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CAORC Announces 2018 Fellowship Recipients

cashew plantations

CAORC is pleased to announce the 2018 award recipients for the Multi-Country Research Fellowship, National Endowment for the Humanities Senior Research Fellowship, and the Mary Ellen Lane Multi-Country Travel Award.

Multi-Country Research Fellowship

Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the Multi-Country Research Fellowship supports advanced regional or trans-regional research in the humanities, social sciences, or allied natural sciences for U.S. doctoral candidates and postdoctoral scholars. For the 25th competition cycle, eight fellowships were awarded to five postdoctoral scholars and three doctoral candidates. The program is funded by the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Mary Ellen Lane Multi-Country Travel Award

The 2018 Mary Ellen Lane Multi-Country Travel Award was granted to Jessica Bachman of the University of Washington. This award is granted to the highest-ranking Multi-Country Research fellow and provides $1,000 towards travel expenses. The award is named after CAORC’s founding director, Dr. Mary Ellen Lane.

National Endowment for the Humanities Senior Research Fellowship

The NEH Senior Research Fellowship supports advanced research in the humanities in Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Cyprus, Georgia, Indonesia, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, Senegal, Sri Lanka or Tunisia. Three fellowships were awarded to projects that will be carried out in Mexico, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

A complete list of past CAORC fellowship recipients can be found here.


Multi Country-Research Fellowship - 2018 Fellows

Jessica Bachman

Mary Ellen Lane Travel Award Recipient

Doctoral candidate, Department of History, University of Washington

Country(ies): India, Russia

Books across Borders: Science, Cold War Culture, and Soviet Book Reading in Postcolonial India, 1954-1991

This project examines the historical development of a scientific and technological ethos in postcolonial India by focusing on how young Indian readers engaged with translated Soviet children’s literature and illustrated textbooks at the historical conjuncture of the Cold War and decolonization. Between 1954, when Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev consolidated power in the Soviet Union, and 1991, the year marking both the disintegration of the USSR and India’s economic liberalization, a robust popular youth culture flourished in India that centered on Soviet translated books. My study of this popular culture, which millions of Indian boys, girls, and students from middle and lower middle class backgrounds helped to bring about, questions the conventional view that a male-dominated cohort of state leaders, institutions, and elite scientists were solely responsible for India’s establishment as a modern, industrialized nation with a “scientific temper.” Taking the rapid, post-independence rise in India’s literacy rate seriously, I ask why so many children gravitated toward Soviet books, what these books meant to them, and how their engagement with these texts was shaped by larger post-colonial economic and social forces. My approach to this topic is at once focused on the everyday, embodied experiences of reading and on the transnational operations and negotiations that undergirded the production of these books in the USSR. Drawing on a vast archival collection of readers’ letters, I will elucidate how childhood reading practices, book cultures, and Cold War cultural relations contributed to India’s forging of a global and national identity based on science and technology.

Ashley Eckhardt

Doctoral candidate, Department of Art History, Emory University

Country(ies): Greece, Italy, Turkey

The Crafting of Cult Statues in the High Hellenistic Period

Throughout the Greek and Roman worlds, a cult statue enshrined within a temple signified the physical manifestation of the deity in the human realm. Although both cult statues and temples were hallmarks of even the earliest periods of Greek and Roman history, a marked escalation in their production occurred during the High Hellenistic period (200-100 BCE). My dissertation, which centers around the manufacture of cult statues during this period, aims to understand how craftsmen used materials, technique, scale, and positioning within the temple to produce new foci of veneration. My research employs both archaeological and textual evidence to situate these works within their social, cultural, and political contexts, and develops a series of three-dimensional digital models to better interrogate the relationship between a statue and its surrounding architecture. The construction of sacred art and architecture illuminates sociocultural interactions among communities and power actors, as Hellenistic rulers, Greek city-states, and Roman generals engaged in civic development in different, but related ways. By bringing together material from across the Mediterranean, I argue that strong regional variation in political, economic, and social conditions served as catalysts rather than impediments for the accelerated production of cult buildings and statues in this period.

Rachel Kulick

Collaborating Geoarchaeologist, Department of Art, University of Toronto

Country(ies): Cyprus, Greece

Bronze Age Urban Environments on Crete and Cyprus: Investigating Socio-Environmental Interactions using Geoarchaeology

The overall aim of this study is to evaluate how particular Mediterranean microecologies of Late Bronze Age (LBA) cities influenced social behaviors by studying two separate Bronze Age cities, one on Crete and one on Cyprus. This inter-island geoarchaeological research will be the first of its kind to provide high-resolution soil micromorphological data to assist in understanding the emergence and transformations of some of the earliest urban centers in these regions. Research will be conducted at the Bronze Age urban site of Palaikastro, Crete, Greece, under director Carl Knappett (UofT) and at the Bronze Age urban site of Kalavasos-Ayios Dhimitrios, Cyprus, under director Kevin Fisher (UBC). The proposed geoarchaeological research will be conducted in collaboration with Francesco Berna (SFU), utilizing the facilities at UBC and SFU, as well as at UofT. Climate reconstruction research will be conducted in collaboration with Richard Peltier (UofT) and with CRANE (Computational Research on the Ancient Near East) Project (UofT). This application requests significant funding to support field research in both countries, to access resources at the ASCSA’s Wiener Laboratory and at CAARI, and to obtain high-precision radiocarbon dates and OSL dates from micro-contextual features, which will be simultaneously studied via thin section analysis. In addition to understanding the microecologies of two LBA cities, the project will establish (1) a new micro-contextual, geoarchaeological approach to understanding early cities in other geographic regions and periods, and (2) a new microecological approach to understanding ‘history in the Mediterranean’.

Rebecca Levitan

Doctoral candidate, History of Art Department, University of California, Berkeley

Country(ies): Greece, Italy, Jordan, Turkey

The Pasquino Group: The Use of a Hellenistic Sculpture as a Locus for Dialog and Resistance from Ancient Greece to the Renaissance

For the ancient Greek warrior fortunate enough to emerge from combat alive, little was more important than recovering the body of his fallen comrade. The classical motif of the living warrior carrying the dead is perhaps most evocatively captured by the ‘Pasquino Group’ - an ancient sculptural type inspired by Homeric Epic. In this study, the Pasquino Group and its extant ancient copies in Greece, Italy, Jordan, and Turkey provide a window into larger trends surrounding the use of classical sculptures as loci for dialog in the Mediterranean.

This project, which draws upon approaches from the fields of Art History and Archaeology, examines not only questions surrounding the sculpture’s creation in the Greek world, but also its Roman and Renaissance metamorphosis and reception. This includes display contexts as diverse as a hyper-elite imperial dining grotto in the 1st century C.E to a public gathering point for political discussion and anti-establishment organization in the 16th century. Rather than surveying a group of contemporary monuments at a particular time, this examination of a single monument in the longue duree allows for comparative threads to emerge. This cross-cultural and trans-temporal approach constitutes an effort to challenge priorities and approaches to the study of the major monuments of Classical Antiquity and their ‘afterlives.’

Mali Skotheim

Solmsen Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute for Research in the Humanities, University of Wisconsin Madison

Country(ies): Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Israel

Postclassical Performance: Greek Drama in the Hellenistic and Roman Era

I propose to conduct research in Greece, Egypt, Cyprus, and Israel in support of a monograph titled "Postclassical Performance: Greek Drama in the Hellenistic and Roman Era." This project is a socio-cultural history of the Greek dramatic festivals in the Eastern Mediterranean, integrating literary, epigraphic, and archaeological evidence, from the 4th century BCE through the 3rd century CE. Looking at developments in Greek festival culture, and the social dynamics at play in relation to the festivals, over nearly a millennium offers the distinct opportunity for a comparative approach. By researching the sites of dramatic performance across the ancient Mediterranean, I seek to understand how multiple imperial powers negotiated with local entities in order to support and manipulate pre-existing and newly founded local Greek religious festivals, from Alexander the Great in the 4th century BCE, to the Macedonian successor kingdoms in the Hellenistic period, to the Roman emperors and Roman imperial administration in the first three centuries CE. Local and regional variation is particularly important for the Hellenistic period, as performers tended to operate in regional networks, while in the Roman period, there was a move towards trans-regionalism. The monograph ends with the collapse of the pagan festivals in Late Antiquity, and with a consideration of what religious, social, political, and economic factors led to the end of dramatic performance in antiquity.

Cristina Stancioiu

Assistant Professor, Department of Art and Art History, College of William and Mary

Country(ies): Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro

Art and Identity in Eastern Europe, 14th-17th Centuries: The Romanian Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia in Context

This project examines eastern European architectural and artistic traditions embodied by late medieval monuments from Wallachia and Moldavia (modern-day Romania), in order to reassess their relationship to the Christian Orthodox spirituality and artistic traditions of the Byzantine Empire and the Balkan peninsula, and to introduce an overlooked body of evidence to the scholarly discourse on European pre-modern ecclesiastical architecture and devotional art by exploring issues of cultural identity in areas with mixed populations and cosmopolitan artistic impulses.

Visual and textual evidence reveals that artists and patrons were acutely aware of larger, regional trends, while remaining committed to their Byzantine legacy after the Empire’s fall in 1453. The postByzantine ethos gained new traction during early twentieth century, when these monuments reemerged as the true measure of all Romanian modern values. This body of evidence has been consistently excluded from scholarly debates—an omission that is largely due to a complicated modern history, and particularly to the intentional ideological iconoclasm carried out during Romania’s Communist period (1946-1989). Art, however, illustrates clearly the sophisticated negotiation between Byzantine and local tastes and interests, and reveals how ethnic, religious, and aesthetic identities maintained their integrity even as they merged towards a pan-European, modern culture. This study explores the central role of visual culture in asserting identity, and in shaping cultural reconstructions of the past, political propaganda, nation-state formation, and national identity.

Andrew Ward

Independent Scholar

Country(ies): Cyprus, Greece, Italy

Transculturality and Regional Adaptation: Cylinder Stamping in the Ancient Western Mediterranean

Connectivity and mobility in the ancient Mediterranean is an essential topic in scholarship, with implications for our contemporary world. The consumption and adaptation of Greek material culture by non-Greek peoples in ancient western Sicily and the wider ancient world has been an ongoing point of contention in scholarship – do Greek objects influence the peoples that use them, and by their movement does the Mediterranean become a "small world" that privileges shared universal practices over local tradition? Acknowledging that framing future discussion through postcolonialism only perpetuates the anachronistic colonialist model, this project builds on a dissertation that applies the materialist theory of transculturality to a long understudied class of terracotta objects distributed and adapted through ancient western Sicily: lustral basins, altars, and other ritual furniture impressed with cylinder-roll matrices. Imported from Corinth in the sixth century, the technique found widespread popularity across Greek, Phoenician, and indigenous communities, remaining a distinct regional tradition until the fourth century BCE.

A technique once taken as a signifier of Hellenization instead represents the development of a truly transcultural regional style. The proposed CAORC research project will build on this dissertation, comparing this transcultural regional style to other areas of the Mediterranean where the Corinthian tradition was co-opted for local use. Comparison will be made to the "non-Greek" milieu of Etruria, to the "Greek" milieu of colonial Calabria, as well as to variant traditions in mainland Greece, Cyprus, and Crete, demonstrating how a series of unique regional adaptations have been misinterpreted as homogenizing "Mediterraneanization" or "Hellenization."

Julie Weise

Associate Professor of History, Department of History, University of Oregon

Country(ies): France, Mexico, Spain

Citizenship Displaced: Migrant Political Cultures in the Era of State Control

Since the late-nineteenth century but most intensely since World War II, nation-states have focused their efforts on not only keeping unwanted migrants out but just as crucially, recruiting and managing the foreign laborers they have wanted to bring in. Guest worker programs have offered politicians the tempting promise of importing labor while ensuring that explicitly temporary workers would not threaten national identities.

The Swiss social critic Max Frisch aptly wrote of guest workers in 1965, “We called for labor, but human beings came.” Yet, we know little about these human beings’ own perspectives on guest worker programs. My current historical research project asks how such perspectives can help us better understand the roots and durability of the guest worker idea and the continued growth of these programs despite their obvious shortcomings. It explores postwar migrants’ interpretations of migration in relation to modern intellectual discourses such as citizen/alien, modernity/backwardness, communism/capitalism, racial exclusion/racial liberalism, masculine/feminine, and slavery/freedom. I focus my archival and oral history research on a trio of case studies: migrations from Mexico to the United States, from Spain to France, and from Malawi to South Africa during the 1940s-70s. My book will offer comparative frameworks to historians of the United States, Europe, and Africa and contribute to the fields of Transnational History, Citizenship Studies, and Global Migration Studies.


National Endowment for the Humanities Senior Research Fellowship - 2018 Fellows

Justin Henry

Instructor, Department of Religious Studies, Loyola University Chicago

Country of research: Sri Lanka

Imagining History: Cultural Interface, Religious Identity, and Historiography in Premodern Sri Lanka

The study examines competing and coalescing narratives concerning the distant past in Sri Lankan Buddhist and Hindu literature from the 14th–16th centuries, with the intention of demonstrating that a more capacious view of the island’s early history emerged during this period (one that extended chronologically much earlier than the lifetime of the Buddha and the peopling of the island according to the standard Pali Buddhist account). Novel visions of the island’s distant past I identify as products of literary “historical imagination,” working to reconcile new demographic realities with the Pali-Sinhala chronicle tradition and other components of the Sri Lankan Buddhist and Tamil Hindu literary repertoires. I argue that, while some of the reconfigured visions of the island’s past did not survive much beyond the 16th century, others did, enacting a fundamental change in the way that Sinhala Buddhists perceived of the island’s history, and of themselves.

Allyson M. Poska

Professor of History, Department of History and American Studies, University of Mary Washington

Country of Research: Mexico

Contested Equality: Smallpox Vaccination in the Spanish Empire (1803–1810)

In 1803, Charles IV of Spain initiated a campaign against smallpox, opening vaccination rooms across the peninsula and sending the cowpox vaccine around the globe with the Royal Philanthropic Expedition. As it saved lives, the campaign challenged traditional race, gender, and political hierarchies, implicitly affirming certain Enlightenment ideals of individual rights and human equality while also asserting the monarch’s control over the bodies of his subjects through the political paternalism of the Enlightened despot. Because of its global reach and engagement of the diverse populations of the Spanish empire, the vaccination campaign offers a lens through which to examine the unintended consequences of Enlightenment ideas of equality and how they were contested in late imperial society.

Anna Stirr

Associate Professor of Asian Studies, Department of Asian Studies, University of Hawaii

Country of Research: Nepal

Performing Aspirations: Love and Revolution in Nepali Progressive Song

This research project is an ethnography and cultural history of love and utopian ideals in the “progressive song” movement of Nepal’s political left (1960–present). Its theoretical emphasis is on the identifications and tensions between private and public, intimate and political, contending that performance mediates these relationships in unique ways. I examine how Nepali communist artists, associated with varied political parties and perspectives with different strands of global connections, use song and dance to express ideals and shape their social worlds anew. I center my analysis on the role performance plays in creating the intersubjective spaces for such work, asking how different strands of Nepali leftist thought shape ways of imagining a transformative politics at the level of intimate interactions.

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