Current Fellows 2012-2013
Michael Armstrong Roche
Associate Professor of Romance Languages & Literatures
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My recent scholarship has been focused primarily on what are often called Cervantes's "other works," those novels (La Galatea, Persiles), novellas, and plays that tend to get overlooked in the long shadow cast by Don Quijote. A book called Cervantes' Epic Novel: Empire, Religion, and the Dream Life of Heroes in 'Persiles' (U of Toronto P, 2009) reads Cervantes's final novel in several contexts: it links Persiles's narrative art to the major political, religious, social, and literary debates of late 16th- and early 17th-century Spain, as well as to the verse and prose epic traditions represented primarily by Homer, Vergil, Heliodorus, and Tasso. In that book I set out to show that Persiles is epic not only in its formal and ideological ambition but also in its aspiration to embrace all of the author himself--including the overriding desire to entertain. For several years now I have been at work on a book provisionally entitled Cervantes Plays: Ironies of History on the Early Modern Stage. It takes a close look at Cervantes's full-length plays and their imaginative, often experimental, and still-compelling dramatic engagement with key historical debates about Habsburg political mythmaking, Algerian captivity, the gypsy community, the rise of the commercial stage, marriage choice, and women's work. This book has emerged from the Theater Without Borders research collaborative, a group committed to exploring the international and comparative impact of early modern drama, especially--but not exclusively--of England, Spain, Italy, and France (see our website at www.nyu.edu/projects/theaterwithoutborders/index.html). Earlier I was contributing author to the scholarly catalogue for an exhibition I helped organize called Goya and the Spirit of Enlightenment, which could be seen at the Prado, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the Metropolitan Museum in NYC (1988-1989). Throughout, I have tried to practice a kind of scholarship that moves fluidly from text to context and back again (reading the text with and against the pressures of the moment and then reading that moment through the lens of the text); that draws on close reading in multiple disciplines (history of literature and art, comparative literature, genre theory, political, social, and economic history, history of ideas and philosophy, theology and religious history, and jurisprudence); and that is informed by textual, historical, and theoretical approaches to literature. Finally, I have looked for ways to bring my scholarly interests to a wider audience, serving--for instance--as general editor of three Let's Go travel guides (Let's Go France 1986, Let's Go California and the Pacific Northwest 1986, and Let's Go Spain & Portugal 1992).
Assistant Professor of Anthropology
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I am a historical archaeologist, whose primary research focus is on the archaeology of 19th century Omani colonialism in East Africa. I have directed fieldwork projects on Zanzibar and mainland Tanzania, and have participated in a wide range of archaeological projects in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Bahrain, Ghana, England, Scotland and Ireland.
My Ph.D (University of Manchester, 2006) was the first to explore the archaeology of 19th century clove plantations on Zanzibar, investigating the ways in which the materiality of plantation sites related to the social changes of the islands in the 19th century. It was awarded the Society for Historical Archaeology 2008 Dissertation Prize. I am currently revising this into a monograph, to be titled Capitalism and Cloves. This explores the relationships between material culture and identities during the social upheavals experienced by East African residents during the 19th century. I have continued this East African research with field projects in Western Tanzania, also looking at the impact of the caravan trade and Omani colonialism on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. My future research in this area plans to look at the archaeology of urban Zanzibar in the 19th and early-20th centuries.
I am also the co-author (with Dr. Eleanor Casella) of The Alderley Sandhills Project: An Archaeology of Community Life in (Post-) Industrial England, (2010, Manchester University Press). Based on interpretations of findings from the Alderley Sandhills Project, this is the first book-length archaeology of a 17th through 20th century household site in Great Britain. I am the co-editor (with Dr. Lindsay Weiss) of The Archaeology of Capitalism in Colonial Contexts: Postcolonial Historical Archaeologies (Springer, 2011).
My research draws on social theory within archaeology, particularly the way in which material culture interacts with individual and group identity. I am also interested in theoretical issues within historical archaeology, especially the way in which colonialism and capitalism were created in local contexts, which in turn shaped the global dynamics of these processes.
At Wesleyan, I teach courses on historical archaeology, African and African Diaspora archaeology, and feminist and gender archaeology, and lab classes in archaeology based on previously excavated material from downtown Middletown,. In spring 2012 I am beginning to teach and work on a community archaeology project based at the ‘Beman Triangle’ - the triangle of land between Vine St, Cross St and Knowles Ave. The houses built on this land from the 1840s were home to a community of African Americans living in Middletown, tied to the AME Zion Church. Later the site was occupied by European immigrants to Middletown, as the city industrialized.
Matthew Carl Garrett
Assistant Professor of English
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Matthew Garrett's writing and teaching concern the relationship between literary form and social history. He is completing a book, "Episodic Poetics in the Early American Republic," which traces an early American and transatlantic culture of the episode across the period's major genres of prose writing -- from wildly plotted novels to peculiarly constructed memoirs and linked serial essays. The book shows how, in ways both magisterial and mundane, social and political conflicts took variegated shape in a literary culture founded upon the episode, that omnipresent narrative unit so often taken for granted by writers and readers. The result is literary history recounted not as the easy victory of grand nationalist ambitions, but rather as a series of social struggles expressed through writers' recurring engagement with incompletely integrated forms. Professor Garrett's recent essay projects include studies of the relationship between the money form and the emergence of the notion of "career" in Benjamin Franklin's "Autobiography;" of ideas about social competition in relation to the political economy of mothering in the eighteenth century; and of the way serialized histories in the 1780s produced an account of the American Revolution as a "pseudo-revolution." He teaches courses on American literature and literary theory, including courses on the literature of revolution, transatlantic poetry and poetics, the novel, and narrative theory.
Assistant Professor of Sociology
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Associate Professor of English
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Associate Professor of English and Women's Studies Indira Karamcheti is an important new voice in the field of postcolonial literature. Her broad ranging interests in the geographics of marginality encompasses Caribbean and African-American literatures.
Andrew W. Mellon Fellows
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He holds a Ph.D. in History of Consciousness from UC Santa Cruz and an M.A. in Performance Studies from NYU. He is an editor for the peer-reviewed journals Total Art and Museum and Curatorial Studies Review. Gomoll's research has been published in numerous journals, edited volumes and exhibition catalogs, and he was a guest editor for a special issue of the journal Collections on the topic of curating (2011). His current research and practice explore possibilities for incorporating feminist, postcolonial, and performance theory in exhibitionary production and critique. He is developing with Lissette Olivares a major eight-gallery exhibition on Chilean political performance that will occupy the entire second floor of the Allende Museum in Santiago (2013-2014), after which it will travel internationally.
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She holds a BA in African American Studies from Harvard University and a PhD in American Studies (expected 2012) from Yale University. She works on the history of American capitalism, particularly its intellectual, spatial and visual aspects. Her manuscript-in-progress, Offshore Onshore: A History of the Free Zone on U.S. Soil, traces the history of extraterritorial warehousing from the age of Manifest Destiny to the age of Walmart.