ACLS Fellows

The ACLS Fellowship Program awards fellowships to individual scholars working in the humanities and related social sciences. Institutions and individuals have contributed to the ACLS Fellowship Program and its endowment, including The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Arcadia Charitable Trust, the Council's college and university Associates, and former Fellows and individual friends of ACLS.

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Watch "Emerging Themes and Methods of Research: A Discussion with ACLS Fellows," an annual meeting session featuring recent ACLS fellows. 

Srinivas Aravamudan
Srinivas Aravamudan  |  Abstract
Eighteenth-century European discourses about Asia take the form of thought-experiments concerning the inter-relationship of religion, society, politics, and culture through the versatile vehicle of fiction, as satire, moral tale, fable, novel, or allegory. These fictions make their readers reflective about political economy, aesthetic criteria, gender norms, and exotic practices. By challenging and displacing conventional psychologies, the estrangement effects of these fictions (sometimes deemed "oriental tales") are powerful tools of criticism created by the circulation of translations and cultural knowledge from Asia. By examining these fictional writings--and their nonfictional counterparts--we can gain new knowledge about the complex and self-critical nature of a hybrid modernity.

Associate Professor, English, Duke University  -  Fictional Orients: Hybrid Modernity Under Enlightenment Premises, 1682-1789

Xiaofei Kang
Xiaofei Kang  |  Abstract
This study combines history and ethnography to examine Huanglong (“Yellow Dragon”), a multi-ethnic pilgrimage center and UNESCO World Nature Heritage reserve in western China. In the post-socialist era a tourist economy is transforming ethnic traditions and the religious landscape as the state and local groups, including Han Chinese, Tibetan, Qiang, and Muslim, contest historical ownership of the site. Textual research reveals unexpected breaks and continuities in local ethno-religious history. Fieldwork exposes conflicts among UNESCO's environmental policies, China's development plans and indigenous beliefs in sacred place. The study aims to contribute to better comparative understanding of the role of religion in constructing ethnic identity and modernity in an age of global tourism.

Assistant Professor, Modern Languages, Carnegie Mellon University  -  Contesting the Yellow Dragon: Religion, Ethnicity, and Modernity in China's Borderland

Stephen C. Behrendt
Stephen C. Behrendt  |  Abstract
As part of an electronic textbase of nearly 100 volumes of poetry by some 54 Irish women published during the Romantic period (c.1775-1835), this project involves preparing (1) a comprehensive scholarly critical and historical introduction to the lives and works of Irish women poets of the period, (2) introductory critical essays on each of the poets, and (3) full scholarly apparatus, including bibliographical, for the project as a whole. The project is a major contribution to Irish literary history that recovers many texts by historically neglected writers.

Professor, English, University of Nebraska-Lincoln  -  Irish Women Poets of the Romantic Period: An Electronic Edition

Temma Kaplan
Temma Kaplan  |  Abstract
For over a decade, scholars have examined the role of advertising in the development of modern society, but few have considered the relationship between consumer culture and imperialism. Focusing on certain artists who drew political cartoons and advertisements at the turn of the last century, this project explores how derisive humor helped justify imperialism in Spain, Britain, and the US Referring to work historians and anthropologists have done on charivari and other popular expressions of raucous humor about race and sex, the study assesses some ways grotesque images of inside and outside enemies helped unite white men around nationalism and desire for certain products.

Professor, History, Rutgers University-New Brunswick  -  Grotesque Humor: Race, Sex, and Colonialism in Trade Cards and the Satirical Press

Manu B. Bhagavan
Manu B. Bhagavan  |  Abstract
This project explores the defining debates that took place in India between 1946 and 1950, when a post-colonial constituent assembly, working within the context of remnant British bureaucracy, was mandated to determine the parameters of the emerging national entity. The assembly had to design India, to will it into creation, by defining concepts of citizenship, justice and rights. This project analyzes the ideas and ideologies that were used in assembly debates and related public and private discourse, and discuss the range and limits of an exchange that led to the creation of the state’s constitution, a first in the decolonizing world. In essence, this is a first-of-its-kind intellectual history of India in this formative phase of its evolution.

Assistant Professor, History, City University of New York, Hunter College  -  Designing India: Ideas, Ideologies, and the Making of the Postcolonial State, 1946-1950

Martin Kern
Martin Kern  |  Abstract
Confronting traditional with newly excavated texts, this project explores the origins, development, and function of poetry in the religious ritual and political representation of ancient China. Specifically, this study explores how poetic speech and song--as both written display and oral recitation--embodied early cultural memory and identity in performative contexts, and how it from there developed into the core of the classical canon. The analysis focuses on the hymns, inscriptions, and royal speeches in ancestral sacrifices and settings of political representation from the eleventh through the fourth centuries BCE; poetic speech in excavated manuscripts and received philosophical tets from the fourth through second centuries BCE; and early imperial poetics and rhetoric from the last two centuries BCE.

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow
Professor, East Asian Studies, Princeton University  -  Performance, Poetry, and Cultural Memory in Early China

Tom Boellstorff
Tom Boellstorff  |  Abstract
This research proposes to examine how Muslim warias (male-to-female transgenders) in Indonesia are responding to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The focus is on emerging “cultures of prevention” in relation to discourses of the nation, religion, gender, risk, and social belonging. As the fourth most populous nation and home to more Muslims than any other, Indonesia can provide important insights into how the still-worsening HIV/AIDS global epidemic is understood and addressed in specific cultural contexts.

Assistant Professor, Anthropology, University of California, Irvine  -  Cultures of Prevention: HIV/AIDS, Islam, and Warias (male transvestites) in Indonesia

Michael Kwass
Michael Kwass  |  Abstract
This project examines the political implications of the birth of modern consumption in France. Although historians have demonstrated that eighteenth-century France experienced a consumer revolution, they have failed to explore that revolution's political ramifications. The project links prerevolutionary politics to the history of consumption by examining the career and legend of the famous smuggler, Louis Mandrin. Mandrin's violent defiance of the law, and his subsequent trial and execution, politicized smuggling and turned him into a popular legend. By considering how Mandrin challenged the institutional foundations of the monarchy, this study illuminates the violence and political conflict that accompanied the birth of modern consumer society.

Associate Professor, History, University of Georgia  -  Louis Mandrin and the Politics of Consumption

Catherine M. Boone
Catherine M. Boone  |  Abstract
Although policy analysts point to the increasing incidence and impact of land-related conflict in Africa, the systemic political causes and implications of this problem are very poorly understood. This project addresseses this issue by developing a typology of variation in rural property regimes that shows that state power is imbricated in land tenure arrangements in variable and in some circumstances, highly contentious ways. This study advances a hypothesis about when land-related conflict is likely to fuel ethnicized partisan conflict, and tests it by analyzing the circumstances and political denouement of land conflicts in six African countries since 1990. The study has implications for assessing prospects for democracy and the development of nation-states in Africa.

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow
Associate Professor, Government, University of Texas at Austin  -  Land Rights and National Politics in Africa

Thomas M. Lekan
Thomas M. Lekan  |  Abstract
This project provides an environmental and cultural history of nature tourism in German-speaking Central Europe from the heyday of popular Rhine Romanticism in the mid-nineteenth century to the emergence of ecotourism in the 1990s. Using Thorstein Veblen's seminal work on "conspicuous consumption" as its starting point, the study analyzes the ecological consequences and environmental meaning of Germans' taste for sublime nature, especially as nature appreciation shifted from a symbol of bourgeois privilege into a right of the masses. Though such democratization of leisure commercialized the experience of nature, it helped to create a popular constituency for environmental reform by making ordinary citizens aware of the effects of urbanization on the countryside and abroad.

Associate Professor, History, University of South Carolina  -  Sublime Consumption: German Nature Tourism from Romanticism to Ecotourism, 1850-2000

Nicholas B. Breyfogle
Nicholas B. Breyfogle  |  Abstract
This project is an environmental history of Siberia’s Lake Baikal, the world’s largest lake, from the seventeenth to twentieth centuries. Despite the Soviet Union’s legacy of ecological degradation, we know little about how Russians viewed or utilized the "natural" world prior to the twentiety century. By exploring the relationship between humans and Baikal (cultural & socio-economic) over the longue durée, this project contextualizes Soviet-era environmental traumas, analyzes broad patterns found at the nexus of Russians and the environment, and discusses the development of Russian conservation efforts. Using the lens of Baikal and the methodologies of environmental history, the study also sheds new light on questions of colonial contact, economic development, Russian identity, and the evolution of science and the sacred in Eurasia.

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow
Associate Professor, History, The Ohio State University  -  Baikal: the Great Lake and its People

Julia Reinhard Lupton
Julia Reinhard Lupton  |  Abstract
This project models a philosophical, experimental, and creative approach to reading the plays. Each element of this study is organized around a play, a theme, and a non-Shakespearean thinker or text (e.g., Arendt, Locke, Schmitt). The project retrieves strains in political theory undervalued in post-colonial and materialist approaches, including citizenship, rights, and personhood. To think with Shakespeare is to search out the significance of his plays in the history of thought, in order to stimulate interchange among fields, periods, and styles of literary inquiry. The project pursues the universal implications of Shakespeare’s plays, not as a set of constant qualities, but as a struggle with universalism itself, carried out via the modes of love, politics, and art.

Professor, English, University of California, Irvine  -  Thinking with Shakespeare

Nancy A. Caciola
Nancy A. Caciola  |  Abstract
This is a study of medieval beliefs about the border between the living and the dead, and how such attitudes diverged and overlapped in different contexts and social strata. The work juxtaposes the translocal epistemologies of the intelligentsia (theology, medicine) with those of vernacular cultures in local contexts, in order to cast light upon the multiplicity of medieval conceptualizations of the human. As imaginary persons, the dead form an excellent point of entry into ideas about how personal identity is positioned in bodies, spirits, social networks, and both microcosmic and macrocosmic geographies. Yet this imaginative aspect was built upon real personalities and real bodies, making the history of the dead both idealist and materialist in scope.

Associate Professor, History, University of California, San Diego  -  The Quick and the Dead: A Social History of Ideas about the Border between Life and Death in Medieval Europe (1000-1400)

Margaret Meserve
Margaret Meserve  |  Abstract
This study of Italian news printing from its origins in 1470 to the sack of Rome in 1527 examines a broad array of Renaissance printed news texts in both Italian and Latin, in verse and in prose, which either relay information or comment more obliquely on contemporary events. The study explores the literary strategies Renaissance authors used to interpret the news of their day. It also traces connections among authors, printers, readers, and states seeking to control the flow of information at a time of political, social, and religious flux. Ultimately, the project attempts to redefine our understanding of printed political discourse in early modern Europe by locating its origins earlier and farther south than previously imagined.

Assistant Professor, History, University of Notre Dame  -  A Renaissance of News: The Italian Market in Printed Political Information, 1470-1527

Rachel Golden Carlson
Rachel Golden Carlson  |  Abstract
This project demonstrates the rich cross-fertilization between the first two Christian Crusades (c. 1095-1150) and two roughly contemporaneous musical-poetic repertories of Occitania (southern France): the sacred, Latin Aquitanian versus and the vernacular troubadour lyric. Emphasizing religious attitudes, local identities, and literal and metaphoric concepts of distance, these songs emerge as a cohesive body of Crusade work, which unites sacred and secular spheres and testifies to how Occitanian people defined their own Crusade roles. Through corrective methodology, this research suggests that melodies correlate with poetic structures and semantic content, together conveying a sense of the Crusade goal's distance or proximity, as viewed through shifting political, religious, and geographical lenses.

Assistant Professor, School of Music, University of Tennessee, Knoxville  -  Mapping Medieval Identities in Occitanian Crusade Song

Jonathan Michel Metzl
Jonathan Michel Metzl  |  Abstract
This project examines the antecedents, consequences, and implications of racialized stigma against schizophrenia in the United States using the methods of historical analysis and cultural studies. Medical and popular sources show how schizophrenia became both a racialized disease and a way of talking about race and racism during the civil-rights era of the 1950s-1970s. Shifts in the meanings of schizophrenia within institutional, professional and cultural rhetorics provide new understandings of some seemingly naturalized, yet highly ideological characteristics of present-day schizophrenia discourse--characteristics that often appear denatured of their explicit connections to race.

Associate Professor, Women's Studies and Psychiatry, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor  -  Protest Psychosis: Race, Stigma, and the Diagnosis of Schizophrenia

Edith W. Clowes
Edith W. Clowes  |  Abstract
This project addresses symbolic geographies and identity in contemporary Russian writing culture. It examines the process of cultural regeneration in post-Soviet Russia and in contemporary writing articulations of identity that move beyond the traumas of the post-Soviet moment. There is a pattern of movement away from the old center of Soviet ideology in Moscow to "peripheral" symbolic-geographical spaces that free the writer to probe submerged aspects of Russia’s complex cultural heritage in those settings and to express alternate concepts of self. This project is the first lengthy study to address significant Russian literary and philosophical articulations of identity after the loss of empire.

Professor, Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Kansas  -  The Center at the Periphery: Eccentric Identities in Contemporary Russian Writing

Carla J. Mulford
Carla J. Mulford  |  Abstract
This study examines Franklin's writings on global imperialism in light of his writings on the different racial and ethnic groups inhabiting lands held by the British empire in North America, Asia, and the Caribbean. Franklin's ideas about trade and different peoples who are globally dispersed help to address the question, what did Franklin learn about imperialism that finally prompted him to support rebellion against Great Britain? The question has preoccupied historians of Franklin's life and works for generations. The answer lies in the fabric of early modern liberalism in Britain and its articulation (and critique) by one of the foremost social and political philosophers of his day, Benjamin Franklin.

Associate Professor, English, Pennsylvania State University  -  Benjamin Franklin and the Ends of Empire

Olivia Remie Constable
Olivia Remie Constable  |  Abstract
This project compares the situation of Muslims living in thirteenth-century Europe in the realms of James I of Aragon, Alfonso X of Castile, and Frederick II of Sicily. Each of these rulers had Muslim subjects living under their rule as a result of Christian military conquests of Muslim territory. The study also analyzes another contemporary ruler, Louis IX of France, and his outlook on Islam. Each ruler conceptualized and controlled the identity of subject Muslims in slightly different ways. Comparison of these four monarchs and their varying relationships with Muslims and Islam reveals that pragmatism and regional context, more than theological arguments, determined the course of relations between Christians and Muslims in medieval Europe.

Professor, History, University of Notre Dame  -  Muslims in Medieval Europe: Muslim Communities in Christian Kingdoms of Aragon, Castile, and Sicily in the Thirteenth Century, and Atitudes of Christian Kings towards Muslim Subjects

Judith M. Pascoe
Judith M. Pascoe  |  Abstract
This study pursues a cultural history of the voice in the romantic period by examining the ways in which the voice of the renowned actress Sarah Siddons was celebrated, documented, and memorialized. The study argues that romantic theater goers lived through a moment of acoustic transformation which focused attention on the fragility of actors' voices and which inspired efforts to preserve the voice in advance of sound recording technology. Attention to actors' voices serves to animate once-popular plays, helping us to understand theatrical works that lie dead on the page, and illuminating the pre-history of sound recording technology.

Associate Professor, English, The University of Iowa  -  Siddons Speaks! Theatre Voices, Acoustic Change, and Recorded Memory

Steven G. Crowell
Steven G. Crowell  |  Abstract
This study determines the place of reason in Heidegger's “Being and Time” (1927) and related works. Against the traditional definition of human being as "rational animal," Heidegger develops an ontology where "care" is prior to reason. The project argues that Heidegger is not thereby a deflationist concerning the claims of reason (the received view). Rather, the practice of giving and asking for reasons is central to his account of intentionality, first-person self-awareness, deliberation, and responsibility. Engaging continental and analytic philosophers, the project shows how Heidegger's existential approach to normativity enhances our understanding of the connection between personal identity and practical reason.

Professor, Philosophy, Rice University  -  Heidegger and the Claims of Reason

Robert R. Perkinson
Robert R. Perkinson  |  Abstract
This project is a history of American punishment with a focus on the country’s most incarcerated and politically influential state, Texas. Examining the dynamics of race, crime, culture, and politics from slavery to the present, this project argues that Texas has served as the crucible of a uniquely harsh, racialized, and profit-driven style of punishment that became a template for the nation in the post civil-rights era. Based on archival, legal, cultural, and ethnographic sources, Texas Tough promises not only a richly textured history of the nation’s flagship penal system but critical insights into modern American politics. Charting the enduring influence of slavery and segregation on American life, the book casts new light on the rise of southern conservatism, the collapse of the social welfare state, and carceral elements of the War on Terror.

ACLS Oscar Handlin Fellow
Assistant Professor, American Studies, University of Hawaii at Manoa  -  Texas Tough: The Rise of a Prison Empire

Alexandra Cuffel
Alexandra Cuffel  |  Abstract
This project analyzes shared saint cults and festivals in the late medieval and early modern Mediterranean, namely Jewish, Christian, and Muslim participation in festivals or visiting graves with members of other faiths even when the holy days or "saints" were not traditionally part of both or all three religions. In particular, this study focuses on the polemical discourses that developed about the presence of the religious other, women, and "cross-dressers" (non-Sufis dressing as Sufis, or men and women dressing as the other) at festivals, holy gravesites, and study circles. The rhetorical uses of these practices, as much as the practices themselves become keys to understanding the formation and politics of religious and gender identity and boundaries among Jews, Christians and Muslims.

Assistant Professor, History, Macalester College  -  Shared Saints and Festivals among Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the Mediterranean 1100-1750

John Pollini
John Pollini  |  Abstract
Although the Christian Church preserved a great deal from the classical past, it was also responsible for the destruction of an incalculable amount of material culture regarded as objectionable or incompatible with Christian beliefs and teachings. This study is the first to focus principally on the physical evidence for Christian attacks on the sacred and secular images of ancient polytheistic peoples in the Mediterranean area. These works range from "high art" to humble artifacts from the period in which Christianity first came to dominate in the early fourth to mid-sixth centuries. Exploring the range of attitudes toward these images achieves a better understanding of how individuals and groups respond to art in any period in which religious fervor takes hold.

Professor, Art History, University of Southern California  -  Christian Destruction and Desecration of Images of Classical Antiquity: A Study in Religious Intolerance in the Ancient World

Carolyn J. Dewald
Carolyn J. Dewald  |  Abstract
This project contributes to an edition of Book I of Herodotus' Histories, co-authored with Rosaria Munson, with critical apparatus, introduction, and commentary. Herodotus' habits of speech and thought form a basis for understanding what he meant by 'historie'—and thus the extent to which his procedures may properly be considered 'historical' today. How much information does he convey about the sixth- and fifth-century east Aegean world? To what extent is he rather a narrator making artistic use of traditional folk materials? An edition of Book I exploring such issues is needed to help understand one of the foundational texts of early Greek literature and history.

Professor, Classics and History, Bard College  -  A new edition of Herodotus Book I -- critical apparatus, introduction and commentary

Linda Przybyszewski
Linda Przybyszewski  |  Abstract
This study looks at the Cincinnati Bible War, which began in 1869 when the school board removed the Bible from the public schools and ended when the pro-Bible forces lost a lawsuit before the Ohio Supreme Court in 1872. The war is usually fitted into the standard legal narrative of a clear historical progress towards a more perfect separation of church and state. This study reveals the inadequacies of this narrative by demonstrating two things. First, the strength of competing theories of church and state—liberal, evangelical, Catholic—in the late nineteenth century. And second, the continuation of religious training in the public schools through other means, including poetry memorization programs.

Associate Professor, History, University of Notre Dame  -  The Cincinnati Bible War of 1869-1872: Law, Confessionalism, and the State in Nineteenth-Century America.

Mary L. Dudziak
Mary L. Dudziak  |  Abstract
This is a study of transnational constitutional influences and the personal journey of a leading figure in American law. In 1960, civil rights lawyer Thurgood Marshall aided African nationalists in negotiations on an independence constitution for Kenya. He played an influential role in a conference held by the British government to draft a Kenya constitution, writing a draft a bill of rights, and focusing especially on minority rights and property rights. This study explores both Marshall’s involvement in Kenya, and the role of constitutionalism in Kenya’s transition to independence. In this transnational environment, region Marshall did not simply transplant American norms. Instead, he brought a forward-looking vision of what he hoped someday to achieve in America.

Visiting Professor, Law, Harvard University  -  Exporting American Dreams: Thurgood Marshall and the Constitution of Kenya

Valerie Ramseyer
Valerie Ramseyer  |  Abstract
This project examines southern Italy and Sicily as a whole from c. 600-1100. It is the first time that such a study looks at all the various regions in a comprehensive and concise fashion. This project highlights common themes and trends in spite of the political fragmentation and ethnic diversity characteristic of the area that have led scholars to create highly localized histories.

Assistant Professor, History, Wellesley College  -  Lombards and Greeks, Arabs and Normans: Southern Italy in the Early Middle Ages, 600-1100

Elspeth R. M. Dusinberre
Elspeth R. M. Dusinberre  |  Abstract
This is a synthetic study on Anatolia when it was part of the Achaemenid Persian empire (ca. 550-330 BCE), pulling together all available information on all parts of this prosperous region which is well-researched but under-represented in the published literature. Abandoning outdated "core/periphery" notions, this project uses the concept of tempered sovereignty to consider this important part of the empire. How did different sites or areas in the region define their local legal, administrative, religious, artistic, ideological, or economic concepts within the umbrella sovereignty of the Achaemenid empire? This project draws on artistic, archaeological, and textual resources.

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow
Assistant Professor, Classics, University of Colorado Boulder  -  Tempered Sovereignty and Regional Centers in Achaemenid Anatolia

Julia Rodriguez
Julia Rodriguez  |  Abstract
This study explores the intersection of science and law in defining citizenship and fitness for political participation in four Latin American nations in the period 1880 to 1940, a foundational period of postcolonial nation- and statebuilding. Scientific concepts in vogue at the time about capacity and inclusion revolving on sexual, racial, economic, and social criteria shaped political debates and legislation that ultimately determined access to political power. The project has a broad and comparative regional scope, focusing on Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, and Cuba, with two dimensions: to show a variety within Latin American science and law; and to compare with developments in the Americas and the Atlantic world at large.

Assistant Professor, History, University of New Hampshire  -  The Science of Citizenship in Latin America

Dexter Edge
Dexter Edge  |  Abstract
This study of Mozart’s autograph score of "Le nozze di Figaro" and the discovery of the orchestral parts from its original production show that the opera was frequently and substantially revised in hitherto unknown ways during the period of composition, rehearsal, first performances, and early revivals. Building on these discoveries, this project offers a new history of the opera’s genesis, placing it within the cultural and institutional contexts in which it was created, staged, and received, framing this history within broader issues: the concepts of "text" and "work" as they apply to the intrinsically fluid and collaborative genre of opera; the implications of this fluidity for editorial theory and textual criticism; and the problematic notion of a historical "event" and its reconstruction.

Visiting Lecturer, Music History, New England Conservatory of Music  -  The Genesis of Mozart's "Le nozze di Figaro"

Bret L. Rothstein
Bret L. Rothstein  |  Abstract
This project is a study of visual skill in the fifteenth-century Low Countries, a time and place almost as famous for their lack of explicit writing about art as for the sophistication of the art they produced. Working from vernacular devotional texts as well as a broad array of images, it treats observation as an activity not only spiritual but also intellectual and social in nature. Of particular importance are visual strategies for cultivation perspicacity, the use of devotional terminology as a critical apparatus, and objects designed for the mediocre viewer. By approaching visual culture as in effect, the residue of visual wit, this study frames interpretive capability as a hierarchy to the enacted in the company of others.

Associate Professor, Art, Rhode Island College  -  Permissible Delectation of the Spirit: Early Netherlandish Pictures and the Art of Seeing Well

Maram Epstein
Maram Epstein  |  Abstract
This project is a broad, interdisciplinary study of the changing practices, representations and cultural meanings of filial piety in eighteenth-century China. Through comparative close readings of fiction, criminal case memorials, local histories and memorial biographies, this project describe how gender informed the changing practices of filial piety and how genre shaped its representation. This study suggests that late-imperial fascination with women as chastity martyrs inspired the creation of new modes of filial virtue. Further, recognizing the importance of filial piety to traditional Chinese self-identity marks a significant distinction between normative eighteenth-century and modern, western-based psychological models of self.

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow
Associate Professor, East Asian Languages and Literatures, University of Oregon  -  Orthodox Passions: Filial Piety in Eighteenth-Century China

Elizabeth Ashman Rowe
Elizabeth Ashman Rowe  |  Abstract
This projects presents an introduction to medieval Icelandic annalistics and examines the annals' relationship to the Old Norse sagas. It starts with a discussion of the origins and techniques of Icelandic annalistics. Next, each extant annal is treated in chronological order, with descriptions of the annal's date, contents, compiler(s), sources, environment of production, companion texts, and purpose. Lost and fragmentary annals are also covered. Building on this, the study broadens the discussion of the annals' cultural and political contexts to explore the relationships between annals, encyclopedias, and sagas, and it concludes with a discussion of the as-yet-unexplained end of medieval Icelandic annalistics in 1430.

Independent Scholar  -  Annals and Sagas: The Historiography of Late Medieval Iceland

Martha Feldman
Martha Feldman  |  Abstract
The castrato and his singing--vastly popular in churches and opera houses of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Europe--were nested in a repertory of myths that mediated ambiguities in early modern consciousness. His myths of origin, castration, and reproduction all resonated with contemporaneous myths of comic figures and angels, who arbitrate between human and animal, male and female, in the fantasies of their observers. Endowed with extraordinary traits, physical and phenomenal, castrati were sacrificial figures with redemptive powers for society. Yet problematically, since they thrived in commercial contexts where they were exchanged as commodities for money, they dramatize the fundamentally modern dilemma of (new) money without blood relations, which contributed to their musical fall from grace.

Professor, Music, University of Chicago  -  The Castrato as Myth: A Study of Virtuosity and Abjection, Money and Blood

Francesca J. Sawaya
Francesca J. Sawaya  |  Abstract
This project analyzes the relation between patronage and literature in the US in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It argues for a re-thinking of the economic history of American literature, a history which has emphasized the determining power of the market in the production of modern literature. By demonstrating the importance of patronage in helping writers to negotiate the literary market, this project shows that an exclusive focus on a "free market" in ideas impoverishes our understanding of American literary history. The project focuses especially but not exclusively on minority and dissident writers, and the ways in which patronage enabled them to gain access to the market, even if it also often circumscribed what they produced.

Associate Professor, English, University of Oklahoma  -  Power and Art: Patronage and Modern American Literature

Kesha D. Fikes
Kesha D. Fikes  |  Abstract
This project describes how emigration informed social identification practices in the nine inhabited islands of the drought and famine prone Cape Verdean archipelago (1863-1975). It addresses how the colonial administration designed emigration legislation that determined which islands' inhabitants could partake in emigrations to the West as Portuguese nationals, and which islands' inhabitants had to partake in indentured emigrations to plantations in other Portuguese African colonies, as indigenous African subjects. The project specifies how local racialized discourses of civility and savagery legally rationalized island distinctions, and how these distinctions were configured in accordance with international migration policies and post-abolition labor codes.

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow
Assistant Professor, Anthropology, University of Chicago  -  Emigration from Cape Verde: The Spatial Production of Local Cape Verdean Difference, 1863 to 1975

Stephen J. Shoemaker
Stephen J. Shoemaker  |  Abstract
This study presents the first investigation of the contradictory traditions about the end of Muhammad’s life in Christian and early Islamic sources. The Islamic tradition relates Muhammad’s death at Medina in 632, while earlier and more numerous Christian sources suggest that he survived to lead the conquest of the Near East, beginning in 633-4. Using methods from Biblical Studies, the study concludes that the traditional date and circumstances of Muhammad’s death are uncertain. This recognition raises larger questions about the reliability of traditional narratives of Islamic origins, which scholars of Islam have often taken for granted. The project also advocates greater methodological unity between the study of Christian and Islamic origins.

Assistant Professor, Religious Studies, University of Oregon  -  The Death of a Prophet: The End of Muhammad’s Life in Christian and Early Islamic Sources

Brodwyn M. Fischer
Brodwyn M. Fischer  |  Abstract
This is a study of the interlocking histories of post-emancipation and urbanization in modern Brazil. Few Brazilian social histories fail to reference these trajectories, yet their study remains mostly separate, and thus incomplete. Urban migration was part of the post-abolition process, and Brazil’s urban inequalities were shaped by the fact that many migrants, or their descendants, were ex-slaves. To understand either urbanization or twentieth century struggles over Afro-Brazilians’ rightful place in the national fabric, we must analyze both phenomena in concert. This project examines these questions by tracing the history of Afro-Brazilian property holding in Recife and Rio de Janeiro, from the 1880s through the mid- twentieth century.

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow
Assistant Professor, History, Northwestern University  -  Cities after Slavery: Abolition, Property, and Urban Migration in Rio de Janeiro and Recife, 1880-1960

David Sider
David Sider  |  Abstract
This project establishes the text of Simonides--chiefly the elegies (the papyri of which were published first in 1992) and epigrams, and provides commentaryto those writings. This project involves examining the papyri containing Simonides' elegies in Oxf ord and also determining which of the many epigrams ascribed to him deserve inclusion. It also entails consulting in Heidelberg and Venice the manuscripts of the Greek Anthology containing his epigrams.

Professor, Classics, New York University  -  A new edition of Simonides' poems with introduction and commentary

Bryan R. Gilliam
Bryan R. Gilliam  |  Abstract
The fifteen operas of Richard Strauss (1864-1949), composed over nearly half a century, remain the greatest German operatic legacy since Wagner. After a generation of operatic decline after Wagner, Strauss offered a compelling response, a "Sonderweg" resulting from an early, intensive engagement with the various Wagnerisms of his day—and a rejection of all of them, save for the technical aspects. The temporal span of these operas includes some of the most important moments in modern German history: from empire to world war, from republic to dictatorship and ruin. This study engages these operas in the dialogues of their times: aesthetic, theoretical, cultural, and political. It is the first musicological treatment of this entire repertoire.

Professor, Music and German Studies, Duke University  -  Rounding Wagner's Mountain: Richard Strauss's Search for Modern German Opera

Matthew H. Sommer
Matthew H. Sommer  |  Abstract
This unprecedented social history of same-sex union and masculinity in eighteenth-century China is based on more than 1700 legal cases already collected from Chinese archives. This study sheds light on major issues in Chinese history and the comparative history of sexuality: e.g., the social impact of the skewed sex ratio in late imperial China; alternative patterns of sexual practice, alliance, and identity found in different social contexts; and the applicability to China of models of sexuality and "early modernity" derived from European experience.

Associate Professor, History, Stanford University  -  Male Same-Sex Union and Masculinity in Eighteenth-Century China

Angelina Snodgrass Godoy
Angelina Snodgrass Godoy  |  Abstract
This project examines the application of intellectual property (IP) law to medicines and consequent political struggles, focusing on the experience of CAFTA as a case study. An agreement which pioneers new IP standards, CAFTA sets a new global precedent. In practice, its IP provisions limit the availability of generic drugs, forcing governments to protect the rights (to IP) of Northern pharmaceutical corporations before the rights (to health) of their populations. In doing so, they pit leading forces in the human rights movement directly against advocates of free trade. This project examines the work of different actors in an effort to illuminate the ways in which political processes intersect with the law in Guatemala, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic.

Assistant Professor, Law, Societies, and Justice and Internat'l studies, University of Washington  -  Globalization's Rulebook: Democracy, Trade, and Rights in Latin America

Steve J. Stern
Steve J. Stern  |  Abstract
This project focuses on "memory struggles" related to the violent dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990). It studies how Chileans reckoned with the Pinochet legacy after the turn toward a reborn yet constrained democracy in 1989-1990. It replaces the memory-against-forgetting paradigm with one of competing memory frameworks, each selective, interpretive, and promoted by social actors seeking to shape politics and culture. The study thereby sheds original light on the paradox of democratic transitions after times of atrocity. Impasse on how to remember the Pinochet era, rooted in a conflict between "soft" and "hard" power, yielded great frustration, yet did not block the slow building of a political culture that valued human rights and eroded military self-amnesty.

Professor, History, University of Wisconsin-Madison  -  Reckoning with Pinochet: The Memory Question, Human Rights, and the Making of Politics and Culture in Democratic Chile, 1989-2005

Edward L. Goldberg
Edward L. Goldberg  |  Abstract
In the Archive of the Medici Grand Dukes of Tuscany in Florence, Italy, there is a remarkable series of approximately 200 letters from Benedetto Blanis to Don Giovanni dei Medici, running from June 20, 1615 until October 23, 1620. Though these letters remain unknown to scholars, they offer crucial new insights into social history, cultural history, economic history, legal history, history of science and Jewish history in Early Modern Europe. This project may yield a full critical edition of this documentary material, bringing it into the mainstream of current scholarship.

Senior Fellow, The Medici Archive Project  -  Between Court and Ghetto in Early Seventeenth-Century Florence: A Critical Edition of Letters from Benedetto Blanis to Don Giovanni dei Medici

Eleonora Stoppino
Eleonora Stoppino  |  Abstract
This project seeks to recover a connection between exploration writing and popular epic poems in early modern Italy. The presence of archetypal figures like the Amazon in discovery texts has been connected to the cultural tradition dating back to Herodotus’ History and the Classical myth. This project challenges this assumption, and attempts to reconstruct the system of representations available to Italian authors of the late fifteenth and sixteenth century in the form of popular epic poems. The Italian exploration narratives of Vespucci, Ramusio and Pigafetta are presented in light of the epic tradition of the cantari, popular texts widely circulated at the end of the fifteenth century.

Assistant Professor, French and Italian, Dartmouth College  -  The Travelers’ Library: Early Modern Exploration and Italian Popular Epic

Paul E. Gootenberg
Paul E. Gootenberg  |  Abstract
This study is a new archivally-based history of the Andean drug cocaine, a scholarly book for a broad audience. It traces cocaine's global transformations over three long periods: The creation of cocaine as a modern medical commodity (1850-1910); its decline as a legitimate commercial drug (1910-45); and finally, cocaine's entry into a menacing underground world drug trade (1945-75). Set in the drug's broadest contexts, the study focuses on the historically-defining transnational axis between the United States (cocaine's key consuming and regulating culture) and coca-rich eastern Peru (the drug's long site of germination). Breaking ground empirically, this study also innovates by bringing novel conceptual concerns from commodity, cultural and international history into the study of drugs.

Professor, History, State University of New York, Stony Brook  -  The Birth of Cocaine: A Transnational History, 1850-1975

Landon R.Y. Storrs
Landon R.Y. Storrs  |  Abstract
This study of loyalty investigations of US policymakers from the late 1930s to the 1960s offers new evidence that the Second Red Scare served objectives far broader than the eradication of the Communist Party. Anticommunists associated communism with men’s loss of control over women, and the feminization of the civil service gave them another reason to dislike the bureaucratic state. Newly declassified sources reveal that investigations of male and female bureaucrats redirected policy debates. Integrating literatures on McCarthyism, state development, and women, the study suggests that the search for communists in government left a gendered legacy that constrained US social policy and modern feminism.

Associate Professor, History, University of Houston  -  Domestic Insecurity: Gender and Cold War Loyalty Investigations of US Policymakers

David L. Haberman
David L. Haberman  |  Abstract
This project focuses on sacred trees and tree shrines in northern India. Though tree shrines and the wealth of activity that surrounds them are a prominent feature of the religious landscape of India, they have hardly been the subjects of scholarly investigation. This project will be informed by academic considerations of the cultural construction of nature and will contribute to the growing study of religion and ecology. The method followed is a combination of textual research and ethnographic fieldwork in northern India, observing the activities that take place at select tree shrines and interviewing people who worship at these sites to determine what they do and why they do it.

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow
Professor, Religious Studies, Indiana University Bloomington  -  Tree Shrines of Northern India

Francesca Trivellato
Francesca Trivellato  |  Abstract
Enlightenment thinkers argued that market relations lead to the erasure of ethnic and religious identities, and favor the rise of individualistic and cosmopolitan societies. This project seeks to historicize concepts and practices of cosmopolitanism in early modern Europe by comparing the increasing universal and ecumenical language of trade with the forms of social and legal exclusion and integration of foreign merchants in European port-cities. Did European geographical and commercial expansion create a cosmopolitan society or did profitable ties between merchant communities coexist with, benefit from, and perhaps even intensify acute divisions and discrimination? Unlike conventional contrasts between Northern Protestant and Southern Catholic Europe, my research compares Venice and Marseille: two cities that were, at different times, hegemonic in the Mediterranean and yet sustained divergent policies and attitudes toward merchants belonging to ethno-religious minorities. Sources for this project include business letter, travel accounts, visual material, legislation, community records, and post-mortem inventories.

Assistant Professor, History, Yale University  -  Images and Practices of Cosmopolitanism in the Commercial Society of Southern Europe, 1500-1800

Craig E. Harline
Craig E. Harline  |  Abstract
By 1650, religious wars were ending in Europe and confessional boundaries were fairly stable, but more subtle difficulties on the religious scene remained unsolved--including the problem of confessionally mixed families. This project addresses this little-studied problem by starting with the dramatic account of a single Dutch family and working outward. This well-documented contest between Protestant father and Catholic son provides 1) a rare in-depth look at the specific challenges of conversion for families, 2) opportunity to explore the spectrum of possiblities open to any mixed family of the time, and 3) perspective for present-day challenges in cultural and religious mixing.

Professor, History, Brigham Young University  -  Religious Wars at Home: The Advent and Challenge of Confessionally Mixed Families

Allen Wells
Allen Wells  |  Abstract
A thousand Jewish refugees fled Nazi Germany and settled in the Dominican Republic, then ruled by a brutal dictator, General Rafael Trujllo. This study is the story of that dictator, FDR and the fortunate emigres and their philanthropic sponsors, who combined to found an agricultural colony called Sosua. At a time when few other states would open their doors, Trujillo, intent on "whitening the race," welcomed Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Aryanism--ironically themselves the object of scorn in Europe because of their "racial" characteristics. While condemning totalitarianism in Europe, FDR lauded the dictator's initiative and a Jewish philanthropy invested millions of dollars in the settlement in hopes that a successful venture would persuade other Latin American states to admit Jews.

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow
Professor, History, Bowdoin College  -  Tropical Zion: General Trujillo, FDR, and the Jews of Sosua

Phillip Brian Harper
Phillip Brian Harper  |  Abstract
This study proposes the critical urgency of abstractionist aesthetics while at the same time elaborating the means by which abstraction in general has functioned to the detriment of African-American populations. Further, this study underlines the need for a critical reinvigoration of black aesthetic abstractionism, demonstrating the relative impotence of such in African-American visual culture. This study also shows how the common understanding of African-American music in terms of a developmental narrative curtails the putative abstractionism of music, and argues that experimentalist prose constitutes the most potent mode of abstractionist aesthetics available at present.

Professor, English/Social and Cultural Analysis (Am Stds), New York University  -  Once Removed: Abstractionist Aesthetics and African-American Culture beyond Positive Images.

Beth S. Wenger
Beth S. Wenger  |  Abstract
This project explores the collective heritage created by Jews in the United States from the nineteenth through the mid-twentieth century. The invention of a distinct American Jewish past—complete with historical legends, heroic figures, and narratives of Jewish patriotism and cultural contributions—was a crucial element in the acculturation and identity formation of Jews in the United States. This project considers the ways that American Jews created and rehearsed their own history in popular forms, examining holiday celebrations, public commemorations, monument projects, children's literature and textbooks. These popular renditions of American Jewish history, purposefully constructed as distinct from the European Jewish past, insisted that a new epoch in Jewish history was unfolding in America.

Associate Professor, History, University of Pennsylvania  -  History Lessons: The Invention of American Jewish Heritage

Todd Michael Hickey
Todd Michael Hickey  |  Abstract
The project for which I am seeking support has two components. The first is an edition of a collection of family documents and books (all of them on papyrus) that were excavated by various parties in the ancient village of Tebtunis (Egypt). After I have finished deciphering these texts, I intend to employ them to engage several important topics in the social and cultural history of Roman Egypt, including the resources and status of Egyptian village priests, their social networks (especially those extending beyond village boundaries), and their negotiations with elite (“Greek”) culture. I will also explore the impact of the Roman conquest and imperial policy on the priests. Both the texts and my analysis of them will be published in a volume of the series The Tebtunis Papyri.

Assistant Professor, Classics, University of California, Berkeley  -  Reading the Papyri of a Priestly Family: Social Relations and Cultural Negotiation in Egypt under Roman Rule

Karen Wigen
Karen Wigen  |  Abstract
This project maps the shifting shape of the Nagano highlands across Japan’s twentieth century, in the national as well as the local imagination. Focusing on the core genres through which knowledge of Japanese regions has been transmitte--maps, museums, textbooks, and tourist literature--the study highlights three tensions in this archive: between the insider’s idiom of native place (kyodo) and the outsider’s trope of landscape (fukei); between the competing ways in which Nagano has been located in the nation, Asia, and the world over time; and between the anti-political quality of most regional rhetoric and the ideological work that this genre has historically performed.

Associate Professor, History, Stanford University  -  Native Places, Global Times: A Century of Regional Rhetoric in Nagano, Japan

Cornelia B. Horn
Cornelia B. Horn  |  Abstract
The project fills a lacuna in historical and literary studies of Greco-Roman, early Christian, and Jewish conceptions of household structures and family life. Taking a feminist-liberation and historical-critical approach, it examines children in early Christian letters, gospels, and acts from the first three centuries CE, investigating the roles and struggles of children caught in between the Christian call to asceticism and the tradition of valuing family life in ancient cultures. The book examines children as historical persons and as literary characters. It is driven by the question of how “childhood” and “children” can be a measure of the development of early Christianity at a time when the religion could not rely on official support, but relied on established concepts of family life.

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow
Assistant Professor, Theological Studies, Saint Louis University  -  Children from Christ to Constantine: Examining children’s roles between the call to asceticism and the attractions of family life in Christian, Greco-Roman, and Jewish literature as a tool to revealing stages of the development of early Christianity.

Michael Wintroub
Michael Wintroub  |  Abstract
This project investigates the Atlantic world and how it shaped the contours and texture of French politics and culture in the early modern period. It is both a micro history about particular groups and networks of actors, and a global history about fundamental transformations in the ways western societies have come to adjudicate questions of power, knowledge and authority. By examining the intricate network of human, material and ideational associations among Jesuits in Normandy and New France, the Companies of Sénégal and the Saint-Sacrement, Parisian salon, the Académie Française and the Académie des Sciences, this study maps out and explore the "trading zones"--the liminal and agonistic spaces betwixt and between cultures, classes and competencies--where knowledge, identity and power were made.

Associate Professor, RHETORIC, University of California, Berkeley  -  Lost Dreams and Savage Empires: Going Native & Going French in the Seventeenth-Century Atlantic World

Katherine L. Jansen
Katherine L. Jansen  |  Abstract
This study argues that the violence and civil disorder that afflicted the urban centers of central Italy in the later Middle Ages can be better understood if we also turn our attention to the study of local peace-making practices. As such, this study centerpieces notarial peace instruments, an important but little known source for the history of medieval peace-making. Envisioned as a socio-cultural history of peacemaking grounded in legal sources, this project shows how peace was imagined and pursued in late medieval Italy. Its contribution beyond the local and the medieval will be to add a new dimension and new source materials to the flourishing literature on dispute resolution.

Associate Professor, History, Catholic University of America  -  Practicing Peace in Late Medieval Italy

Susan M. Zieger
Susan M. Zieger  |  Abstract
This project tells the story of how the concept of addiction emerged from literary, medical, legal, and social reform discourses of slavery, habit, alcoholism, inebriety, and morphinomania. It traces the concept’s transformations through the metaphors of self-enslavement, disease, demonic possession, hunger, and compulsory travel. These metaphors engaged an epistemic and representational paradox: addicts were thought to be liars, and yet only they could attest to the subjective horrors of their dependencies. Nineteenth-century British and American novelists interested in this paradox developed new narrative forms to address it.

Assistant Professor, English, University of California, Riverside  -  Addiction and Metaphor in Nineteenth-Century British and American Fiction