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Simpson Center for the Humanities

2019-2020 Society of Scholars

Davinder Bhowmik (Associate Professor, Asian Languages and Literature)

Off Base:  The Rhetoric of Peace in Japan's Military Basetown Literature

This book concerns Japanese fiction in which the military base figures as a literary topos.  Close readings are supplemented by secondary literature on the impact military bases have had on their surroundings, from sexual violence to the erosion of local customs to pollution. Through these readings the manuscript shows the dangers that attend military base and points to a profound lack of security and safety in everyday life around the base town and the absence of an end to the postwar in Japan.


María Elena Garcia (Associate Professor, Comparative History of Ideas)

Landscapes of Death: Political Violence Beyond the Human in the Peruvian Andes

This ethnographic project reconsiders the period of political violence in Peru covered by the state-sponsored Truth and Reconciliation Commission (1980-2000) by exploring the impacts of state and insurgent violence on more-than-human life, including animals and Indigenous lands. Engaging Native epistemologies and ontologies, more-than-human entanglements, and the politics of memory, this project examines how multi-species agents and victims of violence experienced and represented the years of terror in Peru.


Jenna Grant (Assistant Professor, Anthropology)

Fixing the Image: Medical Imaging in Phnom Penh

Fixing the Image examines recent accounts of technology, images, and medicine by way of a detailed ethnography of medical imaging in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Playing with multiple senses of the term ‘fix’, it explores practices of (self)definition, care, and repair of health, health systems, and the nation. The tempo of techno-modernity, the abrupt making present and absent of technologies in Cambodia, is significant for how imaging services have been taken up unevenly and with ardor.


Belinda He (PhD Candidate, Comparative Literature, Cinema, & Media)

The Invention of Hostile Views:  Class Struggle, Exposure, and Cinema as Show Trial in Revolutionary China, 1925-1985

Whereas most existing studies take for granted the practices associated with class struggle, my dissertation traces an alternative history of how class struggle was made in China. Drawing on archives, fieldwork, and an audiovisual corpus, the project explores the mass production of hostile views—penal spectacles, hate images, antagonistic ideologies, and encounters of watching-as-judging. I argue that the mutual constitution of image and justice, upon which class struggle was legitimized and in effect produced everyday violence.


Jang Wook Huh (Assistant Professor, American Ethnic Studies)

Transpacific Encounters: Race and Radicalism in the Making of "Afro-Korean" Literature

My project traces the significant alliance between African American and Korean writers in the twentieth century. Drawing on a diverse range of archives, including U.S. missionary documents, declassified government files, and military records, as well as literary and cultural texts, my project argues for political connections between black liberation struggles in the United States and anticolonial movements in Korea that resisted Japanese colonization (1910-1945) and U.S. military intervention (1945-1953). By bridging African American and Korean studies, I show how minority writers constituted a liberal modernity for human freedom through shared notions of dispossession.


Ray Jonas (Professor, History)

Borderlands: A Global History of the Mexican Second Empire

The Mexican Second Empire was established following a European invasion of Mexico in 1862, led by the armed forces of Britain, France, and Spain and exploiting the distraction of the American Civil War. Although the Empire was ephemeral – it collapsed in 1867 – its history underlines issues that proved durable. Borderlands situates the Empire within European anxieties about Manifest Destiny and the continental scale of the American Republic, as well as a racial vision of Latin America at the mercy of Yankee aggression. Throughout, the Empire served as the guardian of a modernizing settler colonialism; in its twilight months, the Empire served as a haven for Confederate refugees and the plantation economy.


Adrian Kane ( PhD Candidate, History)

Narrating Sex: Transitional Bodies and "Expertise" in the British Empire and Commonwealth, 1945-1970

My project examines the history of "sex change" in the British Empire and Commonwealth during the mid-twentieth century, exploring the medical and bureaucratic processes involved in transitioning from one sex designation to another, as well as the way trans people’s access to these technologies was affected by race, class, ability, and geography. By attending to the historical diversity of these experiences of transition, it seeks to complicate contemporary trans-historical understandings of “gender identity.”


LaTaSha Levy (Assistant Professor, American Ethnic Studies)

Race Matters in the GOP

Race Matters in the GOP explores a dramatic shift in Black Republican politics from liberal to conservative in the aftermath of the Civil Rights Movement. Using presidential archives and organizational records, I explore Black Republican strategies to advocate African American interests within a Republican framework as conservatives clamored for power within the GOP. I argue that the cultivation of Black political conservatives in the 1980s and beyond represented a radical break from a longstanding tradition of Black Republican advocacy for civil rights and racial equality.


Laurie Marhoefer (Associate Professor, History)

Homosexuality, Transgender, Fascism, and the Holocaust: A New History

The first English-language academic book on the Nazi persecutions of gay men, lesbians, and transgender people.


Rae Paris (Assistant Professor of Creative Writing, English)

Third Person/She

Third Person/She will be a multi-genre collection that documents the multi-layered, revolutionary joy and resistance of Black girls' and womxn's reading practices in the face of historical and ongoing harm.


Priti Ramamurthy (Professor, Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies)

The Country and the City: Poetic Lives in India's Informal Economy

Poetic Lives will be a general audience book on the lived experiences and desires of women and men, many from subordinated caste groups, who toil in India's cities even as they remain enmeshed in on-going lives in their villages. It brings humanistic insights to bear on the resolutely economistic social science scholarship on informal economies based on over a hundred oral history interviews with poor urban migrants in Delhi and Hyderabad, trips back to their villages, key informant interviews, photographs and mental maps.


Joel Alden Schlosser (CHCI-ACLS Visiting Fellow in Residence)

Refusing Mere Existence

“Refusing Mere Existence” explores how the philosophical asceticism developed by Cynics, Stoics, and Epicureans in antiquity might inform a broader politics of refusal today. Refusal has become a keyword in contemporary movements including Occupy, Black Lives Matter, and Idle No More. Focusing on reshaping the bodies and souls of participants toward more abundant life, philosophical asceticism links ethical concerns with the self to political concerns with the collective. Intentional practices like friendship, writing, and free speaking cultivated alternative social and political spaces, languages, and subjects rather than simply withdrawing. Ancient asceticism offers today’s movements new bodily and ethical practices to free subjects and collectives from domination.


Lily Shapiro (PhD Candidate, Anthropology)

(Re)Constructing the Body: Factory Accidents and Reconstructive Surgery in South India

My project explores reconstructive plastic surgeries that occur as the result of factory accidents in South India. Occupational injuries have been explored in headlines news as well as the academy mainly with an emphasis on catastrophic industrial accidents, eliding the fact that these incidents, far from being extraordinary, are built into the normal conditions of factory labor. How is the laboring body both constructed and reconstructed through hand and arm injuries and their attendant surgeries? Using ethnographic techniques, I examine the relations between the body, work, and care, revealing how capitalism depends not only on the consumption of bodies in labor, but also on their rehabilitation. Invigorating the accident itself as an important analytic lens, I rethink existing understandings of the laboring body, the stakes of occupational injury, and daily practices of labor and care.


Christopher B. Teuton (Cherokee Nation) ᏃᏱ ᏍᏚᎢᏍᏗ (Professor and Chair, American Indian Studies)

ᎠᏂ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎡᎶᎯ ᎠᏁᎯ Ani Tsalagi Elohi Anehi - Cherokee Earth Dwellers