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Current Mellon Fellows

Fellow Year: 2014-2015

Anne Austin

History 2014-2016

Anne Austin received her Ph.D. from UCLA in the Interdepartmental Archaeology Program where she focused on bioarchaeology in ancient Egypt. Through research on both texts and human remains, she reconstructs ancient Egyptian health care networks and identifies the diseases and illnesses people experienced during the New Kingdom (1550-1080 B.C.E.).

In her current research project, Contending with Illness in Ancient Egypt, she documents health and disease at Deir el-Medina—the village of the workmen who built the tombs of the pharaohs during Egypt’s New Kingdom period (1550-1080 B.C.E.)—through combining analysis of personal letters, administrative records, and medical texts with osteological research on the unpublished human remains at the site. These two data sets offer access into one of the world’s oldest health care systems, allowing us unique insight into the care and medicine used to survive in the ancient world. 

Jessica Merrill

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.

Audrey Truschke

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.