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New Faculty

Eight new faculty members joined the University of Chicago Division of the Humanities in 2007. The new faculty include experts in a variety of fields, whose research will provide additional dimensions to the wealth of knowledge explored at the University.

In the coming weeks, we will feature more detailed profiles and interviews with faculty members. Meanwhile, here is some information about new faculty for 2007.

Leela Gandhi, Professor, Department of English

Leela Gandhi researches in the area of colonial and postcolonial literature and theory, as well as in English literature of the Victorian and early modern periods. Her most recent book, Affective Communities: Anticolonial Thought, Fin-de-Siecle Radicalism, and the Politics of Friendship, studies Britons who “renounced the privileges of imperialism and elected affinity with victims of their own expansionist culture.” Friendships between the British and their colonized Indian subjects contributed significantly to forging anti-imperialist sentiment in England. Through a series of specific case studies, the book draws a detailed picture of the literary and cultural milieu of fin-de-siècle Britain, while complicating the standard account of the colonial encounter. A founding editor of the journal Postcolonial Studies, Gandhi serves as well on several other editorial boards and as the co-editor of the book series Postcolonial Politics. She is also a published poet.

Gandhi received her Ph.D. from Balliol College at Oxford University in 1991. She was formerly on the faculty of La Trobe University in Australia.

Click here to listen to Leela Gandhi’s January 16, 2008 talk at the Franke Institute for the Humanities on non-violence and anticolonial metaphysics.

The introduction is given by Dipesh Chakrabarty.

Lenore Grenoble, The Carl Darling Buck Professor, Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures, Linguistics and the College

Lenore Grenoble is an expert on contact linguistics – the kinds of changes that occur when two or more languages are in contact with one another. Often, this kind of contact leads to language loss; linguistics estimate that 50 to 90 percent of all languages in the world will be lost during this century. Her current research centers on Evenki, an endangered language spoken by fewer than 9,000 people in scattered villages in Siberia. Grenoble’s other research interests include the languages of the Far north, where global warming is causing massive changes in social structure and concomitant language loss. She is also working on a book-length study of conversation structures in Russian. Her recent publications include Saving Languages: An Introduction to Language Revitalization (with Lindsay J. Whaley, 2006), and Language Policy in the Former Soviet Union (2003).

Grenoble, who holds a Ph.D. from the University of California-Berkeley, was previously associate dean for the humanities at Dartmouth College.

Gary Tubb, Professor, Department o f South Asian Languages & Civilizations and the College

Gary Tubb is an expert on Sanskrit poetry, poetics, and grammatical and commentarial traditions. His most recent publication is Scholastic Sanskrit: A Handbook for Students (2007), a guide to the style and techniques of Sanskrit commentarial works. Tubb is the author of a collection of articles on Sanskrit poetry, poetics, and philosophy, called simply Collected Essays, to be published by the Oxford University Press, Delhi. Tubb has a number of works in progress. He is currently completing an edition and translation of medieval Sanskrit stories. With Yigal Bronner, he is working on a translation and expansion of a primer for classical Sanskrit originally written in Hebrew by David Shulman. With Christopher Minkowski, Tubb is collaborating on a revised edition of A.A. Mcdonell’s Sanskrit Grammar for Students and on a new reader of classical Sanskrit that will be a companion text.

Tubb comes to the University of Chicago from Columbia University. He received a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1979.

Christine Mehring, Associate Professor, Department of Art History and the College

Christine Mehring rejects the standard approach to postwar German art: that it must be understood primarily in relation to World War II. Her dissertation, “Blinky Palermo Painting in German and America 1964-1977” (under consideration with Yale University Press), analyzes the work of an important German artist of the reconstruction period. Mehring situates Palermo’s work in the context of the German postwar economic miracle, the rising art market, and the internationalization of art during this period.

In addition to her specialty in postwar German art, Mehring is an expert on twentieth-century European art. Mehring received her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2001. In 2008, she will be a visiting scholar at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal.

Aden Welles Kumler, Assistant Professor, Department of Art History and the College

Aden Welles Kumler’s dissertation, “Visual Translation, Visible Theology: Illuminated Devotional Literature in Franc eand England, 1200-1400,” examines the role of images in Old French and Anglo-Normal manuscripts of spiritual instruction for the laity. Kumler, who earned her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2007, seeks to understand how the words and images in these manuscripts framed the laity’s relationship to their faith. For her next project, Kumler plans to study the manuscript painting, metalwork, textiles, sculpture, and architecture of the court of King Charles V (1364-80). While these works usually have been interpreted as secular, Kumler hopes to show that the medieval traditional of theologically charged image-making was very much alive and well at the Valois court in the fourteenth century.

Jason Salavon, Assistant Professor, Department of Visual Arts and the College

A former video game programmer, Jason Salavon is a digital artist who manipulates found images to produce visual artifacts that are hauntingly beautiful. For the piece Figure I (Every Playboy Centerfold, 1988-1998), Salavon digitized and superimposed 120 centerfolds, yielding a single, shroud-like, impressionistic female figure. The piece functions both as an innovative contribution to the tradition of nudes in art and as a critique of representations of gender and sexuality in the twentieth century. Salavon has had solo exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery (2006), the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles (2003), and the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago (2003). His work is in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.

Salavon earned an M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1997.

David Wayne Schutter, Assistant Professor, Department of Visual Arts and the College

In 2005, painter David Wayne Schutter won a Humboldt Fellowship to do research in Berlin. During his stay, he worked extensively with the collection of seventeenth-century Dutch paintings at the Gemäldegalerie. Using the Old Masters technique of silverpoint, Schutter copied the paintings, then erased his drawings, over and over again. In 2006, his collection of copies of the works, painted later from memory, were exhibited at the Gemäldegalerie alongside the original sources. Schutter’s works were exhibited on their own as Afterpaintings: Recollected Works from the Gemäldegalerie at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago in 2007.

Schutter earned his M.F.A. from the University of Chicago in 2003. His work is in the collections of the Gemäldegalerie, Silkeborg Kunstmuseum in Denmark, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

Anton Ford, Instructor, Department of Philosophy and the College

Anton Ford’ primary research interests include the philosophy of action, ethics, and politics. In his dissertation, “Practical Categories,” Ford argues for refinements to the relationship between the categories of “genus” and “species.” He then uses these refinements to clarify two fundamental concepts in partial philosophy: “action” and “good action.” Ford is also interested in history of philosophy, especially in the work of Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, and Marx. He is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Pittsburgh.

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