2018 Small Grants for Human Rights Research


César Abadía-Barrero Assistant Professor, Anthropology and Human Rights

“Health Ruins: The Capitalist Destruction of Medical Care”

This grant will allow me to submit my book manuscript Health Ruins: The Capitalist Destruction of Medical Care to a prestigious academic press. My ethnography narrates the history of a hospital and its people. El Materno, once considered the most important university hospital specializing in child and maternity care in Colombia, collapsed during neoliberalism. By tracing the history of El Materno, Health Ruins joins recent scholarly efforts that show how health care privatization harms the human right to health. In particular, Health Ruins illustrates how the neoliberal transformation of medical care and medical education is filled with violence, conflict, hope, and uncertainty. Unlike other scholarly efforts that show the impacts of neoliberal health policies on health outcomes, Health Ruins illustrates how neoliberalism transforms the human right to health by attacking existing cultural norms and practices around health care in order for its for-profit health care model to become hegemonic. By showing what patient-centered health care looked like, how it was destroyed, and the current status of its neoliberal replacement, Health Ruins joins other scholarly and activist efforts to contest the growing commodification of health care.

César Abadía-Barrero is a Medical Anthropologist whose research integrates different critical perspectives in the study of how for-profit interests transform access, continuity, and quality of health care. He has conducted action-oriented ethnographic and mixed-method research on health care policies and programs, human rights judicialization and advocacy, and social movements in health in Brazil and Colombia.

Miguel Figuiredo Associate Professor of Law | University of Connecticut

“Raise the Age: A Triumph for Children’s Rights?”

Project Description Pending

Maria Larusso Assistant Professor Human Development and Family Studies

“The School to Prison Pipeline: How a Human Rights Catastrophe Begins in Elementary Schools”

In recent decades, school discipline has become increasingly criminalized, seen for example in the routine use of metal detectors, law enforcement referrals, and monitoring by security guards or police officers, as well as a trend toward elaborate conduct codes, stricter discipline policies, and more extreme punishments. However, decades of research have shown that such measures are not only ineffective, but have unintended negative effects, such as increasing levels of school disorder and contributing to a pipeline to incarceration for youth. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) defines the school-to-prison pipeline as “the policies and practices that push our nation’s schoolchildren, especially our most at-risk children, out of classrooms and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems. The school-to-prison pipeline has been called a “human rights catastrophe” given not only that it reflects violations to children’s rights to education, safety, and protection from harm, but also that these violations and their long-term consequences reproduce inequalities. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, harsh disciplinary policies and practices are primarily a problem in middle and high schools. However; criminalized school discipline may be overlooked in elementary schools because it appears in more subtle forms. This study utilizes qualitative data from four inner city elementary schools to illuminate the criminalization of language and practices that can produce criminalized identities and reputations of children, starting as early as kindergarten.