Kaplan Institute Fellowships offer faculty course reductions so that they can develop research projects within an interdisciplinary community. Kaplan Fellows, who are selected by an external team of reviewers, present work at weekly lunchtime colloquia, participate in Institute events, and develop a course to offer in the Institute in the year after their fellowship. Click here to learn more about Kaplan's Faculty Fellowship program.
Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy
Project: Race’s Shadowy Subjects: Conceptions of Race in Early Black Political Thought
"Race’s Shadowy Subjects aims to situate Blacks within this intellectual history of the development of race conceptually, looking specifically at their philosophical contributions to it. It seeks to show how early Blacks intellectuals—namely, Maria Stewart, Martin Delany, Alexander Crummell, Anténor Firmin, Anna Julia Cooper, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Alain Locke—responded to accounts of race authored by whites, along with other Blacks who were thinking about what race is and what we ought to do with it, given the racist theories of race authored by whites and the onslaught of stereotypes about them. And so it seeks to answer three questions. First, what were early Black intellectuals’ ontological and normative accounts of race? Second, how did these early Black intellectuals respond to white intellectuals’ ontological accounts of race? Third, how did these early Black intellectuals respond to other Blacks who were theorizing about race? It is the hope that this book leads to greater discussions about how other early non-white thinkers such as early Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian thinkers engaged these questions about race."
Authority Metadata Librarian, Northwestern University Libraries
Library Affiliate 2023-2024
Jamie Carlstone is the Authority Metadata Librarian at Northwestern University Libraries. She has a B.A. in history and American studies from DePaul University and an M.A. in early modern history from Durham University. She has written about metadata standardization and the history of copyright renewal. Her current interests are in scholarly identity management, text analysis, and improving our metadata to be more inclusive.
John D. MacArthur Professor, Department of Sociology
Project: Bringing the Future into the Present: How to Act in the Long Term
"To deal with climate change, or any long-term problem, it is necessary to bring the future into the present. Such problems often involve a complicated mixture of certain current costs and uncertain future payoffs, and it is tempting to avoid action altogether. Why not let future generations fend for themselves? In my comparative-historical project, I consider examples of social institutions where contemporary decision makers acknowledged and protected, albeit imperfectly, the interests of future individuals."
Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy
Project: Machines in the Agora: Artificial Intelligence and Political Communication
"Inquiry into political communication has historically been able to take it for granted that human beings, with all their passions and foibles, were the ones authoring its texts. But recent explosive advances in the use of deep learning models to produce text, images, and video invalidate this assumption and raise urgent analytical and normative questions about the conduct of politics in this new information environment. How does politics work when it is difficult or impossible to tell whether some text was composed by a human being, or else by a language model trained to tailor persuasive messages to a surveilled online audience? When it is impossible to tell whether a video—of a protest, press scrum, or atrocity—is fabricated whole-cloth? What, in such an environment, happens to solidarity, persuasion, and mobilization? And how do institutional and non-institutional political actors adapt to the simultaneous informational excess and poverty that this entails?"
Associate Professor, Department of Religious Studies
Project: Debating 'Religion' in Muslim South Asia: On the Colonial Pathways of a Modern Category
"It is commonplace for Muslims to claim that Islam is not merely a 'religion' but is a 'way of life.' My project excavates the history of this truism. It examines how Muslims in modern South Asia conceptualized, debated, and contested the category of religion and Islam's relation to it. First, it shows how British colonialism promoted a conception of religion as normatively private, apolitical, and interior. It then illustrates, secondly, how Muslims began to reject that framework and advance visions of an Islam that is public, political, and communal, challenging the very notion that Islam is a 'religion' at all."
Associate Professor, Department of Religious Studies; Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence
Project: The Autobiography of Sera Khandro
"My project is to produce the first-ever English translation of the autobiography of the Tibetan Buddhist female visionary Sera Khandro Dewé Dorjé (1892-1940). Sera Khandro’s autobiography is at once a priceless resource for gaining a better understanding of the social history of Vajrayāna Buddhism in Tibet, and an incomparably beautiful and poignant work of world literature."
Assistant Professor, Department of English
Project: Unendurable Freedom: US Empire, 9/11, and the Fate of the Postcolonial
"What happens when the proverbial waiting room of colonial history turns into the indefinite detention center or forever-warzone for the postcolonial subject? My book Unendurable Freedom argues that Global South writing in the wake of 9/11 illuminates the variable pressures exerted by cultures of US empire, particularly intersections of literary prestige and humanitarianism, on postcolonial sovereignty to provincialize liberal-universalist freedom. Examining Pakistani, Afghan, and Iraqi diasporic and refugee novelists, transnational Muslim memoirists and graphic artists formerly detained at Guantánamo Bay, I identify a contemporary cultural archive that delineates how postcolonial citizenship comes undone in new ways after Operation Enduring Freedom. Crucially, the book tracks the peculiar conscription of post-9/11 Global South writers into US cultural institutions—ranging PEN America, PEN International, Amnesty International, and UNESCO as well as the US MFA program—even as they engage in a critique of US exceptionalism. Unendurable Freedom highlights how the Global South writer simultaneously negotiates cultural, humanitarian institutions and literary prestige culture through stylistic innovations that are situated within and against US liberalism."
Assistant Professor, Department of Radio/TV/Film; Affiliate Faculty: Program in Documentary Media, Department of Performance Studies, and Department of Asian Languages and Cultures
Project: Untimely Images
"Untimely Images gathers an understudied archive of Indian independent documentary from the 1970s to the present to narrate an aesthetic history of counter cinema and radical politics during a period of intense social upheaval in the subcontinent. Untimely Images is at once an archival study of politically engaged independent film, and a conceptual argument for reading film as a vernacular archive of minoritarian politics."
Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology
Project: Fit to Rule: The Rise of U.S. Empire and the Racial Management of Filipinos, 1898-1946
"In 1898, the United States went to war with Spain and gained a new colony, the Philippines. Confronted with ruling over new non-white people, U.S. state actors debated the relationship between the Philippines and the United States. These conflicts over the best way to achieve white hegemonic rule transformed the legal and administrative architecture of the state and laid the foundations for extraterritorial control that continues to this day."
Assistant Professor, Department of Black Studies and Department of English
Project: Niobe Redux: Black New Women, Literature, & Transformation
"My book interrogates how, from 1880 until 1910, a small group of Black women writers wrote neoclassical stories of gender and belonging. Pauline E. Hopkins, H. Cordelia Ray, and Alice Dunbar-Nelson rewrote stories from Ovid’s Metamorphoses to explore what it meant to be Black and women, be newly “free” as a class of people, and intervene in artistic traditions lasting as long as (at least) Roman literature. Through the lenses of Black Feminism, US slavery literature and history, gender and sexuality, and critical cultural studies, Niobe Redux understands that this group of Black women rewrote classic stories of transformation to critique cultural and political practices delimiting their positions as artists, women, and public figures."
Metadata Coordinator, Digital Products and Data Curation, Northwestern University Libraries
Library Fellow 2023-2024
Project: The Other Side of the Picture: John Evans, Edward S. Curtis, and The North American Indian
"Forty years after the Sand Creek massacre, photographer Edward S. Curtis began work on his 20-volume opus The North American Indian. These photographs have long defined the narrative of Indigenous peoples in the American West. This project aims to investigate 'the other side of the picture'—what would the narrative be if the subjects of the photographs spoke?"