Research

Kimberly D. Williams

Associate Professor

Director - Center for the Humanities at Temple (CHAT)

Photo of Kimberly D.
location_city 224/225 Gladfelter Hall
1115 Polett Walk
Philadelphia PA 19111

Anthropology

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CHAT is proud to announce the following recipients of fellowships at the Humanities Center for 2019-2020.

Faculty Fellows


Mariola V. Alvarez, Assistant Professor, (Department of Art History, Tyler School of Art)

Mariola V. Alvarez is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art History at Temple University. Dr. Alvarez's research focuses on Latin American art of the 20th and 21st centuries, with a specialization in the history of abstract art in Brazil.

Project Statement Mariola V. Alvarez is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art History at Temple University. Dr. Alvarez's research focuses on Latin American art of the 20th and 21st centuries, with a specialization in the history of abstract art in Brazil.

The largest Japanese population outside of Japan lives in Brazil. This history of migration, beginning at the end of the nineteenth-century, was the result of multiple factors, most importantly, the need for agricultural labor in Brazil with the abolition of slavery in 1888; the increasing population in Japan, an island nation with limited land and employment opportunities; and the passage of laws in the United States prohibiting migration from East Asian countries. Dr. Alvarez's current research addresses the Japanese diaspora's artistic community in Brazil and their significant contributions to the history of modern and contemporary art. Art history is often written as national case studies considering the relationship of artists to their country of residence and the “national” politics of their work. This project instead applies diaspora studies to the study of art, tracing the influences of East Asian, Brazilian, U.S., and French art and culture on the work of Tomie Ohtake, Manabu Mabe, and Flavio-Shiró. The study of Japanese Brazilian art expands our understanding of what is “Latin American” art and the interconnectivity of postwar global art production.


Brian Creech, Assistant Professor (Department of Journalism, Klein School of Media and Communication)

Brian Creech is an Associate Professor in the Department of Journalism at Temple University. His work uses critical theory and cultural studies perspectives to interrogate the journalism as a representational practice, with a particular focus on the ways in which modes of public discourse make sensible the relations of power in liberal democratic society.

Project Statement My project interrogates the normative articulations of technology company power that have accompanied the past several years’ worth of public debates about fake news and its political, cultural, and social consequences. In many ways, fake news has worked as a usefully fluid signifier, connecting a wide range of political conditions to the infrastructure of the digital public sphere. As the power social media companies wield over public life has become an object of commentary and critique, our means of making sense of that power give form to potential policy prescriptions and ethical positions, establishing the limits of technology companies' presence in our daily lives. Starting from the assumption that Silicon Valley is as much a cultural regime as an industrial system, this project interrogates the ideological tools that render technology company power a common sense part of American public life. Prominent debates around specific and recurrent themes—i.e., constructions of fake news and digital disinformation as a socio-technical concern, appeals to tech executives sense of public virtue, debates about the government regulation over the tech industry—present particular moments where the ideological formations that legitimate technology companies' implicit infrastructural control over American public life are laid bare.


Travis Glasson, Associate Professor (Department of History, College of Liberal Arts)

Travis Glasson is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at Temple University. His research centers on the histories of the transnational Atlantic world and the British Empire in the eighteenth century.

Project Statement As a CHAT fellow, I am engaged in a book project that considers the experiences of people who were neutral, uncertain, and of divided or ambiguous loyalties during the American Revolution. As in other civil wars, many people caught up in the conflict viewed it less as an opportunity to advance a political ideology than as a series of tribulations to be endured. Many primarily aimed to keep the war at arm’s length, but this sizable percentage of the population of the future United States has rarely been put at the center of histories of the era. My project, which centers on the collective experiences of a single extended family, looks to do so. By tracing various people’s paths through the Revolution, my work investigates themes including the role of the family in individuals’ decision making, the complexities of concepts of citizenship and subjecthood in an era of transformation, the impact of the American Revolution on those outside of what became the United States, and the centrality of violence and coercion to many people’s wartime experiences.


Patricia Melzer, Associate Professor (Department of German & Department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, College of Liberal Arts)

Patricia Melzer is Associate Professor in German and Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Temple University. Her research interest is in gender and political violence, in particular within the context of German left-wing radical politics. Her most recent publications examine the implications of women engaging in political violence and feminist militancy for what is perceived to be feminist politics. Her concept of “feminist practice” places the actions of feminists within the Autonomen movement and women in the Red Army Faction (RAF) in relation to larger feminist activism. Her current book project engages with the history of feminist militancy in the German Autonomen movement and how militant politics are gendered through the cultural meanings of femininity and masculinity in heteronormative as well as queer political settings. One chapter focuses on debates on sexual politics within the Autonomen movement, including the formation of pro-feminist men’s groups and their engagement with feminist militancy and normative masculinity. She is also working on a journal article on queer intimacies in prison settings as they manifest in the prison letters of a former (West) German terrorist. She is author of Death in the Shape of a Young Girl: Women’s Political Violence in the Red Army Faction (NYU Press 2015) and Alien Constructions: Science Fiction and Feminist Thought (Texas U Press 2006).


James Salazar, Associate Professor (Department of English, College of Liberal Arts)

James Salazar is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at Temple University. Dr. Salazar’s research interests include nineteenth-century U.S. literature and culture, with a particular emphasis on race and gender studies, body cultures, and childhood studies.

Project Statement I am currently working on a new book project, Sounding Time: The Art and Science of Rhythm in 19th Century America, which examines the emergence and importance of rhythm as a key critical concept and object of study across a diverse range of scientific, artistic, professional, and popular discourses in the late 19th century U.S. In the broader project, I focus in particular on the meaning and function of rhythm in a couple of different cultural arenas, such as its role in early sociology as a key concept for tracking the temporality of social life and cultural formations, as well as the efforts of early experimental psychologists to understand the human “sense” of time through experiments in the perception of rhythm. As a CHAT fellow, I’ll be focusing on, first, the development of new pedagogies of rhythm among progressive education reformers, pedagogies of rhythmic exercise that combined the cadences of bodily movement with those of literary expression in what I call a poetics of embodied articulation. Second, I’ll be looking at emerging technologies from the period that sought to map time and spatialize the temporal information embedded in rhythmic patterns (such as stop-motion photography, sound recording, cardiac, respiratory, and nervous system monitors, etc.) in terms of an emerging theory of the analog.


Advanced Graduate Fellows

Fall 2019

Dave Paulson, PhD Candidate (Department of Anthropology, College of Liberal Arts)

Dave Paulson is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anthropology. His enduring research interests are committed to understanding the complex intersections of language endangerment, cultural socialization, and transformations to the (broadly conceived) material world. For 24 months, Dave conducted ethnographic fieldwork with the indigenous Cham community of South-Central Vietnam. This research examines the multiple literacies associated with language revitalization amidst Vietnam’s rapid modernization to become a ‘developed’ nation. Over the 2019–2020 academic year, Dave will work at the Center for the Humanities at Temple towards the completion of his dissertation, integrating themes of climate and global change for a more nuanced understanding of the survival of the languages and cultures of Southeast Asia. Dave’s doctoral-dissertation research has been supported at different stages by the Temple Global Studies Program, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, and the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation. Before coming to Temple, Dave conducted undergraduate studies at Southern Connecticut State University in Anthropology, with minors in Asian Studies and Psychology, as well as Master’s Studies in Bilingual, Multicultural Education & TESOL. At Temple, Dave helped to establish the Visual Anthropology Society at Temple (VAST) and has been a Fellow at Center for Vietnamese Philosophy, Culture, and Society at Temple University since 2011. Following the completion of doctoral studies, Dave aspires to use his pedagogical training to help develop improved teaching and literacy materials for endangered-language communities as part of a life-long commitment to improving the world in terms of language and social justice.


Daniel Raso-Llarás,PhD Candidate (Department of Spanish and Portuguese, College of Liberal Arts)

Daniel Raso-Llarás is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese at Temple. His dissertation, entitled, The Demise of the Picaresque: Dividual Narratives of the Neoliberal Marketplace in Brazil and Argentina (1881-2000), examines the connections between economics, Jewish conversos (or new Christians), mechanisms of desire, and literature from a transatlantic and Luso-Hispanic perspective. Taking as a point of reference the Iberian Golden Age (16th and 17th centuries), and in particular, the influential figure of the pícaro from the picaresque novels of the time —a roguish figure living in the margins of society—my project questions the nature, conditions, and problems of renowned writers living in Golden Age times and interrogates the reenacting of this genre in Latin America centuries later.


Diantha Vliet, PhD Candidate (Media and Communication, Klein School of Media and Communication)
Fellowship - Research Team Fellow

Diantha Vliet is a doctoral candidate in the Klein College of Media and Communication. Her research focuses on the negotiation between ethnic and national identities in the public sphere. Research into online social movements are often set in the early days of the Arab Spring or a US context, such as #BlackLivesMatter. To fill the gap for a different context, her dissertation focuses on the Dutch blackface tradition of Black Pete and the recent campaigns to alter this character. Investigating the different ways the government, journalists, and activists discuss this issue, she aims to shed light on how postcolonial Europe reckons with social issues and problematic histories – especially those rooted in race – in the age of social media. In addition to this research, she is interested in performativity and social justice in online communities.


Graduate Associate Fellows

Dana I. Muñíz Pacheco, PhD Candidate (Department of Anthropology, College of Liberal Arts)
Fellowship - Faculty Fellow

Dana I. Muñíz Pacheco is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anthropology. Her dissertation project delves into the contradictions and tensions that arise between an individual’s everyday experiences of citizenship and the legal-national discourses, laws and policies that have stripped them from their citizenship. Her project analyzes how youth builds a sense of national belonging through their interactional and communicative practices while negotiating their individual and collective identities after being stripped of citizenship in 2013; the effects that these rulings and public policies had on them as a newly denationalized population in their coming of age experiences, as well as how they are embedded in a changing legal citizenship apparatus and procedures, alongside state-sponsored discourses in the media that equal them to immigrants or “outsiders”. Furthermore, the project examines how Dominican youth of Haitian descent engage with NGOs to get assistance to access state bureaucracy in order to get their papeles or legal documents, addressing three levels of analysis of their complex marginalized situation: state, NGOs and life experiences.


Scott C. Thompson, PhD Candidate (Department of English, College of Liberal Arts)

Scott C. Thompson is a doctoral candidate in the English Department at Temple University and a scholar of Victorian literature and the history of science. As a CHAT fellow, he is developing his dissertation research, which examines the relationship between sensation fiction and mid-Victorian physiological psychology. The British physiological psychologists redefined the relationship between the body and the mind, foregrounded the interconnectedness between individuals and their physical and social environment, and developed new methods for the study of consciousness. His project examines the way the sensation novelists, using these new psychological theories, experimented with depictions of literary character and their relation to narrative form. These literary experiments based on physiological psychology, he argues, are the defining features of the popular sensation genre and ultimately proved innovative and influential well beyond the mid-Victorian period.


Micah Savaglio, PhD Candidate (Department of English, College of Liberal Arts)

Micah Savaglio is a doctoral candidate in the Department of English working at the intersection of disability, multimodality, and writing program administration. Building on the work of disability scholars (Davis; Siebers; Price; Lewiecki-Wilson; Worsham; Brueggemann) who conceive of disability as a mode of human difference, a social and political category, and an identity marker, Micah’s dissertation focuses its analysis on the ways that institutional attitudes raise barriers for students with mental disabilities. He will use the results of his dissertation study to develop a set of proposals for Temple University’s First Year Writing Program that would address mental disability in its curriculum and establish a process by which its classrooms, as kairotic spaces, might be remediated.


Interdisciplinary Research Groups

Diversity and Inclusion of Caring Professionals in the Arts
Organized by: Elizabeth Cassidy Parker (Music Education Program, Boyer College of Music and Dance), Cheryl Hyde (School of Social Work, College of Public Health), Lisa Kay (Department of Art Education and Community Arts Practices, Tyler School of Art), Greg McKinney (Librarian, Reference and Instructional Services), Wendy Magee (Music Therapy Program, Boyer College of Music and Dance), & Helen Shoemark (Music Therapy Program, Boyer College of Music and Dance).

Pre-Modern Forum Research Group
Organized by: Montserrat Piera (Department of Spanish & Portuguese, College of Liberal Arts), Rita Krueger (Department of History, College of Liberal Arts), & Tracy Cooper (Department of Art History, Tyler School of Art)

Interdisciplinary Disability Studies Group
Organized by: Celia Feinstein (Institute for Disabilities, College of Education), Deb Blair (College of Sports, Tourism, and Hospitality Management), & Kate Fialkowski (College of Education)

P19: Interdisciplinary Workshop on Nineteenth-Century Culture
Organized by: Talissa Ford (Department of English, College of Liberal Arts) & Erin Pauwels (Department of Art History, Tyler School of Art)

Interdisciplinary Science Studies Group
Organized by: Allison Hayes-Conroy (Department of Environmental Studies & Department of Geography and Urban Studies, College of Liberal Arts) & Tom Waidzunas (Department of Sociology, College of Liberal Arts)