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Franke Fellows 2021-2022

Franke Graduate Fellows

Franke Graduate Fellowships, supported by generous funding from Richard and Barbara Franke and The Graduate School (TGS), bring together four outstanding doctoral students in the humanities to cultivate their research and teaching in the interdisciplinary setting of the Kaplan Institute. Franke Graduate Fellows devote two quarters, full time, to shaping their projects during fall and winter. They also receive pedagogical mentoring in developing an undergraduate course that they teach in their home departments in the spring, and present their research at the Future Directions Forum in spring 2022.

Lucien FergusonLucien Ferguson
Department of Political Science, JD-PhD Program; Law and Science Fellow; Graduate Fellow in Legal Studies; Critical Theory Cluster

Project: The Spirit of Caste: Recasting the History of Civil Rights

"My dissertation examines how caste discourse shaped the development of civil rights law and politics in the U.S. during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. I argue that Black and abolitionist activists used caste language to critique forms of racial subjugation, to imagine solidaristic, post-caste futures, and to theorize novel legal and political strategies for their realization."

Risa PuleoRisa Puleo
Department of Art History

Project: Unsettling the Museum

"Unsettling the Museum traces the transition of Native American objects from artifacts in anthropology, ethnography, and natural history museums into primitive art presented in modern art contexts to Non-Western art alongside objects from Africa and Oceania in the United States throughout the 20th century. Disentangling these objects from their museological frameworks reveals a liveliness that the term 'object' cannot account for.

Chelsea TaylorChelsea Taylor
Interdisciplinary PhD in Theatre & Drama (IPTD)

Project: Bringing the Bible to Life: Biblical Adaptations in the United States of America During the Twenty-first Century 

"My research tracks how three narratives—the story of Noah’s Ark, the Passion of the Christ, and the narrativization of the Bible’s production and circulation—are adapted using theatrical apparatuses at popular Christian tourist destinations. My work theorizes how theatricality functions as an immersive preaching technique which conflates religious and political beliefs for contemporary American Christians. I critique how these sites imply white, heteronormative, patriarchal societal structures are willed by God and underpin America’s morality."

Anna ZalokostasAnna Zalokostas
Department of English

Project: Writing Home Economics: Globalization, Household Labor, and Racial Form

"My dissertation provides a historicist account of multiethnic U.S. literature in the 1990s, arguing that a cohort of writers including Harryette Mullen, Karen Tei Yamashita, Myung Mi Kim, Junot Díaz, and Edwidge Danticat were significant commentators on the emergent discourses of post-Cold War economic globalization, with particular emphasis on the racialized and gendered economy of household labor."


Franke Undergraduate Fellows develop their independent research projects within the Kaplan Institute; receive mentorship in fall and winter through the Senior Humanities Seminar, taught by Jessica Winegar (Director of the Kaplan Institute and Professor in Anthropology and Middle East and North African Studies); and present their work at the Future Directions Forum in spring 2022.

fernandez-tabet-sarah-168x210.jpgSarah Fernández Tabet
Departments of English and French and Italian

Project: “From inside a cell, the night sky isn’t a measure”: Carceral Poetics and Disposable Bodies

"The carceral state refers to the agglomeration of institutions and individuals that uphold imprisonment and use punishment as the grounding framework for which to solve societal problems. My project looks at different poetry relating to prisons and borders in order to ask: What does the direct encounter of poetry reveal about the atomized structure of the carceral state? In answering this, my project aims to expand the comprehension of the carceral state beyond continental U.S. boundaries in order to encompass neoliberal economics and geopolitics."

matrisciano-sydney2-168x210.jpgSydney Matrisciano
Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures; Programs in Legal Studies and Environmental Policy and Culture

Project: Protected Paint: How the U.S. National Park System Impacts Indigenous Mineral Pigment Access

"The production and subsequent use of mineral pigment paints is often considered a historical practice. However, modern Indigenous artists, dancers, and individuals continue to utilize mineral paints. Many traditional mineral sources are located within the management jurisdiction of the National Park Service. My project explores the underlying assumptions, motivations, and values that shape NPS pigment access decisions to identify inconsistencies and pitfalls of the current system."

omprasadham-nathan-168x210.pngNathan Omprasadham
Departments of English and Philosophy

Project: Postcolonial Prestige: Reconciling a Fractured Postwar Sri Lankan Identity Through Anglophone Writing and the Literary Prize

"The Gratiaen Prize is Sri Lanka's most prestigious English-Language writing award, but postcolonial anglospheres are often rife with cosmopolitan and western influences that dictate which works tend to succeed, or even get written. Sri Lankan identity is infamously fractured, following a decades long civil war and continuing tensions among religious and ethnic groups in the country. By analyzing Gratiaen Prize winning works of Anglophone literature, I aim to distill certain perspectives on national identity in conversation with international/cosmopolitan perspectives, providing a more focused survey than existing scholarship on Sri Lankan anglophone literature, but while also drawing upon global scholarship on Postcolonial literary prizes that has yet to be applied to Sri Lankan literature."

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