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Humanities Institute names 2015-16 faculty fellows

By BERT GAMBINI

Published May 14, 2015

“Their projects represent the most innovative, cutting-edge research in the humanities, not just at UB but in their fields internationally.”
Erik Seeman, director
UB Humanities Institute

The UB Humanities Institute has named its faculty fellows for 2015-16. The eight scholars span a range of disciplines, from classics to history to media study.

“The fellows are chosen from a highly competitive pool of applicants,” says Erik Seeman, director of the Humanities Institute. “Their projects represent the most innovative, cutting-edge research in the humanities, not just at UB but in their fields internationally.”

The fellowships provide the fellows’ departments with course-replacement funds to provide fellows with a semester of course release, which permits them to focus primarily on a major research project and participate actively in institute programs during the fellowship year.

The Humanities Institute showcases the intellectual excitement generated by the fellows in its monthly Scholars@Hallwalls lectures.  This high-profile series allows fellows to present their work to a curious audience of academics and non-academics. Lectures are free and open to the public, and include complimentary wine and cheese.

The 2015-16 class of fellows:

Judith Goldman, assistant professor, Department of English

During her HI fellowship, Goldman will be working on a book titled “______ Mt.” [blank mount]. Her interests include contemporary North American and British poetry and poetics, sound studies, ecocriticsm and ecopoetics, biopolitics, and media studies. She is a poet and the author of a number of books, including “Civilian Border Patrol,” a tragic-comic border novel-policy on bio-piracy, and critical essays.

Philip Kiernan, assistant professor, Department of Classics

Kiernan’s “The Lives of Idols and Idol Hill” project will involve completing his book manuscript and further work on Idol Hill excavation publications. Trained in in classical archaeology in Canada, the U.S. and Germany, Kiernan specializes in ancient Roman art, material culture and religion. His publications include a number of articles and a book, “Miniature Votive Offerings in the North-West Provinces of the Roman Empire” (2009). His most recent find was in our very own UB Libraries. Kiernan helped archivists identify the significance of UB’s collection of 2,500-year-old gold and silver coins that had not been examined in decades.

Carine Mardorossian, professor, Department of English

Mardorossian, executive director of the Northeast Modern Language Association, is currently working on a book titled “Creolized Ecologies in Caribbean Literature.” Her areas of specialization include world literature, postcolonial and Caribbean studies, ecocriticsm and feminist theory.

Ndubueze Mbah, assistant professor, Department of History

Mbah’s current book project, “Emergent Masculinities: Gendered Power and Social Change in the Biafran Atlantic Age,” pioneers a new approach to the study of gender transformation through the process of colonization. He focuses his research on changes in women’s socio-political power and the shifting constructions of masculinities in pre-colonial and colonial West Africa. His research interests include women, masculinities and sexuality; slavery; Atlantic Creoles; and the West African context.

Mark Nathan, assistant professor, Department of History

Nathan’s book project is titled “From the Mountains to the Cities: Buddhist Propagation and Religious Reform in Modern Korean History.” He also is working on an annotated translation of an early 20th-century Buddhist apologetic treatise. A specialist in Korean history, Buddhist studies and Asian religions, Nathan has co-edited a volume titled “Buddhism and Law: An Introduction” (2014).

Paige Sarlin, assistant professor, Department of Media Study

Sarlin’s “Practice: How to Get a Job” is a documentary film about job interviews.  She holds an MFA in film, video and new media from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a PhD in modern culture and media from Brown University. Her writings have been published in October, Re-Thinking Marxism and Framework: A Journal of Film and Culture. She currently is working on a book manuscript titled “Interview Work: The Genealogy of a Cultural Form.”

Marla Segol, associate professor, Department of Transnational Studies

Segol’s project is titled “Kabbalah’s Two Bodies: A History of Human and Divine Bodies in Jewish Esoteric Literature.” She specializes in the study of Kabbalah, medieval cosmopolitanism, sexuality and embodiment in Judaism, and contemporary New Age religion. In addition to several published articles, she is also the author of “Word and Image in Medieval Kabbalah: The Texts, Commentaries, and Diagrams of the 'Sefer Yetsirah'”; “Sexuality, Sociality, and Cosmology in Medieval Literary Texts” and the co-editor with Jennifer N. Brown of “Religious Conversion in Medieval Romance.”

Hershini Young, associate professor, Department of English

Young’s research interests include black performance studies, contemporary African diasporic literature, queer studies and disabilities studies. Her HI project is titled “The Vulnerability of Horizontality.” Among her publications are “Haunting Capital: Memory, Text, and the Black Diasporic Body” (2005) and the forthcoming “Illegible Will: Coercive Performances in Southern African Spectacles of Labor.”