LAURA BASSI SCHOLARSHIP

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.

Deadlines

Winter 2018

Deadline: 25 November 2018
Results: 15 December 2018

Spring 2019

Deadline: 25 March 2019
Results: 15 April 2019

Summer 2019

Deadline: 25 July 2019
Results: 15 August 2019

How to Apply

Applicants 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.

Bassi Scholars

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.

Results of the Summer 2019 round of funding will be released on 15 August 2019.

Laura Bassi

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. Her 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:

P Findlen, ‘Science as a Career in Enlightenment Italy: The Strategies of Laura Bassi’ (1993) 84 Isis 441.

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:

Project Vox

TB Dykeman (ed), The Neglected Canon: Nine Women Philosophers (Springer 1999)

LL McAlister (ed), Hypatia's Daughters: 1500 Years of Women Philosophers (Indiana University Press 1996)

FAQ

How much funding is available in each round?

We have set aside $8,000 per round of funding (or roughly $24,000 per annum), which is divided between any combination of master’s, doctoral, or junior academic applicants at the discretion of the Scholarship Advisory Board.

Who sits on the Scholarship Advisory Board?

The Advisory board comprises the members of our editorial collective in addition to academics in fields with which we are not especially familiar and whose expertise we may need to call upon in judging the applications before us.

How can I pay the voluntary application fee in a non-USD currency?

You may use our standard payment portal, the instructions for which are available here. You can then return to the application portal and select the fee waiver option. The system will automatically pair your application with your payment provided that you use the same e-mail for both. If you have a Canadian bank account, you are also welcome to send an Interac e-transfer to payments@editing.press, and then send us a note indicating that the fee has been paid.

If I am awarded the Scholarship, how long do I have to submit my manuscript for editorial work?

There is no expiry for the use of the Scholarship funds.

How many times can I apply?

There are no restrictions on how many times one can apply, nor on how many times successful candidates can apply—though, in the case of the latter, preference is given to applicants who have not been given scholarships in the past.

Can I apply with more than one paper?

We ask that candidates restrict themselves to one paper per application per round.

Do you favour certain disciplines over others?

Not at all. Applicants from every discipline are encouraged to apply.

Can the funds from the Scholarship be used for other purposes, such as open access fees or, indeed, anything else?

No, unfortunately. The value of the Scholarship will be remitted through editorial assistance provided by Editing Press.

My university does not consider me as a 'candidate' in my master's / doctoral programme yet, but am I still eligible for the Scholarship?

Yes, and you are very much encouraged to apply.

Can I submit an application in a language other than English?

The application must be submitted in English, but we are happy to consider awarding the Scholarship for non-English language manuscripts. In addition to English, we are also able to work in French, German, and Spanish.

Do I need to submit a manuscript along with my application?

No, the only documents required are your CV and application form.

My files exceed the 5mb limit of the application portal. What can I do?

We recommend using an online PDF size reducer and then trying to upload your files again. If that does not work, you are welcome to submit your application form without your signature (incorreclty formatted signatures are typically the cause of bloated file sizes).

I am a co-author of a paper or book. Can my co-author(s) and I submit joint applications?

Yes, absolutely. In addition to the standard application form, we will also need copies of each author's CV.

I am a part-time student. Am I still elgible?

Yes, and you are very much encouraged to apply.

Can I submit my application by e-mail?

We are no longer able to accept applications by e-mail, so please use the application portal.

I have more questions, how can I get in touch?

You may submit your queries to scholarships@editing.press. Please allow 24 hours for a reply.