2024-25 Chancellor Jackman Graduate Fellows

April 1, 2024 by Sonja Johnston

The JHI is pleased to announce our 2024-25 Chancellor Jackman Graduate Fellows—Hassan Asif, Alaa Mitwaly and Rhiannon Vogl. They will join us from July 1 for our theme year Undergrounds/Underworlds.

Hassan Asif

Remixing Devotion: An Exploration of Digital Media Practices in Pakistan

Supervisor: Seamus Ross, Faculty of Information

""Hassan Asif, a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Information, explores the interaction between digital media, remix culture, and Islamic devotional music in Pakistan. His research contributes to understanding how digital media and technology intersect with religious and cultural practices to facilitate new forms of meaning-making. With academic foundations in Museums & Gallery Practice from University College London and Communication Studies and Cultural Anthropology from Northwestern University, Hassan adopts an interdisciplinary lens. His academic work is marked by a focus on fringe media environments, digital technologies, and their influence on religious and cultural expressions in South Asian contexts. Hassan’s PhD dissertation focuses specifically on the transformative practices surrounding the digital remixing of na'at, which are devotional songs in praise of Prophet Muhammad. This remixing process blends traditional devotions with modern electronic sounds using digital tools. It challenges sacred-profane boundaries and traditional-technological tensions. Through fieldwork in Lahore and Karachi, Hassan explores how these digital remixing activities contribute to a vibrant underground Islamic media culture, contesting orthodox norms of devotion and redefining Islamic narratives. His study aims to illuminate these dynamics of Muslim digital media cultures providing insights into the interplay of technology, culture, and religion.

Alaa Mitwaly

Sinai Foretellers: Underground Waterways, Warfare, and Wayfarers

Supervisor: Amira Mittermaier, Anthropology and the Department for the Study of Religion

""Alaa Attiah Mitwaly is a PhD candidate in Anthropology at the University of Toronto. Her research investigates semi-nomadic communities, underground waterways, aquifers, political future imaginations, Muslim metaphysics, militarization and state making. She co-edits the Essential Reading Page from the Middle East Studies Pedagogy Initiative (MESPI) team at the Arab Studies Institute. Alaa’s research investigates desert environmental imaginaries and power dynamics through its underground sphere. It does so in order to understand alternate modes of sovereignty—“subaltern sovereignty and subterranean sovereignty”—and to grasp marginal environmental knowledges, imaginations and practices in dealing with the underground waterways (aquifers) that can decolonize the dominant environmental imaginaries of deserts in Egypt and the Middle East.

Rhiannon Vogl

re: Lucy Lippard

Supervisor: Elizabeth Legge, Department of Art History

""Rhiannon Vogl is a writer, curator, and PhD candidate in Art History, where her research has been supported by a Joseph-Armand Bombardier Doctoral Scholarship (SSHRC). Her writing has been published RACAR Journal; The Brooklyn Rail; Border Crossings; C Magazine; Momus; BlackFlash; Canadian Art; numerous exhibition catalogues; and Art & Place: Site Specific Art of the Americas (Phaidon). Rhiannon was a Northrop Frye Centre Doctoral Fellow in 2023-24. From 2007–2018, Rhiannon worked at the National Gallery of Canada where she advanced from intern to Curatorial Assistant to Associate Curator in the Department of Contemporary Art. Rhiannon’s research focuses on the alternative and underground systems of artist-initiated publishing that art critic Lucy Lippard’s only published novel I See / You Mean circulates within. Rhiannon attends to the mechanisms of alternative feminist publishing models and to the socioeconomic opportunities and constraints they presented. She elucidates Lippard’s role in the initiation of alternative artist-run publishing houses including Chrysalis Press, Printed Matter and New Documents, and traces the broader context of art criticism and art book publishing Lippard participated in. She argues that Lippard’s engagement with alternative publishing processes was entirely enmeshed with novel-writing as art praxis.