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. 

Rachel Ablow
Rachel Ablow  |  Abstract
This project argues that Victorian writers consistently describe pain in terms that run counter to our usual assumptions that pain is essentially private, prior to or even resistant to language, and unavailable to doubt. Instead, they offer a model of pain that refuses to imagine the subject as prior to the social, that resists the reduction of pain to a medical or physiological problem, and so too negates any too-clear distinction between physical and emotional suffering. Such invocations insist on pain as an ethical and a political problem rather than simply a medical or even a psychological one. In addition, they call attention to pain’s literary dimension, revolving as they do around the nature, limitations, and resources of language.

Associate Professor, English, University at Buffalo, State University of New York  -  Speaking Pain in Victorian Literature and Culture

Emily Mackil
Emily Mackil  |  Abstract
This project sets out to understand the development of the polis or city-state, arguably the most important phenomenon in Archaic Greek history, by examining the emergence of the formal institutions that governed economic activities within this new form of associative life. The centrality of concerns about property and contracts in inscribed legal texts of the Archaic period are highlighted, and it is argued that the early focus of emerging states on these issues points to their very development in response to the economic needs of a quickly growing population. The origin of these laws in the resolution of specific local disputes points toward the polis as a state formed from the bottom up, resulting in the local sophistication and extreme political fragmentation so characteristic of Classical Greece.

Assistant Professor, History, University of California, Berkeley  -  Economics, Institutions, and State-Formation in Archaic Greece: Property, Exchange, Legal Order, and the Development of the Polis

Gabor J. Agoston
Gabor J. Agoston  |  Abstract
This project examines how Ottoman expansion, Habsburg-Ottoman imperial rivalry, and Russia’s “Turkish wars” shaped the history of central and southeastern Europe. Based on extensive research in the Ottoman archives as well as on published German, Hungarian, and Russian sources, it is the first attempt to compare and relate the evolving military capabilities of the three empires. It argues that understanding these changes helps us to better appreciate imperial trajectories toward Habsburg and Romanov centralization and Ottoman decentralization/military devolution. The project contributes to three major areas: Ottoman history (re-conceptualizing “Ottoman decline”), comparative empire studies, and the growing historiography on war and empire building in the less-studied east European context.

Associate Professor, History, Georgetown University  -  War, Empire, and the Making of Europe: Ottomans, Habsburgs, and Russians, 1500-1800

Bertie R. Mandelblatt
Bertie R. Mandelblatt  |  Abstract
This project investigates the crises of subsistence that were triggered by France’s colonial expansion in the Caribbean in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It analyzes food provision on the local scale, considering how Amerindian populations and slaves were agents in the construction of early French Caribbean subsistence patterns, and highlighting conflictual relations over food and the development of slave gardens within the plantation complex. The study connects these processes to the global Atlantic scale by considering the early modern mercantile regulatory framework that governed French imperial trade networks. This project reconceptualizes slaves as consumers as well as commodities and the producers of commodities, whose collective economic effects were felt throughout the Atlantic world.

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Historical Studies and Geography, University of Toronto  -  Feeding the French Atlantic: Slavery, Empire, and Food Provision in the French Caribbean, 1626-1789

Ruha Benjamin
Ruha Benjamin  |  Abstract
This project explores how science shapes and is shaped by society. By investigating the interaction between folk ethnoracial taxonomies, government classifications, and population genomics in India, Mexico, and South Africa it examines how people struggle over “who we are, what we're owed, and what we're responsible for” as objects and subjects of science. The study draws on a combination of in-depth interviews, participant observation, and a mixed archive of documents and media to understand the relationship between biological knowledge and political demands, focusing on the use of genomics in pharmaceutical development—who does it, who owns it, and who consumes it—as a primary locus of struggle. By moving beyond the often-dismissive maxim “race is (just) a social construct,” this study reveals how the quintessentially modern idea of race continues to fashion our biopolitical imagination and the material practices on which it rests.

Assistant Professor, Sociology and African American Studies, Boston University  -  Provincializing Science: Mapping and Marketing Ethnoracial Diversity in the Genomic Age

Laura Matthew
Laura Matthew  |  Abstract
This book-length project asks whether Spanish conquest radically altered indigenous trade and migration along the Pacific coast of southern Mesoamerica, and with what cultural impact. Some natives who subsequently colonized the region were "Indian conquistadors." Others, however, were merchants from central Mexico, Chiapas, and Oaxaca. Many settled along the southern Pacific Coast, a source for luxury and other goods such as cacao, jade, and salt. Did their migration represent a continuation of older patterns of regional trade and settlement, or a rupture caused by invasion and the terrible effects of epidemic disease on local populations? Were new opportunities created for some Mesoamericans out of the misfortune of others?

Assistant Professor, History, Marquette University  -  Circulations: Death and Opportunity in Southern Pacific Mesoamerica, 1480-1630

Lauren Berlant
Lauren Berlant  |  Abstract
This study charts the emergence of an enigmatic affective and aesthetic mode exemplary of a generation of queer and “independent” works in the US and globally from the mid-1980s on. Worlds and events that would conventionally have featured melodramatic performances of inflated subjectivity, intense relationality, and freighted social existence instead appear mutedly or diffusely, in gestures and tones that could indicate a range of registers: from trauma-related psychic dissociation and punk-style radical carelessness to ordinary dissipated, distracted, or loosely-quilted consciousness. Three sections—Deadpan, Dissociation, and Degage—walk around the histories and aesthetic complexities of this style of diffusive realism. Artists include Bill Murray, Tao Lin, and Miranda July.

Professor, English, University of Chicago  -  Matter of Flatness

Michelle Ann McKinley
Michelle Ann McKinley  |  Abstract
How could enslaved women assert legal claims to personhood, wages, and virtue, when the law regarded them as mere property? Under what conditions did the civil law of slavery create opportunities for enslaved women to demand liberty and justice in a judicial forum? This project focuses primarily on enslaved women as legal actors within the landscape of Hispanic urban slavery: women who were socially disfavored, economically active (at times modestly prosperous), and extremely litigious. A retrospective look at their freedom suits tells us how litigants strategically exploited the rhetorical power of liberty through recourse to the law, though their lived realities were decidedly unfree and unequal.

Associate Professor, School of Law, University of Oregon  -  Fractional Freedoms: Slavery, Intimacy, and Legal Activism in Seventeenth-Century Colonial Lima, 1593-1700

Lila Corwin Berman
Lila Corwin Berman  |  Abstract
This project argues that, between World II and the early 1970s, Jews refashioned their urbanism into a vision of self, community, and society—referred to here as suburban cosmopolitanism—that persisted well beyond city limits. The study embeds its narrative in the local context of Detroit to challenge historians’ depiction of white, middle class disinvestment from city politics, culture, and people after World War II. It also erodes standard explanations of Jewish suburbanization as indicative of Jews’ easy mobility and detachment from physical space. Jewish movement away from cities reveals the makings of suburban cosmopolitanism, marked by struggles and contradictions about urban responsibility, liberalism, and the meaning of race in the United States.

Associate Professor, History, Temple University  -  Jewish Urban Journeys through an American City and Beyond

Karline McLain
Karline McLain  |  Abstract
This project is a critical history of an increasingly popular new religion dedicated to the worship of the Indian holy man Shirdi Sai Baba (d. 1918). The Shirdi Sai Baba movement seeks to provide a counterforce to rigid sectarian ideologies in its union of Hindus and Muslims, and sheds new light on debates about religious synthesis and syncretism in India. Drawing upon multiple archival materials (hagiographies, hymns, photos, films) and field research in India, this project explores the many and shifting meanings of Shirdi Sai Baba to his devotees over the past century, bringing to light a contemporary Indian movement that has been largely neglected by scholars of South Asia and has yet to receive consideration in the comparative study of global new religions.

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow
Associate Professor, Religion, Bucknell University  -  The Afterlife of Shirdi Sai Baba: The Growth of a New Religious Movement in India

Catherine Besteman
Catherine Besteman  |  Abstract
This project analyzes the philosophical, literary, and political origins of the concept of refuge as well as the contemporary cultural and symbolic dimensions of the way refuge is imagined by displaced Somalis and the communities to which they go in order to advance a new understanding of refugee agency from the perspective of those who move. The study engages intellectual and theoretical questions about how the imaginings and materialities of refuge impact the construction of difference as well as novel forms of connection. It demonstrates how an insistent focus on human experience and agency at the center of the international refugee regime transforms our understanding of international humanitarianism as well as the construction of global subjectivities.

Professor, Anthropology, Colby College  -  An Unexpected Life: Somalis, Mainers, and the New Global Normal

Carolyn Merchant
Carolyn Merchant  |  Abstract
This work examines the history of the idea of nature as an active force with respect to the history of science of the seventeenth century. What was the relationship between nature as actor/actress (active and potentially uncontrollable) and nature as law (rational, predictable, hence potentially controllable) in this period? This study focuses on the meaning of “nature naturing” (natura naturans)—nature as creative force—and “nature natured” (natura naturata)—nature as created world—as historically understood and articulated. Looking at the history of these two historical concepts offers a new approach to the history of the (so-named) Scientific Revolution.

Professor, Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, University of California, Berkeley  -  Ideas of Nature: Emerging Concepts of Nature and Law in the Scientific Revolution

Elizabeth S. Blackmar
Elizabeth S. Blackmar  |  Abstract
This project examines the efforts of Americans from all walks of life to transform the base nature of land into liquid gold. It analyzes how Americans organized land as a commodity that could be bought, improved, sold, or rented and also turned into a medium of financial investment, from farm mortgages in the early republic to real estate investment trusts or mortgage-backed securities in the late twentieth century. Over the course of 250 years, repeated booms and busts spurred new rules, tools, and logics of investment; new government policies; and new theories of land economics. Covering all regions of the country, and both rural and urban property, this study explains the uneven and contested processes that transformed American land into a foundation of financial capitalism.

ACLS/New York Public Library Fellow
Professor, History, Columbia University  -  American Alchemy: The Vexed Relation of Land and Capital, 1776-2008

Moses Ebe Ochonu
Moses Ebe Ochonu  |  Abstract
This study analyzes the political and symbolic initiatives of the defunct Sokoto Caliphate's Hausa-Fulani Muslim imperial agents in the Nigerian Middle Belt from the mid-nineteenth century to independence. It reconstructs Caliphate-Middle Belt relations as they morphed from tribute-taking vassalage to sub-colonial preparatory rule under British colonization (1900-1960). In the Middle Belt, caliphate personnel and ideas meshed with British notions of civilizational hierarchy among Africans to produce a proxy colonial administration, or sub-colonialism, that violated the fundamental tenet of British Indirect Rule: indigenous mediation. The project also explores the reactive innovations that Middle Belt peoples, non-Muslim and non-Hausa, exhibited in the face of sub-colonial Hausa-Fulani rule. It argues that the Hausa-Fulani sub-colonials were not mere intermediaries-the staple analytical category of studies on Indirect Rule in Africa. Rather, they were colonizers in their own circumscribed rights, and their polyvalent legacies pervade the Middle Belt to date.

Associate Professor, History, Vanderbilt University  -  The Caliphate's Burden: Hausa-Fulani Subcolonialism and Middle Belt Consciousness in Nigeria

Kristin C. Bloomer
Kristin C. Bloomer  |  Abstract
This project, a book-length ethnography grounded in the interpretive traditions of the history of religions, follows the lives of three Roman Catholic women in Tamil Nadu, south India, who claim to be possessed by Mary, the mother of Jesus. Differing in caste, class, and geographic backgrounds, these Tamil women enact healing rituals while possessed, drawing hundreds of Christian and Hindu devotees and defying normative stereotypes of what it means to be Christian or Hindu, village or urban, South Asian or, for that matter, “Mary.” Drawing upon a range of popular local practices, their counter-hegemonic performances challenge Christian and Hindu orthodoxies and patriarchies. They also draw the ire of Roman Catholic clergy, who have banned attendance by the faithful.

Assistant Professor, Religion, Carleton College  -  Possessed by Mary: Hinduism, Roman Catholicism, and Marian Spirit Possession in Tamil Nadu, South India

Suleiman Osman
Suleiman Osman  |  Abstract
This project examines what is here referred to as the “global neighborhood movement” of the 1970s in Europe and North America. Whether referred to as “slow growth coalition,” “neighborhood movement,” “neighborhood power,” or “community revolution,” a remarkable rise of local citizen activism took place in cities in both Europe and the United States in the 1970s. The catalysts in all countries were state development projects and urban renewal schemes that sought to build or expand highways, nuclear power plants, public housing, and airports. The neighborhood movement was linked as well to a new anti-statist politics that emphasized local identity, autonomy, ethnic power, cultural and linguistic heritage, volunteerism, decentralization, and increased citizen participation in governing institutions. Rather than a shift rightward, the project argues, the emerging and eclectic “new localism” mixed left-libertarian and populist conservative impulses.

ACLS Oscar Handlin Fellow
Assistant Professor, American Studies, The George Washington University  -  The New Localism: Neighborhood Activism and Slow-Growth Politics in North America and Europe in the 1970s

Anna C. Brickhouse
Anna C. Brickhouse  |  Abstract
This study investigates a sixteenth-century indigenous translator who experienced nearly a decade of Western civilization before acting decisively against European settlement. Recovering the literary afterlife of Don Luis de Velasco across four centuries, it proposes the conceptual significance of unsettlement as a term evoking the richer American cultural history that emerges once we set aside the assumed inevitability of Anglo-American settlement. Finally, it explores the crucial role of failed translation in the shaping of hemispheric encounter, proposing mis-translation as the default condition of all translation in the colonial American world.

Associate Professor, English, University of Virginia  -  The Unsettlement of America: The Story of Don Luis de Velasco

Margaret W. Pearce
Margaret W. Pearce  |  Abstract
This project is a cartographer's response to the marginalization of local knowledge in global climate change dialogues. Drawing on the findings of a 2009-2011 research project to investigate livelihood adaptive capacities and strategies in the North Pare and Kilimanjaro regions of Tanzania, it creates a multi-themed map to represent local, Indigenous and outside, Western knowledge of climate change adaptive capacity and resilience in a shared cartographic space. The purpose is to highlight places of difference and common ground across these bodies of knowledge and reveal the ways in which each may inform the other in the search for climate change strategies. The project is theoretically grounded in narrative theory, critical cartography, and Indigenous epistemologies.

Assistant Professor, Geography, Indigenous Nations Studies, and American Stdudies, University of Kansas  -  Fostering Climate Dialogue with Cartography: A Model for Incorporating Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Knowledge

M. Brady Brower
M. Brady Brower  |  Abstract
In the period of France's Third Republic, a wide ranging discourse about animal societies offered a particularly powerful means of redefining the ideological determinants of social morality in the midst of the Republic’s struggle against both the Catholic Church and the socialist left. Colonies of insect, flocks of birds, empathic dogs, and loquacious simians frequently served in this discourse to illustrate ideas about the morality of particular social and political configurations. To date, historical works on the human-animal analogy in the nineteenth century have focused almost exclusively on the ways in which this connection served apologists for liberal capitalism, exclusive nationalism, and imperialism. Little attention has been paid to those discourses that used this same analogy to illustrate and promote theories of society that favored cooperation and solidarity over competition and division. While the historical focus of this research is limited to the operation of social biological discourse in French republicanism, it ultimately contributes to a larger body of literature on the implications of the natural sciences in theories of human societies. By historicizing these implications, this project hopes to open the concept of social biology to a critical scrutiny of its political effects in both the past and present.

Assistant Professor, History, Weber State University  -  Animal Republic: Social Biology and the Evolution of French Republicanism, 1870-1914

Kennetta Hammond Perry
Kennetta Hammond Perry  |  Abstract
This project examines how Caribbean migrants articulated their status as British citizens by moving, settling, and forging a sense of belonging in England following World War II. By placing the voices and collective interests of migrants at the center of historical analysis, this study demonstrates that postwar Caribbean migration comprised more than the actual physical movement of individuals across the geographical spaces of the British Empire. Perhaps more importantly, this study considers how these intra-imperial migrations involved a type of claim-making that was rooted in post-emancipation discourses of imperial belonging and oriented towards a transnational and diasporic understanding of what it meant to be both Black and British during the mid-twentieth century.

Assistant Professor, History, East Carolina University  -  London is the Place for Me: Black Britons, Citizenship, and the Politics of Belonging

Victor Caston
Victor Caston  |  Abstract
This study focuses on Stoic theories of mental representation and content. It traces the development of the early Stoics’ views on content, which arose out of their response to Plato’s theory of Forms and over time evolved into a highly detailed and sophisticated semantic theory. Using this framework, it examines their treatment of mental states in terms of their basic notions of representation (phantasia) and endorsement (sunkatathesis), to understand the distinctive types of content these states possess and how they play their respective roles in our interactions with the world.

Professor, Philosophy, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor  -  The Stoics on Mental Representation and Content

Lisa Pon
Lisa Pon  |  Abstract
With few natural resources beyond its beautiful and strategic location, early modern Venice was particularly vulnerable to recurrent outbreaks of plague: its economy was based on trade that necessitated traffic to and from potentially plague-ridden lands. Venice’s responses to the challenges of the plague thus shaped the city in fundamental ways, from the output of its signal industry of printing; to changes in the bureaucracy of its famously “perfect” government; to the great votive churches built by Palladio and Longhena. This project thus explores how early modern Venetians sought to understand and control their experience of the plague, both in the conceptual space made by ink and paper, and on the land and water of the Venetian lagoon.

Associate Professor, Art History, Southern Methodist University  -  Venice and the Early Modern Plague

David E. Chinitz
David E. Chinitz  |  Abstract
T.S. Eliot, who has been called the most influential poet of the twentieth century, was also one of his era’s most important literary and cultural critics. A prolific essayist, Eliot was a significant contributor to public discussion not only of literature but of contemporary culture, education, religion, politics, sociology, and anthopology. Much of his work, however, remains uncollected almost a half century after his death. In the years covered by this project (1940-46), Eliot produced about 130 works of prose, including major and minor literary essays as well as topical pieces written in response to the Second World War and to various controversies of the day. The project, part of an eight-volume Complete Prose commissioned by Johns Hopkins University Press, requires the production of an accurate text and rich annotation to make Eliot’s essays accessible to an interntational readership and to scholars in any discipline.

Professor, English, Loyola University Chicago  -  The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot, vol. 6: 1940–1946

Sarah S. Richardson
Sarah S. Richardson  |  Abstract
This study theorizes and historically situates the emergence of the science of maternal effects during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Collectively, maternal effects research argues that a mother’s experiences, behaviors, and physiology can have life-altering effects on the developing fetus. Scientists once asserted that the fetus is walled off from the mother’s body by the placenta. Over the last 50 years, this consensus was dismantled, and today research on the intrauterine environment is a robust program of study in medicine, public health, psychology, evolutionary biology, and genomics. Employing methods from history, philosophy, and gender studies of science, this study analyzes the relationship between maternal effects research and its intellectual and social contexts.

Assistant Professor, History of Science and Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, Harvard University  -  The Maternal Imprint: Situating the Science of Maternal Effects, 1900-Present

Darren Dochuk
Darren Dochuk  |  Abstract
This project probes evangelical Protestantism's ideological and institutional ties to oil, 1850 to the present. By way of rich narrative and deep analysis, it argues that oil-patch evangelicals have always considered petroleum their special providence, a fragile gift bestowed by God to be used for the advance of “His Kingdom.” Driven by sacred notions of production, stewardship, and dominion over the earth, they have long found an ally in the oil business, which has grafted these ideals onto an ideology of wildcat capitalism. This marriage has spawned power structures with global impact. While oil funds have helped clerics build thriving international ministries, evangelical businessmen and politicians have used their religious connections to expand US oil's interests at home and abroad.

Associate Professor, History, Purdue University  -  Anointed with Oil: God and Black Gold in Modern America

Sanjay Ruparelia
Sanjay Ruparelia  |  Abstract
Since 2004, India has introduced a series of progressive national laws that enact new civic prerogatives and socioeconomic entitlements through legally enforceable rights. This project seeks to explain the genesis, character, and ramifications of this new welfare-development paradigm. Three slow-burning interwoven processes frame the analysis: the cumulative legal advances won through several decades of public interest litigation; the various social inequalities exacerbated by rapid uneven development; and the rising electoral pressure to expand basic social opportunities and economic protection. The move to enact these rights in India heralds an innovative state-building project, which simultaneously seeks to enhance political transparency, responsiveness and accountability, as well as the capacity of the state to see its citizens. The project employs a mixed research design over two stages, to study the high politics of policy formulation and institutional reform, and the everyday politics of policy implementation and institutional performance.

Assistant Professor, Politics, The New School  -  Enacting a Right to Basic Social Welfare: India’s Great Transformation in Comparative Historical Perspective

Mary Agnes Edsall
Mary Agnes Edsall  |  Abstract
This project rewrites a paradigm long central to the study of medieval history and medieval devotional literature: affective piety. It demonstrates that the genealogy of affective piety goes back to the arts of disciplining the passions that originated in the philosophical schools of antiquity. Philosophers teaching disciplines of the soul were also rhetoricians who sought to move and persuade. Their methods were adapted by early Christian teachers. Thus this this project recovers the history of how preaching, texts, and practices were used to share the emotions and craft Christian selves at different times and places. This perspective significantly changes the view on why, over the centuries, devotional practices that appealed to the affections were so common.

Visiting Assistant Professor, English, University of Massachusetts Boston  -  A Road of the Affections: Rhetoric, Catechesis, and the Cultivation of the Christian Self, A.D. 1-1150

Michael G. Sargent
Michael G. Sargent  |  Abstract
"The Scale of Perfection" is the most important piece of late medieval English literature for which no critical edition exists. This project brings such an edition to completion, for publication, prospectively, by the Early English Text Society. The project also speaks to broader issues of textuality, how texts were read and made meaningful, and how modern digital media provide new ways of doing critical editions.

Professor, English, City University of New York, Queens College  -  Completion of the Critical Edition of Book II of Walter Hilton's "Scale of Perfection"

Jamal J. Elias
Jamal J. Elias  |  Abstract
This project examines the Mevlevi Sufi order from its inception in medieval Anatolia until the period of the consolidated Turkification and promulgation of reforms that transformed the Ottoman Empire into an early modern state which perceived itself as a pivotal force in Europe, the Islamic Middle East, and Caucasia (ca. 1300-1750). Through an examination of a broad range of Turkish, Persian, and Arabic religious texts, poetry, biographical works, government records, and treatises on music, as well as visual arts, the study explores the central role played by this important Sufi organization in the development of religion and culture in pre-Ottoman and Ottoman times.

Professor, Religious Studies, University of Pennsylvania  -  Mevlevis after Rumi: Religion, Culture, Legitimacy, and the Rise of the Ottomans, 1300-1750

Franziska Seraphim
Franziska Seraphim  |  Abstract
In the 1950s, social reconstruction policies in Japan and the Germanies focused on redrawing the post-occupation social body at the expense of wrestling with the political and moral legacies of the war. Both societies worked to rehabilitate as “fully” Japanese or German those nationals who bore the brunt of Allied policies, e.g. those branded war criminals, by transforming an issue of criminal justice into a social and humanitarian problem. This project is a social history of the Allied War Crimes Trial Program in transnational and comparative perspective and rests on an epistemological shift from the courtroom to the prison, and from the trials to post-trial clemency to illustrate a critical aspect of reconstruction after foreign occupation more generally.

Associate Professor, History, Boston College  -  War Criminals and Social Integration in Postwar Japan and Germany, 1945–1960

Brad Evans
Brad Evans  |  Abstract
This project tells the story of the late nineteenth-century craze for "ephemeral bibelots"—hundreds of almost entirely forgotten, proto-modernist little magazines published around the world—in its full, transnational richness. It develops key ideas about the prehistory of the well-known modernist little magazines and the world history of American literature at the turn of the century. Additionally, it comments on collections, databases, and publics in our current age of digitally assisted research. The project is organized into three sections—"Vogue," "Ephemera," and "Obscurity"—and moves discussions beyond the Anglo-American context by looking at the bibelots from France, where the vogue began, as well as those from Russia, India, and Japan.

Associate Professor, English, Rutgers University-New Brunswick  -  Black Cats, Butterflies, and the Ephemeral Bibelots: Recovering the Modernity of America's Fin de Siècle

M. Erin J. Shay
M. Erin J. Shay  |  Abstract
The goal of the project is to produce a solid preliminary description of the morphology and syntax of Pévé (Chadic; also called Lamé), spoken near the border of Chad and Cameroon. The grammatical description will complement the existing description of the phonology of Pévé (Sachnine 1982). The Pévé community faces social, political, and economic pressures that encourage emigration and bilingualism, both threats to the longevity of the language. Most Pévé speakers reside in Chad, in an area that is no longer considered safe for conducting research. The few (ca. 6000) Pévé speakers in Cameroon are thus the only resource for describing and documenting the language, which is in danger of becoming extinct or unavailable for future study.

Assistant Professor, Linguistics, University of Colorado Boulder  -  Morphology and Syntax of Pévé

Carmela Vircillo Franklin
Carmela Vircillo Franklin  |  Abstract
This project examines the twelfth-century redaction of the Liber pontificalis, a history of the Papacy written by Cardinal Pandulphus during the Schism of 1130. It situates this text beyond the narrow context of the Schism as part of the resurgence of Rome's literary culture, reflecting broad trends associated with the Renaissance of the twelfth century and the goals of the Reform papacy: the revival of interest in classical and Christian Antiquity, the fascination with Rome's monuments, and the return to the ancient traditions of its Church. The study also illustrates the reception of this "schismatic" document, from near-total destruction (twelfth century) to its discovery as "an ecclesiastical Livy" by early humanists (fourteenth and fifteenth centuries) to its controversial publication by the liberal Mons. Duchesne (nineteenth century).

Professor, Classics, Columbia University  -  The Liber Pontificalis of Pandulphus Romanus: From Schismatic Document to Renaissance Exemplar

Candace A. Slater
Candace A. Slater  |  Abstract
This book-length project offers a comparative analysis of three different sorts of traditional narratives from the northeast Brazilian interior—a region long known for its poverty and injustice as well as its creative resilience. Although these stories—pilgrimage tales, cordel ballads, and accounts of enchanted nature—appear to be about different sorts of marvelous occurrences (miracles, heroic adventures, enchantments) they all have violent aspects that makes them more complex and even more compelling than might first appear. Likewise, while these narratives initially look like remnants of a distant, largely “folkloric” regional past, they turn out to offer powerful, if often indirect, comparisons between this past and the globalizing present that is their tellers’ true concern.

Professor, Spanish and Portuguese, University of California, Berkeley  -  Beset by Marvels: Wonder, Change, and Violence in Northeast Brazil

Victor A. Friedman
Victor A. Friedman  |  Abstract
This project yields new knowledge in Balkan linguistics; contributes to interdisciplinary conversations on language contact and identity issues in the humanities and social sciences by filling a gap in the existing literature; and brings the results to speakers of the languages as well as to academic and policy communities. The main research is on language and identity in the Balkans, with a focus on Macedonia as macrocosm, Skopje as microcosm, and the towns of the western periphery as mesocosm linking the two. Dissemination will also be achieved by academic and popular lectures and articles. The work builds on previous research with the crucial addition of the significance of peripheral towns in the linguistic shaping of the metropole.

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow
Professor, Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Chicago  -  Balkan Languages and Identities: Macedonia as Macrocosm, Mesocosm, and Microcosm

Richard Jean So
Richard Jean So  |  Abstract
This project takes its title from a little-known essay by Arthur Christy, a professor of literature at Columbia University in the interwar years. In this essay, Christy argues that the early twentieth-century is marked by two profound transformations: first, the rise of new communications technologies, such as the telegraph, that draw disparate parts of the world together, and second, the unprecedented cultural convergence between East and West, America and China in particular, that have resulted. New theories of culture –how it is produced and how it circulates–are needed to understand such transformations and how they engender new social visions that transcend the old binaries of East and West. Christy stood at the center of a vibrant network of American and Chinese writers who implemented his ideas through political and literary collaboration in New York and Shanghai, Beijing and Boston. Key figures include Pearl Buck, Paul Robeson, Lin Yutang, and Lao She. This project reconstructs this intellectual network to explore how they created a vision of international community based on the harmonious fusion of American and Chinese cultural traditions, facilitated by an innovative use of both literature and new forms of media. Although this vision, what they dubbed a “Republic of Mind,” would not survive the rise of the Cold War, it provides a useful prehistory to our current moment of US-China cultural interaction in the age of the Internet.

Assistant Professor, English and Comparative Literature, University of Chicago  -  Republic of Mind: Literary and Communication Networks between America and China, 1925-1955

Robert Goulding
Robert Goulding  |  Abstract
Thomas Harriot (1560-1621) was an English polymath, whose thousands of extant pages of manuscript reveal an extraordinary mathematical mind. This project examines the large cache of his papers devoted to optics, an ancient science that was about to be transformed in the hands of Kepler, Descartes, and Newton. Harriot anticipated many of these more famous scientists in, for instance, his discovery of the law of refraction and analysis of prismatic colors and the rainbow, and his papers contain the raw account of his day-to-day working with optics and light, both in experimental practice and, to a large extent, through imaginative thought experiments. The study provides a new perspective on both English science and early-modern scientific practice.

Associate Professor, Liberal Studies, University of Notre Dame  -  Renaissance Optics between Experiment and Imagination: The Mathematical Practice of Thomas Harriot

Louise K. Stein
Louise K. Stein  |  Abstract
This project explains and documents how the intervention of the marquis del Carpio (Viceroy of Naples 1683-7) and his production team accelerated the integration of opera into public life and the metamorphosis of Naples into a center for opera and bel canto. Opera was among many facets of public life that Carpio reformed. He introduced a new system of opera financing, raised artistic quality, and produced a series of operas that were musically and visually innovative. He transformed Naples from an operatic backwater that hosted mostly revivals by traveling troupes into a sophisticated locus of production. Carpio has been studied as an art patron and voracious collector, but musicologists have previously under estimated his pivotal importance in the history of opera in Italy.

Professor, Musicology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor  -  Opera, the Transformation of Naples, the Marquis del Carpio, and Alessandro Scarlatti

Noah D. Guynn
Noah D. Guynn  |  Abstract
This project deploys the methods of cultural studies and critical theory to reassess the social significance of medieval French farce. Inspired by work on the experimental, dialogical nature of medieval drama and by cultural theories that locate resistance in normative forms of popular culture, the project argues that farce’s superficial predictability and conformity belie the complexities of its performance practices and modes of reception. It focuses attention on overlooked and occluded social content, claiming, first, that vulgar, clichéd, seemingly gratuitous jokes conceal probing, multifaceted perspectives on ethics, religion, politics, and economics; and, second, that this concealed content is obscured precisely because it entails individual and collective risks of various kinds.

Associate Professor, French and Italian, University of California, Davis  -  Risk and Risk Management, Resistance and Disguise in Medieval French Farce

Scott K. Taylor
Scott K. Taylor  |  Abstract
This project assesses the ways in which Europeans wrestled with their growing dependence on habit-forming commodities. Between 1500 and 1800, new and exotic goods like sugar, chocolate, tobacco, coffee, tea, gin, rum, and opium all became routinely consumed, and the domestication of these “soft” drugs was a trend that joined together several important changes that Europe underwent during this period, including the growth of overseas empires and trade, the consumer revolution, and changes in sociability and manners. The project focuses especially on how consumers understood their experiences with mood-altering drugs, how these commodities shaped social interaction, and how Europeans understood addiction.

Associate Professor, History, Siena College  -  A Genealogy of Addiction: Stimulants in Early Modern Europe

Mona F. Hassan
Mona F. Hassan  |  Abstract
This project explores Muslim engagement and entanglement with the notion of an Islamic caliphate following two poignant moments of symbolic loss, the Mongol destruction of the Abbasid caliphate in 1258 and the Turkish nationalist abolition of the Ottoman caliphate in 1924, in comparative perspective. It examines what Muslims across Afro-Eurasia imagined to be lost with the disappearance of the Abbasid and Ottoman caliphates and how they attempted to recapture that perceived loss, and in doing so redefined the caliphate for their times, under shifting circumstances. Vivid collective memories of the caliphate created a shared sense of community among disparate peoples at the same time as they gave rise to differing and competing visions of the community’s past, present, and future.

Assistant Professor, Religion and History, Duke University  -  Longing for the Lost Caliphate: Religious Imaginaries of State and Community among Premodern and Modern Muslims

Krista Thompson
Krista Thompson  |  Abstract
This project examines the constitutive role of photography and televisual media in the formation of contemporary African diasporic communities, concentrating on Jamaica, the Bahamas, and the United States. The circulation of visual technologies has informed new approaches to representation and visuality, conceptions of value , and modes of contemporary art practice. Many people who participate in these forms emphasize the process of being photographed rather than the physical production of an image. Further they express an interest in being in the light generated by the camera. These uses of photography bring into view local struggles for visibility in postcolonial African diasporic societies. They also evince how black subjects redirect and materially reconstitute globally-distributed forms of visual media and technologies even as they are transformed by them.

Associate Professor, Art History, affiliation in Af American Studies, Northwestern University  -  Photography, Screen, and Spectacle in Contemporary African Diasporic Cultures

Andrea K. Henderson
Andrea K. Henderson  |  Abstract
This project studies theories of representation in Victorian science and art. While critics have long recognized the impact of scientific practice on Victorian realism, they’ve paid little attention to the aesthetic implications of scientific theory, which was less concerned with the referential function of signs than their systemic relations to each other. If, in its inductive mode, Victorian science sponsored realism, in its deductive mode it sponsored the production of strikingly anti-realist works of art. The wonderlands described in these novels, poems, and photographs signal the advent of a logical and self-referential aesthetic, one that celebrates form for its own sake and anticipates the modernist preoccupation with abstraction and formal innovation.

Professor, English Literature, University of California, Irvine  -  Algebraic Art

Katherine J. Thomson-Jones
Katherine J. Thomson-Jones  |  Abstract
This project explores the digital as a philosophically significant artistic category. First, it examines how the basic features of digital representation—its manipulability, copy-ability, and medium-independence—affect art appreciation. It goes on to take up three philosophical issues in relation to three kinds of image: the realism of the digital photograph; changes in the artist-audience relationship with interactive digital imagery; and our emotional and imaginative engagement with 3D stereoscopic digital imagery. Finally, it addresses the same three issues—ontology, authorship, and engagement—in relation to digital music.

Assistant Professor, Philosophy, Oberlin College  -  The Philosophy of Digital Art

Padhraig Higgins
Padhraig Higgins  |  Abstract
This project examines the experience of poverty in eighteenth-century Dublin and the agency of the poor in the face of attempts by authorities to discipline and police vagrant and marginal populations. It is part of a larger interdisciplinary project on the cultural history of poverty in Dublin, focusing on both how the poor were portrayed and the sectarian politics of poverty and poor relief, as well as on the survival strategies of marginal groups such as vagrants and prostitutes.

Associate Professor, Liberal Arts, Mercer County Community College  -  “The Rights of the Poor”: Poverty and Everyday Life in Eighteenth-Century Dublin

Alice Y. Tseng
Alice Y. Tseng  |  Abstract
Founded in 794 as the imperial city, Kyoto was designed as the center of Japan, politically, economically, and culturally. The ensuing millennium witnessed the vacillation of imperial authority until a decisive break occurred around 1869 with the permanent relocation of the sitting emperor to Tokyo. The identity shift to ex-capital paradoxically motivated the city to newly prioritize imperial time and memory. This project examines the use of new architecture to remember a long history in modern Kyoto. Specifically, it concentrates on the city's creation of cultural monuments to celebrate imperial continuity in a century that physically disengaged the emperor from Kyoto but ideologically bound imperial history and credence to the city, anointing it the genius loci of Japanese high culture.

Associate Professor, History of Art and Architecture, Boston University  -  Conspicuous Construction: New Monuments to Imperial Lineage in Modern Kyoto

Wu Hung
Wu Hung  |  Abstract
This project is a book-length study on the art of the Northern Qi (550–577), one of the most important moments in Chinese art history. It examines interactions between various art forms and between artistic production and political and religious patronage, ritual practices, community activities, and cross-cultural communication. In doing so, it deepens our understanding of art and culture during the Northern and Southern Dynasties, a transformative era to which the Northern Qi belongs, and develop a methodological model for studying cultural influence, exchange, and assimilation in art history.

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow
Professor, Art History, University of Chicago  -  Forms of Interaction: Northern Qi Art in its Political, Religious, and Cultural Contexts

Richard M. Valelly
Richard M. Valelly  |  Abstract
Before the 1940s, actors in the federal government did not organize and direct anti-gay affect. But abruptly, from 1941 into the early 1950s, the politicization of homosexuality emerged and was institutionalized in Congress, the armed forces, the White House, and the Civil Service Commission, with far-reaching state and local repercussions. That legacy of exclusions has decisively ended with repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell. What happened when? Why? And why have the exclusions finally been dismantled now? Through focusing on the courts, litigation, changes in major party dynamics, and public opinion, this project seeks to answer these questions—and in the process also capture the exceptionally interesting voices, claims, arguments, and conversations within this historical arc.

Professor, Political Science, Swarthmore College  -  Dismantling Straight Government

Margaret D. Jacobs
Margaret D. Jacobs  |  Abstract
Beginning in the late 1950s, the US Bureau of Indian Affairs, state agencies, and private adoption organizations promoted the widespread fostering and adoption of American Indian children within non-Indian families. As a result, by 1969, in many states with large American Indian populations, 25-35% of Indian children had been removed from their families and either institutionalized, fostered, or placed for adoption in non-Indian families. At the same time, indigenous children in other British settler colonial nations also experienced elevated levels of fostering and adoption outside their communities. This project uses a historical comparative lens to examine why there were such high rates of separation of indigenous children from their families in the second half of the twentieth century.

Professor, History, University of Nebraska-Lincoln  -  Where Have All the Children Gone? The Fostering and Adoption of American Indian Children in Non-Indian Families, 1880-1980

Philip Venticinque
Philip Venticinque  |  Abstract
Agriculture, considered the only honorable and proper pursuit by the ancient elite, occupies a privileged position in ancient economic thought. Status concerns and a desire not for profit, but to appear honorable, informed elite and non-elite economic decisions. Models of the economy based on this ideological outlook contained in elite texts disregard the contributions of craftsmen, merchants, and guilds to the economic life of communities. This project investigates guilds in Roman Egypt (30 BCE - 642 CE) on the basis of documentary papyri, inscriptions, and legal texts. As such, it challenges these models and contend that non-elites approached the economic world differently than elites by examining these groups on their own terms, and not on the basis of elite texts alone.

Assistant Professor, Classical and Modern Languages, Cornell College  -  Common Causes: Craftsmen, Merchants, and Communities in Roman and Late Roman Egypt

Sarah H. Jacoby
Sarah H. Jacoby  |  Abstract
This project is the first study in any language of the writings of one of the most prolific female authors in pre-1950s Tibetan history, Sera Khandro (1892-1940), whose long autobiography is a rare first-person account of life as a Tibetan Buddhist visionary and Tantric consort. This research aims to better understand the roles of women and sexuality within particular Eastern Tibetan religious communities by listening closely to the many conversations Sera Khandro recounts in her autobiographical writings that convey not only her own sentiments, concerns, and values, but those of her interlocutors and their wider community. What we hear through these dialogues redefines current conceptions about the roles of women in Tantra and the place of love within Buddhism.

Assistant Professor, Religious Studies, Northwestern University  -  Self, Society, and Sentiment in the Autobiographical Writings of a Tibetan Female Visionary

Peter B. Villella
Peter B. Villella  |  Abstract
This study tells of Indian leaders in Spanish-ruled Mexico who strategically re-imagined the history of their ancestors' violent colonization by Europeans as one of peaceful alliance. While some of colonial Mexico's native lords chose to resist the implementation of foreign imperialism, others negotiated with the new arrivals for a measure of suzerainty under the Spanish crown. Part of this agenda involved intentionally erasing memories of bloodshed and conflict between Indians and Spaniards, replacing them with triumphant tales of cooperation and unity. In petitions, legal testimony, and official correspondence, native elites throughout Mexico articulated these "white legends" in order to reorient the institutions and authorities of European colonialism in their favor.

Assistant Professor, History, University of North Carolina at Greensboro  -  In Search of a White Legend: Native Lords and the Politics of History in Colonial Mexico

Adrian Johns
Adrian Johns  |  Abstract
Intellectual property is the defining element of the information economy. This is the first full study of the industry that has arisen over the last three centuries to uphold it. The industry comprises a variety of companies, agencies, and other institutions, which together seek to protect IP. Having coalesced in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries from previously distinct enterprises in fields like publishing and medicine, it now exercises a massive influence on our experiences of information. Yet public awareness of it is negligible. This project examines its history and practices to reveal how the integrity and authority of information itself are sustained. This new understanding should prove critical to future debates about the intellectual property system and its consequences.

Professor, History, University of Chicago  -  The Intellectual Property Defense Industry

Keith David Watenpaugh
Keith David Watenpaugh  |  Abstract
This is the first historical study of interwar humanitarianism in the Middle East. It traces the origins of modern humanitarianism during and after the First World War as both practice and ideology; connects humanitarianism to nationalism and colonialism; integrates humanitarianism with the history of human rights; and addresses how the concept of humanity informed bureaucratic and legal humanitarian practices. The work argues that modern humanitarianism is a unique institutional and ideological phenomenon produced by conceptions of humanity in Western civil society and public opinion, the rise of the professions, social-scientific approaches to social ills, and the specific historical and social conditions resulting from late-colonialism and the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow
Associate Professor, Religious Studies, University of California, Davis  -  "Bread from Stones": The Middle East and the Making of Modern Humanitarianism, 1914-1946

Dorothy Yin-yee Ko
Dorothy Yin-yee Ko  |  Abstract
This project focuses on the quarrying, carving, collecting, and gifting of inkstones in the eighteenth century to deepen our understanding of the social history of artisans as well as the relationship between their knowledge systems and the literary culture of scholars and calligraphers. Adopting a "geography of skills" approach, the study also illuminates the role of embodied craft and technology in mediating social relations, shaping gender identities, and integrating the empire.

supported in part by the Frederic E. Wakeman, Jr. Fund for Chinese History
Professor, History, Barnard College  -  Body, Text, and Stone: The Crafting and Connoisseurship of Inkstones in Eighteenth-Century China

Amanda Weidman
Amanda Weidman  |  Abstract
This is an historical and ethnographic study of female playback singers in the popular Tamil film industry. Playback singers, whose voices are recorded in the studio and then “played back” on the set to be lip-synched by actors, are celebrities in their own right. As a profession that produced new opportunities for women to enter the public sphere, playback singing has been an important site for the creation of ideologies of voice and gender. The project focuses on vocal sound, performance practices, and personae associated with female playback singers in relation to the cultural politics of South India from the post-Independence 1950s to the post-liberalization present.

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow
Assistant Professor, Anthropology, Bryn Mawr College  -  Female Voices in the Public Sphere: Playback Singing, Performance, and Gender in South India

Anthea Kraut
Anthea Kraut  |  Abstract
Though US law denied copyright protection to choreography as such until 1976, attempts to win intellectual property rights for dance began at least eight decades prior to that. This project tracks these attempts through a series of case studies, focusing on the white female dancers who spearheaded the most conspicuous campaigns for choreographic copyright, as well as on the lesser-known, non-white artists who claimed ownership of their dances. Copyright, the study argues, has served as an important but complicated site for dancers trying to negotiate their raced, gendered, and artistic status. The project thus deepens our understanding of how axes of difference have structured the landscape of dance and the terrain of intellectual property rights in a US context.

Associate Professor, Dance, University of California, Riverside  -  Choreographing Copyright: Race, Gender, and Intellectual Property Rights in American Dance

Shelley Weinberg
Shelley Weinberg  |  Abstract
This study develops and employs a novel interpretation of consciousness that is called for by the historical and philosophical conditions of Locke’s time and resolves what have been considered irreconcilable problems in important areas in Locke’s philosophy: his philosophical psychology and his theories of knowledge, personal identity, and moral motivation. Although virtually every Locke scholar writes on at least some of these topics, this model of consciousness enables the analysis to address all of these issues as bound together by a common thread.

Assistant Professor, Philosophy, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign  -  "Whereby I Am My Self to My Self": A New Reading of Consciousness in Locke

Hannah L. Landecker
Hannah L. Landecker  |  Abstract
This project investigates metabolism as a locus of potent philosophical, social, and scientific change: not as a conceptual and practical domain proper only to biomedicine or dietary advice, but as a site of critical cultural analysis. Drawing on both history and anthropology of science, metabolism is investigated as a set of ideas and practices that emerged in the nineteenth century together with industrialization, binding food and time together in new ways through questions of labor and work. A post-industrial metabolism is emerging today, and its ethnographic characterization provides insight into a new metabolism concerned more with information than manufacture. The book analyzes these material and conceptual transitions from an energetic to a regulatory metabolism.

Associate Professor, Sociology, and the Center for Society and Genetics, University of California, Los Angeles  -  American Metabolism: Food, the Body, and Time

Marina Welker
Marina Welker  |  Abstract
This is a study of the ethical technologies through which corporations seek to make ethics, knowledge, and persons and govern dispersed and disparate people, institutions, objects, and environments. It is based on two years of ethnographic fieldwork extending from Newmont Mining Corporation’s Batu Hijau copper and gold mine site on the Indonesian island of Sumbawa to the corporation’s headquarters in Denver. The corporation, and corporate power more broadly, is disaggregated in chapters that explore how ethical technologies ostensibly promoting human rights, participation, empowerment, sustainability, environmentalism, transparency, accountability, and good governance are developed, implemented, and contested in corporate offices and Sumbawan villages.

Assistant Professor, Anthropology, Cornell University  -  Ethical Technologies of Corporate Rule: A Mining Company in Postauthoritarian Indonesia

Alan Liu
Alan Liu  |  Abstract
This research is divided into two closely related projects: Media, History and Digital, Humanities, where the comma in each title indicates a disjunction in thought about digital new media in the humanities that needs to be explored. The first study is a philosophically-toned reflection on how media history affects our understanding of history, and vice versa. It shows that the sense of history alters, but does not vanish, in today's age of instant information. The second study is a wide-angled view of the development of the digital humanities field. It reflects on the way the field contributes to changes in the humanities generally and to changes in the relation of the humanities to a new "public knowledge."

Professor, English, University of California, Santa Barbara  -  Media, History and Digital, Humanities

Stephen Yablo
Stephen Yablo  |  Abstract
Aboutness is the relation that meaningful items bear to whatever it is that they are “on,” or “of,” or that they address or concern. It has been studied from many angles, by phenomenologists, semioticians, library scientists, and literary theorists. But it has played almost no role in the theory of meaning – surprisingly, since sentences have aboutness properties if anything does. The project is to develop an account of subject matter that meets the needs of philosophers and is useful also to non-philosophers. It goes on to assess the implications for issues such as verisimilitude, knowledge, assertion, vagueness, loose talk, and truth in fiction.

Professor, Linguistics and Philosophy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology  -  Aboutness: A Theory of Subject Matter, with Applications

Moramay Lopez-Alonso
Moramay Lopez-Alonso  |  Abstract
This project shows that agrarian reforms in fact contributed to some of the most severe challenges that Mexican cities face today, including overcrowding of settlements that lack basic urban infrastructure, the proliferation of squatters, and low levels of property tax collection. It argues that the intended objectives of the agrarian legislation have not been realized because policy makers misread the social and economic reality of the country at the time. In addition, politicians exacerbated problems, sometimes in well-meaning ways, sometimes to appeal to specific constituencies. This study analyzes three legal disputes that are paradigmatic of the problems studied.

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow
Assistant Professor, History, Rice University  -  Urban Ejidos: The Agrarian Origins of Urban Development Problems in Post-revolutionary Mexico.

Sandra Zalman
Sandra Zalman  |  Abstract
This project re-writes the history of twentieth-century American art through the lens of Surrealism. Moving beyond studies that have shown the impact of the Surrealists in exile on the burgeoning New York art world of the 1940s, this study demonstrates that Surrealism was embraced by American mass culture before its key members emigrated to the US, and continued to have a profound impact in the US long after the movement had dissolved. Though Surrealism was ignored in dominant modernist narratives where Cubism and Abstract Expressionism reigned, it came to represent a major underlying force of American art well into the 1980s as artists, critics, and historians used Surrealism to guide ideological debates over the role of commercialism, museums, politics, and photography in contemporary art.

Assistant Professor, Art, University of Houston  -  Surrealism and its Afterlife in American Art, 1936-1986

Manling Luo
Manling Luo  |  Abstract
This project examines the community-building function of story exchange among Chinese literati (scholar-offcials) from the mid-eighth to the mid-tenth-century. Rather than simply a literary prose genre as conventionally believed, literati story-telling is better understood as both a mode of discourse and a medium of pre-modern mass culture embedded in its historical context. This study looks into how story-telling enabled late medieval literati to adjust to the fundamental transformation from aristocracy to meritocracy by constructing their community and developing new paradigms for collective identity. The contextualized analysis expands our understanding of a widely acknowledged watershed in Chinese history and of story-telling as a universal yet complex human phenomenon.

Assistant Professor, East Asian Languages and Cultures, Indiana University Bloomington  -  Literati Storytelling in Late Medieval China