Past Fellows

Visiting Fellows 2021-2022

Jeffrey Binder

Jeffrey M. Binder specializes in humanistic perspectives on computation, especially in relation to issues of language. He has written on topics ranging from the history of the back-of-the-book index to the use of technical terms in Walt Whitman’s poetry; he has also developed numerous software experiments in computational text analysis and artistic uJeffrey M. Binder specializes in humanistic perspectives on computation, especially in relation to issues of language. He has written on topics ranging from the history of the back-of-the-book index to the use of technical terms in Walt Whitman’s poetry. He has also developed numerous software experiments in computational text analysis and artistic uses of artificial intelligence. His work has been published in such journals as ELHAmerican Literature, and Media Culture and Society; his most recent article, “Romantic Disciplinarity and the Rise of the Algorithm,” appeared in the Summer 2020 issue of Critical Inquiry. He is currently working on a book about the history of the idea of algorithm from the sixteenth century to the rise of machine learning.

Georgia Ennis

Georgia Ennis is a linguistic anthropologist specializing in media and the environment. Utilizing community-engaged and collaborative methods, her research explores Indigenous media production, language revitalization, and environmental knowledge in a changing climate. Her book-in-progress, Mothering Earth: Women, Media, and Cultural Reclamation in the Western Amazon, follows Amazonian Kichwa (Quichua) women as they mobilize media to strengthen relationships and knowledge key to environmental reclamation and food sovereignty.  At the CHI, she is also developing Voices of the Amazon, a digital archive of Amazonian Kichwa media. 

Predoctoral Fellows 2021-2022

My dissertation, “Encounters between Eshu and Dionysus. Afro-Greek mediations in Cuban and Brazilian theater,” inquires into the intersections of ancient Greek and African-based cosmologies and their mediations within Cuban and Brazilian performances. From the 40s up to the present, Afro-Atlantic religions such as Cuban Santería and Brazilian Candomblé have been transposed into the Cuban and Brazilian stages and interacted not only with different media and technology (theater, cinema, radio, puppetry), but also with Greek myths, dramas, and aesthetics. By dialoguing with multiple disciplines like Media and Theater Studies, Classical Reception, Race and Afro-Atlantic Studies, my project will explore the systems of mediations and structures (artifacts, technologies, and practices such as possession and ritual) involved in these Afro-Greek interactions and how they complicate important questions of Cuban and Brazilian history, such as national identity, race, gender and humanity.

My dissertation examines the role of literature in the formation of queer communities by tracing the reworking of taxonomizing language throughout the long twentieth century till now. I argue that the literary deployment of taxonomies fundamentally shifts their meaning and the social uptake of these labels in ways that bring attention to the failure of taxonomies and the communities that spring forth from this failure. This dissertation examines the poetry found in German lesbian magazines, early 20th century queer/trans novels from Western Europe, contemporary speculative fiction, and U.S. poetry slam. Engaging with and contributing to gender studies, literary studies, trans studies, fat studies, and queer studies, this project focuses on moments when lived experience and relationality escape naming and expand the possibilities of community and kinship. Through an interdisciplinary approach combining interviews, archival research, and textual and visual analysis, I contend that the unmaking and remaking of taxonomies through literature is fundamental to the work of speculative community formation—of finding, providing for, and knowing queerness, and of expanding networks of queer solidarity. 

“Sonic Informatics: ‘Processing’ the Ethnicized Soundscape in Zimbabwean Migrant Fiction” 

My project “Sonic Informatics: ‘Processing’ the Ethnicized Soundscape in Zimbabwean Migrant Fiction” explores the literary representation of black Zimbabwean migrants in South Africa. I employ sound as a methodology for reading contemporary Zimbabwean migrant fiction to demonstrate how migratory aesthetics engage with what I term the Ethnicized Soundscape. I argue that a sonic approach to reading and interpreting narratives of displacement challenges the treatment of sound as a supplementary effect of vision rather than as epistemology in its own right, a way of knowing. A sound-focused reading disrupts how conventional genres of migration convey information about displaced people. Processing the Ethnicized Soundscape through literary texts is the contemporary conjunction between orality and literacy. My work employs Sound Studies methodology to offer a unique way of analyzing fiction that depicts migrants’ lived experiences because aurality in sub-Saharan Africa is perceived as orature; that is, the oral written down. I maintain that studying the Ethnicized Soundscape provides a broader understanding of inter-black migrant relations in South Africa. The ear, I argue, is the computational system that receives sound and makes meaning. In this context, informatics work with the ear as the computer that emits soundbites interpreted within the Ethnicized Soundscape. Sonic informatics is a new intervention that I bring to studying black African migrants’ communicative practices in South Africa.