SWAN Program scholar wins Shirley Brice Heath Travel Stipend Award

Traveling to last November’s American Anthropological Association annual conference was a little easier for Kathryn Wright, who’s currently pursuing an Social Work and Anthropology Integrated Doctoral Program, also known as SWAN, at Wayne State University. Wright recently received the Shirley Brice Heath Travel Stipend Award from the Council on Anthropology and Education (CAE). The award is named for Shirley Brice Heath, a linguistic anthropologist whose work has been very influential in the anthropology of education.

“This is the first time I have received an external award to support conference travel. It makes me feel supported in my work by a larger community of scholars,” said Wright.

Wright and fellow researchers at AAA conference
From left: Eulalia Gallegos Buitron, University of Idaho; Kathryn Wright, Wayne State University; Josefine Wagner, University of Innsbruck; and Rebekka Boysen-Taylor, University of Idaho at the 2022  American Anthropological Association annual conference.

Wright’s dissertation is an ethnography of three special education classrooms in a downriver community. “My focus is on the social relations among students within the classroom, and how these relations influence the students’ sense of identity and personhood. Understanding this should help to better integrate students with disability into the larger school and chip away at ableist stigma against disability.” 

These stipends are intended to help emerging scholars by defraying expenses associated with participating in the annual meetings. 

The CAE is a part of the American Anthropological Association (AAA). Founded in 1968, CAE is dedicated to the advancement of scholarship on schooling in social and cultural contexts, and on human learning both inside and outside of schools. Their mission is to advance anti-oppressive, socially equitable, and racially just solutions to educational problems through research using anthropological perspectives, theories, methods, and findings.

Wright was drawn to the SWAN program because it combines anthropological and social work methods and theory with strong ethical obligations to work towards social change.

“When I found out I received the award, I was surprised and excited. I applied for it without any real expectation that I would receive it,” she said.

This competitive award prioritizes new scholars (graduate student or recent graduate); presenting in a CAE-sponsored session at the conference; and financial need. Priority is given to CAE members, new scholars from underrepresented groups, first-time presenters, and members of the AAA.

“I want to work toward disability justice in all areas of society. As a starting place, I am focused on the experiences of students, both with disability and without, in schools.”

To learn more about the CAE including meetings, awards, and publications, click here.

Author: Laura Hipsphire laurahipshire@wayne.edu

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