Newhouse Center for the Humanities Welcomes Scholars

July 22, 2008

Molly Tarantino, Public Affairs,
, 781-283-2901

WELLESLEY, Mass. — The Newhouse Center for the Humanities at Wellesley College will welcome fifteen scholars—working on topics ranging from the iconography of an 8th-century Hindu temple to Somali popular culture to Leonard Bernstein and Broadway —for the 2008-2009  academic year.  Several of the scholars will teach undergraduate courses and faculty seminars; all will be involved in collaborative conversation throughout the year both with one another and with the Wellesley College community at large.

Newhouse visiting professor in creative writing:

  • Colin Channer, who is originally from Jamaica, is the author of the novels Waiting in Vain, Satisfy My Soul and The Girl with the Golden Shoes. He will be at Wellesley for a three-year term teaching courses in fiction and screenwriting.

Mary Cornille distinguished visiting professor in the humanities:

  • Laura Mulvey, professor of film and media studies, Birkbeck College, University of London. She will also be a fellow of the Newhouse Center. Mulvey will teach a course on women in cinema, lead a faculty seminar, “Cinema: in a Word, Emotion” and continue her work on the films of Max Ophuls.

Newhouse fellows:

Newhouse fellows pursue their own scholarship while engaging in the intellectual life of the college. Fellows regularly meet with one another, sharing their works in progress and sometimes serving as mentors to student research assistants. The fellowships are open to Wellesley College faculty on sabbatical, to junior and senior faculty members at other colleges and universities and to unaffiliated scholars and writers.

  • Margaret Burnham, professor of law and director of the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project, Northeastern University. She will continue her work on her book, Reckoning With the Past: The Promise and Perils of Criminal Prosecution.
  • John Carson, associate professor of history and director of the Program in Science, Technology & Society, University of Michigan. He will be in residence at the Newhouse Center for the fall term to work on his book, Mental Ability and Medical Jurisprudence in Nineteenth-Century England.
  • Cathleen Cummings, specialist in South Asian art and architecture. She will be a Mellon postdoctoral fellow in art history and work on a number of projects during her residency at the Newhouse Center, including two book projects. One will focus on the iconography of an 8th-century Hindu temple and another on the tradition of painting and illustrated manuscript production under the Marathas, arguably the most prominent and important community in India’s Deccan region from the 17th through the early 19th centuries.
  • Venita Datta, professor of French literature and culture, Wellesley College.  She will be in residence at the Newhouse Center for the spring semester and will work on a book tentatively titled Legends, Heroes and Superwomen. The book explores the way that concepts of heroism were constructed, appropriated and applied in the cultural history of France before World War I.
  • Lidwien Kapteijns, professor of history, Wellesley College. She will be in residence at the Newhouse Center for the fall term working on her book, Somali Popular Culture and the Changing National Imaginary, 1960-2005.
  • Carol Oja, a professor of music at Harvard University, will work on the final stages of her book, Leonard Bernstein and Broadway.
  • Kelly Rutherford, an assistant professor of sociology at Wellesley College, will work on her book, In Choice We Trust: Contemporary American Rites of Passage and the Sacredness of Individual Autonomy.
  • Maria San Filippo will be a Mellon postdoctoral fellow in cinema and media studies.  She received a Ph.D. in cinema and media studies from UCLA and will work on her book, Don’t Fence Me In: (Re)Constructing Bisexual Space In and Out of Hollywood.
  • Bryan Turner has served most recently as a professor of sociology at Cambridge University and at the Asia Research Institute of the National University of Singapore.  From 2009-12, he will be the Alona Evans distinguished visiting professor of sociology at Wellesley.  Beginning in the spring semester 2009, he will also be in residence at the Newhouse Center, where his research will focus on the comparative sociology of secularism.
  • Daniel Ussishkin will be a Newhouse postdoctoral fellow in history.  He completed a Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley, and will continue work on the subject of his dissertation, “Morale and Postwar British Culture.”
  • Ann Velenchik, associate professor of economics, Wellesley College.  At the Newhouse Center, she will continue work on an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural study of the economic impact of mothers on households.
  • Adelheid Voskuhl, assistant professor of the history of science, Harvard University.  She will work on her book project, Android Automata and the Human-Machine Boundary in the Technical and Intellectual Cultures of the European Enlightenment.
  • Ellen Widmer, professor and chair of East Asian languages and literature, Wellesley College.  During her residency at the Newhouse Center she will work on three projects on Chinese literature and culture:  a study of the women’s literature of Guangdong  Province, with special emphasis on the 18th century; a study of two brothers from near Shanghai who wrote fiction in the late Quing Dynasty, from roughly 1890-1910, and whose careers provide intriguing studies of the course of literary modernization in that place and time; and a history of a publishing house in Suzhou, a city near Shanghai.

For more information on the Newhouse Center, visit

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