Graduate Fellows

  • Tanvir Ahmed

    2020-2021 GRADUATE FELLOW

    Tanvir Ahmed is a sixth-year doctoral candidate in the Department of Religious Studies. The subject of his dissertation, “Radical Shadows of God: Islam and Insurrection in Medieval Southwest Asia,” is the conceptualization and representation of rebellious behaviors in Persianate societies between the 13th and 16th centuries C.E. In it, he focuses on how the matter of rebellion was treated in historical, literary, legal, and hagiographical discourses produced across Afghan, Iranian, and Indian contexts of the period. The project seeks to reconstruct, as much as possible, the diverse mentalities of medieval rebels in an effort to shed some light on their understandings of the world. It hopes to demonstrate that such rebels challenged not only the dominant sociopolitical authorities in their contexts, but the social and discursive traditions supporting those authorities as well. The ultimate aim is to question narrative practices in the theorization of Islam that unduly privilege elite productions, at the cost of examining how Islam was engaged by artisans, farmers, dervishes, informal militias, and others in their pursuit of sociopolitical agendas and opposition to the rapacity of the ruling classes.

  • Greg Hitch

    2020-2021 GRADUATE FELLOW

    Gregory Hitch is a fifth-year doctoral candidate in American Studies, working at the intersection of Environmental History, Critical Environmental Justice, and Indigenous Science and Technology Studies. His dissertation is tentatively titled “The Forest Keepers: An Environmental History of the Menominee Nation from Colonization to Climate Change.” It investigates how European and American settler colonialism and capitalism disrupted Menominee relationships with the land, waterways, and ecosystems of the western Great Lakes region. Using archival and ethnographic methods, he tells a story of Menominee survival, adaptation, and resurgence through their historical and contemporary struggles for environmental justice. From the clear-cutting of ancestral Menominee forests to the impacts of climate change, he argues that settler colonialism is an act of environmental injustice felt first by Indigenous peoples. Within these struggles, however, he reveals how the Menominee utilized their ancestral epistemic frameworks to guide holistic, grassroots solutions to the interlocking and compounding impacts of colonization, climate change, and economic injustice. Indeed, Menominee ecological knowledge, organizing principles, and interspecies ethical frameworks underpin community actions in regenerative forestry, food sovereignty, renewable energy development, and sustainable housing. In this way, the Menominee have not simply opposed polluting industries, but have produced alternatives to extractive economic systems.

  • Kelly Nguyen

    2020-2021 GRADUATE FELLOW

    Kelly Nguyen is a sixth-year doctoral candidate in the Department of Classics. Her dissertation,“Vercingetorix in Vietnam: Classical Inheritance and Vietnamese Ambivalence,” explores the negotiation of Western imperialism, as mediated by Greco-Roman antiquity, by French-educated Vietnamese communities from the late-19th to the mid-20th century. The project investigates the various roles of Greco-Roman antiquity in Vietnam: as a tool of imperialism justifying mission civilisatrice, as a gatekeeper safeguarding the colonial hierarchy, as a threat to the survival of Sino-Vietnamese humanities, and as an intermediary between the cultures of the colonizer and the colonized. By examining these different roles in tandem and in tension with Vietnamese interculturality, this project demonstrates how Vietnamese political and intellectual leaders used their Classical education to negotiate their changing identities and create spaces for themselves within their colonial reality—spaces that often conflicted with each other. Deviating from conventional Classical reception, this project does not argue for the creation of a new tradition, but rather the subversion and suppression of a Eurocentric Classical tradition.

  • Allison Pappas

    2020-2021 GRADUATE FELLOW

    Allison Pappas is a fifth-year doctoral candidate in the Department of History of Art and Architecture, studying the history of photography. Her dissertation, “‘Considered only in its ultimate nature’: Photography between Object and Idea,” explores the conceptual frameworks through which we come to think about the medium in a certain way. Its chapters address predominant theoretical assumptions—the photograph’s causal or “indexical” character, its registration of time, its mechanical representation of vision, and its definition by analogy—through examination of photographic experimentation with light, scientific and artistic, that illuminates the medium’s elemental physical attributes. Unfolding from the 1830s to the present, each historically specific case study interrogates the development of particular processes and photographs in relation to a network of ideas, individuals, materials, and technologies, demonstrating how conceptions of the medium repeatedly come into being in an active and extended process. She proposes a dialogic model in which the ideas used to make sense of photography are actively formed in relation to the material photograph itself.