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Faculty Fellows 2018-19

Jennifer Boittin

  • Associate Professor of French, Francophone Studies, and History

jab808@psu.edu

The French colonial state’s vested interest in personhood and identity, i.e. in gender, race, nationality or class, served to control how bodies moved and people lived within French Indochina and French West Africa. In turn, aware that they were persons of interest and that their private lives were being investigated, French women pushed back against officials via letters in which they contested, rebutted or even roundly rejected data meant to force or restrict their mobility. This project looks at how women resisted the imperial regime of information, for example by setting up alternative communication flows and therefore redefining the boundaries of the data itself, reshaping points such as race and gender to wrest back from the administration control over information and therefore their own bodies.

Claire Bourne

  • Assistant Professor of English

czb72@psu.edu

Accidental Shakespeare asks what kind of information the early texts of Shakespeare’s plays preserve and transmit. The New Bibliographic orthodoxy of distinguishing “substantive” features of early editions (words) from “accidental” features (punctuation, spelling, and anything else affecting the “formal presentation” of the text) has long shaped the editing, teaching, and study of Shakespeare. By examining the fact and concept of textual “accident” in a variety of pre-modern and modern contexts, this project aims to show that notionsof “Shakespeare” have always been contingent on the unintentional and extra-lexical attributes of his plays in print.

Christopher Castiglia

  • Distinguished Professor of English

cxc67@psu.edu

My project addresses nineteenth-century Spiritualism as an early information technology that combined belief, affect, psychology, and media in ways that made new forms of information acceptable to a mass audience.  My particular focus is on how Spiritualism retained the affective trace of interpersonal relations in the emergence of decorporealized information, ensuring that disembodied information remained experientially human.  At the same time, Spiritualism naturalized the relation of information and materiality, using conventional objects to deliver information while rendering them uncanny and therefore detaching affective attachment to the materiality of information. Spiritualism intensified the authority of information, reflecting emerging informational institutions like the US Census and the Federal Postal Service, while demonstrating how, once gathered, information from the beyond was open to organization and interpretation in new modes of speculative.

Rosa Eberly

  • Associate Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences and English

rae2@psu.edu

A CHI Fellowship will support my next monograph, Harry Shearer’s Character Machine, a study of actor, satirist, and transmedia artist Harry Shearer’s weekly one-hour radio program-cum-podcast, Le Show, now in its thirty-fifth year. A CHI fellowship will provide a collaborative setting for investigating the Le Show archive in the contexts of information, topic modeling, information architecture, and corpus studies as well as transcription theory and practice. The polyphony, longevity, and relative complexity of the Le Show archive make it of significant potential interest not only for scholars developing new methods of analyzing sound as information but also digital humanists working on tools for distant listening.

Hoda El Shakry

  • Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature

hze107@psu.edu

Printed Matter(s): Critical Histories and Perspectives on Maghrebi Cultural Journals investigates the cultural history of Arabic, Francophone, as well as bilingual journals from the region of the Maghreb (Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia). The book aggregates and theorizes the periodicals that shaped the Maghreb’s cultural formations across the twentieth century. I theorize the cultural journal as a mode of knowledge production that centers on the serialized and shared dissemination of information. The book highlights not only the publications, but also the concepts, intellectuals, as well as networks of production, circulation, distribution, and readership that operated both intra- and inter-regionally. Methodologically, the interdisciplinary project weaves together media studies, cultural history, and periodical studies.

Ran Zwigenberg

  • Assistant Professor of Asian Studies, History and Jewish Studies

ruz12@psu.edu

This project examines the way mental health professionals in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, as well as those who studied hibakusha in the West tackled the long term psychological consequences of the bomb. It places the various responses and clinical approaches taken in the stricken cities within the context of the larger history of trauma in Japan and elsewhere as well as the bigger historical responses of medicine to the threat and reality of nuclear weapons, tests and accidents. The project is focused on Japan but examine it within the larger context of Cold War psychiatry and research on the medical aspects of the bomb.