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Former Fellows

2022 Summer Fellows

2022 Summer Fellows

Erin L. Brightwell, associate professor, Asian languages and cultures

"Wartime Japan: Translations of Empire"

Charli Brissey, assistant professor, dance

"Dance We Must: Choreographies of Time, Space, and Emergent Matter(s)"

April Conway, lecturer III, Sweetland Writing Center

"Hedge Witch"

Jay Crisostomo, associate professor, Middle East studies

"Sumerian: The Language of the Gods"

Kristin Dickinson, assistant professor, Germanic languages and literatures

"Visualizing Translation: Belonging Beyond Citizenship in Contemporary Germany"

Megan Ewing, lecturer I, Germanic languages and literatures 

"Rough Surfaces, Difficult Climates: Ecological Thinking in the Neo-Avantgarde"

Erik Mueggler, professor, anthropology

"Slavery, Writing, and Indigenous Jurisdiction in Southwest China" 

2021-22 Fellows

Faculty Fellows, 2021-22

Samer Ali, associate professor, Middle East studies
Norman and Jane Katz Faculty Fellow
“Arabo-Islamic Humanities in Tenth-Century Iraq: Expressive Culture and Nonviolent Resistance”

Victor Mendoza, associate professor, English language and literature & women’s studies
Hunting Family Faculty Fellow
“Extimate Attachments: Race and the Promise of Imperial Citizenship”

Rebekah Modrak, professor, art and design
Helmut F. Stern Faculty Fellow
“UnProductiveSolutions: Humanizing Technology”

Christopher Molnar, associate professor, history, Flint
Steelcase Faculty Fellow
“Playing With Fire: Race, Memory, and Migration after German Reunification”

Ellen Muehlberger, professor, history and Middle East studies
John Rich Faculty Fellow
“Appearances: Recognition and Suspended Knowledge in Late Antiquity”

Lisa Nakamura, professor, American culture
Helmut F. Stern Faculty Fellow
“Understanding Digital Racism After COVID-19”

Kin-Yee Ian Shin, assistant professor, history and American culture
Richard and Lillian Ives Faculty Fellow
“Imperfect Knowledge: Chinese Art and American Power in the Transpacific Progressive Era”

David Temin, assistant professor, political science
John Rich Faculty Fellow
“Remapping Sovereignty: Indigenous Political Thought and the Politics of Decolonization”

Graduate Student Fellows, 2021-22

James Denison, history of art
Sylvia 'Duffy' Engle Graduate Fellow
“Stieglitz Groups: Race, Place, and the Essentializing Logics of American Modernism”

Marisol Fila, Romance languages and literatures
A. Bartlett Giamatti Graduate Fellow
“Content and Form: The Black Press and Articulations of Blackness in Twenty-First Century Buenos Aires, São Paulo, and Lisbon”

Molly Keran, English language and literature
James A. Winn Graduate Fellow
“Reimagining Rape Stories: Convention and Consciousness in Feminized Genres”

Emily Lamond, Greek and Roman history
Constance and Marc Jacobson Graduate Fellow
“Disability in the Roman Familia”

Elizabeth McNeill, Germanic languages and literature
Mary Fair Croushore Graduate Fellow
“Speaking (of) Animals in the Life Sciences and Literature of 20th-Century Germany”

Nicole Navarro, history
David and Mary Hunting Graduate Fellow
“Beyond Racial Binaries: Latinos, African Americans, and Political Power in Washington, D.C., 1975-1995”

Raquel Vieira Parrine Sant'Ana, Romance languages and literatures
Richard & Lillian Ives Graduate Fellow
“In the Fissures of Authoritarian Knowledge: Sexual Difference in Contemporary Latin American Art (1980-2020)”

Hanah Stiverson, American culture
James A. Winn Graduate Fellow
“Radicalizing the Mainstream: The Icons and Ideologies of Cryptomasculinity and the Far Right”

2021 Summer Fellows

Sueann Caulfield, associate professor, history and the Residential College
“Stretching the Boundaries of Legitimacy: The Changing Meaning of Family in Brazil”

Jason Fitzgerald, assistant professor, English language and literature
“Theatre at the End of Humanism”

Irene Hwang, lecturer III, architecture and urban planning
“Pivotal Constructions of Unseen Events: How Architecture Shaped American History, 1871-2020”

Diana Louis, assistant professor, women's and gender studies and American culture
“Colored Insane: Slavery, Asylums, and Mental Illness in the 19th Century”

Jennifer Metsker, lecturer IV, art and design

Jonathan Ready, professor, Classical studies
“Immersion, Identification, and the Iliad”

Molly Spencer, lecturer III, public policy
“Six and Rose: A Study of Form in Free Verse Poetry”

Kathleen Wroblewski, lecturer III, history
“Migration to the Self: Education, Political Economy, and Religious Authority in Polish Communities, 1880-1929”

2020-21 Fellows

Faculty Fellows

Ghassan Abou-Zeineddine, Norman and Jane Katz Faculty Fellow, assistant professor, English, U-M Dearborn
"Adventures in Dearborn"

Linda Gregerson, John Rich Faculty Fellow, professor, English
"'Saint Sorry', a Collection of Poems”

Bethany Hughes, Hunting Family Faculty Fellow, assistant professor, American culture
"Redface: Race, Performance, and Indigeneity"

Matthew Lassiter, Hunting Family Faculty Fellow; professor; history, urban and regional planning
"Deadly Force: Documenting and Mapping Police Violence and Misconduct in Detroit"

Ana María León, Charles P. Brauer Faculty Fellow; assistant professor; history of art, Romance languages and literatures, architecture
"NO SMALL ACTS: Counter-Institutions in Brazil, Chile, and Argentina, 1959-1983"

Janum Sethi, Steelcase Faculty Fellow, assistant professor, philosophy
"Kant on Prejudice and Communication"

Anna Watkins Fisher, Helmut F. Stern Faculty Fellow, assistant professor, American culture
"Resistance in an Age of Inevitability"

Jason Young, Richard and Lillian Ives Faculty Fellow, associate professor, history
"‘To Make the Slave Anew’: Art, History and the Politics of Authenticity"

Graduate Student Fellows

Alaa Algargoosh, Mary Fair Croushore Graduate Fellow, architecture
"Aural Architecture as Affect: Understanding the Impact of Mosques’ Acoustics on the Worshipper’s Experience"

Caitlin Clerkin, David and Mary Hunting Graduate Fellow, classical art and archaeology
"Hellenistic and Early Parthian Seleucia-on-the-Tigris Revisited"

Katherine Dimmery, A. Bartlett Giamatti Graduate Fellow; Asian languages and cultures, anthropology
"Heartache, and the Contested Ethics of Cultural Survival in Southwest China"

John Finkelberg, Mary Fair Croushore Graduate Fellow, history
"Becoming a Man in the Age of Fashion: Gender and Menswear in Nineteenth-Century France"

Yael Kenan, Sylvia 'Duffy' Engle Graduate Fellow, comparative literature
"States of Mourning: Nationalism and Mourning in Palestinian and Israeli Literatures After 1948"

Victoria Koski-Karell, Richard & Lillian Ives Graduate Fellow, anthropology
"Poetics of Water: Drinking-Water in the Wake of Cholera in Haiti"

Megh Marathe, Richard & Lillian Ives Graduate Fellow, information
"Understanding the Seizure in the Time of Digital Brainwaves"

Aaron Stone, James A. Winn Graduate Fellow, English
"Desires for Form: Modernist Narrative and the Shape of Queer Life"


2020 Summer Fellows

2020 Summer Fellows

David Caron, professor, French
"Think Strange: Transnational Queer Cinema and the Poetics of Personhood"

George Hoffmann, professor, French
"What Westworld Tells Us about Being Human"

Paul Johnson, professor, history and Afroamerican and African studies
"Architectures of Presence"

Jane Lynch, lecturer III, Residential College
"Keeping 'Idle Hands' Busy: Ethical Subjects in the History of India’s Craft Industries"

Melanie Manos, lecturer II, art and design
"Visualizing Women's Work"

Kelly Murdoch-Kitt, assistant professor, art and design
"ORBIT: Designing Intercultural Collaborations"

Veerendra Prasad, lecturer II; film, television, and media
"Unscripted Films in Uncontrolled Environments"

Carol Tell, lecturer II, English, Sweetland Writing Program, Lloyd Hall Scholars Program
"'I’ll Eat You Up, I Love You So': Conflicting Renderings of Eating in Childhood"

2019-20 Fellows


Sahin Acikgoz
Mary Fair Croushore Graduate Fellow, comparative literature

“Transgender in Translation: A Transnational Category of Socio-Cultural Analysis in the Turkish Nation-State”

In this dissertation project, Acikgoz analyzes the transnational circulation of the category “transgender” in the contemporary world. She argues that a critical analysis of the deployment of the category “transgender” in the Middle East and the Global South can reveal the ideological convergence between modernization and epistemological colonization. Acikgoz draws on medico-legal literature, religious texts, military archives, oral histories, autobiographies, testimonies, films, ethnographies, and ethnographic documentaries from Turkey, Iran, Brazil, Mexico, and the USA to examine how “transgender” as an umbrella term erases the religious, class-based, ethnic, sexual, and racial particularities of the non-Western transgender communities. She suggests a new approach in reading the translation of transgender into these diverse geographic spaces through a post-secular feminist lens, arguing that this reading praxis allows us to accomplish three outcomes. First, it exposes the epistemic erasures of the secular Eurocentric knowledge production. Secondly, it challenges the archival politics of the transgender biomedical modernity. Thirdly, it provincializes the Eurocentric political and cultural capital by problematizing the asymmetries that globalized knowledge circulation maintains.

Joel Batterman
Mary Fair Croushore Graduate Fellow, urban and regional planning

"A Metropolitan Dilemma: Race, Power and Regional Planning in Detroit"

Unbeknownst to many, there was once a time when Detroit was at the forefront of metropolitan planning and regional governance initiatives. The region’s highway planners laid out a framework for metropolitan growth in the 1920s. In the years after World War Two, as the region’s economy boomed and development surged into the suburbs, regional elites established a series of metropolitan institutions intended to facilitate regional planning and governance. Assisted by the Ford Foundation, they viewed Detroit as a pacesetter for the nation in planning a “metropolitan future.” What regional planners and advocates for regional cooperation failed to address was the problem of racial segregation and inequality. In 1967, months after the establishment of the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) formalized a new metropolitan political arrangement, Detroit’s Twelfth Street ghetto exploded as black residents protested police violence. In the wake of the rebellion, SEMCOG tried to steer clear of controversy, but it quickly attracted intense suspicion from white suburbanites who feared it could be used to implement desegregation plans and redress metropolitan inequality. Meanwhile, as black elected officials gained power in Detroit, they saw little benefit in cooperating with SEMCOG, which they regarded as a white-dominated institution unwilling to advocate for black interests. This "metropolitan dilemma" is still with us today, and by understanding its history, we can better understand the roots of our present political predicament, and shape a strategy for a "reparative regionalism" that advances racial and economic equality in Detroit and other metropolitan areas.

Megan Behrend
Sylvia 'Duffy' Engle Graduate Fellow, English language and literature

"The Latinity of Middle English Literature: Form, Translation, and Vernacularization"

This dissertation offers a new, ethical-aesthetic paradigm to account for Latin-English bilingualism in late medieval British literature. It challenges the dominant template for literary-linguistic history in the medieval period, which posits monolingualism as the telos of English literature. To accomplish this, Behrend reconsiders the bilingualism of texts traditionally viewed as central to the early “English” literary canon, arguing that each of these works is constituted by negotiations between the English and Latin languages. Her reading of these texts as fundamentally bilingual, rather than vernacular, depends on the category of translation as an analytic lens. While existing models of Latin-vernacular translation in the medieval period formulate the relationship between these languages as rivalrous and hierarchical, the project explores how translation mobilizes a range of other sociolinguistic and formal relationships between Latin and vernacular. These complex bilingualisms then have ethical implications for today’s literary critics ranging from what historical narratives we tell to how we organize our canons and even our academic disciplines.

Nicholas Caverly
David and Mary Hunting Graduate Fellow, anthropology

"Restructured City: Demolition and Racial Accumulation in Detroit"

This dissertation examines vacant building demolitions in Detroit to understand the production, embodiment, and transformation of structural racisms in the United States. It brings together ethnographic and archival accounts drawn from living rooms, excavator cabs, regulatory proceedings, municipal offices, and other locations to investigate how transformations of the built environment simultaneously restructure the conditions of inequality, while at the same time maintaining anti-blackness and white supremacy as spatial, political economic, and environmental realities. Based on twenty-four months of field research, it charts how building removals transform the sociomaterial products of racist disinvestment into differently racialized accumulations of protection and distress. In particular, Caverly attends to demolition as a redistributive project that reorganizes land, economic opportunity, and contamination. Physical buildings are transformed into landfillable waste. Incarcerated people are trained to be demolition labor. Resources are channeled into wealthier neighborhoods. Asbestos-containing building materials become toxin-laced air. As building removals shape racialized bodies, territories, and bank accounts, they reveal how the recurrence of structural racisms subjects the already marginalized to harm, while absolving the already privileged from responsibility.

Kyle Frisina
David and Mary Hunting Graduate Fellow, American culture and English language and literature

“Thinking Theatrically: Contemporary Aesthetics for Ethical Citizenship”

This project begins from the observation that in an era when many Americans question government’s ability to act as a guarantor of democracy, an acclaimed subset of 21st-century women writers of color and queer women writers have turned to the subject of relational ethics: to the local, moral question of how to perform in relation to others. Frisina interrogates the efficacy of their interest in relational performance by identifying and taking seriously an often coincident investment in theatrical performance. Examining how literary works including Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric, Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts, and Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic take up themes of theatrical performance, how they perform on the page, and how their evocations of marginalized bodies are “performed” by and for the books’ wide audiences, she argues that encoded in these texts is a “theatrical” reorientation toward democratic life at once more modest and more radical than we might expect. It is more modest in that subjects—and audiences—are figured as perpetually unable to understand one another. It is more radical in that they are urged to attend to one another anyway. Each chapter combines black, queer, and feminist theater and performance approaches to identity and embodiment with close reading methods from literary studies to elaborate different relational elements of thinking theatrically. Together, the chapters advance a practice of collaboratively developed, collectively sustained attention: a theatrical ethics of relation.

Zehra Hashmi
A. Bartlett Giamatti Graduate Fellow, anthropology and history

"Biometric Belonging: Datafied Kinship and Databased Governance in Urban Pakistan"

This dissertation investigates the manner and means by which Pakistan’s biometric identity card system, the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), moves from a security-oriented identification system into a broader regime shaping domain of social life outside the realm of security. The NADRA card, built from individual biometric information and databases that consolidate records on citizens’ kin ties and other social data, is a central preoccupation for Pashtun migrants in urban locations. Through multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork in Pashtun neighbourhoods and NADRA’s institutional sites, this research addresses three broad questions: 1) How do NADRA’s biometric identification technologies transform Pashtun experiences, notions and practices of kinship? 2) How does incorporation into and exclusion from NADRA’s databases shape daily practices affecting mobility and access to housing, education and government services? 3) How are NADRA’s day-to-day operations shaped by Pashtun encounters with NADRA, and what does this reveal about Pakistan’s governance and security practices? Additionally, this project historicises biometric technologies by examining early post-colonial and late-colonial fingerprinting and tribal identification practices. Hashmi hopes to develop an understanding of historically constituted connections between kinship, biometrics, security practices, and the status of ethnic minorities as they crystallise into a networked, state-organised infrastructure.

Shira Schwartz
Richard & Lillian Ives Graduate Fellow, comparative literature

"Yeshiva Quirls: A Textual Ethnography of Jewish Gender, Sex and Reproduction"

This dissertation explores the shifting roles of American Orthodox Jewish women through the changing gendered educational norms of the yeshiva. Since the rabbinic period, the yeshiva has operated as a center of male reproduction, generating lineages of learned men through rabbinic discipleship. Schwartz’s research traces the contemporary re-gendering of the yeshiva from a men’s to a women’s educational institution with the recent advent of women’s yeshivas. Framing Jewish education as a form of gendered reproduction, the project highlights this institutional shift as a reproductive shift, demonstrating how women’s yeshivas restructure Orthodox gender, sex and reproduction. Centering students’ biomaterial learning bodies, Schwartz registers secondary sex trait changes that occur when students’ gender roles break down, troubling divisions between sex and gender and arguing for the social, spatial and material contingency of both. A textual ethnography, this dissertation toggles between analyses of late-Antique rabbinic texts and the women who study them today, exploring how an ancient male canon and its contemporary educational spaces shape new genders and biomaterial bodies.

Elizabeth Tacke
James A. Winn Graduate Fellow, English and education

"Rhetorics of Masking: Negotiating Disclosures of Disability and Trauma"

Situated within disability studies and rhetoric, this qualitative dissertation explores the tensions inherent in disability and trauma disclosures, and it positions disclosure as context-specific, relational, and embodied. Tacke theorizes disclosures as potential tactics of sideways movement that can work to unmoor dominant readings of disability and trauma. Drawing from participants’ and my own negotiations of disclosure, she theorizes “masking” as a range of rhetorical moves through which actors negotiate disclosure. The primary rhetorics of masking include: 1) disguising the specifics of one’s story by speaking through culturally available narratives or disparate genres; 2) calling on metaphor and other figurative devices to elicit productive ambiguity and co-construct meaning with interlocutors; and 3) drawing upon affective veils, such as humor, to gain needed accessibility and/or soften difficult disclosures for oneself and one’s audience. Disclosure is laden with consequences, and through masking, individuals can more safely process experience, validate their experiences, and gain access to needed resources.


Charlotte Karem Albrecht
Richard and Lillian Ives Faculty Fellow, assistant professor, American culture and women’s studies

"An Inconsistent History: Arab American Peddlers and the Making of Sexuality, Gender, and Race"

The Syrian American peddling economy and its cultural traces (1870-1955) is an unexpected site for parsing how American perceptions of Arabs have long been rooted in ideas of their sexual and gender difference. After leaving Ottoman Greater Syria, Syrians sold goods across the U.S. while navigating systems of racism that intertwined with gender-sexual norms. Peddling enabled Syrians’ survival and transformed their family structures. While Americans also associated transient labor with homosexuality and scrutinized the numerous Syrian women peddlers, peddling paradoxically came to symbolize Arab assimilability in the United States. This project examines both the history of Syrian peddling as it affected Syrians’ racial positioning and questions of historical knowledge-making about sexuality for Arabs. The apparent absence of sexuality in most archival sources pertaining to the Arab American community allows me to foreground how power functions through the creation of historical narratives. As a queer Arab American descendant of this history, Albrecht also draws on her own family history as a way to inform an interdisciplinary and historicist methodological approach that is rooted in feminist and queer epistemologies. This project proposes an alternative understanding of Arab American history that centers on women and the role of sexuality in navigating U.S. racial systems. 

Alena Aniskiewicz
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Slavic languages and literatures

"Cultural Remix: Polish Hip Hop and the Sampling of Heritage"

"Cultural Remix" analyzes Polish hip hop’s engagement with the texts and traditions of Polish Romantic poets of the Great Emigration. Deeming the Romantic bard Adam Mickiewicz “the original rapper,” the hip-hop musicians and communities Aniskiewicz considers draw on the legacy of nineteenth-century partition and statelessness to offer a nationally-specific performance of hip hop’s conventional critical, anti-establishment stance, unique here in the ways it affirms a traditional nationalist discourse. The formal aspects of rap—rooted in sampling, intertextuality, decontextualizing the familiar, and privileging poetic prowess—position the genre as one in which Polish artists can engage and critique the narratives of their nation’s past. Expanding on these elements of the music, this dissertation theorizes hip-hop sampling of archival audio and “shout outs” to canonical Polish poets as a means to understand the relationship between documentary citation and narrative association in shaping the ways contemporary audiences create meaning from the past. Sampling their heritage, Polish rappers revive the narratives of Poland as an oppressed subject and remix the poetic texts of the stateless nation into hip-hop texts of a contemporary Poland increasingly at odds with both the European Union and its neighbors to the east.

Marlyse Baptista
John Rich Faculty Fellow, professor, Afroamerican and African studies and linguistics

"E pluribus unum: Out of many voices, one language"

This book project seeks to further our understanding of how in multilingual settings, the languages spoken by speakers with different first languages coalesce to give rise to creole languages. Baptista specifically seeks to draw correspondences between linguistic features in the source languages and those of the resulting creoles while examining the processes that give rise to the observable features. The linguistic analysis provides new understandings of the evolution of historical contact and cultural exchange. It follows two stages: first, Baptista identifies linguistic features from 16th century Portuguese and 16th century Spanish that have survived in the creoles under study today. She also examines feature transmission from African substrates, particularly Wolof, a majority language in that setting. Second, Baptista identifies processes like feature transfer and convergence that allowed source languages to leave their imprint in the resulting creoles.

Sarah Ensor
Steelcase Faculty Fellow, assistant professor, environment and English language and literature

"Terminal Regions: Queer Environmental Ethics in the Absence of Futurity"

This project asks what contemporary environmentalism’s (seemingly necessary) emphasis on the future has rendered unthinkable. By reading queer texts whose animating conditions require their protagonists to bracket questions of futurity as normatively lived, Ensor traces paradigms of relationality, practices of care, political affects, temporal modes, and forms of solidarity that as yet have not found their way into ecocritical conversations and practices of environmental stewardship. The project thus also asks what ecocriticism can learn from queer theory, this field that has long been intimate with illness, with (the specter of) extinction, with (socially devalued) lives lived as half-lives. Whether confronting the epidemic contours of the AIDS crisis, tracing the temporary encounters involved in cruising, or reckoning with the lives of non-reproductive subjects, queer literature theorizes not only intimacy without futurity, but also futurity without endurance—and, provocatively, futurity without life itself. The queer archive of my project thereby demonstrates how temporariness, transience, and (apparent) “futurelessness” can engender, rather than preclude, forms of persistence, community, and care. Ultimately, in limning practices that dwell between giving up and seeking to save, the literary works—and the queer temporalities that they embody—allow us to glimpse anew the immanent ethical possibilities of the present.

Daniel Y. Kim
Fall 2019 Norman Freehling Visiting Fellow, associate professor of English and American studies at Brown University

 “‘Dark Tales Strewn with Suffering’: Translations and Hauntings of History in the Novels of Han Kang”

During his residency, Kim primarily focused on an article, “‘Dark Tales Strewn with Suffering’: Translations and Hauntings of History in the Novels of Han Kang,” for a forthcoming special issue of New Literary History devoted to the global novel. He also explored a book project on South Korean literary and cinematic works that have begun to circulate globally in translation. Kim put the finishing touches on his book The Intimacies of Conflict: Cultural Memory and the Korean War and taught the course “The Unended Korean War in Korean/American Literature and Film.”

Heidi Kumao
Hunting Family Faculty Fellow, professor, art and design

"Real and Imagined: Animating the Spaces Between Us"

Using experimental animations and poseable puppets, “Real and Imagined” gives physical form to emotion, memory, and relationship dynamics. By translating these intangible experiences into visual narratives, it challenges viewers to rethink the vocabulary used to tell personal stories. Serving as a bridge between different fields of inquiry, this project explores the intersection of visual storytelling, mechanical sculpture, and cognitive science through a feminist lens. By focusing on representations and experiences of (older) women, it seeks to redress their absence from most art, technology, and popular culture. This art project uses poetic, visual metaphors to highlight and imagine the interior lives of women as they respond to ordinary interactions, conversations, power structures, and the physical challenges of ageing. It also engages current debates about simulating human behavior and emotion through technology and asks: How can these functions be effectively translated into narrative art forms and animated gestures? What makes an animated gesture read as undeniably human? Female? By emphasizing female subjectivity, “Real and Imagined” provides a much needed, different perspective that addresses the gender stereotyping common to animation and robotics. Work produced during this fellowship year will be exhibited in a solo gallery exhibition in 2020 in New York City.

Petra Kuppers
Hunting Family Faculty Fellow, professor, English language and literature, women’s studies, art and design, and theater and drama

"Eco Soma: Speculative Performance Experiments" 

“Eco-Soma” is a book project about ecopoetic disability culture perspectives: disabled people and their allies making art to live in a changing world, in contact with allied feminist, queer, trans, racialised and indigenous art projects. The book hopes to make interventions into disabled futurities (Kafer, 2014), queercrip possibilities (McRuer, 2018), eco-crip queries (Ray, 2017) and kinship networks (Haraway, 2016). It engages forward-leaning speculations that envision social change in the framework of diverse worlds (Schalk, 2018; Octavia’s Brood, 2015). It focuses on art-based methods of envisioning change, and argues that disability, traditionally seen as an enemy to environmentalism (with concrete ramps supposedly damaging pristine wildernesses), can instead offer imaginative ways toward living well and with agency in climate change, unrest, and challenge. With this, “Eco-Soma” makes interventions in the approach to somatics in performance studies, locating a phenomenological/political interface as its base, an embodied witnessing as a core eco-soma method. Throughout, “Eco-Soma” will ask its readers and participants to be alert to their own embodied responses, to become engaged witnesses of writing, to extend convivial responses to themselves, as active participants in a shared socio-cultural world.

Ashley Lucas
Richard and Lillian Ives Faculty Fellow, associate professor, theater and drama, English, Residential College, and art and design

"Prison Theatre: Performance and Incarceration"

Obscured behind concrete and razor wire, the lives of the incarcerated remain hidden from public view while inspiring, partly as a result of their obscurity, often lurid and fevered representations that try to imagine or rationalize practices of imprisonment. Inside the walls, incarcerated men and women stage their own theatrical productions, articulating their identities and experiences for audiences using Shakespeare, original devised work, and improvisation, all while carefully monitored by gatekeepers. This book is the first monograph to compare prison theatre around the world. Analyzing prison performances from the United States, Canada, Brazil, Uruguay, the United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand, it looks at the ways in which incarcerated people, professional artists, activists, and even prison staff use theatre as a means to identify, reify, and critique national discourses on criminal justice. 

Sara McDougall
Winter 2020 Norman Freehling Visiting Fellow, associate professor of history at John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York

"Surviving Illicit Pregnancy in Medieval Christian France”

Medieval France largely deserves its reputation as an intolerant and brutal patriarchy, governed by strict interpretations of Christian ideas of sin. In such a system, if a woman became pregnant as a result of extramarital sex, her swelling belly offered proof of her sexual sin and threatened the honor of her family. Yet even though we imagine the most terrible of consequences for a mother and her child in such circumstances, both literary sources and documents of legal practice tell a far more complex story. The fate of both mother and child was not necessarily tragic. The many responses to illicit pregnancy found in medieval sources indicate that we have misunderstood how this western Christian society understood and responded to sexual sin, misunderstanding as well the place of women in this intensely religious and patriarchal world.

Diana Ng
Helmut F. Stern Faculty Fellow, associate professor of art history

"Roman Public Visual Culture and the Cognition of Identity and Commemoration" 

This book uses cognitive theory as a new heuristic framework for humanistic methodologies of textual, visual, and historical analysis to argue that public sculptural and architectural monuments and rituals afforded sensory engagements that compelled cognitive processes resulting in new personal and social awareness and knowledge. Unlike previous scholarship that assumes, but does not address how, public monuments influenced how Romans considered themselves and their society, this project asserts that Romans thought with visual culture, constantly engaging cognitively with it to understand their world. Moreover, this book advocates for the cognitive importance of ephemeral things and events as on par with the durable monuments that have been invested with far greater agency in current scholarship on Roman commemoration, elucidating why Romans stipulated them in the first place. 

Tiffany Ng
Richard and Lillian Ives Faculty Fellow, assistant professor of music

"Inequality in Public Soundscapes: The Carillon, Organ, and the Politics of Public Space in the Twentieth Century"

Carillons have been erected since the early twentieth century on utopian promises of uniting communities and elevating the Everyman’s taste with Western classical music. Accountability is elusive thanks to the invisibility of carillonists and of their musical agency. Carillon concerts thus remain an uncontested practice in the public social, cultural, architectural, and sonic landscape. This lack of criticality aids the institutional silencing of marginalized voices. Traditional repertoire constructs an officialized soundscape that privileges middle-class male Christian listeners, while visually, bell towers manifest the power, wealth, and longevity of their institutions. Sonic competition is silenced; for example, attempts to sound the Muslim call to prayer from belfries are halted with noise abatement regulations to which bells are not subject. This research affirms that carillons are indeed instruments of community building, and simultaneously, instruments of exclusion. By comparing the technological, social, and design histories of the carillon and organ, both architectural and institutional instruments in the United States and the Netherlands, Ng challenges the racialized boundaries that construct organ history as an autonomous Christian narrative, and the carillon as a spatio-sonic tool for social harmony. Although bells can enact exclusion, she proposes modes of public engagement that foster a more inclusive public soundscape.

Scott Stonington
Helmut F. Stern Faculty Fellow, assistant professor, anthropology and clinical lecturer, internal medicine

"Expanding Ethics to Account for Complex Personhood"

In Stonington’s fieldwork on end of life care and pain management in Northern Thailand over the last ten years, his interlocutors have described components of their bodies and minds that consist of other beings, yoked to them through past ethical or unethical action. In this project, he asks the question: “How can one make sense of ethical action if one always already partly the other?” Although concepts of “complex” and “hybrid” personhood are common to many non-European cultures, scholars have yet to bring those concepts into conversation with ethical theory. Drawing on Northern Thai understandings of non-self and karma, Stonington hopes to use ethnographic material to build a model of ethics that can account for non-bounded personhood. 

2019 Summer Fellows

Philip Christman
Summer Faculty Fellow, lecturer II, English

"The Writing Process"

This book will examine the history of the idea of "the writing process" and trace its emergence, and the changes in the governing metaphors people use to conceptualize how writing gets done, with special attention to the twentieth-century "process revolution" and the related reemergence of rhetoric as a field of study. 

Henry Cowles
Summer Faculty Fellow, Assistant Professor, History

"The Scientific Method: Evolution and Experiment from Darwin to Dewey"

This project is a history of the algorithmic, five-step scientific method that is still taught in schools today. It roots this authoritative tool in a history of the human sciences, specifically in developments in early evolutionary psychology during the late-nineteenth century.    

Enrique García Santo-Tomás
Summer Faculty Fellow, Professor, Spanish

"Vital Signs: Midwifing Fiction in Spain, 1540-1690"

This book project will explore a selection of images of procreation in literature and portraiture (thunderstorms and floods, literary ‘miscarriages,’ monstrous births), as well as characters and scenes (midwives, wet-nurses, surgeons) in the portrayal of a period in which the idea of author and the rapid changes in obstetrics shaped new notions of creation, in both biological and aesthetic terms. I will use my time at the institute to write a chapter devoted to Miguel de Cervantes’ take on childbirth in three of his short stories, in which he reflected on the state of medical care in his time, but also on the impact of the novel as an Italianate experiment for a new reading audience, as well as on his role as a pioneer who experimented with the many challenges of writing. I am particularly interested in refining a number of ideas on mediation and interruption, examined as theoretical constructs that may or may not hold similar values today. These are three fascinating pieces that will allow me to share all the major theoretical questions of the project with a cohort of colleagues from other disciplines.

Annette Joseph-Gabriel
Summer Faculty Fellow, Assistant Professor, French

"Fashioning the Citizen: Enslaved Children’s Textual Production in the Atlantic World”

How did enslaved children fashion themselves as free citizens through their textual production? What can their visual portraits  tell us about this self-fashioning? How might we redefine citizenship when understood from the perspective of an enslaved child transitioning to the age of adulthood? This book project investigates these questions through a study of the writings of enslaved children whose geographies spanned Haiti, France, Senegal, the United States and England in the nineteenth century. This study explains how young people, writing across a variety of genres including letters, poetry and songs, articulated visions of freedom and citizenship through their textual production. It shows how their literary practices, including bilingual composition and innovations on the formal features of their chosen genres, make important contributions to historical and philosophical understandings of citizenship and freedom. In addition, I examine the visual portraiture of these young people as these images are crucial texts for reading performance and self-fashioning. Studying enslaved children as authors and historical actors sheds much-needed light on a sorely neglected strand of Black Atlantic literary history. Further, examining the ways that enslaved children responded to the denial of their fundamental right to freedom can provide new insight into the ways that textual production and self-fashioning constituted resistance to slavery.

Shelley Manis
Summer Faculty Fellow, Lecturer IV, Sweetland Writing Center and Comprehensive Studies

"Beyond Metaphor: Performance and Writing"

This monograph will weave together writing studies and performance, bringing theatrical theories and techniques into the writing classroom to enrich invention, development of argument, and collaboration/peer review—an approach not yet fully articulated in the rich literature in either writing/rhetorical studies or theater/performance studies. Manis wants to model treating a writing classroom like a blackbox rehearsal and performance space. "Why not move beyond figuring ourselves as performing when we teach, and beyond thinking of writing as metaphorical performance, and into training student writers to invent, draft, revise, and collaborate in an embodied way"? This book will build on existing research in writing and performance by arguing for teaching writing asperformance.  

Christine Modey
Summer Faculty Fellow, Lecturer III, Sweetland Writing Center

"Ethnographic Study of the Sermon Preparation Processes of Clergy"

While numerous practitioner-oriented books about preaching have been written, little has been published about the actual composing practices of clergy. Most clergy members write sermon texts weekly for public consumption in a high-stakes environment and devote considerable time and effort to their preparation, yet writing-studies scholars have not paid attention to these writers’ processes or their conceptualization of this genre and its social function. For this project, Modey will use an ethnographic approach to understand the writing lives of a diverse group of clergy from the Abrahamic faiths, using a semi-structured, ethnographic interview method. She will pose a set of questions related to their training in sermon preparation; their process of sermon preparation; their understanding of the sermon as a genre; and their understanding of their audiences, among other topics. She will recorded and transcribe the interviews and also collect written artifacts that the participants are willing to share, such as sermon drafts, final versions, and video or audio recordings. If time permits, she may use ethnographic observation and a think-aloud protocol with selected research participants in order to explore their composing processes in more detail.

David Morse
Summer Faculty Fellow, Lecturer IV, Public Policy

"The Occident, a Novel-in-progress"

There are few things that arouse in us greater distaste than to see a human being caught up in [death], at least if we are to judge by the efforts we make to keep corpses out of sight,” writes Karl Ove Knausgaard. My novel-in-progress, The Occident, is set in a contemporary city where the distaste for death has taken on new dimensions. Corpses are considered repulsive; when someone dies, people flee and a crack team of specialists, known as Purge, arrives with the promptness of EMTs and removes the corpse to a place unknown. This conceit inspires the story of Daniel Wheal, an architect who, for unknown reasons, continues to set off sensors that inform Purge that he’s dead—when in fact he’s still alive. Throughout the novel, Purge arrives to take him away and each time he escapes. Eventually Wheal takes refuge in Sterling Park, a public housing community where city services, such as police and sanitation—including Purge—don’t operate, giving him a temporary sanctuary in which he can wrestle with his society’s great unacknowledged mysteries: the nature of death and the fate of the dead.

Antoine Traisnel
Summer Faculty Fellow, Assistant Professor, Comparative Literature and English

"Martha: A Life in Captivity"

Traisnel will use the time and resources offered by the fellowship to write the conclusion of his book, Capture: Early American Pursuits and the Making of a New Animal Condition. The conclusion reflects on the last days of Martha, the “last passenger pigeon,” who outlived her species by four years under the care of the Cincinnati Zoo. Where Capture opens on an image of Audubon’s attempt to smoke out a bird that refuses to die, it will close on the image of a zookeeper tending to the lifeless, frozen body of Martha—the tragic culmination of the move from animals to “the animal” charted throughout the book—in an effort to preserve the last remnants of a species. If “capture” names as a hegemonic paradigm that accounts for the systemic disappearance of animals under Western biocapitalism, the conclusion asks what an “ethics of capture” might look like. For Traisnel, this entails imagining the relationship to animals that is still possible—and even demanded—by an age in which they appear, whether encased or encaged, always at a remove. The ethics of capture describes a collective responsibility toward animal subjects whose lifeworlds one shares but cannot fully comprehend. Traisnel aligns the ethics of capture, elaborated from the work of ethologist Jakob von Uexküll, with recent work in queer, feminist and environmental studies in the works of thinkers like Donna Haraway, Anna Tsing, and Sarah Ensor. Against the doxa of sustainability and reproductive futurity that has guided the disciplines of animal studies and ecocriticism in recent decades, he argues for an ethics of care beyond the utopian promises of human-animal communion or animal liberation.


2018-19 Fellows


Lauren Benjamin
Richard & Lillian Ives Graduate Fellow; comparative literature & English

“Feral Modernisms”
Benjamin uses the concept of the feral as a guide for understanding the difficulty that modernist texts associate with being at home as they emphasize the fraught ambivalence characterizing home and domestic life. “Feral” names that which has once been part of the domestic sphere and has subsequently either escaped or been banished. Drawing from evolutionary biology, Benjamin invokes it not merely as a synonym for “wild” but rather as an articulation of a ragged and unpredictable relationship with home. She uses this ambivalence to demonstrate the ways in which some modernist texts concern themselves with a fraught relationship to domestication and domestic space that is neither an acquiescence to the confines of the domestic, nor a wild way out of the domestic altogether. The authors considered—H.D., Djuna Barnes, Claude McKay, and Kadya Molodowsky—narrate an existence that is both inside the domestic and outside of it, challenging what it means to belong to any particular place. Benjamin’s analyses shows that home is conceived in terms of domination and entrapment, longing and belonging, precarity and permanence.

Irene Brisson
Sylvia "Duffy" Engle Graduate Fellow; architecture

“Speaking, Gesturing, Drawing, Building: Relational Techniques of a Kreyòl Architecture”
The everyday languages—vernaculars and creoles—that produce the majority of the global built environment continue to be delegitimized as ways of knowing, building, and inhabiting by an architectural discipline centered in the global North. Brisson analyzes quotidian architecture in Haitian Kreyòl through an ethnographic study of the communicative practices of speech, gesture, drawing, and demonstration in the realm of residential design. Modeling architecture as relational techniques negotiated by diverse actors shows how exclusion contributed to systematic failures to communicate needs and implement reconstruction after the 2010 earthquake centered in Leyogàn, Haiti. The linguistic, visual, and material representations of space through which contractors, architects, clients, and non-governmental organizations design Haitian houses vary with class-based hierarchies and elucidate the social meaning-making that occurs in architecture and construction. This project approaches architecture as a set of negotiations through which social relationships, material and technical systems, environmental conditions, and cultural meanings interact in the production of built environments. Based on the functioning, and malfunctioning, of communicative relationships, Brisson theorizes Kreyòl architecture as a syncretic, dynamic, historical negotiation of global influences that both manifests and disrupts spatial politics.

Padma Chirumamilla
David and Mary Hunting Graduate Fellow; information

“Producing TV(s): The Multitudinous Life of Television in South India”
This project looks at the various material and historical forces that shaped television’s early presence in south India in order to to gain purchase on how television came to acquire its ordinary character within South Indian life and to speculate on what its current transformations reveal about the region’s digital media future. Chirumamilla brings together an ethnography of a small-town South Indian television repair shop with interviews and analysis of trade journals and newspapers in order to understand how the television transformed from a remarkable rarity into a device that sat unnoticed within the background of everyday life. Through close reading of Telugu and English-language newspapers and trade journals from the 1980s through the 2000s, she looks at how regional-language cinema shaped the development of privately owned cable television networks, creating local alternatives to the state-run broadcaster and its mostly Hindi-language programming. She also examines how contemporary transformations in television technology are reshaping the labor practices and lives of workers, such as television repairmen and local cable operators—workers who were crucial to the early growth of television in the region.

Mary Hennessy
Mary Fair Croushore Graduate Fellow; Germanic language and literatures
“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.

Jallicia Jolly
Mary Fair Croushore Graduate Fellow; American culture
“‘I’m Not Sick!’: A Critical Embodiment of Illness, Sexuality, and Self-Making Among HIV-Positive Jamaican Women”

The first ethnographic and oral historical study of HIV-positive women in the Anglophone Caribbean, this project explores how gender, sexuality, HIV, and the politics of care and self-making meet in young HIV-positive Jamaican women’s everyday lives. Based on sixteen months of fieldwork, the study melds oral history, focus groups, and ethnographic methods of semi-structured interviews and participant observation with a theoretical optic that draws from critical race theory, cultural studies, and black and transnational feminist theories. “I’m Not Sick!” foregrounds black female intimacy, desire, and agency to study the self-making strategies that Jamaican women use to refashion themselves as autonomous subjects while navigating entrenched norms of respectability, sexuality, and health. Reflecting the gendered and sexualized dimensions of Jamaica’s class and color codes, these norms structure young women’s access to basic resources, their political possibilities, and how they reconfigure their futures in the wake of a stigmatizing marker such as HIV. It centers Jamaican women’s interior lives as sites of analyses and contributes their life stories, intersectional health experiences, and activism to an emergent body of work on African diasporic women’s social and political lives. In doing so, this dissertation not only affirms the knowledge production and activism of African-descended women, but it also enhances the cultural knowledge of HIV/AIDS and Black women’s grassroots politics.

Tugce Kayaal
A. Bartlett Giamatti Graduate Fellow; Middle East studies
“Bodies in War: Politics of Sexuality and War Orphans in Konya (1913-1923)”

This project analyzes the disciplining of war orphans’ sexuality by the state and non-state institutions in the city of Konya of the Ottoman Empire during a period marked by continuous military conflicts. It argues that war orphans became associated with notions of sexual “deviancy” and that they became a source of moral panic at the local and national levels since they did not meet the norms and expectations that defined the notion of ideal child. As opposed to pre-modern periods, orphans in the Ottoman Empire of the early-twentieth century were more than a charity case; they were perceived to be the triggers and the targets of “perverse” sexual desires on the part of both their coevals and adults. In addition to surveying the ways in which the regulation of the sexual behaviors and orientations of war orphans, this project brings attention to their experiences and actions.

Mika Kennedy
James A. Winn Graduate Fellow; English
“Crossed Wires: Japanese American Incarceration, Environmental Justice, and the Interethnic ‘Frontier’”

This project expands contemporary understandings of the United States’ incarceration of Japanese Americans by connecting the incarceration to the United States' enduring histories of frontierism and colonial dispossession. Kennedy effects this expansion by making land ownership and environmental transformation central to the critique of Japanese American incarceration and its literary interpretations. This project draws on the War Relocation Authority's rhetorical decision to revive nineteenth-century myths of the frontier, which they used to cast incarcerees as "pioneers" being granted the opportunity to tame the West. In response, incarcerees also actively adopted the roles of pioneer and cowboy—though rarely in forms complicit with the WRA's projects. Ultimately, Kennedy argues that the multiple deployments of these pioneer rhetorics compels deeper focus on the environmental, infrastructural motivations of Japanese American incarceration and its connections to issues of land sovereignty, settlement, and environmental reclamation in the United States.

Amanda Respess
David and Mary Hunting Graduate Fellow; anthropology and history
“The Circulation of Medical Goods and Knowledge Between Iran and China Along the Medieval Maritime Silk Road”

This dissertation explores the exchange of medical goods and knowledge between China and Iran along the premodern maritime trade routes linking the Persian Gulf with the South China Sea. The Maritime Silk Road, more popularly known as the “spice routes” linking the Far East and Southeast Asia to the Middle East, functioned in the premodern era as a cosmopolitan network of trade arteries across which flowed important commodities and ideas. The long-standing cultural and economic exchange across these thoroughfares dramatically expanded the pharmaceutical ingredients and medicinal recipes available to physicians practicing across ocean littorals, and facilitated the intellectual engagement of scholars with medical theories, objects, and texts from afar. The project traces the role of Persian travelers and physicians in this exchange from roughly the eleventh through the fourteenth centuries, and the afterlife of Islamic medical objects in contemporary museums and scientific discourse.


Noah Blan
Postdoctoral Research Fellow; history
“Sovereignty and the Environment in Charlemagne’s Empire,”

At the Institute for the Humanities, Blan revised his dissertation, “Sovereignty and the Environment in Charlemagne’s Empire,” for publication as a book manuscript, and begin work on a separate project, “God’s Footprint: Early Medieval Monasteries and the Making of the European Environment.” This project focuses on monasteries between 500-1000 CE, and their role in the rise of stable, mixed-use farming, in the development of trade and markets, in state formation, and in anthropocentric cosmologies in Europe. Related to God’s Footprint, Blan will lead a Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program project on “Domesticated Animals in Early Medieval Europe,” in which student participants will collaborate in a multi-disciplinary study of the cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, and honeybees (among other animals) whose management and exploitation by humans made possible (and sustainable) the colonization of European ecosystems. He will also teach a course on “Cities and Sustainability in World History,” a study of how different cities around the world negotiated the needs of urban populations with energy, consumption, and waste from prehistory to the present.

Michael Lempert
Richard and Lillian Ives Faculty Fellow; associate professor of anthropology
“Small Talk: Therapy, Technology, and the Science of the Face-to-Face”

This book project is a genealogy of interaction. It traces how a humanistic science of the face-to-face emerged from an intimate dialogue between psychiatry and communication science that began in the mid-twenties and intensified in midcentury America. When face-to-face interaction became an object of epistemological desire in postwar and early Cold War America, many grew convinced that it was small: a microsociological reality unto itself that demanded mechanical recording, faithful transcription, and fine-grained analysis. These technosemiotic practices came together as researchers used recording technologies—from wax-cylinder dictation machines to sound-film—to capture the mercurial flow of therapeutic talk. Talk therapy research helped define the sciences of interaction while leaving us with enduring assumptions about what interaction is and how to know it—including the cardinal assumption that interaction is intrinsically small. Blending linguistic anthropology, history of science, and media archaeology, this book narrates the history of interaction’s scale as it raises questions about the scalar imagination of objects of knowledge across the humanities and social sciences.

Kenneth Mills
John Rich Faculty Fellow, Professor of History
“Apostolic Longing and Experience in an Early Modern Spanish World”

Mills is studying an enduring conviction in the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spanish world: that the Word of God had been heard in the Americas within a generation of Christ’s death and resurrection; and that Scripture and patristic authority might be squared with signs of Indigenous foreknowledge of God. This will be the first investigation to explore the investigative method of key proponents of this apostolic hypothesis, a fusing of spiritual yearning, exegetical rigor, and a quest for tangible proof. It will also clarify the complex aftermaths of apostolic narratives, stories which re-scripted as intercultural creations, hybridizing Christianity with dynamic Indigenous traditions.

Keith Mitnick
Helmut F. Stern Faculty Fellow, Associate Professor of Architecture
“Un-Privileged Views”

This project uses fiction writing and photography to tell stories about Detroit and to demonstrate how the ways we narrate the built environment in words and images transform our daily experience of it. As is the case with many rapidly changing American cities, the image of Detroit, as conveyed through photographs, is rife with contradictions. Depicted for many years as an abandoned wasteland, it was the poster-child of “ruin-porn” before its status transformed from an abandoned wilderness of dilapidated buildings into an unregulated urban event ripe with economic “opportunities.” Rather than create a single overarching narrative about Detroit’s perceived failures and possibilities, Mitnick will tell stories about the effects of the city’s terrain upon the lives of a fictitious set of inhabitants, organized around a collection of shifting vantage points, to explore how, in the narration of cities, authors perform as agents of its transformation. By relating architecture’s unique areas of focus, namely the representation and shaping of space, to other discursive frameworks, he extends its relevance to other areas of cultural inquiry as well as to challenge certain forms and methods by which the discipline of architecture currently defines itself.

Ian Moyer
Helmut F. Stern Faculty Fellow, Associate Professor of History
“At the Gates of the Temple: Culture, Politics and Public Space in Ptolemaic Egypt”

This project reconstructs a history of public space in Ptolemaic Egypt (305-30 BCE), by examining the gates and forecourt areas of Egyptian temples as places of communication, interaction, and translation that connected indigenous Egyptian élites, the Macedonian Greek dynasty of the Ptolemies, and the wider population of Egypt. These gateway areas became frames for political, judicial and religious practices that mediated relations between a monarchic state and its subjects, and between the royal court in Alexandria and the Egyptian countryside. In some cases, such as the Rosetta Stone and other trilingual decrees, these practices were glocalizations of widespread Hellenistic genres, and so connected the public side of the temples with a wider, transregional political culture. These phenomena reveal that Egyptian temples were not worlds apart, but a nexus of relations through which it is possible to reconsider the history of Ptolemaic Egypt, and Greek-Egyptian interactions more generally. The goal of these investigations is to bring to light an Egyptian history of politics and public space that has gone misrecognized and neglected in traditional accounts of the Hellenistic period.

Aswin Punathambekar
Steelcase Faculty Fellow, Associate Professor of Communication Studies
“Sound Clouds: Listening and Citizenship in Indian Public Culture”

This project examines the centrality of sound and listening practices in the mediation of politics and citizenship in Indian public culture. Drawing attention to the sonic dimensions of key political events in the past decade, it examines how sonic cues (a popular song, a catchy phrase, or resonant voice) enable new ways of listening and new modes of participation—expressions of sonic citizenship—in a digital era. Tracking the movement of sounds across media platforms—a doctored speech, a song deployed in a political movement, a mobile ringtone that incites violence—Punathambekar shows how sound technologies and practices have become vital cultural and material infrastructures for political participation. In doing so, this project joins a broader scholarly effort across media studies, history, anthropology, and cultural geography to place sound and listening at the center of debates on culture and politics in a digital era.

Ava Purkiss
Charles P. Brauer Faculty Fellow, Assistant Professor of American Culture & Women's Studies
“Fit Citizens: A History of Black Women’s Exercise, 1900-1960”

This project examines the effect of intentional, physical exercise on African American women’s bodies, health, beauty culture, and recreational practices. It argues that African American women used exercise to demonstrate their literal and figurative fitness for citizenship during a time when fit bodies garnered new political significance. As the first historical study on black women’s exercise, the project places black women squarely within the history of American fitness and decenters labor as the primary mode of black physicality. Because their bodies literally reproduced the race, black women’s physical fitness ostensibly provided the key to black progress during a highly eugenic period in American history. Black women also had the task of implementing physical education, recreation, and public health fitness programs as a form of gendered racial uplift work. At the same time, they faced significant structural limitations to accessing white-only fitness spaces like pools, parks, and gymnasiums. The project chronicles these tensions, explains how they circumvented structural barriers through various forms of public health activism, and reveals the physical and discursive ways in which black women linked black bodily fitness to civic fitness.

Youngju Ryu
Hunting Family Faculty Fellow, Associate Professor of Asian Languages and Cultures
“How a Podcast Started a Revolution: South Korea's Protest Culture, 1987-2017”

Street protests are a veritable art form in South Korea, perfected through more than sixty years of repeated and bloody confrontations with regimes in power. In 2016-2017, in a chain of events officially dubbed “Candlelight Revolution,” this South Korean art reached its full potential as the main vehicle of a peaceful rather than bloody transformation of society. This project locates this moment in a historical context that spans three decades, and focuses on common and divergent technologies of mass protest that were adopted at three key junctures during those decades. The latest of these is related to the rise of the podcast format as an alternative source of political news and commentary. Exploring the role of podcasts in expanding or suppressing mass participation in a tightly controlled media environment, it ass how the rapid proliferation of podcasts in South Korea, which began in 2011 with a single series, paved the way for the carnivalesque reanimation and diversification of protest culture. How did this culture innovate political idiom while giving rise to a rich archive of satirical texts that enabled further mobilization of the public? How, in other words, did a podcast start a revolution?

Sam White
Norman Freehling Visiting Fellow, fall 2018

Sam White is associate professor of history at Ohio State University.He has taught in many areas of environmental history. His research focuses on how we can use both natural and human records to reconstruct past climate variability and extreme weather and how societies coped with them. While at the institute, he began a new book project on historical disasters and migration. He is the author of A Cold Welcome: The Little Ice Age and Europe’s Encounter with North America (2017) and The Climate of Rebellion in the Early Modern Ottoman Empire (2011).

Mabel O. Wilson
Norman Freehling Visiting Fellow, winter 2019

Mabel O. Wilson is a professor of architecture, a co-director of Global Africa Lab (GAL) and the associate director at the Institute for Research in African American Studies at Columbia University. She’s currently writing Building Race and Nation, a book about how slavery influenced early American civic architecture. She is the author of Begin with the Past: Building the National Museum of African American History and Culture (2016) and Negro Building: African Americans in the World of Fairs and Museums (2012) and a member of the design team for the Memorial to Enslaved African American Laborers at the University of Virginia.

2018 Summer Fellows

Jeremiah Chamberlin, Lecturer IV, English

 “A History of Events that Never Happened: Memory, Identity, and the Future in the Contemporary Bulgaria”

Philip D'Anieri, Lecturer IV, architecture and urban planning

 “The Narrowest National Park: Bureaucrats, ‘Back to Nature,’ and the Federalization of the Appalachian Trail”

Victor Fanucchi, Lecturer IV, screen arts and cultures


David Gold, Associate Professor, English

 “‘Votes for Women’: African American Suffrage Arguments in the Crisis”

Ashley Lucas, Associate Professor; theatre and drama, Residential College, English, art and design

 “Prison Theatre: Performance and Incarceration”

Scott Spector, Professor, German

“Invisible Empire: Layers of Memory in Post-Habsburg Central Europe”

Greta Uehling, Lecturer II, international and comparative studies

 “PTSD Land: The Emotional Geography of Ukraine’s Displaced”


Michael Awkward, John Rich Fellow, professor of English and Afroamerican and African studies

“A Horribly Mangled Monstrosity: Disfiguring/Refiguring Black American Masculinity after Emmett Till”

This project examines struggles within black American expressive culture over the meanings and resonances of Emmett Till. Placing at its center his mother’s comment that, in proposed and published representations, her lynched fourteen-year-old son is often transformed into a contemptible figure whom she neither recognizes nor would let into her house, this project focuses on contestations over depictions of Till and black American boys murdered or psychologically mangled in his wake by individuals perceived to be agents of white racism. Such depictions—by creative writers, film documentarians, and visual artists—contend with and contribute to the challenges of rendering their oft-tragic stories when the truth concerning the lives of black male youth from Till to Mike Brown and Jordan Davis, as well as the meanings of their demises, remains frustratingly elusive.

Pamela Brandwein, Helmut Stern Fellow, professor of political science

“Antislavery and the Formation of American Capitalist Democracy”

This project reopens an old scholarly question: what is the relationship between antislavery and capitalism? Once drawing wide attention from scholars and addressing the problem of slavery in western political culture, the antislavery/capitalism question as it relates to the United States has (mostly) been settled for decades. Across the disciplines, a conventional wisdom has circulated in which the free labor antislavery of Lincoln and the Republican Party is cast as an incipient language of class criticism embedded in pre-modern economic conditions. Upending the standard wisdom, this project puts in its place an alternative. Drawing on new political, economic, and gender history and using new source materials pertaining to antislavery discourse and to the reception of the slave revolt led by Toussaint L’Ouverture in Saint Dominique, this project focuses on discursive competition within the antislavery movement over the problem with slavery as it relates to labor. Pitting free labor antislavery (and its embrace of the northern market system) against “labor movement” antislavery (and its apprehension about the market system), this long running antebellum dispute is either missed or seen inchoately across multiple literatures in U.S. history, law, politics, and political culture. Newly contextualizing free labor antislavery—in fact, unified by new attention to its language and economic contexts, both domestic and transatlantic—the study conceptualizes free labor antislavery as a language of modern capitalism that was part and parcel of an intercontinental circulation of ideas, languages, and texts. On offer is an account of the discursive processes associated with the formation of America’s distinctive brand of capitalist democracy. At stake is our understanding of the rise and establishment of a distinction between the “commodification of laborers” (chattel slavery) and the “commodification of labor power” (wage labor) as opposite things—slavery and freedom. The project revitalizes class terms in treating political events of the 1820s-1860s but does not offer a materialist account. Instead it combines levels of analysis and unites attention to race, class, and gender relations.

Par Cassel, Richard and Lillian Ives Fellow, associate professor of history

“Sovereignty in China: The Careers of a Concept”

Few concepts in both Chinese history and contemporary affairs are as overdetermined and overused as the idea of “sovereignty,” an idea that was purportedly enshrined in the Treaties of Westphalia (1648) and then disseminated to East Asia and the non-European world through gunboat diplomacy, missionaries, and manuals of international law. In Chinese historiography, “sovereignty” is often employed as a placeholder for a number of related, yet discrete, ideas of state power, such as the legitimacy or authenticity of a given Chinese government, the undisputed authority of a Chinese government to regulate its internal affairs without outside interference, the right of a Chinese government to exercise unchallenged domination in industry, commerce and transportation, or quite simply the undisputed authority of the ruling party in a one-party state. As a result, the idea of sovereignty in Chinese history has become increasingly unmoored from the original context in which it was formulated and often obscures as much as it explains our understanding the emergence of the modern Chinese state. This project explores how the concept of sovereignty entered into Chinese political discourse in the late seventeenth century and demonstrates how it was constantly renegotiated to serve different nation-building and state-building projects in the longue durée of modern Chinese history.

Aileen Das, Classical Studies-Charles P. Brauer Fellow, assistant professor of classical studies

“Classical and Medieval Traditions of Transdisciplinary: Plato’s Timaeus in Arabic”

Offering a creation account of everything in the cosmos, Plato’s Timaeus was an authoritative text in many disciplines (e.g. astronomy, medicine, music, and mathematics) in the pre-modern period. This project argues that Plato outlines in the dialogue a “transdisciplinary” conception of knowledge, which views the disciplines as mutually dependent. It will examine how ancient and medieval philosophers, who held a pyramidal vision of knowledge, criticized the Timaeus for subverting traditional disciplinary boundaries. In particular, the project will focus on the medieval Arabic reception of Plato’s work, as it was particularly polarizing due to its mode of transmission. Lacking a complete Arabic translation of the Timaeus, medieval Islamicate thinkers depended on Arabic translations of later Greek explanations of the dialogue, especially those by the Greek physician Galen of Pergamum (d. c. 217). As this project will reveal, several authors attacked Galen’s interpretations of the Timaeus because he invokes this text to argue for the pertinence of medicine to philosophy. Thus, the project will highlight the responses of different Arabic authors to Galen’s use of the dialogue’s blurring of the cosmic and human bodies to blur the disciplinary parameters of philosophy and medicine.

Anita Gonzalez, Hunting Family Fellow, professor of theatre and drama

“Shipping Out: Transatlantic Maritime Performance and Ethnic Cultural Exchange”

This book manuscript investigates maritime performance. Prior to 1950, when air travel became prevalent, maritime highways were the primary way in which global populations migrated and experienced the world. While humanities scholars tend to focus on ports and land-based economic and social systems, first encounters of races and cultures, particularly between 1821 and the middle of the twentieth century, happened within maritime spaces. The research compares and contrasts these early maritime performance sites with contemporary cruise ports where Caribbean residents intermingle with North American and European tourists through cultural performances and economic transactions. Caribbean ports and cruise ship personnel regularly interact with passengers during extended sailings, participating in intercultural performance dialogues often expressed through music and dance exchanges that challenge identity associations. The project is interdisciplinary because its research methodologies intersect with a variety of subject areas: ethnic studies, navigation and mapping studies, historical oceanography, migration studies, Caribbean economics, and of course performance studies.

Laura Kasischke, Hunting Family Fellow, professor of English language and literature

The Time Machine: A Book Length Poem”

The Time Machine will be a book-length poem, the concerns of which are primarily cultural and domestic, and, therefore, by necessity, political. Its focus will be on the roles that girls and women have been asked to play, and have opted to play, from the previous century to the present one. The first section, for instance, is a piece about stenography, a secretarial skill that was once a required course for high school females, and which has since been largely forgotten. In future sections, Kasischke will write further about shifting female roles, and also about violence as it relates to feminine attributes and attitudes that have been encouraged, and the ways that this violence has metamorphosed as women's roles have changed. The book contains a "true crime" section, subtitled "I was Bonnie & Clyde." Some of its pieces are directly related to the lives and deaths of Bonnie and Clyde; others more generally explore sexuality, violence, dangerous romantic attractions, and the promotion of certain forms of self-destructive behavior in relationships, as suggested to girls through books, movies, magazines, and by example through the generations. The Time Machine will be a chorus of many voices, and a compilation of many forms.

Alexandra Murphy, Helmut Stern Fellow, assistant professor of sociology

“When the Sidewalks End: Poverty & Race in an American Suburb”

Two demographic shifts are transforming the relationship between race, class, and space in the twenty-first-century American metropolis: the migration of African Americans to the suburbs and the suburbanization of poverty. This book project investigates the implications of these shifts for the everyday lives of low income suburban residents, how suburban communities are adapting to the demographic and economic transitions they are experiencing, and how theories of urban poverty translate to the suburbs. To do so Murphy draws on three-and-a-half years of ethnographic fieldwork in one suburb as well as interviews, archival materials, and spatial analysis.

Douglas Northrop, Helmut Stern Fellow, professor of Near Eastern studies and history

“Four Days That Shook the World: Earthquakes and Empire Along the Eurasian Frontier

Disasters can bring hidden histories to light.  Northrop's project uses a collection of traumatic events— major earthquakes that struck urban centers of the Russo-Soviet empire—to gain a fresh perspective on the Central Eurasian past.  He hopes to use this case-study approach to write a new kind of imperial history, one that intermingles environmental, cultural, colonial, and technological approaches.

Ruby Tapia, Women’s Studies-Steelcase Fellow, associate professor of English and women’s studies

The Camera in the Cage: Prison Photography and the Abject Sentimentality of the Exception”

Since its invention in the mid-nineteenth century, photography’s unique capacity to capture "the criminal" in mug shots, prison identification photographs, and pseudo-scientific visual classificatory systems has made it an indispensable technology of social differentiation, control, and targeted dehumanization. The Camera in the Cage builds upon and departs from histories and theories of photography that illuminate the inextricable connections between photographic and carceral technologies to examine the affective politics of photographs framed in the light of desired—or in some cases, existing—prison reform efforts. She argues that these politics can unwittingly buttress punitive technologies of the prison through constructions of “exceptional,” undeservingly incarcerated subjects, extending the differentiating and dehumanizing work of carceral visualities within and through distinctly sentimental frames. Too often, visual cultures of the prison that center exceptional subjects in order to humanize them reinscribe and reinforce carceral epistemologies by highlighting grave "miscarriages" of a system that otherwise effectively metes out justice. Tapia argues that this approach misrecognizes the structural injustices that uphold the modern prison, invests in it as a justly retributive institution, and falsely constructs witnesses to its exceptional “blunders” as fundamentally moral, themselves.


Magdalena Zaborowska, John Rich Fellow, professor of American culture and Afroamerican and African studies

“Archiving James Baldwin’s House: Digital Writer’s Museum, Chez Baldwin in St. Paul-de-Vence, France”

“Archiving James Baldwin’s House” is a digital humanities project centering on the famous Civil Rights Movement activist, black queer intellectual who lived internationally, and one of the most important twentieth-century American writers. Limited access to his papers, no authorial sites in the United States, and scarce archives make Baldwin challenging to study and teach, while recent resurgence of interest in his life and oeuvre amplify the timeliness of this project. A digital companion to Zaborowska’s book, Me and My House: James Baldwin and Black Domesticity (Duke UP, 2018), “Archiving” will document and make accessible to students, researchers, and fans Baldwin’s last residence, “Chez Baldwin,” in St. Paul-de-Vence in France, where he spent his last sixteen years and where he created his most enduring household. Having investigated and documented the structure in 2000, when the house was still filled with the writer’s possessions, Zaborowska returned there in 2014, after it had been lost to developers, just before its partial demolition, and will finalize her research there this summer. Studying an archive of objects salvaged from the house, she deploys Toni Morrison’s concept of “literary archeology,” where memory, imagination, and language create continuities in black lives past and present.


Graduate Student Fellows

Anoff Nicholas Cobblah, Richard & Lillian Ives Graduate Fellow, English

“The Work of Scientific Play in Nineteenth-Century Britain”

Histories of nineteenth-century British science have typically focused on the professionalization of the sciences, emphasizing that work was increasingly seen as an “epistemic virtue,” necessary for the production of objective knowledge. Playfulness, in contrast, was often associated with amateurish or insignificant science. But while it is true that some writers certainly questioned play’s epistemological (and moral) value, scientific play persisted: in popular “rational recreation” texts, in scientists’ bacchanalian social clubs, in scientists’ nonsensical poetry, and in the metaphors and wordplay scientists utilized in their publications.

Joining a number of recent works which draw attention to the role of play in the nineteenth century, this project argues that scientific recreations were important to the construction of professional science in ways which still influence our expectations of the sciences today. In the writing of scientists like Charles Darwin and James Clerk Maxwell, popularizers of science such as John Ayrton Paris, and writers of fiction such as Samuel Butler and Arthur Conan Doyle, one can see that the professionalization of science meant not the complete abjection of play, but rather persistent attempts to find new places for play in the scientific process.

James Hammond, James Winn Graduate Fellow, English

“Composing Eugenics: Race and Ability in the History of Writing assessment, 1869-1938”

Despite showing that writing assessment has long been a site of race discrimination, scholars have yet to produce a study tracing this discrimination to eugenic ideology. Targeting this critical gap, “Composing Eugenics” interrogates how ideas about “writing” and how to assess it were influenced by emerging eugenic ideas and ideals between 1869 and 1938—a formative period for the emergence of writing assessment in the United States. This project sheds new light on the eugenics-era origins of enduring writing assessment-related inequalities by drawing on data from nine archival sites relevant to key developments/actors in writing assessment history. These documents suggest that for late nineteenth/early twentieth-century educators, ideas about writing quality were often shaped by the eugenic belief that departures from (white) “standard” language marked mental deviance and inferiority. Writing was imagined as a technology for externalizing otherwise invisible mental states, rendering the mind legible—a text to be read and corrected. Pruning out “errors” on the page was imagined as a means of remediating students’ minds and promoting social progress.

Filipa Melo Lopes, Sylvia “Duffy” Engle Graduate Fellow, philosophy

“Gender, Fundamentality and the Social World”

Gender difference has a ubiquity, centrality and recalcitrance that many other axes of social difference do not. It has a privileged role in the way we understand and navigate the social world. This is the core intuition explored in this project. Although primarily focused on gender, possible extensions of this thought to disability and race are also considered. Melo Lopes contends that, relative to the flourishing debate on what gender is, this second order question concerning the role of gender has been underappreciated. In this project, she develops a theoretical articulation of the social role of gender difference. With this view in hand, Melo Lopes argues that an effective political strategy towards gender equality must not self-conceive as merely eliminating prejudice or subordination, as if they were detachable elements of our social arrangements. If gender is somehow fundamental to our social world, then gender oppression lies deep at the heart of our lives together. Feminist politics must therefore aim to restructure those very social arrangements and the subjects formed by them.

Benedito Luis Machava, A. Barlett Giamatti Graduate Fellow, history

“The Morality of Revolution: Urban Cleansing, Re-education Camps, and the Politics of Morality in Socialist Mozambique, 1975-1988”

From 1975 to 1988, the ruling party of independent Mozambique, FRELIMO, launched several campaigns to “clean” the cities of citizens it deemed antisocial and thus obstructing the socialist revolution. The party established several internment camps known as re-education centers to rehabilitate these so-called “anti-socials” through forced labor and political indoctrination. These violent campaigns were also carried out by ordinary citizens who denounced and helped to expel their fellow city dwellers. “The Morality of Revolution” examines the historical, ideological, and socio-political dynamics that produced the urban cleansing campaigns and the re-education camps in socialist Mozambique. The dissertation argues that beyond socialist agendas, FRELIMO aimed at reforming the moral outlook of Mozambican society by enforcing ways of being and behaving inspired by puritan Christian ethics. Based on extensive archival and oral research, the study redeems a silenced chapter of Mozambique’s recent history, contributing, among other things, to the understanding of why ordinary people participate in violent schemes of social engineering against their fellow citizens in autocratic regimes.

Josh Morrison, Richard & Lillian Ives Graduate Fellow, screen arts and culture

“Reveling in Uselessness: Queer and Trans Media, Emotional Labour, and Cultural Capital”

"Reveling in Uselessness," studies how queer and trans subjects consume media in ways unintended by their creators as a way to create, maintain, and grow alternative communities and cultures of resistance to the mainstream. Grounded in Marxist and materialist theories of value and consumption, this project traces three specific case studies: kitsch and the phenomenon of the Spice Girls in the late 1990s, bear pornography and the formation of queer (sub)cultures, and the evolving art form of camp as it simultaneously becomes mainstream and is re-appropriated by trans and queer subjects for radical political ends.

Michael Schachter, Mary Fair Croushore Graduate Fellow, composition and music theory

The Black Clown: a Vaudeville Oratorio for Bass-Baritone, Chorus, and Orchestra”

The Black Clown is an original large-scale musical production for bass-baritone, chorus, and orchestra. Based on the dramatic monologue of the same name by Langston Hughes, The Black Clown will be a new theatrical experience for our times: at once a devastating commentary on the African-American and minority experience, a celebration of the genius of Hughes (who was prescient enough to speak painful truths about America still relevant today), and an ambitious musical work breaking down barriers of conventional categorization. Commissioned by the American Repertory Theater, the work will be featured at the Loeb Mainstage in Cambridge, MA in a run of performances starting on August 29, 2018.

Ana Maria Silva, David and Mary Hunting Graduate Fellow, history

“Roots in Stone and Slavery: Permanence, Mobility, and Empire in 17th Century Cartagena de Indias”

In 1610, when the first church officials arrived in Cartagena de Indias (modern Colombia) to establish a permanent tribunal of the Inquisition, the city was the principal port for trading in African captives in Spanish South America. As policies aimed at ensuring religious orthodoxy tightened throughout the seventeenth century, Cartagena also became a vibrant commercial center at the crossroads of Atlantic, Pacific, and Andean routes, attracting voluntary migrants such as Spanish officials, military engineers, missionaries, and Portuguese merchants of Jewish ancestry who made Cartagena their new home. During this period, the labor of enslaved people transformed Cartagena from a settlement of wooden huts into a city made of stone, increasingly surrounded by walls and fortifications. This dissertation explores ideas and mechanisms of attachment to place in seventeenth-century Cartagena in order to understand the formation of urban systems of inclusion and exclusion, and the ambiguous relationships between mobility, rootedness, and empire in a slave society. She looks at how ideas about racial and religious difference intersected with local policies aimed at regulating urban growth and shaping the possibilities for forced and voluntary migrants to become rooted in the city.

Duygu Ula, Mary Fair Croushore Graduate Fellow, comparative literature

“Aesthetics in Dissent: Queer Cultural Productions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Turkey”

Organized around comparative close readings of contemporary art, film and literature from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Turkey, this project examines representations of sexual minorities, the way in which nation states police queer bodies, and how cultural productions resist that policing. Ula positions these selected works within their national, cultural and historical contexts, and uses them to explore the relationship between local modes of queerness and the western-centric and homogenizing impulses of queer studies that dominate discussions of gender and sexuality in North America and Western Europe. Focusing on artistic, cinematic and literary moments of resistance to local-national and western concepts of gender and sexuality alike, Ula’s work advocates for a local queer aesthetics and theory that take their bearings from cultural, historical and artistic contexts that have hitherto been underrepresented in queer studies. In doing so, it simultaneously complicates discourses of gender, sexuality and identity, and narratives of geographic and cultural difference.




Cassius Adair
James Winn Graduate Fellow, English

"Documenting Difference: State Identification, Identity Formation, and Transgender Cultural Critique"

Through a study of archival periodicals, jokes and folklore, literary texts, adornment technologies, and digital art, this project examines how marginalized people represent, remix, and reinvent state identification documents. Adair argues that, by imagining creative new forms of citizenship, governance, and embodiment, U.S. residents are rewriting the cultural logics of both identification and identity itself. From the legislative controversy over voter ID laws to the consolidation of undocumented residents into a new social movement, American identity is becoming a problem of paperwork. By contrast, the subjects in Adair's dissertation use artistic and rhetorical practices to theorize new forms of citizenship that don't involve fixing one's body to a document. Ultimately, Adair's work explores what types of belonging and recognition can emerge outside of identification.

James Cogswell
Charles P. Brauer Fellow, professor of art and design

“Cosmogonic Tattoos”

In celebration of the University’s Bicentennial in 2017, Jim Cogswell has been invited by the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology and the University of Michigan Museum of Art to create a set of installations in response to the objects in their collections. The project will use adhesive vinyl images applied in saturated colors to 1600 square feet of windows in their two buildings, highlighting the role of these museums in the life of our campus community and suggesting a public dialogue between them. The project playfully investigates what happens to objects from unimaginably different circumstances when they are placed together in museum collections, hinting at the fragmentary nature of historical memory and the imagination by which we narrate it to ourselves. The project will also be featured in a solo exhibition at the Kelsey during the summer of 2017, organized as an imaginative portal to his research process, linking photographs, sketches and drawings with archaeological objects on display in other parts of the museum.

Clare Croft
Norman and Jane Katz Fellow, assistant professor of music

“A Different Kind of Lady: Jill Johnston’s Political Embodiments of Dance Criticism and Feminism”

This project chronicles the contributions of arts critic and feminist activist Jill Johnston. The project works across the fields of dance studies, performance studies, and women’s studies to consider how what linked Johnston’s work as arts writer and activist was an emphasis on physical experimentation—how one could use the body and sensorial experience to make change in the world. The project will includes a series of physical, public workshops and result in a book titled, A Different Kind of Lady: Jill Johnston’s Political Embodiments.

Kyle Grady
Early Modern Conversions Graduate Fellow, English

“Moors, Mulattos, and Post-Racial Perceptions: Rethinking Racialization in Early Modern England”

This project focuses on early modern English literary representations of interethnic relations between black and white figures. Grady’s analysis begins with the observation that investigations of the topic in early modern studies that fail to consider work from the African Diaspora tend to engage in post-racial modes of critique. Thus, his project employs such work in order to revise these modes and rethink the nuance of racialization in early modern representations of interethnic relations, particularly with regard to evolving areas of study like interracialism and multiculturalism.

Carolina Heredia
Mary Fair Croushore Graduate Fellow, music composition


This dissertation, entitled Ausencias/Ausências/Absences takes its artistic impetus from the last writings of three South American female poets who took their own lives: Violeta Parra (1917-1967) from Chile, Alfonsina Storni (1892-1938) from Argentina and Ana Cristina Cesar (1952-1983) from Brazil. Heredia will produce an interactive multimedia work, including music, dance and video in three movements, with each movement focusing on one poet. The use of interactive technology will open up a scene for a technical and philosophical dialogue between the conceptual frameworks of liveness and deadness. These concepts will be explored both conceptually (through the last writings of the poets), and technically (through the interaction of the various media: fixed media audio and video, digital audio and video programming and live processing, and live performances by musicians and dancers).

Matthew Hull
John Rich Fellow, associate professor of anthropology

“Incorporation: Capitalism and Collective Life”

This project will extend the anthropological study of governance from the state to modern public corporations. Contemporary states, especially republican constitutional states, share a poorly recognized history with large-scale for-profit corporations. Constitutions, citizenship, voting, free speech, freedom of assembly, citizenship, representative institutions, and accountability documentation all have roots in the business and governance arrangements of seventeenth-century corporations. The book will place incorporation alongside commoditization as one of the major mechanisms through which human activities are drawn into capitalist processes—in this case, not processes of production and consumption, but institutions of collective life.

Marjorie Levinson
Hunting Family Fellow, professor of English language and literature

“Field Theories of Form: Philosophy, Science, Poetry”

Field Theories of Form: Philosophy, Science, Poetry applies the term “field” in two ways: first, to reference the field of Romantic period study from the 1980s through the present, a discourse to which this study contributes and on which it reflects; second, to reference the broad-band, cross-disciplinary shift from a unitary to a field-concept of form during that same time-span, with “field” in this sense emphasizing a synthesis of spatial and temporal (formal and historical) dimensions and a commitment to “’the relation’ as the smallest possible unit of analysis.”*

While the book makes an historical argument connecting early 19th-c intellectual trends to 20th-/21st-c revolutions in the life and physical sciences, the point of the argument is to introduce new formal, causal, and taxonomic models to the study of literature in general and lyric more specifically. Unlike projects that show the influence of science or philosophy on literature, and also unlike the many “literature + X “ approaches (e.g., literature and ecology, literature and human rights, literature and cognitive science, literature and the digital), the force of this inquiry lies in its construction of the object of literary study in a way cognate with work in non-humanities disciplines, thus pointing up a certain unity to human knowledge (a unity in what we find, and more important, in our methods of discovery, analysis, and argumentation). The overall claim is that students of literature can and sometimes should think the way some exemplary scientists think, and vice versa.

*Donna Haraway, The Companion Species Manifesto: Dogs, People, and Significant Otherness, 2003, p. 20

Emily Macgillivray
Cody Engle Graduate Fellow, American culture

"I do not know any such woman: Native Women Traders' Property and Self-Determination in the Great Lakes from 1740 to 1840"

This project examines Native women in the Great Lakes operating in trade as their own principle brokers in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and acquiring various forms of property, including land and slaves. These women experienced racialized violence as they fought against EuroAmerican encroachment on their land and enacted racialized violence as owners of slaves. Tracing the women through archival documents, Macgillivray asks what strategies the women employed to act as community-builders during political changes such as violent wars, increased EuroAmerican settlement, and the building of national borders? This project challenges standard male-focused narratives of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by showing how Native women traders influenced key political events related to treaties, land sales, and political conflicts like the French and Indian War (1755-63), the American Revolutionary War (1775-83), and the War of 1812 (1812-14) to benefit themselves, their families, and their communities.

Xiomara Santamarina
Hunting Family Fellow, associate professor of Afroamerican literature, English language and literature, and American culture

Modernities Past: Redefining Modernity in 19th-Century African America

While at the Institute, Professor Santamarina will be working on a book project entitled, Modernities Past: Redefining Modernity in 19th-Century African America. This project offers a new way of thinking about US racial identity by challenging the idea that modern African American subjects emerge only as the fruit of 20th century black protest, resistance, and cultural nationalism. It explores African Americans’ engagements with 19th-century realities—nation-formation, political and economic transformations, the rise of science, and the expansion of print—as expressions of their historical consciousness of change, time and political modernity. Reading a wide range of 19th-century texts including travel autobiographies, work diaries, social science studies, political pamphlets, and fictionalized slave narratives, Modernities Past formulates new understandings about African Americans’ desires for recognition and autonomy in a modernizing US, even as it explores the limitations, possibilities and paradoxes that shaped 19th-century African Americans’ lives.

Christine Sargent
Marc and Constance Jacobson Graduate Fellow, anthropology

“Ambivalent Inheritance: Down Syndrome and the Ethics of Kinship in Amman, Jordan”

This dissertation brings literature from new kinship studies and work on the ethical nature of everyday life to bear on ethnographic research among families who have a child with Down Syndrome in Amman, Jordan. Replacing colloquial descriptions of “Mongolee” (Mongoloid) and/or majnun(crazy), Down Syndrome brings Jordanian families new frameworks of interpretation, dislodging older ideas that treat people with intellectual disabilities as threatening to the moral reputation of kin groups and the reproduction of social ties through marriage. Sargent argues that urban Jordanians, engaging with competing frameworks for understanding disability and rights, struggle to craft themselves as good parents, modern Muslims, and progressive members of society in relation to their children with Down Syndrome and the category of disability more broadly. The multiple criteria and conflicting obligations involved in evaluating "the good" amplify the ethical complexity of this struggle.

Perrin Selcer

Norman and Jane Katz Fellow, assistant professor of history and Program in the Environment

“Constructing Spaceship Earth”

This project explores the role the United Nations played in making the global human environment a central political issue in the international community. Selcer analyzes how a post-World War II generation of internationalist scientists negotiated the tensions of the Cold War and decolonization to make the world scale a social and political reality. Responding to the experience of global political catastrophe, they engaged in explicitly apolitical development projects to produce social surveys, natural resources maps, and ecological models that revealed the threat of global environmental crisis. It was hardly ironic, then, that when Cold War competition rocketed “mankind” into outer space, what cosmopolitan elites saw was not an endless frontier, but a small and vulnerable planet—Spaceship Earth. Showing elites and publics that they were members of a single world community, in need of global government, had been the point all along.

Mrinalini Sinha
Helmut Stern Fellow, professor of women's studies, English language and literature, and history

"Complete Political Independence: The Curious Genealogy of a Nationalist Indian Demand”

This book-length project traces the historical run-up to the momentous decision of the official anti-colonial movement in India in 1929 to demand a nation-state of its own. Why did anti-colonialism in India, which had hitherto demanded equality within the British empire, become committed to complete political independence? This shift, as Sinha argues, was not something that was natural, but requires explanation. The conditions for this shift, as this project will suggest, were created by the First World War and had to do as much with imperialist considerations as with the demands of anti-colonialism.

Ben Strassfeld
David and Mary Hunting Graduate Fellow, screen arts and cultures

“The Detroit Model: Regulating Race and Pornography, 1950 – 1979”

This project examines the history of media censorship and antiporn politics in Detroit during the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, a period of time that saw the methods used to regulate sex media radically shift as activists and city officials increasingly moved away from the religious-tinged moralizing rhetoric long favored by antiporn advocates. In its stead, a new antiporn discourse emerged, one shaped by contemporaneous fights over race and suburbanization. Through an examination of this history, Strassfeld charts how changes in antiporn politics in Detroit were shaped by, and in turn shaped, the broader history of the city. The project also makes the case for placing Detroit at the center of the history of media censorship, with the city’s innovative methods of regulating pornography exported to numerous other locales across the country.

Emma Thomas
Mary Fair Croushore Graduate Fellow, history and German

“Contested Labors: New Guinean Women and the German Colonial Indenture, 1884-1921”

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, thousands of New Guinean women served as “cheap” contract laborers in the German colonial indenture. They worked on European-owned plantations, at trading, governmental, and mission stations, and in the homes of white colonists. In her dissertation, Thomas examines the complex social, cultural, and political worlds that these women occupied, while situating the labor system within the contexts of evolving, often conflicting, colonial understandings of gender, sexuality, and race. With a focus on the lived experiences of indentured women and those close to them, she shows how New Guineans negotiated European claims to their laboring—though often eroticized—bodies and confronted German efforts to align vernacular understandings of gender, sexuality, family, and labor with imperial concerns.

Lia Wolock
James Winn Graduate Fellow, communication studies

“Producing South Asian America: Community, Digital Media, & Connectivity”

This project examines the coming of age of a cohort of young, professional, second-generation South Asian Americans with a number of digital media technologies (e.g. blogging, podcasting, digital archiving) over the last decade and a half. This time period is marked for South Asian Americans by greater community visibility in civic life and popular culture, but also greater racialization and the attendant threat of violence against them in post-9/11 America. This community’s pioneering use of digital media, shaped by and shaping these social, political, and technological forces, is interconnected with the rising awareness within and beyond the community of the idea and identity of being South Asian American. Using ethnographic interviews, close readings of media and cultural exhibitions, and computer-assisted corpus analysis of websites, this projectoffers a careful study of the mundane and unremarked digital labor that sustains new imaginaries of belonging and coalition building. In the process, it reframes connectivity, arguing that connectivity is as much a cultural process and practice—of endless, mundane care—as a technological feat.

Claire Zimmerman
Steelcase Fellow, associate professor of history of art and of architecture

“Albert Kahn in Detroit, 1890-1945”

This project aims to transform our understanding of the work of Detroit architect Albert Kahn, both within the field of architecture, and more broadly. Kahn is widely misunderstood as a historical figure and an architect. His significant role in constructing the “military industrial complex” of the United States may have contributed to the confusion that surrounds his work. Architecture critics wrote about him negatively as a “bureaucratic” architect. Historians, in turn, failed to do justice to his substantial architectural achievements—and how they changed the profession. This project identifies Kahn’s contributions to architecture and to US politics after WWII, when the remarkable quantity of industrial building that the Kahn firm produced for the war altered the postwar scene. First, these buildings facilitated the growing Cold War directly. Second, they led to an upshift in domestic manufacturing capacity, an upshift closely coordinated with the development of the US highway network, and the proliferation of the automobile as our primary means of transportation. Architecture is often seen as epiphenomenal to historical development, a humanistic field to be studied in relation to design and execution. This research defines architecture in relation to historical impact after construction, and traces how buildings, and their uses, alter history.



Andrea Brock
Sylvia “Duffy” Engle Graduate Student Fellow

“Environment and Urban Development in the Archaic Forum Boarium in Rome, Italy”

This project is aimed at evaluating the role played by environmental threats and human response in Rome during the eight-sixth centuries BCE. This period relates to early processes of urban development in central Italy and the birth of Roman culture. Specifically, this dissertation is focused on the Forum Boarium valley, which not only served as the setting for Rome’s earliest river harbor, but also for one of the first monumental temples built in the city. Despite the region’s prominent position in commercial and ritual life, floodwaters would have devastated any activity in the valley on an annual basis. This daunting environmental challenge led the Romans to pursue early attempts at landscape modification and flood mitigation. By utilizing a combination of archaeological, historical, and environmental data, this project aims to reconstruct the natural environment of Rome’s dynamic river valley and elucidate the human response to environmental stress during the early centuries of urban growth.

Michelle Cassidy
A. Bartlett Giamatti Scholar/Graduate Student Fellows

“Both the Honor and the Profit: Anishinaabe Warriors, Soldiers, and Veterans from Pontiac’s War through the Civil War”

From 1863 to 1865, 136 Anishinaabe men served in Company K of the First Michigan Sharpshooters. In order to understand why these Odawa, Ojibwe, and Potawatomi men fought in the Civil War, this project examines changes in Anishinaabe masculinity, leadership, and status from Pontiac’s War (1763) through the 1890s. Military records, missionary correspondence, and battlefield memoirs suggest that many Anishinaabe soldiers used Christianity, as well as military service, to acquire or sustain leadership positions and preserve rights to land. They claimed the rights and responsibilities of male citizenship while also actively preserving their status as Indians and Anishinaabe peoples. This history complicates the binary of black and white racial categories that dominates many discussions of the Civil War and citizenship, while also stressing the diversity of Indian country during a period dominated by Indian removal and reservations.

Andreas Gailus

Helmut F. Stern Fellow; associate professor, Germanic languages and literatures

“Forms of Life”

The notion of “life” has become a focal point of study and dispute in diverse fields, from political theory to ethics, and from animal studies to aesthetics. Gailus’ work engages these contemporary debates by way of an historical detour. It explores the rich discourse of life in German literature, philosophy and politics from the a late 18th to the mid-20th century, analyzing, in particular, its sustained attention to questions of form and formation. Part historical study, part philosophical essay, the work seeks to develop a vocabulary that helps us articulate the many lives—biological and biographical, political and psychical, aesthetic and ethical—that we live and are.

Phoebe Gloeckner
Richard and Lillian A. Ives Fellow; associate professor, art and design

“The Return of Maldoror”

The aim of this project is to create a hybrid prose/graphic novel based on nearly a decade of experiential research in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico and the US-Mexico border region. This span of time included several years where cartel violence made Juarez "the most dangerous city in the world." Gloeckner is constructing scale models of Anapra, a colonia in the northwestern extreme of Juárez. Jointed handmade dolls populate the highly detailed sets to create hyperreal images, some of which will be animated in an electronic version of the book.

Christiane Gruber
Charles P. Brauer Fellow; associate professor, history of art

In her book, Gruber explores how individuals experience and perform political dissent and war in a contemporary Middle Eastern context. It focuses in particular on the Turkish Gezi Resistance Movement, which created an array of powerful self-images and creative forms of dissent during Summer 2013. “Gezi Graffiti” is rooted in multiple disciplines, most especially art history, visual culture, media, museum, and memory studies, sociology, and anthropology. It utilizes a range of methodological and theoretical approaches drawn from these various disciplines within the humanities in order to pose a number of critical questions about the dynamic role and power images play in the social, cultural, and political conflicts unfolding in Turkey today.

Gabrielle Hecht
Mary I. and David D. Hunting Family Fellow; professor, history

 “Toxic Tales from the African Anthropocene”

The Anthropocene signals a new epoch in which human activity shapes geophysical processes on a planetary scale. The term’s remarkable resonance has made it a rallying point for interdisciplinarity across the humanities, arts, and natural and social sciences. Yet these conversations easily falter, especially when critics observe that the notion can obscure massive inequalities by attributing the unfolding planetary catastrophes to an undifferentiated “humanity.” How can humanists theorize temporal and spatial scales that hold the planetary and the particular in the same frame? How can they gain purchase on the nexus of waste, toxicity, and violence that forms the core of the Anthropocene? In tackling these questions, Hecht’s new project explores material histories of toxic waste in and beyond Africa.

Lizzie Hutton
James A. Winn Graduate Student Fellow

 “New Reasons for Reading: Progressive Experiments in Cultural and Literary Literacy”

This project argues for a refreshed view of the composition-literature divide that structures most post-secondary departments of English in America. Returning to the interwar period, Hutton consolidates a milieu of disciplinarily permeable thinkers who encouraged alternative models for a critically sophisticated higher education in literacy, literature, and the reading of culture. Through the early, transatlantic career of the reading theorist Louise Rosenblatt, an ongoing conversation is charted between her work and Boasian anthropology; interwar French historicism and comparatism; Dewey’s philosophies of education, experience and culture; and I.A. Richards’s experiments in criticism, rhetoric, and psycholinguistics. Hutton poses the question: How might this recovered moment inspire us to rethink our long-held assumptions about how and why literacy and literature ought to be taught at the college level?

Yanay Israeli
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.

Lavrentia Karamaniola
Marc and Constance Jacobson Graduate Fellow

 “Bucharest Barks: Stray Dogs, Urban Lifestyle Aspirations, and the ‘Non-Civilized’ City”

This dissertation shows how Bucharest’s stray dogs are related to post-socialist class formation, to the mechanisms that produce marginalization, and to patterns of urban inhabitance and management. The objectives are to analyze how these domains intersect with discourses about compassion and morality, with ideas of responsible citizenship and animal rights, and with practices relating to the expulsion of marginal populations from the city. Karamaniola works through ethnographic and archival data gathered in urban neighborhoods, public and private dog shelters, protests against and for euthanasia, a vet clinic, and two different archives. Semiotic and post-humanist theories to study marginalization are deployed, and the urban environment as an assemblage of humans, animals, and materials is analyzed. The dissertation will show how the study of stray dogs illuminates patterns of social change and continuity, and how people’s urban lifestyle aspirations promotes the understanding of post-socialist class formation, and of political economy change.

Katie Lennard
Mary I. and David D. Hunting Family Graduate Student Fellow

“Made in America: Costume, Violence, and the Ku Klux Klan, 1905-1940”

In the first half of the twentieth century, millions of men across the United States donned white uniform robes that designated their affiliation with the Ku Klux Klan. This organization was dedicated to ensuring the supremacy of "native born," white, heterosexual, Protestant men, and these garments were strategically created to be visual and material representations of this ideological project. This project is a cultural history of the design and industrial manufacture of these garments in a series of Atlanta fraternal supply factories, as well as the national distribution, use, and maintenance of these garments. I trace these processes through archival research with documents, images, and garments in order to better understand how Klan leaders and members alike dressed up racial violence for twentieth century Americans by using the modern tools of consumer mass culture.

Arvind-Pal Mandair
Helmut F. Stern Fellow; associate professor, Asian languages and cultures

 “Untimely Encounters”

This book will explore ways of engaging Western and Indian thought that go beyond conventional techniques of reasoning deployed in comparative philosophy, literature and religion, which often remain entangled in representational logics. The preferred concept for the engagement Mandair pursues is “encounter,” although a more formal name for it might be “disjunctive synthesis” – a term which appears in Deleuze’s early philosophy, but which is very much akin to poetic critiques of self-production that appear in the writings of the medieval Indian poets Mandair is working with. “Disjunctive synthesis” or critique of self-production are therefore modes of encounter. One is essentially philosophical, the other poetic, but each in its own way enables the association of two or more series (concepts, cultures, persons, events, etc.) that may have no historical or geographical connection, but which can nevertheless belong together without one being reduced to the other. Mandair sees this project as a form of conceptual experimentation that may be helpful for thinking about spheres of existence that routinely bring into heterological association different languages, traditions, modes of thought, and time-periods (premodern/modern). In this way the book project joins contemporary efforts to rethink the nature of colonial diasporas.

Shana Melnysyn
Mary I. and David D. Hunting Family Graduate Student Fellow

"Rum & Revenge: Portuguese-Angolan Trade and the Bailundo Revolt of 1902"

This project is an anthropological history of an uprising against Portugal, during its colonial invasion of Angola (southwest Africa). In 1902, the Bailundo Kingdom refused to recognize Portuguese authority. Bailundo people began attacking rum traders and plundering commercial goods, and violence spread across the region. The revolt followed a decades-long pattern of continuous anticolonial resistance throughout Angola. European settlers, seeking fortunes in trade, were threatening local people’s lands, possessions, and autonomy with increasing frequency and brutality. Portuguese officials lamented their own ineffectiveness, often admitting that Angolans had legitimate grievances against traders. In this laboratory of unregulated capitalism, traders enforced a twisted version of justice in remote areas where they were sometimes the only face of colonialism, sparking widespread moral anxiety about power and authority. Using oral history interviews and diverse archival sources, this work explores in detail the cultural (mis)understandings and conflicts that marked this time of rapid social change.

Farina Mir
Norman and Jane Katz Fellow; associate professor, history

 “Producing Modern Muslims: Everyday Ethics in Colonial India”

This book is a study of Urdu-language akhlaq (ethics) literature published in colonial India, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Akhlaq literature, while essential to Muslim high theological discourse, had also become a popular site for exploring questions of everyday ethics in colonial India. The broader aims for the project are to deepen our understanding of how Muslims developed modern forms of subjectivity that included negotiating the relationship between Islam and the secular. While popular representations of Islam would lead one to believe that secular and Muslin forms of subjectivity are paradoxical, if not antithetical to one another, the history of Islam is modern South Asia (and elsewhere) suggests otherwise. But the relationship between the two—Islam and secularity—and a deep understanding of the constitution and historical development of a subjectivity that could be described as that of a “secular Muslim” still eludes us.

Mireille Roddier
Steelcase Professor; associate professor, architecture

 “Tactical Urbanism: The Politics of Interventionist Practices”

Recent architectural discourse upon shrinking cities and economically disinvested sites is divided between two poles. On one hand is design work that directly addresses the political circumstances of the people and places it engages, and on the other are opportunistic practices that exploit the potential of these “over-looked” and under-funded areas to provide venues for self-referential creative endeavors. This project examines the schism between “spontaneous interventions” as “design actions for the common good” and “unsolicited architecture” as an independent practice able to recoup the political agency of architectural autonomy. Through an in-depth study of these interventions, their relationship to authorship, dependence upon the aesthetics of blight, capitalization by the curatorial agendas of cultural institutions, and alleged role in urban gentrification, the project seeks ways to relate the immediate circumstances of specific locales to socio-economic trends at large and emergent aesthetic practices.

Sarah Suhadolnik
Richard and Lillian A. Ives Graduate Fellow

 “Navigating Jazz: Music, Place, and New Orleans in the Twentieth Century”

A new method of understanding how ideas of and about place intersect with and influence musical life is introduced in this dissertation. Designed to traverse the rich musical terrain of New Orleans jazz over the last century, the project addresses place in music as a form of “navigation,” a creative act of cultural negotiation. A variety of artistic responses to the city are examined in relation to the ongoing cultural construction of prominent New Orleans musical landmarks—specifically Congo Square, Basin Street, The French Quarter, and Tremé—tackling New Orleans as a complex intermingling of sound, terrain, worldview, and artistic imagination acting upon popular conceptions of jazz. The approach meshes the work of cultural geography with musicological analysis of works by Wynton Marsalis, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and more to reconceive notions of musical place—often presumed to be static, predictable, and historically fixed—as fluid, dynamic, and continually contested.

Megan Sweeney
John Rich Fellow; associate professor, English language and literature, Afroamerican and African studies


Interweaving personal reflection and interviews with a range of artists, “Mendings” explores the roles that clothing, fabric, and fiber arts play in constituting identities, relationships, communities, and histories. Sweeney is particularly interested in the act of mending as a framework for understanding individual and collective efforts to wrest meaning and beauty from legacies of loss and violence. “Mendings” is divided into two sections: “Selvedge” and “Salvage.” Evoking the roles that clothing and fabric play in defining the borders of the body and in maintaining the boundaries of the self, “Selvedge” addresses questions such as the following: Why and how do some children turn to self-adornment as a strategy for surviving challenging or traumatic experiences? How does clothing serve as a tool for negotiating complex power dynamics within families? What might some girls’ and women’s engagements with clothing reveal about their efforts to navigate the complicated terrains of embodiment, sexuality, self-care, and pleasure? “Salvage”—evoking nineteenth-century rag-and-bone men’s practice of searching for useful refuse—explores a series of questions related to mending: How does a tool for survival become a life-sustaining passion? What is artistic passion, and how does it differ from addiction? How do creative practices related to fiber and clothing enable individuals to reclaim life-affirming aspects of relationships and histories marked by brokenness and violence? How might such practices—including repurposing, mending, knitting, quilting, curating, and gifting—function as embodied forms of epistemology or metaphors for living? Finally, how might the concept of mending complicate reductive accounts of the therapeutic potential of storytelling and art-making?

Emily Waples
Mary Fair Croushore Graduate Fellow

 “Vitiated Nature: Heredity, Environment, and the American Etiological Imagination, 1785-1875”

Approaching medicine and literature as mutually imaginative domains, this dissertation examines the preoccupation with physical degeneration and the concomitant promotion of self-care as a civic duty in the nineteenth-century United States. In particular, it explores how, prior to the rise of genetics and microbiology in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, American domestic and public health literature and contemporary Gothic, abolitionist, and sentimental fiction conceptualized heredity and environment as reciprocally implicated mechanisms of pathological transmission. Considering intersections of disease, race, and sex in nineteenth-century medical and literary texts, it illustrates the ways in which American authors differently theorized the coaction of hereditary and environmental variables in an effort to predict and prevent the declension of the body politic. Ultimately, through an analysis of the prognostic and prophylactic imperatives in the biopolitical discourses of the antebellum era, this project proposes an interdisciplinary approach to the kinds of interpretive and therapeutic practices that continue to inform understandings of health in our own historical moment.

2014 - 2015

Sara Ahbel-Rappe
John Rich Professor  

Alison Cornish
Mary I. and David D. Hunting Family Fellow

Maria Eugenia Cotera
Helmut F. Stern Fellow

David Green
James Winn Graduate Student Fellow

Holly Hughes
Norman and Jane Katz Fellow

Alison Joersz
Mary I. & David D. Huntington Graduate Student Fellow

Elizabeth Keslacy
A. Bartlett Giamatti Graduate Student Fellow

Nancy Linthicum
Marc and Constance Jacobson Graduate Student Fellow

Sarah Linwick
Early Modern Conversions Graduate Student Fellow

Pascal Massinon
Mary Fair Croushore Graduate Student Fellow

Rostom Mesli
Sylvia "Duffy" Engle Graduate Student Fellow

Rachel Neis
Richard & Lillian Ives Professor 2506 Haven Hall

Asaf Peres
Richard & Lillian Ives Graduate Student Fellow

Christian Sandvig
Steelcase Research Professor

Tobin Siebers
John Rich Professor

Bonnie Washick
Mary I. & David D. Huntington Graduate Student Fellow

Melanie R Yergeau
Charles P. Brauer Fellow

Wang Zheng
Helmut F. Stern Fellow

2013 - 2014

Kerstin Barndt
Helmut F. Stern

Mark Clague
U-M Humanities Institute National Edowment for the Humanities Fellow

Deirdre de la Cruz
Richard and Lillian Ives Fellow

Katherine French
Helmut F. Stern Professor

Joshua Friedman
Richard and Lillian Ives Graduate Student Fellow

Maria Hadjipolycarpou
James A. Winn Graduate Student Fellow

Jarrod Hayes
Steelcase Research Professor

Jennifer Lee Johnson
Richard and Lillian Ives Graduate Student Fellow

Monique Johnson
James A. Winn Graduate Student Fellow

Webb Keane
John Rich Professor

Scott Richard Lyons
Hunting Family Fellow

Michael Patrick McCulloch
Mary Fair Croushore Graduate Student Fellow

Janie Paul
John Rich Professor

Richard Pierre
Sylvia "Duffy" Engle Graduate Student Fellow

Elizabeth Sears
Hunting Family Fellow

Brian Whitener
Mary Fair Croushore Graduate Student Fellow

Cookie Woolner
Mary I. & David D. Hunting Graduate Student Fellow

2012 - 2013

Adam Ashforth
Helmut F. Stern Professor

A. Sheree Brown
A. Bartlett Giamatti Graduate Student Fellow

Basak Candar
Mary I. and David D. Hunting Graduate Student Fellow

Kathleen Canning
Helmut F. Stern Professor

Alison DeSimone
James A. Winn Graduate Student Fellow

Frieda Ekotto
Chair of DAAS, Professor of French

Candice Hamelin
Sylvia "Duffy" Engle Graduate Student Fellow

Sara Jackson
Mary Fair Croushore Graduate Student Fellow

Karla Mallette
Helmut F. Stern Professor 4010 MLB

David Manley
Norman and Jane Katz Faculty Fellow 2224 AH

Pedro Monaville
Mary Fair Croushore Graduate Student Fellow

Rebecca Porte
Mary I. & David D. Hunting Graduate Student Fellow

Douglas Trevor

Brendan Wright
Marc and Constance Jacobson Graduate Student Fellow

Jason Young
Helmut F. Stern Professor

Geneviève Zubrzycki
Steelcase Research Professor

2011 - 2012

Kathryn Babayan
Hunting Family Professor

Marlyse Baptista
Hunting Family Professor

Efrat Bloom
Marc and Constance Jacobson Graduate Student Fellow

Jennifer Finn

Noah Gardiner
Mary Fair Croushore Graduate Student Fellow

Recep Gul
James A. Winn Graduate Student Fellow

Daniel Hack
John Rich Professor

Sarah Hillewaert
Sylvia “Duffy” Engle Graduate Student Fellow

Amr Kamal
Mary Fair Croushore Graduate Student Fellow

Joan Kee
Helmut F. Stern Professor

Matthew Lassiter
Associate Professor

Artemis Leontis
Hunting Family Professor

David Porter
Helmut F. Stern Professor

Sean Silver
Helmut F. Stern Professor

Melanie Sympson
Hunting Graduate Student Fellow

Xiaobing Tang
Steelcase Professor








2010 - 2011

Christian de Pee
Hunting Family Faculty Fellow

Visible Cities: Text and Urban Space in Middle-Period China, Eighth through Twelfth Centuries
Between the eighth and twelfth centuries, Chinese authors created literary forms and genres that made the cities of the period visible in new ways. Rather than using these texts to reconstruct the physical layout of Tang- and Song-dynasty cities and then analyzing these reconstructions, de Pee proposes to understand writing as a replication of movement through space and to understand the resulting text as a landscape. This approach will preserve historical continuities between textual form and urban space, as well as historical ways of experiencing the urban landscape.

Lisa Disch
John Rich Professor

Rethinking Re-Presentation

Is political representation legitimate only insofar as it approximates direct democracy, with representatives closely linked and precisely accountable to their constituents? With approval ratings for the Congress at an all-time low, many US citizens would say ‘yes’ to this question. Although they may be especially prominent today, animosity toward political representation and idealization of participatory politics are deep-seated features of US political culture. Disch’s research seeks to rehabilitate political representation as a form of democratic politics in its own right. She argues that political representation does not merely mirror but mobilizes, not merely reflecting existing demands but generating them. Inspiration on this point is taken from literary and cultural scholars who are accustomed to think of representation as an activity. As a political theorist, however, Disch will need to address the question of how to evaluate that activity: the aim to define a standard of evaluation by which to differentiate between more and less democratic instances of political representation.

Basil Dufallo
Hunting Family Faculty Fellow

The Captor’s Image: Greek Art in Roman Ekphrasis
While at the institute Dufallo plans to complete work on a book titled The Captor’s Image: Greek Art in Roman Ekphrasis (under contract with Oxford University Press), which focuses on descriptions of Hellenic art objects (ekphrasis) in classical Latin literature. Dufallo’s book argues that a new understanding of this technique affords us much fresh insight into what Greek culture meant for the Romans, specifically into how the Romans understood the Greek influence on their own identity. Roman ekphrasis in particular helps us perceive the complex cultural and political stakes inherent in the trope’s utilization when literary texts confirm, as much as they challenge, the priority of the visual image, an aspect of ekphrasis with which modern criticism and theory has been less concerned.

Julia Hell
Helmut F. Stern Professor

Imperial Ruins: Imagining the Decline of Rome from Napoleon to Hitler

In the wake of the Roman Empire, all modern European projects of imperial mimesis were haunted by the specter of decline, captured in images of Rome in ruins. In Imperial Ruins: Imagining the Decline of Rome from Napoleon to Hitler, Hell explores the role played by the Roman Empire and its ruins in European discourses about empire between 1800 and 1945, tracing the visual scenario of the imperial ruin gazer across a wide variety of textual and visual materials, ranging from the end of the eighteenth century to 1945.

Carol Jacobsen
John Rich Professor

Trial in Error

Carol Jacobsen will research and produce a new body of work in video and photography titled "Trial in Error." The project is based on historical and contemporary public documents and interviews with women recently released from prison, and will be presented in New York and elsewhere.

Amy Kulper
Steelcase Research Professor

Immanent Natures: the Laboratory as Metaphor in Architectural Design
Kulper’s book considers the role of the scientific laboratory in shaping the experimental legacy of the discipline of architecture. Her proposed research is to pursue the analogical construction of architecture as a laboratory in all of its aspects: as a fundamental link between positivist experiment and artistic experimentalism; as an instrumental lens on the natural world that helps construct spatial typologies appropriated from the sciences; as a trope that contributes to architecture’s preoccupation with its own design methods and processes; as a legacy that fundamentally shapes architecture’s critical project through the incorporation of scientific terminology, statistics and values; as a primary contributor to notions of autonomy in avant-garde production; as a pervasive force in the “self-fashioning” of the architect; and as an enabling metaphor allowing construction, design, and city planning to be conceptualized as (quasi) sciences.

Alaina Lemon
Hunting Family Faculty Fellow

Penetrating Minds: Reading Others in a “post” Orwellian World
The Cold War conditioned the rise of techniques central not only to surveillance and espionage, but also to stage and screen. Cell phones or social networking sites may seem the newest. Lemon’s research juxtaposes older but more diffuse techniques for “penetrating minds”: acting and telepathy. Her book will trace conversations across the ocean that knit theatrical aesthetics to paranormal science, while also stiffening the “Iron Curtain,” and will track how it is that techniques for reading others now perform other social realities.

Anton Shammas
Helmut F. Stern Professor

Blind Spots, and Other Essays on Translation
This book project is based on Shammas’ (rather oxymoronic) personal experience as a practitioner of translation, from and into Arabic, Hebrew and English, on the one hand, and as a teacher of translation theory on the other; and on some of the blind spots he detected, or so he has imagined, in both. The essays will span different foundational moments in the history of translation, starting with the translation into Latin of an eleventh century book by an Arab mathematician to whom Cervantes owes his novelistic perspective, through the resistance to translation embodied in the frustrating experience of the Arab-Jewish interpreter Columbus took with him on his first voyage, and ending with the attempts at translating the pain of tortured Palestinian prisoners into the legal English language of the affidavit. And some other moments in between.

Katherine Brokaw
James A. Winn Graduate Student Fellow

Tudor Musical Theater: Staging Religious Difference from Wisdom to The Winter’s Tale
Brokaw’s dissertation examines performances of both sacred and secular music in drama from the late-medieval morality plays to those of Shakespeare. The plays she explores re-present on stage the music that was significantly prevalent in religious and social life, music like Catholic ritual in sung Latin, Protestant hymns, peddler's ballads, and country dances, for example. These musical moments echo with Tudor England's religious changes, and with ongoing disputes about the spiritual efficacy of musical ceremony.

Puspa Damai
Mary Ives Hunting and David D. Hunting, Sr. Graduate Student Fellow

Welcoming Strangers: Hospitality in American Literature and Culture
By exploring nineteenth- and early-twentieth century American literature, this study seeks to demonstrate the centrality of hospitality and abuse of hospitality in American culture. Reading literary texts closely and in context, this study contends that examining American literature from the point of view of hospitality creates a space or threshold for the other of the nation and empire to be heard and received.

Ben Gunsberg
Sylvia "Duffy" Engle Graduate Student Fellow

The Old Promise of New Media Composition
This project explores relationships between technological innovation and composition pedagogy in American colleges and universities by analyzing the ways prominent conceptions of print-mediated writing have changed over the past half-century. Gunsberg links this historical analysis to more recent controversies, arguing that the proliferation of “new media” and Internet technology recasts and reconfigures older pedagogical promises to suit the demands of our precipitous “digital revolution.”

Alan Itkin
Mary Fair Croushore Graduate Student Fellow

Classical Motifs and the Representation of History in the Works of W.G. Sebald
Itkin’s dissertation argues that the representation of the traumatic historical events of the twentieth century in the works of the German author W. G. Sebald owes an essential debt to the classical tradition of epic poetry of Homer, Virgil, Ovid, and Dante. He argues Sebald's works reject a realist mode of historical representation in favor of one modeled on the idea of raising the dead past and bringing it into the living present associated with three linked classical motifs: nekyia (the raising of the dead), ekphrasis (the description of a work of art), and katabasis (the journey into the underworld). Sebald’s appropriation of these classical motifs to frame his literary representations of the traumatic historical events of the twentieth century, including the Holocaust, Itkin argues, may be seen as a response to the critical demand for new modes of representation adapted to events which defy traditional, realist means of representation.

Graham Nessler
Mary Fair Croushore Graduate Student Fellow

A Failed Emancipation? The Struggle for Freedom in Hispaniola During the Haitian Revolution, 1789-1809
Nessler’s dissertation examines conflicts over the meaning of liberty and citizenship in the colonies that became Haiti and the Dominican Republic during the Haitian Revolution (1789-1809). This revolution brought about the transformation of the French slaveholding colony of Saint-Domingue into the emancipationist and independent nation of Haiti. During this period, Santo Domingo (the colony that later became the Dominican Republic) also experienced profound political and social changes, passing in 1795 from the rule of slaveholding Spain to that of the emancipationist French Republic. Drawing upon abundant governmental and private correspondences, articles from assorted periodicals, and notarial acts created by individuals seeking to escape from enslavement, Nessler’s project investigates the implications of these political changes for the fifteen thousand men, women and children who were held captive in Santo Domingo when its cession transpired. Nessler will ultimately contend that the case of Santo Domingo severely challenged the French Republican emancipationist project and its grand promises of universal liberation and equal citizenship.

Nafisa Essop Shiek
A. Bartlett Giamatti Graduate Student Fellow

Relations of Governance: Gender, Law and the Making of a Colonial State
Nafisa Essop Sheik’s work explores how administrative struggles over gendered customary practices amongst European settlers, Zulu-speaking Africans and immigrant Indians shaped the making of a colonial settler state in Natal, on the east coast of South Africa, in the nineteenth century. She investigates the ways in which colonial discourse and legal interventions around intimate relations such as marriage created a nineteenth century British colonial state that was gendered by its own administrative efforts.

2009 - 2010

Y. David Chung
Helmut F. Stern Professor

Pyongyang – a drawing and video installation
North Korea exists for most people as an imaginary place, created from television clips and newspaper articles. Portrayed as a nation of uncompromising dictatorship, a land of famine, and a people ruled by an ideology whose hatred for the United States is matched in fervor only by the adoration of their deified leaders, North Korea is a country that remains a monstrous enigma to the world. Working from video and photographs from a recent trip to North Korea, the birthplace of his parents, David Chung plans to create a drawing and video installation which seeks to capture this place which lives in our minds and in our dreams.

Peter Ho Davies
John Rich Professor

The Great Race: a novel
"The Great Race" is a novel about the building of the transcontinental railroad, focusing on the experiences of the Chinese laborers of the Central Pacific. Of Celtic and Chinese descent, Davies was first drawn to the material by the competition between the Chinese and the largely Irish laborers of the Union Pacific to see who could lay track faster across the country. The book will consider themes of identity, and representation and explore the early years of the Chinese-American community.

Angela Dillard
John Rich Professor

James H. Meredith and the Boundaries of the American Historical Imagination
This political biography of James Meredith, the civil rights icon turned conservative Republican, attempts to situate our understanding of Meredith's “conservative turn” within broad shifts in American political culture and American historical memory from the 1960s to the present.

Valerie Kivelson
Steelcase Research Professorship

Desperate Magic: Witchcraft and the Lineaments of Power in Early Modern Russia
A study of witchcraft trials and belief in Russia in the 17th and 18th centuries, “Desperate Magic” demonstrates that witchcraft anxieties expressed particularly Russian concerns about serfdom and social hierarchy. This study upends traditional top-down models by revealing how power was contested, manipulated, and reproduced by people scrambling to survive in a fiercely inequitable world.

Keith Mitnick
Hunting Family Faculty Fellowship

The Architecture of Unseen Things
This project will use different forms of written and visual narratives to examine the role of architecture in defining accepted notions of the “normal” and the “everyday”. By overlaying a series of conflicting accounts and representations of a single contested locale, I will consider ways in which seemingly blank and banal buildings infer a false sense of neutrality upon the institutions they accommodate.

Ryan Szpiech
Hunting Family Professor

Authorizing Apostasy: Conversion and Narrative in Medieval Polemic
This is a study of narratives of religious conversion that appeared between the twelfth to the fourteenth centuries among Christians, Muslims, and Jews of the Western Mediterranean. It considers the autobiographical form of these mini-narratives as part of a reaction to the increasing role of logic and reason in religious apologetics after the twelfth century. By comparing surviving texts from different religious groups, it analyses the connection between contrasting notions of religious conversion and identity and a common forum of inter-religious polemical writing.

Magdalena Zaborowska
Hunting Family Professor

Racing Borderlands: Displacement, Difference, Dialogue, and American Cultural Traffic in the Second World
This book explores the new meanings of race and ethnicity in the cultural traffic between the First and Second Worlds post-1989/91. It brings into dialogue the life stories and visual archives documenting interactions among Jewish and Slavic immigrants and African American migrants from the South in the Chene street area in Detroit with the cultural work of domesticating difference and re-visioning East European multiculturalism in theatrical, musical, publishing, and academic activities of Fundacja Pogranicz in Sejny, Poland.

Claire Zimmerman
Helmut F. Stern Professor

“Photographic Architecture" from Weimar to Cold War:
The Case of Mies van der Rohe

Claire Zimmerman is writing a book about architectural representation in the twentieth century, focusing on the translation of information about space, material, and form into two-dimensional images. The book emphasizes the significant role played by photography in the historiography of modern architecture; it also studies the recursive effects of images, which began to alter building form in subtle but far-reaching ways in the post World War II period.


Yanina Arnold
Sylvia “Duffy” Engle Graduate Student Fellow

Law and Literature in Late Imperial Russia, 1864-1917
Yanina Arnold’s dissertation examines the interaction between legal culture and literature in late imperial Russia and its lasting impact on Russian attitudes toward legal practices. She will explore the representation of legal culture by Russian writers, journalists, and legal professionals. Among other things, she will investigate how the literary activities of Russia’s “literary lawyers” contributed to their professional self-fashioning. Her dissertation project will include the translation from the memoir The Book of Death by Sergei Andreevsky (1847-1918).

Christopher Coltrin
Mary Fair Croushore Graduate Student Fellow

Destruction or Deliverance? The Politics of Catastrophe in the Art of John Martin
Christopher Coltrin’s dissertation analyzes the political associations of a series of apocalyptic themed paintings produced in England during the 1820s by the painters John Martin, Francis Danby, and David Roberts. Specifically, he will be investigating how these paintings may have encouraged progressive political reforms—including universal suffrage, a progressive structure of taxation, and land re-distribution—as a means of obtaining deliverance from impending divine destruction.

Christopher Davis
James A. Winn Graduate Student Fellow

Performing the Text: Troubadour Manuscripts and Vernacular Poetic Identity
For his study of the twelfth- and thirteenth-century troubadours of southern France, Christopher Davis uses thirteenth-century manuscript anthologies of troubadour song, or chansonniers, to explore the tensions between oral and textual models of poetic authority during this period. In particular, he is focusing on the influence of the Latin commentary tradition on representations of vernacular authorship and on the status of Occitan as a prestige vernacular for poetic composition.


Ari Friedlander
A. Bartlett Giamatti Graduate Student Fellow

Sex, Crimes, and Sex Crimes: Private Sins and Communal Concerns in Early Modern England
This project analyzes sexualized depictions of the poor and the criminal in early modern English popular pamphlets, and their impact on dramatic representations of nation, class and community formation. As mutually reaffirming markers of social unsuitability, crime and incontinent sexuality helped define the boundaries of English society at a local communal level, and as a growing national and economic power.

Daniel Hershenzon
Mary Ives Hunting and David D. Hunting, Sr., Graduate Student Fellow

Moving People, Moving Goods: Captivity and Ransom in the Early-Modern Western Mediterranean
This project examines the captivity, enslavement, and ransom of Habsburg and Ottoman subjects in the early-modern Western Mediterranean and the ways in which the movements of these enslaved captives across the sea were negotiated and defined in royal and religious bureaucracies.

Guillermo Salas
Mary Ives Hunting and David D. Hunting, Sr., Graduate Student Fellow

Religious Change and Ideologies of Social Distinction in the Southern Peruvian Andes
At the heart of this project is the diversity of the ideologies of social differentiation in the regional society of Cuzco, in the Southern Peruvian Andes. Paying attention to everyday life as well as well as evangelical conversions in Quechua communities, Salas aims to explain how different ideologies of social differentiation coexist, legitimizing and reproducing social hierarchies across cultural differences.


Jean Hebrard
Norman Freehling Visiting Professor

Jean M. Hébrard has worked for many years on the cultural history of south-west Europe focusing on the history of writing (scribal and personal practices). He participated in the large-scale enquiries on the history of reading and writing carried out in France in the 1980s and the 1990s and published numerous articles and books in this field (particularly Discours sur la lecture, 1880-2000, Paris, Fayard, 2000 with Anne-Marie Chartier). Recently he has extended his research area to the colonial world of Iberian and French Empires (particularly Brazil and Saint-Domingue). Professeur associé at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales , and visiting professor at the University of Michigan, he is a member of the Centre de Recherche sur le Brésil Contemporain (EHESS) and of the Centre international de recherche sur les Esclavages (CNRS).

2008 - 2009

Joshua Cole
Norman and Jane Katz Faculty Fellow

The Empire of Fear: Violence and Politics of the Colonial Situation in Eastern Algeria, 1919-1940
Joshua Cole’s current book project explores a period of intense political and cultural innovation in French Algeria during the years of the Popular Front, and several concurrent episodes of extreme violence that fractured local communities in the region in the years before World War II.

Caroline Constant
Helmut F. Stern Professor

The Modern Architectural Landscape
This study examines disciplinary intersections between architecture and landscape architecture in contemporary western design practices and the historic antecedents of this phenomenon. It challenges prevalent interpretations of the modern architectural project by foregrounding its social and cultural foundations in landscape.

Lucy Hartley
Helmut F. Stern Professor

The Democracy of the Beautiful
What is the place and importance of beauty in the industrial landscape of nineteenth-century Britain? This is the central question that Hartley will consider in her year at the Institute. She plans to complete a book exploring how the idea of a beauty for the people became linked to an emerging model of democratic governance; and why this attempt to democratize beauty failed to provide the collective enlightenment and social redemption it promised. More broadly, the book will ask whether the idea of a beauty for the people might have relevance today in renewing our understanding of democracy as well as the relation of art to society.

Paul Christopher Johnson
Hunting Family Professor

To Be Possessed: "Religion" and the Purification of Spirit"
Johnson’s project is an excavation of the category of “spirit possession,” considering first its creation as an early project of civil religion, next the ways the construct was implemented in colonial regulations of religion in the Americas, and finally the positive appropriation of the category by ethnographers and religious actors themselves. By closely examining philosophical, theoretical and discursive invocations of spirit possession as well as the empirical studies those models infiltrated, but also were influenced by, this study aims to show how the category worked not only as a descriptor of “primitive” religions but also, even primarily, as an exorcism the West performed on itself.

Rudolf Mrázek
John Rich Professor

Penal Colonies and Camp Cultures
This is a study of camps and camp culture in the era of triumphant technology. It is based on two case studies: of the Theresienstadt “ghetto” in the Nazi Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia (1941-1945) and of Boven Digoel, a colonial “isolation camp” in New Guinea, the Dutch East Indies (1927-1943).

Susan Parrish
John Rich Professor

A History of Disturbance: Ecology and Literature in the U.S. South, 1927-1947
Susan Parrish will be working on a book project that deals with the ecological imagination in the U.S. South and Gulf Coast in the early part of the twentieth century, with special attention to the 1930s. Of interest will be the intersection of race, environment, and epistemology in writers like Zora Neale Hurston, William Faulkner, James Agee, Marjorie Stoneman Douglas, and Richard Wright as well as in more diffuse cultural sources, like local southern newspapers and newsletters produced at southern Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps.

Stephanie Rowden
Helmut F. Stern Professor

A place has its stories
This is an experimental audio documentary about a city block in Detroit: the block which encompasses Woodward Avenue, Parsons Street, Cass Avenue, and Davenport Street. The project draws on stories and sounds recorded on a series of many walks (both literal and figurative) around this one block, and will be developed as a collection of vignettes for radio as well as a sound rich archive for the web.

Gareth Williams
Hunting Family Professor

The Mexican Exception: Sovereignty and Political Subjectivity in the Twentieth Century
Gareth Williams’ project examines the relation between culture and the political in twentieth-century Mexico. This work is located in the wake of the 1968 critique of the Mexican state. The events of that year highlighted the violent realities of Mexican sovereign power by putting the question of democratic culture and the illegitimacy of the post-revolutionary state at center stage. Drawing on literature, photography, popular culture and political philosophy, this book traces the cultural history of modern sovereignty and its relation to the on-going struggle for political democracy.

Danna Agmon
Mary Ives Hunting and David D. Hunting, Sr., Graduate Student Fellow

Where Do Go-Betweens Go? Colonial Intermediaries in Eighteenth Century India
This project examines French imperialism in India (1664-1761), and uncovers the different ways French traders, missionaries, and other settlers relied on their Indian employees. By foregrounding the tense relationship between the French and their local intermediaries, Danna Agmon exposes difficulties and failures that were a crucial yet hidden aspect of early colonial expansion. She hopes to demonstrate that the often-overlooked French experience in India is thus representative of the fractured, tense, and densely populated early stages of all colonial histories.

Lembit Beecher
James A. Winn Graduate Student Fellow

Estonia 1944: A Multimedia Chamber Oratorio
Lembit Beecher is working on a multi-media, chamber oratorio based on his grandmother’s and granduncle’s personal memories of Estonia during World War II when their homeland was occupied first by the Soviet Union, then Germany, and then the Soviet Union again. Along with their words, he will mine newspaper accounts, news reports, official records, letters and excerpts from the Estonian national epic Kalevipoeg, for text to set to music. In blurring the lines between music and narrative, documentary and drama, and fact and emotion, he is reaching for a mosaic-type of storytelling that investigates issues of memory, the nature of storytelling, and the relationship of drama to a sense of truth.

Eva-Marie Dubuisson
Sylvia “Duffy” Engle Graduate Student Fellow

The Making of Poetic and Political Authority in Kazakh Aitus
Eva-Marie Dubuisson is investigating new forms of authority and social sentiment in post-socialist Kazakhstan as evinced in aitus, a kind of improvisational verbal dueling between two poets. Over twenty years of authoritarian repression and censorship, poets have given consistent voice to sociopolitical critique. Throughout Eurasia, wherever aitus and similar forms of oral epic traditions live on, social actors from radically different walks of life collude in “successful” performance in order to create a cultural and political authority beyond that of the authoritarian state, and a sense of satisfaction for those involved.

Monica Kim

Humanity Interrogated: Empire, Nation, and the Political Subject in United States and United Nations Prisoner of War Camps during the Korean War, 1949-1954
Monica Kim researches U.S.-controlled prisoner of war camps during the Korean War, examining how POWs, military personnel, and government officials struggled to define the “prisoner of war” as a political subject during the early Cold War. Interrogation became the most relied-upon tool of the U.S. military for constructing, disciplining, and presenting the prisoner of war. Using military archives, oral history interviews, and international organization archives, Kim examines interrogation practices as engaging with and against other political practices in the POW camps and surrounding areas, while also tracing the conflict over “narrating the POW” starting in the interrogation room through international spheres of debate.

Amy Rodgers
Mary Fair Croushore Graduate Student Fellow

“The Sense of an Audience: Spectators and Spectatorship in Early Modern England, 1576-1612
Rodgers’ dissertation examines discourses of spectatorship that emerge alongside the development of the professional theater in early modern England. The sixteenth century witnessed a surge in a particular form of mass entertainment: professional drama. As the English commercial theater prospered, Tudor-Stuart culture developed new ways to describe the sort of looking that playgoing encouraged. Audience studies have tended to focus primarily on the effects of twentieth-century visual mediums on the modern spectator. Rodgers reframes spectatorship as a subject of inquiry that has been shaped by multiple influences and histories rather than as a telos that culminates in modern viewing technologies and subjects.

2007 - 2008

Paul Anderson
Hunting Family Professor

Hearing Loss: The Dreamlife of American Jazz
Paul Anderson’s work in cultural history offers a new window into the world of modern jazz.  While prominent accounts of modern jazz’s musical and social worlds are often vanguardist and forward-looking, Anderson circles backward to explore alternative narratives in terms of retrospection, nostalgia, and loss.  Among other threads, his reconstruction of the dreamlife of modern jazz traces various efforts to repair the fraying ties between modern jazz and popular music in the 1950s and 1960s and pays special attention to the fate of the popular song form, especially the ballad, within the period’s creative tumult.

Philip Deloria
John Rich Professor

Crossing the (Indian) Color Line: A Family History
In June 1931, Deloria’s grandmother—white, patrician, and pious, with a good job in New York City—agreed to marry his grandfather, an American Indian athlete-turned-minister whom she had met only a few days earlier. Their surprising union brought together two grand histories of colonial encounter. Deloria will write their history and also inquire into the consequences of their marriage, which unleashed devastating tensions surrounding racial crossing, the authority of men and women, the preservation and recording of Native cultures, and the possibilities for reconciliation among histories and memories defined by the dispossession of Native North America.

Tirtza Even
Helmut F. Stern Professor

Once a Wall, or Ripple Remains
“Once a Wall, or Ripple Remains” is a documentary project that aims to question the stability of any perception, record, or rendering of a series of videotaped encounters that took place in the summer and fall of 1998 in the Occupied Territory of Palestine. Spanning more than eight years, it also draws on a wide range of media (from single-channel video, CD-ROM, website, to written text and 3-D animation). Even seeks in this work to incorporate the documented images’ passage through media and through the history impacting their perception.


Andrew Herscher
Hunting Family Professor

Violence Taking Place: The Architecture of the Kosovo Conflict
How does violence take place? In this project, Herscher attempts to answer that question by examining the intersection of architecture and political violence in Kosovo.  Approaching destruction as a violent counterpart to architecture’s constructive endowment of material with meaning and effect, his examination focuses on sites where destruction has been threatened, feared, inflicted, experienced and remembered. Paying close attention to the material form, social situation, interpretation and memory of destruction, he understands each of these features as potentially salient in determining destruction’s political, social and cultural dimensions.

Katherine Ibbett
A. Bartlett Giamatti Faculty Fellow

Compassion and Commonality: Forms of Fellow-Feeling in Seventeenth-Century France
In her study, Ibbett considers the discourse of compassion in relation to the political discourses that explain and justify both domestic absolutism and the colonial projects of seventeenth-century France. Looking at how the notion of a French public develops through the private yet shared compassionate response to representations of suffering, she argues that the language of compassion plays a key role in the establishment of the newly self-conscious nation. The project draws on dramatic theory, political thought, popular novels, and accounts of colonial life and asks how and to what ends a culture famed for its inwardness and centralizing tendencies might nonetheless imagine its relations with situations and people beyond its boundaries.

Marcia Inhorn
Helmut F. Stern Professor

Reproducing Masculinities: Islam, IVF-ICSI, and Middle Eastern Manhood
Marcia Inhorn’s project investigates the intersecting domains of “Islamic masculinity” and “Islamic bioethics” as they are manifested in the realm of reproductive technoscience in the Middle Eastern region. Drawing upon Islamic fatwa literature, Middle Eastern gender scholarship, Arabic-language popular literature, and Middle Eastern men’s own reproductive narratives and oral histories (collected from more than 250 men), the project examines how differences in Islamic legal opinion are shaping notions of manhood in Middle Eastern societies where new biotechnologies of assisted conception are being introduced.


Scott Spector
John Rich Professor

Violent Sensations: Sexuality, Crime, and Utopia in Berlin and Vienna, 1860-1914
Vienna and Berlin were crucial sites in the development of modern conceptions of gender and sexuality, and also in the political emancipation movements these conceptions inspired. Prominent in this context were the birth of the science of sexology, the earliest articulations of homosexuality as an identity, the concomitant movement to abolish persecution of sexual minorities, and the “first-wave” feminisms of the turn of the century. At the same time, these cities became host to prurient fantasies that held a surprisingly prominent place in the period’s high culture, science and popular culture. Spector’s synthetic analysis shows how these narratives of sexuality and violence are part of a self-critical discourse on and of the modern subject.

Johannes von Moltke
Steelcase Research Professor

Moving Pictures: Film, History, and the Politics of Emotion
Johannes von Moltke investigates the interplay between history, emotions, and politics in the cinema. Focusing on the cinematic representation of German history in particular, he studies the ways in which filmmakers have used different genres (such as melodrama, comedy, or thrillers) to elicit specific emotions about the historical figures and events presented on film. As our historical distance from the “Third Reich” and the Holocaust increases, von Moltke suggests, these emotions shift in subtle but surprising ways. The project investigates not only the formal construction of these films and their appeal to spectator emotion, but also the broader political implications of this shift in our emotional relationship to history. It outlines a theory of spectatorship as an “affective practice” that both defines particular viewing publics and participates in the construction of community through emotion.

Elizabeth Ben-Ishai
Sylvia "Duffy" Engle Graduate Student Fellow

The Autonomy-Fostering State: Citizenship and Social Service Delivery
Ben-Ishai’s dissertation explores the obligations of the state to foster autonomy in its citizens, particularly its most vulnerable. The capacity for autonomy is a key requirement for access to full citizenship rights in contemporary democracies. Hence, she argues, an inclusive and universal notion of citizenship requires a version of what she refers to as “the autonomy-fostering state.” Ben-Ishai examines three “case studies” of social service delivery, drawing on empirical examples in order to theorize the conditions under which the state structures its relationships with citizens in ways that enable, rather than constrain, the development of autonomy-competency.

Yolanda Covington-Ward
Michigan Graduate Student Fellow

Embodied Histories, Danced Religions, and Performed Politics: Changing Conceptions of Kongo Cultural Performance
Covington-Ward’s dissertation utilizes the study of makinu—a general term for a complex of Kongo performance forms that incorporate dance, music, and song—to examine how the meanings and uses of Kongo cultural performances change in the contexts of socio-historical transformations, and how embodied practices in performances can be used to transmit, represent, and transform moral values, religious and political ideals, and group identities. Through her focus on cultural performances, Covington-Ward seeks to illuminate an area of study that has been largely overlooked by other scholars of Kongo culture and society, thus contributing new insights to the anthropology of performance in West-Central Africa.

Jonah Johnson
James A. Winn Graduate Student Fellow

Seasick yet Still Docked: Casting Kant’s Shadow in Post-Enlightenment German Drama
Johnson’s dissertation examines the consequences of early German Idealism for the writing and theorization of tragedy in the wake Kant’s critical philosophy.  By situating dramatists such as Friedrich Hölderlin and Heinrich von Kleist within the context of late-eighteenth century German philosophy, he argues that the often discussed “death of tragedy” during this period is tied to a crisis of representation shared by post-Enlightenment dramatists and philosophers alike.

Min Li
Mary Ives Hunting and David D. Hunting, Sr., Graduate Student Fellow

Conquest, Concord, and Consumption:  Becoming Shang in Eastern China
Min Li’s dissertation research is based on archaeological excavations at a frontier city of the Shang civilization (circa 1600-1040 B.C.) in early China. He investigates the ways that aspects of symbolic, social, and natural worlds converged in human interactions with animals, particularly in the realms of food and religious communication. In the context of state formation and imperial conquest, the distinction between human and animals, often construed and demarcated along lines of social difference involving the human other, informs on the self-definition and identity construction of early states and civilizations.


Jennifer Palmer
Michigan Graduate Student Fellow

Slavery, Race, and Gender in Eighteenth-Century La Rochelle
Jennifer Palmer examines how French people on French soil constructed and participated in slavery. To do so, she focuses on the port town of La Rochelle, a vibrant locale where people crossed boundaries of race, status, and culture. By concentrating on visual and archival sources, she explores the tension between two representations of slavery: slaves as the ultimate luxury goods, and slaves as community members embedded in networks of kinship, friendship, and patronage. Through a narrative of family relations with a subtext of visual representations, she considers how the ever-changing conceptions and practices of slavery were shaped and defined in France, not only in the colonies. In doing so, she conceptualizes slavery as central to French people’s understanding of family and self.

Stefan Stantchev
Michigan Graduate Student Fellow

Embargo: the Origins of an Idea and the Effects of a Policy
Stantchev’s project will clarify the origins and development of embargoes and the results of their employment. Economic sanctions have primarily interested political scientists who have analyzed them chiefly as economic tools for the achievement of foreign policy goals. Focusing on the use of embargoes by the Papacy, Venice, and Genoa primarily against Muslim, pagan, and Eastern Christian lands during the Middle Ages, Stantchev asks when, how, and to what perceived effect trade sanctions were employed. The main question that his work will address is whether or not embargoes (and thus economic sanctions in general) can be seen not only as an economic, but also as a cultural tool of statecraft.

2006 - 2007

Howard Markel
John Rich Professor

The Anatomy of Addiction: A Cultural, Social and Medical History of Addiction in the United States, 1900 to the Present
Markel hopes to write a book that takes a broad, engaging and scholarly look at the humanistic, medical, cultural, and popular understanding of addiction and addicts in twentieth-century America. He will focus not only on the well known substances of abuse such as heroin, cocaine, alcohol and nicotine but also on many other addictive behaviors (e.g., excessive sexual or gambling activity, overeating, etc.) that researchers have heretofore given inadequate historical or even clinical, weight.

Khaled Mattawa
Hunting Family Professor

Amorisco and A Typography of Strangers
Mattawa aims to complete two books. Amorisco is a book of poems in which he has set himself some specific challenges. Some of the works will be pure lyric poems of, at most, twenty lines, inspired by the “lyric distillation and conceptual density of Antonio Machado, Saadi Youssef, and Rainer Maria Rilke.” Other, longer, poems will “range freely among pressing questions and unresolved episodes.” He will also work on A Typography of Strangers, a study of three postcolonial poets: Rabindranath Tagore, Derek Walcott and Mahmoud Darwish.

Christi Merrill
Michigan Faculty Fellow

Memory with an Active Verb: Lessons in Translating Hindi
Merrill’s project of literary nonfiction grew out of her work as a Hindi translator. She has organized her book as a series of short meditations and vignettes, each of which focuses on a particular Hindi word or phrase with no exact equivalent in English. The entries are arranged in rough chronological order so that a personal narrative begins to emerge, one that asks questions about the ways individuals (especially Americans) might best translate concepts such as justice and dignity into daily life as lived across borders of language and culture.

James Robson
Helmut F. Stern Professor

Inside Asian Images: Religious Icons in the Context of Local and Ritual Practice
This project concerns a collection of small religious statuettes from Hunan province in south-central China. Rather than focusing on external aesthetics, Robson is looking inside the images and analyzing items placed in a small cavity carved in the back—including desiccated insects, medicine, paper money, talismans, and most importantly a short text with a wealth of historical information (identity of the deity, name of the patron who requested the image, and the reasons for its consecration)—in order to understand their function in contemporary Chinese popular religion and Daoist ritual.

Andrew Shryock
Charles P. Brauer Faculty Fellow

Welcome and Trespass: The Politics of Hospitality in Jordan and Beyond
Shryock will spend next year studying hospitality as a framework for politics, morality, and history. Most of his attention will be focused on Jordan, where hospitality is an important aspect of local and national identities. He will also look at how “Arab hospitality” has figured, historically, in transregional moral discourses of citizenship, political boundaries, and the rights of Others.

Jamie Tappenden
Michigan Faculty Fellow

Riemann and Frege: A Study in the Emergence of Contemporary Logic and Mathematics
Tappenden is concerned with the nineteenth-century emergence of contemporary styles of mathematical reasoning, with special focus on the “descriptive” style for presenting mathematical structures in Bernhard Riemann’s work and the effect this had on the emergence of modern logic in Gottlob Frege. Key to these developments is a different conception of how we identify the basic elements of a mathematical subject. Previously it had been taken for granted that the basic elements of a mathematical problem were the familiar operations like addition and multiplication. Riemann introduced the idea that identifying the basic features of a problem could be a crucial part of the problem itself.

Patricia Yaeger
A. Bartlett Giamatti Faculty Fellow

Luminous Trash: America in an Age of Conspicuous Destruction
Yaeger is investigating the social status of rubbish in modern and postmodern literary and visual cultures. She is particularly interested in trash that becomes anthropomorphic in post-apocalyptic film and fiction, in radiant trash in ethnic literatures, and in the speed-up of clutter in a world beset with serial commodification, as well as American acts of multi-national waste and destruction. What do visual and literary cultures tell us about America’s at-home and overseas contributions to environmental racism? In a world of programmed obsolescence, she says, it comes as no surprise that trash or rubbish becomes an important topic within postwar literary and visual arts. What is surprising is how luminously trash is represented; the way rubbish gleams.

Norman Yoffee
Steelcase Research Professor and Helmut F. Stern Professor

Winds of Desolation: A History and Archaeology of the Mesopotamian City of Kish
Norman Yoffee’s research is now split in three directions. They are, from most specific to most general: the history of Mesopotamia, especially in the Old Babylonian period (ca. 2000–1600 BC), the history and archaeology of the city of Kish (Mesopotamia) from ca. 3200 BC–300 AD, and the evolution of the earliest cities, states and civilizations. The second project, focusing on the city of Kish, will comprise Yoffee’s research as the Helmut F. Stern Professor in the Institute for the Humanities, 2006–07.

Diana Bullen
Mary Ives Hunting and David D. Hunting, Sr., Graduate Student Fellow

The Visual Culture of the Central Italian Foundling Hospital, 1400-1600
Diana Bullen is pursuing an interdisciplinary study that explores the status of the abandoned child in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Italy in the context of the visual culture of charity. Focusing on the institutional environment of foundling hospital, she will study how images constructed ideas about charity toward children, how the display and visibility of both ritual acts and images played a crucial role in charitable administration, and how manipulations of the urban fabric worked to negotiate the places of charity in the early modern Italian city.

Claire Decoteau
Michigan Graduate Student Fellow

The Diseased Body Politic and the Corporeality of HIV/AIDS in South Africa
HIV/AIDS engulfed South Africa in its most vulnerable moment – during the period of transition from apartheid to a capitalist democracy. The struggle against HIV/AIDS takes place in a context in which multiple healing systems–bio-medical science, various forms of “traditional” healing, faith-based approaches–compete for the authority necessary to impose their understanding of the disease and the body over the public sphere. This competition is inseparable from South Africa’s recent neo-liberal economic restructuring and the growing power of the international pharmaceutical industry. On the ground, people with HIV/AIDS are struggling against poverty and access to basic services (including health care), while simultaneously negotiating multiple (and sometimes) contradictory health systems. This research focuses on the various healing methods South Africans are utilizing to treat HIV/AIDS and the effects that the combination of these methods has on peoples’ conceptualizations of health, sexuality and their bodies.

Philip Duker
James A. Winn Graduate Student Fellow

Diving into Mnemosyne’s Waters: Exploring the Depths of Memory and Musical Experience
Because music is an art that unfolds in time, the possibility for it to be more than a series of fleeting, disconnected moments hinges on a listener’s memory. Duker’s research explores how this seemingly straightforward capacity is understood from diverse disciplinary perspectives, and how each view can highlight different aspects of musical experience.

Kim Greenwell
Michigan Graduate Student Fellow

Between Nation, Empire and Colony: Unsettling Events and English-Canadian Identity in the Nineteenth-century British Empire
Greenwell is looking anew at the place of white settler colonies within the nineteenth-century British Empire. With a focus on Canada, she is examining the inherently comparative, narrative processes by which English-Canadians constructed their sense of identity in relation to a complex set of “others” and in response to key events elsewhere in the Empire. Ultimately she argues that the dynamics of identity-formation in such contexts challenge overly simplistic accounts of white racial privilege and compel a rethinking of how we study national, imperial and colonial projects, and the interrelations among the three, more broadly.

Edin Hajdarpasic
Michigan Graduate Student Fellow

Beyond ‘Nation vs. Empire’: Reform, Social Movements and the Search for Justice in Late Ottoman Bosnia
Hajdarpasic is studying the emergence of disparate movements that sought to effect political reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the late Ottoman period, an era that is usually described as the awakening of Balkan nations. By viewing the national undertakings alongside the demands for radical social change, he aims to arrive both at a contextualized analysis of the political transformations that reshaped the Ottoman Balkans in the nineteenth century and at a nuanced exploration of different local understandings of reform and social justice.

Andrew Highsmith
Michigan Graduate Student Fellow

America Is a Thousand Flints: Race, Class and the End of the American Dream in Flint, Michigan
Highsmith is exploring the spatial and structural barriers to racial equality and class fairness in the Flint, Michigan, metropolitan region from World War II to the present. With chapters on housing, urban renewal, schools, suburbanization, tax policies and deindustrialization, his dissertation traces the complex metropolitan contestation between and among the labor and civil rights movements, General Motors, white homeowners and civic elites for control over Flint’s postwar development. In the end, he hopes to show that the roots of urban crises in Flint and Genesee County can be traced back to the postwar triumphs of pro-growth policies that fostered uneven consumer abundance, suburban sprawl, capital decentralization and rigid racial segregation at the expense of social and economic justice.

Kristina Luce
Sylvia “Duffy” Engle Graduate Student Fellow

Revolutions in Parallel: The Rise and Fall of Drawing Within Architectural Design
Luce’s dissertation is a historical and comparative analysis of two ways in which architecture can be visually conceived and rendered. The first one involves the ascendancy of drawing within architectural design that developed during the Renaissance and remained ascendant for centuries. The second, which spells the likely passing away for drawing’s ascendancy, is the shift to computer-based design procedures of today.

Marti Lybeck
Michigan Graduate Student Fellow

Gender, Sexuality and Belonging: Female Homosexuality in Germany, 1890–1933
Lybeck’s dissertation uses female homosexuality as a focal point for tracing changes in the intimate lives of women in Germany over a half-century of rapid social change and intellectual ferment. Using archival records, autobiographies, ephemeral publications and literary sources, she documents the lives and interactions of several groups of women, including an early group of women university students, women civil servants and participants in the lesbian sexual subcultures of the twenties. Whether historical figures adopted the word “lesbian” to describe themselves or not, they were increasingly required to respond to the new concept of homosexuality as a medical category.

David Henry Hwang

Internationally acclaimed playwright David Hwang has produced several award-winning works, including FOB (Fresh Off the Boat, 1978),Family Devotions (1981), The House of Sleeping Beauties (1983), As the Crow Flies (1986), and M. Butterfly (1988), which won the Outer Critics Circle Award, the Drama Desk Award, and the Tony Award for Best Play of the Year. Hwang is known for plays that are politically conscious, often focusing on the tensions related to immigration, and the balance of conventions, traditions, and values between East and West. A graduate of Stanford University, Hwang also wrote the screenplay for the 1997 film Seven Years in Tibet.  He also collaborated with U-M composer Bright Sheng on The Silver River, and comes to Ann Arbor in in connection with a production of that work (January 20, 2007).

Bob Mankoff
Paula and Edwin Sidman Fellow in the Arts

Bob Mankoff, cartoon editor of The New Yorker and president of The Cartoon Bank, is one of the nation’s leading commentators on the role of humor in American politics, business, and life.  He edited The Complete Cartoons of The New Yorker (Black Dog & Leventhal); the best-selling coffee table book for holiday 2004, featuring all 68,647 cartoons ever published in The New Yorker since its debut in 1925.  He describes this as the “golden age of humor,” where humor helps build personal connections in business and personal relationships.

In 1991, he took out a small business loan and started The Cartoon Bank, a business devoted to licensing cartoons for use in newsletters, textbooks, magazines and other media. The Cartoon Bank initially licensed material that was not published by The New Yorker.  In 1997, The New Yorker purchased The Cartoon Bank from Mankoff, giving The Cartoon Bank access to all cartoons published in the magazine over the past eight decades.

Charles Stewart

Charles Stewart  is a socio-cultural anthropologist who has conducted long-term ethnographic field research on the Greek island of Naxos, and shorter periods of fieldwork in Thessaloniki, Athens and the Greek-speaking enclaves of southern Italy.  His main research interests are religion (especially syncretism), nationalism and perceptions of the past in Greece and cross-culturally.  He has recently edited volumes on anthropological approaches to dreaming, the ethnographic study of historicity, and creolization in historical, ethnographic and theoretical perspective.  He is presently writing a book on dreaming and historical consciousness in Greece, which draws on ethnographic data collected in mountain Naxos and historical sources. He studied English and Classics at Brandeis University and earned his D. Phil. in Social Anthropology at the University of Oxford.

Sekou Sundiata

Sekou Sundiata who appeared at UMS as both a solo theater performer and a front man for his band in 2003, returns with his new work, the 51st (dream) state. (Saturday, January 20, 8 pm). This candid, yet lyrical, contemplation of America’s national identity and its guiding mythologies is both hopeful and questioning. The work features next-generation jazz musicians and vocalists with new music composed by Ani DiFranco, Graham Haynes, and others.

Sundiata says, “Living in the aftermath of 9/11, I feel an urgent and renewed engagement with what it means to be an American. But that engagement is a troubling one because of a longstanding estrangement between American civic ideals and American civic practice. This project is my response to this reality. I take it as a civic responsibility to think about these things out loud, in the ritualized forum of theater and public dialogue.”

The work, which grew in part out of his 2003 Ann Arbor residency and through sustained relationships with members of the U-M community and Detroit-based partners, unites art and civic dialogue through songs, poems, monologues, and video. The 51st (dream) state explores how America defines itself in a new era characterized by unprecedented global influence and power, and what it means to be both a citizen and an individual in a deeply complex, hyper-kinetic society.

2005 - 2006

Faculty Fellows

David Caron - Michigan Faculty Fellow
Associate Professor - Romance Languages
"The Contested Ghetto: French Republicanism and the Politics of Community"

Gregory Dowd - Helmut F. Stern Professor
Professor - History/American Culture
"'Bad Birds,' 'Flying Reports,' and Frontier Rumor in Early America"

Sara Forsdyke - John Rich Professor
Assistant Professor - Classical Studies
"Politics and Popular Culture in Ancient Greece"

Howard Markel - John Rich Professor
Professor of History of Medicine and of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases
"The Anatomy of Addiction: A Cultural, Social and Medical History of Addiction in the United States, 1900 to the Present"

Khaled Mattawa - Hunting Family Professor
Assistant Professor of English (Creative Writing)
"Amorisco and A Typography of Strangers"

Christi Merrill - Michigan Faculty Fellow
Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Asian Languages and Cultures
"Memory with an Active Verb: Lessons in Translating Hindi"

Steve Mullaney - John Rich Professor
Associate Professor - English
"The Work of the Stage: Trauma and Collective Identity in the Age of Shakespeare"

Marianetta Porter - Helmut F. Stern Professor
Associate Professor - Art and Design
"Memory Breeze"

Elisha Renne - Michigan Faculty Fellow
Associate Professor - Anthropology/CAAS
"The Spiritual, Social, Spatial Connections of Yoruba Religious Textiles"

James Robson - Helmut F. Stern Professor
Assistant Professor of Asian Languages and Cultures
"Inside Asian Images: Religious Icons in the Context of Local and Ritual Practice" 

Catherine Sanok - A. Bartlett Giamatti Faculty Fellow
Assistant Professor - English/Women's Studies
"English Legends: Gender, Religion, and National Identity in Pre-modern England"

Andrew Shryock - Charles P. Brauer Faculty Fellow
Associate Professor of Anthropology
"Welcome and Trespass: The Politics of Hospitality in Jordan and Beyond"

Andrea Smith - Human Rights Fellow
Assistant Professor of Native American Studies, American Culture and Women’s Studies
"'Glocal' Organizing: The U.S. Human Rights Movement"

Louise K. Stein - Steelcase Research Professor
Professor - Musicology
"Spaniards at the Opera: Operas, Patrons, Singers, and the Publics in Madrid, Rome, Naples, and Lima, 1659-1701"

Jamie Tappenden - Michigan Faculty Fellow
Associate Professor of Philosophy
"Riemann and Frege: A Study in the Emergence of Contemporary Logic and Mathematics"

Jason Weems - Hunting Family Professor
Assistant Professor - Art History (UM-Dearborn)
"Barnstorming the Prairies: Flight, Aerial Vision, and the Idea of the Midwest, 1920-1940"

Patricia Yaeger - A. Bartlett Giamatti Faculty Fellow
Professor of English
"Luminous Trash: America in an Age of Conspicuous Destruction"

Norman Yoffee - Steelcase Research Professor and Helmut F. Stern Professor
Professor of Near Eastern Studies and Anthropology
"Winds of Desolation: A History and Archaeology of the Mesopotamian City of Kish"

Graduate Fellows

Diana Bullen - Mary Ives Hunting and David D. Hunting, Sr., Graduate Student Fellow
History of Art
"The Visual Culture of the Central Italian Foundling Hospital, 1400-1600" 

Claire Decoteau - Michigan Graduate Student Fellow
"The Diseased Body Politic and the Corporeality of HIV/AIDS in South Africa"

Philip Duker - James A. Winn Graduate Student Fellow
Music Theory
"Diving into Mnemosyne’s Waters: Exploring the Depths of Memory and Musical Experience" 

Didem Ekici - Mary Fair Croushore Graduate Student Fellow
"Bruno Taut's Vision of the 'Orient': Creating a Universal Architecture"

Julen Etxabe - Mary Ives Hunting and David D. Hunting, Sr., Graduate Student Fellow
"Laws in Tragic Conflict: Sophocles' Antigone and Judicial Decision-Making"

Kim Greenwell - Michigan Graduate Student Fellow
"Between Nation, Empire and Colony: Unsettling Events and English-Canadian Identity in the Nineteenth-century British Empire"

Asli Gür - Sylvia “Duffy” Engle Graduate Student Fellow
"Educating the 'Orient': Transculturation of Foreign Educational Practices and Imperial Imagination in the Ottoman Empire (1857-1914)"

Edin Hajdarpasic - Michigan Graduate Student Fellow
"Beyond ‘Nation vs. Empire’: Reform, Social Movements and the Search for Justice in Late Ottoman Bosnia"

Andrew Highsmith - Michigan Graduate Student Fellow
"America is a Thousand Flints: Race, Class and the End of the American Dream in Flint, Michigan"

Myeong-seok Kim - Mary Fair Croushore Graduate Student Fellow
Asian Languages
"Theories of Emotion in Early Chinese Confucian Texts"

Sumiao Li - James A. Winn Graduate Student Fellow
English/Women's Studies
"Fashionable People, Fashionable Societies: Gender, Fashion, and Print Culture in Britain, 1820-1860"

Kristina Luce - Sylvia “Duffy” Engle Graduate Student Fellow
"Revolutions in Parallel: The Rise and Fall of Drawing Within Architectural Design" 

Marti Lybeck - Michigan Graduate Student Fellow
"Gender, Sexuality and Belonging: Female Homosexuality in Germany, 1890–1933" 

Bhavani Raman - Mary Ives Hunting and David D. Hunting, Sr., Graduate Student Fellow
"Document Raj: Scribes, Writing and Society in Early Colonial South India"

Visiting Fellows

Louis Andriessen, Netherlands Visiting Professor and Artist-in-Residence
In residence, February 5 – 19, 2006 

Jaq Chartier, Artist
In residence, January 8 – 14, 2006

David Henry Hwang
Playwright, New York City
In residence, January 2007 

Marian Hobson, Professor of French at Queen Mary, University of London
Norman Freehling Visiting Professor
In residence, Winter 2006 

Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler, Handspring Puppet Company and Yaya Coulibaly, Sogolon Puppet Company
In residence, October 17 – 30, 2005 

German Kim
History and Korean Studies, Kazakh National University named after al-Farabi
Mellon Global Fellow
In residence, Fall 2006 

Bob Mankoff
Cartoon Editor, The New Yorker
Paula and Edwin Sidman Fellow in the Arts
In residence, March 5 – April 6, 2007 

Nicolette Molnár, Stage Director
Mellon Arts and Knowledge Fellow
In residence, Winter 2006 

Livia Monnet, Professor of Comparative Literature, Film, and Media Studies, University of Montreal
In residence, February 12 – 25, 2006 

Lawrence N. Powell, Professor of History, Tulane University, New OrleansMarc and Constance Jacobson Lecture
In residence, September 12 – October 13, 2005 

Charles Stewart
Anthropology, University College London
In residence, March 5 – April 6, 2007 

Sekou Sundiata
Poet and Performance Artist
Eugene Lang College, The New School for Liberal Arts 
In residence January 7- 21, 2007 

Neferti Tadiar
History of Consciousness, University of California, Santa Cruz
Mellon Global Fellow
In residence, October 29 – November 12, 2006 

Celestine Uwem Akpan
Careers in the Making Fellow
In residence, Fall 2006 

2001 - 2002

Michigan Faculty Fellows (2001-2002)

Derek Collins
Assistant Professor, Classical Studies
John Rich Professor
"Master of the Game: Competition and Performance in Greek Poetry"

Nadine Hubbs
Assistant Professor, Music Theory and Women's Studies
"Composing Oneself: Gay Modernists and American Musical Identity"

Webb Keane
Associate Professor, Anthropology and Visiting Associate Professor, Asian Languages and Cultures
"Missionaries, Protestants, and Dilemmas of 'Modernity' in Indonesia"

Valerie Kivelson
Associate Professor, History
Hunting Family Faculty Fellow
"Muscovite Sketches: Maps and Their Meanings in Seventeenth-Century Russia"

Rudolf Mrázek
Professor, History
Steelcase Research Professor
"Jakarta, Indonesia: The Post-Colonial Metropolis, 1930-2002"

Patricia Olynyk
Assistant Professor, Art and Design
Helmut F. Stern Professor
"Hybrid Creatures"

George Steinmetz
Associate Professor, Sociology and German
A. Bartlett Giamatti Faculty Fellow
"Precoloniality: German Ethnographic Discourse and the Colonial State"

Michigan Graduate Fellows (2001-2002)

Apollo Amoko
James A. Winn Graduate Student Fellow
"The Problem with English Literature: Canonicity, Citizenship, and the Idea Africa"

Shannon Lee Dawdy
Anthropology and History
Mary Fair Croushore Graduate Student Fellow
"La Ville Sauvage: Colonials and Creoles in French New Orleans, 1699-1769"

Erica Lehrer
"Trauma, Tourism, and Identity: Reconstructing Jewishness in Poland"

Anna Pegler-Gordon
American Culture
"In Sight of America: Photography and US Immigration Policy, 1880-1930"

Andrea Seri
Near Eastern Studies
Hunting Family Graduate Student Fellow
"Local Power: Structure and Function of Community Institutions of Authority in the Old Babylonian Period"

Eben Wood
"Black Abstraction: Umbra and the Terms of the African-American Avant-Garde, 1960-1975"

Michigan Visiting Fellows (2001-2002)

Mel Chin
Artist, North Carolina and New York
Paula and Edwin Sidman Fellow in the Arts

Lorelei Corcoran
Director, Institute of Egyptian Art and Archaeology, University of Memphis

Rhys Isaac
Professor emeritus, History, La Trobe University, Australia

Martha Nussbaum
Marc and Constance Jacobson Lecture and SymposiumLaw and Ethics, University of Chicago
"Global Duties: Cicero's Problematic Legacy"

Griselda Pollock
Social and Critical Histories of Art
Director of the AHRB Centre for Cultural Analysis, Theory and History, University of Leeds, UK

Gayle S. Rubin
Founder, Women's Studies Program at the University of Michigan
Norman Freehling Visiting Professor

Janet Williams
Artist, Nebraska
Jill S. Harris Memorial Fund

2000 - 2001

Michigan Faculty Fellows (2000-2001)

Carol Bardenstein
Assistant Professor, Near Eastern Studies
"Cultivating Attachments: Discourses of Rootedness in Palestine/Israel"

Michael Bonner
Associate Professor, Near Eastern Studies
Helmut F. Stern Professor
"Circulation and Exchange in the Transition from Late Antiquity to Early Islam"

Matthew Connelly
Assistant Professor, History and Public Policy
"Population Control: An International History from the Eugenics Movement to the Cairo Conference"

Gillian Feeney-Harnik
Professor, Anthropology
Hunting Family Fellow
"The Ethnography of Creation"

Arlene Keizer
Assistant Professor, English, Afroamerican and African Studies
A. Bartlett Giamatti Faculty Fellow
"Black Subjects: Theories of Identity Formation in Contemporary African American and Caribbean Literature"

Eileen Pollack
Assistant Professor, English
John Rich Professor
"Woman Walking Ahead: In Search of Catherine Weldon and Sitting Bull"

Lawrence Sklar
Professor, Philosophy
Steelcase Research Professor
"The Life of a Theory" 

Michigan Graduate Student Fellows (2000-2001)

Gina Bloom
James A. Winn Graduate Student Fellow
"Choreographing Voice: Staging Gender in Early Modern England"

Charles Goodman
"Ancient Dharmas, Modern Debates: Towards an Analytic Philosophy of Buddhism"

Fernando Lara
Hunting Family Graduate Student Fellow
"Popular Modernism: An Analysis of the Acceptance of Modern Architecture in 1950's Brazil"

Morgan Liu
Sylvia 'Duffy' Engle Graduate Student Fellow
"Uzbek Sensibilities of Authority and Political Imagination in an Ex-Soviet Central Asian City"

Sarah Womack
Rackham Dean's Graduate Student Fellow
"Colonialism and the Collaborationist Agenda: Pham Quynh, France, and the Invention of a Neo-traditional Vietnam" 

Michigan Visiting Fellows (2000-2001)

Massimo Bacigalupo
American Literature
University of Genoa, Italy

Benjamin Bagby and Ping Chong
Joint residency sponsored by the Jill S. Harris Memorial Fund
Creation and premiere of a new work, "Edda: Viking Tales of Revenge, Lust, and Family", co-commissioned by the University Musical Society, and Lincoln Center

Natalie Zemon Davis
Henry Charles Lea Professor emerita, Princeton University
Marc and Constance Jacobson Lecture, Fall Semester
"Rethinking Cultural Mixture: The Travels of 'Leo Africanus'"

Svetlana Alpers
Art Historian emerita, Visiting Research Professor, New York University
Marc and Constance Jacobson Lecture, Winter Semester
"Velázquez's The Spinners, or What Are We Looking For?"

Ruth Weisburg
Dean of the School of Fine Arts, University of Southern California

Felipe Ortega
New Mexican Artist
Norman Freehling Visiting Professor