Julie is a doctoral candidate in religious studies at Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. She was awarded a Maguire and Irby Family Foundation Public Service Internship for summer 2013 from the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility at SMU. She is collaborating with the Dallas Women’s Foundation and Dallas Habitat for Humanity to conduct ethnographic field research. As part of her work, she is interviewing single mothers of different races and ethnicities who are Dallas-area Habitat for Humanity homeowners in the same southeast Dallas neighborhood.
From my previous work with economically vulnerable single mothers as well as my research in ethics, theology, and economics, I believe single mothers face particular cultural and economic pressures that often mean their realities are mostly invisible and their lives often stigmatized. Thus, many single, working-class mothers are marginalized in the broader culture. My research methods - of starting “knowledge gathering” with the women’s own voices and perspectives - reflect my concern that these stories need to be known and ought to help shape the cultural and economic structures impacting them and, ultimately, all of us. I am deeply concerned to recognize and support the dignity and agency of the participants who will shape the trajectory project by identifying themselves [...]