Andrew W. Mellon Regional Fellows
in the Humanities,
Assistant Professor, English, Temple University
"We Come From the Sea": A Pirate Revolution
My project explores the way in which eighteenth-century piracy participated in a broader revolutionary Atlantic movement, a movement that adapted systems of power in order to dismantle them. Pirate crews were generally composed of the poorest members of society (unemployed merchant sailors, escaped slaves, ex-convicts), for whom national, economic, and social systems were oppressive. Pirate ships, on the other hand, were "bottom-up" societies, democracies structured by and for the lowest members. I argue that, despite repeated attempts by the British government to expunge the revolutionary power of piracy, the legacy of this collective resistence endured long after piracy itself was eradicated.
Giovanna Faleschini Lerner
Assistant Professor, Italian, Franklin & Marshall College
Spaces of Adaptation in Contemporary Italian Cinema
No political or social issue is perceived more urgently in Italy today than immigration, with the adjustments it imposes on notions of cultural and national identity. This project examines a series of documentary films by independent filmmakers focusing on spaces that have become icons of the "clash of civilizations" in the Italian imagination: piazza Vittorio in Rome, via Padova and via Sarpi in Milan, and Lampedusa. These directors' work creates a counter-discourse of hospitality in response of the discourse of emergency and fear fueled by the mass media. In their documentaries, the spaces defined by diversity are privileged locations of transcultural dialogue, encounter, and mutual adaptation. The project also considers the films themselves as artistic and cultural spaces where processes of adaptation are facilitated and take place.
Visiting Assistant Professor, Anthropology, Bryn Mawr College
Seizing Zion: A Cultural Account of Religious Adaptation and Jewish Settlement over the Green Line
My project focuses on two parallel forms of adaptation forged in the context of religious settlement in the West Bank. It investigates the adaptation of a changing and increasingly fragmented spatial landscape as it is produced in relation to new forms of national belonging and social exclusion. It also focuses on the adaptation of diasporic Judaism to a place-based form of observance, which seeks to claim Palestinian areas as sites of Jewish origin. I consider these interlinked adaptations—of a landscape and a religious tradition—in relation to a military occupation and the governance of the Palestinian majority population in this area.
Paul J. Patterson
Assistant Professor, English, Saint Joseph's University
Mirror to Devout People (Speculum devotorum):
I am preparing a new edition of the Mirror to Devout People, also known as the Speculum devotorum, for the Early English Text Society. A fifteenth-century life of Christ in the pseudo-Bonaventuran tradition, the Middle English Mirror was written by a Carthusian monk for a sister at the Bridgettine Syon Abbey. It draws on and reshapes numerous sources to guide the reader through her spiritual life, while referencing the ongoing translation debates in late-medieval England. Through its discussion of authorization and translation, the Mirror becomes a central text in the formation of late medieval English devotional culture.
Assistant Professor, Asian History, Penn State University (Abington College)
Buddhist Medicine in Medieval China: Translation as Adaptation in Historical Context
Scholars of Buddhism and historians of medicine have long argued that
medieval Chinese translators failed to understand or to transmit faithfully the
Indian medical terminology they encountered within the Tripitaka. This project
takes a close look at the variations in translation of medical doctrine in medieval Chinese Buddhist sources. I will show that inconsistencies in the Chinese texts are not the products of confusion, but rather reflect a wide range of translation strategies employed in an attempt to make foreign knowledge accessible to Chinese readers. Understanding the reception of Indian medicine as a process of adaptation allows historical analysis to move beyond a limited focus on the accuracy of translations, instead revealing the cultural resonances and social logics of translated texts in their historical context.
Professor, Philosophy, Villanova University
Feminist Adaptations in the Wake of Globalization
Global feminist solidarities have taken shape in efforts to combat a number of issues affecting women across the globe. These solidarities are signficant for revealing that feminists from very different schools of thought and methodologies can come together to create social change without relying on common identities as women. Solidarities also offer insightful theoretical analyses of global problems. In this literature overview of the four recent and important feminist theoretical developments using the concept of solidarity: global feminism, transnational feminism, Third World feminism, and postcolonial feminism, I will map some of the normative content of global feminist solidarity in the wake globalization.
Director of Graduate Studies; Art Education, Interior Design, Studio Art; Moore College of Art & Design
Cognitive Glue and the Veneration and Destruction
Works of art are adapted to social contexts via cognitive 'glue,' the perceptual and behavioral salience that guide reactions to stimuli. Hardly reductive in nature, such an approach fulfills Darwin's plan for explanation by way of natural selection in culture through stratified explanation. Using the example of early modern veneration and destruction of images, it can be shown that a cognitive approach does not unduly introduce biological, evolutionary or ethological presumptions into the interpretation of art and art-related behavior. Rather, this very cognitive salience, which may have partially shaped through adaptive pressures in the past, is demonstrated at its own level. By making such an 'adaptive' approach defensible, the larger project of a Darwinian interpretation of nature is made feasible in the humanities.