Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellows

The Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships support a year of research and writing to help advanced graduate students in the humanities and social sciences in the last year of PhD dissertation writing. Now in its fifteenth year, the program has supported over 1,000 promising emerging scholars.

This program is made possible by a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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. 

Angelica Jimena Afanador Pujol
Angelica Jimena Afanador Pujol  |  Abstract
Around 1540, in recently conquered Michoacán, Mexico, a Franciscan friar, together with indigenous nobles and artists, produced the illustrated manuscript known as the Relación de Michoacán. For the indigenous collaborators it presented a unique opportunity to shape European perceptions of them, while settling conflicting agendas, outshining competing ethnic groups, and carving out for themselves a place in the new colonial society. Through a comparative analysis of the Relación's illustrations with European and indigenous images and court documents, this project shows that indigenous artists manipulated their rulers' ethnicity and even their history to maintain their status in the new colonial order.

Doctoral Candidate, Art History, University of California, Los Angeles  -  The Politics of Ethnicity: Reimagining Indigenous Identities in Sixteenth-Century Michoacán, Mexico

Abel Lopez
Abel Lopez  |  Abstract
This dissertation historicizes the transnational formation of the middle class in Bogotá, Colombia, from the 1940s through the 1960s. Specifically, it looks at how those actors who considered themselves middle class made sense of the dramatic expansion of the US role in the Americas, the advance of international development agencies, the consolidation of populism as a political practice, the remarkable growth of the Colombian nation-state, and the triumph of consumer societies. Moreover, these actors not only experienced these crucial historical changes, but also created social boundaries, gender distinctions, and racial categorizations in their effort to constantly find and (re-) define their social place in a transnational changing society.

Doctoral Candidate, History, University of Maryland, College Park  -  A Beautiful Class. An Irresistible Democracy: The Formation of the Middle Class in Bogotá, Colombia, 1938-1963

Jonathan Shapiro Anjaria
Jonathan Shapiro Anjaria  |  Abstract
This dissertation explores the everyday politics of street vending, elite campaigns to safeguard public space, and the practices of the state in Mumbai, India. Long-term field research with street vendors, architects, bureaucrats, and civic activist groups in Mumbai demonstrates that public space is a crucial arena around which conflicts regarding the future of the city are manifested. The everyday life of the city as found on the street is central to understanding larger questions relating to the implications of India’s unique urban form for the country’s postcolonial future.

Doctoral Candidate, Anthropology, University of California, Santa Cruz  -  Unruly Streets: Public Space, Urban Governance, and the Crisis of Postcoloniality in Mumbai, India

Gordon K. Mantler
Gordon K. Mantler  |  Abstract
Based upon archival material, oral histories, Federal Bureau of Investigation files, and media accounts, this study argues that the Poor People’s Campaign (PPC) of 1968 was not the tragic end of the civil rights era, but instead an important turning point for grassroots organizing in the late 1960s. Placed in a context broader than the modern African American freedom struggle, the campaign sparked a tentative but serious conversation among activists over how to organize effectively across racial and ethnic lines. It also helped the less high-profile struggles involved, such as the Chicano and welfare rights movements, find their own voices on the national scene by strengthening intra-ethnic networks and heightening the sophistication of their organizing strategies and power analysis.

Doctoral Candidate, United States History, Duke University  -  Black, Brown, and Poor: The Poor People's Campaign and Its Legacies

Kevin M. Bartig
Kevin M. Bartig  |  Abstract
Prokofiev composed eight film scores while working in the complicated artistic milieu of Stalinist Russia. These works, from the well-known Aleksander Nevsky and Ivan the Terrible to more obscure propaganda shorts, were tremendously influential on subsequent generations of composers. This dissertation uses a host of newly declassified archival materials to explore Prokofiev’s work with film, considering issues of collaboration, technology, aesthetic goals, and—perhaps most importantly—the privileged and hyper-politicized role of film production and composition in Stalin’s Russia. This study fills a significant gap, not only in Prokofiev studies, but also in the larger picture of art in Stalin’s Russia.

Doctoral Candidate, Musicology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill  -  Composing for the Red Screen: Sergei Prokofiev's Film Music

Lia Rebecca Markey
Lia Rebecca Markey  |  Abstract
This study examines the way in which the Medici engagement with the New World influenced collecting, art production, and exchange at their court and within their circle in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. It uncovers the provenance, history, and meaning of American works in Italian collections. Through an examination of travel literature and letters to and from the Medici Grand Dukes and their ambassadors as well as a comparative study of inventories of various European collectors, the dissertation considers the reception of objects from the New World within their cultural context in Italy. It further illustrates how cross-cultural interactions between Italy, Spain, and the New World affected art production and the role of the artist.

Doctoral Candidate, Art History, University of Chicago  -  The New World in Renaissance Italy: a Vicarious Conquest of Art and Nature at the Medici Court

Jessica Vantine Birkenholtz
Jessica Vantine Birkenholtz  |  Abstract
The Svasthani Vrata Katha (SVK) is a popular Hindu text that appears to be a quintessential embodiment of the ideology, ritual, and practice of classical Indian Hinduism—yet it is indigenous to and current among only the Hindus of Nepal. This project presents a textual-historical study of the SVK. A close reading of its unbroken historical and narrative development from the sixteenth century through the present day reveals the complex heritage of this key but understudied textual tradition and illuminates the reasons for and conditions under which the Svasthani has remained so central to Nepali religious identity during the text's unbroken history over the last five centuries. An ethnographic element complements this textual study, addressing contemporary understandings and practices of this living tradition. The question become how does the SVK inform our understanding of what it means to be a Nepali who is Hindu, and a Hindu who is Nepali?

Doctoral Candidate, South Asian Languages & Cultures, University of Chicago  -  The Svasthani Vrata Katha Tradition: Translating Self, Place, and Identity in Hindu Nepal

Natalia Milanesio
Natalia Milanesio  |  Abstract
This dissertation examines the changes that mass consumption brought to popular material culture and workers’ everyday life in Argentina, and argues that the most original aspect of Juan D. Perón’s government (1946-55) was the participation of the working class in a mass modern consumer culture. Buying, using, and displaying consumer goods redefined the roles of the housewife and the breadwinner, and modern appliances and food items changed the popular household in aesthetic and functional terms, contributing to the emergence of a distinct working-class taste. Furthermore, this project analyzes the symbolic and cultural values people attached to consumer goods and what effects they had on class and gender relations and identities.

Doctoral Candidate, History, Indiana University Bloomington  -  Mass Consumption, Working-Class Culture, and Peronism, Argentina, 1946-1955

Clayton D. Brown
Clayton D. Brown  |  Abstract
According to the People’s Republic of China, 56 ethnic groups combine to form the Chinese nation, though the Han constitute China’s overwhelming majority. The Han officially comprise 92% of China’s population and number in excess of one billion, the largest ethnic group on earth and 20% of the world’s population. But just who are the Han, and how are they identified? By examining the history of Chinese anthropology, this study engages interpretations and representations of Han identity across heuristic and spatial boundaries to show that the concept of Han is fluid, evolving, and ultimately political, though belief in the Han was key in constructing the Chinese national narrative and continues to inform the negotiation of Chinese identities.

Doctoral Candidate, History, University of Pittsburgh  -  Making the Majority: Defining Han Identity in Chinese Ethnology and Archaeology

Isaac S. Nakhimovsky
Isaac S. Nakhimovsky  |  Abstract
This study reconstructs the early German reception of Immanuel Kant's famous 1795 essay, Toward Perpetual Peace. Kant's essay gave rise to far-reaching investigations of a central problem in Rousseau's political theory: the political economy of the general will. How egalitarian did the conception of justice reflected in the property rights and trading arrangements afforded by modern European states have to be, if their inhabitants were to identify with an ethic of citizenship? The most comprehensive investigation of these themes in response to Kant’s essay was undertaken by J.G. Fichte. His Closed Commercial State of 1800 has often been misread as a proto-totalitarian manifesto, but was in fact a profound interpretation of Kant’s Toward Perpetual Peace.

Doctoral Candidate, Political Science, Harvard University  -  The Political Economy of the General Will: From Perpetual Peace to the Closed Commercial State, 1795-1800

Noah Butler
Noah Butler  |  Abstract
Scholarship on Islam, especially on Sufism in Africa, has tended to focus on leaders. This dissertation takes a broader approach by emphasizing interaction and the role of followers. Relationships between Muslim holy persons (marabouts) in Niger and their followers show that significant transformations are taking place. Historically, marabouts have depended on gifts from followers, but followers are increasingly re-conceptualizing their relationships with marabouts in commodified ways. They are beginning to understand marabouts less as leaders and more as specialists in the technology of knowledge. Thus, followers are instrumental in reshaping not only the structure of their relationships with marabouts, but also the economic underpinnings of spiritual hierarchy.

Doctoral Candidate, Anthropology, Northwestern University  -  Followers of the Marabout: Spiritual Hierarchy and the Economy of Knowledge in a Muslim Pilgrimage Center in Niger

Catherine Nicholson
Catherine Nicholson  |  Abstract
While modern accounts tend to associate the English Renaissance with literary achievement and global expansion, the period itself admitted to both literary inferiority and global marginality. This dissertation examines the strategies by which vernacular authors negotiated the often vexed relationship between language and place in their efforts to bring eloquence to England. As these authors discovered in their attempts to adapt classical theories to the vernacular, geography had an important and complex role to play in the history of rhetoric and poetics. Responses to the peculiar challenges of what Thomas Nashe called “our homely Island tongue” thus reflect and rework longstanding associations between probability and proximity, figuration and foreignness, persuasion and transport.

Doctoral Candidate, English Literature, University of Pennsylvania  -  Geographies of English Eloquence: Rhetoric, Poetics, and Place in Early Modern England

Melissa K. Byrnes
Melissa K. Byrnes  |  Abstract
The Parisian suburbs of Saint-Denis and Asnières-sur-Seine each reacted quite differently to the North African migrants arriving in their communities over the three decades following the Second World War. Critical examination of the divergent social welfare and housing policies pursued by each city reveals their respective success and failures in integrating these newcomers and highlights the gap between rhetoric and results. The web of relationships between the municipalities and other government institutions offers insight into the disparities between national and local levels of policy-making, while contrasts between the two communities reflect the influence of population distribution and local geography on political decision-making. Saint-Denis further stands as an excellent case study not only for the complex relationship between Communists and migrant workers, but also for the impact of the Algerian War, and subsequent decolonization, on local and national policies towards North African migrants in France.

Doctoral Candidate, History, Georgetown University  -  French Like Us?: Municipal Policies and North African Migrants in the Parisian Banlieues, 1945-75

Tatiana Nikitina
Tatiana Nikitina  |  Abstract
This dissertation addresses the problem of the mixing of syntactic categories, focusing on cases where classification of a construction as verbal or nominal is not straightforward or can be shown to change over time. It draws primarily on data from Mande languages and other branches of Niger-Congo, including data from the Wan language collected during fieldwork in Côte d’Ivoire. It investigates the diachronic processes that can affect the distinction between noun and verb and the consequences of such changes for the syntax, morphology, and lexicon of a language. The study combines historical and typological approaches to syntactic categories, taking into account empirical data that up to now has been largely ignored in research in theoretical syntax.

Doctoral Candidate, Linguistics, Stanford University  -  The Mixing of Syntactic Categories and Language Change: Evidence from Niger-Congo Languages

Phillip E. Cash Cash
Phillip E. Cash Cash  |  Abstract
This project focuses on language documentation fieldwork conducted on the Nez Perce and Sahaptin languages, two endangered language communities in the southern Columbia Plateau of western North America. Previous language documentation fieldwork carried out in 2006 and 2007 in five reservation speech communities located in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho inform the development of a system of language description for Nez Perce and Sahaptin incorporating all the relevant data to present these languages within their linguistic, social, and cultural context.

Doctoral Candidate, Anthropology, University of Arizona  -  Language Documentation and Use in Nez Perce and Sahaptin, Two Endangered Language Communities

Patrick J. O'Banion
Patrick J. O'Banion  |  Abstract
The Roman Catholic sacrament of penance, particularly the practice of frequent private confession, became an increasingly important element of lay religious devotion in early modern Catholic Europe. This dissertation uses confessional practice in Spain as a window into the relationship between laity and clergy on the local level during the period of Reformation and Counter-Reformation. Drawing on manuals of confession, episcopal records, devotional works, parish registers, and inquisitorial records, this dissertation argues that the relationship between confessor and penitent more closely resembled a complicated series of dialogues and negotiations than a unilaterally imposed religious settlement. While clerical acculturation was an undeniable reality, lay people also exerted their own brand of agency and power.

Doctoral Candidate, History, Saint Louis University  -  Negotiating Penance: Sacramental Confession and Local Religious Settlements in Early Modern Spain

Anita S. Chari
Anita S. Chari  |  Abstract
This dissertation resurrects the critique of reification that was central to Marx’s, Lukács’, and the Frankfurt School’s work, and uses the concept to restore the broken connection between radical democratic theory and the critique of capitalism. Reification refers to the process by which human beings come to experience structures of social domination under capitalism as objectively given, and thus immutable, rather than as historically constituted products of human practice. This dissertation argues that an understanding of the processes of reification, which illuminates the contradictory nature of modern social and political life under capitalism, is crucial to comprehending the forms that democracy—understood explicitly in contrast to liberal democracy—could take in the present.

Doctoral Candidate, Political Science, University of Chicago  -  The Reification of the Political: Critical Theory and the Possibility of Politics

James Stephen O'Connor
James Stephen O'Connor  |  Abstract
Classical Greek armies and navies on overseas campaigns normally obtained their food by buying it in markets, and relied little on foraging and other sources for their provisioning. These markets, provided by both cities and merchants, were administered in the same way as regular polis markets, and Greek military forces must sometimes have bought tens of millions of kilograms of grain and other foods in them. Greek armies also raised and sold large amounts of plunder to fund their campaigns. The figures we possess for the proceeds of these sales are far larger than other figures for trade in this period. This study of the provisioning and funding of Greek military forces provides, then, new evidence for classical Greek economies that suggests a world with structurally important amounts of market-orientated production of grain and other foods, robust commercial supply mechanisms, and high levels of liquidity and aggregate demand.

Doctoral Candidate, History, Columbia University  -  Armies, Navies, and Economies in the Greek World in the Fifth and Fourth Centuries BCE

Kushanava Choudhury
Kushanava Choudhury  |  Abstract
This dissertation elaborates on Hannah Arendt's observation that a feature of modern states is to make groups of its own citizens superfluous. Superfluous people are those who fall outside a state's concept of a social, economic, or political order. Such people are often victims of coercion not because they are targeted by the state, but because they are in the way of state plans (such as urban development, dam building, etc). This project investigates how various types of states in different historical periods have rendered parts of their own citizenry superflous. Second, it follows how the state treats people who have been so deemed. This dissertation combines political philosophy and empirical social science to investigate modern forms of power and powerlessness.

Doctoral Candidate, Political Science, Yale University  -  Superfluous People

Kathryn E. O'Rourke
Kathryn E. O'Rourke  |  Abstract
Seven state-sponsored architectural projects for health and education in Mexico City built between 1925 and 1934 reveal the distinctive development of modern architecture in Mexico. These projects reflected social and political questions about race, nationalism, progress emerging in the wake of revolution, and architects’ ambition to create a national modern architecture. Trends in painting, sculpture, and photography informed its development. Local conditions and Mexico’s ambition to position itself in an industrialized world economy shaped the work of the nation’s most important architects as they responded to and participated in international architectural trends. Mexican architectural modernism shared with European modernism a commitment to reform and to cleanse, and its enthusiasm for new technologies and vocabularies. As Mexico sought solutions to its particular versions of problems that challenged countries around the world in these years, its capital became a center for modern architecture in the Americas.

Doctoral Candidate, History of Art, University of Pennsylvania  -  Building a Modern Nation: Mexico's State-Sponsored Modern Architecture, 1925-1934

Adam Clulow
Adam Clulow  |  Abstract
In 1609, the Dutch East India Company founded its first East Asian base in Japan. The Company appeared at a critical juncture in Japanese history, as the newly established Tokugawa state (1603-1867) was in the process of consolidating its power both domestically and abroad. This dissertation focuses on the Dutch East India Company as a maritime and military power in East Asia, showing how the Company’s unregulated, violent activities precipitated a series of clashes with the Tokugawa state at the exact moment that the emerging Japanese polity sought to establish its legitimacy. Confrontations over the recruitment of Japanese mercenaries, Dutch privateering in Japanese waters, and the sovereignty of Taiwan pushed the Tokugawa state to define new forms of state control over its borders and subjects.

Doctoral Candidate, History, Columbia University  -  Mercenaries, Pirates, and Trade: Tokugawa Japan and the Dutch East India Company

Antje Pfannkuchen
Antje Pfannkuchen  |  Abstract
The invention of photography was first announced in January 1839. Why it was not discovered earlier is perceived as a mystery. The camera obscura had existed for ages, and in the 1720s a German chemist published a widely read paper on how the darkening of silver salts exposed to light could be applied to the making of images. But only in the last years of the eighteenth century were the first proto-photographic experiments conducted—and then by various researchers working quite independently of one another. This study argues that what made photography possible was not only natural science but the imagination, and that a crucial contribution was made by Romantic thinkers who were captivated by certain image-producing electrical experiments, which they viewed as an example of "nature writing herself."

Doctoral Candidate, German Literature, New York University  -  When Nature Begins to Write Herself: German Romantics Read the Electrophore

Catherine Corson
Catherine Corson  |  Abstract
Drawing on analyses of project documents and ethnographic data collected in Madagascar and the United States, the project uses US Agency for International Development (USAID)’s environmental funding as a case study through which to explore how international development ideas are created and translated across local, national, and international sites of policy-making. It traces the rise of the USAID environmental agenda through the Washington policy-making process, the Madagascar National Environmental Action Plan, and the initiative to triple protected areas in Madagascar. The dissertation brings together concepts from critical human geography and political ecology to argue that understanding bureaucracies necessitates “unbounding” them to reveal how power dynamics cross organizational boundaries and converge at certain points in time and space to produce particular policy trajectories. As such, it engages with development critiques, arguing for an understanding of the inter-organizational and transnational relationships through which the international development agenda is negotiated and produced.

Doctoral Candidate, Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, University of California, Berkeley  -  Revealing the "All-Powerful Development Machine": the International Politics Behind Saving Madagascar’s Biodiversity

Diana Bullen Presciutti
Diana Bullen Presciutti  |  Abstract
This dissertation is an interdisciplinary study exploring the status of the abandoned child in early modern Italy in the context of the visual culture of charity. It examines a wide range of visual evidence, from hospital altarpieces, mural decoration, manuscript illumination, and processional banners to the sacred topography of the city, spaces in ward life, processional rituals, civic ceremonies, and devotional practice. Focusing on the institutional environment of the foundling hospital, this project explores how images constructed ideas about charity toward children; how the display and visibility of both ritual acts and images played a crucial role in charitable administration; and how manipulations of the urban fabric worked to negotiate the places of charity in the early modern Italian city.

Doctoral Candidate, History of Art, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor  -  The Visual Culture of the Central Italian Foundling Hospital, 1400-1600

Valeria De Lucca
Valeria De Lucca  |  Abstract
This dissertation focuses on the patronage of musical and theatrical entertainments of Maria Mancini and Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna, and on the impact of their activities on the cultural life of Rome, Venice, and Naples between 1659 and 1689. While reconstructing their role as liaisons between these cities and their support of the most celebrated musicians, singers, and composers of their time, and taking into account a multiplicity of genres and models of entertainments and their broad cultural context, this project investigates the ways in which gender constructions influenced their patronage and their interaction. Their support of music, which evolved from courtly patronage to semi-private support of opera in their theater, reflects a crucial and hitherto neglected phase in the history of patronage.

Doctoral Candidate, Musicology, Princeton University  -  The Colonnas and Music Patronage in Rome, Venice, and Naples, 1659-1689

Maia A. Ramnath
Maia A. Ramnath  |  Abstract
The Ghadar party was a militant anticolonial movement of Indian emigrants in California prior to World War I, inspiring Indian students, soldiers, and laborers worldwide. In their efforts to undermine British rule in India, both during and after the war, the group sought strategic alliances with partners ranging from the German Foreign Office to the border tribes of Afghanistan to the Communist International. Tracking Ghadar’s actions and ideas shows the ways in which radical leftist, nationalist, and pan-Islamist networks interacted transnationally during this period, and supports the argument that these three political idioms, far from being antithetical, were in actuality capacious languages in which a variety of statements could be made, including some compatible with one another.

Doctoral Candidate, History, University of California, Santa Cruz  -  "The Haj to Utopia": Radical Anti-Colonialisms in the South Asian Diaspora, 1915-1930

Kenneth Easwaran
Kenneth Easwaran  |  Abstract
This project examines, in both formal and informal terms, the relation between the concepts of conditional and unconditional probability. The notion of probability under consideration here is subjective probability, an account of partial belief widely used in philosophy, psychology, and economics. Traditionally, conditional probability is analyzed in terms of unconditional. Recently, several philosophers have argued that the order of analysis should be reversed, because of problems of probability 0, and vague probability. After considering the different accounts available in these cases, this dissertation argues that one in particular is the correct one, and that it does not support this reversal of analysis. In addition, it suggests that conditional probability exists only in a relative sense, not absolutely.

Doctoral Candidate, Logic and the Methodology of Science, University of California, Berkeley  -  The Foundations of Conditional Probability

Christopher Izaak Roos
Christopher Izaak Roos  |  Abstract
This research provides geoarchaeological data on ancient fire regimes and their environmental consequences. Comparisons to independent archaeological and climatic data indicate that ancient environments and fire regimes were influenced by both climate and aboriginal land use. During the prehistoric occupation by Pueblo villagers, fire was used to recycle nutrients within a non-swidden, shifting agricultural strategy. This land-use strategy fit within natural fire cycles and resulted in highly localized environmental impacts. During the protohistoric Apache occupation, fire was used to transform the productive landscape within a highly mobile, foraging-farming, land-use strategy resulting in widespread landscape transformation.

Doctoral Candidate, Anthropology, University of Arizona  -  Geoarchaeology of Fire and Culturally Modified Environments of the Mogollon Rim Region, East-Central Arizona

Jesse Ferris
Jesse Ferris  |  Abstract
Drawing on declassified documents from both sides of the Iron Curtain and other original material in Russian and Arabic, this dissertation illuminates a little-known episode of the Cold War in the Third World. Although neglected by historians, Egyptian involvement in Yemen—often compared to the American experience in Vietnam—is a fascinating example of the transformation of local conflict into global contest during the Cold War. This thesis analyzes the place of the Yemeni Civil War in Egyptian foreign policy. It traces the decline of Nasser’s fortunes from triumphant intervention in 1962 to the calamity of 1967 by exploring relations with the Soviet Union, the United States, and Saudi Arabia through the lens of a specific policy challenge: ending the war and winning the peace in a foreign land racked by strife.

Doctoral Candidate, Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University  -  Egypt, the Cold War, and the Civil War in Yemen, 1962-1967

Alan I. Rosenfeld
Alan I. Rosenfeld  |  Abstract
This project investigates both official and public reactions to the spate of anti-state violence carried out by leftwing extremists in West Germany throughout the 1970s. Although militant organizations such as the Rote Armee Fraktion (Red Army Faction, or RAF) grossly underestimated the willingness of the general public to tolerate violence as a legitimate political means, and thus failed to incite class revolution in West Germany, their actions sparked a proliferation of discourses on the nature of democracy and state power. This study examines the ways in which urban guerilla violence threatened the governability of a nation endeavoring to establish a democratic order defined explicitly in contrast to its communist neighbor, and liberated from the burdens of its own Nazi past.

Doctoral Candidate, History, University of California, Irvine  -  Captive to Freedom: Urban Guerrillas and the West German State in the 1970s

Charles R. Foy
Charles R. Foy  |  Abstract
This dissertation contends that slaves in northern port cities had unique opportunities to escape enslavement and create identities within the Atlantic world from 1713 to 1783. These opportunities were created and shaped by five interrelated factors: slave agency, including familiarity with the maritime industry and fugitive slaves’ relatively high degree of artisan skills and linguistic ability; environmental factors, such as the anonymity urban spaces provided fugitive slaves and slaves’ access to Transatlantic shipping; imperial conflicts and economic policies; conflicts between whites over slave labor, particularly those between merchants and ship captains; and simple chance. This project argues that opportunities for slaves expanded and contracted in response to changes among these five factors.

Doctoral Candidate, History, Rutgers University-New Brunswick  -  Ports of Slavery, Ports of Freedom: How Slaves Used Northern Seaports' Maritime Industry to Escape and Create Transatlantic Identities, 1713-1783

Hiro Saito
Hiro Saito  |  Abstract
This dissertation examines the development of national identity, cognition of national groups, and civic consciousness in Japanese children and adolescents from an interdisciplinary perspective that combines sociological and psychological theories, using a multi-method approach that employs surveys, interviews, and ethnography. Preliminary results show that Japanese youth tend to construct Japanese identity that retains identifications with national outgroups, develop non-essentialist understanding of nationality, and acquire civic consciousness that goes beyond the territory of the Japanese state. Thus the dissertation probes the emergence of new patterns of identity, cognition, and aspiration concurrent with globalization that has been transforming the nature of the nation-state.

Doctoral Candidate, Sociology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor  -  Cosmopolitan Nationalism: The Development of Transnationality in Japanese Children and Adolescents

Megan H. Glick
Megan H. Glick  |  Abstract
At once an intellectual, cultural, and scientific history of humanness in the twentieth century, this dissertation is organized around a conceptual framework labeled “infrahumanism,” defined as the intersection of biological constructions of humanness, the socio-cultural symbolic weight of the human/animal boundary, and the anthropocentrism of rational humanist philosophy. Temporally, the project spans from 1914 to 2008; topically, it touches upon eugenic science, the construction of modern childhood, the emergence of primatology, the effects of nuclear technology, human experimentation, the rise of astrobiology, fetal rights, AIDS and other zoonotic (cross-species) diseases, disability legislature, and the Human Genome Project.

Doctoral Candidate, American Studies, Yale University  -  Infrahumanisms: Race, Nation, and the Moral Economy of Embodiment in Twentieth-Century US Culture

Noah Salomon
Noah Salomon  |  Abstract
This dissertation is an attempt to rethink the contemporary Islamic revival in Sudan through a study of the contested ground on which it is founded. While political Islam has been the focus of academics and policy-makers alike, this dissertation broadens the object of study to reveal the diversity of revivalist Islam that has at times challenged the idea that the political should be the primary arena for the making of Islamic societies and selves. The focus of this disertation is the attempt of Sufi organizations to create an Islamic modernity in Sudan and the challenges they face from competing trends in Islamic thought. Ethnographic examples include the debates between Sufis and the reformist movement Ansar al-Sunna al-Muhammadiyya, as well as several instances of how Sufi groups are building an Islamic society, such as the mission to urban youth and mass proselytization through the propagation of Sufi song (madih).

Doctoral Candidate, History of Religions, University of Chicago  -  Sufism, Religious Revival, and the Struggle for Islamic Modernity in Contemporary Sudan

Rob Harper
Rob Harper  |  Abstract
The transformation of the Ohio Valley between the 1760s and 1790s was as much a revolution within frontier communities as it was a conquest by an external state. The nature of community politics and society, ongoing processes of coalition building, and the traumas of protracted warfare together fostered a realignment in relations of power within both Indian and settler communities. These changes bestowed ever more authority on the individuals most willing and able to help consolidate state authority. State power stemmed not from the strength of formal institutions, but from interpersonal relationships and the manipulation of social networks. This project describes social networks, political brokers, coalition building, the escalation of violence, and the origins of state formation.

Doctoral Candidate, History, University of Wisconsin-Madison  -  Revolution and Conquest: Politics, Violence, and Social Change in the Ohio Valley, 1768-1795

Daniel Schensul
Daniel Schensul  |  Abstract
What can democratic states with will and capacity do to redress the spatial legacies of severe inequality? This dissertation uses GIS, spatial analysis, and qualitative field work to examine post-apartheid South Africa’s state-led efforts to transform urban spatial structures of racial exclusion. Durban, home to the largest port in Southern Africa and one of the three largest South African cities, is the test case for the potentials and limits of the local state planning model: spatial transformation through public investment in infrastructure and services. Data for the analysis come from the 1985, 1996, and 2001 South African censuses, city departmental data on infrastructure and services, and local key informant interviews.

Doctoral Candidate, Sociology, Brown University  -  Remaking an Apartheid City: State-Led Spatial Transformation in Durban, South Africa

Erin Louise Hasinoff
Erin Louise Hasinoff  |  Abstract
This dissertation assesses and traces the legacy of the Burmese portion of the AMNH Missionary Exhibit of 1900’s inventory of Burma. These artifacts were not just expressions of a new context, but were technologies that created the context anew. Objects contained information about Burma, and acted as agents in the relationships between specific missionaries, anthropologists, and Burmese. The Exhibit shaped inventories of Burma now at the periphery of anthropological knowledge. The study follows the contours of the collection’s history by considering how identities are produced in contemporary cultural museums, and ultimately it contributes to our understanding of the missionary imagination and its material entanglements, as well as to the politics of cultural identity in museums today.

Doctoral Candidate, Anthropology, Columbia University  -  Material Burma: The Missionary Exhibit and Its Object Resonances

Daniel A. Shore
Daniel A. Shore  |  Abstract
What role did Milton play in the decline of humanist rhetoric? The rapid changes of the Interregnum gave rise to new standards of credibility that made the precepts of classical rhetoric increasingly obsolete. But the rejection of traditional forms of persuasion led not to the “end of rhetoric” but rather rhetoric’s transformation. Milton and his interlocutors found new sources of persuasive force in the emerging ideals of autonomy, disinterestedness, and undistorted communication. The moments in Milton’s writing where he renounces efficacy, purpose, agency, eloquence, persuasion, and indeed rhetoric itself signal a reinvestment in public debate and a renewed concentration on poetic truth.

Doctoral Candidate, English Literature, Harvard University  -  Milton and the Renunciation of Rhetoric

Jared Winston Hickman
Jared Winston Hickman  |  Abstract
This dissertation investigates how historical actors thought their way through and around the problem of evil in the face of that quintessential evil of modernity—racial slavery. More specifically, it examines the racial cosmologies that congealed around the figure of Prometheus in the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century discourse of slavery, who, in his defiance of the divine order of things, became an icon not only of political revolution but antislavery agitation and slave rebellion as well. Ultimately, the project posits a common basis for Atlantic radicalism in a nonabsolutist conception of the divine, which brings intellectual formations as seemingly disparate as Afro-Atlantic polytheism, Romantic Prometheanism, and American pragmatism together in unforeseen ways.

Doctoral Candidate, English, Harvard University  -  Black Prometheus: Primitives, Pragmatists, and the Pluralistic Universe of Atlantic Radicalism

Lindsay Adams Smith
Lindsay Adams Smith  |  Abstract
This ethnographic dissertation examines DNA identification technologies and their relationship to political, social, and familial reconstitution in post-dictatorship Argentina. It focuses on two groups, one organized around the recovery of their kidnapped grandchildren and the other organized around the identification of the bodies of the 30,000 disappeared. Through the comparison of these seemingly similar movements, which nonetheless constitute separate social movements and use different technological approaches, this study explores the coproduction of scientific and political orders in the midst of a seemingly endless process of “transitional” justice.

Doctoral Candidate, Anthropology, Harvard University  -  Subversive Genes: DNA Identifcation and Human Rights in Argentina

Kathleen A. Holscher
Kathleen A. Holscher  |  Abstract
In 1947, a group of New Mexicans filed a lawsuit against Catholic sisters teaching in state public schools. This dissertation takes Zellers v. Huff as its organizing narrative, and offers a historical account of sister-taught public classrooms. For decades, New Mexico’s education system was a borderland—a space hosting not only ethnic and linguistic encounter, but also the encounter of educational models. Its sisters presented a culturally cogent, if legally problematic, challenge to many American ideas about church-state separation. By bringing together Zellers’s local and national participants, this work maps disparate cultural contexts from which Americans articulated ideas about religion and education, and traces how these ideas interacted with the legal principle of separation.

Doctoral Candidate, Religion, Princeton University  -  Habits in the Classroom: A Court Case Regarding Catholic Sisters in New Mexico

Ania Spyra
Ania Spyra  |  Abstract
Multilingual texts inhabit the margins of literary traditions: unread and understudied, complex and perplexing like the realities they arise in and describe. Through analysis of multilingual writings by transnational authors ranging from Eugene Jolas and Christine Brooke-Rose to Ntozake Shange and Susana Chávez-Silverman, this study proposes that literary traditions and literature classrooms should include these complex experiments, as their code-switching form offers a new poetics for the globalizing world. Because it underscores the reality of linguistic diversity against the monolingual norms of nations and homogenizing claims of global English, this dissertation describes this mode of expression as “cosmopoetics,” and argues that it constitutes the aptest idiom of globalization.

Doctoral Candidate, English, The University of Iowa  -  Cosmopoetics: Multilingual Experiments in Transnational Literature

Iza R. Hussin
Iza R. Hussin  |  Abstract
Islamic law has changed radically in the last 150 years. This project focusses on the dramatic transformation of Islamic law during the British colonial period in three cases—India, Malaya, and Egypt—and its effects in the postcolonial state. It argues that colonial and local elites negotiated the scope, content, and meaning of Islamic law in each case, creating new definitions of Islamic law, family, private/public space, and ethnic, religious, and gender identities. Original research shows that Islamic law is a product of political activity, and that legal norms traveled among colonial sites, limiting Islamic law to a narrow scope of private “religious” law, and defining contemporary possibilities for change. This dissertation offers an analysis of Islamic law as local, political, and richly varied.

Doctoral Candidate, Political Science, University of Washington  -  The Politics of Islamic Law: Colonial Power, Local Authority, and the Negotiated Muslim State

Noah H. Thomas
Noah H. Thomas  |  Abstract
The dissertation analyzes archaeological features and materials related to metal production recovered from the historic component (1598-1680 AD) of the Pueblo of Paa-ko, New Mexico. Originating in a pueblo occupied during the establishment of the Spanish colony, this assemblage offers a unique opportunity to study technology transfer under early Spanish colonialism. The dissertation characterizes the metallurgical technology at Paa-ko through the integration of archaeological, technological, and ethnohistorical data in order to develop an understanding of the technology in terms of its material and social aspects. By integrating many scales of analysis, the project investigates how economic, technical, and social knowledge is communicated and transformed across social and cultural boundaries.

Doctoral Candidate, Anthropology, University of Arizona  -  Seventeenth-Century Metallurgy on the Spanish Colonial Frontier: Transformations of Technology, Value, and Identity

Iskra Iskrova
Iskra Iskrova  |  Abstract
This dissertation research uses experimental methods for the study of prosody and intonation in two Caribbean creoles: Haitian and Guadeloupean. The goals are to record primary linguistic data, perform acoustic analysis, describe the tonal patterns, and analyze the intonation-pragmatics interface in the two languages in a comparative perspective. This study describes the characteristics of the prosodic systems in these two languages; determines whether French-based creoles share common characteristics in terms of prosody and intonation; and provides insight into the destiny of African tonal systems as the speakers of these strikingly different languages learned the stressless and toneless lexicon of French.

Doctoral Candidate, Linguistics, Indiana University Bloomington  -  Prosody and Intonation in Two French-Based Creoles: Haitian and Guadeloupean

Heléna Tóth
Heléna Tóth  |  Abstract
This dissertation studies political exile in the aftermath of the revolutions of 1848 in a transnational setting. Based on case studies of political émigrés from the German lands and from Hungary, this dissertation explores the workings of political exile in various social settings: the professions, émigré networks, and the family. Through these themes, the project examines the relevance of exile both for the immediate social environment of émigrés and in a broader context. It follows political émigrés in four host societies (the Ottoman Empire, Switzerland, England and the United States) from the end of the revolutions of 1848 until German unification in 1871. The study covers the full period of exile, from the moment émigrés left their homes until they returned from exile.

Doctoral Candidate, History, Harvard University  -  Émigrés: the Experience of Political Exile for Germans and Hungarians, 1848-1871

Justin Jesty
Justin Jesty  |  Abstract
This project examines the interrelation of artistic and political engagement in early postwar Japan. Though Japanese postwar democracy is often maligned, this project shows how democracy thrived as both aspiration and everyday praxis, in the many thousands of grassroots social and cultural movements of this period. These movements were born of active and creative engagement, participation, and expression. Three art movements dramatize the vital role of creativity and expression in articulating social movements: reportage, the Kyushu School, and Creative Art Education. Their art and the discourse surrounding their art bring to light the ways their work developed in dialogue and exchange with the grassroots efflorescence around them.

Doctoral Candidate, East Asian Languages & Civilizations, University of Chicago  -  Art and Activism in Postwar Japan: the Culture of Grassroots Democracy Between 1945 and the Early 1960s

Theresa Marie Ventura
Theresa Marie Ventura  |  Abstract
This study argues that the intersection of US domestic agricultural reform and imperialism in the Philippines produced a novel form of development in the early twentieth century. Assuming that the Philippine environment was inherently rich, agrarian reformers expected modern methods of cultivation and peasant education to increase agricultural productivity. Archival research in the United States and the Philippines shows that the failure of this project, coupled with environmental degradation and local resistance, led reformers to reevaluate their beliefs about the tropics. Capital-intensive and highly technical programs directed towards the improvement of seeds and soil gradually replaced programs aimed at reforming farmers. This process culminated in the Green Revolution.

Doctoral Candidate, History, Columbia University  -  Empire for Reform: Progressivism, Nature, and the American Colonial State in the Philippines, 1898-1934

Anna Marie Johnson
Anna Marie Johnson  |  Abstract
From 1518 to 1520, at the beginning of the conflict with Rome, Martin Luther addressed the public in questions of Christian practice in over 20 pamphlets. These writings sold extremely well and made Luther a popular public figure, but they are often overlooked by modern scholars. This dissertation analyzes Luther’s critique of prevalent piety in these works and examines the relationship between these concerns and his theological emphases. Luther's interpretation and re-interpretation of late medieval religious practices illustrate his practical orientation and indicates its importance for the impending theological breach with Rome.

Doctoral Candidate, Religion/History, Princeton Theological Seminary  -  Piety and Polemics: Martin Luther's Reform of Christian Practice, 1518-1520

Sarah A. Vogel
Sarah A. Vogel  |  Abstract
This research examines political, economic, and scientific changes in the United States in the last four decades of the twentieth century through the story of one chemical, bisphenol A. Used in the production of plastics, bisphenol A became an economically vital, scientifically controversial, and environmentally ubiquitous chemical by the 1990s. This research begins in the 1960s with the establishment of regulations affecting plastics’ contact with food and bisphenol A’s introduction into plastics production. It then traces the intersecting histories of scientific research, environmentalism, regulation, and plastics production up to the present. Through this case history, this project provides unique insight into the making of our environment, economy, and health.

Doctoral Candidate, Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University  -  Plastics, Politics, and Production: the Political Economy of Bisphenol A

Ryan Tucker Jones
Ryan Tucker Jones  |  Abstract
This dissertation focuses on Russia's empire-building in Kamchatka, the Aleutian Islands, and Alaska from 1739-1800. It describes the natural world—the North Pacific's climate, plants, and animals—and how the process of producing knowledge of the natural world affected Russian expansion and exploitation of the region. The project also examines the ways in which Russia's empire-building, primarily through the fur trade, changed North Pacific nature. While Russian expansion into the North Pacific caused dramatic environmental change, including the extinction of the sea cow and the near extinction of the sea otter, it also spawned an early critique of environmental destruction, shaped by the Empire’s cosmopolitanism.

Doctoral Candidate, History, Columbia University  -  Empire of Extinction: Nature and Natural History in the Russian North Pacific, 1739-1799

Wensheng Wang
Wensheng Wang  |  Abstract
This historical study examines the societal, imperial, bureaucratic, and intellectual responses to the conjunction of two crises in Qing China: the White Lotus rebellion (1796-1805) and South China piracy (1790s-1810). By exploring the mediated constructions placed upon both events, this project highlights a path-shaping conjuncture in the interlocking structural transformation of Qing state and culture as well as the shifting power configuration encompassing the Sino-centric tributary world during the Jiaqing reign (1796-1820). This dissertation provides a major reinterpretation of this pivotal yet most neglected period and explores the endogenous dynamism in the Qing Empire before the full rise of Western assault in the mid-nineteenth century.

Doctoral Candidate, History, University of California, Irvine  -  White Lotus Rebels and South China Pirates: New Perspectives on Social Crises, Political Dynamics, and Cultural Change in the Qing Empire, 1796-1810

Andrew W. Kahrl
Andrew W. Kahrl  |  Abstract
This dissertation traces the culture of racial segregation along bodies of water and the history of African American beaches, swimming pools, and resorts in the American South from the 1890s through the 1950s. Water recreation constituted a formative element in whites’ racialized metaphors of purity and contamination, civility and disorder. “Behind the veil,” leisure spaces emerged as a key arena in African Americans’ broader strategies for circumventing exclusions and mitigating humiliating conventions. Through a series of case studies, this project unpacks the meaning and practice of leisure in a racially hierarchical society, and examines how class and gender informed blacks’ debates over its perceived ties to social and economic mobility and impact on ideas about race and difference.

Doctoral Candidate, History, Indiana University Bloomington  -  Navigating an Aqueous Color Line: Race and Recreation at Bodies of Water in the US South, 1890-1965

Adrian Chastain Weimer
Adrian Chastain Weimer  |  Abstract
This dissertation examines the rhetoric of martyrdom in seventeenth-century American Protestant culture, exploring how Puritans, Baptists, and Quakers imagined themselves within biblical and historical narratives of persecution. New Englanders drew on the history of Christian suffering both to strengthen their authority in matters of religion and to reinforce a model of the true spiritual life. Investigating how the notions of persecution and affliction move in and out of the literature of the period reveals that identity is closely related to how various groups placed themselves within genealogies of sufferers. The sense of being uniquely threatened and marginalized had striking implications for inter-group conflict and for the justification of aggression against Native Americans.

Doctoral Candidate, Study of Religion, Harvard University  -  Protestant Sainthood: Martyrdom and the Meaning of Sanctity in Early New England

Emily Alice Katz
Emily Alice Katz  |  Abstract
This dissertation uncovers the story of how American Jews conceived of and related to Israel between 1948 and 1967 and examines the powerful role that Israel played in the construction of postwar, post-Holocaust American Jewish identity and culture. This identity was informed by a particular (positive) vision of Israel, an Israel that American Jews came to shape and to know through a specific set of cultural practices, such as participating in religious life; dancing the hora; importing and purchasing Israeli-made objects; visiting exhibitions of Israeli art; and by writing and reading about travel and life in Israel. As a universalizing cause that eclipsed the political and cultural divisions of the prewar Jewish community, Israel served as a vehicle into the American mainstream.

Doctoral Candidate, Modern Jewish Studies, Jewish Theological Seminary of America  -  That Land Is Our Land: Israel in American Jewish Culture, 1948-1967

Rhiannon Noel Welch
Rhiannon Noel Welch  |  Abstract
This dissertation is a study of the convergence of 1) the “southern question”; 2) transatlantic emigration; and 3) African colonization in Italy (ca. 1861-1936), with an emphasis on how these processes created the conditions of possibility for fascist demographic policy. Rooted in narrative analysis, but drawing from recent work in anthropology and postcolonial theory, the project traces the emergence of the metaphor of the Italian national body, and interrogates the moments in which the textual production of individual bodies (racialized, sexualized, laboring) both threaten and strengthen the integrity of this unitary body. Specifically, this study suggests that this metaphor is forged through an intimate connection between labor productivity and biological re-productivity.

Doctoral Candidate, Italian Studies, University of California, Berkeley  -  Under the Shadow of Our Flag: Territoriality, Corporeality, and Citizenship in Italy, 1861-1936

Melissa R. Kerin
Melissa R. Kerin  |  Abstract
A set of sixteenth-century Buddhist wall paintings in the Tibetan cultural zone of northwest India's Kinnaur District serves as the focus of this project. Addressing a neglected period and virtually unknown body of work, this dissertation defines and analyzes the transregional dynamics influencing western Himalayan art production and reception in both late medieval and present-day milieus. By employing an interdisciplinary approach that combines traditional art historical methodologies with inscriptional translation, ethnographic documentation, and theoretical inquiry, this study discerns the multilayered contexts that circumscribe these polysemic images. This project serves as a non-Western case study addressing concerns central to a number of humanistic disciplines, including identity formation, semiotics and reception, and ritual praxis. Moreover, this project contributes to recent scholarship that is producing integrated and contextualist methodological approaches for the study of religious images that continue to remain in active use within their communities.

Doctoral Candidate, History of Art, University of Pennsylvania  -  Re-Tracing Lines of Devotion: Religious Identities and Political Ideologies of Fifteenth- Through Seventeenth-Century Western Himalayan Wall Paintings

Janelle Werner
Janelle Werner  |  Abstract
This dissertation—the first in-depth analysis of clerical concubinage in medieval England—examines the lived experiences of priests, concubines, and their children, as well as perceptions of clerical sexual behavior. While much has been written on the imposition of priestly celibacy during the Gregorian reforms and on its rejection during the Reformation, the history of clerical concubinage between these two watersheds has remained largely unstudied. This project combines a quantitative analysis of documentary evidence with a close reading of literary source material, and suggests both that clerical concubinage occurred more frequently than historians have recognized and that notions of clerical sexuality were an integral element of medieval society and culture.

Doctoral Candidate, History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill  -  "As Long as their Sin is Privy": Priests and Concubines in England, 1375-1549

Deborah Grace Kully
Deborah Grace Kully  |  Abstract
This dissertation examines the effects of a rapidly growing real estate market on the architecture of the French bourgeois apartment. The new practice of speculative design, and the 240,000 apartment houses built between 1852 and 1862, were a crucial part of architecture’s transformation into a commodity. The apartment industry prompted an architecture without patrons—that is, the idea that one might design for an unknown future occupant—and this in turn provoked the conservative concerns of nationalism, bureaucracy, and Catholicism. Studying the real estate market, the apartment house, and the discursive context that shaped them opens the door to a new understanding of capitalist architecture as well as the explicitly reactionary moralization of design that it left in its wake.

Doctoral Candidate, History of Architecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology  -  Speculating on Architecture: Morality, the New Real Estate, and the Bourgeois Apartment Industry in Late Nineteenth-Century France

Seth P. Yalcin
Seth P. Yalcin  |  Abstract
This dissertation proposes a generalization of a standard idea in the philosophy of language and mind. The standard idea is that natural language expressions and mental states serve to represent the world as being a certain way, and they do it by having truth conditions. The generalization is that natural language expressions and mental states have truth-conditions only as a special case of having what this study terms “probability conditions.” The objective of this dissertation is to introduce this more general notion of representation and demonstrate its utility to epistemology, semantics, and the study of foundational issues in the philosophy of language and mind.

Doctoral Candidate, Philosophy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology  -  Representing Information

Leigh Claire La Berge
Leigh Claire La Berge  |  Abstract
This project investigates the representation of finance in twentieth-century American texts by linking aesthetic form with the social inequalities produced by financial mechanisms. It begins with the early twentieth-century laissez-faire era, when the term “finance capital” began to circulate in political economy, and the individual financier emerged as a key protagonist in naturalist fiction. Secondly, it examines the postwar period when financial instruments, including federally backed home mortgages and credit cards, were deployed on a national scale in order to enable mass consumption and were further represented as plot devices in a series of novels and films. The study concludes with the 1980s Reagan-era, when finance was associated with violence and paranoia in popular financial novels of the period.

Doctoral Candidate, American Studies, New York University  -  Cultural Representations of Finance in the United States, 1901-1991

Elizabeth Yale
Elizabeth Yale  |  Abstract
This dissertation investigates the “manuscript culture” of a group of seventeenth-century English scientists, including Robert Plot, John Evelyn, John Aubrey, Henry Oldenburg, Edward Lhwyd, and Samuel Hartlib. Looking past the technologically deterministic framework of “print culture” in which the circulation of knowledge in early modern Europe has often been understood, this study reconstructs the material details of the circulation of knowledge. As the world of seventeenth-century scientific readers and writers is revealed, so, too, are the ways in which their social and material choices conditioned the formation of scientific knowledge.

Doctoral Candidate, History of Science, Harvard University  -  "Of Advices, of Proposals, of Treaties, and of All Manner of Intellectual Rarities": Manuscript Circulation and the Formation of Scientific Knowledge in England, 1640-1700

Steven S. Lee
Steven S. Lee  |  Abstract
This study traces the interactions of American and Soviet models of minority uplift, focusing on how “the Second World” shaped ethnic literatures in the United States. In the 1920s and 30s, many Jewish and African American intellectuals looked to the USSR as a beacon of equality, expressed as “multi-national-ness” (mnogonatsional’nost’). However, by the 1950s, most of these intellectuals grew disillusioned with the Soviet Union, due both to Stalinism and anti-communism. As a result, embrasures of socialist internationalism gave way to notions of “cultural authenticity,” as manifested in Jewish-American, African-American, and Asian-American literatures, later employed by state organs to counter Soviet propaganda on US segregation.

Doctoral Candidate, Modern Thought and Literature, Stanford University  -  Cold War Multiculturalism: The Clash of American and Soviet Models of Difference

Stuart H. Young
Stuart H. Young  |  Abstract
This dissertation examines medieval Chinese understandings of foreign saints as portrayed in religious biography and genealogy. It analyzes how the great patriarchs of the Indian Buddhist tradition were domesticated through Chinese hagiographic and historiographical traditions. In particular, it investigates the biographical, ritual, and visual imagery of three important Indian Buddhist patriarchs in China: Asvaghosa, Nagarjuna, and Aryadeva. Beginning with their introduction into China in the early fifth century, these patriarchs became ubiquitous in Chinese religious discourse of all varieties, and they were central to the ways in which medieval Chinese people conceived the history of Buddhism in both India and China, as well as the role of the ideal Buddhist saint within that history.

Doctoral Candidate, Religion, Princeton University  -  Conceiving the Indian Buddhist Patriarchs in China

Jonathan Levy
Jonathan Levy  |  Abstract
This project is a history of risk in nineteenth-century America. Risk, only a technical term in early nineteenth-century insurance, became something more by the early twentieth century. The ability to foresee, act upon, and be responsible for risks became bound up with what it meant to be, or to become, a free person. At the same time, the increasing socialization of risk engendered a new field of interdependence. Who or what was responsible for future risks—a God, an individual, an insurance company, a government? This narrative is organized around the growth of nineteenth-century insurance and contains three parts: the insurance of commodities, including human chattel, in the early nineteenth century; the insurance of the self mid-century; and the birth of social insurance by the early twentieth century.

Doctoral Candidate, History, University of Chicago  -  The Ways of Providence: Capitalism, Risk, and Freedom