Faculty Fellows with the Center for the Humanities at Washington University receive a one-semester fellowship in residence at the center, where they are provided the workspace, resources and vibrant intellectual exchange necessary to make great progress on their research projects. Up to eight fellowships are offered per year, including fellowships designated for junior faculty completing their first book and mid-career faculty working toward the completion of a second book. Fellowships are competitively awarded in the fall semester of the year preceding the fellowship year.
Jeffrey McCune (WGSS, AFAS)
“READ! AN EXPERIMENT IN SEEING BLACK”
McCune’s project is a monograph that utilizes black gay men’s vernacular use of “reading” — an interpretation/critique of embodied performance that is centered in one’s love and/or proximity to a black object — as a new way to theorize and analyze blackness. Reading “against the grain,” this manuscript engages hetero-patriarchy in neo-slave narratives, homophobia in hip-hop and the black church, and the queerness of anti-black police and state violence — in ways that suggest that aspects of each, which have been deemed wholly destructive, may also be generative. Reading against the canon of black thought — living in blackness as always already queerness — forges a space that may help recalibrate theoretical and political analyses of black life, illuminating “other” significant black performances.
Sowande’ Mustakeem (AFAS, History)
“BLOOD ON THE CONCRETE: RACE, SEX, AND CRIME IN AMERICA’S CARCERAL HEARTLAND”
Mustakeem’s book project explores the lives women, black and white, convicted of violence and sometimes even forced to face execution for their crimes. Shifting the public gaze and historiographic trend of historically reading race, gender, incarceration and execution from the confine of the East Coast, this book will be the first of many kinds. It will alter the predominate centering of historical narratives interlinking prisons, crime and violence within urban familiars such as New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia, and turn attention to a century of time within a far less traditional space of Jefferson City, Missouri within the Missouri State Penitentiary through the lives of women.
Christopher Stark (Music)
“SANGUINE” AND “PITTURA METAFISICA”
During his fellowship, Stark will work on two original projects: a commissioned chamber opera, “Sanguine,” and an orchestral composition, “Pittura metafisica.” For “Sanguine,” Stark is constructing the libretto (or text) as well as composing the music, which will engage with historical images and literature about the American West and will develop his research with building new instruments. His innovative orchestral composition, “Pittura metafisica,” explores the possibilities of non-narrative form, as influenced by the Italian metaphysical painters Giorgio de Chirico and Carlo Carra. His plan to extrapolate de Chirico and Carra’s concepts into music involves the use of technology — primarily, the digital manipulation of samples.
Caroline Kita (GLL)
“BORDER TERRITORIES: THE EMANCIPATORY SOUNDSCAPES OF POST-WAR GERMAN RADIO”
Kita’s project examines the critical role that narrative radio drama, or Horspiel, played in shaping public discourse in Germany in the two decades following the Second World War. Film vividly portrayed the rubble of German cities, yet radio was freed from the fetters of the visual to explore the rubble of the German psyche. Thus, the invisibility of the radio drama’s stage did not hinder but rather inspired authors and producers to imagine new relationships between the temporal and spatial, the real and the imaginary, the past and the present. German radio’s checkered history provides a compelling case study to explore the emancipatory potential of this medium. This book traces how this ubiquitous medium made its uneasy transition from propaganda tool of fascism to pluralist space of democratic ideals by analyzing text and sound in narrative radio dramas.
Long Le-Khac (English)
“TRANSNARRATIVE: GIVING FORM TO ASIAN AND LATINA/O AMERICA”
Le-Khac’s project advances the emerging comparative scholarship on Asian American and Latina/o literatures. She traces their mutual development of a narrative form that helps rethink the political tensions troubling these communities. Since 1965, Asian American and Latina/o coalitions have formed even as immigration reforms, economic restructuring and Cold War conflicts resulted in migrations and stratifications that unsettled these groups. As Juan Flores and Kandice Chuh observe, transnational relations and diversity challenge the organization of these political projects and the idea of panethnic community. Increasingly, writers respond with a narrative paradigm that, she argues, offers conceptual form and political imagination to the ideas of Asian American and Latina/, at a moment when many scholars question their coherence and efficacy.
Anika Walke (History)
“BONES, ASHES, AND SOIL: THE LONG AFTERMATH OF THE NAZI GENOCIDE IN BELARUS, 1941–2008”
Walke’s book project seeks to answer the question, How might, or should, we remember and live with the aftermath of genocide? Using Belarus as a test case, she questions how people re-made life in a space where violence is witnessed first of all by absence. Two million Jewish and non-Jewish lives ended violently, with most Jews buried in hard-to-find mass graves on the edge of town. Furthermore, the German occupation had pitted locals against one another in a struggle for survival and for ideological supremacy. Analyzing how community reconstruction colludes with individual and material damage, a history of complicity in the assault on a minority, and the inability to remember and mourn, allows Walke to assess the long-term effects of war and genocide in Belarus.