Faculty Research Grants

The Gender Institute offers grants to UB faculty to support research and/or curriculum development that exemplifies high quality, innovative scholarship related to women, gender and sexuality. The Institute is particularly interested in supporting projects that are collaborative and/or interdisciplinary and those that will lead to applications for an external award. Grants range from $1,000 - $5,000 and can be used for collection of pilot data or other data collection, archival research, fieldwork, research assistance, supplies, books, software, travel integral to the development of the project, and other forms of research support and curriculum development expenses that are allowable under UB guidelines. Past recipients may reapply three years after a successful Gender Institute application.

The deadline for Spring semester awards is Monday, March 6, 2023. 

Applications should be sent to ub-irewg@buffalo.edu and must include:

1. Application cover sheet, available here.
2. Cover letter with project title, one-paragraph (200-word maximum) abstract, and the name(s), position(s), and department(s) of the applicant(s).
3. Three- to five-page, double-spaced research proposal, including: projected outcomes, timeline for project completion, and specific budget with details of planned expenditures.
4. One page outlining how the application aligns with the mission of the Gender Institute and the extent of the applicant’s prior involvement with the Gender Institute.
5. Current CV (short version of no more than three pages).
6. List of previous and upcoming research support (grants, fellowships, leaves) and outcomes.
7. List of external funding sources (secured or targeted), if applicable.

Research grant applications will be evaluated by the Gender Institute’s Fellowship Awards Committee, which represents a cross-section of the university, and will be awarded based on the following criteria:

  • The quality and potential of the proposed research project and its relevance to women, gender and sexuality.
  • Planned application for external funding or award.
  • Collaborative and interdisciplinary nature of the project.
  • The completion record of previous research projects, if applicable.
  • The proposal’s ability to communicate the importance of the project beyond the applicant’s home discipline.
  • The applicant’s demonstrated commitment to participation in Institute programs.

Research Report: Within one year of receiving a research grant, recipients must submit a one-page summary of their research or research update, along with a description of how the fellowship helped the recipient(s) pursue their research goals. Recipients will also present their research as part of a Feminist Research Alliance presentation or other GI event.

2021-2022 Awardees

The Gender Institute congratulates the recipients of the 2021-2022 Faculty Research Grant: Yige Dong, (Sociology), Ndubueze Mbah (History), Deborah Reed-Danahay (Anthropology), Elizabeth Scarlett (Romance Languages and Literatures), Amy VanScoy (Information Science) and Co-investigators, Heidi Julien (Information Science), Deborah Hicks (School of Information SJSU), and Alexandra Zirkle (Jewish Thought).

Yige Dong

Yige Dong.

             Yige Dong

Women’s Work and the Politics of Livelihood in a Chinese Mill Town

This book project examines how care work—paid and unpaid reproductive labor that sustains our daily life and attends to people in need—has changed among Chinese industrial workers from 1949 to the present. Extending the analytical lens from the point of production to that of labor’s social reproduction, this project offers a feminist critique of production-centered labor studies. It demonstrates that gender is not just an add-on factor but is rather a built-in element in the structure of political economy. Having developed an original framework of analyzing care work, this study lays the foundation for a historicalcomparative sociology of care, inviting us to reimagine the future politics of social reproduction in a global system.

Yige Dong is a Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology, and in the Department of Global Gender and Sexuality Studies. Prof. Dong’s primary research interest lies at the intersection of political economy, social inequality, and social change. Prof. Dong’s recent research also includes examining labor and feminist movements in a global context. 


Ndubueze Mbah

Ndubueze Mbah.

             Ndubueze Mbah

Rebellious Migrants: Forging Abolition, Cosmopolitan Identities, and Postcolonial Spaces in West Africa, 1840s-1960s

This research project examines how marginal West African trans-colonial migrants across Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon used forgery, smuggling, trafficking, and itinerancy to express anti-imperial and abolitionist notions of freedom, and perform rebellious Afropolitan belonging in ways that redefined British, Spanish and French colonial labor policies and colonial subjecthood. Rebellious Migrants combines archives, oral histories, participant observation, and photography practices, within an analytic framework of gendering forgeries, of identities and spaces across West Africa. 

Ndubueze Mbah is a Associate Professor in the Department of History and in the Department of Global Gender and Sexuality Studies. His research focuses on West African Atlantic history. Using a variety of oral, written and material culture sources to examine changing labor systems, mobilities, slavery and abolition, and cosmopolitanism; as well as constructions of gender, sexuality, and ethnicity in West Africa between the 18th and 20th centuries, ethnicity and ethnic identity development, as well as acculturation and enculturation processes. 

Deborah Reed-Danahay

Deborah Reed-Danahay.

          Deborah Reed-Danahay

Sideways Migration Among French Women in London

This research focuses on French women in London who have moved from one of the wealthiest liberal democracies to another.  In this project, I introduce the concept of “sideways migration” to characterize migrants who move from one nation to another that is similar in wealth and social indicators.  The research uncovers diversity among this population in terms of gender, age, socioeconomic status, family circumstances, and ethnicity.  It will result in a book addressing the important dimensions of gender and class in migration studies by illustrating the variations in aspirations and trajectories among middle-class French women who have moved to London during the past 60 years. 

Deborah Reed-Danahay is a Professor in the Department of Anthropology, a cultural anthropologist who has conducted ethnographic research in Europe and in the United States. Although she retains a strong interest in and connection to rural France where she conducted her earliest fieldwork, Prof. Reed-Danahay’s attention has turned in recent years to the study of migration in both the U.S. and in Europe.  Since 2015, she has been engaged in a long-term ethnographic project on French migration to the city of London and has done extensive ethnographic research related to Brexit.  Before that, she undertook a study of former Vietnamese refugees and their children in north-central Texas. 


Elizabeth Scarlett

Elizabeth Scarlett.

             Elizabeth Scarlett

Women Authors and Women Directors: Gender Disparities in Film Adaptation

This research study will examine the impact of gender on the frequency of adaptation of works by female as compared to male authors, taking this literary duo, early Spanish feminist writer Emilia Pardo Bazán and her contemporary Benito Pérez Galdós, as its core example. Gender differences observed in the adaptation process itself, and in critical reception, and examples from recent cinema involving female authored texts, as well as the influence of the growing cadre of female directors, will all be explored.


Elizabeth Scarlett is a Professor in the Department of Romance Languages & Literatures. Professor Scarlett regularly teaches courses that are cross-listed with Global Gender Studies (SPA 410 Spanish Women Writers) and with the International Film Studies minor (SPA 408 History of Spanish Cinema). Her research focuses on Modern and Contemporary Spanish Peninsular Literature and Film, Romanticism, Realism, Avant garde movements and  Feminism.


Amy VanScoy, Heidi Julien and Deborah Hicks

Amy VanScoy.

             Amy VanScoy

Heidi Julien.

             Heidi Julien

Deborah Hicks.

             Deborah Hicks

Conceptions of Expertise Among Librarians Through a Gender Lens

This study will explore librarians’ conceptions of professional expertise through interviews of librarians representing multiple intersectionalities, including gender, race, type of role (public-facing and non-public-facing roles), and managerial level. Participants will be asked to discuss their work activities and the expertise that they bring to bear in their professional roles. Interview transcripts will be analyzed qualitatively through a gender lens to enhance understanding of professional identity. 

Amy VanScoy, Associate Professor and Heidi Julien, Professor, of the UB Department of Information Science, and Deborah Hicks, Assistant Professor from the School of Information, San Jose State University are co-invesigators on this research project. Prof. VanScoy's research focuses on equity, diversity, justice and inclusion issues in librarianship, particularly the worklife experiences and retention of BIPOC librarians. Prof. Julien's research focuses on Information Science, Library Science, Information behavior, Information practices; Information literacy, Digital literacy, Misinformation, Information Literacy, Qualitative Research Methods, Research Design, Research Methods.  Prof. Hicks' research focuses on professional identity of information professionals and how this informs the work they do, the organizations they run, and the relationships and communities they build.


Alexandra Zirkle

Alexandra Zirkle.

             Alexandra Zirkle

UB Humanities Working Group

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionally stalled the research and writing of caregiving graduate students and faculty. This project funds a year-long working group comprised of four UB scholars across the Humanities who are also primary caregivers. Over the course of five meetings, this group will provide the resources needed to support each member in writing, revising, and submitting an article for publication. The establishment of the Humanities Working Group offers a new collaborate space at UB, with the rippling out of associations and opportunities such spaces tend to yield--all while each member redoubles their contributions to the scholarly conversations in their respective fields.

Alexandra Zirkle is a Assistant Professor in the Department of Jewish Thought. Prof. Zirkle is a scholar of modern Jewish thought, biblical hermeneutics, and Jewish-Christian relations. Her research centers biblical interpretation as a mode of critical inquiry, restores nineteenth-century figures to the canon of modern Jewish thought, and explores the ways that the interpretation of scripture is always also a mode of political speech.


2019-2020 Awardees

The Gender Institute congratulates the recipients of the 2019-2020 Faculty Research Grant: Katharina A. Azim (Psychology), Laina Bay-Cheng (School of Social Work), Kathleen A. Parks (Psychology), Noelle St. Vil (School of Social Work) and Paola Ugolini (Romance Languages and Literatures).

Katharina A. Azim

Katharina A. Azim.

Katharina A. Azim

College Women's Pelvic Health and Sexuality 

This research project investigates the relationship between women college students’ pelvic health, sexuality, and religiosity. Specifically, we examine the relationship between the prevalence of pelvic pain among female college students based on their sexual conceptualizations and practices, religious self-identification, belief and exposure to religious teachings, and the experiences of sexual shaming and guilt. Considering that 20-34% of young women report chronic pelvic pain, which is generally highly preventable and treatable, we test these potential contributing factors.


Katharina A. Azim is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology. Her research focuses on ethnicity and ethnic identity development, as well as acculturation and enculturation processes. She focuses on MENA/Arab/Muslim+ women’s perceptions of ethnic identity at the intersection of geopolitical, sociocultural, religious, and gendered factors. Her second line of research encompasses women’s reproductive health, agency, and rights in the United States.


Laina Bay-Cheng

Laina Bay-Cheng.

Laina Bay-Cheng

Rights on Paper vs. Rights on the Ground: Young Women's Sexual Capabilities in Buffalo

This community-based project uses Nussbaum’s Capabilities Approach (CA) to ask, What sexual rights and resources are low-income adolescent girls of color in Buffalo actually able to use? The question is provoked by the sexual health inequalities faced by marginalized girls in Buffalo, despite their legal rights to comprehensive, confidential sexual health services and the apparent availability of such services. Their sexual vulnerability reveals a gap between the sexual rights and resources that exist for them “on paper” and their sexual capabilities on the ground (i.e., what they are actually able to do). Working with HOPE Buffalo, an interprofessional and intergenerational coalition dedicated to youth sexual health, Bay-Cheng and PhD students at the School of Social Work will use activity-based focus groups with diverse young women to learn what various sexual rights and resources look like from their standpoints. The research team will distill girls’ perspectives into recommendations for service providers and policymakers in order to expand girls’ sexual capabilities and promote their sexual well-being.

Laina Bay-Cheng is a Professor and Associate Dean for Faculty Development in the School of Social Work. Bay-Cheng concentrates her research on the imprint of social injustice on young women's sexual lives. She combines empirical and conceptual analyses to shift attention away from individual-focused models of sexual risk and toward the systemic roots of girls' and women's sexual vulnerability: namely, interlocked gender, class, race, and age-based inequalities and the ideologies that perpetuate them.  


Kathleen A. Parks and Noelle St. Vil

Kathleen A. Parks.

Kathleen A. Parks

Noelle St. Vil.

Noelle St. Vil

Adapting a Video Measure of Sexual Assault Risk Perception to be Culturally Specific for Black College Women 

Utilizing focus groups, Black women will critique an existing video measure designed to assess sexual assault risk cues.  Findings will be used to develop a culturally specific sexual assault tool for Black women.


Kathleen A. Parks is a Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Psychology. Her research focuses on young women’s alcohol use/abuse and risks for sexual assault. This area of research has evolved through survey and daily process studies, as well as the development of a video vignette risk perception measure designed to assess women’s perception of ambiguous and clear risk cues for alcohol-related sexual assault. 

Noelle St. Vil is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work. St. Vil’s research focuses on black male-female relationships, including the impact of structural racism on these relationships, intimate partner violence, sexually transmitted infections and relationship typologies (monogamous, consensual nonmonogamy and nonconsensual nonmonogamy). 


Paola Ugolini

Paola Ugolini.

Paola Ugolini

Condottiero Father, Cross-Dressing Daughter: On the Portrait of Giacomo Malatesta and His Daughter Leonida (1562)” 

This project focuses on the portrait of the condottiero Giacomo Malatesta and of his daughter Leonida, held in the castle of Gradara (Italy). What makes this portrait intriguing is that the young girl Leonida is dressed in full male attire. Standing next to her father, who dons his full armor, Leonida—already the bearer of a male name, that of her grandfather—is clad in a corset and breeches, carries a small sword, and is portrayed while handing her father his gauntlets. The portrait makes no mystery of Leonida’s cross-dressing, thanks to an inscription that identifies the sitters as “Giacomo Malatesta and His Daughter Leonida, Aged Five.” I intend to investigate the reasons behind Giacomo Malatesta’s decision to have such a portrait of himself and his daughter produced through an exploration of the history of the Malatesta family and by bringing it to bear upon contemporary literary representations of women warriors.


Paola Ugolini is an Associate Professor of Italian in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures. Her research interests include early modern Italian literature, culture and conduct manuals; Satire; Chivalric poems; Gender studies.