Social sciences professors joined USC Dornsife in the 2020 academic year, bringing a range of new expertise
New professors in the social sciences joined the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing expertise on subjects like the legacy of colonialism, the impact of human productivity on the economy and anthropological filmmaking.
Academic focus: My research focuses on how people — the public, technical experts, business leaders and policy-makers — use and misuse information when they make judgments and decisions. On top of this, I look at how people make, and fail to make, tradeoffs between different kinds of risks, costs and benefits.
My group also does research and development on tools that people can use to improve their decision-making capabilities. Most of the topics I look at with my research deal with sustainability and the environment, but I’m interested in other topics, too.
If you could invite one person to dinner, living or dead, who would you select? What would be on the menu? So many possibilities to choose from! If I had to pick one right this moment, it would be Bill Murray. We’d meet for coffee and doughnuts at Trejo’s on Santa Monica Blvd. Doughnuts for dinner!
Favorite book you’ve read lately? Fifth Business by Robertson Davies.
What food or condiments will we always find in your kitchen? Licorice and ketchup.
Academic focus: I research the drivers of inequality in colonial and post-colonial autocracies with a particular focus on the Southwest Asia and North Africa (Middle East and North Africa) region. My book project looks at when and why decolonization results in regressive (anti-poor, pro-elite) outcomes after land redistribution in Jordan, Iraq and Egypt.
What do you like to do in your spare time? During the pandemic, I started Olympic weightlifting. I try to take advantage of being in California by hiking as much as I can.
Where is your favorite place to travel? I enjoy spending time with friends and family in southern Poland, especially around Christmas. My favorite place to travel for my research is Jordan.
What food or condiments will we always find in your kitchen? Zaatar and olive oil.
Academic focus: My research seeks to improve our understanding of how humans, companies and public policies interact with and impact the environment. I also focus on what human factors impact productivity in many markets.
What inspires you? People achieving through adversity.
What do you like to do in your spare time? Watching British soccer and keeping active.
What food or condiments will we always find in your kitchen? Bananas.
Miguel Pereira | Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Relations
Academic focus: I study inequalities in political representation and how politicians make decisions. I do this mostly through experiments with political elites.
Where is your favorite place to travel? Wherever my friends are, but if they happen to be anywhere close to the Mediterranean, or in Brazil, even better.
What do you like to do in your spare time? I like to look at birds and I like to buy old records.
If you could invite one person to dinner, living or dead, who would you select? What would be on the menu? I would invite Louis-Ferdinand Celine. The main course would be a Portuguese goat stew called chanfana, served with boiled potatoes.
Academic focus: I’ve produced the films Manakamana, As Long As There’s Breath, Monsoon-Reflections, and KÃÂle and KÃÂle. My current project, Snow River, will convey, in video and sound, how climate change is altering traditional practices and attitudes toward the land, and life more generally, in the Nepal Himalayas.
Jonathan Stange | Assistant Professor of Psychology
Academic focus: My lab focuses on identifying mechanisms and outcomes of the cognitive and affective processes underlying mood disorders. Our current work seeks to identify how disrupted interactions between cognitive and affective processes may underlie maladaptive affect regulation in individuals at risk for problems such as depression and suicide.