Past Fellows (2003-2004)
Jason Bridges, Assistant Professor, Philosophy
"The Autonomy of Reasons"
I spent the year writing on topics concerning the concept of a reason for action, including: 1) criticism of how 'naturalistic' theories of mental content handle that concept, 2) interpretation of Wittgenstein's treatment of that concept in the Philosophical Investigations, and 3) diagnosis of the continuing influence in the philosophy of action of Hume's view that, as he puts it, "reason is the slave of the passions."
Cornell Fleischer, Professor, Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations
"An Occult Polymath of the Fifteenth Century: 'Abd al-rahman al-Bistami of Antioch"
I spent the year studying the voluminous oeuvre and long life of 'Abd al-Rahman al-Bistami (ca. 1375-1455), an Antiocene polymath and Arabic stylist who systematized and popularized the occult arts as a scientific alternative to Sufi mysticism. Because he was located at the intersection of the intellectual, spiritual, and political upheavals of his day, Bistami in context affords a view of the inner life of Islamdom.
Armando Maggi, Associate Professor, Romance Languages & Literatures
"Jacopone of Todi and Early Franciscan Spirituality"
I came to the Franke Insitute to write a book on early Franciscan theology through an analysis of Jacopone da Todi's mystical poetry. This fellowship allowed me to pursue or complete other projects. I finished a book on the concept of 'familiar spirits' in Renaissance culture and an essay on baroque treatises on the shroud of Turin.
Jason Merchant, Assistant Professor, Linguistics
"The Saving Grace of Ellipsis: The repair of grammatical deviance by deletion"
The nature of apparently 'subsentential' phrases is a classic puzzle for standard linguistic theories of the form-meaning relation; my project concentrates on solving this puzzle for a particular data subset, namely fragment answers to constituent questions. I argue that these answers involve a particular kind of ellipsis, and that the grammatical effects found in answers show that these fragments constitute parts of fully sentential structures, in other words, that the 'subsententiality' of these is chimerical.
Bozena Shallcross, Associate Professor, Slavic Languages & Literatures
"Things Polish: An Interdisciplinary Inquiry"
My book examines the material world as construed by postwar Polish writers. I focus on their imagining of objects as 'the other' and on fluctuations of intimate ownership of objects versus ideology and consumerism.
Adam T. Smith, Assistant Professor, Anthropology
"Artifact and Affect: Material Culture, Aesthetics, and Politics"
During my year as a fellow, I worked on two manuscripts. The first is a book entitled Rendering the Political Aesthetic: Archaeology, Desire, and the Dawn of Government, examining the relation between artifact and affect in the political life of early complex polities. The second reports on the first phase of my archaeological investigations in the Republic of Armenia.
Martha Ward, Associate Professor, Art History
"Bookifying Exhibitions: The Art History Show in the 1930s"
During the 1930s, the art history show took on the form of the block-buster familiar to museum-goers today, but the understandings of what might be at stake in such modernizations, designed to address large audiences, diverged radically in France, England and the United States. My study reveals how quite different political and social concerns came to inform exhibition reforms in each of these countries.
Alyssa Ayres, Doctoral Candidate, South Asian Languages & Civilizations
"Language Policy, Ethnic Identity, and Nationalism in Pakistan"
This past year I completed my dissertation where I examined the disjunctures between a declared national language, one which has been projected by the state as the high-water mark of South Asian Islam, against the history of language politics which argue for the primacy of regional languages and the importance of local literary-historical canons.
Chika Kinoshita, Doctoral Candidate, East Asian Languages & Civilizations
"Mis-en-scene of Desire: The Films of Mizoguchi Kenji"
My dissertation examines the Japanese film director Kenji Mizoguchi's oeuvre. The chapter I wrote this year focuses on the relationships between one of his films and other forms of mass culture, such as the serial novel and the phonograph, in 1920s Japan, introducing montage as a critical concept that connects different spheres of cultural production.
Ryan Minor, Doctoral Candidate, Music
"National Memory, Public Music: Commemoration and Consecration in Nineteenth-Century German Choral Music"
My research looks at the cultural and political resonance of choral singing in nineteenth-century Germany. I focus in particular on works written for public festivity (commemorations, consecrations). I suggest that the use of the chorus in these festivities offered a potent symbol to articulate changing visions of the nation, communal memory, and collective identity.
John Urang, Doctoral Candidate, Germanic Studies
"Legal Tender: Love and Legitimacy in the East German Cultural Imagination"
My thesis looks at love stories in East German film and literature between 1961 and 1989. I argue that these romantic plots tend to perform a similar ideological function: to shore up unstable or contradictory legitimating principles.