This year Emory will solidify its partnership in
gender studies with the University of the West Indies (UWI) through
an exchange program and the creation of a shared digital image database.
Over the next two years, two Emory graduate students and two UWI
graduate students with concentrations in gender studies will have
the opportunity to spend a semester on exchange. While the students
are on exchange, sponsoring faculty members from their home institutions
will visit the students and present public lectures.
The partnership also calls for the creation of a large database
of gender-related photos, engravings, drawings and paintings from
the Caribbean to be used for teaching and research purposes. The
database will contain supplemental images from Central and West
Africa, from which a majority of Caribbean ancestry stems.
Edna Bay of Emory’s Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts
and Patricia Mohammed of UWI, who began working together in 2001,
already have begun to create the database and expect it to be up
and running later this year.
Made possible through a grant awarded by the Fulbright Alumni Initiatives
Awards Program, the database and exchange program is designed to
enhance the training, teaching and research initiatives of both
universities, Bay said. The strengths of the two institutions’
programs complement and support each other; Emory’s gender
studies program is more theoretical in nature, while UWI’s
strengths lie in empirical research, archival resources and field
studies. Additionally, the incorporation of foreign cultures in
gender studies will further enhance each program.
“Gender studies from non-Western regions, like the Caribbean
and Africa, help to diffuse the centrality of gender teachings,
which traditionally are very Eurocentric,” Mohammed said.
“To teach the construction of femininity in say, Ghana, as
opposed to Europe, really expands the possibilities for teaching
The purpose of the image database is twofold: It will serve as a
major archival resource for both teachers and students, but it also
will stimulate a new way of teaching and learning. The use of such
technology will help users become visually literate as well as discriminating.
“Once you stimulate a student by using images like this, it
takes him or her in new directions, as it did us when we first began
this project,” Mohammed said. “The images encompass
everything from ethnicity, gender, cultural activities, religion
and so forth. Students and teachers will be able to examine those
images and ask what they say about people in numerous aspects.”
In terms of gender studies, Mohammed and Bay also believe personal
interaction is essential, which was the primary reason for launching
the exchange program.
“Each of the students involved will be presented with a wonderful
opportunity to collect resources,” Bay said. “Collegial
sharing is an important part of the transmission of knowledge, and
now students and faculty members will be a part of that with UWI.
Despite today’s technology, personal communication is still
UWI has three campuses—in Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad—and
participating Emory students will have a choice among the three
when deciding where to center their exchanges. No students have
yet been selected for the program, which will begin in the spring.
Bay and Mohammed have combined their efforts with Carla Freeman
of the Institute for Women’s Studies (co-director of the exchange
project), as well as Barbara Bailey, Rhoda Reddock, Eudine Barriteau
and June Castello of UWI to develop and coordinate the program.
The initial concept was formed several years ago but now has been
cemented through the Fulbright award.
For more information, contact Bay (firstname.lastname@example.org)
or Freeman (email@example.com).