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Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in the Humanities: 2018-2019

Colleen Anderson

Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow

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.

Heather Brink-Roby

Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow

Department of English, Stanford University

Reason’s Stories: Type, Example, Paradigm

Heather-Roby studies the novel and the history of science. She received her PhD from Harvard University in English, her MPhil from University of Cambridge in history and philosophy of science, and her AB from Harvard in History and Literature; before coming to Stanford, she was a Junior Research Fellow at University of Cambridge.

Project Summary:

Reason’s Stories: Type, Example, Paradigm explores the narratives latent in three central logical modes and considers how nineteenth-century novelists, scientists, philosophers, and social reformers used those implied structures of experience. It shows how conceptual orderings become unspoken stories that shadow and shape the spoken ones.

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 Postdoctoral Fellow

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," she 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.  

Mélanie Lamotte

Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow

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, metissage 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.

Elizabeth Marcus

Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow

Department of French and Italian, Stanford University

Difference and Dissidence in Lebanon: French, Arabic and Cultural Conflict, 1943-1975

Elizabeth Jacqueline Marcus completed her Ph.D. in French and Comparative Literature at Columbia University in 2017, and received her BA in Modern History and French at the University of Oxford. She has been a Visiting Scholar at MIT, and at Sciences-Po (Paris). In addition to her formal training, she has studied and conducted research in France, the UK, Syria, and Lebanon.

Project Summary:

Elizabeth's research focuses on the literatures and​ ​cultural​ ​history of the Francophone​ ​and Arab​ ​world, with a particular interest in multilingualism, intellectual networks and migration in the postcolonial context.


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.

Aileen Robinson

Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow

Department of Theater and Performance Studies

Technological Wonder: The Theatrical Fashioning of Scientific Practice, 1780-1905 

Aileen Robinson received an Interdisciplinary PhD in Theatre and Drama from Northwestern University in 2016.  Her current project explores the contribution of theatre and magic performance to emerging practices of science communication in the nineteenth century. She investigates how theatrical performances and magic shows drew upon technological innovations and formed unique methods for disseminating scientific knowledge. She conducted archival research in Britain and the United States supported through an SSRC International Dissertation Fellowship and an NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant.

Read a Q&A about Robinson's work. 

Luca Scholz

Postdoctoral Mellon Fellow

Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis, Stanford University 

The Enclosure of Movement: Safe-conduct and the Troubles of Transit in the Holy Roman Empire 

Luca Scholz is an historian of early modern Europe. He pursued his doctoral studies in History at the European University Institute (Florence). His research is concerned with the governance of inter-polity mobility. Before coming to Stanford, he taught for one term at the Free University of Berlin. Luca studied History and Economics in Heidelberg and Paris and has been a visiting scholar at the University of Saint Andrews and at Columbia University.

Project Summary:

Intent on transcending conventional representations of early modern states as bounded territories, Scholz’s current project devises new ways of representing premodern territoriality, using digital tools to create maps that visualize political orders as regimes of movement. Applying spatial analysis to the history of free movement and its restriction, the project provides a historical perspective one of the most controversial issues of our day.

Sixiang Wang

Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow

Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Stanford University

Co-constructing Empire in Early Choson Korea : Knowledge Production and the Culture of Diplomacy, 1392–1592 

Sixiang Wang is a historian of pre-nineteenth-century Korea and early modern East Asia. His research interests also include comparative perspectives on early modern empire, the history of science and knowledge, and issues of language and writing in Korea's cultural and political history. He received his PhD from the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures of Columbia University in October 2015.

Project Summary:

This project examines how ritualistic and literary activities such as court ceremonial, gift-giving, envoy poetry and history writing shaped Korean-Chinese diplomatic exchange during the Chosŏn (1392–1910) and Ming (1368–1644) periods. By reconstructing the cultural strategies the Korean court deployed in dealing with the Ming empire, it also provides a genealogy of political concepts in East Asian diplomacy, especially those related to sovereignty or political authority, as they emerged from the interactions between Korean diplomats and their imperial Chinese counterparts.

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.

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.