ACLS Fellows

The ACLS Fellowship Program awards fellowships to individual scholars working in the humanities and related social sciences. Institutions and individuals contribute to the ACLS Fellowship Program and its endowment, including The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Council's college and university Associates, and former Fellows and individual friends of ACLS.

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Watch "Emerging Themes and Methods of Research: A Discussion with ACLS Fellows," an annual meeting session featuring recent ACLS fellows. 

Karl Appuhn
Karl Appuhn  |  Abstract
This project investigates the history of epizootics in eighteenth-century Venice. By examining the political and scientific debates surrounding the health of livestock, it shows that the eighteenth-century revolution in agrarian productivity that set the stage for the economic and social transformation of Europe in the following centuries relied in part on the ability of western Europeans to shift the environmental costs of large-scale stock keeping onto central Europe, thereby preserving valuable arable land for staple crops. It also argues that the experience of regular and devastating outbreaks of zoonotic diseases provided an important impetus for the establishment of veterinary medicine as a distinct science.

Assistant Professor, History, New York University  -  Ecologies of Beef: Epizootics, Science, and Society in Eighteenth-Century Venice

Lori R. Meeks
Lori R. Meeks  |  Abstract
Although orthodox Buddhist texts present disparaging views of the female body, most members of the Japanese laity knew little of such teachings until the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries. But by the mid-sixteenth century, doctrines emphasizing the impurity of the female body had gained wide circulation. This period also saw the emergence and spread within Japan of the Blood Bowl Sutra, which teaches that the discharges of the female body damn women to hells comprised of bloody pools. How was it that such extreme views of the female body gained currency during this time? Why did priests choose to focus on these teachings, and how did they spread them? This project examines the sociocultural processes that led to Japan’s adoption of particular views of gender at particular historical moments.

Assistant Professor, Religion and East Asian Languages and Cultures, University of Southern California  -  How Buddhist Views of the Female Body Entered Popular Discourse: Tracing Ideological Change in Late Medieval and Early Modern Japan

Idelber V. Avelar
Idelber V. Avelar  |  Abstract
This study traces the representation of masculinity in selected moments of contemporary Brazilian and Argentine literatures. Its starting point is the model of revolutionary masculinity proposed by political movements of the 1960s/1970s and its subsequent crisis. Anchored in the sociology of gender, feminist theory, and cultural studies, it examines several novels that have addressed questions such as: gay challenges to hegemonic masculinity, the perception of a crisis in male self-images, transformations in labor force and family structure, and women's appropriations of traits assumed to be masculine. Authors studied include Brazilians Fernando Gabeira, Silviano Santiago, Ana Miranda, and Caio Abreu, as well as Argentines Miguel Bonasso, Alan Pauls, Néstor Perlongher, and Gustavo Ferreyra.

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow
Professor, Spanish and Portuguese, Tulane University  -  Rethinking Masculinity in Contemporary Brazilian and Argentinian Literatures

Kathryn A. Miller
Kathryn A. Miller  |  Abstract
The redemption of captives in the medieval Mediterranean constitutes an extreme case of cultural exchange, insofar as it handles human wares that obviously speak of discord and conflict. This project examines the instruments of exchange, the forms of communication, and the mechanisms of collaboration between Christians and Muslims who worked as fakkak or alfaqueques (ransom exchange agents) and who should have had, on political and religious grounds, only the means to distrust one another. “Business with Infidels” aims to contribute to a growing historiography on Mediterranean cross-cultural relations, on long-distance trade, on networks, and on how trustworthy partnerships can be forged across religious groups in the absence of formal international courts of law.

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow
Assistant Professor, History, Stanford University  -  Business with Infidels: Christian-Muslim Exchanges of Captives across the Medieval Mediterranean

Thomas W. Barton
Thomas W. Barton  |  Abstract
This project explores the ways in which European societies conquered and colonized their frontiers, implanting in them Latin-Christian institutions, through the analysis of the Crown of Aragon’s integration from the mid-twelfth century of Muslim-ruled territory now known as New Catalonia. Thousands of previously neglected documents from diverse archival collections show how the organization, traditions, and administrative practices established in the wake of the conquest shaped the later history of the region, institutionalizing aspects of its frontier environment. This research explicates how the changing sociopolitical contexts influencing colonization along shifting frontiers enhanced localization within medieval European society.

Assistant Professor, History, University of San Diego  -  In the Shadow of Conquest: Settlement, Memory, and Authority in the Crown of Aragon, 1148-1300

Kiri Miller
Kiri Miller  |  Abstract
This research investigates new modes of musical experience made possible by interactive digital media. Streaming audio/video technologies and social networking websites have allowed people to go far beyond trading mp3 files online; today they take music lessons through YouTube, participate in virtual collaborations, and engage with popular music in new ways by playing games like Guitar Hero. How are these new forms of “musicking” changing practitioners’ concepts of musicality, creativity, and embodied performance? This project builds on ethnographic research to present new theories of musical performance at the intersection of the “virtual” and the “real,” enhancing our understanding of the changing nature of amateur musicianship in a technologically mediated world.

Assistant Professor, Music, Brown University  -  Technomusicality: Digital Games, YouTube, and Virtual Performance

Emily Kay Berquist
Emily Kay Berquist  |  Abstract
This project examines how the Spanish Bourbon reforms of the late-eighteenth century were re-imagined at the local level in Peru. It centers on the work of a Spanish Bishop, Baltasar Jaime Martínez Compañón, who lived and worked in Trujillo from 1779 to 1790. Although as an ecclesiastic, Martínez Compañón was officially charged with spiritual matters, his political economy reforms (in mining, education, and agriculture) and his natural history research (in the areas of botany, zoology, ethnography, and archaeology) situate him within a broader network of administrators, bureaucrats, and scientists who sought to improve and transform the Spanish empire in the so-called Age of Enlightenment.

Associate Professor, History, California State University, Long Beach  -  The Science of Empire: The Bishop's Practical Utopia in Colonial Peru

Daisuke Miyao
Daisuke Miyao  |  Abstract
This project examines the practice of lighting technology in the formative decades of Japanese cinema. In a departure from current scholarly treatments, it tells a different story: that of film technologies as a highly contested field between global and local. It draws upon critical studies of cinema to explore Japanese film production practices and specific cross-cultural tensions and negotiations that shaped them. It compares the uses of lighting technologies in both Japanese and non-Japanese films, and traces critical discourses on these practices in film journals. The study helps to reformulate the way scholars think about cinematic practices and the sociopolitical and economic contexts in which they develop.

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow
Associate Professor, East Asian Languages and Literatures, University of Oregon  -  The Aesthetics of Shadow: Lighting in Japanese Cinema

Lisa M. Bitel
Lisa M. Bitel  |  Abstract
“Lady of the Rock” is about ordinary people who are reinventing Catholicism in the California desert. The study focuses on a self-identified visionary and the hundreds of witnesses who gather at Lady of the Rock to watch her monthly sightings of the Virgin Mary. These pilgrims combine orthodox rituals, doctrine, and iconography with modern visual technologies in order to prove the visionary’s authenticity and justify their own extraordinary religious experiences outside of any church. Their attempts help us better understand the ongoing groundswell of American religiosity, shifts in twenty-first-century Catholicism, and the global spread of charismatic religion.

Professor, History, Religion, and Gender Studies, University of Southern California  -  Lady of the Rock: Vision, Faith, and Cult in the Modern Desert

Susannah Brietz Monta
Susannah Brietz Monta  |  Abstract
This project examines the uses of repetition in Reformation-era aesthetics and devotional practice. In this period, polemicists attacked repetitive prayer as stultifying, passionless, and uncreative. Yet the era’s rhetorical poetics valued repetition highly as a means of stimulating intense emotion, engaging the memory, and provoking creative and intellectual reflection. This project uncovers a substantial body of literature that engages the tensions between polemic and poetic practice in order to defend, recuperate, or reform repetitive prayer. Such contestations over repetitive devotion raise questions central to the period about the nature of authentic prayer, the boundaries and character of Catholicism, the recuperation or rejection of the religious past, and literary creativity itself.

Associate Professor, English, University of Notre Dame  -  Sacred Echoes: Repetitive Prayer and Reformation-Era Poetics in Early Modern England

Matthew B. Boyle
Matthew B. Boyle  |  Abstract
This project investigates what it means to say that human beings are rational animals, and the implications of this classification for the philosophy of mind and psychology. Drawing on ideas from Immanuel Kant, it argues that we can only make good sense of the rational-nonrational distinction if we understand the intimate connection between rationality and the power to be, in a specific sense, self-determining in one’s own thoughts and choices. The resulting view of the nature of our rationality and the way it informs our capacities perception and desire-governed action—capacities we share with nonrational animals, but which take a distinctive shape in our case—turns out to have important consequences for debates about mind, action, and ethics.

Assistant Professor, Philosophy, Harvard University  -  The Mind of a Rational Animal

Marissa J. Moorman
Marissa J. Moorman  |  Abstract
“Tuning in to Nation” is a study of radio, nation, and the Cold War in Angola. The study takes radio, a cultural technology, and investigates its use in nationalist politics and war. In particular, it centers on the nation and on the armed struggles for independence in Angola and the resultant civil war, both of which shaped and were shaped by regional and international politics during the Cold War era. Taking radio as an object of study allows for a synchronization of various scales (intra-national, national, and international) and interests over distinct periods of time to understand anti-colonial movements and postcolonial nation-building as local, regional, and global processes.

Assistant Professor, History, Indiana University Bloomington  -  Tuning in to Nation: Radio Technology and Politics in Angola, 1961-2002

C. Tyler Burge
C. Tyler Burge  |  Abstract
This project examines constitutive conditions for having propositional attitudes. It associate these constitutive conditions with a discussion of what empirical evidence is relevant to showing that specific species have propositional attitudes; discusses what is known about which species have them; and criticizes armchair attempts to show that non-human animals could not have propositional attitudes. Finally, it develops a non-deflationary notion of reason, according to which a creature can reason, in at least a primitive but robust sense, if and only if the creature has propositional attitudes. The discussion involves a serious discussion of what it is about propositional structure that connects propositional attitudes with reason.

Professor, Philosophy, University of California, Los Angeles  -  Constitutive and Phylogenetic Origins of Reason

Trian Nguyen
Trian Nguyen  |  Abstract
In 1963 a monk burned himself to death in a busy intersection in Saigon during the Vietnam War. His political and spiritual act horrified and inspired millions of people. This study reconstructs the historic event and analyzes his underlying motivations and the impact of his sacrifice, through primary sources of previously unexplored temple archives, published and unpublished memories, Western accounts, and religious texts. Combining history and ethnology, this study also investigates his early training, his religious practice, his life and work, and the sociopolitical situations of the time to shed light on how and why Thich Quang Duc undertook the extraordinary act. The study contributes to understanding an influential piece of Vietnam’s past that has been neglected.

Associate Professor, Art and Visual Culture and Asian Studies, Bates College  -  The Burning Monk: A Study of Thich Quang Duc’s Self-Immolation, His Life, and His Impact on the Modern History of Vietnam

Ilias Chrissochoidis
Ilias Chrissochoidis  |  Abstract
Almost unique among modern genres, the oratorios of Handel trod a path from secular to sacred space. Originally dramatic entertainment for the London stage, they were translated, in the course of a few decades, into sacred music and a British cultural monument. This project examines the transformation in the context of the social and cultural dynamism of Georgian Britain. Linking the genre’s development to English nationalism, it investigates interactions with contemporary audiences from cognitive and psychological perspectives. The absence of visual representation and the dominance of chorus in oratorio performances helped eliminate the audience/performers divide and foster a community spirit hitherto available only in civic and religious rituals.

Lecturer, Continuing Studies, Stanford University  -  From the London Stage to Westminster Abbey: Cultural Mobility of Handel’s Oratorios in Britain, 1732-1784

Carrie Jaurès Noland
Carrie Jaurès Noland  |  Abstract
This project studies of the emergence and development of a poetic avant-garde in the French Antilles under the severe constraints of “assimilation.” The policy of assimilation worked to replace reference points in the immediate surroundings with a cognitive map—a way of interpreting physical and existential realities—derived from an entirely different culture and clime. It also imposed a body “hexis,” a restrained way of moving, on the bodies of educated Caribbeans. This project analyzes how three Caribbean poets, Aimé Césaire, Léon-Gontran Damas, and Édouard Glissant, respond to this two-pronged attack on lived experience. Their innovative thought and practice forces poetry studies, imbued with the lessons of poststructuralism, to return to problems left unresolved, such as the relation between language and the physical body, and the connection between text and context.

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow
Professor, French and Italian, Comparative Literature, University of California, Irvine  -  Not a Dancing Bear: Poetry of the French Caribbean

Emily J. Clark
Emily J. Clark  |  Abstract
The antebellum quadroon, offspring of European and African ancestors, has long operated as a synecdoche for New Orleans, both condemned in the popular imagination by the linked sins of slavery and interracial sex. The quadroon concubine and the city she inhabits represent the antithesis of Puritan New England and the heartland of the Middle West, helping to define these sites as quintessentially American. This formulation is an enduring barrier to recognizing a shared history for New Orleans and the rest of the nation. This project traces the political and cultural imperatives that shaped the quadroon in antebellum literature and employs archival sources to reconstruct the lived experience of the free women of color of New Orleans who were imagined to have embodied the stereotype.

Associate Professor, History, Tulane University  -  The Strange History of the American Quadroon, 1700-Present

James Oakes
James Oakes  |  Abstract
This project synthesizes for the first time the social, political, military, and ideological history of emancipation during the Civil War. The focus is on how emancipation happened, rather than on who freed the slaves, and relies on plantation manuscripts, slave autobiographies, the Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress, the papers of Lincoln’s cabinet and personal secretaries, congressional debates, the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, the Jefferson Davis papers, the records of the Confederate Congress, travelers’ accounts, and newspapers.

Professor, History, City University of New York, The Graduate Center  -  “Out of the Darkness”: The End of Slavery in the United States, 1860-1865

Andrew Wender Cohen
Andrew Wender Cohen  |  Abstract
This project investigates how the emerging American state regulated contact between its citizens and the world during the so-called Gilded Age. To feed consumer demand for foreign products, a brisk traffic developed in goods like silk, opium, tobacco, sugar, diamonds, and art in violation of strict trade laws. Americans enjoyed bargain priced contraband, but they worried about its effect on the nation’s character, and they empowered the customs to protect native workers, limit consumption, define the nation, and regulate new territorial possessions. This research uncovers America’s doubts about its new cosmopolitanism, its debates about the use of military force abroad, and its attempts to define a national identity in the face of changing demographic, racial, and sexual realities.

Associate Professor, History, Syracuse University  -  Contraband: Smuggling and the Birth of the American Century

Gregory E. O'Malley
Gregory E. O'Malley  |  Abstract
“Final Passages” explores an often overlooked aspect of the forced migration of African laborers to the Americas—their dispersal after the ocean crossing. For hundreds of thousands of Africans, the slave trade journey continued after their arrival in an American port. The project identifies and quantifies the major routes of this phase of the slave trade, suggests its significance in Atlantic commerce, and recounts the experiences of the African captives who endured it.

ACLS Oscar Handlin Fellow
Assistant Professor, History, University of California, Santa Cruz  -  Final Passages: The British Intercolonial Slave Trade, 1619-1807

Ronald M. Davidson
Ronald M. Davidson  |  Abstract
This project explores the origins of Buddhist Tantrism in seventh- and eighth-century India, examining more than a dozen Buddhist documents in Sanskrit, Chinese, and Tibetan. They describe the earliest tantric Buddhist system, “the Emperor Arising from the Buddha’s Turban,” and have not been critically discussed previously. The project’s historical contribution is to clarify the emergence of Buddhist tantrism, which spread throughout Eurasia within a century of its origins. The project’s theoretical contribution will be to non-Western religio-political discourses among minority communities, to inter-religious intertextuality, and to the theory of ritual speech acts in historical texts.

Professor, Religious Studies, Fairfield University  -  Imperial Buddhas, Tantric Origins: The Emperor Arising from the Buddha’s Turban

Susannah Ruth Ottaway
Susannah Ruth Ottaway  |  Abstract
Workhouses were a prominent feature of the British landscape in the eighteenth century, occupying considerable physical and intellectual space. While many saw them as an essential part of a set of institutional remedies for the problems of poverty and labor discipline, others viewed them as a fundamental infringement of British social ideals. Using pamphlets, parliamentary debates, political papers, and periodicals, this project situates discussions of the workhouse within the wider political and economic climate of this era. In addition, archival sources allow us to draw a picture of the experience of both the governors and inmates of these institutions. The study of the workhouse sheds light on the central question of the nature of the relationship between the poor and the elite of the parish while also revealing a deeper understanding of the period’s views on rights and reciprocity.

Associate Professor, History, Carleton College  -  The British Workhouse in the Long Eighteenth Century

Peter S. Decherney
Peter S. Decherney  |  Abstract
“Hollywood’s Copyright Wars” historicizes the heated debates over copyright and digital media. It addresses antipiracy campaigns, filmmakers’ rights, the legal environment for new technologies, and other areas in which copyright law has shaped Hollywood. It places these issues within the larger context of the development of the Hollywood film industry, US politics, and intellectual property law. In contrast to legal scholars who touch on some of the same issues, this project demonstrates how Hollywood responded to many of its intellectual property skirmishes through self-regulation. Rather than submit to Congress or judges and juries, Hollywood leaders have brought “in house” the regulation of originality, credit, and compensation.

Assistant Professor, English, University of Pennsylvania  -  Hollywood’s Copyright Wars: Pirates, Plagiarists, and Technophobes, from Edison to the Internet

Thomas Pfau
Thomas Pfau  |  Abstract
This is an interdisciplinary study of the transformation of knowledge as it affects the life-sciences, philosophy, music, and literature after 1780. The study explores the conceptual foundations for the idea of self-organization and self-cultivation long associated with the German idea of “Bildung” in the “long” nineteenth century. They are 1) origination and emergence; 2) differentiation and metamorphosis; 3) teleology and individuation; 4) play and variation; and 5) closure and death. The project thus pursues something of an intellectual history and archeology of “Bildung,” arguably the dominant model of cultural production and organization in the nineteent-century.

Professor, English and German, Duke University  -  Parables of Life: “Bildung” and the Transformation of Knowledge, 1780-1924

Frances Ferguson
Frances Ferguson  |  Abstract
“Designing Education” focuses on the ways in which writers from Locke and Rousseau through Anna Laetitia Barbauld, Maria and Richard Lovell Edgeworth, and Bentham designed education so as to present learning as a matter of selecting from an array of choices. They developed educational tools that aimed to make good choices perspicuous and attended closely to how social groupings might forward education by making students’ work observable.

Professor, English, Johns Hopkins University  -  Designing Education in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Britain

Pablo Piccato
Pablo Piccato  |  Abstract
A historical account of criminal practices and social reactions to transgression in twentieth-century Mexico, this project looks at crime as a public, social interaction with cultural and political consequences. Through a cross-disciplinary study, it examines trends, causes, practices, and responses to crime, through a century in which violence, corruption, and organized crime were at the center of political debates. Its main historical contention is that, in the absence of reliable policing and justice, civil society has played the central role in mediating conflicts caused by transgression and preventing crime. This role has been expressed in the public sphere, where debates about justice and crime created an open field in which multiple critical voices had a political impact.

Associate Professor, History, Columbia University  -  A Century of Crime in Modern Mexico: A Historical Perspective

Daniel M. Goldstein
Daniel M. Goldstein  |  Abstract
This project explores the intersection of ideas about and discourses of “security” and “human rights” as they encounter one another in the context of an urban, indigenous neighborhood of a Bolivian city. In response to the absence of state law in their communities, many local people have turned to violence, including the vigilante lynching of criminal suspects, in an effort to create “security” for their families, insisting on their own “right to security” against the rights of the criminally accused. This project explores the conjuncture of two powerful transnational discourses—security and human rights—to reveal the ways in which “security” ultimately can work to defeat “rights,” as violent local actors operate within and against national and global formations of politics and law.

Associate Professor, Anthropology, Rutgers University-New Brunswick  -  Law’s End: Community Justice, Citizen Security, and Human Rights in Evo’s Bolivia

Michael Printy
Michael Printy  |  Abstract
This project shows how German thinkers in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries tried to reconcile their own notions of progress and freedom with the alien and disjointed religious past of the sixteenth-century Reformation. It details the recasting of German Protestantism in the context of the Protestant Enlightenment, the French Revolution, the collapse of the Old Regime, and the rise of Idealism. These thinkers portrayed the Reformation as an incomplete Enlightenment, and sought to secure on the one hand a positive role for religion in the Enlightenment in the face of skeptical, materialist, or deist versions, and on the other to solidify their social and intellectual standing in an overwhelmingly Protestant society in which theology and church resided in almost every aspect of public and private life.

Visiting Scholar, History, Wesleyan University  -  Enlightenment’s Reformation: Recasting German Protestantism, 1770-1830

James N. Green
James N. Green  |  Abstract
This project explores changes in Brazilian society during the military regime (1964-85) and the next decade through a biography of Herbert Daniel: guerrilla leader, political exile, and spokesperson for people with AIDS. Most histories offer heroic visions of those who resisted military rule without examining contradictions in leftwing political culture. This project argues that the left conformed to hegemonic notions of morality, gender, and sexuality through constructions of revolutionary masculinity that precluded same-sex desire or gender transgression. Using interviews, archives, and memoirs, it examines ways international trends—from Marxism to the counterculture—interacted with national political, social, and cultural values. It also reconsiders how scholars have produced histories of this period.

Professor, History, Brown University  -  Exiles within Exiles: Herbert Daniel, Gay Revolutionary

Shelley Salamensky
Shelley Salamensky  |  Abstract
This project investigates what may be termed “Jewface” minstrelsy performances and “Jewfaçade” architectural and decorative displays—primarily by non-Jews, for both local audiences and foreign Jewish roots-seekers—in Europe and in the Jewish Autonomous Region in Russia’s far east. It completes text-based and first-hand observational research on Jewface and Jewfaçade in Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Ukraine, and the JAR. It examines a significant cultural development that has received nearly no attention, with objectives of furthering understanding of Europe’s memory of its Jewish past; demonstrating complex ways in which this memory is represented and transmitted; and providing vital insight into constructs of “home” and “homeland” within and beyond the Jewish case.

Assistant Professor, Theater and Performance Studies, University of California, Los Angeles  -  “Jewface” Minstrelsy and “Jewfaçade” Display: Performing Cultural Memory in Contemporary Europe and Eurasia

Elaine M. Hadley
Elaine M. Hadley  |  Abstract
This project explores how Victorians in a liberal state learned to understand war itself, and, in particular, how the Crimean war contributed to the formation of “realistic” standards in the middle decades of the nineteenth century, particularly in relation to newspaper commentary, illustrated journalism, and realist literature. The proliferation of visual and print reports from the Crimean front is best understood in terms of the nature of the opinion culture that emerges alongside the liberal state. The technologies of reportage utilized during the Crimean War produced functional conceptions of realism that have less to do with empirical standards of objectivity and much more to do with “the genuine”—a Victorian term complexly indexing sincerity, authenticity, intimacy, and immediacy.

Associate Professor, English, University of Chicago  -  Foreign Correspondence: Victorian War and Opinion Culture

Mark Sanders
Mark Sanders  |  Abstract
Attempts at learning Zulu—and the responses of native Zulu speakers to these attempts—reveal a secret history of powerlessness rooted in deprivation, and a consequent cycle of jealousy, aggression, destructiveness, fear of persecution, guilt, and endeavors at reparation. This secret South African history thus suggests deeper reasons for linguistic and literary phenomena such as Fanakalo (a pidgin Zulu), and the peculiar forms taken by Zulu language manuals and translations produced over the past 100 years. It also makes sense of the polarization caused by the rape trial of Jacob Zuma, and aspects of the xenophobic violence of 2008. Elucidating this history, “Learning Zulu”sheds light on comparable phenomena elsewhere in the world.

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow
Professor, Comparative Literature, New York University  -  Learning Zulu: A Secret History of Language in South Africa

Christopher Hager
Christopher Hager  |  Abstract
This project investigates how the acquisition and practice of written literacy influenced African Americans’ transition from slavery to freedom. It analyzes manuscripts by marginally literate slaves and ex-slaves during the era of emancipation (sources that, although known to historians, have not been considered by literature scholars) and reveals how the act of writing shaped freed people’s ideas about freedom and citizenship. The work introduces a largely neglected moment in the history of African American writing and argues that, whereas well-known slave narratives associate literacy with an individualistic conception of freedom, ordinary African Americans’ struggles to write record a collective encounter with cultural and ideological constraints.

Assistant Professor, English, Trinity College (CT)  -  A Colored Man’s Constitution: Emancipation and the Act of Writing

Christina Schwenkel
Christina Schwenkel  |  Abstract
The project explores urban architecture as a site for managing tensions between remembrance and forgetting, mobility and immobility, and dwelling and displacement in Vinh, a model socialist city in central Vietnam now being remade into a regional center of capitalist trade and commerce. Following its total destruction by US bombing during the war, Vinh was redesigned and rebuilt with East German aid, technology, and urban planning expertise. Through ethnographic and historical research, this study chronicles the postwar reconstruction of Vinh, and its recent transformation from a symbol of global socialist modernity to one of privatization and “sustainable development.” It highlights new forms of civic engagement among impoverished city residents who advocate recognition of their East German-built housing as “heritage” to be restored, rather than “ruins” to be demolished.

Assistant Professor, Anthropology, University of California, Riverside  -  Revitalizing the City: Socialist Architecture, Postwar Memory, and Urban Renewal in Vietnam

Charles K. Hirschkind
Charles K. Hirschkind  |  Abstract
Focusing on southern Spain in the context of that nation’s ongoing integration into the European Union, this project explores some of the ways Europe’s Islamic past inhabits its present. The following question frames the study: how do the historical sensibilities, attitudes, and practices that ambivalently link the Spanish nation to its Muslim past open up a unique set of present possibilities for conceptualizing and addressing the “Muslim problem” in Europe today? Although the forms of history and memory are relegated to the margins of Spanish historical consciousness, they continue to inform social and political practices of both Muslims and non-Muslims in southern Spain, conditioning and enabling a variety of contemporary political projects in the region.

Associate Professor, Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley  -  The “Moorish Problem” and the Politics of Multiculturalism in Spain

Sarah Shields
Sarah Shields  |  Abstract
Between World War I and World War II, territories formerly part of the defeated Ottoman Empire struggled to come to terms with new borders and novel forms of political legitimacy. This project examines four interwar episodes in which external forces intervened in the region to resolve territorial conflicts. In an era of “self-determination of peoples,” the League of Nations insisted on a certain definition of “peoples” that privileged “national” groups when allocating disputed lands. Despite its frustrated recognition that local populations did not make political choices based solely on essentialist identities, the League introduced and institutionalized a new politics of identity whose consequences continue to be evident throughout the Middle East.

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow
Associate Professor, History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill  -  Yusuf’s Dilemma: The Middle East and Identity Politics between the Two World Wars

Brooke A. Holmes
Brooke A. Holmes  |  Abstract
The concept of sympathy was long common in pre-modern natural philosophy as a way of explaining relations between, for example, different plants or minerals, or between stars and terrestrial objects. This project offers a comprehensive study of the emergence of the concept of sympatheia in the Hellenistic period and relates its appearance to representations of the natural world in contemporary poetry. It argues that sympathy sheds light on how models of nature and the cosmos as interconnected wholes take shape in the years after the “inquiry into nature” is established in Greece. Through studies of natural history, philosophical cosmology, learned magic, and Alexandrian poetry, it explores the different communities created by sympathy and the ambiguous place of human beings within them.

Assistant Professor, Classics, Princeton University  -  Feeling Nature: Sympathy in Hellenistic Science, Philosophy, and Poetry

David Edward Simpson
David Edward Simpson  |  Abstract
This is a study of British Romantic attitudes to strangers and foreigners, with specific attention to the rhetorical features staging the foreign and responding to it: translation and incorporation of foreign sources, use of exotic footnotes, and theories of figuration, especially metaphor (“translatio,” carrying across). This approach places writers like Southey, Campbell, Moore, and Hemans at the center of attention, while opening up fresh ways of looking at the more widely-discussed writers (Austen, Wordsworth, and Scott).

Professor, English, University of California, Davis  -  Strangers in the House: Home and World in Romantic Literature

Lea Jacobs
Lea Jacobs  |  Abstract
This monograph examines cinematic rhythm and pacing in Hollywood film in the years before and after the transition to sound. The pace of a film plot is partly a function of narrative structures—for example, the creation of surprise or suspense—but also of stylistic elements such as editing, sound, and figure movement, which contribute to rhythmic organization. These elements were transformed by the technical limitations and opportunities of the new sound medium. Case studies deal with editing, music, dialogue, and figure and camera movement as components of overall rhythmic design. In all cases, attention will be paid to how the evolution of technical parameters affected the process of storytelling, to the interface between rhythm and narrative.

Professor, Communication Arts, University of Wisconsin-Madison  -  Fascinating Rhythm: Performance and Direction in Hollywood after Sound

Winnifred Fallers Sullivan
Winnifred Fallers Sullivan  |  Abstract
This project makes the argument that a new phenomenology of religion is emerging in US legal and governmental contexts. Focusing both on private and public agents in a range of social settings, it shows how American law and legal institutions—federal, state, and local—are increasingly recognizing Americans, indeed all persons, as essentially religious—or “spiritual.” In myriad standards, rules, regulations, and proceedings, religion is being defined, standardized, homogenized, and made acceptable for government support. Being religious is now understood to be part of being human and that recognition increasingly authorizes responses across the domains of legal regulation. The citizen is understood to be a person in need of spiritual care.

Associate Professor, Law, University at Buffalo, State University of New York  -  Spiritual Governance: The New Establishment

Gregory Jusdanis
Gregory Jusdanis  |  Abstract
This project looks at literary constructions of friendship. In contrast to Jacques Derrida, who argues that the history of friendship is governed by an ethics of homology and affinity, it contends that literature represents friendship a as ambivalent and fragile. Through an analysis of key literary texts, it shows that friendship is an anti-essentialist relationship that does not lead to the creation of identities? It argues that literature, the only modern discourse that has concerned itself with friendship, is best suited to reveal both the paradoxes of friendship and its involvement in the emergence of modern society.

Professor, Greek and Latin, The Ohio State University  -  The Fragility of Friendship

Kevin R. Uhalde
Kevin R. Uhalde  |  Abstract
Between the third and sixth centuries, Christian authors created the framework for practicing and debating the forgiveness of sins. Drawing on scripture, early Christian texts, and Roman notions of penance, they created the core of Christian penitential literature. They also wrestled with how contemporary Christians should interpret their past. This project argues that some authors offered penance as a way for ordinary people to become masters of their own consciences. At the same time, these churchmen carefully constrained that power by asserting themselves as expert moderators of penance. The diversity of late Roman ideas, which characterized the culture of penance for an age still searching for what it meant to be Christian, soon slipped from the view of those who searched for a more orderly system.

Associate Professor, History, Ohio University  -  The Culture of Penance in Late Antiquity

Ruth Mazo Karras
Ruth Mazo Karras  |  Abstract
Many people in medieval Europe, who could not legally marry or chose not to, lived together in long-term domestic partnerships, which this project views as “quasi-marital.” Such unions, lacking legal recognition, were fraught with danger for women in particular, but they also provided a degree of flexibility and demonstrate the adaptability of social customs in the face of unchanging, or very slowly changing, religious doctrine. This cultural history of social and legal phenomena requires examination of a wide range of texts and documents across the entire medieval millenium in order to get at structures and relations that medieval authors and record-keepers did not wish to address directly. A key source is a database compiled from church court registers from late medieval Paris.

Professor, History, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities  -  Quasi-Marital Unions in Medieval Europe

Kate van Orden
Kate van Orden  |  Abstract
During the sixteenth-century, European genres of art song multiplied dramatically. Circa 1500, French chansons (songs for three-five singers) were the lone sort of art song enjoyed throughout Europe, but by 1600 Italian presses, for instance, were churning out madrigals, villanelle, and “napolitani.” The sudden rise of the madrigal in the 1530s suggests that it handily supplanted the non-native chanson in Italy. Tacit acceptance of this narrative has obscured a contrarian history that this project brings to light: French chansons continued to be popular in Italy throughout the century. This project examines the French composers working there, the influence of French style on Italian music, and investigate how music established “French” identity even as it crossed cultural borders from north to south. Ultimately we see how northern polyphony traveled against the current of cultural exchanges (dominated by Italian exports to France and beyond) and how music performed ethnicity in early modern Europe.

Professor, Music, University of California, Berkeley  -  Musica Transalpina: French Music, Culture, and Identity in Sixteenth-Century Italy

James Ker
James Ker  |  Abstract
“Everyday Life,” the topic of many popular books about Rome, can be refined for studying Roman culture in an anthropological framework. Scholars have illuminated Roman calendrical and historical time, but works such as Carcopino’s "La vie quotidienne à Rome" (1937) prompt questions about Roman "Everyday" time. However simplistically, they build upon a prior set of important ancient Roman representations; and the concept of the “everyday” has been productive in social theory. This project focuses on the role of morningtime in the Latin language and in Roman religion, politics, social organization, economics, practices of leisure, and literature. Morningtime had a privileged function in Romans’ strategic representations of the Roman city and its communities, and of individual selves.

Assistant Professor, Classical Studies, University of Pennsylvania  -  Beginning the Day in Ancient Rome: Morningtime, City, and Self

Margaret B. Wan
Margaret B. Wan  |  Abstract
Drum ballad texts evoke one of the most popular performance genres, the drum ballad, in north China in the Qing dynasty, 1644-1911. Circulating in manuscript, woodblock print, and lithographic editions, these texts drew on oral literature and disseminated popular stories throughout north China. Their audiences ranged from the nobility to men and women of low social status. Study of this body of narratives opens up new perspectives on vital topics in Chinese literature and history: the creation of local cultural identites and their relation to a central “Chinese culture;” the relationship between oral and written cultures; and the impact of the changing technology of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century on the reproduction and dissemination of popular texts.

Assistant Professor, Languages and Literature, University of Utah  -  Drum Ballads as Local Literature in Nineteenth-Century China

Stuart Kirsch
Stuart Kirsch  |  Abstract
This project examines interactions among mining companies, indigenous movements, and nongovernmental organizations. Relations between corporations and critics have intensified given the neoliberal consensus in which civil society assumes many of the regulatory responsibilities of the state. The project is based on long-term ethnographic research and advocacy with the people living downstream from the Ok Tedi mine in Papua New Guinea and extensive collaboration with NGOs working on mining and environmental issues. It adopts a comparative perspective in examining the rise of indigenous politics, the use of international courts to adjudicate disputes, debates concerning expertise and advocacy, manipulation of scientific research, corporate responses to critique, and new strategies of protest.

Associate Professor, Anthropology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor  -  Corporations and Their Critics: Mining and Indigenous Politics since the 1990s

Claire M. Waters
Claire M. Waters  |  Abstract
This project examines the translation of learned culture, especially religious teaching, from Latin into the French vernaculars of thirteenth-century France and England. Lay demands for, and the church’s efforts to supply, basic spiritual knowledge were given focus by the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215, which emphasized the importance of frequent preaching and yearly confession. Both didactic handbooks and genres like miracles of the Virgin, fabliaux, debate poetry, and retellings of the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus engage with the intertwined issues of status and learning as they convey and explore Christian knowledge for a non-Latinate audience, and provide a window onto the early rise of lay expertise and mass education.

Associate Professor, English, University of California, Davis  -  Translation, Education, and Salvation in the Thirteenth Century

Emilio Kourí
Emilio Kourí  |  Abstract
This study examines the origins and evolution of two persistent ideas about the character of indigenous communal organization in Mexico: harmony and cohesion as defining features of village social relations, and communal land tenure as the natural expression of this inherent cultural solidarity. Where did these unsubstantiated ideas about indigenous cultures and sociability come from? How and why did they become so influential in the social sciences? This project traces the philosophical assumptions underpinning the analysis of “native communities” in early anthropology and sociology, and describes how these conceptions shaped Mexican social thought, agrarian reform, and Indian policy from the 1890s to the 1990s.

Associate Professor, History, University of Chicago  -  The Indigenous Community in Mexican Social Thought

Stephen H. West
Stephen H. West  |  Abstract
This is a study of Southern Song literary and historical texts written about the former capital of Kaifeng, focusing on the intellectual and emotional milieu of expatriate communities of northerners who had been displaced to south China by the Jurchen invasions. It shows that the post-Enlightenment tendency to view such works as revealing pre-existent truths about cities does not survive scrutiny, and that these texts are better viewed as “staged contingencies:” linked, staged scenes that do not present an unmediated representation of the city, but rather the anxieties and fragmented memories of their producers. These scenes are redolent with sensory information about food, sex, and entertainment and run directly counter to the interests of high culture.

supported in part by the Frederic E. Wakeman, Jr. Fund for Chinese History
Professor, School of International Letters and Cultures, Arizona State University  -  Remembering Bianliang: Space, Place, and Collective Memory in Emergent Urban Voices in Twelfth-Century China

Catherine Kudlick
Catherine Kudlick  |  Abstract
Using analytic tools from Critical Disability Studies, this project places survivors rather than deaths at the center of an exploration of smallpox, the most feared, widespread, and fatal epidemic disease of early-modern Europe. At its eighteenth-century peak, nearly three million French people (the wealthy, and large numbers of children) emerged to live with permanent facial scarring, 10% of them blind. Because France resisted inoculation and vaccination more than any other major European country, smallpox returned periodically in the nineteenth century to ravage thousands of troops and even higher numbers of the poor. This study analyzes religious, medical, government, private, and cultural sources to introduce a new paradigm for concepts of victimhood, health, and embodiment at the core of attitudes toward disability.

Professor, History, University of California, Davis  -  Disability and the Hidden History of Smallpox in France, 1700-1900

Gretchen J. Woertendyke
Gretchen J. Woertendyke  |  Abstract
“Romance to Novel in Early America” argues that the US novel as it develops from 1789-1889 cannot be understood apart from US-Cuban-Haitian exchange. Of particular concern for the region are Atlantic trade, slavery, and piracy—all of which influence the plot, themes, and formal features of the novel. The longstanding influence of Ian Watt’s “Rise of the Novel” situating its emergence in eighteenth-century England has had the inadvertent result of rendering all novels outside the British Isles ancillary or with discrete, marginal histories of their own. In re-framing the history of the novel within the Americas, a different archive and trajectory emerges. This study accounts for New-World novels by tracing their movements across hemispheric routes and against hemispheric histories.

Assistant Professor, English, University of South Carolina  -  Romance to Novel in Early America

Deborah S. Lutz
Deborah S. Lutz  |  Abstract
Ninteenth-century Britons treasured objects of daily life that had once belonged to their dead. The love of these keepsakes, which included hair and other remains, speaks of an intimacy with the body and death, a way of understanding absence through its materials, almost lost today. This project analyzes relic culture as an affirmation that objects held memories and told stories. These practices show a belief in keeping death vitally intertwined with life—not as generalized memento mori but rather as respecting the singularity of unique beings. In a consumer culture in full swing by the 1850s, such keepsakes stood out as non-reproducible, authentic things whose value was purely personal. Relic reverence shared intimacies with literary practices; the material object and its representation met here.

Assistant Professor, English, Long Island University  -  Secular Relics and Death in Nineteenth-Century British Literature and Culture

Lawrence M. Zbikowski
Lawrence M. Zbikowski  |  Abstract
This project is concerned with developing a technical account of musical organization based on human cognitive capacities and on the central functions of music in human cultures: a cognitive grammar of music. Its perspective is informed by the construction grammar approach that has shaped recent work in cognitive linguistics. The project has two main parts: a theoretical specification that sets out definitions of the basic elements of musical grammar as well as the syntactic resources through which more extended musical utterances are created; and the development of experimental protocols to test the viability of the theoretical model.

Associate Professor, Music, University of Chicago  -  Foundations of Musical Grammar

Matthew J. McDonald
Matthew J. McDonald  |  Abstract
This project focuses on several related aspects of time in the music of Charles Ives: musical time, phenomenological time, real-world time, and narrative time. Informed by Ives’s personal aesthetics and philosophy as well as contemporaneous artistic and intellectual currents, it identifies the sources and expressive meanings of Ives’s idiosyncratic temporal procedures and uses these as a means of addressing the ways in which Ives’s music can be viewed, paradoxically, as both quintessentially modern and anti-modern. Its primary focus is a pervasive procedure whereby fragments of a piece seem to have been dislodged from their “proper” chronological order. Whereas musical time in earlier centuries can be conceptualized in terms of an arrow, in Ives’s music, the arrow has multiplied and broken.

Assistant Professor, Music, Northeastern University  -  Breaking Time’s Arrow: Temporality in the Music of Charles Ives

Katherine Zieman
Katherine Zieman  |  Abstract
This study examines the vast fifteenth-century readership of the writings of the fourteenth-century Yorkshire hermit, Richard Rolle, as an alternative to more conventional English literary histories that follow the fortunes of Geoffrey Chaucer. Through a series of case studies based on particular manuscripts, it surveys Rolle’s different audiences, analyzing their appropriations of his writings through translation, compilation, annotation, and versification, in terms of the spiritual concerns they invested in him during a time of religious controversy. In this way, it seeks a broader, more historically accurate understanding of the definitions and stakes of “literary” writing in the late medieval period by looking beyond imaginative fiction to consider appropriations of Rolle’s religious prose.

Assistant Professor, English, University of Notre Dame  -  Richard Rolle and His Readers: Defining the Literary in the Fifteenth Century