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. 

Lila Abu-Lughod
Lila Abu-Lughod  |  Abstract
This project examines, from an anthropological perspective, the ethical issues raised by the international circulation of discourses on “Muslim women’s rights.” If Muslim women’s rights cannot be detached from history and the field of representations in which they are embedded, how can one make the case for gender justice in ways that do not become grounds for the “clash of civilizations?” The project addresses five questions: Do Muslim women need saving? What is the relationship between religion and rights? Who defines women’s rights and how do such definitions circulate globally? How do new feminist legal categories such as the honor crime come into being? And finally, what role does popular literature in the West play in naturalizing views of Muslim women’s rights?

Professor, Anthropology, Columbia University  -  Do Muslim Women Have Rights? An Anthropologist's View of the Debates about Muslim Women's Human Rights in the Context of the "Clash of Civilizations"

Leah Kronenberg
Leah Kronenberg  |  Abstract
This study examines the changing attitude of the Romans to Epicureanism from the time of its entry into Rome in the second century BC to its decline in the third century AD. It focuses on uncovering the Roman perceptions of this philosophy by analyzing the imagery and stereotypes associated with it in both written and visual media. Its overall goal will be to understand better why this philosophy was so frequently misrepresented and misunderstood, and to sort out what aspects of it were most threatening at different times in Roman history.

Assistant Professor, Classics, Rutgers University-New Brunswick  -  Gods and Monsters: Roman Representations of Epicureanism

Enrique Desmond Arias
Enrique Desmond Arias  |  Abstract
Throughout Latin America, private violent actors such as vigilante groups, drug gangs, and security firms have had a growing role in political life. In different countries they have engaged in social welfare efforts and have enforced order in places where state security forces are largely absent. This study aims to develop a deeper understanding of the role these groups play in politics. Using ethnographic methods, it studies the way that vigilante groups, drug gangs, and more formal private security firms in three Rio neighborhoods affect the activities of local social organizations, the interaction between community residents and politicians, and how people engage in politics and think about themselves as political subjects.

Assistant Professor, Government, City University of New York, John Jay College  -  Democracy and the Privatization of Violence in Rio de Janeiro: An Ethnographic Study of Politics and Conflict in the Three Neighborhoods

Marjorie Levine-Clark
Marjorie Levine-Clark  |  Abstract
This project examines men's "welfare liability," the assumption that men were responsible for the welfare of their families. It analyzes how poor people in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century England grappled with policies that expected men to support their families when men refused or were unable to do so. Poverty restricted men’s abilities to act out dominant models of masculinity, even while men were acutely aware of cultural expectations. Other men, however, did not want to wear the mantle of breadwinner, especially when it came to supporting elderly parents or estranged wives in a bad economy. This analysis expands upon studies of welfare which have concentrated on the implications of gender assumptions for women.

Associate Professor, History, University of Colorado Denver  -  "So Much Honest Poverty": Gender, Work, and Welfare Liability in England, 1870-1930

Janine G. Barchas
Janine G. Barchas  |  Abstract
Bookseller Edmund Curll (1675-1747) and master printer Samuel Richardson (1689-1761) each ran thriving businesses in London’s eighteenth-century book trade. Their reputations, however, could not be more distinct. Critical discussion vilifies the former as a Grubstreet scoundrel and lionizes the latter as a moral force. The early eighteenth-century book trade was, in fact, far less polarized in practice than such conventional accounts suggest. This project re-examines the early book trade (especially marketing strategies, reading communities, the role of the Stationers’ Co., and the emerging woman writer) in light of what scholars are learning about the overlap between “high” and “low” literature—between the industry’s genteel output and so-called Grubstreet ephemera.

Associate Professor, English, University of Texas at Austin  -  Heroes and Villains of Grubstreet: Edmund Curll, Samuel Richardson, and the Eighteenth-Century Book Trade

Mandana Limbert
Mandana Limbert  |  Abstract
Through a historical study of Omani and British colonialism in East Africa (Zanzibar) and an ethnographic account of its legacies, this project questions what it means to be “Arab.” Drawing on archival sources and ethnographic fieldwork, it interrogates the ways in which the boundaries of “Arab” and “African” were drawn and re-drawn, challenged and fixed in the course of the twentieth century. The project focuses on the social lives of Omani traders, laborers, and farmers who migrated to Zanzibar in the first half of the twentieth century and examines their shifting practices of marriage, concubinage, and divorce and the debates about them in Zanzibar, Great Britian, and Oman. It is impossible to understand the complexities of Arab identity without looking beyond the boundaries of the Middle East to the Arab world’s own colonial histories.

Assistant Professor, Anthropology, City University of New York, Queens College  -  Oman, Zanzibar, and the Politics of Becoming Arab

Giovanna Benadusi
Giovanna Benadusi  |  Abstract
Throughout early modern Europe people distributed possessions, selected heirs, and preserved their earthly memory in last wills and testaments. Focusing on the last wills of women—propertyless servants, peasants, shopkeepers, and the elites—who lived in late Renaissance Tuscany, this project departs from recent literature on last wills and testaments and reinterprets the conventional assumption that their use by social and legal dependents was exceptional. Through legal practices women of all classes used their wealth to negotiate the conventional social norms that defined their relationships with their male kin and their masters, challenging restrictions and contesting gendered and class-based assumptions about themselves and those around them. In this way they incorporated their domestic and working experiences into the legal process, altering or at least confusing the rules of inclusion into the social body, often reversing social hierarchies, and ultimately creating a public order that defined pre-national European states.

Associate Professor, History, University of South Florida  -  Visions of the Social Order: Women's Last Wills, Notaries, and the State in Baroque Tuscany

Howard P. Louthan
Howard P. Louthan  |  Abstract
In the early sixteenth century, Catholicism was in full retreat across Central Europe. It seemed quite possible that the Reformations launched by Luther and his allies would permanently clear the region of Catholic influence. The old church, however, made a remarkable comeback. Catholicism was dramatically transformed from a faith perceived in many corners as a parochial vestige of an outdated society into a dynamic and cosmopolitan confessional culture that stretched across the wide expanse of Central Europe. Though there were many factors that contributed to this region’s Catholic revival, Italian influence was critical for its ultimate success and the creation of a dynamic new culture north of the Alps.

Associate Professor, History, University of Florida  -  Making Catholicism Cosmopolitan: Italy and the Transformation of Early Modern Central Europe

Aviva Ben-Ur
Aviva Ben-Ur  |  Abstract
This project considers how Suriname’s Sephardim (Jews of Iberian origin) readjusted their definitions of communal belonging in a New World environment where people of African origin formed the majority and Jews enjoyed an extraordinary degree of self-determination and autonomy. There is evidence that enslaved women actively sought to bring their Eurafrican children, fathered by Sephardic masters, into the Jewish fold. Moreover, by the second half of the eighteenth century, the exponential growth of the mulatto Jewish class was principally due to unwed Eurafrican mothers. The transmission of Jewishness in Suriname’s Sephardic community thus became an increasingly matrilineal matter, endowing black, and especially mulatto women, with a pivotal role as determinants of community belonging.

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow
Associate Professor, Judaic and Near Eastern Studies, University of Massachusetts Amherst  -  Jewish Identity in a Slave Society: Suriname, 1660-1863

Liisa Helena Malkki
Liisa Helena Malkki  |  Abstract
The most general animating principle of this study is a theoretical and historical concern to understand how the social imagination of a "common humanity" and "mankind," on the one hand, and "world community" and "world order," on the other, have undergone radical transformations since the end of the Second World War. The historical part of this project excavates three very different (and now largely forgotten) cosmopolitical projects of world-making: liberal internationalism; world federalism and other one-world movements; and Cold War logics of world order. The ethnographic part is based on contemporary humanitarian practices and visions of the human and world order among ICRC medical professionals.

Associate Professor, Cultural and Social Anthropology, Stanford University  -  Figuring the Human, Moralizing World Order

Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski
Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski  |  Abstract
Philippe de Mézières (1327-1405), politician, diplomat, traveler, and prolific author, was one of the defining figures of the late Middle Ages. His many works include political allegories, letters to rulers, pious texts, and crusading propaganda. Philippe was both a man of action and a contemplative. Philippe is pivotal for our understanding of attitudes toward the Near East and the waning ideal of the crusade, the ideal of kingship during profound crises (the Hundred Years War; the Great Schism), and of spiritual marriage at a time when that ideal is becoming tarnished by suspicions of heresy. This study sheds light not only on the ideals and ideology that defined and divided late medieval Europe and the Near East but also on our contemporary religious and political divisions.

Professor, French and Italian, University of Pittsburgh  -  The Dream World of Philippe de Mézières (1327-1405): Politics and Spirituality in the Late Middle Ages

Stephen A. Marini
Stephen A. Marini  |  Abstract
Between the Great Awakening and the Bill of Rights, American religion changed dramatically from a culture of colonial churches derived from Reformation models to a pluralized religious world dominated by new Evangelical sects. Much of this complex process has been obscured, however, by a prevailing scholarly interpretation that values religion only to the extent that it seems to have promoted the Revolution and the emergence of American democracy. This project presents the first comprehensive treatment of the changing religious culture of the Revolutionary Period, incorporating the beliefs, institutions, rituals, moral and spiritual teachings of every significant American religious community, including crucial but long-neglected regional movements.

Professor, Religion, Wellesley College  -  American Reformation: Religious Culture in the Revolutionary Era, 1750-1790

Clifford A. Bob
Clifford A. Bob  |  Abstract
Transnational activism by environmental, human rights, and other progressive groups has changed international policy and shaped global culture. Yet these movements do not act unopposed. Recently, powerful right-wing forces have also “gone global.” This interdisciplinary study examines nationalist, religious, and free-market conservatives in transnational debates over gun control, family policy, and genetically modified foods. Analyzing interlocking conflicts in national and international arenas, the study highlights the contending strategies of conservative and progressive forces as they promote their goals and undermine their foes, resulting in a more complete and realistic understanding of transnational politics and an emergent “global civil society."

Associate Professor, Political Science, Duquesne University  -  Globalizing the Right-Wing: Conservative Activism and World Politics

Patchen Markell
Patchen Markell  |  Abstract
This project is the first book-length study of Hannah Arendt's classic work of political theory, The Human Condition. Focusing on the conceptual architecture of the book, and especially on the relation of autonomous political action to other domains of human activity, it shows how the logic of her own argument compels her to rethink the nature and function of Arendt’s conceptual distinctions as she proceeds, shifting from an approach devoted to the separation of human activities from each other toward one focused on the articulation of relationships of interdependence between them. At the same time, it sets Arendt into a range of different contexts, showing in particular how her work is tied both historically and thematically to ongoing disputes about the relative importance of autonomy and social relevance among twentieth-century artistic avant-gardes.

Associate Professor, Political Science, University of Chicago  -  The Architecture of "The Human Condition"

Susan Leslie Boynton
Susan Leslie Boynton  |  Abstract
This study centers on the study of medieval liturgical and musical manuscripts in Toledo Cathedral during the mid-eighteenth century by the Jesuit Andres Marcos Burriel (1719-1762), including the reproductions created by his collaborator, the calligrapher Francisco Xavier Santiago y Palomares. It situates the products of their collaboration within the history of cultural nationalism, and more specifically within the writing of history through the study of medieval ritual. The work of these two scholars illustrates their understanding of medieval Iberian music and liturgy as fundamental to the definition of Spanish identity, and forms an important chapter in the development of the historical sciences during the early years of the Spanish Enlightenment.

Associate Professor, Music, Columbia University  -  Silent Music: Medieval Ritual and the Construction of History in Eighteenth-Century Spain

Gary J. Marker
Gary J. Marker  |  Abstract
This project examines the careers and writings (primarily sermons and church services) of the cohort of Ukrainian clergy, who became the leading figures in the Russian (Muscovite, then St. Petersburg) church during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century. The topic focuses on two inter-twining themes: one ideational and the other socio-political. It examines their experiences before and after 1708, the year in which the Ukrainian hetman, Ivan Mazepa, switched sides from Russia to Sweden. Still tied closely to Ukraine and to the hetman's patronage, the clergy in effect had been comfortably serving two masters. After 1708 this was no longer possible, and they struggled in their writing to clarify their loyalties. In the process they framed a modern disocurse of Russia as a nation.

Professor, History, State University of New York, Stony Brook  -  Mazepa and the Preachers: Ukrainian Clergy and the Discourse of “Russia” in the Early Eighteenth Century

William C. Carroll
William C. Carroll  |  Abstract
This project engages Shakespearean drama in the context of the central political issue of early modern England—the theory and practice of monarchical succession. It argues that Shakespearean tragedy can be understood as a theatrical response to, and intervention in, the anxieties and conflicts attending contemporary struggles to define the theory as well as the outcome of royal succession. The heart of this project is a study of the tragedies written between 1599-1607—especially Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth—as representations of succession crises of the family and of the state. Succession is an inherently tragic trope, for succession requires death; it is a process premised on the necessity of the death of the father, real or symbolic.

Professor, English, Boston University  -  The Tragedy of Succession: Shakespeare in History

Stephan F. Miescher
Stephan F. Miescher  |  Abstract
The study examines Ghana’s most ambitious development project, the Volta River Project completed in 1966, and its importance for the process of nation building. In Ghana, the name “Akosombo” has multiple meanings: the dam across the Volta, the Akosombo Township built as a model city, electrical power, cloth produced by the company Akosombo Textile Ltd., and the experience of migration and resettlement due to the flooding. This study unpacks these different meanings and explores their cultural, social, and political implications. The study looks at the history of Akosombo’s representations in popular culture and shows how ordinary Ghanaians have related the phenomenon of Akosombo to their understanding and imaginging of development, modernity, and nationhood.

Associate Professor, History, University of California, Santa Barbara  -  Akosombo Stories: The Volta River Project, Modernity, and Nationhood in Ghana

Jennifer Cole
Jennifer Cole  |  Abstract
This study investigates two responses to social and economic change in Madagascar: the mass entry of young women into prostitution and rising membership in Pentecostal churches. This ethnography argues that the social changes associated with globalization are not unilaterally imposed upon passive youth from the economic periphery through first world economic and cultural demands. Rather, as they seek to become adults, these youth selectively appropriate and transform normative practices around family, sexuality, gender, religion, and morality. This study charts how youth transform the cultural expectations around intimacy and the social meanings of human development, lived time, and value, thereby creating new social formations that constitute globalization.

Associate Professor, Comparative Human Development, University of Chicago  -  Sex and Salvation: Youth, Families, and the Intimate Politics of Social Change in Madagascar

Maureen C. Miller
Maureen C. Miller  |  Abstract
This project traces the emergence of a strict new code of clerical dress in eleventh-century Rome and links this development to new models of authority in Western Europe based on the renunciation of violence. The new ideas and practices about clerical attire clearly demarcated clergy from laity, and constructed a sharp contrast between the plain black gown that clerics wore outside the sanctuary and the increasingly ornate liturgical vestments they donned in church. The study utilizes surviving textiles, images of the clergy in art, ecclesiastical architecture, legislation, theological tracts, and liturgical sources to chart the emergence of new visual models of priestly authority and to assess the broader influence of this clerical “look” on the representation of power in western society.

Professor, History, University of California, Berkeley  -  Clerical Clothing and Priestly Authority in Medieval Rome, 800-1200

Lisa H. Cooper
Lisa H. Cooper  |  Abstract
This study examines craft labor as it appears from the twelfth through fifteenth centuries in the literature of the schoolroom, household, monastery, and court. It argues that medieval authors not only found artisanal work a fascinating activity in its own right, but also used it to articulate the value of their own and their intended audiences’ economic, social, and cultural projects. In five chapters devoted to different literary genres and the social spheres in which they were produced and circulated, this study offers new insight into the relationship of material practice and literary production during the later Middle Ages and demonstrates that ideas about craft labor, the value of its products, and the status of its practitioners animate a broad spectrum of medieval vernacular texts.

Assistant Professor, English, University of Wisconsin-Madison  -  Crafting Narratives: Artisans, Authors, and the Literary Artifact in Late Medieval England

Caitlin E. Murdock
Caitlin E. Murdock  |  Abstract
This book project explores how the idea of borderlands as concrete places sprang paradoxically from the new mobility typical of modern nationalizing states. From 1870 to 1938, the German-Bohemian borderlands’ conflicting dynamics of fluidity and division were forged by the interaction of modern technology, local practice, bureaucratic states, and national ideas. Governments and smugglers, migrant workers and police, bakers and tourists all played decisive roles in defining the borderlands as distinct territorial, political, and cultural places. Territorial, political, and cultural divisions lent weight to larger nationalist movements, defined local and transnational communities, and were used to justify ethnic cleansing by establishing the idea that territories have national meaning.

Assistant Professor, History, California State University, Long Beach  -  Changing Places: Mobilizing Society, Culture, and Territory in Central Europe’s Borderlands, 1870-1938

Jacob P. Dalton
Jacob P. Dalton  |  Abstract
This project focuses on two unstudied and related texts dating from Tibet's so-called dark age. The first is an elaborate telling of a myth in which the Buddha violently subjugates the demon Rudra. The second text is a tenth-century manuscript from Dunhuang that describes a remarkable Buddhist rite of human sacrifice. As Tibetans emerged from their "dark age," the new court labelled such violent rituals heretical and forbid their performance. Yet the rite and its attendant myth continued to influence the Tibetan religious imagination. The final chapters of the project examine how later Tibetans reacted to the violence of their own dark origins, and how in many ways their rhetoric has mirrored our own representations of Tibet and even of religion in general.

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow
Assistant Professor, Religious Studies, Yale University  -  Liberating Demons: Violence in the Tibetan Assimilation of Buddhism

Julia Killin Murray
Julia Killin Murray  |  Abstract
This project exlpores the art and history of Kongzhai, a once-important but now-destroyed and forgotten shrine to Confucius near Shanghai, where a 34th-generation descendant allegedly buried the master’s clothing in 606 CE, far from his ancient home in Shandong. Based on extensive primary-source research, the site’s evolution is traced from the late twelfth through mid-twentieth centuries in social, political, ritual, and cultural contexts. At its height in the seventeenth to eighteenth centuries, Kongzhai's multimedia representations of Confucius (relics, sculptural icons, painted or incised portraits, pictorial biographies, and various kinds of texts) functioned as significant instruments of Confucian religious expression, which have counterparts in Buddhism, Daoism, and popular-deity cults.

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow
Professor, Art History, East Asian Studies, and Religious Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison  -  Mysteries of Kongzhai: Relic, Representation, and Ritual at a Southern Shrine to Confucius

Penelope Davies
Penelope Davies  |  Abstract
This proposal is to finish a book on the public art of Republican Rome. It has two aims: to explore the intersection of visual culture and politics from post-regal times to the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BCE; and to trace urban and artistic developments, with an assessment of technological advances and social contexts for change. It argues for a sophisticated and ideological exploitation of early Roman art by politicians. Its premise is that the governmental system exerted a profound effect upon artistic and architectural production, deliberately preventing the kinds of blanket urban intervention that kings and emperors could achieve, while implicitly encouraging experimentation and innovation.

Associate Professor, Art and Art History, University of Texas at Austin  -  Art and Persuasion in Republican Rome

Moses Ebe Ochonu
Moses Ebe Ochonu  |  Abstract
This project focuses on the on-the-ground realities of a part of Nigeria during the Great Depression. It examines the specific ways in which a British colonial system, stung by the economic crisis, tried to maintain fiscal resources in a time of collapsing markets; the intended and unintended consequences of their actions on political as well as economic relations in the region; and the ways in which Nigerians tried both to cope and to protest. Using archival documents such as colonial reports, memos, and correspondences, Hausa language and local English language newspapers, petitions, colonial statistics, and oral testimony, the project examines the economic, political, and social implications of the Great Depression of the 1930s for Northern Nigeria's colonial grassroots.

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow
Assistant Professor, History, Vanderbilt University  -  Colonial Meltdown: Northern Nigeria in the Great Depression

Katia Dianina
Katia Dianina  |  Abstract
This study examines the development of a public discourse on national self-representation in nineteenth-century Russia as it was fashioned by museum culture and popular journalism. Between 1851 and 1900, the visual arts were transformed from an exclusive prerogative of the initiated to a familiar marker of group identity. But the national culture that was formed by the century’s end was first and foremost a discursive construct rather than a set of concrete images. Russian cultural identity was for the most part written—the main corpus of Russian culture took shape in the pages of contemporary newspapers and journals. Popular discourse on visual symbols of nationhood made them accessible to public at large and helped construct Russian cultural identity in positive terms.

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow
Assistant Professor, Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Virginia  -  The Rise of a National Culture: The Visual Arts and the Press in Imperial Russia

Shobita Parthasarathy
Shobita Parthasarathy  |  Abstract
Using cases from medical and agricultural biotechnology, this study compares how patent systems created by the United States and Europe operate as sites that simultaneously produce knowledge and social order. In particular, it investigates: 1) how the patent office’s “technical” decisions are simultaneously social, moral, economic, and environmental ones; 2) how recent challenges from civil society groups are exposing the social dimensions of patent decisions and thereby eroding the office’s credibility and legitimacy; 3) how patent offices are responding to civil society groups and developing strategies to maintain standardized decisionmaking as well as public trust; and 4) how the patent offices’ responses are reshaping the production of knowledge and social order.

Assistant Professor, School of Public Policy, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor  -  Crisis at the Patent Office: Rethinking Governance of Biotechnology in the United States, Europe, and on the Global Stage

Mary Ann Doane
Mary Ann Doane  |  Abstract
This project investigates the way in which cinematic screen size and its corresponding scale have figured in the negotiation of the human body’s relation to space in modernity. It focuses its intensive analysis on the close-up, because it incarnates most visibly the issues surrounding the magnification of images, giganticism, and spectacle in mass culture of the twentieth century. The close-up is analyzed in relation to the violation and fragmentation of the human body, the special place of this shot in film theory, the excessiveness and exuberance of the historical discourse on the close-up, the fascination with the human face and its link to intersubjective processes, the organization of space in film, and exhibition values historically associated with the cinema.

Professor, Modern Culture and Media, Brown University  -  "Bigger Than Life": The Close-up and Scale in the Cinema

Allyson M. Poska
Allyson M. Poska  |  Abstract
This study examines the social and sexual behaviors of immigrants from the Spanish region of Galicia to Buenos Aires during the eighteenth century. Using archival documentation in both Spain and Argentina, it uses a variety of indicators including illegitimacy rates, inheritance patterns, women’s involvement in legal and commercial activities, and religious practices. This study also examines the influence of regional endogamy and the formation of immigrant networks in colonial communities. Based upon comparisons with research on Galician women, it assesses the degree to which immigrants maintained the regional gender norms of their birthplace or adopted new expectations about women and sexuality in the colonial context.

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow
Professor, History, University of Mary Washington  -  Iberian Regionalism and the Formation of Gender Norms in Colonial Spanish America: an Examination of the Gender Expectations of Galician Immigrants to Buenos Aires During the Eighteenth Century

Benjamin A. Elman
Benjamin A. Elman  |  Abstract
This study examines how Tokugawa scholars transmitted new Chinese classical and medical texts in Japan before and after the Kansei era (1789-1800), when Japanese leaders enforced a campaign supporting the classical orthodoxy. Remarkably, Qing China under the Qianlong emperor (r. 1736-1795) was more open intellectually to new currents of thought than was contemporary Japan. Indeed, many scholars in China, Japan, and Korea were not tradition-bound, or so conservative that they could not also deal with the Western ideas that were increasingly present in East Asia as a result of the Jesuits and later the Protestants in their midst. The new trends in Qing evidential learning and the rise of new forms of traditional Chinese medicine (Kampo) competed with Dutch Learning in Japan.

supported in part by the Frederic E. Wakeman, Jr. Fund for Chinese History
Professor, East Asian Studies and History, Princeton University  -  The Intellectual Impact of Late Imperial Chinese Classicism, Medicine, and Science in Tokugawa Japan: Reconsidering Sino-Japanese Cultural History, 1700-1850

Corey Robin
Corey Robin  |  Abstract
This project examines the leading ideas and intellectuals of counterrevolutions across time. Drawing from seven episodes of US and European history, it focuses on the following themes: how counterrevolutionaries view the old regime they claim to be defending as a greater threat than the revolution they are opposing; how they learn from the revolution they mobilize against; how they use racism, empire, and war to reconcile their hostility to equality and commitment to the mass; and how, once they defeat the revolution, they experience a sense of loss for the enemy that is no more. The first sustained inquiry into counterrevolutions from the seventeenth century through today, this project is intended as a counterpart to Hannah Arendt's classic study, On Revolution.

Associate Professor, Political Science, City University of New York, Brooklyn College  -  The Varieties of Counterrevolutionary Experience: An Intellectual History from the English Civil War to the Bush Administration

Melvin Patrick Ely
Melvin Patrick Ely  |  Abstract
This study examines relations between whites (slaveholders and non-slaveholders) and enslaved blacks. A thirty-year-old debate separates historians who say nineteenth-century American slavery was founded on paternalism from those who contend that the institution commodifed its victims rather than recognize their humanity and individuality. This study shows, largely by examining court records of Prince Edward County, Virginia, that acknowledgement of blacks' humanity went tragically hand in hand with their treatment as merchandise in the internal slave trade.

Professor, History, College of William & Mary  -  A Horrible Intimacy: Whites and Enslaved Blacks in Old Virginia

Ellen B. Rosenman
Ellen B. Rosenman  |  Abstract
This project analyzes Victorian penny dreadfuls—cheap, sensational fiction designed for Victorian working class readers—as both aesthetically and ideologically significant. These works protest the marginalization of the working-class and depict massive redistributions of power in their implausible plots, organizing the utopian aspirations of popular politics into compelling and accessible fantasies. In spite of their wide circulation, they have received almost no scholarly attention.

Professor, English, University of Kentucky  -  Fictions of Belonging: Penny Dreadfuls and the Victorian Working Class Imagination, 1840-1870

Bogac A. Ergene
Bogac A. Ergene  |  Abstract
This project involves a systematic analysis of early-modern court records from Kastamonu in north-central Anatolia to determine how social groups in Ottoman provincial society participated in legal processes, interacted with other groups in the legal arena, and benefited from the court’s operations at various points during the eighteenth century. In this analysis, the Islamic court will be represented as a theater in which social relationships acted out. This will be the first study in Ottoman history-writing that explores changes in the class character of the court’s operations over time, depicting the functions that the court served in a highly stratified social environment and characterizing how these functions might have changed in a tumultuous episode of Ottoman history.

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow
Associate Professor, History, University of Vermont  -  Class, Court, and Justice in the Ottoman Empire, 1685-1794

Nerina Rustomji
Nerina Rustomji  |  Abstract
One of the rewards for being a righteous Muslim male is the companionship of houris—often understood as virgins—in Islamic Paradise. While the promise of these "virgins" has become prominent in American and European media as a motivation for political jihad, Muslim writers understand the houri in more complex ways. This project uses multiple images of the houri to examine contemporary visions of Islam and describe how the idea of the houri as virgin has evolved over time. It suggests that while Muslim discourse is more divided about the meaning of the houri, American and European discourse uses the image of the houri to critique Islam as a religion that encourages violent action and discourages scriptural interpretation.

Assistant Professor, History, Saint John's University (NY)  -  The Politics of Female Companions (houris) of Islamic Paradise in Contemporary American, European, and Muslim Discourse

Emily C. Francomano
Emily C. Francomano  |  Abstract
This study examines the numerous and surprising transformations, in Iberia and throughout Europe, of the highly innovative fifteenth-century romances of Juan Rodríguez del Padrón, Diego de San Pedro, and Juan de Flores between 1490 and 1620. The afterlives of the Spanish sentimental romances in manuscript anthologies, in translations used for both entertainment and language learning, on the Jacobean stage—and even in the sixteenth-century decorative tapestries now housed in the Cluny Museum in Paris—provide a rich field for elucidating the intersections of romance, translation theory, language pedagogy, literary reception, and cultural relations in the early modern period.

Assistant Professor, Spanish and Portuguese, Georgetown University  -  Afterlives of the Spanish Sentimental Romances: Transmissions and Translations

Kenneth P. Serbin
Kenneth P. Serbin  |  Abstract
How and why did arm-toting Brazilian revolutionaries of the 1960s and 1970s adopt a new strategy of nonviolence and democracy? To what extent could they be considered “terrorists” (as Brazil’s military labeled them), and how do they themselves interpret their abandonment of violence? How have these militants’ more recent actions contributed to the impressive flowering of post-authoritarian civil society, including the human rights movement? How do their lives reflect Brazilian, Latin American, and world history during the Cold War and its aftermath? The study answers these questions through examination of the state of Latin American democracy by focusing on how 21 former members of Brazil’s most important guerrilla organization entered the mainstream.

Associate Professor, History, University of San Diego  -  Revolutionary Lives: The Epic of Brazil's Resistance Fighters

Joanne B. Freeman
Joanne B. Freeman  |  Abstract
Between 1820 and 1860, there were over 120 violent incidents between congressmen on the floor of Congress. This project examines this pattern of violence, tracing the evolution of a distinctive culture of Congress. Rather than a Whiggish tale of political modernization, the rise of democracy brought complications. The burgeoning press created a national audience that profoundly shaped the workings of Congress, breeding a culture of publicity that compelled congressmen to defend themselves and their home states with fist-clenched diligence. Studying Congress through a cultural lens thus offers new insight into the crucial decades before the Civil War, revealing a series of cultural and institutional adaptations in an ongoing struggle to adapt the national government to a developing nation.

ACLS/New York Public Library Fellow
Professor, History, Yale University  -  “The Field of Blood”: The Culture of Congress in Antebellum America

Evie Shockley
Evie Shockley  |  Abstract
This project contextualizes and historicizes the relationship of race to poetic innovation in African American poets’ work by expanding the conventional understanding of “black aesthetics,” a concept closely identified with the Black Arts Movement (mid-1960s-1970s). By delineating the contours and consequences of African American poetic innovation in a range of historical and cultural moments, the study redefines black aesthetics to account for the century-long efforts of African American poets and critics to tackle issues of racial self-determination on the field of poetics. Ultimately, the project argues that black aesthetics exerts a powerful, yet often unrecognized influence, affirmatively and negatively motivating poetic innovation and overdetermining how such innovation is read.

Assistant Professor, English, Rutgers University-New Brunswick  -  Renegade Poetics: Black Aesthetics and Formal Innovation in African American Poetry

David A. Frick
David A. Frick  |  Abstract
This project examines the multiculturalism peculiar to a highly mixed early modern city on the periphery of Europe. How did such a diverse populace—five confessions, three religions, many languages and ethnicities—manage to coexist in relative peace in an age of confessional tensions? This study argues that Vilnius functioned because some members of every confession, at all levels of society, were willing to enter into interconfessional alliances of a great variety of sorts; and the rest mostly tolerated the situation. This investigation reshapes reigning views of the re-Catholicization of Poland-Lithuania, in particular, and of confessionalization in Europe, in general.

Professor, Slavic (Affiliated Professor, History), University of California, Berkeley  -  Kith, Kin, and Neighbors: The Community of Confessions in Seventeenth-Century Vilnius

David J. Silverman
David J. Silverman  |  Abstract
This project uses the history of the Brothertown community to explore the evolution of Indian race consciousness and American racial citizenship. In the 1770s, New England and Long Island Indians formed Brothertown in the Oneidas’ country in New York, to fend off white encroachment and black intermarriage. They expressed their racial identity through Protestantism, not violent resistance, and their goal was to apply civilzed reforms toward protection of their autonomy. Yet in the 1820s New York removed the Brothertown Indians to Wisconsin, and in the 1830s the federal government dissolved their community altogether. This is a story that links the Indians’ racial struggles with white Americans' own racial history.

ACLS Oscar Handlin Fellow
Assistant Professor, History, The George Washington University  -  Brothertown: American Indians and the Problem of Race

William O. Gardner
William O. Gardner  |  Abstract
This study examines how Japanese authors from 1960 through the present have explored the virtualization of contemporary life. It is divided into two pieces. The first examines imaginative renderings of the future city by both architectural theorists and literary authors, who increasingly conceive of the city in terms of simulation, generation, and flows of energy and information. The second investigates the virtualization of narrative subjects and literary texts, as authors explore a horizon of subjectivities outside of the physical body opened by new media and information technologies, as well as new modes of literary expression beyond the printed book.

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow
Assistant Professor, Modern Languages and Literatures, Swarthmore College  -  Virtual Japan: Media, Architecture, and Contemporary Fiction

Josef J. Stern
Josef J. Stern  |  Abstract
This study of Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed ties together three themes in his philosophy: his skeptism about human knowledge of metaphysics, his use of the parable as a mode of philosophical writing to express incomplete knowledge, and the role he gives to various exercises in achieving a happy life without the possibility of intellectual perfection. Underlying these three themes are assumptions about the tension between matter and form, or body and intellect, which precludes the possibility of becoming a perfectly actualized, or acquired, intellect. Weaving together critical exposition of Maimonides’ arguments with his use of parables, this study explores the symbiotic relation between his two styles of philosophical writing.

Professor, Philosophy, Committee on Jewish Studies, University of Chicago  -  Moses Maimonides' Skeptical Philosophy: The Matter and Form of The Guide of the Perplexed

Alan H. Goldman
Alan H. Goldman  |  Abstract
This study defends a modified Humean internalist view of practical reasoning and practical reasons. A Humean account holds that the reasons we have for acting are determined and limited by the motivations we have. Practical reasoning aims at coherence among motivations, intentions, and actions. Practical reasons are states of affairs constituted as reasons by informed and coherent motivational sets, including deep concerns, dispositions to behavior, evaluative judgments, and certain other mental states. This economical account of practical reason, which shows its unity with theoretical reason, is defended against major objections by proponents of external reasons and objective values.

Professor, Philosophy, College of William & Mary  -  Reasons from Within: A Subjectivist Account of Practical Reasons

Andrew F. Stewart
Andrew F. Stewart  |  Abstract
This study reappraises the evidence for the beginning of the classical style (i.e., the origins and inception of the so-called Severe Style) in Greek art in the light of recent archaeological work in the field. It concludes that the style began after the Persian invasions and Greek victories of 480-479 BC and was in part a response to them.

Professor, History of Art and Classics, University of California, Berkeley  -  The Persian Invasions of Greece and the "Classical Revolution" in Greek Art: A Reappraisal

Lei Guang
Lei Guang  |  Abstract
This study explores the politics of petitioning in China, focusing on the interaction of citizen petitioners, petition-handling bureaucrats, and the local state establishment in the petition process. Through archival work and field interviews, it aims to uncover the causes and consequences of citizens petitions, and to understand the moral-political universe of aggrieved individuals or groups and petition-handling officials in their respective quest for justice and political stability and legitimacy in China today.

Associate Professor, Political Science, San Diego State University  -  Justice at the Margin: Aggrieved Citizens, Nervous Officials, and the Making of Petitions as a Political Institution in China

Paul Henry Studtmann
Paul Henry Studtmann  |  Abstract
This study defends an interpretation according to which Aristotle's categorial scheme can be derived from systematic a priori semantic and metaphysical principles. Such an intepretation was popular in the Middle Ages but has fallen out of favor in the twentieth century due to a scholarly emphasis on the development of Aristotle's thought. Hence, this study not only updates the interpretation to take account of all the work done on Aristotle since the Middle Ages but extends and develops it in a number of ways.

Assistant Professor, Philosophy, Davidson College  -  The Foundations of Aristotle's Categorial Scheme

Matthew C. Gutmann
Matthew C. Gutmann  |  Abstract
When American soldiers go to war in Iraq, the violence they witness can leave them torn between loyalties to unit, nation, and conscience, caught between conflicting versions of a masculinist imperative to protect others. The subjects of this study are Veterans who became dissenters, young men who realized that such loyalties required them to break ranks, to criticize the war, and to leave the military. Based on over 40 oral histories with veterans, the study explores why they voluntarily joined the Army or the Marines with noble goals and patriotic ideals and how they returned from Iraq transformed. It provides needed empirical and theoretical work on men and war, and explores the “epiphanies of war” to explain social processes leading men to oppose this war.

Associate Professor, Anthropology, Brown University  -  Iraq Veterans in Dissent, Masculine Loyalties in Contention: Epiphanies among the Troops

Lisa Carol Summers
Lisa Carol Summers  |  Abstract
This project examines the creative ways that Baganda plotted, wrote, agitated, lobbied, organized, fought, and performed politics during the 1940s and 1950s. During this period, activists challenged oligarchic colonial alliances of indirect rule. They asserted a locally rooted, patriotic and populist political morality and ethic of citizenship that drew on the ideals and metaphors of Ganda familial norms, but did so with distinctly modern means, including newspapers, loudspeakers, international lobbying and publicity, and economic campaigns. Drawing on intelligence reports, anthropologists' notes, and other rich documentation, the study reconstructs this experiment in citizenship imagined in ideals of grandfathers and grandsons, and its collapse in loyalist marital metaphors in the 1950s.

Professor, History, University of Richmond  -  A Family Politics: Popular Activism in Late Colonial Buganda [Uganda]

Janet Gyatso
Janet Gyatso  |  Abstract
This project researches the intersections between Buddhism and medicine in seventeenth-century Tibet. It looks at debates among Tibetan medical writers on the status of empirical evidence and its relation to traditional Buddhist forms of authority. It explores distinctive configurations of medical culture in new forms of the visual arts, writing practices, notions of sex and gender, and conceptions of experience. It considers the overlap between Buddhist ethics and medical ethics, but also ways that medicine claimed autonomy from religious culture. Most broadly, the project offers a set of reflections on religion, science, and the dawn of modernity, and how each of these pertain to the Buddhist civilization crystalized in the Fifth Dalai Lama's newly centralized Tibetan state.

Professor, Divinity School, Harvard University  -  Medicine and Religion at the Apogee of the Tibetan Buddhist State

Kirsten N. Swinth
Kirsten N. Swinth  |  Abstract
This study is a cultural history of the working mother in America since 1950. Existing histories of rising maternal employment do not adequately explain why working mothers remain such charged figures in US society. This study interprets debates about working mothers as an index of how Americans have dealt with anxieties triggered by the simultaneous departure of mothers from the private sphere and the emergence of a postindustrial economic order. It provides close analysis of representations of the working mother in popular media, political debates, and social science, and draws upon this analysis to explain why the United States has not enacted family-friendly policies embraced by other nations. It also examines the cultural work performed by working-mother images in making sense of the new economic order.

Associate Professor, History and American Studies, Fordham University  -  Bringing Home the Bacon and Frying It Up Too: A Cultural History of the Working Mother in America, 1950-2000

Susan Ashbrook Harvey
Susan Ashbrook Harvey  |  Abstract
This study examines the role and function of women’s voices in late antique Syriac Christianity. Syriac homilies and doctrinal hymns utilized the technique of imagined speech for female biblical characters. The hymns were generally performed by women’s choirs in liturgies of the civic Syriac churches, a practice disallowed in Greek civic churches of the same period. This study asks how women’s speech was represented through biblical women, how that representation functioned in Christian teaching, why it was granted authority, and how ritual performance—by women’s choirs, male chanters, or male clergy, separately or in antiphonal exchange—contributed to the social meaning of women’s voices in the late antique Syrian Orient.

Professor, Religious Studies, Brown University  -  Teaching Women: Biblical Women and Women's Choirs in Syriac Tradition

Nhung Tuyet Tran
Nhung Tuyet Tran  |  Abstract
This project is a cultural history of gender in Viet Nam from the fifteenth through eighteenth centuries. One of the first source-based studies of Vietnamese gender, the monograph will serve as an important intervention in the study of Vietnamese historical identity and gender in East and Southeast Asian Studies. It challenges the prevailing paradigms of Vietnamese women, who have simultaneously represented tradition and modernity in the existing literature. By locating the experiences of Vietnamese women and men within the socio-economic changes of the fifteenth through eighteenth centuries, the study examines how the operations of power mediated and were mediated by individual strategies of survival.

Assistant Professor, History, University of Toronto  -  Vietnamese Women at the Crossroads of Southeast Asia: Gender, State, and Society in the Early Modern Period

David A. Hollinger
David A. Hollinger  |  Abstract
This study concentrates on the adult careers of children of missionaries who made a mark on the life of the United States in several distinctive arenas, including academic foreign-area studies, the foreign service, the presentation of foreign cultures through fiction and the arts, journalism and the media, and the ecumenical movement with Protestantism. Prominent among their ranks were Edwin Reischauer, Robert Goheen, Paul Simon, John Birch, John S. Service, John Paton Davies, Jr., Pearl Buck, John Hersey, and Henry Luce. These products of a heavily ethnocentric and culturally imperialist project often (but not always) grew up to be liberalizers and de-provincializers.

Professor, History, University of California, Berkeley  -  The Children of Missionaries and the American Encounter with the non-European World, 1930-1980

Arleen Marcia Tuchman
Arleen Marcia Tuchman  |  Abstract
This study examines the history of Type 2 diabetes in the United States. It begins in the late nineteenth century, when diabetes was considered a Jewish disease and a disease of wealth, and extends until the 1980s, by which time the link between diabetes and poor people of color had become firmly established. Working with written and visual sources, including medical and public health journals, popular magazines, government documents, and educational films, it examines how links to different ethnic and racial groups have been explained and justified; the actions that have been taken to gain control of this disease; and the constellation of factors that have driven both the steady increase in diabetes and the racial, ethnic, and class disparities that currently mark this disease.

Associate Professor, History, Vanderbilt University  -  Diabetes: A Cultural History

Jon D. Holtzman
Jon D. Holtzman  |  Abstract
The project examines oscillations between peaceful cooperation and lethal violence between Samburu herders and neighboring ethnic groups, in order to understand how the killings of intimates (e.g., friends, neighbors) is constructed as a single pole in a multifaceted and shifting interaction. Suggesting that memories of violence significantly shape interethnic understandings during both war and peace, parallel accounts will be collected of several violent encounters that form key points in collective memory, seen from the view of Samburu and five neighboring groups counterposed in these events. Through these accounts, this project explores how partially sublimated violent encounters both structure interethnic understandings in times of peace and foment unexpected outbreaks of violence.

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow
Assistant Professor, Anthropology, Western Michigan University  -  Killing Your Neighbors: Friendship, Violence, and Identity in Northern Kenya

Kenneth P. Winkler
Kenneth P. Winkler  |  Abstract
This is a study of the problem of personal identity in eighteenth-century British philosophy. The problem, first formulated by Locke, is to explain what makes a person the same through time. The problem is metaphysical, but Locke's motivation for exploring it was ethical: he was seeking a solution that would support ascriptions of moral responsibility and allow for belief in immortality. Many of those who followed him shared his ethical and religious preoccupations. The project examines three especially important attempts to address the problem: those of Locke, Shaftesbury, and Hume. It also considers the present-day relevance of the eighteenth-century debate.

Professor, Philosophy, Wellesley College  -  “All is Revolution in Us”: Personal Identity in Eighteenth-Century British Philosophy

Alison Frank Johnson
Alison Frank Johnson  |  Abstract
This project uses the central and eastern European Alpine region to explore different meanings of the phrase “healthy environment.” Since its defining unit of analysis is a geographical space rather than a specific nation or national group, it facilitates the discovery of commonalities between western, central, and eastern European regions. By braiding together four different but complementary strands of inquiry, it combines cultural, economic, environmental, and social history with the history of science. Those strands are 1) marketing mountain air (economic development and public health); 2) the impact of new technologies in transportation and communication (history of technology/science); 3) private property rights and environmental conservation; and 4) the intersection of religion and tourism.

Assistant Professor, History, Harvard University  -  Healthy Environments, Environmental Health: The Relationship between Clean Air, Divine Landscapes, and Economic Development in the European Alps

James A. Winn
James A. Winn  |  Abstract
During the reign of Queen Anne (1702-1714), Wren finished St. Paul’s, Handel brought Italian opera to London, Pope published his astonishing early poems, Addison and Steele began their popular journals, Manley wrote scandalous fictions, Farquhar and Addison staged influential plays, Swift and Defoe flourished as political journalists, and Kneller and Jervas painted portraits. This broad study explores the period’s tendency to read all the arts politically. Baroque and Palladian styles in architecture, native and foreign styles in opera, natural and artificial methods in landscape gardening, even competing vocabularies for pastoral poetry took on partisan valences that can only be understood through interdisciplinary research.

Professor, English, Boston University  -  Queen Anne Style: An Interdisciplinary History of British Culture, 1702-1714

Marie A. Kelleher
Marie A. Kelleher  |  Abstract
This project examines the relationship between women and law in high medieval Spain, exploring how law categorized women (e.g. daughter, wife, widow, whore), and showing how medieval women helped to shape the legal discourse that in many ways defined the boundaries of their lives. By the end of the Middle Ages, the ius commune—the combination of Roman and canon law taught in the medieval universities—formed the basis for most law codes in continental Europe, and its taxonomy of women was accepted as natural for centuries. But an examination of women's participation in medieval court proceedings as plaintiffs, defendants, and witnesses reveals the artificiality of these legal categories, and encourages a more nuanced understanding of women's experience than written law codes suggest.

Assistant Professor, History, California State University, Long Beach  -  The Measure of Woman: Law and Female Identity in Medieval Spain

Mary N. Woods
Mary N. Woods  |  Abstract
Gandhi's independence movement brought many women into the public realm for the first time, inspiring the first women professionals in India and Sri Lanka to design for the new nation-state. It also mythologized women as Mother India, guardians of tradition. Theirs was, I argue, an indigenous modernism consonant with Gandhi's vision of craft and community and often at odds with western ideas of innovation, technology, and master architects. Accepted for publication by Zubaan Books, New Delhi, this is the first study of women architects and South Asian modernism. Uncovering this history of indigenous modernities is crucial for comprehending modern architecture in a global context.

Professor, Architecture, Cornell University  -  Women Architects in India and Sri Lanka: Crafting a Modernism for the Nation-State, 1930s to Present

Cynthia J. Klestinec
Cynthia J. Klestinec  |  Abstract
Despite the range of skills covered by Renaissance surgery, historians continue to emphasize the surgeon’s manual dexterity in order to elaborate the foundations of anatomy and explore the innovation that characterized the Scientific Revolution. In contrast, this project examines the internally coherent set of traditions that comprised Renaissance surgery in order to understand the dynamic exchange between surgery, learned medicine, and vernacular healing. Combining literary and historical analysis and a range of Italian sources, it explains how surgeons adapted medical and humanist practices, as well as concepts of hygiene, as they organized training facilities, advertised skills, and treated patients.

Assistant Professor, Literature, Communication and Culture, Georgia Institute of Technology  -  Strong Hands, Clean Words: Renaissance Surgery and Its Patients

Leila C. Zenderland
Leila C. Zenderland  |  Abstract
The project explores the international significance of the field called "culture and personality studies" in the 1930s. It focuses on a unique academic experiment of this era: the "Seminar on the Impact of Culture on Personality" held at Yale University during the 1932-33 school year. Sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation and led by linguistic anthropologist Edward Sapir and social psychologist John Dollard, this seminar brought 13 foreign scholars to New Haven to spend one year working together. This project reassesses the global ramifications of this seminar in particular, and of "culture and personality studies" more generally, by analyzing the work later produced by seminar participants when they returned home to nearly a dozen different countries.

Professor, American Studies, California State University, Fullerton  -  Yale's Seminar on the Impact of Culture and Personality and Its Legacies

Paul A. Kramer
Paul A. Kramer  |  Abstract
This project researches Filipino migration to United States territory in the interwar period through the lens of “imperial citizenship:” the claims that colonial subjects could make on their ruling power. Following the United States’s conquest of the Islands (1898-1902), colonial policy aimed at developing the Philippines as a separate territory, but following World War I, large numbers of Filipinos—who had the right to migrate as “US nationals”—traveled to the West Coast, many through Hawaii. As they confronted labor repression, racial exclusion, and nativist movements, Filipinos articulated “imperial” claims on the grounds of their “allegiance” to the United States, asserting their rights to migrate, to be naturalized, to sexual and conjugal freedom, and to labor and welfare rights.

Associate Professor, History, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor  -  Migration, Citizenship, and Empire in the Interwar Pacific