The Fisher Center Steering Committee is pleased to announce the 2012-2013 Fisher Center Faculty Research Fellows. During the 2012-2013 academic year, this interdisciplinary group of scholars will focus on the research theme, Gender, Collectivity, and the Common. Generally, the commons is characterized by scarcity, and the common is characterized by abundance. Notions of “commonwealth” and “the common good” suggest their interconnection, that is, the way abundance and scarcity are deeply intertwined. An attunement to gender can help unravel assumptions regarding for whom some things are abundant and by whom some things are rendered scarce. The Fisher Center Faculty Research Fellows will work together to bring out the gendered dimensions of collectivity, the common, and the commons.
Department of Anthropology and Sociology
Project: Common Problems for Men and Women? Gender in the Mweru-Luapula Fishery, Zambia
Professor Annear’s research focuses on the “sexual parallelism” (the seemingly separate lives) of men and women’s lives in the Luapula Valley. What explains this practice? In contrast to scholars emphasizing kinship structure, Professor Annear emphasizes not a common bloodline but common water, that is, fishing as the primary means of production in the area.
Professor Annear joined the HWS faculty in 2011 with a Ph.D in Sociocultural Anthropology from Boston University. A former Peace Corps volunteer, his published work explores ecological and food issues in Africa.
Department of Religious Studies
Project: Engendering the common: Intersections of Gender, Feminism and Islamic Revivalism in Indonesia
Professor Anwar’s project takes up ways that the Western concept of gender equality changes its meaning and roles once male policy makers use it as an instrument of developmentalism. For example, the concept of gender equality is sometimes embedded within loan packages from Western financial institutions (such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank), international grants and aids from Western governments and non- governmental organizations, as well as from United Nations’ agencies. Professor Anwar further examines how the dissemination of gender mainstreaming paves the way to the commonality of Islamic feminism.
Professor Anwar joined the HWS faculty in 2006 with a Ph.D in Philosophy from SUNY Binghamton. Her book, Gender and Self in Islam, was published by Routledge in 2006.
Department of Art and Architecture
Project: Bio Fashions for a Changing Planet
Professor Chin asks, “In a world experiencing climate change, overpopulation, and general overstimulation, what adaptations will allow us to continue to function?” Working with questions of the human genome, she will consider ways the “life commons” may help us counteract crises of our common natural resources. Her project may explore elective body modifications, personal genetic technologies, and personal biotechnological accessories. As a visual artist, Professor Chin’s method is to create objects that she then uses in photography, video, and performance.
Professor Chin joined the HWS faculty in 2008 with an MFA in photography from the University of New Mexico. Her work has appeared in national and international solo and group exhibitions.
Writing and Rhetoric
Project: Common Violence in Undergraduate Life Writing
Professor Dickinson’s project examines the quotidian conceptualizations of violence revealed by students’ talk in interviews. Past studies of violence in student life-writing emphasize the traumatic or extraordinary nature of violence. In contrast, Professor Dickinson is analyzing the writing of students who describe violence as an ordinary aspect of their lives. Even as the genre of the personal narrative compels students to depict their experiences with violence as individually and uniquely injurious, the students at the center of Professor Dickinson’s analysis use discourses of commonality and collectivity to suggest that violence is a shared experience that constitutes their subjectivities and communities.
Professor Dickinson joined the HWS faculty in 2011 with a Ph.D in English and Education from the University of Michigan. A recipient of prestigious awards in teaching, she has also co-authored, Taking Initiative on Writing: A Guide for Instructional Leaders.
Department of Economics
Project: Gendered Relations in Workers’ Cooperatives
Professor Gunn is working on a case study of a very successful workers’ cooperative committed to its role as a fair-trade importer of food products. During his year as a Fisher Center Research Fellow, he will investigate the gendered aspects of its system of democratic management. He will also extend this research by including additional workers’ cooperatives.
Professor Gunn is the William R. Kenan Professor. He joined HWS in 1979 with a Ph.D in Economics from Cornell. His work on the commons, cooperatives, and community economic development has appeared in multiple books and articles, including, most recently, Third Sector Development: Making Up for the Market (Cornell University Press, 2004).
Fisher Center Predoctoral Fellow
Project: Dispossessive Acts: Space, The Body, and Other Properties
Professor Pittman's project moves across a range of aesthetic objects, all of which rotate around and mediate crises of gendered and sexual divisions of labor, in order to chart intersections between critiques of capitalism and critiques of subjectivity.
In particular, his research traces how dispossession -- a term that signals in a contradictory form both the enclosures and the possibilities of political mobilization on the commons -- functions as a trope within U.S. culture. How might attention to performances of dispossession at once disturb easy claims of access to the commons, at the same time that they chart resistant collective practices of the body inside gendered and sexual divisions of labor?
Alex Pittman will join HWS during the 2012-2013 school year as the Predoctoral Fellow at the Fisher Center for the Study of Women and Men. He is currently completing his PhD in the Department of Performance Studies at New York University. Since 2008, he has been a member of the editorial collective of Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theory.
The Fisher Center was endowed with a $1 million gift from Emily and the late Richard Fisher, whose son Alexander graduated from Hobart College in 1993. Creation of the Fisher Center for the Study of Women and Men reflects a perfect intersection of the Colleges' coordinate history and trends in the study of gender throughout academe.