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.
"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.”
"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.
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.
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.
"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.
"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.