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Simpson Center for the Humanities

Scholars at Work

MooreAdam D. Moore (Information School) has edited a new book analyzing the moral and legal foundations of privacy, security, and accountability, drawing on participants from a 2013 conference sponsored by the Simpson Center for the Humanities.

Privacy, Security and Accountability: Ethics, Law and Policy (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015) features multiple contributors from the conference, Information Ethics and Policy: Intellectual Property, Privacy, and Freedom of Speech, which Adam organized. The conference drew researchers and practitioners from across disciplines to consider emerging questions at the intersection of information studies and social policy.

The new collection reflects those concerns. From the publisher:

What is the appropriate balance between privacy, security, and accountability? What do we owe each other in terms of information sharing and access? Why is privacy valuable and is it more or less important than other values like security or free speech? Is Edward Snowden a hero or villain? Within democratic societies, privacy, security, and accountability are seen as important values that must be balanced appropriately. If there is too much privacy, then there may be too little accountability—and more alarmingly, too little security. On the other hand, where there is too little privacy, individuals may not have the space to grow, experiment, and engage in practices not generally accepted by the majority. Moreover, allowing overly limited control over access to and uses of private places and information may itself be a threat to security. By clarifying the moral, legal, and social foundations of privacy, security, and accountability, this book helps determine the appropriate balance between these contested values.

Adam co-wrote the introduction with Michael Katell (Information School). He also contributed the essay “Why Privacy and Accountability Trump Security.”

Congratulations, Adam!

SparkeKatharyne Mitchell (Geography) and Matthew Sparke (Geography and Jackson School of International Studies) have received fellowships to study at the Brocher Foundation in Switzerland in fall 2016. The Foundation hosts scientists and experts in ethical, legal, and social implications of the development of medical research and biotechnologies to conduct multidisciplinary research in emerging fields.

Both have longstanding ties to the Simpson Center, which has supported earlier stages of their research. Katharyne, who serves on the Simpson Center Executive Board, held the Simpson Professorship in the Public Humanities (2004-2007), a program modeled as an alternative to sabbatical leave, providing deep support for local, community-relevant research. Her community engagement project, Reclaiming Childhood, undertook a collaborative, interdisciplinary examination of the changing nature of contemporary childhood.


Matt has also served on the Executive Board, hosted a Katz Distinguished Lecturer, and participated in the Society of Scholars. This winter, he is co-organizing the January 25 visit of Chris Newfield, a leading scholar of critical university studies, for a lecture on “The Great Mistake: How Private-Sector Models Damage Public Universities, and How They Can Recover.”

In Switzerland, the two will develop a book on the ethical dimensions of new biosecurity technologies and so-called biological citizenship. From their proposal:

New biosecurity technologies that employ genetic screening and associated biomedical innovations in body-scanning and personalized medicine are transforming the ways in which transnational migration is governed around the world.  A notable divide is thereby opening up between privileged transnational migrants who are enfranchised as globally mobile biological citizens and a diverse set of disenfranchised others—refugees, asylum seekers, and guest workers—for whom the use of genetic screening and other biosecurity technologies imposes new personal costs, privacy concerns and risks of biological sub-citizenship and exclusion.  

Congratulations, Katharyne and Matt!


Louisa MackenzieLouisa Mackenzie’s (French & Italian) recent essay on sea monsters contributes to a lively discussion on animal studies and identity in Early Modernism. Her article, “French Early Modern Sea-Monsters and Modern Identities, via Bruno Latour,” appears in Animals and Early Modern Identity (Ed. Pia F. Cuneo, Ashgate, 2014), a collection investigating how animals — horses, dogs, pigs, hogs, fish, cattle, sheep, birds, rhinoceroses, even mythological creatures — allowed people to defend, contest, or transcend the boundaries of early modern identities.

The book drew a strong review from the Times Literary Supplement, which turned twice to Louisa’ article exploring “the tension between ‘purified’ and ‘hybrid’ knowledge in relation to the attempts of early modern zoologists . . . to tackle reports of sea monsters.”

“This beautiful and pleasurable collection . . . provides an excellent contribution to the current lively discussion within animal studies,” writes reviewer Annette Volfing.

Louisa developed her article as part of the 2012-13 Society of Scholars at the Simpson Center. She also co-leads, with María Elena García (Comparative History of Ideas) the Intersectional Animal Studies collaboration studio at the Simpson Center this year.

Congratulations, Louisa!

Sonal Khullar in office, courtesy Doug ManelskiSonal Khullar (Art History) has a new book, Worldly Affiliations: Artistic Practice, National Identity, and Modernism in India, 1930-1990 (University of California Press). From the publisher:

Drawing on Edward Said’s notion of “affiliation” as a critical and cultural imperative against empire and nation-state, Worldly Affiliations traces the emergence of a national art world in twentieth-century India and emphasizes its cosmopolitan ambitions and orientations. Sonal Khullar focuses on four major Indian artists—Sher-Gil, Maqbool Fida Husain, K. G. Subramanyan, and Bhupen Khakhar—situating their careers within national and global histories of modernism and modernity. Through a close analysis of original artwork, archival materials, artists’ writing, and period criticism, Khullar provides a vivid historical account of the state and stakes of artistic practice in India from the late colonial through postcolonial periods ... This richly illustrated study juxtaposes little-known, rarely seen, or previously unpublished works of modern and contemporary art with historical works, popular or mass-reproduced images, and documentary photographs.

Sonal's project builds on research she developed as a Society of Scholars fellow in 2011-12 as well as through New Geographies in Feminist Art, a conference she co-organized with Sasha Welland (Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies) in 2012 that examined the role of women artists, feminism, and visual representations of gender and sexuality in contemporary Asian art. 

Congratulations, Sonal!

O'MaraMargaret O’Mara (History) has published a new book, Pivotal Tuesdays: Four Elections That Shaped the Twentieth Century (University of Pennsylvania Press).

From the publisher:

Serious and silly, unifying and polarizing, presidential elections have become events that Americans love and hate. Today’s elections cost billions of dollars and consume the nation’s attention for months, filling television airwaves and online media with endless advertising and political punditry, often heated, vitriolic, and petty. Yet presidential elections also provoke and inspire mass engagement of ordinary citizens in the political system.

Pivotal Tuesdays looks back at four pivotal presidential elections of the past 100 years to show how they shaped the twentieth century. During the rowdy, four-way race in 1912 between Teddy Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Eugene Debs, and Woodrow Wilson, the candidates grappled with the tremendous changes of industrial capitalism and how best to respond to them. In 1932, Franklin Roosevelt’s promises to give Americans a “New Deal” to combat the Great Depression helped him beat the beleaguered incumbent, Herbert Hoover. The dramatic and tragic campaign of 1968 that saw the election of Richard Nixon reflected an America divided by race, region, and war and set in motion political dynamics that persisted into the book’s final story—the three-way race that led to Bill Clinton’s 1992 victory.

Margaret was a 2011-12 fellow of the Society of Scholars at the Simpson Center. She reads from her new work October 29 at the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle and has additional public talks in Palo Alto, California, Washington, DC, and Little Rock, Arkansas.

Congratulations, Margaret!

Suhanthie Motha (English) has won the 2015 Critics' Choice Book Award from the American Educational Studies Association. Suhanthie’s book, Race, Empire, and English Language Teaching: Creating Responsible and Ethical Anti-Racist Practice (Teachers College Press, 2014), shows how language is used to create hierarchies of cultural privilege in public schools across the United States, drawing on the work of four ESL teachers who developed antiracist pedagogical practices during their first year of teaching.

Suhanthie worked on her manuscript as a 2012-13 member of the Society of Scholars, a Simpson Center program that brings UW scholars together across disciplines to discuss and sharpen their work. She will receive the AESA award at its annual meeting in San Antonio in November.

Congratulations, Suhanthie!

We want to celebrate work that’s grown out of Simpson Center funding. If you’ve been involved with Simpson Center in any way, we’d like you to let us know about new books, publications, digital projects, community events, fellowships, postdocs, prizes, public activities — or any other scholarship that’s benefited from our support.

Send us a note at and we will make note in our Scholars at Work web collection. You can tell us about the work of others too!

Thank you for helping us demonstrate humanities scholarship in action.