Hardened by the Rain: Moving Water, Making Metaphors, and Imagining the Rural in Modern Catalonia
The rural waterscape in Catalonia, Spain is a visible, physical trait of the region that in many ways marks a contrast between the Catalan Autonomous Community and the rest of the Spanish State. Waterways are a prominent feature in Catalan national literature, which, in turn, is a significant medium for the articulation and exploration of what it means to be Catalan. While a variety of discourses of nation in Catalonia, from literature and politics to tourism and television, continue to locate the enduring essence of Catalan-ness in the rural landscape, those who live there will be the first to point out that its characteristics are anything but permanent. In poetry and in practice, Catalan waterways represent an intimate connectedness with the local, while simultaneously crossing borders, attracting outsiders, and, as is the case of the Mediterranean Sea, signifying Catalonia’s historical connection to the rest of the world. In this project I explore how an engagement with water as a feature of the natural and cultural landscape in literature, politics, and popular media places the local interests and particularities of Catalonia in tension with the demands of the Spanish State and the pressures of globalization.
Colleen Culleton teaches on modern Spain and Catalonia in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures. Her research focuses on the interaction of landscape and cultural production, including literature, film, and environmental and political policy. She received an M.A. and Ph.D. from Cornell University.
Surviving Arctic Climate Change [documentary film]
The impact of climate change on the Arctic is perhaps greater than anywhere on earth. With rising sea levels, the loss of ancestral salmon fisheries and warming tundra, Alaska Native people are suffering from a cascading chain of environmental collapse. In the discourse of global warming, the threat to arctic species biodiversity often receives more attention than the threatened extinction of arctic aboriginal knowledge, values and practices. The media project, Surviving Arctic Climate Change, explores the consequences of global warming on a Yup’ik Eskimo village located on the Yukon River delta and looks at villagers’ responses, adaptations and resiliencies to environmental impacts. The fellowship enables the editing of ethnographic film material that documents ways in which residents respond to indeterminacy and the loss of economic and hunting/fishing viability. Examining Yup’ik performative practices such as dance and storytelling, the project looks at evolving constructions of meaning around landscape, land and nature – once the source of abundance, now the agency of loss. The documentary research investigates the shifts in cultural consciousness when the environment no longer sustains, but menaces the survival of cultural knowledge and the practices of daily living.
Sarah Elder is an award winning documentary filmmaker concerned with the aesthetic challenges, ethics and politics of filming across cultural and social boundaries. Since 1974 she has collaborated with Alaska Native communities producing and directing ethnographic films. Her research and teaching focus on visual anthropology, nonfiction film and video theory, community collaborative media and documentary practice. Recently, the Library of Congress selected her feature documentary, Uksuum Cauyai: The Drums of Winter for the National Film Registry.
Full Color Depression [photography exhibition]
The iconic images of the United States during the Great Depression of the 1930s are drawn from work done by more than 100 photographers working first for the Resettlement Administration (1935-37), then the Farm Security Administration (1937-42). A much smaller group of the RA/FSA photographers—twenty in all—also worked in a new film stock: Kodachrome. The 1,600 images they made were virtually unknown until recently, and they have been rarely exhibited. I am curating Full Color Depression, a spring 2011 exhibit at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. I will make the prints and produce the DVD catalog for that exhibit. The DVD will contain an essay about the RA/FSA photographic project and the color images in particular, biographical notes on each of the photographers represented, a slideshow and high resolution TIFF files of all the images in the exhibit as well as other images from the RA/FSA collection, and two documentary films directed for the Resettlement Administration by Pare Lorentz: The Plow that Broke the Plains and The River. We will have a symposium on the FSA project at the Albright-Knox in March 2011.
Bruce Jackson is a writer, ethnographer, photographer, documentary filmmaker and anti-war and anti-death penalty activist. He is presently SUNY Distinguished Professor of English and James Agee Professor of American Culture at State University of New York at Buffalo.
Catalans in New York: David and Goliath Revisited
This project examines the life experiences of families residing in New York City, in which at least one parent was born in Catalonia and was educated under the intense language planning policies of the 1980s, which were destined to revitalize the Catalan language after nearly four decades of suppression. The study examines what is left from those ideological campaigns in the immigrant context, and their impact on intergenerational language transmission. From the point of view of linguistic ecology, this group of atypical immigrants is especially interesting because of the combination of languages potentially available to the children: two globalizing languages (Spanish and English), and one minority language with an uncertain future (Catalan). Combining social associative and individual ideological dimensions, this research aims to sort out the interrelationship among different factors that are postulated to explain and predict linguistic behavior in a multilingual community, in the particular linguistic alchemy at hand.
Eva Juarros-Daussà is a linguist in the Romance Languages and Literatures Department. She combines her scientific research on theoretical linguistics with a more humanistic approach to issues regarding her native language, Catalan.
Adrift on an Inland Sea: The Projection of Portuguese Power in the Brazilian Wilderness
In this study I examine a series of wilderness expeditions in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to gauge the accomplishments, limitations, transformation, and ultimate dissolution of Portugal’s colonial enterprise as it stretched from Lisbon across the Atlantic deep into the Brazilian interior. Expedition leaders carried royal orders to round up runaway slaves, attack independent native peoples, crush contraband rings, secure agricultural lands, unearth gold and diamond deposits, transport captive laborers to new mineral strikes, and conduct scientific surveys. Once underway, however, these missions shifted toward objectives unanticipated by the Portuguese Crown, sometimes in direct opposition to its policies. Hence, my thesis, which posits a colonial state cast adrift as it sought to project authority into remote expanses where its influence became increasingly attenuated. As such, Brazil can be situated within a broader hemispheric process in which power was both deployed and challenged at distances well beyond the consolidated limits of colonial and then national states.
Hal Langfur specializes in the history of colonial Brazil and the early modern Atlantic world. His research focuses on frontier social, cultural, and political collaboration and conflict. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Texas.
In/Divided Unity: Haudenosaunee Traditionalism, Factionalism and Reclamation at Six Nations of Grand River
My book project is an ethnographic study of community-based educational initiatives that advance Haudenosaunee traditionalism and languages at the Six Nations Reserve in Ontario. Focused at the intersection of academia and the Reserve community, my work argues for a rethinking of prevailing notions of “tradition” and “factionalism” given the historical legacy of anthropological research and other forms of colonial scholarship on the cultural representation of Haudenosaunee peoples. As land claim negotiations with the Canadian government further amplify the scrutiny of Six Nations factionalism and increasingly challenge the integrity of Haudenosaunee traditionalism in public and legal domains, my book offers an analysis that engages ongoing colonial experiences, with particular emphasis on the contours of state/power and gender relations. I also draw upon paradigms of unity, divisiveness and nationalism examined through the lens of Haudenosaunee language-based intellectual frameworks.
Theresa McCarthy specializes in Native American Studies. Her research focuses on the continuity of Haudenosaunee traditionalism and languages in contemporary Six Nations communities. Her further research interests reside in the areas of Six Nations/Haudenosaunee land rights, the historiography of anthropological research on the Iroquois, Indigenous women and anti-violence initiatives and linguistic research methodologies. She received her Ph.D. from McMaster University.
Great Britain, Ireland, and the Haitian Revolution
This project explores the British invasion of St Domingue during the Haitian Revolution and its cultural resonance in both Britain and Ireland. By placing events––namely the Haitian Revolution and the 1798 United Irishmen’s Uprising––which are normally dealt with by completely different historiographic traditions in direct conversation with one another, it is hoped that a fuller and more accurate vision of the lived experience of the revolutionary Atlantic will be revealed. By exploring rhetorical connections between Ireland and St Domingue, and specifically between blacks and Catholics, this project seeks to better understand the construction of race, empire, and natural rights in the British Isles following the loss of the American colonies and during the war with revolutionary France. Importantly, my study will pay particular attention to divergent uses of this analogy by not just metropolitan English commentators, but Irish Protestant and Catholic commentators as well, both before and after the events of 1798.
Patrick McDevitt teaches and writes about the British empire, Ireland, and the Atlantic World. He is the author of May the Best Man Win: Sport, Masculinity and Nationalism in Great Britain and the Empire, 1880-1935. He was educated at New York University, the University of Canterbury (NZ), and Rutgers University.
Arthurian Sovereignty and Animalized Violence: Terror and Territory in ‘Ywain and Gawain’
Exploring Ywain and Gawain, an anonymous Middle English adaptation of Chrétien de Troyes’ Yvain, I will analyze poetic intervention in the fraught politics of territorial sovereignty. Tracking Ywain’s ritual banning, as he and his animal companion pass through forest life and return to claim the sovereign exception, I will resist nationalist assumptions about social space that obscure pre-modern conceptions of territorial identity as fluid and discontinuous. I will investigate the strategic mapping of Chrétien’s allegory of elitist violence onto a militarized English North featuring unstable borders, with such regionalism echoed in political poems accompanying Ywain and Gawain in its manuscript. Finally, I will examine the Ywain-poet’s intensification of Chrétien’s link between courtly love and militarism, and will consider how the animalized Ywain’s carving out of his own territory anticipates current Empire’s disruptions of bounded national space.
Randy P. Schiff works on late-medieval British literature, with specialization in alliterative verse, Northern English and Southern Scottish culture, imperialism, nationalism, and literary history. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
From the Locked Room to the Globe: Space in Crime Fiction
Most crime fiction criticism approaches the genre from the point of view of temporality rather than spatiality. There is no doubt that crime fiction is centrally concerned with time; reconstructing not only who did what but when they did it is a big part of the detective’s job. My project argues that crime fiction is a profoundly spatial as well as temporal genre. Through its mobilization of various forms of space crime fiction writers both enable and energize their larger critiques and analyses of culture, power, economy, gender, and race. As its title implies, my project moves from the smallest unit of space in crime fiction, namely, the locked room, to the largest, the globe. I do this partly for reasons of clarity, and partly because representations of each type of space possess certain features and challenges unique to that type, as well as similarities with other types.
David Schmid, the winner of the Milton Plesur and the SUNY Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching, teaches courses in British and American fiction, cultural studies, and popular culture. He received his B.A. from Oxford University, his M.A. from the University of Sussex, and his Ph.D. from the Modern Thought and Literature Program at Stanford University.
Social Practices: Enabling Interpersonal Commitments
The aim of this project is to clarify the relation between the obligations we have to other persons and shared social practices. Many of our most basic moral obligations seem directed at other people. I keep my promises to you, for example. While the obligations associated with promising seem universal, we can only make sense of promising within a shared social practice indicating acceptable forms of behavior associated with promising. These obligations only arise within a common context yet as these obligations seem universal the requirement to keep my promise does not appear to be dependent on the context in which that promise was made. Through an examination of the interpersonal commitments and social practices that underlie obligations like promising, this project aims to elucidate the interplay of social context, directed obligations, and the justification of those obligations.
Kenneth Shockley teaches and publishes in ethical theory and environmental philosophy. Most recently his research has focused on group membership and partiality, “thick” moral concepts, and the translation of values into public policy. He received his PhD from Washington University.