2007-2008

group fellows 07-08

 

Daniel Herwitz, director of the Institute for the Humanities, is pleased to announce the names of those who will be in residence as fellows next year. “For our twentieth anniversary year,” he notes, “the Institute will host a distinguished group of eight faculty and six graduate fellows chosen from the College of Literature, Science and the Arts, the School of Art and Design, the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Design, and the School of Public Health.”

 

Paul Anderson - Hunting Family Professor

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Associate Professor, American Culture and Center for Afroamerican and African Studies
"Hearing Loss: The Dreamlife of American Jazz"

Hearing Loss: The Dreamlife of American Jazz

Paul Anderson’s work in cultural history offers a new window into the world of modern jazz.  While prominent accounts of modern jazz’s musical and social worlds are often vanguardist and forward-looking, Anderson circles backward to explore alternative narratives in terms of retrospection, nostalgia, and loss.  Among other threads, his reconstruction of the dreamlife of modern jazz traces various efforts to repair the fraying ties between modern jazz and popular music in the 1950s and 1960s and pays special attention to the fate of the popular song form, especially the ballad, within the period’s creative tumult.

Philip Deloria - John Rich Professor

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Professor, History and American Culture
"Crossing the (Indian) Color Line: A Family History"

Crossing the (Indian) Color Line: A Family History

In June 1931, Deloria’s grandmother—white, patrician, and pious, with a good job in New York City—agreed to marry his grandfather, an American Indian athlete-turned-minister whom she had met only a few days earlier. Their surprising union brought together two grand histories of colonial encounter. Deloria will write their history and also inquire into the consequences of their marriage, which unleashed devastating tensions surrounding racial crossing, the authority of men and women, the preservation and recording of Native cultures, and the possibilities for reconciliation among histories and memories defined by the dispossession of Native North America.

Tirtza Even - Helmut F. Stern Professor

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Assistant Professor, School of Art and Design
"Once a Wall, or Ripple Remains"

Once a Wall, or Ripple Remains

“Once a Wall, or Ripple Remains” is a documentary project that aims to question the stability of any perception, record, or rendering of a series of videotaped encounters that took place in the summer and fall of 1998 in the Occupied Territory of Palestine. Spanning more than eight years, it also draws on a wide range of media (from single-channel video, CD-ROM, website, to written text and 3-D animation). Even seeks in this work to incorporate the documented images’ passage through media and through the history impacting their perception.

Andrew Herscher - Hunting Family Professor

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Assistant Professor, Architecture and Slavic Languages and Literatures
"Violence Taking Place: The Architecture of the Kosovo Conflict"

Violence Taking Place: The Architecture of the Kosovo Conflict

How does violence take place? In this project, Herscher attempts to answer that question by examining the intersection of architecture and political violence in Kosovo.  Approaching destruction as a violent counterpart to architecture’s constructive endowment of material with meaning and effect, his examination focuses on sites where destruction has been threatened, feared, inflicted, experienced and remembered. Paying close attention to the material form, social situation, interpretation and memory of destruction, he understands each of these features as potentially salient in determining destruction’s political, social and cultural dimensions.

Katherine Ibbett - A. Bartlett Giamatti Faculty Fellow

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Assistant Professor, Romance Languages and Literatures
"Compassion and Commonality: Forms of Fellow-Feeling in Seventeenth-Century France"

Compassion and Commonality: Forms of Fellow-Feeling in Seventeenth-Century France

In her study, Ibbett considers the discourse of compassion in relation to the political discourses that explain and justify both domestic absolutism and the colonial projects of seventeenth-century France. Looking at how the notion of a French public develops through the private yet shared compassionate response to representations of suffering, she argues that the language of compassion plays a key role in the establishment of the newly self-conscious nation. The project draws on dramatic theory, political thought, popular novels, and accounts of colonial life and asks how and to what ends a culture famed for its inwardness and centralizing tendencies might nonetheless imagine its relations with situations and people beyond its boundaries.

Marcia Inhorn - Helmut F. Stern Professor

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Professor, School of Public Health
"Reproducing Masculinities: Islam, IVF-ICSI, and Middle Eastern Manhood"

Reproducing Masculinities: Islam, IVF-ICSI, and Middle Eastern Manhood

Marcia Inhorn’s project investigates the intersecting domains of “Islamic masculinity” and “Islamic bioethics” as they are manifested in the realm of reproductive technoscience in the Middle Eastern region. Drawing upon Islamic fatwa literature, Middle Eastern gender scholarship, Arabic-language popular literature, and Middle Eastern men’s own reproductive narratives and oral histories (collected from more than 250 men), the project examines how differences in Islamic legal opinion are shaping notions of manhood in Middle Eastern societies where new biotechnologies of assisted conception are being introduced.

Scott Spector - John Rich Professor

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Associate Professor, German Languages and Literatures and History
"Violent Sensations: Sexuality, Crime, and Utopia in Berlin and Vienna, 1860-1914"

Violent Sensations: Sexuality, Crime, and Utopia in Berlin and Vienna, 1860-1914

Vienna and Berlin were crucial sites in the development of modern conceptions of gender and sexuality, and also in the political emancipation movements these conceptions inspired. Prominent in this context were the birth of the science of sexology, the earliest articulations of homosexuality as an identity, the concomitant movement to abolish persecution of sexual minorities, and the “first-wave” feminisms of the turn of the century. At the same time, these cities became host to prurient fantasies that held a surprisingly prominent place in the period’s high culture, science and popular culture. Spector’s synthetic analysis shows how these narratives of sexuality and violence are part of a self-critical discourse on and of the modern subject.

Johannes von Moltke - Steelcase Research Professor

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Associate Professor, Germanic Languages and Literatures and Screen Arts and Cultures
"Moving Pictures: Film, History, and the Politics of Emotion"

Moving Pictures: Film, History, and the Politics of Emotion

Johannes von Moltke investigates the interplay between history, emotions, and politics in the cinema. Focusing on the cinematic representation of German history in particular, he studies the ways in which filmmakers have used different genres (such as melodrama, comedy, or thrillers) to elicit specific emotions about the historical figures and events presented on film. As our historical distance from the “Third Reich” and the Holocaust increases, von Moltke suggests, these emotions shift in subtle but surprising ways. The project investigates not only the formal construction of these films and their appeal to spectator emotion, but also the broader political implications of this shift in our emotional relationship to history. It outlines a theory of spectatorship as an “affective practice” that both defines particular viewing publics and participates in the construction of community through emotion.

Elizabeth Ben-Ishai - Sylvia "Duffy" Engle Graduate Student Fellow

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Political Science

The Autonomy-Fostering State: Citizenship and Social Service Delivery
Ben-Ishai’s dissertation explores the obligations of the state to foster autonomy in its citizens, particularly its most vulnerable. The capacity for autonomy is a key requirement for access to full citizenship rights in contemporary democracies. Hence, she argues, an inclusive and universal notion of citizenship requires a version of what she refers to as “the autonomy-fostering state.” Ben-Ishai examines three “case studies” of social service delivery, drawing on empirical examples in order to theorize the conditions under which the state structures its relationships with citizens in ways that enable, rather than constrain, the development of autonomy-competency.

Yolanda Covington-Ward - Michigan Graduate Student Fellow

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Anthropology

Embodied Histories, Danced Religions, and Performed Politics: Changing Conceptions of Kongo Cultural Performance
Covington-Ward’s dissertation utilizes the study of makinu—a general term for a complex of Kongo performance forms that incorporate dance, music, and song—to examine how the meanings and uses of Kongo cultural performances change in the contexts of socio-historical transformations, and how embodied practices in performances can be used to transmit, represent, and transform moral values, religious and political ideals, and group identities. Through her focus on cultural performances, Covington-Ward seeks to illuminate an area of study that has been largely overlooked by other scholars of Kongo culture and society, thus contributing new insights to the anthropology of performance in West-Central Africa.

Jonah Johnson - James A. Winn Graduate Student Fellow

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Comparative Literature and German

Seasick yet Still Docked: Casting Kant’s Shadow in Post-Enlightenment German Drama
Johnson’s dissertation examines the consequences of early German Idealism for the writing and theorization of tragedy in the wake Kant’s critical philosophy.  By situating dramatists such as Friedrich Hölderlin and Heinrich von Kleist within the context of late-eighteenth century German philosophy, he argues that the often discussed “death of tragedy” during this period is tied to a crisis of representation shared by post-Enlightenment dramatists and philosophers alike.

Min Li - Mary Ives Hunting and David D. Hunting, Sr., Graduate Student Fellow

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Anthropology

Conquest, Concord, and Consumption:  Becoming Shang in Eastern China
Min Li’s dissertation research is based on archaeological excavations at a frontier city of the Shang civilization (circa 1600-1040 B.C.) in early China. He investigates the ways that aspects of symbolic, social, and natural worlds converged in human interactions with animals, particularly in the realms of food and religious communication. In the context of state formation and imperial conquest, the distinction between human and animals, often construed and demarcated along lines of social difference involving the human other, informs on the self-definition and identity construction of early states and civilizations.

Jennifer Palmer - Michigan Graduate Student Fellow

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History and Women's Studies

Slavery, Race, and Gender in Eighteenth-Century La Rochelle
Jennifer Palmer examines how French people on French soil constructed and participated in slavery. To do so, she focuses on the port town of La Rochelle, a vibrant locale where people crossed boundaries of race, status, and culture. By concentrating on visual and archival sources, she explores the tension between two representations of slavery: slaves as the ultimate luxury goods, and slaves as community members embedded in networks of kinship, friendship, and patronage. Through a narrative of family relations with a subtext of visual representations, she considers how the ever-changing conceptions and practices of slavery were shaped and defined in France, not only in the colonies. In doing so, she conceptualizes slavery as central to French people’s understanding of family and self.

Stefan Stantchev - Michigan Graduate Student Fellow

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History

Embargo: the Origins of an Idea and the Effects of a Policy
Stantchev’s project will clarify the origins and development of embargoes and the results of their employment. Economic sanctions have primarily interested political scientists who have analyzed them chiefly as economic tools for the achievement of foreign policy goals. Focusing on the use of embargoes by the Papacy, Venice, and Genoa primarily against Muslim, pagan, and Eastern Christian lands during the Middle Ages, Stantchev asks when, how, and to what perceived effect trade sanctions were employed. The main question that his work will address is whether or not embargoes (and thus economic sanctions in general) can be seen not only as an economic, but also as a cultural tool of statecraft.