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Elora Halim Chowdhury is an Associate Professor of Women’s & Gender Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She received her PhD in Women’s Studies from Clark University, Massachusetts (2004). Her teaching and research interests include transnational feminisms, gender and development, and violence and human rights advocacy in South Asia. She is the author of Transnationalism Reversed: Women Organizing Against Gendered Violence in Bangladesh (SUNY Press, 2011), which was awarded the National Women’s Studies Association Gloria Anzaldua book prize in 2012. Dr. Chowdhury has published academic essays, fiction and creative non-fiction in journals and anthologies on topics as varied as violence, women’s organizing in the Global South, transnational feminist praxis, nationalism, culture and migration, and Islam and gender politics in South Asia. Currently she is working on two book projects: a collection of essays on dissident cross-cultural friendships/alliances, a monograph on narratives of violence, trauma and healing in contemporary films and fiction about the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971. Prior to joining UMass, she worked for BRAC, a development NGO; Naripokkho, a women’s advocacy organization; The Daily Star, a national newspaper; the Rights Program in UNICEF; and the Higher Education Program at the Ford Foundation.
Dr. El Jack's research, teaching and policy engagement traverse socio-economic, political and cultural interrogation of the gendered fields of globalization; forced migration; militarized femininities and masculinities and post-conflict reconstruction processes. Some of her recent publications include a book manuscript, under contract by Ashgate entitled, Militarized Commerce: Gender Dimensions of Transnational Migration in South Sudan; “Protracted Refugees: Why Gender Matters?” (2012). In Transatlantic Cooperation on Protracted Displacement: Urgent Needs and Unique Opportunity. J. Calabrese and J. Marret. (ed.) Middle East Institute: Washington DC, pp. 335-344; and “Education is My Mother and Father” (2011). Refuge Journal, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 19-29.
Kade Finnoff is an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She is a development economist whose work focuses primarily on countries emerging from violent conflict. In particular, her work looks at the way in which the reconstitution of society is exclusionary or inclusive of particularly vulnerable and marginalized groups, such as female-headed households, children and people with disabilities. She has spent a number of years working on issues of inequality and violence-in particular sexual violence-in countries in Central Africa. Dr. Finnoff has recently begun a new research project in Bangalore, India examining the violence and economic empowerment facing sex workers. She has also worked on the economic integration of people with disabilities with various local and international NGO’s in South Asia, Central America and Africa. Dr. Finnoff has also been a technical consultant for UNDP, UNIFEM and UNWomen on a range of issues from pro-poor macroeconomic policy to gender budgeting of post-conflict development assistance.
Luz Méndez has researched and published on transitional justice and the eradication of violence against women in Guatemala. Her most recent publications include, “Link between Land Grabs and Sexual Violence Against Q´eqchí Women” (2013), and Mujeres Indígenas: Clamor por la Justicia – Violencia Sexual, Conflicto Armado y Despojo Violento de Tierras (2014). The Consortium was honored to have a role in making this important book available in English. Clamor for Justice: Sexual Violence, Armed Conflict and Violent Land Dispossession is available for download here.
Between 1991 and 1996 Méndez participated in the Guatemalan peace negotiations as the only female member of the Political Diplomatic Team of the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca delegation, contributing to unprecedented commitments for gender equality in the accords. After the war she was elected to represent the women’s organizations in the National Council for the Implementation of the Peace Accords. Méndez is a member of the Executive Board of the Unión Nacional de Mujeres Guatemaltecas, and was the coordinator of the Women Agents for Change Consortium, an alliance of women's and human rights organizations working for the empowerment of women survivors of sexual violence during the armed conflict, seeking justice and reparations.
At the international level, Méndez was a speaker at the first meeting that the U.N. Security Council held with women’s organizations leading up to the passage of resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. She has served as a member of the UN High Level Advisory Group for the Global Study on the Implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325, and also as an advisor on Latin America & the Caribbean for the Global Fund for Women.
Méndez holds a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
Claire Duncanson has been a Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Edinburgh since 2009. Prior to her academic career, she worked for a variety of human rights and international development NGOs, including Amnesty International, Jubilee 2000 and Global Perspective.
Duncanson's research interests lie at the intersection of international security, IR theory and gender politics. Her work applies new theoretical insights about feminism, gender, and, in particular, masculinities, to current international issues, such as military interventions, military transformations, peacekeeping, peacebuilding and nuclear proliferation.
Her first book, Forces for Good? Military Masculinities and Peacebuilding in Afghanistan and Iraq was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2013, and her second, Gender and Peacebuilding, is forthcoming in early 2016 with Polity Press. She has also published widely in academic journals, including, most recently, on feminist debates over women's military participation (with Rachel Woodward) in Security Dialogue.
Teresia Teaiwa teaches in the Pacific Studies Programme in Va'aomanū Pasifika, at Victoria University of Wellington (VUW). She completed her PhD in History of Consciousness at the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2001 on the topic of "Militarism, Tourism and the Native: Articulations in Oceania," Her research interests include militarization and gender in the Pacific Islands, history and politics of Fiji, Pacific women's history and activism, and theory and pedagogy in Pacific Studies. She is also a published poet and spoken word artist. Teresia is currently working on a book manuscript on Fiji women soldiers, based on research that was supported by the Royal Society of New Zealand's Marsden Fund and the VUW Research and Study Leave Committee.
Laura Sjoberg received her Ph.D. in International Relations and Gender Studies from the University of Southern California in 2004. Her dissertation theorized ‘just war’ through feminist lenses and applied that theorizing to the wars in Iraq since the end of the Cold War. Her dissertation was later published as Gender, Justice, and the Wars in Iraq (Lexington, 2006). Dr. Sjoberg’s work can be found in a number of journals in International Relations, including International Studies Quarterly, International Relations, and the International Feminist Journal of Politics. While a fellow with the Consortium, her work was supported by the Women and Public Policy Program and the International Security Program at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Dr. Sjoberg was also a juris doctorate candidate at the Boston College Law School during her time as a fellow. Dr. Sjoberg's work at the Consortium focused on feminism and political science; she co-authored a project (with Caron Gentry) on the meanings and consequences of women's violence in global politics. She also authored the Consortium Working Paper, "The Paradox of Double Effect: How Feminism Can Save the Immunity Principle." Dr. Sjoberg's website can be found at: www.laurasjoberg.com.
Aaronette M. White came to her Consortium fellowship with a Ph.D. in Psychology from Washington University in St. Louis. Prior to her time at the Consortium, she was a fellow at the Bunting Program of the Radcliffe Institute (1998-1999) and at the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American research at Harvard University (2001-2002). Her research interests included critical psychology, socio-political identity changes in adulthood, the psychology of collective action, and behavioral and attitudinal cross-cultural correlates of race, gender, and class-consciousness. Dr. White published extensively in professional psychology and interdisciplinary journals such as the Journal of Black Psychology, Psychology of Women Quarterly, Women’s Studies International Journal, and Gender & Society. She taught and conducted research in the United States, Western Europe (University of Amsterdam), South America (University of Suriname), and South Africa (University of the Western Cape). While a fellow with the Consortium, Dr. White was based at the Women and Public Policy Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. She studied the diverse experiences of African women guerrilla soldiers in order to understand why and under what conditions women voluntarily join guerrilla armies. The result was her Consortium Working Paper "All the Men are Fighting for Freedom, All the Women are Mourning Their Men, but Some of Us Carried Guns: Fanon’s Psychological Perspectives on War and African Women Combatants," which was later published in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society.
Dr. Carol Cohn came to the her Consortium fellowship as an interdisciplinary scholar with a Ph.D. in Social and Political Thought from the Union Graduate School. Her research and writing focused on gender and international security, with extensive work in the area of weapons of mass destruction. Her research on the discourse of civilian nuclear defense intellectuals was supported by a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Research and Writing Grant in Peace and International Security, and a fellowship at the Bunting Institute. Dr. Cohn has held research positions in the Defense and Arms Control Program of the Center for International Studies at MIT and the Harvard Medical School, and teaching positions at The New School for Social Research and Bowdoin College. As a Consortium Senior Fellow, Dr. Cohn was based at the Peace and Justice Studies Program at Wellesley College and the Center for Gender in Organizations at the Simmons School of Management. In the first year, Dr. Cohn jointly authored a paper with feminist philosopher Sara Ruddick, "A Feminist Ethical Perspective on Weapons of Mass Destruction," which was later published in Ethics and Weapons of Mass Destruction: Religious and Secular Perspectives, edited by Sohail Hashmi and Steven Lee. In her second year, her research examined gender mainstreaming in international peace and security institutions, focusing on the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, and the ongoing efforts by NGOs and UN entities to ensure its implementation. The resulting Consortium Working Paper, "Mainstreaming Gender in UN Security Policy: A Path to Political Transformation?" was later published in Global Governance: Feminist Perspectives, edited by Shirin M. Rai and Georgina Waylen.
J. Ann Tickner came to the Consortium as a professor in the School of International Relations at the University of Southern California. Her research focuses on feminist perspectives on international relations theory, with a particular focus on ways of reconceptualizing security. Dr. Tickner has served as a visiting professor and scholar at numerous universities around the world and authored several books including Gendering World Politics: Issues and Approaches in the Post-Cold War Era and Gender in International Relations: Feminist Perspectives on Achieving Global Security. She holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Brandeis University, an M.A. in International Relations from Yale University, and a B.A. in History from the University of London. During her time with the Consortium, Dr. Tickner's work was supported by the Women in Public Policy Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. While a Senior Fellow at the Consortium, Dr. Tickner drew from international relations feminist case studies to analyze and assess how certain methodological orientations are useful for understanding the gendering of international politics and the state and its effects on the lives of women. Her Consortium Working Paper, "What is Your Research Program? Some Feminist Answers to IR's Methodological Questions," was later published in International Studies Quarterly.
Nathalie Gahunga is a Rwandan practitioner in gender and peacebuilding. Prior to her Consortium fellowship, Ms. Gahunga served as Human Rights, Good Governance and Justice Program Officer for the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation in Rwanda. She also worked as Regional Program Officer (Rwanda, Burundi, and Kivu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) for the Center for International Studies and Cooperation. In addition, Ms. Gahunga served as Gender Program Officer for Oxfam Great Britain in Rwanda and she published chronicles entitled “La Paix au Féminin” about the impact of conflicts on women in the Great Lakes region of Central Africa. She holds a B.A. in Political Science from University of Lausanne (Switzerland). During her Consortium fellowship Ms. Gahunga was based at the Center for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, where she focused on women’s peacebuilding efforts in response to the violent armed conflict in the Great Lakes Region of Africa (Rwanda, Burundi and the Kivu region within the Democratic Republic of the Congo). As a Consortium fellow, Ms. Gahunga devoted most of her time to conducting background research and developing the conceptual framework for a conference she organized in Kigali, Rwanda for the spring of 2004: “Regional Approaches to Peacebuilding: the Role of Women’s Organizations in the Great Lakes Region of Africa.”
Taslima Nasrin is a Bangladeshi writer, medical doctor, and international spokesperson for human rights. Before she came to the Consortium, she had become internationally known when her novel, Shame, which depicts Muslim persecution of Bangladesh’s Hindu minority, brought forth a death threat from Islamic militants. Her continued writing on issues such as the oppression of women, atrocities against the Hindu minority community by Islamic fundamentalists, as well as her support for equal rights and freedom of expression resulted in her being forced to flee her native country. Ms. Nasrin sought asylum in Europe where writing and human rights advocacy became the focal point of her life’s work. Ms. Nasrin is the recipient of numerous human rights, humanitarian and literary awards. She has authored twenty-four books of poetry, essays and novels, many of which have been translated into over twenty languages. While a fellow at the Consortium, Ms. Nasrin was based at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Her work focused on prospects for secularization in Islamic countries and the linkages between secularization and women’s emancipation.
Helen Kinsella came to the Consortium with a background in political science, public policy and legal advocacy. She holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Minnesota and an M.P.P from the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute. Dr. Kinsella was also an affiliated scholar with the Center for Advanced Feminist Studies and the MacArthur Program on Interdisciplinary Change and Cooperation at the University of Minnesota. Prior to pursuing her graduate studies, Dr. Kinsella served as a legal advocate for survivors of felony domestic violence assaults. She also worked with a Guatemalan women’s organization, where she assisted in developing resources for working with survivors of domestic violence and the violence of the civil war. Dr. Kinsella also worked with the Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights to write a policy brief on the subject of internal displacement in 1998, and with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women to draft the Special Rapporteur’s fourth report in 1997. Her Consortium fellowship was based at the Women in Public Policy Program at the John. F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Dr. Kinsella’s research at the Consortium began with the simple premise that compliance with international humanitarian law, specifically with the injunction to distinguish between combatants and civilians at all times during armed conflicts, is an integral step toward improving the protections of civilians in war. The result of her fellowship was the Consortium Working Paper, "Securing the Civilian: Sex and Gender in the Laws of War." A later draft of the paper was published in Power and Global Governance, edited by M. Barnett and R. Duvall.
Binaifer Nowrojee is a graduate of Columbia Law School. Before her Consortium fellowship, she had worked for numerous human rights organizations, including the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, Amnesty International, the Swedish NGO Foundation for Human Rights, the Women’s Rights Project and the Africa division of Human Rights Watch, where she was counsel. Ms. Nowrojee is the author of scores of articles and books on human rights and women, including “Shattered Lives: Sexual Violence during the Rwandan Genocide and its Aftermath” (Human Rights Watch, 1996). Her Consortium fellowship was based at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. During her time with the Consortium, Ms. Nowrojee examined the United Nations Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, its treatment of female witnesses, and its relevance to Rwanda’s female genocide survivors. She looked beyond the court’s judgments and asked hard questions about the process and the tribunal’s relevance to female survivors in her Consortium Working Paper, "Your Justice is Too Slow': Will the ICTR Fail Rwanda's Rape Victims?" A later version of the paper was published as United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) Occasional Paper Ten.
Before her Consortium fellowship, Laura Roskos had earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in the interdisciplinary Modern Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she also taught courses at the intersection of women’s and peace studies. Dr. Roskos coordinated the activities of the Graduate Consortium in Women’s Studies at the Radcliffe Institute and produced the public radio series “Voices of Public Intellectuals,” bringing feminist perspectives on civil society to a national audience. She also organized a curriculum development workshop in interdisciplinary gender studies for faculty at universities in the People’s Republic of China. While a fellow, Dr. Roskos was based at the Center for Gender in Organizations at the Simmons School of Management. Her research focused on the career strategies of professional women in the international security sector as these intersect with organizational practices and institutional norms. The goal of this applied research was to work with these professional women in order to help them develop and appreciate the linkages between diversity and their organizations’ strategic missions. Dr. Roskos's work eventually turned to the implementation of CEDAW in the United States. The culmination of her fellowship with the Consortium was her Consortium Working Paper, paper "International Law, National Sovereignty and Local Norms: What's to Become of CEDAW in the U.S.?"
Agnes Nindorera is a journalist from Burundi. Before she came to the Consortium, she had long taken courageous pro-peace and pro-human rights stands in her reporting, despite facing death threats and other forms of harassment. Her Consortium fellowship was based at the Center for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution at the Fletcher School for Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. Ms. Nindorera used her fellowship year to examine the ways women, by adapting traditional social roles, can contribute to strengthening nascent civil society in Burundi. The result was her Consortium Working Paper, "Ubushingantahe as a Base for Political Transformation in Burundi."
Marie Besançon came to her Consortium fellowship after having recently completed a Ph.D. in Political Science at Claremont Graduate University. She first became interested in international relations while researching media coverage of terrorism for a nonprofit media-monitoring organization and through her association with the Simon Wiesenthal Center. After working in the medical research field for several years, Dr. Besançon decided to return to graduate school to study world politics and to take a more active role in international relations and conflict resolution. Her dissertation investigated relative deprivation between groups (e.g. economic and gender groups) and its role in different types of intrastate political violence (revolutions, ethnic conflicts, and genocides). Her Consortium fellowship was based at the Women in Public Policy Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Dr. Besançon's fellowship work focused on the theory that, given a certain economic inequality threshold beyond which dissatisfied groups resort to violence, a relative minimum resource threshold is required before certain groups or subgroups will be willing to fight. Though opposing groups may fight at a certain level of inequality, they may also require a certain level of societal or economic equality before perceiving a possibility of winning. She explored these ideas in her Consortium Working Paper, "Women in the Northern Ireland Peace Process: A Novel Use of Expected Utility in Bridging the Gap between the Quantitative Scholars and the Policy Pundits."
Consortium Undergraduate Fellows
Laura Beth Hooper is a senior International Studies major at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Her research project during her summer 2014 internship was on the gender dimensions of water infrastructure development. She found the research so interesting that she decided to make it the topic of her senior honors thesis, which she wrote during her fellowship year at the Consortium. Her thesis, “Water, Power, and Gender: Interrogating Development in the Slums of Dhaka, Bangladesh,” offers important insights into development, gender relations, the crises of water in Bangladesh, as well as a historical background to the “problem” of development, lack of effective state intervention and policy, and the innovative of work of NGOs to mitigate that. Click here to read it!
Julie Alexander graduated from Columbia University in May 2013, with a major in Women’s and Gender Studies. Julie came to the Consortium in September 2013 with a strong interest in the powerful role the media plays in shaping social awareness of global issues. Her Consortium reserch project explores U.S. nuclear weapons proliferation and deterrence discourses as examples of the gendered ways in which ideas about national and international “security” are constructed. Julie plans to attend graduate school to obtain her MA or PhD in gender and international affairs.
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