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Current Fellows

Visiting Fellows 2017-18

Sara Grossman


Sara Grossman specializes in the literary and cultural history of climate crisis and weather data in the United States from the early-nineteenth century to the present. She received her PhD in American Studies from Rutgers University in 2016. She is currently working on a book, Measuring the Face of the Sky, which is a cultural history of weather data in the United States. The book charts the evolution of data collection and visualization practices from the 1847 Smithsonian Institution Meteorological Project to NASA’s 2012 GOES-14 satellite. Measuring the Face of the Sky expands understandings of data within the field of the environmental humanities by positioning data as an everyday concept and cultural practice shaped by the people who interface with it. For an updated list of projects and publications, please visit

Victoria Salinger

I am currently working on turning my dissertation on German conceptual artist Hanne Darboven into a book manuscript. I discuss Darboven’s calculation-based art in the context of changing perceptions of mathematics and math pedagogy in the United States and Germany in light of the Cold War, as well as the gendered history of computers, computation, and data processing. I argue that Darboven’s choice to eschew discursive language for numerical calculations is not an avoidance of subjectivity or mimicking of a depersonalized aesthetic of administration, but rather a consciously political choice, engaged with questions about the changing nature of labor, authorship, and responsibility in the information age.

Faculty Fellows 2017-18

Jonathan Abel

Information and The New Real: The Bloated Cultures of New Media Part of a longer book-length study entitled The New Real: Media, Marketing, and Mimesis Made in Japan, the chapter that I propose to complete during a CHI Residential Fellowship focusses on four kinds of digital literature. The chapter will analyze the data of Japanese cell phone novels, twitter novels, visual novel games, and episodic video narratives. Bringing these tools to bear on my studies of the born-digital cultural material as a CHI fellow will bring to my work a methodology in which interpretation meets form.

Kathlene Baldanza

The literary world of pre-colonial Vietnam is not well understood. Imported and locally produced books written in literary Sinitic (Hán), the Vietnamese script Nôm, or a combination of the two circulated simultaneously. My project catalogues the imported books that were available to Vietnamese readers in the 18th and 19th centuries in order to make clear how these texts generated—or inhibited—new texts. It explores the reading practices Vietnamese readers used to process books written in a foreign language. I demonstrate that Vietnamese publishers and authors both employed tools of information management that originated in China and developed their own Nôm-based tools.

William Blair

Within the records of the Freedmen’s Bureau lies a collection with the shocking title of “Murders and Outrages.” These reports trace 3,972 instances of atrocities—murders, assaults, knifings, sexual assaults, economic coercion, and assassinations of government agents—committed by southern whites against Republicans and black people in the post-Civil War South. Until now scholars have not understood the reason these data were collected and its impact on northern policy against former Confederates. This compilation proved instrumental in mobilizing Republicans to visit a hard peace that replaced civil governments in the South with military rule and led to black male suffrage and passage of the 14th Amendment.

Christopher Moore

In the book I’m writing, Heraclitus and Knowledge, I argue, in effect, that Heraclitus (c.540–c. 480 BCE) was the first to theorize information. He does so as part of his continuous critique of Ionian research (“polymathy”), the scientific trend exemplified in his generation by Pythagoras and Xenophanes. Heraclitus argues that aiming for discovery, accumulation, and systematizing – that is, the manipulation of information – wrongly assumes that we are in a position to manipulate it. We need rather to understand ourselves first and our relationship to the world and other people. We must start by learning how to recognize.