Living History through Spirits: Memory, Forgetting and Shamanic Historical Consciousness in a Mapuche Community in Chile
I interweave the spiritual and reflexive dimensions of personal and collective memory to show how Chile’s indigenous Mapuche integrate narrative, textual, and embodied modes of remembering to create their own history of changing interethnic politics over time. I explore the role of spirits in the historical narratives and practices of memory employed by Francisca Colipi, a Mapuche mestiza Catholic shaman, and her community in southern Chile, where I served as Francisca’s ritual assistant as well as an ethnographer. Central to my project and to its significance for Anthropology and the Humanities more generally will be my efforts to explore critically how historical continuity as provided by spirits and the reshaping of history in ritual as Francisca practiced it, as well as the way her community remembered, forgot, and re-remembered her and her spirit worked at different moments in their conflicted collective political history vis-à-vis the Chilean state.
Ana Mariella Bacigalupo teaches and publishes in the areas of Religion, ritual and healing, shamanism, gender and sexuality, discourses and practices of power, tradition and modernity, identity politics, local intersections with nationalism, transnationalism and global culture, social memory and alternative histories, performance, indigenous highland South America, Chile, Mapuche. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Anthropology from UCLA.
From the Avant-Garde to the Avatar: The Performing Body in the 20th Century
This project considers the intersection of embodied performance and media technology as the fulfillment of modernist theatrical theory. This research extends my prior work on experimental texts and my creative projects in digital technology, particularly virtual reality, as a framework to reexamine the role of the theatrical performing body in the early twentieth century as a significant precursor to contemporary intermedia performance. Specifically, I ask: How do the physical and textual experiments of the early twentieth century inform, even determine, the emergence of projected and virtually embodied performances in digital domains? How might we rethink the performance history of modernism in light of recent technology? To what extent are we all adopting the position of puppeteer and performer as we engage with the digital networks of the twenty-first century?
Sarah Bay-Cheng teaches and publishes in the areas of avant-garde theatre and film, modernist literature and performance, sexuality in modern drama, and queer performance. She is currently working on a study of sexuality in avant-garde performance and film. She received her A.B. in Theatre and Film Studies from Wellesley College and her Ph.D. in Theatre from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Gallery of Baroque Horrors: Origins of the Fantastic in the Age of Curiosities
In this study I argue that the origins of modern horror fiction must be traced back to the literary curiosities and dark fantasies of the early modern period, from late sixteenth-century miscellany collections to seventeenth-century novellas, legends, and exemplary tales. I propose interpretations of these works that illuminate the historical, philosophical and aesthetic crossroads of the early stages of modernity as well as our own postmodern fascination with horrors, monsters and oddities.
David Castillo teaches and publishes in the areas of Golden Age Spain, the works of Cervantes, and cultural criticism. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.
The Rhetoric of Economics in Classical Rome
Social historians have demonstrated that the economic systems of ancient Greece and Rome differed qualitatively from the modern marketplace: a whole picture of the ancient economy must include not just financial transactions, but also the social relationships through which they were articulated. This book project examines how a range of literary and visual artists of the late Roman Republic and early empire responded to these systems by testing and shaping elite economic ideology while defining their own roles within it. After an introduction setting out the theoretical background, I offer studies on Cicero’s use of the elder Cato as economic model; Vergil’s departures in the Eclogues and Georgics from the norms of contemporary agricultural writers; the rhythms of giving and receiving in Pliny’s letters; and the imagery of abundance and corruption in early Imperial visual arts.
Neil Coffee teaches and publishes in the areas of Epic poetry, Roman imperial literature and culture, Hellenistic philosophy, classical tradition, and conversational Latin . He received his M.A. and Ph.D. in Classics from the University of Chicago.
Realigning Alberti: Projection and Perspective
Anthony Conrad teaches and publishes in the areas of . He received his M.A. and Ph.D. from .
The Imaginal World: Islam, Psychoanalysis, and the Cinema of Abbas Kiaostami
Iranian cinema is an exotic experience for Western audiences, not only for obvious reasons but because the obvious – everything we see on screen – is structured according to a completely different distribution of the visible and the invisible and an alien logic of the look. In part these differences are attributable to the clerically mandated censorship that forbids any visible transgression of the Islamic system of modesty, or hejab, by which women must be secluded from the sight or touch of unrelated men.
But while the effects of censorship are massive and amount, I claim, to the tabooing of interiority itself, not only in the spatial but also, and more importantly, in the psychoanalytic sense, one cannot do justice to the films without attending to a counter-force that is particularly evident in the films of Abbas Kiarostami, namely: a Persian philosophy and fascination with the image that is powerful and unique. Two concepts, the imaginal world and appearance, hold the key to this theory of the image and to Kiarostami’s extraordinary films.
Joan Copjec teaches and publishes in the areas of psychoanalysis; film theory; feminism; philosophy; art & architectural theory. She received her M.A.in Contemporary Literature from the University of Wisconsin (Madison); a Dipl. In Film Studies from the Slade School of Fine Art, University College, London; and a Ph.D. in Cinema Studies from New York University.
Between the Law and the Lash: Race, Violence, and American Citizenship in the Age of Slave Emancipation
My book project, tentatively entitled Between the Law and the Lash: Race, Violence, and American Citizenship After Slave Emancipation, explores how post-Civil War violence against southern African-Americans ignited a legal revolution that laid the foundations for modern hate crimes legislation and gun control, among other things. However, the backlash against such measures ended Reconstruction as well as most government-led efforts to provide protection to African-Americans from political and personal violence. That backlash emerged from a number of fronts; not only white supremacists in the South but also liberal reformers in the North who feared that emancipation would cripple the southern economy, ignite a crime wave among freedpeople and war veterans, and render the government incapable of dealing with unruly populations in the South and West (Native Americans). My book explores the tension between post-war desires to protect freedpeople while ensuring their conformity to bourgeois notions of labor and politics.
Carole Emberton teaches and publishes in the areas of Civil War and Reconstruction, the Old South, and Race, Gender, and the Law. She received her B.A. with honors from the University of Chicago in 1997 and her Ph.D. from Northwestern University.
Assistant Professor of Linguistics
University at Buffalo
609 Baldy Hall
Phone number: 645-2177 x725
Towards an Areal Grammar of Lower Fungom
In Lower Fungom, a region of Cameroon not much larger than the city of Buffalo, one finds at least seven indigenous languages, five of which are not spoken elsewhere. None of these languages are well described, and the largest has, perhaps, a few thousand speakers. Lower Fungom is interesting not only from a sociocultural perspective, due to the presence of such extensive diversity in such a small area, but also from a historical perspective since the region is located in the putative Proto-Bantu homeland, from which Bantu speakers spread out some 5000 years ago, ultimately reaching the southern coast of Africa. This project will examine data collected on the languages of the Lower Fungom over the last four years with the aim of preparing a lexical and comparative database which will serve as the foundation of a linguistic description covering not only the grammars of individual languages but also the social dynamics that have led to such a high concentration of languages in such a small area.
Jeffrey Good teaches and publishes in the areas of Syntax, Morphology, Historical Linguistics, Typology, Niger-Congo Languages, Computer-assisted Linguistics. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley .
Assistant Professor of Visual Studies
University at Buffalo
202 Center for the Arts
Phone number: 645-2435 ext 1081
Modernist Masculinities: Art, Film, Photomontage and the Iconography of Bodily Fragmentation in Weimar Germany
The book project takes on the troubled, violent, and occasionally redemptive images of disjointed and dismembered male bodies that dominated and even defined Germany’s interwar visual landscape. The four chapters of Modernist Masculinities explore the deployment of fragmentary images of men from popular film and avant-garde art; they are framed by the writings of Siegfried Kracauer, Walter Benjamin, and Georg Simmel and by theories of gender as masquerade and performance. This book traces the development of a vocabulary of critical modernism in which modes of cultural critique became embedded within film and photomontage media themselves and imaged violence coexisted with iconographies of renewal and change. Modernist Masculinities is an interdisciplinary study that draws on and will contribute to the diverse fields of feminist and queer theory, film studies, German studies, history and art history.
Elizabeth Otto is assistant professor of Modern and Contemporary Art in the Department of Visual Studies. She teaches courses on the historical avant-garde and critical theory, gender theory, and the history of photography. She has published on diverse topics including constructions of soldierly masculinity in early twentieth-century popular culture, the so-called Visual Turn in the field of history, and lesbian neoclassicism in early twentieth-century Paris. Her 2005 exhibition and the accompanying catalogue, Tempo, Tempo! The Bauhaus Photomontages of Marianne Brandt, provided the first major study of this artist’s work in photomontage.
Otto received her M.A. from Queen’s University in Canada and her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. She has held fellowships from the American Association of University Women, the Deutsche Akademische Austausch Dienst, the Berlin Program for German and European Studies and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, among other institutions.
Journeymen: Boxing, Race, and the Transnational World of Jack Johnson
This book project, entitled explores the role of commercial sporting culture in the rise of modern ideas about race, manhood, imperial control, and the body. In following the extensive, foreign travels of African American prizefighters, like the first-ever black World Heavyweight Champion Jack Johnson, her interdisciplinary work illustrates that the transmission of popular ideas about race and the color line was one of the first examples of globalization in the late imperial age. Touring African American athletes were central to this process of transnational exchange since they provoked spirited discussions about U.S. Jim Crow segregation and racial difference in places as far-flung as Sydney, London, Cape Town, Paris, and Havana.
Theresa Runstedtler is a former professional dancer/actress from Canada who chose to shift her passion for popular culture from the stage to the classroom. She received her B.A. in History and English Literature from York University, Toronto and her Ph.D. in African American Studies and History from Yale University.
Dr. Runstedtler’s articles appear in Canadian Issues (Fall 2005), In the Game: Race, Identity, and Sports in the Twentieth Century (Palgrave MacMillan, 2005), and the Encyclopedia of World History. Her broader research and teaching interests include the intersection of race, gender, and resistance in popular culture; transnational Black history encompassing English, French, and Spanish destinations; multiracial and multicultural histories; the history of empire and globalization; European race relations; and Black Canada.
Death in the New World: Cross-Cultural Encounters, 1492-1800
Europeans, Africans, and American Indians engaged in intense cross-cultural encounters in the wake of Christopher Columbus. Death was at the center of these New World interactions. The mortality rates for all three groups were extremely high, due to a combination of new diseases, exploitative labor practices, and warfare. Moreover, all groups understood their experiences through the lens of death. The religious systems of those involved in colonial encounters were organized around explaining death and the afterlife. And when people encountered unfamiliar Others, they were struck by the similarities between their own deathways and those of the strangers. All groups distinguished between good and bad deaths, all expected respectful treatment of corpses, all believed that some non-corporeal element (spirit or soul) went to an afterlife, and all mourned the dead. These similarities facilitated cross-cultural communication, yet that knowledge was, ironically, also used toward exploitative ends.
Erik R. Seeman, Associate Professor of History, is the author of Pious Persuasions: Laity and Clergy in Eighteenth-Century New England (Johns Hopkins, 1999), and co-editor, with Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra, of The Atlantic in Global History, 1500-2000 (Prentice-Hall, 2007). He has received National Endowment for the Humanities and Fulbright fellowships to research “Death in the New World.”
From Vermont Abolitionist to Virginia Slaveholder? Benjamin Franklin Prentiss and Antebellum Family Values
Tracing the lives of three ordinary white Americans in Vermont and Virginia from the exuberant days of the Revolution through the cataclysmic fraternal violence of the Civil War, this book project examines how the social structures of race, gender and sexuality embedded in antebellum notions of family were challenged and/or reinforced by quotidian choices of middle-class people. I meditate on how “family values” are entangled with an ideology of ownership that valorizes the possession of land, objects, wives, children, and slaves. Central to the book is a series of last wills and testaments that illuminate in uncanny ways the violence of control, mastery, and possession within family systems as the wills reflect and construct values and legacies for the next generation.
The book’s narrative follows the lives of three members of the extended Prentiss family: Benjamin Franklin Prentiss, an abolitionist lawyer in Vermont; John Brooke Prentiss, a jail keeper and slave trader in Virginia; and Catharine Dabney Prentiss, John’s wife and then his “relict.” Rather than focusing on how the Prentisses and their social system construct “the other,” I investigate how various members of the Prentiss clan formulated their own identities and bound themselves affectively to family, friends, and “home.” If the enormous violence of slavery is directed first against the unfamiliar, the foreign, the monstrous “other,” how does a society predicated on slavery function in relation to kin?the familiar, the domestic, and the potentiality of the “self” to be(come) an ethical subject? What happens within the family and the self when “capitalism sets itself free to breed money from money,” as Ian Baucom puts it in Specters of the Atlantic?
Kari Winter research centers on two areas of investigation: 1) human quests for physical well-being; the ways oppression is written on the body through trauma, deprivation, violence, and degradation; how oppressed peoples attempt to endure and to affirm the value of their bodies; 2) human quests for intellectual freedom and social change; the roles of literacy, art, education, economics, and sexual desire in oppression and in liberation; connections between freedom and acts of self-narration, articulations of desire, rituals of mourning, political movements and other forms of healing and empowerment.. She received her Ph.D. in English from the University of Minnesota.
2008-09 UNIVERSITY AT BUFFALO LIBRARIES SPECIAL COLLECTIONS FELLOWS
David Gray Chair Library Fellow
A Reader’s Edition of The Collected Early and The Collected Late Poems, Plays, and Prose of Robert Duncan (American Poet, 1919-1988)
I am preparing The Collected Early and The Collected Late Poetry, Plays and Prose (excluding the critical essays) of Robert Duncan (1919-1988), in two volumes. The edition will include only those works published during Duncan’s lifetime, or whose publication was authorised by him. The two volumes will be the first of a projected six-volume reader’s edition of Duncan’s work, to be published by the University of California Press. Editors of the remaining four volumes have not all been appointed. Each volume will have an Introduction which, after a brief biographical sketch, will outline the textual-editorial principles and discuss the history of such textual problems as are relevant to the particular volume.
Since his death in 1988 Duncan has emerged more and more clearly as a substantial generative force in American letters, and indeed internationally. His close association with Black Mountain College and with Robert Creeley and Charles Olson in the 1950s and 60s, along with his central role in the so-called San Francisco Renaissance with Robin Blaser and Jack Spicer in the same years, might easily account for his stature as a major figure among mid-century American poets. His active connections with various forms of cultural dissent — his early identification with Surrealism, his links to pacifist and anarchist politics in New York State and in California in the 1940s; his open declaration and indeed celebration of his homosexuality in poems of the 1940s and 50s (to say nothing of his public affirmation in “The Homosexual in Society” in 1944); his relations with Anais Nin and her circle in New York; his lifelong association and work with visual artists such as Wallace Berman and George Herms as well as his long-term domestic partnership with collagist-painter Jess; all these suggest his significance and place in a larger cultural history. His work, widely known and influential among poets, is increasingly drawing the attention of scholars and critics around the world. Yet twenty years after his death his poems (except for his final two books) are, if available, only most casually if at all edited and overall remain uncollected; many of his poems — even the radically innovative “The Venice Poem” of 1948 — are out-of-print.
Duncan was an inveterate reviser of his work: he published widely in little magazines and issued numerous small-edition pamphlets and chapbooks. Versions of his poems vary considerably. The great bulk of his manuscripts and notebooks is in the Poetry Collection at SUNY Buffalo, along with an almost complete collection of his ephemeral and little magazine publications (there are several thousand pages of manuscripts in addition to roughly 80 notebooks). Because the edition is intended for a general readership, there will be no elaborate editorial and textual apparatus, and annotation will be kept to a minimum. Nevertheless, my main task (other than establishing copy texts of each of the works to be included) will be to identify, unearth, and establish all texts, and determine as accurately as possible their dates of composition (these do not by any means coincide with date of publication — some poems waited twenty or even thirty years before seeing print). I have already, in a one-month sojourn in Buffalo, surveyed the published materials and many of the notebooks; I shall devote the time provided by the library fellowship to a careful examination of the manuscripts.
Peter Quartermain taught modern and contemporary poetry and poetics at the University of British Columbia from 1962 until his retirement in 1999. With the English poet Richard Caddel he edited Other: British and Irish Poetry Since 1970 (Wesleyan UP), and with Rachel Blau DuPlessis the critical anthology The Objectivist Nexus: Essays in Cultural Poetics (U of Alabama P). His book Disjunctive Poetics: From Gertrude Stein and Louis Zukofsky to Susan Howe is shortly to be republished in paperback by Cambridge University Press, and he is currently putting together a collection of his critical essays.
Charles D. Abbott Library Fellow
Wyndham Lewis’s Theory of the Art Object, in Practice: A Study of The Childermass and The Revenge for Love Working Manuscripts
Wyndham Lewis’s position as both a professional painter and a professional novelist uniquely situates him, not only as an innovator in each medium, but as a translator between media. As a Charles D. Abbott Library Fellow, my focus will be on the way in which Lewis developed a revolutionary theory of meaning that specifically considers the role of the beholder (of a painting) or reader (of a book). Although fragmented versions of this theory are articulated in his published essays and books (for example, in Caliph’s Design and Time and Western Man), this theory is fully explored and dramatized in two of his novels which have received less attention: The Childermass (1928) and Revenge for Love (1937). Both of these novels incorporate satirical scenes of art and artists at work or being “viewed,” and the working manuscripts for these two novels, both part of Buffalo’s Poetry Collection, are the focus of my study. I will be examining these manuscripts and their annotations to learn how exactly Lewis’s novels deliberately engage with the period’s aesthetic debates regarding the role of the “frame” and thus, more generally, the debate about the role of the spectator or reader to a text’s (or art work’s) meaning.
Lisa Siraganian teaches and publishes in the area of modernism, aesthetic theory and diaspora studies. She has previously taught at Dartmouth College as a Mellon Fellow and received her Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University.
James Joyce Library Fellow
Lower Discipline: The Many Masochisms of Modernism
We know of James Joyce’s unusually frank discussions of masochism, and we continue to explore the sources of his knowledge of perversion and the effects of his writing on a scandalized public. At Buffalo, as part of a larger work, I aim to investigate how his ideas were promulgated and censored within his circle, seeking to understand the dialectic within the avant-garde venues that featured his work. How was fetishistic sexuality represented and coded in the “little magazines” of modernism, given several of the editors were associated with stigmatized sexual minorities?
My book project is an expansion of my dissertation, interrogating the term “masochism” and explicating diverse forms of erotic suffering that recur in late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century discourses. Building on previous archival work on the cultural context of masochism in modern literature, I plan to offer a challenge to the still commonly held conception that sexuality in avant-garde modernism was mainly represented through ascetic, asexual, and even fascistic masculinist ideals. As an exploration of the dissident discourses in circulation responding to Krafft-Ebing and Freud, whose evaluative structures for normative sexual practices still profoundly influence the way in which British and American institutions treat “deviant” sexual identities, I hope my work can contribute to understanding of sexual hegemonies in both the humanities and the social sciences.
Jennifer Burns Levin is completing her Ph.D. in English Literature at University of California, Irvine. Her research interests include Anglo-American and Continental modernism, late-nineteenth century British literature and culture, gender and sexuality studies, English and French pornography, psychoanalytic theory, rhetoric and narratology, and culinary literature and food politics. She was the UCI James J. Harvey fellow for gay/lesbian studies in 2006-7, and recently presented her work on Joyce’s “Ruby: The Pride of the Ring” trope on the IJJF panel at the MLA in 2007. Her article on Joyce and British penny weeklies will appear in the James Joyce Quarterly.
2008-09 HUMANITIES INSTITUTE UB GRADUATE RESEARCH FELLOWS
Department of American Studies
1008 Clemens Hall
Public Affections: The Melodramatics of American Democracy
My dissertation seeks to locate and analyze the ways in which the rational, enfranchised democratic citizen-subject is produced through the generation and management of “feeling” bodies, which play a crucial role in the ongoing validation and maintenance of American democratic hegemony. I investigate this problematic through a focus on the visual representation of queerness as an experience of affect. Under American democracy, the queer body has been historically displayed as a body wracked by feeling: my dissertation is an attempt to examine the ways in which this display is intimately involved in the production, and restriction, of American democratic life. I claim that throughout American history, the experience of democracy has been translated into popular and consumable forms through a specifically American melodramatics. My dissertation thus seeks to provide instructive readings of America’s struggle to rectify the problem of queerness through the analysis of melodramatic televisual and filmic texts representing the feeling queer body. Linking the emergence of popular melodrama to the revolutionary democracies of the 18th century, I propose a reciprocal relationship between the creation of Western, democratic political space and the formation of melodramatic modes of public meaning. Finally, I argue that since the mid-20th century, popular American melodrama has been explicitly directed toward the affective management of the queer body as it “troubles” American democratic life. The goal of my dissertation is to explore how the melodramatic manipulation of the feeling queer body operates as an affective technology of democratic hegemony. My project traces how queerness is not simply antipathetic to the requirements of American citizenship, but operates as a key component in the process by which the prohibitive nature of these requirements is affectively produced, negotiated, defended, and preserved.
Theodora B. Kopestonsky
Department of Classics
Kokkinovrysi: A Classical Shrine to the Nymphs at Corinth
The subject of my dissertation is the analysis and interpretation of the stratigraphy, artifacts, spatial organization, and ritual use of an unpublished shrine dedicated to the Nymphs and located in Corinth. I focus on the shrine during its life in the Classical period (circa 500 to 330 BCE), a period during which the Greek world is transitioning from territories of small city-states into small growing empires. Kokkinovrysi is the modern name of the shrine meaning “red water” and was given to the area because of the nearby spring. Several Classical elements including an East-West road that runs through the area towards the city center, a paved area in front of a stone stele, and a temenos (or sacred boundary) wall, as well as a terracotta figurine deposit and a large quantity of ceramics were revealed during the excavations. Based on the architectural features and artifacts, I argue that the area was used as a stele shrine. The Kokkinovrysi material is not only significant because it comes from a secure archaeological context, but also because it provides insights into Corinthian ritual practices, which I discuss at length in my dissertation. Viewed as a whole assemblage, Kokkinovrysi offers the opportunity to examine a complete religious complex. From my investigations of the material, I have determined distinct preferences in the Corinthian choice of offerings. Moreover, it was not just the material but the location which was significant for the shrine. An analysis of the landscape surrounding the shrine illuminates the sensitivity the Greeks had to space and design as well as their concern over transitional spaces between the countryside and the city. Kokkinovrysi provides an unusual opportunity to investigate a small, local shrine, which very rarely survives in the archaeological record, and it gives us a window into the daily cult life of average Corinthians, outside of the major city sanctuaries.
2008-09 NEW YORK COUNCIL FOR THE HUMANITIES UB GRADUATE FELLOW
From Brooklyn to Buffalo: Tourism and Travel Narratives of the Empire State
For centuries, waterways filled the role that interstate highways do today: helping to exchange people, goods, and ideas from one place to another. Indeed, traveling, be it a quick jog around the block or a cross-country family vacation, is so basic to our lives that is almost taken as a given. With its great geographical diversity, the history of New York State is, on one level, a history of travel. This discussion series will examine four books that illuminate the varied meanings and purposes of travel, from Washington Irving’s short stories of journeys during New York’s Dutch colonial period and the profound effects of the building of the Erie Canal to more recent tales of Niagara Falls as a honeymoon destination and of taxicabs in New York City.
This book discussion series coincides with the 400th anniversary of Champlain and Hudson’s 1609 voyages to what would become New York State. While certainly very different from a trip to the grocery store or going on vacation today, all of these experiences share a degree of encountering different people and places. This series will allow participants to reflect critically on the ways in which travel as a cultural and geographic encounter has both changed and yet remained very similar despite significant transformations in the technology of transportation.