BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo Humanities Institute,
which promotes and funds innovative, cross-disciplinary research,
teaching and community programs in the humanities, has announced
the recipients of its 2012-13 Faculty Fellowships.
The fellowships, which are awarded competitively, provide the
fellows' departments with course replacement funds to offer them a
semester of course release, which permits them to focus primarily
on a major research project and to participate actively in
institute programs during the fellowship year.
Erik Seeman, PhD, director of the institute, says, "This year we
will partner again with the Office of the Vice President for
Research (OVPR), which will fund fellows whose research is
considered especially strong in its promotion of the
interdisciplinary mission of the institute and the OVPR."
The fellows and their research projects:
Graham Hammill, PhD, associate professor, Department of English,
will investigate historical relationships between natural rights
and the ecological contexts within which rights were posited and
theorized in 17th-century England. He also will explore
continuities between early modern rights talk and contemporary
issues like marriage rights, the definition of the human that
rights talk assumes and the conflicts between cultural
experimentation and normative concepts of justice.
Hammill is the author of "Sexuality and Form" (Chicago 2000),
"The Mosaic Constitution: Political Theology and Imagination from
Machiavelli to Milton" (Chicago 2012) and co-editor of "Political
Theology and Early Modernity" (Chicago 2012). He has published
numerous articles on early modern literature, political thought and
the history of sexuality
Erin Hatton, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Sociology,
will study the nature of work and the struggle for worker rights
beyond the boundaries of the law --- an arena of growing importance
in a world where, she says, "capital is increasingly mobile and the
reach of the New Deal is increasingly limited." She will focus on
three of the largest categories of "non-employed" workers in New
York State, by which she means workers not covered by the Fair
Labor Standards Act and other workplace protections: domestic
workers (nannies, housecleaners and caretakers for the elderly),
workfare workers (welfare recipients required to work in return for
welfare benefits) and prisoners who work in publicly or privately
run factories while incarcerated.
Hatton's research falls within the sociology of work, but
extends into the fields of gender, race, labor, political economy
and public policy. These are themes addressed in her first book,
"The Temp Economy: From Kelly Girls to Permatemps in Postwar
America" (Temple University Press, 2011).
John Jennings, associate professor, Department of Visual
Studies, will work on a graphic narrative that investigates the
"policy" era in 1930s Chicago. Policy was an illegal but extremely
popular gambling game played in urban African-American communities
from the late 1800s to the 1970s. Using the graphic novel as a
storytelling device, Jennings' tale will fuse the
pulp-noir-detective genre with that of the supernatural thriller.
His use of the supernatural will explore what he calls the "ethno
gothic" -- grotesque, mysterious and desolate tropes that, when
viewed from a racial perspective, help to explain and exorcise
historical elements that continue to undermine racial equality.
Jennings is a designer, curator, illustrator, cartoonist and
award-winning graphic novelist whose work is concerned with
representation and authenticity, visual culture and visual
literacy, social justice and design pedagogy. He is the author of
"The Hole: Consumer Culture and Black Comix," a study of the art
and culture of African-American independent comics.
Carolyn Korsmeyer, PhD, professor, Department of Philosophy,
argues that genuineness delivers an aesthetic experience of a
unique sort -- an encounter that puts us in the presence of the
past. She considers our impression of being in touch with "the real
thing," particularly when considering old objects. These are least
likely to be the "same" as they were at their original making,
having been damaged and restored over time. Under these
circumstances, is the value accorded genuineness sensible or
irrational; the apprehension of something real or a pleasant
delusion? This project investigates the nature of such experiences
and the conditions of "sameness" that obtain with artifacts that
are valued for being genuine.
Korsmeyer's specialties include aesthetics and emotion theory,
fields she has combined in several distinguished books, the most
recent of which is "Savoring Disgust: The Foul and the Fair in
Aesthetics" (2011), a study of disgust as an aesthetic response.
She works as well in the area of feminist philosophy and her most
recent book on that subject is "Gender in Aesthetics: An
Introduction" (2004), recently translated into Polish, Korean and
Dalia Muller, PhD, assistant professor, Department of History,
is a historian of Latin America and the Caribbean whose work
focuses on exile and immigration in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Her project, "The Fate of an Island, The Fate of a Continent:
Mexicans, Cubans, Spaniards and the Cuban Question," will examine
the impact of the Cuban independence movement in Mexico in the 19th
century and ways in which Cubans, Mexicans and Spaniards
manipulated transnational ideologies to draw equivalences between
Cuba's particular situation and that of Latin America as a
Justin Read, PhD, associate professor, Department of Romance
Languages and Literatures, will conduct a project titled
"Alternative Functions," which will critique the urbanization of
Latin America through readings of poetry (1900-30) from Argentina,
Brazil, Mexico and Peru. He argues that these writings and poetics
itself have been reformulated in Latin America as a critical
"representational space" capable of reconfiguring power relations
with respect to the spatial practices of everyday life in the
Read, who studies Latin American modernism in literature and
architecture, is the author of "Modernist Poetry and Hemispheric
American Cultural Studies" (2009) and many journal articles on the
modernization of the Americas since 1880 and political theory of
inter-subjectivity and transculturation. He also co-organized the
Humanities Institute's 2011-12 "Fluid Culture" series.
Tamara Thornton, PhD, professor, Department of History, is a
cultural historian of the U.S. in the period between the American
Revolution and the Civil War. She will conduct a study of Nathaniel
Bowditch (1773-1838), mathematician, astronomer, business executive
and the author of the "New American Practical Navigator," whose
life illuminates the interlocking development of science and
capitalism in 19th-century America.
Thornton is the author of " Cultivating Gentlemen: The Meaning
of Country Life Among the Boston Elite, 1785-1860" (Yale University
Press, 1989), and "Handwriting in America: A Cultural History"
(Yale University Press, 1996). She received the Ralph D. Gray
Article Prize from the Society of Historians of the Early American
Republic for an essay published in the Journal of the Early
Republic in 2007, and her essay on capitalist aesthetics appeared
this year in an edited collection, "Capitalism Takes Command"
(University of Chicago Press, 2011).
Krzysztof Ziarek, PhD, professor, Department of Comparative
Literature, will conduct an interdisciplinary study of Heidegger's
idiomatic approach to language that combines literary studies,
continental philosophy and linguistics. It will consider how
Heidegger's singular and innovative approach permits us to think
differently about language.
Ziarek is the author of "Inflected Language: Toward a
Hermeneutics of Nearness" (SUNY Press), "The Historicity of
Experience: Modernity, the Avant-Garde, and the Event"
(Northwestern University Press) and "The Force of Art" (Stanford
University Press). In addition, he edited two collections of
essays, and is the author of two books of poetry in Polish and many
essays on major 20th-century poets and philosophers.
Additional information on the fellows' backgrounds, prior
publications and 2012-13 research projects can be found at http://www.humanitiesinstitute.buffalo.edu/fellowshipsresearch/fellows1213.shtml.