Current Institute Fellows
Institute Fellowships are for a full year of leave or a two-course teaching reduction. Applicants' projects are subject to a competition and evaluated by outside reviewers. Fellows work on their projects, conduct an Institute colloquium to present their research, take part in Institute events, and--a year later--design and teach an Institute class that reflects their research. The Kaplan Institute also offers with the University Library a Library Fellowship for one Library staff member per year.
2013-2014 Institute Fellows
Department of English
"Engines of Thought: Experimental Allegory in the Middle Ages"
Katharine Breen (Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley) teaches and writes about medieval English literature and medieval book history. She teaches courses on the history of the English language and a wide range of medieval literature, beginning with Sulpicius Severus’ fifth century Life of Saint Martin and extending to the cycle plays and allegorical drama of the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. Her research focuses most intensely on William Langland’s Piers Plowman and its tradition of poetic social criticism, and on the ways in which books seek to shape their readers through the interplay of material construction and textual content. Her first book, Imagining an English Reading Public, 1150-1400 (Cambridge University Press, 2010), examines medieval theories of habitus in a general sense before going on to investigate the relationships between habitus, language, and Christian virtue. While most medieval pedagogical theorists regarded the habitus of Latin grammar as the gateway to a generalized habitus of virtue, reformers increasingly experimented with vernacular languages that could fulfill the same function. In doing so, they laid the conceptual foundations for an English reading public. Her current project, Engines of Thought: Experimental Allegory in the Middle Ages, is likewise concerned with the emergence of the category of the literary in the later Middle Ages. Challenging the commonplace that medieval allegory erases individual or historical particularity in favor of totalizing and reductively applied doctrine, she finds it to be frequently innovative, indeed openly experimental, as it allows authors and their audiences to grasp, manipulate, and evaluate unfamiliar ideas. Instead of assuming a progressive development from medieval didacticism to modern complexity, then, Engines of Thought traces an alternate genealogy of English literary writing, arguing that complex vernacular speculative writing emerged from an allegorical matrix.
Department of French and Italian
"Performing Sovereignty: Power, Print, and Performance in the Haitian Kingdom of Henry Christophe"
Associate Professor of French, Ph.D. Duke University. Her research and teaching interests include Francophone Caribbean literature and historiography, the Haitian Revolution, early modern French literature, gender and slavery, performance, and postcolonial studies. She is the author of The Libertine Colony: Creolization in the Early French Caribbean (Duke UP, 2005; reprint 2008), and editor of Tree of Liberty: Cultural Legacies of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World (University of Virginia Press, 2008). She has published articles on various authors and periods of French and Francophone literature in Research in African Literatures, The International Journal of Francophone Studies, Callalou, Eighteenth-Century Studies, Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century, and in the edited volume The Postcolonial Enlightenment (Oxford UP, 2009). Her two most recent articles—“Empire of Liberty, Kingdom of Civilization: Henry Christophe, Baron de Vastey, and the Paradoxes of Universalism in Postrevolutionary Haiti” and “Towards a Literary Psychoanalysis of Postcolonial Haiti: Desire, Violence, and the Mimetic Crisis in Marie Chauvet’s Amour”— are forthcoming in Small Axe and Romanic Review, respectively. In support of her current research, Garraway has been awarded fellowships from Princeton University's Davis Center for Historical Studies, the National Humanities Center, the John Carter Brown Library, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and she was named the Herman and Beulah Pearce Miller Research Professor at Northwestern for 2011 to 2014. She is a past recipient of a fellowship from Northwestern's Kaplan Center for the Humanities.
Department of Art HIstory
"Bling and Bixels: The Camera, Performance, and the Visual Economy of Light in African American Diasporic
Krista Thompson is Associate Professor in the Department of Art History at Northwestern University. She is author of An Eye for the Tropics (2006) and articles in American Art, Art Bulletin, Art Journal, Representations, The Drama Review, and Small Axe. Supported by fellowships from the J. Paul Getty Foundation and the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) and the David C. Driskell Prize in art history from the High Museum of Art, Thompson is working on The Visual Economy of Light in African Diasporic Aesthetic Practice (forthcoming, Duke University Press) on the intersections among black vernacular forms of photography, performance practices, and contemporary art in the Caribbean and the United States and Black Light, a book on the use of artificial light in modern and contemporary art by African American artists.
Department of History
"The Wisdom of the Peoples: African Decolonization, Global Governance, and Cold War Constructions of Traditional Medicine"
Helen Tilley (Ph.D., Oxford, 2002) examines medical, environmental, and human sciences in colonial and post-colonial Africa, emphasizing intersections with environmental history, development studies, and world history. Her book, Africa as a Living Laboratory: Empire, Development, and the Problem of Scientific Knowledge (Chicago, 2011) explores the dynamic interplay between scientific research and imperialism in British Africa between 1870 and 1950. She has also written articles and book chapters on the history of ecology, eugenics, agriculture, and epidemiology in tropical Africa, and is co-editor with Robert Gordon of Ordering Africa: Anthropology, European Imperialism and the Politics of Knowledge (Manchester, 2007) and with Michael Gordin and Gyan Prakash of Utopia-Dystopia: Historical Conditions of Possibility (Princeton, 2010). Her current project focuses on the history of African decolonization, global governance, and the ethnoscientific projects that accompanied post-colonial state building in the Cold War era. She is investigating, in particular, the different scientific studies and legal interventions in the twentieth century that originally helped to construct “traditional medicine” as a viable category of research and policy-making. This project ought to shed light on the challenges independent African states have faced juggling not just the co-existence of strikingly different medical cultures within their sovereign spheres, but also the demands of international institutions, which have increasingly set the terms of debate regarding health, medicine, and the status of knowledge. She has received grants for her research from the Wellcome Trust and the National Science Foundation. At Northwestern, she is affiliated with the programs in African Studies, Science in Human Culture, Global Health, and Environmental Policy and Culture.
Her courses focus on the history of racial science, medical pluralism in Africa, global health, and environmental concerns around the world.
Department of Political Science
"Breaking Down the Barrier of Fear: Understanding Participation in the Syrian Uprising"
Wendy Pearlman (Ph.D., Harvard University, 2007) specializes in the comparative politics of the Middle East. Her current project studies the personal and social processes that lead people to assume enormous risks to participate in protest. She uses ethnographic research with Syrian refugees to explore these dynamics in the Syrian uprising. Wendy is the author of Violence, Nonviolence, and the Palestinian National Movement (Cambridge University Press, 2011) and Occupied Voices: Stories of Everyday Life from the Second Intifada (Nation Books, 2003). Her articles have been published or are forthcoming in Arab Studies Journal, International Security, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Journal of Palestine Studies, Perspectives on Politics, Politics & Society, Security Studies, and Studies in Comparative International Development. A former Fulbright Scholar, Wendy has studied or conducted research in Spain, Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, and the West Bank and Gaza Strip. She is the winner of the 2012 R. Barry Farrell Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Department of Classics
"Alone Together: A study of Seneca's Letters"
John Schafer (Ph.D. Harvard University, 2007) studies Latin literature of the Republican and early Imperial periods, with particular interests in philosophical texts (primarily Seneca) and the literary reception of philosophical ideas more generally. He is the author of Ars Didactica: Seneca’s 94th and 95th Letters (Göttingen 2009) and was the 2009-10 NEH/APA fellow at the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae (TLL) in Munich, where he deepened his interest in Latin lexicography. His current project focuses on Seneca’s most celebrated philosophical work, the Moral Letters, arguing for an understanding of this text as a work of literary artistry whose extroversion and interrogation of its own principles of composition resonate deeply with its subject and end, the moral reform of the human soul.
Curator, Charles Deering McCormick Library
Special Collections, Northwestern Library
"Little Things: Charlotte Moorman's Archive"
Scott Krafft will be working on an illustrated essay and exhibit of items contained within the vast archive of Charlotte Moorman (1933-1991), performance artist, collaborator of Nam June Paik, and entrepreneurial founder and producer of the New York Avant Garde Festivals. Scott is particularly interested in highlighting and interpreting minutiae of various media types within the archive, from shopping lists to answering machine messages, insofar as they shed light on Moorman as a person and artist, and in creating a succinct history of the archive and its provenance. The collection now resides in the McCormick Library of Special Collections at the Northwestern University Library, where Scott serves as Curator. Scott has curated many exhibits at the Library and collaborated with work on exhibits elsewhere, and is the author of numerous book reviews and essays. He has a B.A. from Bennington College and an M.L.S from Columbia University.
2012-2013 Institute Fellows
Assistant Professor, Department of Spanish & Portuguese
“Adulterated Nation: Illicit Passions in the Venezuelan Fin de Siècle”
Nathalie Bouzaglo (Ph.D. New York University, 2007) focuses on nineteenth-century Venezuelan and Latin American literary and cultural production. She is currently working on a book manuscript, "Illicit Passions: Nation and Adulteration in the Venezuelan Fin de Siècle," in which she focuses on the practice, narrativization and theorization of adultery in late nineteenth-century Venezuela to argue that representations of adultery are crucial to the construction of the Venezuelan nation. She envisions adultery as a counterintuitively productive event: although it would seem to undermine the national foundations, adultery diverts attention from a far more dangerous threat to the nation, namely, any questioning of the Law that constitutes the nation. She also co-edited the volume Excesos del cuerpo: Ficciones de contagio y enfermedad en América Latina [Excesses of the Body: Fictions of Contagion and Illness in Latin America] (2009, reprinted 2011).
Associate Professor of Literature, Department of English
"Renaissance Resurrection: Making the Dead Speak in Reformation Texts"
Kasey Evans (Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley) specializes in Renaissance literature. She offers courses in the English Department on the English literary canon 1400–1800; the poetry and prose of Edmund Spenser; race and racism in the Renaissance; and theories of virtue and vice in Renaissance texts. She also teaches and serves in the Gender Studies Program, the Program in Comparative Literary Studies, and the Kaplan Humanities Scholars Program. In 2010, she was awarded the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Teaching Award.
Her book Colonial Virtue: The Mobility of Temperance in Renaissance England (University of Toronto Press, 2012) argues that English writers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries used temperance as a lens to focus their vision of European colonialism in the New World.
Associate Professor, Department of History
“The Ghetto without Walls: The Identification, Isolation, and Elimination of Bohemian and Moravian Jewry, 1938-1945”
Benjamin Frommer (Ph.D. Harvard University, 1999) specializes in the history of Central Europe, with a focus on the periods of Nazi and Communist rule. He is primarily interested in collaboration and resistance under repressive regimes, ethnic cleansing, transitional justice, and nationalism. Frommer is the author of National Cleansing: Retribution against Nazi Collaborators in Postwar Czechoslovakia (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005), which was published in Czech translation by Academia Publishers, Prague. His current book project focuses on the persecution of Jews in the Nazi Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. Frommer's research and writing have been supported by the Fulbright Program, the American Council of Learned Societies, the International Research and Exchanges Board, the US Department of Education, and the Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen (Vienna). Frommer is a recipient of the Weinberg College Distinguished Teaching Award (2007) and has taught for the Kaplan Scholars Humanities Program (2012).
Assistant Professor, Department of English
“Modernity’s Mist: British Romanticism and the Poetics of Anticipation”
Emily Rohrbach (Ph.D. Boston University, 2007) teaches and writes about British Romanticism and aesthetic theory. Her research focuses on concepts of time and on moments in literature when semantic meanings appear out of joint with aesthetic experience—in other words, moments when a text does something different from what it says. Her book manuscript argues that, in its jarring relations between aesthetics and semantics, Romantic literature provides a distinctive way of imagining the present as a future memory. Her essays have been published in European Romantic Review, The Keats-Shelley Journal, SEL: Studies in English Literature 1500-1900, and Studies in Romanticism. She recently co-edited a special issue of Studies in Romanticism on the topic “Reading Keats, Thinking Politics,” which appeared in summer 2011.
Professor, Department of English
"Strange Kitchens: Knowledge and Taste in Early Modern English Recipe Books”
Wendy Wall, Avalon Foundation Professor of the Humanities, works on early modern English literature and culture. In her publications, she has delved into a wide range of topics including Renaissance poetry, cookbooks, Shakespeare, editorial theory, gender, national identity, the history of authorship, women's writing, and theatrical practice. Her books include The Imprint of Gender: Authorship and Publication in the English Renaissance (1993) and Staging Domesticity: Household Work and English Identity in Early Modern Drama (2002), which was a finalist for the James Russell Lowell prize awarded by the MLA and a 2002 Choice Outstanding Academic Title Award Winner. Professor Wall gives public lecturers in conjunction with the Chicago Shakespeare Theater and with the Newberry Library in Chicago, and has served as a trustee of the Shakespeare Association of America. She is currently working on a book entitled Strange Kitchens: Knowledge and Taste in Early English Recipe Books.
Communication Specialist, Northwestern University Library
“The Leopold & Loeb Files: An Intimate Look at One of America’s Most Famous Crimes”
Nina Barrett is a journalist and author who serves as the Communications Specialist at University Library, where she works on publications and exhibits. In 2009 she curated an exhibit called The Murder That Wouldn’t Die: Leopold & Loeb in Artifact, Fact, and Fiction based on the Library’s extraordinary collections of original source materials related to the crime. She is currently working on a book for Northwestern University Press, The Leopold & Loeb Files, which aims to excavate the case and its protagonists from the layers of myth that have buried it in the past eight decades, constructing a narrative from the original documents. Nina has also written several books on motherhood and women’s issues, and regularly contributes food feature stories to Chicago’s NPR affiliate station WBEZ. Her series of stories on kitchen anxiety “Fear of Frying” won the 2012 James Beard Award for Radio Show/Audio Webcast. She earned her B.A. in English from Yale, a master’s degree in Print Journalism from Medill, and a professional chef’s degree from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Chicago.
Kaplan Scholars Program
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Upcoming Institute Events
Open Studio Video Exhibition and Reception--Nanty: Summerstock (Part 1)
May 29, 2013 • 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM