At the Institute, Olaniyan is researching how the postcolonial African State is portrayed or embodied in both popular and elite cultural forms and practices such as literature, political cartooning, music, urban architecture, voluntary associations, bureaucracy, etc, and how the nature of the State impacts the emergence and evolution of those forms and practices. His goal is to compose a cultural biography of the postcolonial African State in order to advance the epistemological processes of understanding it, and thereby contribute to resolving its social crisis.
Tejumola Olaniyan, IRH Senior Fellow, is the Louise Durham Mead Professor of English and African Languages at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is founding chair of the African Diaspora and the Atlantic World Research Circle (2003-2010), and currently co-chairs the Music, Race, and Empire Research Circle. His research interests include African, African diaspora, and postcolonial literature and cultural studies. He has published widely in these areas, including Arrest the Music!: Fela and His Rebel Art and Politics (2004, 2009; nominated for Best Research in World Music by the Association for Recorded Sound Collections in 2005), Scars of Conquest/Masks of Resistance: The Invention of Cultural Identities in African, African American and Caribbean Drama (1995), and co-editor of African Literature: An Anthology of Criticism and Theory (2007, with Ato Quayson), African Drama and Performance (2004, with John Conteh-Morgan), and African Diaspora and the Disciplines (2010, with James H. Sweet). One of his current projects is a book, Political Cartooning in Africa, forthcoming from Indiana University Press, and an online encyclopedia of African political cartoonists.
The German occupation confronted Polish writers with the evolving horror of the Holocaust, which they registered in diaries and in literary writings. This book-length project examines the wartime Polish writers responses towards the Jewish victims as reflections of their efforts to retain humanistic values, and especially the value of empathy. The study focuses on the diarists inner struggle for moral autonomy in time of terror. The contrast between the diaristic introspections and the literary representations highlights the complex messages of the diaries and demands a reexamination of the humanistic orientation in the literary responses to the atrocity of genocide.
Rachel Feldhay Brenner is Professor of Modern Hebrew Literature in the Department of Hebrew and Semitic Studies, and Max and Frieda Weinstein-Bascom Professor of Jewish Studies. Her research focuses on Jewish Diaspora Literature, Israeli literature, and on the representations of the Holocaust in literature and in autobiographical writings. She is the author of Assimilation and Assertion: The Response to the Holocaust in Mordecai Richler's Writing (1989), and A.M. Klein, The Father of Canadian Jewish Literature: Essays in the Poetics of Humanistic Passion (1990), which won the prize of the Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto Literary Scholarship Award, Writing as Resistance: Four Women Confronting the Holocaust: Edith Stein, Simone Weil, Anne Frank, and Etty Hillesum (1997), which was translated into Spanish, Inextricably Bonded: Israeli Jewish and Arab Writers Re-Visioning Culture (2003), and The Freedom to Write: The Woman-Artist and the World in Ruth Almog's Fiction (2008) [in Hebrew]. Brenner (Hebrew University (B.A), Tel Aviv University (M.A.) York University, Toronto (Ph.D)) has received Canada Research Fellowship (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada), Skirball Visiting Fellowship, Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, NEH Fellowship, Research Award, Hadassah International Research Institute on Jewish Women, Brandeis University, the George Mosse Faculty Exchange Award to Hebrew University, Sosland Family Fellowship, the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Museum.
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 recently 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). 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, and begins its US tour to several cities (Houston, Richmond, Indianapolis, and New York) beginning in September 2010.
My project explores crafted things and the ethical and affective ties we form with them in our everyday lifeworlds and contemporary public spheres. A simple idea leads to me write about “companionable objects” and “companionable conscience:” Things, too, are social beings—though not human beings—and as we dwell together with them we become vulnerable to them, and they to us. In that mutuality of influence between people and things there is both care and violence. An ethical realm stretches between us. And so I want to pose a question: Will we see ethics differently, will we see conscience in a new light, if we look to things as a fulcrum in ethical relationships? Using materials from ethnographic fieldwork and art historical research in Indonesia and elsewhere, I suggest that we will.
Kenneth M. George is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and affiliated with its Center for Southeast Asian Studies. His ethnographic research in Indonesia has focused on the cultural politics of minority ancestral religions (1982-1992), and more recently (1994-2008), on a long-term collaboration with painter A. D. Pirous, exploring the aesthetic, ethical, and political ambitions shaping Islamic art and art publics in that country. His books include: Showing Signs of Violence: The Cultural Politics of a Twentieth-Century Headhunting Ritual (awarded the 1998 Harry J. Benda Prize for best book on Southeast Asia by the Association for Asian Studies); and Picturing Islam: Art and Ethics in a Muslim Lifeworld. He also has co-edited (with Andrew C. Willford) a volume on Spirited Politics: Religion and Public Life in Contemporary Southeast Asia. Ken has been the recipient of major postdoctoral fieldwork fellowships from the Social Science Research Council, the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. He presently holds a Kellet Mid-Career Award from UW-Madison. His fellowships for writing and study include awards from the National Endowment of the Humanities, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, and the Institute for Advanced Study. Ken was the editor of the multidisciplinary Journal of Asian Studies from 2005-2008, the first anthropologist and the first specialist on Southeast Asia to hold that position in the course of its 70-year history.
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.
What would it mean to bring into dialogue Native American Studies and South African Studies? And why, given the rich comparative potential, has this axis of inquiry been entirely overlooked in scholarship on indigeneity? "The Nations Within" seeks to stimulate such an inquiry by focusing on the native or tribal reservation, in particular at the complex ways in which the reservation figures in the literature of colonial subjugation, cultural conflict, and resistance in both societies. In a second project, Rob Nixon is writing a short book entitled Rachel Carson and the Environmental Humanities. The book explores the implications of Carson’s methodological eclecticism for the burgeoning interdisciplinary field of the environmental humanities, a field that did not exist in her day, yet which, he argues, she helped facilitate in critical ways. In this context, he also addresses Carson’s role as interdisciplinary translator—as an influential precursor for the kinds of public science writing that are flourishing today at the interface between the sciences and the humanities.
Rob Nixon is the Rachel Carson Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He received his Ph.D. from Columbia University and is the author of London Calling. V. S. Naipaul, Postcolonial Mandarin (Oxford); Homelands, Harlem and Hollywood. South African Culture and the World Beyond (Routledge); and Dreambirds: the Natural History of a Fantasy (Picador). His book Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor is forthcoming from Harvard University Press in spring 2011. Professor Nixon is a frequent contributor to the New York Times; his writing has also appeared in The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, London Review of Books, Times Literary Supplement, Village Voice, The Nation, The Guardian, Outside, Chronicle of Higher Education, The Independent, Critical Inquiry, Social Text, Slate, South Atlantic Quarterly, Transition, Cultural Critique, Contemporary Literature, Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies, Ariel, Modern Fiction Studies, New Formations, Black Renaissance/Renaissance Noire, and elsewhere.
My project examines the politics of sexual relations between American G.I.s and French women during the American military presence in France, 1944-1946. Erotic contacts, including heterosexual romance, prostitution, and rape, became the focus of controversy and debate between the US military and French officials. These debates, which occured in newspapers and official correspondance, in turn, anchored larger struggles for authority, including the breadth of US political power in Europe, and its moral role as a new global leader. At the same time, sexual issues served as a crucible for French resistance to rising American political dominance.
Mary Louise Roberts is the author of two books, Civilization without Sexes: Reconstructing Gender in Postwar France, 1918-1928 (1994) and Disruptive Acts: The New Woman in Fin de Siècle France (2002). 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. Articles from her current project, entitled Liberators and Intruders: The American Presence in France, 1944-1946, have appeared (or will appear) in Le Mouvement social, Tabur: Yearbook for European History, Society, Culture and Thought (in Hebrew), French Historical Studies, and the American Historical Review. Other articles on various subjects have also recently appeared in History and Theory, French Politics, Culture & Society, Entreprises et Histoires, Clio: Histoire, Femmes, Sociétes and Journal of Women’s History.
This project focuses on the intersection between liberal, liberation and feminist/womanist theology in African American and Native American political movements in the last half of the 20th century. Beginning with an examination of the relationship between Howard Thurman and Bayard Rustin, the project traces the genealogy of their vision in the African American theological tradition (articulated in material culture and music as well as in preaching and formal theology) and the work of European theologians such as Paul Tillich and Reinhold Neibuhr. Later stages of the project will focus on the relationship between notions of righteousness, fundamental to Black Liberation Theology, and Thurman's commitment to reconciliation; the relationship between Christianity and indigenous spirituality in the Red Power movement; and feminist/womanist critiques of the political
theology of the 1960s and 1970s.
Craig Werner is a literary critic and cultural historian who teaches in the Departments of Afro-American Studies and English and the Integrated Liberal Studies program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A member of the Nominating Committee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he has won numerous teaching prizes including the award for Best Summer School Course from the National Association of Summer School Sessions for "Sites and Sounds of the Freedom Struggle." His books include Higher Ground: Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield and the Rise & Fall of American Soul; A Change Is Gonna Come: Music, Race & the Soul of America (revised edition); Playing the Changes: From Afro-Modernism to the Jazz Impulse; Gold-bugs and the Power of Blackness: Re-reading Poe; Adrienne Rich: The Poet and Her Critics; and Paradoxical Resolutions: James Joyce and Contemporary American Fiction. He is currently finishing work on Love and Happiness: Eros According to Shakespeare, Dante, Jane Austen, and the Reverend Al Green, in collaboration with Reverend Rhonda Lee; and We Gotta Get Out of This Place: Music in the Experience of Vietnam Veterans, in collaboration with Doug Bradley.
The aim of this multi-volume work is to provide a new understanding of the origin and development of the Indo-Islamic world -- an area broadly coterminous with South and Southeast Asia and known as al-Hind to the Arab geographers. Three volumes have so far been published, together covering the medieval centuries. Two more volumes, dealing with the early modern centuries, are currently in preparation. The work as a whole gives special attention to the dynamic role of nomadic (as well as post-nomadic), seafaring and other mobile populations in long-term processes of political, societal and religious/intellectual change among the settled agrarian and weakly urbanized populations of the river plains. It argues that over time such mobile populations from the margins of the settled habitats have been the most important agents of modernization in this area. Thus, denouncing the view that early modernity was confined to Europe and necessarily had urban origins, the possibility of alternative paths to early modernity is raised. The expectation is that the results of this research will be a contribution to a much broader effort to arrive at a more adequate understanding of the great transformation of the modern world that is currently under way.
André Wink is Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He obtained his PhD in Indian history from the University of Leiden. Apart from Indian and Islamic history, his teaching and research interests also include medieval and modern world history. His most recent work includes Akbar (Oxford, 2009), two essays for the forthcoming Harvard New History of the World and Oxford Handbook of World History, as well as a history of the Afghans forthcoming in a special issue of Cracow Indological Studies (2009).
One Builder takes the career of Madison-based builder/developer Marshall Erdman as an instructive case study to tell the closely intertwined history of architecture, building and real estate development in the later twentieth century. Andrzejewski seeks to show how a single builder rooted in a particular place responded to economic trends, land use and property development, architectural styles, governmental regulations, and trends in building and studio practice. Her research draws on evidence from the Erdman archives, zoning ordinances and land development theory, newspaper articles, and extant structures in order to broaden understanding of building practices in the postwar United States. In exploring how one builder responded to local as well as national trends, Andrzejewski’s book transcends conventional biographical studies and monographs on architectural style to offer an alternative model that could be applied to the interpretation of other modern builders. At the Institute, she will complete the research and write the third and fourth chapters of this book that examines Erdman’s pioneering efforts in crafting one of the earliest “design/build” firms during the 1960s and his move from contractor to real estate developer in the 1970s and 1980s.
Anna Andrzejewski is a Resident Fellow at the IRH during the spring semester. Andrzejewski is Associate Professor in the Department of Art History and Co-Director of the Buildings-Landscapes-Cultures Ph.D. Program. Her first book, Building Power: Architecture and the Ideology of Surveillance in Victorian America, was published by the University of Tennessee Press in 2008. Andrzejewski’s current research examines post World War II building, particularly in the middle-class suburbs. In addition to her book project on Marshall Erdman, she is working on a co-authored volume on interpreting suburbia (for the Vernacular Architecture Forum’s Special Series) as well as co-authoring a book with Prof. Arnold Alanen on the buildings and landscapes of southwestern Wisconsin’s driftless region.
This book is inspired by Spanish debates on culture provoked by the contentious issue of bullfighting. When the European Parliament exercised pressures to abolish corridas de toros, almost all Spanish political institutions and public intellectuals took stands. Some defended bullfighting as a tradition and art connected to the core of the national identity of Spain, and argued that the global European community should preserve its internal differences. Others claimed that bullfighting is a remnant of cruel Medieval Spain (as in Leyenda Negra). They called for an end to the killing animals for fun and further for a revision of the national culture, its traditions and values including human-animal relations in general. This latter group, referred to by the Spanish media as animalismo, challenged the traditional human-animal divide and its respective ethics. Animalismo has recently joined forces with the indignados (Spanish Orange Revolution of 2011) protesting against the malfunctioning of democracy and in stressing that the human abuse of animals is a fundamental factor leading to wasteful lifestyles and unethical politics. Interestingly, the debates on human-animal questions have opened new perspectives on other contested issues such as immigration (for burqas and female circumcision are also traditions of some immigrant groups), and even the ‘war on Terror’ (in whose discourse enemies are animalized). In the book, Katarzyna examines the debates on the symbolic and real place of animals in culture and inquires how they have catalyzed important changes in every day life, law and even commercial publicity in Spain.
Katarzyna Olga Beilin specializes in narrative, film and culture of contemporary Spain. She is an author of three books Conversaciones literarias con novelistas contemporáneos (Literary Conversations with Contemporary Novelists, Tamesis, 2004), Meteory (Metheors, a novel, Agawa 2005), Del infierno al cuerpo: otredad en la narrativa y cine peninsular contemporáneo (From Hell to Flesh: Otherness in Spanish Contemporary Narrative and Film, Libertarias, 2007). This last book focuses on otherness in Spanish contemporary literature and film and its meanings in ethics and epistemology of the last two centuries. Thus it connects to the current project, where the other takes form of a non-human animal. Katarzyna is also finishing her second novel, Aquarius, which inquires about the multiple meanings and forms of the end of the world.
Shapiro will use his time at the Institute to work on a book about the metaphysics and epistemology of miracles as well as the relationship between belief in miracles and belief in God. According to a recent Pew poll, 80% of Americans believe in miracles. But what is a miracle? An extremely unlikely event? A supernatural occurrence? And what justifies belief in miracles? Most believers have never seen a miracle themselves, and so they rely on testimony, but how should the reliability of testimony be evaluated. Finally, what is the relationship between belief in miracles and belief in God? Is belief in one necessary for belief in the other?
Larry Shapiro is a Professor in the Dept. of Philosophy, where he has spent his entire career since migrating from Philadelphia in 1993. He has written widely on topics in philosophy of mind, philosophy of psychology, and cognitive science, publishing books with MIT Press (The Mind Incarnate, 2004) and Routledge Press (Arguing About the Mind, co-edited with Brie Gertler, 2007; and Embodied Cognition, 2011). He’s also a dedicated runner and author of Zen and the Art of Running (Adams Media) in 2009.
In this book-length study, I investigate the encounter of Modernist aesthetic agendas with the process of nationalist indoctrination in late Imperial Russia. I discuss the proliferation of archaizing aesthetics among Modernist artistic media (literature, art, music) as a fact of Russian intellectual history, focusing on the analysis of discursive strategies employed by artists and critics to justify “nationally-minded” aesthetic programs. I will argue that various versions of an archaizing aesthetic in a nationalist key emerged in Russian Modernism as a means to construct an alternative “modern” aesthetic paradigm that would not look dependent on an “alien,” westernized, cultural heritage, and that the resulting trend of cultural constructivism had lasting significance for modern Russian culture.
Irina Shevelenko (BA/MA, University of Tartu, Estonia; MA, PhD, Stanford University) is Assistant Professor of Russian Literature at UW-Madison. Her primary area of research is Russian Modernism. She is the author of a book on a major twentieth-century Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva, Tsvetaeva’s Literary Path: Author’s Ideology, Poetics, and Identity in the Context of Epoch (2002, in Russian; new, revised, edition forthcoming in 2012) and a scholarly editor of several critical editions of archival sources, among which are Tsvetaeva’s notebooks (1997) and her correspondence with Boris Pasternak (2004); the latter edition earned a diploma of the Russian State Agency for Archives. Shevelenko’s initial research for her current project was generously funded in 2005-2007 by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany; she has published several articles related to it, and she currently works on the book manuscript.
This project juxtaposes twentieth-century French critical philosophy and cases of self-isolating indigenous societies to two ends. First, reading the philosophical work of Foucault, Bataille, Canguilhem, Fanon, and others through analyses of interactions among state, civil society, and self-isolating indigenes highlights in new ways some of the explicitly political features of post-WWII French thinkers’ disavowal of an essential human nature. Second, the emphasis on variable practices of living that emerges from dialogue between French philosophy and indigenous cases can facilitate a regrounding of debates on minority cultural communities away from the liberal focus on rights or multiculturalist recognition. Corollary to both objectives is an explication of the “biopolitical” consequences of securing or refusing to secure territorial reserves for indigenous isolates.
Jimmy Casas Klausen is an IRH Race, Indigeneity, and Ethnicity Fellow and recipient of a grant from the American Council of Learned Societies. Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, Klausen teaches modern and contemporary political theory in a global frame. His research brings together critical anthropological theory, the history of political thought, and concepts and arguments from postcolonial analysis and poststructural philosophy. He has coedited (with James Martel) How Not to Be Governed: Readings and Interpretations from a Critical Anarchist Left (2010) and has recently completed “Fugitive Rousseau,” a book-length study of liberty, social fission, evasion, and flight in the political writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
This project explores race and its representation in the performing arts as central to the modern concept of Brazilianness in the decades following the pivotal week of Modern Art held in São Paulo, Brazil in 1922. While at the Institute, I will explore the racial discourse of Brazil’s most iconic white performer of all times, Carmen Miranda (1909-1955), whose signature look embodied the racially-charged ‘baiana’ or Afro-Brazilian street vendor who would typically carry large baskets of food and fruit on top of their turbans. In this study I aim to understand the literal and figurative black masks that were used, politically and culturally, to project an ‘authentic’ race-blind Brazilian culture. At the core of the book project is the concept of transculturation as theorized by Fernando Ortiz (1940), a concept that I apply to the racial and ethnical discourse of Miranda’s performances. I hope to provide critical insights to the appropriation of the Afro-Brazilian image in Brazil and the transformation of this image on Broadway and in Hollywood, through a new intercultural gaze.
Kathryn Sanchez is Associate Professor of Portuguese and works with Portuguese literature of the 19th and 20th Century, Brazilian film and popular culture, and the representation of Brazil and Brazilians in the United States. She frequently teaches Portuguese and Brazilian literature and culture, an introductory course to Latin America, and courses on race, gender and sexual difference in relation to the Portuguese-speaking world. Her current research project is a book length study that re-evaluates Carmen Miranda as an icon of tropical otherness in the United States. Her first book, Utopias Desmascaradas [Unmasked Utopias], was published by the Portuguese National Press INCM, in 2008 and explored otherness in the context of Portuguese Romanticism. She has published articles in Portuguese Studies, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, Quadrant, Santa Barbara Portuguese Studies, World Literature and Its Time, Queirosiana and Portuguese Literary and Cultural Studies. She served as the President of the American Portuguese Studies Association (2008-2010).
This project investigates (mis)representations of race and indigeneity and the attendant exclusion of the indigenous other in cinematic narratives of “the Nation” in Francophone Africa. It seeks to understand the roots and pervasiveness of misrepresentations of indigenous peoples of Africa dating back to the invention of cinema in France (1895); to assess the efficacy of the counter-discourses initiated by early African filmmakers from the 1960s on to portray the same indigenous peoples in a more acceptable light for the purpose of nurturing the ideology of nationhood; and to explore the reasons behind—and the impact of—the paradoxical failure of the latter filmmakers to connect with their intended audiences, thus perpetuating their exclusion from this critical cultural expression of modernity that purports to promote nationhood.
Aliko Songolo is Halverson-Bascom Professor of French and Professor of African Languages and Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research and teaching interests lie primarily in Francophone literatures of Africa and the Caribbean, and Francophone cinemas of Africa and Québec. He has published a monograph (Aimé Césaire: une poétique de la découverte, 1985), two co-edited volumes (Twenty-five Years After Dakar and Fourah Bay: The Growth of African Literature, 1998, and Atlantic Cross-Currents/Transatlantiques, 2001), and was Associate Editor of the highly acclaimed five-volume New Encyclopedia of Africa (2008). He also edited special issues of two eminent journals in his field, French Review (1982) and Présence Francophone (2003), and published numerous articles. His current research projects investigate the question of national cinema in Québec and Francophone Africa, and postcoloniality in the wake of the Négritude movement. He was named Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques (Knight in the Order of Academic Palms) by the French Ministry of National Education in 2008. He has served as Chair of the Department of French & Italian, as Director of the African Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and as Associate Vice-Chancellor of Academic Affairs at the University of California-Irvine before his move to Wisconsin.
In his late life science, "Morphology," Goethe mischievously re-signified “objectivity” to mean an observer’s vulnerability to transformation by the objects under view: “every new object, well seen, opens up a new organ in us.” Such a gesture at once opens the scene of experiment to the agency of objects and shifts biology’s question from the life force within beings to the metamorphic relations between them. From Wordsworth’s call for a “science of the feelings,” to Blake’s for a “sweet Science,” and Goethe’s for a “tender Empiricism,” this project argues for a series of late Enlightenment attempts to re-invent empiricist methodology – and to do so with the resources of verse and figure. Against the pressure, then and now, to treat the culture of science as context or antithesis to literary production, "Sweet Science" examines the way Romantic era writers revived Lucretius's classical poetic materialism as a countervailing epistemology that cast poetry as a privileged technique of empirical inquiry: a knowledgeable practice whose figurative work brought it closer to, not farther from, the physical nature of things. Stretching from Erasmus Darwin to Karl Marx, the book project focuses on Goethe's morphology and Percy Shelley's "poetry of life," arguing that these revisionary poetic empiricisms uncoupled early biological and aesthetic protocols from their rhetoric of autonomy and power. Instead they positioned vulnerability – to impression, influence, and decay – as central, not inimical, to life.
Amanda Jo Goldstein is a postdoctoral fellow with the Center for the Humanities' A.W. Mellon Sawyer Seminar in "Biopolitics." She received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature (English, German, French) from U.C. Berkeley in 2011 with support from the ACLS-Mellon Foundation, the DAAD Foundation, and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin. She is a contributor to the upcoming volume Marking Time: Romanticism and Evolution, and her work on Goethe's botany of obsolescence has appeared in the European Romantic Review. She will begin as an Assistant Professor in the Cornell University Department of English in 2012.
This study investigates Renaissance literary constructions of the future, the complex relations between futurity and narrative, and the emergence of novel accounts of Englishness that turn on looking to the future rather than the past. Chapters on the literary works of Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser, William Shakespeare and John Milton recover a temporal consciousness in which imagining future acts of retelling and remembering shapes the subject’s relation to both past and present. These writers theorize preservation, stressing a retrospective future concerned with creating a present worth remembering. By recuperating this temporal perspective, Poetics of Futurity investigates an emerging cultural self-consciousness, one with profound implications for the agency and authority of literature.
J.K. Barret, Solmsen Fellow, is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin. She focuses on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century literature. She received her Ph.D. from Princeton University and her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. She has been awarded fellowship support from sources including UCLA’s Clark Library, the University of Texas at Austin, the Whiting Foundation, the Josephine de Kármán Foundation, and the Huntington Library, and has also received funding to participate in seminars at the National Humanities Center and the Folger Shakespeare Library. In addition to time and the future, her research and teaching interests include poetry and poetics, drama, literature and the visual arts, early modern legal theory, antiquity in the Renaissance, pastoral, romance, translation studies and narrative theory.
Dr. Eidinow's project starts from a number of trials that took place in fourth-century BCE Athens: the defendants were all women, the charges against them included asebeia (‘impiety’) and working with pharmaka (‘spells’ or ‘drugs’). This study explores the social processes that may have led to these trials, including jealousy, gossip, and gender relations, but also attempts to set these events in their historical context as both effect and catalyst of cultural trauma. It argues that these trials raise questions about the long-term impacts of the Peloponnesian war, draw our attention to the powerful role of the supernatural in Athenian society and as a historical force, and, finally, may set the stage for the formation of modern concepts of ‘magic’ and ‘the witch’.
Esther Eidinow is Lecturer in Ancient Greek History at the University of Nottingham. Her research focuses on magic and religion in the ancient Greek world, using an interdisciplinary approach. She is the author of Oracles, Curses, and Risk in the Ancient Greek World (Oxford University Press, 2007) and Luck, Fate and Fortune: Antiquity and Its Legacy (I. B. Tauris, 2011), and has published articles in Past and Present and Classical Quarterly. She is the assistant editor of the fourth edition of the Oxford Classical Dictionary (eds. S. Hornblower and A. J. S. Spawforth; Oxford University Press, forthcoming) and is also co-editing the Oxford Handbook to Greek Religion for Oxford University Press.
What role did diplomatic exchanges play in producing new visions of the world in the early modern period? How does exchange work when it transpires between two groups that operate within varying value systems and norms? These questions are at the heart of Objects of Diplomacy. In answering them the project illuminates events that led to a phenomenon we now call “globalization” both as a set of historical activities and as a story whose echoes still have power to make sense of our world. Although not often studied by art historians, diplomatic gift exchanges were crucial to the circulation of art objects between East and West in the early modern period, and often helped establish trade agreements that permitted the mobility of persons, commodities, and cultural artifacts between the two regions on a large scale. Throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the Austrian Hapsburgs, rulers of the Holy Roman Empire, directed a formidable amount of energy to exchanging gifts with Muslim sovereigns. Objects of Diplomacy charts a series of exchanges between Hapsburg and Muslim rulers and examines the ways the transactions promoted dramatic shifts in art production, political ritual, the identity of the Holy Roman emperor, and views on a world-state in the Holy Roman Empire. It argues that Hapsburg-Muslim gift exchange was not undertaken for political expediency alone, but an attempt, on the part of the Hapsburgs, to transcend the dichotomous categories of “Christian” and “Muslim” in an effort to form a society of states. In pointing to the ways cross-cultural encounters and material objects were imbricated in the formation and expression of ideas about a global community, it reveals an alternative history of Cosmopolitanism that precedes its philosophical formation during the eighteenth-century Enlightenment.
Jessica Keating is a Solmsen Fellow with the Institute for Research in the Humanities. She received her Ph.D. in Art History from Northwestern University in 2010 with the support of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the Fulbright Commission, and the DAAD Commission. She is the co-editor and contributor to a special issue of the Journal of the History of Collections entitled Captured Objects: Inventories of Early Modern Collections.
Using small case studies in Germany in the period under study, the project traces relationships between abstract theories of human freedom and specific conflicts over property rights in early modern Germany, specifically in the Hessian and Rhine-Main region. This study deepens our understanding of the foundations of market society and liberalism in Europe. The book's intellectual sketch is based on numerous court, academic and ministerial documents, while the social narrative will be plotted on the basis of social network analysis of the thousands of small actors and writers. Relationships among statesmen, lawyers and professors will be measured specifically for clustering, bridging and node-centrality.
Colin Wilder is a Solmsen Fellow at the Institute for Research in the Humanities. Colin finished his PhD in History at the University of Chicago in 2010. In 2010-2011, he taught courses at Brown University on"The Emergence of Capitalism in Early Modern Europe" and "Prosperity and Poverty: The History, Ethics and Economics of the Wealth of Nations." Colin's article, "Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks: Four Motifs of Legal Change from Early Modern Europe," will appear in the February 2012 issue of History and Theory. His essay, "The Importance of Beginning, Over and Over," was published in Intersections, Vol. 25 (Leiden: Brill Publishers, 2011), and a related essay, “Zu unterschiedlichen Formen der Historizität in der deutschen Rechtsgeschichte des 18. Jahrhunderts” will appear later this year in the volume Geschichtskulturen um 1700, edited by Thomas Wallnig (DeGruyter). He is also developing a large database of jurists and other authors of the German Enlightenment entitled "The Republic of Literature" (see link below). Colin's research interests include the development of commercial society; liberal legal and economic systems; natural law and rights theories; and the problems of history and theory.
Colin Wilder's Academia.edu webpage
The Republic of Literature
This study explores the logistics of information and international communications and its impact on Reformation-era diplomacy between West European states. By exploring the cycle of information—its acquisition, dissemination and utilization—it demonstrates that all parties engaged in diplomatic discourse used strikingly similar methods of accomplishing their goals despite differences in both governmental structure and religious orientation. These similarities indicate that the limitations imposed by logistics forced these governments to use parallel methods, and that the same weaknesses pervaded all national practices. This approach presents a better understanding of exactly how “things happened,” because the manner in which news and information spread often shaped the outcome of those events. The monograph draws on a wide variety of sources, including diplomatic correspondence, financial accounts, private memoranda and diaries, depositions, memoirs and other materials. At its core, this work is a study of the individuals involved in the process and their experiences interacting in a vibrant, dynamic environment.
Denice Fett, Solmsen Fellow, is Assistant Professor of History at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida. She completed her PhD at the Ohio State University in 2010. Although her current project focuses on diplomatic communications and information networks in Reformation diplomacy, her broader research interests include diplomatic culture, information and intelligence, the transmission of news, and the impact of time and space on early modern international communications.
This project investigates how English men and women negotiated the social, cultural, and political changes that accompanied devastating civil wars and the execution of their king. Moving away from the dichotomy that classifies people's reactions as either "conventional" or "radical" based on their political allegiances, Locating Dissent examines how the values, customs and actions of ordinary people became central subjects of political contestation. Court records, manuscript accounts, and printed pamphlets reveal the complexity of the methods, rituals, and spaces that defined political dissent at this pivotal time. Although disaffection cannot simply be equated with popular royalism, the fact remains that the restoration of the monarchy was largely welcomed throughout the nation. I argue that royalist propagandists redefined people's animosity toward the Interregnum state as evidence of their loyalty to the Stuart monarchy, particularly in the months leading up to the Restoration of Charles II. In their rhetoric, royalists not only embraced traditional cultural practices, they also connected their continuation with the survival of monarchy. Analyzing the politics surrounding popular dissent and the micro-politics of popular dissent reveals that people's discontent played a significant role in creating fertile soil for the Restoration.
Caroline Boswell, a UW-System Fellow, is an Assistant Professor of Humanistic Studies and European History at the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay. In 2008 she earned her PhD in early modern British history at Brown University. Her research interests include political culture and the social history of politics. More particularly, Caroline's recent scholarship explores the interplay between print culture, popular politics, and transformations in governance during times of political and social crisis.
Dr. Luft’s current research considers several questions, including: Why did evangelicals single out commercial cinema for special condemnation during the first half of the twentieth century? Why did their expressed hostility toward movies begin to decline in the 1950s? And what conclusions can we draw about contemporary evangelicalism by studying this period of transition in the 1960s when evangelicals reconsidered their widespread stance against all movie-going?
Shanny Luft received his M.A. in Religion and Culture from Boston University and his Ph.D. in Religion in America from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He taught a variety of classes in Religious Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill, Meredith College, and the College of Wooster before coming to UWSP in 2009 with his wife and two children. His research interests include religion and popular culture, new religious movements, and American evangelicalism and fundamentalism. He is currently writing a book about evangelical and fundamentalist rhetoric toward Hollywood during the first half of the twentieth century.
The Greek historian Ctesias (Ktesias) served as a doctor to the Achaemenid Persian king Artaxerxes II (reigned 404-358 BCE). Ctesias wrote an extensive history of the Persian Empire, the Persica, to his time. Only fragments of this work survive, scattered in various ancient authors and in a severely-truncated epitome by the Byzantine patriarch Photius (9th century CE). This project aims to place Ctesias and his work in its ancient Near Eastern context. His impact on the Greek historiographic tradition was enormous, especially with regard to the motifs of the effeminate and easily-manipulated monarch, the licentious queen, and the conniving eunuch. Ctesias’ variant versions of Achaemenid Persian history will be considered first not simply as wild, preposterous fantasies but rather adaptations preserved within (and indebted to) Mesopotamian and Persian oral and cultural traditions.
Matt Waters is a UW-System fellow, Professor of Classics and Ancient History at UW-Eau Claire. He received his Ph.D. in Ancient History (Near Eastern and Greek) from the University of Pennsylvania. His main research interests are Achaemenid history and Greek historiography. He was the winner of the Greenfield Prize from the American Oriental Society in 2006 and has been awarded fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies as well as Harvard University’s Center for Hellenic Studies and Loeb Classical Library Foundation. Recent published work includes numerous articles on various aspects of first millennium BC history, especially Greek-Persian relations. Other works in preparation include a survey of Achaemenid Persian history (Cambridge U Press).
In 1808, Congress forbade the importation of foreign-born slaves into the United States and the interstate (or domestic) slave trade became the only legal method of buying and selling human chattel before the Civil War. Yet historians believe that traders continually violated the international ban in a clandestine slave trade. This book-length study will investigate the clandestine trade from several different perspectives including the evolving African and African American ethnicities within slave communities, the perception of the trade in the antebellum media, the impact on politics and sectional division, and the way the trade has been remembered in American memory.
Lee Willis, UW System Fellow, is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point. His research interests include the Atlantic Slave Trade and the African Diaspora as well as race and reform in the American South. His first book, Southern Prohibition: Race, Reform, and Public Life in Middle Florida, 1821-1920 will be published by the University of Georgia Press in October, 2011. Willis earned a B.A. in History from the University of the South and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Florida State University.
"Such is the power of climate, that a man who changes climate feels the effects despite himself. He is like a wandering plant which has transplanted itself.” - Julien Offray de la Mettrie, L'homme machineThe history of the body often pursues its object with the assumption that embodied experience is necessarily human, a constraint which neglects the extent to which human bodies are understood, described, and represented by analogy with living bodies that form part of their environment. This dissertation investigates the role that plants play in constructing and representing human embodiment in the eighteenth century. I argue that experimental observations in plant physiology re-figured vegetable matter as especially sensitive to climate. Analogies between plant and human bodies in the sciences and the arts drew upon that characterization to represent human sensitivity to their environment.
Lynnette Regouby, William R. Coleman Fellow, is a PhD Candidate in History of Science at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research investigates how scientific, literary and visual representations of plant and human bodies inform eighteenth century concepts of the body and the influence of climate upon them. Ms Regouby completed a minor in History at UW-Madison, received her M.A. in History of Science from University of Oklahoma and obtained a dual degree from the same institution in Letters and French Language and Literature.
This study reveals how elites -- whether German, Ladino (non-indigenous), or Maya -- looked to European history for emulation, yet were also forced to respond to popular pressures from below. These dialogues produced creative interpretations of race, progress and citizenship that challenged European historicism, defined by the idea that modernity began first in Europe and then travelled elsewhere. Maya hereditary elites, for example, negotiated the conflicting demands of liberal individualism and their communal reciprocal obligations by forging a world view that was progressive and liberal, and yet critical of European individualism and exploitation. By bridging Latin American history and postcolonial studies, I seek to critically dialogue with scholars of European empire, for whom Latin America has often been of less immediate interest.
Julie Gibbings, a Dana-Allen Disseration Fellow, is a Ph.D. Candidate in Latin American History at UW-Madison. Her research explores themes of race, nation and postcolonialism in modern Latin American. Gibbings has a chapter in Negotiating Identities in Latin America, and a book review in Revista de Historia Iberoamericana. She received a B.A. in International Studies and an M.A. in History from the University of Saskatchewan, Canada. Among her honors and awards are an Andrew W. Mellon dissertation writing fellowship, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellowship, Humanities and Fine Arts Thesis Award (MA & PhD), Vilas International Travel Award, and Helen Firstbrook Franklin Fellowship.
This project is a comparative study of testimonial narrative, and its relationship to articulations of political community following times of historical crisis. Reading testimonies from three historical contexts, my dissertation asks how testimonial narratives of specific conflicts contribute to building political community in the aftermath, and develops a framework for articulating the relationship between testimonies of past historical crisis and political life in later years. The project focuses on testimonies from three historical contexts: 1) genocidal violence in Nazi Germany (1933-1944), 2) Guatemala's civil war (1960-1996), and 3) Brazil's military dictatorship (1964-1979). The impact that testimony has on re-imagining political possibilities is conditioned differently at three moments in a cycle of political conflict: 1) the moment of conflict itself, 2) the time of collecting and disseminating testimonial narratives, and 3) the aftermath, when testimonies are redeployed in the interests of new political stakes. A final chapter takes up ethical and pragmatic considerations of the project’s comparative element, including the exchange of testimonial forms across contexts.
Marian Halls, a Dana-Allen Dissertation Fellow, is a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Literature at UW-Madison. Her research develops a comparative framework for understanding the emergence and development of testimonial narratives across distinct political and cultural contexts. In support of this project, she received a George Mosse Exchange Fellowship to conduct research at the archives of the Yad Vashem Research Center in Jerusalem, Israel. Halls is also the recipient of the UW Mellon Dissertation Fellowship, the UW-Madison Nave Award, and the University Prize Fellowship. Her essay, "The Bone that Writes: Desaparecidos and the Disappearance of Literature" is forthcoming in the book, Provocation and Negotiation: Essays in Comparative Criticism (ed. Tim Mathews). She received a dual B.A. in Ethnomusicology and Comparative Literature from the University of California at Los Angeles.
While place and displacement have become central narrative elements in the study and exhibition of modern and contemporary art and in postcolonial theory, thorough considerations of time and its accordant relational and disordering possibilities have been markedly absent. Current analytical models that privilege spatial and geographical movements miss the significant ways that artworks employ time to negotiate the temporalizing effects of modernism and postmodernism, the modern and the contemporary, the colonial and the postcolonial. Artists and filmmakers also use time-based techniques to strategically manipulate the viewer’s sense of time; these include duration, synchronization, seriality, repetition, and syncopation. My dissertation seeks to account for these temporal practices by asking: what would an in-depth account of time in contemporary art entail if the field of inquiry were shifted and expanded to encompass a range of works united not by shared identity categories (e.g. race, gender, nationality, sexuality) or by media (film and video), but by their use of time as a formal and critical lens for postcoloniality?
Amy L. Powell, IRH Dana-Allen Dissertation Fellow, is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Art History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research encompasses modern and contemporary art in global frameworks, particularly modern and contemporary African art and photography, African cinema, critical theory focusing on postcolonial theory and contemporary theories of representation, new media and subjectivity, transnational feminist art, the history and theory of photography, and the history and theory of museums and curatorial studies. Her essay, “Phantom Projections, Creole Cinema: Time-Images and Isaac Julien’s Fantôme Afrique” appeared in the 2009 issue of the Chicago Art Journal, and she has published exhibition and book reviews in African Arts and Invisible Culture. Her most recent co-curated exhibition, “New Media at the Charles Allis,” appeared at the Charles Allis Art Museum from June 2-September 15, 2010 in Milwaukee, WI. She is a 2011-2012 UW-Madison Chancellor's Fellow and held a 2010-2011 Smithsonian Predoctoral Fellowship at the National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC.
The pursuit of perfection pervades 19th-century American art and culture. While historical interpretations of this era posit a binary opposition of competing desires—an embrace of progress and new technologies, versus anti-modernist nostalgia—Foutch’s work identifies and analyzes a previously unstudied phenomenon: the desire to stop time at a “perfect moment,” pausing the cycle of growth, degeneration, and rebirth by isolating and arresting a perfect state, forestalling decay or death. Yet ironically, this very perfection and its suspension are incompatible with vitality, suffocating or eliminating organic life. Four case studies in diverse visual media illuminate this concept of arrested perfection and its ultimate impossibility: Titian Peale’s butterfly portfolios and specimen cases; Martin Johnson Heade’s “Gems of Brazil” hummingbird paintings; films, photographs, and sculptures of bodybuilder Eugen Sandow; and Harvard’s collection of Glass Flowers by the Blaschka family. At the IRH and Center for the Humanities, Ellery will continue developing this book manuscript for publication.
Ellery Foutch comes to Madison from the University of Pennsylvania, where she recently completed her Ph.D. in the History of Art, specializing in American art. At Penn, her research was supported by fellowships from the ACLS/Mellon Foundation, the Wyeth Foundation and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Terra Foundation for American Art, and the Philadelphia Area Center for the History of Science (PACHS). Ellery earned her M.A. from the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art and her B.A. from Wellesley College.
The Mellon Postdoctoral Program poses the question “What is human?” Japanese postwar and contemporary women poets provide some compelling answers. Vividly embodying the abject—the fantastically grotesque, the deviant, and the mortally wounded—these poets carve out a space that is at once imaginative, social, and healing, a vital new realm in which they explore the on-going liberation of Japanese women. Reinventing themselves in the specter of sexual slavery and the shadows of colonialism that the Japanese nation imposed across Asia before and during the Pacific War, these poets dare to conceive of themselves as new world citizens. Ironically taking up their former positions as the abject—by definition, those expelled from the human category—they flatly reject the legacy of patriarchal Japan within the context of new rights afforded under the US-imposed constitution. This project will explore the poignant contributions of these poets in relationship to other Asian feminists and writers who must grapple with a common—and yet highly contested—history of sexual slavery on intersecting axes of colonialism and hierarchies of gender, class, and race.
Andrew W. Mellon postdoctoral fellow Lee Friederich earned her Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis in Japanese Language and Literature and Comparative Literature with a dissertation entitled “In the Voices of Men, Beasts and Gods: Unmasking the Abject Persona in Postwar and Contemporary Japanese Women's Poetry,” as well as a graduate certificate in Women’s Studies, in 2009. She also holds an M.A. in English (Literature) and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing (Poetry) from the University of Montana. Receiving a Fulbright Fellowship for dissertation research in Japan in 2008-2009, Friederich published ‘Through Beastly Tears: Devouring the Dead in the Poetry of Ishigaki Rin” in the Spring 2009 issue of Japanese Language and Literature. She is the recipient of the Percy Buchanan Graduate Prize at the Midwest Conference on Asian Affairs in 2005 for “In the Voice of a Modern-day Miko: Itô Hiromi’s Hiromi's Retelling of the Sanshô Dayû Myth,” which was published in the Spring 2006 issue of Studies on Asia. Friederich has taught English Composition, American, Asian-American, and Asian Literature in Japan and the United States. Friederich’s current project is “Unmasking the Abject Persona: East Asian Women as New World Citizens.”
Practitioners of so-called "biomimicry" have worked together to create objects like lotus-inspired paints, gecko-inspired adhesives, and lobster-inspired robots by reverse engineering "natural" or nonhuman lifeforms and redirecting them as solutions for human problems. Environmentalists, economists, government officials, and practitioners alike imbue this practice with the potential to engineer a more ecologically sustainable and politically stable future, calling it a "key driver of innovation" and a "game changer" in technological production. As biomimeticists disembodied and re-embody nonhuman lifeforms, however, they also destabilize historic understandings of life and society and challenges many of the concepts that undergird
traditional political frameworks, such as territorial borders, notions
of human exceptionalism, and conceptions of “life” itself. By
connecting together the stated aims of biomimetic production with
ethnographic observations of its practice, this study brings these
disjunctures to light as well as the potentials of biomimetic design.
Arguing that biomimicry creates new life worlds as it creates new
technologies, I attend to biomimicry as an act of value production by
exploring the practice's socio-political dynamics and the everyday
relationships as they blur the boundaries between humans, animals, and
Elizabeth R. Johnson received her PhD from the University of Minnesota for doctoral work that focused on the political and social implications of "biomimicry," an emerging field within which scientists reverse engineer biological traits for technological production. Johnson has published articles and reviews in the journal Ephemera: Theory & Politics in Organization and has a co-written essay on labor and time in higher education forthcoming in Acme.
The call center, or Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry gained currency in urban India in the early years of the twenty-first century. Taking advantage of a large cache of English-speaking urban populations, multinational corporations began outsourcing customer service work to young, Indian middle-class men and women. Working through the night, new laboring bodies cultivated foreign accents, and familiarity with the Western milieu as part of a transnational corporate regime. As a result, these American- and British-accent spouting denizens of a global India came to be invoked in multiple discourses either as the harbingers of triumphant, neoliberal globalization, or as the symptoms of a morally corrupt and anomic modernity. In this project, I explore how young workers' bodily comportment, formations of selfhood, and imagination of the world were altered in relation to processes of nightly work. I argue that the “local” and “global” are imaginaries that are reified at the cost of a complex reality and instead, show through ethnographic research, how they are constructed in collusion and collision with one another.
Mathangi Krishnamurthy received her PhD in Anthropology and Cultural Studies from The University of Texas at Austin in 2010. She has published articles in the Anthropology of Work Review and her essay on accent and language training in the call center is part of an edited volume on the changing modalities of English language usage in India. Krishnamurthy holds degrees from Pune University, Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad, and The University of Texas at Austin. Her work has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the American Association of University Women, and the South Asia Institute at the University of Texas at Austin. Her primary research interests are in the anthropology of globalization and work, urban studies, consumption, and gender. She also looks at the social life of communication technologies. Currently she is working on converting her dissertation into a book manuscript that will focus on the ways in which the call center constitutes a set of symptoms that can help read the changing modalities of the new Indian middle-class.
That music is central to African societies is something of a truism. But what does this really mean in terms of how we understand Africa? This project looks at the implications of this fact with respect to the way Africa is studied and represented in the West: the way Africa is “translated” into Western epistemological terms. The music of the Congo, in particular, challenges the ways that the relationships between the oral tradition, written literature and recorded music are typically understood. By looking at this music from a literary perspective, consciously transgressing disciplinary boundaries, there are many lessons to be learned about the Congo, about written literature in Africa and the postcolonial world, as well as about the humanities today.
John Nimis received his PhD in French from New York University in 2010. His main research interest is the literature and music of Central Africa, with a focus on the Lingala language and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where he was a Fulbright scholar. He is working on his first book, tentatively titled Precarious Mastery: Literary Listening, Congolese Music and the African Imagination, which brings literary techniques to the study of music, and applies musical analysis to the study of African literature. He has taught at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and was a visiting researcher at the WISER research center in Johannesburg, South Africa. His secondary research interests include anglophone and lusophone Africa, the francophone Caribbean, and 19th century Europe.
The pragmatist philosophers William James, John Dewey, and George Herbert Mead were towering figures in American cultural and intellectual life. What is rarely remembered, however, is their close engagement with new developments in the life sciences at the end of the nineteenth century. Even a preliminary look at the pragmatists' life and writings reveals that many of their core conceptions—the nature of inquiry, the role of the environment, the activity of the mind—emerged out of a dialogue between philosophy and biology. These conceptions are at the heart of the most influential works of pragmatism. Delve into James’ Principles of Psychology and you will discover humans and cuttlefish alike actively shaping their perceptions; open Dewey’s Democracy and Education and you will find a whole section on the role of the environment; browse through Mead’s unpublished Essays on Psychology and you will encounter discussions of animal behavior and embryology. This suggests that if we want to understand the pragmatists and their influence, we need to understand the relation between pragmatism and biology.
Trevor Pearce did his doctoral work in the Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science at the University of Chicago. His dissertation, "'A Perfect Chaos': Organism-Environment Interaction and the Causal Factors of Evolution," analyzed historical and modern debates about the relative importance of different causal factors in evolutionary history. He also holds an M.A. in Philosophy and an M.Sc. in Evolutionary Biology from U. Chicago, and arrives at UW-Madison after one year as a postdoctoral fellow at the Rotman Institute of Philosophy, University of Western Ontario.
The resurrection of the dead, wrote a sixteenth-century German preacher, was the most debated article of the Creed. While Lutherans, for example, described the reassembly of the body, Anabaptists argued that one’s resurrection took place as one became a baptized member of the community. Through Lutheran, Anabaptist, Reformed, and Catholic songs and images of resurrection, my dissertation asks how devotional practices constructed such differences in communities in sixteenth-century Germany and the Netherlands. The project draws together a broad range of sources, including hymnals, sermons, martyrologies, and trial records. Through them, I examine practices of singing, seeing, and listening—actions which integrate the body into religious identity—and argue that divisions between Christians were deeper and more complex than narratives of political division and social control have anticipated. In their practices of piety, each group rendered differently the body’s rebirth and the community’s reconstitution, revealing divergent conceptions of personhood and communal identity.
Erin Lambert is a Ph.D. candidate in early modern European history at UW-Madison. Her research employs the methods of cultural history, musicology, and visual studies to explore the interplay of devotional practices and religious identities in sixteenth-century Germany and the Netherlands. Her dissertation research has been supported by a Council on Library and Information Resources Mellon Fellowship for Dissertation Research, the UW-Madison Department of History, and the Social Science Research Council’s Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship. She holds undergraduate degrees in history and music performance from the Robert E. Cook Honors College at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and an MA in early modern history from UW-Madison.