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Current Center Fellows: 2012-2013

Mark Antliff

Marta Sutton Weeks Fellow

Art, Art History, and Visual Sciences, Duke University

Sculpture Against the State: Direct Carving, Gaudier-Brzeska and the Cultural Politics of Anarchism

Mark Antliff's research and teaching interests focus on art in Europe before 1945, with special attention to cultural politics in all its permutations, as well as the interrelation of art and philosophy. His project Sculpture Against the State: Direct Carving, Gaudier-Brzeska and the Cultural Politics of Anarchism examines how various types of aestheticized violence, culled from the spheres of politics, ideology, and popular culture, shaped vorticist sculptor Henri Gaudier Brzeska's persona and artistic development. The book will address historians analyzing ideology and the history of the left in France and Britain; philosophers who study the philosophy of Henri Bergson, Max Stirner, and the concept of nominalism; and experts across disciplines in the fields of ethics, law, aesthetics, and gender studies could benefit from his analysis of the ways ideology, aesthetics, morality, masculinity, and violence were conjoined in the early twentieth century.

Marcelo Aranda

Geballe Dissertation Fellow

History, Stanford University

Instruments of Religion and Empire: Spanish Science in the Age of the Jesuits, 1660-1756

Marcelo Aranda is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at Stanford University, with a BA in History from UC Berkeley. His research explores the intersections between science, politics and religion in the Spanish Empire. He has been a research fellow at the John Carter Brown Library and the Huntington Library. Aranda’s dissertation addresses the transition in the Spanish world from scientific culture and networks that were predominantly Scholastic, global and centered on Jesuit colleges, to those that were Newtonian, European and centered on scientific academies. By exploring the diverse uses of scientific instruments in Spain and Mexico, not only as a means to understand nature, but also as social, political and religious tools, he highlights the diversity of scientific practice in both metropole and colony and the changing nature and importance of scientific expertise.

Oksana Bulgakowa

Marta Sutton Weeks Fellow

Institute of Film, Theater and Cultural Studies, Gutenberg University, Mainz

Voice and the Traces of Time: The Russian Archive of Vocal Memory

Oksana Bulgakowa is Professor of Film Studies at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz. She published several books on Russian and German cinema, directed films, curated exhibits and developed multimedia projects. Her research interests include film and oblivion, body language in film, and visual culture of Stalinism. She taught at the Humboldt University and Free University, Berlin, Vienna, Stanford, UC Berkeley and the International Film School in Cologne. The vocal and aural environment and experience becomes a necessary component of our evolving understanding of modernity, especially of the modernity in its extreme, violent and controversial form created by the Russian totalitarian state. In her new book, she explores the recorded vocal memory of Russian society, the genesis and change of vocal stereotypes in national theater, radio, film and TV, thus bringing together the historical evolution of the speaking norms, vocal fashions, and preservation technology.

James Campbell

Donald Andrews Whittier Fellow

History, Stanford University

Freedom Now: History, Memory, and the Mississippi Freedom Movement

James Campbell is the Edgar E. Robinson Professor in United States History at Stanford University. His research focuses on African American history and the wider history of the Black Atlantic. His published works include Middle Passages: African American Journeys to Africa, 1787-2005 and Songs of Zion: The African Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States and South Africa. Like individuals, nations fashion stories about their pasts. Freedom Now: History, Memory, and the Mississippi Freedom Movement explores this process in relationship to the Civil Rights movement, focusing in particular on events that occurred in Mississippi in the tumultuous summer of 1964. The book is intended not only as a study of the history and legacy of one of American history's most extraordinary popular movements but also as a meditation on the politics of memory, on the processes of remembering and forgetting at the heart of nation-making.

Adrian Daub

German Studies, Stanford University

Dynasties: The Nuclear Family and its Discontents in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Germany

Adrian Daub is assistant professor of German Studies at Stanford University. He is the author of Zwillingshafte Gebärden (2009, to be published in English as Four-Handed Monsters: The culture of four-hand piano playing in the 19th century in 2013) and Uncivil Unions: The Metaphysics of Marriage in German Idealism and Romanticism (2012). His book Dynasties: The Nuclear Family and its Discontents in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Germany investigates the afterlife of the dynasty in the modern political, philosophical and literary imagination. If the nineteenth century imagined itself as the heyday of the nuclear family, it vested those family structures that loomed beyond this nucleus with threatening and uncanny powers. The book traces how those powers were deployed in different projects of modernism and modernity.

Graciela De Pierris

Violet Andrews Whittier Fellow

Philosophy, Stanford Univeristy

Hume, Kant, and the Metaphysical Tradition

Graciela De Pierris received philosophy undergraduate degrees in Argentina before completing her philosophy PhD at UC Berkeley. She works in the history of epistemology, especially in the modern period (17th and 18th Centuries), including Hume and Kant. She has published on the work of these philosophers as well as Descartes, Locke, Leibniz, Frege, Wittgenstein, and Quine. Before coming to Stanford, she was an Assistant and Associate Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Indiana University, Bloomington. Her project focuses on the important asymmetries between Hume's treatments of substance and causality, and on the resulting implications for his and Kant’s differing transformations of the metaphysical tradition they inherited. These transformations, in turn, have profound consequences, which also involve the relationship between modern science and religion: in particular, Kant’s treatment of religion -- like his treatment of substance and causality -- might be taken to be both more conservative and more radical than Hume's.

Siyen Fei

External Faculty Fellow

History, University of Pennsylvania

Sexuality and Empire: Female Chastity and Frontier Societies in Ming China (1368-1644)

Siyen Fei's book project Sexuality and Empire: Female Chastity and Frontier Societies in Ming China (1368-1644) takes on a highly politicized issue in China: identity. State rhetoric since imperial times has perpetually stressed the power of Chinese civilization in sustaining a homogeneous "China," but scholars have endeavored to uncover non-Han minorities' perception of, resistance to, and even subversive appropriation of state sinicizing practices. Her investigation of late Ming borderlands, however, shows that the sinicization narrative reveals only half of the picture. In the empire's northwest and southeast boders, far from converting the barbarian, hundreds of thousands of Ming Chinese left the Middle Kingdom - either on their own volition or under compulsion - and became de-sinicized. This book looks at the life and struggle of people at the borderlands who found themselves caught in the making and unmaking of the Ming empire and examines how they confronted their plight on their own terms. It tells a story about a time when familiar vocabularies such as empire/identity were unavailable, and in that absence, how the commemoration of chaste heroines - women who martyred themselves to preserve their chastity - became a venue to negotiate destabilize frontier identities and to re-imagine the Chinese world.

Corisande Fenwick

Geballe Dissertation Prize Fellow

Anthropology, Stanford University

Fashioning the State and Subject in Late Antique and Early Medieval North Africa (500-800)

Corisande Fenwick is a doctoral candidate in Anthropology at Stanford, with a research focus on late antique and early medieval North Africa. She received a BA in Archaeology, Classics, and Classical Art from University College London. She is an experienced field archaeologist who currently works on projects in Libya and Italy. Her dissertation examines the impact of Byzantine and Arab imperialism in late antique and early medieval North Africa. It integrates archaeology with iconographic and textual evidence to explore how the Byzantine and Arab empires operated "on the ground," and how different social groups interacted with each other and larger state structures.

Marisa Galvez

Internal Faculty Fellow

French and Italian, Stanford University

The Confessional Project in the Crusades

Marisa Galvez specializes in the literature of the Middle Ages in France and Western Europe, especially the poetry and narrative literature written in Occitan and Old French. Her areas of interest include the troubadours, vernacular poetics, the intersection of performance and literary cultures, and the critical history of medieval studies as a discipline. Her current research project investigates the rhetorical and ideological craft of medieval French confessional texts and its impact on the ethics of crusades in the thirteenth century.

Bruce Hall

External Faculty Fellow

History, Duke University

Bonds of Trade: Slavery and Commerce in the 19th-century Circum-Saharan World

Bruce Hall is an assistant professor in the Department of History at Duke University. He completed his Ph.D. in history at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2005. His first book, A History of Race in Muslim West Africa, 1600-1960, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2011. Bonds of Trade seeks to explain how trans-Saharan long-distance commerce came to rely on slaves, not just as human commodities or as coerced commercial laborers, but also as skilled workers responsible for organizing and carrying out the commercial transactions themselves. Relying on more than a thousand Arabic letters exchanged by members of a single commercial firm between 1850 and 1900, Bonds of Trade will reveal the details of the lives of these traders, the struggles, negotiations and accommodations made between masters and their slaves, and the importance of slavery to the functioning of pre-colonial commerce in the circum-Saharan region of Africa.

Héctor Hoyos

Internal Faculty Fellow

Iberian and Latin American Cultures, Stanford University

The Commodity as Prism: A Hundred Years of Latin American Things

Héctor Hoyos is an Assistant Professor of Latin American culture at Stanford University. He holds a Ph.D. in Romance Studies from Cornell University (2008) and degrees in philosophy and literature from Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia. His book manuscript Beyond Bolaño: The Global Latin American Novel is forthcoming. He is preparing the first major retrospective study of 20th century Latin America informed by current critical thinking on materialism with the goal of presenting a unifying narrative about the evolution of materiality in the region's cultural production between 1898 and 1998.

James Kierstead

Geballe Dissertation Prize Fellow

Classics, Stanford University

An Association of Associations: Social Capital and Group Dynamics in Democratic Athens

James Kierstead is a PhD student in the Classics Department. He has a BA in Classics (Oxford), and MAs in both Ancient History (London) and Political Science (Stanford). His two main research interests are classical Greek history and culture, and participatory democracy in theory and practice. Kierstead's dissertation draws on the concept of social capital and the theory of groups to explain how a wide variety of small-scale associations and institutions contributed to the flourishing of the classical Athenian democracy. He argues that small groups were crucial in the transition to democracy and in the system's stability in the early classical period; and that late classical reforms affecting the structure of associations contributed to the democracy's eventual demise.

Matthew Kohrman

Donald Andrew Whittier Fellow

Anthropology, Stanford University

Making Life and Death in China’s Urban Cigarette Market

Matthew Kohrman joined Stanford’s faculty in 1999. His research and writing bring anthropological methods to bear on the ways health, culture, and politics are interrelated. Focusing on the People's Republic of China, he engages various intellectual terrains such as governmentality, gender theory, political economy, critical science studies, narrativity, public health, and embodiment. His first monograph, Bodies of Difference: Experiences of Disability and Institutional Advocacy in the Making of Modern China, examines links between the emergence of a state-sponsored disability-advocacy organization and the lives of Chinese men who have trouble walking. Most recently, Kohrman has been involved in research and writing confronting the biopolitics of cigarettes in Chinese contexts. During academic year 2012-2013, Kohrman will be working on a new book, the first anthropological monograph examining the cigarette in China. Asking how has the Chinese cigarette come to be configured within two seemingly contradictory socio-political processes – protecting and destroying human life – this book will contribute in innovative ways to knowledge within the humanities and beyond regarding uses of life and death to mobilize human action.

Barbara Kowalzig

External Faculty Fellow

Classics, New York University

Gods Around the Pond: Religion, Society, and the Sea in the Early Mediterranean Economy

Barbara Kowalzig is Associate Professor of Classics and History at New York University, and an Associate of the Centre Louis Gernet in Paris. Her research focuses on religion, music and performance, and cultural and economic anthropology of ancient Greece and the Mediterranean. This project explores the interaction of religious practices and economic patterns in the archaic and classical Mediterranean in a long-term historical perspective, proposing a new interpretation of ancient Greek religion as emerging from the broad, transcultural context of maritime economic mobility rather than the city-state. The objective is to pinpoint a conceptual link between religious and economic systems by identifying religious practice and cognition as the context for the enactment of principles of contemporary economic theory, economic sociology and moral economics, such as rationality, risk, regulation, and ethics.

Aida Mbowa

Geballe Dissertation Prize Fellow

Department of Theater and Performance Studies, Stanford University

Dialogic Constructions of a New Black Aesthetic: East Africa and African America, 1952-1979

Aida Mbowa is a PhD candidate for a dual degree in Drama and Humanities. A Ugandan born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, Aida trained in classical acting with the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts and received a BA in Performance and Identity Studies from Mount Holyoke College. This dissertation looks at the ways East Africans and African Americans dialogued to construct ideologies and performance aesthetics, during their most revolutionary time periods, the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Specifically, it considers how both groups re-imagined narratives of black history, how they employed the Swahili language, how they made a case for and used music as a black language, and how they engaged in a politics of visual aesthetics all in an effort to evolve the meaning and potency of blackness.

Robert Morrison

External Faculty Fellow

Religion, Bowdoin College

Jewish Scholars in Renaissance Italy

Robert Morrison is Associate Professor of Religion at Bowdoin College. His research has focused on the role of science in Islamic and Jewish texts, as well as in the history of Islamic science. His current research is on science in late medieval Jewish communities and on arguments akin to natural theology in Islam. His project, A Network of Scholars in the Veneto, traces scholarly networks in order to explore how they were the context for the transmission of astrology, Qabbalah, medicine, and astronomy, fields that were inter-woven. The project investigates how much Renaissance science owed to recent developments in science in Jewish and Islamic civilizations and how we conceive of relations between Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the 15th and 16th centuries.

Sara Mrsny

Geballe Dissertation Prize Fellow

Philosophy, Stanford University

Justice, Labor, and the Family: Why We Should Accommodate Caregivers in Workplaces

Sara Mrsny is a doctoral candidate in the Philosophy Department at Stanford. She earned her bachelors in philosophy from Wellesley College. She specializes in political philosophy, and her research focuses on what a commitment to equality implies for the distribution of wealth and other goods. Mrsny’s dissertation asks how caregiving should be organized in a just society. Caregiving is labor done to meet the needs of dependents like children and infirm adults, and in most societies today, the majority of this labor is performed without pay by women who are family members of the care recipient. Mrsny considers what is fair and unfair about our existing caregiving system, and she argues for greater accommodation of caregivers in workplaces and other social settings through policies like family leave, flex time, and subsidized day care.

Harriet Murav

Marta Sutton Weeks Fellow

Slavic, Comparative, and World Literature, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Marking Time: The Writing of David Bergelson

Harriet Murav received her Ph.D. from Stanford in 1985, and holds a joint appointment in Comparative Literature and Slavic at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In addition to her work on Dostoevsky, Russian law and literature, and 19th century Russian Jewish culture, she recently published Music from a Speeding Train: Jewish Literature in Post-Revolution Russia. Using the contrast between Bergson's "creative evolution" and Freud's model of traumatic repetition as the theoretical point of departure, her current project reads the works of the Yiddish author David Bergelson (1884-1952) as an experiment in the tragic contraction and creative dilation of time. She traces the texture of time, its evocation in art, and its potentiality from an early 20th century Yiddish perspective.

Nicoletta Orlandi

External Faculty Fellow

Philosophy, Rice University

Seeing in Practice: Putting Vision in its Place

Nico Orlandi is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Cognitive Sciences at Rice University. Research and teaching interests include issues in philosophy of perception, the notion of representation and computational models of vision. Her current project develops an unorthodox way of understanding vision. To explain why the world looks to us as it does, the account developed in the book appeals primarily to the structure of the environment in which we evolved and to our attunement to it. By contrast, cognitive scientists typically think of visual processing as a construction that uses some internalized representation resources to produce visual experiences. The book argues that this construction is unnecessary.

Padma Rangarajan

External Faculty Fellow

English, University of Colorado, Boulder

Thug Life: the British Empire and the Birth of Terrorism

Padma Rangarajan is Assistant Professor of English at University of Colorado, Boulder. Her research is focused on nineteenth-century British literature, with specific interests in Romanticism, language, religion, and imperial history. She has recently completed a monograph on the politics of translation in nineteenth-century colonial literature. Although we tend to think of the “War on Terror” as a very contemporary issue, Thug Life argues that the rise of terrorism was concomitant with the innovations of modernity. She plans to explore the ways in which terrorism, both state-sponsored and anti-state, was a response to nineteenth-century systems of collecting, archiving, and producing knowledge of and fiction about colonized territories.

Byron Sartain

Geballe Dissertation Prize Fellow

Music, Stanford University

François Couperin’s Pièces de clavecin and the Musical Communities of Paris and Versailles

Byron Sartain is a PhD candidate in musicology at Stanford. His research interests include eighteenth-century instrumental music, American music, and the poetics of popular recordings. His dissertation research as been supported by several travel grants and a residency at the Cité internationale des arts in Paris. Sartain's dissertation investigates the reception and work status of Couperin's harpsichord pieces in the eighteenth century. As he demonstrates, personal manuscript anthologies compiled throughout the eighteenth century offer an unexpectedly vivid image of the utility of such pieces across social spheres.

Laura Stokes

Internal Faculty Fellow

History, Stanford University

The Murder of Uly Mörnach: Greed, honor, and violence in the Basel butchers' guild, 1502

Laura Stokes completed her PhD at the University of Virginia in 2006. Her revised dissertation appeared in 2011 as Demons of Urban Reform: Early European Witch Trials and Criminal Justice, 1430-1530. Her current research is an examination of quotidian economic culture as seen through court depositions from early modern Basel. Through the microhistorical investigation of a murder, this book unveils the role of the gentle language of patronage and social responsibility in mitigating the harsh effects of self interest during the larval stages of capitalism by examining the ill-fated career of a man who scorned its dictates.

Jennifer Tamas

Geballe Dissertation Prize Fellow 

French and Italian, Stanford University

Paradoxical Powers of Declarations in Old Regime and Revolutionary France

Jennifer Tamas is a PhD candidate in the French and Italian Department at Stanford University. She holds a Master from Paris-Sorbonne. She earned the Agrégation de Lettres Modernes and she was granted a Fulbright fellowship to study in the USA. As a lecturer, she has been teaching at the Sorbonne and at the ENS. She specializes in Old Regime, French Revolution, and Human Rights. Her research interests include 17th-18th century theater, performance and speech act theory, the eloquence of silence on stage, and the history of sensibility. Her dissertation is entitled Paradoxical Powers of Declarations in Old Regime and Revolutionary France. Spanning the Old Regime and the French Revolution, it questions the shift from royal declarations, formulated under the sole authority of the king, to the political declarations at the end of the 18th century, viewed as emanating from the general will. She analyses theater as it had a tremendous effect on liberating the voice of the spectators, who would soon become political actors. She focuses on the staging of love declarations, as they showcase a new perception of authority and of gender tensions. By conceptualizing a revolution in rhetoric, she demonstrates how the democratization of declarations shapes new citizens. She is also currently working on a book project: Dire et ne pas dire: du silence éloquent à l’énonciation tragique des déclarations d’amour chez Racine. She explores in his tragedies the tensions between the said and the unsaid as an effective tool to study theatrical discourse and to understand how it raises and sustains the emotion of the spectators.

Sean Teuton

External Faculty Fellow

English, University of Wisconsin - Madison

Cities of Refuge: Indigenous Cosmopolitan Writers and the International Imaginary

Sean Kicummah Teuton is Associate Professor of English and Indigenous Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the author of Red Land, Red Power: Grounding Knowledge in the American Indian Novel (Duke 2008) and North American Indigenous Literature: A Very Short Introduction (forthcoming, Oxford). Teuton is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. Cities of Refuge proposes a theory of Indigenous internationalism through the example of nineteenth-century North American Indigenous writers, who embrace a critical cosmopolitanism their present-day descendants too often reject. The Indigenous nation was actually built not through separatism, but in connection with multiple regions, ethnicities, and nations, in a time when ethical intellectual exchange was a celebrated necessity.

Jennifer Trimble

Ellen Andrews Wright Fellow

Classics, Stanford University

Visual literacies in Roman Art

Jennifer Trimble studies the visual and material culture of the Roman Empire, with special interests in portraiture and visual replication, comparative urbanism and the city of Rome, and ancient mapping. She has worked on excavations in Tunisia, Turkey, Germany and Italy, most recently co-directing a project in the Roman Forum. Her book asks the questions, "How did people see and respond to the rich visual culture of ancient Rome, and how can we know that?" This project draws on recent work on textual literacies to analyze Roman visual literacies as contextual, layered and embroiled with social difference.

Chloe Veltman

Arts Practitioner/Writer Fellow

Writer and broadcaster

The Communal Voice: Exploring the Metaphorical Significance of Portrayals of Ensemble Singing in Art and Literature

Chloe Veltman is an arts journalist and broadcaster. A former culture correspondent for The New York Times, Chloe hosts and produces VoiceBox, a weekly, syndicated public radio and podcast series about the human voice, and blogs at Her book of interviews with actors, On Acting, is published by Faber. She will study how depictions of ensemble singing scattered throughout the history of art and literature behave as powerful metaphors for community-building and transformation. By exploring and extrapolating upon these revelatory moments in the humanities cannon, she aims to better understand the primal role that group singing has played -- and continues to play -- in society, even in the absence of traditional social structures for singing such as churches and the depletion of music education in schools.

Richard Vinograd

Ellen Andrews Wright Fellow

Art and Art History, Stanford University

Chinese Painting in Theory

Richard Vinograd is the Christensen Fund Professor in Asian Art in the Department of Art & Art History at Stanford University. He is the author of Boundaries of the Self: Chinese Portraits, 1600-1900 (1992); co-editor of New Understandings of Ming and Qing Painting (1994); and co-author of Chinese Art & Culture (2001). This project will reconsider the positions Chinese painting has held in art historiographic and theoretical writing, in both Chinese and Western languages. Beyond that overview, I plan a series of studies of fundamental pictorial devices, conditions, and problematics that disclose arenas of convergence between Chinese and Euramerican concerns, as well as some of the cultural and conceptual limits of commonality.

Peter Woodford

Geballe Dissertation Prize Fellow

Religious Studies, Stanford University

Religion, Science, and Value: The Philosophy of Life and its Critics

Peter Woodford is a PhD candidate in religious studies and the humanities, specializing in the field of modern religious thought, ethics, and philosophy with a B.A. in philosophy and religious studies from the University of Pennsylvania. His research interests are broadly in enlightenment and counter-enlightenment European philosophy of religion and more specifically in the relationship between philosophy, theology, and the emerging scientific disciplines in late-19th century German thought. Peter’s dissertation traces the role of the concept of value in the theory of religion by analyzing its emergence in key figures (Franz Overbeck, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Georg Simmel) of the late 19th-century German movement of "Lebensphilosophie" [life-philosophy] and a significant critique of this movement put forward by the Neo-Kantian Heinrich Rickert. The goal of analyzing these various figures is to identify the wide-ranging and sophisticated philosophical debates underlying various conceptions of religion and to bring to light their relationship to emerging intellectual, social, and cultural forms and the challenges they posed in European modernity.