Research Awards - Spring 2008

Susan Bell, A. Myrick Freeman Professor of Social Sciences
DES Daughters, Embodied Knowledge, and the Transformation of Women’s Health Politics in the Late Twentieth Century

This project supports research for the last two chapters of a book manuscript, “DES Daughters, Embodied Knowledge, and the Transformation of Women’s Health Politics in the Late Twentieth Century,” which is under contract with Temple University Press.

Connie Chiang, Assistant Professor of History and Environmental Studies
The State and Nature: The War Relocation Authority and the Japanese Internment

This project explores the ways in which this agency manipulated the natural world to assert hegemony over nearly 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans under its charge during World War II. Far from a passive backdrop for human activities, the environment shaped and transformed the WRA’s agenda and programs. In the nation’s arid interior, nature proved to be a constraining force as well as a crucial instrument of social control.

Elena Cueto-Asin, Associate Professor of Romance Languages
Exile and Return of Guernica/ Guernica on the Stage

This paper is part of a larger project that investigates the treatment of the bombing of Guernica , as an historical event and a pictorial representation by Picasso, in Spanish theater. As a comparative study that treats various international genres, and deals with plays written in various countries and languages, from an interdisciplinary perspective (visual art and literature), the ACLA meeting is an ideal forum for sharing ideas with scholars outside of Hispanic studies. The 3-day seminar in which I have been invited to participate, titled “Displacements of the War Itself,” offers the opportunity to explore ideas about the representation of war and exile across national literary contexts, and to compare and contrast theoretical approaches to these issues. Portions of this research will be submitted to a journal dedicated to the international study of theater.

Pamela Fletcher, Associate Professor of Art
The Rise of the Commercial Art Gallery in Nineteenth-Century London

The commercial art gallery as a distinct institution – distinguished both from artist-run exhibition societies, and from shops selling art among other items of home décor – first emerged in London in the 1850s and 60s, and quickly became a dominant force in the art market. Funding will support a research trip to Los Angeles to examine dealers’ correspondence and stock books.

Guy Mark Foster, Assistant Professor of English
Navigating the Hazards of “Interracialist Pride”: A Critical Analysis of the Historical and Cultural Significance of “Men of All Colors Together/NY” (1980-1990)

Historically, lesbian and gay urban subcultures have been characterized by internal friction between white gay men, lesbians, and gay men of color. This friction has been largely attributed to a perception of white gay men’s self-interested investment in the dominant culture’s racial, gender, and class social order. Documented evidence of this biased behavior by white gay men has had a powerful effect in alienating gay men of color, in particular. Such tensions have led to difficulties in efforts to forge progressive cooperation between the groups in combating anti-gay and anti-racist bias. This study will analyze the archival records of the first and only self-consciously and purposeful cross-racial gay male national organization in the U.S. that has been at the forefront of addressing many of the beliefs and cultural practices that have created a wedge not only between white men and gay men of color within urban communities, but also between blacks and whites more generally. Included in this proposal is a research trip to the Cornell University Library in Ithaca , New York in order to study the archival records to the organization “Men of All Colors Together/ New York ,” which was founded in 1980 and has established over 25 chapters across the country. The archives for the organization’s New York chapter were completed in September 2006 and are presently available in the library’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collection.

Laura Henry, Assistant Professor of Government
Changing Conceptions of Citizenship in Post-Soviet Russia

The meaning and practice of citizenship in Russia have changed dramatically in since the collapse of the Soviet system. While most research on Russian citizenship has focused on how the state limits political rights and civil liberties, I argue that it is in the realm of social rights that Russian citizens are most politically engaged. In order to support my recent research into this new topic, I am applying for funding to conduct three focus groups with Russian citizens. The focus groups explore hypotheses about factors that influence conceptions of citizenship, including age, education, income, and reliance on state services.

Ann Kibbie, Associate Professor of English
Corpus Delicti : The Case of Anthony-Noel Kelly, Bodysnatcher/Artist

This paper addresses a recent landmark case in British law, when the sculptor Anthony-Noel Kelly became the first defendant in British history to be convicted of theft of human body parts. Kelly, who had received permission from the Royal College of Surgeons to sketch on site, removed anatomical specimens from the College to cast sculptures from them. The case poses questions that have vexed British law for centuries: can there be such a thing as “property” in a dead body or its parts? If not, why does the corpse exist outside the realm of ownership? If so, in whom does such property reside?

De-Nin Lee, Assistant Professor of Art History and Asian Studies
Chinese Scrolls in the Bowdoin College Museum of Art and Patterns of Collecting

This project traces the provenance of Chinese scrolls in the College collection in order to illuminate patterns of American collecting and their relationship to geopolitics. In recent years, scholars have begun to examine more critically the roles played by individual dealers and collectors as well key events such as world fairs and international exhibitions in the late 19th-early 20th centuries in order to understand the formation of cultural identities in the context of international relations.

Karen Lindo, Visiting Assistant Professor of Romance Languages
Directing the Gaze: Interrogating Shame in Ousmane Sembene’s films

Charlotte Daniels, Associate Professor of Romance Languages
Bridges: Eighteenth-Century France/Twentieth-Century Africa

Professor Lindo’s individual project explores reception in Senegal of filmmaker Ousmane Sembene’s oeuvre and interrogates the complexity of his choice to focus on women. The project contributes to a chapter of her book, States of Shame: Women, Affect and Transnationalism. Professor Daniels will examine the memory of the eighteenth century French slave trade from within a Senegalese perspective. This research contributes to the final portion of a book project, Race, the Slave Trade and the Modern Invention of the Self. Together, Karen and Charlotte will also do the archival research needed to co-write an article on Claire de Duras’ Ourika, a novel written in 1815 that confronts the slave trade while at the same time participating in the creation of a set of racial categories that will become the basis for nineteenth-century African colonialism.

John Lichter, Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies
Soil carbon sequestration after twelve years of CO 2 fertilization at the Duke Forest FACE experiment

The Duke Forest FACE (i.e., Free-air CO 2 enrichment) experiment is a long running manipulation of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO 2) concentrations in an intact forest setting. The major goal is to understand the effects of rising atmospheric CO 2 concentration on forest ecosystems and to predict feedbacks of forest ecosystems on the carbon cycle and ultimately climate change. The funds will support travel expenses and laboratory isotopic analyses.

Ray Miller, Associate Professor of Russian
44 th annual Seminar of Slovene Language, Literature, and Culture

This research assesses Jernej Kopitar's (1780-1844) attitude toward Russia and her scholars, from ca. 1800 to his death. The original inspiration for this work was the ongoing controversy about whether or not Kopitar, a Slovene scholar who worked in Vienna from 1809, was somehow actively prejudiced against Russians. Although this assertion has been vigorously contested, the fact that it still persists (as in Merchiers 2005, for instance) suggests that this subject has not been studied in sufficient depth. Funds will support attendance at the 44 th annual seminar of Slovene language, literature and culture where my paper will be presented.

Madeleine Msall, Associate Professor of Physics
University of Illinois - Bowdoin College Collaboration for CaWO 4 phonon imaging experiments

This research, to be conducted at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, involves low temperature measurements of the elastic properties of calcium tungstate (CaWO 4). These measurements are part of a long term study of the use of CaWO 4 in astrophysical detectors, especially those proposed to detect exotic dark matter particles.

Steve Perkinson, Associate Professor of Art History
Annual Conference of the Renaissance Society of America in Chicago

Funding is requested to present my research on portraiture as part of a session at the annual conference of the Renaissance Society of America (RSA). The invitation was extended by Joanna Woods-Marsden, an eminent scholar of Renaissance portraiture and full Professor at UCLA.

Thomas Pietraho, Assistant Professor of Mathematics
The Geometry of Kazhdan-Lusztig Cells: Narrative Description

Funding will support research addressing two main questions: to prove a conjectural description of Kazhdan-Lusztig cells and to understand the geometrical consequences of these results in the light of recent developments in the study of rational Cherednik algebras, leading to publishable results.

Doris Santoro, Assistant Professor of Education
Before Burnout: Principled Leavers of High-Poverty Schools (Phase II)

Although a good deal of research addresses new-teacher attrition, my study asks: Why do successful, committed, and experienced teachers in high-poverty schools leave teaching? By collecting and analyzing case studies of successful, mid-career teachers who left the classroom, my study develops a new conceptual category, “principled leavers,” for analyzing teacher attrition. I expand on the teacher attrition literature by inquiring into the ethical and moral dimensions of teaching, and leaving teaching. My findings thus far challenge commonplace assumptions (and less-focused research on this demographic) that teachers who leave seek out higher-status work, better-salaried jobs, are unprepared, or are not committed to their students.

Susan Tananbaum, Associate Professor of History
Jewish Orphans and their care in late nineteenth and early twentieth century South Africa

This grant continues the support of research for a book on late 19 th and early 20 th century religiously sponsored childcare in Britain . Funding will support comparative research at the Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies in Cape Town , South Africa on the experience of Jews in South Africa . South African Jews sponsored two orphanages, Arcadia outside Johannesburg , and Oranjia outside Cape Town . These institutions provide an intriguing opportunity to conduct comparative research on a second Jewish community.  

Richmond Thompson Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience
Patsy Dickinson, Josiah Little Professor of Natural Sciences
Sex Pheromones Affect Somatosensory Processing in Roughskin Newts

To support a a collaborative research project to see if chemicals released by female newts affect how male newts process stimuli coming in through other sensory systems, particularly within the system that processes tactile information. This collaboration includes research with Bowdoin students that has resulted in 4 senior honors projects, 3 presentations at conferences by those students and, most recently, a publication in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, Biological Sciences, one of England ’s premier scientific journals.

Shu-Chin Tsui, Associate Professor of Asian Studies
The Presence of Absence: An Exploration of Women’s Experimental Art in Contemporary China

To support research on the subject of women’s experimental art in contemporary China . The research, in its beginning stage, involves interviewing artists and critics, visiting museums and galleries, and collecting copies of works of art as well as literature on the subject.

June Vail, Professor of Dance
The Life and Letters of Gertrude Hitz Burton (1861-1896): Duty and Desire in the Gilded Age

This book project collects, edits and contextualizes the personal correspondence and published essays of Gertrude Hitz Burton for the purpose of illuminating her roles as mother, wife, educator, feminist, intellectual and invalid in the final decades of the 19 th century. By extension, and partly because of the prominence of her correspondents, family, and friends, this biographical study broadens its focus to include the historical context and the New England/Washington D.C. religious, social, and cultural institutions in which Gertrude actively participated during the 1880’s and 1890’s. Her work and eventual fate highlight ambiguities of desire and duty in pre-modern American women’s private lives and social, political movements.