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, 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.
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 is Associate Director of the Whitney Humanities Center and Senior Lecturer in the Humanities. She received her A.B. from Bowdoin College and her Ph.D. 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 the Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Humanities major in Yale College.
Her latest book is Unreasonable Doubt: Circumstantial Evidence and the Art of Judgment (Paul Dry Books, 2011), first published by the University of Missouri Press in 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, Perspectives on Political Science (2015, 2017), Western Civilization and the Academy (2015) and in the festschrift for David Grene, Literary Imagination, Ancient and Modern. She has articles on Herodotus and Thucydides in The Cambridge Companion to Ancient Greek Political Theory (2009) and in The Encyclopedia of Political Thought (Wiley Online Library, 2014). Her latest book project is entitled Trials of Uncertainty.
Hilton Als is a staff writer for The New Yorker. His work also appears in the New York Review of Books. He is the author of The Women and White Girls, and a 2017 recipient of a Pulitzer Prize in Criticism.
Elijah Anderson, one of the leading urban ethnographers and cultural theorists in the United States, is Sterling Professor of Sociology and of African American Studies at Yale University and the director of the Urban Ethnography Project. His work focuses on racial relations in American urban environments, particularly the shifting patterns formed by urban growth, gentrification, and the tensions between “black space,” “white space,” and the “cosmopolitan canopy” where people of various races and classes intermingle.
His publications include Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City (1999), winner of the Komarovsky Award from the Eastern Sociological Society; Streetwise: Race, Class, and Change in an Urban Community (1990), winner of the American Sociological Association’s Robert E. Park Award for the best published book in urban sociology; and the classic sociological work A Place on the Corner (1978; 2nd ed., 2003). Anderson’s most recent ethnographic work, The Cosmopolitan Canopy: Race and Civility in Everyday Life (2011), studies the islands of civility that often appear in otherwise racially divided cities. He is currently working on Black in White Space, which examines the archetype of the iconic ghetto and how it impacts the lives of black people regardless of their class or place of origin.
Anderson is also the recipient of numerous prestigious professional honors and awards, including the Merit Award from the Eastern Sociological Society, the Cox-Johnson-Frazier Award and the W.E.B. DuBois Career of Distinguished Scholarship Award from the American Sociological Association.
Benjamin Barasch is a postdoctoral associate and lecturer in the Humanities Program at Yale University. Having received his PhD in English and comparative literature from Columbia University in 2019, he is delighted to be returning to Yale and to the Humanities Program, from which he received his BA in 2009. While his scholarship is rooted in nineteenth-century American literature and European aesthetic and ecological thought, he is also committed to wide-ranging inquiry into questions such as the nature of value and the status of the human in an age of environmental catastrophe. His book project, Living Thought: Form and Vitality in American Literature, argues that authors such as Walt Whitman and Henry James held a paradoxical conception of the imagination as both the mark of human uniqueness and the source of our closest intimacy with the nonhuman world. He proposes the irreducible doubleness of the imagination as a corrective to the academic critique of the human subject. He has taught classes on American visionary art from Emily Dickinson to David Lynch; on the question of value in humanistic study; and a yearlong survey in political philosophy from Plato to Foucault. His paper “Emerson’s Discovery of Life” was the 2019 winner of the Ralph Waldo Emerson Society’s award for the best graduate student paper. A performing pianist and guitarist, he also studies the history and theory of classical and popular music; particular favorites include Gustav Mahler, Charles Ives, and Bob Dylan.
Edyta Bojanowska is Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures with a secondary appointment in the Department of History. She specializes in nineteenth-century Russian literature and intellectual history, with a special focus on the questions of empire and nationalism and interdisciplinary connections between literature and history. Her first book, Nikolai Gogol: Between Ukrainian and Russian Nationalism (Harvard, 2007), won the Modern Languages Association’s Scaglione Prize for the best book in Slavic studies and was translated into Ukrainian in 2013. The book challenges the Russocentric myth of Gogol, a Ukrainian-born Russophone writer. Her most recent book, A World of Empires: The Russian Voyage of the Frigate Pallada (Belknap, 2018), uses a Russian travelogue about Africa and Asia—Ivan Goncharov’s The Frigate Pallada (1858)—as a lens onto global imperial history and Russian colonial imagination.
An effort to integrate Russia into accounts of European imperialism bridges this most recent publication with Bojanowska’s current book project, Empire and the Russian Classics (under contract with Harvard University Press), which explores imperial themes in the work of major nineteenth-century writers. She has also published articles on Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Pushkin, Babel, and on topics in Polish and Ukrainian literature. Among her other interests are postcolonial studies, history of globalization, ideology, travel writing, journalism, intertextuality, and the spatial turn in the humanities and the social sciences.
Bojanowska was a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows (2003–2006), spent a year at the Institute for Advanced Study (School of Historical Studies) in Princeton on a Burghardt Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies (2014–15), and currently serves as chair of the MacMillan Center’s European Studies Council. She is also member of the PMLA Advisory Committee, of the Modern Languages Association’s Executive Committee of the Slavic and East European Forum, and of the Editorial Board of “Russian Shorts,” a Bloomsbury Press series.
Daphne A. Brooks is William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of African American Studies, Theater Studies, American Studies, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Yale University. She is the author of two books: Bodies in Dissent: Spectacular Performances of Race and Freedom, 1850–1910 (Duke), winner of the Errol Hill Award for Outstanding Scholarship on African American Performance from ASTR; and Jeff Buckley’s Grace (Continuum, 2005). Brooks is currently working on a three-volume study of black women and popular music culture entitled Subterranean Blues: Black Women Sound Modernity. The first volume in the trilogy, Liner Notes for the Revolution: The Archive, the Critic, and Black Women’s Sound Cultures, is forthcoming from Harvard University Press.
Brooks has authored numerous articles on race, gender, performance, and popular music culture. She is also the author of the liner notes for The Complete Tammi Terrell (Universal A&R, 2010) and Take a Look: Aretha Franklin Complete on Columbia (Sony, 2011), each of which has won the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for outstanding music writing. She is the editor of The Great Escapes: The Narratives of William Wells Brown, Henry Box Brown, and William Craft (Barnes & Noble Classics, 2007) and the Performing Arts volume of The Black Experience in the Western Hemisphere Series (2006). From 2016 to 2018, she served as coeditor of the 33 1/3 Sound: Short Books About Albums series published by Bloomsbury Press. She is the cofounder and codirector of Yale University’s Black Sound & the Archive working group, a 320 York Humanities Initiative.
Brooks is currently editing an anthology of essays forthcoming from Duke University Press and culled from Blackstar Rising & The Purple Reign: Celebrating the Legacies of David Bowie and Prince, a four-day international conference and concert event held at Yale University that she curated.
Molly Brunson is Associate Professor in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Yale University, with a secondary appointment in the Department of the History of Art. She specializes in the literature and visual art of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with an emphasis on the recurrent realisms that emerged in imperial Russia and the Soviet Union. Brunson is particularly interested in aesthetics and interart studies, theories of the novel, visual cultural studies, the representation of space, and the transnational and transhistorical networks of modern culture. Her first book, Russian Realisms: Literature and Painting, 1840–1890 (Northern Illinois University Press, 2016), articulates a theory of realism from the relation between word and image in the classic works of Lev Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Ivan Turgenev, and the lesser known but important painters Pavel Fedotov, Vasily Perov, and Ilya Repin. In 2017 Russian Realisms won the award for Best Book in Cultural Studies from the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages. Brunson is currently working on a second book, The Russian Point of View: Perspective and the Birth of Modern Russian Culture (under contract with University of California Press), for which she was named a fellow at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute during summer 2016. The Russian Point of View tells the story of how linear perspective came to Russia, engaged with native aesthetic systems, and ultimately shaped the emergence of a national culture in the nineteenth century and the radical avant-garde experimentation of the twentieth. Brunson has also published in Slavic and East European Journal, Art History, Comparative Literature, as well as other volumes, and has lectured widely on her research.
Ardis Butterfield is the Marie Borroff Professor of English, Professor of French and of Music. She specializes in the literatures and music of France and England from the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries; continental and insular vernacular manuscripts and the relationships between them; city writing; the medieval lyric; Chaucer and nationhood; bilingualism and medieval linguistic identities; and theories and histories of language, form, and genre. Her books include Poetry and Music in Medieval France (2002) and The Familiar Enemy: Chaucer, Language and the Nation in the Hundred Years War (2009), which won the 2010 Society for French Studies R. H. Gapper Prize and was a Choice Outstanding Academic Title (2010). She has edited two collections of essays: Chaucer and the City (2006) and, with Henry Hope and Pauline Souleau, Performing Medieval Text (2017). She was elected president of the New Chaucer Society in 2016–18 and, along with many other editorial and advisory roles within international book series, journals, and research grant networks, is cofounder and general editor of the OUP book series Oxford Studies in Medieval Literature and Culture. Butterfield held teaching positions at Cambridge and University College London before coming to Yale in 2012 as professor of English. Her visiting appointments include periods at the University of Virginia, the Huntington Library, San Marino and All Souls College, Oxford. She spent 2018–19 as a visiting fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge and senior research fellow at the Faculty of English, University of Cambridge. She is currently completing a new edition of medieval English lyrics for W. W. Norton and will give the Bain Swiggett Lectures in Princeton in spring 2020 on material from her book in progress on song in the Middle Ages, Medieval SongWriting.
Morgane Cadieu is Assistant Professor in the Department of French at Yale. She specializes in twentieth- and twenty-first-century French and Francophone prose, space and randomness in theory and literature, narratives of social emancipation and migration, materialist philosophies (from atomism to feminism), and trains in art. Her first book is forthcoming at Éditions Classiques Garnier under the title Marcher au hasard: Clinamen et création dans la prose du XXe siècle. In this essay, she questions the stakes of randomness and antirandomness when an author or a character walks, writes, and enumerates. She uses the clinamen (Lucretius’s swerve) as an aesthetical paradigm to unearth the role played by determinism and free will in the works of Queneau, Perec, Beckett, Garréta, Calvino, Calle, Duras, and Modiano. Her literary and theoretical genealogy of this atomist form of aleatory deviation, coupled with rhetorical analyses of the texts, allows her to identify a new practice of urban perambulation; to analyze what the Oulipo’s clinamen borrows from materialist traditions; and to show how experimental literature rewrites De Rerum Natura to figure creation and the desire for encounters. In her next book project (Rewriting Rastignac), she will explore the representation of social mobilities from the 1970s onward, with a strong emphasis on very contemporary fiction, nonfiction, and film. Her research has appeared in Fixxion, Sites, French Forum, Formules, and the Cahiers Georges Perec. She is currently a member of the MLA Forum Executive Committee on twentieth- and twenty-first-century French literature.
Deborah R. Coen is Professor of History and Chair of Yale’s Program in History of Science and Medicine. She holds a PhD in history of science from Harvard University, where she was also a Junior Fellow of the Society of Fellows. Previously, she taught in the History Department at Barnard College and was Director of Research Clusters for the Columbia Center for Science and Society. Her research interests include the history of the modern physical and environmental sciences, modern central European intellectual and cultural history, history of the family, and scientific internationalism. She is the author of Vienna in the Age of Uncertainty: Science, Liberalism, and Private Life (2007) and The Earthquake Observers: Disaster Science from Lisbon to Richter (2013), both published by the University of Chicago Press. Her latest book is Climate in Motion: Science, Empire, and the Problem of Scale (2018), and she is continuing to pursue research into the history of climate knowledge.
Richard Cohn received his PhD from the Eastman School of Music in 1987, with a dissertation on transpositional combination in atonal music, under the supervision of Robert D. Morris. Early articles focused on music of Bartók and Schenkerian theory. He taught in the music department at the University of Chicago from 1985, serving as chair from 1998 to 2001. In 2004, he founded Oxford Studies in Music Theory, which he edited for Oxford University Press for ten years. In 2005 he was appointed Battell Professor of the Theory of Music at Yale University. He is currently executive editor of the Journal of Music Theory.
Cohn’s Audacious Euphony: Chromatic Harmony and the Triad’s Second Nature was published by Oxford University Press in 2012. He recently contributed to and coedited a volume on David Lewin’s analytical writings. In preparation is a general model of musical meter with applications for European, African, and African diasporic music. Cohn’s articles have twice earned the Society for Music Theory’s Outstanding Publication Award. He has presented keynote lectures and workshops in the UK, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Australia, and Singapore.
Rohit De is Associate Professor of History and Associate Research Scholar at the Yale Law School. He is a lawyer and a historian of modern South Asia and focuses on the legal history of the Indian subcontinent and the common law world. His book A People’s Constitution: The Everyday Life of Law in Indian Republic (Princeton, 2018) explores how the Indian constitution, despite its elite authorship and alien antecedents, came to permeate everyday life and imagination in India during its transition from a colonial state to a democratic republic. His current project, supported by the Social Science Research Council, follows the careers of lawyers who defended unpopular causes across space and time, to offer an alternate history of universal rights and civil liberties that arise out of Asia and Africa and is mediated through Indian, Chinese and Caribbean diasporas.
Rohit received his PhD from Princeton University and law degrees from Yale Law School and the National Law School of India, Bangalore. He was the Mellon Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for History and Economics at the University of Cambridge prior to joining Yale. He has worked for Chief Justice K. G. Balakrishna of the Supreme Court of India and with constitutional reform projects in Nepal and Sri Lanka.
Richard Deming, Director of Creative Writing in the Department of English, is a poet, art critic, and theorist whose work explores the intersections of poetry, philosophy, and visual culture. His first collection of poems, Let’s Not Call It Consequence (Shearsman, 2008), received the 2009 Norma Farber Award from the Poetry Society of America. His most recent book of poems, Day for Night, appeared in 2016. He is also the author of Listening on All Sides: Toward an Emersonian Ethics of Reading (Stanford, 2008); Art of the Ordinary: The Everyday Domain of Art, Film, Literature, and Philosophy (Cornell, 2018); and Touch of Evil (Bloomsbury/British Film Institute, forthcoming). He contributes to such magazines as Artforum, Sight & Sound, and The Boston Review. His poems have appeared in such places as Iowa Review, Field, American Letters & Commentary, and The Nation, as well as in a variety of anthologies. Winner of the Berlin Prize, he was the Spring 2012 John P. Birkelund Fellow of the American Academy in Berlin.
Maria E. Doerfler serves as Assistant Professor of Late Antiquity in the Department of Religious Studies. Her book on ancient Christian responses to childhood mortality, Jephthah’s Daughter, Sarah’s Son: The Death of Children in Late Antiquity, appears with the University of California Press in September 2019. She is currently working on a monograph on the intersection of writing law and crafting sacred histories in (mostly) premodern sources.
Adam Eitel joins the YDS faculty as Assistant Professor of Ethics. His research and teaching focus on the history of Christian moral thought, contemporary social ethics and criticism, and modern religious thought. Eitel has roughly a dozen books, chapters, edited volumes, and articles published or in progress. These include an ethical analysis of drone strikes and a theological account of domination. His current book project explores the role of love in the moral theology of Thomas Aquinas. A 2004 Baylor University graduate and a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Fribourg, Eitel received his MDiv and PhD from Princeton Theological Seminary.
David C. Engerman is an international historian at Yale University. Between receiving his PhD from the University of California Berkeley in 1998 and joining Yale in 2018, he was on the faculty at Brandeis University.
He is the author of three books—Modernization from the Other Shore; American Intellectuals and the Romance of Russian Development (Harvard, 2003); Know Your Enemy: The Rise and Fall of America’s Soviet Experts (Oxford, 2009); and The Price of Aid: The Economic Cold War in India (Harvard, 2018)—and the editor or coeditor of multiple collections. His work has been supported by major fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Radcliffe Institute, and other sources.
Engerman has been especially active in the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR), winning both the Stuart L. Bernath Book and Lecture prizes, an Honorable Mention for the Robert H. Ferrell Book Prize, and serving as elected president in 2016.
His current research explores the global politics of economic inequality in the half-century after World War II.
Jonathan Fine is a postdoctoral associate and lecturer in the Humanities Program and the Department of Philosophy. His research and teaching focus on ancient Greek and Roman philosophy, aesthetics, and ethics. He is currently working on a monograph, Virtues of Appearance: Beauty in and after Plato, and series of articles that examine how ancient Greek concepts can enrich our thinking about beauty in ethics and social agency. Interested in how material contexts animate philosophical values, Jonathan is also completing papers on Herder’s historicist aesthetics and the relation between autonomy and personal beautification. Before coming to Yale, Jonathan received his PhD from Columbia University, where he was named a GSAS Teaching Scholar and a Sidney Morgenbesser Fellow, and studied at McGill University in his native Canada. Beyond courses in the Humanities Program and philosophy, Jonathan has had the privilege to teach skiing and tennis. He used to perform improv comedy onstage, now only in the classroom.
Joseph Fischel is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies for Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. A theorist of sexual and social justice, he focuses his research on the regulation of sex, gender, and sexuality. He is the author of Sex and Harm in the Age of Consent (University of Minnesota Press, 2016), Screw Consent: A Better Politics of Sexual Justice (University of California, 2019), and several journal articles and edited volume chapters. His writing has also appeared in Slate, the Boston Review, Aeon, and Huffington Post. He is currently working on two projects: the first is a manuscript on the life and afterlife of sodomy law in New Orleans and beyond; the second is an edited volume on queer legal studies.
Debra Fischer, Professor of Astronomy at Yale University, has discovered hundreds of exoplanets, including the first known multiple planet system in 1999. She is working on new instruments to detect small rocky planets and this leads naturally to an interest in questions about the origin of life and the structure and composition of terrestrial worlds.
Joanne B. Freeman, Professor of History, specializes in the politics and political culture of the revolutionary and early national periods of American History. She earned her PhD at the University of Virginia. Her most recent book, Affairs of Honor: National Politics in the New Republic (Yale University Press), won the Best Book award from the Society of Historians of the Early American Republic, and her edited volume, Alexander Hamilton: Writings (Library of America), was one of the Atlantic Monthly’s “best books” of 2001. Her current project, The Field of Blood: Congressional Violence in Antebellum America, explores physical violence in the U.S. Congress between 1830 and the Civil War, and what it suggests about the institution of Congress, the nature of American sectionalism, the challenges of a young nation’s developing democracy, and the longstanding roots of the Civil War.
A fellow of the Society of American Historians, Freeman has won fellowships from, among others, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, the Dirkson Congressional Research Center, the American Historical Association, and the Library of Congress. She is a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians and was rated one of the nation’s “Top Young Historians” in 2005.
Freeman’s articles have appeared in William and Mary Quarterly, Journal of the Early Republic, Journal of Policy History, and Yale Law Journal, among others. She has written op-ed pieces for the New York Times and appeared in a host of documentaries on PBS and the History Channel, and in a number of radio programs for NPR and the BBC. She has done extensive work in the realm of public history, including co-curating museum exhibitions, acting as a historical consultant for documentary filmmakers, and giving frequent public lectures at venues such as the Smithsonian Museum of American History, the National Gallery of Art, and Colonial Williamsburg. She has also worked extensively with high school history teachers and students in workshops, lectures, and symposia around the nation. In the last two years, she has worked as a historical consultant for the National Park Service in the reconstruction of the Alexander Hamilton Grange National Memorial.
Freeman teaches graduate reading and research courses in early national American history, and undergraduate seminars on early national politics and political culture, as well as lecture courses on the American Revolution and early national America.
Seth Jacobowitz is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures and affiliate faculty in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. He received his PhD in East Asian literature from Cornell University, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard University. Prior to coming to Yale, he taught in the Humanities Department at San Francisco State University. He is the author of Writing Technology in Meiji Japan: A Media History of Modern Japanese Literature and Visual Culture (Harvard Asia Center, 2015), which was awarded the 2017 International Convention of Asia Scholars Book Prize in the Humanities, and the Edogawa Rampo Reader (Kurodahan Press, 2008), an anthology translated from Japanese. He has been Simon Visiting Professor at University of Manchester, Asakawa Fellow at Waseda University in Tokyo, an invited guest lecturer at Yonsei University in Seoul, and a frequent visiting researcher to the Center of Japanese Studies at the University of São Paulo. His first field of specialization focused on the intersection of media and literature in late nineteenth-century Japan. His current research is for a book on the prewar Japanese immigration to Brazil and the literature of Japanese overseas expansion. In addition, he is coauthoring a book on science and science fiction in prewar Japan with Aaron W. Moore, Handa Chair of Japanese-Chinese Relations at the University of Edinburgh.
Matthew Frye Jacobson (PhD, Brown University, 1992) is William Robertson Coe Professor of American Studies and History. He is the author of seven books on race, politics, and culture in the United States: Odetta’s One Grain of Sand (2019); The Historian’s Eye: Photography, History, and the American Present (2019); What Have They Built You to Do?: The Manchurian Candidate and Cold War America (with Gaspar Gonzalez, 2006); Roots Too: White Ethnic Revival in Post–Civil Rights America (2005); Barbarian Virtues: The United States Encounters Foreign Peoples at Home and Abroad, 1876–1917 (2000); Whiteness of a Different Color: European Immigrants and the Alchemy of Race (1998); and Special Sorrows: The Diasporic Imagination of Irish, Polish, and Jewish Immigrants in the United States (1995). He also served as creator, writer, and lead researcher for A Long Way from Home: The Untold Story of Baseball’s Desegregation (Hammer & Nail Productions, 2019). The film garnered a Golden Telly Award in the category of General Television Documentary. His teaching and research focus on race in U.S. political culture 1790–present, including U.S. imperialism, immigration and migration, popular culture, civil rights, and the juridical structures of U.S. citizenship, in addition to documentary studies and public humanities.
Jill Jarvis is Assistant Professor in the Department of French and a member of the MacMillan Councils on African and Middle East Studies. She is a specialist of modern Maghrebi literature and a comparatist by training who regularly writes and teaches across linguistic and disciplinary borders. Her scholarship contributes to multiple fields: Francophone, North African, and postcolonial literary studies and theory; histories of violence, decolonization, migration, and cultural memory; film and sound studies; and the environmental humanities.
Her forthcoming book, Decolonizing Memory: Algeria and the Politics of Testimony, shows how Algerian literature opens up calls for justice that cannot be articulated in existing legal frameworks. The book weaves together close readings of literary texts in French and Arabic with analyses of theoretical, juridical, and activist texts concerning disappearance, detainment, and torture that circulated in the wake of both Algeria’s independence war (1954–1962) and civil war (1990s) to demonstrate how literature subverts and eludes official state discourse in ways that not only rewrite the colonial past but also make it possible to envision decolonized futures.
She is also at work on a new book called Signs in the Desert: An Aesthetic Cartography of the Sahara. Drawing from the insights of spatial theory, critical cartography, and forensic architecture, this book builds a case for how contemporary writers and filmmakers from across the African Sahara are transforming the reductive ways in which this desert has long been mapped, an activity that she defines as “aesthetic cartography.”
She is also organizer of the Desert Futures: Sahara/Sonora working group, which aims to open new pathways for interdisciplinary humanities scholarship through sustained, comparative focus on the poetics and politics of the most contested and militarized border zones on earth, the Sahara and Sonoran deserts.
Andrew Johnston is currently Associate Professor of Classics and History. He is a Roman historian, whose work focuses mainly on questions of memory, identity, cultural interaction, and the representation of selves and others, both at Rome and on the peripheries of the ancient classical world. His first book, The Sons of Remus: Identity in Roman Gaul and Spain (Harvard University Press, 2017), examines the experiences, memories, discourses, and cultural negotiations of local communities and individuals in the provinces of the Roman West, telling the stories of the other side—and the others’ side—of Empire. It won the First Book Award (2019) from the Classical Association of the Middle West and South. He is currently working on a book on the place of kingship in the Roman imagination from the middle Republic into late Antiquity (and beyond), provisionally entitled Regnum: The Fear of Kingship in Roman Culture (under contract with Harvard University Press). He also has interests in archaeology and material culture and serves as director of the Field School of the excavations of the Gabii Project, near Rome.
Naomi R. Lamoreaux is Stanley B. Resor Professor of Economics and History at Yale University and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. During the 2019–20 academic year she served as Pitt Professor of American History and Institutions at the University of Cambridge. She has written The Great Merger Movement in American Business, 1895–1904 and Insider Lending: Banks, Personal Connections, and Economic Development in Industrial New England, edited eight other books, and published numerous articles on business, economic, and financial history. Her current research interests include patenting and the market for technology in the late-nineteenth- and twentieth-century U.S., business organizational forms and contractual freedom in the U.S. and Europe in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the public/private distinction in U.S. history, and constitutional change in U.S. state governments in the nineteenth century.
Stephen R. Latham is Director of the Yale Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics. He received his law degree from Harvard and his doctorate in jurisprudence from UC Berkeley. Latham is a former graduate fellow of the Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard, a former research fellow of the University of Edinburgh’s Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, and a board member of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities, from which he received a Distinguished Service Award. He is the author of over 100 publications on a broad range of ethical and legal issues relating to medicine, medical research, and public health. At Yale he teaches courses on philosophical bioethics, bioethics and law, and—a new teaching area for him—environmental ethics. He has continuing interests in medical history (particularly in colonial America) and in using art to explore bioethical issues.
Noel Lenski is Professor of Classics and History and specializes in the history of the Roman Empire and its global neighbors, particularly in the period of Late Antiquity (300–800 CE). His studies range broadly but tend to circle around the creation, maintenance, and unraveling of power dynamics. These might unfold in a variety of arenas, including politics, economics, social relations, law, and material or literary representation.
He has published two monographs on Roman emperors, Failure of Empire: Valens and the Roman State (California, 2002) and Constantine and the Cities: Imperial Authority and Civic Politics (Pennsylvania, 2016); collaborated in two coauthored textbooks, The Romans: From Village to Empire (Oxford, 2011) and A Brief History of the Romans (Oxford, 2013); cotranslated two ancient law codes, The Code of Justinian: A New Annotated Translation, with Parallel Latin and Greek Text (Cambridge, 2016) and The Leges Visigothorum: An English Translation with Historical Commentary (Liverpool, forthcoming 2020); and edited or coedited five multiauthored volumes, among which the award-winning What Is a Slave Society? The Practice of Slavery in Global Perspective (Cambridge, 2018). But his favorite medium is the article, which offers the freedom to chase problems far from home base in fields such as numismatics, agrarian history, art history, and gender theory.
Lenski taught at the University of Colorado Boulder for twenty years before coming to Yale in 2015. There he served as chair of Classics for seven years and began working as managing editor of the Journal of Late Antiquity, a job he kept for his first three years at Yale.
In the 2019–20 academic year, Lenski hopes to complete a longstanding project on human migration in Greek and Roman antiquity by finishing two articles on the dynamics of migration and the conduct migrant resettlement efforts, then to build these into a brief monograph with two further sections on the social consequences of these processes, and the negative and positive responses to these events and to the migrants themselves by contemporaries. He hopes to learn from other participants in the seminar more about the application of postcolonial theory, ethnic studies, migration theory, and digital humanities to this work.
Lisa Lowe, Samuel Knight Professor of American Studies, studied history at Stanford and comparative literature at UC Santa Cruz. Her interdisciplinary research and teaching focuses on literatures and cultures of colonialism, immigration, and globalization. Her recent publications have addressed topics such as globalizing the humanities, critiques of modernity, and historiography and historical knowledge.
Lowe is the author of Critical Terrains: French and British Orientalisms (Cornell University Press, 1991), Immigrant Acts: On Asian American Cultural Politics (Duke University Press, 1996), and The Intimacies of Four Continents (Duke University Press, 2015); she is the coeditor of The Politics of Culture in the Shadow of Capital (Duke University Press, 1997) and New Questions, New Formations: Asian American Studies, a special issue of positions: east asia cultures critique 5:2 (Fall 1997). Before joining Yale, she taught at the University of California San Diego and Tufts University. Her research has been supported by fellowships from the Guggenheim, Rockefeller, and Mellon Foundations, the School of Advanced Study at the University of London, the UC Humanities Research Institute, and the American Council of Learned Societies. She is the recipient of the 2018 Carl Bode-Norman Holmes Pearson Award from the American Studies Association for lifetime contributions to the field.
Mary Lui is Professor of American Studies and History. Her primary research interests include Asian American history, urban history, women and gender studies, and public history. She is the author of The Chinatown Trunk Mystery: Murder, Miscegenation, and Other Dangerous Encounters in Turn-of-the-Century New York City (Princeton University Press, 2005). The book uses a 1909 unsolved murder case to examine race, gender, and interracial sexual relations in the cultural, social, and spatial formation of New York City Chinatown from 1870 to 1920.
Meredith McGill is Professor of English at Rutgers University, where she teaches American literature, book history and media history, and transatlantic approaches to the study of nineteenth-century literature and culture. Her research centers on the consequences for literary history of the development of a decentralized, provincial mass culture in the mid-nineteenth-century United States. In addition to American Literature and the Culture of Reprinting, 1834–1853 (2003; 2008), a study of nineteenth-century American resistance to tight control over intellectual property, she has published widely on poetry and poetics, intellectual property, authorship, and book history. She is the editor of two collections of essays: The Traffic in Poems: Nineteenth-Century Poetry and Transatlantic Exchange (2008), in which a number of scholars model ways of understanding nineteenth-century poetry through the history of its transnational circulation, and Taking Liberties with the Author (2013), a selection of essays from the English Institute which explore the persistence of the author as a shaping force in literary criticism. With Jacqueline Goldsby (Yale), she co-directs the “Black Bibliography Project,” forging national partnerships with librarians, curators, cataloguers, and history of the book scholars to revive (and transform) the practice of descriptive bibliography for Black print culture materials.
Lisa Messeri is an assistant professor of sociocultural anthropology at Yale University. She received her PhD from MIT’s program in the history and anthropology of science and technology. Her research concerns how science and technology stretch our imagination of what place is and what it means to be in place and in the world. Messeri’s first book, Placing Outer Space (Duke, 2016), is an ethnography of planetary science, studying how scientists transform planets into worlds. Her current research, supported by an NSF Scholars Award, focuses on the virtual reality community in Los Angeles.
Messeri has published articles in American Ethnologist, Social Studies of Science, Technology & Culture, and other academic journals. She has also written essays published in The New York Times, Slate, and Motherboard. Her research has been featured in Wired, PBS’s NovaNow, and on CNN.
Steven Meyer teaches English and American literature and modern intellectual history at Washington University in St. Louis, where he specializes in twentieth- and twenty-first-century poetry, the history of modernism, Literature and Science, and the extensive cross-disciplinary tradition that derives from psychologist and philosopher William James and Anglo-American mathematician and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead. He is author of Irresistible Dictation: Gertrude Stein and the Correlations of Writing and Science (Stanford, 2001), which, among other things, established the interdisciplinary contours of Stein’s writing by demonstrating how her training in physiological psychology at Radcliffe and turn-of-the-century neuroanatomy at Johns Hopkins profoundly influenced the subsequent development of her innovative literary practices. In addition to the primary focus on Stein, Irresistible Dictation contains chapters on Emerson, James, Whitehead, and Wittgenstein. More recently he has edited The Cambridge Companion to Literature and Science (2018), described by one reviewer as “providing a comprehensive, consistently informative, frequently enlightening survey of what is an extremely varied and theoretically challenging interdisciplinary field” and “an invaluable resource for students and scholars working in any areas of Literature and Science studies.” Interests in the Belgian philosopher of science Isabelle Stengers, French sociologist of science Bruno Latour, and British literary critic and poet William Empson have contributed to the development of an ongoing book project examining expanded empiricist practices which have variously built on James’s and Whitehead’s joint approach. (James referred to this shared perspective as involving attention to “radical empiricism,” “pragmatism,” “a pluralistic universe,” and “varieties of religious experience”; no less influentially Whitehead viewed it under headings like “the philosophy of organism,” “process and reality,” and “religion in the making.”) In Robust Empiricisms: Jamesian Modernism between the Disciplines, 1878 to the Present, Meyer proposes that over the past century researchers in areas of inquiry from speculative philosophy to science studies, evolutionary developmental biology to literary criticism, and neurophysiology to poetry and fiction have followed James—and Whitehead’s extensions of James’s epoch-defining investigations—in exploring modes of feeling and thought long obscured by the focus of more traditional empiricisms on sensation-like phenomena. As a WHC Fellow, he will be working on a complementary study of the poetry of MacArthur Award– and Bollingen Prize–winner Jay Wright, which fits squarely in the Jamesian modernist tradition. Cadences of an African American Culture attends especially to the challenges posed by Wright’s uniquely wide-ranging disciplinary palette. This includes extensive use of material from theology, philosophy, physics, cosmology, anthropology, mathematics, geography, dance, theater, music, history of science, linguistics, aesthetics, and translation theory, not to mention training in comparative literature and in the poetic and musical forms of many literatures and cultures.
Priyasha Mukhopadhyay is Assistant Professor of English. She works on the literature of the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century colonial world, particularly on reading practices and print cultures in South Asia. Her current book project explores how readers in colonial South Asia derived their understanding of what it meant to inhabit empire through sporadic, if intimate, relationships with everyday forms of print, ranging from bureaucratic documents to astrological almanacs. She is also working on a second project on the multimedia history of the lecture at the turn of the twentieth century, placing it in the context of anticolonialism as a global movement. She has written several articles on the Theosophical Society and is the coeditor of a volume of essays, The Global Histories of Books: Methods and Practices (Palgrave, 2017). Mukhopadhyay received her undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Delhi, India, and completed her doctoral research at the University of Oxford. Prior to moving to Yale, she was a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows.
Fatima Naqvi is Professor in the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at Yale University. She received her B.A. from Dartmouth College in 1993 and her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2000. From 2000-2019, she taught at Rutgers University. She is on the board of the ICI Berlin as well as the Botstiber Institute for Austro-American Studies.
Fatima Naqvi’s research interests include the intersection of architecture and literature; the theorization of interdisciplinarity; ecological films; Austrian authors and filmmakers of the 20th and 21st centuries; affect studies. She has published The Literary and Cultural Rhetoric of Victimhood: Western Europe 1970-2005 (New York: Palgrave, 2007), Trügerische Vertrautheit: Filme von Michael Haneke/ Deceptive Familiarity: Films by Michael Haneke (Vienna: Synema Verlag, 2010), and How We Learn Where We Live: Thomas Bernhard, Architecture, and Bildung (Northwestern University Press, 2016). Her book on Michael Haneke’s film The White Ribbon (2009) will appear in 2020, as will her co-edited volume (with Roy Grundmann and Colin Root) of Haneke interviews.
One current book project focuses on the topic of fremdschämen—the sense of shame for another—in contemporary media culture (with special attention to the works of Ulrich Seidl, Erwin Wurm, and Elfriede Jelinek). A second project delves into the problem of generosity and environmental consciousness in recent documentary films.
She teaches on 20th century German literature and film. Professor Naqvi offers courses on Vienna 1900-1938, Robert Musil and His Age, the German novel of the post-1945 period, literature and architecture, modernism, and landscape and film (“From Haunted Screen to Hyperreality,” “Screening German Histories,” “Our Threatened Planet: Documentary Films and Ecocriticsm,” “Weimar Cinema,” “Landscape, Architecture, Film”).
She has held guest professorships at Harvard University (Spring 2017) and the Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz (Spring 2013).
Joseph North is Assistant Professor of English at Yale University. He was educated in Australia (University of Sydney, University of New South Wales), before completing his PhD in English and comparative literature in the United States (Columbia University). His work to date has focused mainly on literary, critical, and political thinking in the English-speaking world of the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries, especially the history of literary criticism. His book Literary Criticism: A Concise Political History (Harvard, 2017) offers a substantially new account of the history of literary studies and argues for a renewed commitment to the practice of literary criticism, as distinct from literary scholarship. Recently he has been developing a history, analysis, and aesthetic critique of “centrism” as a structure of feeling, arguing in particular that the centrist preference for gradualism and moderation in politics continually prevents us from taking the swift and decisive action necessary to prevent catastrophic climate change. His current work turns to literary and aesthetic texts in an effort to demonstrate the power and persuasiveness of modes of political feeling that are better able to register the need for rapid and fundamental change.
Tavia Nyong’o teaches performance studies at Yale, where he is appointed as Professor in African American Studies, American Studies, and Theater & Performance Studies. He is the author of two books, The Amalgamation Waltz: Race, Performance, and the Ruses of Memory (2009) and Afro-Fabulations: The Queer Drama of Black Life (2018). With Lisa Lowe, Roderick Ferguson, and Paul North, he is co-lead investigator of The Climate for Theory, a 2019–20 Whitney Humanities working group on the intersections of critical theory, climate change, and studies in race, gender, and sexuality.
Henry Parkes is Assistant Professor of Music, jointly appointed to the Department of Music and Institute of Sacred Music. A graduate of the University of Oxford, he earned his PhD in musicology at the University of Cambridge, where he was later a research fellow at Gonville and Caius College. His research deals with the earliest musical traditions of the medieval Western Church, with an emphasis on liturgy and ritual, institutional history, and the role of writing in shaping and regulating oral tradition. The author of The Making of Liturgy in the Ottonian Church: Books, Music and Ritual in Mainz 950–1050 (Cambridge University Press, 2015), he is currently exploring questions of authority and canon formation in Christian liturgical practices in the centuries between the Carolingian dynasty and Gregorian Reforms (ca. 900–1100), with a particular focus on the developing concept of “Gregorian” chant.
Ana Y. Ramos-Zayas received her BA in economics and Latin American studies from Yale College, and her MA/PhD in anthropology from Columbia University. She is the author of National Performances: Class, Race, and Space in Puerto Rican Chicago (University of Chicago Press, 2003; ASA Latino Studies Book Award, 2006) and Street Therapists: Affect, Race, and Neoliberal Personhood in Latino Newark (University of Chicago Press, 2012; Frank Bonilla Book Award, 2010–12). She is also coauthor of Latino Crossings: Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and the Politics of Race and Citizenship (Routledge, 2003). Ramos-Zayas has published journal articles in the fields of youth culture, race and critical race theory, citizenship and migration, the anthropology of emotion and affect. Prior to joining Yale in 2017, Ramos-Zayas conducted postdoctoral work in educational evaluation research at Harvard; taught at Rutgers University–New Brunswick; and occupied the Valentin Lizana y Parrague Endowed Chair at the City University of New York.
Ramos-Zayas’s ethnographic work aims to understand and disentangle systems of power and privilege at a variety of scales, ranging from U.S. imperial and white supremacist politics to how individuals and communities make sense of everyday forms of power and subordination. Issues of social justice and the intersection of intimate worlds and political economic structures are fundamental concerns in her research. She is currently working on an ethnographic project tentatively titled “Sovereign Parenting: Class, Whiteness, and the Moral Economy of Privilege in Brazil and Puerto Rico” (under contract with Duke University Press). Ramos-Zayas is also participating in the NEH’s Newest Americans Project in Newark, NJ, where she hopes to produce a visual ethnography on the urban altars Latina/o youth build to commemorate death.
Evren Savcı is a scholar of transnational sexualities, whose work is informed by feminist and queer theory and ethnographic methodology. She is currently finishing her first book, Queer in Translation: Sexual Politics under Neoliberal Islam (under contract with DUP), which analyzes sexual politics under contemporary Turkey’s AKP regime. Her next project, on “failures of Westernization,” analyzes sexual practices still practiced today that were deemed “uncivilized” and either heavily discouraged or outlawed by the Turkish Republic, such as Islamic matrimony, cousin marriages, arranged marriages, and polygamy.
Savcı’s work on the intersections of language, knowledge, sexual politics, neoliberalism, and religion has appeared in Journal of Marriage and the Family, Ethnography, Sexualities, Political Power and Social Theory, Theory & Event, GLQ, and Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, and in several edited collections. She has contributed op-eds, blog entries, and interviews to Jadaliyya, The Feminist Wire, make/shift, and Middle East Research and Information Project, among others. She was selected Exemplary Diversity Scholar by University of Michigan National Center for Institutional Diversity in 2013.
Savcı received her PhD in sociology from University of Southern California, and her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in sociology from University of Virginia. Following her PhD, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Sexualities Project at Northwestern (SPAN). She taught at SFSU Women and Gender Studies before arriving at Yale.
Brian Scassellati is Professor of Computer Science, Cognitive Science, and Mechanical Engineering at Yale University and Director of the NSF Expedition on Socially Assistive Robotics. His research focuses on building embodied computational models of human social behavior, especially the developmental progression of early social skills. Using computational modeling and socially interactive robots, his research evaluates models of how infants acquire social skills and assists in the diagnosis and quantification of disorders of social development (such as autism). His other interests include humanoid robots, human-robot interaction, artificial intelligence, machine perception, and social learning.
Scassellati received his PhD in computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His dissertation work (“Foundations for a Theory of Mind for a Humanoid Robot”) with Rodney Brooks used models drawn from developmental psychology to build a primitive system for allowing robots to understand people. His work at MIT focused mainly on two well-known humanoid robots named Cog and Kismet. Scassellati’s research in social robotics and assistive robotics has been recognized within the robotics community, the cognitive science community, and the broader scientific community. He was named an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow in 2007 and received an NSF CAREER award in 2003. His work has been awarded five best-paper awards. He was the chairman of the IEEE Autonomous Mental Development Technical Committee from 2006 to 2007, program chair of the IEEE International Conference on Development and Learning (ICDL) in both 2007 and 2008, program chair for the IEEE/ACM International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) in 2009, and chair of the Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society in 2014.
Christophe Schuwey received his PhD jointly from the University Paris-Sorbonne and Fribourg (Switzerland). He specializes in the literature and culture of seventeenth-century France, focusing especially on book history, fashion and marketing in the classical age, the circulation of news, the making of cultural hierarchies, and cultural transfers (especially between England and France). In his book A Literary Entrepreneur in the 17th Century (Classiques Garnier, in press), he explores the case of Jean Donneau de Visé to illustrate how hot topics and innovative editorial practices significantly transformed literature in the age of Louis XIV. In his next book, he studies how taking account of the marketing practices of a given epoch changes our analysis of literature. Schuwey is also active in the field of digital humanities with many digital critical editions, multiple databases, and a book, Interfaces : What Digital Humanities Can Do to Literature (Alphil, 2019).
Agnieszka Sobocinska is a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies at Monash University, Australia. She is a historian with an interest in the intersection between public opinion and international affairs, with a particular focus on the North-South divide in the mid-twentieth century. Her first monograph, Visiting the Neighbours: Australians in Asia (NewSouth, 2014), situated travel as a politically significant element in the history of Australian-Asian relations. Her forthcoming book, Saving the World? Western Volunteers and the Rise of the Humanitarian-Development Complex, is under contract with Cambridge University Press. This book places volunteers at the center of a nexus of governments, NGOs, private corporations, and public opinion that encouraged continuous and accelerating intervention in the Global South from the 1950s. It also traces official and grassroots responses to the arrival and continued presence of Western volunteers across Asia and Africa through the 1970s and beyond.
Britt Tevis is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Yale Program for the Study of Antisemitism and a Lecturer in the Humanities Program. She received a PhD in US History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2016 and a JD from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 2012. Her research focuses on American Jewish and legal history. She is currently completing her first book project, titled “May It Displease the Court: Jewish Legal Networks and the Democratization of American Law.” This work shows how a Jewish legal network pioneered new fields of practice and reshaped existing ones as it worked towards making the American legal system more equitable and inclusive. Her articles have appeared in the American Journal of Legal History and American Jewish History.
Linn Marie Tonstad is an associate professor of systematic theology at Yale Divinity School and affiliate faculty in WGSS and LGBT studies at Yale University. She works on modern Christian thought as well as feminist and queer theory, with especial interests in how human beings imagine themselves and their possibilities and the way religious language works. She is the author of God and Difference: The Trinity, Sexuality, and the Transformation of Finitude (Routledge, 2017) and Queer Theology: Beyond Apologetics (Cascade, 2018). She is currently working on a book on method in theology and queer theory.