The Center for Humanities & the Arts invites all Assistant, Associate, and Professors working in the humanities and the arts on the Boulder campus to apply for the CHA Faculty Fellowship. Fellowships consist of a two-course teaching reduction (taken in a single semester) for faculty teaching with a 2/2 load; faculty teaching a 2/1 load will receive a single course reduction and be expected to take their fellowship in the semester they are scheduled to teach their single course. The selection committee will consider the intellectual merit of the project, its connection to the arts and humanities, the overall excellence of the applicant’s academic record, and the timeliness of the project in the applicant’s career.
Congratulations to the AY 2021-2022 CHA Faculty Fellows!
Robert Buffington Women & Gender Studies
Spectral Children and Haunted Modernity in Turn-of-the-Century Mexico (1880-1910) explores three instances in turn-of-the-century Mexico when unease about social change took the shape of dead children: the revival of Mexico’s most famous ghost story about a malevolent “wailing woman” condemned to haunt riverbanks and crossroads to atone for the murder of her young children; the common practice of taking studio photographs of dead infants for use in mortuary rituals; and the mediumistic channeling of a dead infant brother by revolutionary leader and future president Francisco Madero. In an era of great uncertainty, Mexicans from all walks of life embraced spectral children as symbols of the high price they paid for an uneven, incomplete transition into modernity—and for their collective loss of innocence. Academic studies on haunting present ghosts as unbidden visitors bearing uncomfortable truths. Here, the sought-out presence of spectral children across a range of media offers a corrective to a field obsessed with erasures and hidden secrets.
Julie Carr English
Mud, Blood and Ghosts: Populism, Eugenics, Spiritualism 1870-1930: Populism has become a global movement, associated with nationalism and, paradoxically, strong-man politicians, but its root causes remain elusive. Mud, Blood, and Ghosts exposes one deep root in the soil of Nebraska and Kansas. Revealing the intersections among 19th-century agrarian Populism, scientific racism, eugenics, and Spiritualism within an intimate story, I shed light on current crises. Presenting crucial narratives of Indigenous resistance, interracial alliance and betrayal, radical feminism, life-long hauntings, land policy, debt, shame, grief, and avarice, I ask whether we can embrace the Populists' profound hopes for a just economy while rejecting the barriers they set up around who was considered fully human, fully worthy of this dreamed society.
Erin Espelie Cinema Studies and Moving Image Arts and Critical Media Practices
Only two kinds of creatures have upended Earth at the systemic scale of mass extinctions and atmospheric alterations: humans and cyanobacteria. Espelie’s film A Free Inquiry Into Air tracks the air that we breathe and therefore the debt that we owe to the extraordinary nature of oxygen-producing, sunlight-eating, CO2-sequestering cyanobacteria. The single-celled organisms mirror humanity in their capacity for planetary dominance yet hold greater hope for ecological reparation, more verdant futures, and even the seeding of other worlds. The film’s imagery emerges in part from ongoing art-science collaborations with the laboratory of Dr. Jeffrey Cameron, Biochemistry.
Peter Hunt Classics
The dilemmas of defeat and the afterlife of Phocion the Good: a commentary on Plutarch’s Life of Phocion
The Macedonians put an end to the classical Athenian democracy in 322 BCE and installed a puppet oligarchy, in which the Athenian politician Phocion played a prominent role. This tragedy was compounded by another: the most influential authors of the classical period, read for millennia afterwards, were ambivalent about, or downright hostile towards the Athenian democracy. Few authors contributed more to this adverse memory of Athenian democracy than Plutarch, whose influence was immense, especially from the Renaissance through the early modern period. I am starting a long-term project on the destruction of Athenian democracy, which should result in a variety of publications. At its center will be a comprehensive commentary on Plutarch’s Life of Phocion, which represents Phocion as a virtuous martyr, a victim of mob rule comparable to Socrates.
Javier Krauel Spanish & Portuguese
Sentimental Publics: Struggles for Freedom and Equality in Modern Spain (1812-2017) is a book-length study that examines the ongoing emotional transformation of the public sphere and reveals its long history, one that has been embedded in a variety of technologies reaching back to the early nineteenth century. Combining the methods of literary studies, historical studies, and media studies, Sentimental Publics seeks to understand how subordinated groups have expressed their political aspirations through particular emotional styles, and in venues that have developed in parallel to the official public sphere. My book dislodges the current sense that “gut politics” (Brexit, Catalan secessionism, populist movements on the left and right) are a contemporary phenomenon fueled by images and fake news circulating on social media and shows instead that the explicit mobilization of emotions in social-political discussions was prevalent among socially subordinated groups in Spain from the early nineteenth century to the present. These groups’ speech, imagery, and writing mobilized powerful emotions through different types of media—oral, visual, print, and digital. Sentimental Publics highlights the critical role these technologies have played in the public expression of emotion and offers the first history of these alternative, emotional political cultures in the Iberian Peninsula.
Mitzi Lee Philosophy
Mitzi Lee is currently writing a book on Aristotle's ethics and political philosophy called What we owe to others: Justice in Aristotle's Ethics and Political Philosophy, under contract with Oxford University Press. The aim of the book is to argue that, contrary to a widespread understanding of Aristotle, justice is the central virtue in his ethics and the central guiding principle in his political philosophy. Justice is an ideal in Aristotle's theory of the virtues of character, which shows how deeply he is committed to the idea that man is a 'political animal'. Furthermore, justice is also the concept from which he derives the notion of obligations and what we would call duties towards other people. The book focuses on his principles of justice and his conception of the common good, and shows how it shapes his conception of virtue, morality, and the good life.
Samira Mehta Women & Gender Studies
God Bless the Pill: Contraception and Sexuality in Tri-Faith America interrogates the broad history of religious response to the pill and places it into the context of medical, sociological, and religious language that became increasingly intertwined with each other. In doing so, it illuminates the surprising role of liberal clergy and liberal theology in expanding access to contraception. As a result, the project also exposes and analyzes the tensions that arose between the clergy’s desire to limit family size to strengthen the family as a social unit with the sexual and feminist potential of contraceptive access.
Helmut Muller-Sievers German German & Slavic Languages & Literatures
Muller-Sievers Literature and Pure Experience project seeks to make William James’ notion of ‘pure experience’ productive for the teaching and communication of literature in today’s conflicted environment. It consists of two parts: first, a theoretical reconstruction of the notion, its provenance from clinical psychology and the treatment of civil war veterans, and its philosophical ramifications up to the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze. Secondly, I want to build a platform on which we can think through how the focus on pure experience changes the teaching of literature, how we can practice radical inclusivity in our pedagogy, in our canons, and in our activism, and, finally, how we can pool and distribute materials – assignments, syllabi, reading lists, publications, digital approaches – to strengthen an experience-focused study of literature.
Myles Osborne History
The World of Mau Mau: Africa and Black Power in the Caribbean is a book about black intellectualism. Its focus is Pan-Africanism, a global movement with origins in the late nineteenth century which postulates that Africans and their descendants share a cultural unity that should be mobilized in the interests of those groups. The World of Mau Mau studies Pan-African intellectual connections and pathways among marginalized peoples of the Caribbean, arguing that Pan-African visions were never the exclusive preserve of the elite. The work is based on interviews and archival research in Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua, St. Kitts, and Grenada.
Jillian Porter Germanic & Slavic Languages & Literatures
P.S. The Art of the Queue: From the Revolution to Putin explores standing in line as a paradigmatic experience of Soviet everyday life and a generator of aesthetic forms. Each chapter takes its inspiration from a particular historical line or iconic line type, such as the women’s breadlines credited with triggering the February Revolution in 1917, the ritual queue leading into Lenin’s mausoleum on Red Square, or the famous human chain stretching to the doors of Moscow’s first McDonald’s in 1990. The book also investigates post-Soviet reflections on the queue’s enduring legacies in Putin’s Russia and the former Soviet Bloc. Examining products of official and unofficial culture in a range of media, Porter proposes that the queue has operated as a central locus of contested national memory from the Revolution to the present. Serving a range of ideological purposes, representations of the queue form the Russian/Soviet collective as a body at once exhausted and indefatigable, now patiently waiting for the future, now subversively recalling the past.
Seema Sohi Ethnic Studies
Race Radicals: Civil Rights and Immigration Reform during the Cold War, 1946-1968
Dr. Sohi’s research examines the important role that narratives of immigration reform and immigrant “success stories” played in U.S. state efforts to demonstrate the country’s triumph over histories of racism, a key concern of U.S. policymakers seeking to legitimate America’s global ascendancy during the Cold War. Through a relational and comparative approach to the study of race and immigration reform, the civil rights movement, and decolonization, Sohi argues that the unmet promises of the Civil Rights movement cannot be understood outside of the geopolitical context of the Cold War, global decolonization, U.S. militarization across the Asia Pacific region, and the matter of where and how the United States distributed its resources. Additionally, Sohi's book demonstrates how official discourses of Civil Rights, immigration reform, and militarization were critical sites of race-making that were deeply intertwined. Sohi argues that immigration reform in the early decades of the Cold War allowed state officials to claim a commitment to racial equality with little material investment while stifling concrete policy proposals on police brutality, racial inequities, and poverty that were being proposed at the time, all of which would resurface again and again in the decades that followed.
Julia Staffel Philosophy
Explaining how people reason is central to understanding ourselves as human beings. Complex deliberations that take unexpected turns are central to many good detective stories, but they are also ubiquitous in everyday life and academic research. While philosophers have studied both ends of complex deliberations – learning new information, and reaching justified conclusions – little has been said about our states of mind when we’re in the middle of thought. Yet, this stage of intellectual limbo is where we often produce genuine insight. Integrating theoretical research in philosophy with empirical results from cognitive science, this project advances a new theory of the transitional stages of complex deliberation. The resulting abstract framework reveals deep structural similarities among such varied intellectual pursuits as interpreting an ancient text, deciding on a person’s guilt in court, deliberating about a philosophical problem, or searching for a mathematical proof.
Lauren Stone German & Slavic Languages & Literatures
Stone’s book manuscript, The Small Worlds of Childhood in Stifter, Rilke, and Benjamin, seeks to overturn a longstanding view that narratives of childhood are primarily meditations on the formation of human subjectivity, memory, or social-political agency. With a focus on nineteenth-century German-language literature, this project demonstrates how depictions of ordinary children at home can also be read as philosophical thought experiments that pertain to epistemology, phenomenology, and metaphysics. By drawing connections between depictions of bourgeois childhood and key moments in the history of philosophy, this manuscript endeavors to shifts our understanding of the child figure: that is, to recognize her as an exemplary philosophical subject, whose value extends well beyond the social history of the family and youth.
Deadline for AY 22-23: October 2021
By May 31, faculty fellows must submit a final report on research completed and plans for publication. Failure to submit a written summary will make you ineligible to receive further funding by the CHA. During the academic year, fellows will be invited to CHA-sponsored events.
Note: CHA follows Faculty Affairs guidelines for sabbaticals: A faculty member who was previously awarded a CHA Faculty Fellowship shall become eligible after six years of the award (i.e., in the seventh year).