Faculty News and Updates
Kaplan faculty Fellows 2020-21
Congratulations to the following faculty who were named Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities Faculty Fellows in 2020-21. This competitive residency allows recipients to develop their research and teaching within the Kaplan Institute's interdisciplinary community. [Read about the faculty projects]
- Christopher Bush
- Alejandra Uslenghi
- Tristram Wolff
CLS Faculty Co-Organize Conference at Beijing Normal UniversityOn September 21-22, 2019, Samuel Weber and Peter Fenves co-organized an international conference, "Aesthetics, Society and the Travels of Critical Theory" at Beijing Normal University. The participants included scholars from around the globe, including China and the United States. Several Northwestern PhD graduates were in attendance, including: Julia Ng, now teaching at Goldsmith’s College, London, and Anthony Adler, teaching at Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea. A major role in the organization of the conference was played by Li Shah, who studied for two years in the German Department at Northwestern and who is currently a Lecturer at Beijing Normal and a faculty research member of the University’s Center for the Study of Literary Theories. Other well-known Western scholars included Martin Jay, Professor Emeritus at UC-Berkeley, and Professor Scott Lash of Goldsmith’s.
Below are core and affiliated faculty updates. A full list of Comparative Literary Studies Program faculty can be found here.
Christopher Bush: In 2019-20, Christopher Bush gave a talk at NYU for the Poetics and Theory seminar and the Department of Comparative Literature. In addition, he co-led and presented in a seminar on “Late Surrealism” at the annual Modernist Studies Association conference, in Toronto. In 2019-20 he was continued to serve as Co-Editor of the journal Modernism/modernity; and also became editor of the Print Plus platform (https://modernismmodernity.org/).
Harris Feinsod spent 2019-2020 as a fellow at the National Humanities Center, where he worked on a book entitled “Into Steam: The Worlds of Maritime Modernism.” He lectured on this topic at UC Irvine, University of South Carolina, and the Modernist Studies Association annual conference, and his most recent essays on maritime cultural history appear in Comparative Literature and The Baffler. He also continued his work on comparative poetry and poetics, delivering the third annual C. D. Wright Memorial Lecture at Brown University, and publishing essays in Modern Language Quarterly and In These Times. Back at Northwestern, he looks forward to resuming his role as Director of Graduate Studies in CLS, and to serving as the English Department’s incoming representative to the Faculty Senate.
Hannah Feldman: Like most, Hannah Feldman’s year was marked by unprecedented disruptions and cancellations resulting from a suite of global uprisings and the Covid-19 pandemic. Her fall was spent between Paris, where, as an invited senior researcher at the INHA, she navigated a city stalled by mass strikes, and Beirut, where she found herself when the “October Revolution” erupted. Uprisings in Algiers in December similarly put a kibosh on research dedicated to the manuscript “Algeria,1964: A Year in a Contested Archive.” She delivered lectures and keynotes at several institutions, including the Kunthistoriches Institut in Florence, the Glassell School of Art, and New York University. Publications included “Abstract Anxieties, Algerian Abstraction,” for Taking Shape: Abstraction in the Arab World and a text about death and the Lebanese artist Ali Cherri. A highlight of the year was co-teaching a spring seminar on institutional critique and contemporary museological practice with two colleagues at the Block Museum, Essi Rönkkö and Kate Hadley-Toftness. The class culminated in a student selection and purchase of a work of art for the Block’s permanent collection, and students were revivified by the hands-on opportunity to put into practice the critical perspectives they gained by studying historical interventions. Throughout the year, Feldman continue her tenure as Affiliate Faculty/Scholar in Residence at the CORE Program, albeit from afar. In January she assumed the mantle of Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Art History.
Anna Parkinson: As a Mellon New Directions Fellowship recipient Anna Parkinson spent 2019-2020 in New York studying Anthropology and Human Rights at Columbia University and Forensic Science, Forensic Anthropology and Criminal Justice at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY. Once travel again becomes possible, she will conclude her fellowship with field trips to South Africa and Chile that had to be postponed in Summer 2020.
Domietta Torlasco held a residency at the Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape (South Africa) during the Winter quarter. There she screened a rough-cut of her new video essay, Garfield Park, USA, on violence and play on the Chicago West Side, and discussed portions of her forthcoming book, The Rhythm of Images: Cinema Beyond Measure (University of Minnesota), in which she posits rhythm as a pivotal mode of resistance to power. In the Fall quarter, she attended the First International Conference on Humanities Transformation, held at Shanghai Jiao Tong University (China), where she presented her work-in-progress on the mythology of the Anthropocene and its cinema.
Erica Weitzman: In Spring 2019, Erica Weitzman was granted tenure with promotion to Associate Professor starting AY2020-21. Her book At the Limit of the Obscene: Realism, Profanation, Aesthetics was accepted for publication by Northwestern University Press, and is currently scheduled to appear in February 2021. In the past year, she also published three scholarly journal articles: “‘An Injury to Shame’: Obscenity and Affect in Nineteenth-Century German Aesthetics” (Orbis Litterarum 74.1), “‘Ich, von dem du ausgingst?’ Inheritance and Anamorphosis between Freytag and Kafka” (Monatshefte 111.1), and “Despite Language: Adalbert Stifter’s Revenge Fantasies” (Monatshefte 111.3). A further article, “Ismail Kadares Dosja H. und die Komödie des Epos” (a German-language version of a previously published article, “Ismail Kadare’s The File on H. and the Comedy of Epic”) appeared in the edited volume Die Komik der Integration (Aisthesis). Professor Weitzman also presented work this year at conferences and invited lectures in Chicago, Zurich, Portland, Pittsburgh, New Brunswick, and New Haven, and spent a month during the fall of 2019 as a visiting scholar at the École Normale Superieur Lyon through the Northwestern-ENS faculty exchange.
Sam Weber: By the end of September 2019, Samuel Weber, along with Professor Peter Fenves, gave a keynote lecture, “From Hades to Heimat: Quo usque tandem?’”, at the “Aesthetics, Society and the Travels of Critical Theory” conference held at Beijing Normal University’s Center for Literary Research. In addition, Weber gave two talks at Beijing Normal,, one on Nietzsche, the other on the film, “The Mill and the Cross: A Benjaminian Reading of a Counter-Reformational Film”. In September 2019, he gave a lecture on Kafka at Minnan Normal University in the city of Zhanzhou, province of Fujian in South China. The talk was entitled “Towers and Walls,” and dealt with Kafka’s story, “Building the Chinese Wall” (aka “The Great Wall of China”). In addition to teaching the weekly seminar for the Paris, in November Weber gave a lecture at the Center for Translation Studies of the University of Paris, on Walter Benjamin, and also at the University of Frankfurt/Main on “Khora as the Staging of Space” (German title: Khora als Inszenierung des Raumes) and in December gave lectures and seminars at the Ruhr University in Bochum and the University of Erfurt.
Tristram Wolff: In 2019-2020, Tristram Wolff taught several courses for Comp Lit Studies: in Winter Quarter, "Tales of Oil and Water," an undergraduate course about resource extraction and environmental racism in fiction and film, and in Spring, "Lyric Environments," a graduate course in which students examined the natural and social conditions of poetic utterance through the lens of lyric poetry from the romantic era. Other campus activities included co-organizing events for the series "Provincializing Romanticism" (with Arif Camoglu), and serving as the Director of Undergraduate Studies for CLS. This past year he has also been co-editing a special journal issue on "Romantic Poetry & Public Feeling," on social affect and the poetics of knowledge (with Lily Gurton-Wachter, Smith College) and has recently completed a draft of his book manuscript, "The Uprooted Word in the Romantic Century," a historical study of the poetics and politics of the linguistic root. He will continue revising this work while on leave in 2020-21 as a Kaplan Fellow.