Pembroke Center
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Steinhaus/Zisson Pembroke Center Research Grants for Undergraduate and Graduate Students

Funding Opportunities

The Beatrice Bloomingdale Steinhaus ’33, P’60, P’65, GP’87, GP’91/Gertrude Rosenhirsch Zisson’30, P’61, P’63, GP’91 grants support undergraduate and graduate student research at the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women. Student research may be on any topic related to the work of the Pembroke Center, with preference given to research on women's education, health, community activism, philanthropy, and economic status, and women's rights and well-being in the United States and in developing countries around the world.

Undergraduate students are invited to apply for grants up to $1,000. Graduate students may apply for grants up to a maximum of $2,000. Application materials include:

  • a three- to five-page description of your research project
  • a letter of support from faculty advisor
  • amount requested and plan for allocated grant funds

The Steinhaus/Zisson Fund was provided by Nancy Steinhaus Zisson ’65, P’91 and William Zisson ’63, P’91 in memory of their mothers, Beatrice Bloomingdale Steinhaus ’33, P’60, P’65, GP’87, GP’91 and Gertrude Rosenhirsch Zisson ’30, P’61, P’63, GP’91, and the life changing education that they received at Pembroke College in Brown University. It was established in recognition of their family members who are alumnae and alumni of Brown University, including Margaret Steinhaus Sheppe ’60, P’87, Harry R. Zisson ’61, William Zisson ’63, P’91, Nancy Steinhaus Zisson ’65, P’91, Laura Sheppe Miller ’87, Michael B. Miller ’87, Alex Zisson ’91, and Emma Miller ’16. These two women inspired a love of learning in their children and grandchildren, and a strong belief that education and self-improvement are important aspects of personal growth that do not stop with the end of formal schooling. They believed profoundly in women's rights and affordable education as a means to achieving these goals.

2021/22 Recipients

Radhika MoralRadhika Moral
Graduate Student, Anthropology
"Silk Frontiers: Commodity Chains, Women’s Work, and the Politics of Belonging in Northeast India"

Radhika Moral’s project is an anthropological study of a silk economy as traditional practice and a site of political personhood in Assam, a state in Northeast India. In thinking about silk commodities as both intimate and political, this study explores how commodities generate meanings in the everyday for rural weavers and are mobilized by the state and elite entrepreneurs to consolidate ethnolinguistic belonging. Belonging is a contested site itself where different actors make claims to it through forms of ethnolinguistic fixity, gendered work, and seemingly ethical consumption practices. Small-scale agrarian and cottage industry actors such as weavers and silkworm breeders often experience their lives being permeated and encapsulated by processes that they do not control, resulting in economic, social, and environmental vulnerabilities. Yet, their bodily practices and possession of ecological knowledge intrinsically shape the contours of the political world even as they are left out of broader movements of identity formation. In this vein, the project examines how production of commodities forge senses of belonging through the centrality of migrant women’s work in Assam’s silk belt. These processes are examined through a silk industry at a time of neoliberal transformations and resurgent ethnonationalist movements.

Stephanie Y. WongStephanie Y. Wong
Graduate Student, History
"Material Gender in the Early Modern Spanish Pacific"

Material representations of colonial Mexico frequently gesture towards connections between art history, gender studies, area studies, and history. Rarely is a syncretic approach used to explore the process of early modern globalization between Asia and the Americas. Stephanie Y. Wong's dissertation will be among the first projects to analyze the material culture of the Spanish Pacific, a region bounded by the trade route between the Philippines, Latin America, and Spain. This transregional project is informed by evidence from archives and museums in Mexico, a colony of the Spanish empire that was emblematic of cultural exchange by way of people and objects moving across the Pacific. By synthesizing primary sources in museums and documentary archives in Mexico, Wong incorporates multidisciplinary scholarship to reflect the diversity of her sources in documents and objects, uniting themes of diaspora, gender, and mobility. Methodologically, Wong uses a two-pronged approach: material culture and microhistory. These methodologies allow not only a broader range of historical evidence but also an opportunity to read transregional histories “from below.” By examining global microhistories of objects and people, Wong works towards expanding the geographical boundaries of Latin American history.

Ieva ZumbyteIeva Zumbyte
Graduate Student, Sociology
"Neighborhood Class Distinctions: How Caregivers Respond to Parental Expectations in Delivering Childcare Services in Urban India"

Ieva’s dissertation research asks: Why do disadvantaged neighborhoods often get poor quality public childcare services? Prior explanations focus on funding, bureaucratic capacity or program design, and largely overlook the role of childcare workers and the social context in which they provide services. This dissertation seeks to explain place-based disparities in public childcare quality by examining how childcare caregivers understand their role and adapt childcare services according to neighborhood context in Chennai, India. The Indian government runs the largest public childcare system in the world, called Integrated Child Development Services, providing free universal childcare services, including growth monitoring, supplementary nutrition and preschool education through neighborhood centers. Having one of the most developed networks of childcare centers in urban India, Chennai is particularly well-suited to examine variations in the quality of public childcare. This study draws on ethnographic observations and over 200 interviews with caregivers, childcare administrators, parents and neighborhood development workers in 15 poor and better-off neighborhoods to reveal how social interactions between caregivers and neighborhood members give rise to uneven childcare delivery. This dissertation will generate new insights into the relationships between frontline workers, neighborhoods, and inequality. and people, Wong works towards expanding the geographical boundaries of Latin American history.

Past Recipients

  • Jenny Dolan, Graduate Student, Department of American Studies
    Constructing Willpower: The Origins of the Marshmallow Experiment
  • Deborah Frempong, Graduate Student, Department of Anthropology
    Gendered Mobilities: Faith, Belonging and Spatial Geographies of Returnee Women in Accra
  • Felicia Denaud, Graduate Student, Africana Studies
    At the Vanishing Point of the Word: Blackness and the Unnameable War
  • Warren Harding, Graduate Student, Africana Studies
    Bearing Witness, Holding Space: Black Caribbean Migrant Women and the Literacies of Belonging
  • Nell Lake, Graduate Student, American Studies
    Mother. Nurse. Housewife. Maid.: The Enduring Moral Politics of ‘Women’s Work’ in America
  • Kristen Maye, Graduate Student, Africana Studies
    Black Studies Toward a Poetics of Black Critique
  • Esha Sraboni, Graduate Student, Sociology
    Making Meaning of Gendered Violence and the Law: Global Discourses and Local Realities in Bangladesh
  • Ieva Zumbyte, Graduate Student, Sociology
    Tracing the Quality of Public Childcare Services in Urban Settlements
  • Rehan Jamil, Graduate Student, Political Science
    Social Policy and Changing Citizenship Boundaries in Pakistan
  • Kristen McNeill, Graduate Student, Sociology
    Gendered Evaluations, Gendered Effects: A Bank-to-Household Approach to Microfinance and Women’s Economic Empowerment
  • Melanie White, Graduate Student, Africana Studies
    Afro-Nicaraguan Women’s Art and Visions of Autonomy on the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua
  • Daniel McDonald, Graduate Student, History
    Mothers on the March: Grassroots Women’s Resistance in Military Brazil
  • Katsí Rodríguez Velázquez, Graduate Student, Africana Studies
    Claiming the Anjelamaría Davilá: Black Women in the Decolonization of Puerto Rico
  • Zoe Gilbard ‘18, History and Public Health
    Eugenics in Rhode Island’s Progressive Era Psychiatric Institutions: The Treatment of Women and Immigrants
  • Aja Grande ‘18, Science, Technology & Society
    The Pursuit of Pono in Hawai‘i Education Politics
  • Lydia Kelow Bennett, Graduate Student, Africana Studies
    Conjuring Freedom: A Black Feminist Meditation for Neoliberal Times
  • Girija Borker, Graduate Student, Economics
    Safety First: Perceived Travel Risk and College Choice of Women
  • Javier Fernanez Galeano, Graduate Student, History
    The Argentinean Lesbian Feminist Movement
  • Camille L. Garnsey ‘17, Latin American Studies, Public Health
    The history of reproductive rights in Cuba
  • Arlen Austin ’16 and Beth Capper ‘16, Graduate Students, Modern Culture and Media
    Wages Due! A Digital Humanities Archive of the Wages for Housework Movement
  • Lakshmi Padmanabhan, Graduate Student, Departments of History and Modern Culture and Media
    Representing Rape: A Visual History of Feminist Protest in India
  • Anne Gray Fischer, Graduate Student, Department of History
    Arrestable Behavior: Vulnerable Women, State Power, and the Rise of the Carceral State, 1932-1982
  • Kwang R. Choi ‘17, Visual Art
    Submerging and Resurfacing: Multimedia Investigation of the “Last Mermaids” of Jeju
  • Noah Fields ‘17, Classics
    as I watch you, in fleeting glances, no talk is left inside me
  • Wanda Henry, Graduate Student, Department of History
    Searching the Dead and Burying the Bodies: Searchers of the Dead, Sextonesses, and Women Undertakers in England from the Sixteenth to Nineteenth Centuries
  • Rijuta Mehta, Graduate Student, Department of Modern Culture and Media
    The Repatriation Portrait: Women at the End of Empire, 1947-1953
  • Nicosia Shakes, Graduate Student, Department of Africana Studies
    Women’s Theatre and Feminist Activism in Jamaica and South Africa: A Study of Sistren Theatre Collective and The Mothertongue Project
  • Esme Ricciardi ’15, International Relations
    Islamic Immigrations, Sex Trafficking, and the Media: The Impact of Trafficking and Terrorism Discourses on Migration Policy in the EU
  • Meghan Kallman, Graduate Student, Department of Sociology
    Bureaucratized morality, institutional durability: organizationally mediated idealism and international relationships in the Peace Corps
  • Chelsea Cormier McSwiggin, Graduate Student, Department of Anthropology
    An Anthropological Study of the Experience of HIV, Kinship, and Community in Miami's Haitian Diaspora
  • Caroline Park and Asha Tamirisa, Graduate Students, Department of Music
    opensignal: A Dynamic Reconfiguring of Women in Computer Music
  • Jesse McGleughlin ’14, Africana Studies
    From Fannie Lou Hamer to Audre Lorde: Reading the National Freedom Democratic Party through Performance and Intervention
  • Francesca Inglese, Graduate Student, Department of Music
    Coloured Coons and Klopse Beats: Embodying Contested Subjectivities in Cape Town, South Africa
  • Bryan Knapp, Graduate Student, Department of History
    From Women’s Health to World Health: The Politics of Infant Formula, World Hunger, and Corporate Accountability, 1968-1981
  • Navarra Buxton ’13, Anthropology
    OpenDoors Case Study: The Effects of Pre and Post Release Employment Readiness Programs in the U.S. on Reducing Recidivism Rates Among Women