WORDS: ANNA SCHWAB '16
IMAGE: ANI ACOPIAN '16
I’m sitting with Camila Recalde ’16, who just returned from Los Angeles, where she attended an annual conference hosted by the American Studies Association. Camila is a fellow in the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program, an initiative to increase diversity among the faculty of higher education institutions.
As part of the Mellon program, Camila spent six weeks at Wesleyan over the summer, along with eleven other fellows. The group took classes from graduate students on how to develop their thesis projects which will eventually lead to their dissertations. The summer session allowed Camila to find an area of research and pitch her ideas to a faculty panel. She is focusing her work on the racialization of female eating disorders, framing her discussion within the larger context of contemporary hook-up culture and how it shapes women’s perceptions of their bodies. She is sourcing most of her information from feminist, sociological, and historical texts.
The Mellon Mays Fellowship Program sponsors Camila’s travel to academic conferences across the country. All she has to do is communicate to her advisor how the conference will relate to her research, and Mellon covers all travel and living costs. This past weekend in LA, Camila attended panels on food and female sexuality, as well as others such as “Empire of Funk: Hip Hop and Representations in Filipina/o America – A Round Table,” “The Filth and the Fury: Cultural Politics of Waste in America,” and “Girls, Girls, Girls: Gender and Popular Culture.” The theme of this year’s American Studies conference was titled: “The Fun and the Fury: New Dialectics of Pleasure and Pain in the Post-American Century.”
Camila attended the conference with other Mellon fellows—Allie Komada-John, Monique Siaw, Juan Gallardo, Paulina Jones-Torregrosa, and Christian Hosam.
“We each have different academic areas of interest and everyone’s doing pretty awesome research projects, so we each got something different out of the experience and the panels we went to. A lot of the panels directly related to a few people’s research topics, so we were able to leave with new possible trajectories of research and papers to look into, ” she tells me.
At the conference, Camila was able to interface with other professors and graduate students working within her area of interest. She left the conference with a new outlook on her research topic as well as a slew of papers and people to use as resources for her ongoing work. This upcoming weekend, Camila will be facilitating the Mellon Mays Regional Conference, which is taking place at Wesleyan. Mellon fellows from the across the east coast gather for this conference to share their research with professors and alumni.