Fellowship awarded to Dr. Lori Liggett


By Taylor Marie Murphy

            Lori Liggett is the latest faculty member in the School of Media and Communication to be  awarded a fellowship from the Institute for the Study of Culture and Society on campus.

“I look forward to the opportunity to really focus on the research,” Liggett said. “That’s something that's really positive to be able to focus only on that and the various products that will come out of it.”

Annually, ICS Scholars and Artists in Residence Fellowships are awarded to up to five faculty members across campus to pursue research and creative work for one semester. Like the fellows before her, Liggett will be freed from teaching and other service responsibilites to devote time to her project that culminates in a public presentation. Liggett’s fellowship is spring semester of 2020.

Her research project is titled, “The New Woman and the 19th Amendment in Popular Culture: Constructing, Containing, and Controlling the Modern American Woman on the Road to Suffrage.” Liggett  honors the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment, which gave women voting rights, by addressing the way the New Women is showcased in the media and how the change reflects the national attitudes toward citizenship and patriotism.

In the email notifying Liggett of her selection for a fellowship, Jolie Sheffer, director of ICS, wrote that the advisory board was impressed with the proposal. Sheffer wrote: “The board described it as timely and relevant to multiple constituencies. The board noted the clarity of your project’s community engagement proposal and its potential for local impact.”

Other faculty in the SMC who have received fellowships in the past five years include Lisa Hanasono, Lara Lengel and Clayton Rosati.

Hanasono personal experience of pregnancy loss led to her fall 2018 ICS fellowship project, “Shattering the Silence on Miscarriage and Pregnancy Loss.”

“As someone who studies communication and social support, it was a really big turning point moment for me as I realized that pregnancy loss is not something we talk about regularly, as it is taboo,” Hanasono said. “Because we don't do that, it's often difficult to both talk about it, but to receive the support when one wants or needs it, and perhaps when one deserves it.”

Lengel’s ICS fellowship was also fall 2018. Titled “Community Organizations’ Role in Combating Sex Trafficking and Sex Tourism,” the project tackled the issue of how the decriminalization of sex work in Costa Rica affects faith based organizations’ advocacy and outside support efforts.

“There is no definitive data on if its worse in a criminalize or decriminalized location,” Lengel said.  “Is it better to have a decriminalized situation so that there would be less demand or illegal human trafficking when sex work can be consensual and legal? Also, there are some regulations by the government that make it more safe.”

Rosati was awarded a fellowship in 2013. His project,Infrastructure of Feeling: Media, Materialism, and Struggles for the Geographies of Culture,” stemmed from the work of his dissertation.

“I talked to some of the editors and production crew members [at MTV] about how they interacted with their audiences because that was a big part of their program,” Rosati said. “I was interested in how the city’s telecommunications infrastructure made that possible.”

Rosati added, “The fellowship really helped me to collect more data, do some more thinking and reading on the subject, and basically explain the ethnography work done at MTV.”