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In April 2012, the curriculum in Global Studies launched the Global Studies Faculty Student Partnership Fund to facilitate dynamic interactionsbetween Global Studies majors and Global Studies faculty. Joint and affiliate Global Studies faculty had the opportunity to submit global project proposals for undergraduate research assistant funding. Four proposals were selected for the summer of 2012. The curriculum then solicited research assistant applications from among its over 800 majors. The students selected by the faculty were awarded $500 for the fifty hours we anticipated they would spent on the project over the summer.

We see this new initiative as a way of facilitating the very real desire that our majors have to be more closely involved with the exciting research done by our faculty.

Read on to learn more about the selected proposals and research assistants!

Geographies Of Global Healthcare

Constructing the “medical tourist” as an object of economic development

with Dr. Nina Martin (Geography)

In the last decade, a global market in healthcare has emerged, reshaping issues of access, affordability, and quality of care for both tourist-patients and local residents.  Many countries in the global south that fail to provide adequate care for their own populations, have promoted a medical industry serving wealthyforeigners. In this research project Dr. Martin seeks to explore how private health care providers, government health systems, and patients are implicated in creating a new geography of care built on a highly mobile patient population. Specifically, how do governments in the global south narrate, construct, and promote the bodies and ailments of those in the global north as a potential source of economic development? And, what can we learn about how scientific expertise, notions of life/death, and new conceptions of place are negotiated within the social space of these globally-oriented health clinics? Theoretically, Dr. Martin draws on the “new mobilities” paradigm that has emerged in the social sciences in the last decade, and the literature on “embodiment” resulting from recent advances in feminist Geography.

Dr. Martin selected BryannaFoote ’13 to work with her on this project over the summer. Foote had first hand experience of medical tourism, having seen the disparity between the numerous government health clinics she’d visited in Northern India and a Delhi hospital that catered to wealthy citizens and internationals. Since then, Foote has grappled with the notion of for-profit hospitals being part of the solution to extending specialty healthcare treatments to low-income individuals through her senior honors thesis.

She was excited to review scholarly and policy documents on the phenomenon of medical tourism, assist in choosing appropriate case studies, and help design a questionnaire for key informants with Dr. Martin, who emphasized how valuable a research assistant would be during the initial phase of research.

Dr. Martin anticipates co-authoring an article with Ms. Foote and submitting it to the journal Mobilities.

Mapping Social Change Approaches

From the Southeast to the Global Justice Movement

with Dr. Michal Osterweil (Global Studies)

Dr. Michal Osterweil launched a collaborative research project with a local community partner called Stone Circles ( on mapping approaches to social change, with a focus on land-based movements. Their aim is to find and map out what community organizing approaches and theories organizations working on issues of sustainability, local food, and social justice are using. They are interested in whether there is an explicit “approach” or methodology, and if so how it was derived. They also seek to understand how these groups began working on these issues, and if race/class/gender oppressions are addressed. Their research concentrates on the Southeast, and emphasizes those movements and organizations that have participated in various iterations of the Global Justice Movement, including the US Social Forum.

Dr. Osterweil selected Elizabeth Cooper ’12 as a research assistant. Cooper had previously pursuedcoursework and personal research relating sustainable agriculture movements to larger questions of social and economic justice as a Global Studies major concentrating in Development and Economics. She herself  has also engaged in local agriculture movements, working with the Environmental Justice Coalition, Farmer Foodshare, and FLO. Cooper plans to complete a Masters degree researching related movements in Europe.

Cooper was looking forward to developing her research methodology through assisting Dr. Osterweil with interviews with key organizers about organizational histories, data searches seeking to understand connections between groups and movements and developing a classification system.

International Investors And Government Policies

with Dr. Layna Mosley (Political Science)

This project seeks to evaluate the extent to which investors, especially those in sovereign debt markets, limit the policy autonomy of governments.  Particularly in the context of debt crises in the Europe Union, it is important to identify the nature of capital market pressures for austerity and reform. Are investors as attentive to specific government policies as the rhetoric of some politicians suggests? Do investors worry that left-leaning governments will fail to enact fiscal reforms and will pursue profligate policies? Or do professional investors assume that governments of all partisan leanings are committed to the repayment of their sovereign obligations? To address these questions, Dr. Mosley explores the extent to which investors are attentive to various government policy changes; these include changes in social protection and pensions, tax policy and regulatory frameworks.

Dr. Mosley selected Anna Li ’15 as her assistant for the summer. Li participates in the local branch of Roosevelt Institute at UNC, which publishes innovative student generated policy articles and opinions. She is also a member of the Chapel Hill branch of AIESEC, a student run organization aimed at helping students gain a broaderunderstanding of other cultures through international internships. Li is pursuing a BS in business administration and a BA in global studies, concentrating on international politics in Asia.

Li worked with Dr. Mosley to compile a database of relevant policychanges, using news reports as well as reports from various investment analysts. She also helped to assemble a set of data on the risk premiums charged for sovereign borrowers, information to be used to examine systematically the conditions under which government policy changes generate reactions among private investors. This research hopes to provide insight regarding the relationship between international investors and government policy decisions.

Impact Of OUT LGBT Elected Officials On Laws And Policies

with Dr. Andrew Reynolds

This scholarly research project investigates the relationship between OUT LGBT elected officials in national legislatures and executives around the globe and their impact on laws and public policy issues of special importance to the Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual and Transgender communities. The project is the first of its kind and will mobilize a team of both graduate and undergraduate researchers.

Over the last 15 years the number of open LGBT legislators in National Assemblies around the globe has more than tripled. Most gains have come in established democracies in the west but there are a growing number of open LGBT politicians at the highest levels in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

There is an established literature which seeks to understand whether the representation of specific groups in parliament affects the realization of their policy preferences, protects their interests, and improves the position of the group within the society as a whole.  To date, this research has focused on the representation of women and ethnic minorities.

Reynolds’ preliminary research suggests a strong relationship between the presence of Out LGBT politicians and developing national legislation which moves towards equality in the treatment of sexual orientation. This proposal outlines a large data gathering enterprise alongside structured interviews and surveys of 200 Out LGBT and straight national parliamentarians.

The research will focus on three inter-related questions (i) how many openly LGBT legislators are there in national parliaments and how have the numbers changed over time; (ii) what explains the cross national variation in legislative presence of Out officials; and (iii) what is the relationship between the election of LGBT legislators and progressive Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual (LGB), and Transgendered law.

Dr. Reynolds selected Ali Evarts, a double major in dramatic arts and global studies, concentrating in international politics in Africa, as his assistant. Evarts had taken Dr.Reynolds’ class on African politics and was excited by the opportunity to work on LGBT issues in this project.

Over the course of the summer, Evarts was particularly engaged in creating a table on transgender law around the world, allowing her to connect with and befriend contacts from Algeria to Belarus, an opportunity she claims is invaluable. “I feel so fortunate to be part of this historic research,” Evarts recently said.