Postdoctoral Fellows

2017–2018 Postdoctoral Fellows

Lynnette Arnold | Claire Brault | Hongwei Thorn Chen | Luis Miguel Estrada OrozcoDora IvaniševićRyan Mann-HamiltonIris Montero Sobrevilla | Ketaki Pant | Nic Ramos | Theresa Warburton

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation  supports two-year postdoctoral fellowships in the humanities, the humanistic social sciences, or new fields with close ties to the humanities. The recipient of a third five-year grant, the Cogut Institute brings to campus fellows that enrich the curriculum and provide students with new areas for study and research. A list of past Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship recipients is available here.

Postdoctoral Fellows in International Humanities explore and enhance Brown's commitment to the humanities in an international context. A list of past International Humanities Postdoctoral Fellowship recipients is available here.

Fellows teach one class per semester, participate in the life of their home departments and join the weekly Fellows' Seminar at the Cogut Institute.

2015–2018 Postdoctoral Fellow

Iris Montero Sobrevilla
PhD, Darwin College, University of Cambridge
Cogut Institute for the Humanities
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.

2016–2018 Mellon Fellows

Claire Brault
PhD, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Political Science
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
Africana Studies
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
History and Center for Contemporary South Asia
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. 

2017–2019 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
Africana Studies
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
English and American Studies
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.

2017–2019 Postdoctoral Fellows in International Humanities

Hongwei Thorn Chen
PhD, University of Minnesota
Modern Culture and Media
Hongwei Thorn Chen is a film and media historian interested in the relationship between moving images, sound media, and institutional power in peripheral contexts of uneven development. His book project "Moving Pictures, Empty Words: Audio-visual Instruction in China, 1900–1952," based on his doctoral dissertation, examines the role played by cinema, radio, and magic lantern in Chinese instructional practices in the first half of the twentieth century. Drawing on archival research and methods of institutional history and media archaeology, the book approaches Chinese audiovisual education as a case study of global shifts in the practice of institutional power, in particular the ascendance of the "object lesson" as a paradigmatic site for mediating and managing experience in modernity. At Brown, Thorn will teach courses in film and media studies as well as prepare his book manuscript and articles based on his research for publication. He will also begin work on his second project, a transpacific genealogy of cold war media governance. 

orozco130x195Luis Miguel Estrada Orozco
PhD, University of Cincinnati
Hispanic Studies
Luis Miguel Estrada Orozco is a writer, translator and a scholar specialized in Mexican and Latin American Literature. His doctoral dissertation explores the portrayals of the Mexican boxer in Mexican literature, reviewing paradigmatic representations in cinema, theater, and press. The apparent naiveté of pop-culture icons presents an opportunity for addressing subjects like national identities, social inclusion, and perceptions of hegemonic heteronormativity through appealing icons. The central argument is that the boxer has been an ambiguous icon in evolution. In one hand, it is a 20th century figure prone to a catastrophic failure often used to portrait national stereotypes that emphasize shortcomings linked to social class, race and gender prejudices. However, in the 21st century the Mexican boxer has been used as a champion-figure and a vehicle of criticism towards drug-related violence, gender issues, and life on the Mexico-United States border. Estrada’s research draws from several fields such as journalism, sociology, film studies, hermeneutics, and history of sports focused on the inclusion of ethnic minorities. His scholar explorations also include topics such as violence in post-Revolutionary Mexican literature, masculinity in Latin America, memory, national identity, and transatlantic studies. His collections of short stories had received several awards in Mexico, his home country. His work has been included in anthologies both in Mexico and Spain.

Dora Ivanišević
PhD, Central European University, Budapest
Religious Studies and Classics
Dora Ivanišević is a student of Roman Empire and early Christianity, and she is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the area of culture and ideology of writing in the ancient Mediterranean at the Departments of Classics and Religious Studies. Before coming to Brown, she completed her MA and PhD studies at the Medieval Studies Department at Central European University/Budapest, and her undergraduate studies in Latin Philology, History and Archaeology at University of Zagreb. Her dissertation, “Epitaphic Culture and Social History in Late Antique Salona (ca. 250 – 600 CE),” re-considers various concepts of “epigraphic culture” and analyzes changing patterns of commemoration across different epigraphic and religious contexts by examining early and late imperial Latin and Greek epigraphic record of Salona, the principal city of Roman Dalmatia. Building upon her doctoral research, she plans to prepare a book manuscript at Brown; she will also teach courses (“Ancient Christian Culture” in Fall 2017) and participate in the digital epigraphy projects in her home departments.