April 29 McGavock & Rodrigues Harris Research Talks

April 19, 2021

The Grinnell College Libraries would like to invite you to the April 29 online Harris Research talks by Tammy McGavock, assistant professor of economics (introduction by Saketan Anand ’21), and Liz Rodrigues, assistant professor and humanities and digital scholarship librarian (introduction by Mark Christel, librarian of the College), to discuss their research topics.

Join us as an attendee
Thursday, April 29, 2021
11-Noon Central Time

Meeting number: 120 125 0832
Password: FpyjBNsK626

Tammy McGavock Harris Research Topic

Global poverty reduction programs increasingly target women for cash transfers and skills training in low income countries, since evidence shows that women’s empowerment is a key to ending poverty. But little is known about how these programs affect women's daily schedules, in part because getting detailed data over time on rural women's time use is cost prohibitive. On top of that, traditional time use survey methods are riddled with potential biases. With my colleagues, I first designed a new method for collecting these data that uses short, frequent, randomly timed conversations by cell phone. Then, I designed and implemented an experiment that tests how well phone surveys compare to typical time use surveys among very poor women in rural Amhara, Ethiopia. We're using these data to also speak to the question of whether targeting women with income-generating empowerment programs increases their "double burden" of income generation and unpaid household work. Can husbands be encouraged to pick up some household chores simply by learning that their peers actually think it would be acceptable for them to do so?

Liz Rodrigues Harris Research Topic

Collecting Lives examines U.S. modernist life writing forms as sites of critical engagement with the data episteme, a cultural surround in which data and its collection are presumed to offer unprecedented access to reality, truth, and power. While the social effects of algorithmic logics seem new and newly urgent to consider, the application of data collection to human selfhood in the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century U.S. provides an instructive prehistory to the underlying question of the relationship between data, life, and narrative. This historical frame centers US modernist life writers W.E.B. Du Bois, Henry Adams, Gertrude Stein and Ida B. Wells-Barnett. Working in human-oriented empiricist disciplines in the midst of methodological reconfiguration around the work of data collection, these writers experiment with data as a form of representing lives. These writers draw from their work in sociology, history, psychology, and journalism to formulate critical data aesthetics as they confront questions of identity around race, gender, and nation both in their research and their life writing. As they do so, they confront and leverage a paradox of data as knowledge. In theory, data’s exhaustive collection will reveal objective cause-and-effect explanation, a clear narrative chain of events unfolding at the level of the atom, person, or society. In practice, however, our data collection confronts us with narrative contingency and our own agency in the creation of knowledge.

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