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. 

Barbara R. Ambros
Barbara R. Ambros  |  Abstract
The project presents a synthetic long view of Japanese religions from a distinct angle—women’s history—that has typically been discounted in standard surveys of Japanese religions. It begins with the archeological evidence of fertility cults in prehistoric Japan and ends with an examination of the influence of feminism and demographic changes on religious practices during the post-1990 era. The project explores a diverse collection of writings by and about women to investigate the ways in which ambivalent discourses in Japanese religions have not simply subordinated women but also given them religious resources to pursue their own interests and agendas.

Associate Professor, Religious Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill  -  Shamans, Nuns, and Demons: Women in Japanese Religions
For residence at the National Humanities Center during academic year 2013-2014

Lyle Massey
Lyle Massey  |  Abstract
This project examines the depiction of sex difference in early modern illustrated anatomical and obstetrical atlases. Filled with woodcuts and engravings that operate within the triad of anatomy, sex and gender, these atlases had a profound effect on emergent, modern understandings of the human body, and also helped shape the reception and interpretation of empiricism in medicine. Building on recent work in gender studies and history of science, this study employs the problem of sex difference to engage wider 16th-, 17th- and 18th-century debates concerning the efficacy of scientific imagery. In the process it explores pressing questions regarding the epistemological role that pictures played in early modern natural philosophy and incipient science.

Associate Professor, Art History, University of California, Irvine  -  Woman Inside Out: Gender, Dissection and Representation in Early Modern Europe
For residence at the Huntington Library during academic year 2013-2014

Edyta Bojanowska
Edyta Bojanowska  |  Abstract
The project centers on imperial themes in the works of major Russian writers of the 1850s to the 1900s. It will show that, far from an exotic setting in a handful of literary texts, empire was an enduring concern for all canonical writers of the tsarist era. In the case of some of these writers, their imperial thematics are largely unknown. The project examines the impact of Russia’s history, geography, and ethnic diversity on its literary culture. It also links literary treatments of empire with their reception in the journals. The focus lies on the diversity of the authors’ approaches to Russia’s imperial victories, challenges, and dilemmas. Clearly, Russians have disagreed robustly about their nation; this project traces how they have disagreed about their empire.

Associate Professor, Germanic, Russian, and East European Languages and Literatures, Rutgers University-New Brunswick  -  Empire and the Russian Classics
For residence at the Institute for Advanced Study, School of Historical Studies during academic year 2013-2014

Ellen Stroud
Ellen Stroud  |  Abstract
This project examines the environmental history of dead bodies in the twentieth-century United States. Changes in funerary practices and technologies of body disposal have shaped American environments, landscapes and lives, as have changes in material bodies themselves. The modern American corpse is toxic: mercury in teeth, metal in joints, silicone in breasts and batteries in chests have all made body disposal newly complex. This book follows the material journeys of corpses to uncover connections between human bodies and histories of technology, property, politics, and thought. The focus of the project remains on the ‘nature’ of human remains, reconfiguring the place of people within environmental history, not merely as actors but as constituent parts of dynamic ecological systems.

Associate Professor, Growth and Structure of Cities, Bryn Mawr College  -  Dead as Dirt: An Environmental History of the American Corpse
For residence at the Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science during academic year 2013-2014

Jessica C. Brantley
Jessica C. Brantley  |  Abstract
Although the book of hours was the most common book of the late Middle Ages, few have investigated connections between these prayerbooks and the increasingly popular vernacular literature of the period. Rather than offering a history of art or a history of prayer, this literary history of the book of hours seeks to excavate the histories of reading that are manifest in this uniquely large textual archive.

Associate Professor, English, Yale University  -  The Medieval Imagetext: A Literary History of the Book of Hours
For residence at the Folger Shakespeare Library during academic year 2015-2016

Carol Symes
Carol Symes  |  Abstract
This project exposes the embodied, performative practices that enabled the inscription, publication, and preservation of documents in northwestern Europe from the eleventh through thirteenth centuries: a period of rapid escalation in the production and retention of written records. Focusing on the indigenous, local forms of communication, the popular literacies through which documents were created and broadcast, it shows that a variety of historical actors (notorious and unnamed) were directly and indirectly engaged in their manufacture and manipulation, immediately and over time. It therefore contends that recovering information about the process of documentation is at least as important as the documents themselves, and that performance is a crucial analytical category for the interpretation of historical sources and the evaluation of their evidentiary status. This essential argument could apply to any historical era when the relationship among competing literacies, or between writing and other forms of communication, is being re-negotiated.

Associate Professor, History, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign  -  Public Acts: Performance, Popular Literacies, and the Documentary Revolution of Medieval Europe
For residence at the National Humanities Center during academic year 2013-2014

Catherine M. Chin
Catherine M. Chin  |  Abstract
Late ancient Christians were preoccupied with the biblical idea of ‘the Word made flesh.’ This project is to research and write the second volume, and begin on the third volume, of a three-volume project on the force and effects of language in Christian late antiquity. It analyzes the historical and cultural effects of late ancient language practices in three different categories: the imaginative force of language in late ancient literary education, the eschatological and transformational force of language in Christian controversies over text transmission and biblical translation, and the use of efficacious or magical language in both early Christian political action and the development of early Christian liturgical, ethical and theological discourse.

Associate Professor, Religious Studies, University of California, Davis  -  Incarnate Language in Christian Late Antiquity
For residence at the American Academy in Rome during academic year 2013-2014

Judith Tonhauser
Judith Tonhauser  |  Abstract
Human languages differ in their morphological inventories and syntactic structures, but nevertheless convey comparable meanings. This project explores the nature of linguistic variation through comparative analyses of nominal and temporal meanings in German and Paraguayan Guarani, a language indigenous to that country. The hypothesis is that comparable meanings can arise in different ways across languages due to variation in how conventionally coded content and context contribute to nominal and temporal interpretation. The project continues the documentation of Guarani and the development of methods for exploring meaning in research with linguistically untrained native speakers.

Associate Professor, Linguistics, The Ohio State University  -  Content and Context in the Study of Meaning Variation
For residence at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences during academic year 2013-2014

Christian de Pee
Christian de Pee  |  Abstract
During the eleventh century, Chinese literati changed the geographic orientation of inherited literary genres, and devised new literary genres, in order to create a space in writing for the commercial cityscape. Within this newly created literary space, the commercial cityscape emerges, not as an achievement of human artifice, but as an extension of nature. The effort of eleventh-century literati to discern natural principles in urban traffic and in the urban economy aligns their writing of the city with other intellectual developments of the period, such as the interest in natural observation, medical diagnostics, and civil engineering. This intellectual history of the eleventh-century city will afford new insights into the economy, philosophy, and literature of the period.

Associate Professor, History, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor  -  Visible Cities: Text and Urban Space in Middle-Period China, Eighth through Twelfth Centuries
For residence at the National Humanities Center during academic year 2013-2014