UB Humanities Institute Announces 2011-12 Faculty Fellows

Release Date: May 19, 2011

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo Humanities Institute, which promotes innovative cross-disciplinary research, teaching and community programs in the humanities, has announced recipients of its 2011-12 Faculty Fellowships.

The fellowships, which are awarded competitively, support a full semester's leave to permit recipients to devote themselves exclusively to their research.

Tim Dean, PhD, professor of English and outgoing director of the institute, says, "We are delighted to partner this year with the UB Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) to increase support for research in the humanities.

"The OVPR has generously offered to fund two faculty fellowships and we have named these the OVPR/HI Fellowships. The inaugural recipients are Jennifer Gaynor, PhD, assistant professor of history, and Jon Nelson, associate professor of music," he says.

The 2011-12 Fellows and their research projects are as follows:

Jennifer Gaynor, PhD, assistant professor of history, College of Arts and Sciences, specializes in maritime Southeast Asia, a region that lends itself to the exploration of histories not framed by state-centered geographies. Her current research project, "Archipelagic Mobility and Same Narrative Transformation," speaks to the histories of capture, subordination and translocation and foregrounds the analytical relevance of cultural production by those invested in how the past is retold.

Trina Hamilton, PhD, assistant professor of geography, College of Arts and Sciences, is a human geographer who teaches and publishes on corporate social and environmental responsibility, global governance networks, international trade and diverse economies. Her project, "Market Fictions: Constructing Ethical Spaces for the Global Diamond Trade," analyzes multiple challenges to narratives that describe Canada's purported monopoly on ethical diamond production.

David Herzberg, PhD, assistant professor of history, College of Arts and Sciences, specializes in modern U.S. history, with particular emphasis on medicines, drugs, popular culture and consumerism. His research project is titled "The Drug War in the Medicine Cabinet: Prescription Drug Addiction in the Age of Miracle Pills." It will offer the first sustained look at the long history of the licit drug cultures that are regularly "discovered" and touted as new and ominous social problems.

Carolyn Higbie, PhD, Park Professor of the Classics, College of Arts and Sciences, specializes in the study of ancient Greek epic poetry, history and historiography. Her project, "Imaginative Memory: the Discovery, Reconstruction and Forgery of the Greek Past," examines a neglected part of Greek intellectual history: the importance of the past to Greeks from the fifth century BC through the second century AD. She will consider why their past mattered to them and how they reconstructed it, even going to far as to support their version of it through forgeries and fakes.

Jon Nelson, associate professor of music, College of Arts and Sciences, is an active performer, teacher, producer and collaborator. He has performed extensively throughout the world, is a founding member of the internationally recognized Meridian Arts Ensemble and can be heard on more than 50 CD recordings featuring such artists as Frank Zappa, Milton Babbitt, Duran Duran, Pierre Boulez, Arto Lindsay and Marisa Monte. For his project, "Switching on the Lights: The Early 20th Century Musical Avant-Garde Goes Electric," he will adapt and re-orchestrate avant-garde works by von Webern, Stravinsky, Verese, Bartok, Debusy, Ives, Satie, Prokofiev and Ravel for a 10-piece electro-acoustic ensemble.

Sasha Pack, PhD, associate professor of history, College of Arts and Sciences, is the author of "Tourism and Dictatorship: Europe's Peaceful Invasion of Franco's Spain" (New York, 2006), which won the Best First Book Prize from the Association for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies, and has appeared in Spanish translation. His research study, "Europe's Deepest Border: The Making of the Modern Strait of Gibraltar," examines the history of the strait since roughly 1860 and how it has bedeviled attempts at border security by kingdoms, empires, alliances and federations operating in that Euro-African space. The work will suggest new interpretive directions for the international history of Western Europe and North Africa during the period under consideration.

Ramon E. Soto-Crespo, PhD, associate professor of American studies, College of Arts and Sciences, directs the UB Latino Studies Program. His research project, "Primitive Futures: The Biopolitics of Sexual Identity in Latino American Culture," is an interdisciplinary study of current male-male sexual practices in Spanish America, the Anglophone Caribbean and among Latino groups in the U.S. The study compares anthropological and health-related studies of HIV transmission, and shows how state agencies tackle the epidemic by conceptualizing sexual practice in Westernized terms of identity.

Hadas Steiner, PhD, associate professor of architecture, School of Architecture and Planning, is an architectural historian whose research concentrates on cross-pollinations of technological and cultural aspects of architectural fabrication in the postwar period. Her study, "Habitat and Home: A Study in Co-evolution" will provide an historical analysis of the evolving use of the terms "habitat," and by extension "ecology," in architectural discourse, from the abortive "Charter of Habitat" proposed by Le Corbusier in 1949, through the work of influential artist and sociologist John McHale in the 1970s.

Camilo Trumper, PhD, assistant professor of American studies, is a Latin American specialist interested in the connection between urban history, politics, and the visual and material culture. His research project, "Ephemeral Histories: Politics, Public Space and Public Art in Allende's Chile," is a study of the emergence of alternative sites and forms of political debate at that point in Chilean political history. Using a wide range of interdisciplinary materials, he explores how those historically excluded from the public sphere used marches, public forms of art, protest, land and factory seizures and other tactics to turn the public space into a political arena, fashioning a novel form of political citizenship.

Ewa Ziarek, Julian Park Professor of Comparative Literature, College of Arts and Sciences, is a founding director of the Humanities Institute and the author of several books on feminist ethics and aesthetics and modernism and gender. She will work on a new book project, "Natality and Biopolitics," which explores possibilities and limitations of the feminist politics of "natality" (i.e., entry into the political order) in the age of biopolitics.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

Media Contact Information

Patricia Donovan has retired from University Communications. To contact UB's media relations staff, call 716-645-6969 or visit our list of current university media contacts. Sorry for the inconvenience.