Welcome, 2019-20 Fellows!
2019-20 Faculty Fellows
Aimee Bahng is an Assistant Professor of Gender & Women’s Studies. Currently at work on a book manuscript titled “Transpacific Ecologies,” she will be thinking about “truth” not only vis-à-vis the political stakes of how we produce knowledge, but also “trust,” as it has contoured environmental discourse around stewardship as well as forms of governance over life itself, such as the “trust territories” of the mid-twentieth century.
Oona Eisenstadt is the Fred Krinsky Professor of Jewish Studies and Professor of Religious Studies. She specializes in continental philosophy and Judaism, with a special interest in two postmodern Jewish philosophers—Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida. She has also focused extensively on religious themes in literature for children and young adults.
Amanda Hollis-Brusky is an Associate Professor in the Politics Department. For the fellowship year, she will be exploring the relationship between lawyering, lying (or what Stephen Colbert called “truthiness”) and the growth of presidential power in the United States. Specifically, she will examine how executive branch lawyers have creatively interpreted the constitution, statues and treaties to enable the Imperial Presidency.
Colleen Ruth Rosenfeld is an Associate Professor in the English Department, specializing in early modern poetry and poetic theory, form, style, and epistemology. She will be thinking about the value of fiction in an era of post/truth. If, as Philip Sidney declared in the Defence of Poesy (1580), the poet “never lieth” because he “nothing affirms,” what are the criteria by which we evaluate poetic knowledge? And what is the relation of those criteria to determinations of truth and falsehood?
Tomás Summers Sandoval is an Associate Professor of Chicanx-Latinx Studies and History. He will use the fellowship year to explore the tensions between the meaning-making processes we use to construct our “truths” about the past and historical fact, grounded in his examination of the impact of the Vietnam War in Latinx America.
Heather Williams is a Professor of Politics and also serves in the Programs in International Relations and Environmental Analysis. Her work on post/truth focuses on the politics of water in Inland Southern California. Specifically, her current study examines the slippage between everyday assumptions that growing cities are served by a clean, ever-normal and state-managed hydroscape, and the observable reality that fire, flood, traveling toxins, and homelessness are changing the way water moves through river basins, what water carries with it, and how states police and regulate human use of rivercourses.
2019-20 Student Fellows
Oliver Dubon is majoring in music with a concentration in music composition. His thesis is a half-hour song cycle setting various philosophical texts defining the word “truth.” Oliver hopes to spend his time in the studio exploring ways artists such as himself engage with other disciplines in order to make art that has something important to say.
Ethan Kostishak is an Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies double major, researching the possibilities of queer transnational solidarity. Through examining the grassroots organizing work of the LGBT Lebanese group, Helem, and the queer Palestinian group, al-Qaws, they aim to articulate what it means to have multiple "truths" of queer praxis, and how al-Qaws and Helem have historically responded to different queer realities.
Rachel Marandett is a Religious Studies major with a concentration in religio-political violence and a minor in Middle Eastern Studies. Her senior thesis focuses on employing the field of Genocide Studies and constructions of religious identity to reframe understandings of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She plans to use her fellowship year to explore the role that living in a post/truth society shaped by media narratives has on contemporary understandings of this conflict.
Olive Maurstad is an English major writing her thesis on speculative fiction by trans and genderqueer authors. She’s studying how these works create models of realness, authenticity, and artificiality, both on a personal and narrative level, and how the interaction of those concepts in the literature complicates the idea of a “true” self.
Skye Mitchell is a Media Studies major whose thesis will explore how the hidden imperatives of music streaming algorithms—specifically Spotify—are altering the ways in which music is created, curated and consumed, and how the rise of hyper-personalized, automated cultural curation might engender a form of “post-truth” social fragmentation.
Hans Zhou is a double major in Environmental Analysis (with a concentration in Race, Class, and Gender) and Classics whose thesis will examine how Asian American neighborhoods experience gentrification and other environmental justice issues. By analyzing various walking tours organized by community members to highlight their stories of oppression and activism, he is hoping to explore the “truths” of urban development in relation to the production of space.
2019-20 Postdoctoral Fellows
Cristina T. Bejarano is a Mellon Chau Postdoctoral Fellow in the Anthropology Department.
Rosalía Romero is the Chau Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Art History. During the fellowship year, she will explore the “post-truth politics” of U.S. and Mexican anarchist groups at the turn of the twentieth century by reflecting on anarchist art that utilized “untrue” representations, interpretations, and imitations.
Thank You, 2018-19 Fellows!
2018-19 Faculty Fellows
Gizem Karaali is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics. During the 2018-19 "Fail Better" fellowship year, she investigated failure both in mathematics and mathematics instruction. Among her animating questions: “What kinds of failures can be desirable?” “What makes some failures better than others?” And: “Who gets to fail?”
Jordan Kirk is an Assistant Professor of English. His project for the 2018-19 "Fail Better" fellowship year centered on an exploration of the Canon’s Yeoman’s Tale in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, exploring his “poetics of failure” in search of a new understanding of the whole of the Tales, the preeminent work of medieval English letters.
Joanne Nucho is a Mellon Chau postdoctoral fellow, and will joined the Pomona faculty as an Assistant Professor of Anthropology in July 2019. During the fellowship year she focused on the urgent material problem of “failed” infrastructure and the political discourses that shape the future of the built environment.
Michael O’Malley is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Art. In addition to his sculpture work that engages explicitly with the topic of failure, he embarked on a series of writings that “untangle some of the hunches and questions” he had “about the many tendrils of failure.”
Friederike von Schwerin-High is an Associate Professor of German & Russian. During the fellowship year she continued her exploration of success and failure relating to epistemology (knowing another person), ethics (telling another person’s story), and aesthetics (telling a story well) in works of fiction that explore the dynamics of friendship.
Julie Tannenbaum is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy. Her project explored cases of “moral failure,” in which one does not deserve blame for one’s action but is nevertheless morally responsible for harming others. How can such individuals be helped to come to terms with what they have done?
2018-19 Student Fellows
Peter Brown majored in Politics and English, writing theses that focused on the work of Hannah Arendt and Toni Morrison. He used his time in the Studio “to think more carefully with those whom historical archives and current governments alike have failed to account for”—exploring how our structures have failed us.
Jacob Lubert worked on a senior thesis for Classics in which he used the phrase “learning through suffering” as a tool both by which to explicate the literary content of Aeschylus’s Oresteia trilogy and to analyze the psychology involved in both viewing and acting in the drama.
Natalie McDonald was a History major with a Late Antique-Medieval Studies minor who used the fellowship year to investigate the dynamics of gendered power structures in Middle Eastern, Caribbean, and Indian women’s service in the British army during WWII. What happens when such stories fail to survive in collective memory?
James McIntyre wrote a thesis in Philosophy complicating accounts that characterize indoctrination as education which restricts the learner’s freedom, augmenting them with an alternative account based upon the doctrine of fallibilism: that we should always keep in mind that many of our most cherished beliefs could be false.
Natalie Slater’s Environmental Analysis thesis examined the recent breakdown of Rome’s fountains and aqueducts, symbols of society’s conquest over nature, using them to examine notions of progress, modernity, and animacy versus inanimacy in the face of global climate change—and searching for moments of hope within environmental and political breakdown.
Candice Wang, a double major in Neuroscience and Religious Studies, examined hymnals, Christian storybooks for girls, and illustrated Bibles, translated into various Chinese dialects, held by the Honnold-Mudd Library. Through textual, visual, and historical analyses, she studied the translation and transmission of representations of Christianity in late imperial China.
2018-19 Postdoctoral Fellows
Cristina T. Bejarano was a Mellon Chau Postdoctoral Fellow in the Anthropology Department. As a member of the Humanities Studio, she explored how the nature/culture divide “fails” in the Anthropocene in order to shed light on the complex relationships between bodies and environments, especially in the context of long-term exposure to toxic substances.
Sheetal Gandhi was a Mellon Chau postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Theatre and Dance. During the fellowship year she consciously engaged with her body’s own failures to reimagine and reinvent what her dancing body is capable of.