ACLS Fellows

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

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

Christine M. Adams
Christine M. Adams  |  Abstract
The Merveilleuses ("Marvelous Ones"), a group of approximately 100 young and stylish Parisian women, came to define the era of the Directory (1794–1799). Following the French Revolution's Reign of Terror, these chic young women set the tone in French society until Napoleon's coup in 1799. The Merveilleuses helped define the Directory as a moment of decadence and turmoil. However, they were also political players whose consumption of luxury goods and looser social mores represented an effort to construct a new order after the Terror. While fearing their influence, contemporary newspapers suggested that their spending habits and fashion leadership were helping revive France’s economy and international influence in the wake of war and revolution. This project considers the Merveilleuses as a cultural phenomenon as well as their function in the historical imaginary and illuminates how the fixation on their beauty, style, and sexuality has obscured their political and cultural significance.

Professor, History, St. Mary's College of Maryland  -  The Merveilleuses and their Impact on the French Social Imaginary, 1795-1799 and Beyond

Chisu Teresa Ko
Chisu Teresa Ko  |  Abstract
“Argentina: Race in a Raceless Nation” examines two pivotal moments of Argentine racial history: the making of a white (and therefore “raceless”) nation in the nineteenth century and the multicultural turn of the new millennium. Two main questions guide the project. First, how did a nation formed by diverse peoples achieve a largely unquestioned national identity? Second, what are the implications of Argentina’s recent embrace of multiculturalism? By analyzing an array of cultural manifestations, this project offers a panoramic understanding of the mechanisms of racial narratives and ideologies in these two decisive periods. It argues that despite state practices that ensured the statistical and symbolic absence of non-whites throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, cultural discourses played a key role in identifying and constructing racialized bodies to institute a strict racial hierarchy. In today's multiculturalism, cultural discourses mediate between white hegemony and the re-emergence of non-white subjectivities.

Associate Professor, Modern Languages, Ursinus College  -  Argentina: Race in a Raceless Nation

Marcus P. Adams
Marcus P. Adams  |  Abstract
Thomas Hobbes maintained that his philosophy constituted a unified and complete system, but in what precise sense did he think that the branches of his philosophy were unified? This question has provoked extensive scholarship over the last half-century. Answering it is essential not only to understanding Hobbes’s philosophy generally, but how one answers it significantly impacts our understanding of Hobbes’s most influential work—the Leviathan. ”Making and Knowing” answers it by placing Hobbes’s politics within his broader concerns about scientific knowledge as constructed by humans and by demonstrating that the relationship between "pure" and "mixed" mathematics provided Hobbes with a model for thinking about the relationships between geometry, natural philosophy, and politics.

Assistant Professor, Philosophy, University of Albany, State University of New York  -  Making and Knowing: Thomas Hobbes’s Unified Philosophy

Anne S. Kreps
Anne S. Kreps  |  Abstract
When the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947, they were immediately recognized by scholars for how they might rewrite the history of ancient Judaism. An early press release published in the Times of London declared to the public that the DSS were a product of a “comparatively little-known sect, or monastic order, possibly the Essenes.” As the scrolls became available to the public, mild statements about the value of the scrolls for shedding light on an obscure period of Jewish history gave way to dramatic claims about their potential to undermine the foundations of Christianity. In the aftermath of the discovery, several modern Essene movements have emerged in the United States. This project documents these new religions, and investigates how the Dead Sea Scrolls, and scholarship on the scrolls, has influenced their formation.

Assistant Professor, Religious Studies, University of Oregon  -  The Dead Sea Scrolls in the American Religious Landscape

Fazia Aitel
Fazia Aitel  |  Abstract
Amazigh Women, Trauma, and the Legacy of Colonialism is an interdisciplinary project which pursues three objectives. First, this book recognizes Algeria’s indigenous Amazigh (Berber) women as the bearers of a post-colonial legacy of trauma. Second, it traces and analyzes how Amazigh women have survived and coped with major social upheavals and traumatic experiences most importantly the Algerian war of independence. Lastly, this book documents how Amazigh women continue to carry these experiences—historical traumas—in their bodies and minds, and then transform and/or transmit them into the present. Indeed, as argued here, Amazigh women carry a historic burden, that is, a post-colonial legacy or haunting, which mediates the culture, politics and everyday life of contemporary Algeria.

Associate Professor, Modern Languages and Literatures, Claremont McKenna College  -  Amazigh Women, Trauma, and the Legacy of Colonialism

Natasha Lightfoot
Natasha Lightfoot  |  Abstract
This book explores mid-nineteenth century enslaved people's struggles in the Caribbean to utilize the protections afforded by birth in British territory to emancipate themselves from the slave societies of other empires. The project frames these liberation efforts, which unfolded after learning of British emancipation in 1834, as evidence of enslaved people’s hard-won cosmopolitanism and the complexities of black identity formation in slavery. The unlikely ways that Caribbean bondspeople discovered the illegality of their enslavement reflected the cosmopolitan sensibility acquired at high cost to their safety. The self-presentations that colonial officials demanded of petitioners reveal politicized claims both to blackness as tied to slavery and African heritage; and to Britishness as undergirding their right to freedom. These actors experienced more unfreedom in the process of trying to become free, as they were ensnared in the clashes between nations and empires with different legal structures and attitudes toward enslavement and manumission.

Associate Professor, History, Columbia University  -  Fugitive Cosmopolitans: Mobility and Freedom Struggles Among Black Atlantic Subjects

Amy Appleford
Amy Appleford  |  Abstract
During the late middle ages, ascetic bodily and ethical practices long cultivated by monks, nuns, and other enclosed religious were appropriated by lay people living outside the cloister. Influenced by ancient philosophical asceticism, Christian asceticism offered forms of counter-conduct as early as the fourth century. A millennium later, texts circulating in translation among the laity encouraged them to identify not with the quotidian present but with a transcendent alternate reality. Setting those who participated in it against the dominant culture and its institutions - familial, political, and religious - and encouraging bodily and textual practices to root out their traces in mind, body and soul, lay asceticism cultivated real or metaphorical solitude and worldly disenchantment. “In Place of the Self” proposes the ascetic mode, which was strongly repudiated after the English reformations, both as an important historical phenomenon and as a neglected precursor to several strands of contemporary critical post-humanism.

Associate Professor, English, Boston University  -  In Place of the Self: Ascetic Matters in Medieval England

Megan Long
Megan Long  |  Abstract
This project develops a historically grounded model of pitch structure in the music of William Byrd, drawing on sixteenth-century music theory, recent research on sixteenth-century pitch frameworks, and computational analysis of a digital corpus of Byrd's works. We generally understand sixteenth-century music to be governed by modality, a system of pitch structure described in contemporary theory texts. However, scholars have questioned mode's broad applicability, especially in England, where little modal theory and few explicitly modal musical sources survive. As an alternative, this project adopts an analytical perspective based on solmization, the sight-singing rudiments that undergirded all sixteenth-century musicians' sense of pitch. Solmization determines what pitches a composer can use, marks some pitches as essential and others as accidental, and controls features from motivic design to harmonic plan. This pragmatic framework, grounded in vocal pedagogy rather than speculative modal theory, can radically reshape our understanding of both English and Continental music.

Associate Professor, Music Theory, Oberlin College  -  Complicating the Modal Paradigm with the Music of William Byrd (c. 1540–1623)

Cameron Awkward-Rich
Cameron Awkward-Rich  |  Abstract
Transgender studies was founded on a split from disability. That is, in many of the field’s founding texts, trans authority was produced through a disavowal of disability in general and madness in particular. Refuse begins from the premise that this tactic has delimited the intellectual and political horizons of trans thought, limiting the field’s ability to respond to the very lives and texts it sought the authority to interpret. Building on work from disability studies and affect studies, this project instead argues for and models trans theory that thinks with, rather than against, the bad feelings and mad habits of thought endemic to the trans archive. In doing so, it demonstrates that, rather than only impeding or confining trans life, thought, and creativity, forms of maladjustment have been—and will be—central to their development.

Assistant Professor, Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies, University of Massachusetts Amherst  -  Refuse: Maladjustment and Trans[masculine] Thought

Davina C. Lopez
Davina C. Lopez  |  Abstract
Emilie Grace Briggs (1867-1944), the daughter of infamous biblical scholar and accused heretic Charles Augustus Briggs (1841-1913), is primarily remembered as the editor who completed several of her father's books. She was, however, a scholar in her own right and produced a major monograph on women’s leadership in early Christianity that remains unpublished. This project entails transcribing and publishing Ms. Briggs’s 1910 manuscript as a critical edition, making this work available to a wider audience. An introduction and commentary contextualizes her work in the intellectual history of biblical scholarship and studies of religion, the history of women's contributions to American higher education as biblical scholars and teachers of religion, and American religious history.

Professor, Religious Studies, Eckerd College  -  Emilie Grace Briggs, Women Leaders in Early Christianity, A Study in Historical Dynamics (1910): A Critical Edition and Commentary

Stephanie M. Bahr
Stephanie M. Bahr  |  Abstract
In the Reformation, how to read the Bible divided Catholics from Protestants, and the stakes of interpretation included torture, death, and damnation. For whereas modern humanists accept and even celebrate ambiguity, the Reformation insisted with the full force of state violence that interpretation can and must be stable. “Reading Martyred Signs” argues the Reformation’s brutal struggles to stabilize interpretation actually generated an unstable interpretive environment that exerted a defining influence on Renaissance literature across forms and genres. This project first applies the methodologies of formalist literary criticism to religious texts more often studied by historians and theologians; it then uses these theological insights to shed new light on canonical literary texts. “Reading Martyred Signs” thus helps advance a more comprehensive account of the Renaissance that integrates the obsessions and violence of the Reformation into literary study to shed new light on sixteenth-century religious experience, poetry, and reading.

ACLS Carl and Betty Pforzheimer Fellow
Assistant Professor, Literature, Hamilton College  -  Reading Martyred Signs: Reformation Hermeneutics and English Literature

Timothy Lubin
Timothy Lubin  |  Abstract
This monographic project proposes a new conceptual model to account for the development and spread of classical Hindu law, and in particular of Brahmin authority (both sacred and worldly), roughly between 300 BCE and 1000 CE. The analysis shows how the doctrinal ideal of the disciplined householder as an ascetic-in-the-world provided a basis for treating Brahmin communities as comparable in holiness and authority to monastic orders. This principle provided a justification for Brahmins to receive patronage in the form of tax-free endowments and helped secure for their lineages high social status by birth. Endowed Brahmin enclaves became centers of learning that propagated the ideals of Dharmaśāstra (religious law) in royal courts and wider society. Over time, such endowments provided an adaptable model for the appropriation and transformation of Brahmanical norms on the peripheries beyond the north Indian “middle country”: in the Himalaya, Bengal, the Tamil south, and Indonesia.

Professor, Religion, Washington and Lee University  -  Appropriations of Indian Dharma and Law on the Peripheries

Simon Balto
Simon Balto  |  Abstract
This project documents the history of white criminals who donned blackface in order to commit crimes during the Jim Crow era in the United States. From at least the 1880s through the 1930s, it was a fairly common practice for white men and women across the country to cover their skin with burnt cork, wear stereotypically "black" clothing, and use other racial ruses to deflect suspicion for their crimes away from themselves and onto black people. In so doing, they artificially inflated black crime statistics, thus reinforcing the burgeoning myth of black criminality, and endangered black life by ginning the wrath of retributive mobs and individuals. Black activists and journalists waged campaigns against the practice, including pushing legislation that would make it a federal crime, but to no avail. This project excavates and analyzes this history for the first time.

Assistant Professor, History and African-American Studies, The University of Iowa  -  Racial Framing: Blackfaced Criminals in Jim Crow America

Anne Garland Mahler
Anne Garland Mahler  |  Abstract
“South-South Solidarities” unearths networks of politically radical activists and artists in the American hemisphere and around the world in the 1920s and 30s, examining the impact of their vision for a “rebellious humanity” in social movements today. While it studies a wide array of organizations and individuals, at its heart is the All-American Anti-Imperialist League (LADLA), created in 1925 in Mexico City. Within two years, LADLA joined with organizations from forty nations at the 1927 Brussels Anti-Imperialist Conference. There, LADLA organizers interacted with US Black intellectuals and with anti-colonial leaders from Africa and Asia. Through combining the study of archival sources with literary and artistic works in English and Spanish, “South-South Solidarities” examines how these exchanges impacted debates in radical circles in the Americas, specifically on the subjects of black and indigenous labor, immigrant rights, and racial policing.

Associate Professor, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, University of Virginia  -  South-South Solidarities: Racial Capitalism and Political Community from the Americas to the Globe

Banu Bargu
Banu Bargu  |  Abstract
A dizzying range of actions, such as hunger strikes, self-immolations, enforced disappearances, die-ins, and voluntary human shielding practices, has catapulted the body into prominence in political struggles since the 1960s. “Corporeal Politics” brings these different political forms together, focusing especially on those instances in which the body is both the object and the subject of violence directed at itself. Through situated explorations of examples from around the world, the project examines the implications of corporeal politics for democracy, citizenship, and political agency. Offering a materialist lens for politics, the project traces how the body becomes a conduit as much of radical expression and intervention as of political domination. It analyzes how corporeal forms of action unsettle generalizations about the agency of the modern subject from a visceral and affective register.

Associate Professor, History of Consciousness, University of California, Santa Cruz  -  Corporeal Politics: Violent Uses of the Body in the Present

Yuko Miki
Yuko Miki  |  Abstract
This project is a narrative history of illegal slavery in the nineteenth-century Atlantic World. Through four intertwined stories, it investigates how illegal slavery thrived throughout the Atlantic World in general, and in Brazil in particular, in the very midst of the “Age of Emancipation.” Attention to the lived experiences of women, men, and children forced into, or who profited from, illegal slavery challenges the predominant history of the nineteenth-century as a period marked by the triumph of abolition and freedom. Drawing on literary analysis and archival ethnography, this project asks how illegal slavery can critique these liberal, modernizing narratives that have been foundational to the study of slavery and abolition, and Atlantic world history more broadly.

Associate Professor, History, Fordham University  -  Emancipation's Shadow: Stories of Illegal Slavery

Hannah Barker
Hannah Barker  |  Abstract
This project historicizes the concept of race in relation to slavery by focusing on its function in a specific genre (legal documents) and a specific historical context (northern Italy in the thirteenth through fifteenth centuries). In this genre and context, race was used to commodify people, collapsing their individuality into a finite, commensurable set of categories to provide a legal basis for their status as slaves and facilitate their exchange in slave markets. This form of racial categorization did not rely on physical, visual, or biological characteristics, making it a useful point of comparison for present systems of racial categorization based on skin color.

Assistant Professor, Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies, Arizona State University  -  Race, Slavery, and Law in Medieval Italy

Amir A. Moosavi
Amir A. Moosavi  |  Abstract
This book project is the first comparative study of the massive literary output of the Iran-Iraq War—the longest two-state war of the twentieth century—in both Arabic and Persian. In bringing together these two literatures, it argues for the expansion of modern comparative literary studies across the two languages based on common experiences of war and writing under authoritarian regimes. The book focuses on prose fiction to demonstrate how Iraqi and Iranian writers have wrestled with the brutal reality of the war and its politically contentious legacy from 1980 until today. In doing so, “Dust That Never Settled” argues that writers from both countries have transformed literatures that were once entirely militarized and sponsored by warring governments into literatures of loss, mourning and resistance.

Assistant Professor, English, Rutgers University-Newark  -  Dust That Never Settled: Afterlives of the Iran-Iraq War in Arabic and Persian Literatures

Lisa Bhungalia
Lisa Bhungalia  |  Abstract
“From the American People” examines an understudied dimension of America’s transnational wars: their civilian and humanitarian components. Tracing the entanglements of US national securitization, liberal warfare, and foreign aid governance, this project examines how the tethering of US counterterrorism and counterinsurgency strategies to civilian aid flows in Palestine has proliferated the sites and means through which an expansive regime of policing, surveillance, and punishment is being exercised over Palestinian life. Aid, it contends, is both relief and war. Tracking these developments ethnographically, “From the American People” illuminates how regimes of war and violence are reproduced through mediums, practices, and institutions that emerge to realize “stability” and “peace.” More broadly, it affords insight into the multiple forms of violence that exist within the concept of war – not only the spectacular and the crisis-laden, but also the mundane, bureaucratic, routinized, and largely concealed.

Assistant Professor, Geography, Kent State University  -  “From the American People”: Aid, War, and the US Security State in Palestine

Ryan Moran
Ryan Moran  |  Abstract
This project focuses on the history of life insurance in prewar and wartime Japan. It examines the emergence of Japan’s first private life insurance companies in the 1880s and the state-run systems that later emerged in Japan and colonial Korea. Private companies articulated new visions of mutuality in response to the danger of death that awaited all. In doing so, they both reflected and helped to instantiate newer expectations for familial responsibility. Insurance would also become an important means by which the state attempted to manage the labor problem and the problem of peasant unrest in colonial Korea. During World War II, the state would once again use insurance as an important means of martialing the spiritual and economic resources of the populace. In its ability to mold conduct, commodify lives, and rearticulate mutuality, life insurance significantly impacted the constitution of social life in modern Japan and colonial Korea.

Assistant Professor, History, University of Utah  -  Tabling Death: Life Insurance in Modern Japan, 1881-1945

Jordan Branch
Jordan Branch  |  Abstract
This project explores how digital technologies of warfare are reshaping the sovereign state. Historically, states emerged out of institutional changes driven in large part by military competition. Today, however, the technologies of war—rather than war itself—are driving state transformation. While technological innovation is forcing states to adapt, states are deploying new tools to pursue their interests and even reshaping technological systems in return. “Virtual Territories” examines three intersections between information technologies, warfare, and sovereign statehood today: planning wars in the virtual domain of cybersecurity, fighting wars remotely through drones, and negotiating resolutions to conflicts through geospatial technologies. Drawing on interviews, archival research, and a close analysis of texts, the book focuses on the role of visual, linguistic, and conceptual representations: representations of digital technologies and through them. Concentrating on representational devices and practices bridges the traditional divide between ideational and material theories of contemporary state transformation.

Assistant Professor, Government, Claremont McKenna College  -  Virtual Territories: War and the State in a Digital Age

Douglas Northrop
Douglas Northrop  |  Abstract
This study explores the intertwined seismic and social histories of Central Eurasia. I use several major earthquakes—with their attendant drama and social, cultural, political, and economic consequences—to gain a fresh perspective on the Russo-Soviet empire. The resulting book is built around four traumatic episodes, all located in or near urban centers of the imperial periphery: Almaty, Kazakhstan (1887); Ashgabat, Turkmenistan (1948); Tashkent, Uzbekistan (1966); and Spitak, Armenia (1988). These cataclysmic events are the spine of a new, sweeping history of the empire, one that brings together colonial, environmental, cultural, and urban history, as well as the history of science.

Professor, History and Middle East Studies, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor  -  Four Days that Shook the World: Earthquakes and Empire Along the Eurasian Frontier

Lisa Brooks
Lisa Brooks  |  Abstract
“Tracking Molsemsis” is an environmental history of eastern coyotes, focused on the migration of coyotes and their adaptation to the recovering forests of New England. This book centers Indigenous methodologies, including language, literature, traditional ecological knowledge and land-based research, but also transcends disciplinary boundaries, drawing on recent research in evolutionary biology, ecology, and paleoecology to unravel the story of coyotes’ remarkable historical and ongoing adaptation to climate catastrophes and colonization.

Professor, English and American Studies, Amherst College  -  Tracking Molsemsis: An Indigenous and Environmental History of Eastern Coyote

Jennifer L. Palmer
Jennifer L. Palmer  |  Abstract
In the eighteenth-century Atlantic world, the emergence of plantation capitalism alongside modern bureaucratic states reshaped who could own, what they could own, and how ownership was established. In the process, ownership transformed into a white patriarchal privilege. A close focus on the French Atlantic demonstrates the novelty of this development. “Possession” illuminates how this transition occurred by examining the ownership practices of white women and free women of color in the French Caribbean and France at the moment these opportunities disappeared. By focusing on how social relations structured early modern ownership as much as the law, this monograph challenges prevailing narratives of the rise of the plantation economy and ultimately capitalism.

Associate Professor, History, University of Georgia  -  Possession: Gender, Race, and Ownership in Eighteenth-Century Atlantic France

Nicole A. Burrowes
Nicole A. Burrowes  |  Abstract
"Seeds of Solidarity" explores the historical possibility of a movement forged by those at the edges of empire in the midst of economic, political and environmental crises. This research examines African- and Indian-Guianese youth, women, and men who worked on sugar plantations and led a series of labor uprisings during the 1930s in a context that actively pitted these racialized communities against each other. Joint action did not signal the leveling of difference or the erasure of strong racial identities, rather these identities provided a basis for concerted action at home and globally. The intervention of this work is three-pronged: to center plantation workers and the 1930s in the development of modern politics in the Caribbean; to expand the framework of “overlapping diasporas;” and to counter generations of hegemonic narratives that center conflict by theorizing about the potential basis for solidarity amidst profound structures of difference.

Assistant Professor, African and African Diaspora Studies, University of Texas at Austin  -  Seeds of Solidarity: African-Indian Relations and the 1935 Labor Rebellions in British Guiana

Javier Patino Loira
Javier Patino Loira  |  Abstract
“Sharp Minds” tells a story at the crossroads of humanistic and scientific inquiry. It explores the 17th-century cult of intricate and wonder-arousing metaphors, called “conceits,” in connection with contemporary discourses on geometry, optics, and medicine. In a conversation, a sermon, or a play, conceits enabled a speaker’s “sharp mind” to arouse marvel in others by creating mind-blowing associations between disparate objects. The book argues that interest in Euclid’s geometry, telescopic and microscopic observations, distorting mirrors, and anatomy crucially informed the way Italian and Spanish theorists writing between 1639 and 1654 conceptualized the conceit’s logical and psychological workings. It reveals that scientific and technological innovations reshaped the way scholars imagined language’s ability to generate spaces of encounter and competition between the minds of speaker and listener.

Assistant Professor, Spanish and Portuguese, University of California, Los Angeles  -  Sharp Minds: Metaphor and the Cult of Ingenuity in an Age of Science (1639-1654)

Christopher Cameron
Christopher Cameron  |  Abstract
Liberal Religion and Race in America explores the history of African Americans’ engagement with religious liberalism from the First Great Awakening of the 1740s to the founding of Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism in 2015. African Americans were among the founders of the first Universalist churches in the eighteenth century, created their own liberal congregations beginning in the nineteenth century, and have continually pushed Unitarians and Universalists to be more attuned to social injustices. While their numbers have been few, African Americans have been profoundly affected by and made significant contributions to American religious liberalism.

ACLS Oscar Handlin Fellow
Associate Professor, History, University of North Carolina at Charlotte  -  Liberal Religion and Race in America

Federico Pérez
Federico Pérez  |  Abstract
In contemporary Bogotá, city planners, developers, and residents struggle over downtown renewal by deploying security idioms linked to Colombia’s history of political and criminal violence. Urban spaces appear as theaters of military operations, bureaucratic artifacts as weapons of (para)state violence, and housing transformations as incarnations of rural land grabbing and displacement. This project shows how such rhetorical maneuvers, far from being only metaphorical reverberations of the country’s history of warfare, are practical enactments that become intimately entangled with the constitution of urban materialities. Moving through government offices, ruined and semi-abandoned construction sites, and neighborhood homes and stores, “Urbanism as Warfare” illuminates the relational dynamics between urban knowledges, artifacts, and spaces. It investigates how (in)security infuses expert practices and political imaginaries, and mediates the making of contemporary urban worlds.

Assistant Professor, University Honors College, Portland State University  -  Urbanism as Warfare: Knowledge, (In)security, and the Remaking of Downtown Bogotá

Hector Carrillo
Hector Carrillo  |  Abstract
In recent decades, an explosion of interest in family history has turned genealogy into one of the most popular hobbies worldwide. This project examines: (1) the sociotechnical, economic, and political processes that put documents and records at the fingertips of amateur genealogists; (2) the growth of genealogy into a global cultural phenomenon; and (3) the meaning-making practices that characterize the encounter between amateur genealogists and the documents they access. Previous work has explored the motivations that lead laypeople to become amateur genealogists. Instead, on the basis of ethnographic methods and content analysis, this project emphasizes the epistemological effects of the interactions that amateur genealogists establish with the raw material that makes the genealogical enterprise possible.

Professor, Sociology, Northwestern University  -  The Afterlife of Documents: Identity, Mobility, and the Genealogical Imagination

Kareem Rabie
Kareem Rabie  |  Abstract
Throughout the West Bank over the last ten or fifteen years, there has been discussion of the link between businessmen in Hebron (Khalil) and China, and hundreds have settled or travel there annually. This study analyzes political economic governance through those figures who allow us to see states, law, and global economics through daily practice—traders and travelers who navigate changing forms of circulation. This research combines ethnography in the West Bank and China with documentation of the process and progress of a container moving from Yiwu to the West Bank, and uncovers intertwined and global economic and social histories. Within and beyond Palestine and China, it asks: what does governance around circulation and movement look like? How does it inflect local social life, geography, and politics?

Assistant Professor, Anthropology, American University  -  Everywhere in the world there is a Chinatown, in China there is a Khaliltown: Circulation, Social Life, and the New Geographies of Palestine/China Trade

Susie Lan Cassel
Susie Lan Cassel  |  Abstract
The Ah Quin Diary is the earliest significant writing in English by a Chinese immigrant to the United States. Written from 1877-1902 and extant in 11 volumes, this rare primary document touches on nearly all of the landmark narratives of the Chinese experience in nineteenth-century America (e.g., cook, railroad, laundry, restaurant, bachelor society, etc.). This new, interpretive monograph serves as a companion volume to the scholarly edition (also by this author) and provides extensive analysis to help make sense of the seemingly mundane activities that make-up the diary. What was it like to be a Chinese cook in San Francisco during the age of Denis Kearney? How did Ah Quin negotiate his desire to work in America against “The Chinese Must Go!” hysteria? The Diary addresses these questions in its own way and helps to fill a gap in the labor and immigration history. In short, this monograph interprets the text of Ah Quin’s life to provide insight on the “dark ages” of the Chinese Exclusion Era.

Professor, Literature and Writing Studies, California State University, San Marcos  -  The Ah Quin Diary: Shedding Light on the Dark Ages of the Chinese Exclusion Era

Anne Katharine Rasmussen
Anne Katharine Rasmussen  |  Abstract
"Monsoon Music" concerns the music of Indonesian Islam. Characterized as the "land below the winds," the Indonesian archipelago has been historically, culturally, meteorologically, and spiritually connected to the ebb and flow of Indian Ocean Islam, since the ninth century, when maritime trade and travel from the Arabian Peninsula to the China Sea began. The project is the third stage of research that spans more than 20 years. It catalogues the extensive number of multi-media files of performances and interviews, collected over many years, in consultation with partners at universities in Jakarta and Malang, and with a community of artists in in Yogyakarta, and will result in an open-access, digital humanities publication, a hallmark of the public humanities.

Professor, Music/Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, College of William & Mary  -  Monsoon Music: The Soundscape of Indonesian Islam in an Indian Ocean World

Lindsay M. Ceballos
Lindsay M. Ceballos  |  Abstract
This project examines the initial reception of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s religious ideas in elite and popular spheres in late-imperial Russian society. During this period, key approaches to reading Dostoevsky were first formulated, including the idea that his work amounted to a central contribution to religious thought rather than being a purely literary endeavor. Once considered too mystical or conservative, his novels and very image came to reflect a radically inclusive Christian ethics. Likewise, widespread acceptance of him as a religious thinker has always been contingent upon a revisionist reception of his nationalist politics. By revisiting this early history of reading Dostoevsky, this project shows its continued relevance to more recent critical trends in Russia and the west.

Assistant Professor, Russian and East European Studies, Lafayette College  -  Dostoevsky’s Disciples: Religion and National Ideology in Russian Culture, 1881–1913

Jeremy P. Rau
Jeremy P. Rau  |  Abstract
One of the most remarkable aspects of Ancient Greek is the tremendous amount of dialectal diversity that is attested for the language as it was spoken throughout Greece, the islands of the Aegean, the coast of Asia Minor, Cyprus, and the wider Mediterranean. This project is a full-scale linguistic history of the Ancient Greek dialects from their earliest beginnings through the mid 1st millennium BCE. Using new developments in Ancient Greek and Indo-European historical linguistics and in Mycenaean archaeology and palaeography, it seeks to resolve three long-standing questions: When did the Ancient Greek dialects first emerge and what linguistic innovations are responsible for their creation? What was the dialect situation in Ancient Greece throughout the 2nd millennium BCE? And what does the linguistic history of the Ancient Greek dialects mean for the study of Ancient Greek history and prehistory?

Professor, Classics and Linguistics, Harvard University  -  Linguistic Descent, Diversification, and Convergence. The History of the Ancient Greek Dialects, ca. 2000-600 BCE

Christy Chapin
Christy Chapin  |  Abstract
This project traces the rise of finance capitalism in the United States since World War II. During the postwar era, the economy began transitioning away from industrial-based production towards service-based production that increasingly revolved around profitmaking through a variety of financial instruments and investment products. The project demonstrates that the way federal policies mixed with the private pursuit of profit helped bring about finance capitalism by altering how business leaders conceptualized risk and viewed money. Although this book examines highly technical financial and economic subjects, it uses the historian’s tool of storytelling to make a complex topic understandable and incorporates a humanities-based approach to examine the changing culture of the banking and financial industries.

Associate Professor, History, University of Maryland, Baltimore County  -  Flexible Finance: Finance Capitalism and the Evolving Culture of Risk

Annette Yoshiko Reed
Annette Yoshiko Reed  |  Abstract
The nineteenth and twentieth centuries were marked by manuscript discoveries that opened up astonishing new perspectives on ancient Judaism. Since then, much research has been dedicated to reconstructing fragmentary texts and lost voices. The more we have learned about the Dead Sea Scrolls, for instance, the more we realize how much of the heritage of ancient Judaism was lost to later Jews and Christians. This project uses the test-case of the Jewish and Christian reception of the ancient Jewish past to explore the cultural power of forgetting more broadly. Counterbalancing the focus on remembrance in the construction of collective identities, I look to what has been abandoned, overwritten, and effaced in the process—and the ways in which such erasures often enable cultural renewal and creativity.

Associate Professor, Religious Studies; Hebrew & Judaic Studies, New York University  -  Forgetting: Retheorizing the Ancient Jewish Past and its Jewish and Christian Reception

Jon T. Coleman
Jon T. Coleman  |  Abstract
The Kankakee River in Northern Indiana/Illinois was once a sluggish, magnificent engine of biodiversity. In the early twentieth century, the river’s marshlands were dredged and destroyed. The soggy splendor of 500,000 wetland acres was no match for reclamation. According the logic of reclamation, the Kankakee destroyed resources rather than sustained them. By taming the river, farmland would be freed from the floods. Mud would become real estate. I argue that the best way to counter the gospel of unmaking that imprisons the Kankakee to this day is to alter the current of time. I intend to write the history of the Kankakee in reverse chronology to resurrect a stunning environment that can only be imagined today.

Professor, History, University of Notre Dame  -  The Mighty Kankakee: History Against the Current

S. Brent Rodríguez-Plate
S. Brent Rodríguez-Plate  |  Abstract
"The spiritual life of dolls" outlines a human history of engagement with dolls, providing a religious historical framework to think through our cyborgian futures by showing how we have always been cyborgs, always merging with our technologies. While not universal, one finds a broad cross-cultural and historically pervasive interest in figures (including puppets, figurines, automatons, robots) that look and often behave like humans, as humans invest them with "spirit." Dolls are ultimately a tool, a technology that re-creates humans. They socialize humans, make them lust, help them pray, become their friends, help them grieve and die. They are the religious tool extraordinaire, and by tracing their history, this book project traces an uncanny history of human life and practice.

Visiting Associate Professor, Religious Studies, Hamilton College  -  The Spiritual Life of Dolls: Religious Technologies from Adam to Barbie to AI

John Alba Cutler
John Alba Cutler  |  Abstract
“Latinx modernism” denotes both an archive and an argument. The archive comprises the thousands of literary texts published in Spanish-language periodicals, which were the most important literary institutions for US Latinx communities in the early twentieth century. The argument: that these texts provide us a new genealogy of Latinidad and a new understanding of American modernity. In contrast to accounts that say the panethnic designation “Latino” emerged in the 1980s, this project shows how the shared Latinity of Latinx communities was already present on the literature pages of newspapers and magazines in the early twentieth century. This is the dawn of Latinoamericanismo, a discourse of hemispheric solidarity that critiques US imperialism and celebrates Latin American spiritual refinement. Latinoamericanismo is thus both oppositional and elitist. Latinx modernism, however, does not merely reproduce Latinoamericanismo, but transforms it, grappling with its elitism while amplifying its critique from within the belly of US empire.

Associate Professor, English, Northwestern University  -  Latinx Modernism and the Spirit of Latinoamericanismo

Kelsey Rubin-Detlev
Kelsey Rubin-Detlev  |  Abstract
“The Bible in Enlightenment Russia” offers the first monograph-length analysis of the Bible’s role in Russian intellectual life between the 1660s and the 1820s. Although Biblical translation into modern Russian was restricted well into the 19th century, Biblical material loomed large in cultural debates and fueled literary experiments throughout the era. Russians, like their Western neighbors, turned the Bible into one cultural monument among many, but did so through literary creativity rather than Western-style translation and scholarship. Broadening our understanding of the place of religious texts in ostensibly secular culture, this study explores how Russian writers created a diverse body of Biblical literature separate but not wholly divorced from the Church Slavonic tradition.

Assistant Professor, Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Southern California  -  The Bible in Enlightenment Russia

Lara Deeb
Lara Deeb  |  Abstract
“Beyond Sectarianism” analyzes the stakes of interreligious marriages and the social discord they create, using Lebanon as a case through which to explore how sectarianism in the Middle East seeps into everyday life. Countering popular assumptions that sectarianism is an essential age-old feature of the region, this book reveals one of the ways it is produced and perpetuated through interpersonal interactions. Based on over two hundred interviews, “Beyond Sectarianism” also sheds ethnographic light on the relationships among gender, class, geography, and sect, upending assumptions about sect as the core of identity in Lebanon. In so doing, the book analyzes both sectarianism’s impact on social relationships and the way such relationships can reinforce sectarian practices and ideas. It provides new insight into how sect is reproduced as a salient marker of social difference in Lebanon, and increasingly, across the Middle East.

Professor, Anthropology, Scripps College  -  Beyond Sectarianism: Interreligious Marriage & Social Difference in Lebanon

Anne Ruderman
Anne Ruderman  |  Abstract
“Supplying the Slave Trade” considers the goods that made the transatlantic slave trade possible, as Europeans and Africans exchanged trade goods for captives on the African coast. This project asks how Europeans generated economic knowledge of tastes and preferences on the African coast, relayed that information back to Europe, worked with international suppliers to acquire the right trade goods, and then strategically deployed those goods in Atlantic Africa. It argues that African consumer demand shaped the transatlantic slave trade, both on the African coast, and deep in the European interior, as European slave-ship outfitters ranged far and wide to get the trade goods their partners desired.

Assistant Professor, Economic History, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK  -  Supplying the Slave Trade

Daisy Delogu
Daisy Delogu  |  Abstract
This project explores questions related to political organization and the exercise of power which continue to resonate in our current moment, when concerns about leadership may evoke the familiar metaphor of the wolf in sheep’s clothing. The trials faced by Charles V, Charles VI, and Charles VII of France – including foreign invasion, mental illness, and civil war – and the broader concerns to which they gave rise, were often negotiated figuratively, via a staging of shepherd, sheep, and wolf. The complex cultural imaginary surrounding these figures – developed in Biblical sources, classical eclogues, encyclopedic works, fables and beast epics, pastourelles, visual and material culture – produces a robust range of potential meanings which writers freely deployed and recombined. “The Political Pastoral” shows how, unconstrained by generic norms, late medieval French and Burgundian authors used the pastoral mode both to delineate theoretical premises of political philosophy and to respond to urgent challenges.

Professor, Romance Languages & Literatures, University of Chicago  -  The Political Pastoral: Shepherds, Sheep, and Wolves between Late Medieval France and Burgundy (1364-1461)

Maddalena Rumor
Maddalena Rumor  |  Abstract
This book project uses a novel methodology of identifying likely mistranslations of strange pharmaceutical ingredients (Dreckapotheke) to expand the current thinking about Babylonian pharmacology and our knowledge of its interrelation with Graeco-Roman medicine. With evidence obtained through original comparative analysis, it challenges the commonly-held notion that no textual parallels can be found between these two medical literatures. The results supply a new history of the socio-intellectual context within which ancient medical ideas circulated, developed, created a tradition, and eventually were transmitted. At the same time it offers additional insight into the often elusive relationship between professional and popular healing practices in the Ancient World.

Visiting Assistant Professor, Classics, Case Western Reserve University  -  Dreckapotheke in Ancient Mesopotamia and the Graeco-Roman World

Andrew S. Denning
Andrew S. Denning  |  Abstract
This book project examines how mobility shaped colonial rule in Africa from 1900 to 1945 by studying road development and motorization projects. The study's trans-imperial approach draws connections among Belgian, British, French, German, and Italian colonies to show how European powers developed a distinct form of "automotive empire" in Africa. States sought to recast Africa by permeating the continent with movement, to the mutual benefit of colonizer and colonized. Automotive empire shaped spatial, social, and political dynamics in the colonies, demonstrating that technology and infrastructure were not simple tools of colonial power; rather, they became sites of shared, yet unequal colonial life and often produced unforeseen outcomes.

Associate Professor, History, University of Kansas  -  Automotive Empire: Roads, Mobility, and the Making of the Colonial State in Africa, 1900-1945

Nicole Sackley
Nicole Sackley  |  Abstract
“Co-op Capitalism” reveals an important but unknown history of Americans who debated the nature of US capitalism and furthered their own economic development dreams through international cooperative ventures in the second half of the twentieth century. Americans were drawn into a world where governments and citizens navigated the Cold War’s ideological poles. From Swedish consumer co-ops to Israeli kibbutzim, Indian fertilizer plants and Nicaraguan coffee cooperatives, the cooperative appealed as a malleable “middle way,” neither corporate nor communist, that could be mobilized for competing agendas. While some US cooperators hailed “co-op” capitalism as a US export for the world, others saw in cooperatives blueprints to remake global capitalism and opportunities for international solidarity. “Co-op Capitalism” inserts new actors, new ideologies, new hopes, and new failures into the scholarly understanding of how Americans participated in international development and how development visions came home to shape US culture and society.

Associate Professor, History, University of Richmond  -  Co-op Capitalism: Cooperatives, International Development, and American Visions of Capitalism in the Twentieth Century

Elizabeth Ellis
Elizabeth Ellis  |  Abstract
“Power on the Margins” is a history of the small Native American nations of the Lower Mississippi Valley during the eighteenth century. Using archival, linguistic, archaeological, ethnographic, and oral histories and both Native American and Indigenous studies and historical methodologies, this book examines how Indigenous peoples navigated the pressures of French, Spanish, English, and American colonization. By examining Indigenous political and social systems, this work illustrates the ways that these small Native nations were able to use their extensive alliance networks to exercise power and to thereby fundamentally shape the development of both Indigenous and European societies in the region. As this history weaves together past and present, it also sheds light on the processes of Indigenous nation-building that have allowed many of the decedents of these small nations to remain in their homelands and maintain their communities through present day.

Assistant Professor, History, New York University  -  Power on the Margins: The Petites Nations and the Transformations of the Lower Mississippi Valley 1650-1800

Brinda Sarathy
Brinda Sarathy  |  Abstract
This project examines the history of the first Superfund site in California, the Stringfellow Acid Pits, to better understand how places are produced in the context of invisible flows: of toxics, of groundwater, and less told stories of social mobilization. Drawing on archival material and interviews with community activists and government officials, this research explores how hazardous wastes are understood, rationalized, and managed by scientific experts to justify dumping; why policy makers overlooked groundwater contamination in spite of prevailing scientific knowledge; and how to make sense of the often heterogeneous and contradictory nature of local resistance to, and mobilization against, contamination by industrial waste. Significantly, this work considers how institutions of expertise often exclude the experiences of those most exposed to harm and, despite deep and persistent uncertainties, authority figures have been called on to minimize concerns about hazardous substances, thus facilitating industrial, military, and economic expansion.

Professor, Environmental Analysis, Pitzer College  -  Laid to Waste: The Stringfellow Acid Pits and Making of Place in Southern California

Susanna Elm
Susanna Elm  |  Abstract
Using two letters by bishop Augustine of Hippo in North Africa, prompted by the rescue of 120 persons to be sold as slaves in 428 CE, this book illustrates that Augustine's contemporary invention of original sin, peccatum per originem, was his revolutionary commentary on the fiscal and economic givens of his day. At stake was the personal status, the human condition, of those 120, many of whom inhabited a grey zone caused by recent tax legislation for which Roman law was not equipped: they were neither true slaves (for sale) nor fully free (inalienable). Roman administrators had begun to capture this inherited hybrid status through the concept of origo. Augustine used this new fiscal meaning of origo to develop his theology of original sin, the inherited human condition of being born free yet bound to sin.

Professor, History and Classics, University of California, Berkeley  -  Augustine the Economist: Slavery, Taxation, and Original Sin

Melissa Schwartzberg
Melissa Schwartzberg  |  Abstract
Today we believe that the duties of voters and of jurors diverge: the preferences of partisan voters bear little resemblance to jury verdicts. Yet these two main activities of citizens have been linked since antiquity, largely because both served the aim of producing local knowledge. Although self-informing juries scarcely endured into the fourteenth century, the requirement of vicinage - choosing jurors from the surrounding community - persists, because of the value of local and lay knowledge for the production of justice. Similarly, the expansion of suffrage - in democracies and non-democracies alike - derived from the value of local information to rulers. The proposed project draws on these historical developments to construct a new justification for democracy.

Professor, Politics, New York University  -  Judging Democracy: Jurors, Voters, and the Construction of Equal Citizens

Jeffrey Erbig
Jeffrey Erbig  |  Abstract
During the 1700s, Ibero-American colonial governments exiled thousands of convicts to contested borderlands, while simultaneously banishing Indigenous captives from those borderlands to distant forts or island penal colonies. Bringing together prison and borderlands studies, this project examines the sociospatial logics of exile and penal colonization and social groups whose connections to such practices have been understudied. It argues that the rise of convict transportation was intimately tied to the colonial production of political borders, as banishment became a means of distinguishing spaces of colonial law from extrajuridical spaces via the movement of racialized bodies. Balancing imperial frameworks with local cases, it articulates this process and the agency of those who were exiled.

Assistant Professor, Latin American and Latino Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz  -  Empires of Exile: Banishment in the Ibero-American Colonial Worlds

Samira Sheikh
Samira Sheikh  |  Abstract
A variety of terrestrial maps were produced in Gujarat, western India, in the seventeenth and eighteenth century, drawing from and "translating" cartographic vocabularies available in this highly connected and trade-rich province of the Mughal empire (1526-1857). This project explores how this rich proliferation of Gujarati cartography was informed by a cosmopolitan range of religious, maritime, and painterly conventions. Early modern mapmaking was facilitated by Mughal decline, allowing surveyors, map-makers, and specialist professionals to offer up their services to rival patrons, including the British East India Company. The expansion of British power generated an appetite for extractive cadastral or military cartographic modes, and, in response, local cartographers began to strip out animation and affect by the end of the eighteenth century. Nevertheless, maps from the period bear traces of resistance and of older views of Gujarat and the world.

Associate Professor, History, Vanderbilt University  -  Landscapes of Conflict: Geographical mapping in early modern Gujarat, India

Philip Ewell
Philip Ewell  |  Abstract
For over twenty years music theory has tried to diversify with respect to race, yet the field today remains remarkably white, not only in the people who practice music theory but also in the race of the composers and theorists whose work music theory privileges. This project, a critical-race examination of music theory, tries to come to terms with why this is so. It posits that there exists a “white racial frame,” a term from sociologist Joe Feagin, in music theory that is structural and institutionalized, and that only through a deframing and reframing of this white racial frame will music theory begin to see positive changes with respect to race.

ACLS Susan McClary and Robert Walser Fellow
Associate Professor, Music, City University of New York, Hunter College  -  Music Theory's White Racial Frame

David Shneer
David Shneer  |  Abstract
Art is My Weapon tells the story of one woman and her husband’s attempt to redeem post World War II Germany from its Nazi past with their Yiddish performance and socialist politics. In 1952, Lin Jaldati, a Dutch Jewish cabaret performer and Auschwitz survivor from Amsterdam, moved to East Berlin with Eberhard Rebling, a pianist, who had left Germany under Hitler for Holland where he survived the war. By singing anti-fascist Yiddish music, Jaldati and Rebling animated the memory of World War II and the Holocaust in their concerts. They commemorated murdered Jews in the very country that orchestrated their murder; their concert halls served as alternatives to Jewish religious spaces; and their message in these performances envisioned a peaceful future through the universalist lens of communism.

Professor, History, University of Colorado Boulder  -  Art is My Weapon: Anti-Fascist Music, Yiddish Performance, and Holocaust Memory (1933-1989)

Nell Gabiam
Nell Gabiam  |  Abstract
This book project focuses on the impact of mass displacement from Syria on Palestinian identity and political claims. In particular, it assesses the significance of Europe's new status as a land of exile for Palestinians displaced by the Syrian war, with an estimated 80,000 of them having fled there since the beginning of the war. It draws on fieldwork conducted between 2015 and 2019 in the Middle East and in Europe. This fieldwork draws on interviews with Syro-Palestinians displaced to other parts of the Middle East (Lebanon and Turkey) and to Europe (Germany, France and Sweden) by the ongoing war as well as interviews with NGOs and volunteers assisting refugees from Syria in various host countries. It also draws on participant observation among Palestinian refugees displaced to France, Germany and Turkey by the war in Syria. Ultimately it examines how recurring displacement is reshaping Palestinian understandings of the Palestinian question.

ACLS Centennial Fellow in the Dynamics of Place
Associate Professor, World Languages and Cultures & Political Science, Iowa State University  -  We Have Now Lost Two Homelands: Palestinians Displaced by the War in Syria

Naghmeh Sohrabi
Naghmeh Sohrabi  |  Abstract
Based on several years of ethnographic interviews with former revolutionaries, this book project is a reconstruction of the intimate lives that were folded into the vastness of the 1979 Iranian revolution. In doing so, it illuminates the small-scale experiences that together—and after the fact—came to define “revolutionary experience.” While scholars tend to define revolutions primarily through extraordinary events, “Intimate Lives” seeks to understand and narrate the contours of the 1979 revolution in Iran and its multi-layered meanings through ordinary experiences in the decades preceding it. As such, this book project places the messiness of revolutionary action at its analytical center rather than attempting to explain it away.

Associate Professor, History and Crown Center for Middle East Studies, Brandeis University  -  The Intimate Lives of a Revolution: Iran 1979

Radhika Govindrajan
Radhika Govindrajan  |  Abstract
In 2017, the High Court of Uttarakhand, a state in Himalayan India, issued a judgment recognizing the legal personhood of the rivers Ganga and Yamuna. While the judgment was later struck down by the Supreme Court, it opened the doors to similar judgments bestowing personhood and rights on natural entities. This project asks what such recent moves to recognize the rights of nature, and their productive tension with long-standing religious, cultural, and activist traditions that view nonhumans as social persons might reveal about the reimagining of Indian democracy as a more-than-human formation whose institutions and processes must cater not only to humans but also to nonhumans.

Associate Professor, Anthropology, University of Washington  -  More-Than-Human Democracy in Himalayan India

Chelsea Stieber
Chelsea Stieber  |  Abstract
This research focuses on the prominence and extent of fascism in the 20th-century Caribbean. Most scholarship on the region has focused on Marxist and radical leftist thought to the exclusion of substantive analyses of the antiliberal forces of the far right. Scaled to the multilingual, multinational, and multiracial space of the Caribbean, the project explores the literature, politics, and culture of antiliberalism and integralism in the Caribbean. The project’s interdisciplinary literary-historical methodology and source base emphasize the essential value of locally-produced print sources. In so doing, it makes a case for moving beyond a study of “fascism in the Caribbean,” which remains locked in a European center-Caribbean periphery “imitative” mode, toward an accounting of locally-bounded, homegrown Caribbean fascism. The legacy of 20th-century Caribbean fascism that the project uncovers has important consequences for our understanding of the past, and for making sense of the resurgence of antiliberal, integralist nationalism in the region today.

Assistant Professor, Modern Languages and Literatures, Catholic University of America  -  Caribbean Fascism: Antiliberalism and Integralism in the Twentieth Century

Arjun Guneratne
Arjun Guneratne  |  Abstract
As a science, ornithology is notable in depending on amateurs (birdwatchers) for its development. This project argues that the science is shaped as much by the social backgrounds, cultural beliefs and rivalries of these amateurs as by scientific considerations. It examines these issues in the context of Sri Lanka, where ornithology's development was driven as much by the adoption of birding by new social classes with their own values as it was by new forms of technology and advances in scientific ideas and methods. Established by nineteenth century British colonialists, bird study became the pastime of an anglicized elite after independence, but has since been embraced by a broader spectrum of society. The project examines how a science originating in a western epistemology enters into and establishes itself in an alien context, and is shaped by the values, cultural beliefs and rivalries of its practitioners—amateur as well as professional.

Professor, Anthropology, Macalester College  -  Ornithology at the margins: The social history of a field science in Sri Lanka

Shelley Streeby
Shelley Streeby  |  Abstract
This book analyzes connections among the world-making projects, hidden histories and ecologies, speculative fiction, and archival memory-work of Judith Merril, Alice B. Sheldon (pen name James Tiptree, Jr.), Octavia E. Butler, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Nalo Hopkinson. Part One begins with Merril’s founding of the Spaced-Out Library as an educational experiment at Toronto's Rochdale College and reconstructs Merril's foundational work creating institutional spaces supporting Hopkinson and others. Part Two turns to Le Guin’s and Tiptree's Papers and the feminist science fiction archive at the University of Oregon. Part Three considers Butler’s archiving as a practice of world-making rooted in Los Angeles hidden histories and situates it as an ecological intervention within the Black Radical Tradition.

Professor, Literature and Ethnic Studies, University of California, San Diego  -  Speculative Archives: Hidden Histories and Ecologies of Science Fiction World-Making

Jennifer Hawkins
Jennifer Hawkins  |  Abstract
This book defends an original theory of personal well-being, i.e. a theory of what makes lives better or worse. The first part focuses on philosophical psychology, introducing the notion of an affective perspective—an affectively shaped way of seeing the world. Happiness (it is argued) is best characterized as a positive affective perspective whereas certain forms of emotional suffering are best characterized as negative affective perspectives. This is key to explaining the positive (or negative) value of each, respectively. The second part defends a normative theory, according to which there are two important elements that account for most of a life's positive value: happiness and standing in the right relationship to the things one cares most about. The third part considers practical implications of the view, for example what it implies about the welfare of individuals historically ignored by theorists of well-being, such as those with cognitive impairment.

Associate Research Professor, Philosophy, Duke University  -  A New Theory of Well-Being

Nicholas L. Syrett
Nicholas L. Syrett  |  Abstract
During her lifetime Madame Restell (Ann Lohman) was the most famous abortionist in the United States, so much so that “Restellism” became a synonym for abortion. This project uses a biography of Restell to reevaluate the criminalization of abortion in nineteenth-century America in light of changing attitudes toward children. As the white, middle-class birth rate declined, childhood came to be understood as a protected stage of life, at least for those from prosperous homes. Long before historians usually date the use of "the fetus" to regulate women, abortion’s critics in the antebellum era regularly used the language of childhood—including accusations of infanticide and kidnapping of live children—to indict abortionists like Restell. Restell, who began practicing abortion in New York City when it was still legal and continued after its criminalization, is interesting in her own right, but also serves as the perfect vehicle for telling that story.

Professor, Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies, University of Kansas  -  Childhood, Abortion, and the Notorious Madame Restell , 1812-1878

Tom Hawkins
Tom Hawkins  |  Abstract
This project analyzes the role of ancient Greek and Roman material in literature about the Haitian Revolution by black authors. Classical antiquity has long been associated with Eurocentric white culture, yet since Haiti won its independence from French colonial control Black authors have reflected on the Revolution with a surprisingly dense network of classicizing motifs. From Bergeaud’s “Stella” (1859), the first Haitian novel, which replays the Revolution as a version of the Roman myth of Romulus and Remus, to Laferrière’s Odyssean “L’Énigme du Retour” (2009) this project explores these interconnected literary threads and suggests a different shape for both the global politics of race and for the racialized associations of ancient Greece and Rome.

Associate Professor, Classics, The Ohio State University  -  Black Neoclassical Literature and the Haitian Revolution

Lisa B. Thompson
Lisa B. Thompson  |  Abstract
“Making History Black: Theatre and the Art of Reimagination” examines the instances in which contemporary African American playwrights embrace a black feminist theatrical aesthetic that centers black women within a historical era or transformative flashpoint. This project discusses how diverse and critically acclaimed theatre artists such as Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Katori Hall, Dominique Morisseau, and Colman Domingo place black womanhood at the focal point of their reimaginings of the Antebellum period, the Civil Rights Movement, the Black Power Movement, and the Post-Soul era respectively. The study also considers how these playwrights use their renderings of the past to highlight the political and cultural climate in the present.

Professor, African and African Diaspora Studies, University of Texas at Austin  -  Making History Black: Theatre and the Art of Reimagination

Colin B. Hoag
Colin B. Hoag  |  Abstract
For a century, Lesotho acted as a labor reserve for South Africa’s mining industries. As mining employment collapsed in the 1990s, Lesotho signed a treaty with South Africa to build a series of dams and divert water to arid Johannesburg. Lesotho had become the world’s first water-exporter. As water rose in national importance, however, its very nature came into question, inciting debates about how it flows across the landscape. Conservation experts worry that soil erosion and reservoir sedimentation might imperil this massive water project. They blame rural livestock owners who turned to livestock production in the absence of mining jobs. Rural people, by contrast, blame soil erosion on climate change, citing increased drought and destructive thunderstorms. In effect, Lesotho’s water-export economy has exposed a crisis of environmental interpretation. This project scrutinizes this debate, showing why humanistic insights are crucial to emergent water regimes in the Anthropocene.

Assistant Professor, Anthropology, Smith College  -  Landscapes of a National Natural Resource in Lesotho, the World’s First Water-Exporting Country

Richard Brent Turner
Richard Brent Turner  |  Abstract
This project explores the historical connections among jazz, African-American Islam, and black internationalism from the 1940s to the 1970s. It argues that African-American Islam and jazz shared parallel values of black affirmation, freedom, and self-determination. Focusing on the spiritual, musical, and political creativity of swing and bebop musicians in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, it also argues that the conversion of jazz artists to Islam was central to the ascendancy of the religion in the United States. The project examines the interactive lives of jazz musicians and Muslims in a black Atlantic context of coolness and masculine performance during the era of global black liberation that spanned the period from World War II to the very beginning of the Black Power movement.

Professor, Religious Studies and African American Studies, The University of Iowa  -  African-American Islam and Jazz: Religion, Music, and Black Internationalism

Kimberly Kay Hoang
Kimberly Kay Hoang  |  Abstract
“Playing in the Gray” examines the hidden networks of global capitalism and shows how offshore investment vehicles connect economic elites from around the world to political elites and their brokers from less developed economies. Over the course of two years, I traveled more than 350,000 miles to conduct ethnographic observations and interviews with 300 individuals who facilitate the movement of capital around the world. Research subjects include private wealth managers, fund managers, chairpeople, local entrepreneurs, high-level executives, lawyers, bankers, auditors, and company secretaries, each of them playing an essential role in circulating concealed capital through global markets. Through this work, I connect offshore investment vehicles in places like the Cayman Islands, Samoa, and Panama to special purpose vehicles and holding companies in Singapore and Hong Kong, and ultimately to the risky markets onshore in Vietnam and Myanmar—two of Southeast Asia’s most active emerging frontier markets. “Playing in the Gray” provides an account of how people make markets though tactics of sabotage and coordination in small intimate networks where the friction between legal/illegal, moral/immoral, licit/illicit facilitates market-making in the new globalized economy.

Associate Professor, Sociology, University of Chicago  -  Playing in the Gray: Foreign Investments in Emerging and Frontier Markets

Jennifer Tyburczy
Jennifer Tyburczy  |  Abstract
“Sex after NAFTA” traces the influence of free trade policies and ideologies to uncover how sexual objects and values circulate and inform sexual economies in the Americas. Specifically, the project examines the intersection of sex, culture, and free trade, foregrounding four cases studies culled from seven years of conducting trinational archival research, participant observation, in-depth interviews, community-based participatory research, and visual and performance analysis. Taking sexual cultural production as its entry point, “Sex after NAFTA” maps border convergences that link free trade, obscenity laws, sexual discourse, and their interventions to theorize what the study calls queer flows, or those dynamic, uncounted, and at the same time heavily disciplined networks of late capitalism’s indigestible objects. In promoting an understanding of sex as materially and structurally grounded, “Sex after NAFTA” troubles the divide between ideology and practice to reveal how decisions made in presidential boardrooms and challenged on the streets can shape our most intimate lives.

Associate Professor, Feminist Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara  -  Sex after NAFTA: Queer Flows and the Erotic Investments of Free Trade

David L. Hoffmann
David L. Hoffmann  |  Abstract
This project examines the collective memory of the Second World War in the Soviet Union, with particular attention to conceptions of gender. It considers the ways that the war was commemorated in official Soviet culture, focusing on memoirs, war memorials, museums, literature, and films. “War, Gender, and Memory” illustrates how representations of the past buttressed the political order, as official memory of the wartime victory became the primary symbol of legitimacy for the Soviet government. More specifically, it shows how the Soviet government’s use of war remembrance to foster its own authority simultaneously drew upon and reinforced gender stereotypes. It also analyzes the ways that Soviet authorities prompted citizens to recall their own experiences within the framework of official images and narratives.

Professor, History, The Ohio State University  -  War, Gender, and Memory in the Soviet Union, 1941-1991

Nathan Vedal
Nathan Vedal  |  Abstract
This study examines how early modern Chinese readers coped with an overabundance of texts and information following the sixteenth-century publishing boom. Drawing on a wide body of extant reference works, from encyclopedias to dictionaries, it traces the emergence of new scholarly working methods and analyzes how such texts were put to use by readers. These reference works played a central role in the formation of a new relationship between author and reader that underpinned the period’s intellectual and literary activity. By shifting its analysis from the better-documented role of such works in the early modern West, this project highlights practices of knowledge production that can be more broadly generalized to the early modern world.

Assistant Professor, East Asian Languages and Cultures, Washington University in St. Louis  -  The Category of Everything: Ordering and Circulating Knowledge in Early Modern China

Aaron M. Hyman
Aaron M. Hyman  |  Abstract
This project examines the unusual amount of writing on artworks created from 1550–1750 in present-day Spain, Mexico, Colombia, and Peru. It argues that artists in the early modern Spanish World mobilized the forms and conventions of particular scripts to produce meaning for their audiences. Juxtaposing painted, embroidered, and incised words with more traditional texts housed in archives—notarial documents, rare books, and loose-leaf prints—exposes shared visual dimensions. And doing so reveals artists drawing upon scripts to craft carefully coded pictorial performances of the written word, capitalizing on imperial subjects’ acute awareness of the visual signification of writing and its resonances with specific types of documents, objects, and social situations. In underscoring that textual additions were thus pictorially keyed, this project advocates for the archive, or the library special collection, as a place just as important for close looking as for careful reading and transcription.

Assistant Professor, History of Art, Johns Hopkins University  -  Seeing Script: On Artistic and Archival Affinity in the Early Modern Spanish World

Barbara L. Voss
Barbara L. Voss  |  Abstract
“The Cosmopolitan Village” is the first archaeological study to investigate the Chinese diaspora from a homeland perspective. This project is based on three years of field and laboratory research at Cangdong Village, a qiaoxiang (migrants’ home village) in Guangdong Province. The study examines multiple domains of material practices to reconstruct an intimate picture of village daily life during and after migration. These findings are compared with results of research at Chinese diaspora sites throughout the North American West. Conceptually, “Cosmopolitan Village” mobilizes theories of vernacular cosmopolitanism and the Chinese philosophical concept of tianxia (all under heaven) to trace the co-production of the local and the global through material practices.

ACLS Yvette and William Kirby Centennial Fellow
Associate Professor, Anthropology, Stanford University  -  The Cosmopolitan Village: Archaeology of the Chinese Diaspora

Jennifer Iverson
Jennifer Iverson  |  Abstract
Electronic music has traditionally been understood within a purely musical rationale, as continuing the progress of Western art music. Yet electronic studios are not just musical; they incorporate the insights of science, military engineering, radio broadcasting, avant-garde and vernacular musics, and film. Heterogeneity is the main structure of electronic music production. New instruments enable circulation and exchange at the moment of creation—a porosity of design—as well as at moments of production and consumption—a porosity of use. In unlikely transfers, electronic instruments and scenes mediate concerns that are alternately aesthetic, economic, and political in nature. Tracing circulation across porous boundaries, this project theorizes how electronic sound becomes ubiquitous.

Associate Professor, Music, University of Chicago  -  Porous Instruments: Circulation and Exchange in Electronic Sound

Mira Rai Waits
Mira Rai Waits  |  Abstract
Introducing a new system of punishment based on long-term incarceration, prison construction was among the most important infrastructural changes brought about by the British colonization of India. A visual culture surrounding colonial Indian prison space developed that included objects such as prints, architectural plans, drawings, and photographs. This project sets out to write a spatial history of the prison by analyzing this visual culture. A spatial history reveals how colonial Indian prisons both exemplified and contradicted the claims of British rule, arguing that prison space was not simply a natural and passive arena where events unfolded, but rather was produced through material experience and its visual representation. Ultimately, “Colonial Carcerality” demonstrates how a spatial history of prisons is of fundamental importance, as it provides a critical model for engaging with the prison from a humanistic approach, thereby expanding the possibilities for how we interpret and imagine prisons.

Assistant Professor, Art, Appalachian State University  -  Colonial Carcerality: The Birth of the Modern Prison in India

Jing Jiang
Jing Jiang  |  Abstract
Modern Chinese literary enterprise is marked by its world orientation, the very opposite of what Hannah Arendt terms “world alienation.” For Chinese writers, becoming modern is almost always synonymous with stepping out of a provincial mentality to immerse in, and interact with, the riches of the world. By revisiting celebrated works in the modern canon as consequences of what Chinese writers did with texts originating elsewhere, this study investigates the palimpsestic presence of foreign literary works both on their own terms, and as catalysts for literary creativity across linguistic borders. Writers that are brought into a critical dialogue include Wu Jianren and Edward Bellamy (utopian imaginations), Lu Xun and Nietzsche (the birth of the Chinese madman), Xiao Hong and Upton Sinclair (the awakening of proletarian consciousness), and four Nobel Prize winners: Mo Yan and Gabriel García Márquez; Gao Xingjian and Samuel Beckett (the rethinking of possibilities of literature).

ACLS Pauline Yu Fellow
Associate Professor, Chinese, Reed College  -  The World Embedded in Modern Chinese Literary Imagination

Emily Wang
Emily Wang  |  Abstract
"Civic Sentimentalism" shows how literature shaped the young Russian conspirators behind the legendary Decembrist uprising of 1825. First, it shows how certain genres of poetry were intimately connected to both feeling and self-fashioning in early nineteenth-century Russia. Then it introduces the concept of “civic sentimentalism” as an ideal developed from literary models of emotion, and establishes how the Decembrists understood both Byron and Pushkin according to its terms—often to the dismay of Pushkin himself. Ultimately, while the Decembrists’ attempt to give Russia a constitutional government failed, their potent emotional ideal helped Pushkin develop his later conservative politics and his most mature works. Finally, civic sentimentalism also found a surprising successor in Leo Tolstoy.

Assistant Professor, German and Russian Languages and Literatures, University of Notre Dame  -  Pushkin, the Decembrists, and Civic Sentimentalism

Xiaofei Kang
Xiaofei Kang  |  Abstract
This book project challenges the prevailing assumption that the Chinese Communist revolution offered no room for religion. It examines the intertwined discourses of religion and revolution in Communist propaganda in the Party’s quick rise to dominance from the 1940s to the early 1950s. Crossing the political divide of 1949, this project argues that the Party utilized religion to mobilize widespread support and to construct a new form of legitimacy for its rule. It further demonstrates that gendered language and symbolism defined how propaganda workers manipulated and reconfigured traditional religious resources for the revolution. The book promotes new understanding of the revolution's tenacious connections with the old cultural system and its bearings on contemporary politics.

ACLS Frederic E. Wakeman, Jr. Fellow
Associate Professor, Religion, The George Washington University  -  Enchanted Revolution: Ghosts, Shamans, and Gender Politics in Communist Propaganda, 1942-1953

Ding Xiang Warner
Ding Xiang Warner  |  Abstract
This is a study of trench art—3D objects crafted from war-waste materials—produced by members of the Chinese Labour Corps assisting allied forces during and after the Great War. It aims to understand the symbolic and tangible cultural, social, and economic value with which these objects were invested and that accumulated to them through the processes of their production, exchange, and consumption over time, and to bring to light how cultural forces, Chinese and Western, shaped the making and meaning of these objects—how for example investments in social, vocational, and ideological identities, or in the “collective memory” of those who produced and procured them, influenced their design and subsequently transformed their functions within material culture, East and West.

Professor, Asian Studies, Cornell University  -  Lost Narratives of the Great War: Trench Art of the Chinese Labour Corps

David D. Kim
David D. Kim  |  Abstract
“Beastly Citizens” examines the birth of a most paradoxical figure in modernity, paradoxical because it embodies at the same time an apolitical being—the beast—and the highest form of political agency—the citizen. In Western political theory, such a mongrel would constitute an impossibility, but as this project illustrates, this contradiction constitutes a key figuration of rightlessness in modernity. Far from being exceptions to twentieth- and twenty-first-century metahistorical fictions, beastly citizens turn up everywhere in art, literature and film, shedding light on daily struggles under colonial oppression or with postcolonial legacy, after traumatic displacements by war and ecological disaster or during a financial crisis. At stake here is an occluded history of paradoxically rightless citizens in modernity.

Associate Professor, European Languages and Transcultural Studies, University of California, Los Angeles  -  Beastly Citizens: An Occluded History of Rightlessness in Modernity

Timothy William Waters
Timothy William Waters  |  Abstract
War crimes tribunals try to produce authoritative legal judgments that can reconcile torn societies. But in order to do their work, they rely heavily on secrecy – closed sessions, shielded testimony, confidential documents. The use of secrecy is practical but also in tension with the transformational purposes of these courts. This project examines how three major war crimes tribunals produce secrecy, how trial participants understand the purposes of secrecy, and what effects secrecy has on their larger goals for promoting post-conflict justice. What are the purposes, the benefits, and the costs of secrecy for prosecuting war crimes?

Professor, Law, Indiana University Bloomington  -  Redacted: The Production of Secrecy in War Crimes Trials

Lawrence Kim
Lawrence Kim  |  Abstract
Greek culture under the High Roman Empire (27 BCE–235 CE) is known for its ‘classicism’, the admiration for the art, literature, and intellectual achievements of a notionally ‘classical’ era (c. 800–323 BCE), all of which were felt to reflect a set of idealized abstract qualities (e.g., moderation, clarity, harmony, and order) eminently worthy of imitation. My project, however, identifies and investigates a series of non-classical values, that I term ‘archaic’, because they are not only conceived of as anti- but also pre-classical. By showing how Imperial Greek authors deploy notions of the ‘archaic’ to criticize the more normative strictures of the classicizing paradigm, my work aims to reach a more nuanced understanding of how Imperial Greeks interacted with their literary heritage and their history.

ACLS Barrington Foundation Centennial Fellow
Professor, Classical Studies, Trinity University  -  Anti-Classicism in Imperial Greece: The Idea of the Archaic