Glasscock Graduate Research Fellowship Recipients

The Glasscock Center for Humanities Research annually funds up to ten Graduate Research Fellowships at $2,000 each. Departments can nominate up to two graduate students to be considered for these awards. To be eligible, students in affiliated departments have to be working on a Doctoral dissertation or Masters thesis but could be at the initial stages of their projects. Students are expected to work closely with their advisors on a project description, rationale for the grant, and budget. The budget might include conference participation and travel, fieldwork or archival work, or it might simply be for research materials. The outcome should be a dissertation or a thesis, or a significant portion thereof. These students will make up the community of graduate scholars who populate the Graduate Colloquium Series (five each semester). They are required to participate for a semester in the Graduate Colloquium Series and use the experience as a tool to improve their own writing and projects and help each other to improve the quality of the work being produced as a group.

Academic Year 2016-2017

Yoandy Cabrera Ortega, PhD student in the Department of Hispanic Studies, will work on a project titled, “Rhetoric and Power: Myths and Politics in the Hispanic World.” In this project, Yoandy argues that the use of myth is not only a way of cultural legitimation, but is a tool to debate, question and/or overcome politics and morality. Her research aims to fill the gap in the existing research on the differences and connections between the Early Modern Hispanic World and contemporary time. This is done by prioritizing the relationship between classical myths and politics in the Hispanic world. The focus on the Early Modern Hispanic World and the Technological revolution allows for better understanding of the effects myths, and the reinterpretation of myths, have on politics and rhetoric, at points of irreversible societal change.

Brittany Leckey, PhD student in the Department of Philosophy, will work on a project titled, “…and Sometimes a Monolith is Just a Monolith: A Benjaminian Reading of Kubrick’s 2001: Space Odyssey.” Brittany’s project seeks to discuss how film epitomizes a potential for interpretive free play by providing viewers an opportunity to engage with it existentially, ethically, and pedagogically as much as—if not more than—other forms of art. Her research focuses on films that are pedagogical in that they offer the viewer these opportunities to engage in critical thought but then refuse to offer them clear or conclusive answers in the end. Entering into this ongoing debate in philosophical aesthetics and claiming that we can consider film as artistically valuable despite its presence as a mass-produced cultural artifact challenges the current claims that popular forms of film could never be considered art.

Dadao Hou, PhD student in the Department of Sociology, will work on a project titled, “An Organizational Political Economy Analysis of Bank and Securitization.” This project investigates securitization as a corporate behavior in the U.S. banking industry. Taking up the organizational political economy perspective; Dadao’s research investigates the dynamics between the state and the banking section in the spread of special purpose vehicle (SPV) use. The main questions this project seeks to answer are how did banks gain the property right to use SPVs? And how did capital requirements change in such a way that encourages securitization via SPVs? This project is situated so that it fills the gap in research on the dynamics between the banking sector and the government agencies that impacted the capital requirement deregulation that stimulate SPV use and securitization.

Grace E. Tsai, PhD student in the Department of Anthropology, will work on a project titled, “Sea Biscuit and Salted Beef: An Experimental Archaeological Study on Shipboard Food.” This project will explore and attempt to gage the nutritional value of shipboard diets of seamen on seventeenth century English ships. The food and storing methods will be based on the provisions found on the Warwick—an English galleon that sank in 1619. Additionally, Grace aims at creating a standardized research manual on experimental archeology methodology seeing that no standardized guide currently exists. By replicating the types of foods eaten by sailors and their food storage methods, Grace hopes to determine the effects of the shipboard diet on the sailors’ health. Historically, there are two views; one which holds that shipboard food was appalling or that they ate well and the typical representation of shipboard food is an exaggeration. Conducting this research will allow Grace to refute or support historical accounts related to shipboard food and sailors’ experiences on ships due to the two opposing views on the subject.

Youmi Jung, PhD student in the Department of English, will work on a project titled, “Lady Libertines and Female Freethinkers in Early Modern English Drama and Society.” The project examines the role women played in libertinism. Recent scholarship on libertinism focuses on the men in Charles II’s court and depicts women as passive and interchangeable objects. Youmi’s project focuses on the role women play in both Charles II’s court and in the theatre as well as their effects on libertinism thereby revising their role of mistresses to active agents. The revision of women’s role leads to two fundamental questions this projects hopes to answer: why are male libertine acts considered to convey political, social, and cultural agendas whereas female libertine acts can be dismissed as promiscuity of “loose women,” and  can women’s libertine acts be considered a type of social commentary (possibly on their social status).

Shuru Zhong, PhD student in the Department of Anthropology, will work on a project titled, “Retail Revolution in Question: Competitions between Traditional Traders and Modern Retailers in China’s Food Market.” This project examines the rise of “traditional” food retailers—open-air markets, mom-and-pop stores, and itinerant street vendors—in China over the past three decades despite the country’s rapid urbanization and the government’s support of “modern” food retailers. The project intends to identify what factors contribute the relative success of the traditional food sector in China by focusing on the interactions between the government, marketers, and consumers. In this region, global food retailers are quickly expanding yet the traditional food retailers continue to dominate the market. This may suggest that globalization, at least in the case of the food retail sector, is not a simple linear path where the emergence of the “modern” marks the demise of the “traditional.”

Hwayoung Yi, PhD student in the Department of English, will work on a project titled, “Travelling Women: Mobility, Region, and Women in Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century American Literature.” This project focuses on the role of gender within American Regionalism. This literary movement began after the Civil War and is often considered a female genre. It offers readers nostalgic consolation for anxieties caused by unprecedented social and political changes. This genre operates on the opposition between man’s mobility and woman’s stasis. Hwayoung’s project challenges these roles by examining how traveling women tropes operate within the genre. By doing this, gender acquires major significance in regionalism not because it is a female genre, but because of the major significance of women in the literature moving between places, leaving their traces, and changing themselves and their worlds. Viewing the traveling woman as representative of ideas and issues relevant to the geographical spaces and cultural backgrounds of the literature allows for a more nuanced understanding of gender within the genre.

Kelsey Harper, PhD student in the Department of Hispanic Studies, will work on a project titled, “Peruvian Spanish in the United States.” This project will describe linguistic features of one of the lesser-represented Hispanic minority groups, Peruvians.  It will focus on their linguistic characteristics and gauge whether this minority maintains its own national identity or assimilates to the larger groups. As well as, which linguistic mechanisms a subset of the minority population employs to maintain their national identity. This project hopes to reveal how linguistic minorities in general and Peruvians in particular feel about their own linguistic changes and what they believe is gained and lost in the migratory process. The U.S. Peruvian population is rapidly growing and this research will answer questions on how this minority population adapts to the new cultural and linguistic setting.

Guillame Boiaris Thibault, PhD student in the Department of Political Science, will work on a project titled, “Machiavelli and Florentine NeoPlatonism.” Using Machiavelli’s insights regarding political education and virtue, this project seeks to discuss how contemporary democracies can recognize the best opinions when confronted with conflicting political views. Guillame’s reading of Machiavelli challenges most scholarship in that he argues that Machiavelli can be understood through his relationship with Platonic philosophy.  Themes such as education, knowledge of the good, virtue, judgement, and good laws are central to the philosophy of Machiavelli and Plato. Furthermore, most scholars’ claims of Machiavelli’s rejection of Plato seem unlikely due to the inescapable influence Plato had on Machiavelli’s intellectual world. Understanding Machiavelli’s relationship to Plato allows for a better understanding of his view on human nature, education and virtue then impacts contemporary political decision making.


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