2023 IRWG Incubator Awards


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graphic of a butterfly with text that says "IRWG Incubator Awards: 2023 Recipients"
graphic of a butterfly with text that says "IRWG Incubator Awards: 2023 Recipients"

March 2, 2023

IRWG has awarded $15,000 to two faculty projects as part of a new incubator initiative. IRWG Incubators provide structure for a focused, collective examination of a particular area or topic related to women, gender, and/or sexuality for up to two years, with the possibility of renewal. Priority was given to proposals that gather faculty together around a previously underfunded or emerging research area and that promises to energize a group of scholars at the University of Michigan in diverse and inclusive ways.

The 2023 incubator grants were awarded to Karen Fournier (Music) and to Rovel Sequeira and Seda Saluk (Women’s & Gender Studies). 

Karen Fournier

Prof. Karen Fournier, along with colleagues from the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance (SMTD) and other universities, will plan and host a Feminist Theory and Music Conference in June 2024 in Ann Arbor. The conference will provide a venue for explorations of intersections in music scholarship between gender/sexuality and such identity categories as race, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, disability, age/ageism, and others. While the biennial conference has convened regularly since 1991, the Michigan Feminist Theory and Music Conference in 2024 will seek to broaden the disciplinary reach of the conference by including performers and performances that focus on gender and sexuality. A cohort of faculty from the SMTD will serve as an advisory body to the conference and to provide expertise from different disciplinary perspectives. This advisory group will work together to select the keynote speaker and the performers who will be invited to the conference. Over the coming months, Fournier and colleagues will forge partnerships across campus with faculty from Women’s and Gender Studies, the Center for World Performance Studies, and English Language and Literature, and others. 

Rovel SequeiraProf. Rovel Sequeira and Prof. Seda Saluk’s incubator, the Global South Gender and Sexuality (GS2) Collective, aims to develop a multidisciplinary space for engagement with issues of gender, sexuality, and racialization through postcolonial, decolonial, and critical area studies approaches. The GS2 will plan and host activities over the next two academic years to bring together scholars of the Global South.

“A crucial issue in feminist research is how to properly center feminist, queer, and trans voices from the Global South without replicating colonial and imperialist mindsets,” Sequiera explains. “For instance, disciplines across the humanities and the social sciences often incorporate the study of Global South cultures and communities through an additive framework in which content about a non-Western site or culture is presented only near the end of a course or through an optional research program that is meant to ‘diversify’ essentially fixed patterns of research and teaching.” The GS2 Collective will serve as an incubator for new mindsets and frameworks by galvanizing conversation on the scholarship and pedagogy of postcolonial feminist, queer, and trans communities and, more broadly, the study of gender and sexuality in the Global South.

Seda Saluk

Each Incubator will receive $7500 from IRWG and administrative support for their proposed activities.

“We were pleased to receive such innovative proposals for this round of IRWG Incubators,” noted interim director Allison Alexy. “We recognize that research collaborations are time and labor-intensive, so we hope that this support from IRWG will catalyze deeper relationships among our affiliates from all disciplines and lead to exciting new scholarship and knowledge.”

The next call for proposals will be announced in fall 2023.

Photos (top to bottom): Karen Fournier, Rovel Sequiera, Seda Saluk

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