Fellows, 2008-2009

at the NYU Center for the Humanities

Markus Asper

Markus Asper

Faculty Fellow; Associate Professor, Department of Classics, Faculty of Arts & Science

Project: Narratives in Ancient Greek Science Writing

Markus Asper is Associate Professor in the Department of Classics at NYU. The author of two books on Hellenistic poetry and one on ancient Greek science writing, he focuses on literary aspects and authorial strategies in medical and mathematical texts. For the Humanities Initiative, he will investigate how narrative and argument are related in (ancient) scientific discourse.

Thomas Augst

Thomas Augst

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

Project: The Sobriety Test: Temperance and the Melodramas of Modern Citizenship

Thomas Augst is Associate Professor of English at NYU, where he teaches courses in American literature and culture. His work explores the social and material contexts of reading, writing, and speaking, seeking to understand how literary institutions and practices have shaped the moral life of modern liberalism. He is the author of The Clerk’s Tale: Young Men and Moral Life in 19th Century America (Chicago, 2003), and the co-editor of Institutions of Reading: The Social Life of Libraries in the United States (UMass, 2007). He earned his doctorate from Harvard University, and has received research fellowships from the NEH and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation.

Professor Augst is currently the Interim Faculty Director of the Humanities Initiative.

Shamik Dasgupta

Shamik Dasgupta

Doctoral Student Fellow; Doctoral Student, Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts & Science

Project: Symmetry as a Guide to Reality

Shamik Dasgupta received his Ph.D. from the Department of Philosophy at NYU. His research is primarily in the philosophy of science and metaphysics, though he also has research interests in epistemology and the philosophy of mind. For more information, visit his webpage (www.shamik.net).

Dasgupta is currently an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University, and is author of the recently published “The Bare Necessities” in Philosophical Perspectives (2011), and “Absolutism vs Comparativism About Quantities”, forthcoming in Oxford Studies in Metaphysics Volume 8 (2013). This article was the winner of the 2011 Oxford Studies in Metaphysics Younger Scholars Prize.

Hasia Diner

Hasia Diner

Faculty Fellow; Paul and Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History, Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, Faculty of Arts & Science

Project: Wandering Jews: Peddlers, Immigrants, and the Discovery of New Worlds

Hasia Diner is the Paul and Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History at New York University, with a joint appointment in the departments of history and the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies and is the Director of the Goldstein Goren Center for American Jewish History. Previously she was a professor in the Department of American Studies at the University of Maryland at College Park. Professor Diner held a Fulbright Professorship at the University of Haifa in Israel, 1990-1991. She has been a Lilly Fellow at the Mary I. Bunting Institute at Radcliffe College, in 1998 won election to membership in American Academy of Jewish Research and in 2004 to the Society of American Historians. She has also been a fellow at the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Research at Princeton University. She received her Ph.d. in History at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Her bachelor’s degree was awarded in 1968 from the University of Wisconsin and her master’s at the University of Chicago in 1970.

Lerna Ekmekçioğlu

Lerna Ekmekçioğlu

Doctoral Student Fellow; Doctoral Student, Department of Middle Eastern & Islamic Studies, and History, Graduate School of Arts & Science

Project: Feminists and Nationkeeping: The Armenian Community of Istanbul, 1919-1933

Lerna Ekmekçioğlu received her doctorate from the departments of Middle Eastern/Islamic Studies and History at NYU. With a particular focus on the gendered reconstruction of the nation, she researched the history of the Armenian minority community of Istanbul/Turkey right after World War I (from 1919 to 1935). She is a graduate of the Sociology Department at Bogazici University in Istanbul. She has a book in Turkish that she co-edited with Melissa Bilal about the first five prominent Armenian feminists of the late Ottoman Empire and early Turkish Republic. Published in summer 2006,the book is entitled Bir Adalet Feryadi (A Cry for Justice). During the 2007-08 academic year, she was an International Fellow of the American Association of University Women.

Lerna is currently a McMillan-Stewart Career Development Assistant Professor of History at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She was awarded the Alex and Marie Manoogian Post-Doctoral Fellowship for 2010-2011 by the Armenian Studies Program at the University of Michigan.

Kim Phillips-Fein

Kim Phillips-Fein

Faculty Fellow; Assistant Professor, Gallatin School of Individualized Study

Project: Invisible Hands: The Making of the Conservative Movement from the New Deal to Reagan

Kim Phillips-Fein is an Assistant Professor in the Gallatin School, where she teaches courses on 20th-century American political history with a focus on economic ideas and culture. Her first book, a history of the role played by business and economic thought in the modern conservative movement, will be published early in 2009 by W.W. Norton. It is titled Invisible Hands: The Making of the Conservative Movement from the New Deal to Reagan. Her work at the Humanities Initiative focused on the New York City financial crisis of the mid-1970s and its role in reshaping the city, as well as the part it played in the rightward shift of American politics during the decade. She has written for a wide range of publications, including The London Review of Books and The Nation.

Hala Halim

Hala Halim

Faculty Fellow; Assistant Professor, Department of Comparative Literature, and Middle Eastern & Islamic Studies, Faculty of Arts & Science

Project: The Vicissitudes of Cross-cultural Encounters: Nineteenth-century Arab Mediations of Alternative Modernities

Hala Halim is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Comparative Literature and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies. Her research focuses on cosmopolitanism, transnationalism, translation studies and postcolonial theory. Her latest project addresses nineteenth-century Arab texts that reflect critically on the encounter with European modernity. She has published articles on Alexandrian cosmopolitanism, as well as a translation of a novel by Mohamed El-Bisatie, Clamor of the Lake.

Laura Levine

Faculty Fellow; Associate Professor, Department of Drama, Tisch School of the Arts

Project: Magical Thinking: The Constitutive Power of Illusion in Renaissance Witch Tracts, Shakespeare, and Spencer

Laura Levine is an Associate Professor of Theatre Studies in the Department of Drama at Tisch School of the Arts. Her first book, Men in Women’s Clothing: Anti-theatricality and Effeminization 1579-1643, explores anxieties about cross dressing on the Renaissance stage. She is currently at work on a book about anxieties about witchcraft and their relation to the form trials take. She has held grants from NEH, the Mary Ingraham Bunting foundation and the Folger Shakespeare Library. She teaches courses in Shakespeare, Theatre Studies and autobiographical performance.

Shane Minkin

Shane Minkin

Doctoral Student Fellow; Doctoral Student, Department of Middle Eastern & Islamic Studies, Graduate School of Arts & Science

Project: In Life as in Death: The Port, Foreign Hospitals, and Foreign Cemeteries in Alexandria, Egypt, 1865-1914

Shane Minkin earned a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.A. with honors from Emory University. She received a joint PhD candidate in the departments of History and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at New York University. Her dissertation, “In Life as in Death: The Port, Foreign Hospitals, and Foreign Cemeteries in Alexandria, Egypt, 1865-1914,” looks at the interplay between public spaces, the living and the dead as influences in categorizations of local and foreign in a colonial port city. Her work is the result of three years in Egypt, where she was the recipient of numerous fellowships including the Fulbright Hays, American Research Center in Egypt Dissertation Fellowship, various FLAS scholarships, and two fellowships with the Center for Arabic Study Abroad. In addition to work on her dissertation, Shane has served as a first year advisor with the Gallatin School of Individualized Study and worked with the Social Science Research Council as a research consultant.

Minkin is currently an Assistant Professor of History at The University of Massachusetts at Lowell and teaches classes about the modern Middle East. Her courses focus on political and social history, including courses on colonialism and nationalism, Middle Eastern cities, and the many foreign and minority populations of the Middle East. She studies the impact of death (e.g. cemeteries, post mortems, funerals) on constructions of foreignness and of public space, with a focus on Alexandria, Egypt, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Jessie Morgan-Owens

Jessie Morgan-Owens

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

Project: Black and White: Photographic Writing in the Abolition

Jessie Morgan-Owens completed her Ph.D at New York University in American Literature. Her dissertation, “Black and White: Photographic Writing in the Literature of Abolition,” studies the influence of photography in the campaign to abolish slavery in the US. She was awarded a Dean’s Dissertation Completion Fellowship for 2008-2009 and joined the Humanities Initiative at NYU as an Honorary Fellow. Her essay on daguerreotypes in American abolitionism appeared in Imagining Transatlantic Slavery, which was released in late 2008. Her next project traced the intervention of literary authority in historical and contemporary writing about photography. In addition to her academic work in photography, Jessie shoots professionally for magazines with her partner James Owens. They also have begun work on two photographic projects: an exhibit on the nature of networks in the art community, which began production in November 2007, and a book on how readers visualize literary images photographically. Morgan & Owens were named one of 30 emerging photographers to watch in 2008 by Photo District News.

Morgan-Owens is currently an Assistant Professor of American Literature at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.  She teaches American literature and photography in the English Division of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, offering courses such as “Photography and Literature,” “Early America,” and “Nineteenth-Century American Literature and Culture” to Singaporean undergrads.

Beatrice Sica

Beatrice Sica

Doctoral Student Fellow; Doctoral Student, Department of Italian Studies, Graduate School of Arts & Science

Project: ‘Magical Italy’: The Italian Fantastic, French Surrealism, and the Debate over Italian National Identity in the Fascist Period

Beatrice Sica received her “laurea” in Modern and Contemporary Italian Literature from the University of Pisa. In Pisa she also obtained the “diploma” of the Scuola Normale Superiore. She has published various articles in particular on twentieth century Italian literature such as “Da Italie magique (1946) a Italia magica (1988): Gianfranco Contini e il mercato editoriale da Aux Portes de France a Einaudi.” Autori, lettori e mercato nella modernità letteraria. Eds. Ilaria Crotti, Enza del Tedesco, Ricciarda Ricorda, and Alberto Zava. Tome 1. Pisa, ETS, 2011: 693-701 and “Luzi e Fortini tra simbolismo e surrealismo.” Antologie e poesia nel Novecento italiano. Ed. Giancarlo Quiriconi. Rome: Bulzoni, 2011 : 113-131. She is the editor of Ruggero Jacobbi, L’Italia simbolista, foreward by Anna Dolfi (Trento: La Finestra, 2003) and Ruggero Jacobbi e la Francia. Poesie e traduzioni, foreward by Andrea Camilleri (Firenze: Società Editrice Fiorentina, 2004). She is also the author of Poesia surrealista italiana (Genova: San Marco Dei Giustiniani, 2007). Beatrice received her Ph.D. from the Department of Italian and Italian Studies at NYU.

Beatrice was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Collège de France from 2010-11, a Laura de Bosis Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University from 2011-12, and will be a Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Italian Literature at University College London from 2012-2013. Some of her forthcoming works include “Il dibattito italo-francese sulla magia e l’appropriazione del Rinascimento italiano da parte dei surrealisti: il caso di Piero di Cosimo”; Vers une Europe latine. Acteurs et enjeux des échanges culturels entre la France et l’Italie fasciste. Eds. Catherine Fraixe, Lucia Piccioni, and Christophe Poupault. Bruxelles: Peter Lang; “Massimo Bontempelli au miroir d’André Breton: l’aventure de 900 et le surréalisme français.” Revue des études italiennes 57:1-2 (Jan-June 2011); and Giuseppe Dessì in Francia, Dessì tra traduzioni e edizioni. Ed. Anna Dolfi. Firenze: Firenze University Press.

Jennifer Zwarich

Jennifer Zwarich

Doctoral Student Fellow; Doctoral Student, Department of Cinema Studies, Tisch School of the Arts

Project: From Document to Directive: Motion Picture Production in the US Government, 1901-1942

Jennifer Zwarich received a B.A. from Stanford and an M.A. from New York University where she is currently completing a Ph.D. in Cinema Studies. For work on her (in progress) dissertation on the history of US government-sponsored documentary films between 1901 and 1940 she was recently awarded the graduate school’s Dean’s Dissertation Fellowship and was named an Honorary Fellow to the Humanities Initiative.