CISS Announces 2022-23 Pilot Grant Recipients

CISS has awarded four $5,000 pilot grants to researchers applying interdisciplinary lenses and methods to cutting-edge social issues. Each Fall semester, CISS invites proposals for research projects.  Lean more about the recipients and their projects.

Taylor Boas (CAS/Political Science). Transnational Populism: Religion and the Radical Right among Brazilian Migrants.

This project will examine why Brazilian migrants to the Boston area, as well as their sending communities back home, have been disproportionately supportive of right-wing populists such as Jair Bolsonaro and Donald Trump. It focuses on the political implications of transnational ties, especially those of a religious nature, between Brazilians at home and abroad, drawing on surveys, focus groups, and qualitative interviews.

Taylor Boas is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science. His research examines electoral politics, public opinion, and political behavior in Latin America, including its intersection with religion. He is author of Evangelicals and Electoral Politics in Latin America: A Kingdom of This World (Cambridge University Press, 2023).

Daniel Jacobson López (School of Social Work) and Steven Meanly (University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing). Improving Healthcare Services for Gay and Bisexual Latino and Black Male Sexual Assault Survivors in Boston

This study seeks to explore what current protocols are available and being implemented for gay and bisexual Black and/or Latino male sexual assault survivors who are seeking medical care services in Boston. Findings from this study will inform care that is evidence-based, trauma-informed and culturally-responsive to enhance the well-being of these men who are far too often ignored.

Daniel Jacobson López is an Assistant Professor at Boston University, School of Social Work and a BU STARS Fellow. Dr. López is also Visiting Faculty at Yale University, School of Public Health.  His research examines how socio-political systems engage with gay Latino and/or Black sexual assault survivors and the health services provided to them. Most recently, his research has also included reducing stigma against Ghanaian MSM in Ghana. Jacobson López is a certified sexual assault counselor, a licensed certified social worker, and an anti-bias facilitator with the Anti-Defamation League.

Merav Shohet (CAS/Anthropology) and Insa Marie Schmidt (School of Medicine/Boston Medical Center): Stigma, Care, and End-Stage Kidney Disease (ESKD) in Racialized Boston Communities Fighting the Syndemic Sequelae of COVID-19  

This study builds on stigma research and combines in-person and remote ethnographic and epidemiological research methods to explore the dynamics of racism, illness, and care for residents of underprivileged urban communities who suffer end-stage kidney disease (ESKD). These data will reveal patients’ and their lay and medical caregivers’ challenges and perceived needs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Findings will inform front-line medical and community workers, as well as policymakers tasked with providing support for these most vulnerable of patients.

Merav Shohet is Assistant Professor and Co-Director of Undergraduate Studies in Anthropology at Boston University. She combines her specializations in psychological, medical, and linguistic anthropology to research and teach about care, kinship, ethics, and illness narrative and inequalities in North America, Vietnam, and Palestine/Israel. Dr. Shohet is author of Silence and Sacrifice: Family Stories of Care and the Limits of Love in Vietnam, and has published in leading journals including American Anthropologist, American Ethnologist, Ethos, and Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. She is the 2022 recipient of the Carole H. Browner Undergraduate Mentorship Award by the American Anthropological Association Society for Medical Anthropology.

Insa Marie Schmidt is Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center. She has a broad range of interests in quantitative and qualitative clinical research. With a focus on chronic kidney and cardiovascular diseases, Dr. Schmidt is committed to linking her interests in care, biomedical practice, and the intersection of medicine with the social sciences and humanities.


Sandra McEvoy (CAS/Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Political Science). A Gendered Examination of Political Instability in Northern Ireland

This book project will document the essential role that women played in service to Loyalist paramilitary organizations during the 30-year conflict in Northern Ireland known as “The Troubles,” and will provide clarity about how Loyalists understand themselves in a complex political moment in Northern Ireland.

Sandra McEvoy is a Clinical Associate Professor of Political Science and Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies. McEvoy’s research interests include the dynamics of political change including women’s participation in political violence; and gender-focused strategies that incorporate perpetrators of political violence into long-term conflict resolution strategies. She has written extensively on the Northern Irish conflict including, the gendered motivations for women’s participation in political violence and the impact that such participation has on notions of men and masculinity.  McEvoy is coeditor of The Oxford Handbook on Global LGBT Politics.