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2019 Research Development Grant Reports

Reports from Noorie Baig, Adriande Gonzalez, Amber Johnson, and Olivia Wright

Excerpt from Noorie Baig's Grant Report:

Queering Oral Histories of South Asian Activists and the Model Minority Myth in the United States of America

My dissertation uses oral history methods to understand how queer and cisgender South Asian activists negotiate the model minority myth in their advocacy work in the US. The purpose of my study is to understand the historical implications and lived experiences of South Asian immigrant activists in the US. I used queer oral history methods to collect narratives from 21 activists. The funding from this grant assisted with professional transcription, copy-editing services, and dissertation tuition fees.

I am currently in the process of completing and writing my analysis and implication chapters. The grant funds are currently used to pay for professional copy-editing services. This has helped streamline and focus the feedback process with my dissertation chair to content related feedback. I also used some of the funds to supplement my dissertation credit tuition fees at the University of New Mexico (UNM). Since I completed four years of funding from the Dept. of Communication and Journalism at UNM, I was in need of additional resources to support my dissertation research. The ORWAC Grant has offset these costs and greatly reduced personal financial burdens at this stage of my PhD process. For this, I am eternally grateful to the ORWAC board and sponsors critical support.

Excerpt from Olivia Wright's Grant Report:

Caged Sisters: Art and Protest in American Women’s Prison Zines, 1933-2019

In the autumn of 2019, ORWAC funded my 9-day visit to San Francisco to conduct archival research and attend the annual National Women’s Studies Association Conference at the Hilton, Union Square. The trip facilitated several days of important primary research at the GLBT Historical Society Archives in downtown San Francisco in the lead up to completing my PhD. It allowed me to access their extensive collections of queer and transgender print culture, none of which is currently digitised. The archivists were extremely helpful and accommodating and helped me get through copious amounts of material in a short space of time. As a result, I managed to access everything I initially requested and even look through some extra boxes. It is a fantastic resource and I hope to work there again in the future.

The latter half of the trip was spent attending the NWSA annual conference. It was my first time attending the conference and I was overwhelmed by its scale and content. Spread over four days, the conference featured hundreds of panels with leading scholars and activists who provided me with inspiration and encouragement for my own work. I presented my paper ‘‘Sister Inside’: Locating Women’s Prison Zines in the Women in Print Movement’ on a panel as part of the Publishing Feminisms Research Group titled ‘Print Objects: Resisting the Status Quo in Feminist Publishing.’ It was a great opportunity to present my research with scholars in my field and receive their thoughts and feedback.

Excerpt from Adriande Gonzalez's Grant Report:

Promotoras and the Texas Colonias: A Study of Occupational Identity, Organizing, and Community Building

The underlining goal of this research project is to understand the work experiences of promotoras de salud, also known as community health workers or health promoters, living in the Webb County/Laredo Texas colonias. This research project looks at the material impact occupational duties, organizing efforts, and community building have on promotoras’ personal and work lives.

Since I am interested in understanding promotoras’ lived experiences, I am employing in-depth interviewing and observation as data collection methods. I have completed about 30 days of fieldwork in the colonias where I have met residents who have benefited from seven different promotoras. In early 2020, I stopped visiting the colonias due to COVID-19. I have yet to resume my fieldwork, but I my informant has made contact with promotoras who are willing to be interviewed by phone/utilize Facebook messenger throughout the summer. I hope to have all data collected by late fall 2020. I submitted an extended abstract titled, Promotoras and the Texas colonias: A study of occupational identity, organizing, and community building to the 2020 National Communication Association to the Research in Progress Roundtables to discuss initial findings.

Excerpt from Amber Johnson's Grant Report:

Afrofuturism as Radical Feminist Beginning: A Transfuturity Project

When I applied, I had 9 complete paintings and 22 oral histories and photo shoots conducted. Since receiving the grant, we completed the final 3 interviews and photography sessions, drew the final sketches, and completed 17 of the paintings. We still have 8 more paintings to finish. Five are near completion.

I expect to be finished with the remaining 6 paintings by the end of summer. Instead of touring the exhibit physically, Wriply Bennet and I are toying with the idea of creating a virtual museum experience with audio from the interview footage, photos, sketches and paintings. The final product would enable people to create a gender futurity inspired avatar and tour the virtual exhibit as if they were walking through a futuristic building. Instead of building a gender galaxy as the interactive portion of the exhibit, their avatar will replace that as a visualization of gender possibility. In the attached images, you will see several of the paintings at two events and the final three sketches. Thank you for supporting this work and The Justice Fleet.

Amber Johnson's Artwork

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