"Environmental Culture of the Infowhelm"
BY HEATHER HOUSER | ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN
Houser’s project, “Environmental Culture of the Infowhelm,” analyzes 21st century fiction, poetry, visual art, and digital media to assess how they employ ecological data and processes as resources for artistic expression. She aims to demonstrate how we arrive at environmental knowledge through a variety of epistemologies, with particular attention to the interactions between positivist ways of knowing and those based in speculation, emotion, ambiguity, and uncertainty. This project will argue that scientific data and processes of producing knowledge become essential to culture under conditions of information deluge and environmental crisis.
GRETCHEN HENDERSON | LECTURER, DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY
In Spring 2019, Henderson will return to the University of Utah as the Annie Clark
Tanner Fellow in Environmental Humanities. She will teach “Tectonic Essays: A Philosophy
of Stones,” where students will “excavate recent writing, art, and scholarship related
to stones across geographies and cultures” and write “ethnographies of local lithic
spaces.” They also will conduct fieldwork to develop their creative and critical practices.
Henderson has compiled an extensive teaching, performance, exhibition, and publication profile working across many fields. She has numerous awards for her innovative and interdisciplinary work in multiple genres. Her books include Ugliness: A Cultural History (2015, currently being translated for Turkish and Korean editions), The House Enters the Street (2012, shortlisted for the AWP Award Series in the Novel), Galerie de Difformité (2011, winner of the Madeleine P. Plonsker Writer’s Prize), and On Marvellous Things Heard (2011), along with opera and intermedia works. Recent awards include the Hodson Trust-JCB Fellowship in Creative Arts from Brown University, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Humanities from MIT, and MetaLAB Research Fellowship from Harvard.
The Annie Clark Tanner fellowship is co-sponsored by the Tanner Humanities Center and the Environmental Humanities Graduate Program.
"Activism on the Wild Public Screens of China: Environmentalism, Social Media, and Civil Society”
BY KEVIN DELUCA| PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNICATION
“Activism on the Wild Public Screens of China: Environmentalism, Social Media, and Civil Society” focuses on China’s growing environmental movement’s use of social media. It analyzes four case studies of citizen and organizational-led initiatives — mass protests, international social media campaigns, image events, and a viral documentary — and features interviews with activists, domestic and international media reports, and close readings of social media texts and images. Deluca’s project will suggest new practices of resistance for activists in a world immersed in a global surveillance society. It also will consider how social media creates pockets of makeshift democracy and thus fosters advances in China’s civil society.
“‘Still I Rise’: Early Black Feminist Rhetors"
BY RACHEL GRIFFIN| ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNICATION
In “‘Still I Rise’: Early Black Feminist Rhetors,” Griffin addresses the unique late
20th century/early 21st century cultural circumstances that foster the sustained audibility
and visibility of Black feminist rhetors. This project will track Black women’s discursive
presence, highlight their intellectual contributions, and theorize their use of Black
feminist rhetoric as a distinctive resistance strategy. It also will address how this
rhetorical work responds to systemic oppressions that render women of color inferior,
inaudible, and invisible.
“Disability Affect: Moving Images and Special Effects"
BY ANGELA SMITH | ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH AND GENDER STUDIES PROGRAM
“Disability Affect: Moving Images and Special Effects” considers representations of disability across cinema, television, and the Internet. It draws on recent “affective” film theory and considers the emotional effects of a set of devices Smith calls “dis-FX”— that is, actors’ disability simulations, prosthetic costuming, in-camera tricks, post-production editing, digital manipulation, and CGI. It notes the failure of dis-FX to represent disabled moves credibly and analyzes how the presence of disabled bodies — as stunt performers, stand-ins, and actors — helps reimagine the corporeal and emotional possibilities of atypical bodies on screen.
BY ADAM GIANNELLI | DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH
Giannelli’s dissertation, “Stutterfied,” consists of a series of poems and essays about stuttering that examine and call into question the ways it is represented in culture and society. These texts not only consider Giannelli’s own stuttering and his mother’s slurred speech after a stroke, they also look outward toward the environment and place stuttering in a larger context. Influenced by the disability-rights movement and the social model of disability, this project examines the interaction between impairment and environment, blurs the boundary between disability and ability, and portrays stuttering in a positive light, even likening it to poetry itself.
“Understanding Autism: Ontology, Classification, and Ethics"
BY RYAN NELSON | DEPARTMENT OF PHILOSOPHY
Nelson’s dissertation, “Understanding Autism: Ontology, Classification, and Ethics,” lies at the intersection of the philosophy of medicine and disability studies, with a particular focus on autism. His project seeks to understand how views about what autism is influence views about how individuals with autism ought to be treated. Specifically, Nelson is interested in the distinction between difference and disorder, and the role this distinction plays in judgments about clinical ethics and public policy. As he will argue, clarity on this matter informs a range of debates, including those surrounding the DSM-5, the neurodiversity movement, and the social model of disability.
“Understanding the Rise of Mormonism in the Aba-Uyo Hinterlands of Nigeria, 1960-2005"
BY DAVID DMITRI HURLBUT | DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY, BOSTON UNIVERSITY
In “Understanding the Rise of Mormonism in the Aba-Uyo Hinterlands of Nigeria, 1960-2005,” Hurlbut examines why the Igbo and Ibibio of Southern Nigeria abandoned established mission churches and African indigenous churches in order to join the LDS Church in the late-twentieth century. It also asks how this religious change affected not only the LDS Church’s policies and practices, but also Igbo and Ibibio culture. This project will provide insights into religious conversion in Africa, cultural change, and the transformation of Mormonism into a global faith during the second half of the 20th century.
"In Her Element: Outdoor Recreation as a Tool for Female Empowerment and Community Building"
BY MAYA KOBE-RUNDIO | DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNICATION, HONORS COLLEGE
Kobe-Rundio’s honors thesis, “In Her Element: Outdoor Recreation as a Tool for Female Empowerment and Community Building,” explores how outdoor recreation activities can act as a vehicle of female empowerment and community among college-aged women. Kobe-Rundio will interview and photograph a diverse group of female-identified individuals who participate in outdoor recreation. She will analyze both the positive and negative experiences of being a woman in the outdoors and produce a written and visual portrait that reveals her findings.