2022–2023

Fellow’s Talk: Britney Murphy on VISTA and the Boundaries of Citizenship

2022-23 fellow's talk. Outsiders Within: Volunteers in Service to America and the Boundaries of Citizenship 1962–1971. PhD Candidate History, Britney Murphy, with a response by Hind Ahmed Zaki. September 28, 2022, 3:30 pm, in the humanities institute conference room. This event will also be livestreamed.

Outsiders Within: Volunteers in Service to America and the Boundaries of Citizenship 1962–1971

Britney Murphy (Ph.D. Candidate, History, UConn)

with a response by Hind Ahmed Zaki (Political Science, UConn)

Wednesday, September 28, 2022, 3:30pm, Humanities Institute Conference Room (HBL 4-209)

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The event will also be livestreamed with automated captioning.

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This talk asks the question, why, despite enjoying broad public and bipartisan support, national community service programs have not become institutionalized in the United States. Britney’s dissertation evaluates the relationship among civic engagement, citizenship, and socioeconomic identities through the lens of one national community service program, Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA). Volunteers’ activism—in the rural areas of Appalachia, urban slums, migrant labor camps, and among Native American communities—tested the nation’s commitment to addressing socioeconomic inequality and political exclusion. The early history of VISTA (1962–1971) suggests that race, class, and gender hierarchies contributed to conflicting ideas about the causes of national problems and the role of government volunteers in finding solutions.

Britney Murphy is a doctoral candidate in the History Department. Her research interests include modern U.S. history, urban history, environmental justice, food access, and volunteerism. While at UCHI, Britney will complete her dissertation, “Outsiders Within: Volunteers in Service to America and the Boundaries of Citizenship, 1962–1971.”

Hind Ahmed Zaki is an Assistant Professor of Political Science and Literatures, Cultures, and Languages. Her scholarly interests span feminist political theory and practice, transnational feminist movements and politics, gender-based violence, and comparative politics of the state, with a special focus on the Middle East and North Africa. Dr. Ahmed Zaki’s research is published in several languages. Her doctoral dissertation, completed at the University of Washington in 2018, was the winner of the 2019 American Political Science Association’s Women and Politics section award for best dissertation on gender and politics and the democracy and autocracy section’s best field work award in the same year. She is an elected member at large of the board of the Association for Middle East Women’s Studies (AMEWS) since 2018.

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 interpretation, computer-assisted real time transcription, and other accommodations offered by the Center for Students with Disabilities.

Welcome Back Message from UCHI

Dear colleagues,

In an age of denialism—of COVID, climate change, and elections—does truth still matter? Here at the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute, we think it does, even though it is often hard to find, difficult to agree on, and endlessly complex. In that vein, we recommend recent UCHI fellow Amanda Crawford’s achingly moving exploration of denialism in the context of Sandy Hook and gun violence.

Truth and knowledge in all their many forms are a theme this year. Having just wrapped up our 20th-anniversary year we welcome you back for the start of another season of creative research events here at the Institute, including projects that reach out to the public beyond UConn’s campus. In particular:

    • Picturing the Pandemic opening at Hartford Public Library on October 27.
    • Also in October (10/4) we host a celebration of our own World Poetry Books with Peter Constantine and Pen-Faulkner Award winning authors and translators.
    • Funded by a generous grant from the Luce foundation, and in collaboration with the American Museum of Natural History, Alexis Boylan’s incredibly innovative Seeing Truth exhibition opens on January 19 at the Benton.

In addition, we welcome a stellar new class of fellows to the Institute, working on projects ranging from the social context of scientific inquiry to indigenous elders to queer cartographies. And this year we are especially excited to welcome our inaugural undergraduate fellows, a program we are looking forward to expanding in the years to come.

Of course, our regular programming returns, with a full range of talks in Digital Humanities and Media Studies (led by Yohei Igarashi) and the return of Publishing NOW.

As always, we continue to accept applications for funding for research, collaboration, and invited speakers all across campus, and we remind you that applications for our residential fellowships are due in February.

Keep up with everything we’re doing by following us on social media and subscribing to our newsletter: s.uconn.edu/subscribe. You won’t regret it—and that’s the truth.

Wishing everyone an excellent start to this academic year,

The UCHI Team

Fellow’s Talk: Shihan Zheng on Opium Addiction in 19th-Century China

2022–23 Fellow's Talk. Opium Addiction in Nineteenth-Century China. Ph.D. Candidate History, Shihan Zheng, with a response by Stefan Kaufmann. September 21, 2022, 3:30pm. Humanities Institute Conference Room. This event will also be livestreamed.

Opium Addiction in Nineteenth-Century China

Shihan Zheng (Ph.D. Candidate, History, UConn)

with a response by Stefan Kaufmann (Linguistics, UConn)

Wednesday, September 21, 2022, 3:30pm, Humanities Institute Conference Room (HBL 4-209)

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The event will also be livestreamed with automated captioning.

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Compared to Euro-American experience with opium, the story of opium smoking in nineteenth-century China appears strikingly peculiar. Western observers at the time believed that opium smoking was a symbol of incompetence, backwardness, and immorality—all the ills of traditional Chinese civilization. Thus, the discussion of opium was always incorporated in a broader criticism of Chinese customs that were viewed as archaic, uncivilized, and barbaric. Historians have highlighted the political and economic influence of opium in late-imperial China, but a thorough study of the dynamic and complicated history of the ideas related to opium addiction has not yet been done. This study seeks to trace the origins and development of discourse on opium addiction in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century China. Shihan Zheng hopes to suggest that the creation of languages and ideas of opium addiction was part of the knowledge productions at the turn of the twentieth century, and the efforts to find the “cure” for the drug addiction had direct relevance to China’s experience with “modernity.”

Shihan Zheng is a History doctoral candidate at the University of Connecticut. His research interests include conceptual history, medical history, drug and addiction studies, and history of science. At UCHI, he will work on his dissertation project, “The Opium Discourse in China, 1830–1910.” This study will bring out nuances of the story of opium in China that have been neglected in historical literature, highlight the role of opium discourse in the construction of Chinese modernity, and help us better understand contemporary China.

Stefan Kaufmann is an Associate Professor of Linguistics at the University of Connecticut. His research revolves around the meaning and use of language: how information is encoded in linguistic expressions, the range of variability of this encoding across languages, and what linguistic patterns can reveal about the way speakers view and think about themselves and their physical and social surroundings. Kaufmann’s current project focuses on the the language of time and possibility, in relation to notions like uncertainty, causality, and hypothetical reasoning. Kaufmann has published numerous articles and book chapters on these topics. He will be working on a book manuscript at UCHI.

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 interpretation, computer-assisted real time transcription, and other accommodations offered by the Center for Students with Disabilities.

Welcome 2022–2023 Humanities Institute Fellows!

The University of Connecticut Humanities Institute (UCHI) is proud to announce its incoming class of humanities fellows. This year, we are especially excited to welcome our two inaugural Undergraduate Research Fellows, who will join two visiting fellows (including our Henry Luce Foundation Future of Truth fellow), four dissertation scholars (including the Draper Dissertation Fellow and the first Richard Brown Dissertation Fellow), and seven UConn faculty fellows (including the Mellon UCHI Faculty of Color Working Group Fellow). We have fellows representing a broad swath of disciplines, including History; English; Philosophy; Political Science; Linguistics; Digital Media and Design; Literatures, Culture and Languages; and Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies. Their projects take many forms including scholarly monographs, biographies, documentary films, and novels, and cover topics from the history of early modern empires to the language of time and possibility. For more information on our fellowship program see our Become a Fellow page. Welcome fellows!

 

Undergraduate Research Fellows

Karen Lau Headshot

Karen Lau
“Kimchi Jjigae for the Soul: Ethnic Studies and Social-Emotional Learning”
Project advisor: Jason Oliver Chang

Rylee Thomas headshot

Rylee Thomas
The Ghostly Dynasty: Victim-Blaming, the Gothic Novel, and the Modern True-Crime Drama”
Project advisor: Ellen Litman

Honorable mentions:

Kathryn Atkinson, “Cenabis Bene: A Culinary Odyssey through Apicius
Monika Rydzewski, “Look at the Screen!: Merging Media with Gossip”

Visiting Residential Fellows

Joseph Darda headshot

Joseph Darda (Texas Christian University; English)
“The Naturals: How Sports Make Race in America”

Kareem Khalifa headshot

Kareem Khalifa (Middlebury College; Philosophy)
Future of Truth Fellow
“Segregation and Social Inquiry”

UConn Faculty Fellows

Hind Ahmed Zaki headshot

Hind Ahmed Zaki (Political Science / LCL)
“The Price of Inclusion: Feminist Politics in the Shadow of the Arab Spring”

Heather Cassano headshot

Heather Cassano (DMD)
“The Fate of Human Beings”

Cornelia Dayton headshot

Cornelia Dayton (History)
“John Peters, A Life”

Anna Mae Duane headshot

Anna Mae Duane (English)
“Like a Slave: Slavery’s Appropriation from The American Revolution to QAnon”

Sandy Grande headshot

Sandy Grande (Political Science / Native American and Indigenous Studies)
“Indigenous Elders and Aging”

Stefan Kaufmann headshot

Stefan Kaufmann (Linguistics)
“What was, what will be, and what would have been”

Ally Ladha headshot

Hassanaly Ladha (LCL)
“Solomon and the Caliphate of Man”

Elva Orozco Mendoza headshot

Elva Orozco Mendoza (Political Science and WGSS)
UCHI Faculty of Color Working Group Fellow
“The Maternal Contract”

Dissertation Research Scholars

Julia Brush headshot

Julia Brush (English)
Richard Brown Dissertation Fellow
“State/Less Aesthetics: Queer Cartographies, Transnational Terrains, and Refugee Poetics”

Yuhan Liang headshot

Yuhan Liang (Philosophy)
“Confucian Exemplarism and Moral Diversity”

Britney Murphy headshot

Britney Murphy (History)
“Outsiders Within: Volunteers in Service to America and the Boundaries of Citizenship, 1962–1971”

Shihan Zheng headshot

Shihan Zheng (History)
Draper Dissertation Fellow
“The Opium Discourse in China, 1830–1910”