The Jennifer Fluri and Amy Trauger Student Essay Competition 2019
Recognizing the role of gender, class, sexuality, and race in the organization of our everyday lives, Supporting Women in Geography (SWIG) aims to promote and empower women and other underrepresented groups by offering a supportive network that sponsors opportunities to grow professionally, intellectually, and personally within the discipline of geography. Dr. Jennifer Fluri and Dr. Amy Trauger were instrumental in the establishment and promotion of Penn State’s SWIG organization. Their defining leadership established a long-standing culture of mentorship, support, and outreach. By hosting this award in their names, we hope to honor the spirit of their work.
Congratulations to our 2019 winners!
Thank you for all of the entries reflecting on feminist engagement in the field. SWIG is pleased to announce our 2019 Essay and Creative Works Competition winners. By sharing these submissions, we hope to provoke discussion about our diverse understandings of the field.
Abstract. In this letter, written nervously from the field years ago, I reflect on the challenges of conducting fieldwork and the sense of impossibility that marks any act of knowing. The letter articulates my struggles at the time to make sense of a particularly challenging period of fieldwork and to settle with the dizzying oscillations between intimacy and distance that mark my experience of fieldwork and my formal education. By virtue of its intimacy, the piece responds to feminist calls for vulnerability in fieldwork experiences and accounts of our confusion, failures, and emotional processes as field researchers.
Abstract. In this pilot-study, I investigated the affective elements of stream restoration and environmentality, as examined through participant observation at a stream field site. With this video, I acknowledge that feelings do things, and I suggest that there is room for experimental work that examines the sensory in the creation of qualitative and quantitative data. Drawing on the work of feminist new materialists and ethnographers, I experiment with video use in the collection and transmission of data for the purpose of educating a public and advancing studies in ecology. What does a feminist environmental geography look and feel like?
Abstract. This essay reflects on the consent process during fieldwork that is currently in progress for my doctoral dissertation. Drawing on over six months of participant observation, archival research, and interviews in an indigenous village in Oaxaca, Mexico, I describe how I re-confirm consent with village authorities, collectives, and individual participants throughout the research process. I frame this reflection of my ongoing research methods in literature on feminist and decolonial methodologies, noting how a continuous consent process contributes to new possibilities for researcher accountability, co-production of knowledge, and disrupting power relations.
Call for Submissions, 2019
Penn State’s SWIG organization invites undergraduate and graduate students from all institutions and disciplines to contribute to our ongoing efforts and conversations by submitting to our fifth annual essay and creative works competition! The field, feminist geographers remind us, is a messy site of emotions, difference, and power relations (Faria & Mollett 2014; Kobayashi 1994; Nast 1994). Therefore, SWIG encourages responses that explore how you navigate or negotiate the field. We encourage you to consider the field as either: (1) a space you enter to conduct research (e.g. a country, environment, mindset, etc.), or (2) the field of geography more broadly (e.g. a culture, network, department, knowledge center, etc.). Topics may include, but are not limited to:
- Overcoming challenges within and beyond the field
- Preparing for, experiencing, negotiating, or reflecting on fieldwork experiences
- Bringing feminist theory into the field
- Using a geographer’s unique skillset/toolkit in the field
- Bringing fieldwork back home, bringing home into the field
We encourage contributors to express their thoughts using many mediums, including, but not limited to: essays, maps, diagrams, photography, creative writing, poetry, film, drawings, paintings, and song. You may submit as an individual or a collective. Written essay submissions are limited to 1,000 words. Every submission should include a cover page with: (1) your name, (2) email, (3) institutional affiliation, and (4) a 100-word abstract that indicates how the entry addresses the intent of this call for papers.
View last year’s winning entry here.
Dr. Jennifer Fluri and Dr. Amy Trauger were instrumental in the establishment and promotion of Penn State SWIG when there were graduate students in the Penn State Department of Geography. Their defining leadership established long standing traditions in our community, including Supporting Young Women in Geography Day (SYWIG Day) where young women from across the state participate in a day of geography learning with researchers in our department, and has left a legacy within our department of a culture of mentorship, support, and outreach. By hosting this award in their names, we hope to further the spirit of their work with Penn State SWIG.