The University Record, March 15, 1993

7 faculty, 5 students are Humanities Institute Fellows

From the Institute for the Humanities

The Institute for the Humanities has awarded fellowships to seven faculty members and five graduate students for work in residence at the Institute in 1993–94. Faculty and graduate fellows will pursue projects addressing the Institute’s theme, “The Geography of Identity.”

Noting the great interest this theme generated, Institute Director James Winn complimented his colleagues on the excellence of their proposals.

“We could easily have awarded twice as many fellowships with no palpable diminution in quality,” said Winn. “Committee members and outside consultants alike were especially impressed by the range and sophistication of proposals from both senior and junior faculty, and by the variety of approaches to the theme offered by the 35 faculty applicants. On the graduate student side, there was an even greater embarrassment of riches: 55 applications for five fellowships, and so far as we could see, applications from some of the most creative, original, and interesting graduate students in the University.”

The faculty fellows and their topics are:

Sue Alcock, assistant professor of classical studies, examines how the Messenian people of ancient Greece sustained consciousness of their unique character and separate identity under three centuries of unprecedented subjugation by their fellow Greeks, the Spartans, in “A Crisis of Identity and the Greek Sense of Place.” Alcock will hold the A. Bartlett Giamatti Faculty Fellowship.

Alexander Aleinikoff, professor of law, will hold the Hunting Family Faculty Fellowship. His project, “Semblances of Sovereignty: The Constitution, the State, and American Citizenship,” investigates constitutional understandings of statehood, sovereignty, and membership. He examines, historically and doctrinally, the treatment of aliens, Indians, and residents of U.S. territories and the applications of U.S. law beyond the territory of the United States.

Frederick Cooper, professor of history and faculty member in the Residential College, turns his attention to the transition “From Colonial Empires to Less Developed Countries: Decolonization, Social Science, and the Idea of Development.”

Laura Lee Downs, assistant professor of history, explores working-class perceptions of the loss of the countryside in 20th-century France, a loss prompted by rapid and comparatively recent urban and industrial development. “The End of Rural France” focuses in particular on the role that myth and memory played in binding people’s social and political identities to a rural and small-town France that was, by the interwar period, rapidly fading.

Julie Ellison, professor of English, will hold the John Rich Faculty Fellowship. She is writing a book tentatively titled Cato’s Tears: Vicarious Relations in English and American Culture. In it, Ellison examines how colonialism shaped certain kinds of emotional experience in England and British North America in the 18th century. In the process, she explores relationships among nationality, subjectivity, gender, race, and sensibility.

Joanne Leonard, professor of art and well known photographer/artist, will work on a photocollage project, “Photography, Geography, and Identity: One Hundred Moments of Uncertain Meaning.” Leonard, who will hold the Charles P. Brauer Faculty Fellowship, is seeking a metaphorical visual language “for mapping the complex territory called identity.” She has a special interest in women and in generations of women within families.

Thomas Trautmann, professor of history and of anthropology, inquires into the roots of “British Ethnologies of India.” In Britain, the Indo-European or “Aryan” idea functioned differently than on the Continent, where it developed into a racist ideology. Britons, following the conquest of eastern India in the 1780s, took linguistic evidence of an Indo-European language family and Biblical “evidence” that Indians were descendants of Ham, as signs that the two parties to the colonial relationship were long-lost kin. Trautmann will hold the Steelcase Research Professorship.

The Institute’s Executive Committee, aided by three consulting humanities scholars from other universities, selected the new faculty fellows “from a large and impressive pool of applicants,” Winn noted. The consultants were Barry Gaspar, history, Duke University; Gwendolyn Wright, architecture, Columbia Univer-sity; and Anthony Yu, Divinity School, University of Chicago.

Serving on the committee to select the five graduate fellows were Judith Becker, professor of music; Don Herzog, associate professor of political science; Rod Parker, assistant professor of architecture; and Elizabeth Sears, assistant professor of history of art.

The graduate fellows and their areas of study are:

Charlene Black, art history, “Saints and Social Welfare in Golden Age Spain: The Imagery of the Cult of St. Joseph.” In the 17th century, Joseph emerged as a popular saint, figuring prominently and frequently in sacred plays, paintings, and sculpture. Black examines this unstudied phenomenon from artistic, historical, social, political and religious vantage points. Her research indicates that the “imagery of St. Joseph was constructed to define and shore up the Spanish national identity during a period of profound national crisis.”

Jean Leverich, English, “Engendering the Nation: Nationalism, Sexuality and the Modern Irish Woman Writer.” Leverich seeks answers to questions such as: “Why is Ireland, a postcolonial nation, so influential in producing what we now call modernism? Why are the ‘Irish modernists’ all men? Why are Irish women writing in the ’30s and ’40s not considered modernists?” In examining the impasses between nationalism and feminism, Leverich reveals the role of state institutions in creating, through censorship, aesthetic forms.

Karen Petrone, history, “Life Has Become More Joyous, Comrades: Politics and Culture in Soviet Celebrations, 1934-39.” Petrone is struck by the fact that during “the height of the purge years in the Soviet Union, freedom, democracy, happiness and celebration were dominant themes of public discourse.” For Petrone, these celebrations, which range from the promulgation of the Stalin Constitution to holidays for Soviet children, are artifacts in which embedded complex and conflictual aims can be discovered.

Guthrie P. Ramsey Jr., music history, “The Music of Earl ‘Bud’ Powell, 1943–1955.” “Before bebop appeared in the market place, in the concert hall or in dissertations, it existed as Harlem’s after-hours secret,” Ramsey says. His study of the great jazz pianist Bud Powell’s most productive years reclaims and reassesses bebop’s specific geographic, cultural and social origins. An outstanding pianist himself, Ramsey applies to his investigation the technical insights of music and cultural theory.

Martha Umphrey, American culture, “Ragtime Crime: Gender, Culture, and the Trial of ‘Mad’ Harry Thaw.” In 1906, Henry Thaw murdered architect Stanford White on top of Madison Square Garden, a building White had designed. White had seduced actress Evelyn Nesbit before her marriage to Thaw. Umphrey says the “case, followed with fascination and horror by the entire country, is a rich site around which one can explore the tensions of turn-of-the-century urban constructions of criminality and madness, gender and sexuality.” Umphrey will hold the Hunting Family Graduate Student Fellowship.