Announcing 2016 Faculty Seed Grant Awards


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image of dandelion with text "IRWG Faculty Seed Grants"
image of dandelion with text "IRWG Faculty Seed Grants"

Six faculty members receive funding to develop projects on women, gender, and sexuality

The University of Michigan’s Institute for Research on Women and Gender (IRWG) has awarded six Seed Grants for faculty projects on women, gender, and sexuality. The IRWG grants support individual research activities, as well as collaborative projects, such as pilot studies or initial research efforts.

The 2015-16 recipients and their projects are:

Susan D. Ernst – Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Evaluating Reproductive Healthcare Services for Adolescents and Women with Disabilities in Ethiopia

Over 15 million persons with disabilities live in Ethiopia, nearly one-fifth of the population. Unfortunately, women and adolescents with disabilities experience significant marginalization and isolation and their reproductive health needs are virtually unmet. To address the need of this underserved population, this project will generate preliminary evidence to develop a reproductive health care program to meet the special needs of these Ethiopian adolescents and women. This project will utilize a mixed-methods design, using qualitative methods to capture in depth information from adolescents and women with disabilities and quantitative methods to capture specific information from administrators and health care providers.

Nancy Fleischer – Department of Epidemiology

Women’s Health across the Life Course: Understanding how Social Determinants Impact Adverse Birth Outcomes through a Multigenerational Perspective

A woman’s reproductive years are a critical time for her health, and that of her offspring. Social determinants play a crucial role in these processes. The long-term goal of this project is to determine the role of social mobility (i.e., attaining higher social status than a previous generation) on racial/ethnic disparities in infant health in the US. The seed grant will be used to: (1) build and evaluate a multigenerational dataset to assess the link between social mobility and adverse birth outcomes, and (2) provide research experience to a graduate student in the social determinants of maternal and child health.

Elizabeth King – Department of Health Behavior and Health Education

Understanding the needs of women living with HIV in the Russian Federation: How can we improve retention in HIV treatment and care for women after pregnancy?

There is a currently a feminization of the HIV epidemic in Russia, where the epidemic continues to expand and the treatment gap continues to widen. This project aims to better understand what factors influence the likelihood that women who are diagnosed with HIV during pregnancy will start and adhere to HIV treatment after pregnancy. By conducting formative, qualitative research in St. Petersburg and Sukhoi Log (Sverdlovsk Region), researchers will design a package of services to more effectively facilitate access to HIV treatment for women living with HIV who have recently given birth in Russia.

Shobita Parthasarathy – Ford School of Public Policy; Women’s Studies

Grassroots Innovation and Gender Order in India

This project analyzes the gender order produced by India’s grassroots innovation system. Low-tech, small-scale, cheap, and usually produced by citizens with limited education and capital, grassroots innovation and the initiatives that support it seem fundamentally empowering. But what gender and caste dynamics does India’s grassroots innovation system create? Does this system reflect or transform traditional understandings of women and low-caste individuals in innovation? Does it provide a policy framework for encouraging innovation both for and by women with limited resources? Professor Parthasarathy will explore these questions through four case studies of Indian organizations involved in different aspects of grassroots innovation.

Louise K. Stein – Musicology, School of Music, Theatre and Dance

A Castrato Voice Paradigmatic of a New Masculinity in Seventeenth-Century Italian Opera: Giovanni Francesco Grossi (1653-1697), “Siface”

This new project concerns the voice, career, and influence of a famous alto castrato singer, Giovanni Francesco Grossi (1653-1697), known as “Siface.” Grossi was a paradigmatic male innovator in the operatic marketplace during a formative period for the business of opera. With a small but beautiful voice, he succeeded in spite of low social status and then-prevalent notions of the musical expression of heroic masculinity. Professor Stein’s archival research project opens up a new avenue for the study of gender in early modern public singing; previous studies have focused on eighteenth-century castrati, emphasizing their vocal power, distorted physiques, and metallic timbre in heroic roles with long flashy arias. Grossi created a new “sensitive” onstage masculine persona with specially composed arias in the seventeenth-century, across a 26-year career.

Ruth Tsoffar – Departments of Women’s Studies and Comparative Literature

Jammasin, Givat Amal, Akirov Towers: A Chronology of Erasure

This project tells a story of several transitions of place, memory, and erasure. First, the Palestinian village of Jammasin in Northern Tel-Aviv, which dates back to the 16th century; then, Givat-Amal, a neighborhood of the post-1948 Jewish refugees and new immigrants at the periphery of the city. Presently it houses the most luxurious skyscrapers in Israel. The formerly crowded, heterogeneous space bears almost no trace of its past. In the tradition of anthropology “at home,” Professor Tsoffar weaves her memoirs with various cultural accounts to generate a layered feminist critique of the masculinist production of space, attentive to issues of ethnicity, demography, nationalism, and urban politics.

IRWG Faculty Seed Grants are awarded once per year. The next opportunity will be in November 2016. 

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