Lynn Staeheli awards for graduate research Summer 2021

March 18, 2021

SGDE is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2021 Lynn Staeheli awards for graduate research.  These awards (of up to $2500) were awarded in memory of our colleague Professor Lynn Staeheli to graduate students who had been working with Lynn where she was advisor, member of committee or mentor for their work.  The awards are intended to help them make progress on their thesis or dissertation. 

The Lynn Staeheli awardees are:

Yesenia Andrade (PhD)

When  I transferred into  the  doctoral programLynn  asked  me to  join a  reading  group  she  was starting on violence and trauma. She was a no-nonsense human and I appreciated this the most. It was a rigorous and challenging reading group, but it was also the most meaningful experience as a doctoral student this far. After the reading group ended, she would often invite us all to lunch to catch up and discuss what we were working on.  When my dissertation chair took a position in California, Lynn became my UA Chair and as she told us then,“I will not  be  just  a warm  body  on  the  committee”and  she  was  not.  She  was  very active and would constantly check in and suggest people and readings to investigate and quiz me on my comps list. My dissertation is on landscapes of fear and hope. I am currently working on interviewing student survivors on their experiences  seeking, safety justice,  and support  after encountering sexual harassment, sexual assault, or  intimate  partner violence. I was awarded  a  grant  from  the Consortium of Gender-Based Violence at the UA, for this research. My project aims to collaborate with student survivors on campus to understand  what the landscape is for marginalized student survivors at theUA. The research will culminate into a handbook for the UA community on practical ways  for  student,  staff,  and  faculty  to  create  more  trauma  informed  spaces  that benefit all students. 

Michael Brasher (PhD)

After years working in domestic violence intervention and prevention, primarily working with offenders and men, I began to review the geographic research on the ways that masculinity and other types of hegemonic privilege unevenly structure space, particularly through intimate forms of violence and control. When geographers have attended to intimate violence and control, they often focus on the experience of victims—with good reason; but rarely have they attended to the politics of perpetration.Considered through the prism of the public safety order to shelter-in-place, I explore the home as a contested space of violence and safety, considering ways that intimacy, geopolitics, violence & control, racialization, and masculinity trace across scales(Pain and Staeheli 2015). In particular, I examine the intimacy-geopolitics of control by way of the steady stream of new technologies into our homes, as surveillance systems link across scales to enable intimate techniques of control and stalking, e.g.digital domestic abuse.These systems also link to the emergent practices of universities in response to COVID-19(contact tracing, medical data collection, remote workforce monitoring).The emergence of digital supervision also functions to “reform”historical systems of captivity and punishment, tasked with the management of dispossessed, racialized groups.Jared Sexton(2018)suggests that understanding the relation between black masculinity and policing provides critical insight into masculinity itself as a category of and in crisis—a category dependent on policing. Moving from his provocation, I explore the concept of prison masculinities as a way to interrogate the interrelation between gender, race, and geographies of control; this work sheds light not only onto the current movement to challenge the prevalence of the carceral in US society, but also into the emergent practices of digital supervision and remote control.

Linda Choi (PhD)

Growing up in a Korean immigrant family along the U.S.-Mexico border, I am a first generation Korean-American woman and a first generation college graduate.  As a child of immigrants who did not have access to higher education in their home country, I am grateful for the opportunity to pursue higher education at the level of a doctoral degree.  As the first in my family to pursue a graduate degree, this graduate award will not only be symbolically important to my identity as a scholar, but it will also help me logistically and financially as I pursue my doctoral degree in Geography at the University of Arizona. My larger goals of being a cultural geographer who engages with place, cultural identity and belonging for immigrant communities along the borderlands.Drawing on both my personal and professional background, my research interests focus on conceptions of place, community, and belonging for immigrant communities. I am interested in examining the practice and politics of belonging from a place-based perspective focusing on Latino/a migrant identities and looking at different scales ranging from social to political belonging. I plan to continue to study issues surrounding place and belonging in immigrant communities well after my current graduate program and, hopefully, into a professorship. Through my research project, I hope to make a unique contribution to scholarship around the borderlands.

Sonia Kaufman (MA)

Research Summary: My master’s research investigates how women students at the University of Arizona, across race and ethnicity, perceive their safety on campus and asks if women students are shouldering the burden of sexual assault prevention in lieu of institutional prioritization. It is estimated that nearly 1 in 4 women will be the victims of sexual assault some time over the course of their lifetime, and 1 in 5 women will experience sexual assault while in college(Krebs et al. 2007).Although this is a public health crisis, very little work has been done on spaces of trauma and fear at universities, and the ways that such insecurities may shape students’ lives, mobility patterns, and support systems. My master’s research takes up this call to investigate the cyclical relationship between geographies of fear, constricted mobilities, and university sexual assault prevention education.I interview undergraduate women students at the UA, to understand how they are physically navigating around campus given the commonplace nature of sexual assaults, and to analyze if women students are relying on their own social networks in times of fear and/or sexual assault victimization.

Biography:Sonia Bat-Sheva Kaufman is a second-year master’s student in the School of Geography, Development and the Environment. Prior to coming to the University of Arizona, Sonia completed a dual B.S. degree in Women’s Studies and Geography at the Pennsylvania State University, where she first began investigating spaces of sexual violence and institutional policies.These interests ultimately led her to become a sexual assault hotline and hospital advocate and later run for UA student government on a platform advocating for sexual assault prevention education for graduate students. Her research examines how undergraduate women students experience, respond to, and care for one another within the ‘violent’ landscape of academia. This project was co-advised by Lynn Staeheli and Lise Nelson and is ongoing through Summer 2021.

Annita Lucchesi (PhD)

Annita Lucchesi is a PhD student in the School of Geography, Development and Environment.Dr. Lynn Staeheli served as Annita’s co-supervisor, alongside Dr. Monica Casper. Annita transferred to the University of Arizona midway through her doctoral studies, and credits Dr.Staeheli’s support as a major component of a successful transition to SGDE. Dr. Staeheli never hesitated to give her space and encouragement to continue to pursue an academic career and academic publications while also working full-time for her community. Years from now, when she will reflect on her academic career she will remember Dr. Staeheli’s support as a pivotal moment and inspiration on the kind of faculty member she hopes to be. This award supports Lucchesi’s ongoing work developing and drafting papers for her dissertation. Specifically, it supports work on two papers, tentatively titled “AdministrativeDisappearances of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and the Embodiment ofSettler States” and “Mapping Violence Against Indigenous Women and Girls: Data Terrorism and Colonial Geographies of Gender Violence.” Together, these papers ask, w​hat mechanisms are used by colonial regimes to map violence on and against Indigenous women and girls; what geographies of law, power, and knowledge production do they produce and rely on; and what is at stake in these mapping projects?

Elisa Sperandio (PhD)

Research  Summary: My dissertation  project  will  focus  on programs  of  refugee  integration  in Italy,  with  the  goal  of  analyzing  and  mapping  processes  of  citizenship  formation  across  urban space. The research focuses on programs of accoglienza integrata or “integrated welcome,” which relocate  refugees  across  the  national  territory  and  pursue  a  vision  of  integration  founded  on participation in everyday life.  Refugees who enter these programs are housed in non-traditional accommodations such as vacant subsidized housing units, empty hotel rooms, or church-owned facilities. Refugees also   participate in activities including   language   courses,   professional development training, legal and bureaucratic counsel, and community service, coordinated across many facilities. Activities are broadly outlined by national policy and guiding manuals, but they are to be adapted to local culture, resources, and employment needs, and pursued in collaboration with not only local agencies and private-sector partners, but also with the wider community.I will carry out an institutional ethnography of programs of integrated welcome in Bologna, a city which has a proud and established reputation as a site of migrant “welcome.” This research project will focus on how these unique integration programs enlist refugees, program practitioners, and city residents in rehearsing select practices and discourses of citizenship.

Biography:  Elisa  Sperandio  is  a  second  year  PhD  Student  in  the  School  of  Geography, Development, and Environment. She is also an international student, growing up in north eastern Italy. Prior to coming to the University of Arizona to pursue her PhD, she completed a master’s degree in geography at the University of Kentucky. Her interests are at the intersection of feminist political geography and social theory, with research focusing on immigration into the European Union,   Mediterranean   border   enforcement,   and processes   of   citizenship   formation.   Her dissertation research will examine politics and practices of refugee integration in the Italian city of Bologna, within the urban system of reception known as #BolognaCares!.This project was co-advised  by  Lynn  Staeheli  and  Jill  Williams.  Elisa’s  research  will  focus  on  the  practices  and discourses through which key tenets of citizenship are reproduced and contested in everyday life within these integration programs. In order to carry out this ethnographic project starting in Spring 2022,  Elisa  is  currently  applying  for  various  sources  of  research  funding  and  working  towards completing her coursework. 

Thomas Sullivan (PhD)

I am an urban geographer interested in the potentiality of unintended or abandoned spaces in urban environments. My current work examines Berlin’s urban development after German reunification, exploring how spaces left vacant during the post-1990 restructuring of the city served as sites for contestation,  community-building, interim uses, and experimentation. I am interested in how emotional, embodied, and affective experiences of such sites can catalyze strong place attachments, contestation of dominant urban planning practices, and creation of alternate plans for their use. In Berlin, I am focusing on large-scale sites such as former airports and railyards, which were abandoned,  occupied for temporary initiatives, and then been transformed for alternate long-term, community-based uses. Outside of this scholarly work, I am committed to expanding the role of mentoring and peer-support initiatives at the University of Arizona. I work full-time at the Honors College, where I developed and coordinate the Partnerships Through Honors (PATH) peer mentorship program. Through PATH, I work to train and support over 40 undergraduate peer mentors, who support the college transition of over 300 incoming first-year students. I am also an instructor for the Honors Ignite Seminar (HNRS 321), which guides Honors students through the development of Honors Thesis/Capstone work.