Autumn 2015 DISCO Travel Grant Awardees

Paige Quinones (M.F.A. student in Creative Writing, Department of English) attend The Home School Miami 2016 in the first week of January. The Home School, founded by poets Dorothea Lasky, Adam Fitzgerald, and Timothy Donnelly, is a community that brings together diverse poets and artists to explore poetrys fundamental importance to dance, film, music, painting, theater and other arts, in part via a series of workshops provided for attendees during their stays. This year, the Home School not only took place in a city that has a rich Latino/Caribbean heritage, but the faculty also includes the female poets of color Natalie Diaz, Mónica de la Torre, Mira Gonzalez, and Cathy Park Hong. Paige believes that working closely with women of color will help build on the family research she accomplished last summer in Puerto Rico and shape her feminist perspectives in poetry that examines her Latina identity.

Kaustavi Sarkar (Ph.D. student, Department of Dance) presented her paper “Queer Temporal Twistings of Acceptable Indigeneity: Concurrence of OdissiMahari and Gotipua in Performance and Mediation” at the 44th Annual Conference on South Asia at The University of Wisconsin in Madison in October 2015. It is the largest international congregation of South Asian studies scholars convened to consider South Asia through a wide spectrum of disciplinary and interdisciplinary lenses. Her paper investigates the ontological, ideological, and epistemological functions of choreography in Odissi, one of the eight classical dance forms of India, in order to complicate the simplistic historical construction of the dance form. The project also attempts to understanding the complexities of the Odissi dancing body in its multiple layers of meaning because it has been simply read as a carrier of tradition and devotional aesthetics through a history of nationalist, colonial, and chauvinistic narrative.

Ryan Schey (Ph.D. student, Department of Teaching and Learning) participated in the annual convention for the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) in Minneapolis in November 2015.  He presented three papers, two based in a research apprenticeship (RA) completed with his advisor Mollie Blackburn (“Teaching an LGBT Themed Literature Course: Queering Curricular and Pedagogical Decisions” and “Critical Issues in English Education: Research by CEE Research Initiative Award Winners”) and one based in his work with a teacher inquiry focused on disrupting homophobia, transphobia, and heteronormativity in K-12 schools.

Joshua Truett (Ph.D. student, Department of Theatre) traveled to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, in the southern Mexican state Oaxaca, to attend La Vela de las Auténticas Intrépidas Buscadoras del Peligro, or The Festival of the Authentic, Intrepid Danger-Seekers, in November 2015. The festival, which involves an initial procession throughout the town (the Regada de Frutas), a special Catholic mass, a night festival, and a feast on the following day, honors the muxe, a group which both scholars and journalists have referred to as a third gender. The indigenous Isthmus Zapotec society believes that the muxe are born with attributes of both male and female gendered behaviors.The muxe and their festival have been the focus of much media attention over the last decade, with both documentary films and video segments being produced by media outlets such as Vice, Fusion, and CNN. The growing interest in trans* identities in both popular culture and academia suggests that there are still many important questions to be asked about the performance of gender as a socially constructed role rather than a naturally innate identity, and his research questions how the performance of muxe identity may, or may not, be embracing or resisting change in the face of migratory and transnational influences.

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