During the spring of my junior year (2017), I explored feminism and political representation in Rome, Bologna, and Milan, Italy, interviewing female leaders on the topics of self-representation and perceived governmental responsiveness to civil society action. Recognizing the vibrancy of the women’s movements between the United States and Italy, my thesis argues for the expansion of our idea of a “representative.” Both countries have experienced disillusionment with past and present political representatives and alleged inaction in response to persistent objectification and marginalization of women, evidenced by unabated verbal and physical gender violence. Elevating the voice of embedded and informed non-governmental actors may result in more accurate and active representation that approaches resolutions for complex social issues afflicting women. With this expansion of the feminist political theoretical framework, my hope is that the “substantive” responsibility of political representatives to act for and on behalf of their constituents is reinforced and civil society actors gain confidence in political participation.
In working with Professor Susan D. Blum, I have engaged new pedagogies and perspectives on education, linguistics, and language instruction through the completion of literature reviews and the production of web and video content. This exposure encouraged my application for the Center for Social Concerns’ International Summer Service-Learning Program, through which I spent the summer of 2016 teaching English in a rural village in Kitete, Tanzania. As a teacher, participant observer in other classrooms, and student of the Kiswahili language, I learned more about the structure of the Tanzanian education system, the niche of the vocational school, and the political and social forces that govern the treatment of English, Kiswahili, and myriad local languages, informing which students have access to education. I am grateful for the opportunity to continue exploring the themes of education, community development, dignity, and teacher education as a student employee for the Kellogg Institute’s Ford Family Program in Human Development Studies and Solidarity.
Obesity, human rights violations, gender-based violence and discrimination, sex trafficking