Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellows

ACLS created the Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowships for Recently Tenured Scholars to support scholars in the humanities and social sciences in the crucial years immediately following the granting of tenure, and to provide emerging leaders in their fields with the resources to pursue long-term, unusually ambitious projects. The 2020 cohort is the twenty-first and final for the program, which over the past two decades has supported nearly 275 scholars as they took up year-long residencies at independent research centers and universities.
 
The Burkhardt Fellowships are generously supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. They are named for the late Frederick Burkhardt, President Emeritus of ACLS, whose decades of work on The Correspondence of Charles Darwin constitute a signal example of dedication to a demanding and ambitious scholarly enterprise.

Read more about this fellowship program.

Please note: affiliations shown are as of time of award. Please click on fellows' names for current information.

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

Edward James Balleisen
Edward James Balleisen  |  Abstract
This history of commercial fraud in America investigates institutional responses to economic deceit, from an age of de facto caveat emptor in the nineteenth century, to an era of much more heavily regulated commercial speech in the early and mid-twentieth century, to the striking reemergence of fraud as a national problem amid the deregulation of recent decades. Key themes include: the tendency of capitalist innovation to generate new dilemmas about the boundaries of fraud; the competing influence of business interests, legal experts, and bureaucrats on fraud legislation and enforcement; the salience of social networks and standards of respectability in settling particular allegations of fraud; and the enduring importance and uneven performance of self-regulation by the American business community.

Associate Professor, History, Duke University  -  Policing the Marketplace: A History of Commercial Fraud in America
For residence at the National Humanities Center during academic year 2009-2010

David Bruce Igler
David Bruce Igler  |  Abstract
This project examines the cultural, ecological, and economic forces that shaped the eastern Pacific Basin in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. This study locates global-scale change in the local and personal exchanges between indigenous, European, American, and Asian populations—an international convergence of people who experienced markedly different fates. By closely investigating encounters along the American-Pacific littoral (from Alaska to Alta California to Peru) and the wider ocean (the island Pacific, China), this project explores the remaking of communities and geographies in the early modern world. This is the first interdisciplinary study of its kind to examine the Pacific Basin through the intersections of American, oceanic, and world history.

Associate Professor, History, University of California, Irvine  -  Pacific Encounters: The Creation of an Oceanic World, 1770s-1840s
For residence at the Huntington Library during academic year 2009-2010

Pamela L. Ballinger
Pamela L. Ballinger  |  Abstract
This project examines processes of reconstruction in post-1945 Europe through a focus on the continent's “displaced persons” crisis. Refugees put into question the symbolic and literal borders of nations and states after war, even as they raised more immediate issues regarding social integration and housing. Employing historical and anthropological methods, the study examines such questions for Italy, which had large populations of both foreign displaced persons and national refugees (i.e. persons from formerly Italian territorial possessions lost with the defeat of fascism). The conceptual and material differentiation of refugees into categories of “foreign” and “national” constituted a key site at which understandings of Italian (and, more broadly, European) identity were renegotiated.

Associate Professor, Sociology and Anthropology, Bowdoin College  -  Forgotten Refugees: Decolonization, Displaced Persons, and the Reconstruction of Italy and Europe
For residence at the American Academy in Rome during academic year 2010-2011

Tara E. Nummedal
Tara E. Nummedal  |  Abstract
This project uses Anna Zieglerin’s dramatic rise and fall at a ducal court in the 1570s as a way to explore the intersection of science, gender, and faith in Reformation Germany. One of the few women alchemists about whom we have extant sources, Zieglerin practiced alchemy, recorded recipes for a golden oil called the lion’s blood, and attracted the support of a German duke. At the same time, she articulated an eschatological program in which she, as a “new Virgin Mary,” would use the lion’s blood to repopulate the world in preparation for the Last Days. In positioning her body and alchemy at the center of a spectacular cosmic drama, Zieglerin offers an opportunity to explore the porous boundary between science and religion in the era of the Reformation.

Associate Professor, History, Brown University  -  The Lion's Blood: Alchemy, Apocalypse, and Gender in Reformation Europe
For residence at the Huntington Library during academic year 2010-2011

Francesca Fiorani
Francesca Fiorani  |  Abstract
This project considers shadows as images of knowledge in Renaissance art, natural philosophy, and culture. Its visual evidence ranges from individual paintings to optical diagrams, from quick sketches to diligent drawings, and from jotted notes to full-fledged treatises. The research focuses on a case study of unprecedented richness and consequences: how Leonardo da Vinci (145-1519) observed, drew, and painted shadows and how he wrote about them. This interdisciplinary approach to Leonardo’s shadows intersects optical theory with artistic practice, art with natural philosophy, and phenomenology with culture. From this analysis, shadows emerge as a fundamental means of articulating and visualizing the relations between objectivity and imagination

Associate Professor, Art, University of Virginia  -  Leonardo's Shadows: Images of Knowledge in Renaissance Art and Culture
For residence at Villa I Tatti during academic year 2009-2010

Devin O. Pendas
Devin O. Pendas  |  Abstract
The literature on transitional justice frequently assumes that there is a direct correlation between “good” justice in the wake of mass atrocity and the democratization of post-conflict societies. The experience of Germany in the first decade after World War II provides an excellent opportunity to interrogate this assumption. While the Allied trials of Nazi criminals have been reasonably well studied, their counterparts in German courts have not. Yet these formed the backbone of transitional justice in postwar Germany. This project examines the role played by these trials in the diverging political developments in the two Germanys in the first postwar decade. Transitional justice in German appears to have had at best an ambivalent relationship to democracy.

Associate Professor, History, Boston College  -  Law, Democracy, and Transitional Justice in Germany, 1945-1955
For residence at the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress during academic year 2009-2010

Susanne E. Freidberg
Susanne E. Freidberg  |  Abstract
As concerns about global warming fuel calls to “eat local,” food miles have become a popular metric of dietary virtue. At the same time, scientific critiques of food miles have fueled controversy over exactly how to calculate and regulate food’s overall carbon footprint. This project explores how debates over the future map of food supply are also struggles over the knowledge used to draw it. Combining multisite ethnography, qualitative media analysis, and historical research, it examines how certain geographic measures of food sustainability have come to seem natural and commonsensical.

Associate Professor, Geography, Dartmouth College  -  Diet for a Warm Planet: Debating the Future Map of Food
For residence at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study during academic year 2011-2012

Agustin Rayo
Agustin Rayo  |  Abstract
Philosophers tend to believe that our use of language is governed by rules. Although this way of thinking is useful for certain purposes, it is inaccurate as a description of our everyday discourse, which is inevitably vague. This project proposes a conception of language which is based on decision-making (rather than rule-following), and shows that it dovetails with current linguistic theory. A distinctive feature of the project is that it based on an unorthodox methodology: the idea that traditional concerns in metaphysics should be disallowed as admissible constraints on philosophical theorizing. When metaphysical baggage is set aside, novel avenues of investigation become available, and long-standing philosophical problems can be addressed in natural and systematic ways.

Associate Professor, Linguistics and Philosophy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology  -  Language as Decision-Making
For residence at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study during academic year 2009-2010

Jen Hill
Jen Hill  |  Abstract
Like recent work in the geosciences that tracks climate change and its possible causes and consequences by examining centuries-old calcium deposits in mussel shells, this project samples British literature in order to pose—and to attempt to reposition—climate as an object of literary inquiry. Recent experiences of the effects of global warming have highlighted “climate” as a flashpoint for discussions about ecology and globalization. By exploring climate's rich history as an integral component of the literary and cultural imagination of Britain, this project reveals how climate became a shared, defining, and potentially volatile factor in discussions and discourses of race, geography, natural history, and British identity in the nineteenth century.

Associate Professor, English, University of Nevada, Reno  -  Climate, Nature, and Global Geographies in Victorian Britain
For residence at the Newberry Library during academic year 2009-2010

Jonathan Sheehan
Jonathan Sheehan  |  Abstract
For many years, historians have traced the origins of the human sciences to a gradual secularization of knowledge in the wake of the Scientific Revolution. This project entirely recasts this history. It argues that it was in the domain of theology that these disciplines first took form. Specifically, they took form in the unusual theology of the seventeenth century, when the engines of polemic drove scholars to mobilize arguments from (modern) disciplines as various as legal history, comparative anthropology, geography, and even natural history. The problem of sacrifice concentrated all of these currents as a nucleus around which the intellectual, religious, and political problems of the day coalesced; through it, we can reveal anew the history of both the human sciences and theology.

Associate Professor, History, University of California, Berkeley  -  Sacrifice: Theology and the Human Sciences in Early Modern Europe
For residence at the Folger Shakespeare Library during academic year 2011-2012