2008-2009

Joshua Cole

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Norman and Jane Katz Faculty Fellow
associate professor, History

The Empire of Fear: Violence and Politics of the Colonial Situation in Eastern Algeria, 1919-1940
Joshua Cole’s current book project explores a period of intense political and cultural innovation in French Algeria during the years of the Popular Front, and several concurrent episodes of extreme violence that fractured local communities in the region in the years before World War II.

Caroline Constant

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Helmut F. Stern Professor
professor, architecture

The Modern Architectural Landscape
This study examines disciplinary intersections between architecture and landscape architecture in contemporary western design practices and the historic antecedents of this phenomenon. It challenges prevalent interpretations of the modern architectural project by foregrounding its social and cultural foundations in landscape.

Lucy Hartley

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Helmut F. Stern Professor
associate professor, English language and literature

The Democracy of the Beautiful
What is the place and importance of beauty in the industrial landscape of nineteenth-century Britain? This is the central question that Hartley will consider in her year at the Institute. She plans to complete a book exploring how the idea of a beauty for the people became linked to an emerging model of democratic governance; and why this attempt to democratize beauty failed to provide the collective enlightenment and social redemption it promised. More broadly, the book will ask whether the idea of a beauty for the people might have relevance today in renewing our understanding of democracy as well as the relation of art to society.

Paul Christopher Johnson

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Hunting Family Professor
associate professor, Afroamerican and African studies and history

To Be Possessed: "Religion" and the Purification of Spirit"
Johnson’s project is an excavation of the category of “spirit possession,” considering first its creation as an early project of civil religion, next the ways the construct was implemented in colonial regulations of religion in the Americas, and finally the positive appropriation of the category by ethnographers and religious actors themselves. By closely examining philosophical, theoretical and discursive invocations of spirit possession as well as the empirical studies those models infiltrated, but also were influenced by, this study aims to show how the category worked not only as a descriptor of “primitive” religions but also, even primarily, as an exorcism the West performed on itself.

Rudolf Mrázek

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John Rich Professor
professor, history

Penal Colonies and Camp Cultures
This is a study of camps and camp culture in the era of triumphant technology. It is based on two case studies: of the Theresienstadt “ghetto” in the Nazi Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia (1941-1945) and of Boven Digoel, a colonial “isolation camp” in New Guinea, the Dutch East Indies (1927-1943).

Susan Parrish

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John Rich Professor
associate professor, English language and literature

A History of Disturbance: Ecology and Literature in the U.S. South, 1927-1947
Susan Parrish will be working on a book project that deals with the ecological imagination in the U.S. South and Gulf Coast in the early part of the twentieth century, with special attention to the 1930s. Of interest will be the intersection of race, environment, and epistemology in writers like Zora Neale Hurston, William Faulkner, James Agee, Marjorie Stoneman Douglas, and Richard Wright as well as in more diffuse cultural sources, like local southern newspapers and newsletters produced at southern Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps.

Stephanie Rowden

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Helmut F. Stern Professor
assistant professor, art and design

A place has its stories
This is an experimental audio documentary about a city block in Detroit: the block which encompasses Woodward Avenue, Parsons Street, Cass Avenue, and Davenport Street. The project draws on stories and sounds recorded on a series of many walks (both literal and figurative) around this one block, and will be developed as a collection of vignettes for radio as well as a sound rich archive for the web.

Gareth Williams

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Hunting Family Professor
associate professor, Romance languages and literatures

The Mexican Exception: Sovereignty and Political Subjectivity in the Twentieth Century
Gareth Williams’ project examines the relation between culture and the political in twentieth-century Mexico. This work is located in the wake of the 1968 critique of the Mexican state. The events of that year highlighted the violent realities of Mexican sovereign power by putting the question of democratic culture and the illegitimacy of the post-revolutionary state at center stage. Drawing on literature, photography, popular culture and political philosophy, this book traces the cultural history of modern sovereignty and its relation to the on-going struggle for political democracy.

Danna Agmon

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Mary Ives Hunting and David D. Hunting, Sr., Graduate Student Fellow
anthropology and history

Where Do Go-Betweens Go? Colonial Intermediaries in Eighteenth Century India
This project examines French imperialism in India (1664-1761), and uncovers the different ways French traders, missionaries, and other settlers relied on their Indian employees. By foregrounding the tense relationship between the French and their local intermediaries, Danna Agmon exposes difficulties and failures that were a crucial yet hidden aspect of early colonial expansion. She hopes to demonstrate that the often-overlooked French experience in India is thus representative of the fractured, tense, and densely populated early stages of all colonial histories.

Lembit Beecher

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James A. Winn Graduate Student Fellow
music composition

Estonia 1944: A Multimedia Chamber Oratorio
Lembit Beecher is working on a multi-media, chamber oratorio based on his grandmother’s and granduncle’s personal memories of Estonia during World War II when their homeland was occupied first by the Soviet Union, then Germany, and then the Soviet Union again. Along with their words, he will mine newspaper accounts, news reports, official records, letters and excerpts from the Estonian national epic Kalevipoeg, for text to set to music. In blurring the lines between music and narrative, documentary and drama, and fact and emotion, he is reaching for a mosaic-type of storytelling that investigates issues of memory, the nature of storytelling, and the relationship of drama to a sense of truth.

Eva-Marie Dubuisson

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Sylvia “Duffy” Engle Graduate Student Fellow
anthropology

The Making of Poetic and Political Authority in Kazakh Aitus
Eva-Marie Dubuisson is investigating new forms of authority and social sentiment in post-socialist Kazakhstan as evinced in aitus, a kind of improvisational verbal dueling between two poets. Over twenty years of authoritarian repression and censorship, poets have given consistent voice to sociopolitical critique. Throughout Eurasia, wherever aitus and similar forms of oral epic traditions live on, social actors from radically different walks of life collude in “successful” performance in order to create a cultural and political authority beyond that of the authoritarian state, and a sense of satisfaction for those involved.

Monica Kim

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history

Humanity Interrogated: Empire, Nation, and the Political Subject in United States and United Nations Prisoner of War Camps during the Korean War, 1949-1954
Monica Kim researches U.S.-controlled prisoner of war camps during the Korean War, examining how POWs, military personnel, and government officials struggled to define the “prisoner of war” as a political subject during the early Cold War. Interrogation became the most relied-upon tool of the U.S. military for constructing, disciplining, and presenting the prisoner of war. Using military archives, oral history interviews, and international organization archives, Kim examines interrogation practices as engaging with and against other political practices in the POW camps and surrounding areas, while also tracing the conflict over “narrating the POW” starting in the interrogation room through international spheres of debate.

Amy Rodgers

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Mary Fair Croushore Graduate Student Fellow
English language and literature

“The Sense of an Audience: Spectators and Spectatorship in Early Modern England, 1576-1612
Rodgers’ dissertation examines discourses of spectatorship that emerge alongside the development of the professional theater in early modern England. The sixteenth century witnessed a surge in a particular form of mass entertainment: professional drama. As the English commercial theater prospered, Tudor-Stuart culture developed new ways to describe the sort of looking that playgoing encouraged. Audience studies have tended to focus primarily on the effects of twentieth-century visual mediums on the modern spectator. Rodgers reframes spectatorship as a subject of inquiry that has been shaped by multiple influences and histories rather than as a telos that culminates in modern viewing technologies and subjects.