You are here

Current Mellon 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.

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.

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.

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.  

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.