Past RIG Descriptions

Becoming Bicultural: Latino Immigrant Mothers Raising American Children RIG

This RIG, which formally ended in October 2010, addressed cross-cultural issues confronted by Latino immigrant mothers who are raising their children in the United States.

Description: In bringing Latino mother/ professionals together in a group setting, we produce feelings of empathy, shared convictions, and cohesiveness among the group participants—creating a sense that we are not alone here raising bilingual bicultural kids. In this climate of mutual respect, validation, and encouragement from peers, we bring our cultural traditions to assess real life situations to better understand the issues, and to develop future research projects.

Our purpose is to research the complexities of “becoming bicultural” and discuss the effects of this transformative process. Biculturalism (paired with bilingualism) affects immigrant parents and their children differently. For example, our group discusses how group members handle family life in adjusting to the new culture—including discrimination, and racism. We explore the challenges that these processes create for social service interventions, psychological support, school counseling, and the provision of other services. For example, our research group discusses the following questions:

  • What do we see as the differences between the United States and our own countries of origin regarding child rearing?
  • How was our own lifestyle as children and adolescents different from that of our children?
  • What does an immigrant family need to achieve a feeling of satisfaction and cohesion in the new country?
  • What type of services/ assistance that are culturally appropriate would immigrant mothers in distress need?
  • How could we (professional women) communicate the needs and concerns of Latino immigrant mothers more effectively?

Because all of our members work with immigrants in the community, our group combines scholarly research with service projects. In this vein, we brought invited speakers to campus and organized a series of three workshops for Latino immigrant parents at Springfield High School, sponsored by SELCO Community Credit Union. Our members also made presentations at conferences and school events on issues of biculturalism and parenthood that we have been discussing during our monthly meetings. We produced a Directory of Bilingual Social Services in Eugene and Springfield Oregon that we have distributed widely.

Former Contact:  Marcela Mendoza (

See related links:

“Advocating for Control with Compassion: The Impacts of Raids and Deportations on Children and Families,” by Marcela Mendoza and Edward Olivos (Oregon Review of International Law, Vol. 11, Mo. 1, 2009)

“Directory of Bilingual Social Services” [no longer available; needs updating].

“Crossing Borders: Latin American refugee mothers reunited with their children in the United States,” by Ruth Vargas-Forman (paper presented at the conference on Philosophical Inquiry into Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Mothering.  University of Oregon, Eugene, May 16, 2009.)

Parenthood in a Foreign Land: An interdisciplinary look at the challenges faced by immigrant mothers and fathers raising bicultural children,” by Marcela Mendoza (paper presented at the conference on Philosophical Inquiry into Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Mothering.  University of Oregon, Eugene, May 16, 2009.)

“Parenting in a Foreign Land: The Known Factors and Experiences,” by Judith Rocha (paper presented at the conference on Philosophical Inquiry into Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Mothering.  University of Oregon, Eugene, May 16, 2009.)

Mexicanos in Oregon: Their Stories, Their Lives
Erlinda V. Gonzales-Berry and Marcela Mendoza, 2010. ISBN 978-0-87071-584-6. Paperback, $22.95 (Oregon State University Press).
“This important volume sheds new light on the stories and lives of mexicanos in Oregon: why migrants come to Oregon fields, construction sites, and warehouses, what their experiences are when they settle here, and how they adapt to life in the United States.”

First Peoples of the Northwest

Active in 2010-11: The purpose of this RIG is to build a community of faculty, graduate students, and community members who are working or are interested in working on social, cultural, and historical issues related to the different populations of the original peoples of the Northwest (i.e. Klamath, Modoc, Shoshone, Umpqua). The principal goal is to bring to the fore—through our research, creative, or activist work—these vastly ignored populations. We will focus on inserting discussions about and with these populations in the public discourses of our university and beyond.

We are planning for three activities/projects. The first is to conduct research and produce a short documentary (10 minutes) on the issue of the foster care system and how it is applied to Native American mothers and their children. The second is to start basic research and perhaps some preliminary filming for a larger documentary project on the history of different native communities, focusing on women’s history and their contemporary lives. The third is to bring to campus three experts in the contemporary issues and social ailments that continue to hinder these communities; these experts will do classroom and public presentations of their work and the institutions they work with, and they will help us better understand the current situation of first peoples in the Pacific Northwest.

“Food in the Field”RIG

is an interdisciplinary research interest group that investigates ideas in the field of food studies, the operations of cultural fields related to food consumption, and the gendered labor that takes place in the farm fields of food production.  We welcome faculty and graduate students working in social science and humanities fields, and encourage cross-pollination between the two. Click the tab “2012-13 Events” under the title above for a full list of events.

CSWS Food in the Field RIG 2012-13 Program Schedule
Spring 2013 Events
    • April 19, 2013, 3:30 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. “Eating Right: The Cultural Politics of Dietary Health.” Visiting Guest Speaker Dr. Charlotte Biltekoff, UC-Davis, American Studies and Food Science & Technology. Host: Jennifer Burns Levin, Honors College. Biltekoff will speak on her new book historicizing dietary reform, Eating Right in America: The Cultural Politics of Food and Health. Lillis 111, 955 E. 13th Ave., UO campus
    • 3 p.m., Thursday, May 9, 2013: A Fireside Conversation with Oliver Kellhammer—a permaculture artist, writer, and teacher specializing in ecological restoration and land art—and Jennifer Burns Levin. Location: Hendricks Hall Hearth Room (1st floor), 1408 University St.
    • 6 p.m., Thursday, May 9, 2013: “Too Many P’s”? Personal, Political, Publics and Potatoes — Please join us for a conversation about the politics of food and kinship, featuring novelist Ruth Ozeki (All Over Creation), with Jennifer Burns Levin as one of five panelists. Location: EMU Fir Room
    • Friday, May 31, 2:00-3:15 p.m.  Dr. Nicola Camerlenghi (Art History), “Food: Even the Eye Wants its Share.” FITF Faculty Works-in-Progress Series.  Jane Grant Room, 330 Hendricks Hall.The visual component of food has skyrocketed in our contemporary society. As Americans, we spend more time watching food shows on TV then we do eating or cooking. What are the causes, ramifications and possible futures of this turn to the visual? Dr. Camerlenghi’s talk explores the historical, sensorial, cultural, and nutritional implications of this revolution.
Winter 2013 Events
  • Friday, January 11, 12 noon. Jane Grant Room, 330 Hendricks Hall.  Reading Group (with the Americas RIG, details forthcoming) Savage Barbecue: Race, Culture, and the Invention of America’s First Food, Andrew Warnes. Discussion Facilitator: Courtney Thorsson, English.
  • Friday, February 8, 12 noon – 1:00 p.m. Reading Group: The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table by Tracie McMillan. Jane Grant Room, 330 Hendricks Hall. Discussion Facilitator: Lorri Nelson, Landscape Architecture. Lunch will be provided if you kindly RSVP to Peggy McConnell at [rescheduled from fall]

NEW FITF EVENTS: Two food justice panels at the 31st annual Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC), Thursday, February 28 – Sunday, March 3, Walnut Room, EMU. Free and open to the public. Website:

The Gender, New Media, and Technology RIG

Gender, New Media, and Technology RIG—During Academic Years 2010-12, CSWS’s Gender, New Media, and Technology RIG worked on the Fembot Project, which became redefined as a CSWS Special Project rather than a RIG.

Designed to re-imagine academic writing and research, the Fembot Project participates in the ongoing revolution in academic publishing, taking seriously the advice of scholars like John Wilensky to democratize our publications by embracing open access, open source publications. In terms of its content, the Fembot Project will fill a gap in scholarly research in the humanities. Currently, there is no journal on gender, new media, and technology. The Fembot Project centrally includes a new journal—Ada: Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology—that will be broadly accessible, both in terms of physical access and in terms of its content. The interdisciplinary focus of the Fembot Project as a whole will extend conversations about gender, technology, and new media beyond the traditional boundaries of scholarly inquiry insofar as its publications will be written so as to be intelligible to a broader audience of intelligent, but not necessarily academic readers. One of the most important lessons of humanistic research on fandom and online communities is that there are interested and vibrant non-academic communities of creativity, criticism and research. The Fembot Project intends to learn from those online communities how to improve its own online practices, while at the same time engaging in dialogue and, eventually, collaboration with them.

Fembot Project

Fembot Website

Global Asia

The Global Asia RIG investigates the multiple manifestations of globalization and gender in Asia from theoretical and methodological perspectives.  Our aim is to analyze the complex processes of globalization, and how they intersect with gender, class, identity, and sexuality across time and space.

Plans for 2012-2013:

  • Reading on class and gender in Asia. The rise of female labor in both regions from manufacturing to IT has led to new forms of self-fashioning and meanings to class and upward mobility. To a great extent, globalization has displaced the older Maoist and Nehruvian models of economic development and the role of the state as a purveyor of social good and equality. Instead, we see the rise of the interiorization of space that has focused on individual aspirations more than the collective good. Representations in media is one space where this becomes visible, among other locations. Yet, much of this new imagination of class mobility is not tied to real changes in material conditions of the working woman employed in service or manufacturing.
  • Will apply for funding for an AY 2013-14 grant toward a symposium on the shifting meanings of class and gender in China and South Asia.
  • Plans to publish the papers from the symposium in a feminist journal such as Feminist Economic, Journal of Women and Society
  • Explore a collaborative project on “Shifts in Class Categories and Globalization in Asia.”
Co-Coordinators—Contact for more information:

Sangita Gopal (English/Cinema Studies)
sgopal(at), 541-346-3567

Eileen Otis (Sociology)
otis(at), 541-346-7102

 Politics, Culture and Identity RIG

The purpose of this RIG was to strengthen and support the work of, and foster contact among, scholars interested in the links among politics, culture and identity. Their mission was to explore these links from an interdisciplinary, qualitative, historical, and theoretical perspective. They examined how cultural narratives, discourses, ideologies, identity discourses (such as race, class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and nationality) shape and are shaped by key political processes, social movements, power structures, legal and legislative discourses and precedents, policy issues, and institutions.  The focus of the RIG was open to the interests and projects of the members.

Questions are:

* What can an analysis of culture and discourse add to the study of politics?

* How are political agendas/issues defined and redefined?

* What is the relationship between context and politics?

* How have identity politics changed over time?

Former Contact: Priscilla Yamin, Political Science, pyamin(at), (541) 346-4879

Law, Culture, and Society RIG
The Diversity Initiative

The principal mission of the group is to research and increase knowledge about mental health services that are sensitive to an individual’s cultural background, gender, and sexual orientation. We recognize that the mental healthcare needs of diverse groups, including men and women, ethnic and sexual minorities, are not the same. We also recognize that culture, gender, sexuality, and their interaction influence an individual’s experiences, emotional well-being, and help-seeking behavior in complicated ways.

In line with our mission, our goals are:

  • to improve the quality of cultural understanding within our clinical training setting by increasing the education and training within our mental health clinic and strengthening community ties. We seek to draw on the UO’s rich faculty and community resources in prevention and intervention research with the affiliated university setting and surrounding research institutes that focus on culture, gender, and sexual identity issues in mental health services
  • to better understand reasons, through research, for the discrepant rates of mental illness between men and women, as well as between different culturally and sexually defined groups
  • to strive to advance the recognition of obstacles ethnic and sexual minorities encounter in order to decrease stereotypical misconceptions and to advocate for outreach to minority populations
  • to facilitate the awareness of cultural, gender, and sexuality issues among clinicians and community members and propel the responsiveness of appropriate care. Part of our goal of increased awareness will involve convening university and community service providers to discuss shared concerns and serve as a consulting committee. Together this assembly of university researchers and community providers should help to create more integrated, receptive, and effective mental health services for diverse populations.

Plans for 2011-2012:

We will be focusing on our first and fourth goal of increasing knowledge and awareness of diversity issues in the therapeutic setting among graduate student clinicians.  To this end, the Diversity Initiative hosts bi-monthly case conferences featuring a client with diverse and intersection identities including but not limited to: age, ability status, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation.  These case conference have been attended by doctoral students in the clinical psychology and counseling psychology.

The Projects of Queer Studies: Race, Pedagogy, and Social Theory RIG

Our mission is to develop a community of scholars at the UO who are in conversation about the most recent work in the field of queer studies, particularly the work that is seeking to address intersections of gender, sexuality, race, class, disability, and legacies of colonialism. Related to our mission is a strong commitment to questions of pedagogy.  As such, the work of this RIG seeks to compliment and inform efforts on the UO campus to develop and maintain a rigorous and intellectually vibrant Queer Studies research environment and curriculum.

This RIG is primarily a reading group, meeting bi-weekly to discuss articles and works-in-progress submitted by RIG participants. Readings may include the following:

  • Pedagogies of Crossing: Meditations on Feminism, Sexual Politics, and the Sacred, by M. Jacqui Alexander
  • What’s Queer about Queer Studies Now? (Special Issue of Social Text, edited by Judith Halberstam, Jose Esteban Mu
  • Aberrations in Black: Toward a Queer of Color Critique, by Roderick Ferguson
  • Impossible Desires: Queer Diasporas and South Asian Public Cultures, Gayatri Gopinath
  • Postcolonial, Queer: Theoretical Intersections, edited by John C. Hawley
  • Black Queer Studies: A Critical Anthology, E. Patrick Johnson
  • Beautiful Bottom, Beautiful Shame: Where “Black” Meets “Queer” (Series Q) by Kathryn Bond Stockton
  • Crip Theory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability, Robert McRuer
  • With Her Machete in Her Hand: Reading Chicana Lesbians, by Catriona Rueda Esquibel
  • Queer Latinidad: Identity Practices, Discoursive Spaces, by Juana Maria Rodriguez
  • Made in India: Decolonizations, Queer Sexualities, Trans/national Projects, by Suparna Bhaskaran
  • Troubling Education: Queer Activism and Anti-Oppressive Pedagogy by Kevin Kumashiro

Former Contact
Ernesto J. Martinez, assistant professor, Women’s and Gender Studies, ejm(at), (541) 346-5523

Violence, Gender and Society RIG

This group was interested in domestic violence and other forms of violence involving women. They read existing literature, pursued evaluation studies and sought a multidisciplinary approach to violence issues.

During 2008-09 the group continued to educate themselves and the campus community about violence-related issues which include:  to share their own interests/activities on a monthly or quarterly basis; and to read and research the topic of trauma and responses to trauma. They to established a year-long schedule that incorporated panel discussions and reading discussions. The group consulted with community and campus projects on common concerns including: collaborating with the disability and abuse group in the community as needed; collaborating with the Attorney General’s Task Force on Sexual Assault; and collaborating with the Trauma Healing Project. And finally, they explored external funding for further collaborative research in this area.

Intimate Partner Violence, Gender & Methamphetamine Conference (held 11/27/2007)

Conference Handouts:

Conference Powerpoint Presentations for downloading:

The conference was sponsored by the research interest group and the Center for the Study of Women in Society (CSWS) at the University of Oregon. The purpose of this conference was to bring together key multidisciplinary groups in the greater Oregon region in our ongoing collective efforts to coordinate services, shape policy and reduce intimate partner violence.

Debra Eisert, Institute on Violence and Destructive Behavior; Cheris Kramarae, Center for the Study of Women in Society; Deborah Olson, Special Education; Jeff Todahl, Couples and Family Therapy

Former Contact: Deborah Olson, Special Education, dlolson(at), (541) 346-2483