MidCareer Faculty Research Award
The MidCareer Faculty Research Awards represent a critical investment in the future of CLA. With this fund, the College recognizes and invests in the next generation of faculty who are poised to lead CLA as it pursues greater heights of excellence and who are engaging in new lines of research and creative activity that will shape their fields and the intersection of fields.
Associate Professors | English
Unselfing: What We Can Ask of the Arts
How do poetry, music, dance, theater, and visual art produce singular experiences of connection and belonging? This project asks how much aesthetic emotions and judgments depend on the immediate situational contexts in which we encounter the arts, and which artists and performers work to create. Understanding how artworks enable audiences to experience feelings of self-forgetfulness and solidarity unavailable to them in everyday life also compels us to grapple with the fragility of these temporary states. How can we continue to feel for others when the special conditions that facilitate common ground are absent? By developing awareness of how social contexts enable or foreclose empathy and solidarity, we can more effectively address the discontinuities between who we become when we are experiencing the arts and who we need to be in order to achieve social, economic, and environmental justice.
Associate Professors | Philosophy
Mary Somerville, Philosopher
Mary Somerville (1780–1872), once declared the “queen of science,” has long been recognized by historians of science, but her work is virtually unknown among philosophers and historians of philosophy. Combining the expertise of Samuel Fletcher in the history and philosophy of science and Jessica Gordon-Roth in feminist recovery in the history of philosophy, this project aims to begin to fill this significant gap. By turning to Somerville’s archives, and especially her correspondences and unpublished works, Fletcher and Gordon-Roth expect to paint a more comprehensive picture of her philosophy and thereby reclaim Somerville as a philosopher. They also plan to utilize Somerville as a methodological case study for the project of canon expansion, which aims to broaden our conception of philosophy and who counts as a philosopher—a project of the utmost importance given the discipline’s alarming homogeneity.
Associate Professors | English
Workshopping Blackness: Writing Workshops and the Production of Twentieth-Century African American Literature
The project will support work on an academic monograph “Workshopping Blackness: Writing Workshops and the Production of Twentieth-Century African American Literature.” I intend to use the Award to fund research visits to two major archives during summer 2022, and to buy out my 2-course teaching load during fall 2022 in order to have dedicated time for research and writing. My monograph is a history of Black writers' participation in twentieth-century creative writing workshops, both within the academy and within revolutionary political movements. It endeavors to recalibrate disciplinary understandings of Black literature and authorship by locating the historically-situated collaborative spaces and interpersonal exchanges of the workshop at the center of modern African American literature's aesthetic and sociopolitical characteristics.
Associate Professor | Creative Writing
Intertwined: Prose Poems about Instances of Symbiotic Mutualism
Intertwined is a collection prose poems about instances of symbiotic mutualism in the plant and animal kingdoms. The poet meditates on plant-animal collaborations as a jumping off point for imagining a more interconnected and sustainable human role in our ecosystems. These poems seek to imagine a future in which humans understand themselves to be as connected to their environment as birch trees are to the Douglass firs that feed them in winter via a mycorrhizal network, as the bobtail squid are to the bacterial colonies behind their eyes that emit a bioluminescent glow which enables moonlight camouflage, as certain orchid species are to the ant colonies they host in the nectaries of their petalled pouches. Support from this Mid-Career Faculty Research Award will enable the author to conduct field research and take time to focus on writing and revising pieces for this project.