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New Scholars at the Kluge Center – January / February 2016

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It’s been a busy start to the year at the Kluge Center. In the past two months we’ve welcomed twelve new scholars into residence. Here are a few of the projects they’ll be working on:

Will Slauter is a newly arrived Kluge Fellow working on his project, “Who Owns the News? Journalism and Intellectual Property in Historical Perspective.” Will is an associate professor of English studies at Université Paris Diderot – Paris 7 and a member of the Institut Universitaire de France. He received his Ph.D. in history from Princeton University and has taught at Columbia University, Florida State University, and Université Paris 8. He studies the history of authorship and publishing, with a particular interest in newspapers, and is currently working on a book about the history of copyright in journalism.

Slauter says that when it comes to piracy, news publications have followed a very different trajectory than other informational works. Slauter’s project aims to explain that trajectory by examining the evolution of the law in relation to political, economic, and cultural changes in the world of news. His project will compare developments in Great Britain and the United States from the seventeenth century through the early twentieth century. By studying shifting attitudes toward the authorship and ownership of news alongside changes in the way writers, editors, and printers worked with texts, Slauter’s work will provide a historical perspective on contemporary debates about journalism and intellectual property. While in residence Slauter plans to draw upon multiple Library collections including the Ainsworth Spofford papers, the Copyright records, and the Library’s extensive collection of newspapers.

Cameron Hunter is an Economic and Social Science Research Council Fellow from the United Kingdom. While in residence, Hunter will be working on his project, “U.S. Perceptions of China’s Space Programme: A Study of Congressional and Declassified Documents at the Library of Congress.” Cameron is currently is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology, Politics, and International Studies at the University of Bristol. His research aims to produce a substantive historical review of U.S. perceptions of China’s space program and situate these perceptions within the context of U.S.-China relations.

Hunter’s project aims to understand how U.S. perceptions of China have changed over the past six decades, determining to what extent American thinkers have worried about China’s space efforts. His research questions include when China was first portrayed as threatening in space; how space fits into broader U.S.-China relations; and whether space is a “special” environment for U.S.-China relations. In order to answer these questions, Cameron is looking at U.S. government records held by the Library of Congress that are not available through the Government Printing Office or on the Internet. The Declassified Documents Reference System will allow him to investigate classified proceedings, shedding light on the difference between public and classified portrayals of China’s space program. This collection covers documents from the Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Defense, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Security Council, U.S. Department of State and The White House. Finally, Cameron will be using Library’s collections of newspapers, cartoons, and television programs.

Kate Neale is an Arts and Humanities Research Council Fellow from the United Kingdom working on her project, “Distant Cousins: Music, Identity and Community in the Cornish Diaspora.” Kate is a Ph.D. candidate co-supervised between Cardiff University’s School of Music and the Institute of Cornish Studies at the University of Exeter. Her research examines the Christmas caroling traditions of two Cornish diasporic communities: one in the Copper Triangle in South Australia, and the other in Grass Valley in California. During her residency at the Kluge Center she will focus on the American diaspora, utilizing the Library’s arrays of unique primary and secondary materials to trace the development of repertoire and performance practices associated with the Grass Valley carol choir and tradition from the late 19th century to the present day.

Neale is primarily working in the American Folklife Center, accessing collections such as the University of Wisconsin Project, the University of Michigan Recording Project and the Montana Folklife Collection. These holdings contain not only historic recordings of Cornish carols in the U.S., but also recordings of other Cornish music cultures garnered by American folklorists across the country during the mid-twentieth century. Detailed examination of these sources is enabling her to position the results of her recent fieldwork in Grass Valley in relation to historical recordings, and also to explore the caroling tradition within the broader Cornish materials collected in the U.S. She is contextualizing these scholarly and folkloric perspectives by accessing radio broadcasts made by the carol choir which are held in the Recorded Sound Division, and reading into historic performances in newspaper collections.

Finally, Daniel Edmonds is an Arts and Humanities Research Council Fellow from the United Kingdom. While at the Kluge Center, Edmonds will work on his project “The International Influences on British Marxists’ Perceptions of Racial Difference, c.1900-1933.” His Ph.D. aims to recover the centrality of questions of race, nationalism, and imperialism to the politics and ideology of British Communism and its precursors during this period. During his residency, Edmonds aims to assess the extent to which racial discourses of the Socialist Party of America and the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) formed part of a transnational dialogue, and identify the mechanisms and platforms through which their racial analysis was developed.

The Library holds a number of unedited autobiographies and personal reflections on the theoretical and strategic shifts of the CPUSA that can provide a candid insight into members’ interpretations of the formal language of equality promoted through the Comintern, and its theoretical developments which emphasized black workers’ agency. Edmonds will also be using the Charles Edward Russell papers, Arthur Gleason’s papers, William W. Weinstein’s correspondence with Andrew Rothstein, as well as William J. Ghent’s papers on the League of Nations and Native American history. Herbert Benjamin’s personal papers and unpublished autobiography will also provide candid insights into CPUSA’s early history.

Other scholars who arrived in January and February were:

  • Catherine Adcock
    Kluge Fellow, Washington University in Saint Louis, “Cattle Wealth and Cow Protection: Dharma, Development and the Secular State in India”
  • Peter Brooks
    Distinguished Visiting Scholar, Princeton University, “Flaubert in the Ruins of Paris”
  • Sarah Cameron
    Kluge Fellow, University of Maryland, “The Hungry Steppe: Famine, Violence and the Making of Soviet Kazakhstan”
  • Danille Christensen
    Kluge Fellow, The Ohio State University, “Freedom from Want: Home Canning in the American Imagination (1875-2014)”
  • Lawrence Davies
    British Research Council Fellow, King’s College London, “The Role of Blues Music in American Jazz and Folk Revivalism, c. 1930-60”
  • Emma Payne
    British Research Council Fellow, University College London, “19th Century Formatori: The Historic Significance of their Casts of Classical Sculpture and how they Interrelate with Classical Reception”
  • John Sexton
    Kluge Chair in American Law and Governance, New York University, “Reflections on the Place and Promise of Higher Education”
  • Michael Sizer
    Kluge Fellow, Maryland Institute College of Art, “Public Opinion in Late Medieval Paris, 1380-1422”

Check back next month for more arriving scholars. Click here for the full list of scholars currently in residence.


  1. Would it be possible to share the email address of Will Slauter? I have been unable to find it online and am interested in speaking with him about his current research (my own work is also on 19th century journalism and the culture of reprinting). Many thanks!

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