Mess Hall

Civilian Conservation Corps Mess Hall
Civilian Conservation Corps Mess Hall Photo via OSU Special Collections on flickr. (Click on image for more info)

We’re excited to launch Mess Hall, a “brown bag” series intended to allow DePaul scholars to present their works in progress at any stage (mess & all).  Mess Hall is a safe, fun, supportive, no-pressure environment where you can practice conference presentations, talk through data analysis problems, untangle conceptual or framework issues, or solicit collaborators. For those not presenting, Mess Hall offers an opportunity to learn what scholars in other departments and fields are working on and to become part of a supportive community of research at DePaul.

Bring your lunch and your constructive criticism and support your colleagues’ scholarship. If you’d like to present at Mess Hall, send an email to Jessica Speer.

WHEN: Friday, May 17, 1 – 2 p.m.
WHERE: SSRC Conference Room, 990 W. Fullerton Ave., Suite 3100
WHO: John Mazzeo, Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology

Social Foundations for a Community-Based Public Health Cholera Campaign in Borgne, Haiti

The rapid and widespread progression of cholera in rural Haiti can be attributed to a “perfect storm” of conditions including the widespread use of unprotected water sources, rudimentary sanitation, the lack of means to afford simple necessities, and the near absence of basic health services to treat the sick. Accessibility of essential health care and reliable sources of clean water in remote areas of rural Haiti are fundamental barriers to addressing acute public health emergencies including the ongoing cholera epidemic. This article explores the notion that positive health outcomes for hard to reach populations can be achieved through community mobilization. The peasant movement (gwoupman peyizan) in Borgne has established an extensive, capillarized social network that served as a model for the mobilization of volunteers in the fight against the cholera epidemic.  This case study from Borgne, Haiti describes the role of Alyans Sante Borgne (ASB), in coordinating community mobilization efforts against the epidemic. It suggests that the treatment of cholera and other infectious diseases requires a model of care delivery that efficiently brings resources to remote areas and recognizes the value of existing models of social organization in this process.


Uncoupling couples-giving


Andrew and Louise Carnegie
Andrew and Louise Carnegie. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Chris Einolf, assistant professor in the School of Public Service, is looking forward to starting work on a recently funded project that promises to illuminate the habits and decision-making dynamics that characterize charitable giving by couples. The project will expand Chris’ previous research and utilize data from the Center on Philanthropy Panel Study (COPPS) with which he’s already familiar.

“Because nobody’s really done it,” Chris is particularly eager about that part of the project in which 60 Chicago area married or similarly committed couples will be interviewed at length about how they decide what, to whom, and how much they’ll donate to public service charities. He describes couples’ decisions about charitable giving as “basically a black box,” with little research history.  Continue reading “Uncoupling couples-giving”

Social Media: Do I Know You?

This essay marks the first in a series by SSRC’s resident social media specialist, Thom Fredericks, exploring the use of social media in social science research. We’ll be happy to work with you on incorporating social media as a research object or tool, or to publicize your research and connect with other researchers and communities. 

Many of us think we know what social media is, how it’s used, and what it’s all about. However, social media is an ever-changing form, prone to shifting like a leaf in the wind. People, web-users, software designers, and the marketplace are always changing how technology and innovation are used and therefore how they are defined and adopted. Social media is one form of technological innovation that is continually being reshaped and redefined. So then, what is social media and how can we use it in the worlds of social science and the humanities? Let’s begin by taking a quick look at what social media is.

Social media outlets consist of a variety of Internet communications from forums and blogs (text, video, audio) to content sharing (photo, video, social book marking, etc). Each of these forms helps the user develop a social presence, or social identity, through the process of self-presentation, self-disclosure, and content creation. For those who follow the concepts of Erving Goffman, the social media world is a virtual cornucopia of information and an excellent resource to tap into.

Most agree that there are four main types of social media, each with a slightly different use: collaborative efforts (forums, wikis), individual efforts (blogs/microblogs), content communities (photo/video sharing), and social networking (Facebook, LinkedIn). There are also two other large social media enclaves worth mentioning: worlds and virtual social worlds. (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2010)*

Social media is made up of user-generated content and relies on an interactive communication that is largely reciprocal (commenting, sharing links, link-backs). At its core, social media is about connecting with others – individuals, groups, and institutional organizations. It’s about networking and building your network. It can be used for marketing, informing, sharing thoughts and opinions, or engaging with friends and family on a personal level. However you choose to participate in social media, it requires a personal investment of time and consistent effort to provide content and engage with others in that particular social media form.

Sharing information and taking part in this highly flexible and easily accessible medium does not necessarily equate to a high degree of interaction. Successfully instituting such an initiative takes time, planning, and careful consideration. When implementing a social media strategy one needs to determine a purpose and an audience, keeping in mind that such efforts are not always easily measured. Successfully measuring your campaigns will depend on your purpose and your intended audience. Most importantly, when developing a social media strategy, especially for the social sciences and humanities, one needs to be creative and think outside the box.

*Kaplan, Andreas M.; Michael Haenlein (2010). “Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of social media”.