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THE OBERT C. & GRACE A. TANNER HUMANITIES CENTER
VISITING FACULTY RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP

"Humoral Subjects:
Imperial Health in Eighteenth-Century Russia"

BY MATTHEW ROMANIELLO | ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY, UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII AT MANOA

"Humoral Subjects: Imperial Health in Eighteenth-Century Russia" is an examination of Enlightenment-era doctors, ethnographers, and scientists and their role in creating a typology of imperial peoples based on their physical distinctions, lifestyles, and environments. European and Asian scholars who traveled through Russia during this period described and categorized the people, landscape, and customs of the empire through the lens of newly-developing theories in biology and ethnography about racial differences inscribed in the body. The imperial typology influenced administrative practice, as its analysis of external features became essential for evaluating the “governability” of Russian subjects. Furthermore, the typology of bodies mitigated decisions affecting public health, when the state addressed the challenge of population control, nutritional diseases, and even epidemic outbreaks. With its focus on the eighteenth century as a critical period in the formation of Russian imperial strategies, this project will make a significant contribution to the most understudied era of Russian history, as well as engage the broader, global debates on the formation of race theory in colonial contexts.

THE ANNIE CLARK TANNER TEACHING & RESEARCH
FELLOWSHIP IN THE ENVIRONMENTAL HUMANITIES

GRETCHEN HENDERSON | LECTURER, DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY

Henderson will teach two courses in Spring 2018. In “Tectonic Essays: A Philosophy of Stones,” students will “excavate recent writing, art, and scholarship related to stones across geographies and cultures” and write “ethnographies of local lithic spaces.” In “Creative Nonfiction: An Archaeology,” students will dig into the “deep and layered lineage” of the genre “to imagine its possible futures.” Both courses will require students to conduct local field work and to develop creative practices.

Henderson has compiled an extensive teaching, performance, exhibition, and publication profile. She has numerous awards for her innovative and interdisciplinary work in multiple genres. Her most recent books include Ugliness: A Cultural History (2015), The House Enters the Street (2012,and Sherwood Anderson Fiction Award), and Galerie de Difformité (2011 and winner of the Madeleine P. Plonsker Emerging Writer’s Prize and Nobbie Best Book of 2011).

The Annie Clark Tanner fellowship is co-sponsored by the Tanner Humanities Center and the Environmental Humanities Graduate Program.

THE VIRGIL C. ALDRICH INTERNAL FACULTY FELLOWSHIPS, UNIVERSITY OF UTAH

"From Christian America to Pluralist America:
Ronald Reagan, Barack Obama, and the Battle for the Soul of a Nation”

BY KEVIN COE | ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNICATION

During the past several decades much has been made—by scholars, journalists, and citizens—about the close ties that exist between Christianity and U.S. politics. Most of this attention has focused on what can be understood as the “Christian America” worldview. This worldview holds that America is a Christian nation, that Christianity is superior to other faiths and also the bedrock of national morality, and that the “traditional” family is sacred. During the 1980s, Ronald Reagan exalted the Christian America worldview with unequaled fervor and memorable imagery—America, the “shining city on a hill.” Remarkably, just three decades later, it has all but vanished from the presidency. The present book, entitled From Christian America to Pluralist America: Ronald Reagan, Barack Obama, and the Battle for the Soul of a Nation, demonstrates that recent presidents have increasingly challenged the familiar Christian America worldview. In stark contrast to their predecessors, Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama ushered in a new, more inclusive vision of American religious identity. I trace the growth of this competing worldview, which I call “Pluralist America,” via content analyses and close readings of hundreds of presidential communications across nearly four decades.

“Racial Uncertainties:
Mexican Americans, School Desegregation, and the Making of Race in Post-Civil Rights America"

BY DANIELLE OLDEN | ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY

This project challenges the black/white binary by demonstrating the centrality of Mexican Americans to one of the most important school desegregation cases in U.S. history, Keyes v. School District No. One (1973). The case hinged on Mexican American racial identity. If they were white, then many Denver schools were not segregated. If Mexican Americans were nonwhite, however, then those same schools were segregated. Beyond the courtroom, Denver citizens contemplated this issue on their own, a debate that remained relevant long after the Supreme Court ruled. Many people, moreover, used Mexican American children's ambiguous racial identity to challenge the court’s desegregation plan. The existence of such racial uncertainty, I argue, is one of the hallmarks of the operation of race in modern America. People's inability to categorize Mexican Americans as either white or black, and subsequent debates about Mexican Americans' location along the racial spectrum, raised questions about the legitimacy of court-ordered desegregation.

“Genre Bending:
Contemporary Literary Transformations of Genre Fiction”

BY JEREMY ROSEN | ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH

For much of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, novelists who aspired to produce books of literary quality defined their writing in opposition to the commercial sphere of mass culture, in particular to popular genres such as romance, western, science fiction, horror, and mystery. Many of today’s most prestigious writers, by contrast, have been working within genre fiction—often bending these genres in fascinating directions. Transforming genre fiction emerges as the method of acclaimed contemporary novels from around the globe, such as Chang-Rae Lee’s immigrant spy thriller Native Speaker (1995), Cormac McCarthy’s westerns and post-apocalyptic saga The Road (2006), Haruki Murakami’s mash-up of fantasy and detective fiction 1Q84 (2009), and Colson Whitehead’s zombie chronicle Zone One (2011). My new book project aims to explain the startling convergence of literary and genre fiction in the contemporary period. Building upon my previous research, I will investigate: a) how genre offers writers a flexible recipe that can be tailored to diverse agendas; b) how the “high” or “low” cultural status of genres is not an inherent quality, but rather the product of historically shifting debates about the relationship between the elevated literary field and the marketplace; and c) how transformations in the modern publishing industry exert pressures that have led publishers to embrace certain genres and types of books over others.

"Animal Testing:
Education, Ecology, and Victorian Literature”

BY JESSICA STRALEY | ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH

My book, Animal Testing: Education, Ecology, and Victorian Literature, explores the multifaceted, intersecting, and conflicting educational purposes to which animals were put in the nineteenth century and how Victorian and Edwardian literature presented, challenged, and manipulated the animal as pedagogical object. Within the last decade, Animal Studies has become a dynamic nexus of interdisciplinary interrogations of the ethical and political consequences of how we construct the animal. Drawing on but departing from this field, my study asks pedagogical questions: not simply what Victorians expected to learn from animal encounters (natural and contrived), but rather how they were supposed to learn from them.

THE OBERT C. & GRACE A. TANNER HUMANITIES CENTER
GRADUATE RESEARCH FELLOWSHIPS, UNIVERSITY OF UTAH

“Explaining Addiction:
The Biomedical Model and its Effects”

BY NICK HARRISON | DEPARTMENT OF PHILOSOPHY

My research concerns the biomedical model of addiction and how the account informs prevention, treatment, and efforts to reduce social stigma. Using interdisciplinary resources, I demonstrate that how we explain addiction makes a difference in these practical matters. I examine, clarify, and update the commitments of the biomedical model and argue that it has the capability to improve treatment efficacy and enhance our understanding of addiction in both biomedical and non-biomedical respects. Ultimately, I propose that understanding which causes and effects of addictions are biomedical and which are not is a necessary step toward improving treatment efficacy and reducing stigma.

“Readerly Creations:
Reading Novels and “Reading” the Self”

BY SUNGGYUNG JO | DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH

My dissertation project examines the creative and even transformative aspects of reading—that is, the everyday practice of reading books, novels, visual texts, and so on—with specific attention to the roles of reading in providing readers with occasions to create desire and stimulate one’s imagination. I propose that acts of reading are reader-oriented processes, helping create the reader’s own subjective, private, mental space (which I call the “reading closet”) to preserve and, eventually, increase pleasure. In this mental “closet,” the reader works much like an “artist”—coming up with new avenues for, and expressions of, her own desire.

THE OBERT C. & GRACE A. TANNER HUMANITIES CENTER
GRADUATE RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP IN MORMON STUDIES

"The Veil was Thin:
Mormon Interactions with Spiritualism in Contemporary Mormon Movements"

BY CRISTINA ROSETTI | DEPARTMENT OF RELIGIOUS STUDIES, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-RIVERSIDE

This project aims to investigate the extent to which members of Mormon groups were involved in nineteenth-century Spiritualist practices and how this involvement manifests in the present. In addition, this research seeks to understand the contemporary practice of spirit communication among Mormons. Much like the spiritualists of the past, many of the informants and communities involved in my research are members of marginalized groups that gain insight into the spiritual world through ritual practice. More than simply a religious practice, I argue that spirit communication is foundational to the way different groups navigate their place within broader Mormon culture.

THE OBERT C. & GRACE A. TANNER HUMANITIES CENTER
HONORS COLLEGE UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP, UNIVERSITY OF UTAH

"The Things We Tell Our Children:
A Look at LGBT+ in Children's Animation"

BY CHRISTAL HAZELTON | DEPARTMENT OF FILM & MEDIA ARTS, HONORS COLLEGE

My research concerns the representation of LGBT+ stories for children in American media with a particular focus on popular cartoons such as Steven Universe and The Legend of Korra (also known as The Last Airbender: The Legend of Korra). Comparing heteronormative and LGBT+ stories, I argue that the latter are censored more heavily and strictly. I also expect to find that when a television series delves into meaningful LGBT+ issues and stories, the content is less accessible or distanced.

Along with my written narrative on this topic, I will create a 2D/3D animated short that reflects my findings. My animated short will be from the perspective of a child and will showcase the difference between his/her reactions to heteronormative relationships and LGBT+ relationships, as a way to compare censorship.

Last Updated: 7/6/17