Fellows Talks

Fellow’s Talk: Kerry Carnahan on the Song of Songs

Poster for Kerry Carnahan's talk—Song of Song: An Erotic and an Amulet. October 28, 2020 at 4:00 pm. With a response by David Samuels. Beside the words a painting depicts two elephants facing each other over a narrow stream, their trunks raised.

Song of Songs: An Erotic and An Amulet

Kerry Carnahan (Ph.D. Candidate, English)

with a response by David Samuels (Associate Professor of Music, New York University)

Wednesday, October 28, 2020, 4:00pm (Online—Register here)


Kerry Carnahan will read from her work-in-progress, a new translation and edition of the Song of Songs, concluding with an offering of protection and guidance. With a response by David Samuels, Associate Professor of Music at New York University.

Kerry Carnahan was born and raised in Kansas. Currently she pursues doctoral work in English at the University of Connecticut, where she teaches composition and creative writing. Her doctoral work specializes in poetry and poetics, focusing on dynamics of gender, sexuality, race, class, and empire. She also studies religion and the Hebrew Bible. kerrycarnahan.com

David Samuels is Associate Professor and current Chair of the Music Department at New York University. He is a linguistic anthropologist, folklorist, and ethnomusicologist. His book, Putting A Song On Top of It: Music and Identity on the San Carlos Apache Reservation, was perhaps the first book-length monograph exploring popular music’s place in the formation of contemporary Indigenous identities. He has published on a wide variety of topics including popular music, science fiction, language revitalization, historical imagination, missionary encounters, and vernacular modernities.

Registration is required for the event.

If you require accommodation to attend this event, please contact us at uchi@uconn.edu or by phone (860) 486-9057.

Fellow’s Talk: Nicole Breault on Boston Policing, 1768–1775

Poster for Nicole Breault's Talk. Image of hand written archival documents, constables reports from 1768. Beside the image the text reads "Times is Not Now as they Have Been": Contests over the Power to Police in Boston, 1768-1775. Draper Dissertation Fellow Nicole Breault with a response by Sarah Willen. Live. Online. Registration Required. October 14, 2020, 4:00 pm.

“Times is Not Now as They Have Been”: Contests over the Power to Police in Boston, 1768–1775

Nicole Breault (Ph.D. Candidate, History)

with a response by Sarah Winter (Professor of English)

Wednesday, October 14, 2020, 4:00pm (Online—Register here)


In the fall and winter of 1768, the arrival of four regiments in Boston sparked questions over jurisdiction in the town. Exchanges between watchmen and officers and soldiers threatened the authority of local institutions and quickly escalated to violence. This talk considers a series of violent and verbal altercations between Boston’s town watch and members of the King’s forces, framing the encounters as a dialogue over the power to police. Centered on the reports, complaints, and depositions written by the town watch, it asks how night constables and watchmen used these incidents to negotiate jurisdictional gray areas in the first months of occupation and to participate in a larger contest of empire.

Nicole Breault is a fifth-year doctoral candidate in the Department of History. Her research interests are in early American legal and social history with an emphasis on urban governance, institutions, gender, and space. She earned a B.A. from the University of Vermont and an M.A. from the University of Massachusetts Boston. Her research has been awarded fellowships at the Massachusetts Historical Society, New England Regional Fellowship Consortium, the Boston Athenæum, and the Huntington Library, as well as a Littleton-Griswold Grant by the American Historical Association. Currently, Nicole is the Draper Dissertation Fellow at the UConn Humanities Institute working on her dissertation “The Night Watch of Boston: Law and Governance in Eighteenth-Century British America.”

Sarah Winter is Professor of English and Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of Connecticut, Storrs and Director of the Research Program on Humanitarianism at the UConn Human Rights Institute. An interdisciplinary scholar of British literature of the long nineteenth century and the history of the modern disciplines, she has published most recently a co-edited collection, From Political Economy to Economics through Nineteenth-Century Literature: Reclaiming the Social (2019). Her previous books are The Pleasures of Memory: Learning to Read with Charles Dickens (2010) and  Freud and the Institution of Psychoanalytic Knowledge (1999). Her articles have appeared in journals such as Victorian Studies,  NOVEL, and  Representations, and she has contributed chapters to a wide range of edited collections on law and literature, the history of legal and political thought, and human rights and literature.

Registration is required for the event.

If you require accommodation to attend this event, please contact us at uchi@uconn.edu or by phone (860) 486-9057.

Fellow’s Talk: Nu-Anh Tran on How Democratic Should Vietnam Be?

Poster for talk How Democratic Should Vietnam Be? by Nu-Anh Tran. Text on blue background, with a political cartoon showing protesters and a man paying what appears to be a bribe.

How Democratic Should Vietnam Be? The Debate on Democracy in Saigon in 1955

Nu-Anh Tran (Assistant Professor of History and Asian and Asian American Studies)

with a response by Kornel Chang (Assistant Professor of History and American Studies, Rutgers—Newark)

Wednesday, October 21, 2020, 2:00pm (Online—Register here)


The political factionalism in the Republic of Vietnam (RVN, or South Vietnam) often puzzled contemporary western observers, and most accounts attributed the infighting between anticommunists to personality politics and the ongoing struggle for power. In contrast, Nu-Anh Tran argues that the factionalism reflected substantive differences in ideas. Specifically, this presentation will examine the debate between Ngô Đình Diệm’s faction and his rivals in the summer and fall of 1955. Virtually all anticommunists favored democracy, but they defined democracy in starkly different ways, disagreed on the degree of democracy that was suitable given the communist threat, and debated the range of parties and individuals that had a legitimate place in politics. Diệm and his followers were the most illiberal elements in the debate, and their victory over other anticommunists placed on the RVN on the path to hardline authoritarianism.

Nu-Anh Tran is Assistant Professor at the University of Connecticut with a joint appointment in the Department of History and the Asian and Asian American Studies Institute. She is the author of the forthcoming book, tentatively entitled, Disunion: Anticommunist Nationalism and the Making of the Republic of Vietnam, published by the University of Hawaii Press. Her research is focused on the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam).

Kornel Chang is Associate Professor of History and American Studies at Rutgers University-Newark. His research and teaching interests include Asian American history, the United States in the Pacific world, and race, migration, and labor in the Americas. His current book project, tentatively titled Occupying Knowledge: Expertise, Technocracy, and De-Colonization in the U.S. Occupation of Korea, examines the role of technocrats and expert knowledge in the U.S. Occupation of Korea.

Registration is required for this event.

If you require accommodation to attend this event, please contact us at uchi@uconn.edu or by phone (860) 486-9057.

Fall 2020 Events

UCHI has an exciting roster of events coming up this fall, detailed below. Be sure to peruse our offerings and register for the events you’d like to attend. Stay tuned as we announce more upcoming events!

Publishing NOW with Ilene Kalish of NYU Press

September 24, 2020



Fellow’s Talk: Nicole Breault

October 14, 2020



How to Do Nothing Book Discussion

October 19, 2020



Fellow’s Talk: Nu-Anh Tran

October 21, 2020



Publishing NOW with Matt McAdam of JHU Press

October 23, 2020



UCHI and DHMS Present Jenny Odell

October 26, 2020



Fellow’s Talk: Kerry Carnahan

October 28, 2020



DHMS Presents Sarah Sharma

November 9, 2020



André Leon Talley

November 12, 2020



Dissertation Grant Writing Workshop

November 16, 2020



DHMS Presents Book Traces with Kristin Jensen (UVA) and Michael Rodriguez (UConn Libraries)

November 18, 2020



Fellow’s Talk: Ashley Gangi

November 18, 2020



Publishing NOW with Gita Manaktala of MIT Press

December 2, 2020



Fellow’s Talk: Shaine Scarminach

December 2, 2020



Fellows Talk: Morgne Cramer on The Cry of the Choir Boy and Virginia Woolf’s “The Waves”

The Cry of the Choir Boy as Love Song in Virginia Woolf’s The Waves

Patricia Morgne Cramer, Ph.D. (Department of English; University of Connecticut-Stamford)

March 11, 2020 – 4 to 5PM (UCHI Conference Room: Babbidge Library, 4th Floor South)


Virginia Woolf wrote The Waves (1931) during an unprecedented surge of exposés on corporal punishment, bullying, and sexual abuse of boys in British public schools. Read alongside these “old boy” diatribes, the cry of the choir boy wafting through The Waves surfaces as the voice of shock and terror, echoing down the ages, of little boys coming to manhood amid the omnipresent threat of male violence and sexual violation where survival requires “toughening up” fast. What Woolf seems to capture in this dove-like choir boy cry is a resurgent, resistant male voice also discernible in these memoirs. Does Woolf record in the song of the choir boy a nascent shift in the collective consciousness of early twentieth century elite European men? Did she read modernists’ protests against their tortured boyhoods as the glimmerings of a more profound revolution than these would-be rebels actually achieved? Does Bernard’s refusal of that call at the end of the novel mark a male-gendered generational as well as personal failure?

 The talk will begin at 4PM, but a dramatic reading of The Waves will be played in the UCHI conference room 3:45-4 pm.

If you require accommodation to attend this event, please contact us at uchi@uconn.edu or by phone (860) 486-9057.

Who is Patricia Morgne Cramer?

Patricia Morgne Cramer is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Connecticut, Stamford. Her current project draws on her prior publications on Woolf and sexuality, especially those reading Woolf as a lesbian author alongside her homosexual male peers. These include “Virginia Woolf and Theories of Sexuality” in Virginia Woolf in Context (Cambridge University Press, 2012) and “Woolf and Sexuality” in The Cambridge Companion to Virginia Woolf (2010). Morgne Cramer is also co-editor of Virginia Woolf: Lesbian Readings (New York University Press, 1997).

Fellows Talk: Andrea Celli on the Egyptian Slave Hagar in Early-Modern Visual Arts

A Troubling Presence: The Egyptian Slave Hagar in Early-Modern Visual Arts

Andrea Celli, Ph.D. (Department of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages; University of Connecticut)

February 26, 2020 – 4 to 5PM (UCHI Conference Room: Babbidge Library, 4th Floor South)

From late antiquity to the early-modern period, the Biblical character of Hagar, the Egyptian servant of Sarah and the mother of Abraham’s first child, Ishmael, was often employed as a disparaging device in Christian and Judaic literature. In the Middle Ages, Christian sources used Hagar and Ishmael derogatorily in relation to Muslims; they were the putative descendants of a servant and of the illegitimate son of Abraham and therefore they were not entitled to inherit God’s covenant with Abraham. Yet, Hagar became a successful and popular subject in sixteenth and seventeenth century visual arts, a shift that suggests that patrons and artists were permitted to publicly express compassion toward the fate of an outcast. How to explain this change in approach to a feminine character that often stood for deprecated religious communities and marginalized subjects? This paper will address this visual shift and the broader conceptualization of the figure of Hagar.

Andrea Celli headshot, with the UCHI logo, the title of his talk, and the time and date of his presentation

If you require accommodation to attend this event, please contact us at uchi@uconn.edu or by phone (860) 486-9057.

Who is Andrea Celli?

Andrea Celli is an Assistant Professor of Italian Literature and Cultural Studies at the University of Connecticut. He graduated in “Letteratura moderna” at the Univerità di Padova (Italy), where he also received his PhD Degree in “Filologia italiana ed Ermeneutica” (2004). In 20122013 he spent one year as a visiting fellow at the School of Advanced Study (Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies – University of London). From 2007 to 2014 he lectured “Ermeneutica e Storia della Critica” at the MA in “Lingua, letteratura e civiltà italiana” (University of Lugano, Switzerland). He has published several monographs, essays, and chapters, and translated a number of works from French and Arabic authors (e.g. Louis Massignon and Adonis). His current projects include a study on re-readings of the narratives of Hagar and Ishmael in counter-Reformation discourses on Islam; a monograph on Islam in early-modern Mediterranean Europe, and an Italian translation of Ernst Kantorowicz’s Das Wesen der muslimischen Handwerkerverbaende.

Fellows Talk: Alex Anievas on the Birth of the US Liberal Order

Birth of the US Liberal Order: Race and Red-Hunting over the Longue Durée

Alexander Anievas, Ph.D. (Department of Political Science, University of Connecticut)

February 19, 2020 – 4 to 5PM (UCHI Conference Room: Babbidge Library, 4th Floor South)

This paper examines the racialized foundations of American anticommunism, tracing the complex ways it became a key pillar of the US liberal order-building project. Specifically, it shows how racial anticommunism held deep roots in the nation’s political culture, developing out of the societal antagonisms bound to America’s settler-colonial state formation. This great arch of American history connected ‘race wars’ against the nation’s primordial ‘communist’ enemy, the indigenous populations, with the (geo)politics of racial anticommunism that emerged in the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution: the crucial context from which the Wilsonian order-building project originally emerged. At the moment of its inception, America’s ‘Wilsonian century’ was predicated on a form of anticommunism permeated and infused with racist ideologies and social forces that became increasingly associated with the far-right. The politics of race and the far-right thereby played a crucial role in the making of the post-1945 US liberal hegemonic order.

Alex Anievas headshot, with the UCHI logo, the title of his talk, and the time and date of his presentation

If you require accommodation to attend this event, please contact us at uchi@uconn.edu or by phone (860) 486-9057.

Who is Alexander Anievas?

Alex Anievas is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Connecticut and his research interests lie at the intersection of historical sociology, political economy and international relations. He previously held fellowships at the University of Oxford and University of Cambridge. Anievas is the author of Capital, the State, and War: Class Conflict and Geopolitics in the Thirty Years’ Crisis, 1914-1945 (University of Michigan Press, 2014), for which he was awarded the Sussex International Theory Book Prize, and co-author (with Kerem Nişancıoğlu) of How the West Came to Rule: The Geopolitical Origins of Capitalism (Pluto, 2015), winner of the ISA’s International Political Sociology Section Best Book Award and BISA’s International Political Economy Working Group Book Prize. 

Fellows Talk: Emma Amador on Community and Politics in the Puerto Rican Diaspora

Demanding Dignity: Social Workers, Community Organizing, and Welfare Politics in the Puerto Rican Diaspora after 1948


Emma Amador, Ph.D. (History Department, University of Connecticut)

January 29, 2020 – 4 to 5PM (UCHI Conference Room: Babbidge Library, 4th Floor South)


This presentation will explore histories of organizing for social services within Puerto Rican communities in the United States. It will begin by examining the role of Puerto Rican women social workers as architects of the Migration Division of the Puerto Rican government’s Department of Labor after 1948, showing how within this state agency a generation of social workers challenged the racial and gender discrimination faced by Puerto Rican migrants seeking social services, housing, and care in the US. It will then show how this activism fostered the emergence of a new generation of social worker activists who in the 1960s and 70s moved into new roles as community organizers and civil rights activists. By focusing on Puerto Rican social workers role in shaping and challenging U.S. social welfare institutions to better address colonial and migrant citizens, this paper historicizes their ongoing struggle to demand dignity and social justice.

Emma Amador headshot, with the UCHI logo, the title of her talk, and the time and data of her presentation

If you require accommodation to attend this event, please contact us at uchi@uconn.edu or by phone (860) 486-9057.


Who is Emma Amador?

Emma Amador is an Assistant Professor of History and Latina/o, Caribbean, and Latin American Studies.  Her work focuses on Puerto Rico, Puerto Ricans, and U.S. Latina/o/x History with an emphasis on women, gender, and race.  She received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, an M.A. from UConn, and a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College.  Before returning to UConn she held a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship at Brown University in the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and the History Department (2016-2018). She is currently completing a book manuscript, Contesting Colonialism: Puerto Ricans and the Politics of Welfare in the 20th Century that explores the history of welfare, territorial social citizenship, and struggles for social rights in Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rican diaspora.  This project examines how the U.S. welfare state became a site where Puerto Ricans have fought for social justice, labor reform, and decolonization.  Her work has received support from Brown University, the SITPA Scholar Mellon Program at Duke University, the Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at CUNY, Hunter College, and the Rackham Graduate School at the University of Michigan.

Fellows Talk: Laura Godfrey on “Astonishment in Late Medieval English Literature”

‘Being Wholly Out of Body’: Astonishment in Late Medieval English Literature

Laura Godfrey, Ph.D. Candidate in Medieval Studies, University of Connecticut
 December 4, 2019 – 4 to 5PM (UCHI Conference Room: Babbidge Library, 4th Floor South)

This talk brings together medieval medical and literary descriptions over overwhelming bodily experiences. In medieval literature, when a subject encounters a divine figure, they lose all physical and mental faculties, and after a period of stasis, these faculties are restored, often with heightened senses of perception or newly gained insight. Middle English texts describe this as astonishment, a phenomenon described in medieval medicine as a cerebral malady similar to paralysis or epilepsy. By enmeshing themselves in this cultural rhetoric of dramatic change, medieval authors use literary descriptions to extend the pathology of astonishment and to investigate the effects of this state on the mind and soul.

UCHI Fellows Talk by Laura Godfrey on December 4, 4-5PM at the UCHI Conference Room


If you require accommodations to attend this event, please contact us at uchi@uconn.edu or by phone (860)486-9057.

Fellows Talk: Jessica Strom on Adriano Lemmi and Italian Unification

Financing Revolution: Adriano Lemmi and the Struggle for Italian Unification

Jessica Strom, Ph.D. Candidate in History, University of Connecticut
 November 20, 2019 – 4 to 5PM (UCHI Conference Room: Babbidge Library, 4th Floor South)

Jessica’s work explores Italian merchant Adriano Lemmi’s (18221906) position in the clandestine networks that funded radical nationalist leaders, military actions, and political newspapers during Italy’s mid-nineteenth century struggle for unification and political independence known as the Risorgimento. Lemmi played a critical role in fundraising efforts during the Risorgimento and became a key figure in the radical nationalist movement. By looking at a different type of revolutionary leader, Jessica’s project moves beyond ideals or outcomes to illuminate the everyday experiences of Italian Unification.Her talk will discuss how Lemmi helped to foster an alliance between Italian leader Giuseppe Mazzini and Hungarian nationalist Lajos Kossuth in the early 1850s. In particular she will address Lemmi’s crucial role in plans to free Kossuth from imprisonment in the Ottoman Empire and in subsequent efforts to acquire weapons from the United States to support nationalist military initiatives.

Strom Talk Poster