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Hume Undergraduate Fellows: 2011-2012

Laura Groenedaal

Laura Groenedaal, a sophomore studying complex systems, worked with Kristen Haring during the 2011-12 academic year. Haring, assistant professor of History at Auburn University, is a historian of science and technology. Groenedaal helped Haring investigate a side question in her research about the times the telephone is used to communicate something other than sound. In order to explore this question, Groenedaal looked at a prehistory of text messaging – conducting original research about pager usage and, more specifically, pager codes used to communicate messages. She composed a data set of codes that appear on a variety of pager code sheets and found that different groups of people using the same codes began to create their own meanings for those codes.

Stephen Hilfer

Stephen Hilfer, a senior majoring in English with a creative writing focus, assisted Leah DeVun with her project, “Enter Sex,” an exploration of how medieval and early modern scientists, lawyers, theologians and others have understood people with atypical sex anatomies, known during the period as hermaphrodites. DeVun is an associate professor of history at Rutgers University researching gender, sex and sexuality in premodern Europe. DeVun worked with Hilfer to find a topic for him to explore that would fit into her research, while allowing him to focus on his interests in queer theory, activism and the legal issues surrounding intersex. Over the course of his research, Hilfer became interested in transgender rights and how they intersect with intersex rights, leading him to create an annotated bibliography of a variety of transgender narratives and autobiographies for DeVun to use in her project.

Kyle Lee-Crossett

Kyle Lee-Crossett, a junior majoring in English and Archaelogy with interests in history of science, network of analysis, mapping and the digital humanities, spent 2011-12 working with Paula Findlen, Ubaldo Pierotti Professor in Italian History at Stanford. Lee-Crossett’s project for the year, “Reading Galileo without English,” focused on looking at Galileo’s correspondence from 1588 to 1616. By using data gathered from each letter, Lee-Crossett was able to look for patterns in Galileo’s correspondence and visualize the building of Galileo’s network over time. According to Findlen, Lee-Crosset will continue to collaborate on this project past the 2011-12 academic year.

Cody Leff

Cody Leff, an undeclared freshman with interests in Chemistry and French, worked with Margaret Cohen during the spring quarter. Cohen teaches in Comparative Literature at Stanford. Leff assisted Cohen with her project, "Enchanted Depths," which examines shift in the Western cultural imagination of the ocean resulting from technologies permitting visualization of the underwater environment. In particular, Leff assisted Cohen in researching the work of underwater painter Zarh Pritchard before his rise to fame. All biographies of Pritchard pick up in 1902, so Leff looked into his work prior to this time and found evidence that Pritchard was painting and designing costumes before his time painting underwater.

Albert Pak

Albert Pak, a junior double major in Philosophy and Political Science, worked with historian David Gilmartin, professor of history at North Carolina State University. Gilmartin asked Pak to look at works on the idea of the voter as an autonomous being in election laws compared to ideas of the voter as a political being linked into structures of social influence and consider philosophical arguments about the nature of autonomy in political science. Pak noted that he found it beneficial to work with a historian because it forced him to re-examine ideals and to not be influenced by philosophy’s assumptions. He also said his time working with Gilmartin forced him to think about concepts inter-disciplinarily, which will help him provide a balanced perspective on his honors thesis.