WHC Executive Committee

Mark Bauer (Humanities)

Mark Bauer is Associate Director of the Whitney Humanities Center and Lecturer in Directed Studies. He received his BA in history from Stanford University, where he focused on late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century central European intellectual history. He received an MA in English from the University of California Berkeley and did further graduate work in philosophy at Berkeley and at San Francisco State. Taking his PhD in English from UC Davis, he wrote his dissertation on the influence of W. B. Yeats on contemporary American poet James Merrill. A revision of this project was subsequently published by Routledge.

He has taught at Yale since 1996. Before moving to the WHC, he served for six years as Associate Director of the Office of International Education and Fellowship Programs and administered and advised for British and Irish scholarships such as the Gates, Marshall, Mitchell, and Rhodes. Prior to coming to Yale, he taught in literature and composition programs for UC Davis, served as Writing and Humanities Tutor for San Francisco State and as Teacher Consultant and Researcher for the Bay Area Writing Project.

Francesco Casetti (Humanities; Film and Media )

Francesco Casetti is the author of six books, translated (among other languages) in French, Spanish, and Czech, co-author of two books, editor of more than ten books and special issues of journals, and author of more than sixty essays.

During the ‘70s and ’80 his research has been mostly focused on semiotics of film and television, in particular about genres, intertextuality, and enunciation. His major achievement was an extensive study on the implied spectator in film (Inside the Gaze, Indiana, 1999, or. 1986) and an edited book on television and its imagined audience (Tra me e te, 1988). During the ‘90s he increasingly moved toward an original combination of close analysis and ethnographic research of actual audiences, introducing the notion of “communicative negotiations” (L’ospite fisso, 1995, on media consumption in 32 Italian families, and Communicative Negotiation in Cinema and Television, 2002, on the idea of “communicative pact” and  “communicative situation”). More recently he explored the role of cinema in the context of modernity (Eye of the Century. Film, Experience, Modernity, Columbia, 2008, or. 2005) and the reconfiguration of cinema in a post-medium epoch, comparing this shift with the rise of cinema at the beginning of 20 Century (The Lumière Galaxy: Seven Key words for the Cinema to Come, Columbia, 2015). He has also significantly written, and still writes, on film theories (Theories of Cinema. 1945-1995, Texas, 1999, or. 1993). His next project is an wide-ranging analysis of the anxieties that cinema raised in the first decades of the 20th Century, compared with the iconophobic tradition and with the fears triggered by the contemporary media.

Francesco Casetti has taught in Italy at the University of Genova, of Trieste, and the Catholic University of Milan. He has been invited as “Professeur associé” at Université de Paris III - la Sorbonne Nouvelle (1977), and as visiting professor at the University of Iowa (1988, 1991 and 1998) and Harvard (2014). In 2000 he was the recipient of the Chair of Italian Culture for a distinguished scholar at the University of California-Berkeley. He was William P. Evans Fellow at the University of Otago (New Zealand) in 2011, and  Fellow at the IKKM, Bauhaus University at Weimar in 2012.

He is member of the Advisory Boards of several film journals and research institutions. He sits in the boards of MaxMuseum, Lugano (Switzerland), and MART museum (Rovereto (Italy). He is a member of the Historical Accademia degli Agiati (Rovereto, Italy), correspondent member of the Historical Accademia delle Scienze (Bologna), and foreigner member of the Historical Accademia di Scienze Morali e Politiche (Naples). 

He is General Editor of the series “Spettacolo e comunicazione” for the publishing house Bompiani (Milano).

With Jane Gaines (Columbia University) is the co-founder of the Permanent Seminar on Histories of Film Theories, an international network of film scholars aimed at a systematic exploration of the field of film and media theories (see the website:  http://filmtheories.org/).

Michael Denning (American Studies, English)

Michael Denning is the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of American Studies at Yale University. He is the co-director of Yale’s Initiative on Labor and Culture and a member of Yale’s Program in Ethnicity, Race, and Migration.

Denning is the author of Noise Uprising: The Audiopolitics of a World Musical Revolution (2015); Culture in the Age of Three Worlds (2004); The Cultural Front: The Laboring of American Culture in the Twentieth Century (1997); Mechanic Accents: Dime Novels and Working-Class Culture in America (1987); and Cover Stories: Narrative and Ideology in the British Spy Thriller (1987). 

His courses include “Work and Daily Life in Global Capitalism,” “Recording Vernacular Musics,” and “Marxism and the Social Movements.” He also coordinates the working group on globalization and culture, whose collective work has appeared as “Going into Debt” (in Social Text’s Periscope), and as “Spaces and Times of Occupation” (in Transforming Anthropology).

In 2014 he received the Bode-Pearson lifetime achievement award from the American Studies Association.

Moira Fradinger (Comparative Literature)

Moira Fradinger is the author of Binding Violence: Literary Visions of Political Origins (Stanford, 2010) and is currently working on a second book-length project on the Latin American rewritings of Antigone, with the working title “Antigonas: A Latin American Tradition.” She has two other projects in progress: a study of Latin American cinema in the sixties, and a study of the anarchist imagination, focusing on anarchist journals produced on both sides of the Atlantic at the beginning of the twentieth century. She has also translated literary texts from a number of Romance languages into English.

She holds a PhD in comparative literature from Yale University, an MA in women’s studies from the Institute for Social Studies in Holland, and a Licenciatura in psychology from the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina.

Kirk Freudenburg (Classics)

Kirk Freudenburg received his BA from Valparaiso University, and an MA in Classics from Washington University in St. Louis. He took his PhD from the University of Wisconsin, where he wrote a dissertation under the direction of Denis Feeney.

Before coming to Yale he taught at Kent State University, Ohio State University and the University of Illinois. At Ohio State he was Associate Dean of the Humanities and at Illinois he was Chair of the Department of Classics. His research has long focused on the social life of Roman letters, especially on the unique cultural encodings that structure and inform Roman ideas of poetry, and the practical implementation of those ideas in specific poetic forms, especially satire.

His main publications include: The Walking Muse: Horace on the Theory of Satire (Princeton, 1993), Satires of Rome: Threatening Poses from Lucilius to Juvenal (Cambridge, 2001), the Cambridge Companion to Roman Satire (Cambridge, 2005), and Oxford Readings in Classical Studies: Horace’s Satires and Epistles (Oxford University Press, 2009). Currently he is writing a commentary on the second book of Horace’s Sermones for the Cambridge Green and Yellows.

Bryan Garsten (Humanities, Political Science)

Bryan Garsten is Professor of Political Science and Humanities, and Chair of the Humanities Program

He writes about a range of topics in the history of political thought, including the role of persuasion in politics, the idea of political representation, and the relation between religion and liberalism. He is the author of Saving Persuasion and the editor of Rousseau, the Enlightenment, and Their Legacies, a collection of essays by Robert Wokler. He has also written numerous articles on figures such as Aristotle, Hobbes, Tocqueville, and Benjamin Constant.

At the moment he is finishing a book about early nineteenth-century liberalism called “The Heart of a Heartless World.”

Jacqueline Goldsby (English, African American Studies, American Studies)

Jacqueline Goldsby’s research and teaching focus on African American and American literatures. She is especially interested in the ways that authors and texts articulate unarchived, “secret,” and so, unspeakable developments that shaped American life during the long century of Jim Crow segregation’s reign, from 1865 to 1965. 

Her first book, A Spectacular Secret: Lynching in American Life and Literature (2006), examines how literary depictions of anti-Black mob murders at the turn of the twentieth century figure the violence as a trope of American modernity. Currently she is completing an editorial project—a Norton critical edition of The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man—that reclaims James Weldon Johnson’s novel as an important harbinger of Afro-Anglo-American modernism. Her next monograph, Birth of the Cool: African American Literary Culture of the 1940s and 1950s, focuses on the regenerative aesthetic life that Jim Crow segregation gave rise to during the mid-twentieth century. How to explain the aesthetic cosmopolitanism of African American literature’s “lost generation”—those fabulous, brilliant writers of the post–World War II/pre–civil rights movement era? What literary ecologies made those authors’ emergence and impact as a cohort both decisive and hard to classify? Goldsby wants to think these questions through in relation to a Bourdieu-informed “field theory” of Black literary production during those decades.

To research Birth of the Cool she has had to recover the archives she seeks to write about.  “Mapping the Stacks” makes manuscripts, sound recordings, photographs, and moving images that document Black Chicago’s literary, cultural, and visual histories during the 1930s–1970s accessible to researchers and the public.

Inderpal Grewal (Women’s Gender, and Sexuality Studies; American Studies; Anthropology)

Inderpal Grewal is a professor in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; faculty in the South Asia Council and Ethnicity, Race, and Migration Studies Program; and an affiliate in American Studies, Film and Media Studies, and Anthropology.

She is author of Home and Harem: Nation, Gender, Empire, and Cultures of Travel (1996) and Transnational  America: Feminisms, Diasporas, Neoliberalisms (2005). She is coeditor (with Caren Kaplan) of Scattered Hegemonies: Postmodernity and Transnational Feminist Practices (1995); Introduction to Women’s Studies: Gender in a Transnational World (2001, 2005); and (with Victoria Bernal) Theorizing NGOs: Feminism, Neoliberalism, and the State (2014).

Her areas of research include feminist theory, cultural studies of South Asia and its diasporas, British and US imperialism, and contemporary feminist transnationalisms. She writes opinion blogs for the Huffington Post and was one of the founders of Narika, a Berkeley, California–based nonprofit working to end intimate violence in the South Asian community.

Jacqueline Jung (History of Art)

Jacqueline Jung, who joined Yale’s history of art department in spring 2007 after teaching at the University of California Berkeley and Middlebury College, specializes in the art and architecture of the medieval West, with an emphasis on the figural sculpture of Gothic Germany and France.  Her teaching encompasses the history of medieval sculpture, images of death and apocalypse, art and ritual in the Middle Ages, Gothic cathedrals, medieval image-theory, medieval memory practices, monumental narrative arts, the body as medium in medieval art and culture, and interrelations between art and visionary experience.  During the summers of 2007 and 2008 she investigated the latter topic as a participant in a SIAS seminar called “The Vision Thing: Studying Divine Intervention,” hosted by the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (Stanford, CA) and the Collegium Budapest (Hungary).

Jung completed her graduate studies in 2002 at Columbia University, with a dissertation on the ritual, spatial, and iconographic dimensions of the thirteenth-century choir screen of Naumburg Cathedral. Her first book, The Gothic Screen: Space, Sculpture, and Community in the Cathedrals of France and Germany, ca. 1200–1400 (Cambridge University Press, 2013), expands on that project to incorporate surviving screens and sculptural fragments from Bourges, Chartres, Paris, Mainz, Strasbourg, and elsewhere. The book has been awarded the Samuel and Ronnie Heyman Prize for Outstanding Publication by a junior faculty member in the humanities at Yale University, and has been named a finalist for the 2014 Charles Rufus Morey book award from the College Art Association. An early article on choir screens, published in the Art Bulletin in 2000, won the Arthur Kingsley Porter Prize for an especially distinguished article by a younger scholar.

Jung has translated several seminal art-historical studies from German, most notably, Aloïs Riegl’s Historical Grammar of the Visual Arts (Zone, 2004). While a fellow at the American Academy in Berlin in spring 2006, she began to work on various facets of sensory, physical, and emotional experience and expression in the figural arts of later medieval Germany. During her leave year (2013–2014), she developed that research into a new book, Eloquent Bodies: Movement and Charisma in Gothic Sculpture.

Much to her regret, Professor Jung is not related to the famous Carl.

Brian Kane (Music, Philosophy, Sound Studies, Cultural Studies)

Brian Kane, Associate Professor on Term in the Department of Music, received his PhD in music at UC Berkeley for a dissertation on music and skepticism.

He was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in music at Columbia University before joining the faculty at Yale.

Kane’s research explores the intersection of music theory, philosophy, and contemporary music with a focus on sound, listening, the senses, and phenomenology. He has completed a book on the history and theory of acousmatic sound, titled Sound Unseen (Oxford University Press, 2014).

His current research project is on jazz and the ontology of the musical work. Publications include writings on Pierre Schaeffer, Les Paul, Jean-Luc Nancy, David Lewin, Stanley Cavell, Alain Badiou, Vladimir Jankélévitch, sound art, music theory and phenomenology, and musical aesthetics.

Kane is a cofounder of the Sound Studies Working Group at the WHC and a founding editor of nonsite, a journal of the arts and humanities.

Alice Kaplan (French)

Alice Kaplan, John M. Musser Professor of French, came to Yale in 2009 after many years on the faculty at Duke University, where she was the founding director of the Duke University Center for French and Francophone Studies and a professor of Romance Studies, Literature, and History.

Her first book, Reproductions of Banality (1986), was a theoretical exploration of French fascism. Since then she has published books on Céline’s anti-semitic pamphlets (Sources et citations dans ‘Bagatelles pour un massacre’), on the treason trial of Robert Brasillach (The Collaborator: The Trial and Execution of Robert Brasillach), and on American courts-martial in newly liberated France (The Interpreter). The Interpreter was the recipient of the 2005 Henry Adams Prize from the Society for History in the Federal Government; The Collaborator was awarded the 2001 Los Angeles Times Book Award in History and was a finalist for the National Book Award and National Book Critic’s Circle awards. She is probably best known for her 1993 memoir, French Lessons, which was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award in biography/autobiography. Her literary translations include books by Roger Grenier (Piano Music for Four Hands, Another November, and The Difficulty of Being a Dog), Louis Guilloux (OK, Joe), and Evelyne Bloch-Dano (Madame Proust).

A new book, Dreaming in French: The Paris Years of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, Susan Sontag, and Angela Davis, will be published in 2012 by the University of Chicago Press and the Editions Gallimard. Current research interests include World War II and post-war France, literature and law, biography/autobiography, and French cultural studies.

Recent undergraduate courses include “Camus: Politics and Passion in Postwar France,” “Proust and Céline,” “The Experience of Being Foreign,” and “Literary Trials.” Upcoming courses include “The Modern French Novel” (with Maurice Samuels) and a film course on French cinema of the Occupation. Recent graduate courses include “The Archives: Fact and Fiction” and “French National Identity.”

Kathryn Lofton (Religious Studies, American Studies, History)

Kathryn Lofton is Chair of the Department of Religious Studies and Professor of Religious Studies, American Studies, History, and Divinity. Before arriving at Yale in 2009, she taught at Reed College and Indiana University Bloomington. A historian of religions, Lofton studies the relationship between modernity and the secular in the United States.

Her first book, Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon, appeared in 2011. She is currently working on a book-length study of Bob Dylan as a subject of religion as well as a long-term research project on corporate culture and workplace values in contemporary America. For her work at Yale she has won the 2010 Poorvu Family Award for Interdisciplinary Teaching, the 2013 Sarai Ribicoff Award for the Encouragement of Teaching at Yale College, and the 2013 Graduate Mentor Award in the Humanities.

Priyamvada Natarajan (Astronomy, physics )

Priyamvada Natarajan, Professor in the Departments of Astronomy and Physics at Yale University. She is a theoretical astrophysicist interested in cosmology, gravitational lensing and black hole physics. Her research involves mapping the detailed distribution of dark matter in the universe exploiting the bending of light en-route to us from distant galaxies. In particular, she has focused on making dark matter maps of clusters of galaxies, the largest known repositories of dark matter. Gravitational lensing by clusters can also be utilized to constrain dark energy models and she has been developing the methodology and techniques to do so. Her work has demonstrated that cluster strong lensing offers a unique and potentially powerful laboratory to test evolving dark energy models.

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Paul North (German)

Paul North’s new book, The Yield: Kafka’s Atheological Reformation, comes out in September 2015 from Stanford University Press. In 2015–2016 he will teach a graduate seminar on “Nothing,” with readings from Plato to Beckett; a class on political speech that produces laughter rather than conviction—“Satire, Irony, Parody”; and a seminar, “Nietzsche and His Readers.”

Richard Prum (Ecology/Evolutionary Biology)

Richard Prum is an ornithologist and evolutionary biologist. He is the William Robertson Coe Professor of Ornithology. He also serves as Curator of Ornithology and Head Curator of the Division of Vertebrate Zoology of the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. He is the first director of the Franke Program in Science and the Humanities. 

Rick started bird watching at the age of eleven, and is now unfit for any other type of employment. He studied at Harvard University (AB 1982) and the University of Michigan (PhD 1989). He taught at the University of Kansas for twelve years before coming to Yale University in 2004.

Prum has done research on a wide variety of topics in evolutionary ornithology including historical biogeography, phylogenetics, evolution of behavior and song, sexual selection, development and evolution of feathers, nest architecture, avian color vision, and the physics of structural coloration. His dissertation research was on the evolution of courtship display behavior in a family of Neotropical birds, the manakins. This research has led to an interest in mechanisms of evolution by mate choice. His work on the development and evolutionary origin of feathers led to research on the dinosaur origin of birds and fossil feathers.

Recently he has become interested in the connection between the evolution of biotic advertisements and the human aesthetics. He has pursued interdisciplinary collaborations with mathematicians, engineers, physicists, chemists, and computer scientists. He has done fieldwork on birds in North America, South America, Africa, Madagascar, New Guinea, Australia, and Antarctica. 

Maurice Samuels (French)

Maurice Samuels is Professor of French at Yale. Prior to coming to Yale, he taught at the University of Pennsylvania for six years. He received his undergraduate and graduate degrees at Harvard. He works primarily on nineteenth-century French literature and culture.

His first book, The Spectacular Past: Popular History and the Novel in Nineteenth-Century France (2006), examines new forms of historical representation in the post-Revolutionary period in France, ranging from the panorama to the realist novel. It won the Gaddis Smith International Book Prize. He also has a strong interest in Jewish studies. His second book, Inventing the Israelite: Jewish Literature in Nineteenth-Century France, which brings to light the forgotten fiction produced by France’s first Jewish writers, was published in 2009. His new book project focuses on French Philosemitism.

The classes he teaches at Yale include Paris, Capital of the Nineteenth Century; Fin-de-siècle France; Modernity; Jewish Identity and French Culture; and Representing the Holocaust. He serves as Director of the Yale Program for the Study of Antisemitism, which is housed at the Whitney Humanities Center.

Norma Thompson (Humanities)

Norma Thompson is Associate Director of the Whitney Humanities Center and Senior Lecturer in the Humanities. She received her AB from Bowdoin College and her PhD from the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. Her scholarship and teaching are in the humanities, with special interests in political philosophy and politics and literature. She is Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Humanities major in Yale College. 

Her latest book is Unreasonable Doubt: Circumstantial Evidence and an Ordinary Murder in New Haven (2006). She has published two books with Yale University Press: Herodotus and the Origins of the Political Community: Arion’s Leap (1996) and The Ship of State: Politics and Statecraft from Ancient Greece to Democratic America (2001). 

She edited the volume Instilling Ethics with Rowman and Littlefield (2000) and has also published in Arion, Nomos, International Journal of the Classical Tradition, and in the festschrift for David Grene, Literary Imagination, Ancient and Modern. Her most recent article is on Herodotus and Thucydides for The Cambridge Companion to Ancient Greek Political Theory (2009). Her current book project is titled “The Making of Character.” 

Gary Tomlinson (Humanities, Music)

Gary Tomlinson, John Hay Whitney Professor of Music and Humanities, is a musicologist long committed to multidisciplinary exploration, and his teaching, lecturing, and scholarship have ranged across a diverse set of interests. Central among these have been traditions of European classical music, including the history of opera and early-modern musical thought and practice; but his essays and books embrace such other topics as the music of indigenous American societies, jazz, cultural and anthropological theory, the philosophy of history, affect theory, and human evolution.

His latest research, joining humanistic theory, archaeology, and evolutionary science, investigates the role of cultural forces in the formation of modern humanity. It has led to two books: A Million Years of Music: The Emergence of Human Modernity (2015) and Culture and the Course of Human Evolution (in press). His earlier books include Monteverdi and the End of the Renaissance; Music in Renaissance Magic: Toward a Historiography of Others; Metaphysical Song: An Essay on Opera; The Singing of the New World: Indigenous Voice in the Era of European Contact; and Music and Historical Critique. He is the coauthor, with the late Joseph Kerman, of the music appreciation textbook Listen, now in its eighth edition. 

Tomlinson received his BA from Dartmouth College and his PhD from the University of California at Berkeley. He arrived at Yale in 2010 after many years as Annenberg Professor in the Humanities at the University of Pennsylvania. He has served as a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar and garnered prizes from ASCAP, the American Musicological Society, the Modern Language Association, and the British Academy. In 2001 he was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and he is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a MacArthur Award.

Katherine Trumpener (Comparative Literature, English)

I work across the modern period (late 18th C. to the present), with particular interests in the history of the British and European novel; anglophone fiction (especially Scotland, Ireland, Canada); European film history; literature’s relationship to social and cultural history, visual culture and music; nationalism, regionalism and traditionalism’; literature/culture of WWI, WWII and the Cold War; history of children’s literature 18th C-present; women novelists. I’m currently researching the institutionalization of Marxist aesthetics in postwar Central Europe.