7 receive the 2022 IRIS Graduate Student Summer Fieldwork Awards and one our 2nd BLAC Foundation Award

The Institute for Regional and International Studies is pleased to announce the 7 recipients of this year’s IRIS Graduate Student Summer Fieldwork Award. Each recipient receives $3,000 to support their work abroad in the coming summer field season. The seven recipients of this year’s awards are: Aida Arosoaie, Saloni Bhogale, Kathleen Cawley, Erin Clancy, Chris Hulshof, Tola Okunlola, and Yue Qin.

Tola Okunlola is also the recipient of our 2nd BLAC Foundation supplemental award which provides an additional $1,000 to support her summer research in Nigeria.

The IRIS Graduate Student Summer Fieldwork Award opens every year in November and is open to UW-Madison graduate students campus-wide and at all levels in their graduate career to support field research or other work abroad. Click here to learn more and read reports from previous years’ recipients.

More complete information on each of our 2022 awardees and the work they will be doing can be found below. Congratulations to each and every one!

2022 IRIS Graduate Student Summer Fieldwork Award recipients


Aida Arosoaie is a graduate student in the Department of Anthropology pursuing a PhD in Cultural Anthropology with an emphasis on science and technology studies. Aida’s research focuses on convergences and divergences between racialized extractive capitalism, indigenous knowledges and collaborative modes of artistic practice and aesthetics. Specifically, she investigates the layered histories of extraction and the reparative forms of life emerging around rubber in Malaysia. Aida will be undertaking pre-dissertation ethnographic fieldwork in Malaysia from May to August 2022, researching with artists, indigenous communities and scientists.

Saloni Bhogale is a PhD student in the Department of Political Science, in Comparative Politics. She received an MA in Computer Science from Ashoka University and a BTech from Mumbai University. Prior to graduate school, she worked at a think tank building open-source datasets and tools for journalists and researchers. She plans to do fieldwork in Indian courts in Mumbai and Delhi in order to further her research on the effects of diversity in the judiciary. In order to do this, she will to conduct interviews over the summer months with a number of legal practitioners and visit courts to understand better how they work.

Kathleen Cawley is a PhD candidate in the Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies program. Her work looks at the proliferation of content that engages real people, events, and cultural trauma in contemporary Irish theatre. She explores the theatre that features experiences of queer people, women, institutionalized children, and indigenous language speakers, narratives erased by the cultural oppression and institutional violence rooted in Catholic Church doctrine and practice. These productions both responded to, and facilitated, widespread social change during the 2000s. The IRIS Fieldwork Award will allow her to access performance archives and to converse with artists in Ireland about their work.

Erin Clancy is a third-year Geography PhD student. Their dissertation applies a Disability Studies and feminist geographic framework to deconstruct the transnational medical-cultural imaginaries of anorexia nervosa and its relation to broader biopolitical imperial formations. In considering if and how anorexia’s diagnostic logics in the 19th century became institutionalized with the rise of eating disorder treatment centers in the late 20th century, this research in part asks after the implications of historically contingent yet sedimented effects on the violence of institutional care today. To that end, their research this summer will take place in northern Italy, where they will visit various medical and organization archives that house the writings of various figures central to these histories.

Chris Hulshof is a doctoral student in the Department of History studying the localized capillaries of power at the periphery of empire. He will be traveling to the United Kingdom in late summer to examine recently declassified Information Research Department documents on a British-led black propaganda campaign conducted in Indonesia during the 1960s. Thanks to IRIS funding, Chris will be one of the first, if not the first scholar to examine these documents. The information within the collection may provide a bevy of important insights into this history and bring to light what local actors worked with Western powers to foment the instability that led to Indonesia’s tumultuous political transition of 1965-66.

Omotola (Tola) Okunlola is a PhD candidate at the African Cultural Studies department, University of Wisconsin-Madison. She earned her BA and MA degrees in English from Obafemi Awolowo University and the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, respectively. Her current research explores contemporary feminist politics in African literature and film. This summer, she will conduct field research in Nigeria to understand the network of forces that has historically shaped women’s literary and cinematic representations in the country. Tola is also the recipient of the 2022 BLAC Foundation supplemental award.

Yue Qin is a first-year PhD student in Sociology at UW-Madison. Her research focuses on how rising precarious work affects aging workers’ sense of self-worth, social relationships, and attitudes toward social inequality in China. With IRIS funding, she will conduct fieldwork in northern China, collecting data through semi-structured interviews and participant observation. This project will promote a better understanding of the social and psychological consequences of economic transition and rising precariousness in modern China.