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Two LSU Scholars Awarded American Association of University Women Fellowships

By Maggie Heyn Richardson

06/07/2012 02:59 PM

Carolyn LewisBATON ROUGE – This spring, two LSU College of Humanities & Social Sciences scholars were awarded fellowships from the American Association of University Women, or AAUW, that will enable them to significantly advance research projects currently underway.


Assistant Professor of History Carolyn Lewis received the AAUW’s postdoctoral fellowship, which supports tenure-track scholars as they complete research and writing, while Department of English Ph.D. candidate Cara Jones received a fellowship that provides support as she completes her dissertation.


LSU was the only university in 2012 to feature two winners in AAUW’s highly competitive American Fellowships program, available to doctoral candidates completing dissertations or scholars seeking funds for postdoctoral research leave from accredited institutions. The candidates were evaluated on the basis of scholarly excellence, the quality and originality of project design, and an active commitment to helping women and girls through service in their communities, professions or fields of research.


The fellowships will provide financial support between July 1, 2012, and June 30, 2013.


“This was tremendous for me, personally, and for LSU,” said Lewis, who specializes in women’s history. “It was powerful to see two names from the university on the list.”


Lewis will work on her latest book project, “The Chicago Maternity Center: Gender, Medicine and Power on Maxwell Street,” which explores the social and cultural impact of the Chicago Maternity Center, an institution founded in the 1890s to provide low-income women – many of them immigrants – with medically-assisted, low-intervention home births. The charity’s survival rate for women and infants exceeded conventional rates in the U.S. and was on par with countries like Sweden, said Lewis. Its success rate notwithstanding, the institution closed in the ‘70s. Lewis is examining this island of health care success and why it neither survived nor was replicated. The fellowship will provide time for research and funds for travel.


Lewis’s previous work is “Prescription for Heterosexuality: Sexual Citizenship in the Cold War Era,” published by Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press in October 2010.


For the AAUW Fellowship she was also evaluated on volunteerism. Lewis serves on the Humanities & Social Sciences faculty senate and is a faculty advisor for the LSU chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honor society. She also serves on the interdisciplinary women’s and gender studies faculty and works with several national nonprofits focused on women’s issues.    


For Jones, the AAUW Fellowship means she won’t have to work multiple part-time jobs while completing her dissertation. Jones’s project explores the mixed messages women receive in modern gynecological self-help literature. Her dissertation “From Wandering Wombs to Female Trouble: Endometriosis Self-Help Literature From the Intersections of Queer and Disability Theories,” examines popular books that simultaneously provide advice for handling endometriosis, known at one time as the “career woman’s disease,” while also promulgating fears about fertility and biological clocks.


Jones is a five-year member and current president of LSU’s Women’s & Gender Studies Graduate Organization, or WGSGO. She has planned and executed numerous WGSGO events including a screening and discussion of the acclaimed documentary, “Miss Representation,” which examines the misrepresentation of women in the media. She has also initiated several programs to support women’s and gender studies students, including teaching and travel awards, job market workshops, a mentoring program, and a series of mentoring lunches between students and faculty.


“The fellowship gives me a chance to really focus on the dissertation and finish it next year,” said Jones, who will continue teaching, but will let go of other part-time work. “I’m very energized by this.”


For more information on the LSU College of Humanities & Social Sciences, visit


Photos: (top photo) Carolyn Lewis, (bottom photo) Cara Jones

LSU Media Relations