative Birth Methods.

Student Investigator: Christy Perrin

  • Faculty Mentor: Amanda Sesko, Ph.D.
  • Funding Source: URECA

This research explores the role of backlash, the phenomenon of experiencing negative social and economic consequences by deviating from normative prescriptive and proscriptive rules, when selecting non-normative birth methods. 500 participants from Amazon’s Mturk will read a scenario in which a woman has chosen to give birth in either a birth center, at home, or in the hospital. We predict a main effect for birthing method, such that women choosing to participate in non-normative births (home birth or birth center) will receive more backlash and be rated with less competence, but more warmth, than a woman who participates in normative births (hospital birth). In addition, there will be a main effect for relationship status, such that women who are single will receive more backlash, and be rated as more warm but less competent, than a woman who is married or when no information is given.

View

Parents on a glass cliff: Gender stereotypes in leadership selection

Student Investigator: Jessica Rohlfing

  • Faculty Mentor: Amanda Sesko, Ph.D.
  • Funding Source: URECA

The primary objective of this research is to expand existing research on the glass cliff—the concept that within precarious business situations, women are selected over men for leadership positions (Ryan & Haslam, 2005), thus finding themselves in a “slippery” and unstable situation. Other research has shown that being a parent further complicates females’ ascent into achieving high status positions. Fuegen, Biernat, Haines, and Deaux (2004) have shown parents to be publicly judged as less agentic and less committed to their job, but fathers are held to more lenient standards than mothers and childless men. In the current work, Jess investigates perceptions and social judgments of mothers and fathers in the workplace compared to non-parents when a company is in a crisis. To test this, participants will complete a study through Amazon.com’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk) in which they read a newspaper article about a retiring CEO for a company that is either economically successful or in economic crisis. They will then read resumes and personal statements of both a women and a man, each of which is either a parent or non-parent., and then evaluate each applicant.  Jessica hypothesizes that in the context of success, male applicants will be perceived as better leaders, and perhaps more so if he is a father. In the crisis context, however, female applicants will be perceived as a better leaders overall. However, what is less clear is how parental status may influence perceptions of females and males as good leaders in crisis situations. It is possible that children will heighten the sense of both male and female applicants as communal and nurturing (traits better suited for crisis), and thus make them even more desirable for the position. If this is the case, fathers will now be seen as desirable for the crisis situation.

View