Newhouse Center for the Humanities at Wellesley College
Welcomes Scholars

May 7, 2010

CONTACT: Molly Tarantino; 781-283-2901

WELLESLEY, Mass.— The Newhouse Center for the Humanities at Wellesley College will welcome its latest group of scholars — to work on topics ranging from the punk rock movement in Peru to the role of the Arlington Cemetery in our political imagination — for the 2010-11 academic year.   Several scholars will teach undergraduate courses and faculty seminars; all will be involved in collaborations throughout the year with one another and the Wellesley College community.

“I am thrilled with the quality of the scholars who will be joining us at the Newhouse next year and feel sure that they will help bring some exciting new programming in the humanities to the college,” said Carol Dougherty, director of the Newhouse Center and professor of classical studies at Wellesley. “I look forward to introducing them to the Wellesley community in the fall.”

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 often 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.

  • Catherine Elgin, professor of the philosophy of education at the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University, will spend the 2011 spring semester on her project, “True Enough, ” which explores how a partial fiction or some other inaccurate representation can still be of great and even indispensable cognitive value.
  • Shane Greene, an assistant professor of anthropology at Indiana University and author of Customizing Indigeneity: Paths to a Visionary Politics in Peru, will work on a project “Third World Punk: Notes on the Peruvian Underground in Times of Certain Violence.” The project looks at the role of the punk rock movement within the recent and violent political history of Peru, arguing for a move beyond debates about subversive styles and dilemmas of commercialization to appreciate the potentially militant message of punk rock in a third world context.  
  • Eva Hoffman, associate professor of art history at Tufts University, will complete a book on the circulation of art and culture in the medieval Mediterranean world between the 10th and 13th centuries. Her project explores the way the movement of art through Mediterranean centers in Byzantium, Egypt, Sicily, Spain and the Italian states of Venice and Pisa stimulated cultural encounters and dynamic continuities.  
  • Ling Hon Lam, assistant professor of Chinese literature at Vanderbilt University, will work on a book, “From Exteriority to Theatricality: Exploring the Spatiality of Emotion in Early China.” The book re-conceptualizes emotion not as an inner mental state but as a spatial structure – specifically, theatricality of late 16 th-18th century China. The book aims to offer a new perspective in the historical formation of self and society in early modern China.  
  • Susan Lanzoni is the recipient of an National Science Foundation Scholars grant, which funds her current research on a book project “The Art and Science of Empathy.” She will continue this work, which explores the surprising aesthetic origins of the concept of empathy as developed at the end of the 19th century in Germany.  
  • Irene Mata, assistant professor of women’s and gender studies at Wellesley, will work on her book manuscript, “Domestic Disturbances: Reimagining Narratives of Gender, Work, and Im/migration in Contemporary America.” Her project argues that the work of multiple Chicana and Latina writers and artists challenges the monolithic structure of more traditional immigrant stories and functions as a new type of narrative that expands the parameters of the genre.  
  • Micki McElya, assistant professor of history at the University of Connecticut and author of Clinging to Mammy: The Faithful Slave in 20th-Century America, will work on her next book, Grave Affairs: Arlington National Cemetery in American Memory and Political Culture. The project explores the complicated role of the Arlington cemetery in our political imagination within an analysis of the broader place of the cemetery in popular imagination and politics over time.  
  • Neelima Shukla-Bhatt, assistant professor of South Asian studies at Wellesley, will work on her monograph “Footprints of Songs: The Religious and Cultural Legacy of Gujarati Saint-poet Narasinha Mehta.” The project brings literary analysis, religious-historical studies and ethnomusicology to the study of the relationship between religion and popular culture by exploring a sacred tradition preserved entirely through cultural forms.
Affiliated Wellesley Faculty  
  • Mary Kate McGowan, associate professor of philosophy at Wellesley, will be affiliated with the Newhouse as she works on the project “On Speech and Permission.” The work explores the ways in which speech enacts facts about permissibility, arguing that our words enact subtle changes to permissibility facts and do so in a covert and previously overlooked manner.
  • Valerie Ramseyer, associate professor of history at Wellesley, will be affiliated with the Newhouse for the fall semester as she works on a book, “Lombards and Greeks, Arabs and Normans: Southern Italy in the Early Middle Ages.” The book examines southern Italy and Sicily from c. 600-1100, highlighting themes and trends common to various regions in spite of the political fragmentation and ethnic diversity characteristic of the area that have led scholars to create more local histories.
In addition to these new fellows, Deborah Klimburg-Salter, professor of Asian art history at the Institute of Art History of the University of Vienna, will continue her residency as the Mary Cornille Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Humanities. Colin Channer, the author of the novels   Waiting in Vain ,   Satisfy My Soul   and   The Girl with the Golden Shoes, w ill continue a three-year term at Wellesley teaching courses in fiction and screenwriting as the Newhouse visiting professor in creative writing. Amanda Leff will be in residence for the second year of her Mellon postdoctoral fellowship in English and Leila Nadir will be in residence as a Mellon postdoctoral fellow in environmental studies.

Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in providing an excellent liberal arts education for women who will make a difference in the world.  Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate students from all 50 states and 75 countries.