Zoë Pollak

Current Bio: Zoë is a PhD candidate in English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University (MSt in English from Oxford [2016]) writing a dissertation on small forms in 19th century poetry.   Haas Scholars Project: More than once, Marilynne Robinson has invoked Henry Thoreau’s Walden (1854) as an influence on her novel Housekeeping (1980). Zoë’s project investigates the philosophical resonances between these two texts written in the tradition of American Romanticism. Rather than wed Walden to history and read Housekeeping as a modern-day (and specifically feminist) response, Zoë develops a more fluid relation between the two testaments to spiritual solitude. By placing the books in conversation, Zoë explores the relationship between the invention of audience and inwardness. She also asks how the depiction of place can inform a writers persona on the page and vice versa. Zoë’s thesis derives its larger metaphysical context from 19th-century articulations of nature and the […]

Rachel Gottfried-Clancy

On November 18, 2011 federal law #12,528 created the National Truth Commission (Commiso Nacional da Verdade, CNV) in Brazil. The truth commission was created to examine the events carried out by the government, Foras Armadas, during the countrys military dictatorship and produce an official, truthful account of the period. The hope was that by embarking on a collective search for truth, the Brazilian population would work towards national reconciliation, and in the process strengthen their democracy. However, one year after the commission began, criticisms flood the process: many argue that the structure created prevents any reconciliation. By analyzing the rhetoric used in government documents and interviewing those involved in the truth process, I hope to answer the question how does the structure of Brazil’s truth commission affect the peoples’ sense of reconciliation, and broader conceptions of state and public power?

Sara Sol Linck-Frenz

Collapsing the Frame delves into the space between two categories contemporary and commercial dance to ask how the moving body functions as a site both for composing and deconstructing normative conceptions of embodiment, physicality, identity, and sociality. By researching the particular case of commercially produced choreographies, the project not only problematizes the categorical divide between high culture and popular/commercial culture, but intends to ask how dance productions that cross this boundary function as corporeal and public experimentations with collective identities. Through a comparative analysis of three sites of dance practice and performance (Los Angeles, Brussels and Vienna), the intent is to provide a platform for understanding the ways in which contemporary dance affects and is affected by the burgeoning commercial industry.

Thatcher Combs

Thatchers research explores the relationship between the increasing social legitimacy of the LGBT movement in the U.S. and their marginalization of transgender voices. He will examine the historical reasons for the fracturing of the “T” from the LGBT community and its effects on the transgender community. Thatcher will examine the archives at the GLBT Historical Society beginning in 1973 and ending with current national debates on marriage equality, the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and conduct in-depth interviews with transgender people. While this project will add to the burgeoning field of LGBT history, the aim is to disentangle various factors that marginalize the “T” of the LGBT movement in the hopes that this will contribute to a more genuinely inclusive movement.

Jess Genevieve Bailey

Enshrined in a Kyoto temple, the 13th century Portrait of the Holy Man Kya sculpturally visualizes the verbal practice of nenbutsu or chanting the buddhas name. Six small sculptural buddhas emerge on a wire extension from the icons mouth, embodying the chanted syllables. Icons are understood in Japanese Buddhism as animate objects, informing and guiding devotional practice. What does it mean to see the voice of an icon? Jess will examine this icons materiality, viewership, and history in order to negotiate the representation of sound in the visual culture of Pure Land Buddhism. She will travel to Japan studying relevant rituals and sculptures, while compiling a catalogue of visualized nenbutsu iconography since the Kamakura period. The broader implications of her research will center on the relationship between spoken word and visual signifiers.

Patrick Donnelly-Shores

Current Bio: Since graduation Patrick has been a front-lines enviornment activist in the desert Southwest. Now he is Nevada State Director at the Center for Biological Diversity. He works with a team of attorneys and scientists to defend the imperiled species, public lands, water and climate of Nevada from the resource pillagers in the Trump administration and their corporate cronies who are destroying the biodiversity that makes life on Earth possible to turn a quick buck. Haas Scholars Project: Solar energy is often proclaimed a solution to climate change, and perhaps its most visible incarnation has been the worldwide development of large-scale solar energy facilities in arid lands. These projects entail significant environmental and social externalities: endangered species loss, such as the desert tortoise in the California desert, and land use transformation, as on the sunflower farms of Andaluca, Spain, being two examples. State-led energy policy facilitates the rise of […]

Sikai Song

Ethnobotany is defined as the scientific study of the traditional knowledge and customs of a people concerning plants and their medical, religious, and other uses. Given that many active compounds used in pharmaceutical drugs today are extracted from plants, understanding indigenous knowledge regarding medicinal plant use is invaluable to deepen existing knowledge regarding various pharmacological uses of high-value medicinal plants, conservation, and sustainable resource management. My research seeks to document and catalogue the high-value medicinal plants used by the Tamang people in remote villages in rural Sindhupalchok, Nepal, as well as assess the bio-efficacy of the medicinal plants by comparing indigenous use with reported phytochemical and pharmacological properties in literature.

Leah Grant

My project will investigate the foodways of three distinct populations who occupied Fort Davis, Texas, during the second phase of the forts active period from 1867-1891. While permitting issues will not allow for excavation this summer, there are alternatives to excavation. One collection of artifacts was previously excavated from the enlisted mens barracks; I will examine the food related artifacts from this excavation. Additionally there is a set of artifacts that were collected while digging a drainage ditch at the fort. These artifacts come from several distinct areas of the fort and were carefully boxed and given provenience. There has been no analysis of this collection. I will also be contributing to the mapping of the laundress quarters at the fort. In the process of mapping, a catch and release of the surface scatter of artifacts will take place. My research will include comparing records of military rations to other […]

Robert Chen

In the burgeoning field of genetic engineering, living systems are engineered to perform desired functions such as fighting cancer, sensing harmful chemicals, or producing useful compounds. However, cellular processes are unpredictable and genes do not always act as expected. In order to find a gene’s optimal setting, scientists currently need to search through “libraries”–large numbers of genetic variants–which is labor and time-intensive. Robert’s research centers on developing a new technology called MiCodes, or Microscopy Codes, which will speed up our ability to perform library screening under the microscope by barcoding cells with fluorescent tags. If successful and adopted by the scientific community, MiCodes would fundamentally change the way library screening is done for many applications, including cancer research, cell culture studies, and biofuels production.

Trevor Hadden

Although historians have studied Elizabethan Englands social and aesthetic transformations of the built environment, little attention has been paid to the labor of its craftspeople. Scholarship on Elizabethan architecture and decorative arts has privileged the study of stylistic trends, written records of patronage, and named surveyor-architects. This approach fails to register the ways in which artificers participated in the visuality of the early modern period. To understand the production practices of Elizabethan artificers and to recognize how these workers shaped material culture, Trevor is pursuing a close examination of select furniture and woodwork at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. He aims to develop a methodologya delicate and precise way of seeing, interpreting, and questioningthat prioritizes the expressive but latent language of the sixteenth century wood carver and joiner.