2018-19 Bingham Faculty Fellows: Intersections / Boundaries / Transgressions


Commonwealth Center for the Humanities and Society (CCHS)

2018-19 Bingham Faculty Fellows: Intersections / Boundaries / Transgressions

For the Call for Applications for this theme follow this link.

Brad B. Bowman, History

Project: "Confessional Boundaries and Shifting Religious Identities at the Dawning of the Islamic Period."

I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of History & Middle East and Islamic Studies. I received my Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages from the University of Chicago. My research into the history of the late antique Christian and early Islamic Near East primarily focuses on the nature of confessional boundaries and shifting religious identities at the dawning of the Islamic period.  Rather than the traditionally ascribed, rigid categories of confessional identity, in terms of eastern Christian and Muslim communities, I am tempted to argue for a far more ecumenical and synthesis-type dynamic across the seventh and eighth centuries CE.  Specifically, my work investigates Muslim perceptions of Christian monasticism as a lens into this confessional flexibility and overlapping of religious boundaries.  The project that I will be working on this year involves an examination of a unique 13th century Arabic manuscript that is housed in the Reza Library of Rampur, India.  The manuscript, entitled Kitāb al-Ruhbān (The Book of Monks), is of essential importance to my research relating to Christian-Muslim interactions in this early period of Islam. In terms of potential contribution to this particular field of scholarship, I believe that such a study will significantly enhance our understanding of the historical dialogue between two major world religions.  The emphasis of the project will be a further illumination of these fluid intersections between Christianity and Islam in this formative period of contact.

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Anna Browne Ribeiro, Anthropology

Project: "Race, Ethnicity, and Modernity at an Amazonian Crossroads."

I am an anthropological archaeologist interested in historical and contemporary representations of peoples and places – particularly Amazonia – and I practice engaged, socially-informed anthropology. My focus on the ways humans encounter and make the world around them developed over the course of field-intensive practice in Amazonia and other tropical research sites in Central America and the Pacific.

My work combines historiography with data-driven geoarchaeological and anthropological research. My new project focuses on the erasure of Afro-descendant populations in the interior of the Brazilian Amazon. I ask: why do we expect to find certain populations in particular places, and not elsewhere? Where do such ideas come from, and how do they gain footing? This works builds on my ethnographic research with Quilombola (maroon descendant) communities on the Lower Xingu River in Amazonia.

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Melanie Gast, Sociology

Project: "Navigating Inclusion: Citizenship Status and How Immigrant Mothers Translate Involvement and Belonging Across Local Organizations."

Melanie Jones Gast is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology. Her research focuses on intersections of race, ethnicity, and class and how schools and community programs structure support opportunities. Her co-authored work examines disparities in financial planning and preparedness for college. In other projects, she examines college counseling structures and the inclusion of immigrant youth and parents in urban community programs. She has published in journals such as the Du Bois ReviewJournal of Adolescent ResearchJournal of Ethnic and Migration StudiesSocial Science ResearchSociological Perspectives, Teachers College Record, and Urban Education.

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Frank Kelderman, English

Project: “Sovereign Lessons: Narrating Childhood in Native American Literatures.”

Frank Kelderman is an Assistant Professor of English who specializes in Native American literature. He received his doctorate in American Culture from the University of Michigan and his Master’s in American Studies from the University of Groningen. Before coming to UofL had was a postdoctoral fellow in Comparative American Studies at Oberlin College. At UofL he teaches courses in Native American, early American, and multi-ethnic American literature.

His scholarship has appeared or is forthcoming in American Studies, American Literature, J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists, and Great Plains Quarterly. His monograph, Authorized Agents: Native American Publication Projects in the Era of Removal, is forthcoming from SUNY Press. It explores the relationship between nineteenth-century Native literature and Indian diplomacy, to examine the colonial and intertribal dimensions of indigenous writing and oratory from the Upper Missouri River Valley to the Great Lakes.

As a faculty fellow at the Commonwealth Center, he will start a new research project on the representation of childhood in Native American literature from ca. 1830 to 1930. This project examines how writers from different Indian nations used childhood narratives to interrogate questions of gender, citizenship, and indigenous sovereignty.

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Katherine Massoth, History

Project: “'That Was Women’s Work:' The Borders of Gender, Cultural Practices, and Ethnic Identity in Arizona and New Mexico, 1846-1941."

Katherine Massoth is an Assistant Professor of History. She received her Ph.D. and M.A. in History from the University of Iowa and two Bachelor of Arts degrees in History and Social Science-Secondary Education from the University of California at Irvine. Her research focuses on the history of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, specifically the role of women in performing ethnic identity, transborder trade systems, foodways, and cultural networks. Her current project focuses on the persistent roles of women in shaping daily politics in the North American Southwest after U.S. annexation in 1848. Her book manuscript documents how, after the U.S.-Mexico War ended, the home was a gendered, and often invisible, space from which women could protect their ethnic identities, make claims to cultural citizenship, and resist Americanization. 

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Kaila Story, Women's and Gender Studies and Pan-African Studies

Project: "When the Rainbow is Enuf: The Racist and Heteronormative Politics of Neoliberal Queer Life."

Dr. Kaila Adia Story is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Women's & Gender Studies and Pan-African Studies and the Audre Lorde Endowed Chair in Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Louisville. She is also a co-creator, co-producer and co-host of WFPL’s Strange Fruit: Musings on Politics, Pop Culture & Black Gay Life, a popular six year running award-winning weekly podcast focusing on social justice and pop culture. Her research examines the intersections of race and sexuality, with special attention to Black feminism, Black lesbians, and Black queer identity. Dr. Story has appeared on Huffington Post Live a number of times discussing issues that relate to race, sexuality, popular music, and gender. She has also been featured in the Feminist Wire's series "Feminists We Love," as well as been featured in Elixher's Magazine's "InspiHERed" series. Most recently, Dr. Story was featured in Go Magazine's "100 Women We Love" Series.

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Susan Ryan, English

Project: "Figuring India in Nineteenth-Century American Print Culture."

I’m a professor in the department of English, with research and teaching interests in nineteenth-century American literature and culture. Past projects have looked at the intersections between racial ideologies and rhetorics of benevolence, charity, and caretaking; US reform movements and their attendant literatures; and the history of authorship and book marketing. 

My new(ish) research project analyzes nineteenth-century Americans’ complex and often contradictory engagement with India. Most obviously, India appeared in U.S. print culture as a so-called heathen land in need of missionizing, but it also emerged as a point of reference in a range of domestic conflicts and conversations, including those relating to slavery, women’s rights, and religious freedom. Further, India figured into Americans’ early imperialist imaginings, as British domination of the subcontinent became, by turns, a model and a cautionary tale for those interested in wielding power abroad. Using a range of sources--including periodicals, missionary letters and memoirs, poetry, and fiction--I look at how the India that Americans read about so avidly came to shape their conceptions of their own projects and prospects, both at home and abroad.

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