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Graduate Student Research Grant

WCED Research Grant recipient Eimeel Castillo conducting archival work in Managua, Nicaragua

Call for Proposals

WCED seeks applications from University of Michigan graduate students in all centers and departments for grants toward research projects related to authoritarianism and democracy, broadly understood. Funds cannot be used for conference expenses.

Awards range from $500 to $5,000, depending on the number of successful proposals. Deadlines for submission of proposals are: October 15, 2021 and April 15, 2022.   

NOTE: All graduate student international/domestic travel must adhere to the Warnings & Restrictions implemented by the University of Michigan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Grantees will only receive funds if and when their travel and/or research plans are approved by the appropriate U-M offices. Applicants should detail in their proposal an alternative research plan in the event of non-approval. 

Proposals should include:

  1. WCED Graduate Student Research Grant Request Form;
  2. A CV for each principal organizer/participant;
  3. A research proposal no longer than 1,000 words; and
  4. A detailed budget including all sources of support (pending and confirmed).

Questions? Please contact Derek Groom (

2020-21 Graduate Student Research Grants

Paul Atwell, Political Science/Public Policy. “Symbolism, Psychology, and Identity in African Political Campaigns.”

Mitchell Bosley, Political Science, and Htet Thiha Zaw, Political Science, “Institutional Evolution in Colonial Lawmaking: Learning from the British India Legislature, 1916-1945.”

Eimeel Castillo, History. “Imperial Encounters: Gender Politics in U.S. Occupied Nicaragua (1912-1933).”

Daniel Varela Corredor, Anthropology/History. “A Mining-Democracy Experiment? Arrangements between Corporations, State, and Peasant-Miners under Black Sovereignty in Chocó, Colombia (1886-1935).”

Jun Fang, Political Science. “Where Foreign and Domestic Muslims Come Together: How Global Trade Shapes China’s Local Handling of Ethnic Diversity.”

Félix Zamora Gómez, Romance Languages and Literatures. “Modernity, Desert, and Colonization: Unraveling the Genealogies of the Environmental Discourse and the Territorial Imaginaries of Francoist Spain.”

Omar Ilyas, Global Epidemiology, NGO Emerging Leader Fellowship. “Evaluating Paani’s Approach to Mediate the Developing Water Crisis across Pakistan.”

Anil Menon, Political Science. “Refugees and the Radical Right.”

Genta Nishku, Comparative Literature. “Developments in Memory Politics after 1989 in Albania and the Former Yugoslavia.”

Fabricio Vasselai, Political Science/Scientific Computing. “Why So Many Votes? Bandwagon Voting in Dominated Elections.”

Rebecca Wai, Political Science. “Integrating Migrants into Democratic Institutions of Water Distribution in India.”

Zoe Walker, Political Science. “The Effect of Protest Activity on Support for Social Movements.”

Anonymous, History. “Can the Subaltern Sue? Native Litigation, Imperial Sovereignty, and the Making of the Colonial Legal Regime in an Asian Oil Frontier.”

2019-20 Graduate Student Research Grants

Sahin Acikgoz, PhD Comparative Literature. “Authoritarianism and Its Ontological Others in Turkey.”

James Allen IV, PhD Public Policy & Economics, and Jon Denton-Schneider, PhD Economics. “Blood Taxes: Colonial Conscription and the Political Economy of French West Africa.”

Mekarem Eljamal, MA Middle Eastern & North African Studies/MURP Urban & Regional Planning. “Evolution of Urban Land Use Policy in Haifa.”

Simeneh Gebremariam, PhD Anthropology. “Kinet: Music and Politics from the 1974 Ethiopian Revolution to (Post) Socialist Present.”

Deanna Kolberg, PhD Political Science. “Local Leaders as Foot Soldiers for the Party and the State: How Does Brokerage Influence Grassroots Governance?” and “Accountable Governance in Contested Communities.”

Sadiyah Malcolm, PhD Sociology. “‘Contested Rituals of Black Girlhood’: Power, Violence, and the Transition to Adulthood in Downtown Kingston.”

Promise McEntire, PhD Anthropology. “Gender Equity, Multilingualism, and Technologies of Persuasion in Burkina Faso.”

Sauda Nabukenya, PhD History. “Pursuing Justice and Liberties: The High Court and Uganda’s Legal History, ca. 1900–1980.”

Thomas O’Mealia, PhD Political Science. “The Origin and Evolution of the Security Apparatus.”

Roya Talibova, PhD Political Science. “Why Fight? Causes and Consequences of Joining a Tyrant’s Army.”

Michael Thompson-Brusstar, PhD Political Science. “Supervising the State: Authoritarian Anticorruption in China.”

Htet Thiha Zaw, PhD Political Science. “Repression in Time: Learning from Troop Movements of the British Empire, 1881–1950.”

2018-19 Graduate Student Research Grants

Cristian Capotescu, PhD History, “Ceaușescu’s Flirt with Austerity: How Neoliberalism Defeated State Socialism.”

Vedran Catovic, PhD Comparative Literature, “‘Objective Reporting’ and Crisis of Democracy in the Post-Yugoslav Countries.”

Amelia Frank-Vitale, PhD Anthropology, “When Democracy Resembles Dictatorship: Politics and Policing in Honduras.”

Jane Kitaevich, PhD Political Science, “A Boon or a Bane: The Impact of a Militarized Conflict on Social Welfare Provision in Emerging Democracies.”

Fan Liang, PhD Communication Studies, “The Platformization of Propaganda: Examining China’s Government App in the Digital Age.”

Guoer Liu, PhD Political Science, “Vote It Till You Support It: Authoritarian Elections and Regime Legitimacy.”

James Meador, PhD Anthropology, “Building Religious Bridges across Eurasia: Prospects for Sino-Russian Ideological Collaboration.”

Gavin Ploger, PhD Communication Studies, “Automated Content Analysis of Authoritarianism.”

Moniek van Rheenen, PhD Anthropology, “#GoingViral: Female-Driven Networks in Indonesian Muslim Political Activism.”

Nuannuan Xiang, PhD Political Science, “The Struggle for Women’s Suffrage in Britain, Japan, and the U.S. in the Early Twentieth Century.”