1136 Lane Hall
204 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI
Phone: 734–764–9537
Fax: 734–764–9533


Current Faculty Seed Grant Recipients

Winter 2014

Ketra Armstrong

(Department of Kinesiology)
…Without Maleness…Without Whiteness…
Black Women in Sport Leadership (A Black Feminist Critique)

Sport is a salient social institution that has been aptly depicted as: (a) a repository for the maintenance and reproduction of hegemonic masculinity, and (b) a racially contested terrain. The male centric and Eurocentric leadership cultures in sport provide an intersecting sphere of domination that adversely affect Black women’s leadership access and aspirations. The goal of this project is to conduct mixed methods research (undergirded with tenets of Black Feminist Thought) to produce refereed publications and create a corresponding (research infused/informed) multimedia DVD to elucidate the experiences of Black women and to explicate the racialization of gender in sport leadership.

Aline J. Cotel

(Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Towards a Global Virtual Community of Female Engineering Students and Professionals

This proposal is for the implementation of a leadership camp for female Liberian engineering undergraduate women. The ultimate goal is to empower the Liberian women engineers with the skills, support and inspiration necessary to becoming successful engineering professionals. These goals will be achieved through a leadership camp planned and facilitated collaboratively by the members of the University of Michigan Society of Women Engineers (UM-SWE) student chapter and the Liberia Society of Women Engineers (LSWE) student organization. The 2 week-long leadership camp will have a workshop-based format with two themes: (i) academic and professional skills, and (ii) student organization development.

Lauren Gutterman

(Women’s Studies Department)
“The House on the Borderland”: A History of Lesbian Desire within Marriage

An IRWG Faculty Seed Grant would enable me to complete research for my book manuscript, “The House on the Borderland”: A History of Lesbian Desire within Marriage. This project examines the personal experiences and public representation of wives who desired women in the United States since 1945. It demonstrates how such women have been able to create space for their same-sex desires within marriage throughout this time period. IRWG funding would go towards conducting the final round of archival research necessary for revision, and towards the transcription of thirty oral history interviews.

Photograph from Liberty's Secret: The 100% All American Musical

Actress Alli Brown performs in Andy Kirschner's musical film project, Liberty's Secret. Photo credit: Lon Stratton. Visit the project website: www.libertysecretmovie.com.

Andy Kirshner

(School of Music, Theatre & Dance; Stamps School of Art & Design)
Liberty’s Secret: The 100% All-American Musical

Liberty’s Secret: The 100% All-American Musical is a feature-length musical film project. It is both a satire of political image-making and, even more essentially, a “girl meets girl” love story. It borrows the dramatic and musical conventions of the traditional “boy meets girl” movie-musical (Guys and Dolls, Oklahoma) and flips those conventions 180-degrees, replacing the usual pre-destined heterosexual romantic couple with two women. It also considers national politics as a form of mass entertainment – drawing implicit comparisons between the “song and dance” of musicals, and the song and dance of modern electoral campaigns.

Greta R. Krippner

(Department of Sociology)
Prices and Personhood: Gender, Race, and the Social History of Risk-Based Pricing

The notion that each individual should “bear the cost” of her own riskiness is a widely accepted principle governing how we think about how risks should be distributed in modern market societies. While scholars have typically viewed the tendency to individualize risk as a relatively recent phenomenon, our purpose in this project is to trace a much longer, and more contested, history of the notion that we bear our own risk, and to understand how gender and race have intersected and shaped that development. Our analysis centers on legal challenges to the use of gender and racial classifications in insurance and pensions over the course of the twentieth century. We seek to understand how new pricing technologies have shaped notions of what constitutes gender and racial discrimination in markets that are consequential for life chances.

Sandra R. Levitsky

(Department of Sociology)
The Politics of Public Preschool: How the Rise of “Early Childhood Education” Eclipsed the Needs of Working Mothers

The recent meteoric ascent of public preschool onto the American political agenda has been accompanied by a shift in public discourse away from “child care” and toward “early childhood education.” So effective has this shift been for securing state funding, that even feminist advocacy organizations have redirected their initiatives to emphasize preschool rather than child care. This study seeks to (1) explain the discursive and programmatic shift away from the child care needs of working mothers toward the educational needs of preschool-aged children; and (2) analyze the repercussions of investing in early childhood programs that fail to support working mothers.

Okeoma Mmeje

(Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology)
The State of Reproductive Services for HIV-Infected Individuals at St. Paul’s Hospital (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)

We propose a mixed methods study with a review of 300 medical records of HIV-infected men and women aged 18-44 years receiving HIV care at St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College. Forty in-depth interviews (IDIs) will be conducted with HIV-infected men and women who delivered a child in the prior 12 months or are currently pregnant. IDIs and an online survey will be administered to 40 physicians to characterize their attitudes and experiences with safer conception. Our findings will help ensure the reproductive rights of HIV-infected men and women and guide the development of a training program for healthcare providers.

Candace Moore

(Screen Arts & Cultures)
Sexual Minority Media at the Margins

Production Studies, a sub-field of media studies, focuses on how axes of gender and class relate to media industrial labor, while importantly highlighting creative labor taking place “below the line.” My monograph-in-progress, Alternative Production Cultures: Sexual Minority Media at the Margins, complements these approaches, stressing the need to develop understandings of how race, sexuality, and gender non-conformity complicate media-makers’ professional opportunities and access to training, technologies, social capital, and funding. Offering insight into a diverse range of minority media cultures, Alternative Production Cultures relies upon trade journal articles, personal interviews, and archival materials to examine LGBTQ production and distribution strategies.

Michelle Munro

(School of Nursing)
Alerting Adolescent Women about Reproductive Education (AAWARE)

Access to health facilities, knowledge deficits, and lack of self-efficacy contribute to unmet family planning needs in post-conflict Liberia. Sexually active adolescent girls in Liberia experience high rates of pregnancies (48%) and sexually transmitted infections. Within post-conflict Liberia, mobile phones have grown as a necessary mode of communication that provides a potential avenue for delivery of sexual and reproductive health. This study will develop and evaluate the feasibility of a reproductive health platform that combines fertility awareness, family planning, reproductive health education, and motivational messaging functions developed for simple java-based phones, the most common phones used in West Africa.

Emily Wilcox

(Department of Asian Languages and Cultures)
Ethnic Minority Female Pioneers of Chinese Dance: Book Project and Digital Unique Archive

Ethnic Minority Female Pioneers of Chinese Dance is a book project and unique digital archive documenting and examining the contributions of ethnic minority women in pioneering projects of Chinese dance in twentieth- and twenty-first century China. While ethnic minority women often feature as characters and performers in Chinese dance productions, this project highlights the role that they also play as directors, choreographers, scholars, and entrepreneurs in the making of Chinese dance. The project seeks to ensure the inclusion of ethnic minority women in Chinese history, and a broader recognition of minority women as agents of their own representation.

Fall 2013

Rita Chin

(Department of History)
On the Rise and Fall of Multiculturalism in Europe

My project examines the growing consensus – across the political spectrum – that European multiculturalism is a failure. It seeks to understand how this consensus came to pass by examining the language, assumptions, and ideologies that have facilitated the convergence of Right and Left on this issue. Among the most significant catalysts of this consensus, I argue, are European perceptions of Muslim gender relations: the conviction that Muslim women are victims of an oppressive patriarchy and that Muslim culture itself threatens sexual democracy has authorized many Europeans to conclude that Muslim immigrants are simply incompatible with liberal democratic society and values – and that multiculturalism simply cannot succeed.

Katri Ervamaa

(University of Michigan Residential College)
Música Mestiza: A musical laboratory exploring the idea of “mestizaje”

“Música Mestiza” is inspired by the utopian idea of mestizaje as envisioned by Peruvian folklorist and author José María Arguedas (1911-1969) whereby cultures can co-exist without one subjugating another. This project will create a laboratory that brings together two ensembles, each the quintessential representation of their musical culture: The String Quartet, long venerated in the western classical canon, and the Panpipe Ensemble, the embodiment of the Andean highland sound of indigenous Latin America.

Within this laboratory, composer Gabriela Lena Frank will drive the experimentation to develop a new repertoire that is virtuosic and idiomatically written, as well as forward-looking while retaining roots in traditions centuries old.

Yasamin Kusunoki

(Institute for Social Research)
Dynamic Patterns of Relationship Violence Among Young Women

Violence between intimate partners is a significant public health problem among adolescents and young adults. We propose new research to investigate the dynamic patterns of violence within young women’s intimate relationships. Newly available, unique data from the Relationship Dynamics and Social Life (RDSL) study make this research possible because they feature detailed weekly measures of relationships for a racially and socioeconomically diverse, population-representative random sample of young women. The aims are to: (1) identify the dynamic patterns of violence within young women’s intimate relationships, and (2) examine how these dynamic patterns of violence relate to other characteristics of the relationship.

Susan J. Pressler

(School of Nursing)
Vulnerable and Ignored: Symptoms and Quality of Life of Older Women with Heart Failure at Skilled Nursing Facilities

The objective is to determine the relationship between symptoms and health-related quality of life (HRQL) among older women with heart failure (HF). Older women with HF are more likely than men to be admitted to SNFs and HF patients admitted to SNFs have a 76% increased risk of death. We will measure six symptoms common in HF, HRQL, and 2 biomarkers during face-to-face interviews conducted by research assistants (RAs) who are graduate nursing students. Results will contribute to the study of women at U-M and provide data to support an NIH application.

Michael R. Woodford

(School of Social Work )
Centering Gender Identity, Gender Expression, and Race in Research, Policy, and Programs to Support LGBTQ College Students through Intersectional Research

This project seeks to build intersectional understandings of the experiences of LGBTQ college students by centering gender identity, gender expression, and race in analyses that examine campus climate, multi-level protective factors and health and academic outcomes. To accomplish this, the project will advance innovative statistical techniques that examine the relationships among multiple forms of social identity categorization and the relationships between risk and protective factors and outcomes. Findings will be used to inform policy and program interventions to foster the wellbeing of diverse LGBTQ college students, as well as a future wide-scale national study of LGBTQ college students.