Research Associates 2019-2020

List of 2019-2020 Research Associates




"Strong and Sure as Well as Fair and Soft": Physical Education, Athletics and the Emergence of Women's Physical Activism         

This book project locates the genesis of modern forms of physical activism in women’s collegiate fitness programming from the post-Civil War period through the 1930s. Drawing from archival records and object collections at select single-sex and coeducational institutions, Davey argues that diverse college women spearheaded and debated evolving body-centric ideologies such as reproductive agency, disability/able-bodiedness, and gender identity through fitness programming. From gymnastics to basketball to swimming, generations of student athletes created models of physical activism that continue to be negotiated today as women march, canvass, and run for office on issues like abortion and access to health care.

Frances Davey is an Assistant Professor of History at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, Florida. She received her Ph.D. in the History of American Civilization from the University of Delaware. Her teaching and research interests focus on U.S. women's history of the 19th and 20th century, material culture, and public/oral history. She is currently working on a manuscript titled “‘Strong and Sure as Well as Fair and Soft’: Physical Education, Athletics, and the Emergence of Women’s Physical Activism,” which investigates the impact of early collegiate athletics on modern forms of women’s physical activism.

michele hardesty

associate professor of u.s. literature & cultural studies    hampshire college

Writers Take Sides: U.S. Literatures and Internationalism During the Global Cold War

With Writers Take Sides: U.S. Literatures and Internationalism during the Global Cold War, Hardesty argues that during the era of decolonization and the global Cold War, U.S.-based writers collectively claimed affiliations with struggles in the so-called “Third World” and took positions against U.S foreign policy, and, in so doing, imagined new literary practices and political subjectivities. Focusing on a thirty-three-year period from 1959 and 1992, the book’s five chapters address U.S. writers’ solidarity with Cuba, Vietnam, Nicaragua, and Afghanistan, attending to both well-known figures like Susan Sontag, Amiri Baraka, and Allen Ginsberg, and lesser-known writers, editors, translators, photographers, and filmmakers, some of whom doubled as cultural diplomats and campaign organizers. This book contends that the idea of the writer (whether a poet, novelist, or intellectual) was mobilized during this period by literary associations, solidarity campaigns, and revolutionary governments, and it examines why and how “the writer” became a persistent but paradoxical rallying point of the era.

Michele Hardesty is Associate Professor of U.S. Literatures & Cultural Studies at Hampshire College, where she is also a member of the college’s Cuba Program. Hardesty’s research focuses on the crosscurrents of culture and social movements. She is currently working on a book manuscript entitled Writers Take Sides: Internationalism and U.S. Literatures during the Global Cold War, which examines U.S. literary cultures during the Cold War era, with a focus on the cultural politics of international solidarity. Her work appears in boundary 2, and the edited volume Transnational Beat Generation (Palgrave, 2012), edited by Nancy Grace and Jenny Skerl, and the edited volume Neocolonial Fictions of the Global Cold War (University of Iowa Press, 2019), edited by Stephen Belletto and Joseph Keith. In addition, Hardesty’s writing has appeared in Critical Quarterly, The Monthly Review, and Archive Journal. Hardesty archives movement culture as a volunteer at Interference Archive in Brooklyn, NY.

joy hayward-jansen

phD candidate, department of english                                            University of massachusetts amherst

Save Our Children: Queer Discourse Formation in the U.S. and South Africa

The gay rights movements of the U.S. and South Africa in the 80’s and 90’s shaped the development of democracy by challenging and supporting socio-political norms, practices, and institutions. Because gay rights movements tangled with reproductive politics in the U.S. and civil rights discourses in South Africa, the “future under siege” became a focal point for constructing queer subjectivities. Fearing a queer future, conservatives campaigned against abortion, homosexuality, and pornography, rallying against homosexuals who might “recruit” the nation’s children. In South Africa, the 80’s and 90’s was a period of violent transition from old to new. The “new South Africa” was repeatedly imagined within the rhetoric of development, host to all the hopes and fears for the future. The period of “the transition” not only saw greater visibility of gay subjectivity, but also the linkage of gay rights to democracy.​ ​The gay rights movements in the U.S. and South Africa parallel one another in 1) how racial discourse shaped queer discourse and 2) how queer sexuality was made to stand in for cultural decay in the U.S. and democratic progressivity in South Africa.

In this consideration of U.S. and South African literature and culture from 1980-2010, Hayward-Jansen considers how queerness did certain kinds of discursive work in the rise of global neoliberal democracy. Traversing the connected histories of the rise of the religious right in the U.S. and the transition to democracy in South Africa, this dissertation tracks what “futurity” reveals about the role of queerness in these cultural-politico formations and what queerness can tell us about how these factions imagined democratic development. The questions, put most simply, are: how does the U.S. need queerness to construct the Right and how does South Africa need queerness (in all its instantiations) to get free?

Joy Hayward-Jansen is a doctoral candidate at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in the English and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) departments, where they are completing their dissertation, ​Save Our Children: Queer Discourse Formation in the U.S. and South Africa​. ​Joy received their MA from the English department and a graduate certificate in Advanced Feminist Studies from WGSS at UMass. Positioned at the intersections of Queer and Feminist Studies, South African Studies, and American/ Black Studies, Joy’s dissertation examines the role of queerness in literature and culture during the rise of the religious right in the U.S. and the collapse of apartheid in South Africa. They have presented work on queerness, queer children in South African post-apartheid fiction, and white trash figurations of the U.S. South at the D.C. Queer Studies Symposium, the National Women’s Studies Association, the Modern Literature Association (Jan 2020), the Futures for American Studies Workshop, and the inaugural February Lectures conference for Queer Studies in South Africa.

ynestra king

independent scholar                              

Barbara Deming Reconsidered: Feminism, Nonviolence, and the Politics of Intersectionality

Barbara Deming is the most significant almost unknown theorist and practitioner of nonviolence in the twentieth century. Deming was decades ahead of her contemporaries in the secular pacifist movement, and her struggle from the 1950s onward toward a politics of intersectionality anticipated our contemporary moment.  She asserts that rather than being passe, non-violence is in its infancy, and that it is the only means by which the “triple pronged sickness” of racism, excessive materialism and militarism can be overcome. This project will be a careful study of Deming's life and work, with a focus on the relationships between feminism, peace, anti-racism, gender non-conformity, and non-violence as they evolved in Deming’s thinking, and in her life of embodied practice.  

Ynestra King is an ecofeminist writer, teacher, oral historian and activist. She is a native of Selma, Alabama where she first observed the practice of nonviolent resistance, which was to become a lifelong preoccupation. She is an originator of  ecofeminism and she is currently working on a book collection of her many publications in response to requests from climate activists around the US, and in Europe, India and the Middle East, as well as a memoir. She cofounded Women and Life on Earth, and convened the first ever ecofeminist gathering in 1980, which organized the anti-militarist Women's Pentagon Action, and contributed to the ecology and peace encampment movements of the 1980s and 1990s. Ynestra has taught at several colleges and universities including the New School and Columbia University.   More recently, she has written about disability, and originated and directed an oral history project at Columbia University, interviewing people living with significant disabilities and physical trauma (“Listening With the Whole Body in Mind”). Her work continues to be concerned with feminism, climate change, embodied politics, community, and the practice of radical nonviolence. She continues to be affiliated with the Institute for Social Ecology and is on the Board of the A.J. Muste Foundation. She strives to live a life of radical amazement.

Nell lake   

phd candidate, department of american studies, brown university                         

Mother. Nurse. Housewife. Maid.

A Moral-Political History of “Women’s Work” in America, 1920-2020

This project examines moral frames around paid and unpaid care and domestic labor—“women’s work”—in America, from the ratification of the 19th amendment to the 2020 presidential election. Ambitious and synthetic, focusing largely on the last forty years, it explores both a problem—women’s work and “the care crisis” as a terrain of gendered, racial, and economic subjugation—and demands for solutions: efforts for better care policy for all, and rights, dignity, recognition, and equality for women. Lake seeks to contribute to scholarly and popular conversations concerning care by examining the moral construction of care labors and women’s work. While the project clearly focuses on gender, it also centers race, with attention to the activism of women of color in challenging oppressions, and to the role of white domesticity in creating and reinforcing social hierarchies. In analyzing moral constructions around women’s work and care, the project uses both archival sources and my own ethnography. Lake expects to argue that 1., moral constructions around care and domesticity have helped create the “care crisis,” 2., such constructions have reinforced social hierarchies of gender, race, and class; 3., they’ve also been used in efforts to challenge oppressions; 4., building a more “caring” America requires political struggle and direct political action; and 5., effective political action employs both moral frames of care and those of justice, equality, and fairness.

For more than 20 years, Nell Lake has worked as an editor, journalist, author, and college instructor—and is now a PhD candidate in American Studies at Brown. Her book, The Caregivers: A Support Group’s Stories of Slow Loss, Courage, and Love, intimately chronicles two years in the lives of people caring for ill and elderly family members (Scribner 2014). Lake was founding editor of the Nieman Narrative Digest, now Nieman Storyboard, at Harvard University. She has written for the Boston Globe, CommonHealth, and my other publications about care labor, health, illness, aging, and other social issues. She has received journalism fellowships from the Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center at Columbia University and from the Gerontological Society of America, and has taught courses at Smith College, UMass-Amherst, Brown University, and other institutions. Lake holds a BA from Smith and a MA from Brown. In 2016 she returned to Brown for her PhD. For her dissertation/next book, through ethnography and archival research, she will examine moral frames around “women’s work” from 1920 to 2020, with particular attention to the paid care labor of women of color and to white domesticity.



Launch Productions: The Independent Films of Patricia Montoya

This research will focus on the development stage (script writing and fundraising research), for the following film projects:

  • La Niña de La Carta, an animation short about a young woman/spirit in NYC that engages in long solitary, aimless walks in New York City and can’t satisfy her hunger for food and love. 
  • A Pilgrimage Music Video Documentary into Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands, a visual annotated experimental non-fiction film about the late scholar, poet and social critic, Chicana feminist Gloria Anzaldúa’s theories of sexuality and borderlands using the music video tropes developed by Latina feminist collective Kegels for Hagel (artists and academics Professors Alexis Salas, Visiting Assistant Professor at Hampshire College and Sarah Luna, Visiting Assistant Professor of Latin American Studies at Davidson College).
  • Una Mujer Desnuda / A Naked Woman, a short film that fuses elements of classic film noir, modern Latin American theater and quixotic inferences to explore a woman’s perspective on the power of language, the female body and sexuality.  

Patricia Montoya is a video maker and educator transplanted to Western Mass via San Diego, California, to which she was transplanted via Brooklyn, NY, in turn transplanted via Queens, NY, from Medellin, Colombia.

In her creative work, Patricia draws on her bi-national identity and her Queer, US/Mexico border and East-West North American experience to tackle the existential conditions and cultural contradictions experienced by immigrants from Latin America who are living in the United States.  Her videos address issues of migration, memory and identity through lyrical explorations of text, dialogue, theatrical adaptations and the depiction of intimate human relations within the context of urban landscapes.  Patricia is a product of the cultural and political movements of the 1990's, which were characterized by the impetus to express, in a personal voice, and with a sense of urgency, issues of identity and belonging.  

She is currently in the developmental stages of various projects including the production of the Power of Words Written, a documentary about cancer survival stories told from the perspective of the members of the writing support group at The Cancer Support Community, Benjamin Center, LA. She is also collaborating in the production of The Real Women of Orange is the New Black, a documentary series co-directed by Carol Skelsky Soto and Braccus Giovanno based on the Netflix series Orange is the New Black.   

Montoya holds an MFA from University of California, San Diego and teaches documentary production and various forms of non-fiction, experimental and narrative film and video at Hampshire College.  

Korka sall

PHD CANDIDATE, DEPARTMENT OF english                                            UNIVERSITY OF massachusetts amherst 

Negritude Feminisms: Francophone Black Women Writers and Activists in France, Martinique and Senegal from the 1920s to 1980s

Negritude Feminisms reframes debates about the participation and conversation of francophone women writers in the Negritude movement. Sall uses the Negritude movement as a model to highlight its capacities and limits. Through an intergenerational analysis of the writings and personal experiences of Paulette Nardal and Suzanne Césaire from Martinique, Annette Mbaye d’Erneville and Aminata Sow Fall from Senegal, this dissertation charts common themes of racial consciousness, gender issues and the colonial problem developed by these women. Nardal, Césaire, Mbaye d’Erneville and Sow Fall played a crucial role in liberating the black community, especially the black woman, through their writings and activism. Chapter 1 focuses on Paulette Nardal’s Feminist Negritude in the journals La revue de monde noir, La Dépèche Africaine (in Paris) and La Femme Dans La Cité (in Martinique). Chapter 2 examines the essays published by Suzanne Césaire in the journal Les Tropiques in Martinique. Chapter explores Annette Mbaye d’Erneville’s experience as a journalist, a writer and teacher. She wrote poetry and children’s books to share her feminist vision of Negritude. Chapter 4 analyzes Aminata Sow Fall’s role and experience of the importance of the African culture and how to preserve the tradition. In her novels, Sow Fall is interested in post-independence Senegal and the changes that occur in the society and offer a definition of feminism that fits the African woman’s lived experiences.  Ultimately, Negritude Feminisms reclaims black women’s voices by unveiling their writings and experiences to reveal a consciousness about such pressing contemporary issues as the colonial problem, gender issues, women and education, women and politics and the place of francophone black women in the world.

Korka Sall is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in English, A.B.D. at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She came to study in the United States after first getting her M.A. in English from Senegal, West Africa. Her dissertation topic is "Negritude feminisms: Francophone Women Writers and Activists in Martinique, Senegal and France from 1920s to 1980s." Her areas of interests include Post-Colonial Studies, Feminist Studies, African Diaspora Studies, Caribbean Studies, and Transnational Theory. She enjoys teaching and discussing literature from Francophone countries focusing on the intersectionality of race, class, gender and sexuality. She believes that literary texts from Francophone countries, regardless of the genre, navigate themes of class, power dynamics, imperialism, and colonization relevant to the experiences of people from the diaspora.

laurel smith-doerr

Professor, DEPARTMENT OF SociologY                                      University of massachusetts amherst

Automating Privilege: Reproducing Inequalities in Artificial Intelligence Knowledge Production Processes in the U.S. and Germany

Missing from many discussions of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the future of work is the role of racial inequalities. This research asks who is designing AI, and for whom. This study of designers compares the US and Germany where racial justice and immigration issues are quite different, but flourishing tech sectors are shared. Qualitative methods will be used as the most appropriate to investigate organizational processes in recruiting workers who produce new knowledge. Working with collaborators from the University of Hamburg Centre for Globalisation and Governance with support from a Fulbright Flex award, Smith-Doerr will conduct interviews of tech recruiters and field research in tech firms. This project will contribute to social science theory on organizational governance and equity. Study of variation in US and German tech companies’ recruitment processes may illuminate where change is possible for more equitable practices.

Laurel Smith-Doerr is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Smith-Doerr investigates scientific collaboration, and the organizational contexts that produce knowledge and (in)equalities. She was a co-editor of the 2017 Handbook of Science and Technology Studies (MIT Press), and received the STS Infrastructure Award from the Society for Social Studies of Science. Her published work has been cited more than 14,000 times. Her current sabbatical project, which will be the focus of her research at the Five College Women’s Studies Research Center is entitled, “Automating Privilege: Reproducing Inequalities in Artificial Intelligence Knowledge Production Processes in the US and Germany,” is supported by a Fulbright award.

pamela stone

Director, culture, brain and development program            hampshire college

The Anthropology of Childbirth

This book project focuses on the biological and cultural components of reproduction from evolutionary and cross-cultural perspectives through to current trends. The text will be divided into three parts. Part 1: Begins with the pelvis, exploring the evolution, nutrition, growth and development, as well as health and trauma related events that can affect successful childbirth. Part 2: Examines the birth process from biological and cross-cultural frameworks, as well as archaeological, physical anthropological/medical, and ethnographic exploration of females in the ancient world. Historical trends in obstetrics are then discussed as birth shifts from the hearth and home into the medical arena. Part 3: Examines last five decades of worldwide rates of maternal mortality to understand global trends and risks in childbirth.

Pamela Stone received her PhD in 2000 from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in Anthropology, with a specific focus on bioarchaeology and reproduction. Throughout her graduate and professional career she has considered the ways in which female reproductive bodies are measured, managed, and disadvantaged because they give birth, lactate, participate in devalued labor, and have been scripted as fragile and weak. By focusing on the intersection of science and culture to understand how the human body has been assessed and understood and how we skeletal transcript is at the foundation of all the work Stone does. By engaging a biocultural  framework Stone aims to illuminate patterns of morbidity and mortality through skeletal, archaeological, cultural, and ethnographic information, and to use these data to understand lived experiences. Through this work, Stone has become deeply interested in the ways in science can simultaneously reinforce and be molded by prejudice, and how the whiteness of science and anthropological inquiries becomes an invisible and influential framework in universalizing the idea of “normal bodies.” In addition to this research, Stone's work in skeletal analysis has also extended into the field of forensics in the identification of human remains, consulting on a number of forensic cases, and testifying in court. She has also conducted archaeological field work and research all over the globe, including: Kenya, the American Southwest, Southwest Asia (Arabian Peninsula), Europe, Australia, and New England. Stone has held a position at Smithsonian Institution and conducted research at the American Museum of Natural History and Mesa Verde National Park. She has taught at Fort Lewis College, Durango Colorado, Western Michigan University, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Stone is currently on the faculty of Hampshire College.




"Stories Women Carry": Remapping Reproduction and Citizenship in Contemporary U.S. American Migrant Fiction         

In her dissertation, Gooptu focuses on the triangulated archive of post-globalization literature of South Asian and Caribbean diasporas in the United States from the early 1990s until 2018. Recognizing the entangled relationship between literature and social processes, she examines the significance of writing as a creative and productive act of authority. Analyzing the representations of pregnancies, the reproduction of female national identities and the complexities of memorialization, Gooptu questions the concealment of reproductive experience in postcolonial analysis of the migration and emphasizes the role of female subjectivity in cultural reproduction. By placing fictional texts and memoirs in the same project, she confronts her own reading practices and assumptions of narrative authenticity. Furthermore, her work emphasizes placing reproduction at the heart of cultural analysis to recognize its deeply political nature that provokes a claim to authority that thrives at the edges of the rhetoric of national identity. Gooptu works toward developing a multi-layered relational reading methodology that recognizes politics of ownership, political belonging, generational trauma and reproductive labor placed within a triangulated historical and geographical matrix. 

Subhalakshmi Gooptu is a doctoral candidate in the English Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst where she is completing her dissertation. She moved to the United States after receiving her MA from Jadavpur University, Kolkata and her BA from St Stephens College, New Delhi, both in India. Positioned at the intersections of postcolonial, migration, transnational and women and gender studies, Gooptu’s project explores narratives of reproduction and citizenship in contemporary South Asian and Caribbean diaspora literature. She enjoys teaching cultural and literary texts from the Global South by encouraging conversations about displacement, imperialism, globalization and labor. She has presented her work at the Postcolonial Studies Association and looks forward to forthcoming presentations at the National Women’s Studies Association (November), the Modern Literature Association (Jan 2020).

MARY NJERI KINYANJUI                         


Solidarity Entrepreneurialism: The Case for Enfranchising Women Peasants, Artisans and Traders in the Global Economy

After studying women peasants, artisans and traders for many decades, I have decided to develop a feminist method of including them in the global economy through solidarity entrepreneurialism. The project entails developing training materials on methods for enfranchising women peasants, artisans and traders into the global economy. It will aim at developing feminist methods that will take into account the women's creative agency, their inherent self-determination to provide for themselves and their offspring as well as their solidarity entrepreneurialism. The feminist methods will also include the women's understanding of wealth and well-being in addition to the institutions they have created to harness human agency. The strategies will replace past efforts to include women in the global economy which had imposed dissonance with the women's logic, norms and values of farming, craft and trade activities.

Mary Njeri Kinyanjui is a senior research fellow at the Institute for Development Studies, University of Nairobi. She has carried out many research projects in her country Kenya. She started her research by studying the location, structure, role and linkages of large, medium and small enterprises in the central region of Kenya for her MA and PhD degree. As a career researcher at the Institute for Development Studies, she has carried research geared to informing policy on entrepreneurship, barriers to enterprise growth, gender relations in micro and small enterprises, innovation, enterprise clustering and value chains in small enterprise. In 2004, she decided to change her approach to the study of economic informality as sector for survivalist, ‘yet to be’ businesses. She observed that businesses in economic informality are a mode of production dominated by traders, artisans, peasants and fisherfolk. She began by focusing on archival research, orature and case studies to determine the origin, entry,  raison detre, relationships, communities, learning, formation of rules and regulations for governing self  and deployment of surplus to examine why the mode survives in the 21st century. She also investigated the way traders, artisans, peasants and fisherfolk  impact on the city’s housing, culture, journeys to work, and urban politics. She has also been involved in education activism in public schools by working with parents from peasant, traders and artisan background. She has publications in Singapore Journal of Tropical GeographyHemisphereGeographical Review, Journal of East African Development and ResearchInternational Journal of Research and Development. She has published books with Zed Books of London,  Nsemia Publisher and Laanga Press. She writes opinions in local dailies and for the World Policy Institute Africa Angle.

perry zurn                      

assistant professor, Department of philosophy  american university

Queer Ecologies of Knowledge: Trans Activism and Higher Education

This project explores the increasingly complex—and transformative—networks of trans student activism, higher education policy and curricula, and transgender studies. Developing a queer ecologies of knowledge framework, Zurn traces the theoretical and praxiological insights of that transformative interplay and takes, as its case study, the Five Colleges. Attending to their divergent histories of trans activism, institutional visions, and pedagogical commitments, Zurn triangulates the conflicting forces contributing not only to trans inclusion but also trans theorization in higher education and beyond.

Perry Zurn is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at American University. He researches in political philosophy, gender theory, and applied ethics. His work contributes specifically to curiosity studies, critical prison studies, and transgender studies. In addition to dozens of articles, essays, and translations, Zurn is the author of The Politics of Curiosity (University of Minnesota Press, under contract) and the co-author of Curious Minds (MIT Press, under contract). He is also the co-editor of Active Intolerance: Michel Foucault, the Prisons Information Group, and the Future of Abolition (2016), Carceral Notebooks 12 (2017), Curiosity Studies: Toward a New Ecology of Knowledge (forthcoming), and Intolerable: Writings from Michel Foucault and the Prisons Information Group, 1970-1980 (forthcoming).