Social Sciences

Institute for Social Sciences Addressed Societal Challenges

For four years, an institute in the UC Davis College of Letters and Science worked to bring together experts from diverse fields across the campus and beyond to tackle big questions facing society.

The Institute for Social Sciences (ISS), from fall 2014 through spring 2018, provided research seed funding, hosted conferences and talks, and offered graduate seminars and other student programs.

Inaugural ISS Noon Lecture Features an Analysis on the Midterm Elections

The Institute for Social Sciences (ISS) hosted its inaugural Noon Lecture in November with a joint talk by two UC Davis professors of political science presenting an analysis of the 2014 midterm elections.

In their talk on Nov. 12, 2014 — “2014 in the Rear View Mirror: What Have We Learned?” — Professor Benjamin Highton and Distinguished Professor Robert Huckfeldt discussed the implications these midterm elections have for California and the 2016 presidential race.

Olmsted's Noon Lecture Reveals Californian Roots of 'New Right'

Kathy Olmsted, chair of the history department, kicked off the 2015–16 ISS Noon Lecture series with a discussion of her newest book, Right Out of California.

Speaking to a capacity audience on Oct. 20, 2015, Olmsted argued that modern conservatism—the "New Right"—originated in New Deal-era California as a business-backed response to the farmworker unionization movement in the Central Valley.

Smith Reveals Limits of "Conflict Minerals" Concept

The proliferation of smartphones and other personal electronics has led to a booming demand for rare earth minerals. Yet recent legal and corporate interventions designed to eliminate “conflict minerals” from high-tech supply chains have proven equally violent and destructive to people on the ground.

 

Rauchway Investigates Politics of Inflation [Video]

What can the Great Depression and its aftermath teach us about “current unpleasantness” in the U.S. economy? On May 11, 2016, Professor of History Eric Rauchway offered some clues through a discussion of his latest book The Money Makers.

 

Moderated by Professor of Economics Christopher M. Meissner, the event represented a combining of two series: ISS Noon Lectures and DHI Brown Bag Book Chats.

Resendez Reframes Slavery in North America

Unlike the enslavement of Africans, Native American slavery was historically illegal across much of North America. Yet, as UC Davis historian Andrés Reséndez explained to a colloquium held October 12, 2016, in honor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, it was practiced for centuries—sometimes by Indians themselves.

Reséndez began by framing the enslavement of Native Americans against popular historical perceptions of slavery in North America—perceptions that typically focus on African slavery.

Hidden Histories: Susan Gilson Miller

Professor of History Susan Gilson Miller explores the margins of history. The gaps she finds in our knowledge of the past resonate with the questions and needs of people in the present.

History is contentious. Scholars that study the past must navigate through multiple histories, reflecting the diversity of memory and record-keeping methods, while also developing new narratives influenced by their own inquiries as well as by concerns of the present.

Scrutinizing Crime: Chris Smith

Assistant Professor of Sociology Chris Smith researches crime and inequality, criminal relationships, and criminal organizations. She is also deeply committed to supporting and mentoring students — especially those typically underrepresented in academia.

Chris Smith received her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2015 and joined the faculty at UC Davis that same year.

History Majors Know What's Happening by Understanding the Past

Prepared by Debate, Discussion and Analysis, Graduates Ready for Working-World Challenges

An old piece of folk wisdom  says, “You never know what’s happening until later.” Will the latest tax cut create jobs? Will the latest burst of allegations of sexual abuse change relations between men and women? Did the Russians steal the election of 2016? We’ll know in three years, or 10 or 50.