Current Fellows Fall 2017

Faculty Fellows

Laura Grappo

Assistant Professor of American Studies

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    • Laura Grappo is an Assistant Professor in the department of American Studies.  She teaches classes on queer theory, Latina/o culture and politics, and cultural theory. She is currently working on a manuscript entitled Home and Other Myths: a Lexicon of Queer Inhabitation which focuses on the concept of home in minoritarian politics and culture, as well as an article on queer science fiction.  Prof. Grappo’s other central scholarly interests include ethics, political justice, and anticolonial futures. 
Anthony Hatch
Associate Professor of Science in Society
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    • Anthony Ryan Hatch is a sociologist whose teaching and scholarship examine questions about science, technology, and inequality. His specific areas of specialization are science and technology studies, medical humanities, and political sociology. His new book, Blood Sugar: Racial Pharmacology and Food Justice in Black America (University of Minnesota Press, 2016), examines how a new biomedical concept called “metabolic syndrome” constitutes a new way for scientists to study and treat metabolic health problems like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, a way of reproducing biological and genetic concepts of race and ethnicity, and a political strategy that obscures how institutionalized racisms shape human metabolism. Recent media interviews about Blood Sugar on RisingUpWithSonali.com with Sonali Kolhatkar and listen to the audio of my recent interview on Information is the Best Medicine with Glenn Ellis. Blood Sugar has been excerpted in The Scientist Magazine, a periodical for life scientists, and Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience.

      Professor Hatch's current project focuses on the uses and meanings of psychotropic drugs in institutionalized mental health care settings in the United States. This project, tentatively titled "Silent Cells: Psychotropics and Institutionalized Life," investigates how psychotropic drugs function as technologies of biosocial control in an era of mass incarceration. He will be a Faculty Fellow at Wesleyan's Center for the Humanities in Fall 2017 under the theme "Rethinking Necropolitics."

      His research is published in Radical History Review, Issues in Race and SocietyCriminal Justice StudiesRoutledge Handbook of Science, Technology, and SocietyMattering: Feminism, Science, and Materialism50 Years After Deinstititutionalization: Mental Illness in Contemporary Communities. You can watch his 2016 Wesleyan Thinks Big talk, titled On Serving Others: Labor and Justice in the New Gilded Age and read his Faculty Reflection at Wesleyan's 2017 Senior Voices (Baccalaureate).

      Professor Hatch's courses include Cultural Studies of Health, Metabolism and Technoscience, Life and Death: Relations of Biopower and Necropower, Antipsychiatry, TechnoPrisons: Corrections, Technology, and Society; Black Pheonix Rising: Death and Ressurection in Black Lives. 

      Professor Hatch earned his AB in Philosophy at Dartmouth College and his MA and PhD in Sociology at the University of Maryland at College Park. He spent years working in community-based public health research at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in Atlanta. 

      Wesleyan portrait of Anthony Ryan Hatch

Victoria Pitts Taylor

Professor of Sociology

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    • Victoria Pitts-Taylor studies how the body is understood and modified by medicine, science and culture. She is author of The Brain’s Body: Neuroscience and Corporeal Politics (Duke University Press, 2016), which won the Philosophy of Science Association's Women's Caucus Prize in Feminist Phiolosophy of Science. She is also author of In the Flesh: the Cultural Politics of Body Modification (2003, Palgrave Macmillan) and Surgery Junkies: Wellness and Pathology in Cosmetic Culture(2007, Rutgers University Press). She is the Editor of the two-volume Cultural Encyclopedia of the Body (2008, Greenwood Press), and Mattering: Feminism, Science, and Materialism (NYU Press, 2016). She is a past recipient of the American Sociological Association’s Advancement of the Discipline Award and a former co-editor of WSQ (Women's Studies Quarterly). She served as the first elected chair of the American Sociological Association's Section on the Body and Embodiment.

      Wesleyan portrait of Victoria  Pitts-Taylor

Victoria Smolkin

Assitant Professor of History

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    • Victoria Smolkin-Rothrock's research focuses on Russian and Soviet history, as well as the history of religion and secularism. She is currently working on a book on Soviet atheism and socialist rituals. The project analyzes the significance and functions of private beliefs and rituals in modern society, and evaluates the state’s ability to direct this aspect of individual and social life in order to show that the way ideological states approach spiritual culture.

       Wesleyan portrait of Victoria  Smolkin

Andrew W. Mellon Fellows

Axelle Karera

Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow

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    • Wesleyan portrait of Axelle  Karera

Visiting Fellows


University of Exeter

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    • I am a Lecturer in Medieval History with expertise in twelfth-century Britain and Ireland, intellectual and religious culture, medieval monasticism, hagiography, and communication. I joined Exeter's history department in 2011. My main research interests concern monastic literary culture and the construction of texts and narratives in the central Middle Ages. I completed my doctorate under the supervision of Profs Jocelyn Wogan-Browne and Christopher Norton at the University of York in 2009 and have since held postdoctoral fellowships at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Toronto, and the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, Edinburgh. I have published a monograph, The Saints’ Lives of Jocelin of Furness: Hagiography, Patronage and Ecclesiastical Politics, as well as several articles. I am currently working on two projects: the first investigates the transmission of visionary narratives by the Cistercians of Britain and Ireland c.1200; the second explores the concept of news in the Middle Ages.

      Photo of Dr Helen Birkett


Assistant Professor, Wake Forest University

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    • I am a historian of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Britain and the British Atlantic world, and I’m especially interested in material and visual culture, print and ephemera, and politics in the early modern period. I received my PhD from Indiana University in 2013, and I was previously a Postdoctoral Fellow in the History of the Material Text in the History Department at the University of California, Los Angeles.

      I am currently finishing my first book, titled Royal Subjects: Mass Media and the Reinvention of Reverence in England, 1649-1760. This work explores how images of the monarchy, with the unprecedented explosion of print and engraving from the later seventeenth century, transformed the exercise of state power during the birth of a consumer society and the emergence of representative politics. It explores how visual print culture was central to political practices and understandings of sovereignty in the later Stuart and early Hanoverian periods, and it argues that the political longevity of the British monarchy is at least partly explained by its early accommodation within cultures of consumerism that materialized affective relations between subjects and sovereigns. It also asks how historians might use popular visual images to make arguments about the past that we cannot make through textual sources alone.

      I have started research on a second project on the materiality and mediation of loss in the eighteenth-century Anglo-Atlantic world. This book examines shifts in understandings and representations of lost property and people as a consequence of state and imperial expansion. It questions how print culture mediated anxieties about dispossession and disaster, and in so doing, provides scholars with an important source for recapturing the everyday materiality of a now lost past.

      Finally, I have written on gender, the body, and medicine in eighteenth-century London. I’m also finishing an article on the Charleston portrait painter, Jeremiah Theus, and the representation of dress in his artworks.

      Stephanie Koscak


Professor of Greek and Roman Studies on the Matthew Vassar, Jr. Chair, Vassar College

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    • Bert Lott has taught at Vassar since 1997. Bert earned his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and his B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis. At Vassar, in addition to Classics and Greek and Roman Studies, he was a founding member of Media Studies and has served on the steering committees of Medieval and Renaissance Studies and Environmental Studies.

      As an historian of ancient Rome, Bert works on the political, social, and religious changes associated with the beginnings of the monarchical Roman Empire and the development of the “epigraphic habit” of publicly displaying significant texts on stone and bronze. He is the author of two books published by Cambridge University Press, The Neighborhoods of Augustan Rome(2004) and Death and Dynasty in Early Imperial Rome (2012) as well as numerous articles. Bert has received support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Robert Lehman Foundation, and the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE).

      In addition to serving as Chair of Greek and Roman Studies, Bert is Chair of the Faculty Policy and Conference Committee.  He has also been Director of the Media Studies Institute and Chair of Vassar’s House Fellows. Bert is  active in exploring digital humanities and the use of new technologies for teaching and has served on the program committees for Educause and the Seminars for Academic Computing and was an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow of the Frye Leadership Institute. In 2007 Bert received an American Council on Education Fellowship for leadership development in higher education.

      Image result for john bert lott vassar

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    • Larry S. McGrath's research and teaching address the history of modern Europe and the Atlantic world. He received his PhD in Intellectual History from the Humanities Center at Johns Hopkins University. His publications explore the cultural resonances of religion, philosophy, nationalism, and the human sciences from the late eighteenth century to the present. Larry is currently transforming his doctoral dissertation into a book, Making Spirit Matter: Neurology, Psychology, and Selfhood in Modern France. When he’s not backpacking or playing ultimate frisbee, Larry also spends his time working on two projects: the first examines intellectual ambassadors in international relations around World War I; the second uncovers the history of brain education in France, Germany, and America.

Student Fellows

Sammi Aibinder

Brooke Burns

Carter Deane

Lily Landau