The Fall 2004 recipients are as follows:
- Myrl Beam
Project Title: Gay Patriot Games: Citizenship, Privacy, and Pledging Allegiance
Project Description: In this project, which is an Honors thesis in Comparative American Studies, I will be examining narratives of citizenship, privacy and patriotism in the mainstream gay press, working to challenge the ways that tropes of nation, allegiance, heroism, masculinity, and family are mobilized. My research will look primarily at discourses surrounding gays in the military, the post-9/11 rise of the gay patriot hero, and gay marriage as lenses though which to interrogate gay and lesbian projects of citizenship. Why is it that the primary sites for the assertion of citizenship have been located in the most normative domains of political and social life, marriage and the military? It is imperative to examine this question within the context of post-9/11 constructions of citizenship, with a critical analysis of the implications of citizenship itself; the categories at play here are marked – who then is marked non-citizen? I envision this research as responding to the question and challenge posed by M. Jacqui Alexander in her recent lecture: “Who becomes the citizen patriot that is legalized, so that non-citizen, non-patriot can be criminalized?”(Alexander, 2004)
Most broadly, my research will be concerned with exploring the emergence of gay and lesbian normativities, and confronting the implications of those normativities in the creation, maintenance, and queering of categories of non-citizen other. The questions that will guide my research include: How does seeking and claiming access to the institutions of the state - citizenship - depend on or mandate a certain kind of normative family structure? What are the raced, classed, and gendered implications of the patriotism asserted to gain access to that citizenship? Who is then located outside of that citizenship and criminalized accordingly? What kind of masculinities are mobilized, even created, by the discourse of gay patriotism? What are the ways this patriotic citizenship is invested in gaining access to the mechanisms of state power that police and criminalize the racialized and queered non-citizen other? I envision this project as challenging and disrupting the centrality of privacy and citizenship in the imagination of queer social movements, allowing us to build an anti-imperial, anti-racist vision of radical sexual and social justice.
- Laura Bellows
Project Title: Ecofeminism and Creative Environmental Education
Project Description: How can we introduce the study of earth, and our evolving history of relating to it, in a way that challenges the patriarchal assumptions of domination over the land and over knowledge; and that instills in the curriculum a subjective, imaginative, integrated and kinesthetic approach to environmental learning? How can we shift from an educational epistemology that values power over, and mastery of, earth and knowledge, to one which allows for creativity, and contributes positively to a reconstructed, if gendered, relationship to the earth?
This project explores how ecofeminism manifests in non-traditional forms of elementary and early secondary environmental education, namely, the schoolyard garden; and then, how an ecofeminist perspective can be made accessible and meaningful to a young audience. This project is three-pronged: First, it investigates and documents the use of schoolyard gardens in and around the Berkeley and San Francisco, California areas as examples of creative, experiential environmental education. Second, it offers an accessible, imaginative, non-patriarchal view of earth-human relationships through the creation of a written and illustrated ecofeminist children’s book, or series of books that address either the processes and cycles of raising a garden and/or our gendering of nature. And third, it brings the knowledge gained back to Oberlin through presentations in the college classroom, and collaborating on an outdoor classroom curriculum at Eastwood Elementary School.
- Melson Carlsen
Project Title: Genderworks: Documenting My Experience in a Dual-Gendered System
Project Description: As I am navigating my transition from being a person with a female body to being one with a male-presenting body, I am creating a body of artwork that documents my experience. This experience is both a physical transition and an emotional/psychological journey wherein i am constantly coming up against and trying to conscientiously navigate a gender-binary institution. By referencing famous paintings in my photographic self-portraits, I hope to communicate my experience in a way that is very strong and clear. I will be showing this work in the spring in the first floor hallway of the Art Building.