Fellows 2018-19


ACLS Burkhardt Visiting Fellow

Kate Grandjean

Katherine Grandjean

“In the Kingdom of Devils: The Harpe Murders and the Legacies of the American Revolution”

Katherine Grandjean is an Associate Professor of History at Wellesley College and is a 2018-19 ACLS Burkhardt Fellow.  She holds a B.A. in History from Yale University and a Ph.D. in History from Harvard University. Her research explores early English colonization and the encounter with Native peoples, as well as the origins of American violence. Her work has been supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the American Philosophical Society, the Massachusetts Historical Society, the American Historical Association, and the Charles Warren Center for American History, and has appeared in such journals as the William and Mary Quarterly, American Quarterly, and Early American Studies. A recent essay, “New World Tempests: Environment, Scarcity, and the Coming of the Pequot War,” won the American Society for Environmental History’s 2012 Alice Hamilton Prize for Best Article and the William and Mary Quarterly’s 2014 Douglass Adair Memorial Award.

Grandjean’s fellowship project is entitled: In the Kingdom of Devils: The Harpe Murders and the Legacies of the American Revolution. The project is about the violent legacies of the American Revolution and their effects on brothers Micajah and Wiley Harpe, two of the most notorious killers in American history. Grandjean notes, “My project revisits their story in order to explain how the United States’ founding moment left behind so many violent, alienated men.” During her Burkhardt fellowship year at the University of Connecticut, Grandjean hopes to look more closely at America’s history of violence in order to speak to a broad audience.


Visiting Residential Fellows

Katherine R. Jewell_crop

Katherine Rye Jewell

“Live from the Underground: College Radio in the Era of the Culture Wars”

Katherine Rye Jewell is an Associate Professor of History at Fitchburg State University.  She is a historian and author of Dollars for Dixie: Business and the Transformation of Conservatism in the Twentieth Century, published by Cambridge University Press in 2017. A graduate of Vanderbilt University (B.A., 2001) and Boston University (M.A., 2005; Ph.D., 2010), she studies political and cultural history with a focus on the intersection of culture and politics. She received the Fitchburg State University Faculty Research Award in 2018.

Her research focuses on the influence of policy in the politics and culture of a wide range of Americans. Dollars for Dixie explores how southern business leaders responded to the New Deal by recrafting their image of the South to promote economic development and to prevent further regulatory intervention in southern business. While these efforts largely failed, these conservative manufacturers successfully linked their agenda to other anti-New Deal groups and to the growing national conservative movement. These conservatives also seeded a broad-based conservative educational and outreach program, which would influence emerging conservative media.

In her next project, she continues her focus on media by looking at the intersection of regulation, student and university politics, the music industry, and college radio. Tentatively titled Live from the Underground: College Radio and the Culture Wars, this book will explore through archival research how college radio benefited from and responded to rule and license changes at the FCC, broader cultural conversations about decency and artistic expression, and participated in and shaped evolutions in modern musical culture and the business of art in the post-1970s era.


Jonathan E. Robins

“Oil Palm: a Global History of an African Tree”

Jonathan Robins is currently an Assistant Professor of History at Michigan Technological University. He completed his Ph.D. in Global History at the University of Rochester, and taught at Morgan State University before joining the Social Sciences department at Michigan Tech. Robins was the Cornell College of Human Ecology Dean’s Fellow in the History of Home Economics in 2016, and was the recipient of the American Philosophical Society-British Academy joint fellowship in 2018. His first book, Cotton and Race across the Atlantic (University of Rochester Press, 2016), traced the impact of racial ideologies, imperial politics, and transatlantic exchanges on economic development in Africa. He has also published articles on topics including transnational business, ethical consumption, and food and nutrition.

Robins’ current project is a global history of the palm oil industry. The book will be an environmental history of the world’s most widely-consumed fat, examining the origins of evolution of a rapidly-changing industry that has attracted intense criticism in recent years for its impact on tropical forests and biodiversity. Based on archival research on four continents, the book identifies the political, cultural, economic, and environmental factors which pushed palm oil ahead of competing crops in the 19th and 20th centuries. Following the stories of farmers, manufacturers, policymakers, and home cooks across the globe, the book will show how the production and consumption of palm oil built complex and uneven connections between people and across ecosystems.

 Faculty Residential Fellows


Dorit Bar-On

“Expression, Communication, and Origins of Meaning”

Dorit Bar-On is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Connecticut, the author of Speaking My Mind: Expression and Self-Knowledge (Oxford Clarendon Press, 2004) and the Director of the Expression, Communication, and Origins of Meaning Research Group. Her articles have appeared in the Journal of PhilosophyMind and Language, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Philosophical Studies, Oxford Handbook, Synthese, Dialectica, Philosophical Explorations,
Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Inquiry, 
and Teorema, among others, as well as in a number of prominent edited volumes. Her work has been supported by a 4-year collaborative grant from the NSF, a UConn start-up fund, and fellowships from the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, the National Humanities Institute, the Franklin Humanities Institute, the UNC-Chapel Hill Humanities Institute, the NEH, and the ACLS.

While at UCHI, she will work on her forthcoming book, Expression, Communication, and Origins of Meaning, which will develop a philosophical perspective on puzzles associated with the evolution of language. Whereas few will dispute that nonhuman animals are capable of having sensations, feelings, and at least certain kinds of thoughts – in short, they possess a variety of states of mind – only humans seem to have developed the capacity to speak their minds. This work will address is the question how our capacity to use meaningful language could have emerged from the communicative capacities of nonhuman animals.



Jason Oliver Chang

“Shore Leave: Asian Sailors, Maritime Culture, and the Making of Greater Asian America”

Jason Oliver Chang is a jointly appointed Associate Professor of History and Asian American Studies. He also serves as the Associate Director of UConn’s Asian and Asian American Studies Institute. He earned his Ph.D. in Comparative Ethnic Studies from the University of California, Berkeley in 2010. In 2017 he co-authored Asian America: A Primary Source Reader with Yale University Press. The same year he published his first monograph entitled Chino: Anti-Chinese Racism in Mexico, 1880-1940, published with University of Illinois Press. Chino is a history of comparative race relations that considers the function of anti-Chinese politics, or antichinismo, in shaping Mexican mestizo national identity during and after the 1910 revolution.

While at UCHI, he will continue work on transnational Asian American history through an investigation of Asian seafarers and their political cultures as they developed from the eighteenth to the twentieth century. Chang’s research focuses on Chinese, South Asian, and Filipino sailors and their entanglements with different imperial fleets including the U.S.


Dexter J. Gabriel

“Jubilee’s Experiment: The British West Indies and American Abolitionism”

Dexter Gabriel is a jointly appointed Assistant Professor of History and the Africana Studies Institute at the University of Connecticut. His research interests include the history of bondage, resistance, and freedom in the Black Atlantic, as well as interdisciplinary approaches to slavery within popular culture and media. He has previously held a Peterson research fellowship at the American Antiquarian Society and a Mellon Scholars fellowship at the Library Company of Philadelphia. His book chapter “Django Unchained: Quentin Tarantino and the History of the Southern,” is forthcoming in the edited volume Celluloid Chains: Slavery in the Americas Through Film (2018).

While at UCHI, he will work on completing his book manuscript Jubilee’s Experiment, which provides a detailed account of how the emancipated British Caribbean colonies entered into the debates over abolition and African-American citizenship in the United States from the 1830s through the 1860s. It analyzes this public discourse as both propaganda and rhetoric, created by abolitionists, black and white, and African-Americans more generally, in antebellum America. Concurrently, it interweaves the lived experiences of the former slaves in the West Indies—their daily acts of resistance and struggles for greater freedoms—which complicated this ongoing debate.


Ellen Litman

“Love Lesson: Coming of Age in the Post-Perestroika Russia”

Ellen Litman is an Associate Professor of English and the Associate Director of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Connecticut. She is the author of two novels, Mannequin Girl (W.W. Norton, 2014) and The Last Chicken in America (W.W. Norton, 2007), which was a finalist for the 2007 LA Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and the 2008 New York Public Library Young Lions Award. A native of Moscow, Russia, she is interested in immigrant narratives, contemporary Russian literature and culture, and translation studies. Her fiction, nonfiction, and translations have appeared in Best New American Voices, Best of Tin House, American Odysseys: Writing by New Americans, East European Jewish Affairs, Guernica, The Forward, and elsewhere. Litman is a recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, as well as fellowships at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Bread Loaf Writers’ conference.

While at UCHI she will be working on her next book a fiction, a novel-in-stories about a group of characters who come of age during and immediately after perestroika, in the final years of the Soviet Union. The book will examine how the political events they had witnessed and participated in as students shaped their subsequent lives, worldview, political consciousness, and personal choices.

Stuart Miller

Stuart S. Miller

“From Temple to Home to Community: The Survival and Transformation of Ancient Jewish Life in the Wake of Catastrophe”

Stuart S. Miller is a Professor in the Department of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages at the University of Connecticut, where he has taught since 1982 and is section chair of Hebrew and Judaic Studies and a member of the Classics and Mediterranean Studies section. He is also the Academic Director of UConn’s Center for Judaic Studies. A specialist in the history and literature of the Jews in Roman Palestine, his first book was Studies in the History and Traditions of Sepphoris (E. J. Brill, 1984). Between 1986 and 2000, he served on the staff of excavations sponsored by Duke University at the ancient Galilean center of Sepphoris and brought UConn students to participate. His subsequent monographs include: Sages and Commoners in Late Antique ‘Ereẓ Israel, A Philological Inquiry into Local Traditions in Talmud Yerushalmi (Mohr Siebeck, 2006) and At the Intersection of Texts and Material Finds: Stepped Pools, Stone Vessels, and Ritual Purity Among the Jews of Roman Galilee (Vandenhoek und Ruprecht, 2015). Miller’s interest in the survival of traditional expressions of piety led to his co-direction in 2012 of a rare “mikveh” that belonged to a Jewish farming community in Chesterfield, CT ca. 1892–1930. Miller’s articles have appeared in numerous venues, including Historia, the Harvard Theological Review, Henoch: Studies in Judaism and Christianity from Second Temple to Late Antiquity, and the Journal for the Study of Judaism in the Persian, Hellenistic, and Roman Periods. Miller has been a visiting professor at Notre Dame, NYU, Brown and the Hebrew University and is a member of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences.

 While at UCHI, Miller will be working on a volume devoted to the dynamics of Jewish life in the centuries following the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in 70 C.E. titled From Temple to Home to Community: The Survival and Transformation of Ancient Jewish Life in the Wake of Catastrophe.


Lynne Tirrell

“Toxic Speech”

Lynne Tirrell is an Associate Professor of Philosophy, who writes on a range of issues concerning language, power, and social justice, with a special focus on the role of linguistic practices in preparing, inciting, and executing genocide. She is also affiliated with UConn’s Human Rights Institute, and serves on the Gladstein Committee. Her research on the 1994 genocide of Tutsi in Rwanda involved research trips to Rwanda and to the ICTR in Tanzania. Tirrell’s articles, on the politics of discourse, hate speech, genocide, transitional justice, apology, forgiveness, feminist theory, metaphor, and storytelling, have appeared in numerous journals, including The Journal of Philosophy, Noûs, The New England Journal of Public Policy, Philosophical Topics, The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Hypatia, Metaphilosophy, and many edited collections. Recent publications include “Toxic Speech,” “Genocidal Language Games,” “Apologizing for Atrocity,” “Transitional Justice in Rwanda,” and “‘Listen to What You Say’: Rwanda’s Post-Genocide Language Policies.”  For most of her career, Tirrell was an Associate Professor at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, where she was also affiliated with Women’s Studies. Her first job after getting her Ph.D. from Pitt was at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where she was also tenured. She has held visiting appointments in Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh (2018) and Wellesley College (2004-5). Her B.A. is from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

While at UCHI, she will be working on a book on Toxic Speech, which will develop an integrated view of language and social reality, particularly the ways that speech can engender action, the ways that toxic speech can damage a person’s capacity for social and political action. For a nonacademic audience, this book will help explain how language works, why it matters what we say about ourselves and others, and the damage that can be done either immediately or long-term. For philosophers, the project will show the power of an inferentialist account of discursive practices—what we say, how we give speech uptake through using it to form inferences, and how speech licenses actions explicitly and implicitly. The action-engendering power of the speech associated with the genocide for the Tutsi in Rwanda ’94 was one of the more striking lessons of her research. For several decades, philosophers have been doing excellent and serious work on what Tirrell calls "derogatory terms” and what others have called “slurs.” “This is important work, and I will address much of it in the book,” writes Tirrell. Her project calls for moving away from strict attention to clear derogations, and toward subtler and more insidious kinds of speech that fosters the harms of oppression and degradation.

Dissertation Research Scholars

Aimee Loiselle

Aimee Loiselle

“Creating Norma Rae: The Erasure of Puerto Rican Needleworkers and Southern Labor Activists in the Making of a Neoliberal Icon”

Aimee Loiselle is a Ph.D. candidate in the History Department. She specializes in the modern U.S. as a hub for transnational capital and labor with an interest in women workers, gender, race, and popular culture. She is the author of “Austerity Undermines Every Effort at Equity and Justice” in Women, Gender, and Families of Color. She has published articles and blog posts on women’s activism, textile and garment labor, and neoliberal economic projects, such as the piece “Puerto Rican Needleworkers: A Laboratory for Neoliberalism” in El Sol Latino. Her many conference presentations include the Organization of American Historians, Labor and Working-Class History Association, Film & History, and the Boston Seminar on the History of Women, Gender, and Sexuality. She was also a recipient of an Outstanding Scholars Program Fellowship and UConn Women’s Center 100 Years of Women Scholarship Award.

While at UCHI, Loiselle will complete her dissertation, “Creating Norma Rae: The Erasure of Puerto Rican Needleworkers and Southern Labor Activists in a Neoliberal Icon.” It uses the 1979 movie Norma Rae as an entry into the global textile and garment industry and as an example of contested cultural production. She argues that U.S. colonial experimentation with the labor of Puerto Rican needleworkers helped to propel a disaggregation of manufacturing in the twentieth century, yet a fascination with poor white southerners led the media to focus on Crystal Lee Sutton in the 1970s. In recycling the narrative of a white working class struggling in isolated local circumstances, Norma Rae elided a long history of collective southern activism and contributed to the erasure of Puerto Rican needleworkers. The dissertation does not simply recover Sutton but reevaluates the context in which she labored, expanding it beyond the South to the Atlantic U.S. as a whole, including Puerto Rico. The project makes a vital contribution in its use of archives previously fragmented by colonialism and racialized labor practices. The women were interconnected if not interchangeable labor markets critical to how a complex global working class coalesced decades before the 1990s. The project makes another innovative contribution by engaging two approaches often conceived as antagonistic, cultural history and the history of capitalism. The resulting scholarship uses Norma Rae to center the work popular narratives do in constituting and solidifying formal economic and political structures.

Amy Sopcak-Joseph

Amy Sopcak-Joseph

“Fashioning American Women: Godey’s Lady’s Book, Female Consumers, and Periodical Publishing in the Nineteenth Century”

Amy Sopcak-Joseph is a Ph.D. candidate in the History Department.  Her research focuses on print media and the construction of gender in early America.  She has received research fellowships from the Library Company of Philadelphia, American Antiquarian Society, Winterthur Library, Virginia Historical Society, and the Northeast Regional Fellowship Consortium.

While at UCHI, she will complete her dissertation, “Fashioning American Women: Godey’s Lady’s Book, Female Consumers, and Periodical Publishing in the Nineteenth Century.”  She positions Godey’s Lady’s Book, an antebellum women’s periodical, as central to the emergence of modern advertising and gendered consumerism. This project brings together the histories of gender, periodical publishing, and the early American economy to trace how publisher Louis Godey deviated from his colleagues and increasingly looked at women as eager participants in the market economy. Consequently, the parlor magazine became phenomenally popular among middle-class women. It helped sculpt their modes of consumerism; it connected women to goods and turned many into saleswomen themselves.


Adrian Stegovec

“Why only person? The exceptionality of person in syntax and its interfaces”

Adrian Stegovec is a Ph.D. candidate in the Linguistics Department. He received BAs in Linguistics/English Language and Literature at at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia in 2012 and an MA in Linguistics at UConn in 2017.
He has presented his work at most major international conferences in theoretical linguistics (NELS, WCCFL, GLOW, LSA, SALT, Sinn und Bedeutung, etc.). Work related to his dissertation project has been accepted for publication in Natural Language & Linguistic Theory, one of the major journals in the field of linguistics.

While at UCHI, he will be completing his dissertation, which presents the findings of a typological investigation of over 100 languages regarding possible and impossible pronoun combinations with respect to their person (1st, 2nd, or 3rd person) and proposes a new analysis of the phenomenon. This is the largest study of such restrictions to date and should serve as the starting point for future linguistic examinations of the phenomenon. In addition to linguists, this work should also be of interest to philosophers and anthropologists; the former due to its contributions to our understanding of the notion of person and the latter due to its examination of numerous endangered and understudied languages, many spoken in cultures very different from our own.


Richard Frieder

Richard Frieder

“Employing Dialogue and Deliberation to Foster Humility and Achieve Community Driven Change in Hartford”

Richard Frieder is a community engagement consultant working with Community Capacity Builders in Hartford, Connecticut, and is a senior associate with Everyday Democracy. He served as community-engagement director for Hartford Public Library (HPL) from 2001-2016, where he conceived of and built the Center for Civic Engagement, which won two national Innovators Awards from the Urban Libraries Council (2010 and 2013). He also led HPL’s participation in Libraries Transforming Communities, an initiative of the American Library Association and the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation. Frieder has recently been leading community dialogues in partnership with Hartford residents, the Hartford Police Department, and Hartford’s Faith Based Initiative focusing on community violence and strengthening community-police relations. He co-founded and is a leader of the Hartford Decide$ participatory budgeting initiative, the first of its kind in Connecticut, and was a founder of and co- leader the Hartford Votes~Hartford Vota Coalition, a partnership of 14 organizations devoted to increasing voter engagement. He is also an active board member of Hartford 2000, the umbrella organization for Hartford’s fourteen Neighborhood Revitalization Zones. Frieder holds a master’s degree in library and information science from the University of Chicago.

During his Fall 2018 residential fellowship he will design a pilot plan to employ dialogue and deliberation to achieve community driven change in Hartford while promoting humility in public discourse.

William McMillan

William McMillan

“Mapping the Potential Limits of Epistemic Humility and Conviction within an Influential Evangelical Christian Tradition”

William McMillan works at the intersection of religion, culture, and politics. He received his Ph.D. in sociology from Yale University in May 2018. His dissertation, “Cosmopolitan Calvinists: Global Religion in A Secular Age,” analyzed and examined a contemporary urban evangelical movement that is both theologically conservative and culturally flexible.

During his residential fellowship (FALL 2018) he will be leveraging his research to better understand the limitations and potentialities (constraints and enablements) of epistemic humility within evangelical Christianity more broadly conceived.

Maxime Lepoutre

Maxime Lepoutre

“Ignorance and Democratic Speech: Understanding the Challenge Ignorance Poses for Inclusive Deliberation”

Maxime Lepoutre works at the intersection of political philosophy, philosophy of language, and social epistemology. His research investigates the relation between democracy and inclusion, with a special emphasis on the place of disorderly or uncivil speech in divided democracies. His work has appeared in Politics, Philosophy & Economics, Social Theory and Practice, and the Journal of Social Philosophy. He wrote his doctoral dissertation at the University of Cambridge, and is taking up a Postdoctoral Prize Research Fellowship (2018-2021) at Nuffield College, Oxford. You can find his academic webpage at: https://maximelepoutre.wordpress.com/.

During his residential fellowship (Spring 2019), Maxime will explore the theoretical nature of political ignorance and the problems it poses for democratic speech. In particular, he plans to examine how advances in philosophy of language and in social epistemology cast light on the ‘rationality’ of political ignorance, and on the ‘stickiness’ of ignorant public utterances. Doing so will advance the HCPL’s mission by deepening our understanding of the linguistic and rational obstacles that prevent democratic public discourse from fostering knowledge.

Watson, Lani

Lani Watson

“Educating for good questioning as a form of intellectual humility”

Lani Watson works in epistemology and the philosophy of education. Her research draws on applied virtue, social, and political epistemology and the epistemology of education. She is interested in the practice of questioning, and the intellectual virtues of curiosity and inquisitiveness, and the role that these play in everyday life. In 2017, Watson completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Institute for the Study of Human Flourishing, at the University of Oklahoma, where she examined the practice of questioning in democratic processes and institutions, such as the media. In her position as a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Edinburgh she is building on this research in order to develop and pilot a technological intervention designed to help students ask better questions.

During her residency, Watson will be examining the relationship between the practice of questioning and the virtue of intellectual humility. She will address three key questions pertinent to her research in education. Firstly, what is the relationship between questioning and intellectual humility? Secondly, what are the barriers to expressing intellectual humility through questioning? Thirdly, what can be done to reduce or remove the barriers to expressing intellectual humility through questioning? Watson will be collaborating with The Right Question Institute during her visit, as well as drawing on the expertise of members of the Humility and Conviction in Public Life project. You can find out more about Watson’s research at her website: philosophyofquestions.com