Tassaya Charupatanapongse spent summer 2017 in Jakarta on an Indonesian Studies Travel Grant to develop her research on evictions and recently published the paper with the UCLA Undergraduate Research Journal.


By Tassaya Charupatanapongse (UCLA, 2017) 

My involvement in the research on evictions began when Professor Eric Sheppard and Professor Helga Leitner graciously allowed me to join their team, Jakarta Collective, a group made up primarily of PhD students with research interests in Jakarta. I was in my final year as a UCLA Geography Major and felt it was about time for me to get some concrete research experience in the field.

In Fall 2016, I sat in on the Jakarta Collective meetings and helped with tasks, such as sifting through our database of The Jakarta Post and The Jakarta Globe articles on evictions in Jakarta. Our team discussed analyzing the news media articles that we had procured. At the time, I was a research assistant at the UCLA Sociology Department analyzing media and news articles as well, so I transferred those skills and knowledge to Jakarta Collective. The team wanted to uncover trends in evictions in Jakarta through media articles. That's when I thought of Wordle, a tool that generates "word clouds" from inputted text. Words that appear more frequently in the block of text you inputted would appear larger in the Wordle visualization.



By winter quarter 2017, I decided to pursue the two-quarter commitment of doing a Geography Honors Thesis. Professors Sheppard and Leitner were once again kind enough to act as my faculty mentors. After discussions, I wrote my thesis on Evictions in Jakarta, Indonesia Analyzed Through the Media. I used a traditional discourse analysis as well as the Wordle visualizations to investigate how the trends in evictions in Jakarta correlated with the different administrations of governors from 1997 to 2016. It was hefty work, as I had to read through all the articles in a given year, pull out and highlight main themes, and also compare this to the Wordle's that were produced in a given year. I remember the process being very messy and I was at times confused and overwhelmed. But I'm grateful for the experience and see it as a worthwhile learning opportunity. The thesis was my first real piece of academic work!

Upon finishing my paper, I was fortunate enough to receive a Indonesian Studies Travel Grant from the UCLA Center for Southeast Asian Studies to travel to Jakarta and join the team on the ground in the summer 2017. After reading about and researching Jakarta so intensely in the past year, it was valuable to see the city first-hand, visit the slums, and see the effects of evictions firsthand. 

After this summer research trip, the team discussed ways to take my thesis further, and decided that submitting it to ALEPH, the UCLA Undergraduate Research Journal, would be the best course of action. I worked with Andrew Jarvis, another undergraduate student who was part of Jakarta Collective, to polish, refine, and shorten the paper for submission to ALEPH. Andrew was integral in producing the Wordles I used for my thesis and had been very involved with the group, so I was glad to have him as my co-thinker and co-author.

After our acceptance to ALEPH, it took us a full-year to eventually get our paper published. The process involved a lot of back and forth with ALEPH and feedback from Professors Sheppard and Leitner. The publishing process was long and tedious, but I gained a lot of insight into how publishing and peer-review work. There were times Andrew and I didn't agree with feedback received. Other times, we were tired of working on the paper or were working last minute. But through it all, it was quite productive to learn so much about the publishing process and academic research.

Currently, I'm a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education, finishing up my degree in International Education Development. As I'm studying international education and looking for opportunities in the field of education, I'm certain that I will be able to further apply these skills and the experience I gained by engaging in research.


Read Tassaya's article here:  https://escholarship.org/uc/item/3z69p9qs






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Published: Friday, February 22, 2019