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Research Support

The Dresher Center for the Humanities welcomes our Residential Research Fellows for 2014-2015.

Fall Residential Graduate Student Fellow

Kevin Wisniewski
Ph.D. Candidate, Language, Literacy, and Culture
Project: (Re)membering Francis Hopkinson and his Literary Gambols
Signer of the Declaration of Independence. Designer of the American flag. First native-born American composer. First writer of an American opera. Poet. Political pamphleteer. Magazine editor. Painter. Scientist and inventor. Federal judge. Librarian. Community organizer. Colonial lawyer, customs collector, and merchant. These are just a few of the roles held by Francis Hopkinson (1737-1791), and yet little, if anything, is remembered of him. The dissertation, toward which this research proposal works, aims to recover Hopkinson’s work, to (re)member it as part of the legacy of the American Revolution and early republic, and thereby to examine the professionalization of English and History departments, the formation of the literary canon, and the opportunities and challenges facing education, publishing and community engagement in the digital age by applying Hopkinsonian methods and lines of inquiry towards our own cultural milieu.

Spring Residential Faculty Research Fellows

Marjoleine Kars
Associate Professor and Chair, History
Project: Freedom Marooned: The 1763 Slave Rebellion in Dutch Guyana
During the fellowships semester I will finish my book, Freedom Marooned: The 1763 Slave Rebellion in Dutch Guyana. In the years 1763-1764 nearly all five thousand slaves in the Dutch colony of Berbice rose up in rebellion. Although this rebellion in what is now the Republic of Guyana in South America was extensive and long lasting, it is virtually unknown. To date, only two books have been written about it: one in 1770, the other in 1888, both in Dutch. During my fellowship, I intend to complete the third, in English. However, I am attracted to this rebellion not just for its scope and relative obscurity. Rather, the unusually rich documentation it has generated offers an opportunity to redefine our understanding of the nature of slave insurgency and to study the internal politics of rebellion.

Margaret (Peggy) Re
Associate Professor, Visual Arts
Project: Design, Desire and Consumption: Contemporary American Textiles, Contemporary American Wallpaper and Containers and Packaging
Between 1951 and 1952, the Traveling Exhibition Service prepared 12 exhibits for the United States Department of State. These exhibits were circulated through Germany and Austria in order to construct cultural and political authority and combat Communism. The exhibits transformed political discourse by presenting economic productivity as aesthetic choices, new technologies and materials, and ideals to create consumer awareness and demand. My research examines the impact of the Bauhaus on these exhibits and their contents, as it examines the influences on the designers who as cultural interpreters form American modernism. The Dresher Fellowship will allow me to continue research into the State Department’s 1951-1952 Traveling Exhibition Service (TES). My research findings will be disseminated via an exhibit that will open in 2017 at UMBC’s Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture (CADVC).

Summer 2014 Faculty Research Fellows

Lisa Pace Vetter
Assistant Professor, Political Science
Project: Political Theory and the Founding of American Feminism
My book, Political Theory and the Founding of American Feminism, argues that several pivotal figures in the American early women’s rights movement deserve to be incorporated into the canon of American political thought. A more inclusive canon is necessary to fully appreciate the richness and diversity of American political though properly understood. American feminist political theory began earlier than typically believed, in the nineteenth century along with abolitionism and related social reform movements, before the 1848 Convention in Seneca Falls, and well before the passage of the nineteenth amendment. The summer fellowship will support the completion of the remaining chapters on Frances Wright, Sarah Grimke, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

Fan Yang
Assistant Professor, Media and Communication Studies
Project: Faked in China: Nation Branding, Counterfeit Culture, and the Postsocialist State in Globalization
My book, Faked in China, is a critical account of globalization’s cultural impact on China after its 2001 accession to the World Trade Organization. Taking the globalizing operation of the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) regime as its primary focus, it traces the transnational production of myriad “faked in China” artifacts, from knockoff mobile phones to online video spoofs, from “pirate” filmmaking to an urban counterfeit bazaar. Participating in the production, circulation, and consumption of these artifacts are a multitude of publics who present competing visions for the Chinese nation. Globalization’s contradictory cultural effects, therefore, are manifested in 21st-century China as an intensified discordance between the nation and the state. The summer fellowship will allow me to complete final revisions to my manuscript, now under contract with Indiana University Press.