Fellows, 2014-2015

at the NYU Center for the Humanities

Jennifer Baker

Jennifer Baker

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

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.

Wafaa Bilal

Wafaa Bilal

Faculty Fellow; Associate Arts Professor, Department of Photography and Imaging, Tisch School of the Arts

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.

Faye Ginsburg

Faye Ginsburg

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

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

Alex P. Jassen

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

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.

Dominique Jean-Louis

Dominique Jean-Louis

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

Dominique Jean-Louis is a doctoral candidate in U.S. history at NYU. She received her B.A. in Comparative Ethnic Studies from Columbia University, where she first developed her interest in researching race and education in New York City. She is passionate about the potential of historical narratives to empower young people, strengthen communities, and support social justice. Her dissertation work will focus on Caribbean immigration to New York City in the post-civil rights era, examining the impact of schooling on the formation of racial identity. During the Fellowship, Dominique will work with Queens high school and college students to document and share the history of Carribbean communities in the borough.

Daniel Kanhofer

Daniel Kanhofer

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

Daniel Kanhofer is a PhD candidate in Department of History.  Focusing on early America and the Atlantic world, his research interests include empire, political economy, and the cultural politics of postcolonial societies. He received his BA in History from the University of Delaware in 2007 and is also a past coordinator of the Atlantic World Workshop at NYU.  He is currently at work on his dissertation, “‘The Chimerical Scheme of a Canal’: Controlling Land, Water, and People in Mid-Atlantic North America, 1720-1830.”  It examines cultures of waterway improvement and canal building in British America and the early United States, particularly their relationship to imperial governance and to post-Revolutionary US cultural and economic dependence on the British empire. In the 2014-15 academic year, Daniel will join the Humanities Initiative as an honorary fellow and will also hold an NYU Mellon Dissertation Fellowship in History.

Zachary Lockman

Zachary Lockman

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

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.

Nicola Lucchi

Nicola Lucchi

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

Nicola Lucchi is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Italian Studies. His research interests include early 20th century Italian literature, visual culture, industrial history, and the interactions between economy, ideology and culture.  Nicola’s dissertation project investigates the Fiat Lingotto automobile factory as a microcosm through which to untangle social, cultural, and aesthetic issues of interwar Italy. Prior to his doctoral work at NYU, Nicola received a BA in Art History from the University of Trieste, Italy, with a dissertation on the reception of early 20th century Italian art in the United States after the Second World War. He is also interested in translation studies, language teaching, and online learning. Nicola is an assistant editor for Allora – Corso di Italiano, NYU’s Italian language textbook. Nicola joins the Humanities Initiative as an honorary fellow. He is the recipient of a 2014-15 GSAS Dean’s Dissertation Fellowship.

Amir Moosavi

Amir Moosavi

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

Amir Moosavi is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at NYU. He holds an MA in Near Eastern studies from NYU and a BA in history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Broadly speaking, his interests include the development of the novel in modern Arabic and Persian literatures, war and cultural production, and Arabic and Persian language pedagogy. His dissertation, “Reimagining a War: Negotiating Ideology and Disenchantment in Literary Narratives of the Iran-Iraq War,” is a comparative study of the formation of alternative narratives of the Iran-Iraq War in Persian and Arabic fiction. During the 2013-24 academic year, he was visiting instructor of Arabic at Bard College.

José Miguel Palacios

José Miguel Palacios

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

José Miguel Palacios is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Cinema Studies at New York University. Prior to his work at NYU, he earned an M.A. in Film Studies from Columbia University and a B.A. in Film & TV from Universidad Uniacc in Santiago, Chile. His research interests include cinema and memory, exile and diaspora, the history of Latin American cinema, and theories and practices of militant documentaries. His dissertation deals with the aesthetics, production, circulation, and repatriation of Chilean exile films, focusing on their transnational networks of solidarity, on how they negotiate an exilic subjectivity, and on the significance of this corpus for Chile’s cultural memory in the context of postdictatorship. His writings have appeared in Revista de Comunicación y Medios, La Fuga, The Brooklyn Rail, and in the collectionsNew Documentaries in Latin America(Palgrave, 2014) and Cinematic Homecomings: Exile and Return in Transnational Cinema (Bloomsbury, forthcoming).

Anna Reidy

Anna Reidy

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

Anna is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Music, specializing in sonic cultures and philosophies of the western Mediterranean, North Africa and the Arab Gulf.  She joins the Humanities Initiative from NYU Abu Dhabi, where she was an inaugural recipient of the NYUAD Humanities Research Fellowship.  Anna’s scholarship combines history, ethnography and philosophy at the intersection of music and sound studies.  Its locus is sawt—an Arabic concept that fuses all forms of acoustical resonance with voice, presence and soundness of being.  She is particularly interested in how sawt is deployed within heterodox forms of Islam, and in how sound and human integrity are entangled in the civic life of port cities.  In her dissertation, she examines these dynamics through a historical ethnography of bare life, sonorous matter and technologies of the soul in Tangier, Morocco.  To aid abetting interests in North African psych rock, urban art musics of the pre-oil Gulf, and early gramophone cultures of the Islamic world, she collects old 45s and 78s produced in the region.

Dylon Robbins

Dylon Robbins

Faculty Fellow; Assistant Professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Faculty of Arts & Science

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.

Calloway Scott

Calloway Scott

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

Calloway Scott is a sixth-year PhD candidate. He completed his BA in Greek and Latin at Kenyon College (2007) with a minor in Philosophy and a post-baccalaureate at UNC Chapel Hill. Calloway’s interest lie in the medical and religious traditions of ancient Greek society, medical anthropology and phenomenology. His research focuses on the poetics of health and sickness across a wide variety of Greek media—literary and material. His dissertation, entitled “Asklepios on the Move” explores the relationship between “rational” medical thought and healing cults in the cultural production of the concept of “health,” and in the social mechanisms which organized health-care and welfare in the ancient Greek world.

Lytle Shaw

Lytle Shaw

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

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.

Raphael Sigal

Raphael Sigal

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

Raphael is currently Assistant professor of French at Amherst College. His research interests include late nineteenth and twentieth century literature and poetry, theories of reading, ethnology and magic. Focusing on the oeuvre of Antonin Artaud (1896-1948) his dissertation proposes to question the relationship between legibility, visibility and interpretation and theorizes a ‘closed text’ that paralyzes the reader’s ability to interpret. Raphael has worked as a lecturer in Tel Aviv University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He curated his first exhibition “Radical Jewish Culture, Musical Scene NY” at the Jewish Museums in Paris and Berlin and is currently working on “The Book as Body,” to be shown at the Petach Tikva Museum of Art in 2015. He has published articles about Walter Benjamin and Gherasim Luca and is currently preparing the catalog for “The Book as Body” exhibition. Raphael joins the Humanities Initiative as an honorary fellow. He is the recipient of a 2014-2015 GSAS Dean’s Dissertation Fellowship.