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Qatar tribune

Tribune News Network


Sixteen student researchers from Northwestern University in Qatar join the Institute for Advanced Study in the Global South (#IAS_NUQ) as part of the third incoming cohort of its flagship Global Undergraduate Fellowship programme.

The #IAS_NUQ Global Undergraduate Fellowship is a year-long programme that supports students interested in conducting research on topics relevant to the Global South. Fellows selected for the programme engage in rigorous research and creative scholarship projects, contributing to evidence-based storytelling about the Global South through diverse mediums such as research papers, multimodal projects, documentary films, and other creative digital forms.

In addition to receiving funding for their projects, the Global Undergraduate Fellows work closely with #IAS_NUQ staff and NU-Q faculty mentors and participate in specialised training, workshops, and writing groups. Their final projects are published by #IAS_NUQ Press and showcased to the Northwestern Qatar and Education City community at the annual event, #IAS_NUQ Global Undergraduate Fellows Presentations, held at the end of January each year.

Selected from a highly competitive pool of applicants, this year’s fellows will examine various cultural, economic, and social issues across Africa, South Asia, and Latin America. The projects represent a rich tapestry of research interests and approaches, including changing news consumption patterns in rural Zambia, resistance to polio vaccination in tribal areas of Pakistan, community-led education amongst Doplo indigenous populations in Nepal, feminist economic practices in Pakistan, and contemporary Afro-Brazilian religious practices in Porto Barbosa in Brazil.

Maria Clara Lisboa-Ward, a third-year student in the Journalism and Strategic Communication Programme, is among the student researchers awarded a fellowship this year. With a focus on digital performances, online storytelling strategies, and the analysis of multicultural mass communications, Maria brings a unique perspective to her research endeavours. Drawing inspiration from her experience as a research assistant with Northwestern Qatar Professor Heather Jaber, Lisboa-Ward aims to explore the intricacies of the Brazilian digital space, an area she believes needs to be thoroughly defined in academia.

“I want to find out how certain aspects of Brazilian society—particularly class identity and mobility aspirations—generate profitability and determine how Brazilians use platforms online,” saidLisboa-Ward.”

Another fellow selected for the programme is Mahnoor Ahmer Ansari, a third-year student in the Communication Programme from Pakistan. Her research examines the intersections of morality policing and class dynamics within digital spaces, with a specific focus on the use of TikTok amongst working-class women in Pakistan.

“I discovered TikTok through a woman at the beauty parlour my mother and I used to go to back in 2018,” said Ansari. “Most people I knew back then refused to use the platform; they would call it “cringe.” Sentiments like this have a larger impact than we think. In 2020, Pakistan temporarily banned TikTok, justified by a religious morality clause. My project will explore and trace how the creativity and community found in digital spaces occupied by the working class in Pakistan have converged as powerful tools of resistance.”

Marwan M. Kraidy, dean and CEO of Northwestern Qatar, said: “The #IAS_NUQ Global Undergraduate Fellows programme is the deep core of the Institute for Advanced Study in the Global South at Northwestern Qatar. This new fabulous cohort of fellows embodies the success of the Institute’s central and innovative premise: undergraduate scholars and media-makers, once offered dedicated research, professional, and logistical mentoring, can produce advanced evidence-based storytelling, whether publication, films, games, or others, that rivals outputs at the very best graduate programmes anywhere in the world.”

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