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.

Read more about this fellowship program.

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. 

Andrew J. Albin
Andrew J. Albin  |  Abstract
This project comprises critical commentary, translation, marginalia transcription and musical recording for the late medieval Anglo-Latin mystical treatise the “Melody of Love,” to be published by the Pontifical Institute for Mediaeval Studies. The “Melody of Love” represents the most spirited expression of the sensory mysticism of Richard Rolle, among the most widely read English authors of the Middle Ages and a highly influential figure for the period’s spiritual practices. Composed in mesmerizing alliterative Latin prose, the treatise has never been translated into English in its medieval or modern history and thus suffers from a vacuum of scholarly attention. This project redresses both oversights by offering much-needed commentary and interdisciplinary context alongside a stylistically analogous English prose rendering.

Assistant Professor, English, Fordham University  -  Richard Rolle’s Melody of Love: Alliterative Translation and Commentary

Laura Suzanne Lieber
Laura Suzanne Lieber  |  Abstract
This project examines Jewish, Samaritan, and Christian liturgical poetry from the fourth to the seventh century CE, through the lens of late ancient theories of oratory, rhetoric, and performance, and in light of material artifacts of the performative world (theaters, synagogues, and churches). The resulting volume will provide scholars of early Judaism, early Christianity, and classical studies with a new method for understanding these often-overlooked yet once immensely popular and influential works of literature and their pivotal role in late ancient society. Furthermore, while the focus will be on texts from the Mediterranean and Near East, the approach—literarily sensitive, culturally attuned, and comparative—will be of broad interest to those who work in literature, rhetoric, theater, and history.

Associate Professor, Religious Studies, Duke University  -  Staging the Sacred: Orchestrating Holiness in Late Antiquity

Waskar T. Ari-Chachaki
Waskar T. Ari-Chachaki  |  Abstract
This project concerns the development and circulation of discourses of social and economic autonomy among Aymara women. It shows that while internal colonialism was restructured in the making of the Bolivian nation state, Aymara women generated their own mechanisms of decolonization. The study compares the trajectories of four generations of women in Carabuco. By focusing on this indigenous area, it shows that the two Bolivian Agrarian Reforms of 1874 and 1953 were both ultimately concerned only with an ideology that reinforced the dominant heterosexualism and patriariarcalism in a segregated country. By addressing marginalized groups, including single mothers, sexual minorities, and orphaned female children, the work offers an account of this period that reshapes Latin American rural history.

Associate Professor, History, University of Nebraska-Lincoln  -  Indigenous Women’s Strategies of Autonomy: Segregation, Sexuality, and Agrarian Reforms in Bolivia, 1870-1964

Brook Danielle Lillehaugen
Brook Danielle Lillehaugen  |  Abstract
The Zapotec language family has a long record of alphabetic texts, dating back to 1565. While Spanish-language texts from the Mexican colonial period are frequently consulted by scholars, the contemporaneous Zapotec-language texts are not, in part because of the challenge of interpreting the Zapotec-language manuscripts. This project elucidates the Zapotec-language materials by creating a collection of transcribed and translated wills, making them publicly available in an online text explorer which allows a non-linear exposition of the texts ( A book, including a sketch grammar of the Colonial Valley Zapotec language, draws from and complements these wills. Without such explication these texts will likely remain unused outside the small group of specialists already using them.

Assistant Professor, Linguistics, Haverford College  -  A Collection of Zapotec Indigenous Testaments in Translation with Linguistic Analysis and Annotation

Elif M. Babül
Elif M. Babül  |  Abstract
“The State in Training” is a project that traces the establishment of human rights as a governmental standard in Turkey, in tandem with the country’s pending accession to the European Union (EU). Focusing on human rights training programs for Turkish state officials that are conducted to fulfill EU membership requirements, it uncovers how transnational standardization schemes and programs for good governance affect local bureaucracies. The book maps out how the translation of human rights to markers of good governance, such as professionalization and expertise, shapes both the enactment of the state and the politics of human rights in Turkey. Based on long-term fieldwork between 2007 and 2014, the project articulates both the perils and the promises of these programs for the subjects and objects of governance in the country.

Assistant Professor, Sociology and Anthropology, Mount Holyoke College  -  The State in Training: Human Rights Translations and Encounters with Europe in Turkey

Nancy Christine Lutkehaus
Nancy Christine Lutkehaus  |  Abstract
Museums are known to be important sites for shaping and disseminating knowledge, including ideas about national identity, heritage, and the representation of cultural difference. This project argues that the history of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s decision in 1969 to collect and display what was then called “primitive art” illuminates the relationship between art and post-World War II, postcolonial politics, twentieth-century American cosmopolitanism, and a changing ideology of a more racially diverse national identity. Using the papers of Nelson Rockefeller, René d’Harnoncourt, and other key individuals, museum archives, and interviews, “The Met Goes Primitive” analyzes the social, political, and cultural context in which the Met’s board of trustees made the decision to institutionalize the collection of non-Western tribal artifacts, thus including these objects as part of the museum’s canon of world art, and the historical as well as the contemporary significance of this decision.

Professor, Anthropology, University of Southern California  -  “The Met Goes Primitive”: Postwar America, Cultural Politics, and the Creation of the Rockefeller Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Jessica Barnes
Jessica Barnes  |  Abstract
This project examines the longstanding and widespread identification of food security in Egypt with wheat and bread self-sufficiency. Drawing on ethnographic and archival work, the project follows wheat from its site of production or import, through its transformation into different breads, to its consumption in rural and urban households. Guiding questions include how shifting social relationships and practices along this commodity chain are underpinned by notions of security, taste, and identity; how understandings of Egypt’s bread supply have changed over the postwar period; and how Egypt’s self-sufficiency ambitions are tied to contemporary and historical efforts to develop new varieties of wheat and acquire land in Sudan for wheat cultivation. Through this analysis, the project offers insights into how bread and wheat continue to shape relations of power in Egyptian society, and, more broadly, into how food security is envisioned and experienced across scales.

Assistant Professor, Geography, University of South Carolina  -  Making Bread: The Cultural Politics of Food Security and Wheat Self-Sufficiency in Egypt

Wendy L. Luttrell
Wendy L. Luttrell  |  Abstract
Urban educational research, practice, and policy is preoccupied with brokenness, stigma, and blame, leaving too many people unable to recognize the capacities, possibilities, and desires of marginalized children and youth. This project offers an alternative angle of vision, animated by young people’s own perspectives of growing up in working-poor and immigrant communities of color. The book draws upon longitudinal research which put cameras in the hands of the young people to document their lives and schooling over time (at ages 10, 12, 16, and 18). The core theme of the book is the invisible and unacknowledged work that the children do to secure their education, compose their identities, and exercise their moral thinking about care and caring. Analysis of their visual narratives has far-reaching implications for re-thinking constructions of working-class childhood and reimagining educational policies and practices.

Professor, Urban Education and Sociology, City University of New York, The Graduate Center  -  Care-ful Visions: Re-imagining Education through Working-class Children's Eyes

Jacob Beck
Jacob Beck  |  Abstract
Human beings think and reason. Humans are, as Aristotle famously remarked, rational animals. Humans are also language users who utter and interpret sentences. Putting these two observations together has led philosophers to treat thoughts as mental sentences. Though widely accepted, this linguistic model of thought faces a significant problem. It struggles to accommodate nonhuman animals, which are too intelligent to lack thoughts altogether yet too different from humans to possess sentence-like thoughts. Drawing on work from the cognitive sciences, this project develops a philosophical account of nonlinguistic thought that enhances an understanding of nonhuman animals while reorienting an understanding of human uniqueness.

Assistant Professor, Philosophy, York University  -  Beyond Language: How the Mind Represents the World

Ruth MacKay
Ruth MacKay  |  Abstract
When plague moved through Spain at the end of the sixteenth century, people responded not only with panic or religious excess, as is often recorded, but also according to the dictates of good government, the common good, and solidarity. This study, based on municipal records, royal missives, and lawsuits, views catastrophe within the framework of political practice and theory, whose vocabulary was widely familiar to everyone. It depicts both sacrifice and subterfuge, as competing needs were balanced. It explores the moral and political choices communities made, the chronology and memories they created, and the language and tropes they used. It addresses fear, courage, news, faith, lies, and economic gain. It treats plague broadly, both geographically and conceptually, and aims to further our understanding of early modern Castile through common people’s response to disaster.

Independent Scholar  -  The Commune and Pestilence: Plague in Castile in the Late Sixteenth Century

Orkideh Behrouzan
Orkideh Behrouzan  |  Abstract
Based on ethnographic fieldwork amongst psychiatrist, psychoanalysts, and Iranian youth, this book investigates the emergence of previously stigmatized psychiatric discourses, concepts, and terminologies like dépréshen in the aftermath of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War. It examines broader historical shifts that legitimated the medicalization of everyday life. Embodying psychiatry as a mode of thinking, different generations of Iranian youth simultaneously historicize and medicalize what they call dépréshen. Analyzing their memories and cultural sensibilities, online and offline, the project argues that psychiatric forms of personhood created new possibilities for Iranians to make sense of and situate their emotional distress in historical and social contexts.

Assistant Professor, Social Science, Health, and Medicine, King's College London  -  Prozàk Diaries: Generational Anomie and Psychiatric Subjectivities in Iran

Thomas F. Madden
Thomas F. Madden  |  Abstract
Crusade activity and crusade piety played an important role in the evolving civic identity of medieval and early modern Venice. This project examines the methods by which Venetian leaders, artists, and intellectuals continually reinvented Venetian crusading identity in light of a rapidly changing world—one in which the enemy was as likely to be the Catholic Church as the Ottoman Turks. It not only illuminates for scholars the heretofore neglected role of crusading in Venetian history, but reveals more broadly the dramatically changing attitudes that medieval and early modern Europeans developed regarding holy war. These dynamics would continue to shape the troubled relationship between the Christian and Muslim worlds.

Professor, History, Saint Louis University  -  The Lion and the Cross: Crusade, Memory, and Identity in Medieval and Early Modern Venice

Anne M. Blackburn
Anne M. Blackburn  |  Abstract
During the period between 1200 and 1500, a new regime of Indian Ocean trade and shifting political formations in South and Southeast Asia spurred the circulation of Buddhist intellectuals within the Indian Ocean sphere. Just as the Lankan Buddhist world entered a phase of unprecedented instability and creativity, Buddhists on the mainland (in what is now Thailand and Burma) increasingly sought access to Lankan Buddhist texts and institutions, and wrote Lankan Buddhist elements into their own histories. This project reveals the deep trans-regional connections among histories of Buddhist place-making and Buddhist-oriented political formations in the western and southwestern regions of Lanka (now Sri Lanka), north-central Tai lands, and Mon-Burmese territory. “Making Buddhist Kingdoms across the Indian Ocean” develops a connected Buddhist history across the boundaries of South and Southeast Asia, informed by comparison to the histories of Hindu- and Islam-oriented mobile intellectuals, and the state formations in which they participated.

Professor, Asian Studies, Cornell University  -  Making Buddhist Kingdoms across the Indian Ocean, 1200-1500

Preetha Mani
Preetha Mani  |  Abstract
This project explores how the short story became the key medium through which Hindi and Tamil writers articulated the function of literature following Indian independence (1947). It was not the popularity and accessibility of the genre alone, but rather the intersections of these traits with popular notions of gender, that enabled the Hindi and Tamil story forms to define literature’s role in society and contribute to the new state’s effort to achieve national integration through literature. Hindi and Tamil writers creatively drew on representations of the Indian woman that had become commonly used tropes for interrogating tradition and modernity in colonial debates on social reform and nationalism. Yet, their intersecting uses of gender and genre also engaged regionally specific concerns about literature, language, and identity in the post-independence moment. Conducting the first comparison of these two major literary spheres, this project offers a method of studying Indian literature as comparative literature.

Assistant Professor, African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian Languages and Literatures, Rutgers University-New Brunswick  -  Gender, Genre, and the Idea of Indian Literature: Hindi and Tamil Short Story Writing in Post-Independence India

Eileen Hunt Botting
Eileen Hunt Botting  |  Abstract
This book treats Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” (1818) as a profound work of speculative fiction that engages fundamental philosophical questions concerning human development. The modern myth of Victor Frankenstein and his “Monster” suggests to her readers the moral limitations of Enlightenment-era perfectionist models of understanding humanity and its potentially limitless development through science, politics, or experimental models of family life and education. Shelley thus enabled her readers to think through a core set of moral problems related to the definition, purpose, and ethical scope of human life in society and politics, especially pertaining to the family and children’s rights to care and education. The book will have three parts: philosophical sources for the Frankenstein myth (including Milton, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Burke, Wollstonecraft, and Godwin); moral issues in the myth (understanding humanity and the family’s role in human development), and the myth’s political legacies (children’s rights).

Associate Professor, Political Science, University of Notre Dame  -  Frankenstein and the Question of Human Development

Mark Fathi Massoud
Mark Fathi Massoud  |  Abstract
Law and society scholars have investigated how law and courts shaped sovereignty in North America, Europe, and East Asia. But less is known about the power of law, including Islamic law, in unstable political contexts. Answering this question about law’s alluring power, even over societies at war, forms the basis of this project. Modern Somali history reveals how democratic roots develop through attention to Islamic law and human rights. By illuminating the Somali experience of law, this project underscores broader lessons of law’s power for Western and non-Western societies alike.

Assistant Professor, Politics, University of California, Santa Cruz  -  A History of Islamic Law and Human Rights in Greater Somalia

Lia Nicole Brozgal
Lia Nicole Brozgal  |  Abstract
“A Postcolonial Anarchive” examines the literary, cinematic, and other visual representations of the massacre of Algerian protesters in Paris on October 17, 1961, at the height of the Algerian war for independence. As holds true for many episodes of historical trauma, for October 17, scholarship has primarily focused on what was known, when, and by whom. This project’s focus, however, is trained not on questions of fact but rather on the function, aesthetics, and stakes of representation, a gesture that acknowledges the crucial role played by cultural texts in the transmission of historical knowledge and subjective experience. Mobilizing both literary and historical documents as primary sources, this study advocates for an understanding of this variegated collection of works as a coherent corpus (an anarchive) that may offer a partial corrective to contemporary France’s historical amnesia, and that functions as a crucial missing swath in the fabric of a national narrative.

Associate Professor, French and Francophone Studies, University of California, Los Angeles  -  A Postcolonial Anarchive, or When Literature Made History: Franco-Algerian Narratives of October 17, 1961

Tim Maudlin
Tim Maudlin  |  Abstract
The first part of this extended endeavor developed a new approach to the foundations of geometry, and particularly of topology, called the “Theory of Linear Structures.” The main aim is the analysis of the structure of physical space-time. The purely mathematical part of this project has been completed, and was published in 2014. The second part is a companion volume, applying the new mathematical language to physics. One objective is to express some familiar space-time structures (classical and relativistic) in this new form. Another is to investigate some novel proposals for space-time structure that can be articulated in this mathematical language, namely discrete relativistic space-times. A common mathematical language in which both continuous and discrete geometries can be described allows a close comparison of these different geometries. This language also sheds light on the central role of time and the direction of time in space-time geometry.

Professor, Philosophy, New York University  -  Space-Time and the Theory of Linear Structures

Emily Callaci
Emily Callaci  |  Abstract
Urban migration in Africa in the second half of the twentieth century has been one of the most dramatic demographic shifts in history. Yet in the midst of this urban revolution, African nationalist intellectuals and political leaders portrayed Africans as a rural people. Nowhere was this directive taken more seriously than in Tanzania, where from 1967 through 1985 president Julius Nyerere launched a campaign to relocate citizens into collective rural villages as the central policy of African socialism, or “Ujamaa.” Despite official policies, youth from throughout East Africa made their lives in Tanzania’s largest city of Dar es Salaam during the socialist era. Drawing together a range of unconventional sources, or “street archives,” this project reveals a concurrent world of cultural innovation, literary production, and the elaboration of a distinctly urban subjectivity among migrants and refugees in Dar es Salaam.

Assistant Professor, History, University of Wisconsin-Madison  -  Ujamaa Urbanists: Street Archives and City Life in Socialist Tanzania

Christia Mercer
Christia Mercer  |  Abstract
This project argues that historians of philosophy need to rethink core assumptions about seventeenth-century philosophy, and that the writings of medieval and early modern women play a much more significant part in that history than has been recognized. Relying on recent scholarship by literary and intellectual historians and research on early modern spiritual meditations and the philosophy of Anne Conway (1631-1679), this book shows that a major part of the history of philosophy needs to be rewritten. The project entails a new narrative about early modern philosophy: there is no such thing as early modern rationalism; rather, there are various affective means for the subject to reorient itself as it feels its way to a proper use of reason and rational truths.

Professor, Philosophy, Columbia University  -  Feeling the Way to Truth: Women, Reason, and the Development of Modern Philosophy

Eric Donald Carter
Eric Donald Carter  |  Abstract
This book project focuses on the development of Latin American social medicine (LASM), which had a strong influence on normative policy frameworks that led to broad-based public health improvements across the region in the middle of the twentieth century. Despite the concurrent rise of social medicine in various countries of the region, there has been no comprehensive piecing together of the institutional, intellectual, and interpersonal connections that made social medicine a Pan-American movement. Supported by archival research in three Latin American countries (Argentina, Chile, and Costa Rica), this book will shed light on the ideological roots of social medicine, how institutional and interpersonal networks supported the diffusion and development of social medicine in Latin America, and how ideas in social medicine translated into policy.

Assistant Professor, Geography, Macalester College  -  The Health of the People: A History of Latin American Social Medicine

Tanya Stabler Miller
Tanya Stabler Miller  |  Abstract
This project aims to uncover a significant—yet overlooked—spiritual and intellectual network that included the two seemingly disparate, gendered worlds of the exclusively male university and the female religious community. This network geographically encompassed the vibrant cities of northern France, from Paris up through the Franco-Flemish borderlands. The institutional entity central to this network was the famous Parisian college of the Sorbonne, which was founded by Robert of Sorbon in the mid-thirteenth century as a college for secular clerics. Robert’s goals for his college centered on promoting pastoral ministry and reaching out to the broader laity. Putting these goals into action, Robert and his students forged close ties with communities of lay religious women in Paris and beyond.

Associate Professor, History and Political Science, Purdue University, Calumet  -  Men, Women, and Religious Education in Medieval France

Michael L. Cepek
Michael L. Cepek  |  Abstract
This ethnographic book project explores oil’s ability to suffuse, transform, and destroy human life. It is set in the homeland of Amazonia’s indigenous Cofán people, who live in the epicenter of Ecuadorian petroleum extraction. In the 1960s, the corporation Texaco discovered crude in the heart of Cofán territory. Within a decade, Ecuador was an OPEC nation. The Cofán watched as their forests fell, their rivers ran black, and their bodies succumbed to new illnesses. Although their suffering at the hands of petroleum companies has made them famous, the Cofán have learned to survive in oil’s midst. The project, by adopting the culturally distinct and experientially intimate perspective of a people who have been overwhelmed by petroleum production, argues for a new understanding of oil as one of the world’s most powerful social, political, and material forces.

Associate Professor, Anthropology, University of Texas at San Antonio  -  Life in Oil: Surviving Disaster in the Petroleum Fields of Amazonia

Nadine Moeller
Nadine Moeller  |  Abstract
This project focuses on research concerning ancient Egypt’s urban society. Last year, the first volume of a major archaeological study on this topic, “The Archaeology of Urbanism in Ancient Egypt: From the Predynastic Period to the End of the Middle Kingdom,” was accepted by Cambridge University Press. Now, the project will produce the second volume, which builds on the trajectories and research questions laid out in its predecessor, and investigates mechanisms of political and social change and how those impacted the development of the various towns and cities. The exceptionally rich data for the New Kingdom (ca. 1550-1069 BCE) will allow for a much more detailed analysis of urban features than has been possible for the previous periods.

Associate Professor, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago  -  The Archaeology of Urbanism in Ancient Egypt: The Settlements from the Second Intermediate Period to the End of the Third Intermediate Period

Indrani Chatterjee
Indrani Chatterjee  |  Abstract
This project reads heteroglot literary narratives and photographs for traces of architectural and geographic evidence. These traces provide outlines of fortified monastic warehouses at key sites in eastern India in the late eighteenth century. The project then locates representative widows as patrons of this infrastructure. Hailing from eminent zamindari Hindu and Muslim households, these widows gifted trade goods to men from Hindu, Buddhist, and Sufi monastic lineages, and sustained other women who, in turn, depended on the monastic men. These overlapping partnerships formed the core of portfolio capitalism. The monastic men traded the gifts and returned profits both to their monastic heads as well as to their lay investors. In the early nineteenth century, as colonial capitalism edged out portfolio capitalism, the multiple partnerships frayed. Their complex histories illuminate the spate of widows’ suicides (sati) that occurred in the region in the nineteenth century.

Professor, History, University of Texas at Austin  -  The Widows' Might: Lay-Monastic Partnerships and Colonial Capitalism in Nineteenth-Century India

Wendy Moffat
Wendy Moffat  |  Abstract
“The Most Terrible Years” recounts the psychic cost of World War I through the experience of two prophetic but largely forgotten Americans, who came together through the shared trauma of their experience in France. Both were idealists and pioneers in their fields. Dr. Thomas Salmon (1876-1927) was the first psychiatrist in any American army. The second, the journalist Elizabeth Shepley Sergeant (1881-1965), was badly injured covering the Marne battles for the newly founded New Republic magazine. After the war, Sergeant became Salmon’s patient, editorial assistant, and (briefly) his lover. Both Salmon and Sergeant returned to an America oblivious to the lessons the war had exacted, but determined to help veterans suffering from what is now called PTSD.

Professor, English, Dickinson College  -  The Most Terrible Years: Elizabeth Shepley Sergeant, Thomas Salmon, and the Trauma of the Great War

Thomas S. Christensen
Thomas S. Christensen  |  Abstract
This research project focuses upon the concept of musical tonality viewed through the writings of the Belgian musicologist François-Joseph Fétis (1784-1867), who was singularly responsible for theorizing and popularizing the concept in the middle-third of the nineteenth century. In Fétis’s influential theory, “tonalité” was far more than a technical term to describe varying scale systems and modes; it became a critical marker of difference among musical styles—both historical and ethnic—that were then beginning to be studied by scholars. At the same time, it proved to be an indispensable signifier by which some French composers toward the end of the nineteenth century might define (and even insulate) their own national musical voice in the face of infectious strains of musical Wagnerism.

Professor, Music, University of Chicago  -  Fétis and the Tonal Imagination: French Discourses of Musical Tonality in the Nineteenth Century

Elias Muhanna
Elias Muhanna  |  Abstract
This study examines a golden age of Arabic encyclopedic literature that emerged in the scholarly centers of fourteenth-century Egypt and Syria. This was a period that witnessed the composition of encyclopedic works covering a vast array of subjects, from literature, history, and geography, to law, theology, and exegesis. Focusing on one major work, the 31-volume encyclopedia “The Ultimate Ambition in the Arts of Erudition,” this project explores the question of what led an educated class of scholars and littérateurs to produce enormous compendia in such profusion. This encyclopedic activity was instrumental in organizing a millennium-old corpus of accumulated knowledge across multiple fields, leading to the canonization of certain literary texts and the eclipsing of others. Insofar as the intellectual patrimonies of Europe and the Islamic world were connected by the traffic of such encyclopedic texts, this study contributes to the interdisciplinary exploration of the medieval and early modern Mediterranean world.

Assistant Professor, Comparative Literature, Brown University  -  Big Data in the Medieval Islamic World: Classical Arabic Encyclopedias in Their Golden Age

Dorothy Sue Cobble
Dorothy Sue Cobble  |  Abstract
This project offers the first transnational history of US feminism and its quest for economic equality and social democracy over the last century. It shows how global feminism shaped US women’s reform and changed US social policy. It recasts assessments of the character, timing, and influence of US women’s movements and reveals a long, robust tradition of activism among working-class and immigrant US feminists for labor and human rights at home and abroad. Drawing on US and non-US archives, it provides new perspectives on internationalism and cross-cultural encounter by shifting attention to labor NGOs and the transnationalism of non-elite women. It creates new understandings of how peoples within and across national borders fostered economic and social justice.

Professor, History, and Labor and Employment Relations, Rutgers University-New Brunswick  -  American Feminism: A Transnational History

Liesl M. Olson
Liesl M. Olson  |  Abstract
This book traces a literary history of Chicago from the 1893 World’s Fair to the Chicago Black Renaissance of the mid-twentieth century. In particular, it emphasizes writers and artists in Chicago who were part of the sweeping aesthetic transformations of the modernist movement. Based upon new and extensive archival research, the project considers the significance of cohorts and institutions in developing singular styles—from "Poetry" magazine and the Art Institute of Chicago to the city’s many newspapers and informal writing groups. If the city produced literary “greats” with international repute, then these writers were also stimulated by a range of lesser-known yet influential figures in Chicago, many of whom were women; that is, by editors, patrons, critics, and readers who shaped how and what was written. The book’s premise is that a distinctive modernism emerged in Chicago, and the focus is on the many people who made it.

Affiliated Scholar, Scholl Center for American History and Culture, The Newberry  -  Chicago Renaissance: The Midwest and Modernism

Nicola Denzey Lewis
Nicola Denzey Lewis  |  Abstract
This book challenges the common understanding of late antique Christianity as dominated by the “Cult of the Saints.” Popularized by historian Peter Brown, the cult of the saints presupposes that a “corporeal turn” in the fourth century CE initiated a new sense of the body (even the corpse or bone) as holy. “Against the Cult of the Saints” argues that although present elsewhere in the late Roman Empire, no such corporeal turn happened in Rome until the early modern period. The prevailing assumption that it did, fostered by the apologetic concerns of early modern Catholic scholars, has led to a glossing over of important evidence to the contrary. This book delves deeper into the world of Roman late antique Christianity to explore how it differed from the set of practices and beliefs that were thought previously to have flourished in this crucial age of Christianization.

Visiting Associate Professor, Religious Studies, Brown University  -  Against the Cult of the Saints: The Reinvention of the Roman Catacombs

Bridget Erica Orr
Bridget Erica Orr  |  Abstract
This study analyzes the many neglected plays performed in London in the period from 1700 to 1760, that argue for religious toleration, attack imperial expansion, and celebrate “low” forms of indigenous culture and “natural genius.” Plays circulating these enlightened arguments were often written by freemasons and appealed to audiences in the emergent forms of pathetic tragedy and sentimental comedy. They frequently drew on interlocution between American indigenes and Arabic and Ottoman scholarship to reproduce and circulate “energumen” or discourse of the other. Many of these texts remained in the Georgian repertory and their intercultural representations of tolerance and resistance shaped a popular theatrical Enlightenment that remains largely invisible.

Associate Professor, English, Vanderbilt University  -  England's Enlightenment Theater: Sentiment, Nation, Empire

Helen E. Deutsch
Helen E. Deutsch  |  Abstract
“The Last Amateur” examines the living affinity between two complex and charismatic writers, Jonathan Swift and Edward W. Said, in order to revitalize our understandings of both. More importantly, through uncovering a relationship between a professional writer and a public intellectual joined across centuries by a despairingly hopeful belief in the power of words, this study both affirms and questions what it means to be a professor—in the word’s original sense of a member of the faith, in Said’s sense of himself as a writer with a profound belief in the canon’s enduring power, in our own sense of ourselves as critics and teachers—of literature.

Professor, English, University of California, Los Angeles  -  The Last Amateur: Jonathan Swift, Edward Said, and the Profession of Literature

Andrea Orzoff
Andrea Orzoff  |  Abstract
The project, “Music in Flight,” combining personal biographies and fine-grained cultural and political analysis, follows European classical musicians (composers, conductors, and instrumentalists) from Central Europe to the ports and capital cities of Latin America between 1933 and 1960. It shows that these European refugees brought not only their highly refined musical training but also a cosmopolitan interest in other cultures, ideas about the public sphere and music’s place in it, and a deep concern about right-wing populism. The study situates the political and cultural impact of this European musical migration within a careful depiction of the complex Latin American context.

Associate Professor, History, New Mexico State University  -  Music in Flight: Exiles, Refugees, Fugitives, and the Politics of Music in Latin America, 1933-1960

Rachel J. Devlin
Rachel J. Devlin  |  Abstract
“Girls on the Front Line” examines the vastly disproportionate number of girls and young women who were desegregation plaintiffs in the late nineteen forties and early fifties, and then “firsts” at previously all-white schools after Brown v. Board of Education. At stake is a new understanding of the distinctive role of girls and young women in bringing school desegregation about—both legally and on the ground—in individual locales, an analysis of the civic contributions of a heretofore unheralded group of historical actors, and an examination of the gendered nature of attitudes toward social interactions between the races.

Associate Professor, History, Rutgers University-New Brunswick  -  Girls on the Front Line: Gender and the Battle to Desegregate the Public Schools in the United States, 1945-1968

Elena Aleksandrovna Osokina
Elena Aleksandrovna Osokina  |  Abstract
This study is the first monograph to examine the odyssey of Russian religious art from the man-made chaos of the 1917 Revolution to the creation of Soviet museums of early Russian art, and then to the sale of this national heritage abroad to finance Stalin’s industrialization. It is not, however, merely a study of one more Machiavellian dimension of Stalinism that placed the objects of a repressed church at the service of the godless state. By exploring the marketing strategies employed by Red merchants to promote icons as a new art commodity in the world market, this study challenges the stereotypical view of Stalinism as “marketless.” Stalin’s mass sales laid the foundations for the world market in Russian icons. The project contributes to a scholarly understanding of the economy of Soviet socialism and conceptualizations of Stalinism and Soviet socialist modernity.

Professor, History, University of South Carolina  -  Red Merchants: Soviet Export of Religious Art under Stalin

Albrecht Diem
Albrecht Diem  |  Abstract
This project investigates the role of normative texts in organizing and ordering closed communities and shaping collective identities. It focuses on the development of western monasticism between the fifth and ninth centuries, and particularly on the corpus of roughly 20 monastic rules produced in this period. It investigates when and how monastic communities began to organize themselves on the basis of written collections of norms and which notions of community and techniques of discipline these texts deployed. The objective is to write a history of regular observance, which challenges the notion that following a written rule was a stable feature of monastic life, and to compile a comprehensive reference work of early medieval monastic normative texts, many of which have never been studied.

Associate Professor, History, Syracuse University  -  Norm and Community: Early Medieval Monastic Rules and the Development of Regular Observance

Kathy Peiss
Kathy Peiss  |  Abstract
This project examines the impact of World War II on American policies and practices toward information, knowledge, and culture. It focuses on books and print culture, and explores a set of wartime collecting missions conducted by librarians, archivists, collectors, and scholars. These missions engaged in mass acquisitions in Europe for different purposes—to document, exploit, preserve, restitute, and even to destroy. They were bound up with the entire complex of American wartime values and postwar aims, embraced by government, military, and cultural institutions. The project traces their impact on the rise of information science and intelligence gathering, the emergence of international cultural heritage policy, and the dominance of the US in the postwar intellectual and cultural order.

Professor, History, University of Pennsylvania  -  The Collecting Missions of World War II

Ryan Dohoney
Ryan Dohoney  |  Abstract
This study develops a microhistorical analysis of the premier of Morton Feldman’s music for the Rothko Chapel in Houston on April 9, 1972. The project reconstructs the network of artists, musicians, and patrons who collaborated on the event: composer Morton Feldman, painter Mark Rothko, violist Karen Philips, and the patrons Dominique and John de Menil. These collaborators struggled over fundamental questions about the emotional efficacy of artistic practice and its potential translation into religious feeling. At the center of this study is the question of ecumenism—that is, in what terms can religious encounters be staged for fruitful dialog to take place? This was a dilemma for both Feldman, whose music sought to produce sublime “abstract experience,” and the de Menils, who envisioned the Rothko Chapel as a space for ritual invention in an era of late modernity.

Assistant Professor, Musicology, Northwestern University  -  Abstraction as Ecumenism in Late Modernity: Morton Feldman and the Rothko Chapel

Supritha Rajan
Supritha Rajan  |  Abstract
This book investigates the Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment segregation of the human and natural sciences. Drawing on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century philosophical and imaginative literature, as well as histories of science, it provides an intellectual history of how the segregation of the human and natural sciences implicitly classified certain cognitive and emotional attitudes as indicative of disciplinary-specific temperaments, methodological practices, and forms of proof. By examining conceptions of temperament, wonder, trust, and regret, however, the book demonstrates that this process of disciplinary segregation concealed common affective attitudes and methodologies across the human and natural sciences that have yet to be fully appreciated.

Assistant Professor, English, University of Rochester  -  Transparent Forms: Thinking, Feeling, and Doing in the Human and Natural Sciences

Gail Lee Dubrow
Gail Lee Dubrow  |  Abstract
The craze for all things Japanese has been a robust field of scholarship in American art and architectural history. However, the dominant narrative, in which France, England and the US are seen as similarly situated with respect to their “embrace” of Japanese culture, misses the distinctiveness of the American case. The US’s embrace of Japanese style within elite and popular culture was complicated by deep hostility toward Japanese immigrants and the suppression of their traditional cultural practices. Understanding how Americans related to Japanese people, and Japanese things, is the basis for a new analysis of the racial politics of Japanism in this period. Moreover, this study examines how Japanese immigrants maintained and adapted traditional cultural practices as they negotiated this racially charged climate. This study draws on material culture (fashion, interior furnishings, building design, and landscapes) to reinterpret the aesthetic movement called Japonisme in light of widespread anti-Asian sentiment.

Professor, Architecture and History, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities  -  Japonisme Revisited: Reckoning with the Embrace, Appropriation, and Survival of Japanese Culture in America, 1868-1945

John C. Reeves
John C. Reeves  |  Abstract
This project concentrates upon unpacking the history of the transmission of ancient Jewish literary texts and non-canonical lore among a variety of Near Eastern religious communities and movements during late antiquity and the early medieval period. Relatively little attention has been devoted to exploring the afterlife of apocryphal works among literate circles within the Islamicate cultural sphere wherein Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and other scriptural communities were active contributors and interlocutors. Shining light on the shadows that obscure this lively textual commerce, and unraveling the tangled web produced by the intercultural sharing of extracanonical textual lore, are the primary goals of this project. It also tracks the peregrinations of these texts and traditions from literate circles in the East to Jewish (and other) communities located in the West.

Professor, Religious Studies, University of North Carolina at Charlotte  -  Illuminating the Afterlife of Ancient Apocryphal Jewish Literature

Tarek El-Ariss
Tarek El-Ariss  |  Abstract
This book project examines the way modes of confrontation, circulation, and exhibitionism shape and engender new writing practices and critiques of power in the Arab world and beyond. It argues that literary production and political change are grounded in a pervasive culture of scandal, hacking, and leaks, which foregrounds and coincides with recent Arab uprisings. Conceptually, the project moves from the subject of Freudian lack and Hegelian self-consciousness to a leaking subject who reveals, contests, and writes through chaotic and involuntary yet highly political means or affects. Challenging frameworks of interpretation informed by the narrative of modernity extending from the European Enlightenment to anti-colonial struggles, the project investigates the emergence of post-national models of subjectivity, community, and cultural production in the digital age.

Associate Professor, Middle Eastern Studies, University of Texas at Austin  -  The Leaking Subject: Fiction and Scandal in the Arab Digital Age

Dorothy E. Roberts
Dorothy E. Roberts  |  Abstract
This project examines the lives of black-white couples residing in Chicago between 1937 and 1967 to investigate the relationship between interracial marriage and racial equality during a period of dramatic social change. How did interracial couples experience and understand their marriages in relation to the intensifying challenge to the racial order? Drawing on an extraordinary archive of 470 in-depth interviews conducted by Chicago anthropologist Robert E.T. Roberts over the course of five decades, this study explores the role interracial marriage played in the changing racial politics from the perspectives of the couples and argues for a conceptual approach that neither glorifies nor ignores the political significance of interracial intimacy.

Professor, Africana Studies, Law, and Sociology, University of Pennsylvania  -  Interracial Marriage and Racial Equality in Chicago, 1937-1967

Ilana Feldman
Ilana Feldman  |  Abstract
This project explores the Palestinian experience living with humanitarian assistance from 1948 through the present and across five fields of displacement (Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, and Gaza Strip). The longevity of the Palestinian refugee problem makes it a particularly good instance through which to consider the development of post-World War II humanitarianism. Based on extensive archival and ethnographic field research, this study is the first comprehensive account of the Palestinian experience living with humanitarian assistance across this full time and space. It is also one of the few studies of humanitarian action that gives close attention to the experiences of both providers and recipients of aid. The research explores the complex world constituted by and through humanitarianism and how this world is experienced by the range of people who inhabit it.

Associate Professor, Anthropology, The George Washington University  -  Life Lived in Relief: Palestinian Refugees and the Humanitarian Experience

Erin K. Rowe
Erin K. Rowe  |  Abstract
“Black Saints” is a book project that assesses the rise, transmission, and meaning of devotion to holy people of sub-Saharan African origin or descent within the Catholic Church. Between 1500 and 1760, black saints flourished, a legacy most visible in the dozens of images that survive in churches throughout the Hispanic world. Veneration of black saints occurred simultaneously with religious reformations, transatlantic slave trade, global missionary efforts, and the rise of scientific racism. This project transforms our understanding of global devotional patterns and their effects on society by focusing on black saints as evangelizers, the Afro-Catholic role in shaping devotion, and how the clergy created new spiritual meanings of blackness and whiteness.

Assistant Professor, History, Johns Hopkins University  -  Black Saints in Early Modern Global Catholicism

Kate Flint
Kate Flint  |  Abstract
Flash photography is radically different from all other forms of photography, and this project asks what distinguishes the medium and its impact. Situating flash at the intersection of material history, technological change, and imaginative expression, it examines how the language of photography moves between art and science, between specialist aesthetics and popular imagination, between fascination and revulsion. In so doing, it draws on photographic manuals and memoirs, lyric poetry and crime fiction, advertisements and film—as well as analyzing many striking images. It shows how this one area of invention, bridging the instrumental and the aesthetic, reveals previously invisible connections among commercial, industrial, artistic, and domestic spheres during the past 150 years. It explores the problems of translating visual impact into verbal language, and of finding an adequate vocabulary for the technological shocks of modernity.

Professor, English and Art History, University of Southern California  -  Flash! Photography, Writing, and Surprising Illumination

Michael Silvers
Michael Silvers  |  Abstract
This study explores the musical and lyrical evocation of the landscape of northeastern Brazil and examines the interplay among the representation, knowledge, and experience of “nature” through forró music. Forró (originally baião) was once a genre of commercial music that nostalgically recalled the Northeast for migrants from that region. Today, it is considered northeastern “traditional” music. Based on archival and ethnographic research, “Voices of Drought” shows how northeastern Brazilian audiences have learned about the landscape and soundscape through music, and how environmental conditions such as drought have shaped the creation, circulation, and reception of forró.

Assistant Professor, Musicology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign  -  Voices of Drought: Forró Soundscapes in Northeastern Brazil

Elizabeth S. Freeman
Elizabeth S. Freeman  |  Abstract
“It Goes Without Saying” focuses on five religious and secular bodily methods as they appear in US literature and culture from the 1780s to 1940, or what this project terms the “very long nineteenth century.” This is a period during which the body came into focus as a site of disciplinary control, culminating in the binarization of hetero- and homosexual. The project argues that the era was characterized by two forms of body politics: 1) the physical cultures of nineteenth-century American nationalism—the military, chattel slavery, and sport; and, 2) the making of sexuality as a meaningful category of analysis. But minor visceral ways of knowing and doing also flourished during the period; this study focus on early American religious dance, playing dead under slavery, postbellum amateur historiography, modern chronic illness, and the post-secular Eucharist, arguing that each counters both the dominant physical cultures of the period and the modern sexualized body.

Professor, English, University of California, Davis  -  It Goes Without Saying: Sense-Methods in the United States’s Very Long Nineteenth Century

David Carroll Simon
David Carroll Simon  |  Abstract
If modern science first takes shape as the embrace of rigorous method, as one is so often told, then why do its original advocates and practitioners celebrate experiences of wayward abandon and “careless” inattention? This project develops a new perspective on the scientific imagination in seventeenth-century England by exploring essays, poems, treatises, and meditations that portray the languor of the drifting mind as an opportunity for insight. It argues that the abandonment of discipline is as much a part of the story of Enlightenment as the development of meticulous procedure. It also shows how literary, philosophical, and devotional writers discover formal strategies that invite their readers into the experience of receptivity they describe.

Assistant Professor, English, University of Chicago  -  Light without Heat: Shades of Feeling in the Age of Scientific Revolution

Jessica Gerschultz
Jessica Gerschultz  |  Abstract
This inquiry into tapestry and the decorative arts examines the fabrication of artistic modernism as articulated in Tunisia, as well as its entwinement with the fraught modernizing projects of former president Habib Bourguiba. The study positions women’s weaving in Tunisian socialism, showing that a shared aesthetic and political philosophy toward female creativity not only underpinned multiple forms of textile production, but also stood as a potent metaphor for statecraft. The central focus is Safia Farhat, the sole woman in the École de Tunis, an elite group of French, Italian, and Tunisian artists, and then opens up to an investigation of how Tunisian nationalist discourses deployed the figure of the female artist. Art education and industry transformed and institutionalized hierarchies among women. These power differentials were materialized in more than fifty decorative programs—the very nexus of art and “artisanal” works. This study recuperates a feminized, marginalized category within aesthetic modernism.

Assistant Professor, African and African-American Studies, University of Kansas  -  Decorative Arts of the Tunisian École: Fabrications of Modernism, Gender, and Class in Tunisia, 1948-1972

Eiko Maruko Siniawer
Eiko Maruko Siniawer  |  Abstract
“Affluence of the Heart” examines how people thought about waste—of money, time, objects, and resources—in post-World War II Japan. Ideas and conversations about waste and wastefulness, this study suggests, were fundamentally about the definition of values and the search for meaning in an affluent society. Based on analyses of a variety of sources from government reports to children’s literature, the project traces how conceptions of a good and meaningful life changed and came to incorporate many and often contradictory commitments. At their heart, these concerns revolved around a central tension in Japan’s postwar experience: the desire to defend the privileges of middle class lifestyles made possible by economic growth; and the discomfort with the logic, costs, and consequences of that very prosperity.

Associate Professor, History, Williams College  -  Affluence of the Heart: Waste in Postwar Japan

Elina Gertsman
Elina Gertsman  |  Abstract
For many centuries, medieval philosophers, guided by Aristotelian theories, claimed that nature abhors a vacuum. Medieval art, it is regularly assumed, abhors the same; hence, the notion of horror vacui, the fear of empty space, is often construed as a definitive feature of Gothic material culture in its many manifestations. This project reformulates the way in which aesthetic and philosophical underpinnings of later medieval art are perceived. It explores complex conversations among philosophy, physics, mathematics, piety, and image-making in order to suggest that Gothic art, in its constant attempts to grapple with the unrepresentability of the invisible, is predicated on new engagements with emptiness, voids, gaps, holes, and erasures.

Associate Professor, Art History and Art, Case Western Reserve University  -  Figuring Absence: Empty Spaces in Late Medieval Art

Lisa M. Siraganian
Lisa M. Siraganian  |  Abstract
“Against Corporate Humanism” brings the legal history of financial institutions into discussion with literary and cultural scholarship to examine a century-long set of questions about how collective entities relate to individuals. The project combines literary interpretations of major modernist novels—by Henry James, Willa Cather, Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and James Baldwin—with close textual analysis of legal theory and case law. Marshaling these different types of cultural responses to corporate forms, “Against Corporate Humanism” argues that modernism’s intense focus on individuality enabled early twentieth-century writers to explore the impact of corporations on evolving notions of personhood, just as lawyers and judges were doing in briefs and opinions. Illuminating American legal history and its intersection with American literature, the project provides jurists and citizens with stronger philosophical and textual support to reexamine the status and rights of corporations.

Associate Professor, English, Southern Methodist University  -  Against Corporate Humanism: The Modernist Critique of Corporate Mind

Denise Elif Gill
Denise Elif Gill  |  Abstract
Before melancholy was pathologized as an individual’s medical condition after the founding of the Turkish Republic in 1923, Ottomans employed diverse terminologies that rendered melancholy as a positive, communal experience. This project interrogates normative assumptions about melancholy through present-day musicians who champion, teach, and perform Turkish classical music, a genre substantially rooted in the musics of the Ottoman court and elite Mevlevi Sufi lodges. Typically dismissed as the remnants of Ottoman nostalgia, the melancholy intentionally cultivated by contemporary Turkish classical musicians emerges as reparative, pleasurable, and spiritually redeeming. “Melancholic Modalities” explicates the diverse terms, musical repertoire, improvisation gestures, and embodied practices of Turkish classical musicians who deploy and circulate melancholy in sound. Based on extensive ethnographic and archival research, this project illuminates the constitutive elements of musicians’ melancholic modalities in the context of emergent neoliberalism, secular nationalism, political Islamism, and the politics of psychological health in Turkey today.

Assistant Professor, Music, Washington University in St. Louis  -  Melancholic Modalities: Affect and Contemporary Turkish Classical Musicians

Shane Vogel
Shane Vogel  |  Abstract
“Stolen Time” is a book-length cultural history of the calypso craze that swept the United States in the late 1950s. It tracks the popularity of calypso across different types of postwar middlebrow entertainment, including sound recordings, nightclub acts, television broadcasts, Broadway musicals, and films. Across these media, it argues that black performers used the professional, historical, and musical opportunities afforded by this mass cultural event to expand African American history and deepen its relationship to diasporic consciousness.

Associate Professor, English, Indiana University Bloomington  -  Stolen Time: Black Fad Performance and the Calypso Craze

Daniel Goldmark
Daniel Goldmark  |  Abstract
This project explores how music tied to early twentieth-century American Jewry was cultivated and shaped by the evolving mass-media industries: vaudeville, Tin Pan Alley, Broadway, and Hollywood. The various entertainment branches developed a largely unified sound of the music of Jews portrayed in popular music, cinema, and (as a result) across mass culture in America, transforming music that had had historical links with Jewish themes into little more than cultural clichés. By the time the sound era arrived in Hollywood films—ushered in by the most famous Jewish assimilation film ever, “The Jazz Singer” (1927)—the sound of American Jewry had gone from cliché to stereotype. This research concludes by showing how this music continues to shape notions of Jewry in mass culture today.

Associate Professor, Music, Case Western Reserve University  -  Musical Stereotyping American Jewry in Early Twentieth-Century Mass Media

Christophe Wall-Romana
Christophe Wall-Romana  |  Abstract
Part of a three-volume study of “kinopsis”—the interrelation of vision and motion in modernity—this project reestablishes nineteenth-century astronomy and cosmology as the common foundation for science-driven secular education, post-Napoleonic popular culture, and the development of photography (Herschel and Arago) and cinema (Flammarion and Janssen). Observers and theoreticians of the universe, astronomers were also bricoleurs in optical instruments, 3-D visual thinkers, democratizers of science, and active in national and international politics. This study links scientific and popular astronomy to broad nineteenth-century kinoptic concerns, whether philosophical (Kant, Hegel, Comte, and Peirce), literary (Poe, Melville, Hugo, Verne, Dickinson, Mallarmé, and Hardy), political (Nat Turner, Arago, and Blanqui), photographic (Talbot, Daguerre, Nadar, Nasmyth, Draper, Cannon, and Holmes Sr.), visual (Töpffer, Grandville, and Redon), or mass cultural. Deriving new concepts from current vision science research, especially on motion and depth, the project shows kinopsis to be integral to the cosmopolitical culture of transatlantic modernity.

Associate Professor, French and Italian, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities  -  Kinopsis: Astronomy, Photography, and Pre-Cinema in the Nineteenth Century

Kevis Goodman
Kevis Goodman  |  Abstract
This project studies the intertwined development of Enlightenment medicine and Romantic aesthetics as forms of knowledge (“sciences” in the original sense) that registered and responded to conditions of unprecedented mobility. For medical and literary authors in Britain, working in the same circles, the porous body—open to its surroundings and preserving its past—retained its circumstances as physiological motion. Both therefore understood persons, in the very bodies that appeared natural, as sites of history in process. A special focus of this study is the way in which pathology’s insight into the physical effects of environmental influence shaped accounts of the reading process and debates about how poetic form should direct the movement of thought and emotion.

Associate Professor, English, University of California, Berkeley  -  Pathologies of Motion: Enlightenment Medicine and Romantic Poetics

John P. Welle
John P. Welle  |  Abstract
Focusing on discourses of stardom and celebrity, this book analyzes the print media of early cinema in Italy, between 1890 and 1920, when the film industry flourished by promoting poets and divas. A rhetoric of charisma flows through anecdotal biographies, short stories, novels, film journals, books on film stars, novelizations, movie-fan magazines, and celebrity profiles. Print media from theater, literature, early cinema, and journalism create a network revealing celebrity as a social practice, reflecting a long-term historical process going back to the courts of early modern Europe. Prior Romantic notions of “hero worship” give way to the emergence of modern writers, actresses, and politicians who become charismatic figures in their own right. As Fascism invents itself as a mass movement, the roots of Mussolini’s charismatic authority can be “read” in forms of print media.

Professor, Romance Languages and Literatures, University of Notre Dame  -  The Poet and the Diva: Print Media from the Golden Age of Italian Silent Film

Jennie Grillo
Jennie Grillo  |  Abstract
The “apocryphal” version of the biblical book of Daniel is a prime example of how non-canonical scriptural texts have shaped Western culture. As the first monograph in English on this text and its afterlife, this book searches for the significant thematic clusters in the text’s history of interpretation, examining its impact on the development of six important constructs: martyrdom, resurrection, liturgy, idolatry, visuality, and judgment. Combining historical work with interpretive work, this study traces the history of the text’s reception from earliest Christian art to twentieth-century film and from rabbinic martyrdoms to Anglo-Saxon poetry, while also re-reading the text in the light of contemporary theoretical treatments of the six key thematic areas.

Assistant Professor, Divinity School, Duke University  -  The Afterlife of the Apocryphal Daniel: Martyrdom, Idolatry, Liturgy

Joshua M. White
Joshua M. White  |  Abstract
This project examines the legal and administrative impact of piracy in the eastern half of the Mediterranean in the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It argues that rising maritime violence after the 1570s had a tremendous effect on the formation of international law, the conduct of diplomacy, the articulation of Ottoman imperial and Islamic law, and their application in local Ottoman courts. Utilizing a wide range of Ottoman, Venetian, and English archival and manuscript sources, this project shifts the spotlight away from the pirates and onto the administrators, jurists, and victims—those who had to contend most with the consequences of maritime violence. The “Ottoman Mediterranean” was a unified legal space; the challenge of piracy defined its contours.

Assistant Professor, History, University of Virginia  -  Piracy and Law in the Ottoman Mediterranean, 1570-1700

Rachel Haidu
Rachel Haidu  |  Abstract
Whereas many critics and scholars refute the canonizing, hierarchizing effects of influence, academic art training, museums, and audiences constantly generate and consider its effects. “The Knot of Influence” examines the kind of self that is at stake when influence is posited or observed. Three case studies allow the remodeling of this once-traditional concept according to new ideas about selfhood emerging in contemporary art: over three generations of teachers and students in an academic art studio in Warsaw, artists use influence self-reflexively, as a means of artistic production; in the life-work of two choreographers, one in Brussels and one in New York, the question arises as to whether an artist can influence herself; and across narrative and art film, slide-shows, and documentaries being made in Dublin, London, and Hollywood, the question of influence recasts the politics of identity, only to find its own premises shifted irrevocably.

Associate Professor, Art and Art History, and Visual and Cultural Studies, University of Rochester  -  The Knot of Influence

Michael Willrich
Michael Willrich  |  Abstract
“The Anarchist’s Advocate” is a history of radical dissent, police power, and the struggle for civil liberties in the United States during the early twentieth century, with particular attention to World War I and the ensuing Red Scare. The narrative centers on New York anarchists, their confrontations with the new surveillance state, and their relationship with the lawyer Harry Weinberger, who represented them in criminal trials, Ellis Island deportation proceedings, and before the Supreme Court. When the United States entered WWI, virtually no one in the US—least of all, the anarchists themselves—actually believed that the US constitution offered the slimmest protection for alien radicals and their political ideas. “The Anarchist's Advocate” tells the story of how and why that began to change.

Professor, History, Brandeis University  -  The Anarchist's Advocate: War, Terror, and the Origins of America's Surveillance State

Christine Hong
Christine Hong  |  Abstract
This project examines the US military’s centrality to the political and cultural imagination of racialized subjects situated in the post-1945 US sphere of influence in Asia and the Pacific, and at home. Coded by violence, the racially integrated expansion of humanity under US national security auspices was central to US militarism’s democratizing promise. Insofar as the Cold War in Asia catalyzed advances in US civil rights, with the Korean War the impetus behind military desegregation, this project examines the price of inclusion within US military empire. Casting a geopolitical lens onto cultural texts preoccupied with black freedom, Asian liberation, and Pacific Islander decolonization against the backdrop of US militarism in the Pacific Rim, this study considers how participation in and alignment with the US military, under the aegis of the pax Americana, blurred the color line.

Assistant Professor, Literature, University of California, Santa Cruz  -  Blurring the Color Line: Racial Fictions, Militarized Humanity, and the Pax Americana in the Cold War Pacific Rim

Winnie Won Yin Wong
Winnie Won Yin Wong  |  Abstract
The eighteenth-century trade between China and Europe reconfigured the global shape of manufacture and luxury, yet in the midst of this intensive exchange, the civilizational differences between the two cultures were made visible by their most interpretable art—painting. This study examines two subcultures situated at the crux of that encounter: European Jesuits who painted for the Qing emperors, and anonymous Chinese painters who worked for European merchants in the port of Guangzhou (Canton). Bringing together objects previously categorized as art, science, craft, or imitation, while engaging with the recent scholarship on the formation of these categories themselves, this study investigates how visual culture mediated the fabulist rhetorics of comparison between Chinese and Western art.

Assistant Professor, Rhetoric, University of California, Berkeley  -  Barbarian Similitudes: Canton, Trade, Painting, 1700-1842

Jill E. Kelly
Jill E. Kelly  |  Abstract
“Chiefs by the People” explores the disjuncture between local and national narratives of South Africa’s transition-era civil war. The book challenges popular notions of the conflict as driven by innate tribalism or the struggle for political legitimacy between the Zulu nationalist Inkatha and Mandela’s African National Congress. Drawing on archives and oral history interviews, the project examines two Zulu chiefdoms that contested boundaries and chiefly legitimacy during colonialism, apartheid, and civil war. The Nyavu made claims on land and authority based on hereditary land use against the colonially-created Maphumulo. Though Maphumulo chiefs received power by colonial decree, they promoted their legitimacy through connections to both land and their followers. The establishment of apartheid-era Tribal Authorities exacerbated these contests, erupting in violence during civil war. Following the relationship between these chiefdoms across the twentieth century reveals how chiefs and their people adapted and deployed strategies for building social and political relationships.

Assistant Professor, History, Southern Methodist University  -  Chiefs by the People: Land, Conflict, and Authority in Twentieth-Century South Africa

Colleen P. Woods
Colleen P. Woods  |  Abstract
“Bombs, Bureaucrats, and Rosary Beads” tells how “the global,” a geographic scale that in our contemporary world is assumed as the universal container for human life and history, was given new meaning through anti-communist politics. In interrogating “the global” as a politicized spatial category, the project shows how six American and Philippine networks transformed local struggles over the meaning and shape of Philippine independence into sites of international conflict. Beginning in the late 1920s, American and Filipino intelligence agents, military officials, paramilitaries, businessmen, state bureaucrats, university professors, and religious missionaries transformed the Philippines into a laboratory for the development of a globally oriented, anti-communist politics. Intent on ensuring that the demands of anti-colonial movements did not entirely overturn the colonial order, members of these networks wove together discrete and disparate political contests to produce a new geography of war without territorial boundaries.

ACLS Oscar Handlin Fellow
Assistant Professor, History, University of Maryland, College Park  -  Bombs, Bureaucrats, and Rosary Beads: The United States, the Philippines, and the Making of Global Anti-Communism

Donna Lee Kwon
Donna Lee Kwon  |  Abstract
The aim of this project is to address the spatialization of culture in Korean drumming and dance, centering on the concept of the “madang,” a cultural space that was revived in opposition to the Western stage in South Korea. While the madang can best be visualized as a village courtyard, it can also refer temporally to an occasion in time or socially to a sense of embodied communal participation. The thesis of this research contends that the participatory way of being that is cultivated in the madang counteracts the fossilization of tradition by bringing folk practices more fully into the embodied present, even if in an idealized fashion. This book demonstrates how this is accomplished in three ways: the madang draws attention to the body; it increases one’s awareness of space and place; and it creates open-ended performances that are conducive to a more dynamic range of social interactions.

Assistant Professor, Musicology and Ethnomusicology, University of Kentucky  -  Stepping in the Madang: Embodying Space and Place in Korean Drumming and Dance

Serena R. Zabin
Serena R. Zabin  |  Abstract
This project is a new interpretation of the Boston Massacre, one of the most famous events in America’s pre-Revolutionary history. The British troops that came to Boston in 1768 brought hundreds of women and children with them. Over the four years that followed, these and other soldiers created many more families with local women, and these military families created both connections and conflicts with their local neighbors. The book uncovers the extensive personal interactions between troops (with their families) and townspeople of both sexes and the close, if fraught, relationships that developed. Occupied Boston was a small city where interwoven strands of politics, love, fear, and desire reshaped everything from the town’s streets to the meaning of marriage. The story of how these relationships shaped the American Revolution is the heart of this book.

Associate Professor, History, Carleton College  -  Occupying Boston: An Intimate History of the Boston Massacre