Humanities Institute announces fellows for 2007-08
Daniel Herwitz, director of the Institute for the Humanities, announces that the Institute will host eight faculty and six graduate fellows from the College of LSA, the School of Art & Design, the Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Design, and the School of Public Health. The faculty fellows and their projects are:
• Paul Anderson, associate professor, American Culture and Center for Afroamerican and African Studies, and Hunting Family ProfessorHearing Loss: The Dreamlife of American Jazz
Paul Anderson's work in cultural history offers a new window into the world of modern jazz. While prominent accounts of its musical and social worlds often are vanguardist and forward looking, Anderson circles backward to explore alternative narratives in terms of retrospection, nostalgia and loss. Among other threads, his reconstruction of the dreamlife the genre traces various efforts to repair the fraying ties between modern jazz and popular music in the 1950s and 60s, and pays special attention to the fate of the popular song form, especially the ballad, within the period's creative tumult.
• Philip Deloria, professor, history and American culture, and John Rich ProfessorCrossing the (Indian) Color Line: A Family History. In June 1931, Deloria's grandmotherwhite, patrician and pious, with a good job in New York Cityagreed to marry his grandfather, an American Indian athlete-turned-minister whom she had met only a few days earlier. Their union brought together two grand histories of colonial encounter. Deloria will inquire into the consequences of their marriage, which unleashed devastating tensions surrounding racial crossing, the authority of men and women, the preservation and recording of Native cultures and more.
• Tirtza Even, assistant professor, School of Art & Design, and Helmut F. Stern ProfessorOnce a Wall, or Ripple Remains. This documentary project questions the stability of any perception, record or rendering of videotaped encounters from the summer and fall of 1998 in the Occupied Territory of Palestine. Spanning more than eight years, it also draws on a wide range of media from single-channel video to 3-D animation. Even incorporates the documented images' passage through media and through the history impacting their perception.
• Andrew Herscher, assistant professor, architecture and Slavic languages and literatures, and Hunting Family ProfessorViolence Taking Place: The Architecture of the Kosovo Conflict. Herscher examines how violence happens by studying the intersection of architecture and political violence in Kosovo. Approaching destruction as a violent counterpart to architecture's constructive endowment of material with meaning and effect, his examination focuses on sites where destruction has been threatened or inflicted, understanding several factors are potentially salient in determining destruction's political, social and cultural dimensions.
• Katherine Ibbett, assistant professor, romance languages and literatures, and A. Bartlett Giamatti Faculty FellowCompassion and Commonality: Forms of Fellow-Feeling in 17th Century France. In her study, Ibbett considers the discourse of compassion in relation to the political discourses that explain and justify both domestic absolutism and the colonial projects of 17th century France. Looking at how the notion of a French public develops through the private yet shared compassionate response to representations of suffering, she argues that the language of compassion plays a key role in the establishment of the newly self-conscious nation.
• Marcia Inhorn, professor, School of Public Health and Helmut F. Stern ProfessorReproducing Masculinities: Islam, IVF-ICSI, and Middle Eastern Manhood. Inhorn's project investigates the intersecting domains of "Islamic masculinity" and "Islamic bioethics" as they are manifested in the realm of reproductive technoscience in the Middle Eastern region. The project examines how differences in Islamic legal opinion are shaping notions of manhood in Middle Eastern societies where new biotechnologies of assisted conception are being introduced.
• Scott Spector, associate professor, German languages and literatures and history, and John Rich ProfessorViolent Sensations: Sexuality, Crime, and Utopia in Berlin and Vienna, 1860-1914. Vienna and Berlin were crucial sites in the development of modern conceptions of gender and sexuality, and resulting political emancipation movements, including feminism. At the same time, these cities became host to prurient fantasies that held a prominent place in the period. Spector's analysis shows how these narratives of sexuality and violence are part of a self-critical discourse.
• Johannes von Moltke, associate professor, Germanic languages and literatures, screen arts and cultures and Steelcase Research ProfessorMoving Pictures: Film, History, and the Politics of Emotion. This investigation of the interplay of history, emotions, and politics in the cinema focuses on the cinematic representation of German history and ways filmmakers have used different genres to elicit specific emotions about the historical figures and events presented on film. As our historical distance from the Third Reich and the Holocaust increases, von Moltke suggests these emotions shift in subtle but surprising ways.
The Graduate Student Fellows, followed by their project titles, are:
• Elizabeth Ben-Ishai, political science, Sylvia "Duffy" Engle Graduate Student FellowThe Autonomy-Fostering State: Citizenship and Social Service Delivery. Her dissertation explores the obligations of the state to foster autonomy in its citizens, particularly its most vulnerable. The capacity for autonomy is a key requirement for access to full citizenship rights in contemporary democracies. Hence, she argues, an inclusive and universal notion of citizenship requires a version of what she refers to as "the autonomy-fostering state."
• Yolanda Covington-Ward, anthropologyEmbodied Histories, Danced Religions, and Performed Politics: Changing Conceptions of Kongo Cultural Performance. This dissertation uses the study of makinua general term for Kongo performance forms that incorporate dance, music, and songto examine how the meanings and uses of Kongo cultural performances change in the contexts of socio-historical transformations, and how embodied practices in performances can be used to transmit, represent, and transform moral values, religious and political ideals, and group identities. The study contributes new insights to the anthropology of performance in West-Central Africa.
• Jonah Johnson, Comparative Literature and German, James A. Winn Graduate Student FellowSeasick yet Still Docked: Casting Kant's Shadow in Post-Enlightenment German Drama. Johnson's dissertation examines the consequences of early German idealism for the writing and theorization of tragedy in the wake of Kant's critical philosophy. By situating dramatists such as Friedrich Hölderlin and Heinrich von Kleist within the context of late-18th century German philosophy, he argues that the often discussed "death of tragedy" during this period is tied to a crisis of representation shared by post-enlightenment dramatists and philosophers.
• Min Li, Anthropology, Mary Ives Hunting and David D. Hunting, Sr., Graduate Student FellowConquest, Concord, and Consumption: Becoming Shang in Eastern China. Min Li's dissertation research is based on archaeological excavations at a frontier city of the Shang civilization (circa 1600-1040 B.C.). He investigates the ways that aspects of symbolic, social, and natural worlds converged in human interactions with animals, particularly in the realms of food and religious communication. In the context of state formation and imperial conquest, the distinction between humans and animals, often construed and demarcated along lines of social difference involving the human other, informs on the self-definition and identity construction of early states and civilizations.
• Jennifer Palmer, history and women's studiesSlavery, Race, and Gender in 18th Century La Rochelle. Palmer examines how French people on French soil constructed and participated in slavery. To do so, she focuses on the port town of La Rochelle, a vibrant locale where people crossed boundaries of race, status and culture. By concentrating on visual and archival sources, she explores the tension between two representations of slavery: slaves as the ultimate luxury goods, and slaves as community members embedded in networks of kinship, friendship, and patronage. Through a narrative of family relations with a subtext of visual representations, she considers how the ever-changing conceptions and practices of slavery were shaped and defined in France. She conceptualizes slavery as central to French people's understanding of family and self.
• Stefan Stantchev, historyEmbargo: the Origins of an Idea and the Effects of a Policy. Stantchev's project will clarify the origins and development of embargoes and the results of their employment. Economic sanctions have primarily interested political scientists who have analyzed them chiefly as economic tools for the achievement of foreign policy goals. Focusing on the use of embargoes by the papacy, Venice, and Genoa primarily against Muslim, pagan, and Eastern Christian lands during the Middle Ages, Stantchev asks when, how, and to what perceived effect trade sanctions were employed. The main question that his work will address is whether or not embargoes can be seen not only as an economic, but also as a cultural tool of statecraft.