Dissertation Titles

The scholarly interests of the graduates from the four joint PhD programs are wide-ranging. Recent dissertations have explored how cultural ideologies about gender, race, and class influence social norms for appropriate and acceptable bodies; the history of perfume and how the sense of smell contributed to people’s understandings of self and culture; the role of gender, race, and class anomalies in the production of Black medical doctors in South Africa during apartheid: gender roles in intimate relationships; and Midwestern black and white racial and ethnic identities. The feminist scholarly contributions of more than 20 women in the disciplines of English, History, Psychology, and Sociology are detailed below.

Megan Ahern, 2012. "Affect in Epistemology: Relationality and Feminist Agency in Critical Discourse, Neuroscience, and Novels by Bambara, Morrison, and Silko."
How do emotional and social experiences influence the knowledge we produce about our world? Here I investigate this question in two contexts: the individual mind, as represented in literature, and recent critical practices in the humanities. I combine readings of Toni Cade Bambara’s The Salt Eaters, Toni Morrison’s Sula and Beloved, and Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony with contemporary neuroscience to explore the roles of gender and community in trauma and healing, with particular attention to the way emotion shapes perception, cognition, and memory. 
View abstract

Melanie Boyd, 2003. “Troubling Innocence: Convention and Transgression in Feminist Narratives of Incest.”
This dissertation identifies and explores a recent evolution within first-person narratives of father-daughter incest: the emergence of startlingly agential representations of victimhood. Breaking with the feminist conventions adopted by a wide range of incest testimonies published in the U.S. and Canada in the 1970s and ’80s, these new texts upset politically strategic models of incest that insist upon the binary allocation of helplessness and power.
View abstract

Theresa Braunschneider, 2002. “Maidenly Amusements: Narrating Female Sexuality in Eighteenth-Century England.”
This dissertation examines the relation between female-female affiliations and heterosexuality in a variety of eighteenth-century English discourses. Analyzing representations of four female figures—the macroclitoride, the passing woman, the coquette, and the paragon of virtue—I argue that intimacies between women play a central role in the definition of gender and sexual norms for women in the period. Further, these figures register the eighteenth-century development of an ideology of heterosexuality wherein gender conceptually precedes desire.
View abstract

Monica Burguera, 2007. “Liberalism and the origins of the social: Women, poverty, and the political meanings of philanthropy in nineteenth-century Spain (Madrid 1834—1843).”
Traditional Narratives of nineteenth-century Spain still remain unproblematized from a sociocultural perspective. The idea of a static and backward society is still prevalent. These histories still minimize the liberal rupture of the mid-1830s and the epistemological legacies of the Spanish Enlightenment. From a critical feminist perspective, this thesis shows how a number of philanthropic societies were created from 1838 also out of the revolutionary impulse given to a new active gendered liberal public sphere in Madrid.
View abstract

Juanita Cabello, 2007. “Literary travel, the woman traveler, and twentieth century constructions of Mexican tourist spaces.”
Twentieth-century American travel narratives have created representations of travel in Mexico that have captured the tourist gaze, inspired travel at various historical moments and to various tourist sites, and anticipated the direction that 20th century tourism in Mexico has taken. Through the figure of the woman traveler, this dissertation examines the construction of 20th century Mexico as an "infernal paradise" in the gendered narratives of travel by modernist and postmodern American writers. Imagined places ignite the literary traveler's imagination. Travel narratives ignite the tourist imagination, helping to shape the sites the traveler wishes to visit and the way he or she will enter, inhabit, and leave them. Travel literature and the literary traveler inspire travel circuits, identities, scripts, and performances, all of which are complexly gendered in their effects and their representations.
View abstract

Cari Carpenter, 2002. “Seeing Red: Anger, Femininity, and the American Indian of Nineteenth-Century Sentimental Literature.”
My dissertation places the work of three early Native American women writers—S. Alice Callahan, E. Pauline Johnson, and Sarah Winnemucca—in dialogue with texts by Lydia Maria Child, Ann Stephens, and Maria Susanna Cummins. Although these Native and Anglo-American writers are usually studied separately, I argue that by examining them together we can expand predominant conceptions of sentimentality and acknowledge anger as its long neglected counterpart. Cari's book, Seeing Red: Anger, Sentimentality, and American Indians will be published in March 2008 by Ohio State Press.
View abstract

Victoria Castillo, 2009. "Indigenous "messengers" petitioning for justice: Citizenship and indigenous rights in Peru, 1900-1945."
In the early twentieth century in Peru, there was an explosion of formal petitions to the state, many of which were brought personally by indigenous "messengers." The messengers traveled by foot from their distant communities to the capital city of Lima to denounce abuses occurring in their home communities, such as forced labor, land usurpation, torture, murder, and sexual assault. While in Lima, the messengers interacted with indigenista activists (generally white or mestizo pro-indigenous intellectuals, feminists, artists, and journalists) to pressure government officials to respond to specific complaints. As a result of these interactions, a fervent national debate emerged among politicians, intellectuals, and artists on the place of indigenous people in the nation. Furthermore, the activism of the indigenous messengers and their advocates resulted in the passage of some pro-indigenous legislation and the development of a new national aesthetic emphasizing indigeneity. Many landowners and members of the traditional elite, however, rejected these challenges to the status quo, which created a battleground in the early twentieth century where Peruvians of all sectors fought over the meaning of citizenship, nationhood, and national identity.
View abstract

Jennifer Churchwell, 2005. “Becoming an Academic: Factors that Influence a Graduate Student’s Identity Commitment.”
This dissertation examined the influence of personal and environmental characteristics on vocational identity commitment in a sample of 800 University of Michigan doctoral students. Theoretically grounded in Erikson’s ideas about identity, the purpose of this dissertation was to broaden our understanding of who decides to become an academic and why, as well as the factors that facilitate or hinder identification.
View abstract

Laura Citrin, 2004. “Disgust and ‘Normal’ Corporeality: How Cultural Ideologies about Gender, Race, and Class Are Inscribed on the Body.”
In this dissertation I argue that cultural ideologies about gender, race, and class influence social norms for appropriate and acceptable bodies, and that moralizing emotions, such as disgust, facilitate internalization of body norms by individual members of society. To test these premises, the everyday body practices of men and women were examined using qualitative and quantitative studies grounded in feminist theory and interdisciplinary approaches to social science research.
View abstract

Emma Crandall, 2006. “Gertrude and Her Boys: Collaborative Friendship, Masculine Styles, and Queer Affairs in the Modern World.”
This project explores Gertrude Stein’s friendships with prominent male figures of the American avant-garde—Ernest Hemingway, Virgil Thomson, and Carl Van Vechten—to investigate three of modernism’s most productive cross-gender collaborations. The dissertation considers Stein’s personal and artistic development by focusing on how her lesbian and aesthetic styles influenced, and were influenced by, her male friends. In theorizing Stein’s performance and embodiment of “masculinity” as a queer style, this study describes her modernist cross-gender friendships as sites that enabled gender and sexual experimentation alongside collaborative, avant-garde cultural productions. In an historical moment marked by new categories of identity (including the “homosexual”), friendship, masculinity, and collaboration operated as important navigational tools for these moderns who defied convention in their arts and sexualities.
View abstract

Nicola Curtin, 2011. "The Roles of Experiences of Discrimination, Collective Identification, and Structural Awareness in Own-group and Ally Activism."
This dissertation examined how social location (e.g. gender, race, and age), as well as experiences of discrimination, collective identification, and structural awareness of group inequalities— which were assumed to be shaped by women’s particular locations—relate to own-group and ally activism in a sample of older middle-aged heterosexual Black and White women graduates of the University of Michigan. Three types of activism were included as outcomes: Women’s Rights activism (measure of own-group activism), and Lesbian and Gay Rights activism and International Human Rights activism (both defined as ally activism for the current sample).
View abstract

Christine Delisle, 2008. "Navy wives/native lives: The cultural and historical relations between American naval wives and Chamorro women in Guam, 1898—1945."
This dissertation builds on scholarship in various fields of history (women's history and Pacific history) and interdisciplinary studies (new colonial studies, feminist critiques of power, and native Pacific cultural studies). Combining archival work and oral histories, it draws on native and non-native sources to explore the dialogical social relations between native Chamorro women and white American U.S. Navy wives in the American territory of Guam in the first half of the twentieth century. The dissertation explores how the gendered and racialized work of U.S. Navy wives, and their efforts to transplant white womanhood in Guam, encountered equally determined Chamorro women. Their interactions would forge new political, social, and cultural spaces from which both sides aided and abetted American military colonialism and also constructed new forms of Chamorro and American female consciousness and subjectivity. On the Chamorro side in particular, these new forms comprised an emergent Chamorro modernity, or new ways of being native Chamorro in relation to American practices such as speaking English, donning American-style dress and fashion, wearing make-up, attending schools, hospitals, dramas, dance halls, and saluting flags, without necessarily abandoning deep indigenous values and practices. In tracing the historical development of native modernities under naval colonial rule, this study examines the emergence of indigenous forms of modernity, and challenges conceptual and political frameworks that have viewed indigeneity and modernity as mutually exclusive social and cultural categories.
View abstract

Andrea Dottolo, 2006. “Black and White Racial and Ethnic Identities in the Midwest.”
This dissertation explores some of the ways that social identities, especially racial and ethnic identities, are experienced and discussed by black and white women and men in the Midwestern United States. Using secondary analysis of 135 interviews conducted with individuals who graduated from a Midwestern high school in the 1950s and 1960s, analyses focused on three sets of questions regarding group membership, social movements, and racial identities. The mixed method research design included systematic content analysis that served as an entry point for closer readings more aligned with grounded theory.
View abstract

Holly Dugan, 2005. “The Ephemeral History of Perfume: Scent and Sense in Early Modern England.”
This dissertation argues that there is an archive of early modern olfaction and that it provides a rich account of early modern materiality, the history of the body, and cultural experiences of embodiment. Early modern men and women, like modern men and women, understood themselves and the culture of everyday life through their bodily senses, including the sense of smell. Of all the senses, smell is usually understood as the most base, the most ephemeral, and thus the most resistant to traditional historical methodologies. Only very recently have scientists discovered how the human body recognizes and remembers over 10,000 different smells. Yet, smell’s role in the past remains a mystery, virtually ignored in historical scholarship. Implicitly, this makes sense: early modern smells, and any meanings they once held, surely must have faded long ago. I argue, however, that unlike other material objects lost to the historical record, smells were always conceived as ephemeral, invisible objects. Scent thus provides a unique methodological opportunity to expand understanding of historical relationships between the histories of the body, as a material entity, and the senses, as embodied, phenomenological responses to the material world.
View abstract

Julie Eastin, 2006. “Predictors of Maternal Satisfaction: The Experiences of LBGQ Mothers.”
This dissertation attempts to provide a better understanding of lesbian, bisexual, gay, and queer (LBGQ) family life by beginning to answer the question, “What is the experience of motherhood like for LBGQ women?” After first locating this query within theoretical conceptualizations of identity, the experience of LBGQ motherhood is explored in relation to identity interference, social support, and maternal satisfaction.
View abstract

Quyen Epstein-Ngo, 2011. "'We Just Live and Forget': Latino Adolescent Coping with Neighborhood Violence Exposure and the Roles of Culture and Parent-Adolescent Relationships."
This dissertation relies on a contextual framework of stress and coping to investigate the roles of voluntary and involuntary stress responses in community violence exposure among Latino adolescents. Guided by feminist theories of intersectionality, it specifically highlights the importance of examining cultural values and parent-adolescent relationships in this context. This dissertation uses a mixed-methods approach to explore and contextualize these connections.
View abstract

Breanne Fahs, 2006. “Female sexuality after women’s ‘liberation’: Negotiating repression and performance norms.”
The two studies of this dissertation examined social norms about female sexuality, specifically the norms of repression (i.e., messages directed at women to deny or restrict sexuality), and performance (i.e., messages that encourage women to engage in sex because they must or should, rather than because they want to) in women’s sexual lives. This project was framed within several discourses, including feminist theory, historical analyses of sexuality, psychoanalysis, empirical literatures, and clinical treatment/diagnostic issues.
View abstract

Dasa Francikova, 2011. "All Czechs, but Particularly Women: The Positionality of Women in the Construction of the Modern Czech Nation, 1820s-1850s."
My dissertation examines a complex set of the social, physical, physiological, and moral requirements through which nationalists strove to create the ideal woman who would guarantee the construction of the modern Czech nation, then part of Austria. I focus on the period between the 1820s and the 1850s when - uninterrupted by political events - numerous texts aimed at women appeared in the Czech community. Setting these sources in the larger scholarship on women, gender, nationalisms, sexuality, and medicine, and understanding the categories of gender and woman as fluid concepts, I explore how Czechs proposed that women become the nation’s crucial imaginary citizens.
View abstract

Erika Gasser, 2007. “Manhood, witchcraft and possession in old and New England.”
This dissertation asks how men, as witches, demoniacs and possession propagandists, attempted to affect the outcome of witchcraft-possession cases. How, as gendered subjects with access to gendered language, did they struggle to retain male privileges and identities despite their involvement with these controversial—and traditionally gendered female—episodes? While historians have long recognized that not all witches were female, only recent attention has been paid to the ways that manhood, the culture-specific ideas about what constitutes a successful or unsuccessful man, played a role for these men. To that end, I investigate published representations of these men in early modern England and colonial New England in order to determine the various, and often contradictory, consequences of manhood in witchcraft-possession.
View abstract

Erin Graham, 2009. "'She's Black more than she's a woman' A mixed method analysis of the construction of gender and psychological outcomes among Black female college students."
Employing qualitative and quantitative methods, data were collected from 85 Black female college students to examine whether Black women endorsed sexism in their constructions of gender or, alternatively, resisted sexist ideas. Black women's endorsement of, or resistance against, sexism was also examined in relation to both positive and negative psychological health outcomes. Nonsexist gender constructions that resist female devaluation/subordination and embrace strong gender identity were expected to benefit psychological health, whereas sexist gender constructions that reinforce female devaluation/subordination and minimize gender identity were expected to detract from psychological health. Investigating the psychological health outcomes of how Black women construct gender, especially in ways that resist sexism, was hoped to implicate possible pathways of resilience against gender oppression.
View abstract

Janice Habarth, 2008. “Thinking ‘Straight’: Heteronormativity and Associated Outcomes Across Sexual Orientation.”
Heteronormativity has been defined as the privileging of heterosexuality, enforced compliance with culturally determined heterosexual roles, and assumptions about heterosexuality as 'natural' or 'normal.' Theories suggest that heteronormativity may be linked to a range of attitudes, social phenomena, and outcomes, particularly for anyone who transgresses the rigid expectations that characterize a heteronormative society. However, to date no quantitative measure of heteronormativity exists.
View abstract

Zaje Harrell, 2002. “Trait Self-Objectification in College Women’s Mental Health: An Examination of Smokers and Never-Smokers.”
Objectification theory provides a foundation for examining women’s mental health in context. The theory posits that the disproportionate value placed on the body and appearance causes women to learn to view their bodies from the perspective of an outside observer. This can lead to negative psychological consequences. Self-objectification is the personality dimension relevant to an individual’s assessment of the functional and ornamental aspects of the body. Individuals higher in self-objectification report more depression and disordered eating behaviors. Self-objectification has also been linked to impaired cognitive task performance and memory perspective.
View abstract

Molly Hatcher, 2013. "Disputes, Disorders, and Confusion": Authorship, Remediation, and Intellectual Property Regulations in the Digital Age.
In the last two decades, Western media production and consumption have been transformed by the permeation of digital technologies. While not new conventions, remediative techniques such as formal fracturing and intertextuality have become definitive of Digital Age storytelling. The prevalence of these techniques that encourage multimodal reading practices signal an epistemological shift centered on sharing and collaboration. I analyze a subset of contemporary literary works that integrate traditional media forms with Digital Age narrative techniques in ways that challenge individualistic notions of authorship perpetuated by intellectual property regulations. The convergence of feminist methods with legal scholarship, cultural theory, and new media studies guides my inquiries about the evolution of authorship in the Digital Age.
View abstract

Benita Jackson, 2000. “Gender and psychological correlates of use of alcohol to cope with emotional distress.”
This dissertation was a study of women’s and men’s use of alcohol to cope with emotional distress. Participants ( N = 740) were adults drawn from a community sample, originally recruited through random-digit dialing for a larger investigation on gender differences in depression across adulthood. For this study, participants completed questionnaires by mail. The two major questions explored were: (1) What are key psychological correlates of use of alcohol to cope? (2) Are these correlates the same for both women and men?
View abstract

Shanta Kanukollu, 2010. "Exploring perceptions of child sexual abuse and attitudes towards help-seeking among South Asian college students."
In this dissertation study, I examined perceptions of child sexual abuse (CSA) and attitudes towards psychological help-seeking held by South Asian college students living in the U.S. I conducted an online community survey (N=349) among South Asian college-aged students (age18-25) who self-identified as South Asian, South Asian-American or with any subethnic group falling under the South Asian category.
View abstract

Julie Konik, 2005. “Harassment as a System for Policing Traditional Gender Norms in the Workplace: The Structure and Process of Sexual Harassment and Heterosexist Harassment.”
This dissertation explored various models of the structure and process of sexual harassment (SH) and heterosexist harassment (HH) using a sample of 1555 faculty and staff employed in higher education. After reviewing how both SH and HH are theorized to be rooted in maintaining traditional gender norms, it tested 13 hypotheses regarding the structure, incidence, and outcomes of these forms of harassment.
View abstract

Gabrielle Dawn Lawhon, 2004. “Individual Psychotherapy and the Patient’s Significant Other.”
The majority of outpatient psychotherapy consumers engage in individual treatments. Meetings are conducted one-on-one with the treating clinician, and the content and process of these sessions is seen as confidential and deeply personalized to the identified patient. Inherent in this work is the assumption that what goes on within the treatment relationship will intimately tie in to what goes on for the patient outside of it, but we know little about how this actually works. The present study was designed: (1) to assess individual psychotherapy’s effects on the patient-partner (P-P), his/her significant other (SO), and the relationship between the two; (2) to explore potential influences on these effects; and (3) to identify common outcomes for the couple, treatment, and SO attitudes toward and willingness to use psychotherapy.
View abstract

Kirsten Leng, 2011. "'Contesting the "Laws of Life': Feminism, Science and Sex Reform in Germany and Britain, 1880-1914."
Between 1880 and 1914, German-speaking and British ‘first wave’ feminists from varying political, religious and ethnic backgrounds engaged scientific “facts” and theories to underwrite and legitimize their demands for sexual reform. These scientific facts and theories, derived from the natural sciences, medical knowledge, anthropology, and psychiatric research, were coalescing into a fledging sexual science (sexology) at the turn of the century. In this dissertation, I examine how and why sexual science appealed to some feminists as an intellectual resource and potentially legitimizing discourse, even though sexual science was often used to disqualify feminists’ demands for equality and social justice.
View abstract

Sumiao Li, 2007. “Fashionable people, fashionable society: Fashion, gender, and print culture in England 1821—1861.”
This dissertation examines fashionable society as a "new" cultural realm in early nineteenth-century England—roughly from 1821 to 1861—in light of contemporary fashion, gender, historical and literary studies, as well as a variety of social theories ranging from Arendt to Bataille. Challenging the predominant view which confuses fashionable society with the aristocratic high society of the ancien regime , my thesis retrieves fashionable society as a discrete, dynamic, and cross-class entity. As a mobile institution, fashionable society was neither aristocratic nor bourgeois and yet integrated the values and interests of both in tandem with local circumstances.
View abstract

Michelle Lilly, 2008. “Shattered Assumptions, Coping and Religiosity in Intimate Partner Violence Survivors: A Partial Explanation for Variation in PTSD Symptoms?”
Every year, millions of women around the globe are exposed to violence in intimate relationships. The cost of this violence is substantial, affecting women's economic, physical and emotional health. One common outcome of intimate partner violence (IPV) is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which has been shown to be disproportionately high in IPV survivors in relation to the general population. However, various factors have been implicated that can serve either to protect against or put at risk for PTSD symptom development in IPV survivors. The current project seeks to explore several factors that have been implicated in PTSD symptoms, such as world assumptions, coping style and religiosity, and to determine whether these place women at risk for PTSD symptoms following IPV. A secondary aim is to establish whether these factors operate differentially as a function of ethnicity in predicting PTSD symptoms.
View abstract

Zakiya Luna, 2011. "Domesticating Human Rights: Possibilities and Ambiguities in the Emerging Reproductive Justice Movement."
Reproductive rights have been a controversial issue for decades due to the legal battles surrounding abortion. Yet, activists in the emerging reproductive justice movement often use a human rights analysis to challenge the women’s movement’s emphasis on “law on the books.” As such, reproductive justice activists consider how lack of economic and social human rights limit people’s rights to have a child (e.g., for low-income women) and the right to parent (e.g., for incarcerated parents).
View abstract

Emily Lutenski, 2008. “In the Land of Enchantment: Multiethnic Modernism and the American Southwest”
In the Land of Enchantment takes the American Southwest as a site to explore how race, gender, and region produce new geographies of identity in the early twentieth century. The modernist Southwest was mapped by the growth of regional tourism, the extension of statehood to New Mexico and Arizona, the continued negotiation of the U.S.-Mexico border, and a fascination with Native American and Mexican American folkways. At the same time race in the Southwest—and in the U.S. and Mexico at large—was being codified in venues such as legislation and the census. The writers in this dissertation—Mabel Dodge Luhan, Jean Toomer, Josephina Niggli, and John Joseph Mathews—both rely on and contest these codifications as they conceive of different versions of a “new race” made possible by the Southwestern geography. These new racial geographies produce multiethnic modernism’s break from the past, and look as strange to current ethnic literary canons as they did at the time of their invention.
View abstract

Christa McDermott, 2007. “Understanding the psychology of unsustainability: Linking materialism, authoritarianism, attitudes toward gender and the environment, and behavior.”
A feature of materialistic values is their implicit incorporation of a hierarchical structure of naturalized, social differences, sustained primarily by an emphasis on social comparisons. It is hypothesized that people who hold these values will be more likely to express attitudes that encourage maintenance of a hierarchical distribution of power and resources, specifically authoritarian attitudes, than people who do not have materialistic values. In turn, these conventional, authority subservient attitudes will correlate positively with traditional gender and environmental attitudes, expressed behaviorally as a lack of engagement in pro-environmental behaviors.
View abstract

Maureen McDonnell, 2005. “Crossing the Line: Performing Cultural Identities through Global Shakespearean Drama.”
The canonical force of Renaissance drama contributes to its being a major player in the recent formations of many identities on the global stage. Crossing the Line begins with a single premise: the conviction that dramatic texts need to be considered not as inert relics but as a collection of scripts that offer theatre practitioners and audiences opportunities to negotiate identity. My analysis contends that theatre companies have transformed Shakespearean performance into a transnational text that serves as a shifting and evolving testament to how local communities grapple with contemporary identities of gender, sexuality, race, language, and nation.
View abstract

Jennifer McFarlane-Harris, 2010. "Autobiographical theologies: Subjectivity and religious language in spiritual narratives, poetry, and hymnody by African-American women, 1830--1900."
This dissertation examines the spiritual writings of four freeborn nineteenth-century African-American women—Zilpha Elaw, Rebecca Cox Jackson, Julia A. J. Foote, and Frances E. W. Harper—establishing connections across genres (autobiography, poetry, and hymnody), time periods (antebellum, Reconstruction, and post-Reconstruction), and approaches to religious language (prophetic, mystical, devotional, poetic, etc.). Exploring why holiness was attractive to these women, this project examines race and gender as issues that make Protestant Christianity more immediate, urgent, and necessary in their lives and writings.
View abstract

Kathi Miner-Rubino, 2004. “Beyond targets: Vicarious exposure to hostility towards women in the workforce.”
Most research to date on misogyny and hostility towards women in the workplace has examined specific incidents and direct targets of such behavior. Preliminary research also shows that working in a context where women are mistreated can have negative effects for employees, even when the mistreatment is merely observed or perceived. While research has identified a link between personal and bystander experiences of harassment and hostility to negative outcomes, few researchers have offered a theoretical rationale for how and why working in an anti-female climate affects outcomes. In this dissertation, I propose a comprehensive theoretical model of the mediating and moderating mechanisms involved in this relationship, and empirically test subcomponents of the model. Specifically, I examined (1) the direct relationship between working in a hostile context for women and outcomes, and (2) gender and job status as moderators of this relationship.
View abstract

Kristine Molina, 2011. "A Multiple-Group Path Analysis of the Role of Social Marginality on Self-Rated Physical Health among U.S. Latina/o Adults: An Intersectional Perspective."
Few studies examine differential exposure to forms of social marginality, and how they contribute to health outcomes among Latina/os. The first aim of this dissertation was to examine Latina/os’ differential exposure to “dimensions” of social marginality (everyday discrimination and subjective social status in the U.S.). The second aim was to examine how health effects of social marginality unfold across Latina/os. Thirdly, this study examined the extent to which gender and ethnicity moderated relations between everyday discrimination, subjective social status in the U.S., psychological distress, and self-rated physical health.
View abstract

Sridevi Nair, 2009. "Writing the lesbian: Literary culture in global India."
This dissertation is about literary culture in late twentieth-century India. I explore how genre is deployed to represent culturally marginalized subjects. In particular, I examine the lesbian as represented by three genres—the anthology, autobiography, and the novel. These genres emerge in the context of right-wing religious nationalist attacks in the late 1990s against lesbianism as a part of Indian cultural life. The anthology writes the lesbian through anonymous contributors who are identified as lesbians in India even if not identified by name. In the autobiography, India's only out lesbian writer, Suniti Namjoshi, who lives in England deflects attention from herself to her childhood servant, thereby opening up discussions of India's class disparities. Novels by Abha Dawesar and Manju Kapur abandon the lesbian relationships they set out to discuss in favor of exploring historical events around caste and religious violence in contemporary India. Thus, each work participates in the deferral of the lesbian subject either by refusing to tell us who real lesbians are via anonymity, or by emphasizing other forms of social marginalization. I argue that such a strategy indicates an interest in using the lesbian to explore the terms by which culture comes to be defined by normalizing various aspects of social life of which female heterosexuality is an important one.
View abstract

Vanessa Noble, 2005. “Doctors Divided: Gender, Race, and Class Anomalies in the Production of Black Medical Doctors in Apartheid South Africa, 1948–1994.”
This dissertation examines the history of the creation of a deeply divided and unequal medical educational and health care system in South Africa. During the 20th century the training of medical practitioners and the type of health care services that they were to provide was directly influenced by racial segregation ideology and discriminatory policies. During World War II, it came to be realized that the training of “non-European” students had to be of the highest western biomedical standards; however, this training was to be provided in racially segregated institutions to produce black doctors to practice amongst “their own” communities in a racially divided health care service. This thesis focuses on the racially segregated training provided by the University of Natal’s “non-European” medical school in Durban. Due to apartheid restrictions on the provision of black medical training elsewhere in the country, this school was for many years the main institution dedicated to providing medical education for black students.
View abstract

Colleen O’Brien, 2001. “Contested Visions of a New Republic: Race, Sex, and the Body Politic in American Women’s Writing, 1850–1938.”
My dissertation analyzes representations of race relations in Progressive Era American fiction through focusing on the trope of the “octoroon.” From 1850–1938, both white women and African Americans struggled for inclusion in American politics and society. As mainstream anxiety about the place of blacks and women in United States culture and politics increased, the figure of the octoroon came to represent the fraught and unstable relationships among race, gender, and sexuality in constructing an inclusive template for American citizenship.
View abstract

Jennifer Palmer, 2008. “Atlantic crossings: Race, gender, and the construction of families in eighteenth-century La Rochelle.”
This dissertation shows that French families, faced with the contingencies brought on by colonialism and the presence of slaves and free people of color in France, demonstrated flexibility in modifying traditional strategies of parentage, godparentage, marriage, and inheritance to delineate whom they included as members. Positioning the family at the center of analysis demonstrates how slavery shaped gender roles and how both women and men in Saint-Domingue and La Rochelle manipulated the categories of race and gender for their own benefit. Ultimately, this dissertation argues that slavery and colonialism shaped family not only in France's colonies, but in France itself.
View abstract

Sheryl Pimlott-Kubiak, 2002. “Social Location and Cumulative Adversity in Traumatized Women.”
This study assessed a relatively homogeneous group of poor mothers to determine whether differences in exposure to trauma account for variation in the diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It also explored whether the personality characteristic of cynicism mediates exposure and diagnosis. Pathological sequelae to trauma exposure are typically attributed to individual vulnerability without considering variation in exposure. However, since exposure to both interpersonal and organizational stressors varies according to social location, assessment across a stress continuum is more appropriate. Once cumulative adversity is considered, individual differences can then be examined. Personality characteristics have been shown to mediate the effects of stressors on mental health outcomes, either enhancing resiliency or vulnerability.
View abstract

Rebekah Pite, 2007. “Creating a common table: Dona Petrona, cooking, and consumption in Argentina, 1928-1983.”
This dissertation is a social history of twentieth-century Argentina that focuses on a cultural phenomenon deeply embedded in daily life-the preparation and consumption of food. Through a variety of sources including cookbooks, oral histories, letters, newspaper articles, nutrition surveys, and government documents, it explores the domestic experiences of Argentines in relation to their most famous cooking expert, Doña Petrona C. de Gandulfo. Doña Petrona rose to national prominence through her live cooking demonstrations, magazine column, radio program, television show, and best selling cookbook. She maintained her predominance as Argentina's leading domestic expert over her long career (from 1928 to 1983) because she was able to remake herself in step with changes in gender roles and the nation's political economy. For this reason, analyzing Doña Petrona's career opens up our understanding of the gendered relationship between everyday life and economic and political dynamics.
View abstract

Cathleen Power, 2006. “Feeling class: How affect reinforces social inequality.”
Considerable research in psychology has examined prejudice and stereotyping, with particular attention to racism, sexism, and the role of cognition. Little of this literature focuses on classism, and only recently have researchers begun to investigate how intergroup emotions enable prejudice. This dissertation investigates how emotions maintain classism, addressing these gaps in the literature.
View abstract

Jinny Prais, 2008. “Imperial Travelers:  The Formation of West African Urban Culture, Identity, and Citizenship in London and Accra, 1925-1935.”
At the end of the First World War, increasing numbers of West Africans traveled to London to pursue degrees in higher education. Their educational experiences abroad presented new political and social opportunities. While living in London, and later as members of West Africa's urban and educated elite, these students founded a West African public sphere of clubs and newspapers in which they attempted to form a modern West African nation and subject.
View abstract

Desdamona Rios, 2010. "Minority status and privilege in the academy: The importance of race, gender, and socialization practices for undergraduates, graduate students and faculty."
This dissertation examines socialization practices in the academy in three separate studies. The first study considers the general absence of women in mainstream undergraduate curriculum and examines the influence of introducing women exemplars into an undergraduate political psychology course that is not identified as "Women's Studies." The second study examines doctoral students' motives for going to graduate school and how these motives are related to completing their program of study. The third study examines the experiences of different groups of faculty in STEM fields. The cumulative findings from these three studies suggest that diversity is indeed a work in progress. However, progress made across several decades is also evident in who is participating at the various levels in the academy, as well as the opportunities and spaces available to implement initiatives for creating more inclusive environments for undergraduates, graduate students and faculty.
View abstract

Natalie Sabik, 2012. "An Exploration of Body Image and Psychological Well-Being Among Aging African American and European American Women."
There is a large literature on the association between body image and women’s mental and physical health. However, this work has focused on young women’s appearance concerns. For older women, body concerns may center on age-related changes in both appearance and functioning. In this dissertation, I draw upon theories of aging and body image to theorize predictors and outcomes associated with older women’s body perceptions; this model is tested in three studies using data from two samples of community-based women (African American and European American) aged 65 and older.
View abstract

Diana T. Sanchez, 2005. “In the Bedroom and Beyond: Doing Gender in Intimate Relationships.”
Adherence to gender norms varies from person to person and depends on how much a person invests in gender ideals (Wood, Christensen, Hebl, & Rothgerber. 1997). Although some feminist theorists argue that the performance of gender is impossible to avoid if one is viewed as female or male (Butler, 1990; West & Zimmerman, 1995), it is important to examine the consequences for those who consciously engage in gender performances to meet gender ideals.
View abstract

Danielle Shapiro, 2012. "Parent and Child Mental Health in Nontraditional Families: The Intersecting Roles of Gender, Dyadic Support, and Communication."
While families that deviate from traditional, nuclear, and biologically-based arrangements are increasingly common, relatively little work has adopted a systems-based approach to understand parents’ experiences, and the psychological correlates of these experiences, in nontraditional families. To fill this gap, this dissertation employs a family systems and feminist model to examine the psychological outcomes, for both parents and children, associated with parenting in nontraditional or stressful contexts. In particular, this dissertation explores the role of dyadic support and communication among family members and the ways in which these two processes buffer both parents and children from depressive and other psychiatric symptoms.
View abstract

Lakisha Simmons, 2009. "Black girls coming of age: Sexuality and segregation in New Orleans, 1930-1954."
This dissertation explores sexuality in the lives of African American girls living in New Orleans during the late Jim Crow period. I investigate interracial sexual violence, which many black girls experienced and most feared. I also explore sexual mores and how girls negotiated between the pressures to live up to standards of purity with simultaneous racist representations of black women and girls as sexually promiscuous. And finally, I explore experiences of intimacy and love in black girls' lives. I argue that black girls in segregated New Orleans faced a double bind—on one side was the reality of Jim Crow violence; on the other, middle-class African Americans' expectations of purity and respectability.
View abstract

Jocelyn Fenton Stitt, 2002. “Gender in the Contact Zone: Writing the Colonial Family in Romantic-era and Caribbean Literature.”
Utilizing Romanticist, postcolonial, and feminist literary criticism, this project posits the interconnectedness of ideologies of family, inheritance, domesticity, gender, sexuality, and race as central to the construction of notions of nation and family in both Romantic-era literature and contemporary Caribbean writing. I use novels by twentieth-century Caribbean women writers Jean Rhys, Michelle Cliff, and Jamaica Kincaid as sites of entry into some of the most hotly contested issues in transatlantic studies. The twentieth-century novels I examine provide insight into the policing of boundaries of gender, sexuality, and race as the English and the Afro-Caribbean family and cultures became intertwined through slavery and colonization.
View abstract

Pavitra Sundar, 2007. “Sounding the nation: The musical imagination of Bollywood cinema.”
"Sounding the Nation" examines the construction of identity in mainstream Hindi cinema, or Bollywood. I combine musical, textual, visual, and historical analysis to reveal how the soundtrack of a recent Bollywood blockbuster, Lagaan (2001), constructs India. Taking this film as a case study, I situate it in the broader history of Bollywood and of populist discourse on nation, and I analyze the ideological work of song lyrics, timbres, melodies, rhythms, and orchestral arrangements. I contend that such musical elements work both in conjunction with, and independent of, this film's visuals and narrative to construct a national utopia. The Lagaan soundtrack reinscribes familiar nationalist rhetoric in at least three ways: by literally giving voice to Indian femininity, disciplining the male homosocial body in its militaristic fight songs, and marking time musically so as to render the nation modern.
View abstract

Lynn Verduzco Baker, 2011. "Charmed Circle of Motherhood: How Motherhood Discourses Discredit and Empower Young and Low-Income Mothers."
Public and political debate blame the childbearing behaviors of young low-income women for their economic struggles while ignoring the role of structural inequality in the negative outcomes they and their children experience. Research showing that without increased access to quality education and living wage jobs, low-income teenaged women experience only slightly worse outcomes than low-income women who wait until their 20s to have children has failed to shift this blame. I argue that this phenomenon is driven by the power and ubiquity of dominant discourses of motherhood which shape the way society understands these mothers as individuals, citizens and parents.
View abstract

Jennifer Yim, 2009. "'Being an Asian American male is really hard actually': Cultural psychology of Asian American masculinities and psychological well-being."
This dissertation study examined beliefs about idealized masculine cultural identity and psychological well-being among Asian American male college students using social marginality and intersectionality perspectives. An online survey ( N = 381) and semi-structured interviews ( n = 20) were conducted to examine an idealized cultural identity research model.
View abstract

Ying Zhang, 2010. "Politics and morality during the Ming-Qing dynastic transition (1570-1670)."
This study explores the significance of moral issues in shaping literati-officials' political struggles and behaviors during the Ming-Qing dynastic transition (roughly from 1570 to 1670). Focusing on four literati-officials (Li Zhi, Zheng Man, Huang Daozhou, and Gong Dingzi) and women in their lives, it highlights how the Confucian ideal of the literati official was strained during a time of intense factionalism and loyalism, and the ways in which moral discourse about personal behavior was deployed for political purposes. The roles and responsibilities laid out by the Five Cardinal Relations (wulun) were utilized by literati-officials during this dynastic transition to define the political virtue of loyalty (zhong) in moral attacks as well for self-protection. This work argues that political struggles, by activating intangible connections among literati's multiple moral virtues, made these virtues—in particular gender norms and sexual morality—relevant to politics and officials' career.
View abstract