Melissa Gouge is a PhD student studying sociology in the department’s globalization track. Broadly her interests include social movements from a transnational perspective and while critical of the liberal notion of human rights, she is also interested in the emancipatory potential of a more inclusive human rights practice.
Her current research specifically focuses on the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), an organization of farmworkers primarily composed of immigrants who employ a diversity of tactics and work with a wide range of allies. As an example of a successful transnational social movement organization, they employ a pluralist perspective of human rights in their work for just working conditions for agricultural laborers. For her dissertation project, she is examining the role of emotions and culture in building solidarity among movement participants and allies.
In the Spring of 2016, she worked with researchers at Durham University (U.K.) for their project on human trafficking, forced labor, and slavery in supply chains. As part of an EU initiative, they presented the CIW as the only existing model of worker-driven corporate social responsibility and reported their success in eliminating forced labor from their supply chain.
Melissa has experience using a diversity of research methodologies, from qualitative work conducting focus groups to constructing surveys and employing statistical analyses; but she favors historical-comparative approaches and community-based participatory methods. She also teaches Introduction to Sociology at Montgomery College on their Takoma-Silver Spring campus in Maryland.
She holds an M.A. from the American University with a certificate in Public Sociology and B.A. from the University of Florida. She is a member of DC Fair Food (a CIW ally organization), Alpha Kappa Delta sociology honor society, the American Sociological Association, the Eastern Sociological Society, and the Society for the Study of Social Problems.
Publications & Presentations
Gouge, Melissa C. (September 2015) Human Rights in Play, Transnational Solidarity at Work: Creative Playfulness and Subversive Storytelling among the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. Critical Sociology: Human Rights Special Issue, 42(6) 861–875.
Gouge, Melissa C. (February 2015) Whose Museum is it Anyway? A Comparison of Exhibits Constructed by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and the Smithsonian Institution. Paper presented at the Eastern Sociological Society Conference in New York, NY.
Gouge, Melissa C. (August 2013) Whose Imagination is it Anyway? Paper presented at the Re-Imagining Human Rights Conference sponsored by Society for the Study of Social Problems and Critical Sociology in New York, NY.
Tuttle, Joshua, Melissa Cidade, Margaret Redman, Melissa C. Gouge, and Meenakshi Ramasubramanian. (March 2013). Predicting Migrant STEM Self-Employment: A Statistical Analysis of Migrant Self-Employment in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Paper presented at the Eastern Sociological Society Conference in Boston, MA.