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UW System Fellows

Portrait image of Andrey Ivanov outdoors
Andrey V. Ivanov
History, UW-Platteville
UW System Fellow (2017-2018)
A Spiritual Revolution: The Impact of the Reformation and Enlightenment in Early Modern Orthodox Russia

This book project evaluates the influence of Reformation and Enlightenment ideas on Eastern Orthodox Church during the age of great reforms under the reigns of Peter I (1672-1725), Catherine II (1729-1796) and Alexander I (1777-1825). During this period of time, Russia’s energetic empresses and tsars engaged the country’s Western-educated and liberal church hierarchs to reform the empire’s faith, society, political ideology and every day rhythm of religious life for millions of the country’s Orthodox inhabitants.  

Although most scholars view such ideas as being formative in the emergence of modernity in the Western Hemisphere (particularly in the Protestant and Catholic societies of Western and Central Europe), this manuscript argues, that they were crucial in the foundations of Russia’s modernizing empire. Reforms, inspired by the church, however, reached well beyond the boundaries of religion: in creating the new standards of social discipline and public hygiene, the new priorities in foreign relations, the celebration of reason, the rise of toleration, and the synergy of an enlightened faith with the pre-Darwinian science.  

How does the church become “modern”? What does the term “reformation/reformatio” mean in the Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant contexts? Why did Russia’s rulers need an “enlightened” religion in order to build an “enlightened” empire? These questions – and more - will steer the writing of this manuscript further in the course of the project’s interdisciplinary journey through the fellowship at the IRH.

Andrey V. Ivanov (Ph.D., Yale University, 2012) is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin – Platteville. During 2017-2018, he will be an IRH UW System Fellow, spending the spring of 2018 full time in research at the Institute.

Portrait image of Haixia Lan
Haixia Lan
English, UW-La Crosse
UW System Fellow (2017-2018)
Aristotle and Lao-Zhuang on Rhetoric and Dao: Not to Persuade and No-Action

To some, Aristotle and Lao-Zhuang (Laozi-Zhuangzi) may seem to have little in common and even to exemplify the dichotomy between reason and intuition. However, their actual teaching complicates these assumptions. Given how crucial these authors are in shaping and reflecting their respective cultural ethos, their teaching is examined closely in this study to help foster better cross-cultural communication today. Instead of aiming at establishing certain readings of Aristotelian and Daoist teaching as superior to others, this study hypothesizes that different, including some opposing, interpretations may all have something to contribute to meaningful comparative rhetorical studies of China and the West, that some less anthologized scholarship deserves our attention, and that it therefore needs to be incorporated into comparative studies that we teach on university campuses to prepare students for the challenge of the 21st century.

Haixia Lan’s PhD in English from Purdue University emphasizes Rhetoric and Composition and Literary Theory, and her teaching of and research on writing and comparative rhetoric at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse focus on rhetorical invention, i.e., on the relation between language use and probable thinking. Her book Aristotle and Confucius on Rhetoric and Truth: The Form and the Way (Routledge 2016) aims at fostering better understanding between China and the West, and it explores both the similarities and the differences between the two cultures through examining ides of αλήθεια/truth, form, enthymeme, epiekia, kairos, topoi, stasis according to Aristotle on the one hand and, on the other, tian, dao, ren, yi, li, yue according to Confucius. Since 2008, she has also been Academic Director of the 2+2 English Degree Program at UW-La Crosse.

Portrait image of Sandra Moats
Sandra Moats
History, UW-Parkside
UW System Fellow (2017-2018)
Building a Neutral Nation: America in the 18th Century Atlantic

In 1793, the United States issued a Neutrality Proclamation to avoid involvement in a war between Britain and France, its principal allies. Neutrality confronted numerous challenges, particularly from American citizens eager to profit from European warfare as privateers. To remain neutral, the U.S. government needed to embrace its constitutional responsibilities and develop institutions capable of enforcing this policy. This book-length project examines the unexplored relationship between neutrality and the establishment of the American government.

Sandra Moats is an associate professor of history at UW-Parkside. Her research focuses on the governing challenges and political choices that confronted the American republic in its founding decades. Her first book, Celebrating the Republic, addressed the role of presidential ceremony in launching the American government. In 2013-2014, she was an Inaugural Fellow at George Washington’s Mount Vernon.

Portrait image of Neil Prendergast
Neil Prendergast
History, UW-Stevens Point
International Studies
UW System Fellow (2017-2018)
American Holidays, American Nature

At the IRH, I will be working on the book manuscript American Holidays, American Nature, which will be the first book to place the Thanksgiving turkey and the Christmas tree into both an environmental and historical context. The book shows that just as holidays have been invented, so too has the nature that serves them. For the Thanksgiving turkey and Christmas tree, the story has been one of uncertainty and anxiety over the place of nature in modern American life.

Neil Prendergast is Associate Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, where he teaches United States environmental history. His work has appeared in the Western Historical Quarterly and Environmental History. In 2015, he was awarded the University Award for Teaching Excellence.