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George Eliot, Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life (1872), chapter 3.

2013-2014 CHAT Fellows

CHAT is proud to announce the following recipients of fellowships at the Humanities Center for 2013-2014. (View the list of Fellows from previous years, or see news and updates from former CHAT fellows.)

Faculty Fellows

Fellow's portrait Orfeo Fioretos, Associate Professor, Political Science

Orfeo Fioretos is an Associate Professor of Political Science who specializes in the study of advanced capitalism and global cooperation. He is the author of Creative Reconstructions: Multilateralism and European Varieties of Capitalism (Cornell 2011) and articles in International Organization, Review of International Political Economy, Comparative Political Studies, other journals and volumes.

Fellow's portrait Mark Leuchter, Associate Professor, Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies

Mark Leuchter is Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies in the Department of Religion. His research focuses upon the formation of the Hebrew Bible, prophecy and priesthood in ancient Israel, and mythology in early Judaism. He is the author of several books and scholarly articles, his favorite band is Rush, and he strongly prefers dogs to cats.

Fellow's portrait Yun Zhu, Assistant Professor, Chinese and Asian Studies

Yun Zhu is an Assistant Professor of Chinese and Asian Studies in the Department of Critical Languages, where she teaches Chinese language, literature, film, and culture. Her current project, tentatively entitled Of and Beyond Gender and Nation: The Dynamics of Sisterhood in the Modern Chinese Imaginary, 1890s to Mid-1930s, investigates the unfolding of sisterhood stories in intellectual, literary, and cinematic discourses as embedded in the master narrative of Chinese modernity.

Fellow's portrait Alicia Imperiale, Assistant Professor, Architectural History/Theory and Design

Alicia Imperiale, Architect, is Assistant Professor of Architectural History/Theory and Design at the Tyler School of Art, Temple University. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Pratt Institute, an MFA in Combined Media from Hunter College/City University of New York, an MA and PhD (Fall 2013) in Architectural History and Theory from Princeton University with the dissertation, Critical Organicism: Alternate Histories of Italian Architecture 1958-1973.

Graduate School Senior Doctoral Fellows

Fellow's portrait Brooke Bocast, PhD candidate, Anthropology

Brooke Bocast is a PhD Candidate in Anthropology. Her dissertation,"'If books fail, try beauty': Gender, consumption and higher education in Uganda", examines value production in urban Uganda through the lens of university students' romantic relationships. By considering how female students negotiate competing moral, financial, and affective imperatives through participation in Kampala's university-based sexual economy, this work will illuminate larger tensions regarding social reproduction in cities across East Africa.

Speaker portrait Angela Cirucci, Ph.D Program, Media and Communications

Angela M. Cirucci is a PhD candidate in the School of Media and Communication. Her research explores how social networking users interact with others, themselves, and interfaces online. By employing Facebook as a case study, her doctoral dissertation examines the structural affordances that social networking sites grant their users and the ways in which these affordances play a role in identity creation, maintenance, performance, broadcast, and comprehension. An integral aspect of the dissertation project is to explore how social networking sites have altered user perceptions of authenticity, agency, and anonymity. Guided by a structural analysis, profile analyses, interviews, and focus groups, Angela explores the ways in which social media suggest users can perform authentically, the spaces where users can enact agency, and how users can participate anonymously.

Fellow's portrait Lawrence Kessler, PhD candidate, History

Lawrence Kessler is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History. His dissertation, "Islands Hitched to Everything Else: An Environmental History of Hawaii and its Sugarcane Industry", examines the history of sugarcane cultivation in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Hawaii, the ecological changes that accompanied the rise of cane plantations, and the consequences of those changes for the islands and their human inhabitants. "Islands Hitched to Everything Else" argues that the rise of industrial plantation agriculture in Hawaii connected the islands to a global network of environmental and economic change. This history of a single plant grown on a small archipelago demonstrates how people with capital have attempted to impose artificial order on a dynamic natural world, how ideas and economies can unite remote places, and how environmental conditions and nonhuman actors can exert their own powerful historical agency.

CLA Advanced Graduate Scholars

Fellow's portrait Jennifer Kim, PhD candidate, Sociology

Jennifer Kim is a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology. Her dissertation, "Race and Humor in Sketch Comedy: Discourses, Representations, Resistance, and Ambivalence," examines the landscape of racial discourses and representations through popular sketch comedy shows from the 1960s to the 2000s. Humorous discourses rely on multivocality and ambiguity, bolstering the potential for the emergence of silenced or subordinated perspectives. In the case of racial humor, discourses and representations not clearly transgressive can result in new forms of racism and interpretations of race due to the ambivalence involved with humorous techniques. This project aims to demonstrate how much the language of humor tells us about the language of race.

Fellow's portrait Brendan Tuttle, PhD candidate, Anthropology

Brendan Tuttle is a Ph.D Candidate in Anthropology. His dissertation, "Life is prickly: History, belonging, and common place in Bor, South Sudan", is a historical ethnography of efforts to build for a peaceful future in a troubled region. By examining how people in Bor creatively put up impediments to violence by creating a sense of the ordinary in their everyday lives, the project considers how concepts developed by people in Bor country to understand the dynamics of their own history can contribute to wider body of ethnographic theory.

Fellow's portrait David Lee, PhD candidate, History

David Lee is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History. His dissertation "The Ends of Modernization: Development, Ideology, and Catastrophe in Nicaragua, 1972-1992" examines the conception and implementation of development projects in Nicaragua in the late 20th century. Nicaragua provides an ideal place to trace the breakdown of the development paradigms of the Cold War, as state-led modernization projects gave way to globalization and neoliberalism, new paradigms which entailed new ways of imagining sovereign nation-states and their peoples.

Graduate Associate Fellows

Fellow's portrait Melanie Newport, PhD candidate, History

Melanie Newport is a PhD candidate in United States history. Her dissertation addresses the transformation of American county jails during the latter part of the twentieth century. Contributing to the fields of recent American history, political development, and criminal justice, her dissertation will reveal the impact of the War on Crime on county jails and the role county jails played in developing a system of mass incarceration.

Fellow's portrait Maite Barragan, PhD candidate,
Art History

Maite Barragan is a PhD candidate in the Department of Art History at the Tyler School of Art. Her dissertation explores the interrelationships between the popular and elite classes' visual cultures in Madrid from 1926 through 1936. The study of visual material published in periodicals, popular films, and avant-garde paintings and sculptures permits a more inclusive understanding of how a bourgeoning urbanization impacted the Spanish capital and its people.

Fellow's portrait Sendy Guerrier, PhD candidate, Geography

Sendy Guerrier is a PhD candidate in the department of Geography and Urban Studies. Her dissertation is titled "A Feminist Geographic Analysis of the Impact of Social Networks on the Labor Market Outcomes of Haitian Immigrants Employed in the Long-term Care Industry". Her research draws on feminist geographic scholarship on the use of social networks in the labor market matching process to examine the process by which individuals and groups are able to effectively navigate the occupational hierarchy of the long-term care industry. Her work examines the labor matching process within the context of significant demographic shifts occurring at multiple scales, most notably the rapidly aging native born population in need of care and the increasing numbers of Black immigrants entering the local labor market. Her work will contribute to substantive areas related to migration, urban labor markets, and gender studies.

Fellow's portrait Alex Melonas, PhD candidate, Political Science

Alex Melonas is a PhD candidate in Political Science. His dissertation engages themes at the intersection of biology and political theory. "Situated Animals: Recovering a Biologically Informed Political Theory" challenges the excesses of the social constructionist thesis. Without discounting the usefulness of social constructionism to challenge what were other prevailing dogmas, he argues that the thesis itself has now become so hegemonic that it is shutting down critical analysis rather than stimulating it. Through an examination of the relevance of socio-biological findings to political theoretical discussions of identity, human nature, and malleability, his dissertation aims to "recover" a common theme, historically speaking, in political theory: the reality of the human animal.

Digital Humanities Scholars

Speaker portrait Danielle Abdon, Ph.D. Program, Art History

 I specialize in late medieval and Renaissance architecture and urbanism, specifically in Venice. My current digital project focuses on the mapping and visualization of charitable institutions in Venice through time, and I'm interested in creating an interactive model that will let me differentiate them on a map according to gender (of founders as well as residents) and specific function. In the future, I'd like to connect this information to a timeline with important events in Venetian history, so I can see trends in the expansion or recession of charity according to plagues and wars.

Speaker portraitCaitlin Baiduc, Ph.D. Program, Anthropology

In a course on 20th century and contemporary art history, I stumbled upon “bioart,” and have been hooked on the topic ever since. Its position at the somewhat fragile and constantly blurring boundary between “art” and “science” excites me, satisfying my desire to explore “nature” (while interrogating the shifting narrative around the meaning of nature) through a creative and sometimes anti-logical lens. My interest in bioart is multifaceted. I am intrigued by its appropriation of scientific discourse and tools/methodologies for the realization of what are sometimes anti-science sentiments and its simultaneous deployment of scientific discourse for the purpose of engendering public engagement with and understanding of current scientific debates. Finally, as an anthropologist, I desire to understand these practices from an emic (“insider’s”) viewpoint.

Speaker portrait Teresa Pereira, MLA program, Landscape Architecture

One of the most compelling aspects of Landscape Architecture to me is its interdisciplinary components that reach far into dynamic intersections of social, historical, environmental, and visual facets. The process of designing a space (small and large) involves a wide range of data collection, from diagrammatic inventories of districts to video interviews of residents and community leaders. I am particularly interested in theinventory/analysis phase as a means to understand the challenges and opportunities inherent in public places in order to conceptualize progress through spatial design. I’m interested in creating a repository for the data collected in various landscapes/places in the Greater Philadelphia area—from neighborhoods to parks.

Speaker portraitBeth Seltzer, Ph.D. Program, English

My dissertation focuses on different ways to manage information which rose in the mid-Victorian era—railway timetables, telegraph messages and codes, bibliographic systems and serialization—and examines them alongside detective fiction.  All these genres were exploding into prominence in the middle of the nineteenth-century, and they all, in some way, are about the process of organizing information, part of the debate over why and how we get from facts to meaning. Can we call the Victorian era "digital," and how does that change our reflections on our own information age?  How are the challenges of composing a tweet similar to the challenges of composing a fee-per-word telegram?  What are the demands which technology places on readers and writers?  

Speaker portrait Eryn Snyder, Ph.D. Program, Anthropology

My current research projects center on community-based media production among marginalized youth (both in Philly and Argentina), with attention to how local youth exercise agency in crafting and distributing alternative digital media. I am extremely interested in the ways that young people working on emphatically local media projects are also participating in much larger, trans-local debates and negotiations about social issues affecting their lives, such as educational reform, state racism, neoliberal urbanism, and diasporic identity.

Center for the Humanities
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