Alison Cornish, professor of romance languages and literatures, Mary I. and David D. Hunting Family Fellow
The phenomenon of what media theorists call remediation is at least as old as the shift from speech to writing, from scroll to codex, and from one language to another. In Dante's time, engagement with literature was being transformed by the use of paper instead of parchment and by widespread translation of Latin texts into local vernaculars. With the adoption of new media comes an awareness of the ephemeral nature of all material supports and of what gets lost (as in translation) in the substitution of one for another. Dante's considerations of the materiality of the medium of sound — from infernal examples of involuntarily excreted words and human speech metamorphosed into inhuman noise to the musical passages of the "Purgatorio" and "Paradiso" — are connected with poignant concerns about the contingent life of the vernacular: inevitably entwined, as it is, in a relentless process of re-mediation.
Yanay Israeli, history; Early Modern Conversions Graduate Fellow
"Negotiating the Republic: Violence, Propaganda, and Government in Castillian Cities, 1391-1520"
This project explores the relations between emerging republican discourses, social conflicts and administrative practices in late medieval and early modern Spain. Drawing on extensive archival materials — administrative correspondence, municipal records, petitions, and judicial inquiries and testimonies — Israeli's work examines how different Spaniards appropriated concepts such as "the common good," "good government," and "tyranny" to make various political claims, mobilize collective action, and legitimize forms of violence and authority. Analyzing the political language that informed phenomena such as urban protest and revolt, the growing of central administration, the structuring of public spaces in cities, or the eruption of violence against ethnic and religious minorities, this project proposes the struggles over the meanings of republican concepts as a new perspective from which to examine the history of Spain in a period of significant social and cultural transformations.