English and Comparative Literature, University of Warwick
Perversion in ArcadiaThis project explores the multiple delinquencies of Philip Sidney's multi-versioned romance, the Arcadia (c.1581-1584), in order to scope a broadly de-idealist reading of his poetry and prose. Of particular focus is the question of emotional and political governance – what might be called an "economy" of the passions – and ways in which, testing to the limit the rationalist models of self-government available at the time, the delinquent behaviors described within the Old and New Arcadia give way to the tragic, even nihilistic vision of a negative excess or "debt" that is not to be turned to good account, redeemed, or repaid. This alternative economy is first traced in Sidney’s Defence of Poetry, where Weberian models of turning a profit compete with a fantasized "golden world" of infinite credit, effectively playing the different pleasures of accumulation and consumption against one another and so problematizing any straightforward claims to poetry's profitability and pleasure.
Catherine Bates is a Professor of Renaissance Literature at the University of Warwick. She specializes in sixteenth-century English literature: in particular, courtly forms such as epic, lyric, and romance. Her books include The Rhetoric of Courtship in Elizabethan Language and Literature (1992), Play in a Godless World: The Theory and Practice of Play in Shakespeare, Nietzsche, and Freud (1999), Masculinity, Gender and Identity in the English Renaissance Lyric (2007), and Masculinity and the Hunt: Wyatt to Spenser (2013). She is also currently editing the Blackwell Companion to Renaissance Poetry. She has previously held positions at Oxford (1987-1990) and Cambridge (1990-1995), and has been at the University of Warwick since 1995. She served as Head of the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies there from 2009 to 2014. She is at work on a book entitled Perversion in Arcadia.
English, Miami University
Style, Subjectivity, and Male Sexuality in Early Modern DramaThis book project examines the representation of clothing in early modern plays set in London. Plays by Ben Jonson, George Chapman, Thomas Middleton, and other writers of city comedy offered audiences queer forms of male embodiment and eroticism. By tracing early modern theater’s relationship to humoral psychology, to the cloth trade, and to urbanization, I reassess the historical value of superficiality for a time period commonly associated with interest in the inner life and psychological depth. I also attend to the potential political value of dissident style, as these plays provoke us to reimagine modes of being and social relations outside of the frameworks of subculture and identity that dominate current politics of sexuality and urban space.
James M. Bromley is an Associate Professor of English at Miami University. He is the author of Intimacy and Sexuality in the Age of Shakespeare (Cambridge, 2012) and the co-editor of Sex before Sex: Figuring the Act in Early Modern England (Minnesota, 2013). He won the 2011 Martin Stevens Award for the Best New Essay in Early Drama Studies from the Medieval and Renaissance Drama Society. He is currently working on a book project entitled Style, Subjectivity, and Male Sexuality in Early Modern Drama.
Classics, University of Southern California
The Ptolemaic Empire (323-30 BCE)The book aims at developing a better understanding of state formation and imperialism in Egypt after the conquest of Alexander down to the inclusion of Egypt into the Roman Empire (332-30 BCE). It provides a critical narrative of the Ptolemaic empire based on Greek and Egyptian papyri and inscriptions as well as archaeological material, coins and ancient Greek authors. At the same time the study uses the evidence to evaluate different theories of empire. This book proposes that the resilience of state institutions (political, economic, and military) and above all of state ideology that were borrowed, developed and adapted by the Ptolemies, explain the long-lasting success of their state, which was made possible through the incorporation of the local elites. This approach offers a new framework for understanding Ptolemaic Egypt and social integration in multicultural states and for rethinking the phenomena of state expansion, stability and decay.
Christelle Fischer-Bovet is an Assistant Professor of Classics at the University of Southern California who specializes in the social and cultural history of the Eastern Mediterranean from Alexander the Great to the Romans, with a special interest in Greco-Roman Egypt. Her book Army and Society in Ptolemaic Egypt (Cambridge University Press, 2014) combines documentary evidence (papyri, inscriptions) with social theory to examine how the changing structures of the army led to the development of an ethnically more integrated society. She has also written several articles on Ptolemaic history and (forthcoming) articles on the role of ethnicity in the institutions of the new Hellenistic states and on legal and fiscal categories used by the Ptolemies and the Romans in Egypt. She is now preparing a new book called The Ptolemaic Empire for Oxford University Press and co-writing with the numismatist Cathy Lorber an article on wages and monetization in Hellenistic Egypt.
English, University of Maryland, College Park
Song and Mediation in Early Modern EnglandTrudell's current book project traces the development of verse with a musical dimension in the poetic and theatrical cultures of early modern England, beginning with the renewed interest in musical humanism among Sidney and his peers, and continuing through Milton's fascination with musical language and experience. Song was an essential part of the literary canon, and it circulated ubiquitously in written format. Yet it was also highly performative, inseparable from the rhythmic, vocal and instrumental conditions of its recital. As such, song brings out the extensive interaction between writing and sound in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century literary culture. Song resists the notion that literature can be confined to a particular media format, subject as it was to a constant series of feedback loops between scriptive, acoustic, visual and other media. Persistently understood as poetic yet irreducible to script, song invites us to re-imagine literature as a process of mediation, adapted and redefined by the competing influences of technologies, formats, authors and performers.
Scott A. Trudell is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Maryland, College Park, where his research and teaching focus on early modern literature, media theory and music. In addition to his current book project about song and mediation from Sidney and Shakespeare to Jonson and Milton, he has research interests in gender studies, digital humanities, pageantry and itinerant theatricality. His work has been published in Shakespeare Quarterly, Studies in Philology and edited collections. He is at work on a book entitled Song and Mediation in Early Modern England.
French and Romance Philology, Columbia University
Borderlands: Intercultural Encounters in the Medieval French PastourelleThis project shows how pastoral literature—especially pastourelle poetry—became a privileged site for French explorations of cultural and linguistic difference in the Middle Ages. The generic framework of the pastourelle poem—in which an errant knight encounters, and subsequently often rapes, a shepherdess—entangles cultural and linguistic difference with sexual power and class hierarchy. Borderlands turns to Occitania, Flanders, the Basque Country and England as imagined in francophone poetry.
Eliza Zingesser is an Assistant Professor in the Department of French and Romance Philology at Columbia University. She has published on medieval and Renaissance literature in journals such as Modern Language Notes and Modern Philology. She is particularly interested in assimilation, multilingualism, cultural and linguistic contact, and gender and sexuality. In addition to Borderlands, she is at work on a book project on the early francophone reception of troubadour lyric.
Religious Studies, The College of William & Mary
Conversion and Empire: Byzantine Narratives and Imperial Christianity across the Frontier, 300-900The work of Byzantine missionaries between 300 and 900 extended Christianity into such disparate regions as the Caucasus, Nubia (modern Sudan), Himyar (modern Yemen), and the Balkans. According to modern tradition, these foreign conversions brought about Eastern Orthodoxy’s largest expansion to date. In order to understand the nature of the Byzantine contribution, therefore, this project focuses on the imperial perspectives and puts the foreign conversions in a comparative framework. The cross-regional approach also makes clear how and why modern historians and politicians have selected certain episodes of conversion to turn them into monumental events with ethnic and nationalistic overtones.
Alexander Angelov is an Assistant Professor in Religious Studies and a faculty member in the interdisciplinary programs in Russian and Post-Soviet Studies and Medieval and Renaissance Studies at the College of William & Mary. He specializes in Byzantine history, medieval Christianity, the modern Balkans and Eastern Orthodoxy. His work has been published in the Journal of Medieval History, Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies, as well as in edited volumes. In addition to his current book project on conversion, he is researching the relationship of Eastern Orthodox national churches with the Communist ideology and apparatus in the Balkans.
History and Women's Studies, University of Georgia
White-Collar Saints: Opus Dei and the Theology of WorkHow have believers brought specific spiritual practices to bear on the demands of modern jobs and family labor? What kinds of spiritual discipline have been effective for those coping with the high-tech, “high-touch” stretch-out in offices, hospitals, schools, and cyberspace? Grounded in a transnational historical narrative of the organization’s evolution, this project seeks to understand how the influential lay Catholic institution Opus Dei has developed techniques for professionals and service workers specifically; how practitioners understand these spiritual tools; and how they relate to Opus Dei’s theology of work.
Bethany Moreton is an Associate Professor of History and Women's Studies at the University of Georgia and a series editor for Columbia University Press’s Studies in the History of U.S. Capitalism. Since receiving her doctorate in history at Yale University in 2006, she has been a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Cambridge and at the Harvard Divinity School. Her first book, To Serve God and Wal-Mart: The Making of Christian Free Enterprise (Harvard University Press, 2009) won the Frederick Jackson Turner Prize for best first book in U.S. history and the John Hope Franklin Award for the best book in American Studies. She is a founding member of the Tepoztlán Institute for the Transnational History of the Americas and a founding faculty member of Freedom University, which offers college coursework without charge to qualified Georgia high school graduates regardless of immigration status.
UW System Fellow
Languages and Literatures, UW-Whitewater
Spiritism and Progress: A Study in Otherworldly UtopiaThe Spiritist movement that emerged from the work of Hippolyte Rivail in 1850’s France is not the typical fodder of scholars interested in the utopian and progressive spirit of the nineteenth century. Relying on the revelations of “spirits” speaking through mediums to make its philosophical and “scientific” claims about afterlife, reincarnation, and the peopling of other worlds, Spiritism tends to strike observers as perversely fascinating at best and absurd at worst. However, Dr. Betty’s contention is that Spiritism’s relegation to the margins of the occult ignores the affinities that the movement shares with less metaphysical but no less progressive or utopian concerns of the nineteenth century, and that this seemingly aberrant movement represents a kind of “hypermodernism” wherein Progress is understood to operate not only through human history, but also through multiple incarnations on multiple worlds. The project also addresses the practice of Spiritism in contemporary Brazil, which since the end of the nineteenth century has served as a laboratory for the viability of Spiritist beliefs.
Louis Betty is an Assistant Professor of French at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he teaches courses in French and Humanities. He has written extensively on French novelist Michel Houellebecq, with articles appearing in Nottingham French Studies, Literature and Theology, and L'Érudit franco-espangol. He has also recently completed a book-length manuscript on Houellebecq and is awaiting decisions on several other articles. In addition, he has published opinion pieces in The Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed as well as reviews of Houellebecq’s recent fiction and poetry. He received his Ph.D. in French from Vanderbilt University in 2011. He is at work on an article entitled "Spiritism and Progress: A Study in Otherworldly Utopia," which focuses on the Spiritist movement in Second Empire France and its relation to other religious-utopian philosophies of the nineteenth century.
UW System Fellow
History, UW-Stevens Point
The Best LandMy project investigates the controversy over Oneida Indian land claims in central New York by tracing the history of one piece of property and the people---the Oneida families and my own--- who have lived on it over the past 250 years. This story examines themes of diversity and entwined lives, war and revolution, trade and development, state violation of federal law, the influences of Oneida women on the story of the land, and the struggle to adapt and survive. This project explores the ways in which Americans have defined their identity and the role of place, culture, and history in the shaping of that identity.
Susan A. Brewer is a Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. She specializes in the study of American Foreign Relations and is the author of Why America Fights: Patriotism and War Propaganda from the Philippines to Iraq (Oxford, 2009) and To Win the Peace: British Propaganda in the United States during World War II (Cornell, 1997). She is interested in the construction of American national identity and the entanglement of history, myth, and culture. She is at work on a project entitled "The Best Land."
UW System Fellow
History, UW-Stevens Point
For Blood or for Glory: A History of Cuban Boxing, 1898-1962As the first sustained examination of boxing’s rise and popularization within Cuba and its diaspora, my project should prove relevant not only to cultural historians, but also to scholars of diaspora, gender, race, and transnationalism. In the wake of the Spanish-Cuban-American War, U.S. government, religious, and business interests nurtured a culture of pugilism that tried, but failed, to embed a rigid color line in Havana’s prize rings. In the 1920s, the Cuban state’s regulation of the sport opened the floodgates to aspirants from the provinces as well as the capital, who soon formed a transnational workforce that gradually shaped diasporic identity and influenced U.S. racial attitudes. While Fidel Castro’s revolutionary government did not initially envision major reforms to boxing, its hemispheric isolation led it to ban professional sport in 1962 – fueling an exodus of Cuba’s top talent and forcing it to rebuild its boxing program in line with socialist ideals.
Anju Reejhsinghani is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, where she teaches courses on Latin America and the Caribbean, transnational and global sport, and the Asian diaspora in the Americas. In 2013, she developed and led one of the UW System’s first short-term, for-credit study abroad programs to Cuba, now an ongoing program. Anju’s forthcoming publications include a chapter on women’s boxing for the Cambridge Companion to Boxing (Cambridge University Press) and entries in the Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography (Oxford University Press). Her current book project, entitled For Blood or for Glory: A History of Cuban Boxing, 1898-1962, draws upon research conducted in numerous U.S. and Cuban archives with the generous support of the UWSP College of Letters and Science and other institutions.
UW System Fellow
Philosophy, UW-Stevens Point
Mountain, Water, Rock, God: Shiva's Abode of Kedarnath in the Twenty-First CenturyIn June of 2013 early monsoon rains of unexpected intensity hit the Himalayas in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. Floods and landslides washed away thousands of lives and decimated the economic landscape of the state. One public face of this disaster has been the near-destruction and ongoing rebuilding of the Hindu sacred place of Kedarnath. I am writing a book that situates what is unfolding in Kedarnath today relative to factors critical for life in the twenty-first century: environmental change, religion, nationalism, development, tourism, local-translocal connections, virtual networks, embodiment, and the perennial human need for orientation in the face of tragedy.
Luke Whitmore received his M.T.S. from Harvard Divinity School in 1999 and his Ph.D. in West and South Asian Religions from the Graduate Division of Religion at Emory University in 2010. He also studied for two years at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. Broadly, his research and teaching interests include South Asian and Himalayan religions, Shaivism, Judaism, theory and method in religious studies, pilgrimage, myth, visual culture, network theory, phenomenological anthropology, and the study of place and space. His research focuses on the Hindu pilgrimage place of Kedarnath, and the mountainous region of Garhwal (located in the north Indian state of Uttarakhand) in which it is found. He is at work on a book entitled Mountain, Water, Rock, God: Shiva's Abode of Kedarnath in the Twenty-First Century.
A.W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow
Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies, UW-Madison
Renaissance without Reformation: Hinduism and the Public Sphere in Early Modern South IndiaIn India, the Protestant Reformation never took place. Must India mimic the rise of secularism in the Western world for us to speak of a such a thing as Indian early modernity? As a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, I aim to question the inherent relationship between secularism and modernity across continents, rethinking in particular the nature of publicity and the “public sphere” in early modern India. Contrary to Western models of publicity, the public in early modern India did not consist of a common dialogical space free from sectarian interests; rather, the Indian public was, more accurately, publics in the plural: spatially overlapping but institutionally distinct networks in which each community generated its own internal conversations. In fact, it is due to the colonial encounter with Western publicity, I argue, that sectarianism gives way to communalism, as formerly discrete public domains are collapsed into a shared public space.
Elaine Fisher is a historian of south Asian religions and an enthusiast of Indian intellectual history and philology. She received her Ph.D. from Columbia University in 2013, and her M.A. in the History of Religions at the University of Chicago Divinity School in 2007. Her dissertation examines the historical emergence of Hindu sectarianism in the centuries prior to British colonialism, an era that defined the shape of Hindu religious communities in India through the present day. Drawing on unpublished manuscript and archival sources in Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu, and Marathi, she documents the origins of the Smārta-Śaiva Hindu tradition—or Smārta Brahminism—in south India, mediated through the writings of leading Śaiva public theologians. She is at work on a project entitled "Renaissance Without Reformation: Hinduism and the Public Sphere in Early Modern South India."
A.W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow
Spanish & Portuguese, UW-Madison
Producing the Future on an Amazonian Cultural Frontier: Popular Music in Pará, BrazilThe Amazonian frontier has long been saturated with the modernist “myth of the Future.” Yet for most of its rural and urban inhabitants, the promises of this Future have been constantly deferred, displaced, or realized elsewhere, while the spatiotemporal “openness” of the frontier is experienced not only as possibility but also precarity. Situated at the intersection of Brazilian studies, anthropology, and musicology, this project considers the way musicians and other culture-workers in the eastern Brazilian Amazon fashion futures through popular culture, understood not as “a condition of being-Other” in the classic anthropological sense, but as “a capacity for becoming-otherwise.” As our own future in the Global North comes to seem increasingly uncertain, this project suggests that we have much to learn—about alternative ethics, politics, and notions of the “good life”—from those who have long confronted precarity in the shadow of a modernist Future that fails to arrive.
Darien Lamen is an ethnomusicologist specializing in the music and culture of Brazil and the circum-Caribbean. He has received fellowships from the Social Science Research Council (2008-2009) and the American Council of Learned Societies (2012-2014). Since earning his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 2011, he has held appointments at the University of Texas at Austin and UW-Madison. Darien’s research interests range from labor and political economy to social poetics and discrepant cosmopolitanisms. He has published articles on lambada and the libidinal economies of northeastern Brazil (in Sun, Sea, and Sound, Oxford Press); the social poetics of circum-Caribbean contraband (Latin American Music Review); and “Cyborg Indian” futurism in an Amazonian sound system scene (The Global South). Darien also maintains a multimedia ethnographic archive on the history of sound systems in Belém, Brazil, and has worked as a scholar consultant for Afropop Worldwide’s Hip Deep documentary series. He is at work on a project entitled "Producing the Future on an Amazonian Cultural Frontier: Popular Music in Pará, Brazil."
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 Ph.D. 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 at work on a project entitled "Witness Tree: Landscape and Dissent in the Nineteenth-Century United States." He is also developing a second book-project exploring the cultural politics of long-distance walking in the nineteenth-century U.S.
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
This project 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 UW-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. She is at work on a book project entitled Politics, Gender and the Art of Religious Authority in North Africa: Moroccan Women’s Henna Practice.
A.W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow
Religious Studies, UW-Madison
Japan's Preoccupation with Religious Freedom: The Crucial Role of an East Asian Nation in the Construction of a Universal "Human Right"Recent—and controversial—Supreme Court decisions in the United States and the equally contentious prospect of constitutional revision in Japan reveal that definitions of religious freedom are neither universal nor settled. Based on my abiding interest in the limits of freedom, how the category of religion is defined by competing interest groups, and changing conceptions of the human, my book manuscript examines the politics of religious freedom in twentieth century Japan and in U.S.-Japan relations. The project traces shifting interpretations of religious freedom within Japan and demonstrates that interactions between Japan and the United States during the Pacific War (1941–1945) and the Allied Occupation of Japan (1945–1952) played a crucial role in the postwar construction of religious freedom as a human right. Along the way, the manuscript also interrogates the political ramifications of religious studies and questions the seemingly innocuous ideal of spreading religious freedom worldwide.
Jolyon Thomas received his Ph.D. in Religion from Princeton University in 2014; he holds M.A. degrees in Religion from Princeton (2011) and the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (2008) and a B.A. in Religious Studies from Grinnell College (2001). His current research focuses on the politics of religious freedom in twentieth century Japan. The project examines contentious domestic debates over religious freedom during the time that Japan’s first modern constitution was in effect (1890–1947) and tracks the emergence of substantive changes in international interpretations of religious freedom during World War II and the postwar Allied Occupation of Japan (1945–1952). He has also published extensively on relationships between popular media, fan culture, and religion in contemporary Japan. His 2012 book, Drawing on Tradition: Manga, Anime, and Religion in Contemporary Japan, is available from University of Hawai‘i Press. He is at work on a book manuscript, entitled "Japan's Preoccupation with Religious Freedom: The Crucial Role of an East Asian Nation in the Construction of a Universal 'Human Right.'"
A.W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow
Post-secular Prehistories: An Indigenous Theory of Politics in the Inka EmpireIn the Inka Empire, it was not unusual for the state to execute mountains for treason, ply rock outcrops with food and drink to gain their co-operation, or to imagine that rivers had voices through which future events could be divined. The commonly held Andean notion that non-human landscape entities (e.g. mountains, rocks, lakes) could be sentient beings has traditionally been classified as an expression of indigenous religion - and more specifically as a form of "animism." My research, however, involves a critical reappraisal of the relegation of the manipulation of non-humans to the status of religion, along with the parallel notion that the manipulation of human subjects is basically a socio-economic phenomenon. For example, in the Inka State material exchanges with mountains have typically been considered a "religious" phenomenon and cast under the heading of "mountain worship" by scholars, while exchanges between the Inkas and other humans were seen as primarily "economic" processes involving taxation and tribute. Yet I argue that such separations constitute a projection of modern categories onto the non-modern past. And rather than assume that indigenous states' divergence from Western theories of politics can be encapsulated under the term religion, I try to understand indigenous polities as operating within quite different, but still very real, logics of power. Thus in the pre-colonial Andes, such "things" as mountains and rocks were actually a form of political subject, rather than the mere objects that secular, Western epistemologies would conceive them to be, and so the Inka State must ultimately be understood as an entity comprised of subjects that were both human and non-human.
Darryl Wilkinson received his Ph.D. in anthropology from Columbia University in 2013. His dissertation research entailed an archaeological study of the Inca occupation of the Amaybamba Valley of southern Peru, focusing on how its landscapes were radically reshaped through their incorporation into a vast indigenous empire. His most recent publication is "The Emperor's New Body: Ontology, Personhood and the Inka Sovereign," published in the Cambridge Archaeological Journal in October 2013. At present, he is working on a book project that seeks to redraw our accounts of how power worked in the Inca State, taking seriously indigenous understandings of politics, rather than subordinating them to classical Western theories of the state and the subject.
English, Jesus & Mary College and University of Delhi
Female Body: The Cartography of Desire and Transnational FeminismThe discourse on the female body has been the predominant terrain of contest, debate and challenge in Women and Gender Studies. As a "disciplined" and allegorised body, the female body is seen as the metaphor of various social, cultural and political spaces of possession, annexation and transgression. My project intends to explore a comparative study of the female body as portrayed in the literary overture of American and Indian women writers of the twentieth century. Irrespective of innumerable similar and diverse racial, cultural and social predicaments, multiple fragmented or conflicting forms of hegemonies, I hope to unleash through this comparative study that these women of the twentieth century have asserted the female body as the dynamic revolutionary space of "feminine power." With a postmodernist and multicultural approach, the purpose of my project is to trace a "place of unity" in the "space of diversity." I would like to explore how the plethora of female bodies represents the reservoir of "denied history" withstanding the test of time. My comparative approach in this context will be to find out the similar and different "antecedent female bodies" across race, identity and nation.
Devaleena Das is a faculty member teaching English Literature over the last seven years in the two most prestigious universities of India: University of Calcutta and University of Delhi. She received her Ph.D from University of Calcutta in 2012 and her area of specialisation is Women and Gender Studies, Postcolonial Literature and Australian Literature. As a course designer, she has been associated with the Post Graduate Department of Women and Gender Studies at Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi. Recipient of various awards, including the Endowment Foreign Travel Fellowship, Travel Grant from De Paul University, Chicago, Dr. Das has presented papers at various national and international conferences. She has written extensively on race, gender and sexuality in various international journals and books. Her recently published book Critical Study of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter by Atlantic Press is a comprehensive critical study of Hawthorne’s magnum opus from interdisciplinary perspectives. Oxford University Press will be bringing out this year her book on 19th and 20th Century American Women Poets. Her edited collection of essays on Alice Walker’s The Color Purple will be published in September 2014 by Pencraft International. In addition, she is co-editing the book Unveiling Apocalyptic Desire: Fallen Women in Eastern Literature. She has also delivered lectures and talks at various institutions and has been among the juries at various literary debates and book discussions. She is at work on a project entitled "Female Body: The Cartography of Desire and Transnational Feminism."
History of Science and Philosophy, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique; University Paris Diderot - Paris 7
A History of Twelfth-Century Cosmology
This project will be volume two of a history of medieval cosmology, focusing on the twelfth century, and taking into consideration both verbal and pictorial documents (La cosmologie médiévale. Textes et images II: le XIIe siècle). There is no synthetic history of cosmology for this period of the Middle Ages. This project challenges the commonly-made distinction between scientific and non-scientific activities with that of specialized and non-specialized domains. It considers the twelfth century from the point of view of its dependence on pre-twelfth-century Roman cosmology on the one hand and the assimilations of newly-made translations from the Arabic and the Greek on the other hand. It identifies and analyzes major trends by making a distinction between a cosmology that was predominantly astronomical and mathematical in approach and a cosmology that focused on natural philosophy. Moreover, it takes into consideration the cosmological tradition which interpreted the created world to be a symbol of spiritual values, and is usually termed "symbolic."
Barbara Obrist is Directeur de Recherche at CNRS and the University Paris Diderot - Paris 7, in the Laboratoire SPHERE (Science, Philosophie, Histoire-UMR 7219). She received her Ph.D. in Art History in Geneva (Les débuts de l'imagerie alchimique (14e-15e siècles), Paris: Le Sycomore, 1982) and first held a position in art history at CNRS in Strasbourg. She edited a thirteenth-century alchemical text (Constantine of Pisa: The Book of the Secrets of Alchemy. Critical Edition, Commentary, and Translation, Leiden: Brill, 1990) and turned to history of science and philosophy. Subsequently, early medieval cosmology (from the seventh to twelfth centuries) became her main area of research, including translations from the Arabic into Latin. She joined the Centre d’histoire des sciences et des philosophies arabes et médiévales, CNRS - Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (Paris) in 1995 and has held her present position since 2009. She is at work on the second volume of a series, entitled A History of Twelfth-Century Cosmology.
University of Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne
The Mind-Body Problem: When French History of Philosophy Meets Contemporary Philosophy of Mind
History, University of Georgia
For God and Liberty: Catholicism and Democracy in the Atlantic World in the Age of Revolution
Sociology, UW-Stevens Point
Needlepoint Narratives: An Oral History of Women Garment Workers and the ILGWU in PennsylvaniaThe work for Needlepoint Narratives will involve, first, the editing of excerpts from a collection of over 50 oral history interviews with workers (mainly women) employed in the garment industry of the Wyoming Valley of Northeastern Pennsylvania betrween 1944 and 2000. The interviews have been collected, transcribed, and digitized and constitute a specific collection within the larger the Northeastern Pennsylvania Oral and Life History Project, which Prof. Wolensky directs. The second component of the selecting, and working with technicians to improve, from among the dozens of newly-found images on the union's social and political activities as well as it's inspiring and dynamic leader, Min Matheson.The volume will serve as a companion to Prof. Wolensky's earlier co-authored work, Fighting for the Union Label: The Woman's Garment Industry and the ILGWU in Pennsylvania (Penn State Press, 2002).
A Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Professor Wolensky is also currently serving as Acting Director of the Center for the Small City at the same university. His research and publications have focused on the history and culture of northeastern Pennsylvania, and he has authored or co-authored books on the Tripocal Storm Agnes flood of 1972 (1995); the Knox Mine Disaster of 1959 (1999 & 1995), the ladies garment workers' industry between 1944 and 2000 (2002), the Avondale Mine Disaster of 1869 (2008), and labor conflict in coal mining between 1897 and 1959 (2013). He is also the director of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Oral and Life History Project. He has been appointed fellow or visiting professor at UW-Madison, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the London School of Economics, Wilkes University, and the University of Exeter in England (the latter as a Fulbright scholar). He earned an A.B. from Villanova University and master's and doctoral degress from Penn State University. He is at work on a book project entitled "Needlepoint Narratives: An Oral History of Women Garment Workers and the ILGWU in Pennsylvania."