Heyman Center Fellows

Eligibility Tenure and Tenure-Track Faculty/Post-MPhil Graduate Students
Status Application Period Closed
Next Application Cycle TBD

Funded by the Office of the Executive Vice-President of the Arts & Sciences, the Heyman Center Fellowship provides Columbia faculty with course relief during the academic year to allow time for research and to participate in a weekly seminar. In addition to providing the opportunity to present work-in-progress, the seminar fosters discussion across disciplines and fields, creating opportunities for collaborative research and teaching in future semesters.

I’m so pleased that the Heyman Center played a role in the year that saw me complete my doctoral studies and start my faculty career, and am thrilled that so many of the Fellows will continue to challenge and enrich me as colleagues.

Application

Overview

Applications for the 2021-2022 cycle are now closed. Upcoming application cycles will be announced at the beginning of the academic year.

These yearlong fellowships reduce teaching loads to a minimum of one course per semester during the award year, freeing up time for Fellows to conduct research and to participate in a regular weekly seminar. Four post-MPhil graduate students Fellows also participate and receive a $5,000 research allowance.

Fellows must submit a report on their activities as a Heyman Center Fellow within six weeks of the end of the spring term

Eligibility

Faculty fellowships are open to all Columbia and Barnard tenured and tenure-track faculty in fields that align with the SOF/Heyman mission.

Graduate fellowships are open to Columbia post-MPhil graduate students in fields that align with the SOF/Heyman mission.

Requirements

Applicants are required to submit the following:

1

Cover Letter

Give a brief description (200 words) of the project, a brief schedule for completion, and comment on why participation in a weekly interdisciplinary seminar at this point in your research would be particularly beneficial.

2

Research Proposal

1500 words

3

Curriculum Vitae

Please include a section on departmental and university service.

4

Letters of Recommendation

Graduate student applicants only. Two letters of recommendation.

Submission Guidelines

Applications must be submitted as a single Word or PDF document, containing all materials noted above (excluding letters of recommendation—for graduate students only). Label the file thus: Last Name, First Name—HCH Fellowship 2021-22 (e.g., “Hamilton, Alexander—HCH Fellowship 2021-22”)

Recommendations for graduate student applications for the Heyman Center Fellowship must also be submitted by recommenders directly as a Word or PDF document, labeled as above (e.g., “Recommendation for Hamilton, Alexander—HCH Fellowship 2021-22”)

Send the application file as an attachment in an email to: [email protected].

Please do not send via Interfolio or similar services.

Fellows

2020-2021

Denise Cruz
Senior Faculty Fellow
English and Comparative Literature

Denise Cruz uses spatial and geographic formations (from the transpacific, to the regional, to the Global South) to examine previously unstudied archives (from the first works of English literature by Filipina and Filipino authors, to private papers that document connections between the Midwest and U. S. empire, to fashion shows in Manila). Her first book, Transpacific Femininities: the Making of the Modern Filipina received an honorable mention for the best book in Literary Studies (Association for Asian American Studies). A Ford Foundation predoctoral, dissertation, and postdoctoral fellow, she is the editor of Yay Panlilio’s The Crucible: The Autobiography of Colonel Yay, Filipina American Guerrilla and has published essays in American Literature, American Quarterly, American Literary History, PMLA, the Journal of Asian American Studies, Modern Fiction Studies, and several edited collections. During the Heyman Center Fellowship, Cruz worked on her book project, Made in the Philippines: Global Fashion and the New Silk Road (under contract with Duke University Press).


Nicholas Dames
Senior Faculty Fellow
English and Comparative Literature

Nicolas Dames is the author of Amnesiac Selves: Nostalgia, Forgetting, and British Fiction, 1810-1870 (Oxford, 2001), which was awarded the Sonya Rudikoff Prize by the Northeast Victorian Studies Association; and The Physiology of the Novel: Reading, Neural Science, and the Form of Victorian Fiction (Oxford, 2007). He writes on contemporary fiction and other topics for The Atlantic, n+1, The Nation, New Left Review, The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, and Public Books, where he is co-Editor in Chief. His scholarly articles have appeared in Representations, Novel, Nineteenth-Century Literature, Narrative, and Victorian Studies, as well as several edited volumes. His project, “A Literary History of the Chapter,” studies the development of the chapter—as a literary form and as an aspect of book design— over two millennia, from the textual cultures of late antiquity, particularly the editorial and scribal practices of early Christianity, to the modern novel.


Susan Pedersen
Senior Faculty Fellow
History

Susan Pedersen, Gouverneur Morris Professor of History, specializes in British history, the British empire, comparative European history, and international history. Her book about the League of Nations and its impact on the imperial order, The Guardians: The League of Nations and the Crisis of Empire, appeared from Oxford University Press in summer 2015. In 2014, Pedersen founded a graduate training collaboration in Twentieth-Century British history with Guy Ortolano of NYU and Peter Mandler of Cambridge University. PhD students working in this field participate in regular dissertation workshops and book discussions across all three institutions. During her Heyman Fellowship, she began her book project, “Family Affairs: The Balfours in Love and Politics,” a history of marriage, as an elite sexual, emotional and political institution, in Britain in the period from the 1880s to the 1920s. The project traces how elite marriage ceases in that period to be a pillar of the political order and instead becomes a private and affective tie.


Camille Robcis
Senior Faculty Fellow
History

Camille Robcis specializes in modern European intellectual history, with a focus on nineteenth- and twentieth-century France. Her interests have circled around three issues: the historical construction of norms, the intellectual production of knowledge, and the articulation of universalism and difference in modern French history. Robcis is the author of The Law of Kinship: Anthropology, Psychoanalysis, and the Family in France (Cornell University Press), which won the 2013 Berkshire Conference of Women Historians Book Prize. Her second book, Disalienation: Politics, Philosophy, and Radical Psychiatry in Postwar France, came out in 2021 with the University of Chicago Press. Robcis is currently working on a new project, tentatively titled The Gender Question: Populism, National Reproduction, and the Crisis of Representation in which she tries to make sense of the protests against the so-called “theory of gender” that have raged in various parts of the world since the 1990s, especially in their conceptual links to populism.


Elizabeth Leake
Senior Faculty Fellow
Italian

Elizabeth Leake is professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Italian Department. Her research interests include Twentieth Century narrative and theatre, psychoanalytic, ideological, and disability studies in Italian literature, fascist Italy, Italian cinema, and early Danish cinema. She is a recipient of the Modern Language Association Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Publication Award for a Manuscript in Italian Literary Studies for her book The Reinvention of Ignazio Silone (2003) and The National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for College Teachers and Independent Scholars 2001. Her latest book, After Words: Suicide and Authorship in Twentieth Century Italy, was published in February 2011. Her current research project is a comparative study of representations of cognitive disability among American, Danish, and Italian poets; she is also co-authoring a book on Italian confino. During her fellowship, she worked on her book-length study examining Italian cinematic representations of women during the years 1922-1955.


Meredith Gamer
Junior Faculty Fellow
Art History and Archaeology

Meredith Gamer specializes in the visual and material culture of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Europe, with a focus on Britain and the British Empire. Her research and teaching interests include the relationship between art and violence, print culture, medical illustration, and representations of race and slavery. Provisionally titled “Picturing Reproduction in the Eighteenth-Century Anglo-American World,” her book project centers on the creation, reception, and afterlife of a single object, William Hunter’s Anatomy of the Human Gravid Uterus (London, 1774). In 2014, she co-curated the exhibition Figures of Empire: Slavery and Portraiture in Eighteenth-Century Atlantic Britain with Esther Chadwick and Cyra Levenson at the Yale Center for British Art. Gamer is the recipient of a 2018-2019 Faculty Mentoring Award from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Her work has been supported by fellowships and grants from the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA), Huntington Library, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, and Woodrow Wilson Foundation, among other institutions.


Mariusz Kozak
Junior Faculty Fellow
Music

Mariusz Kozak is the author of Enacting Musical Time: The Bodily Experience of New Music (Oxford University Press, 2019), in which he examines how listeners' understanding and experience of musical time are shaped by bodily actions and gestures. His research centers on the relationship between music, cognition, and the body. Kozak bridges experimental approaches from embodied cognition with phenomenology and music analysis, in particular using motion-capture technology to study the movements of performers and listeners. His articles have appeared in Music Theory Spectrum and Music Theory Online, among others. In 2020 he was one of the speakers at the Plenary Session of the Annual Meeting of the Society for Music Theory. His project, a monograph titled The Musical Computer, uses the metaphor of the brain as a computer to construct a critical history of the field of music cognition in the second half of the twentieth century.


Adam Leeds
Junior Faculty Fellow
Slavic Languages

Adam Leeds is an assistant professor in the Department of Slavic Languages and a scholar of late Soviet and post-socialist culture and society. His work is concerned with political rationalities and technologies of rule. During his Heyman Fellowship, Leeds worked on his book project, A Science for Socialism: Economic Theory, Political Epistemology, and Cold War Modernity, which offers a historical ethnography of the community of economists of Russia and the Soviet Union, the forms of knowledge they produced, and their political projects, from the end of the nineteenth century until the collapse of 1991-2. The genealogy of Moscow economics reveals a point of emergence and elaboration for alternative liberalisms and socialisms that illuminate both the limits and fecundity of the modern political imaginary. His future work will investigate the cultural life of liberalism in Putin's Russia.


Małgorzata Mazurek
Junior Faculty Fellow
History

Małgorzata Mazurek specializes in the modern history of Poland and East Central Europe. Her interests include history of social sciences, international development, social history of labor and consumption in twentieth-century Poland and Polish-Jewish studies. She has published Society in Waiting Lines: On Experiences of Shortages in Postwar Poland (Warsaw, 2010), which deals with history of social inequalities under state socialism, and articles on labor, consumption, and history of human and social sciences in twentieth-century east central Europe. Her current book project Economics of Hereness: The Polish Origins of Global Developmentalism 1918-1968 revises the history of developmental thinking by centering east-central Europe as the locality of innovations in economic thought in post-imperial Europe and the postcolonial world. In 2014-2018 she has also been a member of an international research project Socialism Goes Global: Cold War Connections between the ‘Second’ and ‘Third World’ 1945-1991 funded by the British Arts and Humanities Research Council.


Konstantina Zanou
Junior Faculty Fellow
Italian

Konstantina Zanou is Assistant Professor of Italian, specializing in Mediterranean Studies. Her research focuses on issues of intellectual and literary history, history of archeology, nationalism, and biography, with a special emphasis on Italy and Greece. She is also a student of modern diasporas and of the trajectories and ideas of people on the move. Her book Transnational Patriotism in the Mediterranean, 1800-1850: Stammering the Nation (Oxford University Press, 2018) won the 2019 Edmund Keeley Book Prize in Modern Greek History, the 2019 Marraro Prize in Italian History, and the 2020 Mediterranean Seminar Best Book Prize. She has also co-edited with Maurizio Isabella the volume Mediterranean Diasporas: Politics and Ideas in the Long Nineteenth Century (Bloomsbury 2016). Zanou's new book-project, tentatively titled Fragmented Lives, Reassembled Statues: The Cesnola Brothers and the Birth of Archeology explores the lives of Piedmontese brothers Luigi and Alessandro Palma di Cesnola (1832–1904 and 1840–1914).


Akua Banful
Graduate Student Fellow
English and Comparative Literature

Akua Banful is a PhD candidate in English and Comparative Literature. She received her AB from Princeton. Her dissertation, “The Hostile Tropics: Towards a Postcolonial Discourse of Climate,” explores the interaction between imperialism and the representations of tropical nature and life in tropical climates in examples from anglophone, francophone, and lusophone literatures. The tropics entered into the European episteme as a concept with markedly imperial valences. The idea of the tropics as hostile to the health of European men, and to their extractive and colonial designs by extension, was widely disseminated in travel narratives beginning in the sixteenth century, making its way into scientific discourse by the late nineteenth century through the disciplines of geography and tropical medicine. Banful’s dissertation uses a literary lens to take up the question of how the constellation of medical, geographic and philosophical ideas surrounding the tropics was employed to articulate the justifications for conquest, and the anxieties surrounding such a project.


Lotte Houwink ten Cate
Graduate Student Fellow
History

Lotte Houwink ten Cate is a PhD Candidate in the Department of History. She focuses on intellectual and legal history, western Europe, and the history of sexuality. Her particular interests include criminal law, feminist thought, and the interleafing of intimate and national history. Her dissertation charts the transatlantic feminist exposure of domestic and sexual violence as a social problem, and its intellectual, political, and legal afterlives in western Europe since 1970. Her work on Hannah Arendt has appeared in New German Critique, and chapters on the global intellectual history of feminist (sexual) politics are forthcoming in two edited collections. She is also co-editing two special journal issues: one on feminist theory and intellectual history, and the other on the global history of the Minority Question. Her work has been supported by i.a. the German Academic Scholarship Foundation, the American Historical Association, the New York Consortium for Intellectual History, the Central European History Society, the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, and Fulbright.


John Izzo
Graduate Student Fellow
Classics

John Izzo, a PhD candidate in the Department of Classics, focuses his studies on the literature, culture, and history of the Roman Republic. He is currently writing a dissertation that explores the intersection between the institution of slavery and Latin literature. Specifically, his work addresses the life, literary activities, and reception of Marcus Tullius Tiro, a slave and later freedman of the Roman statesman, Cicero. While pursuing his MA at the University of Notre Dame (after graduating from Bowdoin College), John wrote a thesis on Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura. More recently, John has written a Latin MPhil paper documenting allusions to Roman theater in Cicero’s philosophical dialogues and identifying the importance of these allusions for understanding Ciceronian philosophy and its place within Roman intellectual history. John has also worked extensively on Neo-Latin and colonialism. Of particular interest to him is the use of Latin by conquered people to “write back” to colonial powers.


Romero Dianderas
Graduate Student Fellow
Anthropology

Romero Dianderas is a PhD candidate in Anthropology. He is a politically and environmentally focused Peruvian anthropologist working on issues of state rainforest regulation and more-than-human politics and semiotics in the Amazon lowlands of Peru. His doctoral research examines both historically and ethnographically the technical and bureaucratic infrastructures through which the Peruvian state has produced and managed rainforest information in the Amazonian region of Loreto, Peru's largest, less populated and most isolated region. He pursues this analysis by following engineers and bureaucrats in charge of producing and maintaining such modes of information. As he joins their daily activities across rainforests, bureaucratic offices and other settings, he seeks to meditate upon what information becomes during their encounters with a variety of human and nonhuman beings, including unauthorized loggers, forest concessionaires, timber businessmen, indigenous leaders, creeks and trees.

2019-2020

Zainab Bahrani
Senior Faculty Fellow
Art History

Zainab Bahrani earned her MA and PhD degrees in a joint program of Ancient Near Eastern and Greek art and archaeology at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. She is the Edith Porada Professor of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University. Bahrani is the author and editor of twelve books, including Women of Babylon (Routledge, 2001) and The Graven Image: Representation in Babylonia and Assyria (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003). Her 2014 book, The Infinite Image: Art, Time and the Aesthetic Dimension in Antiquity (Reaktion/University of Chicago Press) won the Lionel Trilling Book prize. Bahrani has written more than fifty articles and reviews on subjects ranging from ancient Near Eastern archaeology to contemporary art criticism in publications such as Art History, Art Journal, The Oxford Art Journal, and October. During her Heyman Center Fellowship, she worked on a project entitled “Landscape and Monumentality.”


Patricia Grieve
Senior Faculty Fellow
Latin American and Iberian Cultures

Patricia Grieve is the Nancy and Jeffrey Marcus Professor of the Humanities at Columbia. She focuses on Medieval Spanish and comparative literature, along with Golden Age literature. Grieve’s publications include The Eve of Spain: Myths of Origins in the History of Christian (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009), Muslim and Jewish Conflict, Desire and Death in the Spanish Sentimental Romance, 1440-1550 (Juan de la Cuesta Hispanic Monographs, 1987), ‘Floire and Blancheflor’ and the European Romance (Cambridge University Press, 1997; paperback, 2006), and articles in MLN, Hispanic Review, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, and Romance Quarterly. During her time as a Heyman Center Fellow, Grieve worked on a project then called “The Mediterranean and Transatlantic Worlds of Flores y Blancaflor,” in which she argues that Flores y Blancaflor reflects 16th-century Spain’s historical context of Christian-Muslim conflict and co-existence, and Mediterranean conflict, especially the slave trade.


Stephanie McCurry
Senior Faculty Fellow
History

Stephanie McCurry, R. Gordon Hoxie Professor of American History in Honor of Dwight D. Eisenhower, specializes in the American Civil War and Reconstruction, the nineteenth century United States, the American South, and the history of women and gender. Her recent work focuses on the epic human drama of Reconstruction in the U.S. and the comparative history of postwar societies and processes of reconstruction in the 19th and 20th centuries. Her publications include Women’s War: Fighting and Surviving the American Civil War (Harvard University Press, 2019), Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War South (Harvard University Press, 2012), and Masters of Small Worlds: Yeoman Households, Gender Relations and the Political Culture of the Antebellum South Carolina Low Country (Oxford University Press, 1995). During her Heyman Center Fellowship, McCurry worked on a research project about postwar experience, “Postwars: Reconstructing Lives Amidst the Ruins, United States, 1865-1918.”


Deborah Steiner
Senior Faculty Fellow
Classics

Deborah Steiner received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Harvard, Oxford and the University of California at Berkeley. She has taught at Columbia since 1994. Her research interests include Homeric poetry, the early symposium, choral dancing in art and poetry, and the archaic fable. Among her publications are books on representations of writing in archaic and classical Greece (The Tyrant's Writ; Princeton, 1994), the place of statues in the Greek literature, philosophy and religion (Images in Mind; Princeton 2001), and a commentary on books 17 and 18 of The Odyssey (Cambridge, 2010); her articles include several discussions of Aeschylus' Agamemnon, readings of the Greek iambic poets and the discourse of mockery and abuse, explorations of the interactions between Greek ritual and early Greek poetry, and analyses of images on early Greek vases. Her Heyman Center Fellowship research, “Choral Constructions,” concerned choral performances in the art, texts, technology and social practices of archaic and early classical Greece.


Charly Coleman
Junior Faculty Fellow
History

Charly Coleman, associate professor, specializes in the European Enlightenment and the French Revolution, with a particular emphasis on the intersections between religion, philosophy, and political economy. His latest monograph, which he worked on during his Heyman Center Fellowship, The Spirit of French Capitalism: Economic Theology in the Age of Enlightenment (Stanford, January 2021), uncovers a distinctly Catholic ethic of commodity culture that—in contrast to Weber’s famous “Protestant ethic”—privileged the marvelous over the mundane, consumption over production, and the pleasures of enjoyment over the rigors of delayed gratification. He is also the author of The Virtues of Abandon: An Anti-Individualist History of the French Enlightenment (Stanford, 2014), which was awarded the 2016 Laurence Wylie Prize in French Cultural Studies. His research on personhood and property has appeared in The Journal of Modern History, Modern Intellectual History, French Historical Studies, and various edited volumes.


Hannah Farber
Junior Faculty Fellow
History

Hannah Farber specializes in the political economy of colonial North America, the early American republic, and the Atlantic World. Her manuscript, Underwriters of the United States, completed while a Heyman Fellow, is under contract with the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture. It explains how the transnational system of marine insurance, by governing the behavior of American merchants, influenced the establishment and early development of the American republic. Additional research interests include early modern globalization and the visual and material culture of ocean commerce. Early-stage projects include a cultural history of interest rates and a study of commercial property marks as phenomena with visual, material, and legal aspects. Farber is a frequent co-organizer of the Columbia University Seminar on Early American History and Culture and currently a 2020-2021 National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow at the New-York Historical Society.


Aubrey Gabel
Junior Faculty Fellow
French

Aubrey Gabel (PhD, UC Berkeley) is a specialist in 20th- and 21st-century French and Francophone literature, culture, and film. Before moving to Columbia, she taught at the University of California, Davis, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Colorado, Boulder, and Paris VII. Her fields of research include formal experimentation and literary ludics, literary groups and avant-gardes, sociologies of literature, gender and sexuality studies, translation studies, and visual culture (especially comics and graphic novels). During her fellowship, she worked on her book project, “Not So Secret: The Practice of French Literary Groups,” which offers an ethnography of secrecy in 20th- and 21st-century literary groups and avant-gardes, arguing that many of these collectives were open secrets. She interrogates how intellectual groups as diverse as Acéphale, Surrealists, Oulipo, ‘Pataphysics, and Bourbaki performed their secrecy—through shared practices, group identity, intellectual and political engagement, and publications—and to what ends.


Danielle Drees
Graduate Student Fellow
English and Comparative Literature, Theatre

Danielle Drees is a doctoral candidate in Theatre with a certificate in Feminist Scholarship. Danielle graduated summa cum laude with an AB in English and a citation in Spanish from Harvard College in 2012. She completed her MPhil in Renaissance Literature at the University of Cambridge in 2013 before holding a year-long Writing Fellowship at New York University Abu Dhabi. Her research focuses on gender and labor in dramatic literature from the early modern period to the 21st century, with particular interests in global theatre and performance post-1945 and in the forms of backstage care labor underpinning theatrical production. Her research project, “Staging Sleep,” examines sleep in a wide range of performance forms, including experimental plays and opera, collaborative performance art, and global Shakespeare production, drawing on live performances and archival material from Europe, North America, Central Africa, and East Asia.


Ibrahim El Houdaiby
Graduate Student Fellow
Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies

Ibrahim El Houdaiby, a former associate fellow at The German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), is a political researcher and author. He worked as a senior researcher at the House of Wisdom Foundation for Strategic Studies in Cairo. As a graduate of the American University in Cairo (2005), he holds a BA in political science and an MA in political science and development studies (2012). He also earned a diploma in Islamic studies and an MA in Islamic Sharia from the High Institute of Islamic Studies. During his Heyman Center Fellowship, he worked on the project, “A Corporate Route: The Suez Canal Company as Government,” which considers two intertwined questions; first is the relationship between sovereignty, government, and corporate power; second is the relationship between debt, corporations and (colonial) government.


Brianna Nofil
Graduate Student Fellow
History

Brianna Nofil is a doctoral candidate in U.S. History. She received BAs in History and Public Policy Studies from Duke University and specializes in the history of immigration and the criminal justice system. During her tenure as a Heyman Fellow, she completed and defended her dissertation, “Detention Power: Jails, Camps, and the Origins of Immigrant Incarceration,” which examines the use of carceral sites in the enforcement of immigration law, from borderland jails used to enforce the Chinese Exclusion Act in the 1900s to extraterritorial detention sites created to control Caribbean migration in the 1990s. This project explores how evolving ideas about punishment, discretionary power, and due process shaped the state’s power to detain immigrants across the 20th century. Her research has also received support from the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South, the Goizueta Foundation at the University of Miami Cuban Heritage Collection, and the University of Chicago.


James Purcell
Graduate Student Fellow
History

James Purcell is a PhD candidate in the History department studying the legal, institutional, and intellectual history of late Antiquity and early medieval Europe. During the Heyman Center Fellowship, he made substantial progress on his dissertation, “Parsing Truth in Merovingian Gaul: Evidence and the Early Medieval Critic,” which addresses how people distinguished truth from falsehood in a set of post-Roman kingdoms occupying much of France and western Germany from c. 450 to 751. Using Merovingian saints’ lives, legal documents, law codes, letters, and theological and philosophical texts, he considers how people and institutions navigated the possibility that information might be presented with the intent to deceive, or might just be wrong. He is also interested in the historiographical phenomenon of “premodern” rationality, a category found in literature on belief, the law of proof, and the history of science, and applied to many times and places, though associated particularly strongly with early medieval Europe.


Miriam Schulz
Graduate Student Fellow
Germanic Languages

Miriam Schulz completed her BA in Judaic Studies followed by an MA in Modern Judaism and Holocaust Studies at Freie Universität Berlin. She is pursuing her PhD in Yiddish Studies, and her main interests are modern cultural and intellectual history of Jews in Eastern European generally, and in the Soviet Union specifically, as well as Holocaust Studies. Her first book Der Beginn des Untergangs: Die Zerstörung der jüdischen Gemeinden in Polen und das Vermächtnis des Wilnaer Komitees was published by Metropol (Berlin) in November 2016. For her monograph, Miriam was awarded both the “Scientific Award of the Polish Ambassador in Germany” and the “Hosenfeld/Szpilman Memorial Award.” During the Heyman Center Fellowship, she worked on her dissertation, which posits the Soviet Yiddish discourse on the Holocaust as an intertextual antifascist and cross-bloc cultural dialogue with the power to challenge the terms of Holocaust historiography.

2018-2019

Ayten Gündoğdu
Senior Faculty Fellow
Political Science, Barnard

Ayten Gündoğdu is Associate Professor of Political Science at Barnard College-Columbia University. She is a political theorist whose research centers on modern and contemporary political thought, critical approaches to human rights and humanitarianism, politics of asylum and immigration, and contemporary transformations of citizenship, sovereignty, and law. Gündoğdu is the author of Rightlessness in an Age of Rights: Hannah Arendt and the Contemporary Struggles of Migrants (Oxford, 2015). During her fellowship, she worked on a manuscript centering on migrant deaths arising from increasingly lethal border control policies. The project examines how and why these deaths are attended by various forms of legal, political, and social non-recognition. She suggests that existing legal and political frameworks (including international human rights norms) relegate migrants to the status of non-persons in life and in death, and their precarious status reveals the often racialized divisions and hierarchies that continue to mark even the universalistic formulations of rights and personhood.


Theodore Hughes
Senior Faculty Fellow
East Asian Languages and Cultures

Theodore Hughes received his PhD in modern Korean literature from the University of California, Los Angeles (2002). He is the author of, along with a long list of journal publications, the book Literature and Film in Cold War South Korea: Freedom’s Frontier (Columbia University Press, 2012), which won the James B. Palais Book Prize of the Association for Asian Studies. He is the co-editor of Intermedial Aesthetics: Korean Literature, Film, and Art (special issue of the Journal of Korean Studies, 2015) and Rat Fire: Korean Stories from the Japanese Empire (Cornell East Asia Series, 2013). During his Heyman Center Fellowship, Hughes significantly revised his second book, The Continuous War: Cultures of Division in Korea, which offers a cultural history of the Korean War and shows how portrayals of the 1950-53 war in Korea organize ways of experiencing, feeling, and seeing the Cold War across multiple sites. Professor Hughes is Director of The Center for Korean Research.


Matthew Jones
Senior Faculty Fellow
History

Matthew L. Jones is James R. Barker Professor of Contemporary Civilization at Columbia University. He specializes in the history of science and technology, focused on early modern Europe and on recent information technologies. He was a Guggenheim Fellow for 2012-13 and a Mellon New Directions fellow for 2012-15. As a Heyman Center Fellow, he worked on a project entitled, “Great Exploitations: Data Mining, Legal Modernization, and the NSA.” His publications include: “Improvement for Profit: Calculating Machines and the Prehistory of Intellectual Property,” in Mario Biagioli and Jessica Riskin, eds., Nature Engaged: Science in Practice from the Renaissance to the Present (2012); The Good Life in the Scientific Revolution (2006); and "Descartes's Geometry as Spiritual Exercise" (Critical Inquiry, 2001).


Katharina Volk
Senior Faculty Fellow
Classics

Katharina Volk, Professor of Classics and recipient of the Distinguished Columbia Faculty Award (2010-11), holds an MA from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich (1994) and a PhD from Princeton University (1999) and has been teaching at Columbia since 2002. A Latinist specializing in the literature of the late Republic and early Empire, she has a particular interest in intellectual history, Roman philosophy, and the social construction of knowledge. Volk is the author of The Poetics of Latin Didactic: Lucretius, Vergil, Ovid, Manilius (Oxford, 2002), Manilius and his Intellectual Background (Oxford, 2009; recipient of the 2010 Lionel Trilling Book Award), and Ovid (Malden, MA 2010). Her many articles range in topic from Homeric formula and Aratean letter play to Ciceronian poetry, Ovidian time, Senecan dramaturgy, Varronian (dis)order, and beyond. The Heyman Center Fellowship enabled her to work on the book project, “The Roman Republic of Letters: Scholarship, Philosophy, and Politics in the Age of Cicero and Caesar.”


Naor Ben-Yehoyada
Junior Faculty Fellow
Anthropology

Naor Ben-Yehoyada (MA, Tel Aviv University, 2005; PhD, Harvard University, 2011) is Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Columbia University. His work examines unauthorized migration, criminal justice, the aftermath of development, and transnational political imaginaries in the central and eastern Mediterranean. His book The Mediterranean Incarnate: Transnational Region Formation between Sicily and Tunisia since World War II, offers a historical anthropology of the recent re-emergence of the Mediterranean, as an example for the processes through which transnational regions form and dissipate. During his Heyman Center Fellowship, he worked on “Getting Cosa Nostra: Inquiry, Justice, and the Past in Southwest Sicily,” a book project focused on dynamics of reckoning and restitution, showing how epistemological conundrums transform the relationship between legal, illegal, quasi-legal, and extra-legal forms of social ordering.


T. Austin Graham
Junior Faculty Fellow
English and Comparative Literature

Austin Graham specializes in nineteenth and twentieth-century American literature, with an emphasis on modernism. He is the author of The Great American Songbooks: Musical Texts, Modernism, and the Value of Popular Culture (Oxford University Press, 2013). His work has appeared in ELH, American Literature, American Literary History, New Literary History, and other venues. Graham has been awarded fellowships by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The Heyman Center Fellowship allowed him to work on “The Unknowing of American History: U.S. Historical Fiction and the Incommunicable Past,” a meditation on twentieth-century historical fiction. His project argues that the major American historical novelists of the past hundred years have been preoccupied with explaining why certain aspects of American history have not been remembered, not been reckoned with, and not been known.


Eliza Zingesser
Junior Faculty Fellow
French

Eliza Zingesser is a specialist of medieval French and Occitan literature. She was formerly a Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge (2012-2013) and an Assistant Professor at the University of Ottawa (2013-2014). She is particularly interested in issues of cultural and linguistic contact, gender and sexuality, and animal studies. Zingesser is the author of Stolen Song: How the Troubadours Became French, and her articles have appeared in journals such as Modern Philology, MLN, and New Medieval Literatures. Her Heyman Center project, “Borderlands: Intercultural Encounters in the Medieval Pastourelle,” shows how pastoral literature became a privileged site for medieval French explorations of cultural and linguistic difference. During her fellowship, she also worked on “Eloquent Animals: Thinking Through Language in the Middle Ages,” which explores, on the one hand, theories of animals’ capacity for language as reflected and refracted in fictional texts, and, on the other, the way in which certain linguistic choices constrain thought about animals.


Karen Benezra
Junior Faculty Fellow
Latin American and Iberian Cultures

Karen Benezra earned her BA in Languages and Literature from Bard College and PhD in Romance Studies from Cornell University. Her research focuses on Latin American visual art, literature and social theory of the twentieth century as well as questions of sublimation, social form, and political subjectivation. Her book Dematerialization: Art and Labor in Latin America (University of California Press, 2020), focuses on art, industrial design, and aesthetic theory from the 1960s and 70s in an effort to show that the sensual materiality of the art and design object becomes the space in which to explore art and design's changing relationship to capitalism. During the Heyman Center Fellowship, she worked on a book project that studies the relationship between political subjectivity and capitalist subsumption in social and psychoanalytic theory in Latin America in the 1960s and 70s.


Liz Dolfi
Graduate Student Fellow
Religion

At the time of the fellowship, Liz Dolfi was a PhD Candidate in the Department of Religion working in the North American Religions subfield. She holds an MPhil, MA, and the IRWGS Graduate Certification in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Columbia University. She received her MA in Religion and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Yale Divinity School, and her BA in Religion and Women's Studies from Vassar College. Her primary research interests include American evangelicalism, Christian humanitarianism, contemporary secularisms, and evangelical heterosexualities. During her Heyman Center Felowship, she developed a few key parts of her dissertation “Restoring Broken Selves: Gender, Humanitarian Affects, and the Evangelical Anti-Sex Trafficking Movement,” a historical and ethnographic study of the Christian anti-human trafficking movement.


Alma Igra
Graduate Student Fellow
History

While working on her project, “Food Chains: Humans, Animals, and the British Empire in the Making of Nutrition Science, 1870-1945,” Alma Igra was a PhD candidate in the Department of History. She focuses on history of standards and ethical norms in the inter-war period, and how they relate to perceptions of the non-human environment. Alma graduated from Tel Aviv University in 2010 with a BA in History and Literature, and from the Central European University in 2012 with MA in nationalism studies. Her dissertation explores the emergence of nutritional science in the British Empire, and how studies of vitamins, calories and sufficiency came to redefine both ideas about nature and the human-animal divide. Her dissertation research was also supported by the Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine and by the Scottish Society of History of Medicine.


Paul Katz
Graduate Student Fellow
History

Paul Katz studies Latin American history, with a particular focus on the dictatorships and civil wars of the late twentieth century, and on the constructs of human rights and transitional justice that shape international perceptions of and approaches to these regimes. Before coming to Columbia, he completed his undergraduate degree in history and literature at Harvard and then studied social history at the National University of Luján in Buenos Aires, Argentina. During the Heyman Center Fellowship, Katz worked on his dissertation, titled “Transnational State Torture: Counterrevolutionaries and the Left in Southern South America, 1968-1985,” which explores the rise of transnational state torture and the efforts of the Left to resist and denounce it in southern South America in the 1970s. Looking principally to Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay, his dissertation asks how torture was understood by the security officials who deployed it and the revolutionaries who resisted and denounced it.


Warren Kluber
English and Comparative Literature, Theatre

During his fellowship, Warren Kluber was a doctoral candidate in the Theatre Subcommittee of the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. His Heyman Center project, “Dramaturgies in Anti-War Plays, 1918-2018,” integrated methods from theatre and performance studies to trace two related genealogies. His research focuses on war and medicine in modern and contemporary drama, and his dissertation, “Theatre of Operations / Operating Theatre,” studies anti-war theatre that has looked to medical models for new theatrical forms and strategies. Within an overarching phenomenological framework, and incorporating methods from cognitive science, affect theory, and lacanian psychoanalysis, Kluber details how these medical dramaturgies catalyze different spectatorial ways of knowing, feeling, and acting. And he argues for their exigency as representational tools for wrestling with the new rhetoric and reality of 21st-century asymmetric warfare. Kluber has published articles in Theatre Journal, The Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, and PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art.


Emily Rutherford
Graduate Student Fellow
History

Emily Rutherford was a fifth-year PhD candidate in History during her Heyman Center Fellowship. Before coming to Columbia, she received a BA in History at Princeton and an MPhil in Modern British and European History at Oxford. Her dissertation, “The Politics and Culture of Gender in British Universities, 1860–1935,” argues that during a key period of higher education expansion and reform, of democratization, and of women’s changing relation to the public sphere in Britain, gender was at the heart of how a variety of actors—faculty, students, administrators, donors, politicians, the media—imagined universities might operate internally and their increasingly significant relationship to government and the public sphere. She has published on gender and Greek in the culture of late-Victorian Oxford in the Journal of British Studies and on the intellectual history of male homosexuality in the Journal of the History of Ideas.

2017-2018

Rachel Adams
Senior Faculty Fellow
English and Comparative Literature

Rachel Adams is a writer and Professor of English and American Studies at Columbia University. She is the author of numerous academic articles and book reviews, as well as two books, Sideshow U.S.A.: Freaks and the American Cultural Imagination and Continental Divides: Remapping the Cultures of North America (both published by the University of Chicago Press). Her writing has also appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education and the Times of London. During her time in the Heyman Center Fellowship, she worked on her project entitled “Interdependencies: Narratives of Giving and Receiving Care.”


Brent Hayes Edwards
Senior Faculty Fellow
English and Comparative Literature

Brent Hayes Edwards is a Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature and the Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University, as well as the Director of the Scholars-in-Residence Program at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library. His research and teaching focus on topics including African American literature, Francophone literature, theories of the African diaspora, translation studies, archive theory, black radical historiography, cultural politics in Paris in the 1920s and 1930s, surrealism, experimental poetics, and jazz. Projects include the book Black Radicalism and the Archive, based on the Du Bois Lectures Edwards gave at Harvard in 2015; the restoration of Sweet Willie Rollbar’s Orientation (an experimental film made by Julius Hemphill and the Black Artists Group in 1972); a book on “loft jazz” in downtown Manhattan in the 1970s; and a study entitled "Art of the Lecture," which he worked on as a Heyman Center Fellow.


Robert Gooding-Williams
Senior Faculty Fellow
Philosophy

Robert Gooding-Williams holds appointments in both the Columbia Philosophy Department and the Institute for Research in African American Studies (IRAAS), where he is a member of the Core Faculty and founding director of the Center for Race, Philosophy, and Social Justice. During his Heyman Center Fellowship, he worked on “The Political Thought of Martin Delany.” His areas of research and teaching interest include Social and Political Philosophy (especially antiracist critical theory), the History of African-American Political Thought, 19th Century European Philosophy (especially Nietzsche), Existentialism, and Aesthetics (including literature and philosophy, representations of race in film, and the literary theory and criticism of African-American literature). Over the course of his career, Gooding-Williams has been awarded numerous fellowships, including an NEH Independent Scholars and College Teachers Fellowship, two Andrew Mellon Faculty Fellowships, and a Laurance S. Rockefeller Fellowship awarded by Princeton University’s University Center for Human Values.


Celia E. Naylor
Africana Studies, Barnard

Celia E. Naylor is an Associate Professor in Africana Studies and History at Barnard College, Columbia University. Her previously published work explores the multifaceted connections between African-Americans, Black Indians and Native Americans in the U.S. During her time as a Heyman Center Fellow, Naylor worked on a new project centered on the Rose Hall Plantation in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The core objectives for this project were three-fold— (1) a microhistory of enslaved people’s experiences in the first decades of the nineteenth century at the Rose Hall Plantation; (2) an interdisciplinary study of the ongoing legend of the “White Witch of Rose Hall” in selected twentieth- and twenty-first-century literary and cultural contexts in order to critique the racial, gendered, and classed politics of reconstructing slavery in the modern era; and (3) a public history project that provides the foundation for integrating information about enslaved people and slavery in the tours and materials at the Rose Hall Great House.


Matt Hart
Junior Faculty Fellow
English and Comparative Literature

Matt Hart specializes in twentieth and twenty-first century literature, with an emphasis on modernism, poetry, and contemporary British fiction. He is also interested in connections between literature and the visual arts and between literary history and political history. Matt's publications include Nations of Nothing But Poetry and, with Jim Hansen, Contemporary Literature and the State, a Special Issue of the journal Contemporary Literature. His book project, “Extraterritorial: A Political Geography of Contemporary Literature” during the Heyman Center Fellowship, focused on recent writers such as J. G. Ballard, Kazuo Ishiguro, Amitav Ghosh, and W. G. Sebald, especially upon the way their work emphasizes the fractured and pockmarked nature of present-day legal and political territoriality. Aspects of this project informed Hart's publication, The Extraterritorial Poetics of W. G. Sebald, which was co-authored with his graduate student, Tania Lown-Hecht, and published in Modern Fiction Studies in the summer of 2012.


Joseph A. Howley
Junior Faculty Fellow
Classics

Joseph A. Howley (Classics) holds a PhD in Classics (2011) and an M Litt in Ancient History (2007) from the University of St Andrews, and a BA (2006) in Ancient Studies from the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). He was a founding member of the Mellon-funded Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography at Rare Book School. During his Heyman Center Fellowship, Howley’s interests included the history of the book, media history from antiquity to the present, material text disciplines including codicology and bibliography, and the history of audio technology and digital scholarship. He worked on the material lives of ancient books, including the role of enslaved labor in Roman book culture, which provided the basis for his current book project, Slavery and the Roman Book.


Ana Paulina Lee
Latin American and Iberian Cultures

Ana Paulina Lee is assistant professor of Latin American and Iberian Cultures at Columbia. Her research interests intersect across the fields of literary and cultural studies, political theory, performance, and memory studies. During the Heyman Center Fellowship, she worked on “Mandarin Brazil,” a historical study of Asian racial representation and formation in the nineteenth and twentieth-century context of Sino-Brazilian relations. Lee was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Stone Center for Latin American Studies at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. She received a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Southern California, and holds an MA in Hispanic Literatures and Cultures from New York University in Madrid, Spain, a Pós-Graduação Lato Sensu em Cultura e Arte Barroca from the Federal University of Ouro Preto, Brazil, and a BA in Comparative Literature and Global Studies from SUNY Binghamton.


Dennis Tenen
Junior Faculty Fellow
English and Comparative Literature

​Dennis Tenen's research happens at the intersection of people, texts, and technology. His recent work appears on the pages of Amodern, boundary 2, Computational Culture, Modernism/modernity, Public Books, and LA Review of Books on topics that range from book piracy to algorithmic composition, unintelligent design, and history of data visualization. He worked on the book manuscipt “Author Function” during his Heyman Center Fellowship. Tenen teaches a variety of classes in fields of literary theory, new media studies, and critical computing in the humanities. He is a co-founder of Columbia's Group for Experimental Methods in the Humanities and author of the forthcoming Plain Text: The Poetics of Computation (Stanford University Press, 2017).​ For an updated list of projects, talks, and publications please visit dennistenen.com.


Robert Goodman
Graduate Student Fellow
Political Science

At the time of the fellowship, Rob Goodman was a PhD candidate in the department of Political Science at Columbia University. His dissertation, “Eloquence and Its Conditions,” focused on rhetoric and eloquence in the history of political thought. Before beginning graduate study at Columbia, Rob worked as speechwriter for House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Sen. Chris Dodd. He studied at Duke University (BA, English, 2005) and George Washington University (MA, Public Policy, 2011). Rob is the co-author of two books: A Mind at Play, a biography of Claude Shannon (Simon & Schuster, September 2017), and Rome's Last Citizen, a book on Cato the Younger and the Roman Republic (Thomas Dunne, 2012). His academic work has appeared in History of Political Thought (2016), The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy (2014), and the Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal (2010). He has also written for publications including Slate, The Atlantic, Politico, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.


Sean O'Neil
Graduate Student Fellow
History

Sean O’Neil was a doctoral candidate in the Department of History and the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University, where he studied the history of science in early modern Europe. His dissertation, “The Art of Signs: Symbolic Notation and Visual Thinking in Early Modern Europe, 1600–1800”, examines how the credibility of symbolic notations (e.g. algebraic symbolism, chemical formulae, stenography, etc.) was established during the Scientific Revolution, often despite trenchant critiques of their limitations. Prior to coming to Columbia, Sean earned bachelor’s degrees in linguistics and English literature at Truman State University in Missouri and a master's degree in folklore at the University of California, Berkeley. He also worked for five years as a high school instructor, teaching in the United States and Japan.


Anna K. Danziger Halperin
Graduate Student Fellow
History

While a Heyman Center Fellow, Anna K. Danziger Halperin was a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at Columbia University. She focuses on comparative social policy, gender, and childhood. Anna graduated from Barnard College in 2006 with a degree in History and Human Rights. Before returning to Columbia, she conducted research on U.S. child care policies and other related issues affecting low-wage working families during her employment with the Urban Institute and the Institute for Women's Policy Research. Her dissertation, “Education or Welfare? American and British Child Care Policy, 1965–2004” comparatively analyzes child care policy in Britain and the United States, interrogating conceptions of motherhood, child-rearing, and state interventions in the private realm. In 2017, Halperin published,"'Cinderella of the Education System': Margaret Thatcher's Plan for Nursery Expansion in 1970s Britain" in Twentieth Century British History.


Andrew Jungclaus
Graduate Student Fellow
Religion

Andrew Jungclaus entered Columbia’s doctoral program in Religion in 2012 after receiving his bachelor’s degree in American Studies and English Literature from the College of William and Mary (2009) and his master’s degree in Theology from the University of Oxford (2011). Before coming to Columbia, Andrew spent a year as a research associate at Harvard University’s Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research exploring the concept of theodicy within American civil rights struggles. Andrew's research focuses on the evolution of philanthropic models within a history of capitalism. He worked on “True Philanthropy: A Religious History of the Non-Profit Family Foundation” during his time as a Heyman Center Fellow.


JM Chris Chang
Graduate Student Fellow
East Asian Languages and Cultures

JM Chris Chang received his PhD in East Asian Languages and Cultures from Columbia University in 2018. His research focuses on issues of bureaucracy, archive, surveillance, and political culture in 20th century China. His project, “The Dossier: Archive and Ephemera in Mao’s China,” is a history of file-keeping and bureaucratic paperwork as understood through the dossier system, the socialist institution of comprehensive files on individual Chinese subjects. The project examines how the paper routines of the dossier consumed the bureaucratic profession and became the material for everyday political acts. His work utilizes what are known in the field as "garbage sources"—files previously discarded from official archives that have since resurfaced in book and paper markets. The use of this source base has informed a broader interest in the material culture and afterlife of government paper. His research has received support from the Social Science Research Council and the ACLS/Mellon Foundation.

2016-2017

Maja Horn
Senior Faculty Fellow
Spanish and Latin American Cultures (Barnard)

In the book manuscript “Queer Dominican Epistemologies,” Maja Horn addressed how contemporary Dominican artists, performers, and writers have introduced same-sex subjects and desires with great success to Dominican mainstream audiences, despite presumably high levels of homophobia in the country. This robust body of creative works has been largely overlooked in scholarship because it does not partake in familiar global LGBT discourses of identity, coming out, and pride. Horn offers an important corrective to the perceived relative absence of public expressions of same-sex desire in the Dominican Republic. Moreover, she suggests how the autochthonous strategies for making same-sex desire public in the works of nationally and internationally known artists, performers, and writers offer key cultural and political alternatives to the lingua franca of LGBT identity and sexual rights discourses.


Jean E. Howard
Senior Faculty Fellow
English and Comparative Literature

Jean Howard’s project, “Staging History: Forging the Body Politic,” examines the theatrical processes by which British and American playwrights stage local, national, and planetary histories, and in doing so create public understandings of who is part of these histories and on what terms. Exploring Shakespeare’s history plays as dynamic precursors of modern and contemporary stagings of national history, this book charts the various ways in which playwrights have defined the contours of the body politic by using the history play, where no struggle is more urgent than that over who will be included in this body politic. Staged history, by putting competing speakers into immediate conversation, vividly enacts the dynamics of social contestation. Howard explores the various ways in which the genre has been recast for the modern stage by playwrights such as Howard Brenton, Caryl Churchill, Tony Kushner, and Suzan-Lori Parks.


Nara Milanich
Senior Faculty Fellow
History

Nara Milanich’s book project, “The Birth of Uncertainty: Testing Paternity in the Twentieth Century,” was the first to explore the development of tests of biological parentage over the course of the twentieth century and their consequences for men, women, and children, states, and societies. In the 1920s, new advances in the science of heredity appeared poised to overthrow the principle “pater semper incertus est” (“the father is always uncertain”). Milanich’s research shows that even as parentage testing has purported to reveal essential biological truths, its social uses, public regulation, and cultural meanings have varied widely over time and across global societies. The technology to ascertain the tie of parent and child has also served to draw the boundaries of race and nation, as paternity testing was incorporated into welfare policies and immigration proceedings. In the age of modern biomedicine, definitions of kinship, identity, and belonging are as “uncertain” as ever.


Gauri Viswanathan
Senior Faculty Fellow
English and Comparative Literature

Gauri Viswanathan’s project was a full-length study of the Russian occultist Helena P. Blavatsky, focusing on how her reading of religious history helps unpack the heterodox content of modernist literary texts, especially those works that appear to waver between fantasy and reality and produce conflicting responses of belief and skepticism. Viswanathan’s larger aim in the project is to locate literature’s contradictory impulses in the occult experience of modernity in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These contradictions speak to the uncertainty about the status of knowledge affecting all aspects of life, including one’s relation to the worlds of spirit and matter. As a reflection of such ambiguity, literature not only opens the way to explorations of alternative modes of knowing and forms of consciousness, but it also unearths buried memories of another way of being in—and relating to—the world, without quite endorsing that perspective.


Manan Ahmed
Junior Faculty Fellow
History

The theoretical crux of Manan Ahmed’s book project “Universalizing Hindustan,” a work on philosophy of history, lay with the epistemic rupture brought about during the colonial period. How was Muslim production of history made partisan, theological or sophist and de-legitimized as intellectual production? What does a critical philosophy of history look like for contemporary South Asia? Unarguably history was, and remains, the most hegemonic of all social sciences for modern South Asia and “Universalizing Hindustan” seeks to answer the question of how that came to be. During his fellowship year as a Heyman Fellow, Ahmed made progress on his fourth chapter which focused on 19th century histories of Sindh (in Persian, Urdu, and Sindhi).


Tarik Amar
Junior Faculty Fellow
History

Tarik Amar’s fellowship at the Heyman Center helped him to complete most of the manuscript of his book “Screening the Invisible Front” (preliminary title), a cultural and political history of espionage narratives and television in the Soviet Union, Poland, and East Germany. “Screening” probes the history and legacies of three fictional spy heroes to explore Cold War and postwar popular culture in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, which produced a rich array of such fictional intelligence heroes; some of them became vastly popular. His study focuses on three cases, in the shape of highly successful television series made in the 1960s and ‘70s. Amar details what these films, little known in the (Cold War) West but very prominent in the (Cold War) East held in common, from their tropes, their relevance to both World War II and the Cold War, to their reception.


Catherine Fennell
Junior Faculty Fellow
Anthropology

Catherine Fennell's book project, "Ends of the House: Dereliction and Dreaming in Late Industrial Urban America” focused on the social and material aftermaths of the mortgaged home in the "Rustbelt." In late industrial urban America, derelict houses and the spaces between them incite fear, disgust, and frustration among those who must live and work with them. Yet Fennell's ongoing anthropological research reveals that as much as some seek to obliterate derelict houses, contain their wastes, and wipe remaining lots clean for future development, others approach them as objects of care, vigilance, even excitement. Through this book project, Fennell examined competing visions of collective flourishing and obligation gathering around houses in cities wracked by economic and ecological degradation. These visions, she argues, can illuminate the emerging shape of an increasingly urbanized world from the analytical vantage points of stasis and ecological disturbance, rather than those fixated on endless growth and the technological transcendence of environmental problems.


Marcus Folch
Junior Faculty Fellow
Classics

The Heyman Center Fellowship allowed Marcus Folch time to develop, conduct research for, and launch a book project, provisionally entitled “Bondage, Incarceration, and the Prison in Ancient Greece and Rome: A Cultural and Literary History.” This project was the first major study of the development of prisons in the Greco-Roman Mediterranean. It combines archaeological, epigraphic, historiographical, and legal evidence, to reappraise the place of prisons in Greek and Latin literature and culture; and it argues that prisons played a more vital role in ancient history, literature, and culture than has been recognized to date. By shedding new light on the Greco-Roman prison as it is attested diachronically in law and history, as it is imagined in ancient literature, and in light of the carceral practices of neighboring ancient societies, this project worked to offer a comprehensive reimagining of the history of incarceration and its significance for scholars and students of antiquity.


Natasha Lightfoot
Junior Faculty Fellow
History

Natasha Lightfoot is an Associate Professor in the Columbia University Department of History. She is the author of Troubling Freedom: Antigua and the Aftermath of British Emancipation (Duke University Press, 2015) and her work has been also published in Slavery & Abolition, The CLR James Journal, and The New York Times. Her research on Caribbean emancipations and black conceptions and practices of freedom has been supported by the Ford Foundation, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Yale Gilder-Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Abolition and Resistance, and the American Antiquarian Society.


Rhiannon Stephens
Junior Faculty Fellow
History

“Contesting Status: A Conceptual History of Poverty and Wealth in Eastern Uganda,” Rhiannon Stephens’ book project, was a longue durée conceptual history of poverty and wealth in eastern Uganda from the mid-first millennium C.E. through the early twentieth century. The project is grounded in the premise that we can only understand the changes that have resulted from growing incorporation into global trade networks, colonisation and integration into the capitalist system from c.1800, by understanding them in much greater historical depth. In writing this history, Stephens’s aim was to uncover not only the intellectual content that eastern Ugandan people gave to these economic and social concepts, but, in particular, to trace changes and developments in that intellectual content. To do so, she explored ruptures and continuities in these concepts among Nilotic and Bantu speakers and their ancestral speaker communities, focusing on their intersection with gender, lifestage, and power.


Irina Denischenko
Graduate Student Fellow
Slavic Languages

Irina Denischenko’s dissertation focuses on the status of words in avant-garde poetry, visual arts, and literary theory of Central and Eastern Europe in the 1910s and the 1920s. Her dissertation examines different figurations of the crisis of language that pervade poetic theory and practice at the turn of the 20th century and considers how artists attempted to overcome this crisis. She compares the visual poetry of the Russian Futurists, Hungarian Activists, and Czech Poetists and frames their experimentation with words and images as attempts to renew language. She also considers how, in an effort to save language from what is perceived as a fallen state, these literary movements entered into dialogue with contemporaneous theorizations of language and literature by the Russian Formalists, Prague Structuralists, and the Bakhtin Circle. During the Heyman Fellowship year, she completed an article, entitled “Beyond Reification: Mikhail Bakhtin’s Critique of Violence in Cognition and Representation."


Samantha Fox
Graduate Student Fellow
Anthropology

Samantha Fox’s fellowship research focused on Eisenhüttenstadt, Germany, a city on the border between Germany and Poland, founded in 1950 as a socialist utopian project. Originally called Stalinstadt, Eisenhüttenstadt thrived until 1989. Today, it suffers from urban blight and shifting demographics, but state actors and private contractors are imprinting on the city a new utopianism as they transform it into a new urban paradigm: an environmentally sustainable city that caters to an aging and shrinking population. Fox’s goal is to understand how citizens and municipal officials imagine new urban futures when the possibility for population and economic growth has been curtailed. This project concerns itself not with ruination, degradation, or the recuperation of abandoned things, so much as the way that the durability of certain material structures—as well as a perceived entanglement between material and social structures—forces those who encounter them to reckon with questions of temporality, responsibility, and citizenship.


Ulug Kuzuoglu
Graduate Student Fellow
History

Ulug Kuzuoglu’s dissertation explores the global history of Chinese script reforms from the 1890s to the 1980s. During this period, Chinese intellectuals identified the Chinese logographic writing system as the primary reason for backwardness, and re-engineered the Chinese script to fit the demands of the modern information age. Kuzuoglu argues that Chinese script reform was part of a global history of knowledge economy, in which the management and optimization of clerical and mental labor through innovations in writing technologies were key concerns for modernizing economies. Examining Chinese as well as Russian, American, and Turkic scientists who were instrumental in giving a final shape to the Chinese script, his dissertation interrogates the historical interface between humans and information technologies. During his tenure as a Heyman Center Fellow, he was able to draft two more dissertation chapters, titled "Late-Qing Singularity: Telegraphic Wires, Phonetic Scripts, and Cerebral Consciousness in China" and "Alphabet Democracy? Vernacular Activisms and Phonetic Alphabets."


Seth Williams
Graduate Student Fellow
English and Comparative Literature

“Virtual Motion: Dance and Mobility in Early Modern English Literature,” Seth Williams’ dissertation manuscript, asks how early modern literature may be apprehended as a choreographic medium. It treats dance as aesthetic patterns of movement that span a range of virtual and actual spaces, from the imagination of readers to specific material and textual phenomena, which include the human body most consequentially, but also scripts and libretti, moving scenery, engravings, and manuscript miscellanies. It argues that as dance circulates between such media, it helps to emblematize broad forms of social upheaval characterized by motional effects; for example the migration of people and the spread of religious beliefs. During the Heyman Center Fellowship, the Fellows were the first to see and critique Williams’ fourth chapter, which centers on the role of dance in the political factions that spanned the British Civil War and 1688 Revolution.