CES Fellows

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Meet Our 2023-2024 CES Fellows

The Center for Engaged Scholarship, a project of Community Initiatives, is pleased to announce our 2023-2024 fellows.  These winners will receive $30,000 to support the writing of their Ph.D. dissertations.

Rishi Awatramani

Rishi Awatramani

Department of Sociology, Johns Hopkins University

Rishi Awatramani’s research employs ethnographic and comparative methods to examine the race and class politics of urban working-classes, and historical patterns of social protest. His research interests are in the fields of Race and Ethnicity, Labor and Labor Movements, and Political Sociology.

His dissertation is a study of how deindustrialization and neoliberalism transform the traditional mechanisms of organizing race and class politics among working-class Mexican-Americans in Chicago's former steel-producing neighborhoods. Drawing on extensive ethnography and archival materials, he shows how the changing political economy of the urban periphery, the decline of neighborhood civil society, and political competition between teachers and police shape working-class racial politics and collective action.

Prior to pursuing academic research, Rishi worked in community and labor organizing for more than 12 years. Rishi’s project is also supported by a Russell Sage Foundation Dissertation Research Grant and a Graduate Research Fellowship from the Alexander Grass Humanities Institute.

Sadie Bergen

Sadie Bergen

Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University

Sadie Bergen studies the history and ethics of reproductive health with a focus on the ways that American institutions—from hospitals to corporations—have shaped reproductive health inequities.

Her dissertation examines the history of neonatal intensive care as a proving ground for some of the most significant transformations in the political economy and reproductive politics of the late twentieth-century medical-industrial complex.

Sadie works across the disciplines of history and public health, and has published work on fetal protection laws, the abortion politics of physicians, long-acting injectable HIV treatments, and the experiences of women living with endometriosis. Sadie is a proud organizer and union steward for the Student Workers of Columbia and has worked as a case manager for the New York Abortion Access Fund. She received a B.A. in History from the University of Chicago in 2015. She is also a recipient of the Institute for Citizens & Scholars Women’s Studies Fellowship.

 

Caity Curry

Caity Curry

Department of Sociology, University of Minnesota

Caity Curry uses qualitative methods to investigate how the criminal legal system exacerbates and legitimizes racial and class inequalities, focusing specifically on how legal professionals and impacted community members experience and resist mass criminalization in their daily lives.

Their dissertation examines the role of public defenders in criminal justice reform and transformation, using a multi-method case study of Gideon’s Promise, an Atlanta-based public defense organization that trains defenders to resist mass incarceration. The results lay critical groundwork for research on public defense and penal change, unmasking both the organizational context and individual struggles of progressive criminal defense in the U.S. South.

Caity also works with Minnesota organizations that seek to dismantle mass criminalization and support people with criminal records including All Square, Minnesota Justice Research Center, and Children of Incarcerated Caregivers.

Caity has a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Arkansas and an M.A. from the University of Minnesota.

Venus Green

Venus Green

Department of Sociology, University of Massachusetts Amherst

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

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 antiblack violence of slavery's afterlife shapes their work experiences and fight 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 Sociology Spectrum.

Walker Kahn

Walker Kahn

Department of Sociology, University of Wisconsin

Walker Kahn studies at University of Wisconsin. His research explores debt collection as a socially emergent process connecting market structures to the precarity of everyday people. Walker focuses on collections litigation to examine the tense relationship between rights and markets: in consumer finance, strategies and profits depend on creditors’ ability to seize borrowers’ property, creating a dynamic interaction between market structure, debt collection procedures, and the rights of everyday people.

His dissertation, Debtors’ Rights in the Age of Mass Securitization examines mortgage foreclosure as a nexus linking macro-level financialization to forced residential mobility among homeowners. This work traces how mortgage securitization transformed foreclosure into an actively managed profit center, making borrowers’ rights costs that industry players worked to reduce.  This work has been supported by the NSF Law and Science Dissertation Grant.

Walker received his J.D. in 2022 from University of Wisconsin. He received an M.A. from Columbia University, and a B.A. from New College. He also serves as Director of Policy for ProGov21.org, a free digital library of model laws and policies for progressive local governance.

Katherine Maldonado

Katherine Maldonado

Department of Sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara

Katherine Maldonado Fabela is a mother of three from South Central Los Angeles, and a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Her research interests include medical sociology, inequalities, critical criminology, and visual methodology. She earned her B.A. in Chicana/o Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. While at UCLA, Katherine conducted research as a McNair research fellow on gang-affiliated mothers’ resistance through education. She received her master’s degree in Sociology where she examined the ways gang-affiliated women experience institutional violence and developed a conceptual model on life course criminalization. She continues this line of work in her dissertation by examining the experiences of Latina mothers with the carceral system, specifically the Child Welfare system and mental health.

Katherine’s research has been published in multiple journals and book chapters and her work has been included in policymaking toolkits at the United Nations.

Joseph van der Naald

Joseph van der Naald

Department of Sociology, City University of New York

Joseph van der Naald’s dissertation examines the conditions that fostered the rapid growth of public-sector employees’ unions in the United States beginning in the 1960s.

Using a historical comparative analysis of government workers’ movements in Michigan and Ohio, two Midwestern states that once maintained divergent collective bargaining laws for public employees, Joseph’s research traces how insurgent unions in both cases drew upon a diverse set of resources and adapted their forms of mobilization to successfully organize across disparate institutional contexts.

Joseph has published research in Social Service Review, Social Science Research, and the Journal of Collective Bargaining in the Academy, and he has taught at the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies. His dissertation research has received support from the Labor Research and Action Network and the Walter P. Reuther Library. Joseph received his B.A. at Portland State University and an M.A. from the Central European University.

2023-2024 Honorable Mentions

Kimberly Hess

Kimberly Hess

Department of Sociology, University of Michigan

Kimberly Hess is a PhD candidate in sociology at the University of Michigan. Her research interests center broadly around the culture and politics of inclusion and exclusion within states and nations.

Kim's dissertation, “Representation Matters: Minority Inclusion and American National Identity in K-12 U.S. State Social Studies Standards,” considers how social, historical, and regional contexts affect who and what is included in contemporary US social studies education and how differences in these inclusions relate to different narratives of American history and national identity. She uses a comparative analysis of all 50 states’ K-12 social studies curriculum standards, alongside case studies of the process of standards creation and revision in six states, to identify patterns within social studies education in terms of minority representation, characterizations of US history and government, and portrayals of American national identity. She is interested in the ways that nationalism affects and is affected by the content of history and civics education in particular.

Kim holds an M.A. in Sociology from the University of Michigan and a B.A. in History from the University of Maryland. While at Michigan, she has taught many courses in the sociology department, as well as a first-year writing course of her own design on nations and nationalism. Kim also served as an online teaching course consultant for her department in 2020 and published a co-authored article in Teaching Sociology based on this work supporting instructors during the pandemic. When she’s not teaching or working on research, Kim enjoys gardening, traveling, and spending time with her family.

Bethany Johnson

Bethany Johnson

Department of History, University of South Carolina

Bethany Johnson’s dissertation, In the Aftermath of the ‘Lost’ Pandemic: Philadelphia, 1919-1923, reexamines the period following the catastrophic influenza wave in the fall of 1918.

Bethany’s focus on post-pandemic Philadelphia utilizes a range of historical subdisciplines (e.g., social, urban, environmental, and queer history) to reconstruct the experience of a diverse population. She employs overlooked or unexamined sources, such as city council records, post-pandemic surveys, records from children’s homes, and physician’s files describing post-pandemic health problems. This approach is central to understanding how pandemics end, how a community seizes opportunities for change after outbreaks and contextualizes responses to future pandemics and public health crises. One of her key findings is that influenza was not a great equalizer, as is so often claimed. Black and immigrant families and poor and working-class communities lost far more folks than white, middle-class, and upper-class families. Thousands of families institutionalized children or rehoused them in other family units; others left the city.

Bethany's dissertation project reflects her research focus, which is to examine how individuals and institutions have created, normalized, and reproduced science, medical technology, and public health discourses from the nineteenth century to the present.

In her public-facing work in media interviews and on podcasts, she uses historical events to ask difficult questions about the present. For example, in a society built on extractive labor, how will we include the millions of Americans now struggling with long-COVID in economic and social recovery? Her dissertation project offers critical complications for narratives questioning the effectiveness of masking, social distancing, layered testing, and other actions that protect the disabled and those who face a greater exposure risk through their work (e.g., bus and Lyft drivers).

Bethany received her B.A. in History from Nyack College, an MPhil in Development Studies from the Centre for Development Studies at the University of Glasgow, and an M.A. in Historical Studies from The New School for Social Research. She is the 2022-2023 Albert M. Greenfield Research Fellow for the Consortium for History of Science, Technology, and Medicine. Her 2019 book, co-authored with Dr. Margaret Quinlan, You’re Doing it Wrong! Mothering, Media and Medical Expertise is available through Rutgers University Press.

L. Chardé Reid

L. Chardé Reid

Department of Anthropology, William & Mary University

L. Chardé Reid is a historical archaeology doctoral candidate at William & Mary. She has over twelve-years of experience in collections management, geographic information systems (GIS), compliance review, cultural resource management, and engaged archaeology.

Her dissertation, Beyond the Shores: An Archaeological Exploration of Racial Formation, Self-Making, and Community on Mulberry Island, Virginia (1619-1705), is an interdisciplinary study of how the emergent process of racialization led to a reconceptualization of gender, class, and sociopolitical relationships in seventeenth-century Virginia. Her field work is based in southeast Virginia, where she works alongside members of a local descendant community to explore the lives of their ancestors. She uses archaeological objects along with archival documents and oral histories to better understand the ways African-descended people negotiate the transforming social landscapes of settler-colonial Virginia.

Recently, she was awarded a Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship (AY 2023-2024) which will support completion of her doctoral research and writing.

 

Raquel Rose

Raquel Rose

Department of Applied Psychology, New York University

Raquel Rose's research seeks to understand the impact of systemic trauma, resource precarity, and deficit-based narratives around racial/ethnic minority and SOGIE diverse youth on psychosocial outcomes particularly in the mental health, education and legal fields.

Raquel’s dissertation, ROSES in the Educational Margins: Analyzing the Impact of Unmet Needs, Trauma, and Stakeholder Perceptions on School Pushout and Sense of Safety for Black and Latine Girls, explores how the mismatch between the purported aims of institutions and the expressed safety needs of girls leads to negative psychosocial outcomes. This project aims to create change within systems, strengthen community-based partnerships outside of the formal system, and directly collaborate with girls of color to hold contexts accountable.

As a first-generation, Caribbean immigrant, her scholarship is deeply rooted in her identity as a black woman of the diaspora. Her work received a 2023 Ford Foundation honorable mention and was selected for the 2023 Elizabeth Munsterberg Koppitz fellowship.

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