University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Faculty Fellows, Fall 2014

Elaine Auyoung
English, College of Liberal Arts, Twin Cities

The Suggestiveness of Realist Novels

This project argues that the phenomenology of reading nineteenth-century realist fiction is shaped by an unacknowledged but fundamental aesthetic struggle, using cognitive accounts of reading and perception to reveal the way in which realist writers use empirical details to cue readers to conceive of implied persons and scenes that seem to exist beyond the printed page.

Mark Collier
Philosophy Discipline, Morris

Experimental Philosophy

Experimental philosophers challenge the status quo in philosophy by casting aside their armchairs and incorporating data about how people across a variety of cultures think about philosophical topics. This approach is extremely controversial since it challenges a number of traditional assumptions that philosophers have made while going about their business.

Katharine Gerbner
History, College of Liberal Arts, Twin Cities

Christian Slavery: Protestant Missions and Slave Conversion in the Atlantic World, 1660-1760

This research asks why enslaved and free Africans participated in Christian rituals in the Protestant Caribbean, arguing that their conversion conditioned the emergence of whiteness, transformed the practice of religion, and redefined the idea of freedom in both Europe and the Americas.

Njeri Githire
African American & African Studies, CLA, Twin Cities

(In)edible ideologies: Food, Identity and the (Post)Colonial Subject in African Literary and Cultural Expression

This work examines the representation of food, (non)-eating & related tropes in contemporary African literary production as a lens through which to critique the intertwined histories of global economy and local practices that generate oppressive material conditions determined or symbolized by lack of food.

Dominic Taylor
Theatre Arts and Dance, College of Liberal Arts, Twin Cities

Ice, Man – Black in White:
Black Bodies on Stage in Classic White Roles

Recently there has been a spate of work on Broadway and in other venues that use African-American actors to exemplify classic White constructions of culture. How do these works function, and how might Black Culture invert & invigorate these works using alternative mechanisms of performance?

Faculty Fellows, Spring 2015

Matteo Convertino
Environmental Health Sciences, Public Health, Twin Cities

HumNat-Health: From People, to People. Theory, Computers, Art

The advancement of science imposes the interaction of models and laypersons to manage and prevent negative outcomes of complex human-natural systems. This research aims to develop a computational environment enabling clinical researchers, experts from other disciplines, and stakeholders to execute computing experiments on a distributed grid infrastructure.

Katherine Hayes
Anthropology, College of Liberal Arts, Twin Cities

Bohemian Flats Public Memory Project:
Archaeology, Public History and Heritage

The Bohemian Flats Public Memory Project will investigate the historical and archaeological remains of riverfront immigrant communities of the turn of the 20th century as a means to evoke public dialogue on the issues of immigration in the past and present in the Twin Cities.

Kathryn Milun
Sociology & Anthropology, College of Liberal Arts, Duluth

Creating Sustainable Infrastructure With Commons-Based Design: The Solar Commons Project and Beyond

Using solar infrastructure owned as a community trust, the Solar Commons in Phoenix, AZ, generates revenue for local low-income housing. I will work with colleagues in design, environmental engineering, law, and anthropology to reiterate the Solar Commons as a community wealth-building tool in MN.

Leslie Morris
German, Scandinavian & Dutch, CLA, Twin Cities

Knowing Loss, Losing Knowledge

I am writing a hybrid memoir that moves between prose poetry, memoir, and philosophical inquiry, and has at its center an extended rumination on loss, memory, narrative, knowledge and family secrets. This project is an attempt to grapple not only with buried family history and the mystery of my subsequent illness, but more broadly with the links between knowledge, the unconscious and family history. In writing the project, I foreground epistemological questions not only about the origin of memory and narrative, but the very knowability of the nature of consciousness. How can representation exist if the experience of my coma, which caused profound effects, is not present in conscious memory? I am not seeking epistemological stability to elucidate the lacunae of my coma or my family’s Holocaust experience. Instead, the epistemological darkness is what I intend to explore.

Erik Redix
American Indian Studies, College of Liberal Arts, Duluth

The Murder of Joe White:
Ojibwe Leadership and Colonialism in Wisconsin

This works centers on the 1894 murder of Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe ogimaa (chief) Giishkitawag, also known as Joe White. This little known episode of violence had tremendous legal, political and social repercussions and causes us to rethink standard narratives of Native American history.

David Valentine
Anthropology, College of Liberal Arts, Twin Cities

Off the Rock: Human Futures in Outer Space

Commercial outer space—or “Newspace”—advocates seek to transform humanity by developing infrastructures to colonize outer space, which as an urgent task to ensure humans’ survival. My study seeks to understand these visions in US American historical and cultural terms, but also asks about the naturalized assumptions we have about life and humanness.

Grad/Postdoc Fellows, 2014-15: Sawyer Seminar

Nenette Luarca-Shoaf
Art Historian, Curator

The Mississippi River in Antebellum Visual Culture

This work considers visual representations of the Mississippi River between 1830 and 1861, building on recent scholarship that has dealt primarily with text-based narratives and descriptions, and focusing on images of the river that circulated widely, such as landscape paintings, prints, panoramas, urban views, and river maps. These objects helped to cultivate different aspects of the river’s character.

Jane Mazack
Water Research Science Graduate Program, Twin Cities

Entomology and Stream Ecology in SE Minnesota

This project will determine whether D. mendotae and other cold stenothermic insects require cold temperatures to complete their life cycles and whether climate change, specifically warmer air temperatures, will eliminate these cold stenotherms from stream systems and alter the diet and growth of trout that inhabit these streams.

Laurie Moberg
Anthropology, College of Liberal Arts, Twin Cities

Stakeholder Perspectives on the Political, Economic, Social and Ecological Future of Thailand’s Rivers

In 2011 unprecedented floods in Thailand crippled major economic sectors and displaced over 8 million people. This research examines the projects of state, local, & NGO stakeholders in negotiating the future politically, economically, socially, and ecologically for Thailand’s rivers.

Grad Fellows, 2014-15: Community of Scholars Program

Jamal Adam
Organizational Leadership, Policy, & Development

Identity Development of Somali College Students

This qualitative research will conceptualize how undergraduate Somali students at a research university construct their identity in the context of their lives as college students and how they describe the influence of the opportunities and challenges they encountered there on the trajectory of their individual identities.

Jameson R. Sweet
History, College of Liberal Arts, Twin Cities

The Mixed-Blood Moment: Race, Land, and Law among Dakota Mixed-Bloods in the Nineteenth-Century

This work examines the Dakota “mixed-blood” reservation in Minnesota and how decades of litigation, debates over citizenship and the legal definition of mixed-blood, treaty negotiations, and legislative acts regarding this land, were formative to federal Indian policy.

Maiyia Yang
Organizational Leadership, Policy, & Development

Educational Identities of Karen Refugee Women in the Twin Cities Metro

Using primarily interviews and observations, this study will elicit insight about the educational experiences of nine Karen refugee women and how they negotiate what it means to be educated in different sociocultural contexts from their lived experiences in Burma, Thailand, and the USA

Visiting Fellows, 2014-15

Emily Johnson
Choreographer & Director, Catalyst Dances


SHORE is a multi-day performance installation of dance, story, volunteerism, and feasting. It is a celebration of the places where we meet and merge – land and water, performer and audience, art and community, past, present, and future.

Anaïs Nony
French & Italian, Moving Image Studies, CLA

Recollection & Modes of Subjectivation in the Age of Screen Culture

This project analyzes how electronic screens fundamentally reshape viewing experiences and memory and reflects on the conceptual limitation of film theory in the case study of video installation art in 1980s-90s France, where the externalization of memory through technological devices was anticipated.

Karin Vélez
Department of History, Macalester College

Catholic Landings in Frontier Zones: Jesuits, Converts and the Flying House of Loreto, 1290-1750

This research is interested in spiritual encounters, comparative empire, the spread of Catholic devotion, the experience of indigenous women on the American frontiers, and the communal formulation of myths.

Visiting Fellow, Spring 2015

Ryland Angel
Counter-tenor and Composer

The Call

Inspired by the ancient Swedish form of ‘calling’ from hilltop to hilltop, Angel’s project will be a mass exploring various ways of interpreting “the call”: to worship, to prayer, to people, to artistry, to harvest, to eat, to attention, to mindfulness, to action… Potential co-writers include Wilco guitarist Nels Cline, Swedish producer Emanuel Olsson, and Ann Waltner.