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Affiliated Researchers

Elora Halim Chowdhury
Associate Professor of Women’s & Gender Studies
University of Massachusetts Boston

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.

Claire Duncanson
Senior Lecturer in International Relations
University of Edinburgh

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.

Amani El-Jack
Associate Professor of Women’s Studies, College of Liberal Arts and Lecturer of Women's Leadership in a Global Perspective McCormack Graduate School
University of Massachusetts Boston

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
Associate Professor of Economics
Azim Premji University

Kade Finnoff is a development economist whose work primarily focuses 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 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 and more recently in India. Kade has also worked on economic integration of people with disabilities with various local and international NGO's in South Asia, Central America and Africa. Kade 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.

Heidi Gengenbach
Assistant Professor of History
University of Massachusetts Boston

Heidi Gengenbach joined the History Department at the University of Massachusetts Boston in 2013 after over a decade of research, teaching, and consulting in the field of African agricultural, livelihood, and gender history. Her doctoral dissertation, an interdisciplinary study of rural women’s oral and artefactual forms of history-telling in post-civil war Mozambique, received the Gutenberg-e Electronic Book Prize from the American Historical Association, and was published as an e-book by Columbia University Press in 2005. She has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in African History at SUNY Buffalo, Boston University, Harvard, Brown, and the University of Minnesota. Her consulting work arises from a commitment to approaching African history both as an academic endeavor and as an important source of applied knowledge for Africa’s present development challenges, particularly around food security in post-conflict settings. Most recently, she served as academic partner for a Gates Foundation-funded project with the Global Fund for Women, supporting the sustainable agriculture and food security programming of grassroots women’s groups in Burkina Faso, Kenya and Uganda. In other chapters of her career, she has worked for local nonprofits focused on organic farming, hunger relief, youth mentoring, and legal advocacy for abused and neglected children.

She is currently working on two projects. For one, a collaborative interdisciplinary project funded by a 5-year grant from the National Science Foundation, she will investigate the nutritional consequences of women farmers’ participation in an ongoing donor-funded program to commercialize cassava production in southern Mozambique. The second is a historical book project, under contract with Ohio University Press and tentatively titled Recipes for Disaster: Gender, Hunger, and the Unmaking of an Agrarian Food World in Central Mozambique, 1500-2000.

Luz Mendez
Member of the Executive Board
Unión Nacional de Mujeres Guatemaltecas

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.

Sindiso Mnisi Weeks
Assistant Professor of Public Policy of Excluded Populations
University of Massachusetts Boston

Sindiso Mnisi Weeks is Assistant Professor in Public Policy of Excluded Populations in the School for Global Inclusion and Social Development at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She previously served as a senior researcher in the Centre for Law and Society at the University of Cape Town (UCT), where she worked in the Rural Women’s Action Research Programme, combining research, advocacy and policy work on women, property, governance and participation under customary law and the South African Constitution. She also taught African Customary Law as a senior lecturer in UCT's Department of Private Law. In 2013-2014, she was a resident scholar at the University of New Hampshire School of Law, where she held a fellowship for the completion of a book.
 She holds a BA and LLB from the University of Cape Town and received her DPhil in Law (with a focus on socio-legal studies) from the University of Oxford, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. Prior to Oxford, she clerked for then Deputy Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, Dikgang Moseneke. She co-authored “African Customary Law in South Africa: Post-Apartheid and Living Law Perspectives”, published in 2015 by Oxford University Press Southern Africa and her forthcoming book, "Access to Justice and Human Security: Cultural Contradictions in Rural South Africa" is due to be published in December 2017 as part of Routledge's series on Cultural Diversity and Law.

Cinzia Solari
Assistant Professor of Sociology
University of Massachusetts Boston
Cinzia Solari is author of On the Shoulders of Grandmothers: Gender, Migration, and Post-Soviet Nation-State Building (Routledge 2018). This feminist, global ethnography uncovers a unique migration of middle-aged women, most grandmothers. Through 160 interviews and ethnographic work with migrant grandmothers in Italy and the United States and their adult children in Ukraine, this book shows that post-Soviet Ukrainian nation-state-building is occurring transnationally. By comparing the experiences of individual migrants in two different transnational social fields—one a post-Soviet exile of individual women to Italy, the “gulag”, and the other an exodus of families to the United States, “The Promised Land”—Solari exposes the production of new gendered capitalist economics and nationalisms that precariously place Ukraine between Europe and Russia with implications for the global world order.
 
Dr. Solari is currently studying the intersections of the domestic workers and youth immigrant rights movements. She earned her PhD from UC Berkeley and is currently Assistant Professor of Sociology at UMass Boston.

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