Introducing the 2013-14 Clayman Institute Graduate Dissertation Fellows

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Introducing the 2013-14 Clayman Institute Graduate Dissertation Fellows

New GDFs bring fresh perspectives to study of gender in the workplace

by Claire Patterson on Monday, July 22, 2013 - 8:01am

The Clayman Institute is excited to introduce our incoming Graduate Dissertations Fellows (GDFs) for 2013-14: Natalie Marine-Street, Alexandra Gatherer Russell, and Alec Watts. Founded in 1994, the Clayman Institute’s GDF program supports emerging feminist scholars who are engaged in research on women or gender. The upcoming academic year marks our second year of fully-funded fellowships.

“We are delighted to bring together an interdisciplinary group of incredible graduate students at the Clayman Institute,” said Andrea Rees Davies, Director of Programs and Research for the Institute. “Next year’s GDFs—representing the fields of history, sociology, and psychology—will spark new interdisciplinary insights in gender research. The fellowship programs integrate graduate students into our scholarly community, which fosters their transition to becoming successful faculty.”

“We are delighted to bring together an interdisciplinary group of incredible graduate students at the Clayman Institute."

The incoming fellows are especially attracted to the Clayman Institute as a collaborative, intellectual community. As Marine-Street explains, "I am thrilled to be finishing my dissertation while in the company of the scholars at the Clayman....The Institute has an excellent reputation for fostering innovative gender scholarship, especially on issues related to women in the workplace—something that I care a lot about." Russell was "drawn to the Clayman Institute for their passionate and supportive community and their steadfast commitment to gender research and equality." Watts feels his research will be deeply enriched by, as he puts it, the “constant stream of fresh perspectives of the Clayman affiliates.”

New GDFs share research interest in gender in the workplace

These three GDFs share a distinct interest in issues of gender in the workplace. Marine-Street, for instance, is writing a U.S. history dissertation about female traveling sales agents in the nineteenth century and early twentieth century. Specifically, she considers how these womenwho were called "lady agents" by their contemporariesplayed an "important role in forging a national market for mass-produced products." Marine-Street understands her project as part of a broader consideration of women's extensive, complex, and often forgotten engagement with the economy.

Russell, from the psychology department, is studying the relationship between attitudes about well-being, responses to stress, and levels of depression, specifically among women. She is also investigating how beliefs about societal roles relate to individuals’ career aspirations.

Watts, a sociologist, turns attention to “understanding inequalities in our society, particularly in regards to sexual orientation.” For one project, he is examinging how perceptions of morality influence the treatment of different groups in our society, such as lesbians and gay men. In a separate project, Watts is exploring perceptions of women and men in gender atypical occupations.

The Clayman Institute is proud to welcome the 2013-2014 Graduate Dissertation Fellows.

Natalie Jean Marine-Street
2013-14 Graduate Dissertation Fellow

Natalie Marine-Street is a PhD candidate in United States history at Stanford University. Her research focuses on the interrelationships between business, gender, and politics and the role of persuasion in the economy. Her dissertation project examines the history of female sales agents who, from the mid-nineteenth century, sought economic independence by travelling to sell new, mass-produced consumer goods. Inquiring about these “lady agents” sheds light on how mass consumerism spread, how work and identity interact, and how occupations become gender-typed.

Alexandra Russell
2013-14 Graduate Dissertation Fellow

Alexandra Russell is a PhD candidate in social psychology at Stanford University. Her research focuses on two lines of inquiry: how beliefs about the fluidity of societal gender roles underlie the ideals and expectations men and women have for themselves and others, and how perceptions of well-being impact important behaviors and outcomes relevant to mental health and wellness. She investigates these questions via laboratory and online experiments, structured interviews, and longitudinal survey methodologies. Broadly speaking, Alexandra is interested in exploring how seemingly simple differences in beliefs about the malleability or fluidity of a construct can lead to large and important differences in outcome.

Alec Watts
2013-14 Graduate Dissertation Fellow

Alexander Watts is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology. Broadly, his research grapples with the concepts of status, stigma, and stereotyping in order to understand inequalities in interpersonal interactions, particularly in regards to gender. Alexander's dissertation begins with a comparison of perceptions of mothers in the labor force and stay-at-home dads. From there, he has developed a general theory of the stigma associated with both status violations and gender violations (i.e., the stigma faced by women who occupy high status positions and men who occupy low status positions). A series of experiments are currently underway that independently test the consequences of these violations.