Recipients of these awards receive up to $10,000 to help with the completion of their dissertation during the next academic year.
Anthony Blacksher, Cultural Studies
"Life After Def: Representing Black Performative Culture in Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry Jam"
This study explores the poets and poetry of Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry Jam as a simultaneous site of protection and a site of resistance against Black representation in commercial media. Supplementing content analysis with interviews of poets who appear on the series, this research identifies spoken word poets as organic intellectuals from urban and marginalized communities who articulate the performative experiences of post-9/11 America. With these performances still circulating through internet sites, this research uncovers how the spreadability of Def Poetry Jam influences education programs, the growth of poetry communities, and the performance of culture through poetry.
Steven Hulbert, Philosophy and Cultural Studies
"From Humors and Vapors to Words and Naming: Naturalizing Madness and Melancholy in Seventeenth-Century Conceptions of the Mind-Body"
Kimball Jensen, Cultural Studies
"Race in the Digital Video Age: Asian American YouTube User Generated Content"
Daniel Lanza, English and Cultural Studies
"California/Love: Landscape, Utopia, and Desire in the Regional Imagination"
Lara Schubert, Religion
"Empowerment Built on Restraint Rather than Freedom: How Cambodian Women Religious Complicate NGO Discourse on the Women’s Rule (chbap srey)"
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have become the primary form of feminism internationally. Yet foundational values and aspirations of CEDAW-aligned organizations are not shared by all women. Influenced by transnational feminists, I employ qualitative methods to discern the values of Cambodian women influential in Buddhist and Christian communities. Through an inquiry into these women’s attitudes toward the traditional women’s code of conduct, the chbap srey, which Cambodian women’s NGOs have deemed oppressive for women, I show that NGO approaches to empowerment emphasize personal freedom whereas women in religious communities prioritize restraint over freedom, and experience empowerment within this value framework.
Christopher Smith, Religion
"Playing Lamanite: Mormon Radicalism and Racial Masquerade in the Era of Indian Removal"
Early white Americans often dramatized white social conflicts as metaphoric racial warfare. Mormons participated this tradition. Theatrically playing “Indian” roles in various performative contexts, Mormon performers identified with “the Indian” as a symbolic ally and instrument of divine judgment against a corrupt white Protestant culture. They affirmed the basic principles of white supremacy and Romantic nationalism, but redrew the boundaries of the redeemed white race and American nation in a way that included black and Indian converts and excluded unconverted Anglos. Though subversive, these performances followed colonialist patterns. Mormon actors ultimately played “Indian” roles in service of colonial American selves.