Past Fellows (1999-2000)
Danielle Allen, Assistant Professor, English Language & Literature and the College
"Constituting Democracy: On Aristotle's Rhetoric and Democratic Persuasion"
My book argues that the long-term stability and durability of democracy require attention not only to legislation and policy-making but also to the cultivation of civic friendship. Hobbes, Ellison, and Aristotle all explicate the importance of such friendship and analyze the means of its cultivation. Finally, they treat the art of rhetoric, properly understood as a language of equity, as central to overcoming distrust.
Kathryn Duys, Assistant Professor, Romance Languages & Literatures and the College
"Books Shaped by Song: Gautier de Coinci's Miracles de Nostre Dame and the History of Early Literary Books"
My work focuses on the poetics of book design in the high Middle Ages through the ninety-seven surviving manuscripts of the Miracles de Nostre Dame, a collection of pious songs and miracle stories written by Gautier de Coinci, a French monk. This year has been devoted to reinserting this intricately patterned work of music and poetry into its historical moment: the epidemics, penitential processions, liturgies, architecture, royal anti-Jewish policies, and the highly charged ecclesiastical politics of one of the most active Marian shrines of the period.
Saree Makdisi, Asistant Profesor, English Language & Literature, Comparative Literature, and the College
"Blake and the Cultural Politics of Production in the 1790s"
My book manuscript explores William Blake's work in relation to the cultural politics of the 1790s, including the enormous changes in imperial policies and practices, industrial production, citizenship and identity, the subjectivity of new industrial workers, and the work of art as commodity. I re-read Blake in the 1790s context, and use Blake's work to re-read the 1790s as one of the foundations of our present moment.
Moishe Postone, Associate Professor, History, Jewish Studies and the Social Sciences Collegiate Division
"Critical Theory and the Twentieth Century"
Critical Theory--the ensemble of approaches developed by theorists of the Frankfurt School--sought to critically illuminate the great historical changes of the twentieth century while locating itself within the context of these changes. I am attempting to contextualize these sophisticated theories of context with reference to large-scale historical patterns that have become increasingly evident in recent decades. In this way I am attempting to overcome some theoretical difficulties encountered by this tradition while delineating a theory of historical context more adequate to the contemporary world.
Martha Roth, Professor, Oriental Institute, Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations, Committee on the Ancient Mediterranean World, Jewish Studies, and the College
"Mesopotamian Law Cases"
A "case" in law presents an anomalous situation that disrupts the normal flow of daily life and has no readily apparent solution. In deviating from the norm, the case can illuminate the boundaries of that norm. By examining the forms of cases, their selection in ancient scholastic literature, and the issues of anomalous situations, my work on Mesopotamian law cases entails producing definitive editions of these cases in order to explore the case as a scholastic and didactic form.
Robert Von Hallberg, Professor, Germanic Studies, English Language & Literature, Comparative Literature, and the College
"African American Poetry"
I concentrated this year on research and writing concerning African American poetry of the twentieth century. In the last months I worked on three chapters of a book on this topic: these are literary critical essays on the poetry of Langston Hughes, Robert Hayden, and Amiri Baraka; one of their objectives is the sorting out of the most compelling writing by these poets. But the importance of music in relation to poetry, for many African American poets, has emerged as the major theme of the book, and this goes beyond the literary critical project.
John Crespi, East Asian Languages & Civilizations
"What will suffice?: Voice, Nation and Subject in Modern Chinese Poetry, 1915-48"
In the early twentieth century, Chinese poets (not unlike their counterparts in many other regions) tried to reinvent their genre to bring it in tune with modern times. My research examines the play of nationalist thought in this so-called literary revolution by looking at how ideas of identity and voice figured in the institution and development of modern Chinese poetry from 1915 to about 1945. Key topics I explore include ideologies of making a modern vernacular poetry, the troubled identification with the voice of the masses, and the theory, poems, and performance of modern poetry declamation.
Andrew Hebard, English Language & Literature
"Everyday States: Institutional Rhetorics and Literary Territories, 1870-1920"
Looking at writers such as Kipling, Twain, Howells, and Conrad, my dissertation examines the politics of literary form as it relates to issues of territorial sovereignty and bureaucratic authority. A major claim is that the literature of this period does not try to imagine institutions and territories as objects, but relates them in terms of style and rhetoric. Unlike many theories of sovereignty and imperial expansion, these literary works are concerned with the poetics through which territory, institutions, and their relations come into being as socially relevant categories.
Steven Heim, South Asian Languages & Civilizations
"The Lives of a Layman: History, Language, and Community in the Biographies of a Thirteenth-Century Indian"
The biographies of the thirteenth-century Jain merchant Vastupala stand out in the history of biographical discourse in South Asia for their subject and for their long-term continuity. His biographers inaugurated a new genre of literature, the biography of a lay-commoner, and moreover, Vastupala's life has continued to capture the imagination of Jains up to the present. My project explores the use of Vastupala's lay biographies in Jain religious and socio-political discourse from medieval India to the present
Joshua Phillips, Comparative Literature
"Properties of the Mind: Fiction and Intellectual Property in Sixteenth-Century England"
In my study, I argue that the gradual regulation and institutionalization of the emergent concept of intellectual property had a direct and abiding influence on aesthetic structures during the English Renaissance. Specifically, I analyze a variety of Tudor prose fictions to show how the notion of a "common marketplace of ideas" was replaced by private enclosures of the mind. This process was part of a larger cultural trajectory that minimized the importance of community and contributed to a new English literary culture.
Daniel Richter, Classical Languages & Literatures
"Ethnography, Archaism, and Identity in the Early Empire"
I am examining the use of ethnographic topoi in the literature (primarily of the Greek east) of the early Roman Empire. I believe that the ways in which intellectuals of the period manipulated the Greek ethnographic idiom (largely defined for them by Herodotos) reflect their perceived status both as Greeks within the Roman Empire and within the cultural and intellectual landscape of Hellas. The relationship between literary archaism and the use of the ethnographic past has been central to this inquiry.