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Northwestern University

New Kaplan Fellows Announced

Eight Northwestern faculty members have been named Kaplan Humanities Institute Fellows for the 2015-2016 academic year.

They are:  

Michael Allen, History. 
Tug of War: Confronting the Imperial Presidency, 1966-1992

This project explains why leading liberals joined grassroots peace activists and civil libertarians in the "long 1970s" to challenge what many came to consider the core contradiction of Cold War liberalism: its reliance on war power as the basis of state power and its concentration of that power in the presidency. Such efforts, Allen argues, moderated modern liberalism's foreign policy militancy but sacrificed its grip on presidential power, ceding control of the national security state to more bellicose foes.

Mark Alznauer, Philosophy. Hegel and the Logic of Self-Constitution

This project will focus on one of Hegel's most peculiar and provocative claims: his claim that certain human enterprises--like art, religion, and philosophy--are distorted when they are understood as expressions of the finite ends of individuals.  Alznauer will argue that Hegel understands these activities as distinct because they aim at self-transcendence.

Aymar Jean Christian, Communication Studies. 
Open TV: Developing Art and Community-Based Networked Television

The Open TV project will investigate the possibilities of web video for community-based arts by those marginalized in corporate creative industries (primarily queer, trans, and people of color). The project adapts television development processes for digital markets by releasing stories in different lengths and times and syndicating existing productions. The goal is to empower artists with control and ownership of their work and to promote conversation about art and identity online.

Steven Epstein, Sociology. Sexual Health as Buzzword: Histories of Emergence and Politics of Proliferation

In recent decades, the idea of “sexual health” has gone from obscurity to ubiquity. Epstein's research examines the emergence of the concept in its modern form, its extensive proliferation, and its partial and differentiated standardization, with an eye to the contexts in which sexual health is professed as well as the consequences of attempts to lay claim to it.

Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, Political Science. 
Religion and Global Politics Beyond Freedom and Violence

Rejecting both the certainties of the secularization narrative and naïve attempts to “re-accommodate" religion in the public sphere, this project seeks new ways of thinking about religion and modernity. Drawing on a multidisciplinary archive, it will explore the sites where religion, governance, and law intermingle at a time when constructs such as secularism and religious freedom appear to be exhausted and unproductive.

Christina Kiaer, Art History. 
An Aesthetics of Anti-racism: African-Americans in Soviet Visual Culture

This project investigates how images of African-Americans, in paintings, photographs, films, posters, advertisements and illustrations, from the moment of the Revolution through the 1960s, produced a visual environment of anti-racism in Soviet Russia. Anti-racism as an official policy emerged there at least forty years before such policies became standard in other countries.

Taco Terpstra, Classics. 
The Development of Roman Intercommunity Trade: Institutional Continuity and Change

This research project focuses on how the institutional structure of Roman long-distance trade developed to meet the preindustrial problems of information scarcity and lack of government enforcement of contracts. The leading question informing this research is: what did the mercantile organization of the Roman Empire inherit from earlier times and what did it pass on to the period that followed?

Marcia Tiede, Library Fellow, University Library. 
Modibo Keita’s ‘L’Enfant Sarakolle

This manuscript by the future president of Mali, written while in teacher school at the Ecole William Ponty near Dakar, is an example of the hundreds of student papers created between 1934 and 1946.  Tiede will transcribe and translate it (along with a comparable text by his classmate Kefing Keita), and write an introductory chapter that explores the concept of autoethnography (in the sense of “insider ethnography”) as it was promoted through the French colonial education system.

Kevin Boyle, History, WCAS (honorary fellow)
The Splendid Dead: An American Ideal

The competitive award — which is juried by eminent humanities faculty at other universities — allows recipients either a full year of leave or a 50-percent reduction of their teaching duties to develop research within an interdisciplinary setting.

Fellows serve as the core members of the Kaplan Humanities Institute throughout the year, engaging in dialogue about their works in progress and responding to work produced by graduate and undergraduate affiliates.  Fellows then circulate their work to undergraduates more broadly by teaching a humanities course after their fellowship year concludes.

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