Fellows, 2016-2017

at the NYU Center for the Humanities

Sebastián Calderón Bentin

Sebastián Calderón Bentin

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

Project: States of Illusion: Performance, Media, and Politics in Contemporary Latin America

Sebastián Calderón Bentin is a theater artist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Drama at New York University. His research interests include performance theory, mass media, theories of the baroque and Latin American cultural studies. His writings have appeared in the journals TDR, Identities, and Istmo as well as book anthologies such as Neoliberalism and Global Theaters(Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) and Support Networks (University of Chicago Press, 2015). His current book project, The Politics of (Dis)illusion, explores the effects of new video technologies on the relationship between illusion and power in contemporary Latin American politics. He has been a visiting teacher at the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at New York University, the Teatro de la Universidad Católica in Peru and the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics where he is an Associate Faculty member.

Chanda Laine Carey

Chanda Laine Carey

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

Project: Embodying the Sacred: Marina Abramović, Transcultural Aesthetics and the Global Geography of Art

Chanda Laine Carey is the Andrew W. Mellon Diversity Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for the Humanities. Her research and focuses on the transcultural aesthetics of Contemporary art in global context, with an emphasis on artists whose practices reflect the diversity of transnational cultural geographies. She holds a PhD in Art History, Theory and Criticism from the University of California at San Diego, and MA in Theory and Criticism from Art Center College of Design, and a BA an Art History and Criticism from the University of California at San Diego. Chanda is a member of the Yale Bouchet Honor Society, and her research has been supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the European Science Foundation, the Max and Iris Stern International Symposia, and the Société Européene pour l’Astronomie dans la Culture.

Ben Davidson

Ben Davidson

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

Project: Freedom’s Generation: Coming of Age in the Era of Emancipation

Ben Davidson is a PhD candidate in United States History at NYU. His dissertation traces the lives of the generation of black and white children, in the North, South, and West, who grew up during the Civil War era and were the first generation to come of age after the end of slavery. The project explores how young people learned persistent lessons carried into adulthood about complexities inherent in ideas and experiences of emancipation, and it assesses how these lessons were transformed in memory by the turn of the twentieth century. Davidson’s research has been supported by a Jacob Javits fellowship, as well as by short-term awards from the Huntington Library, the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Gilder Lehrman Institute, and the Virginia Historical Society, among others. He has taught high school English, worked as a researcher for a children’s book publisher, and taught History 101 at NYU.

Yaelle Frohlich

Yaelle Frohlich

Public Humanities Fellow; Doctoral Student, Department of History, and Hebrew & Judaic Studies, Graduate School of Arts & Science

Project: Holy Land in the Mind’s Eye: Diaspora Jewish Perceptions of Palestine, 1830-1882

Yaelle Frohlich is a doctoral candidate in New York University’s joint program in History and Hebrew & Judaic Studies. She received her BA in English Communications (Journalism) and MA in Modern Jewish History from Yeshiva University. Her work focuses on the circulation of information about Palestine in the nineteenth-century Jewish press, engaging with questions of mass migration, ideological movements, identity formation, and the emergence of a transnational Jewish public sphere. She is also interested in Hebrew and Yiddish literary translation, such as Yehoash’s Yiddish Bible translation (1922-5) and Chaim Nachman Bialik’s epic poem, “In the City of Slaughter” (1903). Additionally, she has an extensive background in stage performance, editing, and creative writing.

Zoe Graham

Zoe Graham

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

Project: Reclaiming Rouch: the Transnational Legacy of the Ateliers Varan documentary film school

Zoe Graham is a PhD candidate in the Department of Cinema Studies and a documentary filmmaker in the Culture and Media Program at NYU. Her dissertation, entitled ‘Reclaiming Rouch: the transnational legacy of the Ateliers Varan documentary film school’, explores anthropologist and filmmaker Jean Rouch’s pedagogical legacy, through the Ateliers Varan global documentary film school, with a particular focus on its work in Mozambique and Brazil. In addition to the Center for the Humanities doctoral fellowship, her research has been generously funded by the Social Science Research Council, NYU’s Corrigan Fellowship and the Provost’s Global Research Initiative. Zoe holds a BA in Modern Languages from Oxford University and an MA in International Journalism from Falmouth University, UK. Her documentary films have screened at international film festivals and been used for advocacy by human rights organizations.

Toby Lee

Toby Lee

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

Project: Cultural Crisis, Cultural Citizenship: The Thessaloniki International Film Festival

Toby Lee is an artist, anthropologist, and Assistant Professor of Cinema Studies at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Her research interests include visual and media anthropology, the anthropology of cultural institutions, cultural citizenship, expanded documentary, and cultures of surveillance and documentation. She works across video, installation, performance and drawing, and her work has been been exhibited at the Locarno Film Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, Museum of the Moving Image (NYC), and the 2014 Whitney Biennial. She has a PhD in Anthropology and Film & Visual Studies from Harvard University, where she was a member of the Sensory Ethnography Lab. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the Film Study Center at Harvard University, and the Flaherty Film Seminar.

Xiaochang Li

Xiaochang Li

Doctoral Student Fellow; Doctoral Student, Department of Media, Culture and Communication, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development

Project: Divination Engines: A Media History of Text Prediction

Xiaochang Li is a doctoral candidate in the department of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University. Her dissertation, “Divination Engines: A Media History of Text Prediction,” traces the history of statistical modeling techniques in natural language processing and their role in the rise of “big data” analytics and machine learning as pervasive forms of knowledge work. More broadly, she is interested in the material, discursive, and epistemic arrangements that shape how we imagine, define, and coordinate cultural and computational practices. She holds an S.M. in Comparative Media Studies from MIT and a B.A. in Comparative Literature from NYU.

Alaina M. Morgan

Alaina M. Morgan

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

Project: Atlantic Crescent: Afro-Muslim Internationalism, Anti-Colonialism and Transnational Community Formation, 1955-2005

Alaina M. Morgan is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at New York University, specializing in the history of the African Diaspora. She is currently writing her dissertation, entitled Atlantic Crescent: Black Muslim Internationalism, Anti-Colonialism and Transnational Community Formation, 1955-2005, which is a social and political history of the role of decolonization in the formation of political communities among Black Muslims in the Atlantic basin. Alaina holds B.A. in Religion from Rutgers University and a J.D. from Columbia Law School.

Emma Otheguy

Emma Otheguy

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

Project: Appealing Peru: Basque Identity and the Potosí Mines

Emma Otheguy is a Ph.D. Candidate in History at New York University. Her dissertation, Appealing Peru: Basque Identity and the Potosí Mines, explores ethnogenesis among Basque-speakers in Spain and colonial Latin America. In 2014, Emma was awarded the Mellon Fellowship for Dissertation Research in Original Sources from the Council of Library and Information Resources. Emma is also a children’s author with a strong Latino focus. Her debut picture book, a biography of Cuban poet and national hero José Martí, is forthcoming from Lee & Low Books in 2017.

Elisha Russ-Fishbane

Elisha Russ-Fishbane

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

Project: Cultures of Aging in the Medieval Jewish Mediterranean

Elisha Russ-Fishbane, Assistant Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, is a historian of Jewish life and culture in the Islamic world, including the religious and intellectual intersections of Judaism and Islam. He is the author of a book on the Jewish-Sufi movement of thirteenth-century Egypt, entitled Judaism, Sufism, and the Pietists of Medieval Egypt: A Study of Abraham Maimonides and His Circle(Oxford University Press, 2015). He is currently working on a book on the experience and perception of aging in the medieval Jewish communities of the Mediterranean basin. Major topics the book explores include familial and communal support networks, divergent experiences of older men and women, physiological changes in light of medieval medicine, ethical and legal duties for the treatment of the old, and paradigms of aging in Jewish thought and Hebrew literature.

Blevin Shelnutt

Blevin Shelnutt

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

Project: Print Capital: Broadway and the Making of Mass Culture, 1836-1860

Blevin Shelnutt is a PhD Candidate in English and American Literature at New York University. She received a BA with high honors in English from Davidson College and an MA in English from NYU. Her dissertation investigates how people conceived of and inhabited New York City’s Broadway during the period it emerged as the nation’s modern publishing capital. In doing so, she traces a distinct tradition of mid-nineteenth-century writing that connects key features of Broadway’s material life—mirrors, gaslights, child-peddlers, and theaters—to the possibilities and challenges of mass print, in particular the role of the printed text as a medium of human connection. She is a founding member of the research collaborative, NewYorkScapes, and has received awards supporting her research from the American Antiquarian Society, the Rare Book School, and the Library Company of Philadelphia. Blevin is a 2016-2017 Mellon Dissertation Fellow in English and joins the Center as an honorary fellow.

George Shulman

George Shulman

Faculty Fellow; Professor, Gallatin School of Individualized Study

Project: Postmortem Effects: Theorizing (Beyond) Impasse

George Shulman teaches political theory and American Studies at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study. He has published three books, Radicalism and Reverence: The Political Thought of Gerrard Winstanley; American Prophecy: Race and Redemption in American Politics; and, with Romand Coles and Mark Reinhardt, Radicals Futures Past: Essays in Contemporary Political Thought. He has written extensively about the political theory canon, contemporary political thought, and political theology on the one hand, and about American literature and politics with a focus on issues of race.

Nicole Starosielski

Nicole Starosielski

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

Project: Media Hot and Cold

Nicole Starosielski is Assistant Professor in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication. She is author of The Undersea Network (Duke University Press, 2015), which charts the development of transoceanic cable systems, beginning with the nineteenth century telegraph network and extending to today’s fiber-optic infrastructure. She is also co-editor of Signal Traffic: Critical Studies of Media Infrastructure (University of Illinois Press, 2015) and Sustainable Media: Critical Approaches to Media and Environment (Routledge, 2016). Her current project, Media Hot and Cold, traces the relationship between media technologies, embodied perception, and thermal conditions.

Marita Sturken

Marita Sturken

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

Project: Architectures of Memory and Defense: American Empire and Post-9/11 Visual Culture

Marita Sturken is Professor in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University, where she teaches courses in visual culture, cultural memory, and consumerism. Her current research focuses on the visual culture of empire in post-9/11 American culture, looking at the cultural memory of 9/11 and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in relation to the post-9/11 visuality of security, defense, detention, and drone wars. She is the author of Tangled Memories: The Vietnam War, the AIDS Epidemic, and the Politics of Remembering (1997), and Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture(with Lisa Cartwright, Third Edition forthcoming 2017), and Tourists of History: Memory, Kitsch, and Consumerism From Oklahoma City to Ground Zero (2007). She was the editor of American Quarterly from 2003-2006.