Februrary 2022 Newsletter | www.orwac.org
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2016 ORWAC Grant Recipient Reports

Shadee Abdi, University of Denver

I’m very thankful for the Organization for Research on Women and Communication for their generous support of my project, which has now turned into a finished dissertation! My dissertation entitled, “Navigating the (Im)Perfect Performances of Queer Iranian-American Identity,” utilizes a transnational/women of color feminist and intersectional framework. My goals for this research were to extend the works in queer studies which have traditionally focused on white gay men, and family communication, which have historically focused on the white heterosexual nuclear family. Specifically, I explored how first-generation, queer Iranian-American women perform heteronormative cultural expectations within contesting ideological frameworks and within cross-cultural familial and social relationships. This work employed critical qualitative methods, including narrative performance interviewing and poetic transcription, to ensure that the community vernacular and lived experiences of my participants were reflected within the research. The ORWAC grant was incredibly helpful as it allowed me to compensate my participants and travel in the cases of face-to-face interviews! I want to thank ORWAC for all it does and continues to do for the field of communication! 

Natalie Fixmer-Oraiz, University of Iowa 

I received a 2016 ORWAC research grant in support of my current book project, tentatively titled Homeland Maternity: Security, Risk, and the New Reproductive Regime.

Homeland Maternity explores reproductive and maternal politics in the context of homeland security culture. More specifically, tracing recent discursive alignments between motherhood and nation, I use the term “homeland maternity” to theorize the significant, if often overlooked, relationship between motherhood and nation within post-9/11 U.S. culture. While scholars of feminist and cultural studies have explored both homeland security culture and the politics of contemporary motherhood from critical perspectives, no study to date has considered how recent discourses of motherhood and nation are deeply enmeshed and, I argue, mutually constitutive. As reproductive bodies are represented as a threat to national security, either through supposed excess or deficiency, a culture of homeland maternity intensifies the requirements of motherhood as it works to discipline those who refuse to adhere.

I am deeply grateful to ORWAC for its support of this research. The ORWAC grant provided funds for necessary travel to present my work at NCA, meet with potential editors, as well as to provide a small stipend for a feminist visual artist/recent MFA who is working with me to launch a digital companion to the book.

Megan, McFarlane, Marymount University

I am very grateful to have been awarded an ORWAC Research Development Grant last year. It has helped fund a project that extends my research on U.S. servicewomen’s embodied experiences. More specifically, the research for which I received funding focuses on servicewomen’s pregnancy experiences. Since receiving the grant, I have conducted nearly 20 additional interviews (via telephone, Skype, and FaceTime) with servicewomen who are/were officers in the U.S. military and experienced a pregnancy while on active duty since 2000. The ORWAC grant has paid for the transcription of half of the interviews I have conducted. 

When I originally embarked on this second phase of research (I had interviewed enlisted servicewomen previously), I was planning on using the interviews to help complete a chapter in a book project. However, after conducting all of the interviews in this past year, I have realized that this project is much larger than a single chapter; I am now pursuing turning the analysis of the data collected in this phase and the previous interview phase into its own book project. Because of this significant change to the nature of my project, I am even more appreciative for this grant, as it has helped expedite the research process so that I don’t have to transcribe all of the interviews myself. Although my timeline has now shifted slightly, I still have plans to have at least three chapters drafted by the end of the summer.

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