Skip over navigation
Brown Home Brown Home Brown University Cogut Center for the Humanities Brown Home Brown Home Brown University

Past Mellon Postdoctoral Fellows


Sherine Hamdy
PhD, New York University
Research Interest: Sherine's dissertation, “Our Bodies Belong to God: Islam, Medical Sciences and Ethical Reasoning in Egyptian Life,” addressed questions of science, medicine, bioethics, and Islam. An Egyptian-American who grew up in various parts of the world, Sherine is fluent in Modern Standard Arabic, and Qur'anic and classic Arabic, as well as English, French and Spanish. Among her publications is Blinding Ignorance: Medical science, diseased eyes, and religious practice in Egypt, which appeared in Arab Studies Journal in 2005. 

Sherine is an Assistant Professor in the Anthropology Department at Brown.

Michael Rohlf
PhD, University of Pennsylvania
Research Interest: Michael is a specialist in the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, with additional interests in ethics, aesthetics, and the history of modern philosophy, especially German Idealism. His dissertation, "Kant on the Unity of Reason" analyzed Kant’s conception of reason and what is at stake in Kant’s claim that theoretical and practical reason are ultimately manifestations of one and the same cognitive faculty operating on a common principle. Currently he is working on some problems in Kant’s theoretical philosophy in the Critique of Pure Reason, the relationship between Kant’s moral philosophy and contemporary contractualism, and an English translation of Salomon Maimon’s Essay on Transcendental Philosophy (1790).

Michael is now an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Catholic University in Washington, DC.


Nauman Naqvi
PhD, Columbia University
Research Interest: Nauman’s dissertation, “Mourning Indo-Muslim Modernity: Moments in Post-Colonial Urdu Literary Culture”, explores key moments in the development of modern Urdu literary criticism from the late 19th century in colonial North India to contemporary Pakistan, to understand how questions of modernity, nationalism, tradition, and criticism have been configured in this literary critical tradition. Nauman’s interests include modern Urdu literature, post-colonial studies, modern South Asian history and critical theory. He has taught at Columbia University, has been a producer in the Urdu section of the BBC World Service, and an assistant editor at Pakistan’s premier news magazine, Newsline.

Nauman is Acting Dean and Founding Faculty at the School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Habib University.

Ian Straughn
PhD, University of Chicago
Research Interest: Ian's research and teaching focus is the emerging subfield of Islamic archaeology. His research emphasizes the intersection of material and textual evidence, and the production of space and landscape in the early Islamic period Levant. His current project “Materializing Islam: An Archaeology of Landscape in Early Islamic Period Syria” stems from his dissertation research undertaken in the Anthropology Department at The University of Chicago. His work also looks to develop the theoretical intersections of archaeology and religion through an understanding of how materiality becomes a key vector in ritual practice and spiritual relationships.

Ian continues at Brown's Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World as a postdoctoral fellow and is the interim scholarly resources librarian for Middle East Studies. He was also recently named to the editorial board of the journal Archaeological Dialogues.


Rachel Price
PhD, Duke University
Research Interest: Rachel's dissertation is entitled "Future Measures in Atlantic Literatures (1868-1968)." Her research and teaching focus on circum-Atlantic and particularly Cuban literature.  Rachel is also interested in comparative imperial histories, poetry, media, and critical theory. She is currently working on a study of how late 19th and early 20th century Atlantic literatures engaged a perceived translatio imperii, or transfer of empire, economic power, and aesthetics in the region. 

Her articles include "The Spirit of Martí in the Land of Coaybay," "La sombra del imperio," "Object, non-object, trans-object, relational object: from Concrete Poetry to the nova objetividade" and "Animal, Magnetism, Theatricality." 

After her first year as a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Rachel accepted a position as Assistant Professor at Princeton University.


Ipek Tureli
PhD, University of California, Berkeley
Research Interest: İpek Türeli's research focuses on architectural urban history, visual culture, and comparative urbanism. She received her Ph.D. in Architecture at UC Berkeley with a dissertation that explored the staging of Istanbul in the second half of the twentieth century, and interrogated the relationship between urban representations, the production of subjectivity, and the built environment. Among her publications are “Modeling Citizenship in Turkey’s Miniature Park” (Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review, 2006) and “Ara Güler’s Photography of ‘Old Istanbul’ and Cosmopolitan Nostalgia” (History of Photography, 2010). During her first year as a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, she co-edited Orienting Istanbul: Cultural Capital of Europe?(Routledge, 2010), a book that explores how processes of creative production and exhibition are intertwined with neoliberal urban restructuring. She is currently working on her book manuscript, “Istanbul, Open City: Exhibiting Anxieties of Urban Modernity.”

Ipek was an AKPIA Fellow at MIT's Department of Architecture in Fall 2011. In spring 2012 she accepted the position of Assistant Professor in the School of Architecture at McGill University.

2009-11 Mellon Fellows

Catherine Bliss
PhD, New School for Social Research
Research Interest:  Catherine’s book Race Decoded: The Genomic Fight for Social Justice (Stanford University Press 2012) explores how commonsense ideas, norms, and values around race have motivated genomic scientists to produce a new science of race. Catherine’s interests include health movements and controversies, emergent science, and racial and gender identity. Her current research looks at personal genomics and the construction of race in large scale sequencing projects. She hosted a lecture series in 2011-12: “How Scientists Think.” For more about Catherine, see

Catherine has accepted the position of Assistant Professor at the University of California/San Francisco.

Stephen Groening
PhD, University of Minnesota
Research Interest: In his dissertation, entitled “Connected Isolation: Mobile Screens and Globalized Media Culture,” Stephen analyzed the implications of a changing cinema culture, from one constituted by theatrical exhibition and classical spectatorship to one characterized by proliferating screens and individualized media forms. 

His current research project is the history of in-flight entertainment and its links to globalization, mass tourism, and transnational Hollywood. The institution of in-flight entertainment media technology offers insight into cultural globalization, media convergence, the alliance between travel and entertainment industries, and the shifting boundaries between public and private. 

Steve is an Assistant Professor in the Film and Media Studies program at George Mason University to begin AY 2011-12.

2010-12 Mellon Fellows

Maud Kozodoy
PhD, Jewish Theological Seminary
Research Interest: Maud's dissertation title was “The Life and Works of Profiat Duran.”  Her research interests are focused on medieval Jewish philosophy and literature, Jewish-Christian relations in the later Middle Ages, the history of medieval science and medicine, and the incorporation of science and philosophy into literature, secular poetry and liturgy.

She has taught at the Jewish Theological Seminary and Hunter College and was named a Simon H. Rifkind Scholar in Advanced Jewish Studies by the Charles H. Revson Foundation (1999-2003, 2004-2005).

Maud is a Dorot Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow in Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University.

Katherine Smith
PhD, University of California, Los Angeles

Research Interest: Katherine 's research focuses on religious frameworks for understanding displacement, death and regeneration in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.  She has studied urban Vodou and contemporary Haitian art for more than ten years.  Through extensive ethnographic research, Katherine's dissertation, titled “Gede Rising: Haiti in the Age of Vagabondaj,” examined historical transformations of the trickster spirit Gede in visual and embodied cultures of Vodou.  She has forthcoming publications in Southern Quarterly (Summer 2010), e-misférica (Summer 2010), and Obeah and Other Powers: The Politics of Caribbean Religion and Healing (Duke 2011). 

In 2012, Katherine co-curated an exhibition of post-earthquake art titled "Haiti In Extremis: Vodou Arts at the Crossroads" at the UCLA Fowler Museum.

Katherine is an Assistant Professor and Faculty Fellow of Latin American and Caribbean Studies at New York University.

2011-13 Mellon Fellows

Madhumita Lahiri
PhD, Duke University

Research Interest: Madhumita's scholarship lies broadly in postcolonial studies, with particular interest in South Asian and South African literature and film. Her dissertation focused on the links between literary internationalism and the romance novel, examining the works of W.E.B. Du Bois, Rabindranath Tagore, and Cornelia Sorabji. As a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Indian Studies in Africa at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, she researched Mahatma Gandhi's narration of his African experience and taught for the Department of African Literature. Her work has appeared in the journal Callaloo (2010) and is forthcoming in the volumes Bharat Britain: South Asians Making Britain, 1870-1950 (Palgrave-Macmillan, UK) and Cinema in South Africa, post-1994 (National Film & Video Foundation, SA).

Monu has accepted a position as Assistant Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Warwick, UK.

Stephanie Malin
PhD, Utah State University

Research Interest: Stephanie's research focused on environmental justice, environmental health, and political-economic contexts surrounding energy development, particularly in rural communities in the American West. Stephanie primarily examines impacts of uranium mining and milling, but she has begun to interrogate hydraulic fracking's environmental sociological outcomes as well. Her dissertation work focused on emergent social movements surrounding the Piñon Ridge Uranium Mill in southwestern Colorado. Stephanie contends that observing related environmental justice, health, and grassroots movement contexts helps social scientists identify and anticipate sociological outcomes likely to emerge as societies re-examine energy development options in an era of climate change mitigation. Her publications include: "Left in the Dust: Uranium's Legacy and the Victims of Mill Tailings Exposure in Monticello, Utah" in Society and Natural Resources, which examined uranium's environmental legacy on the Colorado Plateau; and "Community Development among Toxic Tailings: An Interactional Case Study of Community Health and Extralocal Institutions," which examines interactions between grassroots movements and responses from public institutions, such as the ATSDR. Currently, Stephanie teaches graduate seminars in natural resource sociology and environmental health at Brown and is working on several articles and a book manuscript.

Stephanie is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Colorado State University.