Past Postdoctoral Fellows

In residence September 2015-August 2017

Daniel SnelsonDaniel Snelson

Ph.D. in English, University of Pennsylvania

Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities

Danny Snelson began a two-year residency in fall 2015 as our first Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Digital Humanities, with a joint appointment in the Kaplan Institute and the English Department. His research and teaching blend a study of poetry and poetics with work on digital and network cultures, material text studies, and media theory. His dissertation, “Variable Format: Media Poetics and the Little Database” moves away from “big data” analysis to consider relatively small online collections of digital objects, particularly noting ways that print, sound, and cinema work within the new media context of twentieth-century art and literature. Danny teaches courses that engage in digital cultures from a humanities perspective and contribute scholarly expertise to general digital humanities initiatives. His course, "Print-on-Demand Poetry: Making Books After the Internet," examines the emergence of innovative forms of writing under the influence of digital networks, inviting students to experiment with Print-on-Demand in a series of collaborative and independent scholarly projects. Visit Danny's website here.


In residence September 2014-August 2016

Amanda GrahamAmanda Jane Graham
Ph.D. in Visual and Cultural Studies, University of Rochester

Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Dance Studies

Amanda Jane Graham’s interests include spatial theory, social activism, museum studies, and curatorial practice. Her teaching and research on post 1960 American dance, art, architecture, and urban development draw on these topics. In her dissertation, Amanda examines how New York City experimental dance by Trisha Brown and Lucinda Childs moved from informal, often outdoor, performance spaces to the formal proscenium stage. Amanda has published articles on dance, visual art, and culture and media in academic journals including Dance Chronicle, Latin American Perspectives, and InVisible Culture. Additionally, she has contributed several essays on the political stakes of art making and pedagogy to curatorial catalogues, artist books, and edited collections including Nadia Myre: En[counter]s and Collaborative Futures: Critical Reflections on Publicly Active Graduate Education. Amanda has presented at many conferences including the Society of Dance History Scholars, the Society for Cinema and Media Scholars, the College Art Association, and the Frick Symposium. As a gallery director, Amanda organized exhibitions for up-and-coming and established artists, including South African artist William Kentridge. She taught courses on Avant-Garde scores, dance, and visual art collaborations.

Sheila WilleSheila Wille
Ph.D. in History, University of Chicago
M.A. in Historical Archaeology, Illinois State University

Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Environmental Humanities

Sheila Wille is an environmental historian of eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Britain and the empire, with a special interest in the history of entomology. Her current project links political, environmental, intellectual, and religious history to explore the history of eighteenth-century entomology and the increasing visibility of insects in that period. Insects combined with other newly unmanageable sectors of the natural world to threaten, and subsequently strengthen, foundational and politically influential enlightenment claims that nature was stable, fruitful, and self-equilibrating. In addition to her training in history, Dr. Wille maintains an interdisciplinary interest in archaeology, material culture studies, environmental studies, and all things entomological, and encourages students to contact her about their research interests in any of these fields. Sheila taught courses on the history of botany and entomology in the British Empire, as well as on apocalypse narratives in the West.


In Residence September 2012-August 2014

Jose Luis ReynosoA shirtless man leaping in the air with a sky-blue background
Ph.D. in Culture and Performance, UCLA

Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Dance Studies

Jose Luis Reynoso's interests include critical theory and pedagogy, the explicit and implicit politics of choreography, ideologies of artistic identity, and the role of corporeality in knowledge production. Applying these perspectives, Jose writes and teaches about various aspects of modern/cotemporary dance in Mexico and the U.S. with an emphasis on the intersection of race, gender, class and sexuality. In his dissertation, Jose examines the role that ballet and modern dance played in the construction of post-revolutionary, modern Mexico from 1919 to 1940. Reynoso has presented at several conferences, including Dance Under Construction, Danza Teorica, Congress on Research in Dance, and the Society of Dance History Scholars. As a performer and choreographer, he has collaborated with multiple choreographers and performance artists including Hae Kyung Lee, David Roussève, Guillermo Gomez-Peña, and Roberto Sifuentes. He has also presented his own choreographic work nationally and internationally.


In Residence September 2010-August 2013

Melody DeusnerMelody Deusner
PhD in Art History, University of Delaware

Terra Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in Art History

Melody Deusner specialized in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century art, with particular emphasis on the study of American painting and mass culture in an international context. Her doctoral dissertation, “A Network of Associations: Aesthetic Painting and its Patrons, 1870–1914,” probed the startling convergence between the pursuit of an art for art’s sake—which promotes the activity of selection, arrangement, and the orchestration of harmonious visual effects as the true substance of picture-making—and the organizational imperatives of systems management and network building in the political and corporate spheres in turn-of-the-century Britain and America. Her research has been sponsored by the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Luce Foundation/ACLS, the Kress Foundation, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, with ongoing support provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art. She taught graduate and undergraduate courses in Art History. 


In Residence September 2010-August 2012

Mark KauntzeMark Kauntze
PhD, Yale University

Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Medieval Studies

Mark Kauntze’s research focused on the Latin literature and philosophy of the High Middle Ages. He was particularly interested in the transmission of ancient thought, the theory and practice of rhetoric, and medieval accounts of the history of philosophy. During his fellowships, Mark was completing a monograph on the twelfth-century poet Bernardus Silvestris, and working on a critical edition of the second part of Roger Bacon’s Opus maius. He taught Medieval Latin in the Graduate Classics Cluster.


In Residence September 2010-August 2011

Elizabeth Todd-BrelandElizabeth Todd-Breland
PhD in History, University of Chicago

Andrew W. Mellon/ACLS Postdoctoral Fellow

Elizabeth's research project, "A Political Education: Race, Politics, and Education in Post-Civil Rights Chicago," investigated Black political organizing in Chicago around inequities in public education. Between the late 1960s and the 2000s Black Chicagoans organized within and outside of the public school system around integration, Black educational institution building, and community control. These diverse ideological and programmatic approaches eventually coalesced into unlikely alliances to navigate an increasingly privatized public education system. This project forces a reconsideration of the complexity of Black civic life and political possibilities in urban America in the Post-Civil Rights era. Investigating political organizing within, and beyond, the institutional setting of public schools furthers understandings of the dynamic relationship between schools and communities.