New Orleans Project (2007-2008)

 

McMaster Fellows

Kenneth Christiansen, Professor of Religion and Sociology, will research what has motivated people to respond to the Churches Supporting Churches movement for Katrina recovery and use this knowledge to aid CSC and potentially other similar movements to connect with a base of donors. Dr. Christiansen’s research will gather information from groups and individuals who have supported CSC in the past and continue to do so now. The data will be collected and analyzed within the framework of the sociological field of study called Symbolic Interactionism.

Michelle Tabit, Assistant Professor of History, will develop a digital archive of the history of Katrina survivors by collecting the oral histories of survivors. Tabit will also assist with Scholars’ research projects.

 

Associate Fellows

MC Harper, Associate Professor of English, will focus on an ethnographic history of one extended family in order to highlight the extreme economic and social marginalization that exists in New Orleans in order to solicit continuing support for reconstruction, renewal, and healing projects by interested organizations. Harper will also focus on supporting and supervising student Scholars’ research projects.

Deborah Dalke, Associate Professor of Psychology, will explore the potential for on-going partnerships with environmental organizations, specifically to focus on wetlands restoration. Dalke will also support and supervise Scholars’ research projects.

 

McMaster Scholars

Jamie Anderson: Sophomore, Early Childhood Education major - This project will research child and youth development programs in New Orleans to identify gaps in program delivery. It will then design a small program to work with children while in the city which could include journaling workshops and developing a pen pal club.

Brenda Delarber: Junior, Integrated Social Studies major - This project will conduct oral history interviews with community leaders, such as C.T. Vivian of Churches Supporting Churches, in order to chronicle to efforts of various leaders in the city. It will develop an informational pamphlet, DVD and hopefully website to aid in promoting the civic development efforts of various groups and individuals.

Kristi Jo Leaders: Senior, Graphic Design major - This project will create a small collection of short stories and poetry of true experiences in order to capture the plight and perspectives of residents of the city. The collection is to be published on paper and on-line and distributed back to the NOLA community.

Kalina Moore: Sophomore, Early Childhood Education major - This project will explore the issues surrounding the closure of public housing complexes in NOLA. The project includes interviewing city officials, community organizers, and public housing activists in an effort to develop a strategy to affect housing policy.

Kacee Mossoney: Senior, Arts and Humanities major - This project will collect individual stories from residents using digital video, still photography, and audio recordings to create a documentary of residents’ perspectives of life in NOLA post-Katrina. It hopes to focus on the healing power of telling stories, stories from the storm and from the recovery.

Eric Stricklin: Junior, Religious Studies major - This project will study the role of religious communities in rebuilding NOLA by interviewing religious leaders and shadowing a pastor who is involved with Churches Supporting Churches. Interviews will be recorded and offered as a resource to the community in NOLA and locally as a way of disseminating more information about the recovery efforts in NOLA.

Kaitlin Tinker: Senior, Integrated Language Arts major - This project will conduct a comparative study in the educational system pre- and post-Katrina through interviews with students, faculty, and administrators in NOLA public schools. The project will seek venues for presenting its findings to communities in Northwest Ohio in order to maintain public awareness of rebuilding efforts in NOLA.

Jamie Wilmot: Senior, Integrated Language Arts major - This project will create a publication of stories, poetry, and extemporaneous writing from residents in NOLA. It also intends to focus on the stories of those from outside New Orleans who have come to assist in the recovery efforts, collecting information on why people have chosen to come and what they perceive as the greatest need in the recovery efforts. The project includes interviews and video recording of interviewees.

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