Postdoctoral Fellows

Mirjam Brusius holds a Masters in Art History from Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and a Ph.D. in History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Cambridge. Her main research areas include the history of museums, collecting, and visual representation in nineteenth-century Europe and the Middle East. She is currently working on a book project concerning the meaning of Middle Eastern archaeological objects during the transition period on their way to Europe when the finds seemed to have "no status." The project investigates the subsequent processes of canonization and decanonization these objects caused upon their arrival in the leading museums of London, Paris, and Berlin. Additional projects include articles on the history of photography in the Middle East, and a monograph on the archive and scholarly practices of the British pioneer of photography W.H.F. Talbot. She is co-editor of William Henry Fox Talbot: Beyond Photography (Yale University Press 2013).

Claire Edington received a Ph.D. in the History and Ethics of Public Health from Columbia University in 2013. Her dissertation, a social history of psychiatry and mental illness in French Indochina, examines how ideas about what it meant to be abnormal, as well as normal enough to return to social life, were debated among psychiatrists, colonial authorities, and the public throughout the early decades of the twentieth century. Her research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, Columbia's Weatherhead East Asian Institute, and the Mellon Foundation. While at Columbia, she also pursued interests in contemporary policy-making around HIV and drug use in Southeast Asia, and helped train public health researchers in Vietnam on the use of social science theory and methods. Her work has appeared in Comparative Studies in Society and History, Journal of Global Public Health, and Journal of Health Policy, Politics and Law. In the fall of 2014, she will be joining the faculty of the History Department at University of Massachusetts-Boston as an Assistant Professor.

Malte Griesse received a Ph.D. from the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS), Paris in 2008. In his book, Communiquer, juger et agir sous Staline. La personne prise entre ses liens avec les proches et son rapport au système politico-idéologique (Peter Lang 2011), he deals with the evolution of personal ties under Stalin. Drawing on a wide range of private documents such as diaries, memoirs and correspondences, he challenges the oft quoted atomization thesis and offers a new interpretation of Stalinist terror and the notorious show trials. Currently, he is leading a research group at Konstanz University (Germany) on revolts in Early Modern Europe as communicative events, dealing both with communication in, and communication on, revolts. In revolts, the extension of communicative spaces, initially for the sake of organization, had cathartic effects on the very conceptions of social justice and political order held by participants, which forced governments into justification of their rule. However, once authorities managed to repress resistance, they tried to enforce a policy of damantio memoriae in order to push away the burning question of legitimacy the revolt had raised. Commentators, analysts, and political advisers therefore referred almost exclusively to revolts having taken place abroad or in a distant historical past. The research group thus explores ensuing chains of cross-border representations and concomitant processes of cultural translation of revolt experience. The hypothesis is that cross-border representations had a major impact not only on public and learned debates concerning the legitimacy of rule and/or a possible right to resist, but also on governments’ further preventive policies towards real or impending revolts. At Harvard, he will focus on the impact of the English revolt (i.e., Puritan Revolution, Civil War) on political debates and struggles within the countries of the European continent.

Daniela Hahn received a Ph.D. from Freie Universität Berlin with a dissertation on movement experiments in art and science around 1900. From 2005 to 2010, she was a Research Associate at the Collaborative Research Center “Performing Cultures” and at the Center for Movement Research at Freie Universität Berlin. Since 2011, she has worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the International Graduate School “Interart Studies.” Her research and teaching is dedicated to performance and visual art situated within socio-cultural and science-historical contexts, focusing on documentary art, artistic research, and the intersections between art and science. Her book, Epistemologien des Flüchtigen. Bewegungsexperimente in Kunst und Wissenschaft um 1900, will be published in the fall of 2013. In her current research project, “After the Fact. Politics of the Document in Contemporary Art,” she investigates the concepts of the document that underpin the documentary in art and its changing condition in the era of digital images. The project seeks to illuminate the processes of producing and circulating documents within artistic practices, as well as the aesthetic and epistemological procedures which define documentary modes in art and their claims to facticity.

Kyrill Kunakhovich received a Ph.D. in History from Princeton University in 2013. His book manuscript examines the development of a distinctive socialist culture in two major cities of the Soviet Bloc: Kraków in Poland and Leipzig in East Germany. In the aftermath of World War II, local officials used art to build a new socialist society. They transformed both artistic styles and popular habits at the city level, but gradually came to treat culture as a consumer good. His research explores the interconnections of art, politics, and society, with a particular focus on Central and Eastern Europe. Current projects include a transnational history of the variety show and a study of UNESCO’s cultural policy. He is also the co-editor of a forthcoming volume on The Global 1989.

Amit Shilo has a Ph.D. in Classics from NYU (2012), where he worked as a Language Lecturer (2012-13). His research engages the mixtures of politics and theology in ancient Greek tragedy and Plato, the Hebrew Bible, and the modern world. His dissertation, entitled The Tablet Writing Mind of Hades: Poetics of the Afterlife in the Oresteia, analyzes the variety of afterlife conceptions in Aeschylus's trilogy and their ethical and political implications. It argues that the Oresteia provides one of the earliest examples in Western thought of afterlife judgment as an ethical counterpoint to nationalistic collective violence. At Harvard, he is revising his dissertation for publication and developing a contrast with the Jewish tradition, especially modern Zionism and its literary critiques. His article on the afterlife in Greek tragedy and Plato will appear in ThéoRèmes in the fall and he has presented papers at the American Philological Association. To further Classics through technology, he manages the Libanius Translation Project and the Ancient Greek Social Media Project. He is also a National Humanities Program Scholar for the Ancient Greeks/Modern Lives program, and received the Phillip Lockhart Fellowship at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens (2007-08).

Interdisciplinary Dissertation Completion Fellows

Stephen Tardif is a Ph.D. Candidate in English at Harvard University. His research centers on the relation between literary form and self-formation in nineteenth-century British literature. Arguing that artistic creation has the performative character of a speech act, he analyzes literature in terms of its effect on both the work and its author. His dissertation examines the internal feedback produced by the act of composition on literary form itself and considers, as well, the ways that Victorian writers used their art as a form of therapy, a means of discernment, and a mode of self-definition. Stephen holds a B.A. and an M.A. from the University of Toronto, and has published on Gerard Manley Hopkins, Thomas Hardy, and James Joyce.

Bernardo Zacka is a Ph.D. Candidate in Political Theory in the Department of Government at Harvard University. His research focuses on questions of moral personality, ethical decision-making, and individual responsibility in bureaucratic organizations. His dissertation explores the everyday moral life of front-line public workers, or “street-level bureaucrats,” who act as intermediaries between citizens and the state. It seeks to address the following two questions: how do bureaucracies affect the moral personalities of front-line workers? And how can these workers respond to the challenges of street-level work while remaining balanced and sensitive moral agents? He holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT, and an A.M. in Government from Harvard.