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Current Center Fellows

Kristen Alff
Geballe Dissertation Prize Fellow
Department of History, Stanford University

The Business of Land in Palestine: Greek-Orthodox Networks and Levantine Capitalism in the Late Ottoman and Early Mandate Periods, 1838-1925 
Kristen Alff is a sixth-year doctoral student in the field of Modern Middle East History at Stanford. She holds a BA from Boston University in British and American literature and an MA in Middle East Studies from the American University in Cairo. Alff is interested in capitalism, law, and property in the 19th and 20th century Levant.
Alff’s dissertation explores the relationship between trans-regional trade and agricultural development companies and the evolution of land tenure in the mid-nineteenth to mid-twentieth-century Levant. Specifically, she examines the Beirut-based Levantine business community, their influence in the global market for cotton and grains, their commodification of land in Palestine, and their sales of this land to the Zionist- and German-Templar-settler companies.
Janaki Bakhle
External Faculty Fellow
Department of History, University of California, Berkeley

Biography of a Fundamentalist: V.D. Savarkar and the Making of Hindutva
Professor Janaki Bakhle specializes in Modern South Asian history. Her areas of specialization include Indian political history, Indian feminist history, nationalism, gender and culture. Her first book, Two Men and Music: Nationalism, Colonialism and the Making of an Indian Classical Tradition was published by Oxford University Press, 2005. She has published in CSSH, and is currently engaged in her second book project about Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, known as the chief ideologue of Hindu fundamentalism, and is writing about sedition, colonial surveillance, and the emergence of Hindu fundamentalism in late nineteenth century India.
Biography of a Fundamentalist: V.D. Savarkar and the Making of Hindutva is a critical biography of V.D. Savarkar (1883- 1966), the chief ideologue of Hindu fundamentalism, whose influence on modern India has rivaled Gandhi’s as evidenced in the political victories of the right wing Bharatiya Janata Party. The biography will answer the question of how and why Hindu fundamentalism has attained equal standing with liberal secularism in contemporary India.
Janet Beizer
Marta Sutton Weeks Fellow
Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, Harvard University

The Harlequin Eaters: The Patchwork Imaginary of Nineteenth-Century Paris
Janet Beizer is Professor of French and teaches literature and cultural studies of the long nineteenth century in Harvard University’s Department of Romance Languages and Literatures. Her books include Thinking through the Mothers: Reimagining Women’s Biographies; Ventriloquized Bodies: Narratives of Hysteria in Nineteenth-Century France; and Family Plots: Balzac’s Narrative Generations. She has published broadly on interweavings of literature and cultural history; gender and representation; medical culture; travel and its compulsive double, fugue; and alimentary poetics. Beizer was awarded a Stanford Humanities Center Fellowship and a Guggenheim for 2016-17.
The Harlequin Eaters: The Patchwork Imaginary of Nineteenth-Century Paris, takes off from the practice of cobbling together dinner scraps cleared from the plates of the wealthy to sell, re-plated as “harlequins,” to the poor. It follows how the alimentary harlequin and the eponymous Commedia dell’arte Harlequin character, similarly patchworked, evolve analogously in the nineteenth century, and together prepare modernism’s aesthetic of fragments, collage, and metamorphosis. The book finds its driving force in a conviction that the domestic arts and the intellectual crafts can and must cohabit, cross-fertilize, thrive, and join larger contemporary dialogues about hunger, consumption, waste, and recycling.
Cristina Maria Cervone
External Faculty Fellow
Department of English, University of Memphis

Vernacular Poetics of Metaphor: Middle English and the Corporate Subject
Cristina Maria Cervone is a medievalist working on how metaphor, cognition, and poetics are interrelated. Her recent co-edited book exhibits some of the most exciting formalist trends in medieval studies today (Readings in Medieval Textuality: Essays in Honour of A. C. Spearing; Brewer, October 2016; with D. Vance Smith). Current projects also include a collaborative, multi-disciplinary and cross-subfield investigation of the nature of Middle English lyric.
Drawing on current research on thought processes and language, Vernacular Poetics of Metaphor extends the argument of Cervone’s first book, Poetics of the Incarnation: Middle English Writing and the Leap of Love (Penn 2013), to examine certain elastic properties of fourteenth-century English that both enabled poetical thought experiments and were forged by such innovations. The book’s claim that metaphor was an important element in—perhaps even vital to—the vernacular’s emerging qualities is new; moreover, it engages questions of contemporary interest: how does thought work? Is metaphor fundamental to thought? Medieval practice, like current theory, suggests perhaps so.
Blake Francis
Geballe Dissertation Prize Fellow
Department of Philosophy, Stanford University

Climate Change and the Moral Significance of Harm
Blake Francis is a PhD candidate in Philosophy at Stanford University. His research explores the intersection of political philosophy and environmental ethics. He received an MA in Philosophy from the University of Montana, where he also studied Forestry and Conservation. Before graduate school, Blake worked in wilderness management and trail construction with the US Forest Service.
In his dissertation, “Climate Change and the Moral Significance of Harm,” Blake investigates the moral status of the activities that contribute to climate change, identifying and assessing when these activities are wrong versus when they are morally justified by the social benefits they provide. Blake’s project helps to discover opportunities for improving quality of life by considering when climate change policies and affordable energy policies are mutually compatible and when they involve moral trade-offs. 
Susan Elizabeth Gagliardi
Distinguished Junior External Fellow
Department of Art History, Emory University

Seeing the Unseen: Arts of Power Associations on the Senufo-Mande Cultural "Frontier"
Susan Elizabeth Gagliardi is an assistant professor of African art history at Emory University. She has conducted thirty-three months of fieldwork in West Africa as well as archival and museum-based research in Africa, Europe, and North America. She is author of Senufo Unbound: Dynamics of Art and Identity in West Africa (2015). 
In “Seeing the Unseen: Arts of Power Associations on the Senufo-Mande Cultural ‘Frontier,’” Gagliardi focuses on dynamic assemblages and masquerades of West African power associations, the region’s great patrons for the arts since at least the end of the nineteenth century. She examines how as specialists with the capacity to heal and to cause harm, power association leaders use the arts to engage audiences, advertise expertise, and attract clients without fully disclosing restricted knowledge. 
Guy Geltner
External Faculty Fellow
Department of History, University of Amsterdam

Healthscaping the Premodern City: Theory, Policy, and Practice in Italy, 1250-1500
Guy Geltner is Professor of Medieval History at the University in Amsterdam. His research mostly builds on the rich records of several Italian city-states, which he uses to explore diverse issues in social, legal, cultural and political history.  
“Healthscaping the Premodern City” traces theories, policies and practices of preventative healthcare in a number of Italian city-states. It seeks to develop an emic perspective on how earlier societies defined population-level health risks and the resources they developed to reduce them.
Roger Grant
External Faculty Fellow
Department of Music, Wesleyan University

Peculiar Attunements: The Musical Legacy of Affect Theory
Roger Mathew Grant is Assistant Professor of Music at Wesleyan University. His research focuses on the relationships between eighteenth-century music theory, Enlightenment aesthetics, and affect theory. His first book, Beating Time and Measuring Music in the Early Modern Era, was published in November 2014 at Oxford University Press.
During the eighteenth century, a slow but dramatic transformation in musical aesthetics re-scripted the role that performing musicians play in the creation and communication of affect. Grant’s book project demonstrates how a fresh understanding of this moment in intellectual history is vital to our current critical thought on affective labor.
Nathaniel Hansen
External Faculty Fellow
Department of Philosophy, University of Reading

Must We Measure What We Mean? Contemporary Ordinary Language Philosophy and the Experimental Investigation of Meaning
Nathaniel Hansen is a lecturer in the philosophy department at the University of Reading (UK). He received his PhD from the University of Chicago and has held postdoctoral research fellowships at Umeå University in Sweden and at the Institut Jean-Nicod in Paris. 
The philosophy of language has recently undergone an “experimental turn,” which is based on the assumption that linguistic meaning is a psychological phenomenon that should be investigated using the descriptive tools of cognitive science. This project considers a fundamental challenge to the experimental turn, inspired by mid-20th century “ordinary language” philosophy, which emphasizes the way linguistic meaning is a social and evaluative phenomenon that is constantly adjusted in response to practical concerns.  
Jennifer Hsieh
Geballe Dissertation Prize Fellow
Department of Anthropology, Stanford University
Sound and Noise in the City: Public Sensibilities and Technocratic Translation in Urban Taiwan
Jennifer Hsieh is a PhD Candidate in anthropology at Stanford University. Her research interests include environmentalism, sound studies, science and technology studies, urbanization, and governance. She has a BA from Harvard College and MA from Columbia University, both in anthropology.
Jennifer’s dissertation is an ethnographic and historical analysis of noise as a public problem in urban Taiwan in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. She examines how urban residents engage with the auditory environment as hearing subjects, and how urban subjectivity is tied to the technical, political, and social calibration of noise within the context of a modernizing state.
Sienna Kang
Geballe Dissertation Prize Fellow
Department of Classics, Stanford University
The Mortal Basileus: A Comparative Examination of Religious Ideology and Centralization of Political Power Among Ancient City-States
Sienna Kang is a sixth-year PhD student in the Stanford University Classics Department with a specialization in Greek history. She is interested in state formation processes of early states and religion in the ancient world. 
In her dissertation, Kang studies the religious and political developments of Early Iron Age Greece (1200 - 750 BCE) in the context of broad patterns of state formation among pre-modern societies. In contrast to prevailing assumptions that the Greek repudiation of divine kingship and the rise of heterarchical political systems were sui generis phenomena, she argues that the dynamics of power that governed the development of Greek democracy were the very same dynamics underpinning the development of divine kingships elsewhere in the ancient world. 
Alexander Key
Internal Faculty Fellow
Department of Comparative Literature, Stanford University

Ragib al-Isfahani: His Poetics, His Life, His Works, and the Times
Alexander Key has authored a number of articles on aspects of Classical Arabic literature and culture. These include a study of translations from Persian proverbs into Arabic poetry, a chapter co-authored with Peter Adamson on the debate between grammar and logic, a study of Quranic inimitability in Ragib, and an argument against calling Classical Arabic civilization "humanist."
Key will be working on the first European-language study of Ragib al-Isfahani, one of the most important, and yet mysterious, figures of Arabic intellectual history. Ragib’s eleventh-century oeuvre is a poetics of everything, a linguistic analysis of the divine, a political argument with the eleventh-century, a densely theoretical account of metaphor, and an ethical call for Islamic reform.
Charles Kronengold
Internal Faculty Fellow
Department of Music, Stanford University

Crediting Thinking in Soul and Dance Music
Charles Kronengold has published widely on music, film, and aesthetics. He is the author of two books: Live Genres in Late Modernity: American Music of the Long 1970s and, with Adrian Daub, The James Bond Songs: Pop Anthems of Late Capitalism. He teaches musicology and film at Stanford, where he is Assistant Professor of Music.
Crediting Thinking in Soul and Dance Music, Kronengold’s second monograph, considers a strain of thinking and thoughtfulness in African American music since the 1950s. This book-in-progress seeks to broaden our conception of musical thinking, and of thinking more generally, by taking a path from verbal, to nonverbal, and even less-than-conscious thought.
Eunsoo Lee
Geballe Dissertation Prize Fellow
Department of Classics, Stanford University

Visual Agency in Euclid’s Elements: A Study of the Transmission of Visual Knowledge
Eunsoo Lee is a PhD candidate on the Ancient History track in the Classics Department at Stanford University. He received his BA in Mathematics and MA in Classics from Seoul National University, South Korea. He completed a Master's thesis entitled "A study on Plato’s Mathematical passages.” Eunsoo's research centers on the history of mathematics and the transmission of knowledge.
His project is titled “Visual Agency in Euclid’s Elements: A study of the transmission of visual knowledge.” Diagrams, having been changed more than the text, played a role as a knowledge-conducive place where the continuous birth of mathematical ideas was invited over 2000 years. The project looks at how Euclid’s diagrams have been reproduced and translated over two millennia stretching from antiquity to the modern period.
Nicole Martin
Geballe Dissertation Prize Fellow
Department of History, Stanford University

In the Name of the Home: The Politics of Race, Gender, and Reconstruction in Nineteenth-Century America
Nicole Martin is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at Stanford. She received a BA from the University of California, Berkeley and a MSt in Women's Studies from Oxford University. Her research focuses on the historical intersections between imperialism, reconstruction, and gender in the American West.
Martin's dissertation traces the rise of “the home” as the central metaphor organizing nineteenth-century American society and its role in shaping the major political controversies of the long Reconstruction era. By utilizing a framework attentive to western expansion and settler colonialism, her research reveals how a divided nation worked to erase the divisive history of the Civil War through a mythos of western, white home-making that sought to eliminate, exclude, and overpower "problem" groups associated with alternative domesticities.  
Susan McCabe
Marta Sutton Weeks Fellow
Department of English, University of Southern California

H.D. & Bryher: A Modernist Love Story
Susan McCabe is a professor at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Past president of the Modernist Studies Association, her publications include Elizabeth Bishop: Her Poetics of Loss (Penn State Press, 1994), Cinematic Modernism: Modern Poetry and Film (Cambridge UP, 2005), Swirl (Red Hen Press, 2003) and Descartes' Nightmare, awarded the Agha Ali Shahid Prize (University of Utah Press, 2008). Among her previous awards, she has held fellowships at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale, a Fulbright in Sweden, and was a fellow at the American Academy in Berlin. She is finishing a literary cultural biography, H.D. & Bryher: A Modernist Love Story, contracted by Oxford UP. 
McCabe’s project centers on two modernist women whose unconventional and entangled lives from the late nineteenth century through post-World War II were inextricably entwined. As a queer couple, they used their powerful relationship to stimulate each other’s imagination, but also to generate multiple affiliations across modernism (with a focus on the “underdogs”), sparking new models for the creative process, sexual and gender identity, political as well as mystical possibilities.
Katherine Meadows
Geballe Dissertation Prize Fellow
Department of Philosophy, Stanford University

Aristotle on Ontological Priority
Katy Meadows is a PhD candidate in the Philosophy Department at Stanford University. Her primary research interests are in ancient Greek philosophy, especially ancient metaphysics and epistemology. 
Aristotle thought that the most important questions in ontology, the study of being, were questions like 'what is prior to what?' and 'what is primary?' rather than questions like 'what exists?' Meadows’ dissertation project aims to understand what Aristotle means by 'priority in being' and why he thinks that some things are prior in being to others.
Norman Naimark
Donald Andrews Whittier Fellow

Department of History, Stanford University

Before the Cold War: Stalin and Europe, 1944-1949
Norman M. Naimark is Robert and Florence McDonnell Professor of East European Studies in the History Department at Stanford University, and is Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and the Freeman-Spogli Institute. He also serves as Sakurako and William Fisher Director of Stanford’s Global Studies Division. His scholarly work focuses presently on the history of genocide and the postwar World War II history of Soviet interests in Europe.
Before the Cold War: Stalin and Europe, 1944-49 is a book-length study of the interaction between Stalin’s policies in Europe, European politics, and beginnings of the Cold War. The idea is to demonstrate the agency of European politics and politicians in the atmosphere of growing tensions on the continent between the Soviet Union and the United States.
J.D. Porter
Geballe Dissertation Prize Fellow
Department of English, Stanford University
The Fact of Fiction: Race, Money, Gender and Nation in American Modernism
J.D. Porter is a PhD student in English at Stanford University. His research interests include modernism, race and ethnicity studies, poetry, and digital humanities.
Porter’s dissertation explains the relationship between social fictions (ideas like race or money that once seemed natural and uncontroversial, but today are understood as constructions) and American modernist literary form. He examines what four social fictions—race, money, gender, and nation—can tell us about modernism, and what the explorations of the modernists can tell us about our interactions with these important social forms today.
Charles Postel
External Faculty Fellow

Department of History, San Francisco State University

The Problem of Equal Rights: Reform in Post-War America
Charles Postel is professor of history at San Francisco State University, where he teaches courses on U.S. politics, thought and culture. He has published work on the political ideas of late 19th century farm and labor reform, including The Populist Vision (OUP, 2007), and on modern conservatism. 
In the aftermath of the Civil War, American farmers, workers, freed slaves, women, and middle class activists formed associations of unprecedented scope and power, and in so doing advanced often incompatible and conflicting claims for equal rights. This is a book length study of how participants in these movements understood the idea of equal rights in their historical moment, and how these understandings contributed to the defeat of the Reconstruction experiment in racial equality, the diverse mobilizations against the inequities of corporate capitalism, and the shaping of modern America.
Robert Proctor
Ellen Andrews Wright Fellow

Department of History, Stanford University

A Historian in Court: Memoires of an Expert Witness
Robert Proctor is professor of history at Stanford, where he has taught since 2004.  He has written on Nazi medicine and on "upstream" cancer causation, along with human origins and gemstone aesthetics and the political history of ignorance (agnotology).  He regularly, and joyfully, serves as an expert witness in cigarette litigation.
He plans to write a memoir of his experience as an expert witness in court, principally in lawsuits where "who knew what when" is contested in cigarette litigation. 
Brent Sockness
Violet Andrews Whittier Fellow
Department of Religious Studies, Stanford University

Ethics in History: Ernst Troeltsch's Moral Theory
Brent Sockness is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Stanford, where he studies the philosophy of religion and intellectual history of Christianity in the modern period. He is the author of Against False Apologetics: Wilhelm Herrmann and Ernst Troeltsch in Conflict and co-editor with Wilhelm Gräb of Schleiermacher, the Study of Religion, and the Future of Theology.
Long recognized as the “systematic theologian of the history-of-religions school,” Ernst Troeltsch (1865-1923) has more recently become virtually synonymous with the so-called “crisis of historicism” of fin de siècle German academic culture. Less well-known, but critical to understanding his constructive efforts to theorize valid norms and values after the rise of radical historical consciousness, are Troeltsch’s writings in the field of ethics. Sockness’ book will be the first full-scale critical interpretation of the system of ethics developed by this pioneering cultural historian, theorist of modernity, sociologist of religion, and philosopher of history.   
Dafna Zur
Internal Faculty Fellow

Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Stanford University

The Impact of Scientific Discourse on the Literature and Education of North and South Korea
Dafna Zur is Assistant Professor in the East Asian Languages and Cultures Department at Stanford. Her first book demonstrates the contribution of children’s literature to colonial Korea’s literary and visual landscape. She has published articles on North Korean science fiction, the Korean War in children’s literature, and childhood in cinema.
This project seeks to trace the way that creative writing and morality education both influenced and were transformed by scientific discourses in North and South Korea from the early twentieth century until the present. My aim is to understand what counted as science at a time when labeling something as “scientific” was politically and ideologically motivated, and how textbooks built scientific knowledge as a part of a broader project of moral engineering.