Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellows

The Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships program awards 65 fellowships annually. The fellowships support a year of research and writing to help advanced graduate students in the humanities and social sciences in the last year of Ph.D. dissertation writing.

This program is made possible by a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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. 

Jennifer Ann Adair
Jennifer Ann Adair  |  Abstract
This dissertation examines the restoration of democratic governance in Argentina following decades of repressive rule and political crisis. It focuses on how government food, education, and welfare programs during this period transformed popular notions of democracy. By studying a broad range of social actors in Buenos Aires and the surrounding suburbs, this project juxtaposes two concepts—Latin America’s political opening of the 1980s and its concurrent economic crisis—that have remained analytically separate to uncover how both produced reformulations of the role of the welfare state, the concept of rights, political identities, and the meanings of democracy itself.

Doctoral Candidate, History, New York University  -  In Search of the “Lost Decade”: The Politics of Rights and Welfare During the Argentine Transition to Democracy, 1982-1990

S.E. Kile
S.E. Kile  |  Abstract
This dissertation pairs a detailed study of the scope and significance of the brand new mode of cultural entrepreneurship of the early Qing literatus, Li Yu (1611-1680), with close analysis of his essays, plays, and short stories. It analyzes how, on paper and in practice, Li Yu explores new possibilities for subjectivity and embodied experience of the early Qing world—new ways of using objects, alternate modes of embodiment, artful manipulations of space, and the power and limits of vision. It contends that these experiments challenge those who encounter them to take account of the actuality of their time, place, and resources, and to envisage alternate possibilities for the material world, social and economic status, and discursive production.

Doctoral Candidate, Chinese Literature, Columbia University  -  Experimenting in the Limelight: Li Yu's Cultural Production in Early Qing China

Raquel Albarrán
Raquel Albarrán  |  Abstract
In Latin America, the constitution of an “objectified” colonial subject was especially central amid the exponential multiplication of the “castas” (the offspring of Europeans, Africans, and Amerindians). This research explores how material culture—as interpreted from available archeological evidence, art-historical documents, and museum artifacts—shaped notions of race and ethnicity in sixteenth- to eighteenth-century Mexico and Peru. By focusing on the social and politicized traces of physical objects and spaces that manifest in re-readings of texts and images, this study exposes the gaps that have been left by non-materialist critiques to unearth the traces of material culture found in key colonial accounts (Hernán Cortés, Guaman Poma, Sor Juana) or existing in their particular context of production.

Doctoral Candidate, Romance Languages, Hispanic Studies, University of Pennsylvania  -  Colonial Assemblages: Objects, Territories, and Racialized Subjects in Pre-Independence Latin America

Gloria Kim
Gloria Kim  |  Abstract
In 1989, US government scientists invented a new disease concept: Emerging Infectious Diseases (EIDs) describes diseases that were hitherto unknown to humankind, or which have re-surfaced after a period of eradication. This dissertation examines how EIDs have inaugurated an era of health campaigns that utilize images, media forms, and networks to manage global disease flows in an effort to secure US national health. It examines representations of EIDs that naturalize disease as problems of spatial, interspecies, and temporal boundary management, considering how media and communications technologies attend to these boundaries while communicating health threats. Prodding health campaigns according to critical shifts in visual technologies, life-sciences, epidemiology, media, and communications infrastructures uncovers how these campaigns create “atmospheres of catastrophe”—visual ecologies evoking a constant, low-grade state of crisis. Thus, global health is set in tension with US “pathogenic nation-building”—the forging of national solidarity around pandemic fear and avoidance.

Doctoral Candidate, Visual and Cultural Studies, University of Rochester  -  Transmissions: Public Health Campaigns and Ambient Media in the Era of Global Health under US Health Security

Lisa Ubelaker Andrade
Lisa Ubelaker Andrade  |  Abstract
“Americas Mapped” connects the rise of transnational mass media outlets with inter-American diplomacy and the history of geography. It focuses on three major media forms: mass-produced maps (on high demand during the war), the rise of Selecciones del Reader’s Digest; and the popular consumption of the radio programming of Ecuador-based Evangelical missionary radio station HCJB. It shows how international and national politics converged in the production and consumption of these medias, and how their consumption played a part in national histories and social/cultural movements of Argentina and Ecuador.

Doctoral Candidate, History, Yale University  -  Americas Mapped: Mass Media and the Construction of “American” Geography, 1938-1948

Erin Lambert
Erin Lambert  |  Abstract
The resurrection of the dead, wrote a sixteenth-century German pastor, was more debated than any other article of the Creed. Through German and Dutch Lutheran, Anabaptist, Reformed, and Catholic songs and images of resurrection, this dissertation asks how devotional practices construct religious identities. Scholars have long understood such divisions through doctrine and politics. By examining the embodied actions of singing, seeing, and listening, this dissertation argues that the divisions between Christians cut to the bone. Each group rendered differently the body’s resurrection and the reconstitution of the community, revealing utterly divergent conceptions of personhood and communal identity. The religious conflicts that divided Europe took shape in the gaze on an image and voices raised in song.

Doctoral Candidate, History, University of Wisconsin-Madison  -  “In my flesh I shall see:” Resurrection and Devotional Identity in Sixteenth-Century Europe

Catherine M. Appert
Catherine M. Appert  |  Abstract
This project explores hip hop cultural practice in Dakar, Senegal, and among Senegalese immigrant communities in the US as a performative negotiation of postcolonial urban space. Informed by local, colonially-influenced perceptions of “traditional” and “modern,” Senegalese rappers invoke the griot (bard) as an indigenous precursor of hip hop while framing their musical practice in terms of transatlantic connections to the African diaspora. Aligning aesthetic and social characteristics of hip hop and griot performance, they navigate between a local, indigenous “past” and a global present. Alongside these discourses of origin, practices of naming, musical production, and consumption indigenize this globalized music in complex ways, destabilizing dominant models of cultural globalization.

Doctoral Candidate, Ethnomusicology, University of California, Los Angeles  -  Hip Hop in Between: Producing Diasporic Music in Senegal

Samson W. Lim
Samson W. Lim  |  Abstract
This dissertation traces the parallel histories of police science, sensational crime news, and detective fiction as they relate to the generation, dissemination, and believability of information about violent crime in Thailand. It argues that the narrative structure, vocabulary, and tropes of the newly introduced detective novel traveled across oceans and then crept out through the boundaries of fiction to help define the way in which the police, the press, and the public understood and continue to understand violence. That is, the emerging narrative forms found in fiction became connected with modern investigation techniques transplanted to Siam at the same time to materially change the way violent crime could be proved true in courts of law and in the public imagination.

Doctoral Candidate, History, Cornell University  -  Siam's New Detectives: A History of the Police, the Press, and Conspiracy in Thailand

Daniel Asen
Daniel Asen  |  Abstract
This dissertation examines the modern reinvention of a field of traditional Chinese technical expertise—the forensic examination of dead bodies—as a case study of the role of science and professionalization in the construction of a modern social and political order in early twentieth-century China. At stake in the examination of dead bodies was the role that modern disciplines would play in defining expertise, the role of professionals in implementing modern governance, and the role of the imperial past in shaping modern China. This study contributes to our understanding of the hybridities of modernity, the cultural and social politics of “expert” knowledge, and the local inflections of science during its emergence as a global universal.

Doctoral Candidate, History, Columbia University  -  Dead Bodies and Forensic Science: Cultures of Expertise in China, 1800-1949

Rachel McBride Lindsey
Rachel McBride Lindsey  |  Abstract
This dissertation examines the role of vernacular photography in American religion from the introduction of the daguerreotype process in 1839 through the first decade of the twentieth century. It defines vernacular according to recent developments in photographic history but also works to link it directly to recent discussions in American religious history about the nature of scholarship with regards to subjects' “everyday” religious experiences. In particular, vernaculars were the kinds of photographs most intimately associated with daily life. Broadly conceived, the dissertation works to bridge the fields of photographic history and American religious history by focusing on specific artifacts in order to reflect on the relationships between material culture and religious experience.

Doctoral Candidate, Religion, Princeton University  -  Vernacular Photography and the Visual Archives of Nineteenth-Century American Religion

Elif M. Babül
Elif M. Babül  |  Abstract
This project is a study of the human rights education for state officials and government workers in Turkey conducted as part of the European Union accession. The state agents’ education on human rights (an essential criteria for membership) has been continuing since the approval of Turkey’s candidacy in 2004. Eager to prove its commitment, the Turkish government has been cooperating with nongovernmental organizations to give human rights training to its employees (security forces, judiciary, prison personnel), a group closely associated with rights violations in the country. Exploring this unique site, the dissertation focuses on the social complexity of the daily enactments of international relations, legal processes, and global ethics, situated at a complex historical and political conjuncture.

Doctoral Candidate, Anthropology, Stanford University  -  The State in Training: European Union Accession and the Making of Human Rights in Turkey

Alexandra Lukes
Alexandra Lukes  |  Abstract
This dissertation provides an account of a series of hard-to-classify texts, loosely described by such terms as delire, “logophilia,” and “paragrammatism,” that, while acknowledged to exemplify some distinctive characteristic of Modern French literary culture, have until now been theoretically united merely on the grounds that they mount assults on traditional ways of making sense. Via three case-studies (Mallarme, Artud, and Leiris), this project shows that these texts constitute a tradition organized around the concept of nonsense as a mode. This tradition forms a distinctively French response to the perceived fin-de-siecle crisis of language and its aftermath and may be viewed alternately as a French re-appropriation, development, and subversion of the genre of English nonsense-writing. Consequently, this dissertation investigates not only the theoretical limits of the translatability of nonsense (both as a literary genre and a marginal discourse) but, more broadly, the stakes of translation.

Doctoral Candidate, French, New York University  -  The Bounds of Nonsense: Reading, Interpreting, Translating

Abigail Krasner Balbale
Abigail Krasner Balbale  |  Abstract
This dissertation studies three medieval rulers of Sharq al-Andalus, or southeastern Iberia. Each dynamically interpreted traditional Islamic political forms to articulate his authority, and maintained power through alliances with his Christian or Muslim neighbors. The first challenged the authority of the Almohads, the Berber Muslim empire that ruled the western Mediterranean, through theological debate and military engagement alongside his Christian neighbors. The second, an Almohad governor, declared himself caliph before converting to Christianity and moving to Aragon. The third fought Aragon and Castile in the name of the Tunisian Hafsids. Based in Arabic, Castilian, and Latin sources as well as coins, architecture, and portable objects, this project illustrates the complexities of political processes at the time of the decline of the Abbasid caliphate. It also illuminates the interactions that blurred divisions between Christians and Muslims and between North Africans and Iberians in the Medieval Mediterranean

Doctoral Candidate, History, Harvard University  -  Between Kings and Caliphs: Religion and Authority in Sharq al-Andalus, 542-640 AH/1145-1243 C.E.

Austin Prosser Johnson Mason
Austin Prosser Johnson Mason  |  Abstract
The basic narrative of the Anglo-Saxon conversion has in many ways remained the same for 1300 years. Written evidence from before the Norman Conquest is scarce, and historians have studied the same handful of texts for centuries. Scholars of Britain’s early religious history rarely examine the massive amount of evidence excavated from conversion-era cemeteries. By relying primarily on material culture and only secondarily on textual evidence, this dissertation argues that the Christianization of England was a much more complex process than the rapid conversion depicted in the written sources. If we use cemetery evidence creatively, and listen carefully to the early medieval dead, we can witness religious practices that appear nowhere in our texts, and use them to rewrite the religious history of Britain.

Doctoral Candidate, History, Boston College  -  Listening to the Early Medieval Dead: Religious Practices in Britain, 400–1000 C.E.

Brenda C. Baletti
Brenda C. Baletti  |  Abstract
This dissertation examines the relationship between new regimes of governance and resistance in the Brazilian Amazon at a time when the “progressive” government seeks to solve food, energy, and environmental crises through neo-extractive development. Governments and their corporate partners are re-organizing Amazonian territory to meet environmental, social, and accumulation imperatives of identified relevant actors. By exploring the logic and practices of government-led territorial re-ordering, as well as everyday practices and rebellions through which social movements break with this logic and re-territorialize their spaces, this dissertation builds a theory of governance and resistance adequate to the impasse of seemingly unending crisis and the superimposition of multiple social and spatial logics.

Doctoral Candidate, Geography, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill  -  Amazonia is OURS! Governance, Resistance, and new Socio-territorialities in the Lower Brazilian Amazon

Matthew Benjamin Matteson
Matthew Benjamin Matteson  |  Abstract
This dissertation examines ways in which architects exploited the institutional regime of a modern, professional discipline to shape the role that arhitecture would play in the complex transformations of Polish culture and society taking place in the tumultuous decades of the early twentieth century. The Polish language architectural press and new programs of higher education in architecture became key sites for articulating and popularizing the architectural imagination that it was hoped would direct Poland’s march into modernity. This study uses archival records of these emerging institutions of Polish architecture to explore how they challenged outmoded postures towards history and identity and tested alternative collective conceptual foundations for modern architecture.

Doctoral Candidate, History, Theory and Criticism of Architecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology  -  Between Architectures: Institutionalization and Architectural Discourse in Early Twentieth-Century Poland

Amanda Baugh
Amanda Baugh  |  Abstract
The environmental crisis in America often is considered a white, middle-class issue. Most attention to environmental activism in minority communities focuses on environmental justice. This dissertation shows how widespread environmental concerns became important in diverse religious communities through conversations about food. Partnering with an interfaith environmental organization, minority groups’ concerns about food quality and nutrition translated into culturally-relevant environmental activism. With case studies of immigrant Muslims, African American Protestants, and white Protestants and Jews, this dissertation shows that diversifying the “green” movement requires a deep, contextualized understanding of particular communities, not a monolithic message of “earth care.”

Doctoral Candidate, Religious Studies, Northwestern University  -  Faith in Place: Greening Chicago Religious Communities

Petra Spies McGillen
Petra Spies McGillen  |  Abstract
The first in-depth study of the notebooks of the German writer Theodor Fontane (1819 - 1898), this project explores what material is for a so-called realist. It argues that Fontane, rather than taking his material from the “real” world, derived it from the streams of mass-medial communication and overload of secondary information that busied the nineteenth century. The dissertation shows his deployment of the notebooks as part of an open storage system made for constant growth. Through this system, Fontane turned the permanent influx of more data into an outflow of aestheticized text. Three things are thus at stake: the reconstruction of a set of notational and epistemic techniques, an assessment of realism as a mass-medial phenomenon, and the possibilities of aesthetics in information overload.

Doctoral Candidate, German Language and Literature, Princeton University  -  Aesthetics in Information Overload: The Notebooks and Working Methods of Theodor Fontane

Sarah Besky
Sarah Besky  |  Abstract
This dissertation explores the multiple meanings of justice and value for the plantation laborers who produce a global, yet geographically distinct commodity: fair trade, organic Darjeeling tea. In Darjeeling, on the Northeast periphery of India, transnational ethical trade movements, like fair trade, have converged with a colonially derived system of tea production, heated postcolonial discourses about economic and social rights, and local separatist politics. Based on ethnographic research conducted while plucking tea, observing union rallies, and following people and product from the soils of Darjeeling to the auction rooms and archives of Kolkata, this dissertation develops a place-based anthropology of justice, one in which historically rooted notions of environmental and ethnic belonging supersede narratives of economic empowerment.

Doctoral Candidate, Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison  -  The Darjeeling Distinction: Changing Agricultural Practice, Regimes of Value, and Visions of Justice

Amy Moran-Thomas
Amy Moran-Thomas  |  Abstract
Diabetes is the number one cause of all deaths in Belize, although global health aid and circulating there primarily supports infectious disease control programs. This dissertation empirically explores the difficult paradox of living with a popularly imagined “disease of affluence” in contexts of poverty and transition, where care for chronic illnesses remains in sight, but often moves in and out of reach. This project examines how the historical imbalance in global care speaks to the developed world's own entanglement in new pathologies. Based on fieldworkin rural Belize, it explores both the surprising ways emerging symptoms of diabetes are being treated, as well as what it means for diabetes itself to be a key symptom of radical social changes in an unevenly globalized world.

Doctoral Candidate, Anthropology, Princeton University  -  Chronic Life and Makeshift Medicine: The Diabetes Pandemic and Its Paradoxes in the Margins

Christine Scippa Bhasin
Christine Scippa Bhasin  |  Abstract
This dissertation examines the theatrical performances of cloistered women in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Venetian convents. It seeks to understand how the convent's theatrical tradition complemented and/or diverged from popular dramatic traditions at the time, and to challenge received histories that overlook women's participation in early modern public theatrical production. Using evidence gathered from the Venetian archives and printed play texts, this study shows that Venetian nuns performed publicly, before audiences of men and women, religious and lay, in the usually restricted space of the convent, and hence are representative of a new breed of early modern actor.

Doctoral Candidate, Theatre & Drama, Northwestern University  -  Nuns on Stage in Counter-Reformation Venice,1570-1750

Alexandra K. Murphy
Alexandra K. Murphy  |  Abstract
As of the year 2000, for the first time in American history, suburbs became home to the greatest share of the American poor. Using one Pittsburgh suburb, three primary questions guide this ethnographic community study: (1) How is poverty in the suburbs socially organized?; (2) How is the social and economic life of the wider community organized around poverty in the suburbs?; and (3) To what extent are these suburban neighborhoods isolated from broader metropolitan networks? It examines three different actors: (1) poor residents, (2) institutions, and (3) local government. The aim is to show how the micro-dynamics of everyday life in the home, on the block, in the neighborhood, in local organizations, and within the municipality interact and shape the suburban poor experience.

Doctoral Candidate, Sociology, Princeton University  -  The Social Organization of Suburban Poverty: An Ethnographic Community Study of Everyday Life among the African American Suburban Poor

Fahad Ahmad Bishara
Fahad Ahmad Bishara  |  Abstract
This dissertation is a history of obligation and economic life in the Western Indian Ocean during the nineteenth and early-twentieth century. It examines how members of a cosmopolitan commercial society expressed debt relationships with one another through written deeds and how they utilized them to circumvent Islamic commercial prescriptions. At the same time, it looks at the concomitant development of an Indian Ocean-wide empire of law centered at Bombay, and explores how this Indian Ocean contractual culture encountered an Anglo-Indian legal regime that conceived of obligation in a radically different way. By mobilizing written deeds in imaginative ways, Indian Ocean merchants were able to shape the contours of this changing legal regime.

Doctoral Candidate, History, Duke University  -  A Sea of Debt: Histories of Commerce and Obligation in the Western Indian Ocean, 1850-1940

Mary Murrell
Mary Murrell  |  Abstract
This dissertation investigates mass book digitization as an arena of cultural experimentation in the United States. Based on ethnographic fieldwork and other forms of research, it closely examines the work of technologists—engineers, digital librarians, lawyers, and activists—as they pursue the “transition” from print to digital. With particular attention to the public controversy around mass digitization from 2004 to 2010, the dissertation reveals how the book—a dense and hoary cultural form—has become a site of critical inquiry into and around the sharing and circulation of public knowledge. Rather than a technological advance that fulfills some evolutionary development, mass digitization is shown to be a contingent field of thought and action.

Doctoral Candidate, Sociocultural Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley  -  The Open Book: Digital Form in the Making

Shira Niamh Brisman
Shira Niamh Brisman  |  Abstract
This dissertation argues that the experience of writing, sending, and receiving letters shaped how artists—chiefly Albrecht Dürer—conceived of the work of art as a communicative device. It presents maps, courier journals, and receipts to establish the various postal systems by which letters traveled. This archival material is considered alongside drawings, prints, and paintings that adopt different strategies for addressing their audiences—sometimes conceived as intimate relations, at other times as an anonymous public. Divided into two sections, the private letter and the open letter in print, this study describes visual images in terms of epistolary modes and captures the work of art in a moment between sending and receiving, as an object in transit, aware that it is carrying a message.

Doctoral Candidate, History of Art, Yale University  -  Art and the Epistolary Mode of Address in the Age of Albrecht Dürer

Amy C. Offner
Amy C. Offner  |  Abstract
This dissertation shows how economic thought evolved through the experience of implementing Cold War anti-poverty programs, and how ideas circulated internationally. It follows US figures through three Colombian reform projects focused on regional development, urban housing, and economics education. It then follow participants including Albert Hirschman, David Lilienthal, and the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations back to the US, where they helped redevelop New York City and promoted new forms of private investment and public administration. Throughout, it examines the ideas of competing social groups that interacted in these initiatives. The project is a social history of economic thought, in which reform projects and the conflicts surrounding them provide the context for studying ideas.

Doctoral Candidate, History, Columbia University  -  Anti-Poverty Programs, Social Conflict, and Economic Thought in Colombia and the United States, 1948-1980

Kirby Lynn Brown
Kirby Lynn Brown  |  Abstract
This dissertation examines a body of Cherokee literature that challenges readings of the period between Oklahoma statehood in 1907 and tribal reorganization in 1975 as an intellectual and political “dark age” in Cherokee history. Situating writing by John Milton Oskison, Rachel Caroline Eaton, Rollie Lynn Riggs, and Ruth Muskrat Bronson within the Cherokee national contexts of its emergence, it explores the complex ways these writers remembered and (re)imagined Cherokee nationhood despite the absence of a functioning Cherokee state. In doing so, “Stoking the Fire” recovers this period as a rich archive of Cherokee intellectual and political thought relevant to contemporary issues facing the Cherokee Nation and Native studies today.

Doctoral Candidate, English, University of Texas at Austin  -  Stoking the Fire: Nationhood in Early Twentieth-Century Cherokee Writing

Ana Hedberg Olenina
Ana Hedberg Olenina  |  Abstract
In the late nineteenth century, experimental psychology introduced methods for studying inner experiences by measuring motor reactions. This work examines the repercussions of these methods for the arts, revealing the factors that motivated writers, actors, and filmmakers in Russia and the USA in the 1910s-1920s to reformulate corporeality in accordance with recent trends in science. These factors ranged from a search for a more immediate transcription of unconscious creative impulses in handwriting, articulatory movements, and gestures to utilitarian concerns with optimizing labor efficiency and raising the effectiveness of spectacles and propaganda. This dissertation examines practices of recording, representing, interpreting, and training movement responsible for modern configurations of gesture and affect.

Doctoral Candidate, Comparative Literature, Harvard University  -  Gesture, Affect, Expression: Psychophysiology and Theories of Performance in Literature and Cinema of the 1910s-1920s

Derek Scott Burdette
Derek Scott Burdette  |  Abstract
Life-sized crucifixes created in the sixteenth century were among the most powerful and well-known cult statues in colonial Mexico City. Today, however, these miraculous images have been largely forgotten. This dissertation uncovers the history of the most important of the early-colonial Cristos. It reconstructs the way people viewed, venerated, and manipulated the statues over the course of the colonial period, and traces their evolution from anonymous instruments of evangelization into powerful personas around which individuals and groups negotiated their place in society. This research enriches our understanding of Mexico’s artistic and social history, and demonstrates the capacity of art to implement and maintain colonialism in Latin America and around the world.

Doctoral Candidate, Art History and Latin American Studies, Tulane University  -  Miraculous Crucifixes and the Construction of Mexican Colonialism: The Artistic, Devotional, and Political Lives of Mexico City’s Early-Colonial Cristos

Ceren Ozgul
Ceren Ozgul  |  Abstract
In the last decade, Muslim citizens, claiming Armenian descent, have sought the arbitration of secular legal authorities of the Turkish Republic to convert back to Christianity, the religion of their ancestors. This dissertation examines double conversion, that marks both conversion from Islam to Christianity and conversion from a majority status to that of a religious minority. Armenian converts’ efforts to convert back present a vital site for investigating the discourse and experience of religious freedom at the intersection of majority/minority status. This project studies the sociopolitical effects of religious conversion and explores the ways in which the process of conversion has organized around discourses of secularism, tolerance and religious freedom.

Doctoral Candidate, Anthropology, City University of New York, The Graduate Center  -  From Muslim Citizen to Christian Minority: Tolerance, Secularism, and “Double-Conversion” In Turkey

Nathan Riley Carpenter
Nathan Riley Carpenter  |  Abstract
This dissertation examines pre-colonial and colonial political upheaval and transformation along a West African corridor that today extends across Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, and Guinea. The study charts three shifts in sovereignty between 1850 and 1925 (lineage-based, alliance-based, colonial) and examines rural communities’ continued resistance to state annexation. This research shows that communities resisted state authority by leveraging competing politics, existing trade networks, and their environmental location. In doing so they established their locale as a political frontier, thus defining the territorial limits of pre-colonial and colonial sovereignty and shaping what would become the borders between Senegal, Guinea, and Guinea Bissau.

Doctoral Candidate, History, University of California, Davis  -  Defining Sovereignty along a West African Frontier: Environment, Society, and the Creation of the Senegal–Guinea Border, 1850–1925

Mauro Pasqualini
Mauro Pasqualini  |  Abstract
This dissertation studies the spread of psychoanalysis in Italy by showing how psychoanalytic notions, vocabulary, institutions, and practices permeated Italian social life. The history of psychoanalysis in Italy—both as clinical practice and cultural trend—has remained largely unexplored. This study demonstrates that the cultural influence of psychoanalysis went beyond the Freudian psychoanalysts to encompass literature, politics, popular culture, and even advertising. Using the history of psychoanalysis as a lens, it sheds new light on the dynamics of cultural modernization in twentieth-century Italy, by showing how psychoanalysis interacted with, and helped shape, changing ideas about the family, gender relations, intimacy and sexuality, and consumption practices.

Doctoral Candidate, History, Emory University  -  The Adventures of the Unconscious: A Cultural History of Psychoanalysis in Italy, 1922-1968

En-Chieh Chao
En-Chieh Chao  |  Abstract
The much-heeded “Islamization” of current Indonesia is compounded by a concomitant, yet largely unknown, story of Pentecostal proliferation. How do Pentecostals trumpet their messages under the expanding Islamic doxa? What are the mutual impacts between religious movements? This study tackles theses questions and further examines the dynamic of religious pluralism realized in new gendered subjectivities. It contends that religious women’s practices have embodied distinctive forms of religiosity and sharply reconfigured gender, morality, racial hierarchies, and religious divides of Javanese society. Attending to the lives of women and minorities within and between the religious movements in Java, this study scrutinizes the often-overlooked nexus of gender, inter-subjectivity, and cross-religions relations.

Doctoral Candidate, Anthropology, Boston University  -  Women of Fire, Women of the Robe: Gendered Subjectivities amid Charismatic Christianity and Normative Islam in Java, Indonesia

Zakir Paul
Zakir Paul  |  Abstract
In Third Republic France, “intelligence” was a contested object for the sciences differentiating the normal from the pathological. After WWI, it emerged as a nationalist watchword in tense cultural polemics. “Disarming Intelligence” unearths a hidden trajectory linking these two moments in French discourse through Modernist fiction and literary criticism. Examining works by Proust and Valéry, the NRF critics, and Blanchot, this project shows how these writers questioned dominant views, revealing ignored aesthetic dimensions to urgent political and cognitive debates. Read together they offer a nuanced account of how “intelligence” was tested during this period of uncertainty. While the power to think had not changed, ways of thinking about intelligence entered an unending crisis that continues today.

Doctoral Candidate, Comparative Literature, Princeton University  -  Disarming Intelligence: From Proust and Valéry to the NRF and Beyond

Thomas M. Cirillo
Thomas M. Cirillo  |  Abstract
This dissertation explores a set of relationships among biology, race, and politics in the Late Classical Greek world. It demonstrates how thinkers from this era developed an approach to anthropological difference based on phenotypic qualities and other biological phenomena. This study argues that such an approach led to the development of systems structured to categorize differences in human populations. From a study of Aristotle’s works on natural science and politics, and the political career of his most famous student, Alexander the Great, this research shows how biological conceptions of human difference and attempts to categorize difference were applicable to theoretical statecraft, the real world practice of international relations, and the pursuit of imperialism.

Doctoral Candidate, Classics, University of Southern California  -  Categorizing Difference: Biology, Race, and Politics in Late Classical Greece

Natalie H. Porter
Natalie H. Porter  |  Abstract
This dissertation uses comparative ethnographic research at three sites of avian influenza management in Vietnam to explore how expanding global health efforts against pandemic threats create new and contested relationships between humans and animals. Combining fieldwork on two transnational bird flu interventions with participant-observation among veterinarians and poultry farmers, it describes how various actors negotiate global health processes according to heterogeneous values and practices, in which animals play central but diverse roles. It argues that these negotiations center on debates about the changing role of animals in social and ecological systems, and the value of rural livelihoods in a standardizing, market-oriented economy.

Doctoral Candidate, Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison  -  Threatening Lives: Controlling Avian Flu in Vietnam's Poultry Economy

Kevin P. Coleman
Kevin P. Coleman  |  Abstract
This is a cultural history of photography and political culture in a Central American banana-company town. Based on extensive research in traditional archives and neglected visual archives in Honduras and the United States, this study examines how campesinos (peasants), workers, and women used photography to expose injustice and to posit more equitable social relations. Photographs—from studio portraits of local merchants to images of campesinos killed in the struggle for agrarian reform—invite us to explore the creation of a new civil space, that of a transnational citizenry of photography. This study offers new arguments about the contested nature of images and visibility in a transnational site, processes of identity construction, and popular configurations of citizenship.

Doctoral Candidate, History, Indiana University Bloomington  -  A Camera in the Garden of Eden: Fabricating the Banana Republic

Andre Redwood
Andre Redwood  |  Abstract
Traditional narratives of the history of music theory recognize that seventeenth-century musicians routinely drew from rhetoric to help conceptualize musical structures. However, studies have been limited by narrow geographic interest (strongly favoring German theorists) coupled with an implicit belief that music had nothing to offer rhetoric in return. This dissertation examines the relationship between music and rhetoric in the Harmonie Universelle (1636), the music-theoretical magnum opus by the French polymath Marin Mersenne. In so doing, it demonstrates that Mersenne viewed the exchange between the two disciplines to be mutually beneficial. Ultimately, Mersenne’s writings compel music scholars to revise their fundamental assumptions about music’s status in relation to rhetoric.

Doctoral Candidate, Music, Yale University  -  The Eloquent Science of Music: Marin Mersenne's Uses of Rhetoric in the Harmonie Universelle (1636)

Jonathan D. Cottrell
Jonathan D. Cottrell  |  Abstract
Hume’s ‘Treatise’ accords ‘fictions of the imagination’ a central role in human cognition, and yet Hume’s theory of ‘fictions’ is routinely neglected by scholars and philosophers. This dissertation is the first monograph-length study of this theory and of the rationale that Hume provides for it. Against common views of Hume’s theory of mental representation, it argues that Hume’s theory of ‘fictions’ forms part of an original theory of the imagination and its powers, according to which what can be imagined outstrips what can be represented in any sense experience. From this interpretation, the dissertation derives solutions to several puzzles that arise in connection with better-known aspects of Hume’s philosophy, including a famous puzzle about Hume’s discussions of personal identity.

Doctoral Candidate, Philosophy, New York University  -  “Fictions of the Imagination” in Hume’s ‘Treatise’

Sandra Rozental
Sandra Rozental  |  Abstract
This project explores competing claims around ancient artifacts in Mexico, where archaeology is central to national identity. It describes the effects of the transportation of a colossal pre-Hispanic monument from the town of Coatlinchan to Mexico City. The monolith was rendered heritage and enshrined in the National Museum of Anthropology in 1964. This thesis shows how the secular Mexican state and archaeologists inadvertently animated objects and revitalized ties to ancestral localities. Forty-five years later, townspeople are remobilizing the monolith and archaeology to substantiate local claims to land and resources. This research shows how heritage and patrimony (patrimonio) provide a way for communities to counter rampant urbanization and recent neoliberal policies aimed as dismantling communal property.

Doctoral Candidate, Cultural Anthropology, New York University  -  Mobilizing the Monolith: Patrimonio, Collectivity, and Social Memory in Contemporary Mexico

Helen Anne Curry
Helen Anne Curry  |  Abstract
This dissertation offers a history of the development, application, and public reception in the United States of early technologies of genetic modification in plants. It explores how scientists, breeders, and lay observers at mid-century came to view methods that produced genetic mutations—whether x-rays directed at dormant seeds, a chemical applied to flower buds, or radioactive cobalt placed in a field of crops—as agricultural tools. By revealing a widespread belief that mutagens could enable breeders to speed up evolution, producing genetic variations “at will” and engineering plant types “to order,” the project challenges a more common framing of genetic technologies as having originated in the 1970s and sheds new light on the nature of current debates about genetic modification.

Doctoral Candidate, History of Science, Yale University  -  Accelerating Evolution, Engineering Life: Science, Agriculture, and Technologies of Genetic Modification, 1925-1955

Laurencio O. Sanguino
Laurencio O. Sanguino  |  Abstract
This dissertation examines the emergence of large-scale migration between Mexico and the United States between 1905 and 1945 using qualitative and quantitative sources produced in Mexico and the United States. In addition to describing the experience of migrants, effects of the movement on migrant-sending/receiving communities, and the extent to which government intervention altered the migratory current, it demonstrates how a regional movement evolved into a national phenomenon. As the first historical study to examine Mexican migration simultaneously from the perspective of the home and host country, this dissertation contributes to the historiographies of Mexico, the United States, and migration by situating Mexican migration in a broader demographic, geographic, and historical context.

Doctoral Candidate, History, University of Chicago  -  The Origins of Mexican Migration

Nicholas D'Avella
Nicholas D'Avella  |  Abstract
This dissertation is an ethnographic study of the cultural place of buildings in contemporary Buenos Aires. It asks how buildings are situated in three different cultural worlds that contribute to their production: real estate investment, architecture, and neighborhood life. In the years following Argentina’s latest economic crisis, Buenos Aires has witnessed a construction boom driven by the redirection of personal savings from banks to real estate. New forms of financing construction have altered the practice of architecture. Residents of neighborhoods impacted by the boom have organized to resist the changes that new architectural forms bring to their lives. This project traces the emergence of buildings from the frictions between these three different understandings of what a building should be.

Doctoral Candidate, Anthropology, University of California, Davis  -  “From Banks to Bricks”: Architecture, Investment, and Neighborhood Life in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Jessica A. Schwartz
Jessica A. Schwartz  |  Abstract
This dissertation focuses on the sonic evidence of the United States nuclear weapons testing program in the Marshall Islands (1946–1958). It offers both a sonic history of the early American atomic age and the first focused ethnomusicological study of Marshallese music. The research suggests that silence emerged as the paradigmatic atomic-age sensibility and was instrumental in controlling bodies and information in both countries. New sounds developed in response to these silences, ranging from air raid sirens and Geiger counter clicks to Marshallese musical expressions that archive experiences of social upheavals and material devastation caused by nuclear weaponry. The project argues that hearing the interplay between sounds and silences from the postwar years onward is key to unraveling epistemological shifts, geopolitical strategies, and cultural ramifications constitutive of the Cold War era and its enduring nuclear legacy.

Doctoral Candidate, Music, New York University  -  Resonances of the Atomic Age: Hearing the Nuclear Legacy in the United States and the Marshall Islands, 1945 - 2010

Alan Shane Dillingham
Alan Shane Dillingham  |  Abstract
This dissertation asks why twentieth-century Mexican education policy shifted from a homogenizing focus on Spanish-language learning to a pluralist approach toward Mexico’s diverse languages. Based on the Mixteca Alta, a indigenous highland region of southern Mexico, it hypothesizes that a confluence of factors—including development policy based on indigenous brokers, transnational discourses of anti-colonialism, and grassroots struggle with an authoritarian regime—crystallized in the late 1970s and shifted official policy to the recognition and celebration of indigenous language. Finally, the project examines the historical trajectory of indigenous education from 1954 to 1990 as a window onto state designs for indigenous people, exploring indigenous participation with and subversion of State policy.

Doctoral Candidate, History, University of Maryland, College Park  -  Indigenismo and its Discontents: Bilingual Teachers and the Democratic Opening in the Mixteca Alta of Oaxaca, Mexico, 1954-1982

Sarah Seidman
Sarah Seidman  |  Abstract
This dissertation explores transnational solidarity between the African American liberation movement and the Cuban Revolution. It examines the experiences of African Americans who visited Cuba or lived there in exile, along with African American and Cuban representations of each other in cultural discourse. African Americans viewed Cuba as a model for resisting US power and creating an anti-racist, anti-imperialist, and anti-capitalist society, while the Cuban government considered African Americans allies against US policies and advocates of Cuba’s egalitarian program. While substantive differences and ambivalent interactions clouded their shared visions, persistent African American and Cuban convergences shed light on the nature of both Cuba's revolutionary project and the African American postwar struggle for change.

Doctoral Candidate, American Civilization, Brown University  -  Venceremos Means We Shall Overcome: The African American Freedom Struggle and the Cuban Revolution, 1959-1979

Andrea Gadberry
Andrea Gadberry  |  Abstract
“The Lie That Binds” undertakes an alternative history of the lie from early modernity to Enlightenment. This project examines how lying, and particularly the inability to lie, undergirds and animates narratives of origin and their figures in texts literary, political, and philosophical from Montaigne to Kant. Studying the treatment of truth and lie in a period known for casuistry, equivocation, and dissimulation—as well as the birth of objectivity—this project develops a genealogy of early modernity’s founding fictions; it argues, in turn, that the inability to lie, incarnated in the figure who cannot lie, both exposes a discourse of truth and lie sustaining foundational myths of the period and unmasks the changing stakes of the social fictions they issue and legitimize.

Doctoral Candidate, Comparative Literature, University of California, Berkeley  -  The Lies That Bind: Lying and Attachment in Early Modernity

Anna R. Stewart
Anna R. Stewart  |  Abstract
Antebellum abolitionist writing has long been revered by cultural historians and literary scholars for the “cultural work” that it performed: namely, to help bring about the end of slavery in the United States. But what happened to abolitionist texts, initially primed with a pointed and timely social agenda, after emancipation? Most critical conversations around major abolitionist texts focus on their original antebellum publications. This study challenges that reductive frame and demonstrates the significance of the republication, adaptation, and reception of those texts during their afterlives from 1863 to 1877, well after slavery had been abolished. Drawing on extensive archival research as well as scholarship on book history and material culture, this project connects textual revisions to the shifting politics of Reconstruction—and especially the debate over the political position of the African Americans the original abolitionist texts had sought to emancipate.

Doctoral Candidate, English, University of Texas at Austin  -  Beyond Obsolescence: The Reconstruction of Abolitionist Texts

Abraham M. Geil
Abraham M. Geil  |  Abstract
This dissertation constructs a genealogy of representations of the human face in the theory and practice of cinema and new media. Beginning with the close-up of the face in silent world cinema, it proceeds through a series of transformative moments in the history of facial representation: classical and post-classical Hollywood, experimental cinema of the 1960s and early 70s, contemporary new media art, and, finally, its use as a stimulus for the imaging techniques of cognitive neuroscience. By tracking the fate of this singular object across such a broad sweep of film and media history, this project yields a uniquely powerful archive for thinking about the political and aesthetic dimensions of recognition in cinema and its digital afterlives.

Doctoral Candidate, Literature / Film Studies, Duke University  -  The Face of Recognition: Politics and Aesthetics of Facial Representation from Silent Cinema to Cognitive Neuroscience

Audrey Truschke
Audrey Truschke  |  Abstract
This dissertation reconstructs the history of interactions between Sanskrit and Persian literary cultures at the Mughal court from 1570-1650 C.E. During this period, the Mughal Empire supported Sanskrit textual production and produced Persian translations of Sanskrit literature. Likewise, Sanskrit intellectuals became influential members of the Mughal court and developed a new historical memory of the Persianate world in Sanskrit. These cross-cultural interactions are central moments when northern India’s two cosmopolitan cultures negotiated their aesthetic, social, and political dynamics. This dissertation provides the first detailed account of these engagements and attempts to understand their meaning for the development of literary cultures and the production and reproduction of political power.

Doctoral Candidate, South Asian Studies, Columbia University  -  Cosmopolitan Encounters: Sanskrit and Persian at the Mughal Court

Christopher Gibson
Christopher Gibson  |  Abstract
Despite the constitutional right of all Brazilian citizens to universal public health care, some municipio governments of large captial cities expanded provision and equalized access to basic health services during the last 20 years, while others did not. This variation emerged from three distinct regimes of state-society actors that initiated, consolidated, or obstructed the rise of municipio-level developmental states for the public health sector called “healthy states.” Spatial and quantitative analyses demonstrate cross-municipio variation in the weakening or expanding magnitude and spatial inequality of basic health service delivery within Brazil’s largest cities. Qualitative analyses of interview an archival data produced during fieldwork then traces these variable trajectories to “pragmatist regimes” of state-society actors that built and consolidated healthy states in Brazil's top performing municipios, “radical regimes” that built but struggled to consolidate healthy states in medium-performing municipios, and “rent-seeking regimes” that impeded the construction of healthy states in poorly-performing municipios.

Doctoral Candidate, Sociology, Brown University  -  Civilizing the State: The Urban Politics of Universal Health Care and Declining Inequality in Brazil

Sam C. Vong
Sam C. Vong  |  Abstract
From the mid-1970s to the early 1990s, the migration of “Indochinese refugees” from Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos fomented an “international crisis” and, more importantly, generated a vibrant transnational network of care. Government officials, labor unions, voluntary organizations, and evangelical groups, amongst others, drew on competing notions of compassion to legitimize local and international relief efforts. This ubiquitous and contested language revealed explosive political and ideological contradictions that resonated with a broader discursive shift from anti-communism to humanitarianism. This study traces the history of what I call “compassionate politics,” a volatile terrain of power and public sentiments fought over questions of civil, economic, and human rights. In so doing, it shows how compassion for refugees brought together various communities through common struggles for political recognition, while also reinforcing some deep-seated social inequalities. At the heart of these struggles loomed larger ethical questions: Who was entitled to compassion? Which lives were worth caring for? Whose suffering merited social recognition and public action?

Doctoral Candidate, History, Yale University  -  Compassionate Politics: The History of Indochinese Refugee Migration and the Transnational Politics of Care, 1975-1994

Leanne Good
Leanne Good  |  Abstract
This dissertation examines the transformation of the political, social, cultural, and physical landscape of eighth-century and ninth-century Bavaria as the region was absorbed into the expanding Frankish kingdom, following the deposition of its quasi-regal duke. The study elucidates the wider process by which the Carolingian dynasty united most of Western Europe under its control in the course of a few decades, concentrating on the roles of land use and the representation of environmental space. Changes made during this period to the organization of land resources, and to the mental demarcations of land such as ecclesiastical jurisdiction and centers of political power, changed perceptions of identity and supported changes in rulership.

Doctoral Candidate, History, University of California, Los Angeles  -  Land and Legitimacy: The Transition from Agilolfing to Carolingian Bavaria, 700-900

Mingjie Wang
Mingjie Wang  |  Abstract
This research focuses on a particular self-organization of Chinese migrant workers and is meant as an ethnographic study of their civic engagement. It emphasizes the local knowledge and folk methods (defined as “vernacular rhetoric”) of social members. The research is intent to answer three pivotal questions: First, what is the practical logic by which the self-organization deals with local state power? Second, how is the identity of the self-organization constructed and contested in public discourse? Third, what are the cultural resources of the self-organization in envisioning alternative modes of civil society? In the end, this research reveals the local mechanism whereby migrant workers teach themselves as free people and negotiate power relation with the state.

Doctoral Candidate, Communications, University of Colorado Boulder  -  “All Migrant Workers on the Earth Are One Family”: An Ethnographic Study of Vernacular Rhetorics of Emerging Public Space in a Transitional China

Thomas A. Grano
Thomas A. Grano  |  Abstract
Control (coreference between the unexpressed subject of an embedded clause and an argument of the embedding verb) is cross-linguistically pervasive and has been central in linguistic theorizing. This dissertation assesses recent theories of control by taking into account two related factors that are relevant in understanding the patterning: the lexical semantics of the verbs that give rise to control, and the restructuring properties of these verbs. The study draws on data from languages representing a diverse range of syntactic strategies for forming embedded clauses (including English, Modern Greek, and Mandarin Chinese) to shed light on which aspects of control are universal, which are subject to cross-linguistic variation, and what the best theory is for stating these generalizations.

Doctoral Candidate, Linguistics, University of Chicago  -  Control and Restructuring at the Syntax-Semantics Interface

Andrew C. Warne
Andrew C. Warne  |  Abstract
This dissertation examines how America became known as a Judeo-Christian nation, and how this concept evolved politically as anti-Semitism in the Old Christian Right gave way to a positive view of Jews and Israel in the New Christian Right. Many Christian conservatives between the 1920s and '60s viewed Jews negatively and criticized religious liberals who coined “the Judeo-Christian tradition” to call for civil rights and other inclusive politics. Yet in response to moral upheaval, political radicalism, and Middle East terrorism, they began in the late '60s to identify with Jews and Israel and adopt Judeo-Christian language. The New Christian Right recast America’s Judeo-Christian identity as an exclusive, conservative one, helped the right return to power, and pushed US support for Israel.

Doctoral Candidate, History, Northwestern University  -  Making a Judeo-Christian Nation: How the Christian Right Embraced Jews, Supported Israel, and Redefined a Tradition

Adam Dylan Hefty
Adam Dylan Hefty  |  Abstract
This dissertation examines the relationship between two phenomena characteristic of contemporary economic and social life in the US and Western Europe: the increasing importance of symbolic and emotional forms of labor and the emergence of mood disorders, especially depression, as a paradigmatic modern issue. It excavates a genealogy of this relationship, from medieval acedia (a condition uniting inability to work with dejected affective states), to the classic “high capitalist” division between these arenas (seen in an inward notion of melancholia, sloth, the Protestant ethic, and industrial time/work/discipline), to the modern day. This relationship constitutes a current problematic, though our disciplinary frameworks still treat mood and work as separate arenas of human experience.

Doctoral Candidate, History of Consciousness, University of California, Santa Cruz  -  Labor and Lamentation: A Philosophical Genealogy of Acedia, Subjective Labor, and Depressed Mood

Joshua M. White
Joshua M. White  |  Abstract
This dissertation examines the impact of pirate slave-raiding in the late sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Eastern Mediterranean from the Ottoman perspective, focusing on its consequences for the region, the Ottoman state, and, crucially, the individual victim. It argues that increasing maritime violence in the Mediterranean after the 1570s had a tremendous effect on the formation of international law, the conduct of diplomacy, the articulation of Ottoman imperial and Islamic law, and their application in local Ottoman courts. Utilizing a wide range of Ottoman and Venetian archival and manuscript sources, it explores the Ottoman administrative response to piracy and tells the stories of some of those legally and illegally enslaved in Ottoman waters.

Doctoral Candidate, History, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor  -  Catch and Release: Piracy, Slavery, and Law in the Early Modern Ottoman Mediterranean

Michael Hunter
Michael Hunter  |  Abstract
Arguably the most influential text in the East Asian tradition, the Analects (Lunyu, or the “Selected Sayings”) continues to be read as the most authoritative source of the teachings of Confucius. This dissertation disputes the standard view of the Analects’ origin by arguing from a comprehensive survey of early Confucius sayings that the text is a product not of the fifth-century BCE but of the early Western Han empire (206 BCE–9 CE), a conclusion with major implications for the study of early Chinese thought. In addition to developing new ways of reading the Analects against the backdrop of earlier textual traditions, it also introduce readers to the plethora of non-Analects Confucius sayings preserved in early texts, material that is typically ignored in studies of the period.

Doctoral Candidate, East Asian Studies/History, Princeton University  -  Sayings of Confucius, Deselected

Kristoffer Whitney
Kristoffer Whitney  |  Abstract
This dissertation is a historical and sociological study of the science and politics surrounding a migratory shorebird called the red knot, focusing on international wildlife biologists and managers who research red knots in the western hemisphere and advocate for their conservation. It traces networks of expertise, authority, and interests surrounding these animals, combining sociological field work with textual analysis of contemporary and historical documents related to red knot conservation. This work asks how technical knowledge about nature is generated and about the role of values (broadly conceived) in knowledge generation, and the ways in which both 'facts and values' are constitutive of environmental regulation—with implications for a wide range of scholarship and policy.

Doctoral Candidate, History and Sociology of Science, University of Pennsylvania  -  A Knot in Common: Science, Politics, and Values in Crowded Nature

Murad Idris
Murad Idris  |  Abstract
Political figures, thinkers, and activists invoke world peace as humanity’s universal goal and transcendental ideal. While such appeals may appear ethically desirable, they conceal the hierarchies and hostilities that the idea of peace enables. This dissertation gives a genealogy of “peace” through canonical texts from Western and Muslim political theory and through contemporary discourses about Islam, mapping the concept's historical lineages, political functions, and discursive effects. It argues that the concept of peace is constituted through polemics and effacements that turn on the exclusion of an Other. Demands for world peace through friendship and unity intensify exclusions and transform particular enemies into “enemies of peace.” Against this dominant and pernicious notion of peace, this project ultimately recovers an alternative understanding of peace as an ethic of letting be and care of the self.

Doctoral Candidate, Political Science, University of Pennsylvania  -  Genealogies of Peace: Friendship, Enmity, and Self through the Mirrors of Western and Muslim Political Thought

Amrys O. Williams
Amrys O. Williams  |  Abstract
This project explores the history of development in the twentieth century, using the rural youth clubs known as 4-H as a lens for understanding the rural dimensions of development on the American model. It argues that 4-H implemented progressive, biological ideas about the proper development of youth, crops, livestock, landscapes, and societies to create a way of life that was both modern and rooted in the countryside--a “rural modernity.” 4-H was both the means by which reformers implemented this distinctly rural vision of the future, and a site for rural people to contest and shape that modernity moving forward. Examining 4-H domestically and internationally from the 1910s through the 1970s, the dissertation traces the formulation, implementation, revision, and eclipse of rural modernity in development efforts.

Doctoral Candidate, History of Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison  -  Cultivating Modern America: 4-H Clubs and Rural Development in the Twentieth Century

Jennifer Jahner
Jennifer Jahner  |  Abstract
This project traces the dual legacies of the year 1215, which saw the initial drafting of both Magna Carta and the canons of the Fourth Lateran Council. The first of these documents came to embody a quasi-sacred vision of English secular liberties; the second spurred a vast expansion of lay and clerical literacy in the service of pastoral care. In positioning these cultural movements concomitantly, this dissertation examines the logic of “liberty” within late medieval English literature, showing the ways in which the discourses of legal exceptionalism and communalism so central to genres like romance and hagiography also helped to meld pietistic and secular political vocabularies—to marry the language of penitence and self-abnegation to arguments for common interest, institutional rights, and reform.

Doctoral Candidate, English, University of Pennsylvania  -  Sacra Jura: Literature, Law, and Piety in the Era of Magna Carta

Peter Joseph Wirzbicki
Peter Joseph Wirzbicki  |  Abstract
This dissertation describes the activism and intellectual debates led by a community of radical abolitionists in antebellum Boston. It pays close attention to the intellectual influence of New England Transcendentalism in crafting the rhetoric and ideas deployed by these radicals. The dissertation also explores the contribution of black thinkers to the intellectual debates of Boston, weaving a narrative history of the various debates and political crises from 1835 to 1860 with a rigorous analysis of their thought. It endeavors to reshape the conversation on New England intellectual life, emphasizing the radical political nature of Transcendentalism, the influence of black intellectuals, and the cosmopolitan nature of the ideas that developed from this alliance.

Doctoral Candidate, History, New York University  -  Black Intellectuals, White Abolitionists, and Revolutionary Transcendentalists: Creating the Radical Intellectual Tradition in Antebellum Boston

Lauren Virginia Jarvis
Lauren Virginia Jarvis  |  Abstract
This study analyzes the history of the Nazareth Baptist Church (NBC) from its founding in 1910 until a schism divided the church in 1980. Despite violent succession disputes after church leaders’ deaths, the NBC is currently one of the largest churches in South Africa. Drawing upon government archives, oral traditions, and oral history interviews, the first part of this study engages with foundational debates in African Studies by proposing a history of the sources available for reconstructing the NBC’s past. The second part comprises a set of broadly chronological (but also thematic) chapters, each of which analyzes tensions within the church community. In so doing, these chapters excavate a complicated and shifting terrain of religious, political, traditional, and gendered authority.

Doctoral Candidate, History, Stanford University  -  In a Time of Prophets: The Nazareth Baptist Church, Community, and Authority in South Africa, 1910-1980

Colleen P. Woods
Colleen P. Woods  |  Abstract
This dissertation examines how the Philippines became the primary postwar site for the development and dissemination of a transnational anti-communist politics. It examines how Philippine elites and their US allies managed local struggles over land reform, armed insurgency, democratic governance, labor rights, and religion between 1945 and 1960. During the late 1940s and 1950s, US policymakers and Filipino elites developed what they conceived of as exportable models for postcolonial development. Characterized by Filipino leaders and US policymakers as early sites of tension in a global Cold War, this dissertation considers how these local political struggles were transformed into laboratories for the development of a globally oriented anti-communist movement.

Doctoral Candidate, History, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor  -  Bombs, Bibles, and Bureaucrats: The United States, the Philippines, and the Making of Global Anti-Communism, 1945-1960

Pasha Mohamad Khan
Pasha Mohamad Khan  |  Abstract
This project attempts to uncover the view of the Urdu romance genre in India from about 1500-1900. In the latter half of the eighteenth century, and particularly after 1857, the worldview of Indian elites began to change, and twentieth-century studies of the genre treated the romance as an inadequate species of novel, rather than considering romances within their own historical context, and without attempting to reconstruct the worldview in which they were produced and received. Using hitherto unstudied accounts of storytellers and storytelling in late Mughal India, this study examines the social context of the romance and reactions to it, and compares it to the “truth-telling” genre of history, in order to reconstruct the ideological background of the period.

Doctoral Candidate, South Asian Studies, Columbia University  -  The Broken Spell: The Romance Genre in Late Mughal India

Emily Zazulia
Emily Zazulia  |  Abstract
The notation of fifteenth-century music often features curious inscriptions that prescribe transformations of written counterpoint—from simply slowing down a given line to turning it backwards or even upside-down. Such intricate notation, which can appear by turns unnecessary and confounding, challenges traditional conceptions of music writing. This dissertation reconsiders key repertoires, accounting for the ways that visual concerns shape aural results. Furthermore, it situates these convoluted practices in a culture of enigmatic writing that emerged around 1500, including newfound interest in cryptography, emblematics, and hieroglyphics. In viewing notation as a complex technology that did more than record sound, the project offers a new approach to music’s literate traditions in the early renaissance.

Doctoral Candidate, Music, University of Pennsylvania  -  Verbal Canons and Notational Complexity in Fifteenth-Century Music

Melanie A. Kiechle
Melanie A. Kiechle  |  Abstract
This dissertation assesses the role of sensory experience in late nineteenth-century environmental movements by comparing the efforts of chemists, doctors, engineers, politicians, and lay people to eradicate industrial odors in Chicago, New York, and Boston. Using government documents, chemists’ reports, personal files, and periodicals, this cultural history of “fresh air” recreates the common sense of the nineteenth century, when people believed that invisible miasmas governed their bodies. This project argues that the belief that bad odors were bad for health, combined with the pervasiveness of stenches from slaughterhouses, fertilizer factories, fat renderers, and oil refineries, produced a widespread conviction in the right to breathe fresh air and a complicated search for ways to ensure that right.

Doctoral Candidate, History, Rutgers University-New Brunswick  -  “The Air We Breathe”: Nineteenth-Century Americans and the Search for Fresh Air

Ran Zwigenberg
Ran Zwigenberg  |  Abstract
This project is a history of commemoration of the Atomic Bomb in Hiroshima in the context of the global development of Holocaust and WW II memory. Using the history of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park as a platform, it examines the role of architecture, psychiatry, emotions, tourism, economics, and politics to trace the process by which commemoration was used to normalize and domesticate the memory of the bombing. The bombing, it argues, was thought to have bequeathed Hiroshima’s victims with a global mission and importance. This was synchronous with, and influenced by, a similar view of the place of the victim/witness in Holocaust discourse. This dissertation traces the convergence of these discourses and the way the survivor was eventually elevated to be the ultimate bearer of moral authority.

Doctoral Candidate, History, City University of New York, The Graduate Center  -  The Bright Flash of Peace: Hiroshima in the World, 1945-1995