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2010-11 Undergraduate Fellows

Benjamin Hyman (’11) concentrated in Comparative Literature and International Relations, focusing on the intersections of culture, identity, nationality, and community. His honors thesis analyzed the relationship of literary production to the politics of immigration and national identity in contemporary France and the United States. Drawing on Pascale Casanova’s influential theory of the “world republic of letters,” Ben explored the aesthetic and economic exchanges non-native authors navigate, as well as the role critics, scholars, and other gatekeepers play in delimiting the boundaries of literature and the literary market.

Ben hoped that he could enrich approaches to textual criticism by engaging in a dialogue with disciplines such as history, international relations, and sociology, situating works and authors within specific local, national, and geopolitical contexts.

Read about Ben's involvement in screening Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi's work at Brown.

Dylan Nelson ('11) concentrated in Computer Music and Multimedia whose writing focuses on the intersection of aesthetic philosophy, media theory, and musicology. His work in performance, static media, and installation has sought to reveal cultural histories and realities through critical inspection and to propose a more interactive, social experience of media consumption.

During the summer of 2010, Dylan based himself Seville to research, experience, and record the spiritual architecture and music of the Andalucía region. The confluence of religious cultures in the middle ages produced a society of tolerance and beauty under the dhimma pact and contemporaneous Christian arrangements. His research considered the instances of fundamentalism and the specter of hatred that eventually undermined that system. This work influenced his thesis project for the Multimedia and Electronic Music Experiments department: a large-scale installation incorporating digitally-enhanced live performance, speaking texts, and re-composed soundscapes.

Fall 2012 update: Dylan is on his way to the London School of Economics to study political sociology on a Global Grant Scholarship from the Rotary International Foundation.

Isabel Parkes ('11) pursued a double concentration in German & Art Semiotics and Hispanic Studies. She came to Brown interested in media and journalism, building on her interests in languages through studies in German and Spanish, and eventually working one summer at the BBC in London. She moved academically and professionally closer to the art world, exploring intersections of text and image that pervade modern culture and art spaces.

Her German & Art Semiotics thesis investigated the possibility of a postwar re-intellectualization of German masses through the international art exhibition, Documenta. She drew from both Frankfurt School theories of Kulturindustrie and Massenkultur, as well as on the curatorial practices that were executed therein.

Her Hispanic Studies thesis interrogated Martin Heidegger's concept of dwelling in 20th century Hispanic literature and art. She focused on the construction of place and space as loci of utopic and dystopic structures, particularly those which are intended as habitats/ houses/thresholds.

Janet Zong ('11) was a concentrator in English literature and the political economy and development track of International Relations. She was interested in works of fiction that reflect, mediate, and/or attempt to work through intersections of literature, politics, and economics. Janet was fascinated by the complexities of intergenerational transmission of trauma and memory, as well as processes of memorialization, particularly in East Asia.

She explored what is at stake in terms of fiction, representation, and cultural production when conceptions of inheritance are constituted in specific sociopolitical and economic contexts shaped by state power and the forces of global capital – and when such inheritors’ narratives endeavor to challenge the national myths and spaces of silence perpetuated by the dominant ideology or discourse.