2017-2018 Franke Graduate Fellows

April 18, 2017 — We are pleased to announce the 2017-2018 cohort of Franke Graduate Fellows for the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities!


Ryan LashRyan Lash — Department of Anthropology

Project: Ritual Heritage and Community Sustainability in Coastal Connemara, Ireland

Emerging archaeological evidence suggests that pilgrimage traditions in early modern and contemporary Ireland developed from early medieval (c. 400-1100 CE) ritual practices. Combining archaeology, folklore, and ethnography, my project traces how communities in Connemara adapted the monuments and practices of pilgrimage traditions to new circumstances across many centuries. My goal is to develop an account of sustainability that recognizes the role of heritage monuments in shaping community identity and organization in the face of shifting economic and agricultural challenges.


Tyrone S. PalmerTyrone S. Palmer — Department of African American Studies; Rhetoric and Public Culture Cluster

Project: Inhabiting Vestibularity: On the Affective Grammars of Blackness

My project contends that the capacity for feeling has been a crucial site of contestation in the (un)making of Blackness under Western modernity. Reading canonical Black Atlantic literary and cultural texts alongside key Western philosophical texts, I trace how Black cultural producers mobilize affect, feeling, and sensation in order to grapple with the vicissitudes of Black historical experience.


Miriam PiilonenMiriam Piilonen — Music Theory and Cognition Program, Department of Music Studies; Critical Theory Cluster

Project: Resonating Bodies: The Origins of Music and Victorian Evolutionary Theory

My project examines the convergence of music studies and evolutionary theory, with emphasis on the rise of music evolutionism in nineteenth-century Britain. I show that thinkers like Charles Darwin, Herbert Spencer, and Edmund Gurney invoke music to delineate a human-animal boundary, such that the formal features of music become entwined with the limits and potentials of the human species.


Susanna SacksSusanna Sacks — Department of English; Program of African Studies

Project: Viral Verses: Poetic Movements and Social Media in Southeastern Africa

“Viral Verses” traces the connection between poetry and community formation on social media, postulating poetic discourse as the link between web-based activism and grounded action in Malawi, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. Considering political chants and rap alongside slam poetry and spoken word, I ask how poetry shapes and is shaped by community action, moving fluidly between social media and public spaces to reshape notions of authorship, audience, and agency. I argue that, amidst shifting norms of collective action, poetry forms a bridge between digital sites of organizations and grounded sites of action.