Each year, the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies awards thousands of dollars in research grants to support graduate students in Labor Studies. These grants are awarded to graduate students, in any department at the University of Washington, whose research focuses on work, workers, and their organizations, and contributes to the interdisciplinary field of labor studies. Recipients receive grants of $2,500-5,000 to help cover expenses: ranging from travel costs to living expenses while traveling.

We are pleased to announce this year’s winners and the exciting projects they will be undertaking with the support of these awards.



Allison Anderson, International Studies, “Women’s Consequential Access: ICT-Enabled Female Economic Participation in Jordan.”

Anderson’s dissertation addresses the unexpectedly low rates of female labor force participation (FLFP) in Jordan. Considering traditional labor force determinants, much higher rates of FLFP would be expected in the country. This calls into question the predictive power of modernization theory - which generally asserts that increased economic development and educational attainment, along with decreasing fertility rates, leads to expanded economic opportunities for women - and reveals additional barriers to FLFP in Jordan. This study considers whether information and communication technologies (ICTs) may help overcome some of the barriers to FLFP in this case and if pursuing ICT-enabled economic participation might allow women the flexibility to work from home, on their schedules, by overcoming restrictions to movement and limitations on time due to expectations about their role as homemaker-caregiver.


Meagan Brown and Amy Edmonds, Health Services, “An Intersectional and Intergenerational Examination of Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Employment and Working Conditions.”

Intersectionality theory emphasizes how race and ethnicity intersect with class, gender, and immigration status to shape employment and work-related opportunities and hazards. Intergenerational perspectives are also important for informing how work and employment conditions can reinforce and perpetuate social inequities over time, and on a broad scale. In this study Brown and Edmunds use the National Health Interview Survey 2015 to describe key employment and working conditions by race and ethnicity, and investigate these employment/working conditions at the intersections of race/ethnicity, nativity, gender, and education.Their research also explores associations between parental employment, working conditions, and a child’s mental health. Leveraging these perspectives, this study will illuminate and describe disparities in work and employment conditions in a large, representative sample and highlight associations with important child health outcomes.


Rutger Ceballos, Political Science, “The Strange Disappearance of the ‘Land Question’ – Land, Race, and Labor in Post-Emancipation Black Politics.”

In the immediate aftermath of Emancipation, the debate over major land reform and the distribution of land to freed Blacks was the most salient and contested political issue in the United States. This project seeks to understand the relationship between land reform, Black labor rights, and the development of American capitalism. Ceballos draws from first-hand accounts of freedpeople in the Freedmen’s Bureau and National Colored Convention archives, to argue that Black resistance to postwar labor contracts, criticism of white planters unchallenged rights to property, and their consistent demand for land, constituted an early challenge to post-Emancipation racial capitalism.


Dennise Drury, Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences, “Sexual Harassment Prevention in Agriculture: Evaluating a Tailored Multi-level Worksite Training.”

Sexual harassment is a longstanding and pervasive problem threatening the health, safety, and dignity of farmworkers nationwide. Farmworkers face harassment at rates 2-3 times higher than the general workforce, yet there are currently no requirements for employers to have workplace policies or training in this area. This has left a majority of employers and workers without sufficient guidance and resources. Drury’s project seeks to pilot, and evaluate, the Prevent Sexual Harassment in Agriculture Worksite Training and Toolkit, developed with and for the agricultural community. This program applies a social ecological approach to address risk factors for harassment at the individual, interpersonal, and organizational levels in the agricultural sector.


Yingyi Wang, Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies, “Working in Gender Equality and LGBT Rights NGOs: Neoliberal Governance, Subjectivities and Place-Based Politics in Contemporary China.”

Wang’s research seeks to understand how projects by gender equality NGOs and LGBT rights NGOs aimed at empowering the marginalized, are sites of negotiation and contestation between civil society, national and international donors, and the party state in contemporary China. By focusing on gender equality and LGBT NGOs, this research bridges the gap between work on NGO organization in civil society, labor studies which focus on productive labor and labor resistance, and feminist studies of social reproduction and affect, to understand gendered labor as a form of precarious resistance.


Polly Woodbury, Public Health and Social Work, “Working Conditions of Cambodia’s Brick Industry.” 

Because of globalization, economic growth, and overwhelming foreign investments, Cambodia is in the midst of a construction boom. This vertical race to buy Cambodian land and build has created demand for an unhealthy amount of bricks. These bricks are supplied by a domestic brick industry at the expense of thousands of debt-bonded Cambodians. Inside brick kilns, issues of public health, labor rights, human rights, and climate change are toiled into a combustible, deadly impact on workers’ lives. Woodbury’s research aims to explore the working conditions of Cambodian brick laborers.


Dennis Young, Political Science, “Spaces of Control: Immigration Detention, Resistance, and the Carceral State.”

Dennis’s research theorizes the possibilities and pitfalls of resistance to immigration detention in the United States, given the complex dynamics of race, labor, and power that comprise the detention apparatus. Immigrants in detention centers are often paid as little as one dollar per day in exchange for the labor they do to maintain the very facilities of their captivity. He theorizes how certain types of resistance, notably legal action, tend to reify existing connections between detention and the carceral state, and explores how labor strikes can speak back to power and challenge hegemony within the United States.