Society of Scholars
The Society of Scholars is an intellectual community of humanists of diverse generations, academic ranks, and departmental affiliations who contribute to and learn from one another’s work. Each year, approximately eight faculty and three dissertation research fellowships support members of the Society of Scholars. Scholars in year-long residence at the University of Washington may be invited to participate as well. The group meets biweekly throughout the year to discuss their research in progress.
2023 - 2024 Society of Scholars
2023 - 2024 Society of Scholars Fellow
Or Vallah (she/her/hers)
"I live in hell and paint its pictures": Bringing a Disability Studies Perspective to Early Modern Art-Making
This dissertation focuses on sixteenth-century Italy to expose the role of artists’ embodied experiences in shaping art as a profession and its role in creating artists' shared identity. This project draws on disability studies and affect theory, arguing that centering the artist’s body and its transformation through its interaction with art-making technologies will produce new knowledge about the profession of art as an identity category and about art-making as a way of being and becoming. It will center the artists’ engagement with their bodyminds – a term used in disability studies to resist the Western traditions of mind-body dualism – as reflected from visual and written sources concerned with art-making, focusing on the artists' fear of impairments as a concern of losing their sense of identity. By exploring wide-ranging images and textual representations of artmaking, this research shows how the ideology of ability impacted the shaping of the artists’ professional identity, promoting a model of hyper-ability reflected in the idealism of extreme productivity and intellectual capabilities.