The Institute for the Humanities has awarded fellowships to seven U-M lecturers and tenure-track faculty members in a new eight-weeksummer fellowship program. Victor Fanucchi will use his fellowship to develop a screenplay, entitled Chatbot, about rivals in the field of conversational artificial intelligence who are competing for a prize that will be awarded to the AI that is the best at passing as human.

SAC certificate student Mary Hennessy is one of eight graduate students who has received a Graduate Student Fellowship for 2018-19 to support her research project ""Handmaidens of Modernity: Gender, Labor, and Media in Wilhelmine and Weimar Germany."

This dissertation analyzes the remarkably gendered history of German media during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—a period that witnessed the development of new media technologies that would propel women into the workforce as typists, stenographers, telephone operators, film editors, and more. These roles, both invisible and essential, mandated new tasks and generated new forms of labor that would quickly come to be associated with femininity. Focusing on the emergence of new media cultures in Imperial and Weimar Germany, this project argues that women were essential to the production and maintenance of culture, business, communication, and social life, and that their labor—typing, plugging, cutting, pasting—helped define the material and discursive development of new media technologies. Each chapter explores the gendered logics of a particular media profession in which women were disproportionately represented, reading texts that construct and thereby help to theorize the relationships between gender, labor, and media around 1900. Combining original research with close readings of literary and historical source materials, this project constructs a feminist history of media that considers women’s roles as the handmaidens to modern media cultures.

SAC PhD candidate Kayti Lausch was awarded the Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship for the 2018-2019 academic year. Her dissertation charts the histories of three religious television networks from the 1960s to the present and examines how religious broadcasters built alternative spaces within and alongside the mainstream television industry, how they worked in tandem with the ideological project of the Religious Right, and their complex role in the ongoing culture wars.