Skip to main content

2019-2020 Mellon Fellows


Alejandro Acierto, Andrew W. Mellon Assistant Professor of Art and Digital Media

Headshot of Alejandro Acierto wearing black and standing in front of a white background.Alejandro T. Acierto is the Andrew W. Mellon Assistant Professor of Digital Art and New Media in the Department of Art and the Program in Cinema & Media Arts at Vanderbilt University. An interdisciplinary artist and musician who works across media and material, his work and practice are conceptually informed by the breath, the voice, and the processes that enable them. As a DH Faculty Fellow, he is working on two related digitally-devised projects that center queer of color critiques around time to produce the performance work we continue to sustain ourselves and curate the exhibition Unsettling Time.

Aimi Hamraie, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Health and Society and of American Studies

Headshot of Aimi Hamraie wearing professional dress.

Aimi Hamraie is assistant professor of Medicine, Health, & Society and American Studies at Vanderbilt University, where they also direct the Critical Design Lab. Hamraie’s interdisciplinary scholarship spans critical disability studies, architecture and design studies, and science and technology studies. Hamraie is author of Building Access: Universal Design and the Politics of Disability (2017).




Kevin D. Murphy, Andrew W. Mellon Chair in the Humanities and Professor of History of Art

Image of Kevin Murphy. Subject is wearing professional dress and is standing between two pillars.

Kevin D. Murphy is Andrew W. Mellon Chair in the Humanities and Professor and Chair of the Dept. of History of Art.  He has published books and articles on a variety of topics in modern European and American architecture, material culture, popular print, and public space.  In addition, he has an interest in questions of gender and sexuality as they inform actual practice and is currently the co-author, with Mary Anne Hunting, Ph.D. of a book in progress, tentatively entitled, Women Architects in Practice: Pathways in American Modernism. As a DH Fellow he will be developing a network analysis of the alumnae of the Cambridge School of Architecture, a women’s professional school that functioned from the nineteen-teens until 1942.

 David Michelson, Associate Professor of the History of Christianity and Classical and Mediterranean Studies

Headshot of David Michelson shot in black and white. Subject is standing in front of a tree.

David A. Michelson is Associate Professor of the History of Christianity and a faculty member in the Program in Classical and Mediterranean Studies, the Program in Islamic Studies, and the Department of History. His work in digital humanities includes a number of projects related to ancient and medieval history many of which apply the technologies of TEI XML and Linked Open Data. He is the general editor of The Syriac Reference Portal (





Daniel Genkins, Ph.D. in History (Vanderbilt University)

Headshot of Daniel Genkins. Subject is wearing a blue shirt and standing in front of a brick wall.Daniel Genkins is a 2019-2020 Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow. He studied the history of the early modern Atlantic World at Vanderbilt, and received his Ph.D. in 2018. Toward the end of his time at Vanderbilt, Daniel started work on Jane Landers’s Slave Societies Digital Archive (SSDA). After a year at Brown University’s John Carter Brown Library, he’s excited to be back in Nashville to continue work on SSDA as the project’s new Executive Director. Daniel does a variety of things for the Archive, including project management, backend development, and extracting structured data from primary sources. In addition to his duties for SSDA, Daniel will also be facilitating workshops at the DH Center throughout the year and coordinating the HASTAC Scholars program.


Katherine McKenna, Ph.D. in History (Vanderbilt University)

Headshot of Katherine Mckenna. Subject is wearing a pink shirt and is standing before a brick wall.

Katherine McKenna is an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow. Her research interests lie in the world of early modern Europe and Italy. Katherine’s dissertation Fashioning Adria, Fashioning Femininity: Venetian Women and the Radicalization of the Querelle des Femmes, 1550–1635 examines the rise of feminist discourse in Renaissance Venice in correlation with the movement of secular women into single-author print. Contemporary forces that impelled educated Venetian women into print included civic crisis (e.g. Mediterranean warfare), the expansion of La Serenissima’s book market, and the support of mixed-gender academic networks. Katherine’s digital project builds on the latter line of inquiry. As a DH Fellow, she will combine distant reading techniques, software tools like Gephi, and close reading to excavate the cultural pathways by which sixteenth-century Venetian women writers forged relationships and navigated access to the public sphere.



Elizabeth Barma, Sociology

Headshot of Elizabeth Barma. Subject is wearing a green dress and standing in front of a brick wall.

Elizabeth Barna is a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology. Her research focuses on racial inequality, memory production, the workplace, and human rights violations in the American past and present.  Her dissertation explores representations of former U.S. President Andrew Jackson (and his mixed legacy of democracy, slavery, and genocide) at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, a historic presidential house museum and plantation site outside of Nashville.  As part of her research, Elizabeth spent 11 months working as a historic interpreter at the Hermitage, and has developed a strong interest in public history. As a fellow, Elizabeth plans to develop her web scraping and text analysis skills to analyze social media and online review commentary related to The Hermitage and to continued controversy surrounding Jackson’s legacy.  She has a longer-term goal of developing an online platform for museum staff and visitors alike to discuss their experiences at sites of historical trauma. Elizabeth is also interested in collaborating with local museums and historic sites, to make their presentations of history more inclusive and accessible to a broader audience.

Melanie Forehand, Spanish and Portuguese

Headshot of Melanie Forehand. Subject is wearing a red dress and is standing in front of a brick wall.

Melanie Forehand is a sixth-year doctoral student in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and is the Program Assistant for the Center for Second Language Studies (CSLS). Along with her colleagues at CSLS, Melanie created the online repository for foreign language teaching projects, The website houses a variety of projects guided by best practices in language teaching and the ACTFL Statement on the Role of Technology in the Classroom. In collaboration with CSLS, her project at the Center for Digital Humanities focuses on improving the site’s functionality, increasing the site’s accessibility, and creating digital projects for teaching the topic of her dissertation.



Jennifer Gutman, English; Comparative Media Analysis and Practice

Headshot of Jennifer Gutman. Subject is wearing professional dress and standing in front of a brick wall.

Jennifer Gutman is a joint Ph.D. candidate in English and Comparative Media Analysis and Practice (CMAP). Her work explores experiments in contemporary fiction and the anglophone novel, especially at their intersection with digital media. Related research interests include theories of: the novel and narratology, media and mediation, reading and critique, and post- and new-humanism.




Webster Heath, English; Comparative Media Arts and Practice

Headshot of Webster Heath. Subject is wearing a New York Yankees cap and professional dress.

Webster Heath is a third year doctoral student in the English department and a second year in the Comparative Media Analysis and Practice (CMAP) program at Vanderbilt. His larger research interests include 21st Century Western Hemispheric literature and media, Diasporic Studies, Black and Latin American social movements. He examines africanist aesthetics in music, specifically addressing questions of cultural appropriation across the diaspora.



Jessica Lowe, History

Headshot of Jessica Lowe. Subject is wearing professional dress and standing before a brick wall.

Jessica C. Lowe is a sixth-year doctoral student in the Department of History, under the direction of Dr. Joel Harrington. Her dissertation, entitled Paying for Dissent: money, movement and Anabaptism in the northwestern Holy Roman Empire, 1535-1744, examines two economic phenomena linked to Anabaptist migration: dispossession and Schutzgeld (literally, protection money). While dispossession punished nonconformist beliefs through the deprivation of property, Schutzgeld systems incentivized some degree of toleration through the collection of a specialized tax. Her DH project uses ArcGIS to map the locations and chronological frequency of both penalties, and proposes that spatial arguments help us understand the deployment of power by marginalized religious communities during the Reformation.

Jesse Montgomery, English

Jesse Montgomery is a sixth-year doctoral student in the Department of English. He studies post-war American literature and culture, radical social movements, country music, and creative non-fiction. His dissertation is entitled Hillbilly Radicals: Young Patriots, Black Panthers, and the Battle For Uptown Chicago. He is the co-editor ofFowre: Gone Country and a founding editor of the online literary journal Full Stop.

Emma Reimers, Learning and Design; Comparative Media Analysis and Practice

Headshot of Emma Reiners. Subject is wearing a multi-color shawl and professional dress.

Emma Reimers is a second year doctoral student in the Learning and Design and Comparative Media Analysis and Practice (CMAP) programs at Vanderbilt University. Her research focuses on learners’ use of sound media to make sense of their environment and themselves with particular attention to the design of soundscapes and social infrastructures. Emma’s background in research comes from examining the built environment’s impact on health and her passion for digital media as a critical and expansive toolkit comes from her work as a graphic designer. When she is not reading about learning in non-school spaces or collecting data on historic streets in Nashville’s music history, Emma writes songs, cooks Italian food, and snuggles her dog, Potato. 


E. Kyle Romero, History

Headshot of E. Kyle Romero. Subject is wearing a blue shirt and black blazer.

Kyle Romero is a sixth-year Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History. He studies the history of the U.S. in the world, in particular the entangled histories of humanitarianism and refugee politics in the twentieth century. His dissertation “Moving People: Refugee Politics, Foreign Aid, and the Emergence of American Humanitarianism” studies the complex relationships between American humanitarians, diplomats, and missionaries in the early twentieth century as they engaged with refugee crises in Europe and the Middle East. His work in the digital humanities focuses on data visualization, using GIS mapping systems to visualize refugee movement and GEPHI network analysis software to display the dense connectivity of aid institutions, both in the interwar years. He is also a co-host and co-founder of the podcast “Scholars at Play,” which critically analyzes video games and their place in society and in the academy. You can find out more about Scholars at Play at: