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Fall 2012 Faculty Fellows

Public and Private

Paul Adams (Geography) focuses his research on the geographical implications of communication.  His areas of concentration include the geography of communication technologies; critical geopolitics and nationalist discourses; the representation of spaces and places; and the study of subjectivity, intersubjectivity and identity. The author of The Boundless Self: Communication in Physical and Virtual Spaces (2005), among other publications, he brings to the seminar an interest in how the functions of public and private are reassigned and reconfigured by emerging digital spatialities.

Veit Erlmann (Music) has interdisciplinary interests that span ethnography, musicology, cultural studies, and cultural history. His current book project is a study of the relationship between music and intellectual property (IP) law. During the seminar, Erlmann will develop a new theoretical framework to address the role of IP law in global, social, economic, and political affairs. He will examine how the legal systems of intellectual property are more than regimes of balancing private proprietary rights and public obligations.

George F. Flaherty (Art History) specializes in visual and spatial cultures since 1945, with a focus on Mexico and the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. His current book project explores the spatial dimensions of the 1968 Tlateloco massacre in Mexico City. Flaherty will share with the seminar his analysis of the recurrent collapsing of time and space, on the one hand, and public and private, on the other, over the course of Mexico City’s uneven development.

Eugene Gratovich (Music) is a solo violinist, chamber musician, and Associate Professor of Violin/Chamber Music at the Butler School of Music. He is an authority on the solo violin music of Charles Ives. Gratovich’s current research involves the use of musical instruments in public and private performing spaces. In the seminar he will consider the impact that private vs. public performance locations can have on the role of the musician, the funding for music, and the music itself.

Heather Hindman (Asian Studies) studies political and economic development and the promotion of entrepreneurialism in Nepal.   As a Faculty Fellow she will explore how entrepreneurship is viewed as a means to both fulfill public responsibilities to the state and to pursue private gain.  Her research examines entrepreneurial programs, which aim to lessen financial dependency on foreign money but are commonly gender segregated and fail to consider the inability of small businesses to be self-sufficient.   She will use the seminar to explore perceptions of “public service” as well as the influence of gender on business development. 

Lars Hinrichs (English) studies language variation in diasporic communities.  His current research examines the cultural and economic effects of globalization on language, particularly in the use of English and Creole by Jamaicans in Canada. During his tenure in the Humanities Institute faculty seminar, Hinrichs will explore how the public versus private dichotomy elucidates differences in linguistic patterns, drawing on historical, philosophical, literary-critical and other perspectives on the public and private.     

Shanti Kumar (Radio-TV-Film) is currently working on a book project that evaluates the many definitions of “public” and “private” in Indian television in relation to discourses of nationalism, globalization and media privatization.  Kumar will use the seminar to further probe the problems and limitations of the use of binary category systems such as “public” and “private” in media studies of India.  His study highlights the blurred area between these realms by demonstrating the importance of home, family life and other domestic relations in mobilizing nationalist concerns.  It also focuses on the significance of private commercial television stations, alternative models of broadcasting and online social networking in creating new and multiple manifestations of the public sphere. 

Elizabeth Mueller (Architecture) is interested in questions of social equity in cities and regions.  The Humanities Institute’s theme of Public and Private is central to her research on the idea of the common good in plans and visions of city life.  Her research focuses on defining the obligations of urban citizenship as well as exploring how public and private actions impact life chances and relate to the ongoing production of economic, social and environmental inequality in cities.   As a participant in the faculty seminar, she hopes to bridge theoretical and practical concerns about public and private in order to address how they inform discussions about the improvement of cities.   

Michele A. Rountree (Social Work) focuses her research and clinical practice on health prevention interventions for marginalized populations. Her objectives as a social work health researcher are to bridge the gap between social work practice and research to create meaningful scholarship in the areas of health promotion, health prevention, and health disparities.  Her current research encompasses two important public health concerns and their disproportionate rates within racial/ethnic communities: intimate partner violence and HIV/AIDS. In the Humanities Institute fellows seminar she will engage with the theme of Public and Private by focusing  on prevention intervention and service research as public goods.

Nancy Schiesari (Radio-TV-Film) is a cinematographer and director.  She will use the Humanities Institute’s theme of “Public and Private” to explore themes of violence and abuse in the United States military, a theme related to her recent documentary, “Tatooed Under Fire.”  She is specifically interested in the sexual assault of women in the armed forces and the ensuing effects of MST (military sexual trauma) and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome).  Schiesari’s research will be at the center of a documentary entitled “Taking Charge,” which will tell the story of the healing work of three women psychologists who assist women veterans with military trauma histories. 

Ann Twinam (History) researches race, gender and sexuality in eighteenth-century Latin American history.   She is the author of Public Lives, Private Secrets: Gender, Honor, Sexuality and Illegitimacy in Colonial Spanish America, which explores sexual mores, illegitimacy and family formation in the Indies.  Twinam is currently analyzing Spanish petitions and royal decrees granting legitimations to individuals born out of wedlock as a step towards comparing sexuality and family on the Spanish peninsula and in the American colonies.  Her research will highlight how Spanish notions of the private/public dichotomy differed from those of other European nations as well as the importance of language in conveying social meanings between the two realms.

Lynn R. Wilkinson (Germanic Studies) studies women intellectuals in nineteenth-century Europe.  Her current research focuses on the writers Germaine de Stael (1766-1817) and Anne Charlotte Leffler (1849-1892), addressing the question of the exclusion of women writers from discussions of intellectuals.  Her work highlights the gender biases of theorists and historians who have defined this debate as well as gendered conditions of writing and reading in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  While participating in the Humanities Institute fellows seminar, Wilkinson will work on a manuscript that will draw on Pierre Bourdieu and Virginia Woolf to bring a historical tradition of women intellectuals into focus.