Chapel Hill, N.C. (September 22, 2014) – The Carolina Women’s Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is proud to announce its Faculty Scholars for the 2014–2015 academic year. Dr. Joanne Hershfield and Susan Harbage Page from Women’s and Gender Studies department and Dr. Mary H. Palmer from the School of Nursing will use their funding to undertake projects that reflect the mission of the Center.
During Fall 2014, Joanne Hershfield will complete “Planting the First Seed: Making a Home for Formerly Incarcerated Women,” a documentary film about Benevolence Farm in Alamance county, North Carolina. A newly established work and residential program for women leaving prison, Benevolence Farm will “provide an opportunity for women leaving prison to live and work on a farm where they grow food, nourish self, and foster community” and “to create a more equitable, just, and nurturing world for women and communities they transform.” Some of the funds from this award will be used to make “Planting the First Seed” available to people still in prison and to educational institutions in order to inspire conversations about what life after prison is and could be. Hershfield is a professor and chair of the Women’s and Gender Studies department.
Susan Harbage Page’s project combines scholarship with creating an “Anti-Archive” of the objects—lipstick, a single sock, scraps of paper—that undocumented migrants leave in their wake as they cross the Mexico-U.S. border. “Testify[ing] to a life that has moved on, reminding
the viewer of what else may have been left behind,” these objects reveal the everyday and gendered lives of migrants. The project will culminate in “Objects from the Borderland,” a limited edition book that combines Harbage Page’s photographs with essays about the border’s political and cultural context. Funds from this award will contribute towards cataloguing and production costs. Harbage Page is an assistant professor in the Women’s and Gender Studies department.
Taking advantage of the medical field’s gradual recognition of the impact of sex difference on health-related behaviors and outcomes, Mary Happel Palmer’s project, “Enhancing Women’s Lives Through Bladder Health,” studies the long term consequences of women’s gendered social and cultural toileting behaviors (for example, “hovering” over a public toilet because of acculturated fears about dirt and disease). In addition to developing a “conceptual model” for understanding the behavioral and cultural influences on women’s bladder health, Palmer and her collaborator will revise a web-based questionnaire to better capture the behaviors of women from different age, ethnic and racial groups. Deeply collaborative, Palmer’s project also includes “providing a research training opportunity for a next generation scholar in women’s health.” Palmer is the Helen W. & Thomas L. Umphlet Distinguished Professor in Aging at the School of Nursing.