WHC Executive Committee

Daniel Botsman (History)

Daniel Botsman is Professor of History. His interest in Japan spans the period from the seventeenth century to the present, with a particular focus on the social and political transformations of the nineteenth century. He was educated at the Australian National University and Oxford University and received his PhD in history at Princeton. Before coming to Yale, he taught in the Faculty of Law at Hokkaido University and in the history departments of Harvard University and UNC Chapel Hill. His publications include Punishment and Power in the Making of Modern Japan (also published in Japanese under the more colorful title Chinurareta jihi, muchi-utsu teikoku—“Blood Drenched Benevolence and the Empire that Flogged”). 

After analyzing the evolution of penal practices and law during the centuries of samurai rule that preceded the Meiji Restoration of 1868, the book examines the rise of the modern prison system in Imperial Japan. In so doing it aims to illuminate the underside of the country’s “successful” modernization, while also revealing the deep connections between modern ideas about prisons, punishment, and civilization and the global history of imperialism. Botsman is also translator of the memoirs of Okita Saburō, one of the architects of postwar Japan’s “economic miracle,” and has recently coedited two collections of essays (in Japanese and English) responding to the Japanese government’s efforts to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Meiji Restoration in 2018.

Botsman’s current research interests include the history of caste andoutcaste people (hisabetsu burakumin), animal-human relations (cow protection), and the impact of ideas about race, slavery, and emancipation in modern Japan. Together with Adam Clulow (UT Austin) and Xing Hang (Brandeis), he is part of an ACLS-funded research team exploring the large-scale trade in deerskin that developed between Japan and Southeast Asia in the seventeenth century. He also has a strong interest in urban history and has recently begun work on a new project about the history of Tokyo with collaborators in Japan and the US. 

Since coming to Yale, Botsman has developed a strong interest in the history of the university’s deep connections to East Asia. In 2015 he collaborated with Ed Kamens, Haruko Nakamura, and Kondō Shigekazu (University of Tokyo) to mount an exhibition of premodern “Treasures from Japan” held in the Beinecke. He also regularly teaches an undergraduate seminar called Yale and Japan, in which students explore the remarkable archival collections available in the Yale University libraries.

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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 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.

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Carolyn J. Dean (History)

Carolyn J. Dean is Charles J. Stille Professor of History and French.  She is a historian of modern Europe with a focus on the twentieth century whose work explores the intersection of ideas and culture. Her latest book, The Moral Witness: Trials and Testimony after Genocide (Cornell, 2019), traces the history of the witness to genocide, tracking the changing representation of mass violence over the last hundred years and showing how the cultural meaning of genocide was distinguished from war and imperial conquest. She is the author of five other books that focus on the historical and cultural representation of victims, most recently Aversion and Erasure: The Fate of the Victim after the Holocaust (Cornell, 2010) and The Fragility of Empathy after the Holocaust (Cornell, 2004). She has also written extensively about gender and sexuality in France and on the intellectual history of French theory. Her current project focuses on the history of bystanders during the Nazi Occupation of France.

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Crystal Feimster (African American Studies, American Studies, History)

Crystal N. Feimster, a native of North Carolina, is an associate professor in the Department of African American Studies, the American Studies Program and History Department at Yale University, where she teaches a range of courses in 19th and 20th century African American history, women’s history, and southern history. She earned her Masters Degree and Ph. D. in history from Princeton University and her BA in History and Women’s Studies from UNC-Chapel Hill.  She has taught at Boston College, UNC-Chapel Hill, and Princeton.  Her manuscript, Southern Horrors: Women and the Politics of Rape and Lynching  (Harvard University Press, 2009), examines the roles of both black and white women in the politics of racial and sexual violence in the American South.  She is currently working on two book projects: Sexual Warfare: Rape and the American Civil War and Truth Be Told: Rape and Mutiny in Civil War Louisiana.

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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.”

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Gundula Kreuzer (Music)

Gundula Kreuzer studied musicology, philosophy, and modern history at the Universities of Münster (Westphalia) and Oxford, where she earned her Master of Studies and D.Phil. in musicology. She held a Junior Research (postdoctoral) Fellowship at Merton College, Oxford, before joining the Yale Department of Music in 2005.

In both her writing and her teaching, Kreuzer approaches music from a wide range of interdisciplinary perspectives, such as social, cultural, and political history as well as theories of technology and multimedia. Her award-winning first book, Verdi and the Germans: From Unification to the Third Reich (Cambridge University Press, 2010), examines the changing impact of the popular Italian composer on German musical self-perception and national identity. Her second monograph, Curtain, Gong, Steam: Wagnerian Technologies of Nineteenth-Century Opera (University of California Press, 2018) addresses how composers since the late 18th century increasingly tried to control certain aspects of staging by embracing specific stage technologies. Focusing on the cultural resonances and hermeneutic potentials of the titular technologies of the curtain, the tam-tam, and steam before, in, and beyond Wagner, the book develops a deeply contextualized practical perspective on the nature and ephemerality of staged opera as well as its legacies in contemporary culture.

Together with Clemens Risi, she guest-edited a double issue of The Opera Quarterly (“Opera in Transition”; vol. 23/2-3, 2011), and her critical edition of Verdi’s instrumental chamber music for The Works of Giuseppe Verdi: Series V appeared with The University of Chicago Press and Ricordi in 2010. She was Reviews Editor of The Opera Quarterly and served on the editorial board of the Journal of the American Musicological Society; she continues to serve on the editorial boards of  Cambridge Opera Journal, VerdiPerspektiven, and WagnerSpektrum. She also gained experience as a freelance radio presenter in Germany and has been contributing to broadcasts on WNYC and BBC Radio3.

In May 2019, Kreuzer launched the first annual YOST: Y | Opera | Studies Today conference at Yale on the topic of “Indie Opera” to foster a dialogue between practitioners and scholars of opera across and beyond campus and the East Coast. Beginning in the Fall 2019, this initiative will be complemented by a monthly working group at the Whitney Humanities Center.

Kreuzer’s first monograph won the 2011 Lewis Lockwood Award of the American Musicological Society, the 2012 Gaddis Smith International Book Prize of the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale, and the inaugural Martin Chusid Award for Verdi Studies in 2013. Among other grants and awards, Kreuzer has received the Paul A. Pisk Prize (2000) and the Alfred Einstein Award (2006) from the American Musicological Society as well as the Jerome Roche Prize (2006) from the Royal Musical Association. At Yale, she was awarded the Samuel and Ronnie Heyman Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Publication in 2010, was a Fellow at the Whitney Humanities Center in 2010-11, and has been a Senior Research Fellow in International and Area Studies at the Macmillan Center since 2012. In 2015-16, she was a Research Fellow at the Italian Academy at Columbia University.

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Pauline LeVen ( Classics)

Pauline LeVen is Associate Professor in the Classics Department. She works primarily on Greek literature, music, and culture. Her first book The Many-Headed Muse: Tradition and Innovation in Late-Classical Greek Lyric Poetry was published by Cambridge University Press in 2014 and was one of the recipients of Yale College’s Samuel and Ronnie Heyman Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Publication. Her new book, Music and Metamorphosis in Greek and Latin Myths, is also under contract with CUP and examines questions of aesthetics and ontology. Pauline teaches a graduate seminar on Beauty and undergraduate classes on a range of topics, from “Helen after Troy” to “myth, fiction, and science-fiction”.   

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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 Under Osman’s Tree: The Ottoman Empire, Egypt and Environmental History (2017), 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 writing a book on the Ottoman Empire and world history.

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.

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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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Stephanie Newell (English)

Steph Newell is Director of Graduate Studies for the African Studies program at the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies and a professor in the English Department at Yale. Her research interests include African print cultures, with particular attention to media audiences and readerships in colonial West Africa. She is the author of six books on West African literatures and cultural history, including, most recently, Histories of Dirt: Media and Urban Life in Colonial and Postcolonial Lagos. Her other monographs are Ghanaian Popular Fiction: ‘Thrilling Discoveries in Conjugal Life’, Literary Culture in Colonial Ghana, West African Literatures: Ways of Reading, The Forger’s Tale: The Search for Odeziaku, and The Power to Name: A History of Anonymity in Colonial West Africa

Her current project, Newsprint Worlds: Local Literary Creativity in Colonial West Africa, focuses on the central role of African-owned newspapers in creating platforms and publics for the earliest West African creative writers in English.

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Joanna Radin (History of Medicine; History, Anthropology)

Joanna Radin is Assistant Professor in the Section for the History of Medicine, which is part of the Program in the History of Science and Medicine.  She holds courtesy appointments in history and anthropology. Radin is also a faculty affiliate of the Yale Group for the Study of Native America and a member of the Histories of Data working group at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, where she has been a visiting fellow.

She came to Yale in 2012, after completing a PhD in history and sociology of science at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on histories of the life and human sciences after World War II. She has particular interests in questions of technology, ontology, and ethics. Her book, tentatively titled “Life on Ice: Cold War, Frozen Blood,” will be published by the University of Chicago Press. A new book project focuses on the interplay of science fiction, fear, and biomedicine.

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Maurice Samuels (French)

Maurice Samuels specializes in the literature and culture of nineteenth-century France and in Jewish Studies. He is the author of four books. The Spectacular Past: Popular History and the Novel in Nineteenth-Century France (Cornell, 2004) examines new forms of historical representation—including panoramas, boulevard theater, and the novel—in post-Revolutionary France. Inventing the Israelite: Jewish Fiction in Nineteenth-Century France (Stanford, 2010) brings to light the first Jewish fiction writers in French. It won the Scaglione Prize, given by the Modern Language Association for the best book in French studies, and was translated into French (Hermann, 2017). The Right to Difference: French Universalism and the Jews (Chicago, 2016) studies the way French writers and thinkers have conceived of the place of Jews within the nation from the French Revolution to the present. It also won the MLA’s Scaglione Prize. His new book, The Betrayal of the Duchess, a study of France’s first antisemitic affair, was published in 2020 by Basic Books. He also co-edited a Nineteenth-Century Jewish Literature Reader (Stanford, 2013) and edited Les grands auteurs de la littérature juive au XIXe siècle (Hermann, 2015). A recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, he has published articles on diverse topics, including romanticism and realism, aesthetic theory, representations of the Crimean War, boulevard culture, and writers from Balzac to Zola. He has directed the Yale Program for the Study of Antisemitism since 2011 and is currently also serving as the chair of Yale’s Judaic Studies Program.

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Jason Stanley (Philosophy, Linguistics)

Jason Stanley is the Jacob Urowsky Professor of Philosophy; he has a secondary appointment in linguistics. Before coming to Yale in 2013, he taught at Rutgers University, the University of Michigan, and Cornell University. He is the author of five books, How Fascism Works (Penguin Random House, 2018), How Propaganda Works (Princeton, 2015), Know How (Oxford, 2011), Language in Context (Oxford, 2007), and Knowledge and Practical Interests (Oxford, 2005), which won the 2007 American Philosophical Association Book Prize. He works in Philosophy, Linguistics, Cognitive Science, and Political Theory. He is currently working on a book on political speech for Princeton University Press with the linguist David Beaver, provisionally titled Hustle: The Politics of Language.

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Shawkat Toorawa (Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations)

Professor Shawkat M. Toorawa received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. 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.

His books include: Interpreting the Self: Autobiography in the Arabic Literary Tradition (2001), co-authored with the RRAALL group; Ibn Abi Tahir Tayfur and Arabic Writerly Culture: A ninth-century bookman in Baghdad (2005, paper 2010); a critical edition and translation of Adonis’s A Time Between Ashes and Roses: Poems (2004); the reference work, Arabic Literary Culture: 500–925, co-edited with Michael Cooperson; the edited collection, The Western Indian Ocean: Essays on islands and islanders (2007); an edited anthology, The City that Never Sleeps: Poems of New York (2014); and a critical edition and collaborative translation with the editors of the Library of Arabic Literature of Ibn al-Sa‘i’s Consorts of the Caliphs: Women and the court of Baghdad (2015).

Toorawa is a Director of the School of Abbasid Studies; a series editor of Resources in Arabic and Islamic Studies; on the editorial boards of the Journal of Abbasid Studies, the Journal of Arabic Literature, the Journal of Qur’anic Studies, and Middle Eastern Literatures; and an executive editor of the Library of Arabic Literature, an initiative to edit and translate the premodern Arabic literary heritage.

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Gerald Torres (Yale School of the Environment/Law School)

Gerald Torres is Professor of Environmental Justice at the Yale School of the Environment and Professor at the Yale Law School. He is a former president of the Association of American Law Schools and has taught at Stanford Law School and at Harvard Law School, where he served as the Oneida Nation Visiting Professor of Law.

Torres served as Counsel to the Attorney General on environmental matters and Indian affairs at the US Department of Justice and has served on the board of the Environmental Law Institute, the EPA’s National Environmental Justice Advisory Council, and the National Petroleum Council. He is Board Chair of EarthDay Network and Founding Chairman of the Advancement Project, the leading civil rights advocacy organization in the country. He is a trustee of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Torres has just been appointed to the Advisory Council of the Connecticut Sea Grant. He has also served as a consultant to the United Nations on environmental matters and is a life member of the American Law Institute and the Council on Foreign Relations. 

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