Five College Women's Studies Research Center

Research Associates 2014-2015

Intersectionalities in Feminist Science and Technology Studies

Fall Associates

Fall Associates

Academic Year

Department of Comparative Literature
UMass Amherst

Alumnae Associate

A Touch of Stone: Reading Surfaces in Bassam Hajjar's Poetry and Other Explorations in the Politics of Longing

This project explores the particular paradox in the poetics of Lebanese poet, journalist and translator Bassam Hajjar (1955-2009), a paradox that gives expression to the complex experience of mourning. By engaging interdisciplinary approaches to literature drawn from the fields of the philosophy of science, cognitive poetics, and feminist studies, Hajjar’s poetic works become sites that resist flatness as they exhibit an intricate overlay of interpretations and invite nuanced readings.

Bio: Lara Matta is a PhD. Candidate in Comparative Literature at UMass Amherst. Her doctoral research addresses the politics of the sensible, the untranslatable, and the ineffable through metaphors of reading and writing. Her dissertation, entitled “The Textures of Reading / Reading Textures,” is an interdisciplinary project which she describes as a conversation between visual and verbal arts. Her interest in poetics and systems of knowledge led her to find in Comparative Literature a space for creative methodologies. As a returning FCWSRC alumna, Lara will share her work on Arabic poetics with original translations into English of contemporary poems rarely discussed.

Stephanie Rosen PhotoSTEPHANIE ROSEN                                                 Department of English                                       University of Texas, Austin 

Animating Poetic Capacity: Victorian Verse in New Media

This project involves the creation of digital editions of poems—by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Christina Rossetti, and Algernon Swinburne—that think through human perception and embodiment. The online editions use new technologies to encode poetic knowledge (e.g. meter and rhyme), animate interpretive effects, and elicit readerly affects.

Bio: Stephanie Rosen is a PhD candidate in English at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research interests include the history of science, poetry and poetics, and the digital humanities. Informed by queer studies, disability studies, and her background in web accessibility, she studies how the reading body is affected by the material text. Her dissertation, "Encoding Embodiment: Poetry as a Victorian Science," argues that poetic form was an important mode for thinking about human sensation and development in nineteenth-century England.

Loretta Ross photoLORETTA ROSS                                      Independent Researcher and Community Activist

Black Abortion: Research Serving Activism

This project studies the history of African American women in the fight for abortion rights and birth control. In particular, the project will examine the records of Planned Parenthood Federation of America to research its relationship to the African American community beginning in the 1920s to the present.

Bio: Loretta Ross has a 40-year history in the feminist movement, working at NOW (the National Organization for Women), SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, and the National Black Women’s Health Project. She lectures on reproductive justice issues, human rights, racism, appropriate whiteness, diversity issues, and violence against women. She is the former director of the first rape crisis center in the U.S. in the 1970s, and is presently writing a book on African American women in the abortion rights movement entitled Black Abortion. She is the co-author of Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organize for Reproductive Justice, a 30-year history of women of color in the movement to protect women’s bodily autonomy and freedom. She was the Co-Director of the historic 2004 March for Women’s Lives, the biggest protest in U.S. history, with 1.15 million participants. She has worked with the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College for the past 13 years helping to collect oral histories of feminists of color and has received honorary doctorate degrees from Smith College and Arcadia University. She holds a B.A. from Agnes Scott College in Atlanta.

Kerry Spitzer PhotoKERRY SPITZER                                                   Department of Urban Studies and Planning     Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The Role of Housing and Gender in the Transition from the Military to a Community in Western Massachusetts

Using the Pioneer Valley as a case-study, and with a focus on housing issues, surveys and interviews with current-era veterans and interviews with services providers will provide insight into how the readjustment experiences of veterans differ by gender.

Bio: Kerry Spitzer is a PhD candidate in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Kerry’s research interests center on social policy and inequality. Her current research project focuses on the role of housing and gender during the transition from the military to the community. She has over four years experience working in New York City government on affordable housing, homelessness, and criminal justice issues. She holds an MPA from New York University and an AB in government from Cornell. 


Fall 2014

sujata moortiSUJATA MOORTI                                                      Department of Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies Middlebury College

iFeminism: Social Media and Activist Re-Imaginings

iFeminism is designed to think through how transnational feminist engagements with social issues are thickened by social media technologies. This project enables a nuanced account of how new technologies permit a recrafting of feminism and gender at transnational and local levels.

Bio: Sujata Moorti is Professor of Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies at Middlebury College. She has published extensively on media representations of gender, sexuality and diasporic formations. She is the author of Color of Rape: Gender, Race and Democratic Public Spheres (SUNY Press, 2002) and has co-edited Global Bollywood: The Travels of Hindi Song and Dance (University of Minnesota Press, 2008) and Local Violence, Global Media: Feminist Analyses of Gendered Representations (Peter Lang, 2009). She teaches courses on feminist cultural studies, diasporic media studies, and postcolonial theory.                                              

Spring 2015

Marilen DanguilanMARILEN DANGUILAN                                    Independent Researcher and Development Specialist

From Population Control to Rights: The 40-Year Struggle of the Reproductive Health Law

This project traces the history of the Reproductive Health Law in the Philippines, including how development concerns and the concepts of rights (i.e. reproductive health and rights) became part of the population policy.                                                                                

Bio: Marilen Danguilan, medical doctor and health policy specialist, is a Social Protection Adviser of the UN World Food Programme Country Office and the Development Specialist of, a social media organization in the Philippines. She is interested in the politics behind policymaking, particularly on critical issues such as reproductive health and rights, and in the links between reproductive rights and the broader issue of development. She is the author of two books, Making Choices in Good Faith: A Challenge to the Catholic Church's Teachings on Sexuality and Contraception which won the National Book Award in Theology and Women in Brackets: A Chronicle of Vatican Power and Control, a finalist for the National Book Award.