"Provocations: A Planetary Modernist Studies for the Twenty-First Century"
This recently completed book argues for a rethinking of modernity and modernism on a planetary landscape in the longue durée. The book challenges the diffusionist notion that the West invented modernity in the post-1500 world, then spreading it to the Rest through its imperial power. Reviewing the modernities of the sedentary Tang Dynasty and the nomadic Mongol Empire, the book argues for a fluid and relational concept of modernity that is multiple, polycentric, and recurrent—that is, still in the process of formation. Regarding “modernism” as the aesthetic dimension of any given modernity, the book examines selected modernisms of the Tang Dynasty (Du Fu), the Abbasid Dynasty (Basra ceramics), and Tammerlane’s conquest of northern India (Kabir). It then turns to the literary modernisms of the long twentieth century—relational, mobile, and diasporic—with readings of Conrad, Tagore, Swarnakumari Devi, Woolf, Salih, Césaire, Cha, and Roy. A new book project on religion, diaspora, and the Bildungsroman, tentatively entitled Sisters of Scheherazade: Muslim Feminisms and Women’s Diasporic Writing, is underway.
Susan Stanford Friedman is the Virginia Woolf Professor of English and Women's Studies and the Sally Mead Hands Bascom Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she holds a joint appointment in the departments of English and Gender and Women's Studies. In 2009, she was awarded the Wayne C. Booth Award for Lifetime Achievement in Narrative Studies. Her work focuses on 20th and 21st century literature and theory, incorporating such fields as modernist studies, contemporary women's writing, and world literatures in English. She contributes to feminist cultural theory, narrative theory, migration and diaspora studies, postcolonial studies, psychoanalysis, and interdisciplinary women's studies. She is the author of Psyche Reborn: The Emergence of H.D. (Indiana University Press, 1981; 1987); Penelope's Web: Gender, Modernity, H.D.'s Fiction (Cambridge University Press, 1990; 2008); and Mappings: Feminism and the Cultural Geographies of Encounter (Princeton University Press, 1998). Analyzing Freud: Letters of H.D., Bryher, and Their Circle (New Directions Press, 2001) is her scholarly edition. She also edited Joyce: The Return of the Repressed (Cornell University Press, 1993), co-edited Signets: Reading H.D. (University of Wisconsin Press, 1991), co-edited Comparison: Theories, Approaches, Uses (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013), and co-wrote A Woman's Guide to Therapy (Prentice-Hall, 1979). She is the founding co-editor of the prize-winning journal, Contemporary Women's Writing (2006-2012, Oxford University Press). Friedman's work has been translated into Japanese, Chinese, German, Portuguese, Italian, Serbian, Spanish, Hungarian, and Czech. She has held fellowships from National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council for Letters and Science, the American Psychoanalytic Association, and the Institute for Research in the Humanities. Mappings won the Perkins Prize for best book in narrative studies (1999). She has served as President of the International Society for the Study of Narrative and the Modernist Studies Association. With a B.A. from Swarthmore College in Greek and English and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Wisconsin, she first taught at Brooklyn College, CUNY, has taught at UW-Madison since 1975, and served as Associate Chair of Women's Studies (1975-1981) and Chair of English (2001-2004) before becoming Director of the Institute in 2007.
"Hammers, Axes, Bulls, and Blood: Practical Aspects of Roman Animal Sacrifice"
Animal sacrifice was a central component of ancient Roman religion, but scholars have tended to focus almost entirely on the symbolic aspects of these rituals, while glossing over the actual moment of death and the practical challenges involved in killing large, potentially unruly creatures, such as bulls. The traditional explanation is that the animal was struck on the head with a hammer or axe in order to stun it, then had its throat cut and bled to death. Precisely how the axes, hammers, and knives were employed, and in what circumstances one was preferred over the other, remains unexplained. I draw upon a range of evidence derived from ancient sculpture, comparative historical sources, and animal physiology in order to argue that the standard interpretation is incomplete, and, in its place, offer a detailed analysis of exactly how the killing and bleeding of large sacrificial animals was accomplished and the distinct purposes of hammers and axes within these rituals.
Gregory S. Aldrete (Princeton B.A, 1988; Univ. of Michigan Ph.D., 1995) is the Frankenthal Professor of History and Humanistic Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. His books include: Reconstructing Ancient Linen Body Armor: Unraveling the Linothorax Mystery (2013, with S. Bartell and A. Aldrete), The Long Shadow of Antiquity: What Have the Greeks and Romans Have Done For Us? (2012, with A. Aldrete), Gestures and Acclamations in Ancient Rome, Floods of the Tiber in Ancient Rome, Daily Life in the Roman City: Rome, Pompeii, and Ostia, and the Greenwood Encyclopedia of Daily Life I: The Ancient World (editor). Aldrete was named the 2012 Wisconsin Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, has been awarded two NEH Humanities Fellowships (2004/5 and 2012/13), and will be the 2014-15 Joukowsky National Lecturer for the Archaeological Institute of America. He was a Solmsen Fellow at the IRH, a member of two NEH seminars held at the American Academy in Rome, a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy in Rome, a Wisconsin System Teaching Fellow, received the national Award for Excellence in Teaching at the College Level from the American Philological Association, and was selected as a recipient of both the Founders Association Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Founders Association Award for Excellence in Scholarship. He also makes video courses with The Teaching Company/The Great Courses.
David Woodward Fellow in the History of Cartography
Institute of Social Sciences, Zagreb, Croatia
"Mapping the nations: 19-century cartography between imperial politics and national movements - case study of Croatia"
Huge geopolitical changes which took place during 19 century had crucial impact on Central and Eastern Europe cartography. Croatian example is maybe one the most specific. Divided between imperial interests of France, Britain, Italy, Ottoman and Habsburg Monarchy, mapping of Croatia went through a long journey, from imperial mapping in the first half of the 19 century to the development of national cartography in the second half of the 19 century. The purpose of the research is to present how cartography worked in the turbulent conditions of constant geopolitical changes and local national movements. The project would start with Croatia and progressively broaden to other part of the Balkans.
Mirela Altic, David Woodward Fellow in the History of Cartography is Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences, Zagreb (Croatia) and Associate Professor at Department of History, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences University of Zagreb. She teaches courses on history of cartography and historical geography. Her research explores 18th and 19th century maps as sources for the history of Central and Eastern Europe. She is also interested in missionary cartography, colonial cartography and history of exploration and discovery. Altic is the author of the book Historical Cartography: Cartographic Sources in Historical Sciences (Zagreb, 2004) which won the annual prize as the best scientific book of the year. Currently Head of the research project The Historical Towns Atlas – Historical Identity and Modern Development of Towns in the Republic of Croatia which is part of the international project of comparative studies of European towns. She is member of the Commission on the History of Cartography of the International Cartographic Association, Croatian representative in the International Working Group Historic Towns Atlases (under the coordination of The International Commission for the History of Towns) and member of the Society for the History of Discoveries.
Art and Art History, University of New Mexico
"Gothic Architecture in Cyprus: French, Byzantine, and Crusader"
Gothic Architecture in Cyprus: French, Byzantine, and Crusader Influence in Nicosia and Famagusta centers on the relationship of the two cities Nicosia and Famagusta from the early thirteenth century until 1489. I examine carefully the architectural, sculptural, and painted details of the extant churches in each city. While revealing the diverse sources and models, I also explore the historical context through systematic archival research. I prove that the monuments of these two cities were built and decorated in direct response to the patrons' social positions within the island and the political position of the Kingdom of Cyprus in the East.
Justine M. Andrews is Associate Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of New Mexico. She has published on the art and architecture of Medieval Cyprus, as well as on illuminated Books of Job in the Medieval Mediterranean. Her research interests include cross-cultural interaction in the Medieval Mediterranean, the artistic legacy of the Crusades in the Eastern Mediterranean, and illuminated manuscripts from Byzantium. She is currently co-curating an exhibition of Byzantine illuminated manuscripts titled: East Meets West: Byzantine Illumination at the Cultural Crossroads for the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.
UW System Fellow
History, UW-Stevens Point
“Making Waves, Moving Empires: Embodying Trauma, Activism, and Colonialism in Postwar Okinawa”
My project is a book-length monograph to investigate the site of the body and embodiment in the production of competing histories of trauma, activism, and colonialism in post-WWII Okinawa. Adopting a thematic rather than a chronological approach, I provide a cultural historical analysis of discourses on the body and embodiment categorized under the following themes: 1) politicization of performance 2) imperialization through education 3) colonization of sexual practices and 4) degradation of environmental “geo-bodies.” These themes directly reflect the repertoire of female activists such as Ginoza Eiko (b. 1947), whose work I employ as a critical lens for examining the process of creating alternative histories and embodied archives on postwar Okinawa. By focusing on the body and embodiment, I seek to excavate women’s voices as central to the telling of histories, but also to problematize the ways in which female activists both resist and yet at times reproduce power dynamics of gender, race, and imperialism.
Valerie H. Barske is an IRH UW System Fellow and an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, where she teaches courses on East Asia, Women in Japan, Modern China, and Comparative U.S. Occupations. Her most recent publication focuses on the visual representations of colonial Okinawan women featured in Japanese pictorial magazines, newspaper articles, and didactic texts from 1913-1943. The current book project is based on archival and ethnographic research in Okinawa and mainland Japan generously funded by two Fulbright grants, the Blakemore Foundation, and UWSP’s COLS New Faculty Research Funds.
Meridith Beck Sayre
William Coleman History of Science Dissertation Fellow
History of Science, UW-Madison
“The Process of Conversion: A Biography of the Jesuit Relations”
My doctoral project examines the dynamic life of a book series, known as the Jesuit Relations, over the course of four centuries. My work reveals how these books, written by and for French Catholics in the seventeenth century, have gained scientific authority in the modern social sciences. Originally intended as a chronicle of the Jesuit mission to Canada, the Relations also appealed to an increasingly literate French population who wanted to read the latest on their country’s foray across the Atlantic. Today, these texts are widely used by scholars to investigate the colonial encounter between Europeans and the indigenous peoples of North America. This semester I will be working on two chapters: the first examines a revival of interest in the Relations among nineteenth-century North American bibliophiles, and the second illustrates the importance of the Relations to the emergence of ethnohistory as a methodology and field of study.
Meridith Beck Sayre is the William Coleman History of Science Dissertation Fellow and a PhD candidate in the Department of the History of Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research interests include print culture, the intersections between science and religion, and the history of the social sciences. Her doctoral work has been funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada's four-year Doctoral Scholarship, the David C. and Greta J. Lindberg Distinguished Graduate Fellowship, the Chancellor’s Opportunity Dissertation Fellowship, the Robert F. and Jean E. Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies, and UW's Department of the History of Science. She received a B.A. in archaeology and an M.A. in history from Simon Fraser University.
Michael Y. Bennett
UW System Fellow
"The Cambridge Introduction to the Absurd"
Per Cambridge University Press's series, "The Cambridge Introductions to Literature," my book project, The Cambridge Introduction to the Absurd (under contract), is designed to introduce students, teachers, and lecturers to key topics and authors surrounding the literary and dramatic absurd. While overviews like Arnold P. Hinchliffe's 1969 The Absurd and Neil Cornwell's 2006 The Absurd in Literature do cover vast ground, and books like Martin Esslin's 1961 The Theatre of the Absurd and my own 2011 Reassessing the Theatre of the Absurd provide holistic (though opposing) readings of the plays associated with the absurd, the academic study of the absurd — which seems to excite every new generation — lacks a good starting place that is fair, balanced, and also authoritative. It is my hope that this present volume will fill that void.
Michael Y. Bennett is an IRH UW System Fellow and an assistant professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he teaches courses on modern drama. He is the author of Reassessing the Theatre of the Absurd (2011); Words, Space, and the Audience (2012); and Narrating the Past through Theatre (2012); he is also the editor of Refiguring Oscar Wilde's Salome (2011) and the co-editor of Eugene O'Neill's One-Act Plays: New Critical Perspectives (2012). Currently, he is under contract to write The Cambridge Introduction to the Absurd.
English Department, University of Haifa, Israel
"The Persistence of Realism in the Indian Novel in English"
My project contributes to the ongoing critical reassessment of literary realism by piecing together an alternative narrative of South Asian literary history, one not modelled on a trajectory of belated modernity, but on a longer and more complex commitment to realistic representation. Serving various functions – from the need to construct shared cultural horizons to the demands of an increasingly global marketplace – realism, I argue, has persisted as a testament to the power of its conventions. While highlighting authors, novels, and novelistic elements previously neglected, and reconsidering the impact of those texts which have already gained prominence in existing accounts of the Indian novel, I show that this literary tradition also offers a pertinent critique of the realist form itself.
Ayelet Ben-Yishai is IRH Honorary Fellow for 2013-2014. She teaches Victorian and Postcolonial Literature at the English Department of the University of Haifa, Israel. With degrees in both Law (LL.B. Hebrew University 1996) and Literature (PhD, Comparative Literature, University of California, Berkeley 2005) she has published in both fields and on their intersections. Her book, Common Precedents: The Presentness of the Past in Victorian Fiction and Law was published by the Oxford University Press in 2013. She is the recipient of a three-year Israel Science Foundation grant for her research on realism in the Indian Novel in English.
English and Asian American Studies, UW-Madison
"Racist Love: Asian Americans and the Fantasy of Race"
Has oppression gone metaphoric? My project explores the ways in which fantasy underwrites contemporary understanding of racial difference in the U.S. With specific emphasis on the visual representation of Asian Americans, I analyze displaced portrayals of social injustice where the rhetoric of social movements becomes leveraged not on behalf of Asian Americans per se, but on behalf of their object substitutes, whether talking animals, computer-generated portraiture, the supernatural, multicultural dolls, or fetish objects. I’m interested in sites where racial difference is experienced as a form of ambivalent pleasure—as “racist love”: kawaii, children’s literature, pornography. The cultural narratives generated here invoke and displace the “wounded” subject of grievance; all enmesh non-human substitutes within fields of visual and textual representation that rely upon post-Civil Rights narratives of visibility, inclusion, and equal rights. What national desires come to be expressed through the imaginary and what are the implications underlying the increasingly metaphoric circulation of race?
Leslie Bow is the Eccles Professor of English and Asian American Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She is the author of the award-winning, ‘Partly Colored’: Asian Americans and Racial Anomaly in the Segregated South (New York University Press, 2010); Betrayal and Other Acts of Subversion: Feminism, Sexual Politics, Asian American Women's Literature (Princeton University Press, 2001); and editor of Asian American Feminisms (Routledge, 2012). Her work has appeared in the Utne Reader, the Michigan Quarterly Review, the Southern Review as well as in numerous academic journals and anthologies. Formerly the Director of Asian American Studies at Wisconsin, Leslie was previously on the faculties of Brown University and the University of Miami. She has been named Exceptional Professor, recognized for Excellence in Teaching, and received a UW System Outstanding Women of Color in Education Award, in addition to being nominated for Professor of the Year and Excellence in Mentoring. She served on the advisory boards of American Literature, Contemporary Woman Writers, and the Society for the Study of American Women Writers. Leslie is also a contributor to the Progressive Media Project through which her op-ed columns appear in newspapers across the United States.
UW-Madison Resident Faculty Fellow
"Networks of Secrecy in the English Civil Wars and Interregnum"
The period from 1642 to 1660 is highly significant since it marks a moment of upheaval in English society, during which notions of monarchical secrecy (the king’s divinely ordained prerogative to rule and the ancient notion of the arcana imperii) were called into question. At the same time, Parliamentarian leaders struggled to reconcile the exigencies of political openness with the necessary protections of concealment and surveillance. This project investigates the notion of secrecy from a literary and historical perspective, paying attention to secret writing, invisible ink, and the transmission and interception of secret messages both during and immediately after the English civil wars. Its force as a literary study comes from a desire to reconcile the most exciting aspects of recent work on early modern material culture with the earlier political dimensions of cultural materialism. We have been conditioned to think of secrecy as undesirable in a modern society, yet even the most progressive, utopian democracy, priding itself on its public transparency and openness, must be brought into being again and again through the medium of the secret ballot. By looking at the ways in which secrecy functioned in English society during a time of violent turmoil, this project investigates this paradox.
Karen Britland is a resident fellow at the Institute for Research in the Humanities and a professor in the English Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She researches and teaches on early modern literature, especially Shakespeare and women’s writing. She is the author of Drama at the Courts of Queen Henrietta Maria (Cambridge, 2006), and has also edited Elizabeth Cary’s play The Tragedy of Mariam (New Mermaids, 2010) and James Shirley’s The Imposture (Oxford, forthcoming).
Race, Ethnicity, and Indigeneity Fellow
Afro-American Studies, UW-Madison
“Attended with Many Disadvantages and Evils:” Enslaved and Free Blacks in Rhode Island, 1652 – 1842"
My project is a history of slavery, emancipation, and circumscribed black freedom in the North. Rhode Island played a unique role in supporting the institution of slavery in North America, because of its involvement with the buying and selling of people and goods that sustained plantations throughout the Americas. I argue that the experience of slavery, the process of emancipation as well as the legal and social restrictions placed on free blacks were fundamentally shaped by local economic activity. Moreover, an examination of the business of slavery illuminates how slavery and the racist legacies left by the institution became such an integral part of the American experience in the North.
Christy Clark-Pujara holds a REI Fellowship at the institute in the Spring of 2014. She received her PhD in History from the University of Iowa and is an Assistant Professor in the Afro-American Studies Department. She will spend the semester revising her manuscript. Her primary teaching and research interests include African American History to 1865 and U.S. Slavery and Emancipation; she is particularly interested in the interplay between economics and the creation of race-based slavery. Born and raised in Nebraska, where being a Nebraska Corn Husker fan is mandatory, she struggles with who to root for on football Saturdays.
"The Senses in Understandings of Art: A Sensorium of Yoruba Peoples"
I will research/write a book (with multi-media DVD), create a website, and plan an exhibition that explore how artists and audiences use the senses to create and respond to the arts using an approach I call sensiotics. While I focus on the arts of Yoruba peoples in West Africa and their cultural sensorium, I argue that the senses and sensiotics have important implications for our experience and understanding of the arts universally, as suggested in recent anthropological and neurological research that documents the importance of body-knowledge in learning.
After graduating from Hamilton College, Henry Drewal joined the Peace Corps, taught French and English and organized arts camps in Nigeria. While in Nigeria he apprenticed himself to a Yoruba sculptor, an experience that was transformative (and ultimately led to his present project at IRH on art and the senses). He returned for graduate studies at Columbia University with an interdisciplinary specialization in African art history and culture, receiving two Masters' degrees and a PhD in 1973. He taught at Cleveland State University (where he was chair of the Art Department), and was a Visiting Professor at UC-Santa Barbara and SUNY-Purchase. He also served as Curator of African Art at The Cleveland Museum of Art and the Neuberger Museum. Since 1990 he has been Evjue-Bascom Professor at UW-Madison and Adjunct Curator of African Art at the Chazen Museum of Art. He has received numerous awards (Fulbright, NEH, Guggenheim, AIIS, Smithsonian, and Sainsbury fellowships) and published several books, edited volumes, and many articles on African and African Diaspora arts including Yoruba: Nine Centuries of African Art and Thought (1989) and Beads, Body and Soul: Art and Light in the Yoruba Universe (1998). He curated and wrote the catalogue for the major traveling exhibition -- Mami Wata: Arts for Water Spirits in Africa and Its Diasporas (2008) and edited the volume Sacred Waters: Arts for Mami Wata and other Divinities in Africa and the Diaspora (2008) that won the 2011 Arnold Rubin Distinguished Publication Award from ACASA. His latest exhibition project, Dynasty and Divinity: Ife Art in Ancient Nigeria (2009), for which he wrote the catalogue, opened in Santander, Spain in 2009, traveled to Madrid and the British Museum in 2010 before its 2011-12 US tour to Houston, Richmond, and Indianapolis. He co-curated with Sarah K. Khan Soulful Stitching: Patchwork Quilts by Africans (Siddis) in India, a traveling exhibition shown at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, NY and the Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco, both in 2011. He is currently preparing with colleagues another major traveling exhibition entitled Striking Iron: The Art of African Blacksmiths. In Spring 2013, he will be hosting the Arts Institute Artist-in-Residence Faisal Abdu’Allah and co-teaching a seminar on “bodies, minds, senses and the arts.”
Classics and Religious Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
"Command Performance: Tyranny and Theater in the Ancient World"
Command Performance examines depictions of tyrants in Greek and Roman tragedy alongside depictions of historical Greek and Roman tyrants to demonstrate that they share a common representational strategy: they represent absolute power as a force that theatricalizes existence. Scholarship on tragedy and on absolute rulers tends to posit a relationship of unidirectional influence (from tragedy to real life or vice versa). This project combines literary, historical, and historiographical analysis to find a "feedback loop" in the relationship between theater and absolute rulers, as historians began to depict real rulers in "tragic" style, real tyrants began to style themselves after tragic kings, and tragic kings increasingly resembled historical rulers.
Anne Duncan holds a Solmsen Fellowship at the Institute for Research in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for 2013-14. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Classics and Religious Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her publications include Performance and Identity in the Ancient World (Cambridge University Press, 2006) and articles on Greek and Roman performance issues. She is currently at work on two projects: a monograph about the intersections between theatricality and absolute rule in the ancient world (Command Performance: Tyranny and Theater in Classical Antiquity), and a textbook on Roman spectacle (under contract to Cambridge University Press).
Mary Agnes Edsall
"A Road of the Affections: Rhetoric, Catechesis, and the Cultivation of the Christian Self, A.D. 1-1150"
This book-length project rewrites a paradigm long central to the discipline of medieval history and the study of medieval devotional literature: affective piety. It demonstrates that the genealogy of affective piety goes back to the arts of disciplining the passions that originated in the philosophical schools of antiquity, for philosophers who taught disciplines of the soul were also rhetoricians who sought to move and persuade. Their methods were adapted by early Christian teachers and rhetorical appeals to the emotions became a basic preaching, literary, and prayer practice of the church. This project, therefore, recovers the history of how preaching, texts, and practices were used to shape the emotions and craft Christian selves at different times and places.
Mary Agnes Edsall spent last year at the IRH as a Solmsen Fellow and is returning this fall as an ACLS Fellow to continue work on her book. Her interdisciplinary scholarship focuses on the literatures and practices of Christian catechesis and devotion of the European Middle Ages, with attention to memory (personal and cultural), mnemonics, rhetorical theory, and the role of images and the emotions. She has recently published on early copies of Anselm of Canterbury's Prayers and Meditations as exemplars of practice that drew their power from the way that they reproduced the charismatic presence of their author. Forthcoming articles address the late antique antecedents of medieval Arma Christi imagery and the connections between monastic anthologies for novice formation and household devotional anthologies of late medieval England. Her research interests also include Hugh of Fouilloy, an under-studied twelfth-century monastic author whose works were widely disseminated and amulet rolls in late medieval Europe.
"The Jim Crow Cigarette: Following Tobacco Road From North Carolina to China and Back"
This book-in-progress is a cultural, transnational United States history of the emergence of the modern tobacco corporation, its linked expansion in the U.S. and China, and the spectacular rise of its successful and harmful product, the cigarette. Focusing on the years 1890 to 1937, the project explores in both countries how cigarette company employees imagined the world and their place in corporate expansion; the ways their efforts were contingent and in friction with Chinese and American farmers, workers, servants, businessmen and consumers; and the capacities of cigarettes as they circulated in particular cultural contexts.
Nan Enstad is a historian of the transnational US, with specialization in gender, race and the cultural history of capitalism. Her primary interest is illuminating the cultural instantiation of capitalist power in the form of the modern corporation, branding, and consumer practices and subjectivities. She is the author of Ladies of Labor, Girls of Adventure: Popular Culture and Labor Politics at the Turn of the 20th Century (1999) and is currently completing a cultural history of multinational cigarette corporations in the U.S. and China which will be published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2015.
A.W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow
Communication Arts, UW-Madison
"Remembering the Past, Reframing the Present: Digital Media, Hip Hop, and the Mnemonic Work of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement"
Since the 1990s, the mainstream conversations about race in the U.S. have become increasingly dominated by the ideology of "colorblindness." Recently, many have even gone so far as to claim that we have entered a “post-racial” era. Such assertions emerge from and are supported by a dominant historical narrative in which racism was successfully resolved at the structural and institutional level by the Civil Rights Movement. This narrative has become even more recalcitrant with the election of the U.S.’s first Black President, seen by some as proof that Martin Luther King’s “dream” has come to fruition. Such discourses foreclosed both social and conceptual space for discussing racial politics and obscure structural and institutionalized racism, thereby insuring its continuation. My work examines how Black Americans born and raised after the Civil Rights Movement, often referred to as the “Hip-hop generation,” use digital media to create space for alternative interpretations of both past and present racial politics.
Sarah Florini received her Ph.D. in communication and culture from Indiana University in 2012. Her dissertation explores how the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, one of the largest contemporary Black Nationalist groups in the U.S., uses its website and its annual Black August Hip Hop Project concerts to construct and circulate counter-memories and counter-histories that offer an alternative lens through which to understand contemporary U.S. racial politics. She is currently developing a new project that will focus on the use of trans-media social networks to address racial politics and mobilize political engagement.
A.W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow
"A City Within a City: Community Development and the Struggle Over Harlem"
My research connects the emergence of increasingly privatized and gentrified urban neighborhoods with the radical social movements that arose at mid-century. I focus my study on Harlem, America’s best-known predominantly African-American neighborhood. In the mid-1960s, Harlem had come to symbolize the nation’s so-called urban crisis. By the end of the twentieth century, however, Harlem had entered what observers called its “second renaissance,” a physical and social transformation that symbolized the broader changes that many American cities began to experience. While some have linked this story to national and global events, I argue that it cannot be understood without close attention to the role of residents themselves. Inspired by 1960s calls for radical community control of political institutions, public schools, and the built environment, Harlemites offered competing conceptions of what Harlem could look like and who would occupy its streets. Through a social, political, and architectural history of the struggle to shape one place, I explain the broader story of the emergence of local actors as major players in contemporary urban development, the changing ideas of what it meant to improve a community, and the lasting, often ironic spatial consequences of 1960s demands for participatory democracy.
Brian Goldstein’s research focuses on the history of American cities in the twentieth century, especially intersections between the architecture and urban planning professions, race, politics, and social movements. He received his PhD in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Urban Planning from Harvard University in 2013. His most recent publication, a co-authored essay on the economic development policy of New York City mayor John V. Lindsay, will appear in the volume Summer in the City: John Lindsay, New York, and the American Dream in early 2014. He also has a forthcoming essay on the urban redevelopment projects of architect Paul Rudolph. His article, “Planning’s End? Urban Renewal in New Haven, the Yale School of Art and Architecture, and the Fall of the New Deal Spatial Order,” appeared in the Journal of Urban History in May 2011. He received an AB in Visual and Environmental Studies from Harvard College in 2004.
"Connecting the Dots: The Calculus of Personality in French Fiction and Film"
This project examines the influence of the development of calculus on conceptions of personality in literature and film in the modern period in France. From its inception, calculus, a branch of mathematics invented by Newton and Leibniz in the seventeenth century, has been closely connected to a number of philosophical currents, and it will be argued that starting in the nineteenth century it also began to affect representations of character and personality in literature. The book focusses on both the development of calculus itself and its ramifications for representations of personality. The areas studied are mathematics, philosophy, literature, and film, and also social psychology, a field that has been profoundly affected by calculus, which as one of the bases of statistical science provides fundamental tools for the quantification of personality. The major literary figures and currents studied are realism (Balzac, Maupassant), the roman-fleuve (Proust), and the nouveau roman (Duras, Butor, Robbe-Grillet). The works of the filmmaker Alain Resnais are included as examples of an atomized or mosaic view of human personality.
Richard E. Goodkin is Professor of French at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a specialist of seventeenth-century French literature, but has also worked on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and on ancient Greek tragedy. His research interests include intertextuality, the study of genre, literature and philosophy, literature and mathematics, and French film. His books include The Tragic Middle: Racine, Aristotle, Euripides (Wisconsin, 1991), Around Proust (Princeton, 1991), and Birth Marks: The Tragedy of Primogeniture in Pierre Corneille, Thomas Corneille, and Jean Racine (Pennsylvania, 2000). He is also the editor of Autour de Racine: Studies in Intertextuality (Yale French Studies, 1989) and In Memory of Elaine Marks: Life Writing, Writing Death (Wisconsin, 2007). He is presently completing a manuscript entitled How Do I Know Thee, Let Me Count the Ways? The Representation of Personality in Early Modern French Comedy and Narrative, a project for which he received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2005-2006.
Dana-Allen Dissertation Fellow
“Animal Endings: Species Necropolitics in Contemporary Transnational Literature”
Sarah Groeneveld’s dissertation examines the unexpected methods that contemporary authors use to address animal deaths. She argues that the animal endings in these texts change the narrative endings, causing ripples, breaks and fractures within the genres and modes of representation that the authors employ. By asking what animals do to literature, she suggests that each of her texts provides a different solution, approach or answer to the question of representing animals, an answer that can be found in terms of form and literary strategies. These authors (J.M. Coetzee, Yann Martel, Zadie Smith and Angela Rawlings) represent animal deaths that occur due to factory farming, scientific experimentation on animals, species extinction and the euthanasia of unwanted pets, and imagine ways of framing animals that have the potential to disrupt the idea of animal life as disposable or consumable. Her transnational context interrogates the often Western-centric discourse of animal studies and ecocriticism, and shows how animals, who often transgress human-created geopolitical boundaries, are still a part of global networks that exist between humans and their environments.
Sarah Groeneveld is a Dana-Allen Dissertation Fellow and a PhD Candidate in the department of English Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she also received an MA in 2010. Her research focuses on transnational literature and engages with the discourses of critical animal studies, postcolonial ecocriticism, biopolitics and posthumanism. Her dissertation has also been supported by a Wisconsin-Mellon Summer Dissertation Fellowship and the English department's Sally Mead Hands Summer Dissertation Fellowship.
UW System Fellow
"Sites of War & Words: Rhetorics of Domesticity on the Western Front, 1914-1918"
Helmers’s research examines the rhetoric of domesticity in English-language medical and combat diaries from World War I, including diaries written by women serving with the British Voluntary Aid Detachment and the American Red Cross. The frequent details of domestic routines in the space of diaries written at the front seems a jarring juxtaposition to the conception of the war as what Susan Gilbert called “the muck and blood of No Man’s Land.” Certainly for soldiers and nurses, the routines of daily life were altered by travel and the deprivations of war, but at the same time, such habits as cooking, personal hygiene, clothing, sleeping, and playing games were elevated in writing to a reverential status. Furthermore, empathy for the tellers of ordinary tales reminds readers of the emotional effects of combat, displacement, and adjustment, for the stories of war are the stories of people, those who transported equipment, mapped the front, and tended the wounded. Using primary sources from governmental archives, historical societies, museum archives, and special collections, I argue that domestic rhetoric was an essential aspect of adjustment to highly disruptive personal and national circumstances.
Marguerite Helmers, University of Wisconsin System Fellow, is Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, where she teaches courses in writing, rhetoric, and British literature. She received her PhD in Rhetoric and Composition Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1992. She is the author or editor of five books, including Defining Visual Rhetorics (Erlbaum) and The Elements of Visual Analysis (Pearson). Her articles have appeared in College English, JAC: The Journal of Advanced Composition, and the Journal of War and Culture Studies. Currently, she is completing an article on British Ordnance Survey maps of the Western Front during the First World War. Other publications on the visual culture of the First World War include “Iconic Images of Wounded Soldiers by Henry Tonks” (Journal of War and Culture Studies 2010); “A Visual Rhetoric of WWI: C. R. W. Nevinson, Mary Riter Hamilton, and Kenneth Burke’s Scene” (The Space Between 2009). She is also the series editor of the Visual Rhetoric Series at Parlor Press.
Dana-Allen Dissertation Fellow
Communication Arts, UW-Madison
"Popular Music and Resistance in Occupied France, 1940-1944"
My dissertation argues that popular music was vital to the project of resistance in Occupied France from 1940-1944 because it offered myriad opportunities for the reclamation of individual and national identity. Whether appropriating old WWI drinking songs or humming the melodies of "disreputable" jazz refrains, citizens mined the terrain of popular music in search of symbols that would help them imagine themselves in ways that subverted Nazi and Vichy constructs of national belonging, race, and gender and out of which they could mark themselves as guardians of a virile French republicanism, as fierce protectors of liberté, égalité, and fraternité.
Kelly Jakes is a Dana-Allen Dissertation Fellow and a PhD Candidate in the Department of Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Most broadly, her research focuses on the themes of popular culture, identity, and resistance. Employing theories and methods from the fields of rhetoric, performance studies, history, and musicology, she strives for a deeply interdisciplinary approach to the study of textual, musical, and embodied discourses. Her work has been supported by the Chateaubriand Fellowship for research in the humanities, a competitive, national grant awarded by the French government.
UW-Madison Resident Faculty Fellow
Gender and Women's Studies, UW-Madison
"Curative Violence: Habilitating Disability, Gender, and Nation in Korea"
Concentrating on the formative and disruptive roles cure plays in Korean literary and filmic texts, the project explores the idea that the various attempts to re/habilitate disabled and ill bodies involve corporeal and ideological violence. The project examines cultural representations from the 1930s to the present to investigate how medical and non-medical cures of illness and disability shape normative family and sovereign nation in particular ways through colonial and post-colonial eugenics, medicine, institutionalization, and interpersonal violence.
Eunjung Kim is a resident fellow at the Institute for Research in the Humanities and an assistant professor in the Department of Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Kim's research interests include historical and cultural factors that shape disabled women's experiences in South Korea; the politics and ethics of cultural representations of disability, gender, and a/sexuality; and transnational disability studies theories. Kim is a recipient of the AAUW International Dissertation Fellowship, the Future of Minority Studies postdoctoral fellowship at University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and the Vulnerability Studies postdoctoral fellowship at Emory University. Kim is a member of UW Disability Studies Initiative and affiliated with Centers for Visual Cultures and East Asian Studies.
Cinema Studies, NYU
"The Celluloid Campus: University Extension, College Football, and Nontheatrical Cinema"
In the decades following World War I, motion pictures became a prominent component of the American collegiate experience on and off-campus. Universities served as screening venues, sites to study the medium of film, production venues, and distribution centers for educational motion pictures. My dissertation project examines the uses of motion pictures by universities as well as the conditions in which this relationship facilitated the transformation of the cinema from an ephemeral entertainment to a lasting and essential pedagogical tool. Nontheatrical films were mobilized to bring higher education to the public at large, particularly in the contexts of university extension and intercollegiate football, as educational and training films were appropriated to extend the universities’ reach into surrounding communities while negotiating the contradictions and benefits of big-time college athletics.
Alex Kupfer is an IRH Honorary Fellow for 2013-14. He is a PhD candidate and adjunct instructor in the Department of Cinema Studies at New York University, Tisch School of the Arts. He received an M.A. in Cinema and Media Studies from the University of California-Los Angeles. His research interests include sponsored and industrial film, U.S. sports history, film archiving and preservation, and the cultural history of listening practices. He most recently contributed an essay on the development of technology in sports broadcasting to the anthology American History through American Sports.
English, University of Mary Washington
"Tragedy of Reason: Liberty in the Age of Milton"
Historiography of the past twenty years has often been at pains to distinguish seventeenth-century theories of liberty from modern liberalism. Over the same period, however, political theorists have questioned the conceptual usefulness of liberalism even in our own day: a variety of critiques have shown liberalism to be less a coherent political philosophy than a set of logical conflicts. Tragedy of Reason bridges the gap between these two bodies of scholarship to offer a new approach to political writing during and after the English civil wars, particularly the poetry and prose of John Milton. Specifically, this project relates political writings transhistorically without anachronism by focusing on specific problems that early modern and modern theorists of liberty share. This method reveals a new degree of theoretical sophistication and conflict in works written on the cusp of the early Enlightenment, and it also shows how these texts can contribute to the debates of twenty-first century political theory regarding topics such as pluralism, the relationship of law and violence, popular sovereignty, and the role of faith. By juxtaposing texts of different periods and genres, this project also explores how we imagine and order power relations rationally in any period and argues for the importance of literary techniques in responding to the limitations of reason.
Ben LaBreche, Solmsen Fellow, is an assistant professor of English literature at the University of Mary Washington. His interdisciplinary research focuses on how British writers of the seventeenth century grappled with problems that would come to define modernity. His forthcoming article in Milton Studies will examine how English toleration tracts of the mid-1640s anticipated the theoretical problems of twenty-first century postsecularism, and his article “Espousing Liberty: The Gender of Liberalism and the Politics of Miltonic Divorce” received the Milton Society of America’s James Holly Hanford Award for the best essay on John Milton in 2010. In addition to the Solmsen, he has also recently received fellowships from the Clark Memorial Library, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Harry Ransom Center, and the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies.
UW System Fellow
Art History, UW-Milwaukee
"The Material Life of Jeanne of Flanders"
This project, a book-length monograph, is an interdisciplinary study of the life of a relatively unknown medieval noblewoman as told through her personal possessions and artistic commissions, to include her prayer book, seals, and tomb effigy. Although her objects do not offer the splendor of some royal artifacts, they are united by display of salient elements of her heraldic identity, including armorial shields and meaningful deployment of heraldic animals. It emerges that the verbal and visual contents of her possessions are at once powerfully discursive and thematically coherent. Pursued through critical lenses of cultural-geographical and feminist frameworks, this study adds further nuance to our understanding of medieval noblewomen as makers and shapers of meaning.
Richard A. Leson is a UW-System Fellow for 2013-2014. He is Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he teaches courses on medieval art and museum studies. His research on various aspects of thirteenth and fourteenth-century French manuscript illumination has appeared in the journals Gesta, Studies in Iconography, and Arte Medievale. His current research concentrates on semiotics of heraldic display. He will spend the spring of 2014 completing research and writing for his book project.
Race, Ethnicity, and Indigeneity Fellow
Gender and Women's Studies, Political Science, UW-Madison
"Separate Schools for Black Boys?: Rereading Intersectionality, Experience, and Progressive Politics"
My book in progress, Separate Schools for Black Boys?: Rereading Intersectionality, Experience, and Progressive Politics, examines the discourse in favor of all-black male schools. It demonstrates how proponents of the discourse construct black boys as victims of overachieving black girls and of racist whites intent on undermining black men's 'rightful' status of leaders of the race. These proponents reveal that asserting an intersectional experience of racial and gendered oppression thwarts and facilitates progressive politics. My manuscript concludes that challenging racial, gendered, and other hierarchies of power requires interrogating the political assumptions and demands associated with this and other claims of oppression.
Keisha Lindsay holds a REI fellowship at the Institute in the Fall of 2013. She will spend this time working on her first book manuscript described above. Keisha’s research interests include black feminist theory and black popular culture. She has published research on intersectionality, the racialized politics of gay marriage, and on Caribbean masculinities. Keisha received her PhD in Political Science from the University of Chicago.
Slavic and Comparative Literature, UW-Madison
"The Secret of Translation: Emerging Border Cultures"
Using theoretical apparatus of translation studies, I would like to explore mechanisms of cultural exchange and ways in which they inform material and symbolic exchanges, persistent and emerging forms of ideological discourse and new forms of nationalism. This study will provide a model for understanding the value of cultural contact and exchange from the perspective of Slavic and East European studies. While based on the analysis of particular literatures and cultures, this project is conceptualized on a broader scale I plan to engage through extensive comparative analysis of the way imagination, gender and media are translated across cultures.
Tomislav Longinović is Professor of Slavic and Comparative Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His books include Borderline Culture (1993); Vampires Like Us (2005); co-edited and co-translated volume, with Daniel Weissbort: Red Knight: Serbian Women Songs (1992); edited volume, with David Albahari, Words are Something Else (1996). He is also the author of several books of fiction, both in Serbian (Sama Amerika, 1995) and English (Moment of Silence, 1990). His new book Vampire Nation: Violence as Cultural Imaginary was published by Duke University Press in 2011 and was awarded the 2012 Mihajlo Miša Đorđević prize for best book in South Slavic studies. His research interests include South Slavic literatures and cultures; Serbo-Croatian language; literary theory; Central and East European literary history; comparative Slavic studies; translation studies; cultural studies.
Religious Studies and Women's and Gender Studies, Ball State University
"Biblical Figures, Ancient Figures, Queer Figures: Perverse Feminization and Pauline Argumentation"
The letters of Paul are so frequently enlisted in ongoing cultural and religious disputes about gender and sexuality that, to many, even reading them again seems redundant. Yet, the less-recognized, but recurrent ways these letters deploy ancient ideas about androgynes, eunuchs, slaves, and foreigners – each depicted as strangely gendered in their own distinctive, though still interrelated ways – can trouble any easy notion of their historical or contemporary significance.
Marchal’s book project reconsiders the historical and rhetorical relevance of these letters, implementing key insights from queer studies to reconfigure arguments about this series of perversely feminized figures. In juxtaposing them against more recent figures of vilification, this project defamiliarizes and reorients what can be known about both the historical figures active in these ancient communities and those rhetorical figures that continue to be activated in contemporary settings.
The aim is not to claim, anachronistically, that these figures are somehow identical to each other; rather, it is through anachronistic juxtaposition that the book highlights the partial, but still rather particular connections between them. Their shared features – shaped by their practices of gender, sexuality, and embodiment that depart from dominant perspectives (then or now) – demonstrate a range of unexpected impacts for the interpretation of politically and religiously loaded literature.
Joseph A. Marchal is an associate professor of Religious Studies and affiliated faculty in Women’s and Gender Studies at Ball State University. His work explores, combines, and elaborates aspects of feminist, postcolonial, and queer approaches, crossing between biblical studies and critical theories of interpretation, the ancient world and its many, very contemporary echoes and impacts. Marchal is the author of The Politics of Heaven: Women, Gender, and Empire in the Study of Paul (2008), Hierarchy, Unity, and Imitation: A Feminist Rhetorical Analysis of Power Dynamics in Paul’s Letter to the Philippians (2006), and the forthcoming Philippians: Historical Problems, Hierarchical Visions, and Hysterical Anxieties. He is also the editor of Studying Paul’s Letters: Contemporary Perspectives and Methods (2012) and the forthcoming People Beside Paul: The Philippian Assembly and History from Below.
A.W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow
"Witness Tree: Landscape and Dissent in the Nineteenth-Century United States"
Critics from Karl Marx to the radical American environmentalist Julia Butterfly Hill—she of the 738-day tree sit in one California redwood—have long argued that the ideals of democracy float uneasily upon the high seas of capitalism. How, these critics have asked, can we speak of individual autonomy in the face of the increasing concentration of economic and political power in corporate invisible hands? What does it mean when decisions affecting our everyday lives—the worth of our labor; whether or not our political voices can be heard; the health of our rivers, skies, farm fields, city streets, and even our own bodies—are increasingly made by distant legal fictions? My work saunters along the converging boundary lines of radical culture, green criticism, and environmental history. With it, I seek to recapture a story of environmental humility, spatial sensitivity, and radical social justice rooted in the nineteenth-century U.S.
Daegan Miller received his PhD in history from Cornell University in 2013. His dissertation is a cultural and environmental history that draws on a range of primary source materials, both textual and visual, to trace how nineteenth-century Americans unsure about the costs of Progress reimagined and reshaped their landscapes in order to highlight the unnaturalness of capitalism, industrialization, scientific racism, and Manifest Destiny. He has published in a variety of venues—from creative writing magazines to academic journals—and is currently learning to “speak tree” for an article-length essay tracing the sylvan literacy infusing all aspects of nineteenth-century U.S. culture. He is also developing a second book-project exploring the cultural politics of long-distance walking in the nineteenth-century U.S.
"Cultures of Debt: Christian, Muslim and Jewish Society in Iberia (1000-1500)"
Milton will be using his time as a Solmsen Fellow to develop his second book project, Cultures of Debt: Christian, Muslim and Jewish Society in Iberia (1000-1500). This study will examine the complex nature of debt by considering the real factors of socio-economic life within the historical context of interreligious interaction during the later Middle Ages. It will explore how debt, obligation, and gift exchange made up a language of cross-cultural, cross-class relations which demanded negotiation and required variability between and among elite, commercial, and agrarian members of Iberia’s major religious communities. Medieval aristocratic and mercantile values clashed. Church and state authorities debated the moral regulation of economic exchange. Modern expectation often assumes that the contractual terms of debt must be met without exception, describing violations (real or assumed) with morally prescriptive language. The real language of debt, however, has delineated a range of activity and attitude for people, medieval or modern, with a fluidity often unrecognized. Debt - an economic act, social obligation, and moral question - connected people in medieval Iberia through an ever-shifting web of culture.
Gregory Milton has taught history at the University of South Florida, Marquette University, UCLA and the U.S. Naval Academy. His scholarship focuses on Europe and the Mediterranean during the Later Middle Ages, particularly the social effects of economic activity experienced by individuals and communities. His first book, Market Power: Lordship, Economy and Society in Medieval Catalonia (1276-1313) examined the development of the rural market town of Santa Coloma de Queralt, tracing the intersection of regional commercial interests, local lordship, and royal authority within the town’s market place. The regularity of commerce and credit in rural society for peasants and local nobility, along with the actions of Jews and Christians as enterprising businessmen, created complex economic, political, and cultural interactions across religious and social boundaries. Dr. Milton has published articles exploring the connection between religious identity and finance, about the transformation of written culture as notaries became professional scribes during the last quarter of the thirteenth century, as well as about the role of Jews as financiers in later medieval Iberia. A forthcoming article will address the marriage season of Santa Coloma as a combination of temporal and business activity in the formation of new rural households in Catalonia.
Charlotte W. Newcombe Dissertation Fellow
“From Blood to Fruit: Akha ancestral burdens and the pursuit of a modern authenticity in mainland Southeast Asia and Southwest China”
Micah Morton’s dissertation highlights the efforts of certain members of the Akha transnational minority to promote a pan-Akha identity of a profoundly religious nature among 700,000 Akha in the mountainous borderlands of North Thailand, Northwest Laos, East Burma and Southwest China. This region is undergoing drastic geopolitical transformations. The elite behind the revivalist movement seek to perpetuate their tradition by ‘lightening’ and ‘modernizing’ the ancestral burden in order to prevent further conversions to the religions of ‘Others’ and encourage converts to return to the ‘Akha Religion’. Micah’s work offers a fine-grained analysis of Akha religious politics that highlights the dynamic and interrelated religious and secular aspects of social life.
Micah Morton is a Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellow and Ph.D. candidate in the department of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research focuses on the anthropology of religion and transborder studies. He has received funding for various stages of his dissertation in the form of a Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, Wenner-Gren Dissertation Fieldwork Grant, and Fulbright IIE Fellowship. He received a B.S. in biology with a minor in cultural ecology from Juniata College and a M.A. in anthropology from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.
A.W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow
"The Open Book: Digital Form in the Making"
For many decades the future of the book has been worried over. Whether elegiac or celebratory, the observations of scholars, artists, librarians, journalists, and others have presented the fate of the book as a threshold for humankind, the immense significance of which can be assumed if not specified. From the foundations of media studies—whether Walter Benjamin or Marshall McLuhan —the book has been made to characterize an epoch before an ever-modernizing modernity, providing a foil for “modern,” “mass,” and “new” media. During a period that some have seen to be a tipping point from print to electronic forms, my research investigated the efforts of “mass book digitizers” in the United States—computer engineers, digital librarians, lawyers and activists—who are attempting to effect this never quite arriving post-book epoch. As a practice that has met with resistance, celebration, and controversy, mass digitization provided a venue for plumbing the turbulent waters of what I call the “contemporary book”: an arena of experimentation arising from the tectonic encounter of the established modern book system with an emergent assemblage in motion around the authorization, storage, preservation, circulation, and production of knowledge.
Mary Murrell received her Ph.D. in sociocultural anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2012. Her work at Berkeley was supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, an NSF dissertation improvement grant, a Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities Fellowship, and an ACLS-Mellon Dissertation Fellowship. Before earning her Ph.D., Mary was an acquisitions editor at Princeton University Press, where she acquired titles in the humanities and social sciences.
William H. Hay II Professor of Philosophy, UW-Madison
"The Good Cartesians: 1663-1674"
A book-length study of Cartesian philosophy in the important decade between 1663, when Descartes's works were placed on the Index of Prohibited Books by the Catholic Church, and 1674, when Malebranche published his La Recherche de la verité, a transformational moment in the history of Cartesianism. The main focus of the book is on two Cartesian philosophers — Louis de la Forge and Géraud de Cordemoy — who played a creative and influential role in the growth and direction of Cartesianism, and more generally in the development of European philosophy in the seventeenth century (influencing, e.g., the philosophies of Malebranche and Leibniz).
Steven Nadler is the William H. Hay II Professor of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he has been teaching since 1988. He specializes in the history of early modern philosophy (especially the seventeenth century) and in medieval Jewish philosophy. His books include Spinoza: A Life (Cambridge, 1999, winner of the Koret Jewish Book Award); Rembrandt's Jews (Chicago, 2003, named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize); The Best of All Possible Worlds: A Story of Philosophers, God, and Evil (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2008); A Book Forged in Hell: Spinoza's Scandalous Treatise and the Birth of the Secular Age (Princeton, 2011); and The Philosopher, the Priest, and the Painter: A Portrait of Descartes (Princeton, 2013). He is the editor of the Journal of the History of Philosophy.
"Sound Commodities, Embodied Forms: Race, Value, and the Animated Properties of US Black Music"
My project explores the quality of aliveness ("animation") that listeners commonly experience in US black music. Whereas animation is typically theorized as an inversion of the economic processes of reification (an alienated, reified person/laborer gives way to an animated, sentient thing), I argue that black music's origin as a product of slave labor introduced a unique set of animated properties that underlies its immense cultural value. Originating as an audible extension of an ambiguous, living property-form under the regime of US slavery, black music became imbued with fleshly presence, carrying forward into the modern a racially anachronistic sense of livingness-in-sound.
Ronald Radano is Professor of Music at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author of two, award-winning books, New Musical Figurations: Anthony Braxton’s Cultural Critique (Chicago, 1993; Italian translation, forthcoming) and Lying up a Nation: Race and Black Music (Chicago, 2003), and coeditor of Music and the Racial Imagination (Chicago 2000) and Audible Empire: Music, Global Politics, Critique (Duke, forthcoming). His work has appeared in numerous journals, including Musical Quarterly, Daedalus, Critical Inquiry, Modernism/Modernity, and Radical History Review. He is coeditor of two book series, Refiguring American Music (Duke) and Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology (Chicago). Radano has held research residencies and fellowships at numerous institutions, including the Du Bois Institute (Harvard), the Smithsonian Institution, and the University of Pennsylvania (as a Rockefeller Fellow). He was a Guggenheim Fellow in 1997-1998.
Dana-Allen Dissertation Fellow
Art History, UW-Madison
"Revolting Visions: Contesting Aesthetics in Brazil’s Era of Slave Rebellion"
This project explores how seemingly benign images shaped the contested ideals of cultural hegemony and resistance that motivated slave rebellions in the Atlantic world. During the crisis launched by a wave of rebellions in the Brazilian province of Bahia, Portuguese cartographers, European travelers, and enslaved and free Africans utilized media as diverse as cartography, travel illustrations, and religious assemblages as weapons in a battle for social control. Departing from a history of analyzing the visual culture of Brazilian slavery as a documentary source, this project argues that Bahia’s slave rebellions were motivated and waged through the politics of visual representation.
Matthew Francis Rarey is a Dana-Allen Dissertation Fellow and Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Art History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Always eager to foster transdisciplinary collaborations and collisions, Rarey also maintains active affiliations with the African Studies Program, the Center for Visual Cultures, the Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies Program, and the McPherson Eye Research Institute. Rarey’s research, teaching, and writing broadly span the history and theory of visuality and performativity in the black Atlantic world. His work has appeared in Theorizing Visual Studies: Writing Through the Discipline (Routledge, 2012) and is forthcoming in African Heritage and the Memory of Slavery in Brazil and the South Atlantic World (Cambria Press) and Romantic Circles Praxis Series. Rarey’s current dissertation project has garnered wide support, including the 2010 Joaquim Nabuco Award from the UW Brazil Initiative; the 2011 James R. Scobie Memorial Award from the Conference on Latin American History; a 2011 UW-Madison Chancellor’s Fellowship; and a 2012-2013 CLIR Mellon Fellowship for Dissertation Research in Original Sources.
UW-Madison Resident Faculty Fellow
"The American Ways of Wisdom and Wonder: Seeking the Good Life in the 20th-Century United States"
What would the writing of American intellectual history look like if it sought to capture the longing for wisdom and wonder shaping so much of its intellectual life? This is the question animating my book project on the history of "philosophy" (the love of wisdom) as it took on manifold forms in the 20th-century U.S. It traces the history of this yearning as it moved beyond disciplinary philosophy to other academic fields, from the academy to popular culture (and back), and from formal religion to "spirituality."
Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen is the Merle Curti Associate Professor of History at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research examines U.S. intellectual and cultural history, with a focus on the transatlantic flow of ideas and cultural movements. She is the author of American Nietzsche: A History of an Icon and His Ideas (University of Chicago Press, 2012), which is the recipient of the Society for U.S. Intellectual History's first annual prize for the best book in U.S. Intellectual History and the 2012 Morris D. Forkosch Prize for the best book in intellectual history. In addition to her scholarly articles, she has written essays and reviews for The Wilson Quarterly, Daedalus, The American Prospect, and the Guardian blog. She is currently working on a book on the search for wisdom and wonder in 20th-century American life.
"D-Day through French Eyes: Memoirs of Normandy 1944"
Historians, politicians and filmmakers have celebrated the Normandy campaign as a great moment in the history of the Second World War. And indeed it was. But the story, at least as it has been told by American historians, has focused too narrowly on the G.I. perspective. What the invasion meant for the Normans has been almost completely left out of the story. French civilians appear only at the peripheries of the campaign, their roles reduced to inert bystanders or joyous celebrants of liberation. In short, the French form nothing more than a landscape against which the Americans fight for freedom. D-Day through French Eyes: Memoirs of Normandy 1944 will offer us a fresh perspective on this decisive moment in history. The first English-language collection of French memoirs about the campaign, D-Day through French Eyes features roughly one hundred eyewitness testimonies culled from Norman archives and French publications. These personal testimonies by ordinary Normans have never appeared in English translation. They revolve around the rich and complex sensory details of the landings—the sound of artillery, the first glimpse of an American Jeep, the smell of death and the taste of chocolate. The result is a vivid picture of hell in the bocage.
Mary Louise Roberts is the author of three books, Civilization without Sexes: Reconstructing Gender in Postwar France, 1918-1928 (1994), Disruptive Acts: The New Woman in Fin de Siècle France (2002), and most recently, What Soldiers Do: Sex and the American G.I. in World War II France (2013). A French edition of What Soldiers Do will appear with Editions Seuil in 2014. Roberts has been the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Institute for Advanced Study, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. She has also received several teaching awards, most recently in 2008, the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award. Her most recent articles have appeared in French Historical Studies, the American Historical Review, l'Histoire, les collections, and the Journal of Women's History.
English, Stony Brook University
"Grammars of Mood: How the Seventeenth Century Invented a New Language of the Emotions"
This project draws on the histories of language, literature, philosophy, and science to trace the seventeenth-century origins of a modern structure of the emotions. On the evidence of both language and literature I build a phenomenology of early modern experience, comparing it with the technical discourses the period used to theorize emotion: medicine, philosophy, rhetoric, theology. I argue that the period generated a philology and a poetics of emotion that helped shape the forms of feeling we still talk about today, and that the study of language and literature have a crucial contribution to make to current interdisciplinary conversations about emotion.
Solmsen Fellow Benedict S. Robinson is Associate Professor of English at Stony Brook University. His first book, Islam and Early Modern English Literature, was published in 2007 by Palgrave. He has published articles in Shakespeare Quarterly, ELH, SEL, Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies, and elsewhere. He is currently under contract with Arden Early Modern Drama for an edition of John Webster’s The White Devil.
A.W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow
Art History, UW-Madison
"Politics, Gender and the Art of Religious Authority in North Africa: Moroccan Women’s Henna Practice"
Politics, Gender and the Art of Religious Authority in North Africa: Moroccan Women’s Henna Practice, analyzes the cultural and political symbolism of henna in contemporary Morocco. Henna dye is applied on religious occasions throughout North Africa—yet only in Morocco does this feminine art symbolize a “nationalized” Islam. This project contends that Moroccan henna’s explicitly spiritual significance is grounded in local interpretations of orthodoxy and explores the mobilization of this art form as a contested emblem of social protest and political legitimacy in a climate of unrest.
Amanda Rogers is currently a Dean’s Distinguished Teaching Fellow in the Departments of Art History and Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies at Emory University. She is very excited to join the University of Wisconsin Madison, where she plans to pursue two research projects developed from her dissertation. Her research has been funded in part by the Jacob K. Javits Foundation, Fulbright IIE, the Council of American Overseas Research Centers, Fulbright Hays and the American Institute for Maghrib Studies. A practicing artist and photographer, she also serves as a commentator on Middle Eastern and North African politics.
"City of Disquiet: Imagining Lisbon at the End of the 20th Century"
In my current book on visual and literary representations of Lisbon, Portugal, during the late 20th and early 21st centuries, I approach the city as built-environment and analyze how changes to the urban fabric have been reflected in literary and visual representations of urban experience. Exploring how artists, photographers, filmmakers, and writers have used their work to register the city’s various transformations since the transition to democracy in the mid-1970s, I ask whether polarization has become exacerbated, both physically and politically, in contemporary, post-imperial Lisbon. Drawing inspiration from the modernist writer Fernando Pessoa’s Book of Disquiet, that was published posthumously in 1982, my point of departure lies in an examination of the quotidian routines of the Portuguese capital; like Pessoa’s “false diary,” my project also aims to register the frustrations, dreams, and flights of the imagination that arise from the experience of the city.
Ellen Sapega is a Professor in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese and the Director of the Center for European Studies. She specializes in 20th century Portuguese literature and culture and has published widely on topics related to Fernando Pessoa, Mário de Sá-Carneiro, memory, visual culture and commemoration since the late 19th century, the contemporary Portuguese novel, and 20th century Cape Verdean literature and culture. Sapega is the author of Ficções Modernistas: Um Estudo da Obra em Prosa de José de Almada Negreiros (Lisboa: Instituto de Cultura e Língua Portuguesa) and Consensus and Debate in Salazar’s Portugal: Visual and Literary Negotiations of the National Text (Penn State UP). For many years, she was a co-editor of the Luso-Brazilian Review.
"The Sliver of the Oxus Borderland: Medieval Cultural Encounters between the Arabs and Persians"
How do physical borders and boundaries delineate the nature of cultural interactions and determine the development of historical time and place? What are the kinds of spaces created alongside borders that promote inclusive permeability versus boundaries that generate exclusive separation? Critical biographies of borderlands – the conditions created by these borders and boundaries – are evocative biographies of no places and the people who no longer live there. Yet, these biographies are seldom recorded in scholarly writings even though the passage of history through these so-called spatial ‘edges’ frequently leaves behind a rich palimpsest of cultural records. Extending upon Kevin Lynch’s emphasis on ‘edges’ and Richard Sennett’s fascinating distinction between a boundary that divides, versus a border that serves a place of exchange, this ongoing book project examines one such unique borderland condition on the legendary Silk Road, located on Central Asia’s important Oxus River. Combining a close reading of archival sources spread across repositories in the Russian Federation, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, with several years of innovative fieldwork, it seeks to unravel how conflict, reconciliation and interaction between medieval Arab and Persian communities created unique urban forms alongside this geographically significant and politically critical divide.
Dr. Manu P. Sobti shall be a fellow at the IRH in Spring 2013. He is an Islamic architecture and urban historian, associate professor at the School of Architecture & Urban Planning (SARUP), University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee USA. His ongoing research focuses on the urban history of early-medieval Islamic cities along the Silk Road and in the Indian Subcontinent, with particular reference to the complex ‘borderland geographies’ created by riverine landscapes. Within the purview of a comparative, trans-disciplinary research project on the Mississippi, Danube, Ganges and Amu Darya Rivers, he is currently completing a manuscript entitled The Sliver of the Oxus Borderland: Medieval Cultural Encounters between the Arabs and Persians for Brill Publications (Leiden, Netherlands) – a comprehensive work that collates his noteworthy fieldwork in libraries, repositories and archives across Central Asia. His work has received several prestigious awards, including the Trans-disciplinary Research Collaborative Award from the Center for 21st Century Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (2011–13), the Global Studies Research Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (2010-11), the Hamid Bin Khalifa Research and Travel Fellowship for Islamic Architecture and Culture (2009), the Center for 21st Century Studies Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (2009-10), the Aga Khan Graduate Fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology-Cambridge (1993-95), and grants from the National Council for East European and Eurasian Research in Seattle (2009-10), the Graham Foundation of the Arts in Chicago (2008-09), the French Institute for Central Asian Studies in Tashkent (2003), and the Architectural Association in London (2001). He has also received multiple teaching and course development awards, including the BP-AMOCO Teaching Excellence Award at the Georgia Institute of Technology (2001), and the Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (2011). Sobti has published widely and presented his research at more than 60 national and international venues. He coordinates the Buildings-Landscapes-Cultures (blc) Research Program at UWM, directs the SARUP India Program, and conducts Urban Design Studios in Ahmedabad, Chandigarh and New Orleans in partnership with local schools of architecture.
A.W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow
“Evangelical Space: Art, Experience, and the Ethical Landscape in America, 1820-1860”
Nowadays the term “media” is likely to conjure up ideas of giant transnational conglomerates, cable news networks, and Facebook; we hear constant chatter about the cultural and political consequences of “social,” “mass,” “mainstream,” even “lamestream” media. But media in this modern sense has not always been so ubiquitous or mundane. In early nineteenth-century America, media took on cosmic and utopian dimensions, as mass print promised not only to link people together as never before, but also to connect them to the sacred in new ways. My research explores this pivotal moment in the history of media, focusing on the development of mass print as an instrument of social reform in the United States. It seeks to understand the impact of this print on a number of related domains of antebellum culture, including the popular religious imagination and ideas about the social role of artistic expression. I argue that the pioneering work of Protestant evangelical voluntary associations—so-called “benevolent” societies—in using print to promote a range of reform causes, from foreign missions to temperance, provided a powerful model of moral suasion that many American reformers and artists adopted in the decades before the Civil War.
Andrew W. Mellon postdoctoral fellow Jerome Tharaud earned his Ph.D. in English Language and Literature from the University of Chicago in 2011, with a specialization in nineteenth-century American literature and culture. His doctoral dissertation examines how Protestant evangelicals in the antebellum United States sought to use mass print to shape the morals of the nation, focusing in particular on their use of literary and visual images of the landscape. His research interests include U.S. print culture as well as American religions, art and visual culture, and environmental literature. He is the author most recently of “The Evangelical Press, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and the Human Medium,” a forthcoming essay in Arizona Quarterly. He is currently working to develop his dissertation into a book manuscript; he has also begun a new project that excavates an important but neglected communitarian dimension in the thought of Henry David Thoreau, a writer more often noted for his individualism and celebration of solitude.
History, UNC-Chapel Hill
“The Last Papal Monarch: Innocent IV and the Thirteenth-Century World Order”
This book investigates the papacy of Innocent IV and the idea of supreme Christian governance during the epoch-making events of the mid-thirteenth century, including the Roman Church’s war with the German ruler, Frederick II, the rise of the Mongols, ongoing crusades and mission to the non-Christian world. It takes Innocent’s conceptualization of the papal office as the starting point for an analysis of critical themes and issues in the development of medieval Europe, including the so-called separation of Church and State, the formation of papal monarchy, the nature of Christian sovereignty, and contests over the purpose of history. By analyzing the papal role in the “international arena” of the thirteenth century, this book will advance our understanding of how medieval Christians navigated the complicated borders between political theories and hard-edged realities, between believers and non-believers, between pragmatic religious imperatives and ambitious spiritual desires to reshape the world.
Brett Whalen is associate professor of history at UNC-Chapel Hill. He works on Christian intellectual and cultural history during the Middle Ages, including apocalyptic thought, the crusades, and church reform. His first book, Dominion of God: Christendom and Apocalypse in the Middle Ages (Cambridge, Mass., 2009), explores the medieval belief that Christianity would spread to every corner of the earth before the end of time. He is also the author of Pilgrimage in the Middle Ages (Toronto, 2011) and The Medieval Papacy (London, 2013).
"Sociology and the 'Social Question' in Prewar Japan"
Sociology and the 'Social Question' in Prewar Japan is a monograph that explores the history of social ideas in Japan and their engagement with global currents of thought. Tracing the development of sociology as an academic discipline from the late nineteenth through the early twentieth centuries, I argue that the core ideas as well as the institutional configuration for the study of society were shaped by two key factors: the influence of Western philosophy on Japanese thought; and the political struggles over government policy to counter the social disruptions of industrialization.
Louise Young is Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is affiliated with the Center for East Asian Studies, where she served as director from 2005-2008. As an historian of modern Japan, her successive major research projects have focused on the relationship between culture and empire, urban modernism between the wars, and most recently, sociology and social policy. She is the author of Japan’s Total Empire: Manchuria and the Culture of Wartime Imperialism (University of California Press, 1998; winner of John K. Fairbank and Hiromi Arisawa prizes and a Choice Outstanding Academic Book) and Beyond the Metropolis: Second Cities and Modern Life in Interwar Japan (University of California Press, 2013). Young spent time as a visiting researcher at Tokyo University, Waseda University, and Kyoto University and conducted research at multiple local archives in Japan, with support from the Fulbright Foundation, Social Science Research Council, the National Endowment for Humanities, among other sources. With a BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a PhD from Columbia University, Young held appointments at Georgetown University and New York University before joining the UW-Madison faculty in 2003.
Religious Studies, University of Kansas
"Textual Transfigurations: The Genres of Scriptural Rewriting in Second Temple Judaism"
For most of Jewish and Christian history, "interpretation" has been regarded as secondary to "scripture," both chronologically and in terms of authority. In Judaism prior to approximately 100 CE, however, interpretation was not kept separate from scripture. Instead, interpretation largely took place by means of rewriting: direct modification of scriptural texts via additions, omissions, rearrangements, or other changes. Such rewriting could occur in copies or translations of scriptural texts, or in new compositions largely based on scriptural models (which often claimed for themselves the same authoritative status as the scripture they rewrote!), or even in other types of compositions less closely tied to existing scripture. Textual Transfigurations will take a comprehensive approach to rewriting in early Judaism. It will explore the goals and functions of this important scribal strategy across various contexts, with the aim of advancing our understanding of scribal culture, scripture, and exegesis in early Judaism. Because scriptural rewriting in this period involves very different conceptions of scripture, interpretation, and authority than what later became the norm in Judaism (and Christianity and Islam), the book will also contribute to broader discussions of how sacred text and interpretation interact within religious communities.
Molly Zahn is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Kansas, where she teaches courses in Bible, Jewish and Christian interpretation of Scripture, and Abrahamic religions. Her research interests revolve around the dynamic relationship between scripture and interpretation in religious communities, with a special focus on the Hebrew Bible and early Judaism. She has published extensively on attitudes towards scripture and modes of interpretation attested in the Qumran (Dead Sea) Scrolls, especially in various contexts where interpretation itself claims scriptural authority. Her first book, Rethinking Rewritten Scripture: Composition and Exegesis in the 4QReworked Pentateuch Manuscripts (Brill), appeared in 2011. Besides her Kingdon project, she is also working on a commentary for the Hermeneia series on the Temple Scroll from Qumran. This newly discovered composition, the longest extant Dead Sea Scrolls text, combines instructions for a massive temple with a rewritten version of biblical law, and depicts itself as direct divine revelation from Mt. Sinai.
UW-Madison Resident Faculty Fellow
"Letters that Matter: Anglo-Saxon Epistolarity and Early English Media"
It is often assumed that outside the monastic scriptoria, Anglo-Saxon England was a largely oral, largely media illiterate culture, yet letters and other written documents appear with surprising frequency in Old English literature, including literature that might have been intended for lay audiences. My book project examines the representation of letters in early English medieval literature as a way of understanding Anglo-Saxon inscriptional media. Through study of epistolary form, communication networks, the physical medium of letters, and archives and memory storage systems, this project moves beyond traditional genre study to ask what it is about letters that so appealed to audiences that might never have produced or seen letters themselves, how the orality and textuality of letters shaped Anglo-Saxon ideas about publication, and what letters reveal about how Anglo-Saxons negotiated complex questions of faith, such as how to communicate with an absent God and how to record and circulate miracles that left no tangible trace.
Jordan Zweck is a resident fellow at the Institute for Research in the Humanities and an assistant professor in the Department of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She specializes in early medieval vernacular literature and culture, especially Old English, and is also interested in the history of the book, the history of the English language, and medieval lay piety and pastoral care. Zweck is a recipient of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for the Humanities’ First Book Award and is affiliated with the Department of Scandinavian Studies. She is currently working on a book on Anglo-Saxon epistolarity and early English media, examining the representation of letters in vernacular texts such as letters from heaven, Anglo-Saxon hagiography, and epistolary prefaces.