News

20 Years of Fellows: Joseph McAlhany

As part of our 20th anniversary celebrations, we've checked in with former fellows to gather reflections on their fellowship years, to get an update on their fellowship projects, and to see what they are working on next. Read them all here.

Joseph McAlhany headshot2014–15 Visiting Fellow Joseph McAlhany holds a B.A. in philosophy from Haverford College and a Ph.D. in Classics from Columbia University. He has taught at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin, at the University of New Mexico, and in Hirosaki, Japan. In 2013, he was a participant in an NEH Summer Insititute, “The Centrality of the Translation to the Humanities,” and in 2015 joined another NEH Summer Institute in Italy on the Etrsucans and early Romans. He is now Assistant Professor of History at UConn.


What was your fellowship project about? Would you give us an update on the project?

My primary project was an edition and translation of the collected fragments of Marcus Terentius Varro for the Loeb Classical library, the last (incomplete) version of which dates from the 18th century—there are about 2000 fragments in total, in both Latin and Greek, found scatted throughout texts ranging over more than a thousand years. The project, far more complicated than I imagined, is thankfully nearing completion. However, thanks to my work on this project, I published articles and chapters on Latin textual criticism, the idea of literary history in ancient Rome, and the relationship between translation and the humanities. Moreover, a Latin reading group that began during my fellowship with former fellow Hilary Bogert-Winkler and former Associate Director Brendan Kane not only continues to this day, but led this year to a Mellon-NEH proposal to produce a digital edition and translation—we’ll know the results in December!

How did your fellowship year shape your project, or shape your scholarship in general?

The opportunity to present nascent ideas to a warm, encouraging, and diverse group of intellects was a true gift—their feedback opened up alternative paths of thought which would otherwise have remained hidden.

Would you share a favorite memory from your time as a UCHI fellow?

I always enjoyed when other fellows or UCHI staff would stop by my office to ask a question, and, in particular, when Michael Lynch appeared at the door, I knew an invigorating conversation was soon to follow!

What are you working on now (or next)?

My new project, which also builds upon my time as a fellow, traces the history of translation not as a practice but as a concept—the way the idea of translation itself has been “translated” at different moments and the consequences of this for the development of humanism. The project covers the Roman translation of Greek literature, the Christian and Jewish debates about the translation of the Hebrew scriptures, medieval ideas about the translation of empires and saints’ relics, Renaissance pseudo-translations, and last but not least, a critique of contemporary translation studies.

Our theme for UCHI’s 20th anniversary year is “The Future of Knowledge.” What would you say are some of the challenges facing the future of knowledge? And what do you think is most exciting or promising about the future of knowledge?

There are two crucial questions for the future of knowledge: what is it? and what is its value? There have always been different forms of knowing, valued differently according to differences in culture and ideology, but with the emergence of the “global” perspective, is there a form of knowing in which humanity can share? Is it worth pursuing? These questions are essential to the humanities, and essential for them, especially as they seem to be succumbing to the regimes of data and science, forms of knowledge that, too often treated as ends in themselves, become an end to thinking, a substitute for wisdom, and an obstacle to meaning. Paradoxically, the future of knowledge might then lie in not knowing, since what we cannot know is what we all have in common. polymathiē noon echein ou didaskei, said Heraclitus some 2500 years ago—knowing a lot doesn’t teach you understanding. We know this, but never seem to think about it.

Call for Applications: 2022–23 Undergraduate Humanities Research Fellows

Humanities research fellowships for UConn undergraduates. Apply by February 18, 2022.
The UConn Humanities Institute (UCHI) and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) are proud to announce year-long fellowships for undergraduate students pursuing innovative research in the humanities. In this inaugural year of the fellowship, we are offering 2 fellowships.

The fellowship supports a year-long research project supervised by a UConn faculty member. The project should explore big questions about human society and culture and should lead to an original contribution to your area of study. The exact parameters (length, format, etc) will be set by your faculty advisor. Depending on your major and your academic and professional plans, your project may consist of a scholarly research project or a creative product with a significant research component. At the end of the year, students will submit the final project to their faculty advisor, UCHI, and CLAS.

The project should ask questions or explore issues and ideas that feel urgent and exciting to you. We highly encourage proposals for projects that use methods, ideas, and approaches from more than one discipline.

Fellows will be welcomed as members of the Humanities Institute, a lively community of accomplished faculty and graduate student scholars conducting advanced research in the humanities. In addition to immersion in this intellectual community, the fellowship offers:

  • A $2,000 scholarship
  • A desk/work area at UCHI, located conveniently in Homer Babbidge Library for conducting research
  • Bi-weekly check-in meetings
  • A public presentation about the project at UCHI in the spring semester
  • Participation at UCHI’s events (for example, presentations by visiting scholars and artists) and special opportunities to meet with such visiting speakers
  • A field trip or cultural excursion (for example, a visit to a museum or archive) to be announced during the year
  • The opportunity to present your work at the Humanities Undergraduate Research Symposium the fall following your fellowship year
  • 6 credits for the academic year, through the successful completion of one 3-credit independent study each semester with the UConn faculty member supervising your project
  • (For non-Honors students) Admission into the Honors Program through the successful completion of this program, if other Honors admissions criteria are met.

Eligibility

Fellowship applicants should be rising sophomores or rising juniors in good academic standing.

Fellows from all campuses are welcome. But fellows are expected to be on the Storrs campus for their bi-weekly meetings. In the event that campus is closed for public health reasons, these meetings will be held virtually and the fellowship will be conducted remotely.

The proposed project should be humanities research. Broadly speaking, the “humanities” means the study of human society and culture. Humanities majors or minors typically include but are not limited to: Africana Studies; American Studies; Anthropology; Art and Art History; Asian and Asian American Studies; English; History; Human Rights; Journalism; Latino and Latin American Studies; Philosophy; Sociology; Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. If you aren’t sure if your project is humanistic, please email uchi@uconn.edu.

Fellows should check individually with the Office of Student Financial Aid Services to ensure that they are eligible to accept the scholarship.

Application

  1. A Word document with answers to the following questions:
    1. What is your project’s title?
    2. What big question(s) is your project asking, and why are those questions important to you, your community, and society? (maximum 300 words)
    3. What is your plan for the project? What work will you do to try to answer its questions? (maximum 300 words)
    4. How do you think working on this project contributes to your own goals? (maximum 200 words)
    5. Optional question: Are there additional factors in your background or life experience that would help you benefit from this opportunity?
    6. Discuss social, economic, educational, or other obstacles, as appropriate. (maximum 300 words)
  1. A writing sample of your best research and writing (for example, your best final paper).
  2. One letter of recommendation from a UConn faculty member that also includes their willingness to supervise the project over the course of an academic year.
  3. An unofficial transcript.

Deadline: Friday, February 18, 2022

All questions and application materials can be sent to uchi@uconn.edu

Please know while we will make every effort to review submissions as soon as possible, the materials you submit may not be reviewed immediately upon receipt. Please note that all University employees are mandated reporters of child abuse or child neglect. In addition, UConn employees have responsibilities to report to the Office of Institutional Equity student disclosures of sexual assault and related interpersonal violence; any information you submit in this application is subject to UConn reporting policies. If you feel you need more immediate assistance or support, we encourage you to reach out to the Dean of Students Office and/or Student Health and Wellness- Mental Health. In addition, if you have concerns related to sexual harassment, sexual assault, intimate partner violence and/or stalking, we encourage you to review the resources and reporting options available at: https://titleix.uconn.edu

Fellow’s Talk: Shiloh Whitney on Affective Injustice

2021–22 UCHI Fellow's Talk. Affective Injustice from Anger Gaslighting to Emotional Despair: Uptake and Emotional Work. Associate Professor of Philosophy, Fordham, Shiloh Whitney with a response by Anna Ziering. December 8, 2021, 4:00pm. Homer Babbidge Library, 4-209

Affective Injustice from Anger Gaslighting to Environmental Despair

Shiloh Whitney (Associate Professor, Philosophy, Fordham University)

with a response by Anna Ziering (English, UConn)

Wednesday, December 8, 2021, 4:00pm. Homer Babbidge Library, 4-209.

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The event will also be livestreamed with automated captioning.

To attend virtually, register here

This is an Honors Event. Categories: Multiculturalism & Global Citizenship, Academic & Interdisciplinary Engagement.

Anger gaslighting is behavior that tends to make someone doubt the aptness of her anger. In this talk, I will share some results from my study of the case of anger gaslighting. In particular, I will excavate the concept of giving or refusing uptake to each other’s emotions, and explain how uptake matters for structural injustices like sexism and racism. While the anger gaslighting case is instructive and important in its own right, my goal is to convince you that “uptake injustice” is an important category of affective injustice, one that is scalable beyond the specifics of the case of anger gaslighting. I’ll invoke the cases of environmental despair and “himpathy” as proof of concept. And I’ll suggest some ways that giving and refusing uptake to each other’s emotions is an important category of emotional work.

Shiloh Whitney is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Fordham University. Her research lies at the intersection of Feminist Philosophy, Critical Phenomenology, and Philosophy of Emotions. She is currently an external fellow at UConn’s Humanities Institute, writing a book about emotional labor and affective injustice.

Anna Ziering is an English PhD candidate at the University of Connecticut, where she has completed graduate certificates in American Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Her teaching and research center on intersectional feminist questions of racial and gender justice in twentieth-century American literature and culture. Her writing, published in MELUS and The Black Scholar, has received the Susan Porter Benson Graduate Research Award (2020) and the Aetna Graduate Critical Writing Award (2017). This year, she is a UCHI Fellow, a PEO Public Scholar, and a recipient of the Wood/Raith Gender Identity Living Trust Fellowship. Her work has also been recognized by the American Association of University Women.

Access note

If you require accommodation to attend this event, please contact us at uchi@uconn.edu or by phone (860) 486-9057. We can request ASL interpreting, computer-assisted real time transcription, and other accommodations offered by the Center for Students with Disabilities.

Publishing Now: How to Publish for the Public

Publishing NOW: How to Publish for the Public, with Emily Costello (Managing Editor, the Conversation), Jaime Fuller (Web Editor, Lapham's Quarterly), Ben Platt (Editorial Director, Public Books). December 1, 2021, 1:00pm. Live. Online. Registration required.

Publishing NOW

How to Publish for the Public

with Emily Costello (The Conversation), Jaime Fuller (Lapham’s Quarterly), and Ben Platt (Public Books)

December 1, 2021, 1:00pm

Live • Online • Registration required.

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Editors from three digital publications that regularly publish the work of academics for a popular audience will offer advice and tips to scholars looking to write for the public.

Emily Costello is managing editor at The Conversation. Jaime Fuller is web editor at Lapham’s Quarterly. Ben Platt is editorial director at Public Books.

Access Note

This event will offer automated captioning. If you require accommodation to attend this event, please contact us at uchi@uconn.edu or by phone (860) 486-9057. We can request ASL interpreting, computer-assisted real time transcription, and other accommodations offered by the Center for Students with Disabilities.

20 Years of Fellows: Kornel Chang

As part of our 20th anniversary celebrations, we've checked in with former fellows to gather reflections on their fellowship years, to get an update on their fellowship projects, and to see what they are working on next. Read them all here.

2019–20 Visiting Fellow 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, “Beyond North and South,” chronicles the struggles over independence in postwar Korea.


What was your fellowship project about?

My book project, “Beyond North and South,” is a history of the immediate postwar in southern Korea. Following Japan’s surrender in August 1945, Koreans from all walks of life—peasants, workers, women, and the youth—moved quickly to realize the promise of liberation. Their diverse and spirited responses ushered in Korea’s Asian Spring. The entry of American occupying forces, however, complicated and short-circuited this moment of promise and possibility. In chronicling the struggles over Korean independence, my book reveals the paths not taken—the possibilities that could have been—in postwar Korea.

Would you give us an update on the project?

The project is currently under contract with Harvard University Press. I hope to deliver a full manuscript to the press by December 2022.

How did your fellowship year shape your project, or shape your scholarship in general?

My time at UCHI inspired me to think differently about my writing. It got me thinking about things like texture, color, and pace, as much as the argument. So I started to experiment with my prose and worked with new sources to try to tell a better story. The process was re-invigorating and it prompted me to consider writing for a wider audience. I eventually found a literary agent who pitched the revised book project to trade and cross-over university presses, which resulted in the contract with Harvard University Press.

Would you share a favorite memory from your time as a UCHI fellow?

I can’t think of a singular moment but what I remember most fondly about my time was the impromptu conversations I had with the other fellows, staff, and Michael and Alexis in the hallways, over lunch, and during tea time. They were good times filled with laughter, commiserating, and inspiration.

What are you working on now (or next)?

I'm still in midst of writing “Beyond North and South” and can’t imagine thinking about a next project!

Our theme for UCHI’s 20th anniversary year is “The Future of Knowledge.” What would you say are some of the challenges facing the future of knowledge? And what do you think is most exciting or promising about the future of knowledge?

With the risk of putting it too simply, I think the future of knowledge will depend upon specialized research and writing and creating ways to deliver those findings to a more general audience.

The Social Epistemology Working Group presents Hady Ba

The Social Epistemology Working Group presents:

“Is Knowing Really a Factive Mental State?” with Hady Ba, Fulbright Scholar

November 17, 2021 at 4:00 PM

UConn Humanities Institute Conference Room, HBL 4-209

Hady Ba is a Fulbright Scholar from Senegal. He is at UConn to write a book about the Epistemology of the Global South.

An Associate Professor of Philosophy at Cheikh Anta Diop University, he has been a visiting Research Fellow at the University of Turin in 2016 and an invited Professor at The École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris in 2019.

Trained in Dakar as a philosopher, Dr. Ba holds a PhD in Cognitive Science from The Jean Nicod Institute in Paris. Before coming back to Dakar, Hady Ba has worked on the development of Natural Language Processing tools that uses open source resources like the web to detect and anticipate security threats. At Cheikh Anta Diop University, Dr. Ba teaches logic, epistemology, philosophy of science, and cognitive science and has written papers in epistemology, computer science and cognitive science.

Please contact Eric Berg if you require accommodations for this event or have questions.

DHMS: Discriminating Data with Wendy Chun

Discriminating Data. Wendy Hui Kyong Chun (New Media, Simon Fraser University) in conversation with Yohei Igarashi. Live. Online. Registration required. November 18, 2021, 1:00pm.

If you require accommodation to attend this event, please contact us at uchi@uconn.edu or by phone (860) 486-9057. We can request ASL interpreting, computer-assisted real time transcription, and other accommodations offered by the Center for Students with Disabilities.

The Digital Humanities and Media Studies Initiative presents:

Discriminating Data

Wendy Hui Kyong Chun (Simon Fraser University)
in conversation with Yohei Igarashi

November 18, 2021, 1:00–2:30pm
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Live. Online (with automated captioning). Registration required.

This is an honors event (Multiculturalism & Global Citizenship, Academic & Interdisciplinary Engagement)

In this conversation, Wendy Hui Kyong Chun (SFU’s Canada 150 Research Chair in New Media) will discuss themes from her new book Discriminating Data (published November 2, 2021, MIT Press) about how big data and predictive machine learning currently encode discrimination and create agitated clusters of comforting rage. Chun will explore how polarization is a goal—not an error—within current practices of predictive data analysis and machine learning for these methods encode segregation, eugenics, and identity politics through their default assumptions and conditions. Correlation, which grounds big data’s predictive potential, stems from twentieth-century eugenic attempts to “breed” a better future. Recommender systems foster angry clusters of sameness through homophily. Users are “trained” to become authentically predictable via a politics and technology of recognition. The predictive programs thus seek to disrupt the future by making disruption impossible.

Wendy Hui Kyong Chun is Simon Fraser University’s Canada 150 Research Chair in New Media and leads the Digital Democracies Institute. She is the author of several works including Control and Freedom: Power and Paranoia in the Age of Fiber Optics (MIT, 2006), Programmed Visions: Software and Memory (MIT, 2011), Updating to Remain the Same: Habitual New Media (MIT, 2016), Discriminating Data (MIT 2021), and the co-author of Pattern Discrimination (University of Minnesota & Meson Press, 2019). She has been Professor and Chair of the Department of Modern Culture and Media at Brown University, where she worked for almost two decades and where she’s currently a Visiting Professor. She has also been a Visiting Scholar at the Annenberg School at the University of Pennsylvania, Member of the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton), and she has held fellowships from: the Guggenheim, ACLS, American Academy of Berlin, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard.

In conjunction with talk we will be hosting a book discussion group about Discriminating Data on November 15, 2021.

The Political Theory Workshop Presents Dabney Waring

THE POLITICAL THEORY WORKSHOP PRESENTS

Transnational Identity and Historical Development

Dabney Waring, Political Science, UConn
with commentary by Justin Theodra, Political Science, UConn
November 5, 2021 from 3:00-4:30p.m. EST, VIRTUAL

The structure-agency debate has long been central to social theory and remains a site of controversy. This paper makes two main interventions in this debate. First, expanding the critical realist approach to social ontology, it argues that group identities can be fruitfully theorized as structures – “collectivities” – that generate causal effects. Collectivities, as socio-symbolic structures, cut across and interact with states and societies, socio-material structures with their own causal effects. This formulation offers a richer account of global social space, displacing the domestic/international distinction that defines traditional statist frameworks of International Relations as well as many sociological and constructivist approaches. Second, it argues that, even with this expansion, there remains a theoretical void within social ontology, an intermediary gap between the natural/physiological and social structures that overdetermine individuals from “below” and “above.” Although it has long been rejected, ignored, or theoretically bracketed in a liberal conception of the subject, it argues that social theorists need a better account of the nexus that links natural and social structures, i.e., the psyche, and its general causal significance.

Dabney Waring is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. His research interests include IR theory, social and political theory, critical realism, and transcendental materialism.

With generous support from the UConn Humanities Institute.

Questions? Email jane.gordon@uconn.edu

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DHMS: Daniel Rosenberg on the Origin of the Keyword

DHMS: Machine/Language: The Origin of the Keyword. Daniel Rosenberg, History, University of Oregon. Live. Online. Registration required. November 10, 2021, 11:00am. Cosponsored by the History of Science Reading Group.

If you require accommodation to attend this event, please contact us at uchi@uconn.edu or by phone (860) 486-9057. We can request ASL interpreting, computer-assisted real time transcription, and other accommodations offered by the Center for Students with Disabilities.

The Digital Humanities and Media Studies Initiative presents:

Machine/Language: The Origin of the Keyword

Daniel Rosenberg (University of Oregon)

November 10, 2021, 11:00am–12:30pm
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Live. Online (with automated captioning). Registration required.

There may be no word more emblematic of our information age than keyword itself, but the ubiquity of the term belies its complexity. Distinct concepts of the keyword were articulated in information theory and in cultural studies beginning in the late 1950s. With the rise of the Web in the 1990s, however, these differing concepts were bound together. The story of this hybridization provides insight into the process by which computers became mediators of culture during the second half of the twentieth century as well as the importance of cultural studies to our understanding of computers.

Cosponsored by the History of Science Reading Group.

Daniel Rosenberg is an intellectual historian with a research focus on the history of information and information graphics. In addition, he writes on a wide range of topics related to historiography, epistemology, language, and visual culture. His books are Cartographies of Time: A History of the Timeline with Anthony Grafton (2010) and Histories of the Future with Susan Harding (2005). Rosenberg is Editor-at-Large of Cabinet: A Quarterly of Art and Culture, where he is a frequent contributor. He also directs a digital project on historical graphics supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities entitled Time Online. Rosenberg has received grants and fellowships from ACLS, NEH, Stanford Humanities Center, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, and American Academy in Berlin among other institutions. Recognitions at the University of Oregon include the Coleman-Guitteau Teaching Fellowship, Fund for Faculty Excellence Award, Williams Council Grant, Faculty Research Award, and Lorry Lokey Award for Science and the Human Condition. Among other subjects, Rosenberg has published on paleolithic calendars, the concept of sloth, the history of Jell-O, and the languages of planet Mars.

20 Years of Fellows: Allison Horrocks

As part of our 20th anniversary celebrations, we've checked in with former fellows to gather reflections on their fellowship years, to get an update on their fellowship projects, and to see what they are working on next. Read them all here.

Headshot of Allison Horrocks2015–16 Dissertation Research Scholar Allison Horrocks is a public historian. She works as a Park Ranger at Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park in Pawtucket, RI. Allison is also the co-host of the podcast American Girls.


What was your fellowship project about?

I completed and defended my dissertation "Good Will Ambassador with a Cookbook: Flemmie Kittrell and the International Politics of Home Economics" in March 2016.

During my fellowship year, I was writing a new history of Home Economics in the 20th century. My research focused on work by academics within the discipline who taught at historically black colleges and served in the field of international relations. One of my larger goals was to shift conceptions of what it might mean to study domesticity at home and abroad. This was the culmination of several years of archival work and study in the history of Home Economics.

Would you give us an update on the project?

I am no longer pursuing the project, though the finished dissertation is publicly available on OpenCommons.

I periodically receive inquiries about the project from journalists or people working in Home Economics today. Some of my much-delayed FOIA requests also continue to come in the mail, all these years later.

How did your fellowship year shape your project, or shape your scholarship in general?

I think there is a misconception that a fellowship year is a year “off.” My fellowship year allowed me to be even more intentional about my time management, particularly with regards to how I engaged with others in the UConn community. Instead of working alone, in an archive or in my home study, I had a much-needed chance to connect with other scholars.

Overall, my fellowship year at UCHI was essential to my project. I was able to finish along the timeline I had set out for myself and to take care with my final writing and editing stages. While I was at the Institute, I appreciated how the group of fellows was managed. The general approach was non-hierarchical, but not so casual as to be counter-productive. It is hard to find that kind of environment when working as a graduate student.

Would you share a favorite memory from your time as a UCHI fellow?

Before I was a fellow and during my fellowship year, I spent many hours in a chair against one of the walls or bookcases in the UCHI conference room. I loved learning from the visiting fellows and seeing new and compelling work presented to a group of peers. I don't know that it was my favorite moment, per se, but I do have a vivid memory of one of these talks. It was from a presentation on logic, given by a philosopher. I did not fully understand all of it, nor did I need to in order to appreciate what was happening in front of me. People were striving to understand, together, and that is an important and rare thing. On my way home that night, I remember realizing that I would never think about doubt in the same way, again. What a gift that speaker gave to me—to all of us.

What are you working on now (or next)?

I am a public historian and I work for the National Park Service. I am currently a Park Ranger at Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park in Pawtucket, RI. I will be working with a team of colleagues on new exhibits and public programs at Slater Mill, a property very recently acquired by NPS.

I am also the co-host of the podcast American Girls, which draws upon my background as a historian of gender and domesticity.

Our theme for UCHI’s 20th anniversary year is “The Future of Knowledge.” What would you say are some of the challenges facing the future of knowledge? And what do you think is most exciting or promising about the future of knowledge?

I work at the intersection of historical research and interpretation. I talk to people of all ages and backgrounds about complex concepts such as capitalism and exploitation while also providing a basic orientation to the site where I am employed. Why did I choose to do this line of work given my background as a historian? I have become a public historian in part because being in a classroom did not entirely suit me. I wanted to be immersed with other people in a landscape and to work with them to understand it better. To really do this requires that one actually believe in shared wisdom, and be committed to collective, experiential learning. It also means being out in the world in a way that is necessarily different from serving and educating in a classroom environment. I bring a lot of knowledge to my job, and so do the people who come to my place of work. Sometimes I am convinced that the challenge is not so much learning any one thing in particular but simply acknowledging that we can all teach one another. How do we do this without losing all grip on concepts of authority, and expertise, especially during a crisis? My hope is that we build a better sense of mutual respect between all people, or knowledge alone will not be worth very much.