Current Fellows

Visiting Residential Fellows

Sara Matthiesen headshot

Sara Matthiesen

“‘Free Abortion on Demand’ after Roe: A Reproductive Justice History of Abortion Organizing in the United States”
Sara Matthiesen is Associate Professor of History and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at George Washington University. Her first book, Reproduction Reconceived: Family Making and the Limits of Choice after Roe v. Wade (University of California Press, 2021), shows how incarceration, for-profit and racist healthcare, HIV/AIDS, parentage laws, and poverty were worsened by state neglect in the decades following Roe. In 2022, Reproduction Reconceived received the Sara A. Whaley Prize for best monograph on gender and labor from National Women’s Studies Association. Professor Matthiesen’s current project, “‘Free Abortion on Demand’ after Roe: A Reproductive Justice History of Abortion Organizing in the United States,” traces the multi-racial feminist activism that opposed state and medical control of abortion throughout the era of choice. At GWU, she regularly teaches Introduction to Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, for which she was awarded the Kenny Teaching Prize in 2022.

Jesse Olsavsky headshot

Jesse Olsavsky

“In the Tradition: The Abolitionist Tradition and the Routes of Pan-Africanism”
Jesse Olsavsky is an assistant professor of History and a co-director of the Gender Studies Initiative at Duke Kunshan University, Jiangsu Province, China. He is a scholar of Abolitionism, Pan-Africanism and their legacies. He is the author of The Most Absolute Abolition: Runaways, Vigilance Committees, and the Rise of Revolutionary Abolitionism, 1835–1861 (2022), which was a finalist for the Harriet Tubman book prize. His work has been published in such journals as Slavery and Abolitionism, Socialism and Democracy, and History Workshop Journal as well as such edited volumes as Frederick Douglass in Context, A Global History of Runaways, and Socialism and Democracy in W.E.B. Du Bois’s Life Thought and Legacy. His research has been supported by such institutions as the Schomburg Center for research in Black Culture, the NEH, the ACLS, the American Antiquarian Society, and the Massachusetts Historical Society. He will spend his fellowship year working on his second book project titled “In The Tradition: The Abolitionist Tradition and the Routes of Pan-Africanism.” The project will explore the ways numerous intellectuals and movements in the US, West Africa, and the West Indies, from the late 19th century to the mid-20th century, re-invoked and reinterpreted the history of the struggle to abolish slavery during their own struggles for African unity and decolonization.

Heather Ostman headshot

Heather Ostman

“Nineteenth-Century American Literature, Religion, and the Search for Grace”
Heather Ostman is Professor of English, Director of the Humanities Institute, and Humanities Curriculum Chair at SUNY Westchester Community College in Valhalla, New York. She is the author/editor of ten books, including Kate Chopin and the City: the New Orleans Stories (2024), The New View from Cane River: Critical Essays on Kate Chopin’s At Fault (2022), Teaching Writing through the Immigrant Story (2021), American Women Activists and Autobiography: Rhetorical Lives (2021), Kate Chopin and Catholicism (2020), Kate Chopin in Context: New Approaches (2015), and Kate Chopin in the Twenty-First Century: New Critical Essays (2008), among others. She is the recipient of two NEH grants and a SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities, and she is the co-founder and president of the Kate Chopin International Society. The UCHI Visiting Fellowship will enable Heather the time and space to work on her next book project, which is titled “Nineteenth-Century American Literature, Religion, and the Search for Grace.” As Christian idea, “grace” speaks to acts of mercy, salvation, and redemption. In more worldly terms, it suggests renewal and new beginnings. The texts studied in “Nineteenth-Century American Literature, Religion, and the Search for Grace” share the premise of “grace,” although not all explicitly privilege Christian doctrine and practice. In fact, most of the authors in this study critique Christian doctrine and practice and seek religious experience beyond the church walls. And yet the ideas of mercy, salvation, redemption, and renewal still appear in myriad ways in these texts, offering a lens for considering the American sociopolitical identity and at times the possibility of change and reform.

UCHI Faculty of Color Working Group Fellow

Fumilayo Showers headshot

Fumilayo Showers

“Learning to Leave: Health Professions Education, the Afropolitan Imaginary, and Migration Aspirations in a Migrant Sending Nation.”
Fumilayo Showers is an assistant professor with a joint appointment in the Sociology department, where she directs the Health Professions, Health Care, and Social Inequality Lab, and the Africana Studies Institute. Her research centers on race, gender, and US immigration; the social organization of health and long-term care; health professions; care work; and immigrant workers. Her book, Migrants Who Care: West Africans Working and Building Lives in US Health Care (Rutgers University Press, 2023) is the first book to document the experiences of recent West African immigrants in a range of health care occupations in the US (nursing, disability support, elderly care). Her current research projects focus on tracing changes to US health care systems and the experiences of frontline health care workers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; the study and practice of biomedicine in non-western contexts; and the global migration of health professionals. At the Humanities Institute, she will work on advancing a book project that seeks to illuminate the experiences of a group of migrants that have received lesser attention in international migration/mobility scholarship—aspiring migrants (people who have yet to leave the home country). This book will investigate medical socialization (the transformation of lay persons into medical professionals) and the migration dreams and aspirations of undergraduate students enrolled in schools of medicine, nursing, and allied health sciences in Ghana, West Africa.

Faculty Residential Fellows

César Abadia-Barrero headshot

César Abadia-Barrero

“Too Sick to Labor: Disease and Profit as the end of Capitalism”
César Abadía-Barrero is a Colombian activist/scholar and Associate Professor of Anthropology and Human Rights at the University of Connecticut. His research approach is grounded in activist, collaborative, and participatory action research frameworks and integrates critical perspectives to study interconnections among capitalism, human rights, and communities of care. He has been a member of or collaborated with collectives and social movements in Brazil, Colombia, and Cameroon, examining how for-profit interests transform access, continuity, and quality of health care, and how communities resist forms of oppression and create and maintain alternative ways of living and caring. He is the author of I Have AIDS but I am Happy: Children’s Subjectivities, AIDS, and Social Responses in Brazil (2011 in English and 2022 in Portuguese) and Health in Ruins: The Capitalist Destruction of Medical Care (2022, English and Spanish editions). He has also co-edited Salud Normalización y Capitalismo en Colombia (2013), A Companion to Medical Anthropology (2022), and Countering Modernity: Communal and Cooperative Models from Indigenous Peoples (2024). His current collaborative research in Colombia follows decolonial proposals in health and wellbeing after Colombia’s 2016 peace accord, focusing on Indigenous peoples’ conceptions of Buen Vivir, collective healings, medicinal plants, and peace building. His other research line centers on the dysregulation of human bodies due to the capitalist transformation of labor, consumption, and the environment. He is the director of the Buen Vivir and Collective Healings Initiative at the University of Connecticut, and co-director of the Global Health & Human Rights Research Program at the Human Rights Institute, University of Connecticut.

Daniel Hershenzon headshot

Daniel Hershenzon

“The Maghrib in Spain: Enslavement, Citizenship, and Belonging in the Early Modern Spanish Mediterranean”
Daniel Hershenzon is an associate professor in the Department of Literatures, Cutlures, and Languages at the University of Connecticut. His awards-winning book, The Captive Sea: Slavery, Commerce, and Communication in Early Modern Spain and the Mediterranean (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018), explores the 17th century entangled histories of Spain, Morocco, and Ottoman Algiers, arguing that captivity and ransom shaped the Mediterranean as an integrated region. Hershenzon currently works on a project on Muslims and Maghrebis in 17th-18th century Spain. Hershenzon has published articles in Past and Present, Annales-HSS, Journal of Early Modern History, African Economic History, History Compass, Philological Encounters, and in edited volumes. His research has been supported by the Princeton Institute for Advanced Studies, the ACLS, NEH, and other grant foundations. While at UCHI, he will work on “The Maghrib in Spain: Enslavement, Citizenship, and Belonging in the Early Modern Spanish Mediterranean.” Revising the dominant historiographic narratives about early modern Spain, “The Maghrib in Spain” offers the first comprehensive account of North Africans in post-expulsion Spain. In addition to royal and privately owned slaves, there were Moros de paz, free Muslims who previously fought for Oran, Spain’s main colony in North Africa. For nearly two centuries, these groups established religious institutions, funded religious leaders, sought to control other Maghribis, and obtained local citizenship. “The Maghrib in Spain” frames these North Africans as collective actors, showing how despite external threats they were divided into micro-communities and established uneasy coalitions with Christian patrons.

Yohei Igarashi headshot

Yohei Igarashi – Faculty Success Fellow

Word Count: Literary Study and Data Analysis, 1875–1965
Yohei Igarashi is Associate Professor of English at the University of Connecticut. His research to date focuses on how literature has historically related to communication, information, and technology. His writing on this question in the context of British Romantic literature includes The Connected Condition: British Romanticism and the Dream of Communication (Stanford University Press, 2020), a prize-winning essay in Studies in Romanticism, and other articles. In the field of computational literary studies, his work includes collaborative papers on topics ranging from poetic form to plain writing, as well as a magazine piece in Aeon on computer-generated text. He is currently writing an account of the role of computing in the history of literary studies. From 2019–2023, he was Assistant then Associate Director at the UConn Humanities Institute, where he oversaw the Digital Humanities and Media Studies Initiative. In 2023–2024, he was the Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation Fellow at the National Humanities Center.

Hana Maruyama headshot

Hana Maruyama

“Entangled Remains: Indigenous Relationalities & Caretaking in Japanese American Incarceration”
Hana Maruyama is an assistant professor in History and Asian and Asian American Studies at the University of Connecticut. Her current manuscript discusses how the federal government exploited Japanese Americans’ World War II incarceration to dispossess American Indians and Alaska Natives and advance U.S. settler colonialism. Maruyama directs the Fudeko Project, a digital journaling program for Japanese American former incarcerees. While completing her PhD at the University of Minnesota (UMN), she co-created/produced the Densho podcast Campu. She formerly worked for the UMN Immigration History Research Center, American Public Media’s Order 9066, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, and the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation.

Grégory Pierrot headshot

Gregory Pierrot

“It Was Nation Time: Fictions of African American Revolution (Le Temps d’une nation noire: fictions révolutionnaires du Black Power)
Grégory Pierrot is Associate Professor of English at the University of Connecticut at Stamford where he teaches American and African American literature. His research bears on the cultural networks of the Black Atlantic. He is the author of The Black Avenger in Atlantic Culture (UGA, 2019) and Decolonize Hipsters (OR Books, 2021). He is co-editor with Marlene L. Daut and Marion Rohrleitner of Haitian Revolutionary Fictions: An Anthology (UVA, 2021), and co-author with Paul Youngquist of a scholarly edition of Marcus Rainsford’s An Historical Account of the Black Empire of Hayti (Duke 2013). He recently prefaced two short collections of nineteenth-century short stories in French about the Haitian revolution for L'Harmattan editions: Échos de Saint Domingue vol.1 and Toussaint Louverture et après: une anthologie. He translated into English Philippe Carles and Jean-Louis Comolli’s Free Jazz/Black Power (Mississippi, 2015), and also co-translated into French with Jean-Baptiste Naudy La Couleur de l’oubli (The Color of Forgetting), a novel by Merle Collins, and Brent H. Edwards’ Pratique de la diaspora (The Practice of Diaspora) (Rot-Bo-Krik, 2024). He is also part of a team of researchers led by Dr. Maria Baelieva Solomon (UMD) working on a digital edition of the 19th-century, French-language abolitionist review La Revue des colonies, recipient of a NHPRC grant. He will be spending his fellowship year working on his next project, a French-language monograph tentatively titled “Le Temps d’une nation noire: fictions révolutionnaires du Black Power” that will explores how American writers imagined imminent African American revolution through fiction during the Black Power era.

Janet Pritchard headshot

Janet Pritchard

“Abiding River: Connecticut River Views & Stories”
Janet L. Pritchard is a Professor of Art, Photography/Video Area Coordinator, and Affiliated Faculty Member of the Center for Environmental Sciences & Engineering and Institute of the Environment at the University of Connecticut. Her creative research interests focus on landscape photography, using a methodology described as historical empathy. This methodology relies on archival materials to guide her depictions of landscapes as expressions of time and place, situating landscape photography at the intersection of nature and culture. Before pursuing a photography career, she was an outdoor education instructor and spent her youth traveling between the Northeast and Rocky Mountain West. She describes herself as geographically bilingual. Her forthcoming book, titled Abiding River: Connecticut River Views & Stories, is a creative project about the river and its landscape of origins, dispossessions, innovations, and legacies. Her previous book, More than Scenery: Yellowstone, an American Love Story, was published in late 2022. Awards and honors include the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, Connecticut Office of the Arts Artist Fellowships, American Antiquarian Society Jay and Deborah Last Fellowships, National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Scholar, Smith Center for Cartography, and Newberry Library. Artist-in-Residence fellowships include the Ucross Foundation, the Jentel Foundation, the Institute for Electronic Arts at Alfred University, the Millay Foundation, the Vindolanda Trust, and the UConn Humanities Institute Fellowship. Exhibition venues include the Philadelphia Museum of Art; RISD Museum, Providence; Fruitlands and New Bedford Art Museums, Massachusetts; Fraction Magazine; FlakPhoto; Lenscratch; International Center for Photography, New York; Martha Schneider Gallery, Chicago; Photographic Resource Center, Boston; and the National Trust for Historic Preservation traveling exhibition America’s Uncommon Places.

Peter Zarrow headshot

Peter Zarrow

“A History of the ‘Museumification’ of the Forbidden City, Beijing, from 1900 to Today”
Peter Zarrow’s research focuses on modern Chinese thought and culture. He has written on major intellectual figures and political movements in the late Qing and Republican periods (1880s–1949), such as Liang Qichao, Hu Shi, Cai Yuanpei, Kang Youwei, and others, as well as anarchism, Marxism, and conservatism. His most recent monograph is Abolishing Boundaries: Global Utopias in the Formation of Modern Chinese Political Thought, 1880-1940 (SUNY Press, 2021), and he recently published a translation of essay by Liang Qichao, Thoughts from the Ice-Drinker’s Studio: Essays on China and the World (Penguin Random House, 2023). The general area of his current research is national heritage in East Asia. A professor of History at UConn, he was previously research fellow and deputy director in the Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica (Taipei, Taiwan). He has recently been a visiting professor at École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris; visiting scholar at the Si-Mian Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, East China Normal University, Shanghai; and member at Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton.

Dissertation Research Scholars

Joscha Jelitzki headshot

Joscha Jelitzki – Richard Brown Dissertation Fellow

“The Anti-Jewish ‘Lust Libel’ and its Deconstruction by Jewish Writers in Modern Vienna”
Joscha Valentin Jelitzki is a scholar of German Jewish literature, and a PhD candidate in German and Judaic Studies at UConn at the Department of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages. As the 2024 Franz Werfel Fellow, he is currently completing a research stay in Vienna. He previously studied in Berlin, Frankfurt (Oder), and Jerusalem, and worked as an assistant from 2016 to 2019 for the critical Hannah Arendt edition. His focus is on modern German- and Austrian Jewish literature and thought, theories of sexuality and secularization. He has published articles on Martin Buber and literature, the biblical figure of Job in modern Jewish literature, and on German-Jewish gangsta-rap.

Yusuf Mansoor headshot

Yusuf Mansoor – Draper Dissertation Fellow

“Native Americans in Tangier: Slaveries in the Early Modern Atlantic World”
Yusuf Mansoor is a doctoral candidate in the History Department. He received his MA from William and Mary and his BA from George Washington University. He also has a graduate certificate in College Instruction. His research focuses on Native American History, Early American History, and the Atlantic World. He has received research grants from the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, the Society of Colonial Wars, the American Philosophical Society, John Carter Brown Library, and Folger Shakespeare Library. At UCHI, Yusuf will continue work on his dissertation, “Native Americans in Tangier: Slaveries in the Early Modern Atlantic World,” which focuses on a group of Native Massachusetts who were taken as captives during King Philip’s War from their home in New England and sold as slaves in Tangier, in modern-day Morocco. The dissertation will discuss the varying forms of captivity and slavery that Native people in New England encountered over the course of the sixteenth century, the geographic connections made through these captivities and slaveries, and the lived experiences of these captives thousands of miles from home, and their efforts to return home.

Danielle Pieratti headshot

Danielle Pierratti

“Unoriginal: Transvocal works from Dante’s Purgatorio
Danielle Pieratti (she/her) is a doctoral candidate in the English Department. She holds degrees from Carnegie Mellon University, SUNY at Albany, and Columbia University, where she earned an MFA in poetry. She is the author of two poetry collections: Approximate Body (2023), and Connecticut Book Award winner Fugitives (2016). Transparencies, her translated volume of works by Italian poet Maria Borio, was published by World Poetry Books in 2022. Danielle was a 2023 poetry and translation fellow of the Connecticut Office of the Arts, and currently serves as poetry editor for the international literary journal Asymptote. She has taught in secondary and post-secondary settings for more than twenty years, and was a high school English teacher from 2012 to 2022. Danielle’s dissertation, “Unoriginal: Transvocal works from Dante’s Purgatorio,” is a creative work of original poetry, translation, and visuals, borrowing text from among the more than eighty English translations of Dante’s Purgatorio to examine the transitory spaces of language, authorship, genre, and originality. The project synthesizes scholarship in writing studies, translation, and poetics to develop a critical theory of transvocal writing—writing whose status as derived, multilingual, co-authored, or otherwise hybridized precludes the possibility of a unified lyric voice. With this combination of creative and critical work, Danielle hopes to consider the ways transvocality troubles constructs of originality, authorship, and authenticity, particularly against the current backdrop of ChatGPT and machine translation.

Julia Wold headshot

Julia Wold

“Adapting Choice: Shakespeare, Video Games, and Early Modern Thought”
Julia Wold is a doctoral candidate in the English Department specializing in Early Modern drama, primarily Shakespeare, and adaptation theory, focusing on video game adaptations. She received her MA in English from the University of North Dakota and her BA in English from Northern State University. Her work focuses on early modern philosophies of choice in both contemporaneous works (Hamlet, Paradise Lost) and modern video game adaptations of these works (Elsinore, The Talos Principle). She is also the co-host and editor of the Star Wars English Class podcast, exploring concepts ranging from literary theory to creative writing via Star Wars.  At UCHI, Julia will complete her dissertation, “Adapting Choice: Shakespeare, Video Games, and Early Modern Thought,” which explores the connection between early modern conceptions of decision-making (“right reason”), theorized as “thoughtful choice” and video games adaptations of early modern texts. Wold believes that the ubiquity and popularity of video games expand the audience for this project beyond the purely academic, providing a perfect opportunity for education and outreach within the digital and public humanities.

Undergraduate Research Fellows

Kathryn Andronowitz headshot

Kathryn Andronowitz

“The Tradwife Cultural Economy: A Comparative Case Study of Self-Branded Housewife Influencers on Social Media”
Project advisor: Bhoomi K. Thakore
Kathryn Andronowitz, from Monroe, Connecticut, is a junior pursuing dual degrees in English and Sociology. Her research interests include examining identity formation in online networked communities, analyzing consumer culture and the rise of self-branding, and exploring the historical roots of current social movements. Kathryn works as the public relations student coordinator at UConn Community Outreach and was a 2023 Holster Scholar. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, doing trivia, and spending time outdoors. Kathryn plans to earn her J.D. for a career in public policy emphasizing community-based solutions. At UCHI, Kathryn’s project will examine how different traditional housewife influencers present their identities on social media, and how they function as economic actors by promoting certain lifestyle choices or products in a way that aligns with their values. In the first part of her project, she will explore the “tradwife” movement’s historical ties to choice feminism, anti-feminism, conservative politics, Christian values, and White supremacism. She will then analyze and compare the content of key tradwife influencers to understand the ways in which they perform the housewife ideal and embody its inherently gendered stereotypes, how they brand themselves within the economic structure of social media, and how this relates to broader economic pressures and neoliberal social trends.

Kanny Salike headshot

Kanny Salike

“The Evolution of African American English (AAE) and Black American Sign Language (BASL) in the United States”
Project advisor: Diane Lillo-Martin
Kanny Salike is a sophomore at UConn, double majoring in Linguistics/Philosophy and Anthropology with a minor in American Sign Language and Deaf culture. She is a Connecticut native who grew up in Naugatuck. Her research interests include exploring the ways in which migration, globalization, and colonization influence the way language evolves and develops. Outside of her fellowship, she is a 2024 summer IDEA grant recipient. After finishing her undergraduate degree, she plans on pursuing a Phd in Linguistic Anthropology. My fellowship project, “The Evolution of African American English (AAE) and Black American Sign Language (BASL) in the United States” aims to explore how racism and audism have shaped the evolution of AAE and BASL through time. This project will focus on the ways in which an early American society excluded Black hearing and Black Deaf people from white hearing and white Deaf spaces, respectively, and delving into how this exclusion resulted in the evolution of AAE and BASL as languages that are distinctly different from standard American English and ASL. She also plans on exploring how racism and audism embed themselves into systems of oppression that continue to affect Black and Black Deaf people to this day.

Hailey Strom headshot

Hailey Strom

“The Self and the Other: Perceptions of Identity in Ancient Greece and the Achaemenid Empire”
Project advisor: Sara R. Johnson
Hailey Strom (she/they) is a senior at the University of Connecticut majoring in Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies. Their research interests include uncovering the complexities of ancient Greek identity and culture through the lens of history and archaeology. They plan to attend a masters program in archaeology after graduation in addition to earning their PhD in classical archaeology. Their ultimate goal is to pursue a career in academia. Hailey’s fellowship project, “The Self and the Other: Perceptions of Identity in Ancient Greece and the Achaemenid Empire,” will focus on understanding the ideological division between Athenians and non-Greeks, namely the Achaemenid Empire. The central questions they are looking to answer revolve around nationalism and xenophobia: What did each of these groups understand about themselves and their own identities? How did they perceive and interact with cultures different from their own? How did they represent themselves and others interacting together in their art, literature, and historical writing? What biases might be found there? The nuances of identity and representation in the ancient world are numerous and understanding them takes a crucial step towards uncovering the multifaceted dynamics of how cultures form and how they spread.

Evan Wolfgang headshot

Evan Wolfgang

I Am Going to the Lordy: A Dramatic Parable about the Life and Death of Charles Julius Guiteau”
Project advisor: Gary M. English
Evan Wolfgang is a senior at UConn, completing his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting. In the fall semester of 2023, he studied abroad at Theatre Academy London, where he was taught by some of the most eminent theatrical artists in the world. Last year, Evan debuted a fully staged production of his original adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice Stories at UConn, entitled Alice’s Adventures. Evan works professionally in the theatre as an actor, director, playwright, and youth theatre teacher. He has also started his own production company, Jump the Creek Productions, through which he produces his and his company members’ original work. Evan’s project, “I Am Going to the Lordy: A Dramatic Parable about the Life and Death of Charles Julius Guiteau,” is conceived as a documentary-theatre play that will examine the life of presidential assassin Charles Guiteau, and the absurd story and complex social-political circumstances that lead to him murdering President James Garfield. Guiteau’s story is a story of radicalization, abuse, and sensationalism, topics as relevant today as they were 150 years ago.