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Clarkson University's S.N. Nyeck Receives Grant for Project on Religious Entrepreneurship in Age of Sexual Rights in Africa

Clarkson University Assistant Professor of Political Science S.N. Nyeck has been awarded a two-year research grant by the Nagel Institute for the Study of World Christianity at Calvin College for a project titled "Religious Entrepreneurship in the Age of Sexual Rights: An Inquiry into the Dynamics of Resilient Innovation and Competition in Kenya."

S.N. NyeckNyeck is expected to lead a multidisciplinary team of Kenya-based scholars at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa, Moi University and the University of Nairobi to complete the project.

A goal of the project is to bring to light the importance of religious beliefs and cultural imagination in documenting not just oppression, but also the different ways society perceives political and religious identities in Africa.

Recognizing the fact that socio-cultural identity underpins modern world politics, the projects seeks to understand how social work and economics, rather than human rights discourse, transform religious attitudes and negotiation of sexuality and identity.

"We plan to explore the idea of resilience within activists and religious groups’ debates and practices to assess the extent to which each group simultaneously enhances and hinders the competitive emergence of a multivalent discourse about human sexuality in Kenya," says Nyeck. "Resilience as a starting point for analysis allows us to retrieve nuanced modes of affirming culturally-sensitive approaches to debating sexual rights in Kenya."

Nyeck hopes that the project's outcomes will facilitate reconciliation of the political, historical religious and socio-cultural dynamics that are often kept apart in existing studies of sexual orientation in Africa.

Her team intends to publish the findings of the project in a scholarly journal or as a book. Versions of the study outcomes will be made available to participant activists, government and non-governmental policy makers and religious communities.

Nyeck’s research interests include entrepreneurship in the public sector, public-private partnerships, government outsourcing. She also examines sexuality and politics, contentious politics, law and culture.

Funding by the Nagel Institute for the Study of World Christianity at Calvin College is aimed at strengthening African scholarship in the social sciences and theology.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

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