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Faculty Fellows 2019-20

Erica Brindley

efb12@psu.edu

This project examines the mass production of technical knowledge in ancient China (4th- 2nd centuries BCE). It offers the first in-depth analysis of the dynamics between Later Mohist schools that trained men in technical and proto-scientific arts and the larger intellectual and sociopolitical milieu of standardizing knowledge, especially technical knowledge, at the time. The seismic shifts occurring in the ancient world regarding the quantification and organization of knowledge mirror those occurring in our own day. I hope to use theory gained from today’s digital turn to compare, explore, and shed light on ancient transformations in information packaging, which had significant ramifications for the genesis of empire and technical knowledge in East Asian history.

Alica Decker

acd207@psu.edu

In this project, I am concerned with two sets of interrelated questions. The first set considers the work that violence does for scholars (i.e. violence as archive): What does it mean to think of violence as an embodied archive? What types of data might such violence provide? How can we read torture as historical text? How is this archive gendered? The second set of questions focus on the political work of violence (i.e. violence as method): How does violence transmit information? What are the primary circuits of this information flow? What types of data are circulated through these networks? How are these circuits gendered? Taken together, these questions allow me to ascertain how violence, and information about violence, produces historical meaning. I will use this fellowship period to draft an article about violence as archive and method, as well as continue working on my latest book project, which looks at the gendered legacies of militarism in postcolonial Uganda.

Ekaterina Haskins

evh4@psu.edu

"Remembering the War, Forgetting the Terror: Appeals to Family Memory in Putin's Russia."

My project examines the resurgence of the cult of the Great Patriotic War in the 2000s after its decline in the late 1980s and 1990s and the simultaneous marginalization of memories related to Stalin’s repressions.  I investigate why certain constructions of collective memory stick, or have widespread internally persuasive resonance, and others seem to fade. In particular, I analyze how appeals to family memory of the war era in a variety of commemorative contexts construct an obligation to remember the past.  I explore various rhetorical means of shaping public remembrance of WWII and Stalin’s repressions, including both state-sponsored “memory industry” projects and grassroots initiatives that foreground the act of memory as an obligation to one’s family.

Fabienne Kanor

quk165@psu.edu

The first aim of Mapping Slavery is to investigate on three continents a series of lieux de mémoire related to the Transatlantic Slave Trade and more specifically to the hold of the slave ship. In connection with detailed descriptions and analysis of these particular symbolic places, my book project also examines the way the experience of the Middle Passage is represented in contemporary literary, cinematographic and artistic productions of Francophone Africa, the French West Indies and the United States. The artists I focus on in this monograph all work on the Transatlantic Slave Trade and its consequences. Their works are of great interest for they clearly express a need for remembrance, but also for healing and reparation. Based on an interdisciplinary approach drawing on transnational literary, cinematographic and artistic works, archives, historical documents and a wide theoretical corpus ranging from Edouard Glissant and Gaston Bachelard to Paul Gilroy and Joy DeGruy, Mapping Slavery will help reframe our global understanding of a “past not passed” and our comprehension of contemporary traumas.

Michele Kennerly

mjk46@psu.edu

Michele Kennerly, associate professor of Communication Arts and Sciences and Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies, will be working on her second book manuscript. Tentatively titled Floral Arrangements: The Nature of Collecting in Rhetoric and Poetics from Antiquity through Modernity, it treats floral words (e.g., garland, flosculus, flores rhetoricae, florilegium, anthology, bee) as information-concepts signifying wide-ranging reading coupled with the judicious selection and combination of takeaways from that reading. Of particular interest is the fluctuating status of collecting from ancient sources as their authority is challenged by early modern and modern writers.

Shirley Moody

scm18@psu.edu

"Utilizing Digital Scholarship and Collaborative Public History to Reconstruct Nineteenth Century Black Women’s Activism"

 

The CHI faculty fellowship will support the expansion of the Anna Julia Cooper Digital Project into a major digital archive and teaching resource tentatively titled the Black Women’s Organizing Archive, with an initial focus on documenting black women’s activism from 1890s – 1920s, the critical decades surrounding the founding of the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs (NACWC). Conceived as the first stage in a multi-year, multi-institutional project, the Cooper Digital Project will join with the Colored Conventions Project, Howard University, and Penn State University to build digital repositories and online resources documenting the complex and extended forms of black women’s activism. This initiative builds on the success of the Cooper Digital Project by utilizing community-based, digital and archival methods, as well as collaborative teams and partnerships to digitize and transcribe black women’s archives thereby helping us reconstruction a much more expansive social and intellectual history of nineteenth century black women’s writing and activism.