Spring 2012 Visiting Faculty Fellows
The Humanities Writ Large Steering Committee, chaired by Srinivas Aravamudan, Dean of Humanities, has selected three faculty as the inaugural Visiting Faculty Fellows of the Mellon Foundation-funded Humanities Writ Large initiative. They are:
- Tess Chakkalakal, Associate Professor of Africana Studies and English, Bowdoin College
- Jason Cohen, Assistant Professor of English, Theater and Communication, Berea College
- Sharon Raynor, Associate Professor of English and Mott University Distinguished Professor, Johnson C. Smith University
Professor Chakkalakal is currently on leave from Bowdoin and has been engaged in discussions with with Maurice Wallace, Associate Professor of English and African and African American Studies, on the intersections between theological discourse and African American literature. She seeks to construct a truly interdisciplinary approach to teaching the literature of the Jim Crow era, with a particular focus on the writings of Reverend Sutton E. Griggs. During her Fellowship, she plans to continue her work and on African American literature and will seek to engage with other Duke faculty and with Duke students. She is also planning a conference on editing early African American Literature. She is based in African and African American Studies.
Professor Cohen is based in the BorderWork(s) Lab, where he will explore how maps both documented and shaped the early modern debates over the sovereignty of the seas. His research also investigates how these historical controversies can serve as a basis for examining contemporary concerns with oceanic environmental policy. Integrating textually-grounded historical inquiry with contemporary ecological questions, Professor Cohen’s work exposes the great potential in humanistic investigation of pressing global concerns. He will also be keenly involved with the lab’s focus on the digital and spatial humanities, particularly working with undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty on map digitization projects, among other ongoing and new endeavors.
Professor Raynor will be working with the Center for Documentary Studies to conduct and document community experiences, spoken memory, oral history, and the literacy and culture of silence. She plans to explore topics including the cultural preparedness of making a memory into a story and how memories and stories can cross cultures and generations without the experiences being lost in translation. Professor Raynor has directed two oral history projects, “Breaking the Silence: The Unspoken Brotherhood of Vietnam Veterans” and “Soldier-to-Soldier: Men and Women Share their Legacy of War,” originally funded by the North Carolina Humanities Council. She is based in the History Department.
Professors Chakkalakal, Cohen, and Raynor are in residence at Duke for Spring semester. They will be actively engaged with the Duke community in and beyond their proposed working units. Students and faculty who would like to propose additional ways to include them in the intellectual and cultural life of Duke can reach out to them directly, or can contact Laura Eastwood ).
Earlier support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has allowed Duke's Franklin Humanities Institute to bring visiting faculty in the humanities, arts, and interpretive social sciences at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) for visits of a semester or a year.
Once selected, these visiting fellows became part of the larger community of Mellow HBCU Fellows at Duke. They are invited to return annually to participate in a symposium with Fellows from all years of the program. It is our expectation that visiting faculty fellows supported by the Humanities Writ Large grant will become members of this larger community and retain ties with Duke and with each other after their fellowships are complete.