Graduate Student Fellows & Teachers
Emily Lord Fransee
Emily Lord Fransee, History, Dissertation Fellow
Emily Lord Fransee works on the history of France and francophone Africa, particularly constructions, perceptions, and representations of difference and how these affect citizenship and rights. She is currently working on her dissertation, "Without Distinction: Women‘s Suffrage in the French Empire," which explores the transformation of women‘s political rights in twentieth-century francophone Africa. Her major case studies include Algeria, Senegal, and Cameroon, but the project also incorporates perspectives and histories from the French Antilles and French India to better understand the role of gender in the development of elections and democracy, especially in the non-Western world. Although Fransee‘s work focuses primarily on the French empire, her teaching and other research interests include modern African history, theories of gender and sexuality, the Atlantic World, decolonization, histories of race and racism, the Cold War, material culture, and the history of speculative and science fiction. Fransee has recently returned from archival research in France and Senegal, which was supported by an exchange fellowship to the Ã‰cole des Hautes Ã‰tudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris. She received her B.A. in History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Abigail Ocobock, Sociology, Dissertation Fellow
Abigail Ocobock‘s major areas of interest lie in the sociology of families, gender and sexualities. Her dissertation investigates how gaining the right to legally marry impacts gay men and lesbians‘ couple, family, and community relationships. It includes married and unmarried gay men and lesbians in Massachusetts and Michigan and explores how both marital access and status shape and constrain their relationships, drawing on both in-depth interview and survey data. Abigail has previously co-taught Problems in the Study of Gender at the CSGC. She holds a B.A. in Politics from the University of East Anglia (United Kingdom), an M.Sc in Comparative Social Policy from Oxford University, and an M.A. in Sociology from the University of Chicago.
Alisha Jones, Music, Residential Fellow and CSRPC/CSGS Joint Dissertation Fellow
Alisha Lola Jones' dissertation entitled "We Are a Peculiar People": Musical Masculinities, Black Queer Identity, and Gendered Gospel Performanceâ€ focuses on black men's performance of gender and sexuality in gospel music. For many Christians, gospel music is a means of worshiping God and constructing identity. This dissertation examines the performative mechanisms through which these creative processes unfold in symbolically contested ritual contexts, as black men position themselves along a spectrum of gender identities. Through the multisensory enactments of song, speech, gesture, and attire, men also define themselves as â€œpeculiarâ€ and affirm their fitness to minister as servants of God. In this context, peculiarity thus refers to those who are set apart for God's use. However, I argue for the applicability of a wider meaning of the termâ€”one that gives voice to the gender and sexual differences articulated by those central to my study. Drawing on case studies based in Chicago and Washington, D.C., this project highlights the ways in which â€œpeculiar peopleâ€ traverse tightly knit social networks to renegotiate their identities through and beyond the worship experience. Moreover, it argues that as gospel performances are coded and read as â€œqueer,â€ they become loci of nuanced protest, facilitating a striking critique of heteronormative theology while affording black men opportunities for greater access and visibility. Jones is a graduate of Oberlin Conservatory (Bachelor of Music) and Yale Divinity School (Master of Divinity) and Yale Institute of Sacred Music (ISM).
Claire McKinney, Political Science, Residential Fellow
McKinney‘s research focuses on the limitations of ethical thought in confronting dilemmas of modern medicine, especially in relation to reproduction and disability. Specifically, she argues that modern clinical experience constitutes part of a particularly modern form of medicalized citizenship that relies on gendered and ableist ideologies concerning the materiality of the body. Her works explores how the absence of consideration of politics in understanding medical experience affects how bioethics can describe or guide future directions in medicine. More broadly, McKinney is interested in the connections between feminist thought, disability studies, and contemporary democratic theory. She holds a BA in Government and Plan II Honors from the University of Texas at Austin and an MA from the University of Chicago.
Erin Moore, Comparative Human Development, Residential Fellow
Erin Moore is a doctoral candidate and sociocultural anthropologist in the Department of Comparative Human Development interested in gender, youth, critical development studies and urban East Africa. Her dissertation project explores the translation and transformation of globally circulating "girls' empowerment" discourses in Kampala, Uganda. She conducted ethnographic field research at a variety of sites including the United Nations' Committee on the Discrimination Against Women meetings and in the homes of teenage Ugandan girls. Moore's dissertation illuminates how teenagers creatively seek and acquire resources from charities, religious institutions and the sexual economy. Moore holds a BA in Gender Studies and Human Development, an MA in Comparative Human Development, and a Graduate Certificate in Gender and Sexuality Studies, all from the University of Chicago. Moore also has experience working in programming, research, and development for girl-serving and international development organizations in the United States, Canada, Uganda and Tanzania.
Samuel Perry, Sociology, Residential Fellow
Samuel Perry‘s research focuses broadly on the intersection of families and culture. More specifically, he is interested in how religious and moral aspects of culture shape the ways Americans think about and engage in culturally â€œnontraditionalâ€ family forms, such as interracial, same-sex, and/or adoptive families. To date, his articles examining these topics have been published in Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Sociological Inquiry, Social Science Quarterly, Journal of Comparative Family Studies, and other academic journals. Samuel‘s dissertation examines the subcultural mechanisms advancing the growing evangelical adoption and orphan care movement in the United States. Drawing upon data from over 130 semi-structured interviews with movement elites, grassroots families, and adoption experts, as well as ethnographic, archival, and quantitative data, the dissertation analyzes the ways in which coalitions of elite evangelical leaders have been able to refashion traditional evangelical concerns (e.g., anti-abortion values, heterosexism, neoliberal ideals, faith-based activism) in order to mobilize increasing numbers of rank-and-file evangelical families to sign-on to adoption, foster care, and global orphan care, often at extreme financial and emotional costs. Samuel holds graduate degrees in theology and social sciences.
Emily Remus, History, Residential Fellow
Emily A. Remus researches and teaches courses in United States history, women‘s and gender history, urban history, and the histories of capitalism and consumer society. Her dissertation, â€œConsumers‘ Metropolis: Gender, Class, and Space in Chicago, 1892-1914,â€ examines the incorporation of monied women into new commercial public spaces created by America‘s burgeoning consumer economy at the turn of the twentieth centuryâ€”a moment when Chicago served as a laboratory of urban modernism. Remus demonstrates that the new publicity of Chicago ladies as consumers of urban pleasure provoked intense conflict among moral reformers, religious leaders, city officials, and businessmen over the cultural practices of commercial capitalism, the legitimate use of public space, and the place of women. By examining the experience of monied women within broader contests over the rules of urban commercial sociability, Remus‘s dissertation casts new light on the making of modern consumer culture, the creation of the built environment, and the reshaping of ideals of gender, race, and class amid capitalist transformation. Remus earned a B.A. from Swarthmore College and an M.A. from the University of Chicago. She currently holds a Harry Barnard Dissertation-Year Fellowship from the Department of History.
Emily Swafford, History
Emily Swafford‘s research interests center on unexpected intersections among the study of gender, the U.S. military, and the relationship between the U.S. and the world. Her dissertation, "Democracy‘s Proving Ground: U.S. Military Families in West Germany Between World War II and Vietnam," uses the invention of the military family during the early Cold War to understand the complexity of gendered political rhetoric about family, about the military, and about increased U.S. concern with the world beyond its borders. Using U.S. bases in West Germany as her main body of evidence, her work shows the transnational processes inherent in the redefinition of American democracy during the Cold War, from the re-examination of the relationship between citizens and the state at home, to the re-evaluation of the relationship between the U.S. and the world. Other research interests include the history of marriage and family benefits in the military and the relationship between Girl Scouts and the U.S. military.
Sarah Weicksel, History, Residential Fellow
Sarah Jones Weicksel‘s research and teaching focuses on United States history, material culture, gender history, and the politics of everyday life. Her dissertation, "The Fabric of War: Clothing, Culture and Violence in the American Civil War Era," is a study of the shifting politics of clothing production and consumption in American wartime society and culture. Weicksel demonstrates that clothing was a site through which white and black women and men worked out the gendered boundaries of citizenship, freedom, and the federal government‘s involvement in everyday life during a period in which the state‘s role in civil society was being redefined in both law and practice.
Weicksel holds a B.A. with Distinction in History from Yale University, an M.A. in American Material Culture from the Winterthur Program at the University of Delaware, and an M.A. in History from the University of Chicago. Her dissertation research has been supported by the Library Company of Philadelphia, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the American Antiquarian Society, and the Newberry Library.
Ainsley LeSure, Political Science, BA Preceptor 2013-14
Ainsley LeSure‘s research is concerned with reconciling theories of subjective agency with structural accounts of oppression, especially as articulated in critical and poststructural theories. To this end, her work brings the critical insights and methodological approaches that ground poststructuralist feminist theory to bear on scholarship about racism in philosophy and political theory. In her dissertation, she critically engages the widely held and taken for granted frame of internalized oppression by drawing out how it, first, mistakenly identifies the weakening of the oppressed‘s agency as the main effect of racism and, second, figures this effect as the main impediment to resistance and the achievement of sociopolitical transformation. Alternatively, LeSure argues that rather than formulate the key task of political resistance to racism as an exercise in unlocking the oppressed‘s agency, political resistance with the goal of sociopolitical transformation ought to focus on expanding what can appear in public, that is, it ought to cultivate strategies to get what people actually do acknowledged in its freedom and focus on reconfiguring the web of relations that constitute the common world.
'Monica L. Mercado, History; Project Co-Coordinator, Closeted/Out in the Quadrangles, "Sex and Sexualities in Modern US History"
This course explores the complex and often hidden history of American sexualities, from the late nineteenth-century to the present day. We will analyze a wide range of primary sources—including published and unpublished documents, films, and the University‘s own archives at Special Collections Research Center—and become familiar with the scholarship on sex and sexual subcultures in 20th-century America. Topics to be examined include: the relatively recent emergence of hetero- and homosexuality as predominant categories of sexual experience and identity; the contested boundaries drawn between same-sex sociability, friendship, and eroticism; dating and courtship; representations of sex and sexualities in popular culture; the development of women‘s lib and LGBTQ politics; and the significance of gender, class, racial/ethnic, and generational differences. Mercado, Monica; TR 3:00-4:20
Monica L. Mercado researches 19th- and 20th- century U.S. women’s and gender history and the impact of religion on American culture. Her dissertation, "Women and the Word: Gender, Print, and Catholic Identity in Nineteenth-Century America," examines U.S. Catholic publishing and women’s reading practices, demonstrating the ways in which gender, cultural and devotional life, and class mobility were inextricably linked for American Catholics by the turn of the twentieth century. Mercado earned a B.A. from Barnard College and an M.A. from the University of Chicago. During the 2013-2014 academic year she is a Junior Fellow of The Martin Marty Center for the Advanced Study of Religion at the University of Chicago Divinity School, and coordinates the CSGS project Closeted/Out in the Quadrangles: A LGBTQ History of the University of Chicago.
Claire McKinney, Political Science, "The Politics of Reproduction in 20th Century United States"
It has long been argued that women‘s role in reproducing the nation has been used to justify her exclusion from the public sphere in order to protect her morals, which were necessary to educate her children in moral citizenship. This tensionâ€” women make the citizens, and thus cannot be citizens, of course only describes the experience of a certain class of women during a particular historical time: white, able-bodied, and economically preferred. The actual experience of the political controversies surrounding reproduction for women in the United States shows a much more variable and convoluted picture. Which subjects were reproductively valued, yet politically reviled? How did notions of racial hygiene in the 20th century play out and why did reproduction become its central mode of expression in the United States? What did the transformations in medical technology mean for reproduction and its place in politics? The purpose of this class is to analyze the political controversies that have surrounded aspects of sexuality and reproduction in the United States from a political perspective. Through analyzing both historical and contemporary politics surrounding reproduction, this class aims to deepen understanding of how identity, particularly gender, race, disability, and class, came to be articulated as the objects of political action and how, through reproduction, these same groups came to articulate different political subjectivity. McKinney, Claire; MW 1:30-2:50