The University Record, April 3, 2000

8 named arts, humanities fellows by OVPR

From the Office of the Vice President for Research

The Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR), LS&A and the Vice Provost for the Arts are pleased to announce the recipients of the Michigan Humanities Award and Michigan Arts Award for academic year 2000–2001. Now in their sixth year, these award programs constitute a major commitment on the part of LS&A, OVPR and the Vice Provost for the Arts to enrich the cultural life of the humanities and creative arts at the University of Michigan.

These awards are given annually to tenured, full-time faculty engaged in major scholarly and creative projects in the humanities and creative arts. They provide each recipient’s department or program with funds to employ a visiting teacher-scholar and thereby enable the awardee to be released from teaching responsibilities for one academic term.

Michigan Arts Award

Bright Sheng

Bright Sheng, associate professor in the Department of Composition at the School of Music, has just accepted a commission from Santa Fe Opera to write a full-length opera based on the subject of Madame Mao, the wife of the Chinese Communist Party leader, to be premiered first in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in the summer of 2003. The company also is in negotiation with the Canadian Opera company and other companies in Europe for the possibility of a three-way co-commission. The first reading (workshop) of the opera will take place in either Santa Fe or Toronto, Canada, in the summer of 2002.

Michigan Humanities Award

Andrew Anderson

Andrew Anderson is a professor of Romance languages. Based on Anderson’s knowledge of the writers and works of the Spanish literary historical avant-garde and on his reading of several studies, it is clear that we lack a good explanation of the origins of the Spanish avant-garde. This shortcoming, then, is the starting point for his proposed research project.

For several years Anderson has been laying the groundwork for this project. He anticipates that he will split the time between a research trip to Spain to work in libraries and archives, and analytical work at home on these materials and others already collected. By December 2000, he should be able to make significant headway with the first phase of the project, with much of the work of documentation and analysis of ultra’smo and vanguardismo in place by that date.

Linda Gregerson

Linda Gregerson, associate professor of English language and literature, will work on three projects during the coming year. First, she plans to complete revisions and copy editing on a collection of essays about contemporary American poetry. Second, she proposes to complete a third collection of poems. Finally, she will continue research and writing on her next scholarly book, Split Subjects: Nation and Reformation in Early Modern England. A chapter of that book (“The Commonwealth of the Word: England and the Praying Indians”) will appear soon in British Identities and English Renaissance Literature (Cambridge University Press).

All of these projects have direct consequence for her teaching. As a member of the master of fine arts faculty in creative writing, she brings to bear the fruits of her ongoing engagement with poetic form and with the work of her contemporaries. As a member of the English Renaissance faculty, she brings to her teaching a special interest in interdisciplinary inquiry. Gregerson is collaborating with Prof. Julia Adams of sociology this winter on a course that takes its title from her book-in-progress and aims to study the configurations of collective identity in early modern Europe.

Sherman Jackson

Sherman Jackson, associate professor of Near Eastern studies, is writing a book in which he develops an analytical approach to Islamic law and legal theory based on the insights unearthed by Legal Realism. This will include an investigation into the real, as opposed to the stated, nature and function of Islamic legal theory and its relationship to the rules that make up Islamic law. This in turn will entail a parallel investigation into the real, as opposed to the stated, sources of a number of Islamic legal institutions. Jackson plans to complete this project and submit a manuscript for publication in the form of a monograph within the next year.

Tomoko Masuzawa

Tomoko Masuzawa, associate professor of comparative literature and history, intends to complete her book, tentatively titled, The Invention of World Religions and How the Idea of European Hegemony Came to be Expressed in the Language of Pluralism and Diversity. The principal objective of the book is to examine critically the historical formation of the idea of “world religions,” an idea now prevalent and familiar yet rather vague in meaning. She also intends to offer a graduate or upper-level undergraduate course (probably cross-listed in history and comparative literature) on the subject following her leave.

Tobin Siebers

Tobin Siebers, professor of English language and literature, is developing a theory of the relation between objects and their images. It is his hope to describe the aesthetic psychology by which objects assume the form of captivating images. He began preliminary research for this proposal in 1993–94. In 1996–97 he began to more fully sketch out parts of the manuscript. Siebers has taught five graduate courses on the psychology of the image in the last nine years. Four of his previous books include large sections on psychoanalytic theory. Given this groundwork, he plans to complete his book manuscript on this subject during the next year.

Carroll Smith-Rosenberg

Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, professor of history, will complete writing section three of her book, Constituting the White American. This section is based on a close reading of the magazines’ representations of Native Americans, the rhetoric and theatrical self-presentations of Euro-American members of such pseudo-“Indian” clubs as the Schuylkill Fishing Clubs and the St. Tammany Society, Euro-American fiction and Native American rhetoric as reported by Euro-Americans. Smith-Rosenberg relates these representations to the passage of the Northwest Ordinance, Euro-American speculation in Native lands and the genocidal war waged against the Seneca. Alfred A. Knopf has contracted to publish the completed book, which examines a key moment in American history, exploring the ways an emergent Euro-American bourgeoisie constituted a “new American” in their own image. More generally, it explores the innate instability of national subjectivities and the role race and gender play in the construction of those subjectivities.

Karla Taylor

Karla Taylor, associate professor of English language and literature, will finish her current book, ‘The Noise of Peple’: The Emergence of an English Literary Public, 1350–1420. Her work examines the slow cultural revolution of the later 14th century, which saw the emergence of the English vernacular as a language adequate to express the areas of culture hitherto restricted to French or Latin: science, religion, civic life and imaginative literature. The explosion of translations, both linguistic and cultural, played a crucial role in summoning into existence an audience for such English writings. The study will examine the major writers and varieties of new vernacular literary production, from the translation of Mandeville’s Travels into English (1352) until official language policies in the early 15th century (paradoxically, both ecclesiastical repression and royal promotion of the vernacular) threatened to make the new English literary system a stillbirth. One of the purposes of the study is to suggest ways in which the aesthetic and formal characteristics of imaginative and other written texts can be understood as evidence for social and cultural history.