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Past Graduate Student Semester Residencies

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Spring 2016

Jeremy Cox

Communication Arts and Sciences
“The Future Shall Equal the Days That are Gone: American Philhellenism, The Greek War of Independence, and the Rhetoric of Memory”

In my dissertation, I investigate how Americans’ reactions to the Greek Revolution (1821-1829) constituted a site of rhetorical struggle over the form and meaning of American nationalism. During the course of the decade, thousands of essays, editorials, poems, and news reports related to the the Greeks’ war were published in the United States’ burgeoning market for printed material. American philhellenes sought to garner support for the Greeks by appealing to what they perceived as their country’s “national character” and its attendant of moral obligations. For many, what was at stake in the war in Greece was no less than the global prospects of liberty itself. Unfortunately, their appeals were often rooted in racism, religious bigotry, and American exceptionalism. The resulting discourse offers insight into the American public’s overriding concern with their place on the global stage, and with what it meant to be citizens of a democratic republic in an oftentimes undemocratic world.

Krista Quesenberry

English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
“Reading at the Intersection of Modernist, Feminist, and Lifewriting Studies”

This project draws together three distinct areas of literary scholarship in an effort to update interdisciplinary approaches to reading American literature of the early twentieth century and to encourage further collaboration among fields of humanities research and teaching. I consider both fiction and lifewriting (e.g. memoir, autobiography, and letters) by authors including Margaret Anderson, Kay Boyle, e. e. cummings, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Zelda Fitzgerald, Janet Flanner, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Ernest Hemingway, Robert McAlmon, Katherine Anne Porter, and Gertrude Stein.

Drawing on interdisciplinary feminist scholarship in science studies, philosophy and ethics, and literary and lifewriting studies, I argue that holding literary studies accountable to the multidimensional work happening in a variety of feminist-studies contexts can engage fresh methodological frameworks and reorient hierarchies of value both in literary academic work and in humanities scholarship more broadly.

Stephanie Scott

English and Women’s Studies
“Beyond National Trauma: The Generative Role of Memory in the Literature of Ireland and Irish-America’s Marginalized Populations”

“Beyond National Trauma: The Generative Role of Memory in the Literature of Ireland and Irish-America’s Marginalized Populations,” challenges conventional understandings of Irish and Irish-American literature as perpetuating a vision of a cohesive national identity founded on memories of sacrifice and trauma. Grounded in an analysis of relevant political and popular discourses, her dissertation offers a focused exploration of how the literature of minoritized populations responds to, challenges, or otherwise problematizes nationalist narratives of commemoration. In doing so, Stephanie’s dissertation reveals contemporary Irish and Irish-American literature to celebrate the diversity of memories contained within the body politic and to champion memory as a uniquely generative force.

Kwok-leong Tang

History
“Cultural Unity and Political Legitimacy in Local and Transnational Contexts: The Temple of Culture (wenmiao) in Late Imperial China and Vietnam” 

My dissertation explores the cultural unity and political legitimacy in late imperial period by pursuing an in-depth study of the Temple of Culture in China, and to a lesser, Vietnam. The Temple of Culture was a state-sponsored shrine dedicated to the worship of Kongzi or Confucius, strictly supervised, heavily regulated, and purposefully designed by the court. In the Ming-Qing period (1368-1911), every prefecture and county had at least one such Temple of Culture. My dissertation examines the multifarious ways in which the Temple of Culture sought to establish and sustain political legitimacy and cultural unity. However, instead of taking for granted the alleged fact that the institution of the Temple served as an imperial instrument aiming at forging cultural uniformity and political conformity in a highly centralized (and thus unilateral and one-dimensional) way, my study, duly informed by the sensitivity toward variations and exceptions intrinsic in local studies, complicates and thus refines the picture by offering four regional perspectives or modes of operation of the Temple: the central (Beijing and Qufu), the local (China proper), the peripheral (Taiwan), and the transnational (Vietnam). Borrowing from the main methodological approaches in local history, which suitably bring to light parochial exceptions and diversities, my study nonetheless aims to answer the big question of how “China” held the center and the entire domain together.

Fall 2015

Courtney Rong Fu

History
“Conservatism, Orthodoxy and Intellectual Change: the Qingyuan School of Learning in Early Modern China”

My dissertation project “Orthodoxy, Localism, and Intellectual Change: the Qingyuan School of Learning in Quanzhou in Early Modern China” examines an important but hitherto under-studied school of Neo-Confucianism during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), the Qingyuan school in the Fujian province in southeast China. My project situates in the intersections of intellectual, cultural and socio-economic histories. With a multi-prong approach, it studies the institutional formation of academies, textual production, cultural consumption, book markets, printing and publishing industries, and overseas trade in Quanzhou, such that the multifarious factors that influenced the growth and sustenance of the Qingyuan school are thrown into sharp relief. This project serves two main purposes. First, it enriches the existing historiography of late Ming intellectual history by questioning and revising the commonplace focus on the Lu-Wang school, paying due attention to the intellectual contributions made by the Qingyuan literati in Quanzhou, and the continuing vitality of orthodox Neo-Confucian learning.  Second, working through the history of one particular academic lineage (the Qingyuan school) in one specific locale (Quanzhou), my study reveals a complex picture of interconnections between a host of historical dynamics, showing how intellectual forces were bound up with material ones, and local developments were nested in the global contexts. It provides glimpses into a slice of Chinese early modernity, as orthodoxy nevertheless engendered change, and as intellectual development was inevitably enmeshed in global economic and cultural forces.

Peter Giannopoulos

Philosophy
“Identity, Fecundity, Substitution: Developing Justice Through Levinas’ Ethics"

In my dissertation, I examine the impact that the notion of personal identity has in the development of Emmanuel Levinas’ philosophy, particularly his notion of responsibility. One upshot of this project, which I pursue during my IAH Graduate Residency, is to draw out the resources his notion of personal identity provides for the critical philosophy of race. My primary thesis is that personal identity in Levinas must be read as a response to the concrete forms of anti-Semitic racism that he experienced and with which he critically engaged. I provide a sustained reading of his critiques of racist political and institutional arrangements in his published writings through the lens of his notebooks as a World War II French-Jewish prisoner of war, the Carnets de Captivité. In these notebooks, Levinas develops personal identity by engagement with non-philosophical sources: works of racial biology, eugenics and racial hygiene, such as the work of Alexis Carrel. Where these sciences gave the state the theory to justify reducing a human being’s identity to pseudo-biological racial categories, there Levinas develops an alternative notion of personal identity to serve as the basis for ethical claims and for his notion of responsibility. If I am correct to say that the key to making the transition from ethical responsibility in Levinas’ philosophy to the concrete content of justice is personal identity, then one must read personal identity through his understanding of anti-Semitic racism.

Tetyana Pyatovolenko

Music
Discovering Music of Bach, Beethoven and Haydn

My graduate degree recital consists of a unique combination of the cello repertoire. The program includes the following pieces: Bach’s Cello Suite No. 3, Beethoven’s Sonata for Cello and Piano No. 4, Op. 102, and Haydn’s Concerto for Cello and Orchestra No. 2. The chosen repertoire gives me an advantage to compare and contrast performance practice and musical aspects of the pieces in order to make my personal input into the musical interpretation. The project is based of research on two types of information: pedagogical research and literature material; followed by final solo recital.

The pedagogical research allows me to have a better understanding of how to solve the technical difficulties of the chosen pieces. The literature aspect of the research deals with the history, publishing and performance practice. Because the recital pieces were written during the baroque and classical eras, the amount of surviving information gives cellists enough freedom to choose their own bowings, fingering, bow strokes, and even change notes. In order to create a historically informed performance, my research will include a study of the manuscripts of the original copies of music.

Wei-Chih Wang

Comparative Literature
“Intercultural Bodies: Performance and Cognition in Modern Taiwanese Theatre”

My research, which is transnational and intercultural in scope, relates to seeing performance as embodiment particularly in the modern theatre and thus as a representation/transgression of culturally specific experiences. In my work, theatre serves as the basis for considering the irreducible complexity of the postcolonial struggles of Taiwanese society vis-á-vis power relations in East Asia. By tackling particular scenes in selected productions for each practitioner and making connections to the abundant archives of modern Taiwanese theatre, I offer the process of performance in the present as a link between uncovering the past and foreshadowing the future of Taiwanese society in a global context.

Spring 2015

Laurent Cases

Laurent Cases

History
"Between Governors and Prefects: The Vicarii as Mid-Level Administrators in the Late-Roman Administration (285-450)"

My dissertation studies the office of the vicarius and the diocesan administration of the late imperial state until the death of the emperor Theodosius II in A.D. 450. The diocese is a little studied and poorly understood administrative unit created by the emperor Diocletian (r. 284-305), even though the office of the vicarius as a diocesan administrator was probably not formalized until ca. 313, during the reign of the emperor Constantine (ca. 313). Through this office, a set of non-aristocratic men acquired new rank and prestige. My dissertation aims not only at understanding the nature of the office from a jurisdictional and administrative perspective, but also examines who staffed the office, their background, their culture, and their place within the Roman aristocracy- both the aristocracy of birth and of service.

Shahrzad Fadaei

Shahrzad Fadaei

Architecture
"How Architectural Design Can Contribute to the Marketing of Sustainable Housing: The Case of America’s Single Family Housing"

In the era of worldwide ecological and economic crisis, while the trend has drastically changed, most of the single-family houses in the United States are still built in a conventional, non-sustainable fashion. My research aims to study the role of architecture in improving the market of sustainable homes. Architecture’s role, which I hypothesize is positive, will be studied and evaluated through extensive reading of literature, analysis of a number of cases, and a back and forth process of interviewing with real-estate agents and marketing experts.

Kristen Fisher

Kristen Fisher

Comparative Literature
"Wayward Expectations: Romantic Medievalisms and the Grand Tour"

As a uniquely human problem, the burden of history drives individuals and communities to assimilate, preserve, and display reminders of the past. We try to understand our present and shape the future through the past, but we can never know it fully. Though we preserve materials perfectly, their environment remains forever lost, and absence, as well as impossible desires, haunts the most accurate of displays. Expecting both to recuperate and repress elements of the past, every presentation of its contents becomes a complex synthesis of desire and reality, and when British Romantic travelers seek out such haunted encounters, the material experience confounds their expectations, leading to explicit commentary about the nature of historical desire. For these tourists, such experiences often occur at medieval sites, and my project explores these confounding experiences as medievalisms, moments that seek to intentionally preserve or appropriate the medieval past in the service of present desires. As medievalisms, travel experiences investigate the creative role of desire in human perceptions of reality, as well as the significance of the material past. My project seeks to identify previously unexplored medievalisms as a means to grasp better the past’s ideal role in the present and to understand how human beings negotiate the disconnect between their desires and reality.

Juliane Schicker

Juliane Schicker

Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures
"Musical Space and Performance: Masur, Mahler, and the GDR"

This dissertation examines how political criticism within the German Democratic Republic was voiced through musical and artistic program choices inside a symphony hall. In the discourse about social resistance inside the GDR, scholars mainly focus on rock and pop music or on composers of classical music from the Eastern Bloc who used their works to comment on current political events. My dissertation will expand this area of research to include the influence of conductors – who chose works from the classical music canon in their programs – on the political and social environment in the GDR. In addition, I will consider architectural and artistic choices of the concert hall that contributed to their criticism. As a whole, these artistic expressions were used to overcome censorship, surveillance, and physical borders inside the restrictive state of East Germany. My findings question the still commonly held assumption that in the GDR, classical music performances were merely an extension of the state and I will contribute to the research on resistance culture to help explain the varied ways in which people in a socialist state tried to adapt to or change the political apparatus.

Fall 2014

Ana Cortejoso de Andrés

Ana Cortejoso de Andrés

Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese
“Born to be a Star: Representing the Writer as a Global Celebrity in Hispanic Contemporary Narrative (1995-2010)"

My dissertation focuses on the fictional representation of the Spanish-language business market and the narrative construction of the writer as a conflicted character who struggles between artistic aspirations and celebrity. I examine narrative works from the perspective of three different categories of authors: Latin American writers who left their home country and established themselves in Spain, Spanish writers who have lived abroad and are internationally renowned, and Chilean authors who started writing during or after the Pinochet dictatorship and whose narrative work is known for incorporating features from pop culture and globalization. While the narrative works included in my project deal with the fictional representation of the most important aspects of the transatlantic literary field including prizes, book fairs, and literary conferences, they also portray the attachment of writers to new and powerful contributors to the literary field such as judges, critics, literary agents, and fans. Thus, the exploration of celebrity that these authors offer in their work proves that the Hispanic literary industry has become a new scenario where, as Pierre Bourdieu described, money and power have overshadowed artistic and creative concerns.

Cédric Briand

Cédric Briand

French and Francophone Studies
"Hermeneutics of the Lake: Lancelot’s Masculinities and Hybrities in 12th- and 13th- Century Arthurian Romance"

Cedric’s current research, entitled “Hermeneutics of the Lake: Lancelot’s Masculinities and Hybridities in 12th- and 13th-Century Arthurian Romance,” explores how Lancelot’s gender construction and education by the Lady of the Lake leads to the hero’s many identity crises while shaping his heroic hegemony. He is also interested in contemporary Arthuriana (mostly French and English) in its various media, medieval masculinities, feminist and queer theories, and the history and semiotics of the bande-dessinée (the Franco-German graphic novel). His article “Kaamelott’s Paradox: Lancelot Between Individuation and Subjugation” is coming out in Arthuriana in March 2015. It highlights the hero’s duality and marginality in Alexandre Astier’s work. Another upcoming article, “René Barjavel’s L’Enchanteur: These Sins That Make Us Men,” explores the concepts of sin, chivalric purity, and failure in Barjavel’s novel.

“Du lac”: Lancelot’s craft

Shocking as it was at the end of the 12th century, starting in Chrétien de Troyes’s Le Chevalier de la charrette [The Knight of the Cart], the importance of the adulterous affair between Guinevere and her knight has not always been central to the myth of Lancelot, unlike his quest for identity. Ulrich von Zatzikhoven’s Lanzelet, a Middle High German romance written almost simultaneously with the Charrette and depicted by its author as the faithful translation of a now lost French text, offers no adulterous episode. However, Lanzelet’s childhood introduces a crisis in the hero’s gender construction that future tradition will exploit. The hero’s departure from the famous lake, in which he was constructed solely by sea fairies until the age of fifteen, serves as a regulatory performance which permits his exposition to chivalric masculinity and future performances as a transgender figure.

Matt Dallos

Matt Dallos

Landscape Architecture
"Investigating Infrastructure Corridors: Spatial Structure, Site Typology, and Program Opportunity"

Although ubiquitous in the contemporary landscape, infrastructure corridors, such as highways, pipelines, and railroads, remain relatively uninvestigated as a site of design. My thesis investigates the possibility that infrastructure corridors can, in places, accommodate multiple compatible programs to improve the ecology, culture, and economy of surrounding communities.

Tomás Hidalgo Nava 

Tomás Hidalgo Nava

Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese
"Political Parricide and Filicide: Dialogues between Mexican History, Novel, and Cinema

Political violence has been present in pre- and post-revolutionary Mexico. Historians, novelists, and filmmakers have offered different, contrasting views on the ways this kind of violence has permeated the relations of power in a country that faced a thirty-year dictatorship during the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, an extremely bloody revolution between 1910 and 1921, the emergence of a party of state (PRI) that ruled Mexico for seventy years, and the decay of a system Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa called “the perfect dictatorship.. From an interdisciplinary perspective, my dissertation will explore the literary and cinematic representations of those cycles of violence where the powerful dictators and caudillos either are killed by their “political offspring” or become the killers of their possible heirs. Many of the works that I am analyzing are very recent, but I am also establishing connections to novels and films that are considered part of the twentieth-century Mexican cultural canon. Many of these fictional representations contradict the official versions and question the ability of history to grasp truth and convey accurate accounts.

Spring 2014

Andre La Velle

Music

"The Fortune of My Heart's Desire: A Tone Poem for Full Orchestra”

I am currently writing a 10-15 minute work for full orchestra. During the time of my spring 2014 residency, I will be orchestrating the piece and putting on the final touches. The work will be premiered by the Nittany Valley Symphony during the 2014-15 season.

William Saas

Communication Arts and Sciences

"Citizen-Debtor: The Rhetorical Economy of Democratic Citizenship"

My dissertation examines the rhetorical negotiation of "public trust" in the U.S. political discourse after Vietnam. I understand public trust as an economic rhetoric comprised of a number of different rhetorical currencies—honor, exchange, and education—each designed to sustain the public trust, and also subject to manipulation in times of crisis. I argue that these rhetorical currencies must be radically re-imagined in order to restore the central role of the public trust in democratic government.

Frank Stec

Communication Arts and Sciences

"What's in a Number? The Rhetoric of Numbers During Wartime"

This project offers a rhetorical account of how numbers are used in war, and an assessment of the democratic potential for a citizenry to be successfully engaged in political discourse that is awash with numbers. The extensive literature of war rhetoric has until now overlooked the impact of how numbers are marshaled in arguments for and against war. By focusing on the rhetorical nature of counting in the promotion of and justification for wars, I hope to ap to this discipline an understanding of how numbers are rhetorical, how numbers play a foundational role in how we learn about and remember wars, and how they form a baseline for judging the success of our missions.

Katie Vater

Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese

"The Cultural Field Exposed: The Artist, Myth and Society in Contemporary Spanish Novel, 1945-2010"

My dissertation studies the literary representation of the contemporary Spanish art world and demonstrates how Spanish authors have challenged the charismatic myth of the artist carried over from the Romantic period. An exploration of artist and art historian characters in nine novels from the mid-twentieth to early twenty-first century reveals that the myths of artistic genius and difference, as well as the belief in the possibility of "pure" or disinterested art , continue to condition artist novels at a basic level. However, contemporary authors rely more heavily than those of other eras on depictions of the broader "cultural field," as Pierre Bourdieu has called it, to debunk many of these myths by representing the artist as an interconnected member of a network rather than as an isolated genius uninterested in economic gains.

Hongyan Xiang

History

"Land, Church and Power: The French Catholic Mission in Guangzhou, 1840-1927"

My project studies the economic life of French Catholic missionaries in Guangzhou, China from 1840 to 1927. Focusing on the acquisitions and utilization of land and landed properties by the church, and the interactions between the church and authorities in the process, this research is aimed to shed light on the relationship between church and state in China from an economic perspective.

Fall 2013

Sandra Rousseau

French

“Memory’s Laughter: Franco-Algerian Relations through Humor (1954-2012)”

My dissertation examines how art forms such as theater, cartoons, comic strips or performances have relied on comic motifs to deal with the traumas of Franco-Algerian relationships. I argue that humor has always permeated discourses of Franco-Algerian relations and that the study of humor, counterintuitive as it may seem, is necessary to understand the complexities of Franco-Algerian memories.

Neha Parkar

Architecture

“Relationship Between Social Capital and Built Form: Re-development of Chawls in Mumbai”

My research aims at understanding the influence of architectural design on social networks and hence social capital. This is studied through a specific building typology called the chawls and the mid rises replacing them, in the densely populated city of Mumbai. Chawls, while being challenging living quarters due to cramped spaces, were also considered havens of community interaction. Social networks, I hypothesize, reduce in the mid rises replacing them, due to decreasing visual and audio links in the building design, resulting in collapse of existing social networks.

Christopher Oechler

Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese

“The Dramatization of Historical Memory in the Early Modern Spanish History Play, Then and Now”

I am writing my dissertation on the confluence of history and memory in seventeenth-century Spanish theater. My project examines the thematic popularity of history in the work of playwrights such as Lope de Vega, Tirso de Molina, and Calderón de la Barca and analyzes how the dramatization of prominent historical figures, including Charles V and Isabel the Catholic, comments on the structures of court historiography and collective memory during Spain’s imperial decline.

Karen Paiva Henrique

Architecture

“Transition as Condition: Analysing Emerging Housing Typologies for Flood-prone Zones”

As flooding becomes a recurrent problem throughout the world, architects focus on the design of more resilient environments in which livelihoods can persist. This research aims to study contemporary housing typologies designed to deal with the pressures of tidal flooding. It intends to create a catalog of ideas that go beyond the description of building methods, providing a deeper analysis of how fluctuating water levels redefine the way architecture is conceived in flood-prone zones.