Current Fellows Fall 2019

Faculty Fellows

Abigail Huston Boggs

Assistant Professor of Sociology

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    • A scholar of feminist and queer studies with a focus on the transnational dimensions of the contemporary United States university, Abigail Boggs joined the Wesleyan Sociology Department in the fall of 2016. She is currently revising her first book manuscript, “American Futures: International Students and the U.S. University," which provides a critical genealogy of the figure of the international student in university policy, federal immigration law, and U.S. popular culture. Her writing has appeared in the Barnard Center for Research and Women's Scholar and the Feminist, American Quarterly, and Feminist Studies as well as the edited collection Mobile Desires: The Politics and Erotics of Mobility Justice. She is on the editorial board for Abolition: A Journal of Insurgent Politics and has served on the steering committee for the Five College Center for Research on Women and the American Studies Association's Program Committee. Boggs earned her B.A. in Women and Gender Studies from Wesleyan University and her Ph.D. in Cultural Studies from the University of California, Davis. She's thrilled to return to Wesleyan and eager to meet her new colleagues and students.


Mathew Carl Garrett

Associate Professor of English

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    • Matthew Garrett's writing and teaching concern the relationship between literary form and social history. He is the author of Episodic Poetics: Politics and Literary Form after the Constitution (Oxford University Press, 2014) and editor of The Cambridge Companion to Narrative Theory (2018), and his essays have appeared in American Literary HistoryAmerican QuarterlyCritical InquiryELH, the Journal of Cultural EconomyRadical History Review, and other journals. Garrett's current book project, "Reading Is Theft," examines the history and ethics of reading since the sixteenth century. At Wesleyan, he directs the Certificate in Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory.


Jennifer Tucker

Associate Professor of History

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    •  The varied visual worlds of photographic & cinematic evidence in the fields of science, law, forensic medicine, news reporting, public trials, and the environment throughout history comprise the work of visual historian Jennifer Tucker.

      As an historian of 19th- and early 20th-century British society, Tucker’s research interests have ranged from the role of photography in scientific discovery and exploration to photos as tools of law for evidence (mugshots, crime scenes and surveillance) and how cameras in the courtroom have transformed the system. Recently, her work has included a project — “Science Against Industry: Photographic Technologies and the Visual Politics of Pollution Reform”  — that traces the historical roots of the use of visual evidence in environmental science and pollution reform, and explores the visual representation in chemical climatology and the presentation of visual exhibits in Victorian courtroom debates over air and river pollution.  She is also working on a new book-length study about the history of facial recognition photography, “Caught on Camera."

      Tucker’s first book Nature Exposed: Photography as Eyewitness in Victorian Science explored the debates about photography and visual objectivity in Victorian science and popular culture from astronomy and meteorology to bacteriology and spiritualism. As a Senior Fulbright Scholar in the UK she completed the research on her second book-length project "Facing Facts: Photography, Popular Culture, and Facial Recognition Identity in Victorian Law." This study of Victorian identity and imposture in the new age of photography uses hundreds of photographs, engravings, and other visual materials associated with the high-profile trial to show how photographs and their circulation and commentary upon them shaped the meaning of legal decision making - and how caricatures,  news illustrations and other artistic responses to the Tichborne Claimant trial contributed to its becoming a landmark case in Victorian society and law.  Her latest project is about chemical waste and photography in late Victorian society and an essay on this topic is forthcoming in "Labor Laid Waste," for a special issue of Labor and Working Class History. With Jennifer Mnookin, she is producing a Photography and Law Reader, 1839-Present (Bloomsbury, forthcoming) spanning landmark legal cases where photography and law have tangled in UK and US courts, from debates over moral content and obscenity to surveillance to intellectual property to evidence in the courtroom and photographers' rights to take pictures.  

      A frequent contributor to newspapers, journals, essay compilations and Connecticut Public Radio, and BBC Radio 3 , Tucker is a recognized expert in photography and law, technologies of vision in Victorian art and science, 19th-century environmental history, and guns in American culture. Some of her writings have been for major newspapers, including the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Time, and The Boston Globe. (c.v. with some links below)

      Her recent research has brought her to the study of the history, politics, legal history, and visual culture of firearms. The editor of a forthcoming book on history and British and American gun laws, A Right to Bear Arms? The Contested Role of History in Today's Second Amendment Debate (forthcoming with Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, 2019), she currently talks with museum curators of firearms collections about narrating guns in history. A 2018 roundtable based on her discussions with technology and art museum curators was published in “Display of Arms: A round-table discussion with curators of firearms in historical museums,” in Technology and Culture. Recent talks focus on the long entangled history of photography, cameras and gun violence including, upcoming in summer 2019, "Arming Society with Cameras: The Interlocked Histories of Camera and Gun Manufacture."

      Co-editor of the 2017 Radical History Review theme issue on “Political Histories of Technoscience” and the forthcoming RHR special issue, "Visual Archives of Sex," Tucker served as editor of a special theme issue of History and Theory on “Photography and Historical Interpretation.” She also serves as Image Editor at the journal History and Technology and co-book series editor of the "Photography/History;History/Photography" book series published by Bloomsbury Academic Press.  (To submit a proposal for Photography/History please click here for more details).

      Jennifer Tucker has been a visiting professor at California Institute of Technology and a visiting scholar at the University of York, Australian National University, Clark Art Institute, Yale Center for British Art, the Science History Institute in Philadelphia, Durham University, and Birkbeck College, University of London. Her research has been funded by a Public Scholar Award from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Andrew Mellon Foundation, the Social Science Research Councel, the National Science Foundation, and the Fulbright Scholar Program.



Margot Weiss

Associate Professor of Anthropology

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    • A cultural anthropologist who combines ethnography with queer theory and left cultural critique, Margot Weiss has conducted fieldwork across the US (San Francisco, New York, and Chicago) and in Montreal and Berlin. Her work explores the contradictory relationships between sexual cultures, neoliberalism, and the US economy: from the gendered, racialized, and class politics of BDSM in the San Francisco Bay Area; to the politics of left intellectuals in the neoliberal US academy; to the political-intellectual work of queer left activists in New York, Chicago, and Montreal. The former president of the Association for Queer Anthropology, at Wesleyan Professor Weiss coordinates Queer Studies and offers courses in queer theory, the anthropology of sex and gender, ethnographic methods, and social theory. For more on her scholarship and teaching, visit mdweiss.faculty.wesleyan.edu/


Ryan Fics

Visiting Research Fellow

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    • Ryan Fics has a BA (Honors) and an MA in Religious Studies from the University of Manitoba, and a PhD in Comparative Literature from Emory University. His areas of specialization are deconstruction, nineteenth century American Literature, political philosophy, and Psychoanalysis. Fics’s MA focused on animal ethics. Rather than relying on traditional utilitarian, animal rights, and theological models of thinking about the ethical treatment and legal status of non-human animals, Fics explored how Derrida’s deconstruction of the human/animal divide offers a notion of responsibility that effectively combats the institutionalization of animal cruelty. Bringing together the reading practices of Hortense Spillers and Derrida, Fics’s dissertation expands on the work he began in his MA by analyzing the allure and violent consequences of the radical notions of independence and individualism proposed by the Founding Fathers of the United States, and the critical responses it generated in the philosophical and literary writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Herman Melville. Fics argued that Emerson and Melville set out to heal a republic deeply divided by slavery and newly emerging theories about racial identity. Both authors attempted to articulate revolutionary notions of human identity grounded in a notion of democracy not modeled on the structure and logic of private property. Although each author proposed models of thinking about human identity not grounded in the logic of private property, Emerson and Melville (each in their own way) reproduce the very alienation that their ambitious writings set out to critique and overcome.

       Ryan Fics

Andrew W. Mellon Fellows

Catherine Damman

BA, Loyola Marymount University; MA, Columbia University; MPHIL, Columbia University

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    • Catherine Damman is an art historian who specializes in modern and contemporary art, with a particular focus on the entwined histories of experimental dance, theater, film, music, and the visual arts over the long twentieth century. She received her Ph.D. from Columbia University in 2018, and her doctoral work was supported by a Chester Dale Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Visual Arts (CASVA), at the National Gallery of Art. Currently, she is at work on a manuscript that reexamines the formation of “performance” in American discourses, both artistic and academic, in the 1970s. Informed by feminist, queer, and critical race perspectives, the book project conceptualizes the stakes of disciplinary taxonomies in relation to artistic reevaluations of labor—at precisely the same moment that, increasingly, subjectivity itself was conscripted into the demands of a service-based economy. Her writing can be found in Artforum, BookforumArt in AmericaArt JournalThe Germanic Review, and Women & Performance, and in commissioned texts for exhibitions and performances at the Walker Art Center, the ICA London, LACMA, and MoMA PS1. 

Heather Vermeulen

BA, University of Richmond; MA, Yale University; MA, Yale Divinity School; MPHIL, Yale University; PHD, Yale University 

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    • Heather V. Vermeulen’s current research relates eighteenth- and nineteenth-century archival documents from British colonial Jamaica to literature and arts of the African Diaspora, with a focus on slavery, ecology, and queer kinship. Her article “Thomas Thistlewood’s Libidinal Linnaean Project: Slavery, Ecology, and Knowledge Production” appeared in the March 2018 issue of Small Axe. “Mortal Coils and Hair-Raising Revolutions: Styling ‘Race’ in the Age of Enlightenment” is forthcoming in A Cultural History of Hair in the Age of Enlightenment, 1650-1800 (Bloomsbury), edited by Joseph Roach and Margaret Powell. She was lead curator and catalog author for the exhibition Prospects of Empire: Slavery and Ecology in Eighteenth-Century Atlantic Britain at the Lewis Walpole Library (Nov. 17, 2014—May 1, 2015). She is currently at work on a book project tentatively titled Queer Kin-aesthetics and the Plantation Grotesque, as well as articles on artists Ellen Gallagher, Wangechi Mutu, and Torkwase Dyson. Vermeulen has received fellowships and awards from Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, MacMillan Center for International & Area Studies, Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, & Abolition, Lewis Walpole Library, and Fund for Lesbian & Gay Studies. She received her Ph.D. in African American Studies and American Studies, with a Certificate in Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, from Yale University.



Visiting Fellows

Mathew Foust

Visiting Research Fellow

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    • Mathew A. Foust is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Central Connecticut State University. His areas of specialization are East Asian thought, Classical American thought, and their historical and comparative intersections. His current research focuses on "Confucian revolutions" in the thought of Henry David Thoreau. Among his publications are Confucianism and American Philosophy (SUNY Press, 2017), Feminist Encounters with Confucius (Brill, 2016, co-edited), and Loyalty to Loyalty: Josiah Royce and the Genuine Moral Life (Fordham University Press, 2012). He has received fellowships and awards from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (Japan Studies Institute Fellowship), Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy (Douglas Greenlee Prize), William James Society (Young Scholar Award), and Josiah Royce Society (John E. Smith Memorial Essay Contest, Harry Todd Costello Prize). He received his PhD in Philosophy from the University of Oregon (2010), MA in Philosophy from Texas A&M University (2004), and BA in Philosophy from John Carroll University (2002.



Student Fellows

Carina Bolaños Lewen

Samm Jalinous

Ishika Sen Mukherjee

Haoran (Harry) Zhang