Phyllis Rackin Fellowships

Phyllis Rackin Graduate Fellowship Recipients

The Phyllis Rackin Fellowship for Feminist Scholarship in the Humanities was created in 2008 in honor of Phyllis Rackin, a pioneering feminist scholar and former faculty member in the English Department here at Penn. The fellowship provides up to $3,000 in summer research or travel funding to doctoral student(s)  in theSchool of Arts and Sciences whose research creates or promotes new scholarship on women, gender, and/or sexuality in the humanities.

The 2012 recipients are:

Zain Lakhani (History)

Lakhani

Zain is a sixth year PhD student in the History Department, researching the construction of “violence against women” as a domestic and global human rights concern. Specifically, her project historicizes a fundamental shift in conceptions of sexual coercion and violence from a private issue in 1945 to the subject of a major feminist movement, the purview of an international war crimes tribunal and one of the key ways in which women were understood as victims of armed or political conflict. Her project traces how and why sexual violence became a key animating principle of women’s human rights campaigns, and explores debates over the meaning of seemingly static concepts such as “coercion” and “violence.”

The Rackin Fellowship will fund Zain’s research at the UN Archives in Geneva, exploring the history of sexual violence in women’s refugee policy during the late 1980’s, early 1990’s. This research is part of a broader project that explores the history of “violence against women” as an animating concept of the US women’s rights movement, and it’s subsequent expansion into the international human rights arena.



Claudia Consolati (Italian)

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2011 Recipients:

  1. Melanie Adley (Germanic Languages and Literatures) The Rackin Fellowship will fund Ms. Adley’s travel to and lodging in Vienna and Berlin where she will be conducting archival research for her efforts to bring to light literary moments of resistance of the femme fragile in fin de siècle Viennese literature. Adley’s scholarship will undoubtedly contribute a new feminist analysis to the study of Germanic literature from the turn of the nineteenth to the twentieth century.
  2. Claire Taylor Jones (Comparative Literature)  The Rackin Fellowship will fund the reproduction costs for some of the archived documents Ms. Jones needs to procure for her research. Jones is looking at the ways in which women exercised control over their bodies, communities, and reform by examining the “sister-books,” Meyer’s “Book of Offices,” the shorter narratives from reformed Dominican convents, and the hymnal in Freiburg im Breisgau. Jones’ research will undoubtedly contribute to a new feminist understanding of the lives of these nuns from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.
  3. Melanie Micir (English)  The Rackin Fellowship will fund Ms. Micir’s trip to Toronto to study the Vera Brittain Archive at McMaster University. Micir’s research promises to highlight the activism of queer women via their biographical practices in mid-20th century Britain. Her scholarship will undoubtedly contribute a new feminist understanding of how these modern British women negotiated sexual politics and personal identities.

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The Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania

The Alice Paul Center for Research on Gender, Sexuality and Women

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