This presentation focuses on the diary Argentine playwright and theater professor Tulio Carella (1912-1979) wrote during an 18-month stay in Recife, Brazil, in the politically charged period leading up to the 1964 coup. The apprehension of the manuscript (published a few years later as Orgia) by the military deployed additional fissures to Carella's writing of exclusion and pain, and provided further evidence that private practices were receiving political significance at a time of growing repression in South America. In this paper I undertake a critical reading of the extensive changes Carella made to his text upon his return to Argentina, including the framing of his Recife experience in terms of politics, a gendered performance, and his particular take on Pan-Americanism. The larger project calls for a rethinking of the entire approach to Carella’s writings. A reconsideration of his contributions should begin with the exact reason(s) behind the virtual ignorance Orgia has been relegated to in Argentina, Brazil, and elsewhere. Carella’s Recife writings and his entire Brazil experience touch on too many issues that are central to contemporary theory to have been so blatantly ignored by scholars of gender, race, liminality, and theater and performance.
Severino J. Albuquerque is a Professor of Portuguese at UW-Madison, where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in Portuguese language and Brazilian literature and culture. His main area of research is contemporary Brazilian theatre and gender. He is the author of Violent Acts: A Study of Contemporary Latin American Theatre (1991); Tentative Transgressions: Homosexuality, AIDS and the Theater in Brazil (2004); editor of Joaquim Nabuco e Wisconsin: Conferências nos Estados Unidos (2010); and co-editor of Performing Brazil: Essays on Identity, Culture, and the Performing Arts (2015). He has also published numerous articles in journals and critical anthologies. He is co-editor of the Luso-Brazilian Review (Brazilian literature and culture); Brazilian theater and drama editor for the Handbook of Latin American Studies of the Library of Congress; and an editorial board member of the Latin American Theatre Review. Albuquerque's book, Tentative Transgressions, was the recipient of the 2005 Roberto Reis Award of the Brazilian Studies Association (for best book on Brazil published in English between 2003 and 2005) and the 2008 Elizabeth Steinberg Award for best book published by the University of Wisconsin Press between 2003 and 2008.
The work of Byzantine missionaries between 300 and 900 extended Christianity into such disparate regions as the Caucasus, Nubia (modern Sudan), Himyar (modern Yemen), and the Balkans. According to modern tradition, these foreign conversions brought about Eastern Orthodoxy’s largest expansion to date. In order to understand the nature of the Byzantine contribution, therefore, this project focuses on the imperial perspectives and puts the foreign conversions in a comparative framework. The cross-regional approach also makes clear how and why modern historians and politicians have selected certain episodes of conversion to turn them into monumental events with ethnic and nationalistic overtones.
Alexander Angelov is an Assistant Professor in Religious Studies and a faculty member in the interdisciplinary programs in Russian and Post-Soviet Studies and Medieval and Renaissance Studies at the College of William and Mary. He specializes in Byzantine history, medieval Christianity, the modern Balkans and Eastern Orthodoxy. His work has been published in the Journal of Medieval History, Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies, as well as in edited volumes. In addition to his current book project on conversion, he is researching the relationship of Eastern Orthodox national churches with the Communist ideology and apparatus in the Balkans.
This project is a study of Indigenous Peoples movements in Southeast Asia. While the concept of "Indigenous Peoples" (IPs) has largely become naturalized in the Americas, Australia and New Zealand, it remains highly contested in Asia. Up until the 1990s not a single country on the continent recognized the existence of groups of people legally defined as IPs. The concept, however, has gained traction, with both the Philippines and Cambodia now legally recognizing IPs. In other countries in Southeast Asia the concept is increasingly being evoked, even if most governments continue to reject the existence of IPs within their state boundaries. This project focuses on the geopolitics, at various scales, of the expansion and localization of IP movements in Southeast Asia. In particular, it examines how the concept of indigeneity is being interpreted, negotiated, contested, accepted, adapted and hybridized in various socio-cultural, political, and geographical contexts.
Ian G. Baird is an Assistant Professor of Geography at UW-Madison. He received his Ph.D. in Geography from the University of British Columbia. He lived and worked in Laos, Thailand and Cambodia for more than 20 years. He will spend the semester conducting research and writing about social movements in Southeast Asia associated with the concept of indigeneity. He will also organize an international workshop at UW-Madison regarding the concept of indigeneity in Southeast Asia. His primary research interests are land and resource management and tenure; the political ecology of large-scale hydropower dam construction in the Mekong River Basin; Indigenous Peoples movements in Southeast Asia; marginal histories in mainland Southeast Asia; and Hmong, Lao, Thai, Brao and Khmer Studies. He is at work at a project entitled "Indigeneity in Southeast Asia: The Geopolitics of the Expansion and Localization of an Increasingly Global Movement."
This project explores the multiple delinquencies of Philip Sidney's multi-versioned romance, the Arcadia (c.1581-1584), in order to scope a broadly de-idealist reading of his poetry and prose. Of particular focus is the question of emotional and political governance—what might be called an "economy" of the passions—and ways in which, testing to the limit the rationalist models of self-government available at the time, the delinquent behaviors described within the Old and New Arcadia give way to the tragic, even nihilistic vision of a negative excess or "debt" that is not to be turned to good account, redeemed, or repaid. This alternative economy is first traced in Sidney's Defence of Poetry, where Weberian models of turning a profit compete with a fantasized "golden world" of infinite credit, effectively playing the different pleasures of accumulation and consumption against one another and so problematizing any straightforward claims to poetry's profitability and pleasure.
Catherine Bates is a Professor of Renaissance Literature at the University of Warwick. She specializes in sixteenth-century English literature: in particular, courtly forms such as epic, lyric, and romance. Her books include The Rhetoric of Courtship in Elizabethan Language and Literature (1992), Play in a Godless World: The Theory and Practice of Play in Shakespeare, Nietzsche, and Freud (1999), Masculinity, Gender and Identity in the English Renaissance Lyric (2007), and Masculinity and the Hunt: Wyatt to Spenser (2013). She is also currently editing the Blackwell Companion to Renaissance Poetry. She has previously held positions at Oxford (1987-1990) and Cambridge (1990-1995), and has been at the University of Warwick since 1995. She served as Head of the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies there from 2009 to 2014. She is at work on a book entitled Perversion in Arcadia.
The Spiritist movement that emerged from the work of Hippolyte Rivail in 1850's France is not the typical fodder of scholars interested in the utopian and progressive spirit of the nineteenth century. Relying on the revelations of "spirits" speaking through mediums to make its philosophical and "scientific" claims about afterlife, reincarnation, and the peopling of other worlds, Spiritism tends to strike observers as perversely fascinating at best and absurd at worst. However, Dr. Betty's contention is that Spiritism's relegation to the margins of the occult ignores the affinities that the movement shares with less metaphysical but no less progressive or utopian concerns of the nineteenth century, and that this seemingly aberrant movement represents a kind of "hypermodernism" wherein Progress is understood to operate not only through human history, but also through multiple incarnations on multiple worlds. The project also addresses the practice of Spiritism in contemporary Brazil, which since the end of the nineteenth century has served as a laboratory for the viability of Spiritist beliefs.
Louis Betty is an Assistant Professor of French at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he teaches courses in French and Humanities. He has written extensively on French novelist Michel Houellebecq, with articles appearing in Nottingham French Studies, Literature and Theology, and L'Érudit franco-espangol. He has also recently completed a book-length manuscript on Houellebecq and is awaiting decisions on several other articles. In addition, he has published opinion pieces in The Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed as well as reviews of Houellebecq’s recent fiction and poetry. He received his Ph.D. in French from Vanderbilt University in 2011. He is at work on an article entitled "Spiritism and Progress: A Study in Otherworldly Utopia," which focuses on the Spiritist movement in Second Empire France and its relation to other religious-utopian philosophies of the nineteenth century.
My project investigates the controversy over Oneida Indian land claims in central New York by tracing the history of one piece of property and the people—the Oneida families and my own—who have lived on it over the past 250 years. This story examines themes of diversity and entwined lives, war and revolution, trade and development, state violation of federal law, the influences of Oneida women on the story of the land, and the struggle to adapt and survive. This project explores the ways in which Americans have defined their identity and the role of place, culture, and history in the shaping of that identity.
Susan A. Brewer is a Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. She specializes in the study of American Foreign Relations and is the author of Why America Fights: Patriotism and War Propaganda from the Philippines to Iraq (Oxford, 2009) and To Win the Peace: British Propaganda in the United States during World War II (Cornell, 1997). She is interested in the construction of American national identity and the entanglement of history, myth, and culture. She is at work on a project entitled "The Best Land."
This book project examines the representation of clothing in early modern plays set in London. Plays by Ben Jonson, George Chapman, Thomas Middleton, and other writers of city comedy offered audiences queer forms of male embodiment and eroticism. By tracing early modern theater’s relationship to humoral psychology, to the cloth trade, and to urbanization, I reassess the historical value of superficiality for a time period commonly associated with interest in the inner life and psychological depth. I also attend to the potential political value of dissident style, as these plays provoke us to reimagine modes of being and social relations outside of the frameworks of subculture and identity that dominate current politics of sexuality and urban space.
James M. Bromley is an Associate Professor of English at Miami University. He is the author of Intimacy and Sexuality in the Age of Shakespeare (Cambridge, 2012) and the co-editor of Sex before Sex: Figuring the Act in Early Modern England (Minnesota, 2013). He won the 2011 Martin Stevens Award for the Best New Essay in Early Drama Studies from the Medieval and Renaissance Drama Society. He is currently working on a book project entitled Style, Subjectivity, and Male Sexuality in Early Modern Drama.
Part of the modern world’s first wave of migration, over twenty million Chinese moved and settled overseas between 1840 and 1940. As many transformed societies elsewhere, what was their impact on China? This project explores how a century of mass emigration contributed to the rise of “diaspora” in Chinese global consciousness, just as China rapidly became a “homeland.” Based on ideas of fixed, essential ties, the diaspora remade Chinese nation and culture by conjuring new actors, agendas, and knowledge about China in the world. Appearing to cross the purported divides of East and West, native and foreign, feudal and revolutionary, the diaspora also represented a unique promise and threat to the homeland and beyond. In sum, diaspora in the Chinese experience seemed less like a set of communities, and more as a series of moments in which Chinese ties emerged and re-emerged for adaptation and debate in a globalized world.
Shelly Chan is an Assistant Professor of History at UW-Madison, holding the new position of Asian diasporas since 2011. Her work focuses on diaspora in the Chinese experience, asking how it created and transformed Chinese history, culture and identity in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. With articles soon to appear in The Journal of Chinese Overseas and The Journal of Asian Studies, Chan is also the recipient of a Junior Scholar Grant from the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange in 2014-15. Chan received her Ph.D. from the University of California-Santa Cruz in 2009, where she trained in modern Chinese, East Asian and world history. Her other interests include gender, ethnic, postcolonial and cultural studies, as well as Southeast Asia. Before coming to UW, she was Assistant Professor of Pacific and Asian Studies at the University of Victoria in Canada. She is at work on a book entitled Diaspora’s Homeland: Modern China in the Age of Global Migration.
The discourse on the female body has been the predominant terrain of contest, debate and challenge in Women and Gender Studies. As a "disciplined" and allegorised body, the female body is seen as the metaphor of various social, cultural and political spaces of possession, annexation and transgression. My project intends to explore a comparative study of the female body as portrayed in the literary overture of American and Indian women writers of the twentieth century. Irrespective of innumerable similar and diverse racial, cultural and social predicaments, multiple fragmented or conflicting forms of hegemonies, I hope to unleash through this comparative study that these women of the twentieth century have asserted the female body as the dynamic revolutionary space of "feminine power." With a postmodernist and multicultural approach, the purpose of my project is to trace a "place of unity" in the "space of diversity." I would like to explore how the plethora of female bodies represents the reservoir of "denied history" withstanding the test of time. My comparative approach in this context will be to find out the similar and different "antecedent female bodies" across race, identity and nation.
Devaleena Das is a faculty member teaching English Literature over the last seven years in the two most prestigious universities of India: University of Calcutta and University of Delhi. She received her Ph.D from University of Calcutta in 2012 and her area of specialisation is Women and Gender Studies, Postcolonial Literature and Australian Literature. As a course designer, she has been associated with the Post Graduate Department of Women and Gender Studies at Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi. Recipient of various awards, including the Endowment Foreign Travel Fellowship, Travel Grant from De Paul University, Chicago, Dr. Das has presented papers at various national and international conferences. She has written extensively on race, gender and sexuality in various international journals and books. Her recently published book Critical Study of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter by Atlantic Press is a comprehensive critical study of Hawthorne’s magnum opus from interdisciplinary perspectives. Oxford University Press will be bringing out this year her book on 19th and 20th Century American Women Poets. Her edited collection of essays on Alice Walker’s The Color Purple will be published in September 2014 by Pencraft International. In addition, she is co-editing the book Unveiling Apocalyptic Desire: Fallen Women in Eastern Literature. She has also delivered lectures and talks at various institutions and has been among the juries at various literary debates and book discussions. She is at work on a project entitled "Female Body: The Cartography of Desire and Transnational Feminism."
Dressler's current project argues that, from an early "pagan" comic playwright to a subsequently sainted Christian poet, through "classic" Classics of the early Empire, Latin literature presumes a dialectic of "Greek" idealism and "Roman" materialism; while neither tendency adequately describes or determines social practice, their very inadequacy opens a space for under-determined and spontaneous, even countercultural activity: materialist demystification (Plautus), aesthetic autonomy (Horace, Ovid), sexual revolution (Ovid), and altruism (Seneca, Paulinus). While the results of the Romans' "social aesthetics" are partly inadvertent, their very inadvertence proves their spontaneity and makes them instructive models for enduring explication of the interrelation of aesthetics and politics.
Alex Dressler is an Assistant Professor of Classics at UW-Madison. He teaches the Greek and Roman Classics as an evolving canon rooted in European tradition but aimed at redefining the modern sense of past and present, life and art, politics and personal flourishing. Publications include articles in journals such as Helios, Ramus, and Classical Antiquity on feminism and the ancient novel, exemplarity and ancient rhetoric, deconstruction and the sociology of literature, and aesthetic thought and psychoanalysis. His first book, entitled Personification and the Feminine in Roman Philosophy, currently undergoing final revisions, is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press. This book argues that the Roman philosophers Lucretius, Cicero, and Seneca, use metaphors and other forms of figurative language to "do philosophy by other means," thereby integrating problematic conceptions of personhood, gender, and property into philosophical texts aimed at transforming the reader's emotional, social, and aesthetic existence. He is at work on a book project entitled Art and Life in Latin Literature: Emergences of a Dualistic Structure in an Ancient Archive.
Christelle Fischer-Bovet is working on a book that aims at developing a better understanding of state formation and imperialism in Egypt after the conquest of Alexander down to the inclusion of Egypt into the Roman Empire (332-30 BCE). It provides a critical narrative of the Ptolemaic empire based on Greek and Egyptian papyri and inscriptions as well as archaeological material, coins and ancient Greek authors. At the same time the study uses the evidence to evaluate different theories of empire. This book proposes that the resilience of state institutions (political, economic, and military) and above all of state ideology that were borrowed, developed and adapted by the Ptolemies, explain the long-lasting success of their state, which was made possible through the incorporation of the local elites. This approach offers a new framework for understanding Ptolemaic Egypt and social integration in multicultural states and for rethinking the phenomena of state expansion, stability and decay.
Christelle Fischer-Bovet is an Assistant Professor of Classics at the University of Southern California who specializes in the social and cultural history of the Eastern Mediterranean from Alexander the Great to the Romans, with a special interest in Greco-Roman Egypt. Her book Army and Society in Ptolemaic Egypt (Cambridge University Press, 2014) combines documentary evidence (papyri, inscriptions) with social theory to examine how the changing structures of the army led to the development of an ethnically more integrated society. She has also written several articles on Ptolemaic history and (forthcoming) articles on the role of ethnicity in the institutions of the new Hellenistic states and on legal and fiscal categories used by the Ptolemies and the Romans in Egypt. She is now preparing a new book called The Ptolemaic Empire for Oxford University Press and co-writing with the numismatist Cathy Lorber an article on wages and monetization in Hellenistic Egypt.
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.
Passing is often understood as a divergence between the private and the public identities of a given subject, with the public identity perceived as fraudulent or as a simulacrum that aims at keeping the private one secret. The study of late nineteenth-century Cuba, however, reveals the need for an alternative analytical model, one that allows us to conceptualize those cases in which this divergence is disregarded or disavowed, and in which an ostensibly false identity is validated by social norms. The project focuses on a kind of passing that depended on open secrets, investigating the active forms of not-knowing -- ranging from tactful silence and reserve to hypocrisy and disavowal -- at the core of racial constructions at a pivotal moment in Cuban history. Victor Goldgel-Carballo's corpus includes novels, theater, court cases, and advertisements.
Víctor Goldgel is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at UW-Madison. His research and teaching focus on 19th-century Latin American literature, media history, visual culture, and race studies. He is the author of Cuando lo nuevo conquistó América. Prensa, moda y literatura en el siglo XIX (Buenos Aires: Siglo XXI, 2013), the recipient of the Latin American Studies Association's "Premio Iberoamericano," an international prize awarded to the best book on Latin America in the social sciences and humanities published in Spanish or Portuguese. He is at work on a book entitled Passing as Open Secret: Race and Fictions of Identity in Nineteenth-Century Cuba.
Classical oracles were denounced in the Renaissance as either shams staged by charlatans or as engines of deceit run by demons. In Renaissance literature, though, oracles escaped these official interpretations. Why did early modern writers include oracles in their fictions, and what work did these oracles do? I approach these questions by focusing on oracles as an understudied narrative device of the Greek romance tradition. Classical Greek romances, especially the Aethiopica of Heliodorus (c. 4th century CE), were influential narrative models for writers in the Renaissance. I argue that early modern imitators of Greek romance used oracles to stage elaborate thought experiments regarding future knowledge and divine providence, cultivating suspense and doubt in the process. I trace this oracular temporality and its effects in Heliodorus, Philip Sidney, Robert Greene, Shakespeare, and Francis Bacon.
Brian Knight is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English Literature at UW-Madison. His research interests include Renaissance drama and prose, the classical tradition, and the history of science. He received an M.A. in English Literature from UW and a B.S. in Biology from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He is at work on his dissertation, entitled "Oracular Romance: Heliodoran Fiction and Suspended Providence in Early Modern English Literature."
The Amazonian frontier has long been saturated with the modernist “myth of the Future.” Yet for most of its rural and urban inhabitants, the promises of this Future have been constantly deferred, displaced, or realized elsewhere, while the spatiotemporal “openness” of the frontier is experienced not only as possibility but also precarity. Situated at the intersection of Brazilian studies, anthropology, and musicology, this project considers the way musicians and other culture-workers in the eastern Brazilian Amazon fashion futures through popular culture, understood not as “a condition of being-Other” in the classic anthropological sense, but as “a capacity for becoming-otherwise.” As our own future in the Global North comes to seem increasingly uncertain, this project suggests that we have much to learn—about alternative ethics, politics, and notions of the “good life”—from those who have long confronted precarity in the shadow of a modernist Future that fails to arrive.
Darien Lamen is an ethnomusicologist specializing in the music and culture of Brazil and the circum-Caribbean. He has received fellowships from the Social Science Research Council (2008-2009) and the American Council of Learned Societies (2012-2014). Since earning his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 2011, he has held appointments at the University of Texas at Austin and UW-Madison. Darien’s research interests range from labor and political economy to social poetics and discrepant cosmopolitanisms. He has published articles on lambada and the libidinal economies of northeastern Brazil (in Sun, Sea, and Sound, Oxford Press); the social poetics of circum-Caribbean contraband (Latin American Music Review); and “Cyborg Indian” futurism in an Amazonian sound system scene (The Global South). Darien also maintains a multimedia ethnographic archive on the history of sound systems in Belém, Brazil, and has worked as a scholar consultant for Afropop Worldwide’s Hip Deep documentary series. He is at work on a project entitled "Producing the Future on an Amazonian Cultural Frontier: Popular Music in Pará, Brazil."
Since the late twentieth-century decline of the modern Civil Rights Movement, African American literary studies has been consumed with an increasingly contentious debate about whether the task of black literature is to memorialize the slave past, or to put it behind us. Levy-Hussen puts this debate in new perspective, by foregrounding the questions of how critical fantasies of memory and forgetting are constituted, and why they have accrued such powerful currency in contemporary black literary discourse.
Aida Levy-Hussen is an Assistant Professor of English at UW-Madison. Her areas of specialization include twentieth and twenty-first century African American literature, trauma and memory studies, and feminist and queer theory. Her scholarly articles and reviews have appeared in African American Review, South Atlantic Quarterly, and Modern Fiction Studies. She is currently completing a book about the post-Civil Rights proliferation of black historical fiction and the critical idiom of historical memory. She is at work on a book entitled Reading African American Literature Now: History, Fiction, and the Problem of Desire.
Even after Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana residents have struggled to make the problem of subsidence and land loss in the Mississippi River delta a visible, national crisis. My research examines the history of both that crisis and its invisibility by focusing on the uncertain boundaries of the region’s watery terrain. Created over several thousand years by the muddy Mississippi, the delta is defined by flood, sediment, and muck. Yet the ambiguity of the landscape—a "place with no edge"—has often been interpreted as an invitation to eliminate environmental uncertainty in pursuit of rigid, impermeable boundaries. Since the early 18th century, Euro-American attempts to inhabit, rationalize, and render profitable this messy "wetlandscape" have left residents mired in unintended consequences. By following the flow of water through river levees, swamp logging frontiers, oil and gas canals, a subsiding city, and even human skin, my research suggests the perils of pursuing edges in a deltaic environment. More broadly, the project examines the changing social and ecological values at work in places where land and water meet. I argue that understanding how people negotiated the watery places of the past is essential for confronting the drowned worlds of the future.
Adam Mandelman is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Geography at UW-Madison. His work draws from scholarship in environmental history, cultural and historical geography, political ecology, ecocriticism, and science studies. His research has been supported by a Wisconsin-Mellon Summer Dissertation Fellowship; the Department of Geography's Whitbeck and Trewarth Awards; a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship; and a University Fellowship from UW-Madison. He received his M.S. in 2008 from UW-Madison’s Department of Geography for research on indigenous identity and historic preservation in Hawai'i. He received his B.A. in 2003 from Sarah Lawrence College. He maintains a blog about watery places and other themes in nature-society geography. Adam is completing a dissertation entitled "The Place With No Edge: Boundaries and Permeability in the Mississippi River Delta, 1845-2010."
This project examines the role of cause lawyers in the history of Mexican American identity politics by analyzing the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF). Created in 1968, MALDEF has emerged as the legal voice of Latino rights, yet little is known of this elite organization and its impact on the working class groups and individuals it represents. Marquez analyzes the way its cause lawyers and community activists understood and negotiated their relationship. This research locates that negotiation within the confines of the judiciary, limited social assimilation, anti-immigration politics, and the influence of MALDEF’s financial supporters.
Benjamin Marquez is a Professor of Political Science at UW-Madison. His research interests include social movements, urban politics, and minority politics. He has published numerous articles and books on the relationship between race, political power, social identities, and public and political incorporation. He is the author of Power and Politics in A Chicano Barrio: A Study of Mobilization Efforts and Community Power in El Paso (Lanham: The University Press of America, 1985), LULAC: The Evolution of a Mexican American Political Organization (Texas, 1993), and Mexican-American Political Organizations: Choosing Issues, Taking Sides (Texas, 2003), which won the 2004 Best Book Award by the Race, Ethnicity and Politics (REP) Section of the American Political Science Association. His recent book, Democratizing Texas Politics: Race, Identity, and Mexican American Empowerment, 1945-2002, was published by the University of Texas Press in 2014. He is at work on a book entitled Legalizing a Social Movement: The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and the Evolution of an Ethnic Identity.
Critics from Karl Marx to the radical American environmentalist Julia Butterfly Hill—she of the 738-day tree sit in one California redwood—have long argued that the ideals of democracy float uneasily upon the high seas of capitalism. How, these critics have asked, can we speak of individual autonomy in the face of the increasing concentration of economic and political power in corporate invisible hands? What does it mean when decisions affecting our everyday lives—the worth of our labor; whether or not our political voices can be heard; the health of our rivers, skies, farm fields, city streets, and even our own bodies—are increasingly made by distant legal fictions? My work saunters along the converging boundary lines of radical culture, green criticism, and environmental history. With it, I seek to recapture a story of environmental humility, spatial sensitivity, and radical social justice rooted in the nineteenth-century U.S.
Daegan Miller received his Ph.D. in history from Cornell University in 2013. His dissertation is a cultural and environmental history that draws on a range of primary source materials, both textual and visual, to trace how nineteenth-century Americans unsure about the costs of Progress reimagined and reshaped their landscapes in order to highlight the unnaturalness of capitalism, industrialization, scientific racism, and Manifest Destiny. He has published in a variety of venues—from creative writing magazines to academic journals—and is currently learning to “speak tree” for an article-length essay tracing the sylvan literacy infusing all aspects of nineteenth-century U.S. culture. He is at work on a project entitled "Witness Tree: Landscape and Dissent in the Nineteenth-Century United States." He is also developing a second book-project exploring the cultural politics of long-distance walking in the nineteenth-century U.S.
How have believers brought specific spiritual practices to bear on the demands of modern jobs and family labor? What kinds of spiritual discipline have been effective for those coping with the high-tech, “high-touch” stretch-out in offices, hospitals, schools, and cyberspace? Grounded in a transnational historical narrative of the organization’s evolution, this project seeks to understand how the influential lay Catholic institution Opus Dei has developed techniques for professionals and service workers specifically; how practitioners understand these spiritual tools; and how they relate to Opus Dei’s theology of work.
Bethany Moreton is an Associate Professor of History and Women's Studies at the University of Georgia and a series editor for Columbia University Press’s Studies in the History of U.S. Capitalism. Since receiving her doctorate in history at Yale University in 2006, she has been a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Cambridge and at the Harvard Divinity School. Her first book, To Serve God and Wal-Mart: The Making of Christian Free Enterprise (Harvard University Press, 2009) won the Frederick Jackson Turner Prize for best first book in U.S. history and the John Hope Franklin Award for the best book in American Studies. She is a founding member of the Tepoztlán Institute for the Transnational History of the Americas and a founding faculty member of Freedom University, which offers college coursework without charge to qualified Georgia high school graduates regardless of immigration status.
In 1663, Descartes’s works were placed by Catholic Church on the Index of Prohibited Books. One year later, now fourteen years after the philosopher’s death, the various parts of his treatise Le Monde—originally composed in the early 1630s but withheld from publication when Descartes learned about the Church’s condemnation of Galileo—were finally published in Paris by his friends and followers. The history of Le Monde—including the context of its composition, publication, and influence—is the subject of my current book project.
Steven Nadler is the William H. Hay II Professor of Philosophy and the Evjue-Bascom Professor in Humanities at UW-Madison, where he has been teaching since 1988. He specializes in the history of early modern philosophy (especially the seventeenth century) and in medieval Jewish philosophy. His books include Spinoza: A Life (Cambridge, 1999, winner of the Koret Jewish Book Award); Rembrandt's Jews (Chicago, 2003, named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize); The Best of All Possible Worlds: A Story of Philosophers, God, and Evil (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2008); A Book Forged in Hell: Spinoza's Scandalous Treatise and the Birth of the Secular Age (Princeton, 2011); and The Philosopher, the Priest, and the Painter: A Portrait of Descartes (Princeton, 2013). He is the editor of the Journal of the History of Philosophy.
This project will be volume two of a history of medieval cosmology, focusing on the twelfth century, and taking into consideration both verbal and pictorial documents (La cosmologie médiévale. Textes et images II: le XIIe siècle). There is no synthetic history of cosmology for this period of the Middle Ages. This project challenges the commonly-made distinction between scientific and non-scientific activities with that of specialized and non-specialized domains. It considers the twelfth century from the point of view of its dependence on pre-twelfth-century Roman cosmology on the one hand and the assimilations of newly-made translations from the Arabic and the Greek on the other hand. It identifies and analyzes major trends by making a distinction between a cosmology that was predominantly astronomical and mathematical in approach and a cosmology that focused on natural philosophy. Moreover, it takes into consideration the cosmological tradition which interpreted the created world to be a symbol of spiritual values, and is usually termed "symbolic."
Barbara Obrist is Directeur de Recherche at CNRS and the University Paris Diderot - Paris 7, in the Laboratoire SPHERE (Science, Philosophie, Histoire-UMR 7219). She received her Ph.D. in Art History in Geneva (Les débuts de l'imagerie alchimique (14e-15e siècles), Paris: Le Sycomore, 1982) and first held a position in art history at CNRS in Strasbourg. She edited a thirteenth-century alchemical text (Constantine of Pisa: The Book of the Secrets of Alchemy. Critical Edition, Commentary, and Translation, Leiden: Brill, 1990) and turned to history of science and philosophy. Subsequently, early medieval cosmology (from the seventh to twelfth centuries) became her main area of research, including translations from the Arabic into Latin. She joined the Centre d’histoire des sciences et des philosophies arabes et médiévales, CNRS - Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (Paris) in 1995 and has held her present position since 2009. She is at work on the second volume of a series, entitled A History of Twelfth-Century Cosmology.
My dissertation examines the historical role played by Islamic charitable endowments in Swahili cities during the late precolonial to early colonial period (roughly late 1700s to early 1900s). Specifically following the development of wakf (Islamic endowments) in the burgeoning capitol port of Zanzibar and its cosmopolitan competitor Mombasa, my research argues that over time inhabitants of Swahili towns articulated notions of charity both deeply rooted in African social discourse but also responsive to a variety of trans-oceanic strains of Islamic morality. These intersections demonstrate how centrally charitable behavior was inscribed upon Swahili ideas about moral citizenship in their world and how they imagined the topography of the city in moral terms. Tracing the changes ushered in by successive Omani and British regimes also challenges the problematic ways modern historiography has linked the western notion of caritas with philanthropy, which effectively envisions charity as a modern concept. Rather, my project opens up the possibilities of investigating African altruism prior to European intervention.
Stephen Pierce is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at UW-Madison. His research explores the historical development of Islamic institutions of charity, especially along the East African coast, but also focuses on how cosmopolitanism, the multiple trajectories of Islam among its many adherents, and the intersection of culture and religion with these histories challenge traditional definitions of charity and philanthropy. His doctoral work has been funded by a Mellon-Fulbright Doctoral Dissertation Research Fellowship, a UW-Mellon Summer Dissertation Fellowship, a UW Chancellor’s Fellowship and the Dana-Allen Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship. He received a B.A. in history and social studies from Cedarville University and an M.A. in world history from Northeastern University in Boston. He is at work on a dissertation entitled "Charity, Cosmopolitanism and Culture in coastal East Africa, 1750s to 1940s."
As the first sustained examination of boxing's rise and popularization within Cuba and its diaspora, Anju Reejhsinghani's project should prove relevant not only to cultural historians, but also to scholars of diaspora, gender, race, and transnationalism. In the wake of the Spanish-Cuban-American War, U.S. government, religious, and business interests nurtured a culture of pugilism that tried, but failed, to embed a rigid color line in Havana's prize rings. In the 1920s, the Cuban state's regulation of the sport opened the floodgates to aspirants from the provinces as well as the capital, who soon formed a transnational workforce that gradually shaped diasporic identity and influenced U.S. racial attitudes. While Fidel Castro's revolutionary government did not initially envision major reforms to boxing, its hemispheric isolation led it to ban professional sport in 1962—fueling an exodus of Cuba's top talent and forcing it to rebuild its boxing program in line with socialist ideals.
Anju Reejhsinghani is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, where she teaches courses on Latin America and the Caribbean, transnational and global sport, and the Asian diaspora in the Americas. In 2013, she developed and led one of the UW System’s first short-term, for-credit study abroad programs to Cuba, now an ongoing program. Her work has been published in the Journal of American Ethnic History, Journal of Sport History, and the forthcoming Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography (Oxford University Press). Her current book project, For Blood or for Glory: A History of Cuban Boxing, 1898-1962, draws upon research conducted in numerous U.S. and Cuban archives with the generous support of the UWSP College of Letters and Science and other institutions.
This project analyzes the cultural and political symbolism of henna in contemporary Morocco. Henna dye is applied on religious occasions throughout North Africa—yet only in Morocco does this feminine art symbolize a “nationalized” Islam. This project contends that Moroccan henna’s explicitly spiritual significance is grounded in local interpretations of orthodoxy and explores the mobilization of this art form as a contested emblem of social protest and political legitimacy in a climate of unrest.
Amanda E. Rogers is currently a second-year Andrew W. Mellon postdoctoral fellow at UW-Madison (Ph.D., Emory University, 2013). Amanda is a specialist in visual rhetoric, digital media, and critical theory of art and culture in the greater Islamic world. She is an academic, journalist, artist, and political analyst whose work appears in numerous forums, including the BBC, Al-Jazeera, Aslan Media, and The New York Times. Her forthcoming monograph, Semiotics of Rebellion From Morocco to Egypt: Advertising Revolution and Marketing Allegiance (advance contract with University of Pennsylvania Press, International Relations and Public Policy Series), focuses on the critical use of politicized cultural discourse for international alliances, regional stability, and intra nation-state image warfare.
"The Way of the Samurai is death." This iconic phrase, originally found in the 1716 Japanese work Hagakure, exhorted Japanese to die during World War II and has since flourished in popular media around the world. This project both situates this renowned formulation of Japanese warrior ethics in its original, eighteenth-century context and traces its dissemination and reinterpretation over time. Avoiding ahistorical assertions about Japanese "spirit" or "ethnomentality," this project examines how writers, publishers, and politicians have repeatedly altered the meanings and impact of this seemingly static text – whether reducing its complex message to a simple exhortation to throw away one’s life for the state, or using its stories to shape, and reshape, our ideals of loyalty and service, heroism and compassion. In examining the history of Hagakure, this project explores not only a key area of popular Japanese ethics, but issues common to anti-intellectual, isolationist, or suicidal movements worldwide.
Sarah Thal is an Associate Professor of History at UW-Madison, and is an affiliate of the UW's Center for East Asian Studies, Religious Studies Program, and Center for History and the Environment. A scholar of the religious, social, and political history of early modern and modern Japan, she seeks to understand the intersection of religious ideals and practices with the myriad stresses of everyday life. She is the author of Rearranging the Landscape of the Gods: The Politics of a Pilgrimage Site in Japan, 1573-1912 (University of Chicago Press, 2005), as well as several articles and essays on Shinto in modern Japan. She is at work on a book project entitled Hagakure and "The Way of the Samurai."
Recent—and controversial—Supreme Court decisions in the United States and the equally contentious prospect of constitutional revision in Japan reveal that definitions of religious freedom are neither universal nor settled. Based on my abiding interest in the limits of freedom, how the category of religion is defined by competing interest groups, and changing conceptions of the human, my book manuscript examines the politics of religious freedom in twentieth century Japan and in U.S.-Japan relations. The project traces shifting interpretations of religious freedom within Japan and demonstrates that interactions between Japan and the United States during the Pacific War (1941–1945) and the Allied Occupation of Japan (1945–1952) played a crucial role in the postwar construction of religious freedom as a human right. Along the way, the manuscript also interrogates the political ramifications of religious studies and questions the seemingly innocuous ideal of spreading religious freedom worldwide.
Jolyon Thomas received his Ph.D. in Religion from Princeton University in 2014; he holds M.A. degrees in Religion from Princeton (2011) and the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (2008) and a B.A. in Religious Studies from Grinnell College (2001). His current research focuses on the politics of religious freedom in twentieth century Japan. The project examines contentious domestic debates over religious freedom during the time that Japan’s first modern constitution was in effect (1890–1947) and tracks the emergence of substantive changes in international interpretations of religious freedom during World War II and the postwar Allied Occupation of Japan (1945–1952). He has also published extensively on relationships between popular media, fan culture, and religion in contemporary Japan. His 2012 book, Drawing on Tradition: Manga, Anime, and Religion in Contemporary Japan, is available from University of Hawai‘i Press. He is at work on a book manuscript, entitled "Japan's Preoccupation with Religious Freedom: The Crucial Role of an East Asian Nation in the Construction of a Universal 'Human Right.'"
This project explores the trans-Atlantic interest in psychical research at the fin-de-siècle, focusing on the textual and photographic archives of "ectoplasmic" materializations. Though seemingly an eccentric and marginal practice, I argue that parapsychology research and imagery intervened in larger cultural debates concerning the nature of memory, the matter of materialism, and issues of social justice. The "ectoplasmic" forces us to rethink modernism's visual and conceptual relationship to the occult, it recharges and complicates the presumed role of doubt and artifice in the production of evidence, and it puts pressure on existing narratives about photography’s relationship to the history of science.
Lucy Traverse is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Art History at UW-Madison, where she also received an M.A. in 2010. She is a broad modernist interested in fin-de-siècle transatlantic visual culture, the history and theory of photography, the gendering and imaging of psychosomatic eccentricity, and visual experiences of the urban. Her dissertation has also been supported by Chancellor's Fellowships and a CLIR/Mellon Fellowship for Dissertation Research in Original Sources. Work from her dissertation research will appear in the forthcoming anthology Photography in Doubt (Routledge, 2015). She is at work on her dissertation entitled "Ectoplasmic Modernities: Materialization Photography at the Turn of the Century."
My dissertation evaluates the intellectual career of Fatḥallāh al-Shirwānī, a 15th-century Islamic astronomer, theologian, and teacher whose writings are critical for understanding the transmission of science from Central Asia to Constantinople, and potentially to Europe. Shirwānī's work addresses three key topics in Islamic science: attempts to reform Ptolemaic astronomy with new models for planetary motion, the rediscovery of Ibn al-Haytham's revolutionary project in optics, and the status of science in a tradition of religious scholarship. In my analysis of Shirwānī's oeuvre I challenge previous scholarly assessments of this period as one of sharp decline in the creative character of Islamic scientific thought. In a broader comparative context, my research sheds new light on late medieval Islamic science during the generations of increasing intellectual and cultural exchange between Europe and the Islamic world that preceded the European Renaissance.
Scott Trigg is a Ph.D. candidate in the Joint Ph.D. program in the Departments of History of Science and History at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His research interests cover the history of science and philosophy in Islamic societies, medieval scientific education and institutions, and the process of transmitting knowledge within and across cultures. His dissertation has been supported by the History of Science department as well as a grant from the Division of International Studies for archival work in Istanbul. Scott was a Fellow at the Center for Arabic Study Abroad at the American University in Cairo, and is also the Coordinator of UW-Madison's summer APTLII language immersion program. He received a B.A. in mathematics and physics from Lawrence University and Master's degrees in Mathematics and the History of Science from UW-Madison. He is at work on his dissertation entitled "Astronomy, Optics, and Theology: Fathallah al-Shirwānī’s Commentary on Ṭūsī's Tadhkira."
Trudell's current book project traces the development of verse with a musical dimension in the poetic and theatrical cultures of early modern England, beginning with the renewed interest in musical humanism among Sidney and his peers, and continuing through Milton's fascination with musical language and experience. Song was an essential part of the literary canon, and it circulated ubiquitously in written format. Yet it was also highly performative, inseparable from the rhythmic, vocal and instrumental conditions of its recital. As such, song brings out the extensive interaction between writing and sound in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century literary culture. Song resists the notion that literature can be confined to a particular media format, subject as it was to a constant series of feedback loops between scriptive, acoustic, visual and other media. Persistently understood as poetic yet irreducible to script, song invites us to re-imagine literature as a process of mediation, adapted and redefined by the competing influences of technologies, formats, authors and performers.
Scott A. Trudell is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Maryland, College Park, where his research and teaching focus on early modern literature, media theory and music. In addition to his current book project about song and mediation from Sidney and Shakespeare to Jonson and Milton, he has research interests in gender studies, digital humanities, pageantry and itinerant theatricality. His work has been published in Shakespeare Quarterly, Studies in Philology and edited collections. He is at work on a book entitled Song and Mediation in Early Modern England.
In June of 2013 early monsoon rains of unexpected intensity hit the Himalayas in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. Floods and landslides washed away thousands of lives and decimated the economic landscape of the state. One public face of this disaster has been the near-destruction and ongoing rebuilding of the Hindu sacred place of Kedarnath. I am writing a book that situates what is unfolding in Kedarnath today relative to factors critical for life in the twenty-first century: environmental change, religion, nationalism, development, tourism, local-translocal connections, virtual networks, embodiment, and the perennial human need for orientation in the face of tragedy.
Luke Whitmore received his M.T.S. from Harvard Divinity School in 1999 and his Ph.D. in West and South Asian Religions from the Graduate Division of Religion at Emory University in 2010. He also studied for two years at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. Broadly, his research and teaching interests include South Asian and Himalayan religions, Shaivism, Judaism, theory and method in religious studies, pilgrimage, myth, visual culture, network theory, phenomenological anthropology, and the study of place and space. His research focuses on the Hindu pilgrimage place of Kedarnath, and the mountainous region of Garhwal (located in the north Indian state of Uttarakhand) in which it is found. He is at work on a book entitled Mountain, Water, Rock, God: Shiva's Abode of Kedarnath in the Twenty-First Century.
This project shows how pastoral literature—especially pastourelle poetry—became a privileged site for French explorations of cultural and linguistic difference in the Middle Ages. The generic framework of the pastourelle poem—in which an errant knight encounters, and subsequently often rapes, a shepherdess—entangles cultural and linguistic difference with sexual power and class hierarchy. Borderlands turns to Occitania, Flanders, the Basque Country and England as imagined in francophone poetry.
Eliza Zingesser is an Assistant Professor in the Department of French and Romance Philology at Columbia University. She has published on medieval and Renaissance literature in journals such as Modern Language Notes and Modern Philology. She is particularly interested in assimilation, multilingualism, cultural and linguistic contact, and gender and sexuality. In addition to Borderlands, she is at work on a book project on the early francophone reception of troubadour lyric.