Distinguished Fellows Research Colloquium

Yulia Vorobyeva
2016-2017 Distinguished Graduate Fellow

April 21, 2017

The University of Miami Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas organized a colloquium where its 2016-2017 Distinguished Fellows presented their research work and received feedback from UM Faculty.


Yulia Vorobyeva, Department of International Studies

How Political Regime Type and Market Liberalization Shape Organized Crime: Mexico and Russia During Political Transitions
Respondents: Sallie Hughes, Department of Journalism and Media Management; Michael Touchton, Political Science Department

Why didn’t democratization strengthen the rule of law in Mexico and Russia, two countries where concurrent processes of economic and political liberalization occurred in the last decade of the 20th century? Why did Russian organized crime become less violent and more controllable after Russia reverted to authoritarianism after 2000? The comparison of Mexico and Russia suggests how political regimes affect the nature of organized crime. Organized crime becomes more fragmented, more violent and less controllable while democracies are taking hold but have not yet consolidated. Put differently, the forces of organized crime are frequently more stable and cohesive, but less violent and more subject to state elites, under more authoritarian regimes. This research suggests that the driving forces behind these criminal transformations are the capacity of state security institutions and criminal opportunity structures created by shifting market incentives and structures. The capacity of state security institutions, in turn, is affected by the degree of political decentralization, the levels of electoral competition and the robustness of civil society.


Matthew Davidson, Department of History

“Ever-ready to look after [U.S]. interests”: The American Red Cross and the U.S. Occupation of Haiti
Respondents: Tracy Devine-Guzman, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures; Patricia Saunders, Department of English

Shortly after the United States invaded Haiti in 1915 the American Red Cross (ARC) was called upon to respond to the “considerable suffering” said to exist within Port-au-Prince. It was the first time that the Red Cross had been called to work in Haiti and it set the tone for all subsequent engagements with the country. Examining ARC operations throughout the occupation (1915-1934), this paper reveals how the humanitarian agency came to have a central role within the U.S. imperial project in Haiti. Arguing that the ARC was a key component in how the U.S. military authorities administered the island republic, this paper suggests the need to reconsider how committed those authorities actually were to the program of development and “uplift” which defined the occupation.


Caitlin Brown, Department of Psychology

The Impact of Family Cohesion and Culturally-Informed Family Therapy on Negative Symptoms of Schizophrenia
Respondents: Viviana Horigian, Department of Public Health Sciences; Victoria Orrego Dunleavy, Communication Studies Department

Negative symptoms, such as affective flattening, anhedonia, and alogia, play a significant role in the functional impairment ssociated with schizophrenia and often persist even when positive symptoms are under control. In spite of recent research indicating the malleability of negative symptoms, the impact of cognitivebehavioral and other treatments on negative symptoms remains understudied. The present study aimed to assess the impact of a culturally informed family therapy for schizophrenia (CIT-S) on negative symptoms over time. Because CIT-S promoted family cohesion as a means of reducing maladaptive communication and expressed emotion, the impact of patient and family member perceptions of family cohesion on patient outcomes was also assessed. In a sample of 266 patients and family members nested within 111 families, hierarchical linear modeling was employed to test whether CIT-S would reduce negative symptoms on the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) above and beyond treatment as usual (family psychoeducation; PSY-ED). The results suggest that CIT-S outperformed PSY-ED in reducing negative symptoms, and that family cohesion may be one aspect of family treatment that significantly improves patient outcomes. Implications for clinical practice with ethnic minority families are discussed.