Meet Shirley Le Penne, 2021 First Generation Scholar in the Profession

Shirley Le Penne is a Ph.D. student in Government at Cornell University, specializing in Political Theory. A granddaughter of Algerian Jewish immigrants to France, Shirley’s commitment to the Maghreb entwines with her interest in life amidst incarceration to inform her dissertation project. Tapping into the lived experiences of confinement, Shirley studies the politics of life, death, and suicide in prison and prison-like environments, as well as the spectrum of life and death sentences. In her dissertation, she comparatively examines the intergenerational incarceration of Algerians in French prisons and of Palestinians in Israeli prisons.

 Shirley is the first of her family to complete middle school, attend high school, receive a Baccalauréat, go to college, pursue a master’s degree, and undertake a PhD. She completed her BA in the History of the Middle East and Africa at Tel Aviv University. She wrote her master’s thesis on hope and despair in Algeria and Tunisia amidst the Arab Spring at Tel Aviv University and Sciences Po Paris. 

Shirley is thankful for the generous support of the First Generation Scholar Travel Reimbursement Grant which helped her attend the 2021 APSA Annual Meeting in Seattle and participate in the 2021 Lightning Rounds. 

About the APSA First Generation Scholar in the Profession Accessibility Grant
In 2015, the APSA Executive Council approved a new standing Committee on First Generation Higher Education Scholars in the Profession, parallel to the existing APSA status committees. The goal is to bring focused attention to the ways in which class, economic inequality, and mobility can affect political scientists’ ability to thrive educationally and professionally throughout their careers. The travel and accessibility grant is intended to support First Generation Higher Education Scholars in the Profession who attend the APSA Annual Meeting. Learn more.