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Scholars-in-Residence 2017 Project Descriptions

Scholars-in-Residence 2017 PROJECTS

1. A Hiker’s Guide to Dante (supervisor: Prof. Randy Boyagoda) In this project, students with strengths and interests in literature, religion, art history, and geography will collaborate in the creation of a hiker’s guide to Dante’s Inferno. We begin with a close investigation of Dante’s canonical text, drawing out the many descriptions of the pilgrim’s hike-like movements through Hell. The team will then plot these experiences and coordinates in linear terms and geo-spatially, research historical and contemporary visual representations, assess relevant models for the proposed guide itself, and develop background material for a new book, A Hiker’s Guide to Dante. Experienced hikers are welcome to apply; an openness to cross-genre imagining is essential.

2. Activism, Archives, and LGBTQ Oral History (supervisor: Prof. Elspeth Brown) This project seeks five outstanding undergraduate researchers with a specific interest in LGBTQ history, digital humanities, queer archives, and community-engaged scholarship. We will work on the LGBTQ Oral History Digital Collaboratory, a five-year (SSHRC-funded) project that explores the histories of trans people, queer women, gay men, and lesbians in the U.S. and Canada. Specific projects will include: digitizing audio cassette and VHS tapes; writing metadata; building digital exhibitions using Omeka; researching and writing exhibition text; making audio and video clips. All training provided; work is in collaboration with the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives (CLGA).

3. The iSquare Research Program (supervisor: Prof. Jenna Hartel) Students are invited to join the award-winning iSquare Research Program based at the Faculty of Information to experience innovative, arts-informed inquiry (see www.iSquares.info). Our approach uses original drawings to understand the nature of information in this Information Age. Alongside the iSquare team and other JHI junior scholars, you will collect a special set of JHI-Squares, catalogue and manage the corpus, perform visual analysis, synthesize findings, mount a digital exhibition, and then archive the collection for perpetuity. This project is situated at the fertile crossroads of the social sciences and humanities. You will participate in the entire knowledge discovery and dissemination process. This opportunity is ideal for students with interests in arts-informed methodology, visual studies, the digital humanities, interdisciplinarity, and “information” broadly construed.

4. Communities, Collectives, and the Commons: 21st Century Challenges and Opportunities (supervisor: Prof. Eva-Lynn Jagoe) This project investigates shifts and changes in community and collectivity in the 21st century. Students will create a website that contains research findings, individual and collaborative essays by the students, links, and multimedia data about contemporary forms of community and collectivity. The four weeks will be devoted to research on 1) social networking; 2) social justice movements; 3) interviews in Toronto intentional communities, and 4) climate change activism. Students will be trained in contemporary cultural analysis in their investigation of movements such as Black Lives Matter, Idle No More, Standing Rock, and Kinder Morgan protests.

5. Culinary Ephemera and Practices of Looking (supervisor: Prof. Irina Mihalache) This project contributes to the research and interpretation of an exhibition of culinary objects, which will be housed at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library in May-June 2018. The team of Research Assistants will contribute to the research phases of the exhibition and will produce content that will be included in the exhibition didactics.  Students will be paired with specific objects – restaurant menus, cookbooks, and home economics brochures – which they will research, looking into the cultural histories of the objects, biographies of the authors, and stories of their users.  Students will be trained in object handling, curatorial research and object label writing.

6. A Pain in the Neck: Ecocritical Biography (supervisor: Prof. Andrea Most) This project explores how central features of autobiography are shifting in light of climate change, species extinction, and the discovery of the human microbiome.  Scholars will assist with research for two chapters: the first on the cultural history of estrogen and the second on listening to bodies and the earth.  I am seeking students to assist with bibliographic research on the history of pharmaceutical estrogen, collect stories regarding experiences with hormonal birth control, participate in farming activities at a nearby farm, and write short pieces about the ways in which the project connects humanities research with land-based experience.

7. App Studies: Following the money and the data (supervisor: Prof. David B. Nieborg) This research project is concerned with the political economy of mobile platforms and apps. Together we will focus on the economic and technological position of Facebook’s popular “family of apps”—WhatsApp, Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram—in the world of digital advertising. First, we will investigate the structure of the digital advertising industry. Second, we will use advanced visualization and tracking tools to conduct a series of mapping exercises to get a better sense of Facebook’s position of power. This project should pique your interest if you are interested in a critical understanding of mobile apps. A technological or economic background is not required, but familiarity with apps and common web & software tools (Excel, Google docs) is recommended.

8. The French Revolution and Language Teaching in England (supervisor: Prof. Carol Percy) How did studying French express class and gender in 18th-century England? (How) did refugees and the revolution affect pedagogies and attitudes? The students will reconstruct and interpret scenes of instruction in cosmopolitan London, contextualized in my work on English teaching. We will assemble bibliographies and examine books and periodicals in the Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books, Fisher and Robarts libraries, and full-text databases. Training will be provided in using secondary and primary resources and interpreting the findings. And there is a possible opportunity for some of us to participate in a panel connected with a local conference in October. French-speaking students are particularly welcome.

9. Legal Fictions, Ancient and Modern (supervisor: Prof. Simon Stern) This project involves research on primary sources for a book-length study on the theory and history of legal fictions (working title:  Law's Artifice: Legal Fictions and the Legal Imagination).  Students will undertake case studies on particular legal concepts that have come, over time, to be characterized by judges, lawyers, and commentators as legal fictions, or to be removed from that category.  The students will work mainly with primary sources in full-text databases of early printed books, serials and newspapers, and occasionally with printed sources in the Fisher Rare Book Library. Training will be provided on search strategies and the interpretation of the findings.

10. The Coming of the Cultural Revolution: Politics, Culture, and Ideology in Mao’s China, 1962-1966 (supervisor: Prof. Yiching Wu) This project involves background research for a new monograph on China’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). Student assistants will participate in the project in two interrelated ways. First, they will be exposed to the field through surveying, reading, and annotating key scholarly literature, with the aim of producing a review of literature that helps to frame the basic research questions. Second, they will work closely with me to explore the broader interpretive and historical interests that inform the project. Through intensive reading and discussions, the group will jointly develop a syllabus for a mini-course with the title of “How Rebellions and Revolutionary Crises Erupt, Escalate, and Unravel: Historical and Comparative Inquiries,” which I plan to expand into a regular seminar. I will welcome students from any relevant discipline, including history, Asian studies, political science, and sociology. Knowledge of Chinese history and politics will be appreciated, but not required.


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