Women’s Studies director receives coveted fellowship

Laurie Shrage, professor of philosophy and director of the Women’s Studies Center at FIU, will be spending a year in residence at Princeton’s University Center for Human Values. Shrage was awarded a coveted Laurence S. Rockefeller Visiting Fellowship this spring and will begin her year-in-residence this fall. Only nine fellowships were awarded by the center for the 2011-2012 academic year.

Shrage will devote her time at Princeton to conducting research and writing for her latest book, “Reinventing the Sexual Contract: Marriage, Sex, and Autonomy.”  Her project explores an Islamic practice — mut’a or sigheh — that offers some of the social safeguards of marriage to sexually intimate but unmarried partners.  She will consider whether this practice has a place in secular liberal societies, and whether it can address the criticisms of heterosexual marriage that have been advanced by feminists and the LGBTQ community.

“This is a great opportunity for Dr. Shrage and we’re looking forward to the work she’s able to do while there,” said Suzanna Rose, director of the School of Integrated Science and Humanity, which houses the center.

Shrage, who joined the faculty at FIU in 2008, is the author of “Abortion and Social Responsibility: Depolarizing the Debate” (2003), and “Moral Dilemmas of Feminism: Adultery, Prostitution, and Abortion” (1994).  She also has edited two books and has been published in 15 journals during her career. In addition to leading FIU’s Women’s Studies Center, she currently serves as vice president of FIU’s Phi Beta Kappa Chapter, chairwoman of the FIU Chairs Advisory Council, and is a member of the FIU Institutional Review Board for the Health Sciences.

During Shrage’s tenure at Princeton, Physics professor Yesim Darici will serve as interim director of the Women’s Studies Center at FIU. Darici’s projects and interests include increasing the number of women in the sciences, especially in Physics, which has the lowest number of women Ph.D. candidates of any field across the university.

“As a physicist, Dr. Darici will bring a really different perspective to the work we do at the center, and help develop new opportunities for women in science in the process,” Rose said.

During her career, Darici has served as a mentor and role model for pre-college and college women who are planning careers in the physical sciences. While she is serving as interim director, she will work with Women’s Studies faculty to develop courses, events, and research projects that focus on women’s contributions to science and that will reach out to young women studying science.

“I know our students, faculty and staff will enjoy working with her, and that our programs will be in good hands,” Shrage said.


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