Sameena Azhar

Sameena Azhar













Elizabeth Ann Fretwell

Elizabeth Ann Fretwell




























Kit Shields

Kit Shields


































Caterina Fugazzola

Caterina Fugazzola


Kelli A. Gardner

Kelli A. Gardner


Annie Heffernan

Annie Heffernan









Jane Hereth

Jane Hereth


Caroline Séquin

Caroline Séquin








Jean-Thomas Tremblay

Jean-Thomas Tremblay





















Jaclyn Wong

Jaclyn Wong

Graduate Student Fellows & Teachers

Fellows

Sameena Azhar

Social Service Administration, Dissertation Fellow

Sameena Azhar is a doctoral candidate in the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Interdisciplinary Studies from UC Berkeley and Masters degrees in Social Work and Public Health from the University of Pennsylvania. She currently works part-time as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker for the Village of Niles with monolingual Hindi/Urdu-speaking immigrants. Sameena’s dissertation research pertains to the interplay between HIV stigma, gender, depression and medical care utilization for people living with HIV in Hyderabad, India. Over the course of three years of fieldwork, she conducted a mixed methods study, entailing the completion of 150 surveys with people living with HIV in Hyderabad and 32 in-depth interviews. Her research has been funded by the SAMHSA Minority Fellowship Program at the Council on Social Work Education, the Committee on Southern Asian Studies at the University of Chicago, the Urban Doctoral Fellows Program at the University of Chicago, the Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship in Urdu through the U.S. Department of Education, and Ford Foundation. She has more than fifteen years of clinical and research experience in the fields of HIV, mental health, and substance abuse.

Elizabeth Ann Fretwell

History, Dissertation Fellow

Elizabeth Ann Fretwell is a PhD candidate in African History with research and teaching interests in francophone West Africa, gender and sexuality, urban Africa, material culture, and the social history of work and leisure. Her dissertation, "Tailoring Benin: Gender, Material Culture, and Artisan Production in Urban West Africa," explores how ordinary men and women experienced and negotiated modernity, urbanization, and political transformation during the twentieth century. It does so by investigating the objects, craft knowledge, and practices of tailoring after the Second World War. In this part of West Africa, men and women regularly bought cloth in local markets and brought it to tailors and seamstresses to sew into outfits for special occasions and everyday wear. Tailoring fostered new possibilities for men and women and their respective gender roles. Clothes-making in central markets and small workshops helped to materialize urban spaces and ideas about city life. At the same time, the expansion of apprenticeship served as an alternative to (post)colonial formal education and opened new professional pathways to both men and women. In her dissertation, Elizabeth argues that tailors and seamstresses should be considered at the forefront of the making of selves, cities, and nation in late colonial and postcolonial Africa. As she demonstrates, the work of tailoring was more than a cultural curiosity or the minutia of everyday life; it was a primary mediator of economic, social, and political change for ordinary Beninois.

Elizabeth received her BA in International Affairs and Economics from The George Washington University and her MA in African History from The University of Chicago. Her research has been supported by the University of Chicago's Division of the Social Sciences, Department of History, African Studies Workshop, France Chicago Center, and the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture.

Kit Shields

Divinity, CSRPC-CSGS Dissertation Fellow

Kit Shields is a doctoral candidate in Religions in America at the University of Chicago Divinity School. During the 2017–2018 academic year, she will be working on her dissertation, which explores the intersection of reading and religion in the antebellum United States through the lenses of race and gender. The project investigates the ways those barred from conventional paths to education and its application—namely, those who were neither white nor male—used religious notions of reading and writing to fulfill their desires for self-improvement and to critique the culture that feared or inhibited their intellectual progress. In an era when education was increasingly widespread, the idea of a sentimentalized, pious manner of reading could be used to designate an apolitical, unacademic, and nonthreatening version of literacy reserved for those who were considered incapable of participating fully in the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship. However, this same heart-centered, religious notion of reading was often exploited by those it attempted to control and contain. By developing religious conceptions and techniques of reading, marginalized people could claim for themselves some of the authority strongly associated with both Christianity and literacy in the early nineteenth century, and use it to influence important social issues like abolition, women’s rights, and relations with Native Americans.

Kit received her B.A. in Religious Studies and English from Lewis and Clark College and her M.A. at the Divinity School. She has worked as a managing editor at the Journal of Religion, a writing instructor in the University’s Writing Program, and coordinator of the Religions in America Workshop. Her research and teaching interests include women and gender in American religious history, slavery and Christianity in the United States, and reading and writing in early America. She is also a musician and record producer in Chicago.

Caterina Fugazzola

Sociology, Residential Fellow

Caterina Fugazzola is a PhD Candidate in Sociology. She holds an MA in Sociology from the University of Chicago, an MA in Asia Pacific Studies from the University of San Francisco, and a BA in Languages and Economic and Legal Institutions of East Asia from Ca’Foscari University of Venice.

Her general interests include social movements, gender and sexuality studies, sociolinguistics, and qualitative research methods. Cate’s doctoral work focuses on the tactical use of language in the context of social movements, and on the impact and strategic relevance of culture in the creation and diffusion of contentious discourses. Her dissertation project centers on LGBT organizing in China, and particularly on the dynamic interactions of discourse, culture, and strategy as a means to investigate the mechanism linking structure, meaning, and social change.

Kelli A. Gardner

Divinity, Residential Fellow

Kelli A. Gardner is a PhD candidate in Bible, whose interests include gender, metaphor, and poetry in the Hebrew Bible. Her dissertation project, “The Figure and Figuration of Woman in the Hebrew Bible,” is motivated by the question of why Israel, as land, city, and people, is repeatedly figured as a woman, across biblical genres and moments in Israelite history. From wayward wife of Yahweh in prophetic literature to victimized widow of Lamentations to the creative reimaginings of the female body as land and cityscape in the Song of Songs and the proliferation of female figures representing wisdom and folly in Proverbs, the female persona, body, and experiences are consistently drawn on to represent the collective identity and values of Israel. A central and unique argument of this dissertation is identifying and analyzing this phenomenon as a consistent cultural metaphor creatively reused across genres: geographical/political entity is a female body. Kelli holds a BA from Canisius College in Religious Studies and Psychology and an MA from University of Chicago Divinity School.

Annie Heffernan

Political Science, Residential Fellow

Annie Heffernan is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science specializing in political theory and American politics. Her research is situated at the intersection of feminist theory, contemporary and modern political thought, and disability studies. Annie's dissertation, The Worth of Disability and the Question of Disabled Citizenship, brings disability studies into conversation with political theory by drawing upon the resources of feminist political theory, science and technology studies, and economic history. More specifically, she is interested in the ways in which disability studies scholars and activists articulate claims to membership, and why these claims so often serve to reinforce the very structures and assumptions they are meant to oppose. A greater understanding of these dynamics as they play out within disability studies and activism will, she argues, have broader implications for the ways we think about citizenship and equality while also illuminating alternative avenues by which marginalized and excluded groups might achieve full membership. This project is supervised by Linda Zerilli, Patchen Markell, Demetra Kasimis, and Susan Schweik (English, UC Berkeley). Additional research interests include: ordinary language philosophy (particularly the thought of Wittgenstein and Cavell), contemporary critical theory, and reproductive justice. She has served as the graduate student co-coordinator for the Gender and Sexuality Studies Workshop since 2014.  

Jane Hereth

Social Service Administration, Residential Fellow

Jane Hereth is a doctoral student at the School of Social Service Administration. Her research focuses on health disparities and social inequities among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth. Jane is currently working on her dissertation, which examines pathways into the criminal legal system for young transgender women. Prior to entering the doctoral program, Jane completed her MSW at the University of Illinois at Chicago and her BA in Sociology at Grinnell College. She has worked in the areas of HIV prevention, sexual assault crisis counseling, and prison abolition in Chicago for the last ten years. Jane also volunteers for the Transformative Justice Law Project, providing court support for transgender and gender expansive individuals as they navigate the legal name change process. Jane lives in Uptown with her wife and two rescue dogs.

Caroline Séquin

History, Residential Fellow

Caroline Sequin is a PhD candidate in Modern European History and a CSGS residential fellow since 2016. Her research interests include the history of gender, sexuality, and race in France and the Atlantic World, colonialism and empire, and feminist theory. Her dissertation, “Sex on the Move: Prostitution, Race, and Imperial Mobility in the French Atlantic, 1848-1947” is a comparative and transnational project that explores the rise and fall of tolerated prostitution in three Atlantic port cities (Bordeaux, Fort-de-France, and Dakar). She analyzes how the rise of scientific racism, colonial expansion, and the extensive circulation of French citizens and colonial subjects for commerce, labor, or war across the French Atlantic shaped the way prostitution and sex trafficking were represented, regulated, and lived. From the abolition of slavery in 1848 to the permanent closing of brothels in the aftermath of World War II, prostitution policing constituted a key technology of rule that helped to bolster French colonial dominance and delineate the contours of Frenchness. In addition to various on-campus grants, her project has been supported by the French Colonial Historical Society, the Society for French Historical Studies, and the Western Society for French History. Before starting the PhD, Caroline completed an MA in Gender Studies at the University of Paris VIII, France, and an MA in English and American Studies at the University of Nancy II, France.

Jean-Thomas Tremblay

English, Residential Fellow

Jean-Thomas Tremblay is a Ph.D. Candidate in English Language and Literature. He researches and teaches 20th- and 21st-century North American literature (especially experimental prose and verse), social and political movements, ecology, feminism (English- and French-language), queer theory, and critical race studies.

Jean-Thomas' dissertation project, "We Don't Breathe Alone: Forms of Encounter in Anglophone North America Since the 1970s," uncovers breathing as the master trope for contemporary life. At a historical moment when the resources necessary for the reproduction of life, notably breathable air, are endangered (unequally distributed, monetized, weaponized), breathing infiltrates various avant-gardes and minoritarian aesthetics concerned with representing, in a manner fit for the present, the ways subjects interact with each other and the world. Following breathing in an archive that spans queer life writing (Dodie Bellamy, CA Conrad, Bob Flanagan), Indigenous and black feminist prose and verse (Toni Cade Bambara, Linda Hogan), African American speculative fiction (Samuel Delany, Renee Gladman), and observational documentary (Frederick Wiseman, Allan King) provides an outlook on the reorganization of life in common under conditions of literal and figurative toxicity, from wounded ecologies to ambient racism, sexism, homophobia, and ableism.

Jean-Thomas' peer-reviewed writing has been published or is forthcoming in Criticism, Post45 Peer-Reviewed, and Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theory. His review essays have notably appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Public Books, Arcade, Review 31, and PopMatters. His website is jttremblay.wordpress.com.

Jaclyn Wong

Sociology, Residential Fellow

I am a doctoral candidate in the Sociology Department and a Social Sciences Division Mellon Dissertation Fellow. I received my BA in Sociology from the University of California, Irvine and my MA in Sociology from the University of Chicago. My current research examines how microprocesses in intimate relationships relate to broader patterns of social inequality.

My dissertation documents how young, heterosexual dual-career couples – a group with increasingly egalitarian attitudes about gender equality – negotiate over career and relocation decisions. One chapter, published in Gender & Society, uses original longitudinal interview data from 21 professional and graduate school couples to show how partners reconcile their desires for egalitarian relationships as they navigate moving for job opportunities. I find that, despite intentions to equally share work and family responsibilities, men’s continued advantage in the labor market shapes couples’ decision making such that some couples find themselves adopting traditionally gendered roles they did not originally imagine having. To examine these decision processes in a larger sample, I designed an original longitudinal survey of early career and family plans among professional school students (N=185). I use an experimental vignette question embedded in the survey to analyze the logics men and women use to make early career and family plans, and then examine whether gendered expectations about careers and family can account for later gender gaps in work and relationship outcomes.

In other work I look at health decline and social life in aging couples; interracial relationships and mental health; and women in the legal profession.