Current Mellon Fellows
Art & Art History 2012-2014
Elizabeth L. Bennett is an art historian and visual culture theorist specializing in twentieth and twenty-first-century material culture in the United States. She earned her B.A. from Denison University and Ph.D. in the History of Art from the University of California, Berkeley. Her current book project, Economies of Valuation and Desire: How New Deal Photography Remade the Old Order Amish, considers the earliest American photographsto depict consensual Old Order Amish subjects in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Intervening in the art historical narratives of both the visual culture of the New Deal and twentieth-century representations of religious subcultures in the U.S., the study provides an alternative model for the Great Depression as a historical narrative and popular concept.
To the fields of Religious Studies and Visual Culture Studies, it also contributes a critical assessment of photographs of the photography-averse Amish, a subject that has not received consideration in any discipline. Bennett argues that these photographs evidence an understudied legacy of New Deal photography: the establishment of ethnographic and anthropological ways of looking with the camera in a domestic context. In these images of the Amish, we see the camera deployed as a mode of surveillance in the countryside, a tool for social gardening with which the vulnerabilities of peripheral populations could be identified, ordered, and “corrected.” Bennett’s research interests extend to the objects and sites of tourism, peripheral American geographies (specifically Guam, Puerto Rico, and other unincorporated Territories of the United States), and vision and dromology. Bennett is hosted by the Department of Art and Art History.
Comparative Literature 2013-2015
Alvan Ikoku comes to Stanford from Columbia University, where he completed his PhD in English and comparative literature, and from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where he was assistant professor in bioethics. Prior to his PhD, he received his MD at Harvard. After his time at Stanford, he plans to take up his position as assistant professor in English and medical humanities at Emory University.
Alvan's work focuses on literary and scientific discourses concerning Africa and its diaspora in English and French, bioethics and medical humanities, postcolonial theory, and disciplinary histories of tropical medicine and global health. His book project, The Writing of Malaria, studies the place of literature and literary rhetoric in the development of modern antimalarial thought and of tropical medicine and global health as modern medical specialties.
Art & Art History 2012-2014
Beatrice Kitzinger studies the art of the early Middle Ages. Her dissertation project, which she is working to publish as a book, examines primarily 8th–10th-century images of the cross in pictorial media in which the cross is depicted as a material, physical object. In this form, the pictorial cross displays attributes similar to those of the metalwork cross-objects used in the Church's liturgical performance. She describes this pattern of representation as an intersection of media, of pictorial and liturgical space, and of historical, eschatological, and ritual time. The argument of the project turns upon the cross as a key to understanding instrumentality as an essential, emphasized, and even celebrated component of early medieval artwork. She emphasizes the centrality of manufacture to the self-proclaimed projects of medieval artwork, and the importance of visual strategies that establish an indispensable place for art within the world of the Church. She views manuscripts as experiential spaces as well as objects engaged in ritual performance; and is especially interested in analyzing narrative and symbolic modes in early medieval painting. She studies neglected corners of Carolingian art, focusing on manuscripts from the historically and artistically messy region of western France. She analyzes the contents of the manuscript paintings in close relationship to objects, actions, and spaces outside the boundaries of the books, examining the project of book-making relative to a broader view of art-making in the Carolingian world.
Kitzinger comes to Stanford from Harvard University, where she completed her Bachelor's, Master's and doctoral degrees. While researching her dissertation she lived for several years in Germany, England and France, where she also worked in museum collections. She will be teaching a course on medieval book illumination in the Art and Art History Department at Stanford.
French and Italian 2013-2015
Anton Matytsin received his PhD in August 2013 from the University of Pennsylvania, where he also obtained his BA and MA. As an intellectual historian of the 17th and 18th centuries, he is interested in the history of philosophy (particularly epistemology and debates about the mind-body interaction), the history of political, economic, and religious thought, the history of science, the history of early modern historiography. His dissertation The Specter of Skepticism and the Sources of Certainty in the 18th Century, 1697–1772, explores the way in which thinkers in the French-speaking world of the early 18th century responded to the challenges posed by the revival and proliferation of philosophical and historical skepticism.
At Stanford, Anton continues to develop his project on skepticism and anti-skepticism and investigate how, in attempting to preserve and to reconstruct the foundations of their worldviews, apologetic thinkers came to resemble their philosopher opponents and, ironically, became unintended agents of intellectual change. On the broadest level, the project explores the interactions among culture, philosophy, science, and theology in the 18th century. It attempts to explain how the transformations in the perceptions of the powers of human reason, of the natural world, and of humanity’s place in it impacted the understanding of the political and cultural realms. It thus questions and investigates the causal relationship between the philosophical ideas of the so-called Radical Enlightenment and their alleged political consequences.
Slavic Languages and Literatures 2013-2015
Jessica Merrill holds a Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures from the University of California-Berkeley. Her current book project focuses on the intellectual history of modern literary theory and the emergence of the Russian Formalist and Czech Structuralist movements. In addition to literary theory, her scholarly interests include Russian and Czech modernisms, Slavic folklore, and folklore theory.
Her project, Between Language and Literature: The Role of Folklore Study in the Rise of Modern Literary Theory, draws on intellectual biography and archives of scholarly societies to trace the development of modern literary theory between 1890 and 1945 as it was informed by the traditions of Russian philology and the institution of the scholarly circle. The book will show how these traditions enabled pioneering theorists such as Viktor Shklovsky, Roman Jakobson and Jan Mukařovský to conceptualize literature in way which brought it closer to oral tradition or language.
East Asian Languages and Cultures 2012-2014
Paul Roquet holds a Phd from the East Asian Languages and Cultures department at the University of California, Berkeley, with a Designated Emphasis in Film Studies. His research focuses on audiovisual media, with particular interests in environmental aesthetics, soundscape studies, and the use of media as a form of mood regulation. Roquet's published work includes essays on cinema, music, literature, and art in contemporary Japan. His dissertation title is Atmosphere as Culture: Ambient Media and Postindustrial Japan. He is hosted by the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures.
English Department 2012-2014
Adena Spingarn received her PhD in English from Harvard University in May 2012. Her dissertation, Uncle Tom in the American Imagination: A Cultural Biography, examines Uncle Tom’s transformation in American cultural understanding from a heroic Christ figure in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 anti-slavery novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, to a submissive race traitor.
A contributor to The Root, Vogue, and Uncle Tom’s Cabin in the National Era with an article forthcoming in Theatre Survey, her current writing and teaching focus on 19th- and 20th-century American literature and cultural history, with a special emphasis on African American literature and literary history. She is hosted by the English Department.
Religious Studies 2013-2015
Audrey Truschke received her PhD from Columbia University in May 2012. During the 2012-2013 academic year, she was a research fellow in History and Asian & Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Cambridge (Gonville and Caius College). Her work concerns literary and historical interactions between members of the Sanskrit and Persian traditions in Mughal India.
Her current project investigates the literary, social, and political history of Sanskrit as it thrived in the Mughalcourts from 1560 to 1650. The book will make substantial contributions to scholarship on the Mughal Empire, early modern India, and Sanskrit and Persian literary cultures. The book also engages in wider debatesconcerning cross-cultural exchanges, the interplay between literary, political, and religious spheres, and the construction of power in early modernity.