Elena H. Guzman is a documentary filmmaker, educator, and anthropologist. She earned her Ph.D. in Anthropology from Cornell University. Her research focuses on the performative imaginings of the nation, state, and cross border communities on the southern border of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Currently, she is working on revising her dissertation into a book manuscript entitled Entangled Borders: Performance on the Edge of Nations in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. In addition to her work as a scholar, Elena is also a documentary filmmaker. She co-directed a film entitled Bronx Lives (2014) that explores homelessness for Latinx and African Americans in New York. She is also the director and executive producer of the film Smile4Kime, currently in post-production, that explores the intersections of race, gender, and mental health. As a part of her work in film, she co-founded a feminist filmmaking collective called Ethnocine and is a producer of the podcast Bad Feminists Making Films.
Past Mellon Postdoctoral Fellows
2019-2021: Elena H. Guzman
2018-2019: Dịu-Hương Nguyễn
Dịu-Hương Nguyễn earned her Ph.D. and M.A. degrees at the University of Washington, Seattle with a concentration in the history of modern Viet Nam. She has a M.A. degree in Southeast Asian Studies from Ohio University as well. Her work focuses primarily on the social history of Vietnam and the human dimension, in particular the voices and experiences of ordinary people in the Viet Nam War era.
Nguyễn is developing her dissertation research into a book manuscript entitled Eve of Destruction: A Social History of Viet Nam’s Royal City, 1957-1967. Based on written and oral historical sources and extensive field research this grassroots history illuminates how war transformed social life in the imperial city of Hue in central Viet Nam from the establishment of the University of Hue in 1957 to the start of the Tet Offensive in late January 1968. She is the primary author of a students' history book series published in Viet Nam and serves as history consultant for television and film projects; her writing has appeared in the New York Times and various published works.
Nguyễn taught a course on the history of the Viet Nam wars and organized an oral history project to capture and document the lives and experiences of the Viet Nam War generation, veterans and civilians and activists both American and Vietnamese. These interviews, conducted by her students, are archived in the Haverford College Libraries.
2017-2019: Aniko Szucs
Aniko Szucs holds a Ph.D. degree in Performance Studies from New York University and two master’s degrees in English and in Communication from the Eötvös Loránd University of Budapest, as well as an M.F.A. in Theatre Studies and Dramaturgy from the University of Film and Theatre Arts of Budapest. Her dissertation, “Entrapped in the Archive: State Security Documents Recontextualized in the Hungarian Art World,” examines how contemporary artists and activists use the formerly confidential state security documents of the communist regime to construct fictitious—yet historically authentic—narratives, thereby contesting the morally suspect public discourse on secret collaboration. Szucs’s new research project focuses on postcommunist melancholia, and analyzes the aesthetics and praxis of leftist and liberal activism in Central Eastern Europe.
Before her academic career, Szucs was the resident dramaturg of the Vígszínház (Comedy Theatre) in Budapest. As a dramaturg and translator, she has also worked at the National Theatre of Budapest (with director Andrei Șerban), at Portland Center Stage, OR, and the Arena Stage in Washington, DC, als well as with the DiCapo Opera and the Hourglass Group, both in New York. Her current dramaturgy projects include Richard III with Andrei Șerban at the Radnóti Theatre in Budapest and Ridiculous with Elyse Singer and the Hourglass Group.
Szucs has taught theatre and media studies at New York University, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and the School of Visual Arts. She has published articles in journals in both English and Hungarian, and chapters in the anthologies Jews and Theater in an Intercultural Context (2012), Staging Violent Death: The Dark Performances of Thanatourism (2014) and Secret Police Files and Life Writing (2018).
2016-18: Rafter Sass Ferguson
Rafter Sass Ferguson earned his Ph.D. in Crop Sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and M.S. in Agroecology from the University of Vermont. His doctoral dissertation, "Permaculture as Farming Practice and International Grassroots Network" represents the first systematic examination of the permaculture movement. Ferguson's research is informed equally by themes in agroecology and political ecology, integrating questions about the quantifiable performance of farming systems with a concern for the ways in which our ideas about agriculture translate into policies and practices that have different consequences for different communities. Using a mix of methods, Ferguson's dissertation addresses the status of permaculture theory and practice vis-à-vis contemporary agroecology, diversity and participation in the international permaculture movement, and livelihoods on US permaculture farms. Guided by the belief that the social transformation we need requires robust cooperation across sectors, his research is designed to help build bridges between grassroots activists and the scientific community.
Ferguson recently completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at University of Lisbon, supported by the EU project Bottom-Up Climate Adaptation Strategies Towards a Sustainable Europe. He has published articles in Agronomy for Sustainable Development and Ecology and Society, and chapters in Designing the World We Want (forthcoming from International Institute for Environment and Development) and The Routledge Guide to Radical Politics (forthcoming). He has taught extensively on permaculture, movement strategy, and related themes, in academic and popular settings.
2015–17: Kristen Mills
Kristen Mills holds degrees in English Literature from Cornell University (B.A.) and in Medieval Studies from the University of Toronto (M.A., Ph.D.). Her doctoral dissertation, “Grief, Gender, and Mourning in Medieval North Atlantic Literature,” examines the intersection of grief and gender in medieval texts, challenging the established stark divisions between male and female mourning. Mills’ interdisciplinary research focuses on the history of emotions, constructions of gender, and critical animal studies; current projects include a monograph on grief and mourning in pre-Conquest England and a study of animal emotions, primarily grief, in medieval texts.
Mills has taught medieval and modern literature at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, Trent University in Ontario, and the University of Toronto. She has published articles in the Journal of English and Germanic Philology, Folklore, and Éigse, and chapters in Anglo-Saxon Emotions: Reading the Heart in Old English Language, Literature and Culture (2015) and Knowing Sorrow: Grief, Gender, and Identity in the Middle Ages (forthcoming 2017).
2014-16: Roy Ben Shai
Roy Ben-Shai earned his PhD in philosophy from the New School for Social Research in New York. His dissertation, a philosophical study of Holocaust survivor and essayist Jean Améry, won the Hans Jonas Memorial Award for best dissertation in philosophy and he is now preparing it for publication. Ben-Shai’s current research, to be pursued at the Hurford Center, is a historical study of shifting approaches to pathos and pathology in the philosophical tradition. This research aims to revaluate the significance of passive experiences for addressing contemporary debates in morality and politics, in particular concerning the role of past atrocities in forming and informing our future. Ben-Shai's core argument is that the widespread social imperative to reconcile with the past and overcome the effects of victimization follows from a deeply engrained privileging of agency and health over pathos and passivity. This privileging, in many cases, engenders more damage and violence than it does good.
Ben-Shai has taught philosophy at universities in Iceland, Mexico, and the United States. He has published articles in The European Legacy and Telos and book chapters in Europe in the Eyes of Survivors of the Holocaust (2014), On Jean Améry: Philosophy of the Catastrophe (2011), and Metacide: In Pursuit of Excellence (2010). His most recent publication is a co-edited volume of essays titled The Politics of Nihilism: From the Nineteenth Century to Contemporary Israel, forthcoming from Bloomsbury Academic Press.
2013-15: Andrew Cornell
2012-14: Donovan Schaefer
Donovan Schaefer is the 2012-2014 Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at HCAH and Visiting Assistant Professor in the Religion department. His PhD was granted by the Department of Religion at Syracuse (2012) and he received his B.A. in Religion, Literature, and the Arts from the University of British Columbia in 2003. His research brings poststructuralism, material feminism, and evolutionary theory into conversation to think through a variety of topics at the intersection of affect and embodied religion, including atheism, globalization, sexuality, narratives of Islamophobia, and contemporary American religion and politics.
While participating in the 2012-2013 HCAH Faculty seminar on "The Affective Turn," Schaefer is completing a revision of his dissertation in book form, Animal Religion: Evolution, Embodiment, and the Affective Turn in Religious Studies, in which he argues for a systematic encounter between religious studies and the dimensions of affect theory to further develop accounts of embodied, material religion. He is also developing a book-length project examining post-Darwinian atheisms through the lens of affect theory, tentatively titled Embodied Disbelief: Affective Disciplines and Atheism after Darwin.
2012-13: Zainab Saleh
Zainab Saleh received a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Columbia University. She earned a B.A. in English Literature and Language from Baghdad University and a B.A. in Anthropology/Sociology at the American University of Beirut. Zainab was a Sultan Postdoctoral Fellow in Arab Studies at the University of California, Berkeley in Spring 2011.
Based on two years of fieldwork in London, Zainab's research is an ethnographic study of the Iraqi diasporic community in the UK. She approaches the formation of the community in light of the utopian visions of the past and their translation into exile and tragedies in the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Through the use of life history with Iraqi exiles from different socioeconomic backgrounds, she documents the persecution suffered under Saddam Hussein's regime since the late 1970s; life in exile in London; relationships among members of the diasporic Iraqi community therein; and the ways in which those in exile reconfigure the past in relation to the political present. In addition, she examines the heightened salience of sectarianism among Iraqis in exile and in Iraq since the 1990s. She shows how sectarianism was employed by the Iraqi opposition to Saddam Hussein's regime in the UK, becoming further institutionalized after the fall of the regime in 2003 with the support of the US Administration.
In 2011-2012, Zainab participated in the Center's Faculty Humanities Seminar "Changing Technologies of Power in the Entrepreneurial Age" while she revised her dissertation, entitled "Diminishing Returns: An Anthropological Study of Iraqis in the UK," for publication. Her Mellon Symposium, "Shades of Occupation: Iraq After 10 Years" was held Friday, March 29th, 2013. Her Fall 2012 course was Gender & Sexuality in the Middle East. For Spring 2013, she taught "Memory, History, Anthropology".
2010-12: Farid Azfar
Farid Azfar received his Ph.D. in History from Brown University and his Master of Arts degree in Geography from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He comes to Haverford after spending two years as a Visiting Assistant Professor of History at Scripps College in Claremont, CA.
He is currently working on revising his dissertation, entitled "Disordered Bodies and Bodies-Politic in British Enlightenment Culture, 1720-1740," for publication as a book. He has also started work on a new project, which examines ideas of sex and shame in early Enlightenment culture. He is particularly interested in how notions of sexual shame transformed in response to urban modernity and European interactions with ottoman and Indian societies.
In 2010-11, Azfar participated in the John B. Hurford '60 Center for the Arts and Humanities' Faculty Seminar "Sex, State and Society in the Early Modern World." He taught "Sex and Gender in the Early Modern Islamic World" (History) in the fall and "Cosmopolitanism and Coexistence in Europe and the Ottoman Empire" (History) in the spring.
2009-11: Ruti Talmor
Ruti Talmor holds a B.A. in Art History, a Certificate in Culture and Media, and a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from New York University (2008). Talmor came to Haverford from the University of Michigan, where she was the DuBois-Mandela-Rodney Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies in 2008-2009.
Drawing on her training in anthropology and her background in art and documentary film, Ruti Talmor's work combines visual, oral, and archival history with ethnographic methodologies. She works in Ghana, the Ghanaian diaspora, and global tourism and art systems, investigating art worlds as intercultural zones where globally-circulating cultural and discursive models of Africa provide a contentious, shared language for Ghanaians and foreigners. She explores how participation in art worlds past and present as well as engagements with media representations of Africa transform notions of gender, race, nation, knowledge, and power, and serve as a conduit for cosmopolitan ambitions, transnational desires, and political struggles for Africans, members of the African diaspora, and Westerners.
In 2009-2010, Ruti participated in the John B. Hurford '60 Center for the Arts and Humanities' Faculty Seminar "Material Identity." Her courses were "Artworlds: Contact Zones" (Anthropology, History of Art at Bryn Mawr) in the fall and "African Masculinities" (Anthropology, Gender and Sexuality Studies, African and Africana Studies) in the spring. For Fall 2010 she taught "Urban Life: Ethnography of the City". Her Spring 2011 course, "Double-Take: The Art and Anthropology of Photography" was built around the Cantor Fitzgerald exhibition "Urban Dreams: African Photography and Video Art" (March 18-April 29, 2011). The exhibition is also the subject of the annual Mellon Symposium organized by Ruti Talmor, March 18 and 19, 2011.
2008-10: Rachel Oberter
Rachel Oberter is the Center's 2008-10 Mellon Post-Doc Fellow, holding a B.A. with Highest Honors in Art History from Williams College and earning her Ph.D. in History of Art from Yale University in May 2007. Her dissertation is entitled "Channeling Art: Spiritualism and the Visual Imagination in Victorian Britain," and her work has been published in the interdisciplinary journals Victorian Studies and Shofar. Rachel's research focuses on religion, gender, and the intersection of the visual and the verbal in 19th- and early 20th-century European art. She came to Haverford from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was a visiting scholar.
Rachel will teach "Picturing Religion: Spiritual Art in an Age of Materialism" in Fall 2009 for Independent College Programs, cross-listed in Religion; her course for the spring will be "Ocular Anxiety: Visuality in the Nineteenth Century." She will organize a Spring symposium about Visual Culture.
2007-09: John Muse
John Muse was Haverford College's Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow for 2007-09 and taught courses listed in Fine Arts, Comparative Literature, Philosophy, and Independent College Programs. In 2006 he received a Ph.D. in Rhetoric from U.C. Berkeley. His dissertation, The Rhetorical Afterlife of Photographic Evidence: Roland Barthes, Avital Ronell, Roni Horn, co-chaired by Judith Butler and Kaja Silverman, analyzes Barthes' numerous writings on photography, an artwork by Horn entitled "Another Water (the River Thames, for Example)," and an essay by Ronell on the videotaped beating of Rodney King, "TraumaTV: Twelve Steps Beyond the Pleasure Principle." Muse shows how these works use photographs to promulgate a crisis of the evident.
His single-channel videotapes and multi-media installations have been exhibited throughout the United States and Europe. In 2003 New Langton Arts in San Francisco staged a mid-career retrospective of the installation works that he and frequent collaborator Jeanne C. Finley have created. In 2001 Muse and Finley received a Rockefeller Foundation Media Arts Fellowship for their experimental documentary project, Age of Consent. In 1999 they received a Creative Capital Foundation Award. In 1995 they received Artist in Residence fellowships from the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. The Patricia Sweetow Gallery in San Francisco represents his installation works, and the Video Data Bank distributes his single-channel works. Visit Finley+Muse for more information.
John taught "Beauty: Rhetoric, Aesthetics, Philosophy" in Fall, 2008; his course for the spring, 2009 was "The Theory and Practice of Conceptual Art." John's 2009 Mellon Symposium, "among friends," was a week-long artist residency program. To check up on the project, visit among friends.
John Muse will remain at Haverford during the 09-10 academic year as Visiting Assistant Professor.. In Fall 2009, he will teach "Topics in Rhetorical Theory: Roland Barthes and the Image" for Independent College Programs, cross-listed in Fine Arts and Comparative Literature. He will also mount an exhibit with his frequent collaborator Jeanne C. Finley as part of the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery's 2009-10 season of exhibits, October 23 – December 11, 2009. In Spring 2010, John will teach "The Theory and Practice of Conceptual Art" for Independent College Programs, cross-listed in Fine Arts, and "The Language of Argument" in the Writing Program.
2006-08: Michael Booth
Michael Booth was the Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow for 2006-08. Professor Booth came to Haverford from Boston University, where he was Assistant Professor of Humanities; he has also taught at Brandeis and Georgetown Universities. His doctoral work focused on the relationships between science and language, and between science and literature, during the Early Modern period. In his second year, Michael organized "Shakespeare and the Blending Mind," an interdisciplinary symposium considering Shakespeare's poetic and dramatic artistry from the perspective of "conceptual blending," the mind's ability to create things by tactics of combination ranging from metaphor to theatrical illusion. Presenters included the expositors of conceptual blending theory Gilles Fauconnier and Mark Turner, as well as seven other visiting scholars.
2005-07: Jill Stauffer
Jill Stauffer joined the John B. Hurford '60 Center for the Arts and Humanities as Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow for 2005-07 in the Philosophy Department. She came to Haverford from a position as Visiting Assistant Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought at Amherst College. She received her Ph.D. in Rhetoric in 2003 from the University of California at Berkeley with a dissertation entitled "This Weakness is Needed: An Intervention in Social Contract Theory." Her research and teaching interests include modern and contemporary political and legal theory, ethics, continental philosophy, liberalism and rights, theories of justice, international human rights law, and social contract theory. For 2005-06, Stauffer taught a social and political philosophy course, "Politics and the Passions" in the fall, and "This Weakness is Needed," a course on the work of French-Jewish-Lithuanian thinker of ethics, Emmanuel Levinas, in the spring semester. She participated in the Faculty Seminar "Representations of Political Violence and Terrorism" led by Professor Raji Mohan of the English Department. During her second year, Jill convened "Seeing Justice Done: Interrogating the Margins of Law," her Mellon Symposium focusing on law's limits and possibilities, bringing together thinkers across disciplines to consider theoretical and practical issues in contemporary law, justice, and politics.
2004-06: Marianne Tettlebaum
Marianne Tettlebaum joined the John B. Hurford '60 Center for the Arts and Humanities as Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow for 2004-06, with a joint appointment as Visiting Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Music. She received her Ph.D. in music from Cornell University with a dissertation titled, "Kant's Noisy Neighbors: The Experience of Music and Community in the Critique of Judgment." In addition to Mozart, Kant, and music aesthetics, her research interests include the culture of eighteenth-century Vienna, North German Pietism and the work of Johann Gottfried Herder and Johann Friedrich Reichardt, and the aesthetics and philosophy of Theodor Adorno. In addition to participating in the 2004-05 John B. Hurford '60 Center for the Arts and Humanities' Faculty Seminar, "Music-Text-Performance," she taught a 200-level course, "Music and the 'Origin of Language' in the Eighteenth Century," in the fall and a 300-level course, "Art and Aesthetic Theory: The Model of Theodor Adorno," in the spring. During her time at Haverford, she also founded the Center's Dialogues on Art program. Her Mellon Symposium was entitled "Art on the Edge: Aesthetic Encounters at the Limits of Representation," a symposium on aesthetics and the relationship of the arts and humanities at the college level. Among the questions explored were: What is the role of art in a humanistic education? What role do the humanities play in the study of art? The inquiry was situated at the intersection of the arts and the humanities within colleges and universities in North America, in particular against the backdrop of a rising interest in interdisciplinary programs of study as well as the foundation and development of "Humanities Centers," such as Haverford's John B. Hurford '60 Center for the Arts and Humanities itself.
2003-05: Yiman Wang
Yiman Wang joined the John B. Hurford '60 Center for the Arts and Humanities as Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow for 2003-05, with a joint appointment as Visiting Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and East Asian Studies. After education in her native China, including her B.A in Anglo-American Literature from Nanjing University and her M.A. in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory from Peking University, Yiman worked in the Chinese media industry, specializing in film animation technology. Combining this background in literature and media studies, Yiman received the Ph.D. in May, 2003 from Duke University's Literature Program, with a specialization in Film and Video. Her dissertation focuses on the cultural politics of transregional and transnational image translation, with particular scrutiny paid to cinematic exchange between China and the West. Yiman participated in the Faculty Seminar on Translation led by Deborah Roberts.
2002-04: Jennifer Patico
Jennifer Patico joined the John B. Hurford '60 Center for the Arts and Humanities as Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in July, 2002, with a joint appointment as Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology. After earning her B.A. magna cum laude in Anthropology and Russian Studies at Williams College and spending time in Russia through the postgraduate program of the American Council of Teachers of Russian, Jennifer proceeded to NYU's Department of Anthropology, where she completed her Ph.D. in 2001. Based on ethnographic research among public school teachers in St. Petersburg, Jennifer's dissertation examines changing ideas of value and identity in post-Soviet civil society. Jennifer participated in the Faculty Humanities Seminar directed by Gus Stadler ("Culture, Value, Cultural Value"), and taught a 200-level course first term called "Culture in the Global Economy" and a 300-level course in the spring on "Theories of Consumption and Material Culture." Jennifer taught during her second year a 200-level course in the fall on "Anthropology of Postsocialism: Russia and East Europe," while in the spring her 300-level course, "Love and the Market: Anthropological Explorations in Gender, Economy, and Morality" initiated the program's Mellon Fellows Symposium Course format, culminating in the conference on "Cultures of Capitalism" that took place at Haverford April 23-34, 2004.
2001-03: Claudia Milian
Claudia Milian, Fellow in Latino/a Studies from 2001-03, received a B.A. in American Studies from Hampshire and the Ph.D. in American Civilization from Brown. Claudia has served in editorial capacities for a number of journals and projects, including the Radical Philosophy Review, ((ñ)) Magazine, and The International Dictionary of Women's Biography, and was consultant to the Rhode Island Committee for the Humanities. Her research interests include Latino, Latina, and African-American literatures and cultural studies; Central American and Caribbean literatures; New World postcolonial studies; and critical race theory. While at Haverford, Claudia taught courses on Latino/a Cultural Productions Since the 1960s, Borderlands and Double Consciousness in the Americas, Central America in the U.S. Neocolonial Imaginary, and African-American, Latina, and Latino Autobiography and Memoir.
2000-01: Linda Schlossberg
Linda Schlossberg, Fellow in Queer/Gender Studies from 2000-01, received a B.A. from Brandeis in English and Women's Studies, and a Ph.D. from Harvard in English and American Literature. Linda served on the faculty and as Assistant Director of Harvard's Women's Studies Program before coming to Haverford, and was Co-Coordinator of the Lesbian and Gay Studies Seminar at Harvard's Center for Literary and Cultural Studies. Her research interests include Victorian and Edwardian literature and culture, gay and lesbian studies, women's studies, histories of the body, and critical race theory. While at Haverford, Linda taught courses on The Queer Novel and Transgender Studies.
1999-01: Rebekah Kowal
Rebekah Kowal, Fellow in Performance Studies from 1999-2001, received a B.A. at Barnard College in English with a minor in Dance, and a Ph.D. in American Studies from NYU. Rebekah studied ballet in New York City with Nanette Charisse, Cindi Green, and Zvi Gotheiner and modern at the Merce Cunningham Studio, and while in New York performed with Bryan Hayes, Pat Cremmins, Molly Rabinowitz, and Heidi Henderson. Her research interests include 19th and 20th century American dance and cultural history, the theatricality of everyday life, the avant-garde, leisure and work, and world dance. While at Haverford, Rebekah taught courses in American Studies, Performance Studies, Third World Dance, and Urban Culture, and hosted a symposium on Native American Culture.