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.

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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.

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Norma Thompson (Humanities)

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.


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Vladimir Alexandrov (Slavic Languages and Literatures)

Vladimir Alexandrov is the B. E. Bensinger Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures and has been on the Yale faculty since 1986.  He has published academic books and articles on various nineteenth- and twentieth-century Russian writers and on literary theory.  His last book, for a trade press, was The Black Russian, 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.  It has been translated into several languages, is under development as a musical, and has been optioned for a movie.  Alexandrov is now working on a new book about a Russian revolutionary terrorist, political activist, and writer tentatively titled “To Break Russia’s Chains:  Boris Savinkov’s Wars against the Tsar, Lenin, and the Bolsheviks.”  His next project will be a book entitled “Lincoln and the Russians.”

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Luke Bender (East Asian Languages and Literatures, Humanities)

Luke Bender is Assistant Professor of East Asian Languages and Literatures and of the Yale College Humanities Program. He came to Yale in 2016 after finishing his PhD at Harvard.

Luke’s primary area of research is medieval Chinese literature and thought. He is currently working on a monograph on the great Tang-dynasty poet Du Fu and the ways that Du Fu transformed the ethical horizons of the poetic art. A second project will consider themes of tragedy, agon, and human limitation in early Chinese literature and philosophy.

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Marijeta Bozovic (Slavic Languages and Literatures)

Marijeta Bozovic is Assistant Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures, affiliated with Film and Media Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. A specialist in twentieth- and twenty-first-century Russian and East European cultures, with broad comparative interests, she is the author of Nabokov’s Canon: From Onegin to Ada (Northwestern University Press, 2016), and the coeditor (with Matthew Miller) of Watersheds: Poetics and Politics of the Danube River (Academic Studies Press, 2016) and (with Brian Boyd) of Nabokov Upside Down (Northwestern University Press, 2017). She is currently working on her second monograph, “Avant-Garde Post– : Radical Poetics after the Soviet Union.” All of Bozovic’s projects—including work on Vladimir Nabokov’s English-language texts, contemporary  Russian protest poetry, Digital Humanities approaches to émigré archives, Danube and Black Sea studies—share a commitment to the study of transnational cultural flow, politics and aesthetics, cultural capital and its geographical distributions. Bozovic is the coeditor of the academic journal Russian Literature; the co-curator of the “Poetry after Language” colloquy for Stanford University’s ARCADE digital salon; and a contemporary film and literature reviewer for the Los Angeles Review of Books. She was recently elected to the Yale FAS Senate.

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Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos (Anthropology)

Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos is an assistant professor in the anthropology department at Yale University, and formerly professor at the University of San Carlos and curator at the Museo Popol Vuh, Universidad Francisco Marroquín, Guatemala. His research interests include Mesoamerican art, religion, and writing, the archaeology of urbanism and social complexity, with special focus on the Pacific Coast of Guatemala, and the history of archaeology in Guatemala.  He has conducted extensive field research, especially at the ancient city of Cotzumalhuapa, on the Pacific coast of Guatemala. In 2011, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for his work on Cotzumalhuapa art and archaeology. In addition to numerous journal articles, he is the author of the books Art and Myth of the Ancient Maya (2017) and Imágenes de la Mitología Maya (2011), which offer innovative views and methodological breakthroughs in the study of ancient Maya religion and art. Other books include Cotzumalguapa, la Ciudad Arqueológica: El Baúl-Bilbao-El Castillo (2012), Guatemala, Corazón del Mundo Maya (1999), and the edited volume Arqueología Subacuática: Amatitlán, Atitlán (2011). He coedited The Decipherment of Ancient Maya Writing (2001) and The Technology of Maya Civilization: Political Economy and Beyond in Lithic Studies (2011).

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Joseph Cleary (English)

Joe Cleary is an Irish literary critic and Professor of English at Yale University. He was educated in what is now Maynooth University, Ireland, and Columbia University, New York, where he studied with Edward W. Said and took his doctorate in English and comparative literature. His work has been chiefly concerned with long-range histories of modernization, globalization and capitalist culture, the elaboration of a left-wing cultural materialist analysis of Irish literature and society, and with situating Irish cultural history in broader international postcolonial and world systems perspectives. He is the author of Literature, Partition and the Nation-State: Culture and Conflict in Ireland, Israel and Palestine (Cambridge University Press, 2002) and Outrageous Fortune: Capital and Culture in Modern Ireland (Field Day Publications, 2007). He has edited The Cambridge Companion to Irish Modernism  (2014) and coedited (with Claire Connolly) The Cambridge Companion to Modern Irish Culture (2005) as well as editing a number of special issues in major journals: these include an issue on “Ireland after the Celtic Tiger: From Boom to Bust” with boundary 2 (forthcoming Spring 2018), an issue with MLQ in September 2012 on “Peripheral Realisms” (with Jed Esty and Colleen Lye), and a special issue on “Empire Studies” (with Michael de Nie) for Éire-Ireland in Summer 2007. His articles have appeared in South Atlantic Quarterly, boundary 2, Textual Practice, The Irish Review, Éire-Ireland, and Field Day Review. He was a visiting professor at Notre Dame University in 2000 and the director of the Notre Dame Irish Seminar in Dublin from 2007 to 2009.

Joe has taught graduate and undergraduate seminars at Yale on literature, imperialism, and world crisis; the Irish Literary Revival; and on Irish, British, and Irish-American modernism. Current research interests include modernism, empire, and world literature; Marxist critical theory and literary history; postcolonial studies; twentieth-century and contemporary Irish and British literatures; Irish and Irish-American literatures. He is currently working on a book, contracted with Cambridge University Press, on modernism, empire, and the restructuring of “world literature” in early twentieth-century Europe, and he has just completed a book on Irish expatriate fiction and the contemporary world literary system.

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Deborah Coen (Program in the History of Science and Medicine; History)

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. Before coming to Yale, 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, to appear in 2018, is the first study of the science of climate dynamics before the computer age. In 2018–19, she will be studying the physical and social science of climate change with the support of a Mellon New Directions Fellowship.

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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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Maria Doerfler (Religious Studies)

Maria E. Doerfler serves as an assistant professor of late ancient Christianity in the Department of Religious Studies. She holds a PhD from Duke University, as well as a JD from UCLA; both reflect her interest in interpretation and critical reading practices. Her forthcoming dissertation monograph accordingly deals with discourses of justice during periods of political and religious crisis in the later Roman Empire. She is currently working on completing her second book manuscript on Christian responses to the death of children and infants in the fourth through sixth centuries CE.  

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Thierry Emonet (Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology; Physics)

Thierry Emonet is Associate Professor of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology and Physics at Yale University. Thierry studied physics at the ETH Zürich, and received his PhD in theoretical astrophysics from the University of La Laguna (Spain) in 1998, before doing postdocs at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, and the University of Chicago, discovering key mechanisms that enable magnetic fields to float to the surface of the sun to create sunspots.

In 2002 Thierry switched to biology and became fascinated with understanding how biological systems compute. Living systems exhibit fluctuations at all scales from individual molecules to population dynamics. Understanding how biological systems compute in the presence of fluctuations is a challenge that stands in the way of accurate predictions in biology. By studying how bacteria, eukaryotes, and insects navigate their environment, Thierry’s work has shed new light on the molecular basis of individuality and has shown how diversity can be beneficial to populations. Currently, he is examining the conflicts and synergies between diversity and collective behavior to understand how individuality is repressed—or exploited—to maximize the effectiveness of collective behavior. The overarching goal is to discover how diversity and coordination together modulate the emerging function and performance of a group. To address these questions, the Emonet lab combines predictive mathematical modeling with molecular and biophysical experimental methods. Thierry’s work has broad applications in predicting how bacterial communities function, how eukaryotic cells organize into tissues, and how cells and insects navigate their chemical environments. His work is supported by National Institute of Health, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Whitehall Foundation, the James S. McDonnell Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Outside of science, Thierry’s main interest is art. He grew up at the intersection of science and art and is married to renowned sculptor Susan Clinard, who is artist in residence at the Eli Whitney Museum in Hamden, CT.

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Joseph Fischel (Women's Gender, and Sexuality Studies)

Joseph Fischel is Associate Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. His research interests are in normative political theory, public law, and gender and sexuality studies. 

Fischel’s first book, Sex and Harm in the Age of Consent (2016), proposes that adult consensuality has succeeded heterosexuality as our national sexuality. By examining television and film along with case law and statutory law, Fischel shows how consent churns out figures for its own normativity: the recidivistic sex offender, the innocent child, and the heroic homosexual. He argues that autonomy, vulnerability, and what he calls peremption ought to replace consent, innocence, and predation as our key terms for regulating and thinking sex.

Fischel is currently working on two book projects. Screw Consent, or Is Sex Special? (forthcoming) is a sequel to his first book. By interrogating atypical, non-normative, and strange sex, each chapter turns a different screw on consent to shore up consent’s unexpected shortcomings as a legal metric and political aspiration.  The third project, Against Nature: A Solicitation to Sodomitical Justice, looks at the life and afterlife of crime against nature statutes and their enforcement in New Orleans and beyond. Against Nature demonstrates the centrality of sex to projects of liberal and neoliberal governance. 

Fischel received his PhD in political science from the University of Chicago in 2011, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women at Brown University from 2011 to 2012. He arrived at Yale in 2012. He is an avid runner, yogi, lover of New Orleans, and fan of mediocre legal television series.  

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Paul Franks (Philosophy, Judaic Studies, Religious Studies)

Paul Franks is Professor of Philosophy and Judaic Studies, with secondary appointments in Religious Studies and Germanic Languages and Literatures.  He is involved in the revival of post-Kantian Idealist approaches to metaphysics and epistemology within analytic philosophy, and in the reinvigoration of Jewish philosophy as a way of thinking not only about questions in philosophy of religion but also about the challenges and contributions of minority cultures inhabiting modern societies, in light of struggles for civil rights and backlashes to these struggles.  He was educated at Gateshead Talmudical Academy; Balliol College, Oxford; and Harvard University, where he received his PhD for a dissertation that explored Kant’s and Hegel’s conceptions of the difficulty of their work against the backgrounds of ordinary language philosophy (Austin, Wittgenstein, Cavell) and the esotericist tradition of medieval Islamic and Jewish philosophy.  He was a Junior Fellow at the Michigan Society of Fellows and taught at Indiana University, Bloomington; the University of Notre Dame; and the University of Toronto, where he was the inaugural holder of the Jerahmiel S. and Carole S. Grafstein Chair in Jewish Philosophy, before moving to Yale in 2011.

Paul is the author of All or Nothing: Systematicity, Transcendental Arguments, and Skepticism in German Idealism (2005), has translated and commented on essays by Franz Rosenzweig, and served as associate editor of the Yearbook of German Idealism for its first ten years.  While continuing to publish on questions of systematicity and skepticism addressed in All or Nothing, he is currently working on two book projects.  The first is a collaborative project with Michael L. Morgan, reconstructing the history of modern Jewish philosophy from the expulsion of Jews from Western Europe at the turn of the sixteenth century to the end of the twentieth century.  Unlike other versions of the story, this book explores the contributions to philosophy of kabbalah, which was the principal idiom of Jewish thought for several centuries, influenced general European philosophy through Latin translations in the seventeenth century, and became a resource for the thinking of modernity and the Holocaust in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries.  Modern Jewish philosophy will be portrayed as a minority critique of majority culture and thought, which is at once both internal to and yet radically critical of general European philosophy, especially with respect to foundational issues concerning the metaphysics and politics of universality and contingency.  The second project is a monograph on Kant’s legacy in metaphysics and epistemology, examining the transformation of the Kantian problematic—and hence of the fundamental terms of the critical philosophy—in virtue of the development of historical methods and historicism, of psychological methods and psychologism, and of logical methods and logicism.  The ultimate goal is a topography of contemporary varieties of neo-Kantianism and post-Kantianism along with an assessment of their comparative viability.

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Bernard Geoghegan (Franke Visiting Fellow)

Bernard Dionysius Geoghegan is an historian and theorist of digital media holding appointments as a senior lecturer at Coventry University and a visiting associate professor at Yale University. He also works as a curator and educational programmer for the Anthropocene Project at Haus der Kulturen der Welt. His research investigates how changes in media technology interweave with changes in popular culture, science, and the physical environment. He has edited essay collections on media philosopher Gilbert Simondon, on media and the occult, and on media theorist Friedrich Kittler. Bernard’s essays and translations appear in journals including Critical Inquiry, SubStance, IEEE Annals on the History of Computing, and Theory, Culture & Society. He may be reached online at www.bernardg.com.

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Marie-Helene Girard (French)

Marie-Hélène Girard has been a visiting professor in the French department at Yale since 2002. She graduated from the École normale supérieure in Paris and received her PhD in comparative literature from the Sorbonne. Her research work focuses on relationships between text and image, travel literature in nineteenth-century Europe, and the French poet, writer, and art critic Théophile Gautier. She has published critical editions of Gautier’s Beaux-Arts en Europe – 1855 (2011), Musée du Louvre (2011), Voyage en Italie (2017), as well as the first anthology of his Salons (1833–1872). She also contributed articles on Vivant Denon, Germaine de Staël, Aloysius Bertrand, George Sand, A. de Vigny, and the Goncourt brothers. She is currently in charge of the publication of the first complete edition of Gautier’s Salons and Articles sur l’art, as part of Gautier’s Œuvres complètes, at the Librairie Champion since 2010. Her present interest is on media space and the history of the image in nineteenth-century France, from panoramas to photography and cinematograph.

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Ayten Gundogdu (WHC Mellon Mid-Career Fellow)

Ayten Gündoğdu is Associate Professor of Political Science at Barnard College–Columbia University. She is a political theorist whose research centers on critical approaches to human rights and humanitarianism, politics of asylum and immigration, and contemporary transformations of citizenship, sovereignty, and law.

Gündoğdu is the author of Rightlessness in an Age of Rights: Hannah Arendt and the Contemporary Struggles of Migrants (2015). Her research has appeared in journals such as Contemporary Political Theory, European Journal of Political Theory, Law, Culture and the Humanities, and Polity.

At the Whitney, Gündoğdu will be working on her second book manuscript, tentatively titled “Between the Human and the Person: A Critical Inquiry into the Subject of Rights.” Engaging with the works of thinkers such as Giorgio Agamben, Hannah Arendt, Jacques Derrida, Roberto Esposito, and Michel Foucault, the project undertakes a critical analysis of “personhood,” or the status assigned by law to rights-and-duty-bearing entities. Building on her earlier research on the precarious legal status of migrants within the human rights framework, Gündoğdu seeks to understand the divisions, hierarchies, and exclusions that continue to mark even the universalistic conceptions of personhood. She also aims to look into the possibilities of mobilizing law to contest the borders of personhood and reinvent the meaning of equality.

Gündoğdu holds a BA from Boğaziçi University and a PhD from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

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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.

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Jill Jarvis (French)

Jill Jarvis, Assistant Professor of Francophone Literature and Culture, specializes in the aesthetics and politics of North Africa. Her first book, Untranslatable Justice: The Politics of Fiction in the Postcolony (Algeria 1962–2001), brings together close readings of fiction, film, and photographs with analyses of juridical, theoretical, and activist texts to illuminate both the nature of state violence and the stakes of literary study. She is also at work on a second book project, “Signs in the Desert: An Aesthetic Cartography of the Sahara,” which maps the Sahara as a site of material, intellectual, and linguistic exchanges that challenge both disciplinary boundaries and received notions of African studies. Other work appears in New Literary HistoryPMLA, and the Journal of North African Studies (forthcoming special edition coedited with Brahim El Guabli).

In her teaching as well as her research, she is dedicated to questioning the assumptions of area studies and methodological orthodoxies.  Her work centers the aesthetic and the literary, making the case for literature as constitutive, rather than simply reflective, of political agency.

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Nancy Levene (Religious Studies)

Nancy Levene is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Yale. She received her PhD from Harvard’s Committee on the Study of Religion, and taught at Williams College and Indiana University before coming to Yale in 2013.

Her research explores the concepts and stories that constitute the idea of Western modernity, reading philosophical, literary, theological, political, and psychoanalytic sources. Her essays have concerned periodization and canon, history and origins, concepts of the West and the Bible, and questions of knowledge, truth, and critique. She is the author of Spinoza’s Revelation: Religion, Democracy, and Reason (Cambridge University Press, 2004) and Powers of Distinction: On Religion and Modernity (University of Chicago Press, 2017).

Levene is currently at work on a project that considers the motif of the end of metaphysics as an occasion to revisit the relationships among philosophy, theology, and literature. She serves on the editorial board of the Social Science Research Council blog on secularism, religion, and the public sphere, The Immanent Frame, and has recently co-created with colleagues in Religious Studies an interdisciplinary doctoral field in religion and modernity that draws on faculty and resources throughout the university.

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Daniel Luban (Humanities)

Daniel Luban is a postdoctoral associate and lecturer in the Humanities Program and Department of Political Science at Yale. He received his PhD in political theory from the University of Chicago in 2016. 

His research and teaching interests are in political and social theory, both historical and contemporary; he is particularly interested in early modern social thought, in theories of economic order, and in the relationship of liberalism to its historical “negatives” (such as hierarchy, coercion, slavery). He is currently working on a book about the emergence of modern social thought, tentatively titled ”Robinson’s Island.” It examines the process by which we stopped thinking in terms of a zero-sum and hierarchical social order, in which relative positions matter far more than absolute allotments, and began to think about the world in quantitative, asocial, and material terms—the transition, in other words, from a world defined by “pride” to one defined by “self-interest.” Prior to entering the academy, he worked as a political journalist, and he continues to write for a general audience about political theory and current affairs. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in scholarly journals such as Political TheoryModern Intellectual History, and History of European Ideas, as well as magazines such as Dissentn+1, and The Point.

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Karuna Mantena (Political Science)

Karuna Mantena is Associate Professor of Political Science. She holds a BSc in international relations from the London School of Economics (1995), an MA in ideology and discourse analysis from the University of Essex (1996), and a PhD in government from Harvard University (2004). 

Her research interests include modern political thought, modern social theory, the theory and history of empire, and South Asian politics and history.  Her first book, Alibis of Empire: Henry Maine and the Ends of Liberal Imperialism (2010), analyzed the transformation of nineteenth-century British imperial ideology.  Her current work focuses on political realism and the political thought of M. K. Gandhi.

Since 2011, Karuna Mantena has been serving as co-director of the International Conference for the Study of Political Thought.  She is also currently the chair of the South Asian Studies Council at Yale University.

This fall she is offering an undergraduate lecture course on “Gandhi, King, and the Politics of Nonviolence” and an introductory seminar in South Asian Studies.  In the spring, she will be teaching seminars in “Advanced Topics in Modern Political Philosophy” and ”Indian Political Thought.”

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Robyn Marasco (WHC Mellon Mid-Career Fellow)

Robyn Marasco is an associate professor of political science at Hunter College, CUNY.  Her research focuses on critical theory in the tradition of the early Frankfurt School, which includes its theoretical foundations in Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud. She is the author of The Highway of Despair: Critical Theory After Hegel (2015) and several essays on a range of thinkers, including Simone de Beauvoir, Walter Benjamin, Melanie Klein, Michel Foucault, Sheldon Wolin, and Carole Pateman.  She is guest-editing a special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly on The Authoritarian Personality, which will appear in 2018.  She is also working with Banu Bargu in preparing a collection of essays on “The Political Encounter with Louis Althusser.”

While at Yale, she will be working on a book manuscript titled “Ludic Matters: On the Play-Element in Political Life.”  It is a treatment of play as a political category and of politics as diverse forms of play activity.  This study does not intend to deny the fundamental seriousness of politics or revive a “postmodernist” image of the endless play of signs and signifiers.  Instead, it draws from cultural anthropology, political sociology, radical aesthetics, feminist theory, and critical theory to develop a theoretical perspective on play and determine its real political significance.  The aim is to enrich the social sciences, as well as the theory and practice of democracy.  Further, the claim is that the critique of work, which has reemerged as a central concern in contemporary political theory and practice, is limited without an equally robust and radical theory of play. 

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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.

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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 was 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.

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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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Samuel Moyn (Law and History)

Samuel Moyn is a professor of law and professor of history. He received a doctorate in modern European history from the University of California Berkeley in 2000 and a law degree from Harvard University in 2001. He spent thirteen years in the Columbia University history department, where he was most recently James Bryce Professor of European Legal History, and then served as Jeremiah Smith Jr. Professor of Law and Professor of History at Harvard before joining Yale. He has written several books in his fields of European intellectual history and human rights history, including The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History (Harvard University Press, 2010), and edited or coedited a number of others. His new book, based on Mellon Distinguished Lectures at the University of Pennsylvania in fall 2014, is Christian Human Rights (2015). His areas of interest in legal scholarship include international law, human rights, the law of war, and legal thought, in both historical and current perspective. In intellectual history, he has worked on a diverse range of subjects, especially twentieth-century European moral and political theory.

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Stephanie Newell (English)

Stephanie Newell is Professor of English and Senior Research Fellow in International and Area Studies at Yale. Her books and articles on the intersections between colonial identities and creative writing in African newspapers, pamphlets, novels, and magazines form part of a growing interest in African print cultures among cultural historians. Her recent book, The Power to Name: A History of Anonymity in Colonial West Africa (2013), studies the ways African contributors to colonial-era newspapers experimented with the English language, developed genres, and adopted voices that were often playful and satirical as well as intensely anticolonial. It was a finalist for the Herskovitz Prize for African Studies in 2014. In all her recent books and articles, she focuses on colonial power relations as articulated through local print cultures in colonial West Africa, particularly African-owned newspapers.

Her current research project, “The Cultural Politics of Dirt in Africa,” was awarded a 2.3 million euro grant by the European Research Council in 2013, and the project moved with her from the UK to Yale in 2015, where, with the support of the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, it was completed in December 2016. She is currently working on a book deriving from this project, “Histories of Dirt: Media and Urban Life in Colonial and Postcolonial Lagos,” under contract to Duke University Press for publication in 2019. The book will suggest that the category of dirt is a particularly useful vector for understanding the ways urban residents and the media represent social relationships in global cities such as Lagos. Local residents’ opinions and interpretations of urban relationships are at the forefront of the study, including African audience responses to public health movies produced by the Colonial Film Unit between the 1930s and 1950s, and audience reactions to Ebola-themed Nollywood movies in 2015. In the longer term, she plans to return to the newspaper archive with a project on West African newspapers and the making of transcolonial publics.

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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.

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John Peters (English)

John Durham Peters is the María Rosa Menocal Professor of English & Film and Media Studies at Yale.  He arrived at Yale at the beginning of 2017, after three decades at the University of Iowa, where he advised or coadvised over thirty dissertations.  He is the author of The Marvelous Clouds: Toward a Philosophy of Elemental Media (2015), Courting the Abyss: Free Speech and the Liberal Tradition (2005), Speaking into the Air: A History of the Idea of Communication (1999), and many essays in multidisciplinary outlets including anthropology, film studies, history, musicology, philosophy, religious studies, and sociology.  In fall 2017 he will be teaching the freshman seminar “Literature, Media, and Weather” and an undergraduate lecture course, “Philosophy of Digital Media.”  He is interested in the history and philosophy of media, which means he is interested in anything that is interesting—that is to say, pretty much everything.  He is currently investigating the media history of vowels, of weather, and of religious sounds.

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Ayesha Ramachandran (Comparative Literature)

Ayesha Ramachandran is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and an affiliate of the Program in Renaissance Studies. She received her PhD from Yale in Renaissance Studies, is a former Junior Fellow of the Harvard Society of Fellows, and previously taught at Stony Brook University. A literary and cultural historian of early modern Europe, she pursues interdisciplinary research on literature, philosophy, cartography, visual culture and the history of science, focusing on the long histories of globalization and modernity.

Her prize-winning first book, The Worldmakers (University of Chicago Press, 2015), provides a cultural and intellectual history of “the world,” showing how it emerged as a cultural keyword in early modernity. With a recently awarded Mellon New Directions Fellowship (2016), she hopes to expand this work and pursue research on cross-cultural contacts between Europe and the Indo-Islamic world in the early modern period. She has also published on Spenser, Lucretius, Tasso, Petrarch, Montaigne, on postcolonial drama, and on the histories of religious fundamentalism and cosmopolitanism in various journals and volumes including NLH, Spenser Studies, MLN, Forum Italicum, and Anglistik. Together with Melissa Sanchez, she is the coeditor of a special issue of Spenser Studies,“Spenser and the Human,” which explores the poet’s complex relationship to the category of “the human” by drawing on current discussions of humanism, posthumanism, and animal studies. Her new book manuscript in progress, tentatively titled “Lyric Thinking: Poetry, Selfhood, Modernity,” considers the role of lyric poetry in the shaping of the modern self.

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Terence Renaud (Humanities)

Terence Renaud is a postdoctoral associate and lecturer in the Humanities Program and history department at Yale. He received his PhD in history from the University of California Berkeley. Currently he is finishing his first book, “New Lefts: The Making of a Radical Tradition, 1930–1970,” which argues that the New Left activism that swept across Europe during the 1960s actually drew on radical precedents dating back to the interwar years. By analyzing the historical process by which “new lefts” changed into “old lefts,” the book identifies the patterns of militant behavior, nonparty forms of organization, and recurrent theoretical problems that made up the phenomenon of neoleftism. Avant-garde antifascists and anti-authoritarians in Germany, France, Britain, and elsewhere represented the twentieth century’s most creative attempts to transform capitalist society and culture. He is also preparing a second project on the social and political metaphor of “the underground.” At Yale he teaches in Directed Studies and offers courses on the social responsibility of intellectuals, theories and practices of resistance, and modern revolutions.

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Francey Russell (Humanities)

Francey Russell is a postdoctoral associate and lecturer in the Humanities Program at Yale for 2017–2019.  She works on moral philosophy and moral psychology, and has interests in nineteenth- and twentieth-century European philosophy, psychoanalysis, aesthetics, and Kant’s practical philosophy.  Her current projects explore how our essential finitude should shape our philosophical and practical thinking about human agency and ethics.  She is interested especially in our limited self-knowledge and our dependency with respect to others.  Much of her current work grows out of her dissertation, “Self-Opacity, Human Agency, and Ethics.” She is working on papers on the paradox of apology, on Freud and second nature, on Kant’s concept of self-conceit, and on memorials. Francey also regularly publishes art and film criticism in venues like the Los Angeles Review of Books and Lenny Letter.

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Pierre Saint-Amand (French)

Pierre Saint-Amand is the Benjamin F. Barge Professor of French and has research interests in the literature of the eighteenth century, the philosophy of the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, and literary criticism and theory. His first book, Diderot: Le Labyrinthe de la relation (1984), was on the philosophical and scientific writings of Denis Diderot. He has successively written on the novel, especially the libertine novel, in The Libertine’s Progress: Seduction in the Eighteenth-Century Novel (1994). Another book, The Laws of Hostility: Politics, Violence, and the Enlightenment (1996), reads the political writings of the philosophes from the angle of an anthropology of violence. His most recent book, The Pursuit of Laziness: An Idle Interpretation of the Enlightenment (2011), is a study of a counterdiscourse of resistance to the ideology of work in the Enlightenment, at the dawn of capitalism. He has edited two erotic novels of the eighteenth century, the bestseller Thérèse philosophe and Confession d’une jeune fille, both in Gallimard’s Romanciers libertins du XVIIIe siècle (2000, 2005).

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Jason Schwartz (Public Health, History of Medicine)

Jason L. Schwartz is Assistant Professor of Health Policy and in the History of Medicine at the Yale School of Public Health and Yale School of Medicine. He is also affiliated with the Program in the History of Science and Medicine. His general research interest is in the ways in which evidence has been interpreted, evaluated, and translated into regulation and policy in medicine and public health. His publications on topics in public health policy and history have appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, the American Journal of Public Health, Health Affairs, The Milbank Quarterly, and elsewhere.  Among his ongoing projects is a book manuscript, “Medicine by Committee: Expert Advice and Health Care in Modern America,” that examines the emergence, evolution, and continuing influence of expert advisory committees in American medicine and public health from the 1960s to the present, particularly regarding pharmaceuticals, vaccines, and screening technologies. Prior to arriving at Yale in 2015, he taught in the Princeton University Center for Human Values and the University of Pennsylvania Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy. He is a graduate of Princeton, where he received an AB in classics, and Penn, where he received a PhD in the history and sociology of science and a master’s degree (MBE) in bioethics. http://jschwartz.yale.edu/

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Yipeng Shen (WHC Mellon Mid-Career Fellow)

Yipeng Shen is an associate professor of language and culture studies and international studies at Trinity College (CT) and the author of Public Discourses of Contemporary China: The Narration of the Nation in Popular Literatures, Film, and Television. His current project, Globalization and Chinese Youth Culture, studies five areas in which urban youth life intersects with globalization in China: food, love, nationalism, environmentalism, and historical memories. During his fellowship, Shen is going to further explore the factors and processes shaping the life choices made by Chinese millennials.

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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).

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Adam Stern (Humanities, YPSA)

Adam Stern is a postdoctoral associate in the Yale Program for the Study of Antisemitism and a lecturer in the Humanities Program and the Department of Religious Studies. He received a PhD in the study of religion from Harvard University in 2017 and has previously taught at the University of Wisconsin Madison. His research interests include continental philosophy, medieval and modern Jewish thought, secularism, political theology, and theories of translation. He is currently completing his first book project, “Genealogies of Survival: Christianity, Sovereignty, and the Jews.” Beginning with the much discussed if little examined question of “Jewish survival,” the book demonstrates how modern, secular rhetorics of survival trace the theological-political legacy of Christianity. His articles and translations have appeared in the Journal of Religion, the Leo Baeck Institute Yearbook, and the Journal of Palestine Studies.

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.

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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.

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Michael Veal (Music)

Michael E. Veal has been a member of the Yale faculty since 1998. His work has typically addressed musical topics within the cultural sphere of Africa and the African diaspora. His 2000 biography of the Nigerian musician Fela Anikulapo-Kuti (Fela: The Life & Times of an African Musical Icon) uses the life and music of this influential African musician to explore themes of African postcoloniality, the political uses of music in Africa, and musical and cultural interchange between cultures of Africa and the African diaspora. His documentation of the “Afrobeat” genre continued with the 2013 as-told-to autobiography Tony Allen: Master Drummer of Afrobeat. Veal’s 2007 study of Jamaican dub music (Dub: Soundscapes and Shattered Songs in Jamaican Reggae) examines the ways in which the studio-based innovations of Jamaican recording engineers during the 1970s transformed the structure and concept of the post–WWII popular song, examines sound technology as a medium for the articulation of spiritual, historical, and political themes, and transposes the idea of “electronic/experimental” music into the Caribbean context. His 2016 coedited (with E. Tammy Kim) essay collection Punk Ethnography examines the output of the controversial ethnographic recording label Sublime Frequencies. His forthcoming book Living Space surveys the controversial “late period” career of John Coltrane and draws on the language of digital architecture in order to suggest new directions for jazz analysis and to ponder the contributions modern jazz musicians have made to our understanding of spatiality.

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Amanda Weidman (WHC Mellon Mid-Career Fellow)

Amanda Weidman is a cultural anthropologist with interests in music, sound, media, performance, linguistic anthropology, semiotics, and technological mediation.  Her research focuses on Tamil-speaking South India.  Her first book, Singing the Classical, Voicing the Modern: The Postcolonial Politics of Music in South India, examined the creation of South Indian classical music as a high cultural genre in the context of late colonialism, Indian nationalism, and regional politics in South India. This project combined ethnographic research, examination of archival sources, and her own study and performance of South Indian classical music.

She is currently at work on a book project on playback singing in Indian cinema, a system where singers’ voices are first recorded in the studio and then “played back” on the set to be matched with actors’ bodies and visual images. This project situates the new, and distinctly gendered, forms of vocal sound and performance practice, celebrity and publicity, and affective attachment to voices that have been generated by this division of labor between singing and acting within the cultural and political context of South India from the late 1940s to the present.

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Kirk Wetters (German)

Kirk Wetters is Professor of German. His work focuses on literature and intellectual history from the age of Goethe to the age of critical theory, with a current focus on the overlapping genealogies of theory, literature, literary criticism, and scholarly methods. His most recent monograph, Demonic History from Goethe to the Present (Northwestern University Press, 2014), explores the turbulent reception of Goethe’s idea of the demonic in twentieth-century authors such as Friedrich Gundolf, Oswald Spengler, Georg Lukács, Walter Benjamin, Heimito von Doderer, and Hans Blumenberg. Also from 2014 on the same topic, coedited with Lars Friedrich and Eva Geulen: Das Dämonische.: Schicksale einer Kategorie der Zweideutigkeit (Fink). From 2012, coedited with Rüdiger Campe and Paul Fleming: Hans Blumenberg (Telos 158, 2012). And from 2008: The Opinion System: Impasses of the Public Sphere from Hobbes to Habermas. His current work pursues questions of legitimacy, illegitimacy, and legitimation in a wide range of literary and theoretical authors (with Max Weber as a point of orientation). In spring 2017, he was a visiting fellow at the Stefan Zweig Centre in Salzburg, pursuing research on Zweig, genre, and literary depictions of history. Starting in 2018, he will be a coeditor of Athenäum, the journal of the Friedrich Schlegel Society.

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