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Humanities Institute names fellows for 2005-06

The Institute for the Humanities has awarded fellowships to nine faculty and six graduate students to support their research projects in 2005-06.
Caron
Dowd
Forsdyke
Mullaney
Porter
Renne
Sanok
Stein
Weems
Ekici
Etxabe
Gür
Kim
Li
Raman

"We had 100 applications this year, evenly split between faculty and graduate students for our 15 places," says Daniel Herwitz, institute director. "Michigan is abundant with fascinating projects, and I believe the mix of fellows we've chosen for the coming year will be lively and productive."

The faculty fellows, followed by their project titles, are:

David Caron, associate professor of romance languages and literatures

"The Contested Ghetto: French Republicanism and the Politics of Community"
Mixing personal memoir, cultural studies and literary criticism, Caron seeks to rethink the question of community. He first looks at how Jews and gays have made the Marais neighborhood of Paris their own, then moves on to theoretical issues such as archaism, diaspora, survivorhood, founding disasters, the public/private divide and group friendship as metaphor.

Gregory Dowd, professor of history and American culture
and Helmut F. Stern Professor

"Bad Birds," "Flying Reports" and "Frontier Rumor in Early America"
Dowd is exploring the variety, meanings and uses of rumors that spread throughout North America as American Indians, European colonizers and American citizens falsely spoke about one another. How and why rumor traveled and what such hearsay reveals about the anxieties and stresses affecting a single people are part of the backdrop.

Sara Forsdyke, assistant professor of classical studies and John Rich Professor

"Politics and Popular Culture in Ancient Greece"
Forsdyke looks beyond the formal institutions of the ancient Greek state to examine how informal social practices played a role in politics. She argues that such seemingly marginal practices such as the ritual hosting of the poor by the rich or the public parade of an adulteress mounted on a donkey actually were central to the practice of politics, even after the adoption of formal political and legal institutions.

Steven Mullaney, associate professor of English and John Rich Professor

"The Work of the Stage: Trauma and Collective Identity in the Age of Shakespeare"
Mullaney's project is a study of the reformation of human emotions in the early modern period. Some of his chapters will focus on early modern print culture and the reshaping of social memory, others on European engagements with new world peoples. His central concern is the Elizabethan and Jacobean stage, which he believes served both as a forum for reflection on emotions and as a site for their reformation.


Marianetta Porter, associate professor of art & design and Helmut F. Stern Professor

"Memory Breeze"
This project seeks to deepen understandings of African American history and culture through the study of one of its most overlooked and abiding icons: the church fan. Through research and visual inquiry, Porter will investigate the role these simple objects played in shaping and preserving memory and meaning in African American life and culture.

Elisha Renne, associate professor of anthropology,
and Afroamerican and African studies

"The Spiritual, Social, Spatial Connections of Yoruba Religious Textiles"
In southwestern Nigeria, the Yoruba people use textiles in ways that reflect their Christian, traditional or Muslim religious experiences. Renne is studying the spectrum of spiritual and moral meanings associated with textiles, not only in Nigeria but also in the United States, where immigrants use them as a way of maintaining a material and spiritual link to their Yoruba homeland.

Catherine Sanok, assistant professor of English and women's studies,
and A. Bartlett Giamatti Faculty Fellow

"English Legends: Gender, Religion and National Identity in Pre-modern England"
Sanok has been studying the legends of British and Anglo-Saxon saints that flourished in the 15th century. The persistence of these legends—and their afterlife in early modern nationalist discourses in which native saints embody English identity—has led her to reconsider their role in the way English nationalism developed.

Louise K. Stein, professor of musicology and Steelcase Research Professor

"Spaniards at the Opera: Operas, Patrons, Singers, and the Publics in Madrid, Rome, Naples and Lima, 1659-1701"
Stein's study of opera's adaptation aims to understand the business of opera in the late 17th century. Using a case study approach, she will analyze the ways private patrons funded and shaped public performances and how their preferences for singers, topics and aria styles were accommodated by the developing systems of production.

Jason Weems, assistant professor of humanities and art history,
U-M-Dearborn, and Hunting Family Professor

"Barnstorming the Prairies: Flight, Aerial Vision and the Idea of the Midwest, 1920-1940"
Weems claims a central role for aerial vision in the creation of an aesthetic and cultural image for the American Midwestern landscape. By examining an array of visual objects—including 19th century maps, aviation-enabled survey photographs, aerialized paintings by artist Grant Wood, cinematic flight images, and the design of postwar American suburbs—he means to identify what is unique about aerial vision and describe its effect on how Midwesterners viewed and understood their home landscape.

The graduate student fellows, with project titles, are:

Didem Ekici, architecture, Mary Fair Croushore Graduate Student Fellow

"Bruno Taut's Vision of the Orient: Creating a Universal Architecture"
Ekici plans to research the influence of Orientalism on the German architect Bruno Taut, 1880-1938, who fled to Japan and Turkey after Hitler came to power in 1933. Her main objective is to understand how Taut's earlier Orientalist ideology—during his involvement with the German Expressionist architectural movement prior to 1923—evolved into a broader dialogue between tradition and modernity, and into a search for a universal architecture during his final years as an exile in Turkey from 1936-38.

Julen Etxabe, law, Mary Ives Hunting
and David D. Hunting, Sr., Graduate Student Fellow

"Laws in Tragic Conflict: Sophocles' Antigone and Judicial Decision-Making"
Law is not merely a system of external rules, but a comprehensive narrative about lawful and unlawful, right and wrong, good and evil. Etxabe invokes Antigone because it is the archetype of laws in tragic conflict, and because tragedy provides a theoretical model that challenges dominant theories of rational decision-making.

Asli Gür, sociology, Sylvia "Duffy" Engle Graduate Student Fellow

"Educating the Orient: Transculturation of Foreign Educational Practices and Imperial Imagination in the Ottoman Empire, 1857-1914"
The Ottoman Empire never was a formal colony of Euro-American powers. Yet, in the 19th century as part of a project of self-reformation, both Ottoman statesmen and various minorities of the empire radically transformed their educational systems by selectively and creatively appropriating certain French, German and American educational institutions. GU+00C3U+00BCr believes that a better understanding of the politics of cultural difference in the 19th century will have momentous implications for the ways in which peoples of the Middle East view the Euro-American world today.

Myeong-Seok Kim, Asian languages, Mary Fair Croushore Graduate Student Fellow

"Theories of Emotion in Early Chinese Confucian Texts"
Kim's project investigates the role of emotion in three important ethical realms: moral judgment, moral motivation and moral cultivation. However, he engages his philosophical inquiry into emotion in a particular context, namely early China, by analyzing several ancient Chinese Confucian texts including the Analects, Mencius and Xunzi.

Sumiao Li, English and women's studies, James A. Winn Graduate Student Fellow

"Fashionable People, Fashionable Societies: Gender, Fashion, and Print Culture in Britain, 1820-60"
Li's dissertation explores the emergence of fashionable society as a distinctive and dynamic force in British literature and culture from 1820-60. She argues for the central role of fashion in the social, literary and gender formations of early 19th century England. She believes that an exploration of the past forms of fashionable society will shed light on its re-emergence in some current developing countries.

Bhavani Raman, history, Mary Ives Hunting
and David D. Hunting, Sr., Graduate Student Fellow

"Document Raj: Scribes, Writing and Society in Early Colonial South India"
Raman is studying the transformation of scribal culture and writing practices under East India Company rule in south India. She will view the structures of modern imperial state formation from the perspective of scribal agents and focus on everyday forms of written communication, such as petitions and title deeds. She hopes to engage with debates on written authority and bureaucratic state formation, on the technology and practice of textual production, and on the relationship between the written and spoken word.

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