Assistant Professor Rachel Silver awarded Gail P. Kelly Award for Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation

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Rachel Silver, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Education at York University, has won the 2019-20 Gail P. Kelly Award for Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation from the Comparative & International Education Society (CIES) for her paper “Sex, Schooling, and Moral Triage in Malawi.”

Rachel Silver

The award is conferred on an outstanding PhD or EdD dissertation that manifests academic excellence, originality, and methodological, theoretical and empirical rigor; and that deals with issues of social justice and equity in international settings. These issues may include (but are not limited to) gender, race, class, ethnicity and nationality.

“I’m truly honored to receive this award, particularly as it is named for Gail Kelly, who transformed the conversation around formal schooling and gender systems in the global South,” said Silver. “Kelly was a luminary in the field of comparative and international education.”

Silver’s research connects insights from comparative and international education and the anthropologies of gender, development and policy. Her dissertation examines the relationship between discourses on girls’ sexuality and young people’s lives in Malawi. In Southern Africa, as in much of the world, the pregnant schoolgirl embodies failure for diverse actors and institutions. Silver draws on a year of multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork to reveal how this moralizing shapes international and national policy, organizational efforts to support girls’ education, daily practice in schools and the lived experiences of student mothers.