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MemberDaniela Bleichmar

Daniela Bleichmar is Associate Professor in the departments of Art History and History at the University of Southern California, where she also serves as Associate Provost for Faculty and Student Initiatives in the Arts and Humanities. Professor Bleichmar grew up in Argentina and Mexico before immigrating to the U.S. to attend college. She studied at Harvard University (BA, 1996) and Princeton University (PhD, 2005). Before joining the USC faculty, she held a Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellowship through the USC-Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute, with which she remain actively involved. She is also a member of the executive committee of the USC Visual Studies Research Institute, and serves as Director of the Visual Studies Graduate Certificate. Her work examines the history of visual culture and the natural sciences in Europe and the Spanish Americas in the period 1500–1800, in particular. Her research and teaching interests include interactions between art and science in the early modern period; visual and material culture in the Spanish Americas and early modern Europe; the history of Iberia, the Spanish Americas, and the Atlantic World; the history of colonialism, imperialism, and global exchanges; the history of collecting and display; the history of books and print; and the history of travel. She has received multiple prizes and fellowships for her scholarship, among them a Mellon Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellowship (2004–2006) a Getty Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellowship (2008–2009), and a Getty Research Institute fellowship (2013–2014). In 2007 she was honored by Smithsonian Magazine as one of “37 under 36. America’s Young Innovators in the Arts and Sciences.” Her teaching and mentorship have been recognized with the USC College General Education Teaching Award (2008) and the Professor of Color Recognition Award from the USC Undergraduate Student Government (2015). She is the author of Visible Empire. Botanical Expeditions and Visual Culture in the Hispanic Enlightenment (University of Chicago Press, 2012; Spanish translation: El imperio visible: Expediciones botánicas y cultura visual en la Ilustración hispánica, Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2016). The book is a study of five scientific expeditions funded by the Spanish crown to explore the natural history of the Spanish Americas and the Philippines between 1777 and 1808. These expeditions brought together naturalists and artists, who working collaboratively produced about twelve thousand illustrations of imperial nature. The book discusses the status and uses of images in eighteenth-century natural history; the importance of visual material in training the expert eyes and skilled hands of naturalists; the role of print culture in establishing a common vocabulary of scientific illustration; the interaction among visual evidence, textual evidence, and material evidence; and the ways in which colonial naturalists and artists appropriated and transformed European models, producing hybrid, local representations. Visible Empire received six book prizes: the 2014 Herbert Baxter Adams Prize for the best book in European history from ancient times to 1815 (American Historical Association); the 2014 Levinson prize for the most outstanding book in the history of the life sciences and natural history (History of Science Society); the  2013 Leo Gershoy award for the most outstanding book in 17th- and 18th-century European history (American Historical Association); the 2013 Tufts book award (American Society for Hispanic Art Historical Studies); the 2013 Phi Kappa Phi award for the best book by a faculty member of the University of Southern California; and the 2012 PROSE award for the best book in the history of science, medicine, and technology (Association of American Publishers). It also received an Honorable Mention for the 2013 Arvey book award (Association for Latin American Art). She has published widely on visual culture and natural history in the Hispanic world and early modern Europe, and co-edited three volumes: Science in the Spanish and Portuguese Empires, 1500–1800 , with Paula DeVos, Kristin Huffine, and Kevin Sheehan (Stanford University Press, 2008);  (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011); and Objects in Motion in the Early Modern World, with Meredith Martin (published in 2015 as Art History, vol. 38, no. 4 and in 2016 as a stand-alone book). A full list of publications appears on her CV. She is currently researching and writing a book with the working title The Itinerant Lives of Painted Books: Mexican Codices and Transatlantic Knowledge in the Early Modern World. Her book Visual Voyages: Images of Latin American Nature from Columbus to Darwin will be published by Yale University Press in Fall 2017, to accompany the namesake exhibition she has co-curated at the Huntington Library, Gardens, and Art Collections as part of the Getty Foundation’s major initiative PST2: LA/LA.

MemberAnne Duggan

Anne E. Duggan is Professor of French and chair of the Department of Classical and Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at Wayne State University. Working between the French early modern tale tradition and twentieth- and twenty-first century French fairy-tale film, her most recent books include  Folktales and Fairy Tales: Traditions and Texts from around the World (4 vols. co-edited with Donald Haase, with Helen Callow); and Queer Enchantments: Gender, Sexuality, and Class in the Fairy-Tale Cinema of Jacques Demy (2013; translated as Enchantements désenchantés: les contes queer de Jacques Demy, 2015). With Cristina Bacchilega, Professor Duggan is co-editor of Marvels & Tales: Journal of Fairy-Tale Studies.

MemberDavid Melbye

My recent book, Irony in The Twilight Zone (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015), explores the thematic use of irony in the original Twilight Zone anthology series and similar television programs, with reference to concurrent Cold War science fiction films and literature. As in my first book, my work here historicizes methods of social critique, this time according to irony’s philosophical groundings in Schlegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Derrida, and Rorty. Embarking from this trajectory, I argue the series functions as an aggregate system of ironic communication, whose metaphysical, moral universe mobilizes a critique of 1950s America’s characteristic fears and weaknesses. Instead of perpetuating popular patterns of reception, Irony in The Twilight Zone seeks to re-contextualize the series specifically in terms of irony, since more than any element of science fiction or fantasy, irony becomes the most formulaic aspect of the episodes’ diverse narratives, and even in cases where no climactic twist occurs at all. In other words, Twilight Zone episodes always feature ironic circumstances, wherein characters and/or events turn out to be something other than what was expected, but, otherwise, the series’ eclectic range of contexts ultimately defies genre classification. Also, the show’s host and creator, Rod Serling, referred to as television’s “last angry man,” sought to preserve his aggressive agenda for social consciousness by couching his and other contributors’ critiques in unrealistic scenarios that would evade any censorial scrutiny. Thus, this study probes the larger relationship between irony and social critique, even considering the philosophical legacy of ironic communication, in order to affirm how the former served in The Twilight Zone to mobilize the latter, toward exposing the shortcomings of postwar American culture. Another fundamental aspect of The Twilight Zone too often overlooked is its overarching moral universe, which establishes itself through ironic, often metaphysical circumstances. This study, then, repositions the classic series as an aggregate system that uses ironic circumstances to project an idealized society, resistant to technologization, Cold War paranoia, suburban mythmaking, and other ills of postwar America. Each of several chapters focuses on a particular such aspect, so that the series’ breadth of attention is systematically subdivided and clarified. Ultimately, this is a book providing fresh insight into the richness and complexity of The Twilight Zone, perhaps the greatest of all anthology television series, which really hasn’t had the thorough consideration it deserves until now. The book is peer-reviewed favorably in Journal of American Culture.      My previous book, Landscape Allegory in Cinema (Palgrave Macmillan 2010), explores the topic of landscape in avant-garde and mainstream cinema from the silent era to the present. I specifically identify cases where natural settings transcend their conventional roles as backdrop and become outward manifestations of inner subjective states. Such a range of films includes Nanook of the North, La chute de la maison Usher, Duel in the Sun, L’avventura, Dog Star Man, Lawrence of Arabia, Picnic at Hanging Rock, Apocalypse Now, Fitzcarraldo, and James Benning’s El Valley Centro. The study examines the critical history of landscape depiction in literature, painting, and photography, from medieval allegories like Roman de la Rose to the European Sublime, and from the American Hudson River School and Poe’s landscape sketches to Steichen’s Pictorialist images. Eventually, I illustrate the appearance of psychological landscapes in culturally cathartic films of the 1960s and ‘70s, such as Zabriskie Point and El Topo, and chart the decline of this tendency. My research first appeared in the article, “The Life and Death of the Contemplative Landscape,” in Spectator. I also continue to present my research on landscape-oriented media at academic conferences, including the Society for Cinema and Media Studies and Film & History.  Landscape Allegory in Cinema provides a systematic overview of landscape-oriented films across the history of the medium, showing specifically how and when natural settings function as characters. The study also explores a larger cultural context for the narrative representation of landscape across the humanities, by tracing cultural trajectories of landscape depiction through time. For example, I argue that 17th century Dutch schools of Naturalist and Italianate painting evolved into a modern cinematic context where realistic and idealized settings are coterminous. Eventually, the study analyzes the use of landscape allegory as a means for social critique, particularly in films targeting Western imperialism, such as Aguirre: The Wrath of God and The Man Who Would Be King. The book was nominated for Theatre Library Association’s Wall Award, and is peer-reviewed favorably in Film & History.

MemberIoannis Georganas

Ioannis Georganas is Academic Director and Lecturer at Hellenic International Studies in the Arts. He holds an MA (1998) and a PhD (2003) in Archaeology from the University of Nottingham, and has worked for the British School at Athens, the Foundation of the Hellenic World, Lake Forest College, and the University of St Andrews. His research interests include the study of Early Iron Age burial customs and the construction of identities in Greece, as well as weapons and warfare in the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age Aegean. Ioannis has participated in excavations and field surveys in Greece (Kouphovouno, Lefkandi, Kastro-Kallithea, Praisos, Kenchreai) and Bulgaria (Halka Bunar). He served as President of the Athens-Greece Society of the Archaeological Institute of America (2005-2017) and he’s been Secretary of the Society of Ancient Military Historians (2013-present).

MemberJoan Tumblety

I am a historian of 20th-century France, with a special interest in cultural and gender history, and more recently in the history of health and medicine. I have published on such topics as the collaborationist press, 1940-1944, and its rehabilitation after the war; the obsessions of early to mid-twentieth-century physical culturists with masculinity, eugenics and national decline; and on aspects of the interwar radical right. I am currently working on a social and cultural history of natural health cures in early to mid 20th-century France, the cultural work of physicians, the presentation of science and medicine at the 1937 Paris world’s fair, and the emergence of self-help literature across the century.

MemberAntonio Cordoba

My main academic interests are Spanish-speaking science fiction in all media (literature, film, TV, and comic books), and the intersection of modernity and the sacred. I am currently working on two book projects. One explores how contemporary Spanish science fiction maps out the exhaustion of the political imagination in contemporary Spain and tries to envision possible ways to break out of this impasse. The other monograph looks into the ways in which modern and contemporary Argentine, Cuban, and Mexican science fiction reimagines the concept of sovereignty. I am also coediting a volume on materiality and the cultures of death in contemporary Spain.

MemberJason Bruner

I am a scholar of religious history with a particular interest in the intersected histories of Christian missions, European imperialism, and the growth of Christianities in Sub-Saharan Africa in the 19th and 20th centuries. I am intrigued by the religious and cultural exchanges between European missionaries and those who converted, with a focus upon the agency of African peoples. My first book, Living Salvation in the East African Revival in Uganda, which is forthcoming with the University of Rochester Press, is a history of the East African (Balokole) Revival in Uganda from the early 1930s to the early 1960s. While the revival was a conversionary movement that proclaimed a Christian message of salvation, this project examines the ways in which salvation was not simply a personal, eternal aspiration for the Balokole, but rather a comprehensive way of life. This book will illuminate the many ways in which the revival created a new lifestyle for those who converted through its message, which had profound impacts upon revivalists’ understanding of themselves and how they ought to relate to their families, communities, societies, and nations.

MemberRyan Skinnell

I am an Assistant Professor of Rhetoric & Composition in the Department of English at San José State University, where I teach writing and rhetoric courses at all levels. As an Assistant Writing Program Administrator, I administer teaching associate hiring and training, program development and assessment, and faculty development. My research focuses on histories of rhetoric and composition, particularly in American higher education. I have related interests in the history of American education, institutional rhetorics, bureaucracy, historiography, and archival theories & methods. I have written, edited, or co-edited five books, including Conceding Composition: A Crooked History of Composition’s Institutional Fortunes (2016) and Faking the News: What Rhetoric Can Teach Us About Donald J. Trump (2018). My scholarship also appears in numerous academic journals, book collections, and popular press outlets.