I will be working on three unrelated projects over the course of the year, all of which rather oddly seem to share the theme of violence. First, I will be finishing up a book on reconstructing and testing a mysterious type of linen body armor that was widely used in the ancient world. Next, I will be writing and recording a video lecture course on 36 Decisive Battles in World History, and the remainder of the year will be spent doing research for a book on riots in ancient Rome. While ancient Rome is usually depicted as an unruly, riotous city, this study hopes to offer a more nuanced investigation of the causes, characteristics, organization, and effects of these incidents of collective urban violence.
Gregory S. Aldrete (Princeton B.A, 1988.; Univ. of Michigan M.A. and Ph.D. 1995) is the Frankenthal Professor of History and Humanistic Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. His books include: Linen Armor in Ancient World: The Linothorax Mystery (2013 with S. Bartell and A. Aldrete), The Long Shadow of Antiquity: What Have the Greeks and Romans Have Done For Us? (with A. Aldrete), Gestures and Acclamation in Ancient Rome, Floods of the Tiber in Ancient Rome, Daily Life in the Roman City: Rome, Pompeii, and Ostia, and the Greenwood Encyclopedia of Daily Life I: The Ancient World (editor). Aldrete was awarded NEH Humanities Fellowships for 2004/5 and 2012/13, was a member of two NEH seminars held at the American Academy in Rome, was a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy in Rome, received the Award for Excellence in Teaching at the College Level from the American Philological Association, is a National Lecturer for the Archaeological Institute of America, was a Wisconsin System Teaching Fellow and a UWGB Teaching Scholar, and was chosen as a recipient of both the Founders Association Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Founders Association Award for Excellence in Scholarship, the highest awards given by his university.
Drawing from a two-year ethnography of three school districts in Wisconsin, this project analyzes local school-board deliberations over education policy. Bringing together citizens with different values, knowledge, interests, and resources, these deliberations demonstrate the perils and promise of local enactments of democracy. My analysis of the deliberations focuses on four major themes: ideology, inequality, trust, and expertise. Analysis of these four themes demonstrates not only how these local Wisconsin communities handled complicated and sometimes contentious issues, but how we may imagine more inclusive, efficacious models of deliberation that foster engagement among members of diverse democratic societies.
Robert Asen is a resident fellow at the Institute for Research in the Humanities and a professor in the Department of Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Asen conducts research and teaches in the areas of public policy debate, public sphere studies, and rhetoric and critical theory. His research explores relationships between social and economic inequality and public deliberation as well as issues that arise in theorizing a post bourgeois public sphere. Asen is the author of Invoking the Visible Hand (Michigan State University Press, 2009) and Visions of Poverty (Michigan State University Press, 2002). Asen has also co-edited two books (with Daniel C. Brouwer), Public Modalities (University of Alabama Press, 2009) and Counterpublics and the State (SUNY Press, 2001).
In August of 1632 Father Paul Le Jeune penned the first installment of the Jesuit Relations “from the midst of a forest more than 800 leagues in extent, at Kebec.” The Relations were yearly reports written by members of the Society of Jesus who worked to christianize New France during the seventeenth century. Sent back to Paris for publication every year between 1632 to 1673, the texts formed a forty-one volume book series that was popular among the Parisian elite. They are now widely considered to be one of the most important historical sources for understanding the colonial encounter between Europeans and the indigenous peoples of North America. My dissertation presents a biography of the Relations, in which I chart how these religious texts gained scientific authority in the modern social sciences and humanities. By exposing the print history and textual practices that transformed these texts into a tool of scientific inquiry, my work reveals the fundamental role the Relations have played in the history of race in North America. Furthermore, I argue that the print culture surrounding the Relations—namely their transmission and reception in the late nineteenth-century—has significantly influenced the modern reading of the texts as ethnographic documents.
Meridith Beck Sayre is a Dana-Allen Dissertation Fellow and a PhD Candidate in the Department of the History of Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research draws on the fields of print culture studies, the Atlantic World approach, and the history of the social sciences. Her work puts three traditionally separate historiographies—French-Canadian, Anglo-Canadian, and American—into dialogue and integrates both French and English primary sources, thereby contributing to a more transnational perspective of North American history.
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.
In his dissertation project on the development of key genres in Nigerian cinema, Brown employs methodologies from history, political science, ethnography, literature, and film studies to trace the institutions, individuals, and forms of power that have shaped the motion picture in colonial and postcolonial Nigeria. He describes genre as a process, involving producers and consumers in evolving relationships with each other over time. In Nigeria, motion picture producers have at times been backed by institutional power; at other times they have simply been innovative entrepreneurs struggling within an economic system over which they have little control. Meanwhile, consumers may be loosely knit by nothing more than ephemeral national, ethnic, or racial identities, but at times they coalesce into social movements with undeniable vision and force. Brown’s goal is to theorize the “video revolution” that gave birth to what is now commonly called “Nollywood” as a product of Nigeria’s long history of motion picture consumption and production as it coincides with a long history of economic, political, and social reorganization.
Matthew H. Brown, IRH Dana-Allen Dissertation Fellow, is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of African Languages and Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he also earned a Master’s Degree. He researches and teaches African literature and popular culture, regularly employing methods and discourses from history, political science, anthropology, and other disciplines in the pursuit of robust forms of literary and cultural analysis. His dissertation research has been supported by a Fulbright-Hays Fellowship and an Ebrahim Hussein Fellowship. He has published widely on African cinema and literature, Nollywood, and Nigerian popular music and he is currently guest-editing an issue of the Journal of African Cinemas about Nollywood’s audiences across the African continent. Brown is also coordinating a Mellon Workshop at UW-Madison on “New Media and Mass/Popular Culture in the Global South.”
Long a pejorative word since its associations with the flag-waving and jingoism surrounding U.S. participation in World War I, “propaganda” would hardly seem a useful concept for understanding democracy. After all, spreading false information, manipulating facts, and other propaganda techniques are preferred by totalitarian states, not democratic ones. This book project questions such conventional wisdom by examining how popular consent and public opinion in early America relied on the spirited dissemination of rumor, forgery, and invective. Propaganda 1776 considers the extent to which the dispersal and circulation—indeed, the propagation—of information and opinion across the various media of 18th-century print culture helped speed the flow of transatlantic republicanism. The spread of revolutionary material in the form of newspapers, pamphlets, broadsides, letters, songs, and poems across British North America (and later the United States) created multiple networks that spawned new and often radical ideas about political communication.
Russ Castronovo is Dorothy Draheim Professor of English and American Studies. He has written widely on American literature and culture on topics ranging from eighteenth-century communications to Wikileaks. His books include Beautiful Democracy (Chicago, 2007), Necro Citizenship (Duke, 2001), and Fathering the Nation (Berkeley 1995). He has also edited several volumes on American studies, democracy, and U.S. literary history, and has served on the editorial boards of American Literature and American Quarterly.
Dr. Chu’s research project examines multiethnic politics in the Polish city of Łódź in the twentieth century and the post-1989 attempts to create international understanding between Poland and Germany. The stereotype of a cosmopolitan yet cunning businessman ("lodzermensch") that began in Łódź at the end of the nineteenth century drew upon anti-Semitic tropes and had deadly consequences during the Second World War. By the 1990s, however, Germans and Poles promoted the city as the “Promised Land” and as a symbol of European reconciliation and multiculturalism. Both nations, it would appear, have successfully mastered their complex past. Yet underlying the often gushing pronouncements of friendship − what Klaus Bachmann calls “reconciliation kitsch” − are unresolved tensions that date back to the world wars, the Holocaust, and the division of Europe during the Cold War. The project analyzes differences in local and national understandings of European peace building and thus explores the possibilities and limits of German-Polish-Jewish interaction in the past century.
Winson Chu (PhD, History, University of California, Berkeley, 2006) holds an IRH Honorary Fellowship. He is assistant professor of Modern Central European History at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. His doctoral dissertation won the UC Berkeley History Department's James H. Kettner Graduate Prize as well as the Fritz Stern Dissertation Prize, which the Friends of the German Historical Institute (Washington, DC) awards to the best North American dissertations in German history. He has received fellowships from the German Academic Exchange Service, the United States Department of Education, the German Historical Institute in Warsaw, the American Council on Germany, and the American Council of Learned Societies. Dr. Chu recently held a fellowship at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. His book, The German Minority in Interwar Poland, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2012.
Always Already Again: Trauma Tourism and the Politics of Memory Culture is a transnational, comparative study of the discourses that surround the production and consumption of memorials. It considers sites on five continents that have been established or are in the process of being established to commemorate a range of past violences. The primary venues in this study are concentration camps in Germany and Poland, slave forts in West Africa, peace parks at atomic bomb blast sites Nagasaki in Japan, genocide memorials in Rwanda and Cambodia, museums established to celebrate the end of apartheid in South Africa, sites being used to commemorate the American War throughout Vietnam, and former clandestine torture centers as well as purpose-built monuments to the disappeared in Chile and Argentina. Trauma tourism is a highly contested practice where competing interests comply with or resist established paradigms. This book argues that such tensions constitute trauma tourism, that trauma tourism owes its substance and richness to contestation.
UW-Madison Resident Fellow Laurie Beth Clark is Professor in the Art Department where she teaches studio courses as well as graduate seminars on topics in Visual Culture Studies. Clark has been a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin since 1985. Clark’s career merges theory and practice. Her creative projects have been shown in theatres, galleries, museums, gardens, forests, and public and private spaces in more than 150 shows in 35 countries on five continents. Extensive documentation of her creative work can be found at lbclark.net. In conjunction with her current research on trauma tourism, Clark is developing Ossuary, a compendium of bones designed by artists. Her writing has been published in journals (Performance Paradigm, Performance Research, TDR, Theatre Topics, Tourism and Transnational Studies, Visual Culture) and anthologies (Marketing Memory in Latin America-Duke, The Object Reader-Routledge, Blaze: Discourse on Art-Cambridge, A Performance Cosmology-Routledge, Place and Performance-Palgrave, Macmillan, The Art of Truthtelling After Authoritarian Rule-University of Wisconsin, Guerilla Performance and Multimedia- Continuum). She is currently working on the book manuscript Always Already Again: Trauma Tourism and the Politics of Memory Culture.
Since the early 1990s, the study of the Roman house has benefited from a fast-paced and prolific output of scholarly discussion. While issues of decoration and spatial organization have remained central to studies of Roman domestic architecture, new approaches have asked broader questions regarding socio-economic status and behavior or the distribution of household activities, while also stressing the relationship between social practice and the organization and use of space in the Roman house. This project investigates the evolution in use of one particular space within the atrium house, the alae (or ‘wings’) — a pair of symmetrical square rooms opened onto either side of the atrium (central hall). An initial survey of the alae of houses in Roman Pompeii showed that these spaces evolved from their original function as complements to the atrium to more independent and practical spaces associated with household activities. While emphasizing the versatility of Roman domestic space, these shifting functions may also offer a commentary for broader socio-economic changes, such as the emergence of the liberti or freedmen in the first century CE, as well as evidence for the disruption of domestic and urban life in Pompeii in the decades that preceded the 79 CE eruption.
Elisabetta Cova, a UW-System Fellow, is Assistant Professor of Classics in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She graduated in Lettere Classiche from the University of Bologna (Italy) and received her M.Phil. in Archaeology at the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom). Her research focuses on Roman domestic architecture and the archaeology of Pompeii and the Bay of Naples. She also maintains an interest in museum studies, a topic she explored in a recent article on northern Italian civic museums published in the European Journal of Archaeology. As a senior staff member of the Athienou Archaeological Project (Cyprus), she is charged with the publication of the late Roman/early Byzantine settlement, and she has recently published two studies on inscriptions excavated by the project. She also serves as Co-Editor of book reviews for the American Journal of Archaeology.
This book uses notions of landscape as cultural process to examine the engagement of Imperial Greek literature with the material and visual worlds of Hellenism. Second Sophistic literature is famously classicizing and retrospective, but these writers also take a marked interest in how the Greek past emerges as a living presence in the physical landscape. In Asia Minor, the myths of the Trojan War especially offered more than just a vast archive of literary reference points. These stories – deeply resonant and endlessly flexible – were inscribed in the natural and monumental landscapes of the region. This project brings literary and visual evidence together to investigate the reanimation of heroic myth in Greek-speaking Asia Minor during the early centuries CE.
Janet Downie has been assistant professor of Classics at Princeton University since 2008. She received her PhD in Classics from the University of Chicago and her BA from the University of Victoria, Canada. Her research focuses on Greek literature of the Roman Imperial era and she is interested broadly in the history of rhetoric and oratory, authorship and issues of literary self-presentation, and ancient medical writers, including Galen. Her first book, At the Limits of Art: A Literary Study of Aelius Aristides’ Hieroi Logoi will be published by Oxford University Press.
This book-length project rewrites a paradigm long central to the discipline of medieval history and the study of medieval devotional literature: affective piety. It demonstrates that the genealogy of affective piety goes back to the arts of disciplining the passions that originated in the philosophical schools of antiquity, for philosophers who taught disciplines of the soul were also rhetoricians who sought to move and persuade. Their methods were adapted by early Christian teachers and rhetorical appeals to the emotions became a basic preaching, literary, and prayer practice of the church. This project, therefore, recovers the history of how preaching, texts, and practices were used to shape the emotions and craft Christian selves at different times and places.
Mary Agnes Edsall, Solmsen Fellow, has recently held positions at University of Massachusetts Boston (visiting) and at Bowdoin College. Her interdisciplinary scholarship focuses on the literatures and practices of Christian catechesis and devotion of the European Middle Ages, with attention to memory (personal and cultural), mnemonics, rhetorical theory, and the role of images and the emotions. She has recently published on early copies of Anselm of Canterbury’s Prayers and Meditations as exemplars of practice that drew their power from the way that they reproduced the charismatic presence of their author. Forthcoming articles address the patristic prehistory of medieval Arma Christi imagery and the connections between monastic anthologies for novice formation and household devotional anthologies of late medieval England. Her research interests also include Hugh of Fouilloy, an under-studied writer whose works were widely read in his time (mid-twelfth century) and beyond.
Enacting State Persecution investigates the factors that shape state agents’ decision to collaborate in, or subvert, the implementation of inhumane policies. The starting point of this inquiry is the observation that a modern state cannot persecute vast groups of people without relying extensively on its civil servants. However, unless these civil servants have been specifically recruited for this purpose, persecuting others, committing acts of violence against specific groups, and, more broadly, committing inhumane acts are not part of their training, worldview and official duties. This study explores the mechanisms that make this violence possible by examining the role played by the French Police in the deportation of Jews from France between 1942 and 1944.
Ivan Ermakoff is Professor of Sociology at UW-Madison. His research agenda has been centered on collective processes and outcomes in times of disruption. Along these lines, he has been studying the adoption of self-limiting norms ("Prelates and Princes," American Sociological Review, 62:405-422), collective abdications (Ruling Oneself Out, Duke University Press), the rise and fall of patrimonial structures of power ("Patrimony and collective capacity," Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 636: 182-203), shifts in epistemic beliefs ("Theory of Practice, Rational Choice and Historical Change," Theory and Society, 39: 527-553), and the implementation of state persecution ("Police et arrestations," Le Genre Humain, 52: 215-243).
This project investigates the transformations of aristocracies during Late Antiquity in an obscure corner of the Roman World: Atlantic Iberia. The project addresses the following question: a powerful and wealthy aristocracy dominated the Iberian Peninsula during the late Roman Empire; what happened to these aristocrats after Rome “fell”? The fate of Iberian aristocracies after the so-called fall of the Roman Empire lies at the center of the quest to understand the formation of Medieval Spain. By focusing on one area of the peninsula (Atlantic Iberia), Damián Fernández contends that a mosaic of local aristocracies with different economic and social strategies dominated local societies in the mid-sixth century, in contrast to the uniformity that had prevailed among the late-Roman elites in Iberia. Thus, the fate of the regional Roman aristocracy was not simply a “decline” or a “fall.” Nor does “continuity” provide a better paradigm. Rather, local aristocracies changed the basic meaning of what it meant to be an aristocrat, with responses varying from region to region.
Damián Fernández has been an assistant professor at Northern Illinois University’s History Department since 2010. Prior to that appointment, he was a visiting research scholar at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (New York University). He received his PhD in History from Princeton University and his BA from the University of Buenos Aires. He is interested in the social and economic history of Late Antiquity and in comparative studies of state and society in pre-modern contexts. He has published in Antiquité Tardive and is currently working on his book manuscript and three other articles on late-antique Iberia.
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.
"Dishonorable Duty: The U.S. Army and the Removal of the Southeastern Indians" will examine the American military’s role in the ethnic cleansing of the American Southeast in the 1830s and 1840s. By examining the host of Indian and white perceptions of the army’s role in Indian Removal—as well as the ways in which various groups have remembered or forgotten it—I hope to fuse a fractured historiography and to complicate comfortable-but-flawed conceptions of ethnic and racial identity during the “Age of Jackson. “ As the agency charged with executing federal Indian removal policy, the army was a lightening rod for controversy—one capable of illuminating grave disagreements about the nature and future of American society. Nominally, criticism of the army reflected entrenched views about the justice of the removal policy itself, but attacks on the army bespoke deeper schisms over the locus of sovereignty, the meaning of national honor, the sources of republican virtue, and the currency of class and race as measures of human worth. Painted in the stark colors of race, memories of removal obscure the equally (and sometimes more) powerful antagonism between Jacksonian-localist populism and the nationalist elitism of the Whig party. Ironically, the army wielded by Andrew Jackson represented everything his supporters abhorred—military elitism, the superiority of federal authority, and hierarchy based on class rather than race. These tensions were not lost on the Indians, who neither looked upon Anglo-Americans as a monolithic people nor were unified within their own communities.
John W. Hall is the inaugural holder of the Ambrose-Hesseltine Chair in U.S. Military History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His historical research focuses on early American irregular warfare, with a particular emphasis on intercultural conflict between European and Native American societies. He is the author of Uncommon Defense: Indian Allies in the Black Hawk War (Harvard, 2009) and several essays on early American warfare. He is currently working on a military history of Indian Removal, tentatively titled Dishonorably Duty: The U.S. Army and the Removal of the Southeastern Indians. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and earned his Ph.D. in History from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
My project is a history of marriages between African women and European men who participated in the slave trade on the Gold Coast in the eighteenth century. I argue that these interracial marriages took place in a field of tension between the local practicalities of the slave trade and the larger Atlantic structures of racial slavery and colonialism. In that larger Atlantic world, marriages between black and white were neither socially acceptable nor economically necessary. Amid the difficulties of the slave trade on the Gold Coast, however, Euro-African marriages were from the very beginning central in creating strong cross-cultural ties and stable trading relations. My book follows five generations of Euro-African families in the small town of Osu (now part of Accra). It shows how these families responded to both opportunities and pressures from the intense social climate created by the Atlantic slave trade, in the process building a cultural world specifically adapted to it.
Pernille Ipsen holds a REI fellowship at the Institute in the Fall of 2012. She will spend this time completing the manuscript of her first book, which is under contract with the University of Pennsylvania Press. She has promised to send them the manuscript by December 2012, and four months on leave from teaching will make it possible to reach this goal! She was born and raised in Denmark, where she received her degrees, and where she and her family spend much of the summer. She is in her third year as Assistant Professor in the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies and also has an appointment in the Department of History.
This project examines the political activism and cultural representation of Parisian merchants called the Dames des Halles during the French Revolution. In order to highlight the complexity of female political practice, I analyze the economic, ritual, and gendered elements of the Dames’ activism. I inquire how marketplace reform affected their collective concerns. I also study how other actors deployed the Dames’ image for their own political ends, and probes the genre poissard, whose evolving literary representations of the Dames informed their cultural construction. By examining the relationship among the Dames’ economic interests, activism, and literary image, this dissertation creates new pathways in the sociocultural methodology of history.
Katie Jarvis is an ACLS Residency Fellow and a Ph.D. Candidate in European History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research focuses on popular politics, broadly conceived, during the French Revolution. She is especially interested in the intersection of social and cultural history, as well as gender history. Her dissertation research has been funded by a Mellon/American Council of Learned Societies Dissertation Completion Fellowship, a Fulbright Grant, a Council for European Studies/Mellon Foundation Pre-Dissertation Research Fellowship, the Society for French Historical Studies, L’Institut Français d’Amérique, La Société des Professeurs Français et Francophones d'Amérique, the Western Association of Women Historians, Phi Alpha Theta, and the UW Department of History. She also collaborates on the international work group “Genre et Classes Populaires” to foster dialogue across national and disciplinary boundaries. She received a B.A. in History from Boston College and a M.A. in European History from UW-Madison.
Practioners 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 technology.
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.
This book project centers on the complex tale of two ordinary and flawed American women propelled by the extraordinary circumstances of World War II into acts of heroism. Margaret Utinsky, petite and redheaded, caustic and cautious; Claire Phillips, a willowy brunette, big-hearted, with a gift for gab. Confronted with the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, both women refused to surrender to civilian internment. Instead, they risked their lives to provide humanitarian support for American military prisoners and funneled supplies and information to guerrilla forces. Their story moves beyond the actions of two individual women; it is a larger story of how women survive in enemy-occupied territory during wartime.
Theresa Kaminski is a UW System Fellow. She holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is currently Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point where she teaches American Women's History. Her fascination with the inter-relation of gender, imperialism, and war resulted in the publication of Prisoners in Paradise: American Women in the Wartime South Pacific (University Press of Kansas, 2000) and Citizen of Empire: Ethel Thomas Herold, an American in the Philippines (University of Tennessee Press, 2011). After completing what she considers to be the final volume in her Philippines trilogy, Professor Kaminski will resume work on her biography of Dale Evans.
It is a long-standing truism that Old English literature rarely addresses sexual difference or erotic life, and is instead obsessed with chronicling blood feuds, heroic battle-quests, and inter-familial strife. Klein’s project examines the lexical and thematic intersections between warfare and sexual difference within literary, historical, and religious writings produced in England between approximately 700-1100 AD and provides a new conceptual framework for understanding long-occluded questions of gender and sexuality within Anglo-Saxon studies. By exploring a range of early medieval texts and traditions, from medical treatises, histories, and homilies, to heroic poems, riddles, and folk charms, The Militancy of Gender reveals the myriad forms of expression that affective relations and gender iterations may take, and contests the entrenched critical view that late medieval romance and courtly sexuality emerged as specific products of the twelfth-century literary renaissance. More broadly, the book offers a unique historical perspective on how cultural obsessions with warfare and vengeance-driven violence shape social understandings of difference.
Stacy S. Klein is an associate professor of English at Rutgers University, where she also serves as a member of the graduate faculty in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies and a core faculty member in the Program of Medieval Studies. Her scholarly interests center on medieval literature and culture, with an emphasis on Old English language and literature, the history of gender and sexuality, feminist thought, comparative cultural studies, ideology, and aesthetics. Klein is the author of Ruling Women: Queenship and Gender in Anglo-Saxon Literature (University of Notre Dame Press, 2006), and has written numerous articles on Old English poetry, biblical translation, hagiography, and the natural world. She is also co-editor of two forthcoming interdisciplinary collections of essays: The Maritime World of the Anglo-Saxons, and The Anglo-Saxon Visual Imagination. Klein has been awarded fellowships from the ACLS, NEH, Radcliffe Institute, and AAUW, as well as a Burkhardt Fellowship for Recently Tenured Scholars. From 2007-2011, Klein served as Executive Director of the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists (ISAS), and she currently chairs the Modern Language Association’s Executive Division on Old English Language and Literature. In 2004, Klein joined forces with Anglo-Saxonist faculty at Columbia, NYU, and Princeton to found the Anglo-Saxon Studies Colloquium, an organization dedicated to advancing Anglo-Saxon Studies in and beyond the tri-state area. Klein holds a BA in English from Dartmouth College (1989), an MA in Critical Theory from the University of Sussex (1992), and a PhD in English from Ohio State University (1998). She has taught at Rutgers since 1998, and in 2011, served as Vice-Chair of the Department of English. In 2001, Klein was awarded the Sigma Phi Epsilon award for excellence in undergraduate teaching.
My project engages recent efforts towards a unified theory of ethnic boundary formation, maintenance, and transformation. Relying on ethnographic fieldwork on the current ethno-racial makeup of a former Italian neighborhood in the Bronx, I look at the group formation strategies of recently arriving Albanian immigrants. Focusing on their developing ‘ethnic affinity’ with Italians – which signals an immigrant incorporation strategy that goes beyond older discourses of assimilation – I attempt to expand the current conceptual vocabulary of boundary crossing, shifting, or blurring within the new diversity of the urban landscape.
Ervin Kosta received his PhD in Sociology from CUNY Graduate Center in 2012. His research interests lie at the intersection of ethnicity, immigration, and race. His work explores the making of group boundaries and concurrent remaking of urban ethnic neighborhoods in ‘gateway’ metropolitan neighborhoods. He has published research on Manhattan and Bronx neighborhoods in City and Community and with Fordham University Press. Ervin is a passionate teacher and has taught at several New York City area institutions, including Fordham and Pace Universities. He holds undergraduate degrees in Sociology and Political Science and International Relations from Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, Turkey.
This project examines the role that cultus — dress, adornment, and outward appearance—plays in the world of Latin love elegy and argues that, by investigating the descriptions of male and female clothing and accessories found throughout Latin elegy, we can answer some important questions concerning the gender dynamics of this poetry. Her clothing sheds light on the identity of the female beloved (the puella) as well as her role as a metapoetic manifestation of the elegists’ poetry, and the male poet-lover’s cultus reveals that he ultimately controls the puella, their relationship, and his own poetry. Additionally, this study will reflect on cultus’ interaction with and commentary on life in Rome as it transitions from republic to empire under Augustus.
Kerry Lefebvre, a Robert J. Reinhold Dissertation Fellow, is a Ph.D. candidate in Classics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research examines the dynamics of gender in Latin elegy through its descriptions of female and male cultus, or outward appearance. In support of this project, Lefebvre received a 2011-2012 Chancellor’s Fellowship. She has also received the Classical Association of the Middle West and South’s Award for Outstanding Accomplishment in Classical Studies and has presented her research at a variety of domestic and international conferences. Lefebvre was also involved with UW-Madison’s Center for the Humanities’ Great World Texts program during 2011-2012 and prepared the teachers’ guide for that year’s great text, the Antigone.
This project explores the development of public health services under communism, and in turn, the early attempts of Czechoslovak state hygienists to improve the living and working environment, enhance the biophysical condition of the proletariat, and halt the consequences of rapid industrialization. Through the efforts and activities of the hygiene services, this dissertation traces the converging influences of medical humanism, disciplinary ambition, Marxist-Leninist ideology, and scientific-rationalism. What arose from this constellation of imperatives was a vision of communist modernity that sought to prioritize population health and physiological well-being as the highest aims of state, and furthermore, reform traditional understandings of both preventive medicine and its role in an industrial society. But this idealistic perspective quickly confronted a competing imagination of the socialist modern, one that saw rapid and extensive industrial development as the primary foundation of any social and economic progress. As this struggle between ideals played out in the 1950s, the attempt to place salubrity and prophylaxis over the demands of socialist economic efficiency ultimately failed, and entrenched attitudes towards medical practice, industrialization, and environmental health risks remained largely unchanged.
Bradley Moore, a William Coleman Dissertation Fellow, is a doctoral candidate in the Joint PhD Program in History and the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology at UW-Madison. His interests are in the history of modern central Europe, the social and cultural history of communism, and the history of medicine and public health. He received a B.A. from St. Lawrence University, an A.M. from the University of Chicago, and an M.A. from the University of Wisconsin. Among his honors and awards are a J. William Fulbright Scholarship, a Dissertation Fellowship from a John E. Sawyer Seminar on the Comparative Study of Cultures, a UW Mellon Dissertation Fellowship, a Travel Award from the Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies, and a Theodore J. Oesau Dissertation Fellowship in History.
For many decades the future of the book has been worried over. Whether elegiac or celebratory, the observations of scholars, artists, librarians, journalists, and others have presented the fate of the book as a threshold for humankind, the immense significance of which can be assumed if not specified. From the foundations of media studies—whether Walter Benjamin or Marshall McLuhan —the book has been made to characterize an epoch before an ever-modernizing modernity, providing a foil for “modern,” “mass,” and “new” media. During a period that some have seen to be a tipping point from print to electronic forms, my research investigated the efforts of “mass book digitizers” in the United States—computer engineers, digital librarians, lawyers and activists—who are attempting to effect this never quite arriving post-book epoch. As a practice that has met with resistance, celebration, and controversy, mass digitization provided a venue for plumbing the turbulent waters of what I call the “contemporary book”: an arena of experimentation arising from the tectonic encounter of the established modern book system with an emergent assemblage in motion around the authorization, storage, preservation, circulation, and production of knowledge.
Mary Murrell received her Ph.D. in sociocultural anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2012. Her work at Berkeley was supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, an NSF dissertation improvement grant, a Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities Fellowship, and an ACLS-Mellon Dissertation Fellowship. Before earning her Ph.D., Mary was an acquisitions editor at Princeton University Press, where she acquired titles in the humanities and social sciences.
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.
Dr. Parys’s research examines how the HIV/AIDS epidemic has been archived through the cultural, artistic, and literary productions from Spanish America. The overall project is entitled “Archiving the Epidemic: Cultural, Literary and Visual Responses to HIV/AIDS in Spanish America” and explores both fictional and testimonial works about HIV/AIDS, looking specifically at the interplay of silence, stigma, and taboo as well as strategies used to present, reveal, and disconnect the disease from the social constructions of the disease. It further examines various visual representations of AIDS in Spanish America to determine how common literary metaphors and taboos about the disease are translated visually. Finally, the project strives to identify some of the cultural responses to the AIDS epidemic across Spanish America and to illustrate and highlight those that are autochthonous to the region, whether for their reflection of specific morals or customs, or for their historic or geographic specificity.
Jodie Parys, an IRH UW-System Fellow, is an Associate Professor of Spanish at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where she teaches courses in Spanish language, translation/interpretation, professional Spanish, and Latin American literature and civilization in the Department of Languages and Literatures. Her work focuses on 20th and 21st century literature and theory from Spanish America, and incorporates fields such as narrative theory, cultural studies, gender studies, border writing, and psychoanalysis. She is the author of Writing AIDS: (Re) Conceptualizing the Individual and Social Body in Spanish American Literature (forthcoming from Ohio State University Press, 2012), as well as numerous articles that expound upon her two main lines of scholarly inquiry: the intersection of disease and narrative in Spanish American literature, centered specifically on the AIDS epidemic, and the use of service learning as a pedagogical tool in Spanish language classrooms.
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.
A Solmsen Fellow for AY 2012-13 at the University of Wisconsin, Todd Reeser is Professor of French, with a secondary appointment in Women’s Studies, in the Department of French and Italian at the University of Pittsburgh. He just completed a year as acting director of the Humanities Center at the University of Pittsburgh. His research interests lie largely in the areas of gender and sexuality broadly conceived, especially in the early modern period. His first book Moderating Masculinity in Early Modern Culture (2006) studies ways in which masculinity often aligns itself with the virtue of moderation as it positions its various "others" (e.g. women, the sodomite, the Amerindian) as excess and lack. In 2010, Reeser published Masculinities in Theory, a monograph that provides a series of theoretical models to analyze masculinity from a literary/cultural perspective, especially as inflected by post-structuralist thought. He has also coedited Approaches to Teaching the Works of François Rabelais (2011) and “Entre hommes”: French and Francophone Masculinities in Theory and Culture (2008), and he is currently editing a collection of essays on the topic “Transgender France.”
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 and Society, Entreprises et Histoires, Clio: Histoire, Femmes, Sociétes and Journal of Women’s History.
Double Meanings: Representing Conjoined Twins analyzes cultural representations of conjoined twins in literature, film, media, and popular culture. The guiding principle for this project is to reverse the sensationalism usually attached to public discussions of conjoinment by turning the lens of fascination back onto the cultural meanings attached to representations of such twins. Double Meanings asks what representations of conjoinment can tell us about the workings of power in different cultural settings, especially as conjoinment intersects with more familiar identities of race, class, gender, and sexuality. Unlike previous scholarly works, this project turns away from broad philosophical questions to explore such historically-located areas of inquiry as colonialism, slavery, sexual science, modern consumerism, and globalization, all of which shape the representation of conjoined twins from the nineteenth through twenty-first centuries.
Ellen Samuels is Assistant Professor of English and Gender & Women’s Studies at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and Director of UW Disability Studies. Her critical writing on disability, gender, and race has been published in numerous journals and anthologies, including Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, The Oxford Handbook of Nineteenth-Century American Literature, Feminist Disability Studies, GLQ: Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, MELUS: Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the United States, NWSA Journal, and Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies. Her awards include a 2012 American Association of University Women Publication Grant, the 2011 Catherine Stimpson Prize for Outstanding Feminist Scholarship, two Lambda Literary Awards, and the Ed Roberts Postdoctoral Fellowship in Disability Studies at the University of California at Berkeley. She received her B.A from Oberlin College, her M.F.A. in creative writing from Cornell University, and her Ph.D. in English from the University of California at Berkeley. Her first book, Self Evident: Disability and Bodily Identity, is forthcoming from NYU Press, and she is now working on a new book, Double Meanings: Representing Conjoined Twins.
How do physical borders and boundaries delineate the nature of cultural interactions and determine the development of historical time and place? What are the kinds of spaces created alongside borders that promote inclusive permeability versus boundaries that generate exclusive separation? Critical biographies of borderlands – the conditions created by these borders and boundaries – are evocative biographies of no places and the people who no longer live there. Yet, these biographies are seldom recorded in scholarly writings even though the passage of history through these so-called spatial ‘edges’ frequently leaves behind a rich palimpsest of cultural records. Extending upon Kevin Lynch’s emphasis on ‘edges’ and Richard Sennett’s fascinating distinction between a boundary that divides, versus a border that serves a place of exchange, this ongoing book project examines one such unique borderland condition on the legendary Silk Road, located on Central Asia’s important Oxus River. Combining a close reading of archival sources spread across repositories in the Russian Federation, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, with several years of innovative fieldwork, it seeks to unravel how conflict, reconciliation and interaction between medieval Arab and Persian communities created unique urban forms alongside this geographically significant and politically critical divide.
Dr. Manu P. Sobti shall be a fellow at the IRH in Spring 2013. He is an Islamic architecture and urban historian, associate professor at the School of Architecture & Urban Planning (SARUP), University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee USA. His ongoing research focuses on the urban history of early-medieval Islamic cities along the Silk Road and in the Indian Subcontinent, with particular reference to the complex ‘borderland geographies’ created by riverine landscapes. Within the purview of a comparative, trans-disciplinary research project on the Mississippi, Danube, Ganges and Amu Darya Rivers, he is currently completing a manuscript entitled The Sliver of the Oxus Borderland: Medieval Cultural Encounters between the Arabs and Persians for Brill Publications (Leiden, Netherlands) – a comprehensive work that collates his noteworthy fieldwork in libraries, repositories and archives across Central Asia. His work has received several prestigious awards, including the Trans-disciplinary Research Collaborative Award from the Center for 21st Century Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (2011–13), the Global Studies Research Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (2010-11), the Hamid Bin Khalifa Research and Travel Fellowship for Islamic Architecture and Culture (2009), the Center for 21st Century Studies Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (2009-10), the Aga Khan Graduate Fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology-Cambridge (1993-95), and grants from the National Council for East European and Eurasian Research in Seattle (2009-10), the Graham Foundation of the Arts in Chicago (2008-09), the French Institute for Central Asian Studies in Tashkent (2003), and the Architectural Association in London (2001). He has also received multiple teaching and course development awards, including the BP-AMOCO Teaching Excellence Award at the Georgia Institute of Technology (2001), and the Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (2011). Sobti has published widely and presented his research at more than 60 national and international venues. He coordinates the Buildings-Landscapes-Cultures (blc) Research Program at UWM, directs the SARUP India Program, and conducts Urban Design Studios in Ahmedabad, Chandigarh and New Orleans in partnership with local schools of architecture.
My project explores the ways in which a generation of American writers conceptualized a new phenomenon, the emerging metropolis. While nature writing has been widely studied in recent years, we still lack a taxonomy of urban literary forms or a discussion of the most important literary strategies used by city writers. One of the reasons for this critical neglect lies in the connection between New York authors and the history of journalism (which has received little critical attention from literary scholars). With the exception of Herman Melville, all of the writers in my study (including George Foster and Fanny Fern) worked as journalists; five of them (Lydia Maria Child, Margaret Fuller, Edgar Allan Poe, Walt Whitman, and George Lippard) also served as editors. As I examine these authors’ literary construction of New York, I will be paying special attention to their conceptions of urban space, which for most of them contains important non-visual elements and is often discontinuous or folded. One of the primary goals of this project is to move beyond models of nineteenth-century urban writing based upon the flâneur–the strolling journalist who emphasized visual impressions of the city, often at the expense of ‘invisible’ factors such as class and ideological divisions. In this regard, I am following in the footsteps of Marxist and postmodern geographers like Henri Lefebvre and Edward Soja who challenge the mystification of space into a visible plane excluding class or political divisions.
Jeffrey Steele, Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, specializes in nineteenth-century American studies, American women’s writing (especially the writing of Margaret Fuller), and literary and spatial theory. He is the author of The Representation of the Self in the American Renaissance (1987), The Essential Margaret Fuller (1992, Choice “Outstanding Academic Book”), and Transfiguring America: Myth, Ideology, and Mourning in Margaret Fuller’s Writing (2001). He has published numerous articles on Margaret Fuller and her contemporaries, as well as essays on the politics of mourning and nineteenth-century racial stereotypes. Steele is a past President and Current Executive Officer of the Margaret Fuller Society. He also served on the Advisory Board of the Society for the Study of American Women Writers. He is the recipient of a University of Wisconsin System-wide teaching award. In addition to his current project on nineteenth-century urban writing, he continues his research on Margaret Fuller, as well as on representations of gender and race in nineteenth-century advertising.
Diaspora’s Democracy argues that African American ideas of belonging, freedom, and citizenship evolved not so much out of peculiarly “American” circumstances; but rather out of vibrant intellectual conversations between slaves and other international actors in Africa, the Spanish and Portuguese empires, Native America, Haiti, the British West Indies, and Canada. The achievement of African American citizenship was the sum of these fitful attempts to forge new moral communities across the diaspora—whether asserting belonging through African nations such as “Igbo,” embracing the Haitian Revolution as an inspirational beacon of freedom, or choosing to run away to British “subject” status in Canada. Emphasizing the importance of these intellectual linkages, Diaspora’s Democracy reconceptualizes early African American history as residing in the liminal space of diaspora, with slavery as the motor force for new forms of international relations across multiple borders.
James H. Sweet is Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research interests range widely across the history of Africa and the African diaspora. He is the author of two prize-winning books, Recreating Africa: Culture, Kinship, and Religion in the African-Portuguese World, 1441-1770 (2003) and Domingos Álvares, African Healing, and the Intellectual History of the Atlantic World (2011). In addition to Diaspora’s Democracy, he is currently working on two other projects, one on a pirated slave ship in the eighteenth-century Atlantic world, and another on the politics of interracial intimacy in twentieth-century South Africa.
Nowadays the term “media” is likely to conjure up ideas of giant transnational conglomerates, cable news networks, and Facebook; we hear constant chatter about the cultural and political consequences of “social,” “mass,” “mainstream,” even “lamestream” media. But media in this modern sense has not always been so ubiquitous or mundane. In early nineteenth-century America, media took on cosmic and utopian dimensions, as mass print promised not only to link people together as never before, but also to connect them to the sacred in new ways. My research explores this pivotal moment in the history of media, focusing on the development of mass print as an instrument of social reform in the United States. It seeks to understand the impact of this print on a number of related domains of antebellum culture, including the popular religious imagination and ideas about the social role of artistic expression. I argue that the pioneering work of Protestant evangelical voluntary associations—so-called “benevolent” societies—in using print to promote a range of reform causes, from foreign missions to temperance, provided a powerful model of moral suasion that many American reformers and artists adopted in the decades before the Civil War.
Andrew W. Mellon postdoctoral fellow Jerome Tharaud earned his Ph.D. in English Language and Literature from the University of Chicago in 2011, with a specialization in nineteenth-century American literature and culture. His doctoral dissertation examines how Protestant evangelicals in the antebellum United States sought to use mass print to shape the morals of the nation, focusing in particular on their use of literary and visual images of the landscape. His research interests include U.S. print culture as well as American religions, art and visual culture, and environmental literature. He is the author most recently of “The Evangelical Press, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and the Human Medium,” a forthcoming essay in Arizona Quarterly. He is currently working to develop his dissertation into a book manuscript; he has also begun a new project that excavates an important but neglected communitarian dimension in the thought of Henry David Thoreau, a writer more often noted for his individualism and celebration of solitude.
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).
Lisa Woodson's dissertation centers on the Russian legend of the hidden city of Kitezh and its changing representations over time in Russian literature. According to the legend, the righteous city of Kitezh became invisible or disappeared into a lake and was thus saved from contamination by the surrounding evil world. Lisa's research shows how the legend, initially associated with a dangerous strain of religious fanaticism, came to be broadly embraced by 20th-century Russian writers as a symbol of authentic Russian culture. Her research focuses on a number of authors who made the Kitezh legend a focal point of their philosophical systems and literary works, showing how these authors adapted the legend to suit their philosophical and artistic needs, thereby changing the contours of the legend and contributing to its literary evolution.
Lisa Woodson, a Dana-Allen Dissertation Fellow, is a graduate student in Slavic Languages and Literature at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She has taught Russian language, literature, and intellectual history at the University of Wisconsin and the University of Missouri. A Madison native, Lisa returned to Madison for graduate school after living abroad in Russia and Canada for several years, where she continued her studies and worked in the Russian environmental movement. She also holds a master's degree in spiritual theology from Regent College in Vancouver, Canada, and a bachelor's degree in Russian Area Studies from Wellesley College in Massachusetts.