The Spring 2007 recipients were:
Third World Studies and Environmental Studies Major
Project Title: Valuing Women's Gardens: Women's Role in Sustainable Agriculture in Mali
Project Description: My research paper examines the interlocking issues of malnutrition and women's oppression in rural Mali, West Africa. Through interviews with women in rural Malian villages, I explored the environmental, nutritional, and social values of women's agriculture there: gardens. Through biodiversity, gardens help ensure an ongoing harvest and regular source of income to Malian gardeners. They contribute to human development by raising the status of children by broadening access to a more nutritious diet, which in turn improves health and allows kids to do better in school. Gardens, specifically women’s gardens, give mothers a greater income to spend on their children’s needs, and also free women from restrictive financial dependency on a husband’s limited income and potentially limited generosity. Collective gardens, by allowing women to own land and gain leadership experience, strengthen the foundations needed to build a more egalitarian society in Mali, one which people of all genders will have a greater stake in sustaining.
Comparative American Studies Major
Project Title: The First Uprising: How Zapatists Women Demanded and Won a Place in the Movement
Project Description: In this project, I explore women’s participation in military and civilian wings of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) in Chiapas, Mexico. I have found that the EZLN has taken significant steps to recognize women’s voices and demands, and subsequently instituted changes in “traditional” gendered practices, reconciling demands for “autonomy” with demands for gender parity. In this paper, I examine women’s demands and the arguments through which they ground their claims to rights, as well as men’s narratives of transformation, and offer some possible explanations as to why Zapatista men may be receptive to women’s demands, or at least feel themselves forced to accommodate women. These explanations include: the EZLN’s model of decision-making by consensus, Mayan constructions of gender, the relationship articulated between word and law, the EZLN’s views on identity and difference, and the EZLN’s particular construction of the meaning autonomy.