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Collaborative Research Clusters

The WGSS program has sponsored Collaborative Research Clusters under the generous auspices of the Northeastern University Humanities Center and the College of Social Sciences and Humanities. Typically, these research clusters generate the topic and ideas for our annual Women’s History Month symposium. See below for more about their work.

 

2018-2019 Collaborative Research Cluster:
Women and Resilience
 

Group Members 
Suzanna Walters, Program Director, WGSS
Kiki Samko, Program Coordinator, WGSS
Jennie Stephens, Dean’s Professor of Sustainability Science and Policy (SPPUA); Co-Director, Global Resiliency Institute
Brooke Foucault Welles, Assistant Professor of Communications Studies and Network Science
Alisa Lincoln, Director of the Institute on Urban Health Research and Practice; Professor of Sociology & Health Sciences
Ryan Gallagher, Graduate Student, Network Science
Amy Farrell, Associate Director and Associate Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice
Rachel Rodgers, Associate Professor of Applied Psychology
Koriann Brousseau Cox, Graduate Student, Applied Psychology
Sarah Elizabeth Marosi, Graduate Student, Applied Psychology
Laura Elizabeth Fischer, Graduate Student, Applied Psychology

About our Research
This cluster will focus on the phenomenon of networked social movements and community resilience, examining gender in resilience and how women (and in particular, women of color) are consistently leaders in these spaces. We will discuss how women frequently carry a disproportionate burden in moments of social crisis, looking at movements including Black Lives Matter, the Women’s March, #MeToo, and #TimesUp to name just a few. Women strengthen community resilience in response to chronic stresses and slowly emerging disruptions including climate change, democratic instability, and crises of public health—yet women are rarely centered in resilience studies. Furthermore, the cluster will explore how social movements can build resilience for individuals, groups, and whole societies. We aim to reach across disciplines to broaden the scope and impact of resilience research by examining gender and resilience through intersecting lenses. By enhancing understanding of the role of women’s networks in resilience, a more nuanced gendered perspective in resilience research will be strengthened.

Specific research questions include:

 

2016-2017 Collaborative Research Cluster:
The Future of Global Reproduction: Technology, Law, Religion, Art

Group Members
Suzanna Walters, Professor, Sociology and Director, WGSS
Margot Abels, PhD Candidate, Sociology
Libby Adler, Professor, School of Law
Aziza Ahmed, Associate Professor, School of Law
Gabriel Arkles, Associate Academic Specialist, School of Law
Moya Bailey, Assistant Professor, WGSS and Languages, Literatures, & Cultures; core faculty, NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks
Jackie Gronau, PhD Candidate, History
Barbara Guthrie, Professor and Program Director, Nursing
Sarah Jackson, Assistant Professor, Communications Studies
Lori Lefkovitz, Ruderman Professor and Director of Jewish Studies and Director, Humanities Center
Andrew Mazzaschi, Deputy Editor Signs: Journal of Women in Culture & Society
Serena Parekh, Assistant Professor, Philosophy & Religion
Firuzeh Shokooh Valle, PhD Candidate, Sociology
Brooke Foucault Welles, Assistant Professor, Communications Studies and Network Science; core faculty, NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks
Kathrin Zippel, Associate Professor, Sociology

About Our Research
The group will examine questions of reproductive justice and freedom through lenses of technology, law, religion, and art. Issues of reproductive justice are increasingly on the academic and public frontlines, as more and more restrictions are put in place by local and national jurisdictions. And the model of reproductive justice broadens both activist and academic purviews, linking discussions of abortion access with wide-ranging concerns about reproductive technology, reproductive tourism, the traffic in reproductive labor and its relation to other vectors of globalization, and how all these issues are imagined in popular culture, in art, in literature, in law. Students and faculty alike will find this topic critical in the current political environment and find the interdisciplinary “take” on global reproduction to provide a fruitful route for feminist theorizing.

Our research agenda is broad and wide-ranging and governed by the following types of questions:

 

2015-2016 Collaborative Research Cluster:
Gender and Carceral Complexes

Group Members
Suzanna Walters, Professor, Sociology and Director, WGSS
Margot Abels, PhD Candidate, Sociology
Wallis Adams, PhD Candidate, Sociology
Libby Adler, Professor, School of Law
Aziza Ahmed, Associate Professor, School of Law
Gabriel Arkles, Associate Academic Specialist, School of Law
Moya Bailey, Dean’s Postdoctoral Fellow and Visiting Scholar, WGSS and Digital Humanities
Gia Barboza, Assistant Professor, African American Studies and Criminology & Criminal Justice
Carole Bell, Assistant Professor of Communications Studies
Jamie Bergeron, Program Coordinator, Office of Institutional Diversity & Inclusion
Candice Delmas, Assistant Professor, Philosophy and Political Science
Silvia Dominguez, Associate Professor, Sociology and Human Services
Amy Farrell, Associate Professor, Criminology & Criminal Justice
Kathryn Frazier, Lecturer, Psychology and WGSS Visiting Scholar
Natasha Frost, Associate Professor, Criminology & Criminal Justice
Kian Goh, Assistant Professor, Architecture
Barbara Guthrie, Professor and Program Director, Nursing
Sarah Jackson, Assistant Professor, Communications Studies
Carla Kaplan, Davis Distinguished Professor of American Literature & Professor of WGSS
Lauren Kuryloski, PhD Candidate, English
Lori Lefkovitz, Ruderman Professor and Director of Jewish Studies and Director, Humanities Center
Rachel Lewis, PhD Candidate, English
Stu Marvel, WGSS Visiting Scholar
Andrew Mazzaschi, Deputy Editor Signs: Journal of Women in Culture & Society
Serena Parekh, Assistant Professor, Philosophy & Religion
Joseph Reagle, Assistant Professor, Communications Studies
Kara Swanson, Associate Professor, School of Law
Miriam Tola, Lecturer, Cinema Studies and WGSS Visiting Scholar
Melisa Trujillo, WGSS Visiting Scholar

About Our Research
Under the auspices of the Humanities Center during the 2015-2016 academic year, this group will focus on the broad, interdisciplinary, and topical theme of Gender in Carceral Complexes. We will examine the phenomenon of mass incarceration and the political, economic, and legal structures that surround and support it. In addition, we will engage with narrative fiction and popular culture that speaks to and with questions of incarceration, particularly as punitive and carceral apparatuses operate on gendered and sexed bodies. Given the out-of-control rates of mass incarceration in the US– and the ways this structures and impinges upon everyday life– it is vital to critically examine all aspects of this phenomenon. How sexuality and gender play out in the “carceral state” has become of increasing concern to activists and scholars working to create alternatives to mass incarceration.

The group’s primary goal is to provide an interdisciplinary and feminist framework for examining carcerality in multiple institutional, legal, theoretical, and cultural sites. The group will address questions of the privatization of incarceration, trans* in prison, treatments in prison (including mental health and trans* treatments), sex work regulation, Ferguson and hashtag activism, understanding feminist political economy, construction and representation of incarceration in literature and popular culture, and creating/examining specifically feminist and queer analyses of mass incarceration and alternatives to the carceral state.

 

2014-2015 Collaborative Research Cluster:
Feminist Theory 2.0

Group Members
Suzanna Walters, Professor, Sociology and Director, WGSS
Margot Abels, PhD Candidate, Sociology
Libby Adler, Professor, School of Law
Aziza Ahmed, Associate Professor, School of Law
Gabriel Arkles, Associate Academic Specialist, School of Law
Carol Bell, Assistant Professor of Communications Studies
Moya Bailey, Dean’s Postdoctoral Fellow and Visiting Scholar, WGSS and Digital Humanities
Amy Barber, Postdoctoral Teaching Associate, Communications Studies
Chris Chambers, Professor, Sociology
Laura Green, Professor and Chair, English
Juli Grigsby, Visiting Scholar, WGSS
Laura Hartmann-Villalta, PhD Candidate, English
Denise Horn, Assistant Professor, International Affairs and Political Science
Johna Iacono, Director, University Scholars Program
Sarah Jackson, Assistant Professor, Communications Studies
Carla Kaplan, Davis Distinguished Professor of American Literature & Professor of WGSS
Lori Lefkovitz, Ruderman Professor and Director of Jewish Studies and Director, Humanities Center
Alisa Lincoln, Associate Professor of Sociology & Anthropology
Brett Nava-Coulter, PhD Candidate, Sociology
Serena Parekh, Assistant Professor, Philosophy & Religion
Rachel Rosenbloom, Associate Professor, School of Law
Jesica Speed, Postdoctoral Teaching Associate, Communications Studies
Banu Subramaniam, Visiting Scholar, WGSS
Kara Swanson, Associate Professor, School of Law
Berna Turam, Associate Professor of International Affairs and Sociology
Brooke Foucault Welles, Assistant Professor, Communications Studies

About Our Research
Under the auspices of the Humanities Center during the 2014-2015 academic year, Professor Suzanna Walters convenes a group of feminist academics in research and discussion around the theme of feminist theory in the twenty-first century.

The group aims here to engage more broadly with key new texts and debates within feminist/queer/sexuality studies. Feminist theoretical work is constantly shifting and engaging with associated knowledge domains (e.g. critical race theory, postcolonial theory) and it is often difficult to “keep up” with current framings and reframings of the feminist project. We aim to read recently published texts (e.g. Clare Hemmings Why Stories Matter, Victoria Hesford’s Feeling Women’s Liberation) as well as journal articles in such venues as Signs, differences, Feminist Studies, etc. in order to engage directly with cutting-edge debates and theoretical innovations.

 

2013-2014 Collaborative Research Cluster:
Sexual Citizenship

Group Members
Suzanna Walters, Professor, Sociology and Director, WGSS
Aziza Ahmed, Associate Professor, School of Law
Amy Barber, Postdoctoral Teaching Associate, Communications Studies
Kimberly Brown, Assistant Professor, English
Peter Campbell, Postdoctoral Teaching Associate, Communications Studies
Laura Green, Professor and Chair, English
Denise Horn, Assistant Professor, International Affairs and Political Science
Sarah Jackson, Assistant Professor, Communications Studies
Shun Kiang, Ph.D. Candidate, English
Lori Lefkovitz, Ruderman Professor and Director of Jewish Studies and Director, Humanities Center
Phyllis Thompson, Visiting Scholar, WGSS

About Our Research
Under the auspices of the Humanities Center during the 2013-2014 academic year, Professor Suzanna Walters convened a group of feminist academics in research and discussion around the theme of sexual citizenship.

The topic of sexual citizenship has taken on added urgency in the current social and political climate. From same-sex marriage to immigration to reproductive rights and beyond, what it means to think through “citizenship” has increasingly been imagined as cross–cut not just with gender, race, and class but sexuality as well. The concept of sexual citizenship bridges the private and public, and stresses the cultural and political iterations of sexual expression and sexual and gender identity. Central texts such as historian Margot Canaday’s The Straight State and Jasbir Puar’s Terrorist Assemblages interrogate how our very ideas of “citizenship” and “the state” are wrapped up in heteronormative assumptions, frameworks, and policies. Additional work by Brenda Cossman, Jon Binnie, Lauren Berlant, Shane Phelan, Chandan Reddy, and many others has provocatively investigated the “sexed” nature of citizenship claims and frameworks of national belonging.

This research cluster seeks to dig deep into this work, bringing it into closer dialogue with feminist theory and queer theory more broadly construed. What, we ask, is the relationship between theories of sexual citizenship and theories of gendered citizenship? How do these play out along cross-national vectors and along national vectors of race, class, and ethnicity? How is sexual citizenship activated in the “war on terror?” What models of sexual citizenship are implicit in current political contestations, such as those over same-sex marriage and immigration reform? What does “belonging” mean for citizens formally included but socially abject?

As a collaborative research cluster for 2013-2014, we provide an intellectual and collegial venue for interdisciplinary feminist/queer scholarship on campus to address these issues.

This work culminated in a one-day symposium “From Patriarchy to Pussy Riot: Gender, Sexuality, and Global Citizenship.” You can read more about the symposium and view footage from the event here.

 

2012-2013 Collaborative Research Cluster:
Body/Embodiment

Group Members
Linda Blum, Associate Professor, Sociology
Estye Fenton, PhD candidate, Sociology and Anthropology
Anne Fleche, Lecturer in Film and Drama, Northeastern University and MIT
Leigh Gilmore, Visiting Scholar, WGSS
Ann Grenell, Lecturer, History and Liberal Studies, College of Professional Studies
Debra Kaufman, Distinguished Professor, Sociology and Anthropologie, former Director of WGSS
Uta Poiger, Department Chair and Professor, History
Amanda Runyan, PhD candidate, English, Graduate English Rep. on WGSS Executive Committee
Kara Swanson, Professor, School of Law
Suzanna Walters, Professor, Sociology; Professor and Director, WGSS
Shannon Weber, PhD candidate, Feminist Studies, University of California Santa Barbra; Visiting Scholar, WGSS

About Our Research
As a WGSS/Humanities Center Working Group in 2011-12, our group met monthly for a set of fascinating, wide-ranging conversations, based on shared readings and presentations of works-in-progress. In 2012-2013, our group returned as a research cluster for an on-going collaboration between the WGSS Program (Linda Blum, Director of WGSS as Co-Convener) and the Centre for Gender Research at Uppsala University in Sweden (Dr. Lisa Folksmarson Käll, Coordinator of the Body/Embodiment group at the Center, as Co-Convener). The work and collaboration among the universities has continued in 2013-2014.

The interdisciplinary focus of “body studies” has burgeoned in the past decade – evidenced in the rising impact factor of the interdisciplinary journal Body & Society—as an outgrowth of feminist and queer theories, cultural studies, and critical race studies. The field is influenced as well by those re/thinking the materiality and phenomenological experience of the body in disability studies, philosophy, and social-cultural studies of medicine and the biological sciences. We raise questions of how bodies work as social and cultural texts; how bodies are marked by power and social inequalities, translated and negotiated through authoritative biomedical discourses; how bodies are sites of subjectivity, identity, and place; and how bodies become cultural artifacts informing collective political identities.