Each year, the Center for the Humanities invites applications for its Public Humanities Fellowship designed to provide advanced graduate students in the humanities with experience outside of academia. By placing fellows in partner organizations around Madison including museums, hospitals, non-profits, community centers, and emerging businesses, the program facilitates the reciprocal sharing of resources and expertise, and highlights the significance of the humanities both on and off campus. We aim not only to provide graduate students the opportunity to explore diverse career paths, but also to cultivate a practice of public humanities within their academic work.
The Mellon Public Humanities Fellowships program is made possible with the essential financial support of the Graduate School of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin Humanities, and the Humanities Without Walls Consortium, with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Applications for the 2023-2024 academic year are now closed, however, interested students and community partners are encouraged to view the Call for Applications for further information on eligibility, application process, and fellowship expectations.
Below is a recording of an info session for prospective applicants that took place on February 3, 2022.
- 2023-24 Fellows
- 2022-23 Fellows
- 2021-22 Fellows
- 2020-21 Fellows
- 2019-20 Fellows
- 2018-19 Fellows
- 2017-18 Fellows
- Past Fellows
Diego Alegria(Santiago de Chile, 1994) holds a BA in English Linguistics and Literature, and an MA in Literature from the University of Chile. He is currently a Doctoral Candidate in English (Literary Studies) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with a Minor in Spanish and a Certificate in Public Humanities. His scholarly work is situated at the intersection of syntactic figures, literary autonomy, and linguistic standardization in the poetry of British Romanticism and Spanish-American Modernismo. He is the author of the poetry book Raíz abierta (2015), the bilingual chapbook y sin embargo los umbrales / and yet the thresholds (2019), and the essay collection Poética del Caminar: Poems (1817) de John Keats (2023). In the 2023-2024 academic year, he will be the Mellon-Public Humanities Fellow at WORT Community Radio.
Sadie Dempsey is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at University of Wisconsin – Madison. As a political sociologist, she studies democracy, social movements, and civic life. Her dissertation is an ethnography of engaged citizenship that interrogates two interwoven paradoxes: Why do engaged citizens increasingly distrust political institutions and the people in them? Why do they continue to participate in a system they do not trust? This research has important implications in this time of democratic crisis – where concerns of plummeting trust, declining participation, and democratic backsliding abound – challenging us to rethink the structure of our political institutions in pursuit of a more just, democratic future. She is also the founder of the Qualitative Methods Workshop and the graduate student coordinator for the Wisconsin Center for Ethnographic Research (WISCER).
Sadie is a 2023-24 Mellon Public Humanities Fellow, where she will work with the League of Women Voters in Dane County to build a civic education curriculum to make politics more accessible to all Wisconsin residents.
Benny Witkovsky is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Sociology at University of Wisconsin—Madison. Drawing on political, urban, and comparative-historical sociology, his work explores the potential and pitfalls of municipal politics in Wisconsin. His dissertation, Fig-Leaves or Fortresses: Nonpartisan Politics in a Polarized Time, examines material ranging from early 20th Century campaigns against Socialism to contemporary debates over mask mandates to illustrate several mechanisms through which nonpartisan city politics yields to (and resists) partisan polarization. Other research projects have focused on the local dimensions of the rural-urban divide, the politics of prison proliferation in small towns, the civic engagement of elders in rural Wisconsin, and efforts to build better relationships between the Madison Police Department and local Black, Hmong, and Latinx communities.
Benny’s teaching—which has received both departmental and college-wide recognition—has focused on social movements and the sociology of race and ethnicity. Before beginning graduate school, Benny worked on legislative policy and communications for religious nonprofits including Interfaith Alliance, the Shoulder-to-Shoulder Campaign, and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. Outside of school, Benny enjoys camping, hiking and biking around Wisconsin with his family. In the 2023-2024 academic year, Benny will be a Mellon Public Humanities Fellow with the Wisconsin Humanities Council working on the United We Stand project to combat hate-motivated violence in Wisconsin.
Vincent R. Ogoti is a Ph.D. candidate in African cultural studies with a minor in history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He earned a master’s degree from the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies and was a Fulbright Fellow at Yale University. Vincent was also a Teaching Fellow with the African Studies Program and Odyssey Beyond Bars. He has taught various courses, such as nonviolence and social change in Africa, hip hop and social justice, African cultural expressions, and introduction to world history. His research focuses on ideas of peace, justice, and humanism in global black cultural productions, and his work has appeared in Brittle Paper and the Journal of the African Literature Association. Vincent is excited to join MYArts (Madison Youth Arts Center) as a Storytelling and Community Access Fellow.
A Wisconsin native, Kimberly Rooney is a PhD candidate in the department of French and Italian. She studies sub-Saharan African francophone literature, particularly novels that represent the School. Her dissertation examines how this educational institution’s systems of knowledge, values, pedagogies, and epistemologies inform characters’ identities, their community relationships, and the narratives themselves. More broadly, the project explores how schooling and its colonial residues affect students and communities and in turn how those students and communities can wield schooling. Rooney is looking forward to bringing these questions as well as her instruction, research, and communication experience to her work with the League of Women Voters of Dane County. With LWVDC, Rooney is excited to continue her discovery of other forms of learning, of other environments and organizations where essential learning happens to continue developing this idea of what a critical and comprehensive education looks like within a community.
Fatima Sartbay is a Ph.D. Candidate in Folklore Program. She calls Madison a home where she has been residing with her family in a multicultural community since 2006. Her family is a first-generation immigrant from Kyrgyzstan. She is currently a mother of two boys and an active member of her diverse community. At UW-Madison, she has served in the English 100 Program, Writing Center, and the Madison Writing Assistance. Prior to this, she worked in the Division of Diversity, Equity and Educational Achievement and she is deeply committed to making UW-Madison and Madison area more broadly a more inclusive and diverse community. Her academic research and activism include community building and facilitation of discussions amongst the scholars, epic performers and activists from the diverse populations residing across the United States, Russia, and Central Asia. Her work focuses on themes of storytelling, cultural revivalism, shamanism, mental health, language identity, gender-based violence and mindfulness. She is excited to join CEOs of Tomorrow as Youth Empowerment Fellow.
Richelle Wilson is a PhD candidate in the Department of German, Nordic, and Slavic+ at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where she is writing a dissertation about fictional depictions of IKEA and how it is figured in literature as a uniquely “dystopian” retail space in the context of global capitalism. Her broad research interests include contemporary literature and film, labor studies, public humanities, and media. During her time at UW, she has worked as a Swedish language instructor and writing TA, managing editor of the Edge Effects magazine and podcast, producer of A Public Affair at community radio station WORT 89.9 FM, and producer of season 1 of the Collegeland podcast. She is excited to continue her public humanities work with Midwest Environmental Advocates as a Public Narratives Fellow in 2022–23.
Unifier is a doctoral candidate in the Department of African Cultural Studies at UW- Madison. Their research focuses on the archetype of the healer in women’s African and Diasporic novels and biomythographies. This work examines how the character of the healer negotiates a paradoxical relationship to power as both a marginalized figure and knowledge generator. Unifier received her bachelor’s degree in African Literature and International Relations in 2011 and master’s degree in African Literature in 2015 from The University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. Between 2014 and 2017 they undertook research on the moral philosophy Ubuntu with the Centre for Advancement of Scholarship at the University of Pretoria and co-edited the critical anthology Ubuntu and the Everyday (2019). Acknowledging and consolidating epistemologies of indigenous peoples and women as part of the decolonial project is central to Unifier’s work as a scholar and healer. She is excited to join The Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness as their Communications Fellow.
Sarah Gamalinda is a PhD candidate in the Department of African Cultural Studies and studies the in/visibility and spectrality of racial representation in contemporary francophone literature and film. In a seminar taught by Prof. Brigitte Fielder in 2019, Gamalinda was first introduced to the study of race in Children’s Literature and to the ongoing efforts being made for more diverse books – those “windows, mirrors, and sliding glass doors” Prof. Rudine Sims Bishop describes. Gamalinda is excited to support Represented Collective’s book project and vision of championing girls and youth of color as the emerging leaders in technology and innovation.
Pearly Wong is a PhD Candidate of Cultural Anthropology and Environment and Resources. She is passionate about using her research, communication and program management skills to support the advancement of social and environmental justice. Her interest lies in the field of education, environment, and community development. She is an ethnographer, instructor and a former international development practitioner. Prior to her graduate studies, she was affiliated with UNESCO Kathmandu, coordinating work among policymakers and community members to advance the provision of Non Formal Education. She had also worked as a social mobilizer and a researcher in Cameroon, Sri Lanka and Indonesia.
Bailey Albrecht is collaborating with Christina Slattery at Mead & Hunt as their Cultural Resources Fellow. Albrecht is working within Mead & Hunt’s Cultural Resources Group, one of the largest group of architectural historians nationwide that specializes in providing cultural resource management services for federal and state agencies, transportation departments, and municipalities in support of engineering and architecture projects.
Bailey Albrecht is a PhD candidate in the Department of History. She worked at the Wisconsin Historical Society for several years. There she helped produce a traveling exhibition on environmentalist John Muir, who immigrated to Wisconsin as a child and attended the university. She has also served on the editorial board of Edge Effects, a digital magazine published by the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Culture, History, and the Environment. Most recently, she spent a year in Japan visiting archives and learning about Japan’s domestic forests and trade industry. In her dissertation, she examines the post- World War II timber trade that occurred between Japan and Indonesia. She is interested in the impact that natural resources have on postwar economies, how nations made choices concerning conservation and extraction, and how concepts of environmental preservation and sustainability have changed over time.
Caroline Griffith is collaborating with Robert Lundberg at Midwest Environmental Advocates (MEA) as their Tribal Environmental Issues Fellow. At MEA, Griffith is working to research, draft, and disseminate public-facing guides on tribal environmental rights.
Caroline Griffith is a Ph.D. candidate in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Geography, where she researches the history and impact of property and mineral law in the northern Great Plains, with a focus on oil extraction in western North Dakota. She is currently one of the Law and Society Graduate Fellows through the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School Institute for Legal Studies. As a legal geographer, she aspires to a career in higher education or in public policy research, and as a graduate student she has looked for ways to extend research beyond the university. She is an editor for Edge Effects, a digital magazine of environmental humanities and the primary publication of the UW-Madison Center for Culture, History, and Environment. She also co-leads a writer’s group for graduate students in the environmental humanities that supports both creative and scholarly work. As part of her Ph.D. program, she teaches courses in historical geography and environmental history and enjoys her work with undergraduate students. She holds a B.A. in Visual Culture Studies from Colby College and an M.A. in Public Humanities from Brown University. She’s a Virginia transplant to the Midwest and loves to swim in Wisconsin’s many beautiful lakes.
Kate MacCrimmon is collaborating with Dadit Hadiyat at Kids Forward as their Early Learning Communications Fellow. MacCrimmon is creating research, community engagement, and communications for Kids Forward’s Farm to Early Care and Education (ECE) projects.
Kate MacCrimmon is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. Owning, directing, and teaching in a bilingual home-based program for eight years led Kate MacCrimmon to investigate why we do what we do in family child care as a graduate student at UW-Madison. MacCrimmon spent a year in Denmark participating in one family child care network in a municipality near Copenhagen, which ignited her interest and passion in new ways of thinking about family child care in Wisconsin. Her goal is to empower all family child care providers and to strengthen the profession in meaningful ways. MacCrimmon’s dissertation is a comparative experiential study of Danish and Wisconsin family child care.
Lauren Surovi is collaborating with Peter Moreno at Odyssey Beyond Bars as their Prison Education Communication Fellow. Surovi is helping to establish a communication infrastructure for prison educators, foster strong relationships for the program with the University of Wisconsin, and develop opportunities for involvement in teaching and research.
Lauren Surovi is a PhD candidate in the Department of French & Italian and specializes in Italian Renaissance literature, with an emphasis on literature as an agent of change and the intersection between theatre and politics. Her dissertation, “The Comic Cure: Theatre as Remedy in Machiavelli and Aretino,” examines the innovative dramaturgical production of two 16th-century Italian authors, Niccolò Machiavelli and Pietro Aretino, to explore how these writers reconfigured the function of comic theatre for literary, political, and ideological purposes. The overarching argument is that the concept of theatre as remedy, revealed across four specific works by these two authors, uncovers the socio-historical and political power structures that Machiavelli and Aretino sought to identify, and even subvert, and furtherdemonstrates how these dramatic works elaborate a rhetoric of cause and effect. A native of Eastern Pennsylvania, Surovi earned a BA in International Relations and Italian from Syracuse University and an MA in Italian Studies from Middlebury College.
Kevin Wamalwa is collaborating with Tracy Herold and Ali Trevino-Murphy at Dane County Library Service as their Ripple Project Fellow. Wamalwa is supporting racial equity training for library staff and subsequent public programming that the county library system is undertaking in 2021 under their Beyond the Page humanities endowment.
Kevin Wamalwa is a doctoral candidate at UW-Madison, working on a joint Ph.D. in the Departments of Anthropology and African Cultural Studies. His research interests are cultures of memory, violence, ethnic conflict, and social justice. A 2010 Fulbright FLTA Alumnus, Wamalwa studies how people live with and navigate traumatic experiences and how such memories shape their perceptions of “victim” and “perpetrator. His dissertation research focuses on the memories of land-related conflicts in Mt. Elgon, Kenya. Wamalwa holds an MA in African Languages and Literature, and he has taught various courses on campus since 2012. Besides studies, he has been volunteering with the Jewish Social Services of Madison (JSS) as a Swahili interpreter since 2016.
Joy Huntington is a PhD candidate in the School of Human Ecology in the Design Studies Department. Her specialty is the examination of vernacular architecture, studying ordinary buildings to understand people and culture of the past. Her dissertation is titled “An Historic Analysis of Gender in the Madison Urban Landscape, How Women Influenced the Development of a City.” In it, Joy recounts the stories of women who gained and used their influence to create and change the landscape and the significance it holds for Madison from 1900 to 1980.
Hamidreza Nassiri is a PhD candidate in Film Studies at the UW-Madison. His dissertation examines the influence of digital technologies on democracy and social justice on local and global levels.
Hamidreza is also a filmmaker and his works include fiction and experimental short films. He directed Wisconsin Iranian Film Festival in 2017 and 2018 to build cultural bridges at a time of division and hostility. He has been teaching film production for years, and in 2019, after receiving the Humanities Exchange (HEX) award, he ran a series of workshops on filmmaking with cellphone for underrepresented communities.
Hamidreza also writes film reviews on Cinema Without Borders, a platform dedicated to social justice in cinema and supporting independent and art cinema.
She studies natural resource politics and use in emerging economies. My research to date has focused on Ethiopia and Uganda and attends to questions of globalization, race and ethnicity, indigenous peoples, inequality, migration, investment and entrepreneurship, and development.
Sarah is also the co-founder of W2E Ltd, a waste-to-energy research company in Uganda that specializes in biogas systems and technological/business innovations at the intersection of energy and agriculture.
Lauren Surovi is a PhD candidate in the Department of French & Italian and specializes in Italian Renaissance literature, with an emphasis on the intersection between theatre and politics. Her dissertation, “Rimedio as Medical, Political, and Social Cure in Italian Renaissance Drama” examines the ways in which 16th-century Italian dramatists reshaped the meaning and function of the concept of rimedio (remedy) for literary, political, and philosophical purposes. A native of Eastern Pennsylvania, Lauren earned a BA in International Relations and Italian from Syracuse University and an MA in Italian Studies from Middlebury College.
Christine J. Widmayer is a PhD candidate in Folklore Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Chrissy’s dissertation analyzes the intersection of foodways, storytelling, and intimacy. In a series of case studies among her family, other people’s families, and community groups, her research examines how telling stories, and/or making, sharing, and eating food allow people to perform or reinforce different types of relationships. Chrissy has an MFA in Creative Writing (creative nonfiction) from George Mason University, and an MA in Folklore from UW-Madison. In her spare time, she serves as an editor for Gazing Grain Press, crochets, and creates linocut prints.
Matt Ambrosio is a PhD candidate in music theory. His dissertation develops analytical methods to study narrative structures in the late works of composer Claude Debussy utilizing philosopher Gilles Deleuze’s theories of abstract spatiality and temporality. Matt has also worked as a physics teacher in the Washington DC public school system and is currently a physics instructor at UW–Madison’s Engineering Summer Program (ESP) and a mentor in The Art and Literature Laboratory’s Lab3 program. This year, Matt will be working at Maydm to promote STEM learning in grade school populations around the Madison area.
Charles Carlin is a PhD candidate in the Department of Geography at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and an occasional wilderness guide. He is curious about how ethics and the philosophy of subjectivity intersect with the messy realities of life. These interests come together in a dissertation project exploring the American wilderness tradition and the use of ceremony to create an experience of the world as animate. Charles is also an editor for the digital magazine, Edge Effects. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with his wife and son. This year, Charles will be working with Gathering Waters to communicate the relevance of land conservation and land trusts to the interests and needs of Wisconsin’s communities. (Charles’ website)
Jennifer Gramer is a PhD candidate in the Department of History, and specializes in modern European cultural history and material and visual culture, with an emphasis on 19th and 20th century Germany. Her dissertation, “Dangerous or Banal? The Postwar Legacy of Nazi-Era Artwork” examines Vergangenheitsbewältigung (“coming to terms with the past”) not as a process limited to Germany, but rather a dialectic between Germany and the United States. A native of Portland, Oregon, Jennifer holds an MA from the UW-Madison and a BA in History and Art History from Syracuse University. From 2014 to 2016, she undertook her dissertation research in Munich, Germany as a Fulbright Scholar. This year, Jennifer will be planning and preparing initiatives for the Chazen Museum of Art’s 50 year anniversary, which will occur in 2020.
Joy Huntington is a PhD candidate in the School of Human Ecology in the Design Studies Department. Her specialty is the examination of vernacular architecture, studying ordinary buildings to understand people and culture of the past. Her dissertation is titled “An Historic Analysis of Gender in the Madison Urban Landscape, How Women Influenced the Development of a City.” In it, Joy recounts the stories of women who gained and used their influence to create and change the landscape and the significance it holds for Madison from 1900 to 1980. This year, Joy will be working with Wisconsin Historical Society to develop programs and materials for Wisconsin 101, a history web site for primary and secondary schools.
Patricia Ruiz-Rivera is a PhD Candidate in Comparative Literature. Her dissertation is titled, “The World Remained Silent: speechlessness and fiction of the Holocaust and the Southern Cone.” In it, she examines how silence differs from the phenomenon of speechlessness in relation to nonfictional and fictional constructions of traumatic experience. Patricia has nearly ten years of experience in the field of communications working for nonprofits. This year, she will be working with the Wisconsin Book Festival to help create and implement sustainable marketing practices for promoting the four-day celebration and other standalone events.
Andy Davey is a PhD candidate in Geography, specializing in cultural and moral geography as well as environmental history. His dissertation is titled “Teaching Paradoxes: Environmental and Moral Education at American Liberal Arts Colleges 1960-Present.” In it, he tells the untold origin story of how environmental studies programs were created, and the complex ethical, religious, political, and scientific contexts for that creation. This year, Andy will work with the Madison Community Foundation to tell the story of the many nonprofits residing in Dane County and identify the opportunities for community-wide vision.
Martina Kunović is a PhD candidate in Sociology and Community & Environmental Sociology. Her dissertation is titled “Opportunity and Inequality in a Changing Economy: Navigating Urban Reform in Contemporary Cuba.” It was motivated by Martina’s desire to understand how reforms intended to lift a country’s economy have uneven social impacts across its population, creating some “winners” while simultaneously leaving others behind. This year, Martina will work with the winners at DreamBikes to enhance and evaluate the success of their youth development programs, as well as engage with their alumni. Read more at www.martinakunovic.com.
Mark Mederson is a PhD candidate in Journalism and Mass Communication. His dissertation is titled “Jack Johnson, Joe Louis and Muhammad Ali: Press coverage and the role of three African-American heavyweight-boxing champions in the discussion of race in the 20th century.” In it, he examines how the title and podium of a champion allowed these three men to speak outside the ring and affect race in American society. Mark has more than 25 years of experience working in mass media as a sports reporter, anchor, producer, editor, and reporter, as well as an academic career in journalism and mass communication. This year, he will work with Wisconsin Athletics Communications to report on the first 100 years of Camp Randall Stadium.
Cassidy Reis is a PhD candidate in Spanish and Portuguese, specializing in Golden Age Spanish Literature. Her dissertation is titled “The Visual Rhetoric of Early Modern Spain and the Picaresque Novel.” In it, she examines how the visual language of this genre communicates the values, desires and satirical view of the literary construction of the marginalized and oppressed demographic of early modern Spain. This year, Cassidy will work with Briarpatch Youth Services to examine and evaluate how a human service agency for youth can best communicate its mission and values through its environment, use of space, and artwork.
Marta-Laura Suska is a PhD candidate in Cultural Anthropology. Her dissertation is titled “Global Uniformities versus Local Complexities: An Ethnography of two policing programs in Brazil.” In it, she examines the social formation of police relations by offering a new perspective through the lens of gender. In the past ten years, she has worked with police officers, at-risk populations, victims of violence, and disadvantaged communities in Brazil. This year, Marta-Laura will work with The Bubbler at Madison Public Library on the expansion of their social justice program for at-risk and court-involved teens.
A PhD candidate in the Geography department, Rachel Boothby’s work considers the ways that eating food in the 20th and 21st century US embeds us in complex ideological, material, environmental, and social systems that shape how we think and act. Rachel is a founding editor at Edge Effects, the UW Madison Center for Culture, History, and the Environment’s environmental humanities digital magazine. In her dissertation “Everything and the Squeal: Putting the Pig Back Together,” she explores the ways that modern Americans consume pigs, as parts and commodities that are not nature “doornail dead,” but rather have themselves social lives and consequences that shape the ways we think of and act in relation to each other and to the nonhuman world. Rachel worked with the Underground Food Collective and helped them develop open source food safety materials which can then be used by small food producers around the world.
Danielle Delaney is a PhD student in Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Entitled “Wearing Raven’s Cloak: Law, Recognition, and Indigenous Identity,” her dissertation surveys the legal regimes on indigenous identity in the United States and Russia, in order to study the interplay between law and politics of recognition through a comparative analysis of how/why indigenous peoples use the legal constructs of the State to preserve and expand indigenous sovereignty and self-determination. Prior to graduate school Danielle was the senior policy analyst and legal counsel for the National Council on Urban Indian Health in Washington, DC. and served as legal counsel to the Tribal Technical Advisory Group to the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services.In 2016-2017, she helped the Race to Equity Project research state and local racial disparities and inequities impacting Native Americans, and interviewed Native American parents and students about their experiences.
A PhD candidate in the Department of English, Devin Garofalo specializes in British Romantic and Victorian poetry. She explores these topics and more in her dissertation, “Open Worlds: Nineteenth-Century Poetry and Science,” which explores how crossovers between poetry and cosmological theory reshaped the category of “world” over the course of the nineteenth century. The project investigates how “world” emerges as a new organizational category that exceeds the bounds of the nation state, and accommodates dynamic gaps and shifts. From 2014-2017, Devin managed the Great World Texts program, assisting hundreds of Wisconsin high school students in examining and interpreting Rousseau’s Confessions, the 16th-century Chinese novel, Journey to the West, and William Shakespeare’s play The Tempest.
Jennifer MacLure is a PhD candidate in English Literary Studies with research interests in nineteenth-century literature, the history of medicine and public health, and medical humanities. Her work has appeared in Victorian Poetry and Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. Jennifer’s dissertation, “Contagious Communities: The Politics of Bodily Contact in Victorian Novels,” explores literature written in England from 1830-1880, during the development of modern public health measures such as compulsory vaccination, mandatory infectious disease reporting, and urban sanitation. As a Public Fellow, she worked in UW-Health’s Patient and Family Advisor Partnership program to develop effective ways to reach out into the community, to create partnerships that promote open dialogue among existing community groups and health councils, and to help to develop a new program, “VOICES of UW Health,” using patient stories to inform, engage and inspire UW-Health providers and staff.
Jamila Siddiqui is a PhD candidate in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her dissertation, “Mapping Rigor in the Open Movement of Higher Education,” theorizes the movement of “openness” that is building among public scholars, digital pedagogues, the digital humanities, and posthumanist literatures, particularly as this movement connects with higher education. As an advisor at the Center for Educational Opportunity (CeO), Jamila led the design and implementation of a new Second-Year Retention Program. This year, she will implement a Public Humanities Exchange for undergraduates, providing guidance and oversight to help UW-Madison undergraduates design and implement community projects that draw upon humanities scholarship and methods.
Christy Wahl is a PhD candidate in the Art History Department, and specializes in European Modernism and visual culture. Her dissertation, “‘In den Tagen des Vergessens’: The Life and Work of Hannah Höch under National Socialism,” analyzes works created under National Socialism by the avant-garde artist Hannah Höch (1887–1979), primarily known as the sole female artist of Berlin’s Dada group. She has worked for Chazen Museum of Art since 2014 and prior to that worked for the Saint Louis Art Museum and the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts. As a Public Fellow, Christy worked with MMoCA to engage new and historically underrepresented audiences and to develop programming and partnerships connected to the creative, cultural, and innovation landscape in downtown Madison.
Ashley Lonsdale Cook
Ashley Lonsdale Cook is a PhD candidate in the Department of Art History specializing in medieval art and Anglo-Saxon studies. Her dissertation “Monstrosity in Anglo-Saxon Art” looks at representations of monstrosity throughout various periods and media from the Anglo-Saxon Era with a focus on early medieval attitudes towards the body. The dissertation includes chapters on early medieval armor and jewelry, Insular gospel books, the hell-mouth motif in 11th-century manuscripts, and the Wonders of the East text. Ashley is a graduate of Rockford University (formerly Rockford College) earning a BA in Art History and an MA in Art History from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In addition to her training in medieval art history, she is also an affiliate of the Buildings, Landscapes, Cultures (BLC) Program through the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The BLC Program emphasizes research on the built environment and architecture, prioritizing field experience along with tradition classroom methods. This year Ashley worked as the Tour Coordinator at Taliesin Preservation, Inc., helping to evaluate current tour offerings, reviewing tour demographics and developing new methods of sharing information at the Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center in Spring Green, Wisconsin.
Manuel Herrero Puertas
Manuel Herrero-Puertas is a PhD student in English (Literary Studies) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Entitled “Crippling the Body Politic: Disability and Nation-Making in Nineteenth-Century American Literature,” his dissertation realigns disability studies and American studies by arguing that US identity is rooted in the centrality of the disabled body in the national sensorium. In his research, Manuel examines representations of disability in nationalist and imperialist contexts, recuperating the silenced subjectivities of people with disabilities whom political discourse has reduced to flat symbols. Other areas of interest include: travel narratives, early African American literature, and Childhood studies. His work has appeared in ATLANTIS and his essay “Freak Bodies Politic: Charles Stratton, Dred, and the Embodiment of National Innocence” is forthcoming in American Quarterly. In 2015-2016, Manuel led the Great World Texts in Wisconsin program as it tackled the 16th-century Chinese novel, Journey to the West.
Lisa Hollenbach is a PhD candidate in English Literary Studies with research interests in American literature, poetry, and sound studies. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in American Literature (June 2015) and A Companion to the Harlem Renaissance (Wiley-Blackwell, 2015). Her dissertation, “Alternative Networks: Recording and Broadcasting American Poetry after 1945,” investigates how poets, independent record labels, FM radio networks, and readers and listeners made poetry central to the sound of dissent in the 1950s and 1960s. A 2013-2014 recipient of a CLIR-Mellon Fellowship for Dissertation Research in Original Sources, Lisa has a love for libraries, archives, and reel-to-reel tape. As a Public Fellow, she worked with Rabble (co-founded by former Public Humanities Fellow Kelly Hiser) to connect public libraries and local music and arts communities through open-source software.
Katie Lanning is a PhD candidate in the English Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her dissertation, “Volatile Forms: The Variance of Printed Prose, 1700-1830,” studies the material and formal volatility of eighteenth-century literature, exploring the ways in which changing conceptions of nation, gender and power were registered in the shifting relationship between literary form and print format. She is a co-coordinator of the UW Middle Modernity Group and the PR coordinator for the English Department Graduate Student Association. In 2014, she performed research in the eighteenth-century periodicals archives at McMaster University as a McMaster-ASECS Fellow. This year, Katie worked with the Overture Center for the Arts to develop and evaluate public events, and research national and international trends in arts programming.
Faron Levesque is a PhD candidate in the History Department, and specializes in social movements and the cultural history of gender. Her dissertation, “The Secret History of School: Alternative Academies, Revolutionary Imagination, and Educational Activism,” begins from the premise that school is a contested site unlike any other in the United States, and examines how activists and workers have transformed the politics of schooling in 20th century North America. Her work reveals that a vast spectrum of activist women generated a long-lasting radical education movement, beginning with WWI and continuing throughout the 20th century. At UW, Faron founded the Radical Teacher Collective, and in May 2014 received the Department of History Meritorious Service Award. As a Public Fellow, Faron worked with the Wisconsin Humanities Council to play a leading role in designing and implementing a statewide initiative titled The Working Lives Project: Making a Living and Making a Life in Wisconsin.
A PhD candidate in the Department of History, Chong Moua was born in Laos and came to the U.S. as refugees with her family in 1989. Her family settled in California where she grew up with six sisters and two brothers. Her research interests span questions of immigration, empire, race, gender, and citizenship during the Cold War. Her dissertation details a study on the ways in which Hmong refugees complicate the nationalist discourse of the United States as a nation of refuge for displaced immigrants. Recruited by the CIA as guerrilla fighters in a “secret army” to fight covertly in Laos during the Vietnam War, the Hmong suffered a loss of 30,000 lives but were later displaced as refugees along with their families. Chong configures the refugee citizen as “refugee” in its forced and violent displacement because of its military activity and “citizen” because of its ability to legally occupy as well as reinforce the bounds of citizenship. The (Hmong) refugee citizen figure exposes the dual framing of U.S. intervention in Southeast Asia as one of both military and humanitarian necessity to, paradoxically, spread democracy through violence. This year, Chong worked with the Goodman Community Center to evaluate their existing program offerings, work to enhance connections with existing constituencies, and develop a method to collect stories and highlight the Goodman’s ongoing community impact.
Jesse Gant is a PhD candidate in the Department of History. His dissertation, “Lincoln Slept Here: Western ‘Black Republicans’ and the Racial Politics of Forgetting in the United States,” examines the history of the modern Republican Party during its formative years (1854-1870) from the perspective of its western leadership and activists. A native of Janesville, Wisconsin, Jesse holds an MA in Humanities and Social Thought from New York University, and a BA in History and Political Science from Carroll College. In 2013, he co-authored with Nicholas Hoffman, Wheel Fever: How Wisconsin Became a Great Bicycling State, an engaging and thorough examination of Wisconsin’s rich two-wheeled history. At the Wisconsin Humanities Council, Jesse directed a new program initiative, “Working Lives,” engaging statewide audiences in conversation about “work,” a fundamental human experience, establishing institutional partnerships, and developing public programming.
Jessica Gross is a PhD candidate in the Department of Comparative Literature and Folklore Studies. Her dissertation, “Reassembling the World: Power, Violence, and Vision in Verbal and Visual Narratives,” examines the interrelation of power, violence, and vision in modern world literature, and investigates how worlds dismantled and reassembled lead to understanding the experience of others. A graduate of Grove City (PA) College, Jessica will explore her interest in graphic novels as part of the 2014-15 Public Humanities Exchange (HEX) program. Her project, “Graphic War: Reading Graphic Novels and Comics War Stories with Veterans,” will work with a local veterans group to create community and to engage with their experiences in a new way. At the Madison Children’s Museum and Madison Public Library, Jessica worked on Madison Stories, a humanities and community-based storytelling project designed to engage local youth.
A lifelong Wisconsin resident, Anne Helke is a PhD candidate in the Department of Comparative Literature and Folklore Studies. She is currently working on her dissertation, “Post-Conflict Dialogue and the Possibility of Community: The Work of Women Imagining a Different Future,” which looks at the creative work of gendered dialogue in community building in the aftermath of violence. She is particularly interested in the textiles, music, and photography created by women in Africa and Latin America. Anne is a graduate of St. Norbert College, earning a BA in International Studies and English Literature. This year, Anne was the Online Content Producer for Wisconsin Public Television’s new series, Wisconsin Life, finding and sharing stories about Wisconsin’s people and places, generating original online work, producing interactive features, and engaging with the show’s audience.
Dadit Hidayat is a PhD candidate in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. He is particularly interested in ways community-university partnerships can facilitate actual and viable change within grassroots communities, and how groups can effectively promote sustainability and other environmentally friendly behaviors through social movement and engagement. At the Fair Share CSA Coalition, Dadit put his research interests into practice, assisting in outreach campaigns and resource development, and overseeing an oral history project to record both the experiences of long-term farmers transitioning into retirement and young farmers choosing farming as their career path. Dadit holds an Architecture degree from Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia), and an MS in Urban and Regional Planning from UW-Madison.
A specialist in the intellectual and socio-political history of Modern Japan, History PhD candidate James Homsey delves into the relationships between civilian organizations and intra-military institutions within prewar Japan in his dissertation, “The Nation’s Army: Civil-Military Relations in Urban Prewar Japanese Society.” In 2012-13, James was awarded a Fulbright-IIE Dissertation Fellowship, undertaking dissertation research at Tokyo University. A graduate of Lafayette College, James worked with the University of Wisconsin Foundation on several projects related to an upcoming, comprehensive fundraising campaign, playing a key role in facilitating conversations between Foundation staff and department chairs, center directors, and administrators that are engaged development and donor activities.
Heather DuBois Bourenane
Heather DuBois Bourenane is a PhD candidate in the Department of African Languages and Literature, and has worked with the Center for the Humanities since 2009, when she wrote the Teaching Things Fall Apart in Wisconsin guide for the Great World Texts program. She has taught English and literature at UW-Madison, Madison College, and the Ohio State University, where she received a Master’s degree in African and African American Studies. A former outreach coordinator, she has been a University/Women’s Philanthropy Council fellow and served as editor of many volumes of the African Studies Program’s annual newsletter. The possibilities and necessity of the public humanities are at the center of her personal and professional interests, and her dissertation addresses the politics of form in contemporary Anglophone fiction of Africa and the Diaspora.
Gabriella Ekman is a PhD Candidate in English Literary Studies at UW-Madison. She received her MA from New York University and her BA from Reed College. Her dissertation, “Reading Tennyson in Sierra Leone: The Portable Poetics of Empire,” investigates poetry’s travels between imperial Great Britain and two of its colonies: Sierra Leone and West Bengal in India. It asks how nineteenth century British poetry was transformed when it migrated into new and often radically dissimilar interpretive communities. She is the recipient of a Pre-doctoral Mellon Fellowship from the University of London’s Institute for Historical Studies, a UW-Madison Chancellor’s Dissertation Fellowship, and a Vilas Research Award. Her work has appeared in Victoriographies: A Journal of Nineteenth Century Writing. She has taught English literature and composition for many years, first at a community college in Washington State and now at UW-Madison’s English Department. She works with the Community Writing Assistance Program and has since 2012 co-facilitated a course in African-American studies at Oakhill Correctional Institute through the Writers in Prisons project.
Kelly Hiser is a PhD candidate in Historical Musicology at UW-Madison where she has worked as a TA for classes on western music history and musical ethnicities of Wisconsin. Her research interests include American popular and avant-garde musics, film, gender and technology, material culture, and performance. In her dissertation she examines connections between materiality and musical meaning in the histories of the theremin and the Hammond Organ and argues for an expanded historiography of electronic music that includes commercial instruments and performance practices. Kelly has presented papers at national meetings for the American Musicological Society, the Society for American Music, and Feminist Theory and Music. She holds a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from Slippery Rock University and a master’s degree in musicology from the University of Miami.
Stephanie Youngblood is a PhD candidate in the Department of English at UW-Madison. She received undergraduates degrees in History and Liberal Arts from the University of Oklahoma, and holds master’s degrees from both Oxford and York Universities. Stephanie has published articles in Callaloo and GLQ, has taught at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth, and has been the recipient of both University and Sawyer Seminar Fellowships. Her dissertation looks at the intersection of poetry, testimony, and the body in American literature concerning the AIDS crisis and September 11th.
Anna Zeide is currently completing her PhD in the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, writing a dissertation on the history of the U.S. canning industry, which explores how the rise of processed food in America was grounded by scientific expertise against a changing consumer and environmental backdrop. She has also exercised her interests in food and the environment in a variety of venues throughout the broader UW and Madison communities. She has designed a food-based environmental studies course for the UW PEOPLE Program; worked as a Food Programming Liaison for the UW GreenHouse environmental dorm; served as a Project Assistant for the Center for Culture, History, and Environment; and worked with Community GroundWorks and the Wisconsin School Gardening Initiative. Her academic and civic engagement work has been recognized through a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and by a UW-Madison Exceptional Service Teaching Assistant Award. Anna extended her experiences and passions through the Public Humanities Fellowship at the Madison Children’s Museum, where she focused on developing the Museum’s sustainability and health initiatives.