Fellows, 2018-2019

at the NYU Center for the Humanities

Kimberly Adams

Kimberly Adams

Doctoral Student Fellow; PhD Candidate, Department of English, Graduate School of Arts & Science

Project: The Body Electric

Kimberly Adams is a PhD candidate in English at NYU. Her dissertation follows the application of electricity to the body in American literature and medicine from 1867 to 1970, arguing that the human body, as formed in race, sex, and gender, stages the changing public meanings of electricity across media and genres, and that electricity activates a politics of embodiment embedded in cultural and literary forms.  Her project makes use of methods from the medical humanities, the history of science, media studies and literary scholarship.  She is invested in work that combines material history with theoretical stakes to evoke practical consequences.  She holds a B.A. in English from Vassar College and an M.A. in English from Brown University, with specializations in poetry and poetics and literary theory.

Edward Berenson

Edward Berenson

Faculty Fellow; Professor, Department of History, Faculty of Arts & Science

Project: Blood Libel in an American Town: Massena, NY 1928

Edward Berenson, a professor of history at NYU, is a cultural historian specializing in the history of modern France and its empire, with additional interests in the history of Britain, the British Empire, and the United States. He is the author or editor of the following books: Populist Religion and Left-Wing Politics in France, Princeton, 1984; The Trial of Madame Caillaux, Berkeley, 1992; Heroes of Empire, Berkeley, 2010; Constructing Charisma: Fame, Celebrity and Power in 19th-Century Europe, New York, 2010; The French Republic: History, Values, Debates, Ithaca, 2011; The Statue of Liberty. A Transatlantic Story, New Haven, 2012; Europe in the Modern World, New York, 2016. Berenson has won distinguished teaching awards from UCLA and the American Historical Association and, in 2006, was decorated by the French government as Chevalier dans l’ordre du mérit.

Meghna Chaudhuri

Meghna Chaudhuri

Doctoral Student Fellow; PhD Candidate, Department of History, Graduate School of Arts & Science

Project: A Measure of Value: Life, Land and Agrarian Financialization in India, 1850-1950

Meghna Chaudhuri is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at NYU. Her dissertation reconstructs the relationship between life insurance and forms of agrarian financialization in colonial India. The project argues that this relationship reveals a longer history of the developmentalist state in South Asia, and its role in the global emergence of a discourse on agrarian hinterlands as spaces of absence, that continues to mark contemporary understandings of financial inclusion across the Global South. Her research is a materially informed intellectual history of the forms of value creation that produced and were produced by changing conceptions of value, and values – such as hard work, thrift and planning forward – over the course of a 170 years. Her research reflects her interest in cultures of risk, national economics, and the history of science. Prior to pursuing a PhD at NYU, Meghna completed an MA and an MPhil in Modern South Asian History at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

Emilie Connolly

Emilie Connolly

Doctoral Student Fellow; PhD Candidate, Department of History, Graduate School of Arts & Science

Project: Indian Trust Funds and the Routes of American Capitalism, 1795-1865

Emilie Connolly is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at NYU. Her dissertation, “Indian Trust Funds and the Routes of American Capitalism, 1795-1865” reconstructs the financial architecture of Indigenous dispossession in the nineteenth-century United States. The project argues that the practice of compensating Indian land cessions with trust funds enabled a strain of federal policy she calls “fiduciary colonialism”: a form of territorial acquisition carried out by gaining administrative control over Indigenous wealth. Emilie is currently a Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellow, and in 2017-2018 was John E. Rovensky Fellow in Business and Economic History as well as a Consortium Dissertation Fellow of the McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research has also drawn support from the Council on Library and Information Resources and Mellon Foundation, the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the Institute for New Economic Thinking.

Amarilys Estrella

Amarilys Estrella

Public Humanities Fellow; PhD Candidate, Department of Anthropology, Graduate School of Arts & Science

Dissertation: Grassroots Human Rights Activism against Racism in the Dominican Republic

Public Humanities Project: Translating Blackness: Transnational Activism and Responses to Anti-Black Racism

Amarilys Estrella is a Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology at New York University. Her dissertation research examines the role of human rights law and discourse in transnational activism against anti-Black racism. She holds a Master’s in Latin America and Caribbean Studies from New York University. Prior to her doctoral studies she was the Program Officer for Haiti and the Dominican Republic at American Jewish World Service, an international human rights organization. As a Public Humanities Fellow, Amarilys will work closely with the New York City based collective We Are All Dominican (WAAD) in designing a transnational campaign to address the denationalization of Dominicans of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic, as well as global anti-immigrant and anti-Black sentiment.

Adele Fournet

Adele Fournet

Public Humanities Fellow; PhD Candidate, Ethnomusicology, Department of Music, Graduate School of Arts & Science

Dissertation: Female Music Producers: Sonic Innovation from the Professional Periphery

Public Humanities Project: NYC Community Recording Studio for Women and Girls

Adele Fournet is a PhD candidate in Ethnomusicology at New York University where she is writing about the intersections of gender, technology, labor, and aesthetic values in popular music production, as well as pursuing activist research methodologies in critical music studies.  She is also a musician, producer and videographer in New York City.  She directs a web series about female music producers called Bit Rosie (www.bitrosie.com), which became the NYU library’s first music-related streaming video archive in 2017.  Her films have been screened on PBS New York and at the NYC Independent Film Festival.  Current projects and collaborations include Bit Rosie, CuttingbirdCorpusMedioCeleste Krishna, and digitice.org.

Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman

Faculty Fellow; Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts & Science

Project: The Norms of Inquiry

I am an assistant professor in the philosophy department at NYU. I work in contemporary analytic philosophy focusing largely on epistemology and its close relatives. While epistemology is officially the study of knowledge, much of my work has been focused on subjects who lack knowledge, as well as on how we might go about getting the knowledge we are after. I’ve written about agnosticism, uncertainty, belief, curiosity, epistemic normativity and more. My main project right now is on inquiry — what does it take to be inquiring and what are the rules or norms of the practice?

Jon Gordon

Jon Gordon

Doctoral Student Fellow; PhD Candidate, Department of Sociology, Graduate School of Arts & Science

Project: Precarious Peace: Violence and Imaginaries of Security in Medellín, Colombia

Jon Gordon is a PhD candidate in Sociology at New York University. His dissertation, Precarious Peace: Violence and Imaginaries of Security in Medellin, Colombia is an extended ethnographic study of how a legally unsanctioned armed organization in a low-income neighborhood of Medellin wielded and ascribed meaning to violence, interrelated with residents and institutional actors, and adopted peaceful problem-solving strategies from 2012 to 2017. His research interests bridge urban and political sociology and developed during 18 years of living, working, and traveling in Latin American countries. His work has been supported by grants from New York University and the Social Science Research Council.

Alani Hicks-Bartlett

Alani Hicks-Bartlett

Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow; Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow, Department of Comparative Literature, Faculty of Arts & Science

Project: The Cure Gone Awry

Alani Hicks-Bartlett is Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow in the Department of Comparative Literature. She received a PhD in Romance Languages and Literatures and Medieval Studies with a Designated Emphasis in Women’s and Gender Studies from UC Berkeley, and earned MA degrees in French, Italian, and Spanish from Bryn Mawr College and Middlebury College. Her research interests include gender and violence in Medieval and Early Modern drama, the relationship between politics and notions of empire in epic literature, and vernacular poetics and the development of the love lyric from the 11th century to the present. Her work has been supported by the American Association for University Women, the Ford Foundation, the Digital Humanities Institute at the University of Victoria, and others. She is currently working on the following projects: a book about literary discussions of gender, dis/ability, and political instability in Chrétien de Troyes, Machiavelli, Shakespeare, and Calderón, a study of Early Modern English, French, Italian, and Spanish wife-murder plays, and a history of penitence and the Petrarchan complaint in Medieval and Early Modern poetry.

Arang Keshavarzian

Arang Keshavarzian

Faculty Fellow; Associate Professor, Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, Faculty of Arts & Science

Project: Fashioning the Gulf: The Persian Gulf in the Long Twentieth Century

Arang Keshavarzian is an associate professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at NYU. His teaching and research explores politics and political economy of the modern Middle East, in particular Iran, the Persian Gulf, and Arabian Peninsula.   His publications include Bazaar and State in Iran as well as essays on urban development, authoritarianism, state-formation, and political economy of trade and smuggling in such journals as Politics and Society, Geopolitics, International Journal of Middle East Studies, and Economy and Society.   He is also a member of the editorial committee of Middle East Report (MERIP). His current book project maps shifts in the global political economy across the long Twentieth Century from the vantage point of the circuits of trade, built environment, and geopolitical imaginaries of the Persian Gulf.

Cecilia Márquez

Cecilia Márquez

Faculty Fellow; Assistant Professor of Latino/a Studies, Department of Social and Cultural Analysis, Faculty of Arts & Science

Project: The Strange Career of Juan Crow: Latino/as and the Making of the U.S. South, 1940-2000

Cecilia Márquez is an Assistant Professor in Latino/a Studies in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis. She earned her MA and PhD in American History at the University of Virginia. She also holds a BA in Black Studies and Gender and Sexuality Studies from Swarthmore College. Her first book project, “The Strange Career of Juan Crow: Latino/as and the Making of the U.S. South, 1940-2000,” examines the social and cultural history of Latinos in the post-World War II South. She traces the history of Latino/as, primarily Mexican-Americans and Puerto Ricans, during the demise of Jim Crow segregation and their transformation from an ethnic group to a racial one. Her work helps historicize contemporary Latino/a migration to the U.S. South and emphasizes the importance of region in shaping Latino/a identity.

Kelli Moore

Kelli Moore

Faculty Fellow; Assistant Professor, Department of Media, Culture, and Communication, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development

Project: Dwelling the Courtroom: Critical Marginalia and the Criminal Courtroom Audience

I am Assistant Professor of Media, Culture, Communication at New York University where I examine the role of media, science, technology in the production of law. My ethnographic research on courtroom mediation examines the role of the image in facilitating the performance of testimony in domestic violence cases. The larger book project, Legal Spectatorship, draws on black studies, legal philosophy and visual culture to analyze courtroom rhetorical practices/haptic customs within ongoing debates about the subject of trauma and helplessness, facilitated communication, feminist jurisprudence, visual literacy, “post-racial” embodiment and digitality. The method of courtwatching employed for my first book project comes into closer focus in my research this year as a Center for the Humanities Fellow. Dwelling the Courtroom: Critical Marginalia and the Criminal Courtroom Audience engages a collaborative writing form in courtroom settings and is part of a larger research project toward a book-length, “Manifesto for Courtwatching.” Before joining MCC I earned my Ph.D. in Communication at the University of California, San Diego. I am an alumna of the University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program (Rhetoric, Berkeley). My writing may be found at Anglistica, Feminist Surveillance Studies (Duke UP, 2015), the Journal of Visual Culture (In Press), Law and the Visible (U Mass Press, Forthcoming), and Reviews in Cultural Theory.

Sonya Posmentier

Sonya Posmentier

Faculty Fellow; Assistant Professor, Department of English, Faculty of Arts & Science

Project: Black Reading

Sonya Posmentier is a scholar of Black diasporic literature and culture. She teaches classes in African American and Caribbean literature, American literature, environmental literature, and poetry. Her first book Cultivation and Catastrophe: The Lyric Ecology of Modern Black Literature was published in 2017 by Johns Hopkins University Press. This book argues that extreme environmental experiences such as hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes as well as the slower social disaster of enforced agricultural enslavement have shaped black modern literature and culture, and in particular poetic forms. As a fellow at the Center for the Humanities, she will be working on a new book, Black Reading, about the intersecting histories of black cultural studies and modern lyric theory. Her essays and articles have appeared in The New York Times Book ReviewAmerican LiteratureAmerican Literary History, Public Books and elsewhere. She is also a member of the NYU Sanctuary faculty coalition and a co-author of the Sanctuary Syllabus.

Helga Tawil-Souri

Helga Tawil-Souri

Faculty Fellow; Associate Professor, Department of Media, Culture, and Communication, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development

Project: Digital Occupation

Helga Tawil-Souri is a media scholar who focuses on spatiality, technology, and politics in the Middle East and especially Israel/Palestine, and methodologically incorporates political economy, visual and cultural studies, and cultural geography. Broadly, her work critiques the notion that we live in an increasingly open and borderless world, by analyzing how technologies and their infrastructures – such as cell phones and the internet – are explicitly territorial and political and often impose new forms of borders and controls. On the flip side of that, she is equally fascinated by how spaces and ‘things’ that are overtly territorial and political – borders, checkpoints, and identification cards, for example – themselves function in cultural ways. Most of her teaching is through the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication. Helga teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on topics including borders and spatiality; Arab media; critical theory and media studies; Israel/Palestine; war and media; globalization, international development, and commodities.

Irina Troconis

Irina Troconis

Doctoral Student Fellow; PhD Candidate, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Graduate School of Arts & Science

Project: Spectral Remains: Memory, Magic, and the State in the Afterglow of Hugo Chávez’s Bolivarian Revolution

Irina Troconis is a PhD candidate in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Literatures. She obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in French and in Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought from Amherst College, and her MPhil Degree in Latin American Studies from the University of Cambridge. Her research interests include: politics of memory in Latin America, populism in contemporary Venezuela, and digital humanities. Her dissertation, titled Spectral Remains: Memory, Magic, and the State in the Afterglow of Hugo Chávez’s Bolivarian Revolution, presents an analysis of the politics of memory in contemporary Venezuela that focuses on the figure of the specter; how it is mobilized by the state, how it operates in the afterglow of populism, and how its authority is challenged in works of literature, film, and performance.

Hentyle Yapp

Hentyle Yapp

Faculty Fellow; Assistant Professor, Department of Art and Public Policy, Tisch School of the Arts

Project: Disability’s Forms: Law and Aesthetics across the Pacific

Hentyle Yapp is an assistant professor at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in the Department of Art & Public Policy. He is affiliated faculty with the Department of Performance Studies, Disability Council, and Asian/Pacific/American Institute. His research engages China, performance, disability, and critical race and queer theories. His articles have appeared or are forthcoming in American Quarterly, GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, Journal of Visual Culture, and Verge: Studies in Global Asias. He is also a member of the Social Text editorial collective. His current book analyzes contemporary Chinese art on the global art market and offers methodological approaches to curating and theorizing non-Western art. His next book historicizes the global development of disability law and aesthetics at the turn of the 20th century in China and the United States. He received his BA from Brown University, JD from UCLA School of Law with specializations in Critical Race Theory and Public Interest Law, and a PhD from UC Berkeley in Performance Studies with a designated emphasis in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.