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Du Bois Institute announces appointment of 20 fellows for 2007-08

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Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and director of Harvard’s W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, has announced the appointment of 20 new fellows for the 2007-08 academic year.

“Our fellows range this year from pioneers in the field of African-American studies to doctoral students working on the cutting edge of diaspora studies,” said Gates. “They are working across many cultures, with topics including Africans in Venetian art, white women in the Harlem Renaissance, representations of Africa in Soviet popular culture, interracial themes in Caribbean art, the slave trade in 17th-century Angola, and African American advertising in American consumer culture. All of their strikingly original and interdisciplinary research will have long-lasting effects in both the academy and popular culture.”

Since its creation in 1975, the Du Bois Institute has annually appointed scholars who conduct individual research for a period of up to one academic year in a variety of fields within African and African-American studies. The institute accepts established and emerging scholars from both the humanities and the social sciences. Fellows conduct their research by using resources from Harvard’s extensive library system as well as from the institute’s research projects, including the African Art Database, the Image of the Black in Western Art Research and Photo Archive, the Timbuktu Library Project, the African AIDS Initiative International, and the Working Group on Environmental Justice. Du Bois Fellows also participate in the varied activities of the institute including public conferences, lectures, readings, and forums.

The 2007-08 Du Bois Fellows and their research projects are as follows:

Sheila Biddle Ford Foundation Fellows

Mia Bagneris is a doctoral candidate in African and African American Studies at Harvard. Her research explores interracial themes in the art and visual culture of Europe and America in the 18th and 19th centuries. Her research project is titled “Local Colors: Interracial Sexuality and the Mixed-Race Body in the Caribbean Canvases of Agostino Brunias.”

Allison Blakely is professor of European and comparative history at Boston University. His work in comparative history has focused on comparative populism and on the historical evolution of color prejudice. He is in residence in spring 2008. The title of his research project is “The Emergence of Afro-Europe.”

Mathias Bös is professor of applied sociology at Phillips-University of Marburg, Germany. His research centers on group conflicts and social change in Europe and North America, the dynamics of migration processes, and race and ethnic relations. As a fellow in residence in fall 2007, he will work on his book project, “Race and Ethnicity — The History of Two Concepts in American Sociology.”

Glenda Carpio is associate professor of African and African- American studies and English and American literature and language at Harvard University. In addition to African-American literature and culture, she specializes in the literature of the African diaspora and Anglophone Caribbean literature. Her first book, “Laughing Fit to Kill: Black Humor in the Fictions of Slavery,” is forthcoming from Oxford University. As a fall fellow, she will work on her second book project, “Black Narrative and Poetry from Latin America.”

Kimberly DaCosta is associate professor of African and African-American studies and social studies at Harvard University. Her research and teaching examine the intersection of race and family as well as consumer culture. She will be in residence in spring 2008. DaCosta’s current research project is titled “Black Magic: African American Advertisers and the Production of Social Identity.”

Allyson Nadia Field is a doctoral candidate in comparative literature at Harvard University, where she is also pursuing a secondary field in film and visual studies. Her interest in film and literature is international, including research on East-West encounters in Arabic literature, postwar French avant-garde movements, and global silent era cinemas. Her research project is titled “Filming Back and Black: Strategies of African American Political Modernism.”

Gertrude James González de Allen is associate professor of philosophy at Spelman College. A specialist in Africana and Caribbean philosophy as well as postcontinental philosophy, González de Allen situates her work on transcultural studies and aesthetics at the intersection of philosophy, literature, and culture. She will be in residence this fall. Her research project is a monograph titled “Sediments and Interceptions: Reflections on Encounter and the Development of Transnational Identities in the U.S. Virgin Islands.”

Sharon Harley is chair and associate professor of African-American studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. A pioneer in the field of black women’s history, she has focused her vast research on black women’s gender and labor issues, their cultural production, and radical politics. She is the recipient of numerous prestigious fellowships, including a 2003 Woodrow Wilson Center Fellowship, and will be in spring 2008. Harley is at work on a book called “Dignity and Damnation: Black Women Negotiating Freedom and Patriarchy in the Post-Emancipation United States.”

Linda Heywood is a professor of history and in the African Studies Center at Boston University. A scholar of the history of Central Africa and the African diaspora, she is an expert on the history and sociopolitical consequences of slavery and the development of modern political ideology in Angola. She’ll be in residence in the spring and is currently at work, with John Thornton, on “Angolans in the Early Anglo-Dutch Atlantic, 1615-1650,” under contract with Cambridge University Press.

Karla F.C. Holloway is William R. Kenan Professor of English and professor of law at Duke University. The founding co-director of the John Hope Franklin Center and the Franklin Humanities Institute, she specializes in African-American cultural studies, biocultural studies, ethics, and law. Scheduled to be in residence in spring 2008, Holloway is at work on the manuscript “Private Bodies/Public Texts: Bioethics and Literature.”

Carla Kaplan is the Davis Distinguished Professor of American Literature at Northeastern University, where she is developing a Center for the Study of Biography and Cultural History. The recipient of several prestigious fellowships, including the Guggenheim, and a finalist for the NAACP Image Award for her highly acclaimed “Zora Neale Hurston: A Life in Letters,” Kaplan is one of the foremost critics of black women’s writing. In residence for the academic year, she is currently at work on a group biography, forthcoming from HarperCollins, called “Miss Anne in Harlem: The White Women of the Black Renaissance.”

Paul H.D. Kaplan is professor of art history at Purchase College. He specializes in the political iconography of Venetian Renaissance art, with emphasis on the works of Giorgione and Veronese, and is the author of the 1985 book “The Rise of the Black Magus in Western Art.” With David Bindman, the general editor of volume III of “The Image of the Black in Western Art” series, Kaplan is preparing a comprehensive treatment of the social position and representation of black Africans in Venetian culture. Kaplan will be in residence in the spring. His project is titled “Italian Images of Black Africans, c. 1490-c. 1700.”

Gretchen Long is assistant professor of history at Williams College. Her current research is focused on the role of medical practice in African-American history, with particular emphasis on the experiences of African Americans as patients, caregivers, and practitioners from the Civil War through the early 20th century. In residence during academic year 2007-08, Long’s research project is titled “Doctoring Freedom: The Politics of African American Medical Care, 1840-1910.”

Maxim Matusevich is assistant professor of world history at Seton Hall University. A visiting research fellow at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs in Lagos in 1999, Matusevich has focused on the history of political and cultural encounters between Africa and the Soviet Union. A fall fellow, he is working on his current project, “An Exotic Subversive: Africa, African, and ‘Africanness’ in Soviet Popular Culture and Imagination.”

David Ogungbile is senior lecturer in comparative religions and African religions at Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Nigeria. He specializes in the practice, expression, and dynamics of indigenous religions, Islam, and Christianity in Africa. Ogungbile is in residence for the 2007-08 academic year, and is at work on his manuscript “Divine Manifestation and Human Creativity: Cultural Hermeneutics of Myth, Ritual and Identity Among Osogbo-Yoruba People of Nigeria.”

J. Mira Seo is assistant professor of classics and comparative literature at the University of Michigan. She specializes in the construction of literary tradition and intellectual community in Latin epic and post-Ovidian Latin poetry. In residence this fall, she is completing her translation and commentary on the works of Juan Latino and is beginning research for a monograph on Latino’s library and the classics in ecclesiastical education in 16th century Granada. Seo’s project is titled “The Complete Works of Juan Latino, the First Black Poet, Translated and Edited with Literary and Historical Notes.”

Charlotte Szilagyi is a doctoral candidate in comparative literature and film studies at Harvard University. The recipient of numerous awards and grants, including a Fulbright Fellowship in 1999, Szilagyi studies issues of ethnicity, postcolonialism, otherness, and narratology, with a special focus on representations in literary and film of blackness, Jewishness, and Germanness. In residence for the academic year, she will work on her manuscript “FRAMED! Storytelling and the Encounter with the ‘Other.’”

McMillan-Stewart Fellow

Huda Nura Mustafa is an independent scholar who studies the emergence of fashion and contemporary art — cultural fields often considered emblematic of the West — in postcolonial West African urban cultures. Her work examines the conflict and play between tradition and modernity, and of local and global cultures. Mustafa has taught at Emory University and Sarah Lawrence College and has held several fellowships. Her research project is “Practicing Beauty: Gender, Urbanism and Cultural Creativity in Contemporary Dakar.”

Mandela Fellow

Samuel Raditlhalo is senior lecturer in the Department of English Language and Literature at University of Cape Town in South Africa. Raditlhalo studies contemporary African and South African literature, with a theoretical emphasis on postcolonial, cultural, and media studies. Of particular interest in his work are photography and autobiography. In residence this coming spring, Raditlhalo will work on his current project, “Unsung Hero: The Life of Hamilton Mshado Naki.”

Barbara Rodriguez is an independent scholar specializing in African American literature, with a focus on autobiography and the tradition of the slave narrative in American literature and art in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Rodriguez, who has previously held the Du Bois Fellowship, is in residence for the 2007-08 academic year, and is working on a new project, “Representations of Slavery: Texas, Mexico, and Race in the 1830s and 1840s.”

The W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University is the oldest research center dedicated to the study of the culture, history, and social institutions of Africans and African Americans. Since its creation in 1975, the Du Bois Institute has supported the scholarly development of more than 250 alumni, including such leading figures in the field as Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka, Cathy J. Cohen, Thomas Cripps, Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, and Cornel West.