Ann Swidler, Professor

Closed (1) Transnational circulation of gender and sexuality norms

Applications for fall 2021 are now closed for this project.

The project, which examines the circulation of gender and sexuality norms, might be broken down into three parts. The first examines early scientific and sexological engagements with gender expression and gender identity. The second examines how state regulation of gender identity varies cross-nationally. The third looks at how medical expertise is shaped by regional and global geopolitics.

For the first project, we are looking for a student who is fluent in German and English to assist with translation from German to English. This project will engage texts from the early 1900s that attempt to classify and define sexual orientation and the newly emergent category of "transvestite." Students with prior coursework in German as well as gender/sexuality are particularly encouraged to apply.

For the second project, we are looking for an undergraduate to help us understand how medical expertise networks are structured transnationally. More specifically, we are looking for undergraduates to assist with building a dataset on the biomedical field by determining where particular authors are located, the substantive issues they focus on, and which fields of expertise they represent. This project will include and build on quantitative skills in Excel and R and will rely on network analysis techniques.

For the third project, we are looking for an intern to help with systematically collecting data on the regulation of gender identity worldwide. The student will help to collect and systematise data from various regions of the world and produce a single dataset that represents this crucial research effort. Students will build their coding skills and will contribute to a politically crucial project.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Tara Gonsalves, Graduate Student

Qualifications: Students should be familiar with conducting general searches online and meticulous in documenting sources and information that is relevant to the data they collect. Some familiarity with Excel is also required. While familiarity with STATA or R would be helpful, it is not necessary.

Weekly Hours: 3-5 hrs

Off-Campus Research Site: Students can work anywhere (on-campus or remotely) as long as they have internet connection. We will meet weekly on zoom.

Closed (2) Religious Congregations in Malawi

Closed. This professor is continuing with Spring 2021 apprentices on this project; no new apprentices needed for Fall 2021.

In Malawi, almost everyone is religious, many intensely so. Religious congregations, both Christian and Muslim, are a major resource for spiritual experience, community, and connection to others outside people's home villages, especially since many villagers participate in congregations at some distance from their own villages. Interviews with Malawian villagers, and with some town dwellers, allow us to explore theological understandings, the welfare services congregations offer, and the reasons Malawians change congregations, denominations, and even faiths.

The project has gathered over 200 interviews. We will begin by reading through a few interviews each, and together develop a coding scheme to capture the most important themes--and some of the language used--in the interviews. Then each student will be expected to code several interviews a week. We will be looking at differences between old and young, women and men, Muslims and (a huge variety of) Christians, but also for the reasons people switch to different religions, how people wrestle with theological questions, the help people receive from their congregations, and the role of healing, witchcraft fears, and consolation in time of trouble in Malawians' religious experience.

Qualifications: An interest in research; willingness to put in a few hours a week; ability to put aside their own religious (or anti-religious) preconceptions.

Weekly Hours: 6-8 hrs

Off-Campus Research Site: Students can work anywhere as long as they have an Internet connection. We will meet weekly to discuss what we are discovering in the research and, at least at first, to revise the coding scheme in light of what we find.