2013-14 Internal Faculty Fellows in Residence at the Glasscock Center

The Melbern G. Glasscock Center for Humanities Research has named four recipients of Glasscock Internal Faculty Residency Fellowship for the 2013-2014 academic year. Recipients of the four annually awarded fellowships receive a one-course teaching release in the fall or spring semester of the fellowship year, a $1,000 research bursary, and an office in the Glasscock Center for the fellowship semester. These fellows will present and participate in the Faculty Colloquium Series during their fellowship semester.

Brian McAllister Linn is a professor in the Department of History. He will be in residence at the Glasscock Center during the fall 2013 semester.  Professor Linn will pursue the research topic “From Davy Crockett to GI Blues: Elvis Meets the Atomic Army,” culminating in the first scholarly monograph on the US Army’s social and military “transformation” in the early Cold War. The book, Elvis’s Army: Creating the Atomic Soldier, under contract with Harvard University Press, connects traditional military history with the humanities’ focus on social-cultural factors, while exploring two major questions. The first is how the Army responded to the post-World War II national defense environment, and in particular to the challenges of nuclear weapons, international commitments, personnel turbulence, and the Soviet military threat. The second question is why and how the Army became the “school of the nation,” teaching not only military skills, but also providing educational and technical skills that would improve GI’s lives once they left the service. Elvis Presley’s life provides a prime example through which to interrogate these questions, as he personified both military and social transformation processes. Professor Linn’s research is an innovative and unique effort to combine military and social history that will have important implications for both fields.

Stefanie Harris, associate professor in the Department of International Studies, will work on her bookDeveloping Stories: Photography in Postwar German Fiction during her fall 2013 residency at the Glasscock Center. This project examines the depiction of photography and photographic practices in German and Austrian literature to show the interrelation of media practices, literary aesthetics, and the representation of social and individual memory. Following a theoretical introduction, the book is structured chronologically, grouping authors according to the privileged site of the photographic triad: the subject of the photograph, the photographer, and the viewer of the photograph. Rather than a survey of post-war fiction that takes up photography thematically, the temporal framework Harris employs serves to situate the aesthetic, formal, and theoretical concerns of successive generations of writers within specific socio-political contexts. The project engages critical questions defining the field of contemporary German studies: the construction of personal and national identity, the problem of historiography, and the relationship between literature and other media. Although these areas are usually explored individually, Professor Harris’ work shows how these questions are in fact intimately connected. Although the book will focus almost exclusively on German and Austrian fiction of the postwar era, this interdisciplinary study will make a significant contribution to understanding how images shape cultural awareness and the narrative construction of social histories and national identity.

Wendy Leo Moore is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology. She will be in residence during the spring 2014 semester. Professor Moore will examine the premise of a post-civil rights formal equality, the emergence of a radically transformed legal structure. The still-existing deep structural racial inequality present in the United States has sparked a multitude of discussions and debates, all underpinned by one consistent theme: the post-civil rights era is a new legal era characterized by “formal legal equality.” This ideology suggests that legal changes occurring in the late 1950s and 1960s fundamentally transformed the United States legal structure—altering it from one that legally sanctioned racial inequality to one that provided equality under the law for all individuals regardless of race. Through a critical discourse and frame analysis of the Supreme Court’s case law on race and racial (in)equality, Moore’s work examines the racialized narratives and legal frames of the Court in connection to structural racial inequality. Informed by both the theoretical interventions in race scholarship and methods of critical discourse analysis emerging from the work of social theorist Michel Foucault, her method of analysis connects race discourse and the racial structure. Her research illuminates the process by which the United States Supreme Court has facilitated the legal maintenance of white domination. Interdisciplinary in character, this research combines critical race theory, literary theory, critical legal studies and social scientific research on racial hierarchy to illuminate the process of what legal scholar Kimberle Crenshaw has called racial retrenchment in the post-civil rights era. Through this process Moore both challenges contemporary assumptions about formal legal equality and provides a new frame for interrogating the role of law in the reproduction of racial inequality in a democratic society.

Nancy Klein, associate professor in the Department of Architecture, conducts research on “Sacred Architecture on the Acropolis of Athens” during her residency in spring 2014. Her research project examines the pre-classical architecture of the Acropolis of Athens, Greece, and its role in defining religious identity and constructed memory both in the past and present. Our modern view of the Acropolis is focused on the temple of Athena Parthenos, built under the leadership of the Athenian statesman Pericles in the fifth century BC. In the early nineteenth century AD, the fledgling country of Greece devoted itself to establishing a national identity that reflected its classical heritage. The Acropolis of Athens was central to this vision and became a symbol of the birthplace of democracy and the humanistic arts. This constructed identity served Greece; however, it also eclipses thousands of years of human activity before and after the Parthenon. In the nineteenth century, efforts to free the classical monuments of the Acropolis from the overburden of later history saw the removal of many post-classical buildings and an excavation from modern ground levels to bedrock, which also resulted in the discovery of thousands of fragments of architecture, sculpture, pottery, and small finds from the early history of the Acropolis. Although earlier scholars examined architectural elements and assigned them to distinct structures, they published a small percentage of the extant elements, illustrated even fewer, and rarely considered larger questions about architecture and social identity. Dr. Klein has examined hundreds of blocks and fragments and made detailed observations on the characteristics of each one, which allows her to answer questions not only about individual buildings, but also about the development of monumental architecture in the service of religious faith and the history of the sanctuary on the Acropolis. Klein’s preliminary conclusions indicate that the rebuilding of the Acropolis by Pericles was also an expression of constructed memory. The classical replacements of damaged or redundant buildings can be seen as “counter-iconoclasm” because they supplanted the standing ruins, they replaced what was no longer completely present, and ultimately suppressed the memory of the damage done to the sanctuary. But the display of architectural elements from temples destroyed by the Persians in the north wall of the Acropolis overlooking the city was intended to serve as “the imprint or drawing in us of things felt,” a definition of memory offered by Aristotle, and as a rallying point for prosecuting the war against the Persians and subsequently rebuilding the Acropolis.

The Glasscock Internal Faculty Residency Fellows will discuss work completed during the fellowship in the Glasscock Center’s Morning Coffee Hour in in the 2014-15 academic year. The Glasscock Center accepts applications for Glasscock Internal Faculty Residency Fellowships each spring semester. Applications will be accepted again spring 2014 for the 2014-2015 academic year. For further information visit glasscock.tamu.edu/grants-funding or contact the Glasscock Center at glasscock@tamu.edu or (979) 845-8328.