Project FA16b: Geopolitical youth: Race, citizenship, and a school-to-military pipeline in Houston, Texas

Project FA16b: Geopolitical youth: Race, citizenship, and a school-to-military pipeline in Houston, Texas
Researcher: Jenna Christian jmc5974@psu.edu
Position type: Interview transcription and data analysis
Application deadline: 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 25, 2016
Application URL: http://www.geog.psu.edu/uroc-apply

Project and position description

This project investigates the reproduction and mobilization of the U.S. military and its relationship to low-income communities of color in the United States. Specifically, the project uses ethnographic methods to explore military recruitment practices—as well as youth, teacher, parent, and community responses to these efforts—in a public school serving largely lower-income Black and Latino/a communities in Houston, Texas. The research closely examines the relationship between youth pathways, or “pipelines”, into the military and pervasive yet often routine forms of economic, social, and political marginalization experienced by many potential recruits in their homes, schools, and communities. In examining these questions, the research will include high school students, parents, school staff and teachers, military recruiters and instructors of the military-run Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) course, and community members, local policy makers, and counter-recruitment activists. In attending to both the institutional and intimate factors that shape youth enlistment into the military, the research will contribute to the scholarly literature across the fields of critical and feminist geopolitics, critical youth studies, and citizenship studies. It will also advance important public discussions about the meaning of diversity in the military, the role of the military in public schools, and the implications of military service for the futures of youth of color. The research is currently at the stage to begin transcription of interviews, and the organization and analysis of data. While additional qualitative research tasks may arise (e.g. searching for relevant articles) the undergraduate research assistant would primarily be responsible data management and analysis activities. This would consist of listening to interview audio, writing transcriptions of these interviews, coding data for analysis, and discussing emergent themes with your mentor. The researcher (Jenna) will be located in Houston, Texas during this time, and so the undergraduate assistant would have regular team meetings via Skype with her to check in and discuss specific progress and findings, and offer broader mentorship on research methods and analysis.

Desired qualifications

There are no specific technical skills that are needed to take part in this project. Technical skills are minimal (listening to audio, creating transcripts, and coding data), and so the research assistants will be given advising by Jenna on how to transcribe and organize research data, and prepare it for data analysis. While no specific skills are required, the research opportunity would be best suited for someone who is interested in learning more about qualitative research methods. The project is also well suited for students with an interest in issues of race, class, gender, justice, and war/peace. This project will require 45-135 hours of work over the course of the semester, and the successful applicant will earn 1-3 credits for the fall term.

To apply

Prospective candidates should complete the application form at http://www.geog.psu.edu/uroc-apply by 5:00 p.m. on the indicated date. Follow all instructions.

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