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2007-08 Graduate Fellows

Pannill Camp studies dramatic theory, the history of philosophy, and the historiography of modern western theatre, focusing on exchanges between theatrical and philosophical representations in early modern France.  His dissertation project, “Le Premier Cadre: Theatre Architecture and Objects of Knowledge in Eighteenth-Century France,” examines the appropriation of spatial representations and geometric forms from optics on the part of theatre architects near the end of the Ancien Régime, and argues that the spectatorial encounter cultivated by late eighteenth-century dramatic theorists and architectural reformers took on attributes of empirical philosophy’s encounter with the natural world. 

His article, “The Trouble with Phenomenology,” appeared in the Fall 2004 Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, and his essay, entitled “Theatre Optics: Enlightenment Theatre Architecture in France and the Architectonics of Husserl’s Phenomenology” will be published in Theatre Journal’s “New Paradigms” special issue in December, 2007.   

Pannill graduated in May 2008. His dissertation won the 2009 Joukowsky Family Foundation Outstanding Dissertation Award. Pannill went on to a postdoctoral fellowship at the Humanities Center at Harvard. He will be teaching a class in the History of Art and Architecture department and working on a book manuscript.


Robert Patrick Newcomb is a sixth-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies.  His research focuses broadly on comparative Luso-Hispanic studies.  He works on Latin American and peninsular topics, primarily in the area of nineteenth and early twentieth century intellectual history.

His dissertation project, entitled “Counterposing Nossa and Nuestra América” examines how Brazilian and Spanish American public intellectuals have used the essay to address issues of national and broader regional identity, and more specifically, the question of Brazil’s role in Latin America.  Rob proposes that essay-writing Spanish American and Brazilian intellectuals deal with the question of Brazil’s Latin American location in terms of a double-sided movement defined on the one hand by Spanish American identity projection (the discursive presentation of Brazil as part of Spanish America), and on the other by Brazilian selective, pragmatic approximation to Spanish America (recognition of shared political and economic interests, but not of cultural or historical ties). 

Rob’s additional research interests include 19th century Portuguese and Spanish intellectual history (particularly iberianism and other dissident nationalisms), public intellectuals, and theories of history.  Rob was the 2006-7 recipient of the Craig M. Cogut Dissertation Fellowship in Latin American Studies, and is the graduate coordinator of the “Our America” Mellon Graduate Workshop, which he leads with his dissertation advisor, Professor Nelson H. Vieira. 

Rob was supported as one of two Cogut Center Graduate Fellows, along with Amy Vegari (below), by the MacMillan Graduate Fellowships in the Humanities during 2007-08. Rob graduated in May 2008 and his dissertation won the Joukowsky Family Foundation Outstanding Dissertation Award. He has accepted a position as assistant professor of Luso-Brazilian Studies in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of California, Davis.


Emily Steinlight is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English. Her dissertation, “Mass Man and the Future of the Social in Nineteenth-Century Literature,” examines the ways in which literary texts register the palpable presence of a new type of human aggregate: one that is neither reducible to a collective of autonomous individuals, nor reconcilable with the social and political order of which the modern individual has served as the essential unit.  Rather than a self-evident demographic fact, she contends, the coming of “mass man” represents nothing less than a radical challenge to the epistemology of the liberal subject, and an ontological rupture within the category of the human itself.  

From Malthus and the rise of population science to Romantic vitalism and the poetics of “life,” and from Victorian fiction and mass politics to contemporary philosophy and media theory, Emily’s research traces the genealogy of this new biopolitical formation.  The overarching purpose of her project, as she describes it, is to rethink the meanings of multiplicity in the interest of a literary history and theory of the mass.

Emily was honored during academic year 2007-08 by being chosen to receive the financial support of the Roland G. D. Richardson Fund. This fund is intended "to provide fellowship support to promising doctoral candidates of exceptional merit and unusual promise." She completed her dissertation in spring 2009 and has accepted an appointment as a Harper Fellow and Collegiate Assistant Professor in the Humanities at the University of Chicago.


Amy Vegari is a graduate student in Comparative Literature. Her dissertation "Violence, Immediately: Representation and Materiality in Twentieth-Century Literature, Film, and Theory" is prompted by the regularity with which the extreme sensations produced by episodes of physical abuse and other similarly limit-pushing experiences organize novels and films in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.  The project focuses in particular on how representations of violence on the page and on the screen are intimately connected to the means by which reality is constructed within those media in general—that is, it demonstrates that the representation of the infliction of physical pain is necessarily a problem of realism. 

The project examines works that deviate from a realist paradigm dependent upon the Platonic model of mimesis, suggesting that, in the modern period, the representation of violence favors the defamiliarizing techniques of formalism over realism.  It considers whether it is possible to reconcile such formalism (which works diligently to highlight the mediated status of the artwork) with the immediacy that we generally ascribe to the afflicted body.  What is sought in Violence, Immediately is thus a conception of aesthetic immediacy that accounts for the inherently representational status of fictional violence-that is, a conception of immediacy that acknowledges its own dialectically constitutive relation to mediation.

Amy was supported as one of two Cogut Center Graduate Fellows, along with Rob Newcomb (above), by the MacMillan Graduate Fellowships in the Humanities during 2007-08.