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New Scholars at the Kluge Center – September / October 2015

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Earlier this month, the Kluge Center celebrated our annual “opening lunch,” a tradition that informally kicks off the start of our new cohort of scholars arriving. In September and October the Kluge Center welcomed four senior scholars, fourteen new fellows, and welcomed back two fellows to complete their residency. Below are a few highlights that showcase the breadth of research currently being conducted at the Center.

Charlotte Lerg is a newly arrived Bavarian-American Fellow based at Ludwig-Maximilians University in Germany. While in residence, Dr. Lerg will work on her project entitled “Academic Prestige and International Relations: American Universities Seek their Role in Transatlantic Relations 1900-1960. “ Her research explores how internationality became a key element in generating prestige among U.S. universities during the first half of the 20th century, before modern-day approaches to institutional marketing emerged. The transformations in the public sphere and the rise of public relations influenced the way universities projected their image both nationally and internationally. At the same time cultural diplomacy, which simultaneously underwent a process of professionalization, provided them with a much-desired opportunity to enhance international visibility. Dr. Lerg is developing a new approach to connect actors from academia and international relations by analyzing how they provided each other with relevant cultural capital. As a case study she is looking at how Harvard and Columbia universities negotiated their roles in transatlantic diplomacy and carved out their international images as they navigated the turbulent currents of German-American relations through two world wars and into the cold war.

Ivan Chaar-Lopez is one of this year’s two Kluge Fellows in Digital Studies. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan. Chaar-Lopez is working on a fascinating project entitled, “Drone Technopolitics: A History of the Datafication of the U.S.-Mexico Border.” His project traces the long, complicated trajectories of databases and computers as instruments of empire since the 1960s. Databases and computers, he asserts, made possible the emergence of drones as border surveillance technologies in the twenty-first century. Drone Technopolitics shows how the border operates as a laboratory for imperial modes of governing populations. His goal with this project is to contextualize and interrogate the techno-political fixation on data, both big and small, and digital technologies as end-all-solve-all solutions to border policing and immigration processing. To do this he doesn’t only inquire how databases, computers and drones are imagined but also how these technologies work in of themselves—how they act upon the world, what they do and how they do it. Chaar-Lopez will be utilizing many of the major collections of the Library for this project: from the manuscript collections, periodicals, and even geography and maps just to name a few. He will speak on November 12th as part of a panel discussion on “Migration, Asylum and the Role of the State.”

Joe Thorogood is a British Research Council Fellow based at University College London. During his five month residency he will be working on his project “Narco-Geopolitics: Opium, Orientalism and Ostracism in the USA and UK during 1840-1930.” His research will focus on how the changing attitudes towards opiate/opioid based drugs in the late 19th century to the mid 1970’s were influenced by geopolitics. He is interested in how international efforts to combat the harm from narcotics focused predominantly on those countries that supplied drugs, and how this led to a geopolitical division of the world into producing, consuming and manufacturing (of synthetic opioid) nations. Joe is examining how the threat of drugs was geographically constructed, with specific discourses of threat emerging from the developing world and manufacturing nations. He is also interested in how the materiality of opiates/opioids–the idea of the evil inherent in the drugs themselves–was used to create the international organs of drug diplomacy in the first half of the 20th century and justify aggressive foreign policies of eradication and interdiction in the latter half of the 20th century.

Finally, Katherine Luongo is one of this year’s Kluge Fellows and is based at Northeastern University in Boston. She is currently working on her project “Witches and Bureaucrats: Witchcraft-Driven Violence in Africa and its Relationship to Global Asylum-Seeking.” Dr. Luongo’ s project investigates how African witchcraft beliefs have lately emerged as a global human rights matter as increasing numbers of African asylum-seekers mobilize allegations about witchcraft-driven violence as a basis for their asylum claims.  These asylum-seekers allege that having been accused of practicing witchcraft or having been a victim of witchcraft puts them at high risk of being killed in their respective countries of origin. Despite the life-saving claims to protection and resettlement that witchcraft allegations enable, they have yet to be studied by scholars of law, development, human rights, African studies, or witchcraft. Relying upon essential legal and media sources accessible solely in the foreign and international law collections of the Law Library of Congress and the Africana Section of the Library of Congress, her book project constructs a legal history of witchcraft-driven violence across Anglophone Africa. In doing so, it analyzes how witchcraft allegations made by asylum-seekers from these countries operate in contemporary, global asylum settings. She will also speak on November 12th as part of the panel discussion on “Migration, Asylum and the Role of the State.”

Other scholars who arrived in September and October were:

  • Marie Arana
    Kluge Chair in Countries and Cultures of the South, Independent Scholar, “The Three Obsessions of Latin America.”
  • Luis Castellvi
    British Research Council Fellow, University of Cambridge, “Baroque Landscapes in the Old World and the New: Gongora, Camargo, Sor Juana.”
  • Nathaniel Comfort
    Baruch S. Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology, Johns Hopkins University, “The Origins of Life in the Genome Age”
  • Andrew Devereux
    Kluge Fellow, Loyola Marymount University, “The Other Side of Empire: The Mediterranean and the Origins of a Spanish Imperial Ideology, 1479-1535.”
  • Eliana Hadjisavvas
    British Research Council Fellow, University of Birmingham, “Jewish Displaced Persons and the Case of the Cypriot Internment Camps: The Role of the United States 1945-1950.”
  • Bruce Jentleson
    Henry Alfred Kissinger Chair in Foreign Policy and International Relations, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University, “Profiles in Statesmanship: Global Leaders Who Shaped a Century of Breakthroughs for Peace”
  • Gregg Jones
    Black Mountain Institute-Kluge Fellow,Independent Scholar, “The Last Mission: The Life and Extraordinary Legacy of a Lost World War II Bomber Crew.”
  • Noriko Manabe
    Kluge Fellow,Princeton University, “Molding Citizens in War and Peace: Japanese Children’s Songs, 1877-1947.”
  • Dara Orenstein
    Kluge Fellow, The George Washington University, “Offshore Onshore: A History of thje Free Zone on U.S. Soil.”
  • Jeong-Mi Park
    Kluge Fellow, Hanyang University, “The Toleration-Regulation Regime: A Comparative Historical Sociology of Prostitution Policies in Northeast Asia after WWII.”
  • Mathilde Pavis
    British Research Council Fellow, University of Exeter, “Owning (up to) the Art of the Insane.”
  • Daniel Rood
    Kluge Fellow, University of Georgia, “The Reinvention of Atlantic Slavery: Circuits of Techno-Science in the Greater Caribbean, 1830-1860.”
  • Janina Schupp
    British Research Council Fellow, University of Cambridge, “Investigating the Heritage of North American Digitized Warfare Simulations.”
  • Lucy Taylor
    British Research Council Fellow, University of Leeds, “Masculinites and Violence in Northern Uganda, 1860 to the Present Day.”
  • John Witte, Jr.
    Kluge Chair in Countries and Cultures of the North, Emory University, “Law and Protestantism”
  • Julia Young
    Kluge Fellow, Catholic University, “Cristero Diaspora: Emigrants, Exiles, and Refugees during Mexico’s Religious War.”

Check back next month for our new arrivals in November. Click here for the full list of scholars currently in residence.

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