Fellows, 2009-2010

at the NYU Center for the Humanities

Emily Apter

Emily Apter

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

Project: Politics Small p’: Essays on the Social Scene and the Society of Calculation

Emily Apter is Professor of French, English, and Comparative Literature at New York University. Her books include: The Translation Zone: A New Comparative Literature (2006), Continental Drift: From National Characters to Virtual Subjects (1999), as well as studies of fetishism and a monograph on André Gide. Since 1998 she has edited the book series, Translation/Transnation for Princeton University Press. She is currently co-editing (with Jacques Lezra and Michael Wood) the English edition of theVocabulaire Européen des philosophies: dictionnaire des intraduisibles [Dictionary of Untranslatables: A Philosophical Lexicon], as well as an English edition of Alain Badiou’s literary writings (with Bruno Bosteels). Recent essays have focused on authorial property and the creative commons, rethinking world literature around “the untranslatable,” and the “untiming” of periodization. She has been the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations.

Elena Bellina

Elena Bellina

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

Project: The Bounded Self: Italian Autobiographical Writing and/in Confinement, 1930-1950

Elena Bellina received her laurea in Foreign Languages and Literature from the University of Bergamo, Italy, and her M.A. in English from Youngstown State University. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Italian Studies at NYU. Her dissertation, “The Bounded Self: Italian Autobiographical Writing and/in Confinement, 1930-1950” looks at the processes of life-writing in conditions of constraint using diaries and memoirs by Italian POWs in British military camps in Africa, and works by Cesare Pavese, Carlo Levi and Vittorio Sereni. She was recently awarded the GSAS Dean’s Dissertation Fellowship and named an Honorary Fellow to the Humanities Initiative at NYU. She has published articles on Angela Carter and Elena Ferrante, and on the relations between music and postmodern literature. She co-edited, with Paola Bonifazio, State of Exception: Cultural Responses to the Rhetoric of Fear (Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2006) and, with Lindsay Eufusia and Paola Ugolini, About Face: Depicting the Self in the Written and Visual Arts (Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, forthcoming 2009).

Bellina is currently an Assistant Professor of Italian at the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester.

Martin Daughtry

Martin Daughtry

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

Project: Sound Wounds: The Costs and Benefits of Listening to the War in Iraq

Martin Daughtry is Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology in the Department of Music and an Affiliated Professor in the Department of Russian and Slavic Studies. At NYU he has taught courses dealing with the intersection of historiography and ethnography; ethnographic field methodologies; music and politics; and voice and vocality.

His recent research deals with sung poetry in the post-Stalinist Soviet Union; post-Soviet musical nationalism; and the transformation, persistence, and attenuation of musical traditions in the wake of cataclysmic socio-political change. In 2007, Music in the Post-9/11 World, which he co-edited with Jonathan Ritter, was published by Routledge. He has published articles on Russian national anthems and uncensored media in the late Soviet period, and is currently writing, along with a number of graduate student collaborators, a large review of recent scholarship on voice. As a Humanities Initiative fellow he investigated the significance of sound and the dynamics of listening in wartime Iraq.

John “Jay” Diehl

John “Jay” Diehl

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

Project: Textual Cultures and Practices of Devotion in Twelfth-Century Monasticism

Jay received his BA from Illinois Wesleyan University, his MA from the University of Chicago, and received his Ph.D. in the Department of History at NYU. He works on the intellectual, cultural, and religious history of the Central Middle Ages, with particular interests in the history of books and literacy, technologies of knowledge, and social networks of knowledge production. His dissertation, “Devotional Life and the Creation of Textual Cultures: Three Models of Monastic Practice in the Central Middle Ages,” reconsiders the notion of ‘literate mentalities’ by exploring how emerging book cultures interacted with traditions of spirituality in monastic communities, as well as proposing new ways to understand the dynamic and fluid nature of monastic culture.

Diehl is currently an Assistant Professor of History at Long Island University. His article, “Harmony Between Word and World: Anselm of Canterbury, Aelred of Rievaulx, and Approaches to Language in Twelfth-Century Monasticism,” was published in Saint Anselm of Canterbury and His Legacy in 2012.

Melis Erdur

Melis Erdur

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

Project: On Normative Thought

Melis Erdur received her B.A. and M.A. in philosophy from Bogazici University in Istanbul. She is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Philosophy at NYU. In her dissertation, she focuses on the fundamental differences between normative (or evaluative) judgments about good/evil, right/wrong, and theoretical (such as scientific) beliefs. Her more recent interests include the relationship between past and present, memory, and silence. When she isn’t brooding about these subjects, she cooks and practices her Spanish. She misses the Mediterranean very much.

Michah Gottlieb

Michah Gottlieb

Faculty Fellow; Assistant Professor, Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, Faculty of Arts & Science

Project: Faith and Freedom: Moses Mendelssohn’s Theological-Political Thought

Michah Gottlieb is Assistant Professor of Jewish Thought in the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies. His current research centers on the Jewish-Christian debate over faith and reason in the period of the German Enlightenment, with attention to the social, political, and ethical dimensions of this debate. He has published numerous articles on medieval and modern Jewish thought and is editing a new collection of Moses Mendelssohn’s writings. From 2006-2007 he was a Yad Hanadiv Fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

In 2011, he published two books Faith and Freedom: Moses Mendelssohn’s Theological-Political Thought and Moses Mendelssohn: Writings on Judaism, Christianity, and the Bible which was a finalist for a National Jewish Book Award. In September 2011, Professor Gottlieb convened an international symposium entitled “A Continuing Conversation: Moses Mendelssohn and the Legacy of the Enlightenment”, at the Center for Jewish History in New York that was attended by over 300 people. He also curated an exhibition, “A Continuing Conversation: Moses Mendelssohn and the Legacy of the Enlightenment”, at the Leo Baeck Institute.

Most recently, Professor Gottlieb was a Tikvah Research Fellow at Princeton University (2010-2011). A collection of his own essays, Faith, Reason, and Politics: Essays on the History of Jewish Thought, is forthcoming.

John Melillo

John Melillo

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

Project: Outside In: The Sound of Noise from Dada to Punk

John Melillo is a PhD candidate in British and American Literature at NYU. His dissertation, “Outside In: The Sound of Noise from Dada to Punk,” examines the influence of noise on poetics and poetry during the twentieth century. John was awarded a Dean’s Dissertation Fellowship for 2009-2010 and will join the Humanities Initiative as an Honorary Fellow. In 2009, John received the English Department’s Rosenthal Fellowship for his work in twentieth-century American poetry. In addition to his academic studies in noise, John writes music criticism for many online publications, including Prefix magazine, and plays guitar and sings in a variety of projects, most recently the two-man pop/noise band Jodienda.

John is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Arizona. In 2011, he became an ACLS New Faculty Fellow.

Crystal Parikh

Crystal Parikh

Faculty Fellow; Associate Professor, Department of Social & Cultural Analysis, and English, Faculty of Arts & Science

Project: Writing Human Rights: U.S. Writers of Color, Civil Rights Discourse, and the Global Politics of Culture

Crystal Parikh is Associate Professor in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis and the Department of English. She teaches Asian American and Latino literary and cultural studies, critical race and postcolonial studies, and theories of gender and sexuality. Her first book, An Ethics of Betrayal, considered the figure of the traitor in Asian American and Latino narratives in order to theorize the relations of responsibility in which minority subjects are situated.

Professor Parikh is currently working on a comparative study of U.S. writers of color in the late twentieth century. Writing Human Rights considers the implications of human rights discourses for these authors, as they mine the limits of civil rights politics under globalization. She co-edited, “Thinking Through Violence: A Discussion with Banu Bargu, Drucilla Cornell, Allen Feldman, and Mary Louise Pratt.”, with Elena Bellina, J. Martin Daughtry, and Arvind Rajagopal which was published in the online dossier of Social Text, Periscope.  Professor Parikh also wrote “Regular Revolutions: Feminist Travels in Julia Alvarez’s How the García Girls Lost Their Accents and In the Time of the Butterflies.” for the Journal of Transnational American Studies. In 2011 she won the New York University Martin Luther King Jr. Faculty Award.

Arvind Rajagopal

Arvind Rajagopal

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

Project: Publicity and Religious Violence in Gujarat

Arvind Rajagopal is Professor of Media Studies and is an affiliated faculty in the Departments of Sociology and Social and Cultural Analysis. His books include Politics After Television: Hindu Nationalism and the Reshaping of the Public in India (Cambridge, 2001), which won the Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy Prize from the Association of Asian Studies and the Daniel Griffiths Prize at NYU, both in 2003, and The Indian Public Sphere: Structure and Transformation (Oxford, 2009. He has won awards from the MacArthur and Rockefeller Foundations, and has been a Member in the School of Social Sciences at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, and at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. In addition to his scholarly writing, Arvind has also published in forums such the SSRC’s Immanent Frame and opendemocracy.net, and in newspapers and periodicals.

In the year 2010-11, he is a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford.

Paul Sager

Paul Sager

Doctoral Student Fellow; Doctoral Student, Department of History, and Institute of French Studies, Graduate School of Arts & Science

Project: ‘Budget Eaters’: The Politics of State Employment in French Colonial Indochina, 1898-1954

Paul Sager earned a BA in History with High Honors from the University of California, Berkeley. He is now completing his Ph.D at New York University in Modern European History and French Studies. His dissertation, ” ‘Budget Eaters’: The Politics of State Employment in French Colonial Indochina, 1898-1954,” examines the impact of labor organizing by French and Vietnamese state employees under colonial rule in Indochina. The study follows the development of union organizations among postal workers, teachers, office workers, and many others from both colonizing and indigenous sides of the colonial divide. It asks three main questions: how employee salary demands affected the state budget and thereby wider government policy, how a multisided tug-of-war between French and Vietnamese politicians, employees, colonialists and anticolonialists reshaped the segregated state employment structure, and how the progressivist leftism of French state employees influenced colonial politics that are usually associated with conservatism and reaction. In 2007-2009 he conducted archival research in Vietnam, Cambodia, and France with support from an NYU Elaine Brody Humanities Research Fellowship and a Fulbright Advanced Student Grant. In Fall 2008 he published a review essay on the historiography of the Vichy era in Indochina in the Journal of Vietnamese Studies.

Peter Valenti

Peter Valenti

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

Project: State-Building in Central Arabia: Empires and Regional Actors at the Crossroads of al-Qasim

Peter C. Valenti completed a joint PhD in History and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies. His dissertation, “State-Building in Central Arabia: Empires and Regional Actors at the Crossroads of al-Qasim,” studies the leadership, clergy, merchants, and trade networks of the settled communities in the al-Qasim sub-region of the Najd (central Arabia) from 1800-1932. As an attempt to complicate sweeping narratives of national history, this dissertation enables an understanding of smaller regional units which interacted in a larger geographical and political space. It also identifies the kinds of social and economic organization that existed prior to Saudi control over Arabia—which the Saudis tapped into to facilitate their rise—as well as the measures that other powers, such as the Ottomans or Rashidis, made to ally with or challenge al-Qasim’s sociopolitical actors. The research for this dissertation has included consulting archival collections in Cairo, Istanbul, London, and Riyadh, thanks to the support of a 2008-09 Multi-Country Research Fellowship from the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) and a Research Abroad-Foreign Language & Area Studies Fellowship (FLAS) in 2007-08.

Perter is currently a Master Teacher of the Liberal Studies Program at New York University. In 2011 he published, “Creating a New Historiography of the Persian Gulf: The Case of Qatar,” in New Middle Eastern Studies Vol. 1 (2011).

Zhen Zhang

Zhen Zhang

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

Project: Celluloid Orphans and the Melodrama of Sinophone Film History, 1945-1973

Zhen Zhang is Associate Professor of Cinema Studies in Tisch School of the Arts. Her books include An Amorous History of the Silver Screen: Shanghai Cinema 1896-1937 (University of Chicago Press, 2005; MLA’s “Honorable Mention for an Outstanding First Book”), The Urban Generation: Chinese Cinema and Society at the Turn of the Twenty-first Century (Duke University Press, 2007), and a co-edited volumeScreening TransAsia: Genre, Stardom, and Intercultural Imaginaries (forthcoming from Hong Kong University Press). Professor Zhang is also a widely published poet and literary critic. Fellowships she has won include the Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Humanities, the J. Paul Getty Postdoctoral Fellowship in the History of Art and the Humanities, Faculty Fellowship in Project on Cities and Urban Knowledges, ICAS (International Center for Advanced Studies) of NYU, and a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend.

Her latest book project tackles the orphan figure, which looms large in the postwar cinemas of the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. She discusses how the orphan offers a new avenue for mapping the disjointed genealogy of Chinese-language cinema in the context of decolonization, modernization and the cold war, as well as for thinking and feeling beyond the nation.