IHC Funding Awards Winners – Spring 2020

IHC Funding Awards Winners – Spring 2020

May 5, 2020

The IHC is pleased to announce the results of its Spring 2020 awards competition. Congratulations to the winners of IHC Faculty and Dissertation Fellowships!

One quarter teaching release to concentrate on research projects in the 2020-21 academic year

Benjamin Levy, Music: “The Diverging Worlds of Spectral Music”
Acclaimed composers Gérard Grisey, Tristan Murail, and Kaija Saariaho often position “spectralism” as a type of absolute music, driven by research into acoustics and downplaying other associations—a narrative that previous scholarship has left unquestioned. In contrast, I show how spectral composers drew on diverse works of literature and the visual arts, opening up new interdisciplinary interpretations. A fascination with acoustics is only one part of their greater project of artistic world-making, and investigating their broader intellectual environment demonstrates how scientific concepts are creatively appropriated, repurposed, and disseminated across disparate fields at the turn of the twenty-first century.

Cristina Venegas, Film and Media Studies: “Julio García Espinosa and the Imperfect Imagination”
“Julio García Espinosa and the Imperfect Imagination” examines the global legacy of the work of the eponymous Cuban filmmaker, theorist and cultural leader (1926-2016), who won international recognition for his 1969 manifesto “For an Imperfect Cinema,” and whose ideas and cultural work have continued to influence creative activity in film, music, and digital media in Cuba, Latin America, Africa, Asia, North America, and Europe.

$6,000 to support interdisciplinary research by UCSB doctoral candidates in the 2020-21 academic year

Tymoteusz Chajdas, Global Studies: “Silk Road Redux: The Specter of Ambitious China in the 21st Century”
Focusing on the unquestioned basis of the Silk Road as an enlivening historical concept, I suggest that conversations about China’s rising power miss the complexity of its peculiar diplomacy, which has been used to legitimate and justify a project referred to as the “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI). This dissertation makes a case for the Silk Road Redux, or a revival of meanings circulating across infrastructural, technological, and multimedia components that began to re-present the development of China’s worlding globally. This project involves an in-depth study of texts, blueprints, and physical objects to better understand the BRI and modern China.

Julia Fine, Linguistics: “Decolonial vitalities: Agency and creativity in Kodiak Alutiiq language revitalization”
Discourses of linguistic purism often delegitimize revitalized Indigenous languages, implying that authentic Indigeneity is a relic of the past. To counter these discourses, I will analyze Kodiak Alutiiq language revitalization as decolonial resistance. Through participant observation and remote interviews, I will examine stigmatized contemporary Alutiiq language practices such as translanguaging and lexical creativity, showing how community members use these strategies to negotiate Indigenous and colonial worlds. Furthermore, I will show that Alutiiq language revitalization constitutes a form of deep environmental education and community-building, offering insights that are relevant to other forms of collective action for resilience in times of crisis.

Matthew Harris, Religious Studies: “‘Medicine for a Nightmare’: Sun Ra, Metaphysical Religion and the Black Radical Imagination, 1946-1961”
My dissertation uses the archive around the avant-garde jazz pianist and poet Sun Ra to recover the intellectual and institutional outlines of a religious community of struggle in postwar Chicago. My dissertation connects Sun Ra’s well-known aesthetic idiom to the lesser known peoples, places, and metaphysical religious sources that worked together to make “space the place.” I focus on Sun Ra’s Chicago years (1946-1961) and situate the making of his “music of the space age” within the postwar period of the Great Migration and the transformations to African American religious life and culture stimulated by the mass movement of peoples.

Joseph Lovell, East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies: “The Maoist Soundscape: Sonic Politics in the People’s Republic of China, 1949-1976”
Drawing from East Asian studies, sound studies, media studies, and cultural anthropology, and using archival research and oral interviews, my dissertation examines the Chinese Communist Party’s sonic politicization of the People’s Republic of China, after its establishment in 1949. I consider the strategies of the party, and their impact on people’s everyday lives to reconstruct the Maoist soundscape, which I contend proves that sound was crucial in the CCP’s nation-building, and that by listening more to China’s past, we can improve our understanding of human agency, the state and society relationship, and many other key issues in the Mao era.

Maite Urcaregui, English: “Visual Grammars of Citizenship: Reading Image in Multiethnic American Literature”
This dissertation takes an interdisciplinary approach—coalescing queer and feminist reading practices, critical race theory, and visual studies—to uncover the ways that multiethnic American authors strategically use visual elements to critique the racialized politics of citizenship in the United States. These works use visual cues, symbols, and textual layout to illuminate how ways of looking are used as tools of racialization, colonialism, or national exclusion. “Visual Grammars of Citizenship” showcases the resistant visual poetics of these authors so as to reevaluate the primacy of image within literary analysis and underscore how visuality coheres around issues of citizenship and belonging.