Institute Fellowships offer faculty course reductions so that they can develop research projects within an interdisciplinary community. Kaplan Institute Fellows, who are selected by an external team of reviewers, present work at weekly lunchtime colloquia, participate in Institute events, and develop a course to offer in the Institute in the year after their fellowship. Read more about our Fellowship Program.
Meet the 2018-2019 cohort of Fellows for the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities:
Departments of Anthropology, African American Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Performance Studies
Project: The View From Cavallaros: Race, Gender, and Public Culture in an American City
"My project is an historical ethnography of political economy and public culture over the last three decades in New Haven, Connecticut. Its key focus is on the lives and apprehensions of working- and middle-class black and white women. Starting from the optic of a mixed and shifting neighborhood, and considering different residents’ visions of the “right to the city,” the study then opens up to the whole metropole and its economic, political, cultural, and demographic changes over time."
Associate Professor, Department of History
Project: From Protest to Politics: The Making of a 'Second Black Cabinet'
"In the 1960s and early 1970s, African Americans gained unprecedented access to seats of power in the federal executive branch. Gadsden's project, titled From Protest to Politics: The Making of a 'Second Black Cabinet,' explores the political and public policy work of a select group of figures in the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations who served as cabinet and sub-cabinet secretaries, heads of federal agencies, and high-ranking political advisors. He argues that these African Americans' efforts to translate the spirit of major civil rights legislation of the era into concrete policy prescriptions marked a new chapter in American political history."
Assistant Professor, East Asian Art, Department of Art History
Project: The Perturbed Circle: Chinese Architecture and Its Periphery
"This project is an account of how architectural practice in pre-modern China was closely connected to broader strains of political, religious, and scientific thinking. Through a series of case studies - from court production of architectural knowledge, technological advancement vis-a-vis contemporary mathematical knowledge, to urban planning under Japanese colonial occupation - it tries to demonstrate how and to what effect architecture served as the heuristic devices with which intellectual problems were worked out, and religious questions posed."
Associate Professor, South Asian and Global History, Department of History; Co-Director, Global Humanities Initiative; Director, Asian Studies Program
Project: The Mughals and the Modern Humanities: The Entangled Lives and Legacies of Early Modern Indo-Persian and European Intellectuals (ca. 1600-1800)
"My new book explores a range of texts and global encounters that connected two pioneering early modern scholars across two centuries: William Jones (d. 1794), a celebrated British Orientalist and colonial official in India whom some have described as the "father of modern linguistics;" and Jamal al-Din Husain Inju Shirazi (d. 1626), a Mughal courtier whose scholarship Jones studied and incorporated into some of his own work. Along the way, I hope to suggest that the intellectual roots of 'modern' thought are actually far more complex - and worldly - than is usually acknowledged."
Curator of the Music Library, Northwestern University Libraries
Project: Resultant Masses: John Cage, Glenn Branca, and the 1982 New Music America Festival
During a 1982 new music festival, composer John Cage made several disparaging comments on the music of fellow composer Glenn Branca. The story is well known, but the resultant consequences for both composers has not received a critical review. My research will offer insights on Cage, Branca, and the new music culture by examining primary source collections held in the Music Library (John Cage Collection, Glenn Branca Archive, and New Music Chicago Archive).
Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science
Project: Integrity, Personal and Political
"My book project seeks to show that a democratic polity has its own morally important integrity, and to examine the relationship between this political integrity and personal integrity, deriving practical implications for both individual and collective conduct. These implications range from the proper political response to foreign and domestic corruption, through questions regarding the 'clean hands' of political operatives serving dangerous presidents, to highly controversial public monuments, commemorating political figures whose integrity is intensely disputed."
Assistant Professor, Department of Asian Languages and Cultures
Project: Culture of Disaffection: Post-Fascist Aesthetics in 1960s Japan
"Culture of Disaffection examines countercultural responses to the legacy of fascism in 1960s Japan. If fascist aesthetics sought to unify the Japanese people as an ethno-national community through experiences of emotional harmony, then post-fascist aesthetics, I propose, sought to fragment them through experiences of emotional discord in order to disrupt the persistence of fascistic ideologies in the postwar era. This project shows how the emotional environment was a key site of contestation in the aftermath of Japanese fascism."
Associate Professor and Production Area Head, Department of Radio/Television/Film
Project: The Acoustics of Roux
"In The Acoustics of Roux, the sonic qualities of recorded voices carry residues from their source into the animated image. Oral accounts of the Cajun region combine with animation in this ethnographic film that explores the intersection of memory and the historical record, providing a lens to view more contemporary issues including the criminalization of language, the acculturation of diverse ethnic groups, bigotry, migration patterns, and economic mobility."
Assistant Professor, Department of Performance Studies
Project: Fragments of Belonging: The Politics of Syrian Performance in the 21st Century
"Syria is socially fragmented and physically decimated by seven years of armed conflict, humanitarian crises, and mass displacement. Grounded in cultural praxis and embodied sensibilities, my project looks at the role of performance in negotiating the deep rifts that have cleaved through 21st-century Syrian society. I demonstrate how the subjects and affects that circulate in wartime public culture reproduce the very myths, traditions, and identity politics from which they emerge. Not only a humanitarian disaster nor a destabilizing force with global impact, Syria today is constituted through and deeply embedded in the spatial, temporal, and affective dynamics of body, performance, and culture."
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Associate Professor, Department of French and Italian and Comparative Literary Studies Program
Project: Rhythm Against Measure: Cinema, Montage, and the Life of Images
"This project turns to rhythm as the critically neglected dimension in the contemporary study of film and the moving image. Its overall aim is to position rhythm as a pivotal mode of resistance to power and thus a key element in defining the relation between the aesthetic and the political. Rhythm is not what happens to forms or to a subject - rather, it is constitutive of their very taking shape."