Congratulations to CHASS Faculty Fellowship Recipients for 2010-11

By Loree Iverson, Student Intern CHASS College Computing
May 12, 2010 

James Brennan, associate professor of history, has received a fellowship with the National Endowment for the Humanities for his work on a project titled “Days of Destruction: Political Violence and Its Legacies in Argentina’s ‘Dirty War’” which examines political violence, state terrorism, and dictatorship in Córdoba, Argentina. According to Brennan, his focus “is not strictly on social trauma and the victims of violence, but also its perpetrators. I am also back-streaming to the beginning of the decade to analyze the violence of the left and how it contributed to generate the particular form of counter-revolutionary violence practiced by the dictatorship.” For research purposes, Brennan will conduct field work in Argentina.

Adriana Craciun, professor of English, has been awarded a University of California President’s Faculty Research Fellowship in the Humanities to work on an upcoming book titled “Northwest Passages: Authorship, Exploration, Disaster,” which traces the encounters of a wide range of peoples, institutions, and disciplines, inscribed in books, manuscripts, graffiti, objects and maps. According to Craciun, “Northwest Passages charts the often circular passages of Arctic voyagers en route to disaster, moving recursively from seventeenth-century to late nineteenth-century accounts. In addition to offering an original framework for understanding Arctic exploration, Northwest Passages contributes a new dimension to studies of authorship and print culture, by moving outside literary and legal contexts to also consider in mercantile and governmental domains the significance of textuality in distinguishing authors, explorers and disciplines.” Professor Craciun will give a talk based on research from this book at a UCR conference this October on “The Global Nineteenth Century,” organized by Professor Joseph Childers. She is also organizing a multidisciplinary conference in March 2011 at UCR (“Inscriptions: The Material Contours of Knowledge”) that will consider how the material dimensions of objects of knowledge have shaped our modern disciplinary traditions.

Jonathan Eacott, assistant professor of history, has received a fellowship with the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture for his work on an upcoming book titled “Selling Empire: India Goods in the Making of Britain and America, 1690-1830,” which examines the effects of British mercantilism. “I trace the trade and history of these goods to show how the British empire developed as a consumption-based system with two critical and interlocking parts. The first part was a trading system designed to exploit the global distribution of India’s products to support particular individuals, as well as the government and military of the British and, later, American states. This trade was co-dependent on the second part of the system: an imperial aesthetic…The meanings people ascribed to India goods actively and vitally reinforced, and occasionally challenged, the empire’s structures and ideologies of power. Selling the goods of the empire became tied to selling and enacting the supposed good of the empire -- a finding for us to bear in mind today,” Eacott explains. Thus far, the Institute has funded Eacott’s research in Philadelphia and the United Kingdom, and with the additional support of a fellowship with the Peabody Essex Museum, he will spend a month in Salem, Massachusetts for research purposes.

Steven Hackel, associate professor of history, has received a Huntington Library NEH Long-Term Fellowship for the academic year 2010-2011. This fellowship is for his current project “Junípero Serra: California’s Founding Father,” a biography of the Franciscan missionary who initiated the chain of Catholic missions that stretches from San Diego to San Francisco. Hackel explains: “A new scholarly biography of Serra is especially important because Serra's life--and all that it has come to represent--is an important chapter not only in California’s religious history, but also in the related and interwoven histories of colonial America, the American West, the Spanish Borderlands, and Native America.” Through a new biography of Serra, therefore, Hackel will help to expand the focus of American colonial history beyond the eastern seaboard and encourage readers to reexamine the Catholic and Hispanic origins of the Spanish Borderlands and the early American West. And, through the life of Junípero Serra, Hackel will show the long history of Indian-Spanish relations in the state that would be California and the area that would become the American Southwest.” The fellowship will fund Hackel through a year of academic leave from UCR so that he may be in residence at the Huntington Library for the purpose of conducting his research and writing.

Juan Felipe Herrera, Tomás Rivera Endowed Chair in the department of creative writing, has received a fellowship with the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in recognition of his work in poetry and as a profound encouragement for the continuation of his writing endeavors. In the words of Professor Herrera: “It is a turning point for me and an acknowledgement of my family's story-art. I plan to work on a collection of poetry - new in shape, voice and form, and as still as the sky. It is always an unknown.” His current project is a “cut and paste” novel by the title of “Senegal Taxi”, which he describes to be a collage of the modern human experience.

Jennifer Hughes, assistant professor of religious studies, has received a fellowship with the University of California President’s Research Fellowships in the Humanities program for her work on a project titled “Epidemics in New World Religion,” an endeavor which was initially funded by a small grant from UC MEXUS, allowing her to survey archives in Mexico City in January of 2010. According to Hughes, “Much as historians and scholars of religion have pondered how slavery, or perhaps more pointedly, the Middle Passage, shaped African-American religious belief and practice, this project seeks to uncover the impact of the initial experience of demographic collapse, and then of repeated waves of epidemic disease, upon indigenous Christianity in the New World...Taking religion as the central interpretive category, I explore how the encounter with epidemics altered indigenous epistemologies and cosmologies including conceptions of the sacred, the place and significance of the human being in the cosmic order, and the nature of the divine-human relationship.” Accompanied by her family, Hughes will conduct her research in Seville, Spain and Mexico City during her leave of next year.

Jennifer Nájera, assistant professor of ethnic studies, has been awarded a Postdoctoral fellowship through the Institute of American Cultures at UCLA. She will be a fellow during the upcoming year, during which she will assume residence at the UCLA Chicano/a Studies Research Center. She will employ most of her time with the completion of her upcoming book titled “The Borderlands of Race: Mexican Segregation in a South Texas Community,” an historical ethnography that provides a layered rendering and analysis of Mexican segregation in a South Texas community in the first half of the 20th century. According to Nájera, “My work examines how the ambiguous racial status of Mexican origin people allowed some of them to be exceptions to the rule of racial segregation. On the one hand, while such exceptionality might point to the permeability of the line of segregation, my research reveals how the durability of segregated structures operated precisely through a process of selective and limited incorporation.”

Robert Patch, professor and former chair of the history department, has received a fellowship with the National Endowment for the Humanities for his work on a project by the title of “The Formation of a Colonial Ruling Class,” an undertaking that seeks to examine the history of colonial class structure and social mobility. Professor Patch is currently examining the topic in the case of Yucatan, Mexico during the early 18th century. “I am gathering information on the elite and on the people who moved into the elite, in order to better understand who they were and very importantly why they were allowed to move up. Using data resulting from research I can track how someone moves up because of personal connections as well as the possession of an economic base in the form of wealth, and this helps us better understand the emergence in Latin America of a class system, which replaced the caste system,” Patch explains. In order to accomplish his research, Professor Patch will spend a large part of next year in Mérida, Yucatan.

Chikako Takeshita, associate professor of women’s studies, has been selected as a recipient of the American Fellowship awarded by the American Association of University Women for her work on an upcoming book titled “The Biopolitics of Contraceptive Research: Population, Women’s ‘Choice,’ and the IUD.” Situating scientific activities against historical, social, and political backgrounds, the book traces the development of the intrauterine contraceptive device from the 1960s to the present. It illustrates how IUD developers responded to changing political stakes, social interests, and new scientific findings as they worked to sustain the device's suitability as a contraceptive method for women both in the global South and North and ultimately produced a politically versatile technology adaptable to both feminist and non-feminist reproductive politics. According to Takeshita, “This will be the first book of its kind to offer a critical and comprehensive study of the modern IUD, a contraceptive used by over 150 million women around the world.”

Caroline Tushabe, assistant professor of women’s studies, has received a fellowship with the Future of Minority Studies at Syracuse University, a branch of the Future of Minority Studies national research project. FMS facilitates focused and productive discussion across disciplines on a defined set of questions about the role of identity in the production of knowledge and in the formation of social justice. Professor Tushabe will thus assume residence at Syracuse University for the winter and spring quarters in 2011 under the mentorship of the illustrious Dr. Minnie Bruce Pratt. Her focus will be on developing the fourth chapter, “Remembering our community, our own people and ourselves,” of her book project titled Identified Out of Existence.

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