Scholars at Work

TihanyiThe tech news site Geekwire recently published a story about the collaborative work of Jayadev Athreya (Mathematics) and Timea Tihanyi (Art), a project supported by the Simpson Center studio grant Axiomatic: The Creative Process in Art and Mathematics.

Timea is an interdisciplinary visual artist in the School of Art + Art History + Design. Jayadev is Director of the Washington Experimental Mathematics lab, Associate Professor of Mathematics, and teaches in the Comparative History of Ideas program. The two are interested in common traits across their fields, especially regarding speculation and imagination.


From Geekwire:

Athreya and Tihanyi describe their studies as “what if” disciplines—disciplines searching for new ideas and new ways of looking at things. In Axiomatic, the pair takes a literal approach to the idea of looking at knowledge in different ways.

Their work has led to 3-dimensional ceramic renderings of 4-dimensional objects and other puzzling creations. Their work was recently on display at the 9e2 Exhibition at Seattle’s King Street Station.

Timea also has an exhibition at Seattle’s Linda Hodges Gallery featuring work from Axiomatic. Parlor Games: Scientia runs January 5-28, 2017.

There’s more, including photos, in the Geekwire story by Clare McGrane.

Congratulations, Jayadev and Timea!

Ceramic artwork on table

Louisa MackenzieLouisa Mackenzie (French & Italian) was recently quoted by Smithsonian for an article on Renaissance attitudes toward science and fantastical sea creatures, work that arose from her research in the 2012-13 Society of Scholars at the Simpson Center.

From the article “Renaissance Europe Was Horrified by Reports of a Sea Monster That Looked Like a Monk Wearing Fish Scales”:

The sea creatures serve as a window into Renaissance scholarship and the history of scientific inquiry, along with an animals’ place in the Anthropocene world, says Mackenzie.

The fervent interest in the sea monk and other creatures in the 16th century indicates that scientific inquiry was a serious business. “We might look at these images today and find them quaint, amusing, superstitious, or fantastical—proof of how ‘unscientific’ Renaissance science was,” says Mackenzie.

But, she argues in a recent chapter about the sea monk and sea bishop in the book Animals and Early Modern Identity, that those inquiries deserve more respect. “What I was trying to do with this chapter was to ‘call out’ our own tendency to not take these creatures seriously as sites of investigation,” Mackenzie says.

Louisa also co-led, with María Elena García (Comparative History of Ideas), the Simpson Center collaboration Intersectional Animal Studies from 2014 to 2016.

Congratulations, Louisa!

Jaime Cardenas at seminar tableJaime Cárdenas, Jr. (History, Seattle Central College), is in residence at the Simpson Center for the Humanities during Fall Quarter 2016, where he is focusing on a number of projects related to digital pedagogy. He was awarded a competitive sabbatical by the Seattle District Colleges.

In summer 2016, Cárdenas attended the Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI) at the University of Victoria, where he studied critical pedagogy and digital praxis with Jesse Stommel and Chris Friend.

In collaboration with Anne McGrail (English, Lane Community College, Eugene, Oregon), Cárdenas is also co-authoring an entry in a Modern Language Association Commons project titled “Digital Pedagogy: Keywords” on the keyword “Community College.” Their work together began at the Simpson Center in September 2015, during a workshop of the Reimagining the Humanities PhD and Reaching New Publics program supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Cárdenas served as a faculty mentor to UW doctoral students and McGrail was invited to present on her work as a national leader in bringing digital humanities to community colleges.

Congratulations, Jaime and Anne!

MoskalikJanice Moskalik (Philosophy) has accepted a position as Instructor at Seattle University after defending her PhD dissertation this past August. Janice was awarded two fellowships through the Simpson Center’s Reimagining the Humanities PhD and Reaching New Publics program in the past year.

As a Mellon Fellow for Reaching New Publics in the Humanities, Janice spent much of 2015-16 at Seattle Central College, shadowing a mentor, William Harms, PhD, in teaching classes and developing a new course for two-year colleges, “Philosophy for Children.”

As a Mellon Summer Fellow for Public Projects in the Humanities, Janice worked to expand access to philosophy by connecting the UW Center for Philosophy for Children, Seattle Central College and its students, and K-12 students in Seattle Public Schools. The fellowship also provided support for her scholarship on doing philosophy with children.

At Seattle University, Janice teaches courses that explore questions in ethics, including ethics in health care and questions about the nature of being a person. She also looks forward to connecting interested SU students with the University of Washington’s Philosophers in the Schools Program.

“All of my teaching here at SU aims to incorporate the University's mission, which includes educating the whole person and empowering leaders for a just and humane world,” she said. “I think a philosophical education helps to do this in many ways, and doing philosophy with children works toward this same end.”

Congratulations, Janice!

NovetzkeChristian Lee Novetzke (Jackson School of International Studies) has published a new book, The Quotidian Revolution: Vernacularization, Religion, and the Premodern Public Sphere in India (Columbia, 2016), about the cultural politics surrounding the rise of Marathi literature in 13th-century India.

He co-authored another new book, Amar Akbar Anthony: Bollywood, Brotherhood, and the Nation, with William Elison (Religion, University of California, Santa Barbara) and Andy Rotman (Buddhist and South Asian Studies, Smith College), about a beloved Bollywood film. The book  unpacks the social politics of the 1977 blockbuster, emulating the playful spirit of the film.

“Here is a scholarly work about a popular film that also tries to mimic something of the film’s controlled lunacy, winking at itself every now and again,” says a review in The Hindu.

Christian and his co-authors dressed in the same disguises the film characters wear at the end of the film for a book celebration at the Annual Conference on South Asia at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 2015.

Amar Akbar Anthony actors and book authors

More from the publisher:

Delighting audiences with its songs and madcap adventures, the film follows the heroics of three Bombay brothers separated in childhood from their parents and one another. Beyond the freewheeling comedy and camp, however, is a potent vision of social harmony, as the three protagonists, each raised in a different religion, discover they are true brothers in the end. William Elison, Christian Lee Novetzke, and Andy Rotman offer a sympathetic and layered interpretation of the film’s deeper symbolism, seeing it as a lens for understanding modern India’s experience with secular democracy.

Christian is an organizer, with Sunila Kale (Jackson School of International Studies) and Sudhir Mahadevan (Comparative Literature, Cinema & Media) of the February 2017 conference The Intellectual...

Read more

Ruth MoonRuth Moon (Communication), a fifth-year PhD candidate, has received four fellowships to support her dissertation research on the work culture of journalists in Kigali, Rwanda.

The awards come from the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies, the UW Graduate School, the Department of Communication, and the Boren Fellowship initiative of the National Security Education Program. They will support her living in Kigali from winter through summer 2017.

“These grants will let me immerse myself in Rwandan journalism culture with an aim to understand how political and social elements impact the work journalists do,” she said. More from the Department of Communication.

For the last two years, Ruth has led the Simpson Center’s graduate research cluster on African Media and Materialities, which gathers students across disciplines “to avoid African essentialism and instead identify and celebrate the diversity of African voices effecting cultural stability and change.”

Congratulations, Ruth!

Eric AmesEric Ames, Professor and Chair of Comparative Literature, Cinema & Media, has published a new book on the Werner Herzog film Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972). His book, by the same name, is part of the Film Classics Series of the British Film Institute. From the publisher:

Appearing in 1972, Aguirre put Herzog on the map of world cinema. But the film's importance also derives from the young German director's tense, behind-the-scenes relationship with actor Klaus Kinski. Did Herzog really direct him at gunpoint? Did they plot each other's murder? The legends begin here …

In this groundbreaking book, Eric Ames reconstructs the film as an experiment in visualising the past from the viewpoint of the present. Aguirre is not a history film in the narrow sense, but it does engage a specific episode in the conquest of the New World, and it explores that history in terms of vision. Interweaving close analysis with extensive archival research, Ames explores Aguirre as a seminal film about the madness and hopelessness of Western striving. In addition, as an appendix, he offers for the first time a complete translation of an infamous, secretly recorded argument between Herzog and Kinski on the set.

Eric is the organizer of the Oct. 21-22, 2016, Simpson Center conference Teaching World Literature, which aims to lay the groundwork for a new undergraduate major at the UW. He is co-teaching, with Gary Handwerk (Comparative Literature, Cinema & Media), the Fall HUM microseminar for graduate students on the topic of “Teaching World Literature” which dovetails with the conference.

Eric is also the author of Ferocious Reality: Documentary according to Werner Herzog (2012).

Congratulations, Eric!

AguirreMichael Aguirre (History) and Angela Durán Real (Spanish & Portuguese Studies) have received public engagement fellowships from Imagining America, an organization promoting civic and community involvement by scholars and artists. The two received support to attend Imagining America’s annual conference (Oct. 6-8 in Milwaukee). They also join a year-long peer-organized collective through the organization’s Publicly Active Graduate Education (PAGE) initiative.

Durán Real Elyse Gordon (Geography), a previous fellow, serves as a co-director of the PAGE initiative. All three doctoral students are fellows in the UW Certificate in Public Scholarship, which has a history of sending students to attend and speak at Imagining America events.

Michael and Angela each wrote posts for the PAGE blog salon about how public scholarship informs their work:

Congratulations, Michael, Angela, and Elyse!

Jane WongJane Wong, a doctoral candidate in English, has a new book, a poetry prize, and a teaching position that testify to her overlapping roles as poet and scholar. Jane joined Pacific Lutheran University as a Visiting Assistant Professor in September, teaching creative writing, Asian American studies, and first-year writing.

Her first full-length book, Overpour, was recently published by Action Press. She has also received the 2016 Stanley Kunitz Memorial Prize from American Poetry Review for her poem "I Put On My Fur Coat,” which appears in the September/October issue and online. Jane’s poem “Thaw” was also included in Best American Poetry 2015.

Jane was a 2016 Digital Humanities Summer Fellow at the Simpson Center. Her ongoing project, Digital Interviews: The Poetics of Haunting in Asian American Poetry, gathers interviews with leading contemporary poets, along with text, video, and photography, to consider how social, historical, and political contexts “haunt” the work of contemporary Asian American poets in terms of content and form.

“These first-hand accounts, akin to an oral history archive, offer a more direct, public, and nuanced understanding of ‘haunting’ as a poetics,” she writes.

Congratulations, Jane!

Monica De La TorreMonica De La Torre (Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies) has accepted a position as Assistant Professor in Media & Expressive Culture in Arizona State University’s School of Transborder Studies following the completion of her PhD this spring.

Monica is a fellow in the Certificate in Public Scholarship program, incubated at the Simpson Center, and served as a graduate student representative for the program's steering committee. Her portfolio project, an online digital archive on Chicana/o community radio with advisors John Vallier (UW Libraries) and Susan Harewood (Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, UW Bothell), has grown into a remarkable digital scholarship project that she will continue at Arizona State.

Monica has also been involved with the Simpson Center as a HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory) Scholar and a Digital Research Summer Institute Fellow. She has also contributed to the Women Who Rock oral history and public scholarship project, led in part by Michelle Habell-Pallán (Gender, Women, & Sexuality Studies), her dissertation advisor.

Monica’s dissertation “Feminista Frequencies: Tuning-In to Chicana Radio Activism in the Pacific Northwest, 1975-1990,” took an innovative theoretical and methodological approach to community radio production from a Chicana feminist perspective.

Radio tower behind workers on pickup truck

At Arizona State, Monica will continue developing a pedagogy that centers radio and digital-media production as a form of knowledge production. She plans to collect more oral histories with Chicana/o public radio broadcasters while focusing specifically on the soundwork of these community-radio innovators.

“The Simpson Center was indispensable to my development as a public digital-humanities scholar,” Monica said. “I learned about the different iterations of intellectual communities across spaces in and outside academia. In particular, I love teaching radio podcasting and will develop a media lab to train undergraduates in media production at ASU.”

Congratulations, Monica!


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