Pembroke Center May Council Meeting Student Presentations

Pembroke Center May Council Meeting Student Presentations


VICTORIA WESTEND: Hi, my
name is Victoria Westend. I’m the class of 1983 and
parent class of 2017 and 2019. As the mother of a
graduating senior, it gives me particular
pleasure to welcome all of you. Students, your families,
alumni, alumnae faculty, and friends to the Pembroke
Center’s annual student prize and grant recipient
presentations. Besides being a proud
parent, which I am, I’m also chair of the
Pembroke Center Associates, a group of alumnae and alumni
and friends who support the Pembroke Center’s work. Founded in 1981,
the Pembroke Center was named in honor of Pembroke
College in Brown University, and the women of Pembroke and
its predecessor, the women’s college. The Pembroke Center is home to
Brown’s gender and sexuality studies concentration and
supports students and scholars such as the great
group that we are honored to have with us today
with fellowships and grants. The Center also supports
two important archives, the Christine Dunlap
Farnham Archive, which preserves the history of
Brown and Rhode Island women, and the Feminist
Theory Archive, which focuses on the intellectual
history of feminist scholars. Both are unique collections
and are valuable resources for scholars around the
country and around the world. And now I would like
to introduce you to Drew Walker, who is
the Associate Director of the Pembroke Center and
the director of the gender and sexuality studies
concentration. And Drew is going to introduce
our presentations today. Thank you so much. DREW WALKER: Hi. Thanks everybody for coming. I’ve already introduced
myself, I’m Drew Walker. This is my second year at
Brown, and in this position, and as the director of that
gender and sexuality studies program. And one of the great
joys of every year is to celebrate our
students, and also to give out these grants
and prizes every year. They come in several cycles. And I’m going to introduce
all of the speakers, but all of these
are made possible by the generous gifts of
Brown and Pembroke alum, and they are named accordingly. I also want to
thank everyone who has been involved
in the selection committees for these
prizes and grants, particularly Denise
Davis, who with me helps coordinate the programming and
these fellowships and grants. And also to Donna
Goodnow, who does all of the administrative
organization of the grants and prizes. So thanks a lot. So what I’m going to do
is announce the speakers in order along
with their grants, and then allow them to introduce
the titles of their talks. So please do that,
each of those speakers. So first there’ll be
Sage Fanucchi-Funes, who received the Barbara Anton
internship grant, Camille Garnsey, the
Steinhaus/Zisson Research Grant, Katherine Grusky, the
Enid Wilson Travel Fellowship. And I want to say this year
was the first year that we have awarded the Enid Wilson
Travel Fellowships which allowed us to sponsor several
more projects this year. And so we’re very pleased
to have that new prize. Alice Hamblett, who received
the Linda Pei Research Grant, Rebecca Hansen, who received
the Ruth Simmons Prize for Undergraduate Thesis and
Andrea Zhu, the Enid Wilson Travel Fellowship, as well. So let’s give them
a round of applause for their great accomplishments,
and I will welcome Sage to the podium. SAGE FANUCCHI-FUNES: Thank
you everyone for coming today. My name is Sage
Fanucchi-Funes, and I’m a senior graduating in
American Studies and Gender and Sexuality Studies. My thesis explores
the midwifery model of care, and how
that care assists people of color and
low income people throughout pregnancy and
birth in Rhode Island. So a midwife is a
medical provider that views birth as a normal
physiological process. Midwives are often seen as
providers that work outside of the medicalisation of birth. This view held by many
medical professionals sees pregnancy and birth as a
pathology that must be treated. Early on in my
undergraduate studies, I realized I wanted
to become a midwife. I was interested in the ways
in which midwives navigate the hospital and provided
a birth experience that centered the patient’s
values, wants, and needs. Spring semester
my junior year, I began shadowing at Women
and Infants Hospital, and I noticed that a majority
of the midwives were white. I wanted to investigate
this dynamic further. I became increasingly interested
in the racial and class dynamics between the
patients and providers. Overwhelmingly, I was often in
rooms of all white providers, and many of the
patients were patients of color and/or low income. How does this dynamic
affect the quality of care? Currently there are 14 tenets of
midwifery in the United States as outlined by the American
College of Nurse Midwives. For the purposes
of my own research, I decided to focus
on three tenets. One, care to
vulnerable populations; two, advocacy for choice,
shared decision making, and the right to
self-determination; and three, integration of
cultural humility. Using these tenets
as a framework, my research seeks to explore
the way in which language, experiences, and
education inform midwives and the care they provide
to low income people and people of color. The majority of
midwives in Rhode Island self-identify as white. Nationally, only 2% of
midwives identify was black, and it is astonishing how
low these numbers are. Before the creation of the
nurse midwife in the 1940s, black granny midwives, immigrant
women, and indigenous midwives made up a majority
of birth attendants in the United States. So how does race and
income contribute to the ways in which some
patients are treated? How does a midwife’s
personal identities affect their ability
to provide care to patients unlike themselves? My research relies heavily
on ethnographic research techniques. Additionally, I use historical
and primary source analysis to enrich my interviews
and field work. This three pronged
approach allowed me to explore the history of
midwifery, formal and informal education of
midwives, in addition to the interviews and field work
I conducted over the past year. Across these
different approaches, a few things became apparent. First, that
reproductive injustices have unfairly and
disproportionately affected people of color in
the United States while simultaneously
disenfranchising midwives of color, leading
to an overall upward trend in the last century of white
women entering the profession. Second, that racism, classism
greatly affect the care that midwives provide. And lastly, that
providers are often unaware of these racial
and class biases. So now I move into
two instances that I believe exemplify these
themes for the rest of this presentation. So one patient I spoke to who
was a black woman in Rhode Island had a very traumatizing
c-section experience. She used midwifery services. But before she had this
emergency c-section, she was asked if she wanted
a tubal litigation right as she was entering surgery. Quote, “I must
have fallen asleep, but that 45 minutes of not
being able to remember what happened to me is the worst. Probably the basis of my
postpartum depression later, and it was traumatizing
because I didn’t know, given the stupid lady’s question
before going under this. It was like nobody was with me
and I was by myself and asleep. I had no idea what
they had done. I had no idea if they’d done
something horrible to me because they couldn’t
account for the time, and nobody who loved
me was in the room.” It’s obvious that Marie– this was the patient–
feared that she, too, like many women who
looked like her, would be sterilized
without her permission. There’s a deep history of forced
sterilization of women of color in the United States, from the
1970s campaign that sterilized 25% of native women
on reservations, to the illegal testing of
the pill on Puerto Rican women in the 1950s and ’60s, to
the current day of sterilizing women of color who
are incarcerated. It is also apparent that
these providers did not consider the historical trauma
in the care that they provided. This violence should not have
to cross the mind of any woman during labor. Additionally, Natalie, who is a
black midwife in Rhode Island, tells me she notices a
difference in the way that people are treated
based on race and class. To quote her, she
says, “Well, one thing I can say, well, the
differences with women of color versus the treatment of, I
hate these words, but the more affluent or whatever,
however you want to put it, you do see a difference. That was a little
bit of my pet peeve. You treat people how you want to
be treated, whether you have $1 or you have nothing. We are all black, white,
end of story, you know. Everyone should be treated
with dignity and respect regardless of where
they come from.” Yet even Natalie
as a midwife feels she has been treated as a lesser
provider than other midwives in the state. She locates this
difference in treatment not just a symptom of her race,
but also a class difference between her and other midwives. As a single mom
of four children, she finds she is not as
respected as midwives who have professional husbands. She actually left one practice
because of blatant racism from the other providers
of this practice. People of color,
especially black people, are routinely denied
dignity and respect in their pregnancy and labor. Even though the
midwifery model of care is supposed to advocate
for all people, it seems from this research
that certain women– namely those who are white,
wealthy, and educated– are more often
guaranteed their dignity. There are changes happening in
and outside of the hospital. Slowly but surely, we
are on the right track towards racial justice. That community in
Providence is making steps towards this justice. More and more midwives of color
are beginning to practice. When I first started
this project, there was two midwives
of color in the state, and now there are four. More and more conversations are
being had about race and class injustices in the hospital. And these are examples of the
beginnings of birth justice in Rhode Island, so
hopefully one day we can just have the babies. Thank you. Are we doing questions? Questions? DREW WALKER: Are
there any questions? SPEAKER 1: I know
the theory, but what do you attribute the change
in the makeup of midwives to? SAGE FANUCCHI-FUNES:
So I focus more on certified nurse midwives, so
this is a professional track. You go to grad school
for three years. So when these schools
first started popping up in the 1940s, mostly
schools were segregated, so women of color
were not really allowed to enter
into these schools. So that was a big
contribution to it being a very white profession. In the last 10 years,
the American College of Nurse Midwifery put
together a task force to try and address
these disparities. Because midwives
actually do take care of a lot of people of
color and low income people, especially in urban areas. And so they wanted to
I guess rectify this. So they’re actually providing
a lot more money and grants to incentivize women of color
to enter the profession. SPEAKER 1: So it was really
about the professionalization or the intersection
of [INAUDIBLE] SAGE FANUCCHI-FUNES: Yes. Oh, yes? SPEAKER 2: Could you
talk a little bit about the interaction
between midwife and the gynecologist or
the practicing physician, and how that is? Because my children
were that old that there was no choice
on having a midwife. I mean, I guess we have to
find a midwife on your own. But we worked a
whole different way. So I’m wondering
[INAUDIBLE] talk about that. SAGE FANUCCHI-FUNES:
In Rhode Island, there are a few practices
that are made up of both midwives and doctors. So some people actually just
end up in midwifery care just because they call
up a gynecology practice, and that’s the person
that sees them. And then of course,
there are also a lot of women that seek
out midwifery services. So there’s kind of this back
and forth between those things. And I would say there’s
a bunch of collaboration between the midwives and
doctors in Rhode Island. I think one of the most
interesting and unique things in Rhode Island is
at Women and Infants, the midwives of the
hospital actually train the OB/GYN residents
at the med school, which is a very unique
collaboration that isn’t really in many hospitals, which
is actually really cool. So that collaboration
started in the ’90s. So there’s definitely been more
of a move towards accepting midwifery in Rhode Island. And it also wasn’t
legal in Rhode Island for midwives really to pract. It was not technically
illegal, but there was a lot of legal barriers
until basically the late 1980s for midwives to practice
in Rhode Island, especially within hospitals. So that’s been a big shift, too. SPEAKER 3: Did you notice,
or did you witness, or learn of any differences
on different populations of the types of contraceptives
that [INAUDIBLE] to offer? SAGE FANUCCHI-FUNES: I
focus more on just the birth aspect of midwifery. So I’ve been shadowing
at Women and Infants, and some of my field
notes are included, but it’s also more when
I’ve had interactions with the doctors or midwives
that I’ve interacted with. Because I don’t have IRB
approval, so I couldn’t really write things about the
actual patients I was seeing. So that’s a little bit
complicated to answer. But I personally did
not notice a difference. But definitely in
interviews, there was a couple times where
midwives brought up that they had worked at
low income hospitals, and really tried to push long
acting forms of birth control. Great, thank you so much. [APPLAUSE] DREW WALKER: And
now Camille Garnsey. CAMILLE GARNSEY: Hi. Hi, everyone. Thank you for being here today. My name is Camille
Garnsey, and I’m a senior concentrating in
public health in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. And my thesis this
year was called The Context of Choice,
Reproductive Rights In Cuba 1937 to 2017. So my larger project put the
history of reproductive rights and policies in
Cuba in conversation with current reproductive
realities of Cuban women. And I became really
interested in this after studying abroad
in Havana my junior year and learning that both abortion
and contraceptives were free, readily available,
and non stigmatized. So it was really
interested in understanding how this came about,
and how if there are other factors besides access
to abortion and contraceptives that constrain choice, and
what those factors are. So as indicated by the
timeline of this project, it’s pretty expansive. So I’m going to be
focusing primarily on my last chapter, which
was the chapter that has the research that
was generally funded by the Steinhaus/Zisson Grant. So in my third chapter,
I had two goals. Basically, the first
was to understand what factors besides
abortion and contraceptives constrained choice,
and the second had to do with these
stats right here. So in 1996, it was estimated
the average Cuban woman received 2.3 abortions in her lifetime. And these rates have
led some to label Cuba as having what’s called
an abortion culture, which is an environment where the
distinction between limiting one’s fertility prior
to or after conception is often irrelevant. That is, abortion is
not necessarily viewed as a last resort, but is
considered a legitimate means of avoiding and spacing birth. Now, the Cuban government
and other state officials have denounced these
rates, claiming that they’re the product
of irresponsibility on the part of Cuban women. They suggest that– good, yep,
that’s appropriate response. They suggest that because
contraceptives are available and there is widespread
contraceptive education, that there’s really
no reason women should land at abortion other
than their own promiscuity and irresponsibility. So I didn’t really trust
that characterization. And so my last
chapter in my thesis was the product of fieldwork
that I did in Havana to try to understand women’s
reproductive decision making process. So I wanted to
understand what was the negotiation
around contraceptives, and how were women confronting
unplanned pregnancies? So through Casa de las Americas,
which was the institution that I studied abroad with. I gained access
basically to a couple of different clinical spaces,
and I worked with Dra. Melba, who’s a Cuban OB/GYN. And I spoke with
patients and doctors in Avedro Policlinico, which is
where abortion procedures are performed. And also I went with her
to three doctors’ homes where she was doing neonatal
consultations with women. I also conducted interviews
with friends and professors that I’ve had during
my time abroad, and we discussed contraceptive
use, gendered norms and expectations, abortion,
unplanned pregnancy, and parenthood. And my main goal
was to understand sexual reproductive
decision making patterns as women experience them. So I had four key findings
from these interviews and these conversations. The first was gendered
power dynamics that influence condom usage. The second was negative
experiences with contraception that contradicts
the government’s claims about
widespread access to modern contraceptive options. The third was inadequate
sexual education. And the fourth was pragmatic
and thoughtful reactions to unplanned pregnancies
on the part of Cuban women. So I’m going to talk about
three of the four of these in this presentation. So the first thing
that I found was that there’s
widespread resistance to condom use in Cuba,
which is not unique to Cuba. It’s very common
all over the globe for men to insist that condoms
reduce pleasure during sex, and that women, if
they trusted them, would not want to use condoms. But what was really interesting
about the Cuban case was this resistance
to condom usage was emboldened by the
accessibility of abortion. So as indicated by
this second quote here, this man said, “I don’t
always use condoms. I don’t like the way they feel. It never seemed like
a big deal to me because abortions are so
easy to get here in Cuba. I never imagined she’d
want to keep the child.” And so this
ethnographic evidence was then further
supported the fact that condoms aren’t used by some
recent research in Cuba that said that 90% of
sexually active men were aware that
condoms prevented against both unwanted
pregnancy and STDs, but only 47% reported
using them during sex. So with low condom
usage, the responsibility to prevent pregnancy fell
on the shoulders of women. And so I spoke with women
in these clinical settings about their contraceptive
use and options. And of the 20 women that I
spoke with in clinical settings, only one was currently using
a long acting contraceptive option. She was using the pill. Rather than the lack of
contraceptive use being the product of women’s
irresponsibility, what I found was that this decision
not to use contraceptives was rooted in
negative experiences with contraceptive devices. So as indicated by
this first quote, Cuban women have had a lot of
bad reactions to the pill that are sort of reminiscent
of the issues that women saw with the
pill in the 1960s and 1970s in the United States. And then also a lot
of issues with IUDs. A lot of the women that I
spoke with had had IUDs that had been dislodged, or
that they found they just weren’t compatible
with their body. What was really
interesting about this, too, is that a recent
study also suggested that 20% of unplanned
pregnancies in Cuba were the result of
IUD failure, which is really interesting
considering in the United States the statistic is
IUDs prevent pregnancy all but 0.15% of the time. They’re actually
technically more effective than sterilization
at this point. So what these findings
led me to were a lot of questions
about the quality of contraceptive options
available to Cuban women, the conversations
between Cuban women and their providers about
options that are best for them, and also possibly issues with
training and insertion of IUDs and prescribing of pills. So then, one of the final themes
that I’m going to discuss today had to do with how
women approached unplanned pregnancies
when they did happen. So of the 20 women that I spoke
with in clinical settings, all but one were dealing
with an unplanned pregnancy. And rather than the knee jerk
reaction and just a tendency to get abortion, I found that
women’s choices in whether they decided to get an
abortion or carry through with their pregnancy reflected
really pragmatic and thoughtful responses. So by and large, I spoke
with these 20 women, they represented a lot
of different races, a lot of different
professions, and a lot of different experiences,
but they all almost cited the exact same reasons as to
why they were getting abortions. And the first were
economic concerns. As indicated by this first
quote, a lot of women use the phrase, I don’t
have the conditions. And in discussing
conditions, these women are making reference to
a host of economic issues that are really present in Cuba. The governmental salary
is $20 a month for people. There’s a huge
urban housing crisis whereby multiple
generations of families are living in the same home. And there’s also the emergence
of a dual economy which is making goods
and services that used to be guaranteed
to Cuban people by the revolution more
and more difficult for the average
Cuban family to get. So that was the
first factor that was driving women’s
decision to get an abortion. And the second was emotional
and familial support. So those women who suggested
they were receiving abortion often suggested that they
hadn’t been with their partner for very long, or
that they didn’t have family support to carry
through with their pregnancy. So then what was
really interesting is when I went into the neonatal
spaces, the women who suggested they decided to go through
with a non-planned pregnancy and have the child really
described basically the inverse of these factors. They suggested that they had the
funding, that maybe one family member worked in
the private sector, and that they also had been with
their partners for a long time and had strong familial support. So what this really
showed me was that– find my notes– that women’s
narratives illustrate a number of barriers
to preventing pregnancy and pragmatic responses
to unplanned pregnancy that both contradict the
government’s characterization and highlight the
continued existence and legacy of the government’s
lack of a holistic commitment to reproductive rights. So some of the biggest takeaways
from this project for me were first the importance
of thinking more expansively about the conditions necessary
for reproductive choice and freedom. That access to abortion,
access to contraception are not enough alone. There needs to be an
interdependedness of rights. Women’s economic needs
need to be satisfied, their familial needs
need to be tended to, and patriarchal masculine
norms need to be dismantled. And then the second finding was
that it’s really a useful tool to pair historical evidence
with ethnographic evidence. Because when you look at the
history of reproductive rights in Cuba, and you see
that abortion is legal, it’s really easy to
say, wow, they’ve realized reproductive rights. But by pairing the
voices of Cuban women with that historical evidence,
a more holistic and nuanced picture of what’s
actually going on emerges. So that’s my project. Thank you very much. Yeah? SPEAKER 4: Why do you think that
the IUD failure rate is so much higher there, and what is
going on with the pill there? CAMILLE GARNSEY: Yeah,
those were my main questions when I was writing that
piece of the thesis was it was really,
really puzzling why this was happening. One thing I noticed is
that a couple of my friends while we were abroad actually
got prescribed birth control pills. And the pills that
they were prescribed were the multi-phasic
pills, which often have much more
severe side effects because the hormones
change all the time. So one thing that I
assume with contraception is that it’s been very difficult
to import contraceptive methods into Cuba, given the
embargo, and given issues with medical technology
crossing the border. So it’s possible
that the chemicals available to the
Cuban facilities are just not where we’re
at in terms of technology with contraception. But it’s very confusing, because
the government repeatedly insists that there are all
these modern high quality options available. And the IUD failure rate
is also extremely puzzling. The only thing I
can really surmise is that there’s issues
with provider training and insertion, or that
the quality of the devices themselves are low. And perhaps old, and
not stored properly. So that’s kind of
what I’m guessing. I would definitely love to do
more research to figure out what’s going on there. Yeah? SPEAKER 5: So I guess
my question would be, I guess they
don’t have access to the morning after pill there? CAMILLE GARNSEY: Yeah,
Plan B, I don’t think so. Actually that was not something
that we talked about a lot. I think partly because abortions
are so available to women, and it’s also very expensive
to buy a pregnancy test. So women also often don’t
know that they’ve become pregnant until much later. I actually didn’t
really explore Plan B, but also be an interesting
thing to look into further. Yeah? SPEAKER 6: So thank you for
[INAUDIBLE] presentation. Very interesting. So I was very interested
in your metacomment about the pairing [INAUDIBLE]. But I also was struck by
what’s going on with abortion? This is a Catholic
country, I would imagine, and you talk about
the socio-economics. And that’s, if you’re
living with your family, your family’s going
to take the child. But it’s the same problem. I’m curious how abortion is
dealt with in this context and how it interacts with
these questions about– CAMILLE GARNSEY: Yeah,
so the religious question is really interesting
with the Cuban case, partly because for
various reasons the Spanish Catholic
church didn’t actually develop as strong
of a base in Cuba as it did in other
Caribbean countries. And then also with
the revolution, the Catholic church was
really effectively pushed out of the country because the state
was the only institution that was allowed to be
recognized and have power. Which is interesting,
because Cuban people still definitely engage with
Catholic practices, and also Catholic practices
are very heavily influenced by African culture, as well. But there really doesn’t
seem to be any of that. There’s really no conceptions
of fetal personhood. No one really ever
articulated a projection of abortion based on this
idea that fetuses are people. So there seems to be just a
lack of that religious influence that I think was
pretty effectively squashed by the revolution. And then remind me, your
second question was about– SPEAKER 6: I didn’t
ask a second question. CAMILLE GARNSEY: Oh, OK. SPEAKER 6: But I do
have a second question. CAMILLE GARNSEY: I
haven’t officially said yes to this
yet, but I think I’m going to be working
with Family Health International on their
contraceptive innovation access team. So yeah. SPEAKER 7: We forgot to
ask Sage that question. Sage, what do you plan to do? SAGE FANUCCHI-FUNES: I’m
staying at Providence, looking for a job,
getting doula trained. CAMILLE GARNSEY: Yeah? SPEAKER 8: What is the
birth rate in Cuba? CAMILLE GARNSEY: Extremely low. So currently they’re
experiencing a pretty dramatic fertility decline. It’s below replacement, and
has been for about 10 years. So that’s also I
think part of what plays into the government’s
denunciation of high abortion rates is they’re really worried
about the continued existence and success of the revolution
given that the population is shrinking really dramatically. And so most Cuban
women have I think it’s 1.2 is the birth rate. So very low. SPEAKER 9: So I really
appreciate your presentation. I’m quite impressed,
actually, with your depth of knowledge of the
country and their culture. And Catholocism and the
impact of the dual economy that currently exists
on that island. So I’m wondering with
respect to that dual economy whether the more affluent
community and their access to contraceptives, you go
into any store in there, and everything is at
least 30 years old. I mean, their microwaves what
we used in the ’60s and ’70s. So again, the wealthier
group, they get to import it. So were you able to
study at all that? CAMILLE GARNSEY:
Yeah, I mean, there’s definitely a huge market
in Cuba for pharmaceuticals that are coming from the
United States or from Spain. And these are paid
for in the CUC, which is basically the
equivalent of the US dollar. So the foreign currency
that most Cubans don’t have access to unless they
have family abroad. Unfortunately, the spaces
that I was doing research were public spaces. So I wasn’t really
speaking with women who were utilizing black
market pharmaceuticals. But I do imagine that there is a
market for those, and for women who have those means that are
able to purchase higher quality contraceptives because
they’re able to purchase higher quality medicine period. So thank you. DREW WALKER: OK, next
up is Katherine Grusky. KATHERINE GRUSKY:
Hi, I’m Kate Grusky. My thesis is Digging Below the
Surface, Women and Families in the El Teniente Copper
Mine from 1904 to 1930. Yes, the pun is intended. So thank you so much. I feel truly honored
to be here today. My thesis is on the gender
dynamics of labor control in one of the most important
American owned extraction centers in the world in
the early 20th century. And so with the Enid
Wilson Travel Grant, I was able to go to Chile
over winter break and conduct research, both in the
Chile National Archives as well as in the
copper mines itself. The trip really brought
my project to life and I’m so grateful
for that opportunity. So I studied abroad in
Chile my junior fall, and I immediately learned
how important copper was to the Chilean economy. Everyone from my professors,
to the taxi drivers, to my host family knew
how copper was trading. That’s because copper makes
up such a large portion of the Chilean
economy, it’s about 20% of GDP, 60% of exports. And Chile is the world
leader in copper production. So while I was abroad, I went
to visit the El Teniente Copper Mine, which is about
100 miles southeast of the capital of Santiago
and 30 miles from the nearest town of Rancagua. In 1904, the Chilean government
authorized American mining engineer William Braden
who is here on the right to exploit the copper mine. He formed the Braden Copper
Company in 1995 in New York and bought El Teniente
that same year. In 1909, Braden sold his rights
to the Guggenheim family. And under North
American ownership, it was built into the highest
producing underground copper mine in the world. The journey to reach El
Teniente from the nearest town is extremely arduous before
railroads were installed. So in order to
create a labor force, deep in the Andes
Mountains the company had to build a mining town. So the town of Sewell became the
home of Americans and Chileans living and working in the mine. So by 1910, El Teniente
began producing copper. And World War I dramatically
increased the global demand for copper because of
copper’s high level of electric conductivity. So it was really important
to wartime industry. And in order to
keep up with demand, the company had to bring
in new technologies, including modern mills,
crushers, new flotation units. And so in this
photograph here you can see them hauling
up the machinery. But the company needed
a skilled labor force that knew how to
operate the machinery and work in the mine
on a permanent basis. Up until 1914, El
Teniente operated on only a seasonal basis,
closing during the coldest winter months. And so many of
the laborers would work during the warm
months and then go leave for the countryside,
or the cities, or the northern mining
districts for the winter. So the company had to make a
fundamental change in the labor force. They needed permanent workers. And so they established a
welfare department in 1914 and attempted to change the
social and cultural environment in the mine in order to increase
the number of permanent miners and laborers, and to meet that
demand created by World War I. So what does this have to
do with women and families? The North American men
running the welfare department believed that encouraging
marriage and nuclear families would incentivize men to
stay in the mine for longer periods of time. Men would be less likely to
uproot and leave El Teniente if they had a stable family. So Braden Copper Company
encouraged the formation of families with a
gendered division of domestic duties and values. Women were charged
with the responsibility of maintaining hygiene,
managing money, and educating their children and themselves. So my thesis explored each
of these three interventions, hygiene, money
management, and education. And I’ll touch on
each of those briefly. So Braden Copper Company
inspired, and even demanded women living at Sewell
through regulations and company produced publications
to be hygienic. So in this context,
hygiene is both kind of a physical and moral sense. And they became tied together. So they were
expected to maintain hygienic spaces, and
personal cleanliness, but were also encouraged to be
hygienic in terms of virtue. And this was a means of
discouraging prostitution, since prostitution
was antithetical to the stable nuclear family. And so the focus on
hygiene and regulating social spaces and
practices was an attempt to guide the labor force into
this productive community. So next, the company
also expected women to manage and save
their husbands’ money. Women were not working in
the mine, just to clarify. They were just living there. And so although
household economy was an exclusively
female duty, they had to be taught
by the company or another authoritative
figure, presumably male, to handle their finances. Women were told to be frugal
in order to uphold their family and marriage. And this is kind of
interesting, because it was despite a broader context
of this time period that focused on consumerism in Chile. And there is an
association created by the company between
financial frivolousness and sexual frivolousness. So women were
taught that they had to be both modest
in their finances and in their relationships. And then third, the
company built schools for the children and
vocational and night schools for men and women, where they
would teach them finances and things of that nature. And the company also used
informal educational systems like clubs, they had Boy
Scouts and Girl Scouts to instill those same
values, and to shape the social and cultural values
of the inhabitants at Sewell. So again, the company
targeted women to instill the values of
middle class respectability in the Chilean
population, and women were expected to raise
their children according to those values. I found that the company used
the language of nationalism to inspire women to
teach their children. They had to teach their
children the right lessons, because their children would
be the future citizens, as well as the future miners and
miners’ wives at Sewell. So hopefully I illustrated how
this American owned company transformed a
mining site through this gendered social welfare
system into a company town. And the company’s
primary motivation was to increase
worker productivity, but I think paternalism
also came into play. The North American mine owners
had a vision of leading Chile into modernity, and
the North American men saw women in the family
unit as a critical means to achieve that vision. Thanks. [APPLAUSE] SPEAKER 10: [INAUDIBLE]. So Catherine, thank you. That was really interesting. I hope that you will continue
working on this in the future, because it’s a really
important topic. So one question
I have is, do you have a sense of
why the choice was made to build essentially a kind
of settler community as opposed to in other contexts, where in
fact, prostitution is choice? In other words, this wide
network of community building is interesting, including
the education part of it. I know the [INAUDIBLE]
context where prostitution is the way it was done. That’s how you
get the men there, and then you use local women. KATHERINE GRUSKY:
I think a lot of it was just because of
its remote location, it really needed to
have people stay there for long periods of time. So prostitution was
detrimental to that, because then a man would
want to leave the town. And that takes time. So I think the geographical
context definitely came into play. SPEAKER 11: What
were the effects of these policies on both
[INAUDIBLE] and [INAUDIBLE]?? KATHERINE GRUSKY: In terms of
productivity, it did very well. The mine was an
extremely profitable, and an extremely
efficient operation. And there wasn’t a
lot of resistance from the families in the mines. There were a few
strikes in the mine, but none of the
strikers’ requests were about family life,
which was surprising. But one of the large, more
social and cultural value that they did strike against
was there was an alcohol ban. So that was more of a priority. SPEAKER 12: Two questions. What happened in 1930? KATHERINE GRUSKY: So I
chose this time period because the mine
was built in 1904, and then 1930s, I
wanted to follow one cycle of the
international copper market. So I just went up and
down at this point. So at the 1930s, the
copper market went really– it was destroyed. SPEAKER 12: So what’s
it like [INAUDIBLE]?? KATHERINE GRUSKY: So
now, you can see it, it’s still in operation. It was nationalized in the
1970s under Salvador Allende. So it’s owned by the Chilean
National Copper Company. And they don’t live
in the town now. Now there’s a railroad
that takes about 30 or 40 minutes to commute each day. Yeah? SPEAKER 13: Did you see evidence
that many other companies were also nationalized in Chile? KATHERINE GRUSKY: Yeah, the
entire copper market in Chile was nationalized in the ’70s. There’s been some
denationalization, but– SPEAKER 13: [INAUDIBLE] KATHERINE GRUSKY:
Yes, I think so. DREW WALKER: I’ll ask
the last question. What about next year? KATHERINE GRUSKY: Doing
something a little different. I’m working in
finance in New York. DREW WALKER: OK, thank you. KATHERINE GRUSKY: Thanks. [APPLAUSE] DREW WALKER: Next up
is Alice Hamblett. ALICE HAMBLETT: Hi. My name is Alice Hamblett. And with the help of the
Pembroke Center and the Linda Pei Undergraduate
Research Award, I was able to travel
back to Havana, Cuba where I studied abroad
to complete research for my honors thesis in the
anthropology department, which is entitled, Assuming Carrying
Control, Maternity, Gender and the Contemporary
Cuban State. As you might have
assumed, I also did my research with
Camille, so there might be a little overlap,
but I’m going to try my best. Maybe it’ll just enhance your
understanding of both projects, ideally. So the way this
presentation is going to go, I’m going to give a
brief anecdote from my time there, then delve into my
main questions of my research and my themes, and finally talk
a little bit about the research itself, which again, might
be a little bit overlap. So early on a January
morning in 2017, I sat in the waiting room of
the consultorio, or neighborhood health care facility, in
Nuevo Vedado in Havana, Cuba. It was Pregnancy
Day, and I was also shadowing Doctor
and OB/GYN Moba Sosa during Pregnancy Day, which
is the day every week where an OB/GYN visits a neighborhood
health care facility to attend to the women in the area. That day a man
came into the room, and I was surprised
because I hadn’t seen a man come into Pregnancy
Day in any of my visits. So I immediately struck
up a conversation, an interview with them. I learned that the
couple was in their 30s, their pregnancy was planned. The woman was really
satisfied with her care, and also with the state of
gender equality in Cuba. And her partner
immediately chimed in saying that he
wanted to be involved in every part of the pregnancy. That he sometimes felt that
women had more rights than men in Cuba, and that he
intended on taking paternity leave because his partner’s
salary was greater. So as he earnestly
expressed his opinions on pregnancy, abortion, and
the rights of women in Cuba, I was both excited and a
little bit disappointed. Here is a man sharing
his nuanced opinions while also taking an active
role in his partner’s pregnancy. Simultaneously, I noticed that
his enthusiastic voice drowned out that of his partner. This seemed really paradoxical. And throughout my
research, I found that the Cuban
maternal health care system, along with the contested
context in which it sits, has produced many
such paradoxes. Tensions remain between care
and control, gender inequality and equality, and the role
of the individual versus that of the Cuban state. This is not to say that the
Cuban maternal health care system can be reduced
to paradoxes alone. That would be a narrow
effort reminiscent of imperialist histories that
posit Cuba as the exotic. Rather, through the
examination of such paradoxes, the ways in which maternity
care is experienced and enacted can be better understood
and expressed. So these are the central
research questions that I used when
conducting my research, and also when writing my thesis. And these need to be situated
with the understanding that the Cuban maternal health
care system is really strong. It’s nationalized and it’s free. Camille sort of talked
about this a little bit in her presentation. And this has produced
staggeringly positive statistical outcomes, such
as globally low infant and maternal mortality rates,
which are the most heralded. And the Cuban maternal
health care system is undoubtedly one
of the world’s best. Which makes one of
the most important of my research
questions, what role does the Cuban state play in
both reforming and reinscribing gendered ideology via the
maternal health care system? In other words, how
does the Cuban state both care for and control Cuban
women via the maternal health care system? On the one hand, the state’s
institutional support and prioritization
of pregnancy publicly valorizes women’s health. But on the other,
the system also perpetuates the
ideology of pregnancies as fragile and in need of
biomedical intervention, subsequently erasing
women’s reproductive labor. Some of my other
questions included, how is gender equality
measured, particularly by international organizations? How is maternity care assessed? What motivates the
Cuban state to provide comprehensive maternity care? And what are the effects
of maternal health care system on Cuban women’s
understandings of gender equality? So from these questions, and
in exploring my chapters, I came up with several
themes that had longevity throughout my thesis. These were pronatalism,
racialization, and choice. Speaking to pronatalism,
what does the state support of pregnancy mean in the context
of a rapidly aging population caused by low fertility rates? And these low
fertility rates are largely due to
averted childbearing due to economic constraints,
but also due to immigration from the country. To speak to
racialization, despite revolutionary proclamations
for racial equality, the control of
pregnant Cuban women is racialized as
Cuban women of color, particularly afro-cuban women,
are considered by providers and community members as
less responsible mothers with inherently
risky pregnancies. Notably, this is not
unique to the Cuban case, and similar racialization
of pregnancy occurs in the United States. The difference between
the United States and Cuba in this case is
that in the United States it predominantly affects health
outcomes, and the Cuban case it mainly affects treatment
experience rather than health outcomes. And finally, choice. So how important is choice in
the context of a system that is so comprehensive? And to discuss my research, the
research I did on the ground was mainly ethnographic,
and I consulted primary and secondary source
documents before I left, and also those that were given
to me by my professors in Cuba who I interviewed,
mainly an epidemiologist and a sociologist who
I worked with also when I was studying
abroad who provided really important interviews. I mainly also shadow
Dr. Melba Sosa in maternal health
in health care settings like Pregnancy Days. Also during a menstrual
regulation clinic. Menstrual regulation is a form
of early term abortion that’s used really commonly in Cuba. It’s not in the
United States, it’s actually quite safe and
really normal there. So I sat in on
those consultations. While I was studying
abroad, I also went to a maternity
home, which is made available to Cuban women
who are particularly risky pregnancies. And in the context
of Cuba, risk is evaluated not only on a medical
basis, but on a social basis. So if there’s any
unrest in the home, if food access is shorted,
women have the ability to go to these homes,
or have the option to go to these homes. And finally, Camille and I
conducted one on one interviews actually in an apartment
that we rented. So we had the privacy
to speak with women for a longer period of time,
sort of friends of friends. And we were able to get
more narratives this way. So thank you to everyone
who made this possible. The Pembroke Center, and those
who sponsored the Linda Pay Undergraduate
Research Reward, and happy to take any questions. SPEAKER 14: Thank you so much. We learned a lot. I have two questions. One is, Alice,
what is the, if you know this, the average age now
of the female giving birth? ALICE HAMBLETT: I don’t
know the average age of the female giving
birth in Cuba, but I can say that the
range is pretty wide. Most people who we spoke to
it was like 24 to early 30s. The people I talked to who
were in their early 30s were ready to have
children, and were trying to do it before
they were unable to. And the people who had
earlier pregnancies were largely unplanned,
by and large. And teenage pregnancy’s
being reduced in Cuba, but it’s still a phenomenon. SPEAKER 14: Yeah,
I was just going to go into teenage pregnancy. And earlier, one of the
presenters talked about how the Catholic church and
abortion, how it’s resolved, or how the state has intervened
because of socialism. Is there a problem
with unwed mothers? And by that I mean a societal
or cultural disapproval, or is that– because it would be
under Catholicism. Why But has that gone, or
is there an issue with that? ALICE HAMBLETT: The
institution of marriage doesn’t hold as
much weight in Cuba. You’ll find a lot of people
in domestic partnerships or who’ve just been with their
partner for like 30 years. And marriage isn’t so
much of a necessity as it is in the United States. Some of your health
care, or like people who can visit you
in the hospital, and so on and so forth
in the United States depends on marriage, but it
doesn’t in the Cuban context. So I would say it’s
less stigmatized. I think the only reason
why it would be stigmatized to have a child
without a partner is because there is an
acknowledgement of how much support it takes
to have a child, and what kind of
support women are going to get if they
don’t have a partner to assist them either
financially or in the home. SPEAKER 15: I just
wanted to know, could you explain what
menstrual regulation is? ALICE HAMBLETT: Yeah. So basically, from
what I understand, Camille and I invited
to go see the procedure, but we declined both
for ethical reasons, but also because it’s a
really different understanding of privacy there
than there is here. But basically, they insert
a tube, and they suck, like, CAMILLE GARNSEY: Vacuum
aspiration, basically. It actually happens a lot
with women who don’t even have their
pregnancies confirmed, and they basically just suck
everything out of the uterus. ALICE HAMBLETT: Yeah,
it’s suction, basically. SPEAKER 15: It’s early? ALICE HAMBLETT:
It’s early, yeah. And technically you’re
supposed to have a– SPEAKER 15: It’s a DNC, right? [INTERPOSING VOICES] ALICE HAMBLETT: At any
rate, technically you have to have proof of
a pregnancy to get one, but I’m sure people
get them without them. It’s really common there, too. It’s pretty predominant. SPEAKER 16: I just
wanted to compliment you on your photographs. [INAUDIBLE] so I
appreciate that. What are you doing next? ALICE HAMBLETT: I was accepted
into a five year program at Brown at the School
of Public Health, but I’m from Rhode Island, so I
need to leave for a little bit. So I’m going to take a
year or two off, and yeah, accepting suggestions
basically for what to do in the next two years. SPEAKER 17: [INAUDIBLE]. ALICE HAMBLETT: Yeah, I agree. SPEAKER 17: So I was
wondering if you would share your data with the doctors. And I was also
wondering if there had been any sort
of negative impact on the doctors and
their lives based on having you go
there and do research. And I was wondering what the
government response, if any, was to you. ALICE HAMBLETT: So
both Camille and I got visas to Casa de
las Americas, which is a research institution. And because of that we
were able to enter spaces. Our presence there was
pretty interesting. We were given lab
coats on day one. And basically, on occasion
we’re told to other people that we were medical students. But generally speaking, to
the women who we talked to, they knew exactly
what we were doing. Also we were just in
the waiting rooms. So the doctor that we
shadowed would take us there on the bus in the morning, go
into her consultation room, and just leave us out
in the waiting rooms. And she would tell
us if there’s someone she thought wouldn’t be
comfortable talking to us. At one point, there was
a government employee who worked for the
Ministry of the Interior who came in to get a
menstrual regulation, and she basically told us not
to speak and just sit there. So in that sort of
situation, I think it was all technically OK, but
I think there was definitely some care that was taken in
terms of not only the people who we’re speaking
to, and who would be the most comfortable speaking
with us, and who was shy, and those sort of more
diplomatic things that were going on, but
also not trying to cause a ruckus with
what we were doing. But it was all approved. [APPLAUSE] DREW WALKER: Our next
speaker is Rebecca Hansen. Rebecca Hansen. REBECCA HANSEN: Hi. I’ll be reading a few excerpts
from On Coming Forward, a long form essay I wrote for my
thesis in creative nonfiction. But first, a little
introduction to my project. My original idea
for this project was to write about
a narrative written by this Puritan woman who was
kidnapped by the Wampanoag tribe in 1675. But as I worked on the
project, a set of issues kept coming up again and again. A set of issues that I think
resonate even more so today. People read her work
as a trauma narrative, as though she sat
down to write it and then was all of a
sudden cured of all the pain she’d suffered in captivity. And I found that
interpretation kind of wanting. It seemed simplistic, and
honestly kind of condescending. So I started to think about
how today we still see coming forward, going
public with stories of pain, as necessary steps in
the healing process. In the end, this final piece
is less about a Puritan kidnapping, and more about why
and how we talk about our pain, why we go public with
stories of suffering, and what happens when we do. I looked at everything from
The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt to the foundational
texts of trauma theory, and even at a piece of
erotica on Anne Hutchinson. And in the end, I wanted
to critique the assumption that the only way to get
over pain is to share it, and to offer another
model of healing. I figured the best way to
present this project is just to read a few excerpts. I’m going to focus on sexual
assault on college campuses, although the project itself
had a slightly larger scope. Also it’s kind of
upsetting stuff, so if you need to step out
at any time, please go ahead. So I’m going to start
reading from the middle, and then go to the beginning,
and then go to the end. For mattress performance, Carry
that Weight, a fine arts thesis at Columbia University,
Emma Sulkowicz lugged a 50 pound
waterproof mattress across Columbia’s campus. She followed a pre-written
set of rules, promising, for instance, to never ask for
help carrying the mattress, although she could
take help if offered, and to leave it on Columbia’s
campus if she went elsewhere. She promised to continue to
do so until she graduated, or until the man who
assaulted her was expelled. In 2015, controversial
art critic Camille Paglia called Mattress Performance a
protracted masochistic exercise where a young woman trapped
herself in her own bad memories and publicly labeled herself
as a victim, which will now be her identity forever. She draws on Freud’s ideas
surrounding exhibitionism, arguing that to go around
exhibiting and foregrounding your wounds is a classic
neurotic symptom. No one sees the
pathology in all this. In short, Sulkowicz is sick,
and her art is symptomatic. And once this is established,
Paglia seems to say, it’s not my job to deal
with this crazy person. Here, expectations of
trauma are weaponized, and the trauma
model becomes a way to condemn speech under
the guise of health. I’m worried about you, we
say, and we think we mean it. But whether offering
praise or criticism, almost all of these reviews
make a similar move. They all begin
with a description of the night on which,
according to Sulkowicz, she was sexually assaulted. In the process, the assault has
become synonymous with the art, and any interpretation
of the work rests on an interpretation
of her story. In 2015, Sulkowicz
performed Self Portrait at the Coagula Curatorial
gallery in Los Angeles, and attempted to pry apart
the categories of art, artist, and story. During the project,
performed a year after Sulkowicz graduated and
put down her mattress for good, the artist stood on a
pedestal and invited visitors to the gallery to stand
on one opposite her. Conversations ranged
from small talk to political and
artistic debate. But if visitors asked her
to describe the assault, they would be referred
to a pedestal stationed alongside her. There stood Emmatron,
Sulkowicz’s robotic replica. The animatron was uncanny in
its similarity to the artist. Same size, a similar outfit,
but wore a permanent expression of sorrow, or melancholy,
or maybe apathy. Visitors directed
to the Emmatron could ask it to describe
the night of the assault via an application on
an iPad, and they would receive a prerecorded answer. Self Portrait offered up
what visitors demanded, the details of what
happened to her, but removed her
from the equation. Her story is embodied
in artificial imitation. In effect, the piece
tells the story without providing a
victim, without providing even a subject. In doing so, Self
Portrait rewrites are interpretations of
Mattress Performance. It severs the connection
between artist and story, artist and mattress, and then
creates a new relationship. Sulkowicz deems
herself the art piece, but does so on her own terms. In outsourcing the story
to a robot companion, she can circumvent
any accusation of masochism or neuroses. It’s not her telling
the story anymore. In the process,
Sulkowicz demonstrates that maybe telling the story
and carrying the mattress were less a product of her
masochism and her neuroses, and more a product of ours. Demand to hear, again and
again, what happened to her. These works can’t be
reduced to trauma narratives or expressions of pain. They’re about Sulkowicz,
sure, but they also lay bare our aesthetic expectations
of those suffering. And then this is a little
bit from the beginning. During my sophomore
year, I borrowed a book from Brown’s health
services center. Borrow isn’t quite right. The book was due the
next month, but today, years after the fact, it
sits splayed across my lap. The book is titled, I
Never Called it Rape. I read it first while lying in
a bathtub, the pages crinkling with steam. What strikes me now
on my second read is the temporal
relation of the title to the book’s actual presence. In the book, the rapes
are called rapes. Perhaps it would
more aptly be named, I Never Called it
Rape Until Now. Both the title and
the work itself speak to the power of
naming, and the power of doing so publicly. That spring, Sulkowicz
promise to carry her mattress until her assailant
was expelled, and teal green
waterproof mattresses appeared across our
campus in solidarity. Perched on top of
struggling human legs, the mattresses looked
like they were traveling of their own volition. One appeared in my
intro German class, and I helped its
owner to maneuver down the creaky staircase of
our old Victorian building. As we adjusted the comical
weight of this object metaphor, bumping walls and knocking
over study abroad pamphlets, I didn’t say anything. On the activist
website, Know Your IX, there’s an article called Tips
From the Ground, How to Decide Whether to go Public
With Your Story or Not. For the most part,
it does a good job presenting the decision
to come forward as just that, a decision. But in the section
evaluating the pros and cons, the article says you will
inevitably help others. There’s an implicit trust here. A trust that the world
moves towards good. So helping others becomes not
a hope, but an inevitability. Is this really true? In September of 2015, Brown’s
president, Cristina Paxton, sent out a campus wide
email reporting the findings of a survey on sexual
assault. The survey found that while at Brown, 25%
of women and 8% of men experience an incidence
of completed or attempted sexual assault. To
put it another way, of Brown’s 6,500
undergraduates, 1,102 had been sexually assaulted. If sexual assault
were a class, it would be the most
popular by far, exceeding the 999 student cap
with 103 students on the wait list. The number of students who
experienced sexual assault at Brown could fill its
largest lecture hall twice. Paxton writes, these
numbers are sobering. But equally troubling is
that the majority of students who reported sexual assault
by force on the survey did not report the
incident to the university. The assaults are of equal
import as the lack of reporting, the decision not
to come forward. Where are we
locating the problem? I never called it
rape until now, and I have faith
that this will help. That faith is grounded
in trust, in ourselves, and in our audience. We want to do our story
justice, to tell it in a way that will make helping
others truly inevitable. And we wonder, is
this really possible? And then this is a
tiny bit from the end. And so we have the
coming forward narrative, a piece of activism
often told by women that presents what is wrong
and demands social change. It says, though, a story,
narrative expectations, aesthetic demands, and
all, is the only thing that allows us to create meaning. But you can still do
this without demanding testimony, social recognition,
and narrative structure. The other possibilities here,
for there really are many, are disguised in this
implacable framework, its binds of assumed repression,
and necessary exposure. We think this is a progressive
system because it calls itself a progressive system. I don’t mean to diminish the
power of these narratives, but there need to be
other structural models for moving on. I never called it
rape until now, and I have faith
that this will help. But why do I have this faith? What kind of help do I want? And what kind of help do I need? Thank you. Any questions? SPEAKER 18: That was amazing. REBECCA HANSEN: Thank you. SPEAKER 18: Do you
think public story telling can, when combined
with other strategies, change peoples’ minds,
and change laws? REBECCA HANSEN: I think
it definitely can. And that was something
that I sort of struggled with in this project,
is that I definitely didn’t want to say
there’s absolutely no place for public
storytelling. I was more critical,
I think, there’s sort of this universal
understanding that going forward is
personally therapeutic. And so people blame people who
don’t come forward, like you’re not helping yourself. Like if only you told your
story, you could heal. And that’s sort of
the side of things that I wanted to
criticize, and I wanted an acknowledgment
that actually coming forward can be a really painful
and horrifying process. And I think it’s
still important, but I think it’s important to
have that nuance there rather than demand that people come
forward in the name of therapy. SPEAKER 19: Thank you so much,
that was a great project. As you were talking,
this is about trauma. Your project, I would put it in
the category of trauma studies. But as you’re talking
about coming forward with things being therapeutic, I
was thinking about the movement to make all gay people
come out, or now we have a situation with
undocumented students. The question of
whether or not they should come out
about their status. So I’m curious how you see this
coming out trauma as related to these other
types of coming out. And you can take it from
a [INAUDIBLE] standpoint. You can take a public
storytelling standpoint. But I’m just curious
if you could help me to disentangle those things. REBECCA HANSEN: I think that’s
a really interesting point. And that’s something
that I thought about as I was writing this. I think one problem
for me with the focus so much on putting the onus
on the person to come forward is it really assumes
that once you come out, the social conditions
will change. And I think that can
definitely be part of it, but it’s not the whole story. I don’t know a ton about the
history of the coming out movement. But with this coming forward
with stories of sexual assault. I think what ends up
happening is that people become numb to those stories. So rather than shocking the
world into this happened to me and so we need to
change, it starts to become like this
normalized narrative. And I think that’s something I
thought in Paxton’s email sort of upset me, where I was
like, rather than imply that the onus is on
people to come forward with their stories
of sexual assault, change the conditions around
coming forward to make it easier on those people. So I think that’s something. I looked a little bit at
the history of activism. And I talked a little
bit about Audre Lorde who has this one
moment where she says, what are the tyrannies that we
swallow day by day until we’re sick and die of them? And I thought that’s
such a great sentiment, that coming out can be
this powerful thing. But I think it kind of
paints over the fact that staying silent, I think,
can be almost equally powerful. I think it is Audre
Lorde that has, like, self-care is its
own form of protest, or some quote like that. And so I think
basically, you just need a balance, which is
maybe a cop out to say. But going public
is very important, but also can paint over
the conditions that make going public so difficult. SPEAKER 20: I was interested,
but also disturbed by the reviewer’s
comments about neurosis, and framed different– I mean, I understood it. There’s some element of
truth to that for sure, branding her as a victim and
the gaping wound kind of thing. But it made me think about women
and hysteria, and that label. And they completely
seem to make the idea of it being a political
action at the same time as it was a personal
storytelling. REBECCA HANSEN: I think
this project really did try to deal with
the trauma side of it, and I think that’s
something that comes from certain
expectations of trauma, where we have this idea
that you tell the story, and then you’re healed, and
you need that happy ending. And I think that’s
something that Sulkowicz just throughout all of her
work does such a great job interrogating. Like, she’s like, stop acting
like you listening to my story is enough. And that makes people
so uncomfortable. So I think Camille Paglia is
a great example of someone that’s like, why
can’t you just heal, why do you keep doing
this again and again? And comes back again to what
you need for activism, where I think the problem
with trauma narratives is that in framing it as this
matter of personal health when you end on
that happy ending, on some level you haven’t really
changed the social conditions. Which also makes
people uncomfortable, because you’re calling them out. So again, I think the
role of these narratives, rather than having this
narrative expectation, Sulkowicz really
interrogates that, and people get
upset because she’s calling them out,
not just calling out the thing that happened to her. SPEAKER 21: Some people think
that retelling the story retraumatizes the victim. REBECCA HANSEN: I
feel like there’s so many different angles through
which to look at this story, and I think that
that’s definitely a huge component of it. But I basically also just
wanted to interrogate the idea that there is a thing
called trauma that has some definite definition. And there’s some prescription
for how to deal with it. Because one of the
things I didn’t really talk about in this is that
the trauma model assumes that something bad happens,
and then you repress it, and then you tell the story,
and then you get it out. And that’s just, like, one
model for how someone could deal with something painful. So if you don’t
automatically assume that someone’s going to repress
a story, what that story does or doesn’t do, and what
that story has the power to traumatize or retraumatize
is very different. Which is sort of
a rambling answer. Yeah. DREW WALKER: One last question. SPEAKER 22: Yeah, thank you. It’s a really very
interesting project. So it seems to me that there’s
not one way of telling. There are many,
many different ways, and they don’t all
meet in the same way. So I don’t think it’s a question
of not speaking and speaking, right? Because there can be a speaking
that is a coerced, repeated, having to tell the same story
in front of authorities, that could be one. And it could be
potentially traumatizing. But then there’s a
telling, let’s say, in the therapeutic context,
which is a very different kind. And so I don’t know if
you would reflect on that, and have you thought about
the different speech acts? REBECCA HANSEN: I
definitely thought about it, and I think there
were definitely more personal parts
of this thesis that sort of dealt with,
like, telling a boyfriend something that happened, and how
that interaction becomes very caught up, too, in
expectations of love, and what telling someone
something that happened to you, whether that changes
their opinion of you, and whether it should. So I think you’re
right that there are many different
components to this. There’s like the public
coming forward, and then the sort of more
personal coming forward. But I’m trying to figure
out a way with this. But within all
those components, I think I just really wanted to
emphasize the idea of choice in doing so. Where even if telling
someone, in the case, it was someone that I dated
for like a year and a half, and I just never told
them anything until like very far along
in that relationship. And they felt like they
were owed the story. And they had been
betrayed by this lie. So I was like, we have so
many other forms of intimacy that do not rely on this story. And why has it come to this? So I do think there are many
different forms of going forward. But I think that this
sense of obligation does come up even in
those intimate settings. Not necessarily, but it can. Yeah? DREW WALKER: I’ll just finish
up with the next year question. REBECCA HANSEN: I think I’m
going to apply to PhD programs in English, but what I’m
actually doing during the year is sort of up in the air. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] DREW WALKER: Our last
speaker is Andrea Zhu. [APPLAUSE] ANDREA ZHU: Those are
really hard acts to follow. That was amazing. So hi everyone,
name is Andrea Zhu. I’m a senior in
development studies, and I will be presenting the
research for my honors thesis titled Ruthless
Fantasies, Infrastructural Development, and
Gendered Immobility at the China-Myanmar Border. And so to present
my thesis, I think the most useful way is just
to go straight to the place. So this is about the work that
I did in two research sites. One is a city called
Ruili, and the other is a village about 30 to 40
minutes away from the city called Shanyan. And both of these sites are
located in the south of China in Yunnan Province, located
at the border between China and Myanmar. This area has a really
complicated history that I’m just going to try
to run through quickly. First of all, it’s at the edge
of the golden triangle, which is of the largest opium
producing regions in the world. And so Ruili has been a
key heroin trafficking point for decades. And because of
this, Ruili is also where China’s first cases of HIV
AIDS were documented in 1989, and the area has had high
rates of the disease going well into the ’90s. Lastly, the province is
home to many of China’s 55 ethnic minority populations. And because the drug
trade has historically been one of the few
viable sources of income in this very remote
region, HIV AIDS has disproportionately
affected ethnic minorities. And the community I
conducted research with was a Jingpo ethnic
minority village. But what’s really
wild about this area is that now Yunnan is
growing economically at higher rates than
the rest of China. And that is largely
due to the fact that Yunnan is conveniently
located right at the border with Southeast Asia. So Yunnan right now
is being integrated into China’s really huge
million, billion dollar projects to expand trade
zones and infrastructure into Southeast Asia, West Asia,
South Asia, Europe, Africa, and beyond. And so right now in
this area, there’s just millions and
millions of dollars going into building roads,
bridges, and other things like that. So here are some photos
from the city Ruili. On the right you can see an
official border checkpoint taken from the China side,
and then through it you can see the Myanmar gate. And then on the
left is a picture I took of a advertisement that
was in a hotel development group showing how
much real estate they’re expanding in the area. And so these are photos
from the village. And so infrastructural
development in Yunnan has manifested in
really major changes within the village itself. About two years ago, all
of the villagers’ farmland was taken by the government
to build a motorbike factory near the village. And this motorbike
factory actually mostly employs
migrants from Myanmar who were willing to
take lower wages. And these migrants
live in the factory. And the government
compensated each household in the village for their land,
which led to about a third of the village using
the money to build these new crazy huge pastel
colored houses that I show two of at the bottom. And the problem is that many
families have not gotten the money that was promised. And so a few houses that
are finished are in debt, and then several, like
in the top right corner, are unfinished because the
families couldn’t finish paying for the construction. In the top left is
the oldest generation of traditional houses made of
wood and an indigenous grass, and there’s still a few of
those left in the village. But they’re very dark, low
ceilinged, and cool inside. And so in the span of a really
short amount of two years, families have gone
from living in houses like the ones in the
top left and having a solid chunk of
farmland to rely on to living in houses like
the ones at the bottom with just a little bit of
land left in the mountains. So when I first
went into this area, I thought, well, if
this is the new frontier of China’s development, then
what do the typical hallmarks that we think of when we think
of Chinese development look like? So I was expecting to see
more rural to urban migration, especially among
young women, and I was looking to see
a sharp increase in informal precarious labor. But then when I arrived,
I found that actually a lot of the young people
were not moving or working. And this experience was
different between young men and young women. So young men were
really expected by their families
and the community to go find work,
leave the village, take on more economic
responsibility, and yet they chose to stay. And then young women really
expressed the desire to leave, but their families expected
them, and in many ways forced them to stay
in the village. So my question became, in a
time when has been characterized as the age of
migration for China, why are the youth in this
rapidly developing border region so profoundly immobile? And put more simply,
this part of China is more connected
than it has ever been. The young people are not moving
or working, and why is that? These are the
literatures I speak to. So I tried out a bunch
of different methods. But primarily, my
thesis is based on eight weeks of ethnography
and informal interviews that I conducted
in this village. And so what does that mean? Mostly it means that I hung
out with the young people that my thesis advisor
introduced me to. I did whatever it
was they were doing. So sometimes that meant going
into the city to go shopping, going fishing in the pond,
or often just sitting around chatting over
drinks and beer. And this stretch of
time gave me loads of opportunities to observe
how people interacted their daily lives and have
long conversations that had to do with my research, and
also didn’t have to do with it. And I call these conversations
informal interviews. And then in writing
the thesis, I used the method of portraiture. So what that means is that I
focused each chapter on one person, and really
delved into the nuances and details of their lives. And in each of these
chapters I looked at gender, I look at imaginaries
of the past, and visions for the future. I look at how
people are engaging with the changes
in the village that have come as a result of
infrastructural border development, and I
look at how all of that funnels into
gendered immobility. So I don’t really have
time to go specifically into my chapters. But I guess I wanted
to pause a little bit on my second empirical chapter,
which was about a 16 year old girl named Seng Seng. And Seng Seng was
really fun, because she loves Avril Lavigne,
she loves Justin Bieber, she loves Beyonce, all
things that I also enjoy. So Seng Seng was really obsessed
with American pop culture, and she consumed it
basically at the same level of like contemporariness
as I would. But at the same time,
her past and her history was very deeply tied to the
place that she lives in. So her mother died when
she was young of HIV AIDS, and her father is a
migrant from Myanmar who does not live with the family. And so she primary lives
with her grandparents. And so through
Seng Seng’s case, I was able to look at how
the burden of the drug problem in this region
largely falls on women. As a result of this burden,
the older generation justify their restrictions
on young women’s mobility. So for example, Seng
Seng’s grandmother was really worried
that her granddaughter would turn into her daughter,
Seng Seng’s mother, who passed away. And so she used that
as a justification to take away Seng Seng’s
motorbike keys, and restrict her mobility. But then in terms
of the future, I was really interested
in how Seng Seng had a really colorful, vibrant
imagination of what modernity was. And so I was able to
look through her case at how she was consuming
the commercial development in the region, and to
think about how development planning constructs young women
as the ideal, modern consumer. And then lastly, I
looked at how she was consuming globalized
media such as Justin Bieber, and such as Lemonade by Beyonce. And how those built normative
dreams of heterosexual romance, material wealth, cosmetic
beauty, and what she desired, which was an escape to what
she thought of as America. And so just quickly, I
had a few conclusions. Let me find my notes. So what really interested
me in this region is how this history
of loss and death was juxtaposed against very
vibrant, bright fantasies of the future that
infrastructural development was promising to these people. So I argue that rapid
development mobilizes and generates imaginaries
of both the past and future, and I call these
ruthless fantasies that have powerful
implications on people’s experiences of the present day. My empirical chapters show
that these imaginaries are masculinized and feminized
in different ways, and that where they run
up against each other has produced
gendered immobility. More broadly in
my field, I argue that it is entirely
insufficient to understand the effects of
infrastructural development from technical, economic,
and even political terms, and that one really
needs to understand them from affective and subjective
dimensions, as well. And I forgot to add the
Pembroke Center here, but I just want to thank the
Pembroke Center and that Enid Wilson Travel Fellowship
for making this really in-depth research in a really
far away place possible. Thank you. SPEAKER 23: What is
the antidote to this? ANDREA ZHU: The antidote
or the end note? SPEAKER 23: Well, I mean,
how would you correct that? Assuming that is not
your goal, to have her be rigorously
commandeered into daydreams and romantic notions? ANDREA ZHU: I really
shy away from trying to be prescriptive
about all this, because I think that a large
part of what I try to critique and focus on in
this thesis is how really large top-down structures
like the Chinese government have imposed these really giant
infrastructural development projects and said,
well, obviously a new road, a new bridge, a
new house is good for you. And so I think that
what I would say to that is that I hope
people will push back on development
missions like that and to think more about how
specific communities need certain changes. Or I wish that communities
had more of a say in the development that was
happening in their area. SPEAKER 24: I’m just curious
how the young people see their futures. If they’re, in
fact, not working, they don’t feel they want
to leave their community, and there is this top-down
idea of a bright future. What do they think
they’re going to be doing? ANDREA ZHU: Yeah, that’s
a really good question. Part of my thesis
was looking at how this development
future was really marketed towards young women. And so young women
seem to be more– buying into sounds kind of
condescending, but buying into this vision of
going to the city, and finding work there, and
finding more of the things that they desire. Whereas young men
were a lot more resigned to staying
in the village, and were a lot happier to cling
to this notion of the past that was still lingering
in the village. And so I think the three
young people that I spoke to, the young women were keeping
open the option and saying, I’m going to go soon,
I’m going to go soon. And then the young men were
kind of pushing it off more, and saying that they would
wait until certain family members had deceased,
for example, and putting like
a wait time on it. Yeah? SPEAKER 25: What
role did the fact that the minorities who
were living in Ruili have against the 80%
or 85% common people. Did it make any difference
that they were mostly minority? ANDREA ZHU: Yeah, so I
think that I definitely came into this
research project having an understanding of ethnic
minority studies in China, which speaks to
ethnic marginalization through economic exclusion,
but also social exclusion, and stereotypes of
certain ethnic minorities. And then what I was
surprised to find is that young people now
are thinking of themselves as Jingpo less and
less, but that it still plays into different racialized
understandings of their self. So for example,
Seng Seng, she liked to say proudly that
people perceive her as Han instead of Jingpo. And so that really
played into the way that she presented herself,
and the way that she did makeup, and the way
that she did exercise, and all these other things. I think a lot of
very long history of perceiving ethnic
minorities in China as lazier, or
inherently less capable than Han people definitely has
played into certain people’s conceptions of why they are
not leaving the village, and why they do not
want to seek work. Yeah? SPEAKER 26: Are the
villagers learning English, or are they learning
English through the internet through their American– ANDREA ZHU: The young
people learn a little bit of English in elementary school
as part of the government sponsored education. I spoke Mandarin
with them entirely, but they also have
their own ethic language that they were speaking in. Entirely none of
them spoke English. So Seng Seng was sort
of using subtitles, but also she would kind
of use American phrases that she didn’t know. Like she’s really
into milf by Fergie, but she thought that
it was about milk. Yeah, so that’s an example. SPEAKER 27: Just
a quick question about economic opportunities. Aside from the drug
trade and motorcycle factory for the
young people, what is the government’s vision
of what they should be doing, and what were there, both female
and male, what could they do? I mean, you said
they’re not moving, but what was there
for them to do besides those factories, and
perhaps some illegal smuggling? ANDREA ZHU: So I think
the government would say, and I spoke to a couple local
officials when I was there, interviewed them about that. And they would makes the
claim that this factory is like a great economic
opportunity for the young men in this village. But what they really
weren’t taking into account was the ways in which the
factory was unappealing to the young men there. In particular, the
economic dynamics that create lower
wages in the factory so that migrants from
Myanmar can be exploited and profited off of. And so the young men
were really like, well, if my family got this lump
sum of cash, which is more than they’ve ever received
in their entire lives, then what is the point
of me doing really hard labor in this factory
for really low wages? And then in terms
of young women, I think that
definitely young women engaging with the extreme
rural to urban migration dynamics in China. And so what I was really
interested in this project was like, why not here? I don’t think I really came to
a cohesive answer or anything. But I hope that by looking
at how they were perceiving this change, it kind of argues
that their perceptions played into why they
chose not to leave. SPEAKER 28: Fast forward
20 years, what happens? ANDREA ZHU: Very hard to say. I mean, China just launched
their One Belt, One Road vision, which is a
billion dollar project to integrate infrastructure all
across the Western hemisphere. What I foresee with that is more
of these unforeseen subjective effects that I’ve talked
about in my thesis in local communities that
have been sort of like sweeped over by this change. And I foresee more instability
in a lot of places, both through this really
intense physical infrastructural changes in the
landscape, and then also through more like macro
level debt burdens, and China’s relations with other countries. SPEAKER 29: Now I’ll ask the
fast forward to next year question. ANDREA ZHU: So I’m not doing
anything related to my thesis. I’m going to be working as an
urban fellow for the New York City government, hopefully
in criminal justice reform. [APPLAUSE] Thank you. DREW WALKER: Well, I just
want to say thanks again to all of you who
were here today for your support
of our students. I hope that you can see
how remarkable the students at Brown are. Also the education
they receive here, and how important it is that
they receive fellowships and prizes like this that
make extraordinary research possible. I would also like to
thank all of the staff at the Pembroke Center who
helped today come together, especially Martha Hamblett,
Donna Goodnow, and Diane Straker. [APPLAUSE] Thanks Suzanne for
directing the center, and to the associates council
for all of your support. And at this point,
I’ll just turn it over to Victoria for one last word. VICTORIA WESTEND:
Super quick, I just want to thank also everyone for
those wonderful presentations. I think that each and every
one of you did a terrific job, and I have to say, it makes me
really hopeful for the future. I think you’re all
doing great work, and we can’t wait to see what
you’re going to do further on. So I invite all of you to
stay and have some more food and coffee, except for the
Pembroke Center associates council. We will be meeting
downstairs for a business meeting in about five minutes. Thank you so much.

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