Trinity College Associate Professor of International Studies Janet L. Bauer has received a Fulbright Global Scholar grant—an award designed to support multicountry, transregional projects—for her research project on The Social Geographies of Islam in Diaspora: Race, Gender, Generation, and Place. With this $25,690 award, Bauer has been engaged throughout the 2017–18 academic year in research at sites in Canada, Germany, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Bauer’s focus on the ethnography of mobility and gender in Islamic societies began when she was a graduate student at Stanford University, where she earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in anthropology. During the past 25 years, she has continued to address questions about Muslim women in diaspora through longitudinal research, following the same populations over several generations in different Muslim-minority societies. This includes ongoing collaborative research with her Trinity students working among refugee groups in the metro Hartford area.
“The Fulbright research represents the culmination of my work on Muslim diasporas in which I am focusing on women’s activism and their engagement—or nonengagement—with Islamic heritage,” said Bauer. “My goal is to increase our understanding of how immigrants—in this case, Muslim women and youth—use both local and global ties to successfully negotiate places of belonging for themselves and their communities.”
Bauer, a Trinity faculty member since 1984, completed the first segment of her Fulbright project during fall 2017, conducting research in Trinidad and Tobago while hosted by the Institute for Gender and Development Studies at The University of the West Indies. From February through April, she was based at the Institute on Globalization & the Human Condition at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. In May, she left for Germany, where through July her host institution is the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Göttingen.
“Each of these sites provides a unique set of circumstances for better understanding the challenges faced by Muslim women in Muslim-minority contexts. … Across the globe, Muslims are confronting an onslaught of negative stereotypes and a fear of Islam,” said Bauer. “It’s important to avoid generalizing about Muslims, especially Muslim women, and to remember that most of our Muslim neighbors are an integral part of our communities, leading productive lives.”