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PRRP Grants, Academic Year 2005-2006

Six UCLA faculty and graduate students receive grants to support collaborative and comparative research.

 The UC Pacific Rim Research Program was established in 1986 and supports faculty and student research in a wide variety of fields. Click here to learn more about the program.

Anne Gilliland-Swetland
Information Studies
Pluralizing the Archival Paradigm: A Needs Assessment for Archival Education in Pacific Rim Communities

  • This one-year planning project will identify a methodology for follow-up research and development activities that will promote 1) the development of culturally and politically sensitive education of qualified archival professionals in Pacific Rim communities, especially those which have no local archival education infrastructure; and 2) incorporation of the interests, needs and cultural beliefs and practices of diverse communities into existing, predominantly Eurocentric educational programs in the Pacific Rim area.  The planning project would be a collaboration between the directors of two of the largest archival education programs in the region and would comprise a needs assessment based upon a survey of existing archival repositories in Pacific Rim areas where archival education does not currently exist, is nascent, or is provided through distance education by an institution in another country (e.g., repositories in Pacific Island communities, Korea, Japan, Malaysia and Indonesia); and a survey of providers of archival education in the Pacific Rim.  The needs assessment would be presented for educator and practitioner feedback in April 2006 at two separate one-day symposia to be held at UCLA and at Monash University in Melbourne and the outcomes would subsequently be framed into a research and development agenda.

Eleanor Lipat
Ethnomusicology graduate student working with Helen Rees
From Thai Likay to Lao Lam Luang: Improvising the Nation through Folk Theater

  • This dissertation project seeks, first, to investigate likay, a Thai folk theater form, within Thailand; and, second, to trace likay’s transnational transformations across the Thai-Lao border into a Lao genre called lam luang. Thai likay and Lao lam luang are popular folk theater forms developed among rural populations that use a combination of spoken text, dance, song, instrumental music, and buoyant staging techniques in an energetic all-night performance. However, the two forms differ in one crucial respect. While Thai likay is associated with low class tastes of the laboring masses, Lao lam luang’s similarly humble rural origins are the very reason for its privileged status as an ideal national art in the Lao socialist framework, suggesting that one hierarchically-minded society’s bumbling underdog can be a socialist society’s glorious treasure. How do lam luang plotlines reframe the hierarchical narratives inherited from Thai likay to promote more egalitarian social structures, Lao historical integrity, cultural uniqueness, and an alternative Southeast Asian modernity? This cross-cultural comparison will enable me to address the issue of Thai hegemony in Laos from historical times to the present, and to observe the importance of folk theater in the arena of Lao nationalist political ideology.

Matthew Marr
Sociology graduate student working with Rebecca Emigh
Transitioning Out of Homelessness in Two Global Cities -- Los Angeles and Tokyo

Ari Seligmann
Urban Planning and Architecture graduate student working with Dana Cuff
Mediating Globalization with Public Architecture: Kumamoto's Artpolis and Seattle's Landmark Libraries

  • Kumamoto Prefecture’s Artpolis Program in Japan and Seattle’s Libraries for All Program represent diverse attempts by Pacific Rim cities and regions to use architecture to improve their position within global networks. These two programs and their exemplary projects present significant alternatives to urban regeneration strategies popularized by Bilbao, the new paradigm within the global cultural economy for drawing attention and people to cities with innovative buildings. Artpolis and Libraries for All respond to common criticisms of such spectacular projects offering comprehensive new models for architects, urbanists, and city administrators. While cities continue to employ innovative architecture to create symbols of vitality and to attract tourists, businesses, and residents, we have yet to fully understand the broader repercussions of using innovative architecture to negotiate multiple dimensions of globalization. Using the experiences of Bilbao as a datum, I propose interdisciplinary analyses of Artpolis and Libraries for All as two comparative case studies that elucidate multiple implications, including how innovative architecture attracts global attention, but also stimulates local environments, fosters public realms, and expands architectural culture. This research illuminates how innovative architecture serves a public resource for mediating globalization and shaping entrepreneurial cities around the Pacific Rim.

Awet Weldemichael
History graduate student working with Geoffrey Robinson
The Eritrean and East Timorese Liberation Movements: Toward a Comparative Study of their Grand Strategies

  • The East Timorese (1975-1999) and Eritrean (1961-1991) liberation struggles against Indonesia and Ethiopia, respectively, share a number of characteristics. The two former European colonies were integrated with their giant neighbors against the wishes of their peoples, who successfully waged protracted struggles to assert their territorial independence. After independence, however, the Eritrean liberation movement evolved into an authoritarian government, while its East Timorese counterpart gave birth to a democratic regime.
    What explains such a contrast despite seemingly profound similarity?
    I hypothesize that the political systems in independent East Timor and Eritrea were shaped by the grand strategies of their pre-independence liberation movements. The Eritrean movement set out to militarily overcome Ethiopian rule in Eritrea and in the process it evolved into a highly secretive and disciplined military organization, fostering rebel groups within Ethiopia as ‘democratic alternatives’ to the Ethiopian government. On the other hand, in East Timor, despite initial military attempts to halt Indonesian invasion, the independence movement diplomatically waged its case and won the support of numerous human rights and civil society organizations on the international arena.
    This project comparatively analyzes the roots of the East Timorese and Eritrean liberation movements’ grand strategies with the express goal of testing my hypothesis, which rests on the causal relationship between the grand strategies of the two movements and the political systems which succeeded them in the independent states.

Eric Zusman
Political Science graduate student working with Richard Baum
What Makes a Dragon Brown?: A Comparative Study of Air Pollution Regulation in East Asia

  • I plan to conduct interviews concerning the implementation of air pollution regulations in Taiwan and South Korea.  The interviews will be used to complete my dissertation, a comparative study of air pollution regulations in East Asia. 

    Over the past three decades, China, Taiwan, and South Korea have responded to the rapidly rising costs of air pollution.  And over the past three decades, the type and effectiveness of their regulatory responses to air pollution have differed.  The purpose of my project is to understand why they differed.  

    Some theories hold that differences in economic development are the primary cause of differences in environmental regulation.  Other theories maintain that the effect of economic development on environmental regulation depends on the political-economic “institutions” that translate popular and industrial interests into environmental regulations.  Most studies employing an institutional approach focus on advanced industrial democracies; few look at rapidly industrializing countries.  Since rapidly industrializing countries possess political systems/ industrial structures that are as varied as industrialized democracies but face pollution costs/ regulatory benefits far greater than industrialized democracies, the inattention to institutionalism marks a significant lacuna in the literature on environmental regulation.  Since China, Taiwan, and South Korea possess different political-economic institutions but face acute air pollution problems, a comparative study of air pollution regulation in East Asia marks a significant opportunity to fill it.

Asia Institute