Clark University Geography Ph.D. student receives selective Horowitz Foundation research grant

Alida Cantor is a Ph.D. student at the  Graduate School of Geography, Clark University. Her dissertation fieldwork will contribute to a better understanding of the social and environmental justice impacts of water policy and management.

Alida Cantor is a Ph.D. student at the Graduate School of Geography, Clark University. Her dissertation fieldwork will contribute to a better understanding of the social and environmental justice impacts of water policy and management.

Clark University  doctoral student Alida A. Cantor is one of 16 scholars to receive grants for research in the social sciences from the Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy.

Cantor’s outstanding dissertation proposal, “Dust Storms and Dying Lakes: Wastefulness, Beneficial Use, and Water Transfers in California,” additionally earned the Martinus Nijhoff Award, a special recognition for work on policy implications of scientific, technological and medical research.

“In California, especially with the current drought, water is a critical resource that is in the news every day. It is vital that we learn how to manage water in a way that is ecologically sustainable as well as socially just, especially since many current practices are neither,” Cantor said. “I am excited to be getting started on my dissertation fieldwork.”

Cantor, who is from San Diego, is working toward her Ph.D. at Clark University’s esteemed Graduate School of Geography. Her advisers are Professors Jacque “Jody” Emel and Dianne Rocheleau.

The grants awards are highly selective, with 364 applications in 2013, the largest number in the Foundation’s fifteen-year history, according to Horowitz Foundation Chair Mary E. Curtis. “The sixteen applicants who are receiving awards this year represent less than 5 percent of those who applied. The Trustees consider their work on topics of social and political importance to be vibrant examples of how policy research can help us address the challenges of today’s complex society,” she said.

In describing her research, Cantor writes:

Managing water resources sustainably and equitably is a growing challenge. Water transfers are gaining currency as a strategy for managing supplies, but the process of re-allocating water supplies has important political, environmental, and bio-political implications.  This research focuses on California water law and policy, specifically water re-allocation, over the last hundred years. The research examines how discourses of ‘wasteful’ vs. ‘beneficial’ water uses have been produced and contested, and how these discourses have been translated through legal institutions in water re-allocation decisions.

Research involves a comparison of three case studies in California—Owens Lake, Mono Lake, and the Salton Sea—using qualitative data sources, including in-depth key informant interviews, participant observation, and contemporary and historical archival research. This research contributes to a better understanding of the social and environmental justice impacts of water policy and management.

Cantor received a BA in geography at Bard College at Simon’s Rock, in Great Barrington, Mass., and an MS in Community and Regional Development at the University of California at Davis

The Horowitz Foundation approves approximately fifteen grants each year. Awards are for $7,500; proposals in certain targeted areas receive additional amounts. Awards are granted for policy-related research in all major areas of the social sciences. Awards are approved solely on merit, and are not allocated so as to ensure a representative base of disciplines. Research grants are open to researchers in all social science disciplines. Projects must deal with contemporary issues in the social sciences, particularly issues of policy relevance. Applicants need not be citizens of the United States, and grants are not restricted to U.S. residents.

Additional information, including a list of previous award recipients, is available on the Horowitz Foundation website www.horowitz-foundation.org

Established in 1921, the Graduate School of Geography at Clark University is internationally renowned for innovative scholarship and is an acknowledged leader in the field. Consistently ranked as one of the top-ten graduate programs by the National Research Council, Clark Geography enables graduate students to train with top professionals and participate in a world-class research community. Furthermore, having awarded more Ph.D.s than any other geography program in the United States, Clark University Geography has a reputation for training future leaders in the field.

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