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Reves Center Announces 2024 Faculty Fellows


The Reves Center for International Studies has awarded the 2024 Reves and Drapers’ Faculty Fellowships to six William & Mary professors. A committee of faculty and Reves staff awards the fellowships annually to support faculty-student research and collaboration on internationally-focused, engaged scholarship. The initiative is open to full-time William & Mary faculty in all academic units, but projects must include an international, global, and/or trans-national focus or context and involve W&M undergraduate or graduate students. With rare exceptions, the project must also include an overseas research component. Preference for the Drapers’ Fellowship is given to early career scholars conducting archival research in proximity to London or at institutions with established links to the Drapers’ Company.

This year's project's range across disciplines and regions, from biology to public policy, and from the Republic of Georgia to Japan. 

The 2024 awardees are (in alphabetical order and with their project descriptions below):

list of 2024 Reves and Drapers' Faculty Fellows and their projects
2024 Reves Faculty Fellows
Jonathan Allen
Jonathan Allen – Associate Professor, Biology

Project: Testing the role of larval cloning in outbreaks of Crown of Thorns Starfish on the Great Barrier Reef

Crown-of-Thorns Seastar (COTS) outbreaks are responsible for more than 40% of the loss of coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) through their intense and unchecked predation on mature corals. One leading hypothesis explaining COTS outbreaks is that increased agricultural runoff has led to eutrophication* of the waters on the GBR  Eutrophication has, in turn, led to increases in the abundance of phytoplankton. Like most reef animals, larval COTS feed on phytoplankton in order to complete their development, and increased levels of phytoplankton improve larval success and ultimately increase outbreaks of COTS on reefs throughout the Indo-Pacific. But unlike most animals on the GBR, COTS possess an additional trait -- larval cloning  -- that makes them uniquely suited to benefit from nutrient addition via runoff.

In collaboration with Dr. Maria Byrne at the University of Sydney, Allen’s research laboratory has demonstrated that 1) larval cloning occurs in COTS as a normal feature of development and 2) larval cloning doubles in frequency when larvae are reared under high food conditions. In a recent review, this discovery was cited as a fundamental piece of new knowledge that has generated a suite of new questions surrounding the biology of COTS. The goal is to build on this international collaboration and investigate exogenous (environmental) factors and endogenous (maternal investment) factors that influence the rate of cloning in this keystone coral predator.

*Eutrophication is excessive richness of nutrients in a body of water, frequently due to runoff from the land, which causes a dense growth of plant life and death of animal life from lack of oxygen.

Scott Ickes - Assistant Professor, Kinesiology & HealthScott Ickes
Alexandra Joosse
Sciences and Alexandra Joosse – Associate Teaching Professor, Public Policy

Project: Assessing feasibility and impact of implementing a mother’s lactation room at a commercial flower farm in Kenya

Exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) is critical for child growth, development, survival and maternal health; however, 56% of mothers in low- and middle-income countries do not practice EBF through the recommended six months of infancy. Scaling up coverage of EBF to 90% can prevent 820,000 of 5 million annual deaths among children under five years— one of the most effective interventions for child mortality prevention. Mothers discontinue EBF for various social, cultural, and economic factors. While women's workforce participation reflects gains in women's empowerment, maternal employment outside the home is a crucial driver of early EBF cessation. In Kenya, child mortality remains high, and improvements in both EBF rates and survival have stagnated over the past two decades. Concurrently, the proportion of mothers engaged in formal employment has increased. Employment, coupled with rapids changes in urbanization and internal employment-based migration are expected to have major affects on social support and networks, which are known to influence infant feeding decisions.

Workplace lactation support programs that include on-site or subsidized daycare, lactation stations for breastmilk expression and storage, or flexible work schedules can effectively support EBF for working mothers. However, the impact of these interventions has little evidence outside of high-income countries. Despite policies in Kenya that mandate workplace lactation stations, there is lagging implementation in the agricultural sector, underscoring the need for strong implementation research in this sector.

This project has two main objectives: 1) implement and a evaluate a workplace breastfeeding support intervention at a commercial flower farm in Kenya, where many mothers are engaged in low-wage employment associated with poor breastfeeding outcomes; 2) more generally, evaluate the role that a new mother’s social network has on her decision to practice EBF. In achieving these two objectives, this research will inform policy and strategy regarding how to increase EBF in this context, and other similar settings.

Hiroshi KitamuraHiroshi Kitamura - Associate Professor, History; Director of International Relations

Project: US-Japan Baseball Oral History Project

This project aims to deepen our understanding of the political and cultural relationship between the United States and Japan through the lens of baseball. By conducting videorecorded oral history interviews with players, coaches and experts who have bridged the two countries on and off the field, the research team will seek answers to the following questions that scholars, journalists and fans have asked over the decades: How and why did baseball become such a popular pastime in both the US and Japan? Is the sport played similarly or differently in the two countries? How has baseball helped shape diplomatic and international relations? Does sport and popular culture play an important role in bridging and dividing countries—or not?

This oral history project builds on a symposium that I helped organize with a group of faculty and students last October, entitled “The 150 Years of US-Japan Baseball Diplomacy,” on the W&M campus. Over the past four months, they have interviewed five pioneering baseball players and have begun releasing their videos curated on an online archive ( Through the Reves Faculty Fellowship, the student-faculty research team will accumulate new interview content, expand the digital archive and deliver original and useful knowledge to scholars, students and the public.

The timing of this research trip to Japan summer ‘24 coincides with the Williamsburg-Kamakura youth baseball exchange. The research team will interview the coaches and players involved in the exchange to better understand how baseball fosters cross-cultural interactions among young publics and assess whether such events on the ground help deepen international relations.

Daniel MaliniakDaniel Maliniak - Associate Professor, Government and Public Policy

Project: Transitions in the South Caucasus

The Republic of Georgia is in a time of great transition. Georgia has been granted EU candidate status even while the U.S. has sanctioned Georgian officials for corruption as a signal of displeasure with a stall in democratic reforms. The country is facing an important, hotly contested election in the fall of 2024. Tens of thousands of Russians remain in Georgia, all while Russia illegally occupies 20% of Georgia, and central to the campaign will be foreign policy, Western criticism, and concerns about the ties of politicians to Russia. This project touches on three key aspects of the transitions of this small country in the South Caucasus. First, they will interview and document the stories of Russians in Georgia to better understand their experiences. Russians who fled to Georgia did so for several reasons, and these interviews aim to preserve their stories and experiences. Second, they will work with NGOs and the development community to better understand both the work being done to support democratic institutions and the challenges faced in the presence of Russian disinformation and highly polarized politics. Finally, they will work with environmental NGOs to better understand and provide support for conservation efforts. In particular, they will look at how Georgian environmental NGOs are trying to use the resources and expertise of Western donors and experts while navigating the complexities of their politics and the trade-offs rural communities are making between conservation and economic development.

This project builds on an earlier Reves grant that has provided structured, high-impact learning through research experiences to 27 students, provided 73 credit hours of directed research, and allowed 11 students to conduct impactful, policy-relevant research internationally.

2024 Drapers’ Faculty Fellow
Philip RoesslerPhilip Roessler - Professor, Government

Project: The Origins and Impact of British Colonial Policy on Smallholder Agriculture in Africa

Prior to the spread of European imperialism, land-extensive smallholder agriculture prevailed in tropical regions. Imperial conquest led to the importation of new agricultural practices—most notoriously the diffusion of slave-based, foreign-owned plantations in the Americas. In West Africa, however, settler plantations not only failed but were discouraged by British anti-slavery activists, such as Foxwell Buxton, who saw local cash crop agriculture as “the real remedy” for the slave trade. On the whole, the British adopted liberal policies toward smallholder agriculture in  most—but of course not all—of their colonies. (In Southern Rhodesia and Kenya, the colonial state favored settlers, which represents an important and illuminating comparison). The general British approach in Africa stands in stark contrast not only to policies in the Americas, but also within Africa—vis-à-vis the more coercive and illiberal agricultural policies in French and Portuguese colonies. This research project will conduct archival research to better understand the origins and consequences of British championing of indigenous smallholder agriculture in Africa.

The primary goals of this project entail: a.) undertaking original archival research on the origins and debate around British colonial agricultural policy in Africa in the19th century and its legacies for tens of millions of people across the region; and b.) engaging with UK audiences on the forthcoming book -- Seeds of Change: The Cash Crop Revolution, Colonialism, and the Making of Modern Africa -- on the long-run impact of the cash crop revolution across countries in Africa. There is much critical interest in Britain on the legacies of colonialism on economic, social and political processes in former colonies.

Previous Reves Faculty Fellows and their projects are listed online.