MemberJason Josephson

I am currently Chair & Associate Professor of Religion at Williams College. I have three primary research foci: Japanese Religions, European intellectual history, and Theory. The common thread to my research is an attempt to decenter received narratives in the study of religion and science. My main targets have been epistemological obstacles, the preconceived universals which serve as the foundations of various discourses. I have also been working to articulate new research models for Religious Studies in the wake of the collapse of poststructuralism as a guiding ethos in the Humanities.

MemberRichard Grijalva

My dissertation examines the different ways that the term México changes significance and becomes a concept between the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. “Forging the Concept of Mexico in the Long Colonial Twilight” maps the history of the proper name México and status as a concept in multiple discourses: theological, spiritual, historical, political, scientific, economic, constitutional, and juridical. I have taught courses in the Rhetoric Department on the concept of reason, the ethics of design, the idea of study, and rhetorical interpretation. Additionally, I have served as a Graduate Assistant for courses in Practical Argumentation and Reasoning, Rhetorical Interpretation, and the History and Theory of Classical Rhetoric. I have also taught survey courses on sensibilities in Chicano Literary history for the Department of Ethnic Studies and have served as a GSI for courses in the Classics Department’s Roots of Western Civilization course, the School of Journalism’s International Reporting course in the Intensive Journalism minor, and the College of Letter and Sciences’ Introduction to the Liberal Arts online summer course.

MemberSalam Rassi

I am an intellectual historian with an interest in theological, philosophical, and scientific encounters between Christians and Muslims living in the medieval Islamicate World. I earned my doctorate at the University of Oxford in 2016, and have since held research and teaching positions at the American University of Beirut and the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library, Minnesota. I am currently completing a monograph based on my doctoral research on the anti-Muslim apologetics of the thirteenth-century bishop and polymath Abdisho of Nisibis.   My current research focuses on two interconnected areas: (i) the history of theological encyclopaedism among Syriac and Arabic-speaking Christians in the medieval Islamicate World and (ii) the Syriac reception of Avicennan philosophy. The first—theological encyclopaedism—examines a widespread genre of literature produced by Christian communities in the medieval Middle East: the summa theologica, or summary expositions of the Christian faith. These texts provide key insights into how authors articulated a Christian world view within a broader, non-Christian religious setting. The second—the Syriac reception of Avicennan philosophy—focuses on the impact of Avicenna’s metaphysics on the philosophical and theological oeuvre of Barhebraeus (d. 1285/6), a near contemporary of Thomas Aquinas and of comparable significance to the Syriac Orthodox tradition.   A further project involves the history of Arabic alchemy, in particular, the representation of the Christian as mediator of alchemical and occult knowledge in the pre-modern Islamic imaginary. Much of this work centres on an unedited alchemical primer attributed to Aristotle, of which I hope to produce a critical edition, translation, and study of its scientific and literary contexts.

MemberVivian Nun Halloran

My research and teaching interests are profoundly interdisciplinary. In the courses I teach as well as in my writing, I investigate how literary genres such as autobiography, short fiction, and the novel intersect with, and mutually inform, scientific discourse, nutritionism, popular culture, or museums as sites of cultural performance. I am a Caribbeanist by training, and a literary food studies scholar by vocation. My first book, Exhibiting Slavery, considers how postmodern Caribbean historical novels about slavery function as museums by curating artwork and other objects within their pages. I contend that the novels thematize the second-hand way through which we come to learn about history as a textual encounter with the past. I also argue that postmodernism’s penchant for excess becomes the means through which we acknowledge our own inability to imagine the commonplace physical and ideological violence of treating people like chattel. My second book, The Immigrant Kitchen, analyzes the life writing subgenre of the food memoir with recipes, to think through how the trauma of immigration is inherited down the generations. My overall contention is that the interactive relationship facilitated by the recipes is a manifestation of virtual hospitality, wherein the reader accepts the writer’s welcome to his/her domestic space by preparing the food s/he reads about in the memoir.

MemberPam Lock

I am a part-time PhD student at the University of Bristol, UK (2012- ). The working title of my thesis is ‘The Socio-cultural Connotations of Alcohol in Victorian Novels’. The project surveys a broad chronological span, and examines a range of authors and texts including Braddon, the Brontës, Collins, Dickens, Eliot, Hardy, Stevenson, Trollope, and Ellen Wood. I am particularly interested in the historical context of these novels as a part of a wider public and professional discourse around alcohol, drinking, and drunkenness. This focus on contextualisation means my research includes a wide range of; contemporary newspapers; scientific and medical writings on alcohol, alcoholism and suicide; and radical and political movements focussed on issues such as temperance and women’s rights. In addition to my studies, I work part-time for GW4 Developing People, based at Bristol, developing courses and resources on collaborative research. I teach as often as I can and run regular Writers’ Retreats for postgraduates and academics across the University plus other writing workshops for a small company called ThinkWrite.

MemberWhitney Sperrazza

I specialize in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English poetry and women’s writing, with secondary expertise in history of science. I am currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Hall Center for the Humanities, University of Kansas. In Fall 2019, I will take up a position as Assistant Professor of English at the Rochester Institute of Technology. My research explores the relationship between tangibility and intangibility. In my digital work, this relationship informs my efforts to put bodies back into data and to experiment with how technology helps us engage differently with historical literary texts. In my current book project, Perverse Intimacies: Poetry, Anatomy, and the Early Modern Female Form, I explore the heretofore undetected collisions between feminist poetic practice and Renaissance anatomical methods. Perverse Intimacies establishes early modern women writers as active interlocutors within emerging scientific discourses and offers a new definition of poetic form shaped by the informational models of early science.

MemberKatalin Straner

I am a historian of modern Europe, specialising in the history of science, urban history and the study of translation and reception in the history of ideas. My research interests include the academic and popular reception of Darwinism and evolution in Hungary and Central Europe; the study of knowledge production and transfer in the long nineteenth century; the role of the city and urban culture, including the urban press, in the circulation and transformations of knowledge; the history of scientific societies, associations and institutions; and the effect of migration and exile on knowledge transfer.

MemberJonathan Potter

Jonathan Potter specialises in the intersections between nineteenth-century visual, print, and technological cultures. He currently teaches academic skills and researches Victorian literature at Birmingham City University in the UK. He won the 2019 Mary Eliza Root prize from the Victorian Popular Fiction Association and his first book, Discourses of Vision in Nineteenth-Century Britain: Seeing, Thinking, Writing, was published at the end of 2018. Reviews for Discourses of Vision in Nineteenth-Century Britain:

  • Discourses of Vision examines a range of technologies, including the panorama, magic lantern, and stereoscopes, as well as experiences such as balloon travel and more abstract concepts such as understandings of political, personal and biological networks. It is an eclectic, and one might even say brave mix, and for the most part it works extremely well. […] Discourses of Vision is destined to become an oft-cited text because it fills a gap in the phenomenology of visual experience, and because of Potter’s commendable and original attention to the particularities and nuances of Victorian visual technologies.” (Owen Clayton, Journal of Victorian Culture, February 28, 2020)
  • “In Discourses of Vision in Nineteenth-Century Britain: Seeing, Thinking, Writing, Jonathan Potter’s ambitious remit is how visual technologies shaped not only ways of seeing and thinking, but also the shape of literature itself. This is a smart, fully packed book […]” (Pamela K. Gilbert, SEL Studies in English Literature 1500-1900, Vol. 59 (4), 2019)
  • “Potter is consistently attentive to the transitions from the pictorial to the textual, the cognitive gaps between the titular triad: seeing, thinking, writing. […] On the whole, Potter’s book offers valuable insights through its extensive exploration of the relations between mind, perception, and the technological imagination.” (Patrick Armstrong, The British Society for Literature and Science, October 22, 2019)
  • “The scope of this project is vast, and Potter’s ability to synthesise its diversity of ideas into a coherent and compelling narrative is impressive. His bibliography is extensive and will prove of equal value to historians of visual media and those of Victorian culture. Most significantly, the book’s discursive, pluralistic drive has prepared a fertile base from which similar-minded enquiries into the interactions between visual technology and thought can flourish – in studies of nineteenth-century Britain and beyond.” (Thomas Haynes, Early Popular Visual Culture, October 4, 2019)

MemberJan Rijkhoff

From 1990 to 1994 I was a core member of the EuroTyp project (funded by the European Science Foundation) and in 1995 I held a fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung at the University of Konstanz (Germany). Before coming to the University of Aarhus (Denmark), I was a visiting scholar at the University of Texas at Austin (1997–1999). I hold a BA in Dutch language and literature from the Free University Amsterdam (VU) and an MA and a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Amsterdam (UvA). My main areas of research are linguistic typology, parts-of-speech, lexical semantics (especially nominal aspect and Seinsart) and grammatical theory, in particular semantic and morpho–syntactic parallels between the NP and the sentence within the theoretical framework of Simon C. Dik’s Functional Grammar (Dik 1997) and its successor Functional Discourse Grammar (Hengeveld & Mackenzie 2008). I have authored or co-authored papers in these areas for Journal of Linguistics, Journal of Semantics, Linguistics, Studies in Language, Linguistic Typology, Functions of Language, Acta Linguistica Hafniensia, Italian Journal of Linguistics (Rivista di Linguistica), Language and Linguistics Compass, Belgian Journal of Linguistics and contributed to various anthologies, handbooks etc., such as Approaches to the Typology of Word Classes (Vogel & Comrie eds. 2000), Theory and Practice in Functional-Cognitive Space (M. de los Ángeles Gómez González et al. eds. 2014), International Handbook of Typology (Haspelmath et al. eds. 2001), The Expression of Possession (McGregor ed. 2009), Rethinking Universals: How rarities affect linguistic theory (Wohlgemuth & Cysouw eds. 2010), Handbook of Mereology (H. Burkhardt, J. Seibt & G. Imaguire eds. 2017), Elsevier’s International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences (2nd edition, 2015), and the Oxford Handbook of Determiners (Martina Wiltschko & Solveiga Armoskaite eds. – to appear). My book The Noun Phrase (Oxford University Press 2002Hb/2004Pb) investigates NPs in a representative sample of the world’s languages and proposes a four-layered, semantic model to describe their underlying structure in any language. It examines the semantic and morpho-syntactic properties of the constituents of NPs, and in doing so it shows that the NP word order patterns of any language can be derived from three universal ordering principles. Subsequently I proposed a five-layered meaning-function based NP structure in an anthology I edited with Daniel García Velasco (Universidad de Oviedo, Spain): The Noun Phrase in Functional Discourse Grammar (2006 – Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter). My current research is concerned with categories, modification, the parts-of-speech hierarchy, the semantics of flexible word classes, the relation between form and function, and various aspects of NPs in Functional Discourse Grammar. My most recent book publication (2013) is an anthology entitled Flexible Word Classes (co-editor: Eva van Lier) for Oxford University Press.