By Ruby Shao
The Humanities Council is welcoming 15 new faculty and fellows and four executive committee members for the 2020–21 academic year, along with six interdisciplinary program directors appointed by the Dean of the Faculty to terms beginning July 1, 2020.
The visiting faculty and fellows bring expertise that spans conceptions of the self, tensions with police, the politics of empire, and the spiritual dimensions of everyday life.
New Postdoctoral Research Associates
Sierra Eckert will be a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Center for Digital Humanities and a Perkins Fellow in the Humanities Council. Specializing in the literary significance of systems of information and labor, she earned her PhD in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University. She will research computation and disciplinary history, collaborate on digital humanities projects, and teach courses in the digital humanities.
The Program in Linguistics will feature two new postdoctoral research associates. Steven Foley will probe how speakers of morphologically rich languages compute morphosyntactic dependencies during real-time comprehension, and then use those inferences to make predictions about upcoming words and sentence structures. Foley will teach two courses, including “Mythbusting Language” this fall. Irina Monich is currently researching Western Nilotic languages, with an emphasis on understanding the complex morphological systems found in these languages in comparative and diachronic perspective. This semester, she will teach “Historical Linguistics,” followed by a second course in the spring.
Visiting Scholars and Practitioners
Within the Program in Journalism, Jane Ferguson, an international correspondent for PBS NewsHour and a contributor to The New Yorker, will teach “The McGraw Seminar in Writing: War Reporting Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.” Drawing on lessons from the 20th century, the class will prepare students to portray conflicts with empathy and integrity. Rachel Donadio, is a Paris-based contributing writer at The Atlantic. Her course “The Literature of Fact: Writing About Culture” will equip participants to analyze trends, artists, and other facets of our rapidly changing society.
In the spring semester, James Martinez, the breaking news investigations editor at The Associated Press, will share his tactics for conducting investigations in response to major events. Kimbriell Kelly, Washington bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times, previously was part of the team that launched The Washington Post’s Pulitzer Prize-winning series on shootings by police. She will teach a course about policing and race.
Internationally acclaimed for her solo stagings of Samuel Beckett, Lisa Dwan will serve as a Long-Term Visiting Fellow in the Humanities Council and Department of English. She will teach “Topics in Drama: The Antigone Project.” The class will explore how playwrights have reworked the ancient Greek play Antigone by Sophocles to provoke questions about navigating contradictory demands, taking responsibility for one’s actions, and challenging the power of a sovereign.
The appointment of two Translators in Residence at the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (PIIRS) has been made possible by joint funding from the Humanities Council and PIIRS. Poet, literary scholar, and Arabic-English translator Mona Kareem is currently translating Octavia Butler’s Kindred into Arabic, and will have her translations of Iraqi poet Ra’ad Abdul Qader published next spring. Matthew Reeck brings experience translating from French and Urdu. His first translation from Hindi, Shrilal Shukla’s Selections from Fifty Years of Ignorance, will be published in 2021.
New Members of the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts
The Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts will usher in a new cohort of Postdoctoral Fellows who are appointed as Lecturers in the Humanities Council. Célia Abele, also a lecturer in the Department of French and Italian, will work on her first book, tentatively titled Collecting Knowledge, Writing the World: An Enlightenment Project. It examines how Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Denis Diderot, Emile Zola, and W.G. Sebald elevated the importance of the document through their research practices. Abele will introduce a course about how literature intertwined with science in 18th and 19th century France.
Cotsen Postdoctoral Fellow in Race and Ethnicity Studies Neama Alamri will develop her first book, Long Live the Arab Worker: A Transnational History of Labor and Empire in the Yemeni Diaspora, which harnesses archival sources, oral histories, and works of literature. As she lectures in History, her courses will cover race, labor, empire, Arab American histories, and histories of the Yemeni diaspora in the United States.
Lecturing in Comparative Literature and Humanistic Studies, Perkins-Cotsen Postdoctoral Fellow Maya Kronfeld will continue writing a book that enhances literary studies through Kantian cognitive theories. She will teach “Saying ‘I’: First Person Point of View in Literature and Philosophy” along with the team-taught course “Interdisciplinary Approaches to Western Culture.”
Portraying South Asian Muslim artisans as advancing unprecedented views about the role of religion in labor, Cotsen Postdoctoral Fellow and Lecturer in History Amanda Lanzillo will produce a monograph. Her courses will tackle working class histories in South Asia, as well as interactions between Islam and British colonialism.
Link-Cotsen Postdoctoral Fellow and Anthropology Lecturer Aniruddhan Vasudevan will write a book along with several articles about religion, gender, sexuality, and the ethics of care, including a case study of a group of women who worshipped Angalamman as a goddess in Chennai, India. He will teach about queer anthropology and ethnography.
Humanities Council Executive Committee
The Humanities Council appointed four new members to its Executive Committee: Tera Hunter (History, African American Studies), Lital Levy (Comparative Literature), Rosina Lozano (History), and Laurence Ralph (Anthropology).
Members of the Council’s Executive Committee come from across the humanities departments and meet on a monthly basis to select Visiting Fellows, Research Professors, grantees of the David A. Gardner Magic Fund, Behrman Professors, and the Belknap Visitor in the Humanities. In addition to these specific tasks, the committee deliberates on interdisciplinary research and teaching proposals and thinks about the humanities as they intersect with the arts, social sciences, and natural sciences more broadly. Past discussions have focused on the library, admissions, graduate programs, emerging fields, and faculty diversity.
Humanities Program Directors
The Dean of the Faculty has appointed four new program directors whose terms began July 1, 2020.
Leora Batnitzky (Religion) will direct the Program in Judaic Studies. The Program offers students an opportunity to explore Jewish culture from an interdisciplinary perspective.
Aisha Beliso-De Jesús (American Studies) will direct the Program in American Studies and lead a continuing expansion into Asian American/Diasporic studies, Latino studies, Jewish American studies, and Native American/Indigenous studies.
Adam Elga (Philosophy) will direct the Program in Linguistics, which is home to three regular faculty members, a growing number of independent concentrators, and newly established courses in American Sign Language.
Christy Wampole (French and Italian) will direct the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in the Humanities (IHUM), which invites thinkers from across the intellectual landscape to imagine occasions that reinvent the traditional humanistic questions while transforming the academic conventions of lecture and seminar.
The Dean of the Faculty also renewed two appointments.
Simon Morrison (Music) will begin a second term as Director of the Fund for Canadian Studies, where he has developed initiatives on the scholarship and journalism of indigenous communities in relation to climate change and the circumpolar north.
Gabriela Nouzeilles (Spanish and Portuguese) will begin a second term as Director of the Program in Latin American Studies on July 1, 2020. The Program aims to increase knowledge of the histories, cultures, economies, and environments of Latin America, including Brazil and the Caribbean.