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Current Center Fellows

Fellow Year: 2015

Rumee Ahmed
External Faculty Fellow

Department of Classical, Near Eastern, and Religious Studies, University of British Columbia

Islamic Systematics: The Art and Science of Islamic Legal Reform
Rumee Ahmed, PhD is Associate Professor of Islamic Law at the University of British Columbia. He is the author of Narratives of Islamic Legal Theory (Oxford University Press, 2012) and co-editor of the Oxford Handbook on Islamic Law. Ahmed consults on human rights cases, policy briefs, and international legal disputes related to Muslims and Islamic law.   
Ahmed will be working on a book manuscript, titled "Shari’a 2.0: A User’s Guide for Reforming Islamic Law" (Stanford University Press), that examines the art and science of Islamic legal reform in the past and present. The book proposes a systematic method for reforming Islamic law today, and offers reforms that promote women’s rights, sexual rights, and religious freedom.
Ruth Ahnert

External Faculty Fellow

School of English and Drama, Queen Mary University of London

Tudor Networks of Power

Ruth Ahnert is a Senior Lecturer in Renaissance Studies (equivalent to Associate Professor) at Queen Mary University of London. Her work focuses on the literature and culture of Tudor England, with a specific emphasis on religious history, prison literature, and letter writing. She is the author of The Rise of Prison Literature in the Sixteenth Century (Cambridge University Press, 2013). Since 2012 she has been collaborating with Sebastian Ahnert (Department of Physics, University of Cambridge) on the application of quantitative network analysis to the study of large letter collections.  
Her current project continues this collaboration: "Tudor Networks of Power" reconstructs the evidence for Tudor intelligence networks from 132,000 letters that survive in the State Papers archive. This project will culminate in a monograph and interactive network visualisation web-tool. During the fellowship she will be focusing on methods to ensure this data and methodology is integrated into emerging infrastructures for searching, analysing, and visualising networks currently being developed by Stanford’s Humanities+Design and European partners involved in Reassembling the Republic of Letters.
R. Lanier Anderson
Donald Andrews Whittier Fellow
Department of Philosophy, Stanford University

Nietzschean Moral Psychology
R. Lanier Anderson (Professor, Philosophy) is a historian of late modern philosophy. He is the author of The Poverty of Conceptual Truth (OUP, 2015) and many articles on Kant and Nietzsche. His research at the Center will include work on Nietzsche’s moral psychology, Montaigne, and the relations between philosophy and literature. 
Project Summary: Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) is famous both for his corrosive critique of cherished values, and for his incisive psychological analyses. The two strands are tightly connected, since his most prominent critical arguments are grounded in psychological claims. My project aims to elucidate Nietzsche’s psychology. A fuller understanding of what is compelling about Nietzschean moral psychology promises to help explain the continuing grip of Nietzsche’s writing on us, despite its stark rejection of values we care about, and it may also promote a deeper self-understanding about who we are as valuing creatures.
Claire Rydell Arcenas

Geballe Dissertation Prize Fellow

Department of History, Stanford University

Inventing an American Political Tradition: How John Locke Became "America’s Philosopher"

Claire Rydell Arcenas is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at Stanford University. Her research and teaching interests include the intellectual, political, and cultural history of the United States.
Arcenas' dissertation, “Inventing an American Political Tradition: How John Locke Became ‘America’s Philosopher,’” traces the changing reception of the English philosopher John Locke in American thought, culture, and politics from the eighteenth century to the present. Through a reconsideration of Locke’s influence in this country, Arcenas offers a new interpretation of how Locke and his writings have informed a wide range of educational, political, moral, economic, and religious attitudes, ideas, and actions in unexpected ways.
Bernard Bate

External Faculty Fellow

Division of Social Sciences, Yale-NUS College, National University of Singapore

Protestant Textuality and the Tamil Modern: Political Oratory and the Social Imaginary in South Asia

Bernard Bate explores the theory, ethnography, and history of political oratory and rhetoric in the Tamil worlds of South Asia. The author of Tamil Oratory and the Dravidian Aesthetic, (Columbia, 2009/Oxford India, 2011), he is a member of the inaugural faculty of Yale-NUS College, National University of Singapore.
Project Summary: This work offers a genealogy of Tamil political oratory and the emergence of vernacular politics in the Tamil-speaking lands of India and Sri Lanka. The book argues that sermonic genres introduced by Protestant missionaries in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, fused with culturally and historically deeper forms and aesthetics of language, provided the communicative infrastructure that enabled a new kind of agent, the vernacular politician, to address and mobilize a modern Tamil people within a distinctive social imaginary.
Scott Bukatman
Ellen Andrews Wright Fellow
Department of Art and Art History, Stanford University
Cinematic Spectacle
Scott Bukatman’s research examines how popular media (film, comics, animation) and genres (science fiction, musicals, superhero stuff) mediate between new technologies and human perceptual and bodily experience. He is the author of Terminal Identity: The Virtual Subject in Virtual Science Fiction, Matters of Gravity: Special Effects and Supermen in the 20th Century, the BFI monograph on "Blade Runner," The Poetics of Slumberland: Animated Spirits and the Animating Spirit, and the forthcoming Hellboy's World: Comics and Monsters on the Margins.

Project Summary: Proposing that cinema is, at its core, spectacular, Bukatman's project emphasizes the phenomenological, cognitive, and affective dimensions of a medium that, it is often posited, we receive passively and largely unconsciously. Films drawn from across the whole of cinema’s international, century-plus history will yield a syncretic understanding of the medium’s experiential power as it re-figures the spectator as a conscious agent.
Lisa Burnett
Geballe Dissertation Prize Fellow

Department of Music, Stanford University

The Artwork of the People: A History of the Gesamtkunstwerk from Richard Wagner to Kim Jong Il
Lisa Burnett is a Ph.d candidate in musicology at Stanford University. She has an M. Mus. from Boston University in music history and literature and a JD from Harvard Law School. Her research interests include Wagner, music and politics, and the aesthetics of large-scale stage works across cultures.
Burnett’s dissertation traces the evolution of the Gesamtkunstwerk idea as it traveled from Wagner’s Germany to Stalin’s USSR, Mao’s China, and finally North Korea under Kim Jong Il. Through an examination of representative works from each culture and time period, it uncovers unexpected parallels in aesthetic values and musical structure among what are otherwise quite different societies.
Vanessa Chang
Geballe Dissertation Prize Fellow

Modern Thought and Literature, Stanford University

Tracing Electronic Gesture: A Poetics of Mediated Movement
Vanessa Chang is a doctoral candidate in the Program in Modern Thought & Literature, whose research investigates the intersections of media and technology with human embodiment in literary, visual and sonic art. She holds a BA in English from Vassar College and an MA in Humanities from the University of Chicago.
Project Summary: Chang’s dissertation project, “Tracing Electronic Gesture: A Poetics of Mediated Movement,” uses gesture as a nexus to explore the impact of media technologies on human movement, creativity, agency and subjectivity. Spanning contemporary literature, electronic music, performance and visual culture such as comics, animation and motion capture, her research traces how the gestures that produce such texts have evolved from analog to digital media.
Jason Cieply
Geballe Dissertation Prize Fellow

Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Stanford University

Voices of Enthusiasm: the Mobilization of Revolutionary Emotion in Soviet Literature and Culture, 1917-1935
Jason Cieply is a PhD Candidate in Slavic at Stanford. His dissertation focuses on the mobilization of revolutionary affect in early Soviet culture. His research interests also include the place of authorial silence in the polyphonic novel and the reception of politically engaged poetic performance in contemporary Russia.
Cieply’s dissertation addresses the mutual determination of affect, ideology, and literary voice in Soviet culture. He explores how two writers, Andrei Platonov and Mikhail Zoshchenko, used the classical trope of speaking in tongues to create artificial “proletarian” voices intended to portray the developing revolutionary consciousness of the new Soviet person.
Lindsay Der
Geballe Dissertation Prize Fellow

Department of Anthropology, Stanford University

The Role of Human-Animal Relations in the Social Maintenance and "Demise" of the Neolithic at the Mega-site of Catalhöyük, Turkey
Lindsay Der is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anthropology and a researcher with the Çatalhöyük Research Project where she works with the figurines team. She was a Junior Residential fellow with the Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations at Koç University (2013-2014) and is the co-editor of The Archaeology of Entanglement (LCP, in press).
Project Summary: The role of human-animal relations in the social maintenance and ‘demise’ of the Neolithic at the mega-site of Çatalhöyük, Turkey. Integrating quantitative and qualitative datasets from over twenty years of excavation, this project investigates how social and material organization would have been braided by changing human-animal relations through time. Rather than essentialize animals, it theorizes them as actively shaping everyday human life by examining this efficacy as manifested in household collections of faunal remains and iconography.
David Driscoll
Geballe Dissertation Prize Fellow

Department of Classics, Stanford University

Acting the Exegete: Homeric Quotation and Interpretation in Imperial Literary Symposia
David F. Driscoll is a Ph.D. candidate in the Stanford Department of Classics. He has a BA from Grinnell College in classics and physics and an MA from the University of Georgia in classical languages. His research interests include Homer and ancient Homeric reception, Classical and Imperial Greek prose, and archaic Greek poetry.
Project summary: Driscoll’s dissertation project, “Acting the Exegete: Homeric Quotation and Interpretation in Imperial Literary Symposia,” analyzes the surprisingly common presence of Homer in Imperial literary symposia, i.e. fictionalized evening conversation during the early Roman Empire. Building on Bourdieuan analysis to treat these quotations from the standpoint of performance, it argues that through the societally approved use of Homer elites both justify their privileged position and establish their own internal hierarchy.
Frederico Freitas
Geballe Dissertation Prize Fellow

Department of History, Stanford University

Boundaries of Nature: National Parks and Environmental Change at the Argentine-Brazilian Border, 1920-1990
Frederico Freitas is a Ph.D. candidate in History at Stanford. He received a BA in history at University of São Paulo (2008), and a MA in History at Stanford (2011). His research interests include modern Latin American history, environmental history, digital humanities, and graphic design.
His dissertation “Boundaries of Nature: National Parks and Environmental Change at the Argentine-Brazilian Border, 1920-1990” is an attempt to understand the role of national parks in the construction of borders, the history of expansion and occupation of “empty” territories promoted by national states, and the environmental, social, and cultural aspects of border construction on the lives of the population living (or arriving) at the borderland.
Jenna Gibbs
External Faculty Fellow

Department of History, Florida International University

The Global Latrobe Family: Evangelicalism, Slavery, and Empire (1750s-1850s)
Jenna Gibbs is associate professor of revolutionary-era Atlantic history at Florida International University. Her first book, Performing the Temple of Liberty: Slavery, Theater and Popular Culture in London and Philadelphia, 1760s–1850s, was published in 2014.  She is working on her second monograph, Evangelicalism, Slavery, and Empire: The Global Latrobe Family, 1750s–1850s.
Project summary: "Evangelicalism, Slavery, and Empire: The Global Latrobe Family" is a global story told through three generations of the Latrobes, a family of French Huguenot descent who, after being expelled from France in the late 17th century, converted to the German evangelical Moravian sect. Multi-generational members of this Moravian family were directly complicit with world-wide imperial ventures as immigrants, missionaries, and British and American government officials. In these varied capacities, they travelled and migrated literally across the globe between the mid- 18th and mid-19th centuries: to Ireland, Great Britain, the West Indies, North America, India, South Africa, Australia, and beyond. Her micro-history of three generations of this global missionizing family will provide an intimate view of the macro-story of British, American, and German evangelicals’ involvement with slavery, indigenous peoples, and empire between the 1750s- and 1850s.
Blaine Greteman
External Faculty Fellow

Department of English, University of Iowa

Authorship and Influence in the Early Modern Social Network
Blaine Greteman is an associate professor of English at the University of Iowa, specializing in early modern literature, digital humanities, and nonfiction. In 2013 he published The Poetics and Politics of Youth in the Age of Milton, and he writes regularly for popular publications, including The New Republic.
Project Summary: Shakespeare’s Social Network draws on the digital project, Shakeosphere to show how the changing material basis of early modern social networks reshaped communication and consciousness during the Renaissance. In chapters on Shakespeare, John Donne, and John Milton—who were all connected through distant but important ties—this book shows how a networked approach reshapes our understanding of early modern authorship, influence, and the experience of reading.
Niloofar Haeri
Marta Sutton Weeks Fellow

Department of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University

In the Presence of the Divine: Prayer and Poetry in the Lives of Iranian Women
Niloofar Haeri is professor of anthropology at Johns Hopkins University and the Director of the Program in Islamic Studies. She is a linguistic anthropologist who works on Iran and Egypt. She is the author of Sacred Language, Ordinary People: Dilemmas of Culture and Politics in Egypt (2003) and co-editor of Langue, religion et modernité dans l’space Musulman contemporain (2008). She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Stanford Center for Humanities fellowship in 2015-2016 for her project on the work of prayer and poetry in the lives of a group of women in Tehran, Iran.
Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann
External Faculty Fellow

Department of History, University of California, Berkeley

Metropolis in Ruins: Berlin in the 1940s
An Associate Professor of late modern European history at the University of California, Berkeley, Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann has published on topics ranging from post-Enlightenment sociability and social thought to the recent history of human rights.
"Metropolis in Ruins" explores the history of Berlin in the 1940s, as it was being transformed from the capital of the Nazi empire to the post-catastrophic metropolis of the Cold War. Hoffmann aims to change how we think about the compressed time of deep historical ruptures. With Reinhart Koselleck and other historical thinkers he asks how a catastrophic event (genocide, urbicide) that the participants themselves had anticipated could still come to them as a shocking surprise.
Jennifer Iverson
External Faculty Fellow

School of Music, University of Iowa

Electronic Inspirations: The WDR Studio and Musical Thought at Mid-Century
Jennifer Iverson is Assistant Professor of Music Theory at the University of Iowa. She researches and writes about the mid-century European musical avant-garde, connections between electronic and acoustic music, and disability studies in music.
This project explores the impact of the WDR (West German Radio) electronic music studio on the post-war European musical avant-garde in the critical decades of the 1950s and 1960s. The rise of electronic music at mid-century is deeply engaged with broader cultural questions about the role of technology in institutions, art, and life. This book reveals that electronic music made at the WDR drove the development of mid-century acoustic classical music, and shaped the proliferation of technology in post-war culture more broadly.
Nancy Kollmann
Violet Andrews Whittier Fellow

Department of History, Stanford University

Early Modern European Engravings and Networks of Knowledge of Russia
Nancy Shields Kollmann, William H. Bonsall Professor in History at Stanford, has studied how politics worked in Russia’s early modern “autocracy” in Kinship and Politics: The Making of the Muscovite Political System (1345-1547) (1987), By Honor Bound. State and Society in Early Modern Russia (1999), and Crime and Punishment in Early Modern Russia (2012).
Project Summary: An analysis of text and images in two major seventeenth-century travel accounts of Russia to explore three themes: the tension “between truth and template” in how engravers used pictorial conventions to reinforce authorial interpretation, the interaction of text and image to form a coherent interpretation of Russia in each account, and the analysis of later translations and reprints as nodes of creation and transmission of information about Russia across early modern Europe.
Christopher Krebs
Internal Faculty Fellow

Department of Classics, Stanford University

Julius Caesar, Man of Letters, and the Roman Republic of Ideas
Christopher B. Krebs studied classics and philosophy in Berlin, Kiel (1st Staatsexamen 2000, PhD 2003), and Oxford (M. St. 2002). He taught at University College Oxford and Harvard before joining Stanford’s Classics department, and held visiting positions at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris and the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae in Munich. He is the co-editor (with John Moles) of Histos and the recipient of the 2012 Christian Gauss Award.
He works in the fields of intellectual history, Greek and Roman historiography, and Latin philology and currently on a commentary on Caesar’s Bellum Gallicum 7 (Cambridge University Press) as well as A History of Ideas of the Roman Republic (W.W. Norton). His co-edited Cambridge Companion to Caesar should appear in the fall of 2016 with his contributions on “Caesar: A Style of Choice” and “More than Words: The Commentarii in their Propagandistic Context.” Other work includes "Caesar's Sisenna" (Classical Quarterly) and “The buried tradition of programmatic titulature among republican historians: Polybius’ Πραγματεία, Asellio’s Res Gestae, and Sisenna’s redefinition of Historiae" (American Journal of Philology). He has appeared on television and radio and occasionally reviews for the Wall Street Journal.
Reviel Netz
Donald Andrews Whittier Fellow

Department of Classics, Stanford University

Space, Scale, Canon: Parameters of Ancient Literary Practice
Reviel Netz is the Sadie Dernham Patek Professor of the Humanities at the Department of Classics, Stanford. His main field is Greek mathematics (e.g.: The Shaping of Deduction in Greek Mathematics; Ludic Proof; The Archimedes Palimpsest), though he often ventures more widely (e.g.: Barbed Wire; Positions of Stress: Essays on Israeli Literature).
Project summary: The monograph “Scale, Space, Canon” studies Greco-Roman literary culture from a broadly statistical perspective, identifying and accounting for the continuities and the transformations. The aim, at the end, is to explain several key innovations: the author; the system of genres; and the very ideas of “literature” and “science.”
Katharina Piechocki
Distinguished Junior External Fellow
Department of Comparative Literature, Harvard University

Cartographic Humanism: Defining Early Modern Europe, 1390-1590
Katharina N. Piechocki is an Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard University, where she specializes in early modern European literature. Her research interests include cartography, translation studies, philology, gender studies, opera, theater, as well as world cinema. Her most recent article, “Syphilologies,” is forthcoming in Comparative Literature.
Project Summary: "Cartographic Humanism: Defining Early Modern Europe, 1390-1590" is as much a reexamination of the idea of Europe as it is a critical analysis of Renaissance humanism’s complex articulations of space and language. The first attempt to problematize the question of Europe’s borders through the lens of cartography, philology, and translation as interlocking humanistic practices, this project traces new itineraries from Italy to islands in the Atlantic Ocean, from Portugal to Africa’s Western coast, from Poland to the Crimean Peninsula.
John Rick
Internal Faculty Fellow

Department of Anthropology, Stanford University

Innovation, Religion, and the Development of the Andean Formative Period
John W. Rick is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Stanford University, specialization in Latin American archaeology, with doctorate from the University of Michigan. He directs comprehensive fieldwork at Chavín de Huántar, a 3000-yr-old monumental World Heritage site in the highlands of Peru. His interests concentrate on how early religious cults strategized the beginnings of political authority in the Andes.
This project explores the role of religion in the shaping the Formative hierarchical societies of the New World (ca. 1800-200 B.C.), and the Andes in particular, to understand how innovation in technology and practice helped reinforce belief systems that justified a new socio-political order. The focus of the project is the monumental World Heritage site of Chavín de Huántar in Peru’s north-central highlands, which shows abundant and spectacular evidence of the creativity and careful strategy of emerging Formative religious authorities over 800 years of socio-political transitions.
Gabriella Safran
Ellen Andrews Wright Fellow

Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Stanford University

Listening to Russia: Literature, Technology, and the Outsiderly Ear
Gabriella Safran, the Eva Chernov Lokey Professor in Jewish Studies, teaches in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Stanford. Her most recent book, Wandering Soul: The Dybbuk's Creator, S. An-sky, is a biography of an early-twentieth-century Russian-Yiddish writer who was also an ethnographer, a revolutionary, and a wartime relief worker.
Project summary: From the 1830s to the 1910s, the Russian peasant voice was collected by writers, lexicographers, ethnographers, and musicologists and curated for consumption at home and abroad. This monograph considers the late imperial collectors of peasant sound as listeners, positing that the "outsiderly" status of the ethnographic ear in Russia and the state’s position as omnipresent eavesdropper enhanced the sense that Russian sound was inaccessible. It re-reads Turgenev, Dostoevsky, and Tolstoy, while thinking through ways in which nineteenth-century Russian culture was constructed in relation to the demands of global audiences. 
Kay Kaufman Shelemay
Marta Sutton Weeks Fellow

Departments of Music and African and African American Studies, Harvard University

When Ethnography Meets History: Musicians of the Horn of Africa in Global Motion, 1974-2014
Ethnomusicologist Kay Kaufman Shelemay is the G. Gordon Watts Professor of Music and Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. Her research and writing, which cross geographical and cultural boundaries in Africa, the Middle East, and the U.S., span topics as varied as ritual, historical reconstruction, memory, migration, and diaspora.
Project Summary: Shelemay is writing a book based on multi-temporal and multi-locale musical ethnography, including musicians’ oral testimonies and their songs, to provide new perspectives on a mass migration from the Horn of Africa to the United States. Her research provides insights into forty years of little-studied migration history and the prominent role of musicians in constructing new communities abroad.
Alexander Statman
Geballe Dissertation Prize Fellow

Department of History, Stanford University

A Global Enlightenment: History, Science and Sinology in the Late Eighteenth Century
Alexander Statman is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at Stanford University. In the past, he has studied at Columbia University, the National Taiwan University, and the École normale supérieure. His research focuses on the history of science, intellectual history, and world history in early-modern Europe and China.
Project summary: Statman’s dissertation, “A Global Enlightenment: History, Science, and Sinology in the Late 18th Century,” shows how French views of civilization at the end of the Enlightenment were formed in conversation with Chinese thought. During the 1770s, the philosophes rejected the example of China because it seemed static or even regressive; their opponents came to praise it for just the same reasons. In correspondence with the ex-Jesuit missionary Joseph-Marie Amiot in Beijing, French savants studied Chinese history and philosophy, developping an anti-progress alternative in Enlightenment Europe and painting an increasingly ideological picture of China.