Congratulations to our 2024 Rose Olver Prize Winners: Karla Muñoz '24, Mica Nimkarn '24, and Jordan Trice '24

Karla Munoz '24 headshot

Karla Muñoz '24

(In)visible Labor: Undocumented Latina Street Vendor Mothers in the Context of Legal Violence in New York City

Program of Latinx & Latin American Studies Honors Thesis

Abstract: Traditional feminism often fails to capture the distinct needs and challenges of mothers. In 2019, Andrea O’Reilly introduced matricentric feminism as a “mother-centered feminism” that emphasizes the intersection between motherhood and womanhood. The experiences of mothers must also be understood within the context of cultural, geographic, economic, social, and/or political factors. Undocumented Latina mothers are often subjected to “good mother” versus “bad mother” stereotypes that stem from middle-class, Western, White, and patriarchal conceptions of mothering. Undocumented mothers also face barriers to accessing employment, social services, and healthcare for themselves and their children. Thus, many Latina undocumented mothers turn to street vending for economic support and flexibility. In my thesis, I examine the experiences of undocumented Latina street vendor mothers in New York City (NYC). Through an ethnographic study and in-depth interviews with 4 undocumented Latina street vendor mothers, I argue that as street vendors, these mothers are targets of legal violence from anti-immigration policies and NYC street vending laws. Legal violence describes the way laws and practices instill harm on the livelihoods of undocumented immigrants. As street vendor mothers, they also undergo “invisible labor” which highlights the sacrifices, efforts, and pain that go unnoticed. These mothers demonstrate agency, strength, and motivation in the ways they navigate systemic barriers, but I emphasize that it is also important to recognize that these barriers shouldn’t exist in the first place. They deserve to live safe, happy, and fulfilling lives without having to prove themselves worthy of basic equal rights and opportunities.

Mica Nimkarn '24 headshot

Mica Nimkarn '24

Reclaiming Care to Community: Networks of Care in the Philippine Women Center

Department of Sexuality, Women's and Gender Studies Honors Thesis

Abstract: The Philippine Women Centre of BC (PWC) was based in Vancouver and was a nonprofit, community-based organization that worked towards Filipina equality and liberation. The center was focused on providing support to the Filipina migrant community, which was primarily made up of care laborers, including domestic workers and nurses. The center served a growing population of Filipina care workers who migrated to Canada under the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP) policy, which imported foreign labor from countries like the Philippines into Canada. In this project, I look at the different networks of care that ran through the center, maintaining a sense of community and support for its members. I do this in collaboration with Charlene Sayo, who is the daughter of one of the organization's founders and also former leadership of the center. By examining the networks of care in the PWC's formation, research and intergenerationality, this project aims to tell the story of how the PWC reclaimed care beyond their entrapment in domestic work into building a support system for their community in Canada.

Jordan Trice '24 headshot

Jordan Trice '24

The Weather of Sexual Terror: Exhausting Language in American Slave and Neo-Slave Narratives

Department of English Honors Thesis

Abstract: “The slave-woman is at the mercy of the fathers, sons or brothers of her master. The thoughtful know the rest.” This is how Fredrick Douglass writes about the systematic and profitable rape of enslaved women during American chattel slavery in his 1855 slave narrative, My Bondage and My Freedom. Why is this all we get? Why does this description reach toward the issue without fully grasping it? In my thesis, I explore the ways in which writers of slave and neo-slave narratives, some of those thoughtful who know the rest, attempt to represent the sexual terror of American chattel slavery that seemingly resists language. I argue that writers of slave narratives are forced to mask these issues due to social conventions of their time and that writers of contemporary neo-slave narratives create out of a position that allows them to find new language and forms to represent the inescapable and creeping sexual terror of American chattel slavery, what I call the weather of sexual terror. Through these formal innovations, these writers help us find (to borrow words from Toni Morrison’s Beloved) “some kind of tomorrow.” My thesis ends on two companion visual essays that include words from works of fiction, poetry, song, quilting, and interviews, all from Black people who lived and are living in the afterlife of the weather of sexual terror. This final move serves to remind us that we have been thinking and writing through this weather as it has followed us for centuries. And we will continue to.