2020–2021: A Year in Review

UCHI 2020–21: A Year in Review

How do you measure a year on Zoom?


Number of virtual events: 31 webinars and 2 workshops

Total webinar attendance: 1520

Number of countries attendees zoomed in from: 30

Events interrupted by technical difficulties: 1


Pie chart showing fellows' self-reported estimated screen time per day. 4-6 hours: 26.7%; 6–8 hours: 26.7%; 8-10 hours: 40%; 10+ hours: 6.7%

Percentage of fellows who spend 8-10 hours looking at screens each day: 40

Average number of hours our fellows spent on Zoom/Webex/etc in a week: 7.4

Average attendance at fellows’ talks: 49

Largest audience for a fellow’s talk: 100

Percentage of fellows who completed 20–30% of their projects during the fellowship year: 60

Percentage of fellows who completed more than 30% of their projects during the fellowship year: 33.3

Pie chart showing fellows' self-reported estimated percentage of project completed during the fellowship year. 10-20% completed, 6.7%; 20–30% completed, 60%; more than 30% completed, 33.3%

Journal articles published or forthcoming: 9

Revised book manuscripts completed: 2

Poems published or forthcoming: 4

Fellowships awarded: 2

Literary agents acquired: 1

Percentage of fellows who are most looking forward to visiting freely with family and friends in a post-pandemic world: 40

Percentage of fellows who are especially excited to go to a museum or gallery after the pandemic: 20

Pie chart showing fellows' answers to the question "Of the options below, what are you especially excited to do in a post pandemic world?" Visit freely with family and friends: 40%; Eat in a restaurant: 0%; Go to the movies: 0%; Attend a live performance (a play, concert, etc.): 13.3%; Travel: 20%; Go to a museum, art gallery, or a similar cultural institution: 20%; host a gathering in your home: 6.7%

Number of applications for the 2021–22 Visiting Humanities Fellowship: 142

Number of 2021–22 Visiting Humanities Fellows: 2

Number of incoming 2021–22 fellows: 15

UCHI across campus

Number of active working groups: 9

Book support awards given: 5

Conferences, colloquia, and speakers funded: 17

Sharon Harris Book Award winners: 1 (plus an honorable mention)

UCHI on the Internet

Number of videos posted to YouTube: 19

Podcast episodes released: 7

Podcast episodes remaining in the Future of Truth season: 3

Number of tweets tweeted from @UCHI_UConn: 736

New England Humanities Consortium

New member institutions added to the current 11 institutions: 3

Projected participation in the Faculty of Color Working Group’s upcoming symposium: 57 (up from ~30 of the first symposium)

Active NEHC-funded collaborative projects: 7

What did our fellows and former fellows accomplish this year?

They published monographs: Mary K. Bercaw Edwards, Robert T. Chase, Alea Henle, Tracy Llanera, Jeremy PressmanPeter Zarrow
—-Forthcoming: Martha J. Cutter, The Many Resurrections of Henry Box Brown (University of Pennsylvania Press, March 2022), Jonathan Robins, Lani Watson

And edited collections: Asha Bhandary, Robert T. Chase, Rebecca Ruth Gould, Joseph Ulatowski
—-Forthcoming: Anke Finger, Robin Greeley

They published journal articles and book chapters: Alexander Anievas (plus these), Asha Bhandary, Rebecca Ruth Gould (these too), Jessica Linker, Jonathan Robins, Helen Rozwadowski (one more), Sara Silverstein, Nu-Anh Tran, Joseph Ulatowski (and a few more)
—-Forthcoming: Sean Frederick Forbes, “An Afro-Latino’s Poetic and Creative Hungers,” in Latinx Poetics Anthology, eds. Natalie Scenters-Zapico and Ruben Quesada (University of New Mexico Press, Spring 2021)

Reviews: Asha Bhandary, Sara Silverstein

Magazine articles: Scott Wallace (another, plus one in Mizzou Magazine, Spring 2021), Dimitris Xygalatas

And poetry: Kerry Carnahan (two more)
—-Forthcoming: Sean Frederick Forbes, Kerry Carnahan (a chapbook from Lettuce Run Books entitled “The Experience of Being a Cathedral”), Amanda Crawford (“Golden Grass,” in New Square Literary Magazine, Spring 2021)

They created digital projects: Asha Bhandary, Sarah Willen

Gave interviews: Andrea Celli, Sean Frederick Forbes, Rebecca Ruth Gould, Scott Wallace, Dimitris Xygalatas (plus these)

And talks: Sean Frederick Forbes, Rebecca Ruth Gould (plus this one), Joseph Ulatowski (this too), Scott Wallace (and more)

Did readings: Sean Frederick Forbes (and these too)

Were profiled in magazines and newspapers: Scott Wallace, Sarah Willen

Signed with literary agents: Amanda Crawford

Co-directed a summer institute: Mary K. Bercaw Edwards

They started or accepted new jobs: Jessica Linker

And fellowships: Nathan Braccio, Nicole Breault (plus this), Daniel Hershenzon, Jessica Linker, Debapriya Sarkar, Joseph Ulatowski (2021–22 Karol Wojtyla-Pope St John Paul II visiting residential fellow at the St John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin)

Won awards or grants: Jessica Linker (and this), Aimee Loiselle, Margo L. Machida, Sarah Willen (and more)

And were awarded tenure and/or promotion: Andrea Celli, Brendan Kane, Jeremy Pressman, Lynne Tirrell, and Michael E. Nagle

Congrats, all!

The 2021 Sharon Harris Book Award

UCHI is honored to announce the winner of the Sharon Harris Book Award for 2021:

Grégoire Pierrot headshot

Grégory Pierrot

Associate Professor of English, UConn

for his book

The Black Avenger in Atlantic Culture (University of Georgia Press, 2019)

The Black Avenger in Atlantic Culture book coverThe Harris Book Award Committee notes, “Grégory Pierrot’s The Black Avenger in Atlantic Culture is a brilliantly focused and highly original exploration of the political aims of the shifting narratives of exceptional black avengers who rise in violence and retribution against their oppressors. This expansive and in-depth study is, as Pierrot points out, ‘a history of an essential trope of Atlantic modernity.’ Examining literary and historical texts from Haiti to the United States, to Britain and France, from the late seventeenth century forward, this is an expansive and groundbreaking work that explores new scholarly territories in racism and resistance.”

Honorable mention:

Ariel Lambe headshot

Ariel Mae Lambe

Assistant Professor of History, UConn

for her book

No Barrier Can Contain It: Cuban Antifascism and the Spanish Civil War (UNC Press, 2019)

No Barrier Can Contain It book coverNo Barrier Can Contain It: Cuban Antifascism and the Spanish Civil War offers a fascinating, transnational study of Cuban antifascists and activists during the 1920s and 1930s, in Cuba and beyond. Drawing on archival material from Cuba, the Netherlands, Russia, Spain, and the United States, this well-researched work frames antifascism as an international movement and in so doing contributes not only to the field of Cuban history but also to the history of the Spanish Civil War.”

We thank the award committee for their service. The Sharon Harris Book Award recognizes scholarly depth and intellectual acuity and highlights the importance of humanities scholarship. The 2021 award was open to UConn tenured, tenure-track, emeritus, or in-residence faculty who published a monograph between January 2018 and December 31, 2020.

Subversiones Filosóficas presents Gareth Williams

The study group Subversiones Filosóficas, housed at the department of Literatures, Cultures and Languages in UConn, sponsored by El Instituto: Institute for Latina/o, Latin American, and Caribbean Studies and the UConn Humanities Institute, invites you to:

Él no es: Infrapolitics and the Experience of Tragedy

A virtual talk and Q&A with Gareth Williams

Friday, April 23rd at 12:30 pm

Gareth Williams is a professor of Latin American Studies and Critical Theory at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is also the author of numerous books that explore Latin America in the context of unfettered neoliberalism and globalization, with particular interest in the history of political thought and the genealogies of continental philosophy, Marxism, post-Marxism, and psychoanalysis. His latest book, Infrapolitical Passages: Global Turmoil, Narco-Accumulation and the Post Sovereign State (Fordham UP, 2021), explores the exhaustion of current political determinations and proposes the Infrapolitical as an alternative to thinking biopolitical productions of subjectivity and life.

Please find the Zoom link on the event flyer. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact group facilitators Damian Deamici, Reynaldo Lastre, or Luis Beltrán Álvarez.

DHMS Presents Simon Burrows on Digitally Mapping the French Book Trade

The Digital Humanities and Media Studies Initiative Presents: Enlightenment in Ledgers: Digital Mapping the French Book Trade. Professor of History, Western Sydney, Simon Burrows. Live. Online. Registration required. April 21, 2021, 6:30pm.

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

The Digital Humanities and Media Studies Initiative presents:

Enlightenment in Ledgers: Digitally Mapping the French Book Trade

Simon Burrows (Professor of History, Western Sydney University)

April 21, 2021, 6:30–8:00pm

An online webinar. Registration is required for attendance.

It is now 50 years since Robert Darnton issued his clarion call for literary and cultural historians to look beyond the canon and Pierre Bourdieu unveiled his vision of the ‘literary field’ as an outcome of political and cultural power relations. Historians, not least Darnton himself, have responded creatively to the twin challenges, in the process contributing to the development of a vibrant new interdisciplinary field, book history. Yet determining the cultural resonance of texts or uncovering the real-world impact of political interventions presents major methodological and practical difficulties. Where are we to look for our evidence and how can we gain representative insights? One major tool for this research is historical bibliometric evidence of the circulation of books—including those outside the canon and even lost to the historical or bibliographic record. The sources for such work are multiple and lend themselves to digital analysis, but they also present daunting challenges of interpretation, comparison, and collation. This paper discusses one attempt to confront these challenges, by bringing together book trade, customs, and licensing evidence from old regime France in an industrial level survey of the dissemination of books. It will discuss sources, data processing, and digital methods and platforms used in the French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe, before assessing how far digital analysis revises our understandings of the ‘literary field’, including the efficacy of the French book police, the reception of enlightenment texts, popular religiosity, or even how the French paper industry helped shape literary production on the eve of the revolution of 1789. The paper will also discuss future prospects and challenges for historical bibliometric research.

Simon Burrows is Professor of History at Western Sydney University, Australia, where he leads the Digital Humanities Research Initiative and is known for his innovative work on French exiles and the publishing trade from the enlightenment to the French revolution. He is Principal Investigator of the French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe (FBTEE) database project, which has been funded successively by the British Arts and Humanities Research Council, Western Sydney University, and the Australian Research Council. The FBTEE project was awarded the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Digital Resource Prize in 2017. Simon is also overseeing digital development on the AHRC’s ‘Libraries, Communities, and Cultural Formation’ project, an international initiative based at the University of Liverpool and was co-founder and founding Director of the Centre for the Comparative History of Print at the University of Leeds. He has published four monographs including French Exile Journalism and European Politics, 1792-1814 (2000), Blackmail, Scandal and Revolution (2006), and co-edited major essay collections on subjects as diverse as the eighteenth-century press, cultural transfers, and the cross-dressing French diplomat Charles d’Eon de Beaumont. His most recent major works are The French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe II: Enlightenment Bestsellers (Bloomsbury, 2018), and co-editor with Glenn Roe of Digitizing Enlightenment: Digital Humanities and the Transformation of Eighteenth-Century Studies (Oxford Studies in Enlightenment, 2020).

Watch now:

Fellow’s Talk: Scott Wallace on the Fight to Save the Amazon

2020–21 UCHI Fellow's Talk. The Genocide–Ecocide Nexus: The Case of Brazil. Associate Professor of Journalism, UConn, Scott Wallace, with a response by Erica Holberg. Live. Online. Registration required. April 7, 2021, 4:00pm.

The Genocide–Ecocide Nexus: The Case of Brazil

Scott Wallace (Associate Professor of Journalism, UConn)

with a response by Erica Holberg

Wednesday, April 7, 2021, 4:00pm (Online—Register here)

In what could prove to be a paradigmatic case, Brazilian human rights lawyers and indigenous federations are urging the International Criminal Court in The Hague to bring charges against President Jair Bolsonaro for genocide and incitement to crimes against humanity, as well as possible charges of ecocide for willful destruction of the Amazon rainforest. UCHI Fellow and UConn Associate Professor of Journalism Scott Wallace will discuss the implications of the case and provide a firsthand look from the frontlines of the fight to save the Amazon today.

Scott Wallace is an award-winning writer and photojournalist who covers the environment and endangered cultures. He is an Associate Professor of Journalism at the University of Connecticut since 2017 and an Affiliate Faculty member at El Instituto. Wallace is a frequent contributor to National Geographic. His work has also appeared in Harper’s, Grand Street, Smithsonian Journeys Quarterly and many others. Notable Publications: The Unconquered: In Search of the Amazon’s Last Uncontacted Tribes (Crown, 2011); “Threatened by the Outside World,” National Geographic, November 2018; “The last stand of the Amazon’s Arrow People,” The New York Times, September 27, 2017.

Erica A. Holberg is a virtue ethicist who uses the historical, ethical theories of Aristotle and Kant to examine our own virtues, vices, conception of pleasure, and account of how pleasure matters for good living. Her research sets aside the question of what pleasure is to focus instead on how pleasure functions in our lives, for better or for worse. She is the 2016 recipient of the North American Kant Society’s Wilfrid Sellars Essay Prize for the best paper on Kant by an untenured scholar, and her work has appeared in The Southern Journal of Philosophy, Kantian Review, and Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek and Roman Political Thought. Her UCHI Fellowship project is a book about the pleasures of anger, and how the phenomenology and practical considerations differ for anger done as an individual or anger done as a group

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: Sara Silverstein on the Contest to Define World Health

2020-2021 Fellow's Talk. For Your Health and Ours: The History of the United Nations Public Health and Social Medicine Service and the Contest to Define World Health. Assistant Professor, History, UConn, Sara Silverstein, with a response by Shaine Scarminach. Live. Online. Registration required. March 31, 2021, 4:00pm. UConn humanities institute.

For Your Health and Ours: The History of the United Nations Public Health and Social Medicine Service and the Contest to Define World Health

Sara Silverstein (Assistant Professor of History and Human Rights, UConn)

with a response by Shaine Scarminach

Wednesday, March 31, 2021, 4:00pm (Online—Register here)

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, UN Secretary-General António Guterres stated that “we are only as strong as the weakest health system in our interconnected world.” The pandemic demands that we rethink international health, as well as our own national health system. This talk will explore the competing understandings of global responsibility for health in the mid-twentieth century, when the World Health Organization originated. During the Second World War, the former director of the League of Nations Health Organization circulated plans for a “United Nations Public Health and Social Medicine Service.” Ludwik Rajchman’s proposal combined the institution he had led during the interwar years with the international measures that he was convinced would be necessary to care for refugees after the war ended. It would be possible, he argued, to guarantee healthcare for everyone in the world. He was not a fringe radical at the time, but the World Health Organization’s planning committee did not consider his proposal. Rajchman instead established a competing program within UNICEF and, briefly, two distinct futures for international health existed simultaneously. Their competition illuminates the history of international collaboration in advancing public health and public responsibility for healthcare caught between imperial interests and the Cold War.

Sara Silverstein is a jointly appointed Assistant Professor of History and Human Rights. Her work focuses on the history of internationalism, modern Europe, social rights, global health, development, refugees and migrants, and statelessness. She received her Ph.D. in History from Yale University in 2016, her M.Phil. in Modern European History from the University of Oxford in 2009, and her A.B. in Literature from Dartmouth College in 2007. Before coming to UConn, she was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Yale Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and has been a Fox Fellow at Sciences Po, Paris, a junior visiting fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna, and a Franke Fellow at Yale. She is the 2017 winner of the World History Association Dissertation Prize. She convenes the History of Human Rights and Humanitarianism Colloquium at the UConn Human Rights Institute.

Shaine Scarminach is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at the University of Connecticut. He studies the history of the United States in the world, with an emphasis on U.S. empire, world capitalism, and the global environment. His dissertation, “Lost at Sea: The United States and the Struggle to Govern the World’s Oceans,” explores the U.S. role in developing the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. His research has been supported by the Tinker Foundation, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation, and the Rockefeller Archive Center.

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: David W. Samuels on Music and Community in the 20th Century

2020-21 Fellow's Talk. The Dance-Grinding Machine: Music, Industrial Modernity, and 20th Century Regret for Community. Associate Professor of Music, NYU, David W. Samuels with a response by Kerry Carnahan. Live. Online. Registration required. March 24, 2021, 4:00pm.

The Dance-Grinding Machine: Music, Industrial Modernity, and 20th Century Regret for Community

David W. Samuels (Associate Professor of Music, NYU)

with a response by Kerry Carnahan

Wednesday, March 24, 2021, 4:00pm (Online—Register here)

The twentieth century was witness to an ethical discourse about the scope of the human that took its cues from ideas about how people should sound. The tones and timbres of vocal and instrumental music became key reference points in a dialogue about how to maintain one’s humanity under the conditions of modern urban industrial capital. In this presentation, David W. Samuels traces some of the resonances between three strands of this discourse—historical performance movements, folk revivalism, and the emergence of ethnomusicology. The three represent multiple-layered and overlapping attempts to extract “the human scale” from the contexts of perceived dehumanizing processes of industrial modernity. All of these movements presented arguments about the human body and shared social participation as important locations in which to find continued expressions of humanity in the contemporary world.

David W. Samuels is a linguistic anthropologist, folklorist, ethnomusicologist, and Associate Professor of Music at NYU. 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 culture’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.

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

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.

UConn Reads: Truth, Democracy, and Climate Change

UConn Reads: Truth, Democracy & Climate Change: A Conversation about truth, democracy, and science denial. Elizabeth Anderson (University of Michigan), Lee McIntyre (Boston University), Kent Holsinger (UConn). Live. Online. Registration required. March 25, 2021, 4:00pm. UConn Reads, UConn humanities Institute, The Future of Truth.

Truth, Democracy, and Climate Change

March 25, 2021, 4:00pm. An online panel discussion. Registration required.

Join this panel discussion on truth, democracy, and climate change, part of the UConn Reads program which focuses on The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable (University of Chicago, 2016) by Amitav Ghosh.

The climate crisis facing our society isn’t only an environmental crisis; it is also an urgent political and epistemological problem.

For decades, climate scientists have been warning that greenhouse gas emissions are changing the climate, destroying biodiversity, and threatening human health. By this point, the evidence is overwhelming and the scientific consensus well-documented.

Still, significant segments of the public (especially in Anglophone countries) remain unconvinced, with positions on climate change polarized along partisan lines. Denialism – usually defined as the employment of rhetorical tactics to give the appearance of legitimate debate about a question the relevant community of experts regards as settled – persists in many quarters and effectively dominates one of two major American political parties. Evidently, warning the public about climate change is one thing; getting people to accept it is another; and translating popular acceptance into effective government policy a further matter still.

Why do so many people, in the face of so much scientific evidence and expert consensus, remain so staunchly unconvinced? How can science advocates persuade skeptics to take action? What should liberal democratic societies do about polarization and anti-science propaganda? And what is the proper role for science in a democratic society?

Join us for a discussion of the political and epistemological dimensions of science denial with eminent scholars.

The panel is organized by Thomas Bontly (Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Connecticut), who’ll be moderating. Bontly’s research centers on several interrelated issues: the nature of mind, the basis of meaning, and the multifarious relations between both of these and the physical. His research interests also include various topics in metaphysics (especially the nature of causation), epistemology, metaphilosophy, the philosophy of biology, and environmental ethics.

The Panelists

Elizabeth Anderson is John Dewey Distinguished University Professor, John Rawls Collegiate Professor, and Arthur F. Thurnau Professor at the University of Michigan. She is the author of Value in Ethics and Economics, The Imperative of Integration, and, most recently, Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (And Why We Don’t Talk About It), as well as articles on value theory, the ethical limitations of markets, facts and values in social scientific research, feminist and social epistemology, racial integration and affirmative action, rational choice and social norms, democratic theory, egalitarianism, and the history of ethics (focusing on Kant, Mill, and Dewey).

Kent Holsinger is Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor, Vice Provost for Graduate Education, and Dean of The Graduate School at the University of Connecticut. His research focuses on the evolution and genetics of plants. He has studied the evolution of plant mating systems; explored how basic principles of ecology, evolutionary biology, and systematics should influence conservation decisions; and developed statistical methods for analyzing genetic diversity in spatially structured populations.

Lee McIntyre is a Research Fellow at the Center for Philosophy and History of Science at Boston University and a Lecturer in Ethics at Harvard Extension School. He is the author of Post-Truth (MIT Press, 2018), The Scientific Attitude (MIT Press, 2019), and many other books, as well as numerous popular essays that have appeared in The New York Times, Newsweek, Scientific American, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The New Statesman, and The Times Higher Education Supplement. His new book How to Talk to a Science Denier—which is based on first-hand conversations with Flat Earthers, climate deniers, and others—will be published by MIT Press this summer.

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.

Watch now:

Fellow’s Talk: Sarah Winter on Habeas Corpus and Human Rights Narratives

2020-21 Fellow's talk. The Right to a Remedy: Habeas Corpus, Eighteenth-Century Abolitionism, and Human Rights Narrative. Profess of English, Sarah Winter with a response by Melanie Newport. Live. Online. Registration required. March 17, 2021, 2:00pm. UConn Humanities Institute.

The Right to a Remedy: Habeas Corpus, Eighteenth-Century Abolitionism, and Human Rights Narratives

Sarah Winter (Professor of English, UConn)

with a response by Melanie Newport

Wednesday, March 17, 2021, 4:00pm (Online—Register here)

On 19 March 1783, Olaudah Equiano, a merchant seaman and former slave, visited the London home of antislavery activist Granville Sharp, to report a recent trial in which the owners of the slave ship Zong had sued to recover their insured losses on a cargo of 132 trafficked and enslaved Africans, who had allegedly been thrown alive into the sea by the ship’s captain and crew. Determined to hold these perpetrators accountable for mass murder, Sharp assembled a trial transcript and sent it to the Lords of the Admiralty, who had jurisdiction over all crimes committed on English ships at sea, with a cover letter insisting that “our Common Law ought to be deemed competent to find a remedy in all causes of violence and injustice whatosoever.” More than 150 years later, the eminent international lawyer, Hersch Lauterpacht, similarly criticized the framers of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) for failing to require that nation states enforce the rights they had proclaimed. According to “an inescapable principle of juridical logic,” he wrote, there are “no rights of the individual unless accompanied by remedies.”

This presentation traces historical connections between eighteenth-century abolitionism and modern human rights by focusing on citizen activists’ strategic uses of the writ of habeas corpus, a legal remedy for arbitrary detention that forms the basis for Article 9 of the UDHR. Such legal actions on behalf of fugitive slaves, political dissidents, and women incarcerated by their husbands gave rise to a recurring narrative about the failure of the law to protect human rights. Gothic rather than sentimental in genre, such remedial narratives urged citizens to take responsibility for human rights violations committed out of public view or under color of law—in prisons, out at sea, or behind closed doors.

Sarah Winter is Professor of English and Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, and the 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 also contributed chapters to edited collections on law and literature, the history of legal and political thought, and human rights and literature. Her research for her current book project has also been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the UConn Human Rights Institute.

Melanie D. Newport is an assistant professor of history at UConn’s Hartford campus and affiliated faculty in American Studies and Urban and Community Studies. She holds a BA from Pacific Lutheran University, an MA from the University of Utah, and PhD from Temple University. Her current book project, under contract with University of Pennsylvania Press’ Politics and Culture in Modern America series, explores the political history of jail reform in Chicago from the 1830s to the present. Prior to joining the UConn Faculty in 2016, she taught at Temple University, Community College of Philadelphia, and Garden State Youth Correctional Facility. Newport’s work has been supported by the Center for the Humanities at Temple, the Black Metropolis Research Consortium, and the University of Illinois at Chicago and University of Chicago libraries.

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: Helen Rozwadowski on Science as Frontier

Fellow's talk 2020–21. New Horizons: How Science Became a Frontier in the First Half of the 20th Century. Professor of History, UConn Helen Rozwadowski, with a response by Elizabeth Athens. Live. Online. Registration required. March 10, 2021, 4:00pm. UConn Humanities Institute.

New Horizons: How Science Became a Frontier in the First Half of the 20th Century

Helen M. Rozwadowski (Professor of History, UConn)

with a response by Elizabeth Athens

Wednesday, March 10, 2021, 4:00pm (Online—Register here)

Most people, certainly most Americans, have a ready set of associations for the word “frontier,” including Disney’s Frontierland, 1950s western films, the borderlands of Mexico and the United States, or outer space. Over the first half of the twentieth century, science and technology also became frontiers. Scientists, boosters, popular writers, and public intellectuals seized upon the US historian Frederick Jackson Turner’s formulation of the frontier of the American West (The Frontier in American History, 1920) and transformed a term of geography into one that stood for progress. They integrated Turner’s frontier with a thread of European internationalist thinking about frontiers and applied this novel concept to the natural sciences. Science would fuel economic growth, provide an outlet for the restlessness of American individualism, and ensure democracy and national progress. The ideological flexibility of frontier proved valuable for commentators who rendered science into a frontier that appeared to promise endless progress purportedly without the violence and exploitation of its namesake US western frontier.

Founder of the University of Connecticut’s Maritime Studies program, Helen M. Rozwadowski teaches history of science and environmental history as well as interdisciplinary and experiential maritime-related courses. She has spent her career encouraging scholars and students to join in writing the history of interconnections between oceans and people. Her book on the 19th-century scientific and cultural discovery of the depths, Fathoming the Ocean: The Discovery and Exploration of the Deep Sea, won the History of Science Society’s Davis Prize for best book directed to a wide public audience. In The Sea Knows No Boundaries she explores the history of 20th-century marine sciences that support international fisheries and marine environmental management. Recently she has co-edited Soundings and Crossings: Doing Science at Sea 1800-1970, one of several volumes that have established the field of history of oceanography. Her recent book, Vast Expanses: A History of the Oceans (Reaktion Books, 2018), which won the Sharon Harris Book Award from UCHI in 2019, has come out in a Korean edition in 2019 and a Chinese edition in 2020.

Elizabeth Athens is Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of Connecticut, where she teaches courses on museum studies, histories of collecting, and material culture. She previously served as part of the research team for the History of Early American Landscape Design database at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts in Washington, D.C., and as the American art curator of the Worcester Art Museum. Her current research centers on the work of the American artist-naturalist William Bartram (1739–1823), whose efforts helped redirect the taxonomic focus of eighteenth-century natural history to the study of lived relationships. This project examines Bartram’s unusual graphic practice and how his natural history drawings helped articulate such a shift.

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.