Congratulations to Dr. Georgiann Davis, the 2022 SWS Feminist Activism Award Winner!
The SWS Feminist Activism Award, established in 1995, is presented annually to an SWS member who has notably and consistently used sociology to improve conditions for women in society. The award honors outstanding feminist advocacy efforts that embody the goal of service to women and that have identifiably improved women’s lives. This year’s Feminist Activism Award Subcommittee included Ghassan Moussawi (Subcommittee Chair), Brittany Battle, Rocío Garcia, Latoya Council, and Cierra Sorin. The Subcommittee decided that Dr. Georgiann Davis will be the SWS 2022 Feminist Activism Award Winner.
Georgiann is a feminist medical sociologist and an intersex activist who is dedicated to three goals: 1) raising intersex awareness, 2) educating future medical doctors, and 3) ending the genital mutilation doctors often subject intersex people in order to surgically squeeze the intersex body into the arbitrary sex binary. Georgiann Davis is a scholar-activist whose research, teaching, and activism are at the intersection of medical violence and feminist theories. She is currently working on a feminist autoethnography tentatively entitled Five Star White Trash where she discusses the complexities of intergenerational mobility, whiteness, gender dogma, and the ways in which anti-fatness is rooted in anti-Blackness. She is a former board president of interACT: Advocates for Intersex Youth (2017-2020) and a past-president of InterConnect Support Group (2014-2015). You can read more about her research, teaching, and activism at http://www.georgianndavis.com.
Her nomination materials collected by Barbara Risman share that: “… Georgiann’s feminist scholar activism doesn’t stop with what and where she writes and appears on TV and on the Radio, it extends to service to the community with the goal of changing intersex lives, empowering future intersex leaders, and educating future doctors. Georgiann led one of the largest intersex support groups in the world (AIS-DSD Support Group). … Georgiann has worked with the Association of American Medical Colleges on their Difference of Sex Development Subcommittee with the goal of developing intersex inclusive curriculum for professors of medicine to use throughout their medical school classrooms.”
The 2022 SWS Distinguished Feminist Lecturer Award Winner is Dr. Marlese Durr. Thank you to the SWS Distinguished Feminist Lecturer Subcommittee that was comprised of Kimberly Kelly (Chair), Jill Bystydzienski, Christobel Asiedu, Margarita Levine, Marcella Gemelli, and Sara Tyberg. The SWS Distinguished Lectureship was founded in 1985 as a way of recognizing members whose scholarship employs a feminist perspective, and of making this feminist scholar available to campuses that are isolated, rural, located away from major metropolitan areas, underfunded and without the resources needed to invite guest speakers, and/or characterized by hostility to feminist scholarship. A key goal of the program is to provide a feminist voice on campuses where such a perspective is unusual and/or unwelcome. Please note that the Lectureship originally carried the name of Cheryl Allyn Miller, but now there is a separate Cheryl Allyn Miller Award.
Marlese Durr is a Professor of Sociology at Wright State University, a Senior Fellow of the Yale University Urban Ethnography Project, and a Research Associate at the Center for the Elimination of Minority Health Disparities at the University at Albany. Her research focuses on African American women in managerial positions in public institutions, alongside specialized interests in labor markets, social networks, entrepreneurship, inner-city neighborhoods, and stressful life events for African American women. She has served as the President of the Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP) (2014-2015), Sociologists for Women in Society (2004-2005), and as a Chair of the Publications Committee for Sociologists for Women in Society. She currently serves as an Advisory Board Member for Social Problems. Marlese is also a member of the American Sociological Association’s Publications Committee and serves on the American Sociological Associations W.E.B. Du Bois Career Distinguished Scholarship Committee. She is also a Founding Editorial Board Member of The Sociology of Race and Ethnicity.
Marlese has also served as a Franklin Fellow for The United States Department of State, Bureau of International Organizations, United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural, Organization (UNESCO)- Social Science Advisor at the United States Department of State, Bureau of International Organizations (UNESCO), Postdoctoral Fellow on Stressful Life Events and Addiction Recovery in the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Program at the National Development Research Institutes (NDRI) in New York City, and Ohio Public Health Leadership (OPHLI) Institute Scholar, Columbus, Ohio. She was also a 2018 Summer at Census Scholar. In addition, she discussed her research with Deborah K. King entitled “Braiding, Slicing, and Dicing: The African American Woman‘s Home as a Site of Work, hosted by the Social, Economic, and Housing Statistics Division of the U.S. Census Bureau.
She has served on the Editorial Boards of the American Sociological Review, Gender & Society, Social Forces, and Social Problems. In addition, she has served as a member of the Lewis Coser Theory Award Committee, The Max Weber Award Committee, the American Sociological Association Status on the Women Committee, and the Founding Editorial Board of the Sociology of Race and Ethnicity.
Her publications include several publications on these topics (“The Donut Hole Experience: Using a Discerning Eye while Walking in Cities in For the Walking in the City: Quotidian Mobility and Ethnographic Method, Temple University Press, and “Small Town Life: A Study in Race Relations.” Ethnography, Vol. 11(1): 127–143. and “Sex, Drugs, and HIV: Sisters of the Laundromat,” “African American Women: Gender Relations, Work, and The Political Economy in The Twenty-First Century.“ Gender & Society, Vol. 16. N0. 4. with Shirley A. Hill. Additionally, she has published two edited books, The New Politics of Race: From Du Bois to the 21st Century (Praeger Press, 2002) and Work and Family, African Americans in the Lives of African Americans with Shirley A. Hill (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006). Dr. Durr is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
As noted in her nomination material collected by Manisha Desai, Bandana Purkayastha, and Margaret Abraham: “Apart from these testaments to her research excellence, it would be remiss of us not to mention Dr. Durr’s pioneering work in creating spaces of inclusion in the discipline. Since she was often among the first scholars of color to hold a variety of positions, she made sure that marginalized scholars could access these spaces and grow in stature in the discipline. Such transformation takes time and effort, and she has unstintingly provided that time to make Sociology a better, more inclusive discipline.
As her growing body of research shows, for hitherto marginalized groups, pioneering scholars have often had to both conduct the research and create the conditions of acceptance in the field. She has done so through both her scholarship and willingness to work with others.”
The SWS Feminist Mentoring Award was established in 1990 to honor SWS Members who are outstanding feminist mentors. While the word “mentoring” is commonly used to describe a faculty-student relationship, this award has shown the breadth of ways that feminists do mentoring. In establishing the award, SWS recognized that feminist mentoring is an important and concrete way to encourage feminist scholarship.
This year’s Feminist Mentoring Award Subcommittee included Corinne Castro (Subcommittee Chair,) Rebecca P., Rhacel Salazar Parreñas, Heather Laube, and LaToya Council. The Subcommittee decided that Dr. Jennifer Edwards and Dr. Jane Ku will be the co-recipients of the SWS 2022 Feminist Mentoring Award.
Jennifer Edwards earned a B.A. degree in sociology from California State University, Stanislaus, a Master of Science degree in criminology from California State University, Fresno, and a Ph.D. in sociology from Oklahoma State University. Jennifer began her academic career in 2002 when she accepted a one-year appointment at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. There, Jennifer taught several sociology and criminal justice courses and advised students enrolled in the criminal justice program. In 2003, Jennifer accepted a tenure-track position at Northeastern State University (NSU) in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Currently in her nineteenth year at NSU, Jennifer serves as Professor of Sociology. Jennifer teaches various sociology and women’s and gender studies courses, such as social research methods, urban sociology, rural sociology, social psychology, social change, criminology, sociology of gender, and introduction to women’s and gender studies. Her research interests include social inequality and the relationship between ritual behavior and power. Specifically, Jennifer focuses on the Orange Order (a fraternal religious organization) in Northern Ireland and the Notting Hill Carnival in London, U.K. More recently, Jennifer is now examining the role of women in the Orange Order.
In 2013, Jennifer was selected to serve as the inaugural Director of the Center for Women’s Studies at NSU. During her three-year tenure as the director, Jennifer had the opportunity to plan events that focused on issues faced by women in society. While no longer the director, Jennifer remains active in the center as a member of the Center for Women’s Studies Advisory Board. Additionally, Jennifer teaches two core courses within the women’s and gender studies minor program.
In addition to university service and teaching, Jennifer is the coordinator for the B.A. in sociology and the M.S. in criminal justice programs. In these roles, Jennifer advises and mentors numerous students. She has served as a faculty mentor for many students whose research projects focus on various social problems, including domestic violence, sex trafficking, poverty and crime, sexual assault, and social inequality, among other topics. These students have presented their research at professional conferences and symposiums. Further, several students have been recognized for their research in student paper competitions where they placed in the top three.
In addition to her academic career, Jennifer is involved in community organizations that are dedicated to education. She is a member of Delta Kappa Gamma, an organization that promotes professional and personal growth of women educators. Jennifer is also the current president of the Tahlequah chapter of P.E.O. (Philanthropic Educational Organization), an organization that promotes the education of women and girls through scholarships and mentoring.
Here are some highlights from Jennifer Edwards’ nomination materials that Gemini A. Creason-Parker collected from Suzanne Farmer, Stacy Hunter, Rekiekah A. Doylti, Kasey Rhone Smith, Jennifer Howell-Wright, Olivia Agustin, Trent J Brown, Mitzi Stone, and Amy L. Proctor.
Suzanne Farmer noted: “Although Dr. Edwards was not assigned as my formal mentor, she became my guiding light for navigating the department and the institution. She was always available to answer questions and even established a regular lunch for the women in our department in an effort to help us bond and seek mutual support. She never treated us as junior faculty but always as valued colleagues, friends, and human beings. She made a point to check in on us to ensure we were engaged in self-care and were pursuing a healthy work-life balance.”
Olivia Agustin wrote, “Dr. Edwards has been an excellent advisor and mentor. As a first-generation female student, I had many questions about what classes to take and what college had to offer. Dr. Edwards helped me make the right decisions for myself in her role as my advisor. She has always supported me, which is something that a student needs when going through college. She is a trusted confidant; I know I can come to her with questions, and she will do everything in her power to answer them. She has never steered me wrong, and as such, I value her input in making decisions about college and beyond…. She is also a big reason why I had the confidence to pursue a master’s degree. I was unsure if I would continue with my education after receiving my bachelor’s degree but talking with Dr. Edwards made me believe I had what it took to make it through the program successfully. Again, having someone who believes in you in a position that you look up to really makes all the difference.”
Trent Brown shared, “Dr. Edwards created each one of her classes to be an equal for all and a respectful discussion and had us really think about what it means to be who we are and how we fit in society. Everyone all responded with great ideas. Ideas are always the starting point of something that can be built or changed. After learning from Dr. Edwards in all the classes I was in with her, has really helped me to reshape how I think and to be able to spot these problems that exist. Dr. Edwards helped me shaped how I view biology as well. Her knowledge of how to research a topic and to find and eliminate confirmation bias along with discovering how institutional bias towards feminism comes very quickly with those types of research models. Which in my opinion is very disturbing. Dr Edwards taught us how to spot these things and now I see this type of mindset and can think back almost 40 years of it”
Jane Ku is an associate professor at the University of Windsor. She coordinates the Women’s and Gender Studies program and is the Graduate Chair in Sociology and Criminology. She teaches courses on gender, race, social movements, and qualitative methodologies. She has conducted research on racism, immigrant experiences of belonging and integration and antiracist and feminist activism. Her publications have appeared in Atlantis: Critical Studies of Gender and Social Justice; Journal of Women’s Ethnic and Racial Studies; International Journal of Women’s Studies; and Social Identities. Her research has taken an autoethnographic turn recently with the publication of “Journeys to a Diasporic Self” (Canadian Ethic Studies, 2019) and “Intentional Solidarity as a Decolonizing Practice” (Intermédialités:History and Theory of the Arts, Literature and Technologies 2019). Her work has been influenced by transnational feminist and antiracism scholarship.
Jane recently organized an interdisciplinary conference on race scholarship as embodied knowledge production. She is mentoring racialized students to develop antiracist voice through a Connection Grant supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. She is also active in anti-Black racism organizing at the university and building solidarities and lateral alliances among differently racialized groups. Prior to becoming an academic, she worked with and advocated for immigrant communities and was involved in student antiracist activism. She continues to be active in and engages with the community through her research and voluntary work.
Here are some highlights from Jane Ku’s nomination material that Ayesha Mian Akram and Jane E. McArthur collected from Jessica Akintomide, Frankie Cachon, Ronjon Paul Datta, Natalie Delia Deckard, Richard Douglass-Chin, Alaa Eissa, Jayashree Mohanty, Wansoo Park, Danielle Reaume, and Erwin Selimos.
Frankie Cachon shared: “Dr. Jane Ku has been an outstanding colleague and friend, who has significantly guided and shaped my feminist scholarship and pedagogy. Whether asking for practical help about submitting a grade, debriefing about a difficult classroom discussion, or seeking substantive guidance about research or a publication, Jane is always generous with her time.”
Alaa Eissa wrote: “This statement is in support of Dr. Jane Ku. Dr. Ku has been an outstanding mentor who never fails to go above and beyond to make new learning opportunities for students. When I first joined RAACES I was introduced to Dr. Ku immediately and she always did an incredible job at creating spaces for student voices to be heard and taken into consideration. I especially admire her hard work as she prioritizes obtaining funding to ensure that undergraduate students are afforded new learning opportunities that will help them excel and build valuable experience that will aid them in graduate school or further education.”
Ayesha Mian Akram highlighted when she first met Jane at the University of Windsor: “Dr. Ku was one of the first people I met when I moved to Windsor in 2014. At that time, I did not know anyone in Windsor apart from my partner. Unemployed and having just completed my Master’s degree, I decided to reach out to WGST where I found myself immersed in a supportive feminist community. Dr. Ku and others welcomed me to Windsor, providing opportunities for committee work, panel presentations, research initiatives, and networking. When I decided to apply for my doctoral degree, I knew that I had to work with Dr. Ku as my supervisor. Her feminist scholarship in the areas of transnational feminism, critical intersectionality, and community-engaged research aligned with my own research interests but it was more than that – I wanted to work with Dr. Ku because I was blessed to have found a supervisor who cared about me not as a student but as a human being. Dr. Ku not only supervises her students’ academic journeys but goes out of her way to support their personal journeys.”
Congratulations to Sekani Robinson, the 2022 SWS Cheryl Allyn Miller Award Winner, and Evelyn Pruneda, the Honorable Mention Awardee for the SWS Cheryl Allyn Miller Award!
Sociologists for Women in Society (SWS) established The Cheryl Allyn Miller Award for graduate students and recent PhDs working in the area of women and paid work: employment and self-employment, informal market work, illegal work. The award honors the late Cheryl Allyn Miller, a sociologist and feminist who studied women and paid work. The Subcommittee this year included Laura Bunyan (Chair), Suki Ziao, Rianka Roy, Sarah A. Robert, Lisa Dilks, and Maria Cecilia Hwang. A special thanks to the Subcommittee for its work. The Subcommittee selected Sekani Robinson to be the 2022 Cheryl Allyn Miller Award Winner.
Sekani Robinson is a PhD candidate in the department of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). She completed her Master of Arts degree at the University of California, Santa Barbara and her Bachelor of Arts degree at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Her research is centrally concerned with intersections between the racial, gendered, and cultural foundations and inequalities structuring creative spaces, work and occupations, aesthetic and emotional labor, and elites. Her dissertation, “Controlling the Image of the Black Swan: Race, Gender, Culture and the Discourse around Black women’s’ Bodies in Ballet” examines how ballet’s strict elite and “traditional” regimes foster discrimination and marginalization for Black women and Black men in ballet. Drawing on interviews and surveys with Black women and Black men dancing at the upper echelons of professional ballet in the U.S., this work investigates the gendered and racialized forms of emotional and aesthetic labor that Black dancers endure. While the study includes both Black men and women professional ballet dancers, the focus of the project is on Black women’s experiences of marginalization, harassment, and discrimination with this elite creative industry and occupation.
Throughout her time in graduate school at UCSB, Sekani also works for the non-profit organization, Brown Girls Do Ballet and regularly teaches race and ballet history for American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensive program.
Sekani’s article “Black Ballerinas: The Management of Emotional and Aesthetic Labor” (Sociological Forum) focuses on the ways that Black dancers negotiate two forms of labor that have typically been theorized separately: emotional and aesthetic labor. Theoretically, her findings build on and challenge conceptualizations of emotional and aesthetic labor as analytically discrete and separable social processes. In this article, Sekani demonstrates how the relationships between emotional and aesthetic labor are on dramatic display through Black ballet dancers’ workplace experiences.
Evelyn Pruneda is a PhD candidate in sociology at the University of California, Riverside. Her research and teaching interests include critical race and gender studies, social inequality, Latinx sociology, labor, environmental sociology, and global climate change. Her dissertation, “Navigating Multidimensional Borderlands: How Spatial Politics and Inequalities Shape the Working Conditions and Lived Experiences of Women Farmworkers in Rural California” examines how gender, race, class, and citizenship status interact with national and municipal level boundary-making to shape with working and living conditions of women in California’s San Joaquin Valley. She uses feminist qualitative research methods, including in-depth interviews to focus on three key domains of women farmworker’s lives, including paid labor conditions, unpaid reproductive labor in their homes, and community conditions, specifically looking at how municipal boundary-making impacts residents of low-income unincorporated communities who lack access to basic city services and political representation.
Evelyn’s article, “Mujeres Trabajadoras: California Women Farmworkers Navigating Multidimensional Borders and the Climate Crisis” is based on an analysis of 30 in-depth interviews with women farmworkers to examine how social and political borders impact Mexican and Mexican-American women farmworkers’ paid labor experiences in California’s San Joaquín Valley. Her research finds that women farmworkers experience increased labor precarity and challenges in their unpaid family work due to intersecting discrimination based on citizenship status, gender, and municipal boundary-making. Furthermore, women farmworkers face extreme vulnerability to the effects of the climate crisis in exacerbating paid labor challenges due to extreme droughts limiting the number of jobs, creating more competitive or hostile working conditions, and limiting access to clean air and water.
Evelyn is a 2021-22 American Sociological Association Minority Fellow and SWS honored Evelyn this past summer 2021 as the SWS-sponsored ASA Minority Fellow. Her research has been funded by the University of California Institute for Mexico and the United States, the University of California, and the Mellon Advancing Intercultural Studies Program. She has a Master’s in Public Administration degree from California State University, Fresno, and a B.A. in Politics from Occidental College.
Congratulations to the 2022 SWS Undergraduate Social Action Award Winner, Kelsie Joseph!
The Undergraduate Social Action Award is given annually to recognize students or a team of students making a substantial contribution to improving the lives of women in society through activism. SWS initiated this award in 2003. The work honored by this award is central to the SWS goal to foster activism for women. SWS recognizes that action “for women” does not mean that the work was done “with women” or even “by women.” Substantial need exists for social action working with working with men, boys, LGBTQ communities and other groups where change will benefit women and can be understood as feminist action. Therefore, SWS recognizes work done in this spirit regardless of applicant gender identity. A special thank you to the SWS 2022 Undergraduate Social Action Subcommittee: Kris De Welde (Chair), Heather Dillaway, Shaonta’ Allen, and Minwoo Jung. In 2022, we are pleased to announce that Kelsie Joseph is the 2022 Undergraduate Social Action Awardee. Thank you to Sue Ann Barratt for nominating Kelsie for this prestigious award.
Kelsie Joseph is a final year undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology with minors in Gender and Development Studies and Criminology at The University of the West Indies. Kelsie is a very passionate and intersectional feminist activist from the beautiful twin island of Trinidad and Tobago. Kelsie enjoys participating in volunteer-based activities and youth spaces that work towards creating a gender-just world. Kelsie is able to do this through her activism in raising awareness and doing social good to create positive social change. Kelsie’s experience in community organizing and activism offers ongoing challenges and learning opportunities towards addressing different social issues and dismantling barriers within our patriarchal society. Outside of volunteerism and activism, Kelsie tries to balance her social and family life by laughing at funny memes, spending time with nature and listening to music. Kelsie’s favorite feminist anthem is Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl” because it makes her feel empowered. It is a reminder that she is more than her mental health condition.
Kelsie is a member of IGDS Ignite which is a student activist group of The Institute of the Gender and Development Studies, University of the West Indies where she learns about education and activism for gender related and rights-based issues. It is a student led, feminist, social justice mentorship program. As a member, Kelsie participates in outreach activities to promote learning on and off campus. Kelsie is also the Co-founder and manages the Cat Calls of UWI project, a social media-based project to combat gender-based street harassment and sexual violence on campus accompanied by awareness actions including chalking around campus and environs.
As a feminist activist and by volunteering with the Cat Calls of UWI team and Chalk Back, Kelsie hopes that her activism is making a positive social change on the UWI campus and society. The team has created an online platform of public awareness about gender-based street harassment and sexual violence, story sharing and amplifying voices, a community of learning and holding each other accountable, and inclusivity for all gender identities and sexual orientations.
Kelsie plans on initiating an IGDS Ignite project which will seek to draw on the activities undertaken, and the lessons learned by these young students, and to use these as the basis for a peer-led pedagogical, online approach to Caribbean feminist activism. Three short videos are proposed which focus on key feminist skills/strategies. Each video will primarily comprise an audio script narrated by an Ignite! student combined with photo images taken from past actions. Students involved in Ignite! will collectively workshop and create the scripts over the course of the academic year, enabling them to use this time to both reflect and to produce experiential content over the period of the pandemic. This process, guided by someone with expertise in participatory documentary making, will also be a source of skill-building for the Ignites who then have an additional methodology – the making and use of short videos – to share as part of their own peer-to-peer Caribbean feminist movement-building.
Congratulations to the 2022 Winter SWS Social Actions Initiative Award Winners
In 2016, SWS Council approved the Social Action Committee’s (SAC) proposal to support more direct social action of SWS members. The Social Actions Initiative Awards provide a way for the SAC to directly support and encourage the social activism of SWS members. Awards are given out twice per year on a competitive basis until funds run out. The social actions represented by this initiative are central to advancing the mission of SWS. Special thanks go to the Social Actions Initiative Award Subcommittee: Kris De Welde (Chair), Rebecca P., Kira Escovar, Natascia Boeri, Rosalind Kichler and Kristy Kelly.
Colleen Schoenfeld (she/her) is a PhD student at the California Institute of Integral Studies where she studies sexual violence in the educational and military environments, and she is the founder and President of the Board of the Center for Equity Education. The Center for Equity Education (CFEE) is a 501c3 nonprofit, with a mission to address a need in K-12 educational environments for quality and affordable Title IX education and training for administrators, faculty, and staff as well as students. Many K-12 institutions are still actively working to come into compliance with the August 2020 Final Rule of Title IX.
The award will be used to fund a series of trainings hosted by CFEE for school staff on their Title IX requirements as mandatory reporters. During these sessions, the CFEE trainers will provide comprehensive Title IX training covering legal and policy requirements, definitions of sexual harassment under Title IX, rights of the parties, reporting requirements, confidentiality, and roles of the Title IX administrators. The format of the training will be to provide scenario-based exercises to help engage the audience and provide opportunities to gain experience.
The training that CFEE provides is based on trauma informed best practices which provide for an environment that strives to create no further harm to survivors of sex or gender-based misconduct that considers current and past traumas and that honors that some students have multiple intersecting identities that they may have experienced harm through and/or may increase their response to a current incident. This work strives to dismantle forms of oppression by ensuring that prevention is the cornerstone of addressing inclusive environments that are free from sex and gender-based discrimination and harassment. Lastly, CFEE is furthering research this important area by conducting a survey of institutions to determine what their supportive measures for survivors of Title IX violations are and generating a list of best practices to disseminate to institutions.
Adelle is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Middle Tennessee State University. She studies inequality at the critical nexus of health, gender, and environment. Based on previous successes in El Paso Texas, Adelle’s project focuses on translation of outreach materials that communicate health risks of heat exposure among pregnant people to encourage precautions and diminish risk of adverse birth outcomes.
The increased risk of adverse birth outcomes indicates a need for outreach materials that communicate these health issues and encourage precautions among pregnant people. In 2016, an interdisciplinary team of scholars (including Adelle), in collaboration with maternal health workers, designed a variety of evidence-based English and Spanish outreach materials and piloted them in El Paso, Texas. The original materials were a “be prepared” rack card, a urine chart, and a passive cooling brochure. After the pilot project, the team also developed a quick tips and FAQ handout. Briefly, most of the materials focus on pregnant people, with attention to hydration and reducing home temperatures.
While materials are currently available in English and Spanish, there is a need for translation to additional languages (e.g., Arabic), so that they can be more accessible as a counter to the structural inequalities that influence pregnant people’s risk from exposure, which may be higher in ESL populations’ paid work and housing situations and also exacerbated by less access to medical care. While broader policies and investments are needed to protect those most vulnerable to extreme heat, it is also necessary to communicate such risks to pregnant people directly. This funding will support free, accessible, and editable materials published and disseminated on Adelle’s website.
Swati is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at UMass Amherst with a Certificate in Advanced Feminist Studies from Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at UMass Amherst and a Master’s in Public Health. Her primary research interests include political sociology, ethnographies of violence, critical geography, and global histories of empire and imperialism.
As a feminist activist she works with grassroots groups in India and elsewhere to document and resist the precarity and abandonment produced by exclusionary logics of neoliberalism, and the state-social violence that facilitate it. Since 2012, Swati has been part of the Sanhati collective which was founded in 2006 to document the violent dispossession of agrarian communities and landless farmers in Bengal. The collective works actively to create a repository of human rights documentation and movement documents from across India. This work has fostered her intimacy with the political and cultural resistance in Bengal. Her kinship with the Bengal region also comes from her family who live in and belong to that region.
Swati’s project will help to fund a winter school for climate refugee youth in Baishnabghata Patuli Township in the eastern state of W. Bengal of India. The winter school aims to offer a 10-day science fair and writing camp and a workshop on Joyful Learning, Cohabitation and Climate Change led by a team of local soil scientists, climatologists, and ecofeminists. The science fair and writing camp is intended to equip children with the skill set to counter superstition and discuss scientific concepts through engaged learning. It will culminate in the publication of a children’s magazine, which will be their first publication.
The Winter camp on Joyful Learning, Cohabitation and Climate Change Awareness was designed with three components: a) classes about regional environmental histories; b) gender sensitization for understanding urban ecosystems/habitats from a feminist frame, and c) skill-training sessions wherein the children will learn upcycling, recycling, and composting. In partnership with the Rokeya Shiksha (education) Center, these efforts intervene to prevent school dropouts, offer health care, political education, dry food rations, books, saris, and sanitary products.
Katie researches and writes on motherhood issues, including labor inequality, the wage gap, childcare, and the relationship between mothers and care providers. She is the executive director of the International Association for Maternal Action and Scholarship (IAMAS) and leads seminars at local colleges and via public workshops.
Katie’s project financially supports the participation of historically under-represented mother-scholars in the VVA series, which promotes empowered mothering, particularly for mother-scholars facing structural inequities. The VVA series is intended to help mothers become better self-advocates, connect folks outside of academia with maternal scholars and their public scholarship, amplify diverse voices, and serve as a bridge between activist organizations who often provide more direct community support and those doing scholarship.
Support from this Social Actions Initiative Award will contribute to efforts to improve participation among historically under-represented mother-scholars. In 2021-2022, the VVA series aims to offer at least two full panels that exclusively center the voices of under-represented mother-scholars and activists. One will be an interview with women who have benefitted from Magnolia Mother’s Trust (a universal basic income initiative under Springboard to Opportunities) and the other will interview leaders of reproductive justice organizations.