Faculty Fellowships

Each year we sponsor the research of SUA faculty members whose work align with the mission of the PBRC.

Fellowships are awarded on a competitive basis, with a maximum allocation of $10,000 per award. The total amount available is $40,000 with the number of awards contingent upon the level of support provided to individual fellows. The fellowship program is designed to enhance and encourage research related to the Pacific Basin—individual and/or collaborative—and scholarly activities more broadly among SUA faculty. As part of the award, PBRC Faculty Fellows are expected to play active roles in PBRC activities and to present their research to the campus community.

Our Fellows 2021-2022

  • A photo of Sarah

    Sarah England

    "Finding Refuge from Racism and State Violence, or just More of the Same? The Impact of Obama and Trump Era Immigration Policies on Central American Garifuna Asylum Seekers"

    The purpose of this research project is to understand how Honduran Garifuna patterns and experiences of immigration have been impacted by changes in US immigration law and events in Honduras over the last 20 years that have led to increased levels of violence towards them by both state and non-state actors. The Garifuna are an Afro-Indigenous population who live in villages along the Caribbean coast of Central America from Belize to Nicaragua. They have been migrating to the US since the 1940s, and up until the 1990s, were largely documented and travelled frequently between the US and their home communities in Central America. Though this migration was associated with some social problems, it was largely seen as positive by the community as it enabled Garifuna to earn money in the US which they invested in their villages in the form of houses, businesses, and education for their children. Migrants actively participated in the political and cultural life of the home community and frequently visited. However, several events at the turn of the 21st century have changed this migration from simply a strategy of upward mobility (sacar adelante a mi familia) to an urgent matter of life and death. First, one of the worst hurricanes in the history of Central America hit in 1998 killing tens of thousands of people, destroying crops, infrastructure, and homes. Then in 2009 there was a coup d’etat that overthrew democratically elected president Manuel Zelaya and has led to massive levels of political repression, violence, and corruption. In particular, the new regime created legislation that has opened the Caribbean coast of Honduras to foreign ownership for agribusiness and mega-tourism projects leading to severe conflicts over Garifuna land. In addition, the northeastern coast of Honduras has become dominated by drug cartels that use the isolated beaches and rain forests as places to land their planes and boats, intimidating and threatening the local community to sell their land and/or participate in the business. The Honduran military and government have connections to these cartels leading many to refer to Honduras as a “narco state.” Though Garifuna have attempted to fight against these processes of dislocation, impoverishment, and criminal violence, the state has responded with its own brand of violence by assassinating, threatening, and criminalizing Garifuna leaders. Thus, many Garifuna, like other Hondurans, are making the decision to migrate in response to an immediate threat to their lives, and do not have the time to go through the legal routes of applying for visas and family reunification as they had done in the past, but are rather coming undocumented, many in search of asylum. Unfortunately, since 9/11 in 2001, US immigration policy has become much stricter about who can enter legally, much more draconian in its treatment of the undocumented population, and more unfriendly to asylum seekers. Many scholars have referred to the current detention and deportation regime of the US and the militarized US/Mexican border as a form of state violence that is highly racialized as it tends to disproportionately target peoples from certain parts of the world, Central America being one of them. Thus, the Garifuna, like many asylum seekers, are caught between two forms of state violence: that of their own countries that is literally expelling them through marginalization and persecution, and that of the US that uses “racialized filters” to make entry to the US and receiving asylum extremely difficult for certain types of people.

    For this project I travelled in July to New Orleans and Houston where I conducted interviews with Garifuna who had migrated to the US within the last 10 years to hear their stories of why they decided to migrate, what their experience was like passing through Mexico and the US/Mexican border, and how they were treated by US immigration officials. I heard stories of people migrating due to poverty, death threats, and political persecution, and having to pass through many “filters” created by harsh Mexican and US immigration policies, corrupt officials, and organized crime along the way. Some of the earlier migrants came as single adults but all of the more recent migrants came as families, often with very small children. After collecting these stories I am able to see the way that immigration from Central America has generated a whole system of state and non-state actors who benefit financially from the expulsion of Central Americans from their communities (which makes their land available for corporate investment), their vulnerability during their passage to the US border (which makes them easy prey for extortion), and their difficulty in regularizing their legal status in the US (which makes them vulnerable to the detention and deportation industrial complex). In the case of the Garifuna this is made even more acute by the fact that they are an Afro-Indigenous population whose culture, territory, and rights are supposed to be protected by numerous international conventions acknowledging the special value and vulnerability of indigenous and Afro-descent peoples. Many Garifuna experience this dislocation from their communities as the third expulsion that they have suffered as a people: first from Africa, then from St. Vincent, and now from Central America. And yet US asylum policy is also hostile to their claims to seek refuge in the US, forcing them to remain undocumented and vulnerable to expulsion from this country, completing the circle of state violence against them.

  • A photo of Deike

    Deike Peters

    “Natural Playscapes, Ecological Literacy & Outdoor Education” – A Spring 2022 PBRC Symposium at Soka University

    For many of us, the past year of zoom gloom reinforced the insight that excessive time spent indoors, hooked to technology, is related to many modern-day behavioral issues related to attention and mood, especially among children and teens. Yet beyond a simple ‘opting outside,’ what exactly constitutes an optimal outdoor playscape? How much designing do such spaces need? How much is simply about spending time in nature? And what kind of ‘nature’ can families access in today’s urban and suburban environments?

    The most recent thematic issue of the British journal Built Environment on “Natural Playscapes and Outdoor Education” which I had the pleasure to guest edit, clearly demonstrates that ‘playscapes’ by no means have to feature classic structures such as swings, teeter-totters, or sand boxes. The anarchist social historian Colin Ward once famously proclaimed that “one should be able to play everywhere easily, loosely and not forced into a playground or a park.” My collaborators and I show how natural elements are being incorporated into playgrounds at the same time that virtual and ‘smart’ elements of play are complementing the way children are experiencing the outdoors. We also acknowledge that access to nature has become an important environmental justice issue, as many studies show that higher socioeconomic status is highly correlated with superior access to green spaces. The thematic issue drew its original inspiration from a pre-pandemic winter 2020 Soka Travel Learning Cluster to Sweden and Denmark where my students and I were exposed to the best examples of outdoor education and natural playscapes that Scandinavia has to offer. The follow-up symposium planned at Soka University will be specifically designed to better connect North American scholars and practitioners to this rich European expertise, all the while featuring some cutting-edge initiatives from across California and possible other parts of the US.

Explore More

“Sun Illuminates Shanghai High-Rises” by Cerelia Maskarinec (2017)

Past Fellows

  • Shane Barter

    Shane Barter

    “Internal Conflicts in Southeast Asia: Ethnicity and Difference” and “Rethinking Territorial Autonomy”

    As a 2019-20 PBRC faculty fellow, I am excited to complete several research projects. The first is a book manuscript on armed conflicts and peace in Southeast Asia. The book seeks to provide an inventory of civil wars across Southeast Asia, delineate various forms of armed conflict, emphasize how ethnicity shapes violence, and survey varied approaches to peace-building. The second project focuses on territorial autonomy, with the final goal being a new book manuscript. The book seeks to provide a definitive statement of the varied nature of territorial autonomy, in which territorially-concentrated minorities are granted the ability to control sub-national government with special powers. I will develop this project throughout the academic year, including one month as a visiting scholar at Australian National University this fall, again with the support of the PBRC and Soka University of America.

  • Monika Calef

    Monika Calef

    “Climate Change Impacts on Economic and Social Resilience and Adaptation of People in Alaska and the Yukon”

    Modeling Vegetation in the Western Arctic Climate change is causing multiple changes in the arctic natural environment such as permafrost thaw, wildfire, and rain-in-winter events which are already causing massive damages to the region’s infrastructure. Arctic residents are forced to adapt to rapid changes in the coupled human-environmental system and have to try to mitigate effects of all three hazards simultaneously, which can be challenging. In collaboration with several other scientists, my project will conduct a spatially explicit assessment of permafrost thaw, wildfire, and rain-in-winter events as they have evolved since 1980 and how they might change until 2060 in the municipality of Anchorage, Alaska; the Fairbanks North Star Borough, Alaska; and Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada. My contribution to this project is the development and verification of annual, 30-meter-resolution vegetation maps for the three study areas from 1980 to 2060 using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), R, statistics, and ancillary datasets on elevation, aspect, slope, climate, soils, and historic fire. These vegetation maps will be used as inputs into a wildfire hazard assessment model, a permafrost model, and economic models to help our partner communities make better-informed decisions regarding how and where to build and manage public and private infrastructure and finance public services.

  • Osamu Ishiyama

    Osamu Ishiyama

    “Cross Linguistic Investigation of Historical Sources of First and Second Person Pronouns”

    With the support from the PBRC fellowship, I am engaged in cross-linguistic research on historical sources of first and second person pronouns. Unlike third person pronouns which tend to come from demonstratives, the origin of first/second person pronouns is under-studied. Though there have been some suggestions regarding the emergence of first/second person pronouns (nouns, spatial deixis, reflexives, plurification, shift in deixis), these proposed conceptual sources need to be examined systematically using more extensive cross-linguistic data.

  • Lisa MacLeod

    Lisa MacLeod

    “UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women and Peace and Security”

    Lisa MacLeod is Associate Professor of International Studies at Soka University of America. Her current research project explores the UN Security Council’s treatment of thematic issues. Traditionally, the UN Security Council has focused on responding to country or region-specific conflicts. In recent years, as much as 30 percent of the Council’s formal agenda has been devoted to thematic issues such as women, peace and security, children and armed conflict, and protection of civilians. Many of these thematic issues reflect an ever-changing security landscape and the post-Cold War adoption of human security norms. Through examining the practices and processes of interactions between a range of state and non-state actors, this study seeks to better understand the UN Security Council’s treatment of thematic issues. Why is it that some themes have dropped off (or never make it to) the council agenda while others have regularly been addressed by the council and increasingly institutionalized in the work of the UN system? The approach of the 20th anniversary of the Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security is an opportune time to explore these questions.