Department of English
On Making Leisure Real
This project examines leisure in late-seventeenth- through early-twentieth-century English novels. It traces a trans-historical advocacy for leisure as a social good to which all, regardless of gender or class, ought to have access. Novels were the primary genre of literary entertainment during these centuries and they featured leisure extensively. Yet scholars consistently extricate fiction from non-purposive pastime, highlighting how it teaches or promotes discipline and utility, or displays cultural capital. I argue, by contrast, that novelists approached leisure as neither a mirror nor a usurpation of economic rationality, but as a complementary and different value system that is as vital to human existence as end-oriented interest- driven action. My trans-historical methodology gauges continuities, revisions, and changes in the case for the right to leisure made by literary entertainment. It also recovers women’s perspectives on the right to leisure, analyzing their substantial contributions to the writing and reading of literature.
Department of Geography, Environment & Society
Heat waves are expected to be more frequent, more intense, and of longer duration in the near future. Childbearing women are uniquely vulnerable because the physiological demands of pregnancy and breastfeeding compound the effects of exposure to extreme temperatures. Further, women and children living in disadvantaged households and communities face additional challenges because they have fewer resources to help mitigate against the effects of heat stress and climate extremes. In this project, we propose to investigate the impact of heatwaves on pregnancy outcomes (delayed conception, miscarriage, and stillbirth) using recently collected and highly detailed health survey data of nearly 50,000 women in five low/middle income countries in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. We combine these georeferenced health data with daily data on temperature maximum and minimum values. We specifically focus on the differential impacts on pregnancy outcomes resulting from exposure to heatwaves during different key stages of pregnancy.
Department of Cultural Studies & Comparative Literature
Tales of Militant Chemistry: A History of Raw Film Stock
We typically understand film to be purely a matter of culture. This book project, however, demonstrates cinema’s structural links to military, colonial, and environmental violence. It does so by uncovering film stock’s prominent position within the chemical industry, and its consequent intertwining with mid-century global war economies. My methods are “media- geological,” focusing on stock’s raw-material components (e.g., silver, gelatin, methanol), and the other materials that film manufacturers processed and developed between World War II and the early Cold War. From 1938 to 1945, for instance, film stock’s chemical ingredients were diverted to military manufacturing, while Kodak’s chemical-engineering expertise led the company to separate Congolese uranium for the Manhattan Project. This transnational material history spans the U.S., U.K., USSR, Germany, and Francophone colonial Africa. Through it, I argue that cinema must be understood as “technopolitical”: a phenomenon whose “material properties,” in historian Gabrielle Hecht’s words, “shap[e] the exercise of political power.”
School of Music
Ways of the Voice: Vocal Striving and Moral Contestation in north India
Ways of the Voice is an ethnomusicological book project about the diverse, variegated, highly contested techniques of voice production in North India. The action revolves around fifty or so popular, devotional, classical, and folk singers from North India, all of whom are, like most singers, working on their voices. The theoretical focus is on the ethical dynamism of vocal life: the ways in which singers not only have distinctive voices, but actively acquire, cultivate, and change these voices. Ways of the Voice foregrounds this unprecedented vocal plurality and dynamism, investigating the techniques by which singers come to take on new vocal dispositions, in a time of free-market cosmopolitanism, resurgent fundamentalisms and ethnic nationalism, and the new universalisms of the North Indian "Sufi" revival.
Department of Asian Languages & Literatures
The Ways of the Monkey King: Chinese Culture and Globalization in Deep Time
This book project explores the complex relations between the Chinese cultural heritage and the history of globalization through examining the rich repertoire of literary and media materials that feature the legend of the Monkey King, who has become an arch symbol for Chinese culture in Chinese-speaking regions and overseas Chinese communities since the early twentieth century. Shedding new light on a major Chinese cultural symbol that has received little attention in English scholarship, the book’s findings carry the larger goal to unsettle the prevailing paradigm of globalization theory that bifurcates Chinese culture and globalization as binary opposites. In doing so, the book advances a “deep time” approach that relinks the past and present of Chinese culture and reveals cosmopolitan potentials within cross-cultural engagements on diverse fronts involving Chinese culture and globalization.
Department of Psychology
Facilitating Open Science in Ethnic Minority Psychology
The recent “replicability crisis” in psychology has paved the way for the “open science movement,” a network of methodological and procedural reforms aimed at increasing the rigor of psychological science. Although there have been many successful reforms, ethnic minority psychology, which is concerned with the psychological experiences of ethnic minority populations, has largely been left out of the conversation. The proposed project is intended to facilitate open science in ethnic minority psychology by addressing the following questions: 1) What is the nature of the existing maladaptive practices in ethnic minority psychology? 2) Among current researchers in ethnic minority psychology, what is the level of awareness of aspects of the reform movement and what solutions do they envision? 3) How can open science be facilitated in ethnic minority psychology? These questions will be addressed through an analysis of existing articles, an interview study with ethnic minority psychologists, and the creation of an online center for intellectual exchange.
Department of Spanish & Portuguese Studies
The Lethal Principle: The Politics of Immunity in Francoist Spain
The Lethal Principle: The Politics of Immunity in Francoist Spain (1939-1975) seeks to study how the Francoist dictatorship in Spain employed a paradigm modeled on biological immunity to consolidate power, enact institutional policy, and manipulate national culture. Throughout the dictatorship, the distinction between purity and contamination was crucial to the socio-political construction of national community. In addition to contributing new insights into Francoism, the book will trouble mainstream readings of frequently taught and researched novels and films produced during the dictatorship, as well as analyze works produced in the twenty-first century to demonstrate the lasting significance of Francoism’s immunological paradigm. As the notion of immunity is invoked increasingly in contemporary discourse to describe phenomena as diverse as data breaches, burgeoning epidemics, and border security, this project connects a close study of Francoism to the most pressing concerns of the current period.