Director of UCR’s Presley Center awarded $300,000 to foster multicampus, multidisciplinary research

Steven E. Clark

Steven E. Clark

The director of UC Riverside’s Presley Center for Crime and Justice Studies will lead a UC systemwide effort to advance social science and law research in a project designed to foster collaboration and multidisciplinary research across the UC’s 10 campuses.

Steven E. Clark, a UCR professor of psychology and internationally known expert in eyewitness memory research, has been awarded a two-year, $300,000 UC Multicampus Research Programs and Initiatives (MRPI) grant to create the UC Consortium on Social Science and Law. The UC will award more than $23 million over four years to 18 collaborative proposals under the MRPI program.

The members of the consortium are international experts in a broad range of topics in the intersection of law and social science, including inequality and diversity, crime, juvenile justice, and legal decision-making – including how witnesses make decisions about reporting crime, how jurors make decisions in criminal and civil trials, and how judges make decisions and exercise judicial discretion.

“California is a national leader in matters of law, social policy, and social change, and diversity,” Clark said. “It is incumbent on UC’s academics to continue that leadership role through social science and law research and scholarship. The MRPI award presents a unique opportunity to make tremendous headway in these matters to the great benefit of UC and all Californians.”

The consortium will create the infrastructure needed to transform UC from a national leader in social science and law scholarship to the national leader, Clark said. It will not compete with existing campus programs or centers, but will promote cross-fertilization of ideas and sharing of resources, and enhance the ability of UC researchers to obtain federal funding

Lan Duong and Mariam Lam Receive Choice Award

A book co-edited by Lan Duong, associate professor of media and cultural studies, and Mariam B. Lam, associate professor of comparative literature and Southeast Asian studies, has been named a 2014 Choice Outstanding Academic Title by the subject editors of Choice, a publishing unit of the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL), a division of the American Library Association.

Duong and Lam co-edited “Troubling Borders: An Anthology of Art and Literature by Southeast Asian Women in the Diaspora” (University of Washington Press) with Isabelle Thuy Pelaud, professor of Asian American studies at San Francisco State University, and Kathy Nguyen, a writer and editor in San Francisco.

Choice, founded in 1964, is the premier review journal for scholarly publications and is the leading North American source for reviews of new scholarly books and electronic resources. Subject editors this year selected 690 books out of more than 7,000 titles in 54 disciplines and subsections. These books were chosen for their “excellence in scholarship and presentation, the significance of their contributions to their fields, and their valuable treatment of the subject matter.”

“Troubling Borders” is the first anthology by and about Southeast Asian women in the diaspora and includes creative writing and visual art by 61 women of Vietnamese, Cambodian, Lao, Thai, Hmong, Cham, and Filipino ancestry.

Cliff Trafzer Named Mentoring Champ

Cliff Trafzer

Cliff Trafzer

Cliff Trafzer, distinguished professor of history and Rupert Costo Chair in American Indian Affairs, has been named a Champion of Mentoring by Sigma Beta Xi Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides research-based mentoring and development services to young men of color. Trafzer also is director of the California Center for Native Nations at UCR.

The award will be presented at a banquet Jan. 30 at Casino Morongo in the Cabazon area.

January is National Mentoring Month, an observance created in 2002 by the Harvard School of Public Health and MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership to raise awareness of mentoring in its various forms, recruit individuals to mentor, and promote the rapid growth of mentoring by recruiting organizations to engage their constituents in mentoring.

“Mentorship is one of the more critical determinants of a successful career in any field,” Corey A. Jackson, chair of the Inland Empire chapter of Sigma Beta Xi, wrote in a letter to Trafzer. “In recognition of the value the Inland Empire communities place on mentorship, we have established this award to reward champions of mentoring and outstanding mentors like you.”

Amanda Lucia Receives Emory Elliott Book Award

Amanda Lucia

Amanda Lucia

Amanda J. Lucia, assistant professor of religious studies, is the recipient of the Emory Elliott Book Award for 2014 for her book “Reflections of Amma: Devotees in a Global Embrace” (University of California Press). She will discuss her book at a reception in her honor on Tuesday, Feb. 3, from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Center for Ideas and Society, College Building South 114.

Mata Amritanandamayi , known globally as Amma, meaning “Mother,” has developed a massive transnational humanitarian organization based on hugs, Lucia writes. She is familiar to millions as the “hugging saint,” a moniker that derives from her elaborate darshan programs wherein nearly every day 10,000 people are embraced by the guru one at a time, events that routinely last 10 to 20 hours without any rest for her. Although she was born in 1953 as a low-caste girl in a South Indian fishing village, today millions revere her as guru and goddess, a living embodiment of the divine on earth.

“Reflections of Amma” focuses on communities of Amma’s devotees in the United States, showing how they endeavor to mirror their guru’s behaviors and transform themselves to emulate the ethos of the movement. This study argues that “inheritors” and “adopters” of Hindu traditions differently interpret Hindu goddesses, Amma, and her relation to feminism and women’s empowerment because of their inherited religious, cultural, and political dispositions. Lucia explores how the politics of American multiculturalism reifies these cultural differences in “de facto congregations,” despite the fact that Amma’s embrace attempts to erase communal boundaries in favor of global unity.

Choice, a publishing unit of the Association of College & Research Libraries and the leading North American source for reviews of new scholarly books and electronic resources, applauded Lucia’s research and fieldwork and called “Reflections of Amma” “a welcome addition to the literature on popular Hinduism (that) will be a classic in the field.”

The Emory Elliott Book Award is named for the late Emory Elliott, an internationally renowned scholar of American literature who died in 2009. The annual award is made possible by a generous donation from his wife, Georgia Elliott, and honors the book published by a CHASS faculty member during the previous academic year that best exemplifies the values that characterized Professor Elliott and his contributions to life and letters.

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