2023-24 Research Associates
The Five College Women's Studies Research Center is excited to be hosting eight Research Associates for the 2023-2024 academic year.
2023-24 Research Associate Projects & Bios
Rural Women’s Agency, Sexuate Knowledge, Environmental Justice Movement in Thailand
PhD Candidate, Anthropology and Gender and Women's Studies
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Term: Academic Year
My research recenters the agency of social movement scholarship, which is based on the assumption of a single-neutral-male subject, by focusing on grassroots women and their demonstrated and effective agency in resisting state violence. Social movement scholarship downplays grassroots women’s knowledge due to their referencing an assumed neutral (male) subject that underlies (neo)-liberal ideology. In order to highlight Thai rural women’s knowledge, my project aims to answer the question: what knowledge has been produced by rural women who resist state violence? I engage with Irigaray’s concept “sexuate difference” to elaborate on how rural women create sexuate knowledge (an embodied and gendered knowledge built up and cultivated by women) in the environmental justice movement by using a case study from Thailand. I argue that the Thai grassroots women who fight for their communities resort to specific sexuate knowledge in their commitment to the state resistance movement, knowledge which differs from their male partners. However, these different ‘gendered’ forms of knowledge complement each other, which results in redefining a politics based on mutual respect for sexuate difference.
Chanida Chitbundid is a lecturer who is involved in initiating Thammasat Univeristy's MA Program in Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Currently, she is a PhD student in Anthropology and Gender and Women's Studies at University of Wisconsin-Madison and in the process of writing her dissertation "Agents of the Postcolonial State: Women's Agency and Sexuate Knowledge in Environmental Justice in Thailand" in which she elaborates on recentering the agency of social movement scholarship, which is based on the assumption of single-neutral-male subject, by focusing on grassroots women and their demonstrated and effective agency in resisting state violence.
Women in the Wastelands: the World-Making of Feminist Critical Dystopian Fiction
Associate Professor of Literature in English
Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Term: Academic Year
This project explores the recent explosion of transnational, feminist dystopian novels and the ways in which they “re-make” or “re-see” real-world issues such as bioethics and reproduction, caretaking and motherhood, and citizenship. By placing familiar social issues in extreme, unfamiliar possible worlds, the books not only illustrate the depth of their impact, but also imagine potential solutions to these issues. Further, readers see that the “dystopian” elements are not the improbable or fantastical, but the very real horrors of our own world, played out on the page. Environmental disaster (floods, droughts, earthquakes), political dystopias (religious and/or political extremists that restrict or highly regulate the citizens within their gates), and global epidemics powerful enough to decimate populations are some examples of the dystopic settings in these novels; readers see their fears come to life in their most extreme forms. The project also maps out contemporary crises related to reproductive choice and access and racial justice that are explored in the novels investigated by this project. The imaginative solutions crafted by writers are the beating heart of contemporary feminist dystopian fiction, as well as the root of this project. Ultimately, although the Wasteland may seem like a strange place to locate hope, this project finds that, at the heart of feminist dystopian novels is the utopian desire to speculate new potentialities.
Eir-Anne Edgar (she/her) is an Appalachian in Norway. Her current book project explores the recent explosion of transnational, feminist dystopian novels. She has written about a range of topics that include: Queer Eye, senior citizens and nonmonogamy, midcentury American hustlers, the Sexual Revolution, and using literature to promote empathy in readers. Her research focuses on issues of representation, identity, and American literature and culture as well as global citizenship education and literature pedagogy.
Cory Ellen Gatrall
'Dynamics of Prejudice': Antiracist Nursing Education and Community Health Activism, 1968-1978
PhD Candidate in Nursing Elaine Marieb College of Nursing
Elaine Marieb College of Nursing at University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Term: Academic Year
In 1968, the Race Relationship Planning Committee of the UCLA School of Nursing planned a three-year series of conferences and workshops, with the goal of “enabling nurses to become aware of their own prejudices and to realize how prejudices may interfere with their nursing practice.” Tensions arose quickly between organizers, who comprised both white academic administrators and Black Panther Party-affiliated faculty members. Some white participants reported feeling attacked in “Racial Encounter” groups, and the last set of meetings was thoroughly reorganized and then preemptively cancelled. Two other major endeavors along similar lines met similar challenges, yet organizers persisted, convinced that diversification of the nursing workforce and deeper understanding of “cultural diversity” among nurses were both key to improving the health of Black and brown communities. This project will draw on conference records and planning documents as well as organizational and oral histories, connecting professional efforts to break down racialized barriers between nurses and patients to the contemporaneous work of civil rights and community health activism movements, with attention to the flow of people and ideas between these spheres.
Cory Ellen Gatrall (she/her), MFA, RN, is a PhD candidate in nursing at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She has provided care in labor/delivery/postpartum and abortion services, as well as public health during the COVID-19 pandemic. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and a master of fine arts in creative writing, she worked as a full-spectrum doula and abortion clinic escort organizer, then became a nurse to turn her passion into her career. Her research interests lie at the intersections of nursing, history, public health, and anthropology; she is focused on the analysis, deconstruction, and reconceptualization of structures which stand in the way of health justice and equity. She sits on the board of the Abortion Rights Fund of Western Massachusetts, and is co-organizing an abortion doula collective.
Understanding Feminist Subjectivities in the Times of Intersectionality: Linking Narratives, Memories, Politics
Assistant Professor of Women and Gender Studies
Savitribai Phule Pune University
Term: Academic Year
The present context is one of renewed backlash against feminism, both in India and the US and the increasing erosion of hard-won rights for women. My research funded by the Fulbright- Nehru post-doctoral fellowship titled 'Understanding feminist subjectivities in the times of intersectionality: Linking Narratives, Memory and Politics' is an attempt to understand the predicament of the feminist project in the current moment and imagine possible productive futures for it, by bringing insights from memory studies to life narrative analysis and mapping the particular trajectory of the concept- intersectionality, in the context of India.
Dr. Sneha Gole (she/her) completed her B.A in Political Science from Fergusson College, Pune and has a Masters degree in social work from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. She subsequently completed her doctoral work in 2018 in the discipline of Women's Studies from the Department of Women and Gender Studies at the Savitribai Phule Pune University, examining the women's movement in the post 1990 period, mapping new spaces, strategies and issues of the movement. Her research areas are social movements, with a particular focus on women's movements, gender and development and gender and culture. She teaches papers on feminisms, feminist research methodology and gender and popular culture among others. Her other areas of engagement and research have been gender and higher education, the social history and cultural politics of kathak and the issue of declining child sex ratios. She was awarded the Awaben Wadia Archival fellowship by RCWS, SNDT University to work on an archive of life narratives of young feminists, 2017-18.
Unhomely Histories: Archiving Girlhood in 20th Century India
Associate Professor in Human Geography
University of Oxford
Term: Spring 2024
In Unhomely Histories, I ask how girlhood troubles the archive’s redemptive potentials for the writing of a history of liberal imperialism. Drawing outward from a microhistorical focus on Women’s Christian College in erstwhile Madras (now Chennai), the book tells the story of how young Indian women in the early 20th century inhabited “girlhood” as a threshold category: en route to proper modernity, but not quite there, allowing for experiments with narrative, memory, and storytelling that subverted the colonial project of respectable woman-making. Drawing on college magazines and ephemera, read together with the hauntings that have circulated in the hostel over decades, the book asks how girlhood materialises at the limits of a plausible postcolonial history.
Sneha Krishnan (she/her) is an Associate Professor in Human Geography at the University of Oxford. She currently holds a British Academy-Wolfson Fellowship (2022 to 2025). In all her work, Sneha is interested in how spaces of colonial education shape histories of gender, sexuality, and race. Sneha's first book, Unhomely Histories focuses on hostels for girls in late colonial India, asking how to make sense of an archive that is simultaneously sparse and abundant in its construction of girlhood at the nexus of projects of racial and sexual difference in the colony. In previous work, she has focused on the interplay of pleasure and danger in young women’s lives in India, and on the ordinariness of carcerality in the project of postcolonial sexual discipline in India. Sneha's work has appeared most recently in Social History, Antipode, and Gender, Place, and Culture. She has also written for readers beyond the academy in Public Books, the Abusable Past, and History Workshop Journal. Sneha is also Editor of Gender, Place, and Culture and Associate Editor of The Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers.
Ever E. Osorio Ruiz
Vivas: Politics and Poetics of Mexican Feminisms
PhD Candidate in American Studies and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Term: Academic Year
My project examines political mobilizations in response to gender violence that gave rise to mass protests across Mexico from 2010 to 2020. I draw on an original archive of feminist writings and testimonial acts, published in print and online, and appearing in banners, walls, monuments, chants and slogans. My argument is that while these protests built on prior demands for women’s rights, feminist leaders also drew from successful strategies deployed by previous social justice movements such as Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring. Through a simultaneous use of digital and print media and in-person assemblies Mexican feminists created new forms of communication. The effect was to enliven older forms of political writing–the testimonial and the manifesto–by ensuring their ubiquitous presence. This dynamic garnered immediate, engaged participation and the creation of forms of telling experiences of violence that were formerly untold.
Ever E. Osorio Ruiz (she/her) is a Doctoral Candidate in American Studies and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Yale University. She was a Predoctoral Fellow at MIT School of and Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and a Research Associate at the FCWSRC during the 2022-2023 academic year. She holds an MA in Politics from the New School for Social Research and an MA in Communication from Universidad Iberoamericana. Ever is currently writing her dissertation "The Violet Spring: Radical Politics and Poetics of Mexican Feminisms" in which she explores the history and configuration of contemporary Mexican feminist social movements through slogans and the writing of testimonies in protests, rallies and in analog and digital media posts. Her analysis situates the feminist struggle as a direct action against feminicide, the War on Drugs and rising authoritarianism. Her research has been supported by a Mellon Sawyer Seed Grant, the Race, Indigeneity and Transnational Migration Program and the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale, and the Mexican Public Education Ministry. Ever’s fields of expertise are critical theories, Latin-American studies, feminisms, cultural studies, and modern social thought.
Michela Rosa Di Candia
Maternal Subjectivity/ies as a Source(s) of Identities
Associate Professor of Literature
Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
Term: Academic Year
The project discusses the notion of ‘maternity’ as a performative act, an active practice in constant transformation in the novel The Joys of Motherhood (1989); by the Nigerian writer Buchi Emecheta, and the short stories published in Olhos D’Água (2014) by the Afro-Brazilian Conceição Evaristo. Focusing on the ways maternity has been built, the study aims at investigating how the female characters of the chosen narratives are positioned by the African or Western discourses that make them. The place where the black protagonists were born or raised and, even their adopted home, their (new) values, attitudes and life-style are defining elements in the process of defining (a mother’s) identity.
Michela Rosa Di Candia (she/her) is an Associate Professor of Literature at the School of Languages, Linguistics and Literature at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). She received her MSc and PhD in Linguistic and Literary Studies at USP (University of São Paulo), respectively, in the years of 2003 and 2008. She is interested in the study of gender, race and identity/ies. She is a member of the research/study group about Gender & Sexuality at UFRJ and Literary Narratives and Identities in the Diasporic Space of English Language at USP. She coordinates the work of Revista Intransitiva, a magazine that publishes literary texts by Brazilian new writers.
From Rana Plaza to COVID-19: Disjunctures of Transnational Garment Labor Organizing
Associate Professor in the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies
Worcester State University
Term: Academic Year
Nafisa Tanjeem is currently working on finishing her book manuscript that examines transnational labor activism and activist discourses developed in relation to the deadliest garment industrial disaster in human history, the 2013 collapse of Rana Plaza–a factory building housing five garment factories in Savar, Bangladesh, and continued until the global COVID-19 pandemic. The project examines the gendered, racialized, classed, and (trans)national trajectory of labor organizing around the Accord, the Alliance, and the COVID-19 pandemic proposing diverging concepts of safety, security, and labor rights, and the challenges that arise when these concepts clash in various local and global, physical and virtual organizing spaces.
Nafisa Tanjeem (she/her) is a teacher, researcher, writer, and activist. Currently, she works as an Associate Professor in the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies at Worcester State University in Massachusetts, United States. She is also a Research Associate at the Five College Women’s Studies Research Center in Amherst, MA, and an Affiliate Faculty in the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University.
Nafisa’s research and teaching interests include transnational, postcolonial, and decolonial feminisms; critical race theory; globalization and feminist politics; critical community engagement; nonprofit industrial complex; critical university studies; and transnational social justice movements with a specific focus on the United States and South Asia. Before joining Worcester State University, Nafisa taught at Lesley University, Rutgers University, the University of Toronto, and the University of Dhaka.
Nafisa has been actively involved in community organizing and social justice activism. She is an organizer of the Meye (“Woman” in Bangla) network, which is a voluntary, grassroots, and organic network advocating for women’s solidarity and leadership in Bangladesh. In the past, she was a co-chief steward of the core faculty union of Lesley University, which was a part of SEIU Local 509. She organized with the Rutgers University chapter of United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) on the garment worker solidarity campaign in New Jersey. She also worked as a Community Organizer and Events Coordinator with the Council of Agencies Serving South Asians (CASSA) on poverty reduction, gender equity, and youth engagement among South Asian immigrant communities in Toronto, Canada. Nafisa recognizes the value of public scholarship and contributes to many local and international platforms, such as Common Dreams, Jamhoor, the Daily Star, New Age, Prothom Alo, Thotkata, and Bama.