Mellon Graduate Fellows in Collaborative Humanities

  • 2019–2020 Mellon Graduate Fellow in Collaborative Humanities

    Nicholas Andersen is a doctoral student in the Department of Religious Studies. He works primarily in the fields of modern religious thought and ethics, with special interests in race, empire, and the 19th- and 20th-century Americas. His secondary interests include theory and method in the study of religion, colonial studies, and political theory. In particular, his research explores how progressive religious traditions’ invocations of the sacred serve to instantiate particular divisions of humanity, such as race, gender, and class, and thus how their calls for the democratization of religious life are imbricated with modern imperial formations.

  • 2019–2020 Mellon Graduate Fellow in Collaborative Humanities

    Kevin Ennis is a doctoral student in the Department of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies from nearby Cranston, RI. His primary research interests lie in Amazonian literature and ecocriticism, representations of indigenous peoples in contemporary Brazilian literature, and the role of the city in Amazonia. His work in the Cogut’s Environmental Humanities seminar in the Spring 2019 term has led him to begin to integrate ecocritical approaches from outside Amazonia into his research. Among his other interests are the relationship between ethnography and literature and Galician-Portuguese cultural exchanges, particularly the influence of medieval Galician-Portuguese lyric poetry on Iberian literature and art. Before coming to Brown, Ennis earned a B.A. with distinction in both Latin American Studies and Portuguese from Yale University and served as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant at the Polytechnic Institute of Bragança in Bragança, Portugal.

  • 2019–2020 Mellon Graduate Fellow in Collaborative Humanities

    Melaine Ferdinand-King is a doctoral student in the Department of Africana Studies. Her research interests include political theory and action, Black feminist theory, and visual and performance art. She is currently exploring the role the arts play in creating new political visions and histories for marginalized groups and the impact race, gender, and sexual identity have on the operation of power and resistance. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Spelman College, where she concentrated in Women’s Studies and African Diaspora & the World.

  • 2019–2020 Mellon Graduate Fellow in Collaborative Humanities

    Nomaan Hasan is a doctoral student in the Department of Anthropology. His current work centers on the epistemological recuperation of the non-rational as performed in the context of anthropological scholarship on ritual. Through ethnographic work at a Sufi shrine in north India, Hasan studies the practices of healing that residents engage in, attempting to account for moments of uncertainty, inefficacy, and failure. Prior to Brown, Hasan obtained a B.A. in Political Science and an M.A. and in Sociology from the University of Delhi.

  • 2019–2020 Mellon Graduate Fellow in Collaborative Humanities

    Carolina-María Mendoza is a doctoral student at the Department of Religious Studies specializing in Islam, Society, and Culture. Her research focuses on local and diasporic communities of early modern Iberian Muslims, as well as the literatures produced by these communities in Arabic and Aljamiado. She is interested in the relationship between language and religious identity, minority-majority relations in the early modern world, and the ways in which collective exile affects the production of history. Before coming to Brown, Mendoza obtained a B.A. in International Relations from Florida International University and an M.A. in Islamic Studies from The George Washington University.

  • 2019–2020 Mellon Graduate Fellow in Collaborative Humanities

    Michael Paninski is a Ph.D. student in the Department of German Studies. After working as a cameraman for national and international documentary film productions, Paninski studied Theater, Film, and Media Studies, German Studies, and Philosophy at the University of Vienna, where he received his M.A. in 2015 with a thesis entitled “Hermeneutics Of Failure: Underway to Bertolt Brecht’s Fatzer-fragment.” Michael Paninski’s research interests range from the literary legacy of German Romanticism via the broad operational areas of Critical Theory to current questions of occupation, appropriation, and possession in literary and political theory, as well as Continental Philosophy. At Brown University, he explores and links contemporary discourses and narratives of human rights, justice, and violence with literary texts and visual arts (photography, film, video art). His questions, scattered throughout the areas of poststructuralist and postmodern theories of literature and language, circle around the incalculable element within language—a critical residual, remnant, or relic (Rest)—and around the question of what happens when the intervention of this Other is not excluded from the calculus or economy of the political.

  • 2019–2020 Mellon Graduate Fellow in Collaborative Humanities

    Michael A. Putnam is a doctoral student in the Department of Religious Studies. His interests lie at the intersection of theory of religion, religious ethics, political theory, and the environmental humanities. His primary research explores the religious dimensions of environmental politics in the United States. Starting from the observation that American environmentalism has often been inflected with a certain religiosity, he examines how various paradigms for conceiving religion have accompanied environmental writing and activism. His other areas of interest include the religious ethics of American Romanticism, the relationship between religion and science, and critical theories of secularism. Before coming to Brown, Michael studied at Whitman College (B.A.) and Harvard Divinity School (MTS).

  • 2019–2020 MELLON GRADUATE FELLOW IN COLLABORATIVE HUMANITIES

    Urszula “Ula” Rutkowska is a doctoral student in the Department of English at Brown University. Her research interests include war and its afterlife, violence and nonviolence, and questions related to cosmopolitanism and citizenship. In the Spring of 2019, she took her interest in the intersection of literature and politics and developed her own course, titled “The Last Eighteen Years: Literature and Conflict in the 21st Century.” The course covered a wide-array of topics, from the war on terror to the financial crisis and mass incarceration. Rutkowska received her M.Phil. in Modern and Contemporary English Literature at University of Cambridge and her B.A. in English and Politics at Brandeis University.

  • Photo of Pedro Almeida

    2018–2019 Mellon Graduate Fellow in Collaborative Humanities

    Pedro Almeida is a doctoral student and teaching assistant in the Department of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies, and holds a Mellon Graduate Fellowship in Collaborative Humanities (2018–19) with the Cogut Institute at Brown. His research focuses on issues of representation, identity, transnationalism, and coloniality in Brazil, Portugal, and Angola through travel writing and photography from late nineteenth to early twentieth century. The development and appropriation of the ideas of speed, temporalities, and connectedness are paramount to his work. Almeida’s interests also include literary theory and intellectual history, as well as Portuguese and Brazilian cinema.

  • Photo of Chris DiBona

    2018–2019 Mellon Graduate Fellow in Collaborative Humanities

    Chris DiBona is a doctoral student in Religion and Critical Thought. He previously earned a B.A. in Philosophy from Trinity College (Hartford, CT) and a M.A. in Philosophy from Boston College. His primary interests are in modern and contemporary philosophy of religion, political philosophy, and religious ethics, especially as they pertain to Christian thought. He also has interests in aesthetics, environmental ethics, and philosophy of nature.

  • 2018–2019 Mellon Graduate Fellow in Collaborative Humanities

    Jeff Feldman is a doctoral student in Political Science. His research interests lie in the political dimensions of the philosophy of history, particularly in the ways that different conceptions of history shape our notions of politics and political action in the present. He holds a B.A. in Economics from Amherst College.

  • Photo of Aaron Jacobs

    2018–2019 Mellon Graduate Fellow in Collaborative Humanities

    Aaron Jacobs is a doctoral student in the Department of History and a historian of American politics and culture. His current research focuses on mysticism and the politics of violence within far-right extremist groups in the United States in the 1920s and 1930s. He is also working on a different project that concerns the relationship between anti-imperialist politics and left countercultural movements of the 1960s and 1970s, and is presently conducting an oral history project on Vietnam War resisters who relocated to Canada as an act of protest.

  • Photo of Jacquelynn Jones

    2018–2019 Mellon Graduate Fellow in Collaborative Humanities

    Jacquelynn Jones is a second year Ph.D. student in the Department of American Studies, where she is currently completing an M.A. in the Public Humanities. Jones’s academic research focuses on racial mixture, ethnic blurring, and material/visual culture. In Public Humanities, her work seeks to build community through art, creative writing, and education—drawing inspiration from everyday histories, practices, and experiences of people of color.

  • Photo of Irina Kalinka

    2018–2019 Mellon Graduate Fellow in Collaborative Humanities

    Irina Kalinka is a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Modern Culture and Media, where her research focuses on the intersections between political theory and digital media, exploring the evolving ways information gets disseminated and consumed in the digital attention economy. She wants to ask, among other things, how political imaginaries and subject positions are influenced by online public discourses and platforms largely built on underlying ideals of operational compliance, speed, standardization, optimization, and behavior modification. Her educational background is in literature, political theory, and international law and she has previously worked as an elected official in German local politics, in climate science communication, as well as at the Center for Jewish History in New York City.

  • Photo of Mariz Kelada

    2018–2019 Mellon Graduate Fellow in Collaborative Humanities

    Mariz Kelada is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Anthropology at Brown University and is simultaneously pursuing her M.A. in the Department of Modern Culture and Media, having received the Open Graduate Education Fellowship (2018). Her academic work is deeply intertwined and fueled by her life and work as a cultural practitioner in Egypt, where she has worked on diverse projects and performances and co-managed the Independent Film School of Cairo in 2015. Her Ph.D. research focuses on the makings of the political economy of the film industry in Egypt, through a specific engagement with the livelihoods of its technical workers, in addition to theories and methodologies of visual anthropology. Kelada completed a B.A. in English Literature at Cairo University in 2011 and an M.A. in Anthropology and Sociology at the American University in Cairo 2014.

  • 2018–2019 Mellon Graduate Fellow in Collaborative Humanities

    N’Kosi Oates is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Africana Studies. Working within twentieth-century US history, his research engages US black social movements, black radicalism, and its intersections with History, Philosophy, and Religious Studies. Oates earned his B.A. with distinction in Political Science and Communication from the University of Delaware. He also holds a M.A. in Religion from Yale University Divinity School, which he combined with a concentration in African American Studies.

  • Photo of Ahona Palchoudhuri

    2018–2019 Mellon Graduate Fellow in Collaborative Humanities

    Ahona Palchoudhuri is a doctoral student in the Department of Anthropology. Her interests lie at the intersection of aesthetics, ethics, and the environmental humanities. Her current project looks at seasonality, ritual, and forms of musical performance in rural West Bengal. Ahona uses the Indian Classical monsoon raaga Malhar to examine the ways in which sound and rain attune to another in everyday life. By doing so, she hopes to work towards an understanding of the “classical” that is rooted in its embodied relation to forms of life, and human and non-human rhythms. Before coming to Brown University, Palchoudhuri studied English Literature at Delhi University, Social Anthropology at the London School of Economics, and taught critical writing at Ashoka University.

  • Photo of Mirjam Paninski

    2018–2019 Mellon Graduate Fellow in Collaborative Humanities

    Mirjam Paninski is a doctoral candidate in the Department of German Studies. She studied Comparative Literature, German Studies, Aesthetics, and the Philosophy of Culture at the University of Vienna. Her research interests include translation and translatability of and within twentieth-century poetry, the gaps of language, the manifestation of trauma and loss of speech within literature and multilingual literature by authors such as Paul Celan, Ilse Aichinger, Ingeborg Bachmann, Yoko Tawada, and Gertrude Stein. She is a founding member of the poetry translation collective Versatorium, Vienna. She has also been working in contemporary arts, curating and co-curating transdisciplinary art shows, conferences, and workshops in Vienna, Beirut, Istanbul, Tbilisi and Zagreb.

  • Photo of Jan Tabor

    2018–2019 Mellon Graduate Fellow in Collaborative Humanities

    Jan Georg Tabor is a doctoral student in the Department of German Studies. He studied German and Philosophy (B.A. 2012) as well as Ethics of Textual Cultures (M.A. 2015) at the Friedrich-Alexander-University-Erlangen-Nuremberg and the Charles University in Prague. His research interests include (philosophy of) philology, theories of nature and techne, literature and religion (particularly Mysticism), institutional sociology/history, Goethe, Heidegger, Wittgenstein, and Benjamin.

  • 2017–2018 Mellon Graduate Fellow in Collaborative Humanities

    A doctoral student in the Department of Anthropology, Yifeng Cai holds a B.A. in English from Renmin University in China and an M.S. in Education from University of Pennsylvania. He was also an exchange student of the Humanities at University of Chicago in 2012-13. "The commerce of sex" has been an anchor point for intellectual explorations across various academic disciplines. He is currently looking at male-to-male transactional sex in contemporary urban China. More specifically, he is interested in how global capitalism and technological advancements transform queer love and intimacy in the everyday life, producing the "indistinction of love, intimacy and (monetary) transaction."

  • 2017–2018 Mellon Graduate Fellow in Collaborative Humanities

    Kareem Estefan is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Modern Culture and Media, where he researches contemporary art, speculative fiction, and experimental documentary films that engage histories of conflict, displacement, and dispossession in the Levant. He is co-editor, with Carin Kuoni and Laura Raicovich, of Assuming Boycott: Resistance, Agency, and Cultural Production (OR Books, 2017). His writing has appeared in publications including Art in America, BOMB, Frieze, Ibraaz, and The New Inquiry, among others. Estefan holds an M.F.A. in Art Criticism and Writing from the School of Visual Arts and a B.A. in Comparative Literature from New York University.

  • 2017–2018 Mellon Graduate Fellow in Collaborative Humanities

    Chumie Juni is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Religious Studies, subfield Religion and Critical Thought. Her research lies at the intersection of religious ethics, Western philosophy, and Jewish thought. She seeks to explore questions of religious normativity and subjectivity and the various forces that shape the Western religious and ethical subject, including tradition, narrative, and community, as well as power, authority, and gender. She hopes to explore these questions through an interdisciplinary study of modern Jewish halakha (religious law), bringing to bear New Hegelian approaches, recent developments in Christian theology, post-structuralism, and literary theory. Authors of interest include Emmanuel Levinas, Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, G.W.F. Hegel, and Robert Brandom, among others. Other research interests include philosophical aesthetics and feminist philosophies.

  • 2017–2018 Mellon Graduate Fellow in Collaborative Humanities

    Stephen Taylor Marsh is a doctoral student in the Department of English. His research focuses on the theorization of democracy as a rhetorical and narrative form in the literature and criticism of the twentieth century United States, especially its relationship with conceptions of the "American ideal" and the public intellectual. More broadly, he engages debates around the status of critique in contemporary humanities scholarship. His work on the resistance to biographical criticism in David Foster Wallace's fiction has been published in Biography. He holds a B.A. in Literature from Yale University and a M.St. in English and American Studies from the University of Oxford.

  • 2017–2018 Mellon Graduate Fellow in Collaborative Humanities

    Caleb Murray is a doctoral student in the Department of Religious Studies. He has particular interests in philosophical and theological accounts of subjectivity, the relationship between aesthetics and ethics, and environmental humanities. Recently, his work on gender, relational ethics, and religious ecstasy was published in Literature and Theology. His current research includes an exploration of feminist and queer theological accounts of sacrifice and submission alongside Judith Butler's work on vulnerability; an analysis of the anti-racist potential of Simone Weil's environmental aesthetics; and a reading of environmental crisis in Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping. He holds a B.A. in English from Wittenberg University and an MTS from Harvard Divinity School.

  • Photo of Miriam Rainer

    2017–2018 Mellon Graduate Fellow in Collaborative Humanities

    Miriam Rainer is a doctoral student in the Department of German Studies. She studied American Studies, German, and Comparative Literature in Hamburg and Vienna. She received her M.A. for a thesis on hesitation in Walter Benjamin's translation texts, published in 2015. She is a co-founder of Vienna-based Versatorium, a translation and education project seeking to generate non-hierarchical communal spaces for study. Presently, her research focuses on notions of Rat [counsel, council] as both, linguistic phenomenon and para-individual political body, in the works of Hannah Arendt and Franz Kafka; the intersection of philology, ethics, and legal theory; nonviolence in language.

  • 2017–2018 Mellon Graduate Fellow in Collaborative Humanities

    Nicole Sintetos is pursuing a Ph.D. in American Studies and a M.A. in Public Humanities at Brown University, where her scholarship considers the interplay of race, empire, and the built environment in the immediate postwar period. This past summer, she led an interdisciplinary and collaborative two week workshop to sites of Japanese incarceration stemming from Phoenix, Arizona to Bainbridge Island, Washington, alongside doctoral students in History, Anthropology, Political Science, and American Studies. Before coming to Brown, she taught high school English and History in New Hampshire.