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Fourth year Faculty of Arts student receives Killam Fellowship

Claire Gjertsen to research sexuality and criminality in nineteenth century North America 


Claire Gjerstsen, a fourth year student in History, Law and Society and Philosophy will study at American University during the 2015-16 academic year.

October 27, 2015

Fulbright Canada has announced that Claire Gjertsen, a fourth year student at the University of Calgary in History, Law and Society, and Philosophy, has been awarded a prestigious Killam Fellowship to study at American University during the 2015-2016 academic year.

Since her second year of university, Claire has been an active student on campus, working as vice president of marketing for the History Students Association as well as the Consent Awareness and Sexual Education Club. She has contributed to the latter club by designing original media and print campaigns dedicated to promoting consent awareness as a means of sexual assault prevention.

She is currently working on two honours research projects to culminate the end of her combined degree, including research on the development of sexual regulation in nineteenth-century Virginia.

This past summer, Claire was awarded a 2015 Program for Undergraduate Research Assistance (PURE) award from the University of Calgary, allowing her to spend her summer on a project entitled Mental Illness and Gender in the early Canadian Penitentiary

Claire is interested in the development of nineteenth-century North American constructions of sexuality, criminality, and mental illness. Her own independent research seeks to investigate antebellum Virginia sodomy law and how it influenced normative Southern constructions of male sexuality.

The Killam Fellowships Program is a competitive program providing an opportunity for exceptional undergraduate students from universities in Canada and the United States to spend either one semester or a full academic year as an exchange student in the United States or Canada respectively. The Killam Fellowships Program provides a cash award of $5,000 US per semester, a three day orientation in Ottawa, and a three day spring seminar in Washington D.C.

This program, administered by Fulbright Canada, is supported by the American Killam Trusts and Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. It is part of a multidimensional strategy to foster mutual understanding between Canada and the United States of America.

Fulbright Canada is sponsored by the United States Department of State and the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development. It is a bi-national, treaty-based, non-governmental, not-for-profit organization, governed by an independent board of directors, charged with identifying and supporting the very best and brightest in Canada and the United States.