Mellon Postdoctoral Fellows

The Cogut Institute has been the chosen recipient for a third five-year $1.3+mil grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that supports two year postdoctoral fellowships in the humanities, humanistically oriented social sciences, or in new fields with close ties to the humanities. This generous grant enables the Cogut Institute to bring visiting faculty working in new fields to campus to enrich the curriculum and provide students with new areas for study and research. These Fellows teach one class per semester for their home departments and participate in the weekly Fellows' Seminar series to discuss their research and that of the Faculty, International Humanities Postdoctoral, Graduate and Undergraduate Fellows.

2015-18 Postdoctoral Fellow

Iris Montero Sobrevilla
PhD, Darwin College, University of Cambridge

Iris Montero is an historian of early modern science and medicine working on European, Latin American and indigenous traditions of natural knowledge production.  She has been trained in international relations, cultural history, and the history and philosophy of science at the Tec de Monterrey (Mexico) and the universities of Warwick and Cambridge (UK).  Her current research focuses on the hummingbird as an object of scholarly inquiry across an array of fields, including the history of science, archaeology, anthropology, art history and environmental history.  She has taught previously at the Institute of Philosophical Research (UNAM) in Mexico City and, in addition to other awards, is a recipient of the Gates Cambridge Trust Scholarship for her doctoral work at the University of Cambridge.

2016-18 Mellon Fellows

Claire Brault
PhD, University of Massachusetts/Amherst

Before completing her PhD in Political Science at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst, Claire Brault earned her BA and her MA in Law and Political Studies from the University of Rennes, in her native Brittany (France).  Her work draws from a number of disciplines and interdisciplinary fields:  Environmental Political Theory, Feminist Theory, Feminist Science and Technology Studies, Ecocriticism.  In her book project, she examines temporality and the current ecological crises, studying a variety of texts from environmentalist science fiction, to contemporary dance and circus, as well as climate science.  She argues that capitalist temporalities, though often contradictory (acceleration, continuous progress, crisis), share a utopian or "uchronian" dimension as they constantly postpone the "good time" of endless abundance to an actually impossible future, given our planet's limited resources.  She proposes to go beyond utopia, by showing the dangerous and destructive utopian quality of capitalist times and by asking what alternative, eco-temporalities are possible or already in existence.  Claire Brault is also working on several other projects, including an essay on Nietzsche's concept of eternal return in relation to ecological questions, and a feminist critique of geoengineering schemes purporting to address the climate crisis.

Ryan Mann-Hamilton
PhD, City University of New York

Ryan Mann-Hamilton received his PhD in Cultural Anthropology from the CUNY Graduate Center, and holds an undergraduate degree in International Business and a Masters in Environmental Science with a focus on renewable technologies.  His doctoral dissertation focused on the processes, effects and community reactions to state driven economic development and land dispossession in Samaná, Dominican Republic.  He is an educator, community organizer, human rights activist, photographer, consultant and writer and has taught courses in history, anthropology and ethnic studies and given a variety of workshops and lectures on social and environmental justice, community based activism, the social constructions of race and AfroLatin@ History and Culture in the Americas.  He is currently the Director of Public Programs for the Institute for Socio-Ecological Research and a board member and organizer with the Mayaguez Childrens Library.

Ketaki Pant
PhD, Duke University

Ketaki Pant is a historian with anthropological leanings whose research interests center on South Asia as part of the Indian Ocean world. Her first book project “Homes of Capital: Merchants and the Historical Imagination across Indian Ocean Gujarat” examines nineteenth and twentieth-century intersections of political economy and the historical imagination among Muslim and Parsi merchants of Gujarat.  This project explores the perseverance of a long-historical imagination of Indian Ocean itinerancy as a form of capital that circulated through texts, artworks, material objects and historical memories preserved within historic merchant homes.  Her second project is an ethnographic history of the nineteenth-century Muslim zanana (harem) of the Indian Ocean.  While orientalist texts present zananas as interior and static sites, this project documents the use of zananas as caravans used to transport military and domestic labor between independent Muslim states of the Indian Ocean.  Ketaki Pant’s other interests include the oceanic journeys of the Gujarati language and ethno-memoir as a genre of analytic writing. 

2017-19 Mellon Fellows

Lynnette Arnold
PhD, University of California/Santa Barbara

Lynnette Arnold is a linguistic anthropologist who studies how language both produces and contests the political-economic marginalization of geographically mobile populations, in particular cross-border Latin American communities. Her book manuscript, “Communicating Care: Discourse, Materiality, and Affect in Transnational Salvadoran Families,” explores the role of everyday communication in the lives of multigenerational transnational families living stretched between El Salvador and the United States. She develops the concept of communicative care to highlight how these mundane conversations attend to both material and affective concerns, nurturing the relational ties upon which cross-border families depend. The book highlights how language can be creatively deployed in the pursuit of well-being at the margins of neoliberalism, even as it simultaneously produces forms of personhood and relationship that conform to neoliberal models. This contradictory effects of language as simultaneously both libratory and coercive emerges as a theme in her other research, which includes a study of migrants' accounts of their unauthorized journeys, analyzing how narrative representations of victimization both conform to and challenge gendered discourses of migrant agency. She has also explored socialization into a bilingual community bike-shop, demonstrating that participation practices both challenge and reinforce normative divisions along lines of expertise, language, race, and class. She combines this scholarship with activism for immigrant rights and against the detention and deportation regime, a perspective she plans to incorporate in teaching engaged courses on language and power in the Department of Anthropology at Brown.

Nic Ramos
PhD, University of Southern California

Nic John Ramos is a scholar of history of medicine and urban policy. He received his PhD in American Studies and Ethnicity from the University of Southern California and his undergraduate degrees in Asian American Studies and Political Science from the University of California/Irvine. His work contributes to the growing amount of scholarship on racial capitalism by bringing together the discourses of feminist, queer, and disability studies with political economy. His book project examines how post-1965 health institutions produced and legitimated new ways of seeing race and sexuality that split communities of color between a “multicultural mainstream” and a “permanent underclass” by the 1980s. He tracks how new health institutions and technologies -- academic medical centers, comprehensive health clinics, community mental health centers, emergency rooms, and medically underserved areas -- are co-constitutively produced with new “non-medical” institutions such as a modern skid row, newly expanded prison infrastructure, and enlarged police forces in global cities like Los Angeles. Ramos will be teaching two courses in the Department of Africana Studies: “Race, Sexuality, and Mental Disability History” (Fall 2017) and “African American Health Activism from Emancipation to AIDS” (Spring 2018).

Theresa Warburton
PhD, State University of New York/Buffalo

Theresa Warburton is an interdisciplinary literary scholar whose work focuses on the intersections of literature and radical social movements. She comes to Brown from Lummi/Coast Salish territory in Bellingham, WA where she is an Assistant Professor of English and Affiliate Faculty in the Program of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Western Washington University. Focusing on Native and Indigenous Literatures of North America and Oceania, her work explores both the historic and potential relationships between literary production and radical political intervention. Entitled The Politics of Make Believe: Answering Native Women’s Writing in Contemporary Anarchist Movements, her current book project explores how the political, aesthetic, and rhetorical interventions of contemporary Native women’s literatures can aid in addressing some of the limitations of current anti-authoritarian movements in North America. Along with Cowlitz writer Elissa Washuta, she is also the co-editor of the collection Exquisite Vessel: Shapes of Native Nonfiction, a collection of nonfiction writing by contemporary Native authors. This scholarly work is informed and shaped by her community work supporting movements for indigenous sovereignty and self-determination, prison abolition, and reproductive freedom. At Brown, she will teach classes in both English and American Studies that center on Native and Indigenous Studies, including foci on literature, gender and sexuality, and transnational activism and art.

Past Mellon Fellows