2023 Summer Award Winners

Congratulations to Dr. Jennifer Reich, the 2023 SWS Feminist Mentoring Award Winner!

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 Saida Grundy (Subcommittee Chair,) Rebecca P., Heather Laube, and LaToya Council. The Subcommittee decided that Dr. Jennifer Reich will be the recipient of the SWS 2023 Feminist Mentoring Award.

Dr. Jennifer Reich is a Professor of Sociology and Director of the University Honors and Leadership Program. She earned her BA from the University of California Santa Barbara and her doctorate from the University of California Davis, and she completed a post-doctoral fellowship in health policy at the University of California San Francisco. Her research examines how individuals and families weigh information and strategize their interactions with the state and service providers in the context of public policy, particularly as they relate to healthcare and welfare. She is author of two award-winning books, Fixing Families: Parents, Power, and the Child Welfare System and Calling the Shots: Why Parents Reject Vaccines, and is editor of the books, Reproduction and Society and the State of Families. Her work has been featured in media outlets including The New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, and Newsweek, and on the Netflix show, Bill Nye Saves the World. She teaches classes on healthcare, family, and reproductive politics.

Here are some highlights from Jennifer Reich’s nomination materials that were submitted by Emily Mann, with support from Tristan Bridges, Laura Carpenter, Patrick Grzanka, Jessica Harrison, Penny Harvey, Anthony Hatch, Joanna Kempner, Ophra Leyser-Whalen, Krystale Littlejohn, Meika Loe, Zakiya Luna, Norah MacKendrick, Anna Muraco, Ranita Ray, LaTonya Trotter, and Jonathan Wynn.

Laura Carpenter noted, “Jennifer Reich’s mentoring comes with no hidden agendas or strings attached; she does not mentor to self-aggrandize or advance her own career. She mentors others because she believes she can—and indeed she does—help others reach the places where they can positively affect the world through their teaching and research.” 

Anna Muraco detailed in her nomination letter, “At conferences, “Jennifer” takes time to meet with students and faculty members who have solicited her advice on scholarship and job searches; she then connects them with other scholars who are part of her network.”

LaTonya Trotter noted: “Speaking as a Black scholar, I know that getting us into the pipeline is one thing; getting us through it is a different matter altogether. With both encouragement and practical support, Jennifer has helped get me through it. When I was an Assistant Professor, she was not only encouraging of my research agenda, she provided incisive feedback on my book manuscript. As I went up for tenure, Jennifer gave me practical advice to help me navigate the hidden curriculum of that process. And, when she heard that my institution did not give me tenure, she stepped forward, without my asking, to support the job search that resulted in my current, tenured position. Although we have never shared the same institution, Jennifer has shown up, again and again, to help me make a place for myself in the academy.”


2023 Beth B. Hess Memorial Scholarship Award Winners Announced

Torisha Khonach is the 2023 Beth B. Hess Memorial Scholarship Award Recipient.

Tia M. Dickerson is the 2023 Beth B. Hess Memorial Scholarship Honorable
Mention Awardee.

The Beth B. Hess Memorial Scholarship Award was established in 2005 to support first generation college students who began their academic careers in a community college, have faced significant obstacles, are committed to teaching, and mentoring other less privileged students, and exemplify Beth’s commitment to professional service and social justice work through activism. Beth B. Hess was a President of SWS and one of our mentoring award winners; she was also the President of the Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP) and Secretary Treasurer of the American Sociological Association (ASA). These organizations join SWS in supporting the Beth B. Hess Scholar each year. Advanced graduate students in sociology at the dissertation writing stage are invited to apply. In 2023, the subcommittee, Mairead Moloney (chair), Myra Marx Ferree, Nancy Naples, Gul Aldikacti Marshall, and Sarah Bruch faced the challenge of selecting the winner. When there is more than one exceptionally strong candidate, an Honorable Mention Awardee is also selected.

Photo of Torisha Khonach
Photo of Torisha Khonach

Learning is truly a communal experience, and Torisha has found the most encouraging and dedicated academic community. She would like to recognize her mentors, especially Drs. Dana Maher, Elizabeth Lawrence, Cassaundra Rodriguez, Barb Brents, and Fatima Suarez who have shown such earnest and passionate support.

Torisha Khonach is a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with an expected defense date in Spring 2024. Her research highlights the importance of body and embodiment in sociological analysis, which is too often overlooked, focusing on how bodies are expected to present and perform in various institutions. Torisha began her academic journey as a first-generation college student at College of the Redwoods, where she earned her A.A. in Behavioral and Social Sciences. Torisha, like many it seems, thought she was going to be a psychologist, but after taking (every) sociology course taught by Dr. Dana Maher, her trajectory in academia changed forever.

Through her work at College of Redwoods, where she organized and coordinated safe sex workshops and sexualized violence prevention dialogues with fellow students, she was awarded the Student Leadership Award. She took her passion for social justice with her as she transferred to Cal Poly Humboldt, where she would earn her B.A. and M.A. in Sociology. She became a peer health educator focusing on consent education, a bystander intervention trainer, and a student Title IX advocate. She was also active in local queer and feminist organizations, Humboldt Pride and Humboldt Roller Derby. Her campus and community work at Cal Poly Humboldt was recognized by her department, where she earned the Sarah and James Turner award which is awarded to exemplary public sociology students.

Torisha did not slow down after relocating to Las Vegas for graduate school at UNLV. She quickly began teaching courses and becoming involved on campus, earning various teaching and research awards and fellowships, including first place for the UNLV Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award and the UNLV Graduate Finishing Fellowship. Her teaching hinges on ensuring students feel “seen” in the classroom, where she carefully constructs her syllabus to have not only diverse content, but also diverse authors. She wants all students to feel like they belong in academia, that their voices and experiences matter. Additionally, during the COVID-19 pandemic, she once again began spending her time in the community, volunteering in the health clinic for the LGBTQ Center of Southern Nevada, where they offer STI testing, safe sex supplies, and supplies for safer drug use.

Torisha’s work and activism has always centered on bodies, examining the ways bodies are central sites for technologies of power and control. Topics included sexualized violence and sports, and she now focuses on the embodiment of parenthood.

Her dissertation examines contemporary parents’ experiences with their bodies through 40 in-depth interviews. Her participants encapsulate a range of experiences, including biological and adoptive parents, parents of all genders, and have purposefully recruited parents of diverse body sizes. Torisha argues that parents provide a unique view into how our bodies are shaped in a health-centric society through her theorization of liminal embodiment, where the identity of “parent” allows for a relaxation of body ideals for some parents and only for brief periods of time. Torisha’s goal is to emphasize how the body is an often overlooked but important axis of social control and inequality.

Photo of Tia M. Dickerson
Photo of Tia M. Dickerson

The subcommittee is delighted to recognize Tia M. Dickerson as the 2023 Honorable Mention Awardee. Tia is a Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology at Howard University. Tia has balanced many personal challenges while also working on behalf of her peers at Howard University and while providing service to the Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP). The subcommittee was impressed by her important research on Black families and social inequality that is grounded and informed by her own experiences.

Tia’s dissertation research is on “mental health declines in Black people during the COVID-19 pandemic and social unrest of 2020.” It draws on the theory of “vicarious racism” and “explores whether marital status provided a protective advantage for mental health declines in Black people during the COVID-19 pandemic and social unrest of 2020.”

Tia has benefited from numerous opportunities to develop her research skills outside of the university as is evident in her Internship at the Marriage Strengthening and Research Dissemination Center and training at the Columbia Population Research Center. It is especially noteworthy that she was invited to review conference proposals on minority families for the National Council on Family Relations (NCRF) and to contribute to the National Women’s Month Series for The Today Show. She has also presented her research at diverse conferences including the annual meetings of NCRF, the American Sociological Association, SSSP, the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, Law Enforcement and Public Health, and the Eastern Sociological Society. In addition to these significant accomplishments, she has also been invited to speak by the National Association of Counsel for Children, the National Institute of Health, Randolph-Macon College, and Alpha Kappa Delta, Beta Chapter of D.C.

One of her presentations, posted on The Sociologist’s website, featured Howard University’s “Panels of Race Relations,” and described her talk for the first colloquium entitled “Race, Pandemics and Social Response.” Her panel addressed the key questions: “How has racism affected current and prior responses to pandemics?” “What are the particular psychological as well as physical effects of the current Covid-19 crisis on people of color?” “What cultural factors affect treatment and recovery?” “What new approaches might be tried?”

In her co-authored article on “When Crises Collide – Policing a Pandemic During Social Unrest,” she finds that differences in race, gender, and marital status impact attitudes towards “policing during periods of social unrest” offer “meaningful insights to the current discourse on police legitimacy in America.” In other papers, she addresses the important relationship between incarcerated Black mothers and the child welfare system and the ways in which race contributes to the termination of parental rights.

The subcommittee is very excited to celebrate Torisha and Tia and look forward to following their work.

The scholarship carries a stipend of $18,000 from SWS with travel assistance, $500 from SWS and $300 from SSSP, to be used to support future academic meeting travel, as well as one-year memberships in SWS and SSSP. SSSP will celebrate the awardees at their Annual Meeting. Recognizing Beth B. Hess’s significant contributions to the ASA, ASA joins SWS and SSSP in supporting and celebrating the awardee. ASA provides an annual membership, complimentary meeting registration and a $500 travel award to travel to the 2023 ASA Annual Meeting. As our Honorable Mention Awardee, Tia will receive a $3,500 scholarship from SWS in addition to a complimentary one-year membership and registration for the SSSP Annual Meeting.

SWS will honor Torisha Khonach and Tia M. Dickerson and all our 2023 Summer Award recipients during our Awards Banquet which is scheduled to take place on Sunday, August 20 from 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown.

If you are interested in making a gift to support the Beth B. Hess Memorial Scholarship, please contact Barret Katuna, Executive Officer, at swseo.barretkatuna@outlook.com, or make a gift via this form: https://sws.memberclicks.net/donation-form.

SWS Congratulates the 2023-2024 ASA Minority Fellowship Awardees Sponsored by SWS – Clark Brinson and Faith Deckard

Clark Brinson
Graduate Institution: Emory University
Sociologists for Women in Society MFP

Clark Brinson is a PhD candidate in sociology at Emory University where she also earned her MA. She earned her BA in psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in African American and African Diaspora Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her research focuses on inequality, social psychology, and the needs and experiences of queer communities and communities of color. Brinson’s dissertation, Planning Our Futures: A Qualitative Study of Family Formation Goals among Black Queer Women, examines family formation desires among Black queer-identified women living in Atlanta. Using intersectionality theory as a guiding framework, the study explores how Black queer women navigate both disadvantage and privilege during the family planning process through differences in sexual orientation, class position, and gender expression. This project applies mixed methods, using interview data with 54 Black queer women and survey data from the National LGBTQ+ Women’s Community Survey, to examine challenges in family planning among Black queer southern women. Brinson’s work aims to advance science and support organizations advocating for LGBTQ+ rights, reproductive justice, and racial justice. She has received the James Weldon Johnson Institute Dissertation Completion Grant and has been involved with the Coalition of Graduate Sociologists and the Black Graduate Student Association at Emory University. Brinson also recently completed her tenure as a Research Fellow for Justice Work, an organization that focuses on advancing equity and justice through community interventions, research, and political advocacy. In her free time, she enjoys trying new vegan recipes, hiking, and going to the beach.


Faith Deckard
Graduate Institution: University of Texas at Austin
Sociologists for Women in Society MFP

Faith Deckard is a PhD candidate in sociology at the University of Texas at Austin. She earned her BA in Biology at Trinity University and her MA in sociology at the University of Texas at Austin where she was a McNair Scholar. Her areas of interests include crime, law, and deviance, population health, support networks, and debt and poverty. Her dissertation Bonded: How Commercial Bail Entangles Families through Money and Risk examines how “kin and friends” inadvertently become involved in carceral surveillance and the punishment systems through the processes of bail and bail bonds. Deckard was a Population Research Fellow (NICHD Recipient) at the University of Texas at Austin and currently serves as a graduate research assistant in the Life HD Lab where she has been able to combine her interests in biology and sociology to look at how racial inequality impacts health disparities. She also received the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Deckard continues to help support minority scholars by organizing workshops on promoting self-care and applying for external funding. When she has free time, she loves to on new adventures with friends. This has led to her picking up bouldering, short hikes, and attending comedy and improv shows.

SWS Congratulates all of the 2023 – 2024 American Sociological Association (ASA) Minority Fellowship Program (MFP) Fellows!

To view the 2023-2024 Minority Fellowship Program Fellows, please visit: https://www.asanet.org/diversity-equity-inclusion/minority-fellowship-program/2023-2024-minority-fellowship-program-fellows/?hilite=MFP.

For more information on the Minority Fellowship Program’s (MFP), please visit:  https://www.asanet.org/diversity-equity-inclusion/minority-fellowship-program/.

Thank you to our SWS liaisons to the ASA Minority Fellowship Program, Chaniqua Simpson and Andrea Gómez Cervantes.

Congratulations to Iblin Edelweiss Murillo Lafuente, Ophra Leyser-Whalen, Nabila Islam, Andrea Roman Alfaro and Özlem Altıok, the 2023 SAIA Award Winners!

In 2016, the SWS Council approved the Social Action Committee’s (SAC) proposal to support more direct social action of SWS members. The Social Actions Initiative Awards (SAIA) 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. Current SWS members can apply for funding up to $1,000 to support broadly defined social action initiatives (e.g., advocacy, public education, organizing, movement-building) that also support the mission of SWS. Special thanks go to the Social Actions Initiative Award Subcommittee: Evonnia Woods and Heather Hlavka (Co-Chairs of the Social Action Committee), Pedrom Nasiri, J’Mauri Jackson, and Sara Tyberg.

Photo of Iblin Edelweiss Murillo Lafuente

Edelweiss is an early-stage sociology researcher and instructor. She is a transnational feminist and a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Florida, U.S.A. She was born in what is officially called La Paz, Bolivia.  Her most recent research focuses on anti-ableist feminist movements in the global south. She believes in kindness and social change.

With the SAIA award, Edelweiss plans to organize an in-person meeting with Las FemiDiskas: An encounter of Bolivian activist women with disabilities. Las FemiDiskas is an anti-ableist feminist collective formed by women with disabilities and allies. It is a grassroots organization founded in 2021. Edelweiss is an active member of this collective. During this meeting, Edelweiss will lead an activity based on communitarian feminist knowledge to establish a collective positionality statement. 

Photo of Ophra Leyser-Whalen

Dr. Ophra Leyser-Whalen is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Texas at El Paso. Her work focuses on reproductive justice broadly. In the past few years she has been engaging in community-based work, including working with Texas abortion funds. Her current research is focusing on the national abortion fund landscape post-Dobbs.

With the SAIA award, Ophra plans on bringing a traveling photography exhibit  on abortion to the Centennial Museum  on the UTEP campus. This exhibit includes photos of people who have had abortions, accompanied by their stories. One mission of the museum is to work with UTEP students, staff and faculty, so they would like to accompany the traveling exhibit with highlights of some of the work done by campus student groups, staff and faculty. 

Photo of Nabila Islam

Nabila Islam is a doctoral candidate in sociology at Brown University. Her dissertation explores the emergence of detention as a major policy response to migration and the seeking of refuge across the globe. She also serves as the co-Principal Investigator, alongside colleagues at the Boston Immigration Justice Accompaniment Network (BIJAN), at the Northeast hub of the Pursuit of Dignity project. Funded by Migrantes Unidos and the Henry Luce Foundation, the Pursuit of Dignity project investigates the impact of electronic detention on migrants and asylum-seekers in the United States and amplifies impacted communities’ capacity to challenge and resist detention. As a scholar-activist, Nabila is broadly interested in understanding the role of colonialism and racial capitalism in creating carceral technologies and imagining abolitionist alternatives.

With the SAIA award, Nabila plans to advance intersectional and language justice in the Pursuit of Dignity project. The assembled group speaks a mixture of English, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, French, and Haitian Creole. The funds will be used to pay for interpretation in Brazilian Portuguese and Spanish in order to enable equitable participation for everyone in the group.

Photo of Andrea Román Alfaro

Andrea Román Alfaro (she/ella) is a Peruvian mestiza Ph.D. candidate in sociology, a Vanier CGS scholar, a Connaught Public Impact Fellow, a Mary H. Beatty Fellow and a graduate fellow at the School of Cities at the University of Toronto. Her research agenda examines the relationship between social inequality, violence, and resistance from an intersectional perspective. Her dissertation titled, Interconnected Violence: Life and Death at the Urban Margins of Peru, examines how women from marginalized urban neighbourhoods make sense of and respond to the interconnection of different forms of violence. She connects women’s everyday experiences of violence to government policies that shape violence at the urban margins. Her research has been published in Gender & Society, Social Justice, and Curriculum Inquiry. Andrea is a scholar and activist who combines research with community work and advocacy. She works with community to address social justice issues and create new alternatives for a more just future. She is currently working with a group of young people from Puerto Nuevo, an marginalized urban neighbourhood in Callao (Peru), to create Puerto Nuevo’s first young people-led community house.

With the SAIA award, the funds will support the activities of the Puerto Nuevo Children’s Photo Club. Puerto Nuevo is a marginalized urban community located in Callao district, the second deadliest district in Peru. The award will support the collective curation process (May 2023), three exhibits (in Puerto Nuevo, Callao/Lima, and Toronto), and the design of a web page where we will be uploading the photos taken by club members and those collected for the Puerto Nuevo Community Archive (an ongoing project that is collecting pictures from neighbors). The Club will print the pictures, set them up in an exhibit, and take the photo club members to present their photographs and the work of the club to people inside and outside the community.

Photo of Özlem Altıok

Özlem Altıok is a feminist sociologist who teaches Women’s & Gender Studies, and International Studies, at the University of North Texas. Prior to UNT, she taught at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where she received her Ph.D. in sociology. She holds a master’s degree in public administration from Texas A&M, and a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Istanbul Bilgi University. 

Dr. Altıok teaches courses on globalization, international development, migration, global politics and human security, employing community-engaged and participatory action research in her classes. Some of her community partners in Texas include the Refugee Support Network, Opening Doors International Services, and Denton County Friends of the Family. 

She is also a women’s rights, peace, and environmental activist and a dedicated member of Equality Watch Women’s Group (EŞİTİZ) and Women’s Platform for Equality, Turkey (EŞİK). 

Dr. Altıok studies social movements, public policy, and the entanglements of politics, religion, and gender across borders. A long-time member of Sociologists for Women in Society (SWS), she is active in the International Committee, and has served as an SWS delegate to the UN Commission on the Status of Women meetings. She is also a member of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA). 

Her work has been published in Contexts, ZMagazine, openDemocracy, Gender & Society, Agriculture and Human Values, Films for the Feminist Classroom, and Transforming Society, as well as in Bianet, BirArtiBir and Alevilerin Sesi in Turkish. Her most recent peer-reviewed publication, “From the streets to social policy: how to end gender-based violence against women,” was published as a chapter in Global Agenda for Social Justice 2 (Policy Press, 2022). 

Dr. Altıok is the 2023 recipient of UNT’s President’s Council Teaching Award and SWS’ Social Action Initiative Award.

With the SAIA award, the funds will be used to sponsor thirteen university students directly impacted by the earthquake that hit southeastern Turkey (for the coming academic year). The SAIA award funds will be used to sponsor university students directly impacted by the earthquake that hit southeastern Turkey. The scholarships will be distributed in collaboration with the Turkish Association of University Women during the 2023-2024 academic year.

Congratulations to the 2023 Esther Ngan-ling Chow and Mareyjoyce Green Dissertation Scholarship Award Winner: Michelle Gomez Parra, and Honorable Mention Recipients: Aparajita Santra and Venus Green!

Sociologists for Women in Society first established the Esther Ngan-ling Chow and Mareyjoyce Green Dissertation Scholarship at its annual meeting in February 2007. The primary purposes of the scholarship are: (1) To offer support to women and non-binary scholars of color who are from underrepresented groups and are studying concerns that women of color face domestically and/or internationally and (2) To increase the network and participation of students and professionals of color in SWS and beyond. The award is named after Esther Ngan-ling Chow and Mareyjoyce Green to acknowledge the contributions of these two SWS members who played an integral role in making SWS more inclusive of women of color. The awardee receives an $18,000 scholarship and a $500 travel stipend for the SWS 2023 Summer Meeting and SWS 2024 Winter Meeting. The Honorable Mention Awardees will each receive a $1,750 scholarship.

Special thanks to the Co-Chairs of the Sister to Sister Committee: LaToya Council and Pallavi Banerjee, the Esther Ngan-ling Chow and Mareyjoyce Green Dissertation Scholarship Award Subcommittee Members: Christobel Asiedu, Erika Busse Cardena, Lisa Covington, and Mahala Stewart and the liaison for applicants: Katherine Maldonado Fabela.

Photo of Michelle Gomez Parra

Michelle Gomez Parra (she/ella) is a first-generation Latina student born and raised by an immigrant single mother in Los Angeles, California. She is also a doctoral candidate in the Sociology Department with a designated emphasis in Latin American and Latinx Studies at The University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). Previous to attending UCSC, Michelle earned her B.A. at the University of California, Santa Barbara where she conducted research as a McNair Scholar examining the sexual experiences of college women of color. Michelle continued investigating the sexual experiences of racialized college-women, with a particular emphasize on Latinas, while completing her M.A. in Sexuality Studies at San Francisco State University.

Building on her previous research, her dissertation, Desiring a Better Life: Heteronormativity, Mobility, and Generational Negotiations among Latinas, is a qualitative study which uses feminist theories of color like intersectionality and transnational feminist theory to examine how heteronormativity and undergoing a substantial mobility experience of migration or higher education shapes Latinas’ own gender and sexual subjectivities and generational negotiations of these social forces amongst mother-daughter dyads. Within the national context of the US and at the regional level of Los Angeles, California, Desiring a Better Life addresses how intersecting structures of power produce discourses of heteronormativity, subsequently shaping Latinas’ mobility experiences, their gender and sexual lives, and the conversations they have about sex, girlhood, womanhood, dating, and pleasure. Overall, this project disrupts narratives that blame Latinx culture as the primary factor causing gender and sexual oppression within this community by illustrating that heteronormativity, poverty, access to (sexual) education, and sexual violence shape how Latinas negotiate their own gender and sexual subjectivities and generational teachings of these social forces.

In addition to conducting research, Michelle actively contributes to making academia a more equitable institution through her mentoring efforts. She has formally mentored marginalized high school, community college, and UC Santa Cruz undergraduate students through six programs. Moreover, Michelle has supported the academic trajectories of graduate students through her organizing role for the UCSC Women of Color Graduate Group. As a coordinator, she has secured funding and created workshops that address the marginalization racialized women face within academia.

Michelle aspires to become a faculty member at a four-year university, teaching and conducting research on mobility (migration and higher education), gender, sexualities, from an intersectional and feminist of color standpoint. Her deepest desire is to collaborate with feminist sociologists, community organizations, and community members to conduct applied research that advocates for the reproductive justice of girls and women of color in the Americas. In particular, she wishes to co-create a bi-lingual sex education curriculum that utilizes women of color feminisms theory, decolonial theory, and art-based methods to design accessible sex education resources for diverse groups of racialized girls and women. Michelle’s research can be found in Gender & Society as well as Sex Education.

Photo of Aparajita Santra

Aparajita Santra is an Indian first-generation immigrant to the United States and a PhD candidate in the Department of Architecture at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Aparajita has dual graduate minors in Gender Relations in International Development and Gender and Women’s Studies. She did her undergraduate degree in Architecture and a master’s degree in Urban Design, both from India. Aparajita’s research interests are global-south urbanism, spatial justice, urban mobilities and feminist sociology. Her lived experiences and background shape her understanding of the unevenness in spatial design of cities as manifestations of structural inequalities, systemic oppression, and injustice. Her doctoral dissertation focused on studying the spatial negotiations of working-class women of lower-castes in Kolkata, India using the lenses of intersectionality and spatial justice, stems from her own life experiences as a woman from a lower-caste in India and being raised by a single mother.

Her research builds on urban sociology, feminist geography, sociology of gender and sexuality, postcolonial and transnational feminisms and explores the placemaking practices enacted by the minoritized women from the urban margins of Kolkata. She centers these women as embodied knowledge producers who engage with and attempt to overcome a wide array of structural and systemic constraints in the spatial organization of the city. By doing so, the research aims to locate the various forms of situated knowledges that are produced, experienced, and applied by the women spatially, thus, enabling them forms of spatial agency and mobilities.

In addition, Aparajita continues to work in several community-oriented projects, collaborating with local NGOs and social organizations focusing on issues related to gendered experiences of the city, barriers faced in mobility and safety by minoritized bodies in hostile environments and contested urban spaces. As a feminist with investments in the fields of urban spatial justice, one of the long-term goals of Aparajita is to extend such collaborations with other social organizations in the future and work towards extending feminist knowledge productions. She sees her research as being useful for both city planners and policy makers and additionally to the field of feminist sociology as it foregrounds the spatial agency of subaltern subjects that are rendered unintelligible due to gendered, classed, racialized, and sexualized inequalities and dispossession.

Photo of Venus Green

Venus Green is a Black feminist intersectional sociologist and activist whose research is located at the intersections of racialized and gendered labor regimes, care work, collective organizing, antiblack violence, histories of racial slavery, identity formations, and the ongoing project of Black emancipation.

Her dissertation examines how Black and Afro-descendent domestic workers have been central to the most progressive elements of the labor movement in the U.S. and how the gendered anti-black violence of slavery’s afterlife shapes their work experiences and tireless struggles for survival. Through semi-structured interviews, Black feminist grounded ethnography, media analysis, and oral histories of Black women domestic workers’ political organizing practices and work experiences in Boston, New York City, and D.C., this research investigates how Black and African descendent domestic workers and domestic workers organizations infuse radical care work into community building efforts to mobilize support at the grassroots and federal levels for the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights and other struggles for workers’ protections and dignity. This research seeks to understand how Black women’s intersectional organizing around care work strengthens Black radicalism within the mainstream labor movement and re-envisions critical paths toward Black emancipation.

In connection with this research, she is currently an intern with the Massachusetts Coalition of Domestic Workers and a volunteer with Matahari Women Workers’ Center, and was a research analyst at Social Action for Health in East London.

Venus holds an M.A. in Medicine, Health, and Society from Vanderbilt University and a B.A. in political science, African American Studies, and Women and Gender Studies from the University of California, Irvine. Her work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Mellon World Studies Interdisciplinary Project, the Labor Action and Research Network, the Nichols Humanitarian Fund, the W.E.B. Du Bois Center at UMass Amherst, the Graduate School at UMass Amherst, the Center for Global Work and Employment at Rutgers, and the Center for Employment Equity at UMass Amherst, to name a few. Her work has been published in multiple journals including Sociological Spectrum and TRAILS.

SWS will honor Michelle Gomez Parra, Aparajita Santra and Venus Green and all our 2023 Summer Award recipients during our Awards Banquet which is scheduled to take place on Sunday, August 20 from 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm.

If you are interested in making a gift to support the Esther Ngan-ling Chow and Mareyjoyce Green Dissertation Scholarship, please contact Barret Katuna, Executive Officer, at swseo.barretkatuna@outlook.com, or make a gift via this form: https://sws.memberclicks.net/donation-form.