Faculty Fellows 2014-2015
Associate Professor, Department of English, FAS
Jennifer Baker is associate professor of English, where she specializes in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American literature and intellectual history. She is the author of Securing the Commonwealth: Debt, Speculation, and Writing in the Making of Early America, co-editor of a special issue of Early American Literature on “Economics and Early American Literature,” and board member of the Melville Society Cultural Project, which organizes archival research, visiting fellowships, programming, and lectures related to Herman Melville at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. She is currently at work on a book entitled “American Romanticism and the Victorian Concept of Life,” which examines works by Emerson, Thoreau, Melville, Poe, Hawthorne and Dickinson as part of a general reconsideration of American Romanticism in relation to the life sciences.
Associate Arts Professor, Department of Photography & Imaging, TISCH
Wafaa Bilal is an Associate Arts Professor at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and a contemporary artist known internationally for his on-line performative and interactive works provoking dialogue about international politics and internal dynamics. His area of research mainly focuses on dynamic encounters and their significance to life in our increasingly mediated world, the role of the artist who initiates a platform for encounters, viewer-participants who engage and co-author the narrative, as well as agency, viewership, and platforms for participation. He is the author of “Shoot an Iraqi: Art, Life and Resistance Under the Gun,” about his life and the Domestic Tension project, a performance where Bilal spent a month in a Chicago gallery with a paintball gun people could use to shoot him over the internet.
Professor, Department of Anthropology, FAS
Faye Ginsburg is David B. Kriser Professor of Anthropology at NYU, where she also directs the Center for Media; Culture, and History; the Center for Religion and Media; and co-directs the NYU Council for the Study of Disability. An author/editor of four books, many articles, and prestigious awards including MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellowships, she has a longstanding interest in understanding cultural activism, from her first book, the multiple-award winning Contested Lives: The Abortion Debate in an American Community; to her two decades of work as a scholar, advocate, and curator of Indigenous media; to her current project, Disability, Personhood and the New Normal in 21st Century America, the focus of her work at the Humanities Initiative. With anthropologist Rayna Rapp, she has received support for this project from The Spencer Foundation, NYU’s Institute for Human Development and Social Change, and the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Collaborative Research Initiative (2014-16).
Alex P. Jassen is Associate Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies in the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies. Dr. Jassen holds a B.A. in Jewish Studies and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from the University of Washington and a Ph.D. in Hebrew and Judaic Studies from New York University. He is the author of Mediating the Divine: Prophecy and Revelation in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Second Temple Judaism (Brill, 2007), winner of the 2009 John Templeton Award for Theological Promise, Scripture and Law in the Dead Sea Scrolls (Cambridge University Press, 2014), as well as many articles in leading journals. He is the co-editor of Scripture, Violence, and Textual Practice in Early Judaism and Christianity (Brill, 2010), and co-editor-in-chief of theJournal of Ancient Judaism (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht). His work on religious violence has been recognized with a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Department of Middle Eastern & Islamic Studies, FAS
Zachary Lockman is Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and of History. His main research and teaching field is the socioeconomic, cultural and political history of the modern Middle East, especially Palestine/Israel and Egypt. His most recent book is Contending Visions of the Middle East: The History and Politics of Orientalism (Cambridge, 2004/2009). He is also the author of Comrades and Enemies: Arab and Jewish Workers in Palestine, 1906-1948 (California, 1996) and (with Joel Beinin) Workers on the Nile: Nationalism, Communism, Islam, and the Egyptian Working Class, 1882-1954 (Princeton, 1987). His current research explores the institutional and intellectual history of area studies as a component of American academic life and the (often unanticipated) consequences of that development, with particular focus on the origins and trajectory of Middle Eaststudies as an academic field.
Assistant Professor, Department of Spanish & Portuguese, FAS
Prof. Robbins has published and carried out research on Cuban cinema, Walt Disney and Sergei Eisenstein, as well as on visual culture and war in the United States in 1898. His translations of essays by the Brazilian philosopher Marilena Chaui appear in the English-language anthology of her work Between Conformity and Resistance: Essays on Politics, Culture, and the State published by Palgrave Macmillan. His current book project traces the intellectual history of spirit possession and trance in Brazil and its relationship to different models of political subjectivity through an analysis of medical accounts of a 19th-century dancing mania, criminal cases related to the persecution of hypnotists, Brazilian theories of the trance-inducing effects of certain rhythms, and copyright cases involving texts authored by spirit mediums.
Professor, Department of English, FAS
Lytle Shaw is Professor of English. His books include Frank O’Hara: The Poetics of Coterie (2006), The Moiré Effect (2012) and Fieldworks: From Place to Site in Postwar Poetics (2013). He is currently at work on two books: New Grounds for Dutch Landscape reframes the art of three seventeenth-century Dutch painters (van Goyen, Ruisdael and Hobbema) less as a mimetic project than as a literalist reenactment of the physical processes of Dutch land reclamation; Narrowcast: Poetry and Sonic Research is a site-specific account of recorded postwar American poetry focusing on its non-intentional and non-human dimensions. A collection of art essays is forthcoming as Specimen Box. Shaw is a contributing editor for Cabinet magazine.