CLAS Book Fund Award

Frederick Biggs Professor of English, Co-Director of Medieval Studies, received a CLAS book fund award.

codexamiatinus3700"I have been involved for most of my career in a vast, collaborative project called SASLC, the Sources of Anglo-Saxon Literary Culture. As the name suggests, we have set out to survey all of the classical and medieval works that allowed creative minds in England before the Norman Conquest (1066) to compose works such as Beowulf that have endured through the centuries because they continue to teach us. But times do change, as the image opposite from a Bible produced in England under the direction of Bede (d. 735) may remind us: all knowledge no longer fits in a single bookcase. Jumping over that minor invention of 1451, printing, we are now in an age when books based on big data must be supported electronically,

Frederick Biggs 

and for the good of scholarship, in open-access form. One part is a wiki that we can run for free (https://saslc.wikispaces.com). But another is the construction of a database robust enough to handle many kinds of information, allowing all to be search in multiple ways. In collaboration with the University of Amsterdam Press and thanks to the support of the CLAS book fund, the volumes on Bede that George Hardin Brown and I have completed as part of the larger project will receive that support."

9789089647146Publication information:

Bede. Part 1, Faxcles 1-4. George Hardin Brown and Frederick M. Biggs. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2017.

Bede. Part 2, Faxcles 1-4. George Hardin Brown and Frederick M. Biggs. Forthcoming. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2018.


From the Introduction:

In any account of the literary culture of Anglo-Saxon England, Bede must loom large. While only one of many distinctive voices for whom we have a written record, Bede stands out as the author who turned a lifetime of study into the widest-ranging corpus of writings, many of which continued to influence later generations. Theodore, archbishop of Canterbury, and Hadrian, abbot of St Peter’s Canterbury, may have been better educated and more able teachers. Aldhelm, the Beowulf-poet, and, to choose one more example from among many, Cynewulf may have written better verse. Boniface, archbishop and martyr, may have changed more lives through his mission. Alcuin, abbot of Tours, may have carried English scholarship more effectively to the Continent. Alfred the Great’s support of education may have occurred at a more crucial moment in English history. Dunstan, archbishop of Canterbury, Æthelwold, bishop of Winchester, and Oswald, bishop of Worcester and archbishop of York, may have instituted a more significant reform. Ælfric, abbot of Eynsham, and Wulfstan, archbishop of York, may have preached better sermons. Bede, however, left writings that demonstrate his skills and influence in all these areas, ones that those who followed him, as these entries and the ones that will complete this survey in the next volume of SASLC show, would almost certainly have known.

Evaluating Bede’s place in this literary culture is sometimes complicated because, as these works demonstrate, his own reading, which was both wide and deep, appears often in his writing. When in the well-known autobiographical passage at the end of the Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum (V.xxiv) he spoke of having been sent at the age of seven by his kinsmen to enter the monastery of Monkwearmouth.


Martha J. Cutter, Professor of English and Africana Studies, received a CLAS book fund award

cutterThe CLAS Book Fund:

My book, The Illustrated Slave: Empathy, Graphic Narrative, and the Visual Culture of the Transatlantic Abolition Movement, 1800–1852 (University of Georgia Press 2017) centrally concerns the way the enslavement was represented in both pro- and anti-abolitionist visual materials such as illustrated books, cartoons, posters, broadsides, paintings, lithographs, and other print culture artifacts. Due to this content, the book contains over 80 black-and-white illustrations and 16 color ones. The CLAS book fund was instrumental in bringing the book into print in the form in which I envisioned it because the grant was used to offset some of the expense of color illustrations in the text. Because the illustrations—especially the color ones—are integral to the argument I make in the book as a whole about how abolitionism used visual material, some part of my argument would have been lost without the financial support of this fund. I cannot stress enough how helpful this fund was in bringing the manuscript into print in the form in which I envisioned it, and with the argument intact. I strongly urge others who have manuscript support needs to apply through the simple and straightforward process the CLAS Book Fund has established.



Book information:

The Illustrated Slave:
Empathy, Graphic Narrative, and the Visual Culture of the Transatlantic Abolition Movement, 1800–1852

Martha J. Cutter

The University of Connecticut

The Illustrated SlaveFrom the 1787 Wedgwood antislavery medallion featuring the image of an enchained and pleading black body to Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained (2012) and Steve McQueen’s Twelve Years a Slave (2013), slavery as a system of torture and bondage has fascinated the optical imagination of the transatlantic world. Scholars have examined various aspects of the visual culture that was slavery, yet an important piece of this visual culture has gone unexamined: the popular and frequently reprinted antislavery illustrated books published prior to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) that were utilized extensively by the antislavery movement in the first half of the nineteenth century.


This book discusses some of the more innovative works in the archive of antislavery illustrated books published from 1800-1850, alongside other visual materials that depict enslavement, such as broadsides, paintings, comics, and abolitionist pamphlets. Martha J. Cutter argues that some illustrated antislavery narratives—such as those by Henry Bibb and Henry Box Brown—contain a radical reading protocol that stresses interrelationship with the enslaved rather than separation between a white and black viewer. By contrasting these works with Stowe’s more famous illustrated book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852), she argues for a seditious visual presence in antislavery discourse—one that portrays the enslaved as obtaining a degree of control over narrative and lived experiences, even if these figurations entail a sense that the story of slavery is sometimes beyond representation itself.


Available in August from Amazon:



Or the University of Georgia Press:



April 24th, 4-6pm. Lecture by James E. Young, “The Stages of Memory: Reflections on Memorial Art, Loss, and the Spaces Between.”

WHAT: Lecture by James E. Young, “The Stages of Memory: Reflections on Memorial Art, Loss, and the Spaces Between.”
WHO: Dr. James Young is the Founding Director of the Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies, UMass Amherst, and jury member for the Berlin Holocaust Memorial and the 9/11 Memorial.
WHEN: Monday, April 24th, 4-6pm
WHERE: UConn Humanities Institute, 4th floor, Babbidge Library
INFO: Robin Greeley (robin.greeley@uconn.edu)


Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at 5:30 pm. Resistance, Play, and Memory


Resistance, Play, and Memory

Artist Joseph DeLappe engages the intersections of art, technology, social engagement/activism and interventionist strategies exploring geo-political contexts. Working with electronic and new media since 1983, his work in online gaming performance, sculpture and electromechanical installation has been shown internationally. His creative works and actions have been featured widely in scholarly journals, books and in popular media—his most familiar work is a performative and memorializing intervention into the US Army video game recruitment website, “America’s Army.”
Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at 5:30 pm
Konover Auditorium, Thomas J. Dodd Center
Sponsored by
School of Fine Arts’ Art & Art History and Digital Media & Design Departments
Humanities Institute’s Digital Humanities and Media Studies
 Thomas J. Dodd Research Center
Human Rights Institute



Thursday April 6th talk by Charlotte Heath-Kelly

heath-kellyTaking Pierre Nora to the Bombsite: Memory, Death and Capital

Dr. Charlotte Heath-Kelly, Associate Professor, Department of Politics and International Relations, Warwick University UK


Thursday April 6, 4-5:30

Humanities Institute Seminar Room, 4th floor of Babbidge Library


Pierre Nora has argued that: ‘we speak so much of memory because there is so little of it left’. For Nora, industrialisation and capitalist acceleration were the destroyers of traditional societal structures. Memory industries emerged as methods by which societies could then imagine continuity and identity in response to social dislocation. This talk takes Pierre Nora, and other scholars of memory’s political economy, to the terrorist bombsite. Building upon their historical sociologies of memorialisation, and using her fieldwork from the reconstruction efforts which followed the 9/11 attacks and European bombings, I explore the sublimation of the memorial (and the dead human) to economic agendas and broader rationales of ‘regeneration’ and urban renewal. In post-terrorist reconstruction, the human subject is profoundly displaced by governance which triages economic injury and blight. Economy thereby emerges as the terrain upon which counterterrorism is fought.


Heath-Kelly’s research focuses on critical analysis of terrorism. Among her publications is Death and Security: Memory and Mortality at the Bombsite (Manchester University Press: 2017) and “The Foundational Masquerade: Security as Sociology of Death,” in Masquerades of War, Christine Sylvester, ed. (Routledge: 2015). She is currently principal investigator on two funded research projects: “Resilience at the Bombsite: Reconstructing Post-Terrorist Space” and “Counterterrorism in the NHS: Prevent Duty Safeguarding and the New ‘Pathology’ of Radicalisation.”

Ssponsored by the Humanities Institute and the Department of Political Science


March 23th Opening Reception new exhibitions 4:30pm

Music by Murderous Chanteuse
Cash Bar and Hors D'Oeuvres by University Catering


imageWORK IT Women Artists, Ellen Emmet Rand, and the Business of Seeing



Title- Transfiguration of a Tropical Waterfall Medium- Oil on canvas size- 36"x48" Date- 2016
Title- Transfiguration of a Tropical Waterfall
Medium- Oil on canvas
size- 36"x48"
Date- 2016

Progression: Then and Now (Stanwyck Cromwell)



“This exhibition, is a visual documentation of my journey as a Guyanese-born artist, living in a multi-cultural America. Despite my lengthy absence from my country of origin, my memories of Guyana are very rich and abundant. A visual kaleidoscope from this exotic place is referenced in my art. These references serve as visual footnotes to my art-making practice, by allowing me a rich palette of diverse sights to draw from. Saturated colors, patterns and textures reveal themselves in my collages, paintings and drawings.”

-Stanwyck E. Cromwell, Artist

The Caribbean Initiative, El Instituto, and the Africana Studies Institute are pleased to collaborate with the William Benton Museum of Art to showcase the work of local artists at the University of Connecticut through our artist-in-residence program. Stanwyck Cromwell’s work demonstrates how art serves as a medium for capturing and expressing the range of immigrant experiences and voices in the United States.

Progression: Then and Now (Stanwyck Cromwell) is on display March 23 – May 10, 2017.




“Who Deserves a Healthy Life?” A community conversation and emerging research study. An exemplary project led by former UCHI fellow Sarah Willen and supported by UConn Humanities Institute

Who Deserves a Healthy Life?” A community conversation and emerging research study led by former UCHI fellow

Last spring, a leading U.S. health foundation approached UConn medical anthropologist Sarah Willen, an Assistant Professor of Anthropology, former UCHI Fellow, and Director of the Research Program on Global Health and Human Rights at the Human Rights Institute (HRI), to learn more about her work on “health-related deservingness” – the crucial but often unspoken question of “who deserves what, and why” in the health domain.

Community-event---agendaSince then, Willen has assembled a multidisciplinary team of researchers at Cleveland State University, Trinity College, the University of South Florida, Brown University, and Case Western Reserve University to explore this question in the contemporary United States. The two-phase, collaborative study they have developed hinges on two linked concepts: individuals’ (1) sense of deservingness, defined as the experience of feeling valued in and by society, and (2) deservingness assessments, defined as their evaluations of what different social groups, including their own, do or do not deserve in the health domain. The team plans to investigate how Americans from diverse backgrounds conceptualize health-related deservingness; how those conceptions can change; and how such changes might affect individuals’ willingness to take concrete action to promote health equity.


In the first study phase, the team plans to “capitaliz[e] on an available opportunity to generate new knowledge that can inform policy intervention” (Williams & Purdie Vaughns 2016: 640) by studying a multi-sectoral, county-wide health equity initiative called Health Improvement Partnership-Cuyahoga (henceforth HIP-Cuyahoga) that is currently underway in the county that encompasses Cleveland, Ohio.

In January 2017, with support from CSU along with UConn’s Humanities Institute, Human Rights Institute, and the Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Prevention (InCHIP), Willen and her colleagues convened in Cleveland for a two-day planning workshop. Yet one string was attached: the group needed to hold a public event of some sort.

Since they were meeting for the first time, it seemed premature to hold a public event casting the researchers as experts. Instead, they took the somewhat unusual step of partnering with HIP-Cuyahoga and the county-wide Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) to sponsor and co-facilitate a community conversation about racism and health inequity at the community center of a local public housing community on the evening before their workshop.


Sarah Willen, assistant porfessor of anthropology, CLAS (Daniel Buttrey/UConn photo)
Sarah Willen, assistant professor of Anthropology, CLAS (Daniel Buttrey/UConn photo)

Designed as a screening and discussion of clips from the documentary “Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?,” the event attracted an audience of over 60 participants, including about 45 community residents, 10 local public health leaders, and the research team. For community members, the evening provided an opportunity to activate the community’s Social Justice Subcommittee, a healthy meal from a local African American-owned café, and a lively conversation about racism, inequality, and the moral obligations involved in community based research. For the research team, the event also offered an illuminating window onto Cleveland and HIP-Cuyahoga – and a powerful prelude to their collaborative work over the next two days. Their research proposal has now been submitted and, if funded, the study will launch in mid-2017.


Sponsored by Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, HIP-Cuyahoga, Cleveland State University, and UConn’s Humanities Institute, Human Rights Institute, and Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Prevention (InCHIP).

“Must the Revolution be Digital?” March 9, 2017

DigitalEvent-PRINT-2“Must the Revolution be Digital?” is a panel discussion featuring Zakia Salime and David Karpf. With the events of the Arab Spring and recent mobilization around the Movement for Black Lives, it is generally accepted that digital and social media have become crucial for activism and resistance. However, the debates around digital and online activism are fraught and complicated. One side argues that these new forms are inherently lazy, youth oriented, and remain embedded in neoliberal structures that foreclose revolution from reaching its full radical potential. Yet another argument claims these activisms are not disconnected from bodies on the ground and do the necessary work of generating immediacy and building community around shared causes. Zakia Salime is Associate Professor at the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers and currently Visiting Associate Professor at Yale’s Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies department. Her co-edited volume, with Frances Hasso, Freedom without Permission: Bodies and Space in the Arab Revolutions (2016, Duke University Press) investigates the embodied, sexualized and gendered spaces that were generated, transformed and reconfigured during the Arab uprisings.

David Karpf is Assistant Professor in the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University. He is the author of The MoveOn Effect: The Unexpected Transformation of American Political Advocacy (2012, Oxford University Press) and Analytic Activism: Digital Listening and the New Political Strategy (2017, Oxford University Press).

Sponsored by the UConn Humanities Institute’s Digital Humanities Reading Group and moderated by Bhakti Shringarpure.