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Updated 11:00 AM May 8, 2006




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Humanities fellows for 2006-07 selected, announced

The Institute for the Humanities has awarded fellowships to eight faculty members and eight graduate students to support their research projects during 2006-07.

"Next year's fellows will inaugurate the institute's new space at Thayer and Washington Streets with an extraordinary range of projects, from medical and cultural questions about addiction, to investigations into the kind of writing appropriate to cities: Fordist and ancient," says institute Director Daniel Herwitz, who chaired the selection meetings.

The faculty fellows, followed by their project titles, are:
Howard Markel, professor of history of medicine, and of pediatrics and communicable diseases, and John Rich Professor

"The Anatomy of Addiction: A Cultural, Social and Medical History of Addiction in the United States, 1900 to the Present"

Markel is taking a broad, scholarly look at the humanistic, medical, cultural and popular understanding of addiction in 20th-century America. He is focusing on the well-known substances of abuse—heroin, cocaine, alcohol and nicotine—and on many addictive behaviors—excessive sexual or gambling activity, overeating, etc.—that researchers have assigned inadequate historical or clinical weight.

Khaled Mattawa, assistant professor of English (creative writing) and Hunting Family Professor

"Amorisco and A Typography of strangers"

Mattawa hopes to complete two books: "Amorisco," a collection of poems which will include pure lyric of, at most, 20 lines, inspired by the distillation and conceptual density of Antonio Machado, Saadi Youssef and Rainer Maria Rilke. He also will work on "A Typography of Strangers," a study of postcolonial poets Rabindranath Tagore, Derek Walcott and Mahmoud Darwish.

Christi Merrill, assistant professor of comparative literature,
and Asian languages and cultures

"Memory with an Active Verb: Lessons in Translating Hindi"

Merrill has organized a series of short meditations and vignettes that focus on a particular Hindi word or phrase with no exact equivalent in English. The entries are arranged in chronological order so that a personal narrative begins to emerge, one that asks questions about the ways individuals might best translate concepts such as justice and dignity into daily life as lived across borders of language and culture.

James Robson, assistant professor of Asian languages
and cultures, and Helmut F. Stern Professor

"Inside Asian Images: Religious Icons in the Context of Local and Ritual Practice"

Robson's project is a study of a collection of small religious statuettes from the Hunan province in south-central China. He is looking inside the images and analyzing items placed in a small cavity carved in the back—including desiccated insects, medicine, paper money, talismans and short text with a wealth of historical information—to understand their function in contemporary Chinese popular religion and Daoist ritual.

Andrew Shryock, associate professor of anthropology
and Charles P. Brauer Faculty Fellow

"Welcome and Trespass: The Politics of Hospitality in Jordan and Beyond"

Shryock will spend next year studying hospitality as a framework for politics, morality and history. Most of his attention will be focused on Jordan, where hospitality is an important aspect of local and national identities. He also will look at how Arab hospitality historically has figured in transregional moral discourses of citizenship, political boundaries and the rights of others.

Jamie Tappenden, associate professor of philosophy

"Riemann and Frege: A Study in the Emergence of Contemporary Logic and Mathematics"

Tappenden studies the 19th-century emergence of contemporary styles of mathematical reasoning, with a special focus on the descriptive style for presenting mathematical structures in Bernhard Riemann's work, and the effect this had on the emergence of modern logic in Gottlob Frege. Key to these developments is a different conception of how we identify the basic elements of a mathematical subject.

Patricia Yaeger, professor of English
and A. Bartlett Giamatti Faculty Fellow

"Luminous Trash: America in an Age of Conspicuous Destruction"

Yaeger is investigating the social status of rubbish in modern and postmodern literary and visual cultures. She particularly is interested in trash that becomes anthropomorphic in post-apocalyptic film and fiction, in radiant trash in ethnic literatures, and in the speed-up of clutter in a world beset with serial commodification, as well as American acts of multi-national waste and destruction.

Norman Yoffee, professor of Near Eastern studies
and anthropology, and Steelcase Research Professor

"Winds of Desolation: A History and Archaeology of the Mesopotamian City of Kish"

Yoffee's research is split in three directions—the history of Mesopotamia, especially in the Old Babylonian period (ca. 2000-1600 BC); the history and archaeology of the city of Kish (Mesopotamia) from ca. 3200 BC-300 AD; and the evolution of the earliest cities, states and civilizations. The second project will focus on the city of Kish.

The graduate student fellows, with project titles, are:

Diana Bullen, history of art, Mary Ives Hunting
and David D. Hunting, Sr., Graduate Student Fellow

"The Visual Culture of the Central Italian Foundling Hospital, 1400-1600"

Bullen is exploring abandoned children in 15th- and 16th-century Italy in the context of the visual culture of charity. Focusing on the institutional environment of the foundling hospital, she will study how images constructed ideas about charity toward children; how the display and visibility of both ritual acts and images played a crucial role in charitable administration; and how manipulations of the urban fabric worked to negotiate the places of charity in the early modern Italian city.

Claire Decoteau, sociology

"The Diseased Body Politic and the Corporeality of HIV/AIDS in South Africa"

The struggle against HIV/AIDS takes place in a context in which multiple healing systems compete for authority necessary to impose their understanding of the disease and the body over the public sphere. Decoteau's research focuses on the various healing methods South Africans are utilizing to treat HIV/AIDS and the effects the combination of methods has on peoples' conceptualizations of health, sexuality and their bodies.

Philip Duker, music theory, James
A. Winn Graduate Student Fellow

"Diving into Mnemosyne's Waters: Exploring the Depths of Memory and Musical Experience"

Because music is an art that unfolds in time, the possibility for it to be more than a series of fleeting, disconnected moments hinges on a listener's memory. Duker's research explores how this seemingly straightforward capacity is understood from diverse disciplinary perspectives, and how each view can highlight different aspects of musical experience.

Kim Greenwell, sociology

"Between Nature, Empire and Colony: Unsettling Events and English-Canadian Identity in the Nineteenth-century British Empire"

Greenwell is looking at the place of white settler colonies within the 19th-century British Empire. With a focus on Canada, she is examining the inherently comparative, narrative processes by which English-Canadians constructed their sense of identity in relation to a complex set of "others," and in response to key events elsewhere in the Empire.

Edin Hajdarpasic, history

"Beyond 'Nation vs. Empire': Reform, Social Movements and the Search for Justice in Late Ottoman Bosnia"

Hajdarpasic is studying the emergence of disparate movements that sought to effect political reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the late Ottoman period. By viewing the national undertakings alongside the demands for radical social change, he aims to arrive both at a contextualized analysis of the political transformations that reshaped the Ottoman Balkans in the 19th century, and at a nuanced exploration of different local understandings of reform and social justice.

Andrew Highsmith, history

"America Is a Thousand Flints: Race, Class and the End of the American Dream in Flint, Michigan"

Highsmith is exploring the spatial and structural barriers to racial equality and class fairness in the Flint metropolitan region from World War II to the present. He hopes to show that the roots of urban crises in Flint and Genesee County can be traced back to the postwar triumphs of pro-growth policies that fostered uneven consumer abundance, suburban sprawl, capital decentralization and rigid racial segregation at the expense of social and economic justice.

Kristina Luce, architecture, Sylvia "Duffy" Engle Graduate Student Fellow

"Revolutions in Parallel: The Rise and Fall of Drawing Within Architectural Design"

Luce's dissertation is a historical and comparative analysis of two ways in which architecture can be visually conceived and rendered. The first involves the ascendancy of drawing within architectural design that developed during the Renaissance. The second, which spells the likely passing of drawing's ascendancy, is the shift to computer-based design procedures.

Marti Lybeck, history

"Gender, Sexuality and Belonging: Female Homosexuality in Germany, 1890-1933"

Lybeck's dissertation uses female homosexuality as a focal point for tracing changes in the intimate lives of women in Germany during a half-century of rapid social change and intellectual ferment. Whether historical figures adopted the word lesbian to describe themselves or not, they increasingly were required to respond to the new concept of homosexuality as a medical category.

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