Brendan McMahon

Julia Yezbick

Fang Zhang

Brendan McMahon is an assistant professor and post-doctoral scholar with the Michigan Society of Fellows. His research addresses the visual and material culture of early modern Spain and the Spanish Americas, and is particularly concerned with the relationship between materiality, meaning, and epistemology. He is currently at work on a book project drawn from his dissertation, which examines the reception of iridescent materials such as textiles, feathers, shells, and minerals in seventeenth-century Spain and Mexico in the context of debates surrounding the limits of visual perception. He is also in the initial stages of two studies devoted to understanding early modern conceptions of space. The first is a collaborative project that aims to map geographies of material exchange across the early modern Pacific, while the second approaches the question of space through the lens of the history of ornithology, examining period theories of avian mobility, migration, and species distribution. In addition to support from the Michigan Society of Fellows, his research has been funded by a Fulbright-García Robles Grant and an Andrew W. Mellon Predoctoral Fellowship from the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, among others.

Julia Yezbick is a Michigan Mellon Fellow. She is a Detroit-based filmmaker, artist, and anthropologist who received her PhD in Media Anthropology and Critical Media Practice from Harvard University in 2016. Her work has been shown at international festivals and venues including the Berlinale--Forum Expanded, MOMA PS1’s print shop, the New York Library for Performing Arts, the Ann Arbor Film Festival, Mostra Internacional do Filme Etnográfico (Rio de Janeiro), the Montreal Ethnographic Film Festival, and at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit. She is the founding editor of Sensate, an online journal for experiments in critical media practice, and co-directs Mothlight Microcinema in Detroit. She recently completed a lectureship in the anthropology department at Harvard University where she taught courses on ethnographic film, video production, deindustrializing US cities, and the intersections of art and anthropology.

Fang Zhang is a 2016-17 Hughes Scholar at the U-M Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies. A teacher of contemporary art for a wide range of audiences for the last ten years, her scholarship includes writing, curating and organizing contemporary art exhibitions.