2022 Grant Recipients

About the JustX Faculty Grants Program

Winners of the 2021-2022 JustX Faculty Grants Program for Dartmouth faculty have been announced for one-year projects. The Neukom Institute received $840K in total requests and awarded $185K of financial support with an additional combination of programming support from Research Computing and the Neukom Scholars program.

Dartmouth College faculty including the undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools were eligible to apply for these competitive grants.

Note:

* indicates an award that is partnered with assistance from Dartmouth College Research Computing.

+ indicates an award that is partnered with an RA provided through the Scholars program.

Psychological and Brain Sciences

Emily Finn

Don't Fence Me in: Defensive Storytelling to Subvert Partisan Stereotypes Encoded in Networked Knowledge Structures

Emily Finn

Emily Finn

In our age of political polarization, conversations across party lines can be difficult. A fundamental source of this difficulty is negative stereotypes associated with different political identities. In order to better understand how storytelling strategies can alternately reinforce or help overcome these stereotypes, we will build computational models of cross-political conversations in two different, but related contexts. First, we will use dynamic graphs to model how passive observers of the same real-world stimulus, a televised presidential debate, arrive at divergent politically-motivated interpretations of events through engagement with different communication networks on Twitter. Second, we will use agent-based modeling and natural language processing to explore how people use their understanding of these stereotypes in one-on-one conversations, during which they play a generative role in shaping the content, to engage in defensive storytelling – sharing stories about their lives to preemptively defuse others' politically-informed assumptions. Together, these lines of inquiry will expand our understanding of how political stereotypes operate in the larger social world and inform strategies for developing mutual understanding across party lines.

Geography

Luis Alvarez Leon

Miami on the Edge: Urban Change Between Climate Gentrification and Technology Attraction 

Leon

Leon

Even under existential threats from rising sea levels, Miami is attracting much attention and investment from the technology industry, which accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hyped as 'the next Silicon Beach' and promoted by mayor Francis Suarez's campaign to boost the city's economy through "coders, crypto, and capital", the city is in the process of reinventing itself as a high-technology hub in the shadow of climate catastrophe. These dynamics collide in Miami's high-elevation areas, sites of both incoming investment and likely 'climate gentrification'. Combining satellite imagery analysis in Google Earth Engine, real estate, eviction, and interview data, this project answers: how are the city of Miami and its residents (particularly in high elevation neighborhoods) responding to the twin forces of climate change and technological attraction? Understanding cities' responses to technology attraction and climate-related catastrophe is vital to address climate resilience, ensure shared prosperity, and prevent uneven outcomes from development.

This project will combine top-down and bottom-up perspectives to address knowledge gaps about the impacts produced on Miami's urban geography by the twin forces of climate-change induced flooding and technology-induced development and investment. This will be achieved by triangulating (1) analysis of satellite imagery via Google Earth Engine to estimate flood risk areas, (2) spatial analysis of real estate market fluctuations and other urban change data across Miami's neighborhoods (top-down), with (3) interviews about the experiences of key stakeholder like community groups, government actors and businesses (bottom-up). Integrating these perspectives, the project will achieve a well-rounded understanding of the factors producing change in Miami at the intersection of climate change and technology attraction, the impacts of these changes in the city's configuration, and the responses of residents and other key stakeholders. The circumstances reshaping Miami are analogous to those affecting cities from Singapore to New York City, all sought-after locations in the digital economy under threat from catastrophic climate change-related events.

Government

Jason Lyall & Brendan Nyhan

A Multiplatform Evaluation of Online Counter-Radicalization Messages in Bangladesh 

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Lyall

A rising tide of violent extremism threatens governments around the world. In response, governments, aid agencies, and academics have created dozens of countering violent extremism (CVE) programs designed to reduce support for political violence. Yet few of these programs have been rigorously evaluated. In particular, we know little about about to best counter extremism online, an increasingly important venue as these movements turn to social media to attract followers and financial support.

Our project will conduct a rigorous two-stage impact evaluation of an online CVE messaging campaign in Bangladesh, a country facing rising terrorist violence and growing economic dislocation from COVID-19. We first conduct a randomized control trial of three new Facebook videos designed by the International Republican Institute (IRI) to reduce support for the Islamic State (IS) as well as Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), a local Islamic terrorist group in Bangladesh. We also track how viewers respond to these ads through their interaction with a purpose-built Facebook page that hosts a variety of CVE material. We then conduct an online survey experiment that uses indirect measurement techniques to measure how these ads influence relative support for the Bangladeshi government and these terrorist organizations. Taken together, we offer a new methodological approach to evaluating the effects of online CVE messaging campaigns in non-Western contexts.

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Nyhan

 

Geography

Justin Mankin*

National Attribution of Historical Climate Damages: Data in Service of Climate Litigation

Mankin

Mankin

Quantifying which nations are culpable for the economic impacts of anthropogenic warming is central to informing climate litigation and claims for restitution for climate damages. However, for a country seeking legal redress, the magnitude of economic losses from warming that are attributable to individual emitters is not known from existing work, undermining its standing for climate liability claims. We have addressed this gap, combining historical data with climate models of varying complexity in an integrated framework to quantify each nation's culpability for historical temperature-driven income changes in every other country. By linking individual emitters to country-level income losses from warming, our results provide critical insight into climate liability and national accountability for climate policy. Based on our collaboration with the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, it is essential to publicly serve these data, which are the first of their kind, to support the domestic and international legal communities pursuing ongoing and future climate litigation. Our project has two goals: (1) build a Dartmouth-based website to publicly serve the data we have generated from this project to the legal community and (2) seed the next steps of our work furthering the attribution of climate damages. Our computational work provides evidence for liability claims of the monetary losses countries have suffered based on the actions of specific emitters. Crucially, the distribution of these impacts is highly unequal, emphasizing the inequities embedded in the causes and consequences of historical warming. Serving these data and the science that developed them in a transparent and interpretable manner, while positioning us to extend our computational accounting framework to other actors, such as individual firms, closely aligns with the Wright Center mission.