Meet the Fellows: 2019 Women’s Studies Fellow Samina Ali
The Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellowship in Women’s Studies is the only national dissertation award for doctoral work on issues of women and gender. The 2019 Fellows include Samina Ali, a doctoral candidate in English at University of Miami whose dissertation explores narratives by Muslim Latinas and South Asian women in contemporary U.S. literature.
The award will support Samina’s final year of dissertation writing. Samina shares some insight into what keeps her motivated during writing:
My favorite part of dissertation writing is how much my project has positively influenced my teaching. In the spring of 2019, I taught a course on Latina spirituality in contemporary U.S. literature. Many of my students were excited because they hadn’t encountered the authors we were reading, and I was excited because I was finally teaching the type of course I had always wanted to take as an undergrad. It’s always difficult to balance dissertating and teaching, but I was lucky to have students so invested in the material we explored. Using literature as a tool for critical analysis when examining their own histories, my students have reminded me that great literature can be a vital tool towards understanding the power structures at play in our everyday lives. Their enthusiasm brought me back to the value of literary studies time and again, and helped me see the symbiotic relationship between research and teaching.