Five projects receive 2016-17 CSWS Research Interest Group Innovation Grants

“2016-17 CSWS Research Interest Group Innovation Grants”

Researcher Lynn Stephen speaks at a seminar in Guatemala in 2015.

Researcher Lynn Stephen speaks at a seminar in Guatemala in 2015.

A research project that focuses on gender justice in Guatemala is among several collaborative projects recently awarded funding by the UO Center for the Study of Women in Society. This dramatic project combines research with activism and immediately draws the reader’s attention by the sheer horror of its single statistic. Every 12 hours a woman is killed in Guatemala, and her killer will probably go unpunished. The project proposal cites two new paths to justice for abused women in Guatemala. One path involves newly created courts in Guatemala that consider cases of femicide. The other involves asylum in the United States, where recent cases have granted refugee status to women who are victims of domestic violence. The seasoned researchers who put forth this winning proposal are members of the long-standing CSWS Américas Research Interest Group. Their proposal and four others were selected to receive 2016-17 CSWS Research Interest Group Innovation Grants totaling more than $12,000.

Initiated in 1994, the Research Interest Group (RIG) program supports collaborations among faculty members, staff, graduate students, and community members at the University of Oregon. The goal of CSWS RIGs is to bring people together around a shared project, idea, or vision related to CSWS’s mission: to generate, support, and publicize intersectional research on women and gender.

The projects that received 2016-17 RIG Innovation Grants include three faculty-led RIGs and two student-led RIGs. They are:

Faculty RIGs:

  • Américas RIG, “Intersectional Gender Justice: From Guatemala to Oregon.” Project Leaders: Erin Beck, Assistant Professor of Political Science; Gabriela Martínez, Associate Professor of Journalism and Communication; Lynn Stephen, Professor of Anthropology. The Américas RIG proposal involves community members working in the area of immigrant rights and violence against women in Oregon. This long-term project explores Guatemalan women’s transborder search for gendered justice by comparing and documenting challenges to access to Guatemala’s femicide courts with refugee Guatemalan women’s access to gendered asylum in Oregon. Project leaders “are interested in how these two relatively new systems of gender justice affect women who attempt to engage with them, and how sharing women’s experiences might impact perceptions of, and policies related to, gendered violence, indigenous populations and transborder immigration.” The proposal draws on and extends the Américas RIG’s strengths in taking “an interdisciplinary, hemispheric approach to the study of gender in the Americas and in combining research and activism.” The project critically involves Oregon community members, including activists, attorneys, and immigrants. Funds to support the project are also being awarded by CSWS through the Mazie Giustina endowment for research on Women in the Northwest.
  • Gender in Africa and African Diaspora RIG, “Gender, Sexuality, and Leisure.” Project Leaders: Kemi Balogun, Assistant Professor, Departments of Women’s and Gender Studies and Sociology; Lisa Gilman, Associate Professor, Department of English and Folklore Program; Melissa Graboyes, Assistant Professor, Clark Honors College; Habib Iddrisu, Assistant Professor, Department of Ethnomusicology and Dance. The RIG will host a symposium broadly focused on gender, sexuality, and leisure in Africa, and that will highlight popular and expressive culture in the everyday lives of women and men in Africa and the Diaspora. Funding supports the production of a volume to be coedited by the four project leaders. The symposium will bring book contributors into Eugene to present their works-in-progress and to consult with the book’s editors. This symposium “will be critical for honing the conceptual arc of the edited volume, ensuring coherence among the interdisciplinary pieces, and for brainstorming the additional multi-media and web components to develop with the printed volume.”
  • Narrative Health and Social Justice RIG, “Bioethics in Oregon: Power, Intersectionality, and Practice.” Project Leaders: Mary Wood, Professor, Department of English; Kristin Yarris, Assistant Professor, Department of International Studies. This RIG plans to continue its interdisciplinary work building a hub for bioethics and medical humanities with a focus on gender, race, and class at the University of Oregon. To this end, its main event for 2016-17 will be a mini-conference during winter term in which faculty and graduate students from a range of disciplines at UO, OHSU, PSU, and OSU come together to discuss selected issues in bioethics in their local manifestations. The RIG’s main goal is to create a working research group across these institutions, with a focus on a joint research project and publication on an issue in bioethics. The mini-conference will examine a range of bioethical issues of pressing importance in the state of Oregon—including: the anti-vaccination movement, death with dignity, and gun violence—with particular focus on the role of gender, race/ethnicity, and power in shaping these issues, from popular movements to public representations. The purpose of this mini-conference will be to engage in conversations with colleagues at UO and beyond in order to develop plans for a joint research endeavor that brings together the RIG members areas of interest and expertise as scholars across disciplines and universities.

Graduate Student RIGs:

  • Feminist Philosophy RIG. A well-established RIG housed within the Department of Philosophy and coordinated by new PhD students each year, this group is committed to “providing and maintaining a lively and critical discourse of feminism and feminist philosophy via the conduction of reading groups geared around feminist texts, discussions surrounding feminist pedagogy, writing workshops and retreats geared toward publication and professional development, and increasing the recognition of women and diversity within our field.”       In AY 2016-17, the RIG will continue its tradition of co-organizing with the philosophy department an event that celebrates Women and Diversity in Philosophy, honoring women and members of minority groups within the discipline.
  • Social Sciences Feminist Network RIG. This longest standing of CSWS’s research interest groups, SSFN is made up of graduate students in association with a faculty adviser. A broad range of students with changing needs and ever-changing composition, the group plans to hold a Feminist Writing Retreat, and to continue work on its Feminist Agenda Project, which aims to document the founding period of the SSFN-RIG, the intent and purpose of the original group of feminists, and a timeline of historical events. Keeping in mind the original purpose of the RIG, which was to create a safe and supportive space to build a network of feminist scholars amidst an academic environment often dismissive of feminist research, RIG members plan to allocate at least one meeting a term to read and provide feedback on each other’s academic work.