FRI will generate transformative, paradigm-shifting linkages across disciplines by bringing feminist ethics and methodologies to bear on the basic sciences, social sciences, humanities, health sciences, engineering, law, economics, and agriculture and environmental science.

The FRI vision includes the establishment of an innovative research program. FRI working groups address pressing social problems through a feminist approach that takes gender dynamics seriously in conceptualization, design, interpretation, analysis, dissemination, and application of research.

Current Projects:

2017-18 FRI Working Groups

Soil Health Interdisciplinary Working Group

Amanda Crump, Education Graduate Group
Kate Scow, Land, Air, and Water Resources

Healthy soils are critical for a variety of reasons. Soils support biodiversity. Soils provide healthy food. Soils supply clean water. Soils also provide a fertile ground for interdisciplinary research. We propose to build upon an international, interdisciplinary effort called the Soil Care Network and build a complementary network within the University of California community. Our working group will engage a variety of faculty, staff, and students from two University of California campuses and the University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, USDA NRCS, and California Department of Food and Agriculture, and The Nature Conservancy. Our working group has two objectives: a learning agenda composed of group meetings and visits from invited faculty; and a collaborative examination of critical studies of soils.

Radical Mycology Working Group

Anuj Vaidya, Performance Studies
Marisol de la Cadena, Anthropology

Thinking with the fungus is not by any means a new methodology – they feature prominently in the cornucopia of indigenous knowledge systems and in origin myths, esteemed for their wisdom and psychoactive properties, their healing potential, and as food. Mushrooms survive (and even thrive) in the margins, offering us new ways of thinking and learning about collaboration, social and political organization, and co-habitation in an age of ecological crisis. From their refusal to be categorized neatly within the taxonomies of modern science, to their transformative capacity as saprophytes – turning dead matter into the potential for life – fungi are  queer subjects that inhabit the ruins of human activity. Making avail of the rich culture of mycology in Northern California, the Radical Mycology Working Group at UC Davis will engage in practical workshops on mushroom cultivation, mushroom foraging, mycoremediation, etc through a DIY myco-lab, allowing for conversations about practices of reciprocal (human/fungus) care, and for dialogue that brings mycology into critical conversation with science and technology studies, performance studies, indigenous studies, and critical race and gender studies.

Feminism and Precision Medicine: an initial synthesis from a diverse stakeholder engagement

Jennifer Phipps, Biomedical Engineering
Fred Meyers, Department of Faculty Sponsor: Internal Medicine/Center for Precision Medicine                                                                                     

Women, minorities and the socioeconomically disadvantaged have been exploited in health care and public health, resulting in pervasive disparities. For example, rates of lung cancer in men have been steadily declining over the past few decades, whereas for women, the incidence has been increasing both in smokers and non-smokers. Smoking is the most common risk factor for lung cancer, but a new epidemic of lung malignancy in never-smoking women has emerged [Isla, 2017]. While cancer rates have been declining across much of America, Black Americans still have higher cancer mortality rates and shorter survival times [Fu, 2005]. These health disparities are of interest to precision medicine, a field that combines multiple domains of a patient’s and population’s characteristics with medical background to personalize their health care, including: sex/gender, genetics, lifestyle, and environment with the ethical, legal and social implications of the analysis. The intersection of feminism and precision medicine has never been adequately discussed or defined and yet the principles of feminism could greatly shape the growing field of precision medicine. We propose to bring together experts in many disciplines to have four focused discussions on intersections between feminism and precision medicine, with an aim towards creating a guide for precision medicine researchers on how to incorporate feminist principles in their work.

Speculative Ecofeminist Futures

Xan Chacko, Cultural Studies
Rana M. Jaleel, Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies

This group explores the exciting intersection of speculative science fiction and feminist visions of ecological futures, including the applications of an ecofeminist framework, practice, and philosophy, as evidenced in the literary genre of science fiction. We will use this opportunity to think generatively about how each of our projects can be enlivened by considering fictional future narratives from works by China Miéville, Paolo Bacigalupi, Octavia Butler, Frank Herbert, Margaret Atwood, Ursula Le Guin, and Joanna Russ, and others. The group is committed to understanding how non-human entities are understood and made in relation to particular networks of human interactions and meaning making endeavours. Whether landmines, dogs, microbes, genes, seeds, or cities, the non-human subjects of our respective research projects have lives that are always/already in excess of what our human interlocutors can evince. Science fiction allows us to imagine how these entities could interact with the world beyond the duration and scope of our projects.

Seed Grant Projects

Current seed grant projects awarded for 2017-18 include:

  • Feminist Activist Scientists and Their Archives. Project Leaders: Sara Giordano and Rana Jaleel (Gender, Sexuality, & Women’s Studies)
  • Linking Lack of Sanitation, Water, Menstrual Hygiene and Energy to Gender Disparity in Rural Kenya. Project Leader: Maureen Njoki Kinyua (Civil & Environmental Engineering)
  • Women Immigrants and Access to Citizenship. Project Leader: Jeannette Money (Political Science)
  • Interdisciplinary Comparative Feminist Research on Discourses of Gender and Adolescence. Project Leaders: Liz Constable (Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies), Corrie Decker (History), Jenny Kaminer (Russian)
  • Empowerment or Further Assault on Female Autonomy? Exploring Issues of Race, Class, and Power in Post-Sexual Assault HIV Prevention. Project Leader: Jessica Draughon Moret (School of Nursing)
  • Women’s Work: Feminist Perspectives on Food Waste, Sustainability, and Environmental Design. Project Leaders: Claire Napawan (Landscape Architecture) and Sahoko Yui (Geography)
Read full descriptions of the 2017-18 seed grant projects here.