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Current Center Fellows

Colleen Anderson

Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in the Humanities

Department of German Studies, Stanford University

Undivided Heavens: Space Exploration and Identity in Cold War Germany

Colleen Anderson studies the history, culture, and technology of Cold War Germany. She received her PhD from Harvard University in 2017 and has received funding from the American Historical Association & NASA, the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies, DAAD, the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies, and the Central European History Society.

Project Summary:

This project studies Germans’ participation in and imaginations about outer space exploration during the Cold War. The manuscript traces the changing ways in which East and West Germans saw their own futures as connected to space travel and in which Germans used outer space to address their pasts and envision their roles in the world around them.

Eleni Bastéa

Marta Sutton Weeks Faculty Fellow

School of Architecture & Planning, University of New Mexico

Geographies of Loss

Eleni Bastéa was born and grew up in Thessaloniki, Greece. She holds a BA in art history from Bryn Mawr College (US), as well as a Master’s of Architecture and PhD in architectural history, both from the University of California at Berkeley. She teaches at the University of New Mexico (US), where she is Regents' Professor of Architecture and was past director of the International Studies Institute. Bastéa’s books include The Creation of Modern Athens: Planning the Myth (Cambridge University Press, 2000), also published in Greek (Libro, 2008, author's translation), Memory and Architecture (University of New Mexico Press, 2004), and Venice without Gondolas, a poetry collection (Finishing Line Press, 2013). The recipient of several grants and awards, she works on memory and architecture, cities and literature, and on modern Greece and Turkey.

Project Summary:

Geographies of Loss focuses on the memory of lost places among refugees and on the politics of commemoration. The plight of refugees continues to form the focus of most scholarly studies. We know little, however, of how these refugees remember the places they left behind and how those memories shape them. Philosophers have proposed that belonging in a stable environment contributes to the construction of one’s identity. Scholars of refugee studies contend that identity is affected by exile. No one to date has examined both the experience of a stable environment and the experience of displacement. Bastéa suggests that the legacy of loss engenders not only nostalgia, but also a vital sense of strength. Studies on the politics of commemoration describe how governments construct sites of memory to support the homogenizing aims of the nation–state. Geographies of Loss dwells on the refugees’ contradictory narratives that reflect the fluidity of one’s relationship with the built environment, and examines the role of political amnesia, necessary in the construction of peaceful, post-war political landscapes, and the willful destruction of memory through the destruction of monuments and memorials. By addressing the limits of commemoration, Bastéa aims to deepen understanding of social and national memory.

Jacqueline Basu

Stanford Humanities Center Dissertation Prize Fellow

Department of Political Science, Stanford University

The Social Basis of Political Legitimacy: A Conceptual and Computational Account of Norms and Political Language

Jackie is a doctoral candidate in the political theory subfield of Stanford’s Political Science Department. Her research is focused on normative concepts of democratic stability and legitimacy, as well as the process of democratic legitimation. She pursues her research using a number of methodological approaches, combining normative political philosophy with intellectual history and computational text analysis. Prior to her Geballe Fellowship, Jackie was a Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellow.

Project Summary:

The stability of a state depends on the legitimacy of its institutions. Legitimacy, in turn, derives from citizens’ beliefs that these institutions are valid and worthy of obedience. Citizen “belief,” however, derives from an array of subjective sources – “norms” – for which political science lacks a well-established analytical approach. Basu addresses two primary lacunae in the study of norms and legitimacy: the absence of a) political theory about norms; and b) empirical methods for analyzing norms.

Ari Bryen

Faculty Fellow

Department of History, Vanderbilt University

The Judgment of the Provinces: Law, Culture, and Empire in the Roman East

Ari Bryen's interests are in law and violence, and in particular the places where the two intersect. He specializes in the history of the Roman Empire, but is interested in the dynamics of pre-modern cultures more generally. He is currently assistant professor of history and classics at Vanderbilt.

Project Summary:

Bryen is working on a book tentatively entitled The Judgment of the Provinces. This book seeks to understand the diverse modes through which Roman provincial populations, especially in the eastern empire, conceived of law, and how the imperial state eventually sought to manage them.

Geraldo Cadava

Faculty Fellow

Department of History, Northwestern University

Hispanic Conservatism and the Making of Latino Politics

Geraldo L. Cadava (Ph.D., Yale University, 2008) is a historian of the United States and Latin America. He focuses on Latinos in the United States and the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. Originally from Tucson, Arizona, he came to Northwestern after finishing degrees at Yale University (Ph.D., 2008) and Dartmouth College (B.A., 2000).

Project Summary:

Cadava is finishing a book about the history of Hispanics and the Republican Party since the 1960s, to be published by Ecco in early 2020. His essays on this topic have appeared in the Los Angeles Times and the NACLA Report on the Americas, and on TheAtlantic.com, WashingtonPost.com, and OZY.com.

Lina Chhun

Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in the Humanities

Program in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Stanford University

Walking with the Ghost: Contested Silences, Memory-Making, and Cambodian/American Histories of Violence

Lina Chhun studies historical violence, war, and militarism, with a focus on questions of racial disposability in the context of the U.S. Cold War in Southeast Asia.  She received her PhD in gender studies from the University of California, Los Angeles in spring 2019. Lina’s work has been published in Amerasia Journal, and she has a forthcoming article in Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies.

Project Summary:

This study queries the complex relationship between registers of memory regarding the Cambodian Holocaust of 1975-79 and remembrances of the preceding U.S. bombing campaigns of 1964-1973. The manuscript challenges historical models of “tragedy” and individualized models of trauma—as damage-centered, deviance-driven, and/or invested in abjection, vulnerability, and injury—which disavow the complex humanity of Cambodian survivors and the continually intersubjective ways in which knowledge about Cambodia is produced and reproduced.

Tysen Dauer

Stanford Humanities Center Dissertation Prize Fellow

Department of Music, Stanford University

The Varieties of Minimalist Experience: A Study in the Roles of Psychological States in the Reception of Early American Minimalism

Tysen Dauer researches music experiences and judgements using mixed methods. He is completing a PhD in musicology at Stanford and has degrees in German Studies, Humanities, and piano performance from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. Tysen also performs as a solo and collaborative pianist.

Project Summary:

This dissertation project examines Americans’ listening experiences and aesthetic judgements of compositions by Philip Glass, Steve Reich, La Monte Young, Terry Riley, and Pauline Oliveros during the long Sixties. Using literature and methods from experimental psychology, critical race theory, and music studies, it analyzes how listeners’ responses were shaped by contemporaneous interpretations of psychological states and their intersections with American Cold War Orientalism and white identities.

Brian DeLay

Marta Sutton Weeks Faculty Fellow

Department of History, University of California, Berkeley

Means of Destruction: Guns, Freedom, and Domination in the Americas

Brian DeLay is associate professor of history at UC Berkeley. His research focuses on the intersection of United States, Latin American, and Indigenous histories. He is the author of War of a Thousand Deserts: Indian Raids and the U.S.-Mexican War (Yale, 2008), co-author of the United States history textbook Experience History (McGraw-Hill), and editor of North American Borderlands (Routledge, 2013).

Project Summary:

DeLay’s current work concerns guns and power in the Americas. He is writing two books. The first explains how the international arms trade shaped the Age of Revolutions, and the second excavates the relationship between guns, freedom, and domination in the Americas before World War II. At the Humanities Center, he will also develop a digital humanities project that uses customs records to reconstruct the global arms trade between the Napoleonic Wars and World War I.

Ksenia Ershova

Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in the Humanities

Department of Linguistics, Stanford University

Participant Encoding in West Circassian

Ksenia Ershova received her PhD in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Chicago and completed her undergraduate studies at the Russian State University for the Humanities. Ksenia is interested in the structural nature of language, with a particular focus on the syntactic and morphological constraints observed in languages with complex morphology. Her research focuses primarily on indigenous languages of the Russian Caucasus and is based on data collected through fieldwork in the region. Ksenia’s work has been supported by the National Science Foundation and the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies.

Project Summary:

Ksenia’s current project focuses on the syntax of participant encoding in West Circassian, a language spoken in the Republic of Adygea, Russia. The goal of the work is to both provide a comprehensive account of the syntactic structure of West Circassian, and to inform our understanding of cross-linguistic variation in the domain of argument encoding.

Ramzi Fawaz

Faculty Fellow

Department of English, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Queer Forms

Ramzi Fawaz is associate professor of English at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He is the author of The New Mutants: Superheroes and the Radical Imagination of American Comics (NYU Press, 2016), which won the 2017 ASAP Book Prize from the Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present. His research and teaching explore the cultural production of radical left-wing social movements in the late 20th century United States, with particular focus on movements for women's and gay liberation, black power, and AIDS activism. 

Project Summary:

Queer Forms explores how the central values of movements for women's and gay liberation in the 1970s—including consciousness-raising, separatism, coming out of the closet, and alternative kinship—came to be translated into a range of American popular culture forms. Throughout the 1970s, movements for women's and gay liberation fought a range of social and political battles to expand, transform, or wholly explode definitions of normative gender and sexuality; one long-term effect of this project was to encourage artists, writers, and filmmakers to invent new ways of formally representing, or giving shape to, non-normative genders and sexualities. Perhaps counter-intuitively, such aesthetic projects to represent queer gender and sexuality often appeared in a range of traditional, or seemingly generic, popular forms including the sequential format of comic strip serials, the token figures of science fiction genre, the narrative conventions of film melodrama, and the serialized rhythm of installment fiction among others. Fawaz unpacks how each of these mediums and genres were creatively reworked or innovated to account for, and make meaningful, the heterogenous experience of gender and sexual non-conformity, consequently infusing the popular imagination of Americans in the 1970s and after.

Rima Greenhill

Faculty Fellow

Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Stanford University

Through Each Other's Eyes: Russian-English Cultural Encounters, 1553-1603

Rima Greenhill is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Stanford University. Her research is international relations during the Early Modern era with a special focus on trade and diplomatic relations between England and Russia under the Tudors and the Stuarts. She has just completed a new interpretation of Shakespeare’s comedy Love’s Labour’s Lost, which elucidates many heretofore opaque Russian references and relationships.

Project Summary:

Rima's current book project Through Each Other's Eyes: Russian-English Cultural Encounters, 1553-1603 examines hitherto neglected aspects of the cultural exchange that took place between England and Russia in the period 1553-1603, specifically the importance of the early Elizabethan masques, the exchange of gifts, the loan of doctors to Russia, and the spread of the Russian language in the West. By examining these information pathways between Russia and England, the project will provide a new understanding of why Russia mattered to the English during the Elizabethan era. 

Fiona Griffiths

Violet Andrews Whittier Faculty Fellow

Department of History, Stanford University

Priests’ Wives: Confronting Celibacy in the Age of Reform (ca. 1040-1215)

Fiona Griffiths is a historian of medieval Western Europe, focusing on intellectual and religious life from the ninth to the thirteenth century. She is the author of Nuns' Priests' Tales: Men and Salvation in Medieval Women's Monastic Life (The University of Pennsylvania Press: 2018) and The Garden of Delights: Reform and Renaissance for Women in the Twelfth Century (The University of Pennsylvania Press: 2007).

Project Summary:

In Priests’ Wives: Confronting Celibacy in the Age of Reform (ca. 1040-1215), Griffiths explores the tumultuous centuries of medieval church “reform”—a central goal of which was to enforce the celibacy of the clergy, removing women from the homes and affections of churchmen. Exploring the implications of priestly celibacy for clerical wives, Griffiths works to recapture a history of these women, considering their importance to medieval communities and their potential impact on spirituality and religious life. 

Heather Hendershot

Marta Sutton Weeks Faculty Fellow

Department of Comparative Media Studies/Writing, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

How the News Became “Fake”: Chicago ’68, Network TV, and Conservative Outrage

Heather Hendershot is a professor of film and media at MIT. She the editor of Nickelodeon Nation: The History, Politics and Economics of America’s Only Channel for Kids and the author of Saturday Morning Censors: Television Regulation before the V-Chip, Shaking the World for Jesus: Media and Conservative Evangelical Culture, What’s Fair on the Air?: Cold War Right-Wing Broadcasting and the Public Interest, and Open to Debate: How William F. Buckley Put Liberal America on the Firing Line.

Project Summary:

The controversy surrounding network TV coverage of police violence against protestors at the Chicago Democratic National Convention of 1968 set an important precedent for conservative cries of “liberal bias” that undermine the mainstream news media to this day. Turning back 50 years to a pivotal moment of disagreement about the meaning of these news media images, Hendershot’s project investigates how conservative forces fine-tuned their critique of “liberal media bias,” transforming it from a complaint to a battle cry. Hendershot asks how the notion of journalistic “neutrality” was challenged at the time, what the fallout was for both the Democratic and Republican parties, and what lessons we can take away to help us contend with the contemporary news landscape and the inflammatory and divisive discourse of “fake news.” 

Lyndsey Hoh Copeland

Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in the Humanities

Department of Music, Stanford University

The Sound of Metal: Amateur Brass Bands in Southern Benin

Lyndsey Hoh Copeland studies music and sound making practices in Francophone West Africa. She received her D.Phil. in ethnomusicology from the University of Oxford, her M.Phil. in social anthropology from the University of Oxford, and her B.M. in music performance from the University of Southern California. Her research has been supported by fellowships from the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, the Fulbright Foundation, and the University of Oxford.

Project Summary:

Lyndsey’s current research focuses on music and education in the Republic of Benin. Her first project examines the role of material, masculinity, and anxiety in Benin’s amateur fanfarescene. Her second project is a comparative study of music education, listening practices, and pedagogies of sound within two schools for the Deaf in southern Benin.

Nicole T. Hughes

Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in the Humanities

Department of Iberian and Latin American Cultures, Stanford University

Stages of History: New World Spectacles and the Theater of the World in the Sixteenth Century

Nicole T. Hughes completed her PhD at Columbia University in the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures and the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society. Her research focuses on early modern Iberian expansion, especially in New Spain and Brazil. She has received support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the John Carter Brown Library, and the Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut (Berlin) and was a visiting researcher at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa’s Centre for the Humanities and the Universidade de São Paulo. Previously, she edited nonfiction at The Penguin Press.

Project Summary:

In her current book project, "Stages of History: New World Spectacles and the Theater of the World in the Sixteenth Century," Hughes analyzes at dramatic performances in New Spain and Brazil in which missionaries, conquistadors, and indigenous populations superimposed depictions of far-flung conflicts and representations of local struggles. She argues that by envisioning other parts of the world and relating those images back to the Americas, participants in these theatrical spectacles created foundational narratives of New Spanish and Brazilian history.  

Mei Li Inouye

Stanford Humanities Center Dissertation Prize Fellow

Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Stanford University

Performing Jiang Qing (1914-1991): Gender Politics in Modern Chinese Visual Culture, Theater, Literature, and Memory

Mei Li Inouye is an East Asian Languages and Cultures doctoral candidate at Stanford University. Situating China in the world, her research explores community formation, transnational exchanges and appropriations, genre and media boundary crossings, and the mediating role of memory in modern Chinese visual culture, performance, and literature.

Project Summary:

Targeting the common critique of Jiang Qing (also known as Madame Mao) as an artful actor who used her bodily promiscuity to attain power, this project examines representations of and performances by Jiang Qing as a stage and screen actress, a revolutionary celebrity wife, a cultural reformer, and a national villain/scapegoat from the 1930s to the present. Combining archival sources with performance repertoire, this project seeks to understand how representations of Jiang Qing by certain stakeholders contributed to the post-Mao structure of feeling about her and how her own performances and writings make visible her agency and influence in the creation of a performance-based mass cultural apparatus. 

Mélanie Lamotte

Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in the Humanities

Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, Stanford University

Mapping Race: Policies, Sex, and Social Orders in the French Atlantic and Indian Oceans, c. 1608-1756

Mélanie Lamotte is a historian of race, ethnicity, slavery and colonialism.  She was awarded a BA in history and an MPhil in early modern history at the Sorbonne and at the University of Cambridge. In 2016, she received a PhD in history from the University of Cambridge, where she became a Junior Research Fellow. She is currently developing her PhD research into a monograph entitled, “French Colonial Encounters in the French Atlantic and Indian Oceans, c. 1608-1789.”

Project summary:

This monograph focuses on race, assimilation, métissage and creolization in the French empire. This will be the first book envisioning early modern French Atlantic and Indian Ocean territories together, through the use of comparisons and the consideration of trans-imperial networks.

Joshua Landy

Donald Andrews Whittier Faculty Fellow

Department of French and Italian, Stanford University

What (else) can Fiction Do?

Joshua Landy is the Andrew B. Hammond Professor of French, professor of comparative literature, and co-director of the Literature and Philosophy Initiative at Stanford, home to major tracks in philosophy and literature. Since 2013, he has also been the director of the Structured Liberal Education Program at Stanford. Professor Landy is the author of Philosophy as Fiction: Self, Deception, and Knowledge in Proust (Oxford, 2004) and of How To Do Things with Fictions (Oxford, 2012). He is also the co-editor of two volumes, Thematics: New Approaches (SUNY, 1995, with Claude Bremond and Thomas Pavel) and The Re-Enchantment of the World: Secular Magic in a Rational Age (Stanford, 2009, with Michael Saler). Since 2017, Professor Landy has been a co-host of the nationally syndicated radio show "Philosophy Talk." He has also guest-hosted Robert Harrison's Entitled Opinions (with Lera Boroditsky on "Language and Thought," with Michael Saler on "Re-Enchantment," with John Perry and Ken Taylor on the "Uses of Philosophy," and with Alexander Nehamas on "Beauty"). And he has appeared as guest on "Philosophy Talk," "Forum," and "To the Best of Our Knowledge." Professor Landy has received the Walter J. Gores Award for Teaching Excellence (1999), and the Dean's Award for Distinguished Teaching (2001).

Project Summary:

Professor Landy has been commissioned by Oxford to write a book on Proust for their “Very Short Introduction” series. Additionally, he is working on a trade book, tentatively titled How Fiction can (Really) Change Your Life, which will explore 11 different things that sophisticated novels and films and TV shows can do for us. Rather than just being devices for transmitting ideas, works of fiction are often creators of experiences—experiences that help us to know what we know, see what we see, feel what we feel, feel what someone else feels, cultivate our mental capacities, and gain formal models for the shape of a life.

Haiyan Lee

Ellen Andrews Wright Faculty Fellow

Departments of East Asian Languages and Cultures and Comparative Literature, Stanford University

A Certain Justice: Toward an Ecology of the Chinese Legal Imagination

Haiyan Lee is a professor of Chinese and comparative literature at Stanford University. She is the author of Revolution of the Heart: A Genealogy of Love in China, 1900-1950 and The Stranger and the Chinese Moral Imagination.

Project Summary:

A Certain Justice: Toward an Ecology of the Chinese Legal Imagination examines justice as a juridical, ethical, aesthetic, ecological, and cosmological concept as it emerges from a variety of verbal and visual genres ranging from traditional courtroom drama and knight-errantry tale to modern detective fiction and spy thriller, while situating it at the intersection of literary genre studies, critical legal studies, moral and political philosophy, and cognitive science.

Julian Lim

Faculty Fellow

School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies, Arizona State University, Tempe

Domestic Boundaries: Marriage and Immigration Law in U.S. History

Julian Lim is an assistant professor of history at Arizona State University (Tempe). Trained in history and law, she focuses on immigration, borders, and race.  She is the author of Porous Borders: Multiracial Migrations and the Law in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands (University of North Carolina Press, 2017), which examines the history of diverse immigrants in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, and the development of immigration policy and law on both sides of the border.

Project Summary:

Since the first federal immigration laws of the late nineteenth century, marriage has both directly and indirectly informed the criteria for immigrant admissions, fundamentally shaping ideas about who belongs in the American body politic and who does not. Domestic Boundaries offers the first comprehensive historical study of how marriage – traditionally considered a matter of state law – was in fact shaped by the federal administration of United States immigration law. The project locates marriage at the center of numerous and ongoing debates about immigrant admission to the country, and analyzes the ways in which diverse groups and both sexes negotiated the contemporary boundaries of marriage at the nation’s border. 

Yoshiko Matsumoto

Violet Andrews Whittier Faculty Fellow

Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Stanford University

Centrality of the Peripheries: The Language and the Users

Yoshiko Matsumoto is the Yamato Ichihashi Professor in Japanese history and civilization in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures (and, by courtesy, Linguistics).  Her research emphasizes the importance of context in understanding the structure, meaning and use of language. Her books include Faces of Aging: The Lived Experiences of the Elderly in Japan and Noun-Modifying Clause Constructions in Languages of Eurasia: Rethinking Theoretical Geographical Boundaries.

Project Summary:

Despite their contributions to describing the general principles of language, modern linguistic studies have been legitimately criticized for Eurocentric theoretical assumptions that focus on what are assumed to be “core phenomena,” often disregarding local data and conditions. The proposed project explores an alternative approach to the study of language and communication: one that expressly brings to the center of linguistic inquiry local and contextually-diverse data that have previously been considered as peripheral.

Nick Mayhew

Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in the Humanities

Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Stanford University

Queer Traditions in Early Modern Russia

Nick received his PhD in Slavonic Studies from the University of Cambridge in 2018. He is interested in gender and sexuality in Russia.

Project Summary:

Nick is currently working on a book project illustrating that queerness formed a meaningful part of Russian Orthodox culture in the early modern period. His next book project will focus on the criminalization of homosexuality in Russia during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in comparison with Northern Europe. It will explore legal discourses of homosexuality and their lived consequences.

Yumi Moon

Faculty Fellow

Department of History, Stanford University

Toward a Free State: Imperial Shift and the Formation of Post-colonial South Korea, 1937–1950

Yumi Moon is an associate professor of history at Stanford University. She received her BA and MA in Political Science and International Relations from Seoul National University, and her PhD in History and East Asian Languages from Harvard University. She is the author of Populist Collaborators: The Ilchinhoe and the Japanese Colonialization of Korea, 1896–1910 (Cornell University Press, 2013), which studies local collaboration, reform, and colonialism during the Japanese annexation of Korea. She is currently working on a new book project, tentatively entitled Toward a Free State: Imperial Shift and the Making of Postcolonial South Korea, 1937–1950.

 

Project Summary:

Moon’s project studies Korea’s transition from the wartime Japanese empire to the United States military occupation (September 1945 to August 1948) and the country’s history of revolution(s), or civil war, after colonialism. She revisits a dominant narrative about U.S.-occupied Korea. Aligned with the revisionist school of Cold War studies, this narrative holds that Korea after 1945 was on the verge of a revolution and that the United States military subverted this revolution and paved the way for a “civil war,” i.e., the Korean War. Using multilingual and multi-archival sources, Moon investigates the material, cultural, and ideological conditions of Korea’s trans-war society and examines how Japan and the United States—two empires with different agendas, values, and political economies—influenced the formation of postcolonial Korea and the rise of the Cold War in East Asia. This project seeks a new account of revolution, violence, and migration in the postcolonial world and will revise the current scholarly trend overemphasizing peripheral initiatives in the development of the global Cold War.

Jeff Nagy

Stanford Humanities Center Dissertation Prize Fellow

Department of Communication, Stanford University

Watching Feeling: Emotional Data from Cybernetics to the Present

Jeff Nagy is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Communication. His research interests include the datafication of emotions and emotional data as a corporate asset; the history and future of computer-mediated labor; and the political economy of platforms. From 2015-2019, he was the SAP Stanford Graduate Fellow.

Project Summary:

This dissertation uncovers how computer scientists, psychologists, marketers, and others came together to make emotion computable over the second half of the 20th century. Drawing on original archival research, Nagy examines the transformation of emotion into data from post-World War II cybernetics to contemporary sentiment analytics, and he uses this history to reconsider the role that emotional data play as manipulatable variables and corporate assets in the political economy of digital platforms.

Peggy Phelan

Ellen Andrews Wright Faculty Fellow

Departments of Theater & Performance Studies and English, Stanford University

Warhol's New York: 1976–1987

Peggy Phelan is the Ann O’Day Maples Chair in the Arts Professor of Theater & Performance Studies and English. Publishing widely in both book and essay form, Phelan is the author of Unmarked: the politics of performance (Routledge, 1993); Mourning Sex: performing public memories (Routledge, 1997; honorable mention Callaway Prize for dramatic criticism 1997-1999); the survey essay for Art and Feminism, ed. by Helena Reckitt (Phaidon, 2001, winner of “The top 25 best books in art and architecture” award, amazon.com, 2001); the survey essay for Pipilotti Rist (Phaidon, 2001); and the catalog essay for Intus: Helena Almeida (Lisbon, 2004). She edited and contributed to Live Art in Los Angeles, (Routledge, 2012), and contributed catalog essays for Everything Loose Will Land: 1970s Art and Architecture in Los Angeles (Mak Center, 2013), Haunted: Contemporary Photography, Video, and Performance (Guggenheim Museum, 2010); WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution (Museum of Contemporary Art, 2007); and Andy Warhol: Giant Size (Phaidon, 2008), among others. Phelan is co-editor, with the late Lynda Hart, of Acting Out: Feminist Performances (University of Michigan Press, 1993; cited as “best critical anthology” of 1993 by American Book Review); and co-editor with Jill Lane of The Ends of Performance (New York University Press, 1997). She contributed an essay to Philip Ursprung’s Herzog and De Meurron: Natural History (CAA, 2005).

Project Summary:

Professor Phelan will be writing a book called Warhol’s New York: 1976-87. Stanford has acquired 130,000 photographic exposures from some 3,600 contact sheets made by Warhol in the last 11 years of his life. Phelan's book will publish some of these photographs, most of which have not been printed during Warhol's life. Her book will focus on Warhol’s photographs of Times Square, the urban space that was most explicitly remade during this decade, and his photographs of gay life during the time in which HIV and AIDS powerfully transformed cultural life. Her critical commentary will braid the explicit physical transformations of the city’s urban space with the more subtle emotional and physical repercussions wrought by the epidemic.

Rhodes Pinto

Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in the Humanities

Department of Philosophy, Stanford University

The Treatment of Motion in Presocratic Philosophy

Rhodes Pinto studies the philosophy of ancient Greece and Rome. He received his PhD and MPhil in classics (ancient philosophy) from the University of Cambridge and his BA in philosophy and classics from Villanova University.

Project Summary:

The project offers the first comprehensive study of motion in early Greek (Presocratic) philosophy by tracing through the Presocratics the presence and combinations of seven themes: causation of motion, circular motion, self-motion, soul, mind, immortality, and divinity. By letting the evidence on each Presocratic’s conception of motion and other philosophical views illuminate each another, the work offers new interpretations of the philosophy of the Presocratics and a re-evaluation both of the importance of motion in early Greek philosophy and of the development of Plato’s and Aristotle’s metaphysics.

Kristin Primus

Faculty Fellow

Department of Philosophy, University of California, Berkeley

Transformative Metaphysics: A Reading of Spinoza’s Ethics

Kristin Primus is an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley. She works on topics at the intersection of early modern metaphysics, epistemology, and theology.

Project Summary:

In Transforming Philosophy: A Reading of Spinoza’s Ethics, Primus explores hitherto unrecognized ways in which Spinoza’s system transforms Cartesian metaphysics and epistemology, try to untangle vexing propositions in the Ethics that other scholars have tended to avoid, and attempt to give a crisp account of how accepting Spinoza’s monism is supposed to affect intellectual and emotional life.

John Tennant

Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in the Humanities

Department of Classics, Stanford University

Proverbial Plato: Proverbs, Gnômai, and the Reformation of Discourse in Plato’s Republic

John Tennant’s research concerns the transmission of cultural wisdom in Greek prose and poetry and how this transmission was called into question in the late fifth century BCE – coming to a head in works by authors such as Euripides, Thucydides, and especially Plato. John explores how proverbs, aphorisms, and other rhetorical commonplaces become particularly important at times when shared discourse breaks down, when language itself becomes an object of mistrust. John received his PhD in classics from the University of California, Los Angeles (2019) and his MA in classics from Stanford University (2013). The transformative potential of figurative speech employed in proverbs became apparent to John while practicing as a union labor lawyer, his previous profession. The law itself is arguably composed in large part of just such phrases, with similar normative aspirations. John received his Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School, where he first became interested in the seeming connections between modes of discourse and speakers’ ethics and moral values. In 2002-03, John received a Fulbright Post-Doc Research Fellowship to work with police unions and immigrants' rights advocates in Paris, France, studying the ways in which tensions might be reduced in the Parisian suburbs between rank-and-file police officers and the communities they serve, composed primarily of Muslim immigrants from the Maghreb.

Project Summary:

John’s current project (a continuation of the subject of his dissertation) is to frame Plato’s Republic as an attempt to reform the state of discourse in a politico-discursive crisis that occurred toward the end of the fifth and beginning of the fourth century in Athens, by focusing on the previously unexplored role that proverbs and gnômai play in Plato’s creation of the ideal polis. Plato uses such commonplaces not solely for the purpose of lending his dialogue a more authentic character. Rather, they both elucidate the dynamics of power that inhere in the prevailing modes of Athenian discourse and provide a locus for Plato’s critique of the improper use of language. Plato reveals how discursive reform is inseparable from social and political reform. Proverbs, gnômai, and other rhetorical topoi serve collectively as one of the building blocks of a just society. Put simply, wordcraft isstatecraft.

Rebecca Wall

Stanford Humanities Center Dissertation Prize Fellow

Department of History, Stanford University

The Rebellious River: Transnational Senegal River Management, 1920–2000

Rebecca Wall is a PhD candidate in African history at Stanford University. She researches river management in West Africa, focusing on the transboundary development of the Senegal River. Her interests also include digital humanities and interdisciplinary collaboration. She received her BA in history from Dartmouth College.

Project Summary:

Environmental bodies such as rivers rebel against political frontiers, guided by logics that may or may not conform to man-made borders; as such, transnational solutions to water scarcity are necessary, and understanding historical cases of collaboration can help envision solutions to future challenges. Rebecca Wall's doctoral research focuses on the transnational development of the Senegal River basin in order to tell a new story about governance in twentieth-century West Africa, highlighting possibilities for transnational collaboration over a precious and ever-scarcer resource, water.

Callie Ward

Stanford Humanities Center Dissertation Prize Fellow

Department of Iberian and Latin American Cultures, Stanford University

Past Present: The Literature of Human Rights in Postdictatorial Chile, Argentina, and Brazil

Callie Ward a PhD candidate in the Department of Iberian and Latin American Cultures. She received her BA in Hispanic studies and English from the University of Pennsylvania. Her current research focuses on contemporary Latin American literature and issues of human rights. Beyond Stanford, her commitments and interests include volunteering with the Stanford Prison Education Program and with non-profit legal organizations, where she has worked with asylum seekers from Central America and conducted related research.

Project Summary:

From an interdisciplinary perspective situated across law and literature, Ward’s dissertation examines what she defines as the literature of human rights: legal and literary narratives with a truth-seeking function vis-à-vis the past that have the potential to impact the present. Focusing on Chile, Argentina, and Brazil, she considers the ways in which these narratives contribute to the construction of a public critical consciousness and thus intervene in the current political and social climate.

JNese Williams

Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in the Humanities

Department of History, Stanford University 

The Texture of Empire: Botanic Gardens, Science, and Governance in the British Empire, Late 18th and Early 19th Centuries

J’Nese Williams works on the history of modern Britain, science, and empire. She received a PhD in history from Vanderbilt University and a BA in history from Princeton University. Before coming to Stanford, Williams was an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow at the Humanities Institute of the New York Botanical Garden and a Residential Fellow at the Linda Hall Library.

Project Summary:

Williams’ current project uses botanical gardens in the British colonies to explore imperial governance and the pursuit of science in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. By focusing on the colonial gardens and local actors, this work provides insight into the ways that class, race, and patronage shaped colonial administration and scientific work.

Benjamin Wilson

Distinguished Junior External Fellow

Department of the History of Science, Harvard University

Strange Stability: Models of Compromise in the Age of Nuclear Weapons

Benjamin Wilson is an assistant professor of the history of science at Harvard University, where he studies and teaches the history of modern physics, Cold War history, and the intellectual history of the nuclear age.

Project Summary:

Wilson’s book project presents a new intellectual and social history of United States nuclear strategy and arms control during the Cold War, focusing on the key idea of “strategic stability.” Long thought to be inherent to the very logic of nuclear deterrence, stability was at once an analogy drawn from other fields (including Keynesian macroeconomics and cybernetics) and a rationalization, allowing elite nuclear thinkers to play contradictory roles as classified consultants for, and public critics of, the nuclear weapons complex.

Duygu Yildirim

Stanford Humanities Center Dissertation Prize Fellow

Department of History, Stanford University

Familiar Difference: Faith, Empathy and Science in the Early Modern Mediterranean, 1650–1730

Duygu Yıldırım is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at Stanford where she specializes in early modern history of science within the intellectual cultures of Western Europe and the Ottoman Empire. She completed her BA in American literature and MA in Ottoman history in Istanbul, Turkey. Her research focuses on complexities of information transfer across cultures in the early modern era. Her dissertation project has been supported by fellowships from Social Science Research Council (DPDF 2016 and IDRF 2017), the Renaissance Society of America, and the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA) at Stanford, among others.

Project Summary:

Based on archival sources in multiple languages, Familiar Difference: Faith, Empathy, and Science in The Early Modern Mediterranean, 1650-1730 explores the complex relation between inter-religious conflict and scholarly engagements across religions. It shows how and why inter-religious conflict paradoxically gave way to a more sympathetic understanding of faith in parallel Ottoman and European contexts. Ultimately, this reinterpretation of faith and cultural difference led a group of scholars to a quest for a universal history of knowledge. 

Adrien Zakar

Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in the Humanities 

Department of History, Stanford University 

Framing Perception: Landscape Images and the Politics of Geographical Information in Syria and Lebanon (1900-1946)

Adrien Zakar received a PhD in history from Columbia University in 2018 and a BA in International Relations from the Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies in Geneva. His research and teaching interests are in the impact of technologies of surveillance on necropolitics, environmental thinking, and conceptions of selfhood and society in the Middle East. He is currently developing his dissertation into a manuscript, titled “The Disembodied Eye: Technologies of Surveillance and the Logistics of Perception in Syria.”

Project Summary:

The Disembodied Eye investigates how the development and circulation of technologies of surveillance shaped institutional structures, systems of representation, and ideas of subjectivity in the Ottoman Empire and Syria (1900-1948). Ways of mapping and enframing sustained competing social and institutional structures by inculcating upon their targeted audience concrete procedures for disciplining perception. The project argues that this process of cultural and technological transformation helped reconfigure the visual, political and ethical norms of war and peace throughout the transition from empire to nation-states.

Sheng Zou

Stanford Humanities Center Dissertation Prize Fellow

Department of Communication, Stanford University

The Engineering of Sentiment and Desire: Unraveling the Aestheticized Politics of Ideotainment in China

Sheng Zou is a communication PhD candidate at Stanford. He is broadly interested in media representation, digital economy and labor, alternative media, and Internet subcultures. His current research explores the intersection of popular culture and politics in post-socialist China, especially in relation to lifestyle politics and state propaganda.

Project Summary:

This dissertation investigates a rising trend of propaganda in China—“ideotainment,” namely an assemblage of entertaining media content and ideological constructs. Ideotainment reflects the aesthetic, discursive, and stylistic changes in the Party-state's public communication and governmentality in the digital age. Through textual analyses of viral ideotainment campaigns and interviews with media professionals producing such interactive content, this dissertation reveals how entertainment and play is incorporated into the project of ideological subjectification, which taps into the prevalent emotion and desire of consumer-citizens via a heterogeneous “thought work” network. It illuminates how politics is aestheticized and how propaganda is entwined with idioms and currents of popular culture. Moving beyond the dichotomy of politics and entertainment, it shifts the emphasis from the effect of propaganda as a political instrument to the aesthetic and affective experience it entails as an ambient process of subject formation.