The Laura Bassi Scholarship was established by Editing Press in 2018 with the aim of providing editorial assistance to postgraduates and junior academics whose research focuses on neglected topics of study, broadly construed, within their disciplines. The scholarships are open to every discipline and are awarded three times per year: December, April, and August. The value of the scholarships are remitted through editorial assistance as follows:
Master’s candidates: $750
Doctoral candidates: $2,500
Junior academics: $500
These figures reflect the upper bracket of costs of editorial assistance for master’s theses, doctoral dissertations, and academic journal articles, respectively. All currently enrolled master’s and doctoral candidates are eligible to apply, as are academics in the first five years of their employment. There are no institutional, departmental, or national restrictions.
Deadline: 25 November 2019
Results: 15 December 2019
Deadline: 25 March 2020
Results: 15 April 2020
Deadline: 25 July 2020
Results: 15 August 2020
How to ApplyApplicants are required to submit a completed application form along with their CV using the portal prompted by the 'Apply' button below by the relevant deadline.
To help defray the Scholarship’s administrative costs, applicants are subject to a voluntary USD 10.00 fee. All applicants who are unable to pay the application fee are welcome to take advantage of the fee waiver option on the application portal. If you wish to pay the application fee in a non-USD currency, please consult the FAQ below for instructions.Answers to common questions about the application process are provided in the FAQ section. In order to avoid delays, applicants are encouraged to read the FAQ carefully before writing to us with their questions.
For a list of Bassi Scholars, past and present, including statements of research, please see below.
Derrais Carter’s manuscript, Patriarchal Blackness (co-authored with Andres Guzman), examines the manifold ways that racial ideology fuses with patriarchal thought in contemporary Black popular culture. Specifically, the manuscript addresses how Black cultural producers mobilize a patriarchal politic that centers cisgendered, heterosexual Black men as the basis for cultural thought and criticism.Patriarchal Blackness extends recent Black Studies scholarly projects that address the relationship between blackness and patriarchy including Vexy Thing: On Gender and Patriarchy by Imani Perry and The Promise of Patriarchy: Women and the Nation of Islam by historian Ula Yvette Taylor. Patriarchal Blackness also contributes to Black feminist scholarship by advancing an analysis that examines the deceptive allure of patriarchy in fantasies of Black resistance.
Spencier Ciaralli's project, Female Sexual History and Pleasure, aims to deconstruct and reframe our current understanding of female pleasure through the use of narratives of women speaking about their sexual history and pleasures, with a focus on how women conceptualize their own experience and compare it to dominant narratives. By taking a critical approach, Ciaralli's research explores the organization of power and domination, with interests in the interrogation of hierarchies of power and the lived experiences of social location within said hierarchies. By considering women’s narratives, one must consider the social, cultural, and political stakeholders who benefit from maintaining a particular understanding of female pleasure and the female body. This research seeks to fill a gap in the literature on sexual histories, pleasures, orgasms, and kink narrative by centering the voices of women.
When watching films, reading scholarly articles, or flipping through a magazine, it is eerily easy to ignore the lack of representation of women’s voices when discussing sex or sexual pleasure. When we discuss women in the bedroom, we too often talk about or for them, failing to recognize that when we make assumptions of what a woman desires or should be, we write a script of what it means to be a “normal” woman, which is a mold many women may fail to fit. Understanding how complex and diverse female sexuality is experienced, as well as who benefits and who loses when defining female sexuality, is imperative in striving toward equitable pleasure, and creating safe spaces for women to discuss and explore their desires. Addressing the root causes of social injustice in women’s sexual life stories is the first step in creating a discussion surrounding the long-held taboo: female sexual pleasure.
Afro-German women’s scholarly works have brought attention to their important contributes to German society by giving voice to the existence and identity of Afro-German history. Scholars of German nationalism marginalized the existence of Afro-Germans, and it was not until 1986 that a group of young German women formed the first national organization of Black Germans, Initiative Schwarze Deutsche, and coined the term ‘Afro-German’. This was a time when Germany’s native population of Afro-Germans began to trace their lineage to 19th-century immigrants from German-controlled African colonies. Prior to this, their identities failed to be included in the nation’s census and official histories. The last three decades, however, have revealed Afro-German women’s efforts in academia in gaining recognition for the Afro-German community and in expanding the answer to the question ‘Who is German?’ Using discourse analysis, Amber G. Johnson investigates the texts of Afro-German, African American, and German nationalist historians, and finds that ‘Afro-Germans’ have long been ‘othered’ in scholarly narratives of German history. With these texts, Johnson challenges middle passage epistemology in order to shed light on the lived experience of Afro-Germans, more speficially those directly impacted by Adolf Hitler’s belief that their presence in Germany was part of the desecration of the white race.
Johnson’s research contributes to the fields of history, sociology, women’s studies, and science technology & society studies by providing a new perspective on racial Blackness in the African Diaspora, women’s impact on mainstream German history, and African American / Afro-German efforts to invoke change nationally and internationally. These narratives are often excluded in the analysis of how knowledge moves across borders for the greater good of the nation-state. Johnson’s research reveals how two groups actively resisted the nation-state through social justice movements and stood in solidarity against the racial antagonism of the Jim Crow South and Nazi Germany.
Thembela Ndesi's study is a combination of composed and written texts, aiming to explore the use of music in African science fiction on screen. Ndesi's focus on music’s role in imagining African futures (or, occasionally, alternative presents) seeks to emphasise the extrapolative nature of science fiction. The trend of composers conforming to generic film music tropes and the seeming lack of experimentation in science fiction music would appear to be true also for the African-set science fiction films. These, too, seem to draw on generic musical strategies and tropes from music in science fiction film generally. It is, in part, this failure of imagination in producing a distinctly ‘South African’, ‘Malian’, etc., science fiction aesthetic that this study seeks to examine. While the setting and visuals of such films might be distinctively and ingeniously ‘African’, the music can often seem generic and somewhat bland. While it is certainly the case that the majority of composers commissioned to score high profile African science fiction films are westerners, the same generic tropes crop up in South African-authored film music (in Fabian Sing’s music for Room 9, for example). One of the questions Ndesi's study seeks to investigate, using both composed and written texts, is what a truly South African, Malian, Cameroonian, etc., might science fiction music sound like. How might a composer consider incorporating ‘African’ compositional elements or techniques (those associated with Zimbabwean mbira music, for example, or Zairean rumba, perhaps) in order to contribute to a particularly ‘African’ science fiction aesthetic?
Ndesi's study attempts to answer both analytically and creatively what a less-imported, less generic, and more locally-rooted musical representation for such films might sound like, and why there often seems to be a failure of imagination in the production of some African science fiction soundtracks. While works such as Lesilo Rula, Yeelan, District 9, Pumzi, Room 9(2012), Chappie, and Crumbs (2015) are all evidence of African-set science fiction, there has been little sustained critical study of music in African film generally and little to none in relation to African science fiction.
Violence against women is a global public health and human rights concern rooted in gender inequality. One in three women report violence exposure in their lifetime (World Health Organization, 2013), but the prevalence of victimization varies greatly between countries (Heise & Kotsadam, 2015). The wide geographic variation in the prevalence of violence against women worldwide might be explained by the geographic variation in gender-based structural stigma (i.e., societal-level conditions, cultural ideology, and institutional laws and policies that constrain opportunities, resources, and wellbeing of women; Hatzenbuehler & Link, 2014). Compelling evidence suggests that gender-based structural stigma perpetuates gender inequality and the subordination of women and can even shape risk of violence.
To examine the role of gender-based structural stigma on violence against women, we took advantage of a rare opportunity that combines multiple methodological advances. Specifically, the Violence Against Women Survey represents one of the largest population-based data sets of women, including 42,000 women from 28 countries across Europe. We examined associations between gender-based structural stigma and violence-related outcomes among women, including physical violence exposure, reporting violence to police, expecting violence, knowing that legal action was taken against the perpetrator, and seeing campaigns or media addressing violence against women
Preliminary population-based studies demonstrate that women living in high gender-based structural stigma countries disproportionately experience violence (Heise, 2012). These few studies are limited, however, in their use of self-reported perceptions of structural stigma and lack of geographic variation and comprehensive violence assessments. To address this limitation, and given that structural stigma is a complex and dynamic process, it is critical to include an objective measure of structural stigma.
Additionally, without sufficient geographic variation, there are limitations with which researchers can assert that macro-level factors account for the geographic distribution of violence. Further, no study has examined country-level variation levels of violence-related outcomes among women using population-based data. We have the unique combination of individual level information on violence-related outcomes, in combination with objective measures of gender-based structural stigma. This enables us to simultaneously test the influence of structural factors controlling for individual level risk factors and potential cross-level interactions.
What makes a good listener? What does it mean to be a good listener in contemporary society? Nanase Shirota’s ethnographic project investigates the art of listening in hostesses (escorts) and listening volunteers in Japan. At night clubs in Tokyo, hostesses, who are famous for being good listeners, use listening as a survival skill. Their listening is a ‘weapon of the weak’, gaining male customers’ favour, while intensifying the division of labour in interactions. Conversely, listening volunteers who communicate with elderly people use listening for reaching out. However, they sometimes fall short, unintentionally forcing interlocutors to stay in a subordinate helpee’s position. Listening can be a mask of silent authority. Listeners’ perspectives reveal influences of ‘power’ and subtle mechanisms of interaction.
Our society neglects listening. People wish to be competent speakers but not listeners. Reflecting this, most studies on interactions were conducted from the speakers’ perspectives but not listeners’ perspectives. Researchers in communication and sociolinguistics have recently realised this omission and within the field of sociology and anthropology, my research would be pioneering work. The research also contributes to the study of emotional labour and gender relations in contemporary Japan. Although Anne Allison’s study of a hostess club in bubble time is insightful and influential, her research missed subtleties in communication. I became a hostess and listening volunteer and carried out participant observation. This methodologically challenging research provides rich ethnographical data and arrives at a better understanding of human interaction.
Abibah Sumana's project seeks to explore the various dynamics of the Adinkra Symbols and how they embody an indigenous African Philosophy. This is done by identifying the various signs and symbols which make up the concept of the Adinkra and the role they played both as indigenous communication forms among the Akans, before the advent of modern forms of writing, as well as recording for posterity the thoughts, feelings, and values of the people. The goal is to show that indeed before the coming of “foreigners”, indigenous Africa had reached a level where it could develop a system which would record for generations the various happenings in the society.
Sumana's research will be of use to the field of African Studies because it touches on key themes that are typically glossed over in the various writings about the African continent——themes which relate to the art of Black Africa, and how they can help in making a case against the denial and existence of an indigenous African Philosophy. Sumana's study also shows that, in contrast to longheld views about the continent, various methods and styles existed in Africa for the recording of thoughts and feelings for posterity through certain kinds of timeless art.
Tamas' study, In Spectral Company: Impossible Mourning in Early Modern France, examines how ghosts became an object of fascination at the end of the 16th-century in best-selling treatises. At the crossing of many different fields, ghosts are a fascinating object that can be approached by relying on the anthropology of fear, philosophy, scientific discourse, and the history of beliefs. They also inhabit a number of literary texts (especially novels and theater). Being present but referring to the past, they question temporality, especially during the process of mourning. Paradoxically, ghosts can altogether enslave and free the one they haunt. Tamas' book examines the influence of ghosts in the life of widows by comparing historical figures with those portrayed in novels and in the theater.
By working on widows, Tamas hopes to make a significant contribution to the history of women and of religious beliefs in Old Regime France. In 17th-century, the belief in ghosts has its own rationale. It corresponds to a need to conceptualize death and separation. Tamas will explore the religious discourse in light of the court customs and practice. On the one hand, widows who had children needed to remarry in order to sustain the education and the expenses of the household. On the other hand, young widows who did not yet have children wanted to forget about the ghost of their deceased husband. These women strive to free themselves: widowhood empowers them in the public sphere. Theater opens a new rhetorical space of freedom.
Rachel E. Holmes’ manuscript, Clandestine Contracts, draws on original-language literary and legal sources to trace the journey across early modern Europe of the tales of Romeo and Juliet, the Duchess of Malfi, and the siblings Claudio and Isabella in Shakespeare's Measure for Measure. These are tales of clandestine marriage, the mediaeval institution of Christian marriage undertaken outside the recognition of legal authorities, which was increasingly the object of renegotiation across early modern Europe. Clandestine marriage was a pressure point because its illicitness undermined marriage as a managed exogamy, posing a threat to social controls, familial expectations, and honour. Holmes shows that the relationship between versions of these tales is shaped by legal anxieties about clandestine marriage and demonstrates the centrality of legal questions to transnational literary adaptation.
Scholars have long-acknowledged the influence of other European literatures on authors such as Shakespeare, but traditional source study tends towards either formalistic or nationalistic explanations of intertextuality—thinking of adaptation as a purely literary exercise that showcases canonical authors or as a politicised one that reinforces the superiority a national character. In contrast, Clandestine Contracts considers adaptation as an embedded transnational phenomenon shaped by legal as well as literary structures, concepts, and influences. Renaissance Studies will benefit from this research both intellectually and pedagogically, since it seeks to draw scholars and students beyond their disciplinary confines and encourages them to reconsider accepted readings of canonical texts in ways that are attentive to a more dialectical or intertwined literary and cultural history.
Tanusree Jain's manuscript, 'Even Tokens Matter', adopts a critical perspective of extant tokenism scholarship within the management discipline, specifically in the context of women on boards. The manuscript synthesises perspectives from sociology and psychology to suggest that a reductive logic that equates tokens with tokenism fails to fully reflect the latent power of women tokens as potential agents of both personal and inter-group change within organisations.
Jain's work dismantles stereotypes embedded within the token theory by adopting a more nuanced perspective of tokenism, and advocating that the designation ‘token’ in relation to a female board appointment should be regarded as qualitatively neutral in terms of the ex post facto contribution of the individual to board dynamics within a spectrum of organisational circumstances. In this manner, "Even Tokens Matter" advances a layered token theory that will have relevance for gender discourse and management.
Sarah Liva’s manuscript, 'Information and health service needs of new mothers: A scoping review' (co-authored by Christine Ou), collates the literature to identify the information and health service needs women and professionals view as priorities for supporting a healthy postpartum transition. Women’s risk for mental health disorders, intimate partner violence, decreased relationship quality, pelvic floor and sexual health dysfunction, and physical morbidity increase during the year following childbirth (i.e., postpartum period). Attention to postpartum care services is increasingly important with growing evidence identifying the magnitude and scope these post-birth concerns and strength of the relationship between maternal mental health and lifetime infant health status.
Liva and Ou's manuscript maps the scope, breadth, and trends in women and professionals’ views about postpartum care fills an important literature gap. Support for women during the postpartum has decreased in the context of demedicalization and normalization of birth, yet post-birth issues may emerge beyond traditional follow-up periods and increase in severity across the postnatal year. Women and professionals across diverse disciplines and sectors have increasingly critiqued postpartum care service delivery and identified care and information priorities, but a clear view about the breadth and nature of these perspectives is limited by the lack of a scoping review. This work enhances clarity on women’s postpartum care priorities across stakeholders and disciplines, which is an important step in determining how to orient services and improve care.
Moeini’s project, Effect of Coflow Turbulence on the Dynamics and Mixing of a Turbulent Axisymmetric Jet , examines how the dynamical velocity field and hydrodynamical mixing of an axisymmetric jet issued into a moving environment is affected as the turbulence of the environment is varied from low to high values. Moeini's experimental data sheds new light on the evolution of shear flows in the presence of external turbulence. The secondary objective, which arose during the experiments, is to improve the acoustic Doppler velocimetry (ADV) measurements. ADV is a comparatively new instrument for the measurement of turbulent flows, which are extensively used in various studies of hydraulic engineering, but their accuracy in predicting the statistics of turbulence quantities has been questioned. Moeini's model offers an opportunity to improve the precision of ADV measurements in turbulent flows.
Many practical engineering applications, ranging from acidic discharges from ships and brine disposals from desalination plants, to release of organic wastes into water bodies and gaseous emissions into the atmosphere, frequently occur in the form of turbulent jets. After their initial release, contaminants may have harmful effects both to public health and the environment. This underscores the special status of the study of the impacts of such jet-based releases, which sporadically or permanently contaminate the environment. Moeini’s project addresses, from an experimental viewpoint, how the turbulence of the environment could increase the dilution rates of the turbulent jets as in the case of the discharged contaminants. Our knowledge of this aspect has been at best partial, and thus Moeini’s work attempts to fill the gap in the experimental and theoretical framework.
Ngidi's qualitative study examines the extent to, and ways in which, a group of 27 adolescent orphans in a school living in the Inanda, Ntuzuma and Kwamashu (INK) township precinct in the greater Durban region of South Africa understand their vulnerability to sexual violence in and around their township's secondary school. Specifically, Ngidi's study explores the ways in which the participants experienced, responded to, and resisted sexual violence in and around their school. The inquiry is positioned within a critical paradigm, and employed participatory visual-methodologies (PVM) in its efforts to take an approach-based on the notion of research as an intervention. Informed by the transformative learning theory, findings show that sexual violence was a persistent threat in the lives of adolescent orphans.
Ngidi’s work is concerned with the methodological approaches that were appropriate and ethically sound for engaging vulnerable orphans. The PVM approaches Ngidi selects are experienced as creative and fun by the adolescent orphans who participated in the study. These methodologies placed orphans at the centre of the research and provided them with a safe space to explore and represent their experiences of sexual violence. The methodologies further made what is often invisible, visible and made knowledge that is often silenced, spoken. Ngidi’s work helps inform school-based interventions that are aimed at developing and nurturing care and support frameworks for vulnerable children.
Christian democratic parties are not known to be feminist allies. Yet, in Germany, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has adopted several feminist policies directly violating the traditional gender ideology underpinning the party’s beliefs about traditional womanhood and family values. Och’s work shows that the position of feminist actors in the policy making process matters greatly: policy success is more certain when feminist actors are gatekeepers and insiders in the policy making process. To illustrate this argument, Och explores two cases of feminist policy adoption in Germany: the adoption of partner months in 2006 which provides financial incentives to fathers to take childcare leave and the adoption of the corporate board quota law which mandates a 40% quota for women on corporate boards in 2015.
Och’s work allows us to draw two main conclusions that have more general implication on how we understand feminist policy adoption: first, feminist actors in the CDU did not merely adopt feminist rhetoric for political gain but rather expressed strong feminist sentiments and attitudes often going against the more traditional sentiments of the CDU. Second, the mere presence of feminist actors is not enough. Instead, we must ensure that they occupy pivotal roles – especially in environments perceived as hostile towards feminist ideals – if we hope to advance feminist policies. This means that it is not enough to elect women to office, but we need to ensure that they are placed in positions of power both within parties and in the policy-making process.
In recent years, scholars across the humanities have argued that the American abolitionists articulated important conceptual lessons about democracy. Ramesh's work contributes to this literature by newly interpreting the political thought of Charles Sumner. Regnant scholarly treatments of Sumner have been narrowly biographical. Ramesh shifts focus by looking to the theoretical content of his writings and speeches, focusing on his use of the word caste as an analytic and political term. Ramesh’s essay demonstrates that Sumner adopted the language of caste from missionary accounts of caste hierarchy in India; that he used this information to argue that there was an oppressive analogue at home: racial caste; and that, accordingly, Sumner’s conception of abolition included the dismantling of racial caste and the cultivation of interracial republican association.
Ramesh's research advances the field of political theory in the following ways. First, it offers new insights into a figure well-known to American historians but less so to political theorists: Charles Sumner. Second, it speaks to broader debates in the humanities about the contribution of the American abolitionists to democratic theory. Third, it excavates an entirely neglected dimension of Sumner’s thought – namely, his engagement with Hindu caste and the conception of racial caste in America that he developed on the basis of this engagement. Fourth, it contributes to nascent but fast-growing literature in intellectual history and political theory that emphasizes the importance of the transnational circulation of ideas in the development of political concepts central to our lives today.
As medically-assisted dying becomes more widely legalised, nurses are going to be presented more frequently with requests for access to that end-of-life service. Legislation in nearly every jurisdiction where assisted dying is legal does not recognise the role of nurses in providing access to this service. Yet nurses can influence the process and outcome of how a request is initially managed, since nurses are the professional who most frequently receive the initial request for access. This study of Australian nurses will build on existing research to identify the predictors for how a nurse intends to respond. There are many ways to respond to such requests, and even more influences that guide the selection of a response.
Nursing educators will benefit from the outcomes of this research. A significant theme that emerges from studies about nurses' participation in assisted dying is a lack of preparation for managing this encounter. Lack of preparation does not mean being unaware of protocols, where they exist, but rather not having the communication strategies when a patient requests help to hasten death. What the nurse communicates in this moment depends on the cognitive rehearsals for what to say, in other words, what the nurse intends to say. Simulation exercises are becoming routine in nursing training for specific procedures as simulations can incorporate evidence into clinical actions. Understanding the predictors of intentions to respond can provide evidence for developing learning modules that simulate effective communications at the end-of-life.
Daphne Choi argues that there needs to be a systematic organisation of the green and sustainable programs implemented in prison in order to facilitate offender changes and desistance. Otherwise, such programs will represent nothing more than a cost-saving scheme for prisons, with no additional benefits for the prisoners or the wider community upon release of those prisoners. Choi’s thesis therefore endeavours to establish a sustainability model that would fit into the penal setting for promoting desistance, then applying that model to the field of criminology and modelling onto current prison practice. The potential impact and effectiveness of this new sustainability model will be exemplified by two types of sustainable practices: therapeutic horticulture programs and animal programs. The impact of these practices on promoting desistance post-release will be uncovered, providing a new hypothesis about the potential impact of these programs during and after incarceration.
While no existing studies have built a link between sustainability and desistance or provide an understanding of desistance from a sustainability perspective, Choi's research offers a theoretical contribution to the penology promotes desistance in prison. This is done through examining the impact of sustainable prison programs on desistance and hence providing a practical model for the development of future sustainable programs. Choi's work uniquely indicates how offenders have changed and developed their desisting journey according to the hypothesised sustainability model through investigating the reported benefits of the two types of sustainable practices. A theoretical model that can help direct prisons towards more effective practices instead of current traditional and less effective way of rehabilitating offenders can then be developed to improve the effectiveness of penal rehabilitation and offender reintegration.
The Spanish language abilities of bilingual Latinx youth in secondary schools have been measured through various indicators of proficiency: grammar competency, functional language use, and literacy. Several studies highlight the problematic tensions that arise around issues of identity, variance, equity, and power when proficiency fails to embrace the literacy practices that bilingual Latinx youth bring to the Spanish classroom. García’s manuscript uses Spanish curricular materials as a point of entry to examine dominant discourses of proficiency that circulate Spanish classrooms and the role of literacy in those discourses. Using a racioliteracies perspective and policy discourse analysis, García identifies two dominant discourses of proficiency and demonstrates what each implies for the development of proficiency amongst bilingual Latinx youth. García argues that these discourses of proficiency are informed by classist and racists forces and are complicit in the reproduction of dominant language and literacy hierarchies that discursively re/produce two dominant subject positions available for bilingual Latinx students in Spanish classrooms.
García’s work offers important insights into two fields of study: applied linguistics and literacy. Bilingual Latinx students, often times referred to as heritage language students, have been the source of much contention in second language acquisition and bilingual education research fields based their heterogenous nature and need for language development approaches that fit their needs. García challenges the curricular materials made available to educational actors via dominant curricular materials, considering the extent to which research-based recommendations are appropriated in ways that continue to marginalize a student population that has historically received little attention. The theoretical orientation of this manuscript provides a critical analysis of differentiation strategies and deciphers the racial tensions that undergird them. It posits that literacy, as a construct, is complicit in the guising of these detrimental effects. In doing so, García provides the field of literacy with a concrete theory of subject formation, responding to various calls for such an approach in critical literacy studies.
Greaves’ book examines Arctic security and environmental change from the perspectives of two states—Canada and Norway—and the Inuit and Sámi peoples, respectively, who reside within them. It explores two related questions: Why, has environmental change not been constructed as a security issue by Arctic states? In particular, why has environmental change not been constructed as threatening within state policy when it is understood and articulated as such by Indigenous peoples who live within the Arctic region? Drawing from extensive primary and secondary research, this book bridges insights from across the disciplines of international relations, political science, and environmental studies to examine how environmental changes, state policies, and Indigenous peoples interact to produce different meanings of ‘security’ in the Arctic region.
Greaves' book makes three main contributions. First, it maps out official understandings of Arctic security and environmental change in Canada and Norway historically and in the early-21st century. It then contrasts these with how Arctic Indigenous peoples understand security and its relationship to the natural environment. Finally, it offers a revised account of how security issues are socially constructed to explain why Indigenous understandings are excluded from official state policies. The book contributes to a decolonized conception of Arctic security by highlighting Indigenous perspectives that have been marginalized within dominant security discourses and practices. Its conclusions call into question conventional understandings of environmental change and Arctic security, and underscores the limitations imposed on marginalized groups’ abilities to advocate for their survival and wellbeing.
Traditionally, a gene has been defined as a specific DNA sequence that, by default, contains at least 300 base pairs. Based on this historical idea of gene configuration, DNA units shorter than that, so-called short ORFs (sORFs), have generally been ignored. In her research, Ina Hollerer aims to elucidate the functions of thousands of formerly neglected sORFs in yeast during meiosis, the specialized cell division that produces germ cells in eukaryotes, including sperm and egg cells in humans. Given that meiotic principles are highly conserved between yeast and mammals, Ina hypothesizes that these short genes also play a role in human development. Her research will hence reveal a new set of functional DNA units and will help to redefine our current understanding of a “gene.”
Hollerer's studies on sORFs in yeast meiosis will reveal a new set of formerly neglected functional DNA units that challenge our current understanding of a “gene.” This will be a door-opener for future research, which will no longer be able to dismiss short DNA units as non-functional. Her studies will also help to better understand the complex process of meiosis. Meiosis is very error-prone in many organisms but the underlying causes are poorly understood. Aneuploidy, the presence of an abnormal number of chromosomes as a result of a meiotic error, is observed in 10–30% of human fertilized eggs, usually leading to miscarriage. Ina believes that studying the regulatory elements that control meiotic progression in yeast will help to understand what causes these errors in higher organisms.
Women who immigrate to Canada arrive with bodies shaped by their natal cultures and often with different understandings of health and illness. But what happens when Canadian health care standards are imposed on the global body? Not only are there reported problematic health outcomes for women with female genital cutting (FGC) accessing health care in many Western countries, but their cultural context may not be considered in their medical treatment. There is still a gap in the literature for understanding the social relations that contribute to the experiences that women with FGC face in health care systems across the West. Danielle Jacobson aims to address this gap in the literature by using a methodological approach called Institutional Ethnography (IE). Having already started her research, she is in the process of identifying social relations involved when women with FGC use Toronto’s reproductive medical system. Danielle began in the lived experiences of the women by using qualitative, one-on-one, open-ended interviews. The purpose of her manuscript is to communicate her above thesis research on the reproductive health care interactions between women with FGC and their doctors in Toronto.
Danielle's thesis work contributes to the field since she grounds the research in women’s experiences to better understand the sequence of events (the social relations) that may lead our reproductive health care system to fail women with FGC. Her research is aimed at improving Torontonian medical practice for immigrant women in an integrative and innovative way—an emerging challenge as immigration across the globe increases. Although it is admirable that Canada accepts immigrant populations, we still need to work toward providing adequate reproductive health care for non-Western bodies. With this work, Danielle hopes to contribute to the movement toward a more inclusive Canadian health care system for immigrant women, beginning in Toronto. She also take a reflexive approach to her work, not only about her own positionality, but also about the women’s positionality and the power dynamics at play due to differing social locations. Danielle hopes to take steps to improve the reproductive healthcare experiences and outcomes of immigrant women with FGC by expanding the knowledge of how immigrant women with FGC in Toronto experience healthcare, working toward health systems solutions that better support Toronto’s diverse population of women.
Morreti’s project, The Best Weapon for Peace: Maria Montessori, Education, and Children’s Rights,is an intellectual biography that recovers Maria Montessori’s pacifist work in relation to both her educational activism and the broader international conversation on pacificism. Though Montessori was a well-known pacifist in her day, historians have generally considered her writings on peace as secondary to her pedagogical work—a side intellectual project for a woman more concerned with the practical goal of educating youth. But Moretti argues that the cultivation of world peace was, in fact, the primary motivation for Montessori’s educational project. Moretti draws from war-and-society studies, and the history of humanitarianism, as well as a broad range of unpublished archival material, repositioning Montessori’s work on peace from the margins to the center of her philosophy.
Scholarly work on Montessori is restricted to biographies and monographs that reassert the educator’s place in a line of so-called great women. Often compiled by Montessori disciples, these texts neglect the breadth of her thought and how it was informed by the debates on children’s and refugees’ rights, war prevention, and what would later be called post-traumatic stress disorder rehabilitation. Moretti contextualizes Montessori’s writing on pacifism, conflict prevention, and children’s rights within the larger global debates on these topics, highlighting the numerous conflicting forces that inspired her over time. The Best Weapon for Peace rethinks Montessori’s wide-ranging intellectual legacy, showing her to be not only an influential educator, but a thinker, female intellectual, activist, and above all, pacifist.
Research shows that persons with intellectual disabilities are particularly vulnerable to different forms of violence, particularly sexual violence. The criminal law responds to this in a protectionist manner by adopting a strict approach to determining whether a person with intellectual disability has the capacity to consent to sexual intercourse in sexual offence cases. The courts have placed so much emphasis on protection that they have essentially taken away the sexual autonomy of persons with intellectual disabilities in the same breath. Msipa’s work criticizes the test used by the courts in South Africa to determine capacity to consent to sexual intercourse and seeks to suggest an alternative approach aimed at striking a balance between protection and autonomy.
Msipa works to advance thinking in the area of the sexual rights of persons with intellectual disabilities. In particular, Msipa’s work contributes to existing scholarship by formulating an alternative approach that better strikes the balance between the need to protect persons with intellectual disabilities from abuse and respect their sexual autonomy. This work will impact positively on persons with intellectual disabilities themselves but will also have an impact on the development of the law and thinking in this area.
Iyabosola Busola Oronti’s manuscript,Hypertension Diagnosis and Management in Africa Using Mobile Phones: A Scoping Review (co-authored with Leandro Pecchia), aims to determine the scope of work done on hypertension diagnosis and management in Africa, with emphasis on interventions using the mobile/smart phone. Target 3.4 of the United Nations (UN) and World Health Organization (WHO) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) seeks to reduce premature mortality from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by one third. Untimely death from NCDs has become a major source of concern in Africa, and the leading risk factor worldwide attributable to death is hypertension. It therefore follows that controlling the incidence of hypertension in Africa will significantly reduce the burden of disease by developing new solutions which are more effective and easier to sustain.
Historically, control and management of hypertension are linked to antihypertensive drug use and hospital visits. More recently however, hybrid therapy regimens are emerging for providing reliable and cost-effective access to health services. This research seeks to create an effective and affordable horizontal model/platform for the design and deployment of medical devices and interfaces that will optimize the diagnosis, monitoring and management of NCDs using ICT, 3D Printing, and Artificial Intelligence (AI), with particular consideration for the peculiar dynamics of low resource settings (LRS). Medical devices design and development will clearly benefit from the adaptation of mobile device interfaces and applications for expanded diagnostic functions, thus presenting opportunities for hypertension control in Africa and globally.
Results of the Spring 2020 round of funding will be released on 15 April 2020.
Born in Bologna in 1711, Laura Bassi was the first woman to take up a professorship in Europe and the second to earn a doctorate. Her extraordinary career as an academic spanned nearly five decades, for much of which she was a galvanizing figure for the scientific culture of eighteenth century Europe. Bassi’s admirers included the likes of Voltaire in France, who preferred Bassi’s academy to that of London’s, and Dorothea Erxleben in Germany, the first woman to earn a medical doctorate, who notably found inspiration in Bassi’s fierce struggle for equal opportunity for women. Bassi's career culminated in her succession to the chair of physics (then known as natural philosophy) at the University of Bologna in 1776—a role in which her husband, Giuseppe Veratti, was her assistant.
The Editing Press Laura Bassi Scholarship is named in her honour, in part with the intention of supporting work undertaken against the grain of the disciplinary fashions of academia.
For further reading on Laura Bassi, see:
The Biblioteca Comunale dell’Archiginnasio di Bologna (in collaboration with the Stanford University Libraries) has compiled a digital archive of Bassi’s family papers, available here.
For further reading on pioneering women academics, philosophers in particular, see:
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