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Past Mellon Mays Fellows
Mimi Borders: Class of 2018
Majors: History and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Project: The Possibility of Desire: Sexual Choice within US Colored Troops Widow’s Pensions -- My project examines the function of slave marriage in the production of familial ties within the lives of black women at the moment of “freedom”. I utilize queer theory in defining the contours of black sexuality and non-normative kinship structures. Overall, I will explore the creative ways black females produced their own sexuality in an attempt to thrive within a violent society.
Savannah Jacobson: Class of 2018
Majors: History and African and African American Studies
Project: “The Evil Was in Her”: African American Women’s Participation in Informal Economies During the Great Migration in New York City -- My project takes place in New York City during the early years of the Great Migration, and looks at how black women formed informal economies as a means of survival and resistance. I use the Great Migration and the Harlem Renaissance to explain the rise of sex work and other forms of criminality. My project then explores how working-class black women catered these informal economies to their needs on both an individual and community level.
T-Herbert Jeffrey: Class of 2018
Project: An Inconsistent Triad: Conflicting Intuitions on the Nature of Suspicion -- This project explores the ethics of suspicion. What, if anything, is wrong with suspecting that a person from a certain demographic will do some action based on how others in his demographic act? Can police permissibly pull over unknown people simply because they match a description, and if they can, how should they act when they do it?
Kiara Sample: Class of 2018
Majors: African and African American Studies and Psychological and Brain Sciences
Project: “The Walking Wounded”: Race, Gender, and Surveillance in the Lives of Radical Black Women -- My research creates an understanding of the influence of race and gender on the FBI’s surveillance of radical Black women. The methods and tactics used by agents under the FBI’s Counterintelligence Program (COINTELPRO) is the focus of my research. Components of their FBI file such as the language used to describe them, the content included and not included in each file, and the narrative built by the agents and informants, are comparatively analyzed across gender and across time beginning in the 1940s.
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