Grad Student Jessica Ott Receives Fulbright-Hays DDRA

Jess and Fatma

Jessica Ott has been selected to receive a Fulbright-Hays DDRA for her research on women’s rights activism in Zanzibar. She is pictured here with a prominent activist, Fatma Alloo, in Zanzibar. Below is her project summary. Congratulations, Jessica!

“Health rights for women’s rights: How Zanzibari feminist activists invoke the past to change the future for women”

My dissertation will examine how feminist activists in Zanzibar invoke historical rights discourses and gendered ideas from the past about rights worthiness in their women’s rights advocacy. Existing anthropological studies of women’s rights have described contemporary feminist activism as guided primarily by “new” transnational women’s rights ideas. Through ethnographic and archival research, I will build upon existing anthropological understandings of transnational women’s rights by exploring how Zanzibari feminist activists additionally draw from Zanzibar’s long and rich history of engagement with women’s and human rights ideas in their contemporary political advocacy. My research will contribute to human rights policy debates an understanding of the implications of depending on historical rights arguments and constructions of innocent victimhood for women’s rights in Zanzibar.