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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Please note: affiliations shown are as of time of award. Please click on fellows' names for current information.

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

Javier Auyero
Javier Auyero  |  Abstract
Drawing upon archival research and long-term ethnographic fieldwork in Flammable shantytown (a poverty enclave located in the outskirts of the city of Buenos Aires), this project places the (contaminated) environment at the center of the study of urban marginality in Latin America. In particular, the project describes the life-threatening effects of environmental contamination in the shantytown and explains the meanings its residents ascribe to it. The main questions the study addresses are the following: How do poor people make sense of (and cope with) toxic danger? When and why do they fail to understand (and to act on) what is objectively a clear and present danger? How and why are (mis)perceptions shared within a community?

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow
Associate Professor, Sociology, State University of New York, Stony Brook  -  Flammable: An Ethnography of Environmental Suffering

Allen F. Isaacman
Allen F. Isaacman  |  Abstract
This study explores the social, ecological, and cultural consequences of the building of the Cahora Bassa dam. It challenges the dominant state-centric narrative heralding dams as icons of modernity. Peasants, fisher folk, and the Africans who built the dam tell a very different story. When they speak of the dam, they recall memories of violent evictions from their flooded homelands and the disruption of community. They remember the harsh labor conditions on the dam site,and express concern over the decline of fish, the obliteration of sacred sites, and the fact that the highly visible power lines do not bring them electricity. In short, they offer an alternative narrative whose overarching themes are about displaced people, displaced energy, and displaced memories.

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow
Professor, History, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities  -  Displaced People, Displaced Energy, Displaced Memories: A Social and Environmental History of the Building of the Cahora Bassa Dam [Mozambique], 1975-2007

Sven Beckert
Sven Beckert  |  Abstract
“The Empire of Cotton: A Global History” is the first comprehensive history of the nineteenth century’s most important commodity. Following cotton from the fields to the ships, from the merchant houses to the factories, from the looms to consumers, this project provides a fresh analysis of the factors that led to the spread of cotton production, and its impact on the lives of people in regions ranging from Mississippi to Bombay. It explores the unprecedented economic, social, and political links forged by cotton and investigates why the commodity’s history—and with it the history of capitalism—can only be understood by putting these global networks, identities, institutions, and processes at the center of the story. Through one powerful example, this study tells the story of nineteenth-century globalization.

Professor, History, Harvard University  -  The Empire of Cotton: A Global History

Colin Jager
Colin Jager  |  Abstract
"Romanticism and Secularism" is a study of secularism from 1688 to the early nineteenth century. Concentrating primarily but not exclusively upon Great Britain, and primarily but not exclusively upon literary culture, the study shows first how romantic ideals of "the literary" influenced debates about secularism and religion, and second how those ideals continue to shape our understanding of secularism and religion today. This project therefore intervenes in romantic studies, joining other recent books in developing a more nuanced picture of the relationship between romanticism and religion. By offering a "literary history" of secularism, moreover, this study also intervenes in a conversation about secularism that has thus far been dominated by sociologists and anthropologists.

Associate Professor, English, Rutgers University-New Brunswick  -  Romanticism and Secularism

Gail Bederman
Gail Bederman  |  Abstract
This narrative history recovers the lost tale of the earliest birth control movement and argues that it is the ancestor of today's reproductive rights movement. Historians have not realized that the first pro-contraception activists (Francis Place, Richard Carlile, R.D. Owen, and, indirectly, Fanny Wright) saw themselves as a united movement, nor that they saw birth control as merely one aspect of their egalitarian program to reform marriage and sexuality. In their lives as well as their writings, these radical intellectuals consciously continued the 1790s tradition of Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin; this project also contains an analysis of Wollstonecraft and Godwin’s influence on T.R. Malthus's population principle.

Associate Professor, History, University of Notre Dame  -  Sex, Politics, and Contraception in England and the United States, 1793-1831: The Earliest Origins of the Reproductive Rights Movement

Joy S. Kim
Joy S. Kim  |  Abstract
This project examines Korea’s uneasy relationship with the institution of slavery and its cultural and intellectual legacies. Slavery, until its abolition in 1894, was an integral part of Korean society for more than a millennium, yet its history has been condemned, denied, and effaced. But Korean slavery was slavery. Tracing the ways in which slavery was represented first by the slave-owning neo-Confucian elites in the late Choson period (17th - 19th c.), and later by twentieth-century historians, this project explores the correlation between the institution of slavery and elite/national identity construction. This project not only speaks to the distinction of social power, but also addresses one of the central issues in Korea’s engagement with its contested past.

Assistant Professor, East Asian Studies, Princeton University  -  Representing Slavery: Class and Status in Late Choson Korea

Michael D. Bess
Michael D. Bess  |  Abstract
This project is on the ethical and social implications of new technologies for human biological enhancement: the reconfiguring and boosting of our physical and mental capabilities. These technologies are developing ever more rapidly, along three major fronts: pharmaceuticals, prosthetics/informatics, and genetics. This study charts the history of these technologies since World War II, with particular emphasis on the controversies that have surrounded their development, to explore the assumptions about human identity prevalent among those who have been addressing this emergent phenomenon, both inside and outside of academia. It also offers a clearer, more synthetic conceptual framework than is currently available for addressing the social implications of enhancement technologies.

Professor, History, Vanderbilt University  -  Icarus 2.0: A Historian’s Perspective on Human Biological Enhancement

Mireille M. Lee
Mireille M. Lee  |  Abstract
This interdisciplinary study reconstructs ancient Greek dress practices in light of current dress theory. Although scholars have explored particular aspects of ancient Greek dress in the textual, visual, and archaeological record, this is the first full-length monograph on Greek dress to be published in English in over a century. It should find a broad readership among scholars and students of classics, archaeology, art history, dress, cultural studies, and gender studies.

Visiting Assistant Professor, Classics and Art, Macalester College  -  Kalos Kosmos: The Body, Dress, and Identity in Early Greece

James J. Bloom
James J. Bloom  |  Abstract
This project asserts the marginal status of painting within the spectrum of luxury goods consumed by the Burgundian court in the fifteenth century, juxtaposing this historical circumstance with the demonstrable proliferation of painting in the early sixteenth century. It illuminates the radical transformation in both the form and content of painting in this period by investigating the relationship between medium, social function, and class identity. This study argues that the nascent middle class seized upon painting as a means to articulate its identity by appropriating the representational strategies of the aristocracy; in so doing, they adapted painting for the representation of the moralized narratives produced within the burgeoning discourse of humanism.

Assistant Professor, History of Art, Vanderbilt University  -  The Birth of the Middle Class and the Rise of Painting in Early Modern Flanders

Christopher I. Lehrich
Christopher I. Lehrich  |  Abstract
“Music Hath Charms” makes three fundamental claims. First, it argues that musicology, particularly musical semiology, affords valuable resources for the field of ritual studies. Second, it shows that a ritual studies perspective, especially a practice approach, applied to musical works in the western "classical" tradition opens new avenues for interpretation and understanding. And third, it suggests that these two converse claims have their common ground in the intertwined intellectual and cultural histories of ritual and music in the west. Through close readings of important musical works, inflected by both modern and contemporary discourses on ritual and history, this study argues for an interdisciplinary, comparative approach to elite cultural products in their intellectual and aesthetic contexts.

Assistant Professor, Religious Studies, Boston University  -  Music Hath Charms: Ritual, History, and Representation

Edward Branigan
Edward Branigan  |  Abstract
This project is the first book-length treatment in the field of media studies to examine the interaction of color with a perceiver. It involves an intricate weaving of many types of discourse—i.e., the numerous ways we have of talking about our interests, desires, projects, values, and emplacements in daily life. Examining how color is made and consumed in an industrial and cultural climate involves consideration of physics, psychology, aesthetics, anthropology, history, and the new sciences of the mind. A variety of methods are explored for analyzing color in moving imagery. Color is not just “out there,” but also a medium of exchange at the box office as well as between a person’s imagination and expectation.

Professor, Film and Media Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara  -  Color in Cinema: Language, Memory, Commerce

Michael Leja
Michael Leja  |  Abstract
In the middle of the nineteenth century, new technologies for making pictures and new appetites and uses for images fostered industrialized production and mass distribution. Pictures could now be produced in very large editions, and they were found in the pages of the illustrated press, on kiosks, on paper money, in photo albums, and domestic interiors. This project entails close examination of this formative moment, focusing primarily on developments in the United States as seen through lenses both art-historical and sociological. How do longstanding pictorial traditions change in response to industrial production and mass circulation? How do the social relations among individuals and groups change as they become increasingly mediated by pictures? What were the implications for art?

Professor, History of Art, University of Pennsylvania  -  The Flood of Pictures in the Mid-Nineteenth Century

Christina Maria Bueno
Christina Maria Bueno  |  Abstract
Based on extensive research in Mexico-City archives, this study examines the ways in which Mexico's Porfirian state (1877-1911) used archaeology for the purpose of state- and nation-building. It looks at the various federal projects to control and display the Indian past, analyzing the National Museum as well as the making of the nation's first official archaeological site at Teotihuacan in 1910. It also examines how the federal government's projects impacted locals at the ruins, both those who resisted and aided the state.

Assistant Professor, History, Northeastern Illinois University  -  Excavating Identity: Archaeology and the Making of Modern Mexico, 1877-1911

Bettina R. Lerner
Bettina R. Lerner  |  Abstract
The first half of the nineteenth century gave rise to important changes in the ways popular culture was produced and consumed in France. “Inventing the Popular” is a study of the newspapers, almanacs, histories, novels, poetry, and spectacles which redefined the place and meaning of popular practices within the broader cultural field. These texts situate the modern notion of popular at the convergence of political and artistic ideals, while outlining the distinctions between high and low, dominant and subordinate, authentic and artificial which continue to structure mass culture and the ideologies it replicates.

Assistant Professor, Foreign Languages and Literatures, City University of New York, City College  -  Inventing the Popular: Literature and Culture in Nineteenth-Century France

Judith P. Butler
Judith P. Butler  |  Abstract
This study considers several twentieth-century Jewish thinkers who offered public criticisms of state violence and encountered the risks and obligations of making such public claims. A deliberate consideration of major Jewish intellectuals, including Walter Benjamin, Martin Buber, Emmanuel Levinas, Hannah Arendt, and Primo Levi, yields critical perspectives on state violence formulated through ideals derived from Jewish philosophical or religious thought or from twentieth-century reflections on dispossession and genocide. Public criticisms against gratuitous state violence, arguments in favor of co-habitation, and opposition to dispossession constitute important, if underappreciated, dimensions of Jewish values.

Professor, Rhetoric and Comparative Literature, University of California, Berkeley  -  “The Critique of Violence and Other Jewish Quandaries”: A Study of Jewish Criticisms of State Violence and Dispossession in the Twentieth Century, Focusing on Walter Benjamin, Martin Buber, Hannah Arendt, Primo Levi, and Emmanuel Levinas.

Karma D. Lochrie
Karma D. Lochrie  |  Abstract
This project disputes the scholarly commonplace that Thomas More invented utopia as a concept. This study argues that there was a complex tradition of medieval precursors to More's idea that have so far been overlooked by scholars. In addition, it offers a theory of medieval utopia that departs from current theory derived from More's work. Drawing on recent work in the history of geography and cartography, this project delineates utopian trajectories in medieval texts leading up to More's Utopia. Finally, this project also suggests that Thomas More's text was engaged with a particular medieval legacy extending back to William Langland's Piers Plowman.

Professor, English, Indiana University Bloomington  -  Looking Backwards: Imagining Utopia in the Middle Ages

Charles Capper
Charles Capper  |  Abstract
This is the first comprehensive history of American Transcendentalism. It focuses on the movement's leaders, interactions, and writings in a thick narrative of connected episodes embedded in overlapping networks of their followers, publics, and milieus. Transcendentalism’s central historical contribution—the intellectual invention of idealist individuality in America—is an alternative vision of democratic society and culture to that of the predominant ideologies of democracy, one that retains affinities with popular "liberal Romantic" movements of reform. As America's primordial "avant-garde" intellectual class, the Transcendentalists foreshadowed major tensions between democratic values, liberal religion, and cultural critique in the modern era.

Professor, History, Boston University  -  The Transcendental Moment: Romantic Intellect and America's Democratic Awakening

Shari L. Lowin
Shari L. Lowin  |  Abstract
"Sex and God" investigates a subset of Muslim and Jewish poetry in medieval Spain: erotic poems written by religious scholars in which the lover-beloved relationship is compared to scriptural storylines. Although both sets of poets eroticize their sacred forbears in such poems, they do so with different results. Muslims utilized their scriptural corpus in order to sanctify earthly, often prohibited, love; although the Jewish scholars employ their own scripture to the same effect, a number appear to take a step further. Some of the erotic Hebrew poetry contains subversive and surprisingly placed Biblical exegesis. A comparison of this erotic poetry to the poets’ traditional exegetical writings sheds light on understanding why they embedded exegesis of the sacred into poems about the profane.

Assistant Professor, Religious Studies, Stonehill College  -  Sex and God: On Religious Scholars and Erotic Love Poetry in Medieval Andalusia

Martin L. Chase
Martin L. Chase  |  Abstract
I plan to produce a critical edition, with full apparatus, commentary, and translation into English, of previously unedited devotional poetry composed in Iceland at the end of the medieval period. The first stage of the larger project will be an edition of Siðbót ("Conversion"), a 52-stanza poem on the biblical story of Susanna, which I plan to submit for publication in 2009. Siðbót has affinities with the Middle English Pistel of Swete Susan, and my edition will include a comparative study. I will subsequently edit the five related poems that remain inaccessible. My work will involve transcribing the poems from manuscripts and establishing critical texts, as well as investigating the linguistic, literary, theological, and social context of these works from the eve of the Reformation.

Associate Professor, English, Fordham University  -  Old Norse Christian Poetry at the End of the Middle Ages

Nancy K. MacLean
Nancy K. MacLean  |  Abstract
This project examines the five-year long public school closures to prevent desegregation in Prince Edward County, Virginia, for new insight into the global phenomenon called “neoliberalism.” The Virginia story reveals how the push for privatization answered the biggest expansion of citizenship rights since Reconstruction, as the state legislature created the first private school vouchers in modern US history. This study follows the process that led a core group of Virginia conservatives from state-sponsored segregation to market-based strategies to insulate privilege from challenge, and to practical coalition-building with allies elsewhere, notably the newly launched northern-based conservative movement, proponents of Christian schools, the Republican Party, and leaders of kindred movements.

Professor, History, Northwestern University  -  “Freedom Is the Answer”: The Strange Career of School Vouchers

Zahid R. Chaudhary
Zahid R. Chaudhary  |  Abstract
How do our understandings of the age of mechanical reproduction change in light of colonial history? Starting with the Sepoy revolt of 1857, this project analyzes how various genres of colonial photography have engaged with the historical violence that surrounds, subtends, and produces them. The study develops a reading practice that foregrounds the photographs themselves, in a way that addresses their material, aesthetic, and political-historical import. This is an interdisciplinary project that considers archival material of colonial governance, contemporaneous travel accounts, and nineteenth-century Anglo-Indian literature as complements to the rich photographic archive itself.

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow
Assistant Professor, English, Princeton University  -  Afterimages of Empire: Photography, Aesthetics, and Colonialism in Nineteenth Century India

Gregory Maertz
Gregory Maertz  |  Abstract
"House of Art" is based on the archives of the House of German Art (1937-49), a microcosm of Nazi cultural life intended to foreground the Nazi alternative to Classical Modernism. This study radically alters our understanding of officially-sanctioned art—its production, patronage, and exhibition history—and offers the missing evidence needed to support the work of scholars who are rethinking how modernism and modernity relate to Nazi art, architecture, film, and design. The newly uncovered materials supporting this analysis document Hitler's art purchases from 1939-44, the 15,000 artists who submitted work for the Great German Art Exhibitions, the correspondence of the postwar Processing and Settlement Office to artists, and purchase records of Nazi-era exhibitions.

Professor, English, Saint John's University (NY)  -  "House of Art: A Cultural History of Nazi Germany"

Janet Y. Chen
Janet Y. Chen  |  Abstract
“Guilty of Indigence” studies the lives of the urban poor and changing patterns of poor relief during a period of deepening social dislocation in China. The project traces the evolution of new attitudes towards poverty and new social welfare practices that emerged in the early twentieth century. At the same time, it places the urban poor at the center of historical inquiry. Drawing on hundreds of letters written by people living in workhouses, relief homes, and shantytowns in Beijing and Shanghai, “Guilty of Indigence” examines their hopes, frustrations, methods for coping with destitution, and often desperate struggles to survive.

supported in part by the Frederic E. Wakeman, Jr. Fund for Chinese History
Assistant Professor, History, Princeton University  -  Guilty of Indigence: The Urban Poor in China, 1900-1951

Maud S. Mandel
Maud S. Mandel  |  Abstract
“Beyond Antisemitism” seeks to understand the complex history that has brought French Jews and Muslims into conflict since 2000. Moving beyond explanations that reduce tensions solely to a by-product of the Arab/Israeli conflict or to a centuries’ long hatred between Islam and Judaism, the study investigates how France's colonial past, minority policies, and political culture have shaped ethno-religious politics in France throughout the latter half of the twentieth century. By untangling the misunderstood relationship between Muslims and Jews, “Beyond Antisemitism” sheds new light on ethno-religious integration in France and provide insight into one of the most troubling ethnic conflicts of our times.

Associate Professor, History and Judaic Studies, Brown University  -  Beyond Antisemitism: Muslims and Jews in France, 1948-2007

Matthew Isaac Cohen
Matthew Isaac Cohen  |  Abstract
This project is a critical history of stage representations of Java and Bali in North America, Europe, India, and elsewhere outside Indonesia, focusing on the late colonial period and early independence. It examines a shift in artistic sensibility from exotic Orientalism to ethnographic responsibility; the ways that performance established respect for Java and Bali’s cultures; and the structures of anitmodernism and cultural internationalism that co-articulated with performances. The diverse figures investigated include Mata Hari, Richard Teschner, Jodjana, Stella Bloch, Devi Dja, and Rabindranath Tagore. By recollecting forbears’ artistic careers, this study provides a resource for contemporary performers and scholars moving between cultures and continents to reflect upon our own predicaments.

Senior Lecturer, Drama and Theatre, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK  -  Performing Java and Bali on International Stages: Routes from the Indies, 1905-1952

Alexander M. Martin
Alexander M. Martin  |  Abstract
This project examines the history of Moscow through the prism of the three-way encounter between the modernizing ambitions of the tsarist regime, the perceptions of Russian and European writers, and Russian social realities. Its thesis is that the enlightened-absolutist project of urban modernization was pursued in Russia far longer than elsewhere in Europe—from the 1770s to the 1850s—and that it achieved limited but steady progress in transforming Moscow society according to the regime’s vision. However, because cultural representations have their own dynamic, educated society’s confidence grew only until the 1830s and then began to wane. During the 1850s-70s, massive social and cultural changes doomed the regime’s urban project in both public perception and everyday reality.

Associate Professor, History, University of Notre Dame  -  Enlightened Absolutism and Urban Modernity in Moscow, 1763-1881

Frederick Cooper
Frederick Cooper  |  Abstract
This project is on"imperial citizenship" from 1946, when all "subjects" in the French empire became citizens, until the independence of French Africa in 1960. Citizenship as a claim-making construct, not simply a status. African political leaders tried to add substance to French citizenship-social and economic equality as well as equitable political institutions. Political mobilization, dialogue, and confrontation in the 1950s brought out tension between assertions of difference and equality, between African claims to nationhood and efforts to turn empire into a federation in which sovereignty would be shared. Exclusionary concepts of nationality and citizenship were not a direct carry-over of colonial patterns, but a reversal of the pattern of 1945 to 1960. Both sides of the colonial divide had to make themselves national.

Professor, History, New York University  -  Citizenship between Empire and Nation: France and French Africa, 1945-1960

Fiona McLaughlin
Fiona McLaughlin  |  Abstract
African languages often have urban variants that show evidence of contact with a former European colonial language. The topic of this study is Dakar Wolof, an urban variety of Wolof spoken in Senegal that differs from its rural counterparts by extensive lexical borrowing from French. Based on data gathered in Dakar in 2005 and 2006 and historical sources, the project contributes to an understanding of how speakers create language in situations of contact by providing an extensive description of the grammar of Dakar Wolof. It also considers how language both shapes and is shaped by its social context over time and space. The empirical case study provides the basis for theoretical arguments that the individual linguistic repertoire deserves a central place as an object of linguistic study.

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow
Associate Professor, African and Asian Languages and Literatures, and Linguistics, University of Florida  -  Dakar Wolof: The Language of an African City

Aurelian Craiutu
Aurelian Craiutu  |  Abstract
In spite of its importance, moderation has never been properly analyzed by political philosophers and is still regarded as an elusive concept. This study explores various aspects of moderation in modern political thought by drawing on a wide range of writings from related fields such as history, political science (theory), and philosophy. This project explores the following questions: What does it mean to be a moderate voice in political and public life? What are the virtues and limitations of moderation? How do moderate minds operate in politics compared to more radical spirits? What are the characteristics of “middlingness” and the “middling” mind? What are the common elements of the “moderate” style that endure over time?

Associate Professor, Political Science, Indiana University Bloomington  -  The “Extremism” of the Center: Faces of Moderation in Modern Political Thought

Jeff McMahan
Jeff McMahan  |  Abstract
This project criticizes the currently orthodox theory of the just war, defends an alternative set of principles grounded in familiar moral and legal principles of liability to defensive force, and applies those principles to such problems as the nature of a just cause for war, the permissibility of preventive war, the permissibility of humanitarian intervention, and the relation between the morality of war and the law of war.

Professor, Philosophy, Rutgers University-New Brunswick  -  The Morality and Law of War

Anastasia Dakouri-Hild
Anastasia Dakouri-Hild  |  Abstract
This study examines a significant but long-neglected site of prehistoric Greece, the so-called House of Kadmos in Thebes (aka ‘Old Kadmeion’). The project is based on 10 years of field work at the site (1997-2007), which involved re-excavation, architectural documentation, systematic cataloguing of finds, and archival work on the early twentieth-century excavation diaries. The study is intended as a source of primary information for future research and the first interpretative synthesis of the site and assemblage. The project refines knowledge of Theban and Greek prehistory in general and illuminate broader aspects of Aegean prehistoric societies: e.g. state and the elite, production, administration and trade, and ideological and political uses of visual culture.

Visiting Assistant Professor, Lindner Center for Art History, University of Virginia  -  The House of Kadmos at Thebes, Greece: The Excavations of A. D. Keramopoullos

Joanne Meyerowitz
Joanne Meyerowitz  |  Abstract
From the late 1920s into the 1950s, a loose network of public intellectuals, known as the "culture and personality school," collaborated in an epistemic shift in social thought that reverberated through the rest of the twentieth century. They explicitly rejected theories that located meaningful difference in biology and investigated instead how culture and childrearing produced human behavior and social divisions. They applied their approach to race, gender, sexuality, fascism, and military aggression. This study uses the "culture and personality school" to explore the influence of social constructionist thought in the twentieth-century US In so doing, it traces how a group of intellectuals and their popularizers shaped law, policy, and social movements.

Professor, History and American Studies, Yale University  -  Explaining Human Difference

Raphael Dalleo
Raphael Dalleo  |  Abstract
In the Caribbean, where some nations (Haiti, Dominican Republic) achieved formal independence in the nineteenth century, while others islands (Puerto Rico, Guadeloupe, Martinique) remain under outside control, the term postcolonial hardly works as a political designator. Because of this heterogeneity, the region can be an ideal test-case for pressing the precise signification of the term “postcolonial.” This project situates the term historically, contrasting Caribbean postcolonial literature with its anticolonial predecessor. Rather than doing this via formal characteristics or thematic concerns, the study argues that the fundamental difference is literature’s place in society, both in terms of what roles are available to writers and how writers define what they do within that field of possibilities.

Assistant Professor, English, Florida Atlantic University  -  Caribbean Literature from Anticolonial to Postcolonial

Victoria L. Nelson
Victoria L. Nelson  |  Abstract
This study of the “Gothick” (a robust genre that has flourished in myriad permutations from the eighteenth century to the present day) is based in the era from which its first practitioners drew their inspiration: the late Middle Ages, its religious cosmology, its literary conventions, and its visual art. This project references fourteenth- and fifteenth-century genres (romances, dream visions, and mystery/morality plays) in their post-Enlightenment reimagining, from Gothick novel and Romantic narrative through nineteenth-century ghost stories into the complex arena of twentieth- and early twenty-first-century subgenres. The Gothick is the crucible in which elements of medieval religious and popular belief were transformed into the floating supernatural lore of contemporary popular culture: monsters, vampires, and ghosts.

Senior Lecturer, Creative Writing, Goddard College  -  GOTHICKA: A Story of Subgenres

John M. Doris
John M. Doris  |  Abstract
In much moral philosophy, persons are characterized by reflective activity—a conscious and concerted mentation effecting control of behavioral outcomes. In social and cognitive psychology, quantities of work on automatic processing suggest that this philosophical conception of persons is empirically inadequate; much human behavior is the outcome of processes that are not conscious, not controlled, and very often evaluatively incongruent with the deliverances of reflective deliberation. An empirically adequate conception of persons will therefore de-emphasize reflection; instead, the human ethical distinctiveness marked with honorifics such as “rational” and “person” is to be found in the collaborative social cognition and behavior of humans living in groups.

Associate Professor, Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology, Washington University in St. Louis  -  A Natural History of the Self

Christian Lee Novetzke
Christian Lee Novetzke  |  Abstract
A fascinating culture arose in the Maratha Empire/Confederacy in India around the turn of the eighteenth century involving the public performance of a poetic-performative genre of love song called lawani. This poetic performance often expresses anxiety and erotic yearning for one's departed lover, commonly a man who has gone off to war. Like many empires, the Maratha one produced some of its most brilliant cultural creations just before its downfall, a beautiful swan-song delivered in apparent ignorance of the dominion's imminent fate. This project studies lawani and its public contexts as resources for reading this moment of imperial anxiety, engaging contestations over gender, class, caste, and religion in a time of fading Empire.

Assistant Professor, Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington  -  Love at the End of Empire: A Cultural History of the Late Maratha Confederacy in India

Roquinaldo Amaral Ferreira
Roquinaldo Amaral Ferreira  |  Abstract
This study is on the impacts of the tight commercial, social, and cultural links with Brazil in the development of Atlantic slaving in Angola. It is based on the most comprehensive research ever conducted on the nature of Atlantic slaving in Angola, conducted in several untapped collections in Angola, Brazil, Portugal, England, and the United States. The implications of this project stretch beyond African History because of the critical importance of Angola in the African Diaspora and the Atlantic World. “Bonds of Captivity” resets the terms of analysis of slaving in the Atlantic World away from macro-history towards a micro-history analysis necessary for understanding individual agency in the context of slaving.

Assistant Professor, History/African-American and African Studies, University of Virginia  -  Bonds of Captivity: Brazil and the Transformations of Atlantic Slaving in Angola, 1680-1830

Nadia Nurhussein
Nadia Nurhussein  |  Abstract
This project explores the production and reception of dialect in nineteenth- and twentieth-century American poetry, organized around "rhetorics of literacy"—how poets direct readers, through the use of unusual subgenres, to experience the poetry as both oral and literate. In examining the details of authorial attempts to represent "nonstandard" speech along with the socio-cultural contexts of reading dialect, both silently and aloud, this project shows what dialect poetry's visible markers (such as odd orthography, punctuation, and spatiality) can reveal about its oscillation between orality and literacy and its function as a popular but strangely difficult form.

Assistant Professor, English, University of Massachusetts Boston  -  Rhetorics of Literacy: American Dialect Poetry, 1870-1930

Karen E. Fields
Karen E. Fields  |  Abstract
“Bordeaux’s Africa” offers a new conceptualization of the African Diaspora. Instead of focusing on the the “triangle” of the triangular trade along its Africa-to-America base, this book takes as its vantage-point one European apex, Bordeaux. From that standpoint, slave-trading and slavery come into view as a vast movement of things along the triangle’s two legs: one outbound, the route of things to buy people with; and the other inbound, the route of things the bought people have produced. By reconstructing production and/or acquisition of outbound commodities for the slave trade—here, wine/brandy, gunpowder, and cotton cloth—it becomes possible to register, within Europe, the creation of the African Diaspora. The same applies to inbound commodities.

Visiting Scholar, African American and Diaspora Studies, Vanderbilt University  -  Bordeaux's Africa: People and Things in the Slave Trade and After

Tammy Marie Nyden
Tammy Marie Nyden  |  Abstract
Burchard de Volder was the first physics professor to introduce experimental methodologies to the university classroom. The fact that he did so at the University of Leiden, one of the most important institutions in seventeenth-century scientific education, made him largely responsible for the dissemination and acceptance of Newtonian physics. This study examines the institutional and cultural conditions that fostered De Volder’s commitment to experiment in both his philosophy and pedagogy. This project examines De Volder’s writings and correspondence, records of his teaching methods and lectures, and primary and secondary material on the teaching and reception of the new physics in Leiden.

Assistant Professor, Philosophy, Grinnell College  -  De Volder and the New Physics at the University of Leiden

Susan Fitzpatrick Behrens
Susan Fitzpatrick Behrens  |  Abstract
This project examines the invisible confluence of transnational projects initiated by foreign Catholic missionaries and secular government officials from the United States, Canada, and Europe. In the 1950s and 1960s, Catholic missionaries appeared as barriers to the spread of Communism. By the late 1970s, however, the Guatemalan military came to identify Catholic missionaries and Maya Catholics as communists and a key force behind the country’s growing guerrilla movement. Maya Catholics and clergy became targets of military repression. “Strange Bedfellows” explains this apparently dramatic contradiction by revealing the conflict between the interests of the country’s elite and Catholic missionaries’ efforts to facilitate Maya engagement in Guatemalan national politics and economics.

Assistant Professor, History, California State University, Northridge  -  Strange Bedfellows: Catholic-Civil Alliances and their Unintended Outcomes in Revolutionary Guatemala, 1943–1996

Pierpaolo Polzonetti
Pierpaolo Polzonetti  |  Abstract
This project documents, through newly discovered evidence, the craze for North American subjects in Italian opera during the years of the American Revolution. The located, collected, and examined operatic sources display an unprecedented configuration of social and gender roles, which led important composers, such as Piccinni, Paisiello, Haydn, and Mozart, to introduce far-reaching innovations in the musical and dramatic fabric of Italian comic opera.

Assistant Professor, Liberal Studies, University of Notre Dame  -  Italian Opera in the Age of the American Revolution

Rachel Fulton Brown
Rachel Fulton Brown  |  Abstract
This project is a study of the cognitive and experiential making of prayer in the monastic culture of the medieval West, with emphasis on the practices that developed from the tenth through the fifteenth centuries for prayer to the Trinity and the Virgin Mother of God. These practices included the recitation of a Little Office of the Virgin modeled on the monastic liturgy of the Hours, as well as meditation on the Joys and Sorrows of the Virgin through the recitation of the rosary. The immediate purpose is to find a way to describe monastic, Marian prayer as a practical art—that is, as a practice that takes skill and uses particular tools. The ultimate goal is to develop an understanding of the meaning and importance of worship as a creative act.

Associate Professor, History, University of Chicago  -  "Lord, Open My Lips": The Virgin Mary and the Art of Prayer, 1000-1500

Clifford Rosenberg
Clifford Rosenberg  |  Abstract
This monograph will study the spread of tuberculosis from France to North Africa and back, and efforts to control it, from 1830 to the present. It aims to broaden the discussion of empire from the ideological to the biological, but also to understand the limits and possibilities of preventive measures. How much emphasis, for example, was placed on vaccination on either side of the Mediterranean? It will pay particular attention to the interaction of metropolitan and colonial French public health organizations and the Pasteur Institute with international agencies like the World Health Organization and the Rockefeller Foundation. To what degree did authorities invest in dispensaries and sanatoria, or, after World War II, medication? To what effect?

Associate Professor, History, City University of New York, City College  -  The Colonial Politics of Public Health: Combating the Spread of Tuberculosis Between France and the Maghreb, 1830-Present

Thomas P. Gibson
Thomas P. Gibson  |  Abstract
This project examines contemporary political and religious movements in Islamic Southeast Asia. It begins with the Makassar people of South Sulawesi, Indonesia and proceeds to a series of comparative and historical analyses to construct a general theoretical argument about the relationship between the small-scale models of the ideal self inculcated through ritual and the large-scale models of the ideal state that have inspired social movements throughout the Islamic world in the modern era.

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow
Professor, Anthropology, University of Rochester  -  Ritual Knowledge and Social Movements in Islamic Southeast Asia

Laurie J. Sears
Laurie J. Sears  |  Abstract
This project considers colonial and postcolonial literary works as situated testimonies in order to examine the way dread and enchantment haunt twentieth-century Dutch Indies and Indonesian literary archives. It shows how literary works offer a method of reading the traces that elude the archive, emotional traces that historians may fail to witness or to record. In a figurative sense, the archive is a site of exclusion, haunting, and lack. In a literal sense, the archive points to collections of documents and testimonies that exist in institutional forms and spaces. This study explores how particular Dutch Indies and Indonesian literary works influence the way the past has been narrated in Indonesian archives under colonial conditions and in the face of postcolonial state repression.

Professor, History, University of Washington  -  Dread and Enchantment in the Indonesian Literary Archive

Jane E. Goodman
Jane E. Goodman  |  Abstract
This project examines Algerian vernacular theater as a pedagogical vehicle used by both secularizing and Islamist political movements to model new practices of citizenship. It studies theatrical initiatives from two periods when the ideological cleavage between Islamist and secularist currents was particularly acute: the struggle between Reform Islam and communism in the 1930s, and the conflict between Islamist and secularist movements of the 1990s-present. At both moments, theater emerged as a privileged site where Algerians of opposed ideological and political persuasions could give voice to shared concerns about the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. Research includes archival and ethnographic components and takes place in France and Algeria.

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow
Associate Professor, Communication and Culture, Indiana University Bloomington  -  Producing Algerian Publics: Theater, Ideology, and Civic Life

Naomi Sheindel Seidman
Naomi Sheindel Seidman  |  Abstract
This research studies the links between the emergence of modern Jewish literature and the transformation of the sexual structures, marital practices, and gender roles (and, inevitably, reading practices) of East European Jews. This history had two stages: the nineteenth-century Jewish Enlightenment writers viewed tradition (in their construction) as sexually repressive, providing literary models of “proper” romance or satirizing the “grotesque” sexual arrangements of traditional Jewish communities. By contrast, twentieth-century Hebrew and Yiddish modernists discovered erotic power in what they now viewed as the lost traditional past. New varieties of Jewish performance (of both tradition and modernity) created arenas for healing the sexual traumas of modernity.

Professor, Jewish Studies, Graduate Theological Union  -  Secularization and Sexuality: The Rise of Modern Jewish Literature and the Sexual Transformation of Ashkenaz

Kathryn J. Gutzwiller
Kathryn J. Gutzwiller  |  Abstract
Meleager’s anthology of Greek literary epigrams, entitled the Garland, contained over 125 of Meleager’s own epigrams, mostly erotic in nature. These poems not only vary in imaginative ways the themes and motifs of earlier epigrams, but they also foreshadow the moving personal tone of Roman love poetry. Despite his pivotal position in the transition from Hellenistic to Roman literary culture, Meleager has not received the scholarly attention accorded other major poets. This critical edition, translation, and scholarly commentary is the first in nearly 200 years devoted exclusively to his poetry. By emphasizing visual imagery, social practices, changing erotic attitudes, and evolving psychological and philosophical views, it updates the standard commentary form.

Professor, Classics, University of Cincinnati  -  The Poetics of Anthology: An Edition, Translation, and Commentary for the Epigrams of Meleager

Adam Sitze
Adam Sitze  |  Abstract
The purpose of “The Immune System” is to change the way South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is studied in the interdisciplinary subfield of legal studies known as “transitional justice.” This is the first study of the TRC to fully situate its use of amnesty in the context of the long series of indemnity acts and amnesties that preceded it in South African legal history. This standpoint offers a new understanding of the TRC’s moral, legal, and political significance: The genius of the TRC is not that it substituted restorative justice for legal justice, but that it inventively modified a form of political sovereignty in South Africa that originated under colonial conditions.

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow
Assistant Professor, Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought, Amherst College  -  The Immune System: Amnesty, Indemnity, and Sovereignty in South Africa

Christopher H. Hallett
Christopher H. Hallett  |  Abstract
For modern audiences the most appealing category of ancient art is Archaic art, while ‘Archaistic’ works—monuments created in Archaic style during the Classical and Hellenistic periods—are in contrast felt to be inauthentic and unimpressive. This is because what we moderns admire in Archaic art is not what the ancients most admired in it. Authors of Hellenistic and Roman times say very little about what they thought of the earliest monuments of their culture. But the many surviving ‘Archaistic’ works show us exactly what Archaic art looked like in the eyes of later Greeks and Romans. Archaistic statues and reliefs turn out to be documents of remarkable interest to the cultural historian. They represent a much-neglected body of material well worth reclaiming for the history of art.

Associate Professor, History of Art, University of California, Berkeley  -  Archaic Greek Sculpture in the Eyes of Ancient and Modern Viewers

Evgeny Steiner
Evgeny Steiner  |  Abstract
The Pushkin Museum in Moscow maintains thousands of objects of Chinese and Japanese art removed from Germany in 1945. Until recently, the existence of these holdings was denied, and the art was stored in the original crates practically unopened. This project involves assessing, identifying, and tracing the origins of pieces in the “special collections” of Japanese art. The majority of this displaced art probably came from Berlin’s Museum for East Asian Art, which lost more than 90% of its collections to the Red Army expropriation. The immediate result of the study is a compilation of the list of holdings and its publication, followed by an exhibition (ideally with the German side) returning this lost art to public view.

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow
Visiting Professor, Russian and Eurasian Studies and Japan Centre, University of Manchester, UK  -  “Special Collections” of Far Eastern Art in Moscow Museums: Displaced Art and Unraveling the Legacy of the Second World War

Donald John Harper
Donald John Harper  |  Abstract
Chinese manuscripts rediscovered (due to archaeological excavation and chance discovery) since the twentieth century provide a basis for knowledge of ancient and medieval Chinese culture that cannot be obtained from transmitted texts in post-medieval printed editions. This project addresses manuscripts with occult texts on divination, astrology, and magic, which represent occult knowledge intended for use in everyday life. Using codicological, text critical, and anthropological methods, this study demonstrates the continuity of occult knowledge across more than 1000 years due to the circulation of the written texts in manuscripts, often copied by readers themselves; it also offer insights on literacy in popular culture as well as on religion, magic, and science.

Professor, East Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago  -  Occult Texts and Everyday Knowledge in China in the Age of Manuscripts, Fourth Century B.C. to Tenth Century A.D.

Amy Murrell Taylor
Amy Murrell Taylor  |  Abstract
This project examines the large-scale flight of enslaved men, women, and children from farms and plantations to US army camps during the Civil War, a mass exodus widely credited with pressuring President Abraham Lincoln to initiate emancipation policies. But apart from these broad strokes, which are widely repeated but not deeply investigated in the historical literature on the US Civil War, we know very little about the people themselves: who they were, what circumstances surrounded their flight, and how they experienced life in wartime refugee camps. This social history of slave flight during the Civil War years reorients our attention by examining the process of emancipation in the United States from the perspective of individual refugees and their families.

Associate Professor, History, University of Albany, State University of New York  -  An Army of Fugitives: A History of the Men, Women, and Children Who Fled Slavery During the United States Civil War.

David J. Herman
David J. Herman  |  Abstract
This project explores the relevance of theories of narrative for research on the mind, while reciprocally using ideas from the cognitive sciences (including philosophy of mind, linguistics, psychology, and other fields) to enrich current-day understandings of narrative. The project thus has a twofold purpose: to show how humanistic research provides a context for examining the implications of ongoing studies of mind and intelligence; and conversely, to demonstrate how humanistic scholarship can benefit from closer engagement with recent developments in the cognitive sciences. In pursuit of both of these goals, the project uses stories presented in a variety of media to explore mental capacities and dispositions that provide grounds for--or, conversely, are grounded in--narrative experiences.

Professor, English, The Ohio State University  -  Storytelling and the Sciences of Mind

B. Ann Tlusty
B. Ann Tlusty  |  Abstract
This project explores the right and the duty of bearing arms in South German towns during the early modern period, and identifies the development of a weapons culture associated with notions of householding and citizenship. The approach is cultural rather than military, with a view towards understanding the relationship men had with their arms and what that meant to early modern identity. At the heart of the study is a rich array of archival sources, treated both qualitatively and quantitatively to reveal the day-to-day experiences of early modern German townspeople with weapons and violence. The result is a clearer understanding of the way in which early modern townspeople constructed gendered concepts of individual, household, and community.

Associate Professor, History, Bucknell University  -  Household, Community, and the Right to Bear Arms in Early Modern Germany

Daniel Hoffman
Daniel Hoffman  |  Abstract
This study of militia combatants from the recent wars in Sierra Leone and Liberia argues that the barracks, with its spatial, economic, and military organization of human bodies and labor, has become the nomos of West Africa's postmodernity. City neighborhoods, border villages, refugee camps, and other sites of aggregation throughout this region serve as barracks spaces that facilitate the efficient deployment of young men for labor in the region's diamond mines, rubber plantations, and battlefields.

Assistant Professor, Anthropology, University of Washington  -  Building the Barracks

John H. Van Engen
John H. Van Engen  |  Abstract
Twelfth-century Europe served medievalists through much of the twentieth century as the best answer to an abiding fascination with the origins of modernity. With it they laid claim to a medieval “renaissance” (Haskins) and “reformation” (Constable) that first set the tone for a distinctively European culture. In an age where neither the classics nor the Christian religion serve as presumptive paradigms, however, this period (roughly 1050-1200) needs a new conceptual approach and a new narrative. This study examines cultural dynamics that cut across religion and learning and politics, approaches it by way of forms of communication distinctive to the era, and shows how Europeans did indeed begin to think afresh about nearly all things from God to nature, the human to society.

Professor, History, University of Notre Dame  -  The Spirit of Twelfth-Century Europe: Reason and Revolt, Reading and Romance, in a World of Custom

Peter Isaac Holquist
Peter Isaac Holquist  |  Abstract
This project addresses the emergence and consolidation of the law of war from 1868 to 1917 and analyzes the unexpectedly important role of the Russian Empire in this process. The intellectual lineage for the law of war is very old, but it was only from the mid-nineteenth through the early twentieth century that the law of war as we know it today, such as the criteria for distinguishing “legal combatants” from “illegal combatants,” crystallized. By examining how and why the Russian Empire pressed for the codification of the laws of war, and then measuring the extent to which the Russian military observed them in three case studies of military occupation, I hope to address the core problem of how and to what degree intellectual concepts come to shape state policy and even military conduct.

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow
Associate Professor, History, University of Pennsylvania  -  "By Right of War": The Discipline and Practice of International Law in Imperial Russia, 1868-1917

Arthur Verhoogt
Arthur Verhoogt  |  Abstract
This project, based on detailed analysis of papyrus documents, describes the various strategies that local elites used to hold on to power in the changing social circumstances of the transition from Ptolemaic to Roman rule in Egypt. It shows how the two parts that made up the village elites in the Ptolemaic period (one "Egyptian," the other "Greek") responded in various ways to the new, legally defined, and precisely termed way in which the Romans measured class and status, which was completely different from how these had been measured under Ptolemaic rule.

Associate Professor, Classical Studies, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor  -  Village Elites in Egypt Between Ptolemaic and Roman Rule

Carl A. Huffman
Carl A. Huffman  |  Abstract
This is a study of the fourth-century B.C. Greek philosopher Aristoxenus as a historian of philosophy and biographer of philosophers. Aristoxenus is a crucial source for Pythagoras and early Pythagoreanism and wrote the first lives of Socrates and Plato. This project collects the fragments of Aristoxenus' works in this area, and provides English translations and detailed commentary. Reevaluation of Aristoxenus' evidence will provide insight into three of the most important figures in the western tradition: Pythagoras, Socrates, and Plato. The study also considers Aristoxenus as a member of Aristotle's school and, in particular, his role in the invention of the genre of biography. No book on Aristoxenus as a historian of philosophy and biographer exists in any language.

Professor, Classical Studies, DePauw University  -  Aristoxenus on the History of Greek Philosophy and the Biography of Greek Philosophers: Pythagoreanism, Pythagoras, Socrates, and Plato

Nicholas J. Watson
Nicholas J. Watson  |  Abstract
This is the first synthetic history of vernacular theological writing in England between the Norman Conquest and the Reformation, including works written in Old English, Anglo-Norman French, and Middle English, as well as in Latin. Through close examination of the recurrences of a set of themes, traditions, and texts over a half-millenium, the study tracks aspects of the process by which western Christianity established itself definitively as a secular or lay-oriented religion; a religion that, despite its constant appeal to the transcendent, is fundamentally directed towards the world. In the process, this research offers a synthetic literary history of England’s vernacular religious writing over the nearly 500-year period leading up to the Protestant Reformation.

Professor, English and American Literature and Language, Harvard University  -  Balaam's Ass: Vernacular Theology and the Secularization of England, 1050-1550

Paul W. Humphreys
Paul W. Humphreys  |  Abstract
This project provides a comprehensive framework within which contemporary philosophical and scientific theories of emergence can be accommodated. It does so by building on ontological accounts of emergence and epistemological analysis of computer simulation methods. An important part of the project is to examine the consequences that emergent phenomena have for the dominant philosophical approach of generative atomism. Other aspects of the project deal with emergence in complexity theory, reduction, and self-organization in the social sciences. It is an essential feature of the project to go well beyond issues in the philosophy of mind.

Professor, Philosophy, University of Virginia  -  Emergence: Philosophical and Scientific Aspects

Byeong-Uk Yi
Byeong-Uk Yi  |  Abstract
Plural constructions of natural languages form an important group of linguistic devices that enriches our expressive power and helps to extend the limits of our thoughts. But contemporary accounts of language have serious difficulties in dealing with their logic and meaning. The difficulties stem from fundamental limitations of traditional frameworks for understanding language, mind, and reality laid out by the main architects of our understanding of logic and language: Aristotle (384-322 BC) and Gottlob Frege (1848-1925). The aim of this study is to develop a post-Fregean framework that contains proper accounts of plural constructions as well as of their singular cousins.

Associate Professor, Philosophy, University of Toronto  -  The Logic and Meaning of Plural Constructions of Natural Languages

Christopher Paul Iannini
Christopher Paul Iannini  |  Abstract
This project pursues the complex West Indian routes of early American nature discourse. Early American writers and thinkers understood that that the material prosperity of the new nation depended on Caribbean nature. The natural environment of the Caribbean, they understood, had been transformed radically by the labor of enslaved Africans, the enterprise of Creole merchants and planters, and the new appetites of European and American consumers for exotic West Indian commodities. Through varied aesthetic means, authors as prominent as Thomas Jefferson, St. John de Crevecoeur, and John Audubon presented Caribbean nature as the source of an ardently desired yet disruptive superabundance.

Assistant Professor, Literatures in English, Rutgers University-New Brunswick  -  Fatal Revolutions: Caribbean Natural History, Atlantic Slavery, and the Routes of Early American Literature