2014-15 UCHRI Fellows

image of Matthieu A Chapman

Matthieu Chapman


The Other “Other”: Realigning the Paradigm of Race Early Modern English Drama

While notions of both race and otherness in Early Modern England have received intense scrutiny, the existing scholarship dealing with conceptions and performances of race in the period assume a white/non-white binary that positions all non-English peoples, including Moors, Muslims, Native Americans, Jews, Africans, and sometimes even other Europeans such as the Spanish and Irish, equally as the “other.” While I am not disputing the otherness of peoples such as Moors, Muslims, etc., I am arguing that not all otherness is created equal; while some peoples’ otherness exists at the level of identity and can be defined through their relationality to the English as defined through a network of religious, political, and national differences, the otherness of the Black African functions at a level of abstraction that establishes them as the inhuman abject that allows all other notions of otherness to function. I am arguing for the existence of Black Africans as the other “other” that exists as the negation of the English and the Moor, Christian and Muslim alike, and that the English’s first encounter with the Black African body in 1501 became the catalyst that shifted discourse away from notions of a collective identity and allowed for meditations on the individual self. By using contemporary theories of Anti-Black to articulate issues in Early Modern English society, I am extending the tradition of Afro-pessimism not only temporally, but spatially as well; by identifying a locus of the ontological rupture between Blackness and humanity that predates the hold of the slave ship, my project opens up new avenues of investigation into the social and paradigmatic structures not only of race in America, but globally.

image William McGovern

William McGovern


Street Children: St. Louis and the Transformation of American Reform, 1850-1880

My project investigates the lives of marginalized children in Civil War St. Louis and the role of St. Louis in shaping child reform throughout the nation. In ways that historians have not fully recognized, the Civil War reconfigured social relationships among many children and helped to make children and childhood the preeminent focus of transatlantic reformist efforts. Rather than centering exclusively on adult attitudes, this study attempts to access the social world of children themselves. Building upon a framework of organizations crafted to meet the growing tide of war orphans and refugees, St. Louis reformers sparked a national intellectual movement that advocated state-centered solutions to social problems and the adoption of European reform strategies. In addition to intellectual history, my project employs social historical and sociological methodologies, including social network analysis

2014-15 Dissertation Writing Fellows

image of Chanda L Carey

Chanda Carey

Art History

Marina Abramovic 1969-2010: Ethno-Aesthetics and the Geography of Art

Chanda Laine Carey is a PhD Candidate in Modern and Contemporary Art History, Theory, and Criticism.

Her research focuses on transculturation in Contemporary art after secularization, with emphasis on global abstraction in painting, and the influence of religion on performance art. Chanda’s approach focuses on the work and critical reception of individual artists whose lives and influences span diverse global cultures, with specialization in Contemporary artists’ reception of discourses and practices from eastern philosophy.  She uses interdisciplinary phenomenological approaches from anthropology and geography to supplement research on and practice of visual, textual, and digital analyses of art.

Chanda is a member of the Yale-Bouchet Graduate Honor Society which honors outstanding scholarly achievement which promotes diversity. Her research has been funded by distinguished international and domestic organizations including the European Science Foundation, Max and Iris Stern International Symposia, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


Monica Hoffman


Mapping Malaria: Material Geographies and Entangled Practices in the History of Malaria Control

This research examines the history of malaria control and practices of disease mapping, including recent efforts to ‘shrink the malaria map.’ It situates contemporary efforts within a longer history of malaria control including colonial efforts in India and anti-malaria campaigns during World War II. Drawing on archival research and spanning the fields of history, geography and epidemiology, I analyze the complicated inter-relationships between agent, vector, host and environment as they have been visually and spatially produced and represented, as well as the consequences of this way of knowing the disease for the particular malaria control efforts that are pursued.

image of David Pinzur

David Pinzur


Infrastructure and Stability in Financial Markets: The Chicago Board of Trade and New Orleans Cotton Exchange, 1865­‐1921

My research examines the creation and development of futures markets in Chicago and New Orleans in the decades following the Civil War. In this project, I ask why the market in Chicago suffered numerous speculative manipulations and price instability, while New Orleans saw almost none. Current sociological theories of markets, which conceptualize economic behavior institutionally, cannot account for this variation. Instead, I show how social factors guided the creation of two distinct information infrastructures, which enabled and promoted speculative behavior in one market and conservative behavior in the other.

image of Amy Rothschild

Amy Rothschild


Victims versus Veterans: Memory, Nationalism and Human Rights in Post­‐Conflict Timor‐Leste

My research examines the effects of human rights and transitional justice on the constructions of memories and histories in East Timor, an impoverished country still coming to terms with the effects of a violent war of independence from Indonesia, which lasted from 1975-1999 and resulted in the deaths of over one hundred thousand Timorese (out of a pre-invasion population of 650,000). Post-conflict, multiple transitional justice mechanisms, including Timor-Leste’s Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation, were implemented in the country in an attempt to deal with the violent past. My research asks: To what extent and to what end have these mechanisms, with their particular vocabularies of victims and perpetrators and ideas about memory, violence, justice and reconciliation, affected how Timor’s violent past is being narrated, perceived and acted upon, at both the national and local levels, and in both official and unofficial domains? I am particularly focused on the relationship between a human rights narrative centered around victims and a more classic nationalist narrative centered around heroes and veterans.

Ben Van Overmeire


Encounter Dialogue: The Literary History of a Zen Buddhist Genre

I study Zen Buddhist literary dialogues that, from the Song dynasty onwards, provided the source materials for koan, the famous meditation riddles (e.g. “what is the sound of one hand clapping”; “what was your name before you were born?”). In the 20th century,this type of dialogues figured heavily in popular portrayals of Zen such as Daisetz Suzuki’s Introduction to Zen Buddhism and Jack Kerouac’s Dharma Bums, and heavily conditioned the reception of Zen in the Western world.