2020-21 Bingham Faculty Fellows: The Anthropocene, Environment, and Modernity

Commonwealth Center for the Humanities and Society (CCHS)

2020-21 Bingham Faculty Fellows: The Anthropocene, Environment, and Modernity

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

Paul Griner, English

Project: Little Sisters of the Poor and other stories

Paul Griner is the author of the story collections Hurry Please I Want to Know and  Follow Me (a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection), and the novels Collectors, The German Woman, and Second Life.  His work has been published in Playboy, Ploughshares, One Story, Zoetrope, Narrative, Tin House, and Bomb, and has been translated into a half dozen languages.  He teaches Creative Writing and Literature at the University of Louisville.  Hurry Please I Want To Know won the 2016 Kentucky Literary Award. His novel The Book of Otto and Liam will be published in April, 2021 

He is the recipient of UofL’s Outstanding Teaching Awards at both the college and university levels, the College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Scholarship, Research and Creativity Activity Award for Humanities, and the Graduate School’s Outstanding Mentor Award.  

Reading List:

  • TBA

Kristi Maxwell, English

Project: For Once

I am an assistant professor of English and an affiliate faculty member of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. My research centers on experimental forms in poetry and hybrid writing and issues of representation and difference.  

As a Fellow, I will be working on a project tentatively titled For Once, which consists of poems and an interwoven essay. Idiomatically, “for once” is a frustrated interjection and a call for change: that this time be different, for once. The poems in the manuscript-in-progress are lipograms, writing that excludes one or more letters. They take as their starting place the names of endangered species and emerged out of a desire to manage my own climate despair.  

Specifically, I’m working with the beautiful outlaw (a lipogram that does not use the letters in the subject’s name—in this case, the name of the endangered species) to explore what happens when what is endangered is instead absent—gone. The piece “Cheetah,” for instance, uses 21 of 26 letters, all but “a,” “c,” “e,” “h,” and “t,” so no articles, no cats, no being, no are or were or was, no choice, etc. (no etc.). The formal strategy of the lipogram nods to global trends regarding climate change and strategies of elimination (eliminating carbon emissions, red meat consumption, plastic, and so on).

Reading List:

  • Inger Christensen’s alphabet 

  • Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History 

  • Matthew Griffiths’ The New Poetics of Climate Change: Modernist Aesthetics for a Warming World 

  • Deke Weaver’s ongoing project, The Unreliable Bestiary

  • C.D. Wright’s Casting Deep Shade

Nicholas Paliewicz, Communication

Project: "Corporate Colonization in the Anthropocene."

Nicholas Paliewicz is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication. He studies argumentation and public discourse with emphases on environmental rhetoric, public memory, and social movements. He is co-author of three books—The Securitization of Memorial Space: Rhetoric and Public Memory; Racial Terrorism: A Rhetorical Investigation of Lynching; and Memory and Monument Wars in American Cities: New York, Charlottesville, and Montgomery—and has published essays in journals such as Argumentation and Advocacy, International Journal of Communication, Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, and Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture.

As a fellow for the CCHS he will continue research on how corporations, particularly mining companies, mediate their rhetorical identities at different places and spaces as non- or post-human subjects. In the Anthropocene—a geological epoch marked by irrevocable planetary impacts—studying how corporations work as networks and forces is a necessary step for moving beyond modernity’s grasp on subjectivity and embracing new possibilities for social change, decoloniality, anti-racism, and survivance in an age of ecological precarity.

Reading List:

  • Stuart Kirsch, Mining Capitalism: The Relationship Between Corporations and Their Critics (Berkeley: California, 2014).

  • Brenna Bhandar, Colonial Lives of Property: Law, Land, and Racial Regimes of Ownership (Durham: Duke, 2018).

  • Jason Edward Black, American Indians and the Rhetoric of Removal and Allotment (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2015).

  • Macarena Gómez-Barris, The Extractive Zone: Social Ecologies and Decolonial Perspectives (Durham: Duke, 2017).

  • Kathryn Yusoff, A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None (Minneapolis: Minnesota Press, 2018).

Rachel Singel, Art

Project: An Ecological, Psychological, and Aesthetic Investigation into the Possibilities of Papermaking as a Process and Art Form 

Rachel Singel is an Associate Professor of Art at the Hite Art Institute, University of Louisville. She received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Virginia in 2009 and a Masters of Fine Arts in Printmaking from the University of Iowa in 2013. Her research focuses on printmaking and papermaking with native plants, with a particular emphasis on non-toxic processes. Singel has participated in residencies at the Penland School of Crafts, the Venice Printmaking Studio, Internazionale di Grafica Venezia, Art Print Residence in Barcelona, Spain, and Wharepuke Print Studios in New Zealand. She has studied non-toxic printmaking at the Grafisk Eksperimentarium studio in Andalusia and will continue her research at Proyecto 'Ace International Artist Residency Program in Buenos Aires, Argentina in Summer 2021. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and represented in private, public, and museum collections.

Reading List:

  • Japanese Papermaking: Tools, Traditions, and Techniques by Timothy Barrett
  • European Hand Papermaking: Tools, Traditions, and Techniques by Timothy Barrett
  • Handbook of Non-Toxic Intaglio by Henrik Bøegh
  • Non-Toxic Printmaking by Mark Graver 
  • Papermaking with Garden Plants and Common Weeds by Helen Hiebert 

Angela Storey, Anthropology

Project: "Politics at Peripheries: Infrastructure, Environment, and the Informal Everyday in Cape Town"

I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology, focusing on the politics of urban environments. My CCHS project builds from a decade of ethnographic research in Cape Town, South Africa, exploring how residents of informal settlements engage in multiple forms of political labor as they struggle for expanded access to water, sanitation, and electricity infrastructure. Our world is increasingly an urban one, with significant urbanization centered in the global south. Visions of urban futures, and the environmental constraints and possibilities they hold, should be defined by global south cities such as Cape Town, Mumbai, and Santiago. My research examines how entwined material and activist labor at the edges of the city challenge understandings of resource politics. I ask: What would it mean to reimagine an environmental modernity grounded in global south cities, in the everyday lives and struggles located at the city’s periphery?

Reading List:

Jennifer Westerfield, History

Project: “Mapping the World in the Early Modern Era: Claude Sicard in Egypt, 1712–1726”

I am an Associate Professor in the Department of History, where my teaching focuses on the ancient Mediterranean world. My PhD is in the field of Egyptology, and most of my work to date has dealt with the religious and cultural history of Egypt in the late Roman period. My first book, Egyptian Hieroglyphs in the Late Antique Imagination (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019), deals with the ongoing cultural significance of the ancient hieroglyphic writing system in a period when hieroglyphic texts remained a prominent feature of Egypt’s visual culture but could no longer be read with any accuracy. My long-standing curiosity about the ways in which Egypt’s ancient past has been reinterpreted over the centuries has led to an interest in the emergence of Egyptology as an academic discipline in the early modern period. As a CCHS fellow, I will be researching a key figure in the development of scientific Egyptology, the French Jesuit missionary and explorer Claude Sicard (1675-1726). Sicard spent the last fourteen years of his life in Egypt, where he divided his time between trying to convert Egypt’s Coptic Christian population to Roman Catholicism and carrying out extensive research into the country’s geography and history. In this project, part of a larger intellectual biography of Sicard, I focus on his efforts to produce the first scientific maps of the Nile valley and seek to situate Sicard and his cartographic research with respect to the institutional networks that made his research possible: the Jesuit order, the French mercantile community, and the Republic of Letters.

Reading List:

  • Feingold, Mordechai, ed. 2003. Jesuit Science and the Republic of Letters. Cambridge: The MIT Press.
  • Findlen, Paula, ed. 2019. Empires of Knowledge: Scientific Networks in the Early Modern World. London: Routledge.
  • McClellan, James E., and François Regourd. 2011. The Colonial Machine: French Science and Overseas Expansion in the Old Regime. Turnhout: Brepols.
  • Petto, Christine Marie. 2007. When France Was King of Cartography: The Patronage and Production of Maps in Early Modern France. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.
  • Sicard, Claude. 1982. Oeuvres. 3 vols. Edited by Maurice Martin and Serge Sauneron. Cairo: Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale.