2018 - 2019
Alice Baumgartner

Alice Baumgartner received her PhD in history from Yale University in 2018. Her book project, Abolition from the South: Mexico and the Road to the U.S. Civil War, 1800-1867, uses the story of American slaves who escaped to Mexico during the nineteenth century as a lens for understanding Mexico’s rise as an anti-slavery republic and its overlooked significance to the United States. Baumgartner received a BA in History from Yale University and an MPhil in Latin American Studies from the University of Oxford where she was a Rhodes Scholar. Her March 2015 article in the Journal of American History, “‘The Line of Positive Safety’: Borders and Boundaries in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, 1848-1880,” won the Louis Pelzer Award from the Organization of American Historians and the Bolton-Cutter Prize from the Western History Association.

Samuel Dolbee

Samuel Dolbee received his PhD in history and Middle Eastern and Islamic studies from New York University in 2017. His book project, Borders of Cultivation, illuminates the social and environmental history of motion in the borderland region of Iraq, Syria, and Turkey, known as the Jazira. The project explores how the paths of locusts and nomads, insecticides and Armenian refugees offer an alternative history of the transition from the Ottoman Empire to post-Ottoman nation-states. His broader research explores the intersection of human politics, the non-human world, space, and knowledge. He joins the Mahindra Center following a research fellowship at the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University in 2017-18; his research has been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies and the Social Science Research Council, among others.

Rachael Duarte Riascos

Rachael Duarte Riascos is a PhD candidate in Comparative Literature, and Slavic Languages and Literatures at Harvard University. Her dissertation, “We Speak Violence: The Political Effects of Our Narrative Structure,” reevaluates the ethics that are implicit in the way that we narrate, or rather fail to narrate, everyday experiences of mass or systemic violence, and the effect this wields on contemporary political and social discourses, and actions. Her dissertation focuses on African American narratives of systemic racism, and surveys a wide range of literary, sociological, and anthropological narratives. Apart from her dissertation, she studies Soviet, Eastern European, and Latin American literature, working in Russian, Spanish, French, and Serbo-Croatian. She is a published translator of Russian author Linor Goralik’s “Something Like This (A War Story)” by Columbia University Press, and has also translated from Spanish to English for various art exhibitions.

Sonia Gomez

Sonia Gomez is a historian of the modern United States whose research and teaching focus on the intersection of race, gender, and immigration. Her book project, Good Wives, Wise Mothers: Race, Gender, and Belonging in the Making of Japanese America, investigates the ways in which marriage, the nuclear family, and female domesticity facilitated Japanese immigration and settlement, and how such institutions constructed specific roles for Japanese women that circumscribed their lives once in the US. Sonia earned a PhD in history from the University of Chicago in 2018. She also holds an MA in history from the University of Chicago and earned her BA in history from the University of California, Berkeley. She was a predoctoral fellow in Global Studies and Languages and History at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2017-18.

Jesse Howell

Jesse Howell received his PhD from the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and Department of History at Harvard University in 2017. His dissertation, “The Ragusa Road: Mobility and Encounter in the Ottoman Balkans (1430-1700),” examines the development of what became a major axis of movement across southeastern Europe during the early modern era. This thousand-mile caravan route connected the Ottoman capital of Istanbul to the Republic of Dubrovnik–also known as Ragusa–located on the Adriatic Sea. Extending far from the cosmopolitan ports of the Mediterranean, the Ragusa Road served as a conduit for the exchange of humans, goods, microbes, and information across the mountains and plains of the Balkan Peninsula. Jesse’s work continues to consider the dynamics of human mobility from multiple interlinked perspectives, from large-scale public works such as bridges and caravanserais, to the lived experience of overland travelers.

Zhou Hau Liew

Zhou Hau Liew received his PhD in comparative literature and literary theory from the University of Pennsylvania in 2017. His current project rethinks the archives of the Malayan Emergency (1948-60), focusing on British resettlement policies imposed as part of counter-insurgency and anti-communist operations in Malaya. Drawing from fiction, oral history, archival accounts, and recent historical writing, it excavates underrepresented perspectives to resituate this resettlement alongside race-based detention and deportation policies, which shaped the incipient Malayan nation-state during a burgeoning Cold War atmosphere. It develops a land-based understanding of this forced migration through the abiding memories and lived experiences of the rural Chinese who were uprooted from their homes. He is also working on a public documentary project supported by the British Council, which utilizes film and sound collaborations with artists and filmmakers to mediate the archives of the Malayan Emergency. His writing and research have appeared in Asian American Writers’ Workshop, Postcolonial Studies Journal, Full Stop Quarterly, and Naratif Kisah.

Yim King (Kathy) Mak

Yim King (Kathy) Mak earned her PhD in art history from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2018. Her dissertation, “The New Look of Mountains and Rivers: Landscape and the Imagining of the Socialist China During the Seventeen Years (1949-1966),” investigates the political function of landscape depiction in the imagining of an idealized Chinese socialist nation-state from its establishment in 1949 to the beginning of the Cultural Revolution in 1966. At the Mahindra Humanities Center, she will examine the role of landscape imageries in shaping migrants’ conception of homeland in the context of China-Taiwan migration during the postwar period (1949-1971). Her project considers how modes of depicting traditional Chinese landscape functioned as a form of cultural memory, and how this memory was appropriated by the Nationalist government to portray sceneries that they observed in their surrogate home of Taiwan, as well as those that they remembered from their native home in China. She has held fellowships at the UCLA Asia Institute and the National Museum of Korea and has written catalogue essays for exhibitions at San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

Evander Price

Evander Price is a PhD candidate in American Studies at Harvard University. His dissertation research proposes a new category of monumentality, the “future monument.” Unlike most monuments, which ask audiences to remember the past, future monuments are built explicitly to manifest an imagination of the future. The dissertation explores three different monuments spanning the twentieth century, specifically the 1939 World’s Fair, the NASA Voyager Golden Record, and the 10,000 Year Clock of the Long Now Foundation. These temporally strange monuments offer perspective on changing American cultural values and anxieties across the century, as well as both eco- and chronocritical insight. They show how imagined futures, even if never realized, still pressure the present. He hopes to help shape the larger emerging field of time studies and show the many ways that assumptions and metaphors of time tremendously impact how people treat each other and the world around them. The future isn’t what it used to be.

Marla Andrea Ramírez

Marla Andrea Ramírez is a social historian who specializes in oral history, the Mexican repatriation program, social and legal histories of Mexican migrations, and gendered migration experiences. She is currently assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Sexuality Studies at San Francisco State University. She holds a PhD in Chicana and Chicano studies with an emphasis on feminist studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara and previously held a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the Department of Latina/Latino Studies. Her current book project, Contested Illegality: The Mexican Repatriation Program and Prolonged Consequences Across Three Generations, examines the immigration policies of the Great Depression era, focusing on the experiences of Mexican repatriation and banishment of US-citizen children of Mexican descent that tore apart thousands of families across the US-Mexico border. She is the author of “The Making of Mexican Illegality: Immigration Exclusions Based on Race, Class Status, and Gender,” which appeared in New Political Science: A Journal of Politics & Culture in 2018. Her forthcoming article, “The Legacy of Mexican Repatriation: Negotiating Gender, Intimacy, and Family Formation in the Borderlands,” will appear in a special issue on “Gender and Intimacy Across the US-Mexico Borderlands” in Pacific Historical Review.

2017 - 2018
Valeria G. Castelli

Valeria G. Castelli received her PhD in Italian Studies from New York University in 2016, with a dissertation on the rhetoric, ethics, and politics of contemporary Italian documentary film. Her current project examines Italian documentary films made over the last ten years that deal with migrants’ journeys to Europe through the central Mediterranean route (the route that includes Lampedusa), as well as their precarious lives once in Italy. Given its geographic centrality over more than a decade and the high number of lives lost in the Mediterranean, Italy has been a very important observatory for migration analysts, and migration stories have attracted the attention of many documentary filmmakers. Her research project shows how documentary film has become a uniquely effective medium in Italy for challenging stereotypical accounts of migrants’ lives and journeys, and how the genre contributes to the cause of migrants’ rights. The communicative design of the documentaries analyzed in this project is conceived as a means for advocacy and social change. By modifying or reinventing specific representational and rhetorical strategies, these documentaries unmask enclaves of injustice, discrimination, and exploitation. In so doing, they not only bring these issues under ethical scrutiny, but they also help create political resistance, social awareness, popular indignation, and the possibility for social change.

Jonathan Connolly

Jonathan Connolly received his PhD in History from Stanford University, as well as his JD from Stanford Law School, in 2017. His research interests involve antislavery, emancipation, and empire, and histories of race, law, labor, and freedom. His current project considers the normalization of Indian indentured labor migration after the abolition of slavery in the British empire. It argues, broadly, that new ideas about race and political economy reshaped the category of free labor around the middle of the nineteenth century. Linking ideological and structural change, it also explains how local and global economic dynamics helped legitimize indenture as a form of “free labor.” Connolly’s article, “Indentured Labour Migration and the Meaning of Emancipation,” is forthcoming in Past and Present.

Onur Günay

Onur Günay holds a PhD in Anthropology from Princeton University (2017). His book project, Becoming Kurdish: Migration, Urban Labor, and Political Violence in Turkey, examines the processes by which displaced Kurdish migrants become urban laborers in Istanbul. Based on two years of fieldwork with Kurdish migrant workers in the service and construction sectors of Istanbul’s labor economy, his research shows how ethnic and cultural differences are recast through labor, as these differences mark migrant Kurdish men’s bodies, sexualities, life prospects, and senses of belonging in the city. His writing foregrounds how Kurdish migrant workers articulate their understandings of self, community, and rights in relation to their struggles for economic survival and social mobility—all this in the context of dramatic economic restructuring and the rise of political Islam in Turkey.

Onur’s work as a filmmaker is integral to his work as anthropologist and storyteller of the lives of his informants. His last documentary, Garod [Longing], made with ethnomusicologist Burcu Yıldız, portrays the lives and the musical stories of two Armenian American musicians using their trip to the family’s lost hometown of Diyarbakır as the central narrative arc. Garod focuses on the remaking of a musical tradition and explores the ways in which the Armenian community in the United States coped with pain and loss through music and art.

Sumayya Kassamali

Sumayya Kassamali holds a PhD in Anthropology from Columbia University (2017), where her dissertation focused on the lifeworlds of migrant workers in contemporary Lebanon. Her book project, tentatively titled Black Beirut, examines an informal labor sector where African and Asian domestic workers and Syrian refugees have come together to transform the city in recent years. The work discovers a Beirut where inhabitants excluded from political citizenship have built a set of religious and commercial establishments, informal services, community rituals, internal codes, ways of speaking Arabic, and underground spaces for leisure, consumption, and desire. Her larger research asks how belonging is forged under conditions of structural exclusion, and she is additionally interested in the politics of post-9/11 America, the War of Terror, and the cultures of the contemporary Middle East.

Neelam Khoja

Neelam Khoja is a doctoral candidate in Histories and Cultures of Muslim Societies in the Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations department at Harvard. Her dissertation, tentatively titled “The Power of Politics in 18th century Punjab: Space, Culture, and Identity,” inquires how changes in political power led to new or reimagined representations of land and space, language and culture, self and community in eighteenth-century Punjab. More specifically, she investigates the implications of Iranian Nadir Shah Afshar and Afghan Ahmad Shah Abdali’s intermittent rule of Iran and the western frontier of Hindustan from roughly 1738 to the 1772. She analyzes emerging narratives in competing, overlapping, and complementary discourses about power, space, religion, ethnicity, and gender in Persian, Punjabi, Urdu, and English histories, memoirs, travel writing, administrative records, and literature. She argues that Nadir Shah Afshar and Ahmad Shah Abdali’s political, spatial, and cultural sovereignty disrupt accepted views on political legitimacy, identity politics, and spatial conceptualization. For archival research in South Asia and Europe, Neelam received support from the Fulbright Program; American Institute of Pakistan Studies; American Institute of Iranian Studies; and the South Asia Institute and Asia Center at Harvard.

Matthew Kruer

Matthew Kruer is Assistant Professor of Early North American History at the University of Chicago. He received his PhD in History from the University of Pennsylvania in 2015. His book project, The Time of Anarchy: Colonial Rebellions and the Wars of the Susquehannocks, 1675-1685, examines a tumultuous decade during which Virginia colonists rebelled against their government, Maryland colonists launched two uprisings, and North Carolina colonists initiated a full-blown revolution. These colonial insurrections were closely connected with a spasm of wars affecting virtually every Native American nation between the Great Lakes and the Deep South. Framing this chaotic violence as a single event, the Time of Anarchy, his work shows that these apparently distinct conflicts were connected by the migrations of the Susquehannocks, a once-powerful Indian nation of central Pennsylvania. Expelled from their homes by colonial militia and scattered across much of eastern North America, these refugees exerted a political influence wildly disproportionate to their numbers, in the process reshaping both Indian nations and English colonies. This project explores the forms of power exercised by seemingly weak and vulnerable indigenous migrants, who in their struggles for survival and resurgence drove political struggle and social change in early America.

Argyro Nicolaou

Argyro Nicolaou is a filmmaker and PhD candidate in Comparative Literature and Critical Media Practice at Harvard University. Her dissertation project, titled "Europe and the Cultural Politics of Mediterranean Migrations," examines case studies of displacement in the Mediterranean region through literary texts, political memoirs, and film, looking specifically at the ways in which such narratives of migration have shaped the geopolitical and cultural imaginary of Europe. In 2016 Argyro was awarded a Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies Dissertation Research Fellowship, which she used to travel and conduct research in Greece, Cyprus, Sicily, and Tunisia. Media projects include In Half, a short narrative film about artistic censorship and politics, screened in festivals in New York, Romania, and Cyprus; George Ph. Ioannides (Trikomitis), a multimedia installation about the fate of digital artefacts after death for a European Capital of Culture 2017 exhibition in Paphos, Cyprus; "In the Same Boat: Morocco's Migration Lessons for Europe," a one-hour podcast she co-produced for the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative in January 2016. Publications include: "Cyprus and the Not-so-soft Power of Cultural Politics: Lawrence Durrell’s Bitter Lemons and Rodis Roufos’ The Age of Bronze" in The Journal of Mediterranean Studies (May 2017); and A Waste of Time (short story) forthcoming in Writing Nicosia… Beyond Barriers Anthology (winter 2017).

Anooradha Iyer Siddiqi

Anooradha Iyer Siddiqi received a PhD in the History of Art and Archaeology from the New York University Institute of Fine Arts, and her historical and ethnographic research focuses on spatial politics, urbanisms, and modernist culture and discourses, drawing from primary research in East Africa and South Asia. Siddiqi is writing a book manuscript entitled Architecture of Humanitarianism: The Dadaab Refugee Camps and Emergency Urbanism in History; it examines a history of forced migration through liberating and coercive settlement in Kenya and the Somali borderlands, the visual rhetoric of the Dadaab refugee camps, and humanitarian spatial practices, material culture, and iconography from the eighteenth century to the present. She is conducting research on the figuration of the modern architect and field of architectural practice in imperial South Asia for another book project, Vocal Instruments: Minnette De Silva and an Asian Modern Architecture; it examines constructions of and claims on craft, patrimony, heritage, and modernism in the discourses and practices of the Archaeological Survey of India, the colleges of architecture and engineering, and the journal MARG, refracted through the intellectual work of architect Minnette De Silva and those in her spheres. Siddiqi’s work has received support from the Fulbright Scholar Program, the American Institute of Indian Studies, the Social Science Research Council, the Graham Foundation, New York University, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She co-edited the volume Spatial Violence, and practiced architecture in the United States and India. She will be joining the faculty of Barnard College in 2018.

2016 - 2017

Anna Jones Abramson received her PhD in English from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2016. Her current project, “The Age of Atmosphere: Air, Affect, and Technology in Modernist Literature,” traces the convergence of meteorological, affective, and aesthetic atmospheres in transnational modernism. The study suggests that, in the early twentieth century, technological innovations such as poison gas, airplanes, and modern weather forecasting made air lethal, palpable, and legible in unprecedented ways. Rather than following the traditional narrative of sensational shock and rupture in the literature surrounding two World Wars, the project argues for an alternative “atmospheric modernism” which revises the most familiar terms in modernist studies: fast becomes slow, shock becomes absorption, event becomes environment, detonation becomes diffusion, and psychological becomes nonhuman or transpersonal. This book project reflects a broader interest in uniting affect theory and environmental studies, two scholarly orientations that often seem diametrically opposed. She has published work on Virginia Woolf in The Journal of Modern Literature, on J.M. Coetzee in Otherness: Essays and Studies, and on Joseph Conrad in Studies in the Novel (forthcoming).

Alex Beasley holds a PhD in American Studies at Yale University (2016). His book project, At Your Service: Houston and the Preservation of US Global Power, 1945-2008, examines the cultural, political, and economic development of the globally integrated economy through the lens of the oilfield services industry. Specifically, his research focuses on how the rise of oilfield services provided a way for US-based firms to maintain cultural and economic power in an era of postcolonial nations’ rising political strength. In a moment when US oil resources drastically diminished, exporting oil expertise offered a triumphalist explanation for the US transition from an industrial to a post-industrial economy. His research has been supported by the Miller Center of Public Affairs, the American Historical Association, the New Orleans Center for the Global South at Tulane University, and the Coca-Cola World Fund. An article drawn from his work is forthcoming in an issue of Diplomatic History. He cohosts and produces "Who Makes Cents: A History of Capitalism Podcast" with David Stein.

Corey Byrnes is Assistant Professor of Modern Chinese Culture at Northwestern University, where he teaches courses in Chinese literature and visual culture, Sinophone cinema, and the environmental humanities. He received a PhD in Chinese Literature from the University of California at Berkeley in 2013. His current book project, “The Birth of a Chinese Landscape,” approaches the 2500-year-long representational tradition inspired by the Three Gorges region of southwestern China from the perspective of the recently completed Three Gorges Dam, which displaced well over one million people and radically transformed the ecology of the Yangzi River. Rather than a chronological account of the region’s aesthetic history, it focuses on the individual moments, people, and texts that have had the greatest impact on the imaginative and material production of this iconic landscape. By looking beyond the standard narratives about the origins of the Three Gorges Dam project, it locates the dam’s ultimate horizon of possibility in the aesthetic traditions that made the region both famous and central to the political mythology of multiple Chinese states. Byrnes’ newest work reflects on the relationship between artistic responses to environmental degradation and the global rhetoric of threat that so often defines China in contemporary global discourse.

Gösta Gabriel is postdoctoral researcher in Ancient Near Eastern Studies at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany. He studied Ancient History, Ancient Near Eastern Studies, Business Administration, Design Thinking, and Philosophy in Chelmsford (UK), Leipzig, Malente, and Potsdam (all Germany). He received his doctorate in Ancient Near Eastern Studies in 2013 from Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, with the first overall interpretation of the so-called "Babylonian Epic of Creation" (enūma eliš). His project at the Mahindra Humanities Center – "A Mythical Critique of Violence" – is on the ancient concept of violence as it can be derived from Mesopotamian flood mythology (i.e. Epic of Atramḫasīs, Sumerian Flood Story, Epic of Gilgameš, ca. 2000–1000 BCE). The Biblical story of Noah and the ark builds on these Mesopotamian forerunners that depict a scenario in which violence is used to a vast extent. The portrayal of such extreme measures reveals an outstanding level of ancient philosophical deliberation on the nature of violence. As a consequence, the Mesopotamian sources also formulate a critique of the use of violence addressing gods and human rulers. In general, Gösta Gabriel is interested in Akkadian and Sumerian philology and intellectual history. His projects focus especially on the phenomenon of a "Mesopotamian philosophy."

Mark Anthony Geraghty received his doctoral degree in Anthropology from the University of Chicago in 2016. His current, PhD-based, book project ethnographically investigates the Rwandan state’s recent campaign against “genocide ideology” (ingengabitekerezo ya jenoside), which is prohibited in law as “thoughts” of ethnic hatred that threaten the recurrence of genocide. Based on four years of fieldwork, it examines the quotidian effects of this state campaign, in part, through research in military-run “re-education” camps (Ingando), state-organized genocide commemoration events, local-level genocide courts (Gacaca) which allowed laypersons to try and sentence their neighbors with up to life imprisonment, and the vast prison system, interviewing those incarcerated for crimes of genocide ideology. More broadly, his research interests in postcolonial contexts, in Africa and beyond, include: the politics of nation-building and efforts to stabilize new regimes of law in the wake of catastrophically violent political transitions; the (re)inscription of multiple forms of violence and racisms through the very processes claimed to effect their erasure; and constructions of, and responses to, “hate,” injurious, or potentially criminal, speech acts. His research has been supported by a number of institutions, including the United States Institute of Peace, the National Science Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, and the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation.

John Harpham is a PhD candidate in the Department of Government. He studies political theory and the history of political thought. His dissertation argues that slavery took root in the English New World colonies within an historical context that was to a great extent innocent of the modern concept of race, and in which slavery was understood as a status assigned to certain persons on the basis of their actions or choices rather than any deep fact that inhered in their natures. The project is titled “The Intellectual Origins of American Slavery.” Although his focus here is early-modern England, he is interested in general in themes of freedom, slavery, and race in American political thought. He has substantial interests as well in literary history, legal history, and the history and memory of American slavery; his articles on these subjects have appeared in Criticism, Raritan, and Slavery & Abolition. He has held dissertation research fellowships from Harvard’s Center for American Political Studies, Charles Warren Center, and Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics.

Callie Maidhof received a PhD in Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2016. Her current project, "Borderline Settlers: Building the Suburban Israeli State in Palestine's West Bank," is an ethnographic inquiry into secularism and everyday life in Israel's West Bank settlement project. Based on twenty months of fieldwork in and around the settlements, her research considers the work of dispassionate anti-politics in the expansion and entrenchment of the Israeli state. She writes against the grain of a debate dominated by narratives of religious radicalism and extremist violence, refocusing instead on the structural violence undergirding the transformation of the West Bank from a war zone into the homogeneous, ethnically exclusive landscape of suburbia. This research has been supported by the Wenner-Gren Foundation and the Sultan Program in Arab Studies at University of California at Berkeley's Center for Middle East Studies.

Kate Rennebohm is a PhD candidate in Harvard's Film and Visual Studies program. Her doctoral thesis, “Ethical Re-vision,” argues for the dramatic, but un-theorized, influence of cinema upon ethical thinking and philosophy. Drawing from the history of philosophy and the development of cinema, this dissertation illuminates how cinema has reconceptualized life as “reviewable,” and how this, in turn, has contributed to the formation of a positive program within ethical thought (both vernacular and philosophical), specific to the 20th century – a program that values the ability to see and experience something anew. Rennebohm has written for Cinema Scope, The Canadian Journal of Film Studies, Film & History, Offscreen and Synoptique, recently co-founded the Society for Cinema and Media Studies’ Film Philosophy Scholarly Interest Group, and has received the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Research Grant for both her Doctorate and Masters.

Isaiah Lorado Wilner is a global historian of knowledge who researches at the interstices of race, modernity, memory, and ecology. He received his PhD in History from Yale University in 2016. Wilner’s current project connects cultural and intellectual history, Indigenous studies, narrative studies, and the history of science to investigate the influence of non-state people on the state. It focuses in particular on narratives of transformation: stories of self-alteration, reciprocity, and borderless travel developed as a survival strategy by colonized people facing the vectors of epidemic pathogens and state erasure, which resulted in the critique of race. Working with the Indigenous people of British Columbia and in archives and museums from New York to Berlin, Wilner reconnects knowledge to its origins and traces its global propagation. He thus studies globalization as a narrative process of transmission and reception, which connects and transforms intellectual ecosystems. Wilner’s 2013 article “A Global Potlatch: Identifying the Indigenous Influence on Western Thought” revealed the seminal impact of the Kwakwaka’wakw intellectual George Hunt and his people on the concept of culture. His forthcoming anthology for Yale University Press, edited with Ned Blackhawk, is called Indigenous Visions: Rediscovering the World of Franz Boas.

2015 - 2016
Konstanze Baron Headshot

Konstanze Baron studied Modern History and Modern Languages (French) at the Queen’s College, Oxford University (BA 2000, MSt 2001) and at Université Denis Diderot Paris VII (DEA 2002) before moving on to Konstanz, where she obtained her PhD in 2010 after having qualified in the DFG-Graduate Program “Figuren des Dritten / Figures of the Third” and having collaborated at the Center of Excellence “Kulturelle Grundlagen von Integration / Cultural Foundations of Integration.” From 2009-2015 she was a full time research fellow at the Interdisciplinary Center for European Enlightenment Studies (IZEA) in Halle. Her book on Denis Diderot, exploring features of literary anthropology in the genre of the “character tale,” was published in 2014 with Wilhelm Fink Verlag. In June 2015, Konstanze Baron took up a position as assistant professor (Akademische Rätin) at the Romance Literature and Languages Department at Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen.

Charrise Barron Headshot

Charrise Barron is a PhD Candidate in African American Studies, with a primary field of concentration in religion and secondary in ethnomusicology. Her research interests center on African American history, religion, and sacred music. She also studies black American music more broadly, as well as Pentecostalism and Evangelicalism. Her dissertation explores contemporary African American gospel music in the United States since the 1990s, and its marked shifts away from previous eras of gospel. Focusing on the changes in gospel performance and culture over the last twenty-five years helps to illuminate revised theologies of salvation and sanctification among African American Pentecostal churches. Charrise holds a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science from Harvard and a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School and Institute of Sacred Music.

Matthew Baxter Headshot

Matthew H. Baxter received a PhD (2013) in Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley with a dissertation titled, "For SubContinental Political Theory: On the Non-Brahmin Self-Respect Critique of Gandhian Self-Rule." This work focuses on the Non-Brahmin Cuya-Mariyātai Iyakkam (Self-Respect Movement) during the 1920s and 1930s, draws on colonial, missionary, and Tamil archives across the 18th through 20th centuries, and situates articulations of political theory joining South India and Western Europe. Part of this focus involves the limits and possibilities of Gandhian non-violence when addressing structural hierarchies during the interwar period globally — both everyday and extraordinary. His interest in Tamil-speaking South India began as a Shansi Fellow in Madurai, Tamil Nadu from 2000-2002; his subsequent research has been made possible through generous support, including multiple Foreign Language and Area Studies fellowships, an American Institute for Indian Studies fellowship, and a Fulbright-Hays DDRA fellowship. From 2012-2014 he served as the Associate Editor for South Asia at the bimonthly journal Asian Survey and from 2014-2015 as a postdoctoral fellow at Rutgers University’s Center for Cultural Analysis.

Nils Bock Photo

Nils Bock is Lecturer in Medieval History at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Germany. He studied history and archaeology at the Universities of Trier (Germany), Bologna (Italy), and Toulouse (France). He received his doctorate in medieval history in 2012 from WWU Münster, with a dissertation on the heralds in late medieval German Empire focusing on their communicative function for the nobility (Die Herolde im römisch-deutschen Reich, 2015). His current project is a study on the integration and interaction between politics and economy in the Middle Ages. The main focus is the activities of Italian merchants and trading companies in France between 1250 and 1350. This period is characterized by an expansion of the use of money, of credit and debt on the one hand, and severe financial, economic, political, military, and social crises leading to deep societal changes, on the other. It is likely that the society had to face problems at a new level resulting from processes of wealth redistribution. This raises the question of how society responded to individual and collective indebtedness.

Emily Harrison Headshot

Emily Harrison is a PhD candidate in the History of Science at Harvard University, where her work is oriented on health sciences. Her current project focuses on infant mortality to analyze globalized interactions at the intersection of health and development in the second half of the twentieth century. The narrative of the project follows an individual named Leona Baumgartner, an expert in infant mortality reduction and an important but marginal actor in health and development, through select local sites among which techniques and technologies to address infant mortality are being produced, circulated, and consumed. Harrison holds a prior Masters degree from the Harvard School of Public Health’s Department of Global Health and Population and a Bachelors degree in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology from Harvard College.

Zain Lakhani Headshot

Zain Lakhani holds a PhD in History from the University of Pennsylvania, granted in 2014. Her current project, "Becoming Sexual Subjects: Rape and the Political Meaning of Violence in the Age of Human Rights," explores the relationship between sexual violence, human rights, and the politics of border control. Specifically, her work examines the intersection of gender and human rights language within the politics of immigration, asylum administration, and anti-trafficking policy over the second half of the twentieth century. She has received numerous awards and fellowships, including grants from the Charlotte Newcomb Dissertation Fellowship Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, and the AAUW. She holds a BA, Honors from Queen’s University in Canada, and was previously a postdoctoral fellow in History and Human Rights at the University of California at Berkeley.

Quentin Trais Pearson Headshot

Quentin (Trais) Pearson received a PhD in History from Cornell University in 2014. His current project, “Politics of Dismemberment: Siam and Its Subjects,” is a study of law, medicine, and sovereignty in semi-colonial Siam (Thailand). Based on neglected documents from the National Archives of Thailand, the project examines transnational and cross-cultural debates over the value of human lives and limbs. When Siamese subjects were injured or killed by new technologies or foreign residents in turn-of-the-twentieth-century Bangkok, demands for restitution and justice were channeled through legal institutions and the bodies were subjected to legal and medico-legal scrutiny. Such interventions transformed the bodies of Siamese subjects into fertile grounds for asserting Siamese sovereignty. Prior to arriving at the Mahindra Humanities Center, Trais taught in the History Department at Wheaton College (MA) as an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Asian History. His research has been supported by the Institute of International Education (IIE) and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, as well as the National Science Foundation. His work has appeared in the Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia, and an article is forthcoming in the Bulletin of the History of Medicine.

Mónica Salas-Landa Headshot

Mónica Salas-Landa received a PhD in Anthropology from Cornell University in 2015. Her project "Living among a Field of Ruins: (In)Visible Residues of Violence and Revolution" combines an archival approach with ethnographic research and examines the afterlife of the material traces left by post-revolutionary state interventions in the northern lowlands of Veracruz, Mexico. Through an engagement with the agentive and affective qualities of decaying oil infrastructure, ethnological photographs, agrarian documents, and the debris left by the development of an archaeological site, her project demonstrates how these scattered objects — disregarded, negated, cherished, or reified — continue to shape the political sensibilities of those who live amid what she conceives to be the concrete residues of violence and dislocation. As a postdoctoral fellow with the Mahindra Humanities Center, Salas-Landa will launch research into her second project: an ethnographic investigation into the Mexican state’s handling of drug-related violence. By focusing on the forensic and bureaucratic practices through which resurfacing human remains are being constituted and negotiated as persons and things, subjects and objects, meanings and matter, she seeks to render visible not only current processes of mourning and historicization, silencing and assertion, but also long-standing processes of violence normalization. Her research has been supported by the Wenner-Gren Foundation, Cornell’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, Cornell’s Latin American Studies Program, as well as Mexico’s Council for Science and Technology (CONACyT).

Mira Rai Waits Headshot

Mira Rai Waits holds a PhD in the History of Art and Architecture from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Her research and teaching focus on spatial and post-colonial theory, modern architecture and urbanism, visual culture studies, and human rights. Her current project, "Producing the Prison: Space, Labor, and Representation," explores the architectural history of British colonial prisons in India. This project also examines the manner in which everyday acts of non-nationalist prisoner resistance contributed to the production of the prison space in order to argue for the recognition of a geography of everyday violence that conditioned the larger ethos of the penal experience. She has published on the relationship between capitalism and architecture in the colonial Indian prison system. Her work has been funded by the University of California President’s Program and she was the recipient of the 2014 Margaret Mallory Award for Best PhD Dissertation at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

2014 - 2015
Photo of Samuel Anderson

Samuel M. Anderson holds a PhD in Culture and Performance from the University of California Los Angeles. His project, Celebrity, Violence, and the Mystic Arts, explores the shared aesthetics of spectacular public performances staged by militias, NGOs, healers and herbalists, initiatory societies, and political parties in postwar Sierra Leone. Traversing these various social spheres in the company of a former militia commander turned popular touring showman, this research describes a continuous process of mutual reformulation between celebrities and their spectators. Through such spectacles, Sierra Leoneans steer transitions into and out of various forms of violence, as crowds are called together for many ends: to judge, to heal, to educate, and–most importantly in the postwar context–to effect personal and social transformation. Anderson uses visual ethnography of diverse performances to reinterpret the relationships between violence and its aesthetic representation. His other research interests include postcolonial subcultures, urbanism, medical anthropology, and transnational Islam, and his work has been funded by the Social Science Research Council and the Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation.

Photo of Hiba Bou Akar

Hiba Bou Akar is Assistant Professor of Urban Planning and Middle Eastern Studies at Hampshire College. Bou Akar received her PhD in City and Regional Planning with a designated emphasis in Global Metropolitan Studies from the University of California at Berkeley. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the American University of Beirut (AUB) and Master in Urban Studies and Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She has published on the geographies of planning and war, the question of urban security and violence, and on the role of religious political organizations in the making of the city. She is the co-editor of “Narrating Beirut from its Borderlines” (2011) and the special issue “Security in/of the City” in the journal City & Society (2012). At present, she is working on a book manuscript entitled “Planning Beirut: For the War Yet to Come” focusing on the spatial politics of Beirut’s post-war frontiers. Bou Akar is the co-editor of a leading online electronic journal on urban issues in the Middle East, Jadaliyya Cities. She has also worked as an architect and planner, and as a research consultant with local NGOs and international UN organizations in the Middle East.

Photo of Thiemo Breyer

Thiemo Breyer holds Masters degrees in philosophy, cognitive science, and historical and social anthropology from the Universities of Freiburg and Cambridge. He received a doctorate (2010) and a habilitation (2014) in philosophy from the University of Freiburg. After being a research assistant at the Karl-Jaspers-Chair for Philosophy and Psychiatry and coordinator of the research project “Embodiment as Paradigm for an Evolutionary Cultural Anthropology” at the Marsilius Kolleg of the University of Heidelberg, he was appointed to a Junior Professorship for Transformations of Knowledge at the University of Cologne (2014). His main areas of research are phenomenology, philosophy of mind, and philosophical anthropology. He is currently co-editing a number of volumes, including Phenomenology of Thinking (Routledge) and Normativity in Perception (Palgrave Macmillan). His research project at the Center is devoted to investigating various forms of visibility and their implications for the attribution of social statuses to individuals and groups. The connections between visibility and empathy on the basis of an embodied approach to perception and interaction are at the core of the analysis.

Photo of Sakura Christmas

Sakura Christmas is a PhD Candidate in the History Department at Harvard University. She focuses on Japanese imperialism in the Chinese borderlands through the lens of space, science, and the environment. Her dissertation examines how the Japanese occupation combined social scientific theories with new quantitative methods to chart nomadic decline as a crisis in eastern Inner Mongolia. There, planners and researchers reconstituted the relationship between nomads, settlers, and the land through theories of Marxist materialism, Social Darwinism, and cooperative evolution. Aerial technology, archeological excavation, and economic surveys all figured as significant tools in marking out ethnic and ecological divides in an attempt to bring spatial clarity to the borderlands with an unprecedented degree of precision. Sakura holds an AB from Harvard College, and has traveled, studied, and taught in both China and Japan.

Photo of Alex Fattal

Alex Fattal received a PhD in Anthropology as well as a secondary field in Critical Media Practice from Harvard University in 2014. His book manuscript, Guerrilla Marketing: Information War and the Demobilization of FARC Rebels, examines the way the Colombian state deploys elaborate marketing campaigns and targeted intelligence operations to urge guerrillas to abandon the armed struggle. Based on two years of ethnographic research, the book illuminates the structures of surveillance and spectacle that undergird Colombia’s armed conflict, and theorizes the intersection of capitalism and counterinsurgency. He is also a videographer and photographer whose projects have featured in film festivals, art galleries, and advocacy settings. As a postdoctoral fellow he will polish his book manuscript and edit a documentary about former combatants from the FARC. The documentary was filmed in a truck transformed into a giant camera obscura. His work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, The Wenner-Gren Foundation, the U.S. Institute for Peace, and Fulbright IIE; and published by American Ethnologist, Anthropological Quarterly, Public Books, and Sensate. For more information, see his personal and academic websites.

Photo of Joseph Fronczak

Joseph Fronczak received a PhD in History from Yale University in 2014. His dissertation, “Popular Front Movements: Antifascism and the Makings of a Global Left during the Depression,” is a transnational history of the interwar world’s political economy. It takes, however, an unconventional approach to political economy, connecting popular politics—the everyday, local self-assertions of common people—to the world economy. To make sense of the global reach of fascism and antifascism between the World Wars, the dissertation suggests that these two political forms worked as the popular politics of the global economic order. An article, “Local People’s Global Politics: A Transnational History of the Hands Off Ethiopia Movement of 1935,” is forthcoming in Diplomatic History.

Photo of Tae-Yeoun Keum

Tae-Yeoun Keum is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Government at Harvard University, where she studies political theory. Her research is on political myth, or narratives about political events or conditions that are taken for granted, and are not readily susceptible to critical evaluation. Her dissertation explores the relationship between myth and political thought in Plato’s writings and their modern reception. By reconstructing the discourse on myth in the Platonic tradition, it argues for a reassessment of the place of myth in politics and philosophy. Tae-Yeoun holds a BA in Humanities from Yale College and an MPhil in Political Thought and Intellectual History from the University of Cambridge. She also completed a secondary field in Comparative Literature at Harvard, and has broad interests in the history of political thought, both ancient and modern, and the intersection of political philosophy and literature.

Photo of Ram Natarajan

Ram Natarajan received his PhD in Anthropology from New York University in 2014. His research and teaching focus on violence, memory, human rights, and law. His current project, "The Power of Memory," is an ethnographic inquiry into the social worlds of officers accused of committing suppressive violence in service of Argentina’s 1976-1983 military government. This project also investigates how Argentina’s ongoing use of trials to hold the military accountable for the country’s human rights violations has produced new forms of interpersonal violence and conciliations with the law. The Andrew Mellon Foundation/Social Sciences Research Council, the Fulbright-Hays Program, the National Science Foundation, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation have supported his research.

2013 - 2014

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).

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. http://bernardozacka.wordpress.com/

2012 - 2013

Cesare Birignani received a Ph.D. in Architectural History and Theory from Columbia University in 2012, with a dissertation on the planning of early modern Paris. His main research bears on the practices developed by the Paris police to control, discipline, and manage the city, as well as on a corpus of texts produced from the end of the seventeenth century until the Revolution under the rubric of “police science.” The theorists of the ville policée, he argues, turned the city into a new, complex object of knowledge: the discourse of police was the first critical effort to understand and come to terms with the modern urban condition. His current projects also include a critical edition of L’homme tel qu’il devrait être, the last, unpublished treatise by the French architect and theorist Pierre Patte, and the research project Architecture and Magnificence, which explores a range of festivals and collective events—from Renaissance royal entries to Olympic opening ceremonies—as moments that produce both ephemeral spaces and political subjects.

Daniel Loick received his Doctorate from Goethe University in Frankfurt, where he is now a junior faculty member in the Philosophy Department. His main research interests are in the areas of ethics, social and political philosophy (especially modern political theory), critical theory, and post-structuralism. His first book Kritik der Souveränität (2012) is a radical critique of state inflicted violence in all its different forms and aims at developing a notion of non-coercive law. His current project addresses the relationship between right and subjectivity through an investigation of "pathologies of juridicism," claiming that the legal sphere fundamentally contaminates the way in which we relate to ourselves, to others, and to the world so that our (inter-) subjectivity becomes ethically deformed, distorted, or deficient.

Damien Mahiet received a Ph.D. in Music at Cornell University in 2011 and holds an M.A. in Political Thought from the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po Paris). Since 2010, he has been Assistant Professor of Music and Orchestra Director at Denison University in Granville, Ohio. His research centers on the role music has played and continues to play in the constitution of Western political regimes and lives. A current book project, The Concert of Nations: Music, Diplomacy, and Political Thought, explores music-making’s contributions to the conception of international relations and the practice of diplomacy. While at Cornell University, Damien Mahiet received additional support from the School of Criticism and Theory, the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, and the Judith Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies. With Jean-Michel Bardez, he is the co-editor of the series Musique/Pouvoirs, published by Delatour (France).

Julia Ng received a Ph.D. in Comparative Literary Studies from Northwestern University in 2012 with a dissertation on Walter Benjamin's mathematical revision of the formal possibility of Kant's perpetual peace project. Her research, which centers on the early twentieth-century afterlives of late eighteenth-century political and literary theory, examines the self-consciously impossible character of Kant's projection of the just society. Fictions and failures, she argues, accompany and precede every determination of possibility imposed by the self-organization of embodied subjectivity, and ironically make possible alternative theories of political agency that do not rely on the presumption that human beings can build a world in which they protect themselves from every conceivable threat. Her current project, "Body, Force, Right: Towards a Literary Theory of Posthumous Life," tracks a change between 1800 and 1900 in the conception of "life" that exceeds what is deemed "possible" for human subjectivity, uncovering a cosmic perspective on the meaning of the word "life"—life at its bare minimum, or as Heidegger put it, "life as it bodies forth"—in the "posthumous work" of Kant, Novalis, Nietzsche, and George.

Alvaro Santana-Acuña is a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology at Harvard University. His dissertation investigates the making of the cadastre in France between 1763 and 1833. The cadastre, an administrative tool that registers a country’s real estate property to allocate taxes among owners, is a cornerstone of the liberal property system. Previous research analyzed its making as part of a process of state centralization and disregarded the organizational changes driving the training of cadastral experts. His dissertation tackles these questions and examines other aspects of nation-state formation and scientific expertise that were empowered by the making of the cadastre. The dissertation forms one part of his larger effort to study processes and systems of valuation. In that vein, he researched the contentious question of how a literary work becomes a classic. In 2011, this research received the Edward Shils-James Coleman Memorial Award and the honorable in the Richard Peterson Prize, both awarded by the American Sociological Association. He holds an A.M. in Sociology from Harvard University, an M.A. in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago (under Fulbright sponsorship), and a D.E.A. and B.A. in History from the University of La Laguna (Spain).

Michaela Schäuble is Assistant Professor in Social Anthropology at Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (Germany), where she also received a Ph.D. in 2010. She studied comparative literature and social anthropology at Tübingen University and Yale University, and holds an M.A. in Visual Anthropology from the Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology at Manchester University (UK). In 2011-12, she was a EURIAS Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies at the University of Bologna (Italy). She has authored numerous articles on the impact of violence on memory politics, the gendered character of ethno-nationalist discourse, and post-war transition in the former Yugoslavia. In her forthcoming book, Narrating Victimhood: Gender, Religion and the Making of Place in Post-War Croatia (Berghahn Books), she addresses the politics of ambiguous Europeanness and (in)subordination in the Balkans. Michaela is also an award-winning documentary filmmaker who has published widely on documentary films and on the role of fiction and animation in ethnographic cinema. In her current project, “The Art of Controlled Accident”: Corporeal Cinematography in Ethnographic Films on Trance and Spirit Possession (1940s-1960s), she investigates the corporeal and sensory dimensions of religious ritual practice and embodied spiritual experience in early ethnographic documentary films, comparing audio-visual material from West Africa, Haiti, and Italy.

Benjamin Woodring is a Ph.D. Candidate in English at Harvard University. His dissertation examines spaces of refuge as they are imagined and represented in Shakespearean England. He investigates what a place of last resort meant to an early modern Londoner, in theory and in practice. He argues that Renaissance dramatists are fascinated with sanctuaries—areas that release one, if only temporarily, from the grip of one’s immediate political and social milieu. He also analyzes the legal and ecclesiastical institutions of “sanctuary” and their controversial post-Reformation afterlives, contending that these semi-autonomous zones speckled throughout the city served as reminders of authority’s fragility. Benjamin holds a B.A. from Brandeis University with majors in Classics, Economics, and English, as well as an A.M. in English from Harvard University. He served from 2010 to 2011 on the President of Harvard’s Graduate Student Council (representing the university’s roughly 3500 doctoral students across its various programs and schools) and is currently a member of the Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibilty for the President and Fellows of Harvard College.

2011 - 2012
Kyung-Ho Cha

Kyung-Ho Cha is Assistant Professor of German Literature at the University of Bayreuth, Germany. He received his PhD in German Literature from the Technical University Berlin in 2008. His primary work is in the field of literature and science, focusing on evolutionary biology and the writings of Walter Benjamin. His book Human Mimicry: Poetics of Evolution (2010) explores the emergence and proliferation of the scientific myth of human mimicry in literature and the human sciences in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The biological term mimicry originally describes the deceptive resemblance of an insect to another species or its environment. Around 1900 men of letters as well as biologists, physicians, psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, anthropologists, and sociologists probed the question of human mimicry and its function for societal coexistence: human beings are attributed the biological ability of perfectly adapting to their social environment to the point that they are physically and psychologically indiscernible from their peers. His current project, “Walter Benjamin and the History of Science,” analyzes the historical context of Benjamin's epistemology and pursues the question of whether his reflections on material culture and changing modes of perception can be methodically harnessed for a "Benjaminian" history of science.

Haydon Cherry is originally from New Zealand. He received a B.A. (Honors) in Southeast Asian Studies and an M.A. in History from the National University of Singapore. He received his Ph.D. from Yale University. He now teaches in the Department of History at North Carolina State University. He is interested in the social and economic history of modern Southeast Asia broadly, and the histories of Vietnam and Burma in particular. His current book manuscript examines the changing social history of the poor in French colonial Saigon by tracing the itineraries of six poor migrants (an orphan, a prostitute, a rickshaw puller, a poor Frenchman, a Chinese coolie, and an invalid) in the early decades of the twentieth century. His other research projects include an intellectual biography of Đào Duy Anh, a leading Vietnamese Marxist intellectual, and a social history of crime in Rangoon, Burma, during the 1920s and 1930s.

Ayten Gündoğdu is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Barnard College-Columbia University. Her current research draws on the resources of modern, contemporary and continental political thought to address challenging questions related to human rights, immigration and citizenship. She has work published and forthcoming in Contemporary Political Theory, European Journal of Political Theory, and Law, Culture and the Humanities. She has recently completed a book manuscript that examines the human rights problems and struggles of migrants by engaging with the works of twentieth-century political theorist, Hannah Arendt.

Berit Hildebrandt received an M.A. in Classical Archaeology, Ancient History, Media and Communication Studies and a Ph.D. in Ancient History from the University of Goettingen (Germany). She is currently Assistant Professor at the University of Hannover (Germany). From 2013-2015, she will work at the University of Copenhagen with a Marie Curie Intra European Fellowship on a project that aims to shed new light on the political and institutional history of the Roman Empire through the study of imperial dress and representation. In 2011-2012, she held a post-doctoral fellowship at the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard University with a project on “Exchange along the Silk Roads between Rome and China in Antiquity, with a Focus on Silk.” She is the recipient of fellowships and grants from the German National Academic Foundation, the German Research Foundation, and the Danish National Research Foundation’s Centre for Textile Research. Her research interests include economic and social history, gender history, and ancient medicine.

Headshot of Katherine In–Young Lee

Katherine In-Young Lee is intrigued by how analyses of sound and music can offer reappraisals of past events and contemporary cultural phenomena. In this vein, she has developed research projects that engage various types of “sonic evidence”—from the politicized drumming of dissent to the audible dimensions of a nation branding campaign. Her book Dynamic Korea and Rhythmic Form (Wesleyan University Press 2018), explores how a percussion genre from South Korea (samul nori) became a global music genre. More broadly, she contends that rhythm-based forms serve as a critical site for cross-cultural musical encounters.

Anne Löhnert received a Ph.D. in 2006 from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich (Germany), where she holds a position as Assistant Professor in Assyriology. Her scientific interests focus on ancient Mesopotamian religion and cult, literature, and state administration. Her dissertation dealt with the handling of the fear of divine loss as reflected by lamentations - literary cultic texts used in ancient Mesopotamia from c. 2000 to 81 BCE. The current Habilitationschrift (2nd Ph.D.) highlights the mechanics of the administration of royal power in the ancient kingdom of Arraphe, a kingdom that flourished in the 15th/14th centuries BCE in the region of modern Kirkuk (Northern Iraq). From 2011 to 2012, Anne was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Mahindra Humanities Center, where she organized the "Palace and Temple In the Late Bronze Age of the Ancient Near East" Workshop. In the 2012—2013 academic year, she was Lecturer on Assyriology at Harvard's Department of Near Eastern Language and Civilizations. A list of her publications can be found here: http://lmu-munich.academia.edu/AnneL%C3%B6hnert

David Russell is a Lecturer in English at King's College London. He gained his Ph.D. in English Literature from Princeton University in 2011 and since then his research and teaching have been supported by the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation, and by postdoctoral fellowships at the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard University and the Society of Fellows in the Humanities at Columbia University. His book project, A Literary History of Tact: Sociability, Aesthetic Liberalism and the Essay Form, identifies the development of an ethic and aesthetic of tact in nineteenth-century Britain. His second project is called Learning from Experience: Aesthetic Education and Literary Criticism. He has work published or forthcoming in ELH, Raritan and Victorian Studies.

Headshot of Matthew Sussman

Matthew Sussman is a Lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Sydney and a former Lecturer on History and Literature at Harvard University. His main research area is nineteenth-century British literature and culture, with a particular focus on the ethics and aesthetics of prose. He has written on literary style in the novel; on virtue theory in modern moral philosophy; and on Victorian artistic and cultural criticism.

2010 - 2011
Headshot of Daniela Cammack

Daniela Cammack works primarily on ancient Greek politics and philosophy, though she maintains research and teaching interests in Roman, medieval and modern political ideas and practices, the history of political economy (especially Marx), and the history and theory of democracy. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Political Theory, Polis, History of Political Thought, Classical Quarterly, Classical Philology, and the Journal of Political Philosophy. Her dissertation, "Rethinking Athenian Democracy," won Harvard's Robert Noxon Toppan Prize for best dissertation on a subject of political science in 2013. Prior to joining UC Berkeley in July 2019, she was a Junior Fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows and taught for three years at Yale. She is currently working on a monograph on ancient Greek democracy.

Headshot of Ujala Dhaka

Ujala Dhaka is an anthropologist at the Ohio State University with a research focus on claims to locality, urban space, labor, and caste made in the interactions between marginalized Muslim communities and the Indian state. By studying ghettoized spaces in Mumbai, she traces how citizenship involves different modes of claiming space and belonging such as public religiosity and Urdu-speaking Muslim immigrants’ efforts to assert belonging as a product of their labor in the city. Her work emphasizes the need to understand community forms among marginalized Muslims in relation to the representational politics inspired by recent provisions for disadvantaged occupational castes referred to as "other backward classes." Her teaching interests include anthropology of the state, development, postcoloniality, and Muslim identities in South Asia.

Ujala Dhaka-Kintgen received a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Harvard University with a dissertation on the relationship between governance and marginality in Muslim working-class neighborhoods of Mumbai. In 2013-14, she is a Postdoctoral Fellow for the Sawyer Seminar on the Comparative Study of Cultures, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, at the Ohio State University. She was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology at George Washington University in 2012-13. Her research interests include anthropology of the state, governmentality, citizenship, politics of faith, caste, and Muslim communities in South Asia. Her project examines the politics of belonging among Muslims in Mumbai who are primarily engaged in the informal sector and reside in parts of the city labeled as Muslim ghettos. She investigates the intersections of region, caste, language, and religion in minority politics, and how citizenship and locality are constituted through these engagements.

Annie McClanahan is Assistant Professor of English at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she teaches contemporary American literature and culture, Marxist theory, and interdisciplinary approaches to economic crisis. She was a Mahindra Humanities Center Postdoctoral Fellow in 2010-11, and a Fellow at the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University in 2012-13. She will be a Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Center for 21st Century Studies in 2013-14. She is currently completing a book manuscript entitled, Dead Pledges: Debt, Crisis, and 21st-Century Culture. Theorizing new modes of uncertainty and belief, character and credibility, social cohesion and collective default, Dead Pledges explores how cultural texts have been compelled to account for the expansion and collapse of a financialized credit economy. Her work has appeared or will appear in Representations, Post-45, South Atlantic Quarterly, Journal of Cultural Economy, qui parle, and symploke, and has been translated into Spanish for an edited volume on the international student movement. She is also co-editing a special issue of Journal of American Studies on genre and financialization.

Headshot of Julie Orlemanski

Julie Orlemanski teaches and writes about texts from the late Middle Ages and theoretical and methodological questions in present-day literary studies at the University of Chicago. What distinguishes medieval thought from our own, and what links it, are of persistent fascination to her. Accordingly, she has longstanding interests in hermeneutics and historicism. Other ongoing research interests include the Song of Songs, disability studies and the history of the body, narratology, and the secularization thesis or so-called disenchantment of the world.

Sita Steckel received a Doctorate in Medieval History in 2006 from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (Germany). She held postdoctoral positions at the University of Muenster (Germany) and Harvard University, and is currently Junior Professor for the History of the High and Late Middle Ages at Muenster. Her first book (2011) concerned cultures of teaching and religious expertise in Western Europe c. 800–1150. Her current project is a study of the political, religious and intellectual clashes of the secular clergy and the Franciscan and Dominican orders in thirteenth-century France. Her specific questions concern the role of (gendered) polemics and the development of the concepts of "religion" and "religiosity" in polemical discourses. On an abstract level, the intertwining of legal and religious argumentation in the medieval period is an issue, as are problems of the modern historiography with its conflicting master narratives of secularization and religious radicalization in the Western Middle Ages.

Andreas Victor Walser studied Ancient History and Economics at the University of Zurich (Switzerland), where he received a Ph.D. in 2006. From 2006 to 2010, he was Research Associate at the Commission for Ancient History and Epigraphy of the German Archaeological Institute in Munich. After a year as Lecturer at the University of Munich and as Postdoctoral Fellow at the Mahindra Humanities Center, he returned as Senior Research Associate to the Commission for Ancient History and Epigraphy in 2012. His main research area is the history of the Greco-Roman East, from the Hellenistic to the Early Byzantine Period. In his book, Bauern und Zinsnehmer, Politik, Recht und Wirtschaft im frühhellenistischen Ephesos (C.H. Beck 2008), he examined the interactions between politics, law and the economy in the city of Ephesus in western Asia Minor in the years around 300 BCE. His recent articles dealt with the significance of popular courts for the democratic system in the Greek cities, the constitution of spatial boundaries through religious rituals, and references to Classical Antiquity in the jurisprudence of the U.S. Supreme Court. In preparation are articles on new Greek inscriptions from Anatolia and a monograph on the political, social, and urban implications of the fusion of formerly independent city-states to so-called sympoliteiai in the Greek world of the Hellenistic Period (4th - 1st century BCE). Since 2012, Victor is also co-editor of the journal Chiron.

2009 - 2010
Headshot of Jean-Philippe Belleau

Jean-Philippe Belleau is a Latin Americanist and a social anthropologist working on Brazil. Prior to joining UMass Boston, he worked for a decade in human rights and development with the OAS, the United Nations, ADF, UNDP and various NGOs, including Viva Rio and IFES. He directed the Human Rights Education Fund in Haiti and was the political adviser to the OAS Chief of Mission in Haiti. He is on the editorial board of the Brill book series Studies in Christian Mission.

Andreas Fischer received a Ph.D. from the Freie Universität Berlin in 2005. After serving on the faculty of the History Department of the Technische Universität Berlin from 2004 to 2006, he became Assistant Professor at the Freie Universität Berlin, where he taught about late antiquity and early medieval history. From 2009 to 2010, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Mahindra Humanities Center and was invited as a guest to work at the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library in Washington, D.C. Since 2012, he works as a Research Fellow at the Medieval Institute of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna. In his dissertation, which was awarded with the Friedrich-Meinecke Prize in 2006, he dealt with the long vacancy of the years 1268 to 1271, and the cardinals’ share in the protraction of the papal election and their generally problematic guidance of the church in times without a pope (published in 2008). He has published several articles on the history of the college of cardinals and the papal curia in the thirteenth century; a monograph on Charles Martel and his rulership (2011); a co-edited volume, Western Perspectives on the Mediterranean. Cultural Transfer in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages (400-800) (forthcoming); and a collection of papers given at a conference he co-organized on letters and letter collections in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries (forthcoming). His main research interests include cardinals and the papacy in the high middle ages, letters and letter collections in late antiquity and the middle ages, narrativity and patterns of interpretation in early medieval historiography (especially in the so-called Fredegar-Chronicle), and ethnicity and identity in the transitory period between late antiquity and the early middle ages.

Headshot of Nirvana Tanoukhi

Nirvana Tanoukhi’s current scholarship and pedagogy asks: How does a work of literature like a novel, especially one from or about a "distant" place, establish a sense of context to ground an interpretation? On what scale – geographic, social, linguistic, or other – does a literary work unfold for readers? And how, accordingly, might we conceive of our reading practice, whether we call it literary interpretation, appreciation, or “close reading”? Tanoukhi finds such questions crucial for understanding globalization’s current challenge to the Western liberal democratic tradition, and its long-standing commitment to the pursuit of truth, freedom, pleasure, and duty.

Headshot of Detlef von Daniels

Detlef von Daniels is Academic Coordinator of the research group "International Justice and Institutional Responsibility" at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities. He studied Philosophy, History of Art, and Public Law and holds an M.A. degree from the University of Freiburg and a doctorate in philosophy from Georg-August-Universität Göttingen. Before coming to Berlin, he held postdocs and lectureships at the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard, the University of Witten/Herdecke, and Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. Dr. von Daniels is interested in the intersections between jurisprudence and philosophy, both in current theorizing and in the history of ideas. He has published a book entitled „The Concept of Law from a Transnational Perspective“ and numerous articles in political and legal philosophy. Apart from his academic interests he is an ardent Berliner and can be frequently seen at cultural events or the Berlin Tango scene.

Christina Wald

Christina Wald is Professor of English Literature and Literary Theory at the University of Konstanz, Germany. During the 2009-10 academic year, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard University where she also taught in the History & Literature Programm. Her research focuses on contemporary drama, performance, film, and TV series as well as early modern drama and prose fiction. She is the author of Hysteria, Trauma and Melancholia: Performative Maladies in Contemporary Anglophone Drama (Palgrave 2007) and The Reformation of Romance: The Eucharist, Disguise and Foreign Fashion in Early Modern Prose Fiction (de Gruyter 2014) and has co-edited several books, among them The Literature of Melancholia: Early Modern to Postmodern (Palgrave 2011) and English and American Studies: Theory and Practice (Metzler 2012). She is co-editor of the Journal of Contemporary Drama in English (JCDE) and served as a member of the executive board of the German Shakespeare Association since 2011-2017. In the academic year 2017-2018, she is fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study Konstanz, where she is working on a project entitled “Shakespeare’s Serial Returns,” which charts the relation between Shakespeare’s plays and current complex TV series.

2008 - 2009
Headshot of Pannill Camp

Pannill Camp is Associate Professor and Chair of the Performing Arts Department at Washington University in St. Louis, where he teaches theater history and theory, dramatic literature, and performance theory. His research focuses on exchanges between theater, architecture, and philosophy in eighteenth-century France, French freemasonry as a set of performance practices, and the antecedents of performance theory in social thought from the eighteenth through twentieth centuries. He is the author of The First Frame: Theatre Space in Enlightenment France (Cambridge University Press, 2014), which received an honorable mention for the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) Outstanding Book Award for 2015, and was short-listed for the 2015 Kenshur Prize, awarded by the Indiana University Center for Eighteenth-Century Studies.

Headshot of Meraj Dhir

Meraj Dhir

Markus Krajewski is Associate Professor of Media History of Science at the Faculty of Media at Bauhaus University Weimar. During the 2008-09 academic year, he was a fellow at the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard University where he also taught as a Visiting Professor at the History of Science Department. He is author of Paper Machines. About Cards & Catalogs, 1548–1929 (The MIT Press, 2011); Der Diener. Mediengeschichte einer Figur zwischen König und Klient (S. Fischer, 2010) and its translation, The Servant. Media History of a Figure between King and Client (Yale University Press, forthcoming); and Restlosigkeit: Weltprojekte um 1900 (S. Fischer, 2006) and its translation, As For the Rest. World Projects and Notions of Globality around 1900 (University of Minnesota Press, 2014). His current research projects include the epistemology of the peripheral, the history of exactitude in scholarly and scientific contexts, as well as recent developments in the Digital Humanities. He is also developer and maintainer of the bibliography software synapsen—a hypertextual card index (www.verzetteln.de/synapsen). For further information see: www.uni-weimar.de/medien/wissenschaftsgeschichte.

Emily O’Dell is the Whittlesey Chair of History and Archaeology at the American University of Beirut. Previously, she taught at Harvard University, Brown University, and Columbia University. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Huffington Post, International Christian Monitor, International Herald Tribune, and NPR. She is currently conducting archaeological fieldwork at Sufi shrines in Turkmenistan, Merotic temples in Sudan, and private tombs in Egypt. For her interdisciplinary research on Sufism, archaeology, and Islamic jurisprudence, she has been an Edward A. Hewett Policy Fellow, a Columbia University Pepsico Fellow, and a State Department Fellow. She has conducted field research on Sufism and politics in Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, Mali, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan/Karakalpakstan, Russia, Lebanon, Greece, Turkey, the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic, and Hungary. Her most recent publications on topics such as Sufism in Central Asia and ancient Egyptian literature are being published by Harvard University Press and Brill, respectively. She received her Ph.D., M.A., M.F.A., and M.A. from Brown University, and an additional Masters from Columbia University. She regularly performs the Javanese gamelan in concert at venues such as Lincoln Center and Asia Society, and her plays have been read or produced at Lincoln Center, the Public Theatre, and City Center. (Photo by Lara Khatchikian)

Headshot of Gemma Rodrigues

Gemma Rodrigues is a curator and historian of African art and material culture in a global perspective. Her most recent research explores the creation and uses of technology in 'peripheral' zones; interfaces among technology, art, and activist politics in the Global South; and the various ways technology and its discourses intersect with race, gender, and geopolitical difference. She is a Research Fellow at M-ITI and holds graduate degrees in art history from the University of St. Andrews and Harvard University. From 2010 to 2015, Rodrigues was the Curator of African Arts at the Fowler Museum at UCLA and a co-editor of UCLA’s journal African Arts (MIT Press). She taught art history at the Harare Polytechnic 1997-2000, and in 1998 she co-founded the Batapata Artists' Trust, both in Zimbabwe. Her recent publications include essays in Global Art and the Practice of the University Museum (Routledge, 2017) and World Share: Installations by Pascale Marthine Tayou (Fowler Museum at UCLA/Washington UP, 2016). Her most recent exhibition project, Bizindalo! Art and Technology in Africa, was on display at Funchal's Museu de Eletricidade in 2017. Her research has received support from the Getty Foundation, the National Endowment of the Arts, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Julia Wilker spent the 2008-09 academic year as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard University. She received a Ph.D. in Ancient History in 2005 from the Freie Universität Berlin where she also taught Ancient History as Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin in 2005-08 and 2009-11. In 2011, she joined the faculty of the Department of Classical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania as Assistant Professor. Her major fields of interest include Jewish history in the Greco-Roman period, the Near East in Hellenistic and Roman times, late classical Greece, and interstate relations in classical antiquity. She is particularly interested in cross-cultural interactions and concepts of identity and normativity in the ancient world. Her present research focuses on concepts of interstate relations in the fourth century BCE and on the role of women in the Hasmonean and Herodian dynasties. Her publications include Für Rom und Jerusalem. Die herodianische Dynastie im 1. Jahrhundert n.Chr. (2005), Maintaining Peace and Interstate Stability in Archaic and Classical Greece (ed., 2011), and Amici – socii – clientes? Abhängige Herrschaft im Imperium Romanum (co-edited with Ernst Baltrusch, forthcoming).