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Professor Karen Kampwirth Receives Prestigious Research Fellowship

February 14, 2017

Professor Karen Kampwirth

By Celina Dietzel '17

Karen Kampwirth '86, Robert W. Murphy Chair of Political Science, and Victoria González-Rivera, associate professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies at San Diego State University, have been awarded a $130,750 American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Collaborative Research Fellowship for their project One Hundred Years of LGBT History in Nicaragua: Stories from the Global South.

Kampwirth and González-Rivera will begin their collaborative project in July. Kampwirth and González-Rivera have been doing research on Nicaraguan gender politics for decades, and the Fellowship will allow them to shape their extensive research into a book.

Although Kampwirth and González-Rivera spent hundreds of hours completing the grant proposal, they knew the process was highly competitive.

"It was a huge surprise," said Kampwirth about being notified that their project had been chosen.

"To receive a fellowship from The American Council of Learned Societies is nationally prestigious," said Laura Behling, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College. "The fellowships are highly competitive, and more often than not, fellowships are awarded to scholars at large research universities," she said.

The ACLS is a private, non-profit organization that provides grants to scholars, with the purpose of encouraging research in the humanities and social sciences. 

During the project, Kampwirth and González-Rivera will travel to Nicaragua to finish research for the book and to meet with publishers and translators. For Kampwirth, the most important part of this is sharing people's stories, and the duo will publish the book in both Spanish and English and make it accessible to those outside of academia.

"Over the course of years of other research projects related to gender issues, I've gotten glimpses of LGBT life in Nicaragua. This is an important story that nobody has told in either English or Spanish so far, especially not over such a long time frame," she said.

Kampwirth also hopes the research can change things for the better.

"From the perspective of modern day members of the Nicaraguan LGBT community, it is important, in terms of human rights, that their stories get told by multiple people, in multiple ways. This sort of research will hopefully help [LGBT people] be acknowledged as full citizens who deserve full rights."

In addition to her research on the Nicaraguan LGBT community, Kampwirth's research on women's involvement in armed revolutionary movements has resulted in two books: Women and Guerrilla Movements: Nicaragua, El Salvador, Chiapas, Cuba and Feminism and The Legacy of Revolution: Nicaragua, El Salvador, Chiapas. She has also written articles, co-edited a book, and contributed to a book on topics ranging from the Taliban and revolutionary movements in Poland and Iran to the role of masculinity and femininity in political figures ranging from Evita Perón to Hugo Chávez. Kampwirth has been a member of the Knox faculty since 1995.

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Printed on Sunday, March 26, 2017

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