INCITE establishes publishing imprint; first series, "Dispatches from the Field," launches next month

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We at INCITE are pleased to announce that we have established an independent publishing imprint, under the moniker INCITE Press. The press will promote work by graduate students and other budding scholars, while also serving as an outlet for innovative and unconventional expressions of scholarship that may not fit the parameters of traditional academic publishers. By publishing manuscripts and compositions that blend disciplines, genres, and styles in creative and revealing ways, the press supports INCITE’s mission to holistically engage, investigate, and address social issues.

The first work to come under the imprint is Issue 1 of Dispatches from the Field, an annual publication series dedicated to bringing ethnographic data to a broader public. The book is the result of collaborative research, writing, and editing by current and former MA students of the Department of Sociology at Columbia University. As a hard copy publication, Dispatches from the Field challenges traditional book formats, opening the way for non-linear approaches to reading and interpretations that will vary according to each reader’s path through the documents.

This year’s edition includes a series of reflections that refer to the American Dream, or rather, a set of differing American Dreams and their elusive promises. A collection of interview transcripts, field notes, poems, and drawings describe a multitude of ideals based on individual experiences with labor, immigration, incarceration, and participation in the informal economy. Dispatches from the Field: The American Dream will be released on May 7th.

Request for Applications: INCITEment Series, 2019/2010

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INCITE is requesting applications for the next installments in our INCITEment Series. Designed to convert knowledge into action, this series provides financial and administrative support to public programs that incite opportunities for change and pathways for mobilization. By gathering together citizens, scholars, activists, and community organizations, the series aims to bring their collective knowledge to bear on the prevalent issues of our time.
We welcome proposals from Columbia affiliates (faculty, students, staff, or otherwise) who can speak to and are interested in key social problems and innovative means of addressing them. While open to a diversity of topics, we are especially interested in proposals that reflect the salient themes of INCITE's work, such as migration, low-wage work, social movements, health, race, the present political climate, and education.
We encourage creativity and originality, and welcome ideas that experiment with various formats. Past programs include panels, workshops, poetry readings, and documentary screenings. Most important is that the projects produce clear paths for action, and leverage the expertise and capabilities of the scholars, citizens, and institutional resources in the room toward practical work in alignment with INCITE’s mission.

Proposals for the 2019-2020 academic year are due on June 1st. Decisions will be made quickly and announced on June 15th. Click below to access the full RFA and apply.

Third Annual REALM Meeting Takes Place in Abu Dhabi

The leaders of Realm

The leaders of Realm


This past weekend brought about the third annual meeting for INCITE’S Research & Empirical Analysis of Labor Migration (REALM) project. The meetings, previously convened in March and November of 2017, involve all Principle Investigators (PIs) who receive funding through REALM, and serve as a vital component of this ambitious research initiative. By uniting researchers from a diversity of disciplines and institutions, these conversations are crucial to enabling collaboration and comparison across REALM’s network of projects.   

Over the course of the two-day gathering on NYU Abu Dhabi’s campus, PIs shared project updates, initial findings and research experiences. Highlights included Bilesha Weeraratne discussing her work with the Sri Lankan Ministry of Labor to shape more transparent recruitment processes; Caroline Oselia sharing fieldnotes from her recent fieldwork in Kerala, India; and Daniel Karell demonstrating the mobile-based app he used to survey respondents in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

“It’s been rewarding to see PIs develop collaborations with each other over the years. A demographer working in Bangladesh can draw on the insights of an anthropologist working in Kerala; the Sudanese government can reshape its data system by working with researchers in the Philippines. REALM structures a truly interdisciplinary, international exchange.“
- Peter Bearman, Principal Investigator

A final REALM meeting is anticipated for June 2020, at which point REALM PIs will be prepared to share the final findings from their project. 

Publication | Patterned Remittances Enhance Women's Health-Related Autonomy


INCITE has published results from a research study analyzing how the timing of remittances received by women in migrant-sending countries impacts women’s health and autonomy. Focusing on a sample of respondents in the Indian state of Kerala, primary findings reveal that the benefits of remittances for women’s autonomy manifest more through the regularity and frequency with which they are received, than the amount of money remitted.

These conclusions indicate the need to look beyond questions of amount when studying the impact of remittances. They also suggest that very simple changes, which enable migrants to send funds back home more regularly, can make a difference in the lives of women and children left behind. “With regular remittances, even of small amounts of money, women are able to plan, and this planning capacity translates into greater autonomy over their health care decisions,” notes Charlotte Wang, INCITE’s Director of Research, who co-authored the paper. “Right now, though, migrants pay a fixed fee each time they send money home, and this incentivizes them to limit the number of times they remit funds. If fees were associated with amount, rather than frequency, remittances would likely be more frequent.”

The research was conducted as part of INCITE’s Research & Empirical Analysis of Labor Migration Program (REALM), which centers on the social structures and dynamics of labor migration in the Persian Gulf region, with particular attention to processes taking place in migrant-sending countries. 

Read the full paper, published in Social Science and Medicine: Population Health, here.

Columbia University Press to Publish New Oral History Series


INCITE and CCOHR are excited to announce a new oral history series published by the Columbia University Press. The purpose of this series is to publish innovative, creative, rigorous, and analytical oral history books based on narratives that illuminate the critical stories of our times, locally and globally.

We are eager for contributions from authors who practice oral history within disciplines of social science and the humanities in traditional ways, and also welcome scholars and writers who use oral history to work at the intersection of these disciplines in non-traditional ways, incorporating new forms of writing attuned to orality, visuality, embodiment, generative practices and memory. We are particularly interested in books that draw upon large scale interview projects and collections. We anticipate publishing diverse genres of books in this series, from analytic books that rely on oral history as key evidence to edited narratives from archival projects, that creatively communicate the stories that our narrators tell.

We are interested in stories at many scales; in narratives that provide human access to world historical events, to the horrors of war and genocide, to the struggles and hopes of people displaced from their homes, to the visions, experiences and triumphs of those resisting oppression, but also in stories that reveal in their intricacy the meanings of place, of creativity, change.

In that spirit, we issue a wide call to younger generations of oral historians, those who are bringing new analytical and innovative thinking to bear on a field that is rapidly growing in the academy as well as the public world. Additionally, we seek to publish experienced authors seeking a new platform for their most innovative work.

We hope to publish multiple volumes each year.  Authors interested in submitting a proposal to the series should send a detailed description per these guidelines to the series editors: Mary Marshall Clark, Amy Starecheski, Kimberly Springer and Peter Bearman.

Contact email: Mary Marshall Clark,

2019 Summer Institute | Oral History from the Margins to the Center: Narrating the Politics of our Times

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June 17, 2019 to June 28, 2019 — CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE AND APPLY

What do oral historians, journalists and scholars of contemporary history do when the President of the United States, supported by numerous members of congress, tells blatant lies and strives to undermine our access to traditionally reliable sources of information and democratic processes? What do oral historians, journalists and scholars of contemporary history do when scientific knowledge is dismissed as mere opinion? What do oral historians, journalists and scholars of contemporary history do when false information is knowingly transmitted with the precise aim of enhancing distrust?

The 2019 Summer Institute in Oral History will focus on the challenges we face in documenting the political present when secrecy and distortions of truth threaten the most vulnerable in open societies.  What role does public memory and the search for meaning play in rescuing and preserving the stories that we most need to hear? Specifically, we will explore what journalists, oral historians, advocates and scholars of the present can learn from each other, as we sharpen our skills and awareness of how to document the stories that we most need to record and disseminate. 

INCITE Affiliates Receive SPLC Grant to Study Attitudes about Immigration


INCITE affiliates Maria Abascal, Jennifer Lee and Van Tran have received a grant from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to study whether and how exposure to information about contemporary immigrants and immigration affects Americans’ attitudes toward immigrants, Latinos, and Asians. The project uses an experimental design to test the effect of reading accurate pieces of information on anti-immigration attitudes, thus providing valuable data about the specific sources of such attitudes and potential strategies to change them.

For more information on the project and updates, please visit the Intervening in Attitudes about Immigration project page.

Call for Presenters | Experimental Design Workshop

Cartoon by Steve Smeltzer

Cartoon by Steve Smeltzer


INCITE is pleased to announce the Experimental Design Workshop for the 2019 Spring Term!

Through it, social scientists have the opportunity to workshop designs of an experiment they have not yet fielded. Presenters will receive specific, actionable feedback on that design from other workshop participants.

We are now setting the schedule for the workshop for this coming spring semester. If you are interested in presenting a design, please email Daniel Tadmon ( or Maria Abascal ( with your name, affiliation (and, for grad students, year). Please also include:

1) 2-3 sentences describing the proposed experiment.
2) An estimate of when you will field the experiment.
3) A rough estimate of when you would like to present.

If you are interested in joining the Experimental Design Workshop’s email list, please email Daniel Tadmon (

Funding support for the Experimental Design Workshop is provided by the Paul F. Lazarsfeld Lecture Series, administered by INCITE, which features events and programming that embody and honor Lazarsfeld’s commitment to the improvement of methodological approaches that address concerns of vital cultural and social significance.

REALM to Host March, 2019 Workshop at NYU Abu Dhabi for Principal Investigators


The Research and Empirical Analysis of Labor Migration (REALM) workshop in March, 2019 will be for REALM principal investigators to share progress on research projects, discuss initial findings, and conceive opportunities for collaboration. It will be our third such workshop, and will be held in Abu Dhabi as it has been in past years.

We look forward to the discussion and collaboration that the workshop will bring! For more information on these specific studies and others, please see our current projects page.

Watch Anand Gopal's INCITEment Series Talk | The Uncounted: Inside America's War Against ISIS

America’s war against ISIS has been touted as the most precise in military history. But an on-the-ground investigation of civilian deaths tells a different story. On November 15th, 2018, the INCITEment Series was proud to host Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist and sociologist Anand Gopal, who presented on the moral and legal implications of the war on terror. Following his presentation, Gopal spoke about his work with INCITE’s director, Peter Bearman, and took questions from the audience. We thank everyone for braving the snowy weather to join us!

Feminist Lives: Original Participant Interviews Complete

The Feminist Lives project has now completed interviews with all participants from Yasmine Ergas’ original 1978 project. The Feminist Lives project involves re-interviewing a group of Italian Feminists whom Ergas, director of the Specializiation on Gender and Public Policy at SIPA, first interviewed in 1978. By re-interviewing participants, the project seeks to explore the dynamics of narrative and memory, as well as to record the effects of feminism on their lives.

To date, all interviews, including those from 1978, have been transcribed and digitized and will soon be archived. In addition to participants from 1978, supplementary interviews are now underway with the daughters of some of the original interviewees.

Learn more about the Feminist Lives Project here.

Tunisian Transition Oral History Project Complete

Perhaps most compelling to the aims of this project are the narrators’ testimonies of their experiences with the technical government itself as they attempted to answer the outstanding demands that sparked the revolution, such as a lack of political freedoms, food price inflation, corruption, and poor living conditions.

The Columbia Center for Oral History (CCOHR) and INCITE are pleased to announce the completion of the Tunisian Transition Oral History Project. Following the address of the former prime minister of the Republic of Tunisia, Mehdi Jomaa,  at Columbia University's World Leaders Forum in 2015, the Office of University President Lee Bollinger approached INCITE to discuss undertaking an oral history project about Tunisia's technocratic government (2014-15) and its role in the transition to democracy following the 2011 Tunisian Revolution. 

The Tunisian Transition Project includes 58 oral histories with 41 narrators totaling 110 recorded hours. Narrators include politicians, officials and notable figures in the Tunisian transitional period, including Mehdi Jomaa, Moncef Marzouki, and Neila Chaabane. Each interview began with a historically grounded question, “Where were you during the events of December and January 2010?" From there, narrators also discussed their life trajectories, from childhood memories of Tunisia to their coming of age in Tunisian politics and the directions that their diverse careers took them. Perhaps most compelling to the aims of this project are the narrators’ testimonies of their experiences with the technical government itself as they attempted to answer the outstanding demands that sparked the revolution, such as a lack of political freedoms, food price inflation, corruption, and poor living conditions.

Though there is a wealth of information on the events leading up to the Arab Spring and a good deal of information on the immediate aftermath, this project engages with the less treated subject of the technical government itself—how Tunisia's leader's arrived at such a solution, whether or not it produced the intended effects, and what was revealed about Tunisian society in the process.

The archives will be made publicly available through Columbia Libraries in early 2019.
One can learn more about the Tunisian Transition Oral History Project here.  

INCITE Hosts Networks Short Course


Taught by Mattias Smångs, assistant professor of sociology at Fordham University, the two-day (November 9th and 16th) networks short course introduced eighteen researchers from Columbia University and other nearby universities/organizations to some of the fundamental ideas, concepts, measures, and methods of social network analysis. Participants learned how to use the social network analysis software UCINET to perform basic analyses. Smångs also presented on his own research, “Delinquency, Social Skills and the Structure of Peer Relations: Assessing Criminological Theories by Social Network Theory.” INCITE would like to thank Smångs and all of the participants for making it such a lively class!

REALM Studies Present at NYU Abu Dhabi 2018 Research Conference

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The New York University (NYU) Abu Dhabi Research Conference aims to highlight the role NYU Abu Dhabi has played and continues to play in establishing itself as a hub for education, scholarship, and advanced research in Abu Dhabi. The conference will include a Research and Empirical Analysis of Labor Migration (REALM) panel, during which Daniel Karell, Rabia Malik, Hannah Brueckner, and Susan Godlonton will present their work on REALM projects.

If you're in the region and interested in attending, please register for this event by October 30, 2018. We look forward to seeing you there!

Archive for the Harriman Institute Oral History Project Officially Launches

The archive for the Harriman Institute Oral History Project, a collaboration between the Harriman Institute, the Columbia Center for Oral History Research (CCOHR) and INCITE, was formally launched on October 29th, 2018. In celebration of the archive's release, the Harriman Institute hosted a dinner and panel discussion (video above) on the Institute's past, present and future role in area studies and academia. Moderated by George Gavrilis, the panel brought together key Harriman Institute alumni, including Ronald Suny, Jeri Laber, Toby Gati and Stephen Cohen (all pictured above), to reminisce of their time at the Institute and discuss its influence on the making of U.S. foreign policy toward the post-Soviet region. 

You can learn more about the Harriman Institute Oral History Project here.