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The FREE Center supports feminist research across a wide range of disciplines, including epidemiology, Latinx studies, physics, English, art, engineering, and public health, among others.  

The FREE Center currently supports 12 Research and Connection Clusters that bring together faculty, graduate students, and community partners to advance feminist scholarship around shared areas of interest.

To learn more about requests for funding for Research and Connection clusters, visit the FREE Center funding page

Spring 2024 Research and Connection Clusters  

Latinx Visual Feminist Culture  
Cluster Contact: Dr. Fernanda Díaz-Basteris, Department of Spanish and Portuguese and Center for Ethnic Studies

The Latinx Visual Feminist Culture Cluster intends to provide a space for the Latinx feminist academic community at Ohio State to think about BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) feminist art perceptions. The cluster plans to hold a workshop later this spring to think together about the social interventions of feminist visual narratives. The workshop will explore how various narrative aspects of Latinx visual products, such as positionality, community struggles embodiment, gender politics portrayals, and settler colonialism mindsets, challenge notions and understandings of Latinidad in the U.S.  

Maternal Health and Sickle Cell Disease for Women and Girls with Genetic Conditions  
Cluster Contact: Dr. Shameka P. Thomas, Center for Bioethics, College of Medicine 

This cluster builds off the Sickle Women and Girls (SWAG) Project, an NIH-funded research initiative with collaborators between the United States and Ghana. Data collection for the SWAG Project was finalized in July 2023, and the team has since expanded to continue data analysis for manuscript development and publication. Cluster meetings will focus on new bioethical challenges in cross-cultural perspectives, such as: 1) bridging the gap during data analysis and 2) providing health researchers with an opportunity to participate in integrated data analysis training and focus groups. 

Reproductive Justice  
Cluster Contact: Dr. Alison Norris, Division of Epidemiology, College of Public Health and College of Medicine  

SisterSong defines Reproductive Justice as “the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities.” The Reproductive Justice Cluster is an interdisciplinary group that seeks to learn about each other's reproductive justice-oriented research. Cluster goals include engaging in new ways of thinking; identifying opportunities to work together in research, teaching, or community engagement; and participating in peer mentorship. 

Brain Injury from Violence CARE Alliance  
Cluster Contact: Dr. Julianna Nemeth, College of Public Health 

Founded in 2023, the Brain Injury from Violence CARE Alliance is a network of individuals from various communities, organizations, and systems that brings together individuals to understand and address brain injury from power-based violence (e.g. child abuse, gender-based violence, police brutality, human trafficking). Brain injury from power-based violence takes the form of traumatic brain and hypoxic/anoxic injuries (from strangulation) and can affect brain function immediately and for years afterward. The CARE Alliance intends to raise awareness, provide education and training, inform services, and conduct research to meet community needs. 

trace layer play (tlp)  
Cluster Contact: Dr. Shari Savage, Department of Arts Administration, Education and Policy 

trace layer play (tlp) is an arts-based research collective founded and sustained by woman-identifying and woman-identified researchers. Composed of graduate students and recent alumni from the Department of Arts Administration, Education and Policy, the collective cultivates a collaborative, care-centered, non-competitive, and non-hierarchical culture. The collective will use cluster funding to (1) mount this year’s two-week public participatory arts-based exhibition, (2) host community partners, and (3) facilitate “re-play.” 

Progressive Research on Organizational Equity and Learning (PROPEL) 
Cluster Contact: Dr. Monica Cox, Department of Engineering Education 

The PROPEL Cluster is an interdisciplinary assembly of faculty dedicated to conducting research that addresses systemic limitations, failures, and challenges faced by Women of Color in academia. Findings from this transformative research will be used to craft strategic, actionable, and sustainable safe spaces for open dialogue and healing among Women of Color along with recommendations for local and national policy changes that contribute to the broader strategic goals of diversity and inclusion in U.S. higher education. 

Feminism in STEM  
Cluster Contact: Dr. Adrienne Hopson, The Ohio State University at Mansfield 

The goal of this cluster is to develop conversations around feminism in STEM and other fields where women are still underrepresented and to develop actions for the campus and faculty to bring more women into these fields. Cluster activity will focus on meetings to identify feminist issues in fields where gender equity is an issue. The group will investigate resources in the region that may be useful in supporting these efforts such as workshops, trainings, or conferences. Finally, the cluster will research evidence-based, feminist practices that can be incorporated into classrooms and on the Mansfield campus as a whole. 

Queer and Trans (of Color) Research Network  
Cluster Contact: Dr. Joe Ponce, Department of English 

This Queer Sexualities and Genders Cluster seeks to host several gatherings of faculty, students, and staff whose research, teaching, and/or administrative work focuses on or draws from queer and trans studies, with an emphasis on intersectional approaches that foreground race, Indigeneity, ethnicity, and colonialism as well as other social differences such as dis/ability, migration, citizenship, class, and religion. 

Moving Towards Equity and Justice: Feminist Lenses to Expand STEM Discipline-Based Education Research  
Cluster Contact: Dr. Geraldine L. Cochran, Department of Physics 

This cluster consists of early and mid-career faculty engaged in equity-oriented, discipline-based STEM education research. Feminist Standpoint Theory (FST), feminist epistemologies, and feminist methodologies advance equity and excellence in STEM education by problematizing heteronormative structures and expanding concepts of gender that impact how researchers cultivate scholarship in STEM learning environments. The cluster will expand its knowledge and familiarity with these topics by facilitating discussions and workshops during the spring semester. 

Feminist Art Research (F.A.R.)  
Cluster Contact: Natasha Woods, Department of Art 

This cluster aims to support and uplift the work being done by visiting artists in the Department of Art. This spring, several feminist artists will visit campus for studio visits and artist talks that will be open to the public. Thus, cluster funding will be used to support these events and the work of visiting artists.   

Spoken Word Poetry   
Cluster Contact: Dr. Gia Elise Barboza-Salerno, College of Public Health and College of Social Work 

The purpose of this cluster is to meet with two community artists/activists who use spoken word poetry to reduce the psychosocial sequelae of trauma among youth. The goal of this cluster is to strategize with these spoken word artists about how to use their work to reclaim narratives of oppression to reduce the impact of trauma created by government sponsored policies and practices and foster restorative justice. By focusing on the intersectionality between race and gender, the cluster will combine feminist research, critical race theory, and critical trauma theory to address systemic oppression from an intersectional perspective. 

Centering the Margins: An Intersectional Violence Prevention Collective
Cluster Contact: Ashleigh LoVette, College of Public Health

This cluster will bring together a group of diverse faculty interested in violence prevention to engage with the theoretical framework of intersectionality while creating opportunities to apply intersectional feminist approaches to research. The cluster will accomplish this by fostering interdisciplinary connections through events, readings and meetings, as well as building space for students and postdoctoral scholars with interest in intersectional approaches to violence prevention to engage with faculty.