Environment and Disasters

Project: Community-Based Participatory Hazard and Vulnerability Assessment

Principal Investigator(s): A.J. Faas, Co-PI Anne Wein (USGS)

Client/Partner: US Geological Survey

Summary: In partnership with the US Geological Survey (USGS), we are working with community organizations and groups in the South and East Bay to study and interpret the production, negotiation, and reduction of hazards, disasters, and vulnerability. This is a citizen science project that directly involves non-professionals in the production of scientific knowledge about their cities and communities, which we hope to apply in projects intended to reduce vulnerability and hazard and disaster risk. To accomplish these objectives, we are piloting new participatory methodologies with community groups.

Funding: US Geological Survey

Timeline: 2019-2022

Student Opportunities: There are opportunities for funded student research assistantships and individual student MA projects and theses. Please contact Dr. A.J. Faas (aj.faas@sjsu.edu).

Student Researchers: Jhaid Parreno, Gabbie Fall, Noemie Gonzalez Bautista (Post-Doc)

Project: Disaster Preparedness in San José

Principal Investigator(s): A.J. Faas

Client/Partner: Japantown Prepared!

Summary: In partnership with Japantown Prepared!, a disaster preparedness organization in San José’s historic Japantown, we are designing anthropologically-informed organizational development projects to improve organizational structure and community participation, and improving household and community-level disaster preparedness in Japantown. Deliverables to-date include: a preparedness and response “block captain” initiative, website and social media development, a community disaster supplies depot, community festival tabling and outreach, an organizational branding project, a business preparedness program, a marketing project, and an ethnographic study of preparedness in Japantown. New projects include a household preparedness survey and designing and implementing new participatory preparedness events.

Funding: Laura Good Grants to support undergraduate research and projects, GRAD grants for graduate student research

Timeline: 2017-2022

Student Opportunities: There are opportunities for funded student research assistantships and individual student MA projects and theses. Please contact A.J. Faas at aj.faas@sjsu.edu.

Student Researchers: Vanessa Castro, Brandon Alvarado, Nicole Angulo, Bryan Arcadia, Essay Beyene, Nicole Bradley, Cameron Chan, Troy Clark, Nancy Diaz, Madeline Dickson, Maranyeli Estrada, Alyssa Gil, Matthew Hodson, Kiyoshi Ito, Mardi Khin, Patrick Kim, Wendy Kwong, Chelsea Lance, Nayeli Lopez, Jeovany Martin, Leonicio Mejia, Cristian Mesias, Roger Mountha, Wendy Myvett, Victoria Nguyen, Kelly Phan, Lluvia Ramos, Joshua Rivera, Maylea Saito, Jodi Tran, Janet Trujillo, Brian Truong, Shaojie Yu

Project: Cascading Impacts and Cooperation in Disaster, Displacement, and Resettlement in the Ecuadorian Andes

Principal Investigator(s): A.J. Faas

Summary: This is part of an ongoing, longitudinal study of two post-disaster resettlements and one community of displacees that returned to rebuild their village at the base of the active strato-volcano, Mt. Tungurahua, after evacuating in 1999 and again in 2006. In this project, we are investigating the historical production of disaster vulnerability, state and nongovernmental recovery and reconstruction strategies, the politics of disaster and recovery, gender and work in resettlement, and the role of cooperation and local adaptation in disaster response and recovery. In addition, we are currently working on a “knowledge in action” project that involves summarizing and presenting the range of published findings from this project into creative and useful deliverables for the communities who have participated in the study.

Funding: National Science Foundation (2009-2013), SJSU Undergraduate Research Program, Laura Good Grant for Undergraduate Research, SJSU College of Social Sciences RSCA Grants

Timeline: 2009-ongoing

Student Opportunities: There are opportunities for funded student research assistantships and individual student MA projects and theses. Please contact A.J. Faas at aj.faas@sjsu.edu.

Student Researchers: Zaida Aleman, Kristen Constanza, Briza Díaz, Citlalli Hernández, Abril Pérez-Gonzaga, Daniel Maldonado, Edher Zamudio

Project: Reengineering Nature in Silicon Valley

Principal Investigator(s): J.A. English-Lueck (SJSU)

Client/Partner: Silicon Valley Cultures Project

Summary: This project is primarily an academic research project, although it has implications for the forecasters at the Institute for the Future and the Food Innovation program.  Building on more than 25 years of ethnographic inquiry into the cultures of Silicon Valley, the project looks at the lives of workers who participate in the countercultural and artistic life of Silicon Valley, and the research, design and implementation of food, ag, and clean tech endeavors.  Internet of Things and Virtual Reality technologies combine sensors and versions of lived experience.  These researchers are interviewing artists and engineers, community advocates and designers to better understand how they merge their distinct visions of the future with the work they do. What values are these workers bringing to their work? Geography faculty Kerry Rohrmeier is collaborating with English-Lueck to explore the relationship of Silicon Valley to Burning Man.  English-Lueck is also teaming up with interested alumni, undergraduate and graduate researchers, and Mass Communications faculty Tina Korani to document these stories.  The project will result in an academic production such as a book and article, and a co-authored innovative virtual reality installation and proceeding article for the Southwestern Anthropological Association meeting and other venues.

Funding: SJSU RSCA, Carnegie Pending

Timeline: 2018-2021

Student Opportunities: There are opportunities for individual undergraduate student projects and graduate 280 and MA projects. Contact J.A. English-Lueck at Jan.English-Lueck@sjsu.edu.

Student Researchers: Ella Babin, Cheryl Cowan, Jillian Ferini, Ian Torres, Andrew Marley, Daniel E. Maldonado, Kevin Kochever, Jasmine Low, Melanie Bailey, and Christophe Gonzales.

Project: Food Paths Project

Principal Investigator(s): J.A. English-Lueck (SJSU); Chiara Cecchini (Food Innovation Program) and Sara Smith (Future Food Lab, Institute for the Future)

Client/Partner: Food Innovation Program, University of Bologna; Future Food Lab, Institute for the Future

Summary: We have engaged in a multiyear project that evolved out of a funded project with the Institute for the Future and the Google Food Lab. The San Francisco Bay Area practices a distinctive food culture that is connected to its agricultural and immigrant past and present.  Culinary fusions, food innovation, urban farming and craft food production flourish in corporate cafes, restaurants, food tech startups, and resident networks.  The legacy of social movements in the region link food production, preparation, consumption and waste management to the notion of “eating for good.”  Such efforts are captured ethnographically, curated and disseminated to our partners.  One partial product of this collaboration has been the documentary, Food Makers, which was recently shown at the film festival, Cinema Italian Style in San Francisco. Students have presented their data at the Southwestern Anthropological Association.

Funding: N/A, Future funding possible

Timeline: 2017-2020

Student Opportunities: There are opportunities for individual undergraduate student projects and graduate MA projects. Contact J.A. English-Lueck at Jan.English-Lueck@sjsu.edu.

Student Researchers: Anthropology 107, Eating Culture, the Anthropology of Food, undergraduate students from 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.  Additional related work done by Ella Babin, Cheryl Cowan, Clemy Bebb, Tim Rodriquez, Veronica Rodriguez, Ashley Estrada and Milton Canas-Chinchilla.

Project: Effects of Cumulative Disasters and Practices of Social Support and Mutual Aid Among San Jose State University Students during the COVID-19 Pandemic

SJSU Principal Investigator(s): A.J. Faas, Co-PI Melissa Beresford

Client/Partner: [in development]

Summary: This is an ethnographic, descriptive study intended to compare the COVID-19 pandemic experiences and social support and mutual aid practices of SJSU undergraduate students with prior experience of disaster and those without prior experience. Specifically, we are addressing empirical gaps in disaster studies using a research framework organized around the investigation of 1) how changes in awareness are brought about by past disaster experiences; 2) how new awareness may or may not lead to new capacities, strategies, and skills; 3) how these new capacities, strategies, or skills do or do not translate into responses to the COVID-19 pandemic; and 4) the varieties of social support (dyadic) and mutual aid (collective) practices people engage in and how they adapt these practices to the social distancing measures of COVID-19.

Funding: U.S. National Science Foundation, The Natural Hazards Center, and the Culture and Disaster Action Network (CADAN)

Timeline: Ongoing

Student Opportunities: There are opportunities for undergraduate internships and MA projects and theses that use and/or build off of this data set. Please contact A.J. Faas or Melissa Beresford.

Student Researchers: ANTH 149 Ethnographic Methods Students, Christina Padilla