Matrix Research Teams

Matrix Research Teams are groups of scholars who gather regularly to explore or develop a novel question of significance in the social sciences. Successful research teams integrate participants from several social-science disciplines and diverse ranks (i.e. faculty and graduate students); address a compelling research question with real-world significance; and deploy or develop appropriate methodologies in creative ways. Matrix teams may address any social science research question, theoretical or empirical, drawing on any of the social sciences. Matrix is especially interested in original and emerging approaches that explore new theoretical and empirical questions, and that combine research at different scales and from different methodologies.

Research Team

Situating Camps and Confinement Sites beyond Humanitarianism, Periodization, and Area Studies Discourses

his working group centers its focus on the space of the camp, in an interdisciplinary context, to explore how its “architectures” — the camps themselves, their spatial layout, infrastructure systems and camp-thinking — have operated to shape, detain and enable particular forms of movement. The goal of this project is to forge space for research and debate the different models of encampments and how they shift between various nation-states and periods of time.

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Research Team

Racial Capitalism

Racial capitalism, a burgeoning interdisciplinary field of study, is critical to understanding contemporary instances of climate emergency, neoliberal capital accumulation, the erosion of affordable housing, and a host of other issues core to the status of marginalized communities, within and beyond the United States. Excitingly, the field itself is still in formation. This working group proposes to bring together a number of faculty and graduate students together to think critically about the historical development of the field of inquiry, specific sites of its manifestation, and ways that communities here and abroad can use the insights of the racial capitalism literature in their mobilizations. 

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Research Team

Domestic Politics, Foreign Surveillance: Chinese Dataveillance in the Global South

This project aims to understand how China is developing relationships in the Global South to solidify their position and interests in places like Africa or Latin America. THey address questions like: how does the introduction of surveillance technologies affect the socio-political climate of Uganda? What are the distinct effects of technology contracts with China on domestic political processes? What do these contracts signify for the future of development in the Global South? This study explores how hegemonic politics further establishes a surveillance state in Uganda and contributes to dataveillance practices in the Global South.

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Research Team

Designing Mechanisms for Fairness and Transparency in Mediated Markets

This research team brings together interdisciplinary perspectives and expertise across human-computer interaction, economic sociology, law, and critical traditions to consider and develop socio-technical mechanisms for fairness and transparency in mediated markets, to better incorporate the values of stakeholders.

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Research Team

Approaches to Operationalizing Equity in Net Zero Emissions Targets

In recognition of the impacts that arise from a global transition to net zero carbon emissions, there are growing calls for these actors to include equity principles in their commitments. However, due to the nascency of net zero as the organizing principle for global decarbonization in addition to the absence of overarching equity mechanisms, there is little consensus on the conceptual formulation and application of equity in net zero commitments. This Matrix Research Team's research question is therefore: How can equity be meaningfully, precisely, and thoroughly operationalised as part of net zero policymaking?

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Research Team

Labor and Sustainable Energy: Organizational Bottlenecks and Bottom-Up Dynamics

As ecological disasters intensify, community struggles follow suit. Absent from much of this conflict is organized labor. Many unions take the side of companies accused of ecological damage. Simultaneously, emergent policy frameworks grant labor an increasing role in the transition to sustainable energy. This Matrix Research Team asks: How do energy employees experience this social, political, and ecological scene?

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Research Team

Indigenous People, Environmental Sustainability, and Museums

Under the direction of Dr. Lauren Kroiz, graduate student researcher Pilar Jefferson (Ethnic Studies), and Katie Fleming, Gallery Manager & Education Coordinator at the Hearst Museum, will conduct research across the disciplines of Anthropology, Ethnic Studies, and Museum Studies. Their project aims to broaden the reach of new initiatives at the Hearst Museum linking natural resource protection with contemporary Indigenous art and culture.

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Research Team

Digital Transformations in Property and Development

Advances in digital technology and platform business models are dramatically reshaping how real estate is planned and developed by public agencies and builders, bought and sold by homeowners and investors, operated by landlords, and inhabited by all of us. In turn, we are witnessing transformations in property and development across cities and hinterlands. This Matrix Research Team will draw on ongoing research into case studies from a range of global contexts to investigate a central question: how do digital technologies shape property and development, and with what effects?

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Research Team

Post-Imperial Oceans

The Post-imperial Oceanics working group thinks across the fragmented aftermaths of oceanic imperial processes, drawing from historical and geographic work on the ocean world, as well as from the environmental humanities. Including graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and scholars connected to Berkeley Geography, this Matrix Research Team connects scholarship across topics, including race and migration across the Black Mediterranean and the Black Pacific, the intellectual world of British imperial seafaring, South Asian energy geopolitics, and other oceanic questions.

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Research Team

Data Feminism(s): Troubling data and power in our backyard and elsewhere

The present pandemic is highlighting how gender and racial disparities in labor and health impacts one’s exposure and susceptibility to COVID. Now, we’re furiously collecting as much data as possible. But once we have this data, what becomes of it? Disaggregating data and ensuring representative samples are important statistical practices, but what material results do […]

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Research Team

Critical University Studies

A scholarly community led by graduate students, Critical University Studies (CUS) seeks to: 1) deepen our theoretical inquiry of critical studies of higher education and develop theoretical and empirical connections with critical studies of race, gender, and class. We draw inspiration from the black radical tradition, black feminism, indigenous studies, and decolonial theory. Next, we […]

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Research Team

COVID-19 & Natural Resources

“COVID and Natural Resources” examines how the 2020 coronavirus pandemic interrupted the ways minerals, oil, and gas are mined, processed, circulated, and consumed. Gold prices, unsurprisingly, rose with the number of the sick, while the unthinkable — a negative price for oil on the West Texas Intermediate on April 20 — made international news, raising […]

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