WHC Fellows

The Whitney Humanities Center Fellows are appointed by Yale’s president at the recommendation of the WHC and its Executive Committee and include members  of Yale’s teaching community from all ranks and disciplines. In addition, each year there are Franke Visiting Fellows, Mellon Mid-Career Fellows, and postdoctoral fellows in the humanities. The fellowship gathers for weekly luncheons at the center, where presentations on work-in-progress foster conversations and intellectual collaboration across academic disciplines.


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.

Associate Directors

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.

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.” 


Vladimir Alexandrov (Slavic Languages and Literatures)

Vladimir Alexandrov is the B. E. Bensinger Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures. He grew up in New York City and wanted to be a scientist from an early age. However, after getting bachelor’s and master’s degrees in geology, he decided that he’d learned enough about the natural world but didn’t understand himself or other people. His solution was to switch to studying literature and the humanities, which resulted in his getting a PhD in comparative literature from Princeton. This helped, and the quest continues. After teaching in the Slavic department at Harvard, Alexandrov moved to Yale in 1986, where he teaches courses on Russian literature and culture. 

Alexandrov has published books and articles on nineteenth- and twentieth-century Russian writers and on literary theory. His last book was The Black Russian (Grove/Atlantic, 2013, 2014), a biography of Frederick Bruce Thomas (1872–1928), the remarkable son of former slaves in Mississippi who became a multimillionaire entrepreneur in tsarist Moscow and the “Sultan of Jazz” in Constantinople. Alexandrov also cowrote a musical based on Thomas’s life that has been staged in New York.

Alexandrov’s current project is a biography of a Russian revolutionary terrorist, writer, and political activist, tentatively titled “To Free Russia: Boris Savinkov’s Wars against the Tsar, Lenin, and the Bolsheviks.” In connection with this project Alexandrov taught a new graduate seminar in the spring of 2015, “Terrorism in Russian Literature.” In the spring of 2016, he’ll teach another new graduate seminar connected with his research—“Life and Popular Culture in Late Imperial Moscow.”

Luke Bender (East Asian Languages and Literatures)
Marijeta Bozovic (Slavic Languages and Literatures)

Marijeta Bozovic is Assistant Professor of Slavic languages and literatures, and a specialist in twentieth- and twenty-first-century Russian and Balkan cultures with broad comparative interests. She is the author of Nabokov’s Canon: From Onegin to Ada (2016), and the coeditor (with Matthew Miller) of Watersheds: Poetics and Politics of the Danube River (2016) and (with Brian Boyd) of Nabokov Upside Down (forthcoming in 2017). She is currently working on her second book project, “Avant-Garde Post– : Radical Poetics after the Soviet Union.”

What all of Bozovic’s projects share—including work on Vladimir Nabokov’s English-language texts, contemporary  Russian protest poetry, Digital Humanities approaches to émigré archives, Danube and Black Sea studies—is a commitment to the study of transnational cultural flow. While the theoretical frames have a wide range and vary from project to project, she is particularly interested in canon formation, reception, cultural capital and its geographical distributions; historically contextualized and mediated through the many filters of medium, genre, and language.

Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos (Anthropology)
Joseph Cleary (English)
Deborah Coen (Program in the History of Science and Medicine; and History)
Stephen Darwall (Philosophy)

Stephen Darwall is Andrew Downey Professor of Philosophy at Yale University.  He has written widely on the history and foundations of ethics.  His first book, Impartial Reason (1983), attempted a comprehensive critique of instrumental and egoistic theories of practical reason and a defense of the rationality of moral conduct.  His major work in the history of ethics, The British Moralists and the Internal Ought: 1640–1740 (1995), was a study of early modern philosophical debates about the relation between obligation and motivation.  In addition to a book on the nature of well-being—Welfare and Rational Care (2002)—and an introductory text in ethical philosophy, Philosophical Ethics (1998)—he is best known for writings that argue that fundamental moral concepts and principles are grounded in presuppositions of the perspective we take up in interpersonal interaction when we address claims and demands to one another.  The Second-Person Standpoint: Morality, Respect, and Accountability (2006) argues that morality is founded on the mutual accountability of any and all beings who are capable of holding themselves accountable.  Two recent collections of essays extend the second-personal framework.  Morality, Authority, and Law (2013) explores second-personal elements of autonomy, law, and authority.  And Honor, History, and Relationship (2013) investigates issues of interpersonal relationship, the difference between hierarchies of honor and orders of law and accountability, and second-personal themes in Grotius, Pufendorf, Kant, Fichte, and Adam Smith.  Currently he is working both on issues in moral psychology concerning trust, love, and contempt as well as on a book on the history of Western ethical philosophy from the seventeenth century: Modern Moral Philosophy.  A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he is also a founding editor, with David Velleman, of the open access journal Philosophers’ Imprint.

Maria Doerfler (Religious Studies)
Thierry Emonet (Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology; and Physics)
Joseph Fischel (Women's Gender, and Sexuality Studies)
Paul Franks (Philosophy, Judaic Studies, and Religious Studies)
Marie-Helene Girard (French)
Ayten Gundogdu (WHC Mellon Mid-Career Fellow)
Leslie Harkema (Spanish and Portuguese)

Leslie J. Harkema is Assistant Professor of Spanish at Yale University. She received a PhD in Hispanic language and literatures from Boston University in 2013, and an MA in comparative literature from the University of Georgia in 2007. Her research focuses on the literary and cultural production of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Spain, with particular interests in modernist and avant-garde art of the early twentieth century, intellectual history, and the history of translation in the context of modern Iberia.

Her first book, Spanish Modernism and the Poetics of Youth: From Miguel de Unamuno to La Joven Literatura (forthcoming), analyzes the literature and cultural history of early twentieth-century Spain in light of changing conceptions of adolescence and youth that proved decisive for European modernism broadly. Focusing on the little-studied relationships between the essayist, novelist, and poet Miguel de Unamuno and subsequent generations of writers who came of age before the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939), she argues that youth becomes a central poetic value in Spanish modernist art and criticism because it represents a critique and subversion of narratives of development that had defined Spain’s place in Western cultural history throughout the modern period.

Harkema is currently working on a second book-length project, tentatively titled “Faithful Betrayals: Translation and the Critique of Literary Culture in Modern Spain.” This project undertakes to examine the configuration of a Spanish national literature in the modern period through the lens of Spanish writers’ attitudes toward and practices in literary translation, with special attention to the linguistic diversity of the Iberian Peninsula.

Jill Jarvis (French)
Nancy Levene (Religious Studies)
Daniel Luban (Humanities)

Daniel Luban is a postdoctoral associate and lecturer in the Humanities Program at Yale. He received his PhD in political theory from the University of Chicago in 2016. His research interests are broadly in the history of social and political thought, particularly in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, in contemporary social theory, and in the history of capitalism. His book project examines the conceptual shift from a world in which egoism is understood as the pursuit of status within a hierarchical social order to one in which egoism is understood as a kind of maximization in quantitative and material terms; work stemming from this project has been published in Modern Intellectual History and History of European Ideas. Prior to entering the academy, he worked as a political journalist, and he continues to write for a general audience in publications such as Dissent, The Point, and n+1.

Karuna Mantena (Political Science)
Robyn Marasco (WHC Mellon Mid-Career Fellow)
Carolyn Mazure (Psychiatry, Psychology, (Director Women's Health Research))

Carolyn M. Mazure is the Norma Weinberg Spungen and Joan Lebson Bildner Professor of Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Psychology.

Her research focuses on the interplay of stress, depression, and addictive behaviors with an emphasis on gender difference in health outcomes. She has developed new approaches for examining risk factors for illness and was the first to demonstrate how stress is a more potent pathway to depression in women than men.

Understanding the value of uncovering gender differences in the field of depression, combined with recognizing that such data are lacking across many fields of biomedical research, she created Women’s Health Research at Yale. The scope of this interdisciplinary center expands research to the wide range of conditions affecting women or differentially affecting the health of women and men. The center asserts that as we look ahead to national and world health challenges, it is critically important to optimize care by infusing gender-specific medicine into our healthcare systems. Since its inception in 1998, the center has been recognized as a national model for launching new research on the influence of sex and gender on human health and translating findings into practice.

Mazure has served on the planning committee for the First White House Conference on Mental Health, was a fellow for the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, chaired the American Psychological Association’s Summit on Women and Depression, provided testimony to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives on the importance of women’s health research, and currently is a member of the Advisory Committee for the NIH Office for Research on Women’s Health.

Patrick McCreless (Music)

Patrick McCreless is Professor of Music, and affiliate faculty in the German department.  He chaired the Department of Music at Yale from 2001 to 2007, and is Acting Chair in the fall semester of 2016.  Previously he taught at the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester, and at the University of Texas Austin. 

His early work was on Wagner and the chromatic music of the later nineteenth century.  In addition to his book, Wagner’s Siegfried:  Its Drama, History, and Music, he has published essays on other Wagner operas, and, with Adrian Daub of Stanford University, wrote all the articles on the Ring cycle in the Cambridge Wagner Encyclopedia (2013).  He has also published on the music of Schubert, Elgar, Shostakovich, and Nielsen. Stepping back from actual musical repertories, he has frequently written about the intellectual history of music theory, and its practice, function, and health in the contemporary musical world.  Examples include his chapter on music and rhetoric in the Cambridge History of Western Music Theory, and essays such as “Rethinking Contemporary Music Theory,” “Ownership, in Music and Music Theory” (the keynote talk for the annual meeting of the Society for Music Theory in 2010), and “Formalism, Fair and Foul.”  His concern with music theory as a discipline has not been limited to scholarship:  he has served the Society for Music Theory in a number of positions, including as president from 1993 to 1995.

Alan Mikhail (History)

Alan Mikhail is a historian of the early modern Muslim world, the Ottoman Empire, and Egypt. His research and teaching focus mostly on the history of empires and environments. Mikhail is the author of The Animal in Ottoman Egypt (2014) and Nature and Empire in Ottoman Egypt: An Environmental History (2011).  He is also the editor of Water on Sand: Environmental Histories of the Middle East and North Africa (2013). He is currently completing two additional books.  One is a synthetic argument for Middle East environmental history; the other, a study of the impacts of the Ottoman Empire on world history around 1500.

Mikhail’s publications have received numerous recognitions, including the Roger Owen Award of the Middle East Studies Association, the Alice Hamilton and Leopold-Hidy Prizes of the American Society for Environmental History, the Wayne D. Rasmussen Award of the Agricultural History Society, the Ömer Lütfi Barkan Prize of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association, and Yale’s Gustav Ranis and Samuel and Ronnie Heyman Prizes.


Samuel Moyn (Law and History)
Stephanie Newell (English)
Catherine Nicholson (English)

Catherine Nicholson studies sixteenth-century English literature, and within that field has a perverse fascination with texts that thwart or fail to satisfy the desires and expectations of readers, past and present.  Her first book, Uncommon Tongues: Eloquence and Eccentricity in the English Renaissance (2014), looks at the so-called “triumph of English” in the late sixteenth-century through the eyes of contemporary readers, writers, and critics—many of whom saw in the new vernacular literature not the dawning of national identity and linguistic community but the estrangement of English from itself.  Her current book project, Spenser’s Reader: The Faerie Queene and the Indiscipline of Literary Criticism, takes an expansive view of how reading does and doesn’t work over the four-hundred-year existence of a single poem.  In addition to being a study of a particularly fascinating and self-reflexive work of literature, Spenser’s Reader is an experiment in using reception history as a tool for critical innovation: inhabiting the perspectives of various historical readers, whose methods and assumptions are often alien to Nicholson’s own, affords her a usefully oblique view of both the poem itself and the norms of modern literary criticism.

John Peters (English)
Ayesha Ramachandran (Comparative Literature)
Terence Renaud (Humanities)
Francey Russell (Humanities)
Pierre Saint-Amand (French)
Jason Schwartz (Public Health and History of Medicine)
Yipeng Shen (WHC Mellon Mid-Career Fellow)
Jason Stanley (Philosophy, Linguistics)

Jason Stanley is the Jacob Urowsky Professor of Philosophy at Yale University. Before coming to Yale in 2013, he was Distinguished Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Rutgers University. He was previously a professor at the University of Michigan (2000–2004) and Cornell University (1995–2000). He earned his PhD from the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT and his BA from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Stanley’s major research projects are on the nature of skill, the interplay between language and context, and the connection between knowledge and power. He has published four books: Knowledge and Practical Interests (2005); Language in Context (2007),; Know How (2011); and How Propaganda Works (2015).

Adam Stern (Humanities and YPSA)
Shawkat Toorawa (Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations)

After school in Paris, Hong Kong, and Singapore, Shawkat M. Toorawa went to the University of Pennsylvania, where he discovered Arabic literature and took a BA (Hons) in Arabic and Islamic studies, an AM in modern Arabic literature, and a PhD in classical and medieval Arabic literature. He has taught Arabic at Duke University, medieval French literature and Indian Ocean studies at the University of Mauritius, and Arabic and other literatures at Cornell University. He has also worked in a family import/export company in Kuala Lumpur and Port-Louis. He joined Yale as Professor of Arabic in 2016. Toorawa’s scholarly interests include classical and medieval Arabic literature, especially the literary and writerly culture of Abbasid Baghdad; the Qur’an, in particular hapaxes, rhyme-words, and translation; the Waqwaq Tree and islands; Indian Ocean studies, particularly Creole literatures of Mauritius and the Mascarenes; modern poetry; translation; and SF film and literature.

Michael Veal (Music)

Michael E. Veal has been a member of the Yale faculty since 1998.

Trained as an ethnomusicologist, his work has typically addressed the themes of aesthetics, technology, and politics within the cultural sphere of Africa and the African diaspora His biography Fela: The Life and Times of an African Musical Icon (Temple University Press, 2000) uses the life and music of one of Africa’s most influential and controversial musicians to explore themes of postcoloniality, the political uses of music, and cultural interchange between cultures of Africa and the African diaspora.

Professor Veal’s documentation of the “Afrobeat” genre continued with Tony Allen: Master Drummer of Afrobeat (Duke University Press, 2013), an autobiography cowritten with the man many consider to be the greatest drum set player in Africa. Dub: Soundscapes and Shattered Songs in Jamaican Reggae (Wesleyan University Press, 2007) examines the ways in which the studio-based innovations of Jamaican recording engineers transformed the structure and concept of the post–World War II popular song during the 1970s, and examines sound technology as a medium for the articulation of spiritual, historical, and political themes. Punk Ethnography: The Sublime Frequencies Companion (coedited with E. Tammy Kim, forthcoming) collects a series of critical essays about world music that provide context for the maverick products of this controversial recording label. Veal’s forthcoming book Wait Until Tomorrow: John Coltrane and Miles Davis in the Digital Age surveys underdocumented periods in the careers of these two musicians that encapsulate the stylistic interventions of “free jazz” and “jazz-rock fusion,” while drawing on the discourses of sound studies and digital architecture to suggest new directions for jazz analysis and interpretation.

Amanda Weidman (WHC Mellon Mid-Career Fellow)
Kirk Wetters (German)