Olivia Anderson
Olivia Anderson

The Effects of Misgendering
BA, Neurobiology and Women & Gender Studies, Chemistry minor ‘16
Advised by Kristin Dukes

What topic did you explore in HDL?
Shane Giraldo (HDL ‘16) and I were interested in what impact being misgendered has for transgender and gender nonconforming college students. We've looked at this from a policy angle as well as through qualitative research.

How did you get interested in this work?
As a WGST major, I took a course called Race, Gender, and Health and I wrote a paper on access to healthcare for transgender college students. After seeing how much work there needs to be done in this area, as well as other protections that are not afforded to trans/gender nonconforming people, I knew I wanted to continue this research.

What did you use your funding for?
We used the funds to conduct our research (i.e. gift cards for participants, etc.). We also traveled to two conferences - The New England Psychological Association at Fitchburg State and The Society for Personality and Social Psychology in San Diego, CA.

What were you able to accomplish through the program?
HDL gave me the opportunity to meet Dr. Genny Beemyn, one of my academic heroes. I have been following and citing their work since I first began research on health inequities and other discrimination faced by trans people. They spoke at our symposium on April 1st and it was really inspiring to hear about their current work. In general, the symposium was a great opportunity to hear from all of the speakers, academics and activists alike. I don't know another program that would afford such a unique opportunity for a day of interdisciplinary scholarship like that.

What did you get out the program?
I have a background in writing for biology and WGST but this research has given me a chance to get some more experience in psychological and sociological writing. Reading papers from across disciplines has even given me some exposure to English and Communications and just about everything in between. I've also found a love for reviewing the work of others, especially when you can tell that they are passionate about the information they are trying to put out into the world.

What's next for you?
Partly due to the research I have had the opportunity to do through HDL, as well as the conferences I've been able to attend, I decided to apply for a Masters in Psychology. No matter where I end up post-grad, I now know for certain that I want to continue research in some form or another. I have been on the pre-med track during my undergraduate career and I plan to take the MCAT in August. I will be applying to medical school in the next couple years, but first I want to continue psychological research either through the master’s program or through a position in a lab. In the immediate future, I certainly hope to continue working with Professor Dukes to publish this HDL research. My ultimate goal for this research is (and always has been) to move colleges to change their policies in order to support transgender and gender nonconforming students.

Jen Bilicki
Jen Bilicki

Carmilla and Her Modern Daughters: Tracing an Alternate Legacy of the Female Vampire
MA, English Literature ‘16
Advised by Suzanne Leonard

What topic did you explore in HDL?
In my project, I explore the origins and legacy of the female vampire, using Sheridan Le Fanu's Carmilla as a "mother text" to construct a matrilineal heritage of vampires instead of the traditional patrilineal heritage of Dracula.  When we use Carmilla as the origin story instead of Dracula, female vampires become transgressive challengers of social and gender constructs instead of pacifiers for society's fears. I identify the novel Let the Right One In and the film A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night as examples of modern descendants of Carmilla's empowered feminine legacy.

How did you get interested in this work?
I've always been interested in gothic and horror texts and their treatment of gender constructs. I find that gothic literature and film can provide subversive and poignant insight on society's fears, anxieties and subconscious beliefs about gender and sexuality.

What did you use your funding for?
I used my funds to take a research trip to Dublin to discover all I could about Bram Stoker and Sheridan Le Fanu, and their inspirations and motives for writing Dracula and Carmilla.

What were you able to accomplish through the program?
Through the program, I had the opportunity to study at the Trinity College Library in Dublin, and had access to the Bram Stoker Collection at Dublin City Library. I also had the privilege of discussing my work with two scholars in my field whose work inspires me and who gave me valuable resources and advice for my project.

What did you get out the program?
It was so valuable to me to be able to see the research process of so many talented people--it's inspiring to be around other students who are as excited and passionate about their work as I am.

What's next for you?
I do know that I would love to publish my work, and perhaps work on my project further and travel to conferences in exciting places to present it if I can. I'm not sure what lies ahead other than that, but I hope to be a part of this research field that I am passionate about.

Paige Cooper-Sturdevant
Paige Cooper-Sturdevant

Death in the Domestic: Intertextuality and Form in Gertrude Stein’s Blood on the Dining Room Floor
MA English and Teaching ‘16
Advised by Renee Bergland

What topic did you explore in HDL?
I argue that the form and content in Gertrude Stein’s Blood on the Dining Room Floor work together to defy pervading patriarchal discourses in two primary ways. First, Blood on the Dining Room Floor has two significant intertextual overlaps: first, with the death of Madame Marguerite Four Pernollet and second, with Lizzie Borden. These intertextual spaces create new meanings in the text which challenge both gender and class biases. Second, the ecriture feminine, the theory of writing put forth by French feminist Helene Cixous, present in the novella is a micro-challenge to the structures of patriarchal language and, consequently, a macro-challenge to the patriarchal system at large

How did you get interested in this work?
I originally started my project in ENGL 590 with Professor Bergland.  I came by Blood on the Dining Room Floor mostly by luck – I was interested in analyzing a work from the 1920s that involved women killing men.  I had started research on Susan Glaspell’s Trifles, and through this research I came across Stein’s nearly-lost novella. Stein herself considered it a failure, but the text has gained some scholarly attention in very recent years. Thankfully, Professor Bergland encouraged me to continue with this project, which led me to HDL.

What did you use your funding for?
I stayed in Paris, France for eleven days, where Stein lived and worked. Stein’s novella is based on real events that happened that the Hotel Pernollet, so I drove to Belley, France (about 300 miles southeast of Paris) to where the Hotel Pernollet – the setting of the novella – once was. In this town, I gathered historical documentation to contextualize the unnamed characters in Stein’s novella.

What were you able to accomplish through the program?
I completed real research in the field. I was able to go to France to gather information that is, thus far, unavailable in English. I also met scholars – namely, Dr. Ann Jones – whose work is fundamental to my own thinking, and who challenged my own ideas and guided me to formulate stronger arguments.

What did you get out of the program?
I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to work in this program and with my classmates.  My classmates are talented, intelligent, give excellent feedback, and have great taste in food.

What’s next for you?
I am going to try to publish my article-length essay in a journal. Right now, I am applying for jobs to teach high school, but I am also looking at PhD programs in American Literature so that I can continue researching and writing. I’m reading French for my project but I’d also like to learn to speak it.

Lydia Dana
Lydia Dana

White Noise: How the Media Amplified and Drowned Out Black Political Protest ‘Post Ferguson’
MA, Gender and Cultural Studies ‘16
Advised by Jyoti Puri

What topic did you explore in HDL?
The 2014 killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by white police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, set into motion a series of protests that received daily coverage by local and national news outlets. My study explores coverage of the protests through qualitative coding of news stories published in major U.S. newspapers in the weeks following Brown’s death. In order to examine the ways in which black lives—those in mourning and in protest—were affectively framed by mainstream media at this time. My study asks how colorblindness—arguably the dominant racial ideology of our time—can be reconciled alongside the persistent centralization of race in discourse on racial politics and protest. It demonstrates that race plays a central role in an overarching neoliberal narrative that obscures state responsibility for structural racism, police violence, and its redress, invisibilizes white power, and as demonstrated in these news stories ultimately calls for the black community in Ferguson to take responsibility for itself.

How did you get interested in this work?
My interest in this project—and in public discourse and knowledge production around radical politics and resistance more broadly—has evolved largely from several years of grant writing for social-justice oriented non-profit organizations. Overwhelmingly, in my time working in this area I found that “successful” grant projects, while noble in intentions, aligned with colorblind ideologies and tended to individualize social problems, absolving the state for its retrenchment from social service provision and the obscuring the maintenance of race, gender, and class-based stratification.

What did you use your funding for?
I have had many welcome opportunities as a result of HDL funds, from participating in last year’s National Women’s Studies Association and this year’s American Sociological Association Conference, to purchasing software and other research tools, to expanding my library with such essential texts as Bonilla-Silva’s Racism Without Racists, Catherine Squires’ The Postracial Mystique, and David Theo Goldberg’s Racial Threat, among many others.

What did you get out the program?
HDL has provided a unique opportunity to take part in a non-traditional academic space that includes approaches and voices across disciplines and schools of thought, and facilitates opportunities for graduates and undergraduates to learn from each other in unpredictable ways.

What's next for you?
While it is difficult to ever call a project complete, I plan to submit my work for publication in a sociological journal. I also plan to expand, extend, and (no doubt) challenge this study at the University of Illinois at Chicago in their Ph.D. Program in Sociology. Perhaps most importantly, I hope to better understand whether and how the ideas explored in this study map onto ongoing work in communities organizing for change in innumerable and often invisible ways.

Kaylie-Ann Flannigan
Kaylie-Ann Flannigan

Single Working Mothers
BA Sociology and Political Science, ‘16
Advised by Valerie Leiter

What topic did you explore in HDL?
I researched single working mothers and issues surrounding single motherhood and food access.

How did you get interested in this work?
I came across this topic as I am extremely interested in food policy and I grew up with a single mother.

What did you use your funding for?
The HDL funds were crucial for me to be able to conduct interviews as they paid for interview transcription and provided gift cards for participates. They were also helpful in funding books that I used for my research for my thesis (which is now well over 70 pages).  

What were you able to accomplish through the program?
HDL encouraged me to apply for conferences and present my research; I am thrilled to be presenting at the New England Undergraduate Sociological Research Conference as well as the Simmons College Undergraduate Research Conference. Through the program I really was able to dig into the qualitative analysis and interview process, which is something I have wanted to do for a long time.

What did you get out the program?
My fellow Hazels provided invaluable support and positivity throughout the entire process, always listening intently and giving advice when needed. HDL has broadened my horizons on a variety of topics from listening to my peers’ work and engaging in scholarly conversations in unfamiliar territories.

What's next for you?
Throughout this program, I realized that I need to continue to go to school forever and continue to learn. I would love to continue my studies with family and food topics in a graduate program.  I still have no idea where or when, but that is totally fine. After graduation I will be competing for the title of Miss Vermont, working at Green Mountain Girls State and Governor’s Institute on the Arts while running around the entire state of Vermont. I’m excited about everything the future holds especially in the world of research and sociology.

 

Karena Longo
Karena Longo

Using Social Policy as a Conduit to Address Trauma in Low-Income Single Mothers Living in Marginalized Communities
MA, Public Policy ‘16
Advised by Janie Ward

Low-income single mothers living in urban neighborhoods are at increased risk for victimization when their income is below poverty level, and conversely, victimization increases women’s likelihood of unemployment and reduced income, and they not only continually deal with basic economic stresses, such as obtaining food and shelter; they also face a wide array of physical and psychological stressors. The use of trauma informed social policy as a conduit, in conjunction with other programs in their community will provide a supportive transition to recovery and strengthen individual and community resilience.  

 

This HDL seminar gave me a space where I could learn and grow academically and develop my ability to give constructive feedback and receive advice.  HDL provided an audience with different approaches which inspired me to think and write outside my comfort zone.  The financial research support provided an opportunity for me to travel to Thistle Farm/Magdalene Residential program in Nashville, TN an organization relevant to my research.  

After graduation, I will continue to explore my topic for publication or a PhD program.

 

Margaret W. Nicholson
Margaret W. Nicholson

But is Consent Simple? The Limitations of Affirmative Consent and Ways Forward
MA, Gender and Cultural Studies ‘16
Advised by Sarah Leonard

What topic did you explore in HDL?
The project I worked on was a critique of affirmative consent educational practices, particularly as they have proliferated on college and university campuses. I argue that although affirmative consent education has potential to disrupt rape culture, it will fail to do so unless it is first targeted at much younger audiences throughout education, and second, is complicated and contextualized within a greater understanding of gender, power, and violence.

How did you get interested in this work?
I got interested in this project because of my experience at YWCA Central Massachusetts working with young people in violence-prevention. I began to worry that college is way too late for the helpful affirmative consent policies that are developing, as gender role socialization is well set by adolescence. I therefore set out to write about the limitations of affirmative consent, using that as a launching point to discuss more broadly the serious issues in this country with sex education and how we treat youth sexuality (specifically, either ignoring it or panicking over it!).

What did you use your funding for?
I used my funds for a number of fantastic books, two journal subscriptions, and conference travel (first, in December to learn and soak in some experts' work, and next to disseminate my own project at conferences). The scholarly materials I've been able to acquire have been fundamental in my project, and without HDL, I do not think I would have been able to develop as thorough a background of the issues and theory that my topic is embedded in.

What were you able to accomplish through the program?
Workshopping my own project with peers and some faculty was instrumental in pushing and refining my own thinking. At the symposium, I was able to connect with a number of scholars whose work I deeply admire. I've also loved to learn about such a wide variety of topics and issues from my fellow Hazels -- especially across such an impressive variety of disciplines.

What’s next for you?
I plan to submit a shortened version of my project for publication and will submit abstracts for some conferences this coming year. I will also be applying to PhD programs in Sociology. I doubt that my writing sample would be as strong without the support of HDL this last year.

Clare Pak
Clare Pak

Another Dong Joke? Asian Masculinity In Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
BA Public Relations & Marketing/Communications, Cinema Media Studies and Computer Science minor ‘16
Advised by Briana Martino

What topic did you explore in HDL?
The topic I explored in HDL was Asian masculinity as historically portrayed in media, and Asian masculinity in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. In this sitcom, the character Dong Nguyen serves as a romantic interest to protagonist Kimmy Schmidt, and I analyze the ways that the character and actor subverts, shifts, and upholds the dominant narrative in media about Asian masculinity.

How did you get interested in this work?
I became interested in this work when I noticed a shift in the portrayals of Asian men in Hollywood. After reading about the socio-economic reasons for why this played out in Hollywood, I became interested in diving into the different images that were playing out on the screens.

What did you use your funding for?
I used my funds to travel to Atlanta, GA for an the annual international conference on cinema and media studies hosted by the Society of Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS).

 

What were you able to accomplish through the program?
Through the program, I was able to connect with and pick the brains of scholars that currently embedded in the discourse. I will be presenting a poster at the Simmons College Undergraduate Symposium.

What did you get out the program?
The biggest thing I got out of this program was an appreciation for academia that I would have never found if I didn't decide to put myself in it. I also learned a lot from my graduate peers in this HDL cohort about good ways to read, workshop, and speak about other people's work on a weekly basis. And as someone thoroughly embedded in the humanities, I certainly have a newfound appreciation for it in light of all the regulations that have to be met and taken into consideration in terms of the more scientific studies and research my peers conducted.

What's next for you?
I will try to publish my HDL work to scholarly journals, but I will also try to publish the work online through a website I'll code and design. My desire to create a website stems from my wish to make my analysis and academic work accessible to all. Putting the project on the web is one way of making the work accessible, but because of the nature of the medium, I anticipate that the project will also be much more structurally accessible than a 20+ page essay.

Amanda Pickett
Amanda Pickett

Subversive Masculinity: The History and Future of Men’s Engagement in Gender Equality
MA Gender and Cultural Studies,  ‘16
Advised by Suzanne Leonard

What topic did you explore in HDL?
I explored the history of men’s engagement in gender justice and interrogated how the spaces that foster that engagement take shape and thrive. Overall, men’s role in this movement has historically been as allies in advancing women’s social and political access, often in projects aimed at immediately stopping men’s violence. What gets erased is the idea of gender equality mobilization around men’s equal access to emotional capacities and responsibilities, in addition to challenging men’s violence. In other words, men can be allies, but are still boxed into the age-old trope that “boys will be boys.” I suggested that an understudied piece of the conversation was what I call “subversive masculinity,” a configuration that emerges from the perspectives and actions of men who are both aware of, and actively reconstructing, the dominant ideology of masculinity resulting in long term social transformation.

How did you get interested in this work?
I was seeing a cultural disconnect: stories of men’s violence dominate in the cultural imaginary (e.g. mass shootings and men’s violence against women, other men, gender non-conforming folk, and themselves) while stories of men challenging the prevailing narrative are largely invisible. I wanted to examine this phenomenon and explore the work being done transform it.

What did you use your funding for?
I met activist/film maker Jackson Katz and attended his presentation “More than a Few Good Men” in Rhode Island. I attended the following conferences: the Creating Change Conference in Chicago, Ending Violence Against Women (EVAW) International in D.C. and the American Men’s Studies Association (AMSA) Conference in Ann Arbor. I purchased books invaluable to my research such as Some Men: Feminist Allies in the Movement to End Violence Against Women (2015) and Exploring Masculinities: Identity, Inequality, Continuity, and Change (2016 Bottom of Form). I subscribed to the academic journal Men and Masculinities.

What were you able to accomplish through the program?
I interned at Voice Male magazine with Rob Okun and will continue to work on a global gender justice book project with Voice Male and the MenEngage Alliance. I served on the 2016 summit steering committee for MERGE for Equality, Inc. and co-produced an engagement guide which will serve as a tool for leaders and practitioners in the field of engaging men and boys. I was able to interview three key figures involved in profeminist men’s work, including Steven Botkin, co-founder of Men’s Resources International.

What did you get out the program?
From workshopping fellow students’ projects each week, I developed the skill of giving critical feedback in a group setting and I grew individually as a researcher and a scholar. Due to the interdisciplinary structure of the seminar, I learned about a whole host of academically-invigorating topics from the effects of gender in zebra fish to the shifting paradigm of Asian masculinity represented in Netflix entertainment. Thanks to HDL, I had the opportunity to pursue my own research interests and to develop the language to talk about my topic. Also, I have made a multitude of connections within the movement which will certainly benefit me in my future endeavors.

What's next for you?
I will continue to intern with Voice Male and work on the global anthology project, including planning and helping to put on a promotional event in early June co-hosted by Judy Norsigian, author of Our Bodies Our Selves. I will be co-facilitating the MERGE for Equality, Inc. Summit in mid June, as well. I plan to submit an abstract to the 2nd International Conference on Men and Masculinities: Transnational Masculinities and Relationalities in İzmir, Turkey in September. I envision proposing, implementing, and operating a community/campus men’s engagement program that works in partnership with Boston area women’s centers, domestic and sexual violence crisis and recovery services, and LGBTQA centers. Perhaps I will get a second master’s degree: I could apply to the SUNY Stonybrook Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities master’s program!

Olivia Anderson
Jen Bilicki
Paige Cooper-Sturdevant
Lydia Dana
Kaylie-Ann Flannigan
Karena Longo
Margaret W. Nicholson
Clare Pak
Amanda Pickett
Olivia Anderson

The Effects of Misgendering
BA, Neurobiology and Women & Gender Studies, Chemistry minor ‘16
Advised by Kristin Dukes

What topic did you explore in HDL?
Shane Giraldo (HDL ‘16) and I were interested in what impact being misgendered has for transgender and gender nonconforming college students. We've looked at this from a policy angle as well as through qualitative research.

How did you get interested in this work?
As a WGST major, I took a course called Race, Gender, and Health and I wrote a paper on access to healthcare for transgender college students. After seeing how much work there needs to be done in this area, as well as other protections that are not afforded to trans/gender nonconforming people, I knew I wanted to continue this research.

What did you use your funding for?
We used the funds to conduct our research (i.e. gift cards for participants, etc.). We also traveled to two conferences - The New England Psychological Association at Fitchburg State and The Society for Personality and Social Psychology in San Diego, CA.

What were you able to accomplish through the program?
HDL gave me the opportunity to meet Dr. Genny Beemyn, one of my academic heroes. I have been following and citing their work since I first began research on health inequities and other discrimination faced by trans people. They spoke at our symposium on April 1st and it was really inspiring to hear about their current work. In general, the symposium was a great opportunity to hear from all of the speakers, academics and activists alike. I don't know another program that would afford such a unique opportunity for a day of interdisciplinary scholarship like that.

What did you get out the program?
I have a background in writing for biology and WGST but this research has given me a chance to get some more experience in psychological and sociological writing. Reading papers from across disciplines has even given me some exposure to English and Communications and just about everything in between. I've also found a love for reviewing the work of others, especially when you can tell that they are passionate about the information they are trying to put out into the world.

What's next for you?
Partly due to the research I have had the opportunity to do through HDL, as well as the conferences I've been able to attend, I decided to apply for a Masters in Psychology. No matter where I end up post-grad, I now know for certain that I want to continue research in some form or another. I have been on the pre-med track during my undergraduate career and I plan to take the MCAT in August. I will be applying to medical school in the next couple years, but first I want to continue psychological research either through the master’s program or through a position in a lab. In the immediate future, I certainly hope to continue working with Professor Dukes to publish this HDL research. My ultimate goal for this research is (and always has been) to move colleges to change their policies in order to support transgender and gender nonconforming students.

Jen Bilicki

Carmilla and Her Modern Daughters: Tracing an Alternate Legacy of the Female Vampire
MA, English Literature ‘16
Advised by Suzanne Leonard

What topic did you explore in HDL?
In my project, I explore the origins and legacy of the female vampire, using Sheridan Le Fanu's Carmilla as a "mother text" to construct a matrilineal heritage of vampires instead of the traditional patrilineal heritage of Dracula.  When we use Carmilla as the origin story instead of Dracula, female vampires become transgressive challengers of social and gender constructs instead of pacifiers for society's fears. I identify the novel Let the Right One In and the film A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night as examples of modern descendants of Carmilla's empowered feminine legacy.

How did you get interested in this work?
I've always been interested in gothic and horror texts and their treatment of gender constructs. I find that gothic literature and film can provide subversive and poignant insight on society's fears, anxieties and subconscious beliefs about gender and sexuality.

What did you use your funding for?
I used my funds to take a research trip to Dublin to discover all I could about Bram Stoker and Sheridan Le Fanu, and their inspirations and motives for writing Dracula and Carmilla.

What were you able to accomplish through the program?
Through the program, I had the opportunity to study at the Trinity College Library in Dublin, and had access to the Bram Stoker Collection at Dublin City Library. I also had the privilege of discussing my work with two scholars in my field whose work inspires me and who gave me valuable resources and advice for my project.

What did you get out the program?
It was so valuable to me to be able to see the research process of so many talented people--it's inspiring to be around other students who are as excited and passionate about their work as I am.

What's next for you?
I do know that I would love to publish my work, and perhaps work on my project further and travel to conferences in exciting places to present it if I can. I'm not sure what lies ahead other than that, but I hope to be a part of this research field that I am passionate about.

Paige Cooper-Sturdevant

Death in the Domestic: Intertextuality and Form in Gertrude Stein’s Blood on the Dining Room Floor
MA English and Teaching ‘16
Advised by Renee Bergland

What topic did you explore in HDL?
I argue that the form and content in Gertrude Stein’s Blood on the Dining Room Floor work together to defy pervading patriarchal discourses in two primary ways. First, Blood on the Dining Room Floor has two significant intertextual overlaps: first, with the death of Madame Marguerite Four Pernollet and second, with Lizzie Borden. These intertextual spaces create new meanings in the text which challenge both gender and class biases. Second, the ecriture feminine, the theory of writing put forth by French feminist Helene Cixous, present in the novella is a micro-challenge to the structures of patriarchal language and, consequently, a macro-challenge to the patriarchal system at large

How did you get interested in this work?
I originally started my project in ENGL 590 with Professor Bergland.  I came by Blood on the Dining Room Floor mostly by luck – I was interested in analyzing a work from the 1920s that involved women killing men.  I had started research on Susan Glaspell’s Trifles, and through this research I came across Stein’s nearly-lost novella. Stein herself considered it a failure, but the text has gained some scholarly attention in very recent years. Thankfully, Professor Bergland encouraged me to continue with this project, which led me to HDL.

What did you use your funding for?
I stayed in Paris, France for eleven days, where Stein lived and worked. Stein’s novella is based on real events that happened that the Hotel Pernollet, so I drove to Belley, France (about 300 miles southeast of Paris) to where the Hotel Pernollet – the setting of the novella – once was. In this town, I gathered historical documentation to contextualize the unnamed characters in Stein’s novella.

What were you able to accomplish through the program?
I completed real research in the field. I was able to go to France to gather information that is, thus far, unavailable in English. I also met scholars – namely, Dr. Ann Jones – whose work is fundamental to my own thinking, and who challenged my own ideas and guided me to formulate stronger arguments.

What did you get out of the program?
I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to work in this program and with my classmates.  My classmates are talented, intelligent, give excellent feedback, and have great taste in food.

What’s next for you?
I am going to try to publish my article-length essay in a journal. Right now, I am applying for jobs to teach high school, but I am also looking at PhD programs in American Literature so that I can continue researching and writing. I’m reading French for my project but I’d also like to learn to speak it.

Lydia Dana

White Noise: How the Media Amplified and Drowned Out Black Political Protest ‘Post Ferguson’
MA, Gender and Cultural Studies ‘16
Advised by Jyoti Puri

What topic did you explore in HDL?
The 2014 killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by white police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, set into motion a series of protests that received daily coverage by local and national news outlets. My study explores coverage of the protests through qualitative coding of news stories published in major U.S. newspapers in the weeks following Brown’s death. In order to examine the ways in which black lives—those in mourning and in protest—were affectively framed by mainstream media at this time. My study asks how colorblindness—arguably the dominant racial ideology of our time—can be reconciled alongside the persistent centralization of race in discourse on racial politics and protest. It demonstrates that race plays a central role in an overarching neoliberal narrative that obscures state responsibility for structural racism, police violence, and its redress, invisibilizes white power, and as demonstrated in these news stories ultimately calls for the black community in Ferguson to take responsibility for itself.

How did you get interested in this work?
My interest in this project—and in public discourse and knowledge production around radical politics and resistance more broadly—has evolved largely from several years of grant writing for social-justice oriented non-profit organizations. Overwhelmingly, in my time working in this area I found that “successful” grant projects, while noble in intentions, aligned with colorblind ideologies and tended to individualize social problems, absolving the state for its retrenchment from social service provision and the obscuring the maintenance of race, gender, and class-based stratification.

What did you use your funding for?
I have had many welcome opportunities as a result of HDL funds, from participating in last year’s National Women’s Studies Association and this year’s American Sociological Association Conference, to purchasing software and other research tools, to expanding my library with such essential texts as Bonilla-Silva’s Racism Without Racists, Catherine Squires’ The Postracial Mystique, and David Theo Goldberg’s Racial Threat, among many others.

What did you get out the program?
HDL has provided a unique opportunity to take part in a non-traditional academic space that includes approaches and voices across disciplines and schools of thought, and facilitates opportunities for graduates and undergraduates to learn from each other in unpredictable ways.

What's next for you?
While it is difficult to ever call a project complete, I plan to submit my work for publication in a sociological journal. I also plan to expand, extend, and (no doubt) challenge this study at the University of Illinois at Chicago in their Ph.D. Program in Sociology. Perhaps most importantly, I hope to better understand whether and how the ideas explored in this study map onto ongoing work in communities organizing for change in innumerable and often invisible ways.

Kaylie-Ann Flannigan

Single Working Mothers
BA Sociology and Political Science, ‘16
Advised by Valerie Leiter

What topic did you explore in HDL?
I researched single working mothers and issues surrounding single motherhood and food access.

How did you get interested in this work?
I came across this topic as I am extremely interested in food policy and I grew up with a single mother.

What did you use your funding for?
The HDL funds were crucial for me to be able to conduct interviews as they paid for interview transcription and provided gift cards for participates. They were also helpful in funding books that I used for my research for my thesis (which is now well over 70 pages).  

What were you able to accomplish through the program?
HDL encouraged me to apply for conferences and present my research; I am thrilled to be presenting at the New England Undergraduate Sociological Research Conference as well as the Simmons College Undergraduate Research Conference. Through the program I really was able to dig into the qualitative analysis and interview process, which is something I have wanted to do for a long time.

What did you get out the program?
My fellow Hazels provided invaluable support and positivity throughout the entire process, always listening intently and giving advice when needed. HDL has broadened my horizons on a variety of topics from listening to my peers’ work and engaging in scholarly conversations in unfamiliar territories.

What's next for you?
Throughout this program, I realized that I need to continue to go to school forever and continue to learn. I would love to continue my studies with family and food topics in a graduate program.  I still have no idea where or when, but that is totally fine. After graduation I will be competing for the title of Miss Vermont, working at Green Mountain Girls State and Governor’s Institute on the Arts while running around the entire state of Vermont. I’m excited about everything the future holds especially in the world of research and sociology.

 

Karena Longo

Using Social Policy as a Conduit to Address Trauma in Low-Income Single Mothers Living in Marginalized Communities
MA, Public Policy ‘16
Advised by Janie Ward

Low-income single mothers living in urban neighborhoods are at increased risk for victimization when their income is below poverty level, and conversely, victimization increases women’s likelihood of unemployment and reduced income, and they not only continually deal with basic economic stresses, such as obtaining food and shelter; they also face a wide array of physical and psychological stressors. The use of trauma informed social policy as a conduit, in conjunction with other programs in their community will provide a supportive transition to recovery and strengthen individual and community resilience.  

 

This HDL seminar gave me a space where I could learn and grow academically and develop my ability to give constructive feedback and receive advice.  HDL provided an audience with different approaches which inspired me to think and write outside my comfort zone.  The financial research support provided an opportunity for me to travel to Thistle Farm/Magdalene Residential program in Nashville, TN an organization relevant to my research.  

After graduation, I will continue to explore my topic for publication or a PhD program.

 

Margaret W. Nicholson

But is Consent Simple? The Limitations of Affirmative Consent and Ways Forward
MA, Gender and Cultural Studies ‘16
Advised by Sarah Leonard

What topic did you explore in HDL?
The project I worked on was a critique of affirmative consent educational practices, particularly as they have proliferated on college and university campuses. I argue that although affirmative consent education has potential to disrupt rape culture, it will fail to do so unless it is first targeted at much younger audiences throughout education, and second, is complicated and contextualized within a greater understanding of gender, power, and violence.

How did you get interested in this work?
I got interested in this project because of my experience at YWCA Central Massachusetts working with young people in violence-prevention. I began to worry that college is way too late for the helpful affirmative consent policies that are developing, as gender role socialization is well set by adolescence. I therefore set out to write about the limitations of affirmative consent, using that as a launching point to discuss more broadly the serious issues in this country with sex education and how we treat youth sexuality (specifically, either ignoring it or panicking over it!).

What did you use your funding for?
I used my funds for a number of fantastic books, two journal subscriptions, and conference travel (first, in December to learn and soak in some experts' work, and next to disseminate my own project at conferences). The scholarly materials I've been able to acquire have been fundamental in my project, and without HDL, I do not think I would have been able to develop as thorough a background of the issues and theory that my topic is embedded in.

What were you able to accomplish through the program?
Workshopping my own project with peers and some faculty was instrumental in pushing and refining my own thinking. At the symposium, I was able to connect with a number of scholars whose work I deeply admire. I've also loved to learn about such a wide variety of topics and issues from my fellow Hazels -- especially across such an impressive variety of disciplines.

What’s next for you?
I plan to submit a shortened version of my project for publication and will submit abstracts for some conferences this coming year. I will also be applying to PhD programs in Sociology. I doubt that my writing sample would be as strong without the support of HDL this last year.

Clare Pak

Another Dong Joke? Asian Masculinity In Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
BA Public Relations & Marketing/Communications, Cinema Media Studies and Computer Science minor ‘16
Advised by Briana Martino

What topic did you explore in HDL?
The topic I explored in HDL was Asian masculinity as historically portrayed in media, and Asian masculinity in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. In this sitcom, the character Dong Nguyen serves as a romantic interest to protagonist Kimmy Schmidt, and I analyze the ways that the character and actor subverts, shifts, and upholds the dominant narrative in media about Asian masculinity.

How did you get interested in this work?
I became interested in this work when I noticed a shift in the portrayals of Asian men in Hollywood. After reading about the socio-economic reasons for why this played out in Hollywood, I became interested in diving into the different images that were playing out on the screens.

What did you use your funding for?
I used my funds to travel to Atlanta, GA for an the annual international conference on cinema and media studies hosted by the Society of Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS).

 

What were you able to accomplish through the program?
Through the program, I was able to connect with and pick the brains of scholars that currently embedded in the discourse. I will be presenting a poster at the Simmons College Undergraduate Symposium.

What did you get out the program?
The biggest thing I got out of this program was an appreciation for academia that I would have never found if I didn't decide to put myself in it. I also learned a lot from my graduate peers in this HDL cohort about good ways to read, workshop, and speak about other people's work on a weekly basis. And as someone thoroughly embedded in the humanities, I certainly have a newfound appreciation for it in light of all the regulations that have to be met and taken into consideration in terms of the more scientific studies and research my peers conducted.

What's next for you?
I will try to publish my HDL work to scholarly journals, but I will also try to publish the work online through a website I'll code and design. My desire to create a website stems from my wish to make my analysis and academic work accessible to all. Putting the project on the web is one way of making the work accessible, but because of the nature of the medium, I anticipate that the project will also be much more structurally accessible than a 20+ page essay.

Amanda Pickett

Subversive Masculinity: The History and Future of Men’s Engagement in Gender Equality
MA Gender and Cultural Studies,  ‘16
Advised by Suzanne Leonard

What topic did you explore in HDL?
I explored the history of men’s engagement in gender justice and interrogated how the spaces that foster that engagement take shape and thrive. Overall, men’s role in this movement has historically been as allies in advancing women’s social and political access, often in projects aimed at immediately stopping men’s violence. What gets erased is the idea of gender equality mobilization around men’s equal access to emotional capacities and responsibilities, in addition to challenging men’s violence. In other words, men can be allies, but are still boxed into the age-old trope that “boys will be boys.” I suggested that an understudied piece of the conversation was what I call “subversive masculinity,” a configuration that emerges from the perspectives and actions of men who are both aware of, and actively reconstructing, the dominant ideology of masculinity resulting in long term social transformation.

How did you get interested in this work?
I was seeing a cultural disconnect: stories of men’s violence dominate in the cultural imaginary (e.g. mass shootings and men’s violence against women, other men, gender non-conforming folk, and themselves) while stories of men challenging the prevailing narrative are largely invisible. I wanted to examine this phenomenon and explore the work being done transform it.

What did you use your funding for?
I met activist/film maker Jackson Katz and attended his presentation “More than a Few Good Men” in Rhode Island. I attended the following conferences: the Creating Change Conference in Chicago, Ending Violence Against Women (EVAW) International in D.C. and the American Men’s Studies Association (AMSA) Conference in Ann Arbor. I purchased books invaluable to my research such as Some Men: Feminist Allies in the Movement to End Violence Against Women (2015) and Exploring Masculinities: Identity, Inequality, Continuity, and Change (2016 Bottom of Form). I subscribed to the academic journal Men and Masculinities.

What were you able to accomplish through the program?
I interned at Voice Male magazine with Rob Okun and will continue to work on a global gender justice book project with Voice Male and the MenEngage Alliance. I served on the 2016 summit steering committee for MERGE for Equality, Inc. and co-produced an engagement guide which will serve as a tool for leaders and practitioners in the field of engaging men and boys. I was able to interview three key figures involved in profeminist men’s work, including Steven Botkin, co-founder of Men’s Resources International.

What did you get out the program?
From workshopping fellow students’ projects each week, I developed the skill of giving critical feedback in a group setting and I grew individually as a researcher and a scholar. Due to the interdisciplinary structure of the seminar, I learned about a whole host of academically-invigorating topics from the effects of gender in zebra fish to the shifting paradigm of Asian masculinity represented in Netflix entertainment. Thanks to HDL, I had the opportunity to pursue my own research interests and to develop the language to talk about my topic. Also, I have made a multitude of connections within the movement which will certainly benefit me in my future endeavors.

What's next for you?
I will continue to intern with Voice Male and work on the global anthology project, including planning and helping to put on a promotional event in early June co-hosted by Judy Norsigian, author of Our Bodies Our Selves. I will be co-facilitating the MERGE for Equality, Inc. Summit in mid June, as well. I plan to submit an abstract to the 2nd International Conference on Men and Masculinities: Transnational Masculinities and Relationalities in İzmir, Turkey in September. I envision proposing, implementing, and operating a community/campus men’s engagement program that works in partnership with Boston area women’s centers, domestic and sexual violence crisis and recovery services, and LGBTQA centers. Perhaps I will get a second master’s degree: I could apply to the SUNY Stonybrook Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities master’s program!

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