We are excited to announce our 2019-20 C21 Fellows! Each year the Center constitutes a group of Fellows who develop a research project in the critical, public, or digital humanities. Fellows are released from some teaching duties to complete their research and contribute to the life of the Center that year.
Below we announce our Fellows for the next academic year. Our incoming Fellows span a range of humanities disciplines, and their work represents a vital cross-section of 21st century studies.
Aneesh Aneesh, Professor, Sociology
“Nationalism and Citizenship in the Global Age”
Aneesh’s research examines citizenship data from a range of countries to propose a new notion of citizenship: modular citizenship. In his proposed book, which he will draft during his C21 fellowship, modular citizenship provides a way to understand citizenship in an era of overlapping allegiances, global flows, and technological change. In this context, he shows how citizenship is not fixed, but a dynamically changing basket of rights, a system of fluctuating protections and participation dependent on one’s entry into a particular affiliative setting.
From the examination of migrant labor circulation and technological integration in a global market society to the investigation of actual and possible structures of citizenship in diverse democratic societies, Aneesh’s research deepens our understanding of how all modern institutions (e.g., education, health, law, or finance)—despite having no functional connection to ethnicity, religion, race, or nationality—are forever haunted by them.
Sukanya Banerjee, Associate Professor, English
“Loyalty and the Making of the Modern”
At once virtue and flaw, loyalty, commonly associated with premodern forms of allegiance and servitude, occupies an uneasy place in modern life. Banerjee’s book project, “Loyalty and the Making of the Modern,” traces its centrality to modernity. Banerjee studies loyalty across three sites crucial to the construction of modernity: the state (political loyalty), the family (conjugal loyalty), and the economy (consumer loyalty). Through examinations of literary and cultural examples of loyalty in these contexts, she shows how ideas of loyalty were idealized in the epoch of the industrial modern. In so doing, she identifies the nineteenth-early twentieth century transimperial circuit—particularly that between Britain and India—as key to stabilizing the seemingly counterintuitive relation between loyalty and modernity. Her book will show how attributes of loyalty, such as obedience, faithfulness, or allegiance (all of which imply a verticality of relations), are not rendered obsolete in the modern era. Rather, they are reassembled through particular articulations of political selfhood, notions of companionate marriage, and patterns of consumer behavior.
Christopher Cantwell, Assistant Professor, History
“’Remember Now the Days of Old’: Memory, Nostalgia, and the Making of American Evangelicalism”
During his fellowship year, Cantwell will finish his book, The Bible Class Teacher: Memory and the Making of American Evangelicalism, the first to demonstrate how nostalgia came to infuse the creation of the category of “fundamentalism” in the early twentieth century. It resituates fundamentalism’s rise away from the denominational conflicts scholars traditionally mine, instead locating it in the mass migration of white evangelicals from the country to the city over the last century. By attending to the pastoral imagery of evangelical devotions like the gospel hymn “The Little Brown Church in the Vale” (1865), the historical pageants urban churches put on for civic holidays like Washington and Lincoln’s birthdays, and the efforts congregations took to preserve their places of worship from urban renewal programs, Cantwell’s project documents how rural, white migrants made longing for an imagined past a central part of modern American evangelicalism. This “evangelical nostalgia,” Cantwell shows, proved crucial to fundamentalism’s rise.
Lia Wolock, Assistant Professor, Journalism, Advertising, and Media Studies
“Producing South Asian America: Diasporic Community and Digital Activism”
Wolock’s book project, Producing South Asian America, examines the nascent South Asian American movement. Its proponents seek to overcome entrenched divisions of religion, caste, language, and color to build a politically progressive identity and community across the South Asian diaspora in the US. A massive influx of professional South Asians in the 1960s shaped a stable image of a “model minority,” yet this caricature of South Asians in America as efficient, technocratic, and docile foreigners within has come under increasing strain in the face of a global “War on Terror,” shifts in transnational finance and labor, and mounting domestic investments in social justice-oriented activism.
Wolock’s book draws out the complicated positionality of South Asian Americans. Examining South Asian American identity as a network of economic, political, cultural, geographic, and technological ties that exceed the national and reconfigure our vision of home and abroad, she probes the nature of cultural citizenship in the United States at the beginning of this millennium. Producing South Asian America illuminates how a community can work to reimagine and articulate the connections that define them.
Warner (Bill) Wood, Associate Professor, Anthropology
“The Road to La Ventanilla, Voices and Images from the New Rurality”
Wood’s research project is a collaboration with the cooperative Servicios Ecoturísticos de La Ventanilla (“La Ventanilla Ecotourism Services”) in La Ventanilla, a small village on the Pacific Coast of Oaxaca, Mexico. Wood’s ambitious public humanities project has three aims. He is working with community partners to develop a community museum in La Ventanilla. He is also creating a traveling documentary photography exhibit that documents life in the ruinous landscape of La Ventanilla’s “new rurality” and the changed economic and ecological landscape of Oaxaca. Thirdly, this fieldwork will culminate in a book: an ethnographic study of identity politics and heritage in Oaxaca. Taken together, the community museum, the traveling exhibition, and his book will show how so-called “post-peasants” understand their lives and engage with new ways of making a living in the new rurality through environmental management and ecotourism work.