The UW Graduate School awards the 2017-18 Graduate School Presidential Dissertation Fellowship to Political Science graduate student Meredith Loken. She receives the fellowship, which provides the funding for one academic quarter, to advance her dissertation work. In her dissertation, which is titled “Women to the Front: Female Militants and Rebel Trajectory in Internal Conflicts,” Loken explores the effect of women's participation in insurgency on rebel trajectory and sustainability. She uses an original dataset, the Women in Global Insurgencies Dataset (WGID), to argue that female-inclusive rebellions are most sustainable because they benefit from civilian support. As Loken notes, “this dataset provides categorical assessments of women's involvement in front-line, supportive, leadership, and founder roles in 147 insurgencies operating cross-nationally between 1960-2016.” In addition, she draws on insurgent propaganda and political posters, murals, and other visuals to demonstrate how rebels use gendered imagery to garner popular admiration and new recruits. Finally, Loken examines thematic similarities across insurgent groups (including those in Palestine, Nicaragua, Mozambique, Chile, and others) and performs a detailed case analysis of insurgent visuals in Northern Ireland.
Each year, the Graduate School Presidential Dissertation Fellowship is awarded to one graduate student from the social sciences and social professions departments. These departments each nominate two of their graduate students for the award and the Graduate School then selects one awardee from this pool of nominees.