HCRI recognise UG Outstanding Dissertation Award Winners 2020

Despite an uncertain end to the year, the standard of HCRI’s undergraduate dissertations was incredible, and a testament to the hard work and commitment of all their students.

Every year, HCRI honour the students with the highest dissertation mark for International Disaster Management and Humanitarian Response (IDMHR) and intercalated Global Health (GH) respectively. This year the winners of the Outstanding Dissertation Award were Lauren Whiteley and Bethan Richards (joint for IDMHR) and Rebecca Gorman for intercalated Global Health.

Hear from each awardee about their dissertation topics, and Dr Rubina Jasani, who had the pleasure of supervising all three students throughout their projects:

Rebecca Gorman, Global Health

Rebecca GormanMy dissertation looked at the maternal mental health of black women in the UK by examining the erasure of these women at a healthcare professional level and how this prevents black female patients accessing maternal psychiatric assessment and treatment. This was done by analysing systematic racism and policy within healthcare in the UK using black and intersectional feminist theories, race and post-colonial theories and how these impact the life-course of black women as patients and professionals. I used secondary research as well as quotes and information from the International Women's Day 2020 conference at the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology."

Dr Rubina Jasani:

“Rebecca's dissertation on black women and maternal mental health care used life course as a research method to chart out how structural inequality from birth plays out across lives of black women in the UK and how that has an impact on their experience during and after child-birth. The strength of the work was in the complex interlinking of theory, application of the methods and innovative interpretation of evidence that enabled an honest reading of the institutional racism within the UK. The clarity in thinking and the passion for the work came through in the writing."

Lauren Whiteley, International Disaster Management and Humanitarian Response

Lauren Whiteley“My dissertation applied intersectional and post-colonial lens to the 'Global Gag Rule' which is a US foreign policy that inhibits any global health funding being allocated to organisations that provide or advocate for safe abortion. I investigated by looking at the politics of aid from a post-colonial intersectional lens how the GGR is rooted in conservative Christian conceptualisations of women and how using these lenses can help to better understand the effects of the policy on the ground. I used a case study of South Africa to demonstrate this."

Dr Rubina Jasani:

“This piece is original because it questions the liberal feminist and human rights assumptions of the aid world. She takes on Christian Fundamentalism and the colonial legacies in dictating reproductive health and shows the inherent discrimination within it. Her project balanced theory and the empirical realities very well and the analysis was sophisticated.”

Bethan Richards, International Disaster Management and Humanitarian Response

Bethan Richards“Originally, I wanted to look at mental health and asylum, but as I began to research, I realised that a more fluid interpretation of wellbeing would better incorporate the complex and multi-faceted impacts of the asylum process on intrinsic feelings of identity, culture and narratives of suffering. I looked at the current policies in place during an asylum claim, the general trends in UK response and how the narrative has changed over time. By using the concept of embodiment, which looks at how the body is at the locus of experience and how identities are impacted by external factors, my research was able to engage with the impact of asylum seekers having to prove their credibility.”

Dr Rubina Jasani:

Bethan's dissertation on perpetual waiting and challenged credibility of asylum seekers in the UK looks at the mental impact of the asylum process on their well-being. She does the same by analysing reports produced by organisations that document the process. Her project makes both and empirical and theoretical contribution as it brings to light how the anthropological concepts of liminality and embodiment could enable us to articulate the experience better. Bethan was disciplined, took feedback on board and was very ambitious with where she wanted to go with the project. “


A final congratulations to Rebecca, Lauren, Bethan, and all of HCRI’s Class of 2020.

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